January is a month of detoxes, crash diets, and makeup-for-the-holidays resolutions. But what if this year we take a more sustainable approach to nourishing body and mind? After all, it’s small habit changes that have the most powerful impact on our overall, long-term health.
SS: Are you cleansing this January?
RR: This month I’m doing Dry January and I’m following a strict food plan in preparation for a retreat I’m leading in Peru next month. The plan includes eating and living in a way that’s respectful of the journey we’re about to take. It’s entirely plant-based with minimal herbs, spices, or other supplements. It’s not too hard if you’re primarily plant-based already, and is a welcome “cleanse” of sorts!
SS: Are you vegan? Why did you choose this path?
RR: I’m 99% vegan. I grew up on a farm and ate meat multiple times a day: I never thought I’d be vegan or vegetarian. However, I think experimenting with health approaches is important, so I tried vegetarianism. I didn’t believe it would work for me: I thought I wouldn’t be able to run as long, I’d lose muscle mass, and I’d get sick. I soon realized I was wrong: I felt better than before and never went back. Vegetarianism gradually turned into raw-veganism and evolved from a health decision into one that’s also ethical.
SS: How does a plant-based diet help our body stay cleansed and energized?
RR: I could talk about this all day! Eating plant-based ensures we get the best quality nutrients (not all calories are equal) in their whole form (meaning the entire plant, not just the isolated vitamin or protein). It also puts the least amount of stress on our bodies (stress which comes in the form of sugar, trans fats, processed foods, chemicals, and more). Plants are like clean-burning fuel which help us feel energized — not lethargic — after we eat!
SS: Do you encourage people to practice mindful eating or cooking? How do you help them begin this practice?
RR: Definitely. I find that “mindful eating” means something different to everyone because it’s all about their relationship with food: some people eat too fast; some need help improving what they’re eating; some can’t “hear” their body so don’t know why their digestion is always off. I give people all the tools they need to start and then I hold them accountable!
SS: What one change can we make to our eating habits to help our body be stronger and happier?
RR: Eat more plants! If you already do that, eat more raw green plants!
SS: What herbs and plant-based ingredients do you use to cleanse?
RR: Ooooh, so many! Dandelion and milk thistle are my go-tos. Deep greens like algaes and chlorella are super effective. Drink hot lemon water in the morning. Try adding sea salt to keep your electrolytes in check and rinse your mouth afterwards (citrus is like an acid-wash for our tooth enamel!). Nettle tea is one of my favorite nourishing light diuretics. Our bodies are always cleansing themselves, so as long as we put good stuff in, they can take the bad stuff out.
SS: Can you share a cleansing elixir recipe we can make at home?
RR: Yes! Here’s one of the items on the menu at Supernatural, my herbal pharmacy and cafe:
1 tsp activated charcoal
1 tsp dandelion root powder
Juice of one lemon (or 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar)
Dash of sea salt (optional)
Sparkling mineral water (or water of your choice)
Whisk all ingredients together. Mix with sparkling mineral water (or your water of choice).
Drink first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and follow with plenty of water throughout the day.
SS: What does a day on your plate look like?
RR: First thing in the morning I mix blue-green algae with homemade kombucha (a potent probiotic), and 32oz of water. Breakfast (which I have late in the morning because I practice intermittent fasting) is a smoothie made with spinach, a banana or sweet potato, cucumber, and whatever else I’m into (right now that’s flax seeds, hemp, and cacao).
Lunch is my favorite meal: a giant bowl of raw veggies such as kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. I massage them with sea salt and dress them with olive or algae oil, balsamic vinegar, and garlic. If I want more fat, I add avocado or snack on coconut.
I drink water throughout the day. Right now I’m infusing it with shilajit [a unique adaptogen formed by organic materials being compressed between layers of rock over hundreds of years. In the summer it oozes from deep fissures in the Himalayas! — Ed.] and an herb I can’t tell you about because it’s not legal in this country ;).
For dinner I have something smaller and warm, which is soup at the moment (my favorites are with squash or carrot)! I love souping during the winter: it’s so kind to our bellies when we need to rest, digest, and cleanse! [We couldn’t say it better ourselves! — Ed.]