27 October, 2014

Experiments in ... Health: The Journey Continues

how listening to my body has lead me down a rabbit hole of new insights and information and revelations that are changing my Life for the better

So much has been happening in my Life since I last wrote about my transition From Foodie to Fruity.  I am extremely overdue on a follow up post, but here it is, better late than never.  At my last writing on this topic I had intended to forge an experiment of one month of eating fully raw 80/10/10 style.  Well, I didn't do that.  I actually made a conscious decision not to do that.  What I decided, and still hold to, is that the Raw Til 4 lifestyle seems to work best for me right now.  Raw Til 4 is a subset, if you will, of the 80/10/10 low fat high carb vegan food movement.  Following this lifestyle's principles, the earlier part of the day is the time to consume raw foods - primarily sweet fruits.  After 4p, cooked foods are allowed as long as they are low fat, high carb vegan foods.

It has been interesting to continue to learn more about this lifestyle, and, specifically, to discover where I mistake the identities of certain foods along the way.  

For example, when I was first transitioning to this diet, I was focusing on the ideas of vegan and high carbohydrate, and making sure I was getting enough calories.  (This is a diet of abundance, rather than restriction, where calories are concerned.)  I was trying to figure out how to get enough fruit into my body at regular intervals in ways that were conducive to my lifestyle.  I was not, it turns out very aware of how much fat I was consuming.  I was making the rookie mistake of assuming that eating vegan was going to mean I was eating low fat by default.  Silly melanie!  I could very often be found gorging on whole bags of taro chips or plantain chips, not realizing that these were foods full of salt and fat!  And, when I actually think about it, of course chips are full of fat and salt!  Obviously!  But I just didn't consider what I was eating as closely as I should have been.  And that brings us to Lesson #1:  Pay attention to the food that goes into the body!!  Actually consider what is being put into the body, and how it is likely to affect the body in the short and long terms.  This has been - and continues to be - an important lesson for me.  And, the really amazing thing is, that the more I consider my food intake, and tailor it to fuel my body rather than weigh it down, the more carbohydrates I feed my body.  And the more carbohydrates I feed my body, the more glucose I feed my cells.  And the more glucose I feed my cells, the more clarity of thought I have to actually consider my food.  It's a beautiful biofeedback loop!  Likewise, the opposite can happen on days when I over-consume fats:  I will have a harder time making smart conscious decisions on those days because the excess fats make my brain fuzzier.  It's still a bit of a challenge at times.  I'm discovering that while I thought sugar had been my big downfall in the past, it was really, more accurately, the fats that were the problem.  The large amounts of fat in my diet inhibited my body's ability to utilize any sugars I was eating, and, therefore, I would crave more sugary foods.  Now that I am working to keep fats under 10% of my total daily calorie intake (and on good days trying to keep it closer to the 5% mark), I don't have cravings for anything, really.  I am generally always satisfied and fueled for where the day will take me.  Oh happy day!

Here's how you, too, can be fruity if you want to.

Here are some really easy ways of incorporating more low fat high carb vegan foods into your diet.

1. Have a smoothie for breakfast.  Make it with RIPE bananas and whatever other fruit you like.  Add some water and blend and voila!  Instant fruity deliciousness in a glass!  Not to mention, a cornucopia of nutrients and glucose to fuel your body for the day's tasks.

2. Have a smoothie for lunch, too!  This is what I do, because it's convenient for me.  Plus, again, it's nutritious delicious fuel for my body.

3. Instead of a smoothie for lunch, have a mono-meal of sweet fruit.  Choose something like bananas, dates, mangoes, etc.  The sweeter, the better.  And make sure your fruit is ripe!  Unripened fruit is difficult for the body to digest and can cause some uncomfortable digestive responses.  By making a mono-meal of one particular type of fruit, you give your body the opportunity to get lots of good nutrition and energy (glucose!) with the minimum of effort expended on digestive processes.

4. For dinner, make yourself a gigantic salad of mixed greens and whatever other vegetables sound good to you.  If you're just trying to get a taste of this lifestyle (pun intended), you can use whatever salad dressing you have on hand, but in a very small quantity.  Even better is to make your own dressing with no oil, such as dijon mustard blended with coconut aminos or tahini.  And best is to make a dressing of blended fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes and citrus fruits.

5. Also for dinner, after your gigantic salad, make a quick and easy stew or soup by cooking the vegetables of your choice in vegetable or mushroom broth (preferably low sodium).  Pile those veggies on top of some rice or polenta or starch of your choice.  Then top with some tomato sauce.  (I like to blend organic tomatoes with bell peppers and dates for a delicious sauce.)  Delish!

6. HYDRATE!  Drink at least 4 liters of water a day - intermittently throughout the day.  You should have to pee all the time.  And your urine should be clear most or all of the time to indicate proper hydration.

7. SLEEP!  Very few of us get enough sleep.  Very few of us know what enough sleep is.  If we take our cues from Nature, we would be getting roughly as many hours of sleep as there are hours of darkness.  That means more sleep during the winter months and less in the summer.  But it's usually more sleep than most of us are used to getting, regardless of the season.  If you are unable to allow yourself to get that much sleep, then I would encourage you to at least start lowering the lighting in your home as the sun starts setting and at trying to let your body start relaxing by doing easy activities like reading or bathing.  Also limiting your time in front of your screens (TV, computers, phones) as it gets darker can make a huge difference in the quality of your sleep, even if you're skimping on quantity.

8. Get adequate sunlight exposure.  I know it's more difficult to do this as the thermometer plunges, but you can still strive to get sun on your face and in your eyes and even on your body through your windows in your warm home whenever you can.  Ideally, you'll get a minimum of 30 minutes of sun exposure daily.  And I mean sun exposure without sunscreen.  What's the point of basking in the sun if you're slathering on a chemical barrier to keep it out of your skin?  Whether you choose to use sunscreen is up to you, but if you do, still strive to get some unscreened sun daily.

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