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Monday, February 28, 2011

Raw/vegan nut butter truffles recipe

This is a recipe I came up with by accident when I was trying to make something else! This is as close as I can come to duplicating this amazing recipe.

Raw/Vegan Nut Butter Truffles

Ingredients:
1 part nut butter (I used a little peanut butter, almond butter and sunflower seed butter mixed together) (probably about 1 c. of nut butter)
2 parts coconut oil (probably about 2 c.)
Agave nectar (as needed) (at least about 1 c.)
1 tsp vanilla
dried, unsweetened, shredded coconut (as needed) at least 1 cup)
raw, organic cacao powder (as needed) approx. 1 cup
2 T. raw carob powder
1 tsp. pink Himalayan sea salt
Chopped nuts or seeds for coating "truffles" as desired


In mixing bowl (I used my Kitchen Aid mixer, you can also do this by hand with a whisk) mix together the nut butter and the coconut oil together till creamy. Add enough agave nectar until the mixture seizes up. (Mine never really did.)

Add the remaining ingredients, mixing well after each addition. Adjust the thickness of the dough by adding more coconut, cacao or carob powder. Chill for an hour, or overnight, in the refrigerator to make the "dough" easier to form into balls.

When firm enough to work with, scoop out mixture with two small teaspoons or a small cookie scoop (I used #100 scoop), roll balls in cacao powder or chopped nuts or chia or sesame or hemp seeds if desired.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Raw chocolate not "Snickers" Bar

Raw Snickers

Do I take nutritional supplements?

Great question! Yes I do, as needed. I used to take a handful of vitamins everyday when I was eating the Standard American Diet (SAD). Since eating Raw/Vegan I don't feel it's necessary except for occasionally. I have recently added a B-12 supplement daily. This B-12 vitamin is something that vegans--raw or not is important to make sure to get enough of.

I think supplements are important if you're not getting enough through your food intake. Everybody is different and it's important to listen to your own body and decide what's best for you.

Goddess Cream Cake recipe


 Goddess Cream Cake from the book "Kristen Suzanne's Ultimate Raw Vegan Chocolate Recipes" pg 36



Yields one 8 or 9 inch spring form pan (we just used a regular 8 x 8 square pan)

(Julie's notes are in parenthesis)

The Crust

1 c. raw walnuts
1/4 c. raw cacao nibs
3/4 c. dried coconut, shredded and unsweetened
2 tsp. raw chocolate powder (or raw carob powder)
1/2 c. raisins

The Filling--Base Layer

2 1/4 c. raw cashews
3/4 c. raw agave nectar
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. raw cacao butter, liquid
2 T. coconut oil
1 T. almond extract (I omitted)
1 T. coconut extract (I omitted)
3/4 c. raw chocolate powder (or raw carob powder)
1/8 tsp. Himalayan crystal salt
2 T. soy lecithin, opt. (make sure you get the non-GMO kind)

The Filling--Top Layer (Double this--it's really good!)

1 c. raw cashews, unsoaked
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. + 1 T. raw agave nectar
1/4 c. cacao butter, liquid
2 T. coconut oil
1 tsp. almond extract (I omitted)
1 tsp. coconut extract (I omitted)
pinch Himalayan crystal salt
1 tsp. psyllium powder (I omitted)
1-2 T. raw cacao nibs, ground

The Crust directions

Using a food processor, fitted with the "S" blade, grind the walnuts and cacao nibs to a coarse grind. Add the coconut and chocolate powder and pulse to mix. Add the raisins and process until the mixture begins to stick together when you press some between two of your fingers.

Press the crust mixture firmly into the bottom of your spring-form pan. Place in the freezer until you're ready to pour in the filling.

The Filling--Base Layer Directions

Place the cashews in a bowl and cover with enough water by about an inch. Let them soak for 1 hr. Drain off the water and give them a quick rinse.

Using a food processor, fitted with the "S" blade, process all of the ingredients, except the soy lecithin, until very smooth. This could take a few minutes and you might have to stop it a few times to scrape down the sides. Then, add the soy lecithin and process briefly to mix.

Pour the filling mixture on top of the crust and smooth the top using an offset spatula for best recults. Place in the freezer for 1-2 hours to set.

The Filling--Top Layer Directions

Grind the cashews into a powder using your blender. Add the remaining ingredients, except the psyllium powder and ground cacao nibs, and blend until creamy. Add the psyllium powder and blend briefly to mix. Pour into a small bowl and set aside until you're ready to spread it on top of the filling base. After the filling base has set in the freezer, pour the filling top layer on top, and smooth with an offset spatula.

Sprinkle the ground cacao nibs on top. Place in the freezer for an hour or so, and then you can transfer to the refrigerator until you're ready to eat. Goddess Cream Cake will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in your freezer for 6-12 months, when stored in an airtight container. (Trust me, it won't last that long--it will be eaten!)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Some health improvements I forgot to mention.....

Hello everyone!

In my first post I listed some health benefits that I've experienced as a result of  eating raw/vegan. I forgot to list a few and wanted to pass these along.

I experience clearer skin. (I never had acne as a teenager but as an adult I was hit "from the blind side". Some of you may know what I'm talking about.)

My eyesight improved.

My menstrual cramps virtually went away.

Headaches are extremely rare now.

I'm much more calm, things tend to just roll off my back now. Not that this was a huge problem before, but let's just say my insides are getting happier!

My depression is  less and less. I don't need my "happy light" anymore! (Anybody need one?)

The biggest surprise was when I'm out in the woods in the summertime bugs used to feast on me no matter how many "chemical or natural" bug repellents I wore. In fact, I usually wear a bug net (it's a great look too!)  Since changing my lifestyle to raw/vegan bugs hardly bother me anymore. Whether this is a coincidence or not--I don't care! It's working!

I used to slather on the sunblock like there was no tomorrow (SPF 45 or higher--Larry Bird is my mentor) now I really don't need it. I do wear a hat and sunglasses and if it's really bright/sunny I'll wear my sun protective clothing but I really feel more in tune with nature and my body.

Tons of energy--sometimes I don't know what to do with myself! I'm actually getting back to my home improvement projects slowly and doing some deep cleaning and organizing of my house which feels really good!

The slight drawback is I've had to get smaller clothes and I need to have my wedding ring re-sized to a smaller fit. Currently I'm wearing it on my middle finger which can look a little different (what will the neighbors say?).

I have had weight fluctuations throughout the years gaining and losing 20-30 pounds (sometimes more) with 2 pregnancies, and life (up until now I tended to be an emotional eater--I know, it's something that I also like to do when I'm bored or tired--now you know all my secrets!) and had just resigned myself to the fact that no matter how much effort I put in this was as good as it was going to get. People would say it came with the territory of getting older--now I'm fighting back--gently and calmly--and winning!

 Overall: I really love this lifestyle that Heavenly Father and my body has directed me to. I have not looked back.

I really feel that as I learn better, I do better. This has been, and continues to be a journey of self discovery. My body is smart and has the answers, I just need to listen more closely and heed what it's telling me. And it's all about God. He helps me every minute of every day in my efforts to take care of this incredible body He's given me. I'm Just Thankful! Peace and love to you all....Julie

Spicy Flax and Herb crackers recipe

 Spicy Flax and Herb crackers  from "Raw Food Real World" by Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis
pg. 300

Makes about 64 3-inch crackers
(Julie's comments are in parenthesis)

Flax seeds are mini powerhouses of essential fatty acids. You can also try soaking the seeds whole overnight and then incorporating them into the recipe that way--they will get a bit gelatinous and make a crisp cracker. But we like the texture of ground flax best and think its goodness is more easily assimilated this way. If you like you can substitute regular flax seeds for the golden flax.

1 c. sunflower seeds, soaked 1 hour or more
1 c. raw almonds, soaked 2 hours or more
1/2 c. sun-dried tomatoes, soaked 1 hour or more
2 red bell peppers, cored and chopped
3 to 4 small jalapeno peppers, cored
2 c. golden flax seeds, finely ground (about 2 2/3 c. ground)
1/2 c. lime juice
1 T. cumin powder
1 T. chili powder
1 T. sea salt
1 large handful mixed fresh herbs, such as cilantro, basil, and parsley
(I also add 1/2 c., or more, nutritional yeast to make it taste like a "cheez-its" type cracker)

In a food processor, place the sunflower seeds, almonds, and tomatoes and pulse to chop. Add the red bell and jalapeno peppers, flaxseed, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, and salt and process to combine well. Add water if needed to thin to a spreadable consistency. Taste for seasoning, add fresh herbs, and pulse to chop and incorporate.

Using an offset spatula, spread the dough thinly onto four 14-inch Teflex-lined dehydrator trays. (I score it lightly with a plastic knife at this point). Dehydrate at 115F for 6-8 hours, or overnight. Flip the sheets over onto the tray and carefully peel away the liners. Break or cut into pieces. Place back in the dehydrator for 4-6 hours, or until crispy. Store in an airtight container for up to a week or two.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Maple Cinnamon Buckwheat Crispies recipe

From the book "Raw Food Real World" pg 272-273 by Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis

(Julie's notes are in parenthesis)

(Info from the recipe): One of the things we missed a bit when we went raw was eating cereal. Our buckwheat version, served in a bowl with Brazil nut milk and berries or sliced banana, is better tasting and so much better for you than the processed kinds. Technically, buckwheat is not a grain but an edible fruit seed. Moreover, it's basic and easy to digest, as opposed to grains, which form acids and upset the pH balance of the body. Its compatibility to the digestive system is evident in the way it softens so quickly when you soak it; in 1 hour it goes completely soft, whereas grains can take hours or even days and still do not get that soft. Make sure to purchase whole, raw buckwheat groats, not the toasted kind known as kashi.

2 c. buckwheat groats, soaked for at least 1 hour (will yield about 3 1/2 c.)
3/4 c. maple syrup (if not sweet enough I sometimes also add a little honey or agave nectar)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon (or more, to taste)
2 packets stevia
2 tsp. sea salt
(I also sometimes add some organic maple extract flavor if not "maple-y" enough for me)

Place the soaked buckwheat groats in a fine-mesh colander to drain. Rinse with water to get rid of extra starchiness. (This takes a few rinsings--rinse until the rinsed water is no longer "slippery")

Place in the bowl of a food processor and add the remaining ingredients. Pulse until very well combined but not thoroughly pureed. It should look somewhat like soupy oatmeal.

Divide between two Teflex-lined dehydrator trays and spread to about 1/8 inch thickness. Dehydrate at 115F for 8-12 hours or until the top is dry to the touch and the Teflex peels away easily. The crispies should be quite brittle at this point, so it would be hard to flip it over all in one piece--the best way is to lift up pieces and flip them over individually. (I just put another mesh lined dehydrator tray on top and flip both trays over and take off the top and slide it back in the dehydrator) Continue dehydrating for an additional few hours, or until they are completely dry and crunchy. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container, or keep in the fridge to maintain maximum freshness, where they should last up to a few weeks.

(This cereal is delicious! When people try it their eyes light up and they exclaim "I love this!" and usually demand the recipe! I have not eaten this as a cereal yet, I enjoy it too much as a snack "as is". This is one of my favorite traveling foods. I almost always quadruple this recipe. When making a huge batch I food process in batches and put everything in a huge bowl and mix everything in by hand.)

Variation: Cocoa Crispies: replace the cinnamon with 2 heaping T. of organic cocoa powder or carob powder.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What do your kids eat? Are they raw/vegan also?

This is a valid question. There are two main theories.
1: For the entire family to go raw/vegan together.
2: For just those interested in changing to raw/vegan do so. I vote for the latter, personally.

I think the most important thing is not what everybody eats, but that the family eats together in love and harmony and support of each other.
My kids are older so they can make their own meals which is nice. My husband is on a low cholesterol diet. My son can eat anything. My daughter is wheat free/gluten free (which I am too). When it comes right down to it we've been preparing 2 or 3 types of meals for awhile but it wasn't a big deal so I never thought about it too much.

  Health has always been important to me so the family is used to me eating "weird things".I never made a fuss about anyone else joining me. I would make a green smoothie or a raw/vegan dish and I would always offer to share with anyone. Usually for the green smoothies the answer would be a big NO because it looked scary. When they saw me enjoying them very much and seeing  improvement in healthy ways they were willing to try a little sip. For the kids, I would put in a little more fruit than I normally would (the average ratio I use is 1/2 greens, 1/2 fruit). Actually I would start out with all fruit and they loved it, and then I would ask their permission to add a little bit of greens, or I would take my regular smoothie and just add more fruit and blend it again. Sometimes I would add a couple of pitted dates or agave nectar to it to sweeten it a little. They really got hooked on them and they love the convenience and speed in which a snack or a meal can be made--including a quick rinse for clean-up. Now, they usually don't mind the regular smoothie and they are amazed that it tastes okay! Just a little side note: A regular blender is adequate for green smoothies but with a high speed blender the quality of the smoothie goes way up and we all got spoiled with the new blender--so much so that when my daughter was going away to college we purchased her own blender so she could take it with her. Actually I got a deal on e-bay, I purchased a Blend-tec base with 2 blender carafes. This way all I have to do is buy another base and I got 2 high speed blenders for a reasonable price and the kids can each have one. God provides--thank you!

I have never forced anyone to adopt this lifestyle. My daughter, on her own, decided to try eating more raw/vegan dishes and smoothies (which she likes to share with her friends) and she started feeling more healthy and energetic too. She likes to experiment on her own in the kitchen making raw dishes which she's willing to share with the rest of us (thank you!, yummy!).

The cost of eating  healthy foods is expensive.  I suggest to people to start small. Just do what you can. It's never too late to start.

What we've always done  since the kids were very young is that we would require them with every meal they had to have one fruit or vegetable of their choice before dessert. The kids had one friend that liked this idea so much that when she went home she carried on the tradition with them also.

We've always made it a point to have healthy snacks around: cut up veggies (with Ranch dressing, their favorite), or fresh fruit.

It's also important for the parents to set the good example and eat as many healthy foods as they can. I like to tell my kids that good health is not just for them it's for future generations. I'm doing this for my grand-kids and I appreciate their support!

You need to do what's right for you and your family. I suggest to people to gather as much information as they can and decide for themselves what to do next. Good luck and have fun--keep it simple!

Monday, February 7, 2011

A very helpful link to a raw food community!

This is a very helpful website for people that are curious about, or interested in raw and living foods.

<a href="http://www.living-foods.com">Click Here to Visit:<br><img src="http://www.living-foods.com/images/livingfoods.gif" width="433" height="72" border="0" alt="Click here to Visit Living-Foods.com"></a>

Enjoy!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Raw Vegan Ice Cream

Here is one of our favorite Raw Vegan Ice Cream recipes I found on Recipezaar
 (Julie's notes are in parenthesis)
I usually double this recipe! Enjoy!


Raw Vegan Ice Cream
By Mom2CuteBoys on December 20, 2007 from Recipezaar
Total Time: 1 hr
Serves 6

Ingredients:
2 c. raw cashews, soaked in filtered water 4 hours (or more)
2 c. young coconut meat
1 c. filtered water, as needed (Julie uses the coconut water)
1 c. agave nectar (preferably raw!) (Julie uses maple syrup when making carob flavored ice cream)
1/4 c. coconut butter or 1/4 c. expeller pressed coconut oil (liquefied) (I've had better luck adding this in a thin stream as the blender is blending)
2 T. vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped or double your vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 heaping T. lecithin (for extra smoothness)
4 heaping T. carob powder OR cacao powder

Directions:
   1. 1 In Vita-Mix, blend all ingredients (except cashews and approximately 1/2 the water)

until creamy and smooth.
   2. 2 Add water as needed to keep the mixture circulating through the blender.
   3. 3 Lastly add the drained cashews and blend till smooth again and a lot of air is whipped

into the mixture.
   4. 4 After that, "chill in the fridge and process in an ice cream maker according to the

manufacturer's directions" is the final instruction on the recipe I base mine on. However, I

don"t have an ice cream maker at the moment, so I just whip it up good in the Vita-Mix and pour

it into little cups and freeze as is. (This is what I do too) If I've put enough coconut oil/butter into the mix, it

will be plenty creamy and spoonable out of the freezer.
   5. 5 VARIATIONS.
   6. 6 I ALWAYS make chocolate because that"s my favorite! -- I add raw cacao powder until

it's chocolately enough for me in the coconut and agave mixture.
   7. 7 Another variation is adding fresh peppermint leaves and stirring in raw cacao nibs for

mint chocolate chip.
   8. 8 You can also add any kind of fruit.
   9. 9 YOUNG COCONUT MEAT, WHAT'S THAT? These are available at Whole Foods or ethnic grocery

stores, generally. The best price on them is at the ethnic stores. In St Lou they range from

$1.59 each to $3.99 each for the same kind of coconut depending on where you buy them. These

are not the small, brown hairy looking coconuts, but the shaved white big coconuts. The meat

inside them is soft and gelatinous. There are instructional videos on YouTube on how to open a young coconut. You use a cleaver to cut a small square in the top, and

drink the coconut water out with a straw (or dump it into a glass). It's full of electrolytes

-- nature's Gatorade. You can also use it in the ice cream instead of filtered water. When the

water is emptied out you hack the coconut in half and scoop out the meat. The amount of meat in

the coconut varies greatly -- try to pick coconuts that seem heavy for their size. I will drink

the water and freeze the meat until I have enough meat to make the recipe and then defrost it

while I soak the cashews. It does require some effort especially when you haven't done it

before, but it's worth it!
  10. 10 ENJOY! :).


Read more: http://www.food.com/recipe/raw-vegan-ice-cream-273078#ixzz1DDdeIDjL

Friday, February 4, 2011

Organic or not? And healthy on a budget

This depends on where your priorities are. I tend to be picky about some produce but not others. Greens I always look for organic. Other produce is kind of a toss-up. I admit it is more expensive to eat healthier and  I also know that people need to be realistic and practical.

Just a couple of thoughts:

Wild edibles in your yard! Especially if you don't spray any weed killers or pesticides. Know your plants though--there are many good books out there on this subject or you can ask someone who knows for sure. If you have any doubt about any plant in the yard don't eat it. My favorite is dandelion greens! And plantain and clover, dock, & lambs quarters. And they're free! My favorite price! I must say that most people are trying to get rid of these weeds esp. dandelions and I'm encouraging them to grow. Actually I just take scissors and cut the tops off so they will continue to grow. I bring my colander out with me and load it up with greens and everything's ready to be washed and drained. I've gotten permission from the neighbors to have their wild edibles too! In fact they were thankful to get rid of them!  I grow parsley and mint in my yard along with some basil. Parsley is excellent in green smoothies as is cilantro.

The other thing is to buy in bulk! I love to get my greens at Sam's Club or BJ's wholesale club in the big tub. Sometimes people are lucky enough to have a Whole Foods store with bulk greens that you can bag up yourself. Maybe some friends are willing to go in together and get a case of something at your local wholesalers. In Manchester, NH there is Granite State Fruit. This store is open to the public. It's cheaper but you have to buy the whole case. I also like Shaw's supermarket. They occasionally have ripe fruit that is reduced for quick sale. One time I went in there and they had 3 huge boxes of ripe bananas for 20 cents a pound. I bought an entire box for about $4. I went home and peeled all of them and sliced them into chunks and froze them in ziptop bags. I would have bought all three boxes but I only have so much room in my freezers! Besides, I wanted to leave some for other people. Shaw's is one of the few stores that mark down their produce.

Some people have fruit trees in their yards but don't want to bother picking the fruit. If you notice that this fruit is going to waste and is just going to go on a compost heap anyway, ask the homeowner if they'll let you have the fruit if you're willing to pick it for them.

If you like to go to Farmer's Markets go near closing time. They may be willing to lower their prices just so they don't have to pack it up again. I know one lady that expressed an interest in wild edibles to a farmer and was willing to pay $20 for a big load of nettles, dandelion greens, lambs quarters, miner's lettuce etc. every week.  He was happy to oblige--and other people started asking for them too so he continued to offer them for sale.

I am a huge fan of bulk buying. I buy online in large quantities for certain items. NutsOnline is my friend! They have tons of excellent quality items and they ship it to your home FedEx in one or two days. Tropical Traditions has coconut oil in bulk. Amazon.com has subscribe and save items that they will ship to your house automatically and charge your credit card. The prices are really good and you save on shipping! Shop for produce in season and know your prices. Be on the lookout for good sales on things you use a lot of. Buy locally, and organic when feasible.

Have a garden if possible! I have gardened successfully from five gallon buckets on my deck. I grew tomatoes, kale, dark lettuces, sugar snap peas, & collard greens. We grow patches of strawberries and have 5 blueberry bushes, 2 peach trees, & 1 pear tree in the yard which we all utilize. We like to go out into the yard and "graze". I don't possess a green thumb so I make sure to get hardy starter plants for the tomatoes and good quality seeds from a  reputable source. For the fruit trees we used Stark Brothers and for the blueberry bushes we used Agway. We have a small yard so we looked for self pollinating trees and trees designed for smaller yards.

Just do what you can to bring health into your home--even if it's only a little bit! Apples and bananas tend to always be available and spinach--there's your smoothie! Rotate/vary your greens so that you get more variety.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What do you do when traveling?

Be prepared! I travel with a personal size blender, a flexible cutting board, a small knife in a protective sheath (yes this is in my checked luggage, can't carry this stuff on.This is to make green smoothies when we get there. I also find a grocery store when we arrive and pick up some produce and dark greens and fresh fruit. Check to see if your hotel has a little refrigerator to store your treasures.

I carry with me: trail mix, raw/vegan cookies, crackers, & snacks (like granola) that are portable and easy to grab from my back pack which I carry on. Anything that is fragile like cookies or crackers I put in a zip top bag inside a tupperware container. Having my own food with me is comforting because I'm not at the mercy of the airlines--it's also cheaper and healthier to bring your own snacks. Beware of bringing fresh produce with you through security--sometimes they will confiscate it. Bring enough snacks to share with the people around you so they won't get jealous!

When you travel stay hydrated!!! I bring an empty water bottle with me through security and fill it from a water fountain on the other side (cause I'm frugal). Sometimes I'll splurge and buy a bottle of water and re-use it. The flight attendant also has water--take advantage of it and drink water whenever you can!

Many of the larger airports have kiosks offering fresh fruit and salads now which is nice! Thank you! Come to think of it, the smaller ones too are catching on. I noticed even at Dunkin' Donuts they had bananas for sale. YAY!

I'm thankful there are more and more healthy choices when traveling!

What do you do when you go out to eat?

My thoughts are, it depends on where we go. Every restaurant I know of has some kind of salad which can be served without dressing (my preference). I like to bring a tomato and an avocado with me in my purse and I'll add these to a salad. I like to bring my own salt--my favorite is the Pink Himalayan sea salt. Mexican restaurants have pico de gallo which can be put on a salad, guacamole, chips  and salsa (yes, I know these are cooked, it's not the end of the world). I have made my own raw/vegan tortilla chips and brought those and enjoyed the salsa and guacamole that way.

Ruby Tuesdays is one of the only places I know of that still has a superb salad bar. They have spring mix, baby spinach, and romaine mixes, along with the iceberg (yawn). I load my plate with the greens and add tomatoes, raw mushrooms, green pepper slices, grated carrots, grapes, etc. and then back at my table I pull out my trusty avocado and add that. People are always impressed how beautiful, easy, and healthy it looks. If I don't have an avocado with me I order 2 sides of guacamole dip and add that to the salad. It's excellent!

Any restaurant has lemon wedges you can squeeze over a salad. Most places have fresh fruit or a salad bar. Most buffets I've seen have excellent choices like cut up veggies/fruits and yummy toppings that are healthy: grape tomatoes, hard boiled egg (if you're feeling festive), raw sunflower seeds, olive oil and vinegar--be creative!

I've also been in fancier restaurants where they tend to be a little more accommodating. I have a little talk with our server and explain what I'd like and the chef can go wild creating, and then I ask them to charge me creatively too. One place we were in was amazing. The waiter had me write down some suggestions and the chef had fun creating a gorgeous plate of dark greens, sliced raw veggies, sliced fruit arranged very beautifully. Everyone else at the table looked a little jealous of what I was eating and I jokingly told them "Get your own!". 

I always try to have some nuts/seeds in a baggie in my purse for emergencies or as a salad add on. (I know, I had to get a bigger purse). It also is nice to have something to snack on when everyone else is eating their appetizers or hot rolls. Or have them bring you a side salad as an appetizer so you won't be tempted.

Some people feel sorry for me and think it's restrictive or difficult to eat like this. I look at it this way: I focus on all the things I CAN eat not what I can't eat. I don't have to eat this way I CHOOSE to eat this way. I am willing to put in a little effort because I feel so healthy and alive and energetic when I feed and nourish my body this way. I also am not a strict fanatic about it. Once in awhile I will have a cooked vegetable (like at Thanksgiving dinner at a relative's house), I'll enjoy it very much and praise and thank the host very graciously.

Another strategy is to have a healthy snack before you go out so that you're not ravenously hungry (that's when it gets dangerous!)  I say be prepared and you're ready for anything! Good luck!

What do you eat everyday?

Hi everyone! Many people ask me this. I eat very simply usually. I do like to experiment with more complicated raw recipes when I have a little more time to work with. But daily, on average I am a "grazer". I do better with small meals throughout the day.


Breakfast: one or more of the following
Green smoothie (this is a staple for me! Excellent nutrition in 5 minutes) I sip this throughout the day
Fresh fruit (bananas are fast!)
Raw/vegan ice cream (yes! it's healthier than processed cereals!)
Raw/vegan cookies or crackers that I've made or other raw/vegan dessert :D

Snack:
Fruit or veggie or green smoothie or nuts/seed/raisins

Lunch:
Raw/vegan entree I've had from the night before
Avocado
Green salad (the darker green leafier the better) with tomato and avocado, add nuts/seeds for protein
Raw/vegan snacks I've brought

Snack:
Fruit, veggie, nuts/seed/raisins,

Supper:
Anything that's handy and simple
Green smoothie


Basically: Any fresh fruit, any dark green leafy, raw vegetables, anything that God made and is still in the original packaging--as unprocessed as possible. If it has a list of 'ingredients' I try to stay away from it if possible. The trick for me is eat before I get ravenous (hence the small meals). This way I stay eating healthy things instead of reaching for whatever. When I have time I make big batches of something and dehydrate or freeze it--like raw/vegan pancakes for example--then when I'm packing my lunch I can grab fruits, avocado, tomato and a package of whatever is ready to go. I eat things that are handy and fast, stuff that I can snack on between clients--especially the green smoothies!

Even if someone wanted to do just one thing healthier I would suggest adding green smoothies. If that's all you can do--it's the best gift for your body. You can pack a HUGE amount of excellent nutrition in a fast, convenient, portable medium. Kids like it too! If you can't overlook the color put it in a travel mug and drink it like that! Start small and be gentle with yourself. Have fun!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Welcome!

Welcome to my blog!
A lot of people have asked me about my dietary changes and are interested to know what I eat and how it has changed my life and how I went about my adventure. So, to address these issues I have decided to make a blog to hopefully answer some questions to my family and friends.

 I have always eaten as well and healthy as possible but in March 2010 the food that I have enjoyed for years did not appeal to me at all. The thought of continuing the way I was going did not interest me. I was leaning towards salads, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds. I must interject here that my parents were way ahead of their time. I learned about green smoothies and I remember that my mom used to make us these when we were kids. She would take pineapple juice and put in the blender with as many dark green leafy things as possible. It looked a  little scary but all you tasted was pineapple juice. I thank my parents for being "weird" and for being interested in health and alternative methods of healing.

I learned about green smoothies and quickly became addicted. I would take my blender and put in some water and as it was running I would put in any raw fruit I had on hand, chopped, and the most dark green leafy vegetables I could fit and blend till as smooth as possible. I had always kind of toyed with the idea of blending salads, because of sensitive teeth, but didn't know how to go about it. I found great info on YouTube and some excellent recipes here and there online. There is a ton of information out there which I soaked up like a sponge.

I jumped into raw/veganism with both feet and enjoyed improvement in several ways immediately: more energy, better mood, clothes fitting better. I had been following this lifestyle for about 2 months when I started sleeping at night. This was HUGE for me because I have never really slept well for as long as I can remember. I would sleep for awhile and then be awake for awhile. Over the years I had learned to make peace with myself after a fashion. I have even stumped sleep clinic doctors which told me I wake up every hour and that I slept "normally". So when I actually started sleeping and dreaming I was extremely thankful. It could have been coincidence but I don't think so. And if it turns out to be a placebo effect--who cares?

I have had people and friends concerned for my health which I appreciate, especially as the weight started coming off , (23 pounds), which was a pleasant surprise. I say thank you and I love you and I have done research to back this up. This way of eating works for me. I have also experienced an increased spirituality and closeness to nature. My moods are happier and calmer.

I love experimenting in the kitchen and making raw recipes.

Some people have commented that this way of living would be too hard for them. I am not here to judge anyone or tell anyone how to live or what to eat. I am not qualified to do that. I suggest to people to do the research on their own and decide what level of health they desire. I might shock people if I say I have had a piece of cheese occasionally or an egg (cooked, of course), or some simple cooked rice. I am interested in listening to what my body needs. I am interested in 100% health. That's why I say I'm 90-95% raw/vegan because I don't believe in being fanatical about it.

People have also asked about kitchen equipment/tools. I must mention here that I have  burned out 2 "regular" blenders and have since then purchased a Blendtec blender which I LOVE! I have also burned out a "regular" dehydrator and have purchased a 9 tray Excalibur which, after research, have decided it is the cadillac of dehydrators. I love these tools that have blessed my life. I'm thankful!

I have learned to cherish and nourish and love my body. This is a personal journey. I wish you happiness as well!