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 am ridiculously excited. I've been working with my best friend and we have come together with the first Raw Recipe Night that anyone and everyone is invited to. It's not held in my apartment, but in a guest house of a dear friend. I'm charging $15 a head to cover the costs of the ingredients and the space. It's in two short weeks. Want more information on the RRN? Have I mentioned that I'm excited?! My best friend and I have been talking about possibly having Raw Recipe Nights (RRN's from here on out) 2-3 times a month. Two Saturdays a month and maybe a weekday as well. Who says dreams can't come true?!
This first RRN will be on raw dips: a simple and easy way to add more raw food into your lifestyle. Not only are the dips raw, but you use raw veggies to dip into them - viola, an entirely raw meal that is delicious! I have dip meals at least 4-5 times a week. I'll be demonstrating 3, maybe four dips. One using nuts, one with seeds, one with beans, and one without. I don't know what I'll do next, but my brain is abuzz as to RRNs to come: Raw Pies, Raw cookies, Raw Crackers, Raw Gourmet, Raw Snacks, Raw Beverages, Raw Kids Meals, Raw Ice Cream, Raw Breads, Raw Entrees, Raw Appetizers, Raw Mylk, and SO MUCH MORE!
This also gets me off my tush and back to school to get some nutritional degree so I am accredited. I already have a B.A., but something tells me that English Literature may not be useful in my new field. Although, it seems to be helping here! I'm bouncing between the idea of a simple certification, or perhaps pursuing my masters. I'll talk it over with my mother when she is here for a visit, she's been pushing me to go for further education as my little one is getting easier and easier to care for.
Tonight I had a wonderfully satisfying dinner (which if you are my friend on FB, you heard about). I left for the farmers market and completely forgot to bring dinner for myself. This is very rare, for as you know I take food EVERYWHERE I go. Well, I wasn't completely stranded, there are half a dozen Larabars in my car, but I try not to eat them - they are for emergencies, after all. So I thought, I'll just nibble as I go along. It started with a peach...YUM...and then a few little apricots that remind me of cherries they are so tiny and wonderfully scrumptious. Then those tomatoes began to look incredible, and I hadn't eaten a "white carrot" before - I had to try that one out. There was some sliced watermelon, so I helped myself to a few slices, along with a few slices of an apple that someone was offering. Then I went back to the beginning and had more of everything. By the time I was on my way home around 9:30 (my best friend organizes the farmer's market, so we visited afterward), I had eaten four peaches, six apricots, four tomatoes, three carrots, four slices of watermelon, a few bites of chard and lettuce and an apple. Holy Moly! No wonder I wasn't hungry! Wonderfully satisfying...not overly stuffed. AND, I have so much energy that I'm obviously blogging at ten at night. I could go for a night hike I have so much energy! I love organic produce!! And so cheap...I love Horny Toad Farms.
Also, expect many more recipes and pictures in the next week. I have some eggplant in my fridge I'll use to make mini pizzas, some parsnip that I'll use to make Mexican rice, some monster zucchinis that I'll use for raw lasagna...oh and much much more. Which should I make first?
I don't know when I started doing Raw Recipe Nights, but my guess is over a year ago. I'm pretty sure it simply started because a girl I had met at a raw potluck (and raw potlucks will be a whole separate blog post) had been curious about a dish I had made, so I invited her over to learn how to make it. I've taught quite a few young ladies who were new to raw how to make simple dishes. That's my motto: fast, easy, delicious. I also answer questions they might have regarding simple nutrition, grocery shopping, food choices, etc. It's always been very informal and usually one-on-one, which has always been very effective.
Last night I hosted a Raw Recipe Night and invited thirteen of my Facebook girl friends that I've made over the past year. Since I was hosting in my apartment, only ladies were invited (since safety and privacy are very important to me). Five women trickled in, three had previous experience with the raw lifestyle, one has just committed to a lifestyle with more and more raw foods, and one was curious and enthusiastic to simply learn more.
I called the evening "Raw N' Roll", for I was teaching how I make Nori Rolls, which are a sushi equivalent, and Cinnamon Rolls with Icing. We began with the Nori Rolls, as it can be prepared nut-free and one of my guests couldn't do nuts. I put all the ladies to work cutting (julienne-ing) vegetables while I made the "rice" mixture and the Asian pate. Everyone got a turn rolling the delicacies and all of the rolls were eaten. We discussed where I shop for my food, how I get Nori seaweed inexpensively, what Jicama is and how to prepare it, nutrients in fresh vs. cooked vegetables, and much more.
After we had eaten our fill, we moved onto the Cinnamon Rolls, which was much less preparation. The ladies visited and got to know one another while I made almond flour and milled flaxseeds. Since it was a large group, I got to make a monster cinnamon roll and we had traditionally sized rolls to eat when they were almost chilled (we just couldn't wait any longer!). Usually I make mini rolls for myself, and these large leftovers are quite the treat. Yum!
It was a great time and I have emailed each of the ladies with the recipes we used, so they can attempt it on their own after having participated with me. It was so much fun, and wonderfully successful that I believe this is definitely what I want to do. My long term goal is to become a certified nutritionist with intentions on becoming a health counselor. I would come to your home and teach you how to make foods for yourself, where to grocery shop and how to choose what you want, plan out meals and teach you all the research I have done for myself. It would be a one-on-one thing, and I plan on hosting classes for groups on the side. One of my friends who came, who organizes an incredible farmer's market with a wonderful farmer who picks directly for me (Yay! Horny Toad Farms!), is so eager for my classes that she is volunteering to get it off the ground for me. Instead of trying to stuff a bunch of people into my apartment, I'll be using a larger space and providing a much more structured class. I'm so excited, and it looks like next month will be my first official class!! Each class will center around recipes and specific foods, while the education and information will be discussed as we un-cook. I'm thinking the first class will be dips, since they are easy and delicious and a fun addition to any lifestyle, raw or not.
Almost everyone left just before ten that evening, which is about the time I assumed it would end. One of my friends ended up staying and we chatted until I almost literally kicked her out at 11:30! That's late for the girl who needed to be up by six am for church the next day. We talked about our raw lifestyles (of course) since we are both fully raw, but we also talked about our faith. I try to share with everyone that there is only one reason I am able to completely change my lifestyle successfully and that is by the grace of God through Jesus Christ. It is His strength that carries me through the cravings I get when I'm around people who are enjoying their cooked foods. It is His patience that allows me to finish my green smoothie before I dig into that scrumptious cinnamon roll. It is His peace filling my every moment that keeps my food from becoming my obsession. It is His love that flows through me to share what I've learned with those who are open minded to an alternate path. It is His light shining within me that inspires everyone around me to ask questions and learn more about the Raw Lifestyle. I could go on and on, that's what happens when I'm passionate about a subject...you can't shut me up! :)