Tuesday
Jul132010

Start Every Day with a Fruit Smoothie

Here's a great tip to help you kickstart your raw diet!  Make the first meal of your day a raw smoothie.  There are a lot of good reasons to do so:

  • You start the day on the right path.
    If the first meal goes according to plan, then you're more likely to do well with the rest of your day too.  We've all experienced that feeling where you eat something that you immediately regret and then end up writing off the whole day because it's "too late" to salvage the situation. 

  • You won't be tempted to snack.
    One of the main reasons people stumble with their raw diet is they don't eat enough.  They leave themselves in a perpetual state of hunger and, understandably, end up falling back on their old habits to make up the difference.  It's not that they do it on purpose.  They just don't realize that raw food, with all its moisture content, takes up more space than the dry, cooked foods on everyone elses' plates.  Two apples and an orange aren't going to keep you going for long.  A fruit smoothie is the way to make fruit into a proper meal, not a teeny side dish.  Go ahead.  Fill yourself up!
  • You'll have plenty of energy to get you going.
    Fresh raw fruit are the best source of energy for our bodies.  They're loaded with easy-to-digest carbohydrates that get you the fuel you need to tackle your busy day.

  • You'll supercharge your body with vitamins and minerals.
    When it comes to vitamins, you can't beat raw fruit.  Even better, if you turn your smoothies into green smoothies, you'll be loading up on minerals as well.  I make most of my smoothies into green smoothies by adding lots of fresh spring mix or spinach.  If you're just getting started, you'll likely want to ease your way into the greens, but it doesn't take long to acquire the taste for it!
  • Your stomach will thank you.
    Since there's no heavy foods hanging around in your stomach and getting in the way (your body had all night to clear the pathway), the smoothie will digest perfectly.  This can be especially important for people who are only going partly raw and are still eating various heavy cooked foods as well.  Remember to pay attention to the basic food combining rules to get the most of your raw diet (or any diet for that matter).

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Mike Dillman has lived a raw-vegan diet since 2004. Because he's experienced the learning curve firsthand, he wants to save you from making the same mistakes yourself. You can visit Mike's blog at Real-World-Raw.com to learn how easy it can be to make a raw-vegan diet fit your busy lifestyle. You can also download his free eBook, "The 7 Biggest Raw Mistakes", where Mike lays out the major missteps beginning raw foodists make that undermine their success and tells you how you can avoid them. To get your free eBook click here.

Wednesday
Jul072010

Is Greek Yogurt Healthy or Just a Greek Myth?

One of the trendy new food products on the grocery shelves today is greek style yogurt.

Like many of the buzz words of years past and present (think acai, goji, maca, hemp...), greek yogurt is hardly a new product at all.  Especially if you're Greek.  It's just new to the mainstream North American market.

Like most social epidemics, it's difficult to figure out where the original source of the excitement was, but it should be safe to assume the push comes from someone with a vested interest in selling the stuff.

Apparently, greek yogurt is the newest superfood, the next big thing, the food you can't afford to be without, a vital additon to your healthy diet... yada, yada, yada.  You know the drill.

So, what is it, exactly?  Greek yogurt differs from the "usual" yogurt in that it's made with a blend of cream and milk.  This leads it to have a particularly high level of milk fat -- around 10%, rather than the typical 0.1% to 3%.

If you read the favorable press on greek yogurt, you'll hear that it has some notable traits that offer supposed health benefits.  I'm inclined to disagree with these claims very much. 

If you've been reading my blog for long, you'll recognize that greek yogurt is nothing exceptional.  It brings nothing new to the table, and is simply more of the usual misguided beliefs and half-truths about what a healthy diet is.

Feel free to join me in brief jaunt as we debunk the myths of the benefits of greek yogurt one by one.  The following italicized text represent various comments I've read online and paraphrased for our purposes.

"Greek yogurt is a great source of protein with almost twenty grams on average per eight ounce serving.  And we all know that more protein is a good thing because it makes us feel full longer, helping us lose weight, right?"

No. Trying to trick your appetite by eating heavy, hard to digest foods (like high-fat, high-protein dairy products) is not the answer to weight management.  The key is to eat nutrient-rich foods with an abundance of vitamins, minerals, soluble fiber and simple carbohydrates to give your body everything it needs to excel (i.e. fresh fruits and vegetables).  Once you do this, your body will no longer be craving for its unmet nutritional needs, and you'll find your appetite obeys itself very nicely.   

"Greek yogurt is lower in carbohydrates than most standard commercial yogurts, making it a good choice for keeping blood sugar levels under control."

Wrong again.  Greek yogurt is very high in fat, which is bad news -- particularly if you're diabetic.  The best way to correct blood sugar imbalances over the long term is to eat a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables.  It's important to understand the massive difference between the ultra-refined carbohydrates found in unnatural, processed foods (like white flour and sugar) and the natural simple ones found in fresh, raw fruit (our perfect food).  One is a monstrosity that wreaks havok on our bodies, while the other is the best source of energy we can find.  You don't want to avoid carbohydrates.  Far from it.  The key is to go with the mangos and bananas, not white sugar and candy bars.

"Other health benefits of Greek yogurt include lower salt content than standard yogurt."

Somebody's really scraping the bottom of the barrel here, now.  Okay, so greek yogurt has less salt than the typical yogurt.  Less of a bad thing does not make for a good thing. If you're concerned about your salt intake, start by doing something that makes a real difference -- and I don't mean choose a new brand of yogurt. 

Transform your life by embracing a diet that's loaded with raw fruits and vegetables.

Jumping on the next big trend and making some minor variation to your menu is pointless.  It doesn't get you anywhere, and you might as well not bother.  If you're not happy with they way you feel every day, it's time to try something new.

Reassess where you are and where you want to be.  If you're ready to take the next step and give a raw-vegan diet a try, I'm here to help.  Take a complimentary peek at my book, Real-World Raw: The Busy Person's Guide to the Raw-Vegan Diet.  You have nothing to lose, and who knows, you just might find it to be the best health move you ever make!

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Real-World Raw Health and Nutrition:
The raw food diet made easy for your busy life!

Mike Dillman is a self-taught raw-vegan who began his journey nearly six years ago.   Having worked his way through all the challenges firsthand, he wants to save you from making the same mistakes yourself.  You can visit Mike's blog at Real-World-Raw.com to learn how easy it can be to make a raw-vegan diet fit your busy lifestyle.

If you want to experience the amazing health that comes with living the one truly natural diet, Mike's new book, "Real-World Raw: The Busy Person's Guide to the Raw-Vegan Diet" is just what you're looking for.  See for yourself. 
To Download a FREE 20-Page Sneak Preview of the eBook click here!

Thursday
May272010

The Sandwich: A Digestive Disaster

 

The sandwich 

A mainstay of the western diet, the sandwich is popular for its convenience, its versatililty, and its portability.  In a world where everyone is in a hurry and on the go, these attributes often seem to be all that matters.  Notice, however,  that all of these qualities fail to deliver on food's most important role – our nutrition.  Somewhere along the line, that seems to have become a secondary concern. 

Digestive disaster

Contrary to what some may tell you, sandwiches are not very healthy.  Like much of today's western diet, sandwiches are a digestive disaster because they break all the rules of food combining.  Virtually every sandwich is a three-way combination of large amounts of heavy carbohydrates, fat and protein (ex. bread, cheese, meat).  Our bodies can't properly digest large quantities these different macronutrients at the same time.  Instead of a well-digested meal, what we get instead is indigestion, discomfort, and poor nutrient absorption. 

Better choices

The key to good digestion is to keep meals simple and in alignment.  For starters, get rid of the bread.  It's really only serving as a vehicle anyway, and offers you very little apart from empty calories.  Our meals should be primarily fruit-based (smoothies / fresh fruit) or greens-based (salads / green smoothies).  Neither of these are improved by slapping them between layers of refined grain products.  Do your health a favor and part ways with the sandwich.  Believe me, you can do much better.

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Mike Dillman has lived a raw-vegan diet since 2004. Because he's experienced the learning curve firsthand, he wants to save you from making the same mistakes yourself. You can visit Mike's blog at Real-World-Raw.com to learn how easy it can be to make a raw-vegan diet fit your busy lifestyle. You can also download his free eBook, "The 7 Biggest Raw Mistakes", where Mike lays out the major missteps beginning raw foodists make that undermine their success and tells you how you can avoid them. To get your free eBook click here.

Tuesday
May252010

True hunger vs. False hunger

Next time you find yourself eagerly eyeing that piece of cake even though you know you're stuffed, here's a little something to consider.

Not all hunger is the same

In fact, not all "hunger" is actually hunger.  On a very simple level, our feelings of hunger can be broken into two distinct classes: True hunger and false hunger.

False hunger

We experience false hunger when we desire food even though our body has no need for it.  False hunger is often brought on by a stimulated appetite.  Appetite can be stimulated by condiments, spices, salt, sugar and other flavoring agents that are often added to our foods.  These additives provide virtually no nutrition whatsoever.  Their only purpose is to trick our bodies into finding unnatural foods to be appealing.  When we are attracted to food merely because of a stimualted appetite, we are not experiencing true hunger.  We are only being drawn to eat for recreational purposes, not for any physiological need.

True hunger

True hunger is different.  It's not a matter of appetite at all.  When you’re truly hungry, you aren’t very picky about what you want eat.  Any food will seem appealing, whether it’s your favorite or not.  You’ll be equally as willing to eat a mango, a green smoothie, or a big salad as you would be anything else (including that piece of cake).  They'll all look great because your body genuinely desires to be fueled.  This is different from just wanting to eat for the fun of it.

Am I truly hungry? 

Next time you find yourself thinking that you simply must have that piece of cake even though you're too full to walk, ask yourself a simple question: "Am I truly hungry?  If that was an apple sitting there instead of a sugary dessert, would I still be thinking about food right now?"  It's a simple question, and the better you become at answering it truthfully, the healthier and happier you will be.

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Mike Dillman has lived a raw-vegan diet since 2004. Because he's experienced the learning curve firsthand, he wants to save you from making the same mistakes yourself. You can visit Mike's blog at Real-World-Raw.com to learn how easy it can be to make a raw-vegan diet fit your busy lifestyle. You can also download his free eBook, "The 7 Biggest Raw Mistakes", where Mike lays out the major missteps beginning raw foodists make that undermine their success and tells you how you can avoid them. To get your free eBook click here.

Thursday
May062010

A Source of Good Health

As is generally the case, I get my inspirations on what to write from things I notice in everyday life.  While at the grocery store yesterday, I overheard two women shopping in the dairy section.  One had a container of yogurt in her hand and was reading out loud:

It says it's a "good source of fiber".

Then she tossed it in her shopping cart.  The other woman nodded in general agreement, almost as if saying:

After all, it says so, therefore it must be true.

I'm always amazed at the level of trust people place in the claims made by food advertisements.  When it comes to your health, exihibiting a certain level of critical thinking is essential.

Here's some food for thought:

"A good source of fiber" is not necessarily a good thing at all.  All this means is that there's a reasonable (i.e. good) amount of some sort of fiber in the food.  The type of fiber is irrelevant; the claim is merely referring to quantity, not quality.  While it's possible that the fiber comes from fruits or vegetables, it's also highly unlikely.  Usually in these cases the fiber is derived from grains.  This type of fiber is harsh on our digestive systems and irritates the colon.

vs.

"A source of good fiber".  You might think I'm repeating myself, but this subtle change of word order makes a big difference.  A source of good fiber emphasizes the quality of the fiber.  The sort of fiber that is friendly to our bodies, giving us all the benefits and avoiding any irritation.  The source is fruits and vegetables, of course!

(If you want to read more about fiber, please check my other blog posts and my book.)

What I really hope to communicate here is the importance of reading labels correctly and focusing on the priorities.  Don't take health claims for granted.  Be skeptical about what any packaged food will do for your health.  Think about what you're eating and whether it is actually giving you what your body wants.

Remember, what you want is a source of good health.  Why settle for anything less?

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Mike Dillman has lived a raw-vegan diet since 2004. Because he's experienced the learning curve firsthand, he wants to save you from making the same mistakes yourself. You can visit Mike's blog at Real-World-Raw.com to learn how easy it can be to make a raw-vegan diet fit your busy lifestyle. You can also download his free eBook, "The 7 Biggest Raw Mistakes", where Mike lays out the major missteps beginning raw foodists make that undermine their success and tells you how you can avoid them. To get your free eBook click here.