Thursday, November 26th, 2009

My High Raw, All Vegan Food Intake – 11th Week Pregnant!

by Kristen Suzanne in pregnancy

Tuesday marked the beginning of my 11th week of pregnancy. I officially have the “glow” and I’ve realized some other perks of being pregnant… for example… after I finish eating a big meal, I don’t have to suck in my stomach. Sweet!


Many of you want to know what I’m eating while pregnant. I’m still experiencing nausea, but it comes in waves now. It’s not all day long like it was for a few weeks there. Nonetheless, when it hits, it hits. When the nausea first started, it killed my appetite so I basically ate whatever vegan food sounded remotely good to me. It varied from bread to lentils to lots of fresh watery fruit. One thing for sure… I seem to be quite thirsty in spite of my liquid consumption. For about 2 weeks, my diet was half Raw, all vegan, and mostly organic (the “mostly” part comes from eating out – if more restaurants offered organic, it’d be much easier to keep my diet 100% organic; everything I make at home is organic).

Then, even though I was still nauseous a lot of the time, my body directed me back to mostly Raw. So, these days I have mostly High Raw days and I have some medium Raw days. For the Raw stuff: I’m consuming (all organic) green juices, green smoothies, fresh fruit, veggies and dips, a Raw dessert here and there, Raw granola, nut butters, sauerkraut, fermented veggies, protein shakes made with nut/seed milks and Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein Powder, chia seeds, etc. For some of the cooked vegan foods: I’ve had homemade organic bread (banana bread and cranberry orange bread), organic saltine crackers, organic brown rice and steamed vegetables, organic lentils, hummus, veggie burger, etc… there are other things, but that gives you a good idea.

Here is an example of what I had Tuesday (everything is 100% organic):

Green Juice
I made 6 cups of green juice with my Hurom juicer (see my juicer review videos here). I drank 3 cups of it. I saved 2 cups for my soup later. I saved 1 cup for my husband. The juice had so many things: garlic, lemon, orange, cucumber, carrot, celery, kale, romaine.

Weird Protein Seed Milk Shake
I made a shake with 2 cups water, 1 large apple, 4 Tablespoons Hemp protein powder, 2 tablespoons Hemp seeds, 2 T ground chia seeds, and 1 T of a mixture made from raw chocolate/agave/coconut oil. I know. Weird combo. I’ll admit, it wasn’t one of my star recipes, but it filled me with plenty of omegas, protein, and nutrition. I drank it on my balcony while getting my Vitamin D from the sun.

Salad & Crackers
I made an enormous salad of romaine lettuce and rainbow chard. I also chopped up a red bell pepper. For the dressing, I made a mixture of water, lemon juice, coconut vinegar, black tahini (I love making recipes with black tahini, it’s so cool looking), Himalayan crystal salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, and garlic. I had about 5 small saltine crackers with it. I was having an intense nausea period.

Energy Soup
I took the 2 cups of green juice that I had stored and used that as my base. I blended it with 1 carrot, 1 large apple, dulse flakes, and 2 Tablespoons hemp seeds. It was pretty good. It made about 1 quart.

Ants On A Log & Salad & More Crackers
The salad had romaine lettuce and red bell pepper with Himalayan crystal salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil. I had a few more saltine crackers. And, the Ants On A Log were celery stalks with nut butter and raisins. Hmm! Just as good as when I was a kid.

Raw Vegan Pumpkin Pie
I made a couple of pumpkin pies last week. I’m saving one for Thanksgiving, and I made the 2nd one for my husband and I to share over the week before Thanksgiving. The recipe is awesome and it’s from my holiday book/ebook available here.





Next week, I’m blogging about what I did to detox and get healthy for my pregnancy. Be sure to check back!

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Monday, November 23rd, 2009

What To Do When You Don’t Have A Lot Of Raw Choices Around (family gatherings, restaurants, and travel)

by Kristen Suzanne in entertaining, family, travel, vegan

The following was left in the comments section of my blog a while back:


I’d love to read a post about what you do when you don’t have a lot of raw choices around, such as at family gatherings, restaurants, etc. Also, does your husband or other family members eat raw as well?

That’s an excellent question and I’m glad it was brought up. I’ve been living the Raw (and/or High Raw) lifestyle for a while now, so it seems so easy and second nature to me. But, it wasn’t always like that. Before I get into ways to deal with situations and gatherings where there aren’t raw options, I’ll address the second part of the question first.

My husband was not vegan when I met him, but he was a vegetarian many years ago. However, when we met, he was on a steady diet of whey protein shakes and Taco Bell chicken burritos. While dating, I never pushed my vegan beliefs on him. The only restriction was that I didn’t and wouldn’t have animal products (or animal by-products) in my house, and I certainly wouldn’t cook them. He was totally cool with that. That meant that the times he ended up getting meat were times we went to restaurants. Over the months, he asked me hard and thoughtful questions, and I jumped at the chance to answer them. I knew he had a somewhat healthy mindset in spite of his Taco Bell runs (he was into restricting calories a bit to stay in shape, he wanted high protein for muscle growth, he didn’t eat a bunch of sugar and stuff, and he worked out almost daily), so he was open to healthy living options (so long as he didn’t have to forsake his muscle-y body). I told him that he should read The China Study for mind-blowing information about animal protein vs plant protein. He agreed and when he was done with it, a light went on for him. But, it wasn’t until we went to the Living Light Vibrant EXPO during our first year of dating (about 8 months into our relationship) that he decided he was done with animal products and by-products. He was ready to be vegan and to eat as much Raw as I wanted. He’s been that way ever since. He’s a huge advocate of the vegan lifestyle now and loves that our days are filled with so much Raw food.

Regarding my other family… well I have one other big supporter and that’s my mom. When I first went vegan about 6-7 years ago, she started testing the vegan waters herself. Then, as I got into Raw, she followed suit. She loves the lifestyle. My step-dad, who still eats an omnivore diet, loves when I prepare Raw vegan food and he happily gobbles it up. The rest of my family (who mostly lives out of state) are all omnivores, with a heaviness toward meat. The same goes for my husband’s family (some of whom live here in AZ near us).

All that brings me to the other part of the question above: What do I do when I don’t have a lot of Raw choices for family gatherings, restaurants, travel, etc.? The bottom line is that being prepared is the key. It’s the magic element. If you’re serious about the lifestyle, it’s so easy… you just have to take some time to be prepared. Being prepared means that I have food on hand, which I gladly take to family gatherings. I either have organic Raw foods stored in our freezer or I make something before we leave.

We’ve trained our family well. By now, everyone knows that when we’re invited to a function, we’ll bring our own food. Or, we’ll eat beforehand and simply bring some snacks. We love it. While our family eats plates filled with monotone colored foods that lack life, love, and nutrients, we fill our plates with vibrant, rainbow colored foods. It’s quite stark, the difference in our plates of food versus theirs. And, frankly, I love that. It’s like bragging, “Hey look how beautiful, fresh, and healthy my food is!” Of course, we always get asked questions and many people like to try a bite. I see these situations as big opportunities to show others how delicious Raw vegan food can be. I’ve brought everything from Raw pizza to lasagna (pictured) to hummus and dips with vegetable crudites to salads to desserts to green smoothies, when we’re going to family gatherings. Don’t you just want to dive into that Raw lasagna? Om-nom-nom!

I’ve found that most people want to eat healthy (at least they do some of the time), they just recognize that they lack the discipline, or the knowledge, to do it. Therefore, when they’re given the opportunity to have a tasty, healthy meal that is brought to them (meaning they didn’t have to prepare it, and that I’m providing it), they’re usually excited… even if it’s not something they’d normally eat. They usually welcome the chance to have the healthiest food in the world, which is what we Raw foodies make. Just because it’s not something they normally eat, they still like giving their bodies something healthy when the opportunity arises. Sometimes, they’re just curious.

Going to restaurants is a little different because it’s hard to bring food into a food establishment (they’ll sometimes claim it’s for health code regulations, but the real reason is financial, because they never complain when somebody brings juice for a baby, etc). Still, I’ve done it. For example, if we’re going to a Mexican restaurant, I’ll bring along flax crackers and red bell pepper strips, carrots, celery, etc to dip in their salsa and guacamole. If it’s another type of restaurant where I can get a huge salad, I do that, and sometimes I even get two.

There was a family birthday we attended a few months back held at a bar (greasy food, alcohol, etc.) and since I knew ahead of time where we were going, I made a quart of green smoothie and I carried it in my purse. I do this all the time. If the wait staff ever gives me crap about it, I say “I’m on a special diet from my doctor and I can’t eat anything grown with pesticides.” (This has never failed to shut them up… I think the medical aspect scares them in this litigious society.) Naturally, I don’t flaunt my food or drinks, and I generally can avoid confrontation. If it was ever a real problem, I’d leave the food in a cooler in the car, and just go out there a couple of times to snack, if I were that hungry. Again, it’s the training of family and friends that matter. They used to think it’s weird, now they think it’s just how we are, and it has become “normal” to them that we live our lives this way.

Travel merits a whole post unto itself, but I’ll address a few things here. When I travel, obviously, it’s harder to pack stuff to take to family gatherings or restaurants because I can’t bring my freezer filled with Raw treats or my refrigerator filled with my fresh Raw foods, with me on the plane. As a result, when we’re traveling and going to family gatherings, I sometimes eat ahead of time and then nibble on salad when we arrive at the restaurant. Other times, I go to Whole Foods to buy some packaged Raw foods (or bring foods with me in my suitcase that travel well like flax crackers, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, bars, raw cookies, etc), and I bring those to snack on at people’s houses (or have them in my purse when at restaurants).

Other times, if I’m staying at a hotel with a refrigerator or at my brother’s house in Michigan, for example, I’ll have Raw food meals delivered (see my recent post about doing this while we were in NY). This way, I can take food to family gatherings, or I simply have Raw food available if there aren’t any good restaurants around us. Sometimes, I’ll have organic produce delivered from a place like Boxed Greens. If I have a kitchen available, I can make my own stuff with the best ingredients. Or, if there is a Whole Foods, I’ll go shopping and buy some fresh stuff there. If my hotel room doesn’t have a refrigerator, I buy foods that keep well on counter tops like bananas, apples, etc. And, for things like the organic cherries and Norwalk juice in the photo, I keep those in the ice container with ice and water.

For our last lengthy trip, to NY, I brought along my Blendtec blender (it’s lighter than my Vita-Mix). I just packed it in my suitcase. It took up a little bit of room so my sweet husband packed my tennis shoes and makeup bag in his suitcase. We had a refrigerator in the apartment we rented, so I basically used the kitchen there just like I would at home. I made green smoothies, guacamole, green energy soup, and nut milk. I also bought things at whole foods like Raw granola for morning cereal (who am I kidding, I eat that stuff morning or night – love it!). We’ve come to appreciate the cost savings that can be had by staying someplace more expensive, but with a kitchen, meaning we eat out less and save money on meals. Even if the costs/savings cancel out, we’re still eating healthier food this way.

I also have this travel blender which is perfect for shorter trips. I love taking this when we’re going to be gone for a week or less. Last year, we went snowboarding in Flagstaff, AZ for a couple of days. When we arrived, we went to the health food store to get fresh organic produce. We also brought a cooler because I needed to keep the fresh produce chilled. I used the ice machine at the hotel and giant Ziploc bags to keep ice in the cooler. I also like to bring a couple of glass mason jars for us to use (and a knife for chopping). It all worked out very well.

Basically, what it boils down to, is that I really don’t give a hoot what others think. When I first started the Raw vegan lifestyle, I let everyone know, either by email or phone, that… “I’m doing the Raw vegan thing. I’m into healthy eating and I’ll be bringing my own food to functions.” I told them the good news is that they don’t have to feed me anymore so that’s more food for them. My health is my responsibility, not theirs, so how can I expect them to take care of me. It’s up to me to take care of myself. It hasn’t always been a breeze though… we’ve taken our fair share of dumb comments from our families. Heck, my dad still doesn’t get it, it seems. Just when I think he might be coming around, he says something like, “Well, you know, your morning sickness might not be so bad if you ate some meat.” And, to that, I usually say something smart ass back. I think my lifestyle just makes him nervous… I’m doing something right for myself and it causes him to question his own practices. Plus, um… he’s a gourmet chef who owns a restaurant in the Midwest that offers things like bacon wrapped steak (because regular steak was too healthy I guess, LOL). I’m guessing he’ll be the last person to go veg, but the cool thing is that he admitted to me recently that more of his customers are asking for veg options. Whoo hoo! (For more tips on the Raw Diet, Social Situations, and Peer Groups, read here.) Fortunately, other family members have gotten used to our lifestyle over time. The “comments” have died off for the most part. They’ve seen us live this way for a while now, and they even have respect for our discipline. Joke’s on them though… it doesn’t take much discipline because it’s fun and delicious!

And, truth be told… our lifestyle speaks for itself. We’re not only the vegans in the family, we’re also the ones in good shape physically… hmmm, coincidence? If anybody wants to get in my face about our diet, all I need to say is “it makes it easy to stay in good shape” and watch how fast they do one of two things: either 1) back down immediately, or 2) get interested and start asking questions out of genuine curiosity.

I’ll add one more thing about social situations and reacting to omnivores who don’t get it or dare to complain about our lifestyle. The following is a Washington Post article that I really enjoyed. Here is part of it:

I gave a talk in South Texas recently on the environmental virtues of a vegetarian diet. As you might imagine, the reception was chilly. In fact, the only applause came during the Q&A period when a member of the audience said that my lecture made him want to go out and eat even more meat. “Plus,” he added, “what I eat is my business — it’s personal.”

I’ve been writing about food and agriculture for more than a decade. Until that evening, however, I’d never actively thought about this most basic culinary question: Is eating personal?

We know more than we’ve ever known about the innards of the global food system. We understand that food can both nourish and kill. We know that its production can both destroy and enhance our environment. We know that farming touches every aspect of our lives — the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the soil we need.

So it’s hard to avoid concluding that eating cannot be personal. What I eat influences you. What you eat influences me. Our diets are deeply, intimately and necessarily political.

This realization changes everything for those who avoid meat. As a vegetarian I’ve always felt the perverse need to apologize for my dietary choice. It inconveniences people. It smacks of self-righteousness. It makes us pariahs at dinner parties. But the more I learn about the negative impact of meat production, the more I feel that it’s the consumers of meat who should be making apologies. Read the rest of this great article here.



One last note… for those times that you just don’t have food prepared or you’re out of town and didn’t bring anything or you just don’t have the money to have Raw food flown in for yourself or you just don’t feel like dealing with people’s comments… I say that it’s very much OK to ease up on the Raw food and eat some cooked vegan. Be sure to keep it vegan though! One of the perks about living the High Raw All Vegan lifestyle is that there is a little wiggle room in there for social occasions.

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Friday, November 20th, 2009

New Juicer Comparison (video)- Green Star vs Breville vs Hurom

by Kristen Suzanne in Breville, Detox, energy, green juice, video, weight loss

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.


For great juice recipes, check out my book and ebook, Kristen Suzanne’s EASY Raw Smoothies, Juices, Elixirs, & Drinks.

I’ve recently added another juicer to my family of juicers… check out the updated review here.

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Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Winners of my 15th Awesome Giveaway – RAW VITAMINS

by Kristen Suzanne in awesome giveaway
Congratulations EARTH MOTHER and MARATHON VAL!!! Your names were chosen as the winners of my 15th Awesome Giveaway. The prize: Earth Mother has won the Perfect Weight vitamins from Vitamin Code and Marathon Val has won a bottle of Raw One For Women – YAY!!!!!! Simply email me the address you want your prize mailed to.

Here is what Earth Mother and Marathon Val had to say when asked, “Which bottle of vitamins do you want to win AND why?”

Earth Mother wrote, I’d like the Perfect Weight vitamin. Their website said that lifestyle changes like diet and increased exercise put more stress on the body’s system. Hello? I’ve gone from a highly processed carnivorous diet to a raw vegan diet in the past year, AND from being a sedentary couch potato to walking 6+ miles a day.
Yikes! Think I qualify? :D”

Marathon Val wrote, “I would love the raw vitamins! I never know if I am taking the “right” vitamins and I know many brands do not contain the best ingredients.”

Please note: The Perfect Weight vitamins are not intended for women trying to conceive, who are pregnant or who are breast feeding. Vitamin Code’s Prenatals are perfect for those times!

My next Awesome Giveaway is in December, so check back for details!

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Sunday, November 15th, 2009

New Review For The Blendtec Blender

by Kristen Suzanne in Uncategorized

(Keep in mind that companies change warranties and features so be sure to check with them after reading this post… I wrote this a few years ago!) Previously I wrote a comparison review for the new Vita-Mix 5200 versus the Blendtec that I’d had for quite a few years (and adored). Even though I loved my Blendtec for a long time, at the time of the review, I was impressed with Vita-mix’s BPA-free container as well as their warranty. I’ll say this… When it comes down to it, both blenders are phenomenal. They’re both high-powered and they both get the job done. (That picture is with the normal Blendtec container.)


Well, as you know from the last comparison, I decided to give more of my love to the Vita-Mix 5200 because of the aforementioned reasons. However! As of this writing, not only does Blendtec offer a BPA-free container, but they offer a new BIG container (I purchased mine separately). Nearly 3 quarts big!!! When I saw that, I knew I had to try it out. Some people say that the big container (and therefore, the longer blades) makes for faster blending… as a result, it seems that cold things, such as smoothies, are colder (as compared to using another blender) when you’re done making them because it didn’t take as long to blend them.


Here is my new review on Vita-Mix vs Blendtec:
I found that I am back to using my Blendtec more than the Vita-Mix. It’s so easy to clean and I really like that. I do notice, however, that my Blendtec blender seems to bounce around on my counter a bit more when I’m blending certain things. For example, I made two Raw vegan pumpkin pies yesterday (recipe for this delicious pie is in my Holiday recipe book). The large container really helped in this situation because the old container would get quite full once all of the ingredients were in it. The mixture is thick, too, so that probably explains the dancing of the machine that required placing my hands on it to hold it still. Keep in mind, my blender motor is probably 5 years old and perhaps it wouldn’t bounce around as much if I had a newer model – not sure. It’s also possible that because the Vita-Mix is heavier, it stays put better. Anyway… I love the big container I purchased from Blendtec. I love that it’s BPA-free. I love that it’s so easy to clean. I love how it fits on my counter top and doesn’t take up as much room.

However… the Vita-Mix 5200’s 7-year warranty still kicks the Blendtec’s ass (3 years). And, having a plunger, like with the Vita-Mix, can be helpful at times. I also like the controls of the Vita-mix 5200 better than the pre-programmed controls of the Blendtec. I find it easier to control and use. Gosh, my praise for certain aspects of the Vita-Mix 5200 would make you think I liked that blender more. Not only that, but the Vita-Mix is popular with chefs around the world. Do you ever watch cooking shows and notice that they’re always using a Vita-Mix? I’ve yet to see a chef on TV using a Blendtec, so Vita-Mix is definitely worthy.

Bottom line… in spite of the pre-programmed controls on the Blendtec and in spite of not having a plunger… I still find myself grabbing the Blendtec before I use the Vita-Mix 5200. It’s easier to clean, gets the job done, has a huge container now, and fits perfectly on my counter top. Therefore, I must be a Blendtec gal again. (They both rock though and you can’t go wrong with either one!)

PS… I’ve been trying out a new juicer these past few days. I’m still in the testing phase and will report on it in the near future!


UPDATE {Aug 2010} 

  • I have been using my Vita-Mix 5200 a lot more these days because I have a newborn and the Vita-Mix is a little quieter than the Blendtec. 
  • I also want to mention, however, that another reason for loving the Blendtec is that it’s easier to travel with because the base of it is smaller than the Vita-Mix. We spent a month in New York in 2009 and I packed my Blendtec Blender (sacrificing a couple of pairs of shoes – haha).

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Friday, November 13th, 2009

Kristen’s Raw 15th Awesome Giveaway – FREE RAW VEGAN VITAMINS!

by Kristen Suzanne in awesome giveaway

It’s time for another awesome giveaway (here was the last one). The prize for November? RAW VITAMINS from VITAMIN CODE! WHOOHOO!!!!! I will be drawing the names of 2 winners. I have one bottle of their “Perfect Weight” vitamins and one bottle of their “Raw One For Women” vitamins to give away (1 bottle to each winner).


Vitamin Code sent me various vitamins of theirs to sample, and I decided to give away a couple of the bottles. (Thanks Vitamin Code!) When you take Vitamin Code’s vitamins, you’re taking Raw Vegan vitamins made from the healthiest ingredients available. In fact, I’m taking their prenatals right now (read my blog post about the prenatal supplements I’m taking).

Want the chance to win? It’s simple to participate! All you have to do is answer the following question (be sure to answer both parts) in this post’s comment section. The contest will end Monday night, November 16th @ 11:59pm. I’ll enter everyone’s name who answered the question into a drawing and announce the winner on my blog Tuesday, November 17th. (Please note: While I would love to hear from everyone around the world in answering this question, I have to limit the winners to people living in the continental United States.)

Question: Which bottle of vitamins do you want to win AND WHY?

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Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Back To Raw In My First Trimester

by Kristen Suzanne in cheezy hemp nacho sauce, pregnancy, vegan

Whew! This week marks my 9th week being pregnant!!!! I’m in the final stretch of the first trimester and my body is visibly changing with this little life growing inside me. I’ve been sick as a dog (all-day-morning-sickness) but happy as hell about it. However, there were many days over the past 2 weeks that I didn’t want any food… not Raw, not even cooked vegan… not bread… nothing! And, this coming from a woman who used to eat even with an upset tummy. However, even though I didn’t want to eat the past couple of weeks, I forced myself to eat. I had to. I was able to manage some fresh fruit, as well as a green smoothie here and there, but most of it was cooked vegan.


But, something has changed. Even though I’m still feeling nauseous (Monday and Tuesday were particularly bad), I have been wanting Raw food! I’ll still have some lentils sometimes (quinoa, beans, etc) for extra protein and such, but my body wants lots of fresh, organic Raw foods. I’m not in the mood for Raw pastas or things like that (although a piece of my Raw lasagna does sound yummy! I just don’t feel like making it. If only I could wiggle my nose and blink my eyes and magically my husband could make it!). I am craving big salads, fresh fruit, fresh veggies and dip, green juices, green smoothies… things like that. In fact, the other day, I made my famous Cheezy Hemp Nacho Sauce recipe and loved it up with organic Romaine hearts, carrots, and celery for three days in a row. YUM! (I also had it as a sauce on my organic cooked veggie burger —>>> DOUBLE YUM!)


I’m eagerly anticipating my CSA box on Saturday. This week in the my organic CSA, I selected:
Romaine
Red Bell Peppers
Swiss Chard
Oranges
Lemons
Garlic
Carrots
Broccoli
Celery
Apples (3 kinds)



THEN… I ordered from Boxed Greens (blogged about them in the last post):


Sunflower sprouts
Pea sprouts
Kale
Avocados
Cucumbers
Raspberries
Bananas
Kiwi
Pineapple
Feijoa (never had this!)
Grape Tomatoes
More Romaine

I’m going to be in Raw food heaven!!!!

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Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Ordering Organic Produce to Help Prevent Swine / Seasonal Flus And To Help My Pregnancy

by Kristen Suzanne in pregnancy

I was watching Dr. Oz the other day and he did an episode on the dangerous germs lurking in the grocery store. For obvious reasons, I was all eyes and ears when it came to the produce department. Would you believe they showed a woman (on hidden camera) actually climbing on the produce with her dirty shoes? And, many people licking their fingers to open plastic bags and then touching the produce with their germy fingers?


Here is what it says on Dr. Oz’s website regarding this episode:

THE PRODUCE SECTION
Dirty little secret: When you grab an apple for lunch, your hands may be the 20th pair to touch it. That’s right, veggies and fruits are picked, sorted, thrown on a truck, taken off a truck, sorted again, boxed, and unboxed all before they reach the display case where they’re fondled by other customers before they meet you. Experts say, all in all, 20 people will touch a tomato before you slice it up for your salad. And that’s in addition to all the animal waste that can mingle with produce on the long journey from farm to table.

Quick fix: Carefully wash all fruits and vegetables before eating, even if you don’t plan on eating the skin. When you peel or cut vegetables and fruits, the bacteria from the exterior can travel inside. Keep any prepped veggies, such as sliced tomatoes, at 41 degrees or cooler until you eat or cook them.

After seeing that episode, and with the swine and seasonal flus going around, I started thinking about all of the hands that could have the flu bug on them, or other germs, that are touching the produce I buy. From people licking their fingers to open the plastic bags or touching their faces and then picking through the produce bins… it’s scary. (I’ve even seen women leave the bathroom without washing their hands at Whole Foods!!!) Unfortunately, washing the produce doesn’t dispel my fears because I’m not completely confident that my vinegar wash (or any other wash I use) is eliminating 100% of the germs.

As a pregnant woman, this alarms me, especially during the flu season. For starters, I’m not going near the vaccines (see blog post with videos here). So, I’m taking other necessary precautions to avoid the flus and stay healthy. One of which is how I handle buying my organic produce (more things I’m doing to stay healthy toward the end of this post).

Here is my plan…

Currently, I get a weekly allotment of fresh organic produce from our local CSA. This is the best choice of keeping my produce from too many hands because it touches the farmers and that’s it. Since I’m part of the CSA, I don’t have to think about other farmer market customers touching my produce at the market because our food is set aside for pickup every Saturday (see why I love our CSA so much here). But… the limitation with a CSA is that, even though I pick out what I want every week, my farmer doesn’t grow everything I need and want. Therefore, I usually go to Whole Foods for produce I can’t get from our local CSA.


However, after seeing the Dr. Oz show, I’m second guessing that and I’ve up with a great plan! There is a local organic delivery company (they deliver nationwide, too!) called Boxed Greens. They get mostly locally grown, organic produce from farmers and when I place an order, it’s shipped straight to my door. Whoo-hoo! This is my answer to limiting the number of hands that touch my produce. In this scenario, the only people touching it are the farmers and the workers at Boxed Greens… meaning no grocery store employees and no 10-20 consumers picking through the items looking for their favorite.

Upon inquiry with Boxed Greens, the owner (whom I’ve known for years and trust) assured me that the workers wash their hands AND wear gloves when handling the produce. Plus, because most of it is locally grown and it’s not stored for extended periods of time (like at most grocery stores), I’m getting more nutrition in my food — it’s Super Qi! See my blog post about Super Qi food.

Boxed Greens produce does indeed cost more than what I would pay at Whole Foods, and it’s a heck of a lot more than the CSA (that’s a perk about the CSA though – GREAT DEALS on produce!), but I’m worth it! My baby’s health is worth it! If necessary, I’m willing to make sacrifices in other areas of my life so that I can feed my family only the best. Do I need the coolest car on the block? Hell no! I want the greatest food for my body! And… did I mention that Boxed Greens gets a number of organic fruits and veggies that I can’t get at Whole Foods.

But, that’s not the only thing I’m doing to limit my exposure to germs and the seasonal/swine flus. After scouring the Internet for information on pregnant women and the seasonal / swine flus, I came have a list of things to do (I came up with most of these from Mothering.com’s forum):

  1. Wash hands for 30 seconds with soap OFTEN (avoiding anti-bacterial gels). A good trick is to hum the “Happy Birthday” song three times while hand washing.
  2. PLENTY OF REST!
  3. Don’t touch face
  4. Get Vitamin D!!! (I get mine from the sun, 15-25 minutes daily or every other day)
  5. Gargle with warm salt water twice a day
  6. Take warm salt water and dip a q-tip into it and swab the inside of nostrils daily (or use a neti pot)
  7. Eat fresh, organic, raw garlic
  8. Drink warm liquids
  9. Consume plenty of vitamin C-rich foods
  10. Stay hydrated
  11. Avoid crowded places (I even returned my opening night tickets to New Moon!)
And, speaking of being pregnant… my aforementioned plan of ordering produce has another awesome benefit. As most of you know, I have all-day-long-morning-sickness (which I love in a bittersweet way), and the last thing I want to do is leave the house. So, having my produce delivered is awesome! I also imagine that once I have the baby, having my produce delivered will be extremely beneficial, too! This will save me time and energy. :)

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Sunday, November 8th, 2009

Dr. Oz Turns Meat Loving Cowboy Vegan

by Kristen Suzanne in vegan

Here’s a great testimonial for the power of the vegan diet. Rocco, a cowboy who loved everything meat and never had any green on his plate, followed Dr. Oz’s advice for a 28-day vegan diet. Check out the results. Thanks to VegSource.com for directing me to this video!


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Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

8 Week Ultrasound Shows Healthy Heart Beat

by Kristen Suzanne in Mini IVF, pregnancy

Here’s our Monkey striking a pose during the 8 week ultrasound. According to the tech, everything is normal – YAY! I’ll get a call from New Hope Fertility Clinic later today to confirm after my doctor checks out the results.


I’m not crazy about ultrasounds during pregnancy. In fact, my doctor wanted me to get one last week and I skipped it. But… I did want to make sure everything was okay so I went ahead with it at week 8. I have my all day morning sickness to let me know that I’m very much pregnant, but I’m also still taking estrogen during the first trimester so I thought it’d be smart to get the ultrasound and see what the doc says. After all… maybe he’ll be able to take me off it early like he did with the progesterone. I’ve been told that because we went through Mini-IVF, my body didn’t start to produce it’s own progesterone and estrogen so I had to take the medication. However, early on, my progesterone actually shot up on its own, and the doc took me off it. I’m eager to get off the estrogen as soon as possible, too.

I have to admit though…. it was so awesome(!) seeing Monkey and his/her little heart beating away.

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