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!
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!!
Banana and Mango Sundae with Toffee Sauce
To make: (serves 2-3)
12 medjool dates, pitted
Add to blender with a little water and blend on low until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides of the blender a few times. You can vary how runny you want the toffee sauce to be depending on how much water you use. Add small quantities (of water) at a time until you reach desired consistency.
Banana ice cream:
6 bananas, chopped then frozen for at least 5-6 hours
Add to blender and blend until smooth.
Mango ice cream:
2 mangoes, chopped then frozen for 5-6 hours
Add to blender and blend until smooth.
Put a dessert-tablespoon measure of toffee sauce at the bottom of the serving glass/bowl and top with banana ice cream. Add the mango ice cream next and top this with a layer of toffee sauce. Lastly another layer of banana ice cream and to garnish use a swirl of your toffee sauce and fruit of choice for decoration.
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.
Em Colley MARH, Practitioner of Classical Homeopathy, BSc(Hons) Psychology and Neuroscience
Focussed Mindfulness Practitioner
Dip (SNHS) Kinesiology
Dip (SNHS) Holistic Nutrition
Certificate in Whole Food, Plant Based Nutrition