Tuesday, December 27, 2011

CHANGE OF PLANS

So I have found going raw to be very difficult. At most, I've lasted about 5 days w/o a problem. I have found it pretty much impossible with our lifestyle, schedules, and traveling. I love how I feel and how good the food is. BUT...it is so hard to be so disciplined. I want to also enjoy my food after all the hard work...not feel guilty that I failed on the last meal in a moment of weakness.

I have not given up however. I still think it's an amazing way to treat your boy as nature intended and as designed.

So in order to at least do better for ourselves, I have decided that veganism at home is right for me ... and hopefully us. And we will do our best when out an about.

The plan for now is to make our home vegan. It will take some time. Tonight I made these veggie burgers - and surprisingly, was delighted to receive very little resistence.

Lately we've been enjoying vegan chili similar to this: Sweet Potato Chili

And I recently download the 21 day vegan kickstart app for my iphone. It's nice to have it all laid out there right in front of me...easy.

We will still be eating eggs and fish. So a little mayo is ok...though it'd be better if I made my own.

Now, if only all the Christmas chocolate was actually gone. Ack!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

a little discovery about my skin

During Thanksgiving we visited our local Olive Oil Mill.
Yes, you read that right. I was looking for some inexpensive little activities we could all do while the in-laws were here and I found that we have an Olive Mill in Queen Creek - just about 20 mins away. And they do tours.

So we went - it was informative...and the facilities are very peaceful. The store has more oil flavors than you could imagine and a delicious restaurant.

My sweet MIL bought me a little gift - a little tub of vanilla bean body butter that I was oogling. LOVE HER!

After reading the short list of ingredients: Olive Oil, Shea Butter, and Vanilla. I decided to try it on my face instead of the moisturizing gel from Clinique that I've used for years.

I've been using it for two weeks now. My face has been more clear than it has in 10 years! Not oily. My acne scars are less noticable, pores smaller, skin tone even, and my skin is soft!

And I smell like vanilla bean - no complaints here.
This is a keeper!

http://queencreekolivemill.com/store/bath-and-body/lavender-rose-body-butter.html
except it's the vanilla bean scent which is apparently not on the website

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Raw "Ranch" Dressing and Dipping Sauce

Another nut sauce that resembles the ever fabulous Ranch we all love.
I've been dipping my veggies and flax seed crackers in this for three days now and still not tired of it.

Raw "Ranch" Dressing and Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup raw cashews
coconut milk
water

Place cashews in blender and add 1/2 cup coconut milk. Blend. Add more milk or water to get desired creaminess. Then add the following in desired amounts to taste.

Sea Salt
Ground Pepper
Onion Powder
Fresh Garlic (I used 5 cloves which made it quite garlicky, so I'd recommend 3)
Minced Parsley
Italian Seasonings like basil and oregano

Makes about 2 cups.

Keeps in the refrigerator for 3-5 days and tends to thicken up when cold. Add water to make it more runny for a salad dressig.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Raw Green "Pasta" Sauce

This was totally an experiment - but it rocked!

Raw Green "Pasta" Sauce

1/2 cup raw cashews
unsweetened coconut milk (not sure if this is really raw?)
1-2 haas avocados, cubed
filtered water

Process in a blender till smooth - add milk and water as needed to get a really creamy consistency.

Season with salt and pepper...then add your favorite toppings

I chose diced tomatoes, re-hydrated sun-dried tomatoes chopped very small, small bits of raw broccoli and small diced red onion. Oh, and dry crushed oregano. Next time I think I'll omit the broccoli and add a little fresh garlic.

Sorry no photo - it was too DELICIOUS, the camera was the last thing on my mind!

Post Edit: This recipe does not keep. The avocado in it starts to turn brown within 6 hours. It is still edible, but tastes completely different.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Just watched...

Forks over Knives is on netflix.
It's a little long.
And reiterizes just about everything I've come to beleive.
It's basically plants vs meat/dairy. Of course plants win.
But it does follow a scientific experiment backing which is nice. Both clinical and statistical.
The message is that if it once had a pulse or came from something that did, don't eat it.
And of course, stay away from processed crap.

ReVeRtEd...

I feel like that word looks. Up, down, up, down, up, down...in every way.

We've been super busy with anything and everything not associated with food. Which has left pretty much no time for food. So I have foolishly reverted again.
I am still enjoying my green juicing about every other day...but that's 'bout it.

I had plans to start the 21 day raw food start up plan described in the book "Raw Food Life Force Energy". But when I started looking at the stark contrast between my food and my family's food - it was startling. I was spending so much time focusing on my own changes that I had let theirs go in the haste and annoyance of preparing two meals - and they were eating worse than I have ever let them.

I am ashamed of that. So I am now more focused on feeding all of us correctly. The question is how? These boys want pretty much nothing to do with veggies right now unless they are coated in some sort of dairy sauce. E even asked me to NOT put carrots in his lunch. (That could be because he was dealing with a loose tooth and had a hard time eating them...) But I get the feeling his explanation was a bit of a mask.

Husband wants to eat vegan at home. He says he feels better, more energy, etc. But even he is turning up his nose at the fresh juice lately.

I've never really done it, but I am going to try and actually do a weekly meal plan for our home - which will include trying 1 new whole foods based meal per day...either breakfast or dinner. But I can only sit at the table and ask them to eat it for so long before they have to get off to school, and I won't send them to school on empty stomachs.

Wish me luck...I'm gonna need it. If you have any favorite recipes or sites for them that are kid tested and approved, send em my way!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Getting the stink eye

So lately, my kids want to have NOTHING to do with my food. N-O-T-H-I-N-G.
Unless it's whole fruit, they won't touch it.

Even this morning when my 7 yr old was complaining about there being no milk for his cereal, I made him some almond milk and he would not even taste it.

Lately, they aren't even eating much of their favorite - steamed brocolli.

Any suggestions on how to get these boys to be more adventrous with their pallettes?

almond milk

I've switched from buying coconut milk to making my own almond milk.
It's just too easy, and I love the froth that you get off a freshly blended cup.

I use my Tribest personal blender because it makes just the right amount for the day.

Easy Almond Milk
1/2 cup raw almonds, skin on
1.5 - 2 cups filtered water
dash of sea salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp agave

Blend till smooth. (Drink the yummy froth.) Then if you don't like the grit from the nut, filter it through a nut milk bag or you can use a 6x6 square of toole material, screwed into a mason jar top. I personally like the grit from the nuts.

Use over cereal, in smoothies, just to drink, with raw cookies as a chaser, etc.

It's fantastic!

dehydrated omega crackers

Here is what I've been up to.

My second batch of dehydrated flax seed crackers turned out great -
full of healthy oils, omega fatty acids, and crunch!

Here's my method:

1.5 cups golden flax seed
1.5 cups dark flax seed
3/4 cup sunflower seed
2.5 cups water

combine in a bowl and let sit for 4 hours - the seeds will soak up all the water.

1 stalk celery, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 tblsp braggs or light soy sauce
1 tsp chili powder
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2-3 small bell peppers, sliced thin

Puree everything in a blender except the peppers and add it to the soaked seeds.
Spread the mixture about 1/4" thick on non-stick dehydrator sheet, clean up the edges. (Makes 3-4 sheets). Press the sliced bell peppers into the sheet of cracker.

Dehydrate at 105 degrees for up to 16 hours. Check it regularly to see if you can peel the non-stick sheet off the bottom side w/o damaging the cracker much. When ready, peel the sheet off. Use a large knife or pizza cutter tool to slice the crackers into triangles, about the size of large corn ships. Place them bottom side up on the mesh sheet and dehydrate longer till all is dry. Store in a sealed container in a cool room.

How do I eat mine? Sometimes I just grab some as a snack. Other times I add toppings like nut/seed cheese spread, avocado & veggies, or just a little olive oil and sea salt.

Here's a pic of how I love them the most!

Friday, August 19, 2011

TOO MUCH

Last night was my older son's first cub scouts pack meeting. His pack was responsible for bringing refreshments.

Can I just say? The term "refreshments" is grossly over-used. Nothing about it was refreshing. Heavy, overly sweet baked goods. My contribuation was no exception...in fact, may have been the richest choice on the smorgeshboard (sp?). I made a german chocolate peanut butter brownie cake. It was heavy. It was chocolatey. It was very rich. A dessert that begged for a scoop of ice cream or a glass of milk chaser.

I took one bite and had to put it down. It was overpowering. So I tried a chocolate chip/butterscotch cookie. Same result.

I've come to the conclusion that although I thought the food was too much, I don't think many of the other people there felt the same. Because they are used to it.

It's funny how much food has changed for me. I still enjoy a granola bar every now and then. Or maybe even a little bowl of spaghetti.

But it doesn't taste the same as it used to. It's just all too much. Too much flavor, too much sensation, too much weight. And within a few minutes of eating even a few bites, I start to feel saturated. On overdrive.

Next time I am expected to bring something I hope I am able to actually make it "refereshing."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Experimentation

I've been experimenting with raw nut/seed cheese.

A few weeks ago I made a ricotta-like cheese out of soaked cashews, lemon, salt, nutritional yeast, & chili powder. It was just ok. Very tangy tasting. Good on a whole grain pita bread with veggies.

Right now I am working on...

Fermented nut/seed cheese - or at least, I hope it will be!

Here is what it did.
Tried to make my own rejuvalac - failed.
While I was failing on that, I had cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, and macadamia nuts soaking. Since my rejuvalac failed, I just let the seeds/nuts soak longer to start the fermentation process - 26 hours in fact.

Then I rinsed them really well and pureed them with a little bit of lemon and water.
I added pureed orange and red bell pepper and tomatoe and several cloves of garlic for color and flavor. Then added salt, chili powder, cumin, parsley.

I poured the combined mixture into a glass loaf pan and covered it with a cloth for another 24 hours to rise and soften by fermentation. At this point, it is very fragrant...not to our liking - makes the house pretty smelly.

Then I went looking for cheesecloth - and found none. So I made my own with a little bit of toole netting and a thin zebra print material. Worked great.

Spooned the mixture into the material and squoze out most of the liquid, then hung it from the cabinet to cure a bit.

That's where I'm at now. It's been hanging for 12 hours and there is no more liquid dripping. I'll take it down soon to see what kind of texture I've got. Then I'll probably press it into a smaller square container and refrigerate - hopefully it'll firm up. I would love to have it solid enough for slicing...we'll see!

Day 85

Things have been going well. I've decided that I will do my best at home. When out and about and traveling, just try to make the best choices.

Right now - doind a lot of juicing. I picked up a juicer off Craigslist and it has turned juicing into a joy rather than a chore. Thank you Breville!

Lately:
Favorite Green Juice for breakfast.
Avocado and some more juice for lunch.
Some toast as a snack, maybe some dates or nuts too.
Big leafy salad for dinner along with carrot juice.

Listening to Anthony Anderson today over at Raw Model, he says that Vitamin A has to have fat with it in order to be absorbed into the body - otherwise it just goes right through you. So, tomorrow I'll try adding a little coconut oil to my green juice.

Kids are back in school - can I get a high five? I made it through the summer without killing them.

So I can now focus more on my work and lifestyle...and I am looking forward to it!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 72

Recovering yet again from another trip. This time camping with family and then to see the in-laws. One more trip to Cali planned in the next week, then to get ready for the kids to start school and start my 21 days to raw.

Tonights dinner:

Three lettuce salad with kale, orange bell pepper, zucchini sticks, red onion, tomatoe, greek feta, sunflower seeds, and balsamic viniagrette dressing.

I took a Flat-Out wrap (not raw), cut it into triangles, and lightly fried it in olive oil, salt, basil, and garlic powder. That was a nice restaurant-like touch to my meal. And though not raw, I feel fine about it.

Dessert: fresh juice elixer made from carrots, a green apple, and 4 valencia oranges.

I've found recently that if I start my day off with fresh green juice and end the day with a carrot + fruit juice, I rarely crave anything but chocolate. And I've got the chocolate craving fix down pat.

With the high nutrient juices and a few slices of whole grain bread each day, along with some cooked foods, my energy level has been very steady and I have been able to make it through my workouts with energy to spare. And everything tastes so good!

Recently I've been thoroughly enjoying Portobello mushroom sandwiches...and the raw goat cheese I bought at Tony Caputos in SLC. My favorite SLC pit-stop before getting on a flight. But I don't like the price of the cheese...wow!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Almond Thai

Tonights delightful dish...


Almond Thai
(serves 1)
1/4 cup cooked mixed rice
1 carrot, chopped small
1 slice red onion, chopped small
1/4 zucchini, chopped small
1/4 green chile, chopped small
4-6 fresh basil leaves, sliced thin
1 tblsp almond butter
1 tsp raw agave
1 splash light soy sauce or bragg's liquid aminos
1 tblsp water

Warm rice.
Mix all vegies together and place over rice.
Mix the almond butter, agave, soy sauce and water in a dish till blended and runny
Drizzle over the meal.

(This photo has organic chicken sausage chunks in it, but I think it'd be great with tofu or softened mushrooms as well.)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

another documentary

So, I wrote this whole long post about my feelings about our food before it becomes our food ... and when I hit publish, Blogger logged me out and I lost it.
"Our" meaning the general public, not necessarily you or myself.

Long story short, this film will open your eyes to what is really happening before your meat and dairy and leather reaches your grasp. It's disgusting, heart wrenching, and eye opening. DO NOT skip the opportunity to inform yourself.

Earthlings

Soon I hope to be watching this new documentary as well...

Forks over Knives

These are good too:

Food Inc.

King Corn

Earthlings documentary

I watched Earthlings today.

Though it hasn't changed, I want to clarify my stance on this.
Though I believe that animals were created for our good...I don't believe in the inhumane treatment of them in order for us to consume or use their products,
in the name of convenience. Our grocery stores have made it a time of convenience.

So, though I am doing this experiment for my own improved health, if I can help spread the word about how we can help improve the lives of our non-human neighbors, I am happy to do so.

Inhumane treatment of animals is wrong. Feeding animals steroids, anti-biotics, and hormones to increase size and production in the name of profit is wrong. Keeping them in an environment un-like the

another change

Breakfast means nothing to me anymore. I no longer think: pancakes, eggs, oatmeal, toast, cereal, etc.

Now, when I get out of bed...
I open the fridge, take out about 8 different green vegetables and two apples, prepare a mound of vegetable medley and grind them to a pulp, then guzzle 24+ ounces of pure green nutrition.

I am usually full till lunchtime, and I feel so good!

BTW - if you have not tried fennel in your juice, you really should! It is a white root like vegetable, and is sold in most stores. It has a mild licorice flavor and pairs very well with all the chlorophyl.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Day 59

My word, it's almost been two months! Totalling it all up, I've really only been following this plan for about 4 weeks though...but hey, who's counting?

Tonights dinner was my own delicious creation. I came up with it while inhaling the delcious vapors of the kids Little Caesars cheese hot n ready on our way home from running around town all day. But knowing what I had coming, I did not even taste test their pizza.

Portabello topped with raw Bruschetta!
serves 3


3 Portabello mushrooms
coconut oil
2 medium ripe tomatoes, or about 1.5 cups diced cherry tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
handful of basil leaves, finely sliced
1/2 cup diced RAW cheese
olive oil
sea salt

Dice the tomatoes and mix in a bowl with the minced garlic, sliced basil, and raw cheese. Drizzle some olive oil over it and sprinkle sea salt. Mix till consistent.

Remove the center stalk and lightly sear the mushrooms in a sauce pan with the coconut oil, till softened and warm. It does not take long.

Place the mushroom on your serving plate, top down. Top with the bruschetta mixture.

Yum!

I found raw cheddar cheese at Trader Joe's today. It's made from cow's milk and tastes more like a mild monterrey jack. It did the job, but I wish I had cut it into larger chunks, just to be able to enjoy the flavor more.

Next adventure

While on our drive to St. George I poured through Natalia Rose's book "Raw Food Life Force Energy". At first I was a little annoyed by the progress of the book. I wanted to get right into the "what to do" part...but I found it very informative and an easy read.

I plan to start the 21 day energy program (page 115) soon.

I have not been exercising enough - so Monday starts a new goal too...more details to come!

Today's Juice

Today's green juice combo is especially yummy!

Kale
Red Chard
Dandelion Greens
Fennel
Ginger
Celery
Green Cabbage
Green Apple
Fuji Apple

I've paired it with an open faced feta and tomatoe with balsamic vinegar sandwich on sprouted whole grain toast. (Someday I will find raw goat cheese in the Phoenix area...or just find a donor goat and try making it myself. For now though, I am happy with Wisconsin Feta from the market - and it's all mine cause the kids won't touch it.)

Delicious!

I found myself craving Kale yesterday. I ran out three days ago and my body really missed it. It makes an amazing tasting juice. My veggie juice yesterday did not have it and though it was especially nutricious, I prefer the kale flavor.

By happenstance, Hot Husband is becoming addicted to fresh juice and is not craving energy drinks anymore. Yeah!!! He is going on a trip to New York for 10 days in less than a week and has given me an ultimatum to find myself another juicer so he can take our little $6.00 thrift store find with him.

It took 5 days, but I feel recovered from all the less than healthy foods from vacation, and I've lost the excess bloat and lbs from it too.

Loving the changes that are happening!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

on heartburn

I've never really had an issue with heartburn, even while pregnant.
So I was surprised that I got it while we were in Montana. In fact, both myself and Hot Husband did.

I know some people deal with it all the time, and for them I feel a great deal for. It's awful tasting and feeling.

But, I can't help but shout form the rooftops that (for most people) it's all about your diet!

When you put foods into your body that require your stomach to product more acid to digest, you get heartburn because you have a build-up of excess acid in your stomach. When you (or your stomach) burp, this acid rises in your esophagus and you taste it in the back of your throat. Fried foods, most foods that come in a bag, those that are made from Genetically Modified Corn (all factory farmed meats) and that are filled with oils that are not naturally occurring in nature, are those heartburn causing foods.

So, that's my soapbox for the day. I know I've read this somewhere too, but I'm too lazy to look it up right now.

So what did I eat while in Montana? Ridiculously good tasting summer party food! Namely:
wild shot venison with a dry rub, chicken thighs with marinade, corn/pepper italian salsa, corn chips, doritos, cheetos, cookies, potato salad, corn on the cob, bbq'd hamburgers, pickles, ketchup/mustard, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, more of that salsa, fish and shrimp tacos with a cilantro/ranch dressing, chocolate cake, smores, pancakes, eggs, cheese, soda, concentrated juice, sweetarts, chinese food, honey raisin oatmeal with butter and milk ...what did I NOT eat? Beleive me, I embraced my "grateful" attitude. That list is a raw foodist's nightmare!

But I am grateful now to be back to mostly raw!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

on sweet and salty cravings

I've found the fix for the cravings that many of us succomb to.
It's similar to the sorbet I made about a week ago.

The sweet craving fix:
dates
nuts, any kind
sesame seeds
sea salt

Mulch together in a personal blender till crumbly.

Put this on fresh fruit.
That's it, it's that simple!

The salty craving fix:
sunflower seeds
a little bit of olive oil
sea salt

Mix together and enjoy by the spoonful
so much better for you than potato chips or anything in a bag!

a tidbit from the vacations

The first trip, we flew to Spokane, WA, then drove to Missoula, MT where my husband's older brother Dusten and family live.


We attempted to fish. We caught a few little ones at a pond in a park, but the river proved to us that we are not fisherman. Dusten is...but not us.
We watched the fireworks from the roof. Enjoyed a day at a water park. Consumed devilishly delicious huckleberry shakes and buffalo burgers...shhhh. Ate way too much summetrime bbq food. Played with their awesome dogs. We practically lost the boys to their cousin's video game awesomeness. Enjoyed fireworks in the cul-de-sac with the neihbors. Had fun reminiscing, rode a carousel, and played on a giant red ryder wagon slide.

The next trip was to St. George, UT where my younger sister and family live. Most of my family met there to enjoy each other and be there for her baby's blessing.
Baby Gordon in the family blessing gown, with his three grandma's and great grandma.
D found a spot to meditate.
Hiking with some of the family near Dixie Rock...yes, that is my 85 yr old Grandmother on the lower left - I want to be like here when I am 85.
Hot husband.
E always finds a special place for himself.
My niece - is she not one of the most delicious little girls you have ever seen?

We also enjoyed a day at Sand Hollow Reservoir...which was great until it got really windy. But according to my husband and brother in law, "that was the best part because the waves in the water were so high that it felt like Hawaii, and was totally awesome!" Even little D did some cliff jumping!

Green as green can get

I've been home for two days and have come up with some juice combos I'd like to share...

Power Green Juice
2 leafs Kale
1/4 bunch Spinach
2 Green Apples
2 blades Celery
1/8 Green Cabbage

Melony Sweet Citrus Juice
1 Cantaloupe
6 Oranges
2 Apples
1 Nectarine
8 Strawberries
1 mango
a little fresh Ginger

I've also found that a base of apple/carrot/beet can be good with just about anything in it.

I leave again in 6 days for another little family get-together...so I'm packing in as much nutrition as I can.

I'm also on the hunt for a better juicer. My $6.00 thrift store find is not quite cutting it.

Drink up!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Juicing between vacays

A day and a half to try and recover between vacations...

Power Juice:
beets
apples
carrots
celery
red cabbage
lettuce
...and anything else in the fridge since I don't want to go shopping for a day and a half.

Husband and I watched Fat Sick and Nearly Dead last night. Husband is now considering a more juice filled diet. He never listens to anything I tell him about health, but if he watches it on film...we get somewhere.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Surprise vacation start!

A great friend came upon some free NKOTBSB tickets last night. So at the last minute I packed up the kids and headed out the door for a girls night! What a great way to start a vacation! New Kids - totally HOT after all these years. It was fun to live-out one of my childhood dreams! "Thank you Donnie!" Backstreat Boys however, though they sounded good, were kind of nasty. They looked older than NKOTB and instead of being charming with quirky dance moves, over-sexualized their movements and gave me the creeps. But is was so much fun! Oh, and Jordyn Sparks opened - she is so delightful, and before her, a newcomer Ashlyn Huff - who was quite spunky.




Thursday, June 30, 2011

on Hiatus

We leave for pretty much a month long adventure to many different places in just a few days. So I'll be taking my homework...but will definitely be OFF this plan. Wish me luck while I disconnect the "what the hell are you putting in your mouth?" sensories of my brain. Oh, and Happy 4th!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A delicious reminder...

So, I've been having green smoothies...but have foolishly reverted to the thinking that RAW is too complicated. I think it's the cooked food that is making me think that way.

RAW requires no oven - no timed baking and the possibility of burning - no scientific ratios of ingredients to get proper rise or texture.

After reading an insightful little article with delicious looking recipes in this months Whole Living Magazine (pgs 94-101), I felt inspired to make a RAW dessert for myself and my husband.

Strawberry Banana Sorbet Parfait!

1 part cashews
1 part almonds
1 part dates
Some sesame seeds
Sea Salt to taste
Pulse together till coarsely chopped and some larger pieces remain.

4-5 frozen strawberries for every
1 frozen banana
Coconut Milk
Blend together till smooth like a Sorbet
(add a little vanilla if you like...but only a little)

You could get all fancy dancy and layer this in a glass serving dish with fresh berries....but I just put the nut mixture on the plate first and heaped spoonfuls of the sorbet on top.

It was so easy to make, quick, heat free, and absolutely delicious.

The thing I love about RAW is that a dessert like this is so jam packed with nutrients, good fats, antioxidants, vitamins...that it's not just dessert - it's a meal, an extremely nourishing one. NO GUILT!

I tried to steal husband's last bite - he was very protective of it and I did not succeed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 34...um ugh err

Ok, so it's been a while since I posted...the reasons are mostly excuses but I've had some setbacks.

Setback 1: The Mouth
I've explained my most recent dental procedure and how it's affected my ability to chew. I get my stitches out tomorrow - yeah! But now I've got another issue. I have a heat/cold sensitiviy on the other side. It's been x-rayed and the results are in-conclusive, other than that I am in for another root canal when it gets to the point that I can't stand it any longer...which is quickly approaching. So, I'll probably be back on a soft foods regimen again soon....blah blah blah, feel sorry for me, ok?

Setback 2: Traveling
I did my best to plan ahead and brought along with me bananas, dried fruits, fruit leather, leaf chips (which I threw out cuz they weren't satisfying), flax crackers, and a refillable water bottle.

I decided that I was on vacation and was going to enjoy it and be grateful for the food I was offered - which I was and did enjoy it very much.

But getting back into things since then has proven to be difficult. I have not been eating raw, maybe 20% raw. Bad bad bad...and my skin and waistline are showing the damage. Ugh.

And over the next 6 weeks, our traveling calendar is very full. So that is going to make this even more difficult for the short term.

Setback 3: Feeling faint while exercising
Each time I exercised in the first three weeks, I'd felt faint within the first 10 minutes of strenous activity. So, I'd revert to just walking on the treadmill for 30-40 minutes. That was no good. I prefer aerobic, cycling, and weight lifting classes that push me. Although I got my fill of HDTV while on the treadmill, I'd like to get back to my routine.

So, during my next start-up round of RAW, I am going to include whole grain bread - up to two slices daily. Plus this helps with my digestion...which though wasn't a setback, it was an issue at times. Hopefully the carbs from grains will give me a more substantial energy flow during exercise.

So that's where I'm at. Wish me luck - I need it now. Re-starting is always harder than the first run out the gate.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Today's green smoothie

This morning's smoothie is super delicious, so I thought I'd share the combination.

6 ice cubes
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 tsp liquid Vitamin B12
1 tsp spirulina
1 handful kale
1 over-ripe banana

I had some apple/carrot/beet pulp leftover from yesterday's juicing, so I threw in about 1/3 cup of that too...so pretty!

Yum. Yum. Yum.

Skin

My skin is clear for the first time in 18 years. I haven't popped a zit in 5 days. Proof enough!

I'm not wearing any skin makeup in either of these photos. Granted, the lighting is different and the bangs cover up my forehead...and they were taken with different cameras...so maybe it's no comparison at all.

But I tell you, there is a real difference in just three weeks.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Oh my...

Do you see that? That is Raw Key Lime Pie my friends. It is the easiest pie I have ever made. And of course, the healthiest.




Raw Key Lime Pie
Crust:
1 part dates
1 part raw nuts (macadamia and cashews are very nice in this)

Chop together in blender till you get a sticky crumby mixture. Press it into your dish to form a pie crust. Place in the freezer.

Filling:
1 avocado
1-2 Tblsp fresh lime juice
grated lime zest
1.5 Tblsp raw agave
1/4 cup coconut oil

Blend together till very smooth. Fill crust and place in the refrigerator for a minimum 20 mins.

This will make a pie the size of a morning cereal bowl - which will serve 4. It is very rich, so the servings are small.

Who'da thunk it? Avocado in a pie! There are many versions of this recipe online, so I won't give credit to any of them...but just know I did not think this one up on my own. I heart the WWW.

(My TriBest Personal blender was the perfect tool for this little slice of heaven.)

The pain, o the pain!

My mouth really hurts. It is still very swolen and the work area on my gums changes color through-out the day, from pink brown to blue to white. From the outside, I look like a victim of domestic abuse. My cheek is puffy and you can see a visible bruise. This sucks.

It's hard to eat completely raw when you can only eat very soft foods. So, I've had to revert a little. It's been pancakes and eggs, roasted tomatoe soup, smoothies, melon, and bananas. But at least it's a little variety. Just smoothies were getting old.

I picked up a crate of over-ripe bananas for 10 cents a pound, and a bunch of strawberries and blackberries for super cheap. So I've got 9 trays of fruit leather and bananas dehydrating right now. We've got a family trip this weekend and I want to be prepared with snacks. Hopefully my mouth will be able to handle the leathery snacks...at least if I can't, the kids will.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sidelined

I spent a few hours in a Periodontist's chair yesterday, having a gum/tissue graft done on two of my teeth. It is hard to eat and I've got chipmunk cheeks. I'm also on an antibiotic and a steriod to keep the swelling down. So.....smoothies it is!

Hopefully this'll force me to come up with some great new smoothie concoctions.

Fun times.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Asain Coleslaw

Tonights dinner was delicous! I came up with my own version of coleslaw, using Asian ingredients, and loaded it onto a bed of fresh kale.

Shredded green and purple cabbage
Shredded carrot
Shredded zucchini
Soaked raisins
Diced cucumber

Dressing:
Sesame oil
Agave
Braggs's Liquid Aminos or Soy Sauce
Fresh Minced garlic
Fresh Minced ginger

I am LOVING kale - at first I didn't think I'd like it outside of a smoothie. But now I love it in my salads and have it in almost all of them. And the dehydrated kale chips - perfect when I have a salt craving.


Do the before and after pictures relate to you how good it was?


Another Cacao success!

This morning I felt the need for something a little different than my typical veggie loaded green smoothie. Totally different - I went for the chocolate.

Here is what I came up with - and can I tell you? IT WAS AMAZING. Even the husband drank it - all of it, guzzled it in fact. I get the feeling it'll be a normal thing in our house.

Sweet Cacao Smoothie
1.5 - 2 cups coconut milk
1 tblsp coconut butter
2 slightly over-ripe bananas
6 pitted dates
2 generous tblsp of powdered cacao
1/2 tsp of vanilla
dash of sea salt
10-15 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients till smooth. Add more ice if you want it to be like a frosty.
Enjoy and enjoy again. It is so delicious and creamy!

Day 15 - a new kind of feeling

Two weeks already! This has been way too easy. Seriously!

I've come to a realization that guilt is a part of this plan. Like, I felt guilty for finely shredding three zucchinis and a carrot to add to the family's pot of homemade spaghetti sauce tonight. Guilty that I was going to cook 50% of the enzymes right out of those delicious fresh veggies. Sounds stupid right? But it is real - Raw guilt, and I have it.

I felt bad for those veggies - as if I was cutting off their arms and legs, leaving them quadrapalegic. And then w/o their extremities, they may not be able to find their way into my little boy's blood cells to regenerate and rebuild.

Sick - I am totally sick.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The better choice - on dessert

Last night I had a chocolate craving. It didn't help that the boys were having one of my favorites - ice cream sandwiches - for dessert. And I was tempted to have one too. But I thought, what would be a raw equivalent that would satisfy my craving? So I came up with my own chocolate milk - and it was delicious!

1.5 cups coconut milk
1 heaping tblsp raw agave
2 tsp cacao powder
1 tsp walnut butter
a drop of vanilla
2 ice cubes

Blend all together till smooth - I used my TriBest personal blender since it was a single serve batch - love that little machine!

Yummy!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Joke's on me!

I just realized that I made the "cheddar cheeze" with pumpkin seeds instead of sunflower. No wonder it was pesto-like.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bite Size Dinner

Ok, so I made Ani Phyo's Cheddar Cheeze. I must admit - it does not taste like or resemble cheese. It is more of a pesto. Maybe that was the sunflower seed contribution. Or maybe I made it wrong? But it was still very good as a spread.

I used my dehydrated flax crackers, whipped up a little chipotle raw corn sauce, and layered it with sliced zucchini, tomatoe, and orange bell pepper.


It was crunchy, fresh, and every little bit had a different flavor to it. And VERY filling! I feel like I ate a large, hot meal.

I had six of these for dinner this evening...maybe 8. Not sure, I lost track!

I've always enjoyed making an array of appetizers for dinner, so this was kinda fun!

I heart Ani Phyo

So, I haven't really missed a whole lot of meat, dairy, or even cooked foods. I'm not 100% raw, nor do I think it's even possible. But I'm sitting about 90% - which is pretty stinkin good!

I've read that the one thing most vegans have a hard time with is craving cheese...not only because it tastes so good, but becuse it is so versatille.

Cheese has always been my nemesis - I LOVE cheese and always have. So I figured I'd be in the same boat as the other vegans. Amazingly, I'm haven't been. I am not craving it.....such a relief!

But I did test Ani's "Rawmesan" recipe last night. Can I just tell you? If the husband didn't know it wasn't parmesan, I don't think he would have even blinked an eye about it. Cheese made out of cashews - who'd of thought?

Tonight I am going to make Ani's "Cheddar Cheeze" recipe and pair it with my freshly dehydrated flax seed crackers.

If I could just keep my hands off the leathery banana chips that are dehydrating, maybe I'd have some for later!

Day 11 - First Dehydrating Attempt

My Good4U Dehydrator has been running since 1am.

I made Kale Chips - see pic below. Next time I'll use less oil and salt, and not overdry them by an hour. But they taste great!

I've got some overripe bananas being turned into banana chips.

And I've taken my first go at flax seed crackers. I followed Robyn the Green Smoothie Girl's instructions. I tried to estimate her proportions based on her video...and then cut it in half. But my batch made four shelves of crackers - I was only hoping for two this round. So hopefully they turn out tasty and satisfying!

The little problem I mentioned in my last post has dissipated - yeah!

I'm back to the gym and super sore from yesterday's BodyPump class. So today I think I'll hit BodyFlow and the sauna.

Yummy!

Friday, May 27, 2011

TMI...

So, sorry to post this...but on the personal side of things...

The good: hardly any tooting going on around here!

The weird: extended period. What has always been like clockwork and only 4-5 days max, is now going on day 13...mind you, it's not bad, nothing painful or embarassing. Very light.
BUT !$%# @*&^$%!) &$#@ WHY ????

It's got to be hormones. All this fresh stuff is messing with what my body was used to...and now it's not making the right ones to stop it. I've added a little cooked food back in to try and regulate things.

Maybe starting pretty much cold turkey isn't the smartest thing.
I'm looking into it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

on Kitchen Gadgets...

My little food processor that we got for our wedding 9 yrs ago burnt out a few months ago while making french bread.

So I found a nice almost new Kitchenaid food processor on Craigslist for a screamin deal today, complete with all the attachments.

My Good4U 10 drawer dehydrator will be here Friday. I chose Good4U because it is comparable to the Excalibur in every way, but no irritating door to mess with. I'd love to get a Sedona, but for the price, the Good4U was the best value.

And I purchased a TriBest personal blender which will also arrive this week. I am hoping that this will not only be convenient at home, but will make my new Raw lifestyle easier when traveling, especially since we will be all over the country this summer!

I plan to pick up a few more smaller gadgets for slicing and prep, but I think I'll just hit Ikea for those.

Day 7 - Insomnia and Disappointment

It's 2am and I am wide awake. I've been tossing and turning for hours and seem to have come down with a sore throat. It's either the bug the 5 yr old is fighting, or it's my body cleansing and toxins storing in my glands. So I took an hour long epsom salt hot soak to raise my core temperature and sweat it out. I also took 1500 mg of vitamin C. And I'm sucking on natural cough drops to keep my throat hydrated. It seems to have helped temporarily.

This insomnia thing has crept in the last three nights - I lay awake for at least an hour before dozing off. I hope it's just a surge of energy due to the foods, and not a permanent new habit.

We went to Souper Salad yesterday evening for dinner - a place where there is enough variety that I'd feel satisfied, but not intimidated by all the rich dishes. And that held true. But I was disappointed with the flavoring of my salad. I chose vegan options and dressed it with olive oil and balsalmic vinegar - really the only options that I knew wouldn't have sugar or dairy in them. But it was bland, even with red onions & beets. Absolutely incomparable to my cucumber salad the other night at home. The saving grace was a baked potatoe with olive oil, vegetable broth, salt/pepper and chives, for dessert.

On a happier note, due to many requests Souper Salad will soon be offering powdered stevia in their sugar packet boxes.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Day 6

Breakfast, from Ani Chyo's Raw Food Essentials:
Page 66: Super Chia Cereal

Chia Seeds
Pumpkin Seeds
Raisins
Apple
Mylk

I added a little cinnamon and raw agave
and used fresh chopped apple instead of dehydrated
and I haven't made my own mylk yet, so used So Delicious Coconut milk instead.

It looks funky - but it is fantastic! The flavors and texture are amazing. I cut her recipe into thirds - and that was honestly a little much for 1 person.

Absolutely delicious.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 5

I've been craving salt a bit, probably since I've had quite a lot of sweet stuff since I started my Raw Experiment. So in my reading today, I found a recipe for dinner that really hit the spot.

I plowed through 154 pages of "Ani's Raw Food Essentials" today and learned a lot. Honestly, it's a bit daunting...all the dehydrating. If you want to have bread-like foods or crackers, that's really the only way to go, and still keep it raw, and it takes planning since the dehydration process can take 4-12 hours. When dehydrating you don't raise the temperature over 104 degrees, which Ani says is the temperature at which foods are no longer raw and start to lose enzymes.

One things she says that I like:

page xviii of her Introduction, "When people ask me how important it is to be 100 percent raw, I remind them to have an attitude of gratitude instead...If someone makes a meal filled with good intentions that happens to not be all organic or raw, it may just be healthier to choose to accept it graciously, rather than being extreme. Extremes cause stress."

And something I did not know - that ALL OF US SHOULD KNOW, no matter what diet you eat:
When buying produce, look at the PLU codes on them.

four digits = conventionally grown (pesticide controlled)
five digits beginning with 9 = organic
five digits beginning with 8 = genetically modified foods (GMOs)

I had no clue that those codes meant anything other than what code to enter at the checkout stand. I will definitely be paying closer attention. I don't think it's realistic for me to buy only organic - and my pocketbook knows it's not, but I can at least try to stay away from four digits and 8's as much as possible.

Tonights dinner:
Inspired by Ani's recipe "Seaweed and Cucumber Salad" page 153 of "Raw Food Essentials"

I did not have Seaweed and I wanted a few other flavors, but the dressing part was similar.

1 Cucumber sliced
1/4 cup shredded purple cabbage
1/4 cup shredded carrot
6 sliced grape tomatoes

3 tsp sesame oil
3 tsp apple cider vinegar
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp freshly grated ginger

sea salt and a splash of bragg's liquid aminos to taste



Even the husband liked it, and it totally satisfied my salt craving. It was Asain in taste, crunchy, and fresh. Yum!

I am loving that I am not craving cooked food, meats, breads, dairy (cheese was always my nemesis before). All I want is a really good variety of fresh. And I'm down another pound, so that's weight loss of 3.5 lbs already, in only 5 days. Can't complain about that!

I had the husband take "before" photos of me today in a bikini...I'll post them in a month or so when I have a "later" photo to compare them to. No need to put my pasty white skin on the internet now.

Kid Success!

5 yr old boy drinks green spirulina smoothie (frozen blueberries, kale, spinach, purple cabbage, spirulina powder, liquid vitamin B12, dates, and a little agave nectar for sweet).
This should be in the paper!


He's got a little bug today - woke up at 2am with a 102 degree fever and a cough. Hopefully this healthy shot will knock it out of him.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Protien Misconception

One of the first questions asked to most vegetarians or vegans is, "How do you get enough protien?" And that was the first question I asked myself when I started researching this - before I started, I had to be sure that I wouldn't be under nourishing my body.

This is a summation of my findings:

When we eat meat our digestion has to break it down into amino acids. Which are the building blocks of muscle and cell regeneration. The digestive process takes a lot of time and energy - which is why most people get tired after consuming meat.

Fresh foods are packed full of enzymes which are by definition "complex chains of amino acids". But these are readily absorbable by the body w/o the tiresome and long digestive exertion that is required of meat. By eating a variety of fresh foods, you provide your body with all the amino acids necessary for regeneration and muscle growth. And what happens when you gain more muscle? You burn more calories while resting...which in the weight loss world is a fantastic thing.

So the valuable protien that everyone is so concerned about is actually not that valuable at all. It's more like a foreign substance that the body must turn into something else in order to use.

This guy (an award winning runner) explains it pretty well, and fast...

Why Raw?

When we think meal, food, eating. We think cooked. It's always been that way and we are hard wired to visualize a pot, a stove, or a microwave whenever we think about eating. And I am still thinking that way. But I know that will change over time.

The reason I chose raw over vegetarian or vegan, or some other "healthy diet" is that the act of cooking your food over a certain temperature - I think it's 118 degrees, depletes around 50% of the absorbable nutrients in it. And the longer you cook it, the less nutritional it becomes. So then, when you put it into your mouth, you are only getting 50% or less of the possible nutrition. It seems silly put that way, right?

It appears that the only reason we cook our foods is to change the flavor or texture. Or with some things like meats, to ensure there is no harmful bacteria. And because a good, heavy, hot meal is comforting to the body - especially when you've had a stressful day and just want to crash - a hot meal forces the body to slow down. Why? Because heavy foods - especially meats - take longer to digest. Your bodies' energies are directed to digestion, and much of your other bodily functions are shut down for a time.

I watched a pretty boring documentary the other day called "Food Matters". And though it wasn't exciting, it was enlightening. The idea that we can treat our bodies at the cellular level by consuming foods that are micronutrient rich and quickly absorbable - something that should be common sense - sadly just isn't. Seriously, when you put something in your mouth, do you think about how it will be used by your body? The film also explained the successful treatment of cancers using Vitamin C IVs - at ridiculously high doses. (Unfortunately it's been banned by law.) In a world where we think cancer = chemo. A natural and safe alternative is available, but it's illegal - how backwards is this medical culture?

So I have decided to feed my cells. That is what RAW means to me. Micronutrient nutrition - as often as possible. It has nothing to do with animal cruelty or being lactose intolerant. Though, it's nice to know that I may be saving the lives of a few cows, chickens or pigs.

What about the fam?

I have a family. It's not realistic to expect them to adopt this new eating style...or is it? No, not right now.

Luckily my kids and husband do like fresh foods. Though for the kids, anything with a leaf (lettuce, spinach, cabbage, etc) is off limits. Though they don't know it, they do get some of that in their smoothies. The 5 yr old loves my smoothies (the spirulina and wheat germ free ones). And I have been adding spinach, bell peppers, and other high nutrient packed veggies to their spaghetti sauce for years. They love all fruits and will gorge themselves on steamed broccoli or roasted carrots and potatoes.

For now, I am preparing two meals at each mealtime. Today for lunch I had this salad:
Romaine, nappa cabbage, onion, shredded carrots, black beans, tomato, leftover mango salsa, and a drizzle dressing that I made from coconut butter, almond butter, and sesame seeds.

They had cheddar cheese quesadillas on Flat Out wraps and a medley of cantaloupe, honey-dew, and watermelon.

I don't expect them to eat like a rabbit just because I am. But I do plan on easing them into a fresher food experience at home.

I will still cook them meat and buy them ice cream. They are kids afterall - and though I'd love to see them munching on celery sticks, I think leading by example will be better absorbed than restricting them from enjoying their food.

About me...

So who am I? An eccentric granola hippie, holed up in an off-the-grid shack with a self sustaining farm in rural Iowa?

Ha Ha - maybe someday!

But today I am:

Living in the city, married with two boys, 5 & 7. I work from home at my small business. I'm a soccer mom. I work out at the gym. I love hiking. We travel when we have the time. And enjoy our downtime just as much.

Someday I'd like to live a little more rural, with our own big garden and little farm for the kids to do 4H, a little less summer and a little more seasons.

But I'm just like most of you. Thirsty for knowledge and energy. Wanting to connect more with the important things in life, and less with the less important.

Photo taken November 2010.

Reading...

I picked up some raw food books at my local used bookstore...this is what I'll be studying for the next little bit:



And this one just because it looked interesting...hemp - who knew?


All 4 photos courtesy of Amazon.com.

I'll be sure to post when I try the recipes, and what I've learned about fixing foods I would normally cook, raw.

So what am I?

I still plan on eating about 5% cooked foods. Like seafood - I won't give it up. It's delicious and full of nutrients, fatty omega oils, and protein. And potatoes - can't really see myself eating these raw - but maybe soon.
Right now I am cooking brown/wild rice, quinoa, barley, & beans. But that's only because I don't yet know how to make them raw. Oh, and eggs. I plan on eating cooked eggs...but maybe I'll outgrow my taste for them as I move along this journey.

I am not completely opposed to meat. If I am stuck in a situation of choosing between something not fresh or meat, I'll choose meat. But my plan is to stay away from it as much as possible. It's difficult to digest and choc full of toxins due to the "American Way of Farming". See Food Inc.

So what do I call my eating habits? I'm not a vegetarian because I will be eating seafood and eggs. And hence not a vegan either. But I am cutting out all other meats and dairy. And I am planning on eating mostly all fresh produce. I will be eating nuts and seeds. And I'm not a raw foodist since I will be eating some cooked stuff.

So I guess I am a Mostly Raw Foodist. But I don't like it - it's a weird name, and kinda hard to say. I'll have to come up with something new.

Any suggestions?

Why change?

So why change my diet when I don't eat that bad in the first place?
Because I want to feel absolutely amazing - that's why.

And in only 4 days, I am happy to say that things are already changing!

On my old diet, even though it was pretty healthy, I still got headaches at least three times a week - sadly, Excedrin had become my best friend. I felt fatigued - a lot. I was irritable. My skin broke out in blemishes frequently. I wasn't sleeping well. My mind was stuck focusing on things that were negative. My reproductive parts hurt. I kept catching colds (three alredy this year!). It was taking way too long to heal from a fall down the stairs a month ago. And I was gaining weight, despite my efforts at working out at least three days a week.

Now, after only 4 days, no headaches, increased energy, less irritable with my kids, fewer zits, sleeping more soundly, less abdominal pain. Improved focus on things that are positive and fun, and less on a nagging emotional issue with a friend. Improved skin coloring and my face is not oily. Bad breath? - zero, zip, gone. And I've lost 2.5 lbs. Oh, and that little puffy double chin that I get when I'm feeling especially sluggish? Gone! My neck is sexy and slim. (more on inflammation and how our food feeds it later)

I'd say that's pretty neat. That after only 4 days on mostly raw foods, I feel a lot different. I am sure that has to do with the fact that I am cleansing (and yes, that means my trips to the restroom are frequent).

But I also am not craving cooked foods. In fact, the first day of this experiment I made steamed brocolli and banana squash for my kids and didn't even want to taste it. Normally I would love it. So I'm not really sure why that was the case.

Today is actually day 4

So, today is actually day 4 of going mostly raw. And amazingly, I've found it to be quite easy - and delicious!

I've never really eaten horribly in my life. My mom is a health fanatic and introduced me to lots of healthy options in my childhood. She's been on algae and beans since I can remember.

Last week a sample days food would have been something like this:
Breakfast: Two scrambled eggs and a homemade green fruit protein smoothie (frozen fruit, chocolate whey protein powder, spinach, kale, purple cabbage and ice)
Lunch: Carls Jr Single Jalapeno Burger, no cheese, no sauce, lo-carb style, and an Iced Tea with Splenda
Snack: sliced apple and sharp cheddar cheese slices, and maybe some ritz crackers
Dinner: 7 layer bean dip with roasted chicken and corn chips

Not that bad, compared to the typical American diet of refined sugar, meat, dairy, and corn based processed foods. But a bit high in carbs.

Yesterdays (mostly raw) was this:
Breakfast: Green smoothie (really green!) Frozen berries, purple cabbage, kale, spinach, liquid B12, spirulina powder (algae), wheat germ, an apple, and raw agave syrup.

Lunch: Mexican salad plate (cooked barley and beans, tomatoe, lettuce, onion, tapatio hot sauce, salt, and lime)
Snack: Trio Bar (nuts, seeds, dehydrated berries, kane juice)
Dinner: Coconut oil cooked shrimp with mango salsa (mango, apple, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, fresh corn kernels, shredded purple cabbage, fresh basil, and some diluted raw coconut butter as a dressing)



I think it's good timing to start this - the heat is settling in for the long Arizona summer. Because I am not cooking much, my electric bill should be a little less and I won't feel bad about heating up my home with my stove or oven so often, just to have to cool it again with the air conditioner. Plus, all this light food just feels good when it's hot outside.

The Plan

I've decided to go mostly raw for an entire year (and likely my lifetime), and blog about it.
Why? I was doing some research and watching some YouTube videos about different lifestyle "diets" and something that was said stuck with me. It was something like this: "When you eat raw, you are putting life into life. When you eat cooked foods you are putting death into life. Why would you want to put death into your body?"
So I did some more research on the raw food lifestyle and found it to be quite intriquing. Bodybuilders, figure competitors, 71 year old vegans who act like they are 30...etc. In researching eating for your blood type, (I am AB-, a very rare type) found that I would do well on a vegetarian diet and dairy. I've never done well on dairy. So really, the raw thing seemed like it'd suit me.
So here I go....wish me luck and hey, come back to see me often!