I’m thinking about Intuitive Eating this morning. Many people, including myself when I first heard the term, thought it meant breaking every diet/healthy eating plan rule and stuffing your face with cake, candy, donuts, a bottle of wine or any other food or drink that you’ve been denying yourself for years. So, that may happen at the beginning, especially if you’ve been strictly limiting the food you eat (low carb, low fat etc.) for a while. But, the beautiful thing about intuitive eating is that, once you’ve let go of all of your eating restrictions, once you’ve let go of believing an outside force knows your body better than you do, something magical happens. You start to listen to your body and really allow yourself to sink into and feel your body. And that’s when your intuition will kick in. When your intuition kicks in, you are able to receive signals from your body regarding what it needs to nourish itself. Sometimes that may be a grilled cheese sandwich with pickles and lots of ketchup and other times that may be a fresh, crisp green salad like the one in this photo. It can feel scary to trust yourself and your body’s signals, especially after many years of diet doctors telling us that we shouldn’t. But, if you can move past the fear and the initial craving of everything you’ve been denying yourself, there is a beautiful place of self-awareness and self-love waiting for you.
One of the basic philosophies of the raw food movement is that since humans evolved from primates, our most natural and health giving diet consists mainly of fruit. I love that philosophy…in theory.
Fruit is sweet and luscious and so delicious that I wholeheartedly embraced this way of eating for the past few months. I embraced it until I noticed that I began severely lacking in energy and I kept getting sick (three times this winter compared to my usual one), and my skin wasn’t looking better, as all the raw food lessons, books and articles said it would. In fact it was looking a little worse. And I was craving protein. Even as I was studying my “Peak Performance” lesson which stated that protein was over-rated, I was severely craving protein. Something had to give. And so it did.
One day the image of a succulent, savoury piece of salmon wouldn’t leave my mind. No matter what I did or how I tried to lead my thoughts down another path, a path filled with raw carrots and bananas and mangoes, I couldn’t stop thinking about salmon. So, after much deliberation, I did what I had to do. I had to admit that the 80 -100% raw vegan life is not for me. Then I went out a bought the biggest wild salmon steak I could find. I jogged home with it, ripped my coat off, raced to the kitchen and covered my fish in lemon and capers and a thin layer of mayo. Then I proceeded to slow cook it at 180 degrees. The aroma was heavenly.
I really loved eating all of the recipes filled with sweet tropical fruit, honey and maple syrup but clearly I was consuming a bit more sugar, even if it was natural sugar, than my body could handle. So, as much as I like the ‘gorilla food’ theory there is also a theory that you should be eating food that is natural to your environment. So, if you’re living in the Yukon it would not be natural for you to be chowing down on kiwis and pineapple and if you’re living in Vancouver, eating wild salmon and greens and fruit that is indigenous to your environment would be the healthiest fare. Makes sense to me.
So, after a visit to the local farmer’s market, where I found the freshest greens and spouts I’ve tasted in a while, I have a farm fresh salad to share with you. Enjoy.
Farm Fresh Greens
- 1 cup fresh organic spinach or greens of your choice
- 1 heirloom tomato
- 1/4 cup minced scallions
- 1/4 cup various sprouts
- sprinkle of Manitoba Harvest hemp seeds
- Dressing of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mixed herbs and fresh apple (all ingredients to taste, blended together)
Nothing beats the taste of home.
I started this holiday season full of strength and resolve and my will power lasted quite a while. Right up until someone place a warm, fresh plate of ginger snaps under my nose. Now, after a few weeks of gooey dark chocolate, bread pudding, hot chocolate with (extra) whipped cream and 1st, 2nd and 3rd helpings of holiday meals, I’m back on the path of balance and health.
If you were a little over-indulgent this Christmas season too, here is a green, detox recipe full of vitamins and anti-oxidants to get your day off to a great start:
Detox Smoothie Bowl
- 2 bananas
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup frozen mangos
- 2 T shredded coconunt
- 2 T hemp seeds
- 2 T your favourite greens powder
Blend, top with mangos and coconut garnish and get back on track with this delicious and nourishing bowl!
Standing on the bus today, stopped at a red light, I noticed a man in a red car idling beside us. He was wearing a suit and tie on a beautiful, hot and sunny day, looked incredibly stressed and was gulping down a salt, fat and msg laden burrito held in one hand while he drove with the other. I stared at him thinking “that food is not doing his body any good”. Next I thought about how he was gulping it down and what that would do to his digestive system. Yuck. Then I thought about how much better people look and feel when they eat a natural, un-processed, alkaline based diet. That thought led me to the question of food manufacturers and the gazillion dollar beauty industry possibly being in bed together. Think about it. If we are all addicted to junky fast food full of chemicals and preservatives, bad fats, sugar, high fructose corn syrup and msg (the last three being highly addictive), we are going to look and feel pretty bad. Then we’re probably going to go out and spend a ton of money on lotions and creams, botox and fillers in a vain attempt to look good again, and spend some really big bucks in the process. It’s not such a far-fetched idea after all. If we all started eating fresh fruit and veggies as the base for our diets (and started moving our bodies more) we would transform our health and our physiques and no longer get sucked in by the outlandish claims of the beauty industry. Sounds like freedom to me.
So what exactly are the benefits of a greens based diet?
Here they are:
- Skin more elastic and youthful
- Deeper more restful sleep
- More physical energy
- Fewer colds, headaches, flu viruses
- Good digestion
- Less arthritis and joint pain
- Reduction of candida (yeast) overgrowth
- Better bone density
- Increased mental alertness
Definitely food for thought.
And to help you jump on the green bandwagon, here’s a recipe for easy sautéed spinach side dish:
Green Goodness Spinach
- 2 large bunches of spinach, about 1 lb
- Olive oil, extra virgin
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- Sea salt to taste
Even my rascally little Terrier knows how good greens are for you. Here he is dining at his grassy, all-you-can-eat salad bar..