Tuesday, May 28, 2013

It's Biking Season Again

Jane and Bob in our Easy Rider Shirts --
 Eat to Ride-Ride to Eat

We were in Kentucky over Memorial Day, riding Saturday and Sunday in one of our favorite large group rides, the Horsey 100.  In times past, we have both ridden 50 miles each day, and then enjoyed the wonderful meals the planners of the  ride provided at the end of each day's substantial efforts.  This year, feeling the seniorness of our years, and not being too well-trained-up, we opted for two approximately 35 mile days, both of which were somewhat hillier than how  I remembered them from last year.  (We do this ride every year, and I say the say the same thing every year, "My, how these hills have grown!")
We love this trip.  It's a favorite for both of us. However, when I am away from home, and not entirely in charge of all my own food, I have to concentrate before we leave home on how I will continue to eat well when the options will be limited.  Here are the steps I took this year.  I hope that my sharing them will encourage you to create ways that work for you to pay attention to your food quality when travelling.
1-  I took my blender.  We were in a motel, I had a small refrigerator, and we brought a small ice chest with fruits and greens so that I could start each day with a reassuring Green Smoothie.  I've done this for awhile now, so that it's almost second nature, and I'm very glad I took the time to figure it out.....not that hard, really, but ......you know.....a blender in the motel room??
Green Smoothies--
 the best start to any day
of physical exertion!

2-  I packed several snack bag sized servings (1/2 cup each) of my homemade trail mix, and before each day of riding, tucked a bag in the back pocket of my bike jersey.  One works well for me, others may want two.  There are no rules. I don't eat the trail mix until after I've finished the day's ride.  When I'm working that hard, my stomach doesn't have much fun trying to digest anything, so I save the nuts, seeds, and dried fruits for after the ride.  They are delicious then, especially with a few special treats I include in them as a  well deserved reward for my hard work on the bike.( If you'd like a copy of my trail mix guidelines, email me at abundantrawlife@gmail.com.  I'm happy to share it!)
3- During the 3-5 hours on the road, I ate nothing but bananas.  I drank plenty of water, of course, that sometimes had a little date water in it.  I abstained from all processed sports drinks. ( Maybe I'll write about that sometime.) Bananas contain lots of easy to burn natural sugar, digest easily, are plentiful at rest stop stations, go down quickly, and cause no gastric discomfort at all.  Nothing else provided-- peanut butter sandwiches on whole wheat bread, oatmeal cookies, Snickers bits, etc., crackers filled with what not, does as good a job at providing ready fuel for endurance performance, with as little request on the system.  Thus, all available energy goes to the pedaling effort, rather than compromising it with trying to also digest difficult to manage foods. For good measure, I picked up an extra banana at each rest stop and put it in my shirt pocket, just in case there weren't any at the next rest stop.  Perfect.
4- The ride planners put on quite a lunch spread for riders to enjoy at the finish of the ride.  I chose whatever was there that fit my raw vegan diet and enjoyed my trail mix.  Then,later, on our own for dinner, I made sure that wherever our group went for dinner, there would be some nice fresh salad options.  Later, if I was still hungry, I could enjoy some fresh fruit.

Austere cuisine, you may say.  I say that I really like the relatively quick recovery time I have, with very little muscle fatigue the next morning when there is another long day  of pedaling ahead, the lack of stiffness or bloating, or clogged plumbing.  You've heard it before, but nothing tastes as good as clean eating feels.  I'm for that.  Enjoy your summer sports, especially biking, and take care of your best interests when travelling!
Good fresh salads, with lots of dark
leafy greens and other vegetables
can't be beat
 for fostering good athletic performance,
 no matter what the sport.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Extra Thoughts on Fermented Foods


Sauerkraut--a known cancer-fighter
Well, who knew?  That's all I can say.  The workshop that I did with Rene Oswald from Florida last week at our local Clover's was a big hit.  It was a big crowd for that rather small venue (28 or so), and all  the participants were very inquisitive, curious, energetic, and pretty impressed with the several samples we shared. Some of the questions that arose that evening were re-iterated in some followup emails to my last blog, so let me share some of the "most asked" items here.

First and foremost, though, the fermented foods that I'm talking about are the raw and living ones that you either make yourself, or find in the refrigerated sections of health food stores, and possibly some grocery stores.  Sauerkraut, for example that has been pasteurized has been heat treated and is dead, and thus contains none of the life-giving positive microbrial life that our bodies need.

By far, the main benefits to consuming any of the fermented foods are two:  Friendly bacteria and flora present in the digestive tract first help maintain gastrointestinal health and regularity, and, second, work with other body systems to improve immunity from other bacteria which cause diseases of all sorts. Fermented foods help to keep the body in balance.

Antibiotics, at risk of being over used and abused, destroy both harmful and beneficial bacteria, which is why people go running to the store for pro-biotics after a round of antibiotcs -- to replace the body's probiotics killed by the antibiotics.  Fair enough.  Microbial competition in the gut is the only thing that keeps the internal balance in a heatlhy system and opportunistic pathogens...such as Candida (yeast) in check.  The bests way to guard against unwelcome bacterial infection is to nurture a healthy inner terrain, and eat a good variety of living foods that contain healthy bacteria --- raw and living fermented foods.

There are possible side effects when introducing fermented foods into the diet. There may be some detoxing, which is not a bad thing, but may mean some temporary indigestion, gas, and diarrhea in the beginning.  These are common cleansing reactions that occur when the body expels toxings and brings itself back to balance.  The key to success is to be sensible, don't panic.  Observe how your body responds  to these foods, modify the intake to a comfortable level, and know that the probiotics are working in your favor. Then increase the variety, frequency, and amounts accordingly, and you'll be fine. Fermented foods -- nature's best probiotics -- have been around and enjoyed in many cultures for many centuries.
Taste will be one determining factor, as  fermented foods are sometimes too sour or acidic to consume in excess.  Miso is quite salty. So start conservatively, and add these healthful foods and drinks to your repetoire of healthy eating a little at a time, as you acquire new tastes and sensations.  You'll be glad you did!

I am hardly and expert on fermented foods, though I can answer other questions about raw and living foods pretty well.  If you are interested inlearning more on fermentation, click on the Amazon icon on this page and check out their offerings both on crocks and fermentation.  That's how we got our start.  When you go through this page to Amazon, it is a help to me as I try to spread the word around so that more and more folks are eating in healthier and healthier ways.  Thanks for that.  Happy fermenting!

Kombucha -- fermented sweetened tea--(my favorite!)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Abundant Raw Life: Fermented Foods???

Abundant Raw Life: Fermented Foods???: I know.  Until recently, I hardly thought of them at all. But then I started hearing about how much money people pay regularly for bottled...

Fermented Foods???

I know.  Until recently, I hardly thought of them at all. But then I started hearing about how much money people pay regularly for bottled, manufactured pro-biotics, and wondered.  And I've been drinking kombucha for a few years, which I knew was a natural probiotic, and as such, was known for it's helpfulness in keeping positive flora in the intestine, so that digestion goes smoothly, and digestive issues such as IBS, gassiness, bloating, and other such things, are minimized, if not eliminated. I began to wonder how much we really need to be spending on bottled, prepared probiotics, and how much better we might do by getting them more naturally. So, now, I am in the process of doing some research about fermented foods, in preparation for a talk that I am giving in Clover's, our favorite Columbia, Missouri Health Food Store ,later this week. For more information about that event, click here.

In a nutshell, fermentation is one of the most ancient methods of food preservation. It involves breaking down foods by using living microorganisms, such as enzymes.  Fermented foods are rich in friendly bacteria which convert starches and sugars into lactic acid and acetic acid. 
Fermented foods also aid in the colonization of other beneficial bacteria that inhibit the overgrowth of unfriendly microorganisms, such as candida.   They are easy to digest and bring a rich supply of enzymes into the body.  The are a superb food for the elderly. That's another story --- about why some elderly people no longer have the stomach and intestine enzymes they need. Maybe we'll talk about that another day.

Miso, tamari, sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar, kim chee, yogurt, Rejuvelac, kombucha, and kefir are all fermented products, and there are many others. All are incrediblly beneficial to the digestive system, and should be eaten often, young or old.  And the best way to get them is to prepare them yourself.  I do buy apple cider vinegar, but make sure that it is raw, so that those precious enzymes are still in tact.
So, read up on the subject, or come to Clover's on Thursday for the Fermented Foods--Nature's Best Probiotic discussion.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

It's Been Awhile

It has been awhile!  I finished my Health Coaching Course in December, 2012, and have been working steadily to build a coaching practice.  It's all gone very well, and I very much enjoy working with people to make the diet and lifestyle changes that will bring them closer to the optimum health which they desire.  And it is a wonderful privilege and joy to be able to share the journey with them, and then enjoy the celebration  at the end of the program.  Do investigate, if you're at all interested.
Go to www.janesmith-healthcoaching.com.  I offer individual and group programs in a variety of time configurations, so can work with you and your own individual situation. 
And stand by.  I hereby pledge to return to more regular blog posting, both about the adventures of being a raw foodist, and the benefits of health coaching. They are two separate things, but not necessarily mutually exclusive.  Like I said, there is more to follow.  I'm glad to be back!