28 April 2008, 01:07
This is a guest post from the official sponsor of the iCiNG Transformation Challenge, Emrys Tetu! (Applause!) She is a holistic health counsellor & wellness coach based out of Connecticut, & she makes my heart sing! I hope you enjoy this offering from her.
Here is some extra love and support for each of you as you journey through this intense month of personal transformation! Whether your commitments to yourself during the iTC are focused around food or exercise or relationships or career or attitude and spirituality, here are a few reflections that may help you as you stretch and grow and discover new edges of yourself.
There’s nothing healthy about being miserable.
For many of us, this is so easy to forget. And it’s a wonderful test to use as you try new things. You can ask yourself, “Is this making me miserable?” If you find that it is, you’ll know that it can’t be quite right for you. This approach is excellent because it’s usually accompanied by an impulse to do something else. Instead of immediately dismissing this other impulse, explore it.
Often that which seems silly at the outset is exactly what’s required. So, for example, you may feel that…
You really don’t want to eat more salad, you want to eat more chocolate.
Although many of us would think that we should “make ourselves” eat the salad, there are probably good reasons you really want the chocolate. So, don’t dismiss those nice dark leafy greens completely, but do delve into what the chocolate craving is about!
Chocolate is the number one food source of magnesium, a mineral in which most people are deficient. Magnesium is crucial for brain, heart, and reproductive health. It helps strengthen bones and relieve muscle cramping. Chocolate is also an excellent source of antioxidants (again, highest natural food source), and many chemicals that react with the brain to improve mood, including theobromine, seratonin and dopamine. So it may be that your chocolate cravings are about a need to re-balance any of the above. (Chocolate quality varies wildly; any inclusion of refined sugar or dairy dramatically reduces its health benefits… my absolute favorite recommendation for highest quality, amazingly delicious, fully healthful chocolate that does not create insulin spikes and crashes is Gnosis Chocolate.)
A craving for chocolate may also be an indication that you aren’t getting enough rest and are looking for a pick up from a food instead of nourishing yourself with quiet time and sleep. It could be a craving based on a desire to regulate your mood, either because it is a comfort food for you or because of the way it alters your brain chemistry. Chocolate can also offer a bridge away from more intense chemicals like coffee, especially because it also offers deep flavors and a lift in energy.
I like to share this example, because people like chocolate, but we often think we shouldn’t. And when we realize that we’re allowed to like the things we like…
Sometimes the best things happen! This lesson transfers over to many other areas of life. Our cravings have so much to teach us!
Behind the surface of any craving is a complex network of memories, issues with self-acceptance and denial, and physical situations such as dehydration, low blood sugar, an excess of concentrated vitamins, and any of a number of other forms of imbalance. It takes time and attention to Lovingly unpack all that makes up a craving. Please be gentle here. The common approach of ignoring it is the least successful! Willpower doesn’t work, but working with lots of modalities together and having patience with yourself does. A support system is crucial, through a community group or a friend or a professional. Many have had success with wellness coaches such as Gala’s raw food coach, Karen Knowler, or myself (here’s what some of my clients say).
So, during this week of the iTC, get ready to enjoy your healthier, happier life! One bite of chocolate (or whatever juicy thing you allow yourself to explore) at a time! Celebrate this, your Best Life Ever…
Love, Kisses, and so much Encouragement,
21 March 2008, 18:58
Karen Knowler coaches Gala Darling (MP3)
On Thursday evening I had a raw coaching call with The Raw Food Coach, Karen Knowler.
Our phone-call went for an hour & in it we discussed some problems I was having with the raw food transition. Mostly my issues were that I had cravings for old, familiar “cooked” foods that I found hard to shake, & I felt a bit stuck for variety in food (as I’m quite a picky eater).
I expected her to be useful but not THIS useful! The phone-call was a revelation — it was absolutely amazing. Sometimes when you’re having trouble with something, having someone else there to ask the right questions is all you need, & all of a sudden your problem starts to unravel & you realise the root cause of it. Well, Karen asked me some totally brilliant questions — & I came away from the phone-call with all of my problems solved!
It was one of the most interesting phone-calls I’ve ever had, for sure. I just love getting to the bottom of a problem & gaining a deeper understanding of why I do what I do! I think anyone interested in going raw (or who is currently making alterations to their diet) will find this a really useful thing to listen to, because many of the questions she asks me you will be able to ask yourself.
We’re going to do a follow-up call in about 3 weeks time, to chart my progress & see how I’ve applied the new information! That will also be made available for you to listen to.
So, I hope you enjoy the MP3 — let me know what you think!
Oh, & for those of you who are interested, Karen sends out a weekly newsletter on Fridays called Successfully Raw, with recipes & tips for staying raw. You also get 10 raw recipes free when you sign up. Woo! Just in time for Easter Sunday! :D
I’ll be writing more about my progress over the coming weeks, so stay tuned!
5 March 2008, 06:41
“In any case, other than my desire to hear more about your adventures in raw foodism, the real question here is this: how do you balance a raw food diet with cupcakes? Can I make this a positive change without abandoning the classic cheese and cracker combo, chocolate and cupcakes on valentines day, and even, once and awhile, a sandwich? Please let a girl know!”
I have had lots of requests for information about what I’m eating, how I’m feeling & my thoughts on the rawification process in general, so I am bowing to the pressure! Here’s a mini-update. I am going to embark on some raw coaching soon with the fabulous Karen Knowler (otherwise known as the world’s premier raw food coach!), but not for a couple of weeks… so here’s what I can tell you at this stage.
The first major thing I’ve noticed is the impact of eating raw on my skin. I have never been plagued by spots or anything like that, but do get the occasional blemish. I always figured it was just because I’m in my early 20’s & that’s what happens — oh, & I always kind of thought, at the back of my mind, that maybe if I had the perfect skincare routine, it would be better.
NEWSFLASH. If you’re eating lots of raw fruit & vegetables & drinking heaps of water, you could slather your skin in motor oil & it won’t make an inch of difference. I swear, & I know this sounds totally obnoxious, but my skin has been amazing. I took some photos of Simon & I at the NGV the other night & I was incredulous at how clear our skin looked. I’m only getting spots if — shock horror — I eat cupcakes, cheese, or cooked stuff (bread, pasta, etc.). But if I don’t eat that stuff, my skin is as pristine as I’ve ever seen. It’s incredible to me, because I always thought that whole “eating junk is bad for your skin” stuff was only partially true, but never put a lot of stock in it. Now that I’m making an effort to eat things that are good for me, I’m really noticing the difference. I am a believer!
Eating raw can be a pain in the butt sometimes but if it guarantees me great skin, I am sold.
I also usually get hormonal break-outs, & I have about a week a month where my skin is hugely dissatisfying. Well, this month, my skin was more well-behaved than I’ve ever seen it. It’s a blessing from the skies! I also found I was in much less pain & had practically no cramping. Rock.
I have more energy too. I used to be big on napping, & at least one nap a day was normal for me. Well, that has been drastically reduced. I’m just not interested in sleeping in the day any more! I have energy to burn. Sometimes I’ll have a lie down but that’s only if it’s been a draining day or I didn’t get much sleep, & this is happening less & less. Another thing I’m finding is that if I make an effort to drink a lot of water, I can work & work & work & not need (or want) a break. This is great news because I love iCiNG & everything around it, so the more love I can throw at it, the better!
Having said all that… this past week or so I’ve been a bit iffy on the raw thing. I think mostly because I am a very picky eater & so there are a lot of vegetables & fruit that I just don’t like. (I am working on tapping out all of my food issues, because it’s really limiting me & stressing me out.) Of course, only liking about 5 of 1000 vegetables makes eating really difficult, so I have been reverting to familiar (cooked) food & paying the price (basically, I feel terrible).
I’ve noticed that when I’m not eating a lot of fruit or vegetables, as has been the case recently, I have been forgetting things a lot. The other morning I had about five separate thoughts which involved doing something — & as soon as I went to do it, I forgot what it was. They weren’t difficult things to remember either: check cellphone, check weather forecast, etc. That scares me, actually. I always used to think I was “forgetful” but could it be that eating too much processed food was turning my brain to mush?!
I’ve also found that the things I used to love (garlic pizza bread, soup, etc.) really don’t have any flavour any more. They mostly taste like lard or salt. Sometimes they just taste like cardboard — so my taste buds are definitely changing. I ate a pain au chocolat the other day & all I could taste were hydrogenated oils. Blech!
I have also been VERY emotional, moody, apathetic & anti-social. While some of this is just due to stuff I am processing at the moment, I have absolutely no doubt that the reason it is so huge in my mind is because I’m not eating good food. Oh, & my skin looks terrible! Boooooo!
It’s been really interesting to go from normal food to raw & back again, because I can see how differently my body operates depending on what I’m eating. I have always just viewed food as fuel, but now I am highly aware of how the quality of the fuel affects us.
Tomorrow we’re going to go to the market & stock up on vegetables & fruit. We’re pretty low on stuff at the moment. I’ve decided I need to stop viewing unfamiliar food as an enemy & instead embrace it & be open to experimentation. This has historically been quite hard for me but with the power of tapping I know I will prevail!
To answer the original question, yes, you can definitely make a positive change & still eat your favourite old foods. Just don’t be surprised if they start to seriously lose appeal!
9 February 2008, 19:56
Today we went to a raw food picnic. It was so exciting & everyone we met was super-friendly, happy, positive & interesting. There were also two other people who had been to Burning Man, which was funny to say the least!
We decided to make something tasty to take along, & I settled on this recipe from Carol Alt‘s book The Raw 50. While it was frustrating to get 4 cups of coconut meat, the tarts were really delicious & were quickly eaten up. (That’s why there’s only four left in the photo!)
If you want to make it yourself, it’s very easy & doesn’t require a dehydrator or any crazy equipment — just a blender & some fridge space. Ours don’t look mind-blowing or anything, but I think we did pretty well for raw amateurs!
The recipe makes 12 to 14 3-inch tarts, & we have none left!
4 cups whole raw almonds
1/4 cup raw agave nectar (we used honey)
1/2 cup coconut oil, warmed to room temperature
1/4 teaspoon fine Himalayan salt
4 cups fresh coconut meat
1/2 cup light raw agave nectar (again, we used honey)
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon fine Himalayan salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, warmed until liquid
1 quart strawberries
1/4 cup raw agave nectar
How to do it!
To make the crust, grind the almonds in a food processor or blender until fine, but stop before they become too oily. We chopped ours pretty small on a board & then put them in the blender. Transfer the ground nuts to a bowl & add the nectar, coconut oil & salt.
Line little tart pans or a muffin tray (what I did) with tinfoil. Tuck it into the holes, & leave it loose off the sides so that you can pull it out again easily later on.
Put a couple of tablespoons of dough into each pan, & press it down so that forms a crust. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.
Combine all the vanilla cream ingredients (except the coconut oil) in a blender & whizz it until it’s smooth. Add the coconut oil in & continue blending until it’s all mixed well. Chill in the fridge for an hour.
To make the tarts, fill the crusts with a couple of tablespoons of the coconut cream. Slice strawberries & lay them out nicely on the top of each tart. Drizzle with agave nectar, chill for a while, then eat!
22 January 2008, 19:47
Chocolate cupcakes with lavender-flavoured buttercream icing!
I am not a master cupcake baker, but I do enjoy it — the baking process as well as the eating part! It feels good to make something tangible, something that can be photographed & enjoyed & admired.
Obviously, these cupcakes are not raw, & they weren’t vegan originally either, but it’s way easier to vegan-ify cupcakes than you might first think! I also think that the vegan version of these cupcakes tastes better — the cake stays moist for longer & the icing doesn’t go hard, it stays soft & creamy for days.
The basic recipe is actually one from the Australian Woman’s Weekly kid’s birthday cake cookbook! I just add whatever I want into it to make it taste different. It is a great base to work from — easy to make & again, very moist.
125g butter, softened (margarine for vegans)
3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar (or sugar replacement, like stevia, agave syrup, dark raw cane sugar etc. If you’re using a syrup or liquid form, you may need to use more flour to balance it out.)
2 eggs (egg replacement for vegans)
1 1/2 cups (225g) self-raising flour
1/2 cup (125ml) milk (soy or almond or rice or what-have-you for vegans)
Preheat oven to “moderate”, whatever that means! Chuck your cupcake cases into a muffin tin.
Beat butter & sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer (or, if you’re me, an egg beater) until light & fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Stir in flour & milk, in two batches.
Now you can add in whatever you like — I usually add baking cocoa, but you could put in raw cacao, rosewater essence, coffee flavouring, or whatever. Beat until combined.
Spoon into cupcake cases. Bake until cake is cooked — this means you stick a knife into one of your cupcakes, & if it comes out clean, they’re done. Take them out of the oven & allow them to cool. Do not frost them until they are completely cool!
125g butter, softened (or margarine etc.)
A big bag of icing sugar
1 tablespoon of milk (soy, almond, etc.)
Combine the butter, milk & icing sugar until it is thick enough that it won’t drizzle out of the end of your icing nozzle. It needs to be thick. I don’t know how much icing sugar I use, all I know is that it is a lot. I think I went through a massive bag of icing sugar by making two batches of icing. FEAR! Anyway, stir it up, mix it through well. Add food colouring & flavour. My favourite things to add are either rosewater essence or lavender essential oil, but of course you can really make it taste like anything you want.
Spoon your icing into an icing bag, or if you don’t have one, spoon it into the corner of a (clean) plastic bag & snip off a bottom corner. Ice, ice baby! Frost your cupcakes with gay abandon. I tend to do mine in a circular motion, & then splatter fun things on top, like edible glitter, nonpareils, etc.
If you can find a specialty cake decoration or baking shop, your cupcakes will look much better & be about a million times more exciting! My favourite in Melbourne is Cake Deco down by Flinders Street — it makes me so happy to navigate their tiny aisles! They are always very knowledgeable too, & can help you modify recipes to suit dietary requirements & whatnot.
Experimenting with this simple recipe has been the basis of all my cupcake exploration so far. I hope to try some other delicious variations soon! What’s your best cupcake recipe?
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