Health Extremes??

How healthy do i have to be?

This post is part informative/part gripe session!!  The one thing that aggravates me more than anything is people who criticize a healthy diet!! Someone PLEASE tell me since when is eating a diet of natural, organic, unprocessed foods (whether vegan, veg, omnivore or carnivore) considered weird and odd yet eating highly processed, chemically laden boxed & canned foods that don’t even exist in nature normal? I take a LOT of criticism for the way I eat – even those that consider themselves to be “healthy” feel that for them it would be extreme. However – what exactly is extreme? Is it My fondness for green juices or the fact that I refuse to eat “fake foods” aka things that don’t exist in nature or their natural state i.e. bread, pastas, cereals etc (the natural form would be wheat berries, wheat grass and grains). Sadly I find it’s more the latter – I’m not normal because I eat natural foods?? You know what I find ODD – those people that eat processed foods and think they’re eating healthy or the ones that count calories or even worse the ones that refuse to eat a potato fearing it’s a carb and therefore is an evil that will make them gain weight!!!  And dont even get me started on the bagel eaters, fast food goers or those that think a healthy lunch is a salad consisting of fatty creamy dressing over a few pieces of iceberg lettuce loaded with deli meats, mayo smothered tuna or canned veggies. Anyone who knows me well knows my utter obsession with potatoes (dare I say the white ones!) I love starches and eat them frequently – all varieties of potatoes, winter squashes, beets,  carrots and even some grains – brown rice, buckwheat, millet AND none of these make me gain weight or feel sluggish! I see NOTHING extreme about what I consume. I feel light, vibrant, full of energy and personally have been told I have a “glow” about me – how many “mainstream” eaters can confess to that? I follow an organic unprocessed diet – sometimes raw vegan, sometimes not; I enjoy every food that I eat; I don’t shun fat, carbs or sweets, nor do I count calories (p.s. I find all of that completely and totally unnecessary if you’re eating the right foods in the right combinations)
The one question I hear more and more frequently is how healthy do I need to be to reap rewards? Its typically assumed that to lead a healthy, “cleansing” lifestyle one must go to extremes, to deprive themselves of delicious, comforting food and to subsist on tasteless boring fare.  This is far from the truth! Everyone has different goals in mind, some want to lose weight, increase energy, prevent disease while others are on a path, they’re the ones fighting disease, the ones who have committed to a life long habit of only choosing nourishment that will allow them achieve a vibrant life – through clear thinking and a healthy body from the inside out.
The first group of people usually don’t have to go too far in order to reach their goals – a few tweaks here and there, however, its the latter group that tend to go gung ho initially and find themselves feeling soo extraordinary that they commit to live this way indefinitely.  I fall into the second group – yup the ol gung hoer’s BUT let me let you in on a secret, even if I didn’t “have” to live this way, I still would simply because it makes me feel fabulous!  I know what you are probably thinking – what exactly is this mystical “way of life, way of eating” that will give me vibrant energy, effortless weight loss, clear thinking, beautiful skin.  Its a few simple steps and it really is all up to YOU – how VIBRANT do you want to be? I’ll give you my personal example (remember, I’m considered somewhat of an extremist by some!)  – what don’t I eat – in a nutshell – processed foods and  being I have a natural tendency towards vegetarian diet, I avoid meats & dairy – but that doesn’t mean I totally shun fish, seafood and some delicious raw cheeses from time to time(easier to digest over pasteurized) and What I do eat – LOTS of veggies (remember there are THOUSANDS of different vegetables in the world vs only a handful of varieties of meat) tons of greens, nuts, seeds, occasional fish/seafood, grains, superfoods – basically if its natural (i.e. found in nature) I’m eating it.  Not extremely extreme is it?  I certainly don’t think so, especially when I eat the foods I love and am reaping a multitude of rewards. As you  read this you may be thinking “nope, I can’t do that” WELL, you don’t necessarily have to – remember I AM the “extreme” example.  Being I feel each individual is just that – individual, everyone had different needs; even two people with the same goal will reach it on a different path. Vibrancy is right around the corner for you; Its not difficult to achieve –  its knowing what to cut out and what to bring in – can it be any more simple?  Subtract the things that will weigh you down, add the things that will give you that pure vibrancy we all seek and covet.  My first, most important, “holy grail” of all suggestions is to stop eating processed foods – so if it comes in a box, bag, can or form unrecognizable in nature cut back or even better yet cut it out completely. This step alone will work wonders

NO Label Required – Listen to your body!

A common trap many health conscious individuals fall into is donning a label — Vegan, Raw Vegan, Vegetarian, Omnivore, Pescetarian, Fruitarian and so on. And let’s not forget adding in percentages —“Well, I’m 90% raw vegan 11.2% of the time and the other 88.8% I’m an omnivore.”

While this is a gross exaggeration, it really isn’t that far-fetched – I’ve heard numerous people try to break down what, how and when they eat! No one owes anyone an explanation of their dietary habits. There is no prize for those that stick to strict regimented menus. My humble opinion — LABELS ARE FOR JARS, CANS, BOXES AND BOTTLES, NOT PEOPLE!!
Many people I know stick to a completely raw vegan diet and it works wonderful for them. Then there are others that have dabbled in it (me being one of them) or have no desire to subscribe to just one way of eating for any length of time. My one caveat is I’m gluten free, unprocessed and organic; however, I don’t throw these “labels” around nor let them define who I am. The danger with this whole characterization by what one consumes is the pressure to always to stick to it. How frequent have you seen a raw vegan being practically crucified for taking a bite of something not raw vegan?
Lately, I’ve noticed more and more of the onetime-hardcore raw gurus switching gears BIG time and incorporating cooked foods and even, dare I say, flesh foods into their diet. They’ve come to the realization that their bodies weren’t performing  their best, and even not performing at all – many were facing health issues that have been remedied by a change in diet. This is in no way saying that what they were doing was wrong – it just wasn’t right for them and I applaud them for listening to the cues their body was telling them. I also feel it was extremely brave of them to come out, so to speak, and document their journeys. There is NO shame in saying, “Hey, I thought this was the best thing for me but it turns out it wasn’t.” Geez, it’s not like they’ve turned to a life of drugs and alcohol – they’re just eating some “real” foods.
I am a big proponent of listening to your body and doing what works for you as an individual.  I don’t make a big to-do about what I eat, and when asked I usually just say I eat organic, unprocessed. That’s pretty broad, but then again, WHY do I have to be specific?  That alone garners way to much attention. Sometimes I get a snide remark such as “You don’t eat real food.” To this I reply “Oh, but I do just that. I eat real food that doesn’t come from a box, bag, jar or can. I might be the ONLY person you know actually eating REAL food.” This usually quiets someone down real quick 🙂
The only label I wear is one that says I’m a person in touch with my body and its needs. I love my greenjuices and big green salads; however, I find that in the winter months they just don’t cut it for me – my body craves more warmth. I still consume my green juices but I add lots of warming spices such as ginger and sometimes the occasion sprinkle of cayenne. I eat cooked veggies (seriously THE world may just end!) and some cooked grains (my go-to is quinoa followed by brown rice and millet) and I love lentils and adzuki beans. I juice my beets and carrots in addition to roasting them and I love them just the same both ways and they are equally health promoting and nourishing to my body – in different ways of course.
While I fantasize about the Fruitarian lifestyle, I know for me it wouldn’t work! My mantra for the New Year is to “BE GENTLE.”  If you’re a raw vegan feeling a bit not yourself , add some cooked veggies or grains or whatever is your thing. If you’re a vegetarian and not satisfied, maybe add some raw dairy. Just don’t ignore your body because you’ve labeled yourself something and certain healthy sustenance may not fall under that labeling!