Sunday, February 28, 2010

Two weeks

Dinner tonight was just an improvised dish because I had a ripe avocado and wanted to do something a little more civilized than just eat it plain with a spoon.

Each serving:

1 large avocado - cleaned and chopped (leave the skin intact to use as bowls)
1/4 red onion, diced
handful of cilantro, chopped
1 baby portobella mushroom
Splash lemon or lime juice
salt & pepper


Saturday, February 27, 2010


Yesterday I was in a little bookshop in Searsport, ME doing some research for a client I'm advising. I got to talking with the owner about raw food.

"You know, Matthew Kenney's a Searsport boy." She said. She had signed copies of Everyday Raw and Raw Food, Real World (my 2 favorite raw cookbooks). I guess he comes into the bookstore from time to time. In such a small community as the raw foodies world, it's nice to have little run-ins like that.

Anyhow, I stocked up on produce and nuts again today. Oranges, coconut, avocado, fennel, peppers, grapes, strawberries, clementines, and a bunch of potted herbs for my kitchen windowsill.

Breakfast today was a few of the cacao/sunflower seed cookies I made the other day. They're all gone now. I'll definitely need to make a new batch tonight. My husband likes them as much as I do.

Lunch was Matthew Kenney's Avocado, orange and fennel salad (see picture). It's in Raw Food, Real World. Very simple, very goooooood!

Great raw day so far.

I'm also making progress in my yoga practice. I can hold my headstand for quite a few breaths now, and I'm working on a new challenge pose that has beefed up my biceps a LOT in the last 2 days alone. I'm far from achieving the balance and strength I need for the asana, but I am getting there.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

2 Recipes and a Rant

Alright. I've lost track of how many days this is, but I haven't lost track of my goals: lose the holiday weight gain, and be healthy, and energetic.

Sooooooo....I've decided that I don't want to be raw vegan... when I was raw last time around, I was raw VEGETARIAN. That's what feels good to me. I know Joe is probably shaking his head. "You're just addicted to cheese," he's saying. Joe, you may be right. I LOVE me some CHEESE!

I bought raw cheese at the Natural Living Center (the only thing that passes for a grocery store around here that I can handle). I think I spent $20 on cheese! I missed it. When I broke off a bit of Maine-made Amish colby, I thought, "Why did I miss this so much? It's not that great." But, it filled me up. Three bites filled me up! I thought for about 30 seconds about eating disorders, and I wondered if I eat raw for the wrong reasons...then, I got distracted. I DO have a 4-year-old, and she was in the car. So, after about 50 questions from her, I'd forgotten all about raw food, eating disorders, and everything except silence an sleep! I have lost 5 lbs of my 10 lb holiday gain, but I've done so while eating like a horse, so I doubt this is an eating disorder thing for me.

I'm coming out as a RAW VEGETARIAN! I love raw honey. I love raw cheese! I'm not going to apologize for it! :) I discovered FENNEL!

Why did I not know of this incredible plant? It tastes like licorice! Looooove it! I made a salad of purple cabbage, fennel, and cauliflower. YUM! I tried it with Asian dressing: NOT so good! I'd love some suggestions about dressings that complement fennel.

I'm also drying some crackers and cookies - both original recipes.


Flax meal
flax seed
taco seasoning
Sesame seeds
Nutritional yeast

I just did it all to taste, and then spread it out as smoothly and thinly as I could on the dehydrating sheet. I'll let you know how they come out!


5 dates
2 hands full of cranberries
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup soaked-and-dried buckwheat hulls
pinch of salt
2 tbsp cacao powder
agave or raw honey


Monday, February 22, 2010

Struggles, and a little victory, too.

The weekend was difficult. I had company from out of town visiting to work on a project that has been taking quite a lot out of me over the last six months. Add on top of that some rather complicated emotional history with the people involved, an you have a very tired, cranky me.

I held it together for the most part, I'm happy to say. I stayed raw through the entire working weekend, even though it was a bit of an inconvenience to my guest. Looking back, I wish I'd been less stringent. Some things are more important than being 100% anal. Anyway, I did fine UNTIL, I went to take my 4-year-old to dinner to reconnect with her after my working weekend.

She wanted pizza. I ate it.

I thought of my ten followers, who I don't know, but feel obligated to. I thought about not telling you, but that's just not my way. I caved. I told myself it was for my little girl, but it was really because I was tired and emotionally drained, and I just wanted cheese.

Please, please, please! Anyone have a recipe that REALLY tastes like cheese? Nutritional yeast doesn't do it, really. Cheese and butter are the things I'm longing for. It's the salty, fatty, subtle comfort of those two that I'm after. I'm going to try to make sunflower cheese tomorrow if I have time.

Tonight, I made a gorgeous fruit salad with strawberries, grapes, and squeezed lemon juice over it. I tried adding mint leaves- not so good.

Now, I'm snacking on an Asian salad of purple cabbage, blood orange, bok choy, shredded carrots, and a dressing of white wine vinegar, soy sauce, and oil. Mmmmm....

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pineapple Strawberry Sorbet

So easy. So good.

Equal parts strawberries and pineapple
Agave nectar
pinch of salt
coconut butter

I really don't remember how much of each I used. Maybe 2 cups of each fruit and 1/2 cup coconut butter?

Blend in a food processor until VERY smooth. 5 minutes, give or take?


OOOOOH! So good!
I'll try to get a picture up tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 5 - Good, but getting boring...

I tend to be the person who says what you're not supposed to say. On the other hand, the thing you're not supposed to say is usually the thing that everyone is thinking.

So, here I go again: I feel deprived! I want cheese! I want Turkey! AAAAAARGH!!!!!

I guess I'm learning about sacrifice. It's one of those ugly things that adulthood has to offer. Sacrifice leads to benefit. No pain, no gain. Yeah, yeah. I want fat and salt in a serious way right now.
Five days 100% raw vegan. My energy level is great. I've lost 5 pounds while eating like a horse, and all I can think about is cheeseburgers and salt. I don't even LIKE meat! So, what's up?

Cacao has completely removed my craving for coffee. Amen for that! What about this fat craving? I'm scarfing down dates and almonds while I type...but what can I do to replace the satisfaction of cheese? That simple, comforting, milky goodness...If you have suggestions, I'm all ears!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 3 - Pain!

My taste buds are already changing. Sipping my hot cacao, I can taste the alcohol in the vanilla extract. This is good. Soon, I'll be smelling more and enjoying more of the natural flavors of foods. That means I won't have to make as many gourmet meals to feel satisfied. I'll be able to enjoy a tomato without having to 'spice it up'. Not there yet, but it's happening quicker this time.

Today, after a lunch of spinach and mushroom salad, I was in PAIN! Inexplicable, fist-clenching, mind-numbing, curl-up-and-rock-back-and-forth-in-a-ball kind of pain. WHAT is WRONG with me? I don't know what the culprit was. Maybe all the nuts I'm eating now? LOTS of nuts all of a sudden. ~sigh~ It was not fun. The storm is over for the moment, so I journey on...

Warm cacao really makes me smile. Maybe it will help me stay up to finish my grant research tonight, too!

Three days down. Thanks for doing this with me.

Found a Cure for Coffee!

...or, a good replacement, anyway.

Hot Cacao

In a mug, mix
1tbsp Cacao Powder
Splash of vanilla extract (I bet it would be even better with a bit of ground vanilla bean!)
1tsp Agave nectar

Pour hot (but not boiling) water over and....aaaaah! Satisfaction.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Raw Chili - improvised and VERY spicy!

1 head cauliflower, chopped
3 pearl onions, chopped
1/2 cup cashews, soaked
handful of sundried tomatoes, soaked
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp curry powder
2 tbsp chilli powder
garlic, salt, pepper, basil and celery salt (to taste)

Blend in a food processor until it is a chunky mix.

Serve with raw crackers, or use as a vegetable dip.

Day 2 - Getting better

Today was a great raw day!!!

Last night, I set out some cashews, wheat, brown rice and sprout seeds to soak (separately, of course!). Always be prepared! Before I went to bed, I also mixed up a granola and put it in the dehydrator so I'd have breakfast ready when I woke up.

Grapefruit juice and granola instead of coffee for breakfast was different, but gooooood.

The thing that struck me today was that I'd forgotten how MUCH I have to eat when I eat all raw foods. It makes sense. It's pure fuel, and it burns fast. Still, I had a bowl full of granola (the equivalent of about 4 granola bars) and a couple of clementines, and a banana and a small pot of tea all for breakfast. That's a lot for me.

My energy level today was really even-keeled. No big ups and downs. Lunch was leftover raw chili. I will post my recipe, but I don't think it's as good as the raw chili in Matthew Kenney's Every Day Raw cookbook. I just didn't have all the ingredients on hand, so I improvised, and got a pretty good result.

My goal with my food now is that it be 1) quick to make, and 2) delicious, so I don't get bored.

Dinner was the beet raviolis from Raw Food, Real World. A picture of mine is above. Great cookbook, great dish!

Still, I was drooling over the strawberry yogurt that my daughter ate, and I found it hard to resist a cheese stick. There's something about the salt and fat and sugar in those foods that is like crack for my tongue. That's why I have to make really tasty raw food. If I feel deprived, I'll cave.

Anyway, it was a great day in food, a great day in yoga, and a great day with my family. I have granola on-hand for breakfast tomorrow, but the real test will be my work day tomorrow. I'll be spending the day doing research in the university library, and I can already hear the coffee in the faculty club calling my name!

Anyone have a good raw replacement for the warm, creamy comfort of coffee? I'm all ears!



(amounts vary by preference. I'll simply list ingredients)

sesame seeds
poppy seeds
dried cranberries
pich of salt
agave nectar

mix, dry overnight, and enjoy!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day 1 - Struggle!

It started well enough. I had some leftover cherry strawberry cheesecake and raw chili to get me through the day, but it went downhill once I left the house.

The biggest problem I've found with eating raw is that it is so FREAKING hard to find unprocessed foods on the go. We were all ready for a great night of contra dancing. We had our water bottles filled, and our dancing shoes on! We dropped our daughter off at her friend's house, and I was HUNGRY! Where to get something suitable on a moment's notice in a small town? The grocery store salad bar!

Closed down for the night. At 9pm! I looked around the produce section, my blood sugar levels making me cranky and impatient, I didn't WANT a banana or a bag of carrots. I wanted something hearty...and, so I caved. Sorry, all! This first week is bound to be rough, because I want foods that taste like cooked foods still...I remember last year when my taste buds really changed and became much more sensitive from my diet. I am not yet there...

I settled for nori rolls with raw avocado, carrots and cucumber - the only cooked part was the brown rice. I kicked myself a bit, but then remembered this is not about being strict, it's about being healthy. Fueled up, we went out for some Valentine's folk dancing!

Still - I saw an urgent need to have raw foods on hand. When I got home, as my husband was settling our little one into bed, I mixed up a granola mix and put it in the dehydrator for my breakfast tomorrow. This is my favorite gRAWnola recipe so far from all of my kitchen experiments.

Sweet & Spicy Curry Salad

This is a raw spinoff of a salad I had at Starbucks. This recipe will serve 4.

In a blender, mix:

2 bananas
1 tbsp Cumin
1 tbsp Curry Powder
1/2 tbsp Cajun seasoning or Chilli powder
1 tbsp agave nectar
dash of salt
Pinch of Basil
Splash of lemon juice
small amount of water - to help it blend.

Blend until it makes a smooth, thick dressing.

In a large mixing bowl, combine:

4 apples Chopped into bite-sized chunks
2 large carrots, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped

Drizzle the dressing over the salad mixture, and toss until there is a thin layer of the dressing over everything.
Serve on a bed of kale, chard, or spinach, and top with:

walnuts or pecans, chopped

Black Cherry and Strawberry 'Cheese'cake


3-5 Medjooll dates, pitted & chopped (or any other fairly sticky kind)
1 1/2 cups raw almonds
Pinch of salt
Blend in a blender or food processor until it is a crumbly mix, then press it into the sides and bottom of a pie pan.


In a high-speed blender, mix:

1 cup black cherry juice
2 cups strawberries
1 cup soaked cashews (soaked in warm water at least 2 hours, then strained)
3/4 cup coconut butter
dash of salt
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 tbsp cinnamon
Splash of lemon juice

Blend until the mixture is VERY smooth

Pour into the pie pan, and chill in the refrigerator 4 hours or overnight.

Why me? Why raw? Why now?

The Short Answer? I have no alternative.

The fact is, I don't know what else to do. After years of suffering with fatigue and IBS (fancy technical term for, "We don't know WHY you have debilitating pain after almost every meal."), I decided to use my extremist personality to my benefit, for once. Salad and fruits were the only things that DIDN'T force me into the fetal position after eating, so it couldn't hurt, right?

I'd give it a week.

In that week, my energy level and mood went through the roof! I had no pain after meals anymore. My meat-loving husband's response was, "Please, stay raw!" Admittedly, some of that energy and joy was just the newness and the creativity of it. Some was because I crave beauty in everything, and raw fruits and vegetables are so vibrantly colorful, they make me smile. Some was the food itself.

It's now been 18 months. I was 100% raw for nearly 8 months, and then I slowly incorporated more cooked vegan and vegetarian food back into my life. Why? Convenience. As a mother, a wife, and a graduate student with two assistantship positions to juggle, I found myself buying frozen foods in bulk to cut down my time in the kitchen! Now, I'm paying the price. Since doing that, I've regained 10 of the 25 pounds I lost, and yes, I am tired again. So. Very. Tired.

And so, I am resolved to resume my raw food lifestyle, continue my yoga practice, and keep a public journal of my journey. My immediate challenge: Eat 100% raw vegan until my 33rd birthday on April 6th. 53 days, Including today. I've done it before. I can do it again!

This time, my life is more complicated, so I need to:
  • Find simple, quick recipes that I can make in large amounts and take to class and my office for lunch on weekdays.

  • Spend less $!!! We took a huge pay cut by both enrolling in graduate school at the same time. Good foods on a smaller budget!

  • Meld my diet with my family's diet - I no longer have time to prepare 2 separate meals every night.

NOTE TO READERS - The raw food world is full of gurus, factions, and eating disorders, as well as some great people who want to be healthy, happy, and lower their impact on the planet.
I am NOT interested in: PRODUCTS, fad diets, mono eating, juice diets, raw-food retreats and 'teachers', arguing about philosophy, religion or anything of the kind. Posts of a dogmatic or contentious nature WILL BE DENIED. This is a place for me to share my thoughts, recipes, struggles and victories as I try to cultivate a strong, healthy body. PLEASE, share your thoughts and your encouragement, but let's keep preaching out of it.