Welcome to another interview presentation with Raw Food Magazine.
My name is Naida, and today, we are very pleased to be learning from an inspiring raw food nutritionist, lifestyle coach and mom, Gila aka Guylaine Lacerte of www.coachgila.com from Kelowna, BC Canada.
We’ve followed her Raw Food journey and lifestyle. I’m sure a lot of you, like us, would love to know more about her and her work.
Most especially if you’re transitioning to raw food, this one is for you.
Naida: Hi Gila! Thanks for making time to do this quick interview. If you could just jump right in and introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what you do and what brought you into creating coachgila.com.
Gila: Hi! I’m Gila – aka Guylaine – Lacerte and I’m an expert on women’s hormones, digestion, body weight and detoxification. I’ve been teaching nutrition classes and group programs for the last 10 years. I’ve even done a 6-months internship in a fasting retreat where I was in charge of people who came sick, weak and devitalized who fasted on water for a few days to a few weeks. They recovered their health and left much happier, healthier than they arrived. It was terrific to witness such health transformation.
Naida: Inspiring and impressive! How did you get into this raw-food way of life?
Gila: In my teenage years I wanted to become a vegetarian for ethical reason. I found eating animal flesh barbaric. I finally became 100% vegetarian at 21 years young, more than 40 years ago. It has been one of the best decision in my life. I felt free, liberated and relieved. I never turned back. At this age I also discovered Natural Hygiene, and read all the books by Herbert Shelton. It was mind blowing for me. From my reading, I decided to do a long water fast on my own, starting at an ideal weight. This experience also was profound, and
I’ve never stopped using fasting for healing and rejuvenation.
The most impactful thing I’ve done for my health has been eating an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. I found myself in a new body, my energy soared and I like how I looked and felt. Which led me to continue my education in natural health, naturopathy, nutrition, and also spending 6-months internship at a fasting retreat in Texas in 1990. I raised two children vegetarian, without vaccinations or doctors. There was the very occasional raw organic cheese and eggs, so we were about 98% vegan.
Naida: Being 98% raw vegan is wonderful. What are your thoughts on cooked food and what’s wrong with it?
Gila: I always feel better when I eat raw foods, unless it is steamed vegetables which is still great. Although I don’t do as well with cooked grains, I prefer to sprout them. Sprouted buckwheat and green lentils are my favorite. I also like sprouted oats and farro and eat it in a muesli with almond milk and berries.
I don’t eat all raw as I want to add variety to my diet. I add cooked winter squash, potatoes, and other cooked vegetables, a couple of times a week. This winter I’ll try to incorporate beans into my high raw diet as beans have good resistant starch which is beneficial for the microbiome, the bacteria that live in your intestines. The greater the diversity of the microbiome the stronger is your immune system and the healthier you are. It took me a few years to transition to a high raw diet and master the art of preparing balanced and satisfying meals. It’s now easy and simple to eat that way once the habits are ingrained. When I started on my healthy journey, the diet was including fruits, dried fruits, raw vegetables, cooked white potatoes and olive oil. When I transitioned to raw, my children were pre-school and we were eating two fruit meals a day – sometimes soaked dried figs- and a huge salad for dinner with nuts, seeds and avocado. I’ve never felt better. But the children and I were having cavities. Too many fruits and perhaps not enough greens. Then I started making blended salad or green soup and lowered the fruits to one meal and of course adopted improved oral hygiene. Later I discovered green smoothies. I really think we need more greens in our diet. They are loaded with alkaline minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals.
Naida: When I ran into your website, I thought WOW this lady has so much to offer the Raw Food world. Mind telling our audience what defines your raw “cooking” style?
Gila: I start my day with a green smoothie, including plenty of greens and 2-3 fruits including berries, soaked flax seeds and hemp and topped with pumpkin seeds. It’s super hydrating and energizing. For lunch I eat most often lentil sprouts with avocado and sauerkraut or buckwheat sprouts with greens and again avocado. I never get tired of eating avocado and sprouts. For dinner it varies. Most nights I’ll have a superb salad with some kind of soft cheese like sunflower/hemp cheese or almond/sun cheese or a nut dressing. Other nights I might spiralize vegetables and eat with a pesto; I now add some black boiled bean noodles to it. I do have once a week in the fall a squash stew with some beans in it or steamed potatoes or winter squash with my salad.
I also like to create yummy cooked plant based recipes and well-designed menus for my coaching clients who want to live a healthy plant based lifestyle. First it is essential to master the basics of a whole food plant based diet and include an abundance of vegetables and fruits.
Naida: Why are you okay with steamed vegetables?
Gila: I consider steaming vegetables very healthy and healing as they’re nutritious and loaded with vitamins and minerals. A high raw diet with steamed vegetables, even winter squashes and some roots and tubers are fine. These are still the best cooked foods you can eat. Grains and legumes, I can do in small quantities occasionally, with an abundance of vegetables. I’d rather eat nuts and seeds and steamed vegetables though. I digest better and just feel better that way. When I think what I’m going to eat for dinner I think vegetables as it is the base of my diet. That’s what is missing in many diet, even vegan can eat bread and hummus, pasta and tomato sauce, rice and beans but the vegetables are missing. Vegetables should cover three quarter of the plate. The rest can be whole plant food and you’re good.
Naida: What about water?
Gila: We’ve been told to drink one liter and a half of water a day. This is good advice for people who barely eat any fruits and vegetables. But if you eat 3-5 fruits a day along with a pound of vegetables and avoid dehydrating coffee and processed foods then your water intake is largely covered as fruits and vegetables contain 90% water. I’m rarely thirsty unless it’s summer and I’m sweating. I rarely sweat in my cold climate, and rarely feel the need of drinking. I go to the bathroom often enough, even at night, so I know I’m not dehydrated. The abundance of fruits and vegetables I eat supply me with pure distilled hydrating water charged with electrolytes and minerals. I found that people who are thirsty and could drink a full glass of water, unless they’ve been sweating profusely, they’ve not eaten enough fresh produce.
Naida: That’s true for me too! What is your position on spirulina and blue green algae?
Gila: I do not use these algae on a daily basis. I like the taste and might eat some chlorella or spirulina powder diluted in a bit of water as an occasional treat. I focus on green leafy vegetables to get an abundance of micronutrients. Protein comes from whole plant based foods. I supplement with vitamin B12 and vitamin D in the winter months.
Naida: You seem like you are in good spirits and great health. How much of that would you attribute to diet?
Gila: This is a good question, because it’s a lifestyle and many factors come into play. Exercise and movement are especially important. If you want to be fit, then you want to exercise or do physical activities you enjoy.
For those who sit all day long then they need to get up every hour and move around. Walking is good but burst exercises are quick and efficient to bring a superior level of fitness. Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and more.
With TV, computer and internet our days, it’s easy to go to bed late. Many of us don’t get enough sleep. Sleep is rejuvenating for the brain.
The brain is the power for the body. Without sleep you get cravings for sweets and caffeine, you gain weight, have brain fog and low energy. It takes discipline and a ‘big why’ to lead a healthy lifestyle. Discipline is doing the things we don’t feel like doing but we know we must do in order to reap the benefits.
Naida: That’s true!By the way, you mentioned raising two healthy children without vaccinations and medications. Controversy over vaccine safety has achieved high visibility over the past decade. What are the effects of vaccines on the parents, clinicians and children?
Gila: Vaccinations contain harmful chemicals like mercury and aluminum. If we take responsibility for our health and use fasting and juicing when we’re sick, then there’s no need for vaccinations. Vaccination is risky, at least with the amount of vaccinations we give to our children these days. No wonder autism and auto-immune diseases are on the rise. With vaccinations and medications, we destroy enzymes and systems in our bodies which will eventually lead to chronic diseases and shorten our lives. There’s no substitute for a healthy lifestyle.
Naida: How different of a world do you think we’d see if everybody ate raw?
Gila: I would say if we would eat a high-raw, plant-based lifestyle, we would decrease ADHD, and special needs for kids at school. We would diminish most of the diseases we have today. The countries would have more money for child care, education and families. It would probably reduce poverty. Citizens would be more helping each other’s and be happier people. We would reduce depression. It would be a new world with a new economy run by healthy and happy people. We would save the planet and insure a future for our children and grandchildren. Even the modern diet of processed foods has been shown to reduce empathy in some people.
Naida: Wonderful answers! What is your greatest fear?
Gila: At the moment, it’s the future of our children and grandchildren and the planet. We need to stop GMO agriculture and putting chemicals in the soil and the blood of people. I keep hope though because without hope what do we have?
Naida: What is your life motto?
Gila: Health is your best wealth. For happiness, live each day with appreciation and love.
Naida: We need more people like you, Gila. What is your present state of mind?
Gila: Everyday, I have moments when I fall in love with nature, with the people I love, and appreciation for my life. I keep positive and when negative thoughts come to me I just don’t believe them. I try to laugh daily and enjoy watching comedies.
Naida: You are a beautiful, positive force in the world and I admire your spirit greatly! It was a pleasure having this talk with you and we wish your journey well.
In the last 10 years, she’s been teaching nutrition classes and group programs, helping hundreds of women to release weight, improve their digestion, reduce aches and pain, and achieve great health while learning how their body works through a diet plan that works ideally for them.