Monthly Archives: April 2012

A Delicious Food that gets a Bad Wrap (And Shouldn’t!)

I have to say this post is inspired by my fellow bloggers and my recent fish journey.  So after taking a casual look at the fish industry, asking a few pointed questions, and consulting with our mother earth, I had pretty much resolved that as delicious and nostalgic as fish has been for me, I’d have to seriously consider giving it up.  It appeared, eating just a small amount not only jeopardizes human health due to pollution and mercury (not just in tuna!), but it’s also not doing the environment any favors by over-farming, over-fishing, and over-eating.  Admittedly, and not pridefully, my concern typically lies with the former, but my research was really making me scratch my head for Nature’s sake too.

Anyway, as I dug deeper eh-hem swam deeper, I found out there is at least one fish in the sea that we can feel good about eating.  I was hesitant to believe the information, and even more afraid to actually try it.  Why?  This particular fish has been the butt of all jokes including smelly fish, stinky old men, cheap eats, dirty water…I could go on.  Have you guessed it yet?  Sardines!  Next to calf’s liver, turns out Sardines has the highest amount of B12 found in any food across the board!  And to anyone who’s been paying attention, B12 is not easy to come by.  They have negligible amounts of mercury because they’re the little guys that hang out on the bottom of the sea.  It’s the big bullys–swordfish, roughy, shark, tuna–that are glowing in mercury.  What’s more, they are super high in calcium, low in calories, and to boot–they really ARE cheap!  Obviously not nutritionally, but for the pocket.  Even the wild-caught, sustainably resourced, healthfully marinated, non-BPA containers…$2.99!  Try getting the same quality in wild-caught salmon.  That will run you almost $6.00 a can.  So there’s some of the myths surrounding the little fish debunked, and there was only one way to debunk the rest–eat them.  As you may be able to tell, when I eat, I go big.  So I have tried 2 different preparations:  A toasted Ezekial english muffin, open-faced, spread with creamy avocado, and topped with water-packed Sardines.  DE.LIC.IOUS.  I could not stop eating it!!  Not fishy at all!  Mild, smooth, and yummy.  Now, they’re not the prettiest things that ever were, but boy are they tasty.  Not to be outdone, I tried the marinara-packed Sardines.  Tossed with Ezekial penne pasta, a few capers, some onion and garlic.  Seriously?  Where have Sardines been my whole life??  This dish was AH.MAZING.

So, the moral of the story is, sometimes as kids we make up little rhymes and riddles that blacklists some really great foods!  Vegetables are constantly victim to this–brussels sprouts, okra, asparagus… But here’s my proposal: Try things again.  Or for the first time.  Give the food blacklist another chance!  One other interesting tidbit, our taste buds are only around for 10-14 days, before they are replaced.  Fact!  So things you think you may not like, and things you’ve tried before and didn’t like–give them another shot!  You may just be surprised at what you find out.  For me, for years I had blacklisted tomatoes (what??!), mushrooms (ridiculous!!), olives (I want to be a connoisseur now), red wine, FISH…god, I would go on, but it’s hurtful even thinking of my life without any one of these things!

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There’s Something Fishy Going On & I’ve Got Questions.

As I navigate my clean food journey, there’s been one question that comes up in my head more than any other: “To eat fish, or not to eat fish”.  I am lucky enough to be close friends with a local fishery that gives me low-down on the fish industry from time to time.  Neopol Smokery.  They pride themselves on artfully preparing locally grown/raised and organic foods whenever they can, and specialize, among other items, in smoked fish–especially salmon.

I’ll always remember during my transition from eating meat to being a non-meat-eater, my friends at Neopol warned me that fish is much more dangerous from a pollution and contamination standpoint than meat is.  The fish industry has so little control of what goes into the vast waters they fish from that even under the best circumstances, no matter how wild the fish is, pollution is inevitable.  Conversely, with meat–take chickens for instance. A free-range, organically raised, vegetarian-fed chicken coming from a happy farm, is likely exactly that.  No more, no less.  Nutrition aside, that chicken will do you better than a wild catch of salmon.  But nutrition is never really aside, is it?  So that’s why I went ahead with my plan to cut out the poultry and meat, even in light of the unstable fish world. 

Thanks to a friendly commenter, I learned that Neopol is in good company with it’s information and facts:

Says Dr. Joel Fuhrman, champion of the “let food be thy medicine” theory:

Fish is one of the most polluted foods we eat, and it may place consumers at high risk for various cancers. Scientists have linked tumors in fish directly to the pollutants ingested along the aquatic food chain, a finding confirmed by the National Marine Fisheries Service Laboratory. In some instances, such as with the PCBs in Great Lakes trout and Salmon, it can be shown that a person would have to drink the lake water for one hundred years to accumulate the same quantity of PCBs present in a single half-pound portion of these fish, reported John J. Black, Ph.D., senior cancer research scientist for the Roswell Park Memorial Institute to the American Cancer Society. From the flounder in Boston Harbor to the English Sole in Puget Sound, scientists report that hydrocarbon pollution from habitat and our environment concentrate in fish in toxic levels.

So what to do.  The theory proposed above is sound!  Makes total sense.  Still!  Knowing what I now know, reading what I’ve read…I still want fish to be a part of my diet.  But can I afford it?  Can any of us? Does it defeat the purpose of my otherwise clean colorful food world (we’ll talk eggs another day :))?  Even looking at a broader picture–where does anyone draw the line?  Many of us are eating clean these days, and trying to consistent, and stay educated.  But doesn’t something have to give at some point?  But where?  How do you decide what the lesser evils of our fat, sugar, pollution saturated communities lie? 

In the meantime, eat colorfully!  You can never go wrong doing that!

 

 

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I Got my Eggs Back!! Post-Raw Diet.

So in my normal diet, that is pre-Raw Experiment, there were two things that separated me from my Vegan neighbors.  First, fish.  And I blame that on a little island toward Annapolis, MD and a guy whose name I’ll never remember, but whose little, itty bitty shack I’ll never forget.  It was just him–an oldish man, with leathery browned skin and permanentaly squinted eyes to go along with his permanent smile.  We had just spent all day on the water, and caught a bunch of Rockfish.  We let most go, except for one for each of us.  After docking and then lugging around our little cooler, we saw the shack, and a sign above it saying, “You bring it, We’ll Cook It!”  Long story short, it was one of the most delicious food experience I’ve had, and the closest to nature I’ve felt. 

This isn’t about fish, but the eggs half of my non-vegan story doesn’t have nearly as pretty of a picture behind it.  They are more more nostalgic.  Pancakes, crepes, (my personal favorite) french toast, omelettes…to name a few.  If along my path I happen to catch a whiff of any of these things, my mind instantly wanders to the best French Toast I’ve ever had–Terrain, in Glen Mills PA, or the best Pancakes–my mom’s on Christmas morning, or crepes–in the kitchen with Barbara learning to make them for the first time.  So eggs, and fish, need to at the very least be options in my diet.  I love them both so much!

Enter Raw Diet.  And “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”.  As of late, “Forks Over Knives”, and countless other media influences to go ahead whole hog (no pun intended) Vegan, and leave my eggs and fish behind.  Well, out the gate I decided I wanted to keep fish around.  I am particular–Wild caught, omega rich, small varieties only–but even as I was eating raw, I also freely enjoyed raw fish.  Egg, obviously not so much. And in fact, a few days after I ended my Raw journey, I ordered egg whites to go along with the Ezekial english muffin, tomatoes and avocado I had brought from home.  Sick.  Sick. Sick.  Was definitely not ready to digest eggs yet, and I was afriad I never would be.  Even knowing it is the least “clean” product I eat, I was sad at the thought of not eating them, and depressed to think of life without French Toast (even though I only have it a few times a year!).

So last night, I decided to revisit the Egg.  I got the most “raw” eggs I could find: Organic, Free Range chickens named Betty and Sue laid them, in green pastures, fed a strict vegetarian diet.  I was ready.  A little coconut oil, separated the eggs, so I would have egg whites only (I figured I’d crawl before I walked), and…….DELICIOUS!  Eureka!!  I CAN eat eggs!!  And so, my diet profile became even more complicated:  No meat, but fish allowed; no dairy, but eggs allowed; mountains of veggies, but raw only and grains always, sometimes cooked, sometimes sprouted; evry meal, at least 50% raw, usually 80%.  Phew! 

Jinji’s Polenta & Eggs with Raw Gravy & Kale

Kale

Stem, and chiffonade; feverishly rub leaves together with lemon juice, a touch of EVOO, cayenne and dash of sea salt

Raw Gravy

1 T almond butter; 2 T water; 1 T onions; 1 portabello mushroom; Poultry seasoning & Braggs to taste…process in food processor until smooth-ish

Then… cook the polenta as you like it, and top everything with cooked egg white!

Enjoy!!

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Wieght Watchers, Etc. Inspired & Revisited

Wow, lightbulb moment!  First, I’m so inspired by all the feedback I have gotten from my last post, “Waging War Against Weight Watchers”.  Coming from both sides of the street, some were ready to grab their swords (or forks, as the case may be), and others of you were ready to do the same, but on the side of the Mega Dieteer, Weight Watchers.  One of the comments in particular really gave me my lightbulb moment:

I’m totally with you on being anti-quantification, but the concreteness of it can be very helpful for people who don’t know where to begin…  And if someone follows the SPIRIT of it and really reads the materials and recipes, they’ll move in the right direction.

Do you hear that?  It’s the sound of a million people saying, “I don’t know where the hell to start, but I know I’ve got to start somewhere.”  Weight Watchers, other food diet trends, they are not the enemy.  The war I was proposing to wage was misdirected!  Indeed, anyone who reaches a point in their lives, and admits that they need to do something about regaining control of their health, their weight or their energy needs to go ahead and do just that.  And if “dieting” is in the “doing” credit must be given that at the very least they are on their way.  So instead of trying to beat them, I’m going to join them.  Do Weight Watchers.  But do so consciously and intentionally, with the goal of not just weight loss, but health gain.  Learn!  Learn what labels mean, and educate yourself on the benefits of the points you’re consuming.  Be friendly!  Surround yourself in any way possible with like-minded people who want to be healthy, fit and treat the earth well.

I just watched Forks Over Knives, and am hopeful that the number of viewers will continue to grow.  There is such great, and revolutionary work being done right now to help us all along this food journey.  To help those who have got their plan pretty much figured out, and to help those who are just getting started.  I’ll never love the idea of numbers and food co-existing.  Not in calories, not in points, not in pounds, and not in measurements–I never bake.  But I can respect that somehow people need to save their own lives, and Point A must be as unique for everyone as our eventual diets will be. 

So, before the war has even begun, I’m signing the peace treaty, for there is a much larger battle that we must all fight together. 

 

 

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Waging War Against Weight Watchers

Yup, I said it.  I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, and ’tis the season to say something about it out loud before people dive in whole hog, only to get their feelings hurt when they don’t get the results they were looking for.  To be fair, it’s not just Weight Watchers.  It’s all the “hype diets”.  Although, before I get to the bigger picture, I do have a bone to pick with Weight Watchers in particular.

A colleague of mine is dead set on losing weight, and a lot of it.  He’s really committed to changing his appearance.  Again.  He really wants to do it!  Again.  So much so, that he’s back on the ole wagon.  Again.  And he’s using Weight Watchers to do it!  For at least the dozenth time in the two years we’ve worked together.  Oh, have I tried!  “…it’s a lifestyle change that you’ll have to commit to, not a fad diet…” and “…balance your diet, eat clean foods, and move your body around a few times a week, that’s all you have to do…”.  But after Jennifer Hudson’s endorsement of Weight Watchers, he’s more gun-ho than ever to stay the course.  That is, stay the course with his daily microwave egg/cheese breakfast sandwich on white english muffin, some variety of a microwave salt-lick for lunch, sugar rush of whatever’s at arm’s length at the mid afternoon crave time, and I shudder to think what dinner consists of.  In fact, during the crave times, I’ve offered some of my nuts, or muesli, or figs.  But he declines (siting “points” restrictions),  and eats the leftover double chocolate chip cookie from the lunch room, because he’ll “just add it to [his] points for the day, and still come in under what he’s allowed”.  Allowed.  Nice.  One day he was going to burger night at a local dive, noting: “I ate very few points all day, so I could have a cheeseburger and 2 beers tonight!”  Should I have congratulated him?  I should also note that during his on-again, off-again relationship with Weight Watchers, I’ve haven’t seen whole grain number one, nor have I seen any semblance of a leafy green, outside the iceberg ones covered in caesar dressing.  Now, I know I have higher expectations for veggie consumption than the average bear, but come on!  That just hurts my feelings.

If I can try and be academic for a moment, the Weight Watchers dilemma is clear.  It simply doesn’t train the mind nor the body to make good choices with food.  Instead, it surrenders to the learned societal need for the limitless amounts of salt, sugar, grease, alcohol, processed foods, etc.  Eat all of it you want!  Just stay inside of the “points” we’ve allowed you, and you will lose weight.  PS. No avocado or nuts (seriously.  Also hurts my feelings!).  Admittedly, people do lose weight with the program.  My colleague has, a dozen times.  He’s also gained the weight back, and then some an equal amount of times.  I can’t imagine he’s alone.  And to broaden my thoughts here, this indeed applies to most fad diets.  It’s been proven time and time again, the ONLY sustainable, and reliable method to weight loss is to pay attention to our bodies, eat whole foods, and commit to a lifestyle change, void of all the pitfalls that many fad diets allow, promote and sell.

I don’t know, I think the Weight Watchers of our world should have a little more faith in the ability for people to change and learn new things in terms of diets.  Otherwise, it’s kind of an endless cycle, right?  Big business marketing tells us what to eat.  So we eat it.  We become addicted to it.  We crave it.  We get fat.  So then the fad dieteers (die-et-ears) create diets which emulate our bad habits and reinforce the legitimacy of them.  We lose weight, and quit the fad diet, but the fad dieteers aren’t worried because they know we’ll be back.  So what to do?

I guess I just wish people would eat more colorfully, that’s all.  Any soldiers want to join me?

 

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Where Math Meets Food & Food Meets Wellness

In trying to eat clean, and keep weight under control, it’s hard to know the right thing to do all the time.  Easy is choosing between water with a squeeze of lime, and a Coke.  Or a Snickers Bar and some raw trail mix.  And really, keeping it simple, and making good choices may be just enough to keep your spirits and energy high.

But what happens for those who may be a little less concerned with simple weight management, and more concerned with actually maintaining/achieving optimal, via diet.  Well, for these courageous few, a little more digging is neccessary.  it doesn’t have to be hard, but indeed some work is neccessary to add this next level of foodiedom to your repetoire.  Just this little investment of time and focus (and fun experimentation!) could pay off in dividends though for years to come if you are able to successfully protect your health.  Salvation comes in the form of easy to use reference guides, like the one I recently came across comparing Alkaline and Acidic foods.  Caution!  Here comes the math.  I’ll keep it easy (as if I have another option, evident by my math grades growing up…right.  Let’s just say, if I can do this, ANYone can!). 

So on any given day, to have balanced body chemistry, you should consume 4 times the Alkaline foods to 1 Acidic foods.  So, that’s a ratio of 4:1.  Why is that important?  Alkalizing foods are cruicial in healing your body, and protecting you from disease:

All foods are “burned” in the body–more commonly called “digested”– leaving an ash as the result of the “burning”, or the digestion. This food ash can be neutral, acid or alkaline, depending largely on the mineral composition of the foods. Some foods leave an acid residue or ash, some alkaline. The acid ash (acidosis) results when there is a depletion of the alkali reserve or the diminution in the reserve supply of fixed bases in the blood and the tissues of the body.

It is, therefore, vitally important that there is a proper ratio between acid and alkaline foods in the diet. The natural ratio in a normal healthy body is approximately 4 to 1 — four parts alkaline to one part acid, or 80% to 20%. When such an ideal ratio is maintained, the body has a strong resistance against disease. In the healing of disease, when the patient usually has acidosis, the higher the ratio of alkaline elements in the diet, the faster will be the recovery. Alkalis neutralize the acids. Therefore in the treatment of most diseases it is important that the patient’s diet includes plenty of alkaline-ash foods to offset the effects of acid-forming foods and leave a safe margin of alkalinity.

Ok, now that we know the science, here’s the fun part:

 

Most Alkaline Alkaline Lowest Alkaline FOOD CATEGORY Lowest Acid Acid Most Acid
Stevia Maple Syrup, Rice Syrup Raw Honey, Raw Sugar SWEETENERS Processed Honey, Molasses White Sugar, Brown Sugar NutraSweet, Equal, Aspartame, Sweet ‘N Low
Lemons, Watermelon, Limes, Grapefruit, Mangoes, Papayas Dates, Figs, Melons, Grapes, Papaya, Kiwi, Blueberries, Apples, Pears, Raisins Oranges, Bananas, Cherries, Pineapple, Peaches, Avocados FRUITS Plums, Processed Fruit Juices Sour Cherries, Rhubarb Blackberries, Cranberries, Prunes
Asparagus, Onions, Vegetable Juices, Parsley, Raw Spinach, Broccoli, Garlic Okra, Squash, Green Beans, Beets, Celery, Lettuce, Zucchini, Sweet Potato, Carob Carrots, Tomatoes, Fresh Corn, Mushrooms, Cabbage, Peas, Potato Skins, Olives, Soybeans, Tofu BEANS VEGETABLES LEGUMES Cooked Spinach, Kidney Beans, String Beans Potatoes (without skins), Pinto Beans, Navy Beans, Lima Beans Chocolate
    Almonds Chestnuts NUTS SEEDS Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds Pecans, Cashews Peanuts, Walnuts
Olive Oil Flax Seed Oil Canola Oil OILS Corn Oil        
        Amaranth, Millet, Wild Rice, Quinoa GRAINS CEREALS Sprouted Wheat Bread, Spelt, Brown Rice White Rice, Corn, Buckwheat, Oats, Rye Wheat, White Flour, Pastries, Pasta
            MEATS Venison, Cold Water Fish Turkey, Chicken, Lamb Beef, Pork, Shellfish
    Breast Milk Soy Cheese, Soy Milk, Goat Milk, Goat Cheese, Whey EGGS DAIRY Eggs, Butter, Yogurt, Buttermilk, Cottage Cheese Raw Milk Cheese, Homogenized Milk, Ice Cream
Herb Teas, Lemon Water Green Tea Ginger Tea BEVERAGES Tea Coffee Beer, Soft Drinks

 

Let me know what you guys think!  As we move into a new season, it’s a great time to experiment with new foods and learn to stay in the “green”!  …At least…for errr…80% of the time!  So now I’m 80% Raw, working toward 80% Alkaline…is that 160% of something??  I have too much time on my hands 🙂

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An Eating Disorder I Agree With

So, my last commentary on Orthorexia, which Women’s Health magazine touts as the new generation of Eating Disorders got me going.  Could really keep going about it, but I’ll spare you.  I think you all get the ludicrous connotations involved there.  By the way, would I be crass to get a t-shirt (made of hemp) with “I’m an Orthorexic” on the front?  Probably.  I digress.  Anyway, though I have learned to take much of what he says with a grain of salt, I was particularly amused and intrigued by Dr. Weil’s Daily Tip of the Day:

Everyone prefers some foods over others,but some adults take this to an extreme.  These people tend to prefer the kinds of bland food they may have enjoyed as children – such as plain or buttered pasta, macaroni and cheese, cheese pizza, French fries and grilled cheese sandwiches – and to restrict their eating to just a few dishes. This condition has been dubbed selective eating disorder (SED), and may eventually be listed by the American Psychiatric Association as an officially recognized eating disorder.

Is anyone else giggling?  Admittedly, I am that person that while helping you up, also laughs when you trip.  Sorry!  But if it’s any consolation, I laugh at myself just the same.  I mean there is something a little humorous about adults whose pallets haven’t adjusted to grains, vegetables and fruits, and instead eat…things that are white.  I won’t call it child food, because (says the woman with no children) I believe that even modest kids have the capacity to love colorful, mineral rich foods.

Joking aside, selective eating disorder (SED) is a symptom.  It’s evidence of the American culture we live in, where sugar, fats and salt reign paramount to whole, clean food.  It’s really no wonder that so many of us suffer from this disorder that there has now been a scientific label applied to it!  Afterall, even socioeconomic status aside, what would any busy intersection, mall, shopping center be without endless opportunity to indulge in fries, burgers, sodas, pizzas, white bread…you name it.

Come to think of it, I feel as badly for those who are being told that because they don’t eat vegetables they have an eating disorder, as I did for myself being told because I eat “too many” vegetables, I have an eating disorder!  I mean at least for me, food is my life and my hobby so I make an effort to consider every meal, and go out of my way to get good, clean food.  It’s natural for me.  But these other guys, with SED, they’re eating what their parents ate.  They’re eating what they ate as a child, and what media and pop culture is shoving down their throats at every turn.  They’re effectively doing what comes natural to them!  And now all the sudden, the very system that gave them McD’s, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, is now telling them they have a problem??  The only thing I have to battle with is my local Farmer’s Market, they on the other hand have an entire industry to wage a war against!

Yes, they do have a problem, unfortunately.  It’s not exactly fair, but it’s true.  And labeling it is likely only the start of the potential obesity, blood pressure, blood sugar and energy issues that will surely ensue from such a limited diet.  Again, not fair, but if calling it out will inspire some momentum in the opposite direction, it could be a positive thing.  Who knows they could be Orthorexics before they know it!

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The New Generation of Farmer’s Markets

What do you think a Farmer’s Market is?  I think it’s a super cool central location where farmer’s and artisans come to sell the wares, goods, and foods.  The prices are great, the energy is alive and everything is fresh and organically grown.

Here’s what Wikipedia thinks a Farmer’s Market is:  Produce found at Farmers Markets is renowned for being locally grown and very fresh. People argue farmers markets allow farmers to pick produce at the peak of flavor, preserve the nutritional content of fresh produce, and since locally grown produce does not travel as far to get to your table, the difference in mileage saves fossil fuels.

I learned a difficult lesson recently, that the 2012 Farmer’s market, in Baltimore at least, is not what it has always been.  I’m wrong, and so is Wikipedia.  So our Saturday market has about 10 different farmer stands–some have only a few things, some have one thing, like the apple stand, and still others have a huge variety.  Being that I am in Raw Diet purgatory, I was thrilled to see the guys with the huge variety!  I thought, GREAT, I’ll get all my shopping done for pennies on the dollar and feel great about my contribution to local farms.  And, to boot, as Wiki states, everything will be even more delicious since it’s grown right here in our soil.  You would think.  Had not the woman in front of me asked, “were these grown on your farm?”, I may have never asked my question, “is this organic?”  Turns, out the answer to both was a resounding “No.” 

It’s sad, but it’s true.  I went to each farm stand, and got the same answer: They didn’t grow it, and they could neither confrim nor deny whether it was organic.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, they also did not know where exactly it had even come from.  So not only is there misrepresentation going on here–if I hadn’t asked, I wouldn’t have known–but there’s also a lack of integrity going on.  The latter disturbs me most.  I get it–not everything is in season all the time, and with the unseasonable year we’ve had, it’s hard to even keep things alive, and know when the crops are ready.  But, I like to think of food, and growing as a craft, an art.  One its producers should be proud of!  Proud enough to know AT LEAST where it comes from, and why they chose to outsource their zucchini.

Whatever have we turned into that Farmer’s Markets are non-organic, non-integritous, and by the way, none of the farmer’s were smiling.  I ended up going to MOM’s (My Organic Market) afterall.  At least there I could get great service, from knowledge and forthright associates, and I knew everything I picked up would be organic.  Why go to the Farmer’s Market anymore?? I mean the prices are good, but they’re not awesome, because now apparently they DO have to make up for fuel and transportation costs.  They have to pay the middleman like everyone else.  In the store I expect to see stickers on my fruits and veggies, not at my local Farmer’s Market!

Speaking of money, maybe that’s it?  The ONE farmer who was selling all of his own produce, was limited to greens–different varieties of kale, spinach and collards, chard and dandelion.  It came from his own hands, and was all organic.  And he was lonely.  He treated me spectacularly, as if I was the first and only person he had buying from him!  I “took the farm” for pennies!  It was the bigger guys, with the variety of non-descript, foreign stickered produce with the lines.  So maybe it’s that they have to sell out of seaon foods in order to make a buck.  I’m sure whatever the reality is, it deserves more than I’m giving it in this post.  The life of a farmer is impossible these days, so my kudos to the Greens guy, and even with a raised eyebrow, to the other guys too.

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I Have a New Project! …But Haven’t Forgotten the Raw…!

Mainly haven’t forgotten the raw because it won’t let me!  I keep trying to introduce foods that I previously loved, and it is NOT going well.  I’ll spare everyone the lovely details, but let’s just say my stomach knows what it wants, and if I deicde not to feed it raw foods, it makes sure to tell me.  All.  Night.  Long.  Sigh…And last night was so mild!  A Dr. Praeger’s veggie burger (yum!! the best!), which has no vegetable protein, or tofu or anything–just loaded with veggies, with a side of deliciously roasted sweet potatoes.  But nooo, my body still has expectations of big salads, fruit and sprouted grains.  Let me go!!! I want to say.  I also want to say, I promise not to take those things away, I just want a little heat in my life!! Sheesh, as if it wasn’t hard enough as it was for me to go to summer BBQ’s without making it a BYOF (bring your own food) experience.  Imagine me now–“I’ll just have the watermelon, thanks.” And what about my favorite restaurants?  Sigh.  Anyway, my new project!!

The best part about anything I do, is when i’m inspired to do something new, and when I can inspire someone else to do something new.  In the very humblest of ways, I love when people color outside the lines, and especially love when I can color with them.  It’s why I love nutrition and food so much–the energy, the creativity and community it creates is endless and always a good experience!  Such is the case with my friend, and his decision to clean up his diet, and tone up for summer.  A goal most of us share, but few of us have the commitment, will, and courage to see a plan through.  So together, John and I are going to color outside of the lines, and I will help coach him to success.  So, he has described what he wants: To tone up, but not neccessarily lose numbers off the scale, though an inch here and there would be fine.  He’ll start in a couple weeks, but here’s what he has to chew on so far–maybe someone else will find it helpful as well:

1)      Eat more.  This is where most people fail.  They think to lose fat, they must cut calories.  If you’re working out, it’s the opposite.  Lots of high quality food throughout the day will serve your body best, and get the quickest results. 

  1. Must eat a great breakfast every single day. If you do nothing else right that day, eat breakfast.  It should be within an hour of rising, and if you work out in the morning, it must be within 2 hours of working out.
  2. Test what works best for you, but you should eat at least every 3 hours through the day.

                                                               i.      i.e, what works for me is: Big breakfast around 9; Snack around 12; Medium lunch around 1:30/2; Snack around 4:30; Dinner at 7

                                                             ii.      Never, ever let yourself get hungry.  Be prepared with snacks, always.  The second you’re hungry, is when your body starts to store fat, making it much less accessible to actually burn.

  1. Every meal should have whole grains included in it—oats, quinoa, brown rice, barley, etc.  Whole grains TORCH fat.  It’s the only food that does it so effectively.  Load up on these.
  2. PROTEIN.  Every meal should have high quality protein.  Let’s talk about this if you are unsure what exactly that looks like.
  3. Plenty of fiber.  Dried and fresh fruit make great snacks, and are full of fiber.  Of course all the leafy greens your body can handle is also paramount.
  4. Avocado’s and prunes are your friends.

2)      Work out.

  1. Everytime you run, couple it with strength building.  I’m a big fan of body weight resistance—push ups, sit ups, dips, squats.  You will build the most muscle this way—better than cardio alone, and better than weights alone.
  2. When you do cardio, mix it up—slow then fast, medium then slow, fast then medium, etc.  You will burn the most calories this way.  Better than just fast, or just medium.
  3. After eating, walk around a little, do dishes, do something.  Don’t just sit there.  Help your body assimilate the good foods by moving.
  4. Don’t eat within 2 hours of working out.
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Wait! Do I Have an Eating Disorder?? …Post-Raw Day 6

Approaching my one-week anniversary of the completion of my epic Raw journey, something VERY interesting was brought to my attention.  Aside from my airplane salad debacle, I also had a Women’s Health Magazine debacle:

Orthorexia
A fixation with healthy or righteous eating

Orthorexics often eat only organic foods, eliminate entire food groups, or refuse to eat anything that isn’t “pure” in quality, says clinical psychologist Sari Shepphird, Ph.D. Unlike anorexics, they don’t necessarily think they’re fat or strive to be thin; some are motivated by a fear of bad health, a fixation with complete control, or the desire to improve their own self-esteem. Ironically, severe orthorexia can lead to malnourishment.

Okay, so here’s what.  No one tells you that your ambition to be healthy, ward off potential genetic diseases, be energetic, feel youthful and look fit would later, somewhere along the way be classified as an [GULP] Eating Disorder.  No one says that the reward for fending off the American obesity epidemic, and avoiding the fats, sugars, and other unsavory abundant delights would be replaced with the scorn of a mid-shelf magazine.  That the few of us who are courageous and creative enough to take the road less traveled, eating clean when we can, indulging here & there when we want to, and trying to raise awareness as we go; our efforts should be minimized and we should be made to feel there must be some kind of ulterior motives to our apparent madness.
Yes, I choose to eat as healthy as I reasonably can.  Check.  I’ve also eliminated meat, most dairy, refined sugars and simple carbs from my diet.  Check.  Certain items, the “dirty dozen” to be exact, I insist must be organic.  I don’t like to eat pesticides.  Check.  But in making what I deem simple adjustments, delicious adjustments!, I enjoy a life full of much more energy, quality and laughter than ever before.  I’m more intuitive, more thoughtful, and I care more about the planet.  Now, am I thin as a result?  Maybe.  I also make sure I sweat a few times a week.  And of course I’m not afraid of being sick, because I am confident I am feeding my body well.  And as for malnurishment–ask the bunch of Kale, Spinach, Quinoa, Wild Rice (yup! I had bloomed wild rice again tonight, this time with a pesto sauce…mmmmm!), Avocado, Oatmeal, Nuts and Berries, Grapefruit and Chocolate I had today if I’m getting sufficient nutrition.
I understand there are folks with unhealthy perspectives on their bodies, and that have toxic relationships with food.  But when it comes to those who are enthusiasts, and who prefer oats to frosted flakes because they want to stay full past 9, at least give us the dignity of letting us dance to the beat of our own colorful, raw drums.  So am I an orthorexic?  I don’t know.  Am I?  Seems sort of like a made up word anyway.  I kind of love being “fixated with healthy or righteous eating”…especially the righteous part.  But in general, I prefer the term, foodie.
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