Thursday, June 30, 2011

Raw Days 28-30

Today is already the last day of my "mostly raw for 30 days" experiment!

I really can't believe it's been a month.  And what a cool month! 

I learned that eating raw foods, at least in the way I wanted to, meant that in many ways I needed to re-learn how to prepare dishes.  Even things like salads took on a whole new dimension, because I not only wanted to make them chock-full of nutrients, but chock-full of flavour!  I refuse to prepare foods with no flavour, that are boring to eat.  There's no reason whatsoever to eat boring foods, when there are so many herbs and spices out there!  Thousands and thousands!!

I learned that there is a lot more to the raw food lifestyle than carrot sticks and salads.  I had hoped there was, but we all know that people don't necessarily eat "spherically", which means that if someone decided to eat only raw foods, without doing it properly, they COULD just eat salads and carrot sticks.  Of course they wouldn't be very healthy, because they wouldn't be consuming a nutritionally-balanced diet, and I of course wanted to avoid that.

Because I never jump into anything major without first looking into it, and if it looks intriguing, researching it to get to know all its ins and outs, I came at this month with a decent preliminary knowledge of what to do.  Of course I continued to read and gather recipes all through June, so my repertoire grew and continues to grow!  It's incredible the variety of raw dishes out there!!

Most interestingly, I learned that my body really loves raw food!  After just a few days, my skin became radiant, clear, and healthy-looking.  I began to sleep better.  My mood stabalized (not that I was a crazy person or anything!  Really!).  My cravings also stabalized.

And because it's currently the growing season here, I saved money!!  Yes, you read right--I have been spending on average 30% less each week on food.  No guff.  

Also interestingly, on days when I consumed only raw green and other smoothies during the day (making sure to get all the food I need of course--it was just in liquid form), I found that I was even more energetic, even at the gym.  I wasn't hungry on smoothie days either, which was kind of a surprise at the time, but now I realize that just because I was drinking liquids, there was no reason to be hungry, because it was lots of food--it was just in a more digestible form!  That was a HUGE surprise, let me tell you!

I didn't find it difficult to maintain eating mostly raw this month, because I didn't set an amount that I HAD to consume.  I just ate lots!  If it wasn't as possible on some days, that was OK.  If I'd set an amount, say 75% raw, that I MUST stick to each and every day, I would have been stressed out all the time about making sure I got it all in.  And if I had a day where I was only 60%, I would have felt bad about it.  So I just ate as much as a could, which sometimes meant 100% raw days, and sometimes 50%.  It's all good!

The verdict? 

I'm definitely going to continue, especially during the growing season.  I still want to take full advantage of all the loveliness around this time of the year!  And since my body loves it, why not right?

So keep checking back!  I'm not going anywhere! 

See you soon!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Raw Days 24-27

I have lovely vegetarian chili simmering on my stove at the moment.  No, not raw chili (is that even possible?) but it IS very healthy.  Nothing unhealthy whatsoever is currently in the chili, and nothing unhealthy will make its way into it either!  The idea that comfort food--especially chili--has to be unhealthy is ridiculous.  Even if I were making chili with meat, there is still no reason it can't be healthy! 

The only downside to making chili?  It has to simmer for a looooong time before it's fit to eat, and in the meantime, I have to keep smelling it!  BAH! lol

I pigged out on kale chips last night.  I bought a huge bunch of kale from the farmer's market on Saturday, way more and way fresher than I would be able to get from the supermarket, for the same price!!  I made two entire dehydrator trays worth, and inhaled them in no time flat.  Then they were all gone...  So sad.

Did you know that you can make decent kale chips in the oven, in about an hour?  I like mine with olive oil, a bit of sea salt, and nutritional yeast, but I hear you can make them with olive oil and sea salt, sea salt and vinegar, paprika and garlic...  Most recipes call for them to be cooked at about 350F, but I much prefer them on a lower temp, for a longer time.  I find that it preserves the kale flavour better.  My recipe is below:

Kale, ripped into bite-sized pieces, however much you want
Sea salt
Olive oil
Nutritional yeast

Pre-heat the oven to 150F.  In a bowl, massage the sea salt, olive oil, and nutritional yeast onto each piece of kale.

Spread evenly on a cookie sheet, making sure to not allow kale to overlap. 

Chips will be done in ABOUT an hour, so make sure you keep checking them.  They're done when they're crispy. 


I made a zesty tomato cracker recipe that I found on Karen Knowler's site, but I didn't care for them.  Not surprising really, since I loathe tomatoes with the passion of 1000 hells, but I thought maybe they'd be OK if they were sun dried tomatoes, which I can take sometimes.  But nope, I loathed them too.  It had nothing to do with the quality of the recipe, and they turned out just as they should, I just didn't like them. 

I also went to the Donkey Sanctuary yesterday!  I've been wanting to go for a while--since it opened to the public, really--but never got around to it.

I'd never met a donkey in real life before!  I'd seen them lots of times of course, but never up-close-and personal.  It was so cool!  There are about 100 animals there, the vast majority of which are donkeys.  Some of them are so friendly that they're allowed to just wander around in amongst the visitors.  At one point I was sitting on a stump, and one of them came right up to me (he was BIG!), and rubbed his nose on my knees.  It was like he and I had been friends for years lol.  So of course I rubbed his ears (they love to have the inside of their ears rubbed) and caressed his face.  They've very sweet--I had no idea they were so amazing!  I'll never think of them as "just" donkeys again!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Raw Day Twenty-Three

Dude--I'm MORPHING into something strange and unusual, but kinda wonderful too!

I was walking home today, when I happened to see a small fallen branch.  On the branch was a clump of very dry but still green leaves.  My first thought was, "Mmmm!  Crunchy kale!!"

WHAT WAS THAT???  Since when have I associated dried, dead leaves with KALE??  Free association with healthy foods?! 

What in the world am I becoming???  HAHA!

I'm also deleriously happy that I'm going to put on a new batch of raw granola!  I thought I'd get all gutzy and maybe put in some pumpkin seed butter in this one!  Revolutionary I know! 

Tomorrow, provided it doesn't rain the whole day, is my work BBQ.  I won't be eating raw for that meal, other than salads and fruit which will hopefully be there.  I signed up for a burger!  I have one every year at the BBQ.  I don't know what they do to them--maybe it's just that it's outside, and all the mucky much managers are feeding us food they make themselves--but the burgers are so darned good!  Seriously!  So I'll be all over that for sure.

After work, I'll be playing soccer.  For the first time.  I keep telling the captain of the team that I don't know anything about soccer (other than that their butts look great from all the running lol), and I'm not exactly going to be an asset to the team, but she keeps begging!  OK FINE, but you get what you get sista!  Who knows, maybe they'll help me to learn, and maybe I'll find something I like.  A fun form of exercise is always welcome!

See everyone tomorrow...provided I survive the game!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Raw Days Nineteen to Twenty-Two

Detoxing.  Even the idea of it makes me run for the hills.  Detoxing involuntarily is even ickier!

I've never been one to "do a detox" because I know that healthy eating and exercising allows our bodies to naturally clean out all the time.  I'd heard from others, who went from completely terrible food habits to good ones, that detoxing is pretty darned unpleasant.  But I'd never had to deal with it, even back when I first started eating clean.

That is until now.  For the past six days, I've felt really really icky, kind of in cycles from pretty OK to super icky.  At first I thought I was coming down with something (which very rarely happens), then I thought it was allergies, but no medication did anything in the least, and it wasn't constant.  Then I spoke to my friend Carla, and she said I most likely am detoxing.

But how can I be detoxing?  It's not like I'm 100% raw.  But apparently "mostly raw" is enough!

It's OK though, because I know that I'm "peeling away a layer" of crud in my system.  I don't know about you, but I don't want crud in my body!  I keep picturing the stuff that can clog a drain sometimes--all slimy and a weird colour, with God knows what in it.  I don't want that in my body!!

During this time, I've of course continued trying new raw recipes, and drinking fabulous raw smoothies.  One of them was this:

Raw Zucchini Hummus

1 zucchini, chopped

1/3 cup cold-pressed olive oil (or other neutral oil, such as flax oil)

1/3 cup raw tahini

3 cloves garlic

3 tbsp lemon or lime juice

1/4 tsp sea salt


Combine all ingredients together in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy. Adjust seasonings, to taste.

(It isn't my recipe, but I can't for the life of me remember where I got it from.  So I can take no credit for this recipe whatsoever.)

I think next time I make it, I may use less than 3 cloves of garlic.  It was tasty, but MAN I was tasting raw garlic for like HOURS!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Raw Day Nineteen

Do dehydrators need to rest?  I sure hope not--mine's been going since Friday afternoon, and won't get a break until tomorrow evening.  I would hope that they're built for this kind of use...right?

What can I say--I like to play with new toys!  Things will probably calm down...eventually...maybe.

I just finished making crackers sans-recipe.  They taste good, but they're really fragile.  I think I need more "binding agent".  Whatever that is with raw crackers!  Not just water, I think it needs something with more staying-power.  I added coconut oil, but I didn't want to add too much, and have it taste all oily.  Over the past year, since greatly increasing the quality of the food I eat (nutritionally, etc) I've become more sensitive to things like oils, to the point where I sometimes can't eat chocolate, (especially if it's cheaper like what's found in most chocolate bars) because I can taste the oil--and you know it's not nice olive oil either.  I'll have to discover what to do...and perhaps actually follow a few recipes. :)

(I'm watching Spain On the Road Again as I create this blog entry.  My goodness that show makes me hungry...especially for fish!!  Mmmm...paella...)

At the farmer's market on Saturday I bought blueberries and pineapple, thinking they might be nice to dry and eat as a snack, or over cereal.  Arthur is working on them at the moment, though I doubt they'll be done much before tomorrow afternoon, since there is so much juice in both.  I've never had dried blueberries before, and I'm very intrigued.  I've had died pineapple lots of times, but I suspect it was with added sugar.  I'm looking forward to what dried pineapple really tastes like.  And they're both dried the "raw foodist" way so they'll retain the vast majority of their nutrients and enzymes.

I'm also making raw granola.  Yes, from a recipe.  It looked amazing spread out on the teflex sheet, and smelled even better. 

I find the problem with commercially-produced granola is that the people who make it seem to have lost sight of why most people want to eat granola--because it's healthy.  But they end up adding so much nonsense to it, that it loses all resemblance to the original items.  Commercial granola often is upwards of 300 calories (and Lord knows how much fat and sugar!) or 1/2 a cup!  What the heck have they done to it??  And as importantly WHY???  It's disgusting and so unnecessary.  Which is why I'm all geeked-out over the idea of raw granola actually being good for me. 

Here's the recipe, from The Complete Book of Raw Food:

2 cups raw almonds, soaked 12 to 48 hours and drained
1 cup raw pumpkins seeds, soaked 8 hours and drained
1 cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked 4 to 6 hours and drained
2 apples, chopped with seeds and stem removed
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Process the almonds in a food processor fitted with the "S" blade into small chunks and transfer to a mixing bowl.  Process the pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds until roughly ground and combine with the almonds.

Process the apples and add them to the nuts and seeds.  Add the cinnamon and sea salt and mix well.

Spread the mixture onto a lined dehydrator tray and dehydrate for 20 to 24 hours at 105F or to a desired crunchiness.  Be sure to dehydrate until all the water is removed from the granola.  Add 1/2 cup raisins to the granola after dehydrating (if using).  Store in a glass air-tight jar.  This granola will last up to 3 months, so make lots! 

I'll take a pic tomorrow evening if it's done, so you can see how it turned out.

I did a half-recipe amount, because I want to try it out, before going to the expense of making a quadruple recipe!  I have a feeling it's going to be marvy though, just based on the aroma when I was mixing it.  If it turns out well, I'll make a super-batch for sure.  The half-recipe filled one tray, allowing for it to be spread out in lumps here and there, rather than in one big thick sheet.  I'm assuming that's how it's supposed to be spread out...I would think that one thick sheet would be VERY hard to dry, but I may be wrong, especially since a lot of the mixture is apple, which will dry down to a much smaller size.  Doesn't really matter much with this batch anyway.  Next batch I'll experiment--maybe do a double batch, and see if I can get it all on 2 teflex sheets (that's how many I have at the moment).  You really can't go too wrong with dehydrating, particularly the things that need to be completely dried, like this granola does.  It's dry when it's dry, and it's not like it's going to burn!

For those who are reading this, wondering how raw foodists could possibly do it all, with the soaking/drying times, let me explain:

Lots of raw dishes don't require any pre-soaking or dehydrating, and those that do, it's important to remember that all it is, is planning.  The 20 or so hours of dehydrating requires no work on my part at all.  The prep was putting the nuts and seeds in the fridge to soak...almonds last night, pumpkin and sunflower seeds this morning.  Then the recipe itself took just a few minutes.  So all it is, is planning.

I already learned to do that, when learning to eat cleanly.  Eating good, nutritious food means cooking most of the time, not opening up a box and slipping it into the oven.  Sometimes that's fine, as a treat, but for all the time, real food is the way to go. 

What it also means, is that I'm a lot more conscious and aware of what I'm eating, and what is going into it.  And surprisingly, it's rather liberating!  Knowing that everything (well...almost everything!) that I eat should contain no "food guilt" at all, because it's good for me, is truly an amazing experience.  Fortunately I've never been a binge-eater (not with meals...but junk is another story), so I don't have to worry about eating too much healthy food.  I can just eat lovely, delicious, fabulous-for-my-body foods, enjoy them immensely...and that's it!

Raw Days Seventeen and Eighteen

My dehydrator came!  I've christened it "Arthur"--get it?  Arthur?  Excalibur??  Have I just stepped blithely off the edge of sanity?? lol

It came to work on Friday.  When a co-worker let me know that FedEx was there with a package for me, I quite literally clapped my hands in glee! 

As soon as I got home, I made a recipe for sweet flax crackers.  I figure crunchy crackers are a good way to start getting to know Arthur--it's not like I can readily screw them up.  If I leave them on for an extra hour, they're not going to burn or anything, they'll just get crunchier.  And since crunchy is what I'm going for, all's well.

They turned out quite well--just like they should have, in fact!  Not bad for my very first attempt at dehydrating!  I ended up leaving them in for a few more hours than the recipe called for, because I wanted them crunchier than they were at the "done" point.  It's been pretty humid here lately, and I'm sure that made a difference in how long it took as well.

I also made Kristin Suzanne's Hearty Garden Burgers.  I didn't have any zucchini, so I just left it out.  They turned out pretty well too, though I think I would need to not think of them as burgers, but rather a veggie pattie, so that I don't automatically make comparisons.  They don't call for a bit of dehydrating, but I did dehydrate them just slightly, because I thought I might use them as 1) a "burger" so I would need a bit more firmness, and 2) maybe in a pita or something, with veggies.  They were crunchy because of the veggies in them, which was a surprise at first--though I don't know why it would be...I've eaten veggies before! lol

Here's the recipe:


Yield 6 - 8 servings

1/2 cup pecans or walnuts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/2 cup chia meal (or flax meal)
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked 1 hour, drained and sliced
1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt
2 - 3 carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 cup red or yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup zucchini, chopped
1/4 yellow or red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or lime juice
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup dates, pitted, and chopped

 Process the pecans and sunflower seeds into a fine grind using a food processor, fitted with the “S” blade. Add the hemp seeds and pulse to thoroughly mix. Set aside in a large bowl.

 Add the chia (or flax) meal to the ground nut/seed mixture and stir to mix.

 Process the sun-dried tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and salt in the food processor. Add the carrots, celery, red bell pepper, zucchini, onion, lemon juice and water and process. Don’t process too much or it gets mushy. Transfer this vegetable mix to the bowl with the ground nut/seed mixture.
Add the dates. Toss briefly to incorporate.

Take 1/3 - 1/2 of the mixture and place back in the food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Transfer to a new bowl. Repeat that process until you’ve done that with all of the mixture.

Form 1/3-cup patties and enjoy on a crisp lettuce leaf as your bun. Or for a more gourmet bun, use two slices of Raw bread.

On another note, I think, though I'm not sure, that I may be detoxing a little.  I had assumed that it was allergies, but I haven't had them in a number of years, not really, and medication isn't doing anything.  I spoke with a friend who is on her own raw food journey--though much more raw than than I am, and much more permanently--and she suggested that I familiarize myself the symptoms of detox, because it's entirely possible that's what I'm feeling.  It would certainly explain why nothing I do seems to help!  If it is detox, then it's a good thing, because better out than in!! 

My challenge at the moment, as I think I mentioned in previous posts, is to finally break my compulsive need for junk.  I've been working on it, and decided a good first step would be that if I really really wanted it, then to have it, but NOT to buy (and thus consume) the mass amounts that I want at the time.  If I buy a small amount, and enjoy that, I'm much more likely to just consume that small amount.  Am I going to go out again and get more?  Unlikely.  So that's what I've been doing, and I found that I've had much less--even though I'm normally craving-crazy during this time of the month.  Interesting!  I also think that eating so many more nutrients has eliminated some of my cravings, because the monster-need hasn't been there at all.

I can't believe that I'm more than halfway though my "mostly raw for 30 days" experiment.  I already know one thing for sure--after I'm done with this month, I'll definitely be continuing with raw foods, as much as is reasonable.  During the summer it will be much easier, so I'll likely be more raw, but as the growing season closes the choices will be a lot less, and with the cold winters here, I'm going to want hot food.  And that's OK!  So long as the food I eat, whether hot or raw, is healthy, I'll be the better for it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Raw Day Sixteen

Today was smoothie day!  I made a huge batch of green smoothie, a very berry smoothie, and a "coffee mocha" almond milk smoothie!  I also had some miso soup, because I wanted something to "cleanse the palate". 

Surprisingly, I wasn't at all hungry, and even had energy to go to the gym!  I suppose it's really not that surprising, really--there were tonnes of nutrients in the variety of smoothies I made, and they're all redily-accessable thanks to being blended.

I'm reading "Raw Emotions" by Angela Stokes, an ebook about our relationship with food.  It's from the perspective of the raw food lifestyle (those wanting to live it), but it can be applied to any healthy lifestyle.  It's been really interesting so far!  I wasn't sure at first if I was going to get anything out of it--I'm not really a salf-help book kind of person.  But when I started reading it, I realized that it's not self-help in the way that I thought it would be.  It's more like pointing me in the right direction, and helping me to discover in myself why I have such a fascination with junky food.  I don't even really like the taste anymore, and I can taste the grease in chocolate bars, etc.  So it's not that my body or taste buds desire these things--it's my mind.  Which I've known for a while, but WHY is the question which has eluded me. 

I'm reading it slowly, digesting things (sorry for the pun!), and I feel a paradigm shift in the way I'm thinking already.  Eventually what I want, among other things, is to think of food as lovely and healthy, not as good or bad, or that I "should" have this or "shouldn't" have that.  I want to automatically live my healthy lifestyle, with mostly healthy foods, and no longer struggle.  Just live, you know?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Raw Day Fourteen and Fifteen

I was making a green smoothie for myself and a friend last night, when I decided to add a bunch of cucumber.  I sliced them up in to manageable pieces, and dropped the slices into the almost-full blender.

I noticed when I dropped in a particularly thick one, that a glob of green smoothie bounced up out of the blender.  I didn't see where it went, and looked everywhere for it, but couldn't find it, so figured it had just went back into the blender.

Later in the evening, when I was preparing for bed, I looked into the washroom mirror, and found the glob of green smoothie...on the top of my head!  Apparently "There's something about" me!!  HAHA!

I'm beginning to notice a difference, with the raw food I've been eating.  Though I'm not 100%, I've noticed that I'm not bloated, when I should be at the moment (you ladies know what I mean); I'm not a complete psychopath; and my cravings aren't beastly either.  So, basically things are much easier than they are 99.9% of the time, during this time.  And THAT ALONE makes all this worth it!

I'm still waiting for my dehydrator.  It's only been 6 days, but I'm chomping at the bit!  And now Canada Post has decided to only make deliveries on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays.  BUT I'M WAITING FOR MY DEHYDRATOR!  How rude!!  BAH I say.

I'm also noticing that I just feel different in general.  I have no idea how to express it--which is unusual for me--I'm kind of calmer I guess, like I'm filled up with cool water or something.  OK that sounded lame, but do you know what I mean?  Cool, calm, serene.  Mostly. 

I'm also spreading the raw food joy;  I've been making green smoothies for a co-worker everyday this week, and she said this morning that she came into work without a coffee (she is a big coffee drinker) because she thought maybe the green smoothie might replace the coffee.  She said that it made her "feel better".  I'm not surprised in the least.  There are so many readily-accessible nutrients in them, PLUS all that iron from the spinach (or whatever) how could she not feel better and more awake?  

I'll make another smoothie for both of us for tomorrow, but adding four handfuls of spinach instead of two.  Hopefully that will help to convince her further to get rid of the brown stuff in favour of the green!

Friday will be a day where I won't likely get much raw food.  I'm participating in a Habitat for Humanity build, and though it's potluck, I have no idea what everyone else is bringing.  PLUS I LOVE BBQ so ain't no WAY I'm not participating in THAT! lol  I knew ahead of time that it was happening, and also that I'll be at a BBQ for Canada Day (1st July), which will be the same kind of thing.  I'll make the healthiest choice reasonable of course, but I'm not going to sweat it.  Or pass up the beer on Canada Day!    

Monday, June 13, 2011

Raw Day Twelve and Thirteen

Happy Raw Monday!

My weekend was pretty good.  I had a lovely almond smoothie for breakfast on Saturday, and then went to the farmer's market.  I'm finding that it's a lot cheaper eating mostly raw, during the growing season here in Southwestern Ontario.  There is a huge abundance of fruits and veggies, which change from month to month, and sometimes from week to week!  And because there is so much, it's also cheaper (and WAY cheaper than the major grocery store chain here).  I normally spend between $80 and $100 a week on groceries, but this week I've spent about $50.  That's WITH 2 young coconuts!  Incredible!

I made a list of what dishes I want to make this week, as I always do, including recipes to make with my new dehydrator.  Which isn't here yet.  I'm trying to be patient.  Really, REALLY trying to be patient!  I got an email on Friday saying it's on its way, and I know I probably won't get it before about the 17th...well, trying to be patient...  Apparently, in this instant, patience is NOT a virtue I have in abundance...

Tomorrow, I'm making my raw meals for the workday (all except dinner) for myself, and also for a co-worker.  Breakfast and all!  She's a great guinea pig, and if she ends up healthier for it, well that's just a bonus!!

I'm making "oatmeal" for breakfast, green smoothies for snacks, the salad from my previous post for lunch, and I'm trying my hand at a coconut cream pie!  I'm a little a-feared!  I'll let you know what happens!!


It looks tasty, though I won't get to try it until tomorrow, more's the pity.  I expect it will be tastier tomorrow, so that's my consolation prize.  My blender had a big of a workout with the thickness of the filling, but other than that it looks pretty good.

There's something very satisfying about working with young coconuts.  Whack!  Whack!  Whack!! Around the edge, waiting for the telltale snap! when the fault-line begins to crack, a few more whacks and suddenly the sound drops--and the top is off!  Today I was going for the flesh, but I also ended up with the coconut milk, which is nothing to turn your nose at!  Young coconut water tastes quite different than the stuff we can buy in stores.  It's hard to describe, but if you've ever had it, you will know what I mean.  If you haven't, get out and find out!  They're super tasty, and also really good for you!  Can you really go wrong??

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Raw Day Ten and Eleven

Yesterday I was being all impatient, wanting my new dehydrator, and I got an email that it is on it's way!  It's coming from the US, but I think it will be here sometime this coming week!  Whoo hoo!  You have no idea how I'm looking forward to it!  I've even planned a few meals for this week that require a dehydrator.  Why not, right?  That way I can jump right in.  I knew that some of the ingredients I'd be using would be better and cheaper to get from the health food store I frequent, so I wanted to plan to make that trip (I usually go on Saturdays, when I go to the market). 

Today I had a hankering for a grated salad.  Yes, it's a weird craving, at least for me--but I thought I'd go with the flow, since I'm trying to get into the habit of eating more veggies.  It's difficult for me, so if I have a craving, I'm going to go for it.

I whipped out  my food processor, and made the following:

For the salad:

Daikon radish
Flaked coconut

For the dressing:

Cold pressed olive oil
Lemon juice
Sea salt

It was super good!  So good in fact, that I ate it all.  It was a LOT, like this huge mound of tasty loveliness, and I ate every last morsel.  I even picked the bitty pieces off of the plate!  This is HUGE for me!

I'm finding that I have a bit of a psychological block when it comes to eating raw.  At the moment, all the foods I've eaten which have been raw, are produce and nuts.  So in my mind, eating raw is all just produce and nuts, and in the forms I've made.  Which isn't true--have you looked around the 'net for raw recipes?  Wholly craparoni, it's a whole new world!  Which is why, really, that I wanted the dehydrator--I want to make all the other stuff, like "burgers" and pies and cakes and crackers and cookies and and and!!

Fortunately I'm not at all timid with trying new foods or new techniques.  I figure that though I'll never go 100% raw, partly because of where I live, I can certainly incorporate a lot more raw goodness in my life.  I've known for a long time that we should all eat about 50% raw for optimal health, but how to do it when all I could think of is salad and carrot sticks?  What horror to have to eat that every single day!  And what RAW JOY to find out that so many things can be made with produce, which aren't salads and sticks!   

I hope that when I start dehydrating it will help me with the mental block.  It will be easier to increase my raw foods hopefully, once there is more variety, and everything doesn't taste raw in the traditional sense.  Different textures, tastes, and experiences!  Can't wait!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Raw Day Nine

I'm so excited I could SPEW!!

I bought an Excalibur Food Dehydrator today!! 

I've been hmmmmming and haaawing for a few weeks now, not sure if I'd use it enough to make it worth spending the money.  I mean, I'm pretty new to this level of raw foods (aka more than just salad and carrot sticks), so did I really know if it was for me?  But then I realized that the amount of time and effort I've put into trying to use my super-old not very good dehydrator, and how enthusiastic I am about incorporating more raw foods into my diet after this month is done, and how many GREAT recipes are out there for raw dishes you wouldn't even think of...  And I decided to do it.

There are so many things which aren't really great for us, or in fact may even be bad, that can be made raw and so much more healthily.  For instance, crackers, pies, cakes, cookies, pizza, tortillas...  It's kind of crazy actually!

I also realized today that my making my own raw almond milk, instead of buying it, is actually SAVING ME MONEY!  The price for one tetra pack, just short of a litre, is now $3.29.  Plus the waste of the tetra pack itself.  The price of about a cup of almonds?  About $2.  Enough said!

I can't wait for my Excalibur to get here!  It's going to be a really long however many days it takes to get here!!

Raw Day Eight

Lawdy I'm glad I'm not cooking today!  It's a scorcher!  It's almost 6pm, and 30C-40C (that's 104F) with the humidex.  Turn on the oven?  Um, let me think...

I had a smoothie today with the fresh raw almond milk I made last night.   I still can't get over how different it tastes from the normal stuff I buy at the store.  It's 10x tastier, and it saves the waste from the tetra pack.  I'm definitely a convert!

Currently I have kale chips in the dehydrator (kale, cleaned and ripped into smallish pieces, spritz of olive oil, some sea salt and nutritional yeast sprinkled on top--they can also be made in the oven, on a cookie sheet, on the lowest possible setting for around an hour), and the newst recipe in Amacuba's test kitchen--Raw Tortillas!  From The Complete Book of Raw Food:

Makes 16 tortillas

2 large carrots, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
2 avocados, pitted
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp each onion and garlic powder
Dash cayenne (I used Mexican chili powder--no cayenne)
2 cups flax meal

Blend the carrots and zucchini with one cup water until smooth.

Add the avocado, sea salt, lemon juice, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne and blend until smooth.  Pour into a mixing bowl  Add the flax meal, and mix by hand.

Divide the batter into 4 sections, and spread each section on a 16x 16 inch Excalibur dehydrator tray lined with a Teflex sheet. (I don't have one of those dehydrators, so I just spread it out on the trays I have).  Score each tray into 4 tortillas, and dehydrate at 105F for 1-2 hours. 

Flip the tortillas and remove the Teflex sheets.  Continue to dehydrate until the tortillas are still moist but seem dry enough to store.  Store in a Ziploc bag at room temp for about a week, or in the fridge for months.

On this first day of the second week of "Mostly Raw for June", I can tell that I'm already more knowledgable about what to make (thanks to what is quickly becoming my favourite book!), and more comfortable with the idea of eating raw.  I've always had trouble with getting in my fruits and veggies--in fact, many days used to go by between any produce passing my lips.  I'm really trying to change that, and I think this month will help a lot with it.  When much of what I eat raw is produce, it's easy to get it in!

I'm really enjoying this so far.  A few months ago I would never have even considered doing this, and here I am all enthusiastic!  I'm also enjoying the fact that there are a LOT less dishes!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Raw Day Seven

Today (until dinner) was smoothie day!  I had 3 smoothies--two green and one "cream".  I also had the "oatmeal" I said I would be having in yesterday's post. 

I'm still amazed that I'm not hungry on smoothie days!  I mean, it's just liquid!  Yes, I know that it's the same as eating a salad each time (depending on what kind of smoothie is made), but it's just so weird! lol

Tonight for dinner I had sushi.  The rice in the sushi is the only thing that isn't raw, so I feel it fits with my "mostly raw" plans for this month.  Literally everything else I had today was raw, which is so cool!

I had a conversation with a friend today, about having difficulty with staying away from junk "food".  I said that I want so badly to just enjoy food for food's sake, exercise for exercise's sake, and just live my healthy lifestyle with joy. 

She said to me, "So do it".

I thought, "well thanks so much for pointing out the blatantly obvious to me!" but then I started really thinking about it, digesting it if you will, and I realized she's right.  I can't expect to live that life...if I don't already live that life.  If I don't start right now, this minute, living that life, then it will be beyond my reach forever.  There are always things to get in the way--it's just a matter of saying enough is enough, and living it.  So simple, and yet so profound!  Be it to achieve it, as they say!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Raw Days Five and Six

Today and yesterday were about experimenting!  Yay!  Crap! lol

I made raw sweetbread.  Yum!  I also made raw sweet flax crackers.  No idea what they tasted like, 'cause they stuck to the wax paper I was using like glue.  I would have had to eat the paper.  I don't think that wax paper is raw, is it?

Tonight I made raw soup!

From "The Complete Book of Raw Food" which I think I just may buy:

Creamy Bell Pepper Soup

Makes 8 cups. It says prep is 20 minutes, but I'm not sure where they get that took me like 3 minutes. I made a half-sized batch.

2 medium-sized red or yellow bell peppers (I used an orange pepper. Gotta be unique.) chopped

2 medium cucumbers, chopped

1/2 medium red onion, chopped

1/4 cup cold pressed olive oil

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp caraway seeds (I used ground caraway seeds...seemed like a better choice)

2 medium cloves garlic

3 cups water

(I only chopped the veg so far as to make them smaller for the blender. I figure they're all pretty soft, so I didn't bother to chop them much.)

Combine all the ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until creamy and smooth.

It's like a smoothie!!

I'm finding that I'm having a hard time letting go of junk food.  I wonder if it's an "internal" ie mental/emotional, rather than physical.  I can take or leave junk, but for some reason I still have it.  Weird huh?
A friend of mine, who is a beginner raw foodie, is going through the emotional side of things since going raw.  Apparently it's common--when the body purges/detoxes, so do the emotions, which I find interesting.

Tomorrow will be my first 100% raw day.  I'm having raw "oatmeal", aka 1 tbsp flax seeds soaked overnight, and blend with a whole apple, a bit of almond milk, and cinnamon.  I'll add some flax meal too, and some nuts, 'cause I like it!  I'll be having 3 smoothies during the work day, chock full of goodness, and the soup I just told you about.  Dinner I think will probably be raw nori rolls, since I have a 1/2 avocado which needs to be used up.

On to Raw Day 6!

**If anyone who reads this has any questions at all, feel free to ask.  I'm always willing to share my "wisdom". :)**

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Raw Day Four

Today I started the day with a breakfast of both raw and cooked items.  My boyfriend took me to breakfast, you see, so I wasn't going to pass that up!!

I was quite full from the breakfast, so I didn't eat again until about mid-afternoon, when I enjoyed something new--a lovely Fuji apple, and some sunflower butter!  I've never experienced sunflower butter before.  Almond, peanut, yes, but sunflower is something completely new.  I liked it--it's more mild than almond and peanut butters are, and also has it's own special taste.  I quite enjoyed it, and it wasn't expensive at all.

Today is a day full of new things!  I also made a few other things:

Raw almond milk!  It looked super-easy when I saw Karen Knowler do it a few weeks ago.  I bought a new blender today for an absolute steal, since my Magic Bullet is just about kaput.  It was SO EASY!!  1 part raw almonds to 3 parts water.  Whiz in blender.  Strain with cheese cloth, or fancy nut milk bag.  That's IT!!

It's crazy--it tastes totally different than the kind you buy in the tetra-packs.  Why?  I have no idea!  But I'm definitely a convert!

Mung bean sprouts!  I'm totally doing it all by myself, and it's easy.  I have no idea what they'll taste like, but they're sprouting like crazy, and will probably be ready for eating tomorrow already!  And they're already so pretty too!

After making almond milk, I had a cup worth of almond meal left over, so I also made Almond Cinnamon Bread from The Complete Book of Raw Food which I've borrowed from the library.  It has a while yet until it's done, but I nibbled a bit of the edge and it's really good!  Here's the recipe for anyone who might be interested:

Almond Cinnamon Bread 
(I only had 1 cup almond pulp, so I adjusted the below recipe)

6 cups almond pulp
2 cups flaxseed meal
1 cup olive or coconut oil (I used coconut oil)
1/2 cup date paste, honey, or maple syrup (I used raw honey)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raisins or currants
2 teaspoons sea salt

Mix the almond pulp and flaxseed meal together by hand in a large mixing bowl.  Add the oil, date paste or other sweetener, cinnamon, raisins or currants, and sea salt, and mix well with your hands.

Press onto a dehydrator tray lined with a Teflex sheet (I used was paper this time).  The dough should be about 1/4-inch thick.  Use your hands to smooth it flat.  Flip the bread using another dehydrator tray, and remove the sheet.  Dehydrate at 105F for about 4 hours (mine is "on" or "off" so I had to keep an eye on it).  Store in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze and remove pieces of bread as needed.

Raw Day Four is almost done, but I'm really liking it so far!  Can't wait!

Raw Day Three

Raw Day Three was a little bit less raw than I'd like, only about 40%.  I attended a talk by a panel of scientists about vitamin D at the University of Guelph yesterday, and how much we really need.  The consensus is anywhere from 600 IU (International Units) to 2000 IU.  If you take a dose of liquid vitamin D3 (which is the one you want), for instance, you will get 1000 IU.

Anyway, I had bought a lovely raw salad with hemp seeds and everything, to eat for dinner, but I wasn't hungry until the middle of the night, which of course is WAY too late.  So my percent was off.  Oh well--life happens, right?

By the way, Karen Knowler, out of the UK, is a great source of inspiration and information on the Web.  There are also lots of videos on Youtube to watch, where she explains about going raw in a series of interviews, and also shows how to make many raw recipes.  See Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 for information about the raw lifestyle, and just browse Youtube for any recipes that peak your fancy.

Julia asked in yesterday's post if eating raw meant eating no cooked food at all, and if it means a mostly vegetarian/vegan diet.  She was also concerned about eating cold food all the time, and getting enough protein.  Great questions Julia!

Most people who lead 100% raw lifestyles, or "high raw", are raw vegans, though of course not all.  Raw Foodists eat nothing heated above about 118 F, as they believe that the enzymes and many of the vitamins and nutrients are lost from cooking over that temperature.  Some Raw Foodists consume things like raw milk, yogurt, etc. 

There's no reason to go 100% raw, however.  June for me will be "mostly" raw, which can be literally defined as between 51% and 100% raw.  I know that saying that I'll go 100% raw just won't work for me, so I'm not limiting myself in any way.  Eating a lot more raw food, whether it's 60% or 80%, will, as I understand it (this is just day four :) ), have an impact.  I live in an area of the world where fresh produce is very limited in the winter months, so being 100% raw during those times certainly would be both a challenge, and frankly kind of boring!  Plus, who wants to eat all cool or cold food all the time?  So Julia, it's more about finding out what works for you, not what works for others, and expecting yourself to do that.  Even Ani Phyo, who is a very successful raw food advocate, doesn't eat raw all the time!

As for getting enough protein, there are many raw foods which contain a surprising amount of plant-based protein.  This article explains about that.  I make a green smoothie or two each day, making sure that I add lots of dark leafy green veggies.  Spinach is lovely and mild, and you can't taste it in your smoothie!  I like the "green" flavours of stronger things, like fresh parsley, so I'm happy to include that too.  Green smoothies are great--they're chock full of goodness!  Looking for recipes and inspiration?  Green Monster Movement is a great site!

I promise--they're darned tasty!  You'll be hooked!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Raw Day Two


It's the evening of Raw Day Two, and I'm pretty happy with today.  I wasn't as raw as I would have liked, but that's OK--it's only Day Two.  The raw things I did have today were a lovely green smoothie (in a pint glass no less!), an apple with raw almond butter, and a surprisingly good "stir fried" vegetable medley.

As I mentioned in my first post, the reason for my going mostly raw for 30 days is to enjoy all the bounty of the season, and learn to incorporate more raw foods into my diet.  I must be completely honest, though--I'm also hoping to improve my overall health.  Not to say that I'm unhealthy--far from it actually--but I feel that I can still improve. 

A few years ago I began to learn about nutrition and how big of a role it plays in our overall health.  I'd always grown up hearing, "eat your greens", but it was always just an annoyance, and I was never taught the importance of nutrition, or how to go about eating a healthy diet and a healthy life.  I was very unhealthy--at 33 I weighed about 80 pounds more than I should, I couldn't cross my legs, I couldn't walk up a flight of stairs without gasping for breath. 

I began to realize that what we put into our bodies affects everything.  When I started eating better, I couldn't believe how much better I felt.  I didn't realize how bad I was feeling, until I had something to compare it to.  I literally was walking around telling everyone how fabulous I felt!!

Then, in the summer of 2010, after a series of nudges from...Fate?  The Universe?  The Almighty?  Who knows, but I was definitely being herded toward learning about eating clean with the help of this magazine.  I was hooked!  I re-learned to cook, using healthy foods to nourish my body.  I started to look different--my body was changing, my skin was glowing!  It was (and is) great!

Then, a friend of mine went 100% Raw.  Raw?  Really?  Like raw raw??  She said she felt amazing, and recommended including more raw foods into my diet.  I agreed, and started slow a month ago, learning about getting all the nutrients in, and gathering raw recipes.  I was always interested in getting in more vegetables, which I've always had trouble with, so it seemed like a good time to try it out.

Then she suggested going raw for June.  I was like, "Whoa whoa whoa crazy girl!  Not gonna happen!" but I agreed to go mostly raw for the month of June.  Mostly can be as little (technically!) as 51%, though so far it's been a lot more.  I was tempted to say yes to 100%, but I have no idea what this month is going to bring, and I don't want to feel bad if something comes up, you know?  So I agreed to mostly raw, knowing that I would make an effort to eat as much raw food as is possible/reasonable.

What this also means is no sugar, aka "White Death" or "El Diablo Blanco".  I grew up on a LOT of sugar, and still, at almost 38 years old, find it hard to say no.  I DID say no for 6 weeks earlier this year, then slid back into my love/hate affair with it. 

And, by virtue of what I'm to be eating when eating cleanly and mostly raw(ly), there will be no junky "food".  Nothing deep-fried, nothing with questionable ingredients, nothing processed.  That's fine with me, since that stuff makes me feel pretty ill, when I do eat it (which is too often if I'm being honest). 

Consistency will be the key this month, I think.  Eating properly and mostly raw, getting in my exercise, getting enough sleep, all will help me take my health a step further.

So!  What an experiment this will be!  Isn't it wonderful?!

Raw Day One

Raw Day One went pretty well.  I ate 80% raw, which was pretty good, especially considering it was my very first day!

I found myself very hungry in the afternoon, and couldn't figure it out--after all, I'd been eating ALL DAY!!--but when I tallied the calories (just to make sure--I don't actually count calories), I found that it was very low, despite eating an entire avocado.  More food needed apparently.  Live and learn.  That's what this experiment is for, right?

I'm also still having my morning cup of tea with milk.  The milk is pasteurized, but not having my tea would leave such a huge space in my day!  It's not because of the caffeine, I just love my tea.  Any tea-lovers out there will know what I mean.

I have two things at the library waiting for me after work today.  One is a documentary, "Raw for 30 Days" about a group of people with both type-one and type-two diabetes going raw for 30 days.  I hear it's amazing, so I thought I'd watch it.  The other is a raw cookbook.  I'm hoping I can gather some good recipes over the month, since I hope to incorporate raw foods into my regular diet (that's diet like this is my healthy diet, not diet like I'm on a diet) once the 30 days are done.  I'm also the kind of person who can't eat the same thing over and over (which isn't very nutritionally-balanced anyway), so I need to gather recipes to try.

So, so far so good.  I need to figure out how much food is enough, since so much of what is eaten in the raw food diet is fruits and veggies, but I'll get there.  I want to make sure I do this month properly!