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!