Thursday, February 26, 2009

Random Updates

  • And the winner is... the only person who entered! Despite the fact that I had 115 unique visitors during the week the contest was open, only Franz wanted those Chili's vouchers so he shall have them. Congrats Franz and send me your mailing addy.

  • I did get a cool, supportive comment on that entry from Tonya Kay, she of Stomp and Who Wants to Be a Superhero fame, who was featured in the YouTube clip I posted. Thanks Tonya! You're my superhero!

  • A couple of other bloggers, HiHoRosie and LouLou, were nice enough to post comments too, but declined the invitation to enter the contest. I've got to get some raw-friendly prizes so that other folks who are reading will at least say "hi" -- I won't bite, I promise (I do get plenty of food on this regimen)!

  • I was written up in another Pomona blog this week, Goddess of Pomona. Thanks goddess! GoP is one of my key sources for Pomona-centric info -- I get even more info there than by talking to my neighbors (don't worry, I do actually talk to my neighbors too).

  • My biggest honor? I was stunned to make the "Top 50 Raw Food and Lifestyle Blogs" list on! Pretty neat -- and amazing I got noticed considering how new I am at this. Thanks Kelly Sonora!

  • A highlight in the last week was attending a raw cooking class taught by Elaina Love of Pure Joy Planet and Chaya Ryvka of Cafe Gratitude. I volunteered, so I worked hard but ate a fabulous meal in exchange and learned a lot. The entire meal, truly, was to die for -- as good or better than any cooked meal I've ever had. I won't write much more about it, because blogger Debbie Does Raw, who was also volunteering, was documenting it in photos and video and will no doubt do a much better job than I in her blog (UPDATE: here's her post - complete with videos!). Debbie was chatty and fun, full of helpful tips and encouragement. I connected with her right away because we both entered the vitamix contest, had daughters later in life, married younger men, and turned to raw food for health reasons. Here's how part of the conversation went (paraphrased, of course, to the best of my recollection):

    DDR: Does your family do raw too?
    Me: No, my husband is younger than me so he still thinks he's immortal
    DDR: Mine too! 6 years younger.
    Me: So is mine!
    DDR: So we need to stay raw to stay young and keep up!
    Me: Oh, mine is going grey early, so that's good.
    DDR: Mine is going bald!

  • One last update: I did a massive overhaul and relaunch of my other site, Spiritualitea has been around since 1998. Along with my deepening interests in health, I've expanded the focus of the site to include alternative health as well as spirituality. If you share any of these interests, do join our community -- it's free! If you're interested in writing for the site (including getting free copies of books to review), read more details on how to submit here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I'm Ready to Do This! (and a Contest for your Cooked Friends)

If you've been reading this blog you'll know that I'm mostly but not completely raw. At the very beginning of the journey in January I was eating some cooked vegan meals at home. I progressed to trying to eat raw at home but eating cooked vegan meals when I went out. I did the latter because I didn't want to have to stop eating out since that is such a social event, but I also didn't want to order an expensive salad without all the added stuff (chip strips, candied nuts, MEAT - eew, cheese, etc.) and end up with a $15 pile of iceberg. Then I saw this video with raw dancer Tonya Kay:

The key part starts at about minute 4:22 (though the rest of it is great too, including info on how to handle visits with extended family). She says that when she goes out to a restaurant she asks them to make her a salad out of every raw vegetable they have in her kitchen and she has never been disappointed. So, while out at Chili's, I asked for just that and had them toss it in a dressing I knew was vegan (I looked it up before I went; I'm not at the point yet where I am concerned if the dressing is raw, though who knows maybe that's the next step). Sure enough, out came a lovely, LARGE, salad that was tasty and satisfying and they only charged me $6.50 -- cheaper than any entree on the menu! That's when I thought: I can do this, I can be 100% raw.

O.k., I'll pause now to say that my current personal definition of 100% raw is not the raw community standard definition of 100%: as I said, I'll have a non-raw dressing when going out, not all my spices and seasonings at home are raw, and I'm still figuring out which nuts are truly raw (or that I'm willing to order at steep prices online to be sure they are raw). What I mean is no more cooked meals, no more cooked snacks.

In the latter area, salted roasted peanuts have been my downfall. Here I finally asked my husband to either not buy them or hide them from me. Problem solved. But so far that's been my only real remaining craving. I'm loving all the raw foods I eat and now I can eat out with friends too, even at a chain restaurant where even all the salads on the menu are loaded with meat and extraneous stuff!

Now the reason we went to Chili's is that I was selected for a BzzAgent campaign and recieved coupons for free Guiltless Grill entrees (not buy 1 get 1 free, just free). My salad, which was the most guiltless by far, wasn't covered by the coupon but as I said, it was cheap. Still, I was able to treat my husband and friends with the coupons. If you want to try it, I'm giving away two remaining coupons to one person. Chances are most folks reading this are raw, but with the coupons you'll be able to take your cooked companions out to eat and feed them something that at least isn't as bad as the rest of the stuff on Chili's menu, and you'll be able to try my new strategy.

To enter, just say hi in the comments and let me know how you found me. Make sure you leave your email so I can reach you! I'll close the contest and announce the winner (drawn randomly) in a week.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

I'm so honored that HiHoRosie nominated me for the Kreativ Blogger Award. Thanks so much HiHoRosie -- It was just the encouragement I needed!

Here are the rules:

  • I share with you seven things that I love
  • I nominate seven other bloggers for the honor

What fun! Here are the first seven things that come to mind:

  • My 3 1/2 year old daughter Jezebel -- That goes without saying. She asked me this morning, "Mommy, are you family?" Yes, dear girl, forever yes.
  • My husband -- This also goes without saying, but I should say it far more.
  • My friends -- You know who you are and my life wouldn't be the same without you.
  • This raw life -- How can I not love the thing that is healing me from the inside out and makes me feel so darn fabulous?
  • Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days -- I just got a review copy of this movie and will be posting a full review later but suffice to say it is inspiring and life-changing.
  • Raw Family: A True Story of Awakening by Victoria Boutenko -- Just re-read it for the second time.
  • My sabbatical -- It only comes once every 7 years; how I wish it were more!

Now the nominees:

  • SporksForAll - not raw, never will be, but a fabulous writer (and check out her newest entry about being attacked by one of my flax crackers)
  • Teresa - ditto (except she was spared the wrath of flax)
  • Persistent Gaze - a never say never girl, also a fabulous writer
  • Raising Alex - a great journal about raising a raw child; inspiring
  • Pure Jeevan - an amazing journal with profiles people who have experienced inspiring raw healing and transformation
  • Raw Vegan Foodie - she posts recipes and reviews of raw foods that make my mouth water
  • Raw Food Passion - More beautiful food that inspires me and makes me hungry

Don't know if any of them will take me up on this meme but either way give them a visit -- you won't be sorry!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Another Sleepless Night

I woke up around 3 am when my daughter cried and haven't been able to go back to sleep. Bear with me if my train of thought is a little choppy.

We hung out with friends today and when my husband ordered pizza, I was pretty proud of myself that I didn't even allow myself to be tempted. I immediately hopped over to the kitchen and made myself raw tacos: collard green "shells" filled with raw vegan sour cream (actually a plain nut cheese cultured with probiotic powder -- the thickness helps to keep the taco from being too messy), taco filling from Matt Amsden's Rawvolution book, homemade salsa, guacamole, cucumber slices and hot sauce (not raw).

I haven't always been pleased with the results of recipes from Amsden's book, but this simple recipe for taco filling is really satisfying and super easy/quick to make. I think this will be a staple when I go back to work. That being said, it is heavily nut-based, so I am looking forward to possibly taking this raw foods class where one of the recipes is a taco filling described this way: "keeping with her low to no nut agenda, Elaina will demonstrate how to take root vegetables & turn them into the most flavorful, juicy, mouthwatering taco filling that can be eaten in a taco, on your salad, in your Enchilada Spirals or dehydrated into crunchy snacks or burgers." It's taught by Elaina Love and Chaya Ryvka. I've volunteered to be an assistant in exchange for tuition -- I hope they take me!

Friday, February 6, 2009

And the winner is...

Not me! But I have to say, they picked the right video: the video showed a lot of creativity and the contestant is living a life of service. Check it out below:

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Take That Fried Food Cravings!

Yesterday I tried this recipe with a few mods: I halved the garlic, added a teaspoon of garam masala, a pinch of sea salt and a dash of Spike seasoning. Instead of the vegetables listed, I used what I had, cauliflower and green beans. The result? Fa-bu-lous! It was good straight, but extra yummy with a dipping sauce of apple cider vinegar, nama shoyu and La-yu (a chili pepper infused sesame oil). It not only tasted like tempura, it didn't lose its crunch after it sat around a while (unlike the real thing). It completely satisfied any craving I had for fried food. I think with a bit more garam masala or other spices, it'd replicate pakoras pretty well too (I have to investigate what spices are in pakora batter). Anyway, here's a pic:

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Days Twenty-Seven, Eight, Nine, Thirty, and into Thirty-One: One Month Raw

What a nice way to end my first month being raw: I won the video Eating from blogger April of Raw Food Passion. According to April, "I love this video because it offers a lot of scientific information that supports the vegan diet. It often helps to start eating healthier when you have the knowledge to stand behind your cravings"(be sure to visit her fabulous blog for ideas, recipes, and inspiration). I can't wait to watch it! Thanks so much April!

Over the course of the first month, I lost somewhere between 8 and 10 lbs. Losing weight was not my primary reason for starting this regimen, but I'm thrilled nonetheless.

My husband said to me the other day, "It's hard to believe you're losing weight given how much of the day you spend thinking about food." He's right: I spend a lot of time reading about raw food (online and off), thinking about raw food, writing in this blog about raw food, shopping for raw food, and preparing raw food. But that's the nature of my passions, and it's what enables me to make a significant life change and get past the hump of habit and resistance. The passion probably won't last but hopefully by then I will have created new habits that support a healthier lifestyle.

That being said, at the one month mark I've found that I've been battling cravings. Victoria Boutenko says that if you eat cooked food at all, you leave the door open for cravings and make it that much harder on yourself. It's something to chew on (literally and figuratively). I love Victoria Boutenko's books. I just re-read Raw Family again last night and found myself re-inspired and committed.

Now that I've reached one month, I won't continue my daily eating log online -- by far the most time-consuming part of keeping this blog -- and will just blog to record my thoughts and progress in general. I may occasionally log a typical day, just not everyday.

Here's what I've been eating:

Day Twenty-Seven:
  • 9:15 pm: 2 slices of raw pizza
  • 11:40 pm: Salad (avocado, plum tomatoes, sunflower sprouts, sesame dressing), lemon sparkling water

Day Twenty-Eight:
  • 10:30 am: Green smoothie (1 homegrown orange w/pith, 1 bag organic spinach, 1 kale stalk, wheatgrass, juice of 1 homegrown lemon and tangerine, banana, 1 tbsp. hemp powder, 1 tsp. spirulina and maca, water)
  • 1 pm: 2/3 Leaf Cuisine Bedouin Burrito Wrap
  • 3:30: 3 raw autumn squash cookies
  • 5 pm: salted pumpkin seeds
  • 5:45 pm: Green smoothie (1 bag organic spinach, organic dandelion greens, 1 homegrown orange with pith, 2 apples, fresh ginger, water)
  • 10 pm: Kale chips, salted pumpkin seeds
  • 11 pm: organic pear

Day Twenty-Nine:
  • 10 am: Green smoothie (1 bag organic spinach, 3 organic kiwis, 1/2 banana, tsp. maca, tbsp. hemp, water)
  • 3:30 pm: 1/3 Leaf Cuisine Bedouin Burrito Wrap
  • 7 pm: Dinner with friends at The Danson/Espiau in Claremont (baked potato with salsa, broccoli, carrots and cauliflower; iceberg salad with tomatoes, cukes, and vinagrette; water)
  • 9 pm: Raw vegan Mango-Blueberry cheesecake with Macadamia/Brazil nut crust (this turned out good, but you really couldn't taste the Mango even though there were two juicy ones in there)
  • 11 pm: walnuts and raisins

Day Thirty:
  • 11 am: raw granola with 1/2 banana and almond milk
  • 2:30 pm: Lemon sparkling water and Eggplant Jerky (actually, called bacon in Matthew Kenney's Everyday Raw, but tasted more like jerky to me; this is another recipe by Kristen Reyes)
  • 3:15 pm: Raw vegan Mango-Blueberry cheesecake
  • 6 pm: Green Smoothie (almond milk, 1/2 bag organic spinach, 1/2 banana, organic apple, tsp. spirulina, tbsp. hemp, homegrown orange with pith, organic baby carrots, organic dandelion greens); couldn't finish all of this -- it was good but just too big -- and threw out about a third.

Day Thirty-One: