Why Do Some People Feel Better When They Go Off Raw Foods?

After listening to numerous speakers for a new web site called “Raw Mom Cooked Dad, how to make peace on the plate”. A cute idea of how to create family meals  from very different eating styles. A couple of raw foodist admitted to going back to eating meat and found their health improving and some of the buzz among the raw food community starting to stir up the “cooking” pot of what is going on. For someone new to raw food this could be quite alarming as the first year or so on a raw food diet most everyone is losing weight and feeling fantastic.  We  are removing toxins and adding  nutrients as we eat healthier.  One of the speakers went raw very young and stayed raw vegan for many years decided to focus her career on raw desserts and wrote cook books and created her whole public identity around eating raw food. She was eating at least one or more desserts a day and  let herself get extremely ill before ever considering changing her diet to eating meat even though her dad was a hunter of wild game and she lived in a cold climate. Under strict advise of a nutritionist she was to eat a small amount of  high quality meat at every meal. She ate it raw or slightly cooked and mixed it in with her salads to “hide” the taste as she was not found of the idea. But sure enough she began to show improvements within days and continued to improve in overall health each day eating animal protein. Interesting enough, this happened similarly to a few more people that spoke about it  in the raw food community. When I did some checking for what kind of raw food diet they said they were eating, there were some similarities that involved stimulants particularly cacao and sweeteners, they did not discuss the supplements they were taking on a daily basis.  Most astonishing to me was that none of them got  their blood tested to see what was missing and just relied on the “diet of raw food” to nourish them. Just because you eat raw food dose not mean you are getting the variety of vegetables, minerals, omega 3′s and B12 along with high  vitamin D levels to utilize and provide deep nutrition to all of your cells. We are creatures of habit and settle into consuming the same 10-12 foods consistently.

Write down what you eat on a daily basis and see how much variety you have after a month

Your diet should be focused on what to eat for nutrition NOT just what to avoid eating.

RawI remember spending over two hours on the phone trying to convince a dedicated vegan raw food person to try some of her husband’s salmon that he brought back from Alaska for her. She was appalled and embarrassed at how much weight she was losing on a juice feast. Her marriage was on the line and she needed to be flexible and loosen up to stop creating so much stress!  The body needs nourishment to thrive, Nourish then Cleanse, EAT DENSE FOOD WHEN YOUR BODY NEEDS IT. There are lots of dense foods that are not animal protein such as coconuts, avocado, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds but  you need to eat them on a consistent basis before getting too sick. Meat may provide needed nourishment for an undernourished body for a  while. I like to think of eating meat as “the animal was smart enough to listen to his body and eat what it needed so I’ll just eat the animal,  so I don’t have to think for myself” but long term, animal protein may put your body into an acidic state that causes inflammation as well as kidney stones with excess uric acid and a host of other ailments. Use food as your medicine and pick the highest quality, eat as local as possible, always organic with the most life force energy.  Being in balance means constant motion, knowing what  nutrients are missing or in excess before any symptoms arises just is common sense!

BECOME A FULL TIME NUTRITARIAN (one who eats nutrients)

YIKES! the reason a raw food eater feels better  switching diets is the  the same reason a person that eats lots of animal proteins feels better when they go on a raw food diet.

  1. ABSORPTION
  2. NUTRIENTS
  3. ASSIMILATION!

The only person to listen to about what to eat is ALWAYS going to be your own body!! But listen deeply and with knowledge of what is happening on the inside.

Here is my  health quiz for my own body

  1. Are you feeling energetic and upbeat, ready to dance and laugh at a moments notice?
  2. Is your digestion operating top notch with daily fermented foods and are you having 2 or more non smelly bowel movements a day?
  3. Does your blood results show great assimilations into your cells and tissues, all areas in optimum range, without any signs of inflammation?
  4. Is your vitamin D levels in the 70′s and above (hint: must be supplemented)? Are you eating a variety of local organic and WILD greens?

All these areas are places that I keep track of and look to maximizing nutrients and minerals to correct them.

Usually  I am off balance when I am eating for comfort, stress, sweet taste or give in to a craving that is actually an allergic food (for me it is gluten) also when I eat to “fit in socially” or when I am traveling and my options are slim.

A note about stress…. There is a reason you don’t crave green juice when you are stressed out, you are in an acidic state and the body wants to maintain homeostasis so will desire acidic foods like sweets, caffeine, refined flour, to keep you in that state.  When you can calm your thoughts and breath deeply your body will want to get more alkaline foods such as vegetables. Try this with litmus paper several times a day and you will see that simply thinking stressful thoughts even when you are eating alkaline foods will cause your system to turn acidic. So don’t stress about your diet!!!

When I am off balance  I add  more fresh green juice, sea vegetables, algae and keep up on my omega 3′s and vitamin D with lots of exercise, positive thoughts and I am  right back on track.

The cool weather and holidays are coming upon us and it is great to have information of what areas of nutrition need attention now, so you can kick your immune  system  into full throttle for winter.

You can get your blood tested by going to www.directlabs.com or www.personallabs.com

I have used both and they give you results letting you know what is out of range and you can share the results with your doctor for more advise.

Stay Healthy Stay Happy!

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Cream of Asparagus Soup with Saffron Croutons

A few weeks ago, my beloved Green City Market opened for the season. Granted, the market didn’t feature the bounty of summer, but it did still have a great selection of farm fresh items. One of my favorite spring time vegetables is asparagus and I was happy to see that many of the vendors were selling a number of varieties – thin and thick, purple and green. I opted to buy the thick cut (more flavor in my opinion) green variety.

These babies were so beautiful! While I contemplated just steaming them up and serving them alongside a piece of fish, I decided to get a bit more creative and turn them into the base of a cream of asparagus soup.

Cream of Asparagus

This proved to be an excellent decision. The soup had the perfect amount of creaminess, slight tang from fresh lemon juice, and a wonderful crunch thanks to homemade saffron flavored croutons.

This recipe was actually a slightly adapted version of an asparagus soup recipe of my mom’s that I have made many times. Hers is a “healthified” version of cream of asparagus soup which replaces the cream for potatoes to thicken the soup and add the right texture. And while I love that soup, I wanted an option that was a little bit more refined and truly allowed the asparagus to shine.

Speaking of asparagus – did you notice that the asparagus were sitting in water glasses in the above picture?

This is how I store asparagus! I find that, like fresh flowers, asparagus responds really well to being stored in water. They stay tender and maintain their vibrant color for at 3-5 days in the fridge (but of course, the earlier you use the asparagus, the fresher it will taste!).

Anyway, back to the soup. This would be the perfect starter to a fancy dinner party, but works equally well alongside a big salad on a busy weeknight because the whole thing comes together in 30 minutes.

However you enjoy it, just make sure you give it a try when the asparagus is at its freshest – a.k.a RIGHT NOW!

Cream of Asparagus Soup with Saffron Croutons – Serves 4-6 as an appetizer

Ingredients:

2 lbs asparagus
1/2 stick butter
3 large shallots, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups water
S+P to taste
Fresh lemon juice (approximately the juice of one lemon is what I used)
3-4 slices of any variety of bread (I chose a multigrain variety), crusts removed and cut into small cubes
2 TB EVOO
1/3 tsp saffron threads

Directions:

In order to remove the tough bottoms of the asparagus, I simply take the asparagus and bend lightly. Wherever the asparagus bends is the place where the tough meets the tender. Discard the tough pieces (keep if you make your own veggie stock!).

In a large stock pot, add the butter and melt over medium low heat. Once melted, add the chopped shallots and cook until they are soft, but not browned, about five minutes.

Add the cream, water, salt (start with 2 tsp) and pepper to the pot. Increase the heat to high and bring liquid to a boil. Add the asparagus, lower to a simmer, and cook until the asparagus is tender, but still has a bright green color, about five minutes.

Now it is time to puree the soup. Working in batches, add the contents of the pot into a blender and puree until smooth.

Cream of Asparagus

I found that the texture of the soup was perfect for me. Slightly thick, but very smooth. If you prefer a finer texture, you can push the contents of the soup through a fine mesh sieve.

Add the soup back to the pot and keep warm until you are ready to serve. Taste and adjust for seasonings as necessary. Right before serving, add enough lemon juice to taste. You certainly don’t want the overwhelming flavor of lemon to come through on the soup, but you want enough to know that it is there. I think 1/2 to a full lemon’s worth of juice is perfect, but let your palate guide you!

While the soup is staying warm, you can make the croutons, which is very easy! In a large sauté pan, add the EVOO and heat over medium-low heat. Add the saffron shreds and cook in the olive oil for 1 minute to infuse the oil. Add the bread and toss to coat in the saffron oil. Spring with salt and pepper and cook until the croutons are golden and toasted.

Serve the soup topped with croutons and one more spray of lemon juice!

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Common Chemicals Found in Food Packaging

Today, consumers shouldn’t just be worried about added chemicals in their foods or drinks; rather, even the packaging that foods come in have chemicals that can potentially leak into the things we consume. Anything from plastic or cardboard to styrofoam or paper packaging can have chemicals in them that can be absorbed by the food products. Luckily, the FDA has imposed many state regulations to set safe standards for the type of packaging that can be used, reducing the amount and type of chemicals found in packaging. Regardless, however, it is important to be knowledgeable of what chemicals could be present.

BPA

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that is added to most linings of cans and plastic containers. This chemical has been shown to promote breast cancer if allowed into the body in substantial quantities. However, the FDA has placed many standards and regulations that have inhibited the amount of this chemical that can be added into any food packaging.  FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research has also shown that low doses, such as the ones promoted through FDA’s regulations, have negligible effects.

PFOA

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is most commonly used in the inner lining of popcorn bags and pizza boxes to prevent oil from seeping through the container. However, high heats can cause some particles to seep into the food. In some studies, higher doses of PFOA has been shown to increase the likelihood of acquiring testicular, thyroid, and kidney cancers. Luckily, the EPA has begun upholding regulations and requiring manufacturers to use as low doses as possible, often requiring companies to find suitable substitutes for the chemical.

PET

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is a chemical found in many plastic water bottles. Under high heat, PET secretes metalloid called antimony, which has been see to cause stomach ulcers. PET itself, according to the FDA, is safe to be used. However, high heats can cause antimony secretions, which may cause chronic health issues if consumed in high enough quantities.

Anything Else?

There are a multitude of chemicals that are used in food packaging to ensure that the foods are kept fresh and to keep out bacteria. However, under certain conditions, these chemicals can leach into the foods and potentially harm our health. Luckily, the FDA has imposed many regulations on chemicals that are usd. Some chemicals have also been banned entirely from use and convinced manufacturers to utilize other harmless materials. Chemicals that are currently being used are also constantly tested to ensure significant leaching into foods does not occur. However, always ensure that packaging does not come in contact with extreme conditions such as heat, as this can lead to chemicals being leaked into our foods.

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