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!

The Power of Raw Food

I’ve been on a 70% raw food diet for the past 1 week. I feel absolutely amazing. I have a lot to learn to get my diet really dialed in, but so far so good. I have no intention of keeping a 70% raw food diet forever, that seems a bit extreme for where I am in my life right now, but I do want to sustain a 30-50% raw food diet for the near term and see where it leads me.

Why am I doing this?

I have been lacto-ovo vegetarian for essentially my entire life. It was really the only diet I have known, and I suppose I have felt fine and am fairly healthy. A few years ago I was inspired to go-Vegan by a yoga teacher (Sharon Gannon) and after having educated myself on the issues of sustainable agriculture and mass-market egg and dairy farming, decided to give it a try.

During this period I lost quite a lot of weight, given the fact that I was already quite thin. I went from 145lbs to low 130’s. Many of my friends and family thought that I was getting too skinny. Looking back at pictures of me from that period lead me to believe them now, though at the time I was convinced that I was as healthy as humanly possible. I had insanely high energy levels compared to my vegetarian days, and completed two Ironman Triathlons and a few other ridiculous endurance events during the 1 and ½ years I was vegan. I was also working like crazy.

I eventually decided that vegan was not the best thing for me. The straw that broke my back was going to my sisters wedding, and feeling that I couldn’t eat any of the food (many Indian foods use clarified butter). I decided that I would be a responsible vegetarian, buying only organic eggs and cheese, and not stressing out if I had a piece of non-organic cake or some cheese pizza at Papa Johns.

That was about 3 years ago. It is amazing how subtle changes can cause major shifts over the long term. It had gotten to the point where I was really struggling to get back into good shape. Throughout the past three years, I have run a few half-marathons, and done some other long distance events (swam across Puget Sound), but I never really felt like I had the energy levels that I had when I was vegan.

Slowly reintroducing dairy into my diet had, over a few years, made me feel like crap. I gained about 20 pounds (some of it muscle as I was lifting) and while I felt much stronger, was more lethargic than I had ever been. Waking up in the morning seemed harder to do. I started drinking coffee to wake up and keep myself awake. I ate food but never really felt satisfied. When you start to think about it; if you sit down and have a Super Burrito at noon, should you really be starving by 5pm? Of course not. It just doesn’t make sense.

A few months I decided to make a change. I started to go back to yoga, and have been increasing the amount of aerobic activity I’ve been doing.

Last week, I made a radical change to my diet.

While I want to get back in peak shape, I want to avoid going to some extreme just for the heck of it. I want to eat in a way that gives me more energy than I have ever had before. I also don’t want to turn into a walking stick of skin and bones. I’ve been searching for the right answer to this question for a while. I don’t know if I have found it, but I feel like I am getting close.

Tomorrow I’ll talk more about the diet I followed for the past week, the effect it has had on me and the science behind it.