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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Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Raw Food Delivery To New York

by Kristen Suzanne in Uncategorized

I had an exciting day Friday, because I received a delivery of raw vegan organic food. Yum.


Pure Market Express delivers Raw food nationwide. Having Raw food delivered to where you are when traveling is a great and easy way to stay on the Raw diet.


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Saturday, September 19th, 2009

Wheatgrass Juice at Candle Cafe in NY – video

by Kristen Suzanne in video

I’ve never been attracted to the smell or taste of fresh wheatgrass. Still… I suck it up and drink it on occasion with Ann Wigmore floating around in my thoughts cheering me on. Here we are at Candle Cafe enjoying, I mean drinking, a shot.




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Friday, September 18th, 2009

NY Apartment – A Tour

by Kristen Suzanne in new york, video

Here is a quick tour of the apartment we’re renting in NY. Check back this weekend for a video of the cool delivery I just received today (hint: it has something to do with RAW FOOD!).

*Update: Hhhmm… just watched this after I posted it. Blogger is not giving me the best quality for the video (or maybe it’s just me?). I opted not to post this on YouTube because I thought I’d keep it just for my blog.

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Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Fertility Update: A Fresh Transfer(?), NY Apartment, And Monkeys On The Ride Home

by Kristen Suzanne in fertility, new york

We arrived in New York safely. I love flying Jet Blue. They have Direct TV / movies and XM radio. They offer plenty of complimentary bottled water and snacks (although I passed on those because they’re not particularly healthy, ehem). We also opted to purchase seats with extra leg room, which was especially nice for my husband. And, we arrived in NY about 20 minutes early.


Here we are at the airport before departure. We checked our luggage, and mine just barely squeaked by, weighing in at 49.5 pounds. Yikes. I’m guessing the culprit is my Blendtec blender. A Raw girl’s gotta do what a Raw girl’s gotta do! Although I love my Vita-Mix 5200 (read my blog post reviewing the Blendtec vs Vita-mix), that thing is a monster in size and weight, so if I travel and have a kitchen accessible then I like taking my Blendtec. But, if I’m in a hotel room, then I like taking this awesome travel blender.


For my carry on backpack I came prepared with plenty of fresh Raw vegan foods for the flight. Ummm…. apparently I couldn’t wait for the flight before my stomach started grumbling so I’m munching away on an organic carrot here, while waiting to board the plane. I also packed a cucumber, red bell pepper, celery, prunes, Garlic Basil Chia Crisps, and an apple.





Here is a pic of some things I packed… water filter, sponge, glass mason jars, protein shaker bottles, Sun Warrior’s Raw Rice Protein Powder, as well as raw cashews, supplements, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, LOTS of prunes (you know the travel thing and making sure you’re pooping), dates, chia seeds, raspberry leaf tea, Dr. Bronner soap, and more. I wanted to make sure I had some stuff from home so I didn’t have to buy everything when we arrived. You can guess my luggage on the trip back will be considerably lighter. Too bad we’re not flying home for it to matter.


We’re going to have an awesome (long) drive home through the south, stopping off in Florida for a quick visit with my father-in-law as well as my friend in Texas (whom I met online), and she has MONKEYS!!!!! And, they love my Raw vegan recipes… check it out here. It can’t hurt to be around monkeys while I’m trying to get my own little Monkey to “stick” right?






We arrived at the apartment we rented and were very happy with it. It’s gorgeous. Small (of course, it’s New York), but gorgeous. We’re staying in an apartment in Trump’s Heritage building on the Hudson River. Here’s our living room. We have a nice kitchen with a huge refrigerator so I plan on shopping at Whole Foods today. Will share more pics and video soon.

Possible changes to our fertility plan. (I love this photo. I grabbed it from a blog discussing a documentary, A Child Against All Odds, but I can’t find the blog now.)

As you know, we came here with the intent on transferring a frozen embryo. But, while at the doctor’s office yesterday, where they did a sonogram of my ovaries and uterus, I inquired about the egg that I’m about to release naturally in the next few days. I thought it would be a waste to just let it go and asked whether we shouldn’t grab that egg while we’re here, fertilize it, and transfer it back this trip, if it makes it to 5 days successfully in the petri dish… and leave the frozen embryos in my “embryo bank” for future use (or to use on this trip in the event that the fresh retrieval doesn’t work). I’m all about getting as many healthy eggs at my young-ish age while I can, so I can store them for future attempts (whether for this first child or the next child), therefore giving me a better chance for success.

The doctor agreed that we could try that. We’ll see how things go. I’m due back at New Hope Fertility on Saturday for another sonogram and blood work to see if we can do this or if we should just proceed with the frozen transfer.

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Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

EASY Raw Vegan Recipe – Banana Nut Cookie Dough Bites

by Kristen Suzanne in banana, dehydrator, recipe, walnuts

This recipe came to me as I was falling asleep, as most of my recipes do. Like usual, I rolled over in bed, grabbed my iPhone and started emailing the notes of my ideas to myself.

Here’s the thing… most raw vegan cookies use some sort of dehydrated fruit to help bind it and add sweetness. But, I can’t recall ever coming across a Raw vegan cookie recipe that used dehydrated banana slices! They’re perfect… FULL of flavor, sweet, chewy-like, and delicious. Knowing that I could pair them with walnuts (or any nuts) would give me wonderful banana nut flavors. After I made these, my first bite sent my head swimming in joy.
 
You can enjoy these delicious treats by themselves, of course! Or, have them alongside a tall glass of Creamy Dreamy Hemp Milk (recipe here). Or, crumble them in a bowl with raw granola and enjoy as your breakfast. Or, crumble them over Raw vegan vanilla ice cream.
 
Now, making these requires using dehydrated banana slices that are HOME MADE. Don’t use the ones bought in the store. They’re too hard and probably have crappy preservatives on them. So, if you don’t have a dehydrator yet, then borrow someone’s or get one! And, while you’re at it, get the Sedona.
 
Without further ado… here is my EASY recipe for delicious Raw Vegan Cookies.
 
Banana Nut Cookie Dough Bites
Recipe by Kristen Suzanne of KristensRaw.com
Yield 8-10 cookies
2 cups walnuts (soaked and dehydrated*)
pinch cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
1 cup raw homemade dehydrated banana slices, packed**
1 tablespoon raw agave nectar Update: I’m no longer a fan of agave and would use raw honey, maple syrup, or coconut nectar 
 
Place the walnuts, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a food processor, fitted with the “S” blade and process to a coarse grind. Add the dehydrated banana slices and process until they’re broken down and incorporated. As that is happening, add the raw agave nectar. Process the mixture until you get a dough-like consistency. Form into small cookies (either flat as shown in the picture or in balls). Enjoy!
 
* For optimal digestion, use walnuts that have been soaked and dehydrated. To do this, soak the walnuts in filtered water for 6-8 hours. Drain and rinse. Spread the walnuts out on a dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 135 degrees for 45 minutes. Lower the temperature to 105 degrees and continue dehydrating until dry (approximately 12-24 hours).
 
** This recipe is designed to use dehydrated banana slices that you make yourself so they’re not processed with any other ingredients other than the bananas themselves. You’ll notice that banana slices in the store tend to be crunchy. By using homemade dehydrated banana slices, they maintain a softer, chewier texture, which is great for this recipe, and they’re fresh and pure. To make yours, simply slice the bananas and dehydrate them for about 18-24 hours or until a dry, chewy texture is obtained.

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Monday, September 14th, 2009

Fertility Adventure – 1 Frozen Embryo Transfer Coming Up!

by Kristen Suzanne in fertility, Mini IVF, new york

The time is coming for another chance at having a baby…. exciting!!! We’re heading to New York this week for a frozen embryo transfer at New Hope Fertility Center. It’s one of those shown in the picture to the right. Aren’t they cool looking?


It’s been a great month. I’ve had the time to fully research the vaccine issue. I’ve eaten a super clean, HRAV (high raw, all vegan) diet. I’ve exercised by strength training and doing some cardio. I’ve had time to listen to many visualization CDs about birthing, infertility, etc. I’ve become a pro at deep breathing. I’ve made progress on new Kristen’s Raw projects (I’m bubbling over with excitement about them). And, I’m ecstatic and ready for the next attempt at becoming a mom.

I’ll keep you posted about the trip (fertility stuff, food and restaurants, and overall adventures in the Big Apple) through my blog here (I’ll do some videos from NY!), as well as Facebook and Twitter. Wish us luck!

PS. A special shout out to my mom (many of you know her through Facebook – Susan Sunny Larson – if you’re not friends with her there, you’re missing out on some serious humor. Although, be warned, she’s beautifully intense – haha). Mom is taking care of our home and dog while we’re gone. Thanks mom!!!

For those of you who don’t know the back story, feel free to check out these blog posts:

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Sunday, September 13th, 2009

High Raw Food For The Day – Pure Deliciousness

Today’s awesome High Raw food (all organic):


Organic Herbal Tea
My favorite brands of tea are Mountain Rose Herbs and Traditional Medicinals. Today I made a mixture of Raspberry Leaf, Nettle, and Alfalfa. Nice female tonic. Go girl!

Pretty & Jazzy Juice
This juice was so dang pretty, I didn’t want to drink it. I just wanted to stare at it. I made it with my Breville and it contained 2 oranges (peeled), 7 smallish/medium carrots, big ol’ knob of ginger. The orange and carrots made it pretty and the heavy ginger gave it some jazz. It was AWESOME! (I should have taken a picture of it.)

Big-Ass Protein Shake
Chocolate Sun Warrior Raw Sprouted Rice Protein (my favorite protein powder), Hemp Protein (awesome complete protein giving much needed essential fatty acids – Got Hemp?), dash of stevia powder, and Amazing Grass Wheat Grass Powder (I take this when I travel to ensure I’m getting plenty of alkalizing greens)

Handful of pumpkin seeds
These were soaked, sprouted and dehydrated. They’re a great source for iron and zinc. Yum! Zinc is important for fertility, especially male fertility!

Fresh Raw Zucchini & Cucumber Pasta

I spiralized zucchini and cucumber with my Benriner Turning Slicer (demonstrated toward the end of this video). I put it in a bowl and added fresh squeezed lemon juice, Himalayan crystal salt and black pepper. Then, I diced up red bell pepper and avocado (using the fruit scooper in this video to get all my avocado out), and threw that on top. Finally, I added fresh raw corn cut from the cob and tossed that in. My husband and I were loving up this fresh concoction. *NOTE: it’s best to cut and use the juice from lemons right before serving (when possible) because from the moment of cutting, you start to lose the precious vitamin C… like, by the minute.

Buckwheat and Fresh Veggies
I mixed up a little cooked buckwheat with a bunch of fresh raw veggies and non sweet fruit and topped it with a fantastic raw sauce mixture of tahini, tamari, ginger, and other awesome flavorings.

Dessert?
Ehem…. Chocolate Crunch Hazelnut Macaroons! (recipe here, book here)
I didn’t have hazelnuts, so I used a mixture of hemp seeds, (soaked, sprouted and dehydrated) sunflower seeds, and (soaked and dehydrated) walnuts. *TIP: I have a ready supply of these gems in my freezer so I can quickly grab one whenever I want. That’s one of the keys to succeeding with the raw vegan lifestyle. Have food on hand, already made, ready to eat. Trust me. When I’m going to a restaurant, I can grab my Raw dessert and stash it in my purse so when I get a craving for dessert, I can gobble up my secret treat. When I arrive home from a day of running errands, I like knowing that I can go to my countertop ready to eat snacks and enjoy a nutritious snack (things like garlic basil chia crisps, prunes, dates, sprouted / dehydrated sunflower and pumpkin seeds, goji berries, raisins, etc).

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