whole foods and beyond....nourishing the body, spirit and soul

Saturday, January 22, 2011

tips for transition/maintaining a healthy lifestyle

with the experience that i've had over the last five-ish years sticking to a whole foods diet, i thought why not just throw some things i've learned on to a nice and neat little blog post for your inspiration. enjoy:)

the moment i found out that there were some serious issues going on with my health at age 18, i was mortified and had a desperation to find answers. the herbalist i was working with at the time suggested two books to read to help me understand the concept of healing the body. i can't even remember the name of either of the books, but for the first time in my life, i enjoyed reading! after that i decided to plow through every book i could find on health and nutrition. i had to immerse myself in the work of these authors, to remind myself that i wasn't in fact insane like everyone else around me perceived...i was regaining control of my body and mind by leaving the status quo of western eating. if you are interested in your health, read every book and article that you can find on it. you'll be pleasantly inspired and be in a continual state of learning how to really understand your body. it also really helps to know there are people out there like you, that have gone through similar challenges. if it weren't for  The Maker's Diet by Jordan Rubin, i'd still think i was a freak. other books that i think are must reads are: The Raw Food Detox Diet by Nataila Rose,  Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Dr. Weston A. Price, and Health According to the Scriptures by Paul Nison.

this is key. KEY!! i feel like this is where most people start to shake under the pressure of transitioning to a healthy lifestyle or maintaining it. hunger could strike you at any moment, and if you don't have something in your fridge calling your name already, you'll listen to anything sweetly calling you...even that snickers on the counter that belongs to your roommate. this isn't as complicated as it sounds. whenever i have a chance to prepare food, i take a few moments to get something ready, and then hours later when i'm ready for said food, it's already waiting on me. this could be having some raw veggies chopped and marinating, cooked grains or a sweet raw treat.

this goes hand in hand with number two. not only do i love the strange looks i get when i randomly pull a healthy snack out of my purse, i love the way it nourishes my body in any moment of hunger away from my home. this doesn't have to be complex either. you can take things like dried fruits and nuts in a container, pack a lara bar or i've been known to have roasted sweet potatoes in my purse, and once my sister and i even packed salads with homemade dressing on the side for a plane ride. we definitely got some "looks" on that flight!

the last thing you need in your crazy life is a set of crazy rules. don't put restrictions on yourself about what and when you're allowed to eat. instead accept freedom as you choose to listen to your body and what it needs. listening to your cravings can be a really good gauge as to what's going on inside your body. for instance, you may experience cravings for sweets, carbs, or even protein. this doesn't mean that your body is actually crying out for a piece of cake; it's telling you it's deficient in a certain element and bringing it to your attention. for instance, this past fall i was craving sweets all the time. i ate a lot of dates and honey to fulfill my cravings until i learned that craving sweets was a sign of calcium deficiency. a great source of calcium is sesame mylk, so to replenish my body i started drinking sesame mylk a couple times a week and noticed that shortly after, my major cravings were gone.

now this one is a little tricky. i want to bring this point up, because in the beginning of your journey you will find yourself with a lot of conflicting views on which foods to completely leave behind and which foods to start incorporating. this month you may find yourself doing excellent as you remove dairy from your diet. however, don't swear off animal products for life, because later on you could find out that your body does great with and might even need raw goat cheese for certain nutrients. i respect Daniel Vitalis for being so transparent with the dietary changes he has made over the last few years. he's a major leader in the raw foods community and was a vegan for years until about two years ago he decided to add organic meat products back into his diet for optimal health. he's given courage to people everywhere to get over the "rules" and to do what's right for your individual body. however, i fully support everyone who so wisely swears off refined flour and refined sugar from their world. i guarantee there will never be a point in your life where you'll be incorporating those back into your diet for improved health;)

yep, you guessed it, it's important to poop. did you know that the human body is designed to have a bowel movement 3-5 times a day? that sounds euphoric to me! most people living on the western diet of processed foods have really irregular bowel movements and more often than not, only go once or twice a week. by eating lifeless foods, the body gets backed up and literally a bunch of undigested food gets left behind in your intestines to rot. not only is this rotting debris toxic to your health, it also clogs up the path for waste removal making bowel movements very irregular. a great way to get a head start on cleaning things up is to do an enema. if you don't know what that is, ask your grandma...i'm sure she's familiar with it! anyways, an enema will naturally and safely break up all the undigested waste and get it moving out of your body like....RIGHT NOW! i'm not going to lie, it's refreshing on so many levels. once this initial junk is out of your system, you will sleep better, wake up with more energy, have more energy through out the day, grogginess will leave, crankiness and irritability will be symptoms of the past, you'll experience better nutrient absorption from your food and almost best of all...your cravings for junk food will finally be defeated! (the debris hanging around in your digestive system will cause you to continue to crave sugars and heavy starches...leading you into a very vicious cycle.) now doesn't that sounds fantastic!? so, doing an enema at the beginning of your transition will help get your body kick started into motion and then doing one once a month or so through the beginning of your detoxing transition should keep all the old waste moving out of your body and prevent any candida issues from developing.

everywhere you look there's going to be advertisements trying to sway your consumer dollar. unfortunately people believe that because something is advertised as "healthy" that it must be good for their health. however, who is paying for that advertisement? not some one who is interested in your health, rather the creator of the product who is actually just interested in your money. companies pay billions of dollars each year to have their products smeared across magazines, billboards, commercials and newspapers that claim false things like "milk does a body good....whole grains are heart healthy....corn syrup is ok in moderation." to me, it's sad that companies can get away with blatant lies like these to the public and even sadder that people believe them. so if your looking for real information, don't turn to a magazine or believe the latest news story on health, instead turn to research from holistic health authorities that have been proven by science. on a side note, i have also realized that it's easier for me to remain high raw with no food cravings when i don't watch too much food network;)

ok let me clarify. when i first started my health journey, everyone in my immediate family, all my friends and all my coworkers knew exactly what i was going through. not to the point that i advertised it, but i made it clear that because of health reasons i needed to embark on a new diet. i can't tell you how much it helped me out working at an italian restaurant where we had staff meals before every shift, that everyone knew that i couldn't eat the same things they were eating...so it saved me from caving and also people knew not to offer me anything. i also owe a lot to my friends who were always around at that time. if we were going out to eat they would collaborate together to make sure we were going to a restaurant that i would still be able to stick to my restrictions. and i do remember a time when i almost put a piece of cake in my mouth in a moment of weakness and my dear friend slapped it out of my hands before it reached my mouth! these are true friends. let the people around you know enough of what's going on in your life so that they can cheer you on and not be offended when you turn down the food they offer you.

it's great to have goals that you're aspiring to reach, however don't be disappointed that you're not there yet. i've had countless ups and downs with my journey, but i've chosen not to get upset about them, and instead embrace them all as part of my story. if you fall of your path for a minute, quickly find your way back, and release any negative emotions you feel, while reminding yourself how much progress you have made in the long run. you'll never reach a point where you'll sit back and say "i've finally made it." your health will always be a story board of progress, so love each part of the process.

i've had some really great experiences of just speaking things out loud of what i want to see happen in my life, only to watch them appear all on their own with perfect timing. words have a powerful affect and when we choose to speak life (see proverbs 18:21) to our current circumstances or the situations we would like to see unfold, there's no stopping the great things that could happen. write a confession list of the goals you have with your body speaking in the present tense and read it out loud at least once everyday. for example say things like "i love my body. i am the perfect weight and i only eat foods that my body was created to eat." you may not be at that moment in reality, however by speaking this words as if they already were, eventually it will catch up to you, and everyday you will be living your dream! just some great examples of this working in my life: i spoke a new job into my life, a car, a healthy, easy labor and delivery of my baby, declared a virus out of existence in my body and spoke positive words to get my business off the ground. speak positively and lovingly to yourself...you deserve it!!!

what tips have you gathered on your journey?


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  2. Oh my goodness!!! You have no idea what this article means to me! I knew you had become a "health freak," as some would say, after your whole health scare, but I had somehow forgotten about it after that. I have always known that healthy eating was for me. When I gave up milk about a year ago, it only reaffirmed things in my heart. I was already strange for not drinking pop anymore, but now I had dropped milk out of my diet and was becoming pretty picky about sweets and processed foods. My body felt great, rejuvenated and alive. Now as my church has dedicated itself to a 21 day Daniel fast, which I do realize is not meant to aid in health or dieting but is to break walls in your life and to see God move in your trials, I was reminded at how much I miss healthy eating. I'm definitely thinking about making this year the beginning of a new, healthy lifestyle, and would love any tips or hints you can give me. I am for sure following this blog asap! Thanks for being you. Love and miss you.

  3. welcome to the blog johnny boy! i love you and i love it that you found inspiration here! yes the daniel fast is incredible spiritually but i think people tend to not even notice the fact that it has incredible effects physically as well. getting off milk is a big step...congrats! im glad that god has brought you to this place of remembering to focus on health. i am here for you! cheers to a healthier you in 2011!

  4. Great article Eleni! I've been finding more ways to market us (for free, of course, you know me) on craigslist and small business websites, so let me know if you're interested in that sort of thing. --Niko

  5. that sounds fantastic. go for the gold! do you have any links you could send me of where you were doing this?

    ps i love the name DaNick

  6. Hey, am I that friend that slapped that cake out of Ur hand at the Greek festival? Haha. I am starting the raw food detox through the raw divas, Mel emailed me a huge list. I am really pumped, nervous, and determined. I will be asking u and Mel lots of questions;)

  7. yesss!!! of course its you!! although im sure it happened more than once, the time i was thinking of was at your moms surprise birthday party...so thanks again:)

    the raw food detox with the divas should go great! they have so many tips, recipes and just lead you on the right path easily. i think youll find almost immediately higher amounts of energy and food cravings normalizing. dont be nervous...go for the gold!