Eating for Health, Plant-based eating

Loving My Plants


I’ve been plant-based (attempt # ?) since Jan. 4, 2017.

Can you see the smile on my face?

I’m proud of myself because I’ve been trying, since Jan. 2010, to be fully plant-based.

I think this time, I’m more aware of the injustices happening to animals. I don’t want to contribute to animal cruelty.

Wish me well on my continued journey; and I wish you well on whatever journey you may be traveling.

Alison 🙂

Eating for Health, Mental Strength

How to Beat Cravings in 5 Easy Steps


I’ve been in a slump for the past couple of days, eating off track and not feeling great, mentally or physically.

Today, I typed in “struggling with eating healthy” on Google and found a nifty trick to help those of us who get cravings for the not-so-healthy stuff.

Psychologist, Katie Rickel, has a short video about the 5 Steps to help us deal with cravings. Check them out below if you prefer to see them in print, at a glance. Click here, if you prefer to go straight to her video. She calls them “The 5 D’s”.

5 Steps to Manage Cravings

1. DISTRACT: find something to distract you from the craving. Read, call a friend, do a crossword puzzle, clean up the house, tidy a drawer or your work area, or get online for some inspiration.

2. DELAY: Promise yourself you won’t give in to that craving for at least ten minutes (or pick a different amount of time). This gives you a chance for the craving to subside. If you give in after the delay, so be it, but at least you gave it a real shot! This step may work for you another time.

3. DISTANCE: Get away from wherever you are that is causing the craving. Go for a walk, go outside, go for a drive…just get away from the source of the craving.

4. DETERMINE: Take a second to think about why you are having that craving. What are you really seeking? Is it food you really need? Maybe you’re thirsty. Perhaps you are having an emotion-anger, sadness, loneliness, etc.-something that is telling you that comfort food will solve your problem.

5. DECIDE: Make a decision about whether you are willing to accept the consequences of eating that food-feeling guilty, feeling sick, delaying health or weight loss etc. Then decide. You are giving in, or you’re not. Don’t spend an hour debating it. Either give in, or get out!

These 5 steps sound interesting. I will give that a try next time. Good luck with your cravings…and beating them!

Wishing you a healthy joruney.

Eating for Health, Mental Strength

Ammunition for the Food Battle


How can food have such a hold on us, even when we feel determined to achieve our goals?

There are so many times when I feel terrific and don’t plan to eat any unhealthy food. Then suddenly…WHAM!

pizza

Image from Cliparts.co

I’m down for the count. I’ve lost the food battle, again!

We might not be able to win every battle, but is there a way to prepare for these struggles with food? It helps if you know what you are up against. Then we might have a fighting chance.

Food is Comfort So much of the unhealthy food out there gives us comfort: pizza, chicken wings, potato with butter and sour cream, creamy pastas, popcorn with butter. It makes us feel good!

How to Fight Back? Ask yourself: do you want to rely on food to make you happy? Or, are there other things in life to focus on that give you joy (hobby you love, spending time with friends/family, pursuing goals and dreams)?

Food is Celebration All cultures seem to have food as a focal point of celebrations. Whether it’s cake at a birthday party, a buffet dinner at a wedding or drinks and dinner out to celebrate a promotion, we eat when we celebrate.

How to Fight Back? This one is tricky. I say enjoy the food at celebrations and try to focus on eating healthy at home. Indulge when you are celebrating, but remember to indulge with limits. You don’t have to have three cupcakes…have one.

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Image from Clipartlord.com

Food is Addictive Many of the foods we grew up with, and find tasty, are the ones that have addictive qualities. Processed foods that include high levels of fat, salt and/or sugar are some of the culprits we find hard to put down, or that we crave. Foods like potato chips, salted nuts, cookies etc. Even foods like cheese and meat have addictive qualities.

How to Fight Back? if you give up a certain food, you may be able to beat your addiction to that food. If you binge on cookies, maybe cookies should be off limits, period…no weaning off period. Of course, this is easier said than done. But, it is possible.

Food is Social Even when we feel determined to eat well, and have had success for a period of time, it’s difficult to eat healthy foods when we’re in a social situation where everyone else is eating chicken wings and pizza.

How to Fight Back? Eat a healthy portion of food BEFORE you head out to your event. You may not totally stick to the healthy approach, but at least you will have less room in your stomach for the bad stuff. If you are caught off guard and cannot plan, then have a healthy salad first, and then indulge.

Food is Everywhere Even aside from social settings, food that we know is not nutritionally abundant is all around us: grocery stores, advertisements on television or radio or in magazines, recipe postings on social media, billboards as we’re driving, restaurant signs etc. It’s difficult to turn away from all that!

How to Fight Back? Try to look at all the images and words around you as annoying advertisements. Healthy food doesn’t need big billboards. An apple is healthy: you know it, and I know it. Try to look at all the other stuff as an annoying advertisement, calling desperately for you to eat it. It’s desperate because it has little to offer that is good.

Restaurant Outings Even if we eat well at home, it can be very tempting to eat the less healthy choices when we dine out. It is possible, but it means examining the menu and asking your waiter for dishes with substitutions or asking for special requests. Sometimes we don’t want to draw attention to ourselves. Sometimes, we just aren’t sure how to get a healthy meal at a restaurant without ordering a boring salad with no dressing.

How to Fight Back? Look at a menu and see if you can come up with something that will be tasty, but also healthy. You can ask for a pasta in tomato sauce (most restaurants can cover that one), or you can have a salad with dressing on the side. Enjoy the dressing, but in small amounts.You control how much you consume. If you enjoy potato or rice, try to get that with some vegetables. Instead of focusing on your food for your entertainment, focus on the company.

Food as a Treat When we’ve eaten well for a period of time we deem successful (a morning, day, a week, a month) we feel proud of our efforts and reward ourselves with food. We justify eating unhealthy food when we feel we deserve it as a treat or reward.Unfortunately, this can put us right back where were started and keep us on the diet cycle.

How to Fight Back? Choose something other than food as your reward, such as time to yourself to read, get a manicure or have a nice hot bath. Maybe a walk in the park can be a reward or a new piece of clothing.

Need more ammunition?

Educate youself about food. Learn what companies do to make it addictive. Find out more about what’s in your food and about different ways of eating.

Connect with others who also battle with food. Support each other. Learn from one another. You can connect with people you know as well as online, with people you don’t yet know.

Ultimately, we can’t let food win.Stay on guard and keep fighting!

Wishing you a healthy journey.

28 Day Raw Food Cleanse, Eating for Health, Weight-loss Record

My 28-Day Raw Food Cleanse


One of my goals for 2015 is to complete a 28-Day Cleanse for the first twenty-eight days of January.

Regardless of our approach to healthy eating, in general, I think that most of us will agree on the following:

1. Each meal we eat either contributes to our health or takes away from our health. You don’t have to be a nutritionist or dietician to know that a salad with leafy greens and a homemade low-fat dressing is more nourishing to your body than pizza.

2. Those of us seeking health know what to do. We really do! We may not know exactly how to do it, but we recognize the food that is good for us: vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and nuts/seeds. Some of us might also include meat, dairy and eggs in that healthy category; I do not.

3. We all recognize that cookies, donuts, cakes, chips, fried food, junk food and fast food—basically, all processed food—is NOT nourishing for our bodies.

I am taking on this 28-Day Cleanse to kick start my way to a healthy new me, in 2015.

I turn 50 this year, so I am paying attention to my health BEFORE it deteriorates into old age.

Which Cleanse is the Best?

There are tons of different types of cleanses out there, and I’m not an expert, but I have learned a lot about how the body is capable of healing itself and becoming healthy when given the right nutrition. I have learned this from reading, from the testimonials of others and from some limited personal experience.

In the past I have done the following types of brief cleanses:

  1. Fresh juice and smoothie cleanse for 4 days.
  2. Water fast for 1.5 days, and then later in the year, for 4 days.
  3. Raw food only (from veggies and fruit) for a couple of weeks-with 80% success

I have never committed to a cleanse that lasts 28 days! But I am doing it. Seems like a long time…but at the same time, it is brief compared to the benefits I expect to achieve.

Speaking of benefits, what is wrong with me that I feel the need to cleanse?

Here is my list of things that bother me:

  1. I have made many attempts to eat healthy over the years, and one way or another, I have not been consistent. A cleanse will help me to get rid of all the crap in my body that leads me to want chips and other unhealthy food. Out with the bad, and in with the good. My taste buds will adjust to the good food that does not have the addictive fat, salt and sugar. A cleanse will give my body a kick-start to continue to eat healthy.
  2. I am overweight by about 30-40 lbs. My clothes are too tight. I feel uncomfortable in my own skin. A cleanse will help me to get rid of extra pounds quickly, which will not only make me feel better, it will give me motivation to continue to eat healthy after the cleanse. I expect to lose anywhere between 15 and 30 lbs. I am hoping for a 20 pound loss.
  3. I am not fit. I feel lazy because it’s easier than getting off my butt to do something. My second goal for 2015 is to move every day. Combined with the cleanse I expect to feel a great increase in my energy levels. I will move toward fitness.
  4. My hair has thinned out over the years. I still have lots of hair, and I don’t suffer from a great loss, but I notice that over the last few years I have more and more hair being left in the shower. My hair is not as thick as it used to be. I am hoping a healthier me will lead to thicker hair.
  5. I take thyroid medication every day. In the past I have had my dose reduced after a period of eating only raw plant foods; a cleanse will help me to eat in a healthy manner more consistently. This may lead to my dose being reduced even more. My ideal result, over time, would be to go off the thyroid meds altogether. This would mean that my thyroid had healed. That would be…wow!
  6. My skin is dry in the winter. Sure, I live in a dry and cold climate when winter shows up, but I believe that my skin will be less dry if my body gets the nutrition I really need. A cleanse won’t likely make that happen on its own, but it will help me to continue to eat healthy and possibly give me the chance to have soft skin, naturally.
  7. The biggest warning of all, is possibly my joints. In the past, I have never had any issues. I noticed after not eating well over the holidays that my ankle and knee joints are sore. My mother has major joint issues. Yikes! I want to halt the deterioration of my joints in its tracks!
  8. My skin gets a bit blotchy and has occasional pimples when I do not eat well. I expect my skin will clear up and look healthier.
  9. I am easily stressed when I am fully into work. I am off for a few more days until I get back teaching. When working, I find it difficult to handle the stresses of life. When I eat poorly I am more irritable and impatient. I expect to feel a greater sense of calm during the cleanse. Such a result will help me see the benefits of sticking with healthy eating.
  10. I would like to feel happy with who I am as a person. I have felt sluggish and down on myself lately, and I know this has a lot to do with the fact that I am not living the life that I want. I want to be a healthy active person. This cleanse will help me kick-start a healthier lifestyle.

Ok, so now you know why I am doing the cleanse. Next…what are my rules?

How I will Complete my 28-Day Raw Food Cleanse

It’s pretty simple, actually.

I will eat as much of the allowed food as I want. My allowed foods are:

1. All the vegetables I am willing to eat raw. Although I’ve heard of people who do eat potatoes and squash raw, I will have to say goodbye to them for a while. I will rarely use salt on my veggies, but I will allow some on tomatoes and cucumbers.

2. All fruit. However, as much as I love avocados, they are very high in fat. Even though the fat is a good fat, I have enough fat on my body to carry me through whatever hardships I may encounter for the 28 days, so I will have few avocados.

3. Smoothies: made with only raw fruits and vegetables and water. This will include frozen fruit or vegetables. No added juices or plant milks. No added oils or seeds.

4. Fresh juice: all juices that I can make from juicing raw fruits and veggies at home.

5. Herbal teas: Any teas that contain only leaves, and no added processed ingredients.

6. Water: I will aim to drink about 2-3 litres a day. Water helps the body to flush out toxins.

7. Soda water: Low sodium soda water is a nice treat with some lemon juice or with a dash of another fresh juice. Occasionally, I may put a tablespoon of a store-bought pomegranate juice with the soda.

That’s it!

What is Out, and NOT Allowed? No grains, legumes, nuts or seeds. I love these foods but will leave them out until after the cleanse. No alcohol…that means no red wine at the end of a work day. For me, I will avoid any animal-based foods (no meat, dairy or eggs). I gave up coffee in January of 2014, so that won’t be an issue for me, either. Coffee is out.

I am excited and nervous about this cleanse. It is a really big commitment, and a tiny part of me is fearful I will not last the 28 days.

But right now, I am only listening to this voice: “You’ve got this, girl!”

Wishing you a healthy journey,

Alison

Book and Video Reviews, Eating for Health

Digestion-the key to health


I recently read a book written by a naturopathic doctor based out of North Vancouver, BC.

In his book, he clearly explains how our digestive system works, but most importantly, he shows how the food we eat affects our digestive organs and overall system.

If you have any illness or health issues, or you sincerely want to avoid getting sick, you should check out his book, Eating Alive, by Dr. Matsen.

Very informative and enlightening. He uses funny cartoons throughout the book too.

 

Eating for Health, Mental Strength

Break the Food Addiction


I feel great!

Starting at the beginning of this month, I decided to refocus my efforts toward eating the way I really want to eat: whole foods that are plant-based that are also raw and low in fat.

I was very successful to start, and then enjoyed a weekend away and indulged. But here is the thing. I was super irritable for the 2-3 days that followed. I was low in energy and honestly, almost felt a bit depressed.

I am a big fan of The Biggest Loser and watched a recent episode. It gave me the kickstart to get out of that funk. The next day, I got back on track.

For the last seven days, I have stuck to my commitment 100%. For the last seven days, I have used my treadmill once or twice in a day.

How I feel:

Wow! Energized. Pumped to run on the treadmill as soon as I get home-I even look forward to it. My whole body feels lighter and I feel happier.

Why the success? Here is my theory.

With all the junk in food (mainly fat, sugar and salt), we truly get addicted to the food consumed in everyday society. We crave it. No wonder it is so difficult to stop eating it.

So, I realize that when I go on a food “bender”, I still want that food when I’m done, when I decide it’s time to get back on track! But I can’t do it because it is very difficult. I want more chips and more cheese! I don’t want to eat it, so I struggle mentally and feel stressed out!

Not worth it!

Even though I feel great, and at day seven of continuously eating beautiful plants that are raw…at some point soon, I’ll be faced with a food I have loved always: chips…or…cheese.

 chips              cheese2

What will I do? The saying, “A moment on the lips…a liftime on the hips.” is starting to sink in.

If I eat those things, I’ll have seconds or minutes of pleasure through my taste buds, but then, what will follow is not appealing at all! Sluggish feeling, being irritable etc. I will feel like crap.

Although there are people out there who eat the way I am eating, and have done so for years, it is difficult for me, at this early stage, to see me eating this way for years and years without breaking down in some social situation and eating crap.

Why is it so hard for me to picture myself eating well for many years? Because I have not been successful, long-term, EVER before!

I feel like I am beating the food addiction that has trapped so many of us in a terrible diet cycle. My commitment feels more solid now, since I understand that I can’t look at weekends as “cheese time” if I want to adopt a healthy lifestyle, long term.

I think I’m getting closer to the true me that I want to be. Yippee!

yippee2

Cartoon design by Ché from indieberries.com

Eating for Health

Veggie Fit for the Week


Since Jan. 2, I’ve been juicing every morning.

Let me tell you…there is nothing that tastes as good as fresh veggie/fruit juice. What a great way to start the day.

Today, I decided to get ready for the week by cleaning/chopping veggies instead of doing that in the morning.

Here’s what I prepared:

6 bunches celery, 12 cucumbers, 3 bags of carrots, 1 bunch of swiss card, 8 beets plus the greens, 3 green peppers, 4 red peppers, 4 apples, 3 oranges, 1 lemon, 1 grapefruit, 1 small bunch of broccoli and a few clumps of cauliflower. Check it out!

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