Reprinted from New Spirit Journal, October 2010
What’s All This Talk About Raw Foods?
By Madeline EyerLet’s face it, most of us enjoy eating, often planning gatherings and get- togethers with family and friends around meals. Since eating is necessary to sustain the body, why not consider making choices that you can feel good about? Many people are discovering an increase in their energy level and well being by changing what they eat and how it is prepared. Enter the world of raw or living foods. The term “raw food” can conjure up all sorts of images from apples to sushi. In this case, it generally relates to a diet consisting mainly of uncooked, unprocessed vegan offerings; that is, no animal products are consumed. Raw is considered a lifestyle as opposed to a fad diet. Some of the many reasons why people choose to eat this way include: Nutritional value: High temperatures associated with cooking diminish the integrity of the nutrients present in food in its natural state. Socially responsible: Ingredients are often sourced locally from organic farms. Some of the benefits here include support for sustainable farming practices, contribution to helping local rural communities thrive, freshness, and decreased impact on the environment. Taste: Fresh, local, unprocessed food tastes great. You may be wondering what any of this has to do with spirituality. When you consider the dense quality of much of what is consumed as food in these hurried times, it seems prudent to consider whether your dietary choices are nurturing and supportive of the divine being that you truly are. Your spirit is alive and vital, so doesn’t it make sense to nourish your body temple with food that is also alive and full of vitality? When seeking to make any lifestyle change, it can be challenging to make sense of all of the information and choices available. Un-cooking, as I like to call it, is fast becoming an art form with a language all its own, although does utilize ingredients and equipment that you may already have on hand. For example, a really good blender, food processor and a food dehydrator are indispensable tools of the trade. In these days of skyrocketing health care costs, it makes sense to nourish your body with foods that support health and vitality. Whole living foods are nutrient-rich and do just that. I recommend to clients that they begin slowly, perhaps at first substituting one raw snack in place of a cooked one. Fruit and veggies are very convenient and contain much more nutrition than that cookie you’ve got your eye on. Spread some almond butter on a banana and watch your kids scarf it down. Or add nut butter to some cut-up celery sticks, sprinkle raisins on top and, viola, you’ve got ‘ants on a log’! If you’re feeling really confident and want to dive right in, consider creating a meal with primarily raw ingredients. Offer your body a great big salad for lunch instead of reaching for that sandwich, and it will thank you. Or try making your own nut milks from almonds or hemp seeds. They’re really simple and cost-effective to prepare, requiring nuts or seeds that have been soaked, blended with a 4:1 ratio of water and strained. You can also add a bit of sweetener like maple syrup, dates, or agave if you like. Fresh homemade nut milks taste great, especially when chilled and poured over homemade granola made from fresh nuts and seeds and topped with fruit. Yum. Remember, there’s no reason to be dogmatic. Go slowly and be gentle and loving with yourself. You don’t have to be a raw vegan to include more healthy choices in your diet. Experiment with the ingredients you’ve got on hand and delight in your creations. Most of all, have fun. A certified raw food instructor, Madeline has been passionate about food all of her life. Drawing on an Italian background of ‘food as love,’ she has happily traded in her meatballs for living cuisine. She delights in creating delicious culinary feasts and inspiring others about the benefits of including more living foods in their diet. Reprinted from New Spirit Journal, October 2010
Success Tip: Be PreparedWho would have thought that a humble quart-sized mason jar could bring a smile to someone’s face? Alright, so the jar was filled with a tasty green smoothie, but still. That’s exactly what happened at my recent Detox & Nourish class when students were sent home with their breakfast for the next morning. We’ve all been there. We attend a class or a workshop and get all pumped up and excited about what we’re learning. Our intention is to take our new skills and make them a part of our life. Then we get home, life happens, we get busy and it’s back to our old ways. We may even tell ourselves stories about our ability to succeed or use our failure to implement to feel guilty. It doesn’t have to be that way! Not if you plan ahead. Such was the inspiration for the mason jar. I wanted my students to be able to go home and immediately put into practice what they had learned the night before, minus any excuses or reasons to feel guilty. And it worked! One woman reported that her green smoothie breakfast helped her to feel really energized and productive at work, despite “forgetting” to have her morning coffee. And she was also thrilled to share that she hasn’t had any coffee since the morning of that class! Amazing what a little pre-planning can do to spearhead your success. Give that some thought. What can you put into place to support your healthier lifestyle? As always, I’m here to help you. Just let me know what you’re struggling with and I’ll show you how to work through it naturally!
Travel in the RawDid my racy title catch your attention? Good. My slightly naughty playful side came out and I couldn’t resist. Political incorrectness aside, I’ve heard from many of you who struggle with eating healthy while traveling. Well fret no more. I’m going to share my process with you. Whether you’re flying or driving, planning ahead is key. So, whenever working out the details of a trip I always look online to see if there are any Co-ops, Whole Foods Markets, health food stores, juice bars and veg-friendly restaurants are in the vicinity of my destination. I also contact the hotel in advance to request a mini refrigerator in my room. Some hotels, like the DoubleTree for example, offer these as a standard amenity. Others sometimes charge a slight fee. When flying we usually rent a car which makes it really convenient and easy to stop and pick up what we need along the way. If this isn’t an option for you, some hotels have a shuttle that will drop you off at your shopping destination and pick you up at specified time. Next, I make sure to bring plenty of snacks and food that’s easy to prepare in my room. Sometimes I even bring my high-speed blender along, like on a recent trip to Vancouver, B.C. Since we were driving it was no big deal to pack an extra suitcase and a small cooler with a bunch of stuff. Here’s what I brought. Read more
- High-speed blender
- Collapsible colander
- Salad spinner
- Silicon spatula (for getting all of the green smoothie out of my blender)
- Plastic bowl, plate, cup
- Knife, fork, spoon
- Reusable water bottle
- Small bottle of dish soap
- Paper towels
- Dish towels
- Vegetable wash
- Cutting board (flexible)
- Chia seeds
- Assorted fruits and veggies
- Leafy greens
- Hemp milk
- Powdered green drink mix
- Raw energy bars
- Nuts and seeds
- Flax crackers
- Pink Himalayan sea salt
- Purified water
Success Tips: Three Simple Ways to Begin Your Journey Back to Health Right Now!You might be thinking “I eat a good diet with lots of veggies and I do my best to take care of myself. Why do I feel so crappy?” In my experience there are two main causes of dis-ease. They are:
- Toxicity – our tissues, cells and organs are loaded with toxic material which the body has stored.
- Deficiency – that is, our body isn’t receiving the nutrients it needs to support optimal health and well-being.
Did You Know? Hosed!It seemed like a simple, straightforward task: stop at the local hardware store and purchase a garden hose to water our organic vegetable patch. Simple, that is, until I read the back of the label that was framed and surrounded by the coiled-up hose: “Contains chemical(s), including lead, known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, and other reproductive harm. Do not drink water from this hose. Wash hands after use.” Are you kidding me? Lead in a hose? Whatever for? And how prudent would it be to water my veggies with a hose that may not even be safe to touch? And how many kids are drinking from these types of hoses every day? My conversation with the sales clerk was even more bizarre. When I inquired about why they would even sell products containing known toxic substances (remember I wasn’t buying paint or drain cleaner…we’re talking about a garden hose here) and whether he was concerned about having to even touch them to stock the shelves, the salesman’s answer surprised me even more. He shared that when he questioned his boss about these warnings he just shrugged it off and said “that’s California.” It was as if he believed that our neighbors to the south had gone off the deep end and decided to haphazardly put cautions on products for no good reason. I walked away wondering how we had become so desensitized that we believed warning signs were frivolous and without meaning. I wondered about the apathy and acceptance of that sales clerk. His “that’s the way it is and I just have to accept it” attitude with little or no concern or belief that it could be any different. And I wondered about what toxins might be lurking in other common household products. Sadly I didn’t have to look past the garden gloves. Yep. They contained lead too. Suddenly a few things about my own health journey were beginning to make more sense. You see, prior to discovering the magic of eating a really clean diet high in raw and living food, I was feeling pretty exhausted much of the time. Some testing with a naturopath revealed that I was, in part, dealing with literally “off the charts” levels of lead and cadmium in my system. At the time I had no idea where all those heavy metals had come from, but after my visit to the hardware store I’m reasonably certain it was an accumulation from a variety of sources. The heavy metals and toxins get stored in our body and literally weigh us down. Think of the energy of lead for example which is very dense and heavy. Well the body, in its innate wisdom, knows that our kidneys and liver can’t process these toxins very efficiently, especially in such alarming quantities, so it stores them in fatty tissue to protect us. And, these heavier energies contribute to the apathy and powerlessness we can feel when it comes to making helpful changes. While my healing protocol was specific to me, I give a great deal of credit and thanks for the role that increasing my intake of raw and living food has played in my journey back to myself. In addition to giving me back my health it has expanded my life in ways that I never would have dreamed possible. If this feels like something you would benefit from and would like to explore then I invite you to contact me so we can have a conversation about how I can best support your journey. PS: We eventually did find a lead-free hose (selection was very limited).
Food Fight!The weather may be cooling down, but things are definitely heating up in California. I’m referring to the giant food fight known as Proposition 37, the California Right-to-Know Genetically Engineered Food Act that is currently on the ballot in California. For those living elsewhere in the United States, it’s more significant for you than you might realize. Here’s why. According to recent polls, 89 – 93% of the American public wants to see labels on their food clearly indicating whether it contains any genetically altered ingredients. That is a significant number. And, what’s even more impressive, is that it is a bipartisan effort. I love it when we can all unite for the greater good, don’t you? One might think that since GMO ingredients are either banned or labeled in many countries, including China, that would be the case here in the US as well. But, Monsanto and their food industry friends are literally spending tens of millions of dollars on a disinformation campaign to try to prevent this important legislation from being passed. Last week there was a “study” that came out of Stanford University with research that appears to have been bought and paid for by big Agriculture. Not coincidentally, both the “researcher” and Stanford have received a great deal of money from Cargill and friends. Not surprisingly, the “expert” who authored the study was the same guy who offered his expertise in an attempt to discredit research that was unfavorable to the tobacco industry many years ago. To make matters worse, many of the major media outlets, including the NY Times, published articles debunking organics based on that study. Please don’t believe a word of it. There is plenty of credible research supporting the superior nutritional value of organics. Common sense would suggest that if GMO ingredients are healthy, the manufacturers and seed companies would be proud to label them. Wouldn’t they? Of course common sense has nothing to do with this because it’s really all just about their bottom line, regardless of what we want or what may or may not be good for us. Labeling these foods would, for many of us, be tantamount to them putting a skull and crossbones on them, which I suspect is why those who are profiting from them don’t want us to know what we’re eating. Evidence continues to mount regarding the dangers of eating pesticide-laden GMOs, yet how can health-conscious consumers avoid them if they’re not properly labeled? Choosing organic produce is the best way of course. Just look for a sticker the starts with the number 9 on the PLU code which denotes an organic item. If you’re not purchasing organic, be aware that the following foods are highly likely to contain GMOs, so you may wish to avoid them altogether.
- Yellow squash
- Dairy products containing rBGH, a hormone currently banned in over 27 countries!
- Canola (which in my opinion shouldn’t be consumed by anyone, ever)
About CancerOver the last several weeks, three of my friends have been diagnosed with cancer. This life-threatening disease is rampant and I feel very strongly that it doesn’t have to be this way. We all have cancer cells in our bodies. It is only when our internal environment becomes hospitable towards these cells that they begin to proliferate and make us ill. Since I’m all about prevention, I thought I would share with you three simple things you can do to support a more balanced internal terrain.
- Reduce stress – Stress acidifies and body and an acidic body is the perfect environment for disease to thrive. Some of my favorite things to do to help reduce stress include deep breathing into the body, spending time outside in nature, exercise, listening to soothing music, taking a relaxing bath, massage, eating well and using aromatherapy. The plant essences in pure essential oils are especially healing – physically, emotionally and spiritually.
- Be clear in your boundaries – Relationships can either be life-supporting or draining. As my young niece reminded me recently, sometimes dear friends will want to pull us into their dramas. You may not have realized this before, but you are not obligated to engage in that dance, nor does it serve your highest interest to do so. Every day we are teaching people how we wish to be treated. If we repeatedly fail to honor our own wishes and desires, it can lead to resentment. On an energetic level, resentment feeds disease, especially cancer. So, if there is anything that you are resentful about, it would serve you well to do some forgiveness work. Remember that we all do the best we can at any given time and having compassion and forgiveness for ourselves and others is very important.
- Clean up your diet – Remove chemical- and preservative-laden foods that have been genetically modified and/or loaded with high-fructose corn syrup from your pantry and from your diet. Avoid caffeine, hormone-laden dairy products (raw milk and raw milk cheese are a much better choice if you prefer not to eliminate these) and factory farmed meat. Eat a high percentage of fresh organic vegetables and fruit, sprouts, sprouted seeds and nuts. Vegetables and fruit alkalize the body and cancer cannot survive in an alkaline environment. Remember, if you want to feel vibrant and alive, eat food that is brimming with life!
Baby It’s Cold Outside – Try This!Keeping the body warm while maintaining a primarily raw food diet can be a bit challenging during the cooler months. Sometimes we just need food that warms us up from the inside! November feels like the perfect time to share some of my favorite ways to fire up that inner warmth on those chilly days, so here goes.
- Dispense with the dogma. If you feel as though you need something hardy and warm then go ahead and eat it … and do so minus the guilt. Quinoa, sweet potatoes and steamed veggies are some of my favorite foods to indulge in when I’m feeling this way. They’re healthy and nutritious and taste great too.
- Warm your food in your dehydrator. Setting the dial at 115 degrees preserves the natural enzymes to ensure that you receive optimal nutrition.
- Blend it! Your high-speed blender is another great way to make warm soup with minimal cleanup, which is always a plus. The friction from the blade heats up the ingredients and makes a delicious warm meal. Just be sure to pay careful attention so it doesn’t get too hot!
- Eat warming foods that contain higher levels of thermal properties. Ginger is one of my favorite winter additions to the sauces, dips and dressings for this very reason, although I also love the taste. I even add some to my daily green smoothie.
What’s Food Got To Do With It?What’s food got to do with it? Perhaps nothing. Or does it? The recent school shootings in Connecticut have left the world reeling with emotions ranging from anger to sadness to compassion and everything in between. And it has also stirred a commitment in our hearts to honor the lives of the children and their teachers and use this recent tragedy to change the world for the better. As a result, there is currently much talk about the need for better gun control laws, better psychiatric support, and some are even making a connection between the mind-altering psychotropic drugs that are so readily prescribed these days. While I believe that these are all worthy of consideration, it’s a complex issue with many facets and I don’t believe that all of the answers will be found in any one place. When I look at it through the lens of “you are what you eat,” I feel that diet is another aspect to some of the aggressive and erratic behavior we’ve been witnessing and that it also merits further investigation. If you’ve ever seen a young child bouncing off the walls after eating sugary foods, and then witnessed the “crash” that happens afterwards, you’ll understand where I’m going with this. Personality changes that can include behaviors like hyperactivity and even aggression often happen after exposure to toxic ingredients. Some of the more common offenders that you may have heard of are artificial food dyes, aspartame, and MSG, which is considered an excitotoxin. Food sensitivities can be another commonly mistaken cause of “troublesome” behavior. Even if it’s considered a healthy food, it is important to note that what’s good for one person may be toxic to another and that any amount of toxicity has the ability to contribute to some type of unusual, as in out of the ordinary, behavior. And it goes way beyond food, factoring in common environmental allergens such as mold and pesticides, for example. If you’d like to explore this further, Doris Rapp, M.D., a board-certified environmental medical specialist and pediatric allergist, has written extensively on this topic in her book, Is This Your Child? Although the book focuses on children, the information it contains is pertinent to adults as well. Alcohol consumption is another situation where this connection often becomes evident. How many of us have seen Uncle John down one too many beers at the family holiday gathering, only to then pick a fight with some of the other family members. It can be fascinating to watch, as long as you don’t find yourself sucked into the drama. The connection between food and mood is the awareness I would like to offer here. If this is a new concept to you, begin by noticing how you yourself feel after eating certain foods. Do you feel enlivened or drained? Does your heart beat faster? Do you break out in a rash? Does your head feel fuzzy? And if you have young children in your care, do you notice anything unusual about their behavior soon after eating or being exposed to some other known or unknown toxin? In a nutshell, I firmly believe that if we paid more attention to what we are eating we would see a huge shift in overall health, well-being, and behavior. I have seen this time and time again with myself, my family and those with whom I have worked. If you discover that you have a need or a desire to change your eating habits and don’t know where to begin, I am happy to assist you. Contact me for a complimentary thirty-minute discovery session where, together, we can best determine your needs moving forward.
‘Tis the Season To Do a CleanseAs I write this I am in the midst of participating, along with a group of 550 people, in a candida cleanse. Our group has committed to live with intention and to bring our best selves forward by greeting the challenges and opportunities of the New Year with clarity and conviction. What does this have to do with candida, you might ask, and what is candida anyway? Candida albicans is a fungus that lives in our mouths and digestive tracts. Under normal conditions it causes no harm, but it can become an infectious agent if allowed to grow out of control. This upset to the body’s balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria, known as candidiasis, can occur for a variety of reasons, including use of antibiotics or birth control pills, hormonal changes, and poor eating habits. To give you an idea of the kinds of problems candidiasis can cause, here are just a few potentially related symptoms:
- Brain “fog” (memory issues)
- Digestive problems
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Endocrine system imbalances (e.g. thyroid imbalance)
- Headaches and migraines
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Mood swings, depression and irritability
- Anxiety attacks, panic attacks
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Fatigue, muscle or joint pain
- Hair loss
- Fungal problems, such as athlete’s foot, toenail fungus, rashes and eczema
- Immune disorders including asthma, allergies, recurring infections
Lessons from the SquirrelsHave you ever noticed how we can learn a great deal from nature? I’ve been pondering this lately, and taking some time to observe the squirrels that have been favoring our back yard, which has become quite a popular place. Alright, so I’ve been feeding them some nuts which, no doubt, is a big part of the attraction…that and the beautiful park-like setting that we are so blessed to look out upon each day. It began a couple of years ago when a friendly grey squirrel decided to sit in the tree outside my kitchen window, looking in at me as I stood at the sink washing my vegetables. It was a cold winter day and he looked hungry so I put a few nuts out on the deck. As you may have guessed, we’ve been friends ever since, although I have resisted giving him a name. In recent months, some new squirrel friends have arrived at our back door and the competition for the cache of nuts has been fierce. A pair of small native red squirrels, about one-third the size of my furry grey friend, began to show up daily and chase him away. Why was he allowing himself to be run off by these two fearless, aggressive little guys? And why can’t they just share? It reminded me of how we often buy into the idea of lack, believing that there is not enough to go around or thinking that we won’t have what we need. Of course this couldn’t be further from the truth. Then it got me thinking about how often we are clueless about our ability to make beneficial changes in our life or perhaps don’t even realize or believe that it’s even an option for us. Ideas are simply thoughts, which can be changed after all. Well, today something changed. That big grey squirrel stood his ground, guarding his nuts and refusing to be run off by that little fierce squirrel. Something inside him must have shifted because he just wasn’t afraid anymore. It was an exciting moment for me to witness and it reminded me of all the opportunities I’ve had to learn, move past my fears and grow, and how I now use my experiences to support others to do the same. So, now let me ask you – what have you been wishing you can do or telling yourself that you can’t accomplish? Are you willing to take a lesson from my squirrel friend and realize that it is just a thought and that you have the power to change your mind about it? Time and time again I have witnessed that as we make positive changes in our diets, our whole world shifts to align itself with our updated choices. As we say “yes” to life by nurturing our bodies and nourishing them with wholesome nutritious food, they say “yes” to us! Possibilities begin to emerge that never before entered our reality, and we begin to see miracles happen. Are you ready for a breakthrough? In addition to my one-to-one coaching, I am in the process of creating a group coaching program set to begin in the spring. I am also creating an online survey you can use to help me understand the best ways I can offer my services to you; look forward to its arrival in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, you can always contact me by private e-mail to discuss how I can support you!
© 2013 Madeline Eyer Would you like to use one or more of these articles in your ezine or on your website? Please do, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Madeline Eyer publishes “Consciously Raw” – a free monthly e-Zine for women who are motivated to change their diets and their lives to align with their true essence. If you’re ready to look good, feel great and create a raw life you love get your FREE tips, tools and recipes now at www.ConsciouslyRaw.com.