Monday, 15 July 2013

How to Celebrate International RAW Food Day!!

Did you know that this past Thursday, July the 11th was International RAW Food Day?  No? That's okay this special occasion celebrating of all things Raw is still little known (which I am sure many would say about the diet itself), so much so in fact that even some of my Raw-Foodie Friends were unaware!

Though this particular diet is still gaining momentum amongst the masses, consuming a Raw Diet, consisting of raw, predominantly vegan, whole foods is on the rise.  Raw-Foodists believe that the cooking foods strips them of much of their nutritional value as well as breaks down important enzymes present in these foods.  There is some controversy over heating food to low temps (and even controversy over how low is okay), but some RAW dishes are heated to anywhere from 104 to 118 degrees.  Some common foods consumed on this diet are organic fruits and veggies, raw nuts and seeds, whole grains, beans and legumes, certain oils, and herbs and spices.  Some people on this diet also partake in RAW milk and cheese (of course not vegan, but veganism isn't compulsory with this diet, so to each their own!).  For more info on whats on the RAW Menu and how to prepare RAW dishes yourself check these links:

Health benefits of the RAW Diet include increased energy, clearer skin, natural weight loss, reduced risk of disease and improved digestion.

I decided to celebrate International RAW Food Day this year by eating Raw for the day!

My RAW Menu for the Day:

I started the day off with a refreshing Banana, Papaya and Romaine Smoothie.  This Smoothie is one that I have enjoyed many mornings for Breakfast the only difference today being that ordinarily I add some Soy Milk and Yogurt in so today I skipped that to keep things pure and RAW.

I headed to my favourite local organic cafe for Lunch.  Once there my meal consisted of a Fresh Young Coconut (even my glass was staying true to its' purest form!), which is full of natural Electrolytes (perfect on a hot Balinese day), and once finished that I enjoyed a delicious Raw Pad Thai Salad, consisting of mixed greens, peppers, cucumber, zucchini and bean sprouts with a scrumptious home-made coriander dressing.

I got myself through the mid-afternoon energy-lull by making myself a nutrient-dense fresh juice (LOVING my new Juicer!) of Granny smith apple, broccoli, bok choy and cucumbers.  And before I knew it it was time for dinner!  I enjoyed another heaping salad of Indonesian Cabbage, yellow peppers, cucumber, avocado, bean sprouts and cashew nuts drizzled with some yummy coconut oil.

My RAW Experience:

I was pleasantly surprised that I could actually make it through a day of eating completely RAW without a) feeling hungry or b) needing a food processor. I felt energized, alert and unburdened by heavy meals that would weigh both my digestive tract and my mind down.  I drank more fluids as well, choosing to drink a glass of water before deciding whether I needed something more solid.  For those considering switching to this pure-form of eating full-time I would highly recommend you invest in a food processor though as there are so many delicious meals (not to mention desserts!) that you can create once you own one.   Plus I am sure you could even create some of your own too!

For more information on eating RAW and how to make the switch to eating more RAW foods (plus some tasty RAW recipes too!) see the sources & links section below.

Until next time..

Be Happy, Eat Healthy!

Sources & Links:

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Tips for The Ladies: Moon Days AKA That Time of the Month

It dawned on me this month as I was lying in Childs' pose on the Kitchen Floor..(yes I did this..but it was a
matter of necessity!) that there has to be a more graceful, smoother, less painful and be grudging way to deal with the occurance of my monthly cycle!  So I strapped on my thinking cap and buckled myself into research-mode at my desk (I squirm a lot when in deep concentration lol) and decided to find out what exactly I can do next month to prevent the day long agony which is the first day of my cycle (may the Universe help anyone who has to deal with this agony for more than a Heart goes out to you!).

And this is what I learned...

"Why does it hurt so bad?!"

 Dysmenorrhea AKA menstrual cramping occurs for approximately 10 to 15% of women of child-bearing age (aren't we lucky?!).  The pain we experience is caused by the release of prostaglandins into menstrual fluid.  These prostaglandins are chemicals which promote uterine contractions bringing with them inflammation and pain. Along with menstrual cramping other symptoms may include pain in the lower back and thighs, bloating, headaches, breast pain, water retention, sweating and dizziness (oh joy oh bliss!). 

"So what can you do about this monthly onslaught of hormonal chemicals wreaking their havoc?"

1.   Exercise!

I know it is the last thing most of us want to do during our periods, but physical exercise (and particularly cardiovascular exercise like walking, swimming) can help ease menstrual cramps, bloating, headaches and can even give you a much needed mood-boost!And all without having to turn to you old friend Advil! Check this link for a list of the 'Top 7 Best Exercises During Your Period'

2.   Take your Daily Multi-vitamin

Studies show that Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Magnesium, Calcium, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E have all been used effectively to treat menstrual cramps.  And a daily dose of the other vitamins and minerals sure isn't going to hurt! ;)

3.   Eat to Support Yourself (Before and During Your Cycle)

I know it is oh so tempting to pull out a bag of chips or your fav chocolate bar when you feel those first period-pangs coming on (or maybe the craving to do so is how you know your time has come).  And trust me I have been guilty of doing just that on more than one occassion.  It has been found however that it is best to avoid certain foods that will cause your hormones to fall even more out of balance (like alcohol, caffeine, foods high in saturated fats and salt and refined sugar) and stick to more natural whole foods like lots of fruits and veggies while avoiding foods that can cause more inflammation like breads and dairy products.  Women who avoid the food no-no's listed above actually have shown less likelihood of suffering from menstrual cramping and other side effects of menstruation.
Foods high in Omega-3 fatty-acids help to deal with those nasty inflammation causing prostaglandins (some examples include salmon, tuna, mackeral, flaxseeds, and walnuts).  Foods with a high Magnesium content (such as bananas, avocados, almonds, tofu and brown rice) help our muscles to contract and relax and transport energy around our bodies.   
Ginger has also been found very helpful when dealing with period pains and you can make a delicious tea with just a few slices of fresh ginger and a cup of hot water.  Also Peppermint has been found to help deal with the 'monthly ailments of Womanhood'.

 4.   Become Besties with your Hot Water Bottle

Placing a hot water bottle or barring that a cloth which has been soaked in hot water on the lower abdomen can be as effective in relieving period cramps as taking Ibuprofen (and you'll get a High-Five from your Liver too!).

This last one isn't from any article or text, just good common sense that a good friend shared with me recently..
5.   Don't make BIG life decisions when your Hormones are going Haywire!

I don't know about you but I often feel like my World has been turned on its' head up until and during this glorious time, colours I liked I don't anymore, favourite foods don't have the same appeal and if ever there was a time for "Full-Life Reinvention" you can bet it will occur to me during my Moon Days.  So the next time you feel like you want to quit your job, change your name and move to Timbuktu, hold off on doing any of these until after your cycle has ended and your hormones are once again back under your control. ;)

Also find below a short and sweet video from one of my favourite yoga you-tubers, Esther Ekhart of Yogatic.  She gives you a few simple Yoga moves you can do to help ease the abdominal and low back pain that often accompanies our "monthly guest".

I hope you learned a new trick or two for coping with the not so pleasant aspects of Womanhood, so that you can get back to being Awesome that much quicker! Because being a Lady is Pretty Fab (at least most of the time)!

Be Happy, Eat Healthy!