Fuel your life…

It’s a known fact that America is the #1 country for obesity. Why? Because we are lazy. We have too many fast food restaurants and not enough farmer’s markets. We drive cars rather than ride bikes, we watch TV rather than watch nature.

Yoga Journal is currently promoting their Fall Detox program. Read their article on why Fall is the perfect time to detox and the Ayurvedic reasoning behind their methods. They also have lots of yummy recipes!  http://falldetox.yogajournal.com/

I recently made up my own “diet” to live by that is similar to the Yoga Journal Fall Detox. I did with much intensity for 24 days and now I have relaxed a bit. I feel great. What is it? No processed foods. There are so many additives in our food that have no nutritional value and actually act as toxins in our bodies. Now, let me clarify the word “diet.” I am referring to diet as simply the food choices you make day-to-day, not something you do for a short amount of time then go right back to your old habits.

We also eat too much food. We eat for pleasure instead of fuel. What is the purpose of food? To fuel our lives.

“Only half the stomach should be taken up by food that is eaten. One quarter of the other half should be given over to water and the remaining quarter left to the movement of air.” ~Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

Mmmmm, spinach salad with raspberries and pecans.

What is best to eat? Foods in their raw and natural form

  • Fruit: Grapefruit, green apples, peaches, pears, any berries, plums, prunes, papaya, oranges, cantaloupe, honeydew, kiwi, banana, cherries, figs (fresh or frozen)
  • Vegetables: Asparagus, any green salad, green beans, peppers, spinach, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini (no canned)
  • Healthy fats: Nuts such as cashews, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, seeds (raw, unsalted only).  Peanut butter or almond butter (with oil separation). Olive oil in small amounts. Eggs.
  • Protein: Chicken, turkey breast, ground turkey, white fish, salmon, tuna, egg whites (no red meat)
  • Carbohydrates: Low glycemic such as: sweet potato, whole grain brown rice, yams, black beans, oatmeal (no-instant)
  • Water, water, water! 1 gallon per day is recommended.
What not to eat… processed foods
  • Dairy: milk, cheese, yogurt
  • Flour products: bread (anything with bleached, unbleached or enriched flour, sugar or high fructose corn syrup, pretty much all of them!), pasta, crackers, chips, tortillas, pita bread (flour products of any kind).
  • Fried or breaded foods
  • Sweets: sugar, honey, cakes, cookies, brownies, etc.
  • Drinks: alcohol, sodas, fruit juices
  • Fruits with high glycemic index: watermelon, grapes, pineapple, raisins, apricots, mangoes
  • Starchy vegetables: corn, peas, squash, potatoes, etc.

Read labels! Items purchased should only have foods on the ingredient list (no added sugar, minimal amounts of added salt). For example, my oatmeal label says “ingredients: organic whole grain rolled oats.” My peanut butter says, “ingredients: organic peanuts, contains 1% or less of: salt.” (buying organic is not a necessity, just a personal choice of my own)

An example of my day: This diet worked as a cleanse for my body, riding it of toxins and replacing with nourishing food. Eating small meals every 2-3 hours kept my metabolism up and kept my body from storing fat.

  1. Morning: carb, fruit (Ex. oatmeal [only whole grain rolled oats, no instant] with strawberries)
  2. Snack: fruit, healthy fat (ex: 1/4 cup raw cashews and 1/2 peach)
  3. Lunch: protein, carb, vegetable (ex: 3 oz. lean ground turkey meat mixed with 1/4 cup brown rice, whole green beans)
  4. Snack: fruit, healthy fat (ex: 1 tbsp. peanut butter [with oil separation] and 1/2 green apple)
  5. Dinner: protein, vegetable (ex: 3 oz. baked chicken breast, raw spinach salad with balsamic vinegar)
  6. Night-time treat: Tazo tea or Yogi tea

*I’ve heard it takes 21 days to make a habit… so 24 days should do the trick!

Now that I have relaxed the rules a bit I have re-introduced the following foods in moderation:

  • Greek yogurt (Plain 0% – no fruit added) – I add my own fresh fruit
  • Soy milk
  • Goat cheese (Omelet with goat cheese and spinach? Yes, please!)
  • Lara bar – these protein bars are great. My favorite bar, Cashew Cookie says, “ingredients: cashews, dates” Yum!
  • The occasional social alcoholic drink (nothing too fruity or loaded with calories, my personal favorite is Vodka/water with fresh lime)
Ahara shuddhau sattva shuddih/Sattva shuddhau druvasmrtih [When the food we take in is pure, our minds become pure/When our minds become pure, memory becomes steady].” ~Chandogya Upanishad vii : 26 : 2
I understand that one diet is not right for everyone. I only hope this inspires you to make healthy choices!
p.s. I’m interested in reading Michael Pollan’s, In Defense of Food. It’s a book about eating food at it’s natural source and what it can do for our bodies. Has anyone read this?
Obviously this has been on my mind for a while! Here’s a related post of mine from August, 2010… “Natural Foods…”