Over the last year many people have asked me what I have been doing differently because they have seen an increase in my mood, energy and 20 pounds melt off of my body. What I have done is changed my lifestyle so I eat to live rather than live to eat. Seventy percent of my daily diet includes eating raw foods, juicing and incorporating supplements into my daily regimen. Since this has become a very popular question and topic within my circles of clients and friends, I decided to let the best of the best educate you on the topic. Elaina Love, author of three recipe books and founder of Pure Joy Planet and Culinary Academy will be a guest columnist every Friday in the Journey Back to Self blog. So, without further ado, Ms. Elaina Love…
Why and how to eat a more plant strong diet
Everyone knows it is healthy to eat fresh, uncooked fruits and vegetables every day. That isn’t a new concept. A plant strong diet encourages us to make these foods up to 80% of our diet.
Water – Fruits and vegetables are rich in pure water. Our bodies are 70% water. Even though we should still drink water upon arising and between meals, consuming a water-rich diet keeps us well hydrated and lessens the need for extra water.
Proteins – Heat damages proteins, causing the amino acid chains to congeal. These large protein molecules may be unusable and even harmful to the body, causing inflammation and other problems. Unheated plant proteins such as nuts, seeds, sprouts and greens may be 100 times more available to the body than heated proteins.
Fats – Fats are very sensitive to heat (think of avocados and flax oil). Heated fats have lost their antioxidant qualities, and are known to be carcinogenic. Heating any fat also makes it sticky (think of a lasagna pan), which can cause blockages in the arteries and digestive tract, inhibit the absorption of nutrients, and reduce the body’s ability to transport oxygen.
Digestion: Assimilation and Elimination – The simple carbohydrates in fruits and vegetable are readily used as energy for the body. In raw fruits and vegetables, more vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients are available to be used by the body. The soft, soluble fiber in fruits and tender green vegetables also makes them easy to digest and assimilate, and aid in elimination.
Acid-alkaline balance – Processed food, cooked meat, grains and dairy, sugar, starches, pollution, and stress leave most people too acidic, which prevents optimal cellular activity and immune system functions, and leaches alkaline minerals from the body. Diseases are more likely to form in an acidic environment. Ripe fruits, vegetables, greens, sprouted nuts and seeds and some sprouted grains (buckwheat, quinoa, millet, teff and amaranth) are alkalizing.
Adapting to a plant strong diet
Simple steps to adding plant foods to your diet:
- Start the day with 16 oz of pure water, maybe with a little lemon juice added. Then have green juice or green powder (such as Vitamineral Greens) mixed with water or some fruit.
- Begin typical lunches and dinners with a salad, maybe with avocado or soaked nuts/seeds (be careful of dairy laden, high fat and sugar dressings that are typically sold at stores and served in restaurants).
- If you snack, eat fruits, raw vegetables, and/or green juices as between meal snacks instead of other snacks Drink pure water between meals.
If you just do these three steps, you will automatically be eating about 50% plant strong foods.
Then, begin reducing or eliminating unhealthy foods from your diet.
- Start with processed foods (junk food, white sugar and white flour, packaged snacks).
- Then reduce animal products.
- Then reduce cooked starches.
It can be helpful to keep a diary of what you eat and how particular foods affect you. An easy way to plan dietary changes is to make 3 lists: Foods you regularly eat, foods you sometimes eat, and foods you occasionally or rarely eat. Evaluate which foods you would like to eat more of and which ones you would like to eat less of. Choose a maximum of 3 changes to make at any one time.
Here is a recipe (one of Chris’ favorites) to get you started: All you need for equipment is a blender and if you don’t have one, you can use a shaker bottle. Enjoy!
Easy Caesar Salad
½ cup extra virgin olive oil or flax seed oil
2 TBS lemon juice
½ cup water
2 large dates or 2 Tbs. honey or xylitol (for low glycemic)
1 Tbs. light miso paste (find this at health food stores)
3 medium cloves garlic
1 ½ tsp. prepared Dijon mustard
2 tsp. dulse flakes (a seaweed that you can find at health food stores)
¼ tsp. Celtic sea salt or a Himalayan salt (any salt will work)
- Blend in a blender or hand mix, crushing the garlic first.
- Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
1 cucumber, peeled and cubed
1 tomato, chopped
4 scallions thinly sliced.
15 black olives
Bringing Pure Joy and Gourmet Bliss to the Planet,
Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and Google+.