December Dieta

pondIt’s a refreshingly rainy Wednesday morning here in Cape Town. I love the way it feels when it rains during summer months in hot places, like a warm shower from the sky, and when the sun comes out anything that got wet dries within minutes. I have started a cleanse or ‘dieta’ this week and the rain feels harmonious with washing things away, detoxing.

No meat (except fresh chicken), no cheese (except fresh cottage cheese and yogurt), no tuna, no beans or legumes, no oils, salt, or sugar (even honey), no hot spices/peppers, no tofu or miso, no eggplant, and certain fruits are off limits (raspberries, plums, ripe bananas and avocados). No alcohol. No coffee or green tea (no caffeine) and no chocolate. These last two are the hardest. I haven’t had caffeine for days now and I woke up this morning with a headache, presumably from withdrawal. I normally eat a square or two of dark chocolate almost every day. As I’m writing this I’m drinking chamomile tea! My head still hurts…

Everything should be as fresh as possible or raw and with the little added flavours: fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, some fresh fish or chicken, nuts, seeds, and lots of water and herbal teas. And although this sounds a bit torturous, it feels pretty good so far. My boyfriend (the rabid carnivore) is doing this with me, which makes it easier. I feel lighter and cleaner for sure. And a little hungry…

Here are some wellness links for the week:

herbalremediesHERBAL REMEDIES: More than 70% of Canadians say they regularly use a natural health product, yet they may not be as safe as people think. A recent study found that some herbal remedies contained contaminants that could pose serious health risks to consumers. Currently, no one is regulating these products and you can simply rock up to the store and purchase any herbal remedy without discussing anything with anyone. Just because herbal remedies are “natural” doesn’t mean they aren’t potent medications with potential health risks and contraindications. Herbal products do not go through the same rigorous testing as pharmaceutical drugs, and although Canada has some of the toughest standards when it comes to regulating natural health products, we still don’t really know what we’re getting.

veggieheartRAW OR COOKED? When it comes to preserving the nutrients in vegetables, some are better off eaten cooked than raw. This is because cooking/steaming certain vegetables may help to break down the thick cell walls, releasing the nutrients. Vegetables with fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K, and antioxidant compounds are far better off cooked than eaten raw: carrots, zucchini and broccoli should be boiled. But on the other hand, water-soluble vitamins (C and B) are degraded during cooking. For example, two-thirds of the vitamin C in spinach is lost when you cook it. So what to do? Just eat your veggies and don’t worry about whether you eat them steamed, boiled, grilled or raw. Just eat them. And mix it up.

nutsLIVE LONGER WITH NUTS: Eating a handful of nuts every day may help to prolong your life. Nuts are packed with protein, healthy fats, vitamins and help to lower cholesterol and inflammation. A large US study found that the more often people ate nuts, the less likely they were to die: those who ate nuts daily were 20% less likely to die. Generally, people who eat nuts eat well, and may live healthier lifestyles, which could account for the prolonged lifespan. But the researchers say they think it’s the nuts… Well okay! It wouldn’t hurt, that’s for sure. And they taste pretty good too.



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