Friday, September 26th, 2008
A great many things await you when you start eating a diet with Raw Vegan food. Common experiences include easy weight loss, increased energy, soft skin, clear and bright eyes, silky hair, better sleep, mental clarity, major health improvements, a peaceful mindset and much more.(Yay!) A common question I’m asked is, “How ‘Raw’ do I have to be to experience these things?”
As with many things in life, whether it’s diet, religion, etc., there are many different schools of thought as to which is the best plan when following a diet of Raw Vegan food. This can be confusing for people (I know it was for me when I first started). There are people on the far end of the Raw spectrum that are classified as “Natural Hygienists” and they lead a fairly strict lifestyle. Many of them don’t use salt, garlic or even ginger in their food. So, you can imagine that their position on something like agave nectar will not be favorable. On the other end of the Raw spectrum is where you find people eating anywhere from 75% to 99% of their diet as Raw and they classify themselves as “High Raw.” And, of course, there are people who call themselves “100% Raw” and they eat anything (plant-based) that is Raw (superfoods, agave nectar, raw cacao, raw nuts and seeds, etc). Really, that’s just to name a few of the categories of Raw.
For the most part, I think labels can be difficult unless you know hard and fast how you will eat and that you’ll stay that way. I find that many people evolve until they find what works best for themselves and their family. If you eat 100% Raw every day of the month except one or two days, does that suddenly mean you can’t classify yourself as 100% Raw? That would be harsh in my opinion. And, what if it changes over the years? Or, you might be like me. I enjoy eating a 100% Raw Vegan diet for weeks, months, or a season at a time and I’m happy following the HRAV (High Raw, All Vegan) lifestyle during other parts of the year. I also throw in a week here and there of just drinking green juice along with some weeks of eating fruitarian style. Oh yeah, and what about that period where I was chugging down green smoothies for days on end (was I a green smootharian?)? Hhhmmm… What the heck does all that make me?
There are a lot of books available with plenty of different opinions about Raw food and how you should go about it. My meta-position: I don’t take any one position all the way. Everyone is different and might react differently to certain foods and this might happen at different times of your life. My best advice is to “listen to your own body” because you’ll figure it out and notice what you like, what is easy for you, and what makes you feel the best. Being flexible will be one of the keys to your success with this lifestyle.
Wednesday, September 24th, 2008
Today is turning out to be one of my 100% Raw days. Here is what I’ve had so far:
1 quart plant blood (purple cabbage, green apples, celery)
1 quart green smoothie (spinach, bananas, hemp protein powder, camu powder, Fruits of the Earth, Vitamineral Green)
1 quart plant blood (cucumbers, zucchini, kale)
1 gigantic salad of spinach, broccoli sprouts, carrot, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, dried cranberries, and a delicious soy-free miso dressing I whipped up in less than 60 seconds.
Later tonight I’m sure I’ll have another quart of plant blood and maybe munch on some carrots in keeping with the all-Raw theme.
What have you eaten today?
Wednesday, September 24th, 2008
Living the Raw food lifestyle has made me a more effective person… in everything I do. I experience pure, sustainable energy and I require less sleep. My body is in perfect shape and I gain strength and endurance in my exercise routine frequently. Mentally, the benefits have blown me away. My focus is clear and concentrated. My memory is tack-sharp (my measurement for this – I now use fewer post-it notes – haha!). My relationships are the best they’ve ever been, because I’m happy and I love myself.
What’s so cool is that people all around me see the difference and comment on it. Frankly, raw is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
I’m a firm believer that whatever your passion is in life (family, business, exercise, meditation, hobbies, etc.), eating Raw will take it to unbelievable new heights. Raw food offers you the most amazing benefits – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It is the ideal choice for your food consumption to help you attain optimal health. Raw food is for people who want to live longer while feeling younger. It’s for people who want to feel vibrant and alive, and want to enjoy life like never before.
How has Raw improved your life?
***UPDATE! Many of my readers have responded to this question in the comments section and the details are SUPERB! Be sure to read all of the comments once you’re done reading the main post.
Saturday, September 20th, 2008
For fun, I’m sharing some of my favorite things. Do we have any favorites in common?
Kitchen Appliances: BlendTec Blender and Juicer
Movies: Iron Man and Good Will Hunting
Music Groups: Earth, Wind & Fire, Delerium and Christina Aguilera
Magazines: VegNews, Mothering and Plenty
Blogs: Nature Mom and Ecorazzi
Animals: Dogs, Horses and Lions
Fruits: Watermelon and Cucumbers
Veggies: Anything leafy and green (hold the kohlrabi)
Nuts/Seeds: Manitoba Harvest Hemp
Beverages: Plant Blood and Wine
Desserts: Raw Cobbler and Orange Blossom Chocolate Mousse
TV Shows: House, Prison Break, Top Chef, Hardball
Books: Diet For A New America, Food Revolution, Skinny Bitch, The China Study and The Alchemist
Spectator Sports: Basketball (Detroit Pistons) and Hockey (Detroit Red Wings)
Colors: Orange and Green
Restaurants: The Raven and LLCAI Cafe
Tech Toys: Nano and Blackberry Curve
Travel Spots: Bora Bora!
Non-Raw Foods: Ezekial toast with soy butter and Coconut Bliss Ice Cream
Kitchen Gadgets: Scoopers and Veggie Turning Slicer
Makeup: Lipstick and Blush
Musical Instruments: Piano and Cello
Thursday, September 18th, 2008
I love salads! And, who wouldn’t when you can have fresh salads that are topped with the most amazing dressings in the world… such as this one – Hemp Omega Caesar Dressing. For those of you who crave Caesar dressing but abstain because it’s not typically vegan, look out, because here is a tremendously healthy version that is Raw and Vegan and Awesome!
Most of you are familiar with my love affair of all food products hemp, so you won’t be surprised to learn that I’m presenting Manitoba Harvest Hemp Seeds (and oil, if desired) in this delicious recipe. Hemp is an amazing super-food because it’s loaded with nutrition, including essential fatty acids (omega-6 and omega-3, hence the name of the dressing). According to Manitoba Harvest (and the World Health Organization – ehem) these two essential fatty acids should be consumed in a balanced ratio of 4:1 which is found naturally in hemp foods. Additionally, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Seed Oil also has the fatty acid Gamma-Linolenic (GLA) which helps maintain hormonal balance. But, hemp’s awesomeness doesn’t stop there… its amino acid profile dominates with 8 essential amino acids (10 if you’re elderly or a baby), making it a vegetarian source of “complete” protein!
I made this dressing for a special dinner event recently and it was a huge hit. Most of the guests were omnivores and they raved about how much they loved the dressing. You can imagine the surprise when I told them it was Raw and Vegan!
Hemp Omega Caesar Dressing
Yield 2 cups
1 cup water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil, flax oil, or hemp oil
1/2 cup Manitoba Harvest hemp seeds
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt
3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon raw agave nectar
1 tablespoon dulse (or more!)
zest of 1/2 lemon
Blend all of the ingredients until creamy and enjoy over a crisp romaine salad with chopped tomatoes and cucumbers.
Monday, September 15th, 2008
Since my husband and I started planning for a family, I have been doing research on fertility and tracking my cycle. There are old-fashioned (tried and true) methods such as taking your temperature every day (immediately upon waking). I’m doing this, but with my erratic sleep schedule, it’s proving hard to do. I think the best aspect of taking my temperature will be when my temp stays raised once I’ve conceived, letting me know sooner than later that I’m pregnant.
On the advice from a good friend, I bought the Clear Blue Easy Fertility Monitor to track my cycle. And, it’s really cool. Basically, I pee on a stick every morning, insert the stick into the machine, and get a reading for my daily fertility. It’s fun, especially when I see the little egg symbol meaning that it’s the right time to try if we’re ready. It’s not an inexpensive gadget (the sticks you have to keep buying or the monitor) but I decided it was worth it. If we decide to have more than one baby, I’ll use it again. And, when the time comes, I’ll pass it on to someone else to use.
The reason I started using it now is because it can take a couple of months to “learn” your cycle and because I was dying to know if an egg would show up. Whew! It did! The Amazon reviews on the Clear Blue Easy Fertility Monitor are terrific, check them out. Some things I’ve learned so far are 1) make sure you use the first pee of the morning and 2) pee for a full three seconds on the stick (count 1-Mississippi, 2-Mississippi, 3-Mississippi).
Other things I’m doing for pregnancy prep:
1. Researching various topics such as breastfeeding, vaccines, and homebirth
2. Finding a midwife and doula
3. Trying (and checking) into different pre-natal options for those times I might need extra help if I think my diet lacks on a particular day, or when traveling
4. Eating extra healthy (lots of plant blood, extra protein, etc) Obviously being HRAV (high raw, all vegan) gives me a great advantage because this lifestyle is already extra healthy.
5. Eliminating toxins from my life (hair, body, home)
6. Putting on a couple extra pounds so I’m at a healthy weight for getting pregnant
7. Researching supplementation of B-complex and DHA
Many other things…
haha… had to update you with something Raw and fun. It’s night time and I was craving cookies BIG TIME so this is what I did. Not even measuring, I tossed the following into my food processor and processed until coarsely ground: soaked and dehydrated buckwheat groats, almonds and pecans, dried unsweetened coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, Himalayan crystal salt, and cacao nibs. Then, I added currants and dried cherries and processed it until it was mixed well. Voila! Took me about 3 minutes to make a HUGE bowl of it which will last for well over a week (maybe! haha). Anytime I get a craving, I simply open up my refrigerator and take a few spoonfuls! YUM!
Sunday, September 14th, 2008
Today has been such a great day so far. I woke up and drank filtered water with fresh squeezed lemon in it. Then, I took off to the gym for a nice workout on the treadmill. After returning home, I made a refreshing plant blood recipe of cucumbers, zucchini and carrots (simple and delicious). Using my Breville, it took about five minutes total to make it, drink it, and clean the juicer. I followed that with an organic banana about 15-minutes later.
Next up… a terrific organic spinach salad complete with grape tomatoes, cucumber, dried (apple juice sweetened) cranberries, home grown sprouts, and a fabulously creamy tahini dressing that makes you want to lick the plate when you’re done!
Update: Oohh, that salad was scrumptious. A moment ago I chugged down some power green sludge (1/2 cup water, 1 heaping tablespoon Vitamineral Green powder, 1/4 tsp camu powder). Now, I’m updating my blog with these details with a wonderful green smoothie of spinach, lemon, and frozen peaches. Life is good!
I spent part of my weekend watching the first half of the 4th season of House on dvd, so today I need to catch up on work (lots to do!). I hope everyone is having a terrific day!
Daily Conversation Question:
If you believe in heaven, what do you think it will be like?
*For those who don’t know, I’m adding a “conversation question” to my blog posts. They’re 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!
Wednesday, September 10th, 2008
The island of Moorea is absolutely majestic. We spent the first half of our epic vacation there before heading off to Bora Bora to get married. Moorea is less developed than Bora Bora and its beauty is stunning (as you can see). This is a picture of Cook’s Bay where our resort was located. (See that hut-looking thing on the left? That’s where we ate breakfast every morning.) Each day started out with this romantic view of dazzling topography and ocean water.
Our days on Moorea were full of adventure and fun. This was the island where we took our shark and sting ray feeding excursion. Additionally, we went for a safari ride around the island where we visited flower and pineapple plantations, experienced different views of the surrounding tranquil ocean, and learned about black pearls.
The fruit was amazing! The pineapple – OMG! So sweet and delicious, you eat the core right along with the surrounding flesh. That’s a picture of me when we visited a pineapple plantation. We also enjoyed pamplemousse (french grapefruit, which is sweeter than normal grapefruit found in the states), rambutan, and star apple (one of my favorites – it was sweet and almost custard-like in parts). You can easily live it up Raw in French Polynesia, but I sure did miss my hardcore greens.
One of the best aspects of these islands is the feeling of safety. On both islands we walked about (outside our resorts) at all times, day or night, and felt very safe. The people are kind there, whether they work at the resort or are just walking down the street. French Polynesia is quite possibly the friendliest place I’ve ever been and one of the reasons I didn’t want to leave. Their warm and “no worry” attitude is contagious.
Back to the present… it’s been a lovely day. I spent a boat-load of money at Whole Foods stocking up of plant blood components and other raw vegan ingredients I need for a special dinner I’m attending tomorrow night with Raw Model (I’m bringing Tuscon Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto: scroll to Aug 23 post, a variation of my side: The Greatest Hummus in the World, vegetable crudites, flax crackers, and Blackberry Cobbler).
Today’s food has been scrumptiously Raw Vegan. So far, I’ve had:
3 bananas (not all at once)
Spinach salad (cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, Italian dressing)
Kitchen Sink Plant Blood (green juice).
What is Kitchen Sink Plant Blood you ask? I basically juiced everything I had except the kitchen sink – LOL. I’m talking: dandelion greens, carrots, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, celery, cucumber, and purple kale. It was DELICIOUS!! Drinking fresh juice (preferably green as the majority of it) is so important for optimal health. Whether you’re 100% Raw or 10% Raw, 100% Vegan or 50% Vegan, toddler age or senior… you need to be drinking fresh plant blood on a daily basis. Drinking plant blood daily is what divides the men from the boys, the divas from the groupies, and makes all the difference in the world when it comes to ultimate health.
Monday, September 8th, 2008
One of the best parts of the trip was our excursion of shark and sting ray feeding while staying on the island of Moorea. Let me just start by saying that I could never have gone through with this if I hadn’t first seen the amazing documentary, Sharkwater. (It’s a MUST SEE!)
That’s a pic of me underwater looking at real sharks swimming around us in the ocean. I’m not gonna lie, my heart was pounding and my breathing was heavily labored, but it was so amazing. The beauty and elegance of these massive creatures (did you know they’ve been around for 450 million years?) is mind blowing when you see them up-close in their natural environment. The excursion boat threw out a long rope which we all grabbed hold of in the ocean and watched while the crew threw out chunks of fish for the black-tipped reef sharks to eat. (We also went to a spot where we stood in waist deep ocean water with sting ray swimming around, bumping into us, and we actually got to pet them… talk about intense!).
Here is a picture of a couple of the sharks swimming around us. There were many and they averaged 4-6 feet in length. It was amazing. I text messaged my mom that I was doing it and she freaked out – poor thing – haha. I’m sure someday that karma will get me back for torturing my mom that way, when I have my own children.
My husband (giggle, I love writing that!) took another excursion while on Bora Bora where he went scuba diving out past the reef and was up close with gray sharks that were 6-7 ft. I think snorkeling with the sharks was a needed warm up for actually swimming around deep into the ocean with them. What was I doing while he did this? I was enjoying a hot volcanic rock, detoxifying massage without a worry in the world because I knew he was safe with the sharks (after all, I saw Sharkwater).
Experiencing nature in this perspective was humbling. I proudly call myself a Mother Earth Warrior, and seeing these beautiful creatures in their environment made me want to protect the earth (our, and their, home) that much more. I don’t think we pay enough attention to the waters taking up the majority (71%) of the earth’s surface, and how important it is to protect and care for them.
I have many more things to share about our epic vacation so I’ll stop here and save those for future posts.
On another note, Raw related… I’m sipping a quart of delicious plant blood (a recipe I’m featuring in my upcoming class, Breakfast in Bed. One thing is for sure… I missed my fresh green juice while on our trip, although I DID enjoy fresh pineapple juice. So, to ensure I was getting adequate greens I brought along my Vitamineral Green powder (this is a diet-saver when on vacation!) and chugged it down with bottled water daily. We also brought along some Whole Food Energy Bars from Vega. I wasn’t sure exactly how my food situation would be so I came prepared.
Saturday, September 6th, 2008
Here it is everyone: my secret news that I’ve been dying to share with everyone! We went on the most romantic trip to French Polynesia, more specifically, the islands of Moorea and Bora Bora and got MARRIED!!! Whoo-hoo!!!! We’re so happy and excited.
Where to begin? I’m full of stories and fun memories of which I’m eager to blog. I’ll start with the most important – our wedding. Bora Bora is the most beautiful place on earth. It’s majestic, magnificent, warm, and full of natural beauty from the ocean to the full sky of stars at night to the people. It is, without a doubt, the perfect place for exchanging vows with your loved one.
On the day we were married, here was the sum total of required preparation and directions: “Be in your bungalow at 4:30pm.” That’s it! Talk about easy planning. So, at 4:30 we sat excitedly on the deck of our bungalow (pictures to come in future posts) and a Tahitian came to our dock paddling a white traditional outrigger canoe (each overwater bungalow has its own stairs stepping down into the lagoon). While the Tahitian in the canoe waited, two Tahitian girls and two boys knocked at our door. They came in and prepared us for our ceremony by dressing us in traditional Tahitian sarongs called “pareos.” I was taken to the outrigger canoe and seated at the front of it. From there, I was conveyed in the canoe like a princess to meet my groom at the shore. He was walking with the Tahitian girls and boys, one of whom blew into a conch shell making somber baritone sounds throughout the entire reverent procession. Nobody spoke and it was all very serious. But I was as giddy as a ten-year-old!
Once I arrived on shore, we joined hands and walked up a jungled footpath to the top of the motu (small islet), where we were greeted by a Tahitian priest, musicians and dancers. (It was so romantic!) The ceremony took place and the priest tied palm fronds on the groom’s right wrist and my left wrist and then we held hands as they poured ocean water from a conch shell over our joined hands (symbolizing our new life). We then placed leis and floral crowns atop each other’s heads (symbolizing responsibility). We exchanged vows and were married. We enjoyed a special island fruit and coconut beverage followed by dancing with the Tahitians. At the end of the ceremony, we were left alone to enjoy the romantic sunset over Bora Bora.
The celebrating didn’t stop there, however. We had special dinner by candle light and tiki torch on our own private tiny beach, under millions of stars and the Milky Way, resplendant in the South Pacific’s southern hemisphere view of the universe. It was the most romantic dinner I’ve ever had. The resort’s manager attended to us personally and made us feel like the most important people in the world.
We were gone about 9 days total. We spent the first half of our vacation on the island of Moorea and the second half on Bora Bora. Our amazing vacation included some of the most delicious fruit of my life (Raw heaven!), exciting adventures (I can’t wait to share those with you) and seeing the earth’s beauty in new ways.
So… that’s the big secret. I eloped to paradise! How many of you guessed THAT?