I’m having a very RAW day today!
Okay…well, technically I kind of killed it with the cup of black coffee I had this morning, but in terms of actual food I’ve eaten today, both breakfast and lunch have been raw! I didn’t even realize it until after I finished eating. I’m going out to dinner for a friend’s birthday and the food will definitely NOT be raw, but it kind of made me realize how it would be pretty easy to eat raw once a week. I don’t think I could go every day on just raw food though.
My post-workout breakfast consisted of coffee and the raw, dairy free, gluten free bars that recently started popping up at the cafe counter at the American Club. I tried the apple pie flavor and was very impressed. It was delicious, and kept me full until my 11am snack on a juicy, red apple. Honestly, I probably could have held off until noon, but I find its always dangerous to go into a meal starving because I end up with ‘eyes bigger than my stomach’ as my mom puts it–eating too much, usually of the wrong foods.
For lunch, I had the Signature Raw Burger from the Living Cafe. I had them pack it to go when I was there on Sunday, and it held up nicely in my fridge and tasted just as delicious as I remember it being last time I had one. The burger consists of dehydrated mushrooms, seeds and nuts, and the ‘bun’ is made of lettuce. The burger is then stuffed with a large variety of colorful vegetables and some kind of creamy non-dairy sauce (frankly, I still don’t know WHAT it is, but it sure tastes good!).
Don’t you just love it when something is really healthy and also tastes amazing? I know I do!
In honor of my RAW half day, I thought I would share with you some nutrition fun facts about why you should raw food more often. You may not take me seriously, but if Oprah says it, then it must be true, right? 😉 I like this article from Oprah because it gives a pretty balanced view on the subject, and doesn’t hype it up into some kind of miracle diet or suggest you should eat only raw food.
I also liked this interesting article on raw food from KristensRaw:
Most vitamins and phytonutrients are destroyed or damaged when cooked or processed above 130 degrees so they’re less available for assimilation. In short, when you cook your food, you’re destroying the nutrients. It’s like eating empty foods, or empty calories, that just fill you up temporarily. What’s the point? It’s a waste and you’ll end up not feeling satiated because there are not any nutrients, and your body needs nutrients. Eating fresh, organic Raw fruits and vegetables will increase the vitamins and micronutrients in your diet and you’ll feel the difference immediately. What’s more is that, once I started making it a point to eat all of the food I prepared at home, organic, it was shocking to me how untasty food became for me at restaurants. When I would go out and order a salad, it literally tasted like chemicals, or plastic, and was no longer a tomato or cucumber. No wonder people aren’t excited about eating raw fruits and vegetables. It’s because, unless you’re eating organic, it doesn’t taste very good.
Furthermore, heat damages proteins, causing the amino acid chains to congeal. Damaged protein is for the most part unusable and can be harmful to your body, causing inflammation and other problems. When food is cooked above 118 F, essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals and enzymes are lost. Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, begin to deteriorate at that temperature and are completely destroyed at 160 F. Too much protein in your body actually causes harm, but you almost never hear about that. It harms your digestive tract, your kidneys and much more by making your system too acidic.
When I used to sleep at night, I would often wake up in the middle of the night and tear off the sheets and my pajamas because I was sweating so badly. This is commonly referred to as “digestive fire” and was due to poor digestion and improper food combining. It was so uncomfortable. If you don’t sleep well, lack energy, or simply feel “off,” poor digestion is likely the blame. A well-functioning digestive system can help set you up for top physical and emotional well being. Moreover, good digestion aids in assimilation of nutrients, so your body absorbs all of the vitamins and minerals you’re eating.
A well-functioning digestive system also has excellent elimination, so you’re having regular bowel movements, which are essential to good health. A good rule of thumb: You should be having approximately the number of bowel movements EACH DAY for the number of meals you eat. So, if you eat 3 meals, you should have 2-3 bowel movements. When you’re just starting out with eating more Raw foods, it’s not unheard of to go to the bathroom as many as 4-5 times a day as you start to clean out your digestive tract! When people realize they should be having more than ONE bowel movement most days, they’re usually shocked. In short, you’ve probably been constipated, to varying degrees, your whole life.
When you eat a High Raw diet, you digest your foods much faster, which is one of the main reasons it provides so much energy. Digestion can be one of the most energy draining activities for your body, therefore, your goal should be to have quick and easy digestion. The simple carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients available in fruits and vegetables are readily used as fuel for the body. The time difference between eating a cooked meal vs. a Raw meal is significant. When you eat a cooked meal, depending on the food, it can take anywhere from 1-4 days to digest completely and be eliminated. Conversely, when you eat Raw food, your digestion can be anywhere from 20 minutes to 4 hours, depending on how the food is combined.
There is a lot of information regarding this subject of blood pH level, that is, acidity versus alkalinity. Acute or chronic diseases thrive in an overly acidic body. Some common symptoms of being overly acidic are: arthritis, depression, fatigue, headaches, unclear thinking, canker sores, muscle stiffness, chest pain, stomach aches, constipation, irritability, anxiety, sinus problems, acid reflux, and restless sleep (just to name a few).
How do our bodies become too acidic? Diet is the primary cause. A diet that is too high in acid-forming food will cause the body to become too acidic. And what are acid forming foods? Sadly, the typical American diet of high protein flesh foods, high sugar, high fat, all contribute to forming acid in your body. Add to the list: dairy, flour products, most cooked grains, most cooked beans, candy, soda, coffee, tobacco, alcohol, chemical additives, preservatives, drugs, and synthetic vitamins — these are all acid forming.
I don’t know about you, but after reading more about raw food, I’m seriously thinking about making more of a point to incorporate raw food into my life! Anybody want to join me in a once a week raw food day?
My meals may have been awesome, but getting up this morning to get to the American Club gym was definitely a struggle.
Some days, it is just SO hard to get up in the morning, and skipping the morning workout for an extra hour of sleep is all too tempting. A lot of people who know me think I’m some crazy exercise buff and health freak, they don’t really see the struggle and discipline that it takes. It’s not as if those of us who make the effort to go to the gym daily have some special gene that other people don’t. Sometimes, I go to sleep just thinking about how excited I am for the workout I have planned the next morning, but most of the time, when I get up, I’m just plain TIRED and sleep looks so much better than exercise. But I fight it. I sleep in my workout clothes or put them right next to my bed, set my alarm 20 minutes before I actually have to get up (because I know I’m gonna end up hitting snooze at least twice) and force my butt out of the bed. You can get all the wakeup gadgets and tricks you want, but in the end, making that commitment to your workout routine comes down to sheer willpower and discipline. You know you should get up and hit the gym, so put aside whatever reasons you have fashioned for not going, and JUST. DO. IT.
This may sound harsh, but I think it’s that split second, every day, when you either reset your alarm for an hour later or throw off the covers and head to the gym that separates the fit, regular exerciser from the non-exerciser or the short term resolution maker that eventually drops off. Even if you go gym in the afternoon or at night instead of first thing in the morning, there will always be days when you would rather be doing something else, or you convince yourself that you ‘just didn’t have time’.
The truth is, just like we all find time to eat and sleep, if we really wanted to, we could find time for exercise. We just have to stop thinking of it as an optional activity and start thinking of it as something vital to your survival, like food and sleep. You just can’t live without it.
Frankly, I really don’t think I can. Yesterday, my Zumba class was cancelled at the last minute. There was no notice, I just got there to find an empty classroom. Not getting my hour of exercise in really affected my mood, and I felt noticeably less happy, less energized. That said, the lack of notice on the class cancellation left me with no time to get to my regular gym before I met up with a friend for dinner. Rather than let that stop me from getting in any exercise, I decided to take the time that I did have and turn my journey to dinner into an exercise routine of its own and, still in my workout clothes with my gym bag slung over my shoulder, proceeded to powerwalk the 3 miles from the Zumba studio to my friend’s house. It may not have been the workout I had in mind, but at least it was the exercise my body craved. Yes, people definitely looked at my like I was a little nuts, as I lengthened my strides out and sped through the crowds (if I didn’t have that darn gym bag, i would have just gone running!) but it was totally worth it. Anyways, my point is, no matter what the situation, you can always find time for exercise, just like you can always find time for a quick bite for lunch.