Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Baking and Rainy Days

Ever since growing up, baking is one of those things I've always turned to when I'm feeling stressed. There's just something so magical about putting together a few ingredients and in a few minutes some magical scents come wafting out of the oven. Then you have something delicious to devour and it seems as if all is right in the world again. It also brings back so many fond memories of being younger and watching my mom make cinnamon buns, and me sneaking handfuls of cinammony sugar, or concocting delicious puff pastries with my Aunt in her kitchen and using them as an excuse to shovel whipped cream and just picked blackberries into my mouth. Yesterday I was watching 'Delicious Miss Dahl' on the Food Network, and I couldn't resist the urge to bake something.

In this case, it was bread. Simple, homey, and delicious slathered with Earth Balance right from the oven. I don't think I'm alone in saying that when I bake things I usually can barely taste them at first cause I'm stuffing my face with piping hot goodies. This bread was quite simple, I used whole wheat pastry flour which isn't optimal for bread since there's not enough gluten in the flour, but it was tasty nonetheless.

So much of the time I read blogs saying 'food is fuel', and while I do agree with that, sometimes I feel like we neglect to give due how relaxing cooking for yourself or others can be. Sure, I agree that more people need to strive to eat healthfully and find balance in their diets, but sometimes I find myself trying to talk myself out of baking since I know that most baked goods don't do much to feed your body most of the time. I truly believe it's about trying to find balance in your life, and the pleasure of making something delicious for myself far outweighs any negative effects. Even though I may have eaten almost half the loaf in one go, under the excuse that 'it just won't taste the same tomorrow!'.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Raw vs Cooked

Throughout my journey of learning about raw foods, I think it can be really easy to get trapped into the mindset of trying to only eat exclusively raw, and while this may work for some, I've found a diet of mostly raw with the inclusion of some cooked foods a lot easier to manage, and to be honest, more enjoyable. Continually thinking my diet wasn't 'perfect' if I ate some cooked food felt way too similar to an eating disorder mindset, something that I've tried really hard the past few years to free myself from, and including cooked whole grains and some veggies has been a lot easier and I'm not always stuffing my face with nuts trying to stay full.

While I do think North American culture in general over-emphasizes their obsession with getting 'enough' protein through animal sources, which I don't agree with, I can acknowledge the fact that on a vegan diet getting protein is something you need to remain conscious of. On a raw food diet even more-so, and as a raw foodist you turn to a lot of nuts and oils to try to satiate you. While nuts are beneficial and contain loads of fats that are good for you, I found over consuming them didn't make me feel great. I found it really interesting that in this interview with Victoria Boutenko(http://vegnews.com/articles/page.do?pageId=4102&catId=7, she was mentioning a similar opinion.

In fact, some foods, such as mushrooms are better assimilated by your body when they have been cooked. Which leads me to think that balance, with an emphasis on lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, is much more do-able for me at least. I still eat a high percentage of raw foods, but usually include one cooked element in most meals. This way I've found it a lot easier to still eat in a way I find healthy for me, but I'm able to eat foods that help me stay full for longer and feel more satisfied. I think it's really all about just trying to find a balance!

I especially love this last quote by Victoria Boutenko in regards to how switching to a high raw diet has affected her:

"I do not feel that anything is missing in my diet any more. I feel good and my weight is steadily normalizing. In addition I feel a profound peace inside from abandoning a place of limitation and idealism. I choose to be healthy, instead of being 100-percent raw."

I think it can be so easy to be caught up in trying to aim for perfection, which seems like a goal that can never be reached, or that you're always falling short. I believe you should never beat yourself up for 'failing' at eating a perfect diet, there is no such thing. Balance is much more optimal to strive for, some days will be good, others will not. It's not about what you do every moment, it's about your habits collectively that will lead to health.