Your searing questions: Answered!

Hiya Dearest Readers,

This week I galloped over to Facebook and asked what searing questions you needed answered. So let’s just cut to the chase and get the Q & A par-tay started!

Lauren-Rose: How do you resist temptation? Also, I try to educate family and friends about food, but they brush it off and I end up feeling stupid or prissy.

Ahhh, temptation … I rarely resist temptation! What good can come from deprivation? Granted, I don’t eat animal products, but if I want a piece of dark chocolate or a french fry, I don’t deny myself. I used to be very rigid. Today, I see my health quest as a long term endeavor. The vast majority of the time, I’m on a clean and healthy path. Therefore, when I veer off it’s no big deal.

It’s all about portions. Because I still indulge in some extra pleasures from time to time, I feel more freedom on a regular basis. Freedom begets more freedom. So when I do have that fry or chocolate or even a glass of wine, I don’t need to overdo it. I’m not cheating or doing something wrong, I’m enjoying the spice of life and I’ll do it again, so there’s no need to hoard the chocolate truffles or binge on a bucket of tater tots. Truthfully, I don’t want to overdo it because I like the freedom that comes with feeling good more than the fake freedom-inducing feelings that accompany a binge. Also, when we feel like we’re doing something “wrong,” it’s easy to imagine that we’ll never get the chance to do the “bad” thing again. That’s what I call scarcity syndrome. To avoid scarcity or lack we naturally go nuts! And like a greedy squirrel, we try and store up for the winter in about 20 minutes.

And then come the strippers … Or is that just me?

You are safe. Chocolate isn’t going anywhere. Have a bite, smile, move on. That’s why I included the Sweet Seduction recipes in Crazy Sexy Kitchen. Some may say that I’m breaking my own rules with these decadent creations, but this wouldn’t be a Crazy Sexy cookbook without some sweetness. The dessert section comes last in Crazy Sexy Kitchen because these goodies aren’t the centerpiece of the Crazy Sexy diet, but they are still a delicious part of life on special occasions!

Lastly, when I do feel that urge to overdo it, it’s not because I need another martini–the craving is a result of my inner state. The feelings leftover from the not-so-nice email I received that day or the less-than-stellar night of sleep I got the night before or the pressure I experienced during a launch, etc. The urge to overdo often comes from feeling trapped and strung out. To be honest, that’s why I used to smoke. I felt overwhelmed always. Taking a cigarette break allowed me to pause and breathe deep. Too bad all the toxins and carcinogens went with that time-out! So as you can probably see, overindulgence is just a symptom. The root of the problem lies in our emotional state. Are we happy? Are we playing enough? Is there enough space in our lives, or are we booked to the minute? Once again, self-care to the rescue! Grab some bubbles and soak in your tub, dear friend. Indulge in YOU, and you’ll indulge less in what doesn’t serve you.

Johanna: When you’re feeling less than stellar/sparkly, what are your go-to techniques to pull yourself out of the slump?

Great question, Johanna! When I lose the pep-in-my-step I do several things. One: MOVE. Tony Robbins says it best, if you want to change your “state” (condition, attitude, etc.), get active. Walk, jog, jump on a trampoline, do 10 minutes of yoga, put on your headphones and DANCE your assets off. I know this is a simple tip, but it really does help. Don’t make a big deal out of it, just move your glorious body!

Next: I evaluate whether I’ve had enough free/quiet/me time. When my sparkle dims, it’s usually because I’m feeling sucked dry. The only way for me to charge my batteries is to be alone. Later hubby! Bye-bye business! I head into my cave (my bed or loft) and quietly lick my wounds. Then I get vocal by letting folks know that I’m feeling depleted and need some room to regroup. My besties always listen. The folks who don’t listen just have to deal with the word “no.” And over time, they get ushered out of my unicorn stable. The only vampires I allow in my life are the ones on TV.

Lastly: My friend Cheryl Richardson said something really smart to me the other day. She said, “When we lose connection to our spirit, the outer world and all its stimulating distractions become more alluring.” Think about that and if it resonates with you, consider packing your bags and going on a spirit-cation (ooh, that’s cheeky!)–a designated time you spend cultivating your core connection. 20 minutes per day? A 3-day retreat? Maybe a week-long pilgrimage? Only you know what you need. I know in my bones that I need about 2 weeks off. No renovation. No work. No demands. I’m taking that time in February. How about you?

Pamela: Do you ever feel your healthy food choices alienate you?

Pamela, I did in the beginning, but not anymore. It’s taken time to feel comfortable with myself, let alone my food choices! These days I plan ahead, bring my own food when needed, know how to order in just about any restaurant and don’t freak out if I can’t have it exactly the way I want. I guess you could say I’m more flexible now. When you’re flexible and take each situation one step at a time, people are drawn to you. What is SHE doing? Why is she so relaxed, healthy and positive? If you’re feeling alienated, you might want to clean up your unicorn stable (see above). As a result of living a plant-passionate, fully awake, activist life, I’ve met so many new and remarkable friends!

Jillian: Please share your take on soy. Many of your new recipes seem to feature soy and that has uncovered my deep seated fear of the stuff. Thanks!

That’s a fantastic question, Jillian. Actually, only about one fifth of the recipes in Crazy Sexy Kitchen contain soy. Since I’m not a doctor or a dietician, I asked my pal Jen Reilly, R.D. to write about soy in Crazy Sexy Kitchen. See the excerpt below. The frustrating thing is, no one seems to agree on the topic. Therefore, my go-to sources for my health and yours are as follows: Neal Barnard MD, Keith Block MD (my personal integrative oncologist) and Mark Hyman MD (see his response to claims that soy is harmful below). My stance is simple. Keep it to a minimum and make sure it’s organic and non-GMO. I consume soy in moderation and prefer tempeh, organic tofu and edamame. Processed food is processed food, even if it’s so-called healthy. Therefore, faux chicken wings and meat analogs are not the healthiest choice on a regular basis. As far as soy milk goes, I use nut and seed milks more often.

Crazy Sexy Kitchen excerpt by Jen Reilly, RD:

Soy products, including soy milk, tofu, tempeh, and edamame, are rich in soy protein, essential omega-3 fatty acids, and phytoestrogens. Soy protein and omega-3s are important for heart health, while phytoestrogens actually help reduce breast-cancer risk among premenopausal women. Less processed soy foods such as edamame, miso, and tempeh are richer in nutrients and antioxidants, more digestible, and often taste better than the more processed soy foods. Many meat-like products such as veggie burgers and veggie dogs are made from soy and are highly processed. Although these products often contain food additives, and may not provide as many health benefits of the lesser-processed soy foods, they are still great transition foods when moving from a meat-heavy diet to a plant- based diet. Just make sure that any soy product you buy is not genetically modified. It’s always best to keep things natural.

For estrogen-sensitive diseases, such as estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer, the jury is still out on how much soy is safe. Some oncologists suspect the phytoestrogens (literally meaning “plant estrogens”) in soy may encourage cancer-cell growth, and recommend that women who have had estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer play it safe by avoiding soy completely. However, it’s important to keep in mind that in Asian countries where soy products are part of the traditional diet (including during puberty and breast tissue development, which may be a key factor for soy’s protective role), not only are cancer rates lower than in the U.S., but the rates of cancer recurrence are lower despite soy consumption. There is also better overall breast cancer prognosis among women who consume the most soy in Asian countries.

You may also want to consider that many of the same doctors who tell patients to avoid soy never mention the abundant amounts of estrogen and other growth hormones found in dairy products. If you’re avoiding soy as a result of a cancer diagnosis, please strongly consider dumping the dairy as well. And if an allergy exists or soy needs to be avoided for other reasons, keep in mind that soy is NOT an essential part of a plant-based diet and can be eliminated without compromising health. There are many soy-free meat-substitute foods that are widely available (and delicious!).

Here’s Mark Hyman MD’s response to the claims that soy is harmful (full article here):

What the Data Says About Soy

If you want an excellent, unbiased, scientifically sound review of all the relevant human data on soy, I recommend reading the 100-page report from the Agency for HealthCare Research and Quality entitled, The Effects of Soy on Health Outcomes, which reviewed thousands of studies based on rigorous criteria for scientific validity. Its conclusion was this: There is no evidence of significant benefit or harm based on the quality of evidence that exists today.
“The dangers of soy are overstated. The benefits may be too.”

So what’s a confused consumer to do? Give up on soy until we know for sure? Or chow down on soy nuts? Don’t panic. There are some things we do know about soy, both good and bad.

First, you should be aware that the amount of soy used in many of these studies was much higher than what we normally consume — the average dose of soy was equivalent to one pound of tofu or three soy protein shakes a day. That’s a lot of soy! Most people just don’t eat like that. So when you read negative things about soy, remember that many of those claims are based on poorly designed studies that don’t apply to real-world consumption.

You could apply that thinking to other studies, too — like those that show that broccoli contains natural pesticides or that celery is high in toxins. Sure, those foods might cause you some problems — but not in the amounts that most of us eat. The same is true for soy.

Second, it’s important to recognize that many of the common claims about soy simply don’t pan out when you look at the evidence carefully. Let’s review four of these claims and the science behind them so you can have a better understanding of the real relationships between soy consumption and potential health threats … read more.

I hope these answers help you. Did something resonate? If so, what? Tell me in the comments below. Or if you have a burning question that wasn’t answered above, leave it in the comments and I may choose it for a future Q & A.

Once again, I am LOVING your Crazy Sexy Kitchen love notes! Check out this glowing review from Carol:

“So happy to receive my copy of Crazy Sexy Kitchen this weekend. Kicked it off by making Avo Toasts for lunch and Chickpea with Root Veggie Tagine for dinner. It was indescribably delicious. I am so grateful for this beautiful book filled recipes for optimal health and, equally important, delicious dishes. Thank you, Kris and Chad.”

Have you grabbed your copy yet? Don’t delay hot stuff!

Peace & knowledge-seeking,

Kris Carr