Sunday, October 31, 2010

Change is Brewing

I am still here. :)  Barely sometimes, but I am still here.  Here's where my mind has been lately. 

The more time that passes from the initial shock of getting the not-so-great news this past spring regarding the progression of the MS the less freaked out I am about it and the less compelled I feel to be so drastic with my health.


I need to find my new normal.  What does the raw vegan lifestyle look like when I'm not so scared?  What are my REAL motivators for change?  How much do I truly care about  my overall health?  How seriously am I going to take this?  I have worked REALLY hard these past four+ months to get to where I'm at now and I refuse to sabotage myself. 

I have truly meant every word I have written on this blog and my intent in creating this blog was to document my journey and to be able to share with others the wonderful benefits of this lifestyle.  My own writing has been helpful to me lately because I have been able to go back and re-read what I have written and what I have gone through.  It has served as a reminder and as encouragement for me during this particular time.

I feel like I am in the midst of a time of change (again!) and I don't believe that change is headed back towards the SAD lifestyle. Instead, I am trying to define what being raw vegan means in my daily life.  I think anyone can do anything for a period of time, but what does it REALLY take to make a true lifestyle change?  I'm not quite sure yet.  But I am bound and determined to find out. 

I would love to hear any of your experiences in trying to implement a massive change in your lifestyle, in any area!  I can use all the help I can get!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Orange Juice and The Point is Love

This past weekend I finally used the Champion Juicer that Val had so kindly given to me and that been going unused in her home (thanks again Val!).  I made orange juice!  I bought a whole bag of them with this exact intention.  I'm so glad I did!  If you have a juicer, I highly recommend juicing your own oranges instead of buying the premade stuff.  It's better for you because it's literally and completely natural and oh so very fresh.  I used three (on the small side) oranges to make 8 oz. of orange juice.

This next part is written by my friend Laura.  She is a beautiful writer and I have loved reading her thoughts over the years.  You'll see that she definitely has a way with words.  I couldn't resist sharing her thoughts on my blog as I see it as very applicable to the journey that I am on.  I hope her writing tugs at your heart as well.
I had a recent conversation that has been on my mind. I met a man who is a personal trainer and we were discussing health and nutrition. Since the summer I have been gradually changing the way I am eating to a more organic and whole food lifestyle. I have mostly given up wheat, sugar, caffeine and dairy. Along with that I have been learning to tell myself “no” and be more disciplined. I used to make a weekly exception for my decaf, extra-hot, non-fat, no whip, vanilla mocha, but then a dear friend encouraged me to step things up a notch. Now it is decaf americanos, which are fabulous by the way!

As I was talking with this man he explained the way he teaches his clients about nutrition. He asked if I like dogs. He explained that if I were to get a dog I would research, or talk to people and find out what the best food was to feed the dog. The dog does not care. It would happily eat bacon fat all day long but you love your dog and you give it the best food you can because that is what it needs in order to be healthy and live a long life with you. Then he said you should at least love yourself as much as you love your dog. It is not about discipline, it is about love. You do not restrict the dog from eating bacon fat because you are trying to discipline the dog for doing something wrong, or because you want to punish the dog. You don’t give the dog pans of bacon fat because you love the dog and it would cause harm. Likewise, I need to feed my body healthy food because it is what is best for my body, not because I am being disciplined or restrictive. I should avoid bad food because it causes me harm and shortens my life, not because I am being punished. The different perspective was mind blowing.

I then thought about the love of God. He does not ask me to live a restrictive life, He asks me to live a life that will be good for me. He loves me and does not desire to see me harmed. Left to my own devices I am quite content to sit down on the floor with my pan of bacon fat and eat away at it until my arteries are plugged because it tastes good. Why should I stop? I need direction to help me know that I am hurting myself by eating the wrong things. That is why God provides instruction. It is not about a list of things that I cannot do, it is about things that will break my heart, shorten my life, cause financial ruin and chain me down in addiction. It is out of love for myself and my God that I should enjoy the bounty he has provided me rather than indulging in things that might taste good but would be unloving to pursue because they will make my life worse. Be it nutrition, exercise, relationships, recreational activities, everything, it is not about disciplining myself but rather about loving myself. It is not restriction but enjoyment of things that make my life better. The point is Love.

Monday, October 11, 2010

October RAW Food Meetup Group

This month's RAW Food Meetup Group photos!

Massaged Kale Salad:

Romaine lettuce boats with guacamole and brazilian nut 'sour cream':

Can't remember the official name, but it was similar to mexican rice, although it was actually made from cabbage:

 Here's my dinner, part 1:

Here's my dinner, part 2.  At the top of the plate is a fresh tasting cauliflower salad with fresh herbs.  At the bottom of the plate is an amazing raw carrot cake...with raw frosting! - talk about delicious and perfect for my sweet tooth!!

New friends!  Me, Cindy, Mary and Jan.  Cindy made the awesome carrot cake!  I spent most of the evening talking with Mary and Jan, two amazing women who so willingly pour themselves into people like me who are trying to suck every bit of knowledge out of them!  I love hearing their stories and experiences.

Rawcipe: Massaged Kale Salad with Apple and Dates

I made this salad yesterday and brought it to my raw group.

Daily Unadventures in Cooking Blog

Massaged Kale Salad with Apple and Dates

*This served much more than 2 especially since there was other food served with it.  It makes quite a large bowl full of salad.

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 apple
  • 2 medjool dates *I used 4 dates
  • 1 teaspoon splash olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • pepper
Wash the kale and spin or pat it dry. Remove the stems and discard. Chop the kale into thin strips about 1/4-1/2″ long and put in a bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and massage with your hands for 1-2 minutes. The kale should start to release a green liquid. Allow to sit for a few minutes while you prep the other ingredients.

Wash the apple and chop it into thin slices. Remove the seeds from the dates and cut into quarters lengthwise. Chop pieces into 1/4″ bite size morsels. *I cut the dates in half and then thinly sliced them to get more 'bank for my buck'.

Using a paper towel squeeze any excess liquid out of kale and transfer to a salad bowl, toss with apple and dates, drizzle with oil and vinegar and season with pepper. Taste and correct with acid, salt and pepper.

  • I have never had a kale salad before b/c I've been afraid of it.  I put it in my green smoothies b/c then it's like a hidden ingredient.  Kale was intimidating to me b/c it can be tough to chew raw (meaning you could chew it forever), but that's the point of massaging it with salt - to loosen it up.  It also can be kind of bitter tasting.  I didn't find any difficulty in trying to chew it in this salad.  Success!
  • The apple cider vinegar is a bit much for me, but it does work well with the ingredients in this salad.  Next time I think I would just use less of it and use a bit more olive oil.
  • The apples and dates help give this salad some sweetness to offset the kale.
  • I'm no longer afraid of kale.  I would definitely make this again!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Random Updates

I have found that being around others lately has been a very good system for being held accountable in this new lifestyle.  I have found my mind wandering to rationalizations and possibilities of how I could deviate without feeling like a total loser.  That's not really a good sign, so I'm trying to nip that in the bud.  And I remind myself that I don't really want to do that.  I wonder why living a healthier lifestyle is so difficult.  Why do I desire to do things that I know are not good for me?  Well, obviously from a simplistic approach, food tastes good - especially goodies that aren't really all that good for you. 

I have truly grown to appreciate the simple, yet abundant flavors found in fruits and vegetables alone, yet the call of deep fried food and super sugary treats whisper my name.  Every day for 15 weeks now, between 3 to 6+ times a day I choose to ignore those whispers and have reaped the benefits of staying the course.  Like I've mentioned, I definitely haven't been perfect, but that is okay.  This is also a growth area for me as I expect perfection from myself and it has been hard to be okay with being less than what I want to be.

On a separate note:

For the next two weeks I'll be tracking every piece of food that I eat and then I will meet with Dr. Nutrition to review it.  I have found myself getting a bit more anxious about making sure I'm doing all of this in a healthy, good way.  I am concerned that I'm not doing it right. :(  I'm not exactly sure where this is coming from.  I just really don't want to do my body harm.  Dr. Nutrition keeps assuring me that I'm doing well, but we'll see what he says when he has actual data to base his opinion on instead of just my word.

Detox update:

I continue on my detox and haven't noticed any radical changes.  I think had I been on a SAD diet I would have noticed lots of changes (probably very similar to what I went through when I switched over to raw vegan).  I still feel good about deciding to do it even though I'm not experiencing 'fireworks' as I know that it is cleansing. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Birthday Dinner for Friends

Just over a week ago I had the joy of celebrating two of my girlfriends' Birthdays.  One Birthday girl, Ann, hosted and made a delicious meal for us.  She wanted to make a meal that I could easily eat.  It was amazing!  Simple, yet much more fancy than what I eat on a day-to-day basis.  For now, here are pictures and eventually I plan on recreating these and will post the recipes.

Dinner was a Tropical Salad that had romaine lettuce, mango, green and yellow peppers, cucumbers and macadamia nuts:

The dressing was raw also and some of the ingredients were lime juice, cilantro, cayenne pepper, olive oil and dill.  May sound weird, but it complemented the salad perfectly!

Here's the second Birthday girl Missi enjoying her dinner:

Then it was dessert time!  Here's Ann eating the leftover batter for Raw Chocolate Cookies. Some of the ingredients were cacao powder, peanut butter, agave syrup, vanilla and sea salt then dipped in almonds.  Can you say HEAVEN?!

We all ate the batter while we waited for the cookies to harden in the freezer.  I ended up taking some finished cookies home and stuck them in the freezer because the next day I started my detox and peanuts and peanut butter aren't allowed. :(  So they're waiting for me...

Amazing friends!