Archive for August, 2008

h1

Steven and Maggie’s Smoothie

August 19, 2008

This smoothie really demonstrates raw food in the real world. My cousin’s husband is a Managing Director at one of the biggest financial groups on Wall Street. They have to wake up at 4:30 AM every single morning to start a no-break, stressful workday. Needless to say, their time is extremely limited. Usually he would grab eggs at his work buffet, and have 4 cups of coffee in the first few hours of work.

I am happy to say that they have now added the green smoothie to their lifestyle, as well as incorporated other raw dishes. And best yet, they have taken the basic green smoothie and adapted it to their taste! As Steven says, this green smoothie is for someone who doesn’t like the “veggie” taste. The amount of lime and tasty fruits in this smoothie cut right through the green taste. They make it in batches that keep for 2 days or so, so they don’t have to make it every morning. Steven sips on this green smoothie on the way to work. He has lost about 15 pounds in the last few weeks, and is down to ½ cup – 1 cup of coffee/day. His energy has skyrocketed. For more info. on the science and nutrition behind the smoothie, check out my blog on the Green Smoothie. And remember that combining fruits and green veggies (as opposed to root vegetables) constitute good food combining. So check it out, and of course feel free to adapt to your individual taste, using your favorite greens and fruits!

Blend ingredients until smooth- all organic of course – together into Vita-mix or blender, adding lighter to heavier items first (cut in ½ for smaller batch):

– 2 cups cold water
– Dinosaur kale- at least half a bunch, equal to 5-6 stems
– Arugula, leaves only, at least 2 cups
– Spinach, leaves only, at least 2 cups
– Sprouts, any variety, at least 2 cups
– Bunch of mint leaves
– Broccoli Florets only, at least 1 1/2 cups
– Juice of 2 whole limes
– 2 whole apples, any variety, cored with skin, cut into slices
– Handful of Red Seedless Grapes
– 2 whole pears, any variety; cored w/skin, cut into chunks
– 2 whole bananas- use only 1 for thinner batch

h1

So, What Is the Real Deal with Protein?

August 7, 2008

One of the first questions people ask vegetarians and vegans is “But where do you get your protein??” It’s an interesting issue, given the prevailing mindset in our country is that we need to get lots of animal protein to bulk up our muscles, stay full so we have energy and won’t knosh on fattening carbs, and get vital amino acids. I wish that everyone that asks this question could come observe at my yoga studio, where pretty much everyone is a vegetarian (and mostly vegan, actually). All the men are jacked, with perfectly muscular, gorgeous, sinewy physiques and the women are all fit with no fat on their bodies and perfect feminine muscles. Hmm!

John Robbins asks in Diet for a New America, “Could it be that the whole issue of ‘getting enough protein’ is actually just a figment of our collective imagination, with nothing behind it except for the propaganda of the meat, dairy and egg industries?”

He then goes on to present a very thorough explanation as to how and why this seems to be the case. Most of us are getting far more protein than we need. We have been conditioned to think that our bodies need animal protein, when in fact there is more and more research proving not only that we do not need it, but furthermore, that an abundance of animal protein can be quite harmful to our health.

The USDA says that 6.5% of our daily calories should be protein. Vegetables are 20-50% protein, and sprouts, nuts, seeds, beans and grains are 10-25%. Getting enough protein and being a vegetarian is not an issue (providing you are a VEGEtarain and not a Starchatarian!).

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. They combine into chains and then form proteins necessary for cell, muscle, and tissue growth, repair and restoration. The human body needs to acquire 8 of these amino acids, called the “essential” amino acids, from outside sources; the other 14 are built out of the first 8. Keep in mind that it is crucial how the amino acids combine. Animal proteins are highly structured, and have to be broken down from the complex chains that make up the flesh of fish, cows, chickens, pigs, etc. and then be re-assimilated into a human body- requiring huge amounts of energy and making digestion much harder, while also producing a large amount of fermented acidic by-products. Studies have shown that consuming an abundance of animal protein has been linked to numerous diseases, and is in fact, quite aging. On the other hand, plant proteins (and especially green leafy veggies), contain free-form amino acids. Your body can digest and assimilate and build protein much easier from vegetables, adding huge volumes to your energy level, beauty, and health. Raw vegetable plant protein is an even bigger bonus, as the protein and enzymes have not been damaged by heat and are more easily assimilated by the body. So contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of high quality proteins in greens, by way of an abundance of readily available essential amino acids.

Pound for pound, the gorilla is the strongest animal on the planet, bench-pressing the equivalent of 4,000 pounds. What does he eat? Mostly all greens! Many people think vegetarians are all skinny and malnourished. However, if one is a vegetarian that eats lots of greens and veggies, instead of just bagels and pasta, then amazingly balanced and beautifully healthy humans will emerge, as I have personally witnessed in so many vegans that I know. And a green-based vegan diet combined with yoga, weightlifting, or other exercise, will naturally build beautiful muscles. Again, I truly think you’d be amazed if you saw the men from my yoga studio! In fact, maybe I should take some pictures and post them for you. ☺ I’ll leave with one closing thought:

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
– Albert Einstein (a vegetarian)

h1

Alkalinity and Beauty

August 1, 2008

The pH of our bodies can have a major effect on our vitality, health and beauty. Ideally, the pH of our body tissue should average around 7.0 (our ideal blood pH range is 7.35-7.4, while our muscles are more acidic, around 6.8). Most people that have eaten the Standard American Diet (SAD) become unbalanced and acidic, with a pH around 6.2 or lower.

An alkaline body leads fat to dissolve, greatly promoting weight loss. In contrast, an acid body leads to inflammation, puffiness and contraction of the tissues. An acidic body makes it hard to lose weight, as the systems of the body cannot function at optimal efficiency. Worse, diseases thrive in an acidic environment.

Some signs that your body is acidic are feeling sluggish and rundown, a lack of energy, a coffee habit, the desire to smoke cigarettes or marijuana, alcohol abuse and/or the desire for other stronger legal or illegal drugs to make you feel “high” for a while.

What we need is a balance between acidity and alkalinity. Generally, most people are too acid from eating a primarily acid-forming diet their whole life. It is important to balance the body’s pH by bringing a much higher percentage of alkaline foods into the diet.

Alkaline Foods: Green-leafy vegetables are the best source of alkaline minerals and are probably the most important group of foods. They also contain fiber and chlorophyll- a blood builder and one of nature’s greatest healers. Try to make a huge salad, with sprouts and raw vegetables, the main course of at least one meal a day. Fruits such as lemon, lime, olives, figs, papaya, pineapple, cherries, apples, raspberries, blackberries and kiwi are also helpful.

*Oddly, a typical characteristic of some alkaline fruits is that they contain a strong acidic compound, such as citric acid, that must be neutralized in order to extract and utilize the alkaline minerals.

Acidic Foods: Meat (the muscle of an animal) including fish, pork, steak, chicken, beef, hamburger, duck, lamb, rabbit, etc. Meat is built up of phosphoric compounds and is the most acidic (and toxic) food of all. Eggs are also acid-forming, as are pasteurized dairy products because they lack the enzymes necessary to digest them.