I had quite a wild weekend of food preparation and fun. Actually things started rocking for me on Friday when I drove down to Ormond Beach, FL for an Art Army meetup event at Julian’s Landmark Restaurant. Let me say first off, a big thank you to Keith for driving down with me and being my “most humble assistant”… best assistant ever! For those of you that have been to Julian’s you’ll understand what I mean when I say that the place is a surreal experience. Julian’s exists in a wormhole that keeps it suspended in the Tiki Bar Rat Pack Era. The decor of Julian’s is authentic, it’s gotta be because who in their right mind would replicate it. Don’t get me wrong, kitsch is cool, the panoramic 30 foot wide Hawaiian Luau mural is priceless. The mural alone was worth the drive.
Our task, Keith and I, was to rock out a raw buffet for the Art Army event that kicked off at 8pm that evening. The menu that was planned was Pad Thai noodles made from zucchini, yellow squash and carrot topped with an yummy-liscious almond miso sauce. We also prepared walnut pecan pesto stuffed bell peppers, mixed green salad and a mack’in bowl of avocado chocolate mousse.
I’ll be posting video from the festivities, but first I’d like to share an avo-chocolate mousse video I recorded this summer. Enjoy!
The task of shopping is set before you and you must prepare yourself. You have a list, but is it the best possible list for yourself and the planet? What is your motivation for shopping? Are you motivated by saving the most money or feeding yourself and your family? If you answer both ways a compromise has to be made and that compromise is your health. Being an informed and conscious shopper doesn’t mean you have to spend more money, on the contrary. When you are a conscious shopper you see things at the store for what they actually are as opposed to what they are advertised as. Defining your motivation is one way to become a conscious shopper. Let’s say your motivation is simply “to feed yourself and your family.” Now if that is the extent of your answer then the food manufacturers are left with plenty of liberties in regards to defining the “food” you are shopping for. If you expand your answer to say, “feed myself and my family the healthiest and best foods possible with consideration to planet and global community” you empower yourself and eliminate the inferior food choices that make up the majority of items in the grocery store. You and I know that grocery stores abound with mountains of toxic ingredients combined together and dressed up to appear as food. This is where advertising comes in; which is just another way of saying propaganda and mass manipulation. It sounds harsh but it’s true. An advertisement for a product is successful only to the degree to which it convinces the masses to purchase the product… regardless of whether it is telling you the truth or not. Be an informed and empowered shopper and everyone will benefit.
Here’s a challenge for you:
Purchase quality items that aren’t advertised heavily.
Purchase items with minimal packaging.
Limit the number of ingredients in a processed food to 12 or even less.
Buy products that don’t use artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors or additives.
Purchase products with ingredients that you understand and can pronounce. If you are unfamiliar with an ingredient, write it down and look it up on the internet.
Taking this challenge and adopting these practices can go a long way to save you money and time. Let me explain. The money savings in the short term come in because you are purchasing higher quality unprocessed food items with denser nutrition. Denser nutrition means “less is more” in that your body will be satisfied and nourished with less by eating quality food rather than eating more of an inferior food. This is an easy equation for losing weight and optimizing health. Often times people choose food items on the basis of size and price while totally overlooking the actual ingredients. “Twice as much for half the price” is usually a signal to look at the ingredients. You’ll likely find an assortment of cheap fillers. Would you buy gas from a station that offered it for half the price if you knew that what was coming out of the pump was half gas and the other half water? No you wouldn’t, so don’t make the same choice with the food you purchase. In regards to saving money in the long term just think about health care costs. Shopping consciously means long term health benefits. My personal consumption choices are my health care plan. Being sick costs time and money so once you’ve removed sickness from your living equation you have extra time and money… a win, win situation. On the subject of saving time, once you raise your personal consumption standards, you will have eliminated thousands of items from even being considered. You literally have eliminated ¾ or more of the grocery store which I refer to as the “waste land” or the “dead zone”. This optimizes your shopping potential in a major way. Now you enter the grocery store with a focused purpose and that is purchasing only conscious products. These products are concentrated in the produce department, bulk foods section and in the refrigerated and freezer sections: everything else is just a distraction to be ignored. Save time, save money, save your health, save the planet and lose weight… I think we may be on to something. Give it a try and let me know how things shape up. Until next time… Keep It Live!
Tis the season to be fasting now that we’ve got the feasting out of the way. A pattern seems to emerge at this time of the year when everyone awakens from the holidaze of excess and over indulgence. What’s the remedy for this holiday hangover? A juice fast/feast of course! I use the term fast/feast to allow flexibility regarding the recovery route you choose to take. Fasting is a more restricted and more powerful method of healing while feasting achieves similar results with less restrictions. Fasting is best done in a relaxed and supportive environment like a tropical spa setting. For those of us that don’t have a spa at our disposal the feast option is the next best choice.
Fasting: willingly abstaining from food, drink and/or specific activities for a set duration of time.
Feasting: consumption without limitations.
The component that is missing from the above definitions is the juice… green juice that is. Fresh organic green vegetable juice is the next best thing to mother’s milk and that is the core ingredient to a healing juice fast/feast. The foundation for my own green juice fasting/feasting protocol is based on what I learned while working at The Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center. While it is possible to fast on fruit juices, water and a variety of other liquids it is not recommended that you do this unless you know what you are doing and what you can expect. The high sugar content of fresh fruit and root (carrot, beet) juices can be unbalancing when consume in high amounts during a liquid fast. With the fiber removed from the fruit/root you end up with an unnaturally high concentration of sugars. If drinking these juices it is best to thin them with water or combine them with green vegetable juices.
The equipment needed to have a successful green juicing experience is either a high power blender like a vita-mix or blendtec or a masticating juicer. Centrifuge juicers are ok but many of them don’t handle leafy greens very well. I have a trick I use to maximize my juice output with both masticating and centrifuge juicers. Line the pulp catching container with a seed mylk bag (paint strainer bag from Home Depot). Once you have finished your initial juicing, taking the bag of pulp and squeeze it dry. You’ll find that a good bit of juice is left in the pulp, juice that would be thrown away.
It’s optimal to consume fresh green juice but it often isn’t practical to make the the juice on the spot. A routine of making your days juice either the morning of or the night before is usually the option of choice. If you have a FoodSaver kitchen gadget with the mason jar vacuum sealing attachment you’ll be stylin. With this set up you can vacuum seal your juice and extend it’s vitality and slow oxidation.
The juice blend I prefer while juice fasting/feasting is:
2 stalks of celery
1 handful of leafy greens (kale, spinach, lettuce)
fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, basil)
For a bit of sweetness I might add 1 ounce of fresh carrot, beet or apple juice. When doing I long term fast I notice that people tend to want to drink their sweet juice straight… they’re jonezing for their sugar fix. The key to a healthy fast/feast is balance and shooting fruit juices is not very balancing… so don’t do it.
Fasting/Feasting on liquids during cold months can be quite a challenge. Here are some tips to take the edge off cold weather fasting.
Enjoy at least 4 ten ounce green juices a day with water and tea throughout the day. Below is a prospective fast/feast schedule.
8am – skin brush and shower
8:30 – hot water and lemon juice
9 am – 10 oz green juice
10:30 – tea or water
Noon – green juice, 1 oz apple with ginger/cayenne
1: 30 – tea or water
3pm – green juice, 1 oz carrot with ginger/cayenne
4:30 – tea or water
6pm – green juice with ginger and lemon
Take your produce out of the fridge and allow it to warm up to room temp. before juicing it
Enjoy hot/warm tea between green juices
Add warming ingredients to your juices like fresh ginger juice, garlic, hot peppers, cayenne and turmeric
Allow refrigerated juice to warm before drinking
Exercise periodically through out the day: yoga, rebounding, breath work – see “Breath of Fire”
To really experience the benefits of a juice fast/feast you need to go for at least 3 days. 7 days is optimal and once you’ve gone beyond 7 just listen to your body and go until you feel you’ve satisfied your bodies healing needs.