Product Review: Windy City Organics brings a Rawesome Gust to the Palate

Raw.

Vegan.

Organic.

Superfood.

Living food. 

How does that sound?

This is what you get from Windy City Organics, the parent company of some of the most amazing raw food brands that I have come across: DastonySunBioticsRawGuru, and Rawmio. They also work very closely with Sprout Living, one of the leading manufacturers of raw, sprouted, vegan, and organic brown rice and superfood protein powders of the purest nature.

Based out of (you guessed it), Chicago, IL, Wind City Organics, is family owned and operated and is a dedicated raw organic food manufacturer.

Of course, as health conscious individuals, we want to eat fresh foods - never before packaged - straight out of a garden, as often as possible. But the simple fact is that we live in a modern world and not all of us have access to what we need to thrive in our own backyards. We live in a world where we are traveling by cars, planes, trains, buses, trams, subways - and countless other means of transportation. And when we aren't in a vehicle of sorts we are walking, biking, rolling or strolling into our next meeting - bluetooth in ear, coffee in hand, bags and/or babies in the other fighting crowds and desperately trying to keep our energy up. And we have what tucked away for a snack in between meals? What about those times that we are not in the hustle and bustle but we are on play time enjoying nature with a long hike or backpacking trip or taking it easy with a road trip? What's in our pack? An apple? A banana? Protein bars? And what else do we bring to sustain us between or in addition to meals that is nutrient dense?

The average protein bar consists of a long list of hard to decipher 'ingredients' like soy and/or whey protein isolate, dextrin, natural and artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, vegetable oils, gluten (wheat/barley/rye) and genetically modified corn syrup - and even the ingredients that are otherwise healthy like nuts, seeds and coconut are typically highly processed/heated, destroying the enzymes and any nutritional properties - leaving them nutrient void and you unsatisfied. These bars will likely lead to a host of residual effects such as gas, bloating, lethargy and will leave you with hunger pangs shortly after.

I strive to consume fresh foods, that do not come in a package for the majority of the time. This is generally doable for me. I go to the market and fill my cart with oodles of produce. I also incorporate healthy fats and proteins with wild game, raw aged cheese, farm-fresh eggs (thanks Mom!), gluten-free whole grains, and superfood like seeds, nuts, cacao, coconut and concentrated dried or dehydrated fruits like goji berries, cherries and dates.

Enter Windy City Organics, a one-stop-shop for just what I need to fuel my body holistically. Their products are not only packed with nutrient dense ingredients, but the list of ingredients is short and sweet (or even just one ingredient like Dastony's Stoneground Raw Almond Butter...OMG divine) and 100% organic raw unprocessed goodness.

I recently had the opportunity to try some of their products within the Sunbiotics, Dastony and Rawmio brands. All I can say, is that it was hands down the best raw chocolate and almonds that I have ever had. For real.

I started with the Sunbiotics Probiotic Chocolate bar and Chocolate Almonds (soaked & sprouted) whilst sitting outside in the sun reading.

Wow. There is simply nothing about these that I would change. The raw ingredients of cacao, coconut sugar, yacon root and vanilla bean made for such a supple and sweet combination that just melted in my mouth. And the crunch of the sprouted almonds coated with raw cacao was absolutely delectable. Shockingly, I was able to stop myself at half each and enjoy the rest the next day.

My next endeavor was the Rawmio - Organic Gourmet Sour Cherry and Almond Raw Chocolate Bark (naturally I chose the other chocolate bar next lol).

I enjoyed this bar after a hike on a beautiful warm and sunny day. I cannot even begin to describe to you how tasty this treat was after my hike. That day I was totally fueled by carbs and after the hike needed some fat and protein for an added boost. I had this bar, my vegan (SunWarrior) shake and some coconut water. 

And then.. allow me to introduce to you the finest quality almond butter that has ever crossed these lips. Would I lie to ya'll? Of course not. Dude... this almond butter has a decadent flavor so rich and smooth that one would think there is a list 10+ long of ingredients listed on the back. Nope. Simply100% Raw and Stone Ground Almonds.

I topped mine with some raw cacao nibs...whoa.

And lastly, I tried out Sunbiots' Cheesy Almonds over a nutrient dense salad. 

These almonds added such a pleasurable zest to my salad that I did a little happy dance! Yes, this is what fantastic foods do to me ;)

Suffice it to say, that I couldn't have been more pleased with the products from Windy City Organics and I will be leaning on them for much of my rawesome fuel from now on.

Bed of romaine, shredded carrot, chopped broccoli and cumber with tomato and raw caraway seed sauerkraut, Sunbiotics Cheesy Almonds, and a side of strawberries.

All of these products can be found online at the specific brand's website listed above, wholesale at Windy City Organics or at RawGuru.

-Ashley

For the Love of Blueberry

Ummm... magic.

I'm at my brother's right now and the entire house including my nephews, ages 4 and 6, are on a smoothie kick. I mean, so much so that the youngest comes downstairs in the morning with sleepy eyes still and a sweet smile on his face and asks: "Can I have a shake?" And the older one now wants his 'shake' for his afternoon snack.

Watching them help make the 'shake' with things like banana, kale, organic frozen fruit, and green juice simply makes my day.

And hearing them say things like... "I love kale" and "I love greens," is music to my ears.   

My sister-in-law makes new creations everyday and the other day it was... "O.M.G. You have to try this...omg. Yeah. This is good. Yeah. This is really good. Let's write this one down."

Love it when that happens ;)

For the Love of Blueberry

1 1/2 ripe (spotty) banana
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
1 large leaf of kale
1/2 an apple (we used Pink Lady)
3 ice cubes
1 scoop French Vanilla Vega One 
3/4 cup coconut water (we usedC2O)

Method:

Add all ingredients in the order listed. Pulse with your blender for a a good 10 times and then blend until smooth.

Yields 1 large smoothie or 2 small smoothies.

And yes, use spotty bananas! 

Bananas help overcome depression due high levels of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin -- the happy-mood brain neurotransmitter.

Spotty bananas can also help to relieve constipation (whereas underripe bananas can actually cause constipation), lessen anxiety and alleviate depression. 

Wishing you all an easy breezy day filled spotty bananas, blueberries and love!

Enjoy ;)

-AEB

No-Bake Lemon Cardamom Coconut Macaroons

This recipe came to me quickly while putting together a menu for my family's Easter Brunch this year.

I am a sucker for a macaroons and I thought it would be a nice addition for a dessert on a spring holiday. And, I love desserts that are sweet yet not too heavy.

This one seriously took about 5 minutes. Wicked easy.

Lemon Cardamom Coconut Macaroons

2 cups unsweetened unsulphered shredded coconut flakes ( I like Let's Do Organic)
1/4 cup organic full fat unsweetened coconut milk (from a BPA-free can or carton, look for those without added ingredients)
1/2 cup organic unrefined coconut oil (melted)
1/4 cup organic hulled hemp seeds
3 T Raw honey*
Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
Dash of ground cardamom

Method:

Add all of ingredients except for the coconut oil into a glass bowl, then pour the oil in and stir vigorously until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

Form macaroon shapes (or whatever shape your heart desires) and place on a glass dish or wax paper, cover and let cool and set in the refrigerator. This would take at least an hour.

Yields ~ 16 macaroons

Enjoy ;)

-AEB

Product Review: Go Raw Junk-Free Snacks

It never ceases to amaze me the amount of dangerous additives, preservatives, and chemicals that are added to otherwise safe and healthy food. For what? While the short and quick answer would be "longer shelf life," the reality is much more complicated. The reality, is that adding these things to food saves money by adding fillers and therefore making more at a lower cost. The reality, is that the chemicals that are put into packaged and processed foods are not only dangerous chemicals made in a lab - they proven to have an effect on mood and behavior leading to or contributing to a vast amount of behavioral disturbances such as hyperactivity, ADHD, tantrums, and even Autism.

These nutrient void "foods" are made to make your mouth water, your taste-buds crave more, and set you up for a sugar crash with urgent hunger pangs causing you to reach for more. 

"Research carried out by Dr. Neil Ward at Surrey University found that 89% of 357 diagnosed hyperactive children were adversely affected by artificial colours." (foodsmatter.com).

Be Aware of Food Additives 

We've all seen them on the back of packages and this list is no where near exhaustive but here are some of the scariest additives out there:

  • Artificial Colors: Azo & Coal Tar Dyes worst offenders (E102, 104, 107, 110, 120, 122, 123, 124, 127, 128, 132, 133, 150, 151, 152, 155). These colors and dyes have been known to trigger reactions in asthmatics as well as trigger or cause allergic reactions. Artificial colors are found in products such as beverages, condiments, and other processed foods.
     
  • Artificial Flavors:  An artificial flavor must be comprised of one of the nearly 700 FDA-allowed flavoring chemicals or food additives categorized as “generally recognized as safe,” or any of 2000 other chemicals not directly regulated by FDA but sanctioned for use by an industry group, the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association of the United States. Most of these chemicals exist as natural flavors or can be extracted from them (ewg.org).
     
  • Artificial Sweeteners (aspartame, sorbitol, mannitol, acesulfame, saccharin, saccharin, xyitol): Artificial sweeteners provide zero benefits, are void of nutrients, and cause or contribute to a vast amount of ailments and disease including but not limited to diabetes, tooth decay, weight-gain, bacteria overgrowth, and toxin build-up.
     
  • Carrageenan: A thickener and emulsifier derived from an indigestible seaweed causing inflammation and linked to cancer, ulcerative colitis, and other diseases such as diabetes. Ironically, this one is generally found in alternative milks (like almond milk), juices, and infant formula.
     
  • Flavor Enhancers such as Monosodium Glutamate - MSG (E621): "One of the scariest ingredients out there...Dr. Russell Blaylock, a board-certified neurosurgeon and author of Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills; explains that MSG is an excitotoxin, which means it overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death, causing brain damage to varying degrees and potentially even triggering or worsening learning disabilities: Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's Disease, Lou Gehrig's Disease, and more." (Found in Eat Raw Not Cooked by Stacy Stowers).
     
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): The term 'GMOs' is being tossed around the health community like a ball in a dog park these days- but the fact is, GMOs are scary. If you aren't already worried about them - you should be. Hate to put it so bluntly, but there simply must be an awareness of GMOs and how they can and will effect your body. 
    • In more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. In the U.S., the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale.
    • GMOs (or “genetically modified organisms”) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, or GE. This relatively new science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.
    • Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit. Meanwhile, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.
    • Unfortunately, even though polls consistently show that a significant majority of Americans want to know if the food they’re purchasing contains GMOs, the powerful biotech lobby has succeeded in keeping this information from the public. In the absence of mandatory labeling, the Non-GMO Project was created to give consumers the informed choice they deserve.(http://www.nongmoproject.org/)
  • High-Fructose Corn Syrup: This one has stirred quite a debate. As it's name entails, high-fructose is derived from corn - and it is... you guessed it, fructose. What's the big deal? Yes, it is higher on the glycemic index but what concerns me with HFCS the most, is that it is coming from an ingredient that is highly likely to be genetically modified (corn) and it is completely void of an nutrients. And yes, this too is made in a lab. Stick with 100% pure maple syrup, raw honey, coconut sugar, or dates to sweeten up your foods/beverages where you will be getting the benefit of minerals, enzymes, and vitamins while you get your sugar fix.
     
  • Natural Flavors: According to its website, the FDA does not have a definition for 'natural' as it appears on food labels, and its willing to let marketers use it so long as the food does not contain added colors or synthetic substances. Yet Natural flavors are still made from compounds that were made in a lab utilizing chemicals and synthetic materials! Comforting right?
    • Further ... the FDA says that natural flavor is one that's derived from a "spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable  juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof"...Basically a natural flavor is one that's derived from a plant or animal (including insects). An artificial flavor, on the other hand, does not come from a plant or animal source, and instead is generated from scratch (in a lab).
    • Sodium benzoate and benzoic acid (E210, 211): Food additive/preservatives linked to worsening hyperactivity, allergies and taxing organs such as the liver and kidneys.
    • Sodium Nitrates: Food additive (typically in cured meats as a preservative) linked to gastric cancer, kidney disease/stones/failure. This one may seem relatively harmless on a label but it's a biggie - we humans have a threshold with the amount of sodium that our body can handle. Surpassing that threshold is a serious danger zone. In infants and toddlers, high concentrations of nitrate can lead to a condition called "blue baby syndrome," which can be fatal. The United States Environmental Protection Agency notes that this happens with nitrates bind to red blood cells, blocking their ability to carry life-giving oxygen throughout the body. Nitrates are also associated with an increase risk in cancer and specifically brain tumors, leukemia and nose/throat tumors.
    • Sulfites/sulphites, Sulfur Dioxide : These two are different chemical compounds but are similar. Sulfites and sulfur dioxide are added to a slew of products to preserve their color and extend their shelf life. Sulfites are also used an alternative to bleaching (in things like white flours, spices, coconut and is also sprayed on shellfish and some fish right on the boat). Both of these additives have the ability to cause major allergic reactions. In fact, sulfites is amongst Canada's top 10 common allergens. Note: Sulfites are also found naturally occurring in fermented foods and beverages such as wine - though some wine makers add more to preserve it further, kombucha and fermented veggies many people can tolerate these naturally sulfites. These two additives are seriously everywhere so get accustomed to reading labels - but also know that if it is under a certain amount (10 ppm), they do not have to be on the label so severely sensitive individuals should also check with the maker/manufacturer. 

Before I go on, allow me to just give you some brief insight as to what I have experienced with some of these additives:

  • Artificial colors & dyes: Anaphylactic, itchy throat, dilated pupils, elevated heart rate
  • MSG: Joint pain, migraines, dizziness/vertigo, flushing, elevated heart rate, facial pressure and sensitive skin 
  • Sodium Nitrates and Sodium benzoate: Kidney stones 
  • Artificial Sweeteners: lethargy, joint pain, brain fog, digestive upset, headaches
  • Sulfites/sulfites, Sulfur Dioxide: Anaphylactic, itchy throat, dilated pupils, elevated heart rate, itchy/watery eyes, brain dog, confusion, depression, joint pain, anxiety

Keep in mind that just because something is derived from a plant or animal (like in 'natural flavors' doesn't mean that it's safe. For example, Citric Acid - a seemingly harmless preservative is often derived from mold. And, ever hear of castoreum? Tastes like vanilla right? Well, this 'natural flavor' is actually a secretion that comes from two castor sacs located under a beaver's tail, right next to a pair of anal glands. This evidently tastes and smells like vanilla and is classified as a 'natural' food additive because it comes from an animal source. Yup, beavers butt. 

I recommend these few simple guidlines:

  • 7 ingredients or less rule: Many folks will say 5  but some of my favorite go-to healthy products contain celtic or Himalayan sea salt or spices like ginger and cinnamon that put it over the 5 limit. 
  • If you can't pronounce it - chances are you don't want to it. For real. 
  • If you don't recognize the ingredient, chances are your body won't either. Our bodies do an awesome job of assimilating and breaking down real whole foods - and naturally begins to reject things that it does not recognize as food.

So, let's step away from the "what  you don't know won't hurt you" mentality and get educated. Knowledge is power my friends.

Product Review: Go Raw Junk-Free Snacks

This post took a bit of a detour - apparently I had some ranting to do before I praise one of my go-to organic food brands: Go Raw. I eat Go Raw products on a regular basis (their spicy pumpkin and sunflower seed mix is out of this world). All of their products are free of sugar, oil, flour, and 100% vegan. 

Their products use a delicate process of soaking, sprouting, and drying (under 105º fahrenheit), ensuring a nutrient dense and enzyme rich finished product. 

I had the pleasure of sampling a variety of Go Raw's new Sprouted Cookies. 

Go Raw's products are sourced from 100% organic ingredients. These cookies are made from a base of 3 simple ingredients: unsulphered coconut, sprouted sesame seeds, and dates that when combined, create a taste-bud experience unlike any other cookie. The good news? The cookie is actually good for you. Go Raw has come up with a variety of cookie flavors like Chocolate (yes please!), Lemon (heaven...), Carrot, Masala Chai, Ginger (OMG yum!) and Original. There was not one that did not like though my favorites are Chocolate, Lemon and Ginger. I may have had three of each in one bite for an epic combination....and by that, I mean that I did... 

For those that have nut allergies, Go Raw is a dedicated nut-free facility. 

Sesame, dates and coconut are nutritional powerhouses. 

Sesame Seeds:

Don't let their size fool you, these tiny seeds are loaded with goodness. Protein makes up 20% of the seed, offering 4.7 grams of protein per ounce. High in magnesium, sesame is an excellent way to get this nutrient in; which aids in digestion, sleep, blood sugar control, lowering anxiety and stress and is critical in preventing diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease. The phytosterol is the highest in sesame in comparison to any other nut or seed - this compound has been found to have anti-cancer properties. In addition, sesame contains a high amount of iron, which everyone needs but particularly those with anemia or prone to anemia. And, just a small handful of sesame contains more calcium than a glass of milk. The list goes on and on from healthy skin and hair to eye health - these babies are indeed a superfood. 

Coconut:

If you've been tapped into the health community, you already know that coconut is pretty much a miracle. You can read about the 101 uses for coconut by the lovely Wellness Moma here. Coconut can be used internallyand externally for a wide array of things, but I will tell you that as far as internally, it truly is a miracle food. It is high in lauric acid and Medium-Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA); which helps to boost the metabolism and aids in weight-loss. Yeah, it's 2015 and time to let go of the fallacy that saturated fat is bad. Here are a few of the other awesome benefits of regular use of coconut: helps to support thyroid function, has been shown to possibly prevent or reverse Alzheimers, controls insulin levels, boost hormone production, boost immune system, improve digestion and is a natural anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial and, antioxidant.

Dates:

I'm happy to go out on date with this marvelous fruit any day. A sweet product of the date palm, dates are packed with an impressive mineral, nutrient, and vitamin profile of: fiber, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, vitamins A, B6, K and folates and contains antioxidant flavonoids such as b-carotene. Here are just some of the benefits of consuming dates: digestive health, reduced stroke risk, brain health, heart health, reduced blood pressure, weigh-management, anemia prevention, respiratory health and decreased (colon) cancer risk. 

Eat real whole foods. Go simple. Go Raw.

- Michael Pollan

www.goraw.com

-Ashley

The Trifecta that Destroys our Relationship with Food

The more that I talk to others about food and hunger - the more I discover that humans are becoming completely overwhelmed with how and what they should be eating and are completely out of tune with their body's signals on when they are hungry and what would satisfy that hunger.

I've determined that what destroys a human's relationship with food and natural ability to listen to what their body needs and wants nutritionally, can be boiled down to three things: Lack of self-worth, diets, and processed foods. It may be one of these elements, or two, or a combination of all three that can destroy our relationship with food. 

Yes, there are extenuating circumstances such as illness and disease - but I am going to allow these to be outliers for sanities sake. I also believe in the metaphysical notion and mind-body connection that disease can be exacerbated if not caused by not being at ease or ...

disease

As I have discussed in previous posts, Louise Hay, the great Metaphysical Teacher and motivational author, explains this concept at length.

If there are four fictitious gals that reflected the realness of the highs and lows of self esteem, worth and love - it's Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte. And, although I may make reference to Sex and the City - which exudes femininity to highlight some of my points, I have known just as many men in my life that struggle with their relationship with food as I have women. 

sex and the city girls.jpeg

1) Lack of Self-worth

What does having self-worth mean? Or look like? What does self-worth have to do with food, and specifically our relationship with food? 

I'll admit, I'm sitting here with my cup of coffee and looking at the words 'self worth,' and realizing this concept may be rather difficult to define. 

Or, perhaps not. Perhaps it is quite simple to define - though grasping the definition may be where the difficulty presents itself. 

Self. Worth. The self is worthy. 

The self is worthy of what? Love. Respect. Happiness. Success. Peace. Forgiveness. 

These are only a some of the essential life giving states of being that self-worth fosters. 

To get a broader context, I quickly googled 'self worth,' below is the first result (which seems to also define self-esteem):

  1. "In sociology and psychology, self-esteem reflects a person's overall emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. It is a judgment of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self. Self esteemencompasses beliefs (for example, "I am competent," "I am worthy") and emotions such as triumph, despair, pride and shame." 

And the dictionary definition of self-worth is: 

"The sense of one's own value or worth as a person; self-esteem; self-respect."

When one does not feel worthy or deserving of: love, forgiveness, or wellbeing (to name a few) - it is a far cry to ask of them to nourish themselves as they so rightfully deserve. Mind you, nourishment absolutely comes in many forms to feed our body, mind, and soul - but I'm going to focus on food. 

It is when there is a belief of being unworthy, that we use food to abuse our bodies. I hear it time and time again "I know what I need to do, I just need to do it." 

Sound familiar? 

Humans under-eat as a way to punish or deprive ourselves. We overeat as a way to fulfill a hunger that cannot possibly be filled with any type of food.

We eat foods that we know are going to leave us feeling lethargic, bloated or other undesirable side-effects because we are already tired, depressed, and dependant. 

We tax our internal organs with an excess of alcohol consumption or drugs (either OTC or otherwise). 

Each and every one of these extremes are destructive behaviors that threaten our peace with food by causing emotional and physical distress like pain, discomfort, anxiety, fear, disappointment and self-loathing. 

Why do we do this? 

The causes of have lack of self-worth or low self esteem are vast and in and of themselves can be extraordinarily complex but I will attempt to address some of them. 

Several factors may be a play: 

  • There is a belief deeply rooted that we don't deserve to be well (or happy, satisfied, healthy, accepted) 
  • There is a belief deeply rooted that we are not enough or whole 
  • We don't love ourselves or respect and honor our body 
  • We are using food (or alcohol/drugs) to distract ourselves from being with ourselves and our life - to distract ourselves from feeling
  • We are placing the needs of others before the needs of ourselves leaving us drained and bitter
  • We are in a toxic relationship that is effecting the value that we place on ourself 
  • We are in a toxic or environment that clouds our judgement 
  • We have a chemical or hormonal imbalance that impairs are ability to make healthy lifestyle choices and/or perpetuates dependancies  
  • We have attempted dieting to promote a healthy lifestyle which left us more confused and out of touch with the mind-body connection than ever before - see below for Trifecta #2: Diets

All of these scenarios will have an effect on one's self-worth and not only destroy someone's relationship with food - but also their relationship with their self and ultimately risk becoming out of touch with who they are:  their authentic self. 

carrie.jpeg

2) Diets

They don't work.

Living diet-free is a concept not commonly known to Americans. Below is a bit of my philosophy. 

#1) Eat real food. Eliminating processed foods is key in starting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and relationship with your body. Consuming foods that are closest to their natural state as possible brings our bodies closer to the natural world and more capable of relying on our body's natural intuition. 

#2) Zero scales. Weight scales are nothing more than white noise. You will know the optimal weight for you by the way you feel. If weight-loss is your goal, by becoming aware of how your body responds to food, weight-loss (if it's needed) will happen. 

#3) No templates. There are a few things that can be shifted and work for just about everyone (like reducing processed foods), the rest depends on each individual person.

#4) Embrace patience. When transforming your lifestyle, you are not just breaking one habit. You are breaking years of countless small habits and re-learning what health means to you and your body. This takes time and great awareness.

#5) Nourish, then exercise .I believe that what you eat has a far greater impact on their health than exercise. Exercise will then support you in living a healthy lifestyle.

Sure, we can be guided. We can have doors opened for us. We can be informed. But it isn't until we get to know our body and how food effects our mind and body that we become in tune with the right way of eating for our individual body. 

What comes to mind when you hear or see the word diet? I'm guessing the words freedom and abundance don't come to mind. Certainly not peace. 

Atkins, Paleo, Zone, South Beach, Raw Food, Ketogenic, Mediterranean, Vegetarian, Vegan, Weigh Watchers, Jenny Craig, Blood Type, Glycemic Index Diet, Macrobiotic, Master Cleanse - the list goes on and on. Shoot, I even discovered that there is a grapefruit diet and cabbage soup diet. Oh, and I've even gone to Banana Island.

Now - have some of these diets been successful or even aided in great weight-loss and/or healing ailments, illness and disease? Absolutely! But the problem is that they are not sustainable. Nor should they be for proper nutrition intake and assimilation

Many of these diets are awesome short-term "resets" such as raw vegan as a way to heal gut-health and/or cleanse the body of heavy metals and other toxins and bring the body back into a more slightly alkaline state rather than overly acidic.

Mind you, these lifestyles (such as vegan, raw vegan, paleo, keto) each have a high success rate even though they are vastly different because they are focused on eating real whole foods - in other words, they are getting away from the Standard American Diet (aka SAD) and going back to a more simple and nutrient dense way of eating. 

listen to your body.jpeg

Eating real whole foods as close to their natural state as possible (and organic when possible) promotes mind-body health, abundance, and happiness and can be maintained long-term so long as the individual stays in tune with their body and evolves the foods they are eating or not eating over time. What works for one person now may not work for them 10 years from now. We are constantly changing - even on a cellular level.

There are numerous other problems with diets -  I'll attempt to highlight the biggies below: 

  • They are not individualized and are often based solely on what worked well for one person or a subset of people in completely different life circumstances 
  • They can disrupt the gut-flora balance 
  • They can be too restrictive causing feelings of frustration, deprivation, and may lead to binging or other disordered eating
  • They can cause obsessive thinking and eating behaviors that may be a gateway to eating disorders
  • They promote automatic/mechanical ways of eating vs. listening to our intuition and honoring our hunger
  • They take the joy, pleasure, and fun out of eating and promote feelings of anxiety, fear, and sadness 

There are few things that sadden me more when I hear things like 'curb your appetite,' 'suppress your appetite.' Hunger is a natural and healthy part of being human! The key is finding the right foods for you . Food is fuel for our body. There is no doubt about that. But, food also brings us pleasure. Food comforts us. Food brings people together. Food brings us life. 

And don't even get me started on the Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig's of the world. Listen, I love that they are intended to make people good, lose some weight, and become more aware of their portions but they are focused on weight loss rather than health and the food is packed full of nutrient void processed ingredients.  

The first step, is to eliminate all processed foods and focus on eating real whole foods as close to their natural state as possible. This leads my to the third factor in the trifecta that destroy's our relationship with food. 

3) Processed Foods 

Where to start with this one?

It seems as though there is a real movement in eating whole real foods (yay!), yet there is still a mass amount of processed foods on the shelves at shockingly low prices. And many are wondering, what is so bad about processed foods? I look a the box and it says that it is an 'excellent source of fiber and protein,' what's the problem?

The problem lies in the process in which the ingredients go through before they even hit the assembly line. The heat and bleaching that is done to otherwise nutritious ingredients strips the healthy enzymes and vitamins right out them making them essentially nutrient void and in some cases toxic.

The problem lies in fillers that are not food and instead are artificial chemicals produced in a plant. 

When we eat things that are unnatural and void of nutrients - it causes an entire host of complications such as: 

  • Hormone and endocrine disruption 
  • Gut-flora imbalance creating a breeding ground for parasites and bacteria 
  • Onset or trigger of disease and illness 
  • Onset or trigger of autoimmune disorders
  • Mental disturbances such as anxiety, depression, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Bipolor Disorder etc. 
  • Metabolism disruption causing excess fat and weight 
  • Inability to assimilate and breakdown nutrients 

So what now? 

It's time to become very familiar with what we are putting into our bodies. Our bodies are the vessel that carry us through this life. What we feed our bodies - physically, emotionally and spiritually are the keys to a healthy relationship with food. Our minds and bodies are constantly adapting to the environment around us and that what we consume can free our beings to achieve optimal health. Being mindful of the nature of things in how we live our lives, what we consume, and how we move can empower us to come closer our natural and intuitive state.

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Does this mean that you cannot ever enjoy something that is packaged/processed like your favorite chocolate bar, ice cream, or pancakes? No, I believe in the positive power of indulgence ... but you will be coming from a place of knowledge and empowerment vs. confusion and helplessness.

Believe in yourself, trust your body and eat whole real foods.

You got this.

With Love,

-AEB