Thursday, July 31, 2008

Are You Ready?

If you haven't gotten over to Raw Fu to sign up for Bunny Berry's 100 Day Raw Food Challenge yet, then get your butt over there! Registration closes tonight.

You do NOT have to commit to 100% Raw. You set your own goals. It can be as simple as commiting to starting each day with a green smoothie, or having a salad for lunch every day. She has lots of fun mini-challenges, give-aways and contests. What better way to kick up your Raw food consumption than with the support of 100's of people who are doing the same?

I'm still waffling as to what my actual goals will be, but I'll know by tomorrow!

Friday, July 18, 2008

At a Crossroads

For the last several months, LB and I have been seriously thinking of the idea of relocation. This had been our original plan, to downsize and move closer to Los Angeles once my Fierce-as-in-Fabulous Teenager graduated from high school. Well, she's done her part, but we've had a tough time making a decision. I've lived here with the girls for about 8 years. This is home to both of them.

The for sale/lease sign is in the front yard. We've looked at homes that we loved, but haven't found the right compromise on price and location. It seems no matter what we choose, either Lovely Boyfriend or The Amazing Wonder Girl will have to make sacrifices. I feel torn.

In the meantime, the stress (along with the rest of life) has thrown me off-course. I'm behind on my novel draft. I've been less consistent with my workouts and susceptible to eating things I wouldn't usually consider.

Because we'll be traveling to visit family and take FT to college in a few weeks, I have to get myself in a strong and good place right now. Traveling can take its toll any time, but particularly when one isn't eating well. So I'm back to being very aware of what I consume and checking my workout record for balance. I'm prepping for Bunny Berry's 100 Day Raw Food Challenge, and no you don't have to commit to being 100% Raw for 100 Days, unless you want to! Check it out.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

One Hundred Percent

There's a lot of talk in the Raw blog world about whether people want to, need to or should strive for 100% Raw.

Debbie makes it plain that she's never going back to SAD. She will be a Raw Vegan for the rest of her life.

Michelle J isn't sure she wants to strive for 100%. She's happy with her results and wonders if it has to be an all or nothing effort in the future.

Kristen is quite happy with High Raw, All Vegan. It works well for her.

Yardsnacker is 100% Raw Vegan, but I don't think HiHoRosie has taken that plunge yet. High Raw seems to be her current goal.
Sara seems to be 100% Raw, low-fat Fruitarian.

Bunny Berry has been striving for all Raw during her 100 Day Raw Food Challenge, and she'll start another challenge on August 1st. So far, she's had marvelous results at 100%, but the rest of her family isn't Raw, so what's to come when the challenges are over?

Then there are of course, the Raw writers, educators and speakers. Matt Monarch, Angela Stokes, and the guys over at WeLikeitRaw, are all 100% Raw Vegans. Carol Alt is very High Raw, but not Vegan.

What about me? The times I've felt the best and had the greatest results in health, energy and fitness have been when I've been either High Raw, all Vegan or as close as I could get to 100% Raw Vegan. (The percentage isn't shared as a comparison to others, nor as a judgement, just as a point of reference.) When I deviated from these, it seemed that everything slowed down: my energy, my physical performance, my weight loss/maintenance, my enthusiasm.

I'll strive for what I know will give me the greatest results. Life is too short to make any other choice.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Best Laid Plans

On Saturday we took our house guest to Versailles, a Cuban restaurant chain in Los Angeles. I planned ahead to stay Raw by looking at the menu online. It's a dinerish place, and they only had 3 salad options, but how many did I need?

The waiter took our orders, and I requested the largest salad, only to be told they had no tomatoes. Figuring this was due to the recent salmonella scare, I said no problem. Give me the avocado salad instead. Who wouldn't love an avocado salad? How lucky was I to be in a place that had avocado salad on the menu?

The waiter returned. No hay aguacate. All we have for salad is lettuce.

I suppose I could've had a plate of lettuce, but I cracked and ordered the tostones instead. I was hungry! These were of course deep fried, and after eating about half of the small order, I couldn't get any more down.

Leaving the restaurant, I remembered I had a bag of fruit in the car and I wolfed down a couple of apricots. Next time the fruit goes in my purse. While I don't advise sneaking food into a restaurant, I did make a good faith effort to find something appropriate on their menu. My companions ordered enough food to make us good customers, so while I'd keep it on the DL, I'd bring in my backup in the future.

Do You Eat These?

Here's a NY Times article: The 11 Best Foods You Aren't Eating. The article explains the benefits of these nutritious but not very popular foods:

  1. Beets
  2. Cabbage
  3. Swiss Chard
  4. Cinnamon
  5. Pomegranate Juice
  6. Dried Plums
  7. Pumpkin Seeds
  8. Sardines
  9. Turmeric
  10. Frozen Blueberries
  11. Canned Pumpkin

As for me, I won't be eating anything from a can any time soon, and sardines won't pass these lips either. I rarely drink pomegranate juice, but I do like to eat the fruit. I don't eat beets, because they taste like dirt to me, and not in a good way! I do juice them though. Orange-Beet-Lemon juice is delicious. I prefer my blueberries fresh, but I won't turn my nose up at frozen. Turmeric hasn't been in my food much, since I left cooking behind, but swiss chard, cinnamon, dried plums, pumpkin seeds and cabbage are all regulars around here. Good stuff!

All Things in Moderation . . .or Not

The other day I was at the stairs all alone. (I now go up and down 20 times when I'm by myself, for a total of 4600 stairs. I'm always exhausted and sleep well at night after that workout, and it's a great time to pray, meditate, plan or listen to podcasts.) One of my former writing teachers hosts a show called Writers on Writing, and I took the opportunity to listen to one of her podcasts. She was interviewing the female author of a weight loss book. I haven't read the book, so I can't comment on that, except she apparently isn't pushing a particular diet and she encourages people to eat real food rather than processed junk. Kudos to her for both of those things. At the same time, she gave some advice that I had a problem with.

#1. Gyms are basically evil, useless places and walking is all the exercise anyone needs.

Well, lucky her. She lives in New York City, and her lifestyle affords lots of walking, but for many folks in this country, weather and geography make finding a place to walk outdoors something of a challenge. And I'm sorry, but most of us go through each day without lifting anything heavier than our cell phones. If we don't use--and yes, even train--our upper bodies, we will lose muscle strength and mass, as well as bone density over time. So while walking is great exercise, it's not enough, and though I don't belong to a gym, I don't think we should begrudge the man or woman who enjoys running on the treadmill or biking to nowhere while they watch the news on a big screen tv.

#2. Eat whatever you want, as long as it's mostly real food and all things are taken in moderation.

I know from personal experience that this method can work for weight loss and maintenance. The question then, is whether or not we want to make weight the primary reason for our food choices. Don't get me wrong. I was miserable as an obese person, truly miserable, so I understand the obsession with shedding excess fat. As I said, I haven't read the book, but during the podcast interview there was no mention of what foods are truly beneficial to our health, and so should be the foundation of our diet.

Frankly, most Americans could only improve their health and fitness levels by following this woman's plan. It's not a plan for optimal health, but it would make many people healthier. It's not a plan for optimal fitness, but it does seem to encourage people to move their bodies. I wonder then, should we set the bar low? Should we start with the minimum, and if so, should we expect that people will want to or be able to exceed that? Is it enough to just do a little better?