Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Health Rocks: Questions and Answers

Note to self: Dates have pits in them. De-pit them before putting them in the green smoothie.

I LOST TWO POUNDS! I weigh 190.2.
180's, here I come!

This is exciting news. However, I'm not entirely satisfied. No, no, no --it's not the amount of weight-loss, it's that I got a cold last week and stopped exercising. Then the baby was sick, so, I chose sleep over exercise. So, although I lost two pounds, my newly-newly formed muscles are going flabby again. I just need to get back into it. Part of me truly believes that if I had been working out like I did the first week, I probably wouldn't have lost weight (just centimeters!). And I'm okay with that. Why? Because I feel AMAZING.

Questions and Answers:
So...I have often contemplated the same things you have in your post. My "problem" is that I always try to take a step back and consider things on an eternal scale...especially foods (what I should eat, how it should be prepared, etc.)...I've gone back and forth on the whole dairy and meat products, too. I've essentially decided for myself that neither are necessary for health, but that the Lord gave them to use when we need them (esp. times of cold, etc.). I have analyzed the Word of Wisdom countless times trying to interpret it for me and my family. That's my intro and here's my comment/question:

I love so many things about a raw diet, but I keep thinking that it isn't a real possibility for people who are trying to live off their gardens/support local farmers (unless you live in California or other places w/nice weather year round). But even here, I tried it last winter and the only fruits we ate were oranges (which didn't work for everyone's systems...) and apples. So, I keep thinking that since the Lord created a time to plant, a time to harvest, and a time for the land to rest, that there must be a corresponding "time" to eat fresh, raw foods and a "time" to eat frozen/preserved foods (when the land is frozen/resting). What do you think?

My answer:
I agree with so much of what you said! I think the problem we get into when we have extremes is the inability to truly see it through. I know for a surety that food storage is important; it's basically a commandment! But how does one store healthy food? I've also gone back and forth and I think you hit it right on: Times and seasons. In the winter, it's important to eat more canned/dried goods (dried legumes, beans, rice, wheat, store really well). In the summer, it's easier (and better) to eat more raw veggies/fruits, because that's what's growing.

I think it's easier to store healthy foods than people realize. We don't have to eat cream of chicken soup and cake mixes just because they store well. I've recently been thinking about how people used to do it (before processing was invented and became the norm).
For example:
*Native Americans: They would eat a basic raw diet all spring/summer/fall, and in the fall, they would hunt. They would pray over their kill (and thank the animal for their life), dry the meat, and then use all of the animal (hide, bones) for clothing, tools, etc. They would store the meat to eat during the long winter months. Of course, this doesn't include those tribes who lived in very hot places, but you know what I mean.
*Pioneers: I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure they didn't eat a chicken every night for dinner. They would raise their cattle and pigs and chickens, and slaughter them for use usually during the winter. They would preserve their fruits and veggies; they had their own gardens and crops.

To me, this exemplifies what the Word of Wisdom is all about. People can choose what they will about their meat, but if we go back to the basics (and the wording), we realize that "sparingly... in time of winter and famine..." makes sense. We eat raw, whole, plant-based foods whenever we can, but when we can't --we do our best.

Another note: People have asked me if I'm vegan now. Some have asked if I'm vegetarian. The only thing I can say to this (and my buddy Angie said it well) is that technically, I'm neither. I'm a Whole Food-ist. I still sometimes partake of dairy. Occasionally, I'll have some meat (an egg or fish). But that is very occasionally. The bulk of my diet now is plant-based. It isn't animal rights motivated, nor is it out of convenience (holy cow, eating crap is way more convenient!). It's health-motivated.

Side-note on convenience:
I know I've already recommended The China Study (and probably will for the rest of my life), but here is a quote that I found most profound (even if a bit heated. However, considering the researcher's life-work, it's not surprising this would be his reaction to a doctor's recommendation that changing a person's diet would be impractical):
"Yes, changing your lifestyle may seem impractical. It may seem impractical to give up meat and high-fat foods, but I wonder how practical it is to be 350 pounds and have Type 2 diabetes at the age of fifteen, like the girl mentioned at the start of this chapter. I wonder how practical it is to have a lifelong condition that can't be cure by drugs or surgery; a condition that often leads to heart disease, stroke, blindness or amputation; a condition that might require you to inject insulin into your body every day for the rest of your life. Radically changing our diets may be 'impractical,' but it might also be worth it."
What about fat? I know we tend to eat too much fat, but if you cut out meat (and dairy? are you cutting out dairy?) where will you get the fat that you need?
My answer:
Ironically, the fat that we eat from plants is the best kind for us. By far. Some of the best places to get fat include avocados, beans, legumes, natural oils (olive, coconut, flax), nuts, and seeds.

The key is to have variety. If we just focus on one type of veggie or fruit, we won't be able to get all the nutrients our bodies need. I think a common misconception of a plant-based diet is that all one can eat are fruits and veggies. It's so much more than that! Plant-based is just that: Plants. This includes grains, seeds, nuts, legumes, beans --anything that came from the ground. The world is chock-full of plants! In fact, there are probably some amazing plants in your background right now. Dandelion greens? Yep. Those are good for you! Changes perspective on what is a weed, eh?
So, how often are you supposed to make a "green smoothie"? Did it fill you up? Did it give you gas? (Sorry about that one, but I was curious.) Is chicken as bad as beef?
My answer:
I have made my family a green smoothie every day for breakfast. Some people drink them twice a day; most only do it once a day. The rule in our house now is that the kids have to drink their green smoothie before they can have anything else. If they drink it, then they can have cereal or toast if they're still hungry (sometimes they're not). The best surprise is how quickly they've adapted! It's not really a fight anymore. Most of them really like them, too! My goal is to drink a quart a day --but I've got to get a new blender for that to happen. Right now, I'm probably only drinking a pint. So, sometimes I have a little something else, but not often! It does fill me up pretty good. Brandon is loving them, too, btw.

Yes, when I started a plant-based diet, my gas and bathroom trips went up (also because my water intake went up, which is good!). But this is because my body is experiencing important changes. My body is just reacting to the cleansing powers of the food I'm putting in it. For most people, these changes are gone within a few weeks (if they keep eating the same way). Robyn Openshaw (author of The Green Smoothies Diet) put it this way:
"The problem is, when converting people to a high-fiber GreenSmoothieGirl diet, some people who didn't have gas before now do! If they drank Coke and at donuts before, they had no flatulence, but then when they start green smoothies to begin their progression toward a whole-foods diet, they're gassy and miserable. They might even want to quit and go back to when they felt 'better.' Dr. Jensen likened it to when you sweep a dirty basement: as you sweep it up, a lot of dust is kicked into the air. His research indicates, however, that people, even while experiencing gas problems, report softer stool and an easier time passing off the gas. It gradually lessens, he said, until it becomes minimal after about three months. (My own observations from working with people are that most people see this symptom disappear in weeks rather than months.) Be patient and don't quit good habits as you seek relief for intestinal gas and bloating."

Chicken and Beef: Well, they're both animal protein. Some people believe that beef is worse because of the high-fat content. They may be right. I honestly haven't spent a lot of time researching between meats, although I do know many experts claim turkey is better than beef. So, in that same conclusion, it would seem chicken is better. I think poultry in general is seen as healthier than beef. And fish? Better than all of it! But honestly? Chicken is still animal, so I'm avoiding it now. Animal is animal is animal...that's just my opinion, though.
Our standard green smoothies are spinach, apple, grapes, banana and a bit of yogurt or spinach with the mixed berries from Costco. I'm really curious how hers are different and what the variety is...
My answer:
The green smoothies I make every day are usually different! Robyn has a great template in her book to help guide you to what you want in it. This morning, ours had:
Water, 1/3 lemon (with peel), agave syrup, spinach, spring mix greens, cucumber, tomato, apple, plum, dates, flax seed, pomegranate seeds, frozen mixed berries, and avocado.

The idea is to use as much raw food as possible. Costco is great for this! I have found that I actually am using all of my raw veggies and fruits before they go bad now, because I throw them into the smoothie. I've used everything from grapes to goji berries to almonds.

Any other questions? Ideas? Opinions? Are you still trying to lose weight or get healthy? If so, report!

1 comment:

Heidi said...

I'm just in the reading stage - haven't made any green smoothies yet, but do you think it matters what kind of blender you use (if you're making smoothies daily)? Do you have any opinion on the BlendTec vs. Vitamix blenders?

I'm so impressed that you have your kids drinking these smoothies. I have four young children who do like vegetables and fruit, so I'm hoping for success when I introduce them to green drinks!