Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Day 108 - Acupuncture and the Waggoner

I found an acupuncturist online. He's from Shanghai, which makes me trust him, but he is very difficult to understand. I often wonder if our conversations are really accomplishing their intended purpose.... does he know what I'm requesting? Is he answering the question I asked? Most times I just stay quiet and assume he's doing the right thing, and that he'll help me. And ok, it's not as painless as people generally say. Depending on the area of the body, it either doesn't feel like anything, or um OUCH I definitely feel it. So it's not exactly the most relaxing thing, because I tense up depending on where he is inserting the needle. But once the needles are all in their appropriate spot, and he starts centering my "chi" by waving his hands over my face, I am generally zoned out and pretty relaxed =)

Basically, I sought out acupuncture when I heard from a friend (who is a med student) that a colleague of hers (also a med student) had really bad skin, and looks amazing now thanks to acupuncture and herbal remedies. So I've had three sessions so far, and I should say that I notice marginal improvement and flattening of the cystic areas... Dr. Zou says 10 sessions should return a 50% overall improvement. Do I like those odds? At 90 bucks a pop, we're looking at quite the investment... No less, I've gone three times and when the old man tells me I must obey him, and I must make another appointment for the next week - I guess all I can do is nod and give him my credit card. And I shouldn't complain, because as I said, my face is flatter as of late. Why are antibiotics so much cheaper than alternative medicine! GAH!

In other news, I signed up for a Live Box program through Cousins Incredible Vitality restaurant - the raw vegan spot where I did my initial detox program. I get 6 raw vegan meals a week, that I share with D - and it is going pretty well so far. I'm back on some sort of wagon, after falling off for most of April. I had been very busy at work, with catered food and the whole nine yards coming at me from every angle. What could I do but indulge a little? So I'm paying for it now, with tighter-fitting clothes and all. But eating clean has never been so welcome, HELLO SPRING! =) This week is the first in probably three where I haven't felt tired and bloated. YESSS

As for the blog, wow, falling down on the job much? I had warned readers from the beginning that this MIGHT happen. And yes, the worse I do and the less foods I prepare, the less I feel like doing any type of blogging. And the overall laziness that has set in is just incredible. I am, however, running a bit - I did an 8k in mid-April, and I'll do another 5 mile race at the beginning of May. Feels pretty good, if I could just muster the energy to do so consistently. That would be doubly great!

Lord give me self control! I have none!



Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 81 - Story Time

I'm officially a year older. I celebrated my birthday on Monday, with dinner at a fantastic fish place. Did I mention that I eat fish sometimes? That may have been on my "rules" page in the beginning...from time to time, I go non-vegan. Oops. So with this birthday interruption behind me, I'm chalking up February AND March as a non-raw, mostly-cooked couple of months. Mind you, I do still eat a lot of raw food, but the balance (maybe 50%?) wouldn't really warrant a truly raw classification. I'll stick by my mostly-vegan classification for the purpose of being techncial. But overall, my tendency to overeat in the last 2 months has been my true demise, and not really my food choices persay.

I'm beginning to wonder how "raw" this year will be... as I search for viable options for a sustainable lifestyle. Deep down I feel like raw is a good option for me, but my cooked-food-attachment is quite against that idea at the moment. My skin is raging out of control. RAGING. The dermo meds are not working, and I'm secretly glad this isn't the quick fix, although I'm longing to look like "me" again.

I received a LivingSocial coupon via email for a $25 consultation with a Naturopath in Chicago. I most certainly BOUGHT it...and called to schedule an appointment at the earliest possible. I'll meet with the Doc next week, and am HIGHLY anticipating what she will say about my dreadful skin.

I also spoke with a Raw Chef-in-training who said that she conquered her Candida (ie: acne-causing-bacteria) with diet and lifestyle. She emailed me the name of a book: The Yeast Connection - that she used to get through it. She also suggested that it may be beneficial to allow myself some cooked and non-vegan food as I try to transition my body into a healthier gut flora. Her reasoning was this: I believe that eating organic, free-range chicken could help you.  The raw food diet often needs fruit to make things taste good, so your choices would be severely limited.  At least while you working on this specific problem, you might want to not worry about being so strict on the raw.

Interesting...I might like her already. I will see what the naturopath has to say, and continue on my path of discovery...

Story Time
I was at the Trader Joe's grocery store last week, grabbing a few things before heading home for the evening. The friendly check-out associate politely asked me how I was doing as he scanned each item through the register. I told him that I was generically "fine" and smiled. Then he asked, "Did anything exciting happen today?" Hmmm...I thought...scanning the day's events in my head. Woke up. Showered. Drove to work. Sat at the computer. Went to the bathroom. Talked on Gchat. Drove to Sprint Store. Drove to Trader Joe's while waiting for phone to be fixed. WOW. So I responded, "Well, I'm getting my phone fixed, so I feel somewhat disconnected and that's nice." He said, "Whoa isn't that weird?" I said, "Well it's only been 30 minutes."

He handed me the receipt, I took the bag of groceries and made my way to the parking lot. Whoa, he was probably thinking that I have the most BORING life ever. Maybe it takes saying it out loud to realize how uneventful our lives can be if we don't intentionally inject FUN and INTERESTING circumstances into them. So with that I am currently reevaluating what I'm doing with my life, and how I can strive to have more exciting things to share on a daily basis. Thank you friendly-Trader-Joe's-associate, for asking such a thoughtful and eye-opening question even though you probably ask that of everyone who comes through your line.



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 73 - Vegan Travels


Another 2-week hiatus between posts, tsk tsk. I just got back from a week vacation in San Diego, Los Angeles and Denver. I took the week to catch up with old and dear friends, while my hubby went to Las Vegas with a few buddies. It was a great little spring break, but I'm glad to be back to the daily grind.

Knowing full-well that it would be difficult for me to be raw during vacation (heck, it's been hard to stay raw in LIFE) I went into the week desiring to stay vegan and stray from refined carbs as much as possible. I'd say it was pretty successful, and I stayed at about the same weight throughout. Phew! Granted, the simple act of eating 3 meals a day felt somewhat overindulgent because my body is trained not to need that much alas, the bloat is back. Aaand I wasn't as successful at straying from sugar, especially during my stop in LA.

Day 1 was super encouraging. In San Diego my friend took me to a drive-thru vegan & raw "fastfood" spot that was right by her house! It was called Evolution....I got rawcos (raw tacos) that were DELISH. Here's a look:

Also, according to my friend AJ in Denver, San Diego is the healthiest city in the nation -- followed by Boulder and Denver, CO. So go figure, I found something raworthy in my travels. Do you think raw fastfood would fly in Chicago? Somehow I doubt that....

This past Monday I attended a raw Asian food prep class at Cousin's Incredible Vitality on Irving Park Rd. This is the restaurant that hosted the 28-day detox program.

We learned how to make: Thai curry soup, Thai spinach salad with Peanut Coconut dressing, Vegetable Teriyaki (stirred, not fried), Ginger berry truffles

ALL of these recipes, I would make again without a doubt. The teriyaki was especially tasty -- put in the dehydrator to warm for about an hour -- and it really didn't matter that it wasn't cooked. When I remake them, I will post pictures! I tell ya, if I had a personal chef, I could be raw all the time...

The last thing I'll share for today is that I started a training program for my 8k that is coming up in 2.5 weeks! I've been such a slacker in the running department, but I've already signed up to run, so I'm doing it for sure. I ran a 5k this morning at about 11.4 minutes/mile. Not great, but I was happy to have ran the entire time. The idea today was to run for 40 minutes without stopping, so after I finished the 3.1 miles in the neighborhood, I kept going for an additional 5 minutes or so. I was pleasantly surprised by my endurance =D

I'll have to keep up the training because at the end of April I'm doing a 10k... gosh, Spring got here so fast! All the while, trying to be raw, or some combination of cooked/raw/anti-yeast. The battle continues....


OMG PS - You may remember my previous post about Rawtella. I've never tried it but felt comforted just knowing it exists. Well get this...the company is based in GLENVIEW, ILLINOIS. Hello, I grew up there! I'll be investigating this situation for sure...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 60 - Raw or Not Here I Come

Well, I thought I had neglected this thing for a mere ONE week, but in fact, it has been TWO. The funny thing is that I took pictures of a lovely meal I ate last week and just didn't get around to posting them. It's been a busy couple of weeks for me and D. My eating has been "ok" at best -- still vegan with maybe 50% raw, if that. I spent a few days in Toronto for a business trip, where I ate more plain veggie pita sandwiches than ever in my life. HA. It was the only vegan option anywhere! Roasted Vegetable Wrap, hold the cheese please!

I'm still snacking quite a bit -- I cut out peanut butter (wow what a mistake it was to buy those huge jars) and I'm keeping fewer carby snacks around the house. I got my monthly bill yesterday, so some of this last week's scavenging can be attributed to that.

BIG NEWS! I went to the dermatologist! Yes, I'm officially fed UP with my crazy face. I mean, we all have our limits I guess. I look like I have tumors on my face, literally. No I won't provide photos. So I found a new dermo, instead of the same ole guy that would prescribe Accutane in a heartbeat. This new guy was direct I'd say; he called naturo-health-people "a bunch of lunatics" -- but aside from that little dig, the visit was informative. So here's what I'm pursuing at the moment:
  • A short round of Amoxicilin to get some of the facial inflammation under control. No, I won't be on antibiotics forever. This will be like two weeks, and I'm amping up on probiotics to offset.
  • Spirnolactone -- androgen blocker. This is the one I wary of, I don't know if I'll stay on it. It is basically blocking testosterone from going... somewhere -- he says it stops it from going to the oil glands, but I would imagine it stops it from moving period....? Not sure. He says this should not effect libido. And I'll make sure to let you all know if that is true!
  • Photodynamic Therapy. Ok this one is up in the air. It's a very expensive procedure, but I'm drawn to it because it does not require ingesting any type of harsh medication. It's literally a photo or light therapy that is supposed to shrink the size of the oil glands after a couple of treatments.
The doc said the cause of cystic acne is fatty acids building up in the skin. So for whatever reason (could be diet, genetics, hormones) fatty acids find themselves in my skin. And Doc says the only way to heal this is to shrink the oil glands.

I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE THINKING. Fatty acids....HMMM. Yes, this could very well be diet related, I'm no expert. However, I just NEED some relief. I'm going to do this short term, maybe seek out the photodynamic therapy, and see how things go. Oh how far we go for vanity..... No joke.

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THE OTHER NEWS! I gave up coffee and dessert for lent =D It's amazing how I can stick to a "program" when it has a beginning and an end. When it is just a "lifestyle change" I seem less inclined to stick with it. So for now, I'm going strong on day #2 of lent season! Just to clarify, I've been off caffeine since the new year, but I was drinking decaf on an almost-daily basis with my beloved soy milk. So now it's tea in the morning, just like a good raw vegan girl.

Diet overall, I have a serious cooked food attachment. Maybe this blog should just be called "YEAR" and I can update you all on a year's worth of eating in this weird world I live in. Raw or not, here I come!



Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 46 - Yoga and Sugar

OnDemand Yoga is treating me well. I guess my 40-day Yoga Challenge really began THIS week...haha...because I've actually been doing it every day. Yes, this week it is.

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 I Googled 'Maura Barclay' who teaches one of the televised yoga sessions: intermediate/advanced. I am absolutely not intermediate/advanced, but I certainly aspire to be so. Maura is a former olympic gymnast, maybe, and a former fire fighter...and now has a center for women's self defense. Powerhouse. It's nice to know that her body isn't only a result of yoga, because I wondered how her muscles got so bulky. And, man, she does the poses with such ease....I cannot wait til I start noticing improvement and strength =D

Let's see, I've also signed up for some races beginning in the spring. A 5k, 8k and 5-mile run. The Northshore Half Marathon is in June...which I'm DEBATING about signing up for, even though my true goal for running a half is not until the Fall. June might be a little premature, especially since my running schedule is basically nonexistent at the moment. Then there's the Chicago Rock n Roll Half in August, and the Chicago Half in September. I a runner or a dreamer?

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New goal for life.... QUIT SUGAR. Not just the refined kinds, all kinds. I've had a sort of epiphany, if you can call it that. I used to think that dairy really caused my skin to flair up at random and unfortunate times. And while that's still somewhat true (my face literally swells if I eat milk products) -- I think the larger and more dominant culprit is sugar. I may have said this before, and I certainly knew this in the back of my mind. But now is the time to make a more conscious effort to quit the sugar. I didn't exactly stick to that plan during the Candida now that I'm slowing down and trying not to be as hyper about what I eat.... sugar is the next to get axed.

It's like breaking up with a no-good boyfriend. You know he's bad for you, but you just craaave his attention. Giving in to your heart's desire only worsens the addiction because his grip on you gets tighter still. Til you wake up one morning and hardly recognize the person you've did this happen? You spiral into a bout of denial and sorrow, maybe smoke a few cigarettes or eat some ice cream while you toil with your troubles. Oh if I could only change myself...or turn back time. But really, really...the root of your problems is HIM. Get rid of HIM. LEAVE ME ALONE SUGAR!

Ahhhh ha. Not that I have experience with no-good boyfriends, or sugar.



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 44 - Anxious No More

Today is Tuesday and I don't feel anxious.

For the previous two weeks, I'll admit I was feeling jumpy and a little crazy about what I was allowing myself to eat, what I wanted to eat, and what I "couldn't have". So I think that contributed to my demise...guilt + anxiety + overeating.

Anyway, I woke up Monday and did some OnDemand Yoga, went to work, ate a couple pieces of fruit and a green shake. I had some lentil soup and salad for dinner. And I seriously feel peaceful for the first time in two weeks. I'm not obsessssing about the weight gain, as much. And I feel pretty well.

I'm off of the Candida Cleanse extracts and back on my regular supplement routine: Green shake, chlorella, vitamin C, mushroom supplement, zeolites and adrenal boost. I'm about to place an order on for a new Adrenal Health capsule, Mangosteen supplements (for hormonal health), and some cheap(ish) almond butter! Raw organic almond butter by Maranatha is $20 for a jar! This one is $12.99, yay! Yea I guess I could make it, but I haven't gotten that motivated yet.

Ok and check this out. I won't be purchasing this at the moment, because I am trying to break the sugar habit. But how awesome that this even exists:
RAWTELLA - Raw vegan chocolate hazelnut spread =D

Creative raw vegan foods make me happy, even if I won't be eating them yet. Hmm maybe I'll bring a jar to San Diego when I visit my nutella-fanatic friend.

Today is election day in Chicago, going to vote and then probably hit up Costco for some more organic salad mix. Tonight, just a sensible salad. I worked from home today so I munched more than I should've...



Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 39 - Hot & Spicy Salad

I got the camera out again!

The week is going decently well. I wouldn't say I'm totally back on the raw wagon, but I'm getting there. And I'm feeling pretty good. A few of those excess weekend-pounds have fallen off, so I'm happy considering...

Tonight, D went out with a friend to watch the Bulls game, so I had the place to myself to engage in some serious cooking and cleaning =D We're lending our apartment to an out-of-town friend this weekend, while we're out in the suburbs dogsitting for my parents. So the apartment must be spic and span. I got a heck of a lot done in just about an hour and a half.

So about dinner. I decided I wanted some cooked vegetables, and cooked some quinoa to go with them. So in order to get those those raw veggies in, I put it all over a large bed of raw greens.
And thus is my creation: The Hot & Spicy Salad:

Here's a look at my mound of greens, so you can see that I didn't skimp on the most important part! (In my lovely handmade udon bowl courtesy of my talented cousin).
I didn't feel like making my regular "quinoa pilaf" so I just made about a cup of quinoa in 2 cups water, just like cooking rice. And it turned out to be the fluffiest batch I've ever made.
The final product: fresh vegetables sauteed in a little olive oil, veggie seasoning and a bit of hot sauce (jalapenos too) over fluffy quinoa and lots of fresh greens. It's like a stew and a salad in one.

Salad can warm the tummy too =D




Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day 37 - Just One Week...Just One Week...

I hate to provide constant "status updates" without any real "content" for all of you, but as of late my laziness is the most apparent thing that is keeping me from providing real raw content if you will. So the latest update will be equally as depressing as laziness on a raw diet. Ok, I guess I should stop myself from calling it depressing, because this "depression" has spawned from a weekend of joy and carelessness...and alas...I am left with the aftermath of said "joy".

I've regained almost ALL, yes, ALL of the weight. WTF. I'm feeling bloated beyond belief. I stuffed myself to the brim and then some this weekend, away with friends, in the state of Michigan. I remained mostly vegan (aside from the amount dairy held within a sweet morsel of dark chocolate) - but mostly vegan on a gorger's diet is basically irrelevant to the love handles. My downfall was the sweet tooth, I entertained many chocolates from a sweet little shop, followed by some serious stomach pain, and then more vegan mass consumption.

So today is Tuesday and I have to remind myself that last week was merely ONE WEEK in the 52 WEEKS of this lifestyle experiment. I had mounted a large horse on Jan 9, so the fall was a long one. To get back on this large horse will take a few big steps and a renewed sense of things. OH HORSE, I hate you sometimes!

I took advantage of my "cooked bites" rule by bending and twisting til it made sense to eat french fries...virtually cancelling the Candida Cleanse portion of the show. I'm still taking the extracts and herbs, but in order to really reap the benefits of a candida cleanse.... I should actually do raw, no sugar. I feel like I can't be trusted around cooked food and everyday temptations. I let myself down, and I am paying for it emotionally and physically.

So that's the pity party. The good news, if there is any, is that it's just one week out of 52. So the longer I dwell on mistakes made, the more energy wasted. And the big reminder here is that I really did enjoy the weekend away, aside from the stomach pain. This says to me that I have an emotional attachment with cooked food/sweets. Cooked food + sweets = joy. What an odd equation, but I think this pretty much sums up my current mentality about demonstrated by my actions.

Yesterday I had planned to begin a 40-Day Yoga Challenge, which I heard about from a former college roommate who just finished one herself. Basically, the challenge is to do yoga everyday for 40 days, following a book by Baron Baptiste - with one day of rest per week. I've been so lethargic from the food that I haven't been able to wake up early enough to do it. But the plan is to do 20 minutes of yoga when I get home from work today. This way, I'll be ending my 40-day challenge in time for my BIRTHDAY, and what a great gift it will be to have a peaceful centered practice and reshaped body in time for that.

Lucky for me, OnDemand has televised yoga classes for those times I can't make it to the gym. I will start the Challenge with televised beginners yoga until I get into a bit of a groove. Then, I also have a Groupon for 20 classes of Bikram Yoga near my apartment. And our Gym also offers yoga at least once or twice a week. The real challenge will be to make time for these workouts, while also trying to be more consistent with training for the half marathon!

Oh how lovely are the prospective plans we putting these plans to action, there's the challenge! Anyway, please don't judge me -- I certainly didn't feel like blogging all my failures. But who would I be if I only told you the good stuff? Here we go....



Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 30 - Finding Balance

It feels like I never fasted. I mean, it hasn't been difficult to go back to eating solid food and I haven't experienced any difficulty digesting (that I can tell) yet. Yay?

I'm holding steady at 3 pounds regained, which feels pretty good. My goal this week was to eat one meal a day to kind of ease into the eating thing. However, I've had a couple of unplanned lunches come up at work, so I'm doing the best I can. I ate all-veggie salad with vinegar/oil at both lunches, Mon & Tues, so I'm sticking with the raw theme. I HAVE, however, eaten some cooked food both nights as well. I'll explain.

Monday, D and I made some veggies sauteed in coconut oil (the best) with a little Braggs Liquid Aminos (soy sauce substitute). Delicious. Today, since I had eaten another salad for lunch, I wasn't all that hungry when I came home so I ate some celery sticks with this fantastic new discovery from Costco:

This organic peanut butter is not raw. However, the ingredients on the bottle are: Dry roasted organic peanuts & salt. OK, for a little pick-me-up, this will suffice just fine. No added sugar (2g naturally). I dipped a few celery sticks in the PB, and it was my one non-raw thing for the day.

$7.50 for the 2-pack, and they are obvi larger than the average PB jar. If anyone can offer me a reason why this is bad for me, please do tell. Because for now, it feels so wrong to taste this good...

As I look for balance in this new lifestyle, there will definitely be some cooked foods incorporated into the everyday lifestyle. 80-85% raw, to me, means that I'll dabble with a few bites of cooked food here and there, but maintain the core of my meals as raw organic. I'll add foods like: quinoa, rice flour, sprouted tortillas and polenta -- to eat with my raw greens and veg. As I get deeper into the Candida Cleanse, I will limit my intake of non-raw foods to really let the herbal extracts do their thing. So far, I think the biggest difference is that I'm remaining vegan. My body likes this.



Monday, February 7, 2011

Day 29 - Yum I'm Done!


The 28-day detox portion of this year has come to an end, and I survived =D Just to recap, last week I did ended the program with a 7-day fast, which really ended up being about 6 1/2 days by default. It was a lot more difficult than I anticipated, but I am seeing some results for my perseverance.
  • I lost a whopping 10 pounds in 6 days. My total weight loss for the month is 15 pounds...never fear I have gained back 3 already just from eating a couple of meals. I've been told, a weight gain of about 4 pounds is expected and "normal" after coming off the detox.
  • My skin is FINALLY showing me some improvement and it's nice to see. I'm down to just a few cysts on my cheeks and chin. I hope it will continue to improve as I stay away from dairy, wheat and sugar products.
  • My energy level is back to normal, I'm not feeling weak (since I've eaten) and I feel pretty well rested after about 6 hours of sleep, where previously I felt good after 8.
I broke fast with a delicious smoothie made only of strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and spinach - all of the frozen organic variety - and it was DIVINE. The lighting by the stove was perfect, no I didn't cook it...

Coming up this week, I'm doing a 2-week Candida Cleanse by the same company that did the herbal kit I used for my 28-day cleanse, Ejuva. The goal here, while my system is pretty "pure", is to attack the candida (bacteria) that is causing my acne...and attack it on a deeper level than the initial cleanse was able to do. I'm taking new extracts and more probiotics 3x per day and eliminating all sugar, wheat, and starch from the diet. Or should I say, continuing to NOT eat them...

Today I ate an all-veggie salad for lunch with a red wine vinegar and olive oil drizzle. Was super yummy. Tonight we're going to try to skip dinner and do a little work out instead. I'm going to allow some cooked veggies, but stay about 80-85% raw throughout. the two weeks I think 85% raw will be a realistic number for me going forward, because there is a longing for warm things from time to time.

Also, I wanted to share that I ate at the Chicago Diner last night with my friend's a vegetarian/vegan diner on Halsted in Boystown. I was really trying to avoid the Superbowl snackfest, and didn't care all that much to watch the Packers/Steelers anyway. So this was as nice alternative. My meal was fantastic: sustainable veggies sauteed in Briggs Liquid Aminos (soy sauce substitute) over a bed of Quinoa. I was seriously drooling on my food while eating it...I could barely talk. SO GOOD. No tummy aches today, and I'm feeling great. Oh...and when I got home I saw ALL the Superbowl highlights on ESPN, so I feel like I watched the game anyway!



Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 25 - I'm Gonna Get Through This

Remember that slightly irritating, slightly catchy song by Daniel Beddingfield -- I'm gonna get through this, gonna get through this....? I should be playing it on repeat at the moment.

So yesterday was the worst day of the last 25, by far. Thankfully we're amid Blizzard 2011, so I wasn't required to be all that productive. The snow plows on Montrose have created a barricade to the side streets, so our cars are literally trapped -- and last night Comcast went down, so we can't even "work" from home until they address that issue. It makes our techno-fasting a little more literal! I'm sitting at Subway to update my blog -- Starbucks was way too packed.

So anyway, back to my brutal day. I woke up, did my normal routine, took my herbs. I went to sit on the couch and I was feeling a little dizzy. The more I sat upright, the dizzier I one point I was hugging our door frame on my way to the kitchen because I thought I was going to fall. So the dizziness lead to some severe nausea -- because I have a pretty weak stomach. So I went to lay down in bed, and I started noticing that my heart was pounding at the slightest move. I would simply turn over in bed and my heart would start to race......something was definitely wrong.

I took about an hour nap, then called one of the holistic practitioners I work with who does Lymphatic Drainage. I told her what I was dealing with, and she said it sounds like symptoms of Candida die-off. All I felt like doing in that moment was EATING, but I knew it was at least symptomatic of my body getting rid of toxins -- so I wanted to avoid that scenario if possible! She suggested I add some "green protein" to my juice with lemon to get my bowels moving and eliminating the bad stuff. So my loving husband made me a green juice with added Chlorella (superfood), lemon juice and cayenne.... Honestly after one, I felt okay, but remained in a horizontal position on the couch for a while.

I had a second juice, same recipe, a couple of hours later. And within a couple more hours I felt almost normal. I still feel somewhat depleted and weak, but my body is using most of my energy to tend to the toxins, I believe. Sometimes I picture what my insides are doing as cartoon characters: "Hooray! She's giving us time to get rid of this crap, instead of shoving more sloth food at us! Let's get to work team!"

So that was yesterday. I've made it through 3 days of successful fasting -- I'm down about 6 pounds for the week -- 11 total for the month. Some of it I will surely gain back when I put any kind of solid food in my mouth. I'm wearing the ultra-skinny jeans that I wore shortly after my first detox, you'll see them in our engagement photos on FB. I literally wore these jeans ONCE haha. It feels good =D However, I think about what it would take to wear these jeans -- and if fasting is the only way -- I'll wear them once a year and that is fine.

It's funny, as the week goes by, I find myself saying "wow it's already Thursday!" But I've also mentally changed my end-day multiple times "well if I can make it to Friday, I'll break it then." "Maybe Saturday..." I'm taking it one day at a time. If it makes sense for me to break the fast on Saturday, I will do so. 7 days isn't for everyone, and my body is still doing a bunch of healing this week.

I wish I could say the same for my skin! I think it is flattening out, but it's still hella red. And the zits are migrating to my chin...I've NEVER had acne on my chin! This candida is one tough cookie. Anyway, I'm hanging in there. The smell of fresh bread in the oven at Subway is a lot to take in, but I guess I'm just powering through. D made some kind of kimchi soup with brown rice last night...smelled delissshh. But it smells like kimchi in our house today, yick.




Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day 23 - Techno Fasting

Greetings from the realm of non-eating.

As part of this fasting week, I've challenged D and myself to a week without technology. Ok, aside from the obligatory technology use at work. When we are at home, we will not be watching television or sitting on our computers. D was less than excited about this...but I think I've finally got him on board with me.

The basic idea here is that during the hours that we would typically be eating dinner, we'll be doing something else productive like:
  • Working out
  • Reading
  • Talking (gasp!)
  • Bible Study
I've been wanting to get back in a routine of spending time studying the Bible -- something I did a TON when I was living in Madrid. I didn't care much for Spanish TV, and since I was in another country with few obligations to tend to...I found myself popping into cafes mostly daily to sit with a cafe con leche and read the Bible and journal. I really miss this a lot. It was like built-in time for thought, meditation and learning. I'm hoping D wants to do this WITH me, but if not, I will probably just go down to the Starbucks on the corner and indulge in a little Me-time.

A friend brought this passage to my attention, which is totally relevant for the raw food diet! So I'll be studying the book of Daniel this week. Feel free to do so with me =D

Daniel 1:1-15 (from
Daniel’s Training in Babylon
 1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia[a] and put in the treasure house of his god.  3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.[b] 5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.
 6 Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
 8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your[c] food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”
 11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.
 15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.



Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 22 - Fasting...Furiously

Wow what a week of laying down on the blogging job! Since I haven't updated since last Tuesday, there is much to write today.

I've lost another pound - so my grand total for 3 weeks on the raw detox is 5 pounds lost. A little disappointed with that number, but I've also felt like these 3 weeks haven't been all that difficult, so perhaps it's a factor of balance that is allowing my body to hang onto some of the weight. I still feel great and slim. My skin is pretty bad, and I've chalked it up to the fact that I'm detoxing and my body may be ridding the toxins out of my skin. I've also indulged in a bit of (raw) dessert, maybe more than I should be. Feeding the candida...a billion little bacteria at a time...

Emotionally, I'm still in a little bit of a rebellious phase, and I think I've pinpointed it to the fact that D is cheating whenever he wants. He is indulging in social settings, and eating raw with me at home -- and maybe I'm a little jealous of that, or just feeling like "yea, why can't I do that too??" He has also gained back the 10 pounds he lost in week 1, so there's the trade off, if you will. There is definitely an element of support that is necessary to a successful lifestyle change, I think. And feeling like you are "going it alone" makes things all the more difficult. Moreso if you live with the person who is not following along...

Here's the Deal with Week 4:
Eating NO solid foods from Monday to Sunday
Drinking juice as regularly as needed - only fresh.
Taking herbs 4 times per day.

I will probably break my fast on Sunday evening with a smoothie. I'm breaking it Sunday instead of Monday morning, because I don't really want to wake up on Monday and get the kitchen all messy right before work. I'm mostly excited for this week, but I know I've made it more difficult on myself that I had sugar last week -- the cravings will probably show their nasty faces and cause some anxiety in the first few days. Power through!! Drinking fresh juices will help with that...

GET THIS! A raw organic vegan cafe opened just below our apartment! It is called Earth's Healing Cafe, and we've been waiting for it to open since November. HOORAY! Perfect timing, they offer a menu of fresh I can pop downstairs when I'm feeling sad or hungry.

For your reading pleasure, here are a couple of very interesting articles about the company Monsanto. I won't say anything more....they are good reads.

Manifest Haiti: Monsanto's Destiny

A Month Without Monsanto



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 16 - Taco Night

I jumped the gun last night. I bought all the ingredients for our tacos, but had not soaked my almonds yet. So what did I do? I took leftover granola and added the taco spices to it....yes, cumin and coriander. The result: a salty, sweet, grainy mess. We each ate one and pretty much threw in the towel on dinner...

So I soaked the almonds over night, and tonight's real taco dinner was MUCH better.

Raw Tacos
adapted from Ani Phyo's Baja Taco
2 c. soaked raw almonds
1 1/2 T ground cumin
1 1/2 T ground coriander
1 tsp celtic sea salt
2 avocados
1/4 red onion
1 T lemon juice
handful cilantro
1 small garlic clove
celtic sea salt
Pico de Gallo
1 large tomato or 2 small
1/4 red onion
1/2 jalapeno
kosher salt

The "meat" was really the only unconventional thing about this dish -- guac and pico are pretty standard Mexican fare. Super simple, I just took the almonds, cumin, coriander and salt and processed them in my little mini-chopper thing. By itself, it didn't really taste like meat. But with everything, the texture and flavor are reminiscent of legit tacos.

And I had an epiphany. What would plain meat taste like without the proper seasoning? Probably not that great, right? So in this case, we're using almonds and getting a delicious result. It's not about the MEAT it's about the SEASONING.

Last night I also made a tomato basil flax cracker using leftover tomato sauce from last week's spaghetti. Within a day, they were ready to go and they are tastier than the original flax cracker that I made 2 weeks ago. PROGRESS!

I'm getting into a raw groove. Hitting week 3 of detoxification, I've been a little more tired at work. But I really feel like I'm getting some junk out of me (literally) and that my body is responding well to what I'm doing. Overall, happy joy.



Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 14 & 15 - Half Time

Halfway through! Too bad I can't take a 15 minute "intermission" (ie: binge) from the diet =D

In all seriousness, the first two weeks flew by and I'm beginning to think that this month long detox will be over before I know it. Hooray! Well, then I suppose I have the whole year to look forward to...

So here's the run down for Week 3:

  • Eat one raw meal per day
  • Consume 3 rounds of detox herbs & fiber per day (7am, noon, 4pm)
  • Avoid sugar and denser foods
  • Monitor bm's -- should be going at least once per day.
Day 1 of Week 3 was fine. They said that we can take the quantity that we would eat in one meal, and spread it out throughout the day. So we don't have to sit down and consume a ton of food, nor do we have to go hungry all day long. So I ate a couple pieces of fruit spaced out in the morning. And then we ate a makeshift raw taco, that will definitely have to be redone with better ingredients. It was basically guacamole, tomatoes and lettuce (the edible part anyway). Oh and carrots.

Since my stomach is relatively empty throughout the day, I notice a gassy sort of bloat when I do finally eat food. And I can see why it's not in my best interest to bounce back to cooked foods immediately following this detox. My stomach is becoming more sensitive, for sure.

And I'm going to bed before 10pm, woohoo!



Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 12 & 13 - Superfoodies

Never fear, I am here.

Nearing the end of Week 2, I'm feeling much better today than I was most of the week -- as I my have explained in the previous post. I was getting somewhat bitter about not being able to eat certain things that would tickle my tongue and make me feel nice inside.

So last night D and I went to Karyn's Raw restaurant on Armitage/Halsted in Lincoln Park. This place is so divine. I mean, it really is. They do things with raw food that I only dream about. Once we get our point-and-shoot camera loaded with battery juice, we will return and photo-op their cuisine. It's just wonderful. I had a plate of nachos that were the most satisfyingly amazing nachos I may have ever had. I also had a plate of empanadas, which weren't as good as the nachos, but seriously delicious no less. I really felt like I was cheating, because it was so good. And truthfully, some of the foods they use (corn masa) may have been out of bounds, but it was so worth it -- 100% raw, 100% organic -- I think I'll be fine. The dining experience was quite motivating to get back on the prep wagon and start making even tastier raw treats. I'm going to try a tomato basil flax cracker next, using the leftover tomato sauce from earlier in the week. YUM!

After our scrumptious dinner we went and saw The Social Network, which I was somewhat against seeing when I first heard about a "facebook movie" even though I'm such a FB addict it's not even funny. But since it won all those Golden Globes and whatnot, I figured it was worth my gift card to AMC theaters to check it out. I didn't realize that they were going to use actual names of people and things, I figured it was "based" on the facebook concept, but that it would be called something far cheesier. I was wrong. So anyway, good movie, it's really well done and I'll stop hating on it now.

And now, my Superfood Smoothie that can be used as a meal replacement because it's loaded with so much schtuff -- I like to have one after I work out, or as a quick dinner. I'll probably break my fast (after the 4th week) with one of these.

Superfoods are a classification of foods that contain a broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Some say you can survive on these foods alone, if you had to.
In this shake: Green juice powder, frozen organic raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, frozen organic spinach, raw cacao nibs, raw goji berries, MSM, maca powder, spirulina, chlorella, tbsp honey, lemon juice, fiber blend, chia seeds, celtic sea salt.

Other superfoods we use include, bee pollen, hemp seeds and mesquite -- I generally change up what I put in the shake and mix things until it tastes good. Don't you love the dark color?! Honestly, without the honey and the lemon juice, this thing would be almost inedible. However, the lemon juice and honey REALLY bring out the flavors of the fruit, and make this a truly delectable smoothie. Two glasses = meal replacement.

I can tell you more about superfoods in a later post. This one's already pretty long.



Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 11 - Where Am I?

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In a dimly lit dining room we were escorted to our seats, golf clubs in tow. As if in a dream, our food came without a moment's delay...dripping with barbecue sauce...tender grilled chicken sandwiches on toasty sesame seed buns...over a bed of hot french fries. I ate with a knife and fork, of course, swirling each bite in the sweet barbecue goodness.

I don't golf. And I don't eat BBQ but once a year. Nonetheless, this is where my slumber took me last night. The food "nightmares" have begun.

Last year around week 3 of the detox I had a vivid dream that I was back in high school. I don't recall exactly what I was doing, but for the dream's entirety I had a falafel sandwich in hand, taking bites periodically.

I don't have an attachment to not at all...

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Self Check-In
Aside from the dining-out gods haunting my sleep, I'm actually doing pretty well. I'll admit I was hungry yesterday, but was trying my best to stave off the cravings by having a less indulgent day than Tuesday. I ate fruit in the afternoon with my green juice shake. And when I got home I made a quick superfood smoothie before jetting off to guitar class. With my goal of eating dinner by 6, my only shot was to down this smoothie at 5:15. Going to bed around 11pm...I was ready for a snack...but I got in the bed and tried my best to ignore.

Weight: I'm down about 3 pounds, so I haven't lost much since last week. D has maintained his 10lb weight loss as well, without dipping much below that - I should mention that D cheats on the weekends, like a lot! But I appreciate him for sticking with me and eating raw at least during the week.

Skin: Overall, my acne is improving. But since my flare-ups are most often related to PMS...this would be the point in the week that I would notice an improvement regardless. The hormonal thing -- it's a bizzo. The true test will be next month's cycle, to see if my diet plays a role in continued healing and hormonal balance. I also noticed that the dry skin on my hands is less severe. Previously my hands were so dry they were cracking and flaking off like none other. I wash the dishes by hand, so this is the major cause. And I pee a lot at work, so I end up washing my hands practically every hour. However, I've noticed this week that while they are still a little dry, my moisturizer is going much farther than it did last month. Perhaps increasing my water intake has helped?

Mind: How's my head? Admittedly, this week has been a little bit of a downer. Last week I was so fired up to do raw food and try new preparations! This week I've been feeling a little rebellious, but I think it's the ebb and flow of any lifestyle change. There will be things I love and things I loathe. Of note, I feel much more focused and motivated. Our apartment is tidier, and I think I watch less TV. Having a guitar class to go to and different activities coming up in the next weeks definitely keeps my mind focusing on how good I feel, rather than all that I "can't" eat. Even amid this rebel streak, I feel good about life. I don't hate the detox, or the raw food diet. I feel like my body appreciates what I'm doing, and that the benefits will far outweigh any sweet indulgence. The word ZEN comes to mind. I don't really know what it means, but I think of peace and acceptance when I hear it. And that's how I feel today.

pH Level: The raw food diet is really rooted in making the body more alkaline or basic to help regain and maintain overall health. The standard American diet has most people swinging toward the acidic pH level, which creates breeding ground for illness. So I thought it appropriate to purchase some pH strips to really test where I'm at. I got these Phion pH Strips on Amazon.

On a scale of 0-14. Acidic = 0-7. Neutral = 7. Alkaline = 7-14.
For our purposes, most humans are in the 5-8 range, while chemicals and substances may carry more extreme pH levels. After peeing on my pH strip, I got a reading of about 5.75 = very acidic. D's reading was more like 6.0 = acidic.

D gave me this additional info regarding pH levels, I'll cite the source as soon:
"The cells of the body are designed to operate best at a perfect pH reading of 6.4 for both saliva and urine with a swing range between 6.2 and 6.6. They protect this level, and if the extra-cellular fluid carrying nutrients is too acid, the cells will not permit access, nor are they able to discharge their wastes efficiently. In the interests of accuracy, excessively alkaline conditions have much the same effect, but acid conditions are far more common among Americans because of the double whammy of 1) diets high in animal products and carbohydrates, and 2) high stress levels"

 I have a lot of work to do!



Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 10 - Orange You Glad...

I didn't say banana.
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Produce Pick:
This week and last, I've been obsessed with Navel Oranges - specifically the organic navel oranges from Whole Foods.

For 99 cents/lb we bought 10 and were out within a few days. So juicy, so sweet, so delicious. We had previously gotten Minneolas, which were okay at best - not nearly as juicy as the lovely navels.

Perfect for any time of day; the ideal snack to ease the hunger pangs.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 9 - Battle of the Crave + Recipes

So we can call week 2: Cravings + Cheating + Lethargy. I cheated. I ate raw organic cheese. It was so good, but I feel somewhat bloated and mostly guilty. Cravings have been bad this week, almost like an anxiety to eat something just to eat it. It doesn't help that I got my monthly bill (although I will say it's much lighter than usual). The energy level is low, which I would assume is connected to adding the second dose of detox herbs. They say your toxins become more "present" as your body tries to rid them. So that accounts for grogginess, sometimes nausea, etc.

On a a more positive note, I had another day of 2 bm's. Ideally, if you're eating 3 meals a day, they say you should go three times. Two meals a day, two times. This might be the first time in my adult life that this has occurred. Not that I would say I have digestive "issues" but I'm not a 2-3x kinda person.

The goal moving forward is to stick to the PLAN, resist those cravings as much as possible. And also eat dinner by 6pm (no snacking at 10pm like I did last night) -- even if that means just making a quick green shake.

Moving on to Raw Recipe Tuesday!
I made raw granola on Sunday and dehydrated til Monday. This has contributed to my snacking habits, but none the less, it's good =)

Raw Granola recipe adapted from We Want Raw.
1 c. Almonds
1 c. Pecans
1/2 c. Pumpkin seeds
1/2 c. Sunflower seeds
1/2 c. Millet
1/2 c. Flax seeds
2 apples, grated
7-9 dates, soaked/pureed
1-2 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla

First I soaked all the nuts/dates over night. The next day I gave the nuts a quick run through the processor, but left them chunky. Pureed the dates (be sure to remove the pits first, I forgot!) and honey together. The puree and flax act as the binder for the batch.

Spread granola onto your teflex sheets and set dehydrator at 145 degrees for the first hour. Then, set it back to 105 until granola is to your desired crispiness. I left it in there for about 24 hours. Makes about 4 sheets worth.

Next Up: Tomato Basil Pasta - Tuesday night's dinner.

Adapted from Better Than Mom's Tomato Sauce recipe.
2 hothouse tomatoes, diced
4 tbsp apple cider vin.
1 tbsp raw honey
1/2 tsp celtic sea salt
1 tbsp Italian herb blend
1/2 c. fresh basil
1-1 1/2 c. sundried tomatoes
1 jalapeno
2 garlic cloves
Blend sauce in Vitamix until smooth. This recipe makes a ton of sauce! I added another small diced tomato to the final product to give it a chunkier consistency. Also added more chopped fresh basil, which really added to the flavor. Next time I'll probably use a few less sundried tomatoes because the flavor really came through. For the pasta, D just cut thin circle slices of zucchini using our mandolin slicer.

Voila! I liked this better than the alfredo pasta, more flavor. And I think it's easier to mimic a tomato-based sauce than it is to mimic a cream-based one. D said he would eat this instead of regular spaghetti sauce any day =D



Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 7 & 8 - Welcome to Week 2

I got a kick out of this quote on the Happy Foody blog:
"I don't understand why asking people to eat a well-balanced vegetarian diet is considered drastic, while it is medically conservative to cut people open and put them on cholesterol lowering drugs for the rest of their lives." - Dean Ornish, MD

Touche, my friends, touche...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day 5 & 6 - Surviving the Weekend

For the record, raw rice tastes exactly as you would expect it to. I haven't looked into the nutritional value of eating it sprouted raw vs. sprouted cooked...but I'm sure the margin does not make it worth it. Here's my Saturday evening dinner -- sprouted raw wild rice over some spring greens and a curry-garlic infused olive oil dressing, D's yummy idea. I added a few leftover falafel balls to it, and that made it a little better. The flavors were all spectacular, I just couldn't get over the texture. I soaked the rice for 2 days, which probably softened it some, but not quite enough.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day 4 - Falafel King

D and I just finished dinner and had the realization that we've successfully prepared raw dinner 4 nights in a row. Yeah! He said it may be the longest stretch since we've lived in our apartment (August) - whoa - didn't think we ate out that much. It's funny how you don't realize how often you do something until you stop doing it... like coffee... you don't think you have an addiction til someone takes it away. Or sweets... or salt...

Today was a good day, I had a delicious Raw bar for lunch that I'll tell you about later. D has officially lost about 8 pounds and I'm down about 1.5 -- hmm sounds about right. Energy level is about the same, but I am not experiencing that 2:00 know when you're sitting at work after lunch and you just want to take a nap. Not I...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day 3 - Going Garbanzo

I'm not waking up with as much energy as I'd like. Going to bed past 11pm is probably not helping, but I'm waiting for that glorious feeling I experience after a stint of eating well... when my alarm goes off, I open my eyes and feel zero grogginess. Bring back that feeling!

Day 3 has gone well, I've been a little more hungry today, but it could be more mental than physical. The bag of free bagels on the counter at work didn't help my cause. I ate an orange this morning and had a green shake around lunch time. Then an apple later on. This evening I had guitar class at the Old Town School (week 2) so we made a quick dinner of salad and flax crackers afterward. D is in love with my balsamic vinaigrette: just organic olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and about a tbsp of raw organic honey. Whisk it, money!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day 2 - Cut Me Some Flax

Happy Day 2! Things are much the same as yesterday, I'm not super hungry or having any wacky cravings thus far. Feeling good and excited about making more snacks today.

SIDE NOTE: Manly metabolism is just bonkers - D lost 4 pounds after one day raw! I should be so lucky...

So here is a peek at the Flax Crackers that I've been working on the last couple days. And by "working on" I mean soaking, dehydrating and eating.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 1 - Let's Get it Started

Day 1 went well, considering Mondays are relatively easy to "eat well". I sit at work and eat whatever I've brought for lunch and drink lots of water. Pretty typical. Very little temptation. In the past couple of months, however, I've become a regular consumer of a medium cafe au lait with soy. This is basically 3/4 coffee and 1/4 steamed milk of cozy goodness. For the past several weeks, I've been getting decaf so I didn't feel the hit in my energy level. But no less, this drink is very comforting in the morning, and today I was without. ...Read my first post if you joined the party late...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Acting Out

Our 28-day Detox will begin tonight! I'll go to detox class at 6:30, where they'll serve a raw buffet dinner, and then we'll have a sort of class/lecture. We'll get our detox kits, and then be on our ways to start doing this day in and day out with status check-ins and lectures on Sundays. Read my first post to get up to speed with what is going on.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Monkey Wrench in My Plan

A couple of things.

I do not have beautiful photos of a raw zuccini/pesto dinner from last night because I was sick as a dog on the couch, shivering from the depths of my soul. My loving and nurturing husband made me a fabulous vegetable and wild rice soup (with organic chicken stock) to help me along. I'm feeling a little better today (although I'm not working) and it just goes to show how all this frivolous sugar-enriched, dairy-laden eating can pile up to an icky mess of 'flu-like symptoms' if you let it...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Here & Now

There's a commercial on TV that talks about one good decision leading to other good decisions, and a bad decision leading to other bad decisions. The person chooses to eat a piece of fruit instead of coffee cake (for example) and continues to make similar decisions throughout the day - salad vs. burger, etc. I believe this to be true. For me, my vice is sugar - and all it takes is one little bit to mess up all the momentum.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy Raw Year

In preparation for this new lifestyle blog, I've researched a few other blogs and noticed some constants. To help ring in the new year, many of us make resolutions that we generally don't keep (obvi). We start blogging about said resolutions as a means of accountability -- but really the blogs just turn into a couple days of meaningless ramble about the things we'd like to do, but have no intention of following through on. I warn you, this might turn into that. But for now, the challenge I've put before myself in 2011 remains an exciting idea at the least...