When people hear the term “raw food” they often tend to think that it is a complicated way of eating that requires lots of discipline. Partially they may be right. Partially. But there is so much more to raw food and if you look at it from a different perspective, then perhaps you too would give it a try. And that perspective is through the lens of shopping.
Let’s side track for a minute and think of a special party that you were looking forward to attending, like prom or your cousin’s wedding. If you are like me, then you probably started looking for a dress months in advance. I remember that before my prom, my mom and I took a train up to New York for a weekend to find the dress that I loved. It took hours.
First we had to find dresses that looked good on the rack. Then we had wait in long lines to the fitting rooms in order for me to try them on. Then, we had to weigh the pros and cons of each dress as far as price and value. Once that was decided, we would put the dress on hold and go to another store to make sure we didn’t find anything better. Let me just say that it was one long weekend, but in the end, it was worth it – I did get the dress and I looked great at the prom.
So, how does that go with the raw foods? I think it is all about the value of discipline and figuring out whether you are worth the effort or not. It is a well-known fact that raw food has the enzymes and vitamins that your body needs to flourish. But when we cook our food, they are destroyed. Due to the lack of food enzymes, our bodies have to work extra hard on digesting the food, instead of sending nutrients to the cells and burning off extra fat. And because most of the vitamins are destroyed during cooking, our bodies crave more and more food, leading people to overeat.
But if you look at raw foods as something that will make you look and feel great for the entire life, not just a day, you will see how valuable raw foods are. And they don’t require hours like shopping does. I personally know many people who cured diseases, increased energy and lost weight on raw foods. And because there is no actual cooking involved, you have more time on your hands to do other things.
Lastly, I want to say that raw food takes LESS time to prepare than cooked food, simply because you don’t cook it! Yes, there are things that need to be soaked overnight or sprouted, but you don’t have to stand next to the stove for hours as you would with cooked foods. All that is required of you is to put the items in the water (takes less than 1 minute) and rinse the next day (takes less than 1 minute again). It does take remembering to do these simple actions, but then again, what doesn’t? We all brush our teeth everyday, twice a day because we want to avoid going to the dentist. So, why not introduce more simple raw foods into your diet if it will help you avoid going to the doctor?
Now, I don’t suggest that you should go on an all-raw food diet and forget about the simple pleasures of sharing a home-cooked meal with friends and family. I, myself, occasionally eat foods that are contain animal products because I found that with my bio-individuality that is what my body needs. However all ingredients are organic and from humanely-treated and raised animals and these foods are not the staples of my daily diet.
What I do advise my clients is to experiment with raw foods and to leave excuses behind. If you don’t like all raw foods, then it’s ok, as long as you gave it a fair chance. But you won’t know unless you try it, just like you have to look for a dress that has the right fit and color for you.
Your body is worth nourishing and pampering. It is worth receiving all the best foods available so you would look and feel great. I think that if we spend hours shopping for clothes that will make us look good for a special occasion, then we are definitely worth looking and feeling good during our entire lives.
I encourage you to give some raw foods a shot and see how you like them. You are worth having a healthy, beautiful body, and raw foods are an easy way to achieve just that. To begin, just start adding a banana to your morning donut or add some kale to a fruit smoothie. For lunch and dinner, add a big green salad and some of your favorite raw vegetables. Start small and you will still see the difference. Take a look at my "Getting Started" Tab for more ideas!
Cheers to your health!
Valentine’s Day is around the corner and that often means going out to eat and having drinks. With a plethora of beverages to choose from, many people feel lost in the choice and we are here to help you solve the dilemma.
Of course the number one beverage of choice would be a non-alcoholic, 100% organic, cold-pressed juice like OnJuice, for example. But let’s face it, those are not usually available at most parties. On average I have one alcoholic drink a week and if I attend lots of parties, then I stick to my invented concoction of sparkling water or soda water with 1 teaspoons of lime juice. Usually the bartender will either have a lime juice mix which does have sugar, but I figure that 1 teaspoon of it won’t be a big deal.
The reason why I limit myself to 1 glass of alcohol a week is because it is very stressful for the liver to process. Since liver is the largest organ in the body and is also responsible for detoxification of your system, it is crucial to keep it happy and healthy. This point is especially important to remember when it comes to hard liquor. Yes, vodka may not have any calories, but its high alcohol content can undermine your liver function. When liver gets overwhelmed, the metabolism can get sluggish, pounds can start pilling on and the mood and quality of life can start to go down.
However, I do indulge about once a week and my alcoholic beverage of choice is a glass of bubbly or red wine, both of which add up to about 120 calories a serving. Research has shown that in moderation, red wine has positive benefits for the heart, so it can give you a better bang for your nutritional buck. One tip of the trade: if you drink one glass of wine, it will relax your system, but if you over-indulge, then it can actually cause the opposite effect and result in insomnia.
Healthier alcoholic options:
First I want to give thanks and share some fabulous news - I have joined the team at DeliverLean.com, a gourmet food delivery company in Boca Raton, FL., and as the new Director of Public Relations it is my job to promote the convenience of healthy eating! DeliverLean's mission to help people get healthy is very much in line with my own beliefs and I am very grateful to be working with this company.
Right now we average about 70,000 meals a month and offer Traditional, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Organic and Vegetarian meal options. We even have a new line of 100% organic, cold-pressed juices and gluten-free desserts (talk about great work benefits when I get to sample them!) I will keep you updated on more news as we are launching some great products soon.
While right now I am working at DeliverLean part-time, I am still coaching clients and making Raw Vegan Food. So with that in mind, I want to share some November tips, especially on how to avoid that famous Thanksgiving Food Coma
When we think of Thanksgiving a few images may come to mind: roasted turkey in the middle of the table, family members gathering together, football game on TV and the often inevitable food coma. While we love our holiday traditions to repeat annually, this year I want to propose a new ending to your thanksgiving feast - a comfortable satisfaction and easy mobility. Here are our top 3 tips to avoiding Thanksgiving Food Coma:
1. The week of Thanksgiving: I often see people over-indulging at Thanksgiving because they deprive themselves in weeks before the holidays. To avoid overeating in one big meal, allow yourself small treats through out the month. For example, at DeliverLean we have guilt-less desserts that can be enjoyed any day of the week. Their low-calorie Spiced Pumpkin Pie muffins are a fabulous way to satisfy a sweet tooth which can help clients be less likely to over-indulge in a traditional pumpkin pie after the big dinner.
2. The Day of Thanksgiving: Make sure you eat small balanced meals through out the day, especially before the big turkey dinner. The impulse may often be to dramatically restrict your calories beforehand, however that may backfire when your eyes become bigger than your stomach. Instead of starving yourself, enjoy small, portion-controlled, balanced meals with your favorite holiday flavors. That way when dinner comes around you won't be anxious to dig in and instead will make the best food choices for yourself.
3. During Thanksgiving Dinner: When you find yourself sitting in front of all your holiday favorites, first thing to do is to take a deep breath and make a conscious plan of what dishes you would like to indulge in first. Fill up half of your plate with green veggies and salad, one quarter with your favorite starchy side dishes and leave a palm-sized space for the protein.
Slow down during the meal and focus on enjoying the conversations with the family and friends. Wait 20 minutes after you are done with your plate before you reach for the seconds. If you choose to get more food, eat it slowly and with gusto and pleasure. By taking your time to eat slowly, chewing every bite and enjoying every morsel, you will help your body do its best to digest the food and leave you happy and satisfied.
You know the drill of a diet: You are committed. You are motivated. You are doing it. You lose the weight by avoiding red meat, extra fat and sugar. You exercise. You get to your goal weight. And then you face a simple question - What happens AFTER the weight loss?
Will you go back to your old eating habits, rewarding yourself with food for your success and ultimately getting back to the previous weight? OR will you be on a diet forever, counting each calorie and watching every ounce on the scale? Which one of these life options are you destined to live? To me, that's neither of those is a life. Eating foods that you know are not loving your body, that make you tired and weak is not fun in the end of the day. Eating dull foods that you despise is also not a very pleasant process. So, what's a girl to do?
I believe in life WITHOUT a diet from the beginning. I believe in choosing foods that NOURISH your body AND that you actually happen to love to eat. There is no "OR". There has to be an "AND." Only when you reach the perfect harmony of eating foods for pleasure AND health will you forget about the word diet and actually start to live. Your body will show you how beautiful it can be when you give it the foods it needs. Your spirit will soar with joy from eating delicious fresh foods that are bursting with energy.
In my experience life begins when you eat a lot of foods that are alive themselves - raw fruits and vegetables. I am not advocating to eat 100% raw vegan foods for everyone, but I do believe that eating a lot of them will change the way you feel and give you a lot of loving energy. Try it for yourself. Pick juicy fruits that you love. Try some new vegetables and you may be surprised that you enjoy their taste. If it is animal protein that gives you strength and pleasure, then chose the best quality, organic, humanely-raised meats.
You only have this one body in this life, so love it up! Don't waste time on diets. Pick fabulous foods, feel the energy and enjoy your life, starting this very moment. It is time to Let Yourself Blossom!
Many of my friends keep asking me about digestion and how it works. To explain this complex system in basic terms, I once again want to compare it to shopping.
Imagine Neiman Marcus... Oh, the shoes, the purses, the dresses... Heaven! But to make this store look so good, it takes a lot of work. Let's take a look at what is going on behind the scenes with these key players: buying office, vendors, warehouse, transportation department, stores and customers.
The buying office is like your brain, where all decisions are made as it analyzes what the stores need (based on consumer reports) and then makes appropriate purchases with the vendors.
In this scenario, think of the food that you eat as if it is a vendor that is sending nutrition to your cells. It is like Jimmy Choo sending a new line of shoes to consumers to enjoy.
Then, there is a warehouse, which is like your digestive track that sorts the food. We also have our own transportation department which takes the nutrients extracted from the food to the organs, which are like the stores. Finally, you have your blood cells which are the final customers in this chain.
When you take a bite of your food and it enters your body, imagine it as garments being delivered to the warehouse. If the garments are on hangers and packaged in proper boxes, it is easy for the warehouse to see what is being delivered and how it needs to be sorted to be shipped to stores. Then trucks, just like your blood, transport the clothes to the stores. nutrition in the arteries to the appropriate organs so that the cells can use it.
Once the items are sorted, they are loaded on trucks that can take it to the designated stores. There, items are merchandised for the customers like yours truly to enjoy. But that can only happen if all of the key players are working well and if the merchandise is delivered clean and undamaged. But... the chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
What will happen if the garments are damaged as they were treated with chemicals? Or arrived in dirty boxes? What will happen if the roads are a mess? What if there aren't enough trucks? What if the trash collectors can't get to the warehouse to remove the waste? While there is a calculated estimate for a certain amount of "damaged goods", it is definitely not a big percent of the total budget. I think that if all the goods weren't up to the standard Neiman Marcus required, then they would lose their customers and go out of business. And unfortunately that is what can happen to the human body if the food that one eats becomes the weakest link in the chain - it can damage the entire operation.
When we eat mostly cooked food that is covered in pesticides, it is just like receiving damaged goods. When food is heated, it loses the vitamins that are necessary for the cells and it loses enzymes that are necessary for digestion. So, if the your body receives foods that are damaged, your "warehouse" handles it as poorly packed merchandise, so the your mind thinks that it needs more food, in case there isn't enough nutrition for your cells to use. By eating more food, there is more stress on the digestive track that has to sort through it and find the necessary nutrition. And if the food is cooked, then there are no digestive enzymes that can help with this process. Also, if the food comes with pesticides, antibiotics and hormones, then your body has to either throw the toxins out or store them in your body. But if the elimination track gets too busy, then the items need to be stored in additional fat tissue.
There is also a tremendous stress on your blood (your trucks) in your arteries (our roads). For example, if there is too much saturated fat in your diet, then it can get stuck to the sides of your arteries letting less and less blood to move around. This prevents the nutrition to get to your cells and can even slow down the connection between the cells and the brain. And if there is a poor connection between the stores and the buying the office, then the buying office may not be able to order the appropriate items... Well, you get the picture.
Personally, I still enjoy my brownie with vanilla ice cream once in a while, but not every day. While it is something that I may like, I don't want to risk my health by eating it all the time. And I definitely don't want to load up my system with too much food to sort. The funny thing is that if you get too much of what you want, but not what you need, you end up having too much of it either thrown out or stored in your body. And to me, that is just not worth it.
I am not encouraging anyone to go 100% raw vegan, but I hope that you will think about your own appropriate estimate for the non-pure foods that will not damage or mess up your system. It will vary for everyone and you have to find the one that works best for you. So this Spring, send your gratitude to your hard-working digestive system and find the right balance where you get to enjoy your food and the feeling you get after you eat it.
Why ask me?
- After many challenges and different crazy life experiences I am living my dream life and since my friends say I am pretty wisdomous and I think I am a little bit funny too, I want to share my life approach with you so you can live the life you love as well.
Here is a little bit about me:
- I am a creator of #1 Best Diet as selected by Harpers Baazar Magazine
- I started my career in the corporate world and didn't even know how to peel a shallot
- I have been a chef for celebrities for over 10 years
- I have a realistic approach to food and life
- I have a great relationship with food and can even let chocolate go bad because I simply forget I have it at home (something I wasn't able to do 10 years ago)
- I eat carbs whenever I feel like it without any guilt
- I used to hate to cook and now absolutely love being a private chef and a food relationship coach
- I wear whatever clothes I desire no matter what everyone is wearing or thinking
- I am in good shape and my body’s biological age is 13 years younger than the one in my passport
- I have experience being super poor, super wealthy and in between
- I’ve worked in corporate world and am now an entrepreneur
- I was married and divorced
- I used to cry going to work because I was so miserable with my boss
- I’ve had an emotional eating disorder
- I moved from Russia to USA alone at the age of 15
- I’ve lived in Russia, Europe and on both coasts of USA
- I have been super skinny and overweight
- I have been insecure and unhappy with reasons and secure and happy for no reason
- I used to wear glasses and healed my eyes with the power of thought and exercises
- I created "Couture Nutrition®" so you can have tailor-made solutions for your body and soul
- My brain usually comes up with jokes to soften stressful situations
- I think color coordination, sparkles and rainbows are underused