Tuesday, November 22, 2011

[Blog] Radiant & Raw

Radiant & Raw

Blueberries, Strawberries, Cherries
So full of antioxidants
You think that was an accident?
Nature doesn't make mistakes
Change now, that's all it takes
Wake up and raise the stakes.

Celery, Kale and Sesame seeds;
Natural sources of sodium,
Providing balance in your cranium,
As long as you get your potassium,
And don't forget the water,
Hydration makes you hotter,
Sexy, sophisticated, strong and sleek;
Raise your body to it's peak.

Don't settle for minimum,
Raise up to the maximum.
Jojoba jumping jubilance;
Exulting exotic exuberance.
Enter abundance,
Forget reminisce.
Fill your life with anticipation,
Elite standards of elation,
Moving motions of motivation,
Goals, gifts and gratification.

Papaya, Pineapple and Mangoes;
Putting the punch in your tango.
Broccoli, Brussels and Bok Choy;
Bring on beautiful joy.
Chilies, Cayenne, and Garlic,
Giving your body some fight,
Burn out the parasites,
Reverse your smite to delight.
Raw and radiant is right.

~ Raederle Phoenix, 2011

Short announcement: Almost a year ago I thought to myself, "This would be so much easier with a detailed meal-by-meal plan... An example to go from." And as I learned how to sustain myself through trial and error on a 100% raw and vegan diet, I discovered a lot of tricks. For months I've been telling myself, "It's time to put all this together and make that meal plan!" And finally, I'm almost finished making my first 7-day full meal-by-meal plan.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

[Article] Hydration

Raederle Phoenix, summer 2011, taken in my garden

I was absent-mindedly touching my elbows just now and noticed the strangest thing... My elbows are not dry. They are quite smooth and soft.

My elbows were never, ever, smooth and soft growing up. Always dry. My lips always chapped. My knees often scaly. Now, come to think of it, all of those troubled areas are as soft and supple as any other area on my body.

What's changed?

I believe firmly that the difference is hydration.

I never knew what hydration meant growing up – most people don't. It requires much more than drinking water.

Hydration requires a balance of potassium and sodium, which few people get. Most Americans consume sodium in a huge disproportion to potassium.

Sodium, however, is required for hydration. Without salt, one would perish quite rapidly, as cells could not function without it.

If you're considering switching to a fully raw vegan diet, make sure to include sea salt in your diet regularly or to double check online the amount of sodium you're getting from food. The raw diet doesn't use canned foods or salted processed foods, so some may find they end up without enough sodium.

Good sources of natural food-structured sodium include:

  • Celery
  • Sea Vegetables: Nori, Wakame, Dulse, Kelp
  • Beet Greens & Beets
  • Spinach
  • Chard

Good food sources of potassium include:

  • Coconut water (from young coconuts)
  • Bananas
  • Apricots
  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes
  • Kiwi
  • Cantaloupe
  • Raisins

Hydration is also hampered by eating dried foods. Dried fruits, vegetables and nuts are the healthiest of dried foods, but even these items must be accompanied by water. Dried fruits may be soaked in drinking water overnight to increase their digestibility.

Figs soaked overnight in water are delicious in smoothies. Water from soaked fruits may be used in smoothies, but water used to soak nuts should be disposed of. Soaked nuts and seeds should be rinsed before use.

Other items, such as powdered potatoes, protein powders, and other dry packaged goods are very harmful to moisture levels in the body, not just because they are dry, but also because they often contain additional toxins that hamper hydration.

Moisture is required to be rid of toxins. If there isn't enough water to pass with the toxins safely, the body will instead wrap toxins in fat, causing weight gain.

A toxin is anything that is harmful to the body and thereby must be eliminated or wrapped in fat and stored to protect the body from harm. Things that fall under the category of 'toxin' include:

  • Refined sugars such as white sugar, brown sugar, sucralose and high fructose corn syrup
  • Hydrogenated fats such as margarine. (Most commercial nut-butters contain these dangerous fats, also known as 'trans fats.')
  • Excess protein (cooked protein sources are often unusable, and have to be eliminated)
  • Excess of certain nutrients (although few need to worry about this unless they are taking a lot of cheap vitamin supplements)
  • Excess of dairy, meat or eggs (due to excess animal fat that stores toxins, excess protein, and excess hormones present within the animals)
  • Excess exposure to mold (this is especially harmful for people who have taken antibiotics)
  • Household cleaners
  • 'Sanitary' napkins
  • Laundry detergent
  • Disinfecting soap

Because most people are not hydrated and lacking in ample minerals to deal with toxins, sugars are converted to fats to wrap around toxins.

Fats are always needed by the liver when dealing with toxins, but these do not become stored fats when the body has enough minerals and water to dispose of the toxin.

The amount of fat needed is not much however. Six macadamia nuts could easily be all the fat you eat in a day. Or a bowl of quinoa, or two tablespoons of sunflower seeds, or two tablespoons of almond butter, or an avocado.

It is even possible to get enough fats from the seeds present within foods, such as juicing a watermelon with its seeds, or eating cucumbers and raspberries (which contain seeds). Bananas also have a trace amount of fat, which makes them creamy and wonderful in smoothies and when making raw vegan home-made ice cream.

The fats I've just mentioned are the fat sources I recommend: whole food fats from raw seeds, raw nuts, raw fruits and raw vegetables. While cold-pressed flax oil and olive oil are healthy in small amounts, they are toxin in large volumes. For daily fat consumption, I prefer to stick to whole food sources.

Another cause of dehydration is empty water. Water without minerals tends to pass through the body without being absorbed. Water from pristine natural sources will have traces of calcium, potassium, sodium, silica and hundreds of other minerals which make it an actual source of nutrition that is absorbed, while the water itself is also absorbed.

For this reason, a water fast was much more practical in past times. Water was structured with minerals when drank directly from a clean source, and also, toxins were rarely present, thereby allowing the body no need to stress over toxin-disposal.

Hydration is aided by exercise. We absorb more of the water we drink if we exercise before and after drinking water.

A response to the above from Connier Nordan: "Good info Raederle... I agree, sodium should come from natural sources. Water filled foods, living foods, and pure water combat toxins and free-radicals. We don't need household cleaners. Tea Tree oil, vinegar, H2O2, baking soda, etc, clean while reducing toxins. I like your statement about dehydration and lack of minerals not dealing with toxins therefore sugars converting more to fat."

My response to Connier:

Thanks, and you're welcome. I do notice that high-water content foods, such as kiwi, watermelon, celery, lettuce, etc, make me feel more hydrated and uplifted than water alone could ever.

I've noticed that if you eat dehydrated foods and drink water with them, it's not as good as water-rich foods. I've tried this a number of times: getting my vegetables in dehydrated form (lots of kale chips is lovely), and then just drinking lots of water to "make up" for it.

But it seems to me that there is no replacing water-rich foods. They are intrinsic to health.

Dehydrated kiwi + a glass of water = feeling average. Kiwi = feeling excellent. That's what I've noticed.

I wish all my readers a wonderful (healthy) Thanksgiving.

~ Raederle

PS: Check out the Raw Vegan Thanksgiving Feast that I enjoyed last year. Includes ten recipes!