Monday, September 13, 2010

New Shoes, New Workout, New Blog

Check out my new running shoes. . .

After reading Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall, and doing some online research, I'm convinced of the benefits of barefoot running. I went out and got these awesome Vibram Five Fingers--designed to be a close approximation to running barefoot. (The Lovely Boyfriend calls these my monkey feet! He's just sipping on that hater-ade, since he's still running in old school sneaks.) I'm looking forward to doing some shoeless running, too.

Running and basic workouts are easier and more enjoyable since my juice feast and return to a high raw-vegan diet. I'm still sloooooow, but I run a lot of hills, and some weekends I go for 7-8 mile runs. Quite an awesome feeling. I usually follow those runs with a helping of chia pudding or a green juice.

I haven't written here in a while, since I've decided to phase out this blog. Check out my new one, The Raw Difference. I felt like starting something fresh. The new blog is about a raw food lifestyle--even for those of us who don't want to do 100% raw--with some emphasis on weight loss. See you there!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

What to Eat?

I'll soon be winding down my juice feast. The big question everyone's asking is what's the first food I'll want to eat when I've transitioned. There's no particular food that stands out, but I wouldn't turn down an heirloom tomato salad. What else? A nice green salad. Mango. Mango ice cream. I'm sure more ideas will flood in once I start eating, but it's hot outside and juice is more than satisfying these days.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

High Raw Salad

In our house, most of the family meals are high raw. Here's a typical salad: spinach, tomato, carrot, avocado, and black beans, topped with a balsamic vinaigrette. Those of us who want to go all raw will replace the beans with nuts or seeds.

We try to limit our consumption of processed oil (in this case, olive oil) to no more than 1 tablespoon per day. It's not an attempt to go low-fat. We get plenty of healthy fats from avocado, nuts, and seeds. That way the fat comes with fiber and nutrients you can't get in the oil, and it's easier to insure that the health benefits of the fat hasn't been destroyed by processing.

Friday, June 25, 2010

What Other People Feed Your Kids

Every summer my daughters go to visit my parents and extended family in Virginia. My mom has 8 brothers and sisters, and my dad has 3 brothers, and most of them have kids and grandkids. I'm blessed enough to still have both of my grandmothers and many great-aunts and uncles alive and well. My parents live out in the country and the girls can run to a cousin's house, an aunt's house, or a great-grandparents house without crossing a road. Blackberries grow in the backyards, and some of the old folks still have gardens. It's a little piece of heaven, except for the heat.

This year my older daughter is off working in a research program, so my Little Ray of Sunshine is going on her own. And what do you think has me worried? Not the solo plane flight, not the climbing of trees, or the inevitable arguments with her boy cousins.

I'm worried about the food! Ray literally gets ill if she eats too far away from our normal diet. My parents recognize her food allergies, but they're still likely to give in to a grandchild's pleas for junk. And even though my mom, step-dad, and step-mom are all diabetic, there's always plenty of junk to be had. Even their "healthy" meals are a far cry from what we eat in our home.

Ray's in love with lots of delicious things that are actually good for her: green juices, green smoothies, marinated kale, fresh saldas with her own secret-ingredient dressing, coconut water and meat, and much more. In Virginia, she won't have access to most of these things.

It's only 9 days. I'll send my sister to the grocery store with a short list of real foods to have on hand. I'll make some specific requests of things to limit and things to encourage, but that's about as much as I can do. I have to let her go enjoy her family and a bit of country living. But I don't have to like this part of it.

Day 56 on Juice --Juicy Weight Loss

Monday, June 21, 2010

Raw in the Family - Weight Loss & Clear Skin

My cousin, who's staying with us as she makes a move to Atlanta, just completed a 15-day juice feast. She's never been very overweight, but wasn't at her healthiest. Prior to her feast, she had dabbled in raw foods, but was really eating a pretty typical Standard American Diet.

During the 15 days, she took no supplements, went for short walks , and had at least 1 green juice each day. She lost 8 pounds and described her skin as "clearer than it's been in a long time."

She enjoyed the feast (possibly because I did most of the juicing), and even though she had some cravings for crummy fast foods and other not-so-good-for-ya stuff, she didn't find herself tempted to act on those cravings.

Today she starts her transition back to real food. She had a juice for breakfast, and she's planning to keep to a high raw, high vegan eating-style from this point onward. I'm sure she's sick of my warnings: if you go back to your old way of eating, you'll gain back the weight you lost AND MORE . .. MORE . . . MORE!!!

I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer, but I think it's good to know what you're getting into and what the long-term consequences could be.

As for me, I'm still juicing!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Raw Food Highlighted in Natural Health Magazine

As I was leaving Whole Foods yesterday, a copy of Natural Health magazine caught my eye. I rarely buy any magazines these days. It seems like a waste of paper when I read most of them in less than an hour, and then they gather dust. I think it was the headline "New help for addictions: Holistic approaches that work," that caught my eye.

I treated myself to the magazine on a whim, but I was thrilled to find it includes an article entitled, "The Raw Deal." It starts with a reference to Brigitte Mars. I was bummed that they don't include a photo of her, though they say her looks are, "her own best advertisement for her book." (See for yourself in the picture to the left.) I think it helps when conventional eaters get a look at a healthy face of raw food. Matt Amsden of Rawvolution fame is also quoted.

The article goes on to describe ways of adding significant amounts of raw food to your diet, and ends with a few high raw recipes, most of which look appealing.

An Ayurveda expert offers some cautions about going 100% raw, but overall the article is quite positive--a good read, especially for the raw curious.

It's Day 49 on my juice feast, and the juicy buzz has taken hold!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Raw Apologetics

Over the last few months, I've noticed a lot of bloggers coming out with the fact that they now eat raw dairy, or now eat some cooked items. Some (NOT ALL) of them almost seem apologetic, as if they're letting someone down.

Folks who are new to raw foods often encounter the 100% raw gurus. Some (NOT ALL) of these experts proclaim that the highest goal is 100% raw.

But there's little or no significant scientific evidence that 100% raw is the secret to excellent health and increased longevity. Some of the longest-lived cultures in the world eat a high raw and high vegan diet, but they aren't striving for that 100% mark. And let's face it, a plate of lightly steamed kale could be more nutrient-rich than a raw dessert.

For me and lots of other people, raw food is about abundance--abundant health, abundant life, and abundant pleasure--as well as a way to tread more gently on the planet. Some people feel better, look better, and function better at or close to 100% raw, and that's great for them. But there's no reason for others to have to defend or apologize for making a different choice.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Fruits of Summer

I feel tremendously blessed to be able to enjoy the fruits of summer. We've stocked up on so many fruits and veggies, we've run out of room. The cases of grapefruits and oranges are stored in the basement. Greens fill the refrigerator, and the produce drawers are filled to bursting. I love it!

We do spend more than the average American family does on groceries, (especially while I'm juicing) but I'd guess we spend much less on health care, including doctor's visits, health insurance, prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, and missed work due to illness.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hot Raw Chef!

Hot Raw Chef. If that title describes you, check out the Hot Chefs, Cool Kitchen contest being run by Living Light Culinary Arts Institute. The contest is open to both pros and amateurs, and video entries must be in by June 30th. They're awarding almost $2000 in prizes, so if you've got a video camera and an original recipe, it may be worth a shot.

Read about my reaction to chlorella on my juice feasting blog. I'm on Day 40!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Beauty of the Avocado

We had some friends over and fell into a discussion of all the fruit we have on our kitchen counter. They confessed that they've only recently discovered a love of avocado. The lightning bolt struck while they dined in a Mexican restaurant. A gentleman prepared table-side guacamole for them, and it was love at first bite.

Everyone in our house adores avocado. We put it on salads, in soups or dips, on onion bread, in veggie bowls, or just eat it out of the shell. I was caught up in the food discussion, but I should've shared some information about the benefits of avocados.

As I move away from using a lot of processed fats in the forms of oil, avocados rise up the ranks on my ingredient lists. They pack a good serving of monounsaturated fat in the nature's original package, which means that fat comes with a generous serving of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients.

I know that some people choose to avoid avos (as well as nuts and seeds) because they subscribe to a low-fat way of eating. I've done my research, and for me healthy fats in reasonable amounts are the way to go.

Juice Feast - Day 29. Check it out!

Friday, May 28, 2010

What I Miss While I Juice Feast

I really miss being able to experiment in the kitchen. Sure I can make lots of different juice combinations, but that's not as much fun as really getting involved in creating a new recipe. I still prepare my family's meals--sometimes three meals a day--but I can't sample the food, so I stick pretty closely to the tried and true dishes I know they'll like.

I'm on Day 28 of my juice feast, and though I miss playing in the kitchen, I'm quite content on my feast. Everyone around me is eating, including some of my favorite dishes, but for now I don't feel drawn to the food. Surprisingly, I'm not tired of juice either. I'm always glad for a break from the process of making juice, but unless I'm feeling rushed, the prep is a fairly peaceful routine.

I have dozens of recipe ideas written down, as well as recipes from other blogs. Can't wait to try them. I may have to start posting the things I'm making for the fam.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pesticides Linked to ADHD

Organic produce costs more than conventional, and sometimes it's easy to forget why we pay that extra money. Pesticides and fungicides have been linked to several negative effects, especially in children.

Other negative effects linked to the junk that's regularly sprayed on produce:
  • deficits in memory and motor skills
  • behavioral problems
  • childhood leukemia
  • other cancers
  • unhealthy weight gain

Remember the Dirty Dozen are the common fruits and vegetables that are most often heavily contaminated with chemicals, and make it a priority to purchase organic options for those on the dirty list.

Visit my juice feast blog, Candice on Juice, for a discussion of Managing Emotions and how food and juice play into that.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Eating for Excellence

As you peruse raw food blogs and websites, it's easy to forget that this way of eating isn't all about gourmet meals and fancy desserts, both of which I truly enjoy. Any conscious eating-style should be about eating for excellence, while minimizing the amount of harm or suffering brought to people, animals, and the earth. The recent lecture I attended by Dr. Joel Fuhrman reminded me of some things that make a high raw diet a diet for excellent health, longevity, beauty, and vitality.

An excellent diet should:
  • be vegetable-based
  • be built on a foundation of leafy greens
  • include high amounts of raw fruits
  • include raw nuts, seeds, and avocados for healthy fats in their natural states
  • minimize animal products (no more than a couple of servings/week)
  • focus on organics as much as possible
  • minimize cooked grains
  • minimize sodium
  • minimize processed foods, including oils of all types, (yes, even olive oil)

The last 2 points are often neglected in the raw food world. Personally, I hadn't emphasized them enough in my own diet until I was reminded by Dr. Fuhrman's lecture. If you're not sure why reducing sodium and oil consumption matter in a raw food diet, please follow the links for more information. As always, the best way to decide is by doing your own research.

While Dr. Fuhrman doesn't advocate a raw food diet, the plan he advocates can easily be tailored to a high raw eating-style. The man is telling people to eat a pound a day of raw vegetables, in addition to high amounts of raw fruits, and a healthy portion of raw nuts and seeds each day! The main difference is that he also encourages high consumption of cooked beans and legumes. Soups and stews are also big in his diet plan as a means to help people consume enough calories from high nutrient vegetables. Dr. Fuhrman argues that this balance of raw and cooked vegetables allows one to benefit from a wider variety of nutrients, as some nutrients are destroyed by cooking and others are made more available.

Dr. Fuhrman's new two book set, Eat for Health, is well worth reading. Book 2 includes many raw recipes,--smoothies, juices, salads, and dressings--and other recipes that can be converted to raw, or included in whatever percentage of cooked food you choose to eat. Book 1 is a primer in nutrition-based health, and even if you know a lot about nutrition, I'd be willing to bet you'd discover something new among those pages.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Season for Juicing

I don't think I would've been so enamored of a winter juice feast. Watermelon and canteloupe juice have made my feast more fun than it might otherwise be. Watermelon is my current favorite fruit juice! This is my 20th day. Visit Candice on Juice to see how it's going.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Giving Up (Sort of)

Melina, my oldest, arrived home from college a little over a week ago. While she's a veggie, dorm life has affected her eating habits. It saddened me to hear her talk about how she missed certain foods and food products that are clearly detrimental to her health. It was harder still to listen to what she ate when she met a friend for dinner. Let's just say deep frying was involved.

While raising Melina, my idea of good nutrition evolved from a low-fat version of the Standard American Diet to a High Raw, High Vegan pursuit of excellent health. For the last few years, it's made her happy to know meat won't be served in our meals, and she's embraced everything from green smoothies, to wheatgrass shots, to marinated veggies on big salads with homemade dressings. Still, she may have forgotten how different our eating-style really is.

The second day she complained to her sister. "I can't eat only fruit. I feel sick from all this healthy food." I told her that was a little thing called detox and reminded her that she'd consumed lots of healthy foods that weren't fruits. I spent hours trying to figure out how to get her all the way back to my end of the eating spectrum before she leaves at the end of the month to complete her summer research internship.

The thing is that she's enjoyed every one of the three meals a day I've made since she came home. And she'd happily indulged in smoothies blended up by her little sis. I'm juice feasting, which has it's own challenges, so I decided to give up the teen diet fight. I didn't give up on setting an example, or providing the best possible foods, or teaching her about why we eat the way we do. I gave up on the idea of control.

I've given her as much knowledge as I could. She enjoys the best foods on earth, and she knows how to prepare many of them to make a tasty and healthy meal. Her mind is open to new things, and she recognizes the connection between food and health. When she's away from me, she'll eat a slightly better version of the diet eaten by lots of college kids. That's the way it is. I'm trusting that as she matures and grows she'll let go of the junk and come home to real food.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sick of Spinach

When I first transitioned to raw foods, I relied heavily on spinach as the green in my diet, especially for green smoothies and juices. I took some time to acclimate to the taste of stronger greens, like kale and collards, but as I ate more of them, I found myself craving them more and more. Greens are now the foundation of our diet, and rotating our greens allows us to get a wider variety of nutrients. I'm not really sick of spinach, but I do like to include other things.

If you've had your fill of spinach, try some of these in your juices, smoothies, and yep, even salads, though some of the tougher greens would need to be massaged and/or marinated for salad purposes.

Mache (or Lamb's Lettuce)
Swiss Chard
Rainbow Chard
Red Leaf Lettuce
Green Leaf Lettuce
Turnip Greens
Mustard Greens
Bok Choy
Beet Greens
Dandelion Greens
Basil, Cilantro, and other Herbs

Search your local produce section or farmer's market and see what greens you can find to mix it up a bit.


BTW- My 11 year old daughter and I went to the doctor together today, and the nurse was surprised to find that our blood pressure measurements were within a few points of each other. Thank you, raw food!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Giving Thanks

So grateful for my health, my wholeness, my life, my place as a friend, partner and mother. Thank you for my daughters, healthy and hale, the Lovely Boyfriend Avery, and every friend I've made, past and present, near and far. Thank you for the depth and breadth and strength of my family. Thank you for a new chance to do better and be better each day, for the large leaf magnolia I discovered this afternoon, and for every passing dog, small child, teenager, or elderly couple that made me smile in the park. For the joyful wedding rehearsal under the gazebo and the opportunity to witness it, thank you. Thank you for your goodness, your mercy, and your grace.

A pick-up truck rear-ending you on the freeway . . . not good, but not so bad when you walk away and still have all of the above.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Luck on My Side

Last Thursday I opened my mailbox to discover a package from Philip at Loving Raw. I won a jar of Better Than Roasted Almond Butter from his recent give-away. Thanks, Philip!

Some things I love to do with raw almond butter:
  • spread it on Breakfast Crusts and top with fresh fruit
  • blend 1-2 Tbsp with 1 cup water and a couple of dates for a quick almond milk
  • make a thai-inspired sauce for pad thai (with kelp noodles, these days)
  • create dips and dressings
  • sneak a spoonful
I'd love to save this little jar of deliciousness for after my juice feast, but my daughter, Melina, comes home from college this weekend, and I doubt the almond butter will survive her first week in the house.

If you're not familiar with Philip's story, you should know he lost over 215 pounds after going raw, and has maintained a healthy weight for some years now. He's also done a 100 day juice feast. And his girlfriend, Heather, posts some of the best looking raw food on the web. Check them out.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Four Course Dinner in the Raw

Last Friday was the eve of my juice feast. (I'm getting a separate blog organized to document that.) As luck would have it, we also had our friend, Germaine, visiting from L.A., and she's dabbling in raw food these days. The Lovely Boyfriend and I decided we should go all out to provide her a delicious meal on the road, and to kick off my feast.

We set the table on the deck, brought out the organic wines, and spent the evening under the stars. (Apologies to any neighbors we kept up with our late night talk and laughter.) It was such a great meal!

What better to start with than red pepper soup? With the cost of organic peppers, we haven't been able to indulge very often, so we were happy to share this simple blend of raw red peppers with seeds, miso, olive oil, sea salt and white pepper.

No meal is complete without something leafy and green. We made our version of this raw Ranch dressing, and topped the mix of veggies with raw eggplant bacon.

Most folks who are sort of new to raw foods tend to go for things with familiar names and flavors, so we chose the raw lasagna from Matt Amsden's Rawvolution. Never content with what's on the page, we tripled or quadrupled the amount of mushrooms and played with the seasonings. So good!

Avery was kind enough to whip up the dessert while I went to hear Dr. Joel Fuhrman speak at a free lecture on Friday afternoon. He chose Sarma's Strawberry Tarts, from Carol Alt's second raw food book, The Raw 50. We hadn't tried them before, but we'll absolutely be having them again! So good! I could only watch Ave have a leftover tart for breakfast the next morning while I drank my juice. No sympathy--he sat right next to me and devoured it! (No worries, Ave.)

Much to our delight, Germaine enjoyed the meal from start to finish. I was thrilled to learn that she's signed up for a raw food delivery service, and will be receiving weekly prepared meals. Go, Germaine!

This was the kind of meal we could serve to our friends who have no concept of raw. You know the ones. They call us the tofu-eaters, but they would love all of this. No tofu involved.

P.S. Day 4, and I'm loving my juice feast!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Monster for Kids


My eleven year old and I went to a local festival, sort of a pre-Cinco de Mayo celebration in downtown Atlanta. The live band was cool, but we were a little disappointed with the other offerings. There were only a few activities for the kids. The whole event seemed to be about the corporate sponsors giving away cheap trinkets, or the opportunity to win cheap trinkets, in exchange for names, addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers.

We did a quick perusal of the grounds and noticed a long line forming. There were people of every age waiting patiently for something we thought must be good. We walked the length of over 100 people to check it out.

Monster. The energy drink. That's what people stood in line for on a hot humid day. We watched kids as young as 5 and 6 years old walking away from the stand with their little hands wrapped around sweaty cans of that brew. They and their parents sipped happily.

Here's what's in the can:

Carbonated Water, Sucrose, Glucose, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Taurine, Sodium Citrate, Color Added, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, L-Carnitine, Caffeine, Sorbic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Niacinamide, Sodium Chloride, Glucuronolactone, Inositol, Guarana Seed Extract, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Sucralose, Riboflavin, Maltodextrin, Cyanocobalamin.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

This is How I Eat

Back in Cali, there was a group of families in our neighborhood that hung out together a lot. Our kids played kickball on the cul-de-sac, and the grown-ups partied whenever we had an excuse. We got together for birthdays, Oscar parties, potlucks, and baby showers. Always at the center was the food. When I announced that my family would be moving away, my incredibly gorgeous and big-hearted bestie threw me a going away party. She went all out with a catered taco bar and lots of wine and goodies. (I miss that girl!)

One of the guests was another beautiful friend. Let's call her Michelle. She's known for being a great mom, but also for wearing beautiful designer clothes, and most impressively for those of us who hadn't yet mastered this art, she was known for staying consistently thin. In the ten years I've known her, her weight has never visibly fluctuated. While most folks attacked the taco bar, Michelle walked around with a small plate of food. I couldn't tell you what was on it, but our hostess asked her if that was all she was eating.

Michelle responded: This is how I eat.

She didn't get defensive. She didn't go into long explanations or try to justify why it was important to her to make healthy choices. Our hostess is Italian-American, and like the Italian grandmas you see on tv, she shows her love with food. She tried to cajole Michelle into trying a little of this or a little of that. But Michelle would not be moved. We all partied on (The karaoke will not be discussed!), and nothing bad befell either Michelle or our generous hostess.

Five powerful little words: This. Is. How. I. Eat.

High raw, lots of greens, plenty of smoothies and juices. This is how I choose to eat, and how you eat is your choice. When you're under social pressure to eat a little of this or that, just a spoonful, just one bite, just a taste, and you don't want to, it really can be that simple. Stand there. Smile. Explain as little or as much as you feel is appropriate. It's your temple, and you decide what to put into it.

This is how I eat. Say it like you mean it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Composting Without the Worms

We've been doing a lot of juicing around here, and I expect we'll be doing more as the weather grows warmer. The grown-ups have been having wonderful juices for dinner, and as summer approaches, I'm planning a juice feast. What to do with all that leftover pulp? I thought of home composting, but the idea of one more project . . .well . . .no.

Our city doesn't offer compost pick-up, like some places. Heck, most of our neighbors don't even use their recycle bins. Fortunately, a quick internet search turned up several local places where I can schlep my compostables every week. If you've wanted to reduce your waste without doing your own compost, search online for a drop-off in your area. Specialty grocery stores and farmer's markets are a good place to start.

Even though those food scraps are biodegradable, once they're sealed in a plastic bag and buried in a landfill, they're not so easily broken down. Who needs the guilt? ;-)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Juice Feasting - What's the Deal?

Earlier this week there was an interesting discussion on Raw Food Rehab about juice feasting. A rehabber was concerned that her feast would result in a slowed metabolism and extra weight gain once it was over. If you're primarily doing a feast for weight loss, nothing is scarier than the idea of regaining all those pounds you saw melt away.

Matt Monarch has a clear explanation of how juice feasting resets the metabolism in this article. The bottom line, from his perspective, is that it can slow the metabolism, and that's a good thing because it means your body can run more efficiently, requiring less food, though this is a reality some people aren't prepared to handle. He recommends intense exercise as a means to kick start the metabolism. He also suggests that as we come out on the other side of a feast, we expect to consume fewer calories than we did before juice feasting.

As a culture, the goal has been to figure out how to consume more calories without increasing our waist size. (Loosening your belt under the table is acceptable though!) It challenges our thinking to consider purposely reseting the body to need less food to function optimally.

It's clear our bodies can be easily reset to require less food. The more important thing is to reset our minds and emotions to go along with the program.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Jogging & Raw Food Today

Lately jogging has meant some combination of walking, skipping, galloping and running with my daughter, Ray. Today, she took her bike, so for the first time in a long time, I was able to jog the whole 3 miles. It was relatively easy, but when I approached a gentle hill just before our neighborhood, I settled into a walk.

Ray stopped on her bike and turned around to yell, "Hey! Dig deep! Get that ponytail swinging, before I swing it for you!"

I've got to stop recording The Biggest Loser for her.

Breakfast: Huge salad of lamb's lettuce, apple, dried cranberries, raisins, and chopped nuts, topped with olive oil/vinegar dressing
3 cups white tea

Snack: 1/2 piece onion bread topped with sauerkraut, chopped onions, and a bit of mustard
After eating this yesterday, my ears were itching like crazy. I'm sure it was something in the mustard, so I'm switching to a different one today.

Lunch: juice of carrots, Boston lettuce, celery, ginger, and lemon
Carrot juice isn't my fave, but I needed to use up some produce.

Snack: 5 slices dried mango
1/2 bottle kombucha (Not raw, but a treat I enjoy once in a while)
Preservative-free, sulfur-free, no-sugar-added dried mango is so delicious I feel like I'm cheating!

Dinner: More of the above juice, with apple thrown in

To my old mind (good friends with my ego), 3 miles isn't enough. I used to run 5 miles a day, no matter what, and 7 to 10 miles on weekends. I used to believe that if I didn't meet that standard, I might as well stay inside. 3 miles is enough . . . but I'm looking forward to doing more.

Collard Greens - Show 'em Some Love

About 10 years ago, I moved into a new house in Southern California, and shortly thereafter thought it would be great to host our neighbors. We'd all moved into our homes within months of each other and were quickly becoming friends. I poured over recipes and carefully selected things I thought would be special, things everyone would enjoy. One of the dishes I chose was collard greens.

I can't remember what else I made. Well, I think there was a butternut squash soup, but the collards are what stand out in my mind, because no one ate them. I had four or five couples come over, and I may have convinced one person to sample the greens. She only took a polite taste or two. Deeeepressing.

If your family's roots aren't planted in the South, you may not think of Raw collards as anything more than convenient wraps for your veggies and pates. However you eat them, you're getting a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Niacin, and Potassium, and a very good source of Fiber, Vitamins A, C, E, K, &B6, Folate, Calcium, and Manganese. These greens also contain organosulfur compounds, which trigger detoxifying enzymes in the liver, and are believed to provide protection from various cancers.

Marinate and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Raw Food Today

Today was incredibly busy, in a really good way. Even though I dread it, sorting and organizing my seemingly ever-growing stacks of files and papers is always productive. Obviously I haven't done it often enough, since it took about 4 hours of the day. Didn't leave much time to focus on food.

The salad is one Ray made for her dinner after karate class. She had lamb's lettuce (mache), chopped eggplant bacon, cucumbers, avocado, onion and lime. Her dressing was olive oil, tamari, and a bit of agave. Poor denounced agave! We used to use it a lot more, but it's gotten a bad reputation lately.

Breakfast: Blender soup
I won't even tell you what was in it. Suffice to say it was green, but not in a yummy way.

Lunch: 1 piece onion bread, topped with sauerkraut and a bit of mustard
3 cups white tea
Over the next month, I'm choosing some herbal teas and transitioning to those. White tea has a lot of benefits, and much less caffeine than other choices, but I'd like to get away from regular caffeine consumption.

Snack: 1 banana, 2 small oranges

Later Snack: 1 piece onion bread topped with honey butter (coconut oil mixed with Raw honey and a dash of sea salt)

Pre-workout: 2 tsp Vitamineral Green

Dinner: Huge goblet of green juice (rainbow chard, apple, cucumber, ginger)
I was so excited about this, cuz I didn't have to make it! The Lovely Boyfriend was kind enough to do it while I grabbed a quick shower.

Hoping everyone is well!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Raw Food Today

Breakfast: Marinated Collard Greens topped with avocado, onion, pecans (non-raw), and dried cranberries
Waaaaaay too much white tea
I have a habit of sipping tea while I write or read, and this was a day for writing and reading.

Lunch: 2 pieces garlic-onion bread topped with sauerkraut and mustard
I didn't have raw mustard, so I used my organic, gluten-free version. This is soooo tasty! I haven't had a hot dog in so many years, but this combination is like getting all the flavors in a healthy package. Thanks to whoever recommended it on Raw Food Rehab!

Dinner: Beet/beet greens/apple/spinach/ginger/lemon juice
Super-delish! The lovely boyfriend did the farmer's market run without me for the very first time. I created a list, and we stayed in touch by phone, but he did a fabulous job of filling our fridge with organic greens, fruits, and veggies. Thank you, LB! We hadn't bought red beets for a while, so I was glad to see he got these. We both loved this juice, and it was cool to have this blood red concoction, since we're usually sipping something grassy-green. I'm thrilled Avery's falling in love with juices, much more so than he ever has with the blended soups.

Before bed: 1 cup chamomile tea (planned for later)

Usually I would have a few pieces of fruit as snacks on a day like this, but even though I worked out, I wasn't hungry for more food. Warm weather, lots of flavor, and plenty of nutrients can do that for a girl.

Loving life and giving thanks!

Raw Collard Greens - Not Just for Country Girls

I grew up in Virginia, in the country, in a family that's completely comfortable with a lack of citification. My mother's famous refrain: Born in the country, gonna die in the country. This from a woman with a law degree and a taste for designer clothes. For us, country is something that has nothing to do with your education, your attire, or--as I'm finding as I relocate from state to state to state--with your address. It has a lot to do with your accent and choice of colloquialisms, what you call your Mumma and Daddy, where you spend Sunday mornings, how your treat your neighbors, and what you eat.

In the food arena, my mother (the Home Economics major), was much less country than some of our relatives. Don't mistake me. We ate plenty of fried chicken, pork sausage, and macaroni and cheese, and drank syrupy iced tea. It's just that certain items never made her menu: chitlins or other internal organs, pigs' feet or other easily recognized animal body parts, and mustard, collard, or turnip greens.

The menu was more or less fine with me. As a picky kid, I had a list of about 20 foods I would eat, not including junk foods which seemed limitless in their appeal. As I grew up and moved out on my own, I was excited to try an array of foods, which I'd not been exposed to growing up. I felt like I'd been downright robbed when I first had collard greens. For the first 18 years of my life, my mother had deprived me of my birthright as a moderately Southern, completely country girl--the delicious taste of collards. She still won't eat them, but I fell in love at first bite.

It's cool. I forgive you, Mumma, since I've got my Raw collard greens now. Here's a recipe. And here's another.

Marinated Collards
2 bunches collard greens (about 1-1/2 to 2 pounds)
2 T olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon (Can sub Raw apple-cider vinegar)
sea salt
2 T Raw sweetener (optional)

2/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts* (preferably, soaked and dehydrated)
1 avocado, diced
1/2 medium onion, finely diced

Clean the collards and strip the leaves from the stems. (The stems can be saved for juicing.) Roll the leaves and slice them into strips. Slice the strips again into pieces about an inch by an inch. Traditionally, I learned to hand tear collards for cooking, but that was just too time consuming.

Toss the leaves in olive oil, lemon juice, and a few dashes of sea salt. Massage the leaves until they wilt and take on a cooked texture. I like to let them marinate overnight in the fridge.

Add toppings and enjoy.

I definitely add the sweetener for my kids. While I like all the toppings, they don't do the fruit and nuts. They prefer avocado and diced onion, so agave works for them. Sometimes the collards are more bitter, and then I add sweetener for myself.

*My local store was out of Raw walnuts, so I used "raw" pecans--not really Raw because they're heated in the shelling process.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Raw Food Today

Breakfast: Blender Soup (mixed lettuces, avocado, tomato, onion, celery, green onion, cayenne, and sea salt)

Snack: 6 clementines

Lunch: salad (spinach, celery, onion, green onion, and cucumber), with pepper dressing

Snack: 2 clementines, 1 grapefruit,1 banana
2 heaping teaspoons Vitamineral Green

Dinner: Green juice! (spinach, celery, apples, lemon)

Yikes! Does this sound like a super boring food day? It really wasn't! Everything was really fresh and juicy, and I had my share of greens. Shooting for a pound a day, in one form of another.

Older Kids and Raw Foods

If you were lucky enough to be clued in about Real & Raw foods when your kids were young, then you introduced them to healthy eating early in life, and they've probably grown up enjoying it. Though they'd always eaten lots of fruits and veggies, my kids were around 8 and 15 years old when I got serious about Raw. Some foods went over better than others.

Here are some things I learned about getting older kids to eat more Raw foods:

1. Fruit smoothies are big with the teenagers these days. Go into any smoothie chain, and you'll likely find high schoolers slurping up drinks. Give older kids smoothies made with their favorite fruits. You can add the greens later.

2. Enlist their help. Just like younger kids, the older ones can get creative in the kitchen with a little guidance. Turn on some music, and make it fun! If they see the process and know what went into a dish, they're more likely to eat it.

3. Do it for them. I know. This one can be annoying, since they're perfectly capable of doing it themselves. For a while, I found that my teenager was much more likely to eat something healthy if I made it for her. If I sent her into the kitchen to make it herself, she might just wait until she went out to eat.

4. Appeal to their vanity. Talk openly with them about the benefits of Raw foods, especially healthy weight maintenance and clear skin. Acne and skinny jeans can have a bigger impact than future heart disease.

5. If you're going to a Raw food class, take them along. The hands-on classes can be a lot of fun, and tend to focus on foods you might not make every day.

6. Serve a Raw dessert for breakfast. Apple pie in the morning can seem like a real treat, while getting in a lot more nutrition than conventional cereal or frozen waffles.

7. Make Raw snacks, including fruits and veggies easier to access than junk food. While it may take some time to transition all of the junk food out of your house, you can slowly forget to pick it up at the store, while miraculously remembering to buy, wash and chop veggies and fruit.

8. The secret's in the sauce. Keep sauces and dressings on hand for dipping veggies, fruits, and Raw crackers. The Standard American Diet dulls our taste buds, so kids may not appreciate the flavor of fresh foods on their own. A lot of kids who won't touch celery will indulge if it's topped with nut butter or dipped in Raw ranch dressing.

9. Be the Raw food role model. It wouldn't do me much good to warn my daughters against the dangers of smoking, and sit out on the deck with a cigarette in my mouth after dinner. Even if your kids don't pick up the Raw habit before they leave home, you'll have left a lasting impression with your eating-style and the results it gets. And since you're already preparing your own Raw dishes, you can set the expectation that they eat something Raw at every meal.

10. College students love care packages. Some campuses have amazing dining options, but I'd venture to guess that many still don't. When I create care packages for my daughter, it's healthy all the way. Raw bars, coconut water (not Raw, but way better than energy drinks), Raw sweeteners, herbal teas, Raw granola, and other goodies are always a welcome surprise.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Detox Menu Planning

I know it's a good idea, and I suggest it to other people, but I don't usually plan out our meals for the whole week. I shop with a general idea of the things I want to make, and since I like to play in the kitchen, it usually works out.

Today, I'm sketching out a 7-day detox diet. I'll do the shopping tonight or early in the morning, so we can start tomorrow. My Lovely Boyfriend, Avery, has been traveling for the last few weeks. He spent some time in the Dominican Republic, came home for a few days, and was off to Chicago. Hoping it would motivate him to make good food choices, I emailed him my daily food intake. Don't think it worked though. I asked a few times about what he was eating, but never got a straight answer. That can't be good!

He gets in tonight, and I'll have a nice Raw dinner waiting--onion wraps with lots of veggies, avocado, and a new dressing recipe I'm trying. But starting tomorrow, we'll take our food to a much cleaner, simpler level, and stick to that for a week. With the warmer weather we've been experiencing, I'm looking forward to it.

I have massive amounts of work on my desk, and he usually has more than I do, so I'm planning this one out in detail. If I document it well enough, he should be able to take on some of the food prep. Now that would become exciting! (Okay. He really does help in the kitchen. He hasn't mastered the Raw basics yet, but he can happily follow directions.)

We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Food Prep Day

This is supposed to be a prep day, but it's hard for me to come inside. After ten years of living in Southern California, an East Coast winter was pretty tough on me. Yes, even in Georgia. We had snow here!

With the warm weather I like to have breakfast on the deck, and though our backyard is smaller than I would like, and the neighbors a bit closer than I care for, I have to tear myself away from the glorious Spring day. Sitting at the patio table, I hear five or six different types of bird call to each other. Brilliantly colored, they fly through the trees, and squirrels are chasing each other up and over the fence. I haven't seen a cardinal or a blue jay up close like this since I was a kid. The construction noise in the distance, and the neighbors' houses all fade away. Alas, there's work to be done.

My trusty Junior Chef, Ray (AKA Wonder Girl), is suited up and ready to get to work. (She's striking her "What should I make?" pose.) Today we're doing garlic onion bread, and eggplant bacon. We may throw together another bread or cracker, depending on what I find in the fridge.

If you have the chance, get outside today!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Raw Food Today

Breakfast: Sliced apple, raisins, and homemade Raw cereal topped with pumpkin seed milk

Snack: 3/4 cantaloupe

Lunch: Blender soup (mixed lettuce, tomato, onion, garlic, jalapeno, and cayenne)

Snack: Apple/celery juice
I haven't been doing many juices lately, but the weather has been so bright and warm, the day seemed to demand a fresh juice. This was so refreshing, I can see I'll need to stock up on my favorite juice ingredients as we go into summer. I blended the apple, celery and 1/2 cup water in my Vita-mix, and strained it all through a nutmilk bag. I dehydrated the pulp--can't stand the thought of wasting it.

Dinner: Celery, carrots, and broccoli dipped in fresh guac
Simple, quick, and delicious!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Cinnamon Toast Crust (Nut-Free Breakfast)

Cinnamon Toast Crust Crumbles
Chopped Apples
Pumpkin Seed Milk

(Dehydrated foods are great, but I always like the fresh Raw foods to outweigh the dehydrated.)
I love experimenting in the kitchen. Some efforts work out better than others, and the Cinnamon Toast Crust was a success! Well, at least to me it was, I'll have to see what the rest of the family thinks. If they like it, I'll put together the recipe. One great thing: it's a nut-free Raw cereal--perfect for my daughter, who's allergic to tree nuts. The Crust dehydrates as a sheet, so you can use it as crackers instead of crumbling it.

Pumpkin Seed Milk
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (*soaked for an hour and rinsed well)
1 cup filtered water
2 dates, pits removed
1/2 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla
1 dash sea salt (optional)

Throw it all in the blender and blend on high until well blended. Strain through a nutmilk bag. I like to double or triple the batch and save the seed pulp to use in other recipes. I dehydrate it and store it in a jar in the fridge.

*I soak and dehydrate a full jar of pumpkin seeds when I bring them home. That way they're always ready to go for a recipe like this, or to sprinkle on a simple salad, soup, or chia seed pudding.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Blacks Folks Going Vegan!

Why am I so excited about this? If you're in the Raw community, you know people of all stripes who eat a plant-based diet. But African-Americans lead the country in rates of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and all the consequences that come along with those health issues. We also have the highest rates of colon cancer, and black women are more likely than any other group to die from the disease. Our diet is largely to blame, and a move toward a plant-based diet could totally change these statistics.

So when I see Ruben Studdard, a young, black man who gained fame as an American Idol contestant, taking the opportunity to explain to a black woman and her mainstream tv audience how he lost over 100 pounds by transitioning from SAD to vegetarian to vegan, I do a little happy dance in my chair. I can't even remember if the dude won or came in 2nd on Idol. It's not really my show, but he and his family are winning a much more important prize by switching to a plant-based diet.

Who knows? Maybe High Raw will be the next phase in his journey.

After discussing diet and exercise, he goes on to highlight the important role forgiveness has played in his life. I'm loving it!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Food and Cancer

In the last three months, our family has lost three people to cancer. Two of them crossed over in the last week. Each of them--two women and one man--was in a different decade of life. Each suffered a different form of cancer. They weren't at all related to each other, and they fit into various ethnic classifications. There was no genetic connection between them. They lived in three different cities, in two different countries, and none of them made their home in an environment that was any more polluted than most places. They didn't work with toxic chemicals, or smoke cigarettes, and only one of them consumed alcohol.

What they had in common was a lifetime consumption of a Standard Western Diet.

Of course, correlation does not equal causality, and I'm not saying the food they ate caused their cancer. What I'm saying is I wish all three of them were still here. I'm saying that if they'd known early in life about the many underreported studies that link a Standard Western Diet with increased cancer risks, one or more of them might still be. If we as a culture and a leading nation made it a point to expose people to truth of the many scientific studies that link a plant-based diet with decreased risk for breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer and others, more of us would have the knowledge to make an educated choice about what we put in our bodies.

Those of us know are obligated to share. Don't you think?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A More Raw Raw Bar

When I first went Raw, I relied on Larabars to get me through tough spots. I always had one or two in my purse, and stocked up on them for travel. I still think they're one of the healthiest snacks widely available in conventional markets, but their Raw quotient varies from one flavor to another, and I want something more reliable. Still in need of a Raw convenience food I can slip in my purse, I went looking for an alternative.

Gopal's Healthfoods had me with their tagline: Raw is Good - Raw & Sprouted is Best! I ordered the brazil nut and macadamia Sprout Bars from VegSource. One of them reminded me of the coconut candy I used to eat when I was a kid, but I'm not sure which it was. I guess you could say I enjoyed them both. I had planned to share them with the Lovely Boyfriend, but I looked down and they were finished!

Four raw, organic ingredients made up each of these delicious bars. The nuts used in the bars are germinated, which is awesome! Soaking the nuts so they can germinate gets rid of the enzyme inhibitors, making the enzymes available to aid in digestion. It also reduces the phytates, compounds which bind with minerals and prevent them from being absorbed. The only slight downside for me is that the bars are made with agave, which I've drastically reduced in my diet. That's not a huge deal for me though, just something to keep in mind.

Both bars I tried were delicious, and I'll be ordering more for my emergency snacks-to-go stash. If you've got a favorite Raw bar, leave me a comment so I can check it out!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Food Heroes

I want to recognize a couple of food heroes--one famous, one not. They give me hope!

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution records his efforts to make a change in a West Virginia city that's been rated as the most overweight in our nation of overweight cities. His strategy for converting people to Real Foodists is to start with the schools, and though he meets great resistance, he's changing people's lives. If he only touches those teenagers he's recruited to help him, he'll have made a huge difference to some deserving kids. To hear these young people talk about how food has negatively affected their lives is a real tearjerker, but it's great to see them learning how to use food as a tool for positive change. Check it out.

Thianda Manzara, AKA The Garden Lady, rocks out loud! This hero started the nonprofit Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids. She works with almost a dozen schools, establishing vegetable gardens and turning the responsibility of working them over to the students. She's provided a means for over 3000 kids to get their hands dirty growing food for their schools' menus. How awesome is that?

Food heroes . . . we need more of them!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Deciding for Ourselves

Earlier today I read an article that claimed a Raw food diet is a healthy alternative, but is not advised for children, or pregnant or nursing mothers. Huh?!?! That's the second time in a few days that I've read such a statement from an "expert" or nutritionist.

I understand and appreciate specific advice about most things, including Raw food. Consider B-12 or calcium supplements. Make sure to include a wide variety of fruits, nuts, vegetables, and seeds. Avoid white potatoes and yucca in their Raw form. I even appreciate opinions that suggest you include Raw dairy, or plenty of Raw fats, or not too much Raw fats, eat mainly fruits or minimize them, avoid nuts and avocados, or embrace them. I may not agree with some those suggestions, but they at least suggest the author has done some amount of thoughtful analysis of the topic.

If a Raw, plant-based diet is dangerous for children, then why the heck would it be healthy for adults? And what's the specific danger? And how is it more dangerous than the typical American way of eating? Is the expert assuming all cooked foods are excluded from a Raw diet?

Seems it would make more sense to advise people as to how they can address any specific concerns, rather than ruling out the way of eating as a whole. I'm just saying.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Food Budget Blown!

So our Easter dinner for 10 grew into a party for 17. My daughter called at the last minute to ask if she could bring more college friends. Who could say no to hungry college students? Later we found out some friends were spending the day in a restaurant, so we invited them to join us. It wasn't a Raw vegan dinner, though we had Raw foods, too.

After several trips to three stores, this months's budget was blown. We'll have to skip the food luxuries for the rest of April, but it was worth it. We all had a lot of fun, and it reminded me to entertain more. For the next event, I'll plan a totally Raw vegan menu to give our Atlanta friends an idea of what our daily meals are like. (Our friend, Fernando, was surprised that our dinner didn't consist of tofu options. He hasn't caught on that tofu isn't Raw yet!)

In the meantime, I'll be spending a bit of time perusing Raw on $10 a Day (or Less!). Blogger and artist, Lisa, is proving wrong those who think a Raw vegan eating-style is always expensive. She posts daily menus with costs, photos, and recipes. She even has an all chocolate day, for those who love the stuff. Check out her blog for reasonably priced, appealing Raw food ideas.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Busy Day

This morning I woke up at 5:30. I was so excited to get some work done in a still and quiet house, I grabbed my current project, headed downstairs, and settled in on the couch. After my early morning water, I headed to the kitchen to put on some tea. It was 4:45 am! Apparently my fancy schmancy satellite-updated alarm clock thought it was Daylights Savings Time today. Go figure. I stayed up for another hour or so and went back to bed.

The last week has been incredibly busy, and we're having about 10 people over for Easter dinner tomorrow, so the rush continues for a while. It's the good kind of rush, but I'll look forward to the normal calm of my life again. Melina brought her friend, Blaire, home from college for a few hours today. They wanted coconut-banana smoothies, but I was out of open coconuts and not up for cracking more, so they had wheatgrass shots instead. It was Blaire's first. Here's to the green!

Happy Easter, everyone!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Raw Pasta a Kid Can Make

I enjoy food preparation, but I really love having company in the kitchen, especially when it's one of my daughters. Ray (AKA Wonder Girl) did much of the work in this celery root pasta. She made the dressing, spiralized the celery root, and tossed everything together. Kids are more likely to eat healthy foods if they helped prepare them, but I haven't been able to sell her on celery root yet. I'm not giving up though. This inexpensive veggie provides lots of fiber, and nutrients including Vitamin C, Vitamin K, potassium, and more.

If you don't like celery root, substitute the veggie of your choice.

Spring Celery Root Pasta
2 celery roots, peeled
1 large tomato, diced
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
a big handful of spinach, sliced in thin strips

4 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
sea salt
other seasonings as desired

Spiralize the celery root.If you don't have a spiral slicer, you can just make ribbons with a veggie peeler, though I really love the noodle shapes. Throw the noodles into a bowl and add the other veggies.

Mix all your dressing ingredients, and pour over the pasta and veggies. Toss well and let it all marinate for a few hours. Toss well again before serving.

Sooooo easy, and sooooo good!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sharing the Raw Love

Last weekend my cousin, Monica, came down from Virginia to visit us here in Atlanta. We've been close friends all our lives, but haven't had much chance to spend time together over the last few years. She got to hang out with my girls, and I got to hang out with her super-cool cocker spaniel, Baxter. It was an all-girls weekend (except for Baxter).

For the last few years, Monica and I have talked about Raw food as the basis for a healthy diet, and I've shared how it's positively affected my health. But she's a country girl, like me. We grew up eating ham, fried chicken, meatloaf, and pork chops. Even though we also spent a lot of time getting our hands dirty in backyard vegetable gardens, and picking blackberries from thorny bushes, a plant-based diet of any sort was a big stretch for her.

My older daughter and I took her to Lov'n it Live for her birthday. She really enjoyed the Nori rolls, the stuffed avocado, and the sage burger. By the end of the afternoon, she was asking a lot of questions about Raw food. She spent a lot of time browsing through books at my house, like The China Study, Eat This and Live, and Carol Alt's Eating in the Raw. I took her to Life Grocery and walked around explaining some of the Raw products and supplements.

She went home yesterday with a stack of Raw food recipes and a Raw food book she picked up at Life! Yippee! She's shopping today to stock her kitchen for a 60 day all Raw diet. It will be interesting to see how she finds it.

This experience was the reason for yesterday's post about looking at what you personally need to stay Raw and sharing it with someone else. Explaining things to someone new provided an avenue for me to better understand why we eat and live the way we do, and it grounded me more deeply in my choices. It's not about recruiting new members to a cult of 100% Raw, just sharing with people who are open to it, and letting them decide how it fits in their lives.

Now, if I can just get Monica to start blogging about her 60 days . . .

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How to Stay Raw for Life - Part 2

This is a two-step process to add to your arsenal for staying Raw.

STEP ONE: Make a list of what you need to stay Raw. Write down everything that comes to mind. Perhaps it will include one or more of the following:

  • new recipes
  • a list of resources for Raw products
  • a new Raw recipe book
  • a cheerleader encouraging you on a regular basis
  • an honest and trustworthy accountability partner
  • someone to help organize your Raw-friendly kitchen
  • a few crucial Raw utensils from a peeler or grater to a high-speed blender
  • items you can grab to stay Raw on-the-go

STEP TWO: Look over your list, however long or short it turns out to be. Now find an opportunity to do, give, or be the things you need for someone else. With a glad heart, work your way through each item on the list.

If you haven't completed your own Raw kitchen, you can still buy a lemon juicer for someone else. If you don't know many recipes, share with someone your favorite smoothie recipe, no matter how simple. If no one in your world is going Raw, get online and be a cheerleader for someone with a Raw blog, or in one of the Raw communities, like Gone Raw, Give it to Me Raw, or Raw Food Rehab. Create a blog to share the resources you discover.

It may not arrive in the package you expect, but every time you extend yourself, in ways big or small, to help someone else on their journey towards greater energy, health, and joyful living, the gift will come back to you. Guaranteed.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

High Green Raw Food Today

Breakfast: 3 cups green tea
Green Blender Soup (avocado, spinach, mixed baby lettuce, tomato, onion & cayenne pepper)

Snack: 1 serving Vitamineral Green

Lunch: Green Blender Soup (same as breakfast)

Post-workout Snack: 1 young Thai coconut
1 Raw bar

Dinner: Salad (baby romaine lettuce, avocado, onion, and marinated mushrooms

A very busy day, but great things happened. More of my family daring to try Raw! More on that later.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Doing Shots (of Wheatgrass)

At my local health food store, which doesn't offer a huge variety of fresh juices, wheatgrass is $3 per shot. I don't think that's unreasonable, but I already spend way too much time in farmer's markets and health food stores, and when I'm in the store I'm likely to spend more than 3 bucks. How can I resist another pack of Raw coconut wraps?

Green powders are great, but sometimes I want something that hasn't gone through that powdered state. My juicer is a simple one, that won't do kale, much less wheatgrass. I contemplated growing my own, but I'm planning to start a small garden, and that's probably enough added responsibility for now. I'm not sure how I stumbled on Evergreen frozen wheatgrass, (did someone blog about it?) but it was a great find.

According to the Evergreen website, their freezing method retains all the nutritional benefits of the wheatgrass, including the live chlorophyll. They also make a good argument for knowing how the wheatgrass your juice came from was grown. I paid about $16 for 10 servings, which is almost half as much as the cost I pay for the fresh shots I get down the street. The shots are frozen in cubes that separate, so you can defrost one shot at a time. The wheatgrass is mixed with rye grass, which has a very similar nutritional profile, but results in a milder taste. Best of all I can pull it out of the freezer and have a shot ready in just a few minutes.

My cousin, Monica, is visiting from Virgina, and I gave her the Evergreen as her first taste of wheatgrass. "Not bad," she said, "but I'm glad the glass is tiny!" There's hope for her yet.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Nutritional Excellence with Raw Veggies

This clip is called What You Ate as a Kid Can Give You Cancer, but it's really about how switching to a raw vegetable based eating-style in adulthood can protect us against cancer. Dr. Joel Fuhrman is promoting diet for disease prevention, and he's doing so convincingly. Not a bad video to share with friends and family.

Vegsource is a great resource for articles and videos about health and nutrition.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Raw Food Today

Breakfast: Chia pudding with chopped nuts, apples, and raisins
2 cups green/white tea
1 serving Vitamineral Green

Lunch: Nori bites topped with cucumber, mango, avocado and lamb's lettuce

My daughter asked for raw nori rolls for lunch, and I didn't feel like rolling. Next time, I'll cut the nori into smaller pieces.
(I apologize to whomever published this idea on their blog, website, or in their newsletter. I'd like to give you credit, but I can't remember where I saw it. It was earlier this week, so if anyone reading this saw it somewhere, please leave me a comment with the proper credit. Thanks!)

Snack: 1 serving Vitamineral Green
Blender soup with lots of spinach, avocado, tomato, onion, and green onion, topped with sun-dried tomato and more green onion
This soup is so good. Funny thing, I was really turned off by cold soups when I first went Raw. I guess I'd had a bad experience with gazpacho in the past. My how things have changed! I can't get enough of these soups. Now, if I can just convince the Lovely Boyfriend to not just eat it, but enjoy it!

Post-workout Snack: a handful of kale chips, 1 young Thai coconut

Dinner: More blender soup
Dessert: dried cantaloupe

Romaine Salad with Raw Chips

Chopped romaine topped with tomato, onion, Raw Ranch dressing, zucchini and squash chips, and sun-dried tomatoes. So simple and so delicious.

Chips: Thinly slice squash and zukes. A mandoline is handy but not necessary. Coat with a thin layer of olive oil. Sprinkle on salt and seasonings of your choice. Dehydrate at 105-degrees until crispy. It's hard for me to have these around long enough for a meal. My kids keep reaching in to eat them warm. (So do I.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Raw Against Cancer - Please Help

Hey Health Warriors and Raw Foodies,

We'd love your help. The beautiful woman in the photo is our friend Shannon. She's a vibrant, smart and funny mother of 3 young children, and she's fighting breast cancer.

Conventional treatment was incredibly hard on her, and failed to bring the desired results. With the help of a homeopathic doctor, she's using raw organic foods, along with juices, supplements and spiritual work, to help her body find a way to heal itself. We all know that an organic, Raw diet can get expensive, especially when it's restricted to only the most healing foods.

Please visit to read more about our friend's story. At the same website, please donate whatever you can, as soon as you can, to help Shannon's family continue to provide her with fresh, raw, organic fruits, vegetables and supplements. Any amount you can give will make a difference and be greatly appreciated.

And please keep Shannon and her family in your prayers and your highest, most positive thoughts.

Thank you for any help you can give.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Raw Veggie Burger

Everyone in the family loved this all Raw meal! The Raw veggie burger immediately appealed to me, because it's veggie based. Most raw burger recipes seem to be nut-based, and since my 11 year old daughter is allergic to nuts, those are pretty much out.

Raw bacon is always a favorite around here. You've never seen an eggplant (or two) disappear so fast. We eat a lot of salads, so it's always nice to find dressing alternatives. Ranch dressing definitely fit the bill. This one is nicely tangy. I'm prone to experimentation, so I rarely follow recipes exactly. The recipe is nut-based, but I had some sunflower cheese left over from yesterday, so I used that as the base instead.

Yummy deliciousness ensued!

We also made it to the Dekalb Farmer's Market today. This is only part of our haul. Some things, including 10 young thai coconuts, are already in the fridge. If you're in the Atlanta area, this farmer's market is a great place to check out, especially when the open-air markets are closed for the winter.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Another Raw Onion Bread Recipe

When I ate a standard cooked diet, I was a sandwich master. There seemed to be an endless variety of bread options available, and don't get me started on the best cheese/veggie/condiment combinations. I never thought sandwiches got enough respect. A well-rounded meal you can hold in one hand--what more could you ask for?

Bread is still one of my favorite things. Wheat makes my face break out and my ears itch, so cooked bread no longer tempts me, but I love experimenting with Raw breads, crackers, and crepes. A piece of toast on the side of my salad, a Raw burger, or a veggie sandwich is one of my greatest pleasures. The options are still limitless.

This time, I started with my version of Matt Amsden's classic onion bread recipe, and used Julie's technique for caramelized onions. I threw in my own twist, and the result was delicious. (I also like to add in other veggies, like zucchini or finely chopped spinach when I have them on hand.) I'm a big fan of taste-as-you-go food creating, so I didn't measure or write things down. This is how it generally went.

Garam Masala Onion Bread

2 medium yellow onions
1 medium red onion
sea salt
1 tablespoon agave
1 cup flax seed, soaked in 1 cup water for 30+ minutes
3/4 cup sunflower seed, soaked and drained (Mine were already dehydrated.)
1/4 cup wheat-free, reduced-sodium tamari
1/8 cup agave
1/8 cup olive oil
garam masala seasonings
water as needed
sea salt to taste

(My onions were crazy strong in flavor and odor, so I used Julie's method of caramelizing them. They actually can go in without that step.)

Slice onions thin. I used a mandoline for this, but I cut my finger! Sprinkle generously with sea salt and let sit for an hour or two. Pour off the excess liquid. If they still seem stronger than you like, rinse them in running water.

Toss the onions with 1 tablespoon agave and a bit of salt. Let dehydrate overnight, or until they reach the desired consistency.

In a high-speed blender, process the soaked flaxseeds with enough water to get the job done. It can get very sticky in there if you don't add enough water, and it would definitely shut down a regular blender. If you don't have a high-speed blender, you're better off grinding dry flaxseeds in a coffee grinder.

Grind the sunflower seeds. Mine were soaked and dehydrated, so I used the coffee grinder.

Add the seeds and all other ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Add water until you get your desired consistency. More water will result in a thinner bread.

Dehydrate on teflex sheets at 105-degrees, or until you can easily flip the sheets and lift them off. Dehydrate overnight, or until the bread is as crispy as you like.

This is great for sandwiches or topped with Raw honey butter (coconut oil mixed with honey and a dash of salt.) Enjoy!