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Saturday, January 15, 2011

30 Day Raw Food Challenge

It was around Christmas time when I noticed my clothing getting tight again. Just after I started looking at photo's taken on the day. I looked as bad as I felt. I had lost about 20kg before my wedding and now that it was over, the weight was creeping back on again. After gaining 10kg I decided that I need to put a stop to my yo-yo dieting and look at a more permanent solution.

I've been wanting to go raw for a long time now and am equipped with the knowledge. I know that the path I am currently on only leads to obesity, disease, lethargy, depression and misery. So why do I keep going back to it. The new year seemed like a good time to start.

I decided that I needed to make a short term goal so that it didn't seem to daunting. So I created my own 30 day challenge. I read somewhere that if you do something for 30 days, it becomes a habit. And I was desperate to remove my old habits and replace them with healthy ones. No more coffee, chocolate, take-away, processed foods, dairy, meat, bread, pasta etc.

The first thing I did was planned what I was going to eat that week and shop for my ingredients. It was expensive at first because I didn't have a lot of raw staples in my cupboard like nuts, seeds, oils, powders, spices, superfoods etc. But this is an investment into my health and I'm worth it.

It's day 12 now and I'm finding it way easier than I imagined. I have no cravings for bad foods, am loving the new foods and find it quick and easy, as long as I'm prepared.

A lot of people ask me where I find the time, the truth is, this is the quickest and easiest way to prepare food. For breakfast on most days I have a smoothie, this takes a couple of minutes to prepare. For lunch I have a salad with lots of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, avocado, sprouts, capsicum, celery, carrot etc. The dressing is simple made up of olive oil, lemon juice and cracked pepper. For dinner I make my own zucchini noodles and blend up a quick tomato based or alfredo sauce (raw of course). There's no time spent stirring, roasting, cooking etc. Everything is instantly ready to consume. I'm actually saving time in the kitchen. I snack on fruit regularly as well. No prep needed there.

Of course you can spend more time in the kitchen preparing recipes etc if you want. There are some complex recipes out there and if I feel like it, I might do one a week. I occasionally make raw desserts as well, but I actually haven't felt like eating many sweets with all the fruits I am consuming.

So at day 12... I can honestly say that I don't want to go back to eating like I was before. I'm feeling empowered with knowledge and am looking forward to receiving the health benefits of a raw food diet. Bring on health, vitality and a kick ass body, yeah!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Where do I get my Protein, Calcium and Iron from...

This is another common question. If I'm not eating meat and dairy, then where am I getting protein, iron and calcium?

•Based on 700 studies, a diet consisting of about 7% protein is more than enough for most people.("The China Study" by Dr Campbell)

•Raw food has much more usable protein and of higher quality than cooked food. So you'll need less.

•Multiple studies show that eating vegan protein is much healthier for you than protein from animals (dairy and meat).

•The best sources of non animal protein are green leafy vegetables, nuts & seeds, (wheat) grasses, sprouts, grains.

The best vegan sources of iron are spinach, swiss chart, prune juice, beet greens, sesame seeds, cashews, raisins, apricots, water melon, kale, sunflower seeds, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, sun dried tomatoes, seaweeds and flax seed.

That's why drinking fresh vegetable juices on a raw vegan diet is very important. Vegetable juices are concentrated mineral juices.

The best vegan source of calcium is sesame seeds. But also almonds, broccoli, cabbage, collards, dandelion greens, dulse (a seaweed), kale, prunes. And uncooked they're much easier to absorb.

Why I don't eat Dairy
The butterfat is crushed in the homogenisation process and produces foreign amino acids, the body produces homocystines as a result which leads to allergic reactions. They put vitamin D in the milk. Do you actually believe they want to do this and are doing it for your health? It is due to the fact that the altered calcium from the high heat in pasteurisation alters the calcium so much your body will reject it and they found children getting rickets due to this. So they added the vitamin D to force the body to absorb this altered calcium that generally ends up as bone spurs, cataracts, and kidney stones.

Besides all that... Cow's milk is designed for baby cow's, not humans! Drinking another animal's milk introduces new toxins in the body and actually leaches calcium.

Why I don't eat Meat
To those people who say we are designed to eat meat... ever tried to catch a wild animal with your bare hands, then proceed to eat his freshly-dead corpse? Just because we are able to (of course after we carefully cut it off the bone and thrown spices on it to make it palatable) doesn't mean we are supposed to.

Apart from the fact that we weren't designed to do that and that we are more closely related to Herbivores, its bad for your health. All meats are highly acid forming in the body. A diet which is rich in acid forming foods is know to increase the risk of many illness and disease, the body's immune system, and the ability to eliminate toxins.

Meat also contains no fibre and is difficult for our bodies to digest, it is also high in fat and cholesterol.

Why Raw Food?

This is something a lot of people are asking me right now so I thought it would be helpful to create a post. I've been researching this topic for over a year now and trying different foods on my own body and seeing how I feel afterwards. Here's what I have learn't.

Heating your food above 115 degrees F (45 Celsius):
•Kills enzymes. Enzymes help you digest your food. Your body can create enzymes but that process takes a lot of energy. This process makes you feel tired and heavy after a cooked food meal. The enzymes your body makes are not as efficient and effective as the ones that were destroyed in your food.

So your food is not be broken down as well and harder to digest. Your food starts rotting in your intestines and parasites have more chance to survive. Your body has a limited amount of enzymes that it can produce. If the supply is finished, body organs will function less and less. It will accelerate aging.

•Changes the pH of the food and makes food acidic. Eating acidifying food makes your body a welcome feeding ground for disease.

•Destroys most vitamins

•Destroys the life force. Eating cooked food is eating dead food. This will make you feel heavy and tired. Live food has live energy. It will give you energy. Simply put. A raw seed will grow, a cooked seed won't. When you pick unripe fruit it continues to ripen for weeks. Cooked fruit starts to decay within days.

These reasons are enough to explain why most people on a raw food diet feel more energetic and have a stronger immune system.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Getting back on track

The new year got me thinking about what goals I have for 2011 and the ones I let slip in 2010. After my wedding in October I went crazy with food and reverted completely back to my old ways of eating processed foods. I am now paying the price, not only have I gained a whole 10kg, my energy levels had dropped completely and my thyroid problem has doubled. Time to take this diet and lifestyle thing seriously.

Leading up to my wedding I became completely obsessed with diet and exercise and my main goal was to loose weight and I didn't care how I did it. I did the lemon detox diet which involves not eating for 7 days! By the time my wedding came around, I had lost 22kg and felt quite good. Still about 5kg off my initial goal, but I didn't let it spoil my day and it was fabulous!

So why did I let myself go straight afterwards, I swore I never would... I think the pressure of leading up to a major event contributed.

Its also time to admit that I have a food addiction. About a year ago my natropath told me that I needed to completely give up sugar and processed foods because I was addicted. I'm not one of those people that can have a piece of chocolate and stop at just one or two. On a standard diet, I also never felt full, I could eat and eat and still feel hungry.

I now know that I wasn't actually 'hungry' I was depleted of nutrients and my body is telling me that there is something missing. Thats why I ate so much.

This week I have started eating a 100% Raw Vegan diet, and I really struggle to fit in all that I have planned in my daily menu. Its amazing how much less food I am consuming, but how much more satisfied I feel. My body is finally getting the nourishment it has been craving. I don't feel at all deprived, I'm loving the food. The biggest surprise is that I'm not missing coffee like I thought I would. I'm drinking herbal tea and making sure I have some in my bag so if I go visit someone, I'm prepared. Its not hard at all, I've had no bad side effects like headaches etc either. Cool!

So for me, the best option was to commit 100% instead of 80/20 which is what I was trying earlier. Completely eliminating other foods from my diet has helped. I think where I went wrong was using the other 20% to eat junk. In the future I may choose to eat some cooked veg, but thats as far as I'm straying.