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As we approach the end of year holiday season many of us are thinking about our health. What goals did you set this year? How much have you accomplished for yourself in the realms of mental, spiritual, and physical wellness? If you have fallen short, don’t worry, now is the time to start dreaming about your new vision for a healthier you in 2015. Below are some simple rituals that may help you close out this current year and start next year off with a bang.
- End the year with a juice cleanse or fast
- Create a vision board for 2015 that includes goals in all areas of your life work, family, spirit, health, and finances
- Clean House and remove clutter in your home or work environment
- Write a letter to yourself that you will read at the end of 2015 seal it and do not open it until next year
- Write a gratitude journal for as many things you can think of that you are grateful for in 2014
- Make a list of healthy milestones or progress made physically or spiritually in 2014, then write goals in those areas for 2015
- Dance it out! You made it to year’s end so you deserve to shake your groove thang on whatever kind of dance floor suits your fancy
- Commit now to your #MoveThatBody regimen for 2015. Whether it be hot yoga, pilates, or the gym, start your fitness routine now so you don’t have to jumpstart in the first week of January.
No matter what rituals you choose, make sure to take a moment to celebrate all you accomplished in 2014. Celebrate the experiences that brought you to where you are now, and the baby steps you have taken to ensure that you are living into your vision of optimal health. Hope you have an incredible holiday full of love, laughter, and healthy eats!
~Xo Raw Girl
Give the Gift of Health!
20% off All E-Books and Detox Plans until January 1st!
To help you ring in the new year right, all E-Books & Detox Plans in the Raw Girl Store are 20% off until January 1st!!! Discount will be applied at checkout. Visit The Raw Girl Store for details.
I regret that the release date for my next book Thrive on VEG! is going to be pushed back one additional month, a new release date is coming soon. Extra time is needed to hone all of the recipes that will be included. For all who have pre-ordered thank you; you will be receiving a bonus for your patience and will receive an email shortly. Very excited about sharing this book with you, which will include some recipes that will be great to use for the upcoming holiday season. Below are a few images of dishes I have been working on to include in the book which will feature raw and cooked vegan recipes. As always, appreciate your patience and support!
-XoXo Raw Girl
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.
Did you know that the average American eats an average of 142 pounds of sugar per year? Keeping this in mind makes it easy to understand why diabetes has become such an epidemic. Living with pre-diabetes and diabetes is a delicate issue and much care has to be taken to change lifestyle choices and consume sugars that have little to no effect on the blood sugar level to avoid aggravating the condition. The great news is there are a decent variety of natural sweeteners that do not aggravate blood sugar, and in some cases actually prevent tooth decay or repair tooth enamel. Within the natural sweetener world some substitutes have a lower glycemic index than refined sugar, such as agave nectar or birch syrup, but still may not be suitable for pre-diabetics or diabetics. The best course of action is to use sweeteners that have no effect on the blood sugar. Here’s a list of four sweeteners you can try that fit that criteria:
- Stevia. Not so long ago this leafy herb was completely unheard of. Now you can find it in most grocery stores in powdered or liquid form. Stevia has no calories, will not spike blood sugar levels, and its’ extract is considered 100-300 times sweeter than white sugar.
- Birch Sugar or Xylitol. This sugar substitute is a naturally occurring alcohol made from tree fibers and occurs naturally in fruits and mushrooms. Xylitol is sweet to the taste like sugar but it does not cause tooth decay. In fact, it actually reduces levels of decay-causing bacteria in saliva.
- Chicory Root. This natural sweetener is the root of a perennial herb, and has no calories. Not only will consuming chicory not spike your blood sugar levels; it decreases levels of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream, contains vitamin C a powerful antioxidant, supports detoxification of the body via the liver and kidneys, and serves as a prebiotic which feeds and promotes growth of good bacteria in the gut.
- Erythritol. This sugar alcohol is made by fermenting the natural sugar found in corn. It has no calories, will not raise blood sugar, and no carcinogenic properties. In addition erythritol is very easy to digest and is considered an antioxidant, which helps the body to fight freed radicals and reduce the signs of aging.
Sugar alcohols should not be confused with artificial sweeteners. Part of their structure resembles sugar and the other looks like an alcohol. They are used are sugar substitutes because they do not cause tooth decay, feed candida or fungal infections, and convert to glucose more slowly in the body and do not require much insulin to metabolize. When consuming sugar alcohols some people may experience uncomfortable symptoms like gas, bloating or diarrhea, so it’s important to not consume in excess. Hopefully these options give you a few places to begin finding the best sugar substitute for you. If you do not have diabetes or any related conditions, there are many other natural sweeteners you can try including indulging on good, plain old fruit. If you or anyone you know is dealing with diabetes I also highly recommend you watch “Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days,” for inspiration. It’s a documentary that chronicles the treatment and reversal of diabetes over the span of 30 days using a 100% organic raw vegan diet. –XoXo Raw Girl
For more on diabetes check out this past post: Natural Cures: Bitter Melon for Diabetes
It’s wonderful how something you didn’t even know you needed can show up in your experience and feed your soul. This past weekend I got an impromptu invite to attend Goddess On The Go in downtown LA and I am so glad I answered the call. The gathering happens several times a year here in Los Angeles, New York, and Detroit, and was created by Leora Edut to forge healing and community among strong, passionate, powerful women. The mission and vision driving Goddess On The Go is that every woman on the planet lives her best life. Designed as a day long retreat, the event gives any “goddess” the time and space to connect with other women, check in with herself, release any blocks that need healing, and reaffirm intentions for the future. Through classes, talks, and communion with other women a sacred space is created that can lead to empowerment, self-transformation, and AHA moments. The day included a Kundalini yoga class, a talk and mini-workshop on sensuality, an astrology recap, dancing, and really awesome raw vegan fare including lunch and dessert.
Beyond meeting a bunch of incredible and inspiring women, some of my favorite moments were the kundalini yoga class, and meeting one half of the dynamic AstroTwins duo, as I read their horoscopes via Elle, religiously. If you’ve never checked out their scopes, you’re missing out because they are well written, witty, and always have a positive angle while remaining spot on with the current planetary energy. The food was certified delicious and provided courtesy of The Springs LA, a wellness hub and restaurant coming soon to downtown LA that will serve 100% raw vegan cuisine, offer yoga, and holistic treatments. Overall the the event was cathartic and left me feeling full to the brim spiritually; I highly recommend it for any woman who is going through a transition, needs a break from their daily grind, or is just looking for something different that may spark some inspiration. To get more information about the next Goddess On The Go or find out about dates in other cities visit: http://goddess-onthego.com/.
During the month of August my fasting regimen went to another level. If you follow this blog by now you know I am a big fan of fasting on fresh vegetable juices which immediately boosts your complexion, rids the body of excess toxins, and can in general give you your groove back. Well, last month was the first time I tried water fasting. Which consists of drinking, you got it, only water all day. I actually chose to drink both coconut water and water and conducted the fasts for no more than three days at a time. Water fasting to me always seemed too extreme, as it does require more of a slow down in your normal activities. With any fast you should slow down if not eliminate all of your hectic schedule so that you actually have time to go within and rest. This need increases tenfold with a water fast, because the healing reactions can be more aggressive, or you may feel fatigued as the body goes into fasting mode. Water fasting for longer periods like 14-40 Days should never be conducted alone; there are facilities that you can enter to go through those longer term fasts in which doctors will monitor your levels throughout and you will be in an atmosphere of complete rest. Many ailments have been reversed with these longer water fasts, simple because they body got an opportunity to reset. For more on this check out the interview at the end of this post, which features two doctors who promote water fasting for health and have healed numerous conditions in their facilities. Some benefits of water fasting include:
- Physical and spiritual healing
- Detox, eliminates toxins from organs, skin, glands
- Strengthens immune system because of break from food; restores stronger immune response
- Scientifically proven to increase lifespan; studies have shown that restricted diets lead to a longer life
- Prevents the onset of degenerative mental diseases
- Improves brain f(x), mental clarity, and ability to focus
- Induces an anti-inflammatory response that helps to heal arthritis in muscles, joints
- Ancient tradition that has healing minor health issues along with more serious chronic ailments
- Increases metabolism; promotes weight loss
- Drastically improves mind over body will power; and portion control
- Increases energy in some cases as energy is diverted from digestive process
- Deepens connection with spirit and nature
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