Tag Archives: raw

So you want to GO VEG: Transitioning into Veganism

Had a blast today on Newd Radio, and looking forward to the debut of Healthy Living in a Toxic World next week, January 25th, Wednesday at 5pm EST. Hope you all will tune in to www.newdradio.com and listen!

One question asked on air this morning that I didn’t get a chance to answer was: What should one do if interested in trying the vegan lifestyle but currently is a meat-eater?

Ok so, your a meat-eater and your tired, literally all the time, and your also tired of running to fabulous non-meaters who glow, have crazy energy, and attribute all of this to their grass eating tendencies. You think you may want to go vegan, or vegetarian at the very least but it feels so far way. Don’t panic. There are two options, just like when quitting an addiction or making any sort of lifestyle change you can go cold turkey or gradually. I think what option you take really depends on your personality, but I am a big fan of gradual change. By taking your time to ease into it and eliminating certain foods step by step you are more likely to stick with it long-term and not go on eating binges because you feel deprived.

If I was a meat-eater looking to go veg, I would start by eliminating red meats like beef and chicken and perhaps continue eating fish and more vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains. If you are the type who eats meat everyday, (that is really a lot for your body to handle by the way), then I would go for cutting down meat intake to only twice a week and then maybe once a week or once every two weeks, and so on. I am not a huge fan of meat substitutes but they can be a great way to transition and if prepared well, you’ll be amazed and may not miss your meat at all. If you want long-lasting health, vibrance, energy, and to live a disease-free life, you have to get out of the general “dieting” or quick-fix mode that is pushed on us daily through advertising and meal plans etc.

Commitment is key, and any positive change is going to have to become an engrained habit. You know yourself best. Some people have to go all the way or else they won’t do it all. Don’t feel rushed, take your time, and allow yourself some room to mess up. I think it took me about four months to wean myself off of bread! Crazy to think about it because now I don’t eat bread at all and if I did I would feel weighed down and generally horrible. But when I was going through the process of eliminating it, sometimes I messed up, gave in and had some, but then physically I would feel horrible. Through this process you retrain your body, and after abstaining and then having negative reactions to things you once ate, you will lose the desire to eat them again. Despite what they say, you can teach an old dog new tricks; you can cultivate your inner vegan, as long as you committed to going the distance. Here’s to going VEG! -XoXo Raw Girl

The Healing Magic of Epsom Salt Baths

Tomorrow is Day 7 of my Kemetic Detox, and I feel insanely groovy. Brief recap….all was going ok until Day 3. Every morning thus far except for Day 3 I have kept up with my meditation and started the day with fresh coconut water. I slacked on yoga, decided to do hot yoga but not necessarily yoga every day, along with my normal workout regimen of weights and running depending on my energy level. On Day 3, all went haywire. I had a cleansing reaction. In the morning I woke up sweating and with almost fever like symptoms. I don’t panic when this happens because I’ve experienced this before and know exactly what to do. I drank coconut water and pure water all day and by the evening I was feeling great. Strangely enough on Day 4 and 5 I hardly ate anything. I had no desire to eat AND never felt hungry–it was uncanny— but I forced myself to get in a juice or coconut water at least during the day. Today was Day 6.

Part of what happened today in particular that helped me get my groove back was soaking for a half hour in a bath. Someone recently posted a question about a salt bath, so here you go! Baths are magical. You can use them for cleansing physically, clearing your aura (the energy field around you), releasing unwanted energies, or just self-rebirth and setting intentions. When I lived full-time in New York I was a bath taking fiend in order to protect myself from all the chaotic energy in the city. In today’s bath I used the essential oil peppermint, and epsom salts mixed with other dead sea salts. Seriously it was divine, and afterwards I felt like a new woman.

Epsom salt is also known as magnesium sulfate. Why is this cool? Because the majority of humans are deficient in magnesium.  Magnesium deficiency can lead to stroke, heart disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, and joint pain.  Taking Epsom salt baths relieves joint pain (helped me today cause I was sore from a long run), inflammation, and sports injuries. Epsom salts can also help to relieve cold and  flu-like symptoms, and migraines. They literally pull out impurities from the skin, naturally exfoliate–leading to softer skin,  and improve your circulation. After an epsom salt bath I literally have to lay down for 15 -20 minutes afterwards, because my heart is pounding; after some time it subsides. If you have a heart condition you should consult a doctor prior to taking an epsom salt bath. They also provide guaranteed relaxation as the magnesium is absorbed through the skin and then binds with serotonin the brain, putting you in a relaxed, tension-free state. Added bonus, they are cheap compared to fancier bath salts and you can find them at almost any drugstore.

In my baths I always include epsom salt for all of these reasons, and then throw in some other bath salts. Among my favorites are: lavender, eucalyptus, and moldavite (these gangster salts are infused with the energy of moldavite the crystal—divinely intense). Then you can put in a few drops of an essential oil of choice, and when you get bath crazy like I am you do groovy things like toss in flower petals or herbs. Whatever you do make it your own process. Light a candle, do your affirmations, play some music, but first and foremost, take a chill pill. Nowadays with our crazy schedules, technology, and overall hustle and bustle, you may find it lovely to incorporate this ancient ritual into your life to give you a little R&R with some healing to boot. -XoXo Raw Girl

Dear Raw Girl: Caffeine or No Caffeine?

Dear Raw Girl,

What’s your take on caffeine? Coffee, green tea etc? I feel like it depletes me and makes me dependent on it for energy...

I still have flashbacks to the caffeine breaking point for me. It was years ago, when I was in college and really into Chai tea. I never really drank coffee but somehow I got hooked on Chai, especially when I was sleep deprived. I remember sitting there in my Physics class trying to concentrate on the law of relativity after downing a 16 oz. cup full of chai and realizing my eye was twitching on its own. That was the last day I got down with caffeine. Now when I am in a bind, I grab a Yerba Matte tea, or drink a smoothie, juice, or kombucha with Spirulina (blue-green algae). Spirulina always energizes me, and least it doesn’t come with the annoying side affects of caffeine (in my case unattractive eye twitching). At the end of the day you have to ask yourself if you want to live a life where you are dependent on a substance to get you through the day. Did you know that caffeine is the most commonly used psychoactive drug, and that 90% of adults consume it daily?

Most of us don’t actually know when their bodies are tired, because we spend our time ignoring our bodies natural rhythms, and over-drugging ourselves to stay awake and stay energized. If you are drinking caffeinated beverages, and need to break your habit, try starting your day with a green juice, a green smoothie, or a Spirulina smoothie. The more you get stuck on that natural high, and honor your bodies needs, which include adequate sleep, the more likely you are to be energized, naturally. Trust me, it works. I have so much energy I don’t know what to do with it sometimes. When I went raw not only did my energy soar, but I found that I needed less sleep to function optimally.

If you decide to break a caffeine habit, you can experience withdrawal symptoms as your body finds balance such as: headaches, tiredness/fatigue, depression/mood swings, or difficulty concentrating. A moderate caffeine intake which may not be too harmful for an adult is 300 mg or less. When you take in 350 mg or more, caffeine has the potential to cause dependency and also nutrient depletion. Not only can it interfere with nutrient absorption of essential minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins, it can cause depletion of vitamin B6. This may be exactly why you feel depleted after having it. No surprise that a grande cup of coffee at Starbucks has over 350 mg, just enough to get people dependent and coming back for more.

The other interesting thing to note is that caffeine has creeped its way into unsuspecting products such as energy drinks, energy water, breath fresheners, ice cream (chocolate/coffee flavored mostly), weight loss pills, and other energy supplements. So, if you are aiming to cut your caffeine intake remember that it’s found in other products beyond coffee, tea, and soda. Surprisingly enough, caffeine is also in decaffeinated products, so you’ll have to avoid those as well. As hard as it may seem to live a caffeine-free existence in our fast paced, sleep deprived world, it is possible. Where there’s a will, there’s a caffeine-free way. -XoXo Raw Girl


How to Make a Watermelon Mojito

Watermelon Mojito

Today is Day 3; the last day of this watermelon fast is finally here! Last night I got creative and concocted a watermelon mojito. This morning I continued to be inspired and whipped up an equally refreshing blend of watermelon, lemon juice, with a hint of cilantro. I feel like this fast is turning me into a watermelon bartender! Feeling good today, glad to be coming down of the fast tomorrow because I have an acting gig and need to keep my energy up on set. As promised here’s the recipe for the mojito. I’m going to try the watermelon soup from my last post tomorrow and see if it’s any good, will report back. Beginning tomorrow, my infatuation with all things watermelon is going to end for a little while. – XoXo Raw Girl

Watermelon Mojito

4-5 cups chopped watermelon

1/2 lime juiced (use the whole thing if you want it tangier)

2 – 3 sprigs of fresh mint

1 teaspoon grated ginger

Blend & enjoy!

VEGGIE LOVE: What is Mache?

When I hit up the grocery store, it is inevitable that I will buy several types of greens for the week. I try to change it up and but most weeks I have love affairs with various combinations of arugula (right now arugula is my main green lover–it’s a committed but open relationship), spinach, kale, and a variety of mixed greens. Last week while choosing which greens to get down with besides arugula, I came across Mache. It looked pretty so although I knew my arugula might get a little jealous I added it to the greens for the week and made a variety of salads with mache mixed in.

So what is Mache? Pronounced “mosh.” Well it’s a sweet nutty flavored lettuce sometimes referred to as “Lamb’s lettuce” grown in France. Mache grows very low to the ground so it cannot be mechanically harvested,which makes it more costly to produce, and probably explains why a lot of people might not have heard of it. On the plus side, this pretty lettuce has great nutritional value: 150g or one 5 oz serving of mache contains 95% of the daily recommended value for vitamin C, and 100 g contains half the daily recommended value of Vitamin B9. The high B9 content makes it a great green that is naturally anti-stress, anti-fatigue, and anti-depression. In addition to the potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, and iron it provides, mache also contains a notably high amount of beta carotene, which is anti-aging. I tried it once, and now that I know I get a nice dose of nutritional bang for my buck, an all natural face lift, and little R&R to boot, I am definitely going to add it to the list of greens I love. -XoXo Raw Girl

NYC Vegetarian Food Festival This Weekend!

Hey Veggie Lovers:

I’m taking a road trip back to my second home in Brooklyn this weekend so I can be in NYC on Sunday to attend the Vegetarian Food Festival. The festival was organized by Sarah Gross, founder of Rescue Chocolate, and Nira Paliwoda, event planner and foodie, who wanted to create an event for all of the conscious eaters in the city to come together!

 There will be food samples from some of NYC’s best vegetarian/vegan chefs and  restaurants, information, speakers,  raffles, prizes, and did I mention FOOD SAMPLES. I am planning to go early and to go on an empty stomach because there is bound to be too much good vegan food to snack on. The best part about it is its FREE. If you are in NYC or if your up for a road trip this weekend, don’t miss this awesome event. I’m sure your taste buds will thank you. – XoXo Raw Girl

For more information on the schedule and location visit their website: http://nycvegfoodfest.com

The Break-Up Fast: Loss as a Tool for Transformation

“Fast and your light will break forth like morning…[and your] healing shall spring forth speedily.” – Isaiah 58: 6-11 (paraphrased)

Have you noticed that when unexpected  loss shows at up at  your door, you tend to overeat? This is true for a lot of us. The concept of vegging out on comfort food is worn like a badge of honor nowadays, when processed food is plentiful and sugar addiction is the norm. In the past I was among the loyal cadre of folks that used food as the drug of choice to remedy my woes. Ever since I embraced balance and changed my diet and eating habits, the opposite seems to be the case. Loss, which used to throw me into stuff my gut til’ it aches mode, now causes me to lose my appetite and retreat into fasting mode.

I recently got dumped. Like drop my heart in the bottom of your shoe dumped. In the midst of my processing the situation and mending my broken heart, my appetite seemed to naturally vanish. In order to prevent from starving myself,  I decided to go ahead and officially fast, so that at least my body would be nourished. While wallowing in my own experience I thought it would be interesting to research the effects of fasting on loss or any sort of depression. I found that fasting has been for ages used since Biblical times to bring the body, mind, and spirit back into balance while processing loss.

I love the Bible quote from Isaiah, the idea that fasting will “break your light forth like new morning.” The operative words for me are “light” and “new.” Yes indeed fasting not only purges the body, it renews the spirit and in fact can bring the mind into an altered state of consciousness. Opening up the inner light that gets dimmed from wrong thinking, wrong eating, or just the chaos that is this modern world. Those who fast know that in the midst of a fast there can be moments of intense bliss and interconnectedness with life around us in ways that heal our unseen wounds physical and emotional. Combined with solitude, fasting brings us face to face with the chaos that we have surrounded ourselves with and can break the addictions we have whether it be drugs, alcohol, dysfunctional relationships, or even food. All of these addictions are born from that feeling of lack; a sort of unconscious spiritual deprivation that we all look to fill with people and things. There have been documented case after case of people using fasting to quit smoking, drinking, or to heal terminal diseases naturally.

Uncannily enough, just as I began the fast, my phone would not charge. I discovered that I needed to replace the battery. The loss of communication, really put me into a different place than before. In the past, I fasted in tandem with the daily texting, facebooking, and emailing via phone. With that gone, I felt a certain sense of quiet and freedom simultaneously. It forced me to look at how much of my life is spent in my present moment, rather than consumed in cyberspace.  All of this prompted me to venture on a retreat into the wilderness. My father’s church happens to own a spiritual solitude retreat called Spiritual Wilderness Solitude in Harmony Haven, Virginia, and funnily enough although I have visited, I never myself undertook the process of staying there alone for an extended period of time. It was day one of the fast, that I received the inner guidance, that I had to go, sometime soon.

Now I am a fan of solitude, I do actually spend a lot of time by myself, and am not one of those people who feels uncomfortable going to the movies alone or spending time in meditation. But this idea of being in the middle of nature no phone reception, no lighted highways, and far enough from civilization that silence was really SILENCE, on purpose, is a new concept. I’m almost afraid to venture into that space, and what I may discover about myself. But I will do it…very soon, and I will let you all know how it goes.

Visionaries such as Christ and Buddha used fasting and solitude to obtain mystical revelations. The act of fasting to me feels like the deepest form of prayer…its a sensation that seems to align the spirit immediately to receiving healing, opens the universal gateway for  help in the time of need and solutions to any kind of problem. So the next time you loose a loved one, are mending a broken heart, fall sick with any kind of disease or drug addiction, or maybe just need answers, consider fasting perhaps accompanied with some meditation and  solitude as a remedy. What began as a break up may be the catalyst for a deeper connection with life and spirit than you can fathom. – XoXo Raw Girl

For more on fasting, check out my article Juice Fasting: The Ultimate Tool for Anti-Aging and Spiritual Awakening:

http://rawgirltoxicworld.com/2009/11/18/my-article-on-…-juice-fasting/

And also…this previous post which offers Tips for a Stress-Free Fast:

http://rawgirltoxicworld.com/2009/11/18/tips-for-a-stress-free-fast/

A Raw Vegan Workout Junkie’s Guide to Protein

One of my New Year’s resolutions, especially now that my back injury is healed, is to get fit. My ongoing joke is that I want to be like Janet Jackson back in the day when you could bounce a quarter off her abs fit.  In between sessions with a personal trainer to build strength and lower my body fat percentage, I am staying limber and releasing toxins regularly by slowly but surely easing my way back into a regular hot yoga practice and getting a dance class in here and there. If you can’t tell, I love working out! The only thing I don’t love is not being able to move my limbs normally after an intense workout. The question that always arises when people discover that I am vegan and interested in building muscle: where do you get your protein?

I am a big proponent of everyone figuring out what works for their body. My body in particular, cannot handle animal protein sources at all. So I get all my protein from plant sources. People assume that because you are raw or vegan that you cannot build muscle. I have actually seen a lot of evidence to the contrary.  Time and time again, I have noticed that my diet actually makes my body even more receptive to exercise. Within my first week of strength training, only one day in that week, and eating my regular highly raw diet,  my body fat percentage decreased by about 5%.  I have been training for a month now, and my body fat percentage has decreased from 33% (unhealthy for my age) to 26%! I am now aiming for the optimal body fat percentage of 22-25%, and I am sure I will get there very soon with more training sessions.

It is assumed that by default, plant protein is inferior to animal protein, but actually, raw plant protein is the highest quality, most digestible protein for humans. When we eat cooked meat or animal protein the body tries to break it down in to amino acids. If the body gets enough of its required amino acids, our protein requirement is fulfilled. The point that many raw foodists make in this argument is that HEAT damages amino acids making it harder for the body to utilize. In an interview Stephen Arlin, raw body builder and author of “Raw Power!” said that raw food eaters building muscle have “an immeasurable advantage” over cooked food eaters because: “Building a body with cooked-food nutrition is similar to blowing up a balloon; sooner or later the balloon will deflate. Muscles blown up with cooked food and other unnatural substances will eventually atrophy and deflate. Most fitness experts and body-builders atrophy and wear down pre-maturely. Muscles built on raw-food nutrition last much longer, because they are naturally built. I compare building your body with cooked food to building a brick wall without any mortar. There’s no foundation there.”

Now that I am focusing on strength training, I am taking care to add in adequate amounts of protein in my diet and want to share a long list of great non-animal protein sources for anyone worried about getting enough to build muscle. Our culture tends to be a bit protein crazed, probably to an extreme, so make sure you are listening to your body and not overloading. Most times, people who overload on excessive amounts of animal protein, whey, etc. are not actually healthy, and cannot sustain optimal health longterm. We need not just large amounts of protein but high quality nutrients and minerals to achieve optimal wellness.

As I continue to workout, I am doing more research on what raw body builders and vegan athletes are saying about building muscle and achieving optimal workouts. From several sources I heard that fruit is a great pre-workout meal that gives the body fuel, and that blended smoothies with vegan protein sources are good ways to recover (which I was already doing). The more I sweat, the more I will learn and share. Hopefully you’ll be inspired to get your veggie loving but in the gym as well. Happy sweating! – XoXo Raw Girl

Heres a partial list from one of my favorite books, David Wolfe’s “Eating for Beauty” of what he calls the “Best Protein Foods”:

  • Almonds
  • Bee Pollen
  • Brewer’s Yeast
  • Chlorella
  • E3 Live (algae)
  • Goji Berries
  • Grass Powders
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Hemp Protein (30 grams of protein per tablespoon!)
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Maca (can buy in powder blends or by itself)
  • Olives
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Spirulina
  • Sprouts (of all types)
  • Sprouted grains
  • Sprouted wild rice
  • Vegetable powders (dehydrated and powdered greens)

Dear Raw Girl: Flouride in Water?

Dear Raw Girl,

I have just come across your site whilst searching for alternatives to toxins pesticides and all the rubbish there forcing upon us. Your write ups are very interesting and just wondered what your thoughts on fluoride in water are? Thank you for your inspiration!

– Miss S May

Dear Miss S May:

Thank you for your question! :) I stopped messing with fluoride a long time ago, I don’t even buy toothpaste with fluoride. At the end of the day despite what a lot of sources purport, fluoride is a poison. Once I stopped brushing with fluoride, my teeth actually got stronger and were less prone to cavities. That said, if I am not willing to brush with it, I am definitely not willing to ingest it. Unfortunately, coming across clean drinking water nowadays takes a miracle or at least some real effort. In fact, the only way to ensure you are getting high quality water is to install a high quality filtration system or buy an ionizer which filters your water and adds extra oxygen to the water, making it superior for your health.

As soon as I started on the raw path, I started to avoid tap water completely, and most brands of bottled water. For the past couple years, I have been primarily drinking reverse osmosis water, which is free from chemicals, chlorine, etc. but is also stripped of some minerals that may be beneficial to the body. There are systems however, that re-mineralize the water after its been filtered through the reverse osmosis process. This month I am taking my next step and buying an ionizer! This water is truly healing and invigorating, and has helped tons of people recover from terminal illnesses, lose weight, heal minor aches and pains, clear skin, and improve digestion to name a few. If you can, I highly recommend you invest in an ionizer, if not, make sure to filter your water with the best system you can find. Check out the links below for more info.-XoXo Raw Girl

Here are 50 reasons to oppose fluoridation:

http://www.fluoridealert.org/50-reasons.htm

For more about water options, check out my article “Finding Pure Energized Water Amidst the Scarcity”:

http://rawgirltoxicworld.com/2010/02/24/new-article-fi…t-the-scarcity/

Have a question for the Dear Raw Girl segment?

Email rawgirltoxicworld@gmail.com and your answer will be posted on the blog!

Get a Vitamin C Boost with Blackberries

 

When I shop for berries, I usually go for the popular varieties: strawberries, blueberries, and sometimes raspberries.  The other day while making my rounds for fruit,  there was a special on blackberries and I decided to give them a try. To my delight not only were they great in my smoothie, I discovered that they offer an awesome amount of nutrition.

Most notably blackberries, which are not true “berries” but are actually an aggregate fruit – a cluster of tiny fruits,  are packed with Vitamin C.  Just one cup contains somewhere in the neighborhood of half of the daily recommended value of Vitamin C, which can help to boost the immune system. In addition these “berries” have a nice amount of manganese, soluble fiber to assist in maintaining a healthy digestive system, and are extremely high in antioxidants which fight free radicals that could lead to cancer. Apparently in Germany, blackberries were recommended to treat mouth infections, sore throats, and even hemorrhoids because they are an astringent due to their high tannin content. These antiseptic properties also make blackberries a good source to tighten tissues and deal with minor bleeding. Some even go as far to claim that a dose of blackberries every now and then may decrease signs of aging, but then again we know raw food in general will do that! Below is a recipe for the concoction I created with my new batch of blackberries, Raw Blackberry Yogurt that can be eaten for breakfast or dessert. Feel free to try them raw, throw them in a smoothie, or sample my yummy yogurt concoction. – XoXo Raw Girl

Raw Blackberry Yogurt

Ingredients

1 small container of blackberries, 1/2 cup of fresh coconut water, 2 ripe bananas, 2-3 dates, 1/2-3/4 cup shredded coconut

Blend all ingredients together and add more coconut water if necessary, but take care to not add too much. It should blend into a creamy consistency. Pour in bowl and sprinkle coconut on top. Yum!