5-Minute Addictive Chickpea Salad

This salad is addictive.  I’ve made it countless times now and I gobble it down every time.

chick pea 5

Replace chicken or egg salad with this creamy, tangy chickpea salad! Your taste buds will love it, and your bod with thank you. (So with the chickens!)

AND, it’s sooo easy to make with only 5 ingredients!

I love chickpeas.  I can just eat them straight out of the can.  In fact, my daughter has a little bowl of them with her dinner quite often.  Chickpeas are a good source of fiber, protein, folic acid and manganese.  They improve blood sugar control, help lower the risk of colon problems and lower cholesterol.  What’s not to love!

But, it’s nice to have another way to eat them besides hummus.  So, here you go….

Ingredients:

1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
2 tablespoons dill pickle (I just put in a chunk that looks about right)
1 tsp. agave, raw honey or sweetener of your choice
1 teaspoon Old Bay

chick pea blender 1

5 ingredients… that’s it! Done.

Method:

Whirl all ingredients a few times in a food processor until chunky, but not completely smooth.

What could be easier?  If you want to get a little fancier you could add some chopped celery, carrot or scallions.  But, it really is yummy just like this.

chick pea blender 2

It’s your choice how chunky or smooth you want to make it.

Use this salad/spread as a…

  • Sandwich filling (use like egg salad)
  • Salad topper
  • Wrap or rice paper filling with lettuce and tomato (or whatever)
  • Dip for crackers or crudities

I just eat it on crackers with sliced tomato.  It never makes it any further than that.

I originally saw a version of this recipe on one of my favorite sites for low fat vegan recipes.  It’s called blog.fatfreevegan.com.  It’s a terrific source for simple recipes that are not fat bombs like so many raw vegan recipes out there.  I highly recommend taking a look.  I made a couple of changes because I can’t leave any recipe the way I found it.

Please pin or share this post if you like this recipe!  And, let me know what you think with a comment.

Peace and love,
Birit

5 Ways I Can Tell This Works

Juicing, a raw food diet, alkaline ionized water, ASEA… I am my own science project.  But, how do I tell what works and what doesn’t?

How do I tell if anything is working at all?wheatgrass2

It’s not like getting an infection and taking an antibiotic.  The infection goes away.  Almost immediately.  And that’s what we are used to these days.  Instant results.

Also, an antibiotic is very specific in what it does in your body.  Most of the methods I use work on the whole person.  Therefore everyone will have slightly different results depending upon the different state your body is in.  Your body is extremely smart.  Often it will go to work where you need it the most.  This is not the same for everyone.

These modalities show their healing effects much more slowly than your average pharmaceutical drug, so much so that sometimes you don’t feel an effect right away.  So how then?  Well, here are a few ways I have found give me an idea of what’s taking place.

1. Detox Symptoms

Juicing, a raw foods diet, alkaline ionized water and ASEA all help detoxify your body, sometimes causing “flu-like” symptoms which are your body’s way of telling you that it is getting rid of something it doesn’t want.

If this is so good for me, why do I feel so bad?

Also called a “healing crisis”, these symptoms can occur when your body is trying to expel toxins faster than they can be disposed of.  You may feel a headache, brain fog, fatigue or nausea.  You may even think you are getting sick, or that your detox mode isn’t working.  In fact, the opposite is the case.  This is a sign that whatever you are doing is working and that you are actually flushing toxins from your system.  Keep going!

How long does this healing crisis last, and how strong are the symptoms going to be?  That depends on what exactly you have been doing to yourself over your lifetime.  What toxins have you built up?  Have you made poor choices?  The longer and stronger your detox, the more, shall we say, “varied” your lifestyle choices may have been.

Hydrate.  Drink lots of good water during this time.  This will help the flushing process to occur more rapidly.  Shower often and maybe try dry brushing your skin.  Your skin is a major detox organ.  And lastly, get lots of rest.  If it’s really uncomfortable, decrease whatever it is you are doing and build slowly back up.

Tough it out though and you will get through to the other side feeling much better!

2. Energy

???????????????????????????????????????Your energy should pick up when you are taking care of yourself and your body is firing on all cylinders.  Although you may feel fatigue during a detox phase, you should notice a big energy boost as a result of juicing, a raw food diet, alkaline ionized water or ASEA.

Are your workouts all of a sudden easier?  Are you getting a lot more done around the house?  Is getting out of bed in the morning easier?  These are all obvious signs that your energy is picking up.

3.  Sleep

If your body is working properly you should sleep like a baby.  Although troubled sleep can also be a sign of stress issues, if everything is okay in that department you should fall asleep easily and wake up ready to go.  And remember just how important sleep is.  Your body is using all your healthy choices to heal itself while you are asleep.

4.  Skin

As mentioned above, your skin is a huge detox organ.  It’s obviously your only visible organ.  You can’t tell visually if your liver is improving as a result of green juicing, for example, but you should be able to see it in your skin almost immediately.

Just think of how you can see it in your face is you are not taking care of yourself!  Well, the opposite is true as well.

With any of the methods mentioned above you should see a significant improvement in your skin.  It should be clear, bright and tight.  Just how we all want it!

5.  Mental Clarity

When you are healthy andsecuredownload functioning well, your brain is healthy and functioning well.  You should have focus and concentration.  The more toxic your system is, the more brain fog you will have, and the more easily distracted you will be.

About a week into any detox plan you should begin to feel extremely clear headed and sharp.  This is a good sign that your body is cleaning up, that you are hydrated and that your brain and nervous system are getting the nutrients they need.

So there you have it.  This is how I tell if my healthy efforts are working… and when I’m derailing myself as well.  It’s amazing, but all these health choices contribute to great skin, mental clarity, peaceful sleep and terrific energy.  Employed all together the results are absolutely incredible!

Have you ever felt detox symptoms?  Have detox symptoms ever stopped you from continuing with a health regime?  Tell me about your experiences in the comments below.

Also if you found this article interesting, please share it on Facebook and Twitter!

Peace and love,
Birit

Alkaline ionized water is made by sending filtered water through an electrolysis chamber where it is separated into alkaline and acidic streams.  The resulting drinking water is highly antioxidant, alkaline and micro-clustered for extreme hydration.  I don’t drink anything else.

ASEA provides native, stabilized Redox Signaling molecules to the cells of your body. These molecules are vital to the protection and recovery of health at the cellular level.  They support cellular communication, enhanced immune function, protect against free radical damage, provide superior support to athletes and boost production of the body’s own antioxidants by up to 500%.  I love this new product and take it myself.

OMG Easy Raw Chocolate Chia Pudding

If you don’t know about chia seeds by now, this is a terrific first recipe to try. And, a great kid pleaser. Who says you can’t have chocolate pudding for breakfast?

Chia seeds were a staple food of the Mayans and Aztecs starting about 3,500 BC. So, they’ve been around for a while.  They are a true superfood. What that means is that they have an extreme nutritional profile in comparison to their caloric content and size.chia pudding

Chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids (more than salmon!), antioxidants, calcium, fiber and protein. And, the cool thing about them is that when you mix them with liquid they absorb about 10x their weight turning them into a thick gel. Perfect for puddings and jams (I’ll post the easiest jam recipe in the world another time), and perfect for feeling full when you are trying to lose weight.

Also in this chocolately recipe is raw cacao, another amazing superfood. Cacao is raw unprocessed cocoa (yes, just reverse the vowels). Whereas cocoa is practically nutritionally void as a result of processing, cacao is packed with antioxidants and magnesium.

It also contains phenylethylamine, anandamide, tryptophan and serotonin, all of which contribute to an elevated mood or sense of well-being. What could be better than that?

“With cacao there is fantastic hope for chocoholics everywhere! You can turn cravings for cooked processed chocolate into super nutrition with raw chocolate.” – David Wolfe in Superfoods

So, here’s the recipe….

chiaChocolate Chia Pudding

2 cups unsweetened almond milk (I use vanilla flavored)
¼ cup raw honey
3 tablespoons raw cacao (yes, you can substitute cocoa)
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
Pinch sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
6 tablespoons chia seeds

Put everything but the chia seeds in a blender and whirl until smooth and creamy. Beware at this point… if you taste this stuff you might be tempted to drink it all down.

It is that good.

Pour the chocolate mixture into a bowl and sprinkle in the chia seeds. Whisk well and leave to sit. Whisk every ten minutes or so for about half an hour. You will notice your pudding thickening each time you stir. When it is fairly thick put it in the refrigerator to finish. It should be completely done by the time it’s chilled.

Now, don’t eat the whole recipe at once. It’s filling, and a little goes a long way. Yum!

Peace and love,
Birit

The #1 Thing My Clients Will NOT Do For Me

People will tell me how old they are, how much they weigh, all about their lives, their bodies and everything in between. But, there is one thing people do not want to hear me ask. It’s like I’ve spoken into air when I do…

“Please write down everything you eat for a week and let me look at it.”

You would think I’d asked them to run down the street naked during rush hour.

I don’t know if it’s that they don’t want me to know, or if they just don’t want to face it themselves, but this is one of the most valuable things you can do to get your eating under control. In fact, it is absolutely the first thing you must do.

Why? Because it will likely surprise (shock?) you!photo

I seriously have never been told by anyone that they don’t eat well. Really? Everyone thinks they eat a healthy diet. But, I’ll tell you what, even I have to do this every once in a while to get a reality check.

Case in point. For months, when I went raw vegan (The 80/10/10 Diet by Dr. Douglas Graham to be exact) I used an online program called Cron-o-meter to track what I ate. You see, I was trying to eat 80% carbs, 10% fat and 10% protein. In the beginning, to keep to that I put every morsel I ate into a program online and it tracked…

- every vitamin
– every mineral
– every amino acid
– every kind of fat, and
– the calonutrient ratio of everything I ate, every day.

It was great. I kept to the nutrition plan I had prescribed for myself and actually got into analyzing it… seeing how perfect I could make it.

Months went by and I stopped keeping track. And I went off the wagon a little. A couple of weeks ago I decided to pull the reins back in and pay attention again. I went back into my program and entered all the foods I ate on what I thought was a pretty healthy day.

Ends up about 1/3 of my calories were coming from fat!  And I’d hardly even noticed it. It was avocado, almond milk, olives and such, not doughnuts, but STILL!

Believe me, you don’t realize what you are eating unless you do this!

Buck up and just do it. Face it. Find out exactly what you are putting into your body on a daily basis. This is a “must” first step to changing your eating habits for the better.

Now, there are many sites on the internet you can use to do this, but I will put in an unbiased plug for Cron-o-meter (cronometer.com). First of all it is FREE. Secondly, it is super easy to use. And, thirdly, it tracks in such amazing detail that your diet will become your science project.

cronometer2

Sorry it’s so blurry, but here is a screen shot of one of my days last week. The actual foods are at the top, the ratios in the middle and the breakdown of nutrients at the bottom.

You can choose your kind of diet… 80/10/10, Zone, low carb, Paleo or any percentage of carb/fat/protein you choose. You can add in exercise and the calories burned. It will keep you in line during the day with the number of calories you should be eating so that it’s easy to reach your goal.

Whether you use this program or not, use something! Don’t let fear stop you. Find out what you are doing to your body. If you are pleasantly surprised… great! But you will probably find some areas you can tweak to bring about your best diet, health, energy and clarity.

What have you got to lose?

Peace and love,

Birit

You Know This In Your Heart

Here’s the thing.  You know what you are supposed to do.  You know it in your heart. Intuitively. Instinctively. You know what to eat, how to behave, what to drink, how to live.  You know your potential.  But, you don’t want to change anything to get there.  Change is scary and uncomfortable.  And, we hate discomfort more than anything.

But, if you take only moderate action, you will get only moderate results.  You will feel moderately good.  You will lead a moderate life.

“The path to success is to take massive determined action.”  Anthony Robbins

To achieve huge, mind blowing results we all need to take massive action.  Why not?  Attack every angle of your life and your being.  Attack what you eat, who you spend time with, what you watch and listen to and how you think.  Guard what you let in your head and what you put in your body.mystic mermaid

It can’t help but change the direction of your life.  And quickly too.

“Shoulda, coulda and woulda won’t get it done. In attacking adversity, only a positive attitude, alertness and regrouping to basics can launch a comeback.” – Pat Riley

Beware.  You will have to confront some things that are uncomfortable.  You will have to let go of some things you realize aren’t serving you.  Change them.  Move on.  Break through.  You may be “comfortable” now, but do you really just want to be comfortable?  When you can be blissful, joyful and peaceful beyond your wildest dreams?

“Every positive change – every jump to a higher level of energy – involves a rite of passage. Each time, to ascend to a higher rung on the ladder of personal evolution, we must go through a period of discomfort, of initiation. I have never found an exception.” – Dan Millman

You can lead the life of your heart’s desire.

But, there is only one way there… massive action through the discomfort.  You have a choice every minute as to how you want to proceed.

Peace and love,

Birit

Easiest Ever Cashew Cream Cheese

I think the biggest hurdle to overcome when going vegan is cheese. For me, and a lot of people I talk to, cheese is the food we miss most. It’s so much a part of all our comfort foods… lasagna, grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza. Meat was much easier for me to let go of.

Chevre with Herbes de Provence and Seed Crackers

Chevre with Herbes de Provence and Seed Crackers

So, one of the first things I did when I made the choice to move to a plant based diet was to try some of the nut cheeses that are so simple to create.

This easy cream cheese made from cashews is super creamy and has a nice cheesy flavor thanks to the nutritional yeast. The variations to it are endless. You can add red pepper and jalapeno to make it a nacho cheese, all manner of herbs and a clove of garlic, or you can thin it out with water or juicy veggies like peppers to make it a cheese sauce. Adding some of the water from cooking pasta (I like corn pasta) makes a nice cheese sauce for raw or gently steamed veggies and pasta.

This cheese makes a great spread for sandwiches and is perfect on crackers. Anywhere and any way you would use regular dairy cream cheese.

Here’s how to make it.

Easy Cashew Cream Cheesecheeseingreds

1 ½ cup cashews
Juice of 1 lemon
1 ½ tsp sea salt
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
¼ cup filtered water

Soak your cashews for several hours or overnight in filtered water, rinse and drain. Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until very smooth.

That’s it! What could be easier?

Why do I soak the nuts? Soaking your nuts before eating them makes them much easier for your body to digest. Nuts have enzyme inhibitors which protect the nut from going bad, or germinating. These enzyme inhibitors also make it harder for our digestive systems to break the nuts down. Soaking your nuts, preferably for at least 12 hours, activates the enzymes and washes away the inhibitors, this making it much easier for our digestive system. Blending the nuts, as in this cheese recipe, makes them even easier to digest.

cashewcheeseNutritional yeast is the secret ingredient in many nut cheeses. It is an inactive yeast that is yellow in color, flakey, and has a cheesy, nutty flavor. It is high in B vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc and protein. It is not, however, raw. Heat is used to make it “inactive”. Also, it is very different from brewer’s yeast, which is not delicious. So, don’t mix them up.

Nutritional yeast is great on popcorn, or sprinkled on pasta. You can make vegan parmesan out of it by processing almonds and nutritional yeast in your food processor until parm consistency. It is also good in cooked mashed potatoes.

One note about nut cheeses… moderation. These are high in fat and calories just like dairy cheese, so go easy. This is a condiment, not a main course, yummy though they are.

Give this cheese a try and let me know if you like it. Please post any comments or questions you have in the space below!

If you like this post, please share it on Pinterst or Facebook.

Love and peace,
Birit

Your #1 Step Towards a Plant-Based Diet

Okay, so you want to change your diet. We all know what is healthy. Fruits and vegetables. But, how can we easily and painlessly get more and more into our lifestyles?  I am going to give you 2 simple ideas.

#1 is a morning smoothie.

When I coach people to towards a new and healthier way of eating the first thing I usually have them do is change their breakfast to a morning smoothie. Smoothies not only taste great, but they are a terrific way to get a ton of nutrients in a small package.

Smoothies are easy to digest, and filling without weighing you down.

I just cut this up... it was, I kid you not, the best papaya I have ever tasted...

I just cut this up… it was, I kid you not, the best papaya I have ever tasted…

They are also a breeze to make. Here’s how to get the most bang for your smoothie buck.

1. Always have frozen fruit in your freezer. Peel very ripe bananas and put them in a freezer bag. Have a bag of frozen blueberries on hand. Peel mangos or papayas, cut them into chunks, freeze them on a cookie sheet and place them in a freezer bag. Frozen fruit makes your smoothie cold and creamy like a milkshake.

2. You can also freeze almond milk or coconut water into cubes to have on hand to chill your smoothie.

3. Place a frozen banana and some other fruit of your choice (about another 1 – 1 ½ cups of fruit) in a blender. I use a high speed Vitamex (the best blender on the planet) because it whips my smoothie up into a perfectly smooth, creamy shake.

4. Add 2 more room temperature bananas and a big handful of organic baby spinach.

5. Add about a cup of almond milk, coconut water or good purified water.

6. You can also get into adding in some superfoods… maca, rhodiola, cacao, bee pollen (not strictly vegan)… you can get really creative here, but more about that another time.

A truly ripe banana has brown freckles.  It's starch has converted to sugar... sweet!

A truly ripe banana has brown freckles. It’s starch has converted to sugar… sweet!

7. Blend, blend, blend baby! I always knock a few spirulina tablets back with my smoothie for a mega nutrient blast.

I also add in a raw vegan protein powder. I like Sun Warrior. I only do this when I am working out A LOT. For the average exerciser you really don’t need anything extra. Honest.

This smoothie is a meal. It has a meal sized calorie count of about 500. Don’t be afraid of calories here. They are what will keep you full until lunch time.

A word about color. A smoothie with bananas, papaya, mango or other light colored fruit will be a lovely bright green with the addition of spinach. I promise you will come to love this color. Just suck it up and get used to it. But, if you add blueberries and spinach to your smoothie it will be a dark steel gray. Seriously, a little scary. It will also taste seriously delicious, but the color may put you off a little at first.

And another thing… “chew” your smoothie, don’t just gulp it down. Digestion starts in your mouth with the enzymes in your saliva. Start the process off right and don’t bypass the first step.

Once you get used to doing this it’s a snap to make one every morning. You will be starting your day with a boost of nutrition and a leg up on your total vitamin and mineral count for the day.

Collard Wraps

Collard Wraps

The #2 suggestion I have for getting more healthy foods into your life is to make one day each week high raw vegan.

You’ve probably heard of Meatless Mondays. It’s kind of like that, but I like to focus on what I’m adding in, not what I’m taking out.

On this day start out with your smoothie. I personally eat fruit all day and move to starches and veggies at dinner. You can do this or have salad at lunch.

Here is what a day might look like…

- Breakfast smoothie
– Mid morning bowl of fresh pineapple, mango or apples and dates
– Green juice at noon followed by a salad or more fruit
– Dinner of stir-fried veggies and brown riceveganchili

Other dinner ideas could be no-meat chili, zucchini lasagna, vegetables and marinara sauce over pasta… the ideas are endless and so delicious. You don’t have to start out raw or ever even go there all the way. I will start posting recipes on my new website soon showing you how to do some high raw, but still cooked dishes.

The idea is to get used to “how to” do a completely healthy day, but not have to do it every day at first. There is a bit of a learning curve and we do have to get used to cooking our own food once again. We have given over far too much of the cooking to factories and big business, and we know whose interests they work for.

Can you do this? What are your thoughts and questions? Please comment below and let me know what you do to get more nutrition into your day. Do you have a great healthy dinner meal? Please let me know!

I would love to hear from you.

Peace and love,
Birit

Don’t Let the Future Sabotage Your Now

make a decisionI was recently reading a newsletter I get from an optimal living website called Entheos.  This article was written by Tommy Rosen who is a yoga teacher and addiction recovery expert.

“It is July. I am one month sober from drug addiction. I feel much better than I did a month ago when the idea of going one day without using drugs seemed impossible.

On this day, I wake up agitated. I’m not feeling together. I think about going to a 12-step meeting, but I don’t. I think about going to the gym, but don’t. Instead, I smoke a cigarette and descend into negative thinking. I feel like I should be further along in life than I am. Suddenly, the thought enters my head: ‘When I go home to visit my family around Christmas, I’ll be feeling shitty then, too, and everyone will be drinking and partying. I’ll never be able to stay sober then.’ Of course, the next thought is: ‘Since I will not stay sober at Christmas, why bother staying sober now?’ This is called borrowing trouble from the future. It is the opposite of living ‘one day at a time’.”

I think we can get into this way of thinking about any positive change of habit we try to make in our lives, be it diet, exercise, sugar, alcohol, sleep… anything.

On this day make a choice.  Make a choice for today.  Whatever it is.

And then do it one day at a time.

I’m not saying, just change your habit one day at a time.  There is a subtle difference.  Make the commitment.  Make a conscious choice for the future, and then practice it one day at a time and forget about the future.

Don’t cut yourself down by anticipating failure in the future.  Don’t weaken your resolve today by imagining what you may or may not do at some point in time.  Focus on the present.

Tell yourself, “I will make the best choice for myself today.  That is all I can do.  That is the best I can do.”

I see this happening a lot with food.  People anticipate social events, relatives visiting, their spouse’s reaction, going to restaurants.  They get so overwhelmed I end up hearing “I can’t”.  And once you’ve said I can’t… well… you can’t.

In reality, all you have to worry about is your next meal.  What is your choice going to be?  Make the best choice you can, and move on.

And if you didn’t make a great choice?  Move on anyway and do your best the next time.

But don’t get into future-ing or you will become overwhelmed.  If I think “I am going to eat well today” that is much easier to digest (pun intended) than thinking I’m going to eat well for the rest of my life even at Christmas time no matter what.

Insert any habit into the above.

Make a decision.  Make a commitment.  Practice it one day at a time.

Peace and love,

Birit

Why You Should Not Be 100% Raw (but, never say never…)

Eat a lot of greens.
Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.
Eat very little fat.
Your protein will take care of itself.  Really.

When I first started eating a raw food diet I went down the path that is commonly referred to as “gourmet raw”.  By this I mean that I ate a lot of nuts.  Nut butters, nut cream sauces, nuts for snacks, etc.  I never left the house without a bag of almond to snack on.

“Virtually every raw “gourmet” food you are likely to encounter is loaded with fat.  A high-fat raw diet leaves us dehydrated, deoxygenated and undernourished.” – Dr. Douglas Graham, The 80/10/10 Diet.

I bought lots of cookbooks with amazingly, delicious looking pictures of pizzas and lasagnas and thought, oh, this will be easy.DSC_0037

Partly I thought that I needed the protein in the nuts.  Which is wrong, firstly because we simply don’t need the huge amount of protein the dairy and meat industries would have us believe and, secondly, because nuts are mostly FAT.

So I ended up eating a ton of vegetables and a lot of nuts which, if you look at the caloric ratio, means that I was getting at least 50% of my calories from fat.  Probably more.

Now, I wasn’t really thinking about this and I loved the food.  But… I wasn’t feeling great.  I had a heavy, tired feeling all the time.  I could tell my digestion wasn’t optimum.

And I was confused.  Here I was eating what was supposed to be the most healthy food on the planet and I wasn’t feeling like it.

The big lightbulb moment occurred when I finally read Dr. Douglas Graham’s book The 80/10/10 Diet.  In this concise little book Dr. Graham talks a lot about the calonutrient ratio of your diet.  He maintains that the best diet is a ratio of 80/10/10.  That’s at least 80% carbohydrates, not more than 10% protein and not more than 10% fat.

Pretty much the opposite of the high protein, low carb standard of recent years.  Not to mention Paleo.

Being a person who likes to throw herself into things 150%, I started eating this way.  Now the 80% carbs are not what you might think.  He means that 80% of your calories should come from FRUITS and VEGETABLES.  Not bread and pasta.Book 80-10-10 diet

Think about that.  You have about 2,000 calories to eat a day give or take.  So, that’s about 1600 calories from fruits and veggies, 200 calories from fats and 200 calories from protein.

That is a TON of produce.  That’s a TON of nutrition flooding your body.  And your fat calories get used up in a heartbeat.

But ahead I went.  And, let me tell you, I felt absolutely amazing.  I have never felt as energized and as clear as I feel eating a high carbohydrate raw vegan diet.

And, if you want to be the leanest you’ve ever been with the clearest skin of your life, this is the way to go.

The thing was, I just couldn’t seem to keep it up.  I’d rock it for about six weeks and then fall off.  It was like I was craving some food with “weight” or density.  I was frustrated.  It was even hard keeping my weight up.

For me, I needed to add in some cooked, heavier elements.  This ends up being brown rice, beans, potatoes or some other such carb in my salad at night.

I also added some raw vegan protein powder into my morning smoothie.  I work as a fitness instructor and I exercise for a couple of hours each day.  I feel that if you are extremely physically active you do need more (vegan!!) protein in your diet.

Yes, yes, yes, I still eat nuts sometimes, but not very often.  I prefer seeds like hemp, chia and sunflower.  And, yes I still splurge and eat naughty things occasionally.  I do not aspire to be perfect, and I do like to socialize.

Here is where I have ended up at the present time.  A typical day…

  1. Big fruit SMOOTHIE in the morning (we’re talking 3 bananas, blueberries, papaya, alkaline or coconut water, a couple of cups of spinach, some Sun Warrior protein and a few other superfoods that I like to include).
  2. Noontime JUICE which is usually kale, cucumber, celery, apple, lemon and ginger.  Or, a wheatgrass juice shot at my local juice bar (awesome!).
  3. Lunch is just FRUIT, either in another smoothie or just as is.  Whatever you love.  Whatever is in season.  You can eat as much fruit as you want for lunch.
  4. Dinner is a major, and I mean major, SALAD.  I use a large salad bowl just for myself and fill it with all different kinds of greens.  The more different kinds of veggies, the more varied the nutrients.  That’s the base, and then I add in whatever other veggies I have in the fridge.  Here is where some cooked food comes in.  I might throw some rice in, or olives, black beans, grilled Portobello mushrooms, chopped veggie burgers, potato… so that it is always new and different.

IMG_0769It takes me quite a while to eat this salad.  It is really big.

That’s it.  By then I’m stuffed.  But the food I’ve eaten digests so quickly that by morning I’m feeling light and energetic all over again.

The more you eat this way, the more you will crave it.  The less bad, processed, over salted, over sugared food you eat, the less you will crave it.

Move in this direction… one smoothie and salad at a time.

Eat a lot of greens.
Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.
Eat very little fat.
Your protein will take care of itself.  Really.

What do you think?  Could you make a move in this direction?  Make my day and let me know with a comment below.

Peace and love,
Birit

Don’t Let Them Get You Down

When we decide to make any positive changes in our lives, be it diet, exercise, whatever, we often expect our friends and family to be happy for us. To support us. Hell, to even cheer us on!

I’ve heard it said time and time again that it’s such a surprise when this doesn’t happen. More surprising is when our immediate, so called, support group seems to be unhappy with our changes. Even resentful.

How can this be?40024705[1]

I saw this clearly years ago. I was involved with an alcoholic, which is no walk in the park to begin with. I would go back and forth between joining him in his partying and totally abstaining. You would think not drinking would be a good thing, right? But, I remember his absolute joy when I would break down. Even though it was obvious that it was making me tremendously unhappy. I knew he love me, but his love couldn’t overcome his need for approval and validation of his own behavior, self destructive though it was.

The same kind of thing happened when I became a high raw vegan. People I love and am close to had an oddly negative response that I didn’t expect. You’ll never keep it up. You won’t get enough protein and you’ll get sick. Why would you want to eat that “stuff”? The negativity was almost overwhelming.

Their reaction, as I see now, was and is a response to their own feelings about the way they behave. We want our unhealthy behaviors to be validated. We want to hang with people who do the same things we do so we feel like, hey, it’s okay, everyone does this.

Such is the atmosphere at any bar or MacDonald’s.

On the positive side, it’s also the atmosphere at any gym or juice bar.

They say you should surround yourself with people who lift you up. They say that you will become like the people you spend time with.

But what about your friends and family who don’t support your new healthy lifestyle? Do you just dump them? What if it’s a spouse?

Here is where some intestinal fortitude comes in. Here is where you’ve got to be strong.

You absolutely must guard your own vision for your life. Constantly. Consistently. With boundaries.

This reminds me of Don Miguel Ruiz’s wonderful book, “The Four Agreements”, the second agreement in particular.

“Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”

It will feel like people want to tear you down. It will feel like they resent you. It will feel like you have betrayed them in some way.

Ignore it.

Instead, be a light for them. Guard your vision for your health and happiness with all your strength and they will come to see the wisdom of your path. And if they don’t, it just wasn’t time for them yet.

Obviously there may be a point at which you have to weigh the wisdom of keeping some people in your life, or moving on without them.

Someone who does support me once told me, when I was going to eat something I would have regretted, that the self loathing wasn’t worth it. The self loathing you feel from giving in to those who try to bring you down isn’t worth the momentary thrill from whatever it is they are trying to get you to give into.

Staying true to your vision will always bring you peace. It will make you stronger.

Don’t sacrifice your vision for anyone.
Not even for one day.
Not even for one hour.
Not for a second.

Peace and love,

Birit