Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Sugar Addict

I have once again become a sugar addict. It is amazing to me how after one little bit of refined sugar I become a green-eyed out of control monster! If I avoid sugar for a few days, then I am fine, and I can resist the sugary-treats that are around almost everywhere this time of year. Unfortunately, over the Christmas season, I have indulge in one or two (okay, who am I kidding!) shortbreads and fruit cake (yes, I am one of those odd individuals who actually likes fruit cake).

My body actually craves sugar these days. I think about where I am going to get my next sugar "hit". I find that it is a stronger craving than I have had in the past. I would assume that this is because of my total removal of refined sugar from my diet lately. I have had similar cravings to carbs in the past also, but I would venture to say, that maybe it was the sugar in the carbs that I craved as well.

A sugar addiction is a pretty common occurrence. Almost all foods on the supermarket shelves and all restaurant foods contain sugar. I think that the major food manufacturers also realize that there is a sugar addiction in the population. Sugar can be found in breakfast foods (yogurt, cereal, jams), at lunch time (salad dressings, ketchup, mayonnaise, bread) and dinner (pizza, pasta, sauces). Even some frozen fruits in the grocery store are frozen with sugar added! That is why I have started freezing my own fruit for smoothies.

Our body's reaction to sweets is one that was important once upon a time, it showed us what foods were good to eat (sweet) from the ones that were bad to eat (bitter), and it served as a survival mechanism. Today, however, the sugar junkie is long past that.

Sugar is a real addiction. It causes moodiness and withdrawal when it is not consumed on a regular basis. Maybe that is why my son Ben got so mad at me and said he would never eat breakfast again unless he got his corn-pops and fruit-loops.

Here is a good article on sugar addiction.

I will be glad when this holiday season is over, only a few more days to go. I love holidays with family and friends, don't get me wrong, but I want to conquer the sugar beast! I know I can do it, I have done it in the past. I find that smoothies help beat the cravings. They are always so sweet and tasty, and feel like a "treat" during the day. I think that there will be a lot of smoothie experiments in the next few days in my house. Here is today's creation:

Chocolate Mint Smoothies

4 Bananas
12 Mint Leaves
¼ cup Raw Carob Powder
2 tablespoons Raw Carob Nibs (ground)
2 cups water
2 cups ice chips

Mix all ingredients in mixer. Ground Carob Nibs in Coffee Grinder. Add to smoothie. Garnish with Mint leaf.
So, with a belly full of chocolate-mint smoothie, I am looking forward to the start of a new year "sugar free".

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Generation of Sugar Junkies!

My little girl Laurenne on her first birthday.

Why is it that probably 99% of all parents pose their children on their first birthday, with a piece of cake infront of them, and watch as they dive in to the sugar? I have similar pictures of all my children on their first birthdays, or at christmas with a candy cane, or easter with chocolate all over them and even halloween with buckets of candy!

We are trusted with the lives of these tiny little souls and we turn them into sugar junkies. I commend the mothers who start their children out on the right path. They are miles ahead of some. I remember my sister Robin never feeding her children white bread, sugar, red dye, etc. and how we all thought that was pretty strange, not to feed your children candy! She still tells the story to this day of how one of her children went to grandmas, had a sandwich, and was so shocked by the taste of the white bread that they thought they were eating cake!

One of the hardest things that I have to overcome at this new lifestyle, is the eating habits of my children. I constantly feel like I am fighting an inner battle. I know the benefits of a raw diet, and I'm still buying them cereal on grocery day. I want them to obtain a healthier lifestyle, but I want them to chose it on their terms. I want them to see the benefits of my diet, and all the good that comes along with it, and I want them to want it for themselves.

Motherhood may not come with a book, but I do know that nothing that is forced is accepted well, nor will it become a lasting habit. That is my dilema. I do have control over what my children eat (to a certain extent) because I do the grocery shopping and I prepare the meals. Maybe my turmoil comes from the belief that children need (eek, dare I say) milk for growing bones and animal protein to build strong foundations (okay, now that it is out, I feel better). There is a stigma attached to children and nutrition, and although I'm not the world's perfect mother, somedays I like to think that I am. I do not want to do something so radical to their health without fully exploring and making sure that it is the right path for them.

I think that the longer I stay on my journey, both things will happen; they will see the benefits and want to add more raw foods to their diets (which is already happening to some extent), and I will know in my heart of hearts that a raw food diet is superior, for me and for them as well.

For today, I am making the conscious decision to remove all sugar laden cereals, school snacks and remaining junk food from our home (most of it has gone already in the past few years). January 1st is a new year and a new beginning. I may not be able to control their diet 100%, but I can lead them down the garden path, filled with fresh fruits and fresh veggies!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Green Smoothie Queen....

... okay, this is the first day of the three-day Green Smoothie Challenge by The Raw Divas. The challenge is to increase the number of green-smoothies into your diet. You can just add a green smoothie to your existing diet or replace one or all of your meals with green smoothies. A few of the participants that have signed up, are replacing all three meals with green smoothies for the next couple of days.

Figure that I have made some pretty significant changes to my diet in the last few weeks, and I have even introduced green smoothies into my diet the past week, so to fully challenge myself (and to hopefully see the full potential of a green smoothie) I have opted to replace all three meals, for the next three days, with green smoothies. Now, just hope I don't spill any of my meals on my shirt, otherwise I might be known as exorcist girl!!!

I did the weigh-in this morning so I will know how much I will lose in the next few days. I made myself a chocolate-mint smoothie. I liked the fresh taste of the mint leaves in the smoothie, the kids, however, turned up their noses!

Everyone has their own personal tastes when it comes to the consistency of a smoothie. Some like a thick, pudding like smoothie, others like a thin, juice like smoothie. I like mine somewhere in the middle. I like my smoothie to be like a milkshake. I like it cold, with an icy consistency. Therefore, it will be a challenge to replace all three meals for three days. Breakfast is no problem. I make my lunch smoothie in the morning, and by lunch, it is more of a juice consistency. Dinner, I can make it icy-cold again in my smoothie maker!

I am looking forward to this three day smoothie adventure, with the promise of a more intense "green" program from the divas in the new year.

So, in this winter-wonderland of white, I'm a green girl today....

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Power of The Green Smoothie...

There is a new "my space" out there - for raw foodists. "Give it to me raw" is the new place for raw foodists to share ideas, recipes, inspiration or anything else that they may want to discuss. It is the ultimate online raw community!

Believe it or not, I started the "Mothers of Green Smoothie Drinkers" as a place where parents of teenaged children can discuss the obstacles and joys of changing children already on a SAD diet to a healthier RAW diet. There are already others joining the group, so I guess I'm not alone. Maybe I REALLY was on to something yesterday!

On the green smoothie front, so far so good... I have had three days of successfully getting my 32oz of smoothies in, and my kids have had an 8oz glass for the past two days! I am proud of them for being so open-minded! Personally, I have gone through a lot of personal turmoil in the past 10 days, and I can see how the addition of greens, together with a raw food diet, has helped me cope tremendously.

So, the world is looking a little greener today, and I am a pretty excited girl....

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mothers of Green Smoothie Drinkers Unite....

There seems to be a "green smoothie" movement out there. Not entirely sure if it has been there for awhile and I am just catching on to it, or whether it is a new idea among the "raw bloggers". Regardless of what it is, green smoothies seem to be getting attention.

The idea of blending your greens is a good way to release all of the nutrients that they contain. According to "Green for Life" the cellular makeup of the leaves makes it very difficult for our bodies to get to the nutrients unless they are chewed up really well. Every time I hear or read that, it reminds me of my grandmother and my dad (apple doesn't fall far from the tree) tellling me to chew each bite 40 times. Not sure about you, but I can't do that! My jaw actually starts to hurt. So, it makes sense to release all of the nutrients in the greens by blending them.

I remember when the "health stores" started coming out with "greens". Never bought any myself, but it is my understanding that it is some kind of putrid powder, that you mix into a big glass of water and have to choke down. I don't understand that entirely, why would anyone want to do that instead of enjoying a refreshing, easy to make, good for you, etc. etc. smoothie? That I guess is my question of the day.

I do have to say, that feeding children greens via a smoothie is a lot less stressful than telling them that they can't leave the table until all their veggies are gone. If you can get them past the colour of the drink, they enjoy it! Think I have just solved the veggie dilema for mothers everywhere! Now, if I could just contact all of them and sign them up for the "Mothers of Green Smoothie Drinkers". hmm, could be on to something here!

Okay, kidding and thoughts aside, I have to share my dinner last night (well, not literally, of course). I must confess that I am running out of ideas for getting excited over a bowl of salad, or one single fruit. I actually think my body is needing a change in the fruit department because it isn't as appealing as it once was. This recipe made me feel like I was eating "real food" which is what I needed at the time.

My "Real Food" Recipe

½ cucumber, diced into small pieces
3 tomatoes, diced into small pieces
1 green onion, sliced
2 cobs of corn (minus the cob)

Place all in a bowl, top with fresh basil, and enjoy - This one is a keeper in my books, nothing tastes better than raw corn on a cold winter day!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Let the Green Smoothies Begin!

Tropical Green Smoothie

2 clementine oranges
1 banana
½ pineapple
water and ice chips
ground flax meal
spinach (3 handfuls)

Place all in smoothie maker and enjoy!

This one even all of my kids liked the taste of! This morning, upon making the regular banana/pineapple smoothie, I wanted to add some "greens" to it. Knowing that the kids would scrunch their noses up, I poured their glasses out, and needed to add more ingredients to make enough of the "green goop" to fill my water bottle and take to work. Looking around the kitchen, I came up with the above ingredients, threw them into the blender, and the result was delicious. The girls all tried a sip, and agreed that I could make this smoothie for tomorrow's breakfast!

I am one week from joining The Raw Diva's on the three day green-smoothie challenge (even got my dad interested in joining me!). I have been enjoying "Green for Life", and am very interested to learn all of the health benefits in a green glass of goop! I am trying a few recipes to come up with a yummy green treat, and today I might have found one. I am conciously trying to add the green smoothies into my daily diet. I am trying to have 32 oz per day (that is one glass in the morning, plus my "smoothie" jug full to take to work with me). I am going to introduce green smoothies into the kids diet, every-other day, starting tomorrow.

Even the girls at work tried my green smoothie today! They were all impressed at how good it tastes, regardless of the look! Maybe I will have some more green-smoothie converts soon! So, Tigerlily, next time your friends ask about your swamp-water, see how daring they are - mine made quite the conversation around the water cooler at lunch today!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Its a Green Smoothie Day!

Yesterday, I woke up extra early, guess I had a lot on my mind. I made a kiwi/celery smoothie recipe that I came across in my Green for Life book. I soaked in a nice hot tub one night this week, and dove into that book, had a hard time putting it down, and was quite a prune when I got out.

The kids were a little disappointed that their regular fruit smoothie wasn't there. I have to confess that the green smoothie wasn't as delicious as I had imagined it would be. Think the recipe needs some tweaking, celery isn't quite the taste I'm looking for at breakfast time. I think that I am on the hunt for the perfect green-smoothie recipe! This morning, I returned to the old banana/pineapple favorite!

My lunch on the other hand was wonderful! I had a salad that consisted of tomatoes, kiwi and red onions. It was topped with a dressing found on The Raw Diva website. This was a nice change from the spinach/lettuce salads that I am used too.

I hope to get into the kitchen this weekend, and do some "non-baking". I will be decking the halls and trimming the tree with the kiddos, and this festive task always involves, Bing Crosby and home baked cookies. Decking will be a little different this year. If I have great success in the kitchen, I will be sure to post the recipes, along with photos next week.

I have completed over 21 days raw. They say that 21 days is what you need to successfully implement a new habit/change. I feel confident that I am enjoying this journey that I am on, and with some implementing and changes (mostly to my children's diet), I think this will be a road that I continue to walk.

I don't want to force my children to be raw, I wouldn't want to force anyone to do anything, because I believe that forcing someone to do something, is never good. HOWEVER, I don't know how much longer I can accept the sugar laden cereals, and the sticky school snacks around the house. The days of the sugar addicts might be numbered! Read 'em and weep kids (but just remember, I'm doing this for your own good!)

Special Note: This week I made the "Ultimate List of Raw Food Blogs" at Raw Food Right Now, Raw Food in the Real World! That is quite an honour!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Raw in the Real World...

Well, I am happy to announce that I am still RAW.

With a confirmation, a funeral, and a romantic getaway between friday and monday, I have had a very busy couple of days. I have noticed that staying raw in the REAL WORLD is quite the challenge.

After the confirmation, we had a celebration at a local restaurant. It was very cold in the restaurant, and my salad and ice water didn't help the situation. Others ordered coffee, soup, warm bread, and warm meals, while I put my coat over my shoulders. This is the first time that I have noticed that I missed "warm food". I will start to carry some of my herbal tea bags around with me, so that I too can "warm up". I also brought a cake from the cake lady (eek!), and I am happy to say, that I didn't have a piece, I brought a fruit tray along also for dessert(and the left over fruit tray made great smoothies the rest of the weekend).

Most of the food for the funeral was trays of veggies, fruit, cheese, crackers and sandwiches, along with the desserts. It is very easy just to "pick" at fruits and veggies at a house setting like that, and no one seems to notice that you have a plate loaded with fruits and veggies! All in all, it went okay.

It went okay, but it was also tough. I give a lot of credit to people who can commit to a 100% raw lifestyle 100% of the time. A coffee would have really hit the spot saturday afternoon, and a nice buttertart or brownie would have been nice yesterday afternoon.

I am anxiously awaiting my first visit to a "raw" restaurant. Hopefully I can make that trip soon. I think it would be a lot of fun to eat something other than salads and fruit. I don't have a dehydrator, but if I did, I could make some raw crakers and "chips" and dehydrate my own fruit so that I knew there wasn't any additional things in with it (banana chips would be good!)

So I am still here, in the raw world, looking forward to the future and what it has to bring me. I received my "Green for Life" book yesterday, and I still have to finish my "Living on Live Foods". I am enjoying the daily emails from the Raw Holiday Survival Guide. My life is good, and I'm glad to be raw!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Let them EAT CAKE!!!

Okay, I have a confession to make, and as you can probably guess from the title of this blog today, I took the words of Marie Antoinette literally. Yesterday, there was a birthday celebrated in the office (not mine, thank goodness! only want one a year). The CAKE LADY came in. She is the lady that we order all our yummy cakes from. They are the most delicious sugar laden cakes that I have ever tasted. Even pre-raw, the sugar content in that cake was enough to put me over the edge.

Yesterday I was feeling pretty good about my two week adventure. I was pretty sure that one, little, teeney, weeney piece of cake wouldn't be so bad. Of course, when I got to the kitchen, there was a corner piece available, and we all know how good the corner piece is (and you can probably guess, it wasn't so teeney weeney). I bet your mouth is watering just thinking about my yummy treat yesterday, but don't worry.

Funny thing about cake, and sugar, or anything else that is bad for you, your mind doesn't know when to stop, at least my doesn't. Even after the first few mouthfuls of sugar, when my body was saying "okay, thats enough, I don't feel well", my mind kept saying "yum, sugar, eat the whole thing!".

I have learned a very valuable lesson from this experience. MY BODY DOES NOT LIKE SUGAR! My stomach didn't feel well all night, I was tired, my tummy was bloated, I had problems falling asleep, and then I seemed to wake up every hour, all night long. When I woke up this morning, I had bags under my eyes! Haven't seen that in a few weeks, sure makes me look older! The nice thing about removing all bad food from my diet, I could identify that it was the sugar for sure. I am sure that I would have similar results upon reintroducing chocolate, dairy, caffiene, wheat, or a whole host of other "not so good" for yous.

Today in the office, it is a busy day, the boss has ordered pizza for lunch. Guess what, I am in my office, finishing my delicious Banana Delight Smoothie - which is my fuel of choice.

So today I say, "Let them eat Pizza, I know what my body needs"

Oh, and a little side note here, seems that I keep looking at different people around me, and think to myself "boy, they could use some more raw food in their lives...", must be the bags under their eyes!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Banana Smoothies - More Smoothie Creations!

This Yummy-Yellow Delight was enjoyed by the whole family last night as a "dessert" after dinner. It was such a success, that it was again the smoothie of choice for breakfast today. I must admit though, I don't think there is such a thing as a "bad smoothie combination", if there is, I haven't come across it yet. Seems everytime I throw fresh fruit in my smoothie maker, with water and ice chips, the result is simply delicious!

Banana Delight Smoothie (named by Kristen)

3/4 Pineapple
2 Bananas
1 cup ice chips
4 cups water

Throw into smoothie maker and enjoy - makes an entire blender full!

My Raw Buddy, Tigerlily and I have successfully made it through our 7-day detox. The Raw Divas are offering a "Green Smoothie 3-day Challenge", and that is going to be our next mission together (starting December 17th). We also have a new member to our group, Pepper, and she is on The Raw Divas also. She is starting her detox this weekend. You can read all about Tigerlily's and my detox on The Raw Divas website's Powder Room, under pre-detox chit-chat. Here you can also find a lot more valuable information about detoxing and the raw diet. I'm thinking we should all plan a "raw diva slumber party" together, maybe even invite Tera and Amy!

With my children getting so involved in this raw adventure, it has added an additional layer of excitement for me! I want to be well informed and make sure that this is the right thing for them also. I have ordered "Green for Life" by Victoria Boutenko. I think that will help educate me more on this raw food adventure. Tigerlily has read this book also, and it seems to be mentioned on nearly every raw food sight that I have frequented. I also want to continue reading my "Living on Live Foods". I'm going to have a few favorites to pull out infront of a friends fireplace this year!

SPECIAL NOTE: Imagine my surprise when I logged on to my blog and read the comment left on yesterday's post! Thanks Kristen, you just warmed your mom's heart! And I am always proud of you too!

Life is full of surprises!

"I have an announcement to make...." was the greeting I got this morning while handing out smoothies, "I want to become raw too!" I am so excited that my children are seeing a positive change in me, and I am so excited that they would like to join me on my adventure.

Becoming a raw foodist is a personal decision, and I would never force, or try to talk anyone into it. The fact that she has decided on her own is a wonderful thing! I told her, that even if she went 75% raw, she would see all the benefits that it would bring. I also told her about the "Three Day Smoothie Challenge" from The Raw Divas (more on that later) and she was also very excited. I am very thankful for the relationship that I have with each and every one of my children. In fact, our relationship was compared to "the Gilmour Girls" last night.

Another nice surprise was when I was leaving the house this morning, and asking one of the girls to make sure that the smoothie maker was rinsed out really well before she went to school. I was trying to make sure that it was done, and emphasizing that it was important to me. I heard a voice speak out "its mom’s Christmas present!". That put a smile on my face, because the only place that they would have heard anything along those lines was on my blog yesterday. (Thanks Jack!)

Today is my last day on the 7-day detox. I am feeling really good. I am proud of Tigerlily and myself for successfully making it through this week! I am also thankful for the friendship that I have developed with her!

So, sorry no recipes today, not too much on the raw food diet, just an overall thankful feeling for all the wonderful things I have in my life, how much they all mean to me, and how happy I am!

(Gee, something tells me that I'm about a week too late - good thing I'm Canadian!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Christmas Came Early

Christmas came early in my house this year. It came in the form of a new Back To Basics Smoothie Maker. How did I know it was Christmas, because when I walked down the blender aisle at my department store and found that they had a smoothie maker, I yelled "YEAH!" (and I think I might of even jumped up and down). Embarrassingly, I stated to the other shoppers who looked at me quite stunned, "I've always wanted one of these!" as I hugged the box. Gee, what a girl...

My New Smoothie Maker is even better than the old one. It has a dispenser from the bottom, that powers up the blades as soon as you put the cup against it, fresh mixed smoothies with every glass. Today's breakfast consisted of 1/2 pineapple, one banana, 2 cups frozen strawberries and 1 cup of globe grapes. It was so smooth and creamie, I even had my kids "ooing and awing" this morning. This Smoothie Combination tastes just like a Strawberry Daiquiri, better save that recipe! Think it is time to start intoducing some more green smoothies to our mornings!

I even bought myself a coffee grinder last night. What on earth would a raw girl want with a coffee grinder you ask? Well, I need something to grind all of those raw cacao beans once I am off my detox! I found a list on one of the raw websites that listed a coffee grinder as a "must have appliance" for a raw food kitchen. So, I am glad that I have one (price was right), but my "must have" is definitely my SMOOTHIE MAKER!!!!!! Somehow a regular blender just doesn't make the grade!

Christmas is fast approaching (less than a month away and it will be all done!). As this is my first "raw" Christmas, I'm sure that I will be tempted by mash potatoes and gravy (never been a turkey girl), perogies and cabbage rolls, not to mention my mom's absolute best shortbread ever made! Sheesh, getting anxious just thinking about it. I have signed up for "The Raw Holiday Survival Guide" with Raw Food Right Now. I am looking forward to additional support as I make my way through the holiday season.

My 7-day detox is almost at an end. This week I am losing weight at a rate of about 1/2 lb per day. Add that to the 5 plus pounds from last week, and I am feeling really good about myself. Looking back at my detox week, it was much easier than I thought it was going to be. I think it also helped me from developing a dependency on nuts and oils, which can happen on a raw-food diet. I think that I am going to make a batch of my macarroon truffles to celebrate this weekend!

I know that my raw-food buddy, Tigerlily and I, will have a continuing journey for a long time to come. She survived Thanksgiving, we survived the detox and now we can look forward to Christmas together. I am also glad that I have someone I can talk to on an on-going basis. Without The Raw Divas, we never would have found each other!

Strawberry Daiquiri Smoothie
1/2 pineapple
2 cups frozen strawberries
1 cup green globe grapes (complete with seeds)
1 banana
Place all ingredients into a smoothie maker, and enjoy - recipe makes a full blender!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Smoothie Goodness!

I have found that one of the things that I am really enjoying through out this raw adventure are the Smoothies. There are so many great varieties and the food combinations are endless. Today’s smoothie consisted of water, bananas and green globe grapes (complete with seeds) and some ice chips. It was very light and refreshing.

I am always amazed at how full and satisfied I get from my smoothie. I can have one for breakfast, and my appetite does not come back until lunch time. I could easily enjoy another smoothie for lunch, or have fruit or a salad. I can’t wait until summer and I can enjoy a nice chilled smoothie in the hot sun.

They are becoming a breakfast tradition at my house these past few weeks. The odd morning that I have not prepared a smoothie for breakfast, my children put on sad faces and wonder why. For the most part, I just put water in my blender, place whatever fruit I have available, together with a few frozen bananas, and voila, a breakfast for champions.

There is the "green-smoothie" variety. In this case, it would be a combination of fruit and a leafy veggie such as chard, kale or spinach. The addition of the "greens" makes this drink full of vitamins. It does, however, have an odd look to it; and although my kids have attempted them in the past, it is something that I am introducing them to slowly.

For anyone who thought that a person on a raw food diet wasn’t getting enough calories daily, I happened to stumble along the caloric intake of a smoothie one day. It was almost enough to make me give up this tasty treat. Then I had to remember, the nice thing about the raw food diet is that I don’t have to count calories, carbs, points, grams, fats, fingers, toes, or anything else which is a good thing because I’m not very mathematically inclined.

I eat when I am hungry, stop when I feel full (try to stick to a mono-meal so I can learn to tell the difference), try to balance the greens with the fruits and the nuts and seeds (post detox) and hydrate with water often. It is that simple. Something else that I have benefitted from (courtesy of The Raw Divas), is once I feel hungry, I will grab a glass of water, hydrate myself and wait for an hour before I eat. This helps me to decide if I am really hungry or not.

I am still on my detox week with The Raw Divas, I am thankful that I am not detoxing as much as I was last week. I have felt the odd headache, but on the good side I am still losing weight! I have gotten really exhausted and had to go to bed early, but on the good side I got a wonderful nights sleep! I have emotionally missed eating cooked foods, but on the good side I can see the benefits of a raw food diet already!

Life is really good when you are full of fruits and veggies, and after this detox I will be nuts too! (I know a few people out there who already think I am!)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

My Support Groups

My first raw food outing was a great success!

I ate my salad for dinner, and my macaroons were enjoyed also. I did have two macaroons, but I figured if that was my only slip out of cheese and crackers, home made chili, garlic bread, scalloped potatoes and ham, wine, not to mention the wonderful looking birthday cake, I did great! I also enjoyed the usual veggie tray (minus dip for me). I never thought of that before, but a veggie tray is such a common placed thing at a social function, and I can munch on that all I want.

I have developed a great support group on this journey of mine, I know that it has made all the difference between sticking to my plan or falling from the wagon.

My raw buddy is a great bonus. I really don't think that I would have been able to stay as focused last night if it wasn't for her. I find that being accountable to someone makes all the difference in the world. I want to be there to support her in her journey as well, and if I slip, how supportive and understanding can I be to her. I know that there will be a few ups and downs, but "slipping" to me, or rather once I jump of the wagon, I know that it will be very easy to give in again, and again, and I will lose focus on what got me here in the first place.

Chris has been a great support through all of this. In fact, he even joined me in my fresh-fruit breakfast this morning, he sat and flipped through my "Living on Live Food" book, and has shown a genuine interest in all aspects of what I am doing. This is a huge benefit, to have someone so close to me, not on a "raw" diet, and be so accepting and interested in what I am doing. He is setting high standards for the rest of my family (he loved the raw truffles and keeps asking when I will make some more!)

My kids are also a great help. They are willing to try new things and get excited about this journey they are on. This morning, they all stuck a straw into a coconut, with mixed taste results. This afternoon we all had pina-colada smoothies. An adventurous bunch they are!

The Raw Divas are a great source of support. After all, this is where I found my "raw buddy". They are great, and actually email you personally with any questions or concerns that you have. Amy stumbled upon my blog, and both Amy and Tera have been very supportive of all aspects of what I am doing. I find their "Powder Room" (or forums) are a great source of inspiration and entertainment, as well as a place to feel a part of a community.

I am enjoying this new journey of mine... jumping in with both feet!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Easy Quinoa Salad and Raw Macaroon Truffles

My first raw creation! This is what happened to those quinoa seeds that I sprouted a few days ago, and what become my dinner last night.

Guess this is part of the "raw food adventure". Don't think that I would have ever posted a recipe for "Chicken whatever" before, nor would I have the same satisfaction in saying "I made this!". In fact, I don't think that I ever would have been daring enough to try my own creation on a SAD diet. I was never very good at it. Substitution was my enemy. If I didn't have all the ingredients, and didn't prepare the meal EXACTLY as the recipe stated, it would more than likely end up in the garbage. You are encouraged to try your own creations on a raw food diet, and that is something that excites me more than I ever thought it would. I hope I can make experimenting in the kitchen a "weekly event".

Easy Quinoa Salad
3 cups soaked Quinoa (1 cup pre-soaked)
1 cup chopped grape tomatoes
½ cucumber, diced
1 green onion
Juice of ½ lemon

(I think Cilantro would be good in here too if you like it, I'm not that big of a fan). Place all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy! Even my kids liked this one, they thought it was pretty interesting to see the "seeds with tails" in their salad!

I also made "Raw Macaroon Truffles" (I'm so proud, and of course, an original recipe also!) They will be for my dinner party tonight.

Raw Macaroon Truffles
1 cup dates pitted and soaked
1 jar (8 oz) Cacao Bliss (chocolate coconut butter)
½ cup carob powder
Cacao Nibs

After soaking dates, place in food processer until blended. Add jar of Cacao bliss and blend some more. Add Carob powder. Place in freezer until firm enough to form into balls. Roll in Cacao nibs.

Kids loved this one. I (sigh) stayed clear, as not to disrupt the detox. Proud of me T.Lily? Hopefully I can say the same thing after I attend the dinner party.

The one continuing theme that I seem to come across is not to be hard on yourself for going astray. If you happen to "slip" while on your raw-food adventure, it is just as easy to start off from where you left off. The guilt that you carry around could be more toxic to your body than those few bites of whatever you ate that was not allowed.

I know that I will do fine tonight. As it is my first "raw adventure outside", I am interested to see how I feel mentally when I am sitting at a table with people eating cooked food, other than my children. But life offers all kinds of new adventures for us to take, and this is just one more on my path!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, November 23, 2007

In the Raw, and Feeling Great!

I made it through my day of fasting, and so did my raw buddy! So we have started this adventure together.

Last night, for my "mono-meal", I chose some kiwi from the grocery store. I was considering buying two bags of kiwi, because I was feeling so hungry by the time I got there, and Kristen was going to eat her dinner, and then dine on some kiwi with me. I was surprised to find that after only 4 kiwi, my hunger was gone. I did find that amount of kiwi a little acidic on my stomach, so I ate a banana as well (oops!). After that feast, I had nothing again for the rest of the night. I was very tired by the time 8:30 came around, and hit the hay for a well deserved rest.

I did notice a few things this morning; I haven’t had a bad hair day at all this week, I usually have at least one; there is a lot of turmoil and major decision making in my personal life right now, and I am holding up better than I ever have in the past; my outlook on life is very good, I am excited for every new day, and I can’t wait for whatever life has to bring; I smile more; I am thankful for so many things in my life.

The Raw Divas seven day detox focuses on simple foods and simplified eating. Foods that you can grab and go, as opposed to complicated menu choices. I am interested to see how my body will react to this further adventure in "raw food". I am going to miss my nuts for the next few days, but I can always enjoy them again at the end of this week (hmm, maybe better rephrase that one!)

I am going to a birthday dinner party tomorrow night, and so I am going to bring a nice big salad to share. I am also considering trying to make some truffles or something else that is sweet for dessert. This will be my first social function that I have attended in the raw, but I am looking forward to it!

I am amazed at how easily my body and my attitude has accepted this new way of eating/life. It is so much more than just eating fruits and vegetables...

The sun is shining today, and so am I.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

After seven days....

... I have lost 5.8 pounds. My clothes fit better. I don’t feel so bloated, and losing a bit of weight puts some bounce in your steps!

... I have an increased sense of smell and taste, so I know that my body is healing.

... the bags that appear under my eyes from lack of sleep are a thing of the past.

... I have more energy in the evenings. I am starting to sleep really well through the night.

... I don’t seem to have the same food cravings for the chocolate, potato chips or ice cream that I used to. I am hoping that this one stays away! They are my three problem foods, you know, the ones where you start, and you just can’t stop, until you feel sick to your stomach!

My first week has been really, really great! I feel good about myself, physically and mentally. Still waiting for this increased mental clarity though. Will it be one of those things that I notice, or will it just happen that my brain will function so clearly, that I can’t remember it being any other way?

I have started my 7-day detox. Day one consists of a day of fasting, from 6:00 the night before until 6:00 tonight. At that time, I can have a mono-fruit meal, which means, as much of one fruit as my little heart desires. Not sure what I am going to have yet. Wonder if I will still detox this week?

Last night for dinner, my salad was topped with a very simple olive oil and apple cider vinegar recipe from "Livng on Live Food". I couldn't believe how good it was. My search for a great salad dressing is over! Can't wait to try more recipes (after the detox, of course).

I have met a "raw-buddy" on The Raw Divas. She starts her detox day today too, and I am excited to have her as a buddy. I don’t know of any other person, personally, who is on this raw-lifestyle. To have someone that I can check-in with, share the ups and downs, take strength from and enjoy the ride on a daily basis with is pretty great! She lives in Jackson, MS, and is starting her detox on her Thanksgiving. I wish her the best of luck. I know that she will get through the day, and be proud to tell me all about her successes tomorrow.

It is a snowy, blowy day here in Ontario. Schools have been closed. I began to wonder about me missing "warm food" in the winter to keep me warm. I have heard mention of this on other raw sites, but it is not something that I ever considered. I think that warm, cooked food has become such a part of the normal daily life, that I am unsure how my body will respond to cold foods over the winter. A warm cooked meal has always been the norm for dinner everyday, even in the summer months. I have noticed that in the summer, when it is really, really hot, my body doesn’t want hot food. I love having a salad on these days. Will my body miss the warm food in the winter? Something to ponder on this blustery day...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Day Seven: Minty Fresh!

This morning when I was brushing my teeth, I couldn’t believe how minty the tooth paste was. It was my normal, everyday tooth paste, but today, it seemed different. I did notice yesterday, and today, that when I put my moisturizer on my face in the morning, I could actually taste it, strange. When I was photocopying at work today, and holding the paperclip in my mouth, as I normally do, I could taste the metal (yuck - don’t think I will be doing that anymore).

So, yesterday I noticed my sense of smell improving, and today it is the taste buds. Amazing to think that my body is being improved just by switching my eating habits. I am also amazed to think that if I can notice these changes on the outside, how much is being done on the inside!

I started Alissa Cohen’s "Living on Live Food" last night, and it was really hard to put down. I am very excited by all the recipes at the back of the book, but most excited about the salad dressing recipes. On this "rawventure", my quest for finding a good salad dressing has turned up short.

I am also excited because tonight, I will be doing the weekly visit to my sisters house, with kids in tow to watch The Bionic Woman. I always bring over some snacks for the show. I pre-warned her last week, that it would be the last of the junk food, and this week would be something raw. At first I thought it would consists of veggies and dip (for the kids). Now that I have Alissa’s book, there are so many more exciting choices to bring! Not quite sure what I will bring yet, but sure whatever I find in Alissa’s book will be wonderful.

I have decided to start the first day of my "7-day detox" tomorrow. That way, I will have one full week of going raw under my belt before I start. (Hmm, maybe I’m just delaying that "fast")

I tried a green smoothie recipe for breakfast with the kids this morning. It was good, but I must admit that I miss my old "smoothie maker" blender. The new one, just doesn’t blend the same. Think I will have to invest in another blender soon. The kids weren’t overly excited about this one. It didn’t help that due to my poor blender, the pineapple was actually "stringy" still. I have previously made the Green and Gone Smoothie from Gone Raw, and two of the four kids loved it. Today’s was a homemade concoction, of baby spinach, pineapple, banana, water and ginger. Might try it again once I get the blender situation sorted out.

I am also excited because last night I started my first sprouting experiment. Between "Living on Live Food" and my "7-day detox" downloads, I took what I needed to start. I am sprouting quinoa. I have placed it in a mason jar, with cheesecloth overtop for rinsing. I was amazed this morning when I rinsed the seeds, how "fresh" they smelled already. There is no sign of life in that jar with water, but it smelled like the grocery store produce aisle. Can’t wait to try them in a few days.

UPDATE: The Bionic Woman isn't on tonight - darn that writers strike! So looks like I can start my "7-day detox" on time. Tonight after 6:00 pm until tomorrow at 6:00 pm, it will be water, water, water...

My sister adds "and you don't have to change it (the blog) can still bring me some food!!!". Sisters are just too cute. Really don't know what I would do without mine!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Day Six: The Nose Knows!

Today is a great day! I have to say, that I feel as though I have successfully made it to the other side! Although last nights dinner consists of salad and fish (for the kids), I have to confess, that the fish did smell pretty good, and was a little tempting, but not enough to reverse the progress that I have made. Lunches around the office smell good too. But there are some foods, that although they smelled bad before, they are really bad now. Raw red meat is something that I haven’t been able to stomach for awhile, but now I find that even raw chicken packaged in the supermarket has a disgusting odor to it.

I noticed yesterday that my sense of smell has sharpened. Spent some time with a friend last night, who is a smoker, and I couldn’t believe how much the smell stuck to me, and how bad it was. Also, I noticed the dishwasher detergent when I loaded the dishwasher. I am hoping that this enhanced sense will have more pleasant encounters in the future!

I find that my appetite has decreased. This is probably due to the quality of food, the old quality versus quantity theory. My body can take all of the nutrients that it needs from the foods that I am feeding it; therefore it needs less. My pants are fitting really good now, but I think I’d better learn a little more about food combining (I’m sure other raw foodists will understand what I mean by that).

I must admit, that I am enjoying the peppermint truffles that I purchased from Alissa Cohen’s website (maybe a bit too much). Raw chocolate is something to be experienced! I was worried at first, because the cacao bean actually grows on a tree, but it doesn’t seem to bother me (phew!). Now I can satisfy my chocolate craving when I need to, the raw way.

I am enjoying reading other raw blogs. I find their stories interesting and inspirational. There are also a lot of great-looking recipes out there, that I can’t wait to attempt. Raw Food Right Now has a list of blogs on their website, and it is a great way to pass the time and gain some inspiration. Reading other blogs also helps me feel like I'm a part of a growing community.

Tomorrow is my first day on The Raw Divas 7-day detox, and it will be a fasting day. With the decrease in my appetite, I am prepared and ready for this one. With their daily support emails on what to expect and the 7-day detox downloads that are available, I am quite excited!

I am enjoying this new adventure that I am on, and I look forward to where it takes me next....

Monday, November 19, 2007

Day Five: The light at the end of the tunnel!

Detoxing is a funny thing. Even though I felt like crap yesterday, I still felt good at the same time. I can see the benefits of the detox, together with the symptoms. It is a really hard thing to explain. I actually had a craving for an apple yesterday! Don’t think that I have ever had a craving for an apple in my entire life. The thought of that late day chocolate bar or bag of chips seems to be a thing of the past. I even passed up the home-made chocolate chip cookies and muffins the girls made this weekend in exchange for a piece of fruit. I didn’t sleep too well last night, so I am still tired, but I don’t have the tell-tale bags under my eyes that I normally get with a tossing and turning. I have lost 3 pounds already!

Kristen had a friend over for dinner last night. As I was laying in bed, after serving them dinner, I heard Kristen say to her, "my mom gets all her veggies from the farmers market!" That put a smile on my face. Turns out that her friend loved the salad that we had for dinner last night so much, she asked if she could take some for her lunch at school today. Maybe I will change the world for 5 +1. But joking aside, it is nice to see the positive effects filter down through my children.

Will I get enough protein on a raw diet? Did some research online on this today, and it seems that there is more edible protein in 1 gram of pumpkin seeds than there is in 1 gram of a sirloin steak; 1 gram of almonds has more protein than the same amount of pork chop. Also, another article I read, stated that even if you are a meat eater, you should choose plant-based protein as half of your protein intake per day. This is because the protein in plant-based foods are low in fat, contain no cholesterol and supply dietary fiber. So, together with the fruits and veggies, it is important to increase the nuts, seeds, beans, peas and sprouts to make sure that I get enough protein in my diet daily. This shouldn’t be too much of problem, all these make really good additions to a salad! Also, can’t wait to try the raw ice-cream recipe from Raw Food Right Now, who would have thought you can get your protein from ice-cream?

It is a really good feeling to be on day five. I feel as though I have past the hurdle, and I have made it "over the hump". The thought of "cheating" at this point is a negative thought. I have come too far to go backwards now, and that is a good feeling. I must admit, in the beginning it was "oh, what will a few chips hurt... better a bit raw than not at all". Those "cheating" feelings are completely gone.

I am enjoying the daily support emails that I am receiving from The Raw Divas. They are great, and it is really important to have the support along the way. I also enjoy their "Health in High Heels" newsletter that is published every thursday.

Today I received my "Living on Live Food" book and dvd that I ordered from Alissa Cohen (boy that was fast). Can't wait to sit down tonight, with a big glass of lemon-water and start reading! Life is good!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Day Four: Definitely Detoxing!

Yesterday was a good day. I soaked in the tub, checked out my local natural food store, not a bad day at all. My headache went away by mid-afternoon, and I had a nice relaxing night with the kids.

Today was another story, actually woke up with an awful sinus headache. Nothing seemed to take it away. Most of the day I didn’t have much of an appetite. I had a fruit-salad smoothie for lunch (nick-named yesterday, from the left-over breakfasts). The girls love the smoothies too, so made four this morning. By the time dinner came, my detox symptoms were so bad; the thought of food did nothing for me. I made dinner for the kids and then went to bed for a few hours.

I really didn’t expect my detox symptoms to be so bad, and I really hope they don’t stay around too long. I’m not a coffee drinker and I don’t use salt on my food. I have to admit, though, that I am a big chocolate/sugar addict.

It is important to understand the detox process during this flu-like feeling; otherwise, you may be tempted by that pasta dinner. My body is “cleaning house”, the higher-quality food that I am introducing into my body is being stored, while the lower-quality tissue and toxins are being discarded. As they are being discarded, they are making their way through my blood stream before being released. This is what causes the detox-symptoms. Although I feel bad, it is a good thing; and although the pasta dinner would lessen the detox, it would only delay the inevitable, or halt the process.

On a good note, Chris came home from Winnipeg today. That made my day wonderful, despite the headache. I picked him up at the airport, and we had a really nice afternoon together before he had to leave to go home. He makes me happy, the thought of him makes me smile and I am glad he is in my life.

Ironically, the kids are watching “Super Size Me” on television. Think it is going to be an early night for me.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Day Three: Detox?!?

They say that day number three is the hardest hurdle to get over with any major change to the system. It is a major hurdle because your system is in the stages of "detoxing", removing the bad stuff, or toxic substances from your system. Your body will eliminate meat, food additives, coffee, tea, salt, pepper, and dare I say chocolate from your system, as well as a lot of other things! Detoxing symptoms can range from a variety of things from very minor, to very major. Detoxing is a good thing. If these "toxins" are left in the body, they will eventually surface in one form or another, so it is a positive thing to eliminate them now, even though it might not be a pleasant thing.

It is important to 'baby' yourself on day three (at least that is my theory, and I'm sticking to it!). It works out well that today is saturday, I can relax, have a bath, or even an afternoon nap if I feel like it.

Today is great so far! Beginning to feel some of the benefits already. I have more energy, and my pants feel more comfortable. It is nice not to have the "I'm so full" feeling after every meal. Instead, it is a nice satisfied feeling.

When I make a salad for dinner, I tend to make a very LARGE one. My biggest downfall is afterwork, I am STARVING! So, when I get home, and am making dinner, I tend to munch! I have found over the last few days, if I have a nice big salad to come home to, already prepared, it makes the munching, and making dinner a lot easier.

Also, this morning, I hit the ground running (so to speak, no, not exercising!) I ran straight into the kitchen and whipped up some old favorites because I know that today, being around the house, will be a challenge. I made a nice big batch of my favorite guacamole to help get me through the day. I also washed and prepared all my veggies and fruit that I got from the farmers market this week. Speaking of the farmers market, I was told that you cannot put apples and pears together. That is a funny thing! Supposedly the apples go bad if they are together with the pears. Never heard of that before. Too bad my grandma wasn't around, she surely would have known that. So, I have to make a separate fruit bowl for the pears, which isn't so bad, I currently have a separate bowl for the grapes too! Boy isn't my kitchen gonna look cute with all this fresh fruit hanging around!

For breakfast, I tossed the left-over fruit salad from yesterday (strawberries, grapes, raspberries and pineapple) into a blender, added a banana and some water and ice, and voila, I had a really yummy fast, easy, no-waste breakfast. I have to say, I am impressed with how full I feel right now. It is a cold, snowy day in Ontario, and I am enjoying a nice smoothie! Life is good.

So back to the kitchen for me, and a nice easy, simple day around the house.

And I forgot to mention.... I am really proud of me! That is a really good feeling!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Day Two: Survived day one!

Although, think I did overdo it with the nuts and seeds, but seems to help me with the carb withdrawal.

I signed up for the "7 day detox" with The Raw Divas. They have a great site, and I have attempted the program before and never quite made it. They seem to have made a few changes to the original program, and now there is a 5 day pre-detox segment. I am looking forward to getting through the program this time. I encourage anyone interested in becoming "raw" to check out their site. The 7 day detox is free, and the site is filled with lots of interesting and valuable information.

This morning when I was brushing my teeth, and thinking about the idea of how everything that we put on our skin is absorbed and enters our bodies and blood streams, I started thinking about my grandmother. Years ago, in her lifetime, everything was a lot simpler. Meals were home-cooked, laundry hung on the line, fresh-air and exercise a daily event (you know, the "I walked 10 miles up-hill, both ways to school every day!"). Now, I’m sure that grandma’s homemade cookies were full of white-flour and sugar, but at least you could pronounce, and you new what all the ingredients were. I remember being a kid in the 70's, when I think a lot of the "new and improved" processed foods were being introduced, and I remember grandma saying to everything "oh, thats gonna give you cancer...", and how we all thought she was such a fuddy-duddy for saying so. Funny thing now, I think grandma was right. Maybe there really does come wisdom with age. Wonder what she would think of today's hair removal lotions, sucralose and cell phones, to name a few.

Another funny thing, I was informed yesterday that becoming a "raw foodist" has not only a positive impact on your body, but there are spiritual and emotional aspects to the change as well. Clarity on all levels increases. That should be an interesting thing to experience. Who doesn’t need a little clarity in life.

As for me, little bit of a headache today, and I’m a bit tired - didn’t sleep too well last night, but that was more due to my dog than to my new eating habits!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Day One: So far so good!

Today is day one in this new adventure. I have been trying to go "raw" for a few months now. I ordered Alissa Cohen’s "Living on Live Food" book and CD yesterday (as well as the truffles)! The girls are pretty excited about this new change (Ben was out at hockey last night, so he’s not aware of it yet). I have been prepping them for the last few months as well. I don’t expect my children to go 100% raw on this adventure, but I figure by increasing the veggie and fruit intake, as well as educate them as to healthy eating habits, it’s all good.

Woke up at 6:00 this morning, earlier than my normal. Made some fruit salad for the girls for breakfast, as well as packed some up for their lunches. They were all very excited about that. The girls love fresh fruit salad. Ben on the other hand, isn’t overly fond of it, and I am assuming that he had the regular sugar laden cereal for breakfast. I found myself hungrier than normal this morning, so I had a banana and a handful of grapes, along with a great big glass of lemon-water. Lunch will consist of the fruit salad from this morning, and I will have a great big salad for dinner.

So far so good, but dinner will be the real test. Breakfast and Lunch have always been fairly easy for me to keep "raw", but dinner, and cooking for four hungry kids, is a bit of a challenge!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Pre-Raw Day...

The Raw Food Diet: A concept of only eating living plants, nuts, and seeds to maintain health. The idea sounds simple enough, the fact that our body uses the nutrients from these sources as building blocks for our "living" cells. Living the diet isn't as "simple", at least in my experience so far...

There are some concerns about long-term effects about staying on a "raw" only diet. Guess I have to get there first, to worry about the long-term. The short-term seems too good to be true; weight loss, better energy, improved health, reducing of wrinkles and grey hair...
For me, there are however, some very big road-blocks in the way to obtain this "raw food" adventure. I am a mother of four pre-teens, and the thought of a "raw only" dinner does not excite them. Another hurdle, I am a single parent with a demanding job... therefore, prep time in the kitchen for meals is not in abundance. Also, I live in Canada, where there is plenty of fresh fruits and veggies in the summer months, but my last trip to the farmers market, proved that the season is literally almost done (actually, lots of nice looking apples available). The last hurdle that I have to overcome is a tree-allergy. Now, I know that I won't be carving up any pines for dinner in the near future, but my tree-allergy is so severe that any "un-cooked" product from a tree (fruit or nut) could be fatal - therefore the apples at the market look good, but I can't eat them... gee, maybe I should re-think this "raw" thing afterall...

I am going to order "Living on Live Foods" by Alissa Cohen today (maybe even throw in an order for some of those truffles for when the dreaded sweet tooth rears its ugly head), and I am going to dig out my "Supercharge Me" video and watch it tonight when I get home as inspiration.

I am hoping that this new "blog" will be my way of staying accountable to this new adventure of mine. I am also hoping that if there are others out there on this journey, maybe this forum will be a way for us to support each other.

Wish me luck....