Sunday, October 24, 2010

Raw Food.........The Answer to World Peace???

‎"Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will live as one." —John Lennon

In reflecting over the last few years of my raw journey I have had several remarkable things happen to me - my battle with insomnia ended, I have unbelievable energy, and my overall health has increased several fold.  I also had some thing happen to me that was very unexpected. In short, I became a nicer person. 

Now, I know what you're thinking - how in the heck can raw food make you a nicer person?  I too was baffled at my sudden urges to help my fellow man, take care of animals, and be a better steward to the planet.  The only rationale I could find for my new consciousness was that I was finally in touch with real lifeforce.  When you handle food with such care and appreciate it in its natural form you become increasingly aware of the cycle of life. I suddenly felt overwhelming gratitude to the farmers who tended the soil, the sun for energy giving life, the water to provide a catalyst for growth, and all those involved in the harvesting of the food I would consume.  These feeling of gratitude and appreciate started to spill over into anything and everything I was involved with.  When driving down the road I became full of thankfulness for everyone involved in planning and building the roads. If I happened to look at a tree, I could get completely lost in the wonder of a leaf.  Even when people disappointed me, were rude to me, or cut me off in traffic I was able to find compassion and empathy for whatever they may have been experiencing in their own lives. Even with the bad drivers, I would mindfully send "good vibes" in their direction so that they would get to their destination safety.  I would also hope for them to find time to relax and enjoy.  

WAS I STONED????  DID SOMEONE SLIP ME A MICKIE???  Nope, it was the raw food.  I was experiencing such strange phenomenons that I was prompted to look deeper into this issue and actually found a study of over 500 raw foodists.  After following these people for two years the investigators found some startling correlations between mental wellbeing and raw food.  Overwhelmingly, raw foodists had a greater sense of patience, optimism, joy, intuition, overall goodness and more (see study below).

Given this data, can you imagine what would happen if the whole world suddenly became raw vegan?  Would there be an end to war, starvation, hatred, bigotry, and discrimination????  Like John Lennon so poetically sang, Imagine............................... 

Raw Food Diet Study
An Investigation of Over 500 People Who Have Eaten a Raw Food Diet for Over 2 Years

In 2006 a raw food diet study was made by Lenka J. Zajic, who went on to obtain a Masters in Vegan and Live Food Nutrition, where she conducted an in-depth 500-participant survey of raw food eaters. The study showed that people who ate 80-90 percent raw foods showed significant improvements in immunity, digestion, allergies, weight, disease, energy, and mental and emotional well-being. "There seems to be no question that, at least initially, eating a raw food diet can reduce or cure many health complaints," Said Zajic.

#1 - Energy
Eating raw foods increases your energy. There are a few reasons for this; one is that your body doesn`t have to spend as much energy digesting your food. Raw foods contain enzymes, and these enzymes help your body break down food. Cardiovascular endurance improved for 67 percent of respondents. A dramatic increase in energy levels were reported since transitioning to raw foods, specifically 31 percent to 88 percent of the respondents who said they had "good" or "excellent" energy levels.

#2 - Cleansing
Elimination improved dramatically on a raw food diet. People who reported having two or more bowel movements per day increased from 25 percent to 78 percent. The number of respondents experiencing constipation decreased from 73 percent to 30 percent. Having a properly functioning digestive tract is vital to maintaining optimal health.

#3 - More Time
Preparing raw foods takes a lot less time, compared to cooked foods. Raw food eaters also reported needing less sleep. Those who reported needing over 8 hours of sleep per night dropped from 59 percent to 19 percent. Sleep quality also improved; those who reported no insomnia rose from 40 to 59 percent since transitioning to a raw food diet.

#4 - Weight
According to a raw food diet study that contained 864 self-reported two-year plus raw food eaters, 82.5 percent lost weight after switching to a raw food diet. 75 percent of those not already at their ideal weight said they were successful in reaching it after transitioning to a raw food diet.

#5 - Environment
Producing meat costs an incredible amount of energy and food. This food could be used to feed starving nations and let nature recuperate. Did you know that livestock produce more climate change gasses than all the vehicles in the world? It`s true; a report by the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization proves it. A meat-based diet also requires 7 times more land than a plant-based diet.

#6 - Mental Health
One of the most dramatic and encouraging areas of improvement occurred in mental, emotional and spiritual health. Overall, the majority of respondents (87.5 percent) reported an improved mental, emotional and/or spiritual state after the transition. The percentage of respondents that reported a "good" or "excellent" mental state after transitioning to raw foods rose in all categories surveyed including:

1. Optimism (43% to 91%)
2. Patience (29% to 84%)
3. Self-Sufficiency (54% to 88%)
4. Memory, Focus & Clarity (36% to 82%)
5. Creativity (48% to 82%)
6. Efficiency (53% to 82%)
7. Passion (53% to 88%)
8. Intuition (52% to 91%)
9. Dept of Meditation (28% to 68%)
10. Quietness of Mind (25% to 74%)
11. Contentment (30% to 80%)
12. Joy (31% to 79%)

This study was more subjective than objective, but that doesn`t mean that it can be dismissed. Clearly, the respondents got significant improvements in many areas, which show that an increased consumption of raw foods is beneficial.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sunshine, Beaches and Raw Food - the ultimate Trifecta!

I love my job when it takes me to places where there is sunshine, beaches and excellent raw food!  I was back in Jacksonville, FL today and had to pop into my fav raw restaurant Present Moment Cafe for a little breakfast this morning. 

The drive along the AIA was absolutely gorgeous.  The temps were just right and at the risk of destroying my 'do for the day, I rolled to Present Moment with the windows down and radio blaring.  This California girl is definitely beginning to appreciate the beauty of morning coming over the Atlantic.

I got to Present Moment and decided to continue soaking up some Vit D by sitting at the little table outside the cafe.  I always have a hard time deciding what to order.  This morning I opted for French Meadow Hemp Toast w/ “The Works” – cashew hummus, avocado, tomato, cucumber, onion & sprouts.  Yvette and her team really out-do themselves every time I'm in there.  The food just keeps getting better and better!

I added a fresh cold brewed mango tea and water with cucumber and lemon.  I was in HEAVEN!

I'm surprised I was able to make it back to work!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Kale Chips with a Kick!

Wow - October is off to a busy start!  Taught a RAW class on Friday night, have another on Wednesday night and another next Saturday!  My house has been deplete of "snack food" so yesterday I whipped up some Kale Chips with a Jalepeno Kick - these suckers are unbelievable!

3 bunches of Kale
1/2 cup of Olive Oil

1 Cup soaked cashews
1 Large Red or Orange Pepper
1/2 Cup Water
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
2 Lemons, juiced

1 Jalepeno (seeded)
1 Tbs Crushed Dried Chili
4 Cloves of fresh garlic
1 Tbs Onion Powder
1 Tbs Sea Salt

Soak cashews for 4 hours in salted water.  Clean and rinse Kale and tear into large chunks.  Douse with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.  Massage into Kale.  In the Vitamix, add cashews (drained), red/orange pepper, water, yeast, lemon juice, jalepeno, dried chili flakes, garlic, onion powder and salt.  Blend until smoother.  Pour over Kale and massage in.  Lay Kale leaves on dehydrator sheets and dehydrate at 115 until crisp.  THESE JOKERS ARE SPICY!!  If you don't want them super spicy omit either the jalepeno or chili.  Or you can cut the amount of those two ingredients in half.  ENJOY!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

They Liked It!!!

Yippee for me!  I won first place at our NC Raw Meetup's 2nd Annual Dessert Contest.  Everyone really deserved a prized - great variety of yummies.  About three desserts tastings in, I was totally stuffed!  Here's a pic of my dessert:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Luna's Living Kitchen - MUY BUENO!!

I had the absolute pleasure of trying Charlotte's newest (and only!) raw restaurant today - Luna's Living Kitchen.  To say that I was stoked on my experience is an understatement.  Luna's is in a great, trendy location nestled between Evolution Fitness and the Atherton Mill Farmer's Market.  The atmosphere is casual, tres cool, and comfy. 

Andy, one of Luna's fab culinary squad, recommended the Lunasagna which was artfully constructed with layers of zucchini, sundried tomato sauce, green cashew cheese, and topped with marinaded cucumber slices.  This was pared up with some fresh greens and clover sprouts. Crazy delicious!!!  The sundried tomato sauce was richly flavored with a slight sweetness which was great against the cashew cheese and the coolness of the zucchini.   I rounded my meal out with some Popeye Juice which is a blend of spinach, pineapple, papaya, and hemp protein.

As I was getting ready to leave, a customer at a neighboring table received her meal - the Sprouted Quinoa-Kalmut Veggie Burger.  I was going to ask her how it was but all I needed to see was her taking one bite.  Her eye went half closed, she slumped in her chair, and just nodded her head yes while she smiled and chewed.  No need to ask - that said it all...................................

If you are in Charlotte, definately cruise to 2120 South Blvd and check them out.