Yesterday at the yoga studio, Bikram Yoga Durham, Clarissa from Full Lotus Juice Bar (on 9th street located inside the Blue Corn Cafe). We had a delicious lunch which consisted of raw seaweed noodles with a delicious spicy sauce over a bed of greens, and of course green juice! I know raw seaweed noodles sounds gross/weird/what-the-hell-is-that, but I learned that I really loved them! I thought I’d share some things I found very helpful and good insight into healthier eating. Mind you, I am a meat eater, but I love to juice and love smoothies, and loveeeee salads.
1. She described primary nutrition as your relationships with yourself & others, your spirituality, your mental state of mind, and your interaction with the community in which you live and work. Secondary nutrition is the food we CHOOSE to eat. I like how she said what we choose to eat.
2. She stressed bioindividuality. I love this about her and her teaching. She said being vegan isn’t for everyone. Being vegetarian isn’t for everyone. Eating meat isn’t for everyone. Everyone has different needs, and we should respect each others needs but support those needs as well. I love that word = bioindividuality. She gave the example, if you make something that is raw/vegan/gluten free/dairy free you don’t have to be like OMG THIS IS RAW VEGAN AND SO GOOOOOOD EAT SOME NOW. Instead, you can just sit the dish on a table if you are at a party and walk away, or if you’re with just one other person you can be like, “wow this is really good, wanna try?”
3. She works with more unhealthy vegans and vegetarians than meat-eaters because they may not be getting enough fat or protein, and also because they may eat more packaged/processed food which is high in sodium. Sometimes vegans/vegetarians run out of ideas with things to make so they resort to processed food. In turn, she said just because you’re vegan/vegetarian doesn’t mean you’re healthy.
4. Green juice first thing in the morning. It sets your body up for the day. Juice is so easy for your small intestine to absorb because its already broken down so the stomach doesn’t have to do too much work, the nutrients are just taken up! (My physiology two cents: remember, food breakdown starts in the mouth via mechanical breakdown and amylase, and breakdown continues in the stomach. Absorption only happens in the small intestine, not stomach! After the small intestine, only water absorption takes place,not nutrient absorption).
5. Unless you are terminally ill, you don’t have to drink the juice right after you make it. That is the ideal time, but it is perfectly okay to make juice the night before to have the next day! This was so good for me to hear, because I’m now more inspired to make my juice the night before when I have more time.
6. Cayenne pepper is good to heat the body up and gets rid of toxins. Good for us (my husband and me) because he loves spicy things!
7. Make dietary changes simple, and don’t just jump right in full force. For example, say you want to start juicing. This doesn’t mean you have to replace solid food for breakfast with a juice. This is what I tried to do when I first started juicing a year ago and I fell off the bandwagon real fast. One day I may be able to replace breakfast with a juice, but I learned that its okay to just start with baby steps! It’s better to do that anyway rather than jump in with both feet, than get burnt out. Or a different example, say you want to go vegan. You don’t have to be 100% right off the bat. She said its a process, not perfection.
8. If you’re hungry, it’s too late. Meaning, figure out the times of day you start to get hungry, and actually eat 30-40 minutes before that. Once you are hungry, your body has already started to go into starvation mode and then you begin storing energy/fat because your body doesn’t know when you’ll eat next. This reminds me what my mom always said: preventative eating!
9. Someone asked the question, but when I juice I feel hungry. Clarissa said well that’s fine! Remember the word bioindividuality? Everyone has different needs. If you are hungry, then just eat something with your juice. Whew this made me feel better. Eventually, she describes, your body will not be so hungry but this could take a little time or a long time. Basically listening to your body (same lesson you learn in yoga!)
10. The way you eat can be seasonal and dependent on your environment/situation. She said its okay not to setup rigid boundaries because there’s no reason to be hard on yourself if you ate something “you’re not supposed to”. She said its better to eat rather than let yourself go hungry! This was a good lesson for me because sometimes when I’m running around like I do these days, I don’t want to eat “bad” so I just don’t eat at all until I can finally get home. But then my head hurts, I’m cranky, blah blah blah. Clarissa explained that from now until about September she is 99% raw and then for the fall/winter she eats cooked foods because that’s what her boy needs! So it’s important to recognize what you need, rather than deprive yourself.
11. Someone asked, how do I know when I’m just craving something or my body needs it. Whoa good question! Everyone has to make that decision for themselves. Your primary nutrition may be lacking, too, which could cause these cravings. Sounds correct right, we eat things that aren’t so good for us when we feel bad or are stressed, but sometimes we say “oh I was craving it”. But the point is too to not feel guilty about it. Your human, and your mind gets in the way – just like standing head to knee! Always a work in progress.
And as the lovely Mary Jarvis says, you’re on your way.
My favorite smoothie, especially in the morning before I teach or practice:
1 cup soy milk
1 tablespoon honey
Lots of cinnamon
1 cup ice
My favorite green juice, so good for rehydration after a bikram class:
1 celery rib
Can add chia seeds to either!
PS: I put an avocado INCLUDING THE SEED in the vitamix this morning for a smoothie. I was amazed it chopped up the whole thing! Best invention ever.
Happy yoga-ing, juicing and smoothie-ing!