Get some Summer time “Zing” into your Winter Blah?
It can be much harder to stay disciplined and on track with your healthy eating and active life style in the middle of winter. Grey skies, cold nights and wet mornings are not exactly the stuff Abs’s of steel are made of. Not to mention the lack of the depression busting, immune boosting hormone of Vitamin D! And what about the Ions? Yes- the Ions! Think mountains, waterfalls, and beaches. Once Ions reach our bloodstream, negative ions produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin, helping to alleviate depression, relieve stress, and boost our daytime energy! Who hits the beach and gets their daily dose of negative oceanic Ions in this weather?! I think those die hard surfers are onto something- rain, hail or shine, they’re out there.
Now even though the middle of winter is upon us, and all we really want to do is slow cook the winter blues away with hot meaty dishes of emotional satisfaction (and thats ok) but we can’t forget that on the inside, our bodies are still metabolizing and going through their regular enzymatic cycles trying the best they can with the fuel we give it to keep us energized. This is where the Raw Foods concept comes in- YES, in the middle of winter- Raw Foods!
Raw foods are living foods- heated to no more than 44 degrees, if heated at all in most cases. Most people don’t get a particularly appetizing visual come to mind when they think raw, however the possibilities of raw foods are endless, raw foods look amazingly vibrant- because they are, they are alive, full of color and most defiantly tantalize any taste bud when a true raw meal is prepared. But what has raw got to do with losing your Winter Blah? Well raw foods are full of enzymes, ooze vitality and are full of living energetic nutrition from the living enzymes within them. Its those living uncooked enzymes that will leave you with your own heightened energy; you will find yourself full of vitality once raw foods become a part of your every day diet.
Steamed vegetables lose their Vitamin potency at 100 degrees, with most vitamins losing their potency at a mere 54 degrees. The fat soluble vitamins of A, D, E and K are totally destroyed in cooking, with the loss of B Vitamins being anywhere between 25-48%! Its those B Vitamins we are cooking the life out of- literally, that are suppose to bring us our energy- how can they energize us if we are cooking the life out of them.
It is not only the Vitamin content that is obliterated during the cooking process- what about the enzymes? They too are destroyed- in fact at 46 degrees enzymes begin to become degenerated/denatured-we need zee enzymes!!
Along with gut health; enzymes within food are the basis of a strong immunity and longevity.
Indoles! What about the Indoles!!! Indoles are those wondrous enzymes- the Sulphur containing, Anti cancer Anti oxidant Enzymes you will find in cruciferous vegetables such as Broccoli Cabbage- including Chinese cabbage, Cauliflower Brussels sprouts and Kale- all in season in winter. Indoles are also broken down in the cooking of our vegetables, so just quickly stir frying or heating vegetables ensuring to keep their crunch or vibrant color is essential. Sulphur is one of the most important minerals in the human body. It is a cleansing mineral, and considered the “flexible” mineral, needed for joints, tendons, ligaments, hair and other flexible connective tissues! Chinese cabbage is a great one for shredding up in the food processor and using in salads- raw Chinese cabbage is much finer that our regular varieties of cabbage and a delicious alternative.
Tips to keep you energized and positive
Green leafy- Salads every day! Whether you have a salad for breakfast-yes get your head around that concept, lunch or dinner- an enzyme packed, fibre full, colon clearing energy bringing salad is required every day. Pour some apple cider vinegar over it to increase your gastric acid production which will enhance digestion and absorption- the better you are able to digest your foods and break down your foods, the more nutrients your little bod will receive, hence, the more energized you will be feeling! If the idea of having a salad every day is just that incomprehensible- regardless of the life extending benefits there is always Raw Juices.
Raw Juices- predominantly based on green vegetables using minimal fruit to slightly sweeten are the go, with citrus being your best choice of fruit. Two things have to be remembered when Juicing- 1: When you juice you are able to get more nutrients out of the fruits and vegetables purely because of the amount of vegetables required for a glass of juice through the mastication or centrifuge process of juicing. However, what needs to be remembered is Juicing will bring you close to no fibre- you can only obtain the fibre by eating a whole fruit, vegetable or leaf- so ideally, a green juice AND a salad every day it the way to go.
Magnesium! Magnesium has over 300 different enzymatic within the body- there is that E word again- E for enzyme! It’s all about the enzymes, and Magnesium has over 300 different enzymatic roles within the body- that is over 300 metabolic functions Magnesium contributes to! A CSIRO study of Australian adults found the daily intake of Magnesium was below 50% of the RDI. Not forgetting that RDI’s are only barley enough to keep us out of disease and degenerative states- RDI’s are hardly enough for optimal health. We need to be consuming much more than the Recommended Dietary Intakes.
A Magnesium rich food that can be added to your salads are seeds- especially Pumpkin seeds! And try adding Avocado- Magnesium filled avocado will also bring the “good” fat content to your daily salad.
Digestive Enzymes As we get older, the hydrochloric acid in our stomach which digests our food starts to diminish- when i say as we get older, i mean- from around about the age of 20 onwards! There is a lot of science based evidence to prove that having a healthy gastro intestinal tract and a body that is able to produce adequate amounts of its endogenous enzymes- I.E enzymes made within the body, to digest foods is vitally important to a long life- VITALLY IMPORTANT TO LIFE EXTENSION! Apart from adding digestion enhancing foods into your daily diet, such as Apple cider vinegar , one of the best ways to be assured your foods are being broken down well and the nutrient from those foods absorbed into your system for energy, is to take digestive enzymes with each meal. Digestive enzymes- a GOOD digestive enzyme capsule will contain Amylase Protease Lipase and Cellulase to break down all of the factors within food. Amylase will breakdown the carbohydrates you eat, Protease to breakdown your proteins, Lipase to break down your fats, and Cellulase to break down the fibres you eat.
Keep drinking plenty of water throughout the winter months, drinking the recommended 2-3 litres of water a day may not be as easy as in the warmer months. You can always incorporate cleansing and energising teas into your day- this makes it easier to keep up with your hydrating requirements of 2-3 litres! As long as you are not using teas that contain caffeine. Nettle is a staple tea amongst my vast range of lose leaf teas that I keep at home, full of vitamins and minerals Nettle is rich in blood cleansing and purifying properties. Chlorophyll– adding Magnesium containing Chlorophyll to your water or green juices is full of energy and cleansing giving properties- in fact Chlorophyll almost deserves an “honourable mention” of its own blog in the future- amazing stuff!
Vitamin D To address one final factor in the hunt for winter Zing, Vitamin D is crucial. The connection between vitamin D and depression is not new. Researchers have found that an intake of more than 400 IU of vitamin D daily from food sources was associated with a 20 percent lower risk of depressive symptoms. Given that Vitamin D drops or capsules in Australia are 1000IU each- the small 400IU amount noted to improve depression shows just how effective Vitamin D is on our body. It is recommended that most people take 5000IU daily- yes 5,000IU, and depending on your stores, even more in the winter months. Vitamin D fights depression a few ways, 1- By assisting to increase our mood elevating neurotransmitter called Dopamine and by functioning within your immune system to combat inflammation. This is just scratching the surface of the powers of Vitamin D- but for this article we will stick to our topic- Energy and winter ZING!