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this week's ASK LINDA

posting this up at the blog. The column goes out every month or two. I figured, I'd post up Q & As each week as they come to me quite frequently... Ask Linda! Please feel free to submit your questions to Questions don’t have to be completely raw food related but please bring questions on health, recipes, diet, weight issues, nutrition, parenting, nursing, pregnancy, spirituality or whatever it is you’d like to ask. I’ll do my best to answer and will most certainly learn from this as much as I can give. Question: If my daily organic/raw diet is: fruit in a.m. (no bananas), green drink around 11:30, guacomole on raw crackers (maybe 1 cup), fruit around 4 or 5 pm, green drink at 7. How much trouble would I be in (health-wise) if I kept to this diet for 3-6 months? Thanks, P Answer: Hey there P!! Hoping you are well! Can I ask why you are wanting to stay this strict for 3-6 months? Do you plan on varying it at all? My general response is that I think you'll be able to eat it and you'll probably feel quite good from all the greens and fruit. I'm thinking that you'll want some variety or else you will start to get bored and then one would be more likely to pig out on something unhealthy. But health-wise, I think you'll probably feel pretty darn good. Here's some recommendations/suggestions/questions: * 1 cup of guacamole is a lot of avocados to eat each day. In the beginning, that will feel like a damn good treat and for that, I say go for it. I also want to let you know that most likely the body will grow tired of 1 cup of guac a day pretty quickly. I like that you are choosing to have your biggest caloric meal in the middle of the day. That is something that I'm working on here but habit and schedule dictates something other for me at the moment. Tell me how that goes for you. It's most important to get a varied diet in. I personally find myself able to eat similar things for about 1-2 weeks and then I want to change it up. Variety is the spice of life and for your body, it's how you can make sure you get the most nourishment. * I'd probably recommend an ample amount of greens each day. Greens are the healers and fruits are the cleansers. Both work well together. I'd recommend that you eat more greens than fruit though for greater health and vitality. Remember to change up your greens. This is important. Some greens have high amounts of oxalic acid in them and if you overindulge, it may cause problems in the long run. SO best to change them up. Eat local lettuces, chard, kales, collards, mesclun mixes, spinach, green sprouts and even get in some wild edibles while we still have some in the ground. (Better hurry! It's snowing as I write this!) * Quantity and quality is key for your green drinks and fruit. If eating this diet that you have below is going to work, I would imagine the quantity is going to increase and because of that, the quality will have to be there. I'm glad you wrote organic because in order to eat a lot of fruits/veggies, it would be important to me to ensure that I wasn't ingesting a slew of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides in my fruit/veggies. (Kind of defeating the purpose of eating all those fruits and veggies.) Also, by QTY, I'm wanting to say that having a green drink in the late morning doesn't really consist of an 8 or 10 oz drink. Please don't be surprised to find yourself wanting to drink 16+ oz juices and 32 oz smoothies. This is what fills you up and gives your body super vitamins and nutrients. * What kind of trouble are you imagining yourself getting in? I would say that if you imagine trouble for yourself, chances are great that it will occur. So if you want to do a change in your diet like this, why not try for just 30 days and see how it goes? Then you can adjust and adapt and change to suit what your body is telling you from there on. From what you are describing below, I think 30 days will be a great time frame to give yourself this blessing. I see it as a blessing and if you gear yourself to receiving a gift, then it will come to fruition that way. To me, if I set myself up to have to endure something for 3-6 months, then it won't work out to my benefit in the same way. Do you see the difference? If you are worried that you might become deficient in something after 3-6 months of a trial diet/lifestyle, then try it only for a month. Unless you are really sick, it would be hard to become deficient in one month. And incorporating all that fresh fruit and veggies would only be beneficial, me thinks. * Please remember to incorporate seaweeds in your daily regimen. Seaweeds (sea veggies) give us important minerals and help to get the junk out of our bodies. I know for some the thought of eating seaweed is weird to them. I hear people say that the oceans are polluted and therefore eating seaweeds is bad. I tell you what, eating the flesh of animals living in the ocean is a lot worse. Toxins reside in the fat of all of us. Eating fatty, fleshy fish is only ensuring that you are eating those pollutants from the ocean. Seaweed is like eating a filtering system in a way. It also gives us iodine and other vitamins/minerals like calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc, to name a few. Here's a link of other health benefits of seaweed: * Please remember to incorporate fermented foods, too. Fermented foods are probiotic foods. They are good for your gut and your overall health. Things like kim chi, sauerkraut (if you don't find it in the refrigerated section, then don't eat it! Sauerkraut is a beautiful fermented food but if you find it on the shelf with the condiments, it has been pasteurized so it is no longer full of life.), miso, kombucha (another thing to watch out for pasteurization), to name a few. (Note: In Japan, tempeh and tofu are fermented but in the US, they are all pasteurized in order to have a longer shelf life at the stores. Bummer. So make your own or ask your local tempeh/tofu makers to sell you their tempeh BEFORE they pasteurize it. Here's a good article on the health benefits of fermented foods: * Also remember superfoods - things like VitaMineral Green, Spirulina/Elixir of the Lake, Maca, Fruits of the Earth, cooconut oil are great foods to have with your smoothies as they boost up the nutrition and that helps when we live in colder climates. So that's what I have to say for now. (I'm sure I could go on, actually) However, this is already getting long and then I risk giving you too much information. Good luck to you and many blessings in your life and health endeavors, Linda
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My CSA newsletter from last week

Howdy! I wanted to post up a bit of the newsletter I got from my CSA last week. For those that don't know what a CSA is, it stands for Community Supported Agriculture and we've been into it for about 9 years now. How it works is that you pre-pay for a share of vegetables from a local farmer. It helps the farmer greatly and it helps you get some of the freshest veggies that you could get aside from picking and eating directly from your own garden. It's a way to get back in touch with seasonal eating from YOUR region as well as getting back in touch with your local farms/famers. You can easily find a CSA near you by going to this website: - there's a box there to key in your zip code to see what CSAs are in your neck of the woods. When we started using a CSA, we got a super great education on what it means to eat locally and seasonally! I totally took for granted getting any/all veggies that I wanted any time of the year in the supermarket and my eyes started to open on how much expense and fossil fuels are spent to fly/cart/drive/ship veggies from all over the world to my supermarket. While I'm super grateful for that accessibility and abundance, I also realized that it really helps the local economy to support local agriculture and particularly the small farmer who works SUPER hard to try to make a living. The other thing AWESOME that I learned about using a CSA was what exactly I was missing in terms of taste and quality by going to the darn supermarket! For example, it was mid-to-late-summer in Maryland when we were having fun with our first CSA shares (for this CSA, we had to actually work on the farm which was totally awesome and again, I learned a LOT.) We were getting some tomatoes in the share and I'll never forget looking at these different colored heirloom tomatoes: brandywines, green zebras, cherokee purples, sungolds, to name a few. (I don't think sungolds are necessarily heirloom but BOY do they taste good! Like candy! Also, what are the names of the large orange tomatoes? GOD THEY ARE SO GOOD!) Anyway, I took them home and ate the freshest, ripest, juiciest, plumpest, sweetest, most amazing tomatoes EVER! Now my uncle used to grow Jersey tomatoes back home and they were tasty - nothing beats a good beefsteak tomato, but OMG! These tomatoes were unreal! I made a vow that I would never buy a tomato off-season ever again. I totally went to the store and looked at the colorless tomatoes that get picked before they're ripe so they'll last the journey to the store and which are sometimes wrapped in plastic and placed on a styrofoam tray and I asked myself, "where's the life here?" "where's the vitality of this fruit?"
herloom tomatoes come in all shapes and colors
And trust me, the heirloom tomatoes they have in the stores don't taste ANYTHING like what you get from the CSA, farmer's market or your own garden. :-) I'm totally big on doing the local thing. Raw food localvore, that's me! So that's a bit of my own personal CSA experience. I wrote a bit more about CSAs in my little e-book on how to make eating healthy work on a budget: Now for what our wonderful farmer, Seth, wrote last week. It's a wonderful ditty following along these lines of why it's good to eat more local foods and support your local farmer... Enjoy. (And write your comments below. Would love to hear what you have to say on the subject... Seth, by the way is part of a dynamic duo that operates Worcester Woods Farm CSA...

.... I really believe that cost is ultimately the major obstacle for a local food production system to overcome in order to be a serious supplier to the majority of people. These days convenience might run a close second, but that seems an easier issue to address. I am fully aware that farmers deserve a decent income (believe me), and prices should reflect that, but if the guy making ten or twelve bucks an hour can’t afford the food, what does this say about the viability for the small- to mid-sized farm? One should not need a college education to have quality food be the staple of one’s diet. I would suggest that an over reliance on the terms “organic”, “gourmet”, “sustainable”, and “enviro-friendly” to justify charging ever-increasing prices is going to result in too many farms competing for a finite amount of people willing to pay 3 bucks for a head of lettuce or 20 bucks for a chicken. I’m sure I’ve touched on this subject in previous newsletters, but I feel it’s worthy of additional consideration.

The trick is for local food to be able to compete directly with the mass-produced stuff. If it could be made cost-effective for Shaws or Price Chopper to carry, or better yet, feature truly fresh food, then I think we could more optimistically use the word “sustainable.” One of my favorite ironies is to be in the produce department of some big super market, looking at a bunch of parsley that is pale, wilted and lifeless, and all of a sudden an automatic misting or “freshening” system comes on from above and sprays water over a bunch of crappy, two week old vegetables. No wonder you see a ton of fat people with carts full of Fig Newton’s and Lucky Charms and frozen pizzas. At least you know that stuff is gonna taste good. The fruits and vegetables are, for the most part, tasteless and unappetizing. If you had day old bright green, crunchy, vibrant, perky vegetables under that same nice misting system, at the same price or just a few cents more, people would walk by and actually smell food. They would feel good putting this beautiful green stuff in their carts. Maybe you could sell 50 heads of lettuce for 3 bucks a piece at the farmers market, but you could probably sell 500 head for $1.50 at Shaws. Somehow we have to find a connection between the two philosophies, thereby the downsides of each (i.e. over-priced vs. cheap crap) are lessened or eliminated. It seems the word “organic” has driven a wedge where one needn’t be. I use compost to grow broccoli, some other guy uses a bag of 10-10-10. It’s still broccoli, and the one you should buy is the one that tastes better and makes you feel better and hopefully fits into your budget. Five bucks is too much even if it’s top quality, and 99 cents isn’t worth much either because there is no joy in eating flabby, lifeless food. ....

I totally love receiving the perspective of others, particularly my local farmer dude on this subject.

Take care and have a lovely night. Go outside and view the stars if you can.



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