Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Raw Vegan Organic Food in South Carolina

by Kristen Suzanne in green juice, kindle 2

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.”

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Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Our Road Trip So Far… D.C. and North Carolina

by Kristen Suzanne in green juice

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.)

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Monday, September 28th, 2009

Fertility Adventure Update – Monkey Is Back!

by Kristen Suzanne in new hope fertility center

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.

My instructions:
No sex :(
No baths :(
No hot tubs
No pools
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.

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Sunday, September 27th, 2009

Garden Guacamole (Raw, Vegan, Organic) – Lower In Fat

by Kristen Suzanne in avocado, weight loss

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.

Garden Guacamole
Recipe by Kristen Suzanne (
Yield approximately 4 – 5 cups

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!

3 avocados, pitted, peeled and diced
juice from 2 limes
1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt
1 medium heirloom tomato, diced*
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.

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Saturday, September 26th, 2009

Caravan of Dreams Dinner Date With Friends In New York & Saturday’s Raw Food Plan

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!

Protein Shake (water, Sun Warrior’s Raw Rice Protein)
This is simple, easy, and I just chug it down quickly.

1 quart Green Smoothie (water, cilantro, spinach, fresh squeezed orange juice, bananas)
The vitamin C in the orange juice helps my body better assimilate the iron in the spinach. I can’t wait to drink this!

Garden Guacamole (with red leaf lettuce wraps)
This is the recipe I made the other day, only I made a bigger batch of it yesterday. I’m posting the recipe tomorrow, so be sure to check back. It’s fabulous.

Nutrient Soup (water, fresh lemon and lime juice, dinosaur kale, heirloom tomato, red bell pepper, orange bell pepper, celery, avocado, salt)
I love making Raw soups like this. They’re super easy, really filling because of the fiber and the avocado, and they’re so nutritious.

If I’m hungry later tonight, I’ll have some Raw granola and Raw sunflower seed milk.

Have an awesome day and make it a point to eat more Raw Vegan today! Your body will thank you. The environment will thank you. The animals will thank you.

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Friday, September 25th, 2009

My Kindle 2 Love Affair – Travel Rocks With Kindle 2

by Kristen Suzanne in kindle 2

I love my Kindle 2. And, let me tell you, I had no idea I’d love it this much. Don’t get me wrong, I was excited when my husband bought it for me on Valentine’s Day, but I was excited because I simply thought it was cool. I had no idea I’d love it this much. Even so… truth be told… I was a teeny bit skeptical at first. I figured that for non-fiction I wouldn’t use it much (which is mostly what I read, except for, ehem… TWILIGHT SERIES! (We already bought our opening night tickets for New Moon… but I digress… sorry).

I thought non-fiction wouldn’t be ideal on the Kindle 2 because I like to highlight and tab the heck out of my books. I use stickers. I use glitter pens. I tab my books with post it notes. But! I took a chance for this trip to New York. I decided to buy a non-fiction book for my Kindle 2 that was too heavy to bring on the trip, and would you believe, it was actually more expensive than the paper version? I took the leap though and bought it. I’m so happy I did. Not only do I not have to lug around a heavy-ass book but I can indeed HIGHLIGHT (although it’s a boring gray color, that’s OK because my fear of not being able to mark things well in a Kindle 2 book are gone). My kindle has a highlighting function that keeps everything I highlight in a special section that I can easily refer to anytime, which I have found I actually like even more than highlighting in books. Go figure. The picture above is my Kindle 2 with the animal-friendly carrying case my husband also bought me.

Trust me, the Kindle 2 is awesome. I LOVE IT. I’m forever hooked. My only regret is that I wish I had figured this out before I bought a butt load of pregnancy / vaccine / birth books in print. That picture only shows about half of them. Oh well… At least I can offer those to my blog readers when I’m done with them (if anyone is interested).

See how thin it is? The Kindle 2 is nothing short of awesome. It’s light. It holds tons of books. It fits in my hemp purse. It’s easy to read on and use. It can even read the book out loud to you (or you can use headphones). And, there are so many more great things about it. This is one very cool gift for the upcoming holidays for either yourself or a loved one. It ROCKS! I will definitely carry my Kindle 2 around every where I go. For sure.

Do any of you have a Kindle? Are you loving it as much as I am?

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Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Fertility Adventure Update – Fertilization: CHECK!

by Kristen Suzanne in fertility

GREAT NEWS! My egg successfully fertilized into an embryo. YAY!!! Go Monkey Go! Next step? The transfer is set for Sunday, but they’ll call to confirm on Saturday.

Today we stocked up at Whole Foods Market for some more stay-in-the-apartment-meals over the next week. I was pleased with today’s selection there… nice fresh greens that were hearty and vibrant. I bought ingredients to make that same salad I made before, along with more green smoothies and banana / nut butter sandwiches, etc. Basically, the same stuff we ate last week. Oh, and I grabbed some organic raspberries. They looked and smelled great (yes, I open the package to smell and inspect them. I’m not paying $4-6 bucks just to get home and have them be bad).

On the way out of Whole Foods I noticed a kiosk selling adorable certified organic baby clothes!!! I had to stop in. And, of course, I had to buy this certified organic Monkey outfit!!! How cute is that???

Tonight we’re meeting our good friends Gena and Cassie for dinner at Caravan of Dreams (here is a blog post from our last visit there in June). I’m looking forward to a deliciously fresh, organic, Raw vegan meal. I suspect I’ll get a bowl of their creamy avocado coconut soup and a hearty salad. And, of course… there is Stogo about a block away with organic coconut (or soy) ice cream for dessert (not raw, but it is vegan and organic)… I’m just saying it’s there…. in case any of you wanted to know that… just saying… lol

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Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Fertility Adventure Update – Successful Egg Retrieval

by Kristen Suzanne in fertility, new hope fertility center

We went to the clinic for the egg retrieval. It was a tad stressful because once they ensured, via sonogram, that my follicle was indeed still there and large (holding the egg), I wanted to make sure they grabbed the egg while it was still there waiting.

I went upstairs to get in the hospital attire and wait with some other women. Women came and went and I was still sitting there after what seemed like forever. All the while, I was willing my egg to stay put until the doctor could take it out of me. Then, while some other ladies and myself were sitting in the pre-op waiting room, there was a TV showing CNN, and guess what they were featuring at that moment? A story about an EMBRYO MIXUP from a fertility procedure in Ohio. YIKES! Not something a bunch of women awaiting egg retrieval or embryo transfer need to see. Thankfully, I opted for the minimal amount of valium so that I didn’t lose my egg sitting right there watching that – lol. I almost passed on the valium, but decided it was important to be as relaxed as possible and the valium would help that. I had it last time they did the retrieval of multiple eggs. So, the nurse gave me the smallest dosage this time since we were just retrieving one egg. I’m usually quite the anti-drug girl, but there are times when I think they’re warranted… like fertility adventures.

Then, it was my turn. I practically jumped out of the recliner and skipped to the procedure room when my name was called. They double checked my identity (whew). And, I hopped up onto the table, put my legs in the stirrups and waited for the doctor. What came next I was a little unprepared for. You see, last time I had the procedure done, like I said, I had valium (probably a normal dosage, i.e. higher than what I had today) and I had been taking a strong anti-inflammatory prescription drug for a few days prior to the procedure. This time, I was instructed to take 600 mg of over-the-counter ibuprofin twice before the retrieval (12 hours apart). What I’m trying to get at is that this single egg retrieval was a little painful. Like… ouch! Sure, I’ve had worse pain before in my life, but this was a pokey kind of needle-like pain. Perhaps last time it felt the same when getting the multiple eggs, but I didn’t care because of the larger valium dosage I was on. That’s all I can come up with because I could definitely feel it this round.

BUT! It’s all worth it so far… we successfully retrieved my egg! YAY!!!! They’ll fertilize it today and let me know tomorrow if fertilization was successful. Then, we’ll let it grow until day 5 and transfer it into my uterus on Sunday. Yippee!

After the procedure, I felt like celebrating. So, off to Cafe Blossom we went. Yum Yum. We had a delicious lunch and as we were walking out, something cool happened. Someone recognized me from my blog. James, as I soon learned was his name, recognized me and called my name. My first thought was, “Aw geez… I’m wearing frumpy ass clothing.” Nonetheless! I was so happy to meet a fellow raw foodie who followed my blog – HOW FUN! He was such a nice guy and we chatted it up for a bit. Truly, apart from my big exciting fertility procedure, this was the next highlight of my day. Thanks for speaking up, James! :)

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Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Fertility Update: Retrieval Day Is Tuesday!

by Kristen Suzanne in kindle 2, new hope fertility center

We went to the clinic for more blood work (checking my hormone levels) and another sonogram to check my uterus and ovaries today. We’ve been tracking one particular follicle that is growing nicely, every day, for the past three days. (This is a picture of me reading my Kindle 2 while waiting for the doctor. I LOVE my Kindle 2… so much that I’m dedicating a blog post to it this week. So, be on the lookout for that.)

Today, we received good news. I’m finally ready for the retrieval of my egg (grown naturally, without any drugs – yippee!). Tuesday afternoon they’ll grab my cute little egg via an ultrasound guided apparatus (the technical name for the procedure is: ultrasonically guided transvaginal ovarian cyst aspiration for oocyte {egg} retrieval). It should be very easy (and painless) and only take a few minutes to do the procedure. They’ll fertilize the egg tomorrow and let it grow 5 days before transferring it into my uterus. Pretty cool. I’ll keep you posted.

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Monday, September 21st, 2009

Homemade Raw Vegan Meals in New York

by Kristen Suzanne in new hope fertility center, new york, raw

During our last trip to New York (in June 2009), we stayed at the Excelsior hotel in the Upper West Side. As a result, our room was quite small (I like to remember it as “quaint”) and there was no refrigeration. So, we ate all of our meals out and we referred to the meal part of our trip as a “vegan food safari.”

This trip is a little different. Since we’re staying in a nice apartment with a kitchen (and a huge refrigerator), we’ve been having at least one of our meals “home” everyday. We stocked up once at Whole Foods Market (I was not impressed with their organic produce, or their Raw section, at this location) and another time we shopped at Westerly Natural Market (they have a nice Raw section of goodies and ingredients, and the produce section is OK… what’s with all the fruit flies in these small NY markets???). Both times we walked from the UWS to Midtown for the shopping to get plenty of exercise (I love to walk every chance I get). My legs and butt are definitely getting a workout. Between walking to New Hope Fertility on the Upper East Side and the markets in Midtown, we’re clocking about 4-7 miles a day. It feels awesome!

Here is a picture of a delicious organic salad I made the other night that we gobbled up while watching The Daily Show. It had 2 avocados, 1 red bell pepper, 1 orange bell pepper, 2 stalks celery, 1/4 bunch cilantro, lime juice, and sea salt. It was so damn good!

I’ve been making organic green smoothies almost daily to make sure we still get plenty of greens in our diet. Most of them have been banana, dinosaur kale, and lime juice (the vitamin C in the lime helps the iron in the kale get assimilated). But, for the next couple of days, I’m going to make apple, curly kale, and lime juice. We’ve also been having almond butter / banana sandwiches, Raw cereal (GoRaw) and nut milk, and we’ve snacked on fresh fruit, dates, prunes, sprouted / dehydrated sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and coconut yogurt.

Of course, we’ve been eating some meals at one of our favorite restaurants, Blossom Cafe. It was so fun walking in there the first time. Everyone immediately recognized and welcomed us, as if we hadn’t been gone for even a day. We had lunch there and I enjoyed their Raw Autumn Sweet Potato Rolls and one of their huge green salads. I should’ve taken pictures but I was famished and dove in head first. Even the server marveled at how fast the Raw sweet potato rolls disappeared. My husband gobbled up their soy bacon cheeseburger, and we found out that they are using a new cheese by the company Daiya. Check it out. It’s pretty awesome. It melts great and is dairy free, soy free, and gluten free. I was impressed.

Last but not least, here is a picture of the view from our apartment at sunset. With a view like this, it makes it hard to leave the apartment.

In my next post, I’ll update you on the progress of our fertility adventure.

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