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.

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