Thoughts on the world, homeopathy, mindfulness and food...
A collection of blog posts - feel free to respond with your thoughts and comments - I love to have feedback - thank you!
I've written this blog several times, or at least started it, in my head and I'm struggling to get beyond 'No shit, Sherlock' to be honest. Unless you're going to blend up a load of lettuce, the chances are that you're going to have way more calories in your fruity green smoothie than in a coca cola.
A can of 'full fat' coke contains 140 calories according to Cron-o-meter. But not much in there that's going to be a benefit to your body. And possibly, if the information around using it to clean your toilet is correct, it may actively harm your body, stripping it of vital nutrients.
So what do you want out of your green smoothie? Me, I want a meal replacement for when I don't fancy chewing through a pile of fruit, for when I'm out at work, driving to appointments or the like. I don't want an additional 650 calorie drink during my day, extra to my meals. And if you want it as an additional drink then just make it smaller.
Today I ran 3.5 miles, cycled 9.5 miles then got back and had my green smoothie for my lunch. It was delicious, and I felt it wasn't inappropriately filled with chemicals. It was purely mango, 2 blood oranges, 2 large handfuls of spinach and 3 large bananas. Breakfast had been a beautifully hydrating piel de caso melon that I lustfully eyed up and got on our midnight shopping trip last night.
I guess what I'm saying is yes, more calories. Definitely. But more goodness? Infinitely.
Go forth, drink green, move your body and be happy.
With love x
And if you want tips, guidance, ideas, inspiration then feel free to come along and join the Green Smoothie/Juice A Day facebook group. It's a group of lovely women - (so far no men - please feel free to be the first!), sharing their love for green juices and smoothies.
I'm using up fruit at the moment, food in general as am preparing for a water fast. Having toyed with a 21 day fast, 13-14 days and am really tempted towards both I've in the end decided to make life easy and go with a 3 day fast. I say easy. I love my food - it'll be an interesting 3 days to say the least. However I'm going for it and am looking forward to the experience. As to why? I've been drawn to the idea for a while and instead of just looking at it I've decided to jump in and give it a go. 3 days is a reasonable start then I'll cruise onto watermelons for a few days of light eating before adding in more weighty fruits and veggies. There are loads of benefits of fasting and I'd advise you get hold of one of a multitude of books/check out YouTube videos or websites which can give information and guidance. I wouldn't advise anyone fasted - it's got to be a decision you make for yourself - however I do feel that there can be some great health benefits from it. More about it all later.
What I really wanted to mention, and, once again I digress, was about bananas and their levels of ripeness. I made a video this morning to demonstrate how lovely inside a black banana can be and so will share it here:
Isla's also made one a while ago so I thought would share that too:
I like the idea that we can be responsible for our own health. Even if only a little bit. We can make choices – organic or standard, veggie or meat, to enquire further or to accept what we’re told. One of the issues with the conventional medical model is that some of that can appear to have been taken away from us. We’re part of a procession to be prodded, poked, cut and healed in someone else’s way. I’m not saying this is wrong, or to go against convention, but to take some power back too along the way.
There are choices we can make that can enhance our health. We can support ourselves with listening therapies, taking time out for a massage to complement our wellbeing, or even make simple food choices.
I’m here today to talk a bit about food. It’s something we’re all deeply involved in – and can be used to help our bodies help themselves. We can set up a situation where we’re able to assist in providing healthy conditions for healing to happen. I don’t believe that nutrition heals, chemotherapy heals or homeopathy heals. Our bodies heal themselves – and what we can do is help to provide the basis for them to do this from.
I decided to switch my diet earlier this year to a whole food, plant based, nearly 100% raw food diet – really as a bit of an experiment, but also with the knowing that if I had been given a serious diagnosis of illness this is the way that I would eat. I’m not going to suggest that everyone goes 100% raw – although it can be a great way to eat.
However there is increasing and strong evidence around animal based foods causing detriment to our health. My personal belief is that no one should be consuming milk (known to contain an incredibly potent cancer promoter), eggs (coming in about second behind milk), meat or fish if they’d like to improve their health in one quick and easy step.
Studies around animal based proteins have shown that consuming more than 10% of your diet from animal based proteins, the risks of cancer greatly increases. Reverting back to less than this, or ideally cutting it out altogether, has often helped with reducing tumours. Eating at less than 10% for research animals, usually showed no development of cancer growths, even with exposure to known carcinogens.
The adoption of a whole food, plant based diet has been shown in many instances to improve health, reduce risks or relapse and has knock on health benefits – such as reducing risks of heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes and certain autoimmune illnesses.
Whole food, plant based? It means no processed (or minimally processed) foods, and from plants. It might sound initially as if it will be restrictive, but realisitically you’re talking about enhancing the one thing that you really need. So even if there is a small sacrifice – and I know just how addictive cheese can be! – it’s potentially a big gain. And ultimately as you discover more you find out just how much choice there really is. My parents have adopted this way of eating and eat more varied meals with more choice than they ever have. Granted, eating out is slightly harder but learning to ask for what you want really helps along the journey.
It doesn’t have to be all raw. It doesn’t have to be raw at all – although I would suggest that you did incorporate more raw foods into your diet. To make gradual changes – depending on your state of health – and cut things out at a manageable rate. Mum, for example got rid of milk one month, cheese the next, overt butter the following one and covert milk products after that. Whilst you’re removing things, remember to add them in. The UK suggests we all eat our 5 a day. I like the Japanese suggestion better – the 17 a day campaign. Japan suggests people eat 13 portions of vegetables and 4 of fruit a day. I probably average around 17-20. So add in an extra fruit snack, more steamed vegetables with your dinner, a big salad at lunch and see how easy it can be to get towards 17 instead of our measly recommended 5 portions.
There’s some brilliant resources out there – it’s great to discover more around the why – I always think anyway. So if you’re a reader then The China Study is a brilliant place to start. If you cook then The China Study Cookbook is fantastic. Forks over Knives (the film, cookbook and book) is worth a mention, as are the books by the Gerson’s around cancer and their work with nutrition. The web is a fabulous resource to have at our finger tips – and I also give recipes, thoughts, tips and more on my blog and within the website under the nutrition tab. I also have a newsletter which you can sign up to and share information on my facebook business page as well as on twitter.
Feel free to get in touch to find out more. I love my work with Homeopathy, Food Intolerance testing and supporting clients to eat a more Whole Food, Plant Based diet and do offer free 15 minute consultations to discover a little more.
Back again, my juicing and smoothies workshop aimed at getting people started creating tasty smoothies and great juices with confidence is coming soon.
On the 7th September 2-4 we'll meet and discover more about how, what, when and also why? It's always really important for me to know why I would choose to do something and eating this way has been no different. I want to do the research, make my mind up and then carry on doing more research. I guess that's just the way I am. I love to share what I've learnt along the journey and it's a practical, hands-on session where everyone gets to have a go at creating delicious drinks.
Juicing and smoothies can be a great complement to homeopathy, or I suppose, visa versa. Both are working at enabling your body to heal itself and can work well together. It is my belief that great healing happens from the inside, and simplifying your diet to assist your body is a brilliant start on the path to increased health and vitality.
£15pp including all fruit/veg to make and taste 4 great drinks, raw snacks and (time permitting) possibly we'll make an easy, tasty, delcious raw dessert.
If you'd like to know more just get in touch. At the moment there's just 3 places left...
The hardest bit about doing exercise (I think anyway) is getting dressed for it. Once I'm dressed, I'm off, pretty much committed and unlikely to do an about turn and change my mind.
The easiest way for me to get fit (and following injury, lots of fab trips and travel and a school summer holiday - I'm going to have to follow my own advice any moment...) is to do a little bit at a time, build up gradually and before I know it I'm comfortably running 5k and thinking nothing of it. Swimming the same - a few half mile swims and before long I'm able to easily swim a mile. A little at a time.
So I figure there's no difference with foods if you'd like it to be this way. I pretty much dived into a veggie diet from a point of nearly veggie-ness anyway, then vegan 2 months later and then raw vegan 3 months after that but to stealthily have the changes happen would be great too. To introduce an extra fruit meal a day a few days a week - for example a big bowl of fruit for breakfast (my favourite competing breakfast is 6 bananas and 10 dates (the dates blended into toffee) which keeps me smiling for hours), a fruit smoothie or a big juice. Adding in a huge salad with your evening meal can be another baby step - or simply just adding an extra portion of fruit a day can be a big step for some people.
Steady, baby steps are a great way to get to a brilliant place. If you do want to move faster you can always up the pace, grab some of the recommended books, have a chat with someone who's on the same journey or find relevant YouTube videos which can be wonderfully motivational.
Slow and steady can win the race in the end too.
Happy fruit days x
Go! But how? With what? If you're not eating milk, cheese, eggs, meat, fish, and maybe even looking at eliminating oils, salt and gluten - then what's really left?!?
It was great to get so many comments and remarks following my last blog, and consistently the how? what? when? questions seem to be the most common. I find it pretty easy now sorting out my diet but it's still evolving, not perfect and, well I'm not sure the journey would be all that great if it was always perfect all the time.
My own transition was pretty gradual from full time veggie last September (from reluctant and occasional meat eater) to badly done vegan in November (so many excuses) to high carb, low fat raw vegan in February. In the last few months, I've spent time in France, Germany and Italy as well as going camping several times and I've managed to maintain eating that way (with some slight fluctuations but always eating a vegan diet).
To use a metaphor I thought that adopting a raw diet was like going through a door into another room and what I found was that I went through the door and into a hotel - I could go through loads of other rooms and choose lots of different styles. To get back to food though two of the main options were high protein/fat or high carb/low fat. I feel that moving onto a vegan diet is very similar. There's loads of options, choices and routes to take and how to know you're choosing the right one? Is there a right one? To a high degree I believe we do all need to find the right thing for ourselves, however for optimal nutrition and physical health high carb/low fat makes most sense to me.
I read Doug Graham's The 80-10-10 Diet which I would recommend to everyone regardless of whether raw food was a consideration or not. Doug recommends raw foods but the ratios that he discusses (80%+ of calories coming from carbohydrates and a maximum of 10% coming from proteins and fats) fit in line with several other things I've read. In particular this co-incides with the ratios that come through as beneficial for health in The China Study book and can be adopted for cooked foods as well as used for raw foods.
My most frequently asked questions -
What do you eat?
Fruits and vegetables with a small amount of nuts and seeds. However if I was adopting a cooked vegan diet following a similar ratio (which Dr Doug Graham (along with many athletes) believes as optimal for physical performance) I would include whole grains such as quinoa, oats, amaranth, wild and brown rice, polenta, barley as well as beans, legumes and non-dairy milks too.
But where do you get your protein from?
My fruits and vegetables, and a small amount of nuts and seeds. I feel it could be important to share here that the protein required by the body to replace excreted proteins (relative to total calorie intake) is 5-6%. The RDA is set at 9-10%, allowing for individual variation. The majority of people way exceed this level. My mum made up a fruit salad the other day which contained mango, blueberries, grapes, pineapple and bananas and this contained 4.3% protein and 3% fat. There is more protein out there than you think. And - where does the meat you've been eating til now get it's protein from? If it was lucky then grass, if not then largely plant based foods.
What books would you recommend to read to start with?
The China Study T.Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell
The 80-10-10 Diet Dr Doug Graham
Forks over Knives Gene Stone
And for cooking from?
You'll have to bear with me a teeny bit as I've been not cooking my foods since February but have had a keen interest for helping others on this route so my favourites so far are:
The China Study Cookbook
Forks over Knives The Cookbook
Both of these fit with the low fat approach, unlike many vegan recipes which can be very high in fat with added oils and nuts.
And the man I can credit with the start of my journey last year - I would love everyone to read Scott Jurek's Eat and Run. Scott discovered he recovered better, was all round healthier and was able to train harder on a vegan diet. He did experiment with raw foods and in the end went back to cooked vegan. It's a great read for inspiration as well as recipes and ideas. His granola is the best I've had too!
How am I best to get started?
I always try to plan my menus ahead of time - so I can shop for the week instead of keeping running into the market. Personally I have a big fruit breakfast (my current favourite is a watermelon), a bowl of fruit or green smoothie for lunch, and for dinner often have a fruit starter then a load of veggies (in maybe a raw pasta dish/salad wraps/huge salad with a yummy fruit based dressing). The books I've listed have lots of ideas for non-raw meals though and it's worth a look through then plan for the week.
How quickly should I make the change?
It's really up to you. We can change overnight should we desire to and the hardest part is often in our heads. Change can be immediate. However it doesn't have to be. It can be a gradual journey like, for example the one I undertook, or really whatever speed suits you. Once you're aware of unhealthy practices and unhelpful eating habits it may be harder to hang onto them than you think.
Will I be getting enough nutrients/calories?
One of the biggest mistakes people can make when adopting a raw food/vegan diet is not eating enough. When you're too busy on concentrating on what you're not to have it's easy not to eat enough. Tools such as CRON-O-Meter can be great at checking on this (as well as intriguing to see just how much protein or fat is in foods where you'd never expect it). Not getting enough calories will make it harder to maintain this lifestyle. It really isn't one of denial and if you're not eating abundantly and enjoying it then it's going to be hard work.
Would you like more help?
I've more blogs planned around getting started, as well as the whys of plant based eating, I've a 5 day fully raw plan to share soon and lots more. However if you'd like more information or help right now then just get in touch - I'm more than happy to help with wherever I can guide you on your journey.
Bananas are probably my favourite base fruit for a smoothie for several reasons - they're readily available, reasonably priced, tasty, a great source of energy (and more calorie dense than more watery fruits so you don't have to eat quite as much to get your get up and go).
Generally I mix them with other fruits - a cup of berries, a mango, a pair of pears or couple of oranges and then the greens.
Banana and romaine lettuce is good! I tend to use 4-5 bananas depending on size/how hungry I am/how active I've been/about to be and a head of romaine lettuce but iceberg is great too - as is spinach. Once you're used to adding greens then kale is a great source of nutrients to add to your smoothie.
It's as simple as 1,2,3 (and 4 and 5)
1 Peel 4-5 bananas, add to blender
2 Add other fruits if desired
3 Add 1/2 pint+ of water and blend
4 Add greens (I tend to go with two generous handfuls)
5 Blend again until smooth
Green smoothies are simply awesome IMHO. However for those people who dislike bananas you do tend to find that most of them use it or at least often find so. So I thought it was time to share some banana free smoothies for people wanting to get started.
Smoothies are often mentioned as a weight loss tool and whilst I agree to some extent the can be used to this end, it isn't what I would consider their main potential by any means. I feel they can be a great weight regulator. They provide a brilliant way of getting vitamins and minerals into the body without having to sit and chomp through a lb of spinach, a pineapple, 3 bananas. I think they're as valuable for anyone whether they be under or over weight, or at their ideal place to be. And whilst we're on the weight thing - I think partly because you're satisfied with genuinely good food you're less likely to snack on 'bad' stuff. Winning all round really.
Without further ado - a couple of smoothies I've loved for all the banana less than lovers out there:
2 cups pineapple, (about half a medium pineapple) cubed
2 mangoes peeled and pitted
4 cups baby leaf spinach
1 cup water
Put everything in the blender except for the spinach and blend until mostly blended, then add the baby leaf spinach and blend until smooth.
4 cups baby leaf/spinach
3/4 to 1 cup water
Blend the peaches and mango with the water til nearly smooth then add the spinach and blend until smooth.
1 apple, cored
2 cups pineapple
2 cups kale or spinach
3/4 to a cup of water
Blend the apple, pineapple and water until nearly smooth - add the kale or the spinach (newbies I'd advise to start off with spinach and move onto kale once you're more used to green smoothies) and blend.
1 cup strawberries
2 cups spinach
1 cup water
As before, blend everything except for the spinach until nearly smooth then add in the spinach and blend until deliciously smooth and yummy!
Enjoy! My last tip - unlike juicing there's so little to wash up but I do always try to wash the blender first then I can really relax and enjoy my smoothie with nothing (haha) left to do!!
I'm a Homeopath working in the Skipton (North Yorkshire) area. I am also able to offer food intolerance testing using Kinesiology and advice around diet and lifestyle.