Monday, September 13, 2010

New Shoes, New Workout, New Blog

Check out my new running shoes. . .

After reading Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall, and doing some online research, I'm convinced of the benefits of barefoot running. I went out and got these awesome Vibram Five Fingers--designed to be a close approximation to running barefoot. (The Lovely Boyfriend calls these my monkey feet! He's just sipping on that hater-ade, since he's still running in old school sneaks.) I'm looking forward to doing some shoeless running, too.

Running and basic workouts are easier and more enjoyable since my juice feast and return to a high raw-vegan diet. I'm still sloooooow, but I run a lot of hills, and some weekends I go for 7-8 mile runs. Quite an awesome feeling. I usually follow those runs with a helping of chia pudding or a green juice.

I haven't written here in a while, since I've decided to phase out this blog. Check out my new one, The Raw Difference. I felt like starting something fresh. The new blog is about a raw food lifestyle--even for those of us who don't want to do 100% raw--with some emphasis on weight loss. See you there!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

What to Eat?

I'll soon be winding down my juice feast. The big question everyone's asking is what's the first food I'll want to eat when I've transitioned. There's no particular food that stands out, but I wouldn't turn down an heirloom tomato salad. What else? A nice green salad. Mango. Mango ice cream. I'm sure more ideas will flood in once I start eating, but it's hot outside and juice is more than satisfying these days.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

High Raw Salad

In our house, most of the family meals are high raw. Here's a typical salad: spinach, tomato, carrot, avocado, and black beans, topped with a balsamic vinaigrette. Those of us who want to go all raw will replace the beans with nuts or seeds.

We try to limit our consumption of processed oil (in this case, olive oil) to no more than 1 tablespoon per day. It's not an attempt to go low-fat. We get plenty of healthy fats from avocado, nuts, and seeds. That way the fat comes with fiber and nutrients you can't get in the oil, and it's easier to insure that the health benefits of the fat hasn't been destroyed by processing.

Friday, June 25, 2010

What Other People Feed Your Kids

Every summer my daughters go to visit my parents and extended family in Virginia. My mom has 8 brothers and sisters, and my dad has 3 brothers, and most of them have kids and grandkids. I'm blessed enough to still have both of my grandmothers and many great-aunts and uncles alive and well. My parents live out in the country and the girls can run to a cousin's house, an aunt's house, or a great-grandparents house without crossing a road. Blackberries grow in the backyards, and some of the old folks still have gardens. It's a little piece of heaven, except for the heat.

This year my older daughter is off working in a research program, so my Little Ray of Sunshine is going on her own. And what do you think has me worried? Not the solo plane flight, not the climbing of trees, or the inevitable arguments with her boy cousins.

I'm worried about the food! Ray literally gets ill if she eats too far away from our normal diet. My parents recognize her food allergies, but they're still likely to give in to a grandchild's pleas for junk. And even though my mom, step-dad, and step-mom are all diabetic, there's always plenty of junk to be had. Even their "healthy" meals are a far cry from what we eat in our home.

Ray's in love with lots of delicious things that are actually good for her: green juices, green smoothies, marinated kale, fresh saldas with her own secret-ingredient dressing, coconut water and meat, and much more. In Virginia, she won't have access to most of these things.

It's only 9 days. I'll send my sister to the grocery store with a short list of real foods to have on hand. I'll make some specific requests of things to limit and things to encourage, but that's about as much as I can do. I have to let her go enjoy her family and a bit of country living. But I don't have to like this part of it.

Day 56 on Juice --Juicy Weight Loss

Monday, June 21, 2010

Raw in the Family - Weight Loss & Clear Skin

My cousin, who's staying with us as she makes a move to Atlanta, just completed a 15-day juice feast. She's never been very overweight, but wasn't at her healthiest. Prior to her feast, she had dabbled in raw foods, but was really eating a pretty typical Standard American Diet.

During the 15 days, she took no supplements, went for short walks , and had at least 1 green juice each day. She lost 8 pounds and described her skin as "clearer than it's been in a long time."

She enjoyed the feast (possibly because I did most of the juicing), and even though she had some cravings for crummy fast foods and other not-so-good-for-ya stuff, she didn't find herself tempted to act on those cravings.

Today she starts her transition back to real food. She had a juice for breakfast, and she's planning to keep to a high raw, high vegan eating-style from this point onward. I'm sure she's sick of my warnings: if you go back to your old way of eating, you'll gain back the weight you lost AND MORE . .. MORE . . . MORE!!!

I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer, but I think it's good to know what you're getting into and what the long-term consequences could be.

As for me, I'm still juicing!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Raw Food Highlighted in Natural Health Magazine

As I was leaving Whole Foods yesterday, a copy of Natural Health magazine caught my eye. I rarely buy any magazines these days. It seems like a waste of paper when I read most of them in less than an hour, and then they gather dust. I think it was the headline "New help for addictions: Holistic approaches that work," that caught my eye.

I treated myself to the magazine on a whim, but I was thrilled to find it includes an article entitled, "The Raw Deal." It starts with a reference to Brigitte Mars. I was bummed that they don't include a photo of her, though they say her looks are, "her own best advertisement for her book." (See for yourself in the picture to the left.) I think it helps when conventional eaters get a look at a healthy face of raw food. Matt Amsden of Rawvolution fame is also quoted.

The article goes on to describe ways of adding significant amounts of raw food to your diet, and ends with a few high raw recipes, most of which look appealing.

An Ayurveda expert offers some cautions about going 100% raw, but overall the article is quite positive--a good read, especially for the raw curious.

It's Day 49 on my juice feast, and the juicy buzz has taken hold!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Raw Apologetics

Over the last few months, I've noticed a lot of bloggers coming out with the fact that they now eat raw dairy, or now eat some cooked items. Some (NOT ALL) of them almost seem apologetic, as if they're letting someone down.

Folks who are new to raw foods often encounter the 100% raw gurus. Some (NOT ALL) of these experts proclaim that the highest goal is 100% raw.

But there's little or no significant scientific evidence that 100% raw is the secret to excellent health and increased longevity. Some of the longest-lived cultures in the world eat a high raw and high vegan diet, but they aren't striving for that 100% mark. And let's face it, a plate of lightly steamed kale could be more nutrient-rich than a raw dessert.

For me and lots of other people, raw food is about abundance--abundant health, abundant life, and abundant pleasure--as well as a way to tread more gently on the planet. Some people feel better, look better, and function better at or close to 100% raw, and that's great for them. But there's no reason for others to have to defend or apologize for making a different choice.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Fruits of Summer

I feel tremendously blessed to be able to enjoy the fruits of summer. We've stocked up on so many fruits and veggies, we've run out of room. The cases of grapefruits and oranges are stored in the basement. Greens fill the refrigerator, and the produce drawers are filled to bursting. I love it!

We do spend more than the average American family does on groceries, (especially while I'm juicing) but I'd guess we spend much less on health care, including doctor's visits, health insurance, prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, and missed work due to illness.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hot Raw Chef!

Hot Raw Chef. If that title describes you, check out the Hot Chefs, Cool Kitchen contest being run by Living Light Culinary Arts Institute. The contest is open to both pros and amateurs, and video entries must be in by June 30th. They're awarding almost $2000 in prizes, so if you've got a video camera and an original recipe, it may be worth a shot.

Read about my reaction to chlorella on my juice feasting blog. I'm on Day 40!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Beauty of the Avocado

We had some friends over and fell into a discussion of all the fruit we have on our kitchen counter. They confessed that they've only recently discovered a love of avocado. The lightning bolt struck while they dined in a Mexican restaurant. A gentleman prepared table-side guacamole for them, and it was love at first bite.

Everyone in our house adores avocado. We put it on salads, in soups or dips, on onion bread, in veggie bowls, or just eat it out of the shell. I was caught up in the food discussion, but I should've shared some information about the benefits of avocados.

As I move away from using a lot of processed fats in the forms of oil, avocados rise up the ranks on my ingredient lists. They pack a good serving of monounsaturated fat in the nature's original package, which means that fat comes with a generous serving of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients.

I know that some people choose to avoid avos (as well as nuts and seeds) because they subscribe to a low-fat way of eating. I've done my research, and for me healthy fats in reasonable amounts are the way to go.

Juice Feast - Day 29. Check it out!

Friday, May 28, 2010

What I Miss While I Juice Feast

I really miss being able to experiment in the kitchen. Sure I can make lots of different juice combinations, but that's not as much fun as really getting involved in creating a new recipe. I still prepare my family's meals--sometimes three meals a day--but I can't sample the food, so I stick pretty closely to the tried and true dishes I know they'll like.

I'm on Day 28 of my juice feast, and though I miss playing in the kitchen, I'm quite content on my feast. Everyone around me is eating, including some of my favorite dishes, but for now I don't feel drawn to the food. Surprisingly, I'm not tired of juice either. I'm always glad for a break from the process of making juice, but unless I'm feeling rushed, the prep is a fairly peaceful routine.

I have dozens of recipe ideas written down, as well as recipes from other blogs. Can't wait to try them. I may have to start posting the things I'm making for the fam.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pesticides Linked to ADHD

Organic produce costs more than conventional, and sometimes it's easy to forget why we pay that extra money. Pesticides and fungicides have been linked to several negative effects, especially in children.

Other negative effects linked to the junk that's regularly sprayed on produce:
  • deficits in memory and motor skills
  • behavioral problems
  • childhood leukemia
  • other cancers
  • unhealthy weight gain

Remember the Dirty Dozen are the common fruits and vegetables that are most often heavily contaminated with chemicals, and make it a priority to purchase organic options for those on the dirty list.

Visit my juice feast blog, Candice on Juice, for a discussion of Managing Emotions and how food and juice play into that.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Eating for Excellence

As you peruse raw food blogs and websites, it's easy to forget that this way of eating isn't all about gourmet meals and fancy desserts, both of which I truly enjoy. Any conscious eating-style should be about eating for excellence, while minimizing the amount of harm or suffering brought to people, animals, and the earth. The recent lecture I attended by Dr. Joel Fuhrman reminded me of some things that make a high raw diet a diet for excellent health, longevity, beauty, and vitality.

An excellent diet should:
  • be vegetable-based
  • be built on a foundation of leafy greens
  • include high amounts of raw fruits
  • include raw nuts, seeds, and avocados for healthy fats in their natural states
  • minimize animal products (no more than a couple of servings/week)
  • focus on organics as much as possible
  • minimize cooked grains
  • minimize sodium
  • minimize processed foods, including oils of all types, (yes, even olive oil)

The last 2 points are often neglected in the raw food world. Personally, I hadn't emphasized them enough in my own diet until I was reminded by Dr. Fuhrman's lecture. If you're not sure why reducing sodium and oil consumption matter in a raw food diet, please follow the links for more information. As always, the best way to decide is by doing your own research.

While Dr. Fuhrman doesn't advocate a raw food diet, the plan he advocates can easily be tailored to a high raw eating-style. The man is telling people to eat a pound a day of raw vegetables, in addition to high amounts of raw fruits, and a healthy portion of raw nuts and seeds each day! The main difference is that he also encourages high consumption of cooked beans and legumes. Soups and stews are also big in his diet plan as a means to help people consume enough calories from high nutrient vegetables. Dr. Fuhrman argues that this balance of raw and cooked vegetables allows one to benefit from a wider variety of nutrients, as some nutrients are destroyed by cooking and others are made more available.

Dr. Fuhrman's new two book set, Eat for Health, is well worth reading. Book 2 includes many raw recipes,--smoothies, juices, salads, and dressings--and other recipes that can be converted to raw, or included in whatever percentage of cooked food you choose to eat. Book 1 is a primer in nutrition-based health, and even if you know a lot about nutrition, I'd be willing to bet you'd discover something new among those pages.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Season for Juicing

I don't think I would've been so enamored of a winter juice feast. Watermelon and canteloupe juice have made my feast more fun than it might otherwise be. Watermelon is my current favorite fruit juice! This is my 20th day. Visit Candice on Juice to see how it's going.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Giving Up (Sort of)

Melina, my oldest, arrived home from college a little over a week ago. While she's a veggie, dorm life has affected her eating habits. It saddened me to hear her talk about how she missed certain foods and food products that are clearly detrimental to her health. It was harder still to listen to what she ate when she met a friend for dinner. Let's just say deep frying was involved.

While raising Melina, my idea of good nutrition evolved from a low-fat version of the Standard American Diet to a High Raw, High Vegan pursuit of excellent health. For the last few years, it's made her happy to know meat won't be served in our meals, and she's embraced everything from green smoothies, to wheatgrass shots, to marinated veggies on big salads with homemade dressings. Still, she may have forgotten how different our eating-style really is.

The second day she complained to her sister. "I can't eat only fruit. I feel sick from all this healthy food." I told her that was a little thing called detox and reminded her that she'd consumed lots of healthy foods that weren't fruits. I spent hours trying to figure out how to get her all the way back to my end of the eating spectrum before she leaves at the end of the month to complete her summer research internship.

The thing is that she's enjoyed every one of the three meals a day I've made since she came home. And she'd happily indulged in smoothies blended up by her little sis. I'm juice feasting, which has it's own challenges, so I decided to give up the teen diet fight. I didn't give up on setting an example, or providing the best possible foods, or teaching her about why we eat the way we do. I gave up on the idea of control.

I've given her as much knowledge as I could. She enjoys the best foods on earth, and she knows how to prepare many of them to make a tasty and healthy meal. Her mind is open to new things, and she recognizes the connection between food and health. When she's away from me, she'll eat a slightly better version of the diet eaten by lots of college kids. That's the way it is. I'm trusting that as she matures and grows she'll let go of the junk and come home to real food.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sick of Spinach

When I first transitioned to raw foods, I relied heavily on spinach as the green in my diet, especially for green smoothies and juices. I took some time to acclimate to the taste of stronger greens, like kale and collards, but as I ate more of them, I found myself craving them more and more. Greens are now the foundation of our diet, and rotating our greens allows us to get a wider variety of nutrients. I'm not really sick of spinach, but I do like to include other things.

If you've had your fill of spinach, try some of these in your juices, smoothies, and yep, even salads, though some of the tougher greens would need to be massaged and/or marinated for salad purposes.

Mache (or Lamb's Lettuce)
Swiss Chard
Rainbow Chard
Red Leaf Lettuce
Green Leaf Lettuce
Turnip Greens
Mustard Greens
Bok Choy
Beet Greens
Dandelion Greens
Basil, Cilantro, and other Herbs

Search your local produce section or farmer's market and see what greens you can find to mix it up a bit.


BTW- My 11 year old daughter and I went to the doctor together today, and the nurse was surprised to find that our blood pressure measurements were within a few points of each other. Thank you, raw food!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Giving Thanks

So grateful for my health, my wholeness, my life, my place as a friend, partner and mother. Thank you for my daughters, healthy and hale, the Lovely Boyfriend Avery, and every friend I've made, past and present, near and far. Thank you for the depth and breadth and strength of my family. Thank you for a new chance to do better and be better each day, for the large leaf magnolia I discovered this afternoon, and for every passing dog, small child, teenager, or elderly couple that made me smile in the park. For the joyful wedding rehearsal under the gazebo and the opportunity to witness it, thank you. Thank you for your goodness, your mercy, and your grace.

A pick-up truck rear-ending you on the freeway . . . not good, but not so bad when you walk away and still have all of the above.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Luck on My Side

Last Thursday I opened my mailbox to discover a package from Philip at Loving Raw. I won a jar of Better Than Roasted Almond Butter from his recent give-away. Thanks, Philip!

Some things I love to do with raw almond butter:
  • spread it on Breakfast Crusts and top with fresh fruit
  • blend 1-2 Tbsp with 1 cup water and a couple of dates for a quick almond milk
  • make a thai-inspired sauce for pad thai (with kelp noodles, these days)
  • create dips and dressings
  • sneak a spoonful
I'd love to save this little jar of deliciousness for after my juice feast, but my daughter, Melina, comes home from college this weekend, and I doubt the almond butter will survive her first week in the house.

If you're not familiar with Philip's story, you should know he lost over 215 pounds after going raw, and has maintained a healthy weight for some years now. He's also done a 100 day juice feast. And his girlfriend, Heather, posts some of the best looking raw food on the web. Check them out.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Four Course Dinner in the Raw

Last Friday was the eve of my juice feast. (I'm getting a separate blog organized to document that.) As luck would have it, we also had our friend, Germaine, visiting from L.A., and she's dabbling in raw food these days. The Lovely Boyfriend and I decided we should go all out to provide her a delicious meal on the road, and to kick off my feast.

We set the table on the deck, brought out the organic wines, and spent the evening under the stars. (Apologies to any neighbors we kept up with our late night talk and laughter.) It was such a great meal!

What better to start with than red pepper soup? With the cost of organic peppers, we haven't been able to indulge very often, so we were happy to share this simple blend of raw red peppers with seeds, miso, olive oil, sea salt and white pepper.

No meal is complete without something leafy and green. We made our version of this raw Ranch dressing, and topped the mix of veggies with raw eggplant bacon.

Most folks who are sort of new to raw foods tend to go for things with familiar names and flavors, so we chose the raw lasagna from Matt Amsden's Rawvolution. Never content with what's on the page, we tripled or quadrupled the amount of mushrooms and played with the seasonings. So good!

Avery was kind enough to whip up the dessert while I went to hear Dr. Joel Fuhrman speak at a free lecture on Friday afternoon. He chose Sarma's Strawberry Tarts, from Carol Alt's second raw food book, The Raw 50. We hadn't tried them before, but we'll absolutely be having them again! So good! I could only watch Ave have a leftover tart for breakfast the next morning while I drank my juice. No sympathy--he sat right next to me and devoured it! (No worries, Ave.)

Much to our delight, Germaine enjoyed the meal from start to finish. I was thrilled to learn that she's signed up for a raw food delivery service, and will be receiving weekly prepared meals. Go, Germaine!

This was the kind of meal we could serve to our friends who have no concept of raw. You know the ones. They call us the tofu-eaters, but they would love all of this. No tofu involved.

P.S. Day 4, and I'm loving my juice feast!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Monster for Kids


My eleven year old and I went to a local festival, sort of a pre-Cinco de Mayo celebration in downtown Atlanta. The live band was cool, but we were a little disappointed with the other offerings. There were only a few activities for the kids. The whole event seemed to be about the corporate sponsors giving away cheap trinkets, or the opportunity to win cheap trinkets, in exchange for names, addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers.

We did a quick perusal of the grounds and noticed a long line forming. There were people of every age waiting patiently for something we thought must be good. We walked the length of over 100 people to check it out.

Monster. The energy drink. That's what people stood in line for on a hot humid day. We watched kids as young as 5 and 6 years old walking away from the stand with their little hands wrapped around sweaty cans of that brew. They and their parents sipped happily.

Here's what's in the can:

Carbonated Water, Sucrose, Glucose, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Taurine, Sodium Citrate, Color Added, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, L-Carnitine, Caffeine, Sorbic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Niacinamide, Sodium Chloride, Glucuronolactone, Inositol, Guarana Seed Extract, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Sucralose, Riboflavin, Maltodextrin, Cyanocobalamin.