Guest Post: Gena of Choosing Raw!


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Hi Bloggie Friends!  How has Christmas Weekend been for you, if you celebrate, that is?  What have you been up to? We got together with some relatives of Scott’s who are down in Aruba for a couple weeks and of course there was Santa and Presents for Skylar.   More pictures of all this jazz to follow at the end!

But I wanted to thank everyone who chimed in with your lovely comments and feedback about my Weekly Highlights and Review Post.  I recapped everything from the Vegan Stir Fry

Close up of Vegan Stir Fry

Vegan Stir Fry on plate

and Kale Salads I’ve been making

Kale and Vegetable Salad


Close up of Kale and Vegetable Salad

To Vegan Peppermint Patties
Vegan Peppermint Patties Close up of inside of Vegan Peppermint Patties
Cookies for Santa on red plate

And Raw Holiday Cookies

to Beach Photos

Beach with boats in water Young girl in bathing suit playing in sand
Woman and young girl in sand on beach smiling

And Family Photos of Christmas

Woman and young girl smiling while girl opens presents


Woman and young girl waving

And Sunset Hugs

Woman and young girl hugging at hotel in front of water feature

Thank for all the great comments you left, too, about what you’re working on in 2010, and in life in general! I love hearing about how you envision your journey, your goals, and how you hope your life path unfolds.  Just lovely stuff and thanks for sharing it with me!

Now, as promised, a great and amazing raw foodist and friend, Gena of Choosing Raw, has graciously helped with a Guest Post.  Here it is and there’s a recap and some new photos from me at the end.  Enjoy Gena’s Post!
Hey everyone!

What an honor it is to be posting here for Averie, who has wowed me with her support, her deep and insightful commentary on my blog, and her incredible outreach to the blog community this year. Thank you, Averie, for having me as a guest!
Woman sitting on floor in front of grey brick wall
As a nutritionist and a raw foods coach, I focus on helping clients find better health and cleaner diets through the addition of more raw, plant based foods. All nutritionists have specialties, and mine has quickly become helping clients to enhance digestive health.
This is a deeply personal mission for me: you see, I suffered from acute IBS-C for more than a decade of my life. I know all too well how blasé and vague the typical medical advice for these conditions (“take Metamucil,” “stress less”) can be. While I’m aware that there are many fine gastroenterologists out there – and I’ve had the fortune of meeting a few – I also know that many GIs fail to see diet as the primary cause of this country’s widespread array of digestive disorders. And this is a huge oversight. The food we eat (and how we eat it) is the root cause of most digestive distress. So it behooves us all, especially those of us who are prone to digestive ailments, to pay attention to our dietary habits.
Photo of digestive system
On that note, I’d like to share with you my top five tips for eating for digestive health:
1) Ditch the Dairy
That’s right, my friends. The single best thing you can do for your bellies is to get rid of mucous-forming, gas-producing, lactose-laden, and (often) hormone-infused bovine dairy. If you have any GI sensitivity (and even if you don’t), dairy is almost positively likely to exacerbate and irritate your system. In fact, giving up dairy was the single most decisive step I took towards overcoming IBS. Many clients report to me that they feel the most sudden and noticeable improvements in health when they give up dairy—more, even, than they do when they give up meat or make a transition to more raw foods.
Don’t take my word for it. Go dairy free for one month, and witness the amazing changes in your digestive health (not to mention allergy, sinuses, and energy levels)!
2) Combine Foods Properly
Never heard of food combining? Well, you’re in luck. If you have trouble with digestion or bloating, food combining is about to change your life. The basic idea is this: there are several major food groups, and they all take different amounts of time to digest. Eat them separately, and they’ll digest most efficiently and without discomfort. Eat food groups that take different amounts of time to digest together, though, and you’re likely to experience gas and bloating, as the quick-digesting food ferments behind the slow-digesting food.
Google food combining, and you’ll find all sorts of complex and impenetrable charts online. Ignore them! The best way to imagine food combining is just to imagine simple eating—don’t obey the standard advice, which is to “balance” your plates with one of each food group at each meal. Instead, eat a few things at a time. You can find a really easy primer here ( on my blog. And don’t worry if you don’t combine in earnest right away: simply avoiding eating starches and proteins together will afford you great relief!
3) Stop Guzzling Water at Mealtime
Hey, you. You there, with the 20 oz water bottle and the salad. Put the water down. Yeah, you heard me.
Chugging water along with food is one of the worst things you can do for your digestive health. Why? Water dilutes the acids and enzymes that our stomach uses to properly digest food. Drink too much water while you’re eating, and you deprive your system of the tools it needs to break down and assimilate nutrients. The result? Partially digested food, bloating, and improper breakdown of proteins and other nutrients.
The solution? It’s totally fine to sip a reasonable amount of water with your meals. But be moderate! If you’re thirsty, focus instead on drinking water between meals, when your body isn’t actively at work on the early stages of food digestion. Your tummy will be thankful.
4) Chew
No piece of advice could be more simple or more crucial for digestive health. When we don’t chew our food, our bodies go into overtime trying to break it down properly. Our teeth are there for a reason, my friends! Chew your food carefully. No, you needn’t each bit at least forty times, or whatever the prevailing wisdom is: if you do that, your dinner dates are likely to a cab home while you’re still working on your appetizer. But do pay attention to how carefully you chew your food, and don’t gulp it all down too quickly: part of recognizing feelings of satiety is eating slowly enough to tune into your own sensations of fullness as you eat.
5) Eat Light to Heavy
One of the more common misconceptions out there is that we’re meant to eat heavily in the morning, and lighter as the day goes on. (You know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and so on, and so forth.) This idea, sadly, often appeals to women who want some sort of proof that they’ve “burned off” all of the food they’ve eaten in the morning by the time they go to bed. But the truth is that, when we wake up, our bodies are still in healing mode: they’re still working on the assimilation and elimination of the food we ate yesterday. Throwing a big meal in our systems interrupts that process, and deprives us of the chance to assimilate and eliminate fully.
Furthermore, we tend to forget that digestion is hard work for our bodies. And it’s especially hard when our bodies are trying to do other activities: exercise, say, or heavy cognitive thought; managing stress, or any kind of physical exertion. What happens when you eat a ginormous lunch? 2 p.m. coma at your desk. Why? That’s digestion, sapping your body of energy and resources to do other things, like respond to deadlines, hit the gym for a quickie workout, or even think straight.
The key is to eat heavy or hard to digest foods later in the day. No, this does not mean skipping breakfast, or lunch, or depriving yourself to the point of starvation at night! There’s no reason to take the “light to heavy” dictum to an extreme. It simply means focusing on a simple breakfast, like fruit or smoothies or sprouted bread, a quick exit, easy to digest lunch (like a big salad), and to eat anything heavier or more difficult to digest at night, when your body will have a whole ten hours or so to digest and assimilate the food. You’ll wake up refreshed and beautifully nourished!
I hope these tips offer you some insight into the magical world of GI care. Certainly, it’s not an easy world to navigate, especially for women, whose digestive systems are on the sensitive side. For more guidance, please check out my blog Choosing Raw ( In the meantime, eat thoughtfully, with pleasure, and be well!

Averie Again:

Thank You so Much, Gena, for your Guest Post and the Great Info! I wanted to remind everyone, and I posted it here, too, but I wanted to once again bring awareness to a 10-day Cleanse Program Gena’s doing with the ladies of Spark! Wellness in January.  They’re offering three nourishing, reasonable, ten-day dietary program that will help instill new and improved eating habits for 2010 and beyond.

I have never felt the need to “cleanse” so cannot speak from personal experience, but if you’re feeling like you want to jump start your transition to a high raw all vegan diet, or maybe you have other reasons why you believe a cleanse would help you, then jump on this.

Gena’s offering a special savings now: The cleanse will last from January 18-27. Regular cost is $60; people who sign up before 12/31 get $10 off; people who sign up with a friend each get $5 off. Bloggers who participate in the cleanse and mention it on their blog receive $10 off. Holistic Health practitioners receive $10 off.

As promised, here are some new Vacation Pictures
Sunset at the Radisson

Young girl standing in front of rocks in front of water
Young girl and woman hugging smiling in front of water feature

Afternoon Pool Sesh at the Marriott.
(extended family & relatives were camera-shy, what can I say!)

Young girl in bathing suit standing in front of bush
Young girl playing in pool

And you’d never know the economy was in the crapper by the ridiculous amount of timeshares they keep building and building down here!

Large building complexes with pool and palm trees

Complete with a million and one pool bars

Swim up pool bar

But sometimes it’s nice to just get away from the high rises and do my own thang at sunset!
Woman standing on beach at sunset
Dark pics and all, sorry!

Woman smiling at beach at sunset

Yoga today is Crane, aka Bakasana

Woman doing Crane yoga pose

As I mentioned yesterday when I talked about finding the Sweet Spot, not only in yoga but in life, I would definitely say this pose is much more about the Sweet Spot than it is about any great Herculean strength.  Just keep practicing mindfully, letting go of your ego, surrendering effortlessly into the pose, and you’ll get there, promise.

Do you consider yourself a strong person? Are you strong physically? Are you mentally tough? Are you an emotional “rock”There are no badges of honor awarded to the strong, however you define it. And in fact, sometimes, I think it’s much preferred to be “weaker”. Not weak per se, but humble, reflective, quieter, softer, and more delicate. Sometimes being strong is a detriment, and at the very least, socially over-rated I believe.  That said, I would consider myself as physically strong as I need to be to accomplish my the physical asana practice in yoga that’s important to me.  But I believe that when the chips are down, I am extremely mentally tough and have abundant mental perseverance. In fact, one could say I am headstrong and once I have my mind made up, that’s that.  But again, it’s that Sweet Spot I seek! Tell me about your Strengths and your Perceptions of Strength!

Stay Tuned for Trip Photos and Foodie Pics, and a few More Guest Posts….


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