Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Book of RAWesome

The most detoxifying phase of The Whole Life Wellness Cleanse is the raw foods phase.  Anyone who has tried traditional fasting for detox will find eating fresh fruits and veggies during this phase refreshing, however for those of us who are new to cleansing, eating only raw foods may seem like a prison sentence.  You mean I can't even cook my veggies?!

Raw foods contain far more vital nutrients and antioxidants because they have not been heated or processed.  They also contain high amounts of fiber, which is beneficial for removing built up toxins from the colon and digestive tract.  Raw or living foods are a main ingredient in a healthy diet and should be eaten in abundance and without reservation.
Plan your raw meals in advance as much as possible.  Having a recipe in mind helps us feel less overwhelmed while shopping for food and also reduces the chances of eating something convenient when pressed for time that may not be the most healthful choice.  Eating raw can be fun, and definitely doesn't limit you to salads for every meal.  Try raw soups made in a blender or food processor, energy bars and cereals made from raw nuts and seeds, and raw food entrees that will make you wonder why you ever cooked your food in the first place! 
Find some RAWmazing recipes at the following links:

Make sure you schedule time to shop for food.  You will need to shop for fresh foods at least twice a week to ensure that you are using foods before they spoil or their nutrient content diminishes.  Utilize local food as much as possible, such as local farms and farm stands, farmers markets, co-ops and food shares.  Find local food sources at

If you find yourself feeling fatigued or sluggish during your raw food journey, add some healthy fats to your diet, such as flax oil added to smoothies or raw soups, raw nuts and seeds or raw free range eggs, fresh from the farm.  NOTE:  Eating uncooked eggs is not recommended for children, the elderly or anyone with a weakened immune system.  Please take care handling raw eggs properly and use only the freshest eggs from a verifiable source.  Raw cheeses, butters and milk may be a good choice for you if you choose to eat dairy products.  Raw dairy is an extremely healing way to add saturated fats to a healthy diet.

Experiment with different ways to prepare raw foods, using a blender, food processor, dehydrator or sun drying.  Create your own unique salads and soups to suit your personal tastes.  Some prefer to cast away all the machines and simply eat the fresh foods as nature intended, biting into fresh fruits and veggies with a vengeance! 

A raw food detox is a great way to cleanse your body without adding the stress of fasting.  The best part is that raw fruits and vegetables are guilt free eating.  Enjoy as much as you like! 

Here's a list of raw foods that will fill your belly and curb cravings:

Raw almonds
Raw sunflower seeds
Sprouted grains or legumes

Organic Flavor

Let's take a close look at this product.  Organic Free Range Chicken Broth, certified USDA Organic by Oregon Tilth and produced by Pacific Foods of Oregon, Inc.  Looks pretty safe, right?  So lets take a close look at the ingredients.  We know to watch out for things called "natural flavors" in the ingredient lists, right?  Natural flavor is just one of many misleading marketing terms which can mean just about anything from MSG to naturally derived chemical additives.  After all, aren't almost all chemicals "natural?"

So just what exactly is "organic flavor?!"  We see it here on the label not once, but twice.  Organic chicken flavor is the second ingredient, followed by natural chicken flavor and the last ingredient is even more mysterious - organic flavor.  So what is this mystery flavor?  Is it spices?  Is it chemicals?  We don't know.  And if they have decided not to label it any more specifically than that, we probably don't want to know. 

So how can they get away with this?  What makes this "organic flavor" any different from those "natural flavors" we have been told to stay away from?  In reality, probably nothing.  Processed food that is certified organic has become somewhat misleading.  Many major producers of so called organic foods are growing their crops using "approved" chemical methods.  The USDA standards for organics are listed on The National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances and included in the allowances for organic livestock are such chemicals as chlorine, ethanol, aspirin, tetracycline, sulfates and all vaccines.  The section pertaining to "flavors" simply states that only non-synthetic sources must be used and no artificial preservatives are allowed.  Otherwise anything goes, I guess.

Please don't misunderstand my intentions.  I believe very strongly in sustainable organic agriculture.  The kind that is happening at more and more small farms all across the nation.  But what I disagree with is the governmental regulations and "standards" which have so many loopholes for major processed food distributors, like Pacific Foods, to label substandard products as organic and natural and therefore make more money.

The bottom line:  Don't eat processed food.  Period.  Doesn't matter if it is organic, natural or not, just stay away from processed food which is ruining our health and lining the pockets of the wealthy corporations.  Buy your food from small local producers.  Find a local farm in your area and see if you can tour the facility to ensure that the animals are being treated humanely and the produce is grown naturally and handled with regard to safety.  You can find local growers online at Shop at farmers markets and farm stands, and stay away from the supermarket as much as you possibly can.  When shopping in a supermarket, read the labels carefully!  Don't just assume that because it says "organic" or "natural" that it is good for you.  Take the time to make a wise consumer choice.  When you buy whole foods from local sources you are using your hard earned dollars to vote for sustainability and the healthy future of our planet.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

October Unabashed

I fell off the wagon tonight.  Yup, that's right, screwed up the cleanse.  Ate almost 3 oz of dark chocolate.  That doesn't sound like much, but believe me, it was a lot.  I grubbed it like there was no tomorrow.  Definitely a binge moment, and I am not proud.  But I am honest, and thought you deserved to know.  Everyone makes mistakes and gives in to temptation sometimes.  The key is to not get carried away and to learn from our mistakes.  Appreciate mistakes for what they are- a part of ourselves.

I can take accountability for my indulgence.  I know it was not good for my body and I know that it affected my body's cleansing processes.  I also know that it wasn't the end of the world.  Tomorrow I won't make the same mistake, and life will go on.  My cleanse will be successful and I will feel great about myself for sticking with it and making a commitment to my health. 

Self defeating behaviors arise when we can't allow ourselves to make a mistake without losing faith in our ability to make good decisions.  In other words, when we give up trying simply because we screwed something up.  Where would we be if all our great thinkers, activists and inventors would have just given up when they didn't get it right the first time?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Veggie Tales

The first week of the Whole Life Wellness Cleanse was pretty simple for me since I normally avoid processed foods anyway.  Week two and three are going to challenge me to get a little more creative.

This week I let go of meat and dairy in my diet.  I've been a vegetarian before, but I've never gone without cheese.  Yikes!   I do intend to continue to use butter and organic cage free eggs.  Healthy saturated fats are extremely important to all our body functions, and during a cleanse my body will need vital macro-nutrients like fats and proteins. 

The important thing to remember here is the quality of the ingredients.  Eating cheap supermarket eggs will do little for your health because they are loaded with the very toxins that you are trying to flush out.  Tour a local farm and buy your eggs there.  Some farmers will give you a discount on fresh eggs if you buy them regularly.    

Tonight I brewed a new batch of kombucha tea and prepared a salad for tomorrows lunch using the colorful cherry tomatoes I got for volunteering at Produce With Purpose.  I also started soaking some oats for breakfast.  Leaving processed, sugar infused garbage in the dust hasn't been hard, at least not after the first couple days of cravings.  Now lets see how easy it is to let go of meats and dairy!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Combatting Cravings

It's 12:48pm.  Only a few more minutes left of my lunch break, and all I can think about is something sweet to eat.  This is the time of day that I crave sweets the most, just after lunch when I am feeling a little sluggish and not looking forward to plowing through the rest of the afternoon.  Normally I would indulge myself at times like this with a square or two of dark chocolate or a cup of coffee, but as I am doing the Whole Life Wellness Cleanse and have given up all processed foods for the month, I must refrain.

So how am I dealing with my intense cravings?  Well, the first thing I always do is make sure my rational mind is in control.  It is too simple to give in to cravings if you don't allow yourself the opportunity to think them through.  Ask yourself, "Why am I craving this?  Do I really need food, or am I trying to fill some other emotional need?"

If you are craving sugar or caffeine, chances are you have an addiction to those substances, and you are not alone.  Most Americans are addicted to either sugar or caffeine or both.  We consume it morning, noon and night in our coffee, cereal, soft drinks, snacks, breads, even pizza and ketchup.  Restaurant food is literally loaded with added sugar.  You may think you can give up sugar at any time (like many addicts will claim) but have you ever tried?  Craving sugar is a physical withdrawal symptom caused by not getting our "fix" of sugary snacks and drinks.  In some cases severe withdrawal symptoms can occur, such as sweating, dizziness, fatigue, headache and feeling "lost" or mentally disconnected.

I notice my sugar and caffeine cravings the most while I am cleansing, because I don't allow myself to indulge them.  It can become a battle of internal wills at times, almost like the cliche of the angel and devil on my shoulders.  In this case it is a dark chocolaty devil drinking a tall mocha, and a whole foods angel reminding me to let go of my cravings because they are an illusion caused by my addiction.

Something I always do when I start to have cravings is drink a huge glass of water.  Sometimes two.  Often times our bodies will trigger the hunger or craving mechanisms when we are in fact only thirsty or slightly dehydrated.  Drinking water can help you feel full and will improve your health immensely.  Avoid the temptation to drink "flavored" water (unless you flavor it yourself by adding ripe fruit and refrigerating) or diet drinks, which are full of additives and harmful chemical sweeteners.  Chemical sweeteners aggravate a sugar craving by confusing your body and making you crave the sweet sugar even more.  Some great natural alternatives for sugar that do not aggravate a sugar addiction are Raw Honey, Pure Maple Syrup and Stevia.

If you can't shake a craving, make a more healthful choice, rather than giving in.  When I crave sugar I usually reach for some dried fruit and nuts or some fresh fruit.  A spoonful of peanut butter on my fruit will usually do the trick for me nicely.  Make sure you are buying natural peanut butter, because most major brands add sugar! 

The craving for caffeine is usually lessened for me with herbal teas, or occasionally green tea, which does contain caffeine but in safer amounts.  A hot cup of tea in the morning makes me feel even better than that coveted coffee ever has.

If you would like to learn more about sugar and caffeine addictions, and what to do about them, read these helpful links:

As always, if you would like advice or support on your journey to wellness, please contact me.  Consultation with a Certified Wellness Coach is always free at OneWellness!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

October Unprocessed Begins

Today I started the challenge of removing all processed foods from my diet for a month. I have also committed to doing the Whole Life Wellness Cleanse  during the month of October. I don't eat that much processed food to begin with, but there are little things I have already noticed that are going to be a challenge for me.

For one thing, I woke up a little groggy this morning and wanted nothing more than a hot cup of coffee. I struggled for a few minutes with my will power, then chose a chai green tea with raw honey instead. I try to stay away from caffeine while cleansing, but a small amount of green tea is allowed in the preparation phase, so I felt this was a good compromise.

Breakfast is usually a light meal for me, so in addition to a big glass of water and my tea I shared a fresh grapefruit, orange and banana with my son. I felt refreshed and energized after breakfast and we headed out to the farmers market.

We enjoyed browsing all the fall pumpkins, corn stalks and crafts before stopping at our favorite chemical-free vegetable farm stand and picking up some salad mix, carrots, onion, a big bunch of beets with greens and some beautiful rainbow kale. Then we headed home for lunch.

I couldn't wait to get home and sauté the beet greens, which are my favorite. Check out my simple recipe for Beet Greens with Garlic and Butter.  I served the tender greens over quinoa with some organic cottage cheese, which could be considered a processed food, but I didn't want it to go to waste sitting in my fridge.

After lunch we were invited to a local farm, Produce With Purpose owned by Rick Slager and family, who is committed to using natural and organic practices. Rick was kind enough to show us around his farm and show off his innovative design for affordable hoop green houses. I was particularly impressed with Rick's work on the Rural Empowerment Initiative, which is working to teach West Africans sustainable agriculture practices.  After talking with Rick about his farm and initiative, I am excited to get involved with his mission and get my hands dirty, literally, as he is always looking for volunteers to help with planting, harvesting and daily farm work.

When we arrived back home this afternoon, I was feeling pretty tired and could feel a slight headache nagging behind my eyes.  I am all too familiar with my "detox headache" which often happens when I cleanse or fast.  I was surprised it happened so fast this time, on the first day.  I had some rose hips and raspberry leaf tea and a few cashews to help pick me up and then made chicken strips for dinner with a big green salad.  I made a simple salad dressing, and added fresh grated ginger for added flavor and cleansing power.  During dinner my son asked me what the red onions in the salad were.  I explained that onions are good for our bodies and help keep us healthy.  He immediately picked one up and popped it in his mouth.  I waited on eggshells, expecting him to spit it out and make a yucky face, but he just smiled and said "Oh, that's good!"  I laughed when he then flexed his arm and said "Now I'm gonna be big and strong!"
I said, "Yes, you are!"