Vegetarian food on Moorea Island in French Polynesia

On my honeymoon here in French Polynesia. Right now we are on the island of Moorea. Much of the cuisine here is French style. Tons of fish and meat oriented dishes. There is a lack of awareness amongst locals and the hotel staff regarding vegetarian food on the island, though there are many options available if you choose to seek it out. It does amaze me that given how expensive everything is and the number of tourists that come through that there are not more veggie options.

The fruits here are great, pineapple and papaya especially. There are citrus and coconuts too.

Many restaurants have pizza, pasta and salads to choose from if you are vegetarian. All places have desserts….Chocolate mousse, ice creams, creme brule.

Some recommendations:

Intercontinental Hotel: several options on the menu, including a salad (tell them what you want and they will make it), a veggie pizza, veggie sandwich (again, tell them what you want on it, it isn’t on the menu), veggie stir fry noodles (they have tofu…but you need to ask them for it), French fries, samosas. The breakfast buffet here is epic. Made to order eggs, pastries, fruit bar, cereals, potatoes, several steamed veggies, meats, coffee and self serve espresso machine. We got the breakfast every day and then just had an afternoon snack and dinner.

Le Sunset restaurant at the Hibiscus Hotel: veggie pizza was very good, best of three pizzas we had here so far. The goat cheese salad was great and very big. We also had French fries (thick cut, like steak fries). The view is remarkable, right on the beach. Prices are also affordable compared to other places. The owner will pick up and drop off if you stay nearby.

Les Tipaniers: close to the intercontinental hotel, this place had an amazing vegetarian lasagna. We also had a veggie pasta dish that was quite good. Prices are decent, though Le Sunset was cheaper. They also pick up and drop off from hotels nearby.

Le Plantation: this place actually had a section of the menu labelled vegetarian! They had a few options….a veggie/soy pasta dish, a tofu mango stir fry with rice and some other stuff. The food was decent. However it was very expensive and I preferred the food at the other places noted above.

Overall, as long as you eat cheese/eggs, there is plenty to eat here for vegetarians. Vegans will need to be creative and plan ahead – bring a few bags of nuts, visit the local grocery store for fruits when you arrive. It is doable to travel here as a vegan, but definitely plan for it!

Also, prices are costly, even small restaurants outside the large hotels will cost about $80 for dinner for two….for one drink each, a salad to share, two entrees and a dessert to share. Costs are roughly double what I would pay back in Seattle at a decent restaurant.

Why Did Steve Jobs Die?

I think this is an incredibly important article to read, especially in light of Job’s passing and his authorized biography illustrating what an impact his diet had on his persona.

According to Dr. McDougall, Job’s plant-based diet was not at fault for his cancer. On the contrary, it surely did enable him to live longer than would have been ever thought possible with such a disease.

http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2011nl/nov/jobs.htm

Tony Robbins Health Mastery Tips

The other day I came across some notes from from a few Tony Robbins programs I attended. As we emerge from the holiday’s and the overeating that typically goes along with it, these will come in handy to help us get back on track.

Tony Robbins Health Mastery Tips: Eight Key Principles for Maximum Nourishment

  1. Break your fast every morning with green vegetables, green juices, non-acid producing, low-sugar fruits and fruit juices or light alkalizing foods only
  2. Properly combine your foods for maximum health. Eat one concentrated food in a meal and do not combine carbohydrates and proteins in the same meal
  3. Eat comfortable amounts of food to maximize energy and nutrition
  4. Consume quality oils (Udo’s oil, flax, primrose and olive oil)
  5. Do not eat when you are stressed or tired
  6. Do not drink water during meals (dilutes the digestive fire)
  7. Eat organic food whenever possible
  8. Do not eat condensed foods, especially animal proteins, immediately before going to bed

Other important tips….

  • Consume 70% from water-rich foods (raw-living foods) – have a salad with every meal!
  • Avoid animal flesh – it’s highly acid-producing
  • Avoid dairy – it’s highly acid producing
  • Eliminate acid-addictions (caffeine, sugar, salt, nicotine, alcohol)
  • Eliminate processed fats

Take The 10 Day Challenge!

Try the above for 10 days and see how you feel. Make it a 10 day challenge to your own health and wellness. Ask a buddy to join you! Leave a comment and let me know how it goes.

Interview with Vegan Bodybuilder Robert Cheeke (Part 2/3)

Here is part 2 (of 3) of my interview with Vegan Bodybuilder Robert Cheeke. You can see part 1 of the interview here.

In this segment, we cover:

  • Robert’s story of transformation from 125 pounder to 200 pound vegan bodybuilder
  • How to gain weight on a plant-based diet
  • The importance of a journal – keeping track of your goals and training progress
  • Tips to staying motivated and achieving goals

Enjoy!

Interview with Vegan Bodybuilder Robert Cheeke (Part 1/3)

<if you can’t see the video embedded in this post, click here>

A few months ago I got the chance to sit down with Robert Cheeke, my good friend and an accomplished vegan bodybuilder. Robert is currently super-busy working on his second documentary (“Vegan Brothers in Iron”), his first book (due out sometime soon!) and touring the country as a representative for Vega and as motivational speaker. He frequently gives talks at health/fitness festivals, universities and vegetarian/animal rights conferences.

Robert is a super-motivating guy who really walks his talk – he’s been vegan for over 15 years and in that time has gone from 120 pounder to 190+ pound bodybuilder, all using 100% plant-based nutrition. I split the interview into three different clips. I’ll post the second two in the next week or two, but wanted to share this one with you right away.

In this <10 minute clip, we discuss:

  • What Robert is up to – filming, speaking, competing!
  • Update on his latest competitions
  • Common nutrition “pitfalls” many vegans make
  • His favorite 100% plant-based protein sources

Enjoy!

Vegan Bodybuilder Robert Cheeke Interview (Part 1/3)

BTW…if you have questions for Robert, please leave them in the comments to this post and we’ll address them in a future post.

Kitchen Sink Rice Stew (Vegan)

The final product, not a soup...not a casserole...I guess its a stew?
The final product, not a soup...not a casserole...I guess it's a stew?

I got the idea for this while visiting my sister over the weekend. We decided to make a soup and ended up using whatever was available. It turned out amazingly well! The awesome thing is that it took very little effort to make.

In my effort to recreate the soup this evening I did something wrong…and it turned out much thicker, more like a thick rice stew.  I think the reason mine turned out this way is that I added rice instead of quinoa (which my sister used). I also used about twice as much rice as I should have :).

It still tastes incredibly good so I thought I’d share with all of you.

Cooking time is about 40 minutes and total time including all prep is about 50 minutes – depending on how fast you are at chopping stuff up. In fact, you could probably get by with less cooking time but I like to give it a while for all the flavors to soak into the rice.

Ingredients...use organic stuff where possible!
Ingredients...use organic stuff where possible!

The key is components of the stew are:

  1. a bunch of veggies
  2. some sort of starch like a potato, yam or beet
  3. a grain like rice, millet or quinoa
  4. a protein like beans or tofu
  5. some spice like fresh herbs, ginger, etc.

With this framework you can modify to your heat’s content! The recipe for the stew I just made is as follows. It makes a monster sized pot that will probably last for 3 meals for me! Instead of 2 cups of rice use 1 cup of quinoa and even more water for more of a soup instead of a thick stew.

  • 3 medium sized red beets (use golden beets if the a red-colored soup scares you!)
  • 1 cup brown rice (more makes it heartier)
  • 1 cup white rice (ditto)
  • 1 can (15oz) black eyed peas
  • 12 ounces extra firm tofu
  • 4 large celery stalks
  • 2 small carrots
  • 1 medium onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 3 dried red chilies (whole)
  • 1 handful fresh parsley
  • 10 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 small avocado
  • some salt
  • some pepper
  • enough water to cover everything completely (pure spring water of course!)
  • a little olive oil
All ingredients in the pot....it thickens a lot when done cooking.
All ingredients in the pot....it thickens a lot when done cooking.

Directions: Stir fry the onions, garlic, celery in olive oil until the onions get soft. Add in everything else and fill up with water. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to simmer for about 30 minutes. Check to make sure the rice is nice and soft. Add a little more salt and pepper to taste at the end. Spoon into a bowl and top with fresh avocado.

Enjoy!

p.s. if you try out any variations of this recipe, please post a comment and let me know how it goes! The great thing is you can pretty much throw in whatever you have on hand. Instead of beets you could use sweet potatoes. Instead of onion you could use peppers. Etc.

Rasberry Banana Hemp Seed Smoothie

It is rasberry season! Finally, I can enjoy these wonderful berries fresh without having to pay and arm and a leg. I picked up an entire tray (6 overflowing pints) of rasberries for $15 from a local farmer’s market (all organic of course). I could probably get them cheaper, but that would require a drive outside of town.

Throw half-pint of berries, a super-ripe banana and a heaping tablespoon of hemp seeds into your Vita-Mix. Blend for about 10 seconds and enjoy. I use the whole hemp seeds in this recipe to get more of the good fats (as opposed to just using the hemp protein isolate). Hemp is an amazing source of Omega 3 fatty acids, and is also a complete and full-spectrum protein source – with all the amino acids your body needs to build muscle.

Raw Food Challenge – Completed After 30 Days!

(Breakfast! 1 Whole Organic Honeydew Melon)

I’ve reached the final point in my Raw Food 30 Day Challenge. It has been a great adventure. While I experienced some incredible increases in my overall health and wellness, I was also happy to break the 30-day streak with a dinner at a favorite vegan restaurant of mine with some friends last night!

In my previous updates, I wrote about the benefits I was experiencing through this way of eating. Those benefits continued, and if anything became even more pronounced throughout the last 10 days of the challenge. I feel incredibly light. I think clearly. My skin is clear and I really feel great overall.

In terms of body composition, here is where that ended up. Keep in mind that throughout this entire challenge I had no intention to lose weight. I am already fit and slim enough. I also made a point to eat a significant number of calories (mostly through fresh, organic, ripe fruits!). My goal was to try to keep my caloric intake similar to what my previous diet was (roughly 2300 calories per day). I think I struggled to do this for the first 10 days or so, but then got the routine down and was eating plenty.

While I lost over 6 pounds in my first week of the Raw Food Challenge (I wasn’t eating enough), my weight stabilized for a few weeks and then started to rise a bit in the final 10 days. Overall, my bodyfat change shows a 2% drop. Given that I was already very lean at 11% to start, this is a big deal. To put this into perspective, this 2% drop in bodyfat means that I lost about 20% of the total fat on my body in only 30 days!

(Ingredients for my 100% Raw Sundried-Tomato Pasta Sauce)

This is staggering. Aside from the numbers, it is blatantly obvious to me that my body is far healthier. I am slimmer in the right places, my flexibility is far better than before and my skin is so much clearer. I have even noticed small scars on my skin, from long ago, starting to heal.

Perhaps the biggest shift for me has been around food in general. This Raw Food Challenge really gave my body and a mind a reset in terms of what I consider to be real nourishing food. I am now accustomed to eating large meals of just fruit or greens. I don’t need lots of grains or breads or other proteins to feel like I’ve had a meal. I’ve moved away from cravings for fried or spicy foods and my taste buds have become so much more sensitive. I am just so much more aware of what I am putting into my body.

(100% Raw Kelp Noodles w/ Almond-Cilantro Pesto)

Another thing I’ve gained from this experiment is that I’ve started to care less about what other people think about what I do. I’m far more comfortable to just be the way I am, and serve as an example for others – as opposed to trying to fit in. I guess when you sit down at a lunch table with a half-dozen bananas, you learn to stop paying too much attention to what other people think about you, and just do what you have to do! After all, which is better – a few bananas or a Big Mac? Why then do people gawk at someone eating a bunch of bananas but think nothing of eating half a cow? You just gotta laugh!

So, with all these benefits – Why am I not going to continue the 100% Raw Food Diet? Well, first of all I am convinced that eating a large amount of water rich, fresh, ripe and organic fruits and veggies is the way to go. I will absolutely continue to eat a very high percentage of raw foods.

(More 100% Raw Kelp Noodles w/ Sesame-Pepper-Ginger-Turmeric Pesto)

However, I do also enjoy the social aspects that food has to offer. I enjoy the vegan meals that my family will make on occasion and I do enjoy the occasional cup of hot tea or a vegan donut every now and then! I don’t feel like foregoing those things.

I am also aware of the stress that comes with trying to be 100% anything. That takes a toll on the body just as much as a poor diet or lack of exercise does. I don’t want to fall into another trap of trying to be an absolutist. Going forward, I’m going to enjoy as much raw food as I can – probably 50% or so of my diet – focusing on fresh fruits and veggies (as opposed to high fat raw foods), and see where that takes me.

Raw Food Challenge – Day 20 Update

Wow, time really does fly by! It seems like just a few days ago I was contemplating this little experiment. It really has not been anywhere near as challenging as I thought it would be. My food cravings for cooked foods have diminished even more as I’ve gotten smarter about eating more total calories and also eating the right types of foods.

Over the past week, I’ve started to experiment with some new foods and recipes, and have started to cultivate a keen taste for my morning fruit smoothies and evening veggie soups (un – cooked of course)! I actually look forward to these!

Continue reading Raw Food Challenge – Day 20 Update

Raw Food Challenge – Day 11 Update

Today is Day 11 of my Raw Food 30 Day Challenge. I really didn’t expect it to be this easy. I feel absolutely fantastic and have absolutely no detox symptoms to speak of. In fact, this transition from my vegan diet to a 100% raw food diet is easier than my transition from lacto-ovo vegetarian to vegan.

I think difference is that I am both far more educated and also have connected into a support system of people that I have learned a ton from – from various raw food online forums like Give It To Me Raw and 30 Bananas A Day, and through a few friends (like Darrick) who have been walking down this path for a while. I’ve also been reading a ton of books and online resources (including Dr. Doug Graham’s 80-10-10 and David Wolfe’s Sunfood Diet).

Continue reading Raw Food Challenge – Day 11 Update

Raw Food 30-Day Challenge

Starting tomorrow morning I will be embarking on a 30-Day Raw Food Challenge. I’ve done the raw food thing before, most recently as part of a 3-day fruit feast and also for a few months last year as well.

The issue is, last year I wasn’t 100% raw, I did cooked food meals now and then – usually at dinner time. I also wasn’t nearly as educated in terms of what to eat, and such ended up not eating enough calories or nutrient dense superfoods (like goji berries, cacao, maca root, acai, etc.).

This time I am more educated, more motivated and have experience at my side from past successful and not-so-successful experiments with my diet.

I’ll also note a few of the reasons why I am doing this challenge. At the end of the day, I am a big believer that the motivations for doing something are the true driving force for any positive and lasting change.

So why am I doing this 30-day Raw Food Challenge?

  1. There are numerous studies and articles that point to raw or mostly raw food diets as a key factor in positively impacting overall human health and longevity.
  2. I personally know several raw foodists that are not only surviving, but thriving on a raw food diet.
  3. During my last raw food experiment, while I had some breakthrough and positive experiences – right now I am much more well-informed and better prepared to not fall into some of the traps/issues I ran into last time.
  4. Primarily raw and water-rich foods are important factors in helping the body naturally cleanse and detoxify.
  5. My diet right now features a high percentage of raw foods – about 30-50% on most days. Moving to 100% will be a big challenge but is doable – and will help me dislodge some unhealthy eating habits that I have developed lately (eating too late, eating fried foods, eating too large meals, etc.).
  6. During past experiences with fasting or eating raw foods, I experienced a profound heightened sense of mental performance and a deeper ability to meditate and connect to the present moment. I am interested to see how the 30-Day Raw Food Challenge impacts my meditation practice.
  7. I am curious to see how my yoga practice is impacted through a Raw Food diet. In past experiences, I’ve noticed increased flexibility and a higher strength-to-weight ratio when eating a raw or mostly raw diet.

For reference, my current body weight is 142.0lbs and body fat is 11% (as measured by a Tanita-brand body fat measurement scale). I’ll be tracking this throughout the challenge.

So there it is. The journey starts tomorrow. If you have walked down this path before and have any tips, please do share in the comments! If you are willing to take this journey with me (even for a few days, a week or the full month) – that would be cool as well!

5 Tips For More Energy

People ask me all the time about what I eat (since I am Vegan) and what kind of smoothies I drink and why. Most people ask me these questions because they want to loose a few pounds or gain some strength, but in almost all cases I think the real motivation for the question is something deeper.

People are really looking to have more energy to live their lives. I’m not just talking about being able to keep your eyes open during a boring meeting at work. I’m talking about having the energy to perform at a high level both in mental pursuits (working on a hard problem at work or in school) and physical pursuits (like a power yoga class!).

I thought it would be good to share my top 5 tips for energizing your life. These are things that I do on a regular basis – and they work. I think experience is the best teacher – and I have learned well 🙂

  1. Avoid Caffeine. I know I know – sacrilege! Despite the supposed health benefits of drinking coffee (and even tea), the reality is that when you borrow energy you need to pay it back. This might not be what you want to hear, but it is the truth. If you are serious about energizing your body – cut the caffeine. Or (as I do right now), limit it to 1 serving in the morning.
  2. Hydrate. Your body is 75% water. Your body also has 2-3x as much lymph fluid in your body as it does blood. Lymph is the watery substance in between your cells that allows nutrients to flow in and toxins to flow out of your cells. Staying well-hydrated is critical to proper energy transfer into and out of the cells. A great way to stay hydrate is not just to drink water, but to avoid dehydrating your body with caffeine, refined sugars and other highly processed (and dehydrated) foods.
  3. Eat Nutrient Dense Foods. I’ve written a great post about this. In summary, you should focus on eating plenty of fresh fruits and green/bright colored veggies that have high water content and high nutrient contents on a per-calorie basis. Did you know that broccoli has more protein than steak on a per-calorie basis? The truth is sometimes surprising but it is the truth nonetheless.
  4. Eliminate Refined Sugars. If it says “cane sugar,” “brown rice syrup,” “corn syrup,” or any other kind of processed sugar on the package, don’t eat it. This includes most energy bars! Your body will just experience a sugar rush and crash cycle when you consume these things. Instead, eat fresh fruits. The sugar in the fruits is processed differently by the body and they won’t cause the same spike in blood sugar. You’ll also help your body to stay hydrated.
  5. Breath Properly! This is perhaps the single most effective thing you can do. I wrote a long post about the importance of proper breath work. If you are at all committed to having more energy in your days – you should read this post. Essentially, cultivate a practice of consistent and deep nasal breathing – especially under times of stress and while sleeping. It may take some practice but the benefits are well worth it.

Have any other tips to share? Please let me know in the comments!

Alkaline Diet Tips – Interview With Wellness Expert Ross Bridgeford

You are what you eat.

This statement is so simple but true. I’ve written at length about the importance of eating a wholesome diet full of fresh and organic plant-based food. I’ve also written a bit about the power of an alkaline diet – a way of eating that focuses on supplying the proper nutrients to the body so it can naturally cleanse and provide you with sustainable power.

I’m really happy about today’s post, featuring an interview I recently finished with Ross Bridgeford – Co-Founder of Energise for Life, Europe’s #1 alkaline diet and nutrition store (check out his Energise Blog for more great tips!). Ross has been living the alkaline lifestyle for a while, and has a ton of great insights on how to live a healthier and more energized life.

I think you’ll find this interview incredibly informative. Enjoy!

Hi Ross, thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview. I’ve been checking out your blog and website for a while now. When did you first start to develop an interest in energizing and healthy foods and proper nutrition?

I probably first had an interest when I was about 14 and I became vegetarian after reading an essay by Moby.  It changed my way of thinking about meat and food in general and from that day onwards I’ve not eaten meat.  It helped that my Dad has always grown his own vegetables so I’ve grown up absolutely loving fresh foods.  Cutting out meat wasn’t a big deal at all because I just loved vegetables!

But I still wasn’t really healthy, and my real interest in energizing and being healthy came from day four at UPW London in 2003. [Ravi: note – UPW stands for Unleash the Power Within, and is a personal growth program led by Tony Robbins] I had set so many goals and thought that if I’m going to achieve all of this I’m going to need some energy!

The concept of alkalizing just made so much sense right away and so I spent the next year learning and then launched energiseforlife.com in 2004.  Since then reading and learning about health, nutrition and fitness has been a healthy addiction 😉


Who are your mentors? Who do you look up to and learn from?

I have a few.  Tony Robbins is always someone who I draw inspiration from, learn from and I am enjoying his tweets immensely!

Dr Young is an inspiration in terms of his work and research into the alkaline lifestyle and his commitment and energy towards spreading this knowledge as far and wide as possible.  His work ethic is truly admirable.  He is also a very kind and funny guy.

There are heaps of other bloggers who I respect: Rand Fishkin of seomoz has built something spectacular from being a really nice guy, a strong personality and through constant, dedicated application.  I think a lot of people relate to him and respect him because he is always humble.  Steve Pavlina because his work ethic and drive are incredible.  Darren Rowse of problogger because he is just so smart and Seth Godin for being able to blog absolute genius in less than 200 words every day.  He is so prolific, I’m still not sure how he does it.  Oh and Tim Ferris because reading his book took the life I was trying to create forward about 10 years in 2 weeks.

I think my mentors are all honest, driven and able to communicate in a way that makes you want to get out of your seat and DO SOMETHING NOW!

What’s the story behind your website Energiseforlife.com?

Well, after that UPW in 2003, Callum (my brother) and I really wanted to apply all of this info we had learned.  We wanted the energy of Tony Robbins!  But we found pretty quickly that not only was there very little info on the web at that time, but every site said something different and nobody seemed to say anything useful!.

Alongside this, buying the products such as sprouters and juicers and the supplements was impossible!  You had to order greens from America, sprouters from Europe, pH drops from Canada and other bits from Australia.  All of of these sites were really badly designed too which didn’t give you much confidence that your products would ever turn up!

I was previously a marketing consultant to start-up businesses and Callum was an IT guru for Accenture, so we figured we could do a better job and both set about creating energiseforlife.com.  We just wanted to make it really easy for people to a) learn all about alkalizing and b) get hold of everything they needed to make it happen.

Five or so years later here we are…!

What exactly is an alkaline diet?

The alkaline diet can be explained really simply, or really scientifically – so I’ll go for the simple version.  When you are living an alkaline lifestyle you are aiming to consume 70-80% foods & drinks which have an alkalising effect on the body.  These foods include vegetables, good fats, low sugar fruits, salads, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, water, herbal teas etc. while acidic foods include meats, dairy, sweets, sugar, fizzy drinks, alcohol etc.

To put it most simply you eat the foods you know are good for you and avoid the ones you know are bad.  There are only a few gray areas, so it really is that simple.  I’ve read so many different explanations of that and most people really overcook the explanation.

It makes sense doesn’t it?  It just makes sense to focus 70-80% of your diet around healthy, fresh, raw, vibrant foods rather than unhealthy fats, processed, sugary, refined foods.

And if you are into the science of it, here is the philosophy behind it all:

Your body HAS to keep the pH of your blood, cells and other fluids at just slightly alkaline (pH 7.365) and it will do ANYTHING it has to in order to maintain this pH balance.  To do this, your body calls upon its store of alkaline buffers, which it draws upon to neutralize the acids we ingest or create through bodily processes.  This store of buffers is very easily depleted because most of us eat and drink such strong acids.  To put this in context, the pH scale is logarithmic – so pH 6 is 10x more acidic than pH 7, meaning pH 5 is 100x times more acidic than pH 7 and pH 4 is 1000x more acidic.  Coke has a pH of between 2 and 3.  So you can see how a diet filled with meats, dairy, fizzy drinks, alcohol etc would quickly deplete these buffers.

And when we deplete these buffers and still ingest more acids…what happens? The body is forced into drawing upon the alkaline minerals it has to buffer which causes havoc in the body – for instance, if the body is constantly drawing calcium to neutralize the acids we consume then the symptoms of osteoporosis emerge (hence the recent research articles linking cola consumption with osteoporosis).

This is just one example.  Another outcome is that the body also hangs onto excess fat to protect our body/organs from the damage caused in an acidic state.   Another outcome is that we ingest high levels of sugar, the sugar ferments in the blood, creating more acids, which creates acid wastes, which feeds the sugar which has fermented into bacteria, yeast, fungus which create more acid wastes etc and a vicious cycle of acid creation further depletes the alkaline buffers resulting in skin conditions, yeast infections, mood and emotional problems, diabetes and a whole heap of other symptoms.

By eating 70-80% alkaline foods we not only take this stress away from the body, but we also flood our body with vitamins, fiber, minerals, nutrients, good fats, proteins, antioxidants etc.  which build the blood, cleanse our system and ultimately make us feel great.

Still, the simple explanation is the one I prefer – eat lots of great, fresh foods and treat treats as a treat.

What are the benefits of an alkaline diet?

Where to start!  Personally I have experienced more energy than ever before, I never get ill any more (I used to get coughs, colds, flu every 6-8 weeks), clear skin (I used to have pretty terrible acne), perfect weight (I always struggled with being underweight), I need less sleep, I don’t get afternoon fatigue anymore, my thoughts are clearer and I get MUCH better results from the gym, both in terms of weights and running.

This is a good time for you to ask too because I launched an online Alkaline Diet course in December so I have had plenty of people emailing me their results lately!  Some highlights include:

  • a lady who was housebound with Fibromyalgia for 3 years is now active, exercising and feeling great
  • people are losing serious amounts of fat after many years of trying
  • libido increases!
  • people with years of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other digestive problems are saying they are completely back to normal
  • eczema and other dermatological problems are clearing up
  • people are reporting having heaps more energy

These emails are so motivating to me and make me pretty proud that I did a good job with my designing the alkaline diet course!

How has adopting this way of being impacted your life?

Apart from the benefits listed above to my health, this has impacted me in so many ways.  With the extra energy I have these days I simply get so much more done – work wise and fun wise!  I am achieving so many personal, professional and fun goals – it is just fantastic.  There is no way I could have ever been so productive before!  And you know how success breeds success, so feeling so fantastic physically makes it easier and more fun to achieve my goals which makes me feel great emotionally and it all snowballs.

And when you’re in such a great state of mind it draws more into your life and you put more energy and more positivity out there – which can only be a good thing!

What are a few simple things that anyone can do to alkalize their body?

Heh – the question I get asked more than any other!  My advice is always to try and start with the few core, big areas you can apply right now and which will make the biggest impact on your health, life and energy:

  • water:  aim for 3-4 litres of good quality, clean water every day
  • fats: learn about good fats!  They are so important!  Consume 3 tablespoons of omega 3 each day (read here for more info)
  • exercise: if you exercise aerobically for 30+ minutes 3 times per week you will seriously notice the difference!
  • greens: try to eat a salad, even a small one with lunch and dinner each day and make one meal per day 80% raw, fresh vegetables
  • one vice:  try to pick the once vice that once eliminated would make the biggest difference to your life.  Then set a 3 week plan to cut it out!

If you do these then I PROMISE you’ll feel amazing!

What are your favorite books right now relating to health and vitality?

If anyone is serious about increasing their health and vitality then I have to recommend my online Alkaline Lifestyle Course.  I’m so proud of it!  But second top of my list for anyone who wants to learn more about health is always The pH Miracle by Dr Robert Young.

More recently I’ve enjoyed The China Study by Colin Campbell – very eye opening and Tom Venuto’s new book/ebook – The Body Fat Solution which is a good build upon his first book Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle.

With all health books I think there is something to learn, even if you don’t agree 100% with everything said.  It’s good to always keep an open mind!

What is your typical daily diet like?

I try to keep it quite relaxed.  In the beginning I had to be incredibly organized to make sure I always had the right foods, but now I am in good habits so I know that if I have a core of 10-12 ingredients in I can make it a good healthy day!  When I first started I found it very useful to plan out my meals for the next three days, breakfast, lunch and dinner and then buy the ingredients specific to those meals.  If I didn’t do that I would always find myself with an empty fridge – and that is when most people slip up.

Anyway, so an average day would be something like:

Breakfast: green vegetable juice or smoothie (like your green ones!).  For the juice I’ll happily just juice whatever is in the fridge, but it is usually a core of spinach, cucumber, celery and lettuce.  Additional bits and pieces might be capsicum, green beans, kale, broccoli, carrot, tomato etc.

For smoothies, I usually have a base of avocado (makes it lovely and creamy), cucumber, spinach and then add whatever else I fancy, with a little bit of veggie stock.

A couple of times a week if I am in a hurry I might have oats cooked in water and soy milk, with LSA, wheatgerm and maybe a banana thrown in.  Or a wheat/gluten free muesli with almonds, seeds etc.

These breakfast foods keep me going til lunch with a few snacks thrown in.

For snacks I will usually have nuts, seeds etc if I am just peckish.  If I get more hungry I might have some sprouted bread with avocado, tomato & olive oil, or a wrap or something like that.

Lunch: often either veggie wraps and/or a big salad.  If I have cooked a big healthy meal the night before I’ll have leftovers from that too.

Dinner: there are all manner of lovely alkaline dinners to be had!  Check out some of the recipes on my blog.  I’ve developed alkaline green curry, alkaline lasagnas and all manner of stir-fry’s.  I’ll also happily have a big bowl of soup, heaps of veggies with olive oil and lemon squeezed over, giant salads etc or a combo of all three.  Dinner is so easy to have healthy, 60% or more raw and still be delicious.

If I’m cooking for others I’ll often do fish too (still quite alkaline and better for non-veg, non-alkaline girlfriend/guests etc).  My favorite to do for them is either steamed salmon in a lemon and dill or to stir-fry prawns in coconut oil and  cover with a chili-lime dressing.  I just substitute in organic tofu for me!

Drinks: I’m always sipping green drinks and green juices (like these) or warm water with lemon squeezed in.  Oh, or herbal tea.  It’s easy to stay hydrated!

What is your favorite recipe for an alkaline lunch or dinner?

Me and my girlfriend recently made up/stumbled upon two crackers – a Creamy Zucchini Pasta sauce that we have with spelt pasta and Tom Yum Soup.  My staple lunch is to simply have brown rice with sliced tomato, avocado, spinach and lightly steamed broccoli with lemon and olive oil over the top.  Always a winner – the textures are so awesome together and it is really filling!

Any other final tips or recommendations for someone looking to improve the quality of their health and daily energy levels?

There is nothing more effective for increasing your daily energy levels than drinking 3-4 liters of good quality, clean water each day.   Even if this sounds like a lot, build up to it and try it and you’ll be amazed at how you ever got by being so dehydrated!

Thanks a lot Ross! I’m gonna try out some of those recipes for sure! For those of you interested in learning more about how to alkalize your body, please check our Ross’s blog and the Energise for Life supersite!

Kale Apple Smoothie

This is a great detoxifying drink. The apple takes a bit of the bitter edge off of the Kale, without making it too sweet. It is failry thin and easy to drink down.

Recipe = 5-7 large leaves of organic Kale (with center stem removed) + 1 small organic red delicious apple + 16 ounces water + Vita-Mix! Blend on high for 30 seconds.This makes 3 tall glasses. Total calories <100.

The mixture separates pretty quickly. So drink one glass and then turn on the Vita-Mix blender (low speed) for a few seconds before pouring your next glass.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

It is oh so simple but oh so good. Anywould would LOVE this. Adults, kids, people who don’t like to eat fruits and veggies, health freaks, EVERYBODY.

It looks good and tastes better. I am drinking this right now before heading to work (after teaching morning yoga practice). You don’t even need a great blender (like a Vita-Mix) to do it (though I think everything tastes better in a Vita-Mix!).

Recipe = 1/2 pint of organic strawberries + 3 medium sized organic bananas + 12-16 ounces water

Makes 3 tall glasses of smoothie goodness. About 350 calories or less. Plenty of fiber, vitamin C and other natural antioxidants. More potassium than you could ever hope for.

Pineapple and Kale Smoothie

Behold, the power of the Vita-Mix! I had a green smoothie after yoga class today. It consisted of one-half of a medium sized organic pineapple and 4 large leaves of dino kale. I strip the thick stem out of the kale, and just throw the dark green leaves in.

This tastes really good. The sweet and tangy-ness of the pineapple is the over-riding flavor, but the slight bitterness of the kale also comes through. What a great way to get greens into your diet!

Put the raw ingredients in the Vita-Mix + 16 ounces of water (depending on how thick you want it to be). Blend it for 60 seconds and you are good to go. It comes to about 250-300 calories in total, almost all from the fresh organic pineapple. In fact, some feel that pineapple is practically a negative calorie food due to it’s digestive enzymes, high fiber and vitamin content.

Continue reading Pineapple and Kale Smoothie

3-Day Fruit Fast Recap

Earlier this week, as part of the 40 Days to Personal Revolution program, I did a 3-day fruit fast. As I love to eat fruits, I was really looking forward to this. I considered it more of a fruit feast than a fruit fast!

The picture above shows the entire array of fruits that I picked up for these 3 days. In fact, there was more than enough fruit here to last me over a week! I still have a few mangoes and oranges left in fact.

You might be wondering what I broke my fast with? After teaching a yoga class in the morning, I enjoyed some Idli that my mom made before going to work!

So how did I do on the fruit fast? Here is the scoop. Keep in mind that I entered this 3-day fast after having gone without caffeine or any processed sugar for over 3 weeks. I also have been practicing yoga 6-7 days a week for quite a while and have been following a 100% plant-based diet for many years. As a result of this, I think my detoxing symptoms were a little less severe than others. Your mileage will vary!

Continue reading 3-Day Fruit Fast Recap

3-Day Fruit Fast & Cleanse

I’m participating in 40 Days to Personal Revolution at my yoga school. This program, developed by Baron Baptiste, incorporates regular asana practice (6 days a week) with regular readings from the book, journaling/writing/reflecting, weekly group meetings with other participants, twice daily meditation and observation of certain dietary restrictions (for the sake of cleansing). For me, I have eliminated all caffeine and processed sugar from my diet for the entire 40 days.

As part of the program, we embark on the fourth week (we just finished week 3) with a 3-day fruit fast. I might as well call this a fruit “feast” since I truly enjoy eating tons of fresh, ripe, juicy fruits! During these 3 days we eat nothing but fruit. This begins tomorrow (Monday) morning and ends on Thursday morning.

I just re-stocked my fruit supply. Here is what my kitchen counter looks like right now. I don’t know if I will finish all of this in 3 days, but it will be fun trying! Most of fruit is organic (except for the berries, papaya, avocado and mangoes).

  • 2 large cucumbers
  • 4 avocados
  • 2 x 2lbs strawberries
  • 4 x 5oz blackberries
  • 7 kiwis
  • 4 large mangoes
  • 4 apples
  • 2 pears
  • 25 clementine oranges (small ones, about 5 pounds)
  • 1 navel orange
  • 1 huge pommelo
  • 3 medium papaya
  • 22 mini-banana
  • 22 regular bananas
  • 1 large pineapple
  • 25 kumquats (8oz)

My Morning Smoothie

I’m a big fan of smoothies in the morning. A while ago I wrote about my Raw Power Smoothie, an all vegan and mostly raw concoction that would keep me going most of the day.

Nowadays, I’m in the groove of doing more fruits, mostly bananas, with some maca powder and a heaping tablespoon of vitamineral green. I forgo the protein powder and other things. I find that sticking with more of a fruit base and going lighter on the protein actually feels better in the morning.

The key to making this smoothie work and taste great is to get high quality organic bananas. Most people eat bananas when they are still “raw” and green and totally spot-free. Eating bananas like this will give you problems….gas and other digestive issues. They also don’t taste as sweet!

I like my bananas nice and spotty, there might be a touch of green near the stems, but the rest is deep yellow with plenty of brown spots on the peel. The peel should also come off very easily. If you have to hack away to open your banana, it isn’t ready yet!

Note: if you need to ripen bananas, stick them in a closed bag in a warm place.

Now I am off to drink my post yoga class smoothie! (4 large organic bananas, 20 ounces water, vitamineral green powder and maca powder).

What is your favorite smoothie? Let me know in the comments!