We’ve been spending time at my mom’s on the weekends so we can get little Miso used to being here. He has been loving it. My mom has a small dog and they play non-stop. Here he is sleeping after some hard core playing. :)
I’m super happy because I have one of my best Internet buddies coming to visit little ol’ me! We met, maybe 2 years ago(?), online and we’ve labeled ourselves as soul sistas because we have so much in common. In fact, when I was blonde, we looked like actual sisters. You might know her, she calls herself Girl On Raw. She arrives next weekend. I’m taking her for a fabulous raw lunch, then to Whole Foods for a little shoppy-shop, and then we’re heading to my mom’s to stay the night. I think (if I have the energy) I’ll make her one of my newest recipes Ginger Spice Carrot Cake (to live for!), which will be featured in my new book.
~ 2 cups Teeccino with coconut milk
~ 3 cups Organic Green Smoothie: water, bananas, lemon juice, ginger, spinach (the vitamin C in the ginger and lemon juice help the body to better assimilate the iron in the spinach)
~ Double serving Sun Warrior Brown Rice Protein Shake (getting baby some extra protein)
~ Heirloom lettuce salad with broccoli and carrots topped with Sweet Capri Dressing (my parents love this dressing)
~ Candy Bites (raw)
~ Cashew butter
~ For dinner, I’m making everyone my Vegan Chicken Ratatouille that we’ll have with big salads
~ Dessert? If I’m still hungry… bananas and cashew butter drizzled with raw chocolate sauce – OK, even if I’m not hungry, I suspect I’ll still have this. lol
On another good note… my back has improved! I still have some problems with it (low back pain from pregnancy), but my rockin’ midwife pressed on it and alleviated a lot of the pain so I’ve been having my mom do it for me, too. It’s made so much of a difference. I’ve even been able to get some walking back into my days. Yay!
Here is a common question that comes up when I’m chatting with people about the Raw food lifestyle.
What If I’m Addicted to Caffeine?
No problem! Been there, done that, when it comes to caffeine. Boy, do I remember the days… working long hours, drinking 2 – 3(!) triple shot (espresso) soy cappuccinos. Yikes! I’m surprised my adrenal glands are even functioning any more. Better late than never though. I was determined to kick the addiction and I did just that… by doing all of the following tips and tricks. I like variety, so it was fun to change it up with the different options below. That helped to keep me distracted, too, and made it more enjoyable.
So… need some ideas for kicking the caffeine habit? Try any (or all!) of the following suggestions:
Drink fresh squeezed orange juice in the morning to give yourself some pure Raw energy instead of stimulated energy from caffeine. Yum!!!
Hot peppers - These awesome guys can work wonders for your caffeine addiction because they give you a real rush of endorphins. For the hard-core folks out there, think habanera peppers. If you find those too hot, then start with a milder red pepper and work your way up. The idea here is that it must be hot enough to release endorphins—the brain’s mechanism for dulling pain. The endorphins tackle two issues for you: 1) providing energy so you don’t miss the caffeine and 2) fighting headaches that may result from caffeine withdrawal. When I want a quick burst of energy, I just take a couple nibbles. Of course, be careful when handling hot peppers. Wash your hands when you’re done and don’t touch your face!
Drink green juices (lots), including wheat grass if you like, which will help alkalize your blood and reduce cravings for coffee and caffeine. Add carrot juice, either straight or in the green juice. The carrot juice helps give you a little (healthy) sugar increase which can help give you a little energy boost. Plus, it’s satiating.
To help avoid severe withdrawal problems, consider migrating off gradually. You can start with half decaf (or just make the regular caffeine version with fewer coffee beans/ground when you’re making it at home (as in it’ll be more watered down than normal). Back in the day, one thing that helped me when I went to Starbucks was that I had them give me a small regular coffee, but had them put a quarter of it as hot water, and I increased that to half of the cup as hot water with the other half as coffee… and so on). And, of course, you can go half regular coffee with half decaf and eventually work your way to 100% decaf. Get organic when possible.
Tea can rock the house. Both black tea and green tea are reputed to have a number of beneficial health properties, along with a more subtle caffeine boost than coffee. So, it’s a great way to enjoy a hot beverage with a little caffeine as you transition away from toxic, (often)-pesticide-ridden-caffeine-filled coffee. And, finally, you can have herbal tea as a goal beverage when you’re ready to eliminate all the caffeine in your diet (My favorite sources are: Traditional Medicinals, found at health food stores and Mountain Rose Herbs - found online). Enjoy it sweetened with a touch of raw agave nectar (or a little organic maple syrup – not raw) or toss in a tablespoon of goji berries. Those make for an awesome treat at the end of the cup when they’re nice, plump and warm.
If cola, Mt. Dew, Red Bull, etc., is your brand of poison, you’ll get a triple-whammy benefit by weaning yourself off of these antithesis-of-health beverages. You’ll be eliminating not only caffeine, but also 1) a fairly disgusting quantity of sugar (or artificial sweeteners, which bring their own host of problems); and 2) the carbonic and phosphoric acids that are bad for your blood, leach calcium from your bones, and dissolve the enamel in your teeth. As with coffee, it may be easier to reduce your quantity gradually, such as by ordering a medium instead of a large (etc.), or pouring out the contents of a can when you’re 2/3 of the way through it. Another great idea is to gradually cut your fountain drinks with soda water, when available at self-serve fountains (it’s usually dispensed by a little hard-to-see plastic tab that may or may not be labeled). This won’t help reduce the acidity, but it will help you taper off your caffeine levels without denying yourself the refreshing and cleansing fizz—what I like to call “Throat Draino.” Caffeine is much more addictive than bubbles, so once you’ve kicked your chemical addiction to caffeine, it will be much easier to phase out carbonated beverages entirely.
Drink cold-pressed coffee, made with a Toddy Maker. This isn’t Raw and it still has caffeine, but it’s less acidic than regularly brewed coffee, so it’s a start (I’m all about the baby steps!). In the scheme of things, this is better than regular coffee. Use this as a stepping stone on your way to eliminating coffee from your life. You can find these machines online or at some Border’s bookstores.
Drink Teeccino®, which is herbal coffee. YUM! My husband and I have become huge fans of this during the past year. For my husband, it was love at first sip. For me, although I really enjoyed it and would drink it here and there years ago when I first stumbled upon it, it wasn’t (at the time) the perfect coffee replacement to me. Then again, I was such a hard core coffee lover, I didn’t think anything would ever compare to the real thing. That being said, here I am, loving Teeccino – big time! I can’t imagine not having it. In fact, I don’t know what I was thinking years ago by not thinking this was an awesome coffee replacement. Not only does it taste great, but it’s not acidic and safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding. It’s high in potassium, helps restore alkalinity, and the chicory root can help improve digestion. We usually get the Maya Caffe (organic) because it’s the most coffee-like in flavor, but I do enjoy their flavored varieties, too.
We love it plain (black), and we also enjoy it with Raw nut milk or other non-dairy milk for a nice creamy experience. It’s brewed similarly to coffee, using a coffee pot, but recently they launched a new product: Teeccino – “tee” bag style. Now, I can take it with me to restaurants and enjoy it (or Starbucks and just get a cup of hot water there to steep my tee bag). Teeccino is much better for your health than regular (or decaf) coffee, and can help transition you away from coffee. I’ve even brewed coffee mixed with Teeccino for some of my coffee addict friends to reduce the caffeine and help them transition. They love it.
Make a beverage (or food) with raw chocolate powder. Raw chocolate has only small amounts of caffeine, but it has a stimulating effect from Theobromine. Many people love raw chocolate for the feel good, natural buzz they get when consuming it. There are many ways to enjoy this: 1) blend warm water with Raw chocolate and a sweetener such as raw agave nectar (or use a raw nut milk and blend until warm for a hot chocolate type drink). 2) You can also make chocolate nut milk by adding raw chocolate powder and a couple of pitted dates to it to the next batch of raw vegan nut milk you prepare. 3) Make other Raw food recipes. Raw chocolate is satiating, delicious, gives you energy, and is full of anti-oxidants.
REST & ADEQUATE SLEEP! I can’t emphasize enough that getting enough sleep at night (and rest) is one of the big keys for helping to maintain great energy levels so you don’t feel the need to reach for caffeine. I realize that it’s not always possible to do this in our hectic lives, but TRY! Your health is worth it.
Set a schedule for yourself. Decide a plan of attack for eliminating coffee from your diet and write it on your calendar. Try the different methods outlined above for ease and success, and enjoy the healthy transition. You’ll be so glad you did it. Remember, part of the addiction is the experience associated with consumption (such as going to a cafe or wrapping your hands around a big, warm mug), so look for surrogates—ways to replicate the experience without the caffeine. Find new places and new cafes and wrap your hands around a big mug of green smoothie, warm herbal tea, or yummy Teeccino.
Updated thoughts: Now that I’ve broken the caffeine addiction, I can enjoy a cup here and there (when not pregnant or breastfeeding) and not feel guilty about it, or worry about it for that matter. I keep it organic when possible. Usually decaf. There are some things that give you a psychological edge… a spiritual uplift that can be worth their weight in health gold. If having a cup of organic, fresh brewed coffee is that for you, then so be it. It would be my recommendation that it’s not something you consume tons of… keep it in moderation or as a treat – and try some of the other options I mentioned above to help reduce the dependance. Personally, I love my new relationships with Teeccino and herbal teas – thankfully, in spite of it being bumpy at first. Although the heart break was severe when I initially said good-bye to coffee/caffeine, my experience now is much healthier and balanced.
Moreover, I have concerns about coffee production and the environment, which I haven’t looked into a whole lot yet, but I’ve seen snippets here and there about its problems. I plan on diving into that soon and seeing how bad it is (I’ll be reporting on this over at Green Mommy Blog). I have heard that shade-grown, organic, fair-trade is at least better (for health and environment), but I don’t know how much.
Sunday we went to Quintessence for a raw vegan brunch. We’d heard from different people that we had to try the “bagel and cream cheese.” So, off we went on a mini-raw adventure.
I immediately liked the Quintessence when we walked in. It was a delightful place with an interior that was bright, clean, and cheerful. And, the service was superb.
I started my meal with a large glass of fresh organic Green Juice, and it was fabulous. BIG YUM! Then, I went on to have the bagel and cream cheese. It was pretty good. The cheese had a nice flavor, and although the (kamut) bagel part was hard to bite into, I still enjoyed it.
My husband had the “fofu” (a raw version of tofu). Specifically, he chose the “Fofu Benedict.” They nailed it with the raw tofu, by making something that mimicked the cooked version. Regular cooked tofu is flavorless with a unique texture. Quintessence offered the exact same, but Raw. My husband’s fofu was served on the same type of kamut “bread” as my bagel, and topped with a raw vegan hollandaise sauce.
After the meal we enjoyed a cup of teeccino. Finally! We found a place serving our favorite herbal coffee. My husband had his teeccino black, while I opted for some raw nut milk in mine. It was the perfect ending to our brunch.
So far today I’ve had…
1 1/2 cups of Teeccino
1 Raw Protein Shake (rice protein, hemp protein, Vega’s EFA oil, New Chapter Organic’s Berry Greens powder, Amazing Grass’ Wheat Grass powder, banana, water) – this shake really fills me up!
1 Raw Chocolate Macaroon
1 bowl Raw Granola (dry) with a chopped banana
1 Raw Chocolate Macaroon :)
1 Vega bar – Berry Flavor
1 big mug of Raspberry Leaf herbal tea
Tonight, I’m going to make miso soup (soy-free) with fresh garlic and ginger added – alongside a huge bowl of Fennel Orange Kale Salad with a Raw Chocolate Macaroon for dessert :) If I get hungry I’ll have another protein shake.
A Great Blog
I want to share another AWESOME blog that I follow regularly: Nature Mom’s Blog. I learn a lot from Tiffany – she’s full of great info! Practically every time I read a post of hers, I find myself saving it for future reference (for when I have kids especially). And, if it’s not kid related, it seems to always be relevant in some way.
Another Awesome Giveaway!
I’m going to have another awesome giveaway for the month of February. Be sure to check back for details!
Whole Foods Demonstration Canceled
For those of you planning on stopping by the Raw Food day of demonstrations (Feb 20), Whole Foods announced to me today that it was canceled.
Would you be likely to survive alone in the wilderness?
*For those who don’t know, the conversation question” is from these cute “conversation starter” cards I found at a little boutique. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable when meeting new people, or if there is silence while around co-workers, or maybe you’re meeting your boyfriend/girlfriend’s parents for the first time and you want to ensure stimulating conversation. These are fun and made for just that!