Hello and Happy October to all!
Are you now thinking of autumn leaves, warm fires, warm
companions, and even warmer foods? We are too! At present, I am busy working on our fall raw recipes, and recipes with more of an ethnic variety. Well, we don’t want anyone
to sacrifice goodness, fun or nutrition and health just because our activities
blankets to hide beneath. Never, ever! If you want to learn how you can have it
all, and I did it myself!…well, keep reading!
The bulk of my lesson started last year, when I first went “raw”, and
I jumped in at 100% (although I don't advise any of my clients to do the
same!), and I did it in the fall. Yes, I went raw-vegan 100% of my diet at
first. It was a challenge, but I felt great. Yet, as if eating differently and
eating smaller portions of (nutrient-dense) foods was not enough, my desire to
eat warm foods or hot foods seemed intuitively necessary for the season. This made
battling my then-food-cravings even worse! I was thinking...How could I survive
the fall and winter on sprouts, fresh fruits, coconuts and cool soups and
salads, no matter how great they tasted?
I quickly learned that eating healthy and seasonally did not have
to be exclusive. In fact, you CAN eat seasonally AND healthfully, AND even raw
of you wanted to, all at the same time. Following the seasonal food of our
region, while sometimes indulging on tropical foods, or other delicacies from
far-off places, is quite easy to do. Shopping at Connecticut's (or your own
state's) Farmer's markets are the best way to stay local and seasonal. Local
farmers have to do it to grow it! If you can get it both organic
and local, well, you are golden! When you are living in a certain area, you
will find it brings you much more in tune with nature's cycles and other
aspects of the environment when you eat this way. You also will feel
differently, for instance, eating a mango in the winter in Connecticut than you
would in Mexico in the summer (for example, warm or cool, light or grounded).
Your body just responds to it differently, and you won't feel as if you need to
or should feel in that certain place and climate setting. This is just one
reason, out of many, and not including the environmental aspects of growing,
transporting, and storing produce (that also loses vitamins, etc. over time)
from distant places, that makes eating local and seasonal foods a great idea!
I also learned to use herbs, spices and seasonings that I love,
but re-purposed them in order to bring heat and warmth to my belly in the
colder seasons! Warming spices such as paprika, cayenne, ginger, garlic, or scapes
(if any were left from my frozen stash!), were just some of the great ways I
warmed my meals via seasonings.
A good amount of warm-temperature dishes, just slightly warmed,
until I could consider them able to be offered as if to a baby, were perfect as
well. Warm to touch, but not to scald. With my Vitamix blender-extraordinaire I
found I could add warm water, and create slightly steamy and warmer soups or
change the texture of certain ingredients. I could also use a double-boiler
method on the stovetop to warm “raw” pasta or kelp noodles, etc... that is, until
I received my Excalibur Dehydrator where I could plop the meals in, and warm
them gently at a slower rate... (and which I soon fell in love with for its so
many uses!). Get resourceful!!
I also used teas, which I made (not with boiling hot water, but
warm enough temperature water that was enough to infuse my water) with the tea
leaves, herbs, spices, or roots that I was using.
The last and largest aspect that challenged my newly found clean
and light living plan, was that I started eating this way just around all of
the food-laden holidays! Can you imagine thinking at Halloween, of making 30
children "Rawtella"-stuffed dates instead of Martha Stewart's fancy,
ghoulish cupcakes or other treats I was so used to concocting year after year,
just so that I didn't sabbotage my life by bringing "bad" sugars, flours, etc. back into my home? I don't think so! I would have had
It was torture...but I eventually found refuge in being creative,
and exploring. I explored recipes galore. I tried to recreate some recipes
using much healthier ingredients and had some unusual discoveries, both amazing
and not-so-amazing. I found new ingredients I hadn't used, from health food
stores, cafes, or online, and I learned how to use some familiar ingredients in
awesome new ways.
I also learned to “crowd out” the bad stuff, the inflammatory
stuff and the gunky stuff, replacing them with the healthiest options possible,
that dually offered nutrition to its fullest, and kept me full longer as
well? Who knew I could be “filled,” but not
“full and bloated,” in the process of enjoying great foods! Who knew I could
eat a Thanksgiving dinner and NOT need to lay down, undo my top pants button,
and breathe heavily as usually done each year? I actually had energy to keep
going! This was amazing!
By doing this, I also didn’t sacrifice or give up my new
lifestyle…I learned to LOVE it. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely still have
food cravings, or food “demons” I call them at times. And yes, I am human, and
sometimes I do give in, but in most all cases, it gets to be less and less of a
problem with each month that passes. Some foods I was used to eating don’t even
taste good to me anymore, whereas other foods just taste amazing to me now. I
also had received a whole bunch of tools which I learned to use, to deconstruct
or delay my food cravings to get to the bottom of why I am really having them,
and then to handle them and get back on track!
Gatherings where family or friends gathered was a bit more
difficult however. Especially the major holidays. "Sure, but do you mind
if I bring ALL OF my own food to your gathering in a big lunch box, in jars and
containers?" was my tagline upon being invited somewhere for a while.
(Now, everyone is used to it!). Do you want me to bring a dish? Phrases like
"Real butter" or "Fake cheese" or "Normal people
pie" or "Fake meat" was increasingly the type of ingredient
requests or demands of non-inclusion I got (depending on the
health-consciousness of the person making the request or the audience who would
be eating it!). This went beyond allergy-avoidance, or someone’s favorite
recipe. It was like an all-out attack on all I thought and learned to be newly good
and evil! How could someone side with food evil, I wondered? Do they know what
I’ve been through? Do they know what they are asking me to do…?
Probably not, or at least not yet…I decided. Therefore, I became
very skilled, and creative, and flexible. I can now make you the best darned
raw vegan cheesecake or a full-on-fat “real” heart-stopping and
lactose-intolerance-inducing one. Pick your poison. I dare you. But it’s your
choice!...But don’t expect me to not share some information with you (he, he).
All in all, you DO NOT have to sacrifice your lifestyle and eating habits (a.k.a.
diet) to the seasons or the holiday seasons nor the societal pressures that
accompany year-round situations. In fact, if you want to clean up your diet
now, and start arming yourself with your own tools before the temptation hits,
instead of after the fallout on January 1st, 2013, I encourage you
to go right on with it!
We also offer holistic health coaching with a focus on nutrition and “primary foods,” food prep classes, pantry-clean outs, health store tours, and guided cleanses just to name some services. I am preparing to start a month-long cleanse as I write. It starts October 14th. Check out our website for more information and details, or write with any questions! www.therawnaissance.com