Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Spring Update!

It's been a few months now so I thought I'd update. Still loving raw foods but not without ups and downs. I have strayed several times from eating mostly raw every day to barely raw some days. One thing I've kept consistent is my daily green smoothies though. I have to have them! I have to!

One thing going back and forth is that you REALLY notice the effect the way you eat has on you! Seriously. I HATE the feeling of sugar now. My sugar addiction still rears it's ugly head here and there, but I really don't like the feeling of it. Other things that change back and forth is my weight, my complexion, my mood, and my voice. Yes, my voice! I can HEAR the difference when I'm keeping up with the raw diet. My voice is smoother and never cracks when I'm raw. I'm not a good singer either way, but when I'm singing my heart out in the car, I can actually hit more notes when I'm raw. It's really amazing! (Don't ask me to show you though.)

This week has been a fairly good week for raw for me. I've been hitting the smoothies hard. We've been going through two to three blender-fulls a day (the kids like them too). I have a list hanging on my refrigerator of what to grab when I'm needing something quick. My list reads: "Veg sandwiches (I use Ezekiel bread--not raw but sprouted and good filled with raw veggies.). Smoothies. Bananas. WATER. Apple ginger lemonade (always helps when I'm craving), and Apples." If I can stick to even just those staples and add some good fun recipes around them, it helps.

I recently bought the book "Nature's Garden" about Edible Wild Plants, by Samuel Thayer after a friend recommended it. I'm so excited to learn about foraging for edible plants. Today the kids and I were tasting some wood sorrel for the first time from the kids' play yard. I can't wait to learn more and make some wild salads.

We've also expanded our garden this spring, I had a tiny one last year, my first. I still have a lot to learn but hoping to get some good stuff out of them in the coming weeks!

So that's how it's been! I think once you know how great it feels to be raw, it's pretty hard to settle for the way you feel eating what you used to eat. I may indulge here and there, and fall off the wagon at times, but I always want to go BACK to raw!

Dehydrated Fruit Roll-Ups!

My lil helper.

Carrot Juice

Monday, February 28, 2011

New Cravings!

One of the things I have enjoyed most about this raw adventure is how my taste and cravings have changed. John was watching a chef show the other day and they were making Ratatouille. After the whole array of vegetables were freshly chopped I found myself thinking "NO! Don't cook it. It looks so wonderful and delicious just as it is!"

If you would have told me I'd be craving onions, red peppers, and scallions a couple years ago I would not have believed it. When I was pregnant with my third child, I did start to like onions. But to me they were only toppings! Like for a vegan pizza or tacos or something. But lo and behold, the past couple nights when I've awakened with the kids (it's been a couple long nights...) I found myself craving just a big bowl of onions and green and red peppers, maybe some herbs and spices on top...So today that was lunch! I also added some cucumber and tomatoes. Oh it was soooo awesome. I was all excited just chopping them up.
So yeah, cravings that used to be for chocolate, cookies, and sugary snacks have been refocused to...onions and peppers.
How strange it seems. But I suppose it is more strange that we get ourselves so accustomed to the unnatural man-made, processed foods that we crave them like an addiction. Maybe what we are really supposed to be craving is fruits and vegetables.
I see now that it is possible!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

One Month-ish, or Something.

Trying to get back into the swing of things after Valentines Day. The kids made vegan cupcakes, not raw ones, and they were impossible for me to turn down. But that's okay. Back on track now. I'm not sure if it's just my view of the raw "diet" or if it is actually different than the other ways of eating, but it seems very easy to jump back into. I stocked up on my favorite fruits and vegetables, whipped up the smoothies and some fresh OJ and voila. I'm back on. It's not all or nothing.
I saw a blog once that was supposed to be a raw foods blog but instead the lady used it as her confession booth. Every day she rattled down all of non-raw splurges she succumbed to, like she was committing a horrible sin each time. It was not a very inspiring blog and her guilt must have made the raw way of life seem difficult and unattainable for her with her strict definition. We're all on our own path. Aiming in the right direction is all you can ask for sometimes.

Back to Valentine's Day...I've been thinking lately. Raw foods are way sexier than meat, dairy, and processed foods, aren't they? I mean, just picture eating fresh strawberries, peaches, ...bananas! Way sexy right? I don't think I even need to go into detail on that one. (Haha, sorry!).
Now picture eating burgers, cheese pizzas, and sipping soda. Grease dripping down your face and all over your napkin, bubbly soda giving you that sticky gross feeling in your mouth and on your teeth and then burping up all the carbonation. Then feeling more like sitting on the couch or taking a nap afterwards. Not so hot. Raw is way hotter! You smell better, look better, and have actual energy to move with!

On to salad. Hey, you know what? The salads I have now are SO much more awesome than the ones I used to make. Before, my salads were basically lettuce or spinach, some store bought vegan dressing and maybe some croutons. Now my typical salad is spinach or romaine, with a raw almond topping (processed in the food processor with garlic and seasoning), lemon juice, olive oil, red pepper, raw cashews on top, and maybe some diced apple. Sprinkled with some Italian seasoning and a dash of sea salt. Now THAT'S a salad! It actually becomes a true full meal now instead of a side salad.

I'm happy to say at this point I'm no longer counting days and weeks. I know it's been a bit over one month now for me. The first few weeks I couldn't wait for the next day just to know I'd made it one more day. But, by gosh, I think it has actually worked it's way into my life! My comfort zone. Yes, I can keep this up.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Raw Potluck

My daughters and I attended a raw vegan potluck today at Ecopolitan raw food restaurant in Minneapolis. I made a zucchini noodle dish with an almond sauce. It was great to have a plate full of new kinds of raw dishes! My daughters stuck to the berries and grapes but also enjoyed a bunch of blueberry-cashew balls rolled in coconut flakes. They were awesome! There were a couple wonderful salad dishes as well. One was very much like a coleslaw, and the other was a kale salad that was surprisingly wonderful! I also tried a cup of green smoothie someone brought. I wasn't sure I'd like it since I always feel I need fruit to balance out a green smoothie and this one had none. It was, however, really tasty! I can't recall all the ingredients but I know there was cilantro and olive oil since those stuck out in my mind when the smoothie's creator rattled them off, among a list of other greens...
It was very quaint and a small group. I had expected a big enthusiastic group of energetic bouncy people for some reason, haha. But they were very laid back and it kind of felt like we were over at someone's house for dinner. I didn't get to stay all that long though because after they ate, my girls were running around and chasing each other and screaming too much! We decided it must be all the energy from the raw meal they just had.
I'll probably go again in the spring or summertime. I enjoyed meeting others who understand and make raw foods and holistic health part of their life. It was a great way to keep my enthusiasm going on my own raw eating!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

End Of Week Two

Two weeks in now!  I've been enjoying some of some raw bread I made in the dehydrator and my kale/banana/berry smoothie I've kept in the refrigerator. I have kale chips dehydrating as I type for later and almonds soaking, because it seems I always need soaked almonds for something!
I cannot claim the full 100% raw at this point as I've made a couple of exceptions. Most raw foodists aren't 100% but are usually closer to 80% which I'm fine with. Right now I probably am at about 95% or so. One exception I've consciously made, is Terra vegetable chips, which I'm using for all the raw salsa I've been making. Now I'm sure they aren't dehydrated at low temps but I figured they're as close as I'm going to get. I've tried several times to make my own chips with no success. I also used a bit of my vegan cold-pressed margarine on the dehydrated bread when my nut butter didn't turn out.
When I first made these exceptions I feared it might knock me off my raw foods lifestyle I so want to be committed to. And I thought about the reasons I was doing so and feared they were simply excuses. After all, becoming vegan, to me, was an all-or-nothing thing. However, it's actually feeling great to not be so hard on myself for once. Just knowing I'm not as restricted lifted my spirits. It feels more do-able to continue a raw food lifestyle now.
I think it's different for everyone and each individual should monitor how they feel at different percentages raw. I'm very glad I stuck to my guns the first two weeks though because I don't think I could have overcome my food addictions and cravings had I not been in it "all-or-nothing."

My typical day now, at two weeks, is a big glass of water in the morning. Then a bit later I have a green smoothie. Mid morning a banana and at this time I work on whatever I'm planning for an afternoon or evening meal. Whether it be soaking, or dehydrating, I start it early so that so it will be done later. Usually, I have something soaking and sometimes something dehydrating overnight if I think of it too.
Around lunch I use what I was soaking overnight or whip something up in the blender. Or perhaps more smoothies. I snack on fresh fruit and hand fulls of raw nuts throughout the day.
In the evening hours I make whatever I had planned and prepared for. If I haven't prepared anything, then I make a great spinach salad with raw cashews, tomatoes, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil (and a creamy avocado mixed in if I have some).
If I get the urge later evening I'll have a banana or apple. I'm still working on not eating right before bed as I've heard late night eating isn't that great for digestion and health.
So that's where I'm at right now! Hoping to continue at a good 95% for a long period of time. I'm focusing on spring and summer being right around the corner. And how sweet it would be to be raw for the summer. When it's green and warm all around me. I'll feel so peaceful and healthy to be eating a living foods diet and be surrounded by green life and sunshine!!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 9, Still Transitioning.

It's the end of day nine and today was long. I'm tired and feeling depressed today. What's with that? I'm waiting for more of this raw energy to kick in!!! The cravings have settled but today, being yet another cold cooped up Minnesota day, with John at work and me home with the kiddos, had me longing for some comfort food. I just wanted to order a pizza and pig out. I didn't. But it was really bumming me out today.
Yesterday went very smoothly. Few cravings and overall upbeat. So I guess there will be good days and bad days during this transition. Still managing to keep my head above water.
This is going to seem so much easier in the springtime I'm thinking...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Week 2

So I made it through the first week! Yesterday, day 6, was probably the hardest. I was getting tired of the few ingredients I had in the house. We were running out of bananas and zucchinis and I let myself get hungry so cravings were hitting. To make things more difficult, my kids (vegan, but not raw) were requesting all their favorites so I was making good smelling couscous and pastas and sandwiches. My daughter even was trying to talk John into ordering pizza, a huge weakness of mine! Luckily, we didn't order pizza and John was headed out to run errands anyways, so I sent him with a list. After everyone was asleep I forced myself to get some banana and zucchini chips started in the dehydrator so I'd be prepared with some snacks when I woke up and went to bed planning on those, smoothies, and carrot soup, for which I know had the ingredients, for the next day. Glad I did.
This morning I had a couple of glasses of water first thing. Then later  I munched down the zucchini chips and had a banana and a sip of smoothie. Then headed to the gym where I haven't been in a couple months (holiday break, haha). A good workout and some carrot soup has pulled me back on track.
Mornings are good. I love waking up and feeling different! I love looking in the mirror at how I'm changing. My face looks happier and calmer, and I'm not bloated anymore, and I've lost about 6 pounds this past week. It's a great start to the day to know you are doing something good for yourself!

Friday, January 14, 2011

First Week 100% Raw Vegan!

I started my raw vegan experience officially on Thursday.  I've been vegan for 14 years and had tried to go raw a few times before but it didn't last due to my sugar addictions. Now that I'm over them, this is starting out fabulously! I'm loving the food and the changes I'm feeling. I love that I can be creative and come up with new ideas and they almost always work! This is unusual to me since I've never been a great cook. But apparently, I CAN "uncook!"

Here are some Tips for the First Week I've come up with that have worked for me:

-Keep a blender full of green smoothie in the fridge at all times. My main mix is kale, apple, banana, and some lemon or lime.

-When a craving hits, IMMEDIATELY grab either a banana, apple or chug some green smoothie.

-Don't drink water with meals, but DO drink plenty of water, which will also help with cravings.

-Dehydrate stuff! It's nice to have the stable munchy things around, plus, as it's dehydrating you can steal some throughout the day (like warm chewy banana slices awaiting to be "chips!!")

-Check out That's become my favorite website this week. It has tons of recipes people send in and they are rated by those who try them.

-Find inspirational websites and books and dvds about raw food to keep you enthusiastic.

-Get at least one raw cook book to look up the basics and get ideas and recipes. The one I have is "Raw, The Uncook Book" by Juliano. I haven't made any specific meal from it yet this first week but have used it countless times to look up ingredients, ideas, and information. The entree pictures in it are great and there are some really cool recipes I can't wait to try once I have the hang of all this!

-Keep stocked. That's been the hardest for me so far. We've gotten groceries 3-4 times this week already. Go to the store as often as you need so you have food on hand. You don't want to run out of fresh fruits and veggies on a raw diet. And the first week, you don't want to run out of those specific favorites that are keeping you going!

-Make it pretty! Arrange your foods in a way that's pleasing to your eyes. Make it beautiful and a pleasure to eat!

-Be creative! Like I mentioned above, you can use your own ideas too with little risk of something failing when it's raw. If you use sea salt use it sparingly however. Nothing worse than a beautiful raw meal that's too salty to eat!

-I read on a forum once a post that said "Nothing cooked tastes as good as raw FEELS." I said that to myself over and over again this week.

-ENJOY all the amazing changes as your body detoxes and improves. You are becoming a new and healthier you! Embrace it. Make it part of your new identity! Some small and some huge new benefits pop up every day raw!