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!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Raw Food Restaurant - Atlanta

After reading about Lov'n it Live on Raw Food Passion, Lovely Boyfriend and I decided to give it a try. We had three hours to kill, and we haven't been to a Raw food restaurant since we relocated. We also went back two days later for a takeout meal. Because we really enjoyed our food and the experience, I'm not going to say much about the service. I don't want to discourage anyone from trying this place, so I'll just say the service was . . . odd--odd enough that we had a long and humorous conversation with another patron about it.

Everything was presented nicely. We started with the nori rolls, filled with greens, tomatoes, and nut meat, and we both enjoyed this simple and delicious dish.

LB had the sage burgers topped with greens, tomato, and pine nut cheese, served on kamut bread. We shared our entrees, and I was really glad he order this. It was one of the best Raw burgers I've had, and I've had them in several different Raw restaurants in Cali. I think this was lentil and seed based, rather than made from nuts, resulting in a lighter burger. I'll try to replicate this at home.

I ordered the tostado. I'm afraid we may have annoyed the other patrons with our oohing and aahing over how delicious this was. (We also may have annoyed them with our singing along to the old school classics coming through the restaurant speakers.) A flax shell topped with field greens, avocado, pine nut cheese, and sage patty crumbles, the menu claims this is their most popular dish, and I can see why. It's worth a trip to Lov'n it Live just to have the tostado.

The brownies looked appealing, and we ordered one to go. It was big enough to share, but I found the taste a bit off-putting. I think I'm not a fan of carob. LB found it a little chalky but passable.

I'm looking forward to returning to Lov'n it Live soon. I'll probably take my house guest this weekend. If you're not in the Atlanta area, not to worry. Take a look at their menu for ideas you can whip up in your own kitchen.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Tomato Myth

Any time I see a listing for a show about health or nutrition, I flip to it. I watch The Biggest Loser, PBS telethon presentations like Diet Free, and some episodes of Dr. Oz. I watch You Are What You Eat on BBC America, a fricking hilarious show, during which a Holistic Nutritionist switches her subjects over to a plant-based diet (usually including fish) after checking the lines on their tongue and nails, and analyzing a sample of their poo. Good times. (The only problem is that they're always talking about how many stones someone weighs, or how many stones someone lost. I can never remember: 1 stone = 14 pounds. I always have to look it up and do a quick American calculation.)

At any rate, I'm all for any media that coaxes more people towards a plant-based diet--good for the people, good for the planet. But they all seem to promote the same tomato myth.

MYTH: Cooked tomatoes are the best source of lycopene, an antioxidant shown to reduce the risks of prostate cancer and heart disease.

TRUTH: Sun-dried tomatoes are the best source of lycopene. They make available almost twice the amount of this antioxidant found in cooked tomatoes. And if you look at the total antioxidant activity, fresh tomatoes come out on top.

I'm not obsessed with individual nutrients, since I eat a widely varied diet. But not everyone we love does, so here's to sharing this information.

This makes me wonder exactly how other foods change their nutritional value on the scale from raw to sun-dried/low-temp dehydrated to cooked (beyond the destruction of enzymes). At any rate, the next time someone tells me I have to cook my tomato sauce (blended tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, water, olive oil, fresh basil, oregano, garlic, onion and dates) to get all the benefits, I'll point them to this study.

In the meantime, I'll send my meat-and-potatoes eating daddy a huge package of sun-dried tomatoes when Father's Day rolls around. Eat up, Pops!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Raw St.Patrick's Day

Inspired by Penni's plethora of green Raw options, I decided to have something green at every meal today.

Breakfast: 1 green powder drink, 3 cups green tea

Lunch: Apple-cinnamon-spinach smoothie

Post-workout: 1 green powder drink

Snack: Soup (Avocado, cucumber, spinach and tomato, topped with sun-dried tomatoes & olive oil)

Dinner: I was going to have something green. Really, I was. But last night I made these super-delish apple crepes and I couldn't resist having one as a dinner treat. So . . . Raw Apple Crepes, filled with apples and topped with caramel sauce. Recipe to come soon.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Work it Out

Recently my Cousin Mike, an athlete and physical therapist, asked what I'm doing for exercise these days. After hemming and hawing and making some excuses, I realized I hadn't really found my workout groove since moving to Georgia.

In California, I had the foothills in my backyard and the beach a few minutes away. Hiking was a no-brainer, and though I could only watch the back of Mike's head when we hiked together, I always knew I could lace up my shoes and hit a trail. Easy.

Not so much here in Atlanta. And I refuse to join a gym. Nothing against them, but I can just see the monthly fees hitting my checking account while my gym bag gathers dust. Most days I take my 11 year old to the park or for a 3 mile walk/skip/gallop/jog/sprint, but those are more for her than for me.

What's for me? Body weight resistance training, and shaking my bootay to dance cardio videos. That's right. I watched 2 a.m. infomercials and while I was tempted by Brazilian Butt Lift, (who wouldn't be?) I ordered Zumba. And darnit, I like it! It's so much freaking fun. If you see me at the club hitting my salsa or reggaeton moves, now you know why. Seriously, they break the steps down to such a basic level, even I can do them. That means anyone can. The heart rate goes up, I break a sweat, and my daughter gets a good laugh. What else could I want from a workout?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Raw Food Today

Breakfast: 3 cups green tea, chia pudding with chopped apples, dried bananas, raisins, and pecans

Lunch: Raw bar with 1 apple

Pre-workout Snack: Green drink

Dinner: Chopped collards (marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, Raw apple cider vinegar, crushed garlic and ginger, and sea salt; dehydrated for 6 hours at 105-degrees F) topped with tomatoes, avocado, onions, and sesame seed

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Raw Food Today

Breakfast: Chia pudding with chopped nuts, diced apples, and raisins (Shocking, I know.)
3 cups green tea

Lunch: 2 apples, a handful of banana chips

Early dinner: huge salad of chopped spinach, marinated mushrooms (olive oil, salt, Raw apple cider vinegar, a bit of agave), and a handful of zucchini and squash chips (dressing: olive oil, crushed garlic and lemon juice)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Raw Pasta & Asparagus

Celery root noodles tossed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar and topped with marinated asparagus, avocado and onion. Super-delish!

Raw Sparrow-Grass

Raw asparagus, anyone? It's a good source of lots of yummy goodness. Anti-carcinogens, fiber, calcium, iron, Vitamin A, folate, zinc, potassium, Vitamin B6 and more.

In the 1600's, asparagus was referred to as sparrow-grass. (I just discovered this fact today while reading a book completely unrelated to food.) I'm in love with the name, not surprising given my affection for archaic terms.

Asparagus is a family fave around here, but it wasn't always that way. My first sampling of the green stuff was a soggy, mushy mess. Repulsive. It may have been frozen, or come from a can, or simply have been boiled to death. Whatever the case, I didn't dig the stuff until I had it grilled and the roasted. After that, I couldn't understand my friends who turned their noses up at it. If I could eat it every single day, I would.

Once I decided to go Raw, I thought sparrow-grass would be one of my cooked hold outs. I never saw it on the menus as Raw food restaurants, and assumed it was one of those veggies that required cooking to be enjoyed. Oh silly cooked foodie.

Marinated sparrow-grass is one of my all time favorite foods. (It's not in season here, but when my Lovely Boyfriend makes a rare grocery trip, I don't turn my nose up at anything in the bag.)

I love the skinny stalks. I chop them on a bias and marinate them in a combination of olive oil, garlic, lemon juice (or vinegar), and salt. If the stalks are thick, I use a peeler to create ribbons, but I don't like to do the extra work. They don't need to be dehydrated, but I like to throw them in a pyrex, cover with foil and leave them in the D overnight, at say 105-degrees F. The longer they marinate, the better. Just don't let them dry out.

Try it!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Happy Birthday to my Dada!


Raw Food Today

Pre-workout green powder drink

Breakfast: chia pudding with chopped apples, pecans and raisins (This is sooo easy and delicious!)
3 cups green/roobios tea

Snack: smoothie (pineapple, strawberry, coconut water and green powder)

Lunch: a chopped plate of avocado, tomato, and sweet onion, topped with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Snack: 1 cup of coffee (This can be dangerous for me. I've had coffee 2x this week, and I don't want to go back to needing it daily.) 1/2 banana

Dinner: Bed of spinach topped with shredded squash and zucchini marinated in olive oil, tamari and spices and dehydrated for a few hours

Dessert: Sliced pear dipped in Raw chocolate? If I'm hungry, that's what I'll have.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Raw Food Today

Breakfast: 1 and 1/2 chopped apples, topped with raisins, chopped walnuts and chia pudding (soaked chia seeds) 3 cups* green/roobios tea

Snack: 1/2 apple, 8 oz. green drink, 1 Raw bar

Lunch: salad of shaved fennel and apples, with olive oil, * balsamic vinegar, sea salt, and a dash of agave

Snack: 1 cup *coffee

Dinner: Cheezy Squash with Spicy Tomato Sauce (all Raw, except a bit of Nutritional Yeast)

Lots of water. I start every day with about 32 ounces of pure water and keep knocking it down throughout the day.

How to Stay Raw for Life

I subscribed to more Raw food blogs than you can shake a stick at. Even after avoiding those that conflicted with my personal choices in lifestyle and philosophy, there were 40+ popping up in my reader every morning. Recipes, links, books, health news, calls to action, challenges, and social networks--I enjoyed it all, but couldn't keep up. Unless Raw food was to become my full-time job, I'd have to cut back.

Being a woman of extremes, I didn't just cut back, I cut out. I stopped opening my reader and popping into goneraw or giveittomeraw to see what was going on in the online Raw community. With the move from Southern California to Atlanta, Georgia, I lost real world access to Raw folks as well. (Yes, I'm sure there are some here in the city, but certainly not as much as there was back in the land of sunshine.) Not long after I isolated myself from the Raw world, I drifted away from Raw foods. It happened slowly at first, and gradually my reliance on real foods in their natural state decreased.

I never stopped eating Raw foods. I love them, and I want to feed my family what's best for them, but I went from eating mostly Raw all the time, to eating some Raw some of the time. Consequences, not surprisingly, quickly followed--weight gain, my face breaking out in response to wheat being added back into my diet, overall diminished energy and reduced productivity. Bummer!

So putting aside my usual excuses (not enough money, not enough time), I returned to Raw. Rawfoodrehab has been my support system, and I'm back to visiting a few blogs and thumbing through my Raw food cookbooks. The excess weight is dropping away and other problems are resolving themselves.

How do you stay Raw for Life? Don't try to do it by yourself. While Raw isn't a religion, it is a lifestyle, and any lifestyle is easier to maintain when you surround yourself with people who support it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Nutritional Excellence with Raw Veggies

Check out this video from Vegsource. The title of the clip is What You Ate as a Kid Can Give You Cancer, but it's really a positive, hopeful look at how the eating-style we take on in adulthood can prevent cancer. Here, Dr. Joel Fuhrman promotes a raw vegetable-based, vegan diet. In this clip, his focus is not so much on what harm we may have done to ourselves by eating a typical western diet as kids, but rather on what we can do about it now. Good stuff. is a great resource for articles and videos about nutrition.