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)
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!


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.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Way to Relax

Today I did yoga for the first time in quite a long while. After working out with Wonder Girl (710 stairs, pretty darn good for a 9 year old) I sent her to shower and nap. I could feel a knot of muscles twisting up right next to my spine, so I pulled out one of my yoga tape, led by the magnificent Rodney Yee. It's old enough that it's on VHS, for goodness sake. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed it.

The keys to enjoying the tape:
1. Modifying through the difficult poses.
2. Paying attention to proper breathing.
3. No one saying, "Hey mami, look at me!" or "How the heck do I do that?"
4. Zero noise distraction.

Maybe yoga gets better with age. 4 or 5 years ago, I would've strained to complete all the most difficult segments. Not this time. This time I just went with the flow. Try it. You might like it.

SuperCharge Me with Protein!

If you're a regular reader of Raw blogs, then you've probably seen this video over at Raw Food, Right Now! I'm posting it here so that the rare personal friend or relative who happens by my blog (Mumma, I know you're not reading this!) will get a little info on Raw food. It's only a couple of minutes long, and right to the point.

The video is courtesy of Jenna Norwood from Supercharge Me! , a documentary which follows Jenna's 30-day journey on a Raw eating-style. (And Mumma, if you're reading this, buy the video!)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Roll with the Punches

So I had my day all planned out, and it was supposed to start out with 1000 steps at 7 a.m. In Laguna Beach there's a set of 230 stairs, and we do them at least 4 times--down and back up. It's a nice change from my regular workouts and I can't wait to get LB and my daughters out there to give it a shot.

I was ready on time, but my friend and some-time workout partner never showed. We talked later and realized we'd had a miscommunication. We'll do the stairs tomorrow.

That could've blown my plan for physical activity for the day. No such thing! I jumped on my pitiful ol' treadmill instead and put in my time there. Let nothing stand in the way of the Bikini Challenge!

Fennel & Orange Salad

Fennel has a mild licorice taste. I don't love licorice, but fennel really appeals to me. To temper the unique flavor, I slice the bulbs into 1/4 inch rounds, separate the slices, and toss them in olive oil , sea salt, and balsamic vinegar. The vinegar, which isn't raw, adds a nice flavor. You can marinate without it--using Raw apple cider vinegar and other things, like Raw agave. Dehydrate at 105-degrees, for 4-5 hours, or until the desired state of chewiness is achieved. I usually leave mine in overnight.

Fennel & Orange Salad
3 bulbs fennel (marinated & dehydrated)
3 oranges (peeled & sliced horizontally)
sea salt (to taste)
black pepper (to taste)

Break the orange slices into little segments. Toss everything together and allow time for the flavors to blend. LB really doesn't like licorice and didn't love this salad, but I enjoyed it. Next time, I'll serve it over spinach. Very satisfying!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Greens, Anyone?

Even if you're not following a High Raw diet, green smoothies offer the opportunity to add a wider range of nutrients to your diet in one easily blended drink. Wonder Girl arose from her nap today requesting a green smoothie for lunch. The lovely concoction consisted of kale, spinach, kohl rabi leaves, ground flax seed, hemp oil, and a mix of frozen strawberries, mango and papaya. We don't usually have quite so many ingredients, but we wanted to kick it up a notch.

When I'm feeling less than 100% greens usually help. I had the above smoothie, as well as a juice of apples, lemon, ginger and wheatgrass (that magical green). And I'm feeling super-duper!

Check out the green smoothie video added to the left side bar.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Is Raw Too Expensive?

Our grocery bill has almost doubled since we switched over to Raw Foods, and it wasn't low to begin with. Part of the reason for the increase was that I stocked up on a lot of staples--agave nectar, Raw honey, coconut oil, Raw cacao, raw nuts--and these items can be expensive, especially if you don't know where to shop. Of course, you don't actually need most of them to go Raw, but I took the approach of making our meals very indulgent. It eased our transition.

Now we're bringing the grocery bill down. We receive a basket of organic produce from South Coast Farms each week, for the very reasonable price of about $35 per 30-pound basket. We shop at the local farmer's market. We buy prepared Raw dishes, then figure out how to recreate them at home for a fraction of the price. We eat simpler meals.

Does living off plant parts seem cost prohibitive? Check out this link I found through the Daily Raw Inspiration. LocalHarvest helps you find organic grocers, farmers' markets, CSA programs, and farms in your area. I found a couple of nearby resources that I hadn't known existed.
Yes, it costs somewhat more to eat Real food. I could feed my family a lot more cheaply if we ate from boxes at every meal. But you can make it work--even on a budget--if you learn to work your resources. This month's grocery bill will be more reasonable.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Bikini Challenge

I haven't worn a swimsuit since 1994. That's right it's been 14 years since I slipped into bathing beauty wear. For much of that time, I would've felt comfortable exposing that much of myself, but I rarely vacationed or took time out to relax poolside. I'm not a great swimmer (frankly, I suck), and lounging by a body of water always seemed a little pointless to me. I'd rather lie in a hammock with a book, or go for a hike, or explore new restaurants. Then came the time when I didn't wish to be seen in anything more revealing than a burka. (I'm not kidding.)

Fast forward to 2008. One of our friends sent out this challenge:

Let's schedule a date with a professional photographer and take a group swimming attire photo. Bikini, tankini, trunks, speedos -- your call. Deadline: June 2008

Her purpose is to inspire us all to maintain our commitments to health and fitness. We're spread out all over these united states, so the plan is for us to gather in Atlanta for the group photo. This includes men and women, mostly in their 30's and 40's, with a few husband and wife teams. Everyone's taking their own diet and exercise path, but we're sharing our ideas via email.

Normally this type of thing would make me feel a bit desperate. Since choosing a Raw eating-style, I just feel like I need to keep doing what I'm doing. After all, it works! LB and I are back on track since the holidays. In fact, I think that little eating detour was beneficial for me, as I quickly saw the return of some health issues when I increased my percentage of cooked foods. That motivated me to stay Raw even more than this bikini challenge could. This is my type of competition though--one in which I'm competing against myself.

I'll be ready for the photo shoot. And I'll be wearing a! Stop laughing!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

New Raw Restaurant (cont'd)

Does this look like a pleasant morning's hike? Think again! It's a killer (see those tiny people at the top) and we LOVED it!

After we went up the hill and down six times, I gave LB a choice: we could go for cooked pancakes at a local place we used to love, or we could try a new Raw restaurant. His heart said pancakes, but his head said healthy, so we headed over to Terra Bella Cafe, in Redondo Beach, CA.

There we found yummy goodness.

Raw Hummus
Savor the Goddess
Marinated kale, cucumber, red onion, cabbage, and avocado. I opted for the steamed quinoa add-on. It's not Raw, but it's a high-protein grain that some High Raw people consume. I usually don't, but decided to give it a shot. I eat kale salad at home a few times each week, but this one was worth ordering.

Veggie Quiche
Mushroom-spinach with cashew cheese and macadamia crust, topped with roasted tomatoes. Served on a bed of greens with dressing. This dish arrived before my salad, and after tasting it, I almost wished I'd ordered it. It was warm and satisfying--full of subtle flavors.

We ordered the Chocolate Raspberry Torte to go. Unfortunately, we devoured it before we snapped a photo. I'm not a huge chocolate fan, but we had this for dinner with a plate of strawberries and it was unbelievable. I'll be ordering one for my next grown-up party.

All in all, it was an amazing day. Thanks to Lovely Boyfriend for snapping the pix and for driving all over the freeways of Los Angeles, while I dozed and dozed and dozed. You're a true gentleman, LB.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

New Raw Restaurant

Today was an awesome day, even though I was exhausted, and blue for some time, and kept falling asleep in the car! Lovely Boyfriend and I hiked up a huge sand dune 6 times and then treated ourselves to lunch at a new Raw restaurant. Terra Bella Cafe is in Redondo Beach, California. The meal was amazing, but I'm tired, so I'll post the details and photos tomorrow. For now, suffice it to say this restaurant stood up to the other 3 I've tried here in Southern California.