Monday, May 23, 2011

Raw Vegetable Diet

Have you ever thought about going on a raw vegetable diet?  Is it healthy?  A raw vegetable diet is based on the belief that the healthiest food for the body is not cooked.  Most people that are on a raw diet, eat most of their food raw.  When they heat food, they try to keep the food below 118 degrees Fahrenheit.

Plant based foods have natural enzymes in them that help us to digest our food and absorb the nutrients we need.  If we eat mostly cooked food, our body has to produce more enzymes in order to digest the food.  This can cause us to age quicker, cause digestive problems, and a deficiency in nutrients.

Although our family is not on a 100% raw vegetable diet, I teach my children that they should always try to eat something raw whenever they eat.  This way, the digestive enzymes are there to help digest the food. 

The other benefit of a raw vegetable diet, are the vitamins and antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables.  These antioxidants and vitamins help to protect us from cancer and other diseases.  The typical American is not consuming enough of these raw fruits and vegetables and are lacking in the nutrients their body needs to stay healthy and strong. Often they will turn to synthetic vitamins, which are not giving them the natural nutrients that Mother Earth has given us.

If people were to strive harder to eat as many raw fruits and vegetables as possible, they would find that they feel better and many of their problems may lessen or go away.  According to the food pyramid, people should be striving to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, but I think we should eat at least 15 - 20 servings a day to maintain optimal health.

There are many staples in a raw vegetable diet which include fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, legumes and seeds.  Spinach, kale, collard, and other dark leafy greens should be eaten as much as possible.  Making a green smoothie daily can help you to use these leafy greens regularly.

Another great benefit of a raw vegetable diet, is a slower aging process.  Many who are on a raw diet or switch to a raw diet are often complimented on looking more youthful.  Because we are getting the enzymes we need, our body does not need to steal enzymes from our body.   A raw vegetable diet will also help with increased energy, smoother skin, reduced disease risk, and weight loss.  Even if you aren't ready to go on a 100% raw vegetable diet, I would highly recommend eating 60-80% raw for the amazing health benefits.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Foods With Protein Revealed

Many people are often wondering what are the best foods with protein. Many people think that protein is only found in meat, but there are many plant based foods with protein.

People who are trying to build muscle often turn to protein drinks that are made from whey and eating lots of meat. Eating these excess foods with protein can be very hazardous to the body. In order to prevent disease and cancer, we need to maintain a pH balance diet. Animal protein is very acidic and will create a very acidic body especially when eaten in excess. Even though you may think you are helping your body build muscle, you are creating a disease prone body.

If you have ever heard of the book The China Study, I would definitely recommend reading it. Dr. Campbell talks about how eating animal protein in excess can cause many diseases and disorders. It can trigger cancer, multiple sclerosis, crohns disease, colitis, and many other diseases.

It can even cause diseases in your later years. We may think it is natural to loose eyesight, have hip replacements, etc., but most of the diseases in our later years are linked to eating excess animal protein. A lot of people I talk to say that they don't care about what they eat, they are just going to die anyways. But people don't think about how much they may suffer along the way. I know we will all die, but I want to live a happy and healthy life. I don't want debilitating diseases to keep me from accomplishing my life's purpose.

Let's take a look at a few plant based foods with protein. There are many foods with protein that offer so many more nutrients that our body needs. Sprouted pumpkin seeds make up about 17% of the DV for protein. Not only that, they have magnesium, iron, manganese, copper, and zinc.

Chia seeds are another great source of protein. A chia seed is 23% complete protein in itself. It also has calcium, niacin, iron, and thiamin. Chia seeds are also considered a power food. They have omega 3 and omega 6 benefits.

Sprouted almonds are another source of protein. They have about 6 grams of protein in them. They are also very high in vitamin E, zinc, calcium, iron, and potassium to name a few.

If you like Mexican food, beans are rich in protein. They have about 8 grams of protein per serving. We eat tons of beans at our house. We love Mexican food!

There are so many other seeds, grains, and legumes that are high in protein. There are so many plant based foods with protein to choose from. We are not limiting our diet, we are opening it up to many more possibilities.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Why Nutrition is Important

I often get mocked by others when they find out about the diet that our family is on. Many people think you should be able to eat whatever you want, whenever you want. Unfortunately, they don't realize how much it affects your health. I used to eat that way as well. When I was pregnant with my first, I didn't care about what I ate. My baby ended up being 7 weeks early. The doctors didn't know why, but now that I look back I believe some of it had to do with what I was eating and not getting enough water. After I had my baby, I was 20 lbs heavier than what I normally weighed. I didn't like the fact that I had gained so much weight and I was trying to figure out how to lose the weight. I started learning about nutrition and realized that if I changed my diet I would be able to lose and maintain a healthy weight. I also learned that top nutrition has everything to do with how healthy we are. I was always a picky eater so learning to love vegetables was a little bit of a challenge. My taste buds have changed, and I now LOVE veggies! I crave veggies! If a meal is not full of fruits and veggies, my body feels like it has not been satisfied. I have tried to teach my children to love veggies as well because I don't want them to be picky eaters.

One site that has really helped us optimize our health is She teaches 12 steps to whole foods so that we can take it one step at a time and not feel overwhelmed in changing our diet. I have loved what she has taught my family, and she has some very yummy recipes that the kids love.

Don't feel overwhelmed with changing your diet. Just take it step by step and you will feel how much better you feel with each step. I could never go back to my old diet. Learn to listen to your body and you will feel a difference.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

This week we got a big pack of strawberries at the store so we decided to try making chocolate covered strawberries for our treat. The kids loved making them and were excited to eat them after dinner. Here is the recipe I came up with to make the chocolate.

Chocolate Syrup
1/4 cup of coconut oil
1/4 cup honey or agave
approx. 1/4 cup cocoa powder

It is important to make sure the strawberries are cold so that the coconut oil will harden on the strawberry after you dip it. I also realized it is good to hold it for a minute so it can harden slightly before you set it on a plate. Otherwise part of it will harden on the plate and not come off with the strawberry. I put them in the fridge so the chocolate could harden a little bit more before we ate them.

The other nice thing about the chocolate syrup is you can also put it on homemade ice cream and it will harden. I love finding ways to have fun and healthy treats with the kids without having all of the food coloring, high fructose corn syrup, and white sugar. The kids love them too!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Drinking Our Vegetables

Our family loves to make green smoothies! Many people turn their nose up to the word "green smoothie", but we think they are delicious. I tell my friends that are curious about green smoothies, that a green smoothie is kind of like a fruit smoothie but with added vegetables to it. You can make green smoothies that are purely vegetables, but if you are just trying them out for the first time I would suggest adding some fruit to help sweeten the smoothie.Here is what a basic green smoothie may include: spinach, kale, or collard, cucumber, carrots, strawberries, banana, apple, water, ice, and a natural sweetener (agave, stevia, honey).I usually blend the vegetables before I add the fruit so that it will be smooth and not chunky. The high tech blenders work best, but I have used our regular blender and it still tastes good. So don't feel like you can't start adding more veggies to your diet just because you don't have a high tech blender. Just get started and enjoy the benefits of green smoothies!!My kids love green smoothies and are always begging for them. We like to have green smoothie mustache contests to see who can get the biggest mustache. They also love to help make them and choose what they want to add to the smoothie. If your children are having trouble with the idea of trying them, you could add mixed berries to give it more color or part of a beet to give it a pink color. Try doing more fruit at first, and then slowly switch to more veggies as you get used to them. This will make the transition much easier. You can also start with just spinach since it has a mild flavor and then add other veggies as you get used to them.I know that green smoothies are a great way to help you if you are having health problems. My mother had to get her "numbers" down according to her doctor. Her doctor had given her medication to help, but she didn't take it because it was bothering her. So she stared the green smoothies along with apple pectin. When she went into the doctor the next time her numbers had gone down. The doctor was impressed and started writing out a prescription to up her medication, but she told her doctor she hadn't been taking her medication. The doctor asked her what she had been doing differently, and she told her that she had been drinking green smoothies! The doctor said to keep doing what she was doing then because it was helping her numbers.

Naming Our Family Restaurant

Our family is always trying to find ways to teach our kids about healthy eating and how to love it while getting the right foods with protein! One of our favorite family meals is homemade tacos with whole grain tortillas, beans, brown rice, tomatoes, avocado, lettuce, corn, and salsa. Whenever we eat this meal our family seems to start coming up with names for our family restaurant. It is funny to see the kind of ideas that these kids come up with. Some of the names are silly like bubble bop or something as simple as Our Family Restaurant.It is great to have your kids come up with restaurant names and help to prepare the meals. The children seem to want to eat the food more if they helped to prepare it. They love the feeling they get after the meal has been prepared and they did something to contribute to the meal.Another idea is to have them help plan the meals for the week. Guide them as they choose some of their favorite healthy meals. Also, make sure that you add plenty of vegetables and fruit to each meal. We have a salad with every meal before we eat the main course. We strive to have meals that are rich in whole grain and vegetables, and we also try to add some fresh fruit to every meal. Also, teach children to eat raw fruits and vegetables with every meal. Our bodies need live enzymes in order to digest the food that we eat. When we are not eating live enzymes our body has a hard time digesting and our body is not receiving the nutrients and vitamins that it needs. We also keep a huge supply of fresh fruit and vegetables so when the children are hungry they have live nutritious snacks.