Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dr. Craig Sommers's Lecture Video Part 2: Protein

Protein always seems to be of concern when anyone finds out a person is vegetarian, vegan, and/raw raw, or when changing to a meat-free diet. Watch the video below on the next part of Dr. Sommers's lecture at Almond Blossom Cafe covering the topic of protein. I certainly learned some new things even though I've been studying this on and off for a few years now.

It's a shame that mainstream media has hidden these truths from the general public. Sadly, it's all too common for the health-conscience to be criticized for our choices by people lacking the proper education on this lifestyle and nutrition in general. How can one do their body right, without understanding how it functions optimally? It's time to take charge of your health, your life will be grateful for it. Once can let go of bad habits and really start to feel great, it's amazing what positive forces will enter your life.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Long time, no blog

Gosh, I can't believe it's been so long since my last post! Very sad, but good things are coming and I just wanted to say hello, I've missed you. We've been busy with family stuff and learning more and more about superfoods—I love it! I've met so many wonderful and inspiring people along my journey so far, so keep checking out the links and blogs to the left as I've added some great sites recently. I also added the guest post I wrote on The Green Smoothie Blog about my adventures with green smoothies and my favorite recipes. Of course things are always evolving and I am committed to keeping readers out there better informed.

But now it's time to get back to work. I have a long list of things to share with you and I'm ecstatic about some opportunities I've discovered and become a part of, so stay tuned. For now here's a new recipe I tried after thinking, "Why haven't I juiced something other than carrots yet?! What am I waiting for?!"

Carrot Juice Blend

Carrot Juice Blend

Juice the following for 1-2 servings:

  • 5 carrots
  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 1 apple

Blend with:

  • 1/4 butternut squash (previously frozen and thawed to make softer
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 4 brazil nuts
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 T grated ginger

This was so refreshing, energizing, and hydrating! I'm really looking forward to juicing more now. My mom got me my Jack LaLanne's Power Juicer for about $99, and it works great. I made this juice/soup blend another time and added some sprouts as well as cayenne for an extra kick. I can honestly say I feel the surge of energy from all the readily available nutrients quickly absorbed into my body. And it was surprising filling. Hmmm... maybe a juice feast is in my near future... I'm just concerned about the cost. Any tips/suggestions, or is that not an issue for you?

So have you missed me as much as I've missed writing and sharing with you? Next up: continuing the video lecture series filled with great info from Dr. Sommers. Stay tuned as I will be posting regularly from now on.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Recent raw recipes to rave about

I've been a bit behind on posting recipes, so here's some catching up. I also tried to include some info on the nutritional qualities of a few of the ingredients.

Thai noodles with marinated mushrooms

Thai noodles with marinated mushrooms

Ingredients for 1 serving:

  • 1/2 package of kelp noodles
    (substitution ideas: spiralized zucchini or daikon)
  • 1 cored and chopped apple
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 T minced ginger
  • 1 t red curry powder (or to taste as some are spicier than others)
  • 1 T coconut butter (or oil)
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 t kelp with cayenne seasoning
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/4 c sliced leek
  • 1/2 c carrots
    (diced, sliced, shredded or however you prefer)
  • 1 T sesame seeds
  1. Marinate mushrooms in kelp seasoning, 1 T lemon juice, 1 T olive oil, and cayenne (feel free to add any other flavors) for about 15 minutes
  2. Rinse kelp noodles and place on plate
  3. Combine ingredients from apple to sea salt in blender and blend until creamy
  4. Place carrots and leeks over noodles
  5. Drizzle with sauce
  6. Add mushrooms
  7. Sprinkle with sesame seeds

I love thai food so when I made this recipe it totally hit the spot for my massaman curry craving. My friend at work tried the sauce and has been anxiously waiting for this post, it's that good! It's also a super-fast meal if you skip the mushrooms. Add any other veggies you want or keep it simple.

Kelp is a seaweed (brown algae) loaded with minerals and high in iodine, calcium, protein, vitamin C and B12 (not typically found in plant foods). Kelp noodles are very low in calories and flavorless--a great substitute for pasta.

Ginger is said to benefit digestion, neutralize poisons in food, ventilate the lungs, and increase circulation. It has been shown helpful in counteracting nausea and is used for the treatment of cough (it acts as an expectorant) and the common cold.

Rawsome tacos with Brent's salsa

Rawsome taco with Brent's salsa

Makes 6 tacos in cabbage leaf shells, collard greens also work great for burritos.

Taco meat:

  • pulp from 6 large carrots
    (or you can use shredded carrots)
  • 1/2 c walnuts or almonds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Spices to your liking:
    cayenne
    chili
    cumin
    coriander
    sea salt
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • splash of nama shoyu or Bragg's aminos
  • enough water or salsa juice to process

"Refried Beans"

  • 1 c sprouted sunflower seeds or sprouted adzuki beans
  • Spices to your liking:
    cayenne
    chili
    cumin
    coriander
    sea salt
  • splash of nama shoyu or Bragg's aminos
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • enough water or salsa juice to process

Brent's Salsa: watch video

Not sure on the exact amounts, but here are the ingredients:

  • tomatoes
  • red onion
  • garlic
  • jalapeno
  • lime juice
  • cayenne
  • sea salt
  • olive oil (optional)
  1. Prepare salsa according to video or make your own version
  2. Combine taco "meat" ingredients in food processor and combine until well mixed
    Tip: if you want more texture mix in finely chopped nuts at the end (not in processor)
  3. Place "meat" in cabbage shells
  4. Combine "refried beans" ingredients in food processor or blender and puree
  5. Top off tacos with "beans" and salsa

This is one of Brent's favorite meals. I like to top mine with some guacamole. Another version (not raw) is to use sprouted grain wraps and make a burrito or make nachos with raw crackers (another recipe to come). I've been experimenting with this recipe and another neat flavor to add to the "meat" is a little bit of cinnamon. I know it sounds weird, but you've got to try it to believe it.

Sunflower seeds are another source of protein, healthy fats, iron and vitamin E. Sprouting magnifies these qualities and makes it easier to digest. I like to sprout them and then dehydrate them so they will keep longer in the fridge. Find out about the powerful benefits of cayenne here.

And for dessert, skip the dairy give this a try:

Banana-mango "ice cream"

Banana-mango

Ingredients for 2:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 c frozen mangos
  • 1/2 c cashews
  • splash of coconut water (or filtered water)

Puree all ingredients into thick, creamy mixture. Spoon into cup and decorate with strawberry and cacao nibs for a little crunch.

Bananas are a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, and manganese. I eat a banana on a daily basis and Brent loves them as a pre- and post-run snack.

One of my favorite fruits, mango, is super good for you. Mango is a good source of minerals such as copper and potassium. It contains traces of magnesium, manganese, selenium, calcium, iron, and phosphorus. The nutritional value of mango makes it good for weight gain, eye disorders, hair loss, heat stroke, diabetes, bacterial infections, sinusitis, indigestion, constipation, morning sickness, diarrhea, liver disorders, menstrual disorders, and vaginitis.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Best Valentine's dinner ever!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I hope you showed your love today and that you'll carry it with you always. May we all be grateful for the love in our lives and around us. Thank you Brent for the card you made for me, it was so special :) and thank you readers for your support, encouragement, and inspiration. It means so much to know you're interested in my thoughts. As I continue to work on expanding this blog into a website, I will reward my first followers for your kindness. Until then, send me a message on twitter or leave me a comment with any question you would like answered and I'll answer them ASAP. Now on to our fabulous meal...

Oh, I'm so full of yumminess tonight! We went to Almond Blossom Cafe for "Raw in Love" and it was so delicious! We started off with some salsa and crackers, followed by a Tex-Mex platter (that would have filled us up alone), and finished off with a dessert platter. We couldn't finish the sweet treats there, so we came home and watched the movie Juno while I munched away at the remains.

Tex-Mex is my husband's favorite raw cuisine, so if you have a friend that's curious about living foods, a raw "taco" is sure to please their taste buds. Full of flavor and good for you! You can't say that about Taco Bell!

Desserts are another sure way to convince skeptics that raw foods are delicious! Don't these just make you drool?! Truffles, cake, cobbler, and pudding, oh my!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Want to change the world? Change your diet!


I'm professing my commitment to be 100% vegan for life right now. I may not be able to stick to 100% raw (although I'm not far off), but I am done polluting my body and the world and I'm doing my part by giving up animal products.

I just got back from Smoothie & Movie night at Almond Blossom Cafe, where we watched Eating. You can preview it here. Made me so sad about not sticking to my vegetarian diet back in college. After doing a research paper on the topic, I was vegetarian for 3 years and just quit one day because of my cravings and influences around me that I just couldn't overcome.

This month has been my first vegan raw month and I'm happy to say that I'm never turning back, especially after watching that video! I highly recommend it to EVERYONE and it's very affordable so get yourself a copy and share it with all the people you know who are suffering from cancer and diseases. I hope to get my friends and family to watch it too. Anyone up for a movie night soon? This is going to be required viewing for my stepkids. I can't wait to see how they react to the information.

The studies, statistics, and interviews were very inspiring and depressing at the same time. It's so sad to see how quickly our species is killing itself. Not only by what we put in our mouths, but the entire process to get it there and then treat the symptoms we suffer from because of these choices. I learned so much from this movie but I can not express to you how important the information is.

We have a cure for diseases! It's called our immune system people! When you feed your body in a way that keeps your immunity high, cancer can not live in you. When you eat a plant-based diet, you are literally saving the world.

Benefits of not consuming animal products:

  • Reduces global warming
  • Keeps your heart healthy
  • Builds stronger bones
  • Improves digestion
  • Reverses and cures cancers and diseases
  • Decreases toxicity
  • Prolongs life expectancy
  • Promotes political change
  • Stops animal cruelty

I know what some of you may be thinking... What about protein? Let's take a look at history and the world today. For most of our existence, we have mainly consumed plant-based foods. Even the cavemen, only rarely ate meat, they feasted on a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. There is enough protein in plant-based foods to sustain life, our species has proven this over thousands of years. If you just ate potatoes all day, you would get enough protein. No scientist or doctor has been able to prove that you need meat to get enough protein. Most people are actually eating too much of it! The only way to be protein deficient is to starve yourself. It wasn't until later on that the rich were able to afford animal products. They were the first to suffer from food-related illnesses (which most are) while the poor didn't experience heart disease because they couldn't afford to buy meat. Now that meat has been made cheaper (and filled with hormones, antibiotics, and bacteria) more and more people can afford it. The correlation can be seen across the globe. Take the Chinese for instance, the more they've adapted our SAD (standard American diet) the more of our diseases they're inheriting as well.

The same goes with calcium. Countries eating plant-based diets have stronger bones and consume far less calcium than Americans. Eating raw foods provides all the nutrients, minerals, and protein your body needs. Some overweight and diseased people are quick to criticize and judge our choice of diet and wonder where we get our protein and calcium. They are a product of advertising. The media is fed by lobbyists, not working for your best interest. You may not believe what I'm writing about, but are you going to just take their word for it or do a little research and find out the truth for yourself?

There is so much to be said about this common sense information, yet people would rather take a pill than change their diets. I don't know about you, but I want to live long and well. I'm committing to doing everything I can to keep my body as healthy as possible, and not eating meat and dairy is a crucial step in doing so. After over a month without these, I no longer even crave them—I'm actually repulsed by it now. You can do it to, do it for you and generations to come. They shouldn't have to inherit our bad lifestyle and dying earth.

Leading doctors in the video professed that following the US dietary guidelines will kill you! Politics have a cruel way of keeping their wallets full by lobbying for drugs, meat, and dairy companies. They don't want people to know they can cure themselves by changing to a vegan diet. Watch the interviews and hear from patients who ignored their doctors recommendations and took their health into their own hands. If there is one thing that Al Gore and Obama have failed to stress, it's the importance of our diets, and how making a transition from a high-fat, animal-based diet will save our world.

Some of the greatest thinkers of our time had it figured out hundreds of years ago (Plato, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, and many more) so what are we waiting for?! Let's change now before it's too late.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Dr. Craig Sommers's Lecture Video Part 1: Enzymes

A few posts back I mentioned the lecture I attended at Almond Blossom Cafe where Dr. Craig Sommers spoke about the content from his book: Raw Foods Bible. I learned so much that I wanted to share, but it was a lot of info so I will break it down into each topic he discussed.

Raw food is alive with enzymes. Here is why this is so important to every living being. Excuse my sloppy video-taking, I was trying to eat with one had and record with the other.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Living raw with nature


Let's go off the raw-food path and take a hike with nature. That's what I did today with my husband. After his 7 mile run on the bike path, he joined me for a nice leisurely hike at Graham Swamp (that is, except for all the stops I made to take photos, hehe).

The sights were so calming, the sounds so soothing, the air breezing on by, and the sun shining through the foliage. What an instant energizer after a trip to the farmers' market! Give me some vitamin D on a gorgeous day and I'm all smiles!

This was also a great way to get back into fitness after being sick. Even in Florida, you can find these treasures hidden where you can escape the world and find some solitude. I'm really looking forward to going back with my manual camera and some black & white film—a hike with just myself looking through my viewfinder and getting in touch with my inner-being. These moments are like boosts to my battery, while keeping me calm like a placid ocean.

Even though this blog is about raw foods, I don't want to skimp out on the other important aspects of life, because this is a lifeSTYLE. We are all so busy with the things that must get done, we often forget to take the time to connect with mother nature and enjoy the beauty she gives us. It sounds so simple, yet it can be so difficult to commit to doing. Well, today's experience has made me realize this needs to be a ritual. It won't have to be a hike each time, but every day we should open our eyes to this beauty under our feet—surrounding us, protecting us, feeding us and nurturing us with life. It's a precious thing to waste when all it takes is seeing what is already there.

So next time you go outside, take a deep breath before you get in the car and look to something green and be grateful for all you have. Our time is so limited, but our potential is limitless. Let us meditate upon this.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Raw foods for beginners, part 2

Now that you’ve got an abundance of resources (of which I continue to add to) to learn from, the next step is to start reading, watching, and trying. Give the detox a shot if you feel compelled to do so. If you’re not that adventurous yet, commit to having one raw meal or snack a day and work up from there. The more determined you are, the more will power you will have, and the faster you will be able to say goodbye to processed/cooked foods and say hello to the energetic, full-of-life you!

You don’t have to be 100% raw, even 50% will give you benefits that will make you feel so wonderful that you’ll aim for more naturally. Whatever you decide, keep in mind that you will be most successful if you set goals for yourself and don’t get disappointed if you make mistakes. It’s only natural in this transitional state. Not every plan works for every body. No one knows you more than yourself, so be realistic and use the strategies that work best for you. It will take some trial and error, but the journey is worth it. Joining online communities can help give you the support you need to stick with it. And don’t forget, I’m here for you too, so don’t be shy ;)

A raw foods lifestyle is like an addiction—the better you feel, the more empowered you become in life. It clears your head, not just your body. Now that I’m over my cold, I am ecstatic to get started on some of my goals to help me move into this field as a career. When you find your passion, doing so really is a pleasure and sparks so much positive energy around you that you can’t help but attract your desires into reality. In fact, my video is already featured on another blog and I will be doing a guest blog post as well. Thanks The Green Smoothie Blog team!

Here are some key points to help you succeed:

  • Use affirmations—your thoughts are powerful, so tell yourself you feel alive from raw foods, post notes or images to remind you
  • Make time—time to learn, to try recipes, to journal, to become part of an online community
  • Relax—don’t be hard on yourself, this is a journey, enjoy all the twists and turns
  • Be adventurous—try new foods and experiment with recipes, it’s ok if it doesn’t turn out quite right
  • Track progress—find a system that motivates you like a food journal or start a blog
  • Exercise—your results will only amplify while your longevity and vitality will keep you young longer, and don't forget to drink plenty of water
  • K.I.S.S. (keep it simple silly)—it’s easy to get overwhelmed and think you need this or that, so step back if you need to, meditation and yoga can help with this
  • Be frugal—you can do this without the expensive blender and dehydrator, it can even bring out more creative ideas
  • Reward yourself—treat yourself to that expensive blender when you reach a goal, or take a trip to a nearby raw restaurant
    Tip: Try not to reward yourself with S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) food as this can lead to binging, cravings, and slow recovery, not to mention how awful your body will feel along with how guilty your mind will be.

I’ll get further into these points in future posts, as they are keys to my success and I want to share and help you as much as possible. So off you go… What is/was your first goal when you took this endevour? I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes (not sure who wrote it): You don't have to get it right, just get it going!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How could this happen?

I got sick. I'm still a little sick. Last time I got sick it was after I had fallen off the raw wagon, so it made sense. But to get sick after getting back on the wagon has me baffled. I prevented many colds last year by eating mainly raw so I was certain I wouldn’t have to deal with this again. I've been so anxious to post on my blog, but I decided it was more important to take care of myself and get extra rest, just doing what I needed, not alll the things I wanted to do. I've stayed about 90% raw, with lots of tea and some soup. Here are a few of the things I've prepared since my last post.

Red cabbage salad with avocado-cilantro dressing

Mexican nori roll and pablano pepper

Asian chow salad

So my question remains: how could this happen to me? I will confess that I had alcohol and cooked food (vegan) in celebration of my friend's birthday. Maybe I put my body in shock... But then again, I have been around quite a few sick people at work and out-and-about. Here's the raw cake I made for her birthday, I call it strawberry heaven:

What I'm thinking is that stress lowered my natural ability to ward this off and keep my immunity strong enough to defend myself. Whatever the cause, I was able to treat most of my symptoms with natural remedies consisting of tea, honey, lemon, sleep and lots of nutritious foods. One thing I have not been able to heal naturally is a stuffy head and runny nose. Any suggestions?

Stay tuned, as I'm super excited to post about some of your questions. I also want to thank all of my new followers and those of you who've led them to my site. Since my video seems to be a big hit, I think I'll be posting more of those in the future. Check out twitter, it's alive and fresh with so many interesting people I've connected with. And from those connections, I found some other great sites, so be sure to look at the new links and blogs I'm following. I’ll be back when I kick this cold in the butt for good!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Raw foods for beginners, part 1

I apologize for not posting as consistently lately. I've been working on a tactic for this blog based on responses and questions I've received. I've also been dedicating some time to researching so I can give you good information. Most of you have been asking about where to start so this post is about tackling the first step: learning.

First, I want to say congrats on making the first step, even if it's simply becoming more curious. Some of you are ready to try raw foods, some of you want to learn more so you can be educated about your choices, and that's great! I started out the same way. I spent (and continue to spend) numerous hours online reading about this lifestyle and I would like to share some of my favorite resources with you today.

I still recommend starting with the 7-day detox and reading all the great info that gets delivered to your email. You can also check out the links on the left rail of this blog, which I will continue adding to. My profile has links to the blogs I'm following if you enjoy blogs. For those you who like videos, YouTube has many channels you can watch, these are my favorites. I look forward to having my own channel in the future as well.

What really worked for me was signing up on various sites for emails. You'll get great bits of info on a regular basis that help you stay current with your health and keep you motivated. Here are the ones I recommend:

For book lovers out there, I've got a few favorites too:

Well, I think that's plenty to get you started. If you find anything along your way, please post a link in the comments below so we can all learn together. Part 2 will cover some of the transitional steps you can take, what to expect from your body, and a bit of mental/spiritual advice too.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Brent's Raw Salsa

Anyone who's tried, loves it and wants to learn to make it, so here is the salsa master himself in the kitchen:

video

Mix in some avocado and you also have the best guacamole!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Intro to sprouting

For this week's batch, I sprouted barley and mung beans. Both are very easy to sprout, delicious, and cheap! There are many guides out there with a variety of opinions and specifics. Here's the view I have come to adopt from Raw Chef Dan. It's a simple approach that makes a lot of sense and has worked for me. You can buy a sprouting jar like the ones pictured (forgot to put the lids on) or you can make your own easily. Basically, anything that you can use to soak the seeds/grains in and be able to drain will work.

First, you simply soak the seeds/grains overnight with plenty of water to cover them. I used 2 tablespoons of mung beans and 1 cup of barley. I usually stick to 2 tablespoons for seeds and 1 cup for grains. The next morning you drain the water out, rinse a few times and set aside laying down or at an angle, making sure as much water is out of the jar as possible. You repeat this morning and night until your sprouts are ready. Some things only need one day, others (like alfalfa) require up to 5 or 6 days. Make sure to cover the jar during the day (as if it were in the darkness of soil), but still allow it to get air. If you're sprouting something that needs to get little green leaves (like alfalfa) then the last day you simply let it get some sun before you do a final good rinse. You can also put them in a bowl of water and let the hulls (outer layer) float to the top and discard. That way you throw out the enzyme inhibitors that were protecting it until it was ready to grow.

That's it! You're ready to eat living foods that are packed with all the nutrients and enzymes of the entire plant. Sprouts are good in every meal of the day. They give an instant energy boost you can actually feel. They have a super clean/fresh taste too.  If you want to try a variety, I've seen small packages of sprouted beans at Publix. Toss them on your next salad and see what you think. I'll be sprouting a variety of things throughout recipes. Hopefully you'll get some inspiration, so don't make excuses, just give it a try!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dinner & a lecture at Almond Blossom Cafe

Tonight was quite the treat—for the body and mind! I got to listen to a great speaker, Dr. Craig B. Sommers, and have a rawsome meal prepared by my favorite raw restaurant. We started off with a nice green salad with sprouts, followed by the "antipasta" dish pictured above (yes, I have those same plates at home), and ended with my favorite kind of dessert: carob-raspberry cake sprinkled with coconut! (Sorry no photo of that, I was eating it with one hand and videotaping with the other.)

Dr. Sommers gave a great talk about the raw foods lifestyle. I bought his book, which he was kind enough to autograph and I will be sharing the video and some of the things I learned throughout the rest of this week as the information is great and covers a variety of topics. I just wanted to give you a quick preview of my evening until then.

Check to see if you have any health gurus visiting your town. It may be just what you need to get you inspired and motivated to make the leap to a new you. And if you're not far from me, let's plan to go together.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My favorite breakfast: banana mash

This recipe has been my staple breakfast meal for a while. I've made many variations and you'll see how easy it is to make and experiment with once you try it. The photo shows all the core ingredients for 1 serving:

  • 1 banana
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • 1 teaspoon-tablespoon maca powder
  • 1/4 cup sprouted spelt berries (oat groats, quinoa, and buckwheat is great too)
  • 1/4 cup water or nut milk
  1. mash banana in bowl with fork
  2. sprinkle with cinnamon to your liking
  3. add flaxseed meal and maca powder
  4. mix with water

Variations: add goji berries, blueberries, and/or nuts

This is what I call "raw oatmeal" and it's very satisfying, not to mention a dose of brain fuel. I'm sure you're wondering about some of these ingredients so here's a brief overview:

  • Maca powder: root used as a source of nourishment and healing for thousands of years. It nourishes the endocrine system and has been used as a stress-fighting adaptogen to increase stamina, boost libido and combat fatigue. Maca is a nutrient-dense whole food packed with vitamins, plant sterols as well as many essential minerals, fatty and amino acids. Great mood balancer!
  • Sprouted Spelt berries: ancient grain similar to wheat in appearance and taste—only a bit nuttier and easier to digest. This provides the carbs and protein that keep you fueled until snack time. 
  • Goji berries (I'm all out right now, or I would have included them): nutrient-dense superfood. When I add these, I like to let the mixture sit for a little while so they plump up from the water content.

If you're not ready to try sprouting, replace the sprouted spelt with oatmeal (uncooked that is) and use extra water, letting it sit at least 5 minutes to soften. We'll cover sprouting in another post and you'll learn how easy and cost-effective it truly is.

Breakfast is one of the easiest meals to eat raw, so if you want to transition to a raw foods diet, or simply increase your raw food intake, start with breakfast. Fruit is perfect because it gives you instant energy, helps cleanse your body, and is loaded with vitamins. Toss some in a blender, or eat it whole—either way, it's great when you don't have a lot of time.

Looks like a few of you may be interested in trying the detox. That's great news! Congrats and best of luck! Make sure to keep me posted and I'll try to share your insights as well as be here to support you. Anyone else considering the detox?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Goodbye pasta, hello zucchini!

Most people new to raw foods wonder what it takes to prepare those gourmet meals that look so delicious. I honestly don't like to spend too much time with a long list of ingredients and directions, so having a few good tools really helps create variety without complicating things. Below you'll see what I used to create tonight's dinner—my very own recipe for Zucchy Pasta.

From left to right: spiral vegetable slicer, citrus juicer, and a small food processor (I also have a large one I'll feature with another recipe). As you can see, these aren't expensive and difficult-to-use gadgets. Along with a good blender, this is all you really need to succeed. I also have an inexpensive dehydrator I use for some special treats, but it's nothing you have to have. If you're going to splurge on one item, make it the blender or you'll regret it each time you have to replace a cheap one.

Zucchy Pesto

Makes 4 servings

  • 2 large zucchini squashes
  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package of basil leaves
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  1. Process pine nuts, garlic, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Process basil with lemon juice.
  3. Add nut mixture and olive oil, and blend until smooth.
  4. Toss with spiralized zucchini pasta

Optional toppings: whole pine nuts, chopped tomatoes, marinated mushrooms, diced red peppers, or thinly sliced green onions

The most important thing to remember in the kitchen is as cheesy as it sounds, make your food with love and eat consciously. Acknowledge that you are providing your body with the nourishment it needs to feed your soul. Have fun, experiment, and don't worry—it's all good for you!

Jó étvágyat! (Hungarian for bon appetit)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Day 7, still going strong

The detox is finally complete, but I'm pretty much going to stick to this type of simple food for a while. I will add nuts, seeds, avocado, and sprouted grains back into my diet, but I will try to keep meals quick and easy. When your body isn't working so hard at digesting your food, you really feel the extra energy. That is what I don't want to give up. For those of you considering this detox, go for it! You will learn so much and I know you'll loose weight if that's one of your resolutions. I lost 7 pounds, and would like to aim for 8 more, but I'm more concerned with just keeping active and eating raw. Weight is just a number, it's how you feel and the self-image you have that's really important.

As I promised, I have a video in store for you. Brent captured this video on our green smoothie this morning. I hope you enjoy. Please let me know what you think and if you would like to see more. Brent has also offered to demonstrate his delicious raw salsa recipe for a video next week. So here's the first, and very rough, Raw for Change video:

video

Blender mentioned on video: Breville BBL600XL Ikon 750-Watt 51-Ounce Blender. I happened to find the last one at Linens-N-Things so I got it for only $150 since they're going out of business.

As for the rest of the day, I had a plateful of fruits (cherries and an orange) and veggies (cauliflower, carrot, pepper, and tomato) for lunch with a banana for a snack before our bike ride. Then I had an even larger salad then yesterday's photo for dinner, but I couldn't finish it—too much to chew.

My confession: I ate dark chocolate (70%) and had a very small glass of red wine tonight. I was shocked at how a few sips of wine felt like 2 glasses! Wow, what a difference a cleansed body makes. Helps you realize just how much we poison ourselves... The chocolate was amazing. I'm not sure I can give that up completely, so I will just limit myself to small quantities of very dark chocolate and try out some recipes with cacao nibs. We also had a late night snack of zucchini "chips" and salsa while we relaxed at the end of the day.

To wrap up these past 7 days is hard. I've lost weight and moodiness, and gained so much more—energy, optimism, balance, confidence, clearer skin, and better sleep just to name a few. This is really going to help me accomplish my goals this year, from the inside out. Take care, and drop me a line/comment if I can help in any way. Health be with you!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Day 6, and I'm feeling good

It has been a great day! I feel so wonderful, like I did when I was eating raw before. But this time, I got to this feeling much sooner and I attribute it to the detox. I'll have to be careful about how much fat I add back into my diet, but cleaning out like this will make it easy to read my body, see what it responds to best.

We ended up going to the farmers' market later then I've ever been, so there really wasn't as much there as usual. I forgot to take photos, even though I brought my camera :( but I did take some of the stuff I bought.

We also stopped at the Almond Blossom Cafe to pick up organic produce before getting the rest of our groceries at the market. They catered our wedding (check out the photo of our cake here at the bottom of the page) and we signed up for a lecture by Dr. Craig Sommers, author of The Raw Foods Bible, there next week so I'll be sure to write about that.

Our eating schedule was thrown off a little too, so after a banana snack, I was super hungry for a late lunch consisting of a kale, blueberry, and mango smoothie (yummm) and a carrot. Then Brent made some adjustments to his salsa recipe and made it completely raw and we actually like it better. So I had that for a snack with zucchini slices twice today and my mouth was on fire—love it! Thanks Brent!

Dinner was a very flavorful salad with lots of veggies and a lemon-ginger dressing. I did crave some popcorn with our family movie night, but I resisted the temptation and had some "chips" and salsa instead. I also had a terrible lust for some red wine, especially since there's an open bottle spoiling as we speak, but I said no and it feels good not to care.

My body is feeling so light and fresh, that it's hard to go to sleep at night. I don't have that drained feeling and my mind is still alert even though my body is signaling to get to bed. I think kicking up the workouts is going to help with this. We wanted to buy a wii fit today, but it appears that they are hard to find, so I took the dogs out for a long walk. I think I'll try a different yoga video tomorrow and see how the challenge goes.

Thanks for the strange fruit comments. I wanted to find something at the market today, but didn't succeed. You should see our fridge though, it's jam packed with produce and I love seeing so much healthy stuff every time I open it. Off to bed, hope your day was lovely.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Day 5, I'll admit it

I don't know why I did it, and it's not all that bad... I had corn on the cob tonight. The smell was so delicious and I was so hungry. Can't be too hard on myself for what most people would say is healthy, but I really wanted to make it through all 7 days without anything cooked, and I cheated today. We can't always live up to our own expectations, those are the most difficult anyway. So, instead of dwelling on this and letting the guilt get to me, I will move on—no harm done here. I'm still on my path, I just took a pause.

Breakfast was delicious today, but then again, anything with raspberries is delicious to me. I made a green smoothie from spring mix greens and frozen raspberries. Still miss that touch of honey, but it's not necessary any more.

My "visitor" also came by today, and I bring this up because when I stopped eating raw a couple months ago this was greatly affected. Going raw helps with the emotions, bloating, cramps, regularity, and length. So I'm looking forward to returning to those days once again. And since we're on this topic I want to promote a product I love: the diva cup. That's all I'll say. Click the link, it's amazing—it works better, is better for the environment and saves you lots of $$$.

Back to foods, had an apple for a snack and lunch consisted of:

  • tangerine
  • brocolli (2 small heads)
  • celery
  • carrot
  • baby peppers
  • green onion

I brought a couple starfruits for an afternoon snack and they sure got a lot of attention at the office. I didn't realize so many people are affraid to try "exotic" fruits. Once they did, they realized what they were missing out on. Not sure why I craved coffee all of a sudden today, maybe it's the Friday atmosphere at work and how I used to have a couple cups out of excitement for the weekend. Well, I don't need that any more—I've got enough excitement as is :)

For dinner, I just added some more veggies to the leftover salad from yesterday, and the corn of course. So far I've lost 6 lbs! I didn't think it would be this fast, but it feels so nice not to have that heavy feeling any more. Even though my clothes don't show much of a change (I can usually fluctate 10 lbs in my jeans thank goodness) I feel great changes and soon they will show even more. Just need to keep up with the exercise. For which I took the dogs for a walk today, but not as long as I should have since it was so cold out and getting dark.

This weekend shall be fun. Tomorrow starts off with the farmers' market and I'll be taking my camera to share photos for the next post. Then look out for a video on Sunday.

Today's question:What's the strangest fruit you've ever tried?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Day 4, craving some flavor

Starting the day with yoga definitely puts me in a positive mood, but by the time I get to bed after a long day in front of the computer, it feels like all that stretching has been tightened back up. I need to make a conscious effort to stretch more throughout the day.

Breakfast was a little strange today. It needed to be a monofruit meal, but we only had 1 banana left, so I opted for 2 apples instead. This filled me up, but I had to have a snack (tangerine) before and after lunch. Today's green smoothie was not the best either. Brent asked that I not make it again. I've made similar smoothies, but with additional ingredients. It was romaine lettuce and frozen strawberries. Maybe more fruit would have made it better, but what I really wanted to add was raw honey. If you've never tried raw honey, you're missing out. Publix is actually selling it here, so you may not even have to go to a health food store to get it.

For various reasons we both had to work late today, so by the time I was able to make dinner I was starving and not in the mood to prepare it. But I resisted talking Brent into the salad bar at Ruby Tuesday, and make a big red cabbage salad with green onions, green beans, celery, sprouted spelt berries, garlic and lemon juice. If only I could add a little healthy fat... Next week, I keep reminding myself. The good thing here though, is that instead of craving my favorite foods at local restaurants, now I'm really looking forward to my favorite raw dishes that have nuts, seeds, and avocados. Either way, I got stuffed on that salad with all the chewing it took.

I hope these posts aren't getting boring. Hang in there, the fun will begin when I start posting photos and videos filled with rawsome goodness!

For anyone reading...
What would you like to see/read/watch once this detox is over?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Day 3, the hurdle

It's been a very long, tiring day. I guess the lack of calories is asking my body to go to bed and get rest so it can get to work on cleaning me out. I'm starting to feel the benefits though, as the bloating has gone away and some temptations are no longer bothering me. Since I honestly need to get to bed, I will just recap my meals with a few afterthoughts.

Breakfast: green smoothie (more like purple though)

  • spring mix
  • banana
  • frozen blueberries

Snack: apple

Lunch:

  • tangerine
  • carrot
  • zucchini
  • celery
  • green onion
  • kohlrabi

Snack: cherries

Dinner: collard green wraps (2) stuffed with things I threw in the food processor:

  • cauliflower
  • peppers
  • carrot
  • ginger
  • garlic
  • chopped asparagus

If it weren't for mental exhaustion, I'm sure I would be more energetic right now. My mom and stepdad also came for a visit today. They brought veggies from the farmers' market in Immokolee, and lots of them—thank you! Of course the dinner discussions involved a bit of arguing and teasing about what I'm doing, but I did not cheat except for a trivial amount of oil and spices in Brent's homemade salsa. You must be thinking "what about the chips?" I actually used thinly sliced zucchini left over from lunch, and it was a great alternative. I will be doing that more often, that's for sure. I get my chips & salsa kick without chips :)

We also discussed a possible business I would be helping them with that follows my beliefs and design skills so I'm pretty excited about that as well. Funny how this fits in with my career horoscope I mentioned before. I hope to be making an announcement here about this business once we put things in motion. But, I'm also getting overwhelmed with everything I want to do. I need to take it moment by moment—it will all come together with time. Let's enjoy what we have now. Yoga should help my mind in the morning.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Day 2, the hunger begins

Since I started eating raw foods today, I decided to log my intake and exercise on Nutridiary so I can keep track of my calories, nutrition, weight, and more. It takes some time to set up, but once you've got your basics in there, it's really neat to see the reports and track your goal.

I am proud to say that even though I went to bed late last night, I woke up and did 45 minutes of yoga today. Boy did I need it! The stretching really revealed all the tight areas of my body that need work. I'm sure I'll be hurting tomorrow. The DVD I followed was Denise Austin's "fat-blasting yoga" but I didn't get time to do the last session on abs.  This DVD is a nice cross of aerobic and yoga exercises and really works the muscles us women want to shape most.

Then, I finally got to eat some food! Going with the monofruit meal, I ate 3 bananas. That's all it took to get me full. Sticking to one food actually helps your body learn the signals of when it's full, so when breakfast can be more complex, you're less likely to overeat because of the crave for variety.

Lunch consisted of my favorite—green smoothies. We've actually been sticking to green smoothies for lunch at work for quite some time now, so it wasn't difficult for us. I'll be posting a video of how I make them over the weekend, as I get asked about this all the time. You should see the looks people give you when they see you slurpping down that "green sludge." But honestly, it's a super quick and easy meal to make. I usually add other ingredients, but the detox calls for simply greens and fruit so today I blended some spinach and kale with frozen mangos. It was delicious, refreshing, and satisfying. I do admit though, that because I couldn't add the other things I usually include, I was hungry a couple hours later. No snacking during the week though, so I reminded myself of yesterday and regained focus.

I usually really look forward to a huge salad with all my goodies, but no oils are allowed this week—and that means no avocados, nuts, or seeds (the things that make salads unique), so I was kinda bummed when I had to prepare it. I decided to go with turnip greens for the base and added: green onions, celery, asparagus, tomatoes, and carrots, with a lemon juice and grated ginger dressing. That ginger really gave it a kick and a little too much lemon juice with turnip greens makes for one tart salad.

Hopefully my sprouts will be ready by the next salad. I have a photo of my sprouting jar ready with a zesty sprout mix in the slideshow of this blog if you're curious. Sprouts are wonderful and easy to grow. They are also VERY CHEAP. A $5 bag lasts me a couple months with constant sprouts in the fridge. I would probably spend about $20 in that time if I bought them at the store. I see another video on this topic in the future...

Besides being tired, dealing with cravings, hunger, and a sore neck—it's been a pretty good day 2 of detox. And by the way, I've already lost 4 pounds!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Day 1, not bad at all

26 hours have passed since I last ate, and I can truly tell you I am not hungry right now. I never thought I would say this after a fast, but it's true. Of course, I had cravings and was hungry throughout the day, but I made mental effort to prepare myself and I succeeded at enjoying the beginning of this cleanse.

I drank a lot of water today, and not just to ward off hunger, but because I was honestly very thirsty. Maybe our bad Chinese meal last night did it, but I haven't gone to the bathroom yet (yes #2, this is a raw blog so that will surely come up again as it's a part of knowing your digestive system) and that is very strange for me. I feel a bit bloated—ready to eliminate the toxins and rejuvenate with nutrients. The biggest shock was that my hunger was never in my stomach (which only growled twice) but in my mouth. I had to ignore the smells of food in the office that triggered saliva, and I even gave away the last piece of chocolate I had at my desk. That is a true victory right there!

In addition to the time I saved by not having to prepare any food, I had enough energy to take our dogs for a walk after work and check off most of my to do list. This also helps keep Domino and Oreo (our dogs) from trying to get my attention when I'm on the computer for hours at night. Next step (hopefully I feel up to it in the morning) will be getting back into yoga, my favorite exercise.

Tomorrow starts the raw detox with food. I will be posting everything I eat for your curiosity. Breakfast is a mono-fruit meal—I'll probably stick to bananas for the instant energy boost and satisfying texture.

As some of you had commented via email, we may have had similar struggles with weight, or you may be on your own journey to health with the new year (congrats if you are). I hope to provide you with some of the best resources I've found and answer any questions you may have. I will get more in depth after the detox is over and I can truly introduce you to this incredible lifestyle that is changing my life.

Before I retire, I just want to share a wonderful horoscope I found for Pisces, thanks to Darice, who will probably find it very touching after our last few chats.

Career

The Aquarian energy of 2009 encourages you to weave new dreams into peoples' lives, and to help them feel at home in the world. Success grows as you exemplify your visions, attracting people who appreciate your compassion to raise their consciousness to a new level. In your service to help others realize deeper realities, you become more aware and sensitive to your own connection to the powers that be.

Your profound ability to explore transformation and share wisdom with large communities helps you find a welcome place in society. The love you discover through your own transformation will bring abundant manifestations for others. As you help people heal their consciousness, they can more easily find sanctuary from harsh realities. Your sensitivity to their needs reaches into the deepest realms of a their psyche.

For those who wish also to support change in the world (that's me), emotional affinity comes easily between you and your peers. From time-to-time this year, step back and reflect on the deeper purpose of your life's work. Be sure to make decisions that match your own objectives, values and goals, and don't allow yourself to be swayed by others desires. Maintain your individuality. Getting in touch with your dreams will help you know which direction is best to take in your effort to expand your beliefs and be of service in a much larger way.

Question for You

So tell me, by commenting below, where do you stand with your health and what are you goals for 2009? Just writing them here will put the intention into the universe and place you closer to reaching your goal. I want to help any way I can.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Journey Begins

This is the year—the year great things will happen. The year dreams will come true and goals will be fulfilled. I have made attempts before with much success, but this is different. The intentions have been written down—I am committed to creating the healthy and happy life we all deserve.

Let me start with a little reminiscing... I've been on a health kick for almost 10 years now. I've been researching natural lifestyles and gained many new friends, insights, and lessons along the way. The most dramatic though, was trying raw foods fall of 2007. I was 30 pounds overweight when my now husband and I (Brent) got comfortable and settled into our life together. I knew I had to do something that would make me stick to the diet and exercise I once had no problem following. So we got strict and lost weight, but I had a little more to go. Those last 10 pounds are evil...

In my search for a photographer for our wedding, I found Darice Michelle. Not only did I pick her to shoot our wedding, but we became instant friends when we met—a connection that is so rare and since the spark, has only grown stronger. She mentioned raw foods at our consultation and shortly after invited me to a raw food party she hosted. I had just recently read a little of this diet so I was eager to learn more.

I did my research—staying up late on the computer after work for hours and decided to take a raw pecan pie. Oh my! I had no idea how great the food would be. I was in love! I was hooked! Thank you Darice! Not only did I get a prize for getting the most correct answers on her quiz, but I found out that her daughter voted my pie for her favorite recipe! What a great start, and that was just the beginning. One of the most amazing parts of the night was how I felt after I stuffed myself with all that rawsome goodness—I felt so light and satisfied. I wasn't bloated or tired at all. The next 2 weeks were spent with experimenting in the kitchen and enjoying everything I was discovering. I lost those 10 pounds and I felt terrific—full of energy and optimism.

So life goes on and here I am now, ready to do this again. A trip to Europe (my place of birth with all my favorite indulgences) and the holidays broke down my will power and I've become addicted to cooked, bad-for-you food. I feel tired, not my usual happy self, and just all around blah!

With this new year, I decided to devote myself to getting back into the raw food lifestyle (because it's way more than a diet), working out again, and starting a blog to help me be accountable in hopes of teaching other people how great you can feel and look by doing likewise. Not only do you benefit, but the earth does too—there is no greener way to eat that I know of.

Since I feel so loaded with toxins and bloated with "dead" food, why not begin by trying something totally new for me—a detox! I found this free 7-day detox and I will begin tomorrow with a 24-hour fast. Kinda scary for me, I'm a food lover, I'm hungry the second I wake up, and I think I've only skipped breakfast a couple times my entire life! So stay tuned as I post each days' results, you just might want to try it yourself.