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: 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:

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:

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

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.


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.