Monday, November 16, 2009

Can we really be "Happy For No Reason?'

(excerpted from an interview I conducted with Happiness Expert and author, Marci Shimoff)

Happiness is our birthright.

However, we have an epidemic of unhappiness in our society. As a culture we are stressed out and we are being taught two very big happiness myths: the myth of more and the myth of I’ll be happy when.

The myth of more is the one that says, the more I have the happier I will be.

The myth of I will be happy when is I’ll be happy when I get a better job or I’ll be happy when I get a better husband or I’ll be happy when I lose 20 pounds. The truth of that is you will be happier for a short period of time but after a short period of time you will acclimate back to your original happiness level and it really won’t make a difference.

So happy for a good reason is only temporary. The ultimate thing that we are all looking for, that our souls are hungry for, is the state that I call happy for no reason. That is the state where you are truly feeling that you have an inner state of peace and well-being that doesn’t depend on your outer circumstances. You may have momentary ups and downs and things like that but you have a backdrop of peace and wellbeing. What I like to say is that people who are happy for no reason don’t look to their life experiences to extract their happiness but rather they bring their happiness to their life experiences.

It is our birthright!

So I decided to dedicate my life to finding out how to be happy. The research shows that we all have what is called, a happiness setpoint. That no matter what happens to us, whether it is good or bad, we will hover around our happiness set point unless we do something consciously to change it. It is not what happens to us that creates our happiness it is really our set point. And the set point is 50% genetic. You are born with that part. The other 50% is based on your habits of thoughts and behavior. That is the part that you can really do something about to change or raise your happiness set point. You can raise your happiness set point, your happiness thermostat. And I am going to take it a step farther from the traditional scientific researchers who say that 50% is your genetics, you cannot change that. The other 50% you can change. I am in the school of thought that says that even your genetics can be changed.

In interviewing 100 unconditionally happy people, I found that the only difference between them and everybody else is that they have different habits. I call them happiness habits. I distilled them down to 21 main happiness habits that anyone can practice to raise their happiness set point.

Here are some keys to creating happiness in your life particularly as it relates to successfully managing change.

  • First of all begin to see the great blessings inherent in the challenges. We often discover these blessings several years later. The first step is to see the great blessing in it now.
  • Step number two is to surround yourself with great support. You know, get really great friends that you just enjoy being with, that fill you. Find people who support you in your happiness. I suggest to people that you find a happiness buddy, someone who is going to keep you on track for happiness.

  • The third thing is to find multiple sources of emotional income. What I am really starting to do is find lots of different places for my emotional income. I am dancing. I am having a great time dancing. I am doing really fun things with people that I love. I am being really more careful to spend time meditating, to take walks in nature, to nurture myself, to give myself sources of emotional income. That is the third thing.

  • The fourth thing is to take really, really good care of your body. If you can, go off of sugar. Sugar makes you very emotionally unstable. I know it is not an easy thing to do but there are some things that I talk about in Happy for no reason to help support you in breaking the sugar habit.

Honoring ourselves, loving ourselves, taking care of ourselves, those are habits. Most of us are not in the habit of doing those things. So, part of what I talk about in the happiness habits are things that will in fact, raise your self esteem and generate more self-love.

We have another myth I think and that is the myth that I need to be unhappy in order to grow. I need to be miserable in order to motivate myself. We actually, are more motivated by love than by fear. We are more motivated to move towards what we want than away from what we don’t want. The ultimate goal in life is to be happy.

People are often asking me is it selfish to want to be happy? How self-centered is that? The truth of it is, that I believe it is the least selfish thing that we can possibly do. When each one of us becomes happier we are raising the happiness level and the consciousness and the vibration of our planet.

Here is a Chinese proverb I believe sums up this whole concept of how we change the world. It goes like this: when there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person. When there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house. When there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation. When there is order in the nation, there will be peace in this world.

My prayer and my wish for everyone single one of us is that we feel the light in our own souls. That we feel the love in our own hearts, that we feel the happy for no reason in our own lives and through that we create peace here on this planet of ours. So, let’s all join in on that happiness revolution and create an amazing world.

To purchase the download of this call go to: www.supernutrientgal.com

To learn more about Marci and "Happy for No Reason" go to: www.happyfornoreason.com

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Noni Juice

So after I have had my shot of Gold Rush I go back upstairs and do any number of things except eat or drink. It is advised that you not ingest and food or liquid within one half hour of consuming the colloidal gold.

When 30 minutes have passed I go on to super foods #2: Noni. I love my noni. Again I fall back on my trustworthy Elements For Life and their noni product "Island Fire." This is a drink that when I first tried it I nearly gagged. The taste was so powerful I was sure hair was not only growing on my chest but in a number of other areas I don't normally grow hair (nor wish to). This drink, I thought, surely had to be making a difference. Nothing that tastes like this could possibly be mild in its effect on the body.

Noni is a fruit from Polynesia four or more inches in length which, when ripe, has a strong, pungent odor. According to the book Super Foods by David Wolfe, healers traditionally used "noni fruits, leaves, stems and roots in foods and beverages for the last two thousand years."

The noni fruit is full of antioxidants and health supporting compounds such as selenium, xeronine, glycosides, scopoletin, terpine and limonene. In plain English noni helps with skin health, cell structure health and regeneration, defense against free radicals (the root of chronic degenerative diseases), anti-inflammatory properties, detoxification compounds and more.

The juice provides anti-microbial and anti-fungal enzymes as well as boosts serotonin (the feel-good hormone - bottom line, who doesn't want to feel good?).

Elements for Life Island Fire has over 140 bio-active enzymes that support
  • rejuvenation
  • detoxification
  • superior energy
  • good mood
  • astonishing health
and the best part, I have come to LOVE the drink. I take a shot of Island Fire every morning and I look forward to it every day.

There are many other sources of Noni and I do not intend to sell you on one company. However, I am, at this point, only familiar with Elements For Life noni. If you are interested in products that I recommend but do not wish to purchase them from Elements for Life just let me know and I am happy to look into other sources for you.

And when am I truly happy? Drinking my morning noni. Ah, now that is a strong way to start the day.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Colloidal Gold

I promised you my list of super foods. Let's begin.

The first thing I do every morning, after I take a few quiet moments to acknowledge the day and what I am grateful for, is to head downstairs and have a shot of colloidal gold.

Colloidal gold, according to Wikipedia, is "a suspension of sub-micrometre-sized particles of gold in a fluid - usually water."

Claims touting the benefits of colloidal gold are many. According to Elements for Life, my source of colloidal gold, or "Gold Rush," it provides (and I quote):
  • an increased sense of optimism
  • increased overall sense of well-being
  • sense of increased focus, concentration and memory
  • deeper more rejuvenating sleep with greater dream recall
  • and the list goes on (to see the complete list go to: Elements For Life)

I began taking Gold Rush when I learned about Elements for Life. I ordered the basic package and Gold Rush was part of it. Initially I didn't think it did much mostly because it tastes just like water and has no lingering side effects (as far as I could tell). Then I stopped taking it.

I saw that when I took it I maintained a much more consistent positive outlook and was waking up in the morning feeling rested and happy. Typically I have to take a few minutes to get into a happy state as my natural inclination veers towards anxiety. I found, when taking Gold Rush, that the anxiety was replaced by a sense of joy and well-being. Now, I also do many other things to foster happiness in my life. It is always a little challenging to tease one thing out from the many but at this point I will stick with the gold and trust that what I feel is only helped by this intriguing, near flavorless, slightly pink liquid.

Monday, September 14, 2009

hamburgers

I had a hamburger. I admit it. Miss Raw Food gal (ok, I gave myself that name) had a hamburger. Why do I share this? Because of my revelation. As Super Nutrient Gal I advocate super foods, super thoughts and super actions. While I have shared quite a bit about raw foods I have spent little time detailing all of the super foods that I ingest on a daily basis...when I am home.

I am still traveling and, as a result, have eaten primarily raw foods but few of my daily super foods. Today I woke up exhausted - all right, the garbage trucks woke me about an hour an half too early - but I couldn't shake it. I lay on the couch for awhile (sleeping on the couch at my sister's), ate something, drank water but still felt exhausted. Hours later I felt chilled, had a headache and was still tired.

By evening I knew something was up. On our drive back to my sister's I spotted a picture of a hamburger on a billboard and began salivating. That was when I knew something was really up. My body was out of balance and I needed to help it out. So I had a hamburger. And it was delicious. And I felt better almost immediately.

Now I know I didn't need to have a hamburger. What I needed was iron. But like a druggie with her fix, this was the quickest way I knew to get me what my body wanted. And it worked. The point - all of those extra herbs, supplements and other foods I add to my diet at home make a difference so I think it is high time I shared them with you.

I will be in transit all day tomorrow but upon my return be prepared for an education in super duper foods.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Jet lag

It's Saturday morning, it's my mom's 70th birthday and I am in San Francisco on vacation so I am going to keep this really, really short.

I just wanted to let you know that eating raw, drinking so much water I almost burst my bladder (possibly more information than you needed to know) and traveling sans children, dramatically decreased my jet lag.

The food I prepared was great and I highly recommend it for plane travel. I actually had more than I needed. I wasn't exhausted from overeating or eating foods so heavy that my body had to expel a great deal of energy digesting. I fed myself plenty of live, life-giving energy with enzymes. I drank my smoothies and goji berry water before boarding the plane (hence the reason for the near bursting bladder). And for the first time in a long time I arrived in California after a whole day of traveling not only with energy but to the positive acclaim of all of my relatives, "wow, you look great."

Can't ask for more than that.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Plane Travel and Raw Food

I am about to take off for a week to visit my family in California and celebrate my mom's 70th birthday. In anticipation of a long flight I have been running around like a banshee this morning chopping, pureeing and blending. I've created quite a cornucopia of snacks that I wanted to share with you. What will go in my airplane food bag:

some grapes
2 raw food bars
some dried fruit and nuts

And now the food that I made. All of the recipes come from The Complete Book of Raw Food: Second Edition.

The first is a Kale Mixed Green salad. Quite good and because it is primarily kale it won't get soggy sitting in dressing for hours on a plane (before I eat it of course).

Ingredients

1 to 2 bunches kale
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 to 1 lb. mixed greens (I only put in a little of the greens since I'll be taking it on the plane and it will just wilt)

For the dressing:

namu shoya to taste
lemon juice to taste
olive oil to taste
honey to taste

Directions:

First tear the kale into bite-size pieces. Massage the kale gently to begin to break down the fibers.

Gradually work in each of the dressing ingredients starting with namu shoya and moving down the list. As you add each ingredient continue to massage the kale. After adding the honey massage kale until it is limp. (don't worry, it can handle it).

At this point there should be some extra dressing on the bottom of the bowl. (I didn't have any and it tasted great - I like to err on the side of less dressing. Dress according to your tastes).

Then add the remaining ingredients. Gently toss the salad and test for flavor. Add more dressing if necessary. Serve.


Next I made the Best Ever Almond Nut Pate. I disagree somewhat with the name. It is a good pate but best ever...well, it's a strong statement.

Ingredients:

2 cups almonds, soaked overnight
1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked 4-6 hours
3 carrots
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon celtic sea salt

Directions

In a food processor blend nuts, seeds and carrots.

Transfer to a bowl and add remaining ingredients.

A little on the dry side but tasty and portable. Just what I am looking for.


And lastly, Pepper-Corn Boats. I just so happen to have an abundance of red pepper at the moment (I should always be so lucky) so I looked for pepper recipes.

Ingredients

2 avocados, peeled and pitted
2 or more fresh ears of corn kernels, cut from cob
2 large red bell peppers, seed and stems removed, cut in half lengthwise

Directions

Mash the avocados with the corn in a bowl. Spoon into red pepper.

On this one I made a few adjustments. Victoria Boutenko recommends that every dish have include an ingredient from all five flavors - spicy, sweet, bitter, salty and sour. This salad tasted a little bland so I added salt for saltiness, didn't need sweet (with corn and pepper), sage for bitter, dill for spicy. and lemon juice for sour. In the book 12 Steps to Raw Foods, Victoria gives a list of possible ingredients for each category. Very helpful. And the salad was definitely the better for it.


For the plane I will chop up the red pepper and throw it in with the corn, avocado mix. A bit easier to transport and certainly easier to eat when sitting right next to a total stranger in a very small space.

So now I am off to gather the rest of my things before I head out. A six hour flight may not seem like a vacation to you but as a mom with two small kids, six hours on a plane by myself sounds like heaven. And that's just the beginning.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Happy For No Reason

I have so many recipes I want to share with you but I'm just bursting at the seams from my interview last night with happiness expert, Marci Shimoff. The recipes will have to wait. Or you can check out two of my favorite blogs: Kirsten's Raw for a recipe on green juice pulp crackers (o.k. not the most appetizing name but you never know) or Making Love In The Kitchen for a cooked buckwheat sweet potato recipe (if you are tired of the raw thing).

Now, let's get down to business - happiness. I love talking about happiness because apart from love (which of course is intimately connected to happiness) what could be more important? Now you may say health, money, family or any number of things. But if you aren't happy, who cares how strong your body is or how much money you have in the bank. I mean really. Marci's book Happy For No Reason explores what happiness is, what prevents us from experiencing true joy and how we can bring happiness into our life moment to moment to moment.



I really enjoyed her book but in all honesty I enjoyed her even more. Marci has great energy and so much wisdom to share. If you would like to hear the hour-long interview you can do so by clicking here. I thought I would offer a little of it here and then if you are so inspired, you can get the rest on your own.

Having just read Think and Grow Rich I was inspired by Napolean Hill's stories of wealth. Last night however, Marci reminded me that in all of her years of study and her interviews of 100 unconditionally happy people, not one of them was happy because of money. They came from different backgrounds, classes, lifestyles, etc. What made them happy was the ability to cultivate happiness from the inside out. How do we do this? Well, that is her book and her new Happy For No Reason personal learning course.

But one thing we can all start with right now is choice. I keep reminding myself that I get to choose. In every moment I choose if I want to empower or disempower myself with the thoughts I think. Nobody, even though my mind would have me think otherwise, gets to decide that but me. And I swear, every time I choose a happier thought my body, my heart and my spirit say "thank you." Every time.

Not only that but all that yummy food I keep eating is better absorbed, digested, assimilated and eliminated. Our bodies actually process our food better, take in more nutrients and eliminate more waste products when our mind is at ease and our central nervous system in rest. So happiness doesn't just make us feel good it keeps us healthy, vibrant and alive so that we can enjoy our family, go after the riches (if that is what we desire) and do all we desire. It's all good when it's good.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Deprivation Doesn't Work


I have known for a long time that deprivation does not work. Every time I say, "never again," it never lasts. So I gave up on deprivation and discourage others, when they ask, from taking up the practice. And yet, in my innocence, deprivation snuck up behind me and put me under.

I was reading Victoria Boutenko's book 12 Steps to Raw Foods when it happened. A disclaimer, I think this is a great book. A warning, take it with a raw grain of salt. Victoria was discussing the benefits of being 100% raw versus even 99% raw. Now, up until this point I have held the belief that we all transition at our own pace and 10% raw is better than 5%. This belief has allowed me to feel a certain amount of freedom as I explore the raw food world. It has also allowed me to be nearly 100% raw because I didn't feel penned in. When we don't see the fence we don't feel a need to jump over it. But when Victoria wrote that even being 99% raw opens up the door to temptation and the potential return to a cooked food diet, I thought, "my gosh, I have to be 100% or nothing. If I'm not 100% then there is a good likelihood I will return to old ways with wild abandon." In that moment, I saw the fence. Within a few hours I was jumping.

We had a fundraiser dinner here where I live, for a neighbor's nephew who is very ill. He is Nepali and so a big Nepali feast was held this weekend. When it came time for the meal I went to gather servings for my children. Why did the food look so appealing? Why was my desire for this meal so strong? I hadn't felt this way in quite awhile. Little did I know, it was the fence. And within a half hour I had eaten a rather delicious cooked meal.

Now, eating a cooked meal is not a sin in my book. I enjoyed it (albeit I didn't feel so great the next morning) and it tasted good. The troubling aspect in all of this for me was that I found myself back at the beginning. Trying to remember why raw? When only hours earlier I was in ecstasy at the yumminess of my raw smoothie and how great I felt drinking it. And I saw once again, that deprivation never works.

This journey is not about 100% or nothing. This journey is just that - a journey. And although I realize Victoria had the best of intentions we know what is paved with good intentions. I am still reading the book and heartily recommend it. But buyer beware - listen to your needs, your desires, your body. There is no wiser teacher.

p.s. the picture at the top of the post is how I like to deal with deprivation - a few tastes of raw "ice cream." By allowing ourselves to indulge, life stays in balance.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Raw Food Transistion

According to Victoria Boutenko, I am right on track.

If I have an addiction it is buying books. I love books. I believe I am part of a dying breed. Fortunately, in my humble opinion, I have passed this passion onto my daughter. My daughter, Emma, consumes books the way most children consume french fries and ice cream sundaes - with pure delight and total absorption. But that is another topic. I was talking about my love of books and Victoria Boutenko.

Yesterday I bought the book, 12 Steps to Raw Foods by Victoria Boutenko.

This book is a very basic, step by step guide for "How to End Your Dependency on Cooked Foods." Now, I am not encouraging you to go all raw and stop eating cooked foods entirely. My husband eats cooked foods, my children do and from time to time so do I. I just want to see how good I can feel and then share that with you.

In 12 Steps to Raw Foods, Victoria talks about the transition period from cooked to raw. My husband calls it the "I'm in denial that I love cooked foods" stage. During this period it is very common that people create a lot of "gourmet" type dishes, crackers, breads, nut and seed spreads. These are foods that help replace the heavy, satisfied feeling that cooked meals often provide.

And I have been doing just that. In fact, before deciding to go raw I ate a lot more salads. Once the mind realized what was happening, my desire for salads diminished and I began uncooking all sorts of meal type foods. Like the one below, which I LOVE (and so does my husband).

I took a nori roll (in place of a tortilla) and on it I put some beet greens and lettuce (you can use whatever greens you have around), avocado, homemade salsa and herbed cream cheese. Then I just rolled it up and ate it. Sooo good. And so simple. Especially if the cream cheese is already made.



This, apparently, is exactly what Victoria is talking about. The next stage for many raw foodists is to transition to more simple meals, a lot of salads and smoothies. Eventually this leads to the final stage of whole foods in their most basic form - a cucumber, carrots, leaves of kale. Now, of course, each person will walk their unique path but there does appear to be a common trajectory and it looks as if I am on it.

Just a word about the cream cheese. This cream cheese is made with Brazil nuts. While not an inexpensive nut (unless you have amazing neighbors like I do who just so happen to have three pounds of Brazil nuts they aren't using and are looking to pass on), it is a wonderful choice as far as nuts go.

Brazil nuts are a great source of monounsaturated oil and selenium. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, a favorite doctor of mine, selenium helps with thyroid problems and monounsaturated fat "is considered to be among the healthiest types of fat." Brazil nuts are the fourth best source of monounsaturated fat, after extra virgin olive oil, hazelnuts, and almonds. (Ultra-Metabolism)

So if you find yourself craving nuts, breads, and heavier type meals, know that you too, are right on track.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Curing the Common Cold

The first time I got a sinus infection after a common cold I was in college. And I was miserable. Imagine not being able to taste anything for two weeks. Imagine eating for no other reason but your body is hungry and needs food. Imagine everything tasting the same - the only excitement...texture. I was miserable.

After a few more of these sinus infections I knew something had to change. Antibiotics have never been my first response to illness (or second, or third for that matter). So I began researching and I discovered that if I eliminated sugar, root vegetables, gluten and dairy, the sinus infection would go away on its own. However, it still took some time and the infections continued to return following certain colds.

Since eating raw most of these foods are no longer a part of my diet. And for the first time in a long time, I came out of this cold feeling great. No stuffed nose. No headaches. I could taste every bite.

If you find that you feel clogged, have diarrhea, flatulence, bloating, skin problems and/or headaches it may be a sign of gluten sensitivity or lactose intolerance.

It is now estimated that 1% of the population is gluten intolerant and 1 in 7 have some form of gluten sensitivity. Gluten, if you don't know, is found in all forms of wheat, rye, barley, triticale and oats. Most Americans consume large quantities of wheat in some form. The more gluten-type foods we eat, the fewer vegetables and fruits a person tends to eat.

As we age we produce less lactase (the enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose found in dairy) and our body is therefore, less able to process dairy foods.

And sugar, well...it's just not the best thing for us.

The more raw foods a person eats, the less gluten, dairy and sugar a person will consume. Processed foods contain large quantities of sugar and almost always gluten and/or dairy. So if your body needs a break, even if you don't normally eat a lot of raw foods, try cutting out the common culprits at least for a little while.

I cannot tell you what a difference it has made for me. Ah...the joy of taste!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

chewy chocolate freezer fudge


If you don't know already, I have a bit of a sweet tooth. For years I struggled with what I later termed a sugar addiction. I would swear off the dreaded drug only to lose myself in wild abandon a mere four or five days later. I have tried so many things most of them not worth mentioning and then I became raw.

And I swear it completely changed. Well...almost completely. I have lost my desire to indulge. I no longer stand by the open fridge at night searching desperately from something, anything, sweet. Gone are the raids on the pantry. But I still like sweets. It appears, with this new diet, I have found the perfect compromise.

I make sure to always have something sweet in the house. Then when I really want to satisfy that sugar desire I reach for my raw ice cream or a piece of "chewy chocolate freezer fudge." I made the fudge last night when both my husband and I felt like a little something sweet. The absolutely amazing thing about eating raw is that I have one piece and I'm done. I idolized people who could "eat just one." I never thought I would be one of them.

Here is the recipe for the fudge. I got it from Raw Food Real World. I chose this one because I had almost all of the ingredients on hand (made one substitution) and I could eat it within an hour.

The ingredients are:
2 cups almond butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder, or raw carob powder, sifted to remove lumps
1/2 cup plus 2 T. maple syrup
1 heaping teaspoon coconut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Basically, you put everything into a bowl and mix. I find it easiest to use a wooden spoon or my hands but you can stir with a standing mixer if it has a paddle attachment.

Then line a square baking pan with parchment or plastic wrap. Place the fudge in the pan. Flatten. Place parchment on top. Freeze for an hour. Turn over and cut into 1 inch squares. Store in the freezer, covered, until ready to eat.

We, of course, were ready to eat them after an hour.

A few notes - I used raw honey instead of maple syrup because I thought I didn't have any maple syrup. It turns out I did - so much can disappear in a pantry. I recommend sticking with syrup. I made these once before with syrup and I much prefer the taste.

Second I used wildcrafted raw carob powder. I am not a big fan of carob but we recently ordered this wildcrafted carob powder from Blue Mountain Organics and oh my...it is amazing. We also got our raw almond butter from there. For awhile I skimped on almond butter and went with toasted. No more. Raw almond butter is a whole different species. And if you buy it in bulk it can actually be quite reasonable (depending on what is reasonable to you).


The best thing for me about eating raw (besides how I feel) is that for the first time ever I truly enjoy sweet foods. No binging. No indulging. Just pure pleasure. How great is that?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Super Thoughts

It took about two days for my body to start feeling functional. During that time I continued to fret and to read. Every time I get sick I have been able to trace it to an emotionally exhausting period. Last Wednesday I gave a teleseminar on "the Pursuit of Pleasure." In many ways this call was a big deal for me so the relief I felt upon finishing was palpable. I danced in joy around the living room with my son in my arms until he begged to be let down.

I have noticed over the years that relief is often followed by doubt and anxiety. My mind doesn't want a vacation and so seeks out the next "thing" upon which to turn its attention. The following morning my mind took a turn for the worse and no matter what I did, I couldn't shake it. Fear was creeping in and like a long-lost troubled yet familiar relationship, I showed it in and gave it space to stay. Then I got sick.

It was in taking time these last few days to just stop and read that my mind finally began to clear. I was scared. I have spent years studying nutrition and now I have chosen to walk a path no one taught me in school and no books advised me to follow. My vision was getting clearer and with it the voices of doubt and uncertainty grew louder. What did I really know about raw and super foods? Where I am taking myself? Who are my mentors? I have to fall back on my own knowing, the truth of my body, while resuming studying with a new focus and energy. And I am sharing it all with you.

Once again I find myself choosing uncertain ground. Oddly enough, despite the fear, I seem to be drawn to the shakiness of uncertainty. So Think and Grow Rich was undoubtedly the perfect book for me. Every book I pick up lately is telling me the same thing - our life is what we think. Humans have the incredible ability of controlling what we think and by choosing our thoughts wisely we create the life we want. I believe this now. I really do. So I feel ready for the discipline required to keep my thoughts empowering, to stay clear of my vision and allow doubt and worry to be replaced with new, life-giving friends.

I eat well. Really well. But I know it isn't everything. As Dr. Bruce Lipton says, our thoughts are the most powerful energy of any medicine we offer to our body.

So with my mind on board - off I go.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

detoxing - the common cold

Two nights ago I could feel a cold coming on. By the time I woke up it had come. So I spent the day in bed, something I rarely do, and read. Normally I would have taken the opportunity to spend hours on the Internet but since my computer has been shall we say, unreliable, I abandoned the hunk of machinery for old fashioned print.

And it was a good thing too because I finally got a chance to read a book that just about every successful person has recommended to me over the last several years, Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill. You may ask, "what does this have to do with nutrition?" Everything. Nutrition is not just what food we put into our mouth but the thoughts we pour into our mind and the actions we take with our body and mind. I pay a lot of attention to what I eat, as if you haven't noticed, but I realize that as well as I eat it will not stave off sickness if stress or lack of love overtake me. And this is exactly what happened this last week.

For some reason, not quite sure why, I fell into a bit of a funk. And I knew, that no matter how well I ate, if I didn't pull myself out of it, I could likely get sick. Well, you know how the story ends. So, sick in bed I decided to read about success.

Think and Grow Rich is a powerful book about turning our desires into reality by changing our thoughts. What could be a more perfect read after being in a funk for a week? Now, I can't say I just turned everything around but it felt like a beginning. I feel like becoming raw, followed by the funk, followed by getting sick is all part of some divine detox. Like it is time for me to shed unwanted stuff and emerge into a new possibility of myself. Doesn't feel so comfortable in the moment but I'm hoping, as with any successful detox, that when it is over I will reap the rewards.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Balanced Meal

I was reminded, in a conversation with a friend, what a difference a background in health makes. And I thought how much of my education I have taken for granted as I undertake this new world of raw. I realized that, perhaps, you would like me to share some of it.

Apparently it is very common when a person "goes raw" to indulge in large amounts of fruit and nuts. Just as a vegetarian may replace meat with cheese or a vegan replace cheese with bread, the choices we make as we convert from one way of eating to another may not always be the healthiest. So how do we know what to eat?

Well, it will be different for each person. There is, unfortunately, no way around that. It's even different depending on the time of the month or the weather or one's mood. Our body will let us know. But there are a few basic things that we can all take with us on our food journey. The first one is a balanced meal.

In the raw food diet I think of it more as a balanced day. Before I came across raw food I taught people the protein, carb, fat, fiber combo. I encouraged people to consume a certain percentage of each and attempt to have the carbs be mostly vegetables and some whole grain. I no longer strive to achieve that nor teach it to others. I don't believe, as I eat mostly raw foods, that I need to ensure such a balance. However, and this is a big however, it is important to maintain an eating plan that includes a wide variety of foods. A diet rich in nuts can make a person feel heavy and potentially gain weight. A diet of fruit, especially ones high in sugar, can lead one to crash and feel tired and cranky. And a diet of mostly green veggies can make one spacey and very mellow.

Now of course there are people out there who eat only fruit or only veggies or only.... but the majority of us need the balance. I am watching in myself as I see that on days when I feel vulnerable I am tempted to fill my body with something other than greens. Or when I am tired I look for a sugary snack, even if it is raw. When this happens I watch. I notice. And then I compensate (most of the time). I look to even out the scales and keep my body happy. When I really tune in, the knowing is there.

Please, if you have questions or comments, don't hesitate to share them. I look forward to offering what I know and learning from what you know.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sauerkraut and bread crumbs


I'm learning that there is no end to the raw food journey (and I've only just begun!). Just as in the world of cooked food one can choose from an absurd number of "the best possible diet ever" options, so it is in the raw food community. There are those who juice, those who eat only fruit, those who eat nuts and those who don't, those who sprout and those who graze. It's a dizzying array of choices and I have an uncomfortable feeling that I have only just scratched the surface. Ahhh... for now I'll just take a deep breath and grab a macaroon (raw, soaked and dehydrated).

So I promised you two things - a sauerkraut recipe and an update on the bread. I'll give the update first. The bread was a failure if what you want is bread (which was what I wanted). I ended up making the recipe twice, sure that I had missed something, miss measured or just plain missed the boat. In this particular case I am convinced the mistake lay in the cookbook directions because what I ended up with, both times, was a big tin of bread crumbs. Tasty, but bread crumbs nonetheless. But I didn't give up. Below is one of my creations with the bread crumbs -


lettuce, rosemary garlic bread crumbs, salsa, herbed cream cheese (see previous post) and avocado. Quite delicious actually.

And now for the long awaited sauerkraut. Bear in mind, I have yet to taste this sauerkraut so I can't vouch for it (although it certainly smells like sauerkraut) but I will offer you the recipe.

You start with 5 lbs. green cabbage and slice it thin. You can also use the grater option on a food processor if you have one. My husband, back to the land man that he is, prefers to cut it. Just make sure, if you do it by hand, that the shreds are no thicker than a dime.

Mix cabbage with 4 T. Kosher salt. Use your hands or a wooden utensil (again my husband used his hands), to mix until the salt dissolves. Then when the juice starts to form you pack down the mixture into a crock or a glass container or a five gallon plastic bucket (as shown in the picture at the top of the post). Make sure the bucket is food quality. I'm assuming you know what this means.

Make sure the juice covers the cabbage (the juice that results from the tossing of the cabbage and the salt). My husband then prepares additional brine at the ratio of 1 1/2 T. Kosher salt to 1 quart boiling water. Let brine cool. Add to pot with cabbage. Then place a large dinner type plate over cabbage and way it down with two quart Mason jars filled with water. Cover with plastic wrap.


Then cover that with a towel. You can then put a board on it and weigh it down. The key is to submerge the cabbage under water so that no air gets into it.


Place the container in an area where the temperature will not be about 75 degrees. Allow three weeks. If the temperature is 70 degrees allow four weeks, 65 degrees allow five weeks and 60 degrees - six weeks. If the temperature is above 75 degrees it may not ferment and could spoil.

And voila - the bulk of the work is done. You know it is done when it tastes like sauerkraut.
Rinse and toss with cold water. Place in quart jars and keep in the fridge.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Raw Garlic Rosemary Sourdough Bread


We have a running joke in our family now. My husband says "what's for dinner?" and I respond, "I don't know but I can tell you what's for dinner in three days."

Between soaking, prep and dehydrating a meal can easily be 24 hours away. This is new for me. And it is definitely the case with the Garlic Rosemary Sourdough Bread I had planned to have with tonight's dinner. Except that I forgot to read the recipe thoroughly (don't skip this step with raw foods) and only at 7:30 in the morning did I see that the dough, made from nuts and berries soaked the night before, has to sit for 7-10 hours before going into the dehydrator for another 11 hours. Looks like another middle of the night trip to the dehydrator and oh joy - sourdough bread for breakfast!

I did wonder why it was called sourdough bread since a sourdough always has to sit and ferment but I figured this was another one of those, "let's call it sourdough so that raw food folks can feel like they are eating something they used to eat only really it tastes nothing like sourdough" recipes.

(Before I go any further I recognize that I had promised you a sauerkraut recipe and pics for that but it will have to wait just a little longer. We have guests sleeping in our basement - it's a beautiful basement actually - and I don't feel comfortable disrupting their sleep to snap photos of the sauerkraut. Fortunately they like sauerkraut and so don't seem to mind the smell - amazing!)

Here's another piece of advice about making raw foods. I don't recommend heading into the kitchen when you are still barely awake to put together ingredients for a recipe you have never made before and have no context for. Too sleepy to read carefully, I mixed the dough for quite a bit longer than directed so ...

And here's the thing, I have spent years baking homemade bread. I have always loved to make bread - from kneading to the smell of it rising to forming it into loaves and watching it cook to that wonderful taste when the steam is still coming off the loaf and the bread is warm as you slather butter all over it. But I'm raw now - so, as with everything raw, a whole new experience (i.e. I have no idea what I am doing).

How is the dough supposed to look? What is the texture supposed to be like? Is it 2 cups of oat groats after soaking or before soaking (by the way, if I ever write a cookbook - which I have no intention of doing - I will make that last point very clear in my directions)? So many questions. I write them here so that when I find the answers you won't have to ask the questions.

Since the dough has to sit all day I have just two pictures for now. The one above of the various seeds and nuts soaking (oat, almonds and kamut) and the one below of the dough sitting. If the bread actually becomes an edible bread I will even offer the recipe.



Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fermented foods and Raw

I received an email from someone today asking whether fermented foods are part of a raw food diet and, if so, are they beneficial? Rather than send her a lengthy email and then regurgitate (possibly not the best choice of words) the information for someone else down the line I decided to address the topic in my blog.

First of all it depends on who you ask but isn't that always the case? So before we go any further I will refer you to the best nutritionist I know - you. Always check in with your body. The more raw food you eat the stronger your intuitive knowing will become. I am really starting to experience this myself and have heard it expressed many times from long-term raw foodists.

Now, having said that, here is my response. Fermented foods, so long as they are not the store-bought, pasteurized variety are considered raw. Many health food stores sell specifically raw saurekraut and other fermented foods (just look for "raw" on the label). Fermented foods have many health benefits.

Fermented foods have a very high level of enzyme activity. Enzymes aid in the digestion, assimilation, absorption and elimination of foods as well as one's metabolic activity. Cooked foods destroy enzymes and although a much healthier alternative, freezing foods still kill off 30-66% of the enzymes (The Sunfood Diet Success System by David Wolfe). Fermented food, on the other hand, not only increases enzyme activity but also contributes valuable intestinal flora to the colon, bowel and digestive tract.

Dr. Ann Wigmore, creator of the Living Foods Lifestyle was a strong advocate of fermented foods and they play a large role in her programs at the Ann Wigmore Institute and Hippocrates Institute. Many people recommend fermented foods when looking to speed up the healing process because of the large number of enzymes present and the beneficial intestinal flora.

Some types of fermented foods eaten by raw food folks are: seed cheeses, kefir, and sauerkraut. My husband is actually in the middle of making homemade sauerkraut with our green cabbage. (I pity the person who descends into the basement - the smell is not for the faint of heart). Tomorrow I'll pass on his recipe and a few pics.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Goji Berries


Super Nutrient Gal is about super thoughts, super actions and super foods. So I thought I would take some time to talk about one of my new favorite super foods - the goji berry.

You can read all about the goji berry in David Wolfe's book, Superfoods. I'll give you the cliff notes.

The goji berry has a very long history dating back thousands of years ago to Asia - primarily China and Tibet. Goji berries can be eaten straight off the bush however, they are often dried and end up looking a lot like an orange/red raisin.

This berry has one of the highest antioxidant levels of any food in the world. Antioxidants are what neutralize free radicals. Free radicals can damage cells, cell membranes, vessel walls and even DNA leading to many of the diseases we face today - Alzheimers, Diabetes, Obesity, Stroke, Heart Disease and more. The more antioxidants we supply our body, the healthier our body.

Goji berries are also a complete protein. They have 19 amino acids and all eight essential amino acids. No other berry, as far as I know, can claim that. Goji berries have at least 21 trace minerals, vitamin B2, B6 and E as well as iron.

Goji berries support the adrenals, the kidneys, the liver, the immune system and help to improve eyesight. But of even more interest to most folks, goji berries turn back the clock. These berries stimulate the release of the Human Growth Hormone (HGH), a hormone that diminishes in the body over time. The decrease of HGH parallels the degeneration of the body. As we increase HGH levels we increase our longevity. Goji berries are truly amazing!

Thanks to the passion of David Wolfe and others you can now get goji berries at your local health food store. However, it is important to buy organic berries as you don't want ones sprayed in pesticides. I get my berries online from Elements for Life.They are an amazing company with a very high level of quality.

In Superfoods, David recommends 15-45 mg/day. 4-6 berries are about 1 mg. In other words at least 2-3 tablespoons a day.

I like to add goji berries to my smoothies but my favorite method for consuming this beautiful berry is to put about 3 T. in a quart of water. Let soak for about an hour and then drink. (the picture below is an example of me getting a little artistic).


Soaking takes the bitterness out of the berry while sweetening the water. I love it. One warning on the water recipe - don't forget about the drink, let the berries soak all night and then eat one in the morning - yuck! Trust me on this one.

Enjoy! And if you have any questions about purchasing, selecting or using goji berries, please don't hesitate to let me know.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

raw herbed cream cheese

I did a little more research into copyright laws because as I take this raw food journey, I want to share all of it with you, especially yummy recipes!

It turns out that as long as I reference the source of the recipe (which I always do), and be a little creative in my wording of the directions, which I enjoy, then I can share away. Woo hoo! So today you get herbed cream cheese.

This recipe comes from The Complete Book of Raw Food: Second Edition. It requires no soaking, no dehydrating and nothing unrecognizable (at least in my kitchen).

The ingredients are:
1 1/3 cups Brazil, macadamia or pine nuts, unsoaked
1/4 cup olive oil
3 T. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly cracked peppercorns
2 T. fresh dill, minced
1 T. fresh sage, minced

A note on recipes - when trying a new raw recipe for the first time I always halve the ingredients. I have had too many, "I don't think this is how it is supposed to taste," debacles that I prefer to err on the side of caution (and my wallet). I recommend the same to you. Having said that, this recipe is fairly failure proof. I say "fairly" because I have known people to burn popcorn in an air popper, so anything is possible. 

I also omitted the peppercorns because I'm just not a big pepper person. You do what you want.

Take the first four ingredients, add 1/3 cup of water, and blend until smooth. If you have a high-powered blender, like a Vitamix, you will have a much easier time.

Then transfer the mixture to a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients. Mix together. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes and voila - herbed cream cheese. Really quite yummy.

Unless you have planned ahead and have some raw bread or crackers in the house, I find nori is a great substitute. I placed one beet leaf on a sheet of nori, spread the cream cheese and...


 
a nori sandwich. 
Simple, quick, nutritious and delicious. Ahh...this I can handle. 

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Eating Out

Every now and then I like to have a cooked meal at a restaurant just to remind me why I eat raw foods. Well, I don't go with that intention but I always come back with that result.

I haven't been eating raw for long and yet I am truly amazed by not only the transformation in how I feel eating primarily live foods but how I feel when I eat cooked ones. Me, the ultimate lover of cooked foods. Now I eat a cooked meal and I feel so sleepy, heavy and drained. Initially I wondered if it was all psychosomatic but the proof is in the pudding, even when the pudding is made from soaked cashews, dates and water.

What is it about a cooked meal out that leads one to feel this way? A number of things.

1) When we eat a heavy meal the body responds by releasing large amounts of insulin. The insulin ensures that the blood sugar gets to the liver, muscle and fat cells. Within an hour or two, insulin levels have dropped dramatically as has blood sugar. The result - a crash. For me the crash manifests as fatigue, irritability (which I would be right now if I wasn't so tired), and sugar cravings.

Since going raw my sugar cravings have been almost null. When I get them they are very manageable. But give me cooked food and give me death, or at least a cookie.

2) When we eat cooked foods, especially out at a restaurant, we tend to overeat. Cooked foods do not have the digestive enzymes or the minerals so abundantly provided in raw foods. Much more energy is required to digest a cooked meal. Raw foods actually supply the body with the enzymes necessary for digestion whereas a cooked meal usually causes the body to draw on its store of enzymes for proper digestion. We end up depleting our enzyme reservoir.

3) Digesting takes energy. Raw food gives the body energy and requires much less effort to digest - actually aiding in digesting. Much of our energy during the day is used to digest cooked foods!

These are only a few of the reasons why eating raw foods provides us not only with energy and enzymes but a whole new outlook on life!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Dr. Norm Shealy and Raw Corn Chips

What do Dr. Norm Shealy and Raw Corn Chips have in common? Absolutely nothing as far as I know. Except that I have something to say about both of them.

First Dr. Shealy. Last night I interviewed Norm as one of the guests in my Wisdom of Wellness Series. He shared his "Recipe for Everyday Health." I would like to offer it to you.
  1. Get out of bed in the morning and bless the day and yourself for the sleep you just had.
  2. Exercise – minimum of 30 minutes five days a week (can be at the end of the day but more effective at giving energy and maintaining weight if done at the beginning of the day)
  3. Eat a healthy breakfast (as well as all other meals) – healthy means "real" food. Food with more than one or two ingredients is no longer real. Wide variety of fruits, vegetables, dairy and fish.
  4. Go through the day expecting and programming things to be OK.
  5. Finish the day with a little rest. Take some time to do some deep breathing, meditation, etc.
  6. Go into sleep with mental programming of positive activities. Thank god and your soul for the benefits of the day.
  7. Get 8 hours of sleep.
I would like to briefly add a few comments in response to #3 - eat a healthy breakfast. Norm recommended dairy and lots of fish. I personally choose to eat very little, if any, dairy because my body prefers not to have it. Many people are lactose intolerant and may need to watch their dairy intake. As for fish - we all know that fish can be very high in mercury. Please pay attention to the type of fish you eat. You can go to: http://budurl.com/bestseafood. Here you will find recommendations for the healthiest sea food and you can download a free guide.

If you would like to hear the entire interview with Dr. Shealy go to: http://series.supernutrientgal.com.

Now for the raw corn chips. Eating raw has been a very interesting journey. However, it just got a lot easier with our most recent purchase, The Excalibur dehydrator (warning - if you really want to eat raw there is a rather large up front investment).

The other day I made corn chips. Everyone in my family eats corn chips and I love them so I knew I needed an alternative. With everything raw, it never tastes quite like what you know. Pizza, chips, ice cream - they can all be delicious but... different.

These chips took about 20 minutes to prepare (very easy) and then about 16 hours in the dehydrator. I actually got up at about 2am to check on them - insane, I know. The recipe came from The Complete Book of Raw Food. The ingredients are: corn, olive oil, flax seed, cilantro, salt, honey and chili peppers. I can't divulge any more info (copyright laws) but at least you have a sense of the recipe.

Here is a picture of the "dough" going into the dehydrator:


And the finished product:


Quite yummy and they really hit the spot when snacking was what I wanted.

(A note on dehydrators - although they run for a long time they use very little electricity. I don't know the wattage but it costs about 3-6 cents/hour. )

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Favorite Green Smoothie


Yesterday I promised that I would provide you with the recipe for my favorite green smoothie. I like to start the day with this smoothie for a number of reasons.

1) green veggies are calming. In the morning when I have a lot of energy and sometimes anxiety, the green smoothie helps to take off the edge.

2) by starting the day with this drink I know I am already getting the recommended number of fruit and vegetable servings. For people who can't seem to get their veggies in this is a simple and extremely nutritious way to do it.

3) I feel good.

I tried several green smoothies before settling on this one. For me it has just the right amount of fruits and vegetables - it doesn't feel too sweet or too bitter. The ingredients are:


Fruits:
1 apple (be sure to remove the seeds as they can be toxic - thanks for the tip Dennis!)
1 cucumber

Veggies:
3 medium size kale leaves (de-stemmed)
2 small to medium size chard leaves (or lettuce leaves)
1 stalk of celery (without the leaves - leaves make it taste more bitter)
1 handful of parsley

and a little piece of ginger

You can also add spirulina, blue green algae, hemp, maca, any number of super foods. I will get into more of that later.

Then you just put it all into the blender with 2 cups of water and blend. If you have a high speed blender like a VitaMix (can't imagine life without it at this point) it should be no problem. You can also juice all of this but I find blending to be so easy (and easy to clean!) and you get all of the fiber with the fruit and veggies.

All in all it makes a little over a quart. You can drink the whole thing or put some in the fridge for tomorrow.

I am not a huge fan, yet, of raw kale or chard but blending them in a smoothie tastes great.

Below is a picture of the final product. The picture at the top of this post is of the smoothie with my backyard behind it. I like that picture because it shows some of the garden where these veggies are grown.



Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Green Leafy Vegetables


I have been reading David Wolfe's book on raw food, The Sunfood Diet Success System. As a Whole Health Educator I am always fascinated by different approaches to nutrition. As someone new to raw foods I am particularly interested in well-known books on this topic. David's book is a combination of science, spirituality and common sense.

In the early part of the book David stresses the importance of green leafy veggies. I am a big proponent of green leafy veggies and often work with clients to incorporate more of them into the person's diet. I thought I would take a moment to extol some of the benefits of these wonder foods in the hopes that you too, if you aren't already, be turned on by their magic.

First: what qualifies as a leafy green vegetable? Lettuce (especially dark red leaves), kale, collards, chard, spinach and surprisingly, cilantro, parsley and celery. We don't often think of the last three in that category.

Second: why green leafy vegetables? These vegetables contain chlorophyll - the pigment in plants wherein photosynthesis takes place. Eat kale and you are eating the energy from the sun - no intermediary. They also have loads of minerals and vitamins, such as iron, magnesium and calcium.

Green leafy vegetables help your body digest and eliminate food more easily, give you energy, help shed unwanted pounds and keep your body healthy and vital. Green leafy veggies are the diamonds of the vegetable world.

Try eating 5-7 servings a day. A serving is a1/2 cup raw and 1 cup cooked. Throw them in smoothies (I'll give a great smoothie recipe tomorrow), toss them together for a salad, roll them up in nori with some yummy filling (more on that to come) and you can even cook them up with some garlic and olive oil.

If you aren't used to these vegetables I recommend starting with the sweeter, more familiar varieties like spinach, lettuce and celery. As you body builds up its desire for the food and you build up your taste buds try the kale, collards and chard. Mmmm. I love them.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Macadamia Pudding


One of the things about raw foods is that snacking and evening sweets can become a bit of a challenge. If you need 12 hours to dehydrate cookies, your either going to opt for the dreaded cooked version wondering what in God's name inspired you to take up such a ridiculous craze or relentlessly search for a satisfying recipe. Fortunately I have recently invested a small portion of my savings in raw food cookbooks. I recommend this highly.

The more cookbooks you have the more likely you are to find a recipe that can be made in under five minutes and requires no soaking, no dehydrating, no juicing and obviously, no cooking. Tonight, having just eaten a rather large salad with a nut feta, I wanted something sweet. And I found it: Macademia Pudding from The Complete Book of Raw Food. Yummmm!

I have had three failed attempts at making some sort of raw whipped cream (been really craving that with summer fruit) but this, although not so light, did the trick.

This pudding was created by Paul Nilson and uses just macadamia nuts, dates and water. I altered the recipe slightly because I didn't have enough macadamia nuts and so added cashews as well. I also added some blueberries.

Here is the final outcome:



The verdict (apart from the obvious that I am no food photographer) - thumbs up. My husband liked it as well although he first comment was, "how much did this cost to make? $84?" Raw food is not always inexpensive. He did, however, eat it all up!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Raw Food/ Real World

Watching Julie and Julia inspired me in more ways than one. Watching two women pursue their passion despite setbacks, meltdowns and uncertainty was encouraging. Seeing two women passionate about food was pure delight. And watching two stories unfold in a way that parallels my life in so many ways (apart from the published cooking book and the movie deal) was very affirming.

So I came out of the movie theater convinced that my next project would be to cook every recipe in a raw foods book. Just as people who watch lawyers on tv dream of going to law school, I was already imagining crazed searches for rare ingredients and tantrums over tabouli. A dream come true. Then I remembered - wait, I have two kids, a business and a life. So I settled for a new cookbook (it's a disease I am sure). But I wanted one that would really teach me how to cook - good, somewhat gourmet, raw meals. So I bought "Raw Food/Real World: 100 Recipes to Get the Glow."

I mean, who doesn't want "the glow."

I went on to cook quinoa tabouli (no tantrums!), fudge!, a filling green salad and cashew hummus. So far four for four. I didn't take any pictures yet but I will give you my tip on sprouting quinoa.

I first ventured to sprout quinoa without any directions and ended up with a foul-smelling grain I was unwilling to taste. This time I went by the book and now I offer that knowledge to you. And guess what - it is so simple!

First take one cup quinoa and soak it overnight. Then upon rising the next morning, rinse the quinoa well in a fine mesh colander. Leave it in the colander to drain with a clean towel over the quinoa. Let sit for six hours. Rinse once or twice (I rinsed them once and that seemed fine) and then voila - sprouted quinoa.

Quinoa is an incredibly nutritious grain - high in protein (12-18%), balanced set of essential amino acids, a good source of fiber, phosphorous, magnesium and iron. And with just a little forethought a great raw grain!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

David Wolfe and Julie and Julia

Two very inspiring events have recently transpired in my life. The first - I interviewed expert nutritionist David Wolfe last night for my Wisdom of Wellness series. He is so amazing. A wealth of information, backed by integrity, fueled by an unceasing passion ignited by love and truth. What more could you ask for in a nutritionist? If you want to hear the interview click here, register and then click on the link below David's picture. It's available for another 18 hours or so. I would go into more detail but I'm tired, and quite frankly, unsure whether anyone out there is even reading this. I will say just one more thing - I offered an incredible deal on David's lastest project LongevityNOW ($150 off!). To learn more click here.

The second inspiring event was going to see the film Julie and Julia. Ahhh...I could relate in so many ways and the thought of picking up a cookbook and cooking every recipe in it from start to finish (and not an easy cookbook either) intrigued and delighted me from the moment I first heard of the idea. I loved her passion and of course in the end, fame. so much to say but I'm just too tired. Have to do more in the morning.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Complete Book of Raw Food

"Praise the Lord," said my husband, and he is not a particularly religious man (although he does have some spiritual leanings).

"All I can say is Praise the Lord." This in response to my stating that somehow, since starting to eating primarily raw, I feel mellower, calmer, less agitated. I don't know why. But it sure is nice. As someone who is rather easily agitated I welcome the change.

It took me almost 2 days to recover from the pizza fiasco. My stomach felt off for about 72 hours. I am finally beginning to feel back to myself. In the meantime I put together a 5-minute berry pie from The Complete Book of Raw Food.


I have always loved cook books and now I have an excuse to purchase more. A whole new way of eating certainly requires a new set of cookbooks! This time, in an effort to encourage my children to embrace living food, I went straight to the dessert section. And this is what I made.

The bottom layers are essentially an almond crust with a walnut/coconut butter filling topped with strawberries. As it is August and strawberry season has long since ended and we had just gone blueberry picking earlier that day, I placed blueberries on top.

Here are the first two layers:


With the blueberries on top:


And just before eating:


It was, admittedly, a little sweet but yummy. Everyone in my family approved!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Pizza again!

Oh boy. Well... I learned yet another very important lesson on this raw food journey. My cravings for so many of the foods I used to yearn for are gone and yet, today, I just wanted something different. I didn't want any more veggies, I didn't want nuts or any kind of nut pate, or even the very tasty raw "peppermint patty" I made yesterday (more on that in the next post). I wanted something different - anything different.

So, we ordered a pizza. Now, it has only been two and a half weeks that I have been eating raw. Of that time I would say I have eaten 100% on at least half of the days and between 80-90% the rest of that time. A lot of raw food and yet, only two and a half weeks. I didn't think a pizza would be such a big deal. I saw it as a nice treat.

But it wasn't. As good as it tasted going down, I know feel sick to my stomach three hours later. At first I just felt sluggish, tired. I noticed how different I felt from eating raw food when I feel more alive and awake. Then, after a nice warm bath meant to sooth my weary body, I began feeling worse. And now I just feel sick. Hard to believe after only two and a half weeks I could have such a strong reaction to pizza.

Why am I going into so much detail? Because I promised I'd let you know how this journey went. And as far as I am concerned this is definitely a part of the trip I'd rather not repeat.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Raw Food and Emotional Eating

For years I have struggled with emotional eating. I think it is one of the things that drew me to studying nutrition (that and my passion for everything having to do with anything edible). I would swear off of sugar only to binge three or four days later. Feel terrible for four days and then repeat the cycle. As much as I loved breads, cereals, cakes and cookies I felt imprisoned by their allure and my desires.

I tried many things to break this cycle. I fasted, cleansed, journaled and meditated. Everything helped in its own way but the song of sugar always rang loudest and in the end, the box of cookies prevailed. How could someone like me, who knew so much about food, still fall prey to ingredients?

And then raw food came along. And I was doing my Wisdom of Wellness series. And as part of the series I was interviewing David Wolfe. And I love nutrition. And I love David Wolfe. And David Wolfe is raw.

So I took up the challenge to go 100% raw for three weeks. Well, I didn't make it. I haven't been 100% raw but man, what a journey it has been (and in such a short time!!). The most amazing thing, apart from how alive I feel, is that my cravings, my emotional eating, is gone. Gone.

Now, I'm not saying it is gone for good. I've been down this road too many times to make a statement like that. But for now, right in this moment (which is all I really care about), I have no cravings. Don't get me wrong - I am still eating sweet things. The only difference is they are foods sweetened with dates and agave. Foods that don't encourage insulin spiking that lead to stress on the system resulting in a stronger desire for the very foods that wreak the most havoc on my system. They are foods that feel good. That nourish me. And I feel nourished.

I don't have to resist eating chips at 10 pm or frying up a tortilla with butter just before bed. I don't need to force myself to stop eating the chocolate chips or deny myself that second piece of cake. I don't have to do any of this because I don't even want it.

If I had known that raw foods would lead me here, I would have walked this road years ago. But all in its own perfect time. And that time seems to be now.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Live Food Power

So in my three week adventure into raw food land, there has been one aspect that has remained consistent.

On the days when I eat only raw, living food I feel more energized. I can't quite explain it. It's like I am more alive. I never thought I would say that. I like to think of myself as a very practical, grounded person despite my somewhat hippy skippy upbringing. And yet, here I am eating raw foods and feeling somehow, as if the energy of the food really is activating a whole new energy in me. Scientifically it all makes sense. These days just about everything makes sense scientifically - energy healing, vibrational shifts, shape shifting - you name it.

And you want to know what - despite my claims to be this practical, grounded person, I love it. Because I know that my head speaks a different language than my heart. And my heart is right there with the whole energy thing. It gets it. And it loves it. So now begins a completely different transistion. That of allowing my heart to speak louder than my head.

Somehow I think eating raw food is going to help me get there.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cherry Malt

Today being a lazy, rainy, Sunday afternoon my son, Asher, and I decided to make a "Cherry Malt" from Ani's Raw Food Kitchen. Asher has always loved to cook. I think I may have made him that way. It was clear from early on that my daughter had little interest in the kitchen. So when my son was born and he was a Cancer (just like his mom - and everyone knows all Cancer's love to cook) I was convinced he would be my little chef. I told him so on a regular basis putting a lot of faith in astrology and the power of suggestion.

And guess what? It worked! O.K. I have no proof that it worked. Perhaps he would have loved to cook even if he had been raised with astrologically ignorant parents and no mind games. But I'll never know. All I know is that I got my wish.

So, on this lazy, rainy day we decided to make a cherry malt from cherries, almonds, dates, carob powder and water. Simple enough.

Here is Asher pitting the cherries:


Here he is before our all powerful "Vitamix" blender, blending it all up.



Nearly done. It's time for the true test - will he like it?




He loves it!


His comment, "It's better than ice cream!" Quite a statement coming from a boy whose favorite food group is sugar. A success indeed.