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?

stock photo
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...

stock photo
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.
stock photo
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...