Category Archives: Raw foods

Spice Up Your Life

by Dreama Vance

It has turned cold and gray and rainy where we are in Colorado. When the weather turns cold, cooling raw foods lose their appeal. The last thing I want in the morning is a cold smoothie!

There is hope, however, for those of us still aspiring to increase our raw food intake. It comes in the form of additions to our fresh juices and at the top of the list is fresh ginger. I rediscovered this spice last year at this time and I have been adding it to my green juices and my carrot-based juices for over a year now.

Using fresh ginger warms you all the way through your body and keeps you warm long after the juice is gone. It has amazing health benefits which you can research yourself.

In the last Juice Cleanse event with Jason Vale, we started each day with a Ginger Shot. Just before you start to juice your regular juice, juice half an apple and half an inch (1 cm+) of fresh ginger root. You can pour this into a shot glass and drink it in one swallow, but I like to just drink mine normally. As you get used to ginger, you can add more. If you are timid, you can start out with less ginger. This is a great wake-up in the morning. It is particularly good to replace caffeine. It also gets you started until your normal juice is ready!

Here is another one of Jason Vale’s recipes from a previous cleanse, Lemon/Ginger Zinger. Juice 2 carrots, 2 sweet apples, 1-inch (2.5 cm) of lemon (with peel if organic,) and a quarter-inch of fresh ginger root. I like to add about an inch of ginger. It’s delicious.

My last recipe is a green juice and an adaptation of Lou Corona’s Lemon Ginger Blast. Juice 2 sweet apples (such as Fuji or Gala,) 4 sticks of celery, 1 cucumber, some greens such as Swiss chard, kale, or spinach, 1 lemon (with peel if organic,) 1 inch of ginger root, 1 inch of jalapeno pepper. This is spicy hot and delicious. If you aren’t accustomed to heat, start with less ginger and jalapeno. I like the fresh jalapeno pepper much better than dry cayenne powder. This juice is a power house. Once you have the basic recipe down, then you can add and subtract to it or swap out your greens. You can add dandelion, fennel, and mint or cilantro or parsley. Each ingredient has its own healing properties.

You may never do a complete cleanse and you may never do a juice fast or a water fast. However, if you juice everyday, with your own fresh juice or fresh juice from a juice bar, you will start on a path of good health.

Green juices don’t have to taste yucky. Two sweet apples make just about any green juice palatable. For hardier fare, carrot juice combinations work well.

If you start your day with fresh juice, when the stomach is empty, the juice is quickly absorbed right into your system. You will begin to alkalize and hydrate your body. You will begin to nourish your body with easily accessible nutrients. It is one of the best ways to take charge of your health.

Jay Kordich, a Master of Juice Therapy recommends 32 ounces (equal to one liter or one US quart) of fresh juice a day. I like to get mine done first thing in the morning so I am finished for the day; otherwise, one excuse after another gets in the way. You will be surprised at how nourishing, filling, and long-lasting those 32 ounces of juice are.

If you haven’t made daily juicing one of your steps on the journey of good health, I hope you will be inspired to start!

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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It’s a Matter of Mind

by Dreama Vance

Change is an ongoing constant of the Universe.

Think not? Take a look at a picture of yourself ten years ago and then look in the mirror! Better yet, get an old movie of one of your favorite actors and look at how young they were back when the movie was made!

Yep, change is a constant.

You, however, have in your hand a great deal of power to determine how change happens. Will it be for the better or for the worse? If we don’t make conscious decisions for the better, then by default we choose the latter. If we don’t make the positive choices and enact them, time takes care of it for us and we have ultimately chosen entropy.

Focus on the Positive

The past couple of weeks we talked about removing processed food from our diet. At first, this seems like our focus is on what not to eat. However, I hope you can see how tremendously positive this one step is in moving you forward on your journey. It really doesn’t matter how much good stuff you eat, if you continue to eat the junk. You are basically just treading water to keep your head afloat.

Consider an injury that is related to repetitive motion, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tennis elbow. You can put on oils, creams, salves, and whatever else the doctor dishes up; but until you stop doing whatever is causing the problem, the injury is going to stay irritated and inflamed, no matter what you put on it; no matter what good things you say about it or how much you love it. See what I’m saying?

So often I have heard raw foodist Dr. Fred Bisci say, “It is what you leave out of your diet, completely, that matters.” Even though I have heard that a gazillion times over the last decade, I didn’t really get it until several months ago. I understood it intellectually, of course, but it didn’t make the shift from the intellect (solar plexus chakra) to the heart chakra until just recently.

When this happens with any type of intellectual knowledge, an entire field of understanding opens up at a different level of consciousness. It is literally as if you never understood it before, even though we think we do. Leaving the bad stuff out of the diet is like resting the elbow or wrist. The body has the opportunity to start healing. The internal terrain changes, the tissue itself changes, and the energetic picture changes.

Okay, now I want to continue with the focus on the positive. It is the focus on the positive that enables you to make changes. If you see it as easy, it IS easy. If you see it as hard, it will be difficult. Your mind plays an important role here. How you view what you want to accomplish makes change enjoyable or a hardship that you struggle against every step of the way.

Let’s take a look at what I call the “Happy Shoulds.” Maybe these will dislodge some of the misperceptions we have all been saddled with from the get-go.

I always laugh when people indignantly say, “I don’t like to be told what to eat!” We’ve always been told what to eat! As a babe in the womb, you drew nourishment, or the lack thereof, from your mother. As a wee babe, you ate what she fed you, till you got big enough to spit out food you really didn’t like. Then, you were conditioned to eat what your friends were eating, what the television told you was good, what you saw on commercials in between cartoons, what the family ate, and on and on it goes.

Food is how we are indoctrinated into our society. If you go to a foreign country, you will immediately notice how they eat differently from what you are used to eating. Even different parts of the same country have their own cuisine specialties.

The Happy Shoulds

#1. Food should be delicious. I don’t know about you, but I want my food to taste good. If you believe “health food ” is boring, bland, and… well, awful, sometimes it is! But it shouldn’t be! So kick that idea right out to the curb. There are many, many delicious vegan, vegetarian, and raw food dishes that absolutely shine! And everyone can enjoy these foods. Everyone eats vegetables, whether they are vegetarian or not! Everyone can eat live, fresh food whether they are a raw foodist or not! My husband is always telling me to teach how to prepare tasty vegan cuisine because I have learned how to make food taste good. You can, too!

I will tell you in advance that when you begin removing processed foods from your diet, your tastes will change and foods that you thought were rather bland begin to reveal their true colors. Who would have thought plain celery juice was delicious? Ironically, processed foods that you thought were a real treat will begin to taste like cardboard. Isn’t that interesting?

Your green juice, smoothies and “good for you” superfoods should taste delicious, too. With very few exceptions, you should enjoy these. Why? If you don’t like them, you won’t stay with the practice for very long.

#2. You should eat when you are not yet hungry. What? Everyone says, “Don’t eat until you’re hungry.” I say, if you follow that advice, you’ll eat everything in the refrigerator when you come home. I say, never wait until you are really hungry to eat. Plan to eat on a schedule, that way you are never starving and your body gets used to having food in a timely manner. There are energy systems inside the body that follow the clock of the sun. The more we can follow a schedule of eating, sleeping, arising, and so forth, the more in harmony we are with the wisdom of the body.

#3. You should eat enough so you aren’t still hungry. This “happy should” takes care of the misconception that you will starve to death on a vegan, vegetarian, or raw food diet. Not gonna happen. Eat and be happy with your food. Eat enough to be fulfilled.

Somehow when I first studied the raw food diet, a sense of “don’t eat too much” got hammered into my brain. It finally dawned on me this past year that I had somehow bought into this sense of lack as being beneficial. That idea is really a disservice, particularly when it comes to a mainly raw food diet.

The flip side of that is eating until you are stuffed to the gills and that is just as miserable in the other direction. I think the best way to phrase it is, “Eat in balance and in harmony with your body.” Enjoy your food, take your time dining, and allow your body time to signal you when it is full. This takes about 20 minutes. The rule of thumb is, “Stop when you are 80% full.” So how do you know when that is? For me it is when I would like to have a second helping of something… just one more scoop. If you stop without indulging, you give your body the time needed to send the message, “That’s enough!” Pay attention to what your body is telling you when it is happy.

#4. You should eat a wide variety of food. Eat good-for-you fats such as avocado and raw nuts and seeds. Eat raw fruits. You should eat greens. You should eat vegetables. Most of your food should be plant-based and you should eat as much raw, living food as you can. You should keep your meals simple. That way they are easy to prepare and easier to digest.

There is probably at least one expert out there in disagreement with at least one of these recommendations. If you are following a specific protocol, then by all means feel free to ignore whatever is not applicable to your protocol.

My goal here is to empower you in making your own decisions. No one knows your body better than you do. By the same token, no one is responsible for what you do to it but you.

If you listen and just pay attention, you will find your higher self communicating with you. Back around 2000, tofu was all the rage. So I would buy boxes of tofu thinking I would make things with it. The expiration dates would come and the boxes would get thrown out and I would buy more the next trip into town. After about three trips of this happening, I finally got the message… maybe this wasn’t for me. The same thing happened with cacao beans. Raw cacao beans became the rage in the raw food movement, so I bought a bunch thinking of all the wonderful desserts I would make. I think they are still in my cupboard, several years old. Your higher self will either let you know what is wise for you, or just take care of it for you!

#5. You should use your common sense. Be smart. Personally, I am never going to eat 30 bananas in one day. I am also not going to eat three cups of nuts in one slice of raw cheesecake. My point here is for you not to get hung up over labels or someone’s indoctrination. Do your own research and also realize that just because some study “proves” something, that doesn’t mean it is “true” and it doesn’t mean it carries the message the proponent wants you to think it does. It doesn’t mean it is necessarily for you, specifically, either.

Listen to your higher wisdom. There are no food police. There are no wagons from which to fall; there is no failure.

There are only good, better, and best decisions to be made. Keep your goal in mind and enjoy becoming more and more conscious!

Tip of the Day

Here is my favorite tip for you to include in your healthy journey. Soup is one of my favorite meals. It is easy to prepare ahead of time and I usually fix enough for several meals and to freeze some. This tip works great for just about anything chunky: vegetable soups, bean soups, spaghetti sauce. Here it is.

Gather a bunch of raw spinach under your hand on a cutting board. Make thin ribbon slices by cutting across the board (not your hand!) to produce a chiffonade, which is just shredded or finely-cut vegetables. Place a handful of the spinach in a bowl before adding your soup or beans, or on top of your pasta before adding sauce. This is a great way to add some fresh raw food to your dish and to boost the nutrient content of your meal. The heat from your soup or sauce will wilt the spinach just enough to soften it and not cook the life out of it. Chopped, fresh baby tomatoes work nicely as an addition, too.

Next week we will cover more about your soul. Although we did talk a bit about the wisdom of your higher self in this article, there is still a little more information I want to give you. The bigger picture includes quite a bit of information, so we will see how that spans out in the next article or two.

Happy Eating!

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Take It Slow and Easy, but Run as Fast as You Can!

by Dreama Vance

Evolving our diet is a process. It goes hand in hand with our spiritual growth.

As part of your path of spiritual evolution, it is best to take the evolution of your diet slow and easy, but keep moving in the right direction in a determined fashion.

The path of dietary evolution typically begins where a majority of people are, which is eating a Standard American Diet (SAD). Even other countries are now consuming this diet because Americans have managed to export it around the globe, thanks to the fast food chains and mega food companies.

The Dietary Spectrum

So, we have the SAD diet at one end of the spectrum, which promotes large quantities of meat, dairy, and packaged products that have a long shelf life, and are loaded with sugars, salt, preservatives, dyes and artificial flavorings. At the other end is a live food or raw vegan diet, which has finally, at least, hit the mainstream news, and is about as far from SAD as one can get.

In the middle of this path are terms such as the paleo diet, vegetarian diet, vegan diet, and macrobiotic diet. This is a broad overview. These are stations that people explore, usually in search of a healthier lifestyle, and/or for ethical reasons. These are usually lifestyle changes. These are the steps we explore as we evolve.

Within this spectrum are sprinkled various “diets” that people go on, usually to lose weight, such as the South Beach Diet. These “go on a diet” choices are not intended to be lifelong, but rather short term to achieve a desired effect. These short term diets are not really the topic of this article, but I will say they only work short term, and that is because people revert back to their original eating style, rather than making a lifestyle change.

So I hope you have a pretty clear picture of the spectrum with the SAD at one end and the living food or raw food diet at the other end. You can see now how we evolve the diet. You can see that it is a process. Most people do not go from a SAD to a raw vegan lifestyle overnight. In fact, it is not even something I recommend.

Many people may never want to go as far as that goal of a raw vegan diet. It is, however, a bright star to hold in your consciousness as a goal. It serves as the anchor point for your direction. It keeps you on track and it keeps you moving, at your own pace, toward improvement and toward spiritual light.

A solid starting point

Out of the picture that I have just painted for you, I want to lift out a starting point for anyone wondering how to begin the journey and, for those of you already on the journey, I want you to realize that what I am about to say applies across the spectrum.

The number one thing you can do to start and to move forward no matter where you are on the path, is to eliminate processed food. I like to say, “Eat real food.” Real food is what you find on the outer edges of the grocery store, labeled Produce. It is what you find at the farmers’ markets. Processed food is all of the other stuff in the center of the grocery store, along with the paper products and soap powders!

It took me 30 years of study to figure this out. But, the first thing to do and the best thing you can do is this one step – eliminate processed food. Begin with the most obvious things – fast food and junk foods – and then move forward from there to the “convenience” foods. Advance as quickly as you can.

Now, for those of you who think you are already beyond this point, let me just suggest you take another look around your kitchen. You may be surprised at what you are holding onto in your life. Like I said, it flows across the spectrum; there are many processed foods in the vegetarian movement and in the vegan movement, too. When I went vegetarian back in the 1970s, there were no fake meat substitutes available. Consequently, and fortunately, I never made a switch to those products.

Like I said, the key is to “Eat real food.” You will find people now making reference to this way of eating as a whole foods diet and, when animal products are also eliminated, it may be called a whole food plant-based diet. These are relatively new terms that emphasize the importance of eating whole foods and eliminating most of the processed foods.

Out of this decision to eliminate processed food, come two results. 1) You have to prepare your own cooked food and/or 2) you have to eat live food, otherwise known as fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables as a meal help save time and also add tremendously to your health, vitality and spiritual light.

Connecting with the light

You will find that when you move into this way of living, particularly when following a plant-strong whole foods diet, you become very conscious of what you are eating. Awareness begins to penetrate your food preparation and when you begin to honor all who have brought this bounty to your table – the Mother Earth, the Sun, the people, the bees – then you begin to prepare food with such love and gratitude.

You will be filled, not just with nourishing food, but with peace and beauty and harmony. These qualities will come through your food to bless those you serve. We have, to a very large degree, lost this in our hurry-up, grab-it-and-go, eat-on-the-run world.

Next article: We will look at one of my favorite teachers and discover how healing Real Food can be for the body in Take It Slow and Easy, but Do It!

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Take It Slow and Easy, but Do It!

by Dreama Vance

Last week we talked about eliminating processed foods from the diet. This one step, in and of itself, starts a healing journey for the body.

You see, the body is designed to be self-healing. Have you ever cut your finger and done nothing to help it? Did it heal? The Divine energy that is within us, that is us, has intelligence. It is what beats our heart, draws our breath, causes our blood to flow and our food to digest.

The body is designed to maintain homeostasis, or balance.

So what happens to throw the body out of balance? How do we end up with such things as heart disease and arthritis?

In the world of natural health, illness or disease is deemed to result from either 1) toxicity, or 2) a lack or depletion, usually of nutrients. We also now know that there can be a mind-body-spirit component involved, but for now, let’s stay focused on the physical.

In Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s book, ‘The China Study,” he divides disease into two types: Diseases of affluence (nutritional extravagance) such as cancers, diabetes, coronary heart disease; and diseases of poverty (nutritional inadequacy and poor sanitation) such as pneumonia, pulmonary tuberculosis, and parasitic disease.

You can easily see that processed food would weigh heavily in the toxic category and would also weigh in under diseases of affluence.

When you stop consuming something harmful, your body will naturally begin to release and detoxify, start the healing journey, and find its way back to balance. This applies to both harmful foods and harmful thoughts.

I know many of you are already on this journey and are quite conscious of your diet; however, I continue to be astounded to find wellness educators, energy workers, and others at work in the healing field who appear to be oblivious to this information. I want you to know just how important your diet is, how wrongly informed we have been, and how to start coming into alignment with natural law and the wonderful results that happen, at all levels of our being, when we do. My purpose in writing these articles is to lay a foundation here for you to use in creating the life you desire. We all want health and vitality!

There are many resources out there now informing us of this healing way: Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and his work on heart disease, along with his son’s, “The Engine 2 Diet,” created to assist his fellow firemen. Then there is Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s work and his son’s involvement in Plant-Pure Nation. These are all people bringing information to the public that nutrition and the choices you make about your food play a foundational role in your health. Disease does not just befall you. We have created it, through our ignorance of truth.

Dr. Fred Bisci said in an interview last year, “Humanity has fallen into darkness.” It was a poignant statement. I continue to have friends, old and new, who look at me as if I’m from Mars when I suggest that diet changes could help them with their fibromyalgia, their cancers, their arthritis, or their blood disorder. Dr. Bisci’s statement just about broke my heart.

The good news is you can take action because you now have information and you can help loved ones in your family. Two principles in “The China Study” are relevant here.

Principle #6: “The same nutrition that prevents disease in its early stages (before diagnosis) can also halt or reverse disease in its later stages (after diagnosis).”

Principle # 7: “Nutrition that is truly beneficial for one chronic disease will support health across the board.”

It isn’t that hard. We don’t need a different diet for every disease! Every one of the people mentioned above have books and information available that are easily doable. If brawny firemen in steak-central Austin, Texas can get rid of meat, dairy, refined and processed foods and go plant-strong, anyone can. (See www.Engine2Diet.com)

All of the above people have proven success records and their recommendations are not extreme. The raw and living foods diet has a defined healing diet within it and there are other benefits that arise out of this type of diet that relate to spiritual clarity, but with the exception of serious life-threatening disease, much progress can be made by choosing whole foods and plant-strong diets, which are in the middle of the dietary spectrum we talked about in the previous article.

I want to talk for a moment about Dr. Fred Bisci because I love his work for so many reasons. He is in his 80’s and has been a raw foodist for over 40 years. Very early on my path of exploration into the raw food movement, I got to hear him speak to a small group of about 25 people. He believes strongly in the spiritual foundation of life. He is a PhD nutritionist and has had a long clinical practice, working with many who are sick and ill and those referred by medical doctors.

Although he is a raw foodist, he designs specific diet recommendations to meet you where you are on your journey. He has developed what he calls the Intermediate Diet with a focus on what you leave out (processed food) as well as what you include, such as fresh raw organic food and a moderate amount of cooked food. You can check out the great information on his website, www.AnyDoubtLeaveItOut.com. He is still in practice, so if you need assistance, he is available for consultation.

I promised some of my own tips for making the transition, so here are a few ideas to get you started:

DO IT – Drop One, Include Two.

Drop One processed or unhealthy food from your diet. Include Two practices that promote health.

Just choose one thing to eliminate and two things to add. Focus only on this for a month. By then, it becomes a habit. The habit continues, but you don’t really pay much attention to it, rather like brushing your teeth, you just DO IT!

Next month you will choose again – one thing to eliminate, two good things to add. Focus on those for a month. It becomes a habit. Slowly, over time, you very successfully and easily change.

You don’t really need me to tell you what is unhealthy or what to eliminate. But here are some ideas for adding the good things.

1. Start your day with a 16 oz. glass of good, pure water and the juice of half a lemon. After a while you can add another glass of plain water so that you are getting a quart or liter of water in the morning. This helps flush the system and hydrate the body.

2. Eat some fresh raw fruit or vegetables with every meal. It is very easy to go all day without eating anything raw or fresh. By focusing on adding something fresh to each meal and eating it first, we start to pay attention to consuming live, energy-rich food.

3. Make your snacks raw. My husband decided to give up his afternoon soda pop. Being a Brit, he likes tea. So he replaced the soda with a cup of tea and an orange. This is definitely a step in the right direction! Fresh fruit, a handful of raw nuts and seeds, fresh veggie sticks all make great snacks. One of my favorite mid-morning treats when we are on the road is sliced apple with a small container of raw almond butter. Just dip and munch. Yum!

4. Have raw food for breakfast. This can include fresh fruit, fresh veggie juice, a smoothie, a green smoothie, raw granola or even chia pudding.

5. Every day, make one meal a salad meal. Have most of the salad fresh greens and add your favorite raw veggies for color. Then if you like, you can add some cooked veggies like potato or sweet potato, or steamed broccoli and carrots, or cauliflower, or even add a scoop of cooked beans.

These are just some ideas to get you started or you can create your own healthy practices. The key is to get started and DO IT!

Soon, we will continue to build the foundation by taking a look at the bigger picture to include the planet, the soul and the mind!

Until then, enjoy delicious, health-promoting food!

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