Thursday, April 3, 2008

Living Organically, Part Three: A Gut Feeling

First, thank you to those who have indicated that you want more info. I was sort of wondering if I was just yammering on aimlessly and you guys were humoring me. It’s exciting to me that people are interested. I’m still learning, too, so if you start researching and read good stuff, let me know. I’ll keep going, but I’ll try to keep the posts shorter.

Second, Marci, I ate half an avocado today and thought of you.

Third, a response to Laurie and her comment. There’s nothing wrong with organic milk—at least as far as I know! It’s what we drink if we run out of raw milk before the farmer delivers again and I’d say it’s definitely preferable to drinking conventional milk. The difference between raw milk and the organic milk you buy in a store is that the raw milk hasn’t been pasteurized (heated). The milk we drink is organic, but it’s also raw—not pasteurized. Supposedly raw milk still has all of the good enzymes your body needs to actually assimilate and use the nutrients in it. (And I’ll be e-mailing you to get all of the Swiminc Scoop!)

Also, being raw doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t eat meat. I haven’t achieved 100% raw anyway and I don’t know if I ever will. Basically I eat breakfast and lunch raw. So am I to 50% raw? I think I might be.

I’m not a vegetarian by any stretch of the imagination and I don’t know if I’ll become one or not. I really like all things fishy. I could probably give up all meat except seafood. That would be a huge sacrifice for me. There are so many different levels of raw. Carol Alt, who has a new book called “The Raw 50” which I really like, talks about how she is not a vegetarian and eats all sorts of raw meat. Other than sushi, I don’t eat raw meat because it kind of freaks me out. But go Carol, if that’s your bag. There are raw vegetarians who obviously don’t eat meat. Then there are raw food vegans who eat raw, don’t eat meat and also don’t eat any animal products at all such as eggs, milk, honey, etc. Frederic Patenaude, who is pretty radical, labels himself as a frugavore. He eats mostly greens and fruits and doesn’t even really suggest that you eat nuts or oils and he only advocates the occasional avocado. That’s hard core, man.

The whole concept of greens is new-ish to me. I’ve been reading “Green for Life” by Victoria Boutenko and it’s pretty interesting. She and her family have a Web site, www.rawfamily.com, that I’ve spent some time exploring. From what I’ve read, greens are hugely important—think chlorophyll, photosynthesis and oxygen—to our bodies. Eating more raw foods and then reading about the importance of greens has really changed how I look at what veggies we’re eating. I need to work on getting the boys (and myself) to eat more greens. I’m not exactly sure how I will accomplish this and it’s an ongoing mission because potatoes and corn go down big here. The general consensus is that we can’t even physically consume the amounts of fruits and veggies in a day that we actually need. Grinding them up and drinking them smoothie style so it’s more easily used by your body is apparently one way to go.

I love my JuicePlus smoothies that I wrote about in the last post and I throw greens in there, but I also tried Victoria Boutenko’s idea of a quart of green smoothie a day. I had some, um, intestinal issues and I stopped, but I want to try it again and see what happens.

I read somewhere that the ideal ratio of things in a green smoothie is 60% fruit and 40% greens. Looking at that again I realize I probably had those reversed. Might be the source of my discomfort.

The first green smoothie I ever made was:

Appkale Smoothie

4 whole apples
1/2 whole lemon, juiced
4 to 5 leaves of kale
1/2 to 1 cup water

PREPARATION: Juice lemon and add to water. Core apples and blend with water at high speed. Add kale. Blend. Enjoy.

I was pleasantly surprised at my first attempt at a green smoothie. I have to say that I probably didn’t do four apples—that seemed like a lot. But apple and kale is a nice combo. If you use kale, take out the big rib down the center and just use the leafy part. The stem thingy can make your smoothie stringy. Nasty.

One thing I wonder about is why in the world has it taken me so long to figure all of this out? I mean, I was in my 20s before I realized that portion control was important no matter what you eat. Duh.

And now, even after I’ve been hearing for years about fiber, I’m just now getting the fact that, hmmmm, I need to eat more fiber. Apparently I need to be hit over the head with a brick. Or fiber.

All of our health comes from our gut. There’s good stuff and bad stuff in our gut and when we eat well, and then poop well, we improve or health from the gut on out. A gross note: there is probably food in our intestines from years and years ago. When we don’t eat enough fiber to sweep out our intestines, plaque forms and causes all sorts of health problems. Have you ever read about how all of those stars in Hollywood go for colonics and stuff? At first I was grossed out by that, but now I’m intrigued. On the show You Are What You Eat, the nutritionist sends the people on the show for a colonic as a matter of course. Personally, I think the whole world should be taking acidophilus to put the good stuff back in their gut. But we also need to be sweeping ourselves out with the food we eat instead of mucking things up with gunky white bread and other processed food. Which I say to you after consuming most of the contents of the kids’ Easter baskets before I sat down to write this. Feet of clay, remember?

So where do we get fiber? Fruits and veggies. Also, my personal fave, flaxseeds. I put them in everything—ground up in smoothies, ground up in yogurt or kefir, in the seed bread I eat. . .basically I try to eat about 3 tablespoons a day plus one tablespoon of flax seed oil in one of my meals. You can even bake with flax seeds by substituting them for eggs. Put one tablespoon of flax seeds in a coffee grinder. When ground, put them in a bowl with three tablespoons of water and let it become a gelatinous mass. Voila—you can substitute that for one egg. It’s great in cookies and banana nut bread—things you don’t mind giving a nutty flavor to.

Again, not to give too much information, but regular (in the bowl sense) was not a word I would have ever used to describe myself. In fact, it seemed like a lot of women are this way. I used to be so jealous of Eamonn. At a certain time every day, he’d apparently get the call and saunter off to the bathroom. I could set my watch by him. I thought that sounded so nice instead of waiting around for days. . .but now that’s me, too, and it’s a wonderful thing. Again this is getting gross, but your poop and your tongue are really indicators of your inner health. Your tongue can tell you all sorts of things about vitamins and minerals you might be deficient in (a totally grammatically incorrect sentence). And apparently, according to Gillian on You Are What You Eat, if you don’t have enough fiber, your poop won’t have a nice “sausage” shape. Your goal is apparently a nice sausage shape. Gross. Maybe I can become a vegetarian.

So, to sum up: It’s all in your gut. Eat more fiber and get yourself cleaned out. If you’re curious, google the words “colon cleanse” and see what you get. Very interesting! Try to ensure you have good bacteria in your gut. And don’t eat Activia to get good stuff in your gut—it’s full of high fructose corn syrup. Go for acidophilus instead.

Tomorrow Tara and I are off to visit Erin for the weekend. A sister weekend! OK, so it’s a sister weekend with Erin’s four kids and also Dave and his friend, but I’ll take it!


Jen said...

Thanks again for keeping this topic up. I'm off to google some things......can't wait! And now I'm thinking about purchasing flax seeds. Never thought I would be adding that to my list of food to keep in the house!

And you are cracking me up too....."sausage shape". Gross but probably so so true.

Anonymous said...

thank-you for these posts, Natalie!

I would love to get my 5 children and my very "processed" husband switched over to eating like this.

looking forward to more. :)


1dreamr said...

Ugh, I cringed when you suggested NOT eating Activia yogurt - that's another thing I picked up and have been eating almost daily since my surgery. Uh-oh.

I'm fascinated by the flax seeds. I've never had the actual seeds. I used to take capsules daily (but stopped), and for awhile, six or seven years ago, I was also using the oil (but stopped). I think I'll revisit this.

Now, on the subject of poop, you probably know this, but I'll just toss it out there for good measure. Not only is the sausage shape something to shoot for, but you also want floaters instead of sinkers. I've heard/read this from numerous sources, most recently from Dr. Oz on Oprah. This might be TMI, but when I have a floater, MAN, do I get excited!!! :-)

utahsweeney said...

Don't I hear enough about poop with four boys??? Oh Natalie, are you out to get me??? I'm overwhelmed! That being said, good stuff, keep it up. With my husband being a passionate hunter, all of our red meat is organic, right?

Anonymous said...

Yesterday, for the first time, I noticed two punds of flax seed for $3.99 at the grocery store.

A. Is that a decent price?
B. Then what?
C. Do you always grind them?
D. Know any simple recipes for a non-kitchen gal like me?


Kristie said...

Natalie, while I am finding all of this very interesting, and I have no doubt that you are correct about well-informed ..... you have to know we eat like crap around here ... and worse, I shudder to think what sorts of processed garbage we must have served you when you stopped by our house that one time! Hmmmm, perhaps that's why it was only ONE TIME?? Not because we were hundreds of miles away, but because I buy such garbage to eat around here! :)