Posts tagged ‘Day-to-Day’

Healing With Nature

A few days ago I was walking back from a lovely dinner when I saw one of the most stunningly beautiful sights of my life: a double rainbow.  One of these extraordinary rainbows would have been gorgeous enough on its own, but the two together made me stop in my tracks – I was absolutely astounded by my gratitude for witnessing something so powerful (before I ran off to find the leprechauns with my pots of gold, of course).

Recently I’ve been walking around barefoot as often as I can, connecting with the Earth and experiencing an odd rock-induced foot massage wherever I go.  I watch the pink-orange sunset every evening and often experience the sunrise as well.  Birds flock to my windows and squirrels meander right up to me begging for food.  I feel like part of the scenery myself – part of the flow of nature; and I have never felt better.

Consider that until rather recently in the development of humanity, we spent most of our time outdoors, and there was no escaping nature.  What has it done to our bodies and spirits to spend the vast majority of time inside temperature-controlled, artificially lit buildings?  Is connecting with nature important?  Have we lost something by adopting an artificial world?

Though there certainly are advantages to the technological advances we have made, I believe that spending time communing with the natural world is essential for optimal health and well being.  One of the reasons I love raw food so much is that I am eating food closest to its natural state.  Animals in nature certainly don’t cook their food, why should I?

Getting some fresh air and sunshine is good for your body and soul – so wander away from your air conditioning and carpet when you get a chance and allow nature to astound and heal you.  When you eat your food, think for a minute about where it came from: a field with a breeze, sunshine and songbirds, perhaps?

Much love,

Lara

August 21, 2010 at 6:05 pm Leave a comment

Buckwheat: The Gluten-Free and Delicious Alternative

Delicious, nutritious, gluten-free, and easy to use in recipes – what could possibly be better? Buckwheat is actually not technically a grain as most assume, it is the seed of a fruit – but it functions much like a grain.  It can be used to make fabulous raw pizza crusts and breads, and it is perfect for granola and cereal (mmmmm with some fruit and almond milk…).

One of the marvelous qualities of buckwheat is that is contains all eight essential amino acids – so it is great for all you lovely vegans and vegetarians out there (though if you eat whole raw foods there is no reason to worry about protein).  Buckwheat is also a great source of magnesium, fiber, manganese, phosphorous, and pantothenic acid.

Good for your heart:

  • It contains the flavonoids rutin and quercetin, which act as antioxidants, extend the action of vitamin C, maintain blood flow, prevent platelets from excessive clotting, and keep free-radical oxidation from turning low-density lipoproteins into possibly destructive cholesterol oxides.
  • It may help lower the risk of heart disease as it has been linked to a lower risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

So… how should one use buckwheat?  There are several amazing recipes out there.  I most frequently eat buckwheat for breakfast in a cereal when I am craving something more substantial than juice or a smoothie.  RECIPE: I soak buckwheat, raw oats, and goji berries in filtered water while I make some nut or seed milk and chop up some fruit (bananas and strawberries are my favorite), then drain my ingredients, throw them into a bowl, throw the fruit on top and pour my nut milk over the creation… HEAVEN!  Sometimes I sprinkle some cinnamon on top as well.

As with all seeds, it is important to soak (“sprout”) the buckwheat to release the enzyme inhibitors and increase the nutritional value.  If you plan to make buckwheat flour for bread, first soak the buckwheat, then dehydrate at low temperatures until dry before blending your buckwheat into powder.

Here are some other tasty buckwheat recipes – enjoy!

Rawmazing Buckwheat Treats

Buckwheat Porridge

Raw Radiant Health Buckwheat Salad

Happy buckwheat adventures!

Lara

August 3, 2010 at 12:16 am Leave a comment

Community

Today I woke up early to the sound of a distant rooster crowing, wrote in my journal, read some great poetry, attended a group yoga class that made me feel amazing, and then shared a meal with a dozen other people who love live plant foods.  Paradise!  This experience has reminded me how lovely it is to be a part of a support system, regardless of what your individual goals may be.  As achieving high levels of health and well being is my personal goal, being in the midst of others pursuing the same transforms what would otherwise be a stressful and inconvenient task into a beautiful and effortless adventure.

After almost three years of eating only raw plant foods, I have certainly had experience of living consistently without any semblance of a raw community.  Though I have been blessed with a family that supports my strange dietary pursuits wholeheartedly (while teasingly offering me cheeseburgers), there is something very helpful about having others share in the process.

I did not truly have a raw community until I met my Vibrant Maine friends and we started getting together a few times a week for raw potlucks.  Having them in my life has been so incredible, and has made my raw journey significantly less lonely.  Bronwyn would whip up an amazing original raw soup, Alexis would have delectable salad, raw bread and a spread, Jaime would handle desserts fabulously, I’d make Blazin’ Hot Chocolate or a smoothie, and we’d all share homemade kefir and kombucha.  There would be laughter, and then more laughter.

What could be better than great conversation at a shared meal with friends?  Sometimes when we choose to pursue something unconventional, our old communities don’t seem to fit as well.  This is fine and natural – change and personal evolution is a beautiful thing.  Fortunately, we can find and attract new communities to either replace or supplement the old.  In my opinion, though when we are determined we can achieve something on our own, there is no reason to impose a solitary healing path upon ourselves.  We can gain new ideas from others’ unique perspectives and supportive understanding from those who share our values.  So reach out!  Find a group that already exists or create one in your area.  There is no good reason to do it alone.

With love,

Lara

July 31, 2010 at 11:00 am 3 comments

Violet Tea for Humidity

In our ongoing effort to keep it cool we’ve created concocted new brews

With a bit of almond milk, blueberries, and other sweet ingredients our Violet Tea has kept us cool.  It also goes well with open-faced sandwiches and kale chips a la Kate Magic.

July 20, 2010 at 4:06 pm Leave a comment

Mark Bittman on TEDtalks

For those of you who are not ready or willing to make extreme dietary changes at this point, this TEDtalk by Mark Bittman will probably appeal to you.  He does a really good job of laying the facts out of general health and environmental concerns while maintaining a rather moderate stance.  Not surprisingly, I am far more extreme in my views and actions than he is, but I still love this talk.  It is a great place to start.  He gives an amusing and easy to follow history of how we got to where we are today agriculturally and then gives some sound advice on how to start to make a difference in your life and the health of the planet.  If you like this video, consider buying his book, Food Matters.

Here is the video!

Lara

July 6, 2010 at 2:22 pm Leave a comment

Simplify the Daunting

The most common excuse people offer for not pursuing a healthier diet is that they could never give up a certain food.  Sometimes their guilty pleasure is cheese, other times chocolate cake, steak or bacon.  Regardless, the thought of letting go of this tasty treasure is too daunting and they are therefore unwilling to take steps toward a healthier diet.

Here is the secret: you never have to decide to give anything up forever.  All you ever have to do is choose to eat healthy things today.  Today’s choices have nothing to do with yesterday’s choices or tomorrow’s choices.  Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we are free to choose a chocolate souffle tomorrow… but today we are empowering ourselves with organic, whole, vibrant foods.

It is my belief that eating well never has to be a question of willpower.  When I got to the point of eating 100% raw vegan foods, it felt like a relief.  I was so excited to feel better and could not wait to try out some new foods.  This only happened for me, however, after years of starting to include some healthier items into my standard American diet, and educating myself about the benefits of plant foods and the various scary side effects of processed junk food.  I started to notice how my body felt after eating one food or another, and as a result I naturally noticed myself avoiding the foods that made me feel worn down or poisoned.

Some people will find themselves attracted to a strict dietary lifestyle change, others will be more interested in a moderate approach.  Either decision can have a very positive effect on health and wellbeing.  Regardless, no one ever has to make a dietary choice for the rest of their life – just decide for today, for this meal, this bite.  The rest will work itself out effortlessly if you listen to your body and its true cravings.

Lara

July 3, 2010 at 4:46 pm Leave a comment

In Our Garden

Fresh & buzzing with storm energy arugula and lettuce from the garden.

I love the way food fresh from the garden
sparkles!

Lettuce love one another.

June 6, 2010 at 2:41 pm Leave a comment

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