Salad CaribbeanYou don’t have to be the weird eater at every party to survive the holidays without packing on the pounds.

None of the other dinner guests want to sit and listen to you talk about how bad their food is for two hours anyway. But you can still stay on the right side of healthy through the the end of the year.
  1. Have a salad for breakfast as many days as you can. Even if you eat out, a lot of places will serve salad any time of day. A diner in my area serves any meal on the menu 24 hours a day. Buy a few bags of salad  greens, chop a big tub of veggies on Sunday, have the dressing ready to go, so you can make your own salad for breakfast when you eat at home. If  you don’t eat another veg all day, you’re ahead of most people.
  2. Make a green juice the night before. Okay, sure, it’ll lose some nutrients, but it’ll still be better than the pastries your co-workers bring in to work.
  3. Eat out in places with salad bars, “all you can eat” salad, or decent salad options on the menu, and enjoy a full plate of salad before the rest of your meal.
  4. Get as many helpings as you can comfortably eat at the celebratory meals, but fill half your plate with veggies every time. Finish them before you go back for another helping of anything.
  5. Forget the eggnog and creamy drinks if you indulge in alcohol. And have a TALL glass of water between each drink.
  6. Pick your favorite dessert or entree and dive in. Grandma’s sweet potato pie that she only makes once a year? Knock yourself out. But skip the so-so cookies, and dry cake with the canned icing.
  7. Fake eat. I have a friend who can’t stand to see a guest with an empty glass, so I just hold that 2nd glass of wine for much of the night. Same with my plate. She’s happy, and I don’t feel guilty. Silly? Maybe. But it works.
  8. Bring the healthy, but delicious option to the potluck. Everyone likes to see a token salad on the table. Make yours amazing with toppings most people don’t think about, like a variety of seeds, chopped nuts, and dried and fresh fruit.
  9. Get some healthy fat and protein early in the day or as a snack to prevent cravings later. Avocado (even in a green smoothie)  or guacamole on flax crackers are a great start. Nuts, chia pudding, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, flax crackers topped with hummus or nut butter–all good options.
  10. Give yourself a break. Your holiday doesn’t have to be perfect. Your tree can be a little crooked, and the kids don’t have to get everything on their lists. If your relatives want to argue, it’s time for you to head to the 24-hour market on an emergency napkin run. Stress and lack of sleep lower your will power and decrease your ability to make good decisions. Avoid it as much as you can.
BONUS: If you find you’ve gone a little overboard with the gravy and dressing or the pie one day, don’t beat  yourself up. Start the next day with a green juice or a green smoothie for breakfast, get some exercise, and make enjoy better choices for the rest of the week.
Enjoy the holidays!

Is the Raw Food Diet Dead?

by Candice Davis

Not So PerfectIt seems like, one by one, raw food gurus have been changing their minds about what we should eat. Some have gone paleo, some declared they now eat “real food,” and others claim a raw food diet actually damaged their health.

So what’s the deal with raw food gurus turning away from raw food?

1. Many of the early raw food diet promoters still eat 99% to 100% raw vegan foods, and have done so for many years, because it works for their health and their lifestyle. They may not be as vocal or as present on social media, but they’re easy to find with a quick online search. (You can start with the beautiful Karyn Calebrese.)

2. There are lots of different ways of eating raw. What works for me might be damaging for you and vice versa. Raw doesn’t necessarily equal perfect, and if a former raw food expert claims his version of a raw food diet did him some harm, I have to believe he’s telling the truth.

3. The extreme of the raw food diet—100% raw, vegan foods only—is ridiculously difficult for most people to follow over time. Unless you live in a pretty progressive place, dining out and eating with friends can be a challenge. Once your choice of food becomes a source of constant stress, it may be doing more harm than good.

4. There’s not a single study or example of a traditional culture that demonstrates that you have to eat 100% raw to enjoy maximum nutrition. Some of the gurus have started to factor that into their food philosophy.

100% raw can be a fast track to weight loss. It can offer an opportunity for healing certain diseases or illnesses. It can even be a diet-style for a lifetime.

But if you’re struggling to stay 100% raw, or even 100% vegan, take heart in the fact that those two extremes may not be right for you—and that’s okay. Try making raw, vegan foods the foundation of your diet, with leeway to enjoy cooked vegetables and a small amount of whatever animal products fit in your moral code.

The paleo diet, so famous for its focus on meat consumption, still  includes lots of vegetables, raw and cooked. Even a commercial weight-loss diet like Weight Watchers lets followers eat all the veggies they want. And food writer Michael Pollan famously advised, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Sounds doable for most people, doesn’t it? Most of those plants can easily be eaten raw.

Raw food isn’t a fad, nor is the raw food diet dead. But hopefully, raw food as a religion or a standard of perfection is.

Live the difference!

Easy Raw Watermelon Juice (No Juicer/Blender Required!)

by Candice Davis

Does juicing seem like too much work sometimes? It does for me. Since 2014 started, I’ve been swamped with work. I barely have time to spend with my husband and daughters, and if I have to choose, hanging with them will always win over spending more time in the kitchen. Even though I can certainly […]

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5 Easy Ways to Keep Your Diet Resolutions

by Candice Davis

Two weeks in—how’s 2014 going? Are you stocked up on raw food options, getting some exercise every day, making good choices when you eat out? Or has your enthusiasm waned? Are your running shoes gathering dust? Does it all seem too hard? It can be difficult to keep your resolutions to eat better, exercise, and, […]

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What Are Your 2014 Heath Goals? Here’s How to Reach Them!

by Candice Davis

Are you a resolution-maker? A goal-setter? One of my friends already has her 2014 goals and strategic plans mapped out in detail. She’s well ahead of me! But what about you? Have you been thinking 2014 will be the year you finally lose the weight, run a marathon, or get the stress out of your […]

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How to Do High-Raw with Low-Fruit

by Candice Davis

Depending on who you ask, you might get the idea that raw food means downing lots of fruit. I know people who eat up to 20 bananas  a day. Seriously. They do. For some people, that works well. (At least, that’s what they tell me.) But there’s no one-size-fits-all, not even when it comes to […]

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Can You Really Trust Your Doctor?

by Candice Davis

A twenty-two year old woman can’t eat without becoming violently nauseous. The doctor gives her a prescription with 999 refills. “You’ll take it for the rest of your life,” the doctor says. The patient’s hair starts to fall out as a side effect of the medicine, and she returns to the doctor seeking an alternative. […]

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A New Raw Food Pasta Option (Black Bean Pasta) | Raw Food Product Review

by Candice Davis

Back in my low-fat (and low-money) eating days, pasta was one of my staple foods. Toss it with tomato sauce and peppers and onions, or just throw some butter and olive oil on it, either way I was happy. I don’t strive to eat low-fat anymore, and pasta is mostly out, since I’ve gone gluten-free. […]

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The Virgin Diet: Drop 7 Foods, Feel Better Fast

by Candice Davis

These are my personal notes from the PBS presentation “Drop 7 Foods, Feel Better Fast.”  The show was based on The Virgin Diet, by board certified holistic nutritionist JJ Virgin. I’m sharing my notes without commentary from me–but I will say most of her information appears to be research-based and can easily be reconciled with […]

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4 Reasons “Moderation” Might Be Keeping You Fat, Sick, and Slumped on the Couch

by Candice Davis

For years, I wouldn’t let any wheat or gluten slip into my diet—no way, no how. My body clearly didn’t process it well (still doesn’t), and I was sick of dealing with the breakouts and the resulting scars and other unpleasant reactions. Cut out the wheat, and my skin cleared right up. Then we started attending a […]

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Stick to Your Diet and See Results with This Simple Tool

by Candice Davis

A while back, a friend came down from Virginia to visit us in Atlanta. While she was here, she got hooked on green smoothies and juices, so much so that she bought a high-speed blender as soon as she got home. And for a few weeks, she stuck with a daily green drink and a […]

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So You Raised Your Kids on a Junk Food Diet . . . Now What?

by Candice Davis

I’ve settled down to work in a coffee shop while I wait for my husband to finish a production meeting. I have plenty to do, but my people-watching habit distracts me from the tasks at hand. A beautiful family has just come in: two sets of parents, a grandmother, and three small children. They all […]

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Bearded Brothers Energy Bars | Raw Food Product Review

by Candice Davis

On a recent trip back home to Southern California, I took a long-awaited  sojourn to Mother’s Market. Mother’s is one of my favorite grocery and health food stores. The store has a casual energy and an extensive selection of raw food products and ingredients. There’s always something new and delicious on the shelves. This time […]

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Creamy Raw Red Pepper & Tomato Soup | Easy Raw Food Recipe

by Candice Davis

I love red pepper soup, but bell peppers can get pricey.  Tomatoes are generally more affordable, especially as we get closer to summer, so I I save money by combining the two. You’ll get lots of nutritional goodies in this soup, and the coconut oil provides healthy fat. Your body can quickly convert it to […]

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The Raw Food Diet: 7 Things You Should Know!

by Candice Davis

There’s so much misinformation about the raw food diet, and most of it makes people think this eating-style is too extreme or too complicated for the average person. It’s not! A high raw food diet is completely doable,  and it doesn’t mean you sit at dinner parties and nibble on a plate of carrot sticks […]

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