gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, vegan, sugar-free, ACD friendly, raw
Every once in a while, I feel like my interest in nutrition shackles me more than it liberates me. Only sometimes. Most of the time, I take pride in my passion for all-food-related things. I laugh when other people cast their pitying stares along with a mournful, “Wait… doesn’t bread have gluten?” Why does such a question incite laughter? Because I do not see my diet as “restrictive” in any way whatsoever. I never tell myself that I am not “allowed” to eat something. Rather, I choose – very selectively – what I eat. Having the choice is what is so liberating. And I just happened to be pretty darned discerning, which empowers my choice all the more.
So why the occasional stress? It is not what I end up choosing or not choosing to eat that makes me feel icky. It’s the stress over listening to my own voice vs. every other voice in the foodie community, alternative healthcare sphere, and American culture that is claiming to know what is right for my body. I am so terrible at distinguishing the one from the other, that I often take others’ opinions to not only be my own, but to be fact. So I guess the real problem lies in the unfortunate issue that I’m a stellar listener with a brain wired like Pollyanna’s. A strange case of two positives equaling a negative. I have a way of finding reason in nearly every philosophy, every belief system. I am awed by people’s stories about their own roads to health, following specific diet x and specific lifestyle y. I’m open. A little too open. A bit close-your-mouth-unless-you’re-catching-flies open. And please do not misunderstand me, an open mouth is good for some things: CPR, standing up for oneself, making out, being Susan Boyle, etc. Catching flies? Gone too far. Unless you are a frog.
There are too many theories out there. Too many people standing on soapboxes, claiming they’ve found The Answer. And they all sound like they know what they’re talking about. They’ve all experienced improvement in their lives firsthand. So what do I do? It’s hard for me not to listen. Comparing my experiences with those of others makes me feel connected. I find joy in learning. But this latest lesson has been just as full of misery as it has been joy. What is my Answer? To be able to listen to thousands of opinions and philosophies, effortlessly identify the bits and pieces that intuitively resonate with me, and meld together those fragments until they stand independently as my own philosophy by which I, alone, live. There it is. The lesson I am finding most difficult to master.
I’ve recently discovered the colorful world of raw food and raw cooking. Living in California now, the opportunities to eat at raw restaurants find their way into one’s path often. Scott and I have fallen in love with raw food. We’ve been incorporating more of it into our diets, though neither one of us has ever felt going 100% raw would be right for us personally. We like balance. We are similar in our tendencies to take something we love to an extreme, so we’ve been making a conscious effort to check that. However, eating more raw food has caused my already high fat (low carb/no sugar) anti-candida diet to become even higher fat. I have been ardently attached to my healthy fats. Nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut in every possible form – I can’t seem to get enough! And considering my dietary limits, I would venture to say that most of the calories I get in a day comes from fat, simply because an entire pound of vegetables amounts to about 10 calories. Okay, maybe more, but you get my point. However, yesterday I made the mistake of reading online about raw diets and whether or not they are “healthy” to maintain. There are two camps in the raw foodie community: high fat/low carb and high fruit/low fat. The majority seems to fall into the high fruit/low fat boat, and these fruitarians claim that high fat diets are not only ultimately destructive, but that human beings are meant to eat only fruits and vegetables, excluding all fats whatsoever! Some even went so far to say that high fat diets feed candida.
The more I read, the worse I felt. Not before long, I felt that everything I’ve been doing for the past few months has been counter-productive. The internet is dangerous. Not every single person on this planet has an internet presence. There are more opinions out there. An internet majority does not represent the world’s true majority. It is my hope there are other people like me who have lived and are living healthy, balanced lives while really lovin’ on good fats. American society is already afraid enough of fat as it is. It’s time to start dispelling myths, and supporting each other in finding what works for each of our individual, snowflake-like systems (no two are alike, yo!).
So rather than stand on my own soapbox, I’d rather hear from YOU. Do you ever struggle to find your own intuition’s voice? How do you actively create your own lifestyle and diet philosophy?
Raw Pad Thai
Preface: I am obsessed with this dish.
2 packages (12 oz each) kelp noodles
1 med/large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
4 scallions, thinly sliced
handful fresh basil
1/4 cup coconut aminos
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup cashew butter (or peanut if you have no issues with candida!)
3/4 cup filtered water
4 small cloves garlic
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 1/2 tsp dried coriander
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground cayenne
1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
OPT: Garnish with mung bean sprouts and peanuts/cashews!
1) Rinse and then soak the kelp noodles in filtered water, juice of 1 small lime, and liberal sprinkling of salt for 6-8 hrs.
2) Place all ingredients for the sauce in a high-speed blender and blend until completely smooth.
3) Rinse kelp noodles again in colander. Mix in sliced peppers, scallions, and basil.
4) Pour sauce over noodles and mix so all noodles are well coated.
5) Allow to marinate on the counter top for a couple hours.
6) You COULD eat the noodles now if you wanted to, but the kelp might still have a slight crunch. Personally, I like to place the complete dish covered in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to truly intensify overnight. This also allows the noodles to soften even more.