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 . . .