Sunday, January 31, 2010

008-Raw enough for me!

I can't help wondering about all the new relationships I have established since I began my raw food and fitness journey's a few months ago. I wonder if all those who I have gotten to know are still active in their journeys toward a better life and being a better person. I can't help thinking that some have decided to alter their plans or cease altogether. Maybe it wasn't for a negative reason but for reasons I have yet to encounter in my lifestyle as a raw vegan. People demand so much from each other and when those demands aren't met, there's this total meltdown that occurs. A good example of this would be the typical scenario where a veteran of the raw food lifestyle is embraced by a novice and begins to provide the novice with information, guidance, and access to an array of food products to help them along the way. Then the novice decides they are better off adjusting their old habits toward healthier ones instead of following the suggestions of the veteran. It all falls apart when the veteran can no longer sell products to the novice and thus announces that the novice is no longer on the path of nutritional enlightenment. Why does that scenario have to turn out like that? Is it common for the nutrition Guru's to be so strict and unyielding that they push away those who have decided on their own parameters of raw-ness?? Who has bestowed upon them the right to make these judgments and who do these judgments serve?? If you have experienced anything remotely close to this type of situation, please find answers to the questions I have posed and decide for yourself and by yourself if the way you DO RAW is indeed Raw Enough For You!

For me, there are many areas of my level of rawness that I am still in the process of tweaking. I would like to reduce my carbon footprint in as much as is humanly possible and the structure of the raw food lifestyle doesn't support this because most of the items I require for food prep, meal planning, and recipe sharing require me to order from a location that is far outside of my local area. This means distribution which means trucks traveling across the country burning fossil fuels. So that by the time the product I have ordered arrives at my door step, it has endured just as much horror as the grocery's at your local market.

So what's the deal with the various descriptions and levels of being a Raw Vegan? It's an individual question with various individual answers and there are those who feel that if you aren't doing raw the way THEY do raw then you aren't doing it right. I say forget what anyone else thinks you should do with your raw food. Concentrate on YOU and if you should happen to have a conversations with these "raw food Guru's" then just tell them....

"The way I have chosen to do RawFood, is RAW ENOUGH FOR ME!"

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

007-Why should I “try out” a raw food lifestyle?

Many have asked and many more have given their reasons but ultimately, the decision to live a raw food lifestyle belongs to the individual. That person might ask the opinions of others and may even find someone who is willing to give them an honest and unbiased opinion. For most of my youth, teen, and young adult years, I have had a moderate amount of exercise, moderate amount of stress levels, and a moderate amount of health conscious eating habits. Within the past ten years, I have gradually introduced myself to alternative ways to lead a wonderfully balanced life. One that is filled with enjoyment, love, and consciousness toward all life. One that balanced my need for pure nutrition, love of self, love of life. I wanted my existence to reflect the Natural Order of things that nature has so brilliantly organized. This brought me to identify what type of daily sustenance I brought into my body. I looked from various angles, making sure to remain neutral and not judgmental. What I ultimately discovered was that there used to be a void in my overall Journey towards natural order. I developed many ways to organize my daily routine to encourage a wonderful outcome. This means that I made sure I learned something new each day. I passed something that I know on to someone who didn't know. It meant that I made a point to notice and acknowledge those things I took for granted each and every day. For example, I used to wake every morning and start my day with little or no thought given to how the new day came into existence. How nature has turned the planet to make sure every life form is kissed by the brilliant light of the sunshine. Now, I wake in the mornings and GREET THE SUN! Each day I think about my ancestors and how their footprints all over this planet have given birth to mine. At night, I look at the stars and am only able to see their brilliant past. This allows me to understand my past and where I currently stand as a life form and a human being.

So what does all this have to do with leading a raw food lifestyle? Initially, leading a raw food lifestyle begins at the foundation. This means that you allow nature to teach you how to replenish your physical body through the act of eating raw food. Then, you learn the lessons of life and nutrition and begin to understand that there is more to eating raw than just "not cooking" your food. There is more to food than just what goes into your mouth to satiate and provide nutrients. There is an entire mindset that goes along with leading a raw food lifestyle. You become deeply involved with your total being and how everything you do and each choice that you make affects another. As a raw foodist, biting into an apple means you love yourself enough to make sure it receives natures best as often as humanly possible. It becomes an act of gratitude toward the lifeforce given by the tree that grew the fruit. It becomes a form of honoring the sun for its part in ripening the fruit so you could enjoy its sweetness. Honoring the rains for replenishing the earth so the tree roots could suck in the "liquid love" and deliver it to the fruit for the production of juicy sweetness ready and waiting for your consumption. It's a pledge to other life forms saying that you will not consume their flesh but instead you will bask in the delight of having them as a symbiotic connection. You will rejoice in knowing that they too care for this planet and honor each new sun with their breath in the winds, sun upon their face, water in their bodies, and footprints upon the lifeforce of earth. These are only a few of the elements that make up my experience so far in choosing to live a raw food lifestyle.

If you keep in mind that there is no correct way to start and no right or wrong way to lead a raw food lifestyle then you might want to consider my list of ten reasons to give it a try.

You should "try out" a raw food lifestyle if you are currently:

  1. Lacking in nutrient dense foods.
  2. Not feeling a benefit from your level of nutrition and your overall health condition.
  3. Eating meals that are high in processed foods.
  4. Eating meals that are high in genetically modified food products (GMO'S)
  5. Eating meals that are high in chemically treated food products.
  6. Eating meals that have a high concentration in animal products.
  7. Eating meals that have a low concentration of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  8. NOT eliminating daily.
  9. Experiencing poor digestion.
  10. Looking for additional ways to live a greener more nature balanced lifestyle.
This is my personal list of reasons to give the raw food lifestyle a chance. Although I have had personal experiences similar to some of them, writing this list doesn't mean that I have experienced all of them or even most of them. It is through my experience in the raw food lifestyle that I have been able to see how these things can be reasons to make a change in your current way of life.

As with most change, be sure to talk with your current health care professional if you would like to know how making this choice would affect your personal health. If you have not been under the care of a medical professional, I would suggest you begin with finding a reputable professional first. I have a wonderful nurse practitioner that I visit regularly (they will determine how often you need to visit with them). She didn't initiate my raw food journey's but I did make her aware and so should you if you consider beginning a raw food lifestyle.

Friday, January 15, 2010

006-The Healthy “Limits” of everyday eating

What kinds of limits do you place on yourself when it comes to the things that you eat every day? Are these limits healthy in any way or do they pose a threat to an otherwise ok eating pattern? A few months ago, I came to know someone on the internet who made me think about this topic. This person's spirit "Soars" like that of a wild Albatross  unaware that it is endangered. The only reason I make this statement is because no matter how difficult this person's daily "limits" become, there is still time to give support, encouragement, suggestions, etc. to any and all accepting of it. Our limits can indeed help us reach established goals for ourselves. They act as a framework to hold together a sturdy construction of self gratitude, sensitivity, and determination. All of which is needed to remain strong throughout your journey towards greater health.

I have developed some limits of my own and constantly revisit them to make adjustments and augmentations if necessary. Basically, my limits reflect a need to reduce needless consumption and introduce substantial increases in nutrient dense foods. I felt it necessary to establish these limits so that I can build better habits that may lead to greater health for me over the long haul. So far, it has worked very well and I continue to make necessary changes whenever needed. One of the surprising effects of my healthy limits was an increase in energy levels!!! Who would have thought that limiting myself would increase energy? Well, it did. So much so, that I had to relax the limits for a couple of (consecutive) days so that my increased energy would slowly dissipate and my body could return to it's normal pattern.

I was a bit hesitant when I thought of making these limits because there is such a chance that I might become fanatical about it and soon find a growing obsession with the limits themselves and not focusing on the reasons they were created in the first place. I believe my "e-friend" (mentioned in the first paragraph), could give a much more thorough glimpse into what happens when limits grow and become unmanageable. I make this statement based on information my e-friend has provided about his journeys' through limits.

It's challenging and fiercely dominating of daily practices. The limits placed must be realistic enough to convince you that they are worth adhering to. They must also inspire you to overcome obstacles that you may stumble upon. Think about your limits and adjust them if you feel the need to. If you have no limits, then make one for yourself. The effects will be outstandingly substantial.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

005-A special meal 4U

Before dedicating my way of life to a more balanced and earth filled process, I didn't give much thought to what kind of food I put in my mouth. If it was going to taste good or give me a familiar feeling or serve any other purpose (other than nutrition), I pretty much ate it. Now things are different when I sit down for a meal. It's special, meaningful, deliberate, and filled with self love and focus. How did my meals become so special to me?

A couple of times per month my husband and I have to make a stop into the pharmacy store to pick up or drop off his mom's prescriptions. If things are going pretty slow at the pharmacy counter we can briefly discuss health related topics with either the pharmacist or one of the techs. One day we talked about working out at the gym and the next time we spoke about diets and fast food. The last time we spoke to one of the techs, he told us how he and his wife were doing a weight loss challenge and how he was in the lead. Yesterday we saw him and things were a bit slow so we had a few moments to catch up on things. He mentioned how he had done a healthy diet for about a week then fell off the wagon and started eating fast food again. He said he loves pizza and Burger King. All I could think of is how much I totally understood what he was saying and how he was feeling. I used to have my weaknesses when it came to fast foods but it has been a terribly long time since I have eaten at one of the burger joints that I honestly can't remember what my favorite item on their menu was. What I do remember, is the feeling I got from eating the fast foods and processed food.

Usually, the burger joints gave me a sense of reward for an accomplishment or something similar. I always associated fast food with happy times and fun stuff. Never nutrition, or vitamins and minerals. Never balanced food groups or balanced sugar levels (lol). Burger joints were there for celebration and nothing more. The processed foods made me feel like time was moving too fast and I needed to hurry before I missed out on something. I would always feel as if taking time to prepare my food was a waste of time and that was something you could never "get back" because once the time has was gone and never would return. I remember shopping at my local grocery store and getting all the canned goods I could and all the frozen foods that were on my shopping list. I remember planning the menu's and studying the fried food dishes vs. the baked dishes. It always felt as if I needed to hurry and get done with it all so I would have time to do other things. Things that, at the time, seemed more important and less burdensome. There never seemed to be any time to cut a potato or peel an apple or shred a carrot, etc. I never really felt that eating was something to treasure and get involved with on an emotional level. Once I found the courage to put all that aside and take a chance on a new way of life, I was extremely surprised and overwhelmingly satisfied with what my body gave me in return.

Talking with the pharmacy technician really brought back memories. His situation with attempting to eat healthy while loving the fast food he is so familiar with makes me want to write a book and tell the world about my discoveries and how I understand and relate to their relationships with food. I wish there was an easier way to help people reach a place in their lives that allows them to see, touch, and understand the connection we as human beings have with nutrients in our foods. I wish I could help the pharmacy tech without offending or sounding as if I am an "overly qualified" nutritionist who just graduated and is ready to tame the world (I don't have a degree in nutrition). I really wish there was a way to display the benefits so that everyone would consider making the changes needed to live a wonderfully healthy life.

I'm not sure if anyone would understand or if they would even care about it but if the opportunity presented itself to me I would certainly give it my best shot and bring with me all the passion I have discovered in leading a life as a raw food vegetarian. Does this make me different or separate from others, some might think so. I'm not sure how long this feeling will continue but for now, I am going to embrace it, enjoy the difference, and offer this information as "A special meal" for those curious enough to listen.

Monday, January 11, 2010

004-What is “eating RAW”

At times I get the feeling that eating raw is nothing more than a special menu with meals planned just for me. It's not a statement to the world that I am enlightened and elevated beyond the common human. It doesn't make me a special being on the planet we call earth. It merely says that I have made a choice to eat certain foods within certain food groups prepared as I would like. Nothing more.

I realize that people mistake my choices for an indirect judgment against theirs and this couldn't be further from the truth. Then there are those who might feel as if I am not doing it right and should remove certain food items from my list altogether. The point is, we all have our own preferences and for each and every one of us, it is THE RIGHT CHOICE!

For me, eating raw fills every ratio of my being. Not just on a physical level. Emotionally there are balances and stabilizations. Eating raw for me means that I will no longer rely on processed foods and fast foods as a means of nutritional sustenance. I will only select the very best food items from the very best sources in any given supply. It means that I will prepare the foods I select with the highest levels of love, enthusiasm and purpose and I will focus intent on nutrient replenishment. My raw lifestyle starts inside of me infusing at the most singular point. From there, everything else balances atop natural order. "THIS" is raw eating.

Monday, January 4, 2010

003 - A typical grocery list for a Raw Food shopper

As most of us do on a regular basis, I shop for groceries but from time to time I find that there are items I need for my raw food meals that I cannot get at my local grocery store. This usually ends in me going to the health food store or farmers market in my area. Then there are those items that are not in my area and must be ordered. This is where the expenses begin to occur. Everything is expensive these days and when you try to eat healthier or in a manner that is not "common" to your area, the expenses are greater. I believe this has to do with the cost of bringing those items into an area where there aren't many people purchasing it. Whatever the reason, I always find myself on the "money intensive" end of remaining stable within my raw food lifestyle.

Some of my typical items are:

  • Sea salt
  • Braggs Liquid Aminos
  • RAW Tahini
  • Almonds
  • Dates
  • Bananas
  • Walnuts
  • Cashews
  • Pine nuts
  • Fresh Celery
  • Fresh Carrots
  • Fresh curly Kale
  • Fresh baby spinach
  • Onions
  • Fresh Squash
  • Fresh Tomato's
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Fresh Tai Coconut
  • Avocado
  • Pecans
  • Raw Agave
  • Purified water

These are just a few of the food items that are common to my grocery list. I also have herbs and various seasonings that I purchase but they don't run out as often so I can afford to spend a bit more on those. I would like to see a future where food items from all over the world are available within minutes. Of course, in order for this to become reality, we would definitely have to move civilization into the more technologically advance era of travel and communication. I am talking....

"Beam me up Scotty" type stuff...hahahah


Saturday, January 2, 2010

002- I Peak into the future of 2010

I just finished putting together a video of meals I made during my raw food journeys in 2009 and it made me think. I began to relive all the feelings I had when I was at the various stages of raw veganism and I could clearly remember the levels of difficulty as well as the seemingly easy choices when it came to certain foods. Now I sit and wonder what I will become in the months ahead. Will I transform into a very radical advocate of living food who preaches to everyone about the goodness and vibrant life they can live if only they could stop eating cooked food. Will I become introverted and withdrawn due in part to the lack of association with those who are also leading a life "less cooked." Hahaha, well I certainly hope that doesn't become the case. In fact, I would much rather continue to grow my Raw Vegan Lifestyle like a delicate experiment nestled in a warm Petri dish. I know that there will be tough times and easy ones as well. I look forward to the day when I can let the emphasis on food relax and advance in other areas of my life. For now, I need that emphasis because it's one area in life that has been systematically removed from most of us. Our food consumption has been "out of our control" as humans for quite some time. Since I have made a conscious and deliberate action to reclaim that duty, I can feel the sometimes intolerable nudge to return to old habits. For example, instead of preparing my meals ahead of time (or partially), I have made decisions (in the past) to just grab whatever was pre-made (processed). This only led to more of the same and that process snowballed until I just didn't think about it as much any longer. Being on the raw food journey was one of the ways I could be sure to bring myself out of this slumber and actively participate in the selection of my whole living foods!

So, what about the future of 2010? It's a blank canvas awaiting my selection of pigments. My first and most important decision will be...."What colors do I want to mix that will result in success, fortitude, and fixity of purpose!"

001-Best Recipes of 2009

I was looking through my recipe binder yesterday for one of my favorite raw meals and thought I should commemorate my experience with raw food preparation by making a list of some favorites. Since this is the beginning of a new year, what better time to do this than right now! Keep in mind I am talking about recipes that I have either created or found through other sources and have tried.

For my morning meals while eating raw, I have enjoyed granola and apple cinnamon cereal. There have been other foods I have eaten but these are two that I have recreated many times and enjoyed each time. During the middle part of the day I have eaten "mock" tuna both in a sandwich with raw bread and on romaine lettuce leaves "taco style." I have followed a few different recipes and have not been disappointed in either case. There is one recipe in particular that I enjoyed and have made consistently throughout my journey's in raw food [see 313HealthyMe on youtube for a look at the recipe and how I made it]. I love, love, love salads and have made so many different variations of the green salad. One of the "specialty" salads that I have made and enjoy over and over is the Kreamy Kale Salad. The taste is different than the typical garden salad. Another mid-day meal that I have enjoyed is the nut burgers. There is an endless supply of recipes for this meal and I am still experimenting with many different ideas. Basically, I use a walnut pate' then add ingredients that I would like to taste in a burger.

I am making a video to showcase these meals so if you would like to see how I made them or get a list of the ingredients I used to prep the burger, please search 313HealthyMe on YouTube and check me out there.