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I’m sure you’ve heard through the grapevine that if you engage in strenuous exercise that makes you sweat often, you should take care to replenish your electrolytes post-workout. So what’s all the fuss about electrolytes? Well to keep it basic, electrolytes are found in your blood and cells and are essential for physical activity because they regulate our bodily fluids. If out of whack your energy and future athletic performance can be compromised, and if untreated the condition can actually be life threatening. Sodium and chloride help to maintain normal blood pressure and support normal muscle functioning, calcium aids with muscle contractions, magnesium, and potassium and chloride help to regulate the bodies pH balance. Add to that bicarbonate and sulfate and you’ve got your whole electrolyte team that keeps you geared to go.
Why it’s important to make sure you don’t lose too many of these essential players is that as the body loses electrolytes, an imbalance can cause muscle cramps, fatigue, nausea, and even mental confusion. There are tons of energy drinks on grocery store shelves claiming to provide you with exactly what you need to restore balance, but all of these sport drinks also usually contain a bunch of chemicals, preservatives, and artificial sugars that do more harm than good. Did you know that Pepsi-Co makes Gatorade, and that the Coca-Cola company makes Powerade? These soft drink companies may change the labels with sports drinks but they are still selling you the same sugar laden liquids that do absolutely nothing for your long-term health. A British Medical Journal investigation and study reported that most of these sport drinks companies hired sponsored scientists years ago when marathon running increased to market to the public from a young age this idea that hydration in the form of sports drinks is necessary. Absolutely bananas and goes to show that it’s always better to not believe the hype!
Below’s a list of nature approved electrolyte restorers that you can consume without any extra toxic ingredients. Eat them alone or combine some of these ingredients in smoothies after you have your sweat session for the day. Generally if you have a balanced diet that provides your body with adequate nutrition, you should be fine to maintain proper electrolyte levels. If you are like me and sweat three or more times a week, in vigorous workout sessions, paying attention to refueling is necessary. In addition to all of these tips, don’t forget to hydrate with the purest water you have at your disposal. If you usually don’t feel so cute after a good sweat, trust me, you’ll feel even more haggard if you are sweaty and dehydrated, so get in that H2O. -XoXo Raw Girl
Drink Coconut Water. Fresh coconut water is the perfect electrolyte tonic post workout, no preservatives or added sugar necessary. Coconut water is even more hydrating than water and will replenish your body of any electrolytes you lost during your power sweat session. You can drink coconut water alone, or for additional potency use it as a base and blend in other fruit and veg to make a smoothie. For instance a green smoothie with coconut water, banana, pineapple, and kale or spinach packs in additional potassium and magnesium. For additional protein toss in some chia seeds or spirulina to boost your energy.
Drink Celery Juice or Add Celery to a Smoothie. Celery juice is a pretty powerful tonic, I have written about it before in this post: The Power of Celery Juice. Drinking celery juice or using it as a base with additional greens added in will do a great job of restoring your body back to balance. For a great but basic post workout tonic try celery, apple, and lemon juice. The celery has a natural source of sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, and phosphorus. Apple provides additional potassium and natural sweetness. Lemon is the highest electrolyte containing citrus fruit. If you want to get fancy throw in some kale or another leafy green and get an additional dose of magnesium. You can also take one or two celery stalks and dice them up and blend them in your smoothie.
Drink Cucumber Juice or Add Cucumber to a Smoothie. Just like celery juice, cucumber juice is known the world over for being great for rehydration. It’s great to add cucumber to a smoothie or use as the base for a vegetable juice due to their high potassium content. Want to add more potency to your post workout tonic? Juice celery and cucumber together apple, lemon, and/or any mineral rich leafy green vegetables.
Eat Your Leafy Greens. Spinach, kale, collards, and mustard greens all have a nice amount of magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Try juicing any of these with celery or cucumber and adding coconut water for a slightly sweet but incredibly effective electrolyte tonic. Or blend some spinach or kale into a green smoothie using coconut water as a base. Whatever method you choose, you can never go wrong by harnessing the power of greens.
Get Your Daily Fruit & Veg. In addition to leafy greens, limes, lemons, oranges, sweet potatoes, artichokes, squash, and tomatoes all have minerals that will replenish electrolytes. You can add citrus to smoothies, eat them alone, or make your own natural version of V-8 using tomatoes and get the benefits of an electrolyte boost along with all the other lovely nutrients they have to offer.
Grab a Handful of Nuts. Mixed nuts in general have minerals that will also help bring you back to one. Raw cashews, almonds, walnuts, peanuts etc. or raw nut butters with apples or celery are a great snack. Almonds and almond milk with a little Himalayan sea salt added are also great post workout smoothie ingredients that can be blended with banana for more potassium and other fruits.
A Pinch of Himalayan Sea Salt, can go a long way. Unlike refined salt, Himalayan salt still has all of the wonderful minerals in tact that can be used by the body to restore balance. You can add a pinch of Himalayan sea salt to your juice or smoothie or try drinking this simple Apple Cider Vinegar Electrolyte Tonic; mix pure water, pinch of sea salt, and one teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar.
Are you in a juicing rut? You know you are if you are juicing the same thing day in and day out, and have not added any new interesting combinations to your arsenal. It’s always great to shake things up a bit and try a new veggie in your morning cup of greens, for the sake of your taste buds and also to ensure that you get well-rounded nutrition. Bell Peppers are great for achieving that natural glow because they are antioxidant rich and also high in natural silicon which beautifies hair, nails, and skin. They are also a good source of necessary nutrition for beauty including vitamin A, C, E, B vitamins, potassium, thiamine, manganese, copper, and zinc.
In addition to providing a superior source of vitamin C, even more so than oranges, bell peppers have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that can aid in healing and protect the body from illness. Juicing bell peppers gives you natural medicine that can assist in fighting cancer, lowering blood pressure, decreasing the advancement of heart conditions, alleviate gastrointestinal disorders, and help to heal respiratory issues and lung infections like asthma or emphysema. And like all power packed raw veggies, the phytochemicals in bell peppers decrease inflammation in the body, fight free radicals, and help to reduce the signs of aging.
Because of these wonderful aforementioned benefits, when crafting Raw Girl’s 7 Day Detox for Beauty, Weightloss, & Rejuvenation, I made sure to include a juice with bell peppers. If you need a spring beauty boost, more awesome juice recipes with power ingredients for beauty and skin are included along with a 7 Day schedule and shopping list. -XoXo Raw Girl
If you are a workout junkie like myself, it’s easy to get into routines over time that stop challenging your body. A great way to break out of a workout rut and have a little fun to boot is to try adding a workout that is slightly silly to your routine. Spring is here, and this opens up greater possibilities for fun outdoor and indoor workouts. Below is a list of a few silly ways to exercise that will also challenge your body. -XoXo Raw Girl
Jump That Rope. Remember back in the day double dutch? I do. Jumping rope was one of my favorite recess activities and me and my friends used to have informal double dutch competitions on the playground that sometimes got really serious. Even you didn’t go full out and double dutch but you probably have jumped rope a couple times in your life. Jumping rope is a great way to get a workout and can be fun too. It is an awesome full body workout that works the legs, abs, arms, heart, and mind. Although this exercise can also be silly it helps to build your strength, agility, speed, timing, and rhythm. The best part about jumping rope is that you can do it anywhere, and your rope is easily transported, even if you are traveling. You won’t get bored either because once you become a jumping expert you can start showing off and doing variations like the one-hop, arms-cross, running in place and whatever else suits your fancy. You can increase your fitness challenge and get greater results by incorporating intervals into your routine. For example: thirty seconds of more intense jumping followed by one minute of light jumping, and repeat.
Be a Latin Dance Diva…In The Pool. If you already a fan of Zumba, try making your workout a little sillier and with more resistance by trying Aqua Zumba. Aqua Zumba dancing happens in the shallow end of a pool and you follow along to dance routines in impact-absorbing, resistance-promoting water. If attempting to do salsa inspired moves and splashing around in the water seems silly to you, you may be singing a different tune after you try it. In addition to being generally fun and slightly silly, this workout is also challenging.
Jump Around! Rebounding is a fancy name for jumping up an down on a mini trampoline. Remember as a kid how jumping up and down on things was enough to give you pleasure? Well rebounding can take you back to that silly space while at the same time delivering an effective workout. It’s a no impact exercise that can be a great cardio workout and in some cases also help you tone, strengthen, and slim your body, depending on the workout. In addition to all of this, rebounding helps to boost your circulation, stimulate your lymphatic system which boosts your metabolism, and improve cell function.
Do The Hula Hoop Dance. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) conducted a research study that found that hooping is a cardiovascular (aerobic) workout. Their small study looked at “intermediate to advanced” female hoopers and showed that when the subjects followed a 30-minute hooping video that included seven different hooping “dances,” their heart rates elevated significantly–near 85% MHR, which is high-intensity aerobic exercise for sure. In thirty minutes the hoopers burned about 210 calories which is around 420 calories per hour, around the amount you would burn in a traditional fitness class. Hopping is also a great way to challenge your core and focus your mind while being slightly silly of course.
Pretend You are a Stripper for a Day. Pole Fitness is a new fitness trend that you’ll find in high-end fitness clubs, dance studios, and home gyms alike. Taking a pole fitness class will give you a great combination of cardio, strength-building exercises and flexibility as well as build skills and coordination that’ll be useful in your daily life as well as (**clears throat and winks**) your bedroom. To get started you can take a pole fitness classes or buy a DVD that teaches the basic skills.
Blade it Out. Inline skating or rollerblading is an excellent aerobic activity that improves endurance and strength, and produces aerobic benefits similar to running and biking. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, a 160 pound person can burn 913 calories in a single hour of rollerblading, compared to 584 calories jogging, or 277 calories walking. The side to side movement exercises your inner and outer thighs, and compared to running rollerblading is lower impact and will not shock the joints as much.
Dance Like a Maniac. Last but not least, who says you need a club to par-tay? If you want to work up a sweat, make your playlist and get down in your bedroom or living room all by yourself or have friends join in on the fun. Some of my best workouts have happened on the dance floor loosing track of time. Not only will you get a great workout, you’ll feel rejuvenated, relieve stress, improve your strength, muscle tone, manage weight, and increase your coordination. Depending on how serious you get down, dancing socially or alone can burn as many calories as walking or riding a bike and contribute to cardiovascular conditioning. There’s also the option to build new skills and take a class in a dance form that interests you. Nowadays there are so many options to choose from jazz, ballet, modern, hip-hop, african dance, belly dancing (my favorite), Bollywood dancing, latin dancing, and more.
If you are an avid reader of this blog, you know by now how much I love to rave about the health benefits of green algae. Algae and other superfoods can transform your health because they allow you to consume an astounding amount of nutrition in one serving. Spirulina has always been my go-to-green algae because of it’s amazing nutritional profile, protein, ability to boost your energy, maintain a healthy weight, and support high levels of fitness. It’s cousin in the algae world chlorella was always on my list but I never really experimented with taking it regularly unless it was in my smoothie powders. I’ll admit, I kind of compared the two and figured spirulina was giving me the most green bang for my buck. What I have recently discovered is that I have been completely missing out on the wonders of chlorella, and how amazing taking it ALONG with spirulina can be for your body.
Chlorella is a fresh water single cell algae which like spirulina, has a nutritional profile that also catapults it into the category of a superfood. It is high in protein (around 60%), essential fatty acids, 18 amino acids, and more than 20 vitamins and minerals including potassium, zinc, iron, calcium, phosphorous, B Vitamins, vitamin C, D,E, and K. The biggest differences between chlorella and spirulina are that chlorella contains some additional nutrients like vitamin K and phosphorous, a whole lot of antioxidants, and one of the highest forms of chlorophyll. Chlorella also works to synergistically balance and normalize body functions, and has strong detoxification properties which aid the body in removing heavy metals, waste, parasites and other toxins. In addition to being a super detoxifier, chlorella has been shown to stop the development of cancerous cells, can rebuild nerves in the brain after serious nerve damage, strengthen the intestinal wall lining, eliminate constipation, and help to build up the amount of good bacteria in the body which aids in treating digestive and colon related diseases.
All that said, I’m sure you see that chlorella’s got it going on just like it’s cousin. If you’ve never tried it, taking chlorella and spirulina together actually is a powerhouse combination because you get the benefits of detoxifying the body, and also continue to build muscle and boost your energy. Chlorella can be taken in pill or powder form; because I already consume spirulina in powder form I decided to go for the pill option. You can also find really awesome grass powders that include both, along with a bunch of other groovy nutrients. Do whatever works for you, but makes sure to get a good dose of chlorophyll by any means necessary. That essential building block for life is essential for cultivating and keeping your raw vegan superpowers strong. -XoXo Raw Girl
Check out this past article which includes more about chlorella and it’s ability to detox heavy metals.
Have you ever fallen in love with a dish so much that you start to crave it regularly? Well at the moment, I heart kimchi and its powerful bad bacteria fighting properties. Kimchi is a spicy fermented cabbage that originates from Korea. It has a spicy, sour, awesome tangy flavor that really does it for me, but then again, I love pepper. Apparently this probiotic powerhouse historically has 187 different versions of it’s recipe. In Korea, where it is eaten with almost every meal, it helped protect against an epidemic of SARS back in 2003, and the same good bacteria available in kimchi even helped to restore Korean chickens who caught the H5N1 (avian flu) virus! That just gives you a bit of an idea of how gangsta kimchi can be in protecting against the worst kinds of viruses and bacteria and boosting your immune system. The lactic acid that produced during the fermentation process stops the growth of bad bacteria and is useful in the prevention of conditions such as yeast infections, urinary tract infections, obesity, diabetes, and gastrointestinal cancers.
Nutrition-wise kimchi is low in calories and sugar but contain high amounts of fiber, vitamins A and C, and minerals such as calcium and iron. It also has high levels of beta carotene and after undergoing three weeks of fermentation the levels of B1, B2, and B12 double. In addition to all this groovy nutrition kimchi can help to reduce indigestion and gas by ridding the body of excess bad bacteria, and also help you feel fuller because the good bacteria in the gut stabilizes blood sugar levels and keeps from intense hunger pangs and cravings. For those non-dairy eaters like myself, it’s also good to know that kimchi contains more good bacteria than yogurt. Another win for the dairy-free team.
Most kimchi that is readily available at Asian grocery stores are most likely NOT vegan as they may use anchovy in the process. If you are interested in trying this spicy old cabbage dish, you can find gluten-free and vegan versions of kimchi with varying levels of spiciness at natural food stores that are pretty awesome or try making it on your own so you can have larger quantities. After the initial fermentation process, kimchi lasts anywhere from three to six months in the fridge and with time the amounts of good bacteria available continue to increase. The process is pretty intense and traditionally the cabbage is buried in the ground during the fermentation process. Um, since that isn’t happening for most of us (raises hand) you can leave it out in your kitchen shortly and then put it in the fridge. In the next few weeks I’ll be working on my own sauerkraut and kimchi recipes and will be sure to report back when I’ve reached the fermented cabbage promise land. Until then, make sure to include probiotics and fermented foods in your diet. I will highlight more soon on the blog. They are super important and can help you achieve balance quickly when dealing with candida, parasites, indigestion, and even acne. -XoXo Raw Girl
What does diet have to do with pursuing your passion? Some may say nothing, I say everything. How you think, your self-image, and your motivation are all directly tied to what you put your body and how that makes you feel and the choices you make. Put in bad fuel, and you may feel depressed and unmotivated. On the contrary, good fuel, can brighten your spirits and give you the energy you need to push on towards that finish line. Below is a post I wrote last year for Abiola.TV about pursuing your passion that I am finally sharing on the blog. It’s three months into the New Year, but its never late to set a new goal, reinvigorate your passion, and last but not least, EAT TO LIVE. -XoXo Raw Girl
1. Discover It.
Some people come out of the womb knowing what they are meant to do. There are countless stories of young prodigies or people who say that even as a child they showed some inclination towards a particular passion. On the other hand, there are also people who discover their passion later in life, or have absolutely no clue what their passion is.
Not knowing at all is definitely not the end of the world. If you don’t know what your passion is and you haven’t been led to it yet, you must simply cultivate the desire in yourself to find it. If you pose the question, the answer will come.
Leave yourself open to trying new things, going new places, and trusting your gut instinct no matter how silly it seems. You’ll find it, eventually, and you may also have a lot of fun stories to tell in the end.
2. Nurture It.
So now you know what your passion is? You’re excited to wake up every morning and do that particular work or expression. Now it’s time to put in the work. As the saying goes, you reap what you sow.
All of the greatest artists, innovators, entrepreneurs started with their raw talent and passion but they usually found training, or got life experience that allowed them to deepen their craft and cultivate discipline. Your passion is like plant. You have to make sure it has the right nutrients and nourishment to flourish. Every person is different so figure out what works for you, and get started RIGHT NOW.
3. Make a Committment.
When things go awry or get difficult, it’s easy to throw in the towel. There are countless examples of innovators and personalities who found that passion, but then had to face years of rejection. Bestselling children’s author Dr. Seuss’s first book was rejected by 27 publishers. Twenty seven rejections! In a recent video entertainment mogul Tyler Perry spoke of six years in his life when he was promoting shows and no one would come.
The only way to continue following the passion even in those times when it feels like the passion for doing the work is gone, is making a commitment. You must decide now, that come what may, if the roads are smooth or rough, you will prevail. When you do this, you can surmount obstacles and rejection much easier because your eye is on the prize, the bigger vision.
4. Find Your Cheerleading Squad.
You are now super excited to be pursuing your passion and so you want to run and shout it from the mountaintop! You get there grinning, sweating profusely, panting, and full of all this positive energy and sometimes you find a really somber audien
ce staring back at you. Some of these people may be your family or even close friends. Even worse, you may have someone flat o
ut tell you that your passion is absolutely crazy and that you will never reach your goal. Your grin quickly melts to a frown, maybe even a grimace.
Every successful person needs someone that they can call on, who will be their number one fan. We all have doubts, some days we feel brilliant and others rejection may make us feel less than. The key is choosing to get back up again.Having a cheerleading squad that is genuinely excited for our triumphs and helps us put into perspective our low moments is a key element in staying the course to living a passion filled life.
5. See the Vision. Have a Game Plan.
Having a passion is one thing, but sustaining the pursuit of it can be another. In order to have a destination, you need a vision of where you are going. Not just any vision, but a specific, juicy, mouth watering, heart thumping vision that really puts you on edge. You think about achieving that thing and your heart flutters a little bit.
Once the vision is clear, then it’s time to make a plan. You’ve got to take some action. This action plan isn’t rigid at all. Depending on your type of personality “plans” may freak you out. That’s okay. I’m a firm believer that with the vision in place, you can be led and even draw the things you need to you, but you have to be open to them.
“Coincidences” surrounding your vision may happen, and you have to be there ready to notice and act on them. Perhaps that’s partly what the saying means: “luck is preparation meeting opportunity.” Prepare yourself by seeing the vision, cultivating your talent, and knowing the specifics of what you want.
6. Work Hard. Persevere. Be Flexible.
Most people who love what they do say it doesn’t feel like work at all. It doesn’t feel like work and because of that they may work all the time! Working hard when you are pursuing your passion should be like breathing. It’s not something you have to force yourself to do. You become engrossed and you want to do your best because it’s what you love. Then there may be moments that are trying where you may have to call your cheerleading squad or recommit to your purpose, but you must stay the course.
You must persevere. Flexibility is key. Sometimes you are lead one way that isn’t at all the way you planned but leads you straight to your goal. Joel Schumacher, now an award-winning producer and director once upon a time ago was a costume designer who wanted to be a director. He started there, then wrote scripts, but kept his eye on his goal of directing. Sometimes to start just getting close enough to observe the thing you want is enough.
Don’t assume it’ll be hard, and don’t assume it’ll be incredibly easy either. Some paths are long highways, and others are short alley ways. Just have your vision, stay on your particular path, and enjoy the ride!
7. Celebrate the NOW. Propel Into the Future.
Accept that wherever you are right NOW is perfect. It’s exactly where you should be. It’s so easy to get sucked into the trap of comparing our journey to other people’s journeys, or holding ourselves up to cultural or societal standards that make us feel like we should be, should do, or should have done already.
Focus on the NOW, where you are, and do the best you can. Live in this moment and love what you can do today, what are doing right now, and that energy will help propel you along your path. Every passion needs revisiting and sometimes reviving.
The beauty of being alive is that each moment we have the gift of creative imagination, we have the ability to desire and pursue. If you’ve found it, don’t take your passion lightly. Treasure every single moment you get to be alive and do what you love, and you will truly LIVE.
Do you have any idea how much of the food you eat is genetically modified?? If your answer is no, or if you have never stopped to consider it, join the club. Most Americans have no idea that majority of what they eat is indeed “frankenfood.” Even if you are in the small group of concerned GMO-aware consumers, it still can take some serious leg work to ensure that you avoid eating fake foods and get your natural fix. Several weeks ago, I wrote a long form paper on the dangers of GMO’s. Below is an excerpt from the paper. It’s longer than my usual posts, but if you do not know much about GMOs or even if you think you do, I encourage you indulge me. It may cause you to think twice about what you put in your shopping cart. -XoXo Raw Girl
In our modern day maelstrom of technology and innovation, genetically modified organisms have become commonplace, although they were once thought highly unnatural. A genetically modified organism (GMO) is defined as an “organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.” Organisms that have been genetically modified include microorganisms like bacteria and yeast, insects, plants, fish, and mammals. It is also commonly defined as: “any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology.” According to the Grocery Manufacturers Association,” Seventy-five to eighty percent of all processed foods available on grocery store shelves contain GMOs.” In addition the USDA has stated that an estimated ninety four percent of soy and seventy five percent of all corn produced in the U.S. are genetically modified organisms. Most Americans have no barometer as to whether or not the food they are consuming is natural or unnatural. As an average consumer, if you were to closely assess all food intake that may contain GMOs, you may be shocked to discover that the majority of the foods you consume daily are genetically engineered. Although genetically engineered plants and animals have been approved for sale and consumption, genetically modified plant and animal species can have deleterious effects on the environment and on the lifespan of humans.
From prehistoric times until the 1900s humans generally lived on food that was gathered from nature. Around 1900, some variations of species or hybrids were discovered. In 1953, scientists documented their discovery of the three dimensional double helix structure of DNA, but it wasn’t until 1973 that scientists created the first successful recombinant DNA organism or man-made DNA. At the Asimolar Conference in 1975 a group of biologists, lawyers, and doctors convened to create guidelines for safe use of genetically engineered DNA. Five years later the first patent of GMO organisms was issued and in 1992 the FDA declared that genetically engineered foods are “not inherently dangerous” and do not require special regulations. Two years later in 1994 the FDA approved the first genetically modified food to go to market; the Flavr Savr tomato which had delayed ripening. In 1997, due to the overwhelming proliferation of GMOs the European Union ordered mandatory labeling of all GMO foods including animal feed. By 1999, over 100 million acres all of the world were planted with genetically engineered seeds and stores were stocked full with GMO foods.
Since the inception of man-made DNA leading into the present day where GMOs are commonplace, the United States and the FDA has not called for special regulations nor required mandatory labeling of all GMO foods. Even more important to note, no clinical trials of genetically engineered foods have been conducted to investigate and prove the claims the FDA made about GMOs not having any serious effects on health. Although the European Union has been labeling and creating a transparent system to warn and inform consumers since 1997, the average American consumer has no way to be one hundred percent sure what is in their food without extensive research.
If you look at the trends in health in the United States since the mid 1990’s you will discover that the number of Americans suffering from at least three chronic diseases almost doubled, infant mortality rate has increased, and life expectancy has decreased. Jeffrey Smith, filmmaker and author of Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, asserts that all of these changes in the health of America are due to the change in our food supply. Genetic engineering and GMOs have been the most drastic and major change to the U.S. food supply within this time period. In addition to the increase in chronic diseases the number of people contracting autoimmune disorders has increased exponentially. Genetically engineered foods, are foods that are created by combining or essentially mixing and matching genes from genetically modified organisms. Therefore the final product is something non-existent in nature and foreign to our bodies’ code. Autoimmune disorders occur when the the body begins to attack itself, or is unable to distinguish between foreign and normal matter. If the body takes in food that is unnatural and does not recognize the code it begins to attack it as if it is a foreign invader or toxin, which throws the body into defense mode. An inflammatory response is created, which is the main culprit for all chronic diseases.
In addition to this, in a report entitled “GMOs and Truths,” it was discovered and proven that most of the myths that claim that GMO foods are safe are actually false. GMO foods are less nutritious than organic natural non-engineered foods, they pose real dangers to human health and harm the environment and farmers. With these truths exposed there is a clear moral and ethical dilemma that has yet to be addressed while the FDA and other organizations and brands continue to advertise that GMOs pose no serious threats to long term health, allow for false and misleading advertising to consumers, and do not impose regulations that would at the very least allow each consumer to make a personal and informed decision on whether or not to consume genetically engineered foods. The two major GMO crops are soy and corn. In a scientific study conducted on female rats, the rats who were fed a diet of GMO soy experienced a drastically higher infant death rate. The infants that did survive were smaller and less fertile than the rats fed a diet of non-GMO soy. Male rats when fed GMO soy had a complete color change in their testicles and their diet caused damage to their sperm. Other problems related to fertility have been documented in animals that are fed GMO corn and cottonseed as well. In another study, French researchers discovered that rats who were fed high doses of Monsanto’s GMO corn contracted tumors and also suffered from damage to multiple organs.
Beyond human health, the planting of genetically engineered crops and the farming of animal products has been proven to have adverse effects on our environment. Some of the most dramatic effects documented by scientists include the evolution of GMOs into “superweeds,” the ability for GMO crops to cross pollinate and contaminate normal organic crops producing undesirable genetic traits, and the general harm that can be done to other plants from exposure to GMO crops or their pesticides. In the instance of animal species, there is the danger that genetically engineered animals with new characteristics such as fish which are designed to grow faster, meatier chickens, and disease resistant shrimp could by accident escape their farming grounds and somehow wipe out other natural species of animals and plants. Science advisors have warned that there is not a thorough process in place for reviewing the environmental impacts of genetically engineered species. Thus speculations could be grossly underestimating the harmful effects on the environment. Other scientists assert that some of these fast growing fish for example do have an advantage over other species in the wild but their offspring are not equipped to survive in natural conditions which could lead to the extinction of entire species. In addition to this, wildlife experts have argued that the FDA may be the best regulatory authority on drugs, but should not have jurisdiction on whether or not a product or species could adversely affect the environment.
The first proposed solution to the genetic engineering awareness problem, would involve mandatory labeling of all GMO foods sold in the marketplace. There are several ways this could be handled. The first would be for the FDA to buckle down and approve this measure as a standard. If the FDA was unable to swiftly mandate this kind of labeling, a counter-campaign could be run to get all companies that are GMO-free to label their products with a non-GMO stamp. Similar to the “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” campaign, it would emphasize supporting companies who produce non-GMO products. In order for this labeling to have weight, all non-GMO products would have to be verified and their would have to be regulations in place, monitoring, and penalties for companies that falsely use the label on their products. There are major benefits to this proposal including the health and safety of consumers, increasing the transparency and ethical standards of the marketplace, and giving consumers a fair choice whether or not they would like to support GMO products. Another major advantage which may not be able to be quantified immediately would be related to the reduction in healthcare costs and medical expenses that would have been incurred if the continued consumption of GMO foods was increasing.
In addition to open and honest labeling, extensive clinical studies must be conducted especially on the effects of GMO corn, soy, and canola, all of which are the most prevalent derivatives used in prepackaged foods. Considering how much of these products are available to the U.S. public and sold to the masses, it should be a national priority that once labeling of GMOs is complete, a group of top tier scientists spend adequate time testing the long term effects of genetically engineered foods on human health. Equipped with the results from these studies the FDA and consumers would be able to rally for additional regulations and/or banning completely of certain products from the market place.
Similar studies would need to be conducted to assess or at the very least project potential damage to the environment as a result of farming of new species of animals and plants. To begin the most important step would be creating a set of regulations the farming of any such animals that outlines the types of secure breeding circumstances required to minimize the threat of those animals contaminating the natural species. With plants it’s important for scientists to research what the full effects of “superweeds,” pesticide producing plants, and cross contamination of species could have on our environment and human health. It will be especially beneficial to assess potential harmful effects while also keeping in mind climate change. The most direct benefits of these studies may be to prevent mass extinction of natural species of plants and animals, and possibly to create some sort of solution that may counteract any negative effects that GMO farming has already caused our environment.
For my morning pick-me-up, I made this juice yesterday which was pretty yummy so I’m sharing. I call it sweet and sour because the lime and carrot and apple play well together. Over the weekend I made a version of this without carrot and apple and with more cucumber and a little ginger. That one is more medicinal, but still good for those that can handle greens straight up. I’ve been in love with watercress for awhile so there is already a past blog post on some of the groovy nutrients watercress provides. Read here if you missed it, and also get another juice recipe with watercress in it.
For those dealing with acne, eczema, or other skin irritations, making a juice with watercress will do your body good. Watercress is full of antioxidants, great for anti-aging, and is considered a liver tonic, which is part of why your vegan glow will get a boost when you consume it. Don’t forget watercress is also a great addition to a salad when you get bored of the same ol’ greens. Mix it up by tossing in some watercress, and the peppery taste will literally spice up your life a bit. –XoXo Raw Girl
Sweet and Sour Watercress
1 English Cucumber
1 head of Romaine
5-6 Leaves of Kale
Handful of Watercress
Juice all ingredients. Strain, serve, enjoy!
Last week I had a bunch of romaine lettuce left in my fridge along with tons of zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc from the garden. Rather than juice all of it, I chose to make some yummy lettuce wraps. These are an awesome, quick n’ easy to make meal that can be very satisfying. Below are my versions, one is raw, and the other vegan (has cooked lentils in it). Whatever versions you choose, have fun with it, and get creative with your veggie choices! -XoXo Raw Girl
Wash all veggies thoroughly. Use a grater and grate zucchini into a bowl. Dice cucumber, green pepper, and tomatoes and add to bowl. Add a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, dash of Braggs Liquid Aminos, dash of curry, and a pinch of sea salt (optional). Use fork to mix together. Grab one head of romaine lettuce and chop off bottom. Wash leaves and choose some that are the right size to suit your tastes. Tip: If you peel back a couple layers you’ll get smaller leaves that hold your filling better. Place your chosen lettuce leaves on your serving plate and scoop in filling. Chop avocado and add on top, and sprinkle roasted seaweed or nori krinkles as a final touch. Serve & Enjoy!
Ingredients: Romain Lettuce, Lentils, Zucchini, Tomato, Red Pepper, Lime.
Cook regular lentils or red lentils, whichever you prefer. To make 100% raw use sprouted lentils. Add in sea salt to taste. Dice raw zucchini, tomato, red pepper and season with dash of Braggs and a pinch of black pepper. Mix thoroughly, then stir into lentils. Cut a small lime in half and squeeze over blend. Grab one head of romaine lettuce and chop off bottom. Wash leaves and choose some that are the right size to suit your tastes. Tip: If you peel back a couple layers you’ll get smaller leaves that hold your filling better. Place your chosen lettuce leaves on your serving plate and scoop in filling. Serve & Enjoy!
Yesterday I went to pick up some supplements from the health food store and got a lesson that all vitamin B12 is not made equal. Standing in front of the B12 section I felt overwhelmed by the many options to choose from. A kind store clerk saw me trying to weed through the various options (in typical Libra fashion) and offered to save me from my indecision. I had a particular bottle already in my hand to purchase, but after I explained that I was vegan, he picked up another bottle.
The bottle I had in my hand, similar to the majority of brands on the shelf supplied B12 in cobalamin form. The nice store clerk explained to be that cobalamin usually doesn’t get easily absorbed by the body and what little that does won’t make a big difference. He looked around for another brand and pulled one from the shelf. “You want this one, it’s methylcobalamin. ” I then of course asked what was the difference. Apparently methylcobalamin is the easiest absorbed form of B12 for the body, and it is retained by the body in higher amounts. Upon doing further research I discovered that B12 in the form of cobalamin is not a natural substance occurring in nature. To top that off it contains a cyanide molecule (poisonous substance), which as any dunce would guess, does not do your body good!
B12 is a big MUST for vegans, and whenever I fall off of my supplementation I start to feel a big difference and see changes in my skin. Just in case you forgot, Vitamin B12 is essential for healthy skin, hair, and nails, maintains a healthy digestive system, converts carbs to glucose to boost energy and decrease fatigue, and regulates the nervous system which reduces depression, stress, and brain shrinkage. Who does not need all these things? In addition B12 in the methylcobalamin form can help to normalize your circadian rhythm leading to better sleep, or even needing less sleep.
Most people, even meat-eaters don’t get enough B12, but us veggie lovers are at greater risk. I’ve experienced first hand what B12 depletion feels like and it’s not pretty. I’ve also seen self-proclaimed “health experts” or vegan experts who look like they are dying, probably because they are missing out on some crucial supplementation. Make sure to find the best supplement you can and stay current. It’ll do wonders for keeping onlookers basking in your vegan glow. Shine on! -XoXo Raw Girl