February 10, 2011 § 2 Comments
It’s that time of year again when people go cuckoo for week-long syrup fasts, fat-igniting magic pills and foul-tasting meal replacements that all serve primarily to reinforce the distinction between happiness and health.
Happiness is where they’ve been; partying, indulging, living. Health is that odious, obligatory task of taking out the trash.
People of all ages and genders have been wandering into my work wearing expressions that immediately betray their grim purpose; ‘Fix me with your herbal hocus-pocus!’
I begin to explain that a gentle cleanse does not have to equate to suffering and sacrifice…
…but they are already plucking the ready-made detox kit from the shelf, cringing as they turn over the neatly packaged box of potions that will ‘melt fat from their frame’ before you can say gimmick.
To them this temporary plan, albeit painful, is the only way they can truly repent for the sins of the festive season. Unfortunately, it is an established misconception that holding your nose in the name of health is a necessary evil, and however loudly I may protest, many people refuse to believe that good health and good fun can ever be reconciled.
Say no to Lemon Detox!
This worrying trend that I’ve observed in store is far from being an isolated phenomenon. It saddens me to think that this is the way many people visualise health, and as a result, they are missing out on the truly wonderful, miraculous and delicious truth. To perform a detox and attain permanent & lasting health, YOU DON’T NEED TO PULL THAT FACE! It’s not so bad my tortured friends!
I’ve decided to write a series of articles that provide you with various options for detoxing and losing weight in a manner that is taste-bud friendly, and free from rigid rules and yawn-fest calorie-crunching.
PART ONE: The Emotional Detox
Correct. This particular approach targets the noggin’; the control centre of our being that deserves a lot more love, and acts as the foundation for our continued efforts at attaining better health.
Like emptying your handbag of months of compounded crap, cleaning out your mental space can help you locate that inspiration you misplaced, the missing keys to your happiness, and the motivation that was rotting right at the very bottom, in a forgotten Tupperware container (don’t pretend you haven’t found decomposing matter in a hidden corner of your purse!).
Not only can taking the time to re-focus and re-group support a greater level of organisation, but having a healthy mental state also prevents the physical effects of stress from impacting negatively on your body.
Did you know that highly stressed individuals have permanently elevated levels of cortisol? This is a hormone secreted in the event of a fight-or-flight-type situation and would be useful if you were legging it away from a bear or a yeti. Being continuously depressed, anxious or strung-out however means your body produces cortisol consistently, in turn increasing your insulin levels and appetite, and hence stubborn belly fat is born.
Many natural health gurus also believe that holding on to negative emotions and failing to address underlying issues can be reflected in the physical – i.e. being ‘chubby’ because it serves an emotional purpose. Are you hiding behind your weight? Could it be that you are deeply afraid of the consequences of actually attaining your goals and having to live with the attention you might receive being thin? Sounds far-fetched, but the power of your mind and your prevailing beliefs is such that thoughts can and do manifest in the physical. Think about it, yo.
My suggestions for becoming a happier, more mentally mellow dude (in the gender non-specific sense) are as follows:
• Ask big-picture questions. Go on, I dare you. One night I actually took the time to ask myself how I was doin’ and if I was happy with my studies/life/future plans. How shocked was I when the answer I came out with was a resounding, NO. If you find that you also aren’t jiving with your current job, living arrangement or overarching direction, why not hypothesise as to your alternative options? It’s your life; please build, tweak and sculpt it to your liking! Go forth and write, research, plan, enquire, chant and astrally project until you have a solution.
• Take the time to offload all those pesky logistics/budget concerns and grocery lists onto paper. Ok, so needing to write a shopping list has never impacted negatively on my happiness, but I’ve certainly felt overwhelmed with thoughts about money and other tedious aspects of capitalist living that, once laid out on paper, did not seem so horrid. Be brave, allocate funds in order of priority (tip: SPLURGE ON CONSUMABLES!) and take the time to make a detailed to-do list that you can cathartically tick off with vigour! CONFESSION: Sometimes I include a bunch of things that I’ve already achieved, like ‘wake up’, ‘shower’ and ‘breathe’ to make me feel super productive
• Address interpersonal tensions. If there’s someone you’ve been avoiding or a friend you have unresolved issues with, make a concerted effort to heal that wound. Whether it means acknowledging that they are gone from your life, or trying make amends, decide on your preferred outcome and take warrior action (yes, you can be a friendship warrior as well as a Vibram warrior!).
• Do the hard stuff. There are always things on my list that inspire a certain fear and weakness in the spongy parts of my spine (emailing someone with bad news, asking for a favour, paying a ridiculous, outrageous, outlandishly expensive parking fine…). When you want to put it off, you have to flex your confidence muscle and just it do (yoda, for nike). You’ll feel an empowered sense of accomplishment once you’ve volleyed all life’s tennis balls back into the opposite court (sometimes my analogies aren’t so catchy– let’s roll with it).
• Clean up your shit. I’m not saying you live amid filth and squalor but if you did, hypothetically speaking, it would be wise to shovel out the poo. For everyone else, organising and cleaning out your room, house and car can have a profoundly cleansing effect on the mind. Feng shooooeeeey is not without it’s merits.
• If all else fails, jump into the ocean. Or at least touch it with your toe. Or go somewhere in nature that you’ve never been before; a place that restores calm to your muddled interior would be ideal. Take the time to do some whimsical, meditative frolicking (of which you know I’m a fan) – any time spent tuning your nature chord is time well spent.
What are your tricks for cleaning out your emotional inbox?
December 26, 2010 § 9 Comments
I’m always a big grinch in the lead-up to Christmas, but when the day arrives, a sheepish smile spreads across my gimpy features as I delicately unwrap gifts on xmas morning, and watch my loved ones do the same. Even better, is sitting around a simply laid table in the stillness of a sweltering Australian afternoon surrounded by excellent food and charming, intelligent and slightly intoxicated individuals.
2 tiny bursts of flavour as grown on our balcony, still warm from the sun.
Mum has a Kombi fetish. She evidently carries the dominant hippie gene that has been passed down; although I can’t say I share the same enthusiasm for novelty salt & pepper shakers.
Amongst the happy snaps, I thought I’d share a little health-related happenings of late. After all, this is a health blog if I remember correctly, with a decidedly photographic slant of late.
One of the reasons my healthy-living libido dropped a few weeks ago, and the blog became decidedly undernourished, was that I became sick. Sick with some kind of viral infection that, while not severe enough to lay me low, persisted with irritating, uncomfortable symptoms. In fact, on day 10 of the raw food trial I started coming down with these flu-like symptoms; my nose was gushing like Victoria falls and at the same time, I turned to cooked comfort food to satisfy an errant cookie craving. In hindsight this was probably part of the entire detox process, and I’ve also read that illnesses that you’ve had in the past can resurface before leaving your body for good. I had quite severe glandular fever when I was about 16 (mononucleosis) and I felt perhaps this was again rearing it’s fugly head.
Since then it’s safe to say, I’ve been a cruel mistress to my already immunocompromised insides. Compounding the sickness, i’ve been eating super clean for one week, then downing an array of franken-foods the next (some not even vegan – no meat of course, but ice cream and cheese may have featured). I don’t feel I have to stick to a rigid vegan ideal (however I would never touch cringe-worthy cage eggs or pig-fat soft serve); it’s more that my innards have been subjected to a roller coaster of dietary randomness, with foreign foods not seen for months, interspersed with super-food smoothies and wholesome raw goodies.
In an oversized nutshell, I have felt decidedly unhinged and have called into question both my general health, and the respect that seemed to be altogether absent in my dealings with my own body.
Why was I sick when I continually invest so much into my health?
Am I deficient in something?
Did I go into the raw diet too fast and cause myself greater harm than good?
Why do I find myself constantly placing undue stress on my body (ie. eating way too many sweets in a sitting & effectively sending my body into crazy adrenal overload)?
Why why why why why for the love of all that is sprouted why?
For if there’s one thing i’ve learned, it’s that how we eat is just as important as what we eat. I have a rudimentary understanding of food combining and the importance of proper elimination; I realise that eating some things in combination with others can inhibit the absorption of certain vitamins; I know that if we eat while stressed, we are unable to digest food effectively; I believe that overeating places stress on the body and contributes to ageing and other chronic illness; I feel we need to allow ourselves a little room for fun, frivolity and freedom because happiness is crucial to health, and vice versa.
I could talk about these things until I was blue in the jowls, however putting them into practice has proven more difficult.
So with my recent resolve to avoid orthorexia and be more flexible in my dietary needs (without giving up my predominantly vegan values and committment to health) I also made the decision to:
a) improve my immune function and make sure I am not missing essential factors in my diet.
b) bring more mind into mind/body wellness. A repeat offender for ignoring mental health in favour of the physical, I am taking the lead of individuals I admire and bringing some yoga and meditation into my life. My new mantra is OMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM….nom, nom, nom.
c) play nice with my body. Don’t bully, belittle or badger; criticize, castigate or condemn; denounce, degrade or disparage…
d) quit alliterating. It’s doing my head in.
With bizarre illness still kicking on, in a pretty muted, fatigue-ey, throat-ey, gland-ey kinda way, I went and stocked up on Astragalus (for immune function), milk thistle (treat possible liver inflammation from mononucleosis) and Zinc (also for immune function, amongst other things), dosed up on Spirulina, barley grass and seaweeds, have been trying to include adequate protein, and lots of fresh fruit for vitamin C (as always). I’ve also been doing yoga each morning, and sometimes of a night, and generally trying to focus my attention on pacifying my peevish mind (ah, seem to have already reneged on committment d).
Treating your body with kindness may just be the best gift you could give yourself. What do you all think about this approach? Ever had health doubts or moments of questioning your own resolve?
Onto lighter topics, look what Santa brought maj! Isn’t he a hip, rockin’ dude? The speediest, flashiest model of VFF’s no less. I have vibram envy.
Leftovers from christmas eve dinner. I made a fairly scrumptious quinoa salad from a recipe here. And also a strawberry & baby spinach salad from Golubka – please go to this blog now. It may just be heaven in html.
Dissecting the goods.
Typical aussie bouquet of natives.
Hope you all had a beautiful, relaxing holiday x
December 22, 2010 § 11 Comments
Ever since I was a wee lass, I’ve had an unhealthy obsession with lemon.
Lemon squeezed on toast, lemon on steak (ick), lemon used in all manner of potentially wrong and mind-boggling combinations.
Lucky for me, this bizarre fetish turned out to be exceptionally healthy.
Lemons have been revered throughout history for their medicinal and therapeutic value; the Romans considered them a weapon against all types of poisoning and Ayurvedic medicine uses them for…well…pretty much everything.
On and off throughout the last couple of years, and now religiously of a morning, I wake up and skull a mega glass of water with the juice of half a lemon squeezed in. If it’s organic, I just throw the whole hunk in there at the end for easier refills!
Let me spin the lemon sales-pitch:
- Despite being acidic in taste, lemon juice is highly alkalizing. (An alkaline internal environment is less-hospitable to disease and chronic illness).
- Lemon helps to detoxify, heal and restore the liver, and is currently being trialled as a remedy for hepatitis, liver cancer and AIDS!
- When consumed in warm water on an empty stomach, it can help relieve constipation.
- Consuming lemon in water before meals also helps to stimulate digestion. (Just remember not to drink too much too close to meal times – copious amounts of liquid can dilute stomach secretions).
- It is a potent anti-bacterial – proven effective against a range of infectious pathogens such as malaria, cholera, diphtheria and typhoid which are destroyed in lemon-juice
- As you all know, it is high in vitamin C – a necessary vitamin & anti-oxidant that supports immune function, lessens oxidative stress, synthesizes collagen (goodbye premature wrinkles!), acts an an anti-histamine and is currently being investigated in megadoses for the treatment of cancer.
- Helpful in treating acute and chronic conditions of the mouth and gums.
- The vitamin C content also helps in calcium metabolism.
- Beautifying properties – I rub lemon on my skin if i’m having a breakout and leave it to dry. It works quite well to reduce acne scarring and dry out flare-ups.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of sauntering downstairs to the little garden out the back of my mum’s apartment, and plucking a fresh ripe lemon straight from the tree. I threw half in the blender, pith and all, with some fresh mint that I also snagged, water and ice and a small dollop of honey.
I did remember to thank the tree afterwards though, and give it a soothing pat. Why? I was watching this crazy show called Weird or what? with William Shatner (best. host. ever. So much suspense between sentences!) and it looked at these amazing experiments conducted on plants. A plant was hooked up to a lie detector (that basically measures changes in physiological reactions) while a man cut off a stem. Incredibly, the lie detector registered a huge spike before the guy made the cut – as he was approaching with scissors. They did other experiments too, and the consensus was that plants may have some kind of consciousness and ability to feel. I’ve long been a believer in this theory, and my mum, avid gardener, subscribes wholeheartedly to the notion that touching and caressing plants will help them grow.
The question is, if plants have feelings…..WHAT THE HELL WILL I EAT NOW?
Thoughts on lemons/plants with ESP?
November 25, 2010 § 14 Comments
Well well well, look who came crawling back to blog-land. Apologies for the cliffhanger re. raw status. Is she? Isn’t she? Did she die when she tried unsuccessfully to hook chlorophyll to her veins?
All possible theories. But alas, I’m breaking the news to you that I ended my 100% raw experiment after 10 days. Not because I felt like crap, or it was all too hard…but I just really, really, REALLY wanted a cookie.
I was extremely surprised during the whole raw experience that I didn’t have any overt cooked-food cravings or moments of yelling obscenities at my flatmates as they fried up some tortuously aromatic dinnertime treat. That was, until the night of day 9, where I began to contemplate the delights of a tray full of vegan brownies, or a crispy batch of peanut butter & flaxseed cookies. The drool could not be stemmed. My raging sweet tooth demanded satisfaction.
I never originally set a time-frame for the raw trial, but by day 10 there was no denying that I felt fantastic eating this way, and more at peace with my diet than ever. (Yes, yes, minus the cookie conundrum).
I didn’t think it was necessary to deprive myself of something I really wanted, so allowed myself to go to the organic store and pick out some vegan cookies to break the raw stint. (I’d usually bake some myself, but to be honest the emerging cheapskate within deemed it more practical to buy them pre-made. Infinitely more cost effective.)
The cookies were pretty disappointing, and tasted chalky and boring. I ate them anyway, because, as I had now realised, this was evolving into some kind of post-raw cooked-food bender. I’d read about raw foodists and their propensity to binge on ‘forbidden’ foods every so often, and I couldn’t believe I was participating in this crazy behaviour!
I had hummus & crackers, more cookies & a bowl of savoury oats for good measure. The rest of the day does not need to be discussed…
Truthfully, the cooked food tasted bland and strangely unsatisfying, but it was clear to me that any kind of restrictive diet, be it 100% raw or otherwise, could potentially lead to these kind of ‘episodes’ after unconsciously excluding certain foods. I think my subconscious resents any kind of strict, limiting, force and acts to restore the balance by way of a crazy, illogical food rampage. So despite feeling better than ever, and fairly content with the offerings of the 80/10/10 raw food diet, I acknowledged that something needed to shift if I was going to be successful in the long-term. A balanced diet is not characterised by random lapses into mindless munching; I felt I needed to eeeeease on up.
Needless to say, the food made me feel terrible; it was like a reverse detox if that can possibly be imagined (no, not a reverse enema. Minds out of the gutter please).
It convinced me more than ever, that dogma and restrictive rules have no place in a balanced diet; in fact, they are in direct opposition to everything I am learning about living moderately and happily. This fact alone turns me off following in the footsteps of extremely rigid raw-foodists who, it seems, place more value on the temperature of their food than it’s health-giving properties. This is particularly evident to me in the gourmet-raw movement where (as Frederic Patenaude points out) often things that are extremely dense and hard for the body to assimilate such as nut-based dishes, are given preference over foods such as steamed veggies, that would in fact be a more healthful option, despite not being ‘raw’.
In the same vein, I hope all of you had a chance to read the amazing post by Tasha (formerly the Voracious Vegan) over the weekend, explaining in true compelling and tear-jerking form the reasons behind her move away from a strict vegan diet. I was astonished and saddened to hear that such a decision, one so personal and physically necessary could inspire an outpouring of condemnation from the vegan community. Of course, she has a swathe of loyal followers, yet some individuals still felt justified in accusing her of dietary blasphemy, asserting that it is better to be sick and lifeless than eat an omnivorous diet. Once again, dogma becomes the foe of happiness & balance, and we find our eating habits are more political than healthful.
A diet has to work for you. If a certain eating plan is not furnishing your body with adequate nutrition, or leaving you feeling dull and lifeless, you should change it, irregardless of what others deem to be nutritionally ideal.
In saying this, you all know how much I loved the raw experiment & that is why the next day I awoke with the knowledge I would continue to eat mostly raw, with cooked food (& COOKIES) included when I wanted them. I also see no reason to avoid little things that are raw-biguous (ie. kinda cooked, kinda not – don’t know, don’t care) because why get caught up in the minutiae when there is so much FOOD LOVIN’ to be had?!
It sounds strange, but I actually felt quite depressed after going back to cooked food – I think there is a definite difference in energy, and obviously in the metabolism of heated vs. uncooked that made me feel sort of flat.
The past few days i’ve been slurping avocado thick-shakes, gobbling fresh mangoes…
…raw-ifying Bill Grainger recipes (oh. holy. jeebus)…
…munching seaweed salads with kale, sesame oil and chili…
…and of course, more smoothies in abundance.
I love all this vibrant, shimmering, pulsating fruit & veggie love, and as a few awesome commenters have suggested, i’m also incorporating some more fats in my diet and not being so worried about the ratios and whatnot. Basically, i it feels good, I’m going at it face-first.
Speaking of faces, I also wanted to do a quick shout-out to an Australian make-up company called Minerelle that has come up with the beautifying goods. Never have I purchased such an effective
total-head-concealer mineral make-up. I’ve been searching for an aussie brand, vegan-friendly and with a short, non-threatening ingredient list. Minerelle fits the bill. If you go to their site, you can have free samples shipped to you (just paying postage of $5) and once I ordered the powder foundation itself, it arrived within a couple of days. For an impatient, demanding, needy consumer this was most welcome. The ingredients are not PERFECT, but it seems i’m all about compromise today, and thus am filing it under ‘balance and moderation’.
My improved head. Au naturale non?
Ha! This post is raging. I am so painfully verbose; I suck at succinct.
Oh and Kirsten, your pleas for smoothie recipes will be answered in the next post my dear. Stay tuned!
November 19, 2010 § 9 Comments
Here we are at day 9 raw. Who’d a thunk it? I’m continuing to love this experiment, and am convinced my diet can never incorporate the amount of cooked food as I ate pre-trial. That being said, I suspect I will need to wiiiiiiiise up on all things diverse and creative in the recipe department to ensure I can keep eating high raw and not feel uninspired or bored by my food choices. I also have yet to come up against any painfully awkward social outings or family gatherings (where I know they will suspect I have officially crossed over to the land of tree fondlers and rampant nudists)…explaining my kooky dietary ways may get messy!
The only thing I am having trouble adhering to is the low-fat rule of the 80/10/10 school – in which no more than 10% calories from fat is regarded as optimal. Many raw foodists look to pounds of nuts and avocado to fulfill their daily calorie needs, however an excess of fat is considered by the low-fat-raw-vegans as detrimental to health. I wanted to try to abide by this as best I could because the nutritional defects of overt fat consumption are compelling, but i’m finding it VERY difficult to consume enough fruit & veg to satisfy my monstrous needs… and also my wallet is on strike.
What to do? Should I incorporate sprouted psuedo-grains? Throw caution to the wind and just embrace a few more nuts? Or keep embarrassing myself at the store by returning for abnormal amounts of bananas every second day? Tis a dilemma, to be sure.
Yesterday, I experimented with raw pesto-pasta to satisfy a bit of a salt craving.
I blended sunflower seeds, fresh basil, olive-oil, savoury yeast & raw garlic to produce a fairly respectable vegan pesto replica. Served over spiralized zucchini, spinach and fresh tomato, it was quite a nice departure from the simplicity of a salad, or mono-meal of oranges.
I didn’t feel very well after eating it though; my stomach was quite heavy and I felt it was overly rich. I immediately wanted fruit.
Later, I satisfied my desire for fresh, lighter flavours with a berry & avocado pudding, with a small amount of raw honey and loaded with spinach. Hit the spot.
I found myself wishing later in the evening that I could bake a batch of cookies, or eat a big bowl of brown rice & beans which suggests to me I still need to eat more…and have been reading too many food blogs. But I will definitely be incorporating these things back into the 10% cooked of my planned 90% raw diet post-experiment.
Other things of interest include:
- Skin is still clear & soft
- Nails are really white & strong
- Mental clarity is pretty good (for a certified scatterbrain); I find i’m pondering more than usual & become extremely excited about the future for no apparent reason (apart from the fact that it’s going to ROCK!)
- I actually weighed myself at a friends house yesterday (a rarity) and have lost about 1 kilo. I didn’t really have any goals in that department, but was feeling a lot lighter & less jiggly so was interested to see the results. No complaints.
Today for lunch I had a decadent three course-meal consisting of the following:
Banana, carob and spinach green smoothie…
Giganto salad with kale, carrot, zucchini, beetroot, coriander and orange.
I am exceptionally talented at squeezing obscene amounts of food into one small fist-sized stomach sac.
That’s it for another riveting recap! Hope you all have good things in store for the weekend! Me? I’m working to fund my habit
November 17, 2010 § 11 Comments
Good god! Could it be that i’ve actually committed to something for longer than a nanosecond? This unprecedented foray into raw-dom is now one week old! I can’t believe it’s day 8 tomorrow!
You all know i’m a fickle lass; I like shiny things and constant stimulation. Even though I studied film, I still have to actively drive myself to the cinema to watch a movie, strapping myself to the seat and propping my eyes open with paperclips because I simply hate committing 1.5 hours of my life to the one pursuit. Especially whilst stationary.
In life, I’m much the same. Haircut more than a few months old? Some radical shit needs to go down to bring back the pizzaz. I don’t doubt that one day I will walk out with a number two, just for the thrill of messing irresponsibly with my head. I am also perusing facebook on my iPhone as I type this while groping for my avocado smoothie, listening to the radio and intermittently reading a few lines of Jane Austen. I am toying with the possibility I have ADHD.
The fact that I have not ducked out miserably, giving up and moving on from this raw food experiment, seems to suggest that something greater is at work – I feel extremely content with all that i’m fortunate enough to be grazing on throughout the day, and strangely enough have yet to experience the cooked food cravings that others lament. I know it’s still early days, but in all honesty I’m waiting for things to get hard.
I’m not sure if they will.
I have felt better and better the past few days; my stomach has finally come around, my skin is yet to erupt (touch sustainably-harvested wood) and my energy levels have been fantastic (especially when exercising!). I have also had a few flashes of intense happiness, and general feelings of well-being and peacefulness. On the flip side, there have been some small outbursts and unusual melancholy, but it’s normally if I don’t get enough sleep, or if people drive at 40km/hr in front of me when I’m epically late to college due to cleaning the blender for the 5th time that day. Apart from nanna-drivers (bless their blue-rinsed souls!) everything is positively peachey!
After my last post about feeling a little same-same with all my eats, I decided to make something exciting for dinner on Monday – giant salad with spiralized veggies & mango, tomato and coriander dressing.
I simply shredded some kale, topped with spiralized zucchini & carrot, diced capsicum and raw cashew nuts, with a dressing made by blending half a mango with around 5-8 cherry tomatoes and a handful of coriander. It tasted a little asian-ey, and a lot awesome!
After seeing my flatmate’s dark chocolate in the fridge, I then had a brainwave to create my own raw dessert. This is breaking the ‘rules’ somewhat (the raw hygienists say that we should not eat bitter things like cacao because we wouldn’t in the wild, and plus there’s toxins in it, blah blah blah dogma blah) but I eat rules for brunch. I say, raw homemade chocolate once in a while is a bah-rilliant idea! Perhaps the best I’ve ever had.
I took the above orange zest (about 1tsp) and some chopped raw almonds…
Combined with a few tbsp raw cacao powder, a big slurrrrp of raw honey and some room temperature coconut oil…
…spread on a baking sheet, and froze for as long as my willpower could sustain me.
I’d love to tell you that I savoured this bar for days, exercising restraint and dignity in my consumption. I’d also love to tell you that I slept soundly that night, and didn’t wake 5 times with my heart doing zumba, high on all that gosh darn mayan magic. I can tell you truthfully that it did taste like Lindt orange and almond decadence, and that my flatmate promptly employed me as her personal chocolatier, à la Juliette Binoche in Chocolat. Sexy French accents will cost you extra.
I’ve been over-zealous with smoothies…
…eating my body-weight in kale salads (with added orange…mmm)…
…and enjoying celery for the first time in my life, with fresh tomatoes and tahini.
Oh and what does celery sound like? I had a giggle yesterday when I was slicing a stick of it with my flatmates murderously sharp Global knife (which is now how I inadvertently keep my fingernails maintained…eeep!) and as I rhythmically chopped up the stalk, there was a distinct scale sequence of ascending notes! Who knew that dicing and slicing could prove so musical?! I am truly finding beauty, and a soulful beat, in the smallest things.
Have you ever conducted a veggie-symphony?
Over and out!
November 15, 2010 § 11 Comments
Well, the glorious sunshine lasted a nanosecond, as is Sydney’s temperamental way, and it’s back to dreary, bleary bleak-fest. Summer 2010 is taking a rain check. Oh god, I’m making terrible dad jokes in the presence of company, please forgive me!
The past couple of days have taught me a lot on the raw front. Yesterday, I was quite melancholy, and started to question my motivations for doing this experiment, as well as the validity of the diet itself.
I had a big green smoothie for breakfast, as well as some hot lemon tea and an apple. (FYI – hot drinks are not technically ‘raw’, and many choose to forego them on a 100% raw diet. I don’t see the harm in things such as ginger tea, or hot water and lemon but am drawing the line at caffeine for this experiment – no green tea for this little hippie! Funny though, because I usually gravitate towards steaming teas, but I have little desire for them right now.)
My stomach was still pouting at me, in the form of cramps, bloating and reflux-like symptoms. I decided to ignore it, and try for a run. Needless to say, I got halfway down the street and turned back. My gut was not feeling good, and I don’t believe in pushing yourself if your body is giving you signals it wants to stop. Instead, I packed up some chopped vegetables & fruit, and took myself to the beach to make the most of the sensational Sunday skies.
As I said, I was feeling quite flat today – not so much energetically lacking, but mentally a little gloomy. I started to wonder if I had done the right thing in jumping into this experiment all carrots blazing, without a proper transition period. The article Kate sent me in the comments section last week, cautions us against plunging into a serious detox without adequate preparation, as too many toxins are stored up for your body to cope with. Instead of being able to eliminate them effectively, it is overwhelmed, and thus the detox is ineffective as the toxins remain in your system, unable to be expelled. It suggests that worsening symptoms of bloating, nausea, headaches etc are actually the body trying to tell us to slow down, and quit with the cleansing barrage. You can read it here.
This was playing on my mind as I considered the gas-baby I was now housing in my abdomen; could I be thwarting my body’s attempts at detoxification by coming on too strong? Was I trying to get to 3rd base with raw, when really, we were only ready for 1st?
I decided to keep monitoring my symptoms, and quit if I kept feeling lousy. (That being said, I’ve experienced no headaches, save a tiny one on day 2, or any other major symptoms apart from belly expansion & discomfort. By my reckoning, I am lucky…for now.)
Advice received to keep melons separate was respected, as I ate this gigantic piece as a mid-afternoon snack. With SMH good weekend, of course.
Oh, and most important news of the day, CHECK MY VIBRAMS TAN! Do you see it? Are you jealous? I bet! I have this weird array of terrible tan-lines that zig-zag across my back (lululemon sports-bra outline), form patterns on my feet, and abruptly stop mid-thigh. A pox on you exercise short-shorts! It’s too far gone to actually go to the beach and actively try to even out the damage. Oh, and of course, it’s wrong to tan (ahem).
So anyhoo, day #4 was not too hot. I felt a little better after driving to work and listening to Cloud Control, and customers cheered me up by making inquiries about my green smoothie in a jar that I was eating behind the counter with a spoon. I told them it was a sludge-shake with added algae and spinach. They laughed like I was joking.
I slept badly, with this strange reflux thing happening where it was like I had a permanent cramp right across the top of my stomach. It kept waking me up and I was a little worried.
This morning it was still there somewhat, so I decided to eat a really simple meal of bananas and mango for breakfast, for better digestion.
I did feel better in class, like my stomach was actually getting it’s shit together and breaking the food down. I came home, ate 2 dates, and whacked on my vibrams for a run. I decided that although my gut was achey, maybe I needed to move in order to feel better. Like yesterday, starting out was uncomfortable, and much of the run I was preoccupied by cramps and bloating. But I had a hunch it was what I needed, and sloshing about in the pouring rain in my vibrams by the sea, I started to feel better. I was amazed that due to my stomach woes, I had failed to realise that I was not actually tired and felt extremely fit & energetic along the way. Hills that usually wind me were less than threatening, and I felt extremely alive and happy. There were few people because of the drizzle, and the 8km route flew by. In vibrams and everything! I think i’m really starting to break these suckers in.
So that’s the happenings of today. I am now feeling decidedly better, in all respects. Oh and Jarad said my eyes were really ‘blue’ the other day – they’re not blue at all, but hey, i’ll take it! Must be extra sparkly due to the living foods. And also, my skin feels really nice. I believe it may be glowing! However I am waiting for the detox break-out…anytime now.
I also wanted to mention that I’m getting very excited about continuing down the raw path after this experiment (which doesn’t have a specific time-frame by the way). I believe that yesterday’s slight depression was in part due to the fact that I’m not eating food like I used to any more. I love all the fresh fruit & vegetables, but it’s not the emotionally-fuelled love-affair I had with baked vegan sweets and elaborate new dinner ideas. In this way, I think that i’m going to try and be more creative with my meals, because I don’t want to lose that appetite I have for trying new things, and using imagination in the kitchen. That’s important to me, and a big part of my life. (Yes, gluttony!)
This amazing blog called Golubka that I stalked from Green & Juicy’s blogroll encapsulates that passion for culinary creativity with amazing flair and originality. It may just be the most beautiful blog I’ve ever come across – recommended reading/viewing.
That’s it for now! Any comments/questions, please feel free to share!
November 5, 2010 § 9 Comments
Hey hey hey blogerinos!
What’s this top secret plan that is unfolding in the halls of Bonne Santé? Well, it’s not really that top secret nor planned, but it does involve a day of impromptu raw-dom. You could say i’ve been in the raw for the past 24 hours.
I usually try to eat 2 meals a day uncooked, but have been toying with the idea of experimenting in a more extreme sense, with complete & utter raw behaviour. Just for a day. Just to dabble in the world of boundless energy, heightened awareness and excessive crunching. (I also realise that it would take a longer stint of said eating to reap such grand benefits, but humour me here.)
Day one? I’m wanting it to roll over into day two.
I have a strange feeling that this kind of eating just sits right with my particular constitution (even in Ayurvedic medicine, my dosha is best suited to a vegetarian diet with lots of raw, cooling foods). Read more about doshas here.
Again, I hear you, it will take time.
But why not enjoy the most tasty, delicious smoothie known to wo-man on such a glorious day?
Avocado, Banana, Tahini & Honey thickshake
1 medium frozen banana
1/2 ripe avocado
1 tsp tahini
1 tsp raw honey
1 cup raw nut milk
I know i’ve gone on about delicious avocado creations in the past, but i’m going to hammer it home: avocado makes for a rich, creamy, mousse-like raw drink, beyond your wildest sexy veggie dreams!
This was one of the best tasting things of my life…and I don’t say that lightly! I plan to test it on the
guinea pig boyfriend this weekend, wheee!
So back to raw talk. What the hell have I been eating?
Well, there are many camps in the raw brigade; low-fat, high-fat, intricately prepared dehydrated masterpieces, simple fruit &vegetarians… Confusing for a girl who is notoriously indecisive.
To me, it seems sensible to eat a majority of vegetable & fruit matter, with a few fats for satiety and perhaps some sprouted grains here and there. Contrary to popular belief, you are supplied with ample proteins from vegetables, seeds & nuts – no deficiencies here. Likewise, calcium is also found in green leafy vegetables & sea veggies in abundance. To Osteoporosis I say, begone!
I mainly want to make sure I get enough calories (not that I care about those little buggers in any real sense) because it’s easy to undereat on a diet of so much water & fiber.
Today I ate:
1 young coconut + chia seeds
1 blood orange
sultanas & goji berries
few slices pineapple & rockmelon
above avocado smoothie
giant salad with kale, baby spinach, carrot, zucchini, beetroot, mushrooms, sesame seeds & seaweed
another giant salad with the other half of the avocado, a some soaked almonds, flax-seed oil & lemon juice
I don’t think was quite enough calories, but it just feels like you’re eating HEAPS! This is why it sits so well with me, obviously I love to feel like I can eat a whole basket/bucket/trailer-load of something and be on the right track.
Since I’m spamming you with articles, I’ve been collecting a few that I thought might tickle your fancy-pants:
* The importance of detoxing to combat acidosis & toxemia – Kate from Green and Juicy (fellow aspiring Naturopath!) sent me this link and it’s a very informative read.
* 3 causes of illness – from Crazy Sexy Life – are you hooked up with this amazing resource yet?!
* Raw for 30 days; reversing diabetes – trailer for the documentary
* Alcohol more damaging to health than crack cocaine – Natural News article
* Not strictly health related, but check out these insanely cute, eco-friendly totes, purses & make-up bags from Apple & Bee - my friend sent me the link & i’ve had to restrain myself from buying the whole collection as christmas presents (Mum, look away, you may or may not be receiving one of these…along with the rest of my extended family. Ha!)
What are your thoughts on raw foods? Are you a raw foodist, or think it’s too extreme? Any tips for the Bonne Santé newbie?
September 25, 2010 § 4 Comments
Salut mes belles,
The amaranth experiment was a success! I came up with a tasty dinner option to road-test the comically tiny little seed, and was pleasantly engorged, tumiscient, satisfied as a result.
Still had some leftover red quinoa in the pantry to use; it kept the amaranth in line.
Triple-decker spinach, amaranth & sweet potato stack
1/2 c amaranth
1.5 c water
1 small sweet potato, cut into 1cm cubes
1 can whole/diced tomatoes
1/2-1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 red onion, diced
2 brown mushrooms
1/2 can chickpeas
1 heaped tsp garam masala
1 tbsp tomato paste
extra-virgin coconut oil
english spinach leaves
celtic sea salt & pepper
- Rinse & drain amaranth & cook in 1.5 c water for around 20 mins, season with salt & pepper (or herbamare).
- In a pan, sautee garlic & onion until translucent, adding sweet potato & garam masala after a few minutes. Let the flavours sizzzzzzzle & become well-acquainted (Posh Nosh flashbacks anyone?).
- Add canned tomatoes (I usually swill a couple of cm of water in the bottom of the can & pour in as well, just to add a touch more juice) tomato paste, chopped mushroom, salt & pepper and simmer on low with a lid on until potato is steamed through (probably around 20 mins).
- Add in chickpeas & coriander & allow to warm for a few minutes.
- Serve amaranth over bed of spinach leaves, with sweet potato & chickpea mix layered on top, with more coriander for the herb-mad amongst us.
Yes, Garam masala is becoming a definite staple in my daily eats, and much like cinnamon, may find itself in/on/around a multitude of unusual foodstuffs. It is ridiculously delicious, what can I say?
Mah-hoooooving on, I wanted to offer some advice & encouragement to those who are in transitional stages of their diet and lifestyle. Whether it be a conscious and deliberate act of ruthlessly excommunicating meat & dairy, or a more subtle evolution from quite inactive to a-little-more-active-than-inactive, there are numerous hurdles that can serve to dissuade you from your goals.
It is a common misconception that positive lifestyle changes can and should be mirrored instantaneously in the body with increased energy, vibrancy and general superhero status. Sure, some lucky individuals may make the transition to a vegetarian or vegan diet with little to no ‘detox’ symptoms, while others may feel the effects acutely.
Let us consider some facts:
- If you have suddenly made the switch from processed foods to wholegrains, fruits & veggies, beans, legumes and nuts, HECK YES your digestive system will be in shock. It will not know what to do with this abundance of fiber raining down on it from the gaping esophageal heavens above. You may be bloaty. You may be gassy. You may have to endure your belly raging at you for some time. Of course, you can minimise these effects by adopting a less-abrupt approach; adding fibrous foods slowly but surely into your daily plan and the like. However there will probably come a time when you decide that this bean/lentil/nut does not agree with you, and that’s that. Of course, if you are allergic, by all means desist with the eatin’, but from experience I can say that the cleaner your diet becomes and the more you persevere with foods you may have previously considered ‘off-limits’ and irritating, your digestive system will adapt and change. It may take a few weeks, or a few months, but hang in there. It is for the greater intestinal good!
- Similarly, you may go nuts upon discovering the vast array of super-charged super-foods and include them, guns blazing, into every meal. Yes, there are fantastic, incredible plants/roots/powders that can give your new diet ‘the edge’, but you should also exercise caution as they can be potent and potentially irritating. Take Spirulina. I share an intimate bond with this algae, and have an unhealthy love for its deep emerald hue and fishy, dishy scent *swoon*, however when I first began taking it, it really upset my stomach; I almost broke up with it as a superfood lover. I needed to cut back on my dosage (as little as 1/2 tsp in my smoothie) and work my way up to avoid the bloat-fest larger amounts could induce. Maca also needs to be incorporated slowly, and should be researched thoroughly prior to consumption. I may include it once or twice a week in a smoothie, but it is again, incredibly potent and may not resonate with me – we shall see. It is also worthwhile trialling these things one at a time in order to assess their effects on your body (& sometimes mind), sans interference.
- Also, think of the cumulative effects of X years eating junk food, processed food, sugars and trans-fats. Should we expect out body to pull through, detox and ascend to a higher functional plane after just one week? After one month? Even after one year? Funnily enough, no. This has been hard to grasp for me, as I feel like I’ve been doing relatively well in the diet/lifestyle department for long enough to earn me a glowing complexion, level 70 immunity & a bangin’ 0% body-fat figure. I don’t consider these demands unreasonable, I merely wish to inhabit my radiant vegan goddess self, as promised! But truth be told, though the improvements in my health, well-being, weight and happiness have been profound, I am still undeniably detoxing and have a long way to go. Courses of antibiotics as children, a lifetime of exposure to pollutants & chemicals, a metabolism confused and mistreated for decades – the body is unable to recover from these factors & instantaneously assume optimal balance, rather bodily processes are gradually, astoundingly drawn into harmony over time. I still suffer bouts of acne that I curse to high heavens, but acknowledge as part of a larger, ongoing process. Patience is needed when adopting a new lifestyle or eating approach; please don’t be discouraged by setbacks, changes in energy levels or unpleasant physical symptoms. Once you push through this initial stage and get your body into da groooooove, you will be amazed by the ongoing improvements in your health & vitality!
These are but a few tips & considerations for anyone seeking to improve their diet, or those embarking on a profoundly different nutritional plan-of-attack.
Good luck, don’t give up, and steel yourself for more sickly motivational pep-talks regarding the world of nutrition in the future!
August 16, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Why hello there!
How was everyone’s weekend? Excellent.
Me, you ask? I have not stopped…Until now, when I decided to take the day off college because I am officially not over the snot-face episode that has been plaguing me since Friday. I may have called it a little too soon on Saturday when I declared myself fit & ready for action (after inundating the unsuspecting pathogens with ginger, herbal tea and leafy greens) and took it upon myself to do my normal gung-ho Saturday run (without the gung, and with a little extra ‘ho’). Clearly I needed to be resting instead, because that combined with an average of 5 hours sleep a night set me back again yesterday. I completed my senior first aid with a head full of goo and a plastic mannequin that now, as well as being in a permanent state of unconsciousness, also has the virus I passed on whilst performing mouth-to-mouth. Yummeh!
As a side note, I am drinking out of this mug that I bought on a whim. It made me smile.
So now I have bored you with the details of my disgusting illness, let’s get to the good stuff!
My follow-up consultation with the naturopath post detox program was also on Saturday & was interesting, as expected.
She said I looked healthier than ever (despite my gummy face) so that was nice to hear! (Flattery sure gets my continued custom!) She took a blood sample again to do a live blood analysis and i was FREAKED OUT to actually SEE the viral bodies lurking amongst the red blood cells (you watch on a screen). Eeeeeeeek! Matters were made no better when Robyn exclaimed….wait on! (peering through microscope & revealing ominous-looking white cluster) what’s THAT?!….AHHHH! For a moment the hypo in me returned and I had visions of the discovery of some terminal illness, right then and there. Never fear, it was just the virus we were seeing. How fascinatingly disturbing.
Anyhoo! My cells looked distinctly rounder, clearer and more separated than last time I went, 6 weeks ago. She said I still need to up the magnesium & iron somewhat, but that i’m in ‘great shape’ and am basically her favourite client. Ok, maybe not the last part.
My own observations after the program:
- complete abatement of allergies – these improved significantly when I cut out dairy, but the detox seemed to obliterate that pesky hayfever for good.
- improved fitness & stamina – this is probably a combo of me doing physically more, as well as feeling more spritely (medical term y’all) and being supercharged on essential vitamins & minerals.
- I feel like my stomach has finally found peace and decided to stop molesting me with it’s grumby, grouchy, hypersensitive ways – again, this improved after going vegan, but due to the program I feel like my insides have been healed like never before!
I would recommend doing something like this to anyone – but keep in mind it was by no means a ‘hard’ thing for me to do because I didn’t really change anything about my diet, I just added a bunch of supplements to help things along. So no detox symptoms were felt. This could be different if you’re doing a more intense program or if you’re just starting out and your body has more to purge.
Finally, we come to the food.
Happy lunch snack fest.
Tempeh in coconut oil, apple, date, carrot, almonds, avocado, tomato & herbs, lemon, dried tomato…bliss.
Avo with lemon & cracked pepper. Gimme!
Tempeh with organic tomato sauce. Cos sometimes a gal just wants a big dollop of fire-engine red to adorn her plate!
Made these stuffed peppers for me & my flattie the other night, taken from Choosing raw. I ignored advice to buy yellow or red peppers, cos i’m cheap like that, and that may have brought the dish down slightly. I also made a few substitutions to the rice/bean mix that probably weren’t too inspired, but HEY! I stuffed a pepper!
Typical BS lunch – sweet tater with black beans & Tomato Tahini Dressing. Yes it was amazing, if you were wondering. Huge salad lurks outside the frame.
Yikes, better see to some study/illness rehabilitation.