Enjoy this mega brain-boosting smoothie for your next breakfast or lunch. Warning: if you have a little one around, especially a little girl who loves pink, be sure to double the batch or she’ll drink all of yours.
Everyone has heard of the master cleanse right? I tried that diet / cleanse, among most others. I lasted almost 5 days before I was so hungry I was dreaming of lettuce to eat, desperate as I was. Well. I have to admit that the tonic you make on the Master Cleanse is pretty darn tasty and possibly has some nutritional value, but not nearly enough. That’s where my Spicy Metabolic Vanilla C Tonic comes into play. It’s my spin of the Master Cleanse tonic that is to be enjoyed whenever and where ever BUT not as a replacement for food! Note: I am not suggesting that you drink this as part of that cleanse, or any cleanse, that involves removing food because I am not a fan of cleanses – food is a good thing. I’m simply sharing a delicious and nutritious tonic that you can drink anytime.
I’m excited to announce FoodCombo, a brand new food combining app for iPhone!… and yours truly had a hand in its creation, including making sure that the app’s publishers made it vegan-friendly and even raw food-friendly!
I’m not a hard core food combiner, but those who are, or who want to experiment, could really use this. You’ve probably heard from various people that food combining properly helps with digestive difficulties, energy, and sometimes weight loss. But one of the biggest issues with doing food combining is that the rules are so hard to remember! There’s no shortage of graphs and charts out there attempting to help, but I’ve always found them to be a pain to use and impossible to remember the rules about what combines with what.
Well, that’s not a problem anymore. With the FoodCombo app, you just enter foods and see if they combine well. The app also makes recommendations. No more charts to memorize! But the big surprise to me was that it’s really fun, too, almost like a game as you try to guess what foods will combine well. I can’t help but want to play with the app whenever I make smoothies.
Here’s a video demoing the app and the story of how I came to be involved with the project (and here’s a link to the app store where you can buy it):
Do you food combine? Have you found it useful? Do you like it?
Having green juice (a.k.a. Plant Blood) on a regular basis is very important for my family. We love it! It’s invigorating. It’s filled with easy-to-assimilate nutrients. It’s powerful. It makes the cells in my body boogie-down as if they were listening to Earth, Wind, & Fire! Like the vegan version of being a vampire, I feel absolutely super-human when I’m drinking it.
Fresh fruit and vegetable juices can do wonders for your body, spirit and mind. They can help cleanse your body and detox. They can fill you up with energy because you’re giving your digestion a rest with the removal of the fiber. They can help make you feel like you’re on top of the world (at least that’s what they do to me when I drink them). And for sure… a number of people use fresh organic juices as a part of their weight loss routine. I know that after I give birth, and breast feeding is done, I’ll be using a green juice weight loss program to help me lose the pregnancy weight.
A while back I posted about the two juicers that I have in this post. But, I have a new addition to my family that is worthy of discussion. In the following videos I discuss the pros and cons of each juicer (Green Star, Breville, and Hurom), from my perspective. And, I show you one of the juicers in action.
As many of you know, I’ve been making food in the apartment we’re staying at in New York. It’s a great way to keep my food totally Raw, totally organic, and it helps save some money. Plus, I love preparing food, so all around, I’m a happy girl. Isn’t this picture totally Om-nom-nom?
I wrote last week about a salad I made with avocado, bell peppers, celery, etc. Well, I had to make it again, it was SO awesome, fresh, delicious, and had so many amazing textures. This time, I made a bigger batch (of course!), and I wrote down the amounts so that I could share it with you.
One of the awesome things about this recipe is that I consider it a “lighter” guacamole, meaning that it’s lower in fat than traditional guacamole. Obviously, most guacamole is made up mostly of avocado. And, if you’re like me, it’s hard to stop eating guacamole once you start. Therefore, it’s not long before I’ve consumed a lot of fat. Well, I lightened the fat load per serving of this recipe by filling it up with fat-free non-sweet fruits and vegetables. A lot of people easily lose weight on a Raw vegan diet even if they consume plenty of fresh organic Raw vegan fats. However, there are some people who hit a plateau and they wonder what to do next. For this, I usually recommend cutting back on some of the fats you’re eating. It doesn’t have to be all the time or every day, but you might try experimenting with some dishes that have a lower amount of fat and see how it goes. You’ll probably drop those last stubborn pounds if you do. And, Garden Guacamole is a great recipe to get you started.
I enjoyed my portion of this scooped onto organic red leaf lettuce that I used as a wrap, like a burrito. My husband wanted his on Ezekial toast. We were both licking our fingers and loving every succulently fresh bite.
For this recipe, I used medium size non-sweet fruits, but you could use large! And, you could substitute the tomato with cucumber or add diced zucchini… there are all kinds of options. Shredded carrots would be delish, too. Just try and keep it colorful. That’s half the fun of it!
1 medium red bell pepper, destemmed, seeded, and diced
1 medium orange bell pepper, destemmed, seeded, and diced
3 large stalks celery, diced
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
Place the diced avocado into a large bowl with the lime juice and salt. Smish is up (I like using a potato masher to do the job). Then, add the rest of the ingredients and toss well to mix. At this point, taste it and see if you’d like to add more salt.
*If heirloom tomatoes aren’t in season, then use regular tomatoes.
Here is another lengthy post. I feel it’s important to continue sharing my thoughts and experiences at length because the emails and comments continue to pour in about how grateful people are that I’m providing so many specific details. First of all, thank you so much. I can’t express how much all of the love and support means to me. I also now realize more than ever just how many people’s lives have been touched by similar events, or may be in the future.
I’ve had a little more time to digest the news of my pregnancy loss and impending miscarriage. I found that yesterday, from time to time, I felt like a deer in headlights… a tiny bit of shock, some lack of motivation to do anything, and a little bit of feeling unorganized. That’s the best way I can describe it. I kind of just wanted to sit and stare at times. After talking over the possible next steps with family (details below), and being surrounded by an amazing, loving, and supportive husband and mom, I started to feel better with each and every hour.
It’s a different feeling of loss this time (at least so far) versus how it previously felt when we tried naturally and then I would get my period. Those times were extremely painful. But, this time… since we had some measure of success (that gives us hope), plus I know I have a solid plan on the very near horizon, and possibly just by the fact that we used technology to assist us… I just feel better and easier about the whole thing. Another helper (if you can call it that) is that we had some inkling that this could happen from the last two blood tests. I’ve had a week or so to wonder “what if?” So, overall, it’s just not as hard this time. Don’t get me wrong… there is definitely some disappointment and frustration, but… I simply don’t want to dwell on that. What would be hard is sitting around, being angry or sad. That would make it harder for me. Instead, I’m choosing to focus on the next plan for having a wonderful pregnancy and getting my baby. With that in mind, I’m aware that grieving feelings may arise… so, as my doula warmly put it, “Be gentle with yourself.” I will. Promise.
It’s a natural part of human nature that, when bad things happen, we adjust our perspective in a way that makes it seem not so bad. Call it cognitive dissonance (I prefer the “silver lining instinct”)… it’s a heck of a lot more adaptive and constructive than curling up into a quivering ball of uselessness. Rose-tinted glasses or not, I cannot help but realize that I now know more as a result of what has happened than I did just a month ago. Knowledge is empowering… I’ve been granted a certain gift of foresight in the form of knowing what it will be like when the nine-month countdown begins. For a few short weeks, what had previously been a possible future became an expected future. An abstract idea became my imperative reality. I felt a nervous and exciting urgency, sometimes scary, in the pit of my stomach. I now know what it feels like to lie in bed at night and think “holy shit… I’m going to have a baby! I have so much to do still and the clock is ticking.”
One of the things I’ve learned this past year is that every time I’m given a fresh start to get pregnant, I find that I do things a little bit better each time. As the months go by, I’ve continued my reading and research… and as I learn more, I apply more. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve learned stuff I’d like to apply next time – such as… I want to make sure I’m eating enough protein (65-95 grams a day) once we make the next transfer. I don’t want to get any of it from organic soy products, rather I’ll concentrate on some cooked lentils, beans, etc…. with the remaining coming from Raw sources (sprouted quinoa, greens, green juice and smoothies, hemp and sprouted brown rice protein powders, nuts and seeds, etc). Of course, my diet will be mostly Raw except for the aforementioned cooked proteins. I want to make sure I’m getting plenty of vitamins A, E, and D in my diet as well as B-vitamins. To accomplish this, I’ll consume more sunflower seeds as well as olive oil and avocados (more about sunflower seeds and vitamin E in a moment). I’ll spend some more time in the sun. When I eat foods with beta-carotene in them, I’ll be more conscious about having a little fat with them to ensure I’m absorbing and assimilating it better (for example, I’ll add a little splash of coconut oil to my green juice with carrots). Those are a few examples. My diet is great and has been, but I’d like to fine tune it a little bit more. I’m not saying that had I been doing all of these things, I might have avoided a miscarriage. Rather, I’m excited that I can be even a little bit healthier and better prepared for it, which will benefit my baby.
Another example of lessons learned is that during this pregnancy, I started reading Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein’s new book, Your Best Birth. I’m a huge fan of their documentary The Business of Being Born (HUGE fan! I saw it last year when it first came out – rented it on Netflix, but I’ve since bought it so I can share it with family and friends). While reading their book, it was a tad stressful because the book goes into detail about the various ways of giving birth (hospital, home, midwife, obstetrician, etc) and as most of you know… more than anything I want a homebirth with my midwife and doula attending. I feel very strongly and passionately about this. Very. So, as I was reading the book, I realized that I needed to write a thorough and detailed birthing plan with variations for specific things (part for having the desired homebirth, but also part dedicated to the possible event of an emergency transfer to a hospital, and within that hospital part needs to have details for vaginal birth and c-section). I realized through reading the book while pregnant that I wish I had read it before getting pregnant, and I wish I had my birth plan already written. The hospital birth contingency plan will stress me out a bit to write. I also feel I need to visit the few hospitals I might have to transfer to in an emergency so I can get answers to my questions about their services and decide which one best fits my birthing plan. Again… something that could be stressful for me and would be better done when I’m not pregnant.
I also realized, over the past few weeks, that I had so many other things I wanted to focus on such as taking the various classes for the actual birth, specifically hypnobirthing (I plan on learning a few ways of assisting my birth and having hypnobirthing in my kit of tools for relaxing seems like a smart plan, even if I don’t rely on it completely). I think it would be prudent to start a class like that right away upon finding out I’m pregnant because the sooner I can master some meditation techniques, the faster I can use them to calm myself during potentially stressful times of the pregnancy. Also, I want to read everything I can get my hands on about breastfeeding (I have 4-5 books already). And, I want to immerse myself in the vaccine culture so that I’m well prepared in what kind of schedule of possibly reduced vaccination I plan to follow. I learned the past couple of weeks that not only did I wish that I already had my birth plan written, but also that I wished I already had a plan regarding vaccination. I originally planned on waiting until the end of pregnancy to dive into my stack of vaccination books. I now realize that I don’t want to do that when I’m pregnant. Vaccinations will be a tough, touchy, and controversial subject… not something I feel is positive about addressing while I’m pregnant. For my time while I’m pregnant, I just want to focus on happy thoughts and plans (breastfeeding, cloth diapering, baby wearing, strollers, etc) not contentious ones. I want to get the controversial planning done ahead of time.
My silver lining through these bumps in the road is that every time I didn’t get pregnant, or in this case with not holding on to it, I learned more, and for that I feel grateful. This time around, when I take care of some of these things ahead of time (before my next pregnancy) such as writing my birth plan, creating my vaccination plan, and learning hypnobirthing sooner than later, I’m setting myself up for a wonderful, relaxed pregnancy. I’m very excited about that. My smart doula also told me, “It is so so so hard to understand why our bodies do the things they do. And yet, we are asked to simply sit with the knowledge, knowing that our lessons – and the wisdom they provide – will unfold in time.” I love her!
Vitamin E and Sunflower Seeds
So, quickly about the vitamin E and sunflower seeds… Sunflower seeds are loaded with vitamin E (lots) and vitamin E is actually known as the birth vitamin. It’s great for fertility (conception) as well as helping protect against miscarriage. In fact, the Greek word “tocopherol” means “to carry offspring” – pretty cool, eh?
My doctor gave us a few options for the miscarriage. I can do it naturally (supposedly painful). Or, I can have a suction D&C, where I’m sedated, and they take some of the tissue for analysis (although the analysis isn’t guaranteed to provide any useful information). Or, I can have my gynecologist give me medicine to induce the miscarriage. I am opting for the natural route. Once I stop my current medicine (estradiol and progesterone), which I did yesterday, I should expect the miscarriage to occur in about three days. After that, depending on “how” the miscarriage goes (will I bleed for 4-5 days? Or will it be rougher and go for 7-10 days, in which case I may end up in the ER?) will help us determine whether we think my body is healed enough for another transfer right away or whether we should sit one out so my body can recover. Dr. Chang said that some studies show a slight increase for miscarriage if you get pregnant right after, but he also explained that opposing research suggests an increased pregnancy success by doing it right after because your body is “in the mood” already (my interpretive words). Personally, I’m feeling good about getting to it right away if possible.
Another thing that makes me feel solid about the next transfer is that I’m going to do it more naturally. Unlike last time, I had about 3 weeks of fertility drugs that I had been taking prior to the transfer. (As I mentioned in my previous post, the level of drugs I took with Mini-IVF was far less than with traditional IVF, which is great… nonetheless, I still had to take some drugs for the procedure, but future transfers won’t have that since we have the embryos.) This time around they can transfer it with my normal cycle, and the only drugs I might need are the ones for supporting the pregnancy. In my mind, this is a good feeling to know my body will be healthier for the baby (and for myself).
I’d like to take a brief moment to tell you how awesome Dr. Chang was on the phone. This was the doctor who did the egg retrieval and embryo transfer. Both of those times, he was so pleasant, patient, and took all the time I needed to answer my questions. I’m talking…. really patient and never for one moment made me feel rushed. On the phone yesterday, he was the same… amazing. He told me how the pregnancy didn’t look good and why. Then, he asked, “What questions do you have before we move on to the next topic?” I asked some questions, he answered them all slowly and thoroughly and then asked me again what other questions I had. He did that repeatedly through the conversation as well as giving me loads of confidence that we’re on the right track. He gave me many options for the various next steps, telling me the pros and cons of each. Then, when I told him of my desire for a natural approach, he was supportive. He made me feel like we’re totally on the same team. It’s not often that a doctor makes a patient feel so great… that her opinion truly matters… takes the time to address every little thing. And for that… I want to praise him. (I’ve learned from meeting with other fertility clinics that this is not always the case so I’m grateful to be teamed with a clinic who cares about my desires.)
And… while I’m at it… can I take a moment to praise two other people: Jessica and Melissa. Jessica was my first contact with New Hope Fertility Center, and she was an absolute doll on the phone. She helped us coordinate our planning, she answered my questions, and her response time for everything was very fast. Melissa is another sparkling gem there. She is at the front desk and I saw her smiling face every few days I went in. This gal was terrific. Every time I had a question, she either answered it (even though her role appeared to be mostly administrative, she had a solid grasp of the range of procedures and what they entailed) or she pointed me in the right direction to get the answer.
And, even though I’m not in a lot of contact with Dr. Zhang, the first doctor we met with and who is behind the scenes working his awesome magic…. he deserves praise for being as brilliant as he is. Without him, none of this would have been possible.
So! Back to My Plan.
Well! I’m going to enjoy a bar of organic, dark vegan chocolate for starters. (It’s been a long time!) I’m going to brace myself for the miscarriage and keep my feet up during this time (I might indulge in a small glass of organic wine during that – been a long time for that, too). Then, I’m going to get into my Raw lifestyle hardcore for the following 2-3 weeks because I have about 7-8 pounds I want to lose that I put on from the drugs and my increased eating of fat, etc. I’m going to exercise (I’ve been on restriction from this too so I want to get my body moving again). I’m eager to cleanse, feel light and energized, and get my lymph flowing. I am going to write my birth plan and vaccination plan. Then, we’ll head to New Hope Fertility Center in NY for the transfer and I’ll continue my clean eating, but I’ll add more protein and fat back in. I feel great about our plan!
Quick Update! I will now have 5-6 breastfeeding books. I just saw on amazon (and pre-ordered it) that Ina May Gaskin is coming out with a book on breastfeeding, Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding. YAY!!! Her other book, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth is one of my favorite books and I highly recommend it if you’re pregnant or considering getting pregnant. I suspect her next book about breastfeeding will be equally amazing!
A follower of my blog inquired recently about eating a Raw diet and maintaining/building muscle…
Hey Kristen…I was wondering would it be possible for you to do a blog post on eating raw and weightlifting….I have lost 50 pounds since beginning to eat all RAW..now I’m doing ChaLean Extreme (it’s a program where you lift heavy weights to failure)… should I be concerned that mybody will use my muscles for fuel instead of burning fat… I’m concerned with the whole calorie thing,because eating RAW I haven’t been counting calories. I want to reap the best results from all this hard work, because I have seen people who eat raw and have lost a lot of weight and some don’t look fit just smaller and soft… so that leads me to think they have lost some muscle, what do u think?…any advice would be greatly appreciated.
First of all… CONGRATULATIONS on your weight loss and for taking control of your health. I’m so happy for you. I’m actually a tiny bit familiar with the ChaLean program because I know someone who is doing it, and I’ve read about so many others bragging about it and loving it. If I had a set up in my house where I could do dvds for some of my exercise, I’d be all over this program.
Regarding your overall question… I switch between all-Raw and HRAV (High Raw, All Vegan) and my husband follows suit since I’m in charge of food – haha. I’m not soft and skinny; my body is toned and I have no problem maintaining that. :) And, let me tell you… my husband is buff and his bod is mega hot – ripped abs, chiseled chest… TMI? Maybe – haha.
Things I do to maintain my muscle mass, and things my husband does to maintain and grow his:
1) Strength train (we get our butts in the gym at least five days per week!). Period.
2) A healthy, alkaline diet complete with nutrient dense foods. Consume enough calories in general, including foods rich in amino acids and simple carbs. As people who work out a lot, we also add more protein to our diet. To do this, we drink shakes and smoothies with hemp protein powder, and lately we’ve been doing a mixture of both hemp protein powder along with Sun Warrior’s Raw Rice Protein Powder, and typically include bananas or some other fruit in it. We also like green smoothies (fresh amino acid-rich greens and fruit). Here is a link to a great workout smoothie recipe – GGGRRRR! Beowulf Protein Smoothie.We also love our fresh Plant Blood (green juice) which fills our bodies with phytonutrients. Sometimes we drink Plant Blood daily and sometimes we drink it every few days – just depends on our fridge contents. We also make sure we’re consuming certain foods before and after our workouts (our exercise tends to last 45 – 75 minutes). For example, before a training session, we typically consume something with simple carbs (examples: fresh dates, a ripe banana, or other fruit is excellent workout fuel). After a workout (within 60 minutes of completing it), we have a small smoothie with simple carbs and a little protein (see the recipe for theGGGRRRR! Beowulf Protein Smoothie – we usually split this or something like it). Then, after an hour has passed we have another shake that is heavier with protein (typically Sun Warrior Rice Protein, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein, Vitamineral Green Powder, Fruits of the Earth Powder,water, and usually a banana blended in).
3) Recovery – This is an important topic that is frequently left out. You need to let your body recover and build, and this includes getting plenty of rest and sleep. Diet is also an important aspect of recovery, but rest and sleep are vital.
Basically, we listen to our bodies, monitor our progress, and make changes as needed.Ensuring success with this might mean some calorie counting, at least in the beginning, until you get an idea of what you should be consuming on a daily basis and how your body responds to it. Everyone is different so you need to find what works for you personally. But, it can be done!
After reading many times about how great this meal replacement powder is, I decided to give it a go. It’s 100% Vegan, Mostly Organic, and High Raw. I recommend reading through the entire website about it (Check out the FAQ, too). But if you choose to buy it, get it from Amazon since it’s less expensive. Here is the list of ingredients.
I was attracted to it for a number of reasons:
1. Loaded with nutrients – Even though I get plenty of vitamin and minerals throughout my week by trying to rotate foods and such, I’m still interested in making sure I have as many bases covered as possible. Additionally, The Ultimate Meal has a number of things that I would like more of in my diet.
2. The reviews are great – Like I wrote earlier, I’ve read a number of reviews about this product over the years, I just hadn’t tried it until now. People are very happy with the product, including the famous Vegan Ultimate Fighting Champion, Mac Danzig. Check out the blog article on him here (this is one of my favorite blogs to follow). Once you’re done reading that, you can check out an “in-depth look” here about his diet specifics (for the in-depth look, scroll down to #6). If you want me to cut to the chase, here is this super-mega star’s review of it:
I swear by this stuff, it’s a whole meal and has made up a huge part of my diet for 3 years now. It’s a bit of an acquired taste, but I truly notice myself feeling better when I use it daily. Remember to follow the directions and add the apple and banana. (This is not your normal “add powder to water” supplement.)
3. Great for weight loss – The Ultimate Meal is great for helping people lose weight because it’s reputed for helping people stay “full” up to 6-hours after drinking it. Many people enjoy this for breakfast and lunch or breakfast and dinner, or some have it for all of their meals some days. But, it’s not all about just weight loss because...
4. Excellent pre-natal nutrition – Since I’m not trying to lose weight and will be looking for ways to add more nutrient dense calories to my diet once I’m pregnant, this will be a great choice. I won’t use it to replace meals, rather, I’ll enjoy this as mid-morning/afternoon snack(s). As you can see, it’s up to you how you use this. It can be helpful with losing weight, maintaining weight, or gaining healthy weight.
5. Great pre/post workout shake – This is where my boyfriend comes in. He loves having a shake before or after a heavy duty workout in the gym, so this is perfect for that. It’s filled with carbs from the fruit, protein, and nutrients, to fuel his big muscles. So, all you ladies out there with men who want a shake with some more “oompf!” here it is! 6. Convenient and travel worthy – It’s fast and easy to make. I love that I can take this when traveling, too. It’s important to make sure I’m still packing my body with nutrients when I’m not at home. Yes, you need a blender for this, but that’s not a problem since I travel with this great travel blender.
So, how does it taste? It’s good. I’m not jumping up and down, licking my lips and wanting to lick the glass to get every last drop of it, but I’m also not grimacing and making icky faces either. It’s very likable. I’ve read in the reviews that you need to make it according to the instructions which includes a banana and half-apple or peach or some other fruit for the best flavor. And, if you’re avoiding fruit for some reason, then you can make it with a raw nut/seed milk (hemp would be great) and add a sweetener such as stevia.
So far, I’ve had it as recommended on the container. I’ve also made it and added maca, carob and hemp powder. Another time I added milk thistle seeds and a teaspoon of Vitamineral Green Powder. Overall, we really like it and will continue to use this. If you get some, let me know what you think :)
Getting physically fit is one of the best things you can do for your mind and body, and here are three great reasons to get started today:
1) Burn Fat Fast! When it comes to getting the best body ever, I want super fast results. For me, that means pumping iron. It’s simple…muscle accelerates fat loss. The muscle works on your behalf all day long burning extra calories. Who wouldn’t want that? 2) Reduce Stress! Want to reduce stress? No problem! Have you ever beat the crap out of a punching bag? Now, that’s therapy!
3) Fight Osteoporosis! I am on a mission to fight osteoporosis and lifting weights is one of the most effective ways to do just that. With my history of shoveling slabs of ribs into my mouth and drinking cauldrons full of coffee, I have some major making up to do with my skeletal structure. Lifting weights is the best ally I have for building my bones and fighting that damage.
Today’s Recipe: Power Energy Elixir Yield 1 serving
Place all of the ingredients in a glass mason jar and shake it up to thoroughly mix. Drink it down (this is just one of those concoctions that is best gulped instead of sipped). Feel the buzz of energy take you over and carry you through your day.
For the rest of the day I’ll be enjoying: 1 quart fresh green juice The Beowulf Workout Smoothie (featured in my upcoming class, Weight Loss & High Energy) 1 quart fresh green juice Green Moxie Soup (this, too, is taught in my upcoming class) Bok Choy Salad with a delicious dressing on top
Daily Conversation Question: What quality do you think is most important in a marriage?
Hi! I'm a chef, author, homeschooling mom, and I love to eat and cook super healthy food. I'm a former vegan, now real-food omnivore, who enjoys coffee(!), dark chocolate, rebounding, and researching the latest tips for optimal living.