Friday, January 22, 2010

Be kind, rewind

"Let's start at the very beginning,
A very good place to start.
When you read you begin with,
When you sing you begin with,

"Do-Re-Mi?," you ask.

"Do-Re-Mi," Julia Andrews answers back in this familiar tune, as she sang it in "The Sound of Music." I just saw that she is going to be on Martha Stewart today, so this song naturally popped in my head.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you've probably noticed all my references to songs and movies. I was always involved in chorus and musical theater, and as for the movies, working in a video store was one of my first jobs. I guess it kinda stuck with me.

For example, the title of this post, "Be kind, rewind," was actually the store's slogan, although many of the patrons simply ignored it (I spent a lot of my time rewinding the returned tapes for them). It's even the name of a Jack Black flick.

Today, I'm using it in reference to those changes in my diet I mentioned recently. One of my favorite movies to watch at work was "Clueless," starring Alicia Silverstone. A few months ago, she put out a book called, "The Kind Diet," which I finally got my hands on.

At first, I was exciting about the book, especially since she has been known to dabble in the raw scene. Dhrumil even highlighted it on the We Like It Raw site. It was then that I got a visual taste of what to expect within the pages.

Alicia tried to get the attention of nonvegans by demonstrating some of the "flirty" ideas (she uses the terms "flirt," "vegan" and "superhero" to describe the levels; I'd like to think of myself as a "superhero." Ha ha, but not like the rawsome Tonya Kay) from the book, like her peanut butter cups and soy/wheat "meat" substitutes. This made me hesitant to purchase a copy.

Later, I discovered that the "superhero" recipes were based on macrobiotics, a healthier approach to veganism than the introductory convenience foods. It was those principles that brought her back to a cooked (but less processed) world.

I've been "flirting" with some of these ideas myself, as I struggle to keep my faith in the raw diet during the cold winter months. Although I love the way I feel in the spring, summer and most of the fall, I don't experience the same effects in the winter, especially when pregnant or breastfeeding.

I've made it through a few winters raw by eating heavier foods, raw versions of warm comfort foods and incorporating heat in the form of spices. Unfortunately, none of this helps me, personally, when nourishing a child at the same time. As a result, I ate cooked last winter, while pregnant with Hayden, and have experimented again now that I'm still breastfeeding.

Alicia made a point in her book that explained why I was feeling this way. She enjoyed her raw life in sunny California, but changed her tune trying to stick with it, while doing a play in New York during the chilly winter. It all became clear to her when someone pointed out the fact that fresh mangoes and pineapples with a cooling effect on the body don't grow in that climate.

Duh! Who knew it was that simple? Eat local and seasonally.

So, I'm trying to switch over to more foods that are seasonal at the moment. Some of these will still be eaten raw, while others may be cooked for digestive reasons, as well as to bring some balance into my diet. My experimenting so far has resulted in a calming effect, with improved sleep at night. I also have less cravings and feel warmer internally.

Obviously, I didn't give up raw entirely and neither did Alicia, who has a couple raw recipes in her book (I'm munching on Woody Harrelson's Crocodile Crunch right now, and I've had a modified version of her smoothie; I really like how she adds a whole cinnamon stick). I'm eating raw most of the day, and saving the cooked for the evening meal. Then, I might just go back to raw entirely when the weather gets warmer.

If I've learned anything from all the diets I've researched, I would have to say I need to do what works for me. I may get criticized for this, but I don't think any of them are "one size fits all." I prefer mine tailor made.