Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: Raw Apple pie
Made this with the usual date-nut-flax seed crust. Chopped 3 honey crisp apples with agave, cinnamon, juice of 1/4 lime and a capful of alcohol-free vanilla.
1 cup coffee (non-raw, half-decaf)

Lunch: huge salad of red leaf lettuce, carrots, celery, tomatoes, red peppers, cucumbers, onions and mushrooms, topped with Raw Warm Currant dressing

Snack: smoothie of strawberries, pineapple, coconut water, dates & spinach

Dinner: apples, raw cheeze

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Strawberry Shortcake

Here's the photo I promised for Strawberry Shortcake.

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: Raw cereal of dates, walnuts and apples, topped with banana mylk
1 cup coffee (1/2 decaf)
Lunch: Raw tacos Lovely Boyfriend prepared these romaine leaves filled with a blend of sun-dried tomatoes, onions and avocado. We agreed that the recipe, from Carol Alt's book, needs tweaking.

Snack: Raw cheese

Dinner: Salad of spinach topped with tomatoes, a small spoonful of roasted veggies and Raw Warm Currant Dressing

The roasted veggies keep coming up because of all the winter vegetables in my weekly CSA basket. The family wants roasted squash and zucchini and onions, but I want to stick to mostly Raw food (for myself). Even though I sometimes use these things raw in salads and Raw recipes, I don't use enough of them, and I can't stand the idea that they'll go bad and be thrown away. Argh!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: Raw apple pie with date-nut topping
1 cup coffee
Although I don't think my coffee drinking is a huge problem, I don't care for the physical withdrawal symptoms (horrible headaches) I get when I skip the morning beverage. Lovely Boyfriend has kindly agreed to prepare it with 1/2 decaf, so I can start to wean myself from dependence and just enjoy a cup when I feel like it.

Snack: 1/2 bottle kombucha

Lunch: salad of mixed greens, celery, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkin seeds, avocado and Warm Currant Dressing

Snack: 1/2 bottle kombucha

Dinner: 1 ambrosia apple
I'd never had this particular apple before, but it was pretty good--nice and crisp, though not as sweet as I'd hoped. The honey crisp apples, which I normally love, have been pretty bland around here.
a bit of raw cheese

Through Thick and Thin

The majority of African-Americans and Latinos in this country have generally allowed for a standard of beauty which says that a woman doesn't have to be stick-thin to be beautiful. Feminine curves have been appreciated by these groups, while the larger American culture screams from the front pages of magazines, from the casting of televisions shows and commercials and from movie star-studded red carpets, that a woman can never be too skinny.

You think those models and actresses look thin on television? You should see them in person. I've seen TV stars on stage and been repulsed by the knobs of their spines or the sharp angles of their collar bones sticking out. It would be one thing if these were their natural shapes, but some of these same actresses have complained that they have to choose between eating and working.

Sometimes Black or Latina or other women choose to embrace a standard of beauty that allows them to avoid endless dieting, hours in the gym everyday, and constant "do I look fat in this" worries. Sometimes we take it too far and insist there is beauty in a physical standard that's clearly unhealthy, and that kind of thinking desperately needs to be corrected. But so too does the standard that says we should live off of coffee and cigarettes, implant bags of silicone in our breasts, and inject ourselves with toxins in order to be beautiful. Let's be real. It's not only possible, but all too common to be too thick or too thin.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Air We Breathe

All week we've been breathing in smoke and ash as wild fires rage around us. Local schools closed down and canceled football games because of poor air quality. Joggers took their workouts inside to treadmills. Parents nixed their kids usual outside play, and our mailman wore a protective mask on his route.

We're located between Irvine and San Diego, two sites of this week's major wildfires. Though we could see flames from the hilltops, our own neighborhood was never in danger. Naturally, we're reminded how fortunate we are when we see the number of homes destroyed climb over 1,000 and even worse, the number of directly related deaths at 7.

After we make our donations to the Red Cross or drop off an air mattress for the evacuation center, our thoughts turn to our own homes and families. Those of us who don't have personal air filters worry about our kids complaints of headaches and sore throats, then convince ourselves that there won't be any long-term effect, all while studying the hazy sky for some sign it might clear up soon. Where are those high winds when we need them to dissipate the clouds of smoke and ash that hang over us?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: Raw cereal of chopped almonds, pecans and dates, topped with banana mylk
1 cup coffee (non-raw) with almond milk

Lunch: Sea weed chowder with marinated & dehydrated mushrooms

Snack: 1 large Raw apple-currant cookie

Dinner: 1 huge salad of mixed greens, topped with sea weed, pickled ginger and ahi

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Breaking up with Joe - The Saga Continues

Yesterday, I had tea instead of coffee. This was an easy sacrifice to make, because Lovely Boyfriend was out of the house by 6 in the morning, and I'm clueless with the coffee pot. I didn't miss the stuff, until late evening. That's when a tiny drill began boring its way through my forehead, pierced my right eye and made it's way down the side of my head to my tongue and jaw.

This morning, I awakened to find the pain hadn't subsided even the slightest bit. I went for my morning walk/jog with my friend and came home ready to hit the weights. At least, my mind was ready. My body said, h*ll no! I hit the shower instead, then tried to wait patiently as Lovely Boyfriend finished his workout. When he came into the kitchen to brew a pot of the black stuff, I tried to play it cool, preparing breakfast rather than shoving him aside, coffee mug in hand.

Yes, I am that pathetic. After about a half cup, my headache was completely gone. It's seriously annoying to be a slave to anything, much less something I'm paying good money to consume. Some people, like Kristen from Kristen's Raw, have been kind enough to give me their strategies for breaking the habit. Looks like its time I put some of them into action.

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: Raw granola topped with strawberries, dates & banana mylk
2 cups coffee (non-raw) Egads! That's double the normal amount I drink!

Snack: a bit of Raw breakfast crust with Raw honey

Lunch: a huge salad of mixed greens, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots & pumpkin seeds, topped with Warm Currant Dressing

Snack #1: Raw cookie dough from the apple-cinnamon-currant-seed cookies Wonder Girl, Lovely Boyfriend and I made today. These are supposed to take around 24 hours to dehydrate. The mix itself was so delicious, WG and I ate quite a bit of it from the bowl. Can't wait to taste the finished product.

Snack #2: a smoothie of spinach, ground flax seeds, strawberries, blueberries and oranges

Dinner: a medley of roasted squash, zucchini, potatoes, onions and garlic
Yes, I'm afraid dinner was cooked tonight.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: 1 honey crisp apple, 1 orange
1 cup herbal tea It has half the caffeine of coffee. Let cool & sweeten with raw agave.

Lunch: Raw cereal of chopped dates, pecans and apples, topped with banana mylk

Snack: salad of mixed greens, carrots, cukes, red peppers & pumpkin seeds, topped with Warm Currant Dressing

Dinner: 5 dried figs
1 large piece Raw Breakfast Crust with Raw honey & coconut oil

Monday, October 22, 2007

Today's Yummy Food

Pre-workout Snack: 1 tomato

Breakfast: Raw pear pie
This is basically the peach cobbler recipe made with pears.

Lunch: salad of mixed greens, yellow tomatoes, cukes & red onions, topped with Warm Currant Dressing

Dinner: Raw meatloaf with a salad of mixed greens topped with a spoonful of green beans (the beans were sauteed with onions & garlic)and Raw Warm Currant Dressing

Dessert: 2 dates
1 cup coffee (non-raw)

Post-workout snack: 1 orange

Saturday, October 20, 2007

1 in 6 Black Women Morbidly Obese

"While we're all generally getting fatter, the real burden of morbid obesity is falling disproportionately on one group of Americans: black women. According to a 2002 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), women in general are about twice as likely as men to be morbidly obese, but a sobering 1 in 6 Black women is that overweight--"
--from microtrends, the small forces beind tomorrow's big changes , by Mark J. Penn, with E. Kinney Zalesne (emphasis mine)

My sistahs deserve better. While I've always appreciated and benefited from the African-American cultural admiration of the classic coke-bottle figure, as a group we've gone way beyond that. This is no longer about a subjective standard of beauty. This is our health and happiness we're risking. We are the fattest group of people in one of the fattest countries on the planet, and we have black female celebrities telling us to embrace our obesity. Am I the only one who thinks that's crazy?

Should we embrace being out of breath from a walk around the block? Should we embrace avoiding stairs because our knees ache from carrying the extra bulk? Should we embrace a future tainted by diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and depression?

How surprised I was to look at a BMI chart and find out I qualified as obese! At just over 5'4" and 176 lbs (that's where I stopped weighing myself, but I'm pretty sure I added a couple after that), it seems ridiculous that the discovery could come as a shock. I knew I was fat. That was obvious, but I had never applied a medical term, like "obesity" to my state. Fortunately for me, I made the necessary changes, and the term no longer fits.

Looking around at social events, or at a local mall, or a predominantly black church, I can't help but notice it. We're outpacing everyone in growing wider. The good thing is, it's preventable and reversible. If you're in shape, reach out to someone who isn't. Invite them over for a healthy meal or out for a walk. Be the one who brings a delicious but healthy dish to the next family dinner. If you're a little out of shape, decide if you're satisfied, but if you're just plain fat, be real about it. Take a serious look at your habits and address the ones that got you there. Forget the fad diets and other extreme solutions, but seek out help if you don't know where to start.

Life is too short to spend it avoiding dressing room mirrors, so we don't have to face our hips and thighs, or crashing on the couch because getting up and doing something takes too much effort. Black women, believe me, you deserve better.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Better Than Strawberry Shortcake

3-4 Servings

Berry Mix
1 pint strawberries, cleaned and sliced
2 t coconut oil, liquid (optional)
4 T raw agave syrup
1 pinch salt
a dash or 2 of cinnamon

5-6 dried dates, pitted
1/2 cup pecans
1/8 cup ground flaxseed
1 T coconut oil (optional)
a few dashes cinnamon

Blend Berry Mix and set aside. In food processor, combine topping ingredients until crumbly. Spoon topping over berries and enjoy!

Since peaches are hard to find right now, I decided on this twist to the Peace Crumble I enjoy so much. I ate this one before I thought of taking a photo--maybe on the next round.

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: Strawberry Shortcake
1 cup coffee (non-raw)

Lunch: salad of lettuce, red peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery & sunflower seeds, topped with Warm Currant Dressing

Snack: 1 small piece Raw Breakfast Crust

Dinner: salad of mixed greens topped with ahi sashimi (Sorry, vegans! Not quite there!), seaweed & pickled ginger.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Warm Currant Dressing

1/2 cup water (use more if you want a thinner dressing)

1 cup olive oil

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar (I don't know if this is raw, but you could try subbing Raw Apple Cider Vinegar)

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper (non-raw, I'm pretty sure)

1/2 cup dried currants (soaked in water for about an hour, and drained)

2 cloves garlic

Blend all, except oil and water until smooth. Blend in oil. Add water as needed to thin dressing.

I wanted to make this recipe for Tangy Cranberry Balsamic Vinaigrette, but didn't have any cranberries. We ended up with this instead. It was slightly warm from the blender, but also had a nice warm flavor. It's quite creamy, which is a nice change from our usual oil & lemon juice dressing.

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: Raw Cereal of dates, walnuts and diced apples, topped with banana mylk
1 cup coffee (non-raw)
Lunch: salad of 2 types of lettuce, topped with celery, carrots, cauliflower, red onions & yellow cherry tomatoes
Warm Currant Dressing This was probably a perfect salad--tasty and crunchy. Lovely boyfriend put it together, while I made the dressing.
Dinner: 1 large spoonful of roasted squash & onions, on a bed of spinach with Raw Warm Currant Dressing

Monday, October 15, 2007

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: same as yesterday...Raw cereal of pecans, dates & raisins, processed to bits, topped with diced apple, sliced banana & banana mylk
This tastes a lot like caramel apples.
1 and 1/2 cups coffee (non-raw)

Lunch: Raw "meatloaf with mashed potatoes & gravy"

Snack: smoothie of spinach, banana, strawberries, blueberries & ground flaxseeds

Dinner: salad of spinach, tomatoes & pecans
4 bites of cooked sandwich

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: Raw cereal (dates, raisins, pecans processed to small pieces) topped with chopped apple, sliced banana & cinnamon banana mylk
This was based on a recipe from Slightly sweet & very satisfying.
1 cup coffee (non-raw)

Lunch & Dinner: Samples from undehydrated Raw "meatloaf & mashed potatoes"
We were using a recipe from Juliano's Raw UNcookbook, but the proportions were waaaaay off, so were spent a lot of time sampling & re-seasoning. The recipe supposedly serves 2, but we ended up with enough for at least 10 people, by the time we were done. It's incredible filling!

Dessert: 1/2 piece of Strawberry cheesecake from Earth Cafe
1/2 cup coffee (non-raw)
The cold weather's really interfering with my desire to cut back on the coffee.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: salad of spinach, carrots, yellow cherry tomatoes celery, cucumbers and avocado, drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice
3-4 sips of Wonder Girl's smoothie (spinach, ground flaxseeed, strawberries, blueberries & banana) This was WG's 1st attempt at making the smoothie herself. Simply delicious!

Snack #1: One half cantaloupe

Snack #2: coffee (non-raw)
Lunch: Raw Oaxac-Enchiladas
We spent the day in L.A., where a little market, erewhon, has lots of options for prepared Raw dishes. We picked this one up because we'd never tried this company's products. (In fact, I've never even heard of Oaxaca Raw, Living Foods by Sergio.)

The ingredients were mostly organic: coconut meat, almonds, walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, red & green leafs (no idea what that means), red & green cabbage, oregano, parsley, sundried red chiles, lemon juice, onions, avocado, sea salt, cinnamon, raisins, nama shoyu (which is NOT raw, BTW), sesame seeds and spices. I know. That's a looooong list of ingredients, but what are you gonna do? The tortilla was tasty on its own, and all the flavors blended well, but the meal just wasn't that memorable.

Dinner: 1/2 Raw burger with raw BBQ sauce (which I modified from a recipe in Juliano's UNcook book) and a side of heirloom tomatoes

Dessert: 1/2 apple cookie from Rawvolution and a few bites of Raw ice cream

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Best Day Ever!!!

According to Wonder Girl, the best day ever is today, her ninth birthday! A full day of celebrating has left her worn out. We went to the mall for an outfit (a rare treat, as I detest clothes shopping), played CashFlow for Kids a few times (great game for teaching financial principles to kids) and had her best friend, Erica, along with Fierce-as-in-Fabulous Teenager's friend, Kelsey, for dinner, dessert and present-opening.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: Peace Crumble
I'm sorry to be so repetitive, but this is just one of those dishes I have to eat until I burn out on it.
1 cup coffee (non-raw)

Lunch: kelp noodles topped with Raw tomato sauce and leftover marinated mushrooms
The mushrooms were even better after a few hours in the dehydrator.

Dinner: salad of spinach, carrots, radishes, cucumber, red peppers and celery, topped with olive oil and lemon juice
3-4 spoonfuls of Raw white chocolate macadamia nut ice cream

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


In every life, there are those days of significance that need to be celebrated or commemorated in some way. We recognize birthdays, of course. There's the day a new life makes us a parent, or perhaps the day we meet the one who'll be our life partner. Wedding anniversaries, business launches or promotions, high school and college graduations -- all of these deserve a moment's pause and appreciation from us. Today is such a day for this Raw Foodie. Today, I received my Excalibur 9-tray dehydrator via FedEx!

Muchisimas gracias to Lovely Boyfriend, who gifted me with the Excalibur! I know it's usually taboo for men to give their women appliances as gifts, but this is more than an appliance. This is the machine that opens the doors to many of the Raw recipes I've been wanting to try. This is the machine that will let me make a Raw meatloaf!

It's quite possible to be a Raw Foodie without a dehydrator, but I'm glad to be out of that camp. Today, Wonder Girl and I made zucchini chips (zukes sliced thin with a cheese slicer, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with a blend of seasonings). We only filled 3 trays, which was a big mistake, because WG, Fierce-as-in-Fabulous Teenager, and I loved them. I had to smack their hands away to save a sample for Lovely Boyfriend.

Now, if I can just squeeze a couple more hours into each day to try all the recipes I've collected.

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: acai bowl (Raw acai juice blended with banana and blueberries) topped with Raw granola, Raw cereal, mulberries, bananas and nectarine
1 cup coffee (non-raw)
Acai is a Brazilian berry, loaded with antioxidants, other phytonutrients, fiber and protein. You can buy it frozen and use it for smoothies or bowls. There are Raw versions and pasteurized versions available.

Lunch: Peace crumble Yes, again!
Snack: 1/2 personal watermelon

Dinner: 7-8 Raw rosemary quackers topped with Raw chili and a smear of Raw cheese
1 handful of zucchini chips
1 handful yellow cherry tomatoes

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Raw Pasta Sauce

I've been threatening to make a Raw pasta sauce for a while. Since I was getting a full basket of organic goodies from the CSA today, I figured it would be a good time to use up some of what I still had left from last week. Measurements may be approximate, since I was sort of winging it, but the end result was delicious.
Raw Pasta Sauce
3 dates, pitted
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked and drained
3 roma tomatoes
3-4 cloves garlic
a handful of fresh herbs of choice (I used basil)
water, started with 1 and 1/2 cups and continued adding until desired consistency
Process all in the food processor.
I intended to serve this over kelp noodles, but I had a couple of bags of zucchini to use. Wonder Girl, Fierce-as-in-Fabulous Teenager, Lovely Boyfriend and I really enjoyed this meal. It was even better with the marinated mushrooms for dinner.

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: smoothie of apples, spinach, dates and ground flaxseeds
1 cup coffee (non-raw)

Snack: a few pecans and 3 dates

Lunch: zucchini topped with raw pasta sauce

Snack: 2 flaxseed crackers with Raw chilli

Dinner: marinated mushrooms, mixed with leftover Raw pasta sauce, over spinach
Three cheers for raw! These were actually even better than the cooked mushrooms we tried last night, and we used a less fancy mushroom for this recipe!

Dessert: a few spoonfuls of Raw white chocolate/macadamia nut ice cream
more on this later

Monday, October 8, 2007

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: 1/2 personal watermelon

Snack: 3 dates and a few pecans
1 cup coffee (non-raw)

Lunch: 4 and 1/2 raw Rosemary quackers topped with sliced tomato, chopped red onion, and raw Chili

Dinner: spinach topped with mushrooms
I only had a small spoonful of the mushrooms, as they were sauteed. The thing is, I've always wanted to try chanterelle mushrooms, outside of a restaurant, and they had them for a quite reasonable price at Costco. I decided to get them out of my system. We all loved them!

Post-workout snack: a bit of raw cheese

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Cure for My Cravings

Before a two-faced craving sat on my left shoulder and whispered in my ear, today's yummy food was going well. For breakfast I enjoyed a Raw nectarine cobbler. Fierce-as-in-Fabulous Teenager and I had to drive into L.A. for a college open house, so we decided to treat ourselves to smoothies from our new favorite Raw restaurant, 118 Degrees, in Costa Mesa. She enjoyed a Merry Monkey, made of nut milk, banana, almond butter, cinnamon, vanilla and agave. I ordered a Chocolate Supreme: Raw cacao, cinnamon, banana, macadamia creme, agave, maca, super greens, hemp seeds and lucama--so many ingredients! Spur of the moment, we decided to sample the Sweet Bread with Almond Butter and Agave.

We drove into the city and sat through an interesting presentation. Fierce complained that I hadn't fed her lunch. I reminded her of our on-the-road treats, and she called me a freak for being satisfied with that as a meal. All was as it should be, until the drive home.
I'm not a vegan (at least not yet), but I rarely consumed red meat, even before I went mostly Raw. So why on earth did a philly cheesesteak dominate my thoughts on the way home? Although I was mostly obsessing over the grilled mushrooms, onions and peppers, I wanted the whole sandwich, so much so that I was planning to run out and get one after we got home. I reasoned that I'm not completely Raw, and I refuse to fall into the trap of deprivation, which only leads to more frequent and intense cravings.

For better or worse, I couldn't convince myself that the cheesesteak place gets its meat from a sustainable farm, where the cows roam wide green pastures, selecting their favorite grasses to chew. I couldn't kid myself that they'd then be "humanely slaughtered." Now there's an oxymoron for you. Maybe I could have shrimp, or even scallops instead. No, I wanted that dead cow flesh!
Fortunately, it was 7:30 in the evening and already dark. I'm not a fan of leaving the house after nightfall. Weird maybe, but I like to be in my flannel pjs with my car tucked into the garage after sunset. So I looked for an alternative to giving into the craving. In my fridge, I found a container of Raw chili (brazil nuts ground with salsa and spices). I threw this on a few crackers and after making a meal of these, was pleased to find I no longer desired that cheesesteak!

I'm not 100% Raw, mind you, and I can't promise to make it through the rest of my life without another cheesesteak. (Though I'll definitely try for a raw substitue.) I can't stress enough how much I reject the notion of deprivation, but when I consume non-raw foods, I'd like them to be mostly made of whole plants. On the occasions that they're not, I'd prefer not to feel guilty about them. I would've repented that cheesesteak. That delicious Raw chili left me with no regrets.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: Peace Crumble
1/2 cup coffee (non-raw)

Snack: A few One Lucky Duck rosemary qwackers with a bit of raw cheese
These were an expensive treat, and while they were good, I didn't love them. At 11 bucks for 4 ounces, I want to LOVE them! (In fairness, raw crackers are much more filling than cooked. 4 ounces are more like 12 or more cooked ounces.)

Lunch: raw burger from Foodology with a salad of cucumber, red onion and tomato

Snack: leftover corn & avocado salad

Dinner: 1/2 slice strawberry cheesecake from Earth Cafe

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: strawberries topped with raw granola, mulberries & banana mlyk
1/3 cup coffee (non-raw)

Snack: 5 dried figs

Lunch: raw taquitos with a side salad of spinach and mango

1/3 piece raw Key Lime cheesecake
1 cup herbal tea (non-raw) I only put about 1/2 tsp of honey in the tea, so there's much less of the bad stuff than I would have in a cup of coffee.

Snack: smoothie of kale, hempseed, mango, strawberries, blueberries & banana

Dinner: salad of fresh corn, avocado, tomatoes, jalapenos and lemon juice

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: strawberries topped with raw granola, mulberries & banana mylk
1/2 cup coffee (non-raw)

Snack: 5-6 dried figs

Lunch: corn salad

Snack: 1/4 honey crisp apple (my fave!) with a bit of raw cheese

Dinner: 1/2 cup roasted potatoes (non-raw...duh!) I'm transitioning my non-raw percentage from coffee, and the stuff I dump in it, to whole foods. Admittedly, I did feel a fairly quick energy crash as I was eating this meal. :(

Post workout snack: TBD

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: strawberries, bananas, and raw granola topped with banana mylk
coffee (non-raw)

Snack: smoothie of hemp seed, red leaf lettuce, oranges, blueberries & strawberries
Since I don't have a high-speed blender, I first blend the hempseed with a little water. Then I add the lettuce and bit more water, and so on with each ingredient. It's not as time consuming as it sounds. Prep time is only about 5 minutes, since the produce is washed and dried as soon as I bring it home and the berries are often frozen.

Lunch: smoothie of young coconut meat, pineapple, agave, and a sprinkle of hempseed. Normally I don't like to add sweetener to smoothies, but our poor pineapple was past its ripeness.

Dinner: salad of butter lettuce, zucchini, yellow tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, radishes, and cucumbers, with sesame seed dressing.
This week I'm determined to use some portion of everything in my basket from the farm. 25 lbs is a lot of produce!

Should We Buy Organic?

The more I learn about about our food industry, the more I lean toward buying organic, locally-grown food. I'm fortunate to live in Southern California, near an organic farm. Even so, my budget still doesn't allow for me to buy all things organic. Perhaps I'll continue to discover resources that will allow me to buy all of my produce from local, sustainable, organic farms. Until then, I've got to include some conventionally grown foods.

Some conventionally grown produce is more likely to contain pesticides when it arrives in the store. Washing can get rid of surface residue, but the chemicals absorbed by the plant are there to stay. Buy locally grown when you can, and consider the following lists of most and least contaminated when deciding where to invest in organic.

12 Cleanest non-organic foods
  1. Asparagus
  2. Avocados
  3. Bananas
  4. Broccoli
  5. Cabbage
  6. Corn (though most is genetically modified)
  7. Kiwis
  8. Mangoes
  9. Onions
  10. Eggplant
  11. Pineapples
  12. Peas (sweet)

12 RISKIEST foods AKA "The Dirty Dozen"
  1. Apples
  2. Bell Peppers
  3. Celery
  4. Cherries
  5. Imported Grapes
  6. Nectarines
  7. Peaches
  8. Pears
  9. Potatoes
  10. Lettuce
  11. Spinach
  12. Strawberries & Raspberries

A more complete list can be found here.

Enjoying the Road to Better Health

A friend emailed me to ask how she might transition to eating mostly Raw. Below is my response to her.

I love to see a sistah working on her health. Here are my suggestions for starting:

1) Don't be too restrictive with yourself. My friend has started with 2 Raw meals a day, Raw snacks, and 1 meal that's just healthy, but not necessarily Raw. It's an easier way for her to transition. I allowed myself to eat sprouted wheat Ezekiel bread for the 1st week or so, but cut out completely cooked meals. It helps to commit to having something Raw with every meal or snack.

2) Decide how often you want to allow yourself a treat. Maybe once each week. You may find the treats don't taste as good as your taste buds change. After a few weeks, a bite of bagel was like chewing cardboard and paste for me.

3)The essential grocery list starts with the fruits and vegetable that you LOVE! Raw food is generally defined as uncooked, unprocessed fruits, veggies, oils, nuts and seeds. It's not a dumb question,because there is disagreement as to how hot you can dry things before they're no longer considered raw. Often, dehydrated/dried stuff is fine. You want to try for organic when you can, as well as unsulphured for the dried stuff. Oils should be extra-virgin and/or cold-pressed.

4) Don't overdo the dried fruit, nuts and oils, as they are calorie-dense. That being said, a little bit of those can be REALLY satisfying, and are healthy, so don't avoid them.

5) Seriously consider adding green smoothies to your daily menu. They're satisfying, highly nutritious and cut cravings for bad stuff. I don't particularly like kale, but when I put it in a smoothie, I don't taste it. Depending on how powerful your blender is, you might have to blend the greens with a little water before adding the fruit. That way they get well liquefied. Throw in some kind of fat ( a little flaxseed oil, ground flaxseeds, hemp seed oil, etc) if you want to balance the fruit sugars.

6) Buy a few Raw convenience foods. If you're near a good health food store, pick up something that looks great but will be easy to grab when you don't have much time to prep. Larabars help a lot of people transition. Don't invest too much money in Raw treats though, as they can be expensive. If you're not near a good health food store, look online at places like Sometimes, especially when you're transitioning, you may want something more liked cooked food, and these things come in handy.

7) Check out websites like,, and for recipes you can make that will mimic cooked foods. They come in handy when you're craving old dishes. Some of these will require a dehydrator, but a lot won't. They also have creative ideas for salads and smoothies. Plenty of free recipes on the Internet, or if you're interested, there are ebooks available and books in most bookstores.

8) Only eat what you enjoy! This is supposed to be about health and abundance, not deprivation.

I hope this helps you. Email me as often as you like with questions or comments or suggestions

Monday, October 1, 2007

Aren't You Hungry?

The first argument Lovely Boyfriend and I ever had occurred late one night as we drove around Los Angeles looking for a place to eat. We pulled into the parking lot of a Thai restaurant he fancied just as they were locking their doors. Scanning the neighborhood, I began to feel desperate; every place seemed to be switching off their OPEN signs and flipping chairs onto tables. I don't know what happened. Maybe I suggested some place he didn't like, or vice versa, but I was starving, and we were fighting.

Obviously, I wasn't actually starving. It probably hadn't been more than five or six hours since I'd last eaten. The worst case scenario: I wouldn't eat again until morning, but such an idea was unthinkable. There was a physical and emotional urgency to my empty stomach. Eventually, we drove-thru and bought a large order of fries and a soda and everything was fine. Everything except that I'd almost ruined a fun-filled day because I was terrified of missing a meal.

Sometimes, when I fell into a short-tempered mood, Lovely Boyfriend or one of my daughters would ask if perhaps I needed a snack or a nap. Sometimes I needed both! It could mean hurt feelings or other activities pushed aside until I'd taken care of my basic needs. My rational mind knew whatever I required would be provided, but I wasn't thinking with my higher self.

Since switching to a primarily Raw diet, daily naps have become a thing of the past. Generally, I power through the days, and then hit my mattress hard at night. Even better, the desperation surrounding the nagging feelings of hunger has, for the most part, subsided. There's a sense of freedom in knowing that when I sit down to a meal I can eat until I am satisfied, because everything on my plate is good for me. I still savor the flavors and smells and textures of a wide variety of food, but my attitude around it has decidedly relaxed. Now, if I can just apply the same zen-like perspective to the rest of my life...

Today's Yummy Food

Breakfast: strawberries and bananas topped with raw granola, banana mylk and honey
1cup coffee (non-raw)

Snack: 2 pieces Raw Breakfast Crust with honey

Lunch: peace crumble

Snack: 1/3 cantaloupe

Dinner: salad of spinach, red peppers, onions, carrots, cucumbers & green beans

Post-workout snack: 1/2 smoothie of mango and dates