Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘raw food’

That’s not quite accurate. Diary of a mostly raw fruit and vegetable cleanse. Much better, right?! 7 days of fruits and vegetables, piece of cake!

photo by Suat Eman

Cleanses seem to be a big topic these days. You see people with their Organic Avenue or BluePrintCleanse juice bottles everywhere you turn. Some people are aggressively, and I mean aggressively, against them, some people swear by them, some people try them out of curiosity (especially lately with all the attention they are getting) and some to lose weight. Personally, I wouldn’t say you need to do them regularly to be healthy but I do think they can be a great addition to a healthy diet. And while the pre-packaged juices are convenient (I like Organic Avenue best), you can pretty easily make your own at home.

Ideally, you would get all the right nutrients in the right ratios and whatnot. Certain vegetables in unique combinations to get a variety of vitamins and minerals and some nut milk to add fat, etc. Really when you are embarking on a three- or five-day cleanse, you don’t need to be that worried. As long as you follow a healthy diet overall, you will get the nutrients you need. The cleanse is supposed to give your digestive system a rest so your body can devote its energy to repairing the rest of your body. If you don’t get the right amount of Omega 3’s for this short period, it’s not going to harm you. (Of course, if you are currently underweight or have a known health concern you should consult your doctor or refrain from doing a juice cleanse.)

My Best Friend

There are plenty of ways to go about cleansing, it doesn’t have to be juice-only. You could just eliminate certain things from your diet, like common allergens or all white forms of sugar for example. Or you could eat only raw vegetables until dinner and then eat a healthy, balanced cooked meal. There are tons of options! I am not going to get into the specifics of how and why to cleanse here – it would need to be a series of entries! But let me just say I think it can be very beneficial if done right.

After seeing Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, my husband agreed to do a cleanse. It’s an inspiring movie, I recommend it if you haven’t yet. Of course, without hesitation, I jumped on top of his willingness! Seeing him not eat pizza or burgers or heavy foods for an entire 7 days? Sign me up! In the movie, Joe Cross lives on nothing other than smoothies for 60 days. That’s way too extreme for us – let’s just say Joe had a lot more ‘stored energy’ than we do. But to keep things simple and free of lots of complicated rules, we stuck to the raw fruit- and vegetable-only idea. It’s not the most balanced but it’s easy and gives our digestive systems a nice break. Juices, smoothies and good ol’ chopped up raw produce. Our friend Kathy just recently found out she has cancer so we decided to do the cleanse in her honor. If she can fight that beast and keep up her amazing positive attitude, the least we can do is a quick cleanse!

Today begins Day 5 already, I can’t believe it! The first couple days I was a bit tired and had a slight headache, not to mention a rumbly stomach. My husband, who was missing coffee and tends to eat a much heavier diet than I do on a regular basis, was suffering a little more. By the end of Day 3 we were so sick of raw produce. It was 7, 7:30, and then 8 pm and we were still sitting around saying we were hungry but couldn’t get motivated to eat any more vegetables. There was no way we were going to make it through 4 more days. We almost threw in the towel. Veggie sushi rolls across the street at Whole Foods was calling my name.

Out of desperation, at the last minute we decided we would add in some cooked vegetables and WOW I can’t tell you how good they tasted to us! Steamed vegetables with a bit of garlic and thyme? I would never have found this so exciting in the past. Not a trace of oil or salt? Boring! Our taste buds seem to be re-adjusted, which is reason enough on its own to do a cleanse in my opinion. When you eat foods with extra salt and sugar your taste buds start to need these things to find foods satisfying – but salt and sugar make you want more salt and sugar. Without them, we are finding so much pleasure in the natural taste of foods and able to stop eating when our bodies tell us they are full. There’s no getting confused by our heads telling us they want more even though our bellies are busting.

I’m totally rejuvenated and thrilled to be eating this way – not feeling trapped or limited at all! Day 4 I had tons of energy and continue to feel that way this morning. Tons! No help from caffeine or sugar or any other stimulant. Mr. Honey B is feeling great too!

It will be nice to add some fat soon, as my face is getting very dry. This way of eating is way too restrictive and missing in nutrients to continue for much longer, but it’s great for now. My digestion is loving it! Husband is almost giddy with his success in this department too – who knew I would be getting such details!? For two people who tend to have issues (and differing ones, at that) with this when not eating carefully, this is quite an achievement!

Come back in a couple of days to hear how the rest of the cleanse went! I’ll also talk about food combining, colonics and how to end a cleanse and re-introduce foods back into your diet.

Read Full Post »

Have you ever checked your pH? I do. All the time. And every time I have a stomachache or just otherwise less than great feeling? Acidic. More acidic than usual, at least. (It’s incredibly easy. You can buy pH strips at most health food stores – Whole Foods included. You can also buy the ones I use, pictured to the right, here. The strips will include a pH scale so you know what you’re looking at.) I know, the pH Diet, it sounds like just another fad. And maybe (probably) the diet book is, but the idea of keeping your body within a happy alkaline range is just good sense. Ideally, you want the blood running through your veins at a pH of 7.365. Approximately! 😉

Actually even slight fluctuations can cause problems which, over time, can become serious. Everything from minor irritations like unclear skin or poor circulation to chronic fatigue or heartburn can signal acidity. Over time you can wind up with immune deficiency and potentially serious disease. An acidic setting is also what bacteria and yeast love most – it literally feeds them. And I don’t think I need to tell you that we don’t like them.

Have you ever looked at a list of what’s alkaline vs. acidic? The latter is largely made up of the stuff you know you aren’t supposed to be eating anyway! Soda, white flour, sugar, red meat, alcohol… you know how it goes. And of course eating lots of vegetables will keep you nice and alkaline. For a pretty comprehensive list of what’s what, just check out this one on Google. Or one of the other zillion lists out there. You’ll notice that even within fruits and vegetables there are more and less acidic choices. Of course you can’t be expected to eat zero foods from the acidic list and everything on the alkaline side, but a good 75-25 sway is a pretty good minimum to stick with. I’m a little more strict, myself.

Basically, alkaline foods give you energy and acidic ones suck you dry. All the cells in your body thrive in an alkaline environment – the other end of the spectrum gives you problems. Your body already fights against acidity as it is, what with regular everyday cellular activity and keeping you breathing and all that, before you even enter food into the equation. Naturally, non-food factors like stress and lack of exercise lead to acidity as well. It’s pretty safe to say you aren’t likely to have to worry about making your body too alkaline. It takes a waaaay larger amount of alkalinity to fight against acidity.

Kris Carr does a pHenomenal job of explaining the basics of pH, including what it means and what to do about it, in her recent book Crazy Sexy Diet. It’s a great book in general, I highly recommend it. One of the things she explains is how relentlessly your body works to maintain balance. You see this all the time – you get too cold and your body shivers to try to warm you back up; you get dehydrated and your body sends signals of intense thirst. Anyway, she explains how this struggle relates to pH and when you do unbalanced things like sticking to highly acidic foods, your body does whatever it can to bring you back to alkalinity. This includes taking minerals from your bones, teeth, tissues and organs – anywhere it can find reserves. As mentioned in the book, you need minerals to make proteins, enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, basically everything you need to live. Your body has to make these, and it relies on what you put in your body to do it. Pretty serious stuff.

Some of the things I do to make sure I keep my pH in check are these…

  • Drink LOTS of water
  • Green Smoothies – I make them in the morning and keep them in the fridge all day, so when I want a snack I can grab this instead of cookies! I also like to put my morning smoothie in a plastic water bottle with a top – this way I can take it with me so I’m never left hungry and at the mercy of what’s at the nearest coffee shop or corner store.
  • Use a green powder! I like Vitamineral Green. I usually put it in my smoothie but you can stick it in water or juice.
  • Exercise! Duh, I know, obvious, but it’s easy to let it go if you aren’t thinking about it. It really does a lot to keep you balanced. It certainly has a huge effect on balancing my blood sugar as well. Just remember if you can’t fit in a proper workout, at least make sure you aren’t sitting still all day. Try to get up and move for a while at least every hour.
  • Eating vegetables does NOT have to be painful. Don’t let your stubborn brain get stuck on the idea that just because something is a vegetable it can’t be good. Be open-minded. Check out my post on how to sneak them in throughout your day in a tasty way!
  • Sea vegetables are especially helpful given all the minerals they contain.
  • Try eating more raw foods. (No, I don’t mean beef carpaccio.)
  • Take a supplement. I try to buy all organic and high quality foods because I know the nutrient content is generally quite low in other foods. But I still don’t get all the nutrients my body needs, it’s just not a perfect world. At least take a general one. You might also look into probiotics and enzymes, as well as others that suit your individual needs. I love New Chapter and MegaFood, for starters, because they are organic and whole food-derived. Nordic Naturals is a great option for fish oil, another super addition to your daily regimen!! (Quality is critical with fish oil, given all the toxic crud. It’s critical with fish in general, but know that toxins are that much more concentrated in the oil.)
  • Cut down on animal! Explore all the millions of other options out there. Be adventurous. Try new recipes! Clearly there are infinite reasons for this, way beyond balancing your pH.
  • Stop with the sugar. At least try to eat less of the refined, poor-quality, mass-produced stuff for a start. Use natural sweeteners. But the less sugar (of any kind) you eat the better. Challenge yourself! I’m sure you can go a week or two without any if you decide to.
  • RELAX. Find a way to release stress, whether it’s exercise, a hot bath or a massage… Whatever does it for you. Hopefully it’s not 3 glasses of whiskey at the end of the day. I think you know what I’m after – healthy relaxation. I didn’t say it has to be PG!

Read Full Post »

Well, not so much in that order. Since I bought Sarma’s Living Raw Food yesterday, it was burning a hole in my kitchen. It was getting late so I picked something easy to make, just to give it a try. Who knew you could make chocolate pudding with an avocado?! Well, OK maybe we all knew it was possible, but did you know it tastes GOOD? Better than good? Here, I’ll prove it… this is what happened to mine in about 10 seconds flat. (Which is just SLIGHTLY more than the amount of time it took to make this easy-as-pie creation.)

My question to you is… WHO needs BUTTER?! Don’t answer that. Let me live in my fantasy world.

This morning started E-A-R-L-Y. A friend of mine who is dead set on making workouts a regular, consistent habit asked me to join her at the gym. Now I am never one to turn down that offer! Turns out the only time she could fit it in to her day was 5:30 am. Lovely. And I live about a half hour away. What must be done must be done, right? Right. Being the motivation that gets someone to make a healthy choice is my game. That is what makes me warm and fuzzy inside. So I left in the darkness on my mission. I did not, however, have the wherewithall at that hour to take a photo of the gym to prove it. Upon leaving I had more brainpower:

See?? I went! (Can you hear the silent undertone: “So can you!”) What a gorgeous morning. As I headed to the subway they were starting to set up the most amazing farmer’s market in NYC that is the Union Square Farmer’s Market…

…in all its glory.

Now one more thing before I let you go. Of the many MANY benefits I got out of working out so incredibly early in the morning, one was quite unexpected. By the time we’d finished our workout and showered it was 7 or 7:30 am. It felt like I’d been up for ages already! It felt like lunchtime! So when we went to the juice bar to grab a little green juice (oh how I LOVE starting the day that way!!!) I couldn’t take my eyes off the salad bar. And thus was my breakfast. A giant mixture of greens and other assorted veggies and nuts. OK and a little feta. Long gone are the days of waking up and craving a starchy – sorry, the SAME starchy breakie every day.

Try it!

 

 

Read Full Post »

Oh no you didn’t! Oooooohhh yes I DID! I bought it.

The ultimate raw vegan cookbook. I know, it’s one thing to eat the AMAZING “I can’t believe it’s not cooked and/or horrible for you” food at the restaurant Pure Food and Wine, and an ENTIRELY different thing altogether to try making it yourself. That’s why it’s a challenge! Who’s with me? How many raw vegan meals can you make a week?

I hope to be posting the results of my efforts as well as helpful information from the book and about the benefits of raw food in general. I’m not saying you need to eat all raw all vegan all the time, but adding it in to your diet is SO. GOOD. FOR. YOU.

Read Full Post »