Low fat is HARD! Raw days 8 & 9.

November 19, 2010 § 9 Comments

Hello friends!

Here we are at day 9 raw. Who’d a thunk it? I’m continuing to love this experiment, and am convinced my diet can never incorporate the amount of cooked food as I ate pre-trial. That being said, I suspect I will need to wiiiiiiiise up on all things diverse and creative in the recipe department  to ensure I can keep eating high raw and not feel uninspired or bored by my food choices. I also have yet to come up against any painfully awkward social outings or family gatherings (where I know they will suspect I have officially crossed over to the land of tree fondlers and rampant nudists)…explaining my kooky dietary ways may get messy!

The only thing I am having trouble adhering to is the low-fat rule of the 80/10/10 school – in which no more than 10% calories from fat is regarded as optimal. Many raw foodists look to pounds of nuts and avocado to fulfill their daily calorie needs, however an excess of fat is considered by the low-fat-raw-vegans as detrimental to health. I wanted to try to abide by this as best I could because the nutritional defects of overt fat consumption are compelling, but i’m finding it VERY difficult to consume enough fruit & veg to satisfy my monstrous needs… and also my wallet is on strike.

What to do? Should I incorporate sprouted psuedo-grains? Throw caution to the wind and just embrace a few more nuts? Or keep embarrassing myself at the store by returning for abnormal amounts of bananas every second day? Tis a dilemma, to be sure.

Yesterday, I experimented with raw pesto-pasta to satisfy a bit of a salt craving.

I blended sunflower seeds, fresh basil, olive-oil, savoury yeast & raw garlic to produce a fairly respectable vegan pesto replica. Served over spiralized zucchini, spinach and fresh tomato, it was quite a nice departure from the simplicity of a salad,  or mono-meal of oranges.

I didn’t feel very well after eating it though; my stomach was quite heavy and I felt it was overly rich. I immediately wanted fruit.

Later, I satisfied my desire for fresh, lighter flavours with a berry & avocado pudding, with a small amount of raw honey and loaded with spinach. Hit the spot.

I found myself wishing later in the evening that I could bake a batch of cookies, or eat a big bowl of brown rice & beans which suggests to me I still need to eat more…and have been reading too many food blogs. But I will definitely be incorporating these things back into the 10% cooked of my planned 90% raw diet post-experiment.

Other things of interest include:

  • Skin is still clear & soft
  • Nails are really white & strong
  • Mental clarity is pretty good (for a certified scatterbrain); I find i’m pondering more than usual &  become extremely excited about the future for no apparent reason (apart from the fact that it’s going to ROCK!)
  • I actually weighed myself at a friends house yesterday (a rarity) and have lost about 1 kilo. I didn’t really have any goals in that department, but was feeling a lot lighter & less jiggly so was interested to see the results. No complaints.

Today for lunch I had a decadent three course-meal consisting of the following:

Seaweed salad…

Banana, carob and spinach green smoothie…

Giganto salad with kale, carrot, zucchini, beetroot, coriander and orange.

I am exceptionally talented at squeezing obscene amounts of food into one small fist-sized stomach sac.

That’s it for another riveting recap! Hope you all have good things in store for the weekend! Me? I’m working to fund my habit 🙂

Technological disconnect; hidden toxicity in your home (and mouth!).

October 15, 2010 § 8 Comments

Salut, Ola & Good Day to you all!

I have been a reclusive bloggie hermit crab this past week, due to unforseen technical er…difficulties.

I did the unspeakable last weekend in my haze of homeward-bound misery, and LEFT MY MOBILE IN A DIFFERENT STATE. Am I, or am I not part of gen Y? Apparently not. My youthful, tech-dependent cohorts would never abandon their most vital iOrgan without some serious health repercussions. I myself lapsed into a kind of foggy coma whereby my colourful world of facebook, twitter & instantaneous email became a dark a scary place.

(source)

Hook it to my veins!!!

Is this an inappropriate image on my wholesome healthy living blog? Welcome to the real world.

Luckily, I was reunited with my precious tumour-promotin’ mobile baby a couple of days ago, so all was (temporarily) well in the world!

The day I picked it up however, was also the day that our internet contract ran out. Simultaneous technology fail.

I knew our contract was waning (we were ‘babysitting’ someone else’s net until it lapsed) however I ignored the problem, hoping that someway, somehow, the glorious interweb would continue to greet me each morning without any financial/contractual input. I obviously had elevated expectations for our USB internet stick.

This is also why I am supplying you with hand-made (with love, mind) images. Unable to upload drool-worthy photos of food! What a travesty. I have thus unleashed the majesty of paint to communicate my most recent adventures.

I’ve been concocting some DELICIOUS smoothie creations this past week.

*witch-like cackle* This is me, stirring my big, freaky, vegan cauldron.

What did the smoothie look like you ask?

Well! Let me provide you with a highly accurate representation.

I even went all macro on yo’ ass, as per usual.

If you couldn’t tell, it’s an Avocado, Banana & Almond Butter flurry. It is my latest obsession.

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 cup rice milk
  • 1 tbspn of flaxseed oil (optional)
  • 3/4 tspn raw honey for extra sweetness (optional)

Holy bonanza, this smoothie trumps all other foodstuffs, period. If you’re unsure about the avocado…don’t be. It MAKES the recipe.

I’ve also eaten many a

since my return. Glorious.

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

Well, the title promised wisdom as to hidden toxic factors that may be lurking in their evil, harmful way behind the most innocent of facades. (Now if that isn’t a sensationalist scare-tactic, I don’t know what is!).

It is true however that we do live in a highly toxic environment, and there are undesirable substances present in the most mundane of household & personal items. This does not mean we must strive to eliminate ALL negative external influence; however being aware of their presence and measures to reduce their impact, certainly comes in handy.

Did you know for instance that Amalgym fillings, ie. those gnarly silvery/black deposits your dentist may have bestowed upon you, actually contain mercury? There have been concerns as to the safety of this cavity-filling-brew for a long time, however I was horrified to learn that I actually have one just chilling in one of my molars, KILLING ME SLOWLY. (Sorry, I let my inner hysteria loose again). Mine was put there by a shady, school-based dental scheme; a pox on them.

(disclaimer: not my gaping mouth)

It has been shown that the mercury can leach from the fillings and do all kinds of good things inside your body. I’m not saying that you should share my hysterical mania, but perhaps think of having yours removed & replaced with porcelain, a much safer (and more aesthetically pleasing) alternative.

Incorporating superfoods such as Spirulina & Chlorella, as well as such humble ingredients as garlic, onion and seaweeds (in particular Bladderwack) can actively detoxify your body of these aforementioned nasties – how amazing is that?!

In fact, increasing the amount of antioxidants in your diet goes a long way towards preventing free-radical damage from a host of uncontrollable factors; you may choose not to believe me, but I have noticed since improving my diet and inhaling about 50 superfoods a day, I rarely get sunburnt anymore. In fact, I consider it much more effective (and delicious!) to EAT my sunscreen. (Not that i’m condoning lying in the sun and slowly making a handbag of yourself – employ some sense, please!).

Other contact I am trying to minimise is with chemicals found in shampoos, conditioners, face creams, deodorants…all of the above. You’d be surprised at what you can unearth when you research those funky-sounding ingredients on the label.

You may have seen incomprehensible names such as Sodium Laureth/Lauryl Sulfate thrown around, and various parabens; both of which consistently find their way into most ‘mainstream’ beauty products. I was even horrified (albeit not surprised) that one of my flatmates’ all natural coconut oil shower scrub contained SLS amongst other lengthy, fear-inducing ingredients, with perhaps 5% of the total derived from actual coconut oil. Highly deceptive marketing makes it hard to decipher what is safe to put on your body – after all, our skin is our largest organ, and extremely permeable.

So why should we be concerned about chemicals in our personal/beauty products?

As I mentioned, nearly everything that we put onto our skin can be absorbed – thus, most chemicals will absorbed too.  Anything that isn’t a natural, recognisable substance is extremely hard for our system to break-down, and can interfere with other functions.

SLS is an irritant, with many people fiercely allergic to it. Not only that, but once it enters the bloodstream, it is directed to the liver where it becomes a challenge to process and break-down. In some cases, this can lead to liver toxicity.

Parabens are added to products to perform antimicrobial functions & keep them fresh, however their safety is an ongoing area of concern and is worrying filed under the list of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ substances – ie. parabens have been demonstrated to be present in a large number of cancer patients , however the defense is that presence does not prove causality. I’d rather err on the side of caution, wouldn’t you? They can also have estrogenic effects that mimic the body’s natural hormones, and subsequently lead to imbalance. No thanks, para-lames.

How do you replace these seemingly necessary items, all of which, infuriatingly contain unwanted chemicals?

I look to fluoride-free toothpastes from the health-food-store, aluminium-free deodorants (Miessence works well), natural (not fake-natural) shampoos & conditioners (read read read those labels!) and beautiful organic skin care.

A company I am suuuuper impressed with (who is obviously not in any way affiliated with this site) is Hemp Hemp Hooray!, an Australian-based brand who make delicious skin-care products that I have found great on my combination, never-happy, totally high-maintenance skin.

(source)

The ingredient list is so amazingly fabulous – I recognise ALL the constituents & it’s recommended you keep it in the fridge to prevent spoilage (y’know, like a safe, natural product would be prone to doing). It’s the only cream cleanser i’ve ever used that doesn’t clog my pores & the moisturiser is so lovely & nourishing. I really can’t get enough!

Well my friends, I really have to wrap up this post because it’s starting to animate a la Frankenstein’s monster and come alive, ALIIIIVE!

Have a great weekend! I’ll be intermittently trying to mooch off other people’s net until I can find it within myself to pay for my own 🙂

x

Good things, bad things, ugly things.

August 6, 2010 § 4 Comments

Hi there fellarinos,

Here we are at yet another Friday, with no prospect of weekend rest for the wicked. But, who’s complaining? I love stretching myself between 1001 different domestic/educational/occupational committments like a thin scraping of almond butter on a dry piece of Ezekiel bread…ok, so maybe I am complaining a tad. But don’t get me wrong, life (in-between times) is grand!

Outside of being a manic stress-head, i’ve been enjoying the following:

The good:

  • You know I love extra-virgin coconut oil – it is a magical food of the gods, & I use it + olive oil exclusively in my diet. However i’ve been testing it more and more as a beauty product, with awesome, sweet-smelling results!
  • The skin is our largest organ, is permeable, and therefore sucks up most of what we put on it. I never used to think about the chemicals I was slathering on my skin, only what I was physically consuming – but i’ve switched over to natural products now I have the knowledge, and the powaaahhh!
  • SO, getting to the point (on point-number-three)…Coconut oil is FANTASMO as a moisturiser. If you’re like me you may have tried it, thought it was too oily/sticky/shiny and given up. But, never fear – just use it in the shower! After washing (with this awesome palm-oil free vegan soap my dear mother hooked me up with) I just scoop out some coconut oil and proceed to wax on! Once you get out & towel off, your skin is still silky smooth but with less oily residue & whatnot. You don’t even need to moisturise if you do this every day. So go get shiny!
  • Coconut oil is also grand for the hair. Antiseptic fatty acids help to protect against fungal & bacterial infections, which is why it’s good for dandruff & scalp conditions. I’ve also heard it can help thicken hair & will obviously nourish it, making it shiny and smooth. I tried it for the first time the other night on dry hair, massaging into the scalp & leaving it on overnight. In the morning I shampoo’d and conditioned as per usual, and my hair was really soft…i’d even go so far as to say caressable. hah. I read it was better to apply it to damp hair though, so will be experimenting further.
  • What deserves MAJOR kudos is the High on Health skin care pack that I received last week. It contained:

Live Live Bee Yummy Skinfood

Neem leaf extract

Hemp Hemp Hooray cream cleanser

I don’t want to pre-emptively proclaim a miracle, but this is possibly the BEST skin care range i’ve ever tried, despite having bad experiences with ‘natural’ products in the past. I’m still getting some breakouts, but I think they’re hormonal and will take some serious detective action to pin down – regardless, the rest of my skin looks & feels so. much. better. It’s cleared the mystery congestion I had on my forehead in under a week, and evened out my skin tone instantly.

I want to give it some more time, obviously, before I unleash the potential of a full-on rave review, however this is feeling like a turning point *sniff, tear* and I owe it to the ever helpful, natural goddess Fran Kerr!

The Bad:

  • Have run out of Kale/greens. Worst. Could not have my Spirulina spinach shake this AM!
  • Brain has reached maximum capacity of learning. Am suddenly horrific at spelling, and experiencing many-a blonde moment (and i don’t even believe in them!). It is evident that old knowledge is making way for new.

The Ugly:

  • Attempted to create a new miso/soba noodle soup recipe. It was hideous. Won’t even begin to share the details for fear that terrorists could get hold of the recipe and use it as a culinary WMD.

 Unfortunately, concocting dubious dishes comes with the territory. I’d rather experiment and have to hold my nose than never discover anything new!

Well that is a fairly incoherent blog post for you all – I think i’m gradually losing the ability to construct sentences…what’s next? Possibly the ability to cook, judging by my most recent offerings!

Hope you’re all having a great weekend!

Take the sugar-free challenge!

May 9, 2010 § 1 Comment

This is what will be getting me through the next month, because as-of yesterday, i’ve decided to cut out processed sugar (which I try to do anyway) PLUS refined natural sweeteners, like Maple Syrup, Honey & Agave. I’m going to try and only sweeten with fruits themselves, and also with Stevia (which I have talked about here) because it is a completely natural, non-GI affecting, zero-calorie, candida friendly choice.

I realise fruit also has naturally occurring sugars, but I think this is an important challenge for me because I am like a wild animal for sweets, and need to kick the crack sugar addiction ASAP. Realistically though, I rely on fruit for snacks, desserts, breakfasts and smoothies, so it would be crazy-ape bonkers for me to try to shun them from circle too – it’s not sustainable at this point!

Let me take you on a little journey to explain the method behind the madness:

TIMELINE

  • Last 6 months: I go NUTSO for this stuff. Agave; sweet sweet syrup from the same plant that brought you Tequila – villain of many-a messy night out.
  • Last 2 months: Articles about the AGAVE CONTROVERSY start cropping up, here, there & everywhere. I am worried, but prefer to enjoy my nectar in feigned ignorance, because it has become my answer to the sugar addiction, and I throw it around willy-nilly in so many recipes it’s hard to count.
  • Last month: Skin breaks out viciously. I have no answers seeing as I believe my hormones to be in balance, my diet to be clean & myself to be generally happy and loving life. Start to implement home-sleuth detective scheme to get to the bottom of the mystery skin apocalypse. Continue to consume agave like a bear to honey.
  • Finally start to realise Agave may be detrimental after reading this article by Fran at High on Health.
  • With Sherlock Holmes powers of deduction, begin to wonder about the connection between the high levels of fructose in agave and the subsequent toll on my liver (which we know is a vital organ often at the root of acne & skin problems). ALSO (with my tendency for bizarre health theories) thought that maybe since starting the Dandelion Tea (which is meant to detox the liver), this brought about a bit of a purge that was more-or-less continuous since I was simultaneously consuming large amounts of agave.
  • SO the moral is, i’ve cut out Agave for now, and feel it is another example of the importance of researching something thoroughly before making it a dietary staple, and also not being so heavy-handed in your consumption of anything for that matter.

THE HORRIBLE TRUTH THAT I’VE HAD TO COME TO TERMS WITH…

…is that ANY sweetener, whether natural or otherwise, will ultimately not be the best choice for our bodies, because sugar is sugar! And it is a substance that our body can only handle in moderation, and with care. Having a sweet-tooth makes it therefore, just that little bit harder to be truly healthy…but it’s not impossible! That’s why i’m going to try and minimise my reliance on sugary-tasting foods and aim to curb my taste for delectable desserts and the like.

One step closer to bonne santé!

Things that make you go….MMMMM!

May 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

Hello friends! Well, after another long hiatus, i’ve returned with many-a delicious recipe to share, and some controversial news about one of my most treasured ingredients, TEAR! In health and body news, I’m STILL battling the epic breakout, but trying to stay positive despite the overwhelming urge to hide away indoors, and only address people through an artfully constructed paper-bag with eyeholes. Failing that, I tilt my head to a practiced angle so as to conceal the most offending areas. Oh now, this is terrible talk…I apologise for my blatant self-pity!

Tactics for getting over mystery break-out:

  • drink an obscene amount of water (nb: remain within 0.5 km radius of toileting facilities at all times)
  • continue to be dairy-free and gluten-sparing (would do this anyway – seriously the best thing I’ve ever done)
  • continue to take Spirulina
  • take Zinc supplement (a little bit behind this philosophy here)
  • get plenty of outdoor sun time
  • have temporarily stopped drinking dandelion tea…perhaps it was detoxing my liver and there was nasty stuff hidden down there? Who knows, will only drink my old faithful green tea for a while and see if there’s a change
  • continue to exercise to improve skin circulation
  • MUST NOT PICK
  • soaking my oats for porridge religiously now (see: this article by Fran) Maybe the phytic acid was blocking my body’s absorption of nutrients like zinc and B vitamins?
  • be HAPPY and don’t let crazy baby-sitting kiddly-winks wake stress-monster from slumber

So you may be wondering what the controversy involves? Well I hate to say it, but my beloved Agave has been in the spotlight recently due to it’s high fructose content. Although this is it’s calling card in that it helps keep blood-sugar levels stable as opposed to sweeteners which instead have more glucose, it is now argued that the fructose is actually more stressful for your body to process and can have implications for your kidneys & liver. GAH! My favourite, secret ingredient! See this article at high on health for a more accurate summary of the debate. I have such a sweet tooth, and am despairing a little as I use Agave every day. I might try and find some alternatives and let you know how I go! Still using it in moderation for now.

I also experienced a proud moment this week when I made my flatmate NO-CHEESE-PLEASE Vegan Pizza.

She took a bite and LOVED THE PANTS OFF IT! Prouder still, was when she added some ham to the very last slice (without which no vegan meal is complete…) but begrudgingly admitted that she wrecked it and it tasted better sans pig! I was radiating smug!

I’ve been eating a lot of Kale, and find it a really great alternative to lettuce, of which i’ve never been the biggest fan. I have it with avocado squished through, some olive oil, fresh lemon juice and a touch of sea salt then add cherry tomatoes, cucumber, sprouted beans, grated carrot etc. Tasty goodness!

Have been buying Hummus seeing as my blender is a P.O.S and can’t deal with chickpeas, and it’s so darn convenient!

At least the ingredients are all-natural, and it’s locally made.

Making superfood balls, in a cup – the laziness continues. This satisfies my schweet cravings and has a bunch of super-hero foods to boot! I blended up some oats, almonds & goji berries then mixed in raw cacao, spirulina, coconut oil, shredded coconut and agave and ate with a spoon. Is that weird?

Loving on this smoothie with 1 cup Kale, 1 banana, 2 tsp spirulina, 1 heaped tsp cacao & rice milk. Gotta thouroughly blend it’s ass though because the Kale tends to resissssst!

Mixed salad plate with carrot sticks, hummus, steamed & raw veg and random fruit! I love to chomp through a whole lot of different flavours and textures in the one plate – it takes ages and gives you a chance to realise that you’re full!

Over and out!

The healing power of Aloe Vera.

April 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

In the past week and a half, I’ve regressed to early adolescence and have experienced my worst skin breakout in recent memory. Ugh, ack, grrr and boooooooo! This unprecedented episode of facial disfigurement (that APPEARS to be clearing now, touch sustainably-farmed, eco-friendly wood) left me feeling completely at a loss as to what had triggered such an angry outburst from my body, and I didn’t want to leave the house for days.

As with everything in life, I feel like you can either dissolve into a puddle of self-pity, or take it as an opportunity to learn something, and appreciate the gesture from the powers that be!

So first of all, why did I have this breakout?

It might sound a bit hippie-trippy, but sometimes I think we are genuinely being taught lessons through things that occur in our lives. I chose to look at the horrible, mountainous terrain of my face as just this – the feelings of hopelessness, embarrassment and depression that accompanied the breakout reminded me of just how debilitating acne is for people. It reinforced the fact that we can say ‘oh, it’s not noticable, stop being so vain!’ to people who experience it without a second thought, but until you are there, with big, painful spots on your face, you can’t really understand what they are going through. So lesson #1, empathy, baby!

Secondly, acne for me is usually caused by stress, so the magnitude of this breakout made me think…maybe I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself with work (babysitting in particular – I’ve been getting so upset with the little girl’s behaviour and really letting it affect me) and also things like money, uni and even eating perfectly? Even the stress of having pimples can perpetuate the cycle, because I know when we are happy, content little beans, we tend to experience better bodily functions in all areas.

Can you identify things in your life that are causing undue stress? What can you do to chillllll?

I started by taking a bath (which I haven’t done in years!) with some awesome music, candles and a ton of fluffy bubbles.

Ignoring the fact that our little old student-friendly bathtub had a very slow leak, and I suddenly found myself sitting in the dregs of the bubbebath after 20 minutes, this was such a nice time out that made me realise how much trouble I have relaxing and doing nothing. I find it so hard! But forcing some zone-out time upon yourself is well worth it!

As well as maintaining a diet that is acne friendly (less sugar, greasy food and even inflammatory things like garlic & chilli please!) what can you do to topically treat the acne?

I found something that I will use all the time now in the event of another Mt Etna style eruption…aloe vera!

The gel that comes out of the succulent leaves is what you want to place topically on your skin – it is mostly comprised of water but also has compounds such as polysaccharides and glycoproteins that are believed to speed up the healing process and possess anti-inflammatory properties. I won’t go in to all the reported benefits of this plant, including the exceptional results people have had from ingesting it, but it certainly made a noticable different to my skin when I started using it locally on my spots.

To speed up healing I have been grabbing a leaf from my plant every few days and keeping it in the fridge until it is used up. I cut off a small portion, and after cleansing and moisturising, extract a big dollop of jelly jelly goo and try to form a kind of sealed-in blob over the pimple. The thicker you can get it, the better. You can also use a store-bought aloe gel for this if you don’t have a plant. I have found that doing this at night dramatically reduces the inflammation, as well as cutting the healing time significantly down. I’m in love! Plants heal all 🙂

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Healthy Skin category at Bonne Santé.