Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My "New" Diet

I am a type 1 diabetic & have been raw most of the last 4 1/2 years. I have had a lot of problems with insulin resistance (which isn't normally a type 1 issue) & other health challenges in those years (although some of the health issues existed before that, too). Not only have I had health problems, but in the last year and a half (since I was hospitalized for complications of diabetes), I have put on almost as much weight as I lost in the first three months of eating raw. Weird. Anyhow, I recently experimented with eating more cooked foods as I wasn't feeling great eating raw & thought maybe I was missing something. In August (while continuing to eat lots of cooked whole foods as they made me feel better than my raw diet had), I started using herbs, supplements and some amazing essential oils, which helped a lot in how I felt, and my insulin sensitivity has been gradually improving since then. I still hadn't lost weight, though. In fact, I was only three pounds away from my highest weight ever - which was pre-raw. I found Dave the Raw Food Trucker on Youtube, and watching him I felt like maybe I should get back to raw, but do a low-glycemic raw diet, since my body wasn't processing high-glycemic carbs well (I would eat a piece of fruit & get really irritable & crash & have to sleep for an hour). I recognized that I'd been drawn to low-glycemic cooked foods, so I wondered if maybe low-glycemic was the key I needed. I went to eating a low-glycemic raw diet, and I drank loads of fresh green vegetable juice for two or three days. I have never felt good/healthy being vegan long-term, but I felt that there was an element of truth/power for in Gabriel Cousens's eating plan, so I was planning to stick with the low-glycemic raw vegan diet for 6 months to see how I felt. Well, after six days, I felt a shift - that I didn't need to do it any more because I had reset the body-mind connection and now wanted to eat just what was best for my body, so I didn't need the rules any more. I added some grass-fed beef and a few more carbs into my diet & continued to feel better. At some point in this self-discovery process, I remembered a discussion about agave (months ago) in which I became aware that most of my crazy blood sugar issues started at the same time I started using agave. I dismissed it at the time, but it came back to me this past week. I use muscle-response testing (kinesiology) in my practice as a holistic health coach, so I decided to muscle-test myself to find out if there was/is a certain diet I need to follow, or if I can just eat intuitively, etc. I tested specifics of my ideal diet, based on the thoughts & intuition I'd had, and I discovered something amazing, which shouldn't have surprised me one bit! The diet my body wants is the exact diet I was following the first six months: when I lost weight, had more energy & experienced lots of health improvements (including better insulin sensitivity). One of the main things about this diet is NO AGAVE. I am eating plenty of carbs again, I have energy instead of crashing afterward, I get more energy every time I short, I feel better from my food than I have in the last four years since I started using agave. I have also finally started losing weight - seven pounds in the last two weeks since I got back to "my diet" - mainly raw but with no agave.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Another BLOG!

I just wanted you all to know that I have started yet another blog. will be about any & all aspects of my life, growth & learning. Don't worry, though; I'll keep the kitchen open!

Yesterday, I made a raw pizza, spicy-cheesy dehydrated cauliflower snacks (no, I don't think they are really like "popcorn", but it's a tasty & nutritious snack all the same!), and dehydrated buckwheat "crunchies". I'm meeting the colder weather with dehydrated food. Salad is good (and I had a big one for breakfast today), but I tend to like some dry &/or salty food to keep me warm in the winter. Speaking of cold weather, I'm also mourning for the loss of my garden to the freezing temperatures. The cucumber & tomato plants are covered & haven't completely died off yet, but I'm not thinking they'll last much longer. I hope to get at least one more good harvest of cucumbers to juice - I'm loving my green juices!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Some Changes, and I'm Officially a Weirdo

I haven't fallen off the planet, but a few changes are here since I last blogged.


1. I am a mom & now I'm also in school. These are my priorities, so no promises on how often I'll be blogging.

2. I'm not vegan. I never was, but for a time I aspired to be, and even with supplements my health got worse the longer I did it, and now I'm doing better since I've gone back to being non-vegan.

3. I'm changing the blog title because I'm not eating 100% raw these days, and I want to share stuff about other nutritious foods, too.

4. I want to talk about other facets of my life & health in addition to food.

Okay, so with all that said, here is my funny experience from this weekend: this is not RAW food related, but it has to do with my (happily geeky) interest in health & nutrition.

I was recently told that my son needs more vitamin B6. We have been struggling a bit with this since he hates the taste of the kids' multivitamin I bought him, and he hasn't learned to swallow capsules. One day he started reading the label of a health bar I had bought for him & told me it had vitamin B6, so I've been looking at food labels to see what else it's in. Vitamin B6 isn't a required listing on the standard nutrition label, but some "health food" products are proud of their extra nutrients & will list them for you. We were at the grocery store recently, and I was reading a label of some whole-grain cereal that my son wanted me to buy for him. I saw B6 on the label, so I said to my son, "Hey, it has vitamin B6!" A random stranger walking past said sort of mockingly, "You can't live without THAT!" Haha! I guess not everyone shares my enthusiasm for these sorts of things (not that I asked him to...).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Food - As Requested

I received a request to post the food that gave me the nutrition I talked about in my last post. Since the tracking feature on keeps track of ingredients, I'm going to attempt to list the foods, reconstructed from that list of ingredients. Ya never know, I suppose, but I'll do my best. Here you go, Aimee!

Fresh peas (a lot - I estimated very conservatively at 1 1/4 cups of shelled green peas)
pizza (flax crust with garlic seed cheese)
key lime pudding
1 mango
3 bananas

I realize now that I forgot to add the cacao to the list (in the brownies), so I really got an additional boost of magnesium, iron, calcium, etc. and of course, I ate more food after that - a huge spring mix salad was the main thing I remember in the evening.

Friday, June 12, 2009


I just entered today's food into my "tracking" on

It's 4 pm. I've eaten 3,328 calories so far - all raw. I haven't eaten enough calcium or sodium yet (and I get B12 from a supplement or shots because I don't want to eat enough animal products to get my B12 from those), but on almost all the other nutrients, I've gotten 2 or 3 days' worth of each. I am above the recommended glycemic load (dates, agave & bananas), but then I'm way over the recommended calories for my height/age/activity level, too. :D Today's diet is "strongly anti-inflammatory" as well - Yay raw food!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Raw Fat & Health

Raw foodies AND non-raw people have either hinted or directly said that I eat way too much fat to be healthy. Before I went high-raw, I had high cholesterol that wouldn't come down even with medication. The last time I got my lipid panel (blood tests for cholesterol, triglycerides, etc.) done, my doc said that the results were excellent and showed that I don't eat much fat. If I thought he'd appreciate the irony, I'd have fallen off the chair with laughter. :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sorting through "health information"

Okay, if you're like most people, then all the "health information" out there can be confusing. Today I'm on a rant about things that make it even more confusing!

How do you sort though everything out there to find what's real & true? I read something today that reminds me why "health information" can be so confusing:

This is on a website promoting a raw diet partly by explaining what's "wrong" with the typically prescribed diabetic diet. While I can't say that the medically prescribed diet is healthier, I get frustrated with things like this:

"It is generally recommended that 5% of total calories of the diabetic be protein. In a 1,500-calorie diet that would mean 75 grams of protein. This amount of protein greatly exceeds the needs of even the most active man. The average person cannot utilize more than about 20 to 25 grams of protein daily." The article then goes on to talk about how too much protein is hard on the body and how raw foods have enough protein.

Makes perfect sense, right? Sure, except that whoever wrote this obviously didn't do the math. Five percent of a 1,500-calorie diet is 75, but that means 75 CALORIES from protein. There are 4 calories in one gram of protein (just look at any standard nutrition label), so 5% of 1,500 calories would be 19.25 grams of protein - just about the amount that the article says a person can assimilate.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Pizza (I mean Earth) Day!

So far, my Earth Day has consisted mainly of shopping & drooling. Let me explain! I was due for a produce shopping trip, but I didn't have any particular idea what I wanted to buy or eat. So I wandered through the produce section of my local health food store, and I started picking up things that looked good &/or were on sale. As I saw some fresh basil for a good price, I started getting visions of raw pizza. As I continued shopping, and then as I listened to the cashier tell me about food she made, my mind became a whirl of yummy recipe/menu ideas! I came home EXCITED about all the yummy ideas swirling around in my mind, and I immediately got to work on this pizza!


2 1/2 c. ground golden flaxseed
3 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. sea salt

Mix dry ingredients first, then add enough water to mix it & make a moist dough. Flatten the dough into a circle on a sheet of teflex or parchment paper, then flip it onto a mesh dehydrator tray & remove the paper/teflex. Dehydrate at 145 F for about an hour while you prepare the cheese & toppings.

Vegetable topping:

1/3 c. olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil

Mix together well and toss with sliced veggies of your choice - I used tomatoes, mushrooms and red bell pepper. Let marinate, tossing occasionally, while you make the cheese.

Garlic & black pepper cheese:

This was based on Zoe's Cheese With Spring Onions, except that I left out the spring onions and put in 3 cloves of garlic, 1 Tablespoon of nutritional yeast and 1 Tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper instead.

Assembling the pizza:

I spread about 1/3 to 1/2 of the cheese onto the pizza crust (the rest can be used for other things or frozen for the next time I want to make pizza), and then I drained the vegetables well and piled them on top. I put the whole thing back into the dehydrator for about an hour at 105 F. I had to drain off a little liquid from the pizza doing it this way, so next time I might dehydrate the veggies on a separate plate and then assemble AFTER everything is warm.

You're gonna need a fork!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Perfect Cheesecake


2/3 c. raw almonds
2/3 c. raw cashews
2/3 c. raw macadamia nuts
3 Tbsp. agave
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Blend all ingredients in food processor and press into a 9-inch pie plate or into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.


2 1/2 c. raw cashews
zest of 1 lemon
4 tsp. lime juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. agave
2 ice cubes (if using Vita-mix), or enough water to help it blend (if using a regular blender)

Blend all ingredients until creamy. I used a Vita-mix, but I have also used a regular blender, and I just had to add water to help it blend up. Pour into prepared crust or springform pan, and freeze for 24 hours to set (I didn't wait that long, so it is a little soft in the photo). The more water it has, the fuller it will fill the crust/pan. Less water also means a slightly stronger flavor.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Nacho Sauce - the new Ranch

No, I do not mean to say that it tastes anything like it, but this nacho sauce is like Ranch dressing used to be for me - it's good on almost everything!

Nacho Sauce

2 1/2 cups raw cashews
1 red (or orange, or yellow) bell pepper - seeds & stem removed, cut into chunks
1 clove garlic
3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 lemon, juice only
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 - 1 tsp. cayenne - adjust to your taste
water to blend to desired consistency

Put all ingredients in blender (you will need a good blender but a high-speed blender is not necessary), bell pepper first. Blend, adding water as needed to help blend & thin the sauce, until smooth & creamy. Stays good for a few days in the refrigerator.

Here are some of the ways I've used it recently:

Raw nachos

Nacho dip - basically, I wanted nachos but was out of fresh stuff to put on top, so I just dipped the flax crackers into the dip.

Cheesy Quinoa: sprouted quinoa, sprouted mung beans (just a little tail - not full-grown sprouts) and veggies, with some nacho sauce mixed in.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Taking the Chill Off

I know it's spring, and summer is just around the corner, but we've had some pretty cold & snowy spring days. It's got me thinking again of how I stay raw & don't crave hot food in the cold winter (& spring?) months.

I didn't make up a plan, or read a book, or ask someone what to do. These are just things I naturally do, and they work for me:

1) I eat more fat - nuts, olive oil, etc. - when it's cold.

It seems counter-intuitive that eating refrigerated or frozen pies & ice creams would help a person keep warm in the winter, but it works.

2) I eat more.

When we're cold, we burn more calories to warm up. I add seed cheese & avocado to my salads, add more oil to my dressings, eat more raw desserts, etc.

3) I eat dehydrated food.

4) I eat salty foods.

5) I eat spring mix salads with heavy dressings and avocado.

In summer, I might go for something like romaine with cucumbers, alfalfa sprouts, tomato, etc., and the dressings might be lighter, but those things are too cold/watery for me in cold weather.

6) I juice my veggies.

It makes me cold to chow down on watery geens & veggies, but I can quickly drink the juice from the veggies and then move onto something else.

7) I wash my veggies in warm water or leave them out of the fridge so they're not so cold when I eat them.

8) I use spices like cayenne & ginger.

9) I eat dried fruit.

I think I figured out why, when I learned that the treatment for hypothermia includes giving the person a "sugary drink". Fast-acting carbohydrates help the body get warm.

10) I warm fridge leftovers in the dehydrator before eating them.

11) I don't look to the temperature of my food to warm me up.

I exercise, take hot baths, put on warmer clothes, etc.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Raw Peach Cobbler

Yesterday, I suddenly remembered that I had an event to attend in the evening. I had several other things to do before I went, so I wouldn't have time to make what I had planned for dinner. I had some peaches thawing in the refrigerator that I had bought at a farmers market last summer, chopped and frozen for a future peach cobbler. I discovered that I had also frozen a batch of the crumbly topping for the cobbler. I mixed up the cobbler in about five minutes and put it in the dehydrator to warm while I did other things.

It made a wonderful dinner! I highly recommend stocking up on summer fruit for your freezer if you get the chance!

Raw Peach Cobbler

8 medium peaches, pitted
12 medjool dates, pitted
1 tsp. cinnamon

Peel & chop 4 peaches into bite-sized chunks and set aside. Save the skins to add to the filling. Put the dates, cinnamon and 4 remaining peaches into a high-speed blender (Vita-mix, Blendtec) and blend well. Pour into a baking dish (9x13 or smaller) and stir in chopped peaches.

Crumbly topping:
1 1/4 c. raw nuts
3 or 4 medjool dates, pitted
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Process all except dates in food processor until crumbly. Add dates again & process until well broken up. Sprinkle on top of the cobbler filling.

This can be eaten right away or warmed for an hour in a dehydrator set at 130 F.

Freezing the chopped peaches beforehand makes them softer and it will be closer to a cooked peach texture. I like it either way. :)

Peas & Carrots

I have four of these jars of peas ready to plant today. I rinsed them a couple of times, since it's been two days (instead of the usual 24 hours) since I put them in to soak.

Raw as a lifestyle is becoming more known now than it was when I learned about it a few years ago. Raw chocolate wasn't on the market yet (at least not here), agave was brand new, there were not very many raw products available in the stores, there were very few books published about raw food, etc. I can't tell you how many times someone would find out that I ate "raw" and the jaw would drop & the person would ask, "So, what do you eat - carrots and salad?"

Well, at the time, I hadn't found a good salad dressing recipe, so I didn't really like salad. I preferred to drink green juices. I also wasn't a fan of carrots. So I would respond to that question with, "No, I don't really like either one very much." The person's jaw would then drop even further, and I would be asked, "Well, then what do you EAT?!"

Yesterday, I started a new blog that will be all about what I eat. I will still blog here about all kinds of things relating to raw food & the raw lifestyle. The new blog will be kind of a food log, to show you (and myself) what I eat from day to day. I am hoping to show that healthy food can taste good, that it IS possible to get plenty to eat on a high-raw or all-raw diet, and that my food choices are far from being about deprivation! :) I also hope to give ideas to people (including myself!) who wonder what to eat when they're tired of carrots & salad. ;)

Check it out here:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Gardening help - I love machines!

If you have a lot of soil to prepare, then a rototiller can be an invaluable help in breaking it up.

If you have an even larger area, it helps to have connections.

Monday, April 6, 2009


I am soaking peas today that will get planted tomorrow - the garden is on its way, baby! This summer, I am looking forward to grape leaves, malva, lamsquarters, dandelion, blackberries, raspberries, cucumbers, peas, lacinato kale, Siberian blue kale, romaine letuce, red salad bowl lettuce, butterhead lettue, four seasons lettuce, mesclun mix greens, red chard, carrots (with tops), beets (also with tops), corn, radishes, red tomatoes, little yelllow pear-shaped tomatoes, cucumbers, green zucchini, golden zucchini, yellow squash, chives, cilantro, lemon basil, edible flowers...I LOVE eating out of my back yard!

Monday, March 23, 2009

More budgeting & food storage :)

I have been taking inventory of my food storage. Although it's not all raw stuff (I stocked up on popcorn, beans, peanut butter, etc. for my son), it's stuff that would keep us alive if we didn't have anything else to eat. We have enough food for my son & me to last about four months, calorie-wise. :)

I have also been working on a plan of what to buy to even things out a little better - like having oil to go on the popcorn, etc. :P I have made a plan of what to buy so I can keep my supply at the four-month level while gradually evening out the calorie distribution (I'm getting pretty low on oils & seeds, not to mention that we'd probably get scurvy if I don't add some dried fruits, at least) and then gradually get it to contain more of what we regularly like to eat after that. I'll do it by stocking up on cheaper raw stuff (sunflower seeds, flax, etc.) at first and then gradually "branch out" to include more variety (dried fruits, more kinds of nuts, cacao, agave instead of just the bucket of honey we already have, etc.) It's feeling really good, and it will help me with the budgeting challenge, too, because I'm paying attention to what gives me the most calories for my money! I'm hoping to be able to save enough money by gardening this summer to save up & buy another 5-gallon bucket of olive oil by the end of August - it's about $17 per liter that way, rather than $23 per liter if I buy it in one-liter bottles...that makes a big difference when you use it as much as we do! :)

What's in your budget &/or food storage plan?

Friday, March 20, 2009


If there's one thing that is constant in life (mine anyway), it's that nothing is constant - things change! For a week, I needed very little insulin. It didn't last. I started a challenge to only spend $5 per day on food. After two days, I looked at my calorie intake and realized there was NO WAY I could live on that amount & stay healthy.

For me, the key to dealing with change, is to change. If my circumstances change, and I don't change what I'm doing, then my life will change in often unpleasant ways, so...I have gone back to eating all the healthy food I want when I want it, and I check my blood sugar often. I have stopped trying to limit my budget to a certain amount per day, and I am eating healthy (& getting enough calories). :) I have learned through these experiments. Because of my food combining experiment, I have more ideas than before about different types of meals, & I have found some new recipes I really like. Because of my budget experiment, I am more aware of nutrition & calorie content per dollar of many foods, and that helps me budget better, by focusing on the less-expensive choices.

What changes are you making?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Banana Day!

I want to address something that helps me eat raw on a budget: buying extra of whatever is on sale (that I know I can use)! I went to do some grocery shopping yesterday, and I had planned to buy five or six pounds of bananas, partly to make the "Brazil Nut Pancakes" recipe from Rhio's book Hooked on Raw. When I got to the grocery store, I discovered bananas on sale for 39 cents a pound! I was thrilled, and I quickly loaded several extra bunches of bananas into my cart! I saw someone I know, who commented that I must really like bananas. I told her about the chocolate-banana shakes (recipe below) that I make with frozen bananas, and what a good deal I was getting, and as I listened to myself, I was convinced. I went back and got several more bunches! I told the cashier about my shakes, as well. After eating four bananas to tide me over through the rest of my errands, I next went to the health food store, where, to my delight, they had reduced the price on some bananas that didn't look great but weren't too ripe yet(I can't stand the brown speckled bananas!), so I bought some more at 25 cents a pound. All together, I bought 116 bananas (50.58 pounds), spending a total of only $18.27! I will spend quite a bit of time today peeling, breaking up & bagging these bananas to go in the freezer - and it's well worth the effort!

Chocolate-Banana Shake

2 bananas, previously peeled & frozen in chunks
1 Tbsp. raw cacao powder
1/2 cup water, or more depending on your blender & desired shake consistency
1 - 2 Tbsp. raw nuts (optional)

Blend nuts, water & cacao powder well, then slowly add in frozen chunks of banana while continuing to blend until creamy. Yum! I usually double this recipe. :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Challenge Update - Already!

So, after going through my list of foods eaten today, and going through the fridge, and going through a little craziness with my son's appetite tonight, I've decided to make this challenge only for MY eating/spending, and I've realized I need to do some freezing &/or dehydrating in order to keep some of my produce from going bad before it's "in my budget" to eat it! :D I've decided that since I eat raw, and I regularly eat enough for 1 1/2 (or more?) people, $5 a day is still pretty cheap!


Today, I have finally started something I've been thinking about for a few weeks. I read Melody's blog and was very inspired by her creativity on such a tight budget. I started to wonder if/how I could eat raw on a much tighter budget. I usually eat AT LEAST as much as a teenage boy (sometimes two!), and I am responsible for feeding myself full-time, and my son has a pretty hefty appetite as well (pobably comparable to a "normal" adult female? I'm obviously far from average in calorie consumption!), so I'm figuring (guessing) that we may be close in calorie consumption to Melody's family. I have wanted to create recipes for "raw on a budget" to include in the book I'm writing, and I can always stand to save money! Because I feel so much better when I eat right for me, I am not going to try $3.33 per day just yet - being raw I am going for $5 a day. This will take a lot of planning & work, as I spent quite a bit more than that before going raw, and now I've had a hard time keeping it under $10 a day! My son is not raw but eats healthy whole foods, and I prefer to eat raw plant foods, although neither of us is vegan. I'll let you know how it goes!

My Rules/Clarifications/Random Stuff I Feel Like Telling You:

1) Even if I already have foods in storage (i.e. grains, etc.), I will be counting the cost of what we eat every day, because I will need to replace it eventually. This way, I won't be tempted to eat it all up just because it's already there & I want to buy loads of exotic fruit with my $5 a day.

2) Our chickens are our pets (not food-making machines), so I'm not counting a cost for the eggs my son eats, since we'd be feeding the chickens anyway.

3) I buy things in bulk as often as possible, so some of the things I post will only be possible if I continue to buy bulk amounts (i.e. lentils & grain in 25 to 50 pound bags, honey in a 4-gallon bucket, gallons of agave & coconut oil, giant bags of spices & sea salt, etc.). One of my favorite places to buy bulk is

4) Several sprouting trays, a LARGE garden, lots of freezer space & a dehydrator are going to be some of my best friends in making this happen! :)

5) I refuse to compromise my health for the sake of proving something to myself - if for some reason I can't get everything I need this way, I'm GOING to change it. ;)

6) My son is eating four to five meals away from home each week for the next two or three months, so the need for food will go up after that.

Monday, March 2, 2009


In an effort to eat raw without spending a small fortune (not because I'd mind having a personal chef, but because I lack the fortune), I sometimes plan my menus based on what's on sale in the produce department. This week it was asparagus! I love the stuff, so I could just eat quite a bit of it plain, but I also love to create...I'm thinking of asparagus soup, or perhaps a savory asparagus "pie" of some sort. I'll let you know what I come up with! What's your favorite way to eat raw asparagus?


Any of you who know me well know that I eat based on what I feel my body is needing, rather than basing my diet on what someone else tells me I should eat. I read books, take classes, get blood work done regularly, etc. and I greatly appreciate the wealth of information, knowledge & experience that people share. The things I hear from other people give me ideas to start with when I feel something is missing or that I need to make changes. This listening to my body is tricky when I have taste buds, ego & habits to contend with, but it is COMPLETELY worth it! I am learning some things about me.

I've been needing calcium, so I used raw carob powder in something the other night, and I discovered what I suspected before - raw carob is HORRIBLE for me, blood sugar-wise (I'm diabetic - type 1). Carob makes my blood sugar levels go high & stay high even when I've taken "enough" insulin to cover the amount of carbs in my food. Raw milk has had the same effect on me, even worse, but not raw cheese, so I bought some raw cheese to get my calcium up. It's not my favorite way (I love eating plants!), but it works.

Lately I have been experimenting. My insulin needs are much lower (like half?) since I have been doing the following:

1) Fruit - alone - in the morning
2) Greens at lunch/early afternoon - usually combined with some sort of fat
3) In late afternoon and evening, I eat no fruit or sweeteners, but I eat vegetables, greens, sprouts, nuts, seeds, spices, salt, etc. - as much as I want.

I eat a lot less dessert now, because of the fruit/fat combination. If I DO have one of those combinations, it is usually because I don't yet have enough experience with the new combinations & timing my body seems to be wanting now. I eat fruit/fat combinations (i.e. raw pie, carrot cake, etc.) at lunchtime if I'm needing more calories or certain ingredients that I haven't found another way to use yet. Then I get my greens in the early afternoon or at dinner (or both). I don't know if this will be the way I eat long-term, but it's working really well for now, so I'll see what happens.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Full Circle

I had a happy renewal of my faith in raw chefs this week! To explain, let me tell you about some of my early experiences with the raw food lifestyle. I went to raw food classes with someone who was interested, but I only went because she invited me to go. I remember sitting there thinking "This food is so gross. I will never eat this way!" while in the back of my mind there was a little voice telling me I would need to "eat this way" and that I just wasn't ready yet. I realized later that part of the reason I thought the food was gross is that the food I tasted had no salt, or very little. That problem was easy to fix. The other one wasn't so easy - maybe it will sound familiar to some of you?

I got a recipe for a raw "carrot cake" and busily set about juicing oranges, juicing carrots, opening & chopping up fresh coconut, trying to make "whipped cream" out of orange juice & sunflower seeds in a blender as old as I was that couldn't blend two strawberries in a cup of water...I was frustrated & tired from all the work, my hand hurt from hacking at the coconut, and I was totally confused - since when is a "crust" made of almonds & dates? And since when does "cake" have a crust, anyway?! I was expecting Carrot Cake (that was the title of the recipe, after all) and this was not cake in any way, shape or form. I think if someone had told me I was going to be eating a pile of carrot-raisin mush plopped on top of some dates & nuts, with some orange flavored sunflower seed goo on top, I might have thought it was okay. This was just one example, but it's the one I remember, and it happened about the same time as a lot of other craziness in my life, and I gave up on the raw lifestyle.

I have since learned to eat food & just enjoy it for what it is, and life is a lot better. I know that there is no way to make a raw "cake" that is really anything like cake I ate before. I know I can make things that taste good, but I've thought about giving my recipes more accurate names like "Green Stuff in a Bowl" or just giving them numbers...

This week, Winona ( ) told me she had made this AMAZING cake, and after she mentioned it a couple of times & that it wasn't complicated, I thought, "Why not? It's not going to be cake, of course, but it might be good." So...I tried it...and it didn't take me three hours...and I made the batch into four cute little mini-cakes...and I made frosting...and IT TASTED LIKE CARROT CAKE!

I don't always trust my own judgement on these things, because it's been a long time since I've eaten the "other" kind of cake, so I got a second opinion from my mom, who said that she was impressed and that she thought that if someone was trying to be raw & liked carrot cake, this would really help!

I feel the wrongs I experienced in my former "cake"-making have finally been avenged, and I can eat my (raw) carrot cake in peace! (Or by the piece!)

It makes a fantastic breakfast! I made an orange flavored icing for mine by replacing the water with orange juice & using orange zest instead of vanilla. I used 2 large carrots instead of measuring 3 cups after grating. For the spices, I used 1 1/2 tsp. allspice plus 1/4 tsp. cinnamon.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Avocado

I'd like to introduce you to one of my favorite foods: the lovely avocaodo. Avocados are generally looked at as little more than fat, but this beautiful piece of creamy green goodness has more to it than meets the eye. In addition to containing good fats, it is a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium and a host of other vitamins & minerals. One avocado also contains 13 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein. Avocados make great guacamole, combine well with veggies in raw soups and make wonderfully creamy raw pie fillings. I also put avocado in nearly every salad I make!

Avocados are hard & green when unripe, but they will usually ripen on the kithen counter within a few days. Ripe avocados are dark/black and yield slightly to gentle pressure. If they are really soft, they are usually rotten. Once ripe, they can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days if not used right away. I like to keep several avocados on hand, at varying stages of ripeness. Buying them green & letting them ripen in the kitchen means less risk of getting a bad/rotten one, so once I have a few ripe avocados I like to buy a few green ones each time I shop. This way, I always have a steady supply of creamy green yumminess ripening in the kitchen. :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Raw Food Storage

If you're a raw foodie or even if you just like healthy food around, you may have wondered how to be prepared for an emergency/disaster situation when access to fresh produce may be limited or unavailable. This could mean anything from an earthquake or a bad storm to loss of employment or temporary lack of transportation keeping you from getting to the grocery store as soon or often as you'd like. That's when storing food can be extremely helpful if not downright life-saving!

You can store things to eat right away, like nuts & dried fruit (raw nuts can be kept in the freezer to keep them good longer). You can store ingredients for recipes (oils, sweeteners, spices, etc.). You can also store seeds for sprouting (learn to sprout & use them BEFORE a disaster hits), so you can have fresh foods even when you don't have access to fresh fruits & vegetables. I buy a lot of non-perishable things in bulk (see for one option), which saves money and forces me stock up, so I usually have most of these on hand:

Pine nuts
Shredded coconut
Sunfower seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Sesame seeds
Hemp seeds
Alfalfa seeds
Chia seeds
Mung beans
Garbanzo beans
Garden seeds
Sunflower seeds in the shell (for growing sunflower sprouts)
Sweet brown rice (it sprouts!)
Raw dried fruits (I like for these)
Cacao powder
Cacao nibs
Carob powder
Sun-dried tomatoes
Agave nectar
Olive oil
Coconut oil
Italian herbs
Mustard powder
Sea salt

In the event of a natural disaster, you will also want to have several gallons of water - more if you'll be soaking & sprouting things. :)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sweet Chia!

Okay, so it's not all that sweet in flavor, but I made a wrap with chia seeds. I filled the wrap with fresh blueberries and a creamy almond-orange filling, and I was very happy with the results. Yummy!
Sweet Chia Wrap
1 c. packed fruit pulp (left over from juicing fresh fruit)
1 banana
¼ tsp. cinnamon
Enough water to get it to blend
¾ c. flax meal (ground flaxseed)
½ c. chia seeds
Place chia & flax meal in a large bowl. Blend all other ingredients well in a blender & add liquid mixture to bowl. Stir well & spread on a dehydrator sheet lined with parchment paper or Teflex. Dehydrate at 105 F until the top is dry & it will come easily off the parchment/Teflex. Turn over onto a mesh dehydrator tray, removing parchment/Teflex, and continue to dehydrate until fairly dry but still somewhat flexible.
I think the dehydrating time was about 8 hours from batter to finished wrap. I just kept checking & tasting little pieces as I went.
Almond-Orange Filling
Equal amounts of cashews and soaked almonds
Enough fresh orange juice to get it to blend well
Pinch sea salt
Blend all ingredients well in high-speed blender (Vita-Mix, Blendtec, etc.).

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Where to Begin?

If you are new to the concept of raw & living foods, you might be asking the same question I asked myself about this blog today: "Where do I start?" There are several possible answers as different as people are different. My favorite has to be from the movie The Sound of Music. Maria said, "Let's start at the very beginning. That's a very good place to start." With that in mind, perhaps it would be helpful to find the beginning.

Think of the foods you already eat that are raw. That can be your beginning. Favorite fresh fruits & veggies usually come to mind first, along with perhaps raw honey, raw nuts & other things you hadn't thought about before. Eat those things as often as you can, and try new things while you're at it. Soon, your list of familiar & enjoyable raw foods will grow until you may have a hard time remembering when you didn't know what kale was. :)