Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring Thyme

cabbage flowers- they smelled amazing!

I took these pics 2 days ago when it was B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L! It's really time to start thinking about the garden. We actually started doing things to prepare but as warm as it has been, today is a reminder that it's important to wait until the frost free date to plant outside. It is cold, windy, and raining. It's truly a RAW day.

lemon balm started growing mysteriously
I went into the garden and was actually surprised at how much was going on. Celery, cabbage, and leeks wintered over from last year. The raspberry bush is starting to blossom. The strawberry plants were green. There is kale and collards growing I guess left over from last year b/c I sure as hell didn't plant anything yet, and the carrots are still going strong. Definitely going to be juicing the carrot tops (super healthy!!!!)

I love the energy of spring. Warm days are ahead, the birds are back, leaves are starting to pop, and everyone seems to be in the clean out and clear out mode. I just planted a bunch of herbs in pots which will stay inside for a few weeks. A lot of good things are in the works. Juice is about to be flowing. I'm half way through school. Putting together a new program that I will be rolling out on Monday- stay tuned!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

To sunbathe or not to sunbathe...

Ok, people. Let's talk about the controversial topic of the sun. Most of you I'm sure have been brainwashed into thinking that the sun is unhealthy for us. What about skin cancer? And ladies, I know you're worried about wrinkles. But what about getting enough Vitamin D? Majority of us are Vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin but a hormone that controls the absorption of vitamins and minerals into your blood, among other things. It's extremely important. Without it you could eat the healthiest diet in the world and your body still wouldn't be able to use all of the vitamins and minerals it was trying to absorb.

The sun is how we are naturally supposed to get Vitamin D. These doctors that are pushing synthetic Vitamin D are doing everyone an injustice.
What is UV light? Simply put, it's electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength that's shorter than that of visiblelight, and longer than x-rays. Visible light, UV rays, x-rays-all of these are just names for different wavelengths of electromagnetic rays. It's called ultra-violet because these frequencies are higher than the wavelengths that wehumans identify as violet. There are five kinds of UV light, but the first two, Vacuum UV and Far UV are bothcompletely absorbed by the.
UVB is the most dangers of the commonly encountered forms of UV. It has enough energy to wreakphotochemical havoc on our cellular DNA, but not enough to be absorbed by the atmosphere like UVC. UVB isneeded by our skin to generate Vitamin D, but too much exposure can cause sunburn, cataracts and can lead toskin cancer. People who work outside are at the most risk of these dangers, and cloud cover is not enoughprotection to block UVB. 
UVA is the most commonly found form of UV, and is responsible for the tanning effect we see in our skin after time spent in sunlight, and can cause sunburn if exposure is excessive. The atmosphere does very little to blockthis kind of UV, and it's needed to help generate Vitamin D. However, too much exposure can cause our skin togrow tough, hard, and wrinkled. It can also suppress the immune system and cause the creation of cataracts. (source)
Here's the problem with the sun and skin cancer. Until recently sun screens only blocked UVB rays (Vitamin D producing). They did nothing to block UVA rays (the cancer producing rays). So guess what happened? People thought they were protecting their skin from skin cancer, but they weren't. So they were roasting in the sun (present company included) not burning because the sunscreen was protecting those top layers of skin, but meanwhile underneath (where the UVA reaches) there was some serious damage being done. When UVA rays penetrate they actually burn the deeper layers of your skin which you do not feel but still causes damage that can result in skin cancer- and wrinkles.

I get the question/statement all the time 'Well I know someone who wore sun screen/didn't wear sunscreen and now has skin cancer. What do you say about that?'. Well, this is what happens- if you are the type that doesn't burn and you aren't wearing sunscreen, UVA rays are still being absorbed deep into your skin which will potentially cause skin cancer. If you are the type to use sun screen but it only blocks out UVB rays then you are still being exposed to the potential of skin cancer because the UVA rays are penetrating deep into your skin.

The goal is to get enough sun so you can manufacture Vitamin D and not burn. LET ME REPEAT THAT....THE GOAL IS TO NOT GET SUN BURN. You can do this a couple ways. You can sit in the sun for as long as your skin will tolerate (err on the side of caution especially in the beginning of the spring/summer) and then put sunscreen on if you are going to sit out longer (must be UVA & UVB). You can go to a tanning salon. HOWEVER! There are a few questions you must ask the tanning salon you plan on going to:

  • Do the lamps use an electronic ballast or a magnetic ballast? You want electronic.
  • What is the ratio of UVA to UVB. Ideally you would want bulbs that are at least 10% UVB

You can also take an oral Vitamin D3 supplement, however you should really get a blood test to check your levels before you start taking a supplement as you can take too much orally. Another important thing to mention is the type of Vitamin D that milk is fortified with is the wrong one- D2. The kind that our body utilizes is D3 which we have the ability to make when we are exposed to UVB & UVA rays. Our bodies have a self regulating mechanism that will not allow Vitamin D to get to toxic levels, but only if we get it from sun exposure.

Below is a video that explains how to figure out the times of the day that you will get UVB according to where you live and the time of year. The actual website where you can put in your city, state, and date is

So what do I do? Well, in the winter I go to a tanning salon and in the summer I sit in the sun. Call me crazy but when I go tanning consistently I don't usually get sick. In fact, if I feel a cold coming on I go tanning and it will literally be almost gone the next day. BUT I DON'T BURN! I start out at 1-2 minutes and work my way up to 8 minutes. I have friends who are Italian (you know who you are) who go tanning and go in for too long (and burn) because they want to get color immediately. This is the worst thing you could do for yourself and are totally missing the point of the purpose of getting sun. 

Every single one of our cells has Vitamin D receptors. How then did people centuries ago survive without the vitamin industry pushing pills on them? The sun. And the people who didn't live in climates where the sun was an option ate the fat of animals that contained Vitamin D in it. 

Nature always provides what we need when we need it. It is our job to get back to a place where we are not brainwashed by big industries (vitamins, pharma, beauty). Oh and I almost forgot about wrinkles. If you get a little bit of sun, and eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables you will literally look younger and healthier than you ever did. No need to buy expensive creams (that don't work anyway). 

FYI those older models in face cream ads that look flawless are Photoshopped. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

5 Ways: Fruit Salad

Its been a little while since I've written a 5 ways. I just realized that its been a while since I've cooked/prepared much of anything. Since I decided to increase the amount of raw food I'm eating, and Lisa has been preparing my food, I haven't really needed to prepare much. The one thing that I have been making though is fruit salad.

I always remember having fruit salad around when we were growing up. It's actually a brilliantly simple way to get kids to eat more fruit. Cut it up! And it doesn't just work on kids it works on adults too. If you don't believe me, put a bowl of whole fruit on your kitchen table/counter and right next to it put a bowl of fruit salad. Just watch and see which one gets eaten out of. It's quite amazing actually.

This morning I made a salad with pineapple, mango, banana, and fresh orange juice. It was delicious! Here's another great thing about fruit salad. You can make a huge batch and divie it up into Tupperware so you can bring it with you to work. Each of the fruit salads below make's 4 good sized servings.

  • 1 pineapple
  • 2 mango
  • 4 bananas
  • juice of 1 orange

  • 1 pkt blueberries
  • 1 pkt black berries
  • 1 pkt strawberries
  • 1 pkt raspberries
  • 4 bananas

  • 2 oranges
  • 2 grapefruit
  • 1 pineapple
  • optional: shredded coconut 

  • 8 kiwi
  • 1 bunch green grapes
  • 1 pkt blueberries

  • 1 cantaloupe melon
  • 1 honeydew melon
  • 1 bunch green grapes
  • mint leaves, chopped

You can add in toppings too like sliced almonds, toasted oats, shredded coconut, fresh herbs, or chia seeds. Just make it as easy as possible to get the fruit into your mouth. Your body will thank you. Fruit salad is a great way to start the morning because it is super light yet filling, full of fiber, and highly nutritious.

What are your favorite fruit salad combos?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Over Fed but Starving to Death

Wanna know why you can't loose weight? Why you feel like S-H-I-T? Why you don't have enough energy to get through the day?


I've been meaning to watch this now for a while, but life and my ever increasing to do list kept getting in the way. I don't think that anyone could have summed up the current state of why everyone is so sick and fat as concisely as these film makers did. They are right on point with everything that they point out. It's about an hour and a half long, but I highly recommend it.

Part 1

Above is the trailer and first couple of minutes of the film, but if you want to watch the full documentary you can find it here for free.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Seeing the Forest Through the Trees

Isn't it funny how we can get completely wrapped up in something that goes against who we are, what we believe in, and how we want to live our lives? It's funny now because I'm out of the worst of it. But 2 months ago it was all I could do to figure out how I was going to live without someone I had been in love with for so long.

With distance comes perspective. I know now that I was lying to myself about the whole situation and hoping and waiting for it to get better. All the while, my gut was telling me 'get out...this isn't you...why are you putting up with this S-H-I-T?' There were red flags going back to the beginning, and if I knew then what I know now I definitely would not have entertained the idea of a relationship. Still I loved.

But that's why they say hindsight is 20/20. If only foresight was 20/20.

Over the past two years I have really changed my lifestyle. At the time when we started dating I was concerned with little other than my plans for the weekend. I hadn't been effected by losing anyone to cancer yet; I still thought myself invincible. But more than that has changed. I feel like changing the food that I eat has changed the way I look at things. I learned that if I am to accomplish the things I want to accomplish I am going to have to surround myself with positive people who support me. I am going to have to be diligent about who I give my time and energy to. I am going to have to listen to myself, because deep down I know when something I am doing or someone I am spending time with doesn't agree with me.

Anyway, the reason I am writing to you about this is because I firmly believe that your state of mind and your state of happiness (or unhappiness) effects your health. Arguing is a stress response. Anxiety is a stress response. Crying is a stress response. Frustration is a stress response. All of these negative emotions have a physiological impact on your body and health. The hormones that are released during a stress response negatively impact your immune system which is in charge of keeping you healthy by getting rid of the bad things like bacteria and cancer cells. When you are constantly under stress (either self imposed or from something beyond your control) your immune system can't keep up.

There is already plenty of stressful S-H-I-T that we have to deal with in everyday life. Why is it then that we get stuck dating/marrying/living with/being friends with people who don't make us happy? Who hurt us emotionally and even physically? Who make our lives difficult? Who make you think maybe you are the problem and that you will never find anyone 'as good to you as they are'?

Who we choose to spend our lives with is one of the few things that we have control over, and in my opinion is one of the most important.

It's easy to get sucked into something without thinking about it. I'm sure as hell guilty of that. But this is going to be one of the things that I am aware of from now on, because I want to be totally conscious in choosing someone that is going to be such a huge part of my life- someone who could possibly impact my health. And (for the record) I will find someone who treats me better. That will be easy.

What are your views on peoples' mental state and their health? Do you think that being perpetually angry/sad/frustrated has anything to do with how they feel physically? or how sick they become?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Too Much of a Sweet Thing

Every day I get like 35 emails from different organizations that are trying to spread information about health, the food industry, and preventing disease. This morning was no different. Usually I just skim through them, but occasionally I come across something that is worth reading and sharing.

I'm sure, if you have been reading my ramblings, you know by now that I have pretty strong opinions about how F-ed up our agriculture industry/government (should be considered the same thing nowadays) are and how people's trust in them/complete ignorance are making them fat & sick. The people in power at the FDA and USDA know how most people don't think for themselves. This is how they can make the argument that high fructose corn syrup is just like real sugar.

FYI people...sugar comes from plants, high fructose corn syrup comes from factories. They may trick you into thinking that it comes from corn, and I guess if you traced the final product all the way back to the beginning it does. But it's not like they peel the husk back, crush the kernels, and you have HFCS. It is a complicated process that was thought up by scientists.

I'm not saying that eating a lot of sugar is any better for your long term health than eating a lot of HFCS. It's not, ultimately because they are empty calories that only make you fat and BONUS! CANCER FEEDS ON SUGAR.

Below is the article that sparked my interest. Apparently the HFCS people are trying to fight for the right to call it "corn sugar". Puh-leeeeeaze! I can't believe any court is even wasting their time and tax payer's $$ to debate this ridiculousness.

Sugar seeks sweet revenge against competition from corn
A lawsuit claims false advertising by producers of increasingly popular high fructose corn syrup, whose relation to obesity has come under increased scrutiny.
By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times 
March 20, 2012
They are the two bad boys of the American diet, linked to a variety of ailments including obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.
But now sugar is taking high fructose corn syrup to court in a landmark battle over which is the greater evil.
In a lawsuit that goes before a Los Angeles federal judge Wednesday, sugar producers accuse their corn industry rivals of false advertising in a campaign that casts the liquid sweetener as "nutritionally the same as table sugar" and claims "your body can't tell the difference."
Sugar forces argue that high fructose corn syrup is far less healthy than their product and are demanding that the ads run by the Corn Refiners Assn. be halted and that the corn association pay unspecified monetary damages.
Sweetener lawsuit: A March 20 article in Section A about a legal battle between the producers of sugar and high fructose corn syrup said that the average American consumes 888 calories per day from sweeteners. In fact, the average intake is 387 calories per day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The article also said that the Corn Refiners Assn. represents growers, processors and distributors. Most growers are represented by the National Corn Growers Assn. 
The corn industry promoters "characterize high fructose corn syrup as a natural product. It is not — it is man-made," said Adam Fox, an attorney for the sugar industry plaintiffs, led by Western Sugar Corp. "Yet they are advertising it as identical to sugar cane and sugar beets."
The lawsuit is likely to bring more scrutiny to high fructose corn syrup as its producers are trying to improve the sweetener's image. The association representing corn growers, processors and distributors — including farm belt giants Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. and Cargill Inc. — has applied to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to officially change the name of high fructose corn syrup to "corn sugar" for labeling purposes.
Concern about the health effects of the corn-based product began escalating about a decade ago, when the surgeon general first expressed alarm over the rapid and ubiquitous spread of the sweetener in processed foods.
But more recently, the debate has unfolded in popular culture. In a "Saturday Night Live" skit last spring, actresses Kristen Wiig and Nasim Pedrad played mothers arguing over the sweet red drink being served at a children's birthday party. Pedrad defends high fructose corn syrup, and her argument seems to be winning until her grossly overweight daughter — played by Bobby Moynihan — emerges from the background. "Parks and Recreation" and "The Simpsons" have also spoofed the sweetener dispute.
In court papers, the sugar industry says the nation's soaring rise in obesity and diabetes has dovetailed with the penetration of the synthesized corn sweetener in soft drinks, condiments, bread, cookies, jam and syrups.
The corn forces respond that there is nothing dishonest about their advertising and that they will prove it in court.
"It is wrong for the refined sugar industry to try to stifle this truthful speech," said Dan K. Webb, lead attorney for the corn refiners.
The defendants, he said, plan to present nationwide survey results suggesting that consumers think high fructose corn syrup is higher in fructose and calories than table sugar, which he says it is not.
"Good science proves that obesity is caused by the overconsumption of calories from any source, not from one ingredient," Webb said. "USDA data shows that consumption of high fructose corn syrup has actually been in decline, while obesity rates are rising. It is just wrong for the plaintiffs to claim that high fructose corn syrup is uniquely responsible for obesity."
Americans consumed an average of 47 pounds of sugar per person in 2010, plus 35 pounds of high fructose corn syrup — more than three times the per-capita sweetener intake elsewhere in the world, according to statistics of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That means the average American consumes 888 calories per day from sweeteners, according to the USDA.
Medical research on the metabolic effects of consuming sugar versus high fructose corn syrup has been limited but consistent in indicating heightened risks from the liquid sweetener, said Michael I. Goran, director of the Child Obesity Research Center at USC's Keck School of Medicine.
"There's definitely a difference in metabolic fate and outcome of fructose ingestion relative to glucose," Goran said, noting that high fructose corn syrup contains more of the former ingredient, as its name implies. "So the more you tip the scale toward fructose, the more those negative effects kick in."
Table sugar made from cane or beets is 50% fructose and 50% glucose, and the molecules are bonded in a way that slows the body's absorption of the fructose, Goran said.
By contrast, high fructose corn syrup is typically 55% fructose — and some formulas contain as much as 90% — elevating blood sugar levels more swiftly.
"It's not just about the calories," said Goran, citing the liquid sweetener's broad use in food production because it is cheaper to make than sugar, helps stabilize foods, allows for better browning of baked goods and provides a more concentrated sweetness than the same amount of sugar.
Corn industry representatives contend that any confusion about high fructose corn syrup stems from its name and would be resolved by changing it to "corn sugar."
It's not just Big Sugar, however, that opposes high fructose corn syrup's efforts to rebrand itself.
"If sugar wanted to change its name to 'highly nutritious vitamins' we would oppose that too," said James S. Turner, a Washington attorney who heads Citizens for Health, which has taken sugar's side in the legal battle.
Turner said he and his group "are not arguing against high fructose corn syrup, we are arguing that the public understands that it and sugar are different things and to try to cloud that over is a mistake. All we want is for the public to be able to distinguish a product they don't want to buy."
An FDA spokeswoman, Tamara N. Ward, said the corn industry's September 2010 petition for the name change "is still pending before the agency and we are actively working on it."
Copyright © 2012, Los Angeles Times 

Have you ever checked the food in your pantry? I suggest you do. You will be shocked. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Opting Out

Not sure if any of you have flown lately, but I'm sure most, if not all, of you are aware of the "porno" x-ray scanners that we are being subjected to on our way through security. My first encounter with this monstrosity was last weekend on my way back home to New Jersey. I know Newark Airport has a few but they at least have the decency not to use them on us. LAX on the other hand is. I unfortunately got in the line using the scanner. I didn't realize it until I saw the eerie sign that said "Backsplatter X-ray Machine...."in the name of your safety." You wanna know what I call it? P-R-O-P-A-G-A-N-D-A!

How is it safe to go through an X-ray machine (which you stand in for 30 seconds by the way) every time you step onto an airplane? For the business traveler I would think this could add up to a tremendous exposure to X-rays. Or how about the pregnant lady? I'm sure her baby will appreciate standing in a field of X-rays every time she gets on a plane.

I grew up hearing about how you should limit your exposure to X-rays and only get one if it was absolutely necessary. Now we have to pass through them in order to get on an airplane. RIDICULOUS! One of the reasons you want to avoid this is because of your thyroid. Iodine is required for essential hormones to be produced by and concentrated in the thyroid gland. Your thyroid is programmed to take in iodine, and a lot of it. Back in the day when we were hunting and gathering all day, and we didn't have iodine supplements or iodized salt, we counted on our thyroid to absorb it and all of it as fast as possible. It was key to our survival.

Your thyroid is sensitive to toxic chemicals as well. And guess what we are constantly bombarded with in our every day lives? Toxic chemicals & radiation. And what does the 'ray' in X-ray stand for? Radiation. Are you getting where I'm going with this?

Needless to say I opted out. So I got escorted by some government monkey across the threshold of "safety" and was borderline sexually assaulted. And the kicker was that I was literally wearing my workout spandex. You could see my underwear lines. Like I practically had camel toe. Imagine how difficult it would be for me to hide anything in there. Ridiculous.

Why should you opt out? The government says that these things are perfectly safe. I think otherwise. The government also told us it was necessary to go into Vietnam. What a waste of life that was. They claim they have our best interest in mind, but honestly do you really believe subjecting innocent people to radiation is going to catch the next Osama Bin Laden?

I don't. We would be safer on airplanes if everyone was allowed to carry guns with them. But that is a whole other topic that doesn't really have anything to do with cancer prevention.

If you are concerned about your health and the health of your children, your friends, and your family, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE opt out. And spread this to everyone you care about. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Adventures in LA LA land

I'm back! Sorry to leave you hanging for such a long time. It truly does a body good to get out of town every once and a while. I went to Los Angeles with no set plans other than to relax, explore, and have fun with friends. It was a great weekend- except for the weather. Apparently I brought the rain and wind with me. It was actually nicer in New Jersey than it was out there.

The highlight of my exploring (with some suggestions from Lisa) was eating at a raw food restaurant- my first ever! I figured since I was in the birth place of raw food (so I'm told), I might as well experience it. The restaurant was Planet Raw which is owned by Juliano, a raw food chef. I must say, a year ago I would have scoffed at the idea of paying so much money to eat something that wasn't cooked. But now, I appreciate raw food so much more that it intrigues me to see someone make such beautiful and tasty creations. Albeit a little pricey, Juliano's dishes are more than amazing. He uses flavors that I have never tasted before and exotic ingredients that make the dishes all the more unique.

Spring Roll w/ avocado, kelp noodles, Thai  herbs, in a coconut wrapper w/ no-peanut sauce

I decided to go with a few appetizers instead of ordering an entree just because I wanted to be able to try a bunch of different things. I also made sure I was good and hungry when I got there. The spring roll was my favorite by far. I'm not exactly sure what the Thai spices were, but it had a flavor that I had never tasted before. So amazing! 

The great thing about raw foods is that even though I ate a huge meal and was stuffed by the time I left I didn't get that after-meal sleepiness that so often follows a filling meal. The reason for this is because when you eat raw foods (uncooked fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds) all of the enzymes are present in the food, which mean that your body has to do little work to digest the food. That is the enzymes' job. The more I read and learn the more I am convinced that enzymes are just as important as vitamins and minerals. The concept that uncooked food is capable of digesting itself is very new to me. I didn't start hearing about this until I became interested in all this raw stuff.

Pumpkin Tortellini
One of the many benefits of eating more raw foods is that, because your body doesn't need to stop to work on digesting the food you ate, it can continue to work on repairing what it needs to repair. Your body is constantly repairing damage done by stress, toxins, and physical degeneration. Cells are constantly being replaced. Your immune system is fighting off foreign invaders. So when you eat raw foods, the enzymes present are doing the work for your body. There are still things that your body has to do to deal with the food like produce stomach acid and bile and hormones, etc, but the bulk of the work is done by enzymes. 

Truffle Heirloom Brushetta 

The digestion of cooked/processed foods is much more taxing. The reason being is cooked foods, and therefore processed foods, have no enzymes. This means that your pancreas has to produce enzymes to digest the meal, the enzymes need to figure out what the food is exactly, break the food down into its absorbable form, and then tell the body where to send the nutrients after they have been absorbed. This is a lot of work and can be taxing on the pancreas and other organs involved. 

This becomes really important for people who are seriously ill with cancer or any other terminal illness. You want your body to spend all of it's time fighting the disease and not digesting what you are eating. 

Sliders w/ fresh & sun dried tomatoes, onion, avocado, on flax cracker w/ fig balsamic reduction.

So what do you do if you can't stomach the though of giving up your steak and pizza? Just start eating more fruits and vegetables. There are simple things you can do to start to make the transition to adding more raw foods in your diet. If you eat out a lot you can start by always ordering extra veggies to come with your meal. If you get a pasta, get a salad and a side of veggies. If you can, make fruit & vegetable smoothies for breakfast. Replace lunch with a big salad. Make fruit salads. There are tons of little ways to begin to increase the amount of raw in your diet.

It isn't realistic for all of us raw food lovers to be able to eat gourmet raw food like this all the time. First, unless you are in a big city, or live on the west coast it is very rare to even be able to find a raw food restaurant. Second, it is costly which is fine for a treat, but would be way too much unless you are super loaded (one day!).

Last but not least- pudding made from Irish moss. You would think that's weird, but it was literally AMAZING!
I have no idea what was in it but it vaguely reminded me of a thicker version of key lime pie.

So do what you can! Remember it is all of the baby steps that add up to something tremendous. Often times people think all or nothing, and most of the time that is counter productive to making progress. Life is a journey and a process.

Anyone else have a raw food experience lately? Good? Bad? Indifferent?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ta Ta For Now

My favorite spring flower!
So much to do, so little time! I am going to be taking a week off of writing. I was originally going to try to pre-write some things for you while I am off in L.A., but I'm a little under the weather, I have to study for an exam, and I have to rummage through all of my summer clothes so I can pack all in the next day and a half. 

I'm sure I will have a lot to write about after being in L.A. (first time!). So excited to get the hell out of New Jersey for a few days. It is going to be a challenge to see how "raw" I can be while traveling. But from what I've heard the West Coast is way more progressive when it comes to healthy eating and such. We will see!

Anyone have any suggestions of what to do/where to eat while in L.A.?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Weekend in Review

This weekend went fast- and I crammed a lot in. My usual winter weekends are filled with sleeping in, laying around, relaxing, and cooking. Unfortunately I didn't get to lay around this weekend but I did...

  • take two naps
  • two fun nights out 
  • studied for 16 hours
  • drank 2 giant glasses of dark green vegetable juice
  • ate bacon and eggs twice
  • spent zero minutes outside :(
  • sneezed 75 times
  • ate one hot dog w/ sauerkraut & spicy mustard and cheese fries
I really went off track with my eating this weekend. But it was soooooo good! I can't even tell you the last time I ate a hot dog... or cheese fries. You know when you eat really healthy most of the time, the really unhealthy foods taste that much better. I think it's okay to be a normal American every once and a while. And then afterwards I am way more excited to eat my raw foods. This weekend was a nice break. 

Huge agenda this week...then off to LA!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Is this a smoothie? or dessert?

I sure couldn't tell. I set out to make a smoothie, but it tasted so much like a creamy sorbet that I felt like I was eating dessert. And it was super simple!
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • frozen cherries
  • frozen strawberries
  • fresh blackberries
  • plain Greek yogurt (made from raw milk)
  • a little bit of water
I just put all of these in a blender, mixed for a minute, and voila! I ate a enough to fill me up, and then split the rest into cups and put in the freezer for later. You could do this with just fruit, or regular yogurt that you find in the grocery store (buy plain organic and add your own honey or agave to sweeten it- so much healthier!).

So technically this is a "RAW" food because the milk used to make the yogurt was unpasteurized. What's the deal with unpasteurized milk? The process of pasteurization rapidly heats the milk which deforms the protein and destroys the enzymes. Enzymes are the worker bees of the body that break food down and tell the body what it is  and what to do with it. The point here is once these deformed proteins are ingested by us, our body has a hell of a time figuring out what they are and what to do with them. Normally the enzymes that are found in raw milk are the ones that do all of the digesting. When raw milk enters the stomach, the enzymes are activated once the stomach reaches a certain pH and they start digesting the milk protein. That means that your body doesn't have to do any work to digest raw milk. 

You know how after you eat a giant meal you get sleepy? It's because all of your energy is being sent to the digestive track to take care of digesting the meal. When you eat enzyme rich food (raw foods) your body doesn't have to do much work because the enzymes present in the food do it for you. That means that your body can continue to work on repairing itself more (think immune system). It doesn't have to stop for hours to go take care of the giant cooked meal you just ate. 

There's your mini lesson for the day... Enjoy!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Beers & Burgers

I woke up this morning feeling like I was drunk last night. Foggy head, slight headache, no motivation. I did have a few beers last night (probably the first time I drank beer in a long time- wine is usually my drink of choice) but at no point was I even remotely close to being even slightly buzzed. I mean I literally had 3 beers over the course of 4 hours. But... I did have a cheese burger.

I couldn't help it! It was late and I was starving and I was at a place that serves tons of juicy, greasy bar food. And they had muenster cheese... my favorite!!! Anyway, that burger (+ the fries that came with it) was the unhealthiest thing I've eaten in a while. Add the fact that I've been eating like 90% raw fruits and vegetables for the past 2 weeks and I think I know why I feel like garbage today.

It is amazing to me how fast your body responds to eating healthy. I didn't really think that 1 greasy meal + a few beers would effect me as much as it did. So... time to clean up my act today (after the decaf coffee I am about to drink).

What are everyone's plans for the weekend? I am about to be a studying monster. Have to ace an exam next week before I'm off to L.A. for a long weekend!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A day in the life...

... of a beautiful and young woman who was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer when she was only 22 years old. I found Jess Ainscough and learned of her story while I was searching for information to put on the Raw Generation website.

I was so inspired by her drive to find a way other than traditional cancer therapies to treat her cancer. Her doctor's originally told her she would have to amputate her arm at her shoulder, which she obviously didn't want to do. She chose to do chemotherapy to try to get rid of the cancer, which it initially did, but the cancer came back.

This time she and her mom did research and found the Gerson Institute. The Gerson Therapy is a very strict regimen that includes fresh pressed juices 13 times a day, coffee enemas several times a day, a strict diet, plenty of rest, relaxation, and meditation. But it works for many people. I had heard of the Gerson Therapy before, unfortunately though not in time to help my grandmothers.

Jess describes a day in the life of a Gerson person:
          October 13th, 2011
On Sunday I will hit my 18 months of Gerson mark. I have been counting down to this day ever since I first stepped foot into the Gerson clinic on 15th April 2010, thinking it would signify the end of my Gerson journey. However, after speaking with Charlotte Gerson and my Gerson doctor I’ve decided to keep going with the therapy for another six months, making it two years in total. This is how long the Therapy usually is, and I want to do it properly so that I never have to do the whole thing again. As much as I’ve loved this journey, once will definitely be enough.
The good news though is that on Sunday I’m able to reduce the program from 13 juices each day to nine, and my enemas will drop from four a day to three. I’m so excited!! That means I’ll be able to go out in the afternoons for a couple of hours without juice. I’ll also be able to sit through a whole movie without having to pause it several times to make juice. Oh, happy day.
Because my winding down day is so close, I wanted to share what every day of the Gerson Therapy has been like so far. This is pretty much how my days have played out for the past 18 months.
6am: My alarm wakes me up. It’s one of those retro battery operated ones with the bells on top, so it scares the crap out of me every morning. Probably not the most peaceful way to start the day, but I use it because it’s not good to sleep with a digital alarm beside your head, and also it doesn’t have a snooze function. Once I’m up I walk bleary eyed to the bathroom, wash my face and roll out my yoga mat and towels for my first coffee enema of the day. I always read something inspiring while I’m doing my enema, to get me into a good frame of mind for the day. At the moment it’s The Greatness Guide Book 2 by Robin Sharma for the second time.
6.30am: Enema done! Now it’s time for five minutes of dry body brushing before jumping in the shower. I make sure I shower before the rest of the house wakes up and starts turning on taps. If there is water running anywhere else in the house while I’m in the shower I will get scorched.
6.45am: I walk upstairs and into the meditation room for half an hour of Zen time, saying good morning and giving my little pug girl Edie a bum scratch on my way.
7.15am: Dad’s finished preparing breakfast, so I sit down at the table to a glass of fresh orange juice (juice #1) and rolled oats with raw honey, sultanas, kiwi fruit and stewed apple. Every. Single. Morning. Lucky I love oats. Even after 18 months of this, it’s still my favourite meal.
7.45am: Dad’s been busy in the kitchen all morning, so he’s already washed and laid out all of the produce for our daily juices. To say thank you, I make him a big green smoothie while he fires up the Norwalk and starts making the first green juices (juice #2) for the day for mum and I.
8am: I drink my green juice before heading down to my room/office to start work for the day. I check my emails, upload the day’s blog, prepare the newsletter, post blasts to Facebook and Twitter, and then answer whatever emails and blog comments I’ve received overnight.
9am: Go back upstairs to drink my carrot and apple juice (juice #3) and then another carrot and apple juice (juice #4). Once that’s done, it’s back down to the computer to write blog posts, write book, or speak with clients.
10am: Make and drink juice #5 – plain carrot. Then it’s time for the second enema for the day.
11am: Make and drink juice #6 – green. Once I’ve finished cleaning the juicer I help Mum prepare lunch. She does the salad, potatoes and pumpkin while I chop the veggies for the hot pot. After that we go and lie outside to soak up some vitamin D and get 15-20 minutes of sun.
12noon: Drink juice #7 – carrot and apple. Turn the TV on to watch Ellen dancing through her studio audience – my absolute favourite part of Gerson Therapy has been being able to watch The Ellen DeGeneres Show every day while we eat lunch. We sit down to Hippocrates Soup, a big plate of salad with roast pumpkin, a baked potato and some cooked veggies.
1pm: Make and drink green juice (juice #8). Go back downstairs to answer emails and do more writing.
2pm: Drink carrot juice (juice #9). Enema time again! Roll out the yoga mat for enema number three.
3pm: Make and drink another carrot juice (juice #10). Sit back in front of the computer to do more work – scold myself for allowing Facebook to suck away so much time that before I know it an hour’s gone past and I’m looking through a stranger’s photo album with absolutely no recollection of how I ended up there.
4pm: Make and drink a carrot and apple juice (juice #11). Either take Edie for a walk, do yoga or jump on the mini trampoline.
5pm: Drink another carrot and apple juice (juice #12). I usually have a client session now, so I chat to them or I do more writing, or I meditate.
6pm: Finally, last juice for the day! I make and drink a green juice (juice #13). Then it’s back downstairs, roll out the mat again and do my fourth enema for the day.
7pm: Say hello to Tallon who is now home and usually knocks on the bathroom door while I’m doing my enema (even though/because he knows I hate it). Chat to him for a bit before we are called upstairs for dinner.
7.15pm: We all sit down for family dinner around the table (facing the TV). Again we have Hippocrates Soup, a big plate of salad, a baked potato and some cooked veggies. Dad and Tallon add meat. Edie is in the background whimpering, scratching at our legs for more food, or perched at her own chair at the table.
8.30pm: After clean up is done we make peppermint teas and all go in different directions of the house. Tallon and I either watch TV or lie in bed and read. We turn all of the lights out and just have lamps and Himalayan Salt lamps on to prepare for sleep time.
10pm: I’m asleep, or willing myself to be asleep so that I get my standard eight hours.
Even though my mum is also on Gerson Therapy for her breast cancer, her days looks a little different to mine. Before she started Gerson, she was my carer and now she still manages to fit in the making of soup, boiling coffee for enemas and doing our mammoth grocery shops. Luckily my dad now stays home most mornings to help her out. I’m planning on posting a day in her life soon to give you an idea of what her role involves.
Positive affirmation for the day: The choices I make today will determine the life I lead tomorrow.
           Jess's Website

It is a lot of work. It is a lot of money. But at least it produces spectacular results that no only don't involve poisonous chemicals, but you are actually healthier after going through it. It really makes you think how ridiculous chemo and radiation are. Yes they help some people live, but they are poisonous. And a lot of the times the cancer comes back due to the fact that the patients did nothing to change their lifestyle.

I am a firm believer that cancer and other diseases like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's etc are all lifestyle diseases. Too much stress, drinking, smoking, eating nutritionally devoid foods are ending millions of people's lives short- young and old.

We are all guilty of doing things we know are bad for us (including myself), but all it takes is making a couple changes here and there and suddenly you will realize all of those small changes are really adding up! If you had asked me 2 years ago if I would be eating nothing but raw fruits and vegetables I would have looked at you like you were speaking Greek. I didn't do it over night. I made small changes along the way and here I am.

The moral of this long story is that no one can predict if and when we will get a grim diagnosis. But there are steps we can take every day to improve our health. And if you or I do get that awful diagnosis just know that there are options other than chemo, radiation, and surgery.

For more information visit The Gerson Insititute.

I also wrote:
Alternative Cancer Therapies
The War on Cancer: Focusing on the Wrong Things

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Case of the Bubble Guts

Bubble Guts: a non-painful condition where you feel like you have bowling balls in your stomach, or it is filled with bubbles & it sounds like a battle from WW3. You aren't really sure what is going on because no air is coming out your mouth or you bum.  

This has been going on for a few days now. It is very weird and somewhat disturbing. I am mainly disturbed because in the past when I had something like this I would end up having the same problems as un-potty trained children. But not this time (thank god)!

I was informed by Lisa that it is normal when you transition to a high raw diet. Phhew! It should go away rather soon. This happens because of the amount of fiber that you are now eating. After eating a certain way for so long my stomach is used to digesting cooked foods that are lower in fiber. Right now it isn't really sure what to do with all of these vegetables. It will learn though.

If there is one thing I have learned through all of this it is that our bodies are way smarter than our brains are. Your heart never skips a beat. Your lungs never forget to breath. Our bodies are programmed to run perfectly. The reason they don't is because we feed them nutritionally devoid garbage. It is because we, as a nation, have been so confused about what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat. Meanwhile, when you ask someone what they could do to be healthier the typical response is eat more fruits and vegetables and drink more water. Why then do we have all of these major health problems? 

I think because people deep down don't really think it is that simple. Why? Because we have a nation of doctors that have brainwashed people into thinking that it is normal to be on all sorts of prescriptions. We have a nation of mothers that microwave dinners instead of making something even partially homemade. We have a nation of vitamin & supplement companies that tell you everything will be okay if you just take the newest and best pill. We have a nation of people who do not take responsibility for their own health. We have lost all of the wisdom of the generations before us that had to use food as medicine.

Wake up people! You don't have to put yourself in a position where one day you are waking up to a diagnosis of cancer or heart disease or diabetes. These things are all preventable if you just make some changes along the way. And even though you may experience some slight discomfort in the process (like bubble guts) it is nothing compared to a grim diagnosis like cancer.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

GOING RAW: What to eat?

my lemon tree is full of blossoms!
I know by now those of you who are following me are probably thinking that I am crazy for eating nothing but raw fruits and vegetables (its been almost 2 weeks!). What the hell am I eating ?!

I'll tell you because it is so much better than I ever expected and it is stuff that I know 99% of you would love to eat if you tried it.

  • B- dark green juice w/ 50% kale, collards, broccoli, spinach, parsley, cilantro, dandelion greens and 50% apple, carrot, and lemon juice (12-16 oz)
  • S- Fruit or fruit salad
  • L- salad w/ raw milk cheddar cheese & creamy cashew dressing
  • S- creamy vegetable stuffed pepper 
  • D- zucchini pasta w/ peppers, tomatoes, & sun dried tomato sauce
  • De- medjool dates
I have to admit I have not been 100% raw yet, but I am close. Usually one day over the weekend I will eat something cooked. I am not putting limitations on myself because I want to be successful with this. Although, I haven't really felt like this has been a struggle this time around. Most of the struggle prior to now was mental. It is a hard thing to get over your "comfort foods". It was for me the first time I tried this a few months ago. But now I feel different. I'm thinking part of the reason is because we are fast approaching spring and warm weather is just around the corner. 

It's more than the anticipation of hot days though. I feel now that this is the right thing for me. I feel clearer, lighter, and more focused than I have in a long time. Just coming through a huge transition in my love life (going from having one to not) I feel like I was in the right place mentally to accomplish this so effortlessly. I was exhausted, stressed out, frustrated, angry, and sad. I needed to wipe the slate clean and this way of eating did just that for me (along w/ a lot of sleep and great times with my girlfriends!). 

With the help of Lisa preparing all this delicious food, I have truly enjoyed this process so far. I would suggest if you are going to try to do this, get some help. At least initially, because it can be very overwhelming trying to come up with your own recipes and manage to want to eat them too. 

You know what though? It isn't even necessary for someone to do 100%. Even if you get to 50% you are doing yourself a great service. Just increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat little by little you will be helping yourself tremendously.  

Enjoy the day!

Friday, March 2, 2012

MARCH: In Season

What the hell is growing in March? Apparently there are several things that you can buy (or grow) in season even in March.
cabbage in our garden that wintered over
Now I know that we live in modern America and we can literally get anything we desire because we import fruits and vegetables from other countries that are in summer when we are in winter. is my firm belief that it's better to eat in season as much as possible. Here's what is available in March:
  • broccoli
  • lettuce
  • cabbage
  • mushrooms
  • pineapple
  • mango
  • oranges
You would have to be pretty crafty to be able to come up with a month's worth of recipes that used nothing but  the 7 items above. But that isn't necessary.  As long as you can incorporate these in more then you are on the right track. And don't worry about trying to eat the veggies 100% raw. If you are still at the stage where you like your food cooked then that's what you should do: eat cooked veggies!

I always say it's more important to get vegetables into your mouth than to worry about whether they are cooked. If you are eating a salad, make it taste good by loading on the dressing if that is the only way you will get the in your mouth. The only unacceptable way to eat vegetables is fried- sorry french fries don't count! Neither does vegetable tempura (although it is soooo tasty!)

What's your fave way to eat vegetables? Or do you absolutely despise them?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

RANDOM: 8 things I've never done

Crossing my fingers that I will continue to have good fortune!

1. I have never had to go to court. I don't know how this is humanly possible, but in the 29 years I've been on this earth I have never had to go.

2. I have never had to pee on a stick. I guess if it were to happen unexpectedly now it wouldn't be such a travesty. I worried so much until recently when I realized that I was actually old enough to take care of a kid.

3. I have never and will NEVER go sky diving. Period!

4. Up until recently I had never eaten Taco Bell- and I wish I had never. It was disgusting.

5. I have never broken a bone- or even come close.

6. I have never been to Europe (which I hope to change this summer)

7. I have never been on a public bus. Quite frankly they skeeve me. I would rather walk or pay a ridiculous cab fare than get on a bus.

8. I have never been in a hot air balloon. I think it would be nice.

9. I have never lost my cool and told anyone off...hahaha just kidding. I try but sometimes I just can't control it.

Tomorrow... updates on juicing and eating raw food. 
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