Friday, August 31, 2007

Breaking Up with Joe (Part II)

The problem that I have with coffee is twofold. One, it's starting to be an addiction, punishing me with headaches when I don't have at least a cup each day. Two, while the health benefits or detriments of coffee are still up for debate, there's no question that the things I dump in it to mellow the taste are not good for me.

So yesterday my daughter and I went to Teavana, where I purchased a pot with cups and 4 tins of various teas. I know what you're thinking. Tea isn't any more raw than coffee. That's true, and that's where my 90% Raw goal comes in. I can drink tea each day and still meet my goal.
The other benefits of switching to tea include:
1) the ability to taper off from caffeine
2) the various health benefits associated with different types of teas
3) the tiny cups (it takes 3 servings to equal one of my coffee mugs)
4) the varieties I selected can be enjoyed plain, or with the tiniest bit of raw honey (adding the honey after the tea cools)
I'm shooting to cut coffee back to just a couple of days a week. The tea service promises to be an elegant, relaxing way to do that.

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: 1/3 durian tart ( I wanted to like it, but no.)
Leftover Peace Pie
coffee (non-raw)
small handful of white mulberries
1cup of tea (non-raw)
1 glass of raw orange/lime/lemonade (recipe from Carol Alt's Raw 50)
** **
Snack:1/2 personal watermelon
5 fresh figs
Dinner: salad of spinach, red peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes & sundried tomatoes
Post-workout Snack: Raw Breakfast Crusts topped with slivers of raw cheese

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Good Mood Food Cafe

Today, Lovely Boyfriend and I lunched at Good Mood Food Cafe in Huntington Beach, CA. It's a smallish space, but didn't feel cramped, perhaps because there were only a few other diners in and out. We intentionally avoided the lunch hour. The server was nice, though not particularly forthcoming with menu suggestions.

Because they no longer serve their mushroom burger, we each had a nutburger--he on a sprouted wheat bagel, I on the cornbread crisps. It was messy, but tasty, and quite satisfying. We had no room left for dessert, so we purchased a couple to bring home. The thing is, while I'm sure the nut patty was largely responsible for keeping us satisfied for hours to come, it didn't really enhance the flavor of the sandwich for me. I think I'd have been just as happy with a veggie sandwich dressed with all their tasty condiments. On the other hand, Lovely Boyfriend said he sampled the burger itself and enjoyed the taste. Go figure.

We'll definitely go back. Good Mood Food is the closest largely Raw restaurant to our home and they have a wide menu we'd like to sample. There's a good chance those take-home desserts will be breakfast tomorrow.

Organic Hunza Mulberries

The wonderful mulberry. I can't recall on which blog I first read of these little treats, but the writer raved about them. The next time I made it to the market, I decided to pick up a bag. They're dried fruits, about the size of raisins. In fact, both of my daughters insist they taste just like raisins. But I don't like raisins, and I loved these tiny treasures! At $4.69 for a 4 ounce bag, I found myself rationing them out--a sprinkle in my breakfast granola, a small handful grabbed on my way out the door. Alas, I'm finishing the bag as I write this.

The wonderful mulberry: great flavor, high nutritional value.

Serving size: 1/3 cup

Fiber: 5 g

Protein: 4 g

Vitamin A: 2%

Vitamin C 180%

Calcium: 10%

Iron: 30%

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: Peace Crumble

I didn't have enough raw pecans, so I used walnuts and other raw nuts as well. I left the peel on some of the peaches and only used about 2/3 of the crumble as topping. It was still delish--just as tasty as prepared Raw desserts I've purchased, and no dehydrator required.
coffee (non-raw)

Snack: small handful of white mulberries
Lunch: Nutburger from Good Mood Food Cafe in Huntington Beach, CA

Snack: 1 heirloom tomato

Dinner: TBD

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: strawberries and blueberries topped with raw granola (which I must get a dehydrator to make for myself), a sprinkle of white mulberries and cinnamon banana mylk
2 fresh figs
1 cup coffee (non-raw)
Snack: small handful white mulberries
Lunch: 1/2 personal watermelon
Dinner: corn salad with minced jalapeno

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Today's Yummy Food

Today's yummy food didn't agree with me. It started off well with a smoothie of spinach, oranges and berries. We took Lovely Boyfriend's nephews and my daughters out to lunch to celebrate Younger Nephew's 12th birthday. I did okay with a big salad of mixed greens and tomatoes. Though it did have a couple of ounces of grilled salmon on it, I left off the cheese, croutons and cooked dressing. I also had a piece of a dinner roll and 2 spoonfuls of apple cobbler crust. By the time we arrived home, I had a stomach ache that lasted for hours! Oh well, I guess I need to give food combining some thought. The kids had fun though.

Smoothie for dinner and all was right.

Eat well!

Weight Loss

Three weeks at 90ish% Raw has led to a loss of 10 pounds of fat. (I've tracked my body fat percentage to be sure I'm not losing lean body mass.) This has been an enjoyable weight loss effort. The food has been delicious, and the only times I've felt deprived have been when I've faced cooked temptations. That's been alleviated by either indulging in something Raw and tasty or allowing myself a few bites of the cooked food. It's nice to fit into jeans I haven't been able to wear in a while. I still have a ways to go, but I trust that my body will settle on its ideal weight, if I continue to give it what it needs. How nice not to worry about what fad diet will be recycled next.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: smoothie blend of spinach, frozen wild blueberries and an orange

Snack: coffee (non-raw)
1 date

Snack: 1 ounce raw mixed nuts
1 fresh fig (I'd never tasted them before. My 16 year old daughter and I both loved it!)

Lunch: repeat of the breakfast smoothie with strawberries added
1/2 personal watermelon
a few currants
Snack: shake made with banana, and raw cacao (It wasn't great. I have to figure out something to do with this bag of cacao, although I'm remembering that I'm not a huge fan of chocolate.)
Dinner: red cabbage wraps filled with sesame seed pate (not a perfected recipe) and tomatoes

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Closet Raw Foodie

Ever feel like the people to whom you're supposed to be the closest don't really know you? Most of the people in my life have no idea I'm interested in Raw Foods, much less that I'm striving for a 90% Raw diet. I shrink a little every time my boyfriend or my daughters mention it to someone, and though this blog is public, it's purposely anonymous. I've not asked them to refrain from telling people about it, but I don't encourage it.

Why don't I share my blog with most of my family and friends? I don't feel like hearing how extreme Raw Food is or how they love their SAD food too much to give it up, especially from those who already have diabetes or high blood pressure or serious weight issues. I don't want to hear how they need their daily cocktails, even though drinks leave them drained and prone to insomnia. I don't feel like explaining that I eat more than bean sprouts and grass. I don't want to be monitored and jumped on whenever I eat something cooked.

I want to grow herbs and veggies in pots and put fruit trees in our atrium. I want to move into a cottage walking distance from the beach. I'm desperate to go on a silent retreat, if I could just find the place and time. I'm happier and nicer when I meditate consistently. The Free Hugs video makes me happy and hopeful. I'll join a food co-op as soon as I can find one in my area. If I could, I'd wear long skirts or sundresses every day and grow my hair out long and wild and spend all day reading novels or working on my own fiction. I couldn't care less about what's new and trendy.

Who knew these things about me? Not many people.

Today's Yummy Food

Today we attended the baptism of our friends' son. (He's a rising 8th grader, so I guess that makes him about 13 years old.) The church campus has an outdoor baptismal pool, and as we watched Nolan and two other church members wade in the water, fat raindrops provided an impromptu communal baptism. This being Southern California, not many of us had umbrellas, but in the spirit of the day, everyone received the shower with good cheer.

Nolan's family provided a celebratory post-church cookout (that's Black/Southern for barbecue). New friends and old gathered to celebrate the occasion. Nolan's father is a wonderful cook and the spread he laid out was substantial.

This time, I have no sense of guilt for the cooked food I had, because this wasn't the beginning of a spiral back into unhealthy eating. Tomorrow I'll be back to enjoying Raw Foods and the benefits they provide. That's something to look forward to.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Breaking Up with Joe

Ever tried to quit something that had a hold on you? Normally, I can drink coffee off and on without missing it when I don't have it. Since going 90ish% Raw 3 weeks ago, I've had a cheat cup of coffee most days. Today, in a rush to get out on the hiking trail, I skipped my morning joe.
By early afternoon, a consistent, piercing pain drilled through the left side of my forehead. A brief nap failed to alleviate the problem, and after dinner I began to suspect caffeine withdrawal. Lovely Boyfriend was kind enough to brew a small pot of coffee, and within 20 minutes the pain subsided.
Yikes! I have a physical addiction. Could the drink be having a more significant effect on my system since I've switched to mostly Raw Foods? Seems so. I need a detox strategy.

Dessert for Breakfast

Earth cafe's peach passion peace pie served as a decadent component of today's breakfast. Both my boyfriend and I were pleased with the taste and texture of this raw dessert. The pie filling was creamy and not excessively sweet. The crust was firm and flavorful. What a treat for breakfast!

Ingredients: fresh peaches, soaked cashews, coconut, agave, soaked pecans, soaked walnuts, vanilla bean, cinnamon, lecithin, sea salt. All organic.

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: fruit salad of mango, kiwi and strawberries

1/2 slice of peach passion peach pie from earth cafe

Snack: 1/2 Smart Monkey Sesame bar (I didn't love this, but we were hiking with the kids and it was snack time. They had the thrill of crossing paths with a baby rattlesnake! )

smoothie: spinach, strawberries, blueberries and honey

Snack: 1/2 personal watermelon

Dinner: More dolmas + 2 dates
1 cup coffee (cheat)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Today's Yummy Food

An odd day. I tried several foods that didn't work for me. The leftover dolmas made an excellent breakfast. I sipped my usual cheat cup of coffee, then had romaine wraps filled with fresh guac, green and yellow peppers, broccoli and tomatoes for lunch. For an afternoon snack, I attempted a raw chocolate shake. It was much too sweet, and most of it went down the drain. 6 or 7 dried plums fueled me through an afternoon workout. For dinner I tasted sea vegetables, which, I must say should probably remain in the sea. Unfortunately, I'd already contaminated my kelp noodles with that dreadful vegetation and all was tossed. I finished my evening with a smoothie of coconut milk, pineapples and mango.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Today's Yummy Food

Beautiful day at the beach with the kids!

Breakfast: 1/2 personal watermelon
1 cup coffee (cheat)
Snack: 2 handfuls cherries
Lunch: Raw Pad Thai Salad
Dinner: Mediterranean Dolmas (substituted currants for raisins and thyme for dill) These were a little rich and quite filling.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cheer Up!

Free Hugs video will brighten your day!

Habitat For Humanity

Yesterday I accompanied my sixteen year old daughter and her friend from school on a build for Habitat for Humanity. They're girlie-girls to an extent, but also athletes on the track team. They have pretty cushy lives, and though I wouldn't say they seek it out, they aren't afraid of hard work.

And hard work it was. Because we were the least skilled laborers to show up for the day, we were sent to a site where the concrete hadn't yet been poured for the four homes that will be built there. Our first task was to move a large pile of bricks onto a pallet. We quickly sorted ourselves into a routine to handle the job efficiently.

We were next assigned to shovel and spread sand all over the soon-to-be garage areas until it was x inches deep. If you haven't picked up a shovel in a while, let me remind you: they're heavy even before they're filled with sand. By the time we were halfway done, it was 97 degrees. There was no shade and the girls were starting to flag. I was glad to have the energy to keep going, although I'd barely slept 4 hours the previous night.

I was proud of the girls. They voiced a few complaints, mostly through their laughter, but they completed the job. With any luck on the next build, the heaviest thing they'll have to lift will be a hammer.

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: 1/2 personal watermelon
1/2 cup coffee (cheat)

Snack: handful of dried figs

Lunch: Spicy Mango Slaw

Snack: Smoothie
1/2 cup spinach
1 cup blueberries
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 orange
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp agave (the frozen berries weren't very sweet)

Dinner: More corn chowder!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: microgreens salad with tomatoes, red and yellow peppers and broccoli

Snack: 1 Larabar

Lunch: 8-10 dried figs, 5 dried apricots, a few raw almonds
(This is a MAJOR cheat, and I don't even like the stuff. We were on a Habitat for Humanity build. It was 97 degrees outside and we were out of water!)

Snack: 1/2 personal watermelon

Dinner: Corn Chowder (added a little honey and cinnamon)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: 1/2 banana, handful of strawberries, handful of blueberries topped with almond milk and raw granola

1 cup coffee (cheat)

Snack: Detox Shock (from Mother's Market) wheatgrass, apple juice, ginger and lemon
Lunch: corn salad on a bed of spinach
Snack: 1/4 personal watermelon
Dinner: romaine wrap filled with broccoli, cauliflower, salsa, guac and red onions
Dessert: 4 figs

Raw Reverses Diabetes Video

I just added the trailer for Raw for 30 Days, the documentary which follows six participants who reverse their insulin-dependent diabetes by following a Raw Food plan for 30 days. It appears on the left side of this blog page, just below the Raw Food World Summit video. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Thai-Inspired Salad Recipe

Spicy Mango Slaw

1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
1/4 purple cabbage, shredded
1 ripe mango, cut into small strips
4-6 green onions, cut chopped into small pieces
handful of chopped cilantro
ground red pepper to taste (or diced jalapeno pepper)
2 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lime
sea salt taste

Mix all ingredients except cilantro. Refrigerate for an hour or two to allow flavors to blend. Add cilantro and serve.
I wanted to post a picture, but I don't have my camera. Next time!

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: Raw Chai Tea ( I want to post a recipe for this, but I haven't quite gotten it right yet.)
1 slice Ezekiel bread (cheat) w/coconut oil & raw honey

Snack: 2 tbsp soaked flax seeds

Detox juice: cucumber, beet and carrot + 1 shot wheatgrass

Lunch: Corn Chowder (I was in the mood for a sweet so I added 2 tsp raw honey & a few shakes cinnamon.)
the last 5 cherries

Dinner: Spicy Mango Slaw

Dessert: 5 prunes

Raw Food Reverses Diabetes

Somehow, link by link, I ran into a trailer for a documentary-in-the-making called Raw for 30 Days. The film follows several diabetics who live in a medically supervised retreat and follow a raw food diet for 30 days. For those who stick with it, excess pounds of fat fall away, insulin dependence is no more and the disease that once controlled their lives is no longer an issue for them. It's not an easy journey, and not everyone makes it, but the results are remarkable. Haven't figured out how to get the video formated on my blog yet. Until I do, here's the link.
Raw for 30 Days

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Cooked Cravings

Saturday would normally be a food splurge day for me. The kids are probably having pizza--that's cooked pizza--for dinner tonight, and I want a slice too! Yet I'm terrified that pizza will be my gateway food, opening the door for pasta and croissants and bagels and who-knows-what-else. And will that one slice of pizza disrupt all the gains I've made over the last 2 weeks?

Today's Yummy Food (Sat., Aug 18th)

Breakfast: 1/2 banana, strawberries and blueberries, drizzled with honey and topped with raw granola

Snack: 2 handfuls cherries, 1 date, 2 figs

Lunch: Curried Collard Green Salad

Dinner: Spinach salad: spinach, mushrooms, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, garlic, lots of spices
3 bites of a cooked sandwich (MAJOR cheat) :-(
3 tater tots (MAJOR cheat)

As much as I thought I wanted that MAJOR cheat at the end of the day, I was disappointed. They weren't satisfying. The 1st bite was an interesting reminder of a different texture, but after that I started thinking, why am I eating this when I know it's not good for me? Then I spend the next hour or so trying to self-analyze. Duh! This is supposed to be about what I'm privileged to enjoy, in terms of foods, tastes, textures, health and energy, not about deprivation.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Toss those D*mn Starbursts

I can never remember the name of that fake sugar our bodies can't process for energy and so must store as fat. Today I needed that name, so I asked my daughter to grab one of the bags of candy her grandpa had given her on a recent visit and read me the ingredients. I was sure Twizzlers would have it, but to my surprise that turned out to not be the case.

She grabbed the happy-yellow bag of Starbursts donated by the aforementioned, indulgent grandpa. Lo and behold, after the 1st two sugar ingredients, the 3rd ingredient is HYDROGENATED PALM KERNEL OIL. For those who don't know: that's TRANSFAT, people! You know, the stuff that raises bad cholesterol, helps plaque build-up in arteries and sets us up for future heart attacks.

On the package, Starburst lists the amount of Trans Fat as 0g. They're allowed to do that as long as each serving contains less than .5g of those life-shortening oils. But kids can eat a lot of little candies, not to mention all the fried foods, cookies, crackers, chips, pastries and snacks that have 0g Trans Fat in this formula where 0=.4 or less.

Do yourselves and your kids a favor. Toss anything with the words "Hydrogenated" or "Partially Hydrogenated" or "Shortening" listed in the ingredients. Toss the Starbursts. I did. Sorry, Dad.

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: 1 handful cherries
1/2 personal watermelon
1 cup coffee (cheat)

Snack: 16 oz juice: beet, cucumber, carrot, wheat grass

Lunch: Corn Salad, to which I added cilantro, jalapeno and a dash of olive oil
1/2 serving German Chocolate ice cream

Snack: 1 slice Ezekiel bread (cheat) with raw honey & coconut oil
Raw Chai Tea

Dinner: Raw Pad Thai

Thursday, August 16, 2007

What I Ate Today

Breakfast: Raw Pad Thai Salad
1 cup coffee (cheat)
Snack:1/4 personal watermelon
3 prunes
Lunch:1/2 cucumber
1/2 green pepper
Indian Spinach Dip (doubled all the spices for extra kick!)
Dinner: blueberries, strawberries, almond milk and raw granola

Raw Ice Cream!

German Chocolate ice cream
2 servings
This is the first raw dessert recipe I’ve created! I started with an existing recipe for Easy Chocolate Pudding. It’s better than the German-chokolatekake® ice cream I used to get at Cold Stone, and so much better for me!

1 avocado
½ tsp alcohol-free vanilla
1 tbsp raw cacao (add more to taste, but a little goes a long way)
2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
2 tbsp raw agave syrup
8 dates pitted (add more or less to taste)
¼ cup chopped raw walnuts
1 tbsp shredded coconut

Process all ingredients except nuts and coconuts until smooth. Stir in nuts and coconuts. Freeze in 2 small cups or bowls until solid. Drizzle with raw agave syrup. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What I Ate Today

a handful of grapes
1 banana with strawberries, blueberries, raw granola and almond milk
1/2 cup coffee (cheat)
1 date
a handful of cherries
Corn Salad over baby spinach
2 french fries (cheat) They weren't floppy or I might've eaten more!
2 small pieces salmon jerky (cheat)
About 1/3 cup of Raw Chocolate Pudding

Crazy Raw Foodie?

Today my baby sister told me, with all due kindness, I'm crazy for doing "this Raw Food thing." Maybe so, but it works for me.

More than 65% of adults in this country (almost 130 million people) are considered overweight or obese. African-American women, sadly, have arrived at the point where almost 50% of us are obese--not just overweight, obese.

For 2 long and heavy years of my life, I fit neatly into that category. I carried over 175 lbs. on my 5'4" frame. I wasn't happy about it. Who could be happy about their wide hips accidentally bumping into chairs and brushing against walls? It was humilating. I worked hard to shed the excess fat, and now I'm usually in what is considered to be a healthy weight range. Even so, I know I'm not as fit as I should be, and that's a big part of why I've returned to Raw Foods.

We all know the risks associated with overweight and obesity: increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritic knees, back problems, disrupted fertility, certain cancers and other conditions that drain the fun out of life and often cut that same life short. I'm not going out like that, not setting my kids up for it either.

Everyone should choose their own way of eating, not based on what we knew growing up, not based on the latest fad diet promoted on Oprah nor on what we read on various blogs as the Secret to Celebrity Slimdowns. Do your research and make your own decisions. Choose to eat well. And cooked or raw, eat your fruits and veggies.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What I Ate Today

Below is an example of an almost-raw day for me.
It doesn't seem like a lot of food, but it was very satisfying--no moments of feeling like I might kill someone if I don't eat soon. My hunger seems very mild between meals, and easily quelled, when I'm consuming mostly raw foods.
1 banana, strawberries and blueberries, topped with almond milk and raw granola from Kookie Karma
2 dates
coffee (my cheat)
Curried Collard Green salad
banana-corn porridge (much better than it sounds!)
1 roma tomato
micro-greens salad with avocado and tomato
1 date shake

Gotta Have Them Collard Greens

Never thought I'd be eating greens without simmering them with ham or some smoked turkey wings.

Here's my modified version of Curried Collard Green Salad. The original recipe was found on the Gone Raw site.

Curried Collard Green Salad
1 green onion, chopped
1 small vine tomato, chopped
Corn cut fresh from 1 cob
1/2 - 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, diced
1/3 - 1/2 avocado
6 large collard green leaves, deveined
fresh black pepper, salt, curry powder, and lime to taste
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar

What to do
Chop the greens into small pieces, about an inch or so in size.
Mix in seasonings, lime, olive oil and vinegar.
Let marinate for a couple of hours or longer (otherwise they may taste too bitter/strong).
Top with other fresh ingredients.
Mix together and enjoy.

New Restaurant in Richmond VA

A raw restaurant has opened in my hometown. I'm not sure if there are other raw restaurants in the Richmond area, but now we have Alive and Raw. I haven't tried it, but I did read a good review by a member of Gone Raw. The restaurant offers catering, to-go orders and workshops on preparing raw recipes. Even if you prefer the standard-southern-black folks cuisine (which we all know is delicious but artery clogging) it's nice to have a healthy option! The photo of the raw wedding cake is from their site.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Good News!

After one week at 90ish% raw the scale shows 5 lbs. less!

Raw Disappointment

All during my jog this morning, I looked forward to the raw cinnamon roll that awaited me back in my kitchen. Oh the disappointment! Perhaps this batch of Leaf Cuisine's Sinless Cinnamon Rolls was an aberration, but at $6.29 for 2 tiny rolls I don't expect blandness punctuated with bitterness. Iate a date to get the taste out of my mouth.

I've had raw cinnamon rolls from another place, and I remember them as sweet and gooey. I'll try Leaf Cuisine's products again, but not this one.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Raw at the local buffet

After attending the dedication ceremony of our friends' beautiful daughter, Milan, we hit a local chain hotel to enjoy the buffet and the company of the baby girl and her family. Although the salad fixings were limited, there was plenty of fresh fruit. Stupid me! It wasn't until after I'd eaten that I realized I should've stopped by the omelet bar. They have plenty of raw vegetables that they use to fill the omelets. Next time!
All in all, a wonderful morning with wonderful people.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Raw Food Defined

A few people have asked me what exactly Raw Food means. For me it means uncooked fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, along with extra-virgin, cold-pressed oils, and a bit of raw honey and raw cacao. Today I even had sashimi (raw tuna). Many raw aficionados are vegan... or vegan and organic... or eat raw meat or raw sprouted grains.

At first glance it may seem that all I'll have to eat is salad, but I've been fortunate in finding 100s of recipes for raw dishes. I've yet to try Raw Chocolate Pudding, but if it's as good as Raw Peach Cobbler, I'll be happy. For lunch yesterday, my raw pesto was poured over raw zucchini shavings, rather than flour-based pasta--quite satisfying.

Right now, I'm striving for 90% of my meals made up of Raw Food. Today's menu:

Breakfast: watermelon
1/2 cup coffee

Lunch: grapes
an apple

Snack: 1/2 slice Ezekiel bread w/ coconut butter & raw honey
1 date shake (dates blended with almond milk) Addicting!

Dinner:Raw ratatouille (zucchini, eggplant, raw tomato sauce)

It doesn't seem like a lot of food compared to what I'd usually eat, but I haven't been hungry and my energy has been good. And that's after spending a full day on a Deconstruction project with Habitat for Humanity!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Cheating on the Raw

1 cup coffee
1 slice Ezekiel bread
About 1 ounce smoked salmon
1/2 slice pizza

It was all tasty enough, but no more so than the raw concoctions we've been whipping up. Are they still cheats if my goal is 90% raw and I'm meeting that goal?

Kelp Noodles

Sounds delish, huh? We recently tried Purely Pad Thai from a certified organic, vegan, raw restaurant in Los Angeles called Leaf Cuisine. I picked up the take-out meal in my local Mother's Market. Intrigued by the idea of raw noodles, I read the list of ingredients.

INGREDIENTS: kelp noodles, yellow squash, red pepper, brazil nuts, cashews, wild jungle peanuts, coconut water, sesame oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, cilantro, agave, dates, and sea salt

Kelp noodles?!?! Apparently, if you strip off the green outer layer of kelp, you're left with clear, neutral tasting, noodle-like innards. I passed by the raw pad thai a few times, then decided to go back for it. At $6 and change for 1 entree, I was hesitant to experiment, but I went for it.

Bravo, Leaf Cuisine! My semi-vegetarian daughter loved it, as did I. My daring boyfriend described it as "different and interesting" and said he'd be willing to have it again. Unfortunately, my 8 year old daughter has nut allergies, so it's difficult to find prepared raw foods she can enjoy with us. All in all, it was a successful experiment. Here's the link for a picture of the meal.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Raw Pad Thai Salad Recipe

Here's a new recipe I tried for lunch today. It's so yummy, even cooked food eaters should love it! My sixteen year old daughter and my well-past-16 year old boyfriend both enjoyed it. (Ours is a Latina/African-American family, so needless to say there are some less than healthy culinary leanings.) I didn't have any nuts, so I mixed the dressing in a separate bowl and blended in some raw almond butter. It was heavy on the lime flavor, so I added extra oil, as well as a splash of water so it would pour more easily.
Here's the link:

Easy Raw Pad Thai Salad by Jolinda Hackett

2 zucchinis, sliced into strips with a vegetable peeler
2 large handfuls of bean sprouts, approx 2 cups
3/4 cup chopped nuts (use almonds, peanuts or cashews)
1 red or yellow bell pepper, sliced into strips
4 green onions, diced
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
juice from one lime
1 tablespoon raw olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
Toss all ingredients together in a bowl until well coated. Add a dash more salt if desired and enjoy!

Rediscovering Raw

I've done the raw food thing before. The longest I lasted was just over a month at about 99% raw. I loved it. The excess weight was dropping off at about a pound a day (working out for an hour each day), my skin glowed, I had a tremendous amount of energy and needed much less sleep. I was fortunate enough to avoid the whole detox period the various books and websites warn about.

So if it was all so wonderful, why'd I go back to an almost completely cooked diet? Simply put, it was easier. My then-husband liked to dine out a lot and wasn't really big on the whole idea of raw food. Social situations were tough, but the biggest obstacle was shopping for food. I found myself going to three different grocery stores to get everything I wanted and liked in the raw food category, while keeping my family happy. I slowly added in brown basmati rice, grilled fish and roasted vegetables. Then it was coffee and the infrequent glass of wine. Before I knew it, I was back to a slightly healthier version of the Standard American Diet.

This time I'm shooting for 90%. I've cut way back on coffee, but not given it up completely. Alcohol is out, at least through September when I'll evaluate everything. If I have bread, it's sprouted grain but not technically raw. I've found lots more recipes, so we shouldn't get bored. I think that'll be important in keeping my boyfriend on this journey with me. The kids are happy as long as the food's yummy. It's been about three days, and of course the grown ups are already dropping the fat.