Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Loving your body means listening to your body

Thank you Gina for your amazing post today for what I didn't even know was National Love Your Body Day! For those of you who are too busy and/or lazy to click on that link, here are the two main take-aways from that article I think everyone including myself should listen to:

1) "Our bodies are always talking to us and it's up to us to actually stop and listen to what they're saying."

I totally agree with this and I think that this is the most important thing of all. We think we know our bodies but half the time we are too busy listening to our egos to figure out what are physical bodies are actually asking for. Most people ask me why I went vegan, and even more people ask me why I went raw... the honest answer is, my body told me to. There's nothing more to it than that. I just woke up one morning and knew that's what I had to do. It was only after I became vegan and more recently raw that I looked into all the additional environmental/health/ethical/physical perks I was getting for making those choices.

It's also much more than that, listen to your body and it will tell you when it's actually hungry and more often when it's thirsty. It will tell you want nutrients you may be lacking that will draw you towards certain foods (heavier foods vs. fruits, veggies versus protein, etc.) Your body knows! Listen!

2) "Not only do we need to be grateful for all the physical beauty we each possess, but also take the time to care fo the one body we have."

More so than loving every body type the human form is capable of creating (because I will stand by belief that if you love yourself, you should not nor cannot let yourself have an unhealthy body), it really is about taking care of yourself and as Gina said, "loving" by "nurturing". You should love yourself, and that doesn't mean doing whatever the hell you want because you love yourself, but taking care of that one body you have.

I'm going to go all metaphysical on you again, but we only have one body, it was given to us by whatever chance/universe/religious entity you choose to believe in. Whatever way you choose to look at it, at the end of the day we each got this incredible gift. When you receive something, you don't just trash it right? You keep it safe, you want it to be as beautiful/functional for as long as possible, and you can achieve that by doing something very basic: loving yourself through personal respect and care. 

How to achieve those things is simple for me:
1) Eat right
2) Exercise
3) Pursue hobbies/activities that keep you spiritually/emotionally at peace (whether that's spending time with your friends and family, practicing yoga/meditation, dancing, drawing, going out clubbing, whatever...) 

It took me a while to fully understand that, I don't fully grasp it yet but I'm trying. Everyone is on their own journey and we each take a different amount of time to understand and realize certain things and that's totally fine. But still, however you want to do it, everyone should take the time to stop and just be. And whoever or whatever you find you are in those moments you take for yourself, be happy that's what you are right now because that's where you are, and it's part of the steps of who you get to be tomorrow.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

DC Green Festival

We just got back from the DC Green Festival and boy did we have an awesome day! I woke up so giddy to go this morning I felt like a five year old on Christmas or a kid in a candy store (a raw organic candy store that is!) Ready to stock up on food, energy and life awesomeness, we set out early in the morning to get there as early as possible. We got in pretty fast thanks to complimentary tickets I won from a VegNews giveaway (they're awesome because they now have online subscriptions to stop killing trees! Gotta love companies who walk the walk...)

First stop was Pangea Organics of course. The mother of all organic care products. If you start a Pangea regime, you will honestly not know what hit you. My mom taught me early on that your skin is your biggest organ so you should take care of it. Moisturize every day and what not, but the other steps (exfoliating, cleansing, weekly masks, etc.) are just as important to keep you radiant and glowing. Plus, if you wear organic because you are trying to avoid eating
chemicals/pesticides/etc. think of what youare doing when you buy cheap beauty products! There's a reason women constantly try to defy aging with creams and lotions that don't work... because they're full of stuff, and they should have been taking care of their skin at a younger age! (which would explain why my mom is almost 60 and has skin better than half the girls my age I see walking around...)

We then stopped at this awesome and strange acrobatics looking device called an OmGym. After playing on it for a while and getting the BEST back stretches and adjustment of our lives (except for from our awesome Canadian chiropractor)... we splurged on one and now have to figure out where in the world we can use this thing (outside obviously, but it'll get cold soon!). Plus, they are really fun and I got to feel like a kid on monkey bars again (which I always loved most!) I want to go back tomorrow just so I can play with it some more...

Next stop, the hemp pavilion to stock up on all our discounted hemp protein powder, seeds, oils for the year (damn these laws against growing hemp in the States, it's makes everything so expensive!). We tried some raw chia and hemp breakfast goodness from Ruth's (her ginger cranberry has always been my favourite), bought a 6 pack of her hemp protein powder, and got to catch up with the awesome folks from Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap (fair trade AND organic!) who I got to spend wonderful times with in Mexico this summer. Nutiva was also there with a sampling of their hemp products, but had a lot of their raw products as well (like their coconut butter).
Onto the raw foods! There were a good number of stands out there for a little growing movement. Natural Zing was there of course from whom I bought my lunch (the best kale chips ever and raw nori seaweed/wasabi sticks that I can never get enough of), and a couple of Lydia's Organics raw cereals (her Berry Good and Grainless Apple, though her Vanilla Crunch is my new favourite). The people from Natural Zing were probably my favourite. They were super helpful and very knowledgeable, which would probably explain why there were so many people at their stand. Green Living Harmony was also there again; they sampling raw goji berries and the BEST raw chocolate paste ever (pretty much pure cacao butter and cacao powder so if you don't like non-sweetened chocolate this isn't for you, but YUM).

Don't want to give you an inventory of my grocery list, but I will anyway because I'm super excited: we also ended up getting an amazing deal for 5lbs of raw mesquite powder form Ultimate Superfoods, a couple (not raw) Green superfood mixes from Amazing Grass, and the yummiest raw honey from Really Raw Honey (the top layer of honey when you upon a new jar is to die for).

The best surprise of my day was a company called Emmy's Organics that I hadn't heard of before, who came in to save the day when my newly developed sweet tooth kicked in. (Yes, ironic that eating raw foods has magnified my desire for sweet foods... it's almost as if all high sugar conventional foods were actually putting me off the whole dessert thing). Everything they make is obviously organic, but also raw, vegan, and gluten-free. They're based out of Ithaca, NY, and the girls there were really fun to talk to. We ended up spending our few remaining dollars on a selection of their macaroons (choco-organic, lime-ginger, and chai), though I was really eyeing their raw chocolate sauce...

Of course we also got to talk to lots of people from everything from intentional communities, to rain barrels, to organic tulip bulbs (oh ya, I also bought five of those from Eco Tulips, because apparently it's time to plant them and I love tulips in the springtime).

We may go back tomorrow, though I want to hit the organic Farmer's Market, pick up some bulk raw foods to make this piece of culinary eye candy. In the meantime, be green!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fall means it's time for pumpkin!

So I know most of you are probably thinking "bla bla bla, enough with the philosophy and organic brainwashing, where's the food?"... and I totally understand, so here I go shaking off my foodie laziness to blog about food again. It's fall so that means it's time to experiment with yummy pumpkins and squash again! There's something that really excites me about this particular change of season.

One thing I've realized about raw 'cooking' is that you really don't have to pay attention to measurement as much as much as when you are doing something as chemically complex as baking. If you have a problem with a raw recipe you can always tweak it a bit and there is only so wrong you can go. Given my first post, it would seem raw food is perfectly suited to the way I cook anyway! Here's my latest creation and it's unfortunately not 100% raw. I still haven't fully figured out how to manage using squash/pumpkins without steaming them first (and it's fall so I can't go without my pumpkins!). Measurements were not really paid attention to as usual...

Almost-Raw Pumpkin Spice cupcakes

1 cup of ground nuts (I used pecans & almonds)
pumpkin spices to taste (cinnamon, allspice, n
utmeg, cloves, ginger)
sea salt to taste
dried fruit (I used
hunza raisins, thomson raisins, and cranberries)
about 1 C of kabocha puree (or any sweet squash/pumpkin)
3-4 tbsp maple syrup
crumbled raw chocolate (optional)
Mix everything but dried fruit and chocolate chips until smooth like a thick batter. Fold in fruits and chocolate. Mix everything! Spoon into cupcake liners. Place in dehydrator for 14-18 hours at 115.

Makes about 10 small cupcakes.

I topped them with candied nuts loosely based on this recipe. Next time, I think I'll crumble the nuts before coating them because they just fell off the cupcakes. I'll also soak the nuts first for nutritional value but I was lazy this time. There you go! Enjoy!