16 Days Raw: Choosing the Healthiest Produce

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Do you really know what kind of food you are eating?

I’ve made it a point to only weigh myself once a week.  The reason is that my focus for being raw is not necessarily weight loss, but increased level of health and well-being — the outcome of which will definitely be weight loss.  However I just don’t want to become one of those people who say that because I ate 2 avocados today, I didn’t lose a pound.  It’s easy for me to get crazy like that.

So here I am — about halfway through my raw food feast and 16 pounds lighter!  I can see a difference in my face.  I don’t feel like there is do much fat clogging my throat and neck anymore (gross!). My stomach has gone down a bit and I can start to see a waist line.  People say I seem happier, more alert.

Since my diet is mostly fruits and veggies now, I find that I pay more attention to the PLU codes — or price look up codes — the four to 5 digit numbers written on the stickers of most fresh produce in your local grocery store.  Did you know that those codes actually mean something?  It’s more than just a code to help the supermarket identify what they sell.  This code also gives you a clue as to how this food was grown.

When inspecting your produce stickers, pay attention to the first number in the code.  Here’s your PLU code cheat sheet:

  • 9 = organically grown produce.  This means the food was grown without the use of pesticides or other unnatural material.
  • 4 = conventionally grown produce.  Codes beginning with 4 have been grown with pesticides.
  • 3 = irradiated produce.  Food that is irradiated is exposed to radiation to kill bacteria, viruses, insects, etc.  Sounds like a regular pesticide, right?  Wrong!!  Irradiated food also delays the ripening process for longer shelf life, increases “juiciness,” and causes chemical changes that kill the naturally occurring vitamins and minerals in the flesh and seeds (among other things).  In other words — it’s dead food which completely defeats the purpose of a raw food diet.
  • 8 = genetically modified produce (or GMO).  This is food that has been genetically altered to prolong shelf life, increase vitamin content, reduce pesticide usage, etc.  GMO are often touted as the answer to malnutrition in some of the world’s poorest countries.  Having worked in international development, I know this is a bunch of bullshit covered in wheatgrass.  Anytime folks start messing with what is already pure and perfect for the sake of the poor, you know it’s gotta be crap!

So organically grown food (and seed, for those who are into planting your own garden…) is best for the raw food diet.  Start paying attention to how your food is grown and where in the world it is grown.  In short, if it ain’t produced by God, just leave it alone.

 

 

 

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12 Days Raw: I take responsibility for me

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My life is finally finding some natural order.  I am feeling like my life is less of a mess.  My food choices have made me fall asleep by about 9pm, and I awake between 5am and 6am — naturally.  I feel like I finally have time to get my house in order, do exercise first thing in the morning (something I have always wanted to do but never had the energy to do it).  I wake up and do Bible study for 30 minutes just to get the day started right.  And this time, all this morning activity is not so much of a struggle.  It’s funny how something as simple as food can magically realign your entire life without having to formally establish goals, find willpower, etc.  It’s not that these are bad practices.  It’s just that living in America has taught us to organize our lives around keeping employment, instead of organizing our lives around our families, health, and general well-being.  That employment may keep our bills paid (albeit barely…), but it’s better than being homeless, right?  I now say, WRONG!!!  What good is that employment if it means you find it difficult to find the time to spend on activities that feed your soul?  How about finding employment that feeds your soul AND allows you to make regular time to spend with your family in a way that is meaningful for you?  What good is your job if it leaves you so stressed that you don’t even find joy in it anymore (if you ever did at all…)?

I say all this to say that raw foods is helping me to regain control of my life.  I willingly decided to give it away in exchange for living on someone else’s schedule.  I really can’t afford to do that anymore.

TODAY’S RAW FOOD RECIPE!

Banana Milkshake

2 frozen bananas

1/2 cup of almond milk (you can make your own using sprouted almonds — or buy it if your in a pinch…)

1/2 inch to 1 inch of peeled, fresh ginger

1 tsp of vanilla

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/3 tsp nutmeg

1. Place frozen bananas into a high speed blender.  I use a Vitamix — but if you don’t have one, use what you have.

2. Cut and peel fresh ginger.  The easiest way to peel fresh ginger is to use a butter knife or a spoon.  The skin should easily peel off.  Your ginger should release some juice while peeling.  If it does not, it’s too old and won’t be as flavorful.

3. Pour in almond milk and all the other ingredients.

4. Cover and blend until creamy and smooth.

That’s all it takes to make this beautiful raw treat.  I’ve eaten this for dinner on those 95 degree evenings with no air conditioner.  You can add a teaspoon or so of raw carob powder or raw cacao powder if you like.  I prefer carob as raw cacao is a toxic stimulant.  Fresh mint can also be added as well!

8 Days Raw: Sometimes I just need a piece of chicken

https://i1.wp.com/mdaras.com/lowgi/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/finished_chicken.jpgThe chicken just be callin’ me…

I’ve always loved food — maybe a little too much, hence my extra weight.  That became apparent on nights 6 and 7, all I could think about was having a piece of chargrilled barbecue chicken.  I mean I could just taste the burnt hickory smoke grill marks and the fabulously sweet and spicy jerk barbecue sauce I make myself.  I even thought about what pieces of the yardbird I would grill — wings and thighs.  But alas, I thought it was important to stick to my regimen to witness the full benefits of raw food.  But I also think my body was screaming for some extra fats and calories.  So I did what I never thought I would be able to do —  I sat down and had a real conversation with myself about my food choices and why I was doing it.  I figured if I was going to go off the regimen (refuse to call it a diet…) for a few moments, what would be the smartest way to do so.  So I went to my favorites!  I made a nice salad with 2 avocados and about a 1/2 cup of chickpeas.  And that was all I needed!  I was full, satisfied, and no longer thinking about that chicken!  So sue me for eating some boiled chickpeas, but I figured they wouldn’t be so bad.

And oh yeah, just in case you were wondering…  I lost a whole 10 pounds in about a week!  I can hardly believe it myself!

5 Days Raw: Living the Way God Intended

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Yeah, I think the title of this post says it all…  Trying to explain my choice of food to people has been — amusing, I’ll say.  I think most people in my circle understand vegetarian, and some even understand the difference between vegetarian and vegan.  But raw vegan is just a whole new ballgame that many people can’t figure out.  Let me share some of these amusing statements I have heard in the last few days…

You only eat raw food? So do you eat sushi???

Raw food?  So does that mean you’ll want your steak rare???

(and the classic…)  But where do you get your protein???

What’s sad about these statements is that the folks who said it weren’t kidding.  Why is it so hard for people to wrap their head around food that is simple and direct from the source of life (or as close as it can possibly get in this part of Washington, DC)?

But then again, I guess I didn’t realize it either until I started to eat raw foods on a regular basis.  It is possible to eat a few mangoes for dinner and be satisfied on those nights when you don’t feel like chopping, peeling, and waiting for stuff to boil.  There is no greater culinary joy than to lop off the top of an ice-cold watermelon and dig in with a spoon.  And, yes, making homemade salad dressings taste SOOOO much better than the crap you buy in a bottle with all those preservatives, sugar, and mayonnaise.  All those nights I complained about not having any time to prepare anything was really just me being a programmed part of the fast food machine.  This whole super busy lifestyle of working long hours away from home and not growing my own food and being dependent on chain stores for things I could have easily made my damn self with a little time and energy.  It’s this same fast lifestyle that made young women like myself think that having children before fully establishing a career is an inconvenience rather than a gift.  It is this fast lifestyle that make young women believe that preparing a home cooked meal for their husband is not nearly as important as pleasing their boss.  It is this fast lifestyle that makes me feel bad every time I want to take an afternoon off for a doctor’s appointment when I know I have a ton of things to finish.  I am realizing how much I don’t like this fast lifestyle and how it has impacted the choices I have made.  It really just isn’t what God intended for human beings to live at all.

4 Days Raw: Learning to Feel

https://i2.wp.com/www.simplemobilereview.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/feeling-ill.jpgSo far no major slip-ups.  I am actually enjoying eating fruits and vegetables.  However I notice that I am beginning to feel a lot more than what I think I want to.  My desire for exercise has increased as I can feel the spare tire hanging around my waist line more than I ever did before.  I am learning to get used to the feeling of becoming hungry instead of just throwing any old crap into my mouth just because I’m bored or trying to escape what I don’t want to feel at that moment.  My headaches tend to come at night.  However I assume that will dissipate as I move towards getting more toxins out.  My body screams for sleep starting at about 10pm.  On the flip side, it’s less of a pain to rise at 6pm (still struggling with it, but becoming less difficult).  My dreams are vivid and I feel more refreshed when I wake in the morning.  I feel like my spirit is trying to connect to something higher than myself, however there’s still a ceiling there that is still fighting to stick around.

2 Days Raw: Why raw for 30 days?

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Day 2 of being raw has given me increased energy already, however at the end of the day (it’s about 11pm as I write this…) I am starting to get headaches and nausea.  I guess this is the beginning of the detox stage of going raw.  Some say it can be as bad as getting flu-like symptoms.  Hopefully I can keep all of that at bay with a little exercise and lots of water.

I’ve learned through past failed attempts at dieting and fasting that it is important to keep sight of one’s goals when deciding to make a lifestyle change.  So I thought I should go ahead and vocalize my goals for staying raw for 30 days.  Vocalizing makes the goals more concrete.  Perhaps, if anyone reads this besides me, I will have some others who will help to keep me focused.  With that in mind, my reasons for doing 30 days of raw food is:

  • Need mental clarity to make some decisions — both professional and personal.  While I love my job as an advisor at a community college, I don’t like the long hours of being in an office.  I want to be more creative.  I have been thinking about food businesses such as being a personal chef, or even leading food tours.  I hope to gain more direction by the end of June.
  • To feel healthier, feel better.  I am tired of being tired.  I have had a dream of becoming a runner for about a year.  I have done some jogging here and there, but no real schedule was put together.  This is the time for me to become more serious about becoming more of the athlete I see in my dreams.
  • Get rid of fibroids and hopefully improve fertility.  I will have to dedicate a few posts to my fibroid nightmare that led to surgery.  I am sure there are loads of other women who have suffered through this horrible indignity.  I would like to share information on where fibroids come from, the modern ways of treating them that make women even sicker than what they already were, as well as some real natural treatments that may help to alleviate the suffering through a commitment to changing one’s lifestyle.
  • Diminish my chances of getting breast cancer (as well as other cancers).  My mother died of breast cancer at age 49 in 2006.  I was with her on the weekends in New Jersey (I live in DC) to essentially help her die as comfortably as possible during the last several months of her life.  The pain I saw her go through in her final months is something I would never wish on my worst enemy.

I hope to continue to stay with me as I talk about a lot of these issues that have been on my mind for a long time.

1 Day Raw: Go Me!

Pose for the Camera!

So, my first day raw was really a breeze…  Mostly because it’s about 85 degrees at 10pm here in DC…  I have absolutely no desire to eat anything other than cold water and some juicy, refrigerated fruit like papaya, watermelon, and some oranges.  I made some raw taco meat sans the taco shell for lunch today.  I meant to use collard or kale leaves as the taco shell.  However, I made the mistake of buying non-organic greens that just smelled bad sitting in the plastic bag I bought them in just yesterday.  So that was about $4 wasted…  From now on, it’s only organic greens for me.

For dinner I had a taste for something creamy and flavorful.  I found this recipe by Chef BeLive for raw alfredo sauce that looked delicious.  I have tried some raw tomato sauce recipes that were absolutely terrible, but I thought there had to be someone out there with a decent recipe — and Chef BeLive’s recipe is pretty damn close to what you would get at your favorite Italian restaurant (raw foodies rejoice!).  I love the taste of mixing tomato sauce and alfredo sauce, so I soaked some dried tomatoes and added it to the mix.  You can check out Chef BeLive’s recipe in this YouTube clip.