Archive for the ‘raw food’ Category

Sugar Free Chocolate Thin Mints? Seriously?

For the last several months, I have been working with a phenomenal women’s coach, Tara Marino. I have worked with a lot of people in the past and I must admit that she is one of the best and – if you’re a woman and you’re interested in living a more elegant life – you should definitely check her out at her website, Elegant Femme.

One of the things that Tara does so well is help you set daily rituals; in fact, she calls them your “Daily Requirements.” Some of these requirements tap into your spiritual side, some of them tap into your intellectual side, whereas others tap into your more sensual or more physical side.

I’ve been very good about all of them – which tells you something about how good Tara is if you’ve ever heard me rail about not being able to ritualize my routines – all of them, that is, except one.

The one that I’m having the most trouble with is to eat raw chocolate at least once a day.

Wow, Tara’s a real slave driver, isn’t she?

Okay, so what’s up with me not eating raw chocolate, especially when I’ve been given permission to do so? Heck, not only permission, but a strongly, yet elegantly worded recommendation?

  1. I don’t live in California (yet), so I actually don’t have easy access to raw chocolate unless I make it.
  2. I am really sensitive to sugar, so even though raw chocolate is raw, I’m a little leery about desserts with sugar – even agave – in them, to the degree that it could potentially be a slippery slope.
  3. I actually have a hard time indulging myself this way when it comes to food.

Okay, so yesterday, I was going to all of my favorite food blogs, looking for gluten-free recipes for Thanksgiving (these include two mostly raw food blogs Rawmazing and PurelyTwins (used to be Pure2Raw), both of whom I’ve called out before).

Well, as it turns out, PurelyTwins has a recipe – a very simple and delicious recipe – for Sugar Free Chocolate Thin Mints that are made primarily out of hemp powder and coconut oil. Not only are hemp and coconut oil an important part of my diet already, they also reduce hunger and promote thyroid health. And, more importantly – they’re sugar free!

So, I tried these last night and I must say, Daily Requirements, Here I Come.

The entire process took about 10 minutes (and that was the first time through the recipe). These are going to become a (daily) staple.

p.s. It is worth noting that mine were a little “hempy,” but I think that’s a matter of the hemp powder I used. I have a another brand which is a little more mellow. As they note in the video, each protein powder is different, so it’s worth some experimentation.

Beet and Carrot Slaw: Recipe

A friend of mine just sent an email requesting my Beet and Carrot Slaw recipe. I immediately went to the blog to send her a link. After searching for about ten minutes, I realized that I talk about this all the time, but I had yet to choke up the recipe.

This recipe is so easy and so delicious. And even my husband, who has never been much of a beet eater, goes through periods where he eats this everyday. It’s also gorgeous and would be a welcome, uh, cleansing addition to any Thanksgiving meal. Next time I make it – which will probably be in a couple of days since I just added it to my own Thanksgiving menu – I’ll be sure to take a picture!

Beet and Carrot Slaw

Ingredients

Equal numbers of beets and carrots, peeled and grated finely (or run through a processor); I usually do about 4 medium to large or 6 small. It depends on how much you want to make.

1/2 bunch of parsley, cleaned and minced.

2 tablespoons (more or less) of extra virgin olive oil

juice of 1 lemon AND 1 lime

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon turmeric

1 tablespoon of cumin

Directions

1) Add all of the ingredients except the spice in a large metal bowl and toss well.

2) Then sprinkle the spices while continuing to toss (to avoid clumping).

3) Adjust seasoning and oil to taste.

4) Enjoy!

Perfection in a Glass

No, I haven’t started drinking again! But I have created (for now at least) my all-time favorite raw food recipe: Almond Maca Chia Cacao Shake with Goji Berries and Cacoa Nibs. Though considering that I spend most of my spare time in the kitchen, that – I am sure – is subject to change! 🙂

This all started earlier this summer, when I had a Chocolate Maca shake at Planet Raw, this phenomenal raw food restaurant in Santa Monica, California. It came out in a 16 ounce tumbler, lightly dressed with nuts, goji berries, and cacao nibs – and it was heavenly. Not only was it delicious and ridiculously good for you, it also had the additional benefit of the maca/cacao buzz.

(If you’re familiar with maca – which is a peruvian superfood with slight psychedelic properties – you know what I’m talking about. If you’re not, it’s sort of hard to explain, but I’d recommend that you try it. Without putting too fine a point on it, it’s sort of like malt, with benefits. Mix that with a little raw cacao and you’re in for a supersonic treat!)

Anyway, I digress.

Since then, as you might imagine, I have been trying to replicate it with more or less success.

But the big breakthrough came with the Almond Maca Chia Cacao Shake I came up with a couple weeks ago. It was pretty close. The chia gel gives the shake a nice consistency – whereas the one at Planet Raw relied on coconut meat.

(Though I might use coconut meat too if I could figure out how to open one!)

But since I love nothing more than playing in the kitchen, the recipe continues to evolve – so maybe I should have called this post – Nearing Perfection in a Glass.

Almond Maca Chia Cacao Shake with Goji Berries and Cacoa Nibs (1 serving)

1 cups almond milk (I used Almond Breeze, Unsweetened Chocolate – though I’m sure it would be better if I made my own)
3 Tbs chia gel
1 Tb maca
1 Tb chocolate rice protein powder
1 Tb raw cacao powder
1 Tb dried goji berries
1 Tb psyllium husk (or Yerba Prima Colon Care, which is much finer)
cinnamon, to taste
vanilla, to taste
5 drops chocolate stevia
8 ice cubes

Blend together in a high speed blender! Garnish with raw cacao nibs and goji berries and enjoy!

Note: although this may look/sound like dessert, it can definitely be used for a meal replacement. It’s chock full of protein (close to 15 grams), fiber (close to ten grams), and essential fats – not to mention all of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in the cacao, the goji berries, and the maca.

Peanut Butter Cups – Raw, Easy and Delicious

I love chocolate and I love peanut butter.

When you think about it, what’s NOT to love?

But I don’t like the sugar hit that traditional chocolate peanut butter cups give me. They taste great, but sometimes you have to think about how the food that you eat is going to make you feel two hours later, not to mention two days later when you’re still fighting sugar crazing – you know, that was actually a typo, but it’s so apropos, I think I’ll leave it!

So here’s what I came up with.

I originally saw a similar recipe on Alissa Cohen’s blog, but I ended up experimenting – big surprise.

KJ’s Version of the Old You’ve Got Peanut Butter in My Chocolate Classic – Peanut Butter Cups

Ingredients:

1 cup raw organic cacao
1 cup of cold pressed virgin coconut oil (melted; it becomes liquid at 79 degrees [or something like that] so you don’t have to heat it much, if any!)
1/4 cup of agave nectar
6-10 drops of chocolate stevia (or to taste; don’t do too much or you’ll get a strange after taste)
cinnamon, 1 – 2 tsp (or more; I like lot, so chances are I put in more)
organic vanilla, 1 tsp (or more, to taste)

raw organic peanut butter (or almond butter, or cashew butter….)

Whisk all of the ingredients – except the nut butter – until smooth.

Spray an ice tray or two with non-stick cooking spray (I know, I can hear Susan Powter as I type talking about the propellent in cooking spray, but what can you do?).

Spoon in about a T of chocolate into each ice cube space (the batch I made yesterday made about 20 pieces, but you might want to do one tray first and then start a second tray if you have any left over).

Let the chocolate set up for a few minutes; it shouldn’t take long.

Spoon in a rounded 1/8 teaspoon (or a 1/4 teaspoon depending on your chocolate:peanut butter taste ratio preference) into each cube space, then cover with remaining chocolate sauce.

If you have left over chocolate, start a second tray.

Put in the freezer overnight and you’re done!

Pop those puppies out in the morning and store them in an airtight container.

Now, the only caveat is you have to leave these in the fridge or freezer, because the coconut oil isn’t particularly stable – remember that 79 degree melting point? However, that said, they’ll stay good for a month or more (if they last that long) and if you keep them in the freezer, no one will know they’re there but you!

Reboot Camp Snack: KJ’s Kickin’ Kale Chips

Since part of my reboot involves in drastically limiting the almond and nut butters that cross these lips, I decided that I really had to do something with all of that kale I had in the fridge that didn’t require slathering in it tahini and nutritional yeast before putting it in the dehydrator – no matter how tasty it is that way!

I had tried a couple of other kale chip recipes and wasn’t a fan.

So, last night, I decided to make my own:

KJ’s Kickin’ Kale Chips

1 massive bunch of organic Kale (the big curly kind)
5 Tbs of olive oil (I am actually trying to increase my intake here, so it’s okay)
1 Tb agave nectar
1 tsp of sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
ground cumin, to taste
cayenne, a pinch or less, to taste
Braggs Amino Acids, a couple of shakes, to taste

Cut the stems out of your kale, then tear into bite sized pieces. Place in a large stainless steel mixing bowl.

Then add all of the other ingredients, massaging them into the kale. The more massage, the better your flavor will eventually be!

Toss into the dehydrator, directly onto the screens and dehydrate for 8 hours at 105 degrees (or until nice and crispy). I put mine in and left them overnight so I’m assuming it was about 8 hours!

Enjoy!

Recipe: Almond Maca Chia Cacao Shake

More fun with chia seeds! It’s amazing how creative you can get when that’s one of your only three acceptable snack options!

Almond Maca Chia Cacao Shake (2 servings)

2 cups almond milk (I used Almond Breeze, Unsweetened Chocolate)
1 Tbs soaked chia seeds
1 Tbs maca
1 Tbs ground flax seeds
cinnamon, to taste
2 teaspoons of agave nectar (or 5 drops chocolate stevia and 1 tsp of agave nectar).
8 ice cubes

Throw all ingredients into a blender and blend!

I drank one for my morning snack and will have the other as my afternoon snack. Yum-my!

Recipe: Raw Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

This is my new snack option – incredibly filling and incredibly fibrous. In other words, this puppy will fill you up and clean you out!

Raw Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

2 cups almond milk (I used Almond Breeze, Unsweetened Chocolate)
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tbs raw cacao
cinnamon, to taste
liquid Stevia, to taste (I used chocolate)

Mix all ingredients in a mason jar, then put on the lid tightly and shake.

Let sit in the fridge for a couple of hours until nice and thick.

I think I waited about 4-5 hours, though a lot of recipes suggest that you let it sit overnight.

It stays good in the fridge, so I think there’s some wiggle-room.

If you’ve never had chia seeds before, they make a nice tapioca like pudding, and they are incredibly nutritious.

p.s. I’m sure you could make it with Vanilla milk, vanilla stevia, and without the cacao, but why would you want to? 😉

Packing up the kitchen, uhm, I mean, the suitcase

I am traveling again. This time to Atlanta – downtown Atlanta, not one of the cute little neighborhoods with fun shops, boutiques, and grocery stores. But to the empty, deserted, hotel and restaurant infested part of the city.

So, as always – and even a little more so than always – I am packing my own food. And, as per usual, it looks like I’m going to be bringing more food than clothes!

The list, so far:

Susan’s Kale Chips 2.0

1 bag of Organic Baby Spinach
1 box of cherry tomatoes
1 gallon sized bag of chopped veggies: broccoli, carrots, turnips, and zucchini
Enough Chocolate Rice and Protein Powder for at least 4 shakes
3-4 avocados
Energy bars
Psyllium Husk
Spirulina
Almond butter

Kitchen utensils:
1 spoon
1 travel sponge
1 large cup
1 travel-sized Magic Bullet Blender

I’m sure I’m forgetting something; as I almost always do!

So, why am I bringing all of this food – particularly since I have lunch and dinner dates planned every day that I am there?

The powders, the spinach, and the avocados (or maybe the almond butter, depending on my mood) are all for breakfast. If I don’t have MY breakfast, the day is pretty much shot for food for me. If I don’t start off with my regular 60+ gram protein BOMB, I can pretty much count on a bad eating day. When I do start the day off with a shake, no matter where I am, I am more sated, I am more grounded, and I am much more likely to be in control of my eating (as opposed to the other way around).

And as someone who is 85% (more or less) raw vegan, it’s hard to get a satisfying meal out. Most restaurants’ idea of a big salad (see earlier post on this topic) wouldn’t feed a rabbit! So instead of being all weird about it, I’ve decided to just go and order a salad (where possible) and eat it. Even if it’s not particularly satisfying, I know that I have PLENTY of nutrition in my room to fall back on. Using this approach, “eating out” with friends will really be more like “hanging out.” Eat a little salad, drink a little water – then go back to my room for my real lunch or, as the case may be, dinner.

Now, even though Atlanta – at least the part I am going to me in – is not that diet friendly, there is a Legal Sea Food, which does have a pretty generous Gluten-Free Menu. Given that gluten-free is the mandatory condition and the raw/vegan is just the preference, I should be in pretty good shape on Saturday night – as that’s where my very understanding friend made reservations. And, believe it or not, Atlanta also has a Raw Restaurant! It’s not downtown, but it’s only a MARTA ride away. As it turns out, I have a chunk of time available on Saturday, so I’ll definitely be checking that out for lunch! And as a service to raw aficionados everywhere, I’ll be sure to let you know!

Late to the Party As Always: “Cheezy” Kale Chips

I spend a lot of time on websites dedicated to the joys of raw food and I have seen dozens, if not hundreds, of references to Kale Chips.

Though I love kale and I love chips, I really hadn’t put the two together – until about a week ago.

Mama, I think I’m in love!

Kale chips! Who knew? Other than the thousands of raw foodists and other health enthusiasts out there who haven been blogging about these culinary delights for months, if not years!

My current favorite recipe for Kale Chips comes from the book, Raw Food Cleanse, by Penni Shelton, who just happens to be from my hometown and the founder of Raw Food Rehab. Without any copy right infringement meant, here it goes:

Susan’s Kale Chips 2.0

2 heads of curly kale, de-stemmed and cut into large chunks
3/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup Bragg Liquid Aminos
1/4 cup Bragg apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
Juice of one lemon
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 clove garlic

Place all ingredients except kale in a food processor (or high speed blender) and run until well blended. Massage this mixture into the kale. Dry in dehydrator at 105 degrees until very crunchy!

EnjoY!

The Flavor of the Week: Avocado, Cacao, and Spinach…

…what’s not to like?

I have loved ice cream my entire life. It’s ironic that I lost 90 pounds while working at a Baskin Robbins. It wasn’t due to lack of desire, trust me. I just had stronger will power back then!

Since I’ve gone vegan (and soy free to just to make things really hard) I’ve been playing with the blender with as much enthusiasm as any mad scientist in her lab.

If given a choice, I would live on smoothies – or protein shakes. Or Ginger Lime Blasts. You name it, if it’s wet and cold, I’m all over it.

Especially in the summer.

This week’s concoction – or, as they used to say at Baskin Robbins, this “Flavor of the Week” – is totally decadent.

It’s super filling. It’s unbelievably healthy. It makes at least 16 ounces (did I mention that I still struggle with portion control?) and it’s chocolate. If I was going to describe it, I would say it’s half milkshake, half mousse.

KJ’s Flavor of the Week

1 scoop of Chocolate Rice Powder
1 scoop psyllium husk
lots of cinnamon (at least two teaspoons)
1/2 of an avocado
1 red chard leaf or a handful of spinach (or both)
1 cup of cold water
10-12 drops of Dark Chocolate Liquid Stevia
6-7 ice cubes

Process all of the ingredients in a high speed blender. Enjoy!

This is so filling and so, so yummy!

Tons of protein, tons of fiber, tons of essential fats, tons of yum! If you haven’t tried the avocado, cacao, dark leafy green combo, trust me, you don’t know what you’re missing!

Refurbishing Old Favorites: KJ’s Raw “Rice” Salad

One of the things that transitioning to a majority raw diet has taught me is that you need to be able to eat at least some of the things that you used to love when you were eating cooked food.

Sometimes that means just going ahead and eating it, as I did the other night when I had a delicious part-cooked part-raw meal at my friend Meg Maker’s house or as I did last night, when I met some former students for dinner at the Elephant Walk.

Other times, however, it means learning to refashion (or even refurbish) old cooked favorites.

A couple of weeks ago, I started thinking about a salad that a friend of mine used to make in graduate school. It wasn’t a traditional salad, as its base ingredient was cooked sushi rice. I believe the ingredients were rice, vinegar, avocado, crumbled nori sheets, and cucumber. I’m pretty sure that it came from one of the Moosewood Cookbooks and may have been called Sushi Salad or something like that.

Well, I’ve been thinking about that salad a lot, and this is what I came up with:

KJ’s “Rice Salad”

Ingredients:

2 cups cauliflower, “riced” in the high speed blender or food processor
1 small cucumber, peeled and diced
1/2 – 1 small avocados, diced
1 medium carrot, finely grated
6 – 8 stalks of baby asparagus, snapped into pieces (optional)
1 tomato, diced (optional)
2 Tablespoons of raw organic dulse flakes (or crumbled nori sheets)
Sesame oil, to taste
Braggs amino acid, to taste

Directions:

Rice the cauliflower by cutting it small bite size pieces, then hitting the pulse button until you have reached desired consistency.

Add all of your other ingredients in layers, then drizzle on the sesame oil and the Braggs amino acids, to taste.

Gently toss to mix the flavors.

It’s fast, easy, delicious, healthy, and absolutely gorgeous. What more could you want?

Enjoy!

Eat Dessert First

Not a first, tonight I opted to have dinner in the form of dessert! Yum!

I swear, about half of my recipes these days comes straight from Gena Hamshaw’s amazing blog, Choosing Raw! Without a doubt, hers are some of the easiest, most beautiful, and most delicious recipes on the web!

Finally, a woman who knows how to make a salad!

One of the things I really dislike about trying to eat raw out is the sad definitions that non-raw people have of salads.

Even if you say – without any equivocation whatsoever – that you want a big salad, you’re still likely to get something that looks like something that wouldn’t satiate a six year old.

Indeed, my best results have come when I’ve actually brought my own food (that is, avocados and sunflower seeds) to dress up whatever meager offerings they’ve brought.

My favorite story about trying to order a raw dinner salad is thus:

KJ: I would like a large salad – -I mean huge – with all raw vegetables – anything you have is great. Any and all veggies – as long as it’s raw. Charge me whatever you will. I don’t care if it’s $25.00.

Server: Would you like grilled asparagus?

KJ: No, nothing grilled. Raw asparagus is fine. In fact, it would be great.

Server: You want raw asparagus? As in uncooked? You can’t possibly want that.

KJ: Actually, I do. Raw asparagus would be awesome, in fact.

She looked at me like I had just sprouted raw asparagus from my head!

Salad comes out: no asparagus.

Instead, I am offered a veritable feast of two scant cups of spinach, about a 1/2 cup of broccoli, 4 mushrooms, 4 tomato wedges (not even full quarters), 1/8 cup of grated carrots, and two decorative radishes.

Yum (as an appetizer…maybe).

I whip out my avocado and nuts and the waitress looks downright offended: “We have avocados in the kitchen. Would you like one?”

KJ: “No, I’ll use mine.” What part of any and all fresh vegetables did you not understand?!

Next time, I think I’ll just take a copy of this blog post to show the restaurant industry the difference between a side salad and a dinner salad! It might save everyone a lot of hassle, not to mention a couple of servings of raw indignation.

A little less airy fairy and a little more substance

For the last month or so I have not felt much like myself.

It’s been hard to concentrate – to the point that expressing a single, coherent thought sometimes seemed like a challenge. Needless to say, teaching has been quite the experience this term 😉

I began looking into what’s changed for me recently.

Additional stress? Check.

Getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep? Not at all.

Competing demands in my most salient and committed social roles? You bet.

Changed absolutely everything about my diet (that is going from maybe 30 to 95% raw) in the the last six months? Yep.

Changed my body at a biophysical level? That too.

The weird thing is that I actually feel great. Post the 10 Week Transformation Program with Rose Cole, which included a 31 day cleanse, I have a lot more energy, fewer blood sugar spikes, fewer cravings (except for that week where Michael J and I went on a slight raw honey binge), and when I do sleep, it’s always deep and restful.

So, what could be the problem?

Yesterday, Michael J forwarded me a link to Laura Bruno’s blog. Laura Bruno is a professional intuitive who has helped people deal with cancer, addictions, endocrine imbalances, grief, infections, fibromyalgia, stroke, and weight loss. Her specialties include diet and herbal remedies, menopause, communication, soul readings, illnesses that baffle doctors, dream interpretation, and finding blessings in times of crisis.

I must admit, my initial reaction was you’re a what?! But as I tamped down my skepticism of anything that smacks even remotely of “woo-woo,” the following paragraph practically jumped off the page:

Sometimes raw foodists have a difficult time staying “grounded.” They enjoy the clarity and high of 100% raw food but after awhile start feeling spacey, out of body or generally disconnected from “the real world.” If this describes you, then eating locally can help in two ways. First, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you will drastically reduce the amount of airy fairy yin foods in your diet because bananas, coconuts and cacao don’t grow in Pennsylvania or New Hampshire. Or England. Second, eating food grown within 1-50 miles of where you live anchors you to that locale. Raw foodies like to say, “You are what you eat.” Indeed, you are also “Where you eat.” If you have trouble with “Be here now,” try working in some local goodies. It really does help!

Hmph. A professional intuitive? Who knew? I certainly didn’t.

But what I do know now is she’s got one more dedicated reader!

Luckily for me, we’re finally heading into spring in my little corner of the world, so a lot of the foods that I naturally like to eat – kale, chard, etc. – are coming in locally. Hopefully this means that things will start looking up.

However, until spring has fully sprung, I will do my best to start incorporating more macrobiotic principles into the diet – even if it’s something as simple as remembering to better chew my food.

I’ll be sure to keep you posted either way and do my best to keep my head out of the clouds and my feet firmly planted on the ground.

Hudson News Find

I am traveling again – and hope to have a better day than the last time I took for the skies (it’s not looking all that promising, since I couldn’t find the bus station what I needed to find to actually get to the airport, but the day is young and the skies are blue).

While browsing in one of the many Hudson News magazine stores at Boston Logan, I found – much to my surprise – that they carry raw pistachios and raw almonds. Of course they cost an arm and a leg, but that’s beside the point. It’s good to know that they’re there and available should the need arise.

Unfortunately, Hudson News also carries a lot of other things – like a ton of trashy/pulp novels that I really shouldn’t be reading, as I have plenty of other more serious things that warrant my attention.

However, my goal is to make it through the day without rewarding/comforting myself with food – so light fiction here I come. If I get as little sleep tonight as I got last night, I’ll have plenty of time to get everything done (and then some).

Four Down, Six to Go

The fast is going by quickly – I guess that’s why they call it a fast!

No real symptoms to speak of.

Though things are obviously still being cleansed (stuff that I don’t even care to know how long has been in my body given that I haven’t eaten in four days!) I’ve decided to take a break from the optional portion of the fast – that is, the internal salt water bath.

The first couple of days it was fine, but today it was the gift that kept on giving. Given that I have classes tomorrow, it’s probably not a good idea to be dashing to the loo every five minutes!

And speaking of classes, before I started this regimen, I had promised mine that I would make them some raw fudge/cookies on the last day of classes. The bad news meant that in order to keep my promise, I was actually cooking tonight. The good news is that I am so sugared out from the local grade B maple syrup in the limeade that the dough wasn’t even remotely appealing. All of the cookies made it into the freezer unmolested and all of the remaining nuts and dough remnants went right down the sink.

Anyway, time for a cuppa (sans the biscuits) and off to bed!

Goodnight!

The importance of planning ahead

I am going to be traveling again and the first thing I thought: what am I going to eat?

Instead of stressing about it too much, I just asked for what I need. It worked pretty well last time, so I thought I might try it again.

First things first, I asked the very helpful person who has been coordinating my upcoming visit if she could take me a to a grocery store immediately upon landing. This is imperative, as I typically travel with a blender – a travel blender at that – and love making green smoothies in my hotel rooms. I find that if I start the day off normally – well, as normally as anyone who drinks spinach, broccoli, red pepper, carrots, cayenne pepper and pear for breakfast can – then the rest of the day will go that much smoother. Of course she said yes.

Second, even though I am the keynote speaker at a banquet (hence the invitation to travel), I asked that a special meal be prepared: a large plate of uncooked vegetables or a large salad. No problem, she assured me. Now, who knows what the quality of the veggies will be, but that’s why it’s important to make sure I have snacks and high quality produce in my room for after the event.

Third, there are people who want to take me out to dinner when I get there – presumably after the trip to the grocery store and before the main event (which is the next day). When asked if I had any preferences, I simply said that i was currently on a raw vegan diet and that anywhere where I could get a big salad and perhaps an avocado – or at least someplace that wouldn’t object if I brought my own – then I was golden.

This is what she sent back, saying that it wasn’t raw, but she was sure they would accommodate.

Looking at the menu – particularly the appetizers and the salads – I think I may be the one to accommodate.

Given that the definition of High Raw is 80% raw or more, I think I’ll be okay. Meanwhile, that Cauliflower Miso is calling my name….

The moral of this story: I used to be really concerned about asking for what I need. I used to think that I was being bothersome or troublesome. What I’ve found as I have practiced this – and not been so apologetic about it – is that people are happy to help. But it helps if you’ve done your research. If you’re going to go visit someplace new, find out what the options are ahead of time. I lucked out, because my colleague happened to know about The Vegiterranean.

And for those of you who are traveling to a new place, without the benefit of helpful hosts, the internet is your friend. It’s amazing what you can find – and where you can find it – in just a few minutes on-line.

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.

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 SpaFinders.com. 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
Ingredients:

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

Procedure:

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.

Enjoy!

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!