Saturday, December 12, 2009

Holiday Bustle


I have been trying to get this post up for a week, but have been caught up in the holiday hustle and bustle ... the shopping, decorating, preparing for company, menu planning, the whole kit and kaboodle.

Although it's a beautiful time of year, it can also be stressful. This is one of the many reasons I'm so blessed to be a raw vegan. Flooding my body with green juices, smoothies, and live foods feeds my cells and boosts my immune system. Being raw helps me to stay centered and calm, while maintaining a high level of energy. It's good to be raw. I like it. I like emoticons too. Can you tell?

In the midst of the flurry, I decided to add more to my plate and try out a couple of new recipes that I thought my Christmas company might enjoy. First, I made a variation of Dr. Gabriel Cousen's Cranberry Bread which I really liked!

It looks like bread sticks ... or biscotti, but it has the texture of banana bread, except made with cranberries. It's very good!

I did tweak it just a bit and added agave nectar to give it a bit of a sweet taste, and I substituted almond flour instead of soaked almonds since I have so much almond flour on hand.

Cranberry Bread
2 cups golden flax seeds, ground
1 cup almonds, soaked (I used 1 cup of almond flour)
3/4 cup fresh cranberries
1 Tbsp. orange zest
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. Celtic salt (I used Pink Himalayan)
1/2 vanilla bean (I used a whole one)
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup almond soak water or plain water. (I think coconut water would be good too.)

Grind the flaxseeds in a coffee grinder to medium consistency (not too fine). If you use soaked almonds, process in food processor with an S-blade until meal-like. Since I used almond flour, I just added a cup of flour to the ground flax seeds and processed till blended. Place "flour" in mixing bowl.

Next, add cranberries, juice, orange zest, agave nectar and vanilla bean to a Vita Mix or blender and process till smooth. I happened to have some almonds soaking for almond mylk, so I added about 1/2 cup of almond soak water, but next time I may try coconut water for added flavor.

Add the blended ingredients to the mixing bowl. Add cinnamon and salt, and mix well.

Form into two loaves approximately 4" x 8" x 1 and slice into 1/4" pieces.

Dehydrate at 145° for 2-3 hours and then 115° for 2 hours or until desired moisture is obtained.

Enjoy!!

Next recipe was Sergei's Butternut Squash cookies.

In the photo they look like chicken nuggets, but I assure you, they aren't. Lol. They were okay; reminded me a lot of the Mini Pumpkin Muffins I posted back on November 17th. It seemed to me that the juice of one orange was too much as I had to add some almond flour to thicken the batter up. If I were to make these again, I would start with 1/2 cup of orange juice and add more if needed.

Butternut Squash Cookies
4 cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 cup golden raisins
1 orange, juice of (Start with 1/2 cup and increase if needed.)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons agave nectar, raw

Blend squash in a food processor and put into a bowl.
Blend raisins and orange juice in the food processor and add to the squash puree.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Drop the mixture by spoonfuls onto dehydrator trays and flatten each cookie to a thickness of one inch.
Dehydrate at 105 degrees for 12-15 hours.

Confession Time

The holiday season is always a tough time for my diet. I stay raw, but I'll start to nibble at certain cooked foods. Like the past few days, I've been cheating. I've been eating oatmeal cookies ... and NOT the raw kind! But they taste SOOOO good, I can't help it!

Well, I CAN help it, so I decided to find a raw alternative. I've collected four or five raw oatmeal cookie recipes and I'm going to do a ... hmmmm, well I certainly can't call it a "cook-off". I'm going to try them all and post the results. I've already made one batch. I just have a few more ingredients to buy to make the remaining recipes, but Christmas shopping got in the way. Hopefully, in a few days I'll be able to post the recipe I like best. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, be sure to drink your green juice everyday to keep your immune system boosted ... especially if you're out there shopping. Germs are everywhere! If your biological terrain is disrupted due to stress, processed foods, dehydration, or a number of other factors, your body won't be able to fight off the crud. Easiest green juice is 1 cup of coconut water (or plain water), couple handfuls of kale and a banana. Voila!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Another Green Healing Tonic

Actually made it to the gym today. The difference between today's workout and the last time I worked out which was the Monday before Thanksgiving (1 week and 1 day ago) was depressing, to say the least. I had considerably less energy and strength. I lifted half the amount of weight I did last week and was only able to to do reps rather than three. Let's just say I felt like a real whimp.

Today's green tonic was stepped up just a bit. I was out of cucumber, so I substituted half a zucchini and I added some cilantro and wheat grass.

Green Healing Tonic #2
Garlic clove
Ginger, slice
Apples - 2
Zucchini - 1/2
Celery - 2 stalks
Carrot - 1 medium
Cilantro - a few sprigs
Mint - a few springs
Spinach - handful
Broccoli - a few stalks and one flowerette
Romaine - handful
Red cabbage - small bunch
Wheat Grass - 1 TBSP.

It was a lot better tasting than I had anticipated.

I mixed up a batch of avocado, mayonaise, aloe, and coconut oil to do a deep conditioning of my hair. Here I sit with my hair in a plastic bag and a heated towel wrapped around my head as part of the conditioning process - LOL - so I decided to pick up reading where I'd left off several months ago in The Live Food Factor by Susan Schenck.

This book is phenomenal and if you are serious about pursuing a raw vegan lifestyle, I highly recommend purchasing The Live Food Factor for your raw lifestyle library. It is LOADED - all 660 pages - with invaluable information. As it says on the cover, it is The Comprehensive Guide to the Ultimate Diet for Body, Mind, Spirit and Planet.

Susan starts out with ten reasons to stop cooking and they are: Super Health, Mental Ability and Mental Health, Optimal Weight and Beauty, Emotional Balance and Happiness, Spiritual Growth, Economy, Pleasure, Ecology, Free Time, and finally, Longevity. I can relate each and every reason.

So after all these months, wouldn't you know that I'd open the book up to "Is Cooked Food Toxic?" Why, oh why, didn't I open this book up the day BEFORE Thanksgiving?!

Monday, November 30, 2009

I Hit a Pothole!

Or should I say SINK HOLE!!!

Sometimes on the roads of life, we hit a pothole. Thanksgiving was a sink hole on my road to rawesome health ... and it took me four days to crawl out.

It started out with good intentions but ...

We had a delicious organic, free-range turkey, two versions of yummy dressing, creamy mashed potatoes, scrumptious sweet potato and orange casserole, fresh green bean casserole, cranberry sauce ... and it was all ohhhh so good.

Then there was dessert, but my demise came with this Ice Cream Casserole:


Our dear neighbor - bless his heart - brought this sinfully delicious dish over. It was layered with ice cream sandwiches, caramel, Butterfingers and Reese's Peanut Butter cups. For someone who has been 98% raw for almost two months, this was like injecting a shot of heroine. SO MUCH SUGAR!!! And the DAIRY!! UGH!!

Well, I started out this morning back on the healing path with this delectable green healing tonic which consists of:

Romaine - handful
Spinach - handful
Parsley - small bunch
Celery - two stalks
Cucumber - half
Mint - small bunch
Green apple - 1
Fuji apple - 1
Carrot stick - 1
Clove of garlic - 1 sm
Ginger - sliver

An example of how detrimental cooked food is for the body, after one day of eating cooked food, I woke up with a food hangover. After two days of eating cooked food I started sneezing, eyes started itching, I started to get congested and my energy level tanked. After four days of eating cooked, my lungs started aching, I began wheezing and coughing up mucus. My vision has deteriorated considerably. I couldn't even drag myself out of bed this morning to go to the gym.

My plan is to fast on green juice, organic lemonade and green smoothies this week to get myself back on track. And then Christmas gets here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Update on My Progress

It's been a while since I posted updated photos of my transition back to rawesome health. When I think back to October of 2004, I recall that I started to lose inches before I actually started to lose weight. This seems to be what is happening again. The difference is, in 2004, I wasn't TRYING to lose weight. I went raw so I could breathe without my asthma meds.

This is what I looked like when I started my journey back in January:


To recap, I had been raw from October of 2004 to July of 2007 when my lifestyle changed and I reverted back to "SAD" eating. I went from an active lifestyle to a sedentary one where I was either sitting in traffic or sitting in front of a computer all day. I put on 45 pounds!! My health declined and I no longer felt Simply Rawesome.

After a 10-day Master Cleanse in March of 2009, I lost 10 pounds.

Since then, I've stayed around 75-85% raw until October 1 when I decided to do the 31-day Challenge and try to stay 100% raw for the month. I don't recall why I didn't take before pictures. My guess is probably because I didn't look that much different than I did after the Master Cleanse.

Below shows how many inches I've lost since March 20th:

Bust: -1"
Waist: -2.75"
Hips: -1.75"
Thigh: -1.25"
Calf: +.50"
Biceps: - .75"

I put on a half inch in my calf muscles from working out at the gym. Yes! I am starting to firm up and slowly get back into shape, the "cheese" is gone from my arms! YAY!!! The "hail damage" on my butt is considerably less! YAY!! But more importantly, my health is improving, my energy level is increasing, my cardio and endurance are definitely better. I'm feeling lighter on my feet - no longer feel like a barge. LOL! Running up and down the stair is no longer a chore, nor do my joints ache.

My body is still detoxing and healing from all the stress of reverting back to "SAD" eating for a year and a half ... and then from my accident in July of 2008. Now I just have to get through the holidays. =

Below are photos I took this morning.

I'd like to lose 20 pounds but I'm not that worried about it. That will happen when my body is ready to let go of the weight. I've been monitoring my pH level so that I stay alkaline. When the body is acidic, it retains fat to protect the organs.

So that is the latest in my journey to return to RAWESOME HEALTH!! With the New Year, I expect a new ME!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mini Pumpkin Muffins

Where's the pumpkin?! There is no pumpkin stuff in these muffins! And they don't exactly look very much like a traditional muffin, but they sure are tasty!

These muffins actually contain butternut squash as the main ingredient. I had never done anything with a butternut squash before, and was pleasantly surprised by (1) how much it smelled like cantaloupe, (2) how much it tasted like cantaloupe, and (3) how hard it was. The "meat" of the squash was a beautiful vibrant orange color.

It was quite the challenge to peel one of these things. I tried peeling it with a potato peeler but quickly resorted to a paring knife. Below is a photo of the squash and all of the untensils I used to prepare it before I could run it through the juicer. I had to scoop out all the seeds, much like a cantaloupe!



I wish I would have taken a photo of the "muffins" before I dehydrated them, because they looked much more impressive beforehand.


I also made a Sweet Cashew Cream to top the "muffins" - and I use that term very loosely. I won't post what I call them in the privacy of my home.

These are some pretty darn good raw muffins!

Mini Pumpkin Muffins

I use little candy papers that look like mini pleated cup cake papers.

1 Butternut Squash, peeled
1 ½ cups Raw Walnuts
About 1/3 cup Raw Pecans
3-4 dates, pitted
3 tsp. Pumpkin Spice (or 3 tsp. Allspice and ½ tsp. Ginger)
1 cup Cranberries, chopped

Cut squash into quarters, Peel skin with paring knife, Run through juicer with blank plate on. (For a smallish squash should have about 3-1/2 cups.)

Put all ingredients into food processor with the s blade and blend until smooth. While the blender is on and mixing, add about 1/8 c water. More if needed to make it smooth.

When finished, scrape all ingredients into a bowl, add 1 cup of chopped cranberries and mix in.
Drop mixture by teaspoon to fill the little cups.

Dehydrate for 10-15 hours @ 110 degrees.

Sweet Cashew Cream

2 big handfuls of Cashews, soaked in water for about 1hr.
Juice from ½ Lemon
2-3 TBSP. Agave Nectar
Pure Water

Drain and put nuts in blender with lemon juice and agave.
Add just enough water to get the mixture moving.
*Only add water as needed.

Blend till completely smooth, keeping consistency thick like whip cream. Store in fridge.

Top Pumpkin muffins with cream when they are ready.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Stuffed Mushrooms & Brownies ... Yummm!

I'm so excited. I went to a ladies retreat this weekend with my church family, but since they did not serve "raw" food, I had to bring my own. I tried to keep it simple, so I made some simple stuffed mushrooms by pulsing red pepper, cauliflower and some onion in my Jr. Chopper. Then I scooped out the center of my mushroom and layered spinach on the bottom of the mushroom. I added a spoonful of the chopped veggies, placed a few alfalfa sprouts on top and then drizzled some Balsamic Vinegarette on top. YUMMMM!!! Everyone asked me what I was eating and said it looked delicious. It was!!


For dessert, I found a recipe for brownies and revised it to use almond pulp. My stepson's comment while eating them, "This is ridiculous! These taste like the real thing. Raw food shouldn't taste this good." HA ha! Yay! Success!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thinking GREEN for TJyl

This post is dedicated to my dear friend TJyl over at FindingRawFoods.blogspot.com because she is so into GREEN!!

I started making a salad and realized everything at that point was all green, so I decided to go with the flow. She'll be SO proud of me.

My salad consists of:

A bed of romaine
Alfalfa sprouts
broccoli florets
cucumbers slices
1/2 an avocado
slices of spring onions
grated zucchini
a sprig of parsley

Okay, so much for the salad. Now what about a green dressing? I did a Google search for a raw green salad dressing and at the top of the list of results was this video by the LifeRegenerator. I adapted his dressing and came up with the following:

Pearly Green Dressing
1 orange
1 pear
1/2 avocado
1 tsp of fennel
Blended it all in the VitaPrep and voila!

Unlike TJyl, who does a phenomenal job of setting up her raw food photos in a professional-looking photo shoot, I just slap the greens on a paper plate and snap a shot! I do aspire to be as creative and talented as TJyl, but for now, my lovely paper plates will have to do! lol.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Yummy Protein Smoothie

I made the following smoothie before going to the gym this morning with the intention of having it after my workout, but it was so good, I consumed it even before I got out the door. Just couldn't stop myself from drinking it.

Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

2 cups almond milk
2 bananas
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
3 dates, pitted
1 heaping Tbsp. of Hemp Protein Powder
ice

Blend. It is SOOOOOOO scrumptious!

~~~~~~

I haven't had a chance to take after photos from my 31-day challenge yet. It was a very busy weekend and I need to make a raw dessert for a dinner engagement we have tonight. Hopefully tomorrow I can 'git r done'.

Now, hmmm..... what dessert should I make?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Day 31!!! I MADE IT!! WOOOHOOOO!!

Today is the last day of my 31-day Raw Challenge. Although I completed 31 days of 99.5% raw, it's not going to change much going forward. I plan to remain raw because of the benefits. I feel so much better than I did a month ago. I've lost my tummy and my muffin top is almost gone! lol. I have more energy and my skin is noticeably better. I will try to take some updated photos tomorrow as we have plans this afternoon.

This morning I woke up and had a bowl of rolled oat cereal with walnuts, banana slices, grapes, sunflower seeds and almond milk.

I had a tangerine mid morning.

I'm drinking a green smoothie now that my hubby says is probably one of the best ones I've made so far.

TropiGreen Smoothie
1.5 cups of coconut water
1/3 pineapple
1 cup grapes
2 handful of spinach

Blend and enjoy! Oh my gosh, it is absolutely delectable!

Speaking of green smoothies, Victoria Boutenko posted the following on her blog located at www.greensmoothiesblog.com.

Guidelines to Drinking Green Smoothies

This article is a must read for all green smoothie drinkers. Through everyday blending, research, experience, and letters from readers, the Raw family has created the best recipes and came up with the basic principles of green smoothie making and consuming. To help people receive the most benefits from drinking green smoothies and to avoid some typical mistakes, Victoria created the following guidelines:
  • Prepare your green smoothie first thing in the morning in the amount that you usually consume in one day, one or two quarts (liters). Pour enough smoothie in a glass for your morning enjoyment and keep the rest in a refrigerator or another cold place.
  • Sip your green smoothie slowly, mixing it with saliva. Sometimes I put my smoothie in a coffee mug with a lid and carry it with me to the car or to my office. That way I minimize a chance of spilling it and keep it private without distracting others.
  • Don’t add anything to your smoothie except greens, fruit and water. I don’t recommend adding nuts, seeds, oils, supplements or other ingredients to your green smoothie. Most of these items slow down the assimilation of green smoothies in your digestive tract and may cause irritation and gas. Even though I provide recipes with more than basic ingredients in my books I encourage you to stick to the basic green smoothie recipe (fruit and greens) in your daily routine.
  • Drink your smoothie by itself, and not as a part of a meal. Don’t consume anything, even as little as a cracker or candy with it. You may eat anything you want approximately 40 minutes before or 40 minutes after you finished your smoothie. Your goal is to get the most nutritional benefit out of your green smoothie.
  • Do not add starchy vegetables such as carrots, beets, broccoli stems, zucchini, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, egg plant, pumpkin, squash, okra, peas, corn, green beans, and others to your green smoothies. Starchy vegetables combine poorly with fruit and may produce what my children call “gas 4 less.”
  • Don’t add too many ingredients into one smoothie, such as nine different fruits and a dozen different greens. Try to keep most of your recipes simple to maximize nutritional benefits and to keep it easy on your digestive system.
  • Learn to prepare a really delicious green smoothie so that you are always looking forward to the next one. If your drink is not tasty, you will eventually discontinue consuming it. Keep your taste buds happy.
  • Always rotate the green leaves that you add to your smoothies. Almost all greens in the world contain minute amounts of alkaloids. Tiny quantities of alkaloids cannot hurt you, and even strengthen the immune system. However, if you keep consuming kale, or spinach, or any other single green for many weeks without rotation, eventually the same type of alkaloids can accumulate in your body and cause unwanted symptoms of poisoning. Please note that you don’t have to rotate the fruit in your green smoothies. Most commonly used fruit have very little or none of the alkaloids and cannot cause the same toxic reactions as greens. At the same time, rotating fruits will enhance the variety of flavor and nutrition in your smoothies.

Choose organic produce whenever possible. The absence of pesticides and other toxic chemicals is only one of many benefits of organic food. The most important reason to consume organic food is the superior nutritional of organic fruits and vegetables in comparison to conventionally grown produce. We have been discussing earlier, how deficient most people are. The best way to nourish your body is to consume organic produce and whenever possible, locally grown. I consider it very important to get the fruit that was allowed to ripen on the vine because it is the best for nourishment. Tree-ripened fruit is several times more nutritious and when consumed shortly after picking retains significantly more nutrients.

Day 30 - Still hanging in there!!

Had a great day today. Went to the gym this morning with my hubster.

I drank a quart of Kale, Banana,and Water smoothie. That filled me up for most of the day.

I did grab a bite of my raw brownie before dinner and it tastes even better today than it did yesterday! Oh, and I also had a tangerine.

My inlaws came over for dinner so I made beans, ham and cornbread for them and a huge salad for me. Well, the salad was so huge that just about everyone had some! I did have a wee little bowl of beans & cornbread but it was barely three tablespoons. So it was a baby cheat. =) The salad consisted of romaine, carrots, red cabbage, cucumber, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, spring onions, and sunflower seeds. After dinner, I had another tangerine. Yummm.

I just had a nice glass of freshly-made almond milk and now I'm going to bed!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day 28 - Scrumptious Fudgy Brownies

Last night I had a craving for brownies, so I made some!

Fudgy Brownies

1-1/4 cup pitted medjool dates
1 cup raw walnut pieces
1/2 cup cacao powder
pinch sea salt

Combine dates, walnuts, cacao powder and salt in a food processor and pulse until a dough has formed.

Chop 1/2 cup of walnuts just slightly and mix into dough.

Press into a pan and cut into squares.

Top with Love Street Original Chocolate Spread* when ready to eat. (Picture does not show topping. I discovered the topping after the photo was taken and dang, was it good!)

Simply rawesome!!!

*Love Street's Original Cholocate spread can be purchased through the link at the top right hand corner of this page.

~~~~~~~~

I added caco nibs into the dough and it was like chewing on glass, so I recommend using slightly chopped walnuts instead.


Today's raw consumption:

"Green Pineapple Orange Smoothie" for breakfast consisting of:

1 cup water
1 Banana
1/2 Pineapple (cored and skinned)
2 Oranges (peeled)
2 handfuls of spinach
2 TBSP. Ground Flaxseeds
1/2 tsp. Lucuma
1/2 tsp. Maca
Ice

My "After Work-Out Superfood Protein Smoothie" consisted of:

1 cup Almond Milk
1/2 Banana (all I had left!)
1 TBSP. of Peanut Butter
2 TBSP. Ground Flaxseeds
2 TBSP. Cacao Powder
1/2 tsp. Lucuma, Maca, Mesquite
1 TBSP. Hemp Protein Powder
1 TBSP. Agave Nectar
Dash Cinnamon
Ice

For dinner I had a huge salad, some Fudgy Brownies and some water.

And now I'm off to bed!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 27 - Cranberry Salad Smoothie

I decided to try something different with my cranberry smoothie. First of all, rather than using almond milk, I decided to juice an apple and use apple juice instead. Next, I increased the amount of cranberries and celery, using 1 cup of cranberries and two full stalks of celery. I was going to use two oranges, but ended up only using one. It came out quite tasty and actually did remind me of the Cranberry Jello salad that I make at Thanksgiving.

Cranberry Salad smoothie - Version 2
Juice of 1 Fuji apple
1 cup cranberries
1 orange, peeled and quartered
2 stalks of celery
1 cup red grapes

Blend and enjoy.

The Cranberry Salad Smoothie was my brunch drink. Then, late in the afternoon I had Carrot/Celery/Apple juice with a scoop of Wheat Grass.

For dinner I'll probably have a salad as well as munch on some Energy Flat Bread with Rich (and Raw) Cheddar Sauce and some of the Fresh Tomato Salsa I made this morning.

Somewhere in all this, I plan to drink a couple of bottles of water.

Wow, I just realized there are only four days left of this 31-day challenge. It's hard to believe that the month of October is almost over ... and the holidays are just around the corner ... and then a new year and another year older. As we get older, the value of time and quality of life seem a lot more crucial than they used to be. Since turning fifty, things that used to be important no longer are, and things that I never thought twice about, I now reflect upon and ponder. Don't waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them, to share the love of Christ because God IS love. You wouldn't know it the way some people react when this topic is brought up, but God truly does love each and everyone of us. Have a blessed day!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 25 & 26 - Time flies!!

Wow, I can't believe how fast time flies when you get old! LOL!!

On Sunday, day 25 of my 31 day challenge, I didn't have a chance to try the Cranberry Sauce, so instead, I created a smoothie based on a recipe I make for Thanksgiving called Cranberry Jello Salad. It's has cherry jello, cranberries, chunks of orange, diced celery, apple chunks and sugar.

Cranberry Salad Smoothie
Almond Milk (next time I'll try it with water)
1/2 cup cranberries (next time I'll use 2/3 cup)
1 Fuji apple, peeled and quartered
1 orange, peeled and quartered (next time I'll use 2)
1 1/2 stalks of celery (next time - 2 stalks)
1/2 cup red grapes

It came out pretty good, but with the almond milk, was too creamy. I think it would have been even better with water.

By the time I left for work, all I had was this smoothie, so when I got home, I was starving. I made a salad but my step-daughter made a pumpkin bread and, well, I ate a slice. Shame on me! But it was good!

I munched on grapes, a banana and then we polished off a veggie platter of celery, broccoli and carrots. Had a bottle of water.


Day 26
Went to the gym this morning and had a bottle of water.

Came home and had a protein smoothie: Almond Milk, Banana, Vanilla Bean, Peanut Butter, Scoop of Hemp Protein Powder.

Worked in the yard for four hours - had another bottle of water.

After a nice soothing bath in the jacuzzi, I made a salad, then had a slice of banana bread , some Energy Flat Bread with Mock Salmon Pate. The banana bread was sent home with my step-daughter's boyfriend so that's out of my system! Tomorrow will be a better day. It's supposed to rain, so I'll have plenty of time to try some new recipes.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Day 24 - Recipe Surfing

With the holidays just around the corner, I did some raw recipe surfing this evening and have saved approximately 30 recipes. I can't wait to start testing them out, but it will have to wait until Monday as tomorrow is a full day. The recipe I want to start with is:

Carmella's Cranberry Sauce
1 cup cranberries
1 1/2 small oranges
2 medjhool dates
A small piece of fresh ginger, peeled
Dash cinnamon
Dash nutmeg
Dash clove or allspice
Agave until desired sweetness is reached

Whirl in blender til smooth.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I love cranberries and now that watermelons and peaches are gone and grapes are fading fast, time to shift to the fruits of this season. This recipes sounds sooo good! I might be able to squeeze this one in tomorrow between church and work.

As for my consumption today:

Breakfast: Smoothie of Almond milk, Banana, Pineapple, Wheat Grass.

Lunch: Water with Lemon; the most amazing Salad at a local restaurant that included Red and Yellow Peppers, Snow Peas, Squash, Artichoke hearts, Green Onions served over hearts of palm, fresh mushrooms, tomatoes and mixed greens. Mmmmmm...mmmmm...mmmmm. I ate half at the restaurant and half for dinner at home.

Snack Late Afternoon: Some Buckwheat bars and a Banana

Dinner: Other half of my salad from lunch.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Day 23 - Top 10 Foods for Women's Health

Breakfast - Juice of Carrots, Celery, Apples, Wheat Grass. Sunflower seeds and Goji Berries.

Lunch - Smoothie of Almond Milk, Banana, Spinach, Grapes, Orange, Camu Camu, Lucuma, Mesquite and Maca powder, a splash of Agave.

Dinner - Salad plus some Carrots, Celery, Broccoli off a veggie tray, bottle of water.

Great workout today.

~~~~~~~~

Got an email today from Sunfood.com listing the top ten foods for women's health but I'm sure men would benefit too. Dr. Ariel Policano is a leading naturopathic physician with over 15 years of experience using raw foods and superfoods to treat a wide variety of conditions. She recommends the following top ten foods for optimal health.

1) Raw Chocolate
• Improves mood by increasing serotonin and other positive brain chemicals.
• Contains magnesium -- good for heart health, insomnia, bone density, hormonal balance.
• High in Vitamin C and electrolytes.
• High in antioxidants -- slower aging, disease prevention.

2) Maca
• Incredible hormone regulation from the top down -- works from pituitary gland.
• Adrenal support for strong, steady energy.
• Thyroid support for healthy metabolism.
• Reproductive support -- Balances hormones and reduces hot flashes.
• Libido support.
• Rich in B Vitamins.

3) Flax Seed
• Excellent raw materials for creation of health reproductive hormones.
• Anti-inflammatory.
• Good for healthy colon.
• Lignans improve hormonal balance.
• High "electron" food -- gives you energy and optimal cellular health.
• Possible anti-cancer properties written about by Johanna Budwig.

4) Sprouts
• Very nutrient dense.
• High protein.
• Good source of trace minerals.
• Broccoli sprouts have anti-cancer properties.
• Alkalinizing -- improves metabolism.
• Satisfies nutritional needs -- reduces appetite.

5) Kombucha
• Supports excellent digestive health.
• Improves healthy gut bacteria that helps with production of serotonin, good mood hormone.
• Rich in enzymes -- helps energize the entire body, all organs, hormones and neurotransmitters.
• Rich in vitamin B-Complex.
• Alkalinizing -- improves metabolism.
• Has been used by some women as a part of a breast cancer treatment plan.

6) Goji Berries
• Very high in antioxidants.
• High in Vitamin C.
• Complete protein containing all essential amino acids.
• Contains factors for human growth hormone.
• Rich in polysaccharide sugars for healthy immune system.

7) Coconut
• Anti-bacterial.
• Anti-fungal.
• Anti-viral.
• Healthy source of saturated fats.
• Rich in electrolytes.
• Alkalinizing -- improves metabolism.
• Increases energy.

8) Marine Phytoplankton
• Rich in chlorophyll.
• Alkalinizing -- improves metabolism.
• Cleansing.
• Vegan source of EPA and DHA.
• Many different carotenoids means strong antioxidant support.
• Virtually all trace minerals in marine phytoplankton.
• Great for balancing blood sugar.
• Good for weight loss -- satisfied nutritionally, not as hungry.
• Energy improvement.

9) Hemp Seed
• Complete protein.
• Omega 3 and Omega 6 present in healthy ratio.
• Anti-inflammatory.
• Raw materials for healthy hormones!
• Contain chlorophyll for nourishment and cleansing.

10) Sea Vegetables
• Thyroid health.
• Breast health.
• Weight loss.
• Cancer protection.
• High mineral content good for blood sugar, focus and creativity.


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Dr. Ariel Policano is a leading naturopathic physician with a special focus on women's health, promoted through her Women Go Raw Health Tours. With over 15 years of experience using raw foods and superfoods to treat conditions that range from fatigue and menopause to cardiovascular disease and breast cancer.

Contact Dr. Policano: ariel@womengoraw.com

Source: www. sunfood.com

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day 22 - Benefits of Reishi Mushroom

I just got an email that touts the benefits of Reshi mushroom and it said:

Reishi is an exceptional Chinese mushroom that has long been highly rated in traditional Chinese medicine and used in the treatment of a variety of disorders.

It is believed to promote health and longevity and to be one of the best boosters of the body's immunity against diseases. Reishi contains Germanium and is considered to have a powerful effect against tumours and cancers. Recent research has found Reishi to be beneficial in relieving fatigue and stress, treating joint inflammations, lowering high cholesterol and triglycerides, reducing heart disease symptoms, regenerating the liver, alleviating allergies, calming the nervous system and helping with the treatment of diabetes.


I was already aware of these benefits as I love to drink my Gano Coffee. If you would like to read about my experience with Reishi coffee and see a more detailed list of the benfits, scroll down to the bottom of this page and click on the link. Better yet, check out Gano's healthy coffee. If you must drink coffee, at least make it healthy coffee!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Today's food consmption.

20 oz. Juice of Carrots, Celery, Apples, Wheat Grass.

Buckwheat bars.

Zaxby Zensation Salad minus the chicken, Sweet Tea.

I was called in to work today for the first time in MONTHS, so I was not prepared and consequently, did not consume much.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day 21 - Three weeks into 31-Day Raw Challenge

Okay, so I spoke too soon yesterday when I said I was doing so well. I did cheat a bit today, but it was a small cheat. =)

I made some fresh Tomato Salsa the other day, and earlier today, my stepson told me that it tasted so much better the second day, now that the flavors had a chance to meld. Then, hubby was snacking on some salsa and chips and he commented on how good it was. Without thinking, I walked over, grabbed a chip and scooped up some salsa. I guess I didn't realize the impact of two little Serrano chili peppers because almost instantaneously I was hootin' n hollerin' n doing a jig around the kitchen. I was choking and gasping like I'd swallowed fire. I grabbed a bunch of chips to diminsh the burning in my mouth and throat. It was a site to behold, I'm sure. Unfortunately, I ate some chips that were most definitely NOT raw!

I didn't eat before heading out to the gym this morning but when I got home, I made up a protein smoothie of banana, vanilla beans, raw almond butter (didn't make almond milk), cacao nibs (out of cacao powder), peanut butter, agave, coconut oil, maca, mesquite powder, hemp protein powder and water with ice. This was quite filling because it kept me going for several hours.

Then I went out and did yard work which took up about four hours. I realized I hadn't eaten anything, so I came in and made up some juice of Carrots, Celery, Beet, Ginger, Lemon and Wheat Grass. =|

Then went to the natural market where I ended up buying a Greens Plus Protein bar because I was just plain starving. Another "not raw" item. =(

For dinner, I had a salad and now I'm munching on some Buckwheat Bars and drinking a bottle of water.

It was a very busy and productive day today that flew by like greased lightning!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day 20 - Stevia - a Healthy Sweetner

Stevia is a natural sweetener and I just so happen to have a Stevia plant, so I decided to save a few branches to make some Stevia powder. This is what's left of my plant. It grew beautifully this summer and was quite full.





I cut a few branches and hung them to dry. Once they were thoroughly dried out, I put them into my coffee grinder and blended the leaves to powder. I forgot to take a photo of the dried out branches, so I stopped grinding long enough to take a picture with a leave still intact. lol.

I wish I would have thought of this at the beginning of the summer as I would have a lot more, but this is what two branches of a Stevia plant produced. But this is sufficient to get me through the winter and spring because you don't need much at all. A dash will do ya! lol.

Also, I've read that Stevia is apparently safe for diabetics, unlike its chemical sweetener counterparts (Splenda, Aspartame) and other synthetic sweeteners.


Okay, on to my raw food consumption for the day. I can't believe it's Day 20 already! Wow, that sure has gone by fast and I'm tickled that I'm doing so well.

Breakfast: Smoothie of Almond Milk, Banana, Kale, Agave

Mid morning: Large glass of fresh squeezed Grapefruit Juice

Lunch: Smoothie of Kale, Banana, Strawberries, Oranges, Water and scoop of Wheat Grass

Afternoon: Buchwheat bars, Goji Berries, Bottle water

Dinner: Salad

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day 19 - Thoughts to Ponder

I came across this quote and wanted to share it with anyone who would listen!

“The evidence is very strong that those who eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables daily are at a lower risk of cancer... one-third of cancers are related to diet.” - David S. Rosenthal, M.D., Past President of The American Cancer Society, Director of Harvard University Health Services and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School

Now that is something to chew on! But better yet, check out the next one.

The Studies of Weston Price
"In his studies, he found that plagues of modern civilization (headaches, general muscle fatigue, dental cavities, impacted molars, tooth crowding, allergies, heart disease, asthma, and degenerative diseases such as tuberculosis and cancer) were not present in those cultures sustained by indigenous diets. However, within a single generation these same cultures experienced all the above listed ailments with the inclusion of Western foods in their diet such as: refined sugars, refined flours, canned goods, foods from depleted soil, processed vegetable oils, animals in confinement, dairy products, refined grains, extruded grains, soy, MSG, artificial flavorings, refined sweeteners, processed pickles, soft drinks, refined salt, synthetic vitamins, microwaving foods, irradiating foods, hybrid seeds, and GMO seeds."
- Weston A. Price, D.D.S. (1870-1948) was a dentist and nutritionist. He was the chairman of the Research Section of the American Dental Association from 1914-1923.

Would love to know his reaction to the health of our "progressive" society now ... a century later. We've come a long way baby! =\

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Before working out, I had a smoothie of Kale, Banana, Almond Milk and Peanut Butter. Different. Interesting.

Midday, I had juice of 3 Carrots, 2 stalks Celery, 1/4 Cucumber, 1/2 Fuji Apple, 1 scoop of Hemp Protein Powder and 1 scoop of Barley Green.

Snacked on Red Grapes and Sunflower Seeds.

I went to the farmer's market and bought a bunch of tomatoes and made some salsa.

For dinner I had a salad topped with chopped tomatoes!

Fresh Tomato Salsa
3 chopped tomatoes
1 chopped red onion
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 Serrano Chili Peppers, minced
5 leaves of Cilantro, chopped
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
salt to taste

Enjoy!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Day 18 - NO MORE Peaches!! =(

I went to the grocery store after church to get some peaches ... but there weren't any, so I had to make a smoothie without them. It wasn't as good as yesterday's smoothie.

Brunch: I didn't get a chance to eat before church this morning, so when I got home at noon, I made a smoothie of almond milk, kale, banana, strawberries, pineapple and cacao nibs.

Lunch: I snacked on red grapes.

Since it was a chilly day today, hubby decided to make some chili - and not the raw version. It smelled SOOOOO good and it was very tempting. I knew I had to come up with a plan to buffer the temptation.

I decided to make some raw soup so I threw together the following ingredients and named it:

Sweet Kale Soup
2 handfuls of kale
1/2 avocado
1 apple
2 small cilantro leaves
2 tsp. lime juice
Herbamere seasoning to taste

It was yummmy!!!

Dinner: Energy flat bread and pate, and Sweet Kale soup.

Evening: Snacked on more red grapes.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Day 17 - Raw Munchies by the Fire

It was quite the chilly day today so I spent the entire day in front of the fireplace with the dog. However, I did venture into the kitchen a few times to whip up some snacks.

I made a pate of raw walnuts, celery, red bell pepper, green onion and a bit of celtic sea salt to have with my Flat Energy Bread.

I also made a smoothie that was incredible!! Typically when I make a smoothie, I throw random raw ingredients into the blender, and every once in a while, I come up with an exceptional one. Today's smoothie was absolutely delish!!

Pineapple Peach Delight
2 cups raw almond milk
2 handfuls of spinach
1 peach
2 handfuls of red grapes
1 slice above 1/2 inch thick of pineapple

The pineapple was thrown in by accident. I was trying to pour the juice of the pineapple into the container when the top slice of pineapple fell in, so I left it. Boy am I glad I did! YUMMMMM!!! If I had another peach, I'd make another one right now. Note to self: pick up peaches at the grocery store tomorrow! lol.

Blend and enjoy!!!

Okay, so what did I consume today?

Breakfast: Raw almond milk in steelcut oats and grawnola with red grapes.

Lunch: Quart of Pineapple Peach Delight smoothie & Energy Flat Bread with pate.

Afternoon: Couple slices of watermelon

Dinner: Salad of romaine, red cabbage, carrots, green onions, yellow bell pepper, tomatoes, cucumbers, sun flower seeds. Dressing of Flaxseed oil, fresh squeezed lemon juice, himalayan salt and pepper.

In the photo, you will see a green container. Well, I just thought it funny that my sweet hubby bought that for me because he hated me carrying my green smoothies around in a clear glass bottle - or as he calls it my "barf bottle".

Friday, October 16, 2009

Day 16 - Are "Natural Flavors" Really Natural?

When you are raw for a time, your body becomes cleansed and your senses are heightened. Today I drank a glass of raspberry lemonade that is supposedly "natural" but my taste buds screamed otherwise.

The drink left an aftertaste of artificial sweetener. Maybe it was the 26 grams of "natural" sugar or the "natural flavors" but whatever it was, it didn't taste "natural" to me. The drink actually tasted pretty good, it was the after taste that killed it for me. Too bad because I really liked the name.

I read recently that if the label contains any of the following ingredients, they ALWAYS contain MSG:

Autolyzed yeast
Calcium caseinate
Gelatin
Glutamate
Glutamic acid
Hydrolyzed corn gluten
Hydrolyzed protein (any protein that is hydrolyzed)
Monopotassium glutamate
Monosodium glutamate
Sodium caseinate
Textured protein
Yeast extract
Yeast food
Yeast nutrient

The following OFTEN contain MSG or create MSG during processing:

Anything enzyme modified
Anything fermented
Anything protein fortified
Bouillon and Broth
Carrageenan
Citric acid
Enzymes anything
Flavors(s) & Flavoring(s)
Malt extract
Malt flavoring
Maltodextrin
Natural beef flavoring
Natural chicken flavoring
Natural flavor & flavoring
Natural pork flavoring
Pectin
Protease
Protease enzymes
Seasonings (the word “seasonings”)
Soy protein
Soy protein concentrate
Soy protein isolate
Soy sauce extract
Stock Barley malt
Ultra-pasteurized Soy sauce
Whey protein
Whey protein concentrate
Whey protein isolate

Ahhh! Well lookie there.

It's amazing to me how you can detect something that is not natural when your diet is high raw; however, for those who eat SAD (Standard American Diet) which includes processed foods that contain Aspartame and MSG, it wouldn't even be noticeable because of the desensitization factor.

Okay, so here's what I ate today:

Breakfast: Organic Reishi Mushroom Coffee (Not raw, but organic. It's an occasional indulgence.) Veggie Omelet ... Veggie WHAAAT? Yes, that's right, it says "omelet". The veggies were raw, only the egg wasn't. Okay, so it's another occasional indulgence.

Lunch: Green Smoothie: Kale, Peach, Strawberries, Coconut oil, water.

Mid-Afternoon: Red grapes.

Dinner: Garden Salad, Buchwheat Bars, Raspberry Lemonade, more Smoothie to was the after taste away, Water to wash the after taste away!

I guess I'll just have to come up with my own version of a Simply RAWesome Lemonade.

[10.17.2009 Edited to add: Last night I could not get to sleep until 4:30am! After only four hours of restless sleep, I woke up feeling like I had overdosed on ephedra. Now what *natural* ingredients would cause a reaction like that?!! Very curious.]

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day 15 - Chillin'

It's a chilly day today, so I'm just chillin.

For all that raw food prep I was doing the first two weeks of my challenge. I'm taking it easy this week and just consuming juice and smoothies and a salad. Fortunately, I took before and after pictures of my smoothie, so I can remember the ingredients! lol.

BEFORE
I've been getting bored with my usual same-ole smoothie, so this morning I made a smoothie of Romaine, Parsley, Banana, Grapes, Vanilla Bean, Strawberries, Blueberries, juice of 1 1/2 Fuji Apples, 1 TBSP. of Coconut Oil, 1 tsp. Maca, 1 tsp. Mesquite Powder.

I just love the looks of fresh fruit and greens in my blender. Such pretty colors.



AFTER
Look at that color! And it was SOOO smooth and yummy.

Then I had a smoothie of kale, coconut water, banana, strawberries, blueberries.

I munched on my favorite snack throughout the day - red grapes. Just love those things.

For dinner we are going to Ruby Tuesday's and I plan to have a lovely salad.

I did want to make some Seasoned Kale Chips today, but after getting home from grocery shopping, I realized I was missing one of the ingredients needed. Ahhh, tomorrow is another day.