Tag Archives: Food

Food Sensitivities, Schoolwork and Kum Nye.

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It’s been a wild month for me and the above picture sort of sums up how I’m working on managing things. I’m so used to just giving up and letting everything fall to pieces, so this new found willingness to work towards recovering from a chaotic situation is both refreshing and terrifying. It’s interesting watching my perspective shift and being able to act as an observer to my thoughts both when I’m being rational and when I’m feeling myself getting ready to fly off the deep end.

Basically, I’m now conscious of the fact that I get to make a decision to either hit or not hit what I’ve always called my “Fuck It” switch. It’s kind of cool to know that I can say no to self-destructive and damaging behaviors, and also to know that I get to choose to be “good enough” instead of constantly beating myself into a stressed out puddle of mess for not being perfect. I may still wind up having to drop one of my courses, but I don’t have to let my entire life fall apart because of an illness and the resulting stress and anxiety.

This past week I met with a Naturopathic Nutritionist to discuss the terrible eczema which I struggle with and she did some muscle testing and we discussed my past and present eating habits. The results of the muscle testing shows that I am sensitive to a huge portion of my diet (soy, wheat, gluten in general, corn, soy and dairy are the main ones). I’m on a gentle bowel cleansing diet now in which I eat pretty normal foods, just without the things I’m sensitive to and with fewer added fats and oils and fewer raw foods. The bulk of my diet is currently steamed vegetables, green smoothies with ground seeds and nuts and a small amount of the grains which I do process well.

So far I’m feeling pretty good, but I must admit that I am really craving plain old whole wheat bread.  I ate a lot of sandwiches and wraps and veggie burgers for the past few months and I’m missing how easy grabbing something quick used to be. These changes in my eating habits will be affecting this blog in the near future as gluten free cooking is a new and exciting adventure for me and I’ll be sharing my successes and adventures here on a fairly regular basis.

Because I’m sensitive to so many of the things I ate on a daily basis, this is going to be a challenge. Thank-goodness that being plant-based and whole-foods based will make this transition a lot easier on me than it would be on someone who eats a standard American diet. The health food shops and exotic ingredients are already part of my routine and I really love exploring new ways of doing things. The only thing I’m currently really struggling to replace in my diet is soy sauce. I have found a great product called coconut aminos, but it’s not available locally and I can’t find anywhere in Canada to have it shipped from.  Amazon won’t send it to me and Amazon.ca doesn’t carry it. I may have to beg a Calgary friend to pick some up and mail it to me soon.

My Kum Nye books arrived the other day and they are exactly what I needed right now. I still have to kick myself in the bum to get myself to meditate daily, but I know that with consistent effort on my part this will eventually become a routine I love rather than a discipline I struggle with.

 

Walk In Beauty.

 

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Concious Eating vs Asleep Eating.

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Alive with loveliness.

Alive with loveliness.

For many of us (both with and without eating disorders) learning to be conscious of what exactly we’re eating can really be helpful in switching to a new, healthy lifestyle. I know that for me, the more I understand the actual ingredients in processed foods, the less appeal they hold for me.  Seriously, when a food item’s ingredients have ingredients, you’re treading into some scary (and often deceptive) territory.

“Natural Ingredients” does not actually mean that the contents are “natural” in the sense which you or I would like to believe that they are. The umbrella term “natural” also encompasses things like Genetically Modified Organisms, fluid from animal’s anal sacs, and also many other really unhealthy and unethically obtained items.

A good rule of thumb is that if some of the ingredients in the food item which you are about to purchase are A). Not actually food items, but are instead, chemical compounds, or B). listed under umbrella terms such as “natural and artificial flavours, colours, or ingredients”, someone is trying to pull the wool over your eyes, and that item is best left on the shelf of the store. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t (or even that I don’t) ever eat these sort of foods, but I am suggesting that when doing so we be fully aware of the fact that what we are consuming is not actually food.

In my opinion, food should be made up of things found in nature which have encountered very little processing or alteration by human hands. Most of the food which I keep in my home as staples have 3 or fewer ingredients, and it’s reassuring to know that these sort of foods would have fed my ancestors without them thinking something strange was going on.

Way back in January I was shocked by the ingredients on a package of two bite brownies at a convenience store. They had no fewer than FIFTY ingredients, whereas the ones I make from scratch at home contain maybe six. Seriously, this is the sort of bizarre laboratory produced food that your average person is eating these days! Most people are more afraid that a whole wheat pita will make them fat than they are concerned that the majority of the food they eat on a daily basis has been developed in a science laboratory, with many individual ingredients that they would never dream of adding to a recipe at home.

I find that focusing on eating foods which are ACTUALLY found in nature, are nourishing and nutrient dense, really helps balance my cravings, keeps my energy levels high, and generally helps remind me that as humans we are intrinsically connected with all life, and that the more alive our food choices are, the more alive our lives will be. This has helped me so much in not obsessing over the size of my body, or how many calories I eat.

It’s so much more fun to eat and live to fuel vibrancy, than it is to be constantly obsessed with how many calories I eat. Connected and aware eating is a huge part of my spiritual journey, and disconnected eating really is one of the last barriers which I have placed in my own path. I over-came drug and alcohol abuse in the 1990s, I overcame nicotine addiction in the early 2000s and I am almost done with this whole battle I’ve had going with food since I was a small child.  I deserve to be vibrant, awake and healthy, and I am becoming so.

Avocados and Road Bikes.

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The sky on my bike ride home last night was incredible.

The sky on my bike ride home last night was incredible.

“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes.

If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralysed.

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding,

the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.”
Rumi

I’m still really loving biking to and from work both for the physical work out as well as for the HUGE spiritual lift which it gives me. I arrive both at work and at home feeling invigorated and full of energy, which is certainly not how I felt when I was busing or getting a ride to work. It’s as if the mere act of getting my adrenaline pumping just lifts the stress right out of me and blows it away in the wind.

I am intending to upgrade my bike when fall hits and get a road bike with really good treads for snow-biking. I tried to bike through last winter but I gave up in early December. This year I intend to make sure I’m prepared enough that I have no excuses. I am getting much better at not making excuses, and at just being free to enjoy things without dragging my heels and complaining. Being unapologetically alive feels pretty darn good.

I’m still in a super busy stage in my life and as a results my meals are pretty simple and straight-forward these days. Meals are things like organic corn chips with organic refried beans, and piles of fresh salsa, or toast smeared with avocado and topped with homegrown sprouts. These meals aren’t very exciting to blog about, but I think I’ll start doing so anyway, as I need to keep carrying my whole foods, plant-based message, and showing how simple it can be is an asset for sure.

Avocado toast for supper.

Avocado toast for supper.

101 Reasons to Quit Eating Processed Foods Forever

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101 Reasons to Quit Eating Processed Foods Forever. (source article link)

by Jill Ettinger


Corn Chips

It’s almost impossible to go to the market without coming back with something in a box, bag, can or jar. The simplicity of eliminating steps in preparing our food is now commonplace. We cut corners because food manufacturers make it so unbelievably easy and cheap to do so. Certainly some processed foods are safer than others, and most of us recognize how truly lucky we are to have so many options at our fingertips. And that’s just the point: When we change our food habits, we change the world.

It may seem as if processed food only affects our health, but there’s a much bigger impact…and all the more reason for us to cut processed foods out for good. Need a little motivation in making the shift to a truly whole foods diet? Here are 101 reasons to stop eating processed foods…forever.

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Forks Over Knives | The Myth of Complementary Protein (and my thoughts on it)

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I believed in the concept of “complete and incomplete proteins”  for years before switching to a plant-based / vegan lifestyle. In fact, it is hard to this day for me not to try to combine foods (out of habit) in meals to make “complete proteins”,  even though I know intellectually that it just isn’t necessary, and  that in many cases it actually slows down digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Long before I was even “mostly vegetarian” I ate many vegetarian and vegan meals, just due to the nature of my peer group. I learned to respect plant-based meals and as someone who sees cooking as an adventure/hobby learning to cook this was was fun for me. This of course made transitioning much easier for me than for most. Hell, my vegan chili has always been tastier than my meaty chili – even when meat was (sadly) a daily occurrence in my life.

I am not one of those people who judges people for eating meat at all, my issue is with the factory farms, the mega corporations who force us into using them and with how ill our culture is to see this as normal, or to choose to remain blind to the plight of these poor tortured souls who are being treated like commodities rather than conscious beings.

Forks Over Knives | The Myth of Complementary Protein.

The Myth of Complementary Protein 570x299 The Myth of Complementary Protein

Recently, I was teaching a nutrition class and describing the adequacy of plant-based diets to meet human nutritional needs. A woman raised her hand and stated, “I’ve read that because plant foods don’t contain all the essential amino acids that humans need, to be healthy we must either eat animal protein or combine certain plant foods with others in order to ensure that we get complete proteins.”

I was a little surprised to hear this, since this is one of the oldest myths related to vegetarianism and was disproved long ago. When I pointed this out, the woman identified herself as a medical resident and stated that her current textbook in human physiology states this and that in her classes, her professors have emphasized this point.

I was shocked. If myths like this abound not only in the general population but also in the medical community, how can anyone ever learn how to eat healthfully? It is important to correct this misinformation, because many people are afraid to follow healthful, plant-based, and/or total vegetarian (vegan) diets because they worry about “incomplete proteins” from plant sources.

How did this “incomplete protein” myth become so widespread?

No Small Misconception

The “incomplete protein” myth was inadvertently promoted and popularized in the 1971 book, Diet for a Small Planet, by Frances Moore Lappé. In it, the author stated that plant foods are deficient in some of the essential amino acids, so in order to be a healthy vegetarian, you needed to eat a combination of certain plant foods at the same time in order to get all of the essential amino acids in the right amounts. It was called the theory of “protein complementing.”

Lappé certainly meant no harm, and her mistake was somewhat understandable. She was not a nutritionist, physiologist, or medical doctor; she was a sociologist trying to end world hunger. She realized that converting vegetable protein into animal protein involved a lot of waste, and she calculated that if people ate just the plant protein, many more could be fed. In the tenth anniversary edition of her book (1981), she retracted her statement and basically said that in trying to end one myth—the inevitability of world hunger—she had created a second one, the myth of the need for “protein complementing.”

In this and later editions, she corrects her earlier mistake and clearly states that all plant foods typically consumed as sources of protein contain all the essential amino acids, and that humans are virtually certain of getting enough protein from plant sources if they consume sufficient calories.

Amino Acid Requirements

Where did the concept of essential amino acids come from and how was the minimum requirement for essential amino acids derived? In 1952, William Rose and his colleagues completed research to determine the human requirements for each of the eight essential amino acids. They set the minimum amino acid requirement equal to the greatest amount required by any single person in their study. Then to arrive at the recommended amino acid requirement, they simply doubled the minimum requirements. This recommended amount was considered a definite safe intake.

Today, if you calculate the amount of each essential amino acid provided by unprocessed plant foods and compare these values with those determined by Rose, you will find that any single whole natural plant food, or any combination of them, if eaten as one’s sole source of calories for a day, would provide all of the essential amino acids and not just the minimum requirements but far more than the recommended requirements.

Modern researchers know that it is virtually impossible to design a calorie-sufficient diet based on unprocessed whole natural plant foods that is deficient in any of the amino acids. (The only possible exception could be a diet based solely on fruit).

Pride and Prejudice

Unfortunately, the “incomplete protein” myth seems unwilling to die. In an October 2001 article on the hazards of high-protein diets in the medical journal Circulation, the Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Association wrote, “Although plant proteins form a large part of the human diet, most are deficient in one or more essential amino acids and are therefore regarded as incomplete proteins.”1 Oops!

Medical doctor and author John McDougall wrote to the editor pointing out the mistake. But in a stunning example of avoiding science for convenience, instead of acknowledging their error, Barbara Howard, Ph.D., head of the Nutrition Committee, replied on June 25, 2002 to Dr. McDougall’s letter, stating (without a single scientific reference) that the committee was correct and that “most [plant foods] are deficient in one or more essential amino acids.” Clearly, the committee did not want to be confused by the facts.

Maybe you are not surprised by this misconception in the medical community, but what about the vegetarian community?

Behind the Times

Believe it or not, an article in the September 2002 issue of Vegetarian Times made the same mistake. In a story titled “Amazing Aminos,” author Susan Belsinger incorrectly stated, “Incomplete proteins, which contain some but not all of the EAAs [essential amino acids], can be found in beans, legumes, grains, nuts and green leafy vegetables…. But because these foods do not contain all of the EAAs, vegetarians have to be smart about what they eat, consuming a combination of foods from the different food groups. This is called food combining.”

A Dangerous Myth

To wrongly suggest that people need to eat animal protein for proper nutrition encourages consumption of foods known to contribute to the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, many forms of cancer, and other common health problems.

This article was originally published on Jeff Novick’s website.

1 Circulation 2001;104: 1869-74.

10 Most Absurd Lies Told By McDonald’s CEO| Alternet

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McPoison

McPoison (Photo credit: SlipStreamJC)

 

 

I’m just flabbergasted by how dishonest so much of the corporate world is, and by how readily people believe pretty well everything they hear, without filtering or double checking the facts. McDonald’s isn’t food, no matter how many different ways they utilize to convince us otherwise.

 

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Vegan Lentil Stew, Urban Cycling and Cultivating Peace.

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lentilstew

 

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.
e. e. cummings

Today was pretty darn awesome for me. It was my third shift at my new job and it’s really feeling good for me being there. The staff and the customers are just plain easy to be around, and my shifts just fly by painlessly.

The hour or so I spend on my bike on the way to and from work is seriously just glorious freedom for me. I really don’t understand why so many people become slaves to their cars; they’re just missing out on so much exhilaration, freedom and gym-free exercise. I’m probably quite the ridiculous sight when I bike home (and truthfully the though of how ridiculous I am makes me happy) because I bring music with me and sing my heart out while I peddle home. Today I was jamming to Van Morrison, drumming on my handle bars and basically just sucking up the sunlight and my freedom. I’m studying to get my learner’s license, and then my driver’s but truthfully, I think I’ll always bike in the warm months, it just brings me so much peace. I’ve moved into biking in a harder gear now that I’ve gotten a bit more used to the commute, and my legs and thighs are REALLY feeling the workout.

Tonight for supper I just made a really simple curried stew using tinned lentils, onions, celery. carrots, potatoes,  zucchini,  a chunk of broccoli, herbs, tamari, curry paste and a handful of leftover romano beans. I ate it with some toast and it was really satisfying and I feel good. I love how easy it is to turn PLANTS into a good, fulfilling, healthy meal in no time at all. Most likely I’ll just warm up the leftovers tomorrow and have them with a scoop of brown rice and a small cabbage salad.

I’m reading Being In Balance by Dr. Wayne Dyer currently and I’m really learning a lot about living in a peaceful vibratory state, and about changing my thinking/feeling. This book is really helping me own and release  the anxiety and stress that I usually carry around in me. It’s refreshing to read about stress/anxiety management in this new way. Thinking on a vibrational level rather than an intellectual level seems to really bring some new insight for me. My intellectual understanding of “choosing my feelings” just plain wasn’t doing much for me, but broken down this way it just seems to be more easily applicable. I’m ready to let go of my anxiety and stress and embrace being the peace I know resides at my core. This book really resonates with my current meditation work, and my current focus on balancing my life out wholistically.

I’ve officially decided that I’m much happier, more balanced and more grounded now that my ex isn’t in my life. I’m not blaming him for the fact that I wasn’t happy, or that my life was lacking while I was with him, but I am celebrating my newfound freedom. It’s hard making a life with someone else and truthfully, I’m just really not into the idea of being tied down to keeping house and caring for someone else’s needs at this point in my life. I haven’t yet mastered self-care and balance, and having someone else who needed me to meet their needs really threw me off balance. I’ll always love things about our time together, and I learned a ton about what I do and do not want in a partner and my life.

This song always reminds me to be grateful for my ability to support myself and to love working, even if my job isn’t always what I want to be doing. Something as simple as preparing a nourishing meal and providing a bright moment in someone’s day is a service to humanity, if done with a humble spirit and good intentions. Hating my job isn’t something I need to do today. I’m working in the direction of creating the life I dream of for myself, and where I’m at right now, is just fine. Music is sure a beautiful way to celebrate life.