Listen To Your Body
Alrighty, so last time I talked about my confusion over the different views on not only what are the best foods for you, but also in what form – cooked vs. raw. I got the book that I ordered, Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford, and it’s literally a text book. It’s definitely more meant to be a reference book as opposed to a casual read, so I’ve been reading bits and parts of it over the last couple of weeks. Very interesting stuff – again, it focuses on the Asian traditions and diagnoses of the body and translating it to modern nutrition.
The main conclusion that I got out of all of this, and I mentioned it in the last blog, is that every body is different…pun intended. To follow up, some say that a primarily raw diet is the best, whereas some would argue the opposite. Regardless of what you try, the main thing to do is to listen to your body.
Your body is going to tell you if something is wrong.
If you read the last post, you’ll know that my sister tried drinking raw green smoothies everyday and her body told her, “No, this is NOT working.” The symptoms that she was experiencing weren’t just signs of detox (as I had first assumed), for her they were signs of imbalance. These symptoms were not going away. So now it’s been a few weeks since she stopped drinking the smoothies, and including more cooked vegetables and food into her diet. Within days she was already feeling much better! Despite the green smoothie FAIL, she is much more conscious of her and her family’s diet, and has been adding more fruit and veg to their everyday meals.
On the other hand, I’ve been drinking raw green smoothies everyday for almost two months, and my body is telling me that this is a good thing. I experienced the typical signs of detox the first few days, i.e. headaches, fatigue, breaking out, and it went away after a short period of time. Overall, I feel like I have more energy, my skin is starting to glow, and I just feel plain healthy. I also stopped taking synthetic vitamins as an experiment for the last three weeks, and so far I haven’t gotten sick (knock-on-wood). I work in a school – perfect place to test my immune system!
I do recommend that everybody at least give the raw food thing a try – either starting with green smoothies, or even as simple as adding one green salad a day. No one out there will argue that eating more fruits and vegetables is bad for you.
I believe that the key to making this change is adding raw food to your diet, not replacing. Add a salad a day. Eat an apple or some carrot and celery sticks for a snack. Drink a green smoothie sometime during the day. Any of those things plus what you’re usually eating is a good start.
I’m not trying to preach, but I can personally attest to this method of adding more nutritious food – something weird happened after I reluctantly started drinking green smoothies…like a weird switch went off. I started to crave salad. Dude, this a big deal, because anyone who knows me knows that I have always hated eating and wasting my time chewing on salad. I suddenly didn’t want to eat a lot of the stuff that I used to eat….like rice! Don’t get me wrong, I still eat it, but no more than half a cup at a time. I used to say that if I were stranded on a deserted island with nothing to eat but white jasmine rice, I would be happy. I don’t feel that way anymore.
Adding the healthy stuff makes you think twice about the unhealthy stuff. I will admit that this past week, I had massive cravings for sweets – I found myself in the bakery section of Costco and picking up bread and desserts (like those massive apple pies!). Thankfully, I only got as far as smelling them before I put them back and tore out of there! Now as much as I could’ve taken that experience as a fall from grace, I reminded myself of my success: I put everything back.
I personally don’t think that one should go into this with the sole intention to lose weight. I feel that the best intention to have is to do it for your health…and for your loved ones. I want to be having kids one day – I want to be healthy when I have them, and be healthy for them.
And honestly, once you buy into the whole idea of being healthy, the bonus is that you WILL shed the pounds. You will keep them off, and love doing it.
Losing weight is the side-effect of eating and living for your health. I’ve heard the saying, “abs start in the kitchen.” I agree with that, but I would venture to say that abs start in your brain. We see the results of those fad diets out there – people do them because they want to lose weight fast. It works, but only a small percentage of those people maintain it. Once your mindset changes to, “I want to be healthy,” your whole world changes.
I don’t care if my brother-in-law calls me a hippie, but I’m totally happy with buying my organic foods, eating my fruit and veggies, and drinking less coffee…and beer (this made me sad at first, but not anymore!).
I’m pretty sure that my body is telling me that it’s happier….I feel pretty good for the most part and I haven’t experienced any major problems. I’m still trying to find the balance between raw and cooked foods that’s right for me.
If you do try eating more raw foods, look out for the common signs of detox – headaches, fatigue, acne…and these should only last a few days to a week. If you are getting bloated, phlegmy, and just feel pretty lousy for more than a week, then you need to stop adding raw foods and eat them cooked. Depending on who you are, too much raw food can weaken your “digestive fire” and cause your spleen to be deficient. Traditional Chinese Medicine explains that your spleen works with your stomach to turn your food into energy for the rest of your body. Too much raw stuff will weaken the spleen, thus inhibit its function.
Just remember that there is no one diet out there that will work for everyone – listen to your body.
However, exercise will benefit everybody! Exercise played a huge part in the successes that I’ve experienced with my weight loss and maintenance. My sister and brother-in-law just started the workout program that I am using, and I hope that they stick to it!
I’m actually going to Italy and France in a few days for a week and a half….it will be interesting to see how I fare out there because I love food – definitely going to scoop up some French pastries and croissants. Aside from that, I’m going to do my best to make healthy choices, but I’m okay with enjoying myself on a holiday – might be doing a travel blog!
Anyways, I’m going to share a recipe for an Asian salad dressing that I like to use on almost any fresh vegetables that I have on hand. I usually use it for my favourite – seaweed salad with kale ribbons and julienned carrots. Hope that doesn’t gross you out – seaweed is really good for you and is delish! Anyways, this dressing is really light and tasty – hope you try it!
Asian Sesame Salad Dressing
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar (unseasoned)
- 3 tbsp light soy sauce (I use gluten-free soy sauce)
- 1 tbsp 100% pure sesame oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2 stalks thinly sliced green onions
- Grated ginger (optional)
- Combine all ingredients and dress your salad!
- Possible combinations besides your basic green salad:
- 1 oz of dried seaweed (reconstituted and sliced into ribbons)
- Kale – sliced into ribbons. Rub the leaves as you’re washing them to get rid of the bitter taste.
- Carrots – cut into matchsticks.
- Baby cukes sliced on the diagonal
- Carrots – cut into matchsticks
*After dressing the above combinations, let it rest for about ten minutes in the fridge to “marry” the flavours.