Archive for the ‘Alkaline Diet’ Category

Sweet and Sour Savory Cabbage

I can’t believe that this is my new favorite recipe.

I was lamenting the ooh-gobs and ooh-gobs of cabbage that had come in the CSA, when I happened upon my Body Ecology eRecipe Cookbook.

Page 23 out of 36: Sweet and Sour Savory Cabbage.

I figured it was that or culture it and for some reason the culturing – at least for the moment – holds no appeal.

I made this last week and I had several meals of just cabbage. Not nutritiously complete, granted, but it was literally all I wanted. I found myself at work day dreaming about cabbage – how wrong is that?!

Last week I used two heads of red, though this week I stuck with the recipe. Here it goes.

Sweet and Sour Savor Cabbage

Ingredients:

1 head of cabbage, julienne

1 head of red cabbage, julienne

1 large vidalia onion, julienne

1 Tbs salted butter (or grass fed ghee with a pinch of salt)

1/2 tsp (or more to taste) coriander

1/2 tsp (or more to taste) cardamon

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp white stevia powder (or between 8 and 10 drops liquid stevia)

Directions:

  1. Peel off outer leaves from cabbage, cut in half and remove – core and julienne in 1/4″ slices. Prepare the onion in the same way.
  2. Heat stock pit over medium heat. Sauté onion in butter until translucent and lightly caramelized. Add cabbage and mix well.
  3. Mix stevia with apple cider vinegar and dissolve thoroughly.
  4. Add stevia and apple cider vinegar to vegetables. Season with dry spices.
  5. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat. Stir frequently until cabbage is soft and fragrant.

The book says it’s a great dish to add to salads or as a side dish to a meal. I ate it hot. I ate it cold. I ate is as a side and as the meal. LOVE IT.  And I am assuming – hoping – that it’s really good for you!

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Nice Introduction to Living Raw

This article was forwarded to me by my sister who has also recently gone raw and is loving it! It’s a great introduction to the lifestyle and just plain commonsense for those that aren’t.

“The biggest problem with the average American diet is not just how much we eat, it’s the percentage of our diet that’s made up of cooked and over-processed foods. Find out how eating “live” can help you live healthier, happier and longer.” – Steven Lang

Thanks for the recommendation; keep them coming!

Year End and Looking Forward

I had a big year last year when it came to my body and, more importantly, to my relationship with it!

I lost that last ten stubborn pounds (some of which have come back as muscle).

I threw my scale away, which was both liberating and scary.

I bought my first pair of size fours in June (and I’m still wearing them)!

I joined an on-line support community for women who want to transform their relationship with their body and their ideas about food. There I learned to love yoga and began thinking seriously about the old adage: “You are what you eat.”

I went gluten-free and convinced my sister to do the same.

I am happy to say that since I stopped eating gluten almost 6 months ago, I was able to get off of two prescription medications that I had been taking for over a year! Note that one of those medications was prescribed to deal with the side effects of the other!

I’ve also had no sign of arthritis in my hands (which routinely reared its ugly head during the winter months).

I am also thrilled to report that my sister no longer has weekly migraines and a number of her digestive problems (which I won’t share with you, here, as they are not my own) have completely disappeared. Congratulations sis!

Although I was eating better and feeling better, I realized that I still had a lot of emotional issues around food that I had been carrying around since I was 16 and weighed a whopping 232.5 pounds.

In other words, I still had no sense of portion control and I still ate my emotions.

When I was bored, I ate. When I was nervous, I ate. When I was stressed, I ate. When I was angry – you guessed it.

And when I ate, I didn’t just eat until I was 80% full, which is what all of the nutritionists tell you. I usually ate until I was at least 120% full, which often turns into 140% full once your brain gets the message from your stomach that you should have stopped at least 15 minutes sooner!

About five weeks ago, I was at a conference where it turns out a number of participants were “raw.” That is, 80% of the food they eat has not been cooked (or heated above 105 degrees).

These women – and they were mostly women – were thin, gorgeous, and literally had this glow about them.

They were confident and charming.

They were totally comfortable in their skin, which was absolutely flawless, by the way.

And, more to the point, they were not obsessed with food. Whereas everyone else were checking their watches and grumbling about what time the presenter was going to let us go to lunch, these beautiful, thin, and centered women were fully present with the material.

They weren’t proselytizing either.

In fact, it wasn’t until the second day of the conference, when I offered the woman next to me something that I was eating, that she even mentioned that she was a raw foodist.

Really?!

Because I love food – all types of food – and I had recently gone gluten-free, I was fascinated and soon she and I would start talking about raw food whenever presenter broke – for lunch or whatever.

Compared to mine (which has improved dramatically over the years), her approach towards eating seemed so sane. So balanced.

And she definitely wasn’t someone who sounded all deprived. She wasn’t saying: I only get to eat raw food (poor pitiful me). She was more like: I only eat raw food (and I frickin’ love it)!

Well, in my search for gluten-free dessert recipes that I could make at Christmas to share with my family, I had actually come across a cookbook online: “28 Desserts You Can Eat Everyday.” It was a raw foods cookbook – again, meaning that most of the recipes used raw nuts, seeds, cacao, fruits, vegetables, natural sweeteners, spices, etc.

Although I didn’t buy it immediately, I did sign up for author’s weekly newsletter.

However, after meeting my new friend, who shall be known as M, the next time one of the cookbook lady’s emails showed up in my in box, I pushed the button.

As it turns out, raw desserts are delicious (and they are way easier and faster to make than cooked desserts). As yet another new raw friend pointed out: I don’t have to wait for them to heat up and I don’t have to wait for them to cool down – they’re perfect!

And then another coincidence occurred: my friend M (the one I met at the conference) just happened to also be going to Tulsa for the holidays! Small world since I live on the East Coast and we originally met in Los Angeles!

M and I (and her mother and my sister) went to the local raw food restaurant that I had blogged about earlier.

Well, as it turns out, M was just as cool as I remembered (as was her mother) and the food was better than I had ever imagined possible.

We had an absolutely fabulous meal and – even better – I didn’t feel at all sick or bloated like I sometimes do after eating out.

In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that I felt clean, vibrant, and alive!

When’s the last time you felt that way after eating pizza and a brownie with “fudge” sauce?

So, the holidays continued. Every day I made raw smoothies and experimented with raw desserts. Eventually, I even managed to recruit my poor sister onto the bandwagon. She now owns not one high speed blender – but two!

Since December 28th, I have been 70-75% raw.

Starting December 29, I went what some refer to as “high raw” – or raw until dinner.

Yesterday I had my first 100% raw day.

I have also signed up on yet another virtual on-line community (Raw Food Rehab) – this one dedicated to helping people get more raw foods into their lifestyle. I even went so far as to apply to join their 11 week initiative. Here, you get additional support (should you need it) to stay at least 80% raw for 11 weeks.

If you’re interested at all in raw food, this website has an insane number of raw food recipes and forums to get you started and to keep you going.

That’s actually where I’ve been the last few days instead of posting here!

So, if you’re still reading this, you might be thinking: but why? Why would you want to cut most – if not all – cooked food out of your diet? Why would you willingly give up pancakes and eggs for breakfast (or even oatmeal and maple syrup) in exchange for a green smoothie?

The whys are complicated, but I’ll try to give it my best shot.

It’s fun.

It’s easy.

It’s delicious.

Raw is naturally gluten-free, so I don’t have to worry about eating something inadvertently that’s going to make me sick.

Raw is also naturally alkaline, something that I’ve been trying to attain for almost three years.

And, more importantly, it’s broken all of my pre-existing addictions to food.

I eat when I want to eat and I stop eating when I’m 80% full.

My emotions are not tied up with raw food the way they are with cooked food.

The only way I can think to say it is that I am finally eating for nutrition instead of comfort.

My calorie intake is so much lower (even though my nutrient intake is about the same [or even higher!]) – trust me, I keep track of everything using LoseIt – that I’m no longer going to have to spend three hours a day doing cardio just to maintain my current weight.

But, all that aside (and I am sure there are others) I think Michael J summed it up best: You’re so much lighter and joyous in the kitchen and around food than you used to be! It’s been a real pleasure to just be around and watch you play.

So, that’s where I am. And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. I’ll be sure to keep you posted and share all of my new, fun, and easy recipes!

I hope you have a wonderful new year! I certainly intend to!

Happy New Year! Live from the Raw Food Rehab Online Community

It had been my intention to write a big year end blog and something motivating and meaningful about looking forward, but, to tell you the truth, I have spent almost the entire day over at some other woman’s site! Another Tulsan, mind you, but that’s beside the point.

If you’ve been following me at all these last few weeks, you’ll have noticed a new tag popping up on my entries: raw food.

After having recently gone gluten-free, my diet has taken yet another left turn. I think the correct term is “high raw,” which means raw until dinner. All that means is that I’m too big of a chicken to give up cooked food all together. I think that this topic deserves some thought, so hopefully I will be back online tomorrow with something meaningful and motivating.

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in what’s going on in Oklahoma (other than the two amazing raw food restaurants that I mentioned in my last post), go check out Penni Shelton’s blog. And if you’re interested in all things raw, you should check out her ning site: Raw Food Rehab. Or better yet, check out the video. Though be forewarned, it starts in the middle.

Or for the lower resolution clip in its entirely, see below:

I’ll have more to say on my own reasons for joining this year’s 11 week initiative next time!

May you all have a healthy and happy New Year!

The best laid plans of mice and men

Well, my intentions were good.

I’m writing this, really, as penance and to simply put it out there that I have off days (weeks) just like everyone else!

I missed exercise for two days. The first day was just insanely busy and then yesterday I stupidly let myself be talked into going to conferences and meeting people. You know what? I would have been much happier working out and I am pretty darned sure that my eating would have been better as well!

I suppose that when one is at a professional conference, you should take the opportunity for professional development and for social and professional networking. And it is true that I made a lot of contacts with publishers and got some great ideas for future projects while I was not at the gym. In that sense, I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. But not going to the gym seemed to invite over eating (and, in some cases, over drinking).

Prior to this conference, I hadn’t had more than two glasses of wine in a month, but it seems like I’ve developed a three glass minimum these days ;( Alcohol is a slippery slope when it comes to diet. Why?

One, alcohol is full of empty calories!

Two, alcohol lowers your inhibitions when it comes to food!

Three, alcohol lowers your blood sugar, which causes you to store fat (always a plus – not)!

Four, alcohol is highly acidic and once you start creating an acidic environ in your body, your body craves additional acid! In other words, you crave things like white bread, sugar, alcohol, etc. Essentially, once you get started, it’s hard to stop.

I haven’t managed to stop entirely, but I have managed to put on the breaks.

After a pretty indulgent day on Sunday, yesterday, I had my normal shake breakfast (even though hotel ice blends much quicker than ice cubes from a tray, the people next door hate me!), a bagel (highly acidic, but decidedly yummy), a beet salad with avocado and feta cheese, some cashews, a Lara Bar, a salad, some whole wheat bread sticks, and a plate of fabulous veggies (sauteed spinach, baby carrots, and grilled asparagus. (And , uhm, a third of a bottle of pinot noir – nobody’s perfect and we are, after all, in California).

I’ve been drinking my highly alkaline green stuff daily (sometimes three times a day!) but I feel like I’m losing the battle.

This morning, I decided no more excuses. Instead of procrastinating (or networking) I immediately rolled out of bed and went to the gym. All of the machines that I liked were full, but I hopped on the StairMaster anyway. An hour and close to 600 calories later, I realized that for the first time in two days, I felt like myself! I’m not saying that those 600 calories are going to change anything when it comes time to step on the scale when I get back home, but the psychological benefits were definitely real!

I literally danced my way back to my room, still plugged into my iPod shuffle! And even though tomorrow is our last day in a hotel with a gym, I am re-committed to move my body even if it means – poor me – a long walk on the beach!

(Notice, I said nothing about reducing the wine)!

Product Recommendation – Emerald Balance Plus (Chocolate Superfood Drink)

Emerald Balance Plus is marketed as the best tasting chocolate superfood drink on earth and they are not kidding! Seriously, this stuff is delicious!

Chocolate Emerald Balance Plus
The Best Chocolate Super food Drink on Earth!

If you like dark chocolate, you’ll love Emerald Balance Plus, this multivitamin nutritional supplement drink mix provides you with your daily required:
• Antioxidants
• Immune Supporting Nutrient Dense Superfoods
• Heart Healthy Omega 3’s (microencapsulated)
• Plus Microencapsulated Vitamins A, B’s, C, D, and E and a balanced dose of the Minerals, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc & Iron.
• And the Added Protection of your daily dose of Chocolate

So, enough with the hype. Even if it does taste great, why should you really bother with superfoods?

First and foremost, individuals who regularly consume superfoods have an easier time losing weight and keeping it off than those that don’t.

I know that when I am drinking my superfood drinks, whether it’s Emerald Balance, Emerald Balance Plus, or Perfect Food, I am less hungry throughout the day, I retain less water, and I am less likely to be plugged up (if you get my meaning)! On nights that Michael and I are having dinner parties (and therefore drinking lots of wine) I drink 12 ounces of Perfect Food before and after; these two simple steps have pretty much eliminated the post-alcohol bloating and weight gain! Additionally, my entire weight release effort has seemed fairly effortless once I started drinking green stuff (and now chocolate green stuff) on a regular basis – that is, twice a day.

Why are superfoods and green stuff so great?

I have less information about the chocolate versions, given chocolate’s only recent elevation to the category of superfood, but according to Robert and Shelley Young, the authors of The pH Miracle for Weight Loss, as well as several other best selling books touting the power of maintaining an alkaline diet, “stirring some ‘green powder’ into good water will help you maintain a highly alkaline diet like nothing else” (p. 135).

From their perspective, it’s not the calories that are making us, as American’s fat, it’s the acid. And in order to combat this, we must maintain an alkaline system.

The body retains fat as a protection against the over production of acids produced by the typical American diet. Some of these acids are eliminated through the bowels, urinary tract, and skin, but whatever is left must be buffered or neutralized. Excess acid in the body starts to break down cells in your tissues and organs – pretty much the same way that acidic steak sauces tenderize meat. Cell breakdown sends the body into self-preservation mode; it used dietary and body fat in the desperate attempt to protect itself, no matter what the costs. Fat can bind up acids and sometimes escort them out of the body. But fat is used primarily as a way to sore those acids. Ask any plastic surgeon: The fat they liposuction out of their patients is brown and black because of all the acid it contains (p. 14).

Charming.

So, how do you alkalize your body – that is, how do you make it less acidic?

Well, in addition to eating lots of fresh low sugar fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, the easiest way is to drink green stuff (which is surprisingly pretty darned tasty in its own right) or, if you can’t do the color, the aforementioned delicious dark chocolate stuff which is available much more cheaply at Amazon.com, Netrition.com, or Vitamin Shoppe.

Seriously, go try it.

Start with the chocolate stuff and then transition to the green once your body becomes more alkaline.

I guarantee you’ll be surprised not only by the taste, but also by the ease with which you’ll shed unwanted pounds and gain extra energy!

Hint: if you’re already drinking soy shakes at any time during the day, just throw a serving in your blender. I tossed some in with my morning spiru-tein shake and it was awesome!

Note to self:

Feeling a little sluggish after last night’s carb and sugar fest. It’s fine to have them on very special occasions, but don’t underestimate the effect that it’s going to have on your — my — body.

When you start following a diet devoid, for the most part, of sugar and alcohol, you can really appreciate how delicate the chemistry of the body is when you add them back in!

Raising your standards (or lowering your threshold)

One of the good things about taking a long time to meet you desired goal weight is that gradually your threshold of acceptability changes.

Back when I weighed 232 pounds, it was enough to be the smallest person in my family.

For the longest time, after Weight Watchers, it was enough to have lost 50 or 60 pounds. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, my threshold was 179. It was not acceptable to get above this number; to do so, in my mind, would have triggered failure. Whenever I thought that I was getting fat again, I thought of the 180 me, not the 232 pound me. The 232 pound me was so far outside of my threshold of acceptability (my new standard for myself) that I no longer even considered it a possibility.

Two and a half years ago, I was creeping back up to 179. I adopted an alkaline diet/lifestyle, did P90x with a friend, and dropped close to 30 pounds. Unfortunately, my standard didn’t change and in a moment — try six months!– of stress, I ended right back where I started: 179 pounds.

Essentially, my standard hadn’t changed. And, consciously or not, I knew that.

The following summer, I tried it again. That time, I started with Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred, followed by P90x (twice). I got down to 141.8. But again, during the winter months, my resolve started to slip. But last March, when I crept past 150, I said: enough! My standard had changed. 150 — which used to be a goal — had become the standard — the threshold of what I was willing to accept for myself.

Now, you might be thinking that this is just yo-yo dieting, but if you look at the trend line, it’s been moving steadily down. Moreover, I really believe (in retrospect) that all of those starts and stops — not to mention the dreaded plateaus — were actually necessary in order for my standard to change.

When I think of myself as being heavy, I never think of the 232 pound me; I rarely think of the 179 pound me, because I can’t even imagine going back there! And if you can’t imagine it, it won’t happen. Think about it.

And whenever possible, in whatever domain of your life, raise your standards and, in the case of weight loss, lower your threshold!

Super Foods

In addition to the daily breathing and guiding my thoughts to focus on my successes rather than my failures, I have also started consuming the so-called Super Foods. In the morning, I drink a shot glass full of Acai Juice Cocktail that also contains the juice from pomegranates and blueberries. It’s a really strong, juicy drink, full of antioxidants.

Then, in the afternoon, I usually mix 2 Tablespoons of Super Food (either all greens or, sometimes, greens and berry) in cold water. I am currently using Garden of Life’s Perfect Food or, better yet, their Perfect Food Berry. Again, I find that in addition to the reported health benefits of consuming wheat and/or barley grass, a glass of Perfect Food helps to stave off cravings between meals.

When I was dieting before, I never used supplements. Vitamins, yes; but supplements, no. I always figured that if I was eating healthily, I could get the nutrients that I need.

I actually do think I get the nutrients that I need from my diet. However, the additional supplements make it easier to not over eat. They also shift my cravings away from junk food towards fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only do I get the benefits of more antioxidant rich foods in my diet (which have been linked to all sorts of bodily processes) I also get an amazingly effective appetite suppressant.

Today I was sitting in a talk with my bottle of cold water and Perfect Food; if you haven’t seen this stuff, it comes out bright green. Truly, it looks disgusting.

My colleague says, “What’s in the bottle?”

And I tell her.

“So, what does that taste like?” she all but sneers, “Grass?”

I’m not going to lie, the first time I tried it, it was ugly. In addition to thinking that it did, indeed, taste like grass, I just couldn’t stand the color. Because I was committed to incorporating it into my diet, I began mixing it it in an old Udo’s 3-6-9 jar, which just happens to be made from dark brown glass. I couldn’t handle the green, so putting it in a brown jar that hid the color and allowed me to really shake it up for better mixing was, literally, just what the doctor ordered. Even with the color sorted out, I still didn’t like the taste. However, by the time day three rolled around, I thought it tasted great! In fact, I was craving it. The thing about Perfect Food (and other similar brands) is that it changes the chemistry of your body from being essentially acidic to alkaline (or non-acidic). Trust me, there are several reasons why you want an alkaline system, not the least is the fact that it makes you crave alkalizing foods and makes highly acidic food, such as wine, largely unappealing! Additionally, it encourages your body to stop storing excess fat — always a plus!

Anyway, I know people who wouldn’t touch wheatgrass or barley grass with a ten foot pole! But I remember taking my first sip of red wine — or coffee for that matter — and both were 10 times more unpleasant on first pass then my Perfect Food stuff (especially once I could no longer see it)! But eventually, I kept drinking the wine and the coffee until they began to taste better and it was finally safe to say that they were two of my favorite beverages.

Did my tastes just become more mature? Maybe. Or was it that my system grew increasingly acidic and began to crave other (or more) highly acidic things. Most likely.

Look over the list of alkaline and acid food and see which side best describes the current state of the diet. If the majority of your food is highly acidic, I highly recommend making more alkaline choices and finding a nice brown bottle with a lid that closes. I swear, after the third try, you’ll love it! And chances are you’ll feel better not only physically, but also about the choices that you’re making about food!

p.s. My first introduction to wheatgrass/barley grass was Odwalla’s Super Food. It’s also green, but somehow extremely palatable. It’s also widely available and it a great thing to have in airports when you’re traveling! I admit, it is expensive, but, then again, most everything when you’re traveling is. The only reason I don’t drink it at home on a regular basis is the calories.