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You are having one of those bad days. Whether it’s a break up, job loss, or just general stress, for many of us bingeing is how we cope. Add to that the determination to stay on a healthy path, and you sometimes have the tug of war between denial and gluttony. You may feel horrible about yourself, but don’t. The binge eating phenomenon is partially a product of the scary processed frankenfoods on your market today that never existed. The scientists that work on these unnatural flavorings and additives for processed foods have admitted that their goal is create tastes and flavors that make you want to eat more. That coupled with the fact that your body is craving food for nutrients and the processed foods are nutrient-less is a recipe for binge eating! You may want to stop, but your body has not gotten the nutrition it needs, and the chemicals cue you to want more. It’s a vicious cycle.
I know first hand about the dangers of extreme bingeing, because when I was in college from my sophomore to junior year I struggled with bingeing. My last year of college I finally got control of my eating issues by seeing a therapist and dealing with emotional trauma. At the time I would say I had an eating disorder, but now looking back I would say it was a combination of several things: emotional trauma from a less than perfect childhood, stress, parasites, and the inability to confront my emotions head on. When you are an extreme binger, most times you binge instead of allowing whatever emotions are arising to just be. On the more average spectrum, bingeing may be the result of restrictive dieting or cravings when transitioning from an old lifestyle to a new one. At either extreme, I think there are several things you can do to keep yourself from overeating yourself into sickness or messing up your healthy regimen. Below are some tips from a Raw Girl who is proud to say she no longer has the urge to binge! -XoXo Raw Girl
Don’t Diet, Commit to Lifestyle Changes. If you are approaching healthy living, veganism, or raw foods as a diet, just like any fad, your zeal will come and go and all that will be left is you with indigestion and an empty tub of Haagen-dazs you said you wouldn’t eat. I’ll say it again don’t diet! Your lifestyle change should be about transitioning to healthier behaviors and taking care of yourself, emotionally, physically, spiritually. That is the only way to have lasting effective change.
Find Healthy Subsitutes for Junk Foods You Love. In the beginning and even later, it’s all about substitutes. When you are going from meat to vegan you may go the fake meat route to help you get there. I’m a sweet tooth girl, or at least I used to be in extreme (parasites!) So when I was transitioning I found raw sweets, which are even more rich and satisfying than junk food, and that did it for me. Now if I need some ice cream, I grab a small pint of raw hazelnut (YUM) icrecream that will never ever have me yearning to binge on some Breyers. It’s important to know your taste buds and what you crave most and find things that fulfill that. You may be a more crunchy/salty person, so its about raw or vegan chips, crackers, nuts. Make an effort and there’s no way you won’t find something satisfying. For every type of junk food there is in the world, there is a more satisfying and nourishing raw or vegan alternative. That I can put my money on.
Deal With Your Emotions. The rule I have had for years now, since dealing with bingeing issues is to not eat when I am stressed, angry, sad. You have to start training your body to not seek emotional relief from food. Talk it out with a friend, journal, scream, dance, find a way to release that energy without grabbing three extra portions of something you know you shouldn’t be eating. You can binge on “healthy” foods too, and even if it’s better than the junk you used to eat, you are going to be doing damage to your digestive system and your colon if you over consume in excess. Not to mention, you shorten your life span. Studies have show that eating less as we get older increases our longevity.
Find Nutritional Balance. Some cravings are the result of an addiction to the unnatural flavors, and others may be because your body is lacking well rounded optimal nutrients. When you are getting off the junk food lifestyle you have to recognize that it can be as powerful as drug addiction. So give yourself room to mess up, but continue to stick with your resolve to be healthy, find substitutes, and after some trial and error your body will get sensitive enough that it may reject the foods you once loved. No matter what you eat whether you are a meat-eater or not, you need to make sure that your meals are giving your body the nutrients it needs. To get a boost I highly recommend adding in superfoods like spirulina, maca, seaweeds, cacao etc. because they are packed with nutrients. Now, I know that at times, I crave certain vegetables and fruits because my body needs the nutrients that are in them. once you get on the healthy path, you’ll be more in tune and rather than just letting your taste buds alone guide what you eat, your body will sometimes give you cravings to resolve imbalances.
#MOVETHATBODY & Find Your Spiritual Center. When you excercise your emotions and mood get an immediate boost from the increased levels of serotonin in your brain. Beyond a mood boost, working out is a good remedy for controlling your eating habits. Usually when you workout you feel better and are more inclined to make and sustain healthy food choices throughout the day. So get up and get moving, NO EXCUSES. Stress can also play a big part in the urge to binge. Exercise can combat this and so can mindfulness and spiritual practices such as yoga, meditation, and prayer. Do what you have to do and find what works for you to help you stay calm in the midst of life storms. That way the next time a catastrophe hits, you’ll be centered enough to handle it without overeating.
Do a Parasite Cleanse. I know, I say this about everything, but seriously, if I could talk to my former self when I was dealing with this issue this would have been one of the first things I would tell the former me. Take a look at what kind of food you are binge eating. Are they mostly carbs and sugar? I have this theory that the majority of overweight people in our country that cannot stop eating are dealing with the fact that yes the foods are addictive, but also that their colon health as been further compromised by parasites from eating a bunch of junk which in turn heightens cravings. I can tell you firsthand that parasites will make you crave things to stay alive and feed off your nutrition. When you begin to eat green they are literally fighting for their lives and so suddenly although you haven’t touched bread in years, or had those cookies or whatever, the parasite inside you may drive you to feel you need that food. This is not a joke, and I wish more people were cleansing, because so many other health issues would cease from plagueing our population. Whether you think it’s parasites or not, do a cleanse anyway. Better safe and parasite-free than sorry and bingeing.
Recently, I started to do some research on the condition known as fibromyalgia to help a family friend. Prior to this research I had heard of this dis-ease but never knew exactly what it was. After learning the symptoms, which are definitely not pretty, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Fibromyalgia is the name of a condition that consists of chronic, widespread muscular pain. It is said that there is no known cause for the pains that may be aching, stiff, throbbing, or burning in any location all over the body. As if fibromyalgia wasn’t bad enough to deal with on its own it is linked to chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, premenstrual syndrome, and palpitations. Brain chemistry imbalance (of serotonin and neurotransmitters), hormone imbalance, disordered sleep, and nutritional deficiencies are issues that are quite common for those affected. Poor digestive functioning and the need for detoxification may need serious attention as fibromyalgia can sometimes lead to development of leaky gut syndrome or candida overgrowth. Since this is a disease that is dealing with inflammation, it is no surprise to me that diet especially paying attention to foods that rectify nutritional imbalances is one solution that can provide long-term relief to those suffering from this condition.
Some of the minerals and vitamins that need to be added to the diet include foods high in magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. Foods high in magnesium are particularly important and include foods like: dark leafy greens, brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, papaya, bananas, lentils and more. Omega-3’s are particularly important in the form of cold water fish (if you are a meat-eater) or veg friendly flaxseed oil to assist in reducing inflammation. It’s important to avoid foods that are aggravating and can increase inflammation like caffeine, meat, high fat dairy products, junk foods, sugar (which will also increase candida growth). Valerian Root is a great remedy to have on hand to ease sleep when experiencing pain or just insomnia, and incorporating fermented foods will combat any candida growth and keep the good bacteria going in the gut. Below are five dietary changes that may greatly help those suffering with fibromyalgia to get their symptoms under control. Always take care when implementing any changes to consult with your physician or naturopath/holistic practitioner. If you or someone you know has this condition and has tried the traditional medicine route, but never tried a diet/lifestyle change, I urge you to give it a chance. You have nothing to lose, and your health and livelihood to gain. -XoXo Raw Girl
- Low-glycemic Diet. This is about managing blood sugar imbalances/ spikes in glucose levels to curb inflammation and ease pain.
- Vegetarian, Vegan or Raw Foods Diet. A BMC Complimentary and Alternative Medicine published study confirmed that when thirty patients were put on a mostly raw foods diet for four months that consisted of raw fruits and veg, flax oil, carrot juice and very limited whole grains, their condition improved. It’s no doubt that a vegetarian lifestyle in whatever extreme you choose may be very effective in reducing or even eliminating symptoms. Raw foods take it up a notch because you would be increasing the fiber, vitamins, and minerals in your diet, while avoiding a great deal of artificial sweeteners or chemicals in processed foods that may be aggravating the condition.
- Gluten-Free Diet. Some doctors believe that those with fibromyalgia are at greater risk for food sensitivities. Cutting out gluten in the form of wheat products, barley, rye, oats, may assist in calming your symptoms.
- Elimination Diet. This diet would be a trial and error where you discover what foods aggravate your condition and completely cut them out of your diet. This is important whatever dietary change you choose because each person has their own set of triggers. It’s up to you to find yours.
- Organic Diet. Just as those with fibromyalgia may have an increased disposition for food sensitivities, increased sensitivities to chemicals may be an issue as well. To combat this it’s important to try to reduce the number of pesticides, or chemically engineered additives that may be lurking in non-organic processed foods.
You’re a skeptic. All these bubbly “raw food people” are running around with energy and glowing skin get on your last meat-eating nerve and you just don’t get it. You find yourself wondering more often than not, exactly what’s the big deal with broccoli, carrots, whatever? To you it may look like too much work or just inconvenient to join the cult of those who proclaim that they’ve found the fountain of youth in some sprouts and wheat grass. Yet, something inside you yearns to understand what really makes these high-brow organic-loving hemp-wearing raw foodies believe that their diet is really higher in quality in comparison to cooked, processed foods. Fact is, when you eat raw foods you are consuming all of the light energy, vitamins, minerals and enzymes in their highest form.
You may have heard about the whole “enzyme” thing before, but you may not know exactly what enzymes are and how can they make you feel and look better? Enzymes are complex proteins that act as catalysts in almost every biochemical process taking place in the body. So, in our bodies they make things happen all around from breathing to talking. To get a little deeper, enzymes are either digestive, metabolic, or food enzymes. Food enzymes, which are what are important to support our argument, are enzymes we get from consuming raw foods that initiate the digestion of food in the mouth and upper stomach. So when you eat a delicious red apple, there are enzymes within that apple that are already intact and ready to help the apple digest itself in your body (predigestion). The digestive enzymes in our body have three main jobs: digesting protein ( protease enzymes), carbohydrates (amylase enzymes), or fats (lipase enzymes).
When food is cooked above 118 Degrees F, the enzymes are destroyed and the body is left to provide all of the enzymes to digest that meal; which depletes your enzyme supply and uses a great deal of energy that could have been conserved. Digestive enzymes are manufactured by the pancreas to break down cooked foods and over time put strain on the body. Think about it this way, if your pancreas has to continuously create enzymes that should have been in your food to break it down, over time this could result in inhibited function of the pancreas! According to Dr. Edward Howell, a pioneer in enzyme research, the result is a shorter life span, illness, and lowered resistance to stress of all kinds. In addition he added that in humans and animals who eat primarily cooked food diets, the pancreas organs are enlarged and other glands and organs including the brain shrink! All of this in tandem with consumption of the full light energy and nutrition of foods contributes to the reasons why raw foodies are able to maintain high energy, stay disease-free, and sustain a very youthful appearance for many years.
If you are ever feeling indigestion or bloating, enzymes may be the answer. Important to note, foods that are undigested sit in the intestines, rot, and create a toxic environment in your colon. Add more food on top of that, and you’ve got a recipe for some serious gas. Besides getting enzymes from raw foods there are enzyme supplements you can buy at your local health food store which you can use to optimize your digestion and alleviate unpleasant symptoms. Make sure to get recommendations on enzyme supplements that deliver results. You can also boost your enzyme intake by eating fermented foods where they are found in abundance. Don’t forget, it’s important to also chew your food thoroughly so that your body can better utilize the enzymes in your food and optimize digestion and assimilation.
Now that you know a little more about enzymes, perhaps you can understand why those grass-eating hippie-loving raw vegans think they are better than you flesh lovers. They are playing for team Veggie and we got a whole lot of enzymes and life force going on! *(Neck roll, finger snap!)* It’s up to you whether or not you choose to sit on the sidelines sick and sulking or get in the game of optimal health. –XoXo Raw Girl
Just in case you missed the memo, carrot juice is good for you. In the raw vegan world we spend a lot of time talking about green juices and keeping our bodies alkaline, but it’s good to have balance, and not neglect the benefits of juices like carrot and beet, although they are sweeter. This post was sparked by the fact that right now I have something like a 10 lb bag of organic carrots in my refrigerator that I am determined not to waste. Needless to say I’ll be getting my carrot juice fix in for the next week! After doing some more research to remind myself exactly why carrot juice is so good for me, I was not disappointed. Carrot juice is definitely packed with a lovely amount of vitamins and minerals. Beyond that, as I consider myself a life long acne-zapping samurai, I was pleased to learn that carrot juice can help one get that vegan glow and stay acne-free. Rather than give you a long rundown, I’ve picked my top five reasons why carrot juice rocks my world and will boost the beauty of your skin. If you have diabetes, you should stay away from carrots because of their high natural sugar content. Everyone else, if you’ve been ignoring carrot juice, I urge you to get some and get juicing. Remember healthy skin is the result of everything you eat, so make sure to get a wide variety of fruits and veg and not just rely on one magic smoothie, formula, or vegetable. Recipe for my spicy carrot juice below. -XoXo Raw Girl
- Vitamin A. Carrot juice has an insane amount of vitamin A which is in the form of beta carotene. If you wanted to O.D. on Vitamin A, this would be the vegetable of choice to get your fix. Vitamin A helps the body to maintain tissue growth, healthy vision, and healthy bones and teeth. All this said, too much Vitamin A is also not a good thing and can cause problems for you liver and other health issues.
- Vitamin C. Carrots contain a nice amount of this lovely vitamin in highly absorbable form which helps to boost your immunity. Even more importantly for those of us who are vain—(raising my hand)—vitamin C helps the body to produce collagen which is essential for skin elasticity, preventing wrinkles, and slowing signs of aging. Doesn’t drinking carrot juice sound so much better than a collagen injection? Sounds great to me!
- Potassium. The potassium in carrots will play a role in the growth of new skin cells, and helping the body maintain the proper electrolyte balance. Getting a regular dose of potassium will reduce acne/blemishes, prevent and cure scars or dark spots on the skin. FYI, If your body is in need of potassium and become deficient this can result in dry skin, acne, or muscle spasms.
- Carotenoids. I know it sounds like the name of some sort of carrot wielding alien, but it’s not. I promise. These friendly but powerful antioxidants available in carrot juice/carrots protect your body from free radical damage and boost your immune system. They can also increase your skins immunity to the sun by preventing sun-induced collagen breakdown. Essentially they help to protect the skin against sun damage and sunburn, like an internal sunblock. Beta carotene is one of these carotenoids that prevents cells from degenerating, helps to slow aging, and maintain a youthful appearance.
- Cleans Your Liver. When your liver is overworked or overloaded it has to find a way to get rid of toxins. One of the ways it does is through your skin, causing acne. Carrot juice is a great liver cleanser that will help keep things in balance and your skin blemish-free.
8-10 carrots, 1 apple, 1 cucumber, 1 big piece of ginger root, (add 1/2 lemon optional)
Juice all ingredients. Strain, serve, enjoy!
About two months ago, I kept getting a “hunch” that I needed to do a fast. Not a fast for health reasons. A fast to confirm and deepen my relationship with God, the ultimate force. Right at that time, a friend of mine who is actually a meat-eater, was doing the Daniel fast for 40 Days. The Daniel fast is based on the prophet Daniel’s diet that consisted of only fruits, vegetables, and drinking only water for a period of 21 days. Additional restrictions include no wine, no breads, meat or sweeteners.
I knew my soul was craving a 40 Day fast and after speaking to my friend I thought that was it, I would do a Daniel fast for 40 Days too! But in the weeks after my encounter with her, I allowed myself to get lazy about it. It’s too long I thought. Then a couple of weeks later God made it pretty clear that I was not going to get away with avoiding a 40 Day fast. I was in New York at the beginning of May, and another friend who knew nothing about my desire to fast and subsequent laziness, gave me a Christian book called The 40 Day Soul Fast. I almost laughed out loud. AHA! Here was another sign, and this time I knew that I could not ignore it. The next day, May 7, 2012, I began my 40 Day journey. During the 40 Days I chose to be 100% raw and read excerpts from the book, as each chapter was dedicated to a day of the fast. Funnily enough, at the exact same time by happenstance, my mother and father decided to embark on a vegan fast together for 40 Days.
During the fast, at times I would feel like I was going through the motions. Probably because I was. I ate raw food, focused on prayer, meditation once a day, attended Bible study, read the book, listened to an awesome CD of gospel tunes made for me by a friend. Nothing seemed to be HAPPENING. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I continued to go day by day and eventually my impatience was replaced with devotion to being present and engaged. The fast ended on June 15th and it seemed to happen so suddenly I was left wondering what I had gained although I had noticed the immediate effects of meditating. Now a week following I have been inundated with daily blessings, miracles, and a deep sense of peace. It’s an amazing sense of grace that has emerged from feeling an intimate connection with THE SOURCE. Post-fast, I am continuing to cultivate that relationship with continued daily practice of meditation. Health is beyond just the body, it’s the soul/spirit, body, mind. All must be nourished in order to create optimal wellness, so it’s important to find what mindfulness practice works for you an incorporate it.
I happen to be Christian, and in the Bible the power of fasting is advertised regularly through the struggles and triumphs of many biblical figures. Across all religions examples can be found of how fasting unleashes extraordinary power and connection with THE FORCE. The great news for veggie lovers is that the way we eat already connects us with the divine flow. My mother, who after fasting for 40 Days on a vegan diet has now become a vegan, said that she is amazed by how at peace a vegetable diet has made her feel. Yes, we are what we eat, and when we eat plants we become one with the stillness of nature. A raw food lifestyle can accelerate your spiritual journey even further, intentionally or unintentionally. Years ago when I went raw and also happened to begin meditation simultaneously, I experienced an increase in synchronicity, heightened energy, and noticed that things I desired or thought about seemed to be drawn effortlessly to me. All that said, fasting is not for the faint of heart. Listen to your body, mind, and soul. If you are feeling cluttered, overwhelmed, disconnected, want to break bad habits, or just want to discover or renew your relationship with the Divine source, I highly recommend a spiritual fast. -XoXo Raw Girl
For more insights on fasting, check out this past post Wise Ones on Fasting.
A couple weeks ago I stumbled upon a few of those “got milk?” ads and a light bulb went off in my head. I wanted to create an ad that promoted greens and their true healing power. So much of the information that is fed to us by the media has more to do with weight loss fads and corporations meeting their bottom line. Since I was a little girl I’ve been lactose intolerant, so I never felt that milk did my body good. In fact it was quite the opposite. I felt bloated, cramped, lethargic, or even nauseous after drinking milk. Later when I became a vegan and cut out absolutely all dairy, it was like a fog had lifted. My allergies decreased and I felt lighter, clearer, and healthier.
I’m all for each person finding the right diet for them, but we must start championing the power of fresh fruits and vegetables by any means necessary. These are essentials that should be a large part of any diet. Our country is at a crossroads and it’s up to us to take control of our personal health and demand that good wholesome foods be readily available and affordable to anyone willing to consume them. Below are benefits of getting your daily dose of chlorophyll. Just in case you don’t know what chlorophyll is, it’s the molecule that gives green plants their pigment. During the process of photosynthesis chlorophyll absorbs the sunlight. Without this essential ingredient green leafy vegetables would loose their life force and power and wouldn’t be able to convert sunlight into the energy they need to grow.
If you are sold on the benefits, be sure to eat or drink your green leafy vegetables every day if possible. To get a mega-dose of chlorophyll start adding a liquid chlorophyll supplement, chlorella, or spirulina to your diet. Chlorella and spirulina can be bought in pill or powder form and blended into smoothies. Please share this post and the ad, like it, love it, talk about it. Let’s keep pushing the GREEN movement! More to come…-XoXo Raw Girl
Some benefits of chlorophyll found in green vegetables include:
- Increases the functioning of the heart
- Improves the health and wellness of the intestines
- Cleanses the liver
- Improves the overall health of the vascular system
- Maintains healthy bones and strong muscles
- Protein. Yes! Greens have protein
- Lowers or maintain healthy blood pressure
- Helps body to detox and cleanse of impurities naturally
- Improves the quality of your skin
- Can increase the quality and quantity of your red blood cells because the compound has a chemical composition very similar to hemoglobin
- Can lower your risk for developing certain types of cancer
***Warning: eating a larger amount of green vegetables may accelerate healing or cause an increase in joie de vivre, sexiness, youthfulness, and overall magnetism. Heed this advice at your own risk.****
Dear Raw Girl: Do you think it is possible to be vegan and maintain the same weight? – Ashley Akunna
Ashley thank you for the question, I think this is a concern that a lot of people have. I can completely understand wanting to maintain your current weight. If you choose to adopt a mostly plant-based diet and were not eating that way prior, yes you may lose weight or WASTE initially. Really your body is going to be flushing out unnecessary junk in your colon and waste sometimes stored up from years of eating processed food, meat etc. What I experienced personally, and have heard from other vegans/raw foodists is that after some time of being consistently vegan the body adjusts, and will normalize at what is a healthy weight for you. Some people say that they gain weight back at this point. It’s like the body has to go back to one, and reset before returning to balance. In addition, the change from meat-eater to vegan is not as drastic as going from meat-eater to raw foods. As a vegan who isn’t predominantly raw there’s still a lot of options that will keep “meat on your bones,” especially if you’re still eating carbs and meat substitutes. So you may not have anything to worry about.
What you should ask yourself is what is more important? Maintaining the weight you are at now…or going with the flow and choosing to be the best, most energized, and healthiest version of you that you can be? Our culture can be quite weight obsessed instead of focusing on what counts…how do you feel, are you productive, energized, and dis-ease free? Instead of focusing on my weight, I have always chosen to focus on the latter. -XoXo Raw Girl
Have a question? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
How many grandmothers do you know that can still turn heads in the streets? Yesterday, I came across a lovely article about 72-year-old raw foodist, Mimi Kirk. She was named the Sexiest Vegetarian over 50 a couple of years ago. A grandmother of seven, she decided to become a vegetarian in her thirties and then in 2008 went raw and has stayed on the path. Mimi is the author of Live Raw, and remains incredibly vivacious through diet and positive energy. More power to Mimi, I’m coming for her title in a several decades! Check out the videos and the article below. -XoXo Raw Girl
In this technological maelstrom of fast food and even quicker fixes, the growing practice of yoga continues to offer shelter from the constant barrage of hustle and bustle. Even those who don’t practice yoga, have at least heard that it may be good for them; whether or not they have the energy or believe enough to commit to laying on a mat once a week is a whole seperate matter. Our Western medicine, has yet to fully incorporate yoga and other alternative therapies for that matter including pilates, acupuncture, aromatherapy etc. and the beliefs in treating the symptom rather than the human being and popping pills as a cure-all continues to prevail. Despite this there have been studies conducted that have affirmed the viability of yoga as a healing mechanism that can assist with terminal diseases, psychological issues, depression, anxiety, reducing blood pressure, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, fatigue, cholesterol, maintaining blood sugar levels, insomnia, increasing muscle strength and respiratory endurance, and the list goes on.
Some of these studies were chronicled in a Time Magazine article I stumbled upon “The Power of Yoga”:
- 2009 a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health studied a group of adolescent girls, some with bulimia and others with anorexia; one group had regular treatment, and the other treatment and regular yoga. The findings showed that the girls not in the yoga group were more likely to have symptoms return at the end of the treatment period.
- 1998 Dr. Ralph Schumacher at UPENN School of Medicine along with yoga instructor Marian Garfield published their findings on the study of patients with carpal tunnel syndrome in the Journal of American Medical Association basically summing up that ” a yoga regimen is more effective than wrist splinting or no treatment in relieving signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.”
- 1990 patients with heart disease were prescribed a vegetarian low fat diet and yoga regimen. At the completion of the study it was found that their cholesterol levels were about the same as if they had taken cholesterol lowering drugs. A follow up report was published in 1998 in the American Journal of Cardiology showing that 80% of the patients were able to avoid bypass by maintaining their prescribed lifestyle changes.
As much as the Western medical world tends to avoid prescription of yoga, for now the testimonies of regular practitioners continue to point to yoga as a viable option. Tonya Zavasta, one of my Anti-aging Sheroes has two titanium hips and through the regular practice of hot yoga and consumption of raw foods, she not only healed herself, she’s also more flexible than the average person with hip bones in tact.
Hot yoga has a long list of benefits, many of which perfectly compliment a raw or vegan lifestyle, because of course all true “yogis” are vegetarians and observe nonviolence and incorporate all five principles of yoga into their lifestyle including proper diet. Some of these benefits include:
- Release of built up bodily toxins. Yoga practice stimulates and promotes the drainage of our lymphatic system which carries the waste from cellular activities.
- Improvement of flexibility and range of motion.
- Increased weight loss and muscle toning. (One of the only workouts that makes me believe attaining Michelle Obama arms is possible.)
- Builds up the immune system and reduces the symptoms of chronic illness.
- Improves blood circulation.
- Promotes healing through relaxing and centering of the mind or mental chatter. As our heart beat slows, and we breathe at a slower rate, our blood pressure also drops, and the body literally goes into healing mode. Not to mention it’s also easier to be warriors in our daily lives when our minds aren’t going helter-skelter.
So why isn’t the use of yoga as a healing modality studied more or prescribed for that matter? There’s no money in it. At least not for the insurance companies or the pharmaceutical industry that usually profits from studies that confirm viable use of a range of medications. These days, it is up to us, the consumers, to take ownership of our health before we become a part of the machine that continues to feed the greed of capitalists who have no concern for America’s well being.
Last year I took on the regular practice of hot yoga in a big way, and then unfortunately I was in a car accident that led me to go through physical therapy pretty much the last half of the year. To my dismay, part of my prescription was absolutely no yoga, because it could aggravate the healing of my neck and back. With the help of ongoing pilates classes and physical therapy sessions, raindrop therapy sessions, and advice from holistic practitioners for natural alternatives to taking my prescribed blood thinning medications (ew), I am ecstatic to say that my back is finally healed! During that time I did visit my doctor, but when I mentioned some of the alternative therapies to him, I remember him actually chuckling to himself and saying some version of “Yea, whatever…” and then handing me a prescription for a high dose of pain killers. Thank heavens, I stuck to my guns and followed my instincts.
To celebrate, on New Years Day, I got down and got sweaty with two hours of Hot Yoga, and seriously felt like new money afterwards. For all of you that cringe at the thought of stretching in a sauna-like room, I feel you. I tried Bikram at one point and I used to want to run out of the room screaming. Bikram is however, an entirely different practice. It was founded in 1974 by Bikram Choudhury and classes incorporate specialized breath exercises. Hot yoga is practiced in a heated room, with the temperature set anywhere from 80-105 degrees. Some versions of hot yoga are practiced in the hatha style of yoga, my studio teaches the vinyasa flow style of yoga (my favorite) in a heated room. When I started to practice Hot Yoga, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the room was a little cooler and more manageable for me than Bikram. The temperature was hot enough to get a deeper stretch, but not so hot that you might hurl. Whether you choose to get down with the down dog in a hot room, in your bedroom, or in a quiet studio, the time is now. Everyone can benefit from a little asana in their lives and I hope you will find what works with you and get moving. Namaste. -XoXo Raw Girl
For more on the 5 Principles of Yoga, check out this previous post:
So the next time you’re in the Big Apple on a muggy summer day and you head out to eat or over to your friend’s place, and you just happen to down that nice refreshing glass of ice water to quench your thirst, you know what else you’ll be drinking? Shrimp. Seriously, I wish it was a joke. Am I the only one who thinks this is utterly disgusting? I really hope not. Sometimes when I am visiting friends, eating at a restaurant, or on-the-go away from home I get that look of derision when I turn down tap water. It’s that knowing—- “Oh your one of those whose too good for tap water,” look. Sometimes they actually just come out and say just that, (especially in New York). I just shrug, and smile, thinking about all the little critters that I am avoiding.
I know that I am a bit of a clean water Nazi, and I really am okay with that. Why? Because I love to avoid at all costs parasitic infections, trace pharmaceuticals, and now apparently in NYC, tiny shrimp in my glass of H2O. A friend sent me a link and I almost gagged on my glass of reverse osmosis water. Prior to this heads up, you wouldn’t catch me drinking water that was anything but alkaline or distilled in New York anyway, but this just makes my case all the more firm. I hope that all you lovely raw foodies and vegans (really anyone nowadays), but you especially, will get on the clean (truly clean, not just clean in the commercial) water bandwagon very soon.
Too many diseases nowadays are born just from lack of clean water alone. I definitely feel blessed to have such a wide range of choices between tap, glorified tap, bottled water, distilled, alkaline water etc. but I am not ignorant enough to forget the fact that for many people in our world it isn’t even an option. -XoXo Raw Girl
Check out the picture of the Shrimp in your NYC Tap Water:
For previous musings on water options, check out this past article: