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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.
Not too long ago I posted about District Tea Lounge because of their incredible tea and one of my favorite things in the universe: kombucha on tap. Since then I’ve been back often because I love the vibes and wanted to try a few things on their menu. In addition to the local kombucha, they tend to have a few raw dessert options, a super cheap “Buddha bowl” which will only run you nine bucks for a large bowl of organic veggies and quinoa, at least one raw meal option.
On the most recent trips back I tried the raw zucchini pasta with peanut sauce, the raw brownie, and the raw carrot cake bar. All were pretty good. I really enjoyed the zucchini pasta which was a really light and good alternative to a basic salad. A friend who I visited with me ordered a pu-erh tea, which is a special fermented black tea that originates from China and has almost as much caffeine as coffee. In the past it used to take up to fifteen years to properly age pu-erh teas, but with new technology the process can be accelerated. What struck me about this tea was that it also has strong medicinal properties. In traditional Chinese herbalism it has been used to open the meridians and facilitate ‘blood cleansing’ and optimal digestion. Some studies also have shown that pu-erh may lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and increase metabolism.
If you haven’t visited District, I definitely recommend you check it out. It will be one of the places I will miss frequenting when I leave DC. -XoXo Raw Girl
To learn more about District you can visit their Website.
Food goes down the esophagus, through the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), and into the stomach. The LES is a valve that normally stays closed after food has passed through. However, there are certain situations where it will open and allow contents of the stomach to come back up into the esophagus, causing burning from exposure of the esophageal tissue to hydrochloric acid (HCl). The esophagus is not lined with mucous the way the stomach is to protect it from HCl exposure as the body does not expect food to come back up the esophagus. All situations where food and HCl come back up into the esophagus thus cause discomfort.
It is commonly believed (and promoted by the medical and pharmaceutical professions as well as the media) that heartburn should be relieved by taking products, which either neutralize stomach acid (HCl) or prevent the body from producing it. Although these strategies may provide temporary relief from discomfort, they are counterproductive to proper digestion and healthy nutrition in the long run, which requires regular and copious production of HCl. Therefore, the emphasis with heartburn should be on first healing irritated esophageal, LES, and stomach tissue with supplements (talk to your holistic health practitioner about how to do this) and employing the strategies outlined below.
What Causes Food to Come Back Up the Esophagus
Consumption of alcohol and/or caffeine can overly relax the LES muscle – causing the muscle to fail to close properly, allowing contents to come up and burn the esophagus.
- Solution: Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
An overly full stomach can put pressure on the LES to open – this leads to stomach contents coming up and burning the esophagus.
- Solution: Eat small meals – stop eating before you feel full.
Food staying in the stomach too long due to insufficient hydrochloric acid production. Natural occasional spasms of the LES open it up very briefly, but long enough for food and HCl to come up into the esophagus when food is in there for too long.
- Solution:Follow strategies for optimal HCl production and concentration: eat in a relaxed state; avoid stress in general and/or learn to manage it; make sure you are well hydrated all the time; avoid drinking more than 6 ounces of liquid during meals; avoid alcohol, sugar and caffeine; and avoid any foods you know you are sensitive to.
Population of the LES by “bad” bacteria from insufficient HCl production– this allows “bad” populations to root and weaken the LES muscle. The LES then fails to close properly, again allowing contents of the stomach to come up into the esophagus.
- Solution:Follow strategies for optimal HCl production and concentration, and consume probiotic foods and beverages daily such as yogurt, kefir (if you tolerate dairy), cultured vegetables, and kombucha.
Excess gas in the stomach created by “bad” bacteria will also put pressure on the LES to open and allow food and HCl to come up into the esophagus. The bacteria feeds on foods putrefying in the stomach when HCl production is insufficient to kill them.
- Solution: Follow strategies for optimal HCl production and concentration, and consume probiotic foods and beverages daily.
Consumption of foods that weaken the LES – fats, chocolate, coffee, mints (especially peppermint and spearmint), sugar, alchohol, onions, and any food you are sensitive to will weaken the LES, allowing contents to come up into the esophagus.
- Solution: Avoid foods you are sensitive to as well as fats, chocolate, coffee, mints (especially peppermint and spearmint), sugar, alchohol, and onions. (Note: Certain prescription medications can also weaken the LES: bronchodilators, NSAIDs, calcium channel blockers, Beta-blockers, Diazepam, Nitrates, and Demerol.)
Consumption of foods that irritate the esophagus, including foods you are sensitive to – this will make heartburn doubly uncomfortable. Common esophageal irritants include: citrus fruits and juices, tomato-based foods, spicy foods, coffee, and carbonated drinks. Common foods that people are sensitive to include: gluten in wheat and other grains and casein in dairy products.
- Solution: Avoid citrus fruits and juices, tomato-based foods, spicy foods, coffee, and carbonated drinks. Also avoid foods that you have noticed you are sensitive to in any way. Do a two-week challenge and cut out the major allergens like gluten and casein, then add them back in and see what changes you notice. Do this with other suspected foods as well and remove them permanently if they are causing problems. (Note: Certain over the counter medications can also irritate the esophagus: aspirin, NSAIDs, Tetracycline, Quinidine, Potassium chloride tablets, and iron salts.)
To learn more about Babette, click here
Issue #2 – gluten’s effect on the brain. Gluten is the only grain protein which, when digested into polypeptide chains, crosses the blood brain barrier. This is true for both the new “dwarf” wheats as well as the heritage wheats. And what does it do in the brain? Among other things, these gluteomorphins lodge in the endorphin receptor sites, causing . . . you guessed it! Euphoria. Mild euphoria for some, greater for others, but euphoria nonetheless. And so gluten in wheat is addictive. It can be subtle; all people know is that they crave certain foods – if you pay attention, many of the foods that are craved contain wheat and gluten. This craving side effect of eating wheat in people with normal brain activity leads to weight gain and the development of diabetes.
This is bad enough, but in people with different brain activity such as ADHD symptoms or autism symptoms, or even schizophrenia, the gluten in wheat can cause great exacerbation of symptoms. So psych wards which have removed wheat have seen tremendous calming of hallucinations and delusions only to have them get worse again when wheat is added back into the cafeteria food, for example. And children with autism show much more stimming activity when wheat is consumed.
Issue #3 – gluten’s effect on the intestinal tract. Consumption of gluten leads to higher production by the body of a protein called zonulin, which loosens the tight junctures in the intestinal lining. A tightly woven intestinal lining is what keeps undigested food from going into the abdominal cavity and ending up in the bloodstream, where they elicit immune responses. Essentially, eating gluten results in a leaky gut, especially in those who already have impaired digestion, and this can lead to autoimmune disorders as described at the beginning of the article. Although people tend to associate Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity with digestive symptoms, rarely do people realize that zonulin is doing its dirty deed in their intestinal tract even if they are not sensitive to gluten.
Another thing that people don’t usually realize is that most of the devastation caused by ingestion of wheat is not digestive, and because most people think wheat issues mean digestive problems, many people affected by wheat are currently experiencing symptoms that are “mysterious” – unrecognized and untreated. There is a huge educational campaign currently under way in the medical community, both holistic and conventional, to correct this misunderstanding.
Issue #4 – gluten’s effect on weight gain and the development of diabetes. The type of starch in wheat, amylopectin A, is different from the starch in things like potatoes, beans, and other grains, and one of its characteristics is that it is very easily digested. Although this sounds like a good thing, in fact it is not, because what it means is that the starch in wheat is immediately converted to glucose and raises blood sugar quickly. When blood sugar is raised quickly in the body, the body sees it as dangerous and immediately over-secretes insulin to get the glucose level down. But why does it over-secrete insulin, you ask. Well, the pancreas’ job was never to balance your blood sugar – it was to store energy in fat tissue for lean times. But we make the pancreas balance our blood sugar – it obliges, but unfortunately it does so in a very primitive way. It tends to overreact and secrete so much insulin that our blood sugar then falls quickly, which is a different kind of emergency for the body.
At this point the adrenal glands get involved and shoot out adrenaline and direct the body to take glucose back out of storage and dump it into the blood stream again, and here we are on the blood sugar roller coaster. When we do this for enough years, the pancreas, liver, and adrenal glands take a big hit, and we develop either severe hypoglycemia or insulin resistance, or diabetes, or all of the above in succession. What happens to us depends on which of our organs is weakest genetically, which has been hit hardest by our habits, and whether we change our habits.
The lesson to draw from all of this is that wheat and gluten are dangerous for everyone, not just for people with wheat sensitivity, and this is true whether you are eating new wheats or heritage wheats, although more so for new wheats. The good news, though, is that it is easy to live without gluten, and it exposes people to new foods. Not to sound cliché, but every problem is an opportunity!
To learn more about Babette, click here
If you are looking for a way to tone your bottom half without sweaty workouts and countless squat sessions, try Tiptoe pose. A pose which calls for agility and balance, the tiptoe will offer you a calm and peaceful alternative to the standard exercise fare. This asana opens your hips, stretches your thigh muscles, and increases flexibility in your knees, toes and ankles.
Due to the level of attention and focus required in the intermediate variations of this pose, its practice develops a sharpened mental focus, while also improving your memory and balance. Pictured here is a stretch to help you work up to the advanced level of tiptoe.
In the advanced level, the benefits for men are said to outweigh the perks of Viagra! Apparently, the stretch resulting form crossing one leg over the other while still balancing on the toes of one foot, rev up the veins through which semen passes, unblocking and clearing them. The effects of this activity include increased sexual stamina, deepened orgasm and impotency prevention. Surely, this is a pose that will keep you on your toes!
To learn more about Sia, click here
The deeper I get into my study of nutrition the more I have come to embrace bio-individuality as the best term to sum up my personal beliefs about healthy eating. You may have heard the saying “one man’s food is another man’s poison.” Well, bio-individuality is the concept that best summarizes this because it is essentially saying there is no one perfect way of eating for everyone. Every single human being, including you and I, have unique genetic make-ups, blood types, ancestry, metabolism, and food intolerances.
Part of your job, when walking the healthy living path, is to be your own health guru and figure out what makes your stomach and your body happy and healthy. Some bodies metabolize carbs better, and some proteins. Some people cannot be optimally healthy on an animal based diet or diet that includes dairy. Some people may not thrive on a vegan or raw diet, either because of improper supplementation, eating a diverse group of foods, or because their body is simply not getting the levels of essential nutrients or fat soluble vitamins it needs to function at its best. When this happens individuals find themselves with candida imbalances, tooth decay, fatigue or other signs that something is off-balance in the body.
I am a firm believer that optimal health should always be the end goal, and sole focus. This means that rather than clinging to a diet like a religion that leads to illness and eventually disease, each of us should carefully mine the information we hear about different food choices and diets and filter out by testing on our own body, and discovering what is appropriate for us. So how do we avoid falling into the fad diet trap?
As the ancient Egyptians put it: “Know thyself.” You have to know your ancestry, learn what foods your body does and does not like, and decipher what any imbalances that arise are trying to tell you. Most doctors can’t do this for you. It takes some personal initiative and perhaps some digging with the help of non-traditional and traditional health practitioners along with a nice dose of intuition. But when you put in the work it’s well worth it. My idea of a healthy and balanced world is one is which bio-individuality is embraced fully, where all of us avoid the factory and embrace the field, and where dietary labels don’t need to exist because everyone eats whole fresh good karma foods that support their unique and incredible body. -XoXo Raw Girl
Muscle tone in your legs is one of the first things to go when you have a sedentary, computer-centered life. That is why it so good to get up from your laptop every few hours and stand in tree pose.
Vrikshasana, in its call for balance and poise, tones the leg muscles, strengthens the spine and increases flexibility in the feet. A great pose for core building, Tree will increase your coordination, teach you patience and calm your mind.
Like a tree’s trunk you become rooted in your sense of self and grounded with conviction, while also expressing freedom, expansion and a heavenward gaze like the branches and leaves. Hunching over at your desk is commonplace I know, but the spine wants to fully extend, as does the spirit. Open your shoulders with Tree pose to increase your range of motion and improve posture.
Daily practice of this asana will bring waves of inner strength, self-confidence and peace to balance the fast-paced excesses of modern life.
To learn more about Sia, click here