Raw Food Diet

3/3/2001 Raw Food – 2 week checkup! Shift to vegetarian

I can’t believe it’s been almost a week since I’ve written.  A lot has happened that has both reinforced our commitment to this way of eating and led us to modify it a bit.

In that time I’ve discovered a delicious, simple carrot soup (I made it up myself)

5 medium sized carrots (peeled for a sweeter taste)

1 cup coconut milk

1 tsp (or to taste) vanilla

mix in a blender until smooth (you can also add an avocado to make it really creamy)

eat cold or slightly warmed

grate nutmeg on top

Alyssa thought it tasted like baby food 🙂 I thought it was yummy.

Her migraines are back, so we’ve modified her diet a bit. Still mostly raw, but she can have cooked rice and steamed veggies.

I also reintroduced broths for rice or soups, but we’ve only done that once. I’m going to try to keep to as much of a raw veggie diet as possible.

Deborah’s Observations: Contrary to what my raw food cookbooks tell me, I’ve discovered that you can soak rice forever, or at least three days and it’s still – well, raw rice, which means hard, crunchy and pretty inedible. Since I started this diet, I’ve noticed that my sense of smell seems to be heightened, especially with respect to food. I think that Alyssa’s and my eyes look clearer, whiter, brighter. I’ve discovered I love sliced veggies (carrots, celery, cucumbers, green peppers, jicama) with a dash of sea salt and some fresh dill. That’s what I take most days for lunch along with some raw nuts or seeds and fresh or dried fruit. At this point the clementines are wonderful, so I eat those regularly. We’ve also been having great deals on berries lately.

Alyssa’s Observations: I gave up on the total raw food thing. I’m now going vegetarian for the rest of Lent. I just like cooked food too much, rice and veggies. Don’t get me wrong. I do eat a lot of raw fruit, nuts and veggies still, but I like cooked rice and steamed veggies more. I am still staying away from wheat products, milk products, and animal products except for an occasional seafood, like shrimp in my spring rolls. I’m also trying tofu but it tastes like eggs and has a weird texture. I really like almond and coconut milk and my favorite fruit right now aside from dried cherries is raspberries.

Raw Food Diet

2/22/2010 – AWESOME day in Raw Food Land!!!

Ok, Sunday was  a GOOD day in raw food land! I made an absolutely delicious green soup modified from Earth mother’s Clear Green Celery Soup recipe: http://earthmother-intheraw.blogspot.com/search/label/soup. It contained:

1 avocado

1/4 white onion

1 tbsp (2 cloves) diced garlic

1/2 cucumber

3 stalks celery

1 handful cilantro

1 handful dill

juice from 1/2 lime

I creamed everything together in a blender, then garnished with dill and pine nuts. It was so smooth, creamy and tasty! Alyssa ate a whole bowl!

Then I decided to try a raw sweet potato pie recipe based on the recipe here http://livelifeveg.com/raw-pumpkin-pie/

I used sweet potatoes, but found the spicing to be too heavy for my taste.

In fact, I remade the recipe two additional times and put in no spices before I was able to get the spicing down to where we liked it. I put 1/2 of the spiced filling in the second time and only one large scoop in the third time. I know spicing is an individual thing, but this seemed really strong in the original recipe.

We also had a delicious berry and kiwi fruit salad and a chocolate rice milk, strawberry, banana smoothie for breakfast.

All very yummy!

Alyssa’s observations: Much better than yesterday. I finally found something I like. The soup was good! The pumpkin pie was an adventure, but it turned out well.

Raw Food Diet

2/21/2010 – Day 5 – Raw Food Diet – I NEED HELP!!! and the Raw Food Calvary rides in!

Ok, it felt good to get that out of my system! Here’s the scoop! I’M NOT FINDING THIS EASY! Yes, mother, I hear you, “everything worthwhile is worth working for”. I know. That’s not my point. My point is that I need to feed a finicky 16 year old and since Wednesday her favorite phrase has become “I don’t like this”, not meaning the raw food diet in concept, but almost everything I put in front of her to try. Ok,  that’s problem #1. I’m doing all the heavy lifting. This WAS her idea, so I need to keep trying to include her more. Today I asked her to plan her own food menu for the day. We’ll see how that goes.

So my second problem is information. Yes, I purchased an absolutely gorgeous raw food cookbook and yes, I’ve tried several milks and smoothies out of it, but most of the recipes are, well, daunting and time consuming. This doesn’t fit well in my crazy lifestyle. The first step in getting help is recognizing that I NEED it! (Thanks again, Mom!) That said, the second step is to see what I can find on the “google machine”. I mean seriously, this is the 21st century and more information is available to us than ever before. It’s even at our fingertips! I fell into my first helpful website as a result of a fortuitous comment posted on my blog from Earth Mother. http://earthmother-intheraw.blogspot.com/2009/03/you-can-quote-me-planning-is-key.html. There is a wealth of fun stuff here including recipes!

Here are several that sounded particularly good to me:

Sweet potato casserole and cranberry cashew rice pilaf (I have the rice soaking now 🙂 ): http://earthmother-intheraw.blogspot.com/2009/11/thanksgiving-in-raw-take-two.html

Hot chocolate: http://earthmother-intheraw.blogspot.com/2009/12/natures-prozac-hot-chocolate-in-raw.html

Pumpkin pit: http://livelifeveg.com/raw-pumpkin-pie/

Through her site, I found others: I particularly liked:

Sites I like: Kristen Suzanne’s – Kristen’s Raw – below are links to a couple sites I found helpful.

How to get started with raw, motivations for staying raw, sugar and caffeine addictions with raw http://kristensraw.blogspot.com/2009/12/how-to-get-started-with-raw-motivation.html

Raw kitchen and food prep calendar http://kristensraw.blogspot.com/2008/10/raw-food-diet-success-tip-be-focused.html

Great site for how to instructions, with directions to make almond milk – I’m ON this one!: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Milk-an-Almond-fresh-homemade-almond-milk/

Cookbooks of interest (I’m still not sure what you call them when you don’t actually “cook” the food)

I’m interested in Penny Shelton’s Raw for the Holidays (yes, I know it’s not a holiday, but seriously, some festive elements are needed when undertaking a 40 day raw food diet with very limited preparation): http://www.lulu.com/content/e-book/raw-food-rehabs-raw-for-the-holidays/7849749 and Philip McCluskey’s Raw Food, Fast Food:  http://www.lovingraw.com/lovingraw-ebooks-cb/?hop=eatraw

Observation: I went from whiny to empowered in on blog post! I love the I interwebs! I CAN do this!

As I find more gems, I’ll share them! For now, I’m off to make a healthy smoothie for breakfast and plan food for the next several days!

Raw Food Diet

2/21/2010 – I need a dehydrator!

Ok, we’re on this! My realization of the day is that I need better tools. I absolutely can’t do this without a food dehydrator. All the cool recipes I’m finding call for heating food to at least 105 degrees for 4 hours. Went on a hunt yesterday at WalMart and Target. Wanted to try a low end one first, but didn’t find any. Anyone have a recommendation for kind? I will continue the hunt today.

Today I’m going to try an olive oil, lemon juice, oregano or basil (probably basil) dipping sauce for broccoli and cauliflower. Thanks Uzma. I’m also going to add jicama to the parsley, carrot, lemon juice, sea salt, pepper, garlic recipe I made Friday. I really liked all the variants I came up with, but hope that if I sweeten it up a bit with the jicama Alyssa will like it. Yummy fresh salsa and a reprise of my quacamole are also on tap.

For salsa, I will:

Use 1 large heirloom tomato (seeded)

1/2 – 3/4 diced white onion

1 clove minced garlic

Chopped cilantro

Lime juice

Sea salt and pepper

(jalapeno or other hot pepper could be added – Alyssa doesn’t like them)

Still on a hunt for something Alyssa will like.  I think once I get comfortable trying some of the entrees in our cookbook she might have a better time. One downside, they also take a significant amount of time to prepare – hours of soaking nuts, more hours in the dehydrator. I’m also on the hunt for more quick and easy recipes that can be accomplished in a day or less, 30 minutes preferred.

Alyssa and I had a very nice mommy/daughter day today. She’s still getting over the migraine experience. Tordol works, but it seems to take her 2 days to recover. I’m hoping tomorrow she’s really in the clear.

Guac recipe (modified from my friend David Kamerer’s recipe)

2 large ripe avocados

The juice of 2 limes

1/4 cup diced white onion

1 diced roma tomato

A generous portion of chopped cilantro

Sea salt to taste

The keys to this recipe are lime juice and cilantro (don’t be afraid to use a LOT)

Mix lime juice with one avocado, add second avocado and all other ingredients. Mix and let stand 30 minutes. Enjoy with crisp veggies. I like carrots and green bell peppers the best.

Deborah’s observations: I noticed in all these entries, eventually I focus on what Alyssa will like. I need to keep encouraging her to engage more and make decisions about what we eat rather than acting as food rejector. It’s making experimentation less fun than it should be. We’re doing something good for us after all AND this was her idea! On the personal side, I’m really happy with what I’m learning about food. I’m still trying things slowly, figuring out what I like, but I’m getting there. I also want to try adding nuts to my morning fruit smoothie today. I’ve soaked some raw almonds overnight and think I’ll make a variation on Kenney’s almond milk as the base. I’ll let you know what I come up with.

Any tasty fast recipes 16 year old girls would like – greatly appreciated!

Raw Food Diet

2/19/2010 – Searching for variety in our raw food diet

Raw Food Diet – Days 2 & 3

This will be a combined entry as yesterday almost did us in. Alyssa had a new variety of migraine (for her) and we spent ½ the day in the emergency room. They called it a “combination migraine”.  She had numbness on her right side, and trouble talking and answering questions. She was also sick to her stomach a lot. At the ER, they ultimately gave her an IV, anti-nausea medicine, and finally a shot of Tordol to make her sleep. I brought her home and she slept for 5 hours straight. I’m really hoping this raw food diet will help with migraines as well as everything else. That said; we’ve now survived three days.

Bad choices: We tried raw food protein powder. Neither of us much liked the texture it gave to our smoothies. Neither did we like the raw food granola much in either the cocoa (we added bananas and it helped a bit) or apple cinnamon (we added sliced apples) flavors, both eaten with coconut milk. Strange texture and taste. Won’t be buying those again, but will still try to figure out how to make things myself. This weekend will be all about experimentation! Any and all recommendations welcome!

Good choices: Alyssa loves dried apricots and pistachio nuts. She also likes dried cherries (me too!). I put them with pecans which she didn’t like as well. She munched on them throughout the day. Made another yummy smoothie with apple juice, strawberries and bananas this evening – Alyssa says this smoothie and the nut milk (recipe below) are her favorites so far. I also juiced a small watermelon – a TOTAL waste. I should have just put it in the blender. That said; watermelon juice is very flavorful, sweet and refreshing. Alyssa really liked it.

Day 3 for breakfast, I made an absolutely delicious nut milk, again modified from the Kenney et al cookbook. Combined in a blender with ice, I included:

2 tbsp almond butter

1 tbsp coconut butter

2 cups of filtered water

1 tbsp honey

A pinch of sea salt

Both of us would agree that this was the best thing I’d made so far.

My friend Kim recommended that we try more savory dips, so tonight I took her advice and mixed in the blender:

½ a bunch of parsley

I tbsp of garlic

1 tbsp of lemon juice

I also wanted more variety in textures of veggies, so I tried it with: carrots, green peppers, jicama and turnips

Jicama was not good with this – too sweet.  I really liked the other veggies though. Alyssa didn’t like it at all, and Steven, who was hanging out with Alyssa, thought it too flavorful, so I added some carrots and dill. This variant was great with carrots and jicama and Steven liked it.  Alyssa was still not impressed.  I’ll keep trying! She likes fruits and nuts, will eat some veggies, but hasn’t liked any dips I’ve tried to this point.

Alyssa’s observations: I got the munchies a lot today (Day 3). I really wanted rice crispies, but I kept telling myself no. I munched on apples, mandarin oranges, dried cherries, apricots and pistachio nuts throughout the day. So far this isn’t much fun. I haven’t found much I like yet. I’ll keep working at it, though.

Deborah’s observations: I’m already starting to look at the grocery in a different way. I buy food for a couple days (ok, it’s only been a couple days) and try to mix it up and find new foods each time. When I’m teaching and at work, I’ve done a pretty good job of planning ahead. I make sure Alyssa has protein (nuts, nut butters, nut milks and seeds), fruits and veggies and I’m monitoring her weight. I don’t want her to lose weight, so regular snacking is important as well as planned eating opportunities with more substantial fare. I’m disappointed Alyssa doesn’t like any of the veggie dips I’ve come up with, but I’ll keep trying and figure out what she likes over the next several days (I hope). Mandarin oranges are a life saver. We both love them and eat several throughout the day. I really liked cashews soaked in water for several hours – (the number of hours you need to soak them depends on the nut) – I plan to try more. I’m soaking almonds now for a smoothie tomorrow morning). Soaked nuts is a staple of all the raw food cookbooks we looked at. I’ve always loved nuts, but soaking them in water makes them more easily digestible. It also changes the texture – so far in interesting ways. I’m a major texture freak, so this is a make or break issue for me.

I still feel we’re at the beginning stages of getting a handle on eating raw, so any suggestions (or recipes) are appreciated. More tomorrow!

Raw Food Diet

02/18/2010 – Raw food diet – Day 1

WE MADE IT! We’ve survived Day 1 of our raw food experience. This isn’t going to be easy, but we’re committed!

I already recounted what we had for breakfast and lunch. Alyssa ate some dried cherries after school (she LOVES them!) and some GORAW cookies with coconut, sesame seeds and dates. I had a banana. For dinner I had another first (consistent with my 2010 objectives 🙂 ). I cracked a coconut. It was a young Thai coconut and I got about 1/2 cup of meat from it (expected more) and 1- 1/2 cups of coconut water. The coconut meat made a yummy smoothie when combined with coconut water, pineapple, a bit of honey, a touch of salt and lime and coconut butter. I adapted it a bit from the Kenney et al cookbook recipe for a pina colada smoothie. I also made guacamole from scratch and it turned out pretty yummy if I do say so myself. I cut cucumber, bell pepper and carrots for dipping and opened a bag of spicy GORAW crackers. Note to self: I need to figure out how to make my own seed and nut crackers pretty quickly. The GORAW food is tasty, but expensive. $5 for 3 ozs. Not going to be buying a lot of that! I cut up some apples and washed some grapes and that was dinner. Alyssa wasn’t too thrilled with the guacamole, so she had a bowl of GORAW chocolate granola with coconut milk and a banana. We’re splurging a bit to get this first week off the ground. We had a lot of variety in our diet today. We’re going to need to keep the variety and find ways to keep the food interesting. So far I’ve invested about $200 in food. We’re eating organic where possible as well. Got some great deals on fruit at Green Acres in Bradley Fair, for example, chunks of pineapple at 99 cents a pint.

We lost Steven today. His mom doesn’t want to “cook” for him and is worried about expense and nutrition, so he’s going to give up meat and sugar for Lent instead of going raw. Still a significant decision, but we’re sorry he won’t be with us on this adventure. Alyssa says she felt hungry all day, but I think she got more filled up tonight. I borrowed a juicer from my friend Kara  and plan to juice watermelon and honeydew tomorrow. We loved those juices when we were in Mexico several years ago.

Cut up a bunch of veggies for tomorrow. Also planning to take guac for lunch with spicy crackers. About to make more nut, seed and dried cherry trail mix. Going to leave out the shredded coconut for tomorrow. It was just messy and didn’t add much to the flavor. For tomorrow I’ll try sunflower seeds, but keep the pecans and cherries. They worked well today. I’ll review in my next entry what else I come up with.

Deborah’s Observations on Day 1: 1) I need to remember to drink a LOT of water (Alyssa says she did this well today). 2) We need to have as much variety as possible in what we eat, color, taste, texture. 3) Smoothies will likely play a significant role in our raw food adventure. 4) it’s all about grazing and feeling comfortable. 5) I need to make sure Alyssa gets enough protein in her diet. 6) Eating raw is expensive – at least to get started.

Alyssa’s Observations on Day 1: 1) It was hard and I’m really tired. 2) That’s all I got.

Question: Does anyone know if there’s a way to manage the temperature of foods so that they don’t get warmer than 116 degrees aside from a food dehydrator?

Raw Food Diet

2/17/2010 – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Going on a raw food diet for 40 days (Lent)

Today the adventure begins. My daughter, Alyssa, her friend Steven, and I are going on a raw food diet. In this blog, I will track our adventures. My objective is to write every day, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ll share with you what we eat and recipes we come up with. A couple days ago Alyssa and I went to Barnes and Noble to look at raw food cookbooks. The food in all we looked at was GORGEOUS! and intimidating. We purchased Ani Phyo’s Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen: Easy, Delectable Living Foods Recipes and Matthew Kenney, Sarma MeIngailis and Jen Karetnick’s Raw Food/Real World: 100 Recipes to Get the Glow. We selected the first book because it had the word easy in the title, the second because the food was so pretty we couldn’t help ourselves. So why are we doing this.

Our motivations: Alyssa’s motivation: As Lent approached, she was impressed by her youth minister, Trevor’s discussions of sacrifice and Jesus fasting for 40 days in the desert. She came home from youth group and informed me she was going to fast for 40 days – no solid food, only protein shakes. “Not on my watch,” I informed her. Like many dancers, my daughter is lithe and muscular, AND she has very little body fat and can easily experience low blood sugar and mild anemia. No weight loss was my major stipulation and what we do (when you’re two in a household, it’s not possible to maintain two separate diets, so whatever she did, I was doing) had to be healthy. I encouraged her to do research to find something healthy she wanted to try. She considered vegetarian, vegan, and raw food diets and after several days told me she’d selected the raw food diet because it would be the hardest. My motivation: my resolution for 2010 is to try new things. So far, I’ve baked an absolutely delicious banana nut bread, crafted a scrumptious ham, bean and tomato stew, entered my photos into my first (it won’t be my last) photography competition, coordinated a large food packaging event to feed Haiti. Now I’m going on a raw food diet. Alyssa picked this cliff and I’m jumping off of it with her. Besides, I like the idea of being very mindful of what I eat for 40 days. It might just change how I think about food. Also, as I read the cookbooks, I was pleased with the claims that my eyes would be brighter, my skin clearer, my hair stronger, my body detoxified and stronger, I’d look 20 years younger and gain 4 inches in height (ok, those last two were more implied than stated). I’d get healthier and stronger. I’m willing to give it a shot! Steven’s motivation: He liked both Alyssa’s spiritual reasons and the idea of jumping off the cliff with us. All of us know this won’t be easy, but the discipline and commitment appeals to each of us, as does doing this together.

To be honest, I know very little about a raw food diet except that it’s going to be difficult and require that I think about food in a whole new way. On one level, it’s rather obvious – eat stuff raw. On the other, how we get the nutrients we need while doing so in a healthy way is not so clear to me.

As I sit writing this, we’re off to a good start. This morning I made a pretty tasty smoothie modified from a recipe in the Kenney, MeIngailis and Karetnick cookbook for my daughter and me for breakfast. In a blender, I combined:

6 chunks of fresh pineapple

3 handfuls of blueberries

½ cup coconut milk

1 tsp vanilla

½ banana

5 ice cubes

For the day, I packed for us:

1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds with a sprinkle of sea salt

sliced carrots, celery, green pepper (and broccoli for Alyssa)

a trail mix of  pecans, dried cherries and raw pumpkin seeds

2 clementines

I have no idea what we’ll have for dinner tonight, but it will be fun to figure it out! And so we begin. We’re open to any reactions, recommendations, recipes (especially tasty recipes)!