Friday, January 27, 2012

Two Excellent Articles by Natural News

I just posted today but I received an email from my friend Don.  Don and I partner up to do raw food seminars from time to time.  This is what he sent me.  It is an article on Kirlian Photography of organic raw foods compared to conventional, cooked or pasteurized produce.  Amazing!  I also found another article on raw foods and brain performance.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Enjoy the Journey!

The Benefits of Drinking Green Smoothies

I started out my raw food journey with green smoothies.  It didn't take long before I started noticing changes.  The first unpleasant changes were the detoxification symptoms.  They lasted about three days for me, but after I got over that I began to feel very good.  People experience all kinds of different symptoms, mine were mainly headaches and lethargy.  If you are interested, here is a blog post on what you might feel.  These symptoms are brought on by toxins trying to leave the body, so that is a very good thing!  How long it lasts  depends primarily on how many toxins are trying to leave your body and how long you may have abused your body.  If you have sluggish bowels, you probably will have a more difficult time with the detox symptoms. (Toxins mainly leave the body through the colon.)  There are ways to curtail this.    For instance, if someone is highly toxic with cancer, The Gerson Institute has a method titled "detoxification" that is described at the bottom of the page on the prior link.  If you don't have cancer, but still would like to do what you can to help things along, look into Dr. Richard Schulze's Intestinal Formula #1 and #2.  It's unpleasant for me to talk about this, but it is a reality of life that must be dealt with especially if you are on the Standard American Diet.

Onto the benefits of smoothies!  Much more fun!

1. Green Smoothies are quick and easy to prepare.  Juicing is fantastic but it usually takes a very long time to prepare the greens, fruits and vegetables.  Then the juicer needs to be dismantled and cleaned.  On the other hand, using a blender to make smoothies is less labor intensive.  The blender carafe is all that needs to be cleaned when blending a smoothie.  A high powered blender like Vitamix or Blendtec is highly recommended.

2. Green smoothies are easily digested.  Because the greens and fruit are already broken down when blended, digestion and assimilation takes much less time. Green smoothies have fiber which also aids in digestion. Take time to"chew" your smoothie, however, by allowing to remain in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing it.  Digestive enzymes begin their work in your mouth.

3. Green smoothies can taste like fruit smoothies.  Begin making green smoothies with 60% fruit and 40% greens.  Also, start by using spinach, which is very mild in flavor compared to many other types of greens.  If the color offends you, try adding blueberries. Once you get used to having green smoothies like that, try adding a leaf or two of kale, chard or collards.  Experiment with all different kinds of greens!

4. Green smoothies help to alkalize the body and provide many antioxidants and phytonutrients.  Greens are alkaline and provide such nutrients as calcium and amino acids, the building blocks of protein.  People think that meat is always a better source of protein.  Meat has to be liquified in the body before it is assimilated.  Imagine the effort the body has to go through to perform a task like that!  Greens are highly bioavailable, it takes hardly any effort to liquify greens and assimilate them.  If you are worried about getting complete protein, don't worry. If you are getting a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, your body knows how to gather and assemble the amino acids they provide in order to build complete protein.  (I have never heard of a protein deficient vegetarian -- or a protein deficient cow, horse or elephant for that matter!)

5. Greens contain chlorophyll.  Chlorophyll is almost identical to hemoglobin which is the part of the blood that transports oxygen to the cells.  An oxygen rich body is what we are aiming for!  Chlorophyll replenishes blood cells and  helps to bind up toxins to remove them from the body.

6. Dark leafy greens are among the most nutrient dense Foods.  Dr. Fuhrman ranks food according to nutrient density.  This list of foods is very telling!  View the list here.  Dark leafy greens are also far more affordable than all the exotic superfoods that are all the rage these days.  Don't get me wrong!  I love them all, but I can't afford them all, at least not at the same time.  Dark leafy greens are affordable and packed with nutrition! 

7. The physical benefits on the body are impressive.  I obtained the following information from The Green Smoothies Diet by Robyn Openshaw.  She polled 175 people who began using green smoothies.  These are some of the results: 85% experienced more energy; 79.5% experienced improved digestion; 65% experienced fewer cravings for sweets; 54% experienced a more positive, stable mood; 50% improved skin tone; (For simplicity in posting, I will omit the percentages in the rest of these results and just list them.) Here they are: increased desire to exercise, improved sleep, less stress, blood sugar stabilization, stronger finger nails, shinier hair, less PMS symptoms, improved sex drive, arthritis symptoms reduced or gone, reduced asthma symptoms, decreased blood pressure.  Wow!  I am impressed with this list and I haven't even mentioned everything reported!  I covered less than half of the list of benefits experienced.

When starting your green smoothie experience, begin with one eight ounce glass a day and work up to two or three glasses a day.  Once blended, I keep the unused portion in the fridge for no more than two days.  Green smoothie recipes to follow!

Enjoy the Journey!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Limitless - On a Raw Food Diet

A while ago there was an evening when my husband and kids were out, giving me some time to myself, something that hardly ever happens.  Standing in line for Redbox, I asked the man in front of me for a movie recommendation.  He recommended Limitless.  I really have to stop asking strangers for their picks.  I didn't like the film at all but I did come away from it with some thoughts.  In the movie, the protagonist is able to turn his life around by taking a pill.  The pill helped him access all the potential of his brain as opposed to just 20 percent.  After some bumps in the road and run-ins with the authorities and the mafia, he is able to shake off his adversaries and ended up very successful in all areas of his life.

I believe this theme resonates with many Americans.  We want to feel good, alive and energetic.  We want success. Isn't that like human nature, however, to want it all by doing something as simple as taking a pill?  For everything to come easy, no sweat, no work, no sacrifice?  Self satisfaction for a job well done never comes into play, because it has all been handed over.  But what if we were to make the effort?  What could we possibly accomplish if we made radical changes?   Many Americans struggle with lethargy and obesity, wake up with aches and pains and have diseases to boot.  Their minds are in a continual fog and are constantly depressed.  The sad thing is that many accept this as normal or just part of the aging process.  

I'm here to tell you that you do not have to accept these things as normal.  You can have a life that is so different!  These are some of the things I read or hear from people who choose an alkaline plant-based diet.  They report that they have more energy, mental clarity, a calmer state of mind and a more positive outlook.  They experience weight loss, clear luminous skin, healthier hair and nails.  They find that this lifestyle change has enhanced their athletic performance and it's their secret in having an advantage in their sport.  These are athletes that are continually winning races and bodybuilding competitions.  Some even say that aging is no longer a factor when it comes to their performance.  They have stronger endurance, and are able to increase in muscle mass.  Let me reiterate that they have accomplished this on an alkaline, plant-based, raw food diet. (This is a subject for a future post.)  Although you probably won't be able to do math like the man in the film, make millions with a few strategic moves or run for public office, what could you accomplish if you had the clearest mind? What important information could you discern with a razor sharp mind, that might have otherwise slipped your notice with an acidic foggy brain?  Imagine a body unfettered by aches, pains or disease and free from excess weight.  Imagine if you had boundless energy and a positive outlook? What ventures would you undertake?  In this dog-eat-dog world, where looks count for everything and unfair attention is given to those who have "the look", what advantages could you enjoy because of a fit, trim body?   ... Just some food for thought.

In the next series of posts I will be covering topics such as green smoothies, sprouting, pH balance and athletic performance.  Just know that I stick loosely to the schedule and ad-lib as I come across information.  Have a great week!

Enjoy the journey!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A local C.S.A. / Yuri Elkaim's Eating for Energy

During my visit to Puerto Rico, I had a conversation with Sergio, my brother-in-law.  He recently went on a business trip to Europe and was entertained by the businesses eager to make a deal with him.  Sergio recounted in detail the many delicious meals he enjoyed.  While having one particular dish he was completely amazed at how delicious a potato could be.  "How is it possible for a potato to taste so good?"  After a moment of reflection he concluded, "It starts in the soil."  This is an absolute truth.  The most delicious food will come from soil which hasn't been doused with chemicals or over-farmed.  The best tasting food will come from local organic  farms.  

Roundabout Hills Market Garden is a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm located in Howard county, MD, that prides itself in using age old practices for growing food.  There is something much more personal about cutting out the middleman and actually knowing who it is that grows your food.  I purchased some tomatoes, kale and herbs from them on one occasion.  They picked the produce right in front of me.  It doesn't get any fresher than that!  If you live in or near Howard County, MD, you may be interested to know that they still have some subscriptions left for the upcoming season.  Each subscription covers 24 weeks from May to November.  They also have half subscriptions available.  For more information go to  To search for organic farms all over the United States go to

Yuri Elkaim's Eating for Energy

I recently was surfing online for raw food information when I came across Yuri Elkaim's Eating for Energy.  I listened to his advertisement and was very interested in his program.  What intrigued me was that his recipes are tailored for people who may not have all the time in the world but want to eat raw or mostly raw.  His recipes take ten minutes or less.  He seems like a practical, no-nonsense kind of person that just wants to get the job done.  I like trying involved recipes, but honestly, who has time to prepare food like that all the time?  Often we are rushing from one appointment to the next and need something that can be prepared quickly.  Raw Food Books Reviewed gives Eating for Energy between 4 and 5 stars.  Amazon readers give this book  4.8 stars.  Might be worth looking into!

Enjoy the journey!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chocolate Banana Smoothie

During the week my diet is pretty much low on the glycemic index.  On the weekends I do enjoy indulging my sweet tooth a little more.  Did you know that Raw Cacao is a superfood?  Yaaahoo!!!  Sorry, I am just a little crazy about chocolate.  Raw cacao is high in antioxidants and iron and it has one of the highest levels of magnesium.  Also it is rich in a host of other nutrients -- but remember, it must be raw to have all those beneficial nutrients. Here is a recipe for a smoothie that is decadently thick, rich and very chocolaty.  My kids absolutely love this smoothie.  You may want to have this a little earlier in the day rather than late at night.  It might keep you or your kids up later than you would like.

 Chocolate Banana Smoothie

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 5 medjool dates
  • 1 cup raw cashews or almonds (you may presoak them for few hours)*
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of raw cacao powder (or roasted cocoa powder)
  • optional: 1 tbsp each of any superfoods you may have on hand (e.g., flax seed, chia seed, hemp seed, coconut oil, raw honey)
  • coconut or almond milk (enough to fill the carafe)
 Adjust ingredients to suit your taste, whether you prefer it thicker or sweeter.  A Vitamix blender will give you the best results with this recipe.  So good and guilt free!

(*Soaking raw nuts releases enzyme inhibitors and makes them more alkaline)

Enjoy the journey!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Raw Dinner Invitation / Amazing Raw Food Transformations

This past weekend I had the wonderful pleasure of being invited by close friends for dinner.  My friends' daughter, Becca, prepared the most amazing raw food meal for me and my family.  I have known Becca and her family since she was a little girl and it has been so nice to see her transform into a  lovely young woman.  Here she is with one of the horses she rides.  

I was totally blown away by the invitation.  You see, I write my blog hoping that people are inspired to improve their diet and to improve all habits that lead to health.   It thrills me to no end when I see someone become inspired and they just take off.  Becca and her family are moving full force ahead searching for recipes and experiencing the raw food lifestyle. 

Here is what we had and it was so delicious!  


Carrot Coconut Ginger Lime Soup 

2 young Thai coconuts
4 limes
6 carrots
1 tsp of fresh ginger 
sea salt to taste 
Directions: Open the coconuts and scoop out the meat, using the meat and the water. Put all of the ingredients into the Vitamix and blend until smooth. Garnish with a lime and enjoy a colorful meal!


Arugula Pumpkin Seed Pesto Sauerkraut Lasagna 

1 zucchini, large (thinly sliced)
1 large tomato (thinly sliced) 
pumpkin arugula pesto (recipe below)  
as much sauerkraut as you want

Pumpkin Arugula Pesto

about 1 cup fresh arugula
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (can use sunflower seeds or any nut)
2 garlic cloves (optional)  
1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)  
2 tbsp tahini  
3 tbsp sauerkraut juice (can use lemon or lime juice or apple cider vinegar) 
handful of fresh basil  
2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast

Place all pesto ingredients in your blender* and blend till creamy. 
*may do it in a food processor as well.


Mango Avocado Spinach Wrap

1/2 cup spinach
1 mango
1 avocado
4 romaine lettuce leaves

Directions: Mash up the avocado, add a little sea salt if you like. Cut up the spinach into thin slices. Take your romaine leaves and put the spinach on first, followed by avocado mash and sliced mangoes. Enjoy!

For dessert we had these delicious coconut truffles.  Melt in your mouth, delicious!  

Mint Chocolate Chip Macaroons

1/2 cup cold-pressed coconut oil
1/2 cup raw honey or agave nectar
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
pinch of Himalayan salt
3 tablespoons raw cacao nibs
2 1/2 cups finely shredded coconut

Mix coconut oil, honey, peppermint, salt and cacao nibs in a large bowl.  Pour the coconut into the same bowl and mix well to combine all ingredients.  Scoop round balls onto a cookie sheet or platter or spread into a 9” square baking dish.  Place in the freezer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Thaw 15 minutes before serving.  If you opted for the square dish, cut into desired shapes after thawing.

Amazing Raw Food Transformations!

I also wanted to share with you some images that Becca showed me from  These are before and after shots of people who transitioned from a Standard American Diet to a raw food diet.  Some of the before and after shots look like two completely different people.  Click here to view the images.  Excellent post by We Like it Raw!

Enjoy the journey!

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Amazing Health Benefits of Coconuts/ Restaurants in Puerto Rico

 I just flew in a couple of days ago from Puerto Rico where my sister lives.  We had a wonderful family reunion with my other sister and parents who also joined us.  So sad to say bye to everyone.  Here we are gathered at the table on Christmas Eve.

Alas, I am back in Maryland.  It was also hard to leave the wonderful tropical climate.  I wish we could just pack up and move to some warm location.  I couldn't have such an experience and not do a post on one of my favorite foods.  Coconuts!  I told my sister that all I wanted in Puerto Rico was "coco-frio".  On one occasion we were driving down one of their main thoroughfares which ran by a coconut tree lined beach.  My husband spotted the sign first.  My sister swerved from the busy road to park in front of a line of food vendors.  We passed by all of the popular food vendors to a pick-up truck loaded with coconuts.  The vendor gave the coconut a few chops with his machete, put in a straw and handed me my most coveted tropical elixir, coconut water!

Our stash of coconuts

The benefits of this abundant tropical fruit are astounding and endless.  I will site a few just to give you an idea of the caliber of this amazing fruit.  Coconut water is hydrating, alkalizing, filled with antioxidants and electrolytes.  It has anti-aging properties and makes some nutrients more absorbable.  It boosts the immune system, it's antimicrobial, anti-fungal and antibacterial.  It aids in digestion and increases one's metabolism.  It is naturally sterile and has been used to save the lives of people in developing countries where blood banks are not readily available.  It is almost identical to human blood plasma.  Imagine a patient hooked up to an I.V. line and bag filled with coconut water.  Yes, it has been done.  It is also excellent for athletes.  Blend some up with a tablespoon or more of chia seed and you have an amazing sports drink.  Much better for you than the neon colored synthetic drinks available on the market.
My kids enjoying coco-frio
Apparently the craze for coconut water has caught on giving birth to multi-million dollar businesses.  Some popular brands are Zico and Madonna's Vita-coco.  I do have a problem with them, however.  They are pasteurized.  I will not say the they are void of all nutrients, but pasteurization renders much of the beneficial properties useless.  Raw will always be best.  Body Ecology is a company that packages the water and freezes it.  You can find it on  amazon.  Exotic Superfoods is another company  that sells truly raw coconut water.  Another option would be to buy fresh young coconuts in Indian and Asian markets and cut them open yourself.  Here's a youtube how-to video.  (If having trouble with the link, right click on link and open in new window)  Please be careful with your digits!

Coconut oil has gotten a bad rap for far too long.  After research and observing people groups that have a high consumption of coconut oil, it turns out that coconut oil is the best oil to use.  It is stable and does not become carcinogenic when heated like most other oils.  It turns liquid at approximately 70 degrees and solid below that temperature.  It will not coat your arteries, as a matter of fact, it promotes heart health.  Coconut oil is about 50% lauric acid.  (Lauric acid helps to fight infection.)  The only other source that is similar in quantity is mother's milk, which explains why breast fed babies suffer far fewer infections than formula fed babies.  Like coconut water, the oil also helps to increase one's metabolism and  improves digestion.  Used topically it is fantastic!  My husband tells me that I often smell like a coconut.  It is wonderful to slather it on as a moisturizer.  It helps the skin ward off infection, psoriasis and eczema, especially if dairy is cut out of one's diet.  It also helps to strengthen and repair hair when damaged. About once a week, I just coat my hair with it and let it sit for a half hour before I wash my hair.  I purchase organic virgin raw coconut oil by the gallon from Mountain Rose Herbs.  It really is reasonably priced at this site.  (Coconut oil has a shelf life of up to two years.)

Raw foodists use all food forms of the coconut for their smoothies, sauces and raw confections.  The young meat of the coconut and its gelatinous composition is perfect to create custard like desserts.  The mature meat when grated and pressed produces the milk.  Have you ever tasted it? Yum!! Of course, I'm always using the grated dehydrated coconut flakes for raw pie crust or freezer fudge. Look up Jennifer Cornbleet and Ani Phyo raw prep books for simple dessert recipes on

If you are so inclined to hack at a few coconuts, try this recipe that I found on another blog: Raw Vegan Pina Colada

Vegetarian Friendly Restaurants of Puerto Rico:

If you happen to be traveling to Puerto Rico, may I suggest a few vegetarian friendly restaurants?  I do not stay on a raw diet when I travel.  It is too difficult.  Maybe someday I'll figure it out.  I'm just not there yet.  I do stay mostly vegan.  We ate at some restaurants that catered to our dietary needs.  One Restaurant was "El Ladrillo" in Dorado.  You will not find vegan options on the menu, but if you call ahead 24 hours, they will make special accommodations.  The owner herself prepared the most amazing "vegan mofongo" for us.  It is a dish made of mashed plaintain shaped into a bowl.  It was topped with a tomato based sauce and mixed vegetables.  Killer good!  Another excellent restaurant is located at a mountain retreat in Utuado, "La Casa Grande". They have a phenomenal chef, Mike Mahon, who is completely undaunted by the task of preparing delicious vegetarian or vegan entrees. ( I can't tell you how many times I've been disappointed by other chefs who are totally clueless.)  He delivers mouth-watering delectable dishes every time!  For quick, reasonably priced sandwiches, consider El Meson.  Another good sandwich restaurant and juice bar with a more gourmet edge is Pure and Natural in Condado.  They are a little slow on service, but the food was scrumptious.  Cafe Berlin in Old San Juan is a good option for brunch.  

As always, all good things must come to an end.  Sigh.
And now, back to the grind in cold, gray Maryland!  Happy New Year to you all.  Many blessings in 2012!

Enjoy the Journey!