LifeStyle Lessons: FAQ's ~ My 'Diet' Journey

Me and my Beau (Happy Juicers from the Local Juice here on Cape Cod)

Hello my readers! I have not forgotten about you, I promise! I think of you all the time but have taken a little space to enjoy settling into my new life here on Cape Cod living with my wonderful boyfriend <3!

I went for a walk with my soul sister friend, Rhia, yesterday and she re-inspired me to re-connect with my 'Hair and LifeStyle Design' business of inner and outer beauty!

Me and Rhi

I've really been spending most of my energy re-establishing my curly hair clientele and enjoying my love, but I'm inspired to share with you my little lifestyle tidbits along the way, so here I am again!

My diet has changed so much over the years, and I have since come off of a two week ayurvedic cleanse that only led me to start 'pigging out' again with my 'fun foods', that I was depriving myself of during that time and it got me thinking recently about where my diet has been and where I am now...

I am now at a place in my life where I am truly finding balance between extremes of being super 'good' and having too much fun with food! Each day is a new exploration where I am practicing mindfulness, enjoying food and accepting (really trying) my new (softer and fuller) body, with all it's fluctuations, yet paying attention to what my body needs vs what it desires, and how to practice self care while still having fun!

For example, today I came home from yoga and instead of using my quinoa leftovers to make a quinoa salad, I realized that all I wanted was to make this 'banana ice cream' I've been wanting (+ mom's munchies raw chocolate truffle~so good;)! It was exactly what I wanted and needed at the time and if it means not eating my 'healthy lunch', so be it. I ate healthy ingredients, enjoyed every bit of it, and ate my more 'indulgent' foods at the peak of the afternoon where digestion is at it's strongest so that I can assimilate it better than if it were after dinner or late night...(trying to balance having it all)

Banana 'Ice Cream'

The recipe was from "It's All Good" by Gwenyth Paltrow. It called for 4 frozen bananas, 2 TBS maple syrup, 1/2C almond milk, 1tsp vanilla blended til 'soft serve' consistency and topped with 1/4C chopped toasted almonds, 2tsp maple syrup and pinch of salt mixture. MMMMMMMMmmmmmMMMM!!!

While I'm settling into a new groove of eating, I wanted to bring you up to speed on my diet journey by sharing my FAQ's from my Welcome page with you, if you haven't read it yet. :)

FAQs: Healthy Eating

What books do you recommend for eating healthy/vegan? I started with Kevin Trudeau’s book, Natural Cures, then read Alicia Silverstone’s book, The Kind Diet. Then, Jessica Porter’s book, The Hip Chicks Guide to Macrobiotics. Then got into the raw world with Kris Carr’s, Crazy Sexy Life andCrazy Sexy Kitchen. I also encourage you to read, Clean by Dr. Alexander Junger, to do a proper cleanse. I’ve since been practicing Ayurveda and recommend Banyan Botanicals website and Dr. Douillard and his Colorado Cleanse.

What is the difference between Vegan, Macrobiotics and Ayurveda? Macrobiotics is a diet and lifestyle practice derived from Chinese medicine that came to the US in the 70’s, originating at the Kushi Institute in MA. It literally means, ‘the big picture of life’. ‘My Beautiful Life’, by Mina Dobic explains more about the magical healing powers of this diet. It’s basically a whole foods, plant based diet, structured around whole grains, beans, land and sea vegetables, with the occasional white fish. It works with the 5 transformational elements of water, ether, fire, metal, earth and the expansive qualities of yin, and contractive qualities of yang. The idea is to find balance with all elements by way of eating a mild diet that allows for the body’s intuitive intelligence to stay free from dis-ease.

Vegan is a diet and lifestyle free of any animal products. That means no egg, chicken, pork, meat, cheese, dairy, milk, butter, etc.

Ayurveda is a diet and lifestyle derived from Indian practices from the beginning of time. It literally means, ‘the science of life’. The yogis of the eastern tradition, base this approach to living by understanding the 3 different doshas (the mind/body constitution of a person and elements of our surroundings). The doshas encompass the elements of ether, fire and earth. The idea is to keep all the doshas happy and in harmony by eating and living according to our unique constitution/season.  One size does not fit all to maintain health and well-being. Check out Dr. Douillard’s books for more info!

Where do you get all your recipes? From the books mentioned above, and from the many cooking classes, workshops and private consultations I’ve had with practioners.  I love the Native Foods cookbook, and Spork Fed also. Here’s a 10 day menu sampling from my kitchen to yours.

How do you find time to cook for yourself? I give myself an hour a day to prepare all my food for the day. It may mean that I have to do that hour in the morning, before work, but at least I have a plan for the whole day and am prepared. It’s worth it.

This was my biggest struggle when I first started my self-care program, but I find that the hour is a good amount of time to get it all done—it just takes practice getting into a flow and a groove in the kitchen! If I cook at night for dinner, then I have leftovers for the next day that can be turned into any meal! I also love eating out, so I give myself a break a couple days per week.

How do you eat healthy on the run? I always have a plan! Wherever I’m going, or whatever I’m doing, I have a rough idea of where there may be a healthy veg friendly restaurant or market, and if I’m not sure if I’ll be able to have a proper meal, then I bring food with me! I’ll hit the prepared food section of whole foods/natural markets, or bring a macrobar, larabar, an ‘in the raw’ bar, a rawvelution bar, or any whole foods food bar that can hold me over. An apple, or pear, or bag of almonds are always good bets too!

Do you worry about carbs/proteins/fats? NO! Eat whole foods and don’t worry about ‘diet’ facts. I eat a lot of food, but good quality, free of sugars and flours. I used to eat an atkins/high protein diet and the way that I eat now has been the thinnest I’ve ever been. Don’t worry about ‘diets’, just pay attention to understanding the proper ingredients you’re eating and how they digest in your body. Food is energy so we must pay attention to the qualities they bestow upon us.

Alicia Silverstone

(just me and alicia silverstone…nbd;)

What inspired you to eat this way? My health! I was a big drinker/partier in high school, college, and post-college. Whenever I would gain weight, I would turn to the latest diet trend and I soon realized that drinking was a major weight gain contributor! When I started working in my first professional job (post college), my boss suggested that I try his natural food approach rather than my high protein diet that I was on. I read the book he suggested by Kevin Trudeau, The Natural Cures and was completely intrigued by this path of self care. That began my health food quest at age 23.

A few years later, I had moved to LA and was back in ‘party mode’ for about a year, until a rash on my legs appeared. I found a naturopath to help me, and he suggested I try a 3 week cleanse that was vegan and candida-free. I did as he said, but found that all I was left eating was hummus and carrots, and almond butter and apples! I had no idea how to cook for myself!

So, I got my first cookbook, ‘Naturally Thin’, by Bethenny Frankel, taught me how to approach cooking for myself. After that, I moved on to Alicia Silverstone’s book,The Kind Life, and started eating out at some delicious vegan restaurants in Santa Monica! I was hooked to this new way of life! I discovered how yummy this veg diet was!! So, I poured all my energy into it. Soon enough, my skin cleared, my weight dropped, my reproductive issues cleared up, my period’s became manageable, my cystic breasts cleared, I felt more vibrant than ever, and was empowered by my health for the first time! That’s all the inspiration I needed!

What are the health benefits of eating a plant based diet vs. other traditional nutritional advice? Most nutritionists/dietitians and personal trainers emphasize ‘nutrition facts’ rather than the energetics of food itself, and how it processes in the body. Eating a plant based diet, even if just for a little while, will unleash your own internal wisdom for knowing which foods feel right, rather than weighing and counting carbs, fats and protein grams. You become master of your domain!

Where do you eat out? Where do I begin?! It’s my favorite pastime to seek out new and exciting veg restaurants anytime I travel!

  • LA: Sage, RFD, Café Gratitude, Kind Kremery, True Foods, Seed Kitchen, MCafe, Native Foods,
  • NYC: Juice Press, Organic Avenue, Candle 79, Café Blossom, Rockin Raw, Ellary’s Greens, v-note, Pure Foods*
  • Providence, R.I.: Julian’s, Garden Grille, Wild Foods bakery, Like NO Udder food truck
  • Newport, R.I.: Keenwah
  • Cape Cod: Common Ground, Earthly Delights, Green Lotus Cafe, Box Office Cafe
  • Boston: True Bistro, Red Lentil, Root, Life Alive, Sweet Greens, CocoBeet
  • London: Wild Food Café, Inspirial Lounge, Mildred, Demuths in Bath
  • Paris: Gentle gourmet Café in Bastille
  • Miami: Choices Cafe

Do you have food cravings? YES! I’m a sucker for sweets and comfort food, but I now understand how to manage those cravings. It all starts with cooking for yourself. If you cook for yourself, you become in tune to what your body needs. If you become too unbalanced, that’s when cravings arise. Becoming in tune also means not depriving yourself! There are so many healthy ways to satisfy your cravings!

I’ve definitely found myself in ‘binge mode’ from time to time, in the aisle at whole foods, buying boxes of vegan/healthy cookies, but it sends me on a wild ride! In the long run, it’s not worth it. I allow myself to have a little sweet here and there when the time is right ~ usually if I’m out to eat or when I take a day off from cooking.

In macrobiotics, they urge you to eat out 2/3 meals per week, so that you don’t become too rigid in your daily routine. Too much rigidity (yang) sets you up for cravings, so everything in moderation really is key! It also helps to satisfy the ‘6 tastes’ with Ayurveda, through proper spicing in your dishes, to avoid cravings, as well as making a healthy treat at home to snack on when the mood arises!

Is it hard to give up dairy? Do you miss cheese? Are the substitutes any good? It’s not that hard to give it up, as long as I have my Rice Dream or Coconut Bliss  dairy-free ice cream, Amy’s vegan pizza and dairy free milk for smoothies/milkshakes!:)

What do you eat for breakfast? Typically I have a version of porridge (oatmeal/grain), Ezekiel toast with almond butter or avocado, or smoothies/ fruit. Check out this post for more ideas.

What exactly are whole grains? Brown rice, millet, amaranth, quinoa. (Not cracked grains like wheat, polenta, barley, oats, etc.)