Friday, December 28, 2007

The Holidays Simplified

Though we missed our families, who were 1000s of miles away, we didn't travel over the holiday season. While it's always worth it, traveling home is a hectic ordeal, and this year we avoided that stress.

In addition, we created a spreadsheet to keep track of what we bought, for whom, and at what cost. That way we were able to stay within our budget, avoid charging anything, and finish the season without that sick what-have-we-done feeling that comes from spending more than you should or buying gifts no one will remember. Every present we purchased was something we thought the recipient needed or wanted. We called some friends and said, forget gifts. Let's get together and enjoy each other's company instead, and we made dates to do just that.

What does this have to do with being Raw? Well, for us part of the beauty of Raw Food is it's inherent simplicity. While I'll never give up the occasional Raw gourmet dish, a bowl of apples and figs is a simple pleasure I can't resist. It's wonderful to find that more relaxed and appreciative attitude touching other parts of our lives.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Raw Christmas?

No, we didn't have a Raw Christmas at our house. My girls (and LB and I) are very big on tradition, so it was cooked pancakes for breakfast. We had dinner with our friends and neighbors, who prepared absolutely everything for us. They know we're mostly Raw, and they made an amazing salad, but the rest of the meal was definitely cooked. I have to say honestly, it was all delicious.

Lately our Raw eating has been down around 75%. I was okay with that for the short term, but I definitely felt the difference: lower energy, needing more sleep, a loss of the feeling of lightness that comes with High Raw. I'm moving the percentage back up starting today.

I've tried a few Raw recipes that I haven't had time to post, including onion bread, zucchini bread and Raw granola. I loved them all, so I'll post more about them now that the holiday rush is behind us.

Hope everyone's Christmas was as much fun and as relaxing as ours was!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Let Your Food Be Your Medicine

A week or so ago, one of my closest friends (okay, he's my ex-husband) called. He sounded incredibly bummed out, which isn't like him. Usually, we spend the first 5 minutes of a call joking around and teasing each other, but this time he was all business. My first thought was that one of his parents wasn't well. After all, they're getting up there in years and have suffered various ailments.

I wasn't too far off. He'd called to tell us his doctor had diagnosed him with diabetes. He's 44 years old. My mother and stepdad didn't get it until they were in their fifties, but my Ex is at least 75lbs bigger than he was when we married 17 years ago. And of course, all that extra fat is concentrated in his gut, the prime spot for feeding diseases of obesity. He told me that his doctor identified him as pre-diabetic last January and gave him a diet to follow, including a list of foods to eliminate. The list included bread and rice. He's from Honduras. They have tortillas and/or rice with EVERY meal! When I made spaghetti for this guy, I had to include a plate of starchy white rice on the side.

The doctor's orders seemed unrealistic, so he chucked the list and kept on doing what he was doing. The result was a fasting blood sugar level of 351. (Normal range: under 100) He's promised to test regularly, to exercise and to start eating better. If he didn't live on the other side of the country, I'd stick my nose in and start feeding him Raw foods (not sure his wife would like that). From here, all I can do is nag and make suggestions and hope this is the only wake up call he needs.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Trouble with Dehydrators

I've been using my Excalibur a lot lately--to hasten the marinating of greens and broccoli and onions and mushrooms, to prepare breads and crackers, and to try out new recipes that wouldn't be possible without that box hulking on my kitchen countertop.

So what's the problem, you ask? Almost everything I prepare in the dehydrator is too delicious to wait out the long dehydration times! Every couple of hours, I find myself taking off the cover and reaching in to sneak a pinch. Worse yet, the girls have developed the habit of doing the same. (Okay, that's really a terrific thing, since it means they're snacking on healthy stuff.)

At this moment, a batch of Kristen's Chewy Bolder Boulder Granola is just about ready to flip. The question is: how much of it will survive the process without meeting my greedy fingers?

From the Mouths of Babes

Wonder Girl was feeling less than wonderful, so she spent the day lying on the couch watching videos. The last couple of weeks have been really busy for her, so she deserved a bit of R&R.

When WG asked for lunch, I wanted to give her something yummy that would support her immune system and help her feel better. I settled on Raw marinated collard and mustard greens with onions. (Some Raw folks think of onions and garlic as toxic, but I buy the data that says they have antiviral and antibacterial qualities.) Though she likes lots of my concoctions, she's not a mostly Raw kid, so I was happy that she didn't approach the meal with skepticism.

As I served up her second helping (at her request) Wonder Girl spoke up. "Mommy, I challenge you to make Raw onion rings."

Oh, innocent youth! Doesn't she know I have a small library of Raw "cook"books, not to mention the links to all the best sites for Raw recipes? Soon, and very soon, we shall feast on Raw onion rings!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Keep It Moving

I'm fortunate to be one of those people who enjoys working out. Even at my fluffiest, I worked out most days, going for walks or jogs, riding my stationary bike, or enjoying the ache of muscles slightly sore from weight training. Still, Lovely Boyfriend and I both have careers that lend themselves to sedentary days. Working from home, we could easily limit our movements to the steps it takes to get to the coffee pot and back.

Recently Connie over at Naked Food Cafe posted the link to an article about a recent study which concluded that being sedentary has more negative effects than simply minimizing calories burned. The bottom line according to this research, is that the enzymes responsible for burning fat quit working when we sit down. They don't kick back in until we get up and moving.

My trusty old treadmill has been rigged to allow me to work without sitting down. With a cheap piece of shelving from the hardware store and a few zip ties, I've set it up so that as I'm typing this, I'm walking at a slow pace on an incline. I don't use this feature as often as I should, and it certainly doesn't replace my focused workouts, but I have to believe every little bit counts.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Progress Report

Lovely Boyfriend is safely home (Hooray!), and I landed somewhere near my goals while he was gone. While I didn't cut coffee back to every other day, I did completely switch to decaf. I planned to get in 8 twice-a-day workouts. I managed to do 5 of those, and I'll definitely mix them into my weeks in the future. Less easily quantifiable, I did manage to eat more simply, but I probably had a bit more cooked food than I usually would.

I discovered something: it's easier for me to be more Raw when LB's around. He acts as my sponsor when I want to eat something really bad, reminding me of my priorities (health and fitness) and encouraging me to eat the less than healthy stuff in moderate amounts. That's all great, but even more important, it's just more fun to prepare meals for someone besides myself. Even a simple meal of apples and dates, or figs and Raw cheese is more enjoyable to prepare and to consume when I'm not doing it alone. Sure, the girls will indulge in some of my Raw foods, but they don't always have levels of interest or enthusiasm that inspire.

If you're trying to lock in healthy habits, consider partnering with someone, even if all you're doing is exchanging recipes and meal plans by email, or checking in to see who's getting their workouts done. It might give your efforts the boost they need.