Everyone who knows me know I eat really well because I believe what I take into my body in regardless of what form (food, water, air and energy from people and environment etc) do have a big impact on my well being.
But I am also not perfect. I do slip sometimes. A couple of days ago was the perfect example. I was so busy during the day I didn't eat much. When I got home from picking my daughter up from school and made dinner I was so hungry! We had a good healthy dinner and then the dessert time... There was brownies in the fridge, left over chocolate cake and we made chocolate sauce to cover frozen strawberries and blueberries with. And we ate them all.... I don't buy any packaged desserts or sweets and all of these fantastic raw desserts were what I made. But It doesn't mean that we should consume them like this, especially before going to bed! The chocolate gave us the high and we were running and dancing around like crazy girls with Destiny Child (!) and even after we went to bed we were so wired up and couldn't go to sleep.
Next day I woke up so early and thought to myself. That was amazing... it reminded me how food can have such incredible effects on us.
So for breakfast, This is what I had.
bitter green juice with umeboshi extract
kale, daikon, ginger, lemon juice and 1 tsp umeboshi extract.
Highly palatable foods (low-nutrient, high-calorie, intensely sweet, salty, and/or fatty foods) are readily available, and it produces the biochemical effects in the brain that are characteristic of substance abuse. It works like the drug.
Many of us have experienced this. One taste of these foods and then feeling the intense demand from our brain, saying "MORE!" These feelings come from the dopamine reward system. Dopamine helps control our motivation and pleasure. It enables us to to see the reward and to take us toward them.
When people have low level of dopamine (due to many reasons, such as disorders, long term abuse, obesity etc.) they are less sensitive to the dopamine effect and tend to over consume for the emotional HIGH. There is a study that suggests overeating diminishes the reward from palatable food, driving further overeating and future weight gain.
Our addictive behaviors varies by genetic predisposition and emotional state. Nevertheless, highly palatable food has physiologically addictive properties that will make almost anyone experience a lack of control. “Just one bite” doesn’t work because that single bite activates the dopamine reward system, causing the brain to demand more.
I am not saying to cut down these foods from your diet all together. I feel that as long as you realise the effect that can have and know how to balance it out, a bit of slip from usually nutrient focused diet is not too much of a problem. Just enjoy and get back on the track of things.
If you do have a really big problem with addiction like behaviour, then I feel that you should stay away from it all together.
Also it is important to look at the reasons behind these behaviours. Is it emotional or physical? Are you getting everything your body and mind needs from inner health as well as foods you are taking.
When you have a food craving ask yourself this. Is my body asking for something it needs, or is it remembering something it's addicted to?
As a guideline only I have listed possible cause in food cravings for certain foods.
CRAVING FOR SWEETS craving a simple sugar foods such as cookies, icecream and other quick blood raiser can mean two things.
You may be experiencing withdrawal from processed sugar and craving for the sugar high. Or your body may be needing more glucose in your body. Try fresh fruits and vegetables and if you are having legumes in your diet it will give you the starch that the body needs and also the fibre to stabilise your blood sugar.
CRAVING FOR SALTY FOODS Even though our sodium requirements is pretty low it is possible that you may be low in sodium. If you eat lots of potassium rich foods, sweat more the needs for sodium increases. Stay away from table salt but have celery, seaweed, raw cultured vegetables. It can also be an addiction to salt.
CRAVING FOR RICH FOODS calorie dense foods such as cheese, butter, nut butter, fast food and heavy dessert can be due to simply more calorie needed. If you are on vegan or raw diet especially the diet can be quite bulky and low in calories. Include higher calorie foods that are also healthy, such as avocado, banana, root vegetables, coconut, olives and nuts and seeds.
CRAVING FOR CHEESE AND GLUTEN PRODUCTS Both dairy and gluten-containing grains contain opioid peptides—amino acid sequences that affect the brain in the same way opiates do, targeting your endorphin receptors to give you fell good hormones. The problem with this is it is very addictive and also bring many problems nutritionally to many people.
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Saturday, March 31, 2012
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Summer is nearly over. Today was surprising warm so maybe this is one of the last chances to make frozen treats to cool down...
RAW NAPOLEON ICECREAM WITH COCONUT AND MIXED BERRY YOGHURT AND CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE.
ICE CREAM made with banana, coconut meat. chocolate flavour with raw cocoa and pink layer with pomegranate juice.
Coconut yoghurt made from coconut meat and water, mixed berry fermented over night
chocolate sauce drizzled over the icecream. it hardens on this creamy and rich treat....
Monday, March 26, 2012
what a weekend.
I was fortunate enough to cater for another beautiful event at AMARANT retreat. http://www.amarant.com.au
It is such a beautiful place and such beautiful people running the place. It was quite cold but nice and cozy with fire going inside.
I am lucky because most of the time my clients and customers trust me enough to let me create what I desire to. it gives me freedom and chance to be as creative as I would like to.
This event was yoga and raw food.
The menu for the retreat was....
COLZONE WITH LAYER OF CASHEW CREAM, SPINACH DIP, TANGY MARINATED UCHROOM AND BROCOLLI, SERVED WITH FIG JAM
SIMPLE LEAFY GARDEN SALAD WITH ORANGE AND CARROT DRESSING
APPLE CRUMBLE SERVED WITH CREME FRUCHE
BUCKWHEAT AND APPLE GRANOLA OR
WARM APPLE AND BRAZIL NUT PORRIGE
SERVED WITH FRESHLY MADE VANILLA ALMOND MILK
TWO COLOUR VEGETABLE SPAGHETTI WITH BASIL AND HAZELNUT PESTO
SUN-DRIED TOMATO AND GREEN OLIVE SAUCE
MUSHROOM AND 3 NUTS AND SEED BALLS, SERVED WITH BEETROOT AND ALMOND SAUCE
CABBAGE AND DAIKON PICKLE SALAD WITH UME VINEGAR
SWEET POTATO AND SPROUTED TWO COLOUR QUINOA COUSCOUS WITH COCONUT SATAY SAUCE
BEETROOT RAVIOLI WITH GOAT "CHEESE"
CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH STRAWBERRY SYRUP
CHIA PUDDING WITH COCONUT AND ALMOND "MILK" SERVED WITH CHOICE OF DIFFERENT TOPPING -SHREDDED COCONUT, FIGS, KIWI FRUITS AND PEACHES, GRANOLA CRISPIES
PIZZA TOPPED WITH CASHEW AND MACADAMIA RICOTTA, REDUCED MARINARA PIZZA SAUCE, OLIVES AND MARINATED SHITAKE AND ZUCCHINI, SERVED WITH CRUNCHY CARAMELISED ONION AND PERMASAN "CHEESE"
MEDITERRANEAN KALE SALAD
STUFFED RED CAPSICUM AND COLLARD WRAP WITH SUNFLOWER SEED PATE
Friday, March 16, 2012
So I have been hearing a lot about people avoiding grains in their diet. Coming from macrobiotic background, which emphasises a lot on the benefit of whole grains, especially brown rice, I found it very interesting.
- grains are not good for your digestive system
carbohydrates in grains can feed bad bacteria in your gut. We all need good bacteria in our gut as they keep the immune system strong and help prevent disease causing bacteria which if build up, leads to a large number of autoimmune diseases. Too much bad bacteria can lead to a lot of problems; including candidiasis.
-many are gluten-intolerant
Current reserch estimated that about 1 percent of the population suffer from celiac disease. Also some researchers said 30-40% of people can be gluten intolerant, higher if you are from european descent.
-grains can cause inflammation
Because grains have a high starch content they are inflammatory foods, especially if they are refined. Due to the inflammatory nature of the grains, they are linked to joint pains and arthritis. Grain’s amino acid composition mirrors that of the soft tissue in your joints. Because both synovial tissue and grains are chemically similar, your body has difficulty differentiating between the two. So, when your immune cells get all hot and bothered by inflammation caused by grain and begin to attack it as a foreign invader, they also begin to attack the soft tissue in your joint – leading to pain, autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and more inflammation.
-grains are new on the scene
Before the agriculture, humans relied on hunting and gathering of goods and our body haven't adopted the fairly new products well enough to digest it properly
-phytic acid content
Grains contain phytic acid which binds up minerals and prevent proper absorption of essential minerals and vitamins, such as iron, calcium. magnesium, copper and especially zinc.
Other antinutrients in whole grains include enzyme inhibitors which can inhibit digestion and put stress on the pancreas; irritating tannins; complex sugars which the body cannot break down; and gluten and related hard-to-digest proteins which may cause allergies, digestive disorders and even mental illness
Many diets suggests eliminating or reducing the amount of grains.
such as raw vegan diet, no grain diet by Dr. Joseph Mercola, paleo diet etc.
And there are other experts who say that including grains in your diet is essential.
They say whole grains are...
Low in saturated fat but is a source of polyunsatured fats, including omega-3 linolenic acid.
High in both soluble and insoluble fibre and resistant starch.
An excellent source of carbohydrates.
A significant source of protein.
A good source of B complex vitamins, including folate.
A good source of many minerals, such as iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus and zinc.
A good source of antioxidants and phytochemicals that can help lower blood cholesterol levels.
they've been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and other health problems.
It is very confusing.
I decided to consciously cut down the amount of grains to see how I would feel. I found myself craving for sweets. It is understandable as grain supply carbohydrate and my body was creaming for quick energy from sweet foods. I did feel lighter after a meal but needed to be refuelled more often.
No surprises here. I knew the answer all along. That is BIOCHEMICAL INDIVIDUALITY. everyone is different. what the body is like, what they want from their lives and what they want to get out of from the specific diet they choose. Foods are amazing things. It can heal or create diseases but also if you are not suffering from major illnesses you can choose how far you want to take it.
So I have added grain back to my diet, though way less than what macrobiotic suggests (which is 40-60 percent). My emphasis is on vegetables, especially green vegetables. When I consume grains this is what I like to do for better absorption and improving the nutrient value
-always soak over night
-sprout and/or ferment if possible
-consume different variety
-consume grains with gluten less. if I do, make sure to sprout
-chew well to induce the production of ptyalin, which turns carbohydrate to maltose. The enzyme, maltase can break down maltose in the digestive system.
-include more less inflammatory grains more, such as millet, quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat. (note most of them are not really grain to start with)
I believe everyone needs to experiment and find their own balance.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
I do try to expose myself to other people's cooking and teachings as much as possible to learn things from them and the experiences (good and bad!). Because I have been quite busy lately I hadn't had a chance to do so for a while.
When I heard that Deco Nakajima was coming to do a macrobiotic cooking class all the way from Japan I knew I had to take this opportunity.
For those of you who don't know her, She has a place called Brown's Field, macrobiotic farm just out of Tokyo. It is a centre of sustainable living where people from around the world come to experience macrobiotic and organic living.
I did meet her once when I was at a macrobiotic conference in japan a couple of years ago but didn't get to talk much.
On Sunday I feel like I got to know her a bit more as I stayed after the class to help her and her team clean up. I also run cooking class and I know how good it is to have an extra hand cleaning up afterwards!
soba sushi (with tempeh and avocado)
carrot and green beans with walnut miso dressing
marinated mehijiki and lentils
brown rice balls and more
Deco's demonstration was so smoothly done, especially considering she needed to be translated. Her passion for nourished food and organic, sustainable living was such a great thing to feel....
thanks for the pleasant afternoon.