Wednesday, 30 May 2012

A Raw Cleanse...Just in Time for Why I'm Veg Week

Attention, fellow veggies and enthusiasts! Why I'm Veg Week is kicking off in T Dot on Saturday. I will be attending Veg Fest in Niagara that day, but the Veggie Pride Parade is going on in our very own city as well.

Coincidentally, I am also starting a raw food cleanse on June 1st for 15 days. This is actually perfect timing, since I'm sure my raw taste buds will be tickled plenty during my first week!

I wanted to take this opportunity to discuss why I'm doing a cleanse and how being veggie is a crucial part of my life overall. After my vacation, I have had a hard time getting back into my former healthy routine. I've had nights where I could have had way better quality sleep, and I've been so preoccupied with other things that I've slacked on preparing food. So I've been buying food while I'm out or eating my parents' food, which is not unhealthy exactly, but it ain't what my body's used to. I've also been drinking more than usual. All of these factors combined have made me notice an overall difference in my energy level and general feeling of well-being.

I figured with the warmer weather coming in it'd be a great time to give my body a break. I've always had digestion issues, and eating less raw food, poor combining choices and even poorer timing choices have wrecked havoc on my digestive system. I am going to aim to start my cleanse with as much veggie juice as possible to give my body a break from having to extract nutrients from solid food. For more info on the benefits of juicing, check out my previous post.

I am going to stock up on tons of organic veggies to always have on hand during these 15 days. I actually love the feeling when I discover how veggies I'd been cooking all along taste amazing raw! For example, my usually steamed okra ended up in a salad I had the other day in it's natural raw form, and it was delish.

I am a little sad to say bye to my coffee and gum. But very glad to be free of those little vices. Raw cleanses are not only good for your body, but the mind benefits from some discipline once in a while too.

I'll keep y'all updated. Happy veggin'!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Importance of Organics

When you get so absorbed in a way of living, it just sort of becomes your way without any effort. I automatically go for the organic option if it is available to me with the conventional. Most people see "Oh, conventional carrots are 1.99 and organic is 2.49" and just reach for the lower price. I am not criticizing these people, because this is how their mind is trained to think. A lot of the time we don't actually know why organic is so much healthier for you. I hope to clear some things up and inspire more organic choices with this post.

Why organic? I can't afford it!
One thing I hear all the time is "Wow, I'd love to eat organic, but I can't afford it." Is that a new pair of shoes you're wearing? And you spent how much at the bar last weekend? Health should NOT be put at the bottom of your budgeting. It is not an expense, it is an investment.

Eating food which contains chemicals can interfere with nutrient absorption. All those chemicals that are concentrated in your lovely fruits and veggies end up in your body, which is constantly working to eliminate toxins. When so many additional toxins are being ingested, our bodies can't always keep up, and not enough energy is left to absorb nutrients from the food. These conventional foods are also subject to being genetically altered, since non-organic food need not be labelled if it contains GMO in Canada. Your only safe bet to avoiding genetically engineered food is purchasing organic food with a legitimate certification. Besides health effects for humans who consume the food, our poor Earth is being abused with all the junk we're spraying over our over-farmed land. The environmental health of the soil is compromised with conventional, pesticide-ridden produce. Yuck.

Believe you me, I am not made of money. I'm sort of a broke part time worker who's in between school transitions. Do I buy all organic? No. But I do prioritize which produce I absolutely buy organic. Anything where I'll be eating the skin is a must: apples, berries, carrots, etc. Anything I'm juicing is absolutely gotta be organic, because if it were conventional produce, all those pesticides would just be concentrated in my "healthy" drink. The EWG made a list called "The Clean 15" and "The Dirty Dozen" to help shoppers prioritize which produce is lower in pesticides and can be purchased conventionally.

Give the organics a try for a week and see how amazing you feel. I guarantee it!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Preparing for and recovering after a vacation

I recently had the pleasure of going on an all inclusive week long vacation to Cuba. It was truly paradise. However, it was far from my typical day to day life in Toronto!

Preparing for the trip, of course my big concern was the food. As a vegan, I hoped there would be vegan options served for each of the meals. Obviously I knew they wouldn't be the health food I was used to eating, meaning they're definitely not organic or made without added salt, sugar, etc. I decided that I will pack a few staple items to keep me somewhat feeling normal and lay off being too picky on the food served, as long as it's vegan of course.

I packed raw organic pumpkin seeds, almond milk, raisins, some maca, bee pollen, spirulina, chia seeds, oatmeal and a few delicious Larabars.

My main concern was the breakfast. I knew that there may be a big selection, but breakfast is usually cereal (with dairy milk), eggs or meat. I did anticipate delicious fruit though, and I was right! Honestly, I usually started my day with fresh guava, pineapple, papaya, watermelon or banana. The fruit was incredible. I did pack a few organic instant oatmeal packages, which I ate for breakfast a few times with my almond milk and some bee pollen and fruit. 

Lunch and dinner were actually a pleasant surprise. Tons of selection that actually tasted so good. Obviously eating overcooked, canned or fried food would not be something I'd do at home, but I'm not going to complain. I ate a lot of boiled potato, rice, black beans, peas and carrots, pasta with veggies and new foods I loved trying, such as yucca and plantains. They did have a raw salad area, which I was thrilled to see! I would have been a lot more careful in asking for what is 100% vegan at home (is that cooked with oil or margarine, etc), but the last thing a vacation needs is stress. I used common sense and my own judgement and also enjoyed a few indulgences.

In addition to the food I ate, I was also enjoying cocktails. A lot. I know I'm a health nut, but I'm also 21 years old and haven't been on vacation in 6 years. I tried to enjoy minimal fruity and high calorie drinks, and mainly stuck to gin with soda water. The calories do add up, my friends. I gained 4 lbs., 2 which have been lost in a few days just from abstaining from alcohol!

I'm not usually a coffee drinker, either. Again, my indulgences got the best of me. I was having one or two Cuban coffees a day, and I don't regret it one bit. However, I am treating this as an indulgence, and now I'm cutting back to my regular few times a week java. 

To recover from my week of naughty behavior, I am just getting my whole foods back in my diet. I'm ditching the canned and processed food and eating my veggies and grains that I'm used to. Oh, and I missed my juicer A LOT!

I did work out while I was away, but not the high intensity workouts I'm used to here. Upon returning, I had a sore throat and cold, so the first few workouts weren't as productive. I think my body is finally reaching it's equilibrium!