Monday, June 21, 2010

Revenge of the Nerd

Is it possible to be a food nerd? I think perhaps. I think, perhaps, I may be one.

Let's survey the scene. I spot a brilliant green, not fully forest green, yet deeper and richer than emerald. The landscape is smooth, but not without its tiny ridges, shallow dips; a gentle terrain. Hearty. Certain. Further exploration unlocks a cool oasis, refreshing, hydrating, and brilliantly light. The soft aroma of a summer day's respite wraps the senses, and I think, "Surely, it is here that my heart delights."

But what joy is this? Ah, the mighty cucumber.

Yes, seriously. You may feel that you can answer my opening question already, but read on, for no man is an island.

The cucumber is a mighty vegetable, indeed. For starters, the cucumber is a very alkalizing vegetable. Acid-alkaline balance, or pH, is a major point of interest when it comes to health. Did you know that the body maintains a pH of just about 7.35? It must, or you would not be reading this now. That means that, with 7.0 being neutral, we are slightly alkaline. Yet much of the modern day diet is acid forming, meaning that the foods are acidic once processed by your body, including foods like meat, dairy, refined sugar, grains, coffee, soft drinks, and so on.

Have you heard that soda leeches calcium from the bones? I grew up knowing that, though not why. Here's why. The body has a store of alkalizing power, and this is calcium, stored in the bones. When the internal homeostasis is threatened by a tip towards acidity, the body will rapidly adjust to stabilize the environment by utilizing this alkalizing mineral. Over time, this breakdown can lead to conditions like osteoporosis.

What's more, an acidic environment is a great breeding ground for many diseases, like cancer, and even overgrowth of microbes, like Candida albicans, a yeast present in the body that can become a fungus and invade the system if not kept in check. Candida overgrowth is another widespread condition that may be at the root of a multitude of symptoms and conditions.

Cucumber is a great help in keeping a good balance that prevents these complications to health. But there's more! Cucumber is also rich in silica, the mineral that is used to rebuild bones. That's fighting power against the loss of bone density times two! This also brings great benefits for the skin, hair and nails.

Those with challenges in the area of blood sugar levels such as Diabetes and hyperglycemia also benefit from the cucumber. The skin of this vegetable contains phytochemicals (plant chemicals) that help the body to better utilize its own insulin. The organic cucumber is the best choice in order to avoid the pesticides and wax that coat the commercially grown cucumbers.

I recognize that my excitement may not be reflective of everyone's, but seriously! You're not excited? Sure you are.

I can admit it, own it: I am a nerd. But I know I am not alone.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Most Important Thing

As the years of study build, the information mounts, research advances, so the confusion tends to increase. Surveying the terrain of my nutritional path, I am reminded of the feeling of being overwhelmed with the level of change I wanted to implement, of how big the hills seemed. I'll let you in on a secret: like the little Russian dolls, or the spiral moving ever inward, the opportunities for improvement do not end, they simply fine tune.

Lest we get discouraged, step back! I am often asked, "What is the most important thing I can do right now?" If you were going to make just one change, one that you could be satisfied with, one that would constitute the proverbial good place to start, what should it be?

To add some perspective to things, I will come clean now and tell you that once upon a time I was a huge fan of the "fourth meal." Late night, drive-thru, cheesy and salty was my thing. Diet soda, chips: bring on the meal of champions! In fact, I am convinced that years passed in my youth when ne'er a sip of water passed my lips! Ah, the miracle of the human body.

I should add to this that I never really felt good about myself, and this intensified to near mortification as I learned what was going on inside, and, perhaps more importantly, what was not going on, as a result of the foods I was keen to. No wonder I felt unhealthy, no wonder my complexion was upset, no wonder...

But here it is, the number one thing I would share. It is the work you can begin before ever stepping foot into my office or cleaning out the cupboards and restocking your kitchen:

Accept yourself as you are, right here, right now.

This is the sentence I wish had been at the beginning of the very first natural health book I read rather than at the end. The most profound changes I have experienced on the outside have immediately followed a shift on the inside.

If you are able to let go of the negative loop running in your head that highlights all of your imperfections, including shame, frustration and disappointment, the odds for success increase, I would say, exponentially. A simple change in perspective. "Treat" rather than "Cheat", et cetera, et cetera.

To create a healthier internal and external environment out of a motivation of love for yourself rather than a desire to run from who you currently are is to work as a partner to your Self versus an adversary.

Practice this. Science shows us that when we interrupt our thought pattern and replace the thought with a new one, new neural networks are formed in the brain, and soon after the chemical processes within follow. You may be surprised at the healing power of positive thinking.

To accept yourself and be at peace in the vessel that will carry you through all of your years yields true happiness on your journey. May we all strive for this!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Raen's Hello

As this is the first official entry, an introduction sounds like a good place to start.

I have spent the last few years designing. Deconstructing, defragmenting and defining a life, and it seems I have successfully been involved in creating one. Just like that? In actuality, it was a messy practice, marbled with moments of doubt, impatience, fear. And plenty of good stuff, too, like making tough decisions, facing fears and acting on faith.

Life a few years ago was peppered with the need for change. Though at the time it was not clear what my life's work was to look like, I knew that my increasing success in the corporate world was not it. The move to make a change was slow, but eventually the move was made. The more my life evolves, the more the picture comes into focus.

Many of us become aware of times of personal evolution, and our paths are likely both similar and unique. There is one aspect that I believe is transmutable, and it is one that opened doors and paved pathways. And that is that by enhancing awareness and alignment through better nutrition and nourishment, I was able to simply come down into my body. I finally appreciate the term holistic on a personal level. The more I learned and applied the things I learned about how different foods affected my body, the clearer my understanding became in almost every other area. The fog lifted, so to speak. I felt good. This is something I think I can share. This is something I want to share.

So that is my point, my motivation for educating others about healthy eating and natural lifestyles: to empower individuals to achieve their goals, whatever they are. To implement desired life changes in realistic increments, and, most importantly, help people understand the why behind the changes. By finding balance and vitality, we establish a foundation of health on which to build ourselves.