7 Myths to a Raw Foods Diet

Myth #1 – A raw foods diet is too expensive.
Everything is perception and at first when you eat more raw foods, it may seem expensive because you are shopping more for fresh, organic, local produce or because you are buying different equipment and tools for your kitchen and different pantry items to concoct your recipes, but you can actually save money on a raw foods diet. What I’ve found to be true is that the more raw foods I eat, the less portion size I consume and also I’ve found great produce markets and farmer’s markets where the local organic produce is very inexpensive. Shopping at high-end gourmet health food stores and supermarkets will break your bank. I also instead of buying my nut butters which I use to provide bulk and substance to my diet as well as protein, I make at home in my food processor by adding the nuts, olive oil, and some salt and then I store them in containers and snack on them during the week. I’m not sure if I spend more money on food than the average person or not, but I do know that I don’t take any medications which cuts down on costs and I haven’t had the need to see a doctor in over 7 years which also cuts down on costs and because I eat so simply, other areas in my life have called for that same simplicity and moderation which also cuts down on costs.

  • Myth #2 – A raw foods diet is too cumbersome and hard to maintain.

The more I embraced raw foods, the less cumbersome and easy I found it to maintain. Also because I eat more simply than I have ever eaten before, I have found that having a really organized kitchen by having ample storage containers, a compost container, and a place to store everything makes it not only easier to maintain the diet, but it makes a very pleasant experience. Eating more living and fresh foods brings joy to my life. I now look forward to taking trips to the produce market and seeing what new fruits and vegetables are available and I also enjoy experimenting with recipes. It only becomes cumbersome and hard to maintain if you are not embracing the food and surrounding yourself with people who eat like you as the influence of others can hinder your joy in embracing this diet.

  • Myth #3 – Raw foods is dangerous because of the bacteria on food.

All food should be handled carefully, with clean hands only, and prepared on clean surfaces. Its also important to consume fruits and vegetables as soon as possible when they are really fresh as this can cut down on the possibility of the growth of harmful bacteria on them. There is the case of fermented vegetables which is when vegetables are kept at room temperature in a sanitary container for a number of days to ferment so that it activates the lactobacilli which is naturally present in raw cultured vegetables as well as in our digestive tract but this bacteria is beneficial for your body. There are friendly bacteria necessary to break down foods in our digestive tract. It is also not necessarily true that when food is cooked that it kills the bacteria.

  • Myth #4 – A raw foods diet does not supply enough nutrition.

This is exactly the opposite. A raw foods diet supplies the body with all of its necessary vitamins, nutrients, and minerals it needs to thrive. It as well naturally hydrates the body with its high water content which means that you don’t have to drink as much water and it is also a natural detox diet which means that it it constantly detoxing the body of toxins. As far as protein is concerned dark leafy greens are known to have the most digestible protein on the planet.

  • Myth #5 – Raw foods does not taste good.

This all depends on the creator of the dish. Raw foods can taste just as good, if not better than cooked food and with just as much or as little or no seasoning at all. What is great about raw and living foods is that because the natural juices in the food are so scrumptious for the body, you don’t always have to season the food. It all depends on one’s palette.

  • Myth #6 – You have to eat a 100% raw foods diet to enjoy the benefits.

Absolutely not true. I’ve experimented with a 100% raw foods diet and I’ve enjoyed many of the benefits such as flawless skin, a high energy level, and a higher immunity to disease. But I’ve also gone 80/20, 50/50, etc with raw and cooked food and I’ve noticed that I still maintained the benefits. Getting more live and raw foods is important for the overall health of the body because it naturally detoxifies our bodies and supplies the body with enzymes but its not necessary to eat 100% raw. Everyone’s body is completely different and some people just can’t eat a 100% raw foods diet.

  • Myth #7 – There is not much diversity in a raw foods diet.

There are more fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains on the planet to eat than there are animals to eat. There is so much diversity in a raw foods diet. The reason why people believe this myth is because as humans we tend to eat the same food over and over again and we tend not to experiment with different foods. We also tend to shop in the same place and therefore we are only going to be exposed to what the market is asking for. Its important to read about different food, venture into other neighborhoods to shop for food, try different ethnic and exotic fruits and vegetables, and experiment with different herbs and spices to season your food. I’ve been playing around a lot with caraway seeds which is a spice that I probably would have never heard of if I didn’t eat a raw foods diet.

7 Ways to Lose Weight On a Raw Foods Diet

I get this question about losing weight a lot from women who eat mostly raw or who are vegan and vegetarian. I have actually heard of women gaining weight on a raw foods diet and the reasons could be anywhere from consuming too many calories as when most people start eating raw, they tend to overeat or we tend to gravitate more towards the nuts, oils, and raw desserts.

Overall losing weight is so much more than about eating the right diet but here are some helpful tips and suggestions for losing weight on a raw foods diet.

  • Eat in tiny portions, but more meals throughout the day.

Its a wonderful feeling to eat as many times a day without having to worry about weight gain, however sometimes even though we are eating raw and extremely healthy, we still tend to overeat as overeating is an addiction to food whether it is healthy or not. Practicing the art of moderation and balance is key to eating healthy and especially when eating raw. Eating more throughout the day also does not feed into the eating less fad diets as they body does not miss food when you are eating all day, but just eating in tiny portions. For example, my dessert last night was eating a handful of wine grapes and I was extremely satisfied.

  • Cut back on nuts and oils.

Even though all foods that are left in their natural state meaning unprocessed, unfired, and uncooked are always healthy and sustainable for the body, anything in excess can add weight and not be helpful to one’s weight goals. Therefore if you find yourself not losing weight, try eliminating some of the oils and nuts from your diet as most raw food recipes calls for nuts and oils in spreads and salad dressings. You can make oil free salad dressings by blending tomatoes and peppers with herbs to make salad dressings and you can use seeds instead of nuts.

  • Increase your water intake.

Increasing your water intake will assist the body in helping your foods to assimiliate and it can also increase your bowel movements. Remember excess unnecessary weight is nothing but built-up waste in the body and removing it is the key to losing weight and shedding pounds. One client of mine who recently lost 20 pounds now says that she is losing weight without even thinking about it as her body is doing the work now as opposed to her doing the work.

 

  • Do a juice fast.

 

Fasting on natural vegetable juices will not only help you to shed the pounds as you detox your body, increase your bowel movements and thus shed more and more waste and pounds by the day, but it will also help you to get mentally and emotionally clear about your health and weight goals. It can also help with any cravings that you may be having that may be adding weight to your body. Fasting is an ancient practice designed to heal old wounds that may be associated with your weight. It also declutters the mind and returns the body and the palette back to the simple, easy, and light foods that our bodies naturally enjoy and can digest easily.

  • Increase your daily intake of greens particularly dark leafy greens.

Greens, greens, and more greens will fully nourish your body and assist in the elimination process.

  • Cut down on the raw desserts.

We all know that raw food desserts are the best and even though they are made with the loving natural sweeteners from Mother Earth herself, they still can add weight to our bodies if eaten more than often. Just because your eating mostly raw doesn’t mean you have to have a raw dessert everyday. Substitute a mango or slices of kiwi instead of having a slice of a macadamia nut cheesecake.

  • Drink wheatgrass.

I recently spoke with a non-raw foods chef who lost over 170 pounds while taking classes at the Ann Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico. He’s not even vegetarian but he swore that drinking two shots of wheatgrass everyday helped his body to detox naturally and thus drop the pounds easily.

Nature will assist you greatly when you align your body back into vibrant and optimal health, so therefore if you stick to your diet and you still notice that you haven’t lost a pound or you may even be gaining weight, you might want to take other measures such as increasing your physical activity, monitoring your portions, or really getting to the root of the weight problem. Weight is nothing but waste and waste collects mostly in the colon area. Getting regular colonics could help in losing the weight, but also investigating your issues around food, health, and your self-esteem will help as well.

Going bananas over bananas

Here’s the low-down on bananas.
 
Bananas contain three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose, and glucose combined
with fiber.  Thus one banana gives you an instant and sustained amount of energy
unlike coffee.  
 
If you like to work-out, two bananas will provide enough energy for a high-impact
90-minute workout.  This is why most athletes eat bananas.
 
But bananas do not only supply energy.  If added daily to your diet, bananas
can help to prevent and overcome a number of different illnesses and health conditions.
 
Bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein found in turkey meat and also
oatmeal.  This type of protein when consumed gets converted into serotonin
which is known to help you sleep, relax, and improve your mood which can
help with people who have mood disorders, depression, and PMS for women.
 
Bananas are also high in iron which stimulates the hemoglobin in blood which
helps to distribute oxygen to the body’s cells.
 
Bananas are known for its high potassium levels making it great for those
who suffer from high blood pressure.  Potassium is a vital mineral that sends
oxygen to the brain, normalizes our heart rate, and balances the body’s water intake
which makes it a great food for stress as well since when we are stressed
our metabolic rates increase.
 
Overall bananas are also high in fiber and the vitamin B family.  It is known for
helping with constipation, heartburn, morning sickness, ulcers, and hangovers.  
 
I don’t really enjoy eating bananas alone as I prefer to use bananas in my smoothies 
and I make a chocolate banana pudding.
 
Banana Chocolate pudding
 
2 avocados
1-2 bananas
1/2 C cacao powder
1/2 C carob powder
1 C agave nectar
1 vanilla bean (ground) or 1-2 t vanilla flavoring
pinch of salt
 
Add the avocados and one banana to a food processor.  Gradually add the cacao
powder, carob powder, agave nectar, vanilla bean or the vanilla flavoring and a
pinch of salt as the processor is running.  Process it until you get a smooth, creamy
texture and garnish with extra slices of banana.  

 

7 Habits of Healthy People

Healthy People take on different habits than unhealthy people.  They are consistent in learning and educating themselves to make their lives and the lives of others healthier.  Check out our 7 habits of healthy people.
1. Healthy People make time to shop for fresh food and prepare healthy food. We do not make excuses for not being able to eat healthier.  We make it a ritual just like taking a shower.
2. Healthy people create a budget for healthier eating and we do not complain that eating healthier is more expensive.  As a matter of fact, eating
healthy doesn’t seem expensive for healthy people.  Its like healthcare for us.
3.  Healthy People make time to exercise.  Exercise and constant movement is a part of our lifestyle.  As a matter of fact, healthy people have created a lifestyle that is quite mobile.  So walking, moving, dancing, etc is a part of our lifestyle. 
 
4.  Healthy People take the time to cultivate healthy relationships.  Healthy people realize that 85% of our joy comes from people and relationships so healthy people take the time to maintain wholesome healthy relationships. 
 
5.  Healthy People embrace the healing power of the sun.  We use the sun as a way to rejuvenate and heal ourselves.  You will find us sunbathing often, at the beach, giving thanks for its energy, letting the shine in through 
our windows, or taking daily walks to soak up some of that good old sunshine.  
6.  Healthy People know how to relax and take time for ourselves.
Healthy people let other people (children, spouse, significant other, friends) know how important it is to have ME time and others around us respect our boundaries and also learn how to set boundaries as well. 
7.  Healthy People are constantly growing and evolving.  We are constantly taking on new projects, enrolling in self-enrichment courses, classes, seminars, etc.  We are invested in our evolution.

Eating Healthier On a Budget

Many people think eating healthier is complicated, hard-to-do, and expensive when really it is the total opposite.
My approach to eating healthier is to do it simply, easy, and inexpensively and without a lot of fuss.  Leave yourself some breathing room in case you can’t find an ingredient.
1. You do not have to buy everything organic.  I view health as good, better, and best.  So of course eating organic is always best but it is not always feasible because of budget restraints as well as because of accessibility.  Buying local is actually better.  Many local farmers cannot afford the organic certification and they may actually be practicing organic methods.  I am in contact with two local farmers in the Pennsylvania area who are in this very predicament.  There are some vegetables and fruits that you should absolutely buy organic like celery, peppers, apples, potatoes, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, etc, but again depending on where you live and your shopping budget, do the best that you can.
2. Keep some basic staples stocked in your pantry or refrigerator so that you can make just about any raw foods or vegan recipe.  Some basic staples are Braggs liquid aminos, olive oil, nori sheets, nut butters, coconut oil, sea salt, cacao powder, lemons, and dulse flakes.  With these basics you will be able to whip up most recipes.
3. Buy in bulk as much as possible.  You may not see the cost difference in the beginning but in the end it will save you some money.  Buy nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, and lentils in bulk.
4. Buy produce that is in season.  Produce that is in season, not only tastes better but it will be cheaper than if it were out of season.  Right now pomegranates, leeks, squash, and pumpkin are approaching our fall harvest.
5. Patronize your farmer’s markets, local co-ops, ethnic grocery stores.  The produce is slightly more inexpensive and sometimes of greater quality.  Caribbean and Asian produce stores are my favorite.
6. Purchase your kitchen equipment on e-bay.  I’ve gotten great deals on Vitamix blenders and Cuisinart food processors from e-bay.  Make sure you check out the seller’s past selling history before you buy.
7. Learn to substitute where and when you can.  If you do not have agave nectar, use honey or maple syrup.  Use lemons instead of limes.

 

The Skinny On Fruit

A client of mine recently asked me about consuming only fruits in order to lose weight. I always wonder why people are attracted to mono-diets such as this when trying to lose weight.
I always stress the importance of eating a balanced and diverse plant-based diet.  Your body is not able to get all of the nutrients it needs on fruit alone.
Yes you will lose weight on a 100% fruit diet or what we call a fruitarian diet.  Yes you will have glowing skin, great digestion, better sleep, and most of your ailments will subside.  And you can even do this for a long period of time, however choosing to eat a mono-diet such as this as opposed to a diet rich in all the foods from the plant kingdom is a better choice when losing weight or enhancing your health.
One of the reasons why some people will have trouble losing weight is because they stick to mono-diets that do not provide your body with ample amounts of fuel in order to burn off the calories and fat.
If you are someone who prefers to eat fruits over anything else, you can make your diet at least 50-75% fruit and then the other percentage vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, superfoods, beans, legumes, lentils, etc.  This way you are satisfying your palette’s desires and still keeping your plate diverse.
If you are sticking to fruits especially since our bodies desire more water-based foods like fruits in the summertime so that our bodies can cool down and naturally detoxify itself, at least vary the fruits that you consume.
Fruits are feminine energetically which is why so many of us desire them.  They act as cleansing foods for the body as vegetables act as building foods for the body.  So what does that mean?  That means while your body needs to cleanse and detox itself, it also needs to build the cells, blood, and organs back up as well in order to repair and heal itself which is why we need a balance of fruits and vegetables.
Fruits from a botanical perspective are simply ripened ovaries.  They come from the flowers of plants and trees.  Here are three types of fruits so that you can vary the types of fruits
Types of Fruits
Fleshy Simply Fruits – fruits produced by flowers from one pistil; Pistils are the main female reproductive organ of a flower; grapes, tomatoes, persimmons, bananas, avocados, etc
 
Fleshy Aggregrate Fruits – fruits produced by flowers from more than one pistil; strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries, wineberries
 
Fleshy Multiple Fruits – fruits are produced by a cluster of flowers
mulberries, pineapples, figs, dates, pomegranates.

Choosing the right Superfood for you

Superfoods are essential on a plant-based diet.
Why?  Because the food we consume today has at least 50%
less nutrients than it did some 30 years ago.  And our bodies
are just not getting all the nutrition it needs simply by the plant-based
food sources in raw form.
Superfoods are foods that contain a plethora of vitamins, minerals,
nutrients, protein, fiber, antioxidants, beta carotene, flavonoids, calcium,
iodine and a host of other nutrients that most foods do not contain all
in one food source.  You usually have to eat a number of different foods
to get all of those nutrients.  Superfoods are these God-sent multi-tasking,
multi-purpose foods that give you lots of nutrient richness in a low-caloric
form.  I tend to look at superfoods as a higher quality form of a multivitamin.
For example, one orange contains the recommended daily amount of
vitamin C that the body needs.  Vitamin C is the main nutrient in an
orange. It does also have small amounts of fiber (when eating the white
matter under the skin peel), vitamin A, iron, calcium, zinc, sodium, etc.
However its not like raw cacao, where chocolate comes from, a favorite
superfood of many that contains high amounts of magnesium, iron,
antioxidants, essential fatty acids, sulphur, and it contains natural hormones
and stimulants that help to combat depression and alleviate stress.
The best way to choose the right superfood is to first determine
what your body mostly needs.
Because I have a thyroid condition, I make sure I consume and have on hand in my pantry plenty of seaweed vegetables and I also take a superfood from E3Live called Renew Me, Total Body Blend which acts as my multivitamin because it contains high amounts of iodine, manganese, zinc, copper, protein from the spirulina, MSM (an organic sulphur), selenium, chromium, etc.
So choose a superfood according to what your body needs first and then
based on what your palette desires.
I also like to munch on goji berries for a snack and add chia seeds for protein to my dehydrated crackers, smoothies, yogurts, puddings, and salads.
This is how you want to eat –  for nutrition first and for taste second by
determining first what your body needs and then for taste to satisfy your palette’s desires.

7 Ways to enjoy An avocado

Avocados grow all year long and they are a great source of good fat.
Babies and children love them as they make a highly nutritious easy to make baby food.  Most of us are introduced to avocados by way of guacamole, another very easy and quick dish to whip up!
However avocados are a very versatile food that can be enjoyed in a myriad of ways.
Here’s 7 food prep tips for using an avocado.
1. Mash an avocado as if you are making mashed potatoes
and use as a spread or as a butter on bread, inside of a leaf wrap,
or atop a flax or buckwheat cracker.  Drizzle some lime or lemon juice
in the mashed texture and add chili flakes.
2. For any fruit ice cream or sorbet, substitute it for an avocado.
3. Dice an avocado and add it to your morning fruit salad with diced mangoes, papaya, apples, and some berries.  Add lemon or lime juice to bring out the flavor and to keep the avocado looking green.
4. Add an avocado to your smoothie. It smoothes out the texture and makes
it very creamy.  You won’t be able to taste it.
5. Mash the avocado and add it to your dark leafy green salad.  When you add some lemon or lime juice and curry powder it functions as a creamy salad dressing and It adds to the texture and the taste of the salad.
6. Scoop out the avocado shell and add your favorite grain whether its raw or cooked like quinoa, kamut, or brown rice and top with olives and diced avocado. Drizzle olive oil or a marinara sauce on it and enjoy your stuffed avocados.
7. Make an avocado salsa by adding diced avocados to diced tomatoes, corn kernels, diced jicama, red onions, and cilantro.

Food Tricks 101

Being a self-learned and self-taught raw foods and vegan chef, I’ve had to learn food tricks on my own in the comfort of my own kitchen.  Over the years, I’ve surprised myself and have come to find among other chefs the common food and kitchen tricks that we share.
1. Nutritional yeast makes everything tastes like cheese so for former cheese lovers, use nutritional yeast on your food.  I make a rawsome vegan macaroni recipe with nutritional yeast using kelp noodles or sliced coconut meat.  Look for the recipe in The Goddess of Raw Foods.  
2. Salt brings out the sweetness in everything.
3. Soaking nuts is not only healthier for you but they absorb flavor better when they are wet.  So soak your nuts and flavor them with a chili lime honey sauce.
4. Never store potatoes and onions together.  The onions give the potatoes eyes.
5. Avocados are very versatile.  You can use them as a butter, in a salad dressing, or in a chocolate pudding.  Check out my mango avocado dressing in The Goddess of Raw Foods.
6. To get the most meat off a pineapple, twist the top spikes off, cut the bottom of the pineapple, and then slice the sides to enter the pineapple from an angle.
7. Peel ginger off with a spoon instead of a knife.  Its easier and safer.
8. Roll your lemons and lime on a counter.  They give you more juice this way.
9. Save your orange, lemon, & lime peels and store them in your freezer.  You can use for a zest, make a  potpourri, or grind them in your dishwasher.  It makes your dishwasher smell like a citrus mist.
10. After juicing, save all the pulp to make soups, or dehydrated pizza crusts, breads, cookies, cakes, or pies.  You can also use them to make broths to sip on during a cleanse or when one is sick.
11. To keep apples from browning soak them in a mixture of cold water and salt or toss them with lemon or lime juice.

 

Coconut Oil doesA body good

Coconut oil is a multi-purpose miracle food.  You can consume it internally and wear it topically on your skin and hair.  Consuming coconut oil internally keeps your thyroid healthy, supplies your body with good fats and stabilizes your metabolism.  Wearing it topically hydrates your skin and hair and gives it that glow it needs.
Here are my recipe suggestions for using coconut oil.
For morning breakfast protein intake.
Green Chocolate Lover’s smoothie
1 large handful spinach leaves
1 T ground golden flax seed
1 T cacao powder
1 C almond milk or coconut milk
1 T almond butter
1 frozen banana
1 t virgin unrefined coconut oil
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth and frothy.

 

For those who cook, here is a wonderful side dish for your dinner.  

Leeks & onion melody
 
3 stalks leeks
1/4 white onion
chives for garnish
1 T coconut oil
a few dashes of cumin
Trim the green part of the leeks and slice the white part for sauteeing.
Sautee both the leeks and the sliced onions in a tablespoon of coconut oil for
3 minutes.  Add a few dashes of cumin.  Serve and garnish with chives.