4 reasons why smart people drink just water

I’m astounded by the number of beverage options at my local Whole Foods store.   They stock everything from gingerade kombucha to asparagus water to hemp milk.  It’s not just Whole Foods though.  Have you walked into a convenience store lately?  You might have been hit in the forehead with 25 varieties of fountain soda and cups big enough to hold 64 ounces.

Am I the only one that thinks we’ve gone absolutely over the top with endless varieties of beverage options?  When was the last time someone just had a drink of water if they were thirsty?  Oh, not good enough?  You need a beet, carrot and ginger juice?  Or a cold brewed artisan coffee to slake your thirst?  Certainly you can’t be expected to go a day without coconut water.

No, no, and no.  Let’s talk about why smart people drink just water, and why you need to just walk right by that ostentatious display of liquid refreshment without a single second thought:

  1. No fat, no calories  – the best part about water is…it’s water.  It doesn’t have a list of ingredients and therefore doesn’t have fat, calories, protein, or anything.  It’s just plain old water.  Yet, the beauty is in it’s very plainness.  It has no added ingredients.  You don’t need to even bother reading the label.  And if you’re doing it right and filtering your water at home and using a re-usable container like my Klean Kanteen, there wouldn’t be a label anyway. smart people drink just water You can even decorate your container with stickers like I did.
  2. Less expensive  – you can drink filtered water at home for next to nothing.  Or you can blow anywhere from $1.50 to $15 buying stupid bottled water and outrageously expensive craft brews that taste like pine needles and smell like shoe polish  Most people work hard for their money and must tolerate long commutes, time away from their families and a spot in the herd of the cube farm.  Does it make sense to prolong time spent in the workforce by spending your hard-earned cash on ridiculously expensive drinks? No, it does not. Is that daily Kombucha habit you’ve cultivated going to drown the sadness you should feel knowing you’re not maxing out your 401k contribution?  Doubt it.
  3. Minimalism  – I’m a huge fan of keeping things simple.  You may have heard President Obama only wears gray or blue suits, as he revealed in a Fast Company interview. This isn’t because he prefers only those colors, but because it pares down his decision-making.  He only has 2 choices.  Less decisions.  Less time spent making decisions is the impetus.   Imagine only having one beverage choice.  Water or water.  How easy it would be.  No adding beverages to your grocery list.  No need to decide what to order at dinner or lunch.  No paying for or transporting cases of beverages from the store to home.  Nope, you just fill up your container from your Brita water pitcher purchased for less that $21 on Amazon and you’re done.  Boom.  No decision necessary.  No extra packaging to throw away.  No worry about whether what you’re drinking is pure or filtered.  Of course it is silly, you filtered it yourself.
  4. Hydration – let’s get down to the nitty gritty of beverage consumption.  It’s not for entertainment (hello, beer and wine), it’s not for fun, or because you’re bored or feel compelled to always have a beverage in hand.  Beverage consumption, down to it’s basics, is about hydration.  That’s right.  Your body requires water.  After all, water is our #1 nutrient.  Not only does water lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, but it also plays a key role in your mood.  The best possible way to get hydrated is not by drinking ridiculously over-marketed, sugar-filled and artificially-colored drinks like Gatorade or Powerade, but by drinking water.  Quick question…what’s more hydrating than water?  Nothing.  Water is hydrating.   Water is all your body needs and nothing it doesn’t.  Water is life.

Here comes the vegan agenda…Keep in mind that it’s great to obtain water and thus hydration from drinking water, but that’s not the only, or even the best way.  Water also comes from your diet.  Ha!  Since you’re reading a vegan blog, did you really think I’d go for a single post without recommending you eat more plants?  Of course not.

If you have a crappy diet of high calorie, heavily processed, dense foods you’re probably dehydrated.  If you have a clean diet full of fruits and vegetables and no processed foods, you very likely have better hydration levels.  The more high water content foods like watermelon, oranges and celery that you eat, the more hydrated you’ll be and the less water you’ll need.  The more salty, sugary and fat-laden foods you eat, the more water you’ll need to drink just to help your body digest that which you’ve thrown at it.

Sure, water isn’t glamorous.  It doesn’t come in 27 different flavors and colors.  It doesn’t fizz or have any celebrity or famous athlete endorsements.  Or even an iconic Got Milk? slogan.

But wait.  Isn’t it all the better that water doesn’t have any of that?  Water doesn’t need million dollar advertising slogans.  It doesn’t need variety or fizz.  Water sells itself.  It’s the beverage of choice for everyone, from hardcore endurance athletes to hung over college students.  Water is the bomb.  Water is the new black.

Now go drink some water! Oh, and eat your fruit and veggies!

EatPlantsLiveWell!

 

Is a fruitarian diet safe?

is a fruitarian diet safe

In 2016 I’m going an entire year eating nothing cooked.  I will eat mostly fresh, whole fruit and some raw veggies, in the form of tender leafy greens as part of my favorite giant salad.  But is a fruitarian diet safe? Will eating just fruit and greens provide all the nutrients I need?

Truthfully, I have no idea.  Nor, it seems, does anyone else.  There just aren’t any long term studies completed with people that only eat fruit.  Even the amazing Dr Michael Greger at nutritionfacts.org hasn’t yet documented a study involving only fruit consumption.  Though he does have a video showing the benefits of eating up to 20 servings of fruit a day and 44 servings of vegetable.  Most notable? A 38 point drop in LDL cholesterol.  How’s that for results?

I’m guessing the reason for a lack of long term studies is that not many subjects could stick to a diet of only fruit and leafy greens for an extended period of time.  This isn’t a lifestyle for the faint of heart, and certainly study subjects would not only be hard to find but nearly impossible to keep.

There are a few people in the raw vegan community that show success eating a fruitarian diet.  The original fruitarian himself, Michael Arnstein, as well as Ted Carr are both successful endurance athletes and aesthetically pleasing.  What I’m saying is they look pretty dang fit and healthy.

But for every successful fruitarian there are famous failures.  Ashton Kutcher reportedly wound up in the hospital after trying a fruitarian diet.  Allegedly, Steve Jobs followed a fruitarian diet preceding and during his pancreatic cancer diagnosis and passed away at age 56.

So which is it?  Will fruitarianism send me straight to the hospital or to the podium?

At this point, I don’t know.  Nor do I really care.  I am following this lifestyle not to lose weight, win races or to cure cancer.  I don’t have high LDL cholesterol, blood pressure or any other health issues. I’m following the lifestyle because it makes me feel my best.

I simply don’t know if it’s the healthiest.  I don’t know if it provides all the nutrients I need.  All I know is that eating fresh, ripe, raw, whole fruit and leafy greens makes me feel really good.  I have more energy, I sleep better, and it just feels right.   Like sliding on a shoe that forms perfectly to your feet or putting in that very last puzzle piece, a lifestyle of mostly fruit just suits me.

Part of what makes eating primarily a fruit diet so appealing is that there is no need to use added salt, sugar or fat in preparation of my food.  I simply eat fruit.  I’m not cooking anything or adding condiments with super high levels of sodium or sugar.  I’m simply eating fruit as it is picked off the tree or the vine.

Also, I really enjoy eating fruit and salads.  Believe me, it will happen to you too if you give this lifestyle a try.  Changing your tastebuds is possible and takes remarkably little time. I look forward to meal times almost more now that I eat super simple meals of oranges and bananas and large but simple salads of romaine, avocado, tomato and lime juice.

Sure, I miss eating cooked foods occasionally.  I miss vegan pizza, rice and potatoes.  But what I don’t miss is how these foods made me feel.  Bloated, full, sluggish and gross is how I used to feel after eating these foods.  After fruit meals I’m energized, satiated and happy.

Isn’t this how food is supposed to make us feel?

EatPlantsLiveWell.

Going all raw vegan for 2016: Day 11 update

all raw vegan 2016

I’m through day 11 of going all raw vegan for 2016.  Though my minimum time period for eating all raw is the 2016 calendar year, my ultimate hope is that after 365 days of eating this way I will continue to eat all raw.  Assuming, of course, that I still feel best eating this way.

The first 11 days have been super easy.  Right now I’m eating mostly bananas, mandarins, apples during the day and then eating a simple salad at night of romaine or butter lettuce with avocado, tomatoes, dates and lime.  I then also usually have a snack of mandarins in the evening.

Food combining and mono meals

Clearly, I’m not following the rules of food combining and I’m also not having as many mono meals as I’d like.  I’ll continue to work on that, probably by making my salad even simpler and maybe just eating mandarins for my breakfast/lunch.

For now, I don’t feel bad combining these foods so I don’t have a lot of incentive to stop eating this way.  This may change, of course, but I’ll continue to look for ways to improve on both of these in the future.

Calories

I haven’t been using Cronometer to log my calories lately but my guess would be I’m in the range of 2500 calories or so per day.  While I have a high level of activity, this is probably still too high.  I am working on eating a bit less.  I tend to eat more than I should, sometimes past the point where I feel full.  This is a work in progress and I’ll continue to work on being aware of my natural satiety signals.

I also tend to eat too fast.  This happens mostly because I love, love, love eating this way.  When I eat I look like the Tasmanian Devil, annihilating everything edible (and raw) in my path.  I’m working on eating slower.  Making baby steps.

Intermittent fasting

Though I have made some videos on this subject I don’t even really like to call what I do intermittent fasting.  What I do is try and follow a pretty simple idea for when I eat.  It’s pretty crazy, so get ready.  Here goes:  I eat when I’m hungry.  Crazy, right?

This means that I typically don’t eat until 11 am or even later.  Today I ate around noon. Yesterday I ate around 10:30 am.  I don’t want food early in the morning.  I work out in a fasted state, and I don’t feel the need to eat until at least late morning.

I know, I know.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right?  Perhaps it is, or perhaps not.  Depends on if you’re hungry when you get up in the morning.  If you are, eat.  But one thing I will never recommend is eating when you’re not hungry.  Doesn’t the idea of eating when you’re simply not hungry seem kind of crazy?

I hear people say “you’ve got to eat,” or “aren’t you going to eat?”  As if going for a few hours without eating is going to kill me.  Well, it’s not.

What might kill people, though, is a habit of eating when not hungry. It’s silly and a dangerous and extremely unhealthy rabbit hole to fall down.  Make a point of listening to your body.  If it wants to eat, you’ll get the signals loud and clear.

Dr Joel Fuhrman labels those false hunger signals as Toxic Hunger.  This hunger is the only type many people feel, and is triggered by many situations, including food availability, unhealthy foods and even boredom.  Let’s face it – we’ve all fallen victim to eating when we’re not truly hungry. The key is recognizing it and training yourself to only eat when you’re body signals you that it needs food.

Summary

Overall, I feel great so far going all raw vegan for 2016.  I’m experiencing more energy, better and more consistent digestion and just an overall good feeling.  I’ve even had a few social situations and meals at restaurants where I’ve managed to find awesome raw options.

So far so good!

EatPlantsLiveWell!

How I’m curing my clown-like car habit

clown-like car habit

A clown-like car habit is when you make silly, clown-like decisions to drive your car every single time you leave the house.  Even a half mile to the store.  Or you might even go through a drive-thru, or sit in traffic with all your clown friends, wearing that ridiculous red clown nose and pink hair.

A clown-like car habit means you never thoughtfully consider whether your errands could be accomplished either walking, running or biking.

A few months back I started reading Mr Money Mustache, where I learned about this clown-like car habit of ours.  MMM is a living-below-your-means blog written by a sometimes foul-mouthed mustached guy who has a totally endearing habit of calling people on their shit.

So you have a 50 mile commute to work that you power up a Ford F350 every morning and evening to do?  He will call you a dumb ass.  He will tell you to move closer to work and trade that big truck for a Nissan Leaf.  Problem solved.

What?  You’re only saving 10% of your income?  That’s downright embarrassing. Paying $300 for cable so you can sit on the couch every night and not talk to your family or read any of the thousands of books available for free at your local library.  Shame on you.

This guy retired in his 30’s because he scoffed at the idea of saving only 10% of his income.  Now he writes a hilarious blog in which he shames people for everything from driving their car to the gym to ordering a Starbucks Venti mocha delivered to their office instead of getting up off their big butt and walking the 1/2 block to pick it up themselves.  Wait, while we’re at it, why are you spending $5 for a cup of coffee? Walk a little further to the corner grocery store, buy some beans and make your own damn coffee.  Sheesh.

Speaking of driving to the gym… Okay, yes, I have a confession.  I attend a bootcamp class twice a week at a gym exactly 1.7 miles from my front door.  I get in my adorable blue Prius and drive to the gym.  To workout.  Are you hearing me?  I drive my car.  To the gym.  To workout.  The more I think about it, the sillier it sounds.  Could I be more clown-like?

What would Mr Money Mustache think? WWMMMT?  It’s a little long but I think it’ll work.  Okay, he would think I’m an idiot and probably want to punch me in the face.

So this Tuesday rolled around and instead of grabbing my car keys, phone, water and whatever other stupid crap I feel the need to bring with me, I just ran out the back door.  I mean, I closed it after, of course.  Then I ran to bootcamp.  On Thursday, I did it again.

It’s official then.  As of this week, I am officially running to the gym, doing the bootcamp workout, and no matter how many squats I’ve done and how painful my quads feel, I run back home from bootcamp.  Which is slightly uphill, by the way.

You want to know the best part?  It takes me no longer to run to the gym then it ever did to drive.  Because of the stoplights and the ice-scraping or snow removal from my car required occasionally in this cold climate, I get to the gym in roughly the same amount of time.

Also, here’s the funny part.  I love running.  I run marathons, ultra-marathons even.  It’s not as if running to the 3.4 miles additional is difficult for me at all.  Sure, it’s not as easy as jumping in my car and pushing the start button.  I have to get bundled up.  I have to wear a headlamp because it’s 5:40 am and it’s dark and did I mention it’s the middle of winter here in Idaho?  I may have to run on icy roads.  But I’m a runner.  I do these things because I enjoy them.

But that’s not even the best part.  The best part is I actually enjoy running to the gym.  It gets me warmed up properly for my workout, then provides a nice cool-down on the way home.  I also feel like a bit of a badass.  Sure, anybody can go to bootcamp.  But can you run there and run back?

I get a bit of a kick out of watching my fellow boot campers arrive, screeching into the parking lot and rushing into class while carrying jackets, water bottles, keys and phones.

Meanwhile, I cruise in with no keys, no water and no stress.  Just me and my human-powered legs.  I’ve also added nearly 7 miles to my weekly running mileage with the least amount of effort.  Yes, of course I’m adding that to my Strava account.

So wait, why did it take me this long (since I’ve been going to bootcamp for over a year now) to figure out I could run there?

One word:  Habit.  I didn’t really think about it.  I’ve always had gym memberships, and I’ve always driven there.  I wake up, get dressed, grab my keys and head out the door.  It’s what I do.  Heck, how else would I get there?

Or did.  It’s what I did.  Now I have a new habit.  I run to the gym.  I run home.  Boom.  Change can be as easy as that.

Now, of course, I’ll need to work on my other clown-like car habits.  Like driving to Trader Joe’s.

Check out Mr Money Mustache if you’re interested in being shamed out of some embarrassing habits that, well, you probably need to be shamed out of anyway.

Of course, if you want to be shamed or ridiculed for how you eat, continue to read this blog.

Now if only I could get MMM to go vegan…

EatPlantsLiveWell!

I’m going all raw vegan for 2016

Typically, my diet alternates between eating raw and eating some cooked foods.  Though I’m always (and forever) vegan, I’ve struggled lately with trying to stick to an a completely raw, low fat diet.  So why am I going all raw vegan for 2016?  Have I lost a bet?  Or my mind?

I’m going all raw, low fat vegan for 2016 for one reason and one reason only: eating this way makes me feel better than I’ve ever felt.  It’s not about weight loss, deprivation, or some sort of masochistic desire to torture myself.

When I eat all raw, fresh ripe fruit and vegetables, I feel absolutely amazing.  When I add in cooked foods, as I’ve done in 2015, I don’t feel nearly as good.  Even seemingly benign foods such as boiled potatoes, rice and steamed veggies draw down my energy levels and slow my digestion.  I even had a cold recently.  What?  I haven’t been sick in years.

Perhaps part of the reason for this is that I go back and forth with an all raw diet and cooked foods.  Perhaps this means my body is less able to digest these foods as I don’t eat them very often.  This makes sense to me, though I have nothing besides my personal experience to base it on.

Of course most people think I’m crazy to eat mostly fruit and some vegetables exclusively and no cooked foods like beans, lentils, bread or potatoes.  Where will I get my protein? What about calcium?  Will I grow dangerously thin and float away like a sad birthday ballon?

I’ve gone for 4 months in the past eating only raw, though I did still drink coffee then and I had much more fat in the form of nuts and avocados in my diet than I do now.  I’ve since given up coffee (yay!) and I don’t eat nearly as much fat now.

But worry not, I will not waste away in 2016 eating only high carb low fat raw vegan.  I have plenty of reserves in the form of body fat to draw on.  In fact, the average person has plenty of reserves to fast for weeks.

As far as protein, of course I’ll still be getting plenty with just the fruits and vegetables I eat.  Ditto for calcium.

Though I’m very much looking forward to the challenge, the hard part of going all raw vegan in 2016 will be eating out and maintaining a social life.

Eating out has obvious challenges.  Few restaurants cater to someone who eats a few bananas and 4 lbs of clementines for a meal.  Though I dine out as infrequently as possible because I hate eating out, I still occasionally do.

Eating out means eating lots of salads…and typically very bad salads. Salads aren’t usually the focus of a restaurant.  After all, when is the last time someone said, “hey, let’s go check out that new restaurant! I heard their dinner salads are the bomb!”  I’ll be ordering dry salads with tomatoes that taste like wet cotton balls and lettuce coated in noxious pesticides.  Please bring me another.

Social situations are another issue altogether.  Though my husband is vegan and some friends are vegan, most of the people I hang out with are meat-eaters.   They invite us places.  We go to dinner at their homes.  Eating vegan is one thing, but eating raw vegan will rattle even the hippest host.

So I’ll avoid eating out as much as possible or choose Whole Foods.  I’ll also bring an epic raw salad to gatherings.  Most people love my salads (or at least that’s what they tell me) and they provide some nice color amongst all the gray and brown animal-based foods.

What I’m really getting down to here is if something means enough, there’s always a way.  There is absolutely no excuse for me to not to succeed going all raw for 2016.  Sometimes, things are as difficult as you make them.  If it’s important to me, I’ll make it work.

If I’m committed to feeling my absolute best and creating the most efficient and healthy body possible, I’ll make it through 365 days of eating fresh, ripe, whole, organic raw fruit and vegetables.  If I’m not committed and it’s not important enough to me, I’ll falter at some point.

My hope is that after a full year of eating raw, the cravings for cooked foods go away, just as the cravings for vegan processed junk food went away when I stopped eating them for a long enough period of time.  Or I may just go insane.  But hopefully not.

The truth is, I want this to be a permanent change in my lifestyle.  I want to go high carb, low fat raw vegan forever.  Or at least as long as it makes me feel so good.  Which I’m assuming is forever.

At day 365 of going all raw vegan for 2016, when I see the finish line I’m going to high five everyone and keep on running.  And running.

EatPlantsLiveWell!