My 10 Day Raw Food Experiment

Byline: Seraphina Sharif.

10 Day Raw Food ExperimentIt’s spring time! And what a great opportunity for us all to take inspiration from the renewal in nature and explore new paradigms, grow into new life approaches and new foods.

For me, this shift started last year with a small raised garden a good friend built for me and a video clip of someone by the name of “Markus Rothkranz” posted by a Facebook friend late June of 2013. I had never heard of Markus R. before then. I watched the video clip and at first glance it reminded me of one of those gimmicky sales pitches that most of us dread. 

I was skeptical to say the least. The “Life Scientist” in me, however, kept nudging me along to learn more about this guy, his life story and Raw Food. I have a background in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese medicine, and going completely raw goes against some of the key paradigms and principles of my practice, the foundations of which go back thousands of years.

Nevertheless, I was drawn to reading the e-book and leaped at the opportunity to experiment without any specific commitment to the new approach. The new approach, I decided, had my attention for 10 days, not one day more, not one day less!

And here I am, almost 10 months later and the “experiment” gradually became my way of life. I can’t see myself going back to the way things were before. Needless to say, the change came like a big whirlwind and rearranged one thing, then another and had a ripple effect in every aspect of my life. 

About 20 pounds lighter in weight, feeling energized, more than 1/3 of my closet donated, every room and drawer in my home uncluttered, car loads of stuff donated, list of Facebook friends cut by half and mentally clearer and lighter than I have ever felt in my entire life. Not to mention lower monthly gas bills, as cooking is no longer required. 

As well as, grocery bills that are cut by at least 1/3 if not more without all the packed and processed food.

I walk around my home asking myself: How can I SIMPLIFY more and optimize how I live to truly enjoy life?

Is there anything I have missed that I could donate and minimize? That’s all because getting lighter physically, mentally, and emotionally feels so good and natural. 

Simplicity: when LESS is truly MORE! As in our natural state, going back in time during the first 9 months of gestation, when from a tiny spec of human plasma we grow and we have everything we need.

And so the Journey of a Thousand Miles started with 10 simple steps…

10 Day Raw Food Experiment Must-Haves

I Invested in a Slow Juicer, a Blender (Must-Have) and a Food Dehydrator (Optional).

Before starting the Raw Food approach, I kicked off my body’s “self-clean” button with a 36 hour water-fast to allow the body to clear any prior build up. As I understand, our bodies when inefficient do not absorb nutrients well due to build up. We may get hungry more often and the new nutritious food may go more to waste instead of getting properly absorbed. Similar to pouring expensive Fuel and Oil in a rusted antique car!

Step by Step 10 Day Raw Food Experiment

  1. First thing in the morning every other day: Water enema to clean the “sewage pipes” (or a colonic done by a professional for those who may be new to enemas)
  2. Start the day off with a physical activity of Choice for 45 minutes: Stretch, Yoga, Dance, Boot-camp workout, Mini-trampoline Jumps, Shadow box, Swim, etc.

    A really good $3 Google app can helped me build variety called “You Are Your Own Gym”, which allows you to build your own workouts or follow pre-set workout variations.
    If nothing else, I challenged myself on the mini-trampoline jumping up and down to get the lymphatic system going with some awesome music blasting in the background!

  3. Squeeze lemon/lime juice in a glass of water and add few drops of Nascent Iodine twice a Day (morning and later afternoon) to help detoxify and increase digestive juices to optimize digestion and absorption and minimize waste.
  4. Remain in a relaxed state: Breathe Deeply and Walk in the Sunshine
  5. No TV, No News for the 10 Days – (I listen and read news since then, but during the 10 days, I focused internally as much as I could)
  6. Drink one Smoothie for breakfast (Half Fruits PLUS Half Greens in some kind of liquid or water).
  7. Drink Juice (Half Fruit/Veggies PLUS Half Greens). Between 12 pm and 6 pm, I drank as many juices as I liked.
  8. Eat one Big Super Salad before 6 pm. Cut off for eating and juices is 6 pm or 4 hours before going to bed by 10 pm.
  9. Green or white teas mornings and nights. Avoid caffeine.
  10. Warm bath with Epsom salt. I took Epsom salt baths every night during the 10 days but now only when I feel like I need one. And went to bed by 10 pm the latest to allow the organs, body and the mind to rebuild itself.

After the 10 days, I felt great and I decided to stay on this approach “just another week”, and then “another week” and then “another week”.

By late summer/fall of 2013 and winter of 2014, I experienced more changes: I lost about 10-15 lbs in first couple of months.

Total weight loss has now stabilized to around 20 lbs; clarity of mind, increased energy and better sleep; did not suffer ANY flu or cold symptoms since summer of 2013, while everyone else around me was sick with some kind of flu or cold over fall and winter; my Blood Pressure went from 120/90 which is in the normal range to 113/72 which is in the “ideal” range.

To my family doctor’s surprise, my Heart Rate dropped from 90 beats/min to 72 beats/min pointing to the cadio-vascular system working more efficiently; Sun and skin allergies which I suffered from since childhood ARE GONE!

I am pleased to say that I can now easily sit in sun for a long time, tan beautifully without eczema or rashes. Markus argues that it is not the sun that causes cancer. It is the sun that pulls the TOXINS in our body to the surface that causes cancer. I think he may have a point here.

In my last visit at the optometrist, I was told that my vision had in fact improved in BOTH eyes. So the optometrist was asking what I was doing differently?

At the end of this, I encourage YOU to NOT take my word or anyone’s word for it.

Be it 3 days, 10 days or a month; 90% Raw, 80% raw, 50% raw; Give this approach a try and listen to your body and see the changes that you will manifest in your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual lives.

SSS2 - CopySeraphina Sharif, MBA, RMT/CST
Seraphina has a an educational and professional background in Business and Finance, Energy Trading, Foreign Languages, Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Massage Therapy, Energy Healing and Information Technology. Her hobbies include classic shadow-boxing, body weight training, learning a new language, astrology, the tarot, dream interpretation and remote viewing/perception.

Spring Detox: 4 Ways to Keep Your Detox Healthy and Safe

This is a spring detox guest post by Lisa Consiglio Ryan of Whole Health Designs.

Spring cleaning; spring forward; jump into spring; spring detox. How many more spring-isms can I come up with? I just LOVE this time of year. Not only does spring symbolize renewal and rebirth, it also reminds me of cleansing. AND a great way to supercharge the season is to detox.

About 9 years ago I tried my first 10 day detox with my acupuncturist. It was hell. Really. I remember spending over $200 on supplements and a concoction that tasted like paste. The first few days were a fast, and I was starving! I got to add some broth near the end, but I was so weak and felt hungry all the time. Needless to say whenever someone mentioned detox, I ran for the hills. The words that came to mind were deprivation, starvation, and torture.

After experimenting with a few different food-based cleanses and researching detox programs during my nutrition certification program, I now think of detox as glowing, vibrant, energizing, and light.

So why the change? Once you experience a detox that incorporates whole foods and daily activities that support your body, there isn’t anything in the world that can compare to the feeling you get after a detox. You may feel increased bouts of energy, eliminate food cravings, lose weight, reduce bloating and get rid of belly fat. Your mind is clear and focused, and even your mood can improve. My hubby sure liked that one the best.

There are lots of “detox” regimens out there. Some are juice cleanses. Some require fasting or calorie counting. Some promise a flushed colon or invigorated spleen. While these types of detox programs (which mainly come in a box) seem safe, I do not recommend cleanses that eliminate whole foods. Many of us are so busy and active, and if you aren’t eating, you can set yourself up for illness, feeling weak and unproductive.

Spring Detox Recommendations

Here are my top 4 sure fire ways to keep your detox healthy and safe.

Spring detox
  1. I suggest a gentle, clean food-based detox. The first step is to eliminate foods that have barcodes. Michael Pollen, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Food Rules, suggests that we avoid foods that come in a can or box. I usually remind myself of this rule when I shop. For your food-based cleanse stick to organic fruits and veggies plus lots of dark leafy greens like kale, Swiss chard, collards.My favorite spring detox food is leeks. This veggie rocks, but most of all it is known to cleanse and purify the liver, the spring organ according to Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture.Try this yummy leek recipe from the 10 Day Reboot Your Body Detox. This recipe is adapted from The Flexitarian Table. Bean, Leek, and Pea Soup Recipe
  2. As you pump the green stuff, you also need to avoid the following: added sugar, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, wheat/gluten, eggs, animal protein, corn, soy, and fruit juices since they are very high in sugar and calories.
  3. Of course eating foods that nourish and detoxify are necessary for your cleanse, but the next step is to incorporate exercise. Try gentle yoga, walking in nature, stretching. You don’t want to run for 12 miles or bike for hours during your cleanse. You will be completely exhausted. Your body is working hard to get rid of toxins, and she needs to rest to restore during the detox period. Taking time to breathe and meditate. This time is for YOU.
  4. Finally, determine the length of your detox. I recommend a program that is 10 days. Anything less than 10 days is not beneficial. It takes time to make changes, and your body needs time to adjust to eating differently, getting rid of toxins, and establishing habits. Usually my clients start to see changes around Day 8 and really feel the full effects by Day 10. If you are new to detoxing or want a power-boost to jump start healthy living, then 10 days is a good start.

Are you entertaining a spring detox?

Are you ready to try a spring detox? Have you done a cleanse before? Fill me in with your comment below. I would love to know your thoughts on getting your detox on!

Spring Detox

Lisa Consiglio Ryan is a Certified Health and Nutrition Coach for busy, active women and their families. Areas of expertise include weight loss, stress management, detox programs, and special diets such as vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free. Services include private consulting and group seminars.

Contact Lisa at Whole Health Designs for more information. Connect with Lisa on Twitter and Facebook for more information about spring detox and healthy living!

3 Simple Yoga Poses, and a Bonus, that will Dramatically Increase Your Detox Results

This is a guest post by Kimberly Johnson

If you have decided to focus your energy on your health through raw foods and detox, chances are you are looking for as many ways as possible to support this dietary change as possible. Heck, why not double down?

Some form of exercise is surely a part of your routine so that you can get all of your systems working and circulating.

So why yoga?

Yoga can be more effective, than say running, because you can get pretty specific about the outcome you want. Do you want to feel caffeinated? Sedated? Balanced? Specific poses can be combined or sequences to create these effects.

Yeah, it’s pretty amazing. It takes some time to make your own yoga pose prescriptions, but it is possible. And just like you are on your way to knowing what your body is craving for food, you can be on your way to knowing what kind of yoga practice is right for you each day. Both of these take time and steady effort, but it actually becomes fun when you can recognize what is healing for you, rather than needing a doctor to understand.

Poses that help you detox.

Yoga is an extremely effective way to sit with the difficulty that often comes up through the release of old habits. Yoga can also assist you in getting rid of the unwanted toxins that your body is probably releasing through this dietary change. And hopefully, yoga can be one of the positive habits built into your life that instigates a state of such vitality and vibrancy that your old habits disintegrate and lose power in comparison with the strength and life force that you feel when eating cleanly and taking care of your body.

The yoga postures that are most effective in helping you eliminate toxins from your digestive system, kidneys and liver are twists. Twisting postures literally wring out your organs so that when you unwind, new blood and oxygen rush back into them.

Twists are best practiced on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning is optimal. But if that is not possible, just wait a few hours after a meal.

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Pose #1 (parvritta pavanmuktasana)

I recommend the reclining double leg twist.

yoga%20reclining%20spinal%20twist

Lying down on your back, draw your knees towards your chest making 90 degree angles with your thigh and shins and ankles. Reach your arms out to the side like a cross. On an exhale, lower both legs to the right without your left shoulder coming up- stay for 8 breaths or about 1 minute. Keep your knees together. Inhale, return to the center, and exhale lower your legs to the left keeping your right shoulder down.

A slightly more challenging version:

If your hamstrings are open and you can straighten both legs to 90 degrees, lower both straight legs to the right aiming them to your right fingertips, so you will be slightly piked. Inhale come to the center, and exhale lower both legs zipped together over to the left keeping the right shoulder down. (*do not do this is you feel discomfort in your lower back)

yoga%20spinal%20stretch

Pose #2 (jathara parvatansana)

– Level 2 Stomach Twister

Then sit up with both legs out in front of you. If you cannot sit on the floor with your spine straight, sit up on a pillow or phone book. (It is not a good idea to twist with a rounded spine).

yoga%20dandasana%20prep

yoga%20dandasana

Seated Twist Marichyasana 3

– It’s a mouthful but a very simple and effective twist!
Bend your right knee so your right foot comes back by your right hip. Hug your right knee with your left arm and twist to the right. If it is not too much of a strain, you can put your left elbow on the outside of your right knee.

yoga%20matsyendrasana

Pose #3 Twisted Triangle

From a standing position, step your left leg back. Lengthen forward over your right leg, place your left hand on the outside of your right foot and twist to the right.

parivritta%20trikonasana

If you cannot keep your spine straight (which would be normal because this is a difficult pose, place your front hand on a block)

assisted%20trikonasana

The main principle of twisting is to lengthen your spine on inhalations and twist on exhalations. You want to wring out a long spine.

Counterindications: Do not do these twists if you are pregnant or have a history of herniated disks.

I hope that you feel the benefits of these twists. Sometimes they can be pretty immediate. Let me know if you have any questions or comments!

Kimberly

BONUS

Sitting. Some of the most powerful tools are often the simplest, but that does not mean they are easy. There are times in any fast, detox or diet change that are really difficult. We take away our comfort measures. When we were lonely, we used to eat M&Ms, have a glass of wine or a hamburger, now we are faced with the emptiness. An emptiness that no salad will fill. During these rough spots, be still, close your eyes, and drop in and down. This is a simple form of meditation.

Rather than going to your computer or going for a run, or substituting another form of escape where food once was, you have an opportunity to break the pattern. Instead of trying to escape the feelings or impulses, close your eyes and be with them. This doesn’t have to be some big deal. We have a false idea that meditation is either some grand enlightening experience or that it is impossible torture.

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I can say that whatever you experience with your eyes closed is actually what is present inside of you. If you haven’t practiced being still, it can be pretty shocking how scattered and unfocused our minds are. You thought meditation and yoga were supposed to be relaxing and then you close your eyes and get assaulted by a barrage of thoughts and feelings that we often keep at bay. So start with just a few seconds- the length of a breath. When you feel that urge to escape the power of your craving or the sadness, loneliness, or grief that may precede your craving, pause and take a full breath.

I call this pose sitting, but really it should be called pausing, because you can do it anywhere, except when driving don’t close your eyes! *Do not pupu this one and skip down to the “real” yoga. This is a prerequisite for getting the benefits out of the other poses, your detox and your life!

If you want more guidance with meditation and some more variety, check out these 2 minute meditations designed to fit into your busy schedule!

For the past eleven years, Kimberly Johnson has been teaching yoga all over the world, in New York City, San Diego, Chicago, Boulder, Thailand, Malaysia and Brazil. She has deeply explored Viniyoga, Iyengar yoga, and Ashtanga yoga, and found the heart of her practice to be a continual return to self-inquiry. Her classes are influenced by her background in dance, Structural Integration, the Feldenkrais method, Advaita Vedanta, and Sanskrit. She currently lives and teaches in Rio de Janeiro. Find out more about her amazing retreats at www.kajyoga.com.

5 Profound, Yet Simple Ways Juicing Can Transform Your Life

This is a guest post by Henri Junttila.

If you’re familiar with drinking freshly-squeezed juices, I think you already know the powerful effects it can have on your body. What most people don’t notice are the effects it can have on the non-physical you.

Benefits of Juicing
Photo by Alfonso

Four years ago I had my first real date with juicing. You see, I bought an Omega 8005 Juicer and started throwing everything in it. The results were interesting, but not particularly tasty. You live and learn.

After awhile I decided to go on a juice fast, which is where I noticed the 5 subtle, yet profound ways juicing can transform your health and consciousness.

1. Intuition

Intuitive knowing sounds mystical, but for me it’s just a feeling or thought that suddenly bubbles up. When I’m doing something I might get a thought or feeling helping me decide which apple to buy or even which country to live in.

When I was on my juice fast my intuition became stronger. It was interesting, almost like having someone there to help guide you through life.

2. Courage

Fear penetrates even the most hidden parts of our lives. We tend to look at fear with fear, but how much would your perspective change if you looked at it with a fresh pair of eyes? Because what is fear? For me fear just shows me where my belief systems are not aligned with who I want to be.

Two of my biggest fears are public speaking and not having enough financially. When you go deeper and observe them, they are really not as big, bad and mean as you think they are. This awareness is amplified many times when you’re juicing and it allows you to break through these barriers and exercise courage.

3. Clarity

As you put less and less strain on your body, it starts to cleanse, detoxify and heal, which leads to enhanced clarity, focus and other mental functions. During my juice fast and when I juice daily I notice more clarity and an increased ability to make decisions.

Clarity is not only important in making decisions in your day to day, but in your life as well. What is your life purpose? What is your passion? What would you do if money didn’t exist? As I juiced, things suddenly started to become a lot clearer. Now, I am not saying I know everything about my life, just that it got a whole lot easier ;).

4. Awareness

Meditation is an awesome awareness expander, but cleaning up your body does that too. I remember walking down a quiet road in Spain (I lived in Spain then and will again soon, but that’s another story) and noticing new trees.

Had these trees appeared out of nowhere? How did they grow up so fast? I finally concluded that it was my awareness that had expanded. It’s almost as if I had been awarded the keys to a new world, the world of hidden trees.

(Editor’s Note: Maybe some of those trees were planted through my Tree Planting Initiative. If you could go back and in time, and all that. Ahem.)

5. Gratefulness

I was never the grateful type when I was younger, but as I’ve gained a few pearls of wisdom throughout the years I’ve noticed that being grateful feels awesome and is extremely uplifting.

If someone as anti-gratitude as me can become 87% more grateful on a juice fast, I’m sure you would notice it even more. How did I come up with 87%? I made it up, don’t you just love statistics?

To Juice or Not to Juice, That is Not the Question

We already know juicing rocks, so the question is: what benefits have you noticed from juicing? Any health benefits, healings or even subtle, transformational shifts?

About the Author: Henri Junttila is the founding father of the Wake Up Cloud, a place where you can discover your passion in 5 days and get conscious about your life.

Detox Symptoms? Detox Tips to Get Back to Feeling Good Quickly

If you’re experiencing detox symptoms, I think it’s time to take a look at the different ways of dealing with detox.

Raw Detox Symptoms
Photo by Beth

During my fast I experienced some detox symptoms that included headaches, low energy, and strange bowel movements.

Luckily when it comes to detox, it’s not permanent.

After you move through detox you can see your energy soaring past the stars, have clearer skin, drop a few pounds, and just feel fantastic.

Two Approaches to Getting Through Detox

They are two ways of dealing with detox. One of them is to slow it down, while the other one is to speed up.

You have to keep in mind that when you are going through detox your body is trying to clean house. If you’re eating more fresh vegetables and fruits, your body will start to remove toxins that may have built up over time.

How to Slow Detox Down

There are a number of ways to slow down detox. You should consider slowing down your detox if you cannot handle the detoxification symptoms.

These detox symptoms may be taking place if you switched from a highly processed standard American diet to a high raw or 100% raw food diet.

If you want to slow detox down eat some cooked grains, or cooked vegetables. Essentially you’re introducing more heavy foods to give your body time to adjust to the high fiber, quick exit raw foods.

This in turn gives your body time to release toxins more slowly, and reduces the detox symptoms you might be experiencing.

How to Accelerate Detox

You can speed detoxed up by giving your body what it needs to continue cleaning itself. I like to think of detox as tunnel, the only way out is through.

Accelerating detox is a good strategy if you are feeling confident that you can deal with the symptoms and you want to get through it as quickly as possible.

  • Dry skin brushing: Your skin is the biggest organ of your body, and the third most important detoxification organ. Help it help you by dry skin brushing it.
  • Drink more water: To help flush toxins out of your body, drink lots and lots of water. Start your morning off with at least 500ml to 1 Liter of water. Drink enough water all day, it makes a big difference.
  • Take naps: If you feel your energy dipping while you’re detoxing, then by all means take care of yourself. Taking a nap is a great way to help detox along.
  • Move your body: Doing physical exercise is a great way to expel toxins. Try jumping on a trampoline, running, stretching. Getting everything moving is sure to help eliminate toxins more easily.
  • Move your bowels: This might seem a little obvious, but you’d be surprised how often we overlook this. It’s so easy to be caught up in our day to day activities and not take the time to slow down and take good care of our bowels.

Detox Plateaus

Raw Food Detox Jump
Photo by Bertrand Monney

The more healthy food you eat, the more detox you may experience over time. Your current diet or lifestyle is likely not recent, so you will need to go through a few different levels of detoxification. Raw food detox doesn’t happen all at once, it’s more like peeling an onion.

You might have a “bout” of detox right after you change your diet, and then not have another detox episode until a few months down the line. These are what I like to call detox plateaus.

Hopefully you’ve learned how to make the most of your detox symptoms. And yes, this too shall pass!

Share your detox experiences here…

Currently going through detox? Let us know in the comments, and we will support each other as we continue to detoxify our bodies.

Love, Nathalie