Wednesday, January 19, 2011

All You Can Eat

After concluding the 5-day juice fast (go to: Yoga Girl goes Vegan-Breaking Fast), I found that I was not ready for consumption of cooked meals.  Feeling "light and airy", I did not want a "loaded" down experience.  I decided to pursue a raw diet.  Hungry for more information, I reached out to a few other raw vegans.  As a result, my dear raw vegan coach gave me,  "The 80-10-10 Diet", written by (raw vegan) Dr. Douglas N. Graham. ( for more go to: about Dr. Graham).   In the book, Dr. Graham discusses that our true dietary nature as the human species was not meant to consume meats or even heavy grains or grasses.  As he puts it, "our anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and psychology all indicate that we are not carnivores" .  For that matter, he also states we are not herbivores, nor are we omnivores.  Here's some of Dr. Graham's  "food for thought":

carnivores (lions, tigers, & bears oh my!) love to tear into flesh, they love the smell and taste of raw muscles and blood.
herbivores love to forage in nature for grass, weeds, and leaves for a tasty snack.
we humans like to think (I did too!) that we are omnivores, a little bit of both meat and grass eaters.

According to Dr. Graham, we are none of the above.  He states that our bodies do not possess the proper enzymes to break down this food nor do we possess the teeth or claws needed.  We are instead (drum roll please),  FRUGIVORES!  Dr. Graham also tells us that:
"In nature, humans would be frugivores only - a creature that lives primarily on fruits, with the addition of tender greens. (This includes the nonsweet seeded fruits we generally eat with vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, zucchini and other squashes, and eggplant.) Like all animals, we can indeed survive (albeit less successfully) on a wide variety of foods. Nonetheless, our bodies are designed to thrive on a diet of mainly fruit."

That works for me since the idea of chasing dinner just quite doesn't whet the appetite. But somehow, if you really think about it, doesn't the thought of juicy, sweet, ripe fruit just make your mouth water?
The Fruit Market: a  Smorgasbord fit for Fruivores everywhere!


Halfway through the book, I went to an "All You Can Eat" Buffet with my husband.  It was a perfect choice since there would be selections appealing to our different palates. Erroneously, I presumed that I would just have a salad. To my surprise, the Asian-inspired restaurant had an abundance of  choices for a frugivore!  In addition to the traditional veggies, there were wonderful raw choices at the "cook to order" station: raw bok choy, raw julienned ginger, raw zucchini and yellow squash slices, raw vegetarian sushi rolls.  I gorged on the fantastic, juicy, naturally sweet fruit bar:  mango, pineapple, apple slices in fresh lemon juice, honeydew, peaches, pears, berries, kiwi, and even kumquats!  I was ecstatic.  The satiation experienced was not of the food I consumed but of the confirmation that sat well in pit of my stomach knowing I was moving forward through this journey along the proper path.  Never would I have imagined going raw or of increasing my intake of fruits - yet somehow, I felt peaceful and at ease doing it. Perhaps it is because I am not "going against my grain", I am unconditionally and freely accepting my real, "natural state".

Giving it a whirl
After the revelation of my true self, I felt comfortable experimenting with a few raw dishes. As with any new learning experience, some of my trials weren't too tasty, but darn it, a few were just scrumptious.  One of my favorites was a meal I'll call "hot and spicy meets sweet and tangy":
  • Raw organic oat square (cinnamon, fresh orange juice, raw organic oats)
  • Spicy salsa (fresh roma tomatoes, fresh garlic, red onions, paprika, red chili peppers, dash chili powder, pepper, sea salt)
  • Raw chopped kale
  • Chopped lettuce
  • Fresh orange slices
The lesson learned is to feel comfortable going with your natural flow and progression.  If something is just too hard, and just does not seem to work out, ask yourself, "Are you going against your grain? Perhaps, the very thing you are fighting is that which is not in alignment with your true self.  As with frugivores, your natural state will have you salivating!  You will be ready for all you can eat! When you gorge, engage, and compliment your nature, you will feel fulfilled, excited, ready to experiment, eager to give it a whirl and to learn more of that which will sustain you.  

My real, or natural state, at this time, it is to be raw.  What is it for you?

Yoga: Kapalabhati  Pranayama (cleansing breath exercise)
In yoga, the Pranayama refers to all breathing practice.  Kapalabhati specifically is deep inhalation and exhalation.  Together, they create the "cleansing breath".  When most of us begin a new task, finish a challenge, or relish in our satiation, we tend to inhale and exhale or sigh deeply and slowly.  We have just practiced Kapalabhati Pranayama without thought or intention.  When you do something without thinking about it, it is your true self, it is your natural state.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Breaking Fast

Day 126
I just completed the Drew McCall Burke's, 5-Day Sexy Vegan Juicy Fast©.  As you recall, I failed at my first attempt, lasting only 2 days  (go to: Yoga Girl goes Vegan-Rescuing Failure).  This time, however, I properly prepared myself. I am overwhelmed with an amazing feeling of accomplishment and achievement. The first three days went well.although the mind over matter had to kick in during the final two days - despite not feeling hungry, I felt the urge to eat solids .  Had a little set back on the last day.  I needed Bok Choy or Asian Cabbage for one of the recipes.  My local farmer's market was all out. My local grocery store had one thin bunch that was browning with prices that were 3 times the farmer's market.  I traveled out of my way to a favorite East Indian/Asian market without success. Having done so well up to this point, could I let this be considered a failure?  Absolutely not!  I had all of the ingredients except this one item.

Don't sweat the small stuff - Substitution Soup:
same purpose, just as good 
So, what did I do?  I substituted, making the most delicious "soup" ever.  What was more important was that I maintained and endured noting I never felt so "light" before.  Equally significant was the feeling of euphoria and support from the other vegan participants - I've made so many new acquaintances.  Finally, each fasting day began with one of the following:  meditation, chakra cleansing exercise, or yoga practice.  There was even an enema included.  Yes enema.  (more on that later...)

Towards the end of the fast, as I enjoyed my substitute soup,  I admit a slight melancholy fell over me as I realized it  would all be over soon.  I quickly got that negative thought out of my head.  What a success. I've cleansed and easily lost at least 7lbs perhaps more. I haven't weighed but can tell by the fit of my clothing.   My "skinny jeans" are baggy and saggy! With this in mind, I began to ponder Day 6  - the day after.

Next Steps

What would I eat for breakfast?  I wanted to break my fast with something special but I was afraid to eat anything too heavy or make myself ill.   Drew (my vegan coach & mentor)  suggested to eat non-processed, light vegetable broth and have smoothies!  After juicing, the last thing I wanted was broth but I also did not want to defeat the purpose of the fast.  Somehow the thought of eating something cooked just didn't appeal to me.  I decided eat a raw meal.  The final night of the fast, as I drank my final juice,  I prepared a raw oatmeal patty for "break/fast".  That morning, I made a raw smoothie to accompany it:

Raw Oat Patty
2 apples or 2 bananas (your choice)
2 cups raw organic oatmeal

Mash, whip or beat fruit & cinnamon until smooth. Add oatmeal.  Mix well incorporating all of the whipped fruit.  Roll a ball and flatten into a thick patty.  Refrigerate, allowing the patty to "sit" or "form" into shape for at least 30 min.  (this apple-based patty "sat" refrigerated overnight)       Optional:  add nuts, dates, or raisins 

Chocolate Smoothy
3 ripe bananas
2 tsp raw cocaco (or organic cocoa powder)
4 medium slices fresh coconut
6-8 ice cubes

Mix all ingredients in a blender until "smooth"

What a satisfying meal!  For one it felt "right" eating raw after consuming all raw for almost one week.  Secondly, I felt more stable eating a raw meal.  It was delicious.  The sensation was weird.  Funny how your mind changes towards your body in only a short period of time.  I ate slowly and followed up the meal with two glasses of water.  Within 20 minutes, my body reacted. It "knew" things had changed.  I felt full immediately. I could literally hear and feel the digestion going on in my intestines.  Wow!  During the fast, after the initial internal void, there was no need for such as all of the solids were gone from my system.  At this point, with this reaction to something raw, I am not ready to eat anything cooked anytime soon.


In case you haven't noticed, I changed the banner picture.  It's a wonderful picture  found while browsing the Internet.  It captures just where I am now.  The initial picture represented the balancing the choice between consumption of meat versus veggies.  It was appropriate for its time.  I am however, not the same person I was just 4 months ago.  I have evolved. (see: Yoga Girl goes Vegan - Evolution).  I find myself increasingly attracted to eating raw.  I've met some awesome raw foodists.  Their recipes are amazing. One in particular is Jo Ann Hazelhurst.  She is a raw food coach.  Her site, has great tips and recipes.   By the way, she's also known as Vegan Girl goes Yoga (our realm gets closer each day!)   This is an entirely new opportunity.  With still a lot to learn about heat-prepared vegan dishes, I'm considering what "not cooking" will do.  I'm going to take it slowly but  I'm ready increase raw food consumption.

I like this picture because it encompasses where I am today.  Kudos to the unknown artist!  This picture is green, fluid, feels "leafy; veggie", and in the center, it is anchored by OM, the sacred sound of life and the basis of harmonic yoga practice. Today, it represents raw.  I enjoyed the energy the raw food and juices gave me.  The tastes are more vibrant and flavorful.


The other advantage of juice fast is to cleanse.  I found a wonderful white paper written by Kelly Grimes (link: Fasting: Body Cleansing or Body Starving). Although she concludes that fasting is not for her and details the cons of fasting, she does describe the physical benefits of fasting for someone without compromised health.  She states:

"During fasting, the body is able to clean out its system because it is not expending energy towards the digestive organs. The blood and lymph are detoxified. When fasting, the release of toxins from the colon, kidneys, bladder, lungs, sinuses, and skin clears out complications that have arisen from a bad diet and unhealthy lifestyle."

Which leads to the enema  mentioned above.  Sometime between day 3 and 4 an enema was an optional recommendation suggested by Coach Drew.  With memories from childhood, I thought "Sheesh! Who wants to do that?"  She explained however, that while fasting, "you have been cleaning up your entire celluar complex but down in the colon sits old waste that needs to be cleared away. An enema encourages the release of toxic bile."  Okay.  that settled it.  I had to do it.  It made sense.  A total body cleanse was the objective.  Organic green tea or organic cider vinegar added to warm filtered water is the perfect solution.  It went surprisingly  well and did eliminate residual matter. Feeling totally cleansed inside and out, I felt re-energized !  It was the boost needed to complete the fast.

At the end of 5 days, at the beginning of month 5, at the start of the year, with a new banner picture, I am successfully  juiced, cleansed, ready for raw, and vegan.  


Yoga Pose:  Spinal Twist & Sage Pose

For internal cleansing, these poses help 
massage the internal organs, 
loosen built-up waste and 
encourage purging of toxins