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Optimal Nutrition with Raw Vegan

Why is everyone talking about going vegan? What are the benefits when eating a raw vegan diet?

Raw vegan foods help to provide: More Energy

When we eat raw vegan foods that are easier for our bodies to digest, assimilate, and eliminate, we have more energy left over. This enables our body to cleanse, heal, and repair itself so we feel healthy, vital, and energized.

Fiber

• Fiber is the indigestible portion of plant foods. Fruits, vegetables, sprouts, nuts, and seeds contain an abundance of dietary fiber.
• Fiber acts as a pre-biotic agent. This helps to populate beneficial bacteria in the gut for supporting immune and gastro-intestinal function.
• Fiber helps to regulate blood sugar by allowing the carbohydrates in food to be released into the bloodstream more gradually.
• Fiber helps to lower cholesterol.
• Fiber also keeps everything moving through the intestines, which prevents constipation.

Two main categories of fiber

• Soluble
-This type of fiber actually binds to cholesterol in the intestines and flushes it out of the body
• Insoluble
– Is good for regularity
– Insoluble fiber helps “bulk up” the stool and prevent constipation

Vitamins and Minerals

Raw and living foods are very high in various vitamins and minerals. Sprouted foods have a very high nutrient-per-calorie ratio, which help us feel satisfied on fewer calories. This is in addition to having a high water and fiber content.

We all know many of the other benefits of vitamins and minerals.
• Vitamins and minerals found in raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are in a whole food complex with cofactors.
– They are abundant and absorbable
– They are synergistic in their effects

Alkaline Minerals

• Fruits and vegetables contain beneficial alkaline minerals such as:
– Magnesium
– Calcium
• Most of the byproducts of metabolism in our bodies are acidic.
• Consuming alkaline foods helps counteract this acidity.
• Without minerals, vitamins have no function.
• Research indicates that calcium from our bones is often used to counteract this acidity, so eating foods that have an alkalizing effect may contribute to the maintenance of bone health.

Phytonutrients

• Raw vegan foods are very high in phytonutrients. Phytonutrients contain protective, disease-preventing compounds that interact with other plant nutrients to produce a synergy that can help fight many diseases. Some phytonutrients are lycopene, beta-carotene, and chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll is the green coloring in plants
– Helps to build blood
– Has antioxidant properties
– Has antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Carotenoids

– A group of phytonutrients that have yellow, orange, and red pigments
– Act as antioxidants in the body
– Yellow pigments – lutein and zeaxanthin
* They help to support optimal vision.
* The body utilizes these pigments to protect the back of the eyeball from the damaging rays of the sun (the macula).
* These two pigments work together synergistically to confer this protection.
* Are best obtained from yellow and green vegetables like summer squash and leafy greens.

Antioxidants

Raw and living foods contain antioxidants which reduce free radical damage and help us age gracefully. Many phytonutrients also act as antioxidants. Antioxidants counteract the damaging effects of “free radicals.”

Alkalinity

Raw and living foods help to maintain the proper alkaline pH in the bloodstream, which is very beneficial to the body in a number of ways, such as supporting energy.

Calorie Density

• Calorie density is defined as the amount of calories in a given weight or volume of food.
• Filling our stomach helps activate stretch receptors which is one of the primary mechanisms that helps us feel satisfied.
• Three primary factors that determine calorie density
– Water content
– Fat content
– Fiber content
• Water is by far the most significant determinant of calorie density, and raw and living foods have excellent water content.
• It is interesting to note that despite the high fat content, rich and creamy avocados still have less than half of the calorie density of brown rice cakes, indicating how water content plays a bigger role in calorie density than fat content does.
• The fiber content of a food contributes to the calorie density as well, but not as much as fat and not nearly as much as water.
– Including lots of water and fiber rich raw vegan and living foods in one’s diet makes it easy to feel full and satisfied without eating excess calories.

Plant Fats

• Higher fat raw plant foods, such as avocados and nuts and seeds, contain relatively healthy, unsaturated fats.
• These high fat plant foods contain plenty of their own fiber, which binds to excess cholesterol.
• Essential fatty acids:
– Two types of fats that the body cannot make, so they need to be obtained from diet. These are called essential fatty acids (EFAs).
Alpha linolenic acid – Omega 3. Omega 3 fats reduce inflammation.
Linoleic acid – Omega 6.  Omega 6 fats generally promote inflammation.
– Ideal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fats is between 1 to 1 and 4 to 1.
– When we consume in excess of four times the amount of omega 6 fats compared to omega 3 fats, we tend to create excess inflammation.
– Omega 6 fats
* The average American consumes 20 times more omega 6 fats than omega 3 fats.
* Omega 6 fats are largely found in animal products and processed foods.
– Omega 3 fats
* Omega 3 fats are abundant in leafy green vegetables, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and certain types of algae.
* Smaller amounts of omega 3 fats can be found in fruits and non-green vegetables.
• The standard American diet (SAD) diet contains an over-abundance of omega 6 fats from:
– Processed foods.
– Commercially produced animal products.
– Not enough fruits, vegetables.
* They contain the omega 3 fats that reduce inflammation.

A diet based on raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, and especially a diet that has an abundance of greens and includes some flax or chia seeds, supplies adequate amounts of omega 3 fats. This is without the excess of omega 6 fats, which is seen in typical modern human diets.

Healthy fats and blood sugar regulation:

– Glucose – blood sugar
– Insulin escorts glucose out of blood and into cells
– Insulin resistance – insulin is unable to do its job properly and blood sugar remains too high
– Insulin resistance – is the hallmark of type II diabetes, also known as adult onset diabetes.

An excess of saturated fats, trans fats, and omega 6 fats, along with decreased amounts of omega 3 fats, make major contributions to insulin resistance.
Numerous studies have shown that diets that include more whole natural plant foods, instead of processed foods, can have a significant impact on insulin resistance and blood sugar levels.

Cholesterol comes from two places: animal foods and your body.
– Low fat and high fiber whole natural plant foods, such as raw vegan and living foods, cause the liver to produce less cholesterol to make bile that emulsifies fat in the foods.
• Fresh raw and living foods also contain an abundance of fiber to bind to any excess cholesterol, thus keeping cholesterol at an appropriate level.

Enzymes

Raw vegan and living foods are high in food-based enzymes.
• Enzymes are protein molecules that initiate biochemical reactions in all living things, plants and animals alike.
• Research indicates that plant enzymes are found within plant cells and are released when plant cell walls are broken down either by chewing, juicing, or blending.
• If plants are heated above 115°F the enzymes may denature or break down.
• Chewing raw plant foods well is important for releasing enzymes from plant cells.
• This gives the body a “head start” in digestion, creating less work and taking less energy, so you may feel lighter and more energetic than you would if you ate heated foods without active enzymes.

Increasing raw and living foods in your diet helps to provide:

• More energy
• Feeling lighter
• Greater overall well-being
• An abundance of nutrients
• Weight normalization over time
• Avoidance of hunger and deprivation
– It’s not just another diet, but a healthful, delicious, and – most importantly – sustainable way of changing your eating habits that you can happily maintain for a lifetime!

 

Optimal Nutrition with Raw Vegan

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Eat to Live

Is your overeating caused by internal imbalance?

We all love to eat. Enjoying food beyond simple sustenance is normal. It becomes problematic, however, when we overeat until there is a significant weight gain or health risk. When we eat without physical hunger cues, regularly choose unhealthy comfort foods, or eat when we’re already full, something is out of balance.

Our bodies are equipped with a sophisticated signaling system designed to guide us to proper nutrition. The system informs us via hunger pangs that it’s time to eat and prods us with cravings to select the correct nutrients. It ensures we get enough calories and then signals when we’re full. Just like breathing, most of these processes occur without our awareness. If we don’t mess with the machinery too much, it works well for a lifetime.

But in today’s hectic, fast-paced world, many of us are disconnected from our body signals. We’ve lost touch with our innate signaling system and often ignore, medicate or override the body’s messages. We’re living in poorly functioning bodies, coping with digestive problems, low energy, fatigue, and chronic inflammation. We may experience significant health warnings or develop degenerative conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

How have we become so blind to our body signals? A number of major factors contribute to this disconnection:

SOCIETAL PRESSURES: Cultural and family messages encouraged us to ignore body signals in an attempt to control our body size, leading to a destructive diet mentality. Chronic low-calorie dieting imbalances signals and brings dietary deficiencies, slower metabolism, out-of-control rebound eating, and weight gain.

DIETARY DECEPTION: Our calorie-counting machinery gets fooled by a diet artificially concentrated in sugar, fat, fiber-deficient processed foods and food of animal origin such as meat (including fish), eggs and dairy products. Obesity is on the rise because our diet is substantially different from our ancestors.

FOOD ADDICTION: Modern drug-like foods activate pleasure centers in the brain, unbalance body and brain signals, and lead to addiction. Once we’re addicted, it takes a disciplined effort to tolerate the unpleasant process of detoxification and the reintroduction of less stimulating whole foods.

GENETICS: Sometimes things we can’t control can cause body and brain conditions including hormonal irregularities, nutrient deficiencies, low or high levels of brain chemicals and food allergies or sensitivities that result in imbalanced signals.

MODERN URBAN LIFESTYLE: High-stress, sedentary, overstimulating lifestyles downplay the need for proper exercise, rest and sleep.

If you’re routinely overeating and experiencing symptoms of imbalance, share your concerns with a healthcare provider who can diagnose and treat underlying conditions.

Change begins with awareness. The first step in resolving imbalances that lead to overeating is pay attention to symptoms. Keep in mind it takes time to make significant lifestyle changes. It’s a process and try-ing to do too much too quickly adds more stress. Start with baby steps today. Applaud yourself for willingness and courage to examine your life and make changes. Learn more on overeatingrecovery.com

10 Steps to Help Reduce Overeating, Release Excess Weight, and Improve Overall Health and Energy

1. DITCH THE DIET MENTALITY. In order to reconnect to your signals, practice eating when you truly feel hunger, stopping when you’re satiated, and allow yourself free choice of wholesome foods to satisfy cravings.

2. STAY GREEN. STAY CLEAN. Add unprocessed whole plant foods, especially fresh, raw vegetables, to your diet. Fiber helps move toxins out of the body and fills you up, making it easier to gently release the foods that are contributing to body and brain imbalance.

3. BUY ORGANIC. As much as possible, buy organically grown sprouts and vegetables to avoid toxins.

4. ELIMINATE SUGAR AND OILS. Read food labels and avoid processed foods and additives.

5. KEEP IT RAW. Meet most of your daily essential fatty acid requirements with unprocessed, uncooked whole foods such as flaxseed and other sprouted nuts and seeds.

6. DE-STIMULATE. Eliminate alcohol and reduce your use of stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine.

7. EXERCISE IN MODERATION. If you’re not exercising, include it in your day. Over-exercising can be a stressor. If you’re on either end of the spectrum, explore the reasons.

8. REST AND RECOVER. Plan more time for adequate sleep and periods of rest in your week. Your body needs rest to heal itself. Allow yourself to get the rest you need and wake without an alarm clock.

9. REDUCE STRESS. Identify major stressors in your life, including environ-mental toxins and traffic, and think about ways to reduce them.

10. GO EASY ON YOURSELF. Practice self-compassion daily. It will take time to resolve overeating. Try not to be a perfectionist. Access an inner supportive voice capable of soothing and comforting and reassuring you that your needs can be met.

 

Article by Julie M. Simon

 

Eat to Live

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The Health Benefits of Improved Skin Circulation

Circulation, beauty, and skin health are all intertwined. So much so that it’s one of the first areas we look at when it comes to repairing and healing damage done to the skin, as well as capitalizing on the many benefits that it can offer such as improved complexion, softer skin and a healthy ‘glow’.

Your skin requires good circulation in order to remain nourished. When we plant a field of vegetables, those vegetables grow dependent on the nutrition and water that’s provided to it above ground, but also on the quality and biodynamics of the soil its in, and the flow of nutritious minerals to the surface.

In just the same way, our skin should be treated in two ways — topical applications of nutritious ‘skin foods’ and by enhancing our body’s ability to internally provide nutrition to the skin.

Benefits of enhanced circulation

We could write a thesis on the benefits of better circulation, but for this article we want to look at how it benefits the skin. Here are just a few ways that better circulation can enhance skin health and beauty.

  • Supports the skin to remove ‘waste’ products such as toxins
  • Delivers antioxidant and nutritional support to the skin
  • Supports with halting and healing skin conditions like eczema, acne and psoriasis.
  • Can heal damage done by the sun.
  • Gives a better complexion and youthful glow to the skin.
  • Skin becomes softer and smoother.
  • Enhancing collagen production.
  • Reduces dry skin.
  • Enables glands such as the sebaceous glands and sweat glands to perform optimally.
  • Can reduce cancer risk through better ability to heal the skin.

How to enhance circulation to the skin

With a list of benefits like the above, the next question is an obvious one: how do you improve skin circulation? Based on our research into hæemodynamics, we recommend an approach that enables the body to both provide nutrition and enhance circulation internally, whilst also adding topical application of circulation enhancing compounds externally, much like our analogy of the field of vegetables above.

skin circulation

  • Exercise — exercise enhances blood flow dramatically, leading to the body pumping blood to skin cells. Exercise carries many hundreds of benefits, but enhancing circulation to the skin is often an underrated one.
  • Hydration — drinking more water is hugely beneficial for maintaining good circulation. Water is one of the ‘fuels’ that keeps circulation in check, and also provides a good dose of minerals and vitamins which the skin requires.
  • Don’t drink or smoke — drinking and smoking both have negative effects on the body’s circulatory abilities.
  • Raw, plant-based foods — the nutritional benefits and energy that such foods provide are essential for improving your body’s circulation. Eat more of them and let your skin thrive.
  • Try a massage — regular massages can enhance blood flow to the skin.
  • A few dietary additions — ensure you’re adding ginseng, garlic, and vitamin E rich nuts and seeds to your diet. All of these boost circulation.
  • Enjoy a hot bath — take a little time to soak, or try a sauna. 20 minutes a day can enhance circulation in the long-term and optimize your body’s circulatory abilities.
  • Apply Laminaria Algae — this nutrition-rich algae found off the coasts of Iceland packs numerous antioxidants and nutritional benefits for the skin such as zinc, copper, potassium and more. It’s also one of the most powerful circulation boosting natural compounds available.

We recommend applying laminaria algae in the form of a body oil. It’s a powerful natural compound, so add it in small quantities for intensive nourishment of the skin.

 

https://lifegivesupplements.com/blogs/news/the-health-benefits-of-improved-skin-circulation

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Hydration and Your Diet

Summer is here, and while the sun is high in the sky and more time is being spent outdoors, it’s essential to remember the importance of staying hydrated. Dehydration happens when your body doesn’t have enough water to function properly and symptoms of dehydration can be scary and can include extreme thirst, dry mouth, headache, little or no urine, confusion, dizziness or lightheadedness. Recognizing these symptoms is important to preventing major complications. Providing your body with the proper water intake is essential to maintaining your health.

Water serves multiple purposes to assist the body in functioning properly. It is the primary building block of cells and it acts as a shock absorber, insulating the brain, spinal cord, and organs. Water is used to flush waste and toxins from the body and lubricates joints, as well as numerous other purposes.

It’s important to make sure that you are consuming enough water, and the recommended amount of ounces to drink daily is your body weight divided in half. On average, this is usually eight glasses of water per day and remembering to drink water on an empty stomach is important for proper absorption and making sure you have the purest water available is essential.

The human body consists of about 60% water, and drinking enough pure water throughout the day is important, but you can also receive part of your daily water intake by consuming hydrating fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s natural to start desiring more hydrating fruits and vegetables this time of year as they are being harvested fresh from the garden. Eating foods with a high water content can help you stay hydrated as well as provide your body with nutrients.

Here are 10 hydrating foods to consider incorporating:

  1. Cucumbers
  2. Lettuce
  3. Celery
  4. Chinese Cabbage
  5. Radish
  6. Zucchini & Squash
  7. Tomatoes
  8. Bell Pepper
  9. Asparagus
  10. Broccoli

Remember to make buying organic fruits and vegetables a priority. Organic foods have more beneficial nutrients and antioxidant properties compared to non-organic foods and organic farming is better for the environment.

One of the easiest ways to buy the freshest fruits and vegetables that are in season is to visit your local farmers market. Get to know the farmers who are growing your food and ask them questions. Many farmers often grow their produce with organic farming methods, but have not been officially “labeled” organic. Making the connection between the foods that you are eating and who is growing them helps people develop a healthy relationship with food, allowing them to appreciate and respect that food is not indispensable and this can improve the way people eat as well as their overall health.

Article by Andrea Nison

 

Hydration and Your Diet