Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ch-Ch-Chia Goodness!

So today wasn't all that exciting. It rained all day long, which means that I couldn't go for my walk today. So instead, after having half of a honeydew melon for breakfast, I accompanied my mom and brother to a cafe where I sat in a corner table by the front window and worked on my studies for about an hour. When I got home I spent the next few hours studying some more, doing laundry, and making veggie soup for my mom and vegan mac & cheese for my brother. Once that was done I got the chance to make my own lunch, in which I tested out some of my newly purchased chia seed! I soaked a tablespoon of chia seed with 1/2 a cup of water for about 30 minutes. I then proceeded to blend it with a mango, a banana, a handful of strawberries, 1 Tbs. of Spirulina, 1 tsp. maca powder, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, and some stevia to taste. It was really REALLY good. I was actually surprised on how well the meal sat with me. I was a little nervous mixing chia with fruit since it does have a highish fat content, but it still isn't a fat dominant food so I figured it could hurt to give it a try. It was delicious and didn't cause any bloating of digestive distress any kind. This meal made me feel satisfied at the end without feeling heavy. Two thumbs up!

My mom teaches at a homeschool co-op on Tuesdays in the wee early hours of the morning, and then again later in the afternoon. When she got hope from her afternoon class she and I decided to just go out for the sake of going out so we could get some one on one conversation time with each other. It was a nice pick me up from the gloomy feeling that had been sneaking up on me from all the wet and clouds. On the way home we stopped off at Ingles so that I could get some more organic mangos (I have a serious addiction to this fruit. They are a staple in my diet.)

When I got home it was about an hour before I would have to leave for karate so I decided to grab a couple of bananas and the last of my persimmon jam for a pre-karate snack. I have got to get some more persimmon! They are a new food love of mine, and once I find something yummy, healthy, and raw to boot, I can't get enough! :D

Karate went well. We worked on sets and escapes and ended with handshake push-ups. Karate really is a great way to workout, especially if your someone who enjoys being with other people as well. When it was over I came home HUNGRY so I grabbed a kiwi, 2/3 of a pineapple, 2 mangos, and a cup of grapes and dug in!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Living Life to the Fullest

So October has not brought it many posts for this blog so I am going to make this one as long as possible to make up for it. This shouldn't be to difficult as I have kept myself quite busy this month. My CSSN studies have been going quite well. It's given my mother and I cause for some intense discussion about health. The two most recent topics being:
  1. Starbucks Coffee
  2. Food Combining (finding what's best for you)
The first topic discussion started when my mom and I decided to take her car in for an oil change on our way to the mall since it was right next door. While waiting we walked over to the mall with nothing to do and time to kill, so we decided that it couldn't hurt to have a Starbucks just this once while we sat at a table to read. Two words: BAD IDEA. By the time my mom had finished her soy chai latte and I my soy decaf cappuccino, neither of us were doing to good. My mom said it just made her feel weighed down both physically and emotionally, while I experienced light headiness and muscle weakness. After that my mom and I both swore off Starbucks FOREVER.
This experience really did surprise me since before I became raw I would drink up to 3-4 grande, fully caffeinated cappuccinos from Starbucks with extra shots of espresso, and I wouldn't feel a thing, not even a little buzz. I think when your body is able to function properly and goes without intense energy stimulates for a while, that it becomes more aware of telling you when something just is not good for you. My mom and also believe that the caffeine content of Starbucks coffee is much much higher than other coffees. For example: when I was in Europe this summer and my mom came over for the last week of my time there I decided to have a little vacation treat and had a soy cappuccino with my mom every morning at a local cafe called Puccino's and not once did I get a experience and physical or emotional problems, and neither did my mom. I think that the difference is the objective of the business. Starbucks is in the business of selling people a beverage that will keep them going all day even if their running on empty so they will make sure that their coffee beans will contain as much caffeine as humanly possible. Cafe's like Puccinos on the other hand, are in business to provide an enjoyable beverage for people who wish to come together to socialize so they are not really concerned about "pumping up" their customers so to speak.

The second topic actually came up when my mom and I were out running some errands and our friend Corey called with a question. He wanted to know what we thought about combining carbohydrate foods with protein foods. From what I have learned, all food, even fruit, has some amount of protein. One could then conclude from this that if carbs already have some protein in it then it should be fine to combine any type of protein with carbs. This is not the case however. Foods with a high amount of, or concentrated dose of protein usually have a high fat content as well (i.e. olives, avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut meat, oils). Carbohydrates for the most part (with the exclusion of vegetables) are relatively high in sugars, the bodies primary source of fuel. After having done some research I read that when you eat sugar rich carbohydrates (fruits) with fats ,you drastically slow down the rate of digestion and energy release which can lead to feeling sluggish and bloated. Also, this slow down of digestion can cause the fruit in the body to ferment in the stomach, not good! Fruit already contains the amount of protein that it can handle to still digest properly, you don't need to add more to it. Vegetable carbohydrates, however, go better with the high fat/concentrated protein foods because their low sugar levels and insoluble fiber allow the fat/concentrated protein to more easily digest.
My mom and I debated over food combining rules and information that we had read and came up with this conclusion, it all depends upon the individual. I truly believe that everyones body is different. We have all have different body types, activity levels, lead different lifestyles, and have been exposed to different toxins in the food and the environment. I say whatever works best for you! Like my mom drinks a raw banana chocolate hemp smoothie with Udo's oil almost everyday and she says that it makes her feel really good to the point that she notices the difference in how she feels on the days that she doesn't have one. My brother drinks this same smoothie and gets the same sort of energy kick. For myself though, I don't do so well with fruit and fat put together, in fact I find that little to almost no extra fat is better or me. I might have some avocado, green olives, cold-pressed oil, or hemp seed in a salad (not all of them in the same salad, yikes!) once 1-2 weeks depending on how I'm feeling and I do just fine, no protein problems (get most of it from the fruit).

Everyone has to march to the beat of their own drum when it comes to healthy living. Listen to your body and learn what it runs best on. If things change and you start to not do so well, do the research, experiment, and adjust until you feel happy and health again. If everyone could take responsibility on learning at least the very basics of real nutrition, and then learning to apply and adjust their diet and lifestyle to fit their personal health needs, I whole heartedly believe that the only time anyone would be visiting a hospital would be from physical injury, or a rare genetic disease or virus.

Moving on, this month was my Mom' s birthday, on which she proudly turned 56, and people (including myself) say she looks ten years younger (seriously she does)! For her birthday my mom wanted a chocolate cake so I whipped one up for her with sliced up strawberries on top for decoration instead of icing. She told me it was one of the best birthday cakes that she ever had but she doesn't think she would want to have it again. Apparently the taste and texture buds on her tongue have changed after being about 75-80% raw for about seven months or so. This makes me happy because it means she loved my cake but she would prefer raw homemade ice cream from now on!! I hope you guys get that. LOL.

Other than that, this month I have baked some oatmeal raisin cookies for my mom, and a couple of pumpkin pies for my brother (he can eat a whole pie in one night that kid! Don't know where he puts it. LOL).

Another wonderful event of this month was when my mom and I decided that for one of our weekly grocery shopping trips we were going to buy everything at the Whole Foods in Atlanta. It was such a treat! We got starfruit, passion fruit, blood oranges, kiwi, pineapple, banana, papaya, globe grapes, medjool dates, pears, strawberries, lemons, pears, persimmons, pomegranate, cranberries, limes, blueberries, bell pepper (red, orange, and yellow), cabbage, asparagus, radishes, celery, dried mulberries, and raw honey. Jackpot! I made so all kinds of fruit juices, smoothies, and a raw jam! Let me tell you I was, and still am in heaven!! :)

I made this fruit salad for my mom. Pineapple, mango, banana, kiwi, papaya, and grapes. The dressing was coconut meat and strawberries blended with some agave. She chowed this breakfast down in record time.

Pomegranate and red globe juice.

Blood red oranges, cranberry, lime juice blended with ice and raw honey. This is my new favorite juice. OMG, I never wanted the glass to empty!!

New favorite smooothie: 1 starfruit, 1 passion fruit, l mango, 1/2 cup chopped pineapple, a banana, and a wee bit of stevia. It's like a tropical explosion in your mouth. That's what I'm going to call it, "Tropical Taste Bud Explosion!"

This was part of my dinner last night. Two bananas cut up with raw persimmon jam on top.

Ok, the last thing I want to cover in this post is my workout and physical appearence update. Since I have now gotten into a workout schedule I have noticed a difference in how I look and feel. My energy levels are off the charts almost all the time, putting me often into positive and productive moods. Physically my stomach is flatter and more tined, I have gained 2 pound of muscle mass in 2 months, and my arms, oh my arms!! :) Ever since I can remember I have had no trouble with obtaining good muscle tone in my legs, but my arms have always had almost no muscle to speak of. Finally though, it seems I am well on my way to getting some well toned arms. This is how they look right now.

From now on I think I am going to take a picture of my arms every 1-2 months to see if I can see any significant improvement as I keep up with my workout which consists of:

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays:
30-40 minutes lap swimming freestyle and backstroke
35-60 minute walk (3.5mph)

Tuesdays and Thursdays:
35-60 minute walk (3.5 mph)
60 minutes martial arts

15 minutes stretching
50 jumping jacks
50 crunches
50 push-ups
10-15 minutes punching bag
30 minute walk

Rest day.

At the end of each month I'll post my fitness progress and we will see how that goes. I hope everyone out their has a blessed Autumn day.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Welcoming Autumn with Activity

September is gone and October is here! Here in the South the weather is finally lovely! Last week we had a bunch of flash floods so all the bridges had to be closed down (I live almost right next to two of them) which made getting around town quite difficult. But now the temperature high is in the upper 70z, there is sunny and breezy weather with clear blue skies, and almost zero humidity. Yesterday was the same and I spent a couple hours outside doing my CSNN studies while drinking a decadent Spirulina Smoothie of my own spontaneous concoction!

So I haven't really written anything for a few weeks but honestly I've been quite busy adding things into my schedule. I now swim for 30-40 minutes at Johnson Park about 3-4 times a week and I've started attending my brothers karate studio to finish my advanced brown belt training and hopefully test for my 1st degree black belt by nest Autumn. At the house I've been trying to cram as many hours of CSSN while still keeping the house clean, the laundry done, keeping my brother and mom fed, running errands. . . just life in general.

Despite all this life for me is going alright. Just yesterday the two books I ordered from
Amazon.com came in, the 2010 Poetry Market and Sarma's new raw food book! I love buying
raw food recipe books for when my mom or I has company to blow them away with the delicious
and nutritious wonder of raw food. I bought the Poetry Market book because I am hoping to publish
my book of poetry that I have been working on for 4 years now.

This is what I want to encourage everyone in, stay busy! I find whenever I start feeling depressed
or alone that if I go for a swim, a walk, or pick up a book, start a project, just do SOMETHING productive,
I can temper or even completely eliminate the down feelings I have. We are human and we crave stimulation.
When people don't receive physical and mental stimulation we don't form any new muscles in our
body, and the synapses in our brain don't create new connections. This result in a deteriorated mind and body,
who would want to live like that? I can't think of anyone.

When life is dull and you wonder what's the point, that is the moment you need to reach out
and make something out of nothing. We are the dominant species of this planet. Why? Because we
are smart and resourceful and we have zest for LIVING not just EXISTING. We what to do things better,
we want to do things better, we want to learn, and we want to discover. Society today wants to shove
us in a box with a label and have us stay there for the rest of our lives. Not me, and hopefully not you!

Peace out everybody! Until next time. SMILE!! :)

P.S. And here are some recipes and pics:

My New Book!! I really admire Sarma.
She is an amazing woman.

A kiwilicious breakfast. Did you know that kiwi, along with blackberries, are actually a great source of zinc?

My mom wanted pudding so she asked me to make her a raw pudding. We only had the bare minimum of food left since it was the end of the week, but a managed to whips this up for her breakfast.

Tropical Mousse
1 large ripe banana
1/2 cup of fresh coconut meat
1/4 cup of dried coconut flakes
1/4 cup cashews (pre-soaking is optional)
1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped
1 tbs. agar agar flakes soaked for 10 minutes in hot water
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 tsp. real salt
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbs/ coconut water

Blend the 1st five ingredients until smooth, add the rest and blend until smooth and refrigerate overnight.

Serve 4

I made this smoothie as a little treat for my breakfast that same day. Not much left in the house but I'm a resourceful raw smoothie loving girl! ;)

Coco Cacao Beauty Smoothie
1 cup coconut water
1 cup chopped frozen banana
1 rounded tsp. raw cacao powder
1 rounded tbs. raw cacao nibs
1 tbs. raw honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Blend until smooth

Serves 1

While studying this last Thursday afternoon I got really hungry. It was quite warm out so I decided to invent a new smoothie. OMG, I made this tried it, had my mom tried it, and we have both had this every. single. day. for the past three days. This smoothie tastes amazing, is incredibly satisfying, and gives me the most incredible burst of energy and mental clarity that I have ever experienced.

The Green Peachy Keen
1 large peach (about 2 cups)
11 frozen strawberries or 7 fresh strawberries
2 frozen bananas
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp. Hawaiian Spirulina
1 1/2 "scoops" of stevia ( I use the Now brand)
1/4 cup water

Blend until smooth

Serves 1-2