Wednesday, August 26th, 2009
I’ve been needing a new purse for a while now. My closet is filled with torture (beautiful as the end result may seem, my Chanel and Gucci bags just aren’t sexy to me anymore). So, they continue to sit in my closet. Meanwhile… this girl needed a new purse (or two!). I’ve been carrying around an old hemp purse of my grandma’s (I think she bought it in Spain about 40 years ago). It’s cute, but too small. And… it has some leather on it (not a whole lot, but it’s there). Still, it’s sentimental to me because it was my grandma’s.
Some of you may be wondering what the big deal is with leather for me. Well, I’m a vegan first and foremost for ethical reasons… to save animals. So, it would seem beyond silly for me to wear or use leather. But, I have it in my closet. I have kept it from my pre-vegan years, but I’m not using it (think: shoes, belts, purses).
I’m not of the mind to just throw it all out either. My leather pieces do have some meaning to me; there are memories with each one. For example, my first Chanel purse was a gift from my mom when I graduated from high school early. My second Chanel was a reward to myself when I was working 80 hour work weeks years ago. The stories go on from there. I have some from my very young childhood (like 13 years old). However, I don’t want to use them or advertise them. I realize that the animal has already suffered for it, and it seems rather wasteful to just pitch it.
From Peta.org: “Every year, the global leather industry slaughters more than a billion animals and tans their skins and hides.(1) Many of these animals suffer all the horrors of factory farming—including extreme crowding and confinement, deprivation, and unanesthetized castration, branding, tail-docking, and dehorning—and cruel treatment during transport and slaughter.” Read more here.
So, what’s a girl to do? I have no idea. They’re stashed away for now.
Meanwhile… I needed something new. Something that showed my style and beliefs. Something eco-chic. Something cool. Something sustainable. So, I chose hemp. I found two bags and bought them without hesitation. The first one is dark brown and functional. It has many compartments and plenty of room for my girlie stuff (makeup, money, pens, paper, raw snack bar, cell phone, etc.) and the other one I chose is black. This second purse is a little dressier. It’s perfect for date nights with my husband, dinners, etc. I bought them both here (one of my favorite online stores). They’re perfect.
Monday, August 24th, 2009
Here are great articles that I hope you take the time to check out.
Time Magazine: Getting Real About the High Price of Food – I’m excited because the word is getting out more and more about healthier eating… local, organic, more plant based foods, treating animals better, etc. Apparently, this article is the cover of Time magazine – YAY! We had Food, Inc. (see my post about Food, Inc) over the summer and now this.
White House Farmers’ Market – How cool that Obama is talking about having a farmers’ market outside the White House. I love shopping at my farmers’ market and I’m a part of a CSA that I LOVE. Everyone should have access to locally grown organic veggies. Everyone.
Relaxing for Health (and fertility!!!), It’s Good For You – I really enjoyed reading this article. Relaxation is so important… for boosting the immune system, helping digestion, and, yes, fertility! I’m all over that. In fact, I’ve recently purchased a few cds on meditation and visualization for pregnancy, infertility, etc. They’re WONDERFUL! I play them in the background when I’m getting ready for the day, when I’m juicing, and when I’m falling asleep at night.
*UPDATE: I’m adding this article that I found today:
The Anti-Cancer Diet - Whoohoo! Go Plants! I especially like the part about eating more RAW and ORGANIC! I’m saving the link to this article, because it sure pumped me up and encouraged my lifestyle.
Here are some of the things I had today. Yummy, fresh, all organic, and full of vitality.
1 quart green juice (plant blood!) with a dash of wheat germ oil (high in Vitamin E, an important vitamin for fertility). I like to make a LOT, like 10-15 cups worth. I store it in glass mason jars, filled to the tippy top, in my refrigerator. It only lasts us about 2 days maximum because between my husband and myself, we drink it all up.
2 cups grapes
These were from the CSA and they were awesome… fresh, crisp, sweet, and damn refreshing.
6 cups Raspberry Green Smoothie (1.5 cups filtered water, 3 cups raspberries, 6 leaves curly purple kale, 3 bananas) – I didn’t drink this all at once. It’s loaded with nutrients and lots of fiber. Mmmmmm…
Coconut Yogurt with 2 tablespoons hemp seeds (the yogurt is not Raw)
3 cups Creamy Juicy Greens
This is where I take a couple cups of the fresh green juice that I have and blend it with avocado in my Vita-mix blender. This is great because: 1) some nutrients need fat to be assimilated, 2) if the green juice is too green or spicy, then the avocado mellows it out a bit, 3) it’s totally satisfying and filling, and 4) the creamy factor is out of of this world! When I juice my greens using my Green Star (read about my 2 favorite juicers here).
Guacamole and Salsa
I love this combination as an easy and delicious salad. Avocados are so good for you, and tomatoes have nutrients in them that need fat (like from the avocados) to help your body assimilate them.
Wednesday, August 19th, 2009
I have a delicious recipe for you. Navitas Naturals was super cool and they sent me some products to try. Here is one of the recipes I made using their raw cashews, Twister Sprouted Omega Blend, and stevia. This recipe is totally fun and it’s especially perfect for the summer, when strawberries are in season. Strawberry Sweet Bread is loaded with nutrients… just look at those ingredients – so many goodies!!!! It’s great served with a nut/seed butter and fruit (as shown) for a wonderfully satisfying Raw vegan snack or lunch. And, it’s so EASY to make. When it’s time to send those kiddos to school, give them a super nutritious lunch by including this. You can put the chopped fruit in a little container and the nut/seed butter in another little container. Include a little spreading spoon and they can build their own little sandwich. Oh… and…. My husband LOVES this. I mean, like, REALLY REALLY LOVES IT! It’s great for the whole family. Enjoy!
Strawberry Sweet Bread
Recipe by Kristen Suzanne of KristensRaw.com
Yield: 6-9 pieces
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup Twister Sprouted Omega Blend
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 cups strawberries, chopped
2 cups zucchini, chopped
2 teaspoons ginger powder
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange peel powder (optional, but yummy!)*
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt
1/4 teaspoon stevia powder (optional, but yummy!)
*Available at MountainRoseHerbs.com
Grind the cashews to a fine grind using a blender or food processor (fitted with the “S” blade). Transfer to a large bowl. Add the Twister powder to the bowl and stir to mix the ingredients. Blend the remaining ingredients together using a blender. Transfer the blended mixture to the bowl with the cashew/Twister ingredients, and stir thoroughly to mix. Loosely cover the bowl with a piece of paper towel (or cloth towel), and let it sit on your counter for 2 hours.
Spread all of the bread dough on a dehydrator tray lined with a non-stick Paraflexx sheet (from Excalibur). It should be about 10″ x 10″ with a height (or thickness) of about 1/2″.
Dehydrate at 135 degrees for one hour. Reduce the temperature to 105-110 degrees and continue dehydrating another 8-10 hours.
Flip the bread onto a tray that is not lined with a Paraflexx sheet. Gently peel off the current sheet of Paraflexx being used. Continue dehydrating 10-12 hours. Cut the bread into desired size pieces and continue dehydrating another 1-4 hours, or more, depending on desired dryness. The goal is not to dry the bread completely if you want it like a soft bread. Strawberry Sweet Bread will stay fresh when stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up 5 days.
I love serving this with a nut or seed butter (Manitoba Harvest’s hemp seed butter is shown in the picture) along with some diced fruit such as berries, orange, or banana.
Friday, August 14th, 2009
Congratulations CAITLIN, aTxVegan, Veg-a-Nut, and Janine!!! (I ended up selecting 4 winners because I was thrilled with the number of people participating.) Your names were chosen as the winners of my 13th Awesome Giveaway. The prize for each of you is a complete set of my 11 available ebooks – YAY!!!!!! Simply email me so I can email them back to you.
Here is what Caitlin had to say when asked, “What inspires you to eat healthy?“
i am inspired to eat healthy for two reasons. First, the way I feel. Second, I feel it is my obligation. As I learn more about our food and our bodies, and the environment, I can’t sit back and not act, I can’t knowingly put something harmful into my body. Our bodies are wonderful gifts.
Here is what aTxVegan had to say when asked, “What inspires you to eat healthy?“
What originally inspired me to eat healthy was a colitis diagnosis, then a soy intolerance, and then a gluten intolerance. So needless to say, it just feels right to eat healthy. What continues to inspire me is that I just turned 50 and people are always shocked when they find out, which is really nice. But I’m starting to feel some achy joints, so I never miss a session with my trainer, and visiting your blog and so many other healthy blogs keep me inspired and keep others inspired. Thank you for such a generous giveaway, Kristen. There is always so much more to learn about healthful eating.
Here is what Veg-a-Nut had to say when asked, “What inspires you to eat healthy?“
My parents, grandparents, brother and sister are ravaged with heart disease, cancer, arthritis, high blood pressure, and more. I am the only one without any problems and want to keep it that way. I am trying hard to be a good example to my grown children and husband. One daughter has gone vegan a little over a year ago and is raising my grandson as a vegan. Nothing makes me prouder than to see my efforts paying off. For a few months now I have been pondering a very high raw diet, but have been lost with meals. I hope the good fairy is on my side and I win these books!!
Here is what Janine had to say when asked, “What inspires you to eat healthy?“
What inspires me to eat healthy? It used to be for selfish reasons: look good, feel good, amaze my friends and co-workers because I’m NEVER sick, stay slim without trying, the natural high you get after a awesome raw meal. I’d make food for my loved ones, hoping they, too, would eat this way so I would be promised a little more time with them in this life. Then the man I love entered my life. I kicked it up a notch so he, too, would feel the effects from our uber-healthy meals. I was motivated to try new superfoods and herbs so his aches and pains would subside. Watched as he felt better day by day. I dreamed of going to detox clinics with him, laughed together after our first colonic, ate and drank the weirdest things, and finally got him to say “I actually like your green drinks” (ah, success!!).
But until I tried to get pregnant, I never realized how important it was, not just for me, to be healthy. My whole life, my whole being, is now dedicated on eating the absolute healthiest way (w/out going crazy) because I dream of all the steps for my unborn child. I feel my uterus growing stronger, I sense my blood becoming richer, and when I am finally lucky enough that this world blesses me with a baby, that little pumpkin will have, beyond a doubt, the best chance in this world because it gets to develop in a clean, healthy, nutritious environment. Especially with autism, ADD, schizophrenia, and all these “common” diagnoses, I want to give my child the best chance in this world!
That is what motivates me now!! And you, Kristen, have given me strength for all your positive words.
(Janine-39, miscarried recently too and not giving up)
My next Awesome Giveaway is in September, so check back for details!
Tuesday, August 11th, 2009
My good news to report is that for the first time in weeks, I feel really good and pretty much back to normal. My body is telling me that it’s on track and everything is healing. My miscarriage symptoms ceased yesterday (it was about a week long), the extra weight and toxins I was carrying around are going away, and overall, I just feel really good!
I know that I owe this in part to my organic diet (with plenty of fresh juice – see today’s pic), my plan of relaxation, husband-giving-massage, healing under the sun by day and under the moon by night, etc. But, I also owe this in part to hypnobirthing. Let me explain…
So, here I am today… feeling wonderful. I did as promised and I wrote my birth plan (it’s at least down on paper and I can make minor changes as the months go by) and I’m belly deep in reading about vaccines (currently reading Dr. Sears’ book, The Vaccine Book).
One of the other things I had on my to-do list before getting pregnant, and for during the early weeks of pregnancy, was to start hypnobirthing classes (details on hypnobirthing here). My midwife and doula referred me to a lady named Sherry. I contacted her and she agreed that starting sooner than later was a great idea because I would learn useful visualization and meditation techniques that will help me right now… as I attempt another pregnancy with Mini-IVF. While we’re waiting for a class to start, she is working with us in a private situation and we had our first session on Sunday. It was glorious and I’m sure it’s one of the reasons I’m feeling wonderful.
Sherry taught me some proper breathing techniques of breathing through my nose for both inhaling and exhaling and the relaxed state of body that accompanies it. She gave me some pointers for visualizations… taking advantage of visualizing my healthy womb any chance I can get whether it’s waiting for the microwave to heat up my water or waiting in line at the post office. Taking time, even if it’s only 45 seconds to conjure up a delightfully lovely vision of having a pregnant belly or a calm home birth is very beneficial.
When I told her I was concerned that I’d have a hard time meditating intentionally, she suggested that I create a way to think about how my body is healing, if the healing itself is hard to imagine for me. For example, when I simply think of a healthy uterus, the vision is quick to come and go. I needed help in sustaining the picture in my mind. She offered that having an “imaginary” helper can facilitate this process. So, here it goes… don’t think I’m nuts – LOL – on the contrary, I’m having so much FUN with it! I’ve enlisted the help of Merlin. He’s a wizard and wears one of those wizard hats. Currently, he resides in my uterus and has been there since Sunday cleaning it up with his broom and magic wand. As I imagine him doing this, it helps me keep the vision in my mind and I have fun at the same time. Who knew that as an adult I could have an imaginary friend? Once he finishes tidying up my uterus, he’ll go to work on my blood, brain and all that good stuff in helping me prep my body for pregnancy. So… meet Merlin. (I bought a copy of this print so that I can hang him up in my office and always be reminded of my imaginary helper. I think he’s pretty bad-ass if I do say so myself.)
For this month’s giveaway, I’m giving the winner a complete set of my ebooks!!! That’s 11 ebooks!
Want the chance to win? It’s simple to participate! All you have to do is answer the following question in this post’s comment section. The contest will end Thursday night, August 13th @ 11:59pm. I’ll enter everyone’s name who answered the question into a drawing and announce the winner on my blog Friday, August 14th.
UPDATE! I’m excited to have so many people participating that I’m going to select THREE people to win a set of my ebooks.
Question: What inspires you to eat healthy?
Saturday, August 8th, 2009
All organic (except the coconut milk, but it’s non-gmo). :)
1 cup raspberries, 1 sliced banana, 1/4 cup coconut milk (not raw)
I started the day with this awesome recipe before heading to the farmers’ market for my weekly CSA of locally grown, organic produce. Yum Yum!!! I’m so proud to support our local farmer. It means the world to me.
1 tablespoon sprouted dehydrated sunflower seeds
These have lots of vitamin E in them… vitamin E is revered as the birth/fertility vitamin.
2 cups dehydrated, seasoned Kale Crispies
I love snacking on these. My mom and I had some in the car, thankfully, while we were running lots of errands this morning. We started at the farmers’ market at 7am. Then, we went to Whole Foods to do some shopping damage for foods we couldn’t find at the farmers’ market, and then we went to Sunflower Market because I refuse to pay $3 each for organic avocado at Whole Foods Market, I refuse to buy apples from across the world in New Zealand when there should be perfectly yummy apples from CA or WA (but Whole Foods doesn’t seem to carry hardly any of these and the very few ones they had were mushy feeling), and the final reason for Sunflower Market was that the coconut milk and coconut milk yogurt I like are much cheaper there! Unfortunately, Sunflower Market didn’t have good avocados so we hit up Trader Joe’s on the way home and found a bag of them there. So, as you can see, we were hitting a few different places and had to snack on something so we didn’t pass out from starvation! ;) Kale Crispies to the rescue!!!
1 quart Cucumber Carrot Vega EFA Green Juice
This was a delightfully refreshing juice made from 2 cucumbers, 4-5 carrots, 1/3 bunch of celery, 6 leaves dandelion, 1 tablespoon Vega EFA oil. I used my Breville to make this lickity-split.
2 Brazil Nuts
Dark Green Pretty Good Smoothie
I’m calling it this because it was pretty good – LOL. The recipe made about 5 cups. I drank 3 cups and gave the other two to my mommy. :) She really liked it. I used my mom’s BlendTec to make it (1 cup water, 1 head Romaine, 1 granny smith apple (cored), 1 lime (peeled), 10 strawberries, 2 large leaves kale)
Quinoa Protein Vegetable Mix (part Raw, part cooked vegan)
I made a big batch of plain red quinoa last night. Today and tomorrow, I’ll use it in a couple of different recipes. As you know, I’m upping my protein and fat a little to help prep my body for getting pregnant and having my next embryo transfer (hopefully later this month!) The recipe isn’t yet finalized. When I have it done, I’ll post it.
Thursday, August 6th, 2009
Here is a recent article featured on MSNBC.COM about Raw chocolate. Yum!
CHOCOLATE CRUNCH HAZELNUT MACAROONS
By Kristen Suzanne of KristensRaw.com
Yield 35 macaroons
Let me just tell you… these have become a staple in my household. My friends and family frequently email and call me begging me to make these for them. They have a scrumptious flavor and awesome texture. Just see for yourself. They’re wonderful and so easy to make. Whip up a quick batch of these for the next party you attend and you’ll be a hit! Warning: These are addictive! :)
1 cup hazelnuts*
1 cup raw chocolate powder
1 cup dried coconut, shredded & unsweetened
1 cup raw agave nectar or raw coconut nectar
2/3 cup coconut butter
1/2 cup raw cacao nibs
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt
Using a food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, grind the hazelnuts to a fairly medium/fine grind. Transfer to a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Stir all the ingredients together well by hand, or use a mixer with a paddle attachment to make it easier.
Use a tablespoon measurement to spoon out the batter and place on a cookie sheet (I like using a tablespoon size ice cream scoop). Freeze for up to an hour and enjoy.
*My favorite way to make these is with hazelnuts, but if you don’t have those on hand, you could try other nuts or seeds.
My favorite way to enjoy these is straight from the freezer or refrigerator. When I take them to a party, I put them in the host’s refrigerator, or freezer, until I’m ready to serve them. If they sit at room temperature they can get a little soft (but still yummy). An option to help prevent the softening at room temperature is to dehydrate them at 105 degrees for 16 – 24 hours right after you make them.
Wednesday, August 5th, 2009
It’s Tuesday night… and it’s the end of day 4 of my juicing frenzy. I asked my mom, “If I get a vegan burrito from Chipotle, and I blend it and then strain it… can I call it juice?” LMAO. That was my sign. Time to stop my cleanse.
Each day of the cleanse and healing had its ups and downs. Some moments were a breeze and I felt strong (especially during the 1st half of the day). Other moments (late afternoon and evening) could be kind of tough. And, tonight, it got to the point where I know I’m done… at least for this particular juicing extravaganza.
So, I had my vegan burrito from Chipotle (not juiced), and a few bites of organic dark chocolate. (What can I say? When I go down, I go down in flames – LOL). I feel great. I restricted myself for four days, I had a nice squishy reward, and I’m ready to hit it hard with my organic, vegan, high raw diet tomorrow. In fact, I’ll make it a little extra high raw for the next couple of weeks so that I can continue to gently cleanse and heal my body from my fertility treatment.
I started my miscarriage today (bleeding). And, to my surprise, I have no pain or cramping. Fingers crossed it stays nice and easy.
I’m embarking on a juicing frenzy that started on Saturday to heal, detox, and lose a little bit of excess fat. My body has been through a lot during the months of June/July and it’s time to clean house. Two of the drugs I was on for weeks were estrogen and progesterone (both fat soluble) – plus I was on other fertility drugs to develop my eggs in June (Yaz birth control for a few days to schedule my cycle, followed by menopure injections and oral clomid tablets). As a result, I’ve put on some icky toxic weight that I’m eager to release. Now, before people start commenting, “But Kristen, you need some fat to help get pregnant…”
Yes, I know. I will maintain a healthy weight. But, I also know my own body, and when I put on unhealthy fat and cellulite in a short amount of time, I know I have some toxins in me and I’m eager to flush them out… sooner than later. I can feel it.
I think it’s prudent to get as healthy as I can before the next treatment (details about my fertility adventure here). Knowing that I likely have some of these drugs stored in my fat, a juicing frenzy and liquid diet should help release them (sorry, but I can’t call it “juice feasting,” because it never feels like feasting no matter how much juice I drink… a real feast, for me, includes chewing – LOL). Plus, it should help my natural hormones get in sync faster, too, which is important before embarking on the next embryo transfer.
I’m drinking LOTS of freshly made green juices all day, but that’s not all. Here is a complete list of what I’m doing to heal my body before the next cycle with Mini-IVF:
1) LOTS of fresh, alkalizing, organic green juice (some have a splash of coconut oil or olive oil to better assimilate certain nutrients, and to get my calories up)
2) Red raspberry leaf tea
3) Kombucha (not a lot – 1 bottle every 1-2 days – it’s fun)
4) Miso soup (1-2 cups a day; some is soy-free, and all are organic)
5) Dry brushing before my showers
6) Rest for recovery
7) Sweating: getting some exercise at the gym and walking in the desert heat (I’m not going crazy though)
9) Massages from my husband to help release toxins
10) And, I’m still taking pre-natals, probiotics, chlorella, DHA, and wheat grass tablets
I’d like to go 5-days for now, but I’ll start with 3-days and see how it goes. Today is day-3 and the process has been so-so as far as ease. I love food so it’s hard to give that up. But, having the variety of: miso soup (very healing), tea, kombucha, and different green juices is definitely helpful. Oh, and having a jar of watermelon juice every day is delightful and so very helpful with getting through the day (although I’m all out of it now – boo hoo!). But, don’t get me wrong, there are times that I already want to scream, “I want some f*#king food!” And, here’s a tip… don’t watch the Food Network channel when you’re on a liquid diet… it’s pure hell. Honestly, I don’t know how you 92-day juice fasters/feasters do it. God love ya!
Anyway, I’m staying flexible. I haven’t started bleeding from the miscarriage yet, and my restricted diet might have something to do with it, or maybe my body is waiting for the full moon. We’ll see; I’m just taking it day by day for now and healing. It feels really good.
I started on one of my goals (from this post) of researching vaccines. I started by reading Jenny McCarthy’s book, Mother Warriors. I figured it’d be a good primer for diving into such an intense topic and I’m glad I did. I flew through the book and picked up some pointers on a couple vaccines and treatments of autism. It’s easy to predict I’d be a fan of her book though because so much of it is about how diet can help some kids recover from autism… and I’m a big fan of using foods to heal. I’d be interested to hear some of your experiences or plans for vaccinations if you’d like to share in the comments section.
Today, I’m diving into working on my birth plan.