Friday, July 31, 2009

Taking a Raw Food Break

So in the end my fatigue beat out my pride. Yesterday was day ten of my 3-week adventure into raw foods. Yesterday was also the end of a very long work week culminating in the first call of my 8-week teleseries the Wisdom of Wellness series. And on top of it all I also got the final design on my new website and logo (just below).

So you can imagine that not only was I exhausted by the end of all this but I had spent very little time in the kitchen preparing any new, delicious raw food meals. In fact I hadn't spent much time preparing much of anything. So when I turned to the fridge, tired and I admit, overworked, I had no energy whatsoever for creating a meal.

The decision - I took a break, a raw food break. Honestly, two days later (and with not a whole lot of sleep) I cannot even remember what I ate. But what I saw was how very challenging a raw food diet can be for those who have a tremendous amount on their plate (pun intended). These days, with our fast-paced, busy lives, almost all of us fall into that category.

As someone who works in the field of nutrition, as Super Nutrient Gal, I am always on the lookout for prevents a person from eating and living in ways that support a healthy mind and body. And what I have seen in my brief foray into raw foods is that it is a must, an absolute must (unless of course it isn't for you), to be introduced into raw foods by someone who knows raw foods. And I don't just mean a cookbook. I mean someone who can hold your hand. Who can give you that perfect suggestion when all you see is more lettuce, kale and carrots and not a thing to eat. Someone who has been down the raw food road, forward and backward, lost their way, found it again and is now merrily heading in their intended direction.

My goal with all of this is, amazingly enough, to become that person. I want to study every in and out of this path because quite honestly the longer I am on it (even with my many meanderings), the more convinced I am of its magic.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pizza and raw food

I did an experiment today. After working for about seven straight hours (something I definitely do not recommend to clients) to finish all my preparations for the big day tomorrow and having eaten next to nothing, I was quite hungry when dinner rolled around. And what do you know - we ordered pizza for my kids. Mmm... raw food? pizza? raw food? pizza? Difficult decision. So I opted for the ultimate experiment.

How would my body react to pizza after eight days on almost all raw food? I figured, this was important information. A good way to assess data. Since I have no control group I am both the control and the experimental group. Therefore I must take on the difficult role of doing both.

If all of this sounds like a bunch of b.s. just to have some pizza - well, you are mostly right. I also opted for raw food. I made myself a very healthful green smoothie and between sips noshed on, all said, about 1/2 piece of pizza. I wish I could say it was good pizza but alas such was not my fate. Did I destroy my raw food adventure? Hardly. It's all part of it. It's all good.

If there is one thing I wish to communicate to anyone -whether I work with them or not - it's just that. It's only food. Let's enjoy it.

Next time though, I'm ordering better pizza.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Raw food diet challenges

O.K. I admit it. Day 8 was not easy.

Now, granted I have been working very diligently for the last several days to get my 8-week teleseries The Wisdom of Wellness off the ground so my energy level is lower, I believe, than it normally would be. However, and here is the big however, I don't know what to eat!

I've spent so many hours in front of the computer I haven't had the time to peruse all the recipes and come up with exciting new possibilities. As a result, ready to eat, I open the fridge and what do I see? Lots and lots of veggies. Now, I do love veggies but when you really want something soothing and satisfying a carrot just ain't going to cut it - not right now anyway.

So one of the biggest challenges? Snacks - comfort food snacks. Snacks like chips, toast, quesadillas, popcorn - you know, starch. Somehow flax sunflower seed bread just doesn't qualify. So today, somewhat low on energy and looking for that quick fix, proved rather challenging.

If I didn't have this interview with David in two weeks I would have caved today - I admit it. My pride is the only thing keeping me from grabbing that last tortilla, spreading some feta on it and a slab of turkey and frying it up in the pan. Pride. To be able to say to David - in honor of our call, I have been raw the last three weeks. Damn pride.

So now what? I have my kale, garlic, lime, avocado and date smoothie sitting next to me on my bedside. Mmmm - not quite what I had in mind. So what I'm really saying, yet another time, is if you plan on going raw either have loads of time on your hands to really get down and dirty in the kitchen or be prepared to spend a small fortune on the myriad raw food snacks and goodies now available online. Either that or just dip your toe in, have a salad and eat the quesadilla on the side.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Green Smoothies

Day Seven and I got my first, "your skin is looking good" comment!

One of the big things, apparently, about eating raw food is the "raw food glow." A certain glow the skin gets when a person eats raw food - hence "raw food glow." Truthfully, I don't see the glow myself and just as my friend was looking at me the sun was setting giving just about everything that rosy early evening hue. But hey, a compliment is a compliment.

I bought the book Green For Life yesterday.

Victoria Boutenko wrote this book after being raw for seven years (and curing her entire family of severe illnesses) only to notice certain symptoms of decreasing vitality. After completing months of intensive research, Victoria discovered she wasn't eating enough greens. In fact she was hardly eating any greens.

Despite her revulsion of the leafy green giant - feeling nauseous just at the smell (I'm sure a few of you can relate) - she continued to experiment with the food until she arrived at not just a palatable but a pleasurable solution: the green smoothie. By mixing greens like lettuce, kale and celery with bananas, apples and mango she was able to drink more than a daily portion of her body's nutritional requirements. After a month or two she even began craving what she had once despised. Of course, when one experiences such a transformation it is nearly impossible not to want to sing it from the rooftops. And that is what she did. Or more accurately, write it from her desktop and distribute it via planes over the rooftops to people around the world.
To learn more go to:

Given my love of veggies (I come from a rare breed) and my passion for nutrition I knew this was a book for me. And so today, having spent sufficient time yesterday reading and skimming recipes, I sampled two of Victoria's savory green smoothies - lettuce, lime, red onion, celery and avocado in one and kale, dill, garlic, and lime in the other. Suffice to say only one brave neighbor (a fellow green juicer) was even willing to try it. But I quite liked them both. I did, however, have to add dates to the latter as it was just a little too bitter for me (I do have a bit of a sweet tooth as you may recall).

I have wondered lately if, as adults, we don't intellectualize our taste buds. Knowing something is good for us and therefore wanting and even liking it. I mean if tomorrow someone told me kale, garlic, dill and lime wreaked havoc on my system, would I no longer appreciate the taste? Hard to say. I imagine thousands of people would, at the very least, be greatly relieved.

I'll make another tomorrow and take some pictures. You won't be able to taste it but at least you can see it and judge for yourself.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Transitioning to raw food

Day 6! It's almost been a whole week. I took the last two days off writing so I feel as if I am overflowing with information. Bear with me.

So many ups and downs. First, a confession. I haven't been 100% raw (as you may have already noticed). We went to breakfast with my kids and I just couldn't resist a few bites of my son's gloriously delicious Belgian waffle overflowing with maple syrup and whipped cream - I mean come on! And then there were the few french fries and oh yes, a small piece of turkey. Hardly raw. But overall I would say this week has been a huge success.

First some things I have learned:

1. Have treats on hand. Making a transition like this is big and although my cravings are almost nil there are times when I am hungry and just want something sweet or easy or doesn't taste like kale. So I highly recommend you stock up with a few raw food treats for just those special moments.

2. Research. Either I am unfamiliar with the ingredients in many raw food recipes or I just don't have them on hand. Raw food cooking can be quite simple because well, you don't cook the food. As soon as all the ingredients are assembled you often just blend, process or juice them and voila - your meal. But the trick is having all of the ingredients. So research a little ahead of time - check out the ingredients, find places to buy them, and shop for them. Then when hunger strikes, you will be ready.

3. You don't have to go all raw all at once. In fact, having attempted it, I don't recommend it. If you eat 51% of your foods raw you will benefit tremendously. And honestly, I think it is a heck of a lot easier.

4. Having said that, I feel great! I have lots of energy, I feel clean, I love eating the foods I eat and I love how comfortable I feel in my body. So it's a trade off. Jump in whole hog and end up eating mushy, hardly palatble flax sunflower seed "burgers" at 10:30 pm because it's all you got or take it slowly and accept that it may take longer to feel many of the positive benefits.

5. Forget intuition. I've been cooking for awhile now and I love it. After years of diligently following recipes by the letter, then little by little stepping out into my own creativity, I realize I am back to square one. I understand cooked food. I know how to make adjustments for certain flavors or the lack thereof. I get why things taste the way they do. But raw food - forget it. Think about it - all our lives we've been eating mostly cooked food. I learned to cook by cooking. Everything is new to me and so I must redevelop a relationship with food. Relearn the art of fine cuisine. It's a bit of a roller coaster with a few extra trips to the compost.

6. Have fun. You get to be a kid in a chem lab all over again. Enjoy the mystery and see what emerges!

That's all for now.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Raw food adventures's only day three and it has already been a rather interesting adventure.

One of the challenges in making raw vegan vanilla pecan ice cream to satisfy a craving is that you can't actually eat it when you want it because it has to freeze first. Didn't really think about that one. The other challenge is not having exactly the right ingredients - like lecithin (the thickening agent used in place of eggs and whatever else thickens ice cream). So I ended up with my treat about ten hours too late and still more like sweet iced milk than frozen cream. Lesson # too many to count - don't use substitutions in a recipe until you know what you are doing.

I love to cook and have cooked for many years but my specialty, up until three days ago, has been food that gets cooked. I can saute, steam and stir-fry until the sun comes home but hand me a blender and a bunch of flax, sesame seeds and some chopped veggies and you'll choose to dine elsewhere.

At least that is what happened after my ice cream enlightenment (when I realized it would have to freeze first). I tried to make some sunflower seed raw burgers and even my husband, who will eat just about anything, passed it up. I say all this to let you know that if you are even considering a raw food diet, learn from my experience. Get a few raw food cooking tips and allow yourself the cooked default (just in case).

Having said all this I have had some victories. I made my children "oatmeal" for breakfast (soaked oat groats, almonds and dates). A little later that day a neighbor came over with her adorable son. Not only did he like the oatmeal (see above picture) he kept asking for more. Nice to have such a satisfied customer!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Raw food dietary difficulties

This is the challenge I have when I decide to go whole hog - cravings. Cravings of the mind.

I'm not hungry nor am I emotionally imbalanced at the moment but I do have a mind. And whenever I tell myself O.K. no more, as in, "I am going to be completely raw for the next three weeks," then within 24-48 hours my mind begins it's plaintive wail. "Awwww....come on, how about one piece of bread? Just a few crackers with hummus? That hamburger your husband made for your kids sure looks good, why not a bite or two?" This is exactly why I never recommend a diet of deprivation to my clients. Because if you are like me, then this line of thinking can lead to your downfall. (BTW, I did end up having a bite of the burger. Well, nobody's perfect! What's perfect anyway? That's another whole subject that I am more than happy to address at a later time).

So that is where I am at the moment. I drank a delicious smoothie, had leftovers from last night's portabello mushroom dish and a wonderful salad for dinner but still... What should I do? What any raw foodist would do... Whip up a batch of raw, vegan vanilla pecan ice cream.

I'll let you know how it goes.

P.S. I figured out the secret ingredient to raw food eating on the run, i.e. a smoothie in the car, at the office, wherever - Dental Floss! All sorts of bits of food get in your teeth with smoothies and believe me when I tell you, it is not a pretty sight. So make sure to carry one of those little dental floss packets with you if you are eating on the go and all should be fine. At least with your teeth.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Marinated Portobello Steak

In my enthusiasm (and as a way to support my cookbook buying addiction) I went out and bought "ani's raw food kitchen." I chose this book over all others because of the words, "easy, delectable living foods recipes." Actually it was really just the word "easy." I LOVE to cook but I got a lot of things going on and hours in the kitchen is no longer relaxing. So a raw foods cookbook that looked quick and simple - that was the one for me.

On the way home we stopped at our local coop, picked up a few ingredients and then made this for dinner:

I'm no food photographer so unfortunately the picture doesn't do the meal justice but it was delicious! (and pretty easy too).

This was the first meal I ever made that was intentionally a raw meal. And well...I just had to share it with you. Mmm mmm goood. Even my meat-eating, fluff 'n' nutter loving, pop tart tasting neighbor gave it a thumbs up. Can't beat that.

Raw Foods - Taking the Plunge

O.K. - I'm doing it!

I'm taking the raw food plunge! In three weeks I will be interviewing David Wolfe as part of my Wisdom of Wellness teleseries. So, in the spirit of true investigative reporting (I always wanted to be a reporter), I have decided to take on David's advice and Go Raw!

I want you to know where I am coming from - I am a mother of two young children, 8 and 6 yrs. old and the creator of Super Nutrient Gal. SNG was borne out of a passion for food, nutrition, and the desire to guide other woman to live healthier, more vibrant authentic lives with ease and grace. Because of this I am often reading about and/or testing the latest in cleanses, supplements and food programs. However, I have yet to take on something so seemingly radical as raw food. I say seemingly because the more I understand the less radical it seems - particularly in light of what passes for food in our local supermarkets.

Now, raw food may be the LAST thing you would ever contemplate for your eating plan. And that is fine. It is not my intention to promote one way of eating over another. Rather it is my intention to see for myself what this is like, in order to walk my talk with honesty and experience. My goal is, ultimately, to support you wherever you are at in living your healthiest and happiest life or as David says, having "the best day ever."

I started today with a shake that I am still nursing. It is filled with nutrients and so filling that I am still drinking it two and a half hours later. I won't show you a picture of the smoothie because of the various responses I have received from people who see it up close but you can go to the blog post, "day one" and get my smoothie recipe.

Now, I am off to work to prepare for this most exciting series beginning in just a little over a week!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Vitamins and minerals

Yesterday was my birthday so I took a day off of writing in my blog. I skipped birthday cake - couldn't find a cake that wouldn't send me into hyper sugar orbit - but I did stumble upon a nice pint of vegan and soy-free coconut bliss "ice cream." Sprinkled a little bit of cacao nibs on top and had myself a merry little celebration.

Today, interestingly enough, after my morning smoothie (which typically takes me about two hours to "eat"), and a bounteous salad about three hours later, I found myself craving food. Like a burrito or piece of meat or thick slice of bread. Now, it could have been the coconut bliss or the fact that despite having a wonderful birthday my husband and I had some,, disagreements. Whatever it was I let go of eating raw this evening and had myself some tuna and the leftovers from my son's dinner - beans, rice, cheese and sour cream. Don't think any of it even remotely qualifies as raw. But I feel fine and if I don't allow myself a gentle path then I'll abandon the route completely.

What I am going to do, as I mentioned the other day, is take on the 100 day LongevityNOW program. Just waiting for a few herbs and vitamins to arrive and I'm off to the races.

For those who don't know, LongevityNOW is a program created by nutritionist David Wolfe. As a nutritionist myself I am very curious about the material he presents - a program about decalcifying the body in order to create the healthiest, most flexible and youthful body possible.
I don't know about any of this yet but I can say that eating this way feels great.

As soon as I begin the LongevityNOW program I will check back in and keep you up-to-date.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Longevity Now

I think I'll keep it short today. I have a whole slew of in-laws visiting. I'm realizing it takes more than super foods to keep me going with a full house of relatives.

So far it has been really easy to eat well (apart from the bite of hamburger, one of my children's "chicken" nuggets, and a few pieces of challah - essentially a fancy Jewish name for white bread with eggs). I have never experienced having so few cravings, ever. And believe me, I have tried just about everything. Sugar in the form of breads, pastas, cereals, cakes and cookies, has been like a dysfunctional lover I just can't seem to shake. But now... it's a whole different story. Now the challenge is what to do with the emotions that I no longer stuff with sweets. It's not that I wouldn't prefer to stuff the emotions at times, but the sweets don't appeal to me at all. The other day I found myself wishing I craved sugar just to have something to ease the loneliness I was experiencing. Amazingly enough I couldn't even bring myself to indulge for the sake of escape. The sugar held no allure whatsoever.

I can only attribute the lack of desire to the foods I am eating. As I eat more raw foods, I absorb more minerals and activate more enzymes. Instead of empty nutrients, my body is full and totally satisfied. As a matter of fact I drank a smoothie today (it made a whole quart), had a salad for a late lunch and now, two hours later, am still full. My appetite continues to decrease as my body gets everything it needs with very little effort.

In a few days I am going to embark on a new program, LongevityNOW by David Wolfe. You will hear me mention herbs, superfoods, supplements, all sorts of things I am only now learning about. I want to take you on this journey with me because my hunch is that it will be one of the most physically (and by extension emotionally) transformative adventures I have ever taken. I will be detoxing with different herbs, eating lots of healthy veggies, fruits and other foods, and doing whatever else David recommends.

Now David also takes the go it slow approach but once again, I am going to jump into this full force, if only to have something interesting to report to you. I would love to start tomorrow, being as it is my birthday and all, but I am still waiting on a few key herbs. I'll let you know what they are and I'll definitely let you know when I start.

Wow, even with a house full of in-laws I managed to go on for a bit. Well, read what you want. I'm gonna take a nap.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Day Four: Hemp Protein Powder

So, would you like to know why I put so many ingredients into my smoothie and what on earth for? In all honesty I'm just figuring out some of it myself. I like to jump first and think later - a strategy that keeps life exciting, to say the least. Fortunately I am married to a very practical man so I never jump too far (well, almost never).

I thought I would start with hemp protein powder being as it is so misaligned in the media and, as a result, in the minds of the American people. Hemp, often confused with marijuana, began its tragic downfall in the early 1930's. A few highly influential men with profit-driven motives embarked on a crusade to bring the mighty hemp plant to its roots. The plan - guilt by association. The result - one for big corporations, zero for the public and the planet.

Marijuana is a sub-species of hemp. The THC in marijuana is known for it's psychoactive properties. The THC in hemp is hardly known. But guilt by association prevailed and this amazing plant - capable of producing paper,textiles, fuel, oil, rope, plastics (to name just a few) - was outlawed.

Fortunately for us, although still illegal to grow, we have access to this incredible superfood. Hemp is considered by many researchers and doctors to be "one of the most nutritious food sources on the planet." (Super Foods, David Wolfe) Hemp is 35% protein, 47 % fat and 12 % carbohydrate. (But wait...don't freak out about the fat content. Hemp contains a type of fat that actually turns on the fat burning genes!). Hemp contains all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids in an extremely digestible and accessible form.

Hemp contains an ideal ratio of Omega 3's to Omega 6's. The fiber content is the highest of all commercially grown seeds! It is a major source of minerals, contains chloryphyll and valuable vitamins.

Hempseed can be eaten alone as a snack, sprinkled on foods or added to smoothies and dressings. I like it as a protein powder because it is easy to add to a variey of foods, particularly smoothies.

The recommended dosage for adults is 50-75 grams a day. I must say I don't find the flavor all that delectable so I prefer to throw it into something with a million other ingredients (like my smoothie) as opposed to popping a few seeds between meals. But to each her own... so I recommend that you experiment and see for yourself.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day Three: Super Green Smoothie

So I decided to go for it. But I realized in hindsight that although it is not a small step, it isn't really as big as I'd made it out to sound. For years I have been modifying my diet, slowly cutting back on foods that don't benefit me and adding more of those that do. Nonetheless, it is still a step. And today's journey began with a super green smoothie. I took a picture of all the ingredients that went in to the smoothie so you could see exactly how I began the day. I have posted the recipe below (I left the bee pollen out of the picture - by accident).

I recently bought one of those super dooper VitaMix blenders that can do just about anything but mow the lawn. It is in this blender that I make my morning smoothie. If you don't have a strong blender then you may want to cut up some of these ingredients into fine pieces so that they can blend well. If you do have one of these mixers, well then... have a blast.

Here's the recipe:

1 T. Maca powder
1 T. Hemp protein
1 T. ground flax seed
1 T. Cacao nibs
1 T. Raw Cacao powder
1 T. Inca berries
2 T. Goji berries
1 t. bee pollen
1/4 tsp. blue green algae
1/4 tsp. cordyceps mushrooms
1 T. coconut butter
1 banana
1 cup mixed berries
2 dates
1 small beet
1 small zucchini
3 kale leaves (without the stem)
1 chard leaf
1 small piece ginger
2 cups water

Throw it all in the blender and blend till smooth. You may need to add more water to thin it out.

As the days go on I will go into more detail about the ingredients so you can understand why I am throwing all these crazy ingredients into one drink. For now you can go to: www.elementsforlife if you want to learn about the dry ingredients.

In all honesty I felt great for much of the day but started to crash around dinner time. I don't know why that is but at this very moment I am definitely feeling tired and a little down. Granted my mother-in-law is visiting for the week, but apart from the fact that her hearing is going (so you have to yell everything), she is really a lovely woman. Don't think that would explain the mood swing.

As I'm tired I am going to leave things for now and fill you in more in the morning.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day Two: To be raw or not to be?

My package came today! My first ever package from Elements for Life. It is filled with all sorts of goodies - maca, cacao, marine phytoplankton, blue green algae, even chocolate!

So now the big question - with all of these incredible super foods, do I take the plunge? I mean if I am going to be filling my body with massive amounts of organic vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, minerals and more, does it make sense to add into the mix sugar, cooked meat and whole wheat flour breads? Or should I just go pure and really see what happens? Make my super smoothies, eat my veggie laden salads and just say goodbye to everything else?

I have always recommended slow and steady steps. I believe in the right to indulge. I don't favor deprivation and I don't thrive under strict regulations. And yet, I am so tempted to just jump right in and go for it. I want to know - how will I feel with so many powerful herbs, plants and berries in my body (and no crap to interfere)? Well, tomorrow may be the big day. I had a heavy meal today and all I can say is, uuggghhh. Feeling very full of food and not so full of energy.

Tune in tomorrow and find out what I decided.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day One: New Super Food Diet

The unexpected has arrived.

For years I have heard about, read about, listened to and watched the latest news on raw foods. Sure, it sounded like a good idea... for someone else. I love cooked food. I like meat. I adore bread. And until a few years ago dairy formed the bricks of my food pyramid. But, as Super Nutrient Gal and a leader in Integral Nourishment, I am always willing to try something new.

As I have gotten older, 38 years old in a few days, I have noticed my body responding differently to food. Too much meat leaves me feeling heavy. Gluten dims my sense of smell. Sugar wears me out and lowers my mood. I just cannot eat anything I want as much as I want. I don't think I ever could only now I no longer ignore the consequences. So when I first began learning about super foods I was intrigued.

Broccoli, onions, and kale. I knew those super foods. But here was a whole new list - maca, blue green algae, cacao, hemp and bee pollen to name a few. Foods that I'd laughed at before. Hippie food. New Age Nibbles. Not for me. Not that I'm not somewhat of a hippie but that's for another time. I preferred mainstream alternative - what the doctors with the latest research were reporting not the "health nuts" with the ponytails and the dangling crystals. But I couldn't ignore the facts.

People with heart, people with kindness, people with knowledge were reporting on the amazing effects of superfoods. And quite frankly, I wasn't getting the results I had hoped for with mainstream meals. Not for myself or my clients. Sure, they were happy but I knew there was more to be had - more possibility, more energy, more health. So I began my journey into the world of super foods.

And in all transparency I want to share that journey with you. I want to let you know what I am eating, how I feel, what I notice, what is hard, where I resist, what I embrace, and what I learn. In return, I would love to hear from you about your own journey into this world, your questions, your comments and anything else you would like to share.

I'm off to the farm to get my CSA (community supported agriculture) share with its abundance of veggies. Looking forward to incorporating them into my new lifestyle.