The Power of Antioxidants-What You Should Know!

Foods
Foods

Cells are the building blocks of every human being. Each and every one of us are made up of trillions and trillions of cells, working together to build and maintain every aspect of your body including your skin, every tissue, and every organ. Each and every cell, so minute yet so powerful, possesses characteristics and qualities that truly exemplify life and the human body. Without proper cellular function, our bodies struggle and ultimately suffer from disease and free radical attack.

What are free radicals? The human body and all of its cells require oxygen to survive. Oxygen provides energy throughout the body, and “energy is essential for every physical activity, from breathing to thinking, from having sex to keeping our hearts beating.” (16) When energy is produced via oxygen, free radicals are also released throughout the body. Free radicals wreak havoc on cell structures, damaging and creating disease, increasing the aging process, and early death. But there is a positive to free radicals also!

You ask, how can that be? Despite the harm done by free radicals,  “Free radicals also perform many critical functions in our bodies, from controlling the flow of blood through our arteries, to fighting infection, to keeping our brains sharp and in focus.” (23) Therefore, cells and free radicals are somewhat like partners in crime, working together to maintain balance. Often times our cells that are affiliated with immunity produce nitric oxide and superoxide to ward off and kill bacteria and viruses invading our bodies. These substances are essentially free radicals and yes, they do good in a situation such as this. In fact, “many cancer drugs are actually designed to increase the production of free radicals in the body,” and this results in killing cancer cells. (24) In circumstances such as this, cells and free radicals are working together to make a positive impact on our bodies, but  ideally, the cells need to stay in control to maintain balance and prevent free radicals from getting out of control. Cells must be nourished properly to continue to have the ability to quench the other more detrimental free radicals before they escape, invade, and plan their sole attacks. Free radicals will cause damage in the long run. Unless we maintain proper balance throughout the body and nourish our bodies on a cellular level, our health will be jeopardized and ultimately destroyed.

 

How do we protect ourselves from free radical attack?

 

Antioxidants are the key protectors from free radical attack. Amazing protectors, antioxidants defend and nourish the body and cells and fight off free radicals and deadly oxidation processes that create disease. When food spoils, it becomes oxidized, and this is precisely what can and will occur throughout the body unless we protect ourselves and our cells with antioxidants. Biological oxidation however, similar to saran wrap placed over food or preservatives added to preserve freshness, establishes cell energy (through the conversion of nutrients into cellular energy via the mitochondria in the cell) But the invading free radicals also enter into this process and try to overwhelm the body and the cells and destroy this energy. Antioxidants play a major role in keeping proper balance and “quenching free radicals wherever they may be, so that they cannot spread their destruction to other cells.” (17) A true defense network, antioxidants are essential key players in cellular and whole body health.

 

The Key Network Antioxidants

 

Antioxidants are produced by the body as well as obtained from foods and supplements. Five network antioxidants work together as a team of sorts to protect and strengthen the body as a whole. The most amazing quality that these five players possess is that together, “they can recycle, or regenerate, one another after they have quenched a free radical, vastly extending their antioxidant power.” (17) This in turn keeps the ball rolling while maintaining antioxidant power, balance, and healthy living cells. Although the network antioxidants work together, each of the five has individual roles that focus on their unique duties within the cell while complimenting each other as a whole. Because a cell is about 100% water, but protected by a membrane of fat and lipids, the proper antioxidants must protect the correct parts of the cell depending upon their qualities; that is whether they are fat soluble, water soluble, or in special cases, both. As we know, oil and water don’t mix, and this is also the case when it comes to cells and antioxidants. Therefore, water mixes with water and fat with fat! Here are the five essential network antioxidants and the powers they possess.

Lipoic Acid

Lipoic acid has made an extreme mark in the United States after many years of fame throughout Europe. Thought to be unimportant at one time, lipoic acid is now acclaimed in the U.S. for its protection against diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. (19) A leader for all the antioxidants, lipoic acid increases all levels of every antioxidant defense network. As I mentioned, antioxidants work together, boosting and aiding each other to perform adequately and to their fullest potential. Glutathione, an antioxidant that is not always absorbed well by the body alone, gets a major boost from lipoic acid and lipoic acid in turn recycles glutathione. Packer Labs has shown that lipoic acid can boost glutathione by 30%! (19) This major defensive partnership rids the body and cells of toxins and increases the levels of both lipoic acid and glutathione throughout the body. And if that’s not enough, lipoic acid is the only antioxidant that can cross both the fatty and watery parts of the cell! Yes, with lipoic acid, water and oil do mix. And it can recycle itself alone from it’s free radical state back to its antioxidant state, as well as recycling the other network antioxidants. A major energy source, without lipoic acid, cells cannot function and produce energy and without energy, the cell will die.

Vitamin E

Obtained primarily from sources outside of the body and cells, vitamin E must be supplemented to assure adequate levels throughout the body. Vitamin E is the body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant. Lipoproteins carry Vitamin E through the body and protect from oxidation. Oxidation of lipoproteins has been shown to be the leading cause of hardening of the arteries which eventually will lead to heart disease if untreated. Vitamin E has the amazing power to prevent the fat in our blood from oxidizing and going rancid, again similar to how preservatives protect food from spoilage. When our blood remains healthy, our levels of cholesterol maintain balanced and our hearts, arteries, and genetic material (DNA) stay strong and healthy. When someone has high levels of LDL (bad cholesterol), the oxidation of low-density proteins are not being prevented by antioxidants like vitamin E. Therefore, Vitamin E is very important in the prevention of heart disease. Other studies have shown that Vitamin E plays a major role in prostate cancer prevention and Alzheimer’s disease. (19) UV radiation and ozone which damages the skin and promotes cancer can be protected from vitamin E, as well as inflammation and arthritis. (54) Vitamin E has an amazing history, beginning with its discovery in 1922 as a result of rats eating lettuce and being able to carry fetus’s full term, contrary to the case without being fed lettuce. As a result of wheat germ oil and tocopherols discovered as the substance in the lettuce, vitamin E became a winner among the antioxidants and continues to thrive. Vitamin E is a true champion at warding off free radicals, promoting longevity, and protecting the body and immune system,

 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is water soluble and is not produced by the body at all. Therefore we must obtain vitamin C from external sources, supplements, and food. As we know, vitamin C has always been a “go to” for cold prevention and treatment, but overall, the reason for this is because vitamin C is a strong immune system booster and supporter. Everyone, especially those individuals with compromised immune systems, should supplement with Vitamin C! Vitamin C regenerates vitamin E, preventing the oxidation of lipoproteins. It also protects against cataracts, protects sperm from free radical damage, prevents cancer by shielding DNA from free radical damage, and produces collagen to maintain healthy skin. (77-78) Vitamin C is the bridge between the fat and water soluble antioxidants, connecting and maintaining the network.

 

Coenzyme Q10

Working as a team with vitamin E, coenzyme Q10 is another fat soluble antioxidant that protects the cell membrane (fatty area). Research has shown that CoQ10 aids in heart failure, angina, and high blood pressure. In addition, CoQ10 is being used to treat cancer, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. (20) Recent research has shown CoQ10 to be a positive factor in treating breast cancer as well as gum disease. CoQ10 is a coenzyme, working with an enzyme (protein found in living cells) to bring about chemical changes. (93) Known as the “cellular spark plug,” CoQ10 jumps the body like jumper cables do to a car, sustaining energy and preventing fatigue through production of ATP (fuel for the body).  And like the other network antioxidants, CoQ10 quenches free radicals and recycles Vitamin E, aiding in lipoprotein protection. As we age, CoQ10 decreases and this is why it is crucial to supplement.  CoQ10 is found in salmon and organ meats, but for the all human beings, especially vegetarians, adequate CoQ10 levels will not be achieved and maintained without proper supplementation.

 

Glutathione

.Glutathione is produced by the body through three amino acids, the building blocks of protein, found in food; glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine. (20) A true champion against free radical, glutathione is most abundant throughout every cell. However, as we age, glutathione decreases so although it is most abundant, it is imperative to maintain adequate levels, especially past the age of forty. Low levels have been proven to result in early death and diseases of all kinds. The best way to prevent this is to always maintain high levels of glutathione throughout life at any age. Lipoic acid boosts levels of glutathione, as mentioned, and it is the primary water-soluble antioxidant, recycling the oxidized form of vitamin C and restoring its antioxidant power. (105) A great detoxifier, glutathione rids the liver and body of pollutants and toxins. In addition, like the other network antioxidants, glutathione boosts immunity and longevity. Without glutathione, the liver cannot function properly, which will result in a buildup of toxin that can cause liver poisoning. (108)

 

The Network Boosters

 

There name says it all! And here they are……..

 

The Flavanoids

Plant based Flavanoids like Ginkgo Biloba and Pycnogenol are true winners when it comes to boosting the antioxidant network. Anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, and healthy heart boosters, the flavanoids are exceptional compounds (4,000+) found in the pigments of leaves, barks, rinds, seeds, and flowers. (138) Because flavanoids are not produced by the body, it is a good thing that they are so abundant in plants, veggies and fruits, and even teas and wine. Part of the polyphenol family of molecules, flavanoids differ in their antioxidant powers depending upon their molecular structure. Flavanoids work very well with vitamin C by recovering vitamin C after it has attacked free radicals and therefore restoring its antioxidant power. In turn, this enhances vitamin E and the entire network. The combination of flavanoids found in Pycnogenol (pine bark extract) and Ginkgo Biloba extract have proven to be winners as network boosters. Balancing nitric oxide and keeping levels healthy for optimum health, these two flvanoids maintain proper levels of nitric oxide and prevent this free radical from turning from good to bad. (As in the case with cancer) Ginkgo has been used for centuries by the Chinese as a medicinal tree (leaves and fruit), used for better circulation, improving impotence due to better circulation, heart health, memory, reducing inflammation and overall well being.  Pycnogenol has been used dating back to Hippocrates for many ailments including inflammation and immunity. Comprised of forty different antioxidants, pycnogenol works closely with vitamin C, extending its life and recycling it back to its antioxidant form. (126) It also boosts vitamin E and glutathione production and comes in first when it comes to quenching free radicals (superoxide, nitric oxide, hydroxyl radical) Flavanoids as a whole promote wellness, aiding in chronic fatigue, immunity, longevity, attention-deficit disorder, and overall mental function.

 

The Carotenoids

The caratenoids are found in both plants and animals, produced by bacteria, algae, fungi, and plants, but humans obtain them from foods. (134) There are six main carotenoids; alpha carotene, beta carotene, cryptoxanthin, lutein, lycopene, and zeaxanthin. Very much affiliated with cancer, it has been shown that carotenoids diminish the growth of cancer. High levels of carotenoids show lower risks of cancer overall. There has been quite a bit of confusion and controversy concerning carotenoids and whether they are truly beneficial, but with the studies and results over the years, it is my belief along with the beliefs of many that carotenoids are in fact beneficial, especially when taken in a mixed dose of carotenoids. Studies have shown boosts in immunity, cancer protection, especially in reference to lycopene found in tomatoes, heart disease prevention due to beta-carotene found in carrots, and excellent eye heath and vision thanks to carotenoids, found in dark green leafy veggies.

 

Selenium

Selenium is an excellent booster, working with vitamin E to protect against stroke, heart disease, cancer, and even AIDS. A trace mineral, selenium is found in foods and water and is not produced by the body. Egg yolks, onions, garlic, wheat germ, red grapes, and broccoli are all sources of selenium. (142) As a helper in producing enzymes that impact the network antioxidants, selenium is powerful in ridding the body of toxins. Caution must be taken with selenium, as only a very small amount is necessary and in excess, it can be toxic. Only recently, an amazing discovery was made in China concerning selenium. Keshan’s disease, associated with cardiomyopathy, became very prevalent in China. The soil was known to be very low in selenium levels, and therefore the foods grown in the soil were also very low in selenium. A selenium deficiency was the result and cause of Keshan’s. In 1974, supplementation began in a double-blind study and within two years, Keshan’s disease ended and supplementation became a way of life.
To achieve optimum antioxidant power, a plan must be followed!

-Seven to Ten or even more servings of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables per day

Bright orange and yellow, apples, berries, citrus, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower, onions and garlic, dark greens, red grapes and wine, teas, tumeric, walnuts, organic produce, the skins which are nutrient packed

-Limit fat consumption to about 30% of daily calories and eat raw, unhydrogenated oils such as olive, sesame, and flaxseed

-Follow the cocktail in two doses, a.m. and p.m. with food

-Always discuss supplementation with your doctor

 

A.M.                                    P.M.

 

Vitamin E Family                        Vitamin E Family

100 mg tocotrienols                        200 mg natural alpha

200 mg mixed tocopherols                        tocopherol

 

CoQ10                                Lipoic Acid

30 mg CoQ10                            50 mg lipoic acid

 

Lipoic Acid                            Vitamin C

50mg lipoic acid                            250 mg ester C

 

Vitamin C                            Ginkgo Biloba

250 mg ester vitamin C                        30 mg ginkgo biloba

 

Folic Acid                            Selenium

400 mcg biotin                            200 mcg selenium

 

Vitamin B6

2mg vitamin B6

 

Selecting the best of the best is of most importance! Never settle when it comes to your health and your supplementation! Always buy “natural” rather than synthetic or petroleum based. (Vitamin E)

 

Special Needs (to be taken either a.m. or p.m. in addition to above)

 

Smokers:

Add:

100 mg lipoic acid

100 mg tocotrienols

50 mg CoQ10

20 mg pycnogenol

100 mg biotin

 

Diabetics:

Add:

100 mg lipoic acid

1,000 mg GLA capsule

200 mcg chromium

100 mg biotin

 

Athletes:

Add:

250 mg L-carnitine

 

Menopausal Women:

Add:

1,200 mg calcium

100 mg tocotrienols

 

Cancer Risk:

Add:

100 mg lipoic acid

100 mg tocotrienols

50 mg CoQ10

20 mg Pycnogenol

100 mg biotin

 

Cardiovascular Risk:

Add:

50 mg CoQ10

100 mg tocotrienols (p.m.)

100 mg lipoic acid

100 mg biotin

20 mg Pycnogenol

 

Picky Eaters:

Add:

Flavanoid Complex

Cruciferous-plus

Mixed caratenoid complex

 

Beauty Secrets:

 

Your skin is your largest organ, exposed to free radicals daily. It is essential to protect your skin!

Vitamin C helps to produce collagen, and when applied directly to the skin in a cream, it helps supply blood, reduces inflammation, adds glow, diminishes lines and wrinkle, prevents UV damage,

And evens skin tone. A low Ph cream or serum is best absorbed.

Vitamin E is essential too, especially for the outdoors folk. Vitamin E is a leader in protecting against UV radiation, minimizes age related signs, and diminishes lines, wrinkle, and damage.

Pycnogenol aids vitamin C and maintains vibrant skin. It protects collagen from free radicals, strengthens capillaries, protects against UV damage, and acts as an anti-inflammatory, especially for sensitive skin. (204)

 

With the Power of Antioxidants, Network Boosters, and Healthy Diet and Lifestyle, we have the Power to Achieve Optimum Health, Longevity, and Exceptional Quality of Life!

 

Packer, Lester Ph.D, & Colman, Carol (1999). The Antioxidant Miracle. Canada: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Top 10 Foods for Ultimate Health

As a raw foodist, I maintain a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, seeds and nuts, greens and superfoods, juices, smoothies, fermented foods, and sprouts of all varieties. Being a raw foodist has become less of a diet and rather a complete revolution and way of life for me. I have gone through tremendous transformations and severe, BUT SPECTACULAR changes throughout my journey, and my passion is to share my experiences and knowledge with all who show an interest in feeling a true sense of physical and emotional well being

 

I revel in raw and living foods and believe that through diet and lifestyle changes, we have the power to change those things in our lives that are far from great and make the greatest of things even greater, hence, “All Good Things Are Wild and Free……,” and Raw! There are so many fantastic foods, and I am going to discuss 10 foods that I consider to be the healthiest.

 

Green Foods and drinks are essential in the diet, including cereal grasses and microalgae. From wheatgrass (my favorite!) to spirulina, green foods are packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals, chlorophyll, enzymes, alkalinity, antioxidants, protein, antioxidants, nucleic acids, and fatty acids.  Green foods have cleansing qualities, (lymph, blood, cells) and restore proper balance throughout the body, as well as balancing pH. Cancer and disease can only survive in an acidic environment, and therefore introducing green foods into your diet will maintain a more alkaline environment and ward off cancers and diseases. Green foods also boost immunity, prevent disease, and reduce inflammation, and in my opinion, are essential  nutritional champions! (226)

 

Number 2 on my top 10 list is Sea Veggies and Seweeds. “There is practically no group of plants on the planet richer in nutrients, minerals, and trace minerals.” (235) So therefore, seaweeds are full of essential minerals, as well as vitamins, amino acids, calcium, iodine, and iron. Seaweed is an amazing food for cancer prevention, possessing polysaccharides that have anti-tumor/anti-cancer properties. Environmental hazards can be warded off by consuming seaweed as well. Seaweed detoxifies the body of pollution, toxins, and even radiation. Teeth and bones are also helped with seaweed due to high levels of fluorine, which also acts as an immunity booster. (236) And seaweeds are very easy to prepare! Soaked and rehydrated, you can add essential, healthy oils (sesame, olive) and seasonings and you have amazing nutrition and a delicious meal. My favorite seaweeds are arame, hijiki, and dulse, but truly all seaweeds are nutritious, mineral and vitamin packed, and delicious.

 

Number 3 is apples. “An apple a day keeps the Dr. away!” Apples are full of fiber,  antioxidants and a flavanoid called quercetin, which has been shown to prevent the growth of prostate cancer cells, colon cancer cells, and reduce the risk of lung cancer. (93) Apples have the second highest level of antioxidant activity of any other commonly consumed fruit in the US, as well as phenolic compounds, offering flavanoids with exceptional healing qualities. (93) Apples are also excellent for cardiovascular health, diabetes prevention, and bone health. Boron, found in apples, is very beneficial for osteoporosis and arthritis. (94) It is imperative to be choosy when buying apples however, as they are in the top 12 foods most contaminated with pesticides. Buy organic and always wash and scrub before eating. ( 95) I buy fruit and vegetable wash and clean all of my produce with this in order to be sure that I am avoiding pesticides and other threats at all costs.

 

Coconut is my number 4. I love coconut and all of it’s awesome attributes. The coconut is known as the “Tree of Life,” and you will soon see why. From the water to the milk to coconut oil, and the yummy meat too, this is a food that boasts good health and satisfaction all around. The water in Young Thai coconuts is a natural isotonic beverage, with the same level of electrolytic balance as we have in our blood. Comparable to human plasma, it has and can been a donor replacement and has saved many lives in third world countries through the coconut IV. Coconut water contains lauric acid, giving it similar nutritional value to a human mother’s milk, as well as offering antiviral and antimicrobial properties. (108)

Full of natural sugars, vitamins, and essential amounts of sodium, coconut water replenishes lost fluids and energy from activity and/or dehydration. High in potassium and chloride, coconut water is a natural and delicious energy booster! Coconut is full of fiber, potassium, magnesium, and heart healthy fat. It has also been shown to prevent heart disease, colon cancer, digestive problems, obesity, and atherosclerosis. (pg107) Coconut has essential fatty acids and saturated fats which are easy to metabolize, aid in immunity, and play a key role in health. Capric acid is also found in coconuts, giving antibacterial effects and aiding in candida and bacterial infections.  MCT’s (medium chain triglycerides), also found in coconut oil, aids in weight loss, cystic fibroids, cachexia, AIDS, childhood epilepsy, and STDs.

 

Number 5, Fermented Foods, are absolutely amazing. Fermentation promotes health through the production of probiotics and good intestinal flora. (229) Lactobacillus, healthy bacteria, are essential for maintaining a healthy intestinal tract, proper digestion, and excellent immunity. Also good for heart health and inflammation, fermented foods should be a part of everyones diet. Kimchi, sauerkrauts, Kombucha, miso and nato from fermented soy, and the list goes on…., fermented foods have antioxidants, high levels of vitamins and minerals (C, B, calcium, potassium, and iron), amino acids, and dietary fiber. (230)

 

Sprouts are number 6. “Sprouts are one of the most complete and nutritional foods on the planet.” They are rich in enzymes, vitamins, amino acids, and phytochemicals. (238) Sprouts are loaded with phytonutrients, cancer-fighting compounds, protective chemicals (indole-3-carbinole), and sulphoraphane, an enzyme production increaser which fights free radicals and carcinogens. Saponins, found in alfalfa sprouts, offer antibiotic and antimicrobial properties, cancer prevention, and an immune boost. Careful consideration should be taken when consuming sprouts, as non-organic sprouts are often sanitized with chlorine to attempt to kill bacteria. Therefore, organic sprouts should only be consumed. Because sprouts may harbor some bacteria, those people who have an extremely compromised immune system may want to limit intake. (239) Overall, sprouts are a must as vitamins, minerals, and protein content increases immensely when a seed or nut is sprouted and sprouts are a sure nutrient rich dietary essential.

 

Almonds are number 7!  Almonds are one of the healthiest nuts eaten in their raw state and as butter and even almond milk. I will note that it is imperative to eat almonds and any nut in it’s raw state, preserving the enzymes and keeping the nut alive rather than roasted and “dead.” I use the analogy that if you were to place a raw almond in the ground next to a roasted one, eventually the raw almond would sprout and grow, where the roasted almond would decay and waste away suggesting that in it’s raw state, an almond maintains essential nutrients and “life” and is most nutritious. I also suggest soaking almonds for a few hours or even better, over night before consuming, as this germinates the nut and activates the enzymes (essentially bringing the nut to life). Almonds are packed with monounsaturated fat, a healthy fat that boasts cholesterol reduction and heart disease and cancer prevention. Packed with protein and dietary fiber, almonds are a great and satisfying food. In addition, almonds are an excellent source of vitamin E, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, as well as an essential amino acid arginine which protects the heart and arteries. Almonds have also been shown to reduce body fat and promote weight loss when eaten in moderation. A great treat on salads, added to stir frys or other meals, and blended with water to make milk which can replace dairy milk for cereals and recipes, almonds are a smart, nutritious, and delicious immune boosting food. (147-148)

 

Berries of all kinds are my number 8 top foods! Blueberries are excellent for the brain and memory. An anti-aging food, blueberries are full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory characteristics, protecting against aging and aiding neurons communication in the brain. Diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons, arthritis, and even diabetes can be prevented by adding blueberries to the diet, especially due to the polyphenols which help to maintain and build new neurons. ORAC, or oxygen radical absorbance capacity, is a rating system for antioxidant power in foods. (102) Blueberries have ranked highest, loaded with antioxidants and phytochemicals, and pterostilbene, which lower lipids and regulates fatty acid metabolism and fats in the bloodstream preventing arterial plaquing. Cancer you ask? Blueberries have amazing cancer fighting qualities too due to their ability to produce a particular flavanoid that inhibits a cancer promoting enzyme. (102) Raspberries are full of fiber, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin K for bones. (137) Full of anti-tumor Ellagic acid, raspberries have been shown to aid in cell death of cancer cells and protect and build new healthy cells. Memorial Sloan-Kettering has also done studies which have shown that Ellagic acid has amazing antiviral and antibacterial properties. (138) As with blueberries, raspberries also have anti-inflammatory qualities due to anthocyanins which inhibit cyclooxygenase compounds that signal pain, inflammation, and ultimately arthritis. Isn’t it a better choice to eat raspberries rather than taking pharmaceutical drugs that utilize man-made substances that mimic anthocyanins  but deliver unpleasant and even deadly side effects?!?

And strawberries! Cancer protecting along with other berries, strawberries and blackberries as well contain Ellagic acid also, reducing tumor growth and carcinogenic effects. Strawberries also are brain food and protect nerve cells, and anthocyanins are also abundant in strawberries delivering natural anti-inflammatory qualities. So Hooray for Berries! (Please note that like apples, strawberries are ranked high on pesticide contamination, so it is important to buy organic and wash thoroughly.) (139)

 

Kale, Kale, and more Kale-a star green for sure and my number 9 top food! Kale has an ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) of 1770, ranking #1 among all vegetables, fighting cell damaging free radicals with essential antioxidants and phytochemicals. (46) Kale is excellent for fighting cancer, loaded with cancer fighting indoles and sulforaphane. A great way to release sulforaphane is through blending kale, which triggers the liver to remove free radicals and other DNA damage causing chemicals. (46) This is where one of my favorite treats comes in to play, the Green Smoothie! Fruit, like berries, kale, and coconut water blended up is an awesome nutritional treat that should be added to everyone’s daily diet! And as if that’s not enough, kale is full of vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, vitamins A, C, and K, beta-carotine, lutein and zeaxanthin, protein and fiber. This is precisely why I believe that greens are essential in the diet and also play a key role in protein replacement for vegetarians, vegans, and raw foodists like myself. Kale can be massaged with olive oil, lemon, and apple cider vinegar, which allows for un-cooking and maintaining essential enzymes and nutrients for a delicious and nutritious salad!

 

Number 10 on my list is water, the liquid of life essential for every metabolic process in the body. Our bodies are 83% water; muscles 75%, brain 74%, and bones 22%. (268) Water is the body’s flusher, removing toxins and waste and aiding in digestion and absorption of vitamins and nutrients. Although I retrieve water from my high intake of fruit and vegetables, water is still essential and hydration is the most important thing to focus on when it comes to wellness. Hydration promotes good circulation, healthy skin, proper metabolism, lubrication for joints and muscles, energy, and low risk for coronary heart disease. (269) Cells rely on water to function, so the more the merrier, especially if you are active and are prone to water loss and dehydration. It is crucial that we drink “good” water, meaning water that is purified and free of chemicals, pollutants, and environmental hazards. Water is more often than not contaminated, loaded with high levels of dangerous toxicity, so it is imperative to filter and purify water and steer clear of tap to maintain water safety.

 

Although there are so many more favorites in my list, these are my top 10! I could honestly go on forever listing foods and all of their amazing qualities. Please enjoy my above suggestions and as always, remember, “All Good Things Are Wild and Free,…..and RAW!”

 

Bowden, Johnny (2007). The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. Massachussetts: Fair Winds Press.

 

What is this Raw Food all about?

 

Raw foodism entails eating food in a form as close to its natural state as possible, steering clear of cooking or heating foods so as to preserve nutrients and enzymes crucial to health and disease prevention. Cooking destroys these vital nutrients and proteins in foods and actually replaces them with harmful carcinogens, mutagens, and free-radicals (disease-causers). In addition, cooking and heating foods destroys food enzymes which are only maintained in foods when in the raw state. The life-sustaining partnership of food enzymes and metabolic enzymes (within the body) enables our bodies to fully and effectively metabolize what we intake, a process that converts food nutrients into energy.

When high temperatures destroy or “kill” food enzymes, our food no longer contains these elements essential for optimal metabolic processes. Therefore our internal organs become fatigued, as they now have two duties to perform rather than their sole responsibility for creating metabolic enzymes within the body. They must work harder to produce the missing food enzymes (which were not made available in the cooked foods) as well, and this creates incredible stress on the entire body including the lymphatic, metabolic, and immune system. In addition, enzymes are full of life and energy, but when the body lacks adequate enzymes, energy is jeopardized and the body becomes more susceptible to chronic disease and toxicity. This is precisely why it is imperative to incorporate more raw and living foods into the diet. Additional supplements and therapies may be necessary to ensure digestive health, detoxification, and wellness throughout the body.

Raw Foods help to maintain an on-going cleanse throughout the body, internally and externally. Raw and Living Foods not only produce a feeling of vitality and energy, but they also boost the immune system, aid in healing, exude clear and vibrant skin, hair, eyes, and nails, and deter chronic diseases and illnesses which have become all too familiar and prevalent in today’s society. With the many chronic diseases and conditions that haunt our society which include heart disease, cancer, immune disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, candida issues, female diseases and diorders, and hormonal imbalances, it’s time take a stance to prevent and restore and live healthy and lives with a holistic approach to wellness.

The Power of Antioxidants-What You Should Know!

Cells are the building blocks of every human being. Each and every one of us are made up of trillions and trillions of cells, working together to build and maintain every aspect of your body including your skin, every tissue, and every organ. Each and every cell, so minute yet so powerful, possesses characteristics and qualities that truly exemplify life and the human body. Without proper cellular function, our bodies struggle and ultimately suffer from disease and free radical attack.

What are free radicals? The human body and all of its cells require oxygen to survive. Oxygen provides energy throughout the body, and “energy is essential for every physical activity, from breathing to thinking, from having sex to keeping our hearts beating.” (16) When energy is produced via oxygen, free radicals are also released throughout the body. Free radicals wreak havoc on cell structures, damaging and creating disease, increasing the aging process, and early death. But there is a positive to free radicals also!

You ask, how can that be? Despite the harm done by free radicals,  “Free radicals also perform many critical functions in our bodies, from controlling the flow of blood through our arteries, to fighting infection, to keeping our brains sharp and in focus.” (23) Therefore, cells and free radicals are somewhat like partners in crime, working together to maintain balance. Often times our cells that are affiliated with immunity produce nitric oxide and superoxide to ward off and kill bacteria and viruses invading our bodies. These substances are essentially free radicals and yes, they do good in a situation such as this. In fact, “many cancer drugs are actually designed to increase the production of free radicals in the body,” and this results in killing cancer cells. (24) In circumstances such as this, cells and free radicals are working together to make a positive impact on our bodies, but  ideally, the cells need to stay in control to maintain balance and prevent free radicals from getting out of control. Cells must be nourished properly to continue to have the ability to quench the other more detrimental free radicals before they escape, invade, and plan their sole attacks. Free radicals will cause damage in the long run. Unless we maintain proper balance throughout the body and nourish our bodies on a cellular level, our health will be jeopardized and ultimately destroyed.

 

How do we protect ourselves from free radical attack?

Antioxidants are the key protectors from free radical attack. Amazing protectors, antioxidants defend and nourish the body and cells and fight off free radicals and deadly oxidation processes that create disease. When food spoils, it becomes oxidized, and this is precisely what can and will occur throughout the body unless we protect ourselves and our cells with antioxidants. Biological oxidation however, similar to saran wrap placed over food or preservatives added to preserve freshness, establishes cell energy (through the conversion of nutrients into cellular energy via the mitochondria in the cell) But the invading free radicals also enter into this process and try to overwhelm the body and the cells and destroy this energy. Antioxidants play a major role in keeping proper balance and “quenching free radicals wherever they may be, so that they cannot spread their destruction to other cells.” (17) A true defense network, antioxidants are essential key players in cellular and whole body health.

 

The Key Network Antioxidants

 

Antioxidants are produced by the body as well as obtained from foods and supplements. Five network antioxidants work together as a team of sorts to protect and strengthen the body as a whole. The most amazing quality that these five players possess is that together, “they can recycle, or regenerate, one another after they have quenched a free radical, vastly extending their antioxidant power.” (17) This in turn keeps the ball rolling while maintaining antioxidant power, balance, and healthy living cells. Although the network antioxidants work together, each of the five has individual roles that focus on their unique duties within the cell while complimenting each other as a whole. Because a cell is about 100% water, but protected by a membrane of fat and lipids, the proper antioxidants must protect the correct parts of the cell depending upon their qualities; that is whether they are fat soluble, water soluble, or in special cases, both. As we know, oil and water don’t mix, and this is also the case when it comes to cells and antioxidants. Therefore, water mixes with water and fat with fat! Here are the five essential network antioxidants and the powers they possess.

 

Lipoic Acid

Lipoic acid has made an extreme mark in the United States after many years of fame throughout Europe. Thought to be unimportant at one time, lipoic acid is now acclaimed in the U.S. for its protection against diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. (19) A leader for all the antioxidants, lipoic acid increases all levels of every antioxidant defense network. As I mentioned, antioxidants work together, boosting and aiding each other to perform adequately and to their fullest potential. Glutathione, an antioxidant that is not always absorbed well by the body alone, gets a major boost from lipoic acid and lipoic acid in turn recycles glutathione. Packer Labs has shown that lipoic acid can boost glutathione by 30%! (19) This major defensive partnership rids the body and cells of toxins and increases the levels of both lipoic acid and glutathione throughout the body. And if that’s not enough, lipoic acid is the only antioxidant that can cross both the fatty and watery parts of the cell! Yes, with lipoic acid, water and oil do mix. And it can recycle itself alone from it’s free radical state back to its antioxidant state, as well as recycling the other network antioxidants. A major energy source, without lipoic acid, cells cannot function and produce energy and without energy, the cell will die.

 

Vitamin E

Obtained primarily from sources outside of the body and cells, vitamin E must be supplemented to assure adequate levels throughout the body. Vitamin E is the body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant. Lipoproteins carry Vitamin E through the body and protect from oxidation. Oxidation of lipoproteins has been shown to be the leading cause of hardening of the arteries which eventually will lead to heart disease if untreated. Vitamin E has the amazing power to prevent the fat in our blood from oxidizing and going rancid, again similar to how preservatives protect food from spoilage. When our blood remains healthy, our levels of cholesterol maintain balanced and our hearts, arteries, and genetic material (DNA) stay strong and healthy. When someone has high levels of LDL (bad cholesterol), the oxidation of low-density proteins are not being prevented by antioxidants like vitamin E. Therefore, Vitamin E is very important in the prevention of heart disease. Other studies have shown that Vitamin E plays a major role in prostate cancer prevention and Alzheimer’s disease. (19) UV radiation and ozone which damages the skin and promotes cancer can be protected from vitamin E, as well as inflammation and arthritis. (54) Vitamin E has an amazing history, beginning with its discovery in 1922 as a result of rats eating lettuce and being able to carry fetus’s full term, contrary to the case without being fed lettuce. As a result of wheat germ oil and tocopherols discovered as the substance in the lettuce, vitamin E became a winner among the antioxidants and continues to thrive. Vitamin E is a true champion at warding off free radicals, promoting longevity, and protecting the body and immune system,

 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is water soluble and is not produced by the body at all. Therefore we must obtain vitamin C from external sources, supplements, and food. As we know, vitamin C has always been a “go to” for cold prevention and treatment, but overall, the reason for this is because vitamin C is a strong immune system booster and supporter. Everyone, especially those individuals with compromised immune systems, should supplement with Vitamin C! Vitamin C regenerates vitamin E, preventing the oxidation of lipoproteins. It also protects against cataracts, protects sperm from free radical damage, prevents cancer by shielding DNA from free radical damage, and produces collagen to maintain healthy skin. (77-78) Vitamin C is the bridge between the fat and water soluble antioxidants, connecting and maintaining the network.

 

Coenzyme Q10

Working as a team with vitamin E, coenzyme Q10 is another fat soluble antioxidant that protects the cell membrane (fatty area). Research has shown that CoQ10 aids in heart failure, angina, and high blood pressure. In addition, CoQ10 is being used to treat cancer, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. (20) Recent research has shown CoQ10 to be a positive factor in treating breast cancer as well as gum disease. CoQ10 is a coenzyme, working with an enzyme (protein found in living cells) to bring about chemical changes. (93) Known as the “cellular spark plug,” CoQ10 jumps the body like jumper cables do to a car, sustaining energy and preventing fatigue through production of ATP (fuel for the body).  And like the other network antioxidants, CoQ10 quenches free radicals and recycles Vitamin E, aiding in lipoprotein protection. As we age, CoQ10 decreases and this is why it is crucial to supplement.  CoQ10 is found in salmon and organ meats, but for the all human beings, especially vegetarians, adequate CoQ10 levels will not be achieved and maintained without proper supplementation.

 

Glutathione

.Glutathione is produced by the body through three amino acids, the building blocks of protein, found in food; glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine. (20) A true champion against free radical, glutathione is most abundant throughout every cell. However, as we age, glutathione decreases so although it is most abundant, it is imperative to maintain adequate levels, especially past the age of forty. Low levels have been proven to result in early death and diseases of all kinds. The best way to prevent this is to always maintain high levels of glutathione throughout life at any age. Lipoic acid boosts levels of glutathione, as mentioned, and it is the primary water-soluble antioxidant, recycling the oxidized form of vitamin C and restoring its antioxidant power. (105) A great detoxifier, glutathione rids the liver and body of pollutants and toxins. In addition, like the other network antioxidants, glutathione boosts immunity and longevity. Without glutathione, the liver cannot function properly, which will result in a buildup of toxin that can cause liver poisoning. (108)

 

The Network Boosters

 

There name says it all! And here they are……..

 

The Flavanoids

Plant based Flavanoids like Ginkgo Biloba and Pycnogenol are true winners when it comes to boosting the antioxidant network. Anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, and healthy heart boosters, the flavanoids are exceptional compounds (4,000+) found in the pigments of leaves, barks, rinds, seeds, and flowers. (138) Because flavanoids are not produced by the body, it is a good thing that they are so abundant in plants, veggies and fruits, and even teas and wine. Part of the polyphenol family of molecules, flavanoids differ in their antioxidant powers depending upon their molecular structure. Flavanoids work very well with vitamin C by recovering vitamin C after it has attacked free radicals and therefore restoring its antioxidant power. In turn, this enhances vitamin E and the entire network. The combination of flavanoids found in Pycnogenol (pine bark extract) and Ginkgo Biloba extract have proven to be winners as network boosters. Balancing nitric oxide and keeping levels healthy for optimum health, these two flvanoids maintain proper levels of nitric oxide and prevent this free radical from turning from good to bad. (As in the case with cancer) Ginkgo has been used for centuries by the Chinese as a medicinal tree (leaves and fruit), used for better circulation, improving impotence due to better circulation, heart health, memory, reducing inflammation and overall well being.  Pycnogenol has been used dating back to Hippocrates for many ailments including inflammation and immunity. Comprised of forty different antioxidants, pycnogenol works closely with vitamin C, extending its life and recycling it back to its antioxidant form. (126) It also boosts vitamin E and glutathione production and comes in first when it comes to quenching free radicals (superoxide, nitric oxide, hydroxyl radical) Flavanoids as a whole promote wellness, aiding in chronic fatigue, immunity, longevity, attention-deficit disorder, and overall mental function.

 

The Carotenoids

The caratenoids are found in both plants and animals, produced by bacteria, algae, fungi, and plants, but humans obtain them from foods. (134) There are six main carotenoids; alpha carotene, beta carotene, cryptoxanthin, lutein, lycopene, and zeaxanthin. Very much affiliated with cancer, it has been shown that carotenoids diminish the growth of cancer. High levels of carotenoids show lower risks of cancer overall. There has been quite a bit of confusion and controversy concerning carotenoids and whether they are truly beneficial, but with the studies and results over the years, it is my belief along with the beliefs of many that carotenoids are in fact beneficial, especially when taken in a mixed dose of carotenoids. Studies have shown boosts in immunity, cancer protection, especially in reference to lycopene found in tomatoes, heart disease prevention due to beta-carotene found in carrots, and excellent eye heath and vision thanks to carotenoids, found in dark green leafy veggies.

 

Selenium

Selenium is an excellent booster, working with vitamin E to protect against stroke, heart disease, cancer, and even AIDS. A trace mineral, selenium is found in foods and water and is not produced by the body. Egg yolks, onions, garlic, wheat germ, red grapes, and broccoli are all sources of selenium. (142) As a helper in producing enzymes that impact the network antioxidants, selenium is powerful in ridding the body of toxins. Caution must be taken with selenium, as only a very small amount is necessary and in excess, it can be toxic. Only recently, an amazing discovery was made in China concerning selenium. Keshan’s disease, associated with cardiomyopathy, became very prevalent in China. The soil was known to be very low in selenium levels, and therefore the foods grown in the soil were also very low in selenium. A selenium deficiency was the result and cause of Keshan’s. In 1974, supplementation began in a double-blind study and within two years, Keshan’s disease ended and supplementation became a way of life.

 

To achieve optimum antioxidant power, a plan must be followed!

-Seven to Ten or even more servings of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables per day

Bright orange and yellow, apples, berries, citrus, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower, onions and garlic, dark greens, red grapes and wine, teas, tumeric, walnuts, organic produce, the skins which are nutrient packed

-Limit fat consumption to about 30% of daily calories and eat raw, unhydrogenated oils such as olive, sesame, and flaxseed

-Follow the cocktail in two doses, a.m. and p.m. with food

-Always discuss supplementation with your doctor

 

A.M.                                    P.M.

 

Vitamin E Family                        Vitamin E Family

100 mg tocotrienols                        200 mg natural alpha

200 mg mixed tocopherols                        tocopherol

 

CoQ10                                Lipoic Acid

30 mg CoQ10                            50 mg lipoic acid

 

Lipoic Acid                            Vitamin C

50mg lipoic acid                            250 mg ester C

 

Vitamin C                            Ginkgo Biloba

250 mg ester vitamin C                        30 mg ginkgo biloba

 

Folic Acid                            Selenium

400 mcg biotin                            200 mcg selenium

 

Vitamin B6

2mg vitamin B6

 

Selecting the best of the best is of most importance! Never settle when it comes to your health and your supplementation! Always buy “natural” rather than synthetic or petroleum based. (Vitamin E)

 

Special Needs (to be taken either a.m. or p.m. in addition to above)

 

Smokers:

Add:

100 mg lipoic acid

100 mg tocotrienols

50 mg CoQ10

20 mg pycnogenol

100 mg biotin

 

Diabetics:

Add:

100 mg lipoic acid

1,000 mg GLA capsule

200 mcg chromium

100 mg biotin

 

Athletes:

Add:

250 mg L-carnitine

 

Menopausal Women:

Add:

1,200 mg calcium

100 mg tocotrienols

 

Cancer Risk:

Add:

100 mg lipoic acid

100 mg tocotrienols

50 mg CoQ10

20 mg Pycnogenol

100 mg biotin

 

Cardiovascular Risk:

Add:

50 mg CoQ10

100 mg tocotrienols (p.m.)

100 mg lipoic acid

100 mg biotin

20 mg Pycnogenol

 

Picky Eaters:

Add:

Flavanoid Complex

Cruciferous-plus

Mixed caratenoid complex

 

Beauty Secrets:

 

Your skin is your largest organ, exposed to free radicals daily. It is essential to protect your skin!

Vitamin C helps to produce collagen, and when applied directly to the skin in a cream, it helps supply blood, reduces inflammation, adds glow, diminishes lines and wrinkle, prevents UV damage,

And evens skin tone. A low Ph cream or serum is best absorbed.

Vitamin E is essential too, especially for the outdoors folk. Vitamin E is a leader in protecting against UV radiation, minimizes age related signs, and diminishes lines, wrinkle, and damage.

Pycnogenol aids vitamin C and maintains vibrant skin. It protects collagen from free radicals, strengthens capillaries, protects against UV damage, and acts as an anti-inflammatory, especially for sensitive skin. (204)

 

With the Power of Antioxidants, Network Boosters, and Healthy Diet and Lifestyle, we have the Power to Achieve Optimum Health, Longevity, and Exceptional Quality of Life!

 

Packer, Lester Ph.D, & Colman, Carol (1999). The Antioxidant Miracle. Canada: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Acid Indigestion and You

“A good and proper diet in disease is worth a hundred medicines and no amount of medication can do good to a patient who does not observe a strict regimen of diet.”- Charaka Samhita (ca. 300 A.D.)

Acid indigestion is one of the leading complaints by millions of Americans and the cost of over-the-counter and prescription drug treatment totals millions of dollars a year and keeps rising!  But these treatments are classified as a “quick fix,” relieving and hiding the symptoms only for yet another attack to come sooner than later. Why not arrest the problem for good and live a healthy and comfortable life free of acid indigestion! Here’s what you can do, so start today and change your life for the better!

What causes Acid Indigestion?

Poor eating habits
-Eating to quickly
-Not chewing food adequately and properly
-Drinking too much water during meals
-Overeating
-Poor food combining
-Weakened digestion
-Eating too closely to bedtime

What Can You Do to Arrest Your Discomfort?

With proper dietary modifications, attention to your diet, and herbal treatment, your acid indigestion can be a faint memory of the past. A balanced diet is essential to health and wellness and constructing such a diet into your life will be a blessing for years to come. Our digestive system must be worked in the right manner in order to function properly. Foods that are too easy or too difficult to digest will wreak havoc on the body and cause weakness. A proper diet combining Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Foods will bring balance and healing to digestion and throughout the body.

 

Primary Foods should include:

 

Whole Grains (20%-30% of the diet)

Protein- animal, tofu, tempeh, beans (20%-30% of the diet keeping in mind that beans are also carbohydrates and should be minimally consumed while tofu and tempeh should be highly consumed in a vegetarian diet)

 

Secondary Foods should include:

Fresh Seasonal Vegetables- mostly lightly cooked (30%-40% of the diet) (30%-40% of the diet)

 

Tertiary Foods should include:

Dairy, eggs, and fruits (5%-10% of the diet)

Fats and Oils-olive, sesame, ghee (2% of the diet)

 

The Role of Vitamins, Proteins, and Fats in Your Diet

 

Again, I must stress that proper balance within the diet is essential for health and wellness. We have been given foods and herbs that supply our bodies with all necessary nutrients. With proper diet and nutrition, we can achieve optimum health without popping pills and over-the-counter supplements and vitamins.

 

Think about it!

What kept people healthy and vibrant thousands of years ago? It certainly wasn’t the drug store, right?

Hunting and gathering, preparing foods properly, and maintaining nourishment (not in excess) has ALWAYS been the key to survival and health. The vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fats that we need in our daily diet are all accessible from the foods we eat. Making healthy lifestyle and dietary choices are crucial to preventing acid indigestion and living a pain free life.

 

Vitamins and Minerals can be obtained from a properly balanced diet guided by the above nutritional philosophy. Most deficiencies are caused by a breakdown of physical metabolism rather than a particular nutrient missing from the foods we eat. If our diet is in balance, our body has the capacity to produce enough of the necessary vitamins needed to maintain health.

(Tierra, 1998)

 

Vegetarian diets may require additional mineral intake which can easily be achieved through sea vegetables such as nori, wakame, arame, kelp, and many others.

 

Meat has always been the choice source of protein, but although a small amount of meat is acceptable (2-4 ounces daily), vegetable sources of protein are a much better and healthier choice. Due to high toxicity levels in animal protein due to hormones and drugs administered to the animals, organic meat is necessary when consuming animal protein.

 

Beans are an excellent source of protein, they are high in essential fats and oils, and provide energy to the body. Beans should be soaked before preparing and consuming and it is recommended to combine beans with a grain to prevent unnecessary gas and digestive discomfort.

 

Miso, a fermented food from soybeans, is an excellent protein choice and provides essential intestinal bacteria, minerals, and fats. Considered a very therapeutic food, miso is easily digested and aids in recovery for the ill, especially acid indigestion due to the intestinal flora that it provides and replenishes the body with.

 

Tofu and Tempeh are also excellent sources of vegetable protein. Vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals and fruit, when eaten with a peal of citrus fruit or a few apple seeds, can provide excellent vitamins and minerals. Because fruit is the most easily and quickly digested food, fruit should be eaten alone to assure proper digestion and prevent digestive discomfort.

 

Sesame seeds and sesame oil (and tahini) are all excellent choices for fat in the diet.

 

Did You Know That Your Kitchen is Your Herbal Medicine Cabinet?

 

With proper diet and the use of herbs, you can achieve wellness for you and your family for years to come. Many herbs have the power to correct deficiencies and heal through cleansing, toning, and providing vitamins and minerals that your body needs.  Most herbal spices are carminatives (preventing and relieving gas) stimulants and aids to digestion. (Tierra, 1998)  Many ailments, including acid indigestion, are attributable to blockages in the natural flow of blood, lymph, nutrients (digestion and assimilation), waste products (from food and metabolism) or nerve energy. Stimulants are an important means of breaking through these blockages. These are exactly what you need to arrest your acid indigestion and assure proper digestion. Below are a few of the most useful medicinal spices that should be included in your diet and treatment regimen and the proper preparations. All of these kitchen herbs are an excellent addition to food preparation and meals for health and FLAVOR!

 

Anise- Taken as a tea, 3 teaspoons of crushed anise seeds and 1 cup of boiling water, steeped for 20 minutes to treat flatulence.

 

Basil- Taken as a tea, 1 ounce of basil leaves, a pint of water, simmered for 20 minutes to treat indigestion.

 

Bay Leaves- 1-2 leaves added to a meal will prevent gas and indigestion.

 

Caraway- An ounce of crushed seeds steeped in a pint of boiling water and then administered in 2 tablespoon doses frequently will treat indigestion and gas.

 

Cayenne- Taken 3 times per day, ¼ teaspoon with water will help to prevent indigestion through its warming nature and amazing first aid qualities.

 

Cinnamon- Simmered in milk with honey added, cinnamon will diminish indigestion and gas and give balance throughout the body.

 

Cloves- These are a great addition to treatment, as they aid the entire digestive system. Added to any of the recipes, cloves are a super way to warm the body and digestive system.

 

Fenugreek- An excellent treatment for ulcers and inflammation of the stomach, fenugreek is an essential treatment for acid indigestion to treat and heal damage. 1 Once of crushed seeds simmered in water for at least one hour and then administered will treat acid indigestion.

 

Ginger- The most beneficial stimulant to the stomach and digestive tract, 1 ounce grated and simmered in a pint of water and then drank will aid in healing and relieving acid indigestion.

 

The above herbs may also be combined as pinches, perhaps 3 or more, to total 1 teaspoon. These can be placed in a glass of water and consumed for relief.

 

An excellent decoction for stomach Acidity in addition to the above is:

 

1 part Dandelion root

1 part Slippery elm

1/8 part Goldenseal

1/8 part Calamus root

 

Simmered in water for at least one hour and then consumed every hour or as needed.

(Tierra, 1998)

 

It’s Time to Gain Awareness and Take Control of Your Health!

References

Tierra, Michael (1998). The Way of Herbs. New York: Simon and Schuster Inc.

26.2 Miles on May 2nd 2010

tri_1I have accomplished what many believed to be an impossible feat. But let me assure you that this is not the first and it won’t be the last “impossible” feat that I accomplish! Some said, “you’re a woman…you can’t do that!” Others said, “Mandi…..you’re not an elite athlete….are you sure you want to put your body through this and are you sure your body can handle this?” And all too many times I heard, “How will you do this eating the way that you do?”  I replied, “You mean without giant white flour pasta dinners, fake food bars, Muscle Man shakes, and mass amounts of animal proteins and empty calories?” And then, once I started the training and it was assured that YES, I was taking on this endeavor, I began to hear, “if you don’t do it or feel like you can’t, you are not a failure and don’t beat yourself up…just do the best that you can.” Oh YES, I did the best that I can….better than the best that I can! I achieved and conquered and most definitely reconfirmed my belief and motto that we DO have the ability to accomplish anything and everything that we put our minds and bodies to! And to the skeptics and the non-believers, I say, “YES WE CAN, YES I DID, AND YES, YOU CAN TOO!!!”

 

But how did I do this? A woman who was overweight throughout childhood, anorexic for several years, suffered from numerous and severe health issues, endured a stress fracture in my hip that almost made me face a hip replacement, suffered from nutritional deficiencies and nerve damage in my legs to the point that I had difficulty walking, medicated and self medicated for at least half of my almost 33 years of existence, and now as a RAW VEGAN!!! (for about  5 years) Again I say, “We have the power to change those things in our lives that are far from great and make the greatest of things even greater!”  And as far as our bodies are concerned, OUR TEMPLES AS I LIKE TO CALL THEM, if we take care of them,  listen to them, clean them and build them back up, and nurture them, anything is reversible, everyone can heal, and ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!

So, where do I begin on my journey to 26.2 miles in just about 4 hours (probably under due to my need to pea a few times at the beginning of the race….hydration has its priceJ) Next time, and there will be a next time, I think I’ll do what the elites do and just pea as I run…..time is of the essence!

There is a lot of information for just one entry…..so perhaps I will break things up a bit and share  a few entries concerning my journey and what potentially can be an aid for your journey or journeys ahead of you! Who knows….maybe you’ll be running with me in my next venture or maybe I can help you reach that AHA! Moment if “YES YOU CAN!” I certainly hope that this will be the case!

KEY POINTS For Eating Raw and Vegan as an athlete or aspiring athlete, marathon trainee, or even just a person who aspires to be physically fit and healthy! (And this goes for those non raw vegans out there too!)

  1. Calorie, Carbohydrate, and Protein Intake is Important, But Choosing the Right Options is Even More Important! When training, it is a wonder how we can replenish the 1000’s of calories that we burn in order to stay energized and nourished as a raw vegan. Here are some of my options that worked for me and I am most certain will work for you without following the athletic regime of pastas, sugary, fake sports drinks and muscle building protein shakes.

-Keep in mind that amino acids are the basis of protein….and a plant based diet is certainly full of amino acids, just not in the form of animal protein! When we blend greens and juice greens, we receive the most amazing benefits; energy, vitamins, minerals, proteins, and healthy daily detoxification.  So…..GREEN SMOOTHIES AND GREEN JUICES…..A MUST! Add in plant based protein powders and green powders for an additional boost! YES…I carry these…just ask if you’re interested!

-Sprouts of all kinds are one of the most amazing complete and nutritional foods on the planet! They are rich in enzymes, vitamins, amino acids, and phytochemicals.

-Coconut!!! Oil, Butter, Water……excellent for training and a staple in my regime! (And my Raweos of course-full of coconut cacao goodness!)

-Buckwheat and Sprouted Grains! An excellent sulfur food that detoxifies and energizes while giving the body a source of plant based carbohydrates!

I truly believe that the reason why people get sick during training or running a marathon is because of the mass amounts of pastas that they feel compelled to eat before long runs. Do you know how long it takes to break down these carbs….and better yet…how long it takes to break down animal proteins eaten with these carbs? It could take up to ½ a day to break down and digest, so therefore, this meal is still sitting in the belly of the runner that is bound to get cramping, vomiting, indigestion, heaviness and bloating, etc. It is No Wonder that there were people expelling bodily fluids and dropping out during the race while I continued along feeling strong after a meal of greens, coconut, seeds, nuts, and cacao the evening before 26.2!

 

-Water with Liquid Minerals-Polar Mins, which I carry from PRL, are essential to replenish not only fluid loss, but also the mineral loss from training. My drink concoction always consisted of water, liquid minerals, liquid B vitamins, CoQuinol, Green Tea, lemon juice, and Coconut Palm Sugar! I also drank coconut water to replenish electrolytes too!

-Seaweeds-Dulse especially replenishes salts and minerals, fulfills amino acids, trace minerals, IRON…..a must for women and vegans, vitamins, and the benefits go on and on…….(note on iron; it may be necessary  to supplement with a food based iron supplement due to low levels caused by exertion and menstruation)

-Soaked Seeds and Nuts/Nut Butters-Excellent source of calories, healthy fats, protein.

-Essential Fatty Acids- EFA Oil

– Careful attention to Adrenal Burnout is a must!  Supplementation with Magnesium, L-Glutamine, Vitamin C,  and an Adrenal Supplement like Adrenal Response, along with at least 5 straight hours of sleep a night and careful attention to rest, rest, rest and recovery is essential! (Thank you Nanized Liquid Melatonin too!)

-Strength training, stretching, pilates, and yoga-a combination of body work sustains and strengthens our temples! Upper body and lower body are equally important….those arms can pull you through when those legs get tired, and core strength power is essential to posture and power!

 

OK…..I’m running on and on…..and want to literally head out for a run now, so stay tuned for more! In the meantime, please feel free to contact me for additional info. And insight!

 

Blissfully Yours,

 

Mandi

Why People Don’t Heal

It has been said and believed, “You are what you eat,” a statement that has become most apparent throughout the world over the last few years with obesity, increase in illnesses and death, and the ever growing epidemics such as cancer, diabetes, and AIDS. Society has and continues to respond to these culprits with fad diets and diet modifications, focus on physical fitness and health, and more proactive approaches to healing and wellness, both medically and holistically. I myself promote holistic healing and wellness in addition to following a raw food and organic lifestyle. I, like many other individuals, realize that I am what I eat, and I have transformed myself and my life through various diet and lifestyle modifications, healthy body and mind practices, and overall conscientious living. My road to recovery, renewal, and bliss never stops and always welcomes new discoveries and modifications.
Throughout my journey, I have not only realized that I am what I eat, but I have also learned that healing involves the mind, the body, and the spirit. I have and continue to write my biography while transforming my personal stories and experiences into my biology. What we as individuals must recognize is that we are unique and powerful human beings, capable of so very much. But in addition to our abilities, we are also very much influenced and affected by all that we encounter and endure throughout childhood, adolescence, and into adulthood. We must view ourselves holistically, meaning that it’s not only what we eat that makes us who we are, but also what we experience in life mentally, spiritually, internally, and externally that creates our stories; our biographies and biology. As Caroline Myss states, “What I recognized is that your biography becomes your biology–you are one and the same with your life and your history. Events that you have not yet reconciled, haven’t forgiven, haven’t let go of, are carried as that debt in your cell tissue.

 

http://www.iloveulove.com/spirituality/myssbiography.htm

Our biography depicts our biology, our physical and mental well- being, and our capacity to forgive and heal not only ourselves, but those around us. Why People Don’t Heal, by Caroline Myss, explains this most intriguing yet valid explanation of our biological and biographical existence and how we have the power within us to create and modify our biography, maintain a healthy biology, optimize our existence, and achieve ultimate physical and mental wellness. In addition to the biography/biology concept, Why People Don’t Heal uncovers fantastic truths, aids in identifying our past, present, and future, and reveals the beauty that lies beyond illness when we discover our capabilities to forgive and heal.
There are several pieces to the puzzle that depicts our biography and biology. In fact, your biography is a piece of your biology, or rather, that which your biology is derived from. As stated above, healing is a huge part of our biography and biology. Our past experiences are a major part of our lives, revealing who we are, where we have achieved and/or failed, what we have gained and lost, and ultimately shaping the person we are and that which we will become. They are our biography.  But how do we reveal what is causing our illness, what is preventing us from healing, and how do we ultimately heal?

Myss states that, “Healing is unattractive.” What does this mean? Would you not think that healing would on the contrary be very attractive? Think about a wound that heals. When it bleeds and infection occurs, it appears and feels very unattractive, but as it heals, the skin becomes “normal” again and attractiveness is reinstated, right? What about the scar though? How attractive are the scars that result from wounds? Let’s take it a step further. Let’s take your heart, your feelings, emotions, and total well-being. When we are victimized and hurt emotionally rather than physically, are we not wounded and therefore scarred?  Imagine all of the scars that lay upon our hearts, minds, and souls from mental and emotional battles and unpleasant past experiences. The difference between the internal and external wounds is that we cannot see our internal scars and therefore, we can hide behind them and hide them from others. In addition, our external scars heal on their own through our body’s amazing ability to grow new skin and rejuvenate, but what about our internal wounds? Our internal wounds rely solely upon us to uncover them and take the steps to heal our emotional pain, anguish, and resentment. If we allow these wounds to lie dormant and fester, never unleashing them and overcoming our “skeletons,” we become victims of our own reality and never heal. Not only do our hearts not heal, but these wounds wreak havoc on our biology; our physical well-being that is in turn stricken by lack of health.
As Myss states, “Victims do not heal,” and in order to heal, we must face the music and identify our wounds. This can be most difficult, painful, and YES, very unattractive. When we no longer hide from our own reality and we change our unhealthy, wound causing ways of life into much more healing ways of living, we are faced with some of our biggest challenges. Becoming committed to making necessary changes and taking responsibility for our whole selves are necessary first steps to healing. They can be scary, emotional, painful, and certainly ugly, but the outcome will result in a healed, attractive, and powerfully restored you.

Forgiveness is a major part of healing and it is, according to Myss, “the most powerful thing to do to your biology.” When we begin to heal our wounds and forgive, our biology changes. Therefore, we begin a new chapter in our biography. Forgiveness however can be very unattractive and unappealing as well. When we forgive, we must first look deep into ourselves.  We must then recognize what must change and begin to make those changes. This can certainly feel like the most terrifying and daunting task that we will ever be faced with.  Next we must forgive ourselves, our families, friends, peers, and society for any and all anguish that we or they have inflicted upon us. Louise Hay suggests in You Can Heal Your Life, “Whenever we are ill, we need to search our hearts to see who it is we need to forgive.” We need to identify our wounds, identify those people, things, and circumstances that have caused our wounds and begin to forgive. Not only do we have to forgive others, but we have to disassociate ourselves from wound creators, banish our victim mentality, and learn to forgive and love ourselves.

This brings me to the subject of what Myss calls “Woundology.” Woundology, according to Myss, is “the intimacy of bonding with our wounds and honoring each other’s wounds.” It is very much playing the part of the victim and enabling ourselves and others to become a victim subordinate to our wounds. My mother passed away almost 10 years ago and although I have overcome many obstacles because of this traumatic experience, I know that I have succumbed to my own woundology because of my loss. I have felt victimized and sorry for myself, and I have also allowed others to patronize me through the language of woundology. I know that my father and my sisters have also established their own language of woundology due to my mother’s death, and together, as a family separate and together, we have all given in to our loss and our wounds. “My mother died and that is why I am the way I am and do the things I do,” I have often said. “My wife died and this is why my life will never be the same, never be what I want it to be….,” says my father. Although we speak of many of our wounds to outsiders, we often do not say these feelings aloud. Rather we hold them in our hearts and minds, internalizing them and preventing ourselves from healing to the best of our ability. We have not fully faced our pain and loss, and therefore we are challenging our capacity to heal.

I have discovered many additional wounds within my own life and being. I have a deep devotion to my loved ones and have often felt responsible for the happiness of others and their approval of me and my actions. In 1996, I entered a very depressed, downward spiral which lead me into a severe state of depression and full blown, almost deadly, anorexia. My biography was becoming my biology and I was not only mentally ill, but I was on the verge of physical incapacitation and death. What I learned from this experience through self evaluation, awareness, and healing was that my anorexia and depression were a result of many years, from childhood to college, that I pushed myself to be the martyr of my family and the perfect child, so afraid to disappoint or fail. I always maintained such control that I finally broke down and my only means of control was through starving myself. I would tell my therapist, “I would never take a gun and kill myself,” but she would tell me, “Mandi, you are again fighting for your strength and not taking a coward’s approach to suicide, rather you are killing yourself the longest and most grueling way through starvation.” I was hopeless, but I took responsibility and brought my wounds to the surface to begin my path toward healing. It was unattractive, I got worse before I got better, but in the end, I truly did heal that aspect of my life.

In addition to my mother’s death, my anorexia, and my depression, I have often felt guilt for many decisions I have made and actions that I have taken throughout my life. I am most certain that my father, sisters, and friends have also experienced feelings of guilt for some of their choices and actions. This guilt, or wound, is lack of forgiveness, not only of ourselves, but our forgiveness of others and their forgiveness of us. Please let me share another experience of mine; forgiveness and healing of self guilt..

Every year my father and I attend High Holiday services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, a tradition that we did with my mom when she was still living and one that we carry on now that she has passed. Do we do this for religious reasons? Honestly, I do not believe so. I have never been a very religious person. Even during my years of childhood into adolescence, my family enjoyed sharing in the Jewish traditions passed down from their grandmothers and grandfathers to my grandmothers and grandfathers and so on, but I do not regard myself as being religious. Rather I consider myself to be spiritual and passionate about various beliefs, cultures, and religions. In fact, I have often felt more of an obligation to attend services as to not disappoint my mother, my father, and the tradition that has been bestowed upon me. Last year however, I distanced myself from my father in order to identify my wounds, unleash my skeletons, and work on healing and cleansing myself, I recall my dad reaching out to me several months after  we had distanced ourselves from each other. At the time of our separation from talking and seeing one another, I had extreme anger, resentment, and perhaps even an intimacy with my wounds from childhood up until the present time of not speaking with the most important man in my life, my father. I also felt guilt for my actions and even what I was beginning to realize was a necessary separation.

My father reached out to me via a telephone message a week before Rosh Hashana that year, suggesting that we try to start a New Year being that the Jewish New Year was approaching. I was touched that he called, but wanted to begin a healthy relationship again with my father not because it happened to be the Jewish New Year, but rather because he truly wanted to reacquaint himself with his daughter without any external triggers, obligations, or guilt. Little did he know that during our separation, I had embarked on a transformation towards healing myself, forgiving myself and my loved ones, and stepping away from my common language of woundology. I had only hoped that during this time he too began to re-evaluate and identify his own wounds. I chose not to respond immediately to my dad’s request. Rather, I wrote him my feelings in a letter which ultimately led to our reunion a few weeks later knowing that I felt strong and empowered by my newly discovered, healthy, and guilt free biography and biology.

Just the other day, one year later, my father and I welcomed in the Jewish New Year and the Day of Atonement and Remembrance, reacquainting ourselves with our family traditions and our memories of my wonderful mother. Again, I followed in the Babkes custom of attending services, but I did allow the guilt or pressure to attend all of the services hold me captive.  I again reflected upon, as I do every year at services but also most days of my existence, my life, (the positives and negatives), my wounds, new, old, and now non-existant, my relationships, my health, and my outlook on my future. I came across this excerpt from a piece expressing the meaning of sin and forgiveness on Yom Kippur. It depicts that “sin” in Hebrew really suggests, “a failure of honest self expression.” The idea that the past is the past and can’t be relived is mentioned on Yom Kippur, but it is also stated that we can make positive and healthy changes, begin to forgive, and focus our energies away from woundology and towards health and healing. How poignant is the excerpt below.

“When we take responsibility for our actions and for the direction that our lives have taken, (even when our decisions were colored by other people or external factors), we can begin to move forward. As long as we deny where we stand today, we will find that we are still there tomorrow.”

http://www.aish.com/hhYomK/hhYomKDefault/Asking_God_For_Forgiveness_.asphttp://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/biblestudyandtheology/Discipleship/yomkippur0902.aspx

Through each day, we can become more accepting and forgiving of ourselves and our wounds. We can take the necessary steps to achieve and maintain a positive state of health and well-being. I often wonder what my life would be like had I not gone through all of my trials and tribulations. I ponder who I would be if I did not choose to reflect and forgive on so many occasions and how my relationships with others would also be. A victim of circumstances, many within my control and many out of my control, I have learned that we, as human being, have the power to overcome our wound suppression and frolic in the beauty of life and wellness. We are in control of our biology; our existence and state of health and well-being. We truly are the authors of our unique and brilliant biographies.

Top 10 Foods for Ultimate Health

As a raw foodist, I maintain a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, seeds and nuts, greens and superfoods, juices, smoothies, fermented foods, and sprouts of all varieties. Being a raw foodist has become less of a diet and rather a complete revolution and way of life for me. I have gone through tremendous transformations and severe, BUT SPECTACULAR changes throughout my journey, and my passion is to share my experiences and knowledge with all who show an interest in feeling a true sense of physical and emotional well being

I revel in raw and living foods and believe that through diet and lifestyle changes, we have the power to change those things in our lives that are far from great and make the greatest of things even greater, hence, “All Good Things Are Wild and Free……,” and Raw! There are so many fantastic foods, and I am going to discuss 10 foods that I consider to be the healthiest.

Green Foods and drinks are essential in the diet, including cereal grasses and microalgae. From wheatgrass (my favorite!) to spirulina, green foods are packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals, chlorophyll, enzymes, alkalinity, antioxidants, protein, antioxidants, nucleic acids, and fatty acids.  Green foods have cleansing qualities, (lymph, blood, cells) and restore proper balance throughout the body, as well as balancing pH. Cancer and disease can only survive in an acidic environment, and therefore introducing green foods into your diet will maintain a more alkaline environment and ward off cancers and diseases. Green foods also boost immunity, prevent disease, and reduce inflammation, and in my opinion, are essential  nutritional champions! (226)

Number 2 on my top 10 list is Sea Veggies and Seweeds. “There is practically no group of plants on the planet richer in nutrients, minerals, and trace minerals.” (235) So therefore, seaweeds are full of essential minerals, as well as vitamins, amino acids, calcium, iodine, and iron. Seaweed is an amazing food for cancer prevention, possessing polysaccharides that have anti-tumor/anti-cancer properties. Environmental hazards can be warded off by consuming seaweed as well. Seaweed detoxifies the body of pollution, toxins, and even radiation. Teeth and bones are also helped with seaweed due to high levels of fluorine, which also acts as an immunity booster. (236) And seaweeds are very easy to prepare! Soaked and rehydrated, you can add essential, healthy oils (sesame, olive) and seasonings and you have amazing nutrition and a delicious meal. My favorite seaweeds are arame, hijiki, and dulse, but truly all seaweeds are nutritious, mineral and vitamin packed, and delicious.

Number 3 is apples. “An apple a day keeps the Dr. away!” Apples are full of fiber,  antioxidants and a flavanoid called quercetin, which has been shown to prevent the growth of prostate cancer cells, colon cancer cells, and reduce the risk of lung cancer. (93) Apples have the second highest level of antioxidant activity of any other commonly consumed fruit in the US, as well as phenolic compounds, offering flavanoids with exceptional healing qualities. (93) Apples are also excellent for cardiovascular health, diabetes prevention, and bone health. Boron, found in apples, is very beneficial for osteoporosis and arthritis. (94) It is imperative to be choosy when buying apples however, as they are in the top 12 foods most contaminated with pesticides. Buy organic and always wash and scrub before eating. ( 95) I buy fruit and vegetable wash and clean all of my produce with this in order to be sure that I am avoiding pesticides and other threats at all costs.


Coconut is my number 4. I love coconut and all of it’s awesome attributes. The coconut is known as the “Tree of Life,” and you will soon see why. From the water to the milk to coconut oil, and the yummy meat too, this is a food that boasts good health and satisfaction all around. The water in Young Thai coconuts is a natural isotonic beverage, with the same level of electrolytic balance as we have in our blood. Comparable to human plasma, it has and can been a donor replacement and has saved many lives in third world countries through the coconut IV. Coconut water contains lauric acid, giving it similar nutritional value to a human mother’s milk, as well as offering antiviral and antimicrobial properties. (108)

Full of natural sugars, vitamins, and essential amounts of sodium, coconut water replenishes lost fluids and energy from activity and/or dehydration. High in potassium and chloride, coconut water is a natural and delicious energy booster! Coconut is full of fiber, potassium, magnesium, and heart healthy fat. It has also been shown to prevent heart disease, colon cancer, digestive problems, obesity, and atherosclerosis. (pg107) Coconut has essential fatty acids and saturated fats which are easy to metabolize, aid in immunity, and play a key role in health. Capric acid is also found in coconuts, giving antibacterial effects and aiding in candida and bacterial infections.  MCT’s (medium chain triglycerides), also found in coconut oil, aids in weight loss, cystic fibroids, cachexia, AIDS, childhood epilepsy, and STDs.

 

Number 5, Fermented Foods, are absolutely amazing. Fermentation promotes health through the production of probiotics and good intestinal flora. (229) Lactobacillus, healthy bacteria, are essential for maintaining a healthy intestinal tract, proper digestion, and excellent immunity. Also good for heart health and inflammation, fermented foods should be a part of everyones diet. Kimchi, sauerkrauts, Kombucha, miso and nato from fermented soy, and the list goes on…., fermented foods have antioxidants, high levels of vitamins and minerals (C, B, calcium, potassium, and iron), amino acids, and dietary fiber. (230)

 

Sprouts are number 6. “Sprouts are one of the most complete and nutritional foods on the planet.” They are rich in enzymes, vitamins, amino acids, and phytochemicals. (238) Sprouts are loaded with phytonutrients, cancer-fighting compounds, protective chemicals (indole-3-carbinole), and sulphoraphane, an enzyme production increaser which fights free radicals and carcinogens. Saponins, found in alfalfa sprouts, offer antibiotic and antimicrobial properties, cancer prevention, and an immune boost. Careful consideration should be taken when consuming sprouts, as non-organic sprouts are often sanitized with chlorine to attempt to kill bacteria. Therefore, organic sprouts should only be consumed. Because sprouts may harbor some bacteria, those people who have an extremely compromised immune system may want to limit intake. (239) Overall, sprouts are a must as vitamins, minerals, and protein content increases immensely when a seed or nut is sprouted and sprouts are a sure nutrient rich dietary essential.

 

Almonds are number 7!  Almonds are one of the healthiest nuts eaten in their raw state and as butter and even almond milk. I will note that it is imperative to eat almonds and any nut in it’s raw state, preserving the enzymes and keeping the nut alive rather than roasted and “dead.” I use the analogy that if you were to place a raw almond in the ground next to a roasted one, eventually the raw almond would sprout and grow, where the roasted almond would decay and waste away suggesting that in it’s raw state, an almond maintains essential nutrients and “life” and is most nutritious. I also suggest soaking almonds for a few hours or even better, over night before consuming, as this germinates the nut and activates the enzymes (essentially bringing the nut to life). Almonds are packed with monounsaturated fat, a healthy fat that boasts cholesterol reduction and heart disease and cancer prevention. Packed with protein and dietary fiber, almonds are a great and satisfying food. In addition, almonds are an excellent source of vitamin E, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, as well as an essential amino acid arginine which protects the heart and arteries. Almonds have also been shown to reduce body fat and promote weight loss when eaten in moderation. A great treat on salads, added to stir frys or other meals, and blended with water to make milk which can replace dairy milk for cereals and recipes, almonds are a smart, nutritious, and delicious immune boosting food. (147-148)

 

Berries of all kinds are my number 8 top foods! Blueberries are excellent for the brain and memory. An anti-aging food, blueberries are full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory characteristics, protecting against aging and aiding neurons communication in the brain. Diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons, arthritis, and even diabetes can be prevented by adding blueberries to the diet, especially due to the polyphenols which help to maintain and build new neurons. ORAC, or oxygen radical absorbance capacity, is a rating system for antioxidant power in foods. (102) Blueberries have ranked highest, loaded with antioxidants and phytochemicals, and pterostilbene, which lower lipids and regulates fatty acid metabolism and fats in the bloodstream preventing arterial plaquing. Cancer you ask? Blueberries have amazing cancer fighting qualities too due to their ability to produce a particular flavanoid that inhibits a cancer promoting enzyme. (102) Raspberries are full of fiber, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin K for bones. (137) Full of anti-tumor Ellagic acid, raspberries have been shown to aid in cell death of cancer cells and protect and build new healthy cells. Memorial Sloan-Kettering has also done studies which have shown that Ellagic acid has amazing antiviral and antibacterial properties. (138) As with blueberries, raspberries also have anti-inflammatory qualities due to anthocyanins which inhibit cyclooxygenase compounds that signal pain, inflammation, and ultimately arthritis. Isn’t it a better choice to eat raspberries rather than taking pharmaceutical drugs that utilize man-made substances that mimic anthocyanins  but deliver unpleasant and even deadly side effects?!?

And strawberries! Cancer protecting along with other berries, strawberries and blackberries as well contain Ellagic acid also, reducing tumor growth and carcinogenic effects. Strawberries also are brain food and protect nerve cells, and anthocyanins are also abundant in strawberries delivering natural anti-inflammatory qualities. So Hooray for Berries! (Please note that like apples, strawberries are ranked high on pesticide contamination, so it is important to buy organic and wash thoroughly.) (139)

 

Kale, Kale, and more Kale-a star green for sure and my number 9 top food! Kale has an ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) of 1770, ranking #1 among all vegetables, fighting cell damaging free radicals with essential antioxidants and phytochemicals. (46) Kale is excellent for fighting cancer, loaded with cancer fighting indoles and sulforaphane. A great way to release sulforaphane is through blending kale, which triggers the liver to remove free radicals and other DNA damage causing chemicals. (46) This is where one of my favorite treats comes in to play, the Green Smoothie! Fruit, like berries, kale, and coconut water blended up is an awesome nutritional treat that should be added to everyone’s daily diet! And as if that’s not enough, kale is full of vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, vitamins A, C, and K, beta-carotine, lutein and zeaxanthin, protein and fiber. This is precisely why I believe that greens are essential in the diet and also play a key role in protein replacement for vegetarians, vegans, and raw foodists like myself. Kale can be massaged with olive oil, lemon, and apple cider vinegar, which allows for un-cooking and maintaining essential enzymes and nutrients for a delicious and nutritious salad!

 

Number 10 on my list is water, the liquid of life essential for every metabolic process in the body. Our bodies are 83% water; muscles 75%, brain 74%, and bones 22%. (268) Water is the body’s flusher, removing toxins and waste and aiding in digestion and absorption of vitamins and nutrients. Although I retrieve water from my high intake of fruit and vegetables, water is still essential and hydration is the most important thing to focus on when it comes to wellness. Hydration promotes good circulation, healthy skin, proper metabolism, lubrication for joints and muscles, energy, and low risk for coronary heart disease. (269) Cells rely on water to function, so the more the merrier, especially if you are active and are prone to water loss and dehydration. It is crucial that we drink “good” water, meaning water that is purified and free of chemicals, pollutants, and environmental hazards. Water is more often than not contaminated, loaded with high levels of dangerous toxicity, so it is imperative to filter and purify water and steer clear of tap to maintain water safety.

 

Although there are so many more favorites in my list, these are my top 10! I could honestly go on forever listing foods and all of their amazing qualities. Please enjoy my above suggestions and as always, remember, “All Good Things Are Wild and Free,…..and RAW!”

 

Bowden, Johnny (2007). The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. Massachussetts: Fair Winds Press.

 


 

What is this Raw Food all about?

 

Raw foodism entails eating food in a form as close to its natural state as possible, steering clear of cooking or heating foods so as to preserve nutrients and enzymes crucial to health and disease prevention. Cooking destroys these vital nutrients and proteins in foods and actually replaces them with harmful carcinogens, mutagens, and free-radicals (disease-causers). In addition, cooking and heating foods destroys food enzymes which are only maintained in foods when in the raw state. The life-sustaining partnership of food enzymes and metabolic enzymes (within the body) enables our bodies to fully and effectively metabolize what we intake, a process that converts food nutrients into energy.

When high temperatures destroy or “kill” food enzymes, our food no longer contains these elements essential for optimal metabolic processes. Therefore our internal organs become fatigued, as they now have two duties to perform rather than their sole responsibility for creating metabolic enzymes within the body. They must work harder to produce the missing food enzymes (which were not made available in the cooked foods) as well, and this creates incredible stress on the entire body including the lymphatic, metabolic, and immune system. In addition, enzymes are full of life and energy, but when the body lacks adequate enzymes, energy is jeopardized and the body becomes more susceptible to chronic disease and toxicity. This is precisely why it is imperative to incorporate more raw and living foods into the diet. Additional supplements and therapies may be necessary to ensure digestive health, detoxification, and wellness throughout the body.

 

Raw Foods help to maintain an on-going cleanse throughout the body, internally and externally. Raw and Living Foods not only produce a feeling of vitality and energy, but they also boost the immune system, aid in healing, exude clear and vibrant skin, hair, eyes, and nails, and deter chronic diseases and illnesses which have become all too familiar and prevalent in today’s society. With the many chronic diseases and conditions that haunt our society which include heart disease, cancer, immune disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, candida issues, female diseases and diorders, and hormonal imbalances, it’s time take a stance to prevent and restore and live healthy and lives with a holistic approach to wellness.

impossible feat

I have accomplished what many believed to be an impossible feat. But let me assure you that this is not the first and it won’t be the last “impossible” feat that I accomplish! Some said, “you’re a woman…you can’t do that!” Others said, “Mandi…..you’re not an elite athlete….are you sure you want to put your body through this and are you sure your body can handle this?” And all too many times I heard, “How will you do this eating the way that you do?”  I replied, “You mean without giant white flour pasta dinners, fake food bars, Muscle Man shakes, and mass amounts of animal proteins and empty calories?” And then, once I started the training and it was assured that YES, I was taking on this endeavor, I began to hear, “if you don’t do it or feel like you can’t, you are not a failure and don’t beat yourself up…just do the best that you can.” Oh YES, I did the best that I can….better than the best that I can! I achieved and conquered and most definitely reconfirmed my belief and motto that we DO have the ability to accomplish anything and everything that we put our minds and bodies to! And to the skeptics and the non-believers, I say, “YES WE CAN, YES I DID, AND YES, YOU CAN TOO!!!”

 

But how did I do this? A woman who was overweight throughout childhood, anorexic for several years, suffered from numerous and severe health issues, endured a stress fracture in my hip that almost made me face a hip replacement, suffered from nutritional deficiencies and nerve damage in my legs to the point that I had difficulty walking, medicated and self medicated for at least half of my almost 33 years of existence, and now as a RAW VEGAN!!! (for about  5 years) Again I say, “We have the power to change those things in our lives that are far from great and make the greatest of things even greater!”  And as far as our bodies are concerned, OUR TEMPLES AS I LIKE TO CALL THEM, if we take care of them,  listen to them, clean them and build them back up, and nurture them, anything is reversible, everyone can heal, and ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!

So, where do I begin on my journey to 26.2 miles in just about 4 hours (probably under due to my need to pea a few times at the beginning of the race….hydration has its priceJ) Next time, and there will be a next time, I think I’ll do what the elites do and just pea as I run…..time is of the essence!

There is a lot of information for just one entry…..so perhaps I will break things up a bit and share  a few entries concerning my journey and what potentially can be an aid for your journey or journeys ahead of you! Who knows….maybe you’ll be running with me in my next venture or maybe I can help you reach that AHA! Moment if “YES YOU CAN!” I certainly hope that this will be the case!

KEY POINTS For Eating Raw and Vegan as an athlete or aspiring athlete, marathon trainee, or even just a person who aspires to be physically fit and healthy! (And this goes for those non raw vegans out there too!)

  1. Calorie, Carbohydrate, and Protein Intake is Important, But Choosing the Right Options is Even More Important! When training, it is a wonder how we can replenish the 1000’s of calories that we burn in order to stay energized and nourished as a raw vegan. Here are some of my options that worked for me and I am most certain will work for you without following the athletic regime of pastas, sugary, fake sports drinks and muscle building protein shakes.

-Keep in mind that amino acids are the basis of protein….and a plant based diet is certainly full of amino acids, just not in the form of animal protein! When we blend greens and juice greens, we receive the most amazing benefits; energy, vitamins, minerals, proteins, and healthy daily detoxification.  So…..GREEN SMOOTHIES AND GREEN JUICES…..A MUST! Add in plant based protein powders and green powders for an additional boost! YES…I carry these…just ask if you’re interested!

-Sprouts of all kinds are one of the most amazing complete and nutritional foods on the planet! They are rich in enzymes, vitamins, amino acids, and phytochemicals.

-Coconut!!! Oil, Butter, Water……excellent for training and a staple in my regime! (And my Raweos of course-full of coconut cacao goodness!)

-Buckwheat and Sprouted Grains! An excellent sulfur food that detoxifies and energizes while giving the body a source of plant based carbohydrates!

I truly believe that the reason why people get sick during training or running a marathon is because of the mass amounts of pastas that they feel compelled to eat before long runs. Do you know how long it takes to break down these carbs….and better yet…how long it takes to break down animal proteins eaten with these carbs? It could take up to ½ a day to break down and digest, so therefore, this meal is still sitting in the belly of the runner that is bound to get cramping, vomiting, indigestion, heaviness and bloating, etc. It is No Wonder that there were people expelling bodily fluids and dropping out during the race while I continued along feeling strong after a meal of greens, coconut, seeds, nuts, and cacao the evening before 26.2!

 

-Water with Liquid Minerals-Polar Mins, which I carry from PRL, are essential to replenish not only fluid loss, but also the mineral loss from training. My drink concoction always consisted of water, liquid minerals, liquid B vitamins, CoQuinol, Green Tea, lemon juice, and Coconut Palm Sugar! I also drank coconut water to replenish electrolytes too!

-Seaweeds-Dulse especially replenishes salts and minerals, fulfills amino acids, trace minerals, IRON…..a must for women and vegans, vitamins, and the benefits go on and on…….(note on iron; it may be necessary  to supplement with a food based iron supplement due to low levels caused by exertion and menstruation)

-Soaked Seeds and Nuts/Nut Butters-Excellent source of calories, healthy fats, protein.

-Essential Fatty Acids- EFA Oil

– Careful attention to Adrenal Burnout is a must!  Supplementation with Magnesium, L-Glutamine, Vitamin C,  and an Adrenal Supplement like Adrenal Response, along with at least 5 straight hours of sleep a night and careful attention to rest, rest, rest and recovery is essential! (Thank you Nanized Liquid Melatonin too!)

-Strength training, stretching, pilates, and yoga-a combination of body work sustains and strengthens our temples! Upper body and lower body are equally important….those arms can pull you through when those legs get tired, and core strength power is essential to posture and power!

 

OK…..I’m running on and on…..and want to literally head out for a run now, so stay tuned for more! In the meantime, please feel free to contact me for additional info. And insight!

 

Blissfully Yours,

 

Mandi