Sunday, September 27, 2009

Taking charge of my feminine body!

Well, it sure has been a busy month and a half since I last wrote. I had tons of fun making raw food during the first half of August. Then my diet got a little sloppy and I felt a slight inclination toward a cleanse. I wasn't really motivated to do anything too drastic, but I wanted something...something to test and strengthen my "discipline muscle." I picked up a book on a whim called "The Optimum Wellness Cleanse" by Kathy Freston. The principle behind it is that for 21 days you abstain from the "Big 5"; all animal products, alcohol, caffeine, sugar (except for stevia and agave nectar), and gluten. While this cleanse was obviously targeted at people who eat a heavy, meat-and-dairy laden diet, I was fascinated about trying to go completely sugar and gluten free for that length of time. I knew this cleanse wouldn't actually be very cleansing for me, considering it allowed unlimited amounts of foods I know to be less-than-life-force-generating, such as soy products, mock meats, mock-cheeses, nuts, etc, but I thought the sugar and gluten restriction would be enough to practice self-control with. I also knew it could help prepare me for a stricter cleanse afterward, if I decided I wanted to increase my level of cleansing.

The Optimum Wellness Cleanse was exactly what I expected; not very cleansing for someone already living a mostly vegan, alcohol-free, and caffeine-free lifestyle but definitely challenging in terms of living completely gluten and sugar free. I enjoyed the lack of sugar obsession that resulted from abstaining. Temptation was there at first, but then melted away. I just didn't crave it. I was, however, allowed to eat raw sweets since stevia and agave were considered cleanse-approved, so I wasn't completely lacking dessert. I did encounter a slight struggle overcoming the urge to eat my beloved dark chocolate which was NOT cleanse-approved, due to its sugar and caffeine content.

Once my 21 days were up, I felt good knowing I could live without sugar and gluten. But I did not feel great. I did not feel cleansed. Ever since my failed attempt at doing Natalia Rose's "Detox for Women" program, I've wanted to do it again. Well, actually, I wanted to want to do it again. I wanted to feel the motivation to do it. But over the past few months, I just haven't had the urge to give up my vices and take control of my finances enough to do it. But somewhere toward the end of the "Optimum Wellness Cleanse," I looked down at my body and realized it looked so unnatural. I just knew I was meant to be thin, lean, and toned with smooth, firm skin. Yes, I have hips and a butt, but I am not meant to have the "extra baggage" around them. So I was suddenly drawn to the "Detox for Women" program again, and decided I wanted to commit to it as much as possible for the entire month. I told myself I would just lean into it (a term I learned from "Optimum" which I like and can now understand better with the "Detox" cleanse) and could "cheat" if I really wanted to.

So I started Detox for Women. I re-read the book, bought plenty of produce for juicing, made a few glasses of the green juice all at once and froze them in individual cups to make my mornings easy (just grab, go to work, let defrost, and drink!), bought plenty of salad greens and veggies, and started eating according to the principles of the program. A few days in, I decided I wanted to eat raw goat cheese (and the also acceptable organic pasteurized goat cheese, sheep cheese, and raw cow cheese) but this time, closely monitoring how I reacted and felt; the last thing I wanted was to trigger a binge. The last time I chose to eat the raw goat cheese, I instantly wanted to eat less-cleansing cheeses, and then quickly moved on to eating all sorts of unhealthy, non-vegan and non-cleansing foods completely. But being very picky about my quality cheeses helped. Since I have always loved cheese, vegan and non-vegan cheeses alike, it really makes me feel satisfied when I allow myself to eat it in some form. And since soy products and processed foods are restricted on this program, I am going with the goat cheese. Another allowance that I love about this program, is the 70% cacao dark chocolate I can have for dessert. I LOVE dark chocolate. It's just so luscious and light. I'm also allowed a glass of wine. I'm not a drinker--in fact, I haven't drank in over two years, but something about this time in my life made me feel like a glass of wine with some dark chocolate was appropriate; this feeling definitely had a lot to do with the fact that my boyfriend is on tour for over a week right now, and I really want to have "woman-time" while he's away, and treat myself really loving and act feminine. I have had a few of these wonderful, peaceful "wine-and-chocolate" evenings and feel no feelings of addiction or binging. I don't even get anything more than a slight, warm, buzz. Sigh. What a perfect serenity I feel from being so in control of my body!

I'm on day six of this program and I already feel amazing. I've been drinking my juice every morning, eating two salads a day, and properly combining all my meals. I can already tell I've lost weight, even though I am still dedicated to avoiding the scale. I don't care how skinny I get; no good can come from becoming weight-obsessed again. I feel so beautiful and that is all that matters. I look forward to the remainder of this program and intend to incorporate many of these principles in my diet and lifestyle for good.

But it doesn't stop there; I have more news. For the past few months, if not longer, I have had this strong urge to quit birth control. At the very least, I have wanted to quit using it continuously. I have been on the pill since I was 18, which means I have been consuming synthetic hormones for 7 years straight. I have used it semi-continuously (which gives you 4 periods a year instead of one each month) for at least 4 or 5 years, and completely continuously (absolutely no periods) for about 2 of those years. I grew up with a lot of shame about my feminine body. I started puberty before any of my friends and was not ready or prepared for boobs and periods when they came. I was so embarrassed when my mom forced me to wear a bra when I was nine. And I was so disgusted when I got my period when I was 14. I was always really uncomfortable about having a period, so once I learned I could quit having one by manipulating my usage of "the pill" I was all for it. I didn't care what the risks were; I didn't even ask. I just asked if it was possible to end my period and gobbled up those pills every day.

But then I started learning about health and nutrition; about hormones and estrogen. And with "Detox for Women" I learned a little bit more about how birth control pills (and any medication or drugs) can interfere with cleansing and weight loss. So I've had this nagging feeling that I should quit birth control, but didn't know what else to do. My boyfriend and I have never had to use condoms in the six years we've been together and we are very determined to avoid pregnancy. But I had been using and abusing my body for our sexual convenience for too many years and just decided I was done. I wanted to be a natural, real woman for once. There's just been this sudden change in me, where I want to embrace my femininity, respect my body, and treat my self well. I want to have the most perfect and pure female body that I can have, inside and out. And that means, not only do I need to eat a pure, cleansing diet and quit eating shit-food, but I also need to quit pumping my body with fake hormones that could be really detrimental to my well-being. I've heard what an over-load of hormones can do. I just want to experiment with going off "the pill" and see what it feels like; I have never had that experience as an adult woman! For all I know, I might feel completely a good way! I am prepared that I could get sick and not feel so great while my body detoxes from the pills. But it will be worth it in the long run.

Anyhow, part one of the story: get off the pill. Part two? Well, I knew I needed some form of natural birth control, if there was a such thing. So I did an internet search and ended up: HERE. I was so fascinated by what I learned from this website about the "Fertility Awareness Method", so I bought the book that explains even more about it. Basically, "FAM" brings you completely in touch with your feminine body, helps you gain a deep understanding about your menstrual cycle, and ultimately teaches you to know when your fertile and infertile days are. This seems like it is exactly what I'm looking for: a way to embrace and understand my feminine body, live naturally and hormone-free while still avoiding pregnancy without a constant use of condoms! If done correctly and consistently, "FAM" is supposedly as effective as "the pill." Awesome. I can't wait to start reading this book. I have read so many positive reviews about it and one of my co-workers has read it and loves it also.

Yesterday I took my last birth control pill. If all goes well, I should be getting my first period (in at least two years) soon...hopefully this week, but who knows how long it will take for my cycle to become re-established. And for the first time EVER, I am looking forward to it! A period has brought me nothing but shame and disgust before; now I recognize it as a privilege and a miracle of the female body. Instead of mutilating and manipulating my body, I am going to learn how to work with nature and embrace who and what I really am on the physical level.

I can tell I am on a new path in this body of mine and I am greatly looking forward to it!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Busy in the kitchen with Ani's Raw Food Dessets Book!

Oh boy was yesterday a busy day in the kitchen for me! I hadn't expected to make so many delicious treats! I have tons of pictures to share but unfortunately, not many recipes as most came from Ani Phyo's newest book, "Ani's Raw Food Desserts." And while I'm sure it's not exactly illegal to post recipes from the book, I DO want to support this book as much as possible. So I will share my pictures in hoping that it will inspire you to get off your lazy ass and go buy this AWESOME book! After making these recipes, it is safe to say that this is my favorite raw foods book so far! (Can you tell I love sweets?) It's easy enough to live off of fresh fruit and creative salads without the use of a recipe book, but when you get that sweet tooth craving, it's good to have some amazing, simple, and totally out-of-this-world-I-can't-believe-this-is-raw-it's-so-good recipes. At first glance, these recipes looked too simple to be good; I thought they would be bland or mediocre. But no, these are so scrumptious, reminding me that sometimes simpler is better!

(As a side note, a few months ago I purchased "Just Desserts" Ebook by Heathy Pace and "The Best of Raw Freedom Community" and "The Best of The Sunny Raw Kitchen" both by Carmella. While I have yet to make anything from these books quite yet, the recipes look INCREDIBLE and from what yummy-ness I have experienced on the Raw Community Forum and on both these ladies' blogs, these books MUST be amazing, and might just take the lead. I'll have to get off MY lazy ass some day and make something from them!)
Let's get started.

First off, I made Lemon Cookies. I'm not sure where I first discovered this recipe, but here's a link to where I think it


These were tart and sweet! It could have used a little less lemon juice, but I think that's because I have very tart lemons. My work sells a big bag of at least 6 NON organic lemons for just over $1 so I used one of those. I find that organic lemons have a sweeter flavor for the most part. I did, however, use an organic lemon for the lemon zest and some of the juice needed in the recipe.

NEXT I discovered what quickly became an all-time favorite...Carmella's Kelp Noodles in Peanut Sauce! WOW! I didn't expect this to turn out so AMAZINGLY delicious! I just couldn't imagine how those ingredients were going to taste enough like a peanut sauce but holy crap, they did! The almond butter, tahini, lime, and coconut butter made the perfect combination to create a tasty Thai Peanut sauce! I let the noodles marinate in the sauce in the dehydrator for 30 minutes and then sat down to a delectable meal of soft noodles in a creamy sauce. The next day, I ate my leftovers. The noodles and veggies were much softer from marinating over night, but I still wanted the semi-warm taste from the dehydrator, so again I popped it in for 30 min. Even BETTER the next day! You gotta try this recipe, especially if you are curious about kelp noodles!


NEXT, after bumming around on the RFC, I came across a recipe for Ani Phyo's "Black Sesame Sunflower Bread" and was reading about the positive responses, and decided I should make it. I had made it before a few years ago, but it was right before I got really sick, which turned me off to EVERYTHING I was eating at the time. I couldn't even remember if I liked this bread. So I figured it was time to try it again. And another winner! You can dehydrate it in as little as 5 hours, which will give you a moist, soft bread, or you can leave it in longer for longer storage. I did a little of both. I'm not a fan of totally dry raw breads, so mine are all still relatively pliable.

I made mine with regular sesame seeds, as I couldn't find black ones. Black seeds look a lot prettier, I think, but I'm sure it tastes just as good! Also, I cut most of the pieces even smaller than the recipe calls for, as sometimes my appetite isn't big enough for a whole piece. Here is a slice with avocado, tomato, and sprouts:


NEXT I made "Breakfast Toast" out of Ani's Raw Food Desserts. I'm eating a piece as we speak! I kept mine on the slightly softer side. I like it topped with almond butter and bananas and then popped into the dehydrator to warm it up.


NEXT I made Ani Phyo's "Key Lime Kream Bars", "Carob Walnut Cookies", "Ice Kream Sandwiches" (made with key lime bars and the cookies), "Liquid Chocolate", "Bonbons" (made with key lime bars and liquid chocolate), and "Chocolate-Covered Bananas" (made with liquid chocolate.)

The Key Lime Kream Bars were sweet and tart and extremely versatile. They could easily be made into a cheesecake, by pouring the recipe over your favorite crust in a spring form pan. I poured my mixture in a spring form pan, imagining that would be the easiest to work with. I really just wanted to make the Ice Kream Sandwiches. While the mixture was in the freezer, I made the Carob Walnut Cookies. I flattened out the mixture with my hands, and then used a circular shape to cut out the cookies. Since I don't have cookie cutters, I took apart this metal frosting applier thingy...what's that thing called that you use to make piping with frosting on cakes? Whatever it is, I used that. It just shows that sometimes you gotta be really creative! Anyhow, once the Key Lime Kream was frozen, I used the same circle to cut out pieces of that. Since the shape was so small (maybe only 1 1/2 inches wide) the height of the Kream looked a little tall between the cookies, so I cut east piece in half, which gave me two circles of Kream! Once all the cookie sandwiches were assembled, I had a lot of Kream left. I cut the rest into bars, save for the oddly shapes scraps that came from around my circle cut-outs.


What should I do with all these scraps, I wondered? Make Bonbons, of course! I quickly whipped up some Liquid Chocolate which is just coconut oil and cacao powder, with mesquite powder and agave nectar being optional additions. Since I didn't think I needed much, I made only half the recipe and used a mixture of raw carob and non-raw cocoa powder. Here's my adaptation:

Liquid Chocolate
Adapted from Ani Phyo's Raw Food Desserts

1/2 cup liquid coconut oil (measure, and then place in bowl in dehydrator until liquid)
1/8 cup raw carob (I put both "chocolates" half-and-half together in a 1/4 cup measure)
1/8 cup cocoa powder (or cacao, or all carob, or whatever you want!
1/2 tbsp agave nectar

Sift your carob/cocoa mixture into the liquid coconut oil (I DID NOT sift when I made this, and it was VERY chunky. Lesson: SIFT!) and add the agave. Wisk together. Now you can cover up anything from Kream bars to fruit and beyond!

Once my liquid chocolate was made, I took the Kream scraps, let them soften on the counter for a couple minutes, pressed them into a rounded tablespoon (would have worked best with a small ice cream scoop) and then put them on a plate to freeze. Once re-frozen, I tossed them in the liquid chocolate, and then put them in the freezer again. After minute or two, I followed that with another coat of liquid chocolate since it was looking a little thin (the warmer the chocolate, the thinner the layer will be.)

I figured while I was making Bonbons, I might as well make Chocolate-Covered Bananas as well! I cut three bananas into thirds, skewered them (cut the long skewers in half), froze them for a few hours, and then dipped them in the liquid chocolate. Well, my method was more of spooning the chocolate over the bananas to get them evenly coated. I topped them with goji berries, and popped them back in the freezer. The liquid chocolate hardens within seconds, and is perfectly ready for eating after a minute or two in the freezer, so you can have your dessert in a flash!


Like I said, I didn't sift my cocoa, so the chocolate looks a little chunky. But it tastes amazing!

Wow, this feels like a VERY long post. Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What's your internal weight?

Yep, I've been staying away from that scale and it feels good. I can tell I'm losing weight, and I feel amazing. Part of me wants to jump on that scale and see just how much weight I've lost and how much more I have to lose until I am at my perfect weight, but all this will do is: a.) boost my ego to an unnecessary degree or b.) crush my self esteem and attract self loathing. And both will encourage a weight obsession that is not healthy to my mind, body, or spirit. So what I'm working on, in the spirit of getting in touch with my "inner body" is asking myself, "What is my INTERNAL weight?" Not how much do my insides weigh, but how do I feel inside? Beyond my mind, beyond my does my higher self feel about my body? And my current answer is: cleansing. Yep, that is my internal weight. It may not be a number, but that doesn't make it any less valid. I can feel my body is detoxing and releasing fat. I'm not at my perfect weight quite yet (I'll know when I'm at my perfect weight because I'll feel light and strong and clean, and I'll feel like I have created a perfect vehicle for my spirit) but I'm definitely getting there. I like my body NOW, and that is what matters!

Also, I've been doing a lot more yoga at home lately. My minimum is usually about 10 minutes of sun salutes in the morning, but lately I've added a couple more poses and probably spend about 20 minutes every morning before I go to work. I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but it's invigorating, and all the time I can spend on it without waking up earlier than 5 am! The other day I spent the longest time EVER on yoga poses at home: almost 1.5 hrs! I just did the poses out of "Happy Yoga" by Steve Ross (which I am still reading) and had myself an amazing evening. I lit candles, played calming music, and stretched my body. "Happy Yoga" is such a winner for so many reasons. It really sparked my commitment to return to a high raw diet, as well as opening me up to further lessons about the spiritual aspect of yoga AND the physical poses! I just LOVE the powerful sun salute I learned from the book! It's much more refreshing and more of a work out than the one I had been used to before, but I usually can only do about 3 repetitions.

In other news, I have stocked up on many raw essentials to get me going again: tahini, coconut butter, braggs (instead of nama's much cheaper and I was curious to try it), raw almond butter, agave nectar, and lots of nuts and seeds. This week I've made Ani's Tahini Lemon Dressing, More Almond Frangipane Kream from Ani's Raw Food Desserts book, lots of salads, tried Dulse in my salad for the first time, tried Braggs liquid aminos for the first time (in the tahini dressing), tried some yummy store-bought raw crackers to use with the rest of my pesto from last week, and tried a raw soup today that I totally LOVED!

I've never really been a big fan of raw soups; I was turned off of them early on because I tried a couple recipes that really weren't appetizing. Since then I've liked a couple raw soups, mostly from Natalia Rose's books, but nothing too incredible. Nevertheless, something inside told me to give raw soups another chance. So I went to the RFC to see what recipes were out there that others could recommend. I was surprised by the answer: Cream of Zucchini Soup. It doesn't sound very good, but there was so much positive response about he recipe. And even more surprising was the fact that the recipe came from a book I have had for years, "Raw Food Made Easy or 1 or 2 People" by Jennifer Cornbleet! I have flipped through this book and made a few recipes, but always half-heartedly flipped over the soup section. This soup never caught my eye. But I was determined to try it. Needless to say, it is absolutely delicious! I had it lightly heated over the stove. I set the stove to medium, letting it warm while stirring constantly. I have a helpful gadget that I rarely ever use, but came in handy in this: a thermometer with an alarm that goes off when the food has reached a pre-set temp. It let me warm my soup without cooking it past 110 degrees! The soup tasted great right out of the blender, but after tasting it lightly warmed, I realized that that's the key to my enjoyment of raw soups! There's something about my taste buds that just get a little bored or wierded out about eating a cold, thick (or thin), savory liquid for too long. It makes me feel like I'm eating a dip. It might taste good, but dips are meant to be eaten lightly, not an entire bowl plain. But now I realize I just need to warm the soup, so it really reminds me of...SOUP! (I'm not sure if anyone else has this preference, so just ignore this if you are fine with cold soup)

Anyhow, this soup will become a daily staple in my kitchen from now on :)

Cream of Zucchini Soup from Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People by Jennifer Cornbleet

Serves 2 (but I ate the entire recipe in one sitting, so you might wanna make extras!)

½ cup water
1 zucchini, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon mellow white miso (I used 1/2 tsp Braggs)
½ teaspoon crushed garlic (1 clove)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
dash cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ avocado, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh minced dill, or 1 tsp dried

Place all of the ingredients except the olive oil, avocado and dill in a blender. Blend until smooth.

Add the olive oil and avocado and blend until smooth. Add the dill and blend briefly just to mix.

Serve immediately, chill, or warm lightly on the stove.


I ate the ENTIRE recipe served alongside a salad and raw crackers topped with (non-raw) hummus. Geez, I need to get some smaller bowls so I don't eat this whole recipe each time I make it!

And to conclude today's blog, I would like to share the things I am making this week: Black Sesame Sunflower Bread from "Ani's Raw Food Kitchen"...I made these once before a couple years ago, but it was right before I got a massive kidney infection (which turned me off to what I had been recently eating; this bread being one of them) so I can't remember what it tasted like. I'm sure I loved it. But I'm gonna try it again! Next, I will make Breakfast Toast, Key Lime Kream Bars, and Carob Walnut Cookies (and combining the lime bars with the cookies to form ice cream sandwiches) all from "Ani's Raw Food Desserts" (that Ani Phyo sure is a raw-foods-hero!), Lemon Cookies, and Carmella's Kelp Noodles in Peanut Sauce! I am very excited to make all of these recipes!

What a great life :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

More fun with Kelp Noodles, Yoga, Books, and Raw Desserts!

The journey to health can be arduous. You find passion in eating healthy for a while, and then one day you have a temper or don't feel too well and you just want to give in and eat comforting crap. This happens to me often, and it can take a lot sometimes to snap me out of it, and remind me of what I deep down know is best for me. Deep down I do KNOW (as we all KNOW truth if we listen to the 'self' that lies beyond our thoughts and body) what is best for me: which kinds and how much exercise I like and need, which foods are best for my body and health, how much I need to eat. But if you unknowingly fall out of your cloud of bliss, you can land on a roller coaster ride of confusion and less than healthy choices. I would love to find freedom from this roller coaster once and for all some day. What does accomplishing this take?

While I'm not exactly sure what the answer is, I do feel I am capable of getting there. The best key that I have found is of a spiritual nature. When my mind, body, and spirit are balanced and all equally nourished, I make better choices, I AM balanced. It is when my mind is at ease and quiet that I can feel the freedom. It is when I feel there is peace in my life. It is when I am doing yoga. It is when I am eating light and healthy. It is when I eat more raw foods. It is when I let go of the nagging questions and worries in my mind ABOUT health, wellness and diet. And one thing leads to another. I make a valiant effort to eat well one day. I feel great. I feel inspired to get a new book to encourage the healthy lifestyle I want. I get excited and eat well again the next day. I learn new yoga poses. I learn new spiritual insights through reading my new books. I feel even greater.

This has been my week. While I've had ups and downs, I've come out on top. For example, I had a cold for a couple days (either from detox symptoms from my improved diet, or from the chemical cleaner I smelled someone using at work, which burned my nose a bit) and I started feeling crabby. I wanted to complain and go home from work and have people feel sorry for me. But I made it through my work day (thanks to having a job that I love) and then the next. After a while, I got over that subtle feeling of subconsciously wanting to feel bad so I can feel sorry for myself and have others do the same. I remained grateful for my body's amazing ability to detox and heal itself, and for the fact that besides being congested and foggy and tired, I felt great! And at some point through my third day, after doing some new yoga poses, I felt my energy return. I was happy, positive, and balanced.

And today I feel absolutely awesome in every way. I love the food I'm eating. I love moderation. I love exercising and stretching. This is a feeling that I want to last. Part of me is afraid it will slip away like a dream if I have one hectic day. But the best thing to do, I think, is not to grasp or want. Just be. Falling down will just help me grow in the process of getting back up again, so there's no need to be afraid or obsessing.

Speaking of obsessing, I haven't weighed myself in quite some time. Actually, I take that back; I stepped on the scale a couple weeks ago to some grave disappointment, and quickly decided I was right to refrain and returned to my not-weighing-myself. And now, as I FEEL thin and light, and imagine I have lost some weight, the urge to weigh has returned. I thought about weighing myself again once I'm certain I've reclaimed my perfect weight. But then I thought, what will this do? If I find that I have in fact reached my perfect weight, it will fulfill my ego, and in turn create obsession over every single fluctuation on the scare thereafter. And if I find that I didn't reach my perfect weight, I would feel horribly negative and depressed and even more obsessed with weight. The idea I'm playing with is throwing my scale away (if my boyfriend doesn't mind) forever, and using my 'internal scale' instead. While it's good to make sure you are at a healthy weight, it is NOT good to obsess over every single pound gained or lost if you ARE at a healthy weight! I'm understanding that the answers are within. I know by the way I feel if I am at my perfect weight. And that's where I need to focus.

Moving on, I would like to share my discoveries of the week that got me to where I am today.

First is my book shopping trip. I went to borders and bought two books, 'Ani's Raw Food Desserts' by Ani Phyo and 'Happy Yoga' by Steve Ross. Firstly, I'll talk about 'Happy Yoga'. This book caught my eye kind of by accident. I had already picked up 'Ani's Raw Food Desserts' and was on my way to the check stand when I glanced at the Yoga section, just for fun, when this book caught my eye. The author shares the name with someone I know, so I laughed, imagining him writing a yoga book, and then decided to flip through it to see what it was all about. First off, I loved the cover. The overall vibe of the book had me smiling. Then I saw the section about diet, and was happy to see that he recommended a raw vegan diet. I flipped through some more and read the synopsis and was flowing with gratitude when I realized I had found a book I needed. I'm still reading it, and every page is worth being savored. It's about 90% the spiritual philosophy behind yoga, and 10% physical yoga. I love this book. I love his story, his advice, and his humor. I was immediately drawn in from the first chapter, reading about how he had been a rock musician, and had to balance his personal lifestyle with the fast paced 'rock star' lifestyle, which I can relate to as a musician myself. This entire book is a great and inspiring read, and is responsible for enhancing my current joy of life right now!

Now onto 'Ani's Raw Food Desserts.' Having made only two of the recipes so far, I don't have much to say about it, but I have been dying to get this book for a long time. Flipping through this little book, I can tell the recipes are easy and low maintenance. I can see many recipes that fit into my budget, schedule, and desire for simplicity. I can't wait to make more recipes from this book! About the recipes I HAVE made: yesterday I made the Almond Frangipane Kream. It's a light, simple, creamy topping or pudding. At first, as I was blending my ingredients, I thought I needed to add more almonds, as the mixture looked runny. But I held out, wondering if maybe it just needed to be blended longer than instructed (instructions say 30 seconds.) I was glad I waited and kept on blending because the result after a minute or two, was a smooth, thick cream. Silly non-VitaMix! It just needed to be blended longer! The second recipe I made was Sliced Apples with Rosemary. I was a little uncertain about this one, thinking Ew, Rosemary and...Apples? But I tried it anyhow, as it was one of the only other desserts that I actually had all the ingredients for (apples, lemon juice, and rosemary!) and I'm so glad I did. It was such a surprising yet delicious combination of tastes; sweet, sour, tangy, aromatic! YUM!


On the topic of food, let me share what I've been eating this week: In the morning I've been drinking a variation of the Master Cleanse lemon water; juice of one lemon, 1/8 tsp cayenne, and honey or agave nectar with either cold or warm water. I follow this with ginger tea sipped throughout the morning when I'm at work (my work is COLD!). For lunch (around 11am if I'm working) I eat two pieces of fruit. Most of the week I had a peach and a banana. Today I had a plum and the Sliced Apples with Rosemary. Earlier in the week I had salad for dinner followed by pasta, mostly vegan mac n cheese. While I knew this wasn't the cleanest dish, I decided to eat up the vegan cheese I had bought on a whim (in one of my agitated-need-comfort-food-moods) and then move on. A couple days I had salad followed by kelp noodles in Ani Phyo's Raw Marinara. Last night I had a euphoric day of eating: Salad (need I say I eat salad with dinner a lot?) followed by kelp noodles with Pesto from 'Raw Food Made Easy' by Jennifer Cornbleet. So Yummy!...


And now, for dessert: This was basically a variation of Berries and Peaches with Almond Frangipane Kream from 'Ani's Raw Food Desserts'. But I made it into....

Peach and Blueberry Crumble
(topped with Almond Frangipane Kream)

Fruit Filling (single serving):
1 peach, sliced or chopped
1/2 cup blueberries
drizzle of agave nectar

Toss the peaches and blueberries in the agave and set aside

Crumble Topping (multiple servings):
1 cup Pecans* (see note below)
4 dates
1/8 tsp cinnamon
pinch sea salt

Process in food processor until light and crumbly. Sprinkle a few Tbsp of the crumble on top of the fruit (or press into the bottom of a bowl or pie tin to make it into a crust). Refrigerate leftovers. Top with a few dollops of Almond Frangipane Kream, if desired (get the book!)

(*Note: I didn't actually measure out my pecans, so feel free to add more until you get a good texture.)


I will be eating this all again tonight! It was so good!
And that's all for now!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The magic of moderation

I'm writing because I am experiencing something extraordinary: I have abstained from sweets for the past few days (or more) without much force. Something happened somewhere around reading "enLIGHTened" by Jessica Berger Gross, "Essential Ayurveda" by Shubhra Krishan, and attending a yoga class at Hot Yoga of Issaquah that really helped me learn the value of moderation. Somewhere, it just clicked; that true, heartfelt desire to treat my body well and eat only foods that will nourish me. I've been in plenty of situations recently where I have considered buying sweets. I'm not even telling myself I can't have them. I'm just confronting them, and passing them over. I've even had a sweet treat in my hand more than once and put it back on the shelf. I can't remember an exact moment where I realized I didn't WANT sweets anymore (I still have these subtle cravings of the mind, which is why I walk down the candy/cookie isles in the first place); all I know is that lately, I just don't want them, and I don't need them. I've had ice cream a couple times in the past week or two, but only because Brian wanted some, so I made us ice cream cones to enjoy together. But other than that, even when I'm hanging out with friends, I find it easy to pass over the sweets. This is an amazing thing!

Also, for a few weeks I was routinely walking a minimum of 40 minutes a day (or running the treadmill on the rare not-so-sunny day), every day, no matter what. This sounds wonderful and a great thing to stick to, and I felt great. The only problem was I didn't feel like I was losing weight or making any progress. I felt like I might even be getting thicker! Yeah, I know, it was probably just muscle. But when I read "Essential Ayurveda" I remembered that my body type (Vata) has a tendency to overwork and overexert. An example of this comes from last week: one of the days I walked a total of 8 miles. The next day, I decided to rest to rebuild my strength but then gave in and went jogging/walking with my mom for an hour, followed by 1 1/2 hours of hot yoga. During hot yoga, I got so nauseous I felt like I was going to pass out. I've done hot yoga twice and never felt like that. So it is quite possible I was overexerting myself with the excessive exercise without a day of rest. And something resonated with me when the instructor would tell us to push your boundaries a little, but also practice Ahimsa, nonviolence, to your body and be gentle enough. It was a strange concept but very enlightening. I had understood ahimsa when applied to interacting with other people and animals. But being my own body...during exercise? As foreign a concept as it seemed, it really made sense when I connected it to the practice of moderation; understanding the benefit and balance that comes from moderation of ALL things; eating, exercise, spending, indulging, etc, etc. A day or two later, I finally took a day off walking. This week, I walk every other day or two. I still, of course, do my 10 minute of sun salutations every morning. But cutting back on the obsessive aerobic walking has actually helped me feel leaner, surprisingly!

I feel great this week! I've been eating decently and practicing moderation for the most part. Of course, I still overeat on occasion, especially when eating out. But I feel like my stomach has shrunk a little, and I can't eat as much in one sitting as I could just a couple weeks ago. I don't think I have lost any weight, but I've also quit weighing myself. I'm just sick of getting on the scale, thinking my body looks great, and then finding out I haven't lost a pound. I just don't care about that right now. I don't need some device getting me stressed and disappointed. That kind of abuse is not helpful, and makes me just want to give up and binge on sweets! I will lose weight and get back to my perfect weight, but honestly, becoming healthy is what matters first and foremost. And I DO look great NOW and I will only look and feel better and better every day!

Despite the fact that I've been reading some Ayurveda books lately that for the most part discourage the consumption of raw foods (especially for Vata types) I have started eating more of them.

(if you are unfamiliar with Ayurveda, but curious, I highly recommend "Perfect Health" by Deepak Chopra and the above mentioned "Essential Ayurveda." And while I don't agree with or intend to practice 100% of what I've learned from Ayurveda, such as they Ayurvedic preference for white rice over brown, etc, I do believe that Ayurveda holds an amazing source of wisdom and helps you learn to gain insight into your body and the connectiveness of mind-body-spirit.)

Of course, I've continued eating my daily fruit and salads throughout these healthy and not-so-healthy months past. But now I'm trying to rekindle my love for raw foods and the desire to transition to a high raw diet. This week I'm drinking romaine carrot juice for breakfast, and eating a raw salad for lunch. My dinners are cooked, but eventually I want them to be half raw, and then after that mostly raw (or all raw with the occasional cooked food day during the week). I've been wanting to find my RAW excitement again, but it was finally reignited a few days ago when I was at Madison Market. There I found a pre-packaged meal made at Chaco Canyon. It was a raw ginger sesame kelp noodle dish, and it was soooo delish! I ate the yummy noodles over a bed of salad greens at home. It was my first time trying kelp noodles, and I LOVED them! I later returned to buy a package of kelp noodles to use at home, and today I tried my first recipe:

Kelp Noodles, Veggies, and Green Sauce!

Kelp Noodles:

Open package of kelp noodles, rinse, and drain. You can also toss in some lemon juice to help them soften up, but they will soften once they are in the green sauce.


1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 red bell pepper
A couple large handfuls green beans

Chop zucchini and squash. Julienne red bell pepper. Cut ends off of green beans and then cut each in half.

Green Sauce: (This recipe was adapted from the Creamy Italian Dressing recipe in Rawvolution by Matt Amsden...mine just has WAY more basil! This dressing is the #1 favorite of everyone who I've served it to! It is so versatile! Use it on salad, pasta, steamed veggies, raw zucchini noodles. Brian loves it drizzled over baked chicken and rice.)

3/4 cup oil
1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1-2 cups tightly packed fresh basil (depending on how much you like basil; I usually start with one cup, then add a few more stalks of basil until the sauce is very green and has a tangy pesto flavor)
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh oregano
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup raw pine nuts


Now, you can either toss all of the ingredients together now and serve, or store them separately. I've chosen to store separately because this makes a LARGE serving, and I intend to eat this for lunch throughout the week. If you choose to serve the full serving at once, marinade the kelp noodles in the green sauce for about 30 minutes or more to help them soften. Then top with veggies and a drizzle of more green sauce!

If you want to make individual servings, portion out the desired amount of kelp noodles and toss with green sauce. (If you are taking this to work and are letting it sit, then the noodles will be soft by lunch. If you are just eating an individual serving immediately, make sure you let the noodles marinate for at least 30 minutes.) Then top with a couple handfuls of the veggies. Drizzle with more green sauce if desired. Store the leftover green sauce in a container in the fridge. Store the chopped veggies in the fridge as well. Store the kelp noodles in a container filled with water in the fridge. All of these should last a few days. This is only day one for me, so I can't tell you exactly how long they truly last. Should serve about 4, I'm guessing.

Also, I have yet to take pictures of this, but hopefully I will get a chance before I eat it all!

One more recipe for today; Eat Your Greens...for dessert!

Green smoothie Popsicle!

This recipe is so simple it's more of an idea than a recipe. But you heard me! If green smoothies are so good for you, what better dessert could there be? Get some Popsicle molds, or use a few cups with spoons as the stick. Fill them with your favorite green smoothie recipe (see my previous posts here and here for ideas) and freeze overnight or until solid. YUM!

Well, I believe that is all I have to say for now. This week's lessons: Moderation and Ahimsa! In all things, to all beings, including yourself.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Back to my vegan roots...goodbye cheese, hello green smoothies

So my detox failed. I don't really know why. I think Natalia Rose's plan is awesome and wonderful and should totally work. But I was really having trouble committing to it. I knew I should commit to it, and I wanted to want to commit to it. I wanted a healthy, pure body. But there was this strange thing in the back of my mind that honestly didn't care. At some moments, I would look at my body, feel how I was feeling, and know that I could treat myself better. I could shed a good 10 lbs, exercise, and stick to the plan. Then, at other moments, I would look at this same body of mine and think, "It's not even that bad. It could be worse. I'm lucky I only look like this from all I indulge in. This isn't so bad. I get to eat sweets and fatty foods and pastries, and I only look and feel this bad...which isn't as bad as it could be, so what's the big deal?" And this mentality led me to making some very bad decisions about the food I ate.

During my last two weeks at Starbucks, I started looking at all our pastries and suddenly they looked delicious. I read the ingredients. I knew what crap was in them. But I honestly didn't care. I ate a toffee almond bar one day. Didn't gain weight. So I figured it wasn't so bad. I ate one another day. I sampled a different pastry the next. And this continued until I finally started feeling a little bad...and started gaining weight.

And where did all this bad behavior come from? I know there must have been some psychological issues going on in my mind, maybe stress or slight and subtle depression that made me not care about what I put into my body. But as for a physical trigger? Cheese. This has happened twice now, so I have no excuse to let this happen again. Both times it started with the allowance of Raw Goat Cheese in my diet. Then I started eating pasteurized cheese here and there. Then, since I was already eating cheese and officially "not vegan" I ended up eating other non-vegan foods (like salmon pita and latke's the first time; toffee almond bars, etc, the second) and experiencing an all together crash in my high standards for healthy food. It's an unexplainable snowball effect that takes place when I stray from my vegan lifestyle. And it was so subtle this time. I really felt like I was just going to eat cheese every now and then, and that it wouldn't influence the rest of my diet at all. But it did and I have no idea why. I can't explain it. I know it must be something linked to my subconscious. I have a feeling I have deep psychological issues with food. I just don't even know where to start in understanding them. Whatever the problem is, it's not obvious to me.

Anyhow, like last time my diet crashed, I re-read "Skinny Bitch." There's something magical about that book. I really though it couldn't possibly have any effect on me this fifth or sixth time around reading it, but somehow, it did. I wasn't even moved while reading it, like I usually am. But just a couple days ago, I realized I was done with cheese.

So I'm back to my vegan roots. However, for the sake of not offending any true, 100%, dedicated for life, ethical vegans, I'll admit that I've never been a strict vegan; I still eat honey, I wear leather (mostly in the form of shoes and used or hand-me-downs), and I don't obsess when I go out to eat that my meal is 100% vegan. This last part may sound totally absurd and non-vegan of me, but--especially as I grow to live longer with my "veganism"--I have come to understand that there's a risk in eating out at a non-vegan restaurant, and it alleviates a lot of stress to just let go and surrender to that fact, and do my best. It's easier to order vegan food at some restaurants, and more difficult at others. Currently, my favorite type of food is Indian. And while Indian food is easy to get vegetarian, it can be a little tricky to get something 100% vegan, since they use butter and cream in recipes that you would never even guess would have it in them. I ate at a vegetarian Indian restaurant with my mom recently, and they showed me which items were vegan. Then I ate at a regular Indian restaurant (Maharaja in West Seattle) with Brian even more recently (before I had made the decision to drop cheese) and just ordered from the vegetarian section. And it was so good! I was relieved that I wasn't 100% vegan at that point, because I knew I would have been overwhelmed trying to ensure I got something that was. So that department is something I feel comfortable giving myself a little slack. Just order as vegan as I can to my knowledge, and just let go, and enjoy my favorite food.

Of course, I would like to save money and eat at home as much as possible. Luckily, with my new job at Trader Joe's (which I love, by the way), I get discounts on all my groceries which include quite a few vegan Indian food products! And there are a few dishes I would like to replicate at home, vegan-ized from scratch, such as that delicious Indian spinach sauce (usually comes paired with Paneer cheese), creamy Masala sauce, and I would like to make a vegan "paneer" dish. To me, Paneer cheese tastes exactly like tofu and has the same texture, so I think it would be an easy substitution. I wonder if there are any good vegan Indian food cookbooks? Maybe I'll look online for some recipes!

Anyhow, I'm getting a little off track. To summarize my ramblings, I'm sick of cheese and sick of eating unhealthily, and am happy to go back to my vegan ways and hope I don't get blindsided ever again. I've got to be stronger next time!

The good news is that I feel like I've been eating much better these past few days...and I've been exercising every day! I wake up with my sun salutations, drink water and tea in the morning, drink a green smoothie around noon, eat something like a salad for late lunch around 2:30 or 3, and then one of my usual dinners (Chickpea red curry and rice, avocado tofu spring rolls, and these delicious vegan Masala vegetable pototocake burger things from Trader Joes are all on the menu this week.) As a step to rid my dessert addiction, I'm trading in pastries and such for fruit. I know it is not ideal to eat fresh fruit after dinner because of its difficulty to digest on anything but an empty stomach, but I do think it is a better alternative to cupcakes and cookies every night. So I'm going to try that, at least to transition away from dessert all together, and see how it makes me feel. One step at a time.

I don't know what it is, but I'm peaceful again, and ready to take care of my body. I think it has a lot to do with the new book I bought and read a few days ago: "enLIGHTened; how I lost 40 pounds with a Yoga Mat, Fresh Pineapples, and a Beagle-Pointer" by Jessica Berger Gross. This book read kind of like a memoir filled with examples and instructions of yoga poses, humor, recipes (including some Indian dishes!), and tips for improving your life. It wasn't a diet plan; it was her personal experience from childhood to early motherhood, which was inspiring and incredibly relatable. Parts of it sounded like they came right out of my own life story: how she would easily gain back the weight she lost, how she ate as a child, how she watched her mother's stop-and-go dieting, and she's only 5'2" (I'm 5'00") so I could actually relate to her body image as well! This book made me feel more peaceful, hearing how someone else has experienced something similar to me. It made me feel stronger, empowered, and less of a "lost cause." The Yoga aspect also appealed to me, as I've fallen in love with Hot Yoga and can't wait till I can afford to go back. And hearing how much Yoga improved the author's life makes me even more excited. I recommend this book heartily to anyone who has struggled to lose AND maintain their weight.

So that's that. Now here's something I haven't done in awhile:

Green Smoothies of the Week! (I'm alternating between two different ones this week)
*These measurements are approximate as I just eyeball it each time. Both recipes serve 1 (if using a large glass) or two (if using two small glasses)

-Two large handfulls of Spinach (fills about 1/3 the bottom of the blender)
-1/2 cup frozen mango
-1/2 cup frozen pineapple
-1 ripe banana
-1/2 container (3 oz) peach (or other) flavored soy yogurt (optional)
-water (just enough to get it blending, usually to the 1 cup line on the blender. Add more as needed to get it to blend smooth)

BLEND and enjoy!

-Two large handfulls of Spinach
-1/2 cup frozen mixed berries (cherries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries)
-1/2 cup frozen strawberries
-1 ripe banana
-1/2 container (3 oz) berry (or other) flavored soy yogurt (optional)
-water (see above for measurement)


My stomach is growling now! Time for curry and brown rice for dinner!

Friday, June 5, 2009

A little bit-o-detoxing

So I embarked upon my detox according to Natalia Rose's "Detox for Women" book for an entire week. And it has been wonderful! I admit though, I'm having trouble cutting out all sugars and pastries; Day one, I ate a wafer-cookie at about 2 in the morning after a long night out at my boyfriend's band's show. Day two I ate some ice cream. Days 3 and 4, I ate a pastries. I had ONE day where I ate well without a single sugar-sweet. But even with these setbacks, I had lost 4 lbs by this point!

Unfortunately, I realized I was spending quite a lot of money on groceries. After a lot of stress and disappointment, I decided to do a "budget detox" version (at least until I start my new job at Trader Joes where I will get to use my discount on produce!) Basically, instead of juicing for my first meal (which can get pricey)I eat a piece of low-sugar fruit like a green apple, grapefruit, or berries, usually around noon. Instead of a salad for my mid-day meal (since I eat a salad for dinner as well), I eat a simple mono-meal of raw veggies like carrots, usually around 2-4pm. And for dinner, I eat pretty much the same as the traditional detox from DFW; a BIG raw salad and whatever cooked veggies I want like a baked beet, baked sweet potato, sauteed veggies, etc.

Last night I hit another snag; while I ate my apple at noon, and an avocado at 3pm, by the time I got home from band practice, I was exhausted and overheated, and a little moody. My boyfriend offered to buy vegan taco bell burritos for dinner, which I accepted, and then chased them with an entire pint of ice cream. Not good this morning when I woke up! I was bloated and had gained back some lbs! I think it was mostly waste-weight, though, as I was feeling dense and constipated :(

Today, I followed my morning-afternoon detox routine, but then went a little non-detox for dinner; my boyfriend took us out for pasta. I got cheese shells...REAL cheese shells, not even vegan ones...and then we picked up some ice cream on the way home to eat later. I don't feel gross or over-full, but I really WANT to be dedicated to this detox. I want to get over these food cravings for greasy, heavy foods. I want more raw foods! I want sweets gone! Actually, I WANT to WANT them gone! This would be A LOT easier if I had a larger budget because I could replace these heavy foods with raw versions; zucchini pasta with raw marinara, raw ice cream. Then again, maybe I'm craving the interaction with my boyfriend? The going-on-a-date-feeling? Or maybe it's just that I'm subconsciously fighting the restrictions of my detox?

Well, you know what? The only thing that will get rid of these cravings, is a cleaner body. I don't crave this crap when my body is being filled with mostly raw foods and no sugar-sweets. So I need to make a commitment; a REAL commitment, not just some half-assed attempt. I need to commit to say NO to my cravings. I need to start anew, tell my friends, family, and boyfriend that I need support, quit going out to eat, quit eating sweets, and do this detox for the rest of the month! And as for sweets, I need to cut them all out, raw or not, so my body can re-adjust to living without them and crave them less. Then I'll be more in control when I DO choose sweets. And after that, I should start choosing high-quality sweets, preferably raw!

So am I ready to make that commitment? I think so. Geez, I am so fickle! Is it just me, or is everyone else crazy too???!!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

New Job, New Body!

I just accepted a job as a sign artist at the Issaquah Trader Joe's! I'm excited to be working in an environment where I will feel better suited. While Starbucks reintroduced me to the world of retail work, gave me excellent experience as a supervisor, and great references, I did not feel like it was a perfect match. I don't drink coffee, I am disturbed by the large number of coffee addicts who spend way too much on their drug, I think the pastries are unhealthy and cringe when people ask "which one is healthiest?", and I have to wear long sleeved shirts year round to cover my tattoos.

At Trader Joes, I'll be working around natural foods and will actually put my discount to use, considering the majority of my money is spent on groceries. I'll be able to dress casually AND wear short sleeve shirts because they allow tattoos! I'll have a regular, set schedule each week. I'll be working every weekend, however, but I will always be off by 2pm, so I can still enjoy my day. I'm excited to start my new job on the 15th!

In other news, I purchased "Detox for Women" by Natalia Rose recently, and have decided to embark on a one month detox according to her plan. I am a big fan of her previous books, and think that this one is her best yet. The plan is pretty easy, and not as strict as one would think. Usually the term "detox" or "cleanse" make people shiver with fright. But her plan is simple. I'll be drinking a lot of fresh veggie juice (in the morning) and eating LOTS of big salads with avocado, lots of cooked and raw veggies, baked sweet potatoes, quinoa and millet, and raw goat cheese. (Yes, I am still eating cheese. As I won't be eating soy cheese during this time, I don't think this program would appeal to me if I couldn't have something cheese-like.)

Anyhow, I recommend this book to any woman who just feels like crap about her body or feels like she has some extra weight to lose and isn't appalled by the idea of streamlining her current way of eating to a simpler, pure, whole foods diet. Her plan is workable for anyone, not just vegans or vegetarians. On her one month detox, she allows organic eggs, fish, and occasional chicken and very high quality meats for those who want them, in addition to raw goat cheddar (available at Whole Foods) and all raw and cooked veggies and vegetable juice. Grains and fruit are limited to a select few, since the object of this plan is to rid your body of yeasts and bacteria that grains and sugars feed (and are growing in pretty much EVERY non-cleansed woman's body) so you can easily shed excess weight and feel amazing. The last time I embarked on one of her plans (Raw Food Life Force Energy) I lost 5 pounds the first couple weeks, ten pounds total...and that was WHILE deviating frequently from the plan! I DO plan on sticking this one out to the best of my ability for the entire month.

I also finally ordered internet at my apartment along with VERY basic cable, so I'll be able to go online more often and catch up on LOST and report my progress with the detox! We don't get it installed till next week though.

That's all for now!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My confession to the Vegan Police

I've committed a crime against veganism and I feel like I should confess for my sins. As I am not currently keeping a paper journal (mine got filled up and I have yet to buy a new one) I'll just have to blog about it.

I ate cheese. Yep. I said it. I've been a pretty good (not perfect) vegan for almost two years, save for my short-lived experimentations with raw goat cheese last winter when I was eating mostly raw foods, and I have absolutely no excuse to be eating cheese now. It's easy to live without it. Farm and Slaughterhouse practices disgust me. There are plenty of delicious soy-based immitations.

So I am just pleading guilty and not giving any excuses. There is no such thing as "my body craves it" or "I need calcium and protien from dairy." That is all bullshit. This cheese thing just happend. But it was not an accident. Brian bought this amazing sounding goat cheese brie from the West Seattle Farmers Market and I just wanted some, simple as that. As much as I am disgusted by meat, eggs, milk, and other animal products, I've always had a difficult time being comletely appalled by cheese. So when Brian bought that cheese, it was a little surpising that I honeslty WANTED some! I reasoned with myself for awhile, but it just felt OK to eat it in the end. Not great, not a perfect idea, not a neccessity. Just OK. I could eat it if I wanted, and see how it made me feel.

To be honest, I really liked it. Of course I did. But what does this mean? Am I not vegan anymore? I'm not sure. I do know that I did enjoy the cheese and am not appalled by the idea of eating it occasionally. I also know that I DO NOT want to eat meat, drink milk, eat eggs, or consume any food with animal products or byproducts (whey, caesin, etc.) or use non-animal-friendly products...just cheese; fancy, high-quality, preferrably organic straight-up cheese.

Then again, this could very well be another hit-it-and-quit-it affair, like the raw goat cheese was and I could be sick of it very soon. Likely? We'll see.

Otherwise, I feel like I've been eating very well and exercising a decent amount. I've gone back to many of Natalia Rose's principles from her books, eating mostly raw fruits and vegetables, along with high quality grains (brown rice, quinoa, whole grain pasta) and cooked vegetables. I've minimized my gluten intake drastically as well as my soy-product consumption (my soy is usually in the form of occasional tofu or condiments like vegan ranch dressing, etc.) I've been avoiding processed foods which means I'm not eating as many mock-meats or mock-cheeses as I used to. I WILL still eat at my FAVORITE restaurants though, with no limitations (Squid and Ink and Bamboo Gardens!!!). I eat fruit (or Vega) for breakfast, veggies with vegan ranch (or salad) for lunch, and a big salad with a whole grain pasta, brown rice, quinoa, baked sweet potato, etc, for dinner.

I've also been doing yoga (I went to Hot Yoga with my mom twice and it was AWESOME!) and walking a lot. I feel pretty damn good!

Anyhow, there's my confession. I don't feel bad about it. Just a little confused.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I want to be healthy again...I AM healthy NOW!

So yeah, my conflicting pull between eating super cheap and eating super healthy has been tough. Last week I got sick of salads and ate cereal for breakfast and a peanut butter jelly sandwiches for totally reminded me that I'm not missing out on ANYTHING by eating fresh and healthy! And now for the past few days I've been sick...not TOO sick, just congested and tired. I'm sure my recent diet has had quite a bit to do with that! Also, I quit drinking Vega a few weeks ago, which I feel was helping me consume a good amount of vitamins, protein, etc. And my skin, hair, and nails looked perfect while I was drinking it daily! So I gave in and bought a 2 week supply (using half-servings) and am going to eat salads again (bored or not.) I am also curious to try eating Gluten-Free for a week and see if that improves my overall diet, health, and tummy (I've been bloated.) I haven't read up on the benefits of eating a gluten-free diet too much, but I stumbled upon the symptoms of gluten intolerance and figure it could probably benefit me, intolerant or not, to limit gluten intake. In fact, I think any diet could benefit from the limitations of any of the common allergens (soy, peanuts, gluten.) I'm not quite ready to give of soy (in the form of tofu) or peanut butter (I LOVE peanut butter), but I figure I'll start with gluten. There's just something about a gluten-free diet that has been calling to me...maybe it's the bloating that keeps happening after I eat cereal and peanut butter sandwiches! That could also be due to poor food combining, as well. Anyhow, my diet needs to go back to basics, include more raw, and less sweets. On a good note, I haven't been binging quite as much lately! I've been snacking on chips and had two servings of ice cream last night, but nothing too detrimental; no over-stressed self-loathing! And my weight obsession has cooled a bit. I think I'm going to boycott the scale for awhile, just to be safe!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Annoyed, Overwhelmed, Lost

So you should know that I am on a quest to find the best eating plan for myself. I am already a committed vegan...but I'm also trying to figure out how to further improve my diet, balancing nutrition, taste, and weight-loss/weight-management. I have to admit, I'm a little weight-obsessed, which doesn't go well with my binge eating problem.

Anyhow, I had success in January/February when I created my Addiction Free Diet experiment, which was my own diet plan based on many of the principles I had learned from Natalia Rose's books. But then I had a binge and all my good work went down the drain. I have since gained 5 of the 10 lbs back and I just don't understand what my problem is. The obvious solution would be to just dive back into my AFDE plan. But I re-read Rose's books and "tried" to implement her principles again, but it just hasn't worked this time. I've questioned whether my failure was due to the fact that my eating plan just wasn't something that I could commit to life-long. But the truth is, it would have lasted if I hadn't binged, or if I would have turned it all around the next day and refrained from the urges to binge and overeat that followed. The binge created a snowball effect which has stuck me in a rut that I just can't seem to get out of. I can't find the passion for the diet I used to love; eating light to heavy, raw till dinner, eating proper food combos. Am I just being lazy?

Well, since then I have analyzed my diet, tried a few new things. Nothing has felt great. I still binge. I still overeat. I ate a substantial breakfast all week last week (as recommended by the book "Crave" by Cynthia M. Bulik to overcome binge eating) and I didn't see it improve anything. And when I think about all the different diet advice everywhere, it makes my head spin. One guide says to eat a big breakfast, another says not to eat until truly ravenous. Another says to eat 4 to 6 small meals a day. Another says to strictly count calories. Another says there is no need to count calories. Another says to eat lots of fruit. Another says to limit fruit. It really makes me feel so lost!

Here's what I personally have to work with: I know eating more raw fruits and veggies is good for me and I find success eating fruit and salads daily; I do not currently have the desire to be 100% raw; I do not currently have the finances to eat much high-raw besides daily fruit and salads; eating less calories helps me lose weight; sweets and junk food make me feel bad physically and emotionally, but I do have the desire to continue to eat sweets, as long as they are not part of a binge and do not lead to unhealthy choices and negative feelings

So shit, what do I do? Do I continue on with this "eating breakfast hungry or not" kick? Or do I go back to "don't eat until hungry, eat raw till dinner, light to heavy, with fruit being the first meal?" Financially, I like the idea of eating a bowl of cereal every day instead of worrying about how much it's going to cost to buy enough fruit to keep me feeling satisfied. Then again, am I really spending much more to eat 1 or 2 pieces of fruit every day?

I know this doesn't do much, but I just felt like ranting. I know I am so full of questions and I just annoy myself with them. I am way to obsessed about what I eat, but I really want to do what is best for my body, my health, AND my finances! Why can't there be a magical solution? Why does there have to be SO MANY different contradicting diet plans out there?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Updates and learning to recover from binge-eating

So I took a break from stressing and recording all my food intake. It felt nice for a couple of days but then I just ended up binging on sweets and that didn't feel good at all. I really love sweets; cupcakes, cake, cookies. But the honest truth is that I don't know how to control my portions. And if I eat one piece of cake one day, I want another plus two cookies the next. I am a binge eater. Yes, I've admitted it before, but lately I am understanding that binging and dessert-addiction is something I need to get under control now before I end up with a full fledged problem...or is it a problem now? Anything that causes distress and takes away peace and happiness IS a problem, for sure. Anyhow, while I still don't have the answers, I am taking steps to figuring out what to do. I know the most success I've had with my eating was when I abstained from dessert and snacking. Of course, once I got around my friends, the binging began again; and that's one red-flag I've discovered recently (aside from the obvious and common stress/anxiety-induced and emotional-related binging I, and many others, fall prey to regularly): I tend to binge when I'm excited. When I'm having fun. When I'm hanging out with friends or in a group. Isn't that wierd? And it really makes sense when I connect it to my prior problem with alcohol binging. I never drank alone. And only rarely did I drink out of depression. I always drank at a party or with my friends and boyfriend. I would start drinking just one drink, having a great time, hanging out, loosening up, laughing. Then I couldn't stop. I didn't want to stop. I admit, I often started drinking because I felt awkward in social situations and large crowds, but more often I would drink because I was excited and having fun and really could not make myself stop. Not for many years. And the only thing that got me to stop drinking for good was a very BAD drinking experience. If that event hadn't happened, I'd probably still be drinking and loosing dozens of memories of drunken nights, not to mention the brain cells.

Overeating and binging is more difficult because it's not hurting anyone. Others don't really notice. I don't look fat and I'm not overweight. So people just laugh and say, "I can't believe you can keep eating!" or "I don't know how you can even eat that much!" My boyfriend probably sees the worst of it and compares my behavior to that of a heroin addict, but even he hasn't stepped in to make me seriously control my binging. And again, I remember back to my alcohol problem; no one else thought it was serious because I wasn't drinking alone and most of my friends thought I was funny when I was drunk so they didn't want me to stop. Why isn't a problem serious until you have hit rock bottom? I didn't want to wait to quit drinking until I found myself face down in an alley! And I don't want to wait until I am obese to quit binge eating! I hope I can get the support I need. I have a hard enough time taking myself seriously; it IS funny that I can eat more than my boyfriend and still think I'm hungry; it IS funny that I can eat 4 giant cupcakes in one sitting without a care in the world. But it isn't healthy. I don't feel good about it.

I've tried so many things: I went vegan; this helped me restrict myself from a lot of foods and I was able to maintain a steady weight but I still ate A LOT and still binged on an unnecessary amount of sweets; in fact I think my binging got worse after going vegan because I started baking more and eating everything I made and discovered the bounty of vegan treats available and gorged myself on them. I tried eating a high-raw diet; this helped me lose weight but I wasn't eating balanced because I would binge on a huge dinner followed by all the dessert I could consume until I was nauseated. I tried my Addiction Free Diet Experiment; this was wonderful for a couple weeks, but as soon as I started bringing sweets back into my diet and letting myself have "fun days" and then rewarding my weight loss with a binge fest, it all went down hill and my amazing experiment was destroyed (obviously, the diet works: I just didn't keep myself to it!)

So yes, I can see the problem is not what I'm eating or what diet I'm following, but my relationship with food and binging. I don't quite understand what to do about it, but I'm hoping to figure it out. As a good first step, I bought a book called "Crave: Why You Binge Eat and How to Stop" by Cynthia M. Bulik. I'm about 3/4 through. It's very interesting to read a book from a pshycological perspective specifically about binge-eating and not from a specific lifestyle-diet's perspective. While I love being vegan and eating lots of raw foods, I've already got that down; another vegan/raw cookbook isn't going to make everything better. Veganism and the benefits of eating more raw foods are already ingrained into my lifestyle. Now I need to learn what to do with those foods and how to relate to them differently. One thing that I learned from the book is to eat a substantial breakfast, every morning, hungry or not. Ideally, this will make you spread your calories throughout the day and keep binge-eaters from going off the deep end at dinner. I'm willing to try this because it makes sense; I've been following Natalia Rose's method of eating "light to heavy" throughout the day, and while I do agree that this method will help you digest and pass your food the easiest, it might not be best for me, since I DO tend to binge on a LARGE dinner, followed by a dessert or snacks. So I'm going to change my eating schedule around, and see if that helps me binge less and eat better throughout the day.

What a journey.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


So my juice fast only lasted half a day. For one, I realized how expensive it was going to get, which started getting me down since I am on a budget. For another, the green juice I took to work yesterday to get me through just didn't taste good (I diluted it with water to make it last longer, and that wasn't a good idea) and was starting to make me nauseated. My energy started to drain and I wasn't feeling well. But then I remembered I still had a Vega snack pack with me. So I mixed that up quickly and immediately felt better and full of energy. I haven't been taking Vega regularly, since it is so expensive and I wanted to drink green smoothies for breakfast when I can, but I'm thinking I might try to incorporate Vega into my daily routine. It's just so full of vitamins and minerals and protein; so much good stuff and it makes me feel good which is important. I can still have green smoothies every day; I'll just have them for lunch or mix Vega into my smoothie!
In other news, I think I might take a break from recording everything I eat and focusing on it so much. I'm sick of being on this roller coaster ping-ponging between a high-raw diet and a eat-whatever-I-want vegan diet. I need balance but it just hasn't been happening. I have this tendency to strive for all-or-nothing; it's like I feel like I need to be 100% Raw if I'm going to eat raw at all or I need to eat cooked meals every night if I'm going to eat them at all. I need to relax, seriously! Take the pressure off myself all ready! Then again, maybe I'm not pushing myself hard enough. Maybe I'm giving myself too much freedom. Maybe I really need to banish desserts. Maybe I need to banish cooked food. I really don't know. I have so many questions and it seems like this pattern keeps happening over and over again. I want to be satisfied with my diet once and for all! I want to maintain my perfect weight for more than 2 weeks at a time! To be honest, I know the problem isn't ALL about what I eat and how's me. I'm the one who chooses to binge. I'm the one who chooses the chocolate cake. I definitely have a lot of internal work to do and I don't have the answers I desire and I don't know where to start (even though I've done it before lol). But analyzing, asking, stressing, and wondering has never done me any good; the only thing that has is quieting my mind, and letting go. So I might take a little break from focusing on food and my weight. I need to learn to do things in the now. I need to learn to make decisions based on how I feel now; not because in my food journal I ate a certain something and still lost weight, or because a book tells me I can or should eat a certain way. I mean, even blogging about it right now is making me focus on it!

But guess what? I'll let it go. I don't know all the answers; but then again, deep down, I do. If my mind will be quiet enough, I will hear them.

Relax. Live. Eat. Nourish.

Chocolate Greens Smoothie and Juice Fasting!

So I have been eating pretty healthy (lots of raw) and making healthier decisions, but I am finding that my stomach has been hurting after a lot of things I eat. I feel like I've grown to be very intuitive about my body and am noticing things I maybe would have just ignored. But, then again, maybe these are new signs. Maybe my body is telling me that it is literally sick of food. Even my daily green smoothie has been hurting my tummy. Mind you, this week's smoothie was an experiment: Chocolate Greens. But as I am familiar with all the ingredients in the smoothie and use them all regularly, I can't see what could be upsetting my tummy! Anyhow, yesterday I didn't eat at my best (my mom took me out to a veg Indian restaurant, which was yummy...and I ate a piece of vegan chocolate cake...yum!) and my stomach wasn't too pleased. But it wasn't the normal upset feeling I've gotten in the past. It was more similar to the pain of taking too much rough medication, like Tylenol. And my kidneys felt a little hurt as well.

My intuition has been pushing me toward a juice fast for quite awhile now. I keep picturing a Juice Fasting Retreat. But right now, that option is not available to me. What is available is a juice fast! So on my way home from my mom's, I was feeling peaceful (despite my tummy) and made the decision to juice fast. I went to PCC, bought the only book on juice fasting that they had (besides the Master Cleanser which I've already done but don't feel inclined to do right now) and came home to read it. The book, Juice Fasting and Detoxification by Steve Meyerowitz, was pretty good, but I also feel like there were a few conflicting principles; for example the colon cleansing drinks (they are basically a smoothie with flax/chia or psyllium blended with juice and a banana): in one chapter he says they are good to drink during your fast, and then in another it says not to drink blended drinks and that bananas are not to be part of a fast. Other than that, it was an enjoyable read

So I've started my day with 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar in a small cup of water (something I picked up from the book that sounded interesting), and then warm water with lime and cayenne.

How long am I fasting? No time frame. No limit. I'm just going to listen to my body to tell me when it's done fasting. One day? Three Days? One Week? 10 Days? I don't know. We'll see.

What do I expect to gain from this fast? A clean inner body, mental clarity, and hopefully the removal of some blockages surrounding my creative energy when it comes to art and the finishing of writing my novel. And for the sake of sharing a recipe, here is my Chocolate Greens Smoothie experiment:

Firstly, I made my own hemp milk!

1 cup hemp seeds
4 cups water
1/2 packet Stevia (optional)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp agave nectar

Blend! Strain through a nut milk bag unless you have a Vita Mix type high-powered blender (which I do NOT). This milk was pretty good, but not nearly as good as the packaged kind, of course. And it was a little more watery than I like, so next time I will probably use only 3 cups of water, and I will probably play around with the sweetener levels also. I originally had one whole packet of Stevia in the recipe, but I found that the flavor was stronger than my liking. This was my first nut milk ever! I've made easy nut milks with nut butter and water, but this was my first real one! I finally got to use a nut milk bag! Wow, does that thing work miracles!

And there is my Chocolate Greens Smoothie:

2 Cups (tightly packed) Kale, de-stemmed (about four leaves)
1 Cup nut milk of choice (I used hemp milk)
1 Cup frozen berries (I used blueberries one day and a blueberry raspberry combo the next)
1 Frozen (or fresh) banana
1 Tbsp Cocoa (or cacao, carob, or a combo)
1/2-1 Tbsp agave nectar (or more according to taste)

Blend! NOTES: I like to blend the kale with the milk first, just so all the blending doesn't melt my frozen fruit, as I like a thick and creamy texture. Use less kale if you are sensitive to the "greens" taste or are new to green smoothies. I only had fresh banana this week, and I imagine it would have been even better with frozen instead. I also imagine a Chocolate Greens smoothie would be much easier with Spirulina, or some other greens powder, since you wouldn't have to use as much, but I DON'T have greens powder, and wanted to do an all fresh, whole foods version. If you use tart berries (like raspberries) you'll need more agave nectar to balance the taste. I'm still playing with this recipe to find perfection, but now that I'm juice fasting, I'll have to set this one aside for awhile.

So here I go, day one of my juice fast!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

My RAWsome day!

Today was what I can only describe as RAWsome! While I was a little short on sleep (I woke up quite a few times; I was strangely attuned to when my doggy needed to go outside; usually I sleep through and let him pee on his pee-pad if it's really so urgent) AND I woke up early suddenly questioning whether or not I had accidentally taken home the store keys last night that I'm supposed to leave in the safe for the opener. Well, I looked at my phone, and thought, I would be getting a call any moment now... and sure enough, the call came. I rushed over to Starbucks and handed over the keys. (I attempted meditating last night, something I've been wanting to do but not quite getting the hang of...but I do feel like maybe I had some kind of heightened intuition today?) Well, my day was unintentionally off to an early start, so I just went with the flow, going to PCC for some daily groceries, going home to shower, doing my sun salutes, and making my big green smoothie.

Later in the day is when the fun began. I took the boyfriend to go get a tattoo in Lake City (his early bday present from me) and while he was doing that, I went to the U-District to visit my favorite spots. First I went to Sidecar, Seattle's all vegan grocery (with a decent little raw foods selection) and picked up a big bottle of raw agave, a Gopal's Raw Alchemy Cherry Brownie, and some organic cocoa powder. Then I went to have lunch at Chaco Canyon, the one vegan restaurant in Seattle that serves some RAW dishes! I started my meal with Raw Orange Spice Flan! Can you believe it? It was so so good and authentic, I can't even imagine how they made it! The consistency was so flan-like. Yum! My entree was a salad served with spicy nut pate stuffed mini peppers and a really cooling, refreshing, tahini dip; it was similar to sour cream but actually so much better! That's the real magic of raw foods; when something doesn't taste like a tastes better! For a little treat I had a raw hazelnut fudge bar (I almost always get this when I go there) fudgey and decadent. After this I went to the Roosevelt Whole Foods and...holy crap...this location is probably the best in Seattle for Raw Foods! There was such a huge selection. I was too blown away to even look through the whole store but what I saw was enough: a huge book section, with plenty of raw titles, at least 7 different brands of coconut butter, different sizes and brands of hemp seeds, an abundant bulk section where I found the greatest treasure of the day: RAW CAROB POWDER! Now, it wasn't organic :( but it was only $1.45/lb! I couldn't believe it! So I stocked up on a huge bag, which didn't even weigh an entire pound, yet will probably last me quite awhile since I also have (non raw) cocoa powder. I love both carob and cocoa for different recipes, different flavors, and for my different moods. Anyhow, I bought my raw carob powder and also some dried persimmons and pineapple to snack on while I waited for Brian's tattoo to be finished. Bliss :)

And for a late dinner I settled down to my salad with avocado and Lemon Herb Dressing from Raw Food Made Easy by Jennifer Cornbleet. (I haven't used this book so much in the past, but I am starting to use it more of late!) The dressing was simple and light-tasting, but quite high in oil-to-lemon ratio. But no complaints about the taste! I made it with fresh basil, as I have some leftover from my pesto zucchini pasta I've been eating the past two nights. YUM! I feel light, and my body is starting to feel so much better. I'm still recovering from my cold, but eating well really helps up the joy factor!

Days like today make me remember how fun and exciting raw foods are. Yes, I am excited by the strangest things. And what do I look forward to? I was inspired by the two blogs I have stumbled upon: Raw Mom-Raw Love and Aleesha's Raw Life to maybe do a juice fast some time in the near future. The idea has been in the back of my head, but reading about others' personal experiences just makes it seem more exciting. I'm not planning on doing anything too long; 3 days minimum, and probably no longer than a week to ten days. I think I could benefit from it spiritually (I felt great when I did the Master Cleanse a couple years ago) and maybe it will even get my creativity flowing better! (I have a novel that is just begging to be finished...just haven't had the right sense of flow quite yet to do it justice!) I just have this sense that I need to be cleansed; cleansed of thoughts, toxins, questions, stress, and setbacks. Therefore, I am drawn to this idea of juice fasting! We'll see!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Updates, improvements, eating more raw!

Shortly after my last blog, I got sick. Not terribly ill or anything, just a runny nose that got worse and worse until I felt congested everywhere, was exhausted, and just plain felt like crap. The common cold, I guess is what it is. The reason this is even worth mentioning (since I know most people catch colds regularly) is because I've only been sick twice in the past year; now and just after my last bout with over-eating a few weeks ago (when I was eating two large slices of raw cheesecake a night following two overstuffed nut pate raw tacos, and similar meals.) Since I've now gotten sick while eating 100% raw and while eating a lot of cooked foods, I can only guess that it is caused by the stress of overeating and having to rapidly detox all the excessive crap out. If it's not that, then I'm not sure what it is. I haven't been too overly stressed about much else besides food. (Well, I'm still questioning what path I should be following to be on purpose with my life, and that can get me a little worked up.) I'm a believer that most sicknesses are caused by stress and internal issues that manifest as physical symptoms, that's why I'm trying to discover what common stress could be causing these two colds so close together after going so long without getting sick. Hmm...

Onto my improvements. I'm still sick but I think I'm on the recovery. Like I said, it wasn't too bad. I did get sent home from work because I was so low on energy, but after sleeping all day yesterday, I did feel a little better. And I've been taking much better care of myself eating-wise since! Every day, I've slowly been improving my diet.

March 2nd was the first day I went without dessert in weeks. I had a Vega Chocolate Flavor Snack Pack Shake mix for breakfast (a new supplement shake I'm trying out. I read about all the health benefits and vitamins and wanted to try it out for myself. The snack packs make it really easy for me to take to work and get a decent meal instead of spending money at Juice Plant or taking a banana to work only to find it browned or squished by someones bag! As of now, I only drink these when I have an early opening shift at work, since that is the only time I can't make a homemade smoothie myself. So far, I like this product! It gives me energy and makes me feel good!) followed by an apple for lunch, Go Raw gingersnaps from Fresh Vitamins (good selection of some raw stuff, you gotta check it out if you live in West Seattle) for snack, and then dinner, which consisted of a salad and half a vegan (cheese-less) pizza from Stellar Pizza in Georgetown. It wasn't the healthiest dinner in the world, but my day's eating was definitely an improvement.

March 3rd my cold symptoms that started the day before worsened. I had a BIG green smoothie (my first green smoothie/juice in at least a week or two) for breakfast:

Green Smoothie of the week:

4-6 leaves kale, de-stemmed
1 cup frozen mango and berry fruit mix
1 cup frozen banana or 1 fresh banana

I place the ingredients in a blender, starting with the kale, and then slowly add filtered water until it just about reaches the 1 cup mark on the blender (you only need enough the liquify the kale a bit, which will then liquify the rest). Blend until smooth!

For lunch I had a grapefruit, followed by Go Raw gingersnaps, raw cashews, goji berries and figs (I was pretty snacky all day) and a dinner consisting of salad w/avocado, cucumber, tomato and carrot (my current regular every day salad) with brown rice pasta, portobello mushroom covered in warm (bottled) marinara, and sprouted grain toast. After dinner, I snacked on more goji berries and figs. I don't really advocate after dinner snacking, but this is much better than full-blown dessert.

March 4th was when I knew I was sick for sure. I had a big green smoothie, a nice long nap, a pear, dried figs, lots of water all day, and a dinner consisting of my yummy veggie salad topped with Raw Ranch Dressing, spriralized zucchini pasta topped with warm (bottled) marinara, and two slices sprouted wheat toast.

The dressing was really easy and yummy, so I'm going to share it with you! I think it would have been tastier with fresh herbs but I only had dried:

Raw Ranch Dressing from Raw Food Made Easy by Jennifer Cornbleet

1 cup soaked (for 2 hrs) raw cashews
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp fresh basil (1 tsp dried)
1 tbsp fresh dill (1 tsp dried)

Blend cashews, water, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt in a blender until smooth and creamy. Add the basil and dill and pulse briefly until mixed.


Zucchini pasta is one of my favorite raw dishes, and it's also one of the easiest. All you need is a spiralizer; and if you don't have one of those, just slice long ribbons of zucchini with a vegetable peeler to make "fettuccine" noodles that taste just as good. After I spiralize my zucchini, I like to let the noodles soften a bit so they become more "noodly." I place them in a strainer and cover them with a light layer of sea salt, mix well, and then set aside while I make the sauce. (I thought I remember reading this technique somewhere so one day I just decided to try it, but I haven't been able to find the reference...but it really does seem to work!) After I make the sauce, I mix a tablespoon or so into my noodles to help them soften even more. When you do this, you will notice a bit of liquid draining out of the strainer. It is from the zucchini softening and releasing water. Have you ever noticed how soggy your plate gets when you eat zucchini pasta? Ok, maybe it's just me, but either way, this technique has improved my "noodles" and the physical presentation greatly! They look better and taste way better! Anyhow, after I get the right texture, I put the noodles on the plate and cover with my sauce of choice!


I had a lot of fun making this meal. It was my first high-raw dinner that I have had in weeks and it felt great. I ended my night with some unnecessary snacking on spoonfuls of peanut butter, but still, a great improvement in my diet.


Now today I'm feeling a little better. I actually lost a few pounds over night. Maybe from drinking so much water? Eating better and losing waste matter? For breakfast I made my boyfriend's favorite smoothie, which is adapted from the Acai Smoothie recipe in Eat Drink and be Vegan by Dreena Burton:

1 1/2 cups Living Harvest chocolate flavored hempmilk
1/2 cup frozen bananas or one fresh banana
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 packet Sambazon Acai frozen pulp

Blend! Serves two. This isn't exactly a raw smoothie but I do feel pretty good drinking it. And I LOVE hempmilk! It is my favorite packaged non-dairy milk ever. I'll have to learn how to make my own raw hemp milk! Yum! And I gotta find some raw acai. Most brands are flash pasteurized.

Anyhow, for lunch I had a grapefruit, during my breaks at work I had goji berries and then a Raw Pure Bar (brownie flavor), and then for dinner I had my regular veggie salad with avocado and raw ranch (this time tossed with the salad instead of drizzled over the top; this made the flavor come out better)


And raw zucchini pasta topped with easy raw pesto...

Easy Raw Pesto (adapted from Raw Food Life Force Energy by Natalia Rose)

1 cup (packed) basil
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
pinch of salt or to taste

Pulse in food processor until well chopped and combined. Serves 1 (or two if you don't love basil as much as me!)


This was my first ALL RAW DINNER in so long! It was amazing! In fact, besides my non-raw ingredients in this morning's smoothie, this was nearly an all raw day! It feels good to be eating lightly again.


Tomorrow, I'll probably eat a baked sweet potato for dinner with my raw salad, since we bought a big bag and need to eat through them. Not raw, but still delicious and healthy as far as I'm concerned! So here's to eating better, feeling better, regaining my perfect weight, and taking control of my life! Hooray!