Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Where Do You Get Your Protein?

Our favorite question, right? The next time someone asks you, besides your usual answer of nuts, seeds, legumes and greens (did you know greens are 20% protein?!) you can tell them two new ones: chia seeds and spirulina.

One tablespoon of chia seeds is 2.7 grams of protein. I add two of them to my smoothies (they taste like nothing) and get more than 5 grams of protein right there. Then I add a tablespoon of spirulina, which has 5 grams all on it's own. That's more than 10 grams of protein in that one drink, before I add any fruits or greens! That rivals any commercial protein shakes that rely on casein (which The China Study links to cancer.)

Plus chia seeds reduce your cholesterol, provide wonderful Omega-3s and make you feel full. And spirulina is a great source of beta carotene and chlorophyll as well as lots of trace minerals and other vitamins. There are tons of other benefits that you can read about in the pantry.

I just got excited about this and wanted to share!

Building Up The Temple

So, um, Hi! I've been kinda quiet lately, 'cuz I didn't feel like I had anything good to say and I only want to put positive stuff out there. What you focus on expands; what you resist, persists; feed the positive dog, etc. I had been "stuck" at 125 lbs off (which is great place to be stuck, don't get me wrong!) since the International Day of Juice Feasting, and I was getting rather disgusted with the scale. I decided to go back to basics, because it works.

I think we get rather myopic as raw foodies sometimes look only our nutrition. I believe that nutrition is the utmost important foundation of our health (without it, you will undermine anything else you try to do) but that house also has to have other pillars or it will still come crashing down. Penni is always reminding us of this: "Stay hydrated! Keep cleansing that colon! Move your buns! It's not just about the cake hole!"

So I did a shocking thing, for stubborn moi: I listened to good advice. (I know, right?!) In recovery circles, they say, "Look for someone who has what you want and ask them how they got there." With the awesome "Raw Mom, Cooked Dad" this week, I had the amazing opportunity to hear from SO MANY wise people how they do health and it was cool to hear such a diversity of opinions, even if it did make me question some things. (It never hurts to have your mind expanded and examine your truths and question the answers.)

So I want to share my "Back To Basics" and see how it compares to yours.

My body temple is built like this: Nutrition is the foundation, and the pillars are Loving Movement (exercise), Restoration (sleep), Hydration, Nurturing (self-care), Service (caring for others), Spirit, Cleansing (internal and environmental), and Relationships.

Nutrition: My diet is pretty simple: I have green juice first thing in the morning, then a green smoothie mid-morning, a big ol' salad for lunch with an avocado and a sprinkle of a handfull of nuts, and a blended green soup for dinner. In the smoothie I add chia seeds and goji berries and a superfood powder called "super reds" that has everything from goji berries, acai, beet powder, blue berries and probiotics. In the blended soup it is half greens (and I am rotating my greens better!) and the other half tomato, carrot, celery, onion, lots of garlic, more chia, and VitaMineral Green. (The garlic and chia are for my cholesterol reduction program.)

Once a week, I have gourmet raw at Sunday Supper. Otherwise, I am keeping it basic and green.

Loving Movement: I am back to my mantra, "Exercise is not optional!" Every week day, I am at the gym by 5:30 a.m. on the treadmill or the eliptical. I love the eliptical but I couldn't do it before, because I didn't go fast enough to keep going. Now I am going quicker and my knees love the eliptical very much! I also lift weights Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and I'm now doing Zumba at night on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sunday before church.

I know that exercise is doing awesome things for me: I've been told I "look smaller" than what I weigh. (Yay!) I have a LOT of weight to release, and exercise keeps that skin toned and tight because I don't want to look like a melted snowman naked. It keeps my lymph a-movin' and the colon moving too. It helps me deal with stress. It's good for my heart and lungs and coordination. And oh yeah: IT'S FUN. (That one still shocks me.)

Restoration: If you don't get enough sleep, you'll make too much cortisol and that means one thing: belly fat. That's right, I said it. The Buddah belly is not a good look for me! And it's deadly to have it around your heart. They've also proven that you'll release more weight if you get a good night's sleep. 7 hrs seems to be the magic number from the research I've done. I've made it a priority. I have to say, this is the easiest one. I do love a good snooze.

Hydration: In addition to my green juice, green smoothies, and green blended soups, I am also drinking plenty of spring water (we get it delivered at work and I fill 'er up.) I am wearing out a path to the loo but my skin looks and feels awesome and I feel great. Now that it is getting cold up here in the Pacific NW, I am drinking lots of Good Earth tea, which I love, and has such good ingredients: Red Rooibos (antioxidants!) Dandelion, Ginger, Ginseng, Rose Hips (vitamin C!) and the cinnamon in it makes it taste super sweet and no sugar at all. I do love a nice hot cup of tea on a cold day!

Self-Nurture: This is always a toughie for me. Time is my scarcest comody, and money is a close second. But again--not optional! I have made time for myself in the following ways: I make myself great meals, I make my bathroom a "spa" and do facials and skin brushing and hot/cold showers, I am reading a book I love, I dry my sheets with a sachet of organic lavendar, I sprung for pretty underthings, and I even popped for a 15 min chair massage yesterday--heaven!

Service: This has been fun. I've been volunteering with my son's musical theatre making costumes and hats. The show is coming together and looking awesome, and I love getting to be so creative and also having the chance to just sit around with other moms and gab and work communally.

I also consider shopping for and making nutritious meals for my kids as loving service. I try to look at house work as loving service as well, rather than drudgery. I once heard that being a good parent is as close as you can get to being like Jesus, and I love that. It is the spirit with which I serve that gives my life meaning, no matter how small that service.

Spirit: This is another of those things that is easy to take for granted or neglect. I have to make an appointment with myself and prioritize the time to just be with God, in prayer, in praise, and in the Word. Whatever your spiritual path, I think it is vital to health to make time for contemplation (what is the meaning of my life?) meditation (be still and go within) and fearless search for truth and meaning.

Cleansing: I am not going to talk about my colon cleansing. You're welcome. But I will say that I do it, and yes, I hate it, thanks for asking. lol But I love the results. I can't deny that I feel clearer and just BETTER. If I have a headache, it does the trick, just like that. Better than Advil and quicker too. (I got that from Charlotte Gerson, and it is totally true. Weird but true. If you have migraines, you owe it to yourself to try it.) I also use lots of chia seeds and flax seeds and I take a mineral supplement that has magnesium. Let's just say that the train leaves the station ON TIME, every time.

I also have cleaned up my house, literally: less clutter means less dust, better feng shui (I'm starting to believe in it), and I only use non-toxic stuff. I also use only coconut oil on my skin, my only beauty routine is some eyeliner and a smile, and I use organic hair stuff.

It's also important to air your house out daily, especially in fall and winter when it's counter-intuitive. Indoor air quality can be 5 times more polluted than outdoor, surprisingly. In addition to toxic VOCs (volatile organic compounds) houses are full of furniture and plastics that off-gas nasty formaldahyde and worse, and even naturally occuring radon and carbon monoxide from heating sources. I open the doors for at least 15 minutes at least once a day. There have been studies that suggest this actually cuts down on cold and flu virus transmissions too.

It's also helpful to have air-cleaning house plants. I have spider plants and pathos which are super easy to grow and among the most effective at cleaning indoor air. Also grow sprouts and micro greens and eat them: clean the air and nourish your temple!

Relationships: Whoever you are, you need a support system. Relationships are vital to your health. You need to lovingly weed those negative people out of your garden. Negativity is toxic. If you are eating raw organic vegan and jogging ten miles, and then going home and being verbally abused, your health is still going to suffer. Everyone has a responsibility to take care of her own garden. Bless those negative people and love yourself enough to extract yourself from that situation. If you need help, get it.

Family and friends: my home team. I make sure that I make time for my kids. No matter what, I drop everything and snuggle up with Nora on the couch and reconnect every night. She's going off to college next year, and I cherish this last little time I get with her. I have a harder time finding time with Joe because he's a 15 yr old boy who loves the computer and movies, neither of which lend themselves to quality interaction. But I am making the most of our long car rides out to Oregon City for rehearsal, and we have good talks. And I make a point to tuck him in at night--even big old teens still like this.

I take my mom out and I call her and my sister lots. I do little stuff around the house for my parents. I bring treats for my dad. (Shh! Don't tell him they're raw! If he knew they were good for him he wouldn't touch them.lol)

I believe in saying I love you. I believe in long hugs and telling people what they mean to you, from the heart. I believe in making time for my friends, even when I don't feel like I have it to give. Tomorrow is promised to no one. You never know when this "I love you" or that hug is going to be the last one. Carpe diem, and Carpe amor, as well.


So after really getting my house in order these last few weeks, I am seeing progress all over my life. And the scale? She finally cooperated and moved another 10 lbs. (Good thing. I was SO breaking up with her if she didn't shape up!)

Your life is a canvas before you. What are you creating? Don't settle for a Elvis picture on black velvet, or a paint-by-numbers print of those cats with the big sad eyes! What are you willing to do to make it a masterpiece?

Addiction Medicine for Food Addicts Too

So you've discovered raw and living foods and you're doing great--you've got your food prep books and your youtube videos, you're cranking out kale chips and flax crackers like a champ and sporting your green smoothie mustache proudly. You feel great, you've never looked better, and you would secretly (or not so secretly) love to put everyone you know on raw and living food!

And then...some time goes by. And temptation starts to rear it's ugly head. Co-workers bring treats to the break room at work. Well-meaning family members make a special (non-raw) treat "just for you" or any other of a million scenarios, wherein, it happens, you slip up. There is no shortage of temptations for the person who chooses healthy options in a sick food world. Victoria Boutenko, in her book 12 Steps to Raw Food, demonstrates a lot of research that shows that there are many addictive compounds formed when cooking food. This would explain why so many of us have had issues with compulsive eating and being addicted to some foods, especially white flour, sugar, dairy products, especially cheese, and meats.

I'm of the belief that all addiction, be it alcoholism, drug dependency, sex addiction, shopping addiction, or food addiction, are all manifestations of the same condition. And yet, while there are inpatient treatment programs for alcohol and drug dependency, the person who is slowly eating herself to death gets told she just needs to eat less and exercise more. That is a lot like telling an alcoholic, "All you have to do is quit buying alcohol. There, problem solved!" We all know WHAT to do, don't we? And we raw foodies know better than anyone what a healthy diet looks like. It's the HOW to get ourselves to do it that's the problem, just like it is when dealing with any addictive substance.

With that in mind, I have borrowed techniques used in Addiction Medicine by the medical field, to treat alcohol and drug dependency, to cope with my own disordered eating. And now that God has relieved me from my compulsion, in and through His grace and power, it is my job to be vigilant and guard against going back to my old ways, and slipping back to that place where He was perfectly willing to help me, but I was not willing to take the help. Staying "sober" from problem foods, for me, requires rigorous honesty and willingness to remember that I am responsible for keeping myself on track, and being on the lookout for signs that my feet are falling off the path. Life is a series of course corrections. Before you can correct your direction, you need to realize you are veering off the path in the first place.

Here is a worksheet, that I've adapted from the Addiction Medicine Drug and Alcohol Dependency program, that addresses relapse. Relapse is more than the act of finding yourself at the drive through of Fatty Burger getting handed a greasy bag through a window. Relapse actually starts a lot earlier, in your head and in your behaviors, and has warning signs and symptoms. If we heed these signs, we have an early warning system that it's time to kick in our emergency plan and make sure that we are extra rigorous in following our loving limits and getting the support we need to keep from slipping. My hope and my prayer for you is that you will find this valuable for your journey, as I have.


1. Denial
2. Compulsive Behavior
3. Fear
4. Isolation
5. Depression
6. Daydreaming
7. Feeling hopeless
8. Confusion
9. Irritation/Anger
10. Irregular eating habits
11. Sleep problems
12. Listlessness
13. Loss of daily structure
14. Self-pity
15. Lying
16. Thoughts of eating trigger foods
17. Rejection of help
19. Dissatisfaction with life
20. "I don't care" attitude
21. Loss of constructive planning
22. Boredom
23. Stop checking in with support community/people
24. Controlled trigger food eating
25. Loss of control
26. HALTSS: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, Sad, or Stressed

Which are your most likely symptoms?________________________________________________________

Cognitive Warning Signs: What thoughts do you have that are signs of imminent relapse? (What does the BRAT say to you to convince you that it's ok?________________________________________________________________________________________

Emotional Warning Signs: What feelings do you have that are warnings of possible relapse?_______________

Behavioral Warning Signs: What behaviors are you engaging in that make relapse more probable?___________

What can you say back to to those compulsive thoughts? Why is it important to you to avoid relapse?______

How can you constructively deal with your feelings without using your trigger foods or overeating?___________

What behaviors or situations do you need to avoid or change to put you back in a "safe zone"?_____________

What support people or structures (such as church, websites) can you reach out to?______________________

What specific trigger foods (or groups of foods)
have I identified that I must avoid?______________________________________________________________