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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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The Odd Things a Raw Diet will Make you Do…Day 5

Well not only will it make you do odd things, but in the moment, you’ll think it’s beyond normal.  Like there’s nothing more natural that you could possibly do, than the obviously odd thing that you’re doing.  I mean, at the risk of sounding totally judgmental, don’t raw foodists kind of…feel odd?  Like, if it’s not the dreads when the rest of us are off to our next color appointment, then it’s the constant smiling, even on rainy days (like today) when the rest of us are rushing for shelter.  Or maybe it’s the hemp.  Clothes, of course.  Anyway, they are a quite curious bunch.  And if the “they” is “you”, take this all as a compliment, for you have somehow circumvented the conventional grumpy human experience, to take part in an otherwise…happy one.  In fact, I wonder if in my two week Raw Food experiment, I too will enter into the land of odd.

Today, actually, I took a great leap toward that eventual, or perhaps inevitable reality.  For dinner tonight, I decided to make Chili.  A homestyle chili, including everything a hot chili would have, except of course the heat.  I was skeptical.  Converting classics into Raw meals seems risky at best, but I had all the ingredients, so I went for it.  One of the ingredients was one of my greatest moments of pride; no, not the almonds (although those count!), but the barley.  I sprouted barley!  And I needed to put it to good use.  Anyway, as I was preparing the chili–chopping, dicing, combining, blending, peeling, rinsing, soaking, reserving (…sigh)–I caught myself doing things I would have never imagined myself to do (..another ‘imagine my surprise!’ moment).  I cut corn from the cob, then started cleaning the rest of the raw cob–nawing down each sweet, raw row, not even stopping to think I was eating RAW corn off the RAW cob.  I was alternating throwing some zucchini in the bowl, and dipping the rest into the (zucchini based!) hummus I’d made a couple days ago.  Raw zucchini!  I was licking spoons, and reserving tops of carrots for juices.  I don’t know maybe none of this is a big deal, but what it symbolized to me was that as much as I have loved food, I have never been as connected to it as I am now.  Everything is fair game, and anything goes.  To boot, it’s all delicious!  And in my kitchen, by myself, I found myself smiling a little bit as I sampled, ate, chopped and blended.  Go figure!  Here’s to being odd!

Jinji’s Odd Homestyle Chili, adopted from Judita Wignall’s Going Raw & Rhio’s Hooked on Raw

Chili

  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1/2 cup soaked (overnight) walnuts
  • corn off of one cob
  • some carrots
  • some zucchini
  • a couple tomatoes, diced–seeds and all
  • some sweet onion
  • lots of chili powder
  • a couple shakes of cumin
  • a couple shakes of cinnamon
  • some oregano
  • some chopped parsley
  • lots of cilantro
  • a few soaked prunes, a few soaked apricots–chopped

Chili’s Sauce

  • soaked sundried tomatoes, keep the water–about 3/4 cups of each
  • a couple tomatoes, seeded
  • a little bit of agave nectar
  • a lot of chili powder
  • a small onion
  • several shakes of salt
  • a bunch of oregano
  • some cumin
  • cayenne pepper

Put all the ingredients for the sauce in the blender, blend until smooth.  Put all the ingredients for chili together–pulse the barley and walnuts together briefly before combining with the rest…it will look a little like cooked ground turkey.  Combine everything, and enjoy the best chili ever!  Garnish with avocado slices and cilantro.  Smile!

 

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I’m Becoming an Addict…Raw Diet Day 3.5

Before I started this Raw Diet experiment, I read in several different places that weight loss is one of the effects of following this raw food only regimen.  I thought, “fine”, but knew it wasn’t really my goal–I am doing this for food’s sake, and for personal growth.  I’m a Certified Holistic Health Counselor, and so I pride myself on living a whole, healthy lifestyle, fully educated on the various ways to go about doing that.  Anyway, weight loss is not the goal, but neither is weight GAIN!  Dates this, raisins that, raw honey and raw agave nectar to the gills…dried papaya, and dried mango to my heart’s content!  Prunes, apricots, forget about it!  All delicious don’t get me wrong, but my!  The sugar!!  Not only am I pretty sure I’ve put on a pound or two in just a couple days, but I’m also becoming a sugar addict!  Now granted, before I started this diet, I ate very little sugar, if any at all.  I was the queen of whole grains, veggies, Ezekial breads, green apples and fish galore.  Now, I’m lucky if I can make a smoothie or a sauce without tablespoons of Agave or raw honey!  And forget about nighttime cravings–I think I just shoveled six strips of dried papaya in my mouth between leaving the kitchen and getting to my computer.  I don’t know.  Maybe I’m doing something wrong!  Oh, but all the sugar feels so right!  In any event, I was relieved to make a sugar-free dinner tonight (even if I did binge eat delicious papaya afterwards).  If green smoothies are the raw foodist pinnacle of full nutrition, zucchini fettucini is the pinnacle of the raw foodist “we’re normal” nutrition:

Jinji’s Fettucini, adopted from Going Raw by Judita Wignall

Sauce

  • a cup of cashews (soaked for a couple hours at least)
  • a cup of water
  • some soaked sun-dried tomatoes
  • a bunch of oregano
  • a bunch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • juice of half of a juicy lemon, or the juice of a whole regular lemon
  • a healthy drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • a bunch of salt, about a tsp

Noodles: 2 zucchini, thinly sliced on the mandoline or with a really good knife, then cut into fettucini pieces

Throw the sauce (there will be a lot left over, but it’s so delicious I feel like I could drink it out of the tupperware!) over the zucchini, add some diced tomatoes and more oregano and pepper flakes.  ENJOY!

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