Sunday, July 31, 2016

You Can't Put a Label on Your Health!

I’d like to start by stating that I truly believe a diet high in raw vegan foods is optimally the healthiest way to eat, if done correctly and tailored to the individual’s physical and personal needs. That being said, I DO NOT believe the label of being “100% raw vegan”, or even “75-80% raw vegan”, is optimal for everyone. You can’t put a one-size fits all label on your health!

When I first started my personal journey to find the healthiest way to eat and live (which is an ever changing, ongoing process), I found that eating a mostly raw vegan diet was extremely beneficial for me. In fact, I considered myself a raw foodist for at least 7 years. There were time periods within those 7 years that I was 100% raw vegan, and other times when I was about 75-80% raw vegan. However, as all things in life are, my body’s needs changed. After 7 years of eating and living this lifestyle, I was no longer feeling the great miracle of health I once did. Many of my chronic issues came back stronger than ever. I was finding myself supplementing more and more, including being medicated with prescription drugs. I can’t tell you how disappointed I felt, and how confused I was. I began doing more research, experimenting, and learning more about my own body’s requirements for health. I began to start eating more cooked food, including already prepared food, and eventually I began to eat animal food products again. Although I began to feel better, I became consumed with guilt. After all, I’ve been preaching to friends, family, and readers to eat raw vegan – that it’s the only way to eat healthy. I apologize for that. Health is not black and white, nor is how one eats. It’s all about making the healthiest choices based on the individual’s personal needs for optimal living.

Just so you know, I continue to incorporate raw foods in my daily diet. In fact, I still believe that eating minimally processed foods, and eating the freshest food possible, is still the healthiest food to consume. Also, eating a seasonal variety is important. This ensures that you are taking in an abundance of nutrients daily. The quality of the food you eat, knowing what’s in it and where it came from, and how your body personally reacts to the food when consumed are all important when determining the right diet for yourself.

Some people can thrive on nothing but high quality raw vegan food. While others, like myself, need to include some cooked food and some animal food products since our systems do not assimilate or absorb the nutrients from the food in the same way. Also, your body’s physical needs change with every stage of life. What worked for you in your twenties won’t necessarily work for you in your thirties, forties, and so forth.

A diet high in raw vegan foods is also the perfect way to carefully and naturally detox the body. It’s great for alkalizing and healing when making a major diet change. As I stated previously, I do believe that it’s optimal to include raw vegan foods into the daily diet, but as long as the foods you are consuming raw are fresh, preferably locally grown, and is food that does not impact your personal health in anyway because it’s uncooked or “raw” (e.g. chicken). I will continue to keep this blog domain about eating a high raw food diet, and I will do my best to keep it as scientifically fact based as I can confirm. However, no more labels. This is about optimal health, feeling good, and living longer, healthier lives. That’s what I consider living a “raw-riffic” life! To your health!

Thank you for continuing to support the Raw-Riffic Food site.

Peace! :)

-          Debbie

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Healthy Colon Should Be Your Resolution For The New Year

Every year following the holidays, people commit to improving their health or losing weight through a variety of diet and exercise programs. With all good intentions they begin these new, year resolutions full force, only to give up after a few short weeks. I’ve been there too. The reason for the failure is simple, short-term, extreme health regimes do not result in long-term, super health results. It just doesn’t work!

It’s all about making choices and lifestyle changes that you must commit to long term. Plus you need to understand that for every year it took you to gain that excess weight, or to obtain that chronic health problem, it will take a long time to reverse it. You need patience, perseverance, and determination, taking action to achieve these long-term goals.

A healthy gut is considered one of your number one keys to super health and longevity. The health of your gut is dependant on what you do to achieve the results you expect long-term. When I’m referring to a healthy gut, I am mainly focusing on the last five feet of your digestive tract, also referred to as the large intestine; or the bowel; or the colon, which we refer to it here. So, to put it simply, good gut health is as much a function of our ability to eliminate waste, as the quality of the food we eat.

“Why can’t high quality food be the single solution for optimal colon health?” Although what you eat or put into your body is most definitely at the top of the list for optimal health, it can’t be the only component. Exercise, rest, sunshine, balancing stress, balancing hormones, being hydrated, are all important components to optimal health of both your gut and your entire body’s well-being.

The colon functions a lot like your brain. In fact, it’s considered your “second brain,” and for good reason. Within the walls of your gut resides an enteric nervous system that controls your digestion, and plays a major role in your physical and mental well-being. In fact, numerous diseases and illnesses, including some brain disorders, such as depression, Parkinson’s, and quite possibly autism, can be a direct result of the health of your colon. This enteric nervous system has been shown to use more than 30 neurotransmitters, just like the brain. In addition, at least 95 percent of the body's serotonin is found in the bowels. So when you feel bad, more than likely you feel it in your gut – pun intended.

You probably thought the main function of the colon was to eliminate waste. Well technically, that is a major function of the colon, but to be considered a “second brain” there’s a lot more to it than just that.  The second brain consists of sheaths of neurons within the walls of the long tube of the gut, which measures over 29 feet from the esophagus to the anus. Some studies show that this second brain contains over 500 million neurons, and other studies state around 100 million neurons, more than the spinal cord or within the peripheral nervous system. These neurons enable us to feel within our gut and its contents, specifically for the constant use and abuse of daily digestion.

Digestion requires so much energy; from breaking down food, absorbing nutrients, expelling waste; all part of a chemical processing, and mechanical mixing of muscle contractions which move all these “digesting” particles down the line. If there are any “mechanical or chemical” breakdowns during this process you will definitely know it. When the body is stressed, or foods don’t digest properly, the colon reacts with symptoms of upset stomach, gas, bloating, belching, constipation, diarrhea, and in some cases disease. “You will know when digestion does not go well. You will know immediately. What you do about it is another matter.”

We know that the brain (in your head) is considered a muscle; well, so is your colon. Just like the muscles throughout your body, and your head, the colon needs to be maintained as well. You need to properly exercise your colon. Part of this process is through proper diet, and elimination. For instance, stress and inadequate exercise, overeating, and constantly keeping your stomach full, and not letting it rest; and most importantly, failing to eliminate when your colon wants to do so all contribute to the health of your colon.

Refusing to go when your colon is ready to eliminate is detrimental to your colon’s health. That’s like not letting your brain rest by sleeping, resulting in brain fog and confusion. When you refuse to eliminate you are conditioning your bowel to expand and retain, when it should be expanding and contracting for proper flow. This can lead to stretching, and contorting, creating odd shapes causing food particles and toxins to possibly lodge itself within these pockets for long periods of time rotting and fermenting, instead of it being eliminated through the proper waste process. This results in serious imbalances within the bacteria, causing poor absorption of nutrients or toxins. This also contributes directly to constipation, bloating, gas, foul smelling feces, bad breath, and the like. “How is that healthy?”

Something else to consider, when the colon is functioning optimally, there is a balance of beneficial bacteria which aids in the absorption of the vitamins consumed. The amount of beneficial bacteria found in the average healthy colon is about 70 to 80 percent. Obviously, if you want to retain higher levels of good bacteria, you need to consumer a higher quality diet, in addition to practicing proper elimination. Just to give you an idea of the time involved to digest food, the whole process should take about 18 to 24 hours from consumption to elimination. This means that no waste is blocked or slowly flowing through the colon. If you eat a plate of food, you should eliminate a plate’s worth of waste or close to it.

Healthy Colon
If you are constantly consuming slow moving foods, keeping your stomach past the full mark with no room for rest, and not taking the time to “to let it all out”, then there is no way that digestion can take 18 to 24 hours to properly and fully absorb the good stuff, and eliminate all the bad stuff. There’s not enough time or energy for that. Besides the bloating, constipation, belching, and tummy ache, you begin to pollute your cells with toxins creating fat on your body, weight gain, poor water and nutrient absorption. This can only result in turning you into a malnourished, sick and tired, overweight, grumpy, miserable beast! Nobody wants that.

With a better understanding of the connection between a healthy colon and overall health, to truly obtain this higher level of vitality and wellness we need to focus on the strategy. The goal is to achieve premium colon health. So instead of the usual New Year’s resolutions, mine is to “reboot” my colon health. I have already started working towards this goal through a series of detoxification and cleansing regimes. I am working towards changing my actual behavior towards my daily diet habits, including how and when I eat, and when I eliminate; managing my stress both physically and mentally, and of course, including a much higher quality of food and supplements. These changes include removing those foods from my diet which my body can not tolerate under any circumstance; consume more high quality plant-based, water-rich foods, not over eating, daily fasts to provide my digestion with rest, and looking at food differently in order to handle cravings for those foods which do not serve me well. This is also in addition to proper and regular exercise, rest and relaxation, and good hydration. I continue to exercise several times a week, including participating in a yoga class weekly.

“This is a lifestyle change!” Diet and exercise goals should not be limited to a two-week extreme program to shed a few pounds, only to gain it back immediately. The idea is to create new habits and retrain your brains and body to create the health you deserve to have from this point forward. You need to feel it in your gut! The revelation is the resolution should start there – in your gut!

Check back for supporting articles that focus on specific actions you can take to support colon health.

Peace!:) Debbie Marsh

Author/Publisher Note: The articles and information published on this site/blog are not intended to cure or give medical advise. The intention is to educate, inform, and empower readers to make their own decisions on health and well-being. The author/publisher does not advocate the use of any particular healthcare protocol but believes the information in this article and website should be available to the public for informational purposes only. The publisher and author are not responsible for any adverse effects or consequences resulting from the use of the suggestions, preparations, or procedures discussed in this article or throughout the site. Should the reader have any questions concerning the appropriateness of any procedures or preparation mentioned, the author and publisher strongly suggest consulting a professional healthcare advisor.

Fountain of Health, What Is The Colon And Why Is A Healthy Colon So Important?

Alder Brooke Healing Arts, Pay Attention to Your Colon Health Now –

Raw Family Green Smoothie Blog, The Importance Of Colon Health,

Optimal Health Network, Colon Health: Why it's important and what I can do,

Scientific American, Think Twice: How the Gut's "Second Brain" Influences Mood and Well-Being,

Monday, September 2, 2013

It's Easy To Be Green!,r:38,s:0,i:202&iact=rc&page=3&tbnh=157&tbnw=118&start=31&ndsp=22&tx=70&ty=76
Kermit the frog once said, “It’s not easy being green.” Well, I don’t exactly agree.
We can all agree that an overall healthy diet is a diet rich in fresh vegetables and fruits. By eating a plant rich diet the likeliness of disease and illness can be greatly reduced.

One of the most potent plant foods on the planet is the dark leafy green. Leafy greens include kale, spinach, chard, collards, dandelion, most lettuces, and other greens. Although dark leafy greens have been proven to be one of the best Superfoods to consume, it’s one of the least consumed by most. Leafy greens are extremely powerful foods, rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients. They have more nutrition per calorie than any other plant-based food. Leafy greens are also rich in fiber, low in fat and carbohydrates, and are an excellent source of protein. Dark leafy greens are most likely the most concentrated source of nutrition of any food you can consume.,r:6,s:0,i:97&iact=rc&page=1&tbnh=178&tbnw=262&start=0&ndsp=12&tx=135&ty=77
“If dark leafy greens are that nutritionally power-packed, then why don’t we consume more on a daily basis?” Good question! It’s probably because the amount of greens that would need to be consumed to get the required calories needed to feel full is so great, that the average person may find it difficult to digest. Plus many greens may have a bitter taste, which isn’t as palatable for most.,r:22,s:0,i:156&iact=rc&page=2&tbnh=173&tbnw=257&start=13&ndsp=12&tx=121&ty=57

One of the best ways to overcome this is to “drink” your greens. By blending or juicing your greens the food is broken down to make it more easily digestible. Blending is actually preferable as this makes for a more complete meal. If flavor is a problem, add fruit or other sweet veggies. Just remember, “the greener the smoothie the more nutritious the smoothie.” Not only does drinking your greens make it easier to “swallow” you are able to consume more in one sitting resulting in a much higher nutrient rich meal. You will feel fuller longer, while regulating your body’s ability to cleanse the impurities, and nourish your body all at the same time. Plus you will feel energized and more alive as this life force moves through your blood stream throughout your body. “It’s easy to be green!”

Green smoothies are easy to make, easy to clean up, easy to store (although fresh is always best), and can be inexpensive too. There are a variety of combinations you can prepare, the list is endless. You can make them with just a few ingredients, or add Superfoods to super-charge it’s power. You can consume green smoothies for break, lunch, dinner, as a snack, and even as a dessert. It’s easy to make smoothies when you travel too. Green smoothies are enjoyed by young and old. Have a green smoothie or two a day can provide you with most of your vitamins for the day. No more manufactured vitamin pills to take. Drink your nutrition instead!

There are tons of green smoothie and juice recipes available online and in books. So there is no excuse for getting bored with greens. Here are some of the green smoothies I've created recently that I think you will enjoy:

Now that you are well informed about the importance and ease of consuming dark leafy greens, go get your “green on”! Like I said, “it’s easy to be green!” Cheers!

Information Disclaimer:
The information within this article and throughout the Raw-Riffic website/blog is intended for general information purposes only. Individuals should consult their health care provider before administering any suggestions made. Any application of the material set forth in this article or within the pages of this website/blog is at the viewer/reader’s discretion and is his or her sole responsibility.

My Sources:
Here are 10 reasons to drink a green smoothie every day, Jill Fleming, Mayo Clinic Health System. April 7, 2013.
10 Health Benefits of Green Smoothies, Victoria Boutenko.
Green Leafy Vegetables - Nutritional Powerhouses, Eat Your Greens! Laura Dolson, Guide.
Can Drinking Too Many Green Smoothies Be BAD For You? Tracy Russell.
The Importance Of Eating Green Leafy Vegetables (Greens), Tracy Russell.
10 Benefits of Green Smoothies, Sophie Lizard, In Health, Lifestyle. June 7.
Is Your Green Smoothie ACTUALLY Healthy And Balanced? Dr. Rhea Mehta. April 12, 2013.
Green smoothies 101: Health benefits and recipes, Angela Haupt, U.S. News & World Report.
Guidelines for Green Smoothie Consumption for Optimal Health Benefits, Raw Family.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Transitional Snack Foods: What To Eat When Veggie Sticks And Fruit Is Not Enough

Snack chips are one of the most popular processed foods consumed in our society, and one of the most challenging to find truly satisfying alternatives. Although fresh veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds are always great replacements they may not always satisfy someone who is transitioning from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to a high raw and living foods diet. Traditional processed snack chips are truly bad for you. They basically provide no nutritional benefit at all. They are usually high in trans-fat, sodium, high fructose corn syrup, and MSG – just to name a few of the ingredients you shouldn't consume. Even the healthier choices on the market are still potentially cancer-causing due to the neurotoxic chemicals that are created during the high temperature food manufacturing process – it’s NO GOOD!

Although fresh fruit and veggies are the healthiest alternatives to any form of processed food, sometimes it's just not enough to satisfy the craving - especially when you are transitioning from years of eating processed foods to eating all healthy fresh, live foods. The best alternative I have found to satisfy these salty, and sweet snack cravings is by making my own snack chips. All you need is a dehydrator or low-temperature oven. You can make all kinds of delicious, nutritious, low processed snack foods at home. You can prepare everything from veggie chips, to fruit chips, nut and seed crackers, and other great transitional snack foods.

Some of my all time favorite snack food recipes are kale chips. I started making kale chips a few years ago when the idea wasn't so well received by those non-raw foodies. Those who were willing to try them really loved them. Others just couldn't imagine it, and missed out. Now kale chips are the biggest rave, with numerous brands popping up all over the grocery and natural food markets. I find the store-bought kale chips not as desirable. They are usually too bland, or bitter. I’m sure it has a lot to do with the over drying and over seasoning process in order to extend the shelf life. Many of these kale chip brands on the market are no better than the traditional highly processed snack foods, because of the added sodium and over heating of the product. For this reason, as I stated before, it’s best to make your own at home. Take the time to do it, you will truly benefit from the results. Plus, these homemade, crispy snack chips are a great transitional alternative when fresh veggies and fruits are not enough to satisfy that snack tooth!

Check out some of my recipes for snack chips: