My Experience with Raw Foods

Raw foods are naturally vibrant and full of life.

Many natural health experts agree that the majority of our foods should be in its raw and pure form. It is claimed that cooking destroys essential vitamins, minerals and enzymes vital to our bodies health and well being. In fact, the “life force” associated with raw foods helps build our own life force, creating vibrant health within and around us every day for our whole entire lives. Just how true are the claims to the raw food movement?

There are many who seem to claim that eating a raw food diet can help clear acne, reduce wrinkles and aid in getting rid of gray hair. Since all of these claims are not necessarily backed up by the science, I’m a bit wary to believe them. However I do know that cooking does destroy vitamins and nutrients in which are crucial for maintaining beauty, youthful skin and good health. The connection is there and can be made, but I can’t say for sure that it would reverse the clock on aging. I w0uld like to think so, as many raw food acquaintances I know (some vegan and some not) look very young and have tremendous energy. Some raw foodists, however, do not embody this, yet looks may be deceiving.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been eating a mainly raw food diet. If you are a regular reader at my blog, you already know how I like to do dietary experiments, like my Grain-Free experiment which turned into a now normal lifestyle of a no-grain diet. I found this diet not to be limiting at all, as there are a surprising number of sources which can help create the same foods without the ill-effects of hard to digest grains. You may also remember my “Beyond Sweets” experiement, where I took out all sweet tastes from my diet.

Raw Food is Making Me Psychic?

My experiences with the raw food diet has given me insights I never even imagined would happen based on the claims. I haven’t necessarily known a difference in my skin or the way I look, but perhaps the physical appearance takes some time if it even changes at all. For some reason, though, I have found that when I eat mainly raw foods (including raw eggs and raw milk for their complete protein content) I find that my intuition is incredibly heightened. My ability to tell what will happen next, what someone will say, knowing that someone will walk through the door any second–my “psychic” abilities, perhaps, become enhanced.

Rarely will I get into all the psychic hoo-haa here on this blog, so I really like to refer to it as “intuition”. There are some people on the Interweb talking about how when you eat raw foods and meld with its life force, you are connecting to your own inner life force and enhancing your intuition. I was thinking, if this is even true at all, that when you consume the life force you connect to the ultimate source of life which knows no time, yet is a part of every single moment in all the time of the Universe–past, future and present. This is only a small speculation on my part, and I may be entirely off.

Since there is no science to back up my experience with the raw food diet, I was a little reluctant to share. I can’t promise eating mostly raw foods can enhance your intuition, but it certainly did give mine a boost. The connection between anti-aging and raw foods is probably linked to the high amount of anti-oxidants consumed in raw vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are also more balanced, reducing inflammation in the body associated with certain disorders and accelerated aging.

Raw Food and Enzymes

Cooking food does destroy enzymes, yet there are those who claim that the simple act of digesting the food can also kill many living enzymes by the acid the stomach produces. Enzymes are biological catalysts which facilitate metabolic changes, and it is important to have as many healthy enzymes in the body to function on the tasks at hand.

Digestion enzymes, for example, decreases as the body ages, making it crucial to find ways to increase digestive enzymes,  either through supplementation or through eating more raw foods. I’m not yet sure if I yet believe that simply taking in enzymes through raw foods will help in the production of digestive enzymes, so until you or I see any solid research on this, I might only use raw foods a “just in case” route.

Anti-Oxidants

Anti-oxidants fight free radicals, which are molecules with an unpaired electron that wreak havoc on our health and beauty (anti-aging efforts). As I mentioned before, anti-oxidants are probably one of the biggest effectors in the raw food diet that help to relieve different symptoms and to promote beauty, youthfulness and better health. Cooking destroys up to half of the vitamin A in foods, for example, and this vitamin is a powerful antioxidant for helping produce better eye health.

Omega-3 fatty acids, which are more balanced in plant foods than animal sources, are also degradable through heat. These aren’t antixodants, but almost provide the same qualities of promoting better health through reducing inflammation and promoting better skin, hair and nails. You should still get omega-6’s in your diet, but not in the extent that the modern American gets it through their processed foods. Animal products are higher in omega-6s, however eating animal protein, especially in the form of raw, organic and free-range eggs or clean raw milk, provides many health benefits to help ease worry of any omega-6’s you might be consuming. PLUS – organic, free range beef, grass fed eggs, milk and meat contains a better balance of the omega-3 and -6 fatty acids than conventional raised animals.

Raw Animal Protein

Occasionaly I will blend a raw egg yolk from free-range chickens into my green smoothies, helping to get a complete protein in its raw, uncooked form.

Even though I have eaten mostly raw for the past couple of weeks, I still make sure I receive a high quality source of complete protein. The easiest way for me to do this is to eat meat, whether it’s in the form of chicken, turkey (Thanksgiving!), fish or eggs. I haven’t eaten raw eggs or raw milk these past two weeks, but that is soon to come! Raw eggs can only be consumed by me when I blend it into a green smoothie, because the texture of them plain kills my appetite.

Most vegans are committed enough to make sure that they are receiving the necessary B-vitamins and amino acids the body needs, so if you are vegan and are considering a more raw diet, this section may not apply to you. Supplementation can be really important for vegans, especially for vitamin B-12, but I know many raw vegans who do this without a problem. I, however, find it much simpler and more natural to get these needs from humanely raised eggs, milk, fish and sometimes beef. It’s a personal preference. I would love to hear any feedback on this area!

My Future with the Raw Food Diet

I’m not going vegan. I have many vegan friends, but I’m not going vegan. I am, however, going to be eating mainly raw for the next couple of months, going into 2011. I will hopefully have access to raw goat’s milk and farm fresh eggs, so these will be my main protein sources (along with some hormone-free beef and chicken and low-mercury fish a couple times a week). Wish me luck!

Many nutrition experts believe about 80% of the diet should consist of uncooked, raw foods. I think I am starting to believe this. Cooking some foods does help with their digestion, putting these foods in the other 20%.  There is a really good article which presents how cooked foods helped the human civilization move forward, which is worth a read (I am in the midst of finding that article which seems to be lost in the ether–link to come). I will still enjoy cooked foods, as they provide a warming quality, yet they will decrease a bit while I up my raw food intake.

Any diet that helps me get in more raw vegetables is a plus, because these natural foods are brimming to the top of the nutritional rating chart, full of phytonutrients and anti-oxidants. Being a 100% raw foodist is not completely for me, but it is fun to incorporate certain ideals of the lifestyle in everyday life to promote better health overall, mentally, physically and spiritually. I will be posting some raw recipes that are high in fiber, protein and good fats very soon, so watch out for those!

Random –

Before I end this post, I wanted to let everyone know that today is the 55th anniversary of Rosa Park’s refusal to give up her seat to a white passenger. She was the first woman I learned of when we would talk about black history in school, and her silence moved me greatly as a child. It let’s others know, no matter their race, gender or personal preferences, that you deserve to be free in the world in which you live, and that you shouldn’t be afraid to stand up for yourself.

For now, this is The Healthy Advocate.

P.S. I’m seeking help from any fellow blog owners on transferring this blog over to its own domain. If you can help me, please message me through Facebook or email me at my Yahoo! account (thehealthyadvocate). Your aid in getting this blog up and running will be greatly appreciated, and I will definitely give you credit for the help! Thank you. – Brandon

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Gluten Free Dressing (Corn Free) with THE BEST Low Carb, Grain Free Mock “Cornbread” (Nutrition Information Included)

Gluten Free, Corn Free, Grain Free Thanksgiving Dressing

This post is a participation in The Nourishing Gourmet’s Healthy Food Carnival: Whole Foods for the Holidays!

After giving up grains, corn and gluten to aid in elevating my health, I found it quite hard to resist the offers from my friends and family members of the traditional cornbread stuffing at Thanksgiving. So far I’ve been compromising by having a little every holiday, since I never eat corn at any other day. I have just found, however, that I do not need to compromise anymore!

The other day I was on a mission. I had to make a gluten free stuffing recipe for a grain free, gluten free Thanksgiving. It had to taste EXACTLY like the original. I had to make the cornbread first, that I knew. That’s going to be a bit difficult. Wait, I asked myself, could almond flour work? It might, but on its own? I love using coconut flour for everything, so what about a combination of the two? Will it, could it? I put everything together and got the perfect mock cornbread for my gluten free dressing. This tastes like cornbread, but it has virtually no insulin-spiking carbohydrates (this cornbread has 99% less carbohydrates than traditional cornbread!), it’s high in protein and fiber and is fairly easy to put together. Thanks to The LowCarbist for the inspiration for this recipe!

You can have this cornbread on its own, or make this gluten free dressing recipe and serve alongside with Elana Amsterdam’s gluten free herb gravy. Or you can just make both for your amazing gluten free Thanksgiving. Thank goodness for the internet and the amazing sources of culinary knowledge out there today, making it easy for all whole food, organic health nuts like us when finding alternatives to old favorites.

Gluten Free, Grain Free Dressing

For the Mock “Cornbread”

1/2 cup Almond Flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 TBSP. Xylitol or Sugar Alternative
2 eggs
2-4 TBSP. Almond or Coconut Milk
1/4 cup Organic Sour Cream
2 TBSP. Melted Butter (I didn’t use any, but it will help the taste)
A pinch of Turmeric for color (optional)

Mix the almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, salt and xylitol together in a medium bowl. Add the sour cream, eggs, and melted butter. Mix well until a runny batter forms. If the batter is too stiff, add a couple of TBSP. of almond/coconut milk to the mixture, or maybe another egg (1 TBSP. at a time).

Pour into a well greased 8 inch baking pan. Bake in a 375 degrees preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until firm (insert a fork into the center and make sure it comes out clean).

Let cool for a couple of hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Information (per 1/8th of recipe):

Protein: 3.75 g – Net Carbohydrates: 1.75 g – Fat: 7 g – Calories: 109

For the Gluten Free Dressing:

“Cornbread” recipe, crumbled
2 stalks organic celery, diced
1/2 onion, diced or cut according to preference
1/2-1 tsp. Celtic Himalayan Sea salt, depending on taste
1 1/2 tsp. powdered sage (or more–I like a strong sage)
Grinds of Pepper
1/2 cup of organic, free range chicken broth
1 egg

Mix the crumbled cornbread together with the salt, pepper and sage. Throw in the celery and onion and combine well. Add the chicken broth and mix thoroughly. Add more than written if needed. Taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste preference. Add the egg to the mixture and mix well.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, or until set Keep an eye on this while it cooks..

Nutrition Information (Per 1/6th of recipe)

Protein: 6 g! – Net Carbohydrates: 3 g – Fat: 10 g – Calories: 166

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For my sugar free, gluten free Thanksgiving, I will be making my own pumpkin pie with the amazing crust by Kelly over at The Spunky Coconut. I will also be making sweet potatoes, sugar free cranberry sauce, mashed cauliflower and a raw green salad to start off the feast. But more so, I will be giving thanks for the things in my life thus far. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Other Gluten Free Thanksgiving Blogs You Might Be Interested In:

Elana’s Pantry – Gluten Free Thanksgiving 2010
Gluten Free Girl – Gluten Free Thanksgiving 2010
My Artful Life – Sugar Free Cranberry Sauce

How to Keep Illness at Bay this Holiday Season

I love this picture. Thank you to Ayushveda.com!

As we approach the cooler, darker months of winter, many of us will be giving thanks and celebrating the coming of the new year. With these months, however, we find many of our friends (and sometimes us), relatives and acquaintances suffering from the chills, the sniffles and the dreaded coughing and sneezing. How come these months promote illness more so than any other? There are some simple reasons for this, all of which we can hopefully address in this post. Along with the speculation comes advice which I have come across myself (and that has worked for me) or actual medical research which aids in prevention or quick recovery from colds or the flu.

The Common Culprit: Sugar

Get creative in the kitchen to find good tasting alternatives to the recipes you enjoy this holiday season.

 

Sugar weakens the immune system at any time of the year, but when do you suppose people are eating more sugar than usual? Aha! Around the holidays of course. The winter holidays promote the consumption of cookies, pies and refined carbohydrates, all which can decrease the function of the immune system for hours after eating them.

You don’t have to give up these once-in-awhile sweet temptations every holiday to prevent illness during the winter months. Far from it if you are a regular reader of this blog. I enjoy making healthy but tasty alternatives to the white flour, sugar laden treats I grew up with, and the ones I’m sure you grew up with as well. Pumpkin pie, powdered sugar cookies and mock corn bread stuffing, which would normally send your insulin through the roof, barely even moves when I make them. Getting a little experimental in the kitchen while utilizing alternative sweeteners and flours can really pay off in the terms of your health. I will share my holiday alternatives very soon when the approaching winter holiday comes closer. I’m experimenting myself as I type this!

Immobility


Humans can often become lazy, spoiled and unmotivated to move during the cold months. We may find ourselves in a hibernation state during the holidays in order to stay warm by conserving energy for heat. We also find ourselves just wanting to take a break from everyday life and relax. Let me tell you, though, that I can only stand so much of relaxation before my body starts itching for movement–running, jumping, kicking, stretching (I’m 50!) and punching. I grab for any form of exercise when I don’t move my body every once in awhile.

When we are not exercising during the holidays, the function of our immune systems decreases, leaving us susceptible to possible illness, like the cold or the flu. The simple act of walking may reverse this, but also performing interval cardio or simple yoga exercises can also stimulate body heat and improve the immune system.  Brisk walking for only 30 minutes a day has been shown to decrease the incidence of colds, leading many experts to advise walking as a healthy form of exercise. Just walking, however, will become too easy for your body, so it is a good idea to break up your exercise routine as to not get bored with the exercise you perform everyday.

Lack of Sunlight

Photo Courtesy Stock.xchng

 

Vitamin D3 is an essential nutrient for the human body, making sunlight a crucial nutrient to maintain life. There are synthetic versions of this vitamin, however it is questioned as to how readily these synthetic forms of vitamin D3 are absorbed. Lack of vitamin D3, which is compared to the inadequate vitamin D2, decreases immune function, increases risk for blood sugar instability and has also been associated with depression.

During these darker months, we are often inside, ideally around a warm and cozy fire (in the fireplace, hopefully). However nice this may seem, we tend to avoid going outside because of the bitterness of the cold which brings our vitamin D levels down immensely. Clouds usually inhabit the horizon, making it impossible to receive any a ray of light, a ray of health, which may shine down and hit our skin. Taking a natural vitamin D3 supplement may be the best way to go, even if absorption quality is an issue. It’s better to get as much as you can, than get none at all. Sardines are a good natural source of both calcium and vitamin D, making it an option for those who are also wanting to increase their dietary omega-3 fatty acids (which are wonderful immune building fats).

Lack of sunlight can also produce depression, or a state called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. Natural light is psychologically a sign of goodness, purity and hope; lack of this source may be connected to the rise in depressive symptoms and actions during these months. Also, when natural light is not presented to our eyes during the day time, it suppresses our serotonin release which naturally occurs during the daylight hours. Remaining in the dark all day long aids in secreting melatonin, making us groggy, slow and tired during these longer months. Many people use light therapy to fight the holiday depression, whereas others are barely affected by the emotional shifts.

With recent studies showing that blue light is effective in treating SAD, and seeing that the mind doesn’t know the difference between a real and imagined event, I theorize that the mere thought or imagination of being enveloped in a bright, blue light might be effective in lowering depressive symptoms. I will be making a hypnosis/meditation program very soon to help test this theory.

Negative Thinking

This rule applies all year round, but is especially important during this time of year when one can become succeptible to illness through their lifestyle habits. Negative thoughts and words poison the heart and soul, and promote dis-ease in the body. Such thinking and behavior towards ourselves and others disconnects us from the source of love and healing. Speak words of beauty to yourself and others this holiday season (and all your round), be thankful, grateful and generous. Look to the up side of things (but still be logical at times) and treat others the same way you would want to be treated. This brings the body a sense of calm, peace and joy. Positive thoughts alone have been shown to increase the health of the immune system, so start changing your brain!

Diet

We’ve already covered the main point about the holiday diet when we talked about sugar above, but there are other factors to include when preventing illness that needs to be discussed, and I’m sure you probably already know what they are.

It’s a good idea to bump up your serving of raw vegetables this holiday, as they are packed full of disease fighting vitamin C. If on the off chance you do get sick and can’t stomach chewing or eating anything, a good idea would be to take a safe vitamin C supplement. Or, if you can drink fluids (which we should be doing when we get sick), then the Green Smoothie is the best way to go, as it provides more nutrition than any vitamin C supplement.

Omega-3 fats are important for immune health, so increase flax and chia seeds, as well as safe sources of fish or fish oil supplements (think Krill) is a great way to stave off illness this winter, and throughout the entire year. Probiotics, as those found in raw milk and yogurt, or probiotic supplements, are incredibly important for the immune system. One study published in Postgraduate Medicine showed that probiotics stimulate a healthy immune system response when exposed to flu viruses.

You can still enjoy your holiday treats, especially if you are exercising, getting plenty of sunlight or vitamin D and are already eating healthy. The best way to go, at least in my opinion, is to find alternative recipes for the holiday treats you enjoy that won’t increase ill health. There are a lot of those recipes in my library, and I will be posting them soon. I’m quite surprised as to the recipes I’ve come up with so far. If anyone has any suggestions or ideas of the types of holiday foods you use to enjoy and miss, give me a line and I will do my best to replicate it!

Keep warm, keep moving, stay safe and stay healthy!

Until next time, this is The Healthy Advocate.

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Thanksgiving Salad with Blackberry Vinaigrette

Autumn Salad

It can be a bit challenging to incorporate healthy options in a Thanksgiving feast when cooking for an entire family who aren’t always too thrilled about trying anything different and out of the ordinary. There is one dish, however, in which we can all agree on that not only promotes good health through its rich supply of RAW vitamins and nutrients, but complements a Thanksgiving meal nicely with its light and delicate flavor.

This holiday salad is a great way to start off any autumn meal, and is a quick way to incorporate more raw foods in the diet. The blackberry dressing is made with no-sugar added blackberry jam, but you could use fresh blueberries, cranberries or any berry you like. I think the olive oil is the best part, as it is probably the best oil you can eat in its raw form. The healthy monounsaturated fat protects against heart disease and includes antioxidants which may slow down the aging process.

Give thanks with this nourishing starter!

Thanksgiving Salad with Blackberry Vinaigrette

4 cups Organic Romaine Lettuce
4 cups Raw Organic Spinach
1/2 cup walnuts (I soak mine overnight and then let them dry)
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
Optional Add-Ons: Shredded Carrot, Diced Celery, Cubed Apple, Raisins, Dried Cranberries

For the vinaigrette:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 TBSP. no-sugar added blackberry jam (or 1/4 cup fresh berries)
1 TBSP. Honey, or 2 TBSP. Xylitol (Optional)

Toss the greens together, except the walnuts and additional toppings. Blend vinaigrette ingredients in blender and pour into a glass bottle. Toss greens with vinaigrette. Top with walnuts, cranberries, carrots, et.c Enjoy!
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On campus, the complementary and alternative health club I helped launch alongside two other school friends who are also passionate about health volunteered at the “Fall Fling” happening in the college courtyard. We were able to sell homemade items to raise funds for the club, and I made sugar free, grain free coconut flour brownies. These were so good, and I will have to share the recipe very soon, especially when we get close to the winter holidays. It’s a great option to have when you want to bake something for someone in your family that’s healthy, but also tastes sweet and luscious.

At 50 cents a pop,, these brownies were nourishing, praised and SO good. Secret ingredient alert!

The night before I made the brownies with black beans, but because I attemtped to experiment with substituting the eggs, the bean brownies did not turn out right–at all. So, the morning of the Fall Fling, I put together a recipe in a hurried frenzy, crossing my fingers that it would all turn out. To my upmost appreciation to the cooking gods, it did.  Thank goodness I already had a homemade frosting sitting in the refrigerator. More on that frosting to come (secret ingredient alert!).

Another view of the coconut flour brownies.

The other founders of the group who have been working very hard to promote and emphasize the importance of health advocacy made single served pizzas from coconut flour. It was their first time working with coconut flour, but they turned out pretty good. I will be posting my version of these single pizzas soon, as well.

Single serve coconut flour pizzas.

Over the next couple of days I will be working on a couple of traditional Thanksgiving recipes including (mock) cornbread stuffing and a healthy, sugar free pumpkin pie. Wish me luck on both! Until next time, this is The Healthy Advocate.

How to Save Money on a Whole Foods Diet

Image Courtesy BigCrumbs.com

I’ve had a mission for quite some time now, other than learning new things about health and applying them to everyday life. It is the mission of proving to others that eating healthy doesn’t require one to break the bank. In fact from my own experience,  eating healthy on a budget is very possible. Hopefully I will bust the myth in this post that one should have to take out a loan in order to enjoy a healthy diet.

I used to buy many organic, pre-packaged foods when I was transitioning to a whole foods diet. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this, and I know plenty of people who are in this phase right now. It’s a great way to start bringing forth new ways of eating without the harmful additives and pesticides availabe in most conventional food.

Most people who take a full on approach to their health do not get stuck in this phase. Continuing to purchase organic processed foods may not only be preventing the experience of better health, but it may also lead to quite a bit of wasted money.

It’s a bit easier to save money when buying organic processed food because you can often use manufacturer’s coupons. It is a bit more challenging than conventional processed food, but it can be done. I personally think, however, that it is much easier, and less expensive, buying for a whole foods diet. You can’t use coupons, which pretty much stinks, but you can compare the prices of your already made organic foods to the ones you make at home.

Let me take this further as I bring you through an imaginary trip through my local grocery store which specializes in many nautral, organic, processed foods.

Today I went to my grocery store to pick up some sunflower seeds and almonds to make my own sunflower seed butter and almond butter. I’m sure nut butter spreads are a staple in many homes, especially those choosing to eat organic. Many people I know shell out the $4-$5 to purchase already made almond butter, and it’s not even organic. At my grocery store today it was on sale for $3.79. Now I like this brand, but this specific one has added sugar in it. Not something in which I choose to put in my body on a regular basis.

Making homemade, organic almond butter saves money and helps me reuse glass jars.

I then go to the bulk section where their organic raw almonds are $4.39 a pound. I figured that i could use half a pound to make my own homemade almond butter, which I do quite often. The total came to about $2.85 when I checked out, and I saved almost $2 dollars on the almond butter with added sugar. Sunflower seeds were $1.99 a pound, and I used around $1.60 to make the equivalent amount of homemade sunflower seed butter which usually costs $5.99 premade (but was a dollar off today). Another mark for me and the environment, since I would be purchasing plenty of plastic containers which I wouldn’t use (I already have too many from my organic, processed food days!).

For lunches I make salads or soups, and sometimes my green smoothies when I’m doing interval cardio. I try to get in as many raw foods as possible. A head of organic lettuce only costs $1.99, and will feed one person for about a week, after adding some onion (.69 cents), organic spinach ($1.78), organic and local kale ($2–usually keeps me for 2 weeks!), and sprouts ($1.25). I then add some left over sunflower seeds or almonds on top of these salads. There is a nice lunch budget of $7.71 per week per person. This is not including olive oil and vinegar, which is a common staple in the pantry.

Compare this lunch to a couple of my family members, who usually shell out up to $5 a day (or more) on cafeteria food or on processed, nitrate laden meat, whole wheat bread and cheese (which goes to about $10 a week). Many people I know (and I used to be one of them when I didn’t know any better, ;)) buy pre-made lunchables or frozen meals for lunch. These can be anywhere from $2-$5 a day on lunch. Not good, not good–unless money, and health, is no object of concern.

I was also noticing the store’s organic beef prices. Almost $6 a pound. Now this comes down to personal choice and opinion. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, then this won’t apply to you. But, if you do eat meat (which I think is completely natural every once in a while), the best choice is organic. Saving money on organic beef and animal products may be a bit challenging.  However, you don’t have to eat beef every single day in order to reap the benefits of its amino acid content and fatty acids. You could eat it two times a week, and rotate that with chicken, eggs or dairy protein (raw dairy, preferably).  A couple nights may even be “meat-free”, making it completely vegetarian (but without white potatoes and corn–we don’t need those high-glycemic,  grain-like  metabolic processes occurring when promoting good health).

Tonight we made a chili that only costs $5-$7. My sister bought it, but I know it was in that ballpark. It feeds a group of three for 2 nights in a row (in fact I’ve been eating it for lunch for the past two days, and there is even more for two more days!), making it better for budget friendly families. Leftovers are a great way to save money, and it often occurs when making home cooked meals. You just get more out of them. The chili doesn’t have meat, but includes beans, vegetables and fruits (tomatoes) which warms up a body during the cold months.

Dinners should include salads or some type of vegetable, preferably prepared in a way that people will eat them. Vegetables are a really nutritious substitutions for chips or fries with the entree (or just serve the entree itself), and aren’t that expensive. In fact, they usually don’t exceed chips, french fries and the other sides in price (sometimes they’re even lower).

Eating in season is also a very good idea, because usually these produce items will be relatively less expensive. I know that sweet potatoes have gone down in price in my area, and they’re a great white potato alternative for the fall and winter months. It’s low glycemic and packed full of vitamin A, an incredibly vitamin for your eyes and your bones, believe it or not. I wouldn’t recommend eating sweet potatoes everyday, of course, but it is a very nutritious and very inexpensive whole food.

Saving money on a whole foods diet will allow you to experience something new, like meeting people who grow your food, unless you’re already into that. Going to farmer’s markets and buying your produce directly from the farmer helps not only to support local food, but it might even save you money. My local farmer has great deals on her kale (a HUGE bag is like $2), zucchini and other vegetables. They’re all organic and less expensive than the organic produce found at a grocery store. Plus, they’re local!

What do you do to save money when eating a whole foods diet? I would really like to hear all suggestions and tips that I can even apply to my budget. Perhaps we can start an organization which makes coupons for whole foods and distributes them to grocery stores across the country. Or would we send them to the farmers? We would need a gimmick. By the way, this idea is copyrighted by Me. 🙂

Related Posts You Might Enjoy:

16 Ways to Eat Healthy While Keeping it Cheap – GetRichSlowly.org
How to Save Money While Eating Healthy – Greenwala.com

This is The Healthy Advocate.

If you enjoyed this post, please share with those you know! Thank you. 🙂

Raw Pecan Pie Power Bar

Raw Pecan Pie Power Bar

This recipe is part of Pennywise Platter Thursday at the Nourishing Gourmet

I am loving the weather the past two days. Cold, cloudy and a bit rainy–it feels like winter in Texas. Now I love sunlight for its wonderful healing abilities which promote growth and life on this planet, but sometimes you just need a break from so much heat. Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved cold and rainy days, and this day is one of them.

The weather has put me in the mood for holiday cooking, or for this recipe, uncooking. Pecans remind me of Christmas every time I eat them, and they certainly did this afternoon when I put together this raw pecan pie power bar recipe.  Let me tell you, this bar tastes SO much like pecan pie, it’s ridiculous. You won’t believe how good this raw recipe is until you try it.

This nutritious bar is packed full of satiating good fat with anti-inflammatory properties to boot. They are sweetened with dates, a dried fruit. The fat and protein from the pecans will lower the glycemic index of the dates, which are quite high on their own, so use this bar as a good post-work out “pick me up”.

Raw Pecan Pie Power Bar

1/4 cup pecans, soaked and dried*
2 TBSP. dried unsweetened coconut
Pinch of Celtic Himalayan Sea Salt optional
2 soft Medjool dates, soaked for 10 minutes.

Optional Add Ins:
1 TBSP. Freshly ground Flaxseed
1 tsp. protein powder
1/2 tsp. coconut oil

Place the pecans in a food processor along with the coconut and sea salt. Pulse until a course pecan flour is made. Add the dates and any additional ingredients if desired. Pulse until a dough forms.

Shape the dough into a bar. Refrigerate or freeze until firm.

Makes 1 bar.
*Soaking nuts and seeds improves digestibility as well as increases nutritional availability. This is an optional step, if you prefer.
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Stores already have all of their holiday merchandise out already. I love the holiday season! In the car this morning I was listening to a “LUX Radio Theater” movie from the 1940s. Can you guess what it was? I’ll tell you anyway – The Miracle on 34th Street. I believe it’s safe to say that I’m already in the holiday spirit. It’s something I look forward to all year long.

Hopefully this raw recipe will inspire you to get into the spirit also. Even if it doesn’t, it’s still a nourishing way to provide energy and satiation. It is small, but will keep your stomach satisfied for a couple of hours. It’s also a fairly simple recipe, and requires little time to prepare. Your taste buds, and your health, will thank you for making this.

Until next time, this is The Healthy Advocate.

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The Power of Music: Healing Through Sound

We all love music. It stirs our emotions and provides a doorway into a deeper mode for expression. The power of music is so strong it helps us move past obstacles and complete our goals. There are many people I know who use the power of music to help them finish a run, to get them motivated and “pumped up” so that it will help push them forward to the finish mark. There are also articles, research studies and quotations exploring the power of music and its healing capabilities for the body and mind. Music truly is an amazing language in which the entire world shares.

It should come to no surprise that music has a direct affect on depression, either alleviating it or deepening it. Music we enjoy lifts our spirits, our hopes and our outlook. It places us in a better world, one in which we feel we can better express ourselves, one in which we may better communicate and connect with others. The power of music may also work the opposite way by listening to music which aggravates our system. The music we find bane or saddening may only deepen feelings of despair and lonliness–something we always steer clear from if we are wanting to be truly healthy.

In this case, health just isn’t about the physical fitness of the individual’s body, but the fitness of the emotional body, as well. When working toward a holistic approach of health, we need to shift toward healing the whole self–body, mind and spirit. Music seems to provide this avenue for healing. Many neuroscientists are working on trying to find how music exactly helps open doorways in the brain which help rewire certain networks. Everything must start in the brain, meaning when music opens these doorways, it can rewire the health of a person to a certain point. Some people, however, believe that the power of music is limitless and that there are no boundaries.


A wonderful classical piece I just discovered. So beautiful! I must learn how to play piano.

An abstract from the International Journal of Mental Health and Nursing printed a study on the effects of music exposure and depression symptoms among older adults. The study found a significant drop in depression symptoms, along with drops in anxiety and blood pressure. Another study performed in Taiwan found that those with major depressive symptoms showed a decrease in depression as well after listening to their choice of music for 2 weeks.

Music can also boost your immune system. Listening to upbeat music with a good beat seems to do the trick in relieving harmful stress hormones which decrease the immune system’s ability to fight off infections. Researchers from the University of Sussex and the Max Planck Institute in Germany found that the power of music can have significant benefits in improving the quality of health through the long term by reducing the incidence of disease.

Image Courtesy TheLowDensityLifestyle.com

It is a well known fact that exercise improves the quality of life, and that it is a necessary nutrient. Listening to your favorite music can help motivate you and push you into finishing a workout. Usually this type of music for exercise isn’t something slow (as I couldn’t imagine working out to Enya). Workout music usually contains a good, uplifting beat to help get you in a rhythm of providing movement for your body. Some research also shows that the power of music expands to boost brain power of cognitive abilities during exercise, beyond what exercise alone accomplishes.

What music motivates, inspires or lifts your spirits? You can usually find me listening to mellow music, as I suppose that’s the kind of person I usually am. Most of the time it is Enya or classical music. I also have my deep interest in Ska (Madness!), some rock (Steadman, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, The Format, The Cranberries) and 1920’s music. It really is a bizarre mixture of genres. What about you? How do you feel after listening to your music, and what do you feel during?

Until next time, this is The Healthy Advocate.