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Friday, April 23, 2010

It's all Happening!!!

See those butterflies?? They're dancing around in my belly right now.

Today is my last official day in the corporate world. This may sound glib, but I would be lying if I said I was sad or anything less than excited. Actually, I can't even sit still as I wait for IT to come and check me out so I can leave. I want to jump up and down, dance and shout out to the sunshine. Today has finally come!!

While I can't wait to leave, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work in corporate pharma. It showed me my path first hand. It taught me that I am an anomaly for not filling prescriptions and popping pills and I shouldn't be weird because of this! I am not sure my path would be so clearly lit if I hadn't had an insider's view. It helped me to clearly define my views, opinions, ethics and morals regarding health and medicine. These clear definitions will allow me to move forward and clearly advocate change in maternal health, birth and parenting whether that is through organizations such as the New Jersey Coalition for Vaccination Choice or Amnesty International.

Each day the universe opens a new door for me to step through and each day I feel more empowered to make a difference in people's lives. I spent the last three days training with filmmaker, author, doula and extraordinary woman, Debra Pascali-Bonaro of Mother Love Doulas and 21 other amazing women. It was transforming to say the least...and exactly the energy and inspiration I needed to get through my last week of corporate work. (3 days off in your last 5 isn't too shabby!).

I will update the blog on this training soon, but for right now, I am simply going to celebrate.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti!

Keep it Fresh!
~ Terra

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What is "Going Raw?"

Sure, you might feel like you're being healthy when you order a nutritious salad (meaning: not a pile of iceberg lettuce saturated in creamy, fatty dressing, but actually vegetables), but would you want to commit to eating all raw food, all the time? The raw food movement, sometimes called the Live Food movement, is focused on eating only raw and unprocessed foods, often organically grown. Although many are only familiar with the vegan version of this movement, there are vegetarians (lacto-ovo and others), as well as omnivores who participate. A smaller component of the movement actually promotes a carnivorous (only animal product) diet. Similarly, fruitarians- those who try to only eat fruit- are a part of the raw food movement.

One of the main tenets of the belief that raw food is better lies in the loss of nutrients through cooking or processing food. While this is certainly true to a very large degree, it does not hold across the board. A more holistic approach might be to look at each food individually to determine whether it should be eaten raw, slightly cooked, or thoroughly cooked. As with most things in life, knowledge is power.

For some foods, scientists have discovered that light steaming actually makes nutrients available in food that the body would not otherwise be able to digest- broccoli is one such food. If the focus is truly bio-availability, then knowing that the nutrients in spinach are most readily absorbed by the body when it is lightly steamed and eaten with vinegar makes it hard to argue for eating spinach raw. With both of these foods, overcooking leads to a loss of nutrients, so attention paid to each individual food will allow you to gain the most nutrients from them. Likewise, freezing blueberries unlocks many of their antioxidant properties - increasing their health benefits, which is what exploring healthy diets is all about.

So, is raw right for everyone? Probably not. Is raw right for you? Maybe....you never really know until you try it. What it all boils down to is bioindividuality. What works wonders for one person may not for the next. You simply have to experiment to find out. Stay tuned for some updates from Jill on going raw. While I go vegan for 21 days for our Vegan Challenge group starting April 26, 2010, as an experienced vegan, Jill is going to take it one step further and go raw.

We'll be sure to keep you updated on our highs (and lows)!

Keep it Fresh!
~ Terra

Monday, April 19, 2010

Juice Fasting 101 (Part II)

Hopefully by now you have had a chance to research some juicers (link to previous post) and experiment with some concoctions. So now you are ready to try your hand at effectively juice fasting. Again, I do not recommend anyone enter a prolonged fast or without first consulting a professional.

What to do:
Prep - First of all, its not a good idea to enter a fast after days of drinking and eating whatever you want, so you should take a day or two to eat cleanly first before fasting. This will start detoxifying the body and reduce cravings, making fasting easier. This means fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and other whole foods. Avoid processed and refined foods.

The fast - Depending on how you feel, you can fast for up to 5 days. I recommend 3-5 days. Three should be sufficient for cleansing, but 5 days might be too much for a beginner. Generally the first two days are the most difficult. You will feel sluggish and hungry as your body adjusts and rids its self of toxins. Usually things get easier on day three. Your energy levels will return to normal and your hunger will subside.

You have two options when it comes to detoxing: 1) All out fast - liquids only, including juices, water and tea. Look for herbal teas that promote detoxing or aid fasting like Yogi detox or healthy fasting tea or Guayaki yerba mate teas. You can steep them with fresh ginger root, cinnamon or turmeric to add flavor and other help reduce inflammation. 2) Evening meals - you can juice in the morning and afternoon and have a small meal of raw fruits/veggies in the evening. This one you can do for 5-7 days. Either way you will be avoiding all processed and refined foods. Soy, wheat, caffeine and sugar should be avoided as well.

If you choose option 2 and want to do small meals in the evenings, i suggest drinking broths or eating blended or pureed vegetables. It will be easier on the digestive system and will allow your body to assimilate the nutrients easier, without the added burden of breaking things down.

Broths- if you drink broths, make your own so that you don’t have all the sodium of store bought varieties. You can make a big pot before you start your fast and reheat as needed. Boil some water and throw in whatever nutrient dense veggies you have lying around (carrots, cabbage, greens, onions, just things that will add flavor and nutrients). Adding seaweeds and dried mushrooms are a really good way to add lots of minerals and nutrients to the water, I highly recommend it. Again, you can add fresh ginger, tumeric, cayenne, etc. to help ease digestion and reduce inflammation. You can boil/simmer for an hour or so.. long enough so that all the nutrients from the veggies seep into the water, but not too long that you kill them off. You can leave the remaining veggies in the soup or remove and puree them and use just the broth.

Blending - Throw some banana, greens, avocado, mango, etc in a blender and have a smoothie meal. Or boil some veggies and puree them and heat it up for a delicious soup. Otherwise stick to raw or lightly cooked fresh vegetables such as salad with squeezed lemon juice or steamed veggies and whole grains.

Breaking Fast
- You will definitely want to take 2-3 days to eat cleanly again when you reintroduce food, eating mostly fresh fruits and vegetables. Raw is good, but can be difficult on the digestive system so if you weren’t following option 2 already, you can now start to reintroduce raw foods with some blended drinks or pureed soups if youd like. Again, stick to lightly cooked or raw veggies (steamed or blanched) for meals and slowly add in some whole grains and beans (preferably soaked over night to ease digestion), but continue to avoid processed foods, soy, wheat, sugar and caffeine until you feel you are fully detoxed.

The thing to remember most of all is that you do not have to fast to reap the benefits of juicing. Drinking green juices everyday can help improve your overall health and well being! Feel free to post your favorite concoctions in the comments section!

Keep it Fresh!