Thursday, February 25, 2010

Helping the Digestive system

Fresh uncooked bean sprouts on a dishImage via Wikipedia

Even if we are not sick and look healthy, we may not be getting enough adequate nutrition. We can improve our state of health by simply knowing what nutrition we need. Nutrition is, after all, what food is all about - the amount we need, its function, and the basic materials we need for our body in order for it to continue on with its daily activities. By knowing how to take care of our body through nutrition, we can better maintain its high performance levels.

Eating raw foods helps our bodies with nutrition in so many ways, but the digestive system is one of the body processes that benefits the most. The extra fiber and moisture in raw fruits and vegetables helps keep the digestive system functioning regularly and actually keeps the system cleaner. Cooked foods - especially meats - are much harder for our bodies to digest. Eating healthy, living, raw foods can help to prevent certain cancers, most notably cancers of the colon and intestines.

Eating large meals, high in fats and proteins, often makes us feel sluggish afterwards - because the body is working so hard to digest these foods, it sends a large part of the body's oxygen to the digestive system. Eating lighter meals, full of raw food that is easy to digest helps us maintain our energy through out the day. It is believed that about three hours between meals is an appropriate interval for maintaining energy and facilitating digestion.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Detoxifying your Body - A Neccessary Step

The gastrointestinal tract, also called the di...Image via Wikipedia

The process of detoxifying our bodies results in the purging of harmful environmental and chemical poisons. The buildup of these toxins can overwhelm the body’s capacity to detoxify and may lead to such problems as hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, inefficient metabolism, and digestive and respiratory disorders. Switching to a raw food diet will help to clean and detoxify your body, which many find can result in improved energy levels, mental capacity, skin tone and clarity, digestion, metabolism, and breathing while decreasing joint pain, body aches and headaches, constipation, anxiety, irritability, and aiding in weight loss.

Though the end results of detoxification are very beneficial, the actual process of detoxifying can be difficult. Headaches, nausea, and diarrhea can result as toxins exit your body. It’s important to keep in mind that, even though you’re doing a good thing for your body by detoxifying it, you may even develop a cold or flu-like symptoms as your body works to purge the germs and poisons from the cells. Skin breakouts, anxiety, irritability and lethargy can also occur.

The healthier a person is when beginning the detoxification program, the less severe these symptoms will be. If the body has a great deal to purge, the process will be harder on the body. If the process is a huge change from the previous lifestyle, these side effects might be more pronounced.

Don’t interrupt the detoxification process by taking any type of drug to relieve these symptoms. They are a natural side effect of the process. Try instead to get some rest and focus on the end result. Try treating yourself extra special during this time. Sit down and enjoy a good book, meditate, or even write in your journal about your detoxification experiences. Remember that what you're going through is a natural occurrence, and concentrate on how wonderful and healthy you'll feel when the process is complete.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Tips On Switching to Raw Food

Organic vegetables at a farmers' market in Arg...Image via Wikipedia

Understanding that it's difficult for many people to transform their diet completely, you do not have to go 100% raw. If you can incorporate natural alternatives to the foods you were eating (such as organic raw peanut butter and not regular peter pan), purchase all organic foods, incorporate plenty of fresh fruits and veggies and only drink water, you'll be making a dramatic change to your life and health, even if you aren't eating an all raw diet.

Changing over to 100% raw foods right away can be hard for some people due to their personal preferences, and also when it's necessary to compromise with other family members. And remember, when you change to a raw diet, your body will begin to detox within a few days. Making a slower, more gradual change can be a wise decision, so you don't through detox so hard at the beginning.

One method is to use six days on, one day off, which seems to work well by letting your body become used to the the choices you're offering. With time, the body starts to crave the healthier foods when given a choice. Contrasts between food types and their tastes will be noted, and you'll begin wanting more of the raw food choices as you feel the difference in how you feel.

Another option is too eat all raw food during the day, and then have some cooked foods in the evenings. This is a good way for people who still want to eat some meat products - a very small portion of lean turkey or fish in the evening can help prevent cravings at other times.

Keep in mind that you do not have to incorporate a full 100% raw food diet forever! As long as you maintain at least 75% of your diet raw, you'll see huge improvements in your health and well-being. Just eating more fruits and veggies alone will change your health drastically.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Raw Food Dessert - Sorbet!

Strawberry sorbetImage via Wikipedia

Sorbet is probably the one dessert that is both good for you and incredibly delicious. If you aren't familiar with sorbet, it's a frozen dessert made from iced fruit puree, sometimes with other ingredients added. Sorbet should not be confused with sherbet, which is made with fruit and milk. Sorbet is more similar to gelato in that it has no milk in it - so it's a great choice for vegans or anyone who is lactose intolerant or with dairy allergies. Some sorbets contain alcohol to lower the freezing temperature; that makes it have a slightly softer texture. It is a very dense and flavorful dessert, matching ice cream for quality and taste.

Sorbet folklore claims that the Roman Emperor, Nero, invented it during the first century AD. The story said Nero had runners along the Appian way, passing buckets of snow to the mountains to his banquet hall, where it was mixed with honey and wine. However, the Chinese are also known to have been serving a food made from snow and fruit juices and pulps for thousands of years.

While the truth of it's origins may never be known, there's no doubt that mixture of ice and fruit is absolutely delicious and is known in nearly every corner of the world now. Depending on the fruit used, it's an excellent source of vitamins, naturally fat free and low in calories. Villa Dolce Gelato makes a great sorbet base that you can buy online, and use to produce your own sorbet at home. There's also a delicious recipe for homemade sorbet at Joy of So, buy or make your own sorbet now, and enjoy a delicious, raw fruit dessert!
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

No More Canned Foods!

“Fruit Basket”, oil on woodImage via Wikipedia

When you buy canned fruits and vegetables, you're getting lower quality food that lacks in nutrition and is usually loaded with salt and preservatives. On a scale of healthiness and freshness, fresh fruits and vegetables are best, followed by frozen foods and then canned. Last on the list, canned items are slowly becoming a thing of the past.

When foods are canned, they go through a cooking process that destroys up to a full half of the vitamins A, C, riboflavin and thiamin. And sitting on shelves in storage, the deterioration continues with the foods losing an additional 5% to 20% of these vitamins. The remaining vitamins only decrease their values slightly.

The thing to remember is that everything depends on the time between the harvesting and the canning and freeing process. Generally, the vegetables are picked immediately and taken to canning or freezing divisions when their nutrient contact is at its peak. How the food is canned affects the nutrient value also. Vegetables boiled for longer than necessary and in large amounts of water lose much of their nutritional value as compared to those only lightly steamed.

Another real concern with canned foods is the presence of Bisphenol A - a chemical used in plastics and also a part of the lining of virtually all food and beverage cans. While originally determined safe for humans in small amounts, recent studies have found that people are absorbing much higher amounts than previously thought. This can have dangerous effects on developing fetuses, small children (especially those who use plastic bottles and sippy cups), and in general can have possible effects on obesity, the thyroid and reproductive organs. The US National Institute of Health has expressed concerns about neurological effects, also. In general, it's just another reason for canned foods to be avoided.

When we pick fresh vegetables or fruit at the farm, they are always more nutritious than canned or frozen – this is a fact. If you cannot buy fresh, at least buy frozen.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Eating Raw Food for Valentine's Day

Early 20th century Valentine's Day card, showi...Image via Wikipedia

Valentine's Day is, of course, a day when we all want to do something special for our loved ones. Often, that 'something special' involves a delicious treat, made by hand. But often those treats don't fit in with a raw and organic diet. I can tell you that even though white sugar, white flour, trans and saturated fats, refined carbs and excess calories are on the “no-no” list, there's no reason to feel deprived of a delicious chocolate treat. After all, some traditions just shouldn't be messed with!

One answer is to make a raw food dessert, using ingredients like nuts and dried fruits. They have a lot of flavor and are good for you. And... they are easy to put together! Jenny Cornbleet has a book out called Raw Food Made Easy For 1 or 2 People. In it there are desserts – cakes, cookies, fruit crisps, pies, tarts, and more – appropriate for the holiday and they're all raw! And you know what? They often taste just as good or even better than their sugar laden counterparts.

One recipe is for a “Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce” which calls for 1 ½ cups raw walnuts, dash of salt, 8 pitted medjool dates, ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa or carob powder, ½ tsp vanilla extract, and 2 tsp water. For the raspberry sauce you use 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries (thaw and drain if frozen) with ¼ cup pitted medjooy dates, soaked for 30 minutes and drained. Place the walnuts and salt in a food processor with the S blade and process until finely ground. Add dates, cocoa powder, and vanilla … process until mixture becomes sticky. Add water and process briefly. Transfer to a serving plate and form a 5 inch round cake. Place the raspberries and dates in a blender and mix until smooth, pouring over the cake just before serving.

You don't have to give up all your comfort foods, just find a healthier recipe for it - you might even find that the raw food versions taste better. Should you decide that you want to splurge on something that's off the raw food diet, remember to do so in moderation. Don't go overboard! And remember that after eating, you should wait and let your stomach digest properly before the next meal.
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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Making the Switch to Raw Foods

Roadside farmers' market in Bridgehampton, New...Image via Wikipedia

So, now that you know what a raw food diet is all about, you need to decide if it's right for you.

Well, you don't have to make a switch to 100% raw foods right off the bat. You can start by simply eating more fruits and vegetables and no processed foods. Try drinking fruit juices or smoothies for breakfast, and then eating a healthy veggie sandwich with fruit juice for lunch. For dinner, eat some blanched vegetables with brown rice and no meats.

As you gradually detoxify your body, you will see dramatic results. First, however, you'll go through the detoxify process, where you will feel tired, have headaches, skin eruptions, etc. Once you are over this tough time, you will feel light, not dragged down, energetic, vitality, and conscious, among other things. You will have more mental clarity and therefore be more productive. Your body will feel cleansed, you will be able to treat disease and prevent new ones from forming. You may start to see dramatic weight loss. You will also find that over time you won't be as affected with colds and other sicknesses because your immune system will become much stronger.

Apart from that, you'll find that you will be saving money because you can either grow your vegetables or buy them at a farmers market. Buying organic food will save the earth and provide agricultural support, which is much needed. You will also save time and money because you will not be in the kitchen cooking up a storm. You will not be eating animals, because these animals have been pumped with high hormones and other drugs that lead to health problems with humans.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Is the Raw Food Diet just another Fad?

ObeseImage by orbz via Flickr

I've had some people write me saying that by encouraging raw food diet meal plans, I'm just pushing another 'fad diet'. I completely disagree. Eating raw fruits and vegetables isn’t the "new South Beach Diet" - it's not a fad diet at all. Believe it or not, humans have been eating this way since LONG before we were eating processed junky foods. We didn’t have access to most many foods, and we were scavengers, picking fruits and eating vegetables. Nuts were also eaten for protein. It was either that or starve. Humans ate these fruits as is, no additives, no cooking. One and a half million years ago we learned how to cook. So for a half million years we ate the food raw, as it was intended.

Today, things are different. We have access to every type of food we might want, right at our fingertips. We can order Oolong tea (which must be handpicked on cliffs in china) from the internet. You would think that since we have come this far, we would be super human, so healthy we would be living 500 years. Unfortunately, it hasn't worked out that way. In fact, in some ways we actually have worse health now. Some of us are developing cancers at an early age. Some of us are dying of heart disease or obesity. We are not eating correctly. We are stuffing our faces with hydrogenated oils, fake products, high sodium and sugary foods, and gaining weight at an alarming rate. It shows in bad skin, rolls of fat, and sluggish attitude.

What people need to realize is that eating fat free or sugar free foods isn’t going to help. It really isn't any better for you to stuff yourself with SnackWells instead of Oreo’s. What will help is to completely change what you eat. Remember, you are what you eat, so eat the right things and it will show in your body, mind and spirit.

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Raw Food and Water

When you make a switch to a raw food diet, you might start to notice you don't feel as thirsty as usual. One reason this might happen is that raw fruits and vegetables have a high volume of water, so your body receives more hydration from the food itself.

However, that doesn’t mean you should stop drinking water or juices. First of all, you should always listen to your body, because it will tell you what you need. If you’re overweight, sluggish, tired, depressed, your body may be telling you to make some dietary changes, and raw foods might be one way to alleviate some physical disorders.

But if you’re overweight and have symptoms of Type II diabetes, overwhelming thirst can be one symptom. When you start consuming more raw foods, with a higher fiber and moisture content, you may start to lose weight, and that can go a long way to reducing your blood sugars.

If you’re not overweight, or don’t have Type II diabetes, you still might find you’re not as thirsty as you normally are. First of all, if you’re drinking water and juices, you’re not consuming caffeine, which is so dehydrating and makes you thirstier. And by not consuming as much in the way of cooked foods or especially highly processed foods, which have astronomical sodium counts, you won’t be as thirsty either.

By consuming more raw, uncooked food, and pure water and fruit juices, you’re putting your body into balance. Keeping sodium to normal levels found in foods means you’ll start to require a more balanced amount of water. Don’t think of this as changing or taking away. Think of it as adding balance, and it will make the process of eating healthier much easier.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Raw Food And Healthy Skin

Fruit on display at La Boqueria market in Barc...Image via Wikipedia

Did you know that your skin is actually the largest organ in your body? Its job is to provide a protective covering for all the other organs of the body. It changes to regulate your internal body temperature, and is an excellent indicator of your overall health and well-being.

There are people who spend thousands of dollars on lotions, creams and other skin preparations in an effort to make their skin look young, vibrant and glowing. But if we took just a fraction of the money we spend on all these topical preparations and used it to buy raw foods for our diet instead, we’d begin to see an immediate change in the texture of our skin.

When you eat raw foods, you put more of the essential vitamins and amino acids your body needs into it. You’re also adding moisture – naturally. Raw foods have a much higher water content than cooked foods, simply because the heat cooks out so much of the moisture.

Also, if you're eating a lot of cooked and processed foods, you're putting toxins into your body. When you switch to a raw food diet, you'll find that your hair and skin will clear up quickly as your body detoxifies.

Your skin is a mirror of what’s going on in the rest of your body. And when your organs and blood are fed the nutrition they need to function properly, that shows in your skin. Get your vitamins and moisture from foods like apples and carrots. When you do, then phrases like “inner beauty” and “inner glow” will be applied to YOU. Your skin is what’s presented to the rest of the world and healthy, glowing skin makes the best first impression. When your body and skin are getting their essential nutrition with raw, uncooked foods, you’ll look and feel your best, NATURALLY
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