Tuesday, February 11, 2014

More on Travelling Raw

A week of yoga
I’m leaving for a trip to Mexico in a few days.  I’m going on a yoga trip with our oldest daughter, Lisa, and her recently-graduated-from-college-daughter, Melissa. At the same time, several folks have been asking me about maintaining a high raw diet while travelling. I have addressed the issue in other blogs (search in  the archives for "travelling raw").  This trip, however, has given rise to some questions that I’ve not had to deal with before, so I’m in the process of tweaking my “usual” food provision ( as if every trip doesn’t require some creative thinking about food) routine.  Some of these works in progress may be helpful to you the next time you travel.  If not, do feel free to work out your own solutions ….anything to keep you out of a lot of food on the road that you really don’t want to be eating. Let us know your ideas.  We can all learn!

1.  Making green smoothies.  I got lucky here.  We’ll be staying in a bungalow for 4 which has a kitchen.  I checked with the leader of the group and found out that there, is, in fact, a blender there.  Thus, I can make green smoothies every day, which, for me, settles lots of angst right there.

2.  Fresh produce.  We’ll be fed a sizable brunch buffet each day we are there, which I assume will have lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.  If I’m lucky, there may be some nuts and seeds at them as well.  I may pack a small container of sunflower seeds to use on salads or as a snack.

Puerto Morelos, Mexico
3.  Other meals.  It’s a ten minute walk to the town of Puerto Morelos, where there are restaurants, (for evening meals), and grocery stores, (for fruits and dark leafy greens for the smoothies I’ll make in my kitchen).  The exercise will be good in itself, and I shouldn’t want for plenty of good fresh food.  I wonder about how well I will be able to eat in the restaurants, staying as raw as I can.  The good news is, though, that if I can buy grocery produce and take it home, I won’t need to worry much about evening meals in restaurants.   I can just make another smoothie or a salad in our room.  (Note to self: take a shopping bag or two, and don’t forget  to pack a small knife in the suitcase that will be checked for the flight.

4.  Extras.  Mexico doesn’t allow fresh produce to be brought into the country, and suggest that any other food that’s imported be still in its factory wrapper.  I’m bringing an assortment of raw bars that I get in the Health Food Store.  I also made a large bowl of trail mix, which I divided into ½ cup servings, packed in snack bags.   I think that if they’re deep in my checked suitcase, they won’t be bothered.  If I’m questioned, I’ll say that the trail mix is necessary for my diet.  True enough.  I am printing the guidelines below for my trail mix, but this time, just to be safe, I cut way back on the dried fruit, lest it make the TSA folks nervous.

If any of you have other good ideas for me, leave them in the comments section below.  I hope that the trail mix guidelines will be helpful for you at some point.  For me, the little baggies full make a perfect after-biking snack, and I usually pack some along to conferences, as well, where the salads have a tendency to get boring.  The little protein/fat boost provided by the nuts and seeds gives me a good boost, physically and mentally.

5. Water.  I don’t usually drink tap water in Mexico, so I hope that the place we’re staying will supply us with good, safe water.  Stay tuned.

Jane’s Trail Mix Guidelines
Easy to make and pack

Homemade trail mix has many advantages over varieties that are already packaged for you. It is cheaper, allows you to add as much or as little of whatever you want, and, if you pick raw ingredients, provides you with the maximum nutrition value. It’s hard to go wrong!

There are no rules here.  Trail mix is a good way to give you lots of nice crunchy things in your diet, all of which are nutrient laden.  You can add in as many dried fruits as you like, keeping in mind that dried fruits have a higher sugar content than regular fruit.
When I make trail mix, I make a lot of it in a big bowl—a really big bowl.  Then I measure out ½ cup portions, (which may not look like much, but is plenty satisfying), into snack- sized baggies.  I carry a couple of those in my purse just on general principles, as it does me good to know that I have good, nourishing food available, and I will not starve, even if I’m caught in bad weather, traffic, etc.
So, begin in the bulk foods department .  I buy one of those medium sized bags of each of the following:
-Raw Nuts and Seeds—almonds, Brazils, pecans, cashews, walnuts, filberts (hazel nuts), sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds. (Macadamias and pine nuts don’t keep quite as well, and they are very expensive, so I skip them for trail mix.)
-Dried fruits from the bulk bins or the packaged bulk shelves in Clover’s : raisins, currants, goji berries,  etc. Others, which I then cut up, include papaya spears, mango slices, date rolls, pineapple, etc.   Take care to buy the ones that have no sulphur, sulphites or sugar included. 
-There are other bagged, raw berries that I like and are labeled “raw”, like golden berries and mulberry berries. 
-Raw cacao nibs add a really nice surprise chocolate treat in trail mix, and are high in magnesium and anti-oxidants.
When I put these all together one cup of each thing, perhaps adding an extra half cup of sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.  Suit yourself. This mixture will keep very well and travels very well.  Enjoy!!
Note—buying all these nuts and seeds is a big financial proposition.  However, they keep well, and making trail mix with a cup full of each ingredient will last for weeks—a bargain in disguise.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

February -- the Month of Love

I have lots of fun for Valentine’s Day.  We buy valentines for each of our 27 grandchildren and one baby great-granddaughter, put a few little pieces of chocolate in each one, get them hand-cancelled at the post office, and then think happy thoughts of them opening with some glee this year’s version of a now 24 year tradition.  It’s a bit of a production, (Hallmark LOVES to see us coming!), but I keep doing it.  It seems like a precious little gesture for our long distance relationships.

It’s the  month for love.  However we do it, we take Valentine’s Day as the opportunity to show love to others.  What would it be like if we took the rest of February to love ourselves a little more than we do. -- gave more heart to our own hearts, as it were? In the spirit of self love and heart health, I offer you a list of 5 foods that will keep your pulsing heart as healthy as can be! 
1.  Berries.  According to a study published in the American Journal of clinical Nutrition, eating a cup of mixed berries daily is associated with increased levels of our “good HDL" and lowered blood pressure.
2.  Raisins.  Raisins have been shown to fight the type of bacteria that can cause gum disease.  If you are wondering what gum disease may have to do with heart health, they are, in fact very closely related.  People with gum disease are twice as likely  to suffer from heart ailments.
3.  Mung Beans.  Sprouting mung beans is easy, inexpensive, and a big nutritional payoff.  These crunchy nuggets contain soluble fiber which helps to keep cholesterol at bay. Soluble fiber binds to cholesterol and keeps it from being absorbed in the gut.  Mung bean sprouts also have a number of heart protecting nutrients, including flavonoids, which help lower the risk of heart attack and stroke.
4.  Apples.  You’ve heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and it may be true!   It was found in a Finnish research study that people who eat apples frequently had the lowest risk of suffering strokes in comparison to non-apple eaters.  Apples are also very rich in soluble fiber.
5.  Chocolate!  Research suggests that cocoa, (especially raw cacao) may help lower blood pressure, mostly because of its high magnesium content.  It also has a nitric oxide boosting compound epicatechin, which is crucial for healthy blood vessels.  Chocolate lovers, rejoice!  Enjoy this sweet treat, and remember to enjoy it in moderation, and go for the dark chocolate, 70% cocoa, or raw cacao, or higher.  Milk chocolate does not have such benefits.
This is the month that people take time to show love to those who are special to them.  Do remember to take some time to show yourself some TLC, too!  Start with one piece of dark chocolate in honor of your healthy heart, and follow up with some of these suggested foods, and a wide variety of whole fresh raw and living foods.

There are related articles, great recipes, and more in the Abundant Raw Life February Newsletter.  Go to www.janesmith-healthcoaching.com to sign up, or email me at abundantrawlife@gmail.com  It's free!