Bio - Michelle Premura
Part 2 - Food & Diet
When I was first diagnosed with cancer I was 23 years old. I never thought twice about the type of food I put in my body. I ate because I loved food, the taste, the social aspect of sharing meals at home or out with friends and family. It was all about flavor, new experiences, and fun.
After my surgery, something had shifted; I became more aware of my body, mind, and spirit. I think this is a natural reaction to anyone faced with their own mortality at a young age or at any age for that matter.
With this new awareness, I decided to change my lifestyle including my diet. In addition to yoga and meditation, I began buying organic food, eliminating red meat, pork and fast food. It was an easy transition. I became a regular at all the local health food stores. In fact, each time I moved, one of the main determining factors would be “how close will I be to a health food store?”.
It wasn't until I was introduced to plant-based living foods that I realized my diet could be elevated to a level beyond just eating organic and whole foods. My first introduction to living foods was in the 80's when a friend of mine took me to Delights of the Garden restaurant in Atlanta. He kept raving about how amazing this food was, and it was all uncooked! He knew I would love it and he was right, I did. The flavors were so fresh and alive. I left feeling full, but not uncomfortably stuffed.
After that I couldn't stop thinking about the food. Of course I bought their un-cook book “The Joy of Not Cooking” which besides the older books on natural hygiene, this may be one of the first raw food cook books printed. I began attempting to make some of the recipes at home. It was great to be juicing and using the carrot pulp to make a lunch of "mock tuna" sushi rolls.
Over the years, I continued to research and educate myself on diet and nutrition. I was fortunate to have lived in Boulder, CO ~ home of crunchiness. It was amazing from a food standpoint and the ideal place for alternative everything. With mountains, rivers, bike trails everywhere and THREE health food stores in one small town in the early 90’s - I found heaven on earth. During this time, I became vegetarian, then vegan for a short time. I also became more serious about herbs, homeopathy, and natural medicine in general.
It wasn't until 2005 when another friend re-introduced me to some "new raw foods", that I became serious (ok - seriously obsessed!). At this point, raw & living foods had become an actual movement that had gained widespread interest from both a health and culinary standpoint. Again, I was amazed at the freshness of it all and I was intrigued by the tastes of combinations and possibilities using all uncooked ingredients and….it was good for me too!
There was now so much more information out there; I began reading & researching, eating & experimenting with a variety of recipes. It just made so much sense to me -- eating foods that are alive and chock full of nutrients and enzymes, and that taste amazingly fresh & healthy, and can heal the body. The more live food I incorporated into my diet, the more I craved, especially leafy greens like parsley, lettuce, kale, chard, etc. I also began to simplify my diet and began preparing less "gourmet" meals as my palate adjusted to wanting just pure simple foods.
By eating mostly living foods I was amazed at the results. My energy level was back, I slept through the night, needed less hours of sleep, and was back to my normal pre-pregnancy weight. My tonsils, which had been enlarged my entire life, shrunk down to a normal size, more than half of what they had been. But most astounding to me was the fact that with only 1/2 of a thyroid, I was able to stop my thyroid medication that I had been taking for over 20 years and every doctor told me would not be possible.
Since that time, I've gone through various degrees of "eating raw", but one thing is certain, the more living foods I add to my diet the better I feel. For myself, I found that adding some cooked foods into my diet worked better. If cleansing or healing, however, I prefer and would recommend a fully or mostly raw diet.
When I began a more in-depth study of herbalsim, I realized that although some nutrition and vitamins may be lost in cooking, others are extracted or amplified. I made this connection at a time when I was beginning to introduce more cooked foods into my diet. Currently I am working on balancing my diet with a combination of high raw, cooked plant-based foods, wild foods & herbs.
What I eat depends largely upon the season, availability, what's happening in my life at the moment, and how my body feels. As time goes on, it becomes easier to listen to my body and eat intuitively along with balancing emotional & spiritual elements into the mix as well which are equally important. More recently, I have incorporated essential oils into my foods & beverages to boost the life force of my food AND to add amazing depth to the flavor as well.
Eating whole plant-based living food ("botanical cuisine") is not a diet, but a lifestyle choice that is an ongoing journey, always changing and evolving. With this choice comes numerous rewards including health, spiritual growth, and an appreciation for a more simplistic, natural lifestyle. For myself, making this choice is similar to creating art; sometimes you don’t fully grasp where the vision comes from or how to proceed, but you know intuitively it’s what you’re supposed to be doing. I feel the same with eating a plant-based diet high in raw and living foods – there is something that just pulls you in, besides the fact that it tastes amazing AND is good for your body (and the environment & animals : ). Just like art, I feel there is something intuitive in the nature of it. It just makes sense on so many levels.
And although food is a crucial element in creating and maintaining a healthily lifestyle, there are other factors to consider as well. In addition to "feeding" our physical body we also need to remember to also feed our mind & spirit. Creating balance in our everyday life involves work and dedication for everyone. As we continue to educate ourselves; listen, observe and live, obtaining this balance becomes easier and we continue to grow and evolve. The goal of my workshops and retreats is to create a Sensory Learning Experience engaging and awakening all of the senses to (re)connect with nature and our surroundings while developing our intuition and a true sense of ones self. As we stop to Listen, See, Smell, Touch, Hear, and Taste ~ we begin to develop an acute awareness of the beauty in all that surrounds us in life creating healing, growth, joy and balance. This awakening is an important step in caring not only for ourselves but the planet as well reaching beyond just our diet.