Status Report.

April 24, 2011 § 22 Comments

You know when you’re little and you break the family heirloom your great great grandmother squared made from toothpicks on her deathbed? My instincts were always to try and patch up the picasso-like pile of splinters as best I could, arrange my face into a bouquet of innocence, walk swiftly in the opposite direction and pretend it was all a bad dream.

Similarly, I am choosing today to skirt around the glaringly obvious issue of complete and utter blog absence over the past month. If I don’t apologise, there is no problem. Right?!

Unfortunately, I never filled you in on how the story ends. It ends with me running wildly back to the closest family member and, through impassioned snot and tears, regurgitating every detail of my guilt and offering an explanation so long said family member would have forgiven me by the time I came to my whimpering conclusion.

I’ll spare you the essay, but basically our internet modem broke and we’ve been chasing *unnamed service provider* ever since trying to arrange a replacement. When the net dies, my life takes a turn for the hermit. I’m actually blogging from the luxury of my mum’s internet right now (in Perth, waheyyy!!) but hopefully I’ll arrive home next week to a shiny new high speed modem. Vibrams crossed!

SO MUCH has happened in the past month or two. I’ve spent lunch breaks discussing buddhist philosophy, experimental nutrition and meditation with my eternally inspiring college buddies, evenings contemplating The Art of Happiness, and weeks riding a crazy raft of ch-ch-ch-chaaaange!

I’ll update you on the highlights whenever I have a spare 4 hours, but for now let’s embrace the present. Nothing like it!

I’m in the wonderful city of Perth, on the west-siiiiiiide. Dig it. I am so insanely grateful to have family here now and a subsequent excuse to invade at any given moment.

Mum and Andrew chewing up the catwalk, green bags in hand.

Speaking of grateful, mum and I were compiling a list of all the reasons we are insanely, monumentally lucky yesterday, after we had a huge whinge about various trivial, self-indulgent things that we later realised are, in essence, tripe. It’s a nice exercise to turn around a gloomy mood by listing all the reasons we are so incredibly happy and fortunate.

I’ll start 😀

I’m pretty chuffed to have a functional face, limbs, spine, kidneys, liver, spleen. They all go pretty damn hard, and are fairly amazing if you ask me. 

I’m also stoked to be surrounded by fresh organic food and passionate foodies. The ability to rock up to a farmers market, survey the scene, paparazzi the produce and fondle the fruit makes me one happy kidney bean.

I may have violated the red onions, m’bad. THEY JUST LOOKED SO JUICY!

This also made me salivate. $5 bananas? Unheard of! Are you feeling me Aussie residents?!

I am thankful for an abundance of raw, organic garlic, which I have been crushing and chugging on a regular basis to keep me perky. And by perky, I obviously mean stinky like a bucket full of chunder. (Now THERE’S an under-utilized word. Chunder. Bring it back!)

Designer corn.

You know how I feel about sexy, leafy greens.

A pomegranate in its natural habitat. (Probably should explain that we were at a local market in Perth that has a kick-ass community garden with delicious fruity candies ripe for the picking).

Baby green-thumb.

A gorgeous man rocking out on the harpsichord.

Ma is thankful for double shot espresso. My adrenal glands are thankful that I never cultivated the habit.




Lucky to have delicious fresh ingredients on hand to whip up tantalising vegan fare. Quinoa, kidney-bean, veggie, seaweed and tomato stew? I think so.

So extraordinarily lucky to have been taken on my yearly shopping outing with mum today. Material possessions in no way support happiness, but they can sure as heck make you smile! Especially when you score an amazing Lululemon hoodie complete with ruffles and thumb holes. I think I’ve written with zest before about my love affair with Lululemon, not only for their quirky, flattering sportswear, but also because their entire business philosophy is aimed at supporting the goals and aspirations of their staff, and treating their clientele with unheard-of courtesy and warmth. It’s love 🙂

Other things making the thankful list included:

  • Having a kick-ass family who love and support me through thick and thin, and veganism 🙂
  • First-world living standards.
  • Freedom (of speech, sexuality, career, education… to be a ranga sans persecution!)
  • Vibrams.
  • Dates (both the dried fruit, and the sexy dinnertime variety).
  • Comprehension, cognitive function.
  • Heston Blumenthal.
Quite a comprehensive list, in my opinion. What are you thankful for on this glorious holiday?
Profuse and heartfelt apologies for the absence. Hope to spice up the old blog soon!

Changing your mind about your career is A-OK!

February 15, 2011 § 21 Comments

Roses are red, violets are blue,

True love is scoffing a cream pie or two!

Bonne Hallmark day for yesterday, health warriors!

Being the big dreary cynic that I am I usually tend to boycott the whole mushy affair, taking my cut of the chocolate bounty and deflecting any stray sonnets that may be flung my way (ok, so no-ones ever written me a Shakespearean ditty, but if they did I would throweth it back in their face!). But raining on the love parade is a little mean even for me, so I decided to make amends with a big fat raw banana pie! Cos every man likes π.

I actually didn’t expect this baby to turn out so well, so in usual scatterbrain style I have no recipe. YET. But I do have a couple of (terribly lit) pictures to add insult to recipeless injury!

Kinda dramatic with the crazy purple background. We students improvise with whatever we have on hand…

…much like Bear Grylls, who we watched massacre an entire peruvian ecosystem, by candlelight. My sorta romantic valentine viewing!

I have a serious internal conflict raging in regards to Man vs. Wild. On one hand, I admire his resourcefulness, warrior-like wisdom and supreme indifference to personal hygiene/comfort… But the fact remains, my vegan soul cannot reconcile with his barbaric butchering of so many happy woodland creatures, merely for the purpose of demonstrating survival tactics in the unlikely event that you should wind up lost & alone in the middle of the Sahara. Cheers for the useful tips, Bear.

Here is another gratuitous picture of pie, with floral flourish. I’m embarrassed for myself.

Now that I’ve recapped my valentines pie triumph, I’ll be moving right along. What did you all get up to on Hallmark day? Do you celebrate it?

********************************************************************************

Yesterday, I received an awesome email/question from a friend (who I hope won’t mind me sharing) which I thought warranted a blog post. In a pistachio-nut shell, he is basically feeling a little dissatisfied with his career and educational situation right now, and knew I had gone through the whole quarter-life crisis, changing my life path scenario.

(FYI – for new readers, I was studying Film & French from 2008-2010 in an epic 5 year double degree, but halfway through realised I was not passionate about my studies and definitely had no inspiring plans for my future. I found my passion was health and after some tough soul-scouring, I left my degree to study Naturopathy. Result = happier, more energised, re-invigorated, life-addicted Katey!)

This is a simple outline of the steps I followed to make an educated, and ultimately life-changing decision about my future:

1) Identify your true feelings.

So you feel flat. Dissatisfied. Stuck. Whether it’s your job or your studies, try to identify exactly what part of the situation is giving you the willies.

  • Without reference to your boss/your lecturers/your uni/your finances, do you LOVE and feel passionately about your chosen area of interest or profession?

If the answer is yes, it’s clear that your unhappiness is circumstantial rather than intrinsic. With this in mind, you can work towards pinpointing and resolving the factors that are causing distress. If you have irreconcilable differences with your employer, perhaps it’s time to move on. I truly believe that our job should enhance our happiness, not be an obstacle to it. This may sound like a luxurious worldview, but the fact remains we all have a choice. Nobody determines the details of your life but you. If it means working somewhere nasty for cash in the interim, fine, but don’t sell yourself short and be absolutely confident in notion that you are a jedi-master of your own destiny. Wield the force as you see fit.

If the answer is no, then this can be a little scary. Like, holy basil the thing I’ve been working towards is suddenly kinda lame on closer inspection, scary. That’s ok! I’ve come to realise that very few people maintain a steady interest in one single area forever. Most chop and change around 7 times in their lifetime. Get your comforting statistics on!

So if you’ve realised that you’re deeply unhappy with your chosen area of work or study, move on to phase two.

2) Get your head around it.

I distinctly remember the night I was lying in bed thinking about my film degree, and the full weight of ‘I’m not happy’ hit me. It literally felt like a physical force. A jolt. A shock. Dare I say it, an epiphany? It was a fearsome thought that threatened to unhinge the doors of my comfortable little box in which I went to uni, zoned out in lectures and ignored the bigger picture. ‘Dropping out’ seemed like the habit of vague student drifters, not me with my inflated sense of pride and dogged adherence to the status quo.

If you have these thoughts but dismiss them as too implausible, really question yourself. Why am I ignoring my wants/needs?

The truth is, most people up-end their lives at some stage. You’re allowed. It’s ok. Once you’re honest with yourself and can sit comfortably with your new revelation, it’s time to get practical.

3) Logistics.

There is always a way of doing everything if you truly want to change. Now is the time to consider the boring stuff.

Research.

I immediately scoured the net to compile all my possible options for studying natural medicine. Remember to consider other locations and seemingly ‘far out’ prospects because you never know where your new life may take you! Be open. Ha!

Then, talk to all relevant parties. Phone prospective places of study, friends or family with knowledge/connections/experience, centrelink (or other government financial services that can assist you), universities, the higher powers that be…collate and dominate! Being armed with knowledge is going to make the plan seem less daunting, and perhaps a heck of lot easier than you initially expected. My mum said to me a while back when I was struggling with some random issue (not uncommon!) people are there to help you! Just ask. It’s so simple, but it really struck a chord. People are happy to offer assistance in any way they can – they don’t want to stifle or oppress you (unless they are an evil dictator) and can be an invaluable source of moral support.

4) Embrace freedom and liberation!

It’s intensely intimidating to fathom a sudden exit from the mould – but it can absolutely be done. The mind tends to over-inflate problems and new challenges to momentous proportions, ones which are decidedly manageable upon closer inspection. You’d be surprised of the support you’ll receive from others when you tell them your plans to re-direct the course of your life, and most will probably share similar stories of upheaval and change.

I’m happier than ever doing a new course that is actually interesting and invigorating – what a novel idea! Despite fears that you may be ‘too old’ or ‘too under-financed’ or ‘too scared’ to effect a dramatic change, really ask yourself why? Who says you’re too old? (There was a man who was 75 studying nutrition last year at my college!) What’s stopping you from manipulating my finances so I can get from point x to point y? What is life for, if not to unlock your passion and embrace every opportunity?

I think i’ve saturated you with enough motivational goo for one day, so I’m going to leave it there. But i’d be incredibly interested to hear from people who have made drastic life changes or who have advice for my awesome friend on finding career happiness!

Thanks for reading as always, and as much as I shudder to promote the holiday – you’re all my rosy valentines!

I am open.

February 13, 2011 § 13 Comments

Sitting at my computer listening to another instalment of the Great Health Debate, I became aware of a value that rests at the very center of my (molten) core. This belief has always been present in some form, but it has suddenly begun to solidify like coconut oil in the early days of winter.

It is not that a 100% raw vegan diet is the ultimate nutritional nirvana or that communism will save us from our modern social woes, rather it is the utmost faith in the notion that we should strive to maintain an open mind at all times.

Yes, that naff old saying. ‘Keep an open mind’ (and let your brains fall out).

I was sparked to enter this philosophical reverie while listening to the opposing sides of various dietary arguments, as presented in the excellent health debate series hosted by Kevin Gianni. As Mark Sisson presented the facts on the Primal Diet and spoke with passion about the research and motives behind his take on optimum nutrition, I was struck by how valid such a viewpoint was despite it being far removed from my own. I have many friends who eat in a more primal, low-carb, high-fat, animal-protein-heavy manner and I respect their judgement immensely. Conversely, Frederic Patenaude’s account of the benefits of the 80/20/20, high-carb, low-fat raw diet also left me confident that this was a viable dietary option on which to thrive.

In the past, I’ve scolded myself for showing little commitment to any one school of thought and sitting decidedly on the pointy picket fence in terms of ‘picking’ a diet. However, I’ve come to realise that being open to a variety of options may in itself be a worthwhile frame of mind. Most philosophies (be it dietary or otherwise) have points of value and can contribute to a greater understanding of the subject in question. Excluding the opinions and arguments of others surely places you at a disadvantage, in which long-term happiness may be compromised in favour of loyalty to a particular mindset or belief system.

Is it so incomprehensible that one can happily nibble upon many delicious tid-bits from a plethora of plates? Survey a smorgasboard of ideas? (Take a food/belief-system analogy too far?)

Being open is a helpful mindset on virtually every front.

I am open to the creative genius of others; namely this amazing raw pad thai from Lindsay at The Kitchen Operas.

Besides the benefits of embracing multiple perspectives, you can also be open to challenging your ingrained thought processes. Even the smallest irritations can often be re-framed if you take the time to question your pre-programmed response. Why is it my default setting to become angry when a slow-driver meanders at snails pace ahead? Perhaps they are unfamiliar with the road, looking for an address, or simply being cautious. Haven’t you been in all of these situations, too? Being open to the feelings of others can help defuse the rage because you realise not everything is a personal affront. Creating a negatively charged response only serves to raise your stress levels and little else.

Be open to going with the flow.

I am also trying to be more open to advice and suggestion. For a long time, I would seek the aid of others without really engaging with it. I would know that this certain tactic would improve my athletic performance, or that certain habit could help me make more effective use of my time. But knowing is not always concurrent with doing, and breaking free of established habits to implement something new is a daunting task. Being open to, and acting upon the wisdom of more knowledgable parties has proven to be more effective than ever. Who would have thought that actually taking advice could deliver such profound results?

I’ve recently taken up swimming laps again, even though I have known the benefits for years but was too intimidated to try. D’oh.

Stemming from this is the ability to be open to change. This is perhaps my most cherished pursuit as I strive to live by the notion of ‘try everything’. I don’t want to leave any stone unturned as I move through life, and dismantling routine, intellectual focus and location is an invigorating way to ensure diversity. Even just rearranging my room, or upending my morning ritual carries the symbolic weight of change.

Lastly, being open to the signs as given to you by life is paramount. I don’t mean magical instances where fluffy white clouds arrange themselves in the shape of your future spouse, or a butterfly tickles you on the eyelids to tell you you’re on the right track. I mean more subtle anomalies from which you can draw inspiration and insight.

The only butterfly paraphernalia you will ever witness in my house.

I truly believe that lessons are presented to us to help us learn, become more self-aware and grow, and without attributing it to any specific higher power I feel this is a beautiful thing.

When my finances are low (like now as a student), I find it incredibly hard to deal. It’s tempting to wallow in the kind of thoughts that screech ‘life is unfair!’, ‘all my friends are better off than me!’ or ‘I’ll never get where I want!’. But compounding the misery is futile at best, so instead I try to appreciate that this monetary drought will make me more resilient, thankful for future comforts and empathetic with those who permanently have so little. It’s not always easy, but being open is something worth working on.

What are your thoughts? Do you try to embrace the unexpected and throw a positive slant on things? Are you open to other religions, diets, mentalities and trying new things?

What I learned from Jenga.

February 7, 2011 § 8 Comments

Luckily for me, I found a blog-worthy analogy to accompany the lengthy roll of photos of my buddies & I playing Jenga! No parallel between innocent childhood board games and life goes to waste here at Bonne Santé.

As you know, Jenga requires supreme dexterity and the sharp eyes of an architect to successfully dislodge the little wooden pieces and delicately build the structure higher, higher, HIGHER! until the whole thing topples.

My male friends who’d been calculating the wigglability of each individual block using scary maths equations and Newton’s 6th law (that he came up with one night while drunk on cider, playing his new ‘gravity-edition’ Jenga set) yell expletives as the teetering tower crumbles.

Meanwhile I cackle, revelling in the small-scale destruction not unlike a building demolition. I have no tactics or skill to speak of, rather I blindly pick a target, rip it out like a hair-encrusted band-aid and cross my short chubby fingers.

Fffffffffffff……

……………eck!

I’m drawn to the repetition of building, repair and eventual annihilation; a cyclic adventure that seems to parallel with the rhythms of my own life, strangely enough. I live to create, layering things atop one another and watching as my achievements gain altitude. At the same time, there is no real plan in my attack; I prefer to feel my way and leave the details to chance.

There comes a point however when the pillars of my conceptual tower begin to wobble, and I feel that familiar sensation of wanting to scatter the pieces like a petulant toddler and start again from scratch.

I’m sure this is not an uncommon pattern; our motivations and interests wax and wane and are subject to constant revision, however sometimes I’m left wondering, ‘How high could the tower become if I invested a little more effort, strategy and perseverance?’

I’m interested to hear if this analogy is even comprehensible, and if so, what are your thoughts? Do you too notice a cyclic, build & demolish-type characteristic in your own life? Should we try to overcome it, or be zen like monks and periodically release our accumulated successes (material & otherwise)?

Christmas pics with interspersed health talk.

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.

Camera bag!

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.

Clean plates.

Hope you all had a beautiful, relaxing holiday x

Ortho-what?

December 21, 2010 § 14 Comments

Orthorexia. Have you heard of it?

It’s a term coined by Steven Bratman, an alternative medicine physician who decided to put a label on the un-healthy obsession with healthy eating. Despite sounding quite oxymoronic – can excessive health really be unhealthy? – I thought it was fitting to talk about in a community of healthy living bloggers in the lead up to perhaps the most notoriously indulgent time of the year.

Here is a quote from Bratman’s original article, found here.

“Many of the most unbalanced people I have ever met are those who have devoted themselves to healthy eating. In fact, I believe some of them have actually contracted a novel eating disorder for which I have coined the name “orthorexia nervosa.” The term uses “ortho,” meaning straight, correct, and true, to modify “anorexia nervosa.” Orthorexia nervosa refers to a pathological fixation on eating proper food.

Orthorexia begins, innocently enough, as a desire to overcome chronic illness or to improve general health. But because it requires considerable willpower to adopt a diet that differs radically from the food habits of childhood and the surrounding culture, few accomplish the change gracefully. Most must resort to an iron self-discipline bolstered by a hefty dose of superiority over those who eat junk food. Over time, what to eat, how much, and the consequences of dietary indiscretion come to occupy a greater and greater proportion of the orthorexic’s day.”

Unfortunately, this sounds all too familiar, I won’t lie.

Are you giving yourself the gift of health this Christmas? Or are you paralysed by obsession?

An unfortunate side-effect of spending countless hours researching nutrition, is a shift in the balance away from eating to live, and instead fixating on the notion of living to eat. I myself am guilty of this black and white, good and bad mentality when it comes to food, sparked by my increasing interest in the benefits of a clean diet, veganism and especially raw foodism. Especially since undertaking my raw food experiment last month, I feel I have become altogether too consumed by eating ‘properly’ and more prone to extremes and excess in my diet. With my birthday just passed, and Christmas around the corner, I find myself falling harder if I happen to eat unplanned food, or that which doesn’t fit in to the healthy-eating ideal.

Why am I telling you this? Because I suspect it is a problem for many people out there, and can go unnoticed until it becomes seriously unhealthy and debilitating.

If we are eating for vitality and longevity, I believe the secret is not in the minutiae of what we ingest, or the perfection of our eating plan, rather it is a combination of all aspects of our daily practice – overcoming stress and expressing happiness and gratitude topping that list.

Mealtimes can be a struggle for people with orthorexia.

In fact, in the much-quoted Deepak Chopra book ‘Ageless Body, Timeless Mind’, he delves in to the commonalities between centenarians – those living to 100 and beyond, with surprising results. Did these men and women live lives characterised by strict rules and penitence for culinary wrongdoings? No. Actually, the common link was moderation. These people reported that they ate neither to excess or restriction, enjoyed all food groups moderately, engaged in regular exercise and generally lived average, happy lives.

I personally think that our quality of life rests more on a foundation of mental stability and spiritual contentment than it does on the finer details of our diet. That is not to say I am suddenly dismissing the benefits of clean, unprocessed food. Ohhhh ho ho ho no. I am merely exploring the possibility that allowing yourself a little more grace, as Kate over at Green and Juicy recently put it may be key to living a happier, healthier life.

I admire those people such as my Nan, a fine specimen of youthful vigour at 80+, who embody this philosophy; confident in their choices at all times, allowing themselves dessert and balancing it with an easily maintainable, healthy dietary standard.

Achieving this peaceful balance may seem simple, yet I know I struggle to embrace the spirit of moderation.

I thought it may be helpful to list some personal motivations for healthy living, with strategies for implementing more balanced behaviour:

  • I want to eat my ideal diet (free from most animal products, processed foods and chemicals) because it prevents chronic illness, promotes vitality and FEEELS AMAZING!
  • Eating consciously and taking time to examine the sources of my food helps support local farmers, enhances it’s energy and nutritional value and promotes compassion towards other living things.
  • Superfoods help me achieve new goals in health & fitness and meet my daily requirements for vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They kick the asses of free-radicals and give me that warm, beta-carotene glow.
  • I want to enjoy food made with time and care – if that means eating a large portion of my Grandma’s sponge cake, so be it.
  • I want to set an example for others – healthy food is delicious, satisfying and exciting.
  • I also want to make sure that I allow myself to eat what it is I truly crave – eating smaller amounts of foods shunned by health extremists, more frequently, is better than out-of-control gorging on cookies because I’ve become overly restrictive. Similarly, I don’t want to eat junk ‘just because’ – most of the time I would infinitely prefer one of my own vegan concoctions. Force of habit?
  • Lastly, I don’t want what I eat to rule my life. Having a food blog may be an issue in this case, but I am determined to focus on balance, not perfection. Being a perfectionist may also be an issue in this case :P.

Personal posts are always hard to publish, and I hope that by being open about my own crazy foibles, I can help people understand that there is no ‘perfect’ way to eat or live; there is merely a constant evolution of our principles and motivations on the road to achieving balance and contentment.

Oh, and because it lacked some, please find attached <humour>. 😀

What are your thoughts? Do you think food bloggers and healthy-living enthusiasts are in danger of suffering from orthorexia? What are your motivations and strategies for living a healthy, balanced life?

Finding dietary balance.

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.

/Rant.

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!

xx

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Challenging destructive thoughts. category at Bonne Santé.