Thursday, December 22, 2011

Raw Food Resouces/ The Dirty Dozen

I promised you resources for non-perishable raw foods.  I have found these sources in raw food preparation books or from searching the web.  I encourage you to do the same.  Of course, this list is not exhaustive but I'm sure you could find just about anything you are looking for from these sites:

Sun Organic Farms:  This business carries nuts, seeds, grains, dates and other non perishables.

Living Tree Community:  Carries nuts, nut butters, oils, sweeteners, tea, raw chocolate and many other items.

Gold Mine Natural Food Co: Lots of foods from Asia such as nori, soba noodles, wakame sea weed, nama shoyu, tamari and miso.  It also carries foods such as dried fruits, legumes and brown rice.

Champlain Valley Apiaries:  This site carries honey, bee pollen, royal jelly and teas.

Mtn Honey: More honey and honey products on this site.

Honey Gardens:  This site also carries honey, syrups, salve and body care items.

Jaffe Bros. Natural Foods:  This site carries nuts, nut butters, sproutable seeds, dehydrated fruits and vegetables, rice, legumes, spices, olives, oil and other items.

Mountain Rose Herbs:  I buy organic raw coconut oil by the gallon from this site.  Best price around.  They also carry herbs, spices, seeds for sprouting, sea weeds, teas, bath and body care items.

Raw Guru:   I really like this site for its visual appeal.  They carry an immense amount of variety including superfoods, raw cacao products, oils, nuts, grains, seeds, appliances, Himalayan and sea salt, really raw almonds (extinct in California and most of U. S. because they're all pasteurized)  Awesome site!

If you just search for "raw foods" you'll find  scores of other websites that carry a wide assortment of products that raw foodists use in their diet.

I also promised to introduce you to the Dirty Dozen of pesticide laden produce.  Some of these fruits and vegetables contain up to 67 different types of pesticides according to this CNN article.  Compound that information with the size of children and you can imagine how toxic some of this produce can actually be.  

I'm in Puerto Rico at my sister's house through the holidays.  Can I tell you how nice it is to sit in the back terrace and feel the ocean breeze?  This is a welcomed respite from a mad whirlwind of activity the past few weeks.  I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season!  Be well, be safe and be healthy!


Enjoy the Journey!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How to Prevent Cancer / Chia Pudding For Breakfast


I'm interrupting my scheduled post again because of an article I read recently.  It is written by a physician whom I greatly respect and admire.  He also promotes healthful living through a plant based diet and active lifestyle.  I had the pleasure of hearing him and speaking to him several years ago at Modern Manna's Health and Healing Crusade in Lodi, CA.  In a recent article, he writes about the cause of Steve Jobs' death.  Steve Jobs' name is synonymous with Apple and Pixar, being the creative genius behind both successful business enterprises.  He was a strict vegan, so why did he die of cancer?  Mr. Jobs asked Dr. John McDougall to tell his story, to explain what happened due to his concern that the true story might be spun into a half truth.  Click here for the article.  Having read the article, I had to put in my two cents.  I believe that there are three major contributing factors to cancer.  Understanding them can help us to prevent the disease.

The first factor is the Standard American Diet (SAD) and sedentary lifestyle:  The first line of defense is diet and exercise.  Being vegan is a major help in preventing cancer but there is a very important aspect that must not be ignored by those who practice veganism.  The pivotal indicator to whether one is susceptible to disease or not is pH balance.  One can be vegan, have an acidic pH level and be prone to disease.  Or one could be vegan, with an alkaline pH level and have a body that fights and prevents disease.   This subject is so important that I plan to do a post on it in the very near future.  In a nutshell, cooked food, processed food and animal products promote acidity and raw foods promote alkalinity.  We must have an abundance of uncooked fruits, cruciferous vegetables, dark leafy greens, sprouted grains and soaked nuts.  We must eat a variety of fruits and vegetables that have as many colors as the rainbow.  Add regular exercise, purified water for hydration and hydrotherapy, adequate rest and meditation to the equation and you're on your way toward powerful health. 

The second factor is stress and emotions:  Stress and and emotions can also tip the pH balance scale.  Negative emotions contribute to acidity in the body.  That is why I say that it is important to focus your thoughts and emotions toward positive things.  Try to focus on thinking about what is beautiful.  Count your blessings.  Learn to forgive.  Control stress.  Hey, I've been through the mill and hit some tight spots in my life.  But what kept me going was hope.  Sure enough the sun does rise on a daily basis.  If the situation you are dealing with is within your control, then by all means, change your situation.

The third factor is exposure to chemicals, pollution and electromagnetic radiation:  All of these things are present in abundance in our modern world.  It is best to avoid as many chemicals as possible and use natural products.  Stop and think about what might be in your home?  Cleaning products, air fresheners, body lotions, toothpaste and perfumes are common culprits.  Also think about microwaves, cell phones and computers.  Become informed and use all precautions necessary when using these items.  It's not about being a nutty tree-hugging fanatic.  It's about cancer and disease prevention.  If the products you use contain ingredients that are cooked up in a lab, avoid them. I know a woman who suffered from debilitating chronic illness.  In desperation to be well, she sold her house by an airport where huge amounts of chemicals were sprayed, to relocate to a better location with cleaner air.  She regained her health when she moved.  Again, change what is within your power to change.  I have set naturalnews.com as my Internet start page.  It keeps me informed of the latest news on important matters related to healthful living, including dangerous products we should seek to avoid.

I will not list genetics as a factor because I believe genetics is something that can be overcome.  At Weimar Center of Health and Education in California, one of the sayings their doctors would share with NEWSTART(TM) guests is, "Genetics loads the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger."  How much of the genetic connection is actually the natural tendency of children to follow in their parents lifestyle choices in regard to diet and activity level?  For example, Dr. Richard Schulze was en route to the same fate of his parents -- death by heart disease.  He drastically changed his way of living and now he enjoys abundant health and is teaching thousands how to heal themselves of all sorts of diseases.

As for all the naysayers who blame Jobs' diet as a cause for his cancer, there will always be those who scoff at this way of living.  I've been the subject of derision and mockery.  The funny thing is that those who mock are usually the most sickly and unfit people I know. To me going raw is simply returning to what was originally intended for us.   Raw food has invigorated me so much, and the effects are so remarkable that they  have impelled me to begin this blog -- something I had no intention of ever doing.  I also can see the visible effects on other people who choose this diet for themselves.  They glow with health.  I challenge anyone who criticizes this way of living to try it for themselves for a few months and then go back to the Standard American Diet (SAD) and note the difference in how they feel.

On a different note, I have found another option for breakfast -- chia seed pudding.  Chia seed is the same seed that is used for the chia pets.  What a waste to use it as a little mini garden nicknack.  It actually is a superfood that was used and revered by the Mayans.  They used it as currency and in their worship to their gods.  The Spanish, in an effort to forcibly convert the Mayans to Catholicism, outlawed this amazing seed.  I am a descendant of the Mayan people of Guatemala and Spanish conquistadors.  I should have known of this seed all along.  My mother wild harvested this seed when she was growing up in Guatemala to add to drinks and other foods.  Now as an adult, I have rediscovered this superfood of my ancestors and am fascinated by the history and politics behind my new breakfast option.

To make a pudding, take about 1/4 cup of chia seed.  Put it into a breakfast bowl.  Add either almond milk or coconut milk to fill the bowl.  I sweeten it slightly with agave nectar.  Add a pinch of salt to it.  Let it sit for 30 to 40 minutes.  The seeds will plump up and fill the bowl.  It has the slippery consistency of tapioca.  It is very low in calories and high in nutrition, protein, antioxidants and Omega 3 fatty acids.  Chia is especially good for athletes or those seeking to lose weight. You can find it at your local health food store, Amazon.com, or buy in bulk online at this site.


Enjoy the journey!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Where I Shop for Organic Produce

I have to apologize for not posting more frequently.  I'm finding it more difficult to do so as we approach the holiday season.  I'm so busy!

Anyhow, on to the subject at hand:

When my husband and I were making the decision to move back to the East Coast from California, one of the stipulations I had was that I needed to have my favorite stores within a short distance.  Two stores, that's all I was requiring: Trader Joe's and Costco.  Once I knew that they were located close to my new home, I was satisfied. I love Whole Foods, but if I were to shop there exclusively, it would break my bank.  Trader Joe's offers a great selection of reasonably priced organic foods.  Costco also carries some organic items.  Whatever I cannot find at these two stores, I will pick up at Roots, my local health food store.

I decided to "bring you along" to these stores on one of my shopping trips to give you a breakdown of what certain foods cost.  Bear in mind that these prices and items are representative of  Montgomery County, MD, which is a high cost of living area.  (Obviously, prices may vary significantly depending where you live.)

Costco: 

I buy organic carrots at Costco.  I'm going on memory here.  I pick up a 10 lb. bag for approximately $7.00.  That's cheap!  Sorry, no photos.  Nothing fancy, just a warehouse.




Some friendly staff whom I see on a weekly basis. 

Trader Joes:

organic walnuts, approx. 1lb.:  $5.69
organic russet potatoes, 5 lb. bag: $3.99
organic D'Anjou pears, 2 lb. bag: $2.49
organic navel oranges, 4 lb. bag: $3.79
organic Roma tomatoes, 12. oz. pack: $3.29
organic basil, 2.5 oz. pack: $2.99
organic limes, 1 lb. bag: $1.99
organic bananas, each: $0.29
organic tricolor bell peppers, 3 ct. pack: $4.29
organic kiwis, 6 ct bag: $1.99
organic gala apples, 2 lb bag: $2.49 
organic broccoli crowns, 3 ct. pack: $3.99 
organic grapefruit, 4 lb. bag: $4.49 
organic avocados, 4 ct. bag: $3.79

 I love health food stores, they speak my language!

Roots:

organic spinach, 11 oz. box: $5.99
organic green chard, 1 bunch: $2.69


I find these prices to be very reasonable.  If you don't have a Trader Joe's store near you, take the time to shop around for a grocery store that carries reasonably priced organic foods.  Another option is to search for organic farms in your area.  Local Harvest is a great site for locating farms all over the United States.  Fresh, local, organic produce will always be best.  Less transit/delivery time means more nutrition! The Green Smoothie Girl, Robyn Openshaw, has some tips on how to decide whether or not to buy organic when on a tight budget.  Check out her YouTube video here.

In the next few posts I will list sites that carry non-perishable organic foods, introduce you to the "Dirty Dozen" of pesticide-laden produce, and feature a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm.

The holidays are upon us!    I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful Thanksgiving!



Enjoy the Journey!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Why Eat Organic?



I love roses!  I love to have them billowing and sprawling over my fence.  I love arbors cascading with Lady Banksia or Cecile Brunner with their intoxicating heady fragrance.  So I had my husband plant some for me in the yard.  There was one condition about my roses, they had to be able to survive and thrive without my attention.  If they give even one sign that they are weak or fussy, they will get ripped out.  I have no patience for a fussy rose.  So what did I do?  I bought antique roses which have withstood the test of time.  The type in this photo is called Pinkie (Antique Rose Emporium).  These roses may have grown by the side of a barn perhaps, unattended or cared for in decades.  The roses I hate?  They  are the ones that have been crossbred for long canes, color or what have you.  They need to be sprayed, pruned and fed special concoctions of rose food.  Avoid what has been tampered with!  The same goes for food.    People have been growing food organically for thousands of years.  Organic heirloom seeds cultivated in mineral rich organic soil produce the most nutritionally dense food.  Yet it seems that man has become too smart for his own good.  Profit, not good health, has become the focus of food production.  The solution? Buy organic foods!

Here are some reasons why I feel it is important to eat organic foods:

1. To avoid all the nasty pesticides and chemicals that are used on conventional produce.  If we want to prevent diseases like cancer, we must eliminate exposure to as many chemicals as possible.  The soil conventional produce is grown in, is depleted of many of the essential minerals and nutrients that are so necessary for healthy food and healthy bodies.  In my estimation, you may just be doing your body more harm by eating conventional food even if they are fruits and vegetables.  Imagine the run off of these chemicals.  They don't just go away, but get absorbed into the soil, streams, lakes, etc.  

2. To avoid genetically modified organisms or GMO's for short.  I honestly think many people do not realize how harmful these are.  Part of the reason they don't alarm more people is because we still haven't seen the long term effects of this new venture into food production.  Certain foods have been rushed passed the FDA to the grocery store, doing harm those who will eat them.  The sole purpose behind the production of GMO's is profit, not your health!  The production of GMO's is rooted in pure unadulterated evil.  Need more info?  Watch The Future of Food - very eye opening!  Another important film is Food, Inc.  Did you know that the U.S.government subsidizes conventional produce?  That is one of the reasons it is cheaper than organic produce.  Yes, good ol' Uncle Sam is in bed with GMO manufacturers.  Vote with your dollars.  See where in your budget you can trim some fat and reallocate your funds to organically grown foods.  You can only stand to gain amazing health by eating an abundance of organically grown produce.  If you care to stay up to date with GMO production news (or any news that pertains  to new laws and information regarding healthful plant based diets), click here for Natural News.


3. To support organic farmers.  I love farmers' markets and road side stands, especially if they make an effort to grow organic produce.  Organic farmers use methods that sustain the health of the soil, water and environment.  Their methods promote health, not only for the plants but for our bodies as well.  These amazing people are swimming against the tide. Their competition?  Huge corporations that have the government backing them up and whose only purpose is to make as much money as possible. I will always advise to eat vegan/vegetarian but if you still decide to eat meat, please, eat organic.  Animals that are raised organically have not been pumped with hormones and have been given nutritious feed.  They have been raised humanely without the stifling confines that are commonplace with animals that are raised in conventional farms. Conventionally raised animals are given feed that is chemically treated and possibly non-vegetarian (meaning, they may be given ground up remains of other dead animals mixed with their feed - which has been identified as a cause of Mad Cow's Disease).  They may be forced to stand in their own feces and often do not have enough room to move around freely.  Happy, healthy animals will produce better meat. People can joke about PETA all they want, but until you see the horrible suffering that is inflicted on these poor animals, you would probably think twice about mocking such organizations.  If you can handle it, watch PETA's Earthlings.  I won't watch it - too graphic for me.  I also will not provide a link to the trailer for the same reason.  Farmers who make the effort to raise food responsibly and ethically should be rewarded for their efforts.

4. To eat more flavorful food.  I eat as much organic food as I can afford.  There are times however, when the price is too hefty for me and I opt for conventional produce.  Recently, I was shopping for organic avocados and noticed that the conventional ones were considerably cheaper so I opted to buy them.  When I cut them open I noticed that they were rubbery and tasteless.  My daughter usually comes around to steal my avocados when I have them for a snack.  She tried one and said, "That's okay mom, they don't taste so good."  Next time I went back to organic.  When I cut one open I found it to be as buttery, yummy and delicious as I expected it to be.

5. To nourish our bodies and help prevent disease.  If you are fighting illness, you will be fighting an uphill battle if you are eating the wrong foods.  Junk food is teeming with GMO's, chemicals and ingredients that have been scraped off of who knows where.  If you want to be healthy down to the cellular level, you must eat organic. To fight disease, eat organic raw (or mostly raw) vegan food!  I'll say it 'til I'm blue in the face.

I found some very tasty recipes that you should try.  TeraWarner.com is a great source for raw food recipes.  Sarma Melngailis, who is a chef and owner of a fantastic restaurant in Manhattan- Pure Food and Wine, was featured in this post.  I'm dying to go to this restaurant.  Cucumber Pineapple gazpacho and Freezer Fudge are recipes that I have tried and love,  So delicious!  Check them out here!



Next post I would like to discuss where I shop for organic produce to make it affordable.



Enjoy the journey!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Useful Appliances for a Raw Food Diet

In my last post I mentioned Vitamix and Blendtec Blenders.  I would like to further discuss appliances and tools that are a great help when on a raw or mostly raw diet.  Some of these can be very costly, but well worth the investment.  They all do not have to be purchased at once (I don't own them all yet)  and many times short cuts can be made to save money in purchasing these items, like purchasing from eBay.  We think nothing of buying the best electronics and the latest phones or televisions.  Our health, however, should be of utmost importance.  Think about how you have prioritized these items and where you have been investing your hard earned dollars.  Where will you and your family reap the best returns?

High Powered Blender:  These are very helpful in making the smoothest green smoothies, soups, dressings, sorbets, sauces and dips.  I have owned several kinds of blenders and most of them break down easily.  The only two I would recommend are industrial grade Vitamix or Blendtec.  As I mentioned in my last post, Costco carries both of these at least once a year at a reduced price.  Another option would be to purchase a demo model directly from the manufacturer, also at a reduced price.  Ask customer service about their availability.

Food Processor: I use my blender most frequently.  But my food processor comes in at a close second.  I make an innumerable amount of dishes with the aid of my food processor.  Even without being raw, a kitchen isn't complete without one.  I have owned a Cuisinart for nearly a decade and a half without ever having any problems with it.  In the raw foods arena, I use this to make pates, freezer fudge, raw brittle, salsas, gazpachos and many other dishes.

Dehydrator: This week I have used the dehydrator more than ever before.  Previously, I had avoided it like the plague.  As I had mentioned before, I don't like how noisy it is, and the time it takes to prepare a meal.  But after using it and seeing how my children scarfed down the meal I prepared, it is making me rethink my position on it.  People like dehydrators because they make it possible to prepare meals that seem like they are cooked.  My kids would wring my neck if all I gave them were salads and salad-like foods.  I made Allisa Cohen's Chik-un patties (Living on Live Food) with cauliflower, carrots and sprouted lentils -- all foods that kids may not have on their favorites list.  They loved it!  I also made them brittle this week with sprouted sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, a dash of salt and enough honey to coat it all.  Another hit!  ExCaliber is my dehydrator of choice.  It has 9 trays and can do a very large amount of food at once.  The drawback is that it takes up a lot of counter space and, as I said before, it creates a constant background noise when in use.  This may be the appliance that gets stored and used in the walk-in pantry, if you have one.

Juicer: This is more of a toughie.  People have their preferences as to which they choose to purchase.  I own an Acme centrifugal juicer by Waring which is fine for using once a week.  I really like the citrus juicing attachment and how quickly it can juice.  Centrifugal juicers do have a drawback.  I can only fill a pitcherful of juice before I have to stop and empty the juicer.  Dr. Richard Schulze recommends buying a juicer like Champion that will expel the pulp while you juice.  If, perhaps, you are on a juice fast, stopping to empty the juicer several times a day can become laborious.   Greenstar  and Omega are more suited for juicing greens and wheatgrass.  These juicers take a longer time to juice.  If you want the finest quality juice, be prepared to pay for it.  The Norwalk is priced in the thousands.  I honestly don't see the need to spend that kind of money, however.  I am hoping to purchase an Omega by recommendation of a friend who juices.  Click here, here and here for a few different sites that discuss juicers and their differences.

Spiral Slicer: Of all the appliances I have listed, these next two items are the least expensive. They usually run about thirty dollars.  A spiral slicer can help you turn zuchini into spaguetti.  Allisa Cohen recommends the Saladacco.  Raw Food World has a few different brands; ask customer service which is most popular.  I have yet to buy one of these.

Mandoline: I would like to get one of these to make sweet potato and zucchini chips.  Here is a site that reviews them.

Citrus Juicer: I should get one of the manual ones like this one.  For now, I cut limes or lemons and just squeeze wedges with my hands to extract juice.  For oranges and grapefruit I use the one on my acme juicer.  It's awesome!  Yes, I'm a girl that gets excited over kitchen tools and equipment.

Before you jump the gun and make your decision as to what to purchase first, take time to consider what your needs are.  If you are very sick and need to improve your health as quickly as possible, buy a juicer. (Juice fasting, bowel detoxification and hydrotherapy, when combined, can be life saving -- including for those dealing with cancer.  Go to herbdoc.com or call 1-800 HerbDoc for books and information on how to do a juice fast cleanse at home.  Another source would be to contact the Gerson Institute.)  If you are fairly healthy, buy a blender to begin making green smoothies. 

I have never regretted spending money on these appliances.  I use them regularly.  I'm even beginning to use the dreaded dehydrator.  Hey, if it means having my kids eat raw foods, I'll go for it.

Enjoy the journey!

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Mind, Body, and Spirit Connection



I was going to do a post on helpful appliances for a raw or mostly raw diet, but I decided I would delve into another arena because of what I have experienced this past week.  Life has a way of throwing curve balls at you and every now and then you get hit.  This was such a week for me.  As a matter of fact, I felt like I got the wind knocked out of me.  It would be nice if life was always rosy and perfect, but no such luck.  So without going into detail about my "issues" I just wanted to share the effect it has had on me physically.

I believe in a perfect triune --  mind, body and spirit. They are connected like the gears of a clock.  When one has a great diet and active life, positive emotions and thoughts along with a strong spiritual connection, the effects are fantastic.  If one area gets out of sync, everything else will suffer.  For the past year I have enjoyed the clearest skin.  I have loved this so much because of the fact that since adolescence I have been so prone to breakouts.  This past week caused me so much stress that I began to break out like a teenager -- at age 40, no less.  (Okay, I also cheated on cooked food and french fries at my  son's camp out a couple of weeks ago.  Are you horribly disappointed in me?  There was very little raw food to be had on this trip!)  So despite a clean diet (since my cheat weekend 2 weeks ago), my anxiety was enough to trigger my breakouts.  Negative emotions can cause acidity in the body which in turn makes one's body a breeding ground for disease.  Another effect from my bad emotions was a lack of energy.   When I work out I love to exercise to the brink of complete exhaustion.  I love to get a red face and to break a sweat.  (Sorry for the imagery.)  This past week was pathetic at the gym, my energy was sapped!  Lastly, I also had a difficult time sleeping. 

Do you remember the observation made about those poor orphaned infants during WWII?  One group of infants was held while fed and the others weren't.  Those that were held survived, the others died.  Have you ever known someone to die of a broken heart?  Have you ever heard of the amazing effect of laughter on the body?  It can boost your immunity, release endorphins and even protect your heart.  Our thoughts and emotions are so powerful and can make such an impact on our health and sense of well being.  Stubbornly harbor bitter thoughts and a vengeful spirit and your health will not be a strong as it could be.

It is so important to learn to forgive, let go and to have an attitude of gratitude.  It would be great if everyone could rent a comedy once a week to just have a good hearty, belly laugh.  There are times we can evade negative emotions by avoiding behaviors that lead to them.  Other times, like when we grieve the loss of a loved one, we just have to let our emotions run their course.  If you are dealing with disease, go raw vegan, exercise and don't neglect caring for your mind and spirit! 

My problems pale in comparison to those of so many others.  When I get stressed I lean on my regular coping mechanisms.  I lean on my faith, my family and spend time with friends.  I am doing my best to stay positive.  I am also taking extra time to stretch and breathe.  Walking or running in the sun also helps me.  But as always I know from past experience, "This too shall pass."  Click here for a list of coping mechanisms.

Before I close I'll share one more thing.  I have gotten feedback that some of my readers want recipes  so here is one you can try.  Jennifer Cornbleet is one of my favorite go-to raw chefs.  She has a very good almond milk and easy to make granola.  I've tried this and I like it!

If you have trouble with the youtube link, please right click on it and open  it in a new window.

Enjoy the Journey!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Food Matters Documentary and Some Great Deals at Costco

FOODMATTERS is a fantastic documentary that is an absolute must-see.  You may view it for free on their website this week only. Registration is required.  Go to foodmatters.tv to view the trailer.  Make yourself some herbal tea, get comfortable and prop up your feet.  This information is critically important.  Tell others to watch it as well!

Also, I stopped by the Gaithersburg, MD Costco today  and saw that they were having Blendtec demos and were stocking Vitamix blenders.  People have their reasons as to which of these blenders is superior.  Truth is, they both are tough as nails, long-lasting, excellent blenders.  They are worth every penny they are sold for.  I am partial to Vitamix because I was introduced to it first.  My friends and family own them, so naturally I went with Vitamix.  I love, love, love my Vitamix and I use it everyday, several times a day.  The great thing is, that you don't have to pay top dollar if you purchase it at Costco.  The price for the Vitamix was 374.99 and the Blendtec was 379.79.  To top things off, I also saw that at the Blendtec demo table, they were selling a gallon of Xagave (raw organic agave nectar) for 29.99 - a steal!  Check your local Costco to see when they may be coming to your area.


Enjoy the journey!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Daily Menu and a Post by Kimberly Snyder

I have become successful at eating a mostly raw diet because I have made an effort to keep it simple.  My first raw prep book, although incredibly delicious, was far too time consuming.  I would never recommend it because of the endless hard to find ingredients list and time required to prepare a meal.  I am not a fan of the dehydrator.  Some like the dehydrator because it helps them prepare foods that are reminiscent of  cooked foods.  (If that's your thing, try Alissa Cohen's Living on Live Food)   I'm sure I'll make zucchini or sweet potato chips at some point but I can't stand how noisy it is or how long it takes to complete a meal.  I want it fast, quick and easy.  

First thing when I wake up I drink a tall glass of water with lemon juice.    During the sleep hours your body does not stop working.  It goes into repair mode.  Part of the labor involved during sleep is detoxifying.  The liver needs a good flush of water with lemon to help clear out the toxins.

Before I head off to the gym, I have Dr. Richard Schulze's Superfood.   The debate rages on.  To supplement or not to supplement.  I hear both sides of the argument.  If you have a good, clean diet with plenty of variety, you don't need to worry about supplementing.  But then again, even good wholesome organic produce sits on the truck en route to the grocery store depreciating in nutritional value with each day that passes.  I lean on the side of supplementing.  But not just any supplement.   I love Dr. Schulze's philosophy on creating powerful health,  and his amazing zest for living.  It has been his mission to produce the most nutrient dense supplement on the market.  (No, I'm not his employee, just a satisfied customer.)  Read here why Superfood is a superior supplement. I love Superfood because of how it is prepared. There hasn't been any major alteration to the ingredients.  They are plants that have been cut down to a small particle size and dehydrated at a low temperature to preserve the live enzymes.  B12 is a nutrient that vegetarians have a hard time getting.  Superfood is loaded with it.  Here is the ingredients list.  Click on Superfood plus- more info to access ingredients list.

When I come home after my morning workout at the gym, I prepare a breakfast with either oat groats  or buckwheat that have soaked overnight. I start the night before and soak ½  cup of oat groats in water.  In the morning I drain the water out and blend the oat groats with 1 cup of milk (almond, rice or coconut milk).  I add one large apple, a dash of salt, a dash of nutmeg and ½ tbsp or less of almond or vanilla extract.  Experiment with this basic recipe.  Instead of apples try adding pineapple with coconut milk for a pina collada flavor or  strawberries and banana.  Another breakfast idea is to have sprouted buckwheat that has barely sprouted (soak buckwheat overnight and rinse in the morning). I eat it straight with almond milk and frozen blueberries.  For those new to raw food, I would recommend having it with a fruit salad and a cashew cream sauce.  For the cream sauce soak about 1 cup of cashews for a couple of  hours, drain it and blend it with enough non-dairy milk for it to be creamy.  Add dates and a dash of salt to taste. Drizzle the fruit salad, buckwheat, and cream sauce with agave nectar.  Yum! I also make a green smoothie.  Click here for a how-to.

For lunch I make a pate from Raw Food Made Easy by Jennifer Cornbleet.  I love all her pates and spreads.  I also search online for quick, easy spreads.  I'll wrap it in a kale, collard or chard leaf with cucumber, tomato, sprouts and some lime juice or soy sauce.  (If you really want to be totally raw, use nama shoyu instead of soy sauce.)  I try to vary the greens, the pates and the sprouts that I add.

For dinner, I cook a vegan meal for my family and make a huge organic salad.  I eat the salad only.  Again, I try to vary the ingredients as much as possible. 

I snack on avocados with sea salt, crudites with a variety of  dips, raw nuts and fruit with raw nut butters.  This is the basic blueprint for my meals.  I like trying new recipes and expanding my repertoire, but I still follow this basic routine.  Many times I don't get to every meal.  I just don't get hungry for it.  My beverage of choice is water.  I also juice about once a week.  My favorite juiced drink is carrots with grapefruit and orange.  Delicious!  You don't have to follow what I do exactly but this eating plan can be a start for someone who is clueless as to what to eat when you want to eat raw.  If you desire cooked food, eat the raw food first and then move onto the cooked food. 

Drop dead gorgeous celebrity nutritionist Kimberly Snyder has an excellent post about what is wrong with the Standard American Diet, please take the time to read it here!  Kimberly has so much good information on her blog and book.  Well worth the time to read. 

This information may seem like so much to take in at first.  I recommend taking a step per week.  Try adding a green smoothie one week.  The following week try filling up on a green salad before you move onto your cooked meal. Keep reading as much as you can about plant based diets to keep your focus. Don't be hard on yourself, but continue to make small incremental steps toward healthier living.  Best wishes for a healthier life!

Enjoy the Journey!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

More Programs to Transition to a Plant Based Diet

I don't remember how I got acquainted with the Green Smoothie Girl website and book.  I believe a friend may have introduced me to it.  All I know is that I love Robyn's site and the work she is doing to help people get healthy.  I used her book and how-to info when I first was increasing my raw food intake.  I never looked back after I  began making green smoothies.  Robyn Openshaw also has a great program to help those interested in transitioning to a plant based diet- 12 Steps to Whole Food Eating.  She has recipes and guidelines for a gradual transition over the course of a year.  Her programs includes 550 recipes to help someone achieve a mostly raw diet(60-80%raw).  She does allow for a small percentage of animal based foods, I believe it consists of less than five percent of  the eating plan.  Again, she has testimonials of people who have been written off by their doctors.

Since I have mentioned green smoothies I feel like I should also mention the Boutenko family.  They also have books on green smoothies with how-to videos on youtube and great sources for getting well.

 I want to share an excellent cook book I use to prepare food for my family.  Although my husband and children are eating much more raw food today than when I first started this journey, they still aren't as “raw”as I am.  This book is Ten Talents by Frank and Rosalie Hurd.  I love this book!  It is chock full of useful  nutritional information, instructions on proper food combining, recipes for baby foods, smoothies, non-dairy milk, whole grain bread, healthful entrees, salads and desserts...shall I continue? They also include some raw food recipes and sprouting (one of my favorite topics).  Ten Talents was originally published in the 60's and has had a long successful run.  The Hurds had every intention of hanging up their hats and retiring but requests kept coming in for a new edition to their book, so by popular demand they have published again.  Vegetarian times and North American Vegetarian society both endorse this book  The Library of Congress has requested it to be transcribed into braille.  Not bad for what seemingly was a mom and pop endeavor!  They have produced a fine collection of delicious recipes and have helped many achieve excellent health.

Lastly, I would like to mention Markus Rothkranz and his site.  He also has a lot of information for those wanting to go completely raw.  His trailer is very inspirational but has parts that are...um, let's just say that they are really corny! Shh!  Don't tell him I said so!  View trailer here.

If you are clicking on a youtube link, please  right click and open in a new window.

 Enjoy the journey!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Program for Transitioning to a Plant Based Diet


I am a book person. I love them, read them when I can, collect them and revel in them. So naturally I am going to refer you to books, lots of them. Please, check them out at the library or bookstore before purchasing them.

I want to introduce you to some programs that have helped people switch to a healthier diet. Is it easy? It probably won't be at first. Taste buds are a curious thing. They can run your life and keep you addicted to foods that in essence are shortening your life span. If you decide however that you will make the effort, you can retrain your taste buds to appreciate foods that you may have shunned to this point. You will be able to achieve sustained weight loss for the long haul. You will be able to prevent or even reverse disease. Eat To Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D. is a fantastic program especially designed for people needing to improve their health quickly. In the process, people experience improvements in many other areas of their health and lives as well. Dr. Fuhrman treats thousands of patients each year and he also has countless testimonials of people who, once crippled by disease, are free and able to enjoy their lives once again. What I appreciate is that this book has the science and studies to back up his claims. Dr. Mehmet Oz, and many other distinguished physicians endorse this book and highly recommend it.

Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Revised EditionDr. Fuhrman discusses how the Standard American Diet is killing millions of people each year. Yet, people do not want to change their diet, but would rather take a pill so that they can continue living and eating the way they would like. He states that Americans are overfed and malnourished. Because their diet is so depleted of nutrition, people continue to be hungry and continue to eat their high fat, processed, carcinogenic foods.

He also debunks all the diet fads that are so popular because they cater to the American appetite for animals and animal products (e.g., milk, eggs, cheese, etc.). They don't work for long-term weight loss because they do not solve the problem of malnutrition and if they do cause weight loss, they can double your chances of getting cancer (e.g., Atkins Diet). There is a correlation between meat consumption and developing cancer as well as many other diseases. The higher the consumption of meat, the higher the incidence of disease. Show me one country that consumes high quantities of meat and has zero or low incidence of disease. You won't find it!

The solution? Consume large quantities of phytonutrients: fruits, nuts, vegetables, whole grains, legumes in as close to their natural state as possible. Eat as much raw food as you can. Get rid of processed foods, They aren't good for you.

Dr. Fuhrman has two six week programs with simple recipes in his book. One is a more aggressive program and the other is less so. They both yield phenomenal results. You won't even have to starve yourself; you can eat to your heart's content. Soon, because your body is receiving all the necessary nutrients, you will find that you won't get as hungry for food as you did before. Dr. Fuhrman also has a website, blog, and a clinic which you can check out if you would like to be treated by him.

More programs and cook books to follow!

Enjoy the Journey!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Raw Food Diet and the Fountain of Youth


I recognize that not everyone wants to be a raw foodie. That's fine, you don't have to be. If I weren't a raw foodist, I would strive to have at least 60% raw food in my diet, preferably alkaline-producing raw foods. Alkilinity is achieved when you consume lots of leafy greens, sprouts, and vegetables as opposed to lots of fruit which is neutral – cooked food and animal products lead to acidity in the body. (More on pH balance in a future post.) For the next 35% of my diet I would choose cooked vegan food. The last 5% would be comprised of anything I want. This would be my opportunity to cheat. However, if you try this don't be surprised if over time you lose a taste for the foods you have always loved. That is a good thing! It generally takes about 10 days for your taste buds to begin to adjust. That is not a hard and fast rule, just an observation made by my husband when he was working at NEWSTART® lifestyle program at the Weimar Center of Health and Education.

That said, I would like to show you the amazing rejuvenative results of a raw food diet. It is absolutely phenomenal for staying young and the closest thing we have to the fountain of youth. I personally am very happy with my experience with it! Losing wrinkles on a raw food diet? Yes, I really have!

Some in Hollywood have jumped onto the raw food band wagon. They recognize that having a healthful diet is crucial for looking good, even into the later years. Some actors, models or otherwise famous people have turned to raw food to stay young and, of course, to be healthy. Angela Bassett, Demi Moore, Carol Alt, and Woody Harrelson are a few examples. Demi Moore (right) is 48 years old. Okay, I'm ready for the plastic surgery accusation. There is no way I can prove that she hasn't been under the scalpel. All I can say is that I don't think a face lift makes you look younger, it just makes you look stretched.  Demi, on the other hand, looks fresh, young, and natural. 

You don't buy it? How about Tonya Zavasta (left). She is a raw food evangelist and expert on aging beautifully. Her website has a fantastic array of beauty products and regimens. She has a blog and lots of raw food recipes. Care to guess her age? 53 years old! Not a single wrinkle on her face.

Suppose I were to really push the limits. I want to look good in my 60's perhaps, maybe even into my 70's. Do you think it's possible? Beautiful Annette Larkins (below) is in her sixties. She also has raw food recipes available through her website.

Last, but not least, is a phenomenal lady. Her name is Mimi Kirk. Take a look at this YouTube clip and see for yourself. Get this - as of 2009 she was dating someone 15 years younger than herself. Way to go Mimi!  Check out her website.  She has tons of recipes to share plus a recipe book.
Again, for the You Tube clip, it may be necessary to right click on the link and open in a new tab or window.



I know I promised those transition programs, I just get ahead of myself with this info. I promise, it's coming!


Enjoy the Journey!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Famous Vegan or Vegetarian Bodybuilders and Athletes

I was searching for raw recipes online when I found this clip on youtube.  I had seen it before but had forgotten about it.  It is incredibly inspiring.  If you think that you will become a skinny, protein deficient waif from a plant based diet, think again!


You may need to right click on the link and open in a new window.  I can't figure out why you tube has this glitch in some browsers.

Enjoy!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

My Transition to a Plant Based Diet

I was very blessed to be raised by parents who are health conscious. My father was an avid runner and mountain bicyclist. My mother always strove to feed us the best quality food she could provide. She never bought us soda, candy bars, or sugary treats. If we did have any candy it was because someone else offered it to us. I believe my desire to be as healthy as possible is deeply ingrained in me because of my parents' influence.

When I married a vegetarian, that was all the impetus I needed to become one myself. So for a few years I was a lacto-ovo-vegetarian, meaning I excluded flesh foods, but ate dairy products and eggs – which are still animal products. Let me just say, you can be a “vegetarian” and be extremely unhealthy. Simply because someone omits meat doesn't mean that they are going to be beaming with amazing health! I ate a lot of starches, processed food, and lots of cheese. I would try to include vegetables, but the life was always cooked out of them. Salad wasn't always included when I served dinner. I began toying with the idea of veganism. I finally did go vegan, but I kept wavering back and forth from being a vegan to lacto-ovo-vegetarian.

In the past year and a half I made the latest transition that has made the most amazing changes to my health and wellness. I began including much more raw food in my diet. I gradually increased my raw food intake until after about a year I am at a point where my diet is now 90- 95% raw/vegan. I absolutely love it! My hair, skin, and nails feel so much better now. My mind has become so clear. (This is difficult to describe unless you experience it yourself.) I didn't know I had foggy thinking until I experienced an open and lucid mind by comparison. I also had crow's feet wrinkles by my right eye that began to disappear. Did you get that? My wrinkles disappeared!!! My skin which continually had break outs began to look so healthy and free from blemishes. I feel rejuvenated and happier. For some unexplainable reason I feel like I have a more positive outlook on life. So what made the difference? I made an intentional effort to drastically increase my consumption of dark leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, sprouted grains, soaked nuts, and soaked seeds. I will never go back!

I began my raw journey, not by omitting items and depriving myself of the things I wanted the most, but by crowding my diet with nutrient-rich, organic raw food. I started with green smoothies. (These can taste really great! Don't let the word “green” fool you!) I also prepared a huge salad along with each vegan meal that I cooked for my husband and kids. At mealtime I would fill up on salad first before I continued on to the cooked food. I bought raw food recipe books and began experimenting. Before I knew it I was eating raw all day long. The days turned to weeks and so on. If I ever craved cooked food, I would eat it. Eventually, however, my cravings for cooked food dissipated, and more importantly, my desire to eat junk food went away as well. The key to my success was the freedom to cheat. If I fell off the wagon, I didn't beat myself up. I would just get back on. I started with a cheat weekend which later was reduced to a cheat day. Now, I have a cheat meal and a half once a week. I also cheat while on vacations – it's harder to stay raw while away from home, during holidays, or when dining with friends. (People would laugh at what I consider cheating.) I think that being too strict while beginning a plant based diet can be a recipe for failure. You gotta have a little elbow room and let your body adjust gradually. The exception to that would be if you are sick with a life threatening disease – that warrants strict adherence to a vegan, high raw, alkaline diet.

In the next couple of posts I will be sharing programs and recipe books I have found that help people transition to a  plant based diet. One program I plan to share with you moves fast over the course of six weeks. Another one I'll share moves you to a mostly raw diet over the course of a year. Both plans have phenomenal testimonials from people who have been healed from all kinds of diseases. As always, I hope that what I share here will inspire readers to pursue greater health and wellness.

Enjoy the journey!


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How to Live a Long, Disease-Free Life

The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the LongestHow do we begin to learn about living long, healthy, disease-free lives?  Well, naturally, we should look to those who are successful at it already.    There are several people groups in the world that have many healthy centenarians and rarely, if ever, suffer from the degenerative diseases we are so plagued with here in the U. S.  The Hunza people of the Himalayas are widely recognized for their longevity.  In his book The Blue Zone, Dan Beuttner examines the following groups also noted for their longevity: the Sardinians of Italy, the Okinawans of Japan, the Seventh-day Adventists of Loma Linda, CA, and the Nicoyans of Costa Rica.  I compiled a list of items that all these people groups have in common to some degree or another.  

1. Plant Based Diet: The above mentioned people groups all subsist on a plant based diet.  Their food is minimally processed, organic, and in as close to a natural state as possible.  Some of these societies do not have access to power and do not cook their food.  Therefore, their food has many live enzymes which aid in digestion and slow the process of aging.  If they eat meat at all, it comprises less than 5% of their diet.  They also eat a light dinner which means that their bodies do not have the heavy task of digesting food at night, which allows their physiological systems to focus on repairing the body during sleep hours.

2. Exercise:  People in these groups generally exercise regularly.  What surprised me is that their exercise isn't high in intensity whatsoever.  Their exercise is moderate.  They walk, garden, and get their heart rates up while busy with their daily activities.  So much for  busting my rear at the gym!

3. Strong Social Networks:  We all have a need to be connected with other people and feel that others care about us. (Reminds me of  the 80's show Cheers - "where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came.")  Long-lived people groups have strong family bonds and make family a primary focus in life.

4. A Positive Attitude: Longevity champions have a positive outlook on life and can laugh about situations to help deal with their stress.  Laughter is powerful.  Physiologically, it helps our bodies deal with hard situations.  Having a good sense of humor, learning to see the glass half full, and being grateful for the blessings we enjoy can go a long way toward promoting longevity.

5. A Sense of Purpose:  We all need to feel like we have a purpose - to know that our existence makes a difference during our sojourn on this planet.  This is another characteristic of the above mentioned groups. 

50 Secrets of the World's Longest Living People6. Sun Exposure:  The people groups known to live longest get vitamin D while taking their walks outside, working the fields, and gardening.  Sun exposure can help enhance sleep and ward off depression.  Despite the bad press it has gotten lately, sun exposure at the right time of day and of reasonable duration is healthful and can even help prevent cancer. Ironic, huh? (More on that in a later post). 

7. Meditation: A final quality of the groups known for  longevity is their habit of taking time to meditate.  Leaning on their faith helps them deal with the normal stresses of life.


Interested in reading more?  Pick up a copy of these excellent books: 

The Blue Zone by Dan Buettner 

Have  a great day!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Different Approach to Health

The statistics in the United States are staggering.  Billions of dollars are spent annually on pharmaceutical drugs and yet victims of disease are at record numbers.  One in three Americans will get cancer at some point in their lives, Russian roulette has better odds than that.   I am sure that everyone who reads this knows someone who has died from heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or some other lifestyle related disease.  The numbers are black and white on paper but they represent fathers, mothers, siblings, children.  It is so heart-wrenching to go to a funeral and witness children saying goodbye to a parent or vice versa.  Something has to change.  We cannot continue in this way. 

What if we made a paradigm shift and began to look at disease in a different way?  Suppose we look at the cause of disease and focus on prevention?  Most drugs are developed simply to treat or counteract symptoms.  In addition, they have a long list of side effects and place a heavy burden on the liver which must process and eliminate them.  Drugs do not heal the body.  I side with Hippocrates when it comes to healing, "Let Food by thy medicine."  He nailed it when he made this statement 2,400 years ago.  Remove the causes of disease,  fuel the body with the highest grade nutrition and watch the miracles happen.  People, it's that easy!

I sometimes hear arguments against preventing diseases like cancer by lifestyle change.  One of them is that there are too many disease-contributing factors to contend with.  I say examine all the factors, strip them down so that they are as naked as the noon day sun and knock them out one by one. 

Some say that the required lifestyle changes are too extreme.  I think that changing a lifestyle can be fun, but chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery are extreme.  I think spending a lifetime of savings on medical bills is extreme.

Don't be a helpless victim when it comes to healing and don't become a statistic!  Take charge of your health and keep your money in the bank!  Give your body the chance to heal itself.  You will be amazed at what it can do given the opportunity.  In this blog I will be exploring things that harm health (e.g., the Standard American Diet), and what you can do to achieve the most amazing, powerful health possible.  Depending on how far you want to take it, you may even be able to reverse signs of aging!  The sky is the limit, folks!  Buckle up your seat belts, it'll be a fun ride!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

President Clinton Goes Vegan

I had an organized plan in the way I would share my thoughts and ideas for this blog. However, as relevant news develops I feel it is important for me to pass it along. Recently former President Bill Clinton decided to become a vegan.  As you may remember, he had a very poor diet and lifestyle which eventually took its toll on his health, especially his heart.  He has since teamed up with Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr. from the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.  They have helped him transition to a plant based diet and consequently he has shed "two dozen pounds" and his health is improving.  You can see the YouTube video here, but with some browsers the link may not work unless you right-click on it and open it in a new tab or new window (don't ask me why).   CNN conducted an interview with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and  President Clinton.  It will air on Saturday, August 27, 8 and 11 p.m ET on CNN.  I don't want to miss this!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Living to the Fullest

Remember being a kid and wanting nothing more than to grow up?  I remember when I just couldn't wait to be older, but time seemed to move like molasses.  When I finally reached those coveted high school and college years, I never gave youthfulness a second thought.  At that point in my life, aging mattered nothing to me because in my mind I would be young forever.

As time passed, I got married and had children.  Then a funny thing happened.  Time, that old bugger, changed on me.  What once moved so slowly, now accelerated to a crazy pace.  Youthfulness, being fresh and young -- you take it for granted when you have it, but when it begins to slip away you realize that time waits for no one.

I just turned 40 this past spring.  Now more than ever, I want to be in control of my destiny, my health, and my youthfulness.  I've heard people say, "You gotta die of something!" and promptly take a drag from their cigarette.  Yes, we all die eventually but we don't have to rush the process.  I want to focus on living, and living to the fullest.  

In the past decade and a half, I have begun a journey toward better health.  I have become excited about a way of living that promotes vibrancy and youthfulness.  I want to share that information with as many people as possible.  We all make choices daily that impact the quality and longevity of our lives.  Once armed with information, we can make a decision about how we want to live.  I don't know about you, but I honestly don't ever want to come to the point where I have to take a myriad of medications and need a little plastic drug container organized by day.  I want to be healthy, strong and lean for years to come.  To be able to live with  zero fear that I might succumb to disease.  Disease prevention, and many times reversal of it, is so possible. I want to look younger than my age -- to have smooth, clear skin.  I want to feel good, light, and contented.  I want to have a sharp, clear mind.  I want positive relationships, positive emotions and thoughts.  This is how I choose to live.  I invite you to join me on this journey.  No matter where you are in life or what your circumstances are, no matter what your age or your health may be, it's never too late to improve the quality of your life and increase your longevity.  Join me in my quest to live beautifully!