Friday, September 13, 2013

A Foodie Pontificates Part 2...The Shift.

In 2009, I wrote about the changes I made after seeing a wonderful nutritionist in New York (read it here). At the turn of 2013 I wanted to kick it up a notch on my nutrient dense food consumption. And kick it up I have! I now call myself a ‘flexitarian’, and like my previous blog I wanted to list some of the pointers I've gained to inspire the foodie masses. I’ve been extensively reading, researching, watching documentaries, going to food lectures and implementing healthier choices in my meals. Our health is symptomatic of what we eat, no question. Food is our medicine, and our fridge should be our “medicine cabinet”. Below I have listed my Top 10 2013 Foodie tips fresh off the press! I truly hope they inspire you as they have me:

  1. I’m eating more 'raw' food-raw cashews for more cream based raw dishes and drinks. I make a delicious spinach dip with raw cashews, garlic, and nutritional yeast (google that). I’ve also found an almond cashew based cream called Mimicreme that goes great in coffee or smoothies. No dairy, no cholesterol and delicious with a bit of agave nectar or stevia.
  2. I try to listen to what my body wants nutritionally. When we load up on processed fatty unrefined foods, our body grows addicted to the chemicals in them and craves it. This continues to make us sick. It’s when we break that cycle (which takes a little time, be patient) that our body eventually starts healing and comes back into a more balanced healthy state- by choosing more whole organic food. Even making just a few changes, you'll notice a huge difference inside overall.
  3. I try to use meat as the ‘side’ dish now in my diet, and make vegetables, quinioa, rice etc. the main course. And whenever possible budget wise I buy organic, grass fed antibiotic free meat and avoid red meat in general. Whole Foods or Sprouts are my go-to stores. Read labels to avoid inflammatory chemicals like High Fructose Corn Syrup. Food with the least amount of ingredients.
  4. I’ve started tampering with gluten free options. This is something I am just scratching the surface on, and I don’t know for sure if I am indeed gluten intolerant. It’s more an experiment. Gluten is just a piece of the puzzle really. If you can get tested for it great, but for me it’s more about trying to eat food with the least amount of processing. Some of the gluten free options are quite good and I highly recommend them.
  5. I watched a couple of incredibly insightful documentaries: THE CURE IS, THE LAST HEART ATTACK by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn (his son runs an amazing plant based website called Engine 2.) and I read THE MOOD CURE by Julia Ross which correlates how food affects our moods. Finally the epic docu' SUPERSIZE ME (who author Alexadra Jamieson recently became my vlog friend!). If you haven’t seen these, I encourage you to check them out if only to educate yourself on processed food and it's contribution to disease.
  6.  Learning about toxins in our food: GMO’s for example. The book THE UNHEALTHY TRUTH by Robyn O’Brien, talks about synthetic growth hormone/proteins approved in the US in 1994 for mass food consumption. The US government had never tested these hormones, and they say “until its proven dangerous” they will allow it into our food supply. All to enhance food profitability. Only in the US geez, many other countries now require GMO labeling in food.
  7. I allow myself to slip up. It’s ok to have fast food, coke etc. I was raised in the Midwest after all. But now, I’ve looked at food from both sides now. I’m so grateful I have the education to compare and contrast. I actually like now when I eat certain foods and get sick, its my body's alert system telling me what inflames it, and I want to be getting that information. It's a preemptive health alert!
  8. Meat and dairy free alternatives. Once you allow yourself to try these a couple of times, you truly love them. My most recent fav’ is Sunshine Burgers and Gardein chick'n breasts, I practically crave them on an Ezekiel wrap with avocado, grape seed veganaise and dark leafy greens. And of course my staples now; Rice and Almond Milk. A good life is feeling good in your body-and from there the other good things in life flow.
  9. Cook more of your meals at home. Make large batches of healthy food and freeze things for later convenience. Inevitably whatever we’re cooking at home with coconut oil, olive oil is better for us than restaurant food caked in grease. Enjoy those restaurant foods yes, but occasionally not consistently.
  10. A Whole Food mega vitamin, Fish Oil, Vitamin D and additional supplements as needed. This has been HUGE for me in overall feeling healthy. The research is abounding. And of course, Exercise is crucial to our well being, it just makes everything better. You may not like doing it during, but you will always like how you feel after. You invest in your future.
When you know the truth, it is hard to go back and unlearn it. I think we all sort of don’t want to hear too much about this, and the thought of giving up our most tasty fat laden foods is unthinkable. I’m not saying give them up, make them the occasional treat and make food for health your priority. It's easy once you do it, really. I get so sad when I see sick or obese people coughing, wheezing and struggling to be physical. We hold in our hands the choice for our own health and it's up to us. Alertness, agility, energy, feeling good overall. Our eating behavior is symptomatic to our rates of disease, sickness, depression, exhaustion. Sickness doesn't just HAPPEN to us haphazardly always, we contribute to our ill health by what we eat and do. So how important is your health to you? When you have your health, you have everything. The shift for me has been ‘do I want to eat to live, or live to eat’? I have heart disease, diabetes and cancer in my family, that eating choices and smoking have caused without question. If I want to live a long, healthy life I've envisioned it has to start with what I put in my body and what I do. Nutrient dense meals, exercise, meditation, giving back. It’s all synergistic and just takes some pro activeness. And so the foodie in me continues to pontificate....hopefully growing in vibrant health. It's you...only better right?

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