Eating, Naturally.

Eating, Naturally.

Of all things, I want to raise a happy child who becomes a happy adult. Sounds simple. Of course, it isn’t.

Nobody knows what really creates happiness. All we know is that it’s a complex interaction between various things.

And the recipe is different for everyone.

I can tell you what doesn’t bring you closer to it. Easy sailing.

In the good old days, you’d have to forage for every bit of food, and work for every tool you had. It must have been some satisfaction to have killed an antelope or carved an arrowhead out of rock. True appreciation. These days we have so much and enjoy so little.

I know where conventional meat comes from for instance, so I don’t eat it. Many consumers are unaware or have suppressed their natural horrors at what we as a society do to animals. I don’t take meat for granted.

I did realize over the weekend at a workshop at Jivala Culinary Institute however, that I disrespect the other foods in my plant based diet. We probably all do.

How many times have I polished off nearly an entire pineapple half in one sitting? That pineapple took 2-3 years to grow. And I ate it over two snacks exchanging emails in front of my laptop. Not only is that hard on the digestive system, but it’s hardly necessary. Your body can only use so many micronutrients at one time. And as for enjoyment, well, the poor pineapple died for a full tummy.

I was also introduced to the philosophy that nature provides best in the ideal amounts. Leafy greens would be most easy to grow and come by (which can be confirmed by anyone who has ever planted them in a garden), therefore should have a central role in the diet. Fruits, grains, legumes and meat would be far more difficult and energy depleting to obtain… therefore would be eaten less frequently. Someone living off the land would be more likely to plant seeds than eat them, so they share a similar spot on the natural plate. It’s then really easy to see that although most natural foods are healthy, eating them in the portions that we are intended to process them in is easily as important.

My new dietary (life) approach

My new dietary (life) approach

My husband has started a blog about my foray into a plant-based diet and how it has affected him. It’s a funny outlook from someone who has been raised to feel that meat is the ultimate food. With my new dietary outlook, he has also taken an interest in different nutrition plans. He came home yesterday laughing about the Paleo Zone diet. You know, just like how our caveman ancestors balanced their macronutrient intake to be a perfect 30/30/40 ratio in the Paleolithic era. Of course, being a Crossfitter and having lots of Crossfitter friends who are doing either Paleo or Paleo Zone, I didn’t think much of it. You know, Zone crossed with Paleo makes Paleo Zone. It was hilarious to me to see it from the eyes of my bag of bagels for lunch husband.

I took Ama to the doctor yesterday for her routine check-up. The doctor asked about food, and I said she eats well but that I supplement with DHA and Vitamin D just to be sure. He noted that as long as she eats lots of leafy greens and nuts, she should be fine for even calcium, iron, calories and healthy fats. He had just read a study where “vegan” kids only required B12 supplementation, and were found to be much healthier than their “non-vegan” counterparts… with larger head circumferences. He reiterated what a vegan was several times. I told him I was on a plant-based diet so I knew the term. I don’t use it though. I am not a vegan. It’s too strong a term for me. It’s a term that invited scrutiny of everything you are eating and everything you are not eating.

I started swinging toward a plant-based diet after sitting in on a session at the Canfitpro Vancouver conference. It was a lecture promoting raw food veganism and I left inspired to give it a go. Not because the presenter, Scott Josephson, was well informed and infectiously passionate about eating raw food. Which he was. He left an important message with me: that it isn’t about diving into a new lifestyle to fit the mold even if that mold doesn’t fit you, it’s about making a healthier you.

He pointed out that you don’t have to eat only raw foods, and that you don’t have to eat only vegan foods. You can just eat more of these foods. And in eating less of these foods, you make a huge impact on the lives of animals, the environment and yourself. I didn’t have to stop eating honey sourced from the interior. I didn’t have to stop wearing silk or throw out all the stuff in my kitchen that had animal derivatives. In fact, he suggested going in slowly. It’s about making positive lifestyle changes that work for you, feeling their wonderful effects, and naturally doing more.

I have started sprouting, dehydrator cooking, making my own coconut yogurt and mostly eliminated animal products in favour of vegetable foods. I feel good. Food digests well, I never feel overly full but always satisfied. I feel like I am making a positive contribution to the world of food choices. Without buying expensive organic grass fed beef, I can buy a lot more non-GMO organic vegetables.

But the take home, is that that’s what feels good to me. It’s all about what feels good to you. Label or no label.

Unusual tips to take the stress out of the holidays

Holiday Tips

The holiday season doesn’t have to be stressful; in fact, it shouldn’t. Follow these tips to find more enjoyment, and less stress, in your season.

1. Do your shopping and wrapping early. Make sure each gift is tagged and organized according to where and when the gift will be given. The earlier the better – but if you don’t have it done yet, aim to have it done for Friday.

2. Spend one day super cleaning your house and decorating, and another super undoing and cleaning. Make sure to schedule it in ink and have fun. The decoration day is easy to make festive. The take down day requires work… pizza and movie night to cap it off? Make space for new stuff?

3. Think easy and healthy entertaining. Whole grain crackers and hummus for an appetizer, a lightly dressed bagged spinach salad, a one dish meal with lean meat and veggies baked in the oven or slow cooker, and a healthy dessert do the trick just fine. Try not to cut corners by purchasing dessert. They are normally laden with heart destroying fat and sugar. A fruit crumble is so easy and you can cut the sugar way back and use a healthy oil. You can even make some ahead and freeze them.

4. Do not offer to bring something to every party. Sometimes, you just have to enjoy!

5. Don’t over indulge. The holidays cover a very large span of time and if you do, you will likely end up feeling heavy, sluggish and without the energy you need to enjoy them. There is no such thing as over-enjoying. A big piece of cake is no more tasty than a sliver, but it will make you feel terrible. No enjoyment there.

6. Make time for your fitness! Now is not normally the time for big goals but make at least one SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) to keep you going. You can probably find a Christmas or New Year’s Day 5k in your area. These events work well since running is often the easiest way to maintain your fitness when you have no time for the gym. Experienced runners can also focus in on their speed and keep their calorie burn and fitness up with shorter, faster, interval based workouts when they can’t do the big mileage.

7. Every outing doesn’t have to be food related. Make plans with friends and family to do a Christmas-light tour or go tobogganing. The fresh air, fun and exercise might make for long lasting memories and give you a chance to escape the holiday stresses.