People keep asking me for advice about diet and lifestyle. Potentially because I read a lot about health/nutrition/the mind, I trained as a Life Coach and I eat rather unconventional foods from time to time. Or they just happen to pop by my kitchen when I am making vegan, wholemeal, gluten free pancakes that may or may not turn out edible, or I stand mixing together some lotion from raw oils and aloe vera. I’m always experimenting. That is sort of the answer right there though; I experiment. I don’t have all the answers, in fact, the more I learn, the more questions I have.
Below I will describe what I want to include in my diet, things I don’t want to include in my diet, people that have inspired my diet, advice I follow and various ideas I have faith in. I do not advice you to follow my advice, I don’t always do so myself, but check it out, because it has helped me feel more alive, focused and sharp…but if it is the “right” things to do and eat, who knows?
In general terms I eat whole foods and raw* foods. I cook my own food, or I buy it from a restaurant, or café that uses whole foods. From time to time though, I will indulge in refined things, but the more whole foods you eat, the worse the refined, processed foods taste.
I believe the answer to nutrition lies in what our healthiest ancestors ate, as well as what your ancestors ate (you might not live well off a diet consisting of 90% whale meat, but the Eskimos do), not in what some scientist just figured out about carbs.
It makes no sense to me to be on a 100% anything diet, apart from whole foods. There’s a lot of fads and food dogmas around. Food is not a religion. Food is one part of your life, not your entire life (read: ego).
People on different diets tend to over indulge on certain ingredients, whereas I think variation is key. A strong basis in raw and lightly cooked plants, raw fruits and berries, in addition to a smaller amount of raw and cooked protein from the animal kingdom and herbs and oils to spice it all up makes sense to me. Furthermore, to add some wholemeal, preferably sprouted, grains, seeds and nuts. To give it an extra kick some super foods to add a finishing touch.
I believe raw juices are an excellent source of nutrients, however, they are refined and to over indulge in anything refined makes no sense to me. If you wouldn’t eat twenty carrots in a go, why drink it? To go on a juice fast for a week or two, probably cleanses the system and replenish nutrients, but to consistently drink a liter of fresh juice every day seems a bit much. A liter a week makes more sense.
Having just said that, I confess to love starting my day with a smoothie as it’s easy for the body to break down. It’s also easy to get a mix of berries, fruit, nuts and some cool super food powders, or aloe vera, mixed with a handful or two of greens (don’t overdo the mixture…in my experiments I find three ingredients are nicer than ten…just vary those three every day). Basically it’s nutrient dense and can be a savior if you are on your feet all day and have to eat not so great foods for the rest of the day. Plus, unlike the juice, you get the whole thing. For later in the day a raw milkshake, potentially with raw eggs in it, can be a nice source of protein.
Vitamins…well, the soil has been over used, so our crops today tend to lack certain things. Hence, I eat vitamins.
Probiotics, according to everything I’ve heard, are good for you. Whether you drink kombucha or yoghurt/sour milk/kefir or eat sourcraut or a pill, I believe in getting them into the system somehow.
I have a belief that if you can’t eat a food as you found it in nature, it’s doubtful whether you should eat it or not. Therefore, I think sprouted grains are better than non sprouted grains. Then again I do eat chicken and you can’t eat that raw.
Organic, yes please. Wild, even better. If possible, local foods are nice – they don’t pollute as much by being shipped half way across the planet and if we are talking crops they are likely to be picked when they are riper, than the fruit/veg that need to be transported half way round the world. Plus I love the farmer’s market
To me it makes sense that you eat the energy of a thing as much as the thing itself. Whatever I eat I would like it to have been treated with love. Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic, that think Like Water For Chocolate is based on a real concept (and don’t even get me started on Chocolat…) because I spent too much time with my gran in the kitchen, or maybe, it’s because I don’t like caged animals. In either case, free range, non-tortured animals that were lovingly brought up, fed with non-antibiotic, organic, vegan foods and crops that were grown by loving farmers are preferred in my diet.
Water. I’d like to drink fresh spring water. Lacking that, glass bottled spring water is my preference. In lack of that the same in a plastic container. And in lack of that filtered tap water will have to do. You know that study about how the molecules in water changes if you think about love or hate, play a certain kind of music, etc.? So whilst you are at it – bless the water you drink and the food you eat
Enzymes…to eat them with cooked foods make sense, with raw foods doesn’t.
Food combining and blood type diets…I don’t know. It makes sense and it doesn’t. Fruits ARE easy to break down. Therefore, to start the day with fruit is nice. To mix carbs and protein too much can make me feel heavy, so when eating meat it’s nice to eat it with non-starchy veg. In general I find that small amounts of meat seems good, because I don’t seem to be able to break down larger amounts.
Things I Include In My Diet (…as much as I can!!!)
Raw & Cooked Fruit
Raw & Cooked Vegetables & Roots – all vegetables, mixing is key and cabbage and leafy greens are essential to include in that mix
Herbs & Spices (toss some into a smoothie once a week, make a soup on loads of them once a week and just add small amounts to spice up your food and your life!!…)
Herbal Teas – the more variation the better
Raw Soaked Nuts
Cooked or Soaked Wild Rice
Whole Gluten Free Grains – such as buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa (it’s actually a seed),
Raw & Cooked Eggs – free range, all natural, no antibiotics
Raw Cream (do not feed to infants/young children, or eat whilst pregnant and make sure you know there is no TB alert going on in the area from which you are getting your cream)
Raw Cheese (goat’s & sheep’s cheese mainly) (do not feed to infants, or eat whilst pregnant)
Cold Pressed Oils (olive, sunflower, rapeseed, coconut)
Raw & Cooked Fish (do not eat raw fish whilst pregnant)
Cooked Chicken – free range, all natural, no antibiotics
Seared Duck – free range, all natural, no antibiotics
Cooked Wild Game (if the meat can be eaten seared, I prefer it that way…the closer to raw the better, just make sure it’s SAFE)
Natural Sweeteners – raw honey, raw agave, maple syrup, stevia (go light on the sugars in general)
Sprouts – nuts, seeds, grains, beans
Wine – moderation, moderation…but in vino veritas
Super Foods – basically the latest discovery in nutrient dense anything and an array of medicinal plants, often in the form of powders (Cacao, Lucuma, Maca, Coffee…might not be a super food ahem…, etc., small doses!!!)
Seaweed – there is an ongoing debate about spirulina, but in general, seaweed is good news
Things I Avoid
Pasturized Dairy, unless fermented
Too Much Of Anything – esp. meat, sugar, grains, dairy, refined fats and nuts
Anything Raised In A Cage
Anything Fed With Antibiotics
Eating Just Before Bedtime
Over Cooked Vegetables
Heavily Fried Foods
*Raw = Foods That Have Not Been Cooked Over 40 Degrees Celsius or 116 Degrees Farenheit
People I Would Like To Introduce You To
There are a few people with interesting opinions and nice websites. As far as advice on diet goes, Daniel Vitalis is clued in if you ask me. www.danielvitalis.com As far as gourmet raw food is concerned, Matthew Kenney (owner of 105 Degrees), seems to be at the top of the game. http://www.matthewkenneylifestyle.com His former restaurant, Pure (and attached store/café One Lucky Duck), that Sarma Melngailis now owns, is also top notch. www.oneluckyduck.com In LA, Au Lac has super nice raw foods. www.aulac.com When it comes to detoxing your life in general – Shazzie’s book Detox Your Life will give you some clues. www.shazzie.com If you want a good site for raw recipes, this is pretty sweet: http://goneraw.com The site I use for general browsing on life and diet advice is www.Care2.com (and they have super cute e-cards, good petitions, recipes, etc. It’s an overall nice community to be part of.) For whole food recipes www.101cookbooks.com is a very nice site by Heidi Swanson.
* Exercise: Cardio, Strength, Flexibility (stretching), Breathing, Eye Exercises, Keggles For The Women.
* Visualize. Whatever You Want. And by the beginning of each day what you would like for that day. By the end of each day go through the day. If something did not go as you would have liked, rethink it as you would have wanted it to be. Next time it will be easier to do it the way you really want to do it now.
* Train Your Brain.
* Listen To Acoustic Music (no lyrics).
* Spend Half An Hour Outside Every Day.
* Read One Or More Books On: NLP and Hypnosis. Just so you know that there are people that can control how you think and what you think. Google Derren Brown BMX.
* Eat Breakfast In Peace.
* Set An Intention In The Morning.
* Avoid: Negative Songs, Negative Anything.
* Write Down Every Week: one thing you learned, one thing you want to do better (and visualize it) and one thing you are proud of.
* Set Goals: for life, for five years, for one year, for one month, for a week, for a day. Write them down. Remember that the journey is the fun. It’s just good to have a clue of where you are going.
* Meditate For A Minute Before Making An Important Decision, Eating An Oversized Cake, Texting The Person You Are Dating, Answering Back To An Idiot.
* Realize Everyone Has A Past. Those that do bad were done bad to. You may or may not want them in your life. There are two choices: smile and open the door, or smile and close the door. If needed explain why.
* Eat Things That Serve You.
* Say “Thank You,” “Please” And Smile At People – they become more pleasant to be around then. People react to you. What you give you get. And if someone is to stupid to see what you are giving, it still feels better to be nice.
* Watch Your Thought Patterns. Make them what you want them to be, not what you have been programmed to think. “Life’s so hard,” “Money’s bad,” I’m weak,” I’m stupid,” “Women are difficult.” Balderdash!
* Give Thanks.
* Sleep On Regular Hours (preferably at night – we are much more controlled by the sun’s cycle than we understand, your immune system is linked to how and when you sleep).
* Turn Off Electric Appliances When Not In Use.
* Spend Time In Nature.
* If You Make A Change And Slip Back Temporarily – CONGRATULATIONS you will notice that you have changed and go right back to doing the thing you know is truly right for you.
* If you are feeling down, or in a funny mood one day: have a cold bath. You will wake up and you will feel great!
* Take Care Of You – remember that that’s all you have – you. Life can be tricky, but the things you can make good – do it. Indulge yourself in as many good things as possible. As many natural things as possible. You Will Feel Alive.
What you put on your skin goes in. The skin is the body’s largest organ. Only put on it what you can eat. Excellent lotions are made of things like shea butter, cacao butter, natural cold pressed oils, aloe vera, etc. Raw Gaia, Dr. Hauschka, Burt’s Bee, etc. tend to have good products. Google: raw body products, natural body products, organic body products. Note: just because it says natural or organic doesn’t mean that it is good for you. AVOID parabens and sodium laureth sulphates. Unnatural fragrances are also suspect. Instead of perfume I use vanilla oil (and smell like candy all day long Google: substances to avoid in body products.
Chemicals around the household are dangerous. You breathe them in. They go in through your skin. Use ecological detergents and buy organic clothes and furniture when possible.
If you want to detox yourself through the skin, so to speak, have a steam, a hot bath filled with Himalayan salt cubes or Epsom salts, do a Moroccan gommage, or have a sauna, preferably mixed with ice cold baths! The Russian use honey to rub themselves in when in the sauna. They also have very nice needle mats that you can lie on to relax your back. Doesn’t necessarily detox you, but definitively de-stresses you Massages, too, are good for detoxing.
Revamping Your Everyday Life
It’s pretty simple – how would you like your everyday life to look? Really?
Brainstorm it (good questions to ask: how can I make life even more indulgent, sexy, sassy, cozy, interesting, fun, warm, etc. right now…a.k.a. how can I spoil myself in a million ways every day???).
Write a schedule.
Most people complain they don’t have enough time to exercise, meditate, spend half an hour a day doing what they love, spoiling themselves…well, the cool thing is, once you have made a plan, sorted out a schedule and practiced it a few times, you probably have more time than before, simply because you are engaged in doing what you love, you speed up instead of getting lost on the net for half an hour during lunch. And instead of trying to figure out what to do next – it’s already on your schedule. You might also get just that little bit more energy (read: you might have more fun, feel more relaxed, be more alert).
If you want to learn more about something, e.g. you want to become better at cooking at home instead of buying fast food, you may have to spend a day reading recipe books and figuring out where to get the best/cheapest supplies. Then there will be the learning phase where it takes longer to cook a meal than it needs to. That time investment is likely to pay off though. I mean, just imagine every day when you bite into a gorgeous meal! You live like a King/Queen instead of…whatever it was you were living like before! (You might hate cooking, really you might want to learn massage with your partner, or how to market your website…whatever it is, it’s the same process: research, educate yourself, practice, et voilà!)
For some people having a day-to-day schedule does not work. In that case write a schedule of what you want to do during the week and tick those things off as you go along.