Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Vegan?
A vegan is a person that does not use or eat animal products.
What is a HCFLV Lifestyle?
An HCLFV lifestyle is where a person gets a minimum of 80% of their calories from plant-based Carbohydrates, and a maximum of 10% calories from plant-based fat and another 10% from plant-based protein. The idea is to aim for balance in all aspects of life which are meant to benefit you and also the health of our planet. This is a High Carb Low Fat Vegan Lifestyle. The majority of a person’s calories on a high carb low fat vegan diet come from plant-based carbs (no animal products). Fruit carbs make up most of a person’s daily calories. The fat intake stays relatively low, anywhere from 10% or lower of your daily calories. Some aim for 5% or lower, but I noticed my skin and hair was dry if my fat intake was too low. (This is my base).
Benefits of a HCLFV Lifestyle?
Common results from adapting an HCLFV lifestyle:
- Improved digestion -
Clearer skin, whiter eyes, shinier hair, stronger nails
- Weight loss
- Muscle tone
- Heightened mental clarity (no more brain fog)
- Satisfied after every meal (no more cravings) If you are craving salts fats or sweets, it is usually a sign you are not eating enough carbohydrates (fruit) in the day.
- Stimulants such as coffee are no longer necessary
- Hormonal balance/ a feeling of stability
What is Raw till 4?
Raw till 4 is a lifestyle that embraces a high carb low fat plant-based lifestyle. The idea is to eat raw nutrient-dense whole plant-based foods until your last meal of the day, which you can eat raw or have a cooked plant-based meal. The idea is to fill your diet with fresh, natural foods while being mindful of food combining. The purpose of food combining is for optimal digestion. People following a raw till 4 diet keep their daily fat calories under 5-10% of their daily calorie intake (avocado, nuts, seeds) , 5-10% of their daily calories from plant-based protein calories (legumes, beans), and the rest from carbohydrates coming mostly from fruits. For optimal leanness and health, people are advised to use little to no salt and oil in their everyday diet. Raw till 4 is considered a lifestyle where rest, exercise and balance in all aspects of life are considered important and necessary for one's health.
What is you Personal Philosophy?
We are all different and therefore, it is important to become an expert on ourselves. Devote time to get educated and figure out your own health and unique self once and for all! I have been trying to be healthy my whole life, but this year was different. I stopped trying to fit into diets, relying on quick fixes or solely on doctor’s advice. Knowledge is important but at the end of the day, you need to be the driver of your own vehicle.
When you eat clean, your body stops sending ridiculous signals to your brain saying that deep fried food, ice cream or even chocolate is an epic choice for a meal! Instead, your body will tell you what it needs and warns you when you are eating something it does not agree with. For example, I use to eat chocolate every single day. Then I started eating plant-based food and after three weeks, I decided to eat two little pieces of chocolate during Easter. Immediately, the back of my throat started to burn, and I threw up 30 minutes later! My body rejected it completely. I can't believe I was eating that every single day, not realizing how damaging it was. You may not be as sensitive, but all of us can benefit from being in tune with our bodies which can be achieved as a result of clean eating. Recent studies have shown that sugar that is hidden in everyday foods is more addictive than cocaine! It literally controls you brain signals, so remember that!
I had blood tests done and got professional help, which all adds to one’s journey on living healthy. But, it wasn't until I changed my attitude and my outlook on being more responsible that my health started to bloom and succeed. Personally, I follow a plant-based vegan lifestyle with an emphasis on food combinations. I’m also learning how to listen to my body and becoming an expert on my personal health. This is possible through a clean, healthy diet. I do not count calories, but instead I eat an abundance of fresh, nutrient dense plant-based foods. This results in a high alkaline diet. I watch my fat intake and keep it below 10% of my daily calories (2100+ calories a day = 210 calories or less in fats). This is where the magic happens! When your fat intake is low, your blood changes. Your body changes the amount of insulin that is released which changes the way your body processes food. For ultimate health and leanness, 80% of my daily calories come from plant based carbohydrates, 10% or less in fats and 10% in plant-based proteins. I use little to no salt and oils. If I do use salt, I use Himalayan salt. Most of my diet consists of fresh fruits and vegetables. I opt for a cooked plant-based meal as my last meal of the day most days of the week. The goal is to keep your body fueled with fresh, nutrient, dense food that serves your body. And yes, I have days where my food combinations are not great and where I am eating more cooked food than usual. But I definitely thrive when I stick to a clean, fresh diet with proper food combining. This is still a learning process. If you have set backs, it’s okay! Every step forward counts.
What is your Personal Routine?
I start my day with a squeeze of lemon in a liter of water 30 min after I wake up. I then take a spoonful of organic black strap molasses.
After I do some exercises, I make a 1.5-liter green smoothie and sip on that throughout the morning. For lunch, I have a mono meal of fresh fruits or a big salad or smoothie bowl, something fresh and raw. For dinner, I have a plant-based cooked meal some days and continue raw on other days. It just depends on what I feel like eating.
I drink a large glass of water before each meal. I aim to finish all meals a couple hours before bed. My motivation for not eating before bed or first thing in the morning, is because the human growth hormone, which is responsible for pretty much everything, including overall health, aging, skin, etc. spikes first thing in the morning and in the first couple hours of deep sleep. This is how your body repairs and improves itself. HGH works best if there is nothing disturbing its job.
Some specific things I have learned about myself following a plant-based diet is that although it is allowed, rice and quinoa do not do me much good. Therefore, I limit my rice and quinoa intake and up my potato and starch vegetable intake. I also learned that I am very sensitive to food combining, and, therefore, I take it very seriously. I also have discovered that my stomach do not agree with citrus fruits as well as non-citrus fruits, and kale works better massaged or blended. *Eating in season is best and most tasty!
Exercising for 30+ minutes a day is like night and day for me. It is so beneficial for my mind, body and mood.
And lastly, consistency is key! If I am eating clean regularly, I can enjoy a night out and indulge in heavy plant based foods like Thai Food or some vegan treats like cashew ice cream or kale chips, etc. But notice that my junk foods are not candy bars or deep fried foods like in my 'glory days'! It seriously is re-learning how to eat and changing your expectations of what it means to be healthy. I never knew it was possible to feel this good, but now that I know it’s possible, I want to hang on to it! It is amazing!! You just gotta get there!
Why do you take Blackstrap Molasses daily?
Molasses is an inexpensive nutrient-dense powerhouse for essential minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium, copper and vitamin B 6. It is also a natural stool softener.
You can buy expensive hair and skin products and fiber pills or you can incorporate a large spoon full of the thick 'black luxe goop' for shinier thicker growing hair, dewy skin glow, and great bowel movement! My dad use to do this back in the day! This remedy has been around a long time! It’s an oldie but definitely a goodie. When shopping, look for high-quality organic blackstrap molasses. It costs about 5-8 dollars a bottle, which should last about a month.
Note: if you’re taking medication, take molasses 1 hour before or after.
Tip: Vitamin C helps with the absorption of minerals, so add a green smoothie or juice for a powerhouse combo and get more bang for your buck!
What is the Human Growth Hormone or HGH?
The Human Growth Hormone is a naturally occurring hormone that spikes first thing in the morning when we wake up and again in the first couple hours of sleep. HGH is responsible for the maintenance and growth of your body including, skin quality, organ function, brain function, etc. It is known as the anti-aging hormone! It is best not to eat for the first 30 minutes in the morning and a couple of hours before retiring to bed.
Alkaline rich foods assist in balancing the body’s PH levels, creating a 'happy environment' for your body to function properly. Aim for a diet that is 60% -80% alkaline food and 20%-40% acidic food for ultimate health and control of inflammation in the body and to keep your immune system strong. (80% alkaline 20% acidic for healing and 60% alkaline and 40% acidic for bodily maintenance). With a diet HCLFV lifestyle, this is automatically achieved as most fruits and vegetables are alkaline. Check out this list of alkaline and acidic foods http://www.foodsthatcure.com/acid-alkaline-diet/
What is Food Combining and why do it?
Food combining is eating in an order that results in proper orderly digestion. This creates a happy environment in you body and steers you clear of gas, bloating, and fermentation, plus any health problems that are related. Proper food combining assists digestion so that your digestive tract does not have to work as hard to give you the nutrients you need for energy. When we have undigested food that stays in our digestive tract and putrefies, it creates a toxic environment that makes our blood more acidic and allows yeast, viruses, cancer cells and parasites to grow inside of us. The cleaner our inner ecosystem is, the safer from damage and illness it becomes. Food combining is huge for me!
Main tips for Good Food Combining and Ultimate Digestion:
- Large glass of water first thing in the morning with a squeeze of lemon to get everything flowing, flushed and ready for a new day.
- Melons on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.
- Leafy greens go with everything.
- Breakfast or lunch mono meals of juicy hydrating fruit are very beneficial for a sensitive stomach and are easy on your digestive track.
-Pick a fruit and eat until you’re full and satisfied- it is quite enjoyable!
- Fruits before cooked meals, not after, or paired with fatty foods such as avocado, seeds, and nuts.
- Raw till your last meal of the day is ideal for optimal health, vibrancy, and digestion.
- Drink 30 minutes to an hour before a meal instead of during or after.
- If you are still hungry after a cooked meal, pick more cooked foods or greens instead of fruits.
What are typical detox symptoms from changing from a SAD diet to a healthy diet?
Everyone is different, but it is common to have flu-like symptoms while your body detoxes the crud that is in your body and crusted on your intestinal walls. A word of advice, welcome these symptoms as a sign that your body is preparing for a better tomorrow! I remember about week two of going plant-based, my skin broke out like crazy, and I had headaches like never before. My husband said,
“Are you sure about this raw till 4 business?” Well, all I can say is after the phase of detox expect your health, energy levels and overall wellbeing to skyrocket! Some symptoms of detox are bloating, fatigue, headaches, skin breakouts, yellow eyes, and the best of all - mood swings! Don't worry, it is worth it and some people don't experience any of these symptoms at all!
What does it mean that fruit and vegetables are whole foods?
Fruits and vegetables have all the minerals, antioxidants, vitamins, proteins, calcium and sodium a person needs to thrive. Nature provides us perfect packages of nourishing foods to enjoy and benefit from. Do you know how you hear diets say, eat blueberries for this, and so much of another fruit for that and so on? Well, I am not convinced that man can come up with a better ratio of nutrients than nature! A well-rounded diet of nutrient dense natural foods can ensure us that we are reaching all our body’s needs. The only recommendation is to get a Vitamin B12 shot or to supplement with Vitamin B12. What about protein, and calcium, fats and Iron?
Everybody is at risk for deficiencies in any diet. A diet that consists of nutrient dense whole foods will help you meet all your nutritional needs. To learn in depth about protein and other nutrients I recommend watching documentaries Forks Over Knives and Fed Up. These documentaries changed my entire perspective on diet and lifestyle. Where you get protein from was my biggest concern. It's important to know for yourself in depth, which is why I am recommending watching these documentaries and researching in depth your areas of concern.
Natural Occurring PROTEIN rich plant-based foods:
(Protein is found in all fruits and vegetables and is easily absorbed by the body). Protein is responsible for bodily repair and growth! Healthy skin, nails and hair and muscle tone is a sign of healthy protein levels.
Hemp seeds and flakes
Natural Occurring CALCIUM rich plant-based foods:
Responsible for strong teeth and bones and a well-functioning nervous system (our communicators!)
Tip: Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption.
Tahini (sunflower seeds)
Natural Occurring IRON rich plant-based foods:
Responsible for the transportation of oxygen throughout the body. This affects our blood quality, brain function and overall mood and energy.
Tip: Vitamin C helps your body absorb and get the most out of your iron intake.
Natural Occurring FATS in plant-based foods:
Responsible for the lubrication of joints, skin elasticity and brain growth. Although important, monitor your intake to 10% of your daily calories or lower unless you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Can you tell me more about Dates, Bananas, Salt and Coconut Sugar?
Dates: Dates are nature’s chewy caramels that are easily digestible and jam packed with iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium and copper. This fights off free radicals and inflammation.
Tip: Make large batches of bliss balls and rawnola to make eating dates even more wonderful and versatile!
Bananas - Spotted, ripe bananas with no green tips are a digestive companion resulting in a flat tummy while unripe bananas can cause bloating, gas, constipation, and abdominal pains. Smoothie tip: To avoid chalky smoothies, always use ripe spotted bananas (this is the best time to peel, chop and store your bananas in the freezer for ready to use "nice cream" and smoothie" supplies). It makes a huge difference to be prepared and have supplies on hand!
Coconut Sugar - Coconut sugar is considered the queen of all sugars. This is due to its rich mineral content and long list of health benefits that other sugars simply do not have. It is also the only sugar that does not spike your insulin levels like normal table sugar. This keeps your blood sugars stable making it a friendly sweetener choice! Tip: Chopped bananas with sprinkled coconut sugar makes for an excellent quick and tasty, nutritious snack! It tastes like brown sugar!
*Stevia is another good natural sweetener that doesn’t raise you insulin levels.
Salt -If you want to achieve ultimate leanness, muscle tone and hormonal balance watch your salt intake. I use little to no salt in my cooking. This helps cut salt down tremendously. I probably swallow salt water in the ocean accidentally all the time from getting worked in the shore break, so I probably get my fair share of sodium ;) Sodium is naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables.
What is the deal with Melons?
Melons are the fastest digesting food there is. Because of this, it is best consumed in the morning on an empty stomach. If you eat a slower-digesting food before a faster-digesting food, the faster-digesting food catches up and can't digest properly. This results in fermentation and bloating! Not good for the digestive system! Tip: When picking melons, look for ones that are heavy for their size! For watermelon, it should have a hollow sound when you knock on it. It should have a relatively dark green color and a yellow bottom. This almost guarantees to bring home a juicy sweet pick!
Water ? Hydration is key to the functionality, longevity and vitality of our bodies! It is of utmost importance our entire well being to stay hydrated. Keep your body revving by consuming filtered, mineral or spring water daily. Water should be our primary source of hydration. Fresh fruits and vegetables also help aid hydration. Waste removal, metabolic function, stable body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate all depend on proper hydration. Aim for 2.5 liters + daily! Urine should be a light yellow to clear stream! Adding lemon to your water is an alkalizing warrior which helps flush, restore and renew you - the king of detoxification! Starting your morning with warm lemon water is a wonderful, beneficial habit to adopt into your daily life.
How much water per day?
2. 5+ liters of water a day. Aim to pee 8-12 times a day. Your urine should be light yellow to clear as an indicator your meeting you daily intake of H2O. Drink first thing in the morning and before every meal (room temperature is best).
Health can be obtained through an all-encompassing lifestyle and this includes a proper good night of rest regularly. Aim for at least 8 hours. Early to bed, early to rise (I definitely need to improve in this department!) Sleep is our body’s time to repair house. If you want a sharp mind, beautiful skin, vibrancy and youthfulness consider your beauty rest!
What Plant Based Foods make you bloat?
Avoid the following for the first 30 days
Vegetables that cause gas- broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, cabbage, asparagus, artichoke- you may want to avoid these at first
All fermented products such as pickles, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, etc.
Onion (except scallions/green onions or occasional sweet red onions)
Chili pepper products
Seaweed of certain kinds (kelp and kelp noodles, arame, dulse, Irish moss, algae, etc.)
Bragg's liquid aminos/Raw Coconut Aminos/Nama Shoyu/tamari
Excessive use of nuts/seeds, badly combined fruits & fat combo's that lead to health challenges.
Gourmet raw dishes that we feel are not congruent with the low-fat raw vegan lifestyle
extra tip* drink plenty of water before meals, watch food combining, chew your food thoroughly.
How do you Set Up for Success?
Invest in you health! You may even save money from not buying fast food, junk food, meats, dairy products, cigarettes, alcohol, supplements, expensive beauty products, lotions, medications and doctor visits! No matter what, you are worth the investment! Do the best you can to choose the best possible healthy options. Be prepared! Buy staple foods in bulk and shopping in season is much cheaper, but richer in nutritional value. It’s tastier and more natural. Find a place to get your produce and make friends with the vendor! Large department stores are starting to carry larger selections of quality produce.
Organic is best but not always possible. Thin-skinned fruits are best organic because they absorb the most chemicals. Always wash you fruits and veggies when you get home. Most of my bulk food comes from trading with friends (passion fruit, mangos, bananas, and passion fruit. I have been very fortunate in this department) But when I need to, I buy bananas, leafy greens, cucumbers, dates, apples and potatoes in bulk (I go through approximately 30 cucumbers a week! Love my hydrating, slimming cucumbers!). Oh yes, and mangoes…. I could literally live off mangoes!
We keep smoothie supplies on hand always. Large bags of frozen fruits, rawnola, fresh fruits, coconut shreds and coconut water. We almost always have smoothies first thing when we come home from the beach or as a snack before a meal. This is a great way to get fruit into yourself and kids and to curb cravings.
Don't let your fridge go empty if you can. When you are set up with plenty of options to choose from you are setting yourself up for success. It is much more tempting to fall off your health wagon if you are not prepared.
How to Shop?
It’s best if you plan a day or morning for food hauls. This is where you get all of your produce and take the time to wash and put them away in a ready to use fashion. Enjoy this process as you might enjoy putting together a nice outfit or organizing your home. Give yourself time to readjust your shopping style! Have fun discovering all the beautiful produce in you home town. Probably the best tip ever is to head straight for the produce and start stocking up instead of wandering through the aisles of endless options of sugar and fat-ladened processed junk. It’ll seem like they’re calling for you, mocking and tantalizing you until, before you know it, you’ve purchased and eaten half it on your couch! You’ll be holding your belly thinking “how did this happen?”
Enjoy discovering new fruits and vegetables and have fun! Before you know it this way of shopping, preparing and eating foods will be a natural way of life!
How To Adapt Plant Based Life Style Successfully?
Fill your fridge with fresh produce and commit!
Put your money where your mouth is. Get rid of everything you can that will work against you -if you can! I have a family, and so this was a gradual change. Make it a goal to not let any of the food go bad. This is what I did, and it worked.
Keep a journal, follow blogs and people on Instagram who inspire you to eat and be better and for recipe inspiration.
*Documentaries worth checking out- Forks Over Knives, Fed Up, Cowspiricy
*Books worth reading- The China Study , 801010 , Skinny Bitch