Nourish Your Body

Today has been hell-ish.

Started with a guy telling me I’m a selfish bitch and finished with me locking myself out of my office building … and condo. Ordeal. Bah.

Hammering out a heated post right now is a waste of the minimal energy I left. :) Instead I’ve been meaning to write a post on healthy eating and all that I’ve learned about food since my trip to Costa Rica earlier this year.

So deep breath, here we go…

In Costa Rica I met Joanne Gerrard Young, an amazing raw food chef — and personal chef to Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady! I enrolled in a 2 day raw food cooking class while in Santa Teresa and soaked up so much knowledge. Joanne is all about incorporating healthy living / eating / being into your life. There is no need to hold yourself to crazy {and hard to achieve diets}, instead focus on living {By the way she is absolutely stunning. Stunning. Beautiful person inside and out}.

Treat your body like a temple and fill it full of the goodness it deserves. She gave us lots of examples of easy switches.

For example:

  • Choose butter over margarine
  • Choose sea salt over table salt
  • Choose extra virgin olive oil over olive oil
  • Choose almond milk over milk
  • Choose MAPLE SYRUP {corrected by Joanne!} or raw honey over sugar

Easy! Make those switches now!

A few things I have added to my diet since attending Joanne’s class: kale, dates, nutritional yeast, spirulina, agave syrup, tumeric and lots and lots of nuts {macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, walnuts, cashews}. You need to know about the benefits of germinating nuts, read up.

What I love about Joanne’s style of teaching is that she made it easy. She was a real life normal person and knew how to take the stress out of the kitchen so that you can just focus on the food!! I definitely think this has been most healthy year of eating in my life. I didn’t eat terrible before, but I now make every effort to cook at home and I’m very aware of what I put in my body.

I’ve learned the power of a substitute. Who needs a Twix bar when you can make chocolate-avocado pudding? Who needs a creamy caesar dressing from a bottle when you can make an absolutely ‘to die for’ raw caesar dressing at home? Who needs a power bar when you can make energy balls? I’ve learned how eating the right food can turn around how you’re feeling {and vice versa}. Joanne told us about the uses of ‘Grapefruit Seed Extract’ — add it to a smoothie or glass of water when you’re feeling blech — and you’ll have a magical recovery. I’ve become grocery store smart. I head straight for the outer edges of the store, moving from the fresh flowers to the health food section to the nuts and then to fruits & veggies — yes, sometimes I creep into the aisles for almond milk, balsamic vinegar or chickpeas. :) I’ve learned to read labels! No not for calories {gawd, no}… instead to see what kind of nasty is in a product. Almond butter? That better be damn almonds. Pineapple? That better be damn pineapple. Greek yogurt is the toughest one in my opinion. So many yogurt companies have gone ‘greek’ and they’re just loaded with sugar. I’m committed to knowing what I’m putting in my body {even if it’s a Kit Kat}.

I’ve always just assumed people are looking out for me — yes, restaurants, grocery stores, my family, friends… I’ve assumed that everyone is thinking about what they are providing and consuming. Seems a little naive saying that out loud! I’ve learned that the only one can control what you put in your mouth is YOU. I don’t believe the focus should be on creating a pure body temple, only filled with best of the best healthy eats, instead I think it’s about being aware. No different than learning a new hobby, sport or stress relief technique — your body plays into your day, week and life. You’ve gotta pay attention to it and continually learn on how you can keep it nourished.

The goal isn’t to turn psycho and live by your diet. :) Just know that if you have down some poutine, you’ll probably feel like a sluggish beast in 2 hours.

Vegan mania

Often people ask me if I’m vegan. Why? Likely because I talk about raw food, gluten free and vegetarian food quite a bit. Truth be told, I was raised without red meat or pork in my diet. I remember having a McDonalds burger when I was drunk in early university years {btw I vomited everywhere}, but otherwise don’t remember having an ounce of red meat in my lifetime. As for pork, I find it disgusting… but I’ve been known to have a piece of crispy bacon every now and again. {I obviously pretend that it’s not pork.} I’ve grown up on a chicken and fish/seafood diet, but I’ve always enjoyed veggies the most. I used to eat quite a bit of chicken, but in 2010, I went to a Tony Robbins talk in Chicago — and I was forever changed. He showed horrific videos of how chickens are raised and the disgusting hormones that are put in them — and I’ve never looked at chicken the same way since. Fun fact: Chicken shouldn’t have a taste. If it has a taste, it’s nasty crap in it. Disgusting. {Note: I will likely have Butter Chicken — and enjoy it — at our team lunch at work tomorrow}. I’ve tried to keep up the chicken intake for the last few years, as I’ve been heavily iron-deficient since the beginning of time and I figured I need to up my protein. Now I’ve learned that you really shouldn’t force yourself to consume things you don’t like. Try new foods sure… but focus on enjoying and experiencing food. Should be a good process, not a bad one! If you don’t want to eat chicken, then don’t!

Am I vegan? No. I think I could be, but I really like cheese a lot.

Am I vegetarian? No. I definitely could be, but I sure do love halibut, crab cakes and fish tacos.

I don’t fit into a category. I eat vegan a few days a week, vegetarian most of the time, a raw diet every so often and sometimes I just eat pancakes smothered in butter with crispy bacon. That’s life and I’m ok with it.

Small changes and slow changes can have a huge impact on your diet {no need to start drinking cayenne pepper and lemon}.

Eat local food

The rage is organic. We know that, we’ve been hearing it for years. Instead of focusing on the $4.99 organic kale, start learning about where your food comes from. Where was it grown? How did it get to the store? In British Columbia, we have organizations like “Get Local BC” that make that learning even easier! Check out this chart that shows what fruits and vegetables are in season for our region — so handy. The Farmers Markets in Vancouver are amazing — and they run all winter long!

Make green smoothies 

Start your day with a smoothie. Fill your body with nutrients and I promise you’ll feel like a million bucks. Smoothies are an excellent way to get a whole lot of fruit & vegetable servings in you without doing a lot of work.

A few tips to make your smoothie-filled life easier!

  • Freeze ripe bananas. Peel and break into 1- to 2-inch chunks. Lay the chunks on a baking sheet and freeze for up to an hour. Store frozen bananas chunks in an airtight freezer bag.
  • Buy fresh berries in large quantities {from gems like Harvest Union} and freeze. Follow baking sheet method.
  • Freeze greens! Yes, you can do that. Buy a bag of spinach and just throw it in the freezer. It breaks off easy when it’s frozen.
  • Buy a Magic Bullet — such a time saver on weekdays.

My favourite smoothie go-to’s {not all at once of course}… greens {spinach, kale, parsley}, fruit {blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, pineapple, grapefruit, mango, avocado},  greek yogurt, almond milk, hemp protein and omega oils!

Drink loads of water

Something that I have learned via training / running / all that jazz is the importance of being hydrated. You know you’re hydrated when you pee clear. You know how much water you need to drink to be hydrated? A lot. Water is good for your heart, head, skin and digestion. Drink it.

I could go on and on… oh and by the way, nutritional yeast on popcorn… amazing.

If you’re ever in Costa Rica, check out The Healing Cuisine for cleanses and workshops {absolutely fantastic}. Joanne also posts great healthy eating tidbits on her Facebook page. For example, these dynamo juice recipes {pink beauty, snow white, green monster}, a how to for ginger champagne and the benefits of mangoes!

Pinterest has tons of great recipes — who knew eh? A few food blogs I love are Post Punk Kitchen, My Darling Lemon Thyme and Smitten Kitchen.

It’s now 2:30am. Debating a slice of apple pie from the farmers market before bed. Best decision, right?

Take care of your body. It will thank you. Promise.

10 Comments

  1. Alex Scott September 13, 2012

    I just wanted to let you know I love your blog posts :) You are a very interesting and inspiring woman! Just out of curiosity,, what kind of almond milk do you drink? We buy the Silk brand.

    Reply
    • Jillian Walker September 16, 2012

      Thank you so much Alex, that means a ton. I’m truly just rambling on and on… hoping that someone takes something out of each post! Re: Almond Milk… I like Almond Breeze. 1L cartons on the shelf. Only downside is I don’t usually get through a carton in a week and the shelf life is shorter than the refrigerated kind.

      Reply
  2. vitamin ceej September 13, 2012

    Great post! Thanks for all the insight and tips. I love your blog and the fact that you will be so open and share your life and stories. Keep it up girl!! :)

    Reply
  3. Joanne Gerrard Young September 13, 2012

    you’re funny and cute! We don’t use Agave anymore because we have read some horrible things about it lately. We like to use our own date syrup, maple syrup (yum! my fave!), or yaon syrup (a sweet root with prebiotics!) xo

    Reply
    • Jillian Walker September 16, 2012

      Ooo thank you Joanne! Totally forgot about maple syrup. xoxo

      Reply
  4. Ashley Kinzer September 14, 2012

    I love raw food and have been 100% raw many times and do it because it makes me feel amazing! I start off every morning with a green smoothie. :) I love to travel and being healthy can be tough while travelling. I loved Santa Monica because I went to a couple of amazing raw food restaurants there many times, as well as going to Whole Foods. I was looking for a new place to visit and the Healing Cuisine in Costa Rica sounds amazing! I have sent them an email to get more information on the Raw Food Detox and the Raw Food Workshops. I would love to hear a little more about your experience there if you don’t mind sharing. :)

    Reply
  5. […] – completing 15 races — and became a regular at power yoga. I learned the importance of fuelling your body with good and keeping a close eye on your health. I cut out wheat, dairy and now regularly spend time in the […]

    Reply
  6. […] gratitude to Joanne at The Healing Cuisine for always teaching me a new thing or two about nourishing your body with good. If you are every in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, look her […]

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *