Monday, November 10, 2008

What Can You Give?

As I tighten my belt, my Raw food meals have become increasingly simple. I don't miss the prepared foods or superfoods as much as I thought I would. Truthfully, we could afford to keep eating as we always have, but it would be foolish. The economic future can't be predicted, and we want to be prepared for whatever comes. That means cutting back where we can, paying off debt, investing wisely, and saving.

But what of those for whom the economic crisis has already been a life-changing event? Imagine choosing between paying for your home or buying food for your family. Not a nice choice to have to make.

Recently our church did a huge food drive to help stock local food banks. (What I love about my church is the ACTION it takes.) They even encouraged young children to bring in boxes of their favorite cereal to be donated.

Since then, Wonder Girl and I have been picking up a few extra things each week when we grocery shop. No, we can't just donate Raw food. We recognize that it would be ideal to give the healthiest food available, but that's not practical. Our goal right now is simply to make sure one less child misses a meal. So we buy the best quality cereal and canned goods we can find. We buy extra boxes of quinoa and lentils, and canned veggies. After a few more weeks, we'll donate it all.

What can you give? Every box, can, or bottle makes a difference. Look for sale items and buy what you can afford to donate. Skip a meal out, and use what you save to help someone else eat. Let's make sure no one goes hungry in this country. We voted for change, and our president-elect called for sacrifice. Filling plates and stomachs is a great place to begin.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Seat at the Table



I, Too, Sing America

by Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
Then.

Besides,
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Election Day! (I hope)



If you're reading this, and you're a United States citizen 18 or older (sorry, Fierce Teenager), I gotta believe you're voting today. Make history, people!

I'm leaving now to head to my local voting location, where I'll turn in LB's ballot and cast my own vote. California has a lengthy ballot, as always, but there are some truly important issues being addressed, so I don't mind. Wonder Girl 's going with me to the polls, and she's psyched for our election party tonight.

Happy Election Day, yall!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Having "The Talk"

Recently an acquaintance was visiting while I was in the kitchen making a Raw salad dressing for the night's dinner. This young lady is getting married in less than a month, and she still didn't have a dress. The problem: she was desperate to get down a size first.


Finally, she got around to asking me, "So how'd you lose all that weight?"


I hesitated. I was really busy, and not in the mood to explain all the theory behind Raw food, so I just said, "To tell you the truth, I mostly eat fruits and vegetables."


Note that I didn't even use the word Raw, and I didn't say I only eat fruits and vegetables.


"You mostly eat fruits and vegetables?" Yes. "And you don't get sick?" Huh?!?


Seriously, I didn't see that one coming. I might've expected the Protein Question, or a question about whether or not I get bored with my food, but not a question about getting sick.


If I thought she was really interested, I would've sent her to a few of the wonderful Raw websites, but not this time. I gave her a couple of recipes, advised her to give up soda and coffee drinks, and closed the conversation.


I know. It was, perhaps, a bit selfish, but I was busy, man! Do we owe it to everyone to have "The Talk" every time we get the chance?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Nice Place to Visit

The Internet can consume so much of our time. Online news, blogs, email, and social networks can encourage you to plant your butt in a chair for hours at a time. But sometimes its worth it.

Have you visited Green Bean Dreams? Hers isn't a Raw food blog, but it fits well with the Raw lifestyle. She writes intelligently and accessibly about living a sustainable life, lessening our impact on our environment, and being a responsible citizen of the world (and enjoying the pleasures of fruits and veggies along the way).

Right now GBD is calling on us to recognize how affluent we all are from a global perspective, and calling on us to wield that power consciously. Check her out. She's good peeps.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Raw Spirit Festival

I won't be in Sedona this weekend, but I'm wishing safe travels and a fabulous Raw time to those who are going!

Looking forward to reading all the blogs, and seeing the pix and videos from the lucky attendees. Have fun!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Family Reunion


What a great weekend! Yesterday, Lovely Boyfriend and I got to have lunch in Little Ethiopia with a friend he hasn't seen in about 20 years. Algernon and his wife Kim, own the best burger joint in Jackson, Mississippi, Cool Al's. Pretty interesting line of work for a couple of vegetarians raising 2 kids who've never eaten meat! I hear they serve a mean veggie burger and delectable sweet potato fries.

We went to Rosalind's Ethiopian Cuisine, for a meal which was vegan, but not Raw. It was delicious, though I did pay a small price with an upset tummy last night--no biggie, just a little hard to handle a big serving of cooked when I'm staying High Raw. I love the huge communal plates and the fact that we all eat with our fingers. On the front of the menu, there was a full explanation of how to properly eat with one's fingers. The Enjera pancake replaced utensils. Finger -licking was highly discouraged!

We enjoyed split-pea Alicha (peas steamed with onions & seasoned with garlic and ginger), vegetable alicha, collard greens, lentils and other yummy dishes.

I'm definitely inspired to convert some of the dishes we enjoyed into Raw versions. I'll start with those greens!

To slide back into Raw, LB and I had that simple tomato/avocado salad for dinner last night, and Earth Cafe's Raw peach cobbler with lots of fruit for breakfast this morning. This will be my first day back to our local church without my Fierce-as-in-Fabulous teenager. I miss her! We usually whisper during the sermon and crack each other up. (I know. I'm a bad influence.)

Get out and try some cuisine you've never had before. I hadn't had Ethiopian in years, and I'd forgotten what a nice experience it could be. Even if you're staying all Raw, lots of ethnic places can come up with salad combinations you've not thought of.

And, call an old friend!



Thursday, September 4, 2008

More Mango Slaw



A quick treat on my way to a barbecue. This kept me on track, and was easy to prepare.

1/2 bag shredded cole slaw mix

1/4 small yellow onion

about 1 tbsp olive oil

1 mango chopped

1 jalapeño diced

Celtic sea salt

You can up the flavor with chopped cilantro, sliced red peppers, or added spices. What I love about this, is that it takes about 5 minutes to throw together and it travels rather well. It actually tastes better after a couple of hours. Both of my daughters love the sweet and spicy balance of the mango and jalapeño.

Okay, I know the plastic bowl wasn't the best. Let's pretend we didn't see that, shall we?

P.S. Sorry for the awkward formatting--Blogger!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Simply Delicious Salad

Lovely Boyfriend went to a local farmer's market on Sunday, with the goal of getting peaches for breakfast. He came back with lots of delicious fruits and vegetables, including heirloom tomatoes, and Reed avocados. If you haven't tried Reed avocados, you're missing a creamy treat.




This salad is a simple combination of heirloom tomatoes sprinkled with avocado oil, Celtic sea salt and pepper, topped with thinly sliced red onions, and the most amazing avocado. Nothing fancy, right? I know, but it was one of the dishes that's so delicious you just want to savor it. It must've taken me 15 minutes to eat that small plate.

Try it. You'll love it!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Life is Good!

Good times, but I've missed the Raw food world terribly! The summer has been incredibly busy for me and the fam, as I'm sure it's been for many of you. I haven't even had time to drop in on Bunny Berry's 100 Day Raw Food Challenge forums. I read the emails, but I know I've been missing out on the fun. (Sorry for the fuzzy pic above, but blogger doesn't want to let me delete it. )


Fierce-as-in Fabulous Teenager is safely off at college. We spent a lot time talking about how she'll survive in the dining hall. She's a veggie, but not Raw. They have a pitiful salad bar, but usually have vegetarian stir-fry options, and a bit of fruit available at breakfast. The bummer is that they can't have a fridge in their dorm room, so I couldn't leave her with lots of fresh fruits and veggies. She'll make it work though. Leaving her 3000 miles away from her mommy was tough!


My baby in her 1st dorm room!

Travelling while remaining High Raw turned out to be easier than I expected. We ate out a lot, so I typically ordered salads, hold all meats, cheeses, bread-like products and dressing. If it had lots of juicy fruit (sweet or savory), or yummy avocado, it usually didn't need dressing. I kept a small bottle of really good olive oil in my purse just in case! I did find myself eating quite a bit of steamed asparagus. For some reason, I just couldn't get enough of it.

While we were traveling, I was also working really hard to take my business online. I've set the initial web page up for Every Kid Fit . Check it out, and tell me what you think. It's still a bit rough, but Lovely Boyfriend is helping me get it going. I'm really hoping to do some good on a broader scale. Little kids deserve to run and play! It's fun!

I've missed reading all the Raw blogs. I haven't even been over to giveittomeraw or goneraw lately! I know I'm leaving out some wonderful Raw foodies, but I just want to say hey to some folks. Shout-outs to:












April (Rated R for potty mouth, and sinful desserts!)












TheWriterStuff (Raw is not required, and I hope you're doing well!)






There are lots of other Raw blogs that I've missed as well! I hope everyone is having the bestest summer!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Are You Ready?

If you haven't gotten over to Raw Fu to sign up for Bunny Berry's 100 Day Raw Food Challenge yet, then get your butt over there! Registration closes tonight.

You do NOT have to commit to 100% Raw. You set your own goals. It can be as simple as commiting to starting each day with a green smoothie, or having a salad for lunch every day. She has lots of fun mini-challenges, give-aways and contests. What better way to kick up your Raw food consumption than with the support of 100's of people who are doing the same?

I'm still waffling as to what my actual goals will be, but I'll know by tomorrow!

Friday, July 18, 2008

At a Crossroads

For the last several months, LB and I have been seriously thinking of the idea of relocation. This had been our original plan, to downsize and move closer to Los Angeles once my Fierce-as-in-Fabulous Teenager graduated from high school. Well, she's done her part, but we've had a tough time making a decision. I've lived here with the girls for about 8 years. This is home to both of them.

The for sale/lease sign is in the front yard. We've looked at homes that we loved, but haven't found the right compromise on price and location. It seems no matter what we choose, either Lovely Boyfriend or The Amazing Wonder Girl will have to make sacrifices. I feel torn.

In the meantime, the stress (along with the rest of life) has thrown me off-course. I'm behind on my novel draft. I've been less consistent with my workouts and susceptible to eating things I wouldn't usually consider.

Because we'll be traveling to visit family and take FT to college in a few weeks, I have to get myself in a strong and good place right now. Traveling can take its toll any time, but particularly when one isn't eating well. So I'm back to being very aware of what I consume and checking my workout record for balance. I'm prepping for Bunny Berry's 100 Day Raw Food Challenge, and no you don't have to commit to being 100% Raw for 100 Days, unless you want to! Check it out.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

One Hundred Percent


There's a lot of talk in the Raw blog world about whether people want to, need to or should strive for 100% Raw.

Debbie makes it plain that she's never going back to SAD. She will be a Raw Vegan for the rest of her life.

Michelle J isn't sure she wants to strive for 100%. She's happy with her results and wonders if it has to be an all or nothing effort in the future.

Kristen is quite happy with High Raw, All Vegan. It works well for her.

Yardsnacker is 100% Raw Vegan, but I don't think HiHoRosie has taken that plunge yet. High Raw seems to be her current goal.
Sara seems to be 100% Raw, low-fat Fruitarian.

Bunny Berry has been striving for all Raw during her 100 Day Raw Food Challenge, and she'll start another challenge on August 1st. So far, she's had marvelous results at 100%, but the rest of her family isn't Raw, so what's to come when the challenges are over?

Then there are of course, the Raw writers, educators and speakers. Matt Monarch, Angela Stokes, and the guys over at WeLikeitRaw, are all 100% Raw Vegans. Carol Alt is very High Raw, but not Vegan.

What about me? The times I've felt the best and had the greatest results in health, energy and fitness have been when I've been either High Raw, all Vegan or as close as I could get to 100% Raw Vegan. (The percentage isn't shared as a comparison to others, nor as a judgement, just as a point of reference.) When I deviated from these, it seemed that everything slowed down: my energy, my physical performance, my weight loss/maintenance, my enthusiasm.

I'll strive for what I know will give me the greatest results. Life is too short to make any other choice.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Best Laid Plans

On Saturday we took our house guest to Versailles, a Cuban restaurant chain in Los Angeles. I planned ahead to stay Raw by looking at the menu online. It's a dinerish place, and they only had 3 salad options, but how many did I need?

The waiter took our orders, and I requested the largest salad, only to be told they had no tomatoes. Figuring this was due to the recent salmonella scare, I said no problem. Give me the avocado salad instead. Who wouldn't love an avocado salad? How lucky was I to be in a place that had avocado salad on the menu?

The waiter returned. No hay aguacate. All we have for salad is lettuce.

I suppose I could've had a plate of lettuce, but I cracked and ordered the tostones instead. I was hungry! These were of course deep fried, and after eating about half of the small order, I couldn't get any more down.

Leaving the restaurant, I remembered I had a bag of fruit in the car and I wolfed down a couple of apricots. Next time the fruit goes in my purse. While I don't advise sneaking food into a restaurant, I did make a good faith effort to find something appropriate on their menu. My companions ordered enough food to make us good customers, so while I'd keep it on the DL, I'd bring in my backup in the future.

Do You Eat These?

Here's a NY Times article: The 11 Best Foods You Aren't Eating. The article explains the benefits of these nutritious but not very popular foods:

  1. Beets
  2. Cabbage
  3. Swiss Chard
  4. Cinnamon
  5. Pomegranate Juice
  6. Dried Plums
  7. Pumpkin Seeds
  8. Sardines
  9. Turmeric
  10. Frozen Blueberries
  11. Canned Pumpkin

As for me, I won't be eating anything from a can any time soon, and sardines won't pass these lips either. I rarely drink pomegranate juice, but I do like to eat the fruit. I don't eat beets, because they taste like dirt to me, and not in a good way! I do juice them though. Orange-Beet-Lemon juice is delicious. I prefer my blueberries fresh, but I won't turn my nose up at frozen. Turmeric hasn't been in my food much, since I left cooking behind, but swiss chard, cinnamon, dried plums, pumpkin seeds and cabbage are all regulars around here. Good stuff!

All Things in Moderation . . .or Not

The other day I was at the stairs all alone. (I now go up and down 20 times when I'm by myself, for a total of 4600 stairs. I'm always exhausted and sleep well at night after that workout, and it's a great time to pray, meditate, plan or listen to podcasts.) One of my former writing teachers hosts a show called Writers on Writing, and I took the opportunity to listen to one of her podcasts. She was interviewing the female author of a weight loss book. I haven't read the book, so I can't comment on that, except she apparently isn't pushing a particular diet and she encourages people to eat real food rather than processed junk. Kudos to her for both of those things. At the same time, she gave some advice that I had a problem with.

#1. Gyms are basically evil, useless places and walking is all the exercise anyone needs.

Well, lucky her. She lives in New York City, and her lifestyle affords lots of walking, but for many folks in this country, weather and geography make finding a place to walk outdoors something of a challenge. And I'm sorry, but most of us go through each day without lifting anything heavier than our cell phones. If we don't use--and yes, even train--our upper bodies, we will lose muscle strength and mass, as well as bone density over time. So while walking is great exercise, it's not enough, and though I don't belong to a gym, I don't think we should begrudge the man or woman who enjoys running on the treadmill or biking to nowhere while they watch the news on a big screen tv.

#2. Eat whatever you want, as long as it's mostly real food and all things are taken in moderation.

I know from personal experience that this method can work for weight loss and maintenance. The question then, is whether or not we want to make weight the primary reason for our food choices. Don't get me wrong. I was miserable as an obese person, truly miserable, so I understand the obsession with shedding excess fat. As I said, I haven't read the book, but during the podcast interview there was no mention of what foods are truly beneficial to our health, and so should be the foundation of our diet.

Frankly, most Americans could only improve their health and fitness levels by following this woman's plan. It's not a plan for optimal health, but it would make many people healthier. It's not a plan for optimal fitness, but it does seem to encourage people to move their bodies. I wonder then, should we set the bar low? Should we start with the minimum, and if so, should we expect that people will want to or be able to exceed that? Is it enough to just do a little better?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Today's Yummy Healthy Raw Living Food

After yesterday's food fiasco, I'm focused on enjoying the food that fits my lifestyle. What's done is done, right?

Breakfast: mate vana tea
huge plate of carrots with guacamole, and corn chips from Leaf cuisine
The tortilla chips are tasty, but man, they stick in your teeth!

Pre-workout snack: 1 nectarine

Lunch: salad of spinach and blueberries, tossed with olive oil and garlic

Snack: raw granola (sprouted buckwheat, sprouted flaxseeds, raisins & dates), mixed with more blueberries
Wierd snack for me, but I was having food cravings & this hit the spot.

Dinner: Watermelon (2 huge chunks)
Yummy salad LB made for me as soon as he got home: deer tongue lettuce, mushrooms, and cucumbers

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Grrrr!

Today was incredibly stressful--not in the life-altering sort of the way, but in the nagging, wearing, beat me down sort of way. And how did I respond? By eating crap! Do I feel better? Emotionally, I did for a moment. Physically, I can already feel the consequences. Trust that my skin will look horrible for the next few days, and I'm sure tomorrow's workout will suffer. I'm so ticked at myself! Grrrr!

All The Way Quiet

An update on my 4 1/2 days of silence. . .

You would think that my daughters would've been thrilled by the prospect of a mother who couldn't fuss at them. You would be wrong. They initially felt frustrated by the brief notes I wrote in response to their questions. Fierce Teenager quickly got over it, but Wonder Girl, who's 9 years old, worried that she'd forget what my voice sounded like. I thought I would have more time for introspection and creative pursuits, but initially I found myself exerting way too much energy in trying to communicate with my children.

Lovely Boyfriend, who supports all my wacky ideas, didn't disappoint. When I wanted to quit, he encouraged me to keep going. Admittedly, he enjoyed the fact that he could share his thoughts and ideas with me, and I would simply sit and smile at him in silence. Bless his heart! Many women complain about partners who don't communicate. He's a writer, and not surprisingly, very verbal, but in a house full of women he doesn't always feel heard.

Some things I learned about myself and my family:

  • My children are too dependent on me to tell them to do things. (my fault)
  • I don't listen to anyone nearly enough.
  • Just eliminating phone conversations for a while can free up a lot of mental energy.
  • After years of trying, I haven't mastered my temper or my impatience. (a work in progress)
  • I need times of silence on a consistent basis.

I will have more days of silence in my future. In addition, I'm going to try to add a block of silent time to each day. I think the whole family can benefit from this. One of my mentors once told me that she didn't speak before 9 in the morning. Her husband and kids also accepted that, barring emergencies, they shouldn't speak to her during this time either. One of my friends thought this was incredibly selfish. I immediately wished I could have the same. Well, why can't I?

That being said, a true silent retreat is definitely in my future. It's key that I'm able to experience not just the gift of not speaking, but also the gift of not having to process inputs from others, the television, radio, or computer.

For those of you who've considered trying something similar, I can't recommend it highly enough. I would only say you should decide what you want to get out of it, in order to put your parameters in place, and then let go of all expectations.

Go for it. Be quiet.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Give It to Me Raw SEXY Dinner


Philip, Disa & Austin at the GITMR SEXY Dinner



Hey, I didn't make that up! That's what dinner last night at Au Lac, a raw and cooked vegan/vegetarian restaurant in Fountain Valley, was called. I had the pleasure of meeting several people from giveittomeraw.com and of dining on the unbelievably creative Raw tasting menu Chef Ito prepared for us.


Although Au Lac is only 25 minutes from my home, I'd never made it over there before last night. I will definitely return again and again. I can't wait to take Lovely Boyfriend, who's always game to try something different. Of all the Raw restaurants we've visited, Au Lac ranks as Number One for most imaginative use of ingredients. Don't believe me? Take a look at the menu from last night.



PASTA DI AMORE



Apertif: THE LOVE JUICE - Sweet grass, screwpine, frankincense, gold, hhut jolokja peppers


First: CHEF'S HAND ROLL
Nori, natto, sprouts, daikon, mustard, shrooms, shiso, cucumber

HUMANESE SOUP
Avo, coconut meat, cilantro, chips and thyme

LOVE SONG SALAD
Watercress, "fried" onions, cherry tomatoes, jicama, carrots, teriyaki

Second: PASTA DI AMORE
Sea tangle, kalamata, "fried" onions, holy basil, parmesan, pesto


SHREDDED "PORK" WITH GINGER ONION RICE
Funguy, oregano, chili peppers


HAWAIIAN LOMI LOMI PIZZA
Pineapple, "grilled" onions, zucchini, red bell pepper, melted mozzarella, marinara


Last: CHOCOLATE CANDY, DONUT HOLES, X-TASY
Macadamia, cacao, blue agave juice, coconut base

Yes, we were served all of the above! And yes, it was as good as it sounds! Wipe your lips with the back of your hand, and look up directions to this amazing place. Normally, I sit around restaurants trying to figure out how to recreate the dishes at home. For several of these, I knew my only chance to experience them again would be to come back and hope they're on the regular menu. My favorites included THE LOVE JUICE, sweet with a spicy finish, the hand roll, soup, salad, pasta and dessert. I ended up bringing much of my meal home.

Alyssa & Chris, our wonderful organizers


The company was as wonderful as the food. Many thanks to Alyssa and Chris, who arranged this get-together for us. Philip from Lovingraw was visiting L.A. and made it down to the O.C. as a guest of honor. Matt Monarch was also in town and joined us. I didn't get a chance to chat with Debbie, from Debbie Does Raw. (Debbie- if you see this, I really enjoy your blog!) Gavin and Erica stopped by our table, too. I don't remember everyone's names, but I had the pleasure of dining with Disa, the Unbaker, and Austin, Dan (a raw curious guest), KarmaFree Kale Chips, Vanilla Bean and Pineapple Head, and another guy with a great sense of humor at my table.


Matt Monarch, author of Raw Spirit, chats with guests

I have many more pictures, most of which I will save for blackmail purposes, since I caught lots of folks chewing, and the light was low, casting scary shadows that make people look older than they do in real life. It was a pleasure to meet in person so many of the supporters of Raw food that I run into online. Can't wait to do it again!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Yesterday's Yummy Food

Breakfast: Raw Strawberry Fields cheesecake from Earth Cafe
5-6 fresh figs (happiness in a box!)
1/2 cup coffee (non-raw)
I'm not doing coffee everyday any more, but I do still have it on occasion. Since I was working in my neighborhood coffee shop, I felt I should buy something. Tea would've been a better choice!

Snack: watermelon

Lunch: Salad of romaine, broccoli, mushrooms and onions; topped with fresh salsa and guacamole

Dinner: more fresh figs, and raw breakfast crusts topped with raw peach preserves (fresh peaches blended with Raw agave and dehydrated) Delish!

It was a great eating day! I had some cooked food while my family was here for FT's graduation--not a lot, but enough to feel the difference. Generally, I avoided cooked while eating out by ordering salads with extra veggies and avocado, or by skipping the meal altogether.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Congratulations!




Congratulations to my Fierce-as-in-Fabulous Teenager on her graduation from high school! We look forward to more great things as you go off to college and choose your own path.


Having survived all that came with that great event, I can now return to the world of blogging and chatting online. I've missed it all.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Silence and Smoothies

Shannon, at Raw Mom, has also undertaken a speaking fast. It seems she's finding herself in a rush of creativity. Perhaps I'll reach that point if I remain silent longer.

Right now, I'm reaching the point of headache. I homeschool Wonder Girl, and while she works very independently, my written coaching is getting on her nerves. I'm also finding it hard to keep her on track. It normally only takes a word or two, but she's taking advantage of my silence, and trying to debate me on what she should or shouldn't be doing. LB would help me out, but he's working out of the house this week. It probably would've been wise of me to wait for this until he could be here to help me out, but I was tired of waiting for the perfect opportunity.

On the wonderful side, started the day with an extra yummy green smoothie! Spinach, blueberries, and frozen mango, strawberries and papaya. Oh yes, and a bit of ground flax seed. We haven't been doing smoothies much in the colder weather, but now they seem to be finding there way back into our regime. I'm taking the rest of mine out to the backyard, where I'll lie in the hammock and read a book in the sunshine. . . all alone.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Shhhhhhh!

3 and a half hours into my first day of silence, and already I'm frustrated. Not good!

For a little over a year now, I've wanted to go on a silent retreat. I've even tried to devise ways to get everyone else out of the house, while I made my home into my own silent retreat. I haven't been able to pull any of this off. Recently, Phillip at LovingRaw blogged about going into silence at home. I thought about doing a media fast (no TV, computer, radio, etc), but I share my home with 3 other people, and it seemed too complicated. Finally, I settled on just shutting my mouth. (That's the thing that's most likely to keep me out of trouble anyway.)

So for however long seems reasonable (hopefully 3 days), I'm not talking. I communicate via text, email, im, twitter, and scribbled notes, but I can't speak. If I continue through the weekend, I'll have to make an exception for my friend's Open House on Saturday. Her daughter is graduating high school, and a vow of silence might distract everyone from the point of the day. I'll just try to do more listening than talking.

How's the fam handling it? I usually talk to my mother and sister on the phone everyday, so this will probably be both a surprise and a nice break for them. Lovely Boyfriend seems to wonder exactly what the point is, but he's supportive of it, just as he was when I wanted to do the Biggest Loser week, and when I wanted to dive back into Raw foods. He trusts that I'm striving to be better. Fierce Teenager said, "This is going to be annoying." I just shrugged. She basically thinks my love of the stairs (I recently did 12 X 225, a new PR), my passion for Raw food, and my hair are all freakish. Wonder Girls, keeps forgetting she can talk. She writes back to me instead, which is a nice opportunity for her to fall quiet, but makes for really drawn out communications.

In this short time, I've quickly run up against some of my greatest flaws: short temper, impatience, intolerance for whining/complaining, and oh yeah . . . short temper. To deal with some of this, I quickly instituted a no complaining AT ALL rule for the kids, and made up some cards to respond to their typical questions and requests. My favorite is: ASK ME LATER.

What am I hoping to get out of this? I don't know. I have major life changes going on right now: FT graduating from high school and going to the other side of the continent for college, moving out of the home I've lived in for longer than I stayed in any other place in my adult life, trying desperately to complete my first novel, shopping for a home in an unfamiliar city, launching a business, selling off and giving away things I've lived with for a long time. Many of these are wonderful changes, but they still add stress to the day.

Hopefully, being quiet will allow me to better hear my family and friends and to better see what they're going through, so I can be more available to them. Hopefully, I'll be more productive, move my projects forward, and spend more time in prayer. Hopefully, I'll work on some of the above metioned flaws, and gain a greater sense of how to deal with things without non-stop verbal exchange.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Horses for Sale

Though I rarely eat animal products, I am not 100% vegan. With that fact in evidence, I just finished watching a recent episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, and found myself struggling with the segment on the slaughter of race-weary thoroughbred horses. Apparently owners will sell them to butchers for a few hundred bucks once they feel the horses have outlasted their money-earning utility. They showed footage from the killing process, and several times referred to the fact that the process was designed for cows, not horses. They highlighted individuals and organizations that work to rescue noble steeds from the cow-butchering machine.

Once again, I am not a vegan. Yet, is the hypocrisy here not obvious? What's good for the cow is too cruel for the horses.

Yes, change has to start somewhere, but are we still arguing that horses and cows are so different from each other? In other countries, where most of the horse meat is sold (7 days from stable to table), most people would scoff at us for being so sentimental about an animal that has served its purpose and can serve one more in death. We're not talking about people who have nothing else to eat. We're talking about cultural tastes.

Does a cow, or sheep, or goat, or chicken, or pig deserve a less noble fate than that of a horse that once ran a good race?

While I think Real Sports is one of the best news mags on television, I have had issues with the host over the years. Perhaps that bias is coloring my judgment. I don't think so though. Either its okay to brutally slaughter animals for dinner or its not. Let's not pretend our affection for one species, or the fact that it once had the potential to win buckets of money, somehow earns it better treatment.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Raw Food Tips



Haven't been in much of a blogging mood lately, though I've continued to enjoy reading Raw food, fitness and political blogs. In an effort to get back in the swing of things, I'll try posting some tips that I've picked up along the way. (Not that I always follow my own advice!) Many thanks to all the Raw foodies out there who've contributed to my knowledge.



Raw Food Tip: Keep it fresh. Dehydrated snacks are great but are best balanced with fresh food. A ration of 3:1 (fresh:dehydrated) or greater works well. Adding a green salad to almost any meal can make it easy to cover 3/4 of your plate in fresh living foods. This actually works great even if you're not going Raw. Imagine how much healthier a SAD plate becomes when most of its covered in living plant food.

Stay Raw, yall!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Salad - Getting Hot in Here



Lame post title, but it's the best I can do this early! In the cooler weather, I started to crave warm foods, not necessarily anything cooked, just something that felt comforting. While I enjoy soups, I can be quite lazy about pulling out the blender. Here's a great alternative- the dehydrated salad.




Toss ingredients in a bowl, in this case: tomatoes, corn, spinach, chopped mushrooms and onions. Pour a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, crushed garlic and ginger, sea salt, and a bit of agave over it all, and toss well. Spread on dehydrating racks and dehydrate for 3-4 hours. I like to stir occasionally to prevent bits of spinach from crisping up.




The whole family loves these salads. (I added avocado to this one after it finished warming up.) There's a lot of, "can I have a pinch?" and "when will it be ready?" all of which makes me happy. We get more greens in this way too, as they're easier to consume once they've wilted down a bit.




Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Staying on (or Reclaiming) the Raw Wagon

Did you go Raw overnight, twenty-seven years ago? Have you managed to make it more than a decade without consuming so much as a drop of nama shoyu, a piece of questionably dried fruit, or a heat-shelled nut? Congratulations, you've made it into an elite group that most of us will never join.

I first discovered Raw food as dietstyle five or six years ago. I was working my way through some Tony Robbins tapes, and he advocated a very low-fruit, high fat, high greens Raw way of eating. I tried it with great success, but eventually slid back into my old conventional foods. The results I achieved on Raw (weight loss, glowing skin, mad energy and more) impressed everyone around me. Still, no one got it. None of my friends or relatives knew how to support me in my Raw quest, and I had no idea what to ask of them.

The world's a much different place for me now, with Raw restaurants, products, meet-ups, social networks, websites and more. Going Raw came much easier this time. (Thank God for the Internet!) Though I still didn't have a miraculous over-night transformation, I've come across many more tips and tricks to aid me this time around.

If you're facing challenges with Raw transition or maintenance, check out this coaching call. Karen Knowler, the UK's Raw Food Coach, shares some insight with a client. It's 45 minutes long, but worth the investment of time, even if you have to listen to it in pieces. Good stuff to support any of us on this journey.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Walking the Tightrope


Last weekend Lovely Boyfriend and I spent four days in Los Angeles, celebrating our friend's fortieth . . . I mean twenty-first . . . birthday, and hustling Wonder Girl to her play performances. It was a lot of fun, but a very different schedule than I'm used to following. Part of me wishes I had packed in more events, and part of me is happy to have found some time for more relaxing, self-focused activities, like climbing the sand dune (6 times!). By Sunday night, I was exhausted and ready for some solitude.

This week, I've set major goals for my fiction work, but also have vowed to eat a more simple Raw diet. Wonder Girl's homeschool work still needs my attention, the finances have to be managed to accommodate unexpected expenses (like the $500 deductible on $6000 worth of car accident damage), Fierce Teenager needs to begin organizing for graduation, I must get my workouts in, we're making major decisions about moving to another city, and the household still needs to run.

I'm not complaining about all this. In fact, I'm excited about most of it. It's just that my personality isn't particularly suited to balancing all these things. I don't like living in a world of multi-tasking. Given my way, I could shut myself in a room for six hours each day until I burned out on a project. Unfortunately, life demands that I give each area it's due.

Here are some tools that have helped. I've added a countdown timer to my Google sidebar, forcing myself to quit working on a given project when its allotted time expires. In the kitchen, I just use the oven timer. I've also created a free page on backpackit.com, with lists of all my short-term goals and the immediate steps I need to achieve them. This is now my home page. I've used this system for a couple of weeks, but the weekend of partying threw me off a bit.

Today, I'm back to seeking balance, trying to keep one foot always on the tightrope.


*The photo is from Tees For Change, a socially responsible t-shirt and jewelry company.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Biggest Loser Finale

Our Biggest Loser week ended on Tuesday. I averaged 4 hours of workouts each day, and I brought intensity to them. On Wednesday, I only worked out 2 hours, and I felt as if something were missing. Alas, real life continues around me--work, writing, chores and errands, kids' activities, church, classes, and the like--so it will be difficult to get those long workouts in on a regular basis.

Some things I learned:

The recommendation to get 30 minutes of activity each day is fairly bogus for healthy people. In the days of hunting and foraging, our bodies would've moved much more, and we still have essentially the same physical design as our forefathers and foremothers. Even when I was obese, I enjoyed working out. It seems my body always knew it should be in motion.

It can be okay for a healthy person to take their workouts to what most people would considered an extreme level. Perhaps I would've run into injuries if I'd continued, but I believe that listening to my body would help me to avoid that.

Prolonged exercise creates feelings of ecstasy. In all likelihood, this had a lot to do with the fact that I stuck with activities that I loved. The positive mental attitude, along with the brain chemistry initiated by exercise, was a winning combination.

Sleep problems can be alleviated by giving the body the level of activity it craves. This may not be true for everyone, but I found that I fell asleep faster, and slept more deeply and consistently during my Biggest Loser week. I woke up refreshed and without the aid of the alarm clock.

There's enough energy to go around. I'm sure that eating a Raw diet, including green superfood smoothies, contributed to my quick recoveries and tolerable levels of soreness. I had plenty of energy left to accomplish other things. I took an occasional nap, but that's nothing new for me. Obviously my body was able to do the workouts and still complete my other tasks. I'm no Superwoman. Though I was a slim teenager, it wasn't because of any effort on my part. I didn't get into running until I was in my 20's, and started weight training after that. I'm not physically superior in anyway to the average woman. If I can do it, most anyone can, given time and planning.

I encourage everyone to push your body and see what it accomplishes. Don't be ridiculous and try to curl 20's when last week you were curling 8's, but do look for ways you can diversify, intensify, and even extend your exercise. Book a few sessions with a trainer, if you don't know how to do it safely.

Our modern culture is so incredibly sedentary. Even if I spend 5 hours working out, I'm spending at least 8 sitting down (driving, teaching, writing, surfing the internet). Going forward, I'll continue to workout about 2 hours each day, but I also plan to include at least one Biggest Loser day each week. Just for the sheer joy of it!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Edible Flowers


Last week, I lamented that the purple, white and red flowers that arrived in my CSA basket weren't edible. This week, my broccoli had started to bloom! Easy to get those are just tiny flowers.

Friday, April 25, 2008

My Biggest Loser Week

It's the middle of the week, and I'm having a blast! Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I've averaged 4 hours of serious exercise. This has included the stairs at Laguna Beach, treadmill on the highest incline, the stationary bike, walk/jogs all over my hilly neighborhood, weight training (of course), jumping rope, and calisthenics/body weight exercises. It's been fun to include LB, Wonder Girl and my girlfriends in my workouts. I do need to bring yoga back in though.

One of the interesting discoveries: learning what fuels my body best. Today, I stocked up on Young Thai coconuts. They do my body good! Superfood smoothies, green smoothies, salads of various types--interestingly, my appetite seems to have decreased. Perhaps I'm just too busy to focus on food as much. Most evenings, I'm satisfied with a liquid dinner.

Four days left. I'm going to continue to push and try to get at least one 6-hour exercise day. "What's the point?" you ask. Self-discovery!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Biggest Loser Week - Warm-up Day

Though our official BL week starts today, since LB worked in L.A. on Monday, I decided to go ahead and get a warm-up day in, so Day One wouldn't be such a shock to my system.

Monday's workout - Treadmill: 7.5 miles at 10.0 incline
Bike: 20 miles at levels 1-4
Abs: 15 minutes of training

Yesterday, Raw Model posted about why Raw Vegans still need to workout, and Terilynn invited us to think about what our bodies are really capable of doing. Timely, no?

"We need a change
Do it today
I can feel my spirit rising
We need a change
So do it today
'Cause I can see a clear horizon

What have you done today to make you feel proud?"
- Biggest Loser theme song

Take It To the Limit!

For a while now, LB and I have talked about taking some kind of physical vacation, the kind where you take a week to go hiking, take gym classes, get massages, weight train, do yoga and focus primarily on your physical being. I did one years ago at Canyon Ranch, in Arizona, and it was a paradigm-shifting experience. Unfortunately I was so out of shape at the time--considerably overweight, stiff, suffering frequent muscle spasms--I didn't get to fully immerse myself.

Realistically, such a vacation doesn't fit our budget or our time constraints right now. So this week, we've decided to bring the wellness retreat home to us. Granted we'll still have real life to do. The bills, errands, work projects and chores can't be set aside, but we will be streamlining those areas to focus on physical challenges.

My favorite reality show is The Biggest Loser. Even with all the editing and time-condensing, and the occasional drama, it's a show that's about taking control of one's life and health. In the end, every Loser is a winner. I love that! Inspired by the fact that the shows participants work out 4-6 hours each day, and even more than that as the finale draws near, we've decided to take on something similar.

While we won't have their trainers or facilities, we've got more than enough to get in intense workouts. This week will be a good push toward June's Bikini Challenge. (Okay, it's really the Swimsuit Challenge, since the guy's are participating, but I find Bikini more motivating.) It will also be interesting to see how far we can push ourselves.

Because a sudden increase in physical activity can lower the immune system, we'll be eating particularly Raw and well, with lots of greens. I'll continue to use my green superfood powders, probiotics and multivitamin. I'm also throwing in some DHA (an omega-3 supplement from algae), and enzymes. It wouldn't do to get sick during our Biggest Loser week.

I'm excited about this! As the theme song says: What have you done today to make you feel proud?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Food Prices

photo by Kirshnendu Halder/Reuters

With the average American family of four spending over $900 each month on food, things are looking a bit grim on the financial front. Food costs are rising. I can complain about the prices on organic foods or superfoods or prepared Raw treats, but for millions of people, simple staples like corn and beans and rice are priced out of reach.

No time to read more? Check out this slideshow: a quick glimpse of how hunger affects Haiti, where 1 in 5 children are malnourished, and the poorest buy and eat dirt cakes.
http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2008/04/18/world/0418-HAITI_index.html

Or read this article. Hunger and food riots around the world.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/18/world/americas/18food.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

I know nothing about this organization, but it was the 1st I found that seemed to have suggestions on what the average person can do.

From where I sit on my couch, I can reach out and grab bananas, pears, oranges and grapefruit. I'm feeling quite blessed this morning.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Must Everything Be About Food?

These beautiful Sweet Pea flowers were in my CSA basket this week.




I was disappointed to learn they're not edible. Is it all about food with me? Well, sometimes. Organic edible flowers would be a cool treat!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Parsley - It Aint Just for Fresh Breath


For the last few weeks, my CSA basket has arrived bearing a bunch of Italian parsley (the kind with flat, pointy leaves). I've used a sprig here and there, but in the end, most of it ended in a dessicated mass, tossed during fridge cleanup.

This morning, I pulled out yet another bunch of those clean leaves, and I was determined not to let them go to waste. My first thought was to dehydrate the stuff, crush it into a powder and use it as a seasoning. But these were fresh greens, picked the very same day, and I desired to use them at the height of their nutritional potency.

It's just the plant we use to take up white space on a plate. What's the big deal about parsley?

  • 3 times as much Vitamin C as oranges
  • 2 times as much Iron as spinach
  • Contains Vitamin A, Potassium, and Calcium
  • Diuretic that stimulates kidneys to release waste
  • Contains 4 known cancer-fighting chemicals
  • Tastes like summer!
  • Green leaves = Chlorophyll

A quick perusal of the Internet resulted in a salad idea. Here's my version:

Summer Parsley Salad

One bunch flat Italian parsley (chopped, with stems removed)

1 handful cherry tomatoes (quartered)

1 handful sliced mushrooms

2 tablespoons really raw olive oil (try Bariani, as some cold-pressed oils are overheated)

a few drops sesame oil (to taste, and this stuff is strong)

2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds

1 teaspoon crushed garlic

sea salt to taste

1 tablespoon raw agave or raw honey

Combine parsley, mushrooms, tomatoes, and sesame seeds in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients. Pour dressing over salad and toss. This salad is super-yummy if you allow the flavors to blend for 30 minutes or so.

This really was like eating a bowl of summer. I would've loved to add onions and cucumbers, if I had them. Yummy goodness!

Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

All in Your Head

Do the foods that make you feel amazing, work because you expect them, too? Does it matter?

Yesterday, I had the same superfood smoothie as in the last post, with bananas instead of coconut flesh, and a couple of tablespoons of ground hemp seeds. Not only did it satisfy my hunger for a really long time, I was flying high. Of course, a raw diet makes us more sensitive to what we eat, and I had more than enough energy to burn through a few items on my project list and to workout. A productive day!

Yesterday's workout: 1 hour on treadmill. Trained chest, back and abs.

Today, Lovely Boyfriend, Wonder Girl and I are hitting the Laguna Beach stairs. I love this workout!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Amazing Superfood Smoothie!

What's a good name for this?

(Measurements are approximate)

Flesh of 2 young Thai coconuts (can sub with a banana or 2)
Water from 1 young Thai coconut (can sub with pure water)
Blend until creamy.

Add:
2 and 1/2 tablespoons raw cacao
1 and 1/2 teaspoons green powder (Use your fave; mine included msm*.)
4-5 dashes cinnamon
1 teaspoon maca*
agave, or other sweetener to taste (I used about 1 tablespoon.)
1 and 1/2 cups ice

Blend again. Enjoy!

*I've noticed in forums that a small minority of people seem to have bad reactions to these ingredients. If you choose to try them, be aware and consider starting with tiny amounts.

Raw Chicken Tenders


Wonder Girl and I cheated on this recipe for Raw BBQ Chicken Fingers, which of course contain no meat products (cuz raw chicken flesh is just nasty). It's the first Alissa Cohen recipe I've tried, and I'm so glad I did. We all loved these!

The original recipe calls for sprouted lentils, but they take a few days to sprout, so we used soaked sunflower seeds instead. I still want to try the lentils. I'm curious to see if they'll give an even meatier texture. Next time I'll try making a Raw BBQ sauce for dipping. The sweet and sour sauce we had was delicious, but not what I wanted with these.

We love our dehydrated treats, but like to make sure our meals are still primarily whole, fresh foods, thus the salads.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Raw Food & Fitness

Amazing weekend! Yesterday's, LB and I went to Sand Dune Park and hiked to the top 6 times. We kept the day Raw with a trip to Terra Bella, where we had 2 great salads (one with delectable ranch-dill dressing), and a raw taco. We finished the meal with a donut hole and a brownie bite. Have one cooked donut hole and see how satisfied you feel. Raw food is so much more satiating.

Today, I hosted the fiction writers' workshop that I'm a part of. I served all Raw food, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. I picked up prepared raw dolmas and brought home some of the ranch-dill dressing. Dessert: raw peach cobbler (made with frozen peaches). It felt great to have a function where non-raw (but health-minded) people could enjoy what was served, and I could eat it all without a sense of regret.

Hope everyone's weekend was at least as wonderful!

Easily Raw


Mushroom Crepe Filling

Last week was one of the most pleasant I've had with Raw food, and it didn't require a lot of store bought dishes. Credits and thanks go to Chef Jenny, of 118 Degrees. I attended her Raw Basics 101 class last Sunday. It was a 7-hour day of fun, food and inspiration.


Chef Jenny & Tino

Entering class, we were excited to see a young Thai coconut at each of our seats. Great way to start, no? The first thing Jenny and her assistant Tino did was to have each of us come up and open our coconuts, using the method she demonstrated. This was worth the price of admission for me. I used to buy my coconuts at $2.5o each, just because that particular store would open them for me. After class, I went to an Asian market and picked up a basketful of coconuts for 89 cents each! Huge difference!


Some people in class had been Raw for a long time--like April who has 3 years of Raw living behind her, and made us a fabulous chocolate pudding--and others were just sampling the lifestyle, but everyone had something interesting to share.


Jenny provided a booklet for each of us, with information about living foods, juicing, green smoothies and sprouting. The best part: she included lost of recipes, including some of my favorite dishes at her restaurant. How do these sound?


  • Pesto-Stuffed Mushrooms
  • Coconut Yogurt
  • Kale Tacos
  • Chocolate Ganache
  • Thai Spring Rolls
  • Mushroom Crepes

There were many more, several of which she or we prepared and devoured.


Jenny also invited Rebecca of Home Grown Love, who set up her altar, tuned her crystal singing bowl and proceed to lead us in a Raw Chocolate-making activity. This section of the day did get a bit giddy for some of us.



I didn't really need a Raw Food Basics class. I've got tons of recipes and Raw books, and after watching enough YouTube videos I'd have eventually figured out how to crack that coconut. Still it was worth every penny to spend the day eating great food and hanging out with cool people who are diving into Raw.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Working Out

Working out has been a real pleasure this week--perhaps because I took Monday as a rest day, perhaps because I've been completely Raw. I've been slacking on my green superfood drink, but I'll plan to bring it back in starting tomorrow. Might as well maintain the high!

Sunday - Walked for 1 and 1/2 hours after my Raw Basics class. (more about the class later)

Monday - Complete Rest

Tuesday - Trained chest, back and abs
1 and 1/2 hours on the treadmill

Wednesday - 6x 225 stairs (Loving this workout! Really anxious to increase the reps.)
early morning yoga

When I include it, early morning yoga sets the tone for my day. I wake up and do a slow dry brushing. Then, perhaps after a quick warm-up on the mini-trampoline, I move into my yoga practice. The key here is to do all of this before I have any human interaction. I may have to maintain our separate room policy after I get married again. When I get married again? If I get married again? You know what I mean!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Extending a Helping Hand to the Homeless


Saturday was a wonderfully Raw day! In Santa Monica, I went to RAWvolution. I picked up a great meal, but can't remember exactly what it was. I know I had an onion bread sandwich, which included rich sauce and jerk coconut flesh. I had a stir no-fry and a great dessert as well. Perhaps the details of the meal faded quickly from my memory because of the experience I had earlier that morning--a reminder to be, well . . . mindful.

As I exited the freeway onto Crenshaw Avenue, I noticed a homeless man standing at the light on my side of the street. No surprise--there's almost always someone there selling roses or just asking for spare change. This man--an obvious alcoholic--was old. There was no convincing me that he wasn't somebody's grandpa. If I've learned anything from watching A&E's Intervention each week, it's that every addict has a story; every addict is or was someone's beloved.

My plan was to put on my mascara at the light, but I first emptied out my car's change holder, rolled down the window and dropped the coins in his cup. He shuffled over and smiled his thanks at me. I, of course, wished him a good day and yanked out my mascara wand.

As I was applying the black gunk, I noticed the driver next to me had also rolled down his window. A handsome young black man, he drove a new and very clean Lexus, of the expensive sort. He reached out and dropped a crisp dollar bill into the man's cup, and I was glad to see him do it. (I hope I'm not cheating him out of more credit. I couldn't see the denomination.)

And then the young man did something that hadn't occurred to me, not once in all the times I've given money to those who ask. You see, I'm usually in a rush to get to the next thing, but he wasn't. The young man extended his hand through the car window, shook the older man's hand, and exchanged eye-to-eye words with him. In doing all this, there was no sense that he was hurried. When they were done, the old man shuffled back to his corner, and the younger man looked back at me and nodded his acknowledgement.

And I felt like a bit of a creep. I was so focused on prettifying, I hadn't given all I had to give. Sure, I'd donated the change that I'd later need for the parking meter, but I hadn't given my presence and attention and love. Next time I will.

Note to those of you thinking that man's just going to go buy a bottle with that money: that's his prerogative. I pray that he finds another path to peace, but in the meantime I hope he collected enough cash to get him through the day.

Keep your mind in the moment.
***Graphic from feedfivethousand.com

Friday, March 28, 2008

Well 90% Aint Bad

I ended up eating about 90% Raw this time. How do we Raw Foodies come up with these percentages? I don't know. I can just say that most of my meals were completely Raw, and a couple were less than a quarter cooked, so I'm thinking 90% seems a fair estimate. You don't have to be 100% Raw to enjoy some of the benefits of living foods, but I do love that feeling that I only get when I'm 100%, or really, really, really close to it.

Workouts went well this week. Not much else to report.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Raw, but not 100%

So, I've had 2 clear deviations from my goal of 100% Raw this week. I used a small amount of Nama Shoyu (unpasteurized, but not Raw) and a not-so-small amount of balsamic vinegar. I didn't feel any negative effects after consuming these cooked ingredients, but in retrospect, I would've preferred to find alternatives. That's not to say that I plan to eliminate those things forever. I rarely use Nama Shoyu any more, but I still like a splash of balsamic a little more frequently.

Anyway, I'm back on target for 100% Raw through next Sunday.

This Week's Workouts

Monday: Walked for an hour and a half--lots of hills. This walk should be about 15 minutes shorter, but my friend isn't in the mood to push it lately.

Tuesday: Same walk, 42 miles on the bike, trained legs. Yes, my legs are sore today. No one's fault but my own, since I haven't trained them in so long.

Wednesday: Early morning yoga, heading to the stairs. We'll see how many times my friend (not the same slow-walking one) wants to make it up and down the stairs today. Technically, we're supposed to be doing 6 laps, starting today, for a total of 1350 stairs. We shall see!

Oh yeah . . . I also did about 20 minutes of a Core Rhythms workout this morning, to warm up before yoga. Let's just say I'm not a dancer. Good thing everyone else in my house was still asleep when I did that one.

Are you guys working out? At all? C'mon, the human body was made to move! Raw food is wonderful, but exercise is a must-do. You know I'm telling the truth! Find something you like to do.

Monday, March 24, 2008

That Green Powder Stuff

So yardsnacker asked me to elaborate on the benefits of green powders. Here's my best shot at it.

Based on what I've read and experienced, I believe that greens are some of the most nutritious foods we can consume. However, it can be difficult to eat enough fresh greens or to get a truly wide variety of them through salads, green smoothies and green juices. That's where low-temp dried greens come in. The green powder I use includes grasses, herbs and green vegetables that I wouldn't otherwise get to enjoy the benefits of, like bilberry leaf, white willow bark, aloe leaf and strawberry leaf. These are all mixed together in a concentrated form.

Some people, like Raw Model, Anthony, make their own blends, by ordering various herbs and even dehydrating their own greens. I'm always threatening to do this, but haven't gotten around to it yet. Once I use up my couple of jars of pre-made green powder, I may just give it a shot. Kristen happened to post today about the green powder she likes. See #6 on her list.

I still make and love green juices and smoothies, and huge salads, but this is a way to easily up my intake of green nutrition, while also getting in some herbs and superfoods. When I would up my percentage of Raw and neglect green powder blends, I'd usually find I had more transition symptoms: breakouts, canker sores, tiredness, or cravings. Sometimes I just mix the powder with water--not the best taste, but not bad. (I'm past the point of consuming things I don't enjoy, unless they're for medicinal purposes.) I like it better in smoothies though.

Hope this brings some clarity.

100% Raw Challenge (Last Week)

Last week's 100 Percent challenge went so well! I stuck to all Raw and my daily workouts were great. Although I'm not a huge consumer of supplements or superfoods (mostly due to budgetary concerns), I did find it helpful to have a green powder with MSM every day. This seemed to eliminate the transition road bumps I sometimes have when I go from mostly Raw to all Raw.

If you decide to try a green powder, look for one without yeast, dairy, corn, egg, processed sugar, starch, rice, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors or other junk you wouldn't want to put in your body. (I do eat corn though.)

A few of the good things in the green powder I use: alfalfa leaf, parsley lead, spinach leaf, watercress herb, wheat grass, kale, pau de arco bark, and lots of others. I can't recommend this brand though. It's expensive, and you have to sign up for a subscription in order to get it. I'm not a fan of that kind of sales, but there are plenty of other green powders out there.

I'm going to keep the green powder in my daily diet. Today, I'll put it in my green smoothie. I'm also doing 100% Raw again this week--starting with lunch, since I had a cup of coffee with breakfast. I 'm taking a Raw food prep class at 118 Degrees this Sunday, so I think it will be cool to stay All the Way Raw until then.

Enjoy the day!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

100% Raw Challenge (Wednesday)

Oh Trader Joe's ... you almost had me with that sample! Wonder Girl said it was delicious, but I resisted! If it hadn't been for this Challenge, I would've been right there with the tiny white cup in my hand.

What the heck did I eat yesterday?:

chia pudding with strawberries
1 pear, 3 apples, 1 banana
huge salad of tatsoi, dehydrator-roasted radishes, carrots and onions

I'm going back to the store for a couple more raw treats today.

Yesterday's workout:
back & chest
1125 stairs (Honestly we should be doing more stairs, but my friend, who is in much better shape than I am, claims that she wants to build up slowly.)

Have a great day, yall!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

100% Raw Challenge

All the way Raw and Living today! It was an awesome Tuesday! I spent an hour or so working in the backyard, sunlight pouring down on me, a great view behind my laptop. Such a wonderful feeling to be productive and to do so in such a pleasant space.

Today's Raw goodness:
peach cheesecake with a pile of strawberries
chia pudding with more strawberries
juice of celery, apples, oranges, ginger, lemon and beets
leftover raw tacos and mango slaw
salad of napa cabbage, carrots, celery, lots of orange slices, and sesame seeds
dressing: olive oil, lime juice, sea salt, ginger, and raw honey

Today's workout:
Morning yoga (amazing way to start the day)
Abs
1 hr & 15 min on the treadmill

Everyone talks about the Raw food glow, but don't forget the glow a serious workout can give you! I swear I look 5 years younger when I'm consistently getting great workouts. Looking forward to the stairs tomorrow.

Shout out to Michelle J for staying Raw!

100% Raw Challenge

This week, I've joined some people at gone raw in a 100% Raw Challenge. I'm committed to Monday-Friday, all the way Raw and Living. Yesterday I ate:

chia seed pudding with strawberries
raw tacos with mango salsa
a very large fuji apple
slaw of red and green cabbage, mango, and cilantro with olive oil (yes, my evoo is raw) and lemon juice

Yesterday's workout: trained biceps, triceps & shoulders, 1 hour on the treadmill (That may seem like a lot, but my trusty ol' treadmill can only go up to about 3.5 mph. I jack it up to top incline and power walk.)

If you don't have a lot of time to devote to exercise today, take 10 minutes and put yourself through the old P.E. class warm-up routine. You remember: jumping jacks, sit-ups (we do crunches now) touch your toes, and all that old school stuff. Move your body, boys and girls. Don't tell me you don't have 10 minutes! LB, are you reading this, coffee in hand, from Starbucks?!?!

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Coffee Habit--I'm Over It


Well, I was never quite as bad as the guy in the picture, but I had my fiending moments. When I first went returned to Raw and Living foods, I struggled to give up my daily coffee. I really didn't want to let go of the rich, warm start to my day, and as the weather turned cool, giving up my heat source seemed impossible.

I don't know how detrimental coffee is or isn't to my health--studies conflict, as usual. I do know that I'd get bad headaches if I missed it for a day or two. So instead of heroically going cold turkey, I painlessly weaned myself off of the stuff.

LB was kind enough to make the morning pot with half decaf for a couple of weeks. After that, I went to straight decaf, and then to teas that have no caffeine, or only a fraction of the amount found in coffee. It was as simple as that.

LB still drinks coffee, and it's been incredibly helpful that he hasn't been making much at home lately. I'll likely still have some once in a while, but it no longer has the hold on me that it once did. It's a relief not to be physically dependent on a substance--not a cool feeling to need it like that.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Five Things About Me (and then some)


I was tagged by yardsnacker and raw food with jessica to reveal 5 things folks don't know about me. I'm tagging Connie (because she seems like an interesting person), and The Writer Stuff (because I want her to blog more). I'm tagging LB, because I can. I'm not great at chain mail, so if you're reading this, then feel free to jump in and post 5 things about yourself.

1. I speak Spanish. I used to speak Portuguese pretty well, but that's slowly slipping away from me. Fear not; I'll refresh that skill soon. I want to add French (already started) and Italian, which will be easy, and Mandarin, which will be much tougher.

2. When I'm driving I send good vibes to any women I see jogging. I do this by yelling encouragement like "Run, lady! Run for those of us who can't right now!" (They can't hear me.)You can imagine how much my children love that I do this. I used to send good jogging vibes to men, but it seemed they'd always slow down or stop when I did, so I figured it was better to quit.

3. I've published a few short stories, and I'm working (not enough) on a novel.

4. My sister's 10 years younger than I am. When she was in high school and I was a young, married mother, people would always think she was older than I was. She wore a lot of make-up and fancy hairdos, and I wore a constant pony tail! (Still my favorite hairstyle!)

5. I collect original art. I look for good deals, buying only things that I L-O-V-E. I like to get to know the artist in some way, if I can. I'm just getting started with this passion.

6. I like to shoot and I'm good at it. I once dated a Marine and we'd go to the range to shoot his 9 mm. Unfortunately, this hobby conflicts with the sick feeling I get when I think about the harm guns do to people, so I let it go when I let go of the soldier. (Good riddance to...well, you know the rest.)

7. When I was 23, my closest friend, Sandra Patricia Lazos, was killed by an errant bullet.

8. The tiny Central American nation of Honduras has my heart.

9. When I was a kid, I had a compulsive habit of adding up the letters of all the words in the sentences I said. I still do it sometimes.
10. I'm head-over-heels, crazy-stupid in love with one of the most talented screenwriters in the game. I set my cap for an artistic, creative, intelligent, grounded, kind, handsome, chivalrous, funny, open-minded, family-oriented, God-loving, generous writer, and that's what I got!

And I suppose the picture makes 11 things! I had to dig deep to come up with some of that stuff, but I like a challenge.

More than you wanted to know? Blame Sam and Jessica!

Tagged?!?!

I've been tagged to tell 5 things you wouldn't know about me. Back with that later...and it won't be easy!

Last Week's Workouts

Eeek! The days have really gotten away from me. I did workout though!

Wednesday: 1000 steps & a stretch workout show
Thursday: 30 minutes on the treadmill & 45 minutes on the stationary bike
Friday: 1 hour on the stationary bike
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Yoga this morning, and in a few minutes I'm heading back to the beach stairs



I pretty much sucked at getting in strength training this week. I don't know how that happened, but at least I managed to do yoga this morning. I'm really enjoying that.

My cable package has a channel called FitTv. I've finally started recording some of the many workout programs that are aired on that station. I've meant to do it for some time, but never actually taken the initiative until now. The pluses: variety, doing the workouts at my convenience, and fast forwarding through commercials (though there aren't many during the shows). So far I've enjoyed a cardio stretch show and a yoga show. I've yet to try Shimmy (belly dancing), but I shall.

Move your bodies, boys and girls!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Food as Fuel? And then some.

A friend recently told me, "I've finally got my eating issues under control. I realize food is just fuel for my body. It's not meant to be fun." This woman isn't a person of extremes, but she was still on a honeymoon with this philosophy (you know how it is when you discover something new that works, or seems to work), and she wasn't interested in eating for pleasure.

I'd rather be fat -- and since I used to be obese, I get to say that without offending anyone. I'd rather be fat than resign myself to food as an equivalent to gas or oil or coal. I toyed with this idea when I was going through all my lose-the-lard experiments in the past, and frankly, it didn't last long.

Food is fuel--fuel that should be savored...enjoyed...and sometimes exalted. We should bond over it, commune with it, and show our appreciation for it. Of course, modern society has to deal with the overabundance we face. It's hard to appreciate what's on your plate when it's all available 24 hours per day. Drive to the grocery store at 3 a.m. and get a pecan pie. Drive thru and get fries. Pick up the phone and get fried rice and pizza.

We're spoiled. I admit that. But food is more than just fuel. It's pleasure, and luxury, and family, and celebration, and joy, and spirituality, and love. We just need to be careful what we classify under the big "Food" umbrella. Hint: if it comes in a box, there's a good chance it might not qualify.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Today's Workout

LB joined me for my Power Yoga workout today. I modified some poses even more than I had over the weekend, as I'm just coming out on the other side of the muscle spasms (Woo hoo!). I also walked for 30 minutes on the treadmill and did some low-key jogging on the rebounder, also known as the mini-trampoline. It felt good to get the body moving after 2 days of rest. Eating particularly well over the last couple of days, means I've rested well, which is always good for healing.

Are yall moving your bodies every single day? Especially you Bikini Challenge participants. . . It doesn't have to be intense. Go for a walk, or ride your bike (or your kid's bike), or do a few simple sets of jumping jacks and the other stuff they made us do in middle school gym. You gotta move! Have fun!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Muscle Spasms and Green Drinks

Sundays are optional workout days for me. Yesterday, I chose to rest. LB wasn't feeling well, and by early afternoon my back muscles were in major spasm mode. Motion usually eases the pain, but it takes a lot of fortitude to commit to exercise when I know it will get worse before it gets better.

I've dealt with this problem since I was 19 years old. A few years ago I started taking prescription medications for it, only submitting to the Rx every six months or so. Yesterday, the pain was bad enough for me to consider taking the pills, but I had 2 brown bottles in the cabinet, and I couldn't remember which one was for muscle spasms. I looked them both up on my friend, Google.

I quickly differentiated between the two, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but, "Users have an increased likelihood of heart attack." Gotta say, that wasn't a real turn on. For the first time, I searched for "muscle spasms" and "natural" or "homeopathic." Here's the first page I found:

I would look to your liver and digestion or the lack of digestion for help here. The liver in Chinese Medicine rules the muscles. If they are in spasm, there are toxins in the body and all your healing is not taking affect. I would recommend green magma or chlorophyll to give your body back basic nutrients. I would also recommend enzymes and don't' be afraid to take 6-8 at a time.

Bottom line: Eat (or drink) your greens, girl! It's just not that complicated, is it? How many other pages could I have chosen? It wasn't at the top of the search results, so I can't believe it's a coincidence that I clicked on that page. I could very well be dealing with toxicity built up over the holidays, though I still believe I tweaked my knee on the sand dune. If I'd stayed with the greens over the holidays, I might've avoided that tweak, or healed from it more quickly. Either way, I'm not taking the heart-stopping meds, unless I get to the point of unbearable pain. For now it's ice packs, heating pads, and green drinks.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Work it Out!

Yesterday, I went back to the stairs. I confess: they're an addicting workout. If they were closer to home, I'd hit them several times a week. And it's not because I'm such a stud. My friend's 13 year old son went with us, and the kid lapped us. (He had a head start...he had his ipod...he was dancing on the landings, so it was more fun, so it was easier--yeah right! Bottom line: he whipped our butts!)

It's really an exhilarating challenge, with the beautiful beach below us, and it's a great mix-up from my old routine. Twice now we've encountered women who use the stairs as their daily exercise. Twice now, we've been advised that the secret to sustaining is in remembering to breathe, and breathe properly.

The sun is shining. There's a cool breeze blowing, and I wish I could drag LB down to the stairs to practice my soft inhale and exhale. He's under the weather, so we're sticking close to home, but tomorrow is another day.