Archive for February, 2010|Monthly archive page

Count Ingredients Not Calories?

Wow. Check out this note that Tony Horton (of P90X and Beachbody fame) posted on Facebook. Scary!

I mean it’s not like I didn’t know this know this, but seeing it written out like that….

Cultivating a Mindset of Abundance (as Opposed to Scarcity)

A few nights ago my partner, Michael J, and I ran into an old acquaintance.

Over the course of the conversation, the man commented on how much weight he’d lost – 100 pounds this last year.

Michael J, who typically never comments on people’s weight, replied: “Yeah, I noticed you’d really trimmed down. Did you have a plan for that? Or do you have one moving forward?”

“Well,” he began, “I started over eaters anonymous and cut out sugar and bread. You know, no pasta, no bread, no burgers, no pizza, no cake, no pie…..”

As he continued to list off all of the the things that he “can’t eat,” I found myself thinking, “Wow, that’s intense. There’s no way could do that.”

Uh, hello?

In case you haven’t been following this blog, I am, for all intents and purposes, a newly raw vegan, who happens to also be gluten and (processed) sugar free. By definition, I can’t have any of those things either. But as soon as he started off on the list of what he couldn’t have, I got all internally defensive. And I started setting myself up for failure. I literally starting to tell myself that I couldn’t do the very things that I had been doing for the last 8 weeks. It was intense. And a little funny. And a little sad.

But do you want to know what’s really funny? I rarely think about what I can’t have on my raw food diet. In fact, I was 4 weeks into it before I fully realized that I was now an acting vegan – something else I swore I would never be able to do.

I’m not totally sure what the take away point is here, but it definitely warrants some thought. It may be that there are just so many ways that we set ourselves up for failure and that one way to do it is by focusing on what we can’t have as opposed to all of the things that we can. I’ll give it some further consideration and get back with you.

And if you have any suggestions, let me know.

A Moment of Recognition and Appreciation

Michael J and I stopped at a local coop and had dinner there.

While I munching happily away on my salad of spinach, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, raw sun flower seeds, red cabbage, and sprouts, this young girl – about 11 – walked in and sat down a little to the right of and behind our table.

She was tall and thin and wearing track pants and your typical I’m almost in middle school high zippered hoodie. Though unlike most 11 year olds I know (and unlike I was at that age) she was completely comfortable in her own skin and completely unbothered about sitting down in a coop cafe for a snack – alone.

She was carrying a beautiful chocolate cupcake (not unlike the one pictured here, though with a little less frosting) and a Synergy drink (or, rather, a Kombucha). I’d link you to their website, but the link is apparently down.

According to Wikipedia, for those of you who have never tried one:

Kombucha is a fermented tea that is imbibed for medicinal purposes. Although there is limited specific scientific information supporting any purported benefits and a lack of studies being conducted, much anecdotal information purporting its historical medicinal value has been reported.[1] Kombucha is available commercially, but can be made at home by fermenting tea using a visible solid mass of microorganisms called a kombucha culture or mushroom.

My favorite brand is GT’s. My favorite is the green one (of course) and Michael J favors the ginger – no surprise there either, now that I think about it.

But I digress.

This girl, with the chocolate cupcake and her Kombucha, lifted the cupcake off of the saucer and lifted it to her face. Then, she paused. Took a deep breath and savored the aroma of delicacy.

It was truly beautiful. And so mindful that it made me embarrassed of how I sat down and mindlessly attacked my salad without fully appreciating the color, the beauty, the scent, or the texture.

I watched her enjoy a few bites before setting it back down on the saucer and start the long, careful process of opening her Kombucha.

As I finished my salad and walked away I wondered if she would even finish the cupcake and thought that of all of the 11 year old girls I’ve ever seen, she’s the one I would say is at the lowest risk of – if not obesity – a life long struggle with food.

I hope she enjoyed her snack.

For Your Viewing Pleasure: Two On The Industrial Food Complex

If you’re at all interested in the politics behind where you get your food, you really can’t afford to miss these two videos! They’re not as graphic as Food, Inc. or King Corn, but they’re incredibly informative.

The first is Jamie Oliver at TED 2010 (21 min). And while I’m here, all of the TED talks are good. If you haven’t checked them out, you’re missing out. I’ve yet to watch one where I wasn’t completely blown away!

The second is Michael Pollen on Democracy Now (59 min). If you’re reading this blog, I assume that you know who he is, but if not, get more information about Pollen here!

I think that the thing that surprised me the most out of these two talks is their treatment of school food! Because I don’t have kids, I don’t think about school lunch programs; but if you have a kid, you can’t afford not to.

If you need an idea for Valentine’s Day….

…or just any old excuse to make chocolate, these may just be your answer!

I made these tonight and I must say that Michael J was particularly appreciative of my efforts in the kitchen.

If you don’t have heart shaped ice trays, they are available – as is everything else you could possibly ever imagine and then some – at Amazon.

Getting Rid of the Shell, While Staying in the Game

Several months ago, I blogged that I had thrown the scale away and how liberating that was.

Well, this year, I joined the The Vault, a group over at Raw Food Rehab really focused and committed to adopting a more raw lifestyle. One of the conditions of being in the Vault is that you weigh in every week. I really had to ask myself if being part of the Vault was going to be worth reintroducing a scale into my life, with all of the craziness that that entails.

After much deliberation, I decided it was.

But the minute I stepped on that scale, my whole focus changed.

The first few weeks were good, if only because I was losing! It’s always good when you’re losing, right?

Then, last Wednesday, although nothing had changed in my diet (except that I had actually eaten somewhat less and exercised a little bit more), I was up a pound and a half. Hmm, not so good.

I think that the most important lesson I learned there (after I stopped sulking) was that I realized that I was going to have to put my money where my mouth was, as I had just spent the last two and a half weeks encouraging my less “successful” fellow Vault-lings that if they just stayed on the path, eventually their body would catch up.

Then, on Monday, I was up three and a half pounds! Ouch.

Then, on Wednesday, not only was that three and a half pounds gone, I’d actually lost a smidgen. I’m sure that all of the women out there (and any of the men who have actually lived with a women) know exactly what just happened, but I digress.

Today, given that my body has released a lot of the pent up gunk and goo that it had been holding on to, I feel totally thin. In other words, I feel like if I got on the scale, yet again, it would be something entirely different. And, chances are, something entirely better.

Then why don’t I? Good question.

Well, the scale isn’t in my house. It’s actually almost 45 minutes away (a two hour round trip once you count in parking, etc). I got up this morning, thinking, ‘I bet if I go weigh in, I’ll have lost more weight when I check in at the vault.’

Then the craziness started. I actually began creating excuses for going into town – all for the sake of a number. A number that, I have come to realize, has nothing to do with my greater path towards health and fitness. Nor does it have anything to do with what I put in my mouth over the week or with what I will put in my mouth over the upcoming weekend.

So, instead of driving 70 miles out of my way in the hope that I will be able to log in a lower number on my virtual community, I am going to log in over at Raw Food Rehab when the Vault opens, enter in my .10 weight loss from the week before and that will be okay. It will be okay, because the number is just that, a number.

And what am I going to do instead? I’m going to sit in the sun, blog, write and love on my ailing cat. I’m also going to figure out what I’m going to have for lunch tomorrow at Grezzo, where my love is taking me in honor of my 40th birthday. I can’t wait! (And I am most certainly not going to count calories)!

Have a great day.

Setting Goals and Seeking Support

I’ve decided to go about setting goals in a different way from here on out.

In the past, I used to set goals, like “I’m going to lose ten pounds” or “I’m going to get into a smaller pair of jeans.”

In other words, I used to set outcome goals.

I also used to set goals that didn’t really change. In other words, I would set a goal and that was my goal. There was no reassessment. Once it was set, it was set. Like cement.

I would also set goals that only I knew about. And trust me, those are much easier to forget about than those that you’ve shared with others.

This month, I’m trying something different.

I set a couple of goals – that is, a couple of process oriented goals – and they are my goals for the month of February.

I also didn’t just tell myself what my goals are. I told someone else and asked him to check up on me. Instant accountability! How scary, uhm, I mean, how wonderful is that? 🙂

And, believe it or not, it really wasn’t that hard. And the good news is that since they’re my goals for the month (rather than for a lifetime) I can assess myself in terms of my progress. I can either renew the goal or (if it’s become a habit or if it no longer serves me) I can choose another.

The day before yesterday I called Michael J from work and said, “I’d like to talk to you about some fitness goals at dinner and I’d like you to help me succeed. Would that be okay?”

Of course he agreed. I mean, who wouldn’t? It wasn’t like I was asking him to join me or anything? Right?

Essentially, we set down and I said: these are my goals for this month and I would like you help me be accountable.

He – engineer and wonderful partner that he is – actually wrote them down on a note card, which he then stuck promptly beneath the salt cellar.

I thanked Michael J for being totally awesome and supportive and then – like the absent minded professor that I am – promptly forgot about it.

Fast forward to last night at dinner: “Hey babe,” says Michael J, “how much water did you have today?”

What?! My knee jerk reaction: What’s it to you?!

Then I looked at the little card that he had in his hand with three enumerated points on it:

Drink at least 80 ounces of water a day.

Do yoga at least 3 times a week, even if it’s just 30 minutes.

Take vitamins every day.

Only slightly embarrassed, I did a quick calculation: “Seventy-five,” I replied gratefully, “and I imagine it’s probably going to take at least another five to take those vitamins that I forgot to take at breakfast!”

So, those are my three goals for the month of February: water, yoga, and vitamins.

I’m hoping that what “they” say is true and that it really does only take 30 days to make something a habit. Because, trust me, when I am doing these three things regularly without having to stop and think about them, there are plenty of more small, process-oriented goals ready to take their place…..

But until then, I have Michael J and his trusty note card.

By the way, if you’re reading: thanks, babe, you truly are the best.

Raw Sweet Potato and Leek Soup

When I picked up my local farm share last week, I was a little dismayed to find out that it had THREE sweet potatoes in it! Sweet potatoes?! What the heck can I do with sweet potatoes?

Well, all I can say is thank goodness for the web. After some googling, I found this recipe at Not only is this soup surprisingly gorgeous, it is absolutely delicious!

By far the best raw soup I’ve tried yet!

Raw sweet potato and leek soup

1 lb sweet potato
1 lb leek
1 avocado
1 tbsp Braggs seasoning
1 small knob ginger (finely chopped)
1/2 white onion
1 vine-ripened tomato
Celtic sea salt and pepper to taste
1 cups charged water


Peel, wash, and chop the sweet potato and leeks.

Place all the ingredients in a high speed blender (preferably a Vita-mix or a Blendtec) and blend until the texture is smooth.

Adjust seasoning if necessary.


p.s. Because this soup seems to get thick, feel free to dilute with a tablespoon or two of hot (though not boiling) water just before serving! Not only will it improve the consistency, it will warm it up for you, making it feel a little more like soup. Also, during the winter months, you might want to try heating your bowls before serving!