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Ever since I was introduced to Ayurveda, I’ve been hooked. Learning more about doshas and energy imbalances while at Wanderlust (the yoga festival) helped me to realize that I needed to move from the East Coast and that the stagnant energy of where I was living was affecting my health. As soon as I took steps to relocate everything shifted back to optimal. The wonderful thing about Ayurveda is that it emphasizes the bio-individuality or uniqueness of every being and takes into consideration the whole person, mind, body, and spirit.
Ayurveda is the traditional system of medicine that originates from India and has the goal of maintaining health and preventing the onset of disease. This is system is personalized and considered a macro-explanatory model for disease because it takes into consideration the whole person being treated along with environmental factors. Ayurveda is based on three entities called doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. The doshas help to explain the makeup of the body along with the temperaments of individuals for the purpose of understanding balance and imbalance. Ayurveda is based on energies of the elements including: fire, air, ether, water and earth; and each dosha corresponds to one or more of the element energies. Every single person at birth comes into the world with a specific makeup of these doshas that is fixed, and referred to as Prakriti. One’s Prakriti is the most important factor in ayurvedic medicine because it determines the treatment plan for each individual. Optimal health is achieved when there is optimal functioning of the doshas and the interactions between them to maintain balance in the body. Proper elimination, clear thinking, proper functioning of sensory organs, and a peaceful mind are also considered signs of good health.
Diagnosis of disease in the ayurvedic system is holistic involves examination of the manifestations of disease, subtypes of disease, and severity of condition. Development and progression of disease within Ayurveda, is explained by deviations or imbalances in the doshas. Imbalances of the doshas can be caused by a range of external or internal stressors including: environmental conditions, nutritional deficiencies, physical stress, or emotional turbulence. Treatment of any condition is highly personalized and includes parameters for overall health, diet, digestion, immunity, and response to environmental factors. Ayurveda also takes into consideration six tastes: bitter, sweet, sour, pungent, astringent, and bitter. These can be used to determine dietary changes or herbal treatments that also help to counteract imbalances. Herbs may be used in tandem with manual treatments, massage, dietary and lifestyle advice, nutritional supplements, and yoga to restore balance. If you are experiencing a health challenge that seems to be a impossible to diagnose, or if you just want to try a different perspective, Ayurveda may offer you interesting new insights. -XoXo Raw Girl
Sumantran, V., & Tillu, G. (2013). Insights on Personalized Medicine from Ayurveda. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 19(4), 370-375.
Iyer, J. (2013, July 1). The Goal of Ayurvedic Treatment. Tampa Bay Wellness, 7-7.
Have you noticed that there is a whole new crop of health enthusiasts that have just said no to grains? Not only has the gluten-free craze become all the rage, carb-free, and grain-free diets are becoming more common. If you’re scratching your head wondering how in the heck eating grain-free is possible, I’ll break it down further for you. To get rid of grains you must eliminate all grains including wheat, rice, corn, millet, barley and oats. This type of diet can be helpful and provide relief for some chronic conditions such as Crohn’s disease, chronic fatigue, or just the overall feeling of being weighed down by your diet. Quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat are exceptions because they are not technically considered grains. All that said, my policy is listen to your body. Perhaps certain grains need to go on your do not touch with a ten foot pole list, and others can be regular staples in your diet.
If you are living la vida 100% raw I’m sure you crossed most grains off your grocery list, with the exception of those that you can soak or sprout in their unprocessed form. After years of avoiding processed foods and carbs, my body generally has a strong aversion to grains especially in large quantities. So when I received a packet of millet in the mail from my Master’s program, I was excited to try it but worried it may aggravate my system. The good news is, it didn’t, which I consider a good sign. Millet looks similar to cous cous and has a nutty grainy texture like quinoa but takes much longer to cook than the latter. It is an ancient food that has been a staple for thousands of years in India and Africa and was even mentioned in the Bible as a primary ingredient for bread. Millet was the world’s first cereal grain and can be used in some sweet breakfast recipes like muffins, or simply as a rice substitute for more savory dishes.
If you do eat grains and want something you can add to dishes that packs a mean nutritional punch, millet is a great option. Not only is it comprised of around 15% protein, it is a great source of fiber, B-complex vitamins like niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, and vitamin E. Add to that iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium, and you’ll have an excellent side dish or entree that adds more nutrients than your rice ever will. -XoXo Raw Girl
After working diligently for the past few months, a release date has been set for my third e-book Thrive on VEG! The book will be available on October 15, 2014. I’m ecstatic to share it with you, because it is the resource that I wish I had when I was embarking on a plant-based lifestyle. The goal of the book is to give a simple overview of the many variations of a plant-based diet, discuss the health benefits going VEG can offer, key nutrients needed to stay optimal, tips and tools for transitioning, how to set up your plant based kitchen, and recipes so that you can begin your journey immediately. Thank you so much to all of the readers who have asked questions that prompted the idea for this book! Below I’ve included the Table of Contents so you can get a sneak peak at what topics are covered. My most recent draft of Thrive on VEG! is currently 75 pages, but I anticipate the final draft may end up being somewhere around 100 pages packed full of great information, delicious vegan and raw recipes (will be printable), and inspiring insights for anyone interested or curious about a plant-based lifestyle.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
i. What is a Plant-Based Diet?
ii. Levels of Plant Based Diet
iii. How to Thrive on a Plant Based Diet
iv. 7 Habits of Highly Effective Plant Eaters
v. Benefits of Plant Based Diet
vi. How to Transition
vii. Setting Up a Plant Based Kitchen
viii. Plant Cuisine Seasoning & Substitution Tips
To pre-order your copy click the button below. The first ten people to order their copy in advance will receive a Free 15 Minute Health Consultation via phone with yours truly! All buyers will receive their e-book via the email provided on October 15th, 2014.
It’s officially fig season! From June to September on the West Coast it’s a wonderful time to cop a wide variety of delicious figs. If you are among the relics still stuck on the Standard American Diet plan, you may think I’m talking about Fig Newtons. Nope. I’m talking about real, unprocessed figs as nature intended them. If you’ve never experienced them in raw form, get on it. There are so many varieties of figs to choose from. Some of the most popular are: black mission, adriatic, brown turkey mission, calimyrna, and kadota. Below’s ten great reasons why you should love figs, without the newton. -XoXo Raw Girl
- They are nutritional superstars. Like if a fig was a person, they would be famous.
- You can put figs in dishes that are savory or sweet, cooked or raw.
- Figs are fiber powerhouses and contain 16% of the RDA. The nice amount of fiber makes them useful for those who want to lose weight.
- They are an awesome source of Vitamin A & C.
- The combination of nutrients make this fruit a beauty superfood; if you have skin issues or want to improve your complexion figs are a great addition to your diet.
- Rich in minerals essential for health like calcium, iron, phosphorous, manganese, and potassium.
- People have been loving on figs since the dawn of time, circa Ancient Egyptian era.
- Consumption of figs can help to reduce cholesterol and reduce risk of prostate, breast, and colon cancer. Fig leaves and seeds are said to be useful in curing diabetes and eating figs can control blood pressure.
- Because of the fiber content can act as a mild laxative (especially when eaten in dried form) and treat chronic constipation.
- Eating figs can reduce fatigue, improve memory, and prevent anemia.
Hybrid foods are foods that would not occur in nature, are unnaturally high in sugar and low in minerals. They would not occur in nature because they have no seeds or are cross-bred to create an altered plant with new perhaps “better” qualities. Plants that evolved in nature, wildly grown, have a built-in capacity to withstand environmental conditions, fungi, and other things that compete for their life force whereas hybrid foods do not. For instance did you know that bananas are supposed to have seeds? So are grapes and watermelons. That is the way nature designed them. There are now so many variations of hybrid foods it’s hard to know what is real food and what is not. When you consume too much hybridized fruit sugar or sugar from seedless hybrid fruits such as bananas, grapes, oranges, pineapple, watermelon the excess sugar can over stimulate the endocrine system, cause constipation, and start the process of leeching essential minerals like calcium from the body. This is of even greater concern when you combine large amounts of hybrid fruit sugars with a diet that consists of lots of starchy cooked vegetables. Common hybrid vegetables include beets, carrots, corn, tomatoes, and potatoes. If you think you may be guilty of eating a lot of starch and sweet hybrid foods, to find a balance be sure to rotate your food choices, and incorporate non-starchy vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower etc.
Although I have heard many health conscious individuals preach about avoiding hybrids, I’ve never been too keen on it myself. Why? Sometimes it really does get exhausting adding to the long list of foods you CANNOT eat. So if you are reading this and having a mini-freak out about another toxic thing to cross of your list, take a beep breath. At the end of the day it’s just useful information to consider and there is always a way to strike a balance between cautious choices and fanaticism. When you can find access to non-hybrid versions of the food you love take full advantage of it, but if not always take care to find the best quality food possible. -XoXo Raw Girl
On my weekly farmers market visit, I’ve fallen in love with my sprout guy, or rather his product, because he has around fifteen varieties of sprouts to choose from. Just in case you didn’t know, eating sprouts is wonderful for your health, and offers a nice veggie source of protein. Each week I’ve been experimenting with different varieties to add to salads and wraps for additional nutrition. Although you can grown them easily yourself, if you’re anything like me running from one engagement to the next only to discover your budding sprouts have been neglected, having a sprout guy is so much better. Last week I was drawn to try fenugreek sprouts because of their long list of health benefits and extensive nutritional profile. If you are a sprout-pro, by all means grow them yourself: around 4 Tablespoons of fenugreek seed can be soaked for six hours, and will take three to five days to grow.
Fenugreek is a very aromatic seed, considered a sister herb to garlic, and one of the oldest medicinal herbs on the planet cultivated in Asia and the Middle East. Fenugreek in all forms is an important part of Indian cuisine and Ayurvedic traditional medicine. The seeds are generally used as a spice, the dried or fresh leaves as herbs, or the sprouts as vegetables. In addition to protein, calcium, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium, fenugreek also has a nice amount of B vitamins which are essential for maintaing peak energy and keeping the metabolic process running smoothly.
The list of health benefits from consuming fenugreek are wide an varied. Fenugreek naturally lowers cholesterol and promotes heart health, is a rich source of antioxidants which helps with beauty and anti-aging, can boost weight loss thanks to being 75% comprised of soluble fiber, improve digestion, beautify the skin and hair with nutrients that can ward off dandruff and increase hair growth, and get this ladies can help regulate menstrual cycles and symptoms that plague women during PMS and menopause. Although fenugreek is not recommended for pregnant women, it is beneficial for mothers who are nursing because it stimulates the production of milk. Add to all of these wonderful benefits the fact that fenugreek is a well known aphrodisiac which can boost libido and sexual performance, and you’ve got one pretty hot sprout! The sprouts are slightly bitter and do taste best when you mix them with another variety. Hope you will give this little known sprout some love. I’ve never found fenugreek in a grocery store, but it may be possible. You can also order the seeds and grow them yourself, or find your own personal farmer’s market sprout guy. -XoXo Raw Girl
Did you know you can juice melons? In this recipe you can try honeydew melon or cantaloupe, they both will work. Melons in general are great for alkalinizing the body because of their high water content. They are a great addition to your diet if you are trying to lose weight, keep your skin clear, stay hydrated, or just get your daily fruit and veg. -XoXo Raw Girl
Cucumber Melon Cooler
2 Large English Cucumbers
1/4 -1/3 Cantaloupe
Juice, Strain, Enjoy!
As I recently announced via the Facebook page, Raw Girl is heading West to LaLa land or Los Angeles again this week! Please forgive me and standby for more posts in the near future after I am done moving and settling into my new home. I had a wonderful two week visit recently and got to sample some amazing, and only one (not-so-amazing) raw food restaurants. In the picture above the top two dishes featured are raw nori nolls with “caulihemp rice” and the red enchilada from Rawvolution. The bottom two dishes are the raw pad thai and tiramisu from Cafe Gratitude. The food at Cafe Gratitude was delicious, fresh, and came with an inspiring affirmation. I had their raw Pad Thai made from kelp noodles and finished it off with tiramisu that was to die for. Overall experienced wonderful service, ambience, and food. Will definitely be heading back there in the near future.
While in Los Angeles I also fell in love with a veg spot called LifeFood Organic. It has a great cafe style ambience, perfect for setting up shop and using wifi. I also met some wonderful yogis and health enthusiasts while in their sampling their food. Everything is in to-go boxes and preprepared but don’t let that fool you into thinking the food isn’t amazing. Had a Chipotle Breakfast Wrap that was absolutely incredible (still having dreams about it). The “wrap” was the best imitation of a tortilla I have ever tasted raw and the incredible veggies in it had just the right combinations of flavors and textures. I like that LifeFood also has an amazing smoothie and juice selection, and a wide array of tonics, elixirs, and shots for wellness. FYI a lot of their desserts are made with all natural honey because they try to avoid using processed agave. They also had a few dishes that were raw but not vegan because they incorporated raw dairy.
The only place that disappointed me royally was M.A.K.E. Matthew Kenney Culinary. Not only was the service almost unbelievably bad, me and my guest got our starters and half of the ingredients that was supposed to be in our salads were missing. The coconut bacon in my salad was crunchy and looked more like a cracker. I’ve had coconut bacon before so I was a bit bewildered. Confused we asked the waitress about our orders and she replied that she could get some of the toppings and bring them as sides. Yikes! We ended up stopping our meal at the first course, and although we were prepared to unhappily foot the bill for a horribly made overpriced salad, luckily it dawned on them how bad the service was so they gave us a complimentary pass to leave. It was a huge disappointment after all of the hype I heard. Me and my guest left hungry and ended up venturing over to Rawvolution which was at a lower price point with better gourmet food, great service, and a wonderful ambience.
At Rawvolution I had their red enchilada with ancho chili wrap, romaine, guacamole, salsa, mango salsa, and oregano cashew mayo. It was an absolutely delicious party in my mouth, one of the best raw enchiladas I have ever tasted. My friend tried the California Crunch nori roll with caulihemp rice, avocado, mushrooms, walnut taco meat, sprouts, paprika sauce, and jalapeno powder. I tried some and it was equally incredible. If you’ve never stopped in Rawvolution, I highly recommend it on all fronts, and even if you have a raw newbie with you, they may end up converted like my friend was. Can’t wait to get back to LA and try some more of their delicious food. -XoXo Raw Girl
Cucumber Pear Zinger
1 Head of Celery
1 Large Cucumber
Ginger Root (as much as you like)
Juice, strain, enjoy!
-XoXo Raw Girl
As humans our optimal state is one of unconquerable euphoria. The root of being is pure consciousness: blissful, limitless, and abundant. We are able to access it through the thoughts we conjure up in our heads. With our minds we are able to orchestrate our own Earthly existence. With virtuous thoughts we create enjoyable experiences, and with impure thoughts we harvest seeds of doubt thus bringing chaos and blockage into fruition. How do we rid ourselves of potential darkness and despair? Well I say, “When in doubt, cut it out!”
Operating from a place of fear and anxiety affects the chemical makeup of the brain altering not only the thoughts we have in the present moment but also those of the future. When we tense up in thought we prepare the body for danger. Worry is the minds way of tricking the body into believing that it is in harms way. From constant worry our body becomes accustomed to being in reaction mode. We are unable to make rational decisions and fall victim to irrational behavior.
“Bliss or pure consciousness contains infinite potential; it is open to any outcome. When you experience this quality, you are no longer bound by fixed habits and beliefs. The horizon seems open, the future full of possibilities. The greater your experience of pure potential, the more creative you become.”~Deepak Chopra.
This week I challenge you to dig deep and get to the root so you can live blissfully.
To read more about Sihnuu visit here.