Austin, TX is such a cool town. We arrived Wednesday morning and I was filled with excitement because I knew I was about to embark on a delicious Raw vegan culinary adventure (I heard there are 3 Raw vegan restaurants in town, plus the Raw bar at Whole Foods). The Whole Foods Market headquarters are here with their flagship store. Whooweee!!!!! Talk about FUN! One of my MOST favorite things to do is shop for healthy foods, natural beauty products, organic clothes… all that kind of stuff. My husband and I walked in and he said, “Honey, you just take your time.” I took a deep breath and ventured up and down the aisles, looking for things that I don’t normally find in other locations. And, of course, I found some stuff. They had a nice organic baby clothes section. Here are my scores for Monkey. (Speaking of Monkey… I had another blood test today to check my hormone levels and I’m continuing to do wonderfully! My pregnancy hormone is growing perfectly and the doctor is very pleased. My next round of blood work will be October 14).
But… we didn’t eat at Whole Foods. I saw their Raw vegan bar, and although the stuff looked pretty good and I think it is very cool that they have it there… we opted to have two of our meals today at Daily Juice. For one, the food was awesome (details in a moment) and for another reason, when given the choice between a chain like Whole Foods versus an independent establishment, I like to spend my money on the latter.
Daily Juice was super awesome. I have to say that it is quite possibly my favorite spot ever for organic Raw vegan food. The food was superb. The service was impeccable. The decor and atmosphere were fresh, with an energy that was slightly seductive. I LOVED IT!
For lunch, I had a wonderful green juice made of greens and young Thai coconut water – heavenly! And, for the first time, I tried fresh durian. At that tasting, I decided I would fall into the camp of “not being partial to durian.” It tasted like onions to me, and I’m not a fan of onions. My husband thought it was cool though. I was told that it’s better in a smoothie so my husband decided to try that at dinner time, and I admit, that upon tasting it in a smoothie, I liked it (although I couldn’t really tell it was in there because it was masked by so many wonderful flavors).
We each had a Raw enchilada (the flavors were outstanding), and for dessert, I had a vanilla chocolate cookie-type thing and a cup of vanilla pudding made from young Thai coconuts. As you can probably guess, the desserts were as equally awesome as the green juice and enchiladas.
I simply had to go back there for dinner. They had an avocado sandwich which looked so intriguing, but when we arrived, sadly, it was unavailable (we’re going back there tomorrow though… I hope I can try it then). I started the meal with another large fresh organic green juice while my husband started his meal with the smoothie containing durian. For our main meal we each had two tacos. Again… nothing short of pure deliciousness and rich, fantastic flavors. My husband also had a shot of marine phytoplankton (check out this cool page of theirs detailing benefits of some super Raw foods). After having both durian and marine phytoplankton, he was feeling pretty darn good. For dessert, I polished off another one of their cookie-type things (this one had goji berries in it, too) and another pudding like I had at lunch. I was feeling super duper awesomely vibrant after such an amazing day of organic Raw vegan foods.
We leave Austin Thursday and head to Dallas, then to Oklahoma City, OK, where I think we’ll stop by 105 degrees. It’s a brand new raw vegan culinary institute by Matthew Kenney, which also has a cafe that I’m excited to try. After that, we’ll head to Santa Fe, NM (I heard there is a Raw vegan place there) and then we’ll be going home to Scottsdale, AZ.
So, I’m going to back track a bit and write about the awesomeness of our stay in Pensacola, FL. We have family there with a farm (horses, cat, dog, huge pond with fish, etc) so we stayed a few days and just relaxed. It was amazing. The day after we arrived we were blessed with warm sunshine so we went to the beach briefly and stuck our feet in the water. The remaining days were filled with pouring rain, but it was magical as we sat on the big porch in rocking chairs and talking for hours and hours and witnessing nature do its thing.
One late afternoon when it wasn’t raining, but the grass was wet after having just been rained on, we went out and blew bubbles. How fun! And! How meditative! Gently blowing into the wand, watching the beautiful bubbles form and then float softly to the ground, where they stayed for many minutes at a time, was soothing. It’s funny… I was telling my mom about it and she relayed a story to me,“Yes..I use to buy you those cheap bubbles in the bottle… When you were done with the bottle, I filled it with water and kitchen soap. It took you two minutes to tell me, ‘ITS NOT THE SAME!!!'”
There were a few highlights to this leg of our trip (in no particular order). First, being on the farm was nurturing to my soul as I awaited the day for my first pregnancy blood tests. The full moon, the fresh air, and the warm night breezes completely relaxed me. Secondly, the horses. I love horses. I really really love horses. When I’m around them, I’m in the moment… I’m under their spell. I don’t think about the past or the future. I’m just calm, mesmerized by their beauty, and in awe. Being around the horses and feeding them organic apples and carrots was enchantment. The third aspect of the trip that was awesome was spending time with family that we rarely see. This was one of the main reasons for taking the drive down south instead of cutting across the Midwest. We laughed so much and had a blast. Lastly… I found out I was pregnant while in Pensacola. I had the first blood draw on Monday morning and received the awesome news of our success in the afternoon, which most of you know by now from my earlier blog posts. It was wonderful to share that exciting time with our family. So, as you can see, Pensacola has a very special place in my heart.
Regarding our food adventures while there, we had access to a fantastic natural foods market called Ever Man’s. It was filled with all kinds of fresh organic produce.
I bought fresh sprouts, pineapple, apples, kiwi, kale, and spinach to make nourishing green smoothies. Yum! There were also two vegan (mostly organic) restaurants that we tried. End of the Line was quite good. I had a sauerkraut Reuben sandwich that was mega tasty and a bowl of lentil soup that I swear was the best lentil soup I’d ever had.
GREAT news again today. I had another blood test to check my hormone levels and everything is GREAT. In fact, the nurse said it’s going wonderfully!!! My hcg level is increasing beautifully. I’m so overjoyed that I can’t help but beam with happiness and cry tears of joy.
As many of you know, I’m planning a home birth. While surfing the Internet, I found this lovely video of a VBAC home birth (vaginal birth after cesarean). I can’t wait to have my baby at home with my awesome midwife and doula.
We had a fabulous lunch today at Daily Juice Cafe in Austin. I’m going to share details about it later today in another post. My belly is so happy! What can I say? There’s great food and my Monkey in there.
Friday, we made it to Whole Foods in Jacksonville, FL on our way to Pensacola. Thank heavens! We were all out of fresh organic produce and I was hungry.
I was elated to find that they make fresh organic green juice so I bought a large one that was made of kale, celery and a touch of apple. DELISH!!! Having access to green juice on the road at places like Whole Foods really saves me a lot of effort of trying to lug around my juicer, although I have heard of people traveling with their Breville (this model in particular). I’m tempted to try that next time, perhaps instead of taking my Blendtec. If I could talk my husband into him not taking any underwear, socks, and the extra pair of shoes, then maybe I could bring them both! ;)
I’ve been washing my hands a lot while on the road and using soap in the bathrooms of rest stops, fast food joints, and gas stations. It was making my hands quite dry. So, I was excited to find Dr. Bronner’s Magic All-One Organic lotion. I’m not one to use lotions very much, so I spent about an hour reading all the ingredients of various products in Whole Foods. Dr. Bronner’s was the best, and I’m very happy with it. It makes my hands extra soft.
Here’s a fun little video showing me in Whole Foods (trying to be stealthy and filming without getting caught). Traveling in the Raw is easy.
Today, we headed south along the coast until we reached South Carolina, where we spent most of our day. During the morning ride, we each had one of those protein shakes I mentioned yesterday. I also munched on an organic cucumber. Refreshing, simple, low calorie, and hydrating. Great travel snack.
We changed our plan, of trying to land at Whole Foods for the main
destination, to a place called The Sprout (they serve delicious, organic raw vegan food). What a little gem of a place. Firstly, they place a huge emphasis on organic food which I loved. They had a few places where it was written “everything is organic.” That’s my kind of place… not compromising. Secondly, they mostly served raw vegan options, while still offering a couple of cooked vegan foods.
We started the lunch with fresh wheatgrass juice (nasty as heck, as usual, but good for us so we did it). They served it on a small slab of “marble.” I love that extra little touch. Then, I had the largest size they offered of fresh green juice (I think the name was Alkaline Battery – or something like that). It was simply cucumber, kale, celery. Another little lovely touch was that they served it in a wine glass. Awesome.
Next up, we both opted for a large salad which had a raw veggie / nut pattie on the side of it. We devoured these, they were so good. I kept moaning with every bite. Major yum!
The little cafe was right next to a fitness center, which excited my husband because (for $10) he was able to work out after lunch. While he did that, I hunkered down inside The Sprout with my Kindle 2 (blog details on the Kindle 2 here).
Before getting back on the road, we ordered two more large salads to go, and bought some raw cookie balls which were quite good. This is picture of my salad with some fermented okra. Interesting, slimy, and pretty tasty. Oh! And, they had some adorable organic onesies! I bought one for our little monkey that said on the front “Save The Planet, We Deserve It.”
Hi everyone! We’ve been on the road for two days now and I thought I’d share some photos and tidbits.
While we ventured our way to Washington D.C., we stopped at Trader Joe’s (score!) for a potty break, to walk around (doctor’s orders to get out of the car every two hours), and to load up on a couple goodies and some water.
One of the things my husband likes to include in his diet to help him build / maintain muscle is vegan protein powders. We ran out of our Sun Warrior Sprouted Rice protein the night before we left NY, so we grabbed this at one of the many health food stores.
So, while we were in the parking lot at Trader Joe’s, I took our two protein shaker bottles and made us each a shake. It was quite tasty. Note to self: If it’s windy outside, be sure to have the car doors closed when scooping out the protein powder.
We kept on our way to D.C. It was my first time there (gasp!). And, being a foodie, our first stop was… Java Green (chuckling as I think to myself that our first stop wasn’t to see the White House or the Lincoln Memorial… no, not for me… it was food related).
At Java Green, I had their delicious Spicy Green Juice. The sizes I had to choose from were “Tall” “Grande” “Venti” and “Giant” (I chuckled at the Starbucks’ lingo, except for the “giant” of course, which is the size I eagerly chose). The ingredients were kale, spinach, lemon, ginger, cayenne, and agave. It was very spicy but it was oh-so-yummy! Even later that night while we were walking around the windy, chilly city, my tummy felt so warm inside!
Here is the Washington Monument
Here is the Lincoln Memorial (I was pretty much speechless here)
Here is the White House
We stayed the night in Tyson’s Corner which is outside of D.C. and took off the following morning and stopped at Whole Foods Market for food.
We selected a few organic apples – YUM!
I also saw these at Whole Foods Market. They’re by Go Raw. And, let me say… these are FUN. The crunch they give is great. The pow of ginger is awesome. The hint of sweetness is delightful. Hmmm – loved them and wished I had bought another bag. I’ve since heard from my Facebook friends that the Pizza flavor is extra awesome, so if I see those on the road, I’ll be sure to give them a try. These kinds of things make great road trip snacks.
We decided that we’d drive to Wilmington, North Carolina and stop for the night. One of the reasons we chose that city is because Google Maps (via iPhone) told us there were a couple of Whole Foods Markets there, which one of the goals of our road trip is to hit many of them so we can stay stocked with fresh organic produce, food, and snacks. Well, the spot that Google Maps directed us to was smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood. I couldn’t help but giggle as we drove closer and closer to the alleged spot for WF, saying, “It sure would be weird here in the middle of the neighborhood, but hey, what do I know?”
So, we’ll hit up the WF in Charleston, SC tomorrow.
Lastly, the road trip has flown by so far. What would you expect though? We’re listening to New Moon. (My husband is into it, too.)
We had a successful transfer yesterday morning – how EXCITING!!! I’m on Cloud 9 now that I have my Monkey back. Some details of the procedure…
Of course, as usual with the staff at New Hope Fertility, they were amazing. The two nurses’ care I was under (Ann and Juany) were great. They took the time to answer my questions and I felt like I had my own cheerleading team. They were calm, professional, and thorough. I was shown a picture of our embryo (shown to the left) before the procedure and Ann said that our embryo was beautiful… and perfect (Yay!!! Having a great embryo is important). That meant a lot to me hearing an expert’s opinion. She even hugged the photo – how sweet.
While waiting in the pre-op waiting room with other ladies, I practiced my visualization techniques. I visualized Merlin (my imaginary friend who is helping to make my uterus nice and healthy) getting ready to greet our embryo and taking good care of Monkey, once Monkey arrived. I imagined my uterus nice and fluffy and a little sticky (so Monkey stays put) – kind of like cotton candy is. I practiced my calming deep breathing. And, I also used the time to work on hypnobirthing relaxation techniques I learned last month to enhance relaxation. It was great.
Then, they called me to the procedure room where they double checked my wrist band (name and medical record number) twice. They had me confirm my name on the petri dish. And, then the doctor came in to do the job. Legs in comfy stirrups, I laid back and relaxed, while he transfered Monkey into my uterus. Voila. That’s it. I had a 5 day old (6 days now) healthy growing embryo inside of me.
No sex :(
No baths :(
No hot tubs
Resume life as usual, but no heavy lifting :)
Get blood work done (pregnancy test) in one week! Only 1 week this time!
Next up for our plans… we’re driving home. It was suggested that flying might not be the best so we’re gearing up for a long trip home. My instructions are to stop every 2 hours to walk around, stretch my legs, etc. And, in general, don’t spend too much time in the car. Therefore, we’re making it a fun road trip that starts in Washington D.C. on Tuesday. Then, we’ll head to Charleston, South Carolina for a night. Then, to some place in Georgia for the night (don’t know how the flooding will affect where we stay yet). Then, we’ll visit my father-in-law in Pensacola, Florida for a couple of days. This is where we’ll get the blood test. Then, we’ll head to New Orleans. Then, off to Texas where I’ll stop for a visit outside of Beaumont to see my friend with horses, dogs, and monkeys. :) After that, I’m not sure of our route.
If anyone has any tips for foodie places along the way (organic? vegan friendly? raw?) please let us know.
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.
The other night we met up with my good buddies Gena (of the awesome blog, Choosing Raw) and Cassie for some dinner at Caravan of Dreams (this restaurant is organic and vegan with plenty of Raw options). I kept my food Raw by having their delicious Avocado Coconut soup and a large, fresh salad that came with a delightfully spicy dressing that made my taste buds dance. My husband had a cooked vegan dish which was a burrito with seitan in it (very tasty). Gena and Cassie also kept it Raw with soup and salad. My salad came with nori strips which I asked for on the side. I agreed to try those – again. Try, I did. Twice. I just can’t do it. Ugh. Can’t stand eating sea veggies. I sure wish I could, but I can’t. I’ll stick to hiding dulse and kelp in my smoothies and raw soups instead of tossing it on salads where I actually have to bite into it. In the picture, that’s Gena on the left, me in the middle, and Cassie on the right.
Saturday’s Raw Vegan Food Plan
I have an awesome day of simple Raw food planned (read this post to learn how planning your Raw food for the day can motivate you to succeed with the Raw vegan lifestyle). It’s 9am and I have my list of food. I have a couple of goals with this list. First, I want to make sure I consume the fresh organic produce we bought the other day in a timely fashion. Second, since our embryo transfer is tomorrow, I think it’s smart to make this a day of really easy digestion and nutrient dense food. Sure, that’s usually how my diet is… but by making my food in the apartment and having most of it blended, I’m doing it more so (ensuring it’s all organic, all fresh, and all made with extra love energy).
I would like to find a place with organic wheat grass shots, too, if possible. I know, that last video showing my grimace doesn’t make it sound too appetizing when I think about it, but it’s so good for my body. And, once the embryo is transfered, it’s good for my monkey. I’m taking Amazing Grass wheat grass pills while I’m traveling but I’d like to get some fresh wheatgrass in, too. Ehem, I say I’d like to do it now, but ask me after I drink it.
1/2 quart filtered water with fresh squeezed organic lemon (let me just say here that everything I eat today is organic)
This is a great way for my body to get a little gently cleansing done in the morning after a night of sleep.
1 cup Raspberry Leaf Tea
I’m strengthening my uterus as much as possible by drinking this daily until the big day tomorrow!