March 11, 2011 § 19 Comments
Well hello there!
Hope you’re enjoying this magnificent Friday! It’s my one day off from both college & work, so I am smushing as much as humanly possible into the waking hours. It’s glorious to have a whole day to fawn over food, stare at the sea and open random chapters in my nutrition textbook that look vaguely interesting. Not exactly efficient study, but the book and my eyes are simultaneously open so that’s a win, right?
You know what else fat-ass nutrition books are good for?
I am officially too cheap to fork out my spare change for a gym visit, so I’ve taken to creative strength-training in the comfort of my lounge room! Nothing will ever replace a gym sesh, and I dearly miss sweating, grimacing and grunting in front of an audience of buffcore dudes… However textbook squats, armchair leg-curls (releasing & retracting the recliner foot-rest) and early morning sit-ups (hauling ass out of bed) are meeting my extensive body-building needs nicely.
Moving on from my rippling biceps, I thought i’d stun two birds with one stone (no animals were killed in the making of this cliché) and write a post on sugars and artificial sweeteners that may also help me cement it in my tiny walnut brain!
Y’all already know my opinion on artificial anything. If it’s powdered, processed or packaged, it probably won’t vibe with your insides. Your body doesn’t recognise number 950 or colour 245 or white powdery flour, so it will either react, store it in some unpleasant way or alter its physiological function to cope.
Often, artificial sweeteners cause the body to respond in ways that oppose our original intention. You may buy a diet soda with zero sugar to save on calories, but because your body is receiving a substance without an energy pay-off you may end up eating more later to ‘compensate’. Not to mention many artificial sweeteners have a questionable safety status. If something is a potential neurotoxin and causes rats to grow ears on their toes, I sure as hell don’t want anything to do with it. No thank you, huge-junk-food-corporations-who-are-funding-their-own-scientific-studies. No. Thank. You.
Axis of evil board of directors:
- Aspartame (number 951)
Aspartame is made through the combination of two amino acids, Phenylalanine and Aspartic acid, with methanol. It is commonly used to sweeten drinks, desserts, chewing gum, cookies and bakery goods. Nutra-Sweet and Equal are brand names for Aspartame. It has around 4kcal/g which is the same as sucrose, however it is 180-200 sweeter and thus less needs to be used. From the website of Dr. Mercola, “Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious including seizures and death.” Mmmmm tasty. People with PKU (a genetic disorder in which individuals cannot metabolise Phenylalanine) must also avoid this sweetener, and the rest of us would be wise to as well. Studies have linked it’s consumption even at ‘safe intakes’ to an increase in incidence in lymphomas and leukaemias in rats, not to mention the fact that when combined in the small intestine with the enzyme chymotrypsin, methanol is released and breaks down into formaldehyde (that’s a neurotoxin FYI!). I could go on, but I think you’re getting the idea.
More real food!
- Acesulphame-K (number 950)
Also known as Sweet ‘n Safe (how benign) and is 150-200 times sweeter than sugar. It is usually combined with Aspartame to give a more palatable flavour and contributes no calories as it is not digested by the body. It the U.S, it is approved for use in yoghurts, chewing gums, gelatins, drink mixers, puddings, baked goods, candy, lozengers etc. Concerns have been raised about it’s status as a possible carcinogen (linked with lung and breast cancer especially) and negative effects on cholesterol levels. This was a nice little tid-bit of information I found; “To add to the supposed Acesulfame potassium dangers, its manufacture consists of several substances and one of them is Methylene chloride. This very agent is employed in industries as paint stripper and as a de-greaser or propellant agent.” Doesn’t that just make you want to throw back a cold diet bevvo?
- Cyclamate (number 952)
It is 30-50 times sweeter than sugar, but is often used synergistically with other sweeteners for a more appealing flavour. Regularly used in cordials and soft-drinks, it is currently banned for use in the US (but 55 other countries still approve it as an additive). Studies linked it’s consumption to increased risk of bladder cancer in rats, however an appeal has been lodged by manufacturers to lift the ban as they have been unable to reproduce the negative effects in subsequent trials. Funny that.
My kinda schweet
- Saccharin (number 954)
Saccharin, also known as Sweet and Low, is the oldest alternative sweetener and is approximately 300 times sweeter than sucrose. It is made from crude oil (are you drooling?) and has similar properties and effects to Cyclamate (which is banned, remember?). Studies have also linked it to an increased risk of bladder cancer, yet they were later labeled ‘weak’ and ‘inconclusive’. Inconclusive does not buy my trust, paid-off pseudo-scientists! It is generally used as a table-top sweetener as is becomes bitter through heating.
- Sucralose (number 955)
Sucralose is what we know as Splenda, and is over 600 times sweeter than sucrose! You’ll find it in all the usual suspects; drinks, chewing gum, jams, frozen dairy desserts, sauces and syrups. It is at least based upon a recognisable substance (sugar which has been chlorinated) however it has possible implications for the thymus and many believe it has not been adequately researched as it is seen as more ‘natural’. I found this about it’s absorption in the body; “The absorbed sucralose has been found to concentrate in the liver, kidney, and gastrointestinal tract. According to The Sucralose Toxicity Information Center, sucralose is broken down “into small amounts of 1,6-dichlorofructose, a chemical which has not been adequately tested in humans.” A big fat hmmmmm.
I’m going to leave it at that today, as these are the main baddies in that big mouth-puckeringly sweet charade. That, and my font has gone bananas and I can’t fix it. Yikes.
I’d be interested to hear how many people knew about these sweeteners and their implications, as I sure as hell didn’t realise the extent of their collective eeeevil before studying it in nutrition.
Au revoir for now!
February 19, 2011 § 12 Comments
This morning I slothed out of bed at 6am, ready to make good on my promise of running before work as the sun rose. Once the initial indignation of waking at 6 on a Saturday in the dark subsided, I set out to enjoy a nice 4o minute jog amongst all the other (smug) perky fitness enthusiasts.
I love early mornings, but lately I’ve been sticking to 7am quite happily and losing an hour seemed like a rude insult. I’m aiming for 5am next week, so i’ll have a solid 2 hours of tea-sipping before I have to even think about leaving the house. Worth it? Yes.
Anyway, when I was out jogging a group of older runners came up alongside me and we started chatting. Turns out, they had already done 20kms and were training for an ultra marathon! Respect grand-daddies, respect.
Love the people you meet by chance who inadvertently inspire you.
Now, more about health, less about my pre-breakfasting habits!
As you know I went to see David Wolfe on Thursday night here in Sydney. As I entered the event, I was immediately struck by his charisma and warmth, roaming around chatting animatedly to the attendees. He visibly glows with health and vitality – and that mop! I had ringlet envy.
Nicknamed David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe
I’ll share with you some of the main points I scrawled down in a frenzy of enlightenment:
- “Being healthy has nothing to do with suffering” – I wish more people knew this!!
- We should all live by the concept of ‘adding on’ and upgrading our diets, rather than cutting things out in some puritanical, rigid way. This allows you to access the ‘psychology of success’ which rewards your efforts, & focuses on adding as opposed to subtracting.
- “Success is a refined study of the obvious” – How often do we know WHAT to do, but cannot effectively implement it?
- Do what you will do rather than what you know you’ll never do – do not set yourself up to fail by creating unrealistic goals/rules.
- Wearing shoes = oppression! Hahah I love this.
- Alkalinity/alkaline diet basically grants you a more negative charge (like the earth). The atmosphere is positive and all the vital elements we need will flow more freely into our bodies if we are like magnets attracting the positive charge. Fill yourself up with substances of the earth (pigments/antioxidants/noble substances) and facilitate this transfer!
- “Get in the way of all good things” – place yourself in the path of opportunity & success!
- There is too much food fanaticism – drop the judgement. Judgement and denial create riffs & tears in the fabric of reality and deliver us back to the very thing we originally judged and denied.
- Nutrients inspire noble thoughts.
- I liked the way David said “My message is the way I live & not more than that” (explaining why he doesn’t engage in things like animal rights activism etc).
Super food goodness:
- David places a strong emphasis on consuming foods with a dense nutritional profile that deliver potent antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other amazing constituents. He believes we are noble creatures and therefore should eat superlative foods.
Punchy crunchy pomegranate
- Betaine (found in beets) is incredibly powerful for detoxifying as it acts as a methyl-donor and can subsequently convert homocysteine to methionine (high levels of homocysteine in the blood has been implicated in increased risk of atherosclerosis, heart disease & stroke). Ca-ca-ca-crazzzzy!
- Purple corn has a pigment that acts as an antidepressant & potent antioxidant.
- Reishi mushroom is a phenomenal immune enhancer and restores balance to the body.
- Stinging nettle is great for improving bone density & has antihistamine & anti-inflammatory actions.
- Button mushrooms help lower ‘bad estrogen’.
- Olive oil – top 5 foods for longevity, as well as:
- And of course, Cacao! (According to 109-year old raw-foodist Bernando LaPallo)
- Foods look like their nutritional function ie. An avocado is a uterus!
- Asparagus root has shown amazing anti-cancer potential (credited to the immune boosting polysaccharides).
- A constituent of Astragalus (Chinese herb for immunity) called TA65, has shown remarkable promise for helping to reverse telomere shortening (it is theorised that the cleaving of base pairs from telomeres in our DNA results in ageing & death). INCREDIBLE RIGHT?!
- Purslane may have similar properties that are being investigated.
- Cacao is fantastic for asthma!
Raw chocolate treats
- We have our very own superfood here in Australia – the Kakadu Plum! Thought to be the richest food source of vitamin C!
- Cat’s Claw & Pau D’arco kill Candida.
- Sea plasma is thought to reverse genetic defects.
That’s my slap-dash recount of some interesting key points. Now go forth and research my pretties!
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?
January 25, 2011 § 4 Comments
You’re approaching the base of a steep, perilous incline and are already a lather from a lengthy bout of cardio. This hill separates you from magnificent view of the ocean, or your front door and a stein of icy-cold lemon water, as may also be the case.
You could trudge up it’s face, like a worn-out mutt, feet dragging, the burn of lactic acid slowly dissipating as you amble upwards at snails pace.
Or, you could take stand. Pick a post that marks your imaginary starting line. Suck some fresh air into your deflated lung-sacs and squint with steely conviction at the summit.
Head down, take it on. Run, push, whatever it takes to get there. Reaching the top, you shed a pain-induced tear or two.
Congratulations, you have passed stage 1 of Warrior initiation. Feel free to beat chest heroically.
You see, ever since I bought my vibrams last year, I’ve been known to sporadically take a flying leap, veer off the footpath, and blaze my own trail. These babies take you places you’ve never been before. Like the park down my street. Who’d have thought?
It’s a glorious thing to wear these flimsy little rubber socks (because that’s essentially what they are), feel every rock and stick underfoot (watch where you’re running!) and connect more with the ground than if you were gliding along on $300 worth of Nike air.
This podiatry freedom combined with other external influences has led me to rethink the basics of how we ‘work out’. How natural is it to head to the gym, spend 30 minutes going nowhere on a big hunk of plastic, alongside another 10, zoned out with earphones in and timing your distance, pace and calories burned, to a hundredth of a percent? How natural is it to knuckle down and run around your neighborhood at a steady pace for 10kms without any bursts of speed, explosive movement, or variation in route? Are we really meant to allocate 1 hour each day for the sole purpose of completing a set fitness regime without an ounce of exertion for the other 23?
Of course not. Look at children. They run everywhere. They are playful, energetic, restless. Similarly, before the world was so industrialized, people would have had no need for dedicated workout time. Rather, ploughing, walking miles and miles to deliver goods/communications, lifting, chopping, staving-off bears/gypsies/demons would have provided them with ample exercise, and worthwhile exercise at that. They would have been lean, mean, and mighty keen (if only for the sake of the rhyme).
I know these activities are convenient in a modern world, and we all do them (I obviously go to the gym, run monotonous km’s and participate in disengaged exercise on a regular basis) but perhaps we should rethink how we execute our activity so it is more fun/variable/intense? Because, as I always ask myself, WWBGD?
What would Bear Grylls do, indeed.
The new folk I work with are likewise inspiring me to rethink the way I ‘do’ exercise. These guys are fierce. Like, Tyra-Banks-ain’t-seen-nuttin’-fierce. They throw things around, use giant hunks of metal to perform crazy-ass lifts and swings and tackle perilous obstacle courses (incidentally, if you are competing in the Warrior Dash next month, I’d advise you either forfeit, or at least invest in some protective steel/mithril armour. You’re in danger of being unmercifully shanked!).
Yesterday, I channelled the spirit of spontaneous, warrior-like madness on my run. I included random sprint intervals, diversions in route (ie. launching myself over garden beds and over non-pedestrian-advised areas (soz council)) and used pretty park benches to do step-ups and push-ups. In effect, a much more entertaining and exhausting hour than anything I usually do.
Next time you’re out exercising, or even at the gym, why not see if you can include some spontaneity, fearsome feats of strength, or at the very least a throaty growl to let the universe know it should be AFRAID.
Then break out some downward dog to recover.
What are your thoughts? Do you harbour any crazy or unconventional exercise habits?
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 12, 2010 § 12 Comments
How is everyone? I’ve been off in my own dreamy little world of books, beach romps and study sesh’s. Oh, and i’m officially raw. For now.
Double take. WHAT?!
Let’s start a the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start.
Basically, in a lazily brief summary, all this immersion in books such as Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, countless ebooks and websites concerning the raw food diet and even Born to Run, have contained a common thread that suggests returning to a simpler, more natural way of being that i’ve latched onto with the fire of one thousand red-heads.
In Born to Run, arguments spring forth that we are in fact, running people whose innate ability to pound out 100 mile marathons and scamper over boundless plains in pursuit of an animal target (while practically barefoot) leaves modern notions as to the dangers of jogging and the necessity for shiny new Nike’s with 10 layers of astonishingly expensive air underfoot, lacking. The last vestiges of this superhuman stamina manifest in the Tarahumara Indians, living in isolation in the treacherous Copper Mountains in Mexico. They eat a simple diet in accordance with the natural resources at their disposal (including Chia Seeds, thank you very much) and run, because it’s what they’ve always done.
Many of our modern woes, such as obesity, shin splints and knee reconstructions it is argued, actually stem from a) inactivity and b) crazy, cushiony joggers that cause us to run incorrectly when really, our natural barefoot method conditions us in the correct way. Yet another example that simple & natural is best.
Similarly, Deepak Chopra has unleashed in me a new found appreciation of thoughts, feelings, energies manifesting in the physical. Having positive intentions and visualizing what you want in life seems to align with much of what I already took to be true – going through life with a positive outlook & appreciating the lessons we experience daily, if we care to look, goes a long way towards happiness.
But what in the name of Buddha does this have to do with raw foods?
For one, I’m increasingly aware of the energy of things; it’s no secret that fresh young coconuts bring me so much happiness that I find myself talking, thinking and dreaming about them (incidentally, my desire for coconuts often manifests in bouquets of them arriving at my doorstep care of the man, and other visitors. Ask and ye shall receive my friends!).
I now know that the intense joy of cleaving open a juicy young nut may be due to more than just an unhealthy addiction. There is also an energy at work in these beautiful, fresh, organic foods.
Kirilian photography, as seen above, is a form of (controversial) imaging that claims to capture energy fields as emitted by animate objects. Likewise, photographs of water that has been bestowed with ‘blessings’ show it taking beautiful, crystallized forms, influenced seemingly by the power of positive intention.
Regardless of whether this is altogether too heavy on the chakras and spoon-bending for you, there is no denying that energy is fundamental to all life – it animates us, and the things we eat. When I have the misfortune of going to a chain supermarket, I see mountains of packaged food, unnaturally shiny apples and a pronounced absence of living energy. These foods seem to be ‘dead’, and retain little or none of their former vitality. They have been chopped, waxed and polished into submission.
When I frolic around in my little organic fruit store of choice however, I see dirty, intact, and gloriously nuanced examples of real produce, recently picked and grown in happy, chemical-free surrounds.
Interestingly, that Healing with Wholefoods book that you’re probably dead sick of hearing about, points out the importance of preparing your food with care and with gratitude; if it is for a sick person, try to imbue the meal with positive thoughts and energy because food created and eaten with stress and negativity damages the whole vibe. Maaaaan.
This is one aspect of why I think it’s just grand to eat living foods (but not in a cruel way, I consult the veggies first to gain their consent )
So. Back to raw.
The lovely Kate kindly sent me an ebook on raw foods at the beginning of the week that I promptly devoured in a matter of hours. It is by a veritable guru of living foods named Frederic Patenaude and champions the 80/10/10 way of eating; that is, eating 80% calories from carbohydrates, 10% from protein and 10% from fat. Basically fruit/veg/some seeds and nuts.
Wowzer! You scared?! I’m sure as hell not.
The way this diet plays out is eating pounds of fruit and vegetables each day along with some seeds, whilst trying to limit dietary fat.
I can hear you yelling profanities at me already. My flatmate immediately verbalised multiple levels of distrust in the whole scheme.
Allow me to address them as best I can.
Firstly, please know that I am trialling this – I don’t know for how long. I’m a huge believer in forming an opinion based on experience, because I realise there are compelling justifications for any and every school of nutritional thought. This is why, besides all the astounding accounts i’ve read of the 80/10/10 diet, I’m aiming for practical application in my own life. It could be life-changing, it could be too hard, it could end in tears. Bring it.
On a practical level, let me make a few pro-low-fat-raw arguments.
As long as i’m getting adequate calories each day, I will reach my protein requirements with ease.
The recommended protein intake for an adult is around 10% from total calories, however many people on the SAD (standard American/Australian diet) consistently achieve an excess. Interestingly, the protein content of a mother’s milk is around 6%, 6% at the time of crucial growth and development of a child. Does this tell us something?
All fruits and vegetables contain protein, though a common misconception that resulted largely from the ‘incomplete protein theory’ by Frances Moore Lappe is that they are not optimal for humans. It suggested that because there are no complete sources of the essential amino acids in plants as there are in meat, we would need to combine them in certain ways for proper nutrition. Frances herself later admitted that this theory was incorrect upon discovering that the body stores amino acids in such a way that we do not need to consume them ‘all-in-one-go’.
So frankly protein is the least of my worries.
You may also be worried by the ‘low-fat’ aspect of this approach. In no way have I ever sought to reduce dietary fat intake, and the word ‘skim’ makes me shudder. However after reading Frederic’s compelling explanation as to how detrimental high-fat vegan diets can be, and my own research that points to an overload of fat in the bloodstream making it harder for insulin to carry-out glucose reuptake by the cells (thus resulting in permanently elevated blood sugar levels), I feel quite confident in the 10% fat ideal. It also rings true with what my naturopath mentioned to me months ago about how she thinks my body struggles to metabolize too much fat.
Only when stopping to assess my ‘normal’ diet did I realise how much fat I was actually putting away. I was snacking on loads of Tahini, nuts, seeds…lard. I think this was also the cause of a lot of skin issues.
I’m also making sure to get ample calories. You cannot go successfully raw on 80/10/10 if you assume you can just keep eating your normal portions and replacing them with fruit and salad. I’ve tried this once before when I was a hopeless newbie and experienced the dizzy, fuzzy-headed emotional train-wreck that comes from a malnourished Katey. As supernanny says, it is no’ acceptable.
Would you like to know the magnitude of my eats to meet my energetic needs?
It goes something along the lines of, 300 bananas.
Maybe not that many, but seriously, a monkey-load of bananas. Amongst other delightful fruits, vegetables, seeds and avocado (but not TOO much).
Speaking of monkeys, another argument for the low-fat-raw-diet is the fact that our closest genetic counterparts; primates like chimpanzees and gorillas eat in a similar way, gorging on fruits, some veg and nuts when in season. And look at them! Beasts.
But what about variety you ask? To that I say, there is an abundance! When you begin to eat fruits and vegetables in their natural state, you cultivate an obscene enjoyment of their perfect, simple taste. They are SO DELICIOUS on their own; why meddle with that mother nature chick?
There is probably a ton more raw food propaganda that I could hurl at you, but for now, my tirade ends here.
Oh, here are some irrelevant pictures of my new ‘goals’ board for your viewing pleasure. Mock away! But I will get that camera garnsarnit.
This is also a failed smoothie-in-a-bowl I made the other day. It was so promisingly pretty but so totally puke-worthy. I though you might like to observe the grossness!
There you have it! I can’t believe I just shared this on the internet…so accountable right now. I’m hoping to give 100% raw a decent go, so I too can share that boundless energy and mental clarity which so many converts claim to experience. I want raw nirvana, pronto.
Here are some great links too, if you don’t feel sufficiently drained from the epic length of this post!
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?
October 31, 2010 § 4 Comments
Happy Halloween to you! I’ve never been a fan of this all-American affair, however the last couple of years I’ve gotten down off my mangy Aussie camel and conceded that it is actually quite the groovy celebration. All things spooky, kooky and slightly wrong? Yes please!
Last night the bf and I attended a fairly rockin’ Halloween shindig after a full day of wedding festivities (p.s NOT OURS you fiends, Jarad’s band mate). We were those awkward and somewhat disappointing guests that come late and fail to adhere to the gruesome & grizzly dress code. Luckily we are scary enough as is, being a pair of genetically-compromised ranga’s and all (FYI: Ranga definition).
Highlights included a girl dressed as Medusa with snakes made of her own hair, a terminator-robot from the future whose best friend was a talking piece of pie (Simpsons reference – I dearly hope I got that right, after the pains taken to explain it to me! ha) and people trying to summon the ghosts of dead rock stars who turned out to be still alive and kicking. Seance fail. Wish I’d had my camera, but unfortunately you’ll just have to imagine the Halloween obscenities!
What did you all get up to?
I also promised running tips!
While it’s true i’m by no means a born runner, and have taken an age to get to where I am now, there are a few things that have helped me along the way:
Running with a friend – This used to intimidate the bollocks off me, but it is really the best thing you can do for your distance & time. You need to pick someone who is preferably faster than you, and who scares you enough that you won’t drop the pace! I never would have thought to attempt certain hills, routes or distances without the incentive from my awesome running buddy Chels, and whaddya know? You are always stronger than you think.
Give yourself ‘pep talks’ – It may sound cheezy, it may feel corny, however come crunch time when you are halfway up a murderous incline, your heart is in your throat and you are contemplating sliding back down on your steely backside, it’s great to give yourself some motivational love. I like pain is temporary, quitting is forever! Sounds very Arnold Schwarzenegger, no? Added bonus if you say it in a creepy Austrian accent. The other day I was pushing it to the extreme up a monster hill and found myself running a dialogue in my head of “Great work! You’re almost there! I am so proud of you! You are gonna feel AWESOME when you reach the top! Push through the pain!” Again, I was as surprised as you about my inner cheese-ball, but it really did work!
- Use visualisation – Similarly to the peppy pep-talk tactics, visualising yourself reaching your goal destination is a handy trick to keep the fire alive. Back to this dreaded hill, I always picture myself as I reach the peak, giving myself a goofy self-five and experiencing the exhilaration of sweet sweet cardio carnage.
- Fuel properly - This aspect includes both pre-run fuel, and general diet in my opinion. I noticed a significant increase in stamina when I started eating foods like Spirulina, bucketloads of Kale and pseudo-grains (quinoa, buckwheat etc) whilst cutting back on dairy & wheat. They really make me feel lighter and more energised! Also, before runs I find I need adequate sustenance otherwise I end up weak and sluggish. I either eat breakfast a couple of hours beforehand, then go, or later in the day if I haven’t eaten for a while, I snag a couple of dates or more spirulina. Obviously, you need specific fuel when doing longer runs, but I only ever do a maximum of 10kms, so don’t feel I need extra food for the road.
- Most of all enjoy your workout - There is simply no point spending hours on the treadmill or running the same monotonous route time and time again if it doesn’t provide some level of enjoyment. I’m super lucky in that I live close to the coast, and have spectacular views on my running excursions that leave me breathless and in awe of the supreme natural beauty of Sydney. But if you’re stuck running around a bleak old industrial estate or the flat streets of suburbia, it may not feel quite so enticing. Change up your route every time, and make the effort to scope out areas that appeal to you, making your jog less of a chore, and more of a meditative, mentally clarifying experience.
What has helped you go further in your chosen sport? Do you find it hard to get motivated to run/swim/walk/skip?
Have a great remainder of the weekend y’all! x