I love the outdoors. Sunlight, fresh air, plants, trees, animals...just thinking about it and I start to yearn for it! I live in the city with far too many cars, people and not enough nature. So every now and then I strip myself of this "civilized" life and go camping. All out camping - tents, fires, digging a hole when you need one - just nature and silence.
Camping brings memories and visions of s'mores and hotdogs. When I changed my diet and became a raw vegan nearly five years ago, I had to shift the way that I thought about camping. The food that I eat now, that brings health and healing, goes where I go.
The great thing about camping is that you don't necessarily sit down for three square meals a day. Usually it's quite a lot of snacking - which is precisely how I eat as a raw vegan. Frequent little nuggets of energy to refuel all day long. I do camp with others (who are not raw vegan) so I'll need to have a few options that would feel meal-like.
The fun thing about being me? I'm not ridiculously strict about it all. I've learn to loosen the reins and allow myself room to breathe. I don't dry my own spices, I use small amounts of processed food (like soy sauce or toasted sesame oil) for flavorings. And sometimes I enjoy some portobellos mushrooms while camping....grilled. GASP!
On my list to snack on: apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, blueberries, dried figs, raisins, raw nuts, dehydrated cheezy crackers, almond butter, and some strawberry fruit leather I made.
On my list to enjoy as a sit down meal (a.k.a. social time): Salad fixings - lettuce, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, avocados, vinegar, seasonings, olive oil. Portobello Mushrooms and Yams (to grill! woah!), and my Lemon Ginger Lettuce Rolls.
For my kids (who are about 80% raw): all the fruit I have...they could easily become fruitarian, I think, dry healthy-ish cheerios, packaged applesauce, and tortillas with ham and cheeze.
I'll eat when I'm hungry (which is pretty much all the time - some things never change), and I have a few things up my sleeve for when we gather as a group around the fire.
Oh, and did I mention water and smoothies? I will make 128 ounces of Green Smoothies to take with us to enjoy in the morning as breakfast. Sometimes I take my Vitamix if we will be gone a long time. If it's only for a few days - I premake and take them along.
So there you have it. Easy, peasy, raw pumpkin pie. A little forethought with dehydrating, but most of my food is fresh fruits and vegetables. Delicious, fun, energy-producing, and easy.
My new motto was given to me by a Marine that I'm coaching to eat healthier: "Adapt, Improvise, Conquer." That's how I help people get healthier and how I live my life. :)
Each day we are bombarded by good marketing. Billboards, magazines, TV commercials, TV shows, movies, commercials on the radio, in the schools, in our workplaces....everywhere you turn you are being told what you need to eat, how happy it will make you, how good it tastes. There is a war taking place that most people aren't aware of. Most of us are losing the battle. Americans are getting larger and larger, sicker and sicker, and aren't sure where to turn.
So how do we fight? How do we take our health back from those who are trying to make money off us? Anyone in the military will tell you the first step of battle is preparation. When we find ourselves tired, hungry, emotional - we turn to food. If we don't have anything premade - we turn to what is inexpensive and quick to satisfy our immediate needs. So we need to be prepared...equipped properly to fight our own weaknesses that others prey on.
What are our weapons that will equip us? We have food in our houses that we can turn to when we are hungry that are nutritious and life-giving. We do NOT have food in our house that will perpetuate our weigh gain or our illnesses.
How do we become that muscle-bound warrior? We build our strength of saying no to tempting food that only makes us larger and sicker. We build our self-control only one way...we practice it over and over. We make mistakes, but they don't stop us...we press forward and continue to say no.
Haley, this all sound well and good, but what does this look like? I'll share with you how I equip my own family.
1. I educate them on what is in their food, what it does to their bodies, why it's being sold to us, why others eat it but why we do not. No "because I said so"...I want my kids to be able to make their own choices when they are not with me because they have the knowledge to do so. It's also amazing to hear them tell their friends or each other why certain foods are better than others and what they need to eat when they don't feel well. I didn't have to do as much educating with my husband, in fact he asks questions that make me do more and more research and verify if what I'm spouting is fact.
2. I don't allow certain foods in the house. It's not a hard and fast rule - you don't get a lashing if you bring cheetos into the house. But "snacky" type food - chips, pretzels, etc...I'll only purchase healthier ones with fewer ingredients and they are rationed out for treats. You won't find desserts in my house, unless they are raw vegan. Those are the trickiest - you will eat an entire gallon of ice cream and still want more - it's designed to enable you to do so. If you bring candy into the house...keep a close eye on it as it will make its way to the trash can very quickly and sneakily.
3. I make sure that everyone has food available to them. I make 128 ounces of Green Smoothie for my husband every morning to take with him to work. That's all he drinks (most of the time) until evening. Ask him sometime how his health has improved. I pack my children lunches for school every day. There are three components to every meal they eat: 1. Fruit 2. Vegetable. 3. Other. For example, today's lunch was 1. Orange slices and Bananas 2. Cherry tomatoes 3. Dry Cereal (one got a healthy form of honey nut cheerios, the other got cracklin' oat bran)...I try to buy ones that mimic what's out there, but healthier versions. After school they will get home and I'll make them Raw Vegan Ice Cream for snack. It's my oldest's turn to pick the flavor. ;) The third category is usually smaller than the first two and I try to find things my children look forward to - which empowers them to eat their fruits and vegetables. Oh yes, you must eat them in order. Vegetables, Fruits, and THEN other. Fill up on the good stuff first. As with many patterns, we do what we dislike first and then move to what we like. Chores first, play second. Vegetables first, pasta second. Homework first, socializing second.
4. When we are out and about (birthday party, Disney on Ice, Ball game, etc.), nothing is forbidden, nothing is taboo - they can choose what they want (within reason of cost and availability). If they ask, I'll educate them, but I won't lecture them on their food choices. I do gently remind them when they are hyperactive, can't sleep, can't go to the bathroom, can't focus, or other lovely side effects...why we don't eat those foods on a regular basis. The choice must be theirs in the long run, not mine. You need to give your kids room to stretch their wings and make their own choices sometimes (but just like chores and homework...they need guidance at home). Likewise, I don't nag my husband, I don't tell him what he should and shouldn't eat, it is his choice as an adult. I try to provide options for him as well - although he's a little more entrenched in the snack foods that he turns to. Start young - it will pay off! ;)
Needless to say, it's a life-long war. Some battles you win, some you don't...don't beat yourself up, just get back up and fight another day. When all else fails...call me. :) I'll be your drill sergeant, your coach, your muse. Contact me if you need a battle plan.
I never know how to explain what I do. I am a teacher. Yes, I am a raw vegan, but I NEVER ask or expect anyone to follow in my footsteps. In fact, I encourage everyone to NEVER ATTEMPT TO GO 95-100% raw. It's hard! It is only by the grace of God that I can continue on this path. He has endowed me with the health I currently are able to enjoy and he provides grace when I need it most. When I am faced with temptation, say my daughter is invited to a pizza party, He provides me with substitutions, with alternatives, and with the motivation to withstand the smells, the sights, and the enjoyment everyone around me is partaking in. So again, do not do what I do, unless you have inner motivation!
Okay, let me get off my soapbox. ;) What I do: I share. I teach. I inspire. I encourage. Oh yeah, and I demonstrate how to make ridiculously simple and inexpensively healthy food. People who come to my classes get 3 new recipes to add to their diet. They don't have to change their lifestyle, they don't even have to replace regular ranch dressing with my Raw Ranch Dressing. It's their choice...I am providing tools for healthier decisions. However, it is exciting and everyone tends to dive in headfirst. Then....they are left overwhelmed and discouraged.
Where do I begin? How do I keep it simple? What do I add? How do I plan what I make? How do I keep my expenses down? I get these questions ALL THE TIME. I love getting emails, phone calls, but very often people need more. They need me to sit down with them and show them where to begin. How to plan. Where and what to focus on. That's when I put on my other hat: Consultant. I take you through what works for me, how I am able to make this lifestyle easier, simpler, healthier, and cheaper than when I lived "normally." I have two and a half years of experience under my belt. That's a lot of failures that I have learned from. I am not coaching you to become raw, but coaching you toward adding more and more health. Baby steps, people. So if you are interested in me coming to your house and going through grocery lists, meal planning, making food together, or just sitting down and talking, contact me.
If you do not live close to me, never fear! Living Raw By Grace has gone digital! If you do not live in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, or you are too busy to attend one of my classes, you can now speak to me, watch me demo, and begin moving towards health from the comfort of your own home! Virtual Consultation through Skype. :)