Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Loaded up with Fruit

I have to give Juice Feasters a lot of credit. I didn’t make it through the day yesterday, and I "cheated" with a clementine in the afternoon, followed by a regular dinner. I am glad that I have my Fugi apples and my clementines with me today.

I think that with proper planning, and with a variety of juice recipes it is something that I could do (can’t believe I just said that!). My buddy Tigerlily tells me that the hunger goes away after three days - that is a long time! So, this weekend, I think that I will browse some sites, do some reading and test some juice recipes. I think that having the same juice at work was a hindrance. It was good, but there was no variety. I felt tired of drinking the same juice by the afternoon. I am more of a fruit juice than a veggie juice type of girl any ways.

The best part about this juice feast and the thing that I find comfort and strength in, is know that I will once again have a buddy along the way, to hold my hand on my journey. Guess the next thing to do is set the date...

One thing that I really enjoyed yesterday was the clementine juice. This morning, I made another batch of clementines and pineapple. I didn’t strain this batch, and the kids and I enjoyed nicely blended juice with our breakfast.

On another note, I listed my house for sale on January 16th, it sold on January 23rd, conditionally until February 3rd (I have a really good agent!). So, the past few weeks my life has been pretty exciting. Just as raw food is an adventure about change and new things in life, I have another adventure and new change on the horizon. I am pretty excited about the new possibilities, the clean slate and the adventure that awaits us!

I hope this tastes good!

... that is what I was saying to myself this morning, as I juiced (in my smoothie maker) 1 bunch of celery, 1 litre of water, 4 pears and ginger. Once I blended it all together, I strained the mixture through cheesecloth (as my health-food-store had never heard of a nut-milk bag, I’d better order one off the internet). I actually strained it twice, and I could have probably strained some more. Just a side note, make sure, if you are juicing using my straining method, you plan your shower for after the juice making experiment!

This concoction made 3/4 of a 2 litre mason jar. I also juiced 6 clementines (and strained) with ½ litre of water. This was really tasty, and was my mid-morning juice.

I did this to attempt a juice feast, just for today. This is my next adventure, together with Tigerlily. We have not officially started yet, as it takes a lot of research, planning and preparation. I just wanted to give it a "one day trial" to see if it was something that I could picture myself doing.

A juice feast is a daily regiment of 4 litres (possibly more) of freshly squeezed juice plus water. The Juice Feasting Website has a lot of valuable information on taking care of every aspect of your routine while on a juice feast. It is a lot of material, and I want to make sure that I have a full understanding before I attempt a full feast. A juice Feast can last for a period of up to 92 days!

"Juice feasting is about getting all the calories you need in a day (e.g. 1500 for an average woman) directly from juices. You still lose weight and detox, as your body has space to work on things other than digesting solid foods, but there is no feeling of ‘lack’. It is a fast, effective and highly beneficial way to cleanse, rehydrate, alkalise and re-build your body."

I started my day off with one litre of water, added the juice of ½ of a lemon, and 3/4 tsp of MSM. This is the recommended daily start to a juice feast on the Juice Feasting Website.

I wasn’t quite sure what MSM was (organic sulphur) or what its benefits were (worth the read!). I have to admit that I was a little worried, when I picked it up at my health-food-store last night and saw that it was sulphur - yuck!

I began feeling a bit nauseated at work, and after reading, it seems to be an initial side effect of the MSM. Better try just ½ tsp tomorrow and work my way up.

I don’t think I want to attempt a 92 day juice feast. That seems a bit too much for me to grasp at this time. Angela Stokes has a plan for a five day juice feast, which is probably more what Tigerlily and I will partake in. Maybe after 5 days, we may attempt a longer feast.

I will report on my full days experience tomorrow, but I will say that my GREEN GOOP is rather tasty!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Life is a Bowl of Cherries for an Invisible Mom

... but I never feel like I am in the pits, like Erma Bombeck's Book. I guess it is all about perspective. I like to keep a positive outlook on life. Other people in my situation might not feel the same way, they might feel like they are in the pits.

I love my life. I love my children, I am very fortunate to be surrounded by a lot of people who love and care about me. There is nothing better in life. Life is not about how much we can accumulate, it is about what we leave behind. It is the memories and the people that we touch that carries on. I received an email from a friend today (one of those ones you pass around to all your friends). I really liked the email. It is a long read, and I'm not sure who to credit it to, but it will put a smile on your face, and make you feel good if you are an invisible mother:

I'm Invisible
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.

Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom.
Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:
No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people
who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime, because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Tic Tac Toe, Chocolate Macaroons to go!

It is so cold here today. It is minus 13 degrees Celsius, before the wind chill factor. However, it is really deceiving, the sun is shining over the city, creating a nice glow. If you look really closely at the city, you can see the frost on the windows, the smoke blowing from the chimneys while the furnaces try to keep up, the people with hoods and scarves pulled tightly around their faces in an attempt to keep the cold harsh winds out.

It is a nice day to stay snuggled under the blankets in bed, or sit by a roaring fire with a cup of hot chocolate. These are all nice visuals; however, I don’t think that I would be satisfied with a mug’o’chocolate.

It is funny how your tastes change once you have become accustom to raw foods. Even the occasional "sneak" that I do, because I use to love that food is a huge letdown. The visualization and the memory of how the food tasted is very different from the food that actually reaches my taste buds now. Deceiving, much like the view outside my window today.

I realize, and I am beginning to know in my heart (because knowing something and believing it can sometimes be two different things) that raw food is much superior in nutrition, as well as flavor and taste. I think that I need to reach this realization so that I do not feel deprived from my old favorites; and with so many raw food recipes posted on blogs and on the web, I can satisfy most cravings that I have.

This morning, I woke up early again and made my macaroon truffles. I rolled one third in raw coconut, one third in raw carob nibs and one third in raw cacao powder. I can’t wait to indulge in one of these sweet treats.

I love chocolate and I crave it sometimes. I’m not entirely sure if it is a hormone thing, or a stress thing, but I know that sometimes, all I can think about is a piece of chocolate. Raw Chocolate is one of those things that cannot compare. Last fall, when I first made my Raw Chocolate Macaroons, I discovered this. The chocolate that I cheated on over Christmas could not compete with the smooth, rich, satisfying flavor of raw chocolate.

Lately I have been craving chocolate again. However, this early morning creation, unlike yesterdays, was not enjoyed at the breakfast table. Infact, I have smuggled the cute box above to work, where it will stay in my drawer incase I need that "chocolate fix", and I have hidden the ones at home. Don’t get me wrong, I will share (evil grin), but knowing my kids, if they knew they were in the back of the fridge, lower shelf, behind the milk, they would probably be gone before I made it home from work today. And if my precious children are actually reading my blog, please save one for mom :0)

Happy Friday everyone, the weekend is just around the corner.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Five Apples and Kristen's Contribution

In celebration of National Pie Day (one day late), I woke up extra early this morning and threw together this amazing raw creation! It was absolutely delicious! The nice thing about eating raw food, is that you can enjoy treats like this any time of the day. So, accordingly, me and the kids enjoyed this apple pie for breakfast, together with a chocolatey-chocolate mint smoothie. This smoothie was as close to a chocolate milk shake as they get!

I was also excited and honored to receive an Inspirational Blogger Award this morning. Keely, the one who nominated me (thanks! muah-muah!) has a nice history of the award on her website.

Kristen was a creative-chef in the kitchen herself this weekend, and created this yummy dip for veggies that she got from her seventeen magazine. I love the fact that she looks for healthy recipes, although she is not 100% raw, she does eat a lot of fresh veggies and fruit and is very health and exercise conscious.

Here is her contribution:

Yogurt Dip
Mix 1 ½ cups vanilla yogurt with 1 diced cucumber, 1/4 cup green onions, 1 tbsp lemon juice and a dash of pepper.

This was a great dip for her fresh veggies. I am sure this recipe could be "rawified" very easily. Maybe I should "Just ask Shannonmarie". Hmm, that sounds like a good side business for her!

Okay, so in the tradition of the Inspirational Blogger Award, I in turn, have to nominate other bloggers who have inspired me on my journey. I would like to pass the award on to the PEOPLE not the blogs that have been most inspiring to me, of which are in no particular order.

My Dad - for trying to understand a raw lifestyle, and for grasping for that green smoothie and diving in with both feet. He has been my inspiration for so many things in life, I like to think that maybe I am his inspiration (at least for green smoothies) and I am so proud of him for accepting the challenge 100%!

Tigerlily - My "raw" buddy. We developed a relationship through The Raw Divas website, and have been raw buddies ever since. We keep in constant contact via email, and she is my only "raw" friend. I look forward to her emails, look forward to her advice, comments and suggestions. It is such an honor to be able to call her friend, and I only hope that one day, we can share a green smoothie together.

My Children - For all of their "eews" and "icks" when mom puts another green smoothie together, for every time they have been my guinea pigs for each of my new raw dishes, for each time they tell me that they are proud of me and that I look great, they have been my inspiration, and my reason for trying to make the world a better place.

My Readers - it is very inspirational to know that people are actually reading what I have to say, and even coming back on a daily basis. I love getting your comments and encouragement everyday!

The Raw Food Community - who would have thought that one day, a google search for "detox" would lead me on such an adventure. There are so many good blogs and forums and sites out there, and raw foodies are very free with advice, recipes and inspiration. It is such a nice feeling to be a part of such a warm and inspiring community.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"Green Is The New Black"

The girls and I went on somewhat of a shopping spree this weekend. It is nice to have girls, 'cause that is what we do best! We all bought matching 100% Organic Cotton Tees. I'm hoping to purchase a lucky duck hoody soon, it looks so cute and comfy - bet my girls will all want one too! They also have the dehydrator I've been looking at. Better save up!

I like the fact that we "all match" in our organic Tees (mom even got one). I can’t remember all of us having the same shirt ever! I also like the fact that my children are becoming more health conscious and more environmentally friendly. I don't think you can adapt a raw lifestyle without it overflowing to other parts of your life. You should see my green-cart bin! The City of Hamilton offers a "composting" program, and eating raw, I can sure fill up my cart rawfully fast.

I also have them on my "boycott plastic shopping bags" crusade. Old Navy had a sale on over sized bags this weekend so I bought one for each of the girls to use as their shopping bags for the day. It worked out great. They looked so cute walking through the mall, filling their bags as we went. I told them that every time we go shopping now, they have their own bag to bring to the stores or mall. Now, if I could just find a whole bunch of canvas totes, I could create my own line of reusable bags with cute sayings, just like Shannonmarie does with her tankies! (The bags are great for smuggling raw food and smoothies into the theatre too. Took the kids to see Cloverfield last night and Kristen brought her bag!)

To end the weekend, we all went to Booster Juice and got a smoothie (even Ben came with us). The kids got really fun smoothies and I was able to find a "Cranberry Crave" on the menu that I could enjoy also. I really love cranberries!

It was a great weekend, spending time with the ones I love most in the world.

PS - The mountain climb yesterday was successful, the snow had stopped falling by the time we got there, and the stairs are designed for weather! I successfully made it to the summit and back. Thats two days in a row with no st. bernard to the rescue.

PPS- Heard on the radio this morning that today is National Pie Day, think I might have to celebrate with an Amazing Raw Applie Pie! What better excuse to experiment in the kitchen!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Conquering the Mountain

Sometimes that phrase can be symbolic. Today, for me, that phrase was literal.

Well, I guess as literal as it can. In Hamilton we have an escarpment; however, people in Hamilton like to refer to it as the Hamilton Mountain. "Conquering the Escarpment" didn't have the same effect for a blog title.

In an attempt to add more exercise to my weekly routine, I decided to attempt to climb the Hamilton Mountain Stairs.

There are five different staircases that ascend the Hamilton Mountain. I have chosen to attempt the Dundurn Stairs - 356 steps up then 356 steps down. I suggested the idea to my kids this morning, 50% in favour 50% against, so we will see whether it is something that they will join me on in the future. A few girls at work have decided to do this jaunt after work when the weather permits. Will I be joining them on a regular basis? Lets see if I can conquer the mountain first!

Dundurn Street is a pretty street when you first enter the City of Hamilton. It has Lake Ontario at one end, and the Hamilton Escarpment at the other. There are some beautiful Century homes at the base of the escarpment, maybe I will find myself lucky enough to live in one of them.

I made it to the top! I am very proud of me! My girls are excited too, and want to conquer the mountain with their mother. Think I will have to get used to the exercise first, three times a week (m-w-f) before I start adding a weekend jog (or shall I say crawl) up the escarpment.

UPDATE: It is currently snowing and blowing out there, it is 4:36 pm in the afternoon, the girls at work are still planning on leaving work at 5:00 and conquering the mountain again today! So, just to let you know, if you don't hear from me for a few days, the mountain swallowed me whole, send out the st. bernard with the barrel around his neck!

Friday, January 18, 2008

To Market To Market To Buy ...

After getting all excited about my dates and having that pear on the brain, I decided on my way home last night to grab a variety of fruit from the produce section and have a "sampling plate" at the dinner table.

This, was infact my dinner, together with a chocolate-mint smoothie. The kids loved the idea too.

On my fruit platter, I cut up star fruit, an Asian pear, cherries and added some of my dates (which I couldn’t wait to get home and eat). The star fruit was really pretty to cut up, and the taste was something that I can’t actually describe. I really don’t know of any other fruit that I could compare it too. The Asian pear looked more like a white apple than a pear, and it was really good too! The kids asked if we could have a fruit platter like that for breakfast one day. I think that is a great idea!

I got asked today if I was changing my office into a Market.

On the way to work, I decided to stop by the grocery store and "stock up" on some fruit for my office. I have been meaning to bring in a bowl and make a fruit bowl on my filing cabinet for sometime, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

Today I purchased a small amount of bananas, a box of clementines and some cherries. I really shouldn’t eat the cherries, but they are really wonderful and if I take it slow, they seem okay. So, in my office, I have the nice wooden crate that the clementines came in, with bananas on top, and of course, some of my dates and cherries to top it all off.

It is great to have the fresh fruit accessible here. I find that eating raw, you tend to get hungrier sooner than you would if you stuffed your belly full of carbs and fats. Therefore, even with a smoothie for breakfast, I find that I am starting to feel hungry by about 10:30 in the morning. I usually tote some fruit in my bag together with my smoothie, but no more!

I may just have to go to the farmers market at lunch today, and see what other new discoveries I can find to fill my office and my platters at home... breakfast tomorrow will be an exciting adventure! I may even get brave and purchase a prickly pear... but have to figure out how to eat them first! Besides, I need to get out for a nice walk to smell the roses, and to remember all that I have and all that I am thankful for in life.

Took my daughter to see Mamma Mia last night. It was so much fun to spend one-on-one time with her. I told her that we will have to make it a yearly tradition. I will buy us theatre tickets for Christmas, and we will enjoy a nice show together. The show was great! I look forward to next year, wonder what will be coming to Hamilton next! I just might turn into a Broadway girl!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Mason Jar of Green Goodness

Years ago, my mother bought me a really cool Mason Jar. At the time, I thought it was an odd purchase, but it was made the same year that I was born, and she thought that was pretty nifty (I won’t be the revealer of that date - you’d have to ask my mother)! I was surprised to learn that you can be a mason jar collecting hobbyist too, wow.

She has always been good at finding "treasures" for her daughters. It was a pretty good sized jar, with a clear glass lid. I put the jar in a safe place. It is in such a "safe" place, that I will have to try and remember and have my own hunt for that treasure (thought it was tucked in the back of my cupboard, but couldn't find it this morning). Although, I know that I kept it, I am a bit of a sucker for keeping things that my mother gives me!

The reason that I was thinking about that mason jar, was because of my green smoothie.

My Green Smoothie is accompanying me more places lately, especially to work. It has always been difficult to find a container worthy of my smoothie (or maybe large enough and sturdy enough and easy to clean and spill proof - imagine exorcist vomit everywhere). The hunt for such a vessel has been daunting to say the least.

I read a blog and saw a photo with a green smoothie in a MASON JAR!


Light bulb moment!!!!

While I am on my quest to boycott the plastic shopping bag, I have also been reading a lot of articles about saving glass jars. They can be washed out and re-used for storing foods and buying bulk items (instead of the dreaded plastic containers leaking toxins on your food).

It suddenly made perfect sense to tote my smoothie in a mason jar. I am reducing and reusing and recycling, as well as providing green goodness, what could be more perfect! It also looks kinda cool!

So, if you are venturing on a Green Smoothie Quest yourself, hunt no further than your mothers or grandmothers or even your own basement to find the perfect Mason Jar! Boy, am I gonna have fun looking at antique markets this summer!

Today, this lovely jar was filled with Green and Gone Smoothie from the Gone Raw Website - if you need smoothie ideas, it is the place to check out! I substituted the Dino Kale for Spinach for my smoothie - I had the spinach at home, and it is my green of choice for smoothie making.

PS - Think I might start saving some of those other jars for my bulk food purchases, I hate the "bulk" plastic bags too!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wanna Date Mz. Goldilocks?!?!

Nice thing about a raw diet, is there is always something "new" to try.

Last night I felt like Goldilocks! On my way home from work, I stopped at the Grocer. Not my regular grocer, but one around the corner. To my surprise the door was open, I just stepped on the magic carpet and the door opened up. I went in, and I found the most wonderful produce. Somehow my eyes had been opened. I hadn't gone to this grocer in awhile since it was the "cheaper" grocer, and they sometimes carry sub-standard fruits and veggies, not the type of produce you want when changing to a raw diet.

There was a large variety of produce that I was surprised by; they carry dandelion greens, kale, Chinese pears (which I have never seen before, but will be picking up soon). Upon my travels, I came across the most wonderful box of dates. I couldn't believe my eyes! Now, this is where I truly felt like Goldilocks!

I had only previously seen (and eaten) dates in bulk. The bulk dates are pretty gooey and sweet. They are great for a variety of raw food recipes, but I find them a bit much to eat alone (unless I am having an uncontrollable sweet tooth).

The dates I bought last night weren't too sweet, they weren't too gooey, they were just right! I ate a whole bowl and went right to bed (hopefully no bear will wake me!).

I have found a new favourite, and something that I would have never imagined purchasing before. I am a happy girl today, with a new love of dates!
PS - I successfully recommitted 100% yesterday, and am now on day 2. I just have to remember all of the benefits of a 100% raw diet - and yes, mind clarity is definitely one of them!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Day One 100% Recommitted!

Today I have the sniffles and sneezes, the tail end of a "cold". I really don’t remember the last time that I got a cold, or the flu, seems like it has been forever. I stocked up on clementines, and with my goji berry smoothies, and that seems to have helped somewhat.

I think that my "cold" may be due to a weaker immune system due to a recent hospital trip. I also think that it might be due to the fact that I haven’t been 100% raw lately. I found that over Christmas, there were a few moments of indiscretion, as well as, after the hospital stay, I found it easier to eat "cooked" food. My sister made me a wonderful cauliflower and spinach soup, and it was a tummy filling treat the first few days after surgery.

I am making this my first day of re-committing to 100% raw! (I have probably been 75-90% lately). I am once again using my blog to be accountable for my re-commitment!

I do have to say, that maintaining a 100% raw lifestyle is relatively easy. It is much easier than I originally thought it would be. The only must for a raw lifestyle is PLANNING and PREPARING and THINKING AHEAD.

As well as 100% Raw, here is what I am committing to:

Breakfast with the kids - 7 times per week (smelling the roses!)
Taking time for me - 6 times per week
Updating my blog - 5 times per week
Green Smoothies - 4 times per week
Exercise - 3 times per week
Yoga - 2 times per week
Fast/Water day - once per week
Zero tolerance for plastic shopping bags - if I don't bring my "green" bag, I carry the goods, same goes for the kids!

That is my plan for the next 21 days!

On a personal note, listed the house last night... this is one of the few remaining "loose strings" to be tied up in my personal life. Hopefully it will sell fast, and I will find something that I love, and I will be content in all things in life!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Goji Berry Smoothie

Saturday Morning, I wasn't feeling 100%. I had a small tickle in my throat, and was a bit tired. After reading about how good Goji Berries were, I decided to add them to my morning smoothie. This was inspired by Karen Knowler's Ezine, where she suggested a Goji Berry Juice made with berries and oranges. This was my breakie saturday morning:

Goji Berry Smoothie
2 handfuls Goji Berries, Soaked
4 Clementine oranges
1 Banana
Ice Chips

Add Goji Berries and water it was soaking, clementines, banana, ice and blend in smoothie maker.

I was rather surprised by the bright orange colour of the smoothie, considering the berries are red, but after some online reading, I found that they are higher in beta-carotene than carrots.

It was a different taste than the smoothies that I have become accustom to, but it was enjoyable! I am hoping to reap the rewards from the berries! As you can see, there was two smoothies that were enjoyed Saturday Morning, making for a nice romantic day and night.

".. they are believed to enhance immune system function, help eyesight, protect the liver, boost sperm production, and improve circulation, among other effects. In TCM terms, Goji berries are sweet in taste and neutral in nature; they act on the liver, lung, and kidney channels and enrich yin...Goji berries are nutritionally rich, containing beta-carotene, Vitamins C, B1, B2 and other vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids"

Friday, January 11, 2008

Taking care of Me

Why is it that people are perceived as selfish when they are "taking care of themselves"?

Maybe if it is done in a selfish manner, and by putting others needs behind their own, then it can be perceived that way. But sometimes people need to be able to take care of themselves in order to be the best that they can be. By taking a little extra time for ourselves, we are better able to function daily, and better able to care for and spend quality time with the ones we love.

Karen Knowler had a great article in her Ezine today, Successfully Raw, about taking care of yourself. I think that in the world today, somehow, most of us tend to put "us" on the back burner. (I am really enjoying her weekly ezine!)

I know that I am guilty of this. I have had some "down" time recently to recoup from a little corrective day surgery. Maybe this has made me realize that I need more time to take care of me, otherwise, who will be there to take care of everyone else? A little down time can also help you realize what is truly important in life, and it forces you to stop and smell the roses.

Somehow though, the call of the everyday work, kids, homework, school projects, laundry, meals, grocery shopping, housework, planning, etc tend to weigh heavily and limit the time that we have available to take care of us. The Raw Divas Blog has a great article about the benefits of getting enough sleep. This is one of my favorite forms of pampering... that, and a hot bath. I love a nice afternoon nap on a Sunday afternoon, and I love a nice hot, bubble, scent filled bath before bed in the evenings, especially after a long day at work.

In this new year, full of new years resolutions, it is a chance for us to make positive changes to our lives and the lives of those around us by setting good examples for the people we care about. I don’t have a lot of new years resolutions this year, and the ones I have are simple and fulfilling. I will add "taking care of me" to the list, because if I can do that successfully, the rest will fall into place. And of course, eating raw is "taking care of me" ;0)

PS - My smoothie today was the "banana delight smoothie" recipe for the kids, then for my own benefit, I added 4 romaine leaves and some fresh ground ginger to my portion. I am REALLY enjoying the combination! Tried to make Rawdorable's Cinnamon buns for breakfast, but something went TERRIBLY WRONG!!! Have to try that one again! If you haven't checked out her blog, I strongly recommend it!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Eggnog and Timbits, oh my...

Inspired by a fellow blogger (thanks Shannonmarie for the inspiration), todays breakfast consisted of Tropical fruit smoothies and Donut holes. The Donut holes were a take off of Ani Phyo's recipe. My food processor could not keep up, so more coconut was added to the base, and the dates appeared as "raisins", just like in the dutchie timbits!

They were very sweet, and not my first choice for a breakfast food, but they are wonderful and the kids couldn't believe they were for breakie. They will definitely calm the sugar beast when he comes around!

I made the recipe last night before I went to bed so that they would be ready for this morning, Laurenne asked if she could eat the "raw" dough. I said "sure, no problem with this recipe". Laurenne loves to eat raw dough and batter, and I always tell her she will get sick, something my mother told me, but with the no-cooking being done around my house, I have no problem with her sampling the dough. We both got a chuckle out of that one.

Donut Holes
2 cups almonds
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups dried, and soaked pineapple
2 cups pitted dates
200 grams shredded coconut

Put almonds and vanilla into food processor and blend, add pineapple, then add dates and ½ coconut. This is where my food processor couldn’t handle the load, so I emptied all into a bowl, added remaining coconut and rolled into balls. Placed into refrigerator overnight.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Turning over a new leaf....

A New Year and a new beginning. I love New Years. Doesn't matter what has happened in the past, there is always a "fresh start". This New Years, we woke in Ontario to a fresh blanket of snow, making everything new again! Something about fresh fallen snow that also adds to the "newness" of the season.

I have successfully vanished the sugar cereals from our breakfast table since New Years. Breakfasts have consisted of a variety of "cooked" things for the kids (smoothies for me) since the beginning of the year. It is a new years resolution of mine to begin each day off with the family at the breakfast table. So far this has been easy, because I have been home from work since after Christmas. It may be a bit more difficult to keep up the resolution once I get into my regular work routine, but I think it is important enough to wake up the few minutes earlier, in order to start the day off right with my family.

I have started a smoothie revolution in my family! I got my dad a smoothie maker, together with a big basket of fruit for Christmas (thanks to Heidi's Christmas Ideas) and let him borrow my "Green for Life" book over the holidays. He has been enjoying smoothies since Christmas and enjoyed his first "green" smoothie today. He is going to try and incorporate one litre of green smoothies into his diet daily. My significant other has been increasing the smoothies in his daily diet, and is even having his boys enjoy them for breakfast! My brother-in-law, after listening to my rants about the benefits of green smoothies, has also jumped on the band wagon. They are all asking me for recipes! Wow - can't say anyone has ever wanted my recipes before. My best advice to them when it comes to green smoothies, is to experiment with fruit only first, find a combination that they like, and then add the greens into the mixture. I think that is the easiest approach to a "green smoothie".

I am looking forward to 2008! There is much excitement around the corner, it should be a busy year, but one full of excitement and adventure!