Somewhere between finishing my journey in Europe and being swallowed whole by a complete life change here in Asheville, North Carolina, I completely forgot about my neglected child, also known as The Happiness Cocktail.
You have to forgive me though, as I have been on the most amazing personal journey one could wish for. A journey that has seen me travel and experience seven amazing countries, and explore their food, their culture, their way of life.
It’s only natural then that I too have changed somewhat. Well, maybe not changed so much as opened. Opened my eyes to a new outlook on life, Happies, realising what’s important to me, and what’s not.
My routine here in Asheville allows me the luxury of having a daily schedule that reads like a health retreat – wake up, meditate, sip green tea, walk, cook, cook, cook, yoga. Repeat. And it’s this pattern of simplicity and pure inner goodness that has allowed me to realise that being kind to your body, and nourishing it in a variety of ways, is one key step in finding balance, harmony, and of course, our wonderful friend, happiness.
For me, it’s food that provides me with more joy than a groupie with a backstage pass. Good food. Healthy food. In-season food. And after having that luxury taken away from me while traveling around (and not having access to my own kitchen), I am now more aware and more grateful than ever for high quality food that’s made at home.
So let’s start with the good stuff, shall we. RAW FOOD. There’s a whole movement towards eating raw food and thanks to some clever marketing and a few quick selling books, the majority of the population think it’s complete B.S. Like the Atkins and the Blood Type diet before it, raw food is nudging its way into diet plans everywhere.
But here’s the thing – raw food is essential. It’s crucial, in fact. But you don’t have to black-ban your ovens and swear off hot food for life. It shouldn’t be a ‘diet’. In fact, I hate the word diet in reference to losing weight, it’s not about that. If you’re healthy, you should be at your ideal weight. Generally. So rather than it being about getting slim, it’s about lifestyle, and making good eating choices. It’s as simple as that really.
Unless you’re Miranda Kerr, it’s very difficult to eat raw food more than, say, 60% of the time. And let’s face it, there’s nothing better than a slow cooked curry or beef ragu (both of which I made this week and both of which I will post here asap), so I tend to stick to insuring 50-70% of my diet is raw.
Why? When you cook your food at high temperatures it affects the enzymes in the meal and changes its nutritional benefits. It also produces toxins called AGEs, which have been linked to inflammation, kidney disease, and an increase in the ageing of your cells. To put it very simply. Basically, when you eat 100% cooked, processed, refined food, you aren’t giving your body as much goodness as you could be. But throw in a few raw meals and your body will benefit greatly, Happies.
Some easy ways to introduce raw food into your diet is by having muesli in the morning, and salads throughout the day. We tend to make our own muesli at my place, as you can throw everything you like in there rather than take what you’re given. Make sure all the grains you eat are RAW – including superfood oats, seeds, nuts, and a raisin if you like. And no, toasted muesli doesn’t count.
Serve it with almond, soy, rice, or regular milk (raw milk isn’t available to drink in Australia as it’s illegal) and some raw honey. And if you want to throw some fresh fruit on top, you can do that too. Although I recommend not having dairy milk with your fruit, as it makes it harder to break down the fructose and inhibits the absorbing of goodness from the fruit.
Go crazy with salads too, Happies. Vary your greens as much as possible and eat in- season, local produce as much as possible. Have your greens with a variety of proteins (no canned tuna everyday, please) and enjoy with tahini, miso, or extra virgin olive oil dressings. YUM!
A friend of mine recently made the switch to eating more raw food and can’t stop raving about the benefits. Everything from energy levels increasing to your skin glowing more than ever has been recorded. It’s like magic, only it’s not.
Tell me Happies…
Do you eat enough raw food?
Do you make a conscious effort to include it in your diet?
Did you know about AGEs?