David Wolfe comes to North Bay!

Many followers of David the “Avocado” Wolfe know that he has home soil just 20 short minutes out of the small Northern Ontario town where I live.  I always wondered when he would be arriving back on Canadian soil, and when I heard he was coming this summer I was thrilled to see him.  Even my hubby knew how excited I was for this event and that I would not miss it for anything!  He gave me two surprise tickets for my birthday early August – as you can see below they are Ticket #1 and #2! David’s presentation was beyond phenomenal. He is an exceptional speaker that engages the audience, keeps you interested and fires up your mind, body and soul!  I had so many questions, insights and affirmations listening to him speak about diet, super foods and herbalism.  David is not just a raw foodist, but an advocate for conscious living and eating.  He is true inspiration for anybody wanting to make positive changes in their life.  Through his beautiful pictures of pristine places around the world, David delivers a presentation that is engaging and full of knowledge and experience.  David reminds us to be more aware of the food we eat and the water we drink.  We need to consider the ‘quality’ of everything that enters our bodies, since your body is the house of your spirit and soul.

David Wolfe Tickets There were many references to books, herbs and ideas that David mentioned in his presentation.  Here are a few links for you to check out while on your own healing journey.

Ringing Cedars of Russia

Asparagus vs. Cancer Google Search: David recommended that we do a Google search – here are a few articles that I found related to this topic:

http://fullstory-edge.blogspot.ca/2009/04/asparagus-vs-cancer.html

http://www.healthyfellow.com/480/asparagus-cancer-cure/

David spoke about Earthing/Grounding – here is a link to the Earthing Institute; a website that describes in details how this impacts your health

This was an event that I will always remember and this will have a lasting impact on my own journey into raw foods. Thank you David for sharing your knowledge, and thanks to my hubby for gifting me and a friend the tickets!

Sarah and David Wolfe

 

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Agave Nectar Good or Bad?

Recently I posted this little tidbit of information on Facebook about the top 10 Worst Food Ingredients.  Agave Nectar was mentioned on the same list as MSG, Aspartame and High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Does this surprise you?  I was not surprised to see it on the list since, just about 5 weeks earlier I listened to an interview done with David Getoff; a Naturopath and board certified Nutritionist.  His interview revealed the truth about sweeteners such as Agave Nectar.  Since I had not taken notes during that interview, I decided to contact David by email to request some more information about Agave.  He very quickly replied and sent me a 1 hour audio file on sweeteners – which you can listen to in full on his website.

The Shocking Truth:

What we don’t know as consumers is how our food usually is manufactured. Whether that is a plant based or meat based product, we often have blinders on, or some of you may just choose to not know.  Well…not me.  I want to know about my food, and sometimes I think I wish that I didn’t, but I can’t help but be curious about everything I put in front of my family to eat.  When I first discovered Agave Nectar a few years ago, I thought it was too good to be true.  I was a parent who did not allow white sugar in the home, nor did I bake with it.  When I discovered I could bake with it instead of maple syrup I thought I was in Sugar Heaven!!

The truth is, agave nectar is highly processed and the industry has cheated in marketing it to the public.  First, it is not completely raw – meaning that it has been heated in order to get the sweetness out of it.  There may be some companies out there that claim to be raw, but if this important, then do your research and consider the alternatives.  Second, agave nectar has been promoted as a sweetener for diabetics since it is low glycemic.  I have discovered this is impossible to concur, since Agave Nectar is Fructose and not Glucose.  The test used to show an item on the glycemic index measures blood glucose, and the rate at which the food is turned into glucose in your blood.  Well….agave nectar is FRUCTOSE, which means it does NOT convert to glucose at all, therefore cannot accurately be measured by a blood glucose test.  You would need to do a blood Fructose test to measure this.  So, seems like it’s been a marketing scam to trick the public into thinking this is a healthy alternative.  In reality, consumption of Fructose leads to insulin resistance and fatty liver disease, which usually happens without the person knowing it.  Fructose is one of the major causes of Type 2 Diabetes.

As a consumer and parent, you need to be aware of these discrepancies.  Agave Nectar can sometimes even be higher in Fructose than High Fructose Corn Syrup, especially when purchased in large quantities by bakers and large companies that make snacks using Agave Nectar.  The agave they purchase can be higher concentrated so they can use less, save money, but make their sweet treats even sweeter – and more unhealthy for the naive consumer.

So now What?

Mr. David Getoff sites some great resources in the audio file on his website.  He also recommends other sweeteners that are healthier.  I have personally replaced all my agave nectar (after using it up) with Yacon Syrup.  Since Yacon is plant based, but again is new and still requires further research to identify it’s health benefits, I am limiting the amount of sweet treats at home.  I think no matter what we do as parents and consumers, it’s important to remember that even ‘healthy’ alternatives need to be moderated and to not go overboard in thinking, “well it’s healthy for me so I can eat lots of it”.  The other sweeteners recommended by David Getoff are Stevia and LoHan (Luohan) – but I will save those for another post.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Agave Nectar! Do you use it in your home? Will you continue to use it?

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Junk Food Laws Just Junk?

There is probably not one day out of the week I am not talking to my kids about nutrition.  I think there is so much in the world that gives children mixed messages, that it is my role and responsibility to prepare them for life and good health.  So, in our house we have standards – not laws – but standards or guidelines about junk food.  Although this is probably not as clear to my husband as it is to me, the kids have learned what is healthy and what is not.  But what about society?  What about rules or laws that the government can impose in schools?  Are they helpful?  What about advertisements and marketing ploys targeted at children? How do these effect health and nutrition?

It should be no surprise to all parents that children are the target of many marketing strategies.  However, did you know that children have been estimated to view 40,000 ads per year on television alone?  Of these, half are related to food! These ads are most likely for sugary cereals and high calorie snack food.  My 9 year old once asked me “Mom, how come there are never any advertisements for healthy food?”  My answer to that is “because it doesn’t make enough money for the large corporations”.  Healthy foods are advertised less than 3% of the time, as reported by Kukel & Gantz (1991). cold bananas

So would making junk food laws help kids to be healthier? Would it really encourage healthier decision-making as they get older?

What we do know is that advertising healthy foods has been shown to increase better eating habits among children ages 3-6 years, as reported by Gorn & Goldberg (1982), but what I wonder is if junk food laws will actually encourage children to make healthier food choices?  My instinct tells me “No”.  It just means that while at school they eat what is there, but when they return home, or out with friends on the weekends they eat what is given to them by their parents.  Teens will make choices based on what happened in their childhood. 

A recent study published by Pediatrics studied the BMI (body mass index) of young people and how it relates to Government regulations in supplying nutrition information on food not provided by the school.  I would understand that to be, vending machines and food not ‘served’ by the cafeteria.  So, I’d love to know what my good ole friend Jamie Oliver must think! I would love to see these researchers conduct the same study to see if the children still ate the ‘state supplied food’ when given all the nutritional information.  Even though researchers are excited this is the first real evidence to give hope that laws will impact obesity, I think it’s pretty far from that.  As a parent I need to see more than a  5% improvement, as there are still the remaining 18% of eighth graders that are obese (see this article).

What about all the marketing that influences food choice?  What about demographics of families and how this impacts obesity, and even the children’s ability to read and understand nutritional information provided on the outside of a vending machine?  It’s almost another approach that will continue to keep the poorer children less healthy and more obese.

I understand that children spend a lot of time in school during their lifetime, but they also learn eating habits and choices from their parents.  Obesity is learned in a sense, since it is poor eating habits and poor exercise habits that also contribute.  So will a state law really matter if Johnny returns home to eat pogos and fries for supper and sits on the couch all night?  Children are the most impressionable during the first 6 years of their life, so why not start teaching and guiding them from birth?  Start with promoting breastfeeding (evidence suggests it decreases obesity as well) and then teach healthy eating in daycare centers, and early learning environments AND at home.  Teach parents to teach their children about mindful eating and healthy choices.  Then by elementary school your child won’t be part of the 20% obesity rate.

What do you think?  Do you think laws about food, nutrition or even marketing to children need to be enforced to improve the health of all children? 

 

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Cross Referenced from: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/118/6/2563.full#ref-58

Kunkel D, Gantz W. Television Advertising to Children: Message Content in 1990—Report to the Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the National Advertising Division, Council of Better Business Bureaus. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University; 1991

Gorn GH, Goldberg ME. Behavioral evidence of the effects of televised food messages on children. J Consum Res.1982;9 :200– 205

Raw Fried Rice Recipe

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This is a recipe that is great for potlucks or a special meal. I have made it a few times for my family and for potlucks like International Raw Food Day.  It does take a bit of planning, but not much because it will still work even if you decide to have it that night!

Preparation before:

Soak 3/4 cup of almonds in water for at least 15 minutes

Marinate mushrooms for at least 15 minutes

Marinade for mushrooms:

1 tbsp. Sesame Oil

2 tsp. Tamari

A piece of Ginger the size of a quarter grated

Mix Tamari, Sesame Oil and Ginger in a bowl and soak the whole mushrooms. Depending on how many mushrooms you have will depend on the ratio, but you want to have more sesame oil and ginger then Tamari. You could also use Nama Shoyu to make this dish more RAW!

Please note that Sesame Oil is not considered a ‘raw’ ingredient.

Ingredients:

1 head of Cauliflower

3-4 small carrots

3/4 cup of raw almonds – crushed, grated or chopped in small pieces

2 Green Onions (white and green parts)

Mushrooms – choose type and amount that you like – Portobello, white mushrooms or any edible wild mushroom

Steps:

1.  Shred the carrots in the food processor;

2.  Shred the cauliflower in the food processor~ you are using the attachment for your processor and feeding both the carrots and cauliflower through the top of the machine;

3.  Set aside the carrots and cauliflower and chopped almond pieces;

4.  Chop the green onion and add to the mixture;

5.  Make the dressing;

6.  Chop the soaked mushrooms in small pieces by hand or in the processor. Add to the mixture;

7.  Pour dressing, mix and serve or refrigerate.

Dressing:

1/4 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil;

1 tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar;

A piece of ginger the size of a nickel grated;

Dash of agave ;

Taste and make adjustments as  necessary

ENJOY! This recipe is not 100% fully raw, but is a very good transitional dish. Feel free to add some greens, by finely chopping some spinach and adding to the salad.

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North Bay Celebrates International Raw Food Day 2012

Well, North Bay, Ontario, Canada has celebrated it’s first Raw Food Day celebration this year!  We had a wonderful potluck at my home, with some great food and great company.  This year it was not a structured event, but I am hoping that next year it will be!  Some people were aware of how to eat raw food and some were totally new to the idea.  There were a lot of children that enjoyed the recipes and there were many favourites, but everyone loved Lemon Bars from the Rawtarian!

Here are a few photos that captured the day, and stay tuned for my  next blog post with some recipes!

DSCF5052     Mark Raw Potluck July 2012

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How to Celebrate International Raw Food Day

Here are a few tips for you to celebrate International Raw Food Day where you live.  If there is nothing local happening, you can always host something yourself, or participate in your own way.

1.  Start your morning off with a green juice or green smoothie;

2.  Commit to eating raw foods for 1/2 the day or one meal;

tropical fruit world

3.  Set a goal for yourself.  It’s important when making health changes to set a goal and keep it in mind so that you can plan accordingly and prepare yourself mentally, emotionally and spiritually;

4.  Integrate exercise that you would not normally do, whether it is a walk, jog, hike, bike or rebounding.  Do something that is different and adds to our day;

5.  Talk about with your partner and children.  Have them decide if they would like to participate with you, and set goals together;

6.  Watch some inspiring videos, read a book or magazine article on health;

7.  Try a new piece of fruit or a new vegetable at your local grocery store;

8.  Visit a local farmer’s market, and a local farm;

9.  Drink more water;

10.  Whatever change you decide to make, challenge yourself to do it again tomorrow!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Those who say something cannot be done, should not get in the way of those who are already doing it, (Translation of Chinese proverb)

 

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Eat Raw for a Day!

In celebration of International Raw Food Day, I will be posting some meal plan ideas for you to try out, along with some recipes.  Here are today’s ideas:

Breakfast: Raw GranolaDSC_1676

1 cup of Blueberries

1-2 Bananas

2-3 Medjool Dates

1 tbsp Hemp Seeds

1 tbsp Chia Seeds

1 Peach or other seasonal fruit

Add a few walnuts or pecans or almonds, whatever you have

Snack: Green Smoothie

1 cup of blueberries

1-2 bananas

1 handful of spinach or romaine lettuce

2 Medjool Dates

1- 2 cups of water

Lunch: Summer Salad

*You can see my post on summer salad ideas as well

Add to a bed of greens mixed veggies from your food processor: carrots, cabbage, red pepper, broccoli

Basic Salad Dressing: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Lemon, Apple Cider Vinegar, Stevia to sweeten and fresh herbs of your choice.  You can make this mixture in the ratios that you prefer since everybody has different taste buds.  As you eat more fresh, raw foods your food will start to taste differently and you will enjoy all flavours more intensely!  Add to your salad anything else that you enjoy or try something new like peaches or blueberries in your salad!DSC_1608

Snack: leftover smoothie from the morning, or some berries, watermelon or a piece of fruit

Supper: Leafy Wraps

You can take any green leaf and use to wrap your veggies in.  I like collard greens to wrap, but romaine lettuce is not as strong or tough if you are not used to collard greens.  Stuff your green lettuce leaf with avocado, homemade salsa, or event the veggie mixture you made at lunch time.  You can make a basic dipping sauce to enjoy your wrap with tahini, lemon, garlic, water and stevia to sweeten.  Add some Sesame Oil to give it a different taste, or add some cayenne pepper for spice!

In this photo was salsa, black olives in a romaine lettuce leaf, with avocado on the side.

Enjoy!

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International Raw Food Day 2012!

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This year July 11, 2012 marks International Raw Food Day!  So what the heck does that mean anyway?  As you may all know I am new to this, and am about  4 months into my raw food, raw living experience.  … Continue reading 

Jicama Salad

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If you haven’t tried Jicama yet, you have to get one!  It is one of my favourite raw foods and they are VERY hard to come by in Northern Ontario.  In fact, you will find me buying more than 1 when they are in stock at our local grocery store and almost every cashier has to ask me what it is so she can punch in the proper code!  You can find it near the root vegetables usually and it looks similar to a turnip or celery root with rough skin that peels off in layers, to reveal this beautiful white flesh that is crunchy and takes on any flavour you partner it up with.  Simply RAW and AWESOME!

This is my version of Kristina from Rawfully Organic – Jicama Orange Spice Salad.  My husband even loved this one!  My oldest isn’t a fan of too much cilantro, so she didn’t quite like the dressing, since I put a lot of cilantro in it, but didn’t put a lot of cayenne.  I have noticed since going raw, I cannot tolerate spicy food at all – and even the tiniest bit of spice has me gasping for air and reaching for water!

This was awesome, thanks Kristina!

Enjoy!

On a bed of spinach and Swiss chard I placed shredded Jicama.

Make dressing in your food processor:

5-6 oranges

handful cilantro

1 lemon

1 red pepper

small piece of purple onion

pinch of cayenne pepper or a lot! or a piece of jalapeno pepper would be good too!

This made a LOT of dressing, so I used it as a salsa the next day for lunch, and then made a salad again for supper the next night with it! The dressing was delicious on its own and can be eaten by the spoonful like a soup!

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