Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Aw, Nuts! (Day 16)

Dear Diary,

Last night I made the most beautiful gourmet dinner my kitchen has ever seen (shhh...I know that's not saying much, but it's my turn to talk so be quiet and let me gloat a little)....anyway, as I was saying, I made this amazing meal.  I followed Maggie's recipe for "Weekend Raw Tacos" (see Naked Recipes) and they were gorgeous - and so yummy!

I let the girls eat the fillings in corn taco shells (organic from Trader Joe's), knowing I have to be grateful for the baby steps we're taking here.  My oldest just had a turkey sandwich (on whole wheat).  Even before we turned his world upside down and redefined the meaning of "comfort food," tacos (and anything mexican) got to be his No-Thank-You food...in some strange irony, my son (MY son) hates mexican food (weird).  But even he tried a few bites.

So, all the "big" kids tried Raw Tacos.  And all three kept asking for more "crunchies" throughout the meal.  Please note:  I have chosen to focus more on the fact that the kids were chowing down tons of Romaine lettuce than on the fact that they didn't even know what lettuce was called.  ("Crunchies?" Eek!)

I had intended to make Jicama "Spanish Rice" as a side-dish but seeing as I'd already had the jicama porridge for breakfast, I thought it would be better to expose my body to some nutrients found in another vegetable.  So...I decided to make black bean soup.  I had a recipe in my files that I'd never tried before and it was vegetarian and healthy, so why not?  I even soaked the dried beans (instead of using canned the recipe called for).  Pretty impressive, right?  (See, I was feeling very proud of myself.)

Until...until...until...it dawned on me (about halfway through enjoying my dinner) that beans are not vegetables.  They are legumes.  I can't combine legumes with nuts (and those tacos are chockfull of nuts!).  Oh, no, the dreaded miscombine.  How did I do that?!

Nuts.  Nuts.  Nuts.  I blew it.  While the perfectionist in me wants to weep, I'm keeping Natalia's advice in mind:

"Don’t let the hard-core rules of eating mono-meals and keeping different fruit categories separate discourage you. These rules are not important at this stage. Focus on enjoying your meals and improving your food choices."

Enjoying my meals?  Check.  Improving food choices?  Check again.  Okay, not too shabby.  In addition to the obvious nutritional know-how, it seems this experiment is teaching me something else, self-forgiveness.  If I'm going to try to make a huge change and establish a whole new normal - and then report my progress in a very public confessional - I'm just going to have to be okay with goofing up.  A lot.

Tomorrow, maybe I should go back to the Detox Transition Menu and let Natalia hold my hand so I don't have to think too much.  Or maybe not...this experimenting with real food has gotten so darn fun!

That's all for now.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cuckoo for Coconuts (Day 15)...

Dear Diary,

I love coconut! One of my favorite ‘treats’ are those Coconut Bliss Bars, especially on a hot summer day; which is about 85% of the time.  I know, I know…
My favorite Larabars are the Coconut Cream Pie and I cannot go more than a day or so without my Coconut water fix. I swear my son was weaned on the stuff, and still begs for a Zico whenever he’s see it! Maybe I really am going cuckoo?...
But NOTHING compares to my new found love for young coconuts. My husband literally climbed a 30 ft Coconut tree the other day and gathered about 20 beautiful coconuts that we’ve been devouring daily. I know, I know…
So, needless to say many of our recipes this week have included young coconuts. Besides drinking the juice/water from the nuts (with a straw) we’ve been hacking them open, scooping out the ‘meat’ and creating everything from “noodles” to macaroons. Yes, I said macaroons. My new personal favorite is the Chocolate Coconut (and honey) Macaroons we made the other night. Yep, just three ingredients, that’s all. They were to-die-for. The key to the recipe was “juicing” the coconut ‘meat’ and using the juice and pulp! I will be sure to post the Naked Recipe soon.
I must say that it’s one of those times that I feel very blessed and extremely lucky to live on the island of Maui. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day chaos of this so-called life and forget that I do live in paradise. I literally survive on Avocados (from our own backyard) and now coconuts from great many great heights. I imagine its not so easy to source good coconuts on the mainland (in wintertime), but its worth the search. Once you get ‘comfortable’ buying coconuts (whole, halved, or in pieces) you discover a whole new world of culinary delights as well as health benefits. Although buyers and gatherers beware; you never want to indulge in “milky” coconut water or ‘meat’ as it is a natural laxative! No further explanations need apply.
*Refer to Page 100 in Raw Food Detox Diet book for “How to Open a Young Coconut”
Truly, Madly, Deeply,
Coockoo for Coconuts!!!

Calling All Nutrition Peeps!!!!

It seems everywhere I turn there is another person talking "Raw" or "Paleo" or "Detox" and it's so exciting.  I am so grateful to my sister, Maggie, for initiating this whole experiment and for my beloved Aunt Deborah for her willingness eagerness to join in this endeavor with us.

Moreover, I am grateful for YOU!  It's gratifying to think that I have paid it forward, gotten other people interested in this 80/20 Raw experiment.  And it's comforting to know you are out there doing this with me.  It encourages me to stay on track.

There's something about knowing I am not alone that makes this all seem more feasible, even when it's new and scary, and - if I'm really being honest - when I have moments when I ask myself: Is it all worth it?  It's in those moments when I'm especially glad for my community.

After chatting at a party recently my friend, Theresa, emailed me a note saying she is glad to know she is no longer "the only mom packing spelt bread in her kids' lunches."  Then she taught me a couple things: 1. Never let the kids see how much green stuff you're juicing into their glasses, and 2. Give the juices cool names like "Katy Pear-y" and "Jumping Juice for Energy" and they'll be more likely to drink them.

Just last night, my friend Emily told me she started this whole Raw Detox thing after reading about it on my blog and that reading The Naked Diary keeps her going - little does she know how much her perseverance and sense of humor (she was so hungry on Day Two she wanted to eat her arm and could barely refrain from grabbing one of the Dino-shaped chicken nuggets off her daughter's plate at dinner) in turn help me through the rough spots in my busy week.

Sara and Sarah are always giving me good advice on books to read, classes to take, shops to check out and recipes to try.

Elizabeth always has a way of saying exactly the right words to give me perspective and make me feel calm and in control, even when things seem super stressful.

These are the women who inspire me and who make me feel not so crazy and alone as I'm trying to establish a New Normal.  Wouldn't it be cool if they inspired you too?  Wouldn't it be fun if we made this blog a little more interactive and shared these thoughts and ideas, complaints and proud moments with one another?  I really think it would.

So...I'd like to encourage you to please leave a comment.  Post a recipe.  Ask a question.  I'm really trying to work on the "design" portion of this website to make it more user friendly (not my strong suit) but don't let that stop you from joining in now.  Another thought...Guest Blogger Sunday?  Would anyone else like to write about their experience and put it out for the world to see?

In whatever way, please stay connected.  I need you!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fresh and Alive (Day 13)

Dear Diary,

I don't much care for soy sauce. Surely the result of dousing my chop suey in that salty black liquid as I was growing up. It's just a bit too strong for my taste. So, no doubt I was skeptical when Maggie suggested I get Nama Shoyu. I live quite nicely without it, thank you very much, and it's not like it has any real nutritional benefits, right? I mean, not putting soy sauce on my food isn't like not eating broccoli. Nevertheless, Maggie said I had to try it, so off I went, in search of this mystery sauce.

My favorite grocery store didn't stock it. My not-so-favorite store didn't seem to know what I was talking about either. I couldn't even find it on the shelves at Whole Foods, that is until I asked. It must not be a big seller 'cause it was way down on the bottom shelf. (The fact that a 10 oz. bottle of the stuff will set you back ten bucks might have something to do with that, too.)

I came home and unpacked my groceries. What in the world made this stuff so special? I looked over the label and found the words 'Unpasturized. Fresh and Alive' and 'Traditionally aged in cedarwood kegs through 2 summers'. As I made my spinach avocado wrap, I added it to my bowl of already-marinating mushrooms. It popped when I opened it, like a bottle of soda. And I noticed as I put it away in the door of the refrigerator, that there were bubbles at the top, like a bottle of Guinness. What kind of magic is this elixir?

I sat down to eat my wrap and, I'm not sure if I even really tasted the soy sauce, (which may not be such a bad thing since I think I don't much care for the stuff.) I thought about what I was eating. I could see the cedarwood kegs, and the dark brown liquid 'living' inside the kegs though the long, warm summers. I thought about the word 'alive'. I considered the concept of eating living food and how my spinach was alive and the grain in my wrap was alive. I imagined a person eating a steak and saying he'd prefer his food not be alive - and laughing at his own joke, but I think I want to eat food that is still alive and full of living enzymes. Living food for living beings, doesn't that make sense?

Who knew there could be so much wisdom in a bottle of soy sauce ...

That's all for now,

Friday, January 27, 2012

Too Much to Fast (Day 12)

Dear Diary,

I lied to you.  Or maybe just led you on.  So sorry but I have to renege.  I'm not going to do the juice fast after all.  Not now.  Shawn talked me out of it.  See, I have this tendency to take things to extremes.  As soon as things start to go well (and for us, adjusting to this new lifestyle, it's only been a few days that life has resumed some sense of calm), I decide I need to up the ante.  And why?  The challenge of it?  That's silly.  From Shawn's perspective, I'm a nursing mother, taking care of a family of six, and we're just getting into a groove, why do I have to go and mess with it?  Besides, he knows he'll possibly be dealing with a stressed-out crabby wife.  I am not willing to forego the whole idea, just shelf it for now.  Let's start with this 30-day project and go from there.

As for the new us, things are going swimmingly.  For Shawn and me, I made the Raw Pad Thai last night, with soba noodles instead of coconut strips (recipe posted by Maggie).  It was TO DIE FOR!  Seriously, one of the best dinners I've ever eaten - much less made myself.  And speaking of making dinner myself, for the kids I roasted a whole organic chicken and served it simply with corn on the cob and sweet potatoes (allowing them to slather on as much organic butter and sea salt as they wished).  It was a huge hit!  Then, I took the leftover chicken, corn, carrots and celery and made it into chicken noodle soup.  Seriously.  I really did.  I know, just a few weeks ago you'd hear me shouting, "Do you want Dora or Princess soup tonight?" as I peeled open the can of Campbell's.

Really, I could just weep I'm so proud of how well my family's adjusted to our new normal.  Shawn is still not snoring.  Amazing!!!  He's probably lost five pounds - and seemingly five years - in two weeks.  He's energized and positive and motivated... and even encourages me to stay on track.  And the kids.  Remember when I tried to use the recipes in that Deceptively Delicious cookbook (Jessica Seinfeld) in order to get them to try SOMETHING green?  I hid spinach under the red sauce on pizza and served it up, only to have my daughter spit it into her napkin while yelling accusingly, "Hey!  There's salad on this pizza!"  Well, that same little spitfire just helped me stuff my blender with fresh pineapple, fistfuls of spinach, banana and coconut water...then sucked down the green concoction with gusto.

So...I'm going to leave well enough alone.  I'm going to let us keep enjoying our new normal before I rock the boat with a juice fast or any other major change.  Besides, I just committed to running the marathon this fall so that should give me my "up the ante" fix for a while.

TGIF!  Hmmm...maybe I'll try making some of my own raw snacks from my new cookbook, Raw Energy, this weekend.  I'll let you know!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

KALE Caesar!!! (Day 11)

Dear Diary, 

I love to ‘entertain’ and have dinner parties… I simply love food (and wine). I guess that’s why I never (ever) thought I could go raw (even just 80/20). Much less did I think I would actually have a Raw Dinner Party, and ENJOY making the food. But, here I am making a menu all while soaking, chopping, shredding, and juicing. My son is taking an epic nap, thank goodness, because I just made a disaster out of my kitchen (and I still have to clean-up and preferably take a shower since I haven’t since Yoga this morning. Yuck! Priorities, right?! And NO Becky, I am not making a Video Blog capturing the catastrophe. 

The Menu:
Appetizer: Sunshine Joy Soup
Salad: Raw Kale ‘Caesar’
Main: Raw Zucchini ‘Pasta’ w/ Tomato ‘Sauce’
Side: Beet ‘Proscuitto’
Desert: Nutty Chocolate Mousse w/ coconut

Dinner was a huge success! When/where I would normally be in a food-coma, and sinking deeper onto my pillow; I am slowly sipping Madagascar Vanilla Tea (with a slight wine buzz) blogging about tonight’s triumphant feast. The Sunshine Joy soup was a highlight along with the Beet ‘Proscuitto’ and Kale Caesar. I could have eliminated the Raw Zucchini ‘Pasta’ w/ Tomato ‘Sauce’ as my ‘noodles’ turned out more like ‘slaw’ and I got a little too creative with the sauce (adding way too many spices, aka ‘curry’… Is that possible?) Anyways, the Nutty Chocolate Mousse w/ coconut was delicious as well; but didn’t compare to the simple Chocolate Mousse from a few days prior. Oh wait, are we supposed to be ‘detoxing’ or something? This is way too much fun and seriously too indulgent!
Furthermore, I never (ever) thought I could go RAW! I mean I married a Dutch man, therefore basically thought I would forever be eating cheese for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But I honestly haven’t missed it. Tonight I added a little Raw Sheep Cheese to the Kale Caesar, but it didn’t need it.
More importantly, I never (ever) thought I could give up my a.m. (or afternoon) caffeine. But seriously, after my Green Lemonade, I don’t even want coffee. I still ‘treat’ myself to an afternoon cappuccino, mainly out of habit, I think? It’s truly amazing what we can accomplish when we really set out to make a change within ourselves. I started on this little experiment as a way to support/encourage two incredible women if my life to make a similar life-change as I had previously started. I am daily being inspired and supported by them in return; and passing it along, one dinner party at a time. It’s a beautiful thing!!! 

Yours Truly,

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Juicer Crush (Day 10)

Dear Diary,

This has been a banner week. I had a great trip, I feel fantastic, aaand ... I bought a new juicer. Yep, after nine days juicing with my little Hamilton Beach, I am now the happy owner of a beautiful, sparkling white Jack Lalanne Power Juicer. *crush*  Wow, do I love this juicer. I couldn't even wait until this morning and juiced up some veggies after dinner last night. This little machine is amazing! It's so quiet - and how nice is that at six-thirty in the morning? The other thing I notice is that the pulp is really dry and not the sloppy mess with which my other juicer left me. Less juice in the pulp and more in my glass seems like a smart thing, right? Oh, and there's no foam in my glass. I kept running across this when reading juicer reviews and I didn't understand the big deal about foam filters, but I sure get it now. This is just so much better in so many ways. I love my new juicer!

Now, about my trip, what a fun adventure! And I think I did pretty well. I ate lots of fresh fruit and raw vegetables and a little bit of fish. I had a couple of Lara Bars and I never 'miscombined'. I drank lots of water and got a good night's sleep and enjoyed myself like crazy. Being prepared went a long way in helping me make good choices and honestly, I didn't feel like I was eating differently than everyone else. It was so not a big deal. I came home with a duesy of a cold and just layed low the next day, but with lots of rest and juicing, I was feeling better before bedtime. Pretty fast recovery time - even for me!

I could hardly wait to juice that first morning after I got back. I fired up the juicer and had a tall Green Lemonade followed by a carrot/ginger/grapefruit. Wow, was that ever delicious! (Truthfully, it was apple/pear/carrot/ginger/grapefruit and I now know to remove at least some of the grapefruit peel before juicing. All that peeling made it a little bitter, but for all the benefits, I happily drank it.)

I also tried something else this week, which was really good. Into the blender, I added the following:
1 frozen banana
three or four frozen mango chunks
a huge handful of fresh spinach leaves
about three-quarters cup of cold water
spoonful of raw honey
Then, I blended the daylights out of it and it was really good! 

When I told my friend, Brooke, about it, she shared this combination with me:
1 frozen banana
frozen peach slices
fresh kale
coconut water 
Doesn't that sound delicious, too?

I'm feeling much more confident about being able to travel and stay on track. Clearly, preparation is key at this stage, but I also think a part of the easiness about this is that I really don't feel hungry or get light-headed or crabby when meals are delayed, which actually makes every day easier, not just travel days. My energy stays up and I just feel really good. I'm eating so much less, but feeling so much better. 

Now, back to Craig's List to sell a juicer.

More later.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Think Fast! (Day 9)

Dear Diary,

So I've been thinking about doing a fast.  Natalia Rose suggests that six months postpartum is an ideal time to do a juice fast if you have ten or more post-baby pounds to lose.  I don't own a scale but the fact that I could zip up my pre-pregnancy jeans for date night Saturday (even if it was a little uncomfortable actually sitting in them) suggests that I probably have less than ten to go.  That said, I still kind of want to do it.

I've done my fair share of trendy diets over the years and none of them worked.  It was only when I tried the...drum roll please...this is earth shattering...the...the...the...eat less, exercise more approach that - ta-dah! - I actually got in shape.  So, I've been there done that.  Tried this.  Failed.  Tried that.  Failed again.  I have no interest in this "diet" as a quick fix weight loss technique, I am only interested in pursuing it as a lifestyle change.  A new normal.

So, where was I?  Oh, the fast.  The juice fast.  Why should I do it?  I'm not sure exactly.  A challenge?  Hmmm...nah...all this juicing and chopping is challenging enough as it is.  It just seems like the timing is just too perfect.  Hattie just turned six months old.  And so I kind of just want to try it.  The thing is, I caved on my "raw til lunch" goal already this week.  I ate steel cut oats with coconut milk at 10:30 a.m.  And part of me is like, C'mon Beck, give yourself a break.  You're trying to nourish six people here and deal with your life and you're nursing and you're hungry, and...and... and that's not that bad.  And of course it's not that bad.  But I know me.  I start changing the rules, cutting myself a little slack here, a little slack there, and next thing you know I'm right back where I started.  And I don't want to be there.  As I told my husband, you have to establish the normal before you can start allowing for exceptions, otherwise you just can't figure out what normal is.

So...maybe a juice fast would just push me that much more.  Maybe it would really be a great next step, a final transition to 80/20 Raw, a shortcut to "the new normal."  Or maybe it'll just put me over the edge and you'll find me curled up in the fetal position on my kitchen floor, whimpering and drinking carrot juice and Grey Goose through one of those twisty straws.  I'm just not sure...

Maybe I'll just have to sleep on it.  Oh, and speaking of sleep, I really will sleep on it because...and this is REALLY big news...after nearly ten years of sleeping next to Thomas the Tank, as I lovingly refer to my loudly snoring husband, he's stopped.  Completely.  I'm not kidding.  One week (or maybe even less!) into this raw/whole food deal, the snoring went away.  Freaky, huh?

Ok, enough rambling for now.  I'll keep ya posted!

Monday, January 23, 2012

He's gone NUTS... (Day 8)

Dear Diary,

Honestly, I cannot believe how lucky I am… My husband is not only super supportive of this 30 day experiment; but taking control of the kitchen. My goal was to eat ‘raw’ until dinner, as I love to make homemade soups, roast root vegetables, and enjoy the goodness of ‘warmth’ in the winter evenings. Yes, I live on Maui… But I live up a mountain/volcano at 3,500 ft. Therefore, even though I live on an island floating about the Pacific ocean in “paradise” it still gets cold in wintertime in Kula. Needless to say, I my desire for ‘warming foods’ was out weighed by the fact that my husband was doing all the non-cooking! He is so into it… He’s sprouting, soaking, and dehydrating faster than I can say “Julienned Carrots”. Last night we watched the sunset on the beach and snacked on homemade flax, sesame, sunflower seed crackers and hazelnut/almond nut cheese. It was delicious. Tonight we are having the in-laws over for dinner and making Raw Pad Thai w/ Raw “Peanut” Sauce (recipes below). I am realizing how much I really want a mandolin, and I am not talking about the instrument. I can only imagine how much easier that would make some of these recipes. Thankfully I have a great Cuisinart food processor that has chopped, diced, sliced, and pureed many of times. And since I am speaking of appliances and equipment, I’d like to take a moment to truly brag about my Jack     La Lanne Power Juicer. I know there’s been question and discussion of which to buy and why, but serious I could not be happier with this purchase (of $85.00 at Cost Co). I was contemplating a video of ‘how fast’ that thing makes my morning Green Lemonade. Hmmm, maybe a future blog.
Today was one of those days where I was truly ‘tempted’ as we decided to go to La Provance French bakery to get ‘Thank You’ croissants for the in-laws for their babysitting the night before. Standing before the bakery case filled with Tortes, Quiches, Strudels, and Chocolate filled Croissants I thought I just might give in. Who’s idea was this again? Oh yeah, MINE! It was torture… But I stayed strong and dug deep (into my purse) only to discover a Coconut Cream Pie Larabar (ingredients: dates, unsweetened coconut , almonds, cashews, and extra virgin coconut oil. Thank goodness for the ‘snacks’ I still hide amongst my car, diaper bag, and purse!!!  Hmmm, now I am feeling a really strong urge to make Raw Coconut Mousse… Off to the kitchen!
Raw Pad Thai: (4 servings)
3 c red cabbage, shredded
2 large carrots, julienned
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
1 large zucchini, julienned
3 young coconuts (meat) sliced into long ‘noddles’
½ cup raw cashews
1 cup Raw “Peanut” Sauce
Raw “Peanut” Sauce: (makes 2 cups)
1 cup raw almond butter
2 tbs fresh chopped ginger
½ c water (to thin)
4 tbs fresh lemon juice
¼ c maple syrup
3 tbs Nama Shoyu soy sauce
4 ts sesame oil
2-3 cloves of garlic
½ Serrano chile
*Blend all ingredients in food processor until smooth

Wish me Luck,

Saturday, January 21, 2012

One For the Road (Day 6)

Dear Diary,
It's me again. Still juicing! I'm amazed at how ready I am to climb out of bed in the morning and feed those veggies into my juicer. No coffee required. I am having issues with my choice of juicers, but more on that later.

I've been thinking about what I wrote earlier this week, about my past experience with trying to improve my eating habits. 
"This has happened quite a few times now, that I've been following a plan and doing just great, taking off weight, feeling really good and then some little something happens that gets me off track - a dinner out, a holiday, a vacation and it's just like flipping a switch. Lights Out. I'm done. It's like falling off a horse and never getting back on."
I'm leaving in the morning on this overnight, and I have to say, I'm just a little uneasy about leaving the security of my kitchen. And my juicer. And my produce-laden refrigerator. I'm traveling with a group and I so don't want to get stuck in a situation (and especially not this early in the game) where I don't have any good choices.

I'm trying to get myself together to get out of here in the morning and I've washed and sliced and packed into a container blueberries, strawberries, and mango. I have a totebag filled with carrots and bananas and Lara Bars. I have bottled water and raw flax crackers and with everything I've packed, you'd think I'm hiking out into the wilderness. Honestly. (eye-roll)

So, I've now prepared the best way I know how. I've packed fruit and veggies and whole grain crackers, and I'm reminding myself that it's just two days. I'll make the best food choices I can, relax and just enjoy. There will be plenty of Green Lemonade waiting for me when I get home.

Now, I'd best pack my own bag before it gets too late.

Wish me luck!

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Little Less Stalk and A Lot More Action (Day 5)

Dear Diary,

I have a confession to make.  I used to feel a pretty strong urge to pat myself on the back when I'd pull out a Mojo bar at the coffee shop and nibble on that rather than the extra large muffin I'd really wanted.  Well, today, eating a bag of baby carrots with my cappuccino - at 10:00 a.m. mind you! - put that into perspective.  And the thing is, I think my taste buds might have already acclimated to this new way of eating because I didn't feel cheated.  I mean, I hardly even glanced at the bakery case (that second time).

When we started this endeavor, I admit it, I was a bit nervous about how difficult it might be to forego my cravings (especially after really giving my sweet tooth a good workout over the holidays) and to cut back on my calories when I'm still nursing (breastfeeding always gives me the appetite of a teenage boy).

As it turns out, the food - at least the what I eat part of it - hasn't been much of a problem at all.  It's the time.  My Gosh, it is consuming trying to shop (especially when I'm exploring new parts of the grocery store and getting lost:  you should have seen me the other day consulting with the produce guy about my "jicama" while holding a poblano pepper instead - oops!), chop and prepare food for my family of six without the help of the freezer, the microwave and Trader Joe's (my former best friends, apparently).  Even the juicer has become a bit of a problem.  I've been determined to use my Champion juicer since I invested a mint in the darn thing a few years back and hardly used it since, but I might (shhh....don't tell my husband) have to consider getting a Breville.  This thing takes 20 minutes to make Green Lemonade.  And when I'm trying to get myself and my four kids out the door by 7:45 a.m. every morning, those 20 minutes are too precious.

So, I've taken to making the juice the night before and having it ready-to-go in the fridge for the morning.  Also, I've decided to loosen up a bit.  Like Aunt Deborah, I'm an all-or-nothing gal by nature - and a rule follower to boot - so, when I found myself in tears, surrounded by a hungry, confused brood of children and a frustrated husband because I didn't have the correct ingredients for Detox Day Two,  and didn't know what to make for dinner, well...I winged it.  We had a veggie chopped salad and sweet potatoes for dinner.  And we were fine.  And the next day, while navigating Whole Foods, and watching the time on my iPhone tick by on fast-forward as I back-and-forthed the aisles in a confused tizzy, I allowed myself to go ahead and buy the (non-organic, GASP!) fajita mix (just chopped veggies and cilantro and peppers) and the pre-cubed butternut squash.  I don't want to make this "cheating" a habit.  I know it's a slippery slope.  But I need to have a safety net for those super busy days or else I may just get too overwhelmed and scrap the whole thing.

And come to think of it, if an extra slice of sprouted grain toast with raw honey or pre-chopped veggies is the worst I've done this week, I think I'll go ahead and pat myself on the back after all and keep charging ahead.

Thanks for listening,

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Beating a Cold... With Beet Burgers! (Day 4)

Dear Diary,

I am home sweet home; and fighting a cold/fever. Too many hours in an airport/plane. I think I sweat most of it out last night and got many many hours of much needed (horizontal) rest. I am feeling 'better' today, although I honestly think that my 'Green Lemonade' is what saved me. I was seriously craving it as it has been days since having a juicer! I made it with Granny Smith apples (because thats all we had), kale, lettuce, celery, cucumber, and ginger!!! It was SOUR and a real wake-up call that's for sure. No coffee needed. I didn't have much of an appetite all morning (not common for me), but snacked on some nuts (cashews, pecans, almonds). For lunch I had 'leftover' Beet Burgers on Romaine 'Buns', which I had to share with my 2 yr old son because he LOVES them (seriously, who is this child?) I am not going to lie, people do look at you funny when your picnicking at the Aquarium eating Beet Burgers on Romaine 'Buns'! But, its worth the inquisitive stares.

In the afternoon, I did feel like I 'needed' a coffee; so I had one. And then for an afternoon snack my son and I shared a Blueberry Banini Smoothie ((blueberries, banana, tahini, agave, spirulina). Now I am making homemade soup (and the smell is making me hungry... so a Larabar is in my near future). I am making Butternut Squash w/ honey and veggie soup. I am kinda following a recipe, but tossing in 'extra' veggies/herbs as I didn't have any broth made. My soup ingrediants are onion, celery, carrot, fennel, green apple, squash, nutmeg, and salt/pepper to taste. I have to let you know Monday how it turns out. I am also making Raw Parsley Tabbouleh and spinach salad. Okay, now I'm really hungry; Larabar and a vegetable juice in need. I will soon start posting more pics and maybe some videos!

Love & Lightness,


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

80/20: The New 100 (Day 3)

Dear Diary,
This has been such an exciting week. On Monday, we began this new 'eating real food' experiment and on Tuesday, I began my final semester in Deaf Communication. This week marks the beginning of the end of my education (at least this part) and hopefully, the beginning of a new way of eating for me. And so far, so good! If these first two days are any indication of how this is going to go, I think I'm going to like it.

As promised, I'm reporting on my juicer selection. I decided not to decide. (What?) I picked up my juicer on Sunday, a like-new Hamilton-Beach model that I scored on Craig's List for the rock-bottom price of $25. Crazy, I know, but what a great way to start. It's not that I'm planning to fail, but I don't want to be one of those people with the top-of-the-line juicers trying to sell it on Craig's List. I guess that's just me, I tend to tread cautiously, at least when it comes to making purchases.

Now, when it comes to dietary things - that's a completely different matter. I have a history of being an all-or-nothing kind of girl. This has happened quite a few times now, that I've been following a plan and doing just great, taking off weight, feeling really good and then some little something happens that gets me off track - a dinner out, a holiday, a vacation and it's just like flipping a switch. Lights Out. I'm done. It's like falling off a horse and never getting back on. Believe it or not, I felt a twinge of that on Monday. On Monday, for the sake of Pete! Before we even got started! I'd done all my shopping and was ready to roll when I began to wonder if I'd really gotten this right. I thought I was going to need to go shopping again, spend more time with the book, maybe make a new shopping list first, all the while stressing over classes beginning on Tuesday morning. It was just too much.

One thing I know (and can occasionally put into practice) is that when I can't figure something out, when I'm frustrated and can't get unstuck, the best choice for me is to step back and stop trying. I turned off everything and took a shower. In my head, I heard Becky's encouragement to begin slowly instead of trying to jump ahead. After my shower, I went back to Natalia's book, The Raw Food Detox Diet, and started again from the very beginning. Where were those words that led me to believe that I could do this? The thought that 80% raw, 20% could really work - and that I could do it? Why had I thought that jumping right into 'raw until lunch' was the way to go? 

It wasn't until late Monday night that I read on page 38, under Quick Exit Combination Tips, something that now scrolls across the screen of my laptop:
"Don't let the hard-core rules of eating mono-meals and keeping different fruit categories separate discourage you. These rules are not important at this stage. Focus on enjoying your meals and improving your food choices."
Yes! There it is! I can do this! I absolutely plan to transition up the levels of eating raw and real food, but this is a great place to start. I am conscious of not eating large amounts of fruit with other types of food, but I will confess to adding a few blueberries to my quinoa. Otherwise, I'll eat fruit in the afternoon, a few hours after lunch. 

I'm going to remind myself of this over and over again in the days and weeks (and hopefully, years) to come. I don't have to be an "all-or-nothing" kind of girl. I can be quite happy and healthy at 80/20. After all, it's the new 100.

That's all for now.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

You Are What You Eat... Even in an Airport!!! (Day 2)

Dear Diary,

I awoke at 5:45am in Chicago to catch my flight home to Maui. No juicer. I sipped a coffee (no sweetener) in route and doubted my Day 1 (and 2) of this half-baked experiment while traveling. I had no idea what I was in for when I arrived 2.5 hours early for my flight, only to find out it was 'delayed' by 6 hours. I mean, seriously! I am now 'blogging' via the United Club; awaiting my flight to San Francisco. Furthermore, I have to spend the night in San Fran and awake (again) to no juicer. Hmmm, this is a rough start to my 'detox'. I did however manage to find a Jamba Juice at Chicago O'hare International Airport, that now serves fresh squeezed juice. I am sipping a tasty blend of carrot/orange right now. I did discover a Mediterranean cafe as well, and grabbed a cilantro/lemon wrap with raw greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and feta. Even in an airport, I am finding it 'possible' to enjoy (mostly) raw foods. I have been a Vegetarian on/off for years, as well as an 'experimental' raw/vegan for months. I recently discovered The Raw Detox Diet book by Natalia Rose, and was awakened to a new way of eating. I realized that I was combining food improperly and truly bored with my recipes. I LOVE to 'cook' and never thought in a million years I could go Raw (or 100% vegan) ever. But, I have now realized that not only COULD I do it, but that I LOVE to do it!!! I am so much more 'creative' in the kitchen and feel more indulgent than ever before. I have found a rhythm that works for me; soaking, chopping, and preparing foods during my 2 year olds afternoon nap. I make sauces and salad dressings in batches to last all week long. Just like anything in life, once you make it a habit out of it (good or bad) it just seems 'normal'. I can't imagine it any other way now. I walk around (the airport) today noticing all the people and their 'bad' eating habits and can't imagine even eating like that again. I've said it before, and will say it again and again... If I could buy one thing for everyone I know; it would be Natalia's book The Raw Detox Diet. This book (amongst many other 'influences' in my yogic-life) has truly changed my life. Its changed the way I really honestly 'experience' food at its fullest potential. We've all heard (again and again) 'you are what you eat'; so then why do 'we' put things into our bodies that aren't even considered 'food'? If you can't read/decipher the ingredients or can't figure out where the ingredients derived from; then its not REAL food. What really awakened my senses was that Waste = Weight. Anything that is not easily 'passed' through the body, gets stored in the body, not only creating weight but a mecca for dis-ease. I know we all have crazy busy lives, and find excuses after excuses for the habits we've created and learned to accept; but I always have to focus on and remember "It's never too late, it's never too bad,you're never too old, your never too sick to start from the scratch once again,to be born once again." Bishnu Gosh. Even in an airport (for what's going on 10 hours) you can find a way to take care of your-self, your body, your soul and eat REAL food.

Love & Lightness,


Monday, January 16, 2012

Excuse Me, But I Think You Have Some Kale In Your Teeth. (DAY 1)

Dear Diary,

Would you believe that it’s 7:00 a.m. and I’ve already consumed a head of romaine lettuce, 2 apples, a half-bunch of kale and a cucumber? I know, right? That’s more green than I usually consume in a week. Not that I don’t try to be healthy but I have been walking around this notion of what “healthy” means, and I’m starting to question it. You know me, I’ve been eating that big bowl of fat-free Greek yogurt topped with berries and a handful of flax cereal every morning for 2 years. That breakfast, Clif bars by the boxful, apples galore and lunchmeat, cheese and whole wheat wraps have been the mainstay of my diet. And it’s worked for me. Sort of. Depending how you describe “worked.” I finally fit into those size 2 skinny jeans and that felt pretty darn good about that part, that’s for sure.

The thing is, something has been nagging at me lately. I’ve been a little “off.” Remember two weeks ago when I roasted that whole pumpkin, scooped out the pulp and baked it into fresh-baked bread? Wasn’t that crazy? Seriously, who was that person? And you know how I just finished reading that Julia Child book, My Life in Paris, for my book club? And it’s sort of stuck with me? Gnawed at me ever since. I haven’t really been able to put my finger on it. While I appreciated Julia Child’s passion for food and French cooking, I certainly had no interest in eating, much less laboring to prepare the elaborate meals she described. Yet...there was something there. Something about food and enjoying food that I realize I am missing from my life.

See, ever since I adopted my Food Is Fuel Not Fun philosophy, and gotten really into running, I’ve gotten into pretty darn good shape. The best of my life. So, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? But...but...I don’t know. If I’m being honest, I realize I’m trying to get satisfaction out of my fuel in less than healthy ways. Drinking way too much coffee most days, because it’s enjoyable and calorie-free. And some weeks, way too many nights in a row, grabbing that glass of red wine after dinner. Even more so, it’s my kids. Their eating habits have gone from bad to deplorable. They themselves live on fruit leather, granola bars, string cheese by day. And by night, I’ve been so desperate to get them to eat, I’ve been serving frozen pizza and mushroom soup-based casseroles for dinner. Dinners I certainly don’t want to be feeding them - or myself.

So I either eat something different - load up on yet another mini Clif bar before dinner so I’ll just nibble and not overindulge - or feed them and eat later. It’s not pleasant and certainly not the way I’d envisioned family dinners . Nor is this the idea I had for instilling nutritional values in my children. So how do I reconcile my desire to be like my foodie friends, reconcile my aspirations to be more like my wonderful earth momma girlfriends who garden and bake and can their own salsas, with my vision of Food Is Fuel Not Fun? How do I get my children to enjoy healthy food by modeling either sucking down tasteless “health food” or caving into their desires for processed garbage?

I may have just found the answer. From my inspirational little sister. The yogi. The nutritionist. The fashionista. She visited from Maui last week and was just bursting with excitement about this book she’d recently read and how it changed her (already ridiculously healthy, in my book) life. The Raw Food Detox Diet (by Natalia Rose) it’s called. So, my little sister, within hours of arrival, dusted off my neglected juicer and got it back into action. She also made us yummy meals like carrot-sweet-potato-ginger soup and breakfast quinoa with toasted pecans and berries. And I felt so...would it sound silly to say fulfilled? Nourished inside and out. In the morning, literally buzzing from my early morning Green Lemonade (no coffee necessary!) and warm and fuzzy from homemade, wholesome food by night (I admit, I didn’t skip the wine with my sis in town though).

Even the kids tried a little bit of green food. Seriously, they did. I mean, if they’re going to grimace and choke down three bites of food anyway, isn’t it better that it’s three bites of spinach salad than three bites of meatloaf?

So...Is this new philosophy going to stick? I don’t know. But we’re about to find out. I am on Day One of the Raw Food Detox Diet and giddy with excitement. I don’t know if I’ll keep this vegan/mostly raw lifestyle permanently. Or if I’ll even make it the thirty days I’ve committed to trying it. But I do know this: if my six-month old, who does a full body shudder every time I try to give her a bite of jarred baby food with bananas in it, just slurped a huge gulp of green juice out of my glass and then went back for more, I certainly have hope.
So, dear diary, wish us luck, us girls with the green mustaches! I’ll keep ya posted...

Talk soon,

Friday, January 13, 2012

Three Days and Count(er)ing

Dear Diary,
I'm so excited about our experiment. I shopped online this morning for juicers and since there's going to be so much going on in my kitchen in the days and weeks to come, I've also begun cleaning and clearing countertops and looking for ways to create more workspace. Or should I say 'play space'? (Nothing this fun could ever be construed as work!)

I'm trying to decide which juicer to purchase. After seeing the Champion juicer in action at Becky's this week, it's clear that Champion is the queen of all juicers. I'd love to have one of these dolls, (especially since there's a grain mill attachment, which would be entirely too much fun) but this year's purchase may have to be a little less 'spendy'.

Maggie's really happy with her Jack Lalanne juicer, but I don't get to experiment with this one until my next trip to the islands. (How's that for an excuse? No, I really do need to go see Maggie so that I can try her juicer!) Maggie's recommendation goes a long way and I'm really leaning toward this one. Plus I like the price of this one a little better.

However, as I look at my limited counterspace and also at my tired old vintage blender, I must admit that I'm rather intrigued by the possibility of combining the two. I use the blender almost every day and plan to use the juicer every day, as well. I'm just not sure how many more appliances my countertop can hold!

The Jay Kordich Juicer/Blender seems to have gotten fairly good reviews on Amazon, but I'm a tad bit skeptical. Can a combination juicer/blender do both things as well as a separate juicer and blender? I really want a great juicer, but where in the world am I going to put it?

I'll let you know what I decide. Until then ....