Your guide to the sugary axis of evil.

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?

Strength training!

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.

Real food

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!

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Words from Wolfe.

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:
  • Honey
  • Garlic
  • Cinnamon
  • 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!

xxxx

 

 

Single serve vegan cookie and crystal deodorant.

February 11, 2011 § 9 Comments

Greetings!

After one thousand hours of torturous babysitting today in which I grossly abused both the naughty corner and the hypnotizing effect of the Wiggles, I was glad of two things:

1) Having a delicious vegan cookie to come home to,

and

2) That I had applied my new crystal deodorant this morning.

Now I don’t expect you to be salivating at the combined prospects of baked goods and armpits, but i’ll spare you the overlap and separate the two!

Single-serve vegan cookie

I’ve always been particularly hesitant to bake batches of biscuits due to my wanton disregard for moderation and self-control. That is, I will eat those bad boys hot from the oven one at a time until the entire lot has been sent to that great cookie cloud in the sky.

I also suspect that other bakers struggle with this fiendish tendency, so was completely hooked on the idea of doling out individually portioned treats à la Chocolate Covered Katie. Genius, that girl.

This recipe will be ready in a flash, and tastes like a chewy Anzac cookie! Bonus points for being vegan and containing more healthful sweeteners.

Adapted from CCK’s Single-Lady Cookie

4 rounded t spelt flour

1/16th t baking powder (or 236 microscopic granules to be precise)

1/16th t celtic sea salt

2 t extra-virgin coconut oil

1/4th t vanilla extract

1 T natural shredded coconut

2 t coconut sugar (brown sugar would probably also work)

1 generous tsp pepitas

1 T rice milk (or other milk substitute)

Combine ingredients, shape into a ball on a sheet of baking paper, press down to desired thickness & place in a pre-heated oven at around 180 degrees for ~8 mins. Allow to cool, and marvel at the convenience!

Moving on to part two of today’s post:

Crystal Deodorant

As you probably know, I try to subscribe to the rule ‘if you wouldn’t eat it, you shouldn’t put it on your skin!’. There are a shocking amount of chemicals and toxins in hair, beauty, skin and household products and while you may not consciously consider the consequences of these repeated exposures, it is sobering to think that most of what touches our skin travels straight into our bodies.

With that in mind, I’ve attempted to greenify and deem ‘safe’ those products I use on my body daily, deodorant being no exception.

I’ve used many natural deodorants in the past with varying degree’s of success. Most seem to retain their effectiveness for a month or so, before somehow merging with my armpit goo and… ok, the just stop working so well alright?! I also must warn you that they are not anti-perspirants. That’s the catch. But how natural is it to plug up your sweat glands with metallic compounds anyway? Embrace the floooooooow.

This leads me to my newest discovery, Crystal Deodorant.

I’ve looked at it quizzically in the health store for some time now, wondering how a big stick of solid glass-like matter could possibly prevent any pit stench? And also claim to last for a year? And only need to be applied once in the morning? Perplexing.

I took on the extremely whimsical armpit crystal from Grant’s (who also make pretty rad natural toothpaste that doesn’t taste like bi-carb soda/burning) and found that, miraculously, it worked! Apparently once you moisten the crystal and rub it on your skin, an extremely thin layer of mineral salt adheres and prevents the growth of bacteria that causes your underarms to smell.

Although it feels like you are just rubbing a rock under your arm with no discernible effect, I have gone each day without needing to re-apply or mask any funky aromas. It’s also the height of summer, and at times the height of small-child-induced stress! 😀

Grant’s deodorant claims to be made from natural mineral salts, without the presence of aluminium, however in the process of researching this post my internal jury is still out on whether crystal deodorants in general are a safer alternative. Many use ‘potassium alum’ which is described as a naturally occurring form of aluminium, however I hesitate to advise you on whether this is acceptable (in keeping with our above mantra of keeping things edible) or not.

I would welcome advice from anyone who knows the details of whether ‘mineral salts’ are ok to apply?

(I at least suggest you check the labels of any crystal deodorant before you buy, as they are not all created equal.)

That being said it’s extremely effective for me, and thought you may be interested to hear the results or such an odd-looking item of personal care!

Have you struggled to find effective ‘natural’ body-care solutions? Ever tried crystal deodorant?

 

Detoxing in the New Year: Part 1

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?

WARRIOR WORKOUT.

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.

Warrior Fodder

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.

Growl.

Louder!

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.

Sorry to Beryl, Sheryl & Meryl who kindly donated this bench in nineteen-dickety-two that was the perfect height for step-ups!

Love. It.

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.

Unleash.

Then break out some downward dog to recover.

What are your thoughts? Do you harbour any crazy or unconventional exercise habits?

Sour puss.

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.

Refreshing!

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?

Breatharian anyone?

xxx

Thoughts on lemons/plants with ESP?

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

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