Posted on 7 June, 2012 on College Lifestyles – Nutrition, Lifestyle and Etiquette for Savvy Co-eds by Marissa Miller:
As a group of smart ladies, we’re already pretty clued in to what’s good for us. We know fruits and vegetables aid in proper digestion and drinking soft drinks are comparable to downing a tub of sugar. We know additives in our food increase our risk of disease and can inhibit weight loss, and that opting for non-animal protein sources from time to time does wonders for our skin.
But sometimes we encounter people who change our thought process forever and provide us with great information to chew on.
After a chat with Jennifer Thompson, raw food expert, healthy living educator and founder of healthybliss.net, I learned maintaining optimal health requires more than just a trip to the grocery store.
Describe the effects that switching to raw foods has on the body.
When someone eating cooked foods switches to and increases raw foods in their diet, they feel better right away! In just a few days, bad skin starts to clear, digestion improves, eyes get brighter, energy levels increase and it just keeps getting better and better! Raw foods have more enzymes and more fiber, two elements that speed up digestion and help the body to eliminate toxins naturally. Think of it as internal housekeeping!
Do you adhere to this lifestyle rigorously or do you ever have cravings to cheat?
I adhere to being 100 percent human first, and I encourage my clients to do the same. Too many people are getting caught up in the percentage of perfection with raw foods, creating unrealistic goals and setting people up for binges later. I don’t even like the word ‘cheat’ because it creates an unhealthy stigma around the whole concept. To me, that is not a healthy relationship with food or a healthy way of living.
My diet consists of 95 to 100 percent raw food and I am totally okay with myself for it. Initially when I went raw, I had some cravings for the emotional attachments I had to certain foods. Luckily, I was able to identify them after I read 12 Steps to Raw Foods by Victoria Boutenko. I understood this was a normal part of the transitional process. Over time as my palate became cleaner, I had no taste or desire for those ‘old’ foods. Now, I only crave the good stuff!
Can you tell me about what prompted you to switch to raw foods in the first place?
In 1994, I was very sick with an extremely itchy irritable rash that was undiagnosed for two and a half years. I was able to pinpoint the exact cause of the rash to one food additive. It was a cheap salad dressing packet that set me off on that particular day. The additive is called ribonucleotide, and I now know it’s very commonly added to foods to create a more salty flavorful taste and is even in ‘so-called’ healthy foods like wasabi covered peas, seaweed flavored rice crackers, tofu burgers and powdered soups.
Once I realized how much damage one food additive could do, I decided I did not want to eat any of them! It was six years ago when I started a raw food diet; I am now 40 years old and look younger, healthier and more vibrant than I did when I was 20! And I am very proud to say that my skin is totally clear and actually glows, but it’s from the inside out of course. Beauty does really come from within! (For more information on the food additive, go to https://healthybliss.net/about/healing-story/).
Will eating raw foods provide enough calories to sustain a person throughout a workout?
A raw food diet contains cleaner, better fuel for the body. The Standard American Diet or SAD diet consists mainly of refined white cardboard filler foods, chemical additives and high fats and proteins that clog the liver and colon and create additional work for the kidneys. Isn’t it obvious which diet will give more energy for working out? One can easily eat a balanced and healthy caloric intake on a raw food diet and have all the energy they need, and more! All I can say is try it for yourself and see!
How can college women adopt some of your habits and incorporate them into their busy lifestyles?
College life does present obstacles on the path to healthy living, mainly long study hours, buffet dining halls and the pressures of a drug and alcohol-based social scene. Combine that with fast foods, potato chips, microwave meals and diet sodas and four years later you have a college graduate with bad skin, lethargy, weight gain, depression, digestive disorders and even diabetes, infertility or fibromyalgia. The reality is that often when you’re young, you haven’t seen or met too many people with disease so this concept of ‘health’ doesn’t seem so important or necessary. But the best job in the world won’t have any value if you are too tired and burned out to enjoy it.
So my advice is this: invest in your health the same way you are investing in your education. Take time to exercise, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, go for a coffee if you have to but stay away from the Adderall – seriously! It’s okay to go to a few parties, but if you have a drug or alcohol problem, get help now! If you think you have an eating disorder, find some help on campus and work on getting well as soon as possible. These things seem controllable when you are young, but they are unhealthy habits that will lead you to an unhealthy life. Conversely, if you set the stage for healthy habits now, you are creating a healthy plan for life.
What are some tips we can use to gently ease ourselves into this type of lifestyle?
Start with one raw food meal per day. Usually breakfast is best, that way no matter what happens the rest of the day, you’ve still done something good for your health. For busy people, green smoothies are great because they are so fast and easy taking less than five minutes to prepare. All you need is a blender, some fruits, greens, water and love! Over time you can increase to two raw food meals per day and even one day per week of 100 percent raw food as a mini-detox and reboot for the week.
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