Monday, April 11, 2011

Living Foods Lifestyle Program: Day 1

Today was my first day at the Ann Wigmore Natural Health Institute for their Living Foods Lifestyle Certification Program: 2 weeks of eating, learning, and immersing in a vegan, raw, and living foods lifestyle in sunny Puerto Rico.

But before I get into the program, I'd like to backtrack into how I got there:

The plane ride to Puerto Rico was not the best. A delay in one of my flights meant that I missed a connecting flight, so alas I had to stay an extra day in New York City. The upside was that in my NYC I was able to visit One Lucky Duck, which offers raw foods and juices, and Candle Cafe, which offers vegan and farm fresh food options. The sushi at One Lucky Duck was delicious, filled with marinated shiitake, avocado, asparagus, red pepper, jicama rice, and nama shoyu. However, their chocolate garnache tart, although good, was extremely dense and something that you will want to share with many friends. At Candle Cafe, I loved the BBQ Tempeh and Sweet Potato sandwich served with a side salad and an amazing shallot sage aioli. Their vegan and gluten-free oatmeal and chocolate chip cookie was on the slightly dry and crumbly side (probably due to the spelt flour), but it was good considering that it can be hard to make a good gluten-free cookie.

After rescheduling my flight and after an 8 hour layover at the Fort Lauderdale airport in Florida, I was happy to finally arrive at the Ann Wigmore Natural Health Institute at 3 am this morning.

please note that these pictures were not taken at 3 am

I have to say that I cannot complain about the surroundings.

The beach next to the institute

A few hours after my arrival, I woke up tired but enthusiastic for my 7:30 am class on juicing wheatgrass. After our class on wheatgrass, we went into the dining room for breakfast. Today's breakfast options were a fresh papaya and banana salad with sprouted buckwheat grains, or energy soup, made with blended green vegetables and sprouts, and that could be topped with various toppings such as pureed ginger and dulse flakes. Breakfast at the institute is the one meal that is always silent, allowing individuals to focus on the meal and to concentrate on chewing, a part that can be often forgotten about in eating: chewing is the first step in the digestive process, allowing the enzyme salivary amylase in our saliva to begin breaking down the food in our mouths as we chew.

After breakfast we had a two hour class learning more about Dr. Ann Wigmore and the institute, which was broken up by a 15 minute snack. Then we had lunch, optional yoga at 2:45 pm daily (there is also yoga daily at 6:15 am), another snack, and then class again at 4:15 where we learned about enemas and implants. Dinner is regularly at 6 pm, and after dinner there is typically a class at 7 pm. Classes are on weekdays, and weekends we get off.

Dinner, featuring energy soup, papaya, sunflower seed yogurt, dehydrated flax seed crackers, and various toppings

If eating raw foods is something that you are new to, it definitely takes some getting used to. Even though raw foods has always been an interest of mine in reading, culinary adventures, and dining out, going completely raw and vegan in my diet is not the same as reading about and dabbling in it.

Rejuvelac, a fermented beverage, is always on hand. Pictured here is rejuvelac made from cabbage (left) and quinoa (right). The cabbage rejuvelac is basically like drinking sauerkraut juice.

Two daily activities that I know that I'll need some getting used to are juicing and drinking wheatgrass regularly twice a day (the wheatgrass flavor is strong) and the enemas and implants (enema: clearing the colon, such as with filtered water, and implant: here we implant the colon with wheatgrass juice for cleansing and detoxification. Read more about enemas and implants here). Of course, you only do what you are comfortable with in the program, and it's important to listen to your body. Another challenge that will be coming up very soon (tomorrow) will eating only blended foods for the next three days!

These next two weeks will be an experience featuring different and new food and lifestyle challenges. I am interested to see how my body will adjust to these changes, and also how my diet and lifestyle will change after I return from this trip. Overall, I'm glad to be here, I'm sure that this will be a worthwhile and learning experience, and I'm looking forward to what the next two weeks will bring!

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