Monday, January 28, 2008


I was visiting Sam over at yardsnacker when I had a Duh! moment. Several of his blogs raved about different juices and smoothies he's tried and thrived on, and I realized that's what's missing from my return to Raw. You'd think I'd remember that detail from when I started this journey last year, but my efforts have been almost completely focused on making use of all the ingredients in my CSA basket.

We pay about $450 for three months worth of our weekly baskets of organic produce. It's wonderful. The food's more flavorful than anything we can get at the grocery store, and it really saves us money. One challenge: some of the items are new to me, or things I wouldn't normally buy, or even things I'm not sure what do with. In the end, I sometimes end up letting things go bad, and I'm trying really hard to minimize that. A Vita-Mix isn't in my near future, and I don't have a clue which cheaper blender is best, so when my blender gave up the ghost last month, I didn't worry too much about it. I thought, of course, that I'd be getting plenty of fruits and veggies just by consuming what comes in the basket.

Duh! I'm getting way too few greens. I need my smoothies back!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Everybody Appreciation Day

In our family we all have goal books in which we list many of the things we want to do, achieve or experience in our lives. Lovely Boyfriend and Wonder Girl each have over 100 goals. Fierce Teenager and I don't have quite so many. Even WG's best friend, Little E, has a book at our house, and every once in a while we gather around the table for progress reports.

After church today, we sat before a spread of veggies and dip, strawberries and spinach pizza. LB and I had kombucha-mimosas (non-alcoholic), and the girls had sparkling cider. The champagne flutes always lend an air of festivity. As usual, some goals had received more attention than others, but we all set our intentions for February 2008.

FT: Work harder in track. She didn't want to quantify this, because, she says, she'll know if it's happening or not.

WG: Do 7 pull-ups straight by month's end. (It's embarrassing that this is my 9 year old's goal, when I can't do a single one!)

Lil E: Start guitar lessons.

LB: Have his business plan ready to present by month's end.

Me: Return to, and maintain, 90% Raw. Yeah, I'm setting that intention out loud again. I've been getting there over the last week or so, but I need to jump in and stay in.

We finished up with an exercise recommended in church today. Everyone's name went in a bowl, and was drawn out one by one. As each name was chosen, we all took a few minutes to write down some of the things we appreciated about that person. Then one person read all the responses aloud. It was a cool thing. Next time, though, I'm saving those written thoughts of appreciation. They wouldn't hurt to have on hand on a less than wonderful day.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Feed All the People

So many want to ignore the issue of race in the contest for the American presidency, to pretend it matters not at all, while candidates pat and turn for the Black vote. These are the same people who would testify that race is no longer a divisive or defining factor in this country, and point to Mr. Obama's serious bid for the Democratic nomination as evidence. Then there are those of us who live in the real world.

USA Today recently reported that most large cities in America lack sufficient full-service grocery stores to serve their populations. (Don't worry; there's a liquor store on every corner, along with a place to buy Cheetos and soda.) It's difficult to eat healthfully when you've got to take two buses and walk several blocks to get to a produce section. Under those circumstances, would you buy 5 pounds of bananas or a few boxes of processed corn breakfast? Maybe they should just stroll down to the local farmer's market? Some cities are looking at incentives to bring fresh air markets to these areas, but not much has been done to date.The citizens in these inner-city areas are disproportionately brown, and almost 100% low-income.

So many want to point to Mr. Obama as the realization of Dr. King's dream. But Dr. King's heart belonged as much to the working class as it did to us middle class Black folks. What can be said of a nation in which something as basic as healthy, living food (not to mention health care) is out of reach for so many? Some dreams are still deferred.

***Photo By Pam Spaulding, The Courier-Journal

Almost Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Searching for recipes for a dinner party, I ran into a blog about slow-roasted tomatoes. They sounded great but required temperatures of about 200 degrees F. Luckily I have my handy-dandy Excalibur and decided to do a raw version, keeping the temp down around 105 degrees.

How easy is this? Get a bunch of tomatoes and slice them into chunks about 1/2 inch thick. (Cherry tomatoes can be cut in half.) Spread them out on a dehydrator sheet. Drizzle them with a mixture of olive oil and raw agave. (Sorry, no measurements. Maybe a 3:1 ratio. It should taste good.) Sprinkle with dried oregano, sea salt and black pepper. Let dehydrate for 6-8 hours. A few hours in, flip and drizzle with more of the same. They're done when they've reached the desired level of chewiness. Serve warm, especially good over a plate of spinach.

So, yes, this is about as unspecific as a recipe can get. Trust me: you can't go wrong. Just season to taste. They're sweet, savory, chewy and delicious.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I Could've Danced All Night

Be honest. Are you working out as much as you should? Unless you work on a farm or a construction site, your life is modern-day America is probably pretty sedentary. How many hours each day do you spend sitting in the car, or in front of the computer, or (yikes!) in front of the television? Maybe your New Year's resolution was to move more.

Lately, I'm getting 2-3 hours of focused workout in everyday. It probably sounds a bit extreme, but I've had a lot of anxiety and diving into exercise is better than devolving into panic attacks. If you ever lay in bed with your mind racing, unable to sleep because of thoughts that stalk you, or toss and turn waking up every few hours with those same dark wings hovering overhead, then you can relate to the anxiety problem.

Intense and prolonged exercise sessions never fail to beat back the dark monsters. Yesterday, for example, I hiked the hills for almost two hours and spend another hour and a half on the stationary bike. After dinner, my body craved more movement. I planned to jump back on the bike, but Wonder Girl roped me into a game. The next thing I knew, we'd danced for almost 2 hours.

We danced and sang to the soundtracks from DreamGirls and O Brother Where Art Thou?. We took it mellow with a little Bob Marley, then cranked it back up with some salsa and merengue. I tried to teach her to dance la punta (a favorite of mine from Honduras), but she was not to be constricted, putting her own choreography over any prescribed steps.

It was the best I've felt in weeks. So, I challenge you, even implore you, to dance today. Do it right now! Put on some music, get up and move. Be silly, have fun, and enjoy your body's ability to do what it was meant to do. Dance!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Today's Yummy Food

Pre-workout Snack: 1 banana

Breakfast: raw cheese with a big handful of dried figs
1 cup coffee (half-decaf, non-raw)

Lunch: Popcorn (non-raw) We went to see "Atonement" today. I usually don't have popcorn at the movies, but Lovely Boyfriend's sister sent us a special blend from Chicago as a Christmas gift. We took baggies of the stuff in with us. When I have cooked treats like that, I try to consume a bottle of kombucha along with them. It seems to speed up the digestion of the not-particularly-good-for-me stuff--must be all that living creatures swimming around in there.

Dinner: As of 7:30 p.m., neither LB nor I is hungry. Doesn't look like we're having dinner tonight. I'm going to do an extra cardio session in a few minutes. If I'm still not hungry, I'll just polish off the rest of the bottle of kombucha.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Today's Yummy Food

Snack: 1 almost-sundried tomato

This is a concoction I made in the dehydrator. I'll post a recipe later, but it's basically thickly sliced tomatoes topped with a mixture of olive oil, agave, sea salt and spices. Dehydrate to the desired level of yummy chewiness.

Breakfast: 2 cups coffee (half-decaf, non-raw)
Raw Breakfast Crusts
a few dried figs

Snack: 1 young coconut

Lunch: 1 large kohlrabi
Nice new vegetable for us. It came in our CSA basket.

Dinner: salad of spinach, tomatoes, cukes, celery, peppers, and carrots &1 non-raw topping

Sincere thank you's to everyone who sent sympathy and condolences recently.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Antoine Cornell Gordon

May 31, 1989 - January 6, 2008
Always Loved
Forever Missed
Never Forgotten

Back to Blogging (for real this time)

Who cares what you eat? What difference does it make? Eat, you'll feel better.

After the recent loss in our family, I've had trouble getting back on track, not so much with eating well as with simply caring. A part of me says none of this really matters in the grand scheme of things. But that part has to battle it out with the slightly wiser part of me that knows it's about the quality of my life for as long as I'm blessed to be here.

Who cares what I eat?

I care.

What difference does it make?

A dramatic one. Since we lowered our percentage of Raw and Living foods in December, I've suffered the swift return of some health issues that had all but disappeared.

Eat, you'll feel better.

That one's actually true, as long as I'm feeding not just my body, but also my mind and spirit with real, living foods.

We're back to eating mostly Raw again. I'm anxious to return to all the benefits, including the more peaceful, less anxious state of mind.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Time Away

I haven't been blogging over the last few days. My family lost a member, unexpectedly and tragically--someone I loved very very much. For the last couple of days I've wanted to blog about him and what an amazing young man he was, but I'm not ready. It's difficult enough to get through everyday necessities.

Fierce Teenager is suffering. They were cousins, partners in crime, age-mates and friends. She doesn't do grief well, rarely exposing her feelings. Wonder Girl showed only surprise. She will miss him, but he's in heaven. She worries more for the little sister he left behind. The faith of children is such a balm to our wounded souls.

This sad news comes after several painful losses to our family--our patriarch (my awe-inspiring Grandpa), my nephew, my sister's best friend, my incredibly giving aunt--all in the last few years. How fortunate my family is to have the enduring support that we are for each other. How blessed to have our friends, our faith, and our love for one another.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Return of High Raw

It's been three or four days since we returned to our High Raw way of eating. (It's an ugly term, "High Raw," but I haven't found a more poetic one. ) We've mostly had very simple meals, as I'm trying to keep down our grocery bill. Next week the CSA baskets start again, which will provide us with more fresh and organic variety.

After only a few days, I've seen some positive changes: clearer skin, deeper sleep, that physical/mental/emotional lightness I only get from Raw, heightened senses. None of this surprises me, since I've experienced it all before and really looked forward to experiencing it this time.

Why then did I move do far away from High Raw, and thus so far away from all those benefits, even for a short period of time? Didn't I know that potato salad and red velvet cake would do nothing to make me feel lighter? Am I so short-sighted that all I cared about was the immediate gratification?

I'm not beating myself up, but I do think I need to take this experience with me into the future. I ate decadent cooked foods because they were part of my traditional holiday celebrations, because I didn't want to offend my hosts, and because I'm very much against wasting food. Even though I continued to include more Raw fruits and vegetables than most Americans would consider, I felt bloated and heavy and sick by the end of it all.

Can someone email this back to me next Christmas?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Big Sigh

Why doesn't a juice feast appeal to me at all? Lots of Raw Foodies rave about the feasts they've done for upwards of 90 days, but I couldn't get through 3 days last fall. I don't juice. I prefer green smoothies (don't want to waste the pulp & fiber, don't have a juicer, like the slightly more satisfying feeling I get from smoothies), but I still couldn't go for a week on the blended concoctions.

My friend Terilynn is on her 34th day of her juice feast. Angela Stokes is famous for her 92 day excursion into a juice-only phase. I love the lightness of being that comes from being completely, or mostly, Raw. I missed it terribly as I ate more cooked food over the holidays, and I'm sure Raw juices would heighten the lovely light and clean feelings. I just can't do it.

Right now I have the perfect excuse: my not-so-high-powered blender blew up today, just as I was preparing to make a smoothie of spinach, peaches, banana and flax seeds. But I have to face facts--even if I owned the much coveted Vita-Mix, I wouldn't go very long without solid foods. I reason that there would've been no juicer in the Garden of Eden. Early man wouldn't waste the flesh of fruit, the fibrous substance of leafy greens, so why should I?

When it's all said and done, I may never enjoy a juice or smoothie feast. I'm okay with that. Still, just as with the certainty that I'll never voluntarily jump out of a plane, I'll sometimes wonder what I'm missing.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


Here's to a healthy new year! If you're looking for ways to incorporate healthier eating into your lifestyle, busy though it may be, check out some of Kristen's ideas. One tip she includes is to make one Raw dish at every meal. How hard is that? A bowl of fruit alongside your kid's oatmeal is a great, easy start; a plate of cut veggies with lunch; a salad with dinner. Mission accomplished!

Resolutions: Why Bother?

When we were little kids, my older brother and I looked forward to New Year's Eve and the rare chance to stay up until midnight. What a party: watching Dick Clark, waiting for the ball to drop, making our New Year's Resolutions! What the heck did schoolkids resolve to do in the coming year? I can't remember or begin to imagine, but I still love the fresh start the new calendar page brings.

In recent years, it seems the world has rebelled against the tradition of setting a new standard for oneself for the coming year. To that I say: Grow up! It's supposed to be fun! So what if your trips to the gym didn't last past February 1st! Easy for me to say, as I start a year without having to resolve to exercise more, or eat better, or lose weight. In 2008 I'll continue to eat mostly Raw, to feed my family more fruits and vegetables, and to stay active--no need to make myself any promises about those things.

In 2008, I'm keeping it simple. I resolve to: Work harder and play harder. Minimizing the time I spend on things that don't fit that edict should make for an interesting year.