Sunday, July 24, 2011

I'm so excited! 

I've been looking for a nut-milk bag forever.  There are lots to purchase online, but the shipping is 2-3X more than the cost of the product!  So needless to say I never bought one online.  And they just don't seem to be sold in any of the health food stores around here. 

I've had a few people suggest trying a few places...most of which are in another city.  Another city?  Really?  That seems a bit much, doesn't it?  My life won't end if I don't have one! lol  Though I will admit that I DID start considering it...

Then YESTERDAY, I was at New City Supermarket, looking for seaweed snacks (more on that later!) and out of the corner of my eye, I see little packages hanging with what looked like mesh-type-stuff in it.  I looked closer...  Read the label...  YES!!!  It's a fine-mesh bag, used for straining stuff like when making soups.  AND it's $1.29!!!!!  I feel like it's my birthday and Christmas all wrapped up in one!

I haven't tried it out yet--I put the almonds for almond milk to soak last night, 'cause they make much nicer milk if they're soaked first.  But I have FAITH!! 

I bought a few things at that supermarket which I've never bought or in one case heard of before, to see what they are:  An avocado greener than the fields of Ireland, which I'm hoping I'll be able to tell when it's ripe; something called "sea coconut" and seaweed snacks!

The seaweed snacks ROCK!  I wasn't sure, because they're seasoned, and thus very subjective as to if one likes the flavour or not, but they're SO FREAKING GOOD!  I've already eaten a LOT of them, but that's OK...they're seaweed! lol

The avocado I'm a bit nervous about, but so long as you can tell it's read in the same way that you can for other avocados, then I'll be OK.  I want to make nori rolls this week, so I will need it. 

The sea coconut I looked up online.  Apparently it's used in brothy chicken soups.  Well OK then!  It will keep in my pantry until the cool weather comes--'cause there's no WAY I'm making soup when it's still so hot outside!  Nope, not gonna happen.  

For breakfast today I had a couple of cups of fresh lemonade (juice of a lemon, raw honey, water), and apple "oatmeal".  I don't recall if I've shared the recipe for that before, so I'll do so now:

*  1-2 tbsp flax seeds, soaked in 1 tbsp water or almond milk, long enough for them to become a bit gelatinous.  
*  1 large apple of your choice, chopped small enough for the processor/blender to handle
*  1-2 tbsp macadamia nut butter
*  Cinnamon, vanilla to taste
*  Raisins, nuts, coconut to top, optional

Throw the flax seeds into a food processor or high-powered blender, along with the cinnamon and vanilla.  Pulse to combine well.

Add the apple, and pulse again until desired consistency.  Make sure not to pulse until it's super smooth--the consistency, at least to my palate, is a bit slimy.  It should still have very small (or larger if you like) pieces of apple.

Top with raisins, nuts, and coconut, if you like.


Note:  You won't need any sweetener (honey, agave) if you pick an apple which you like.  If you like tart apples, then make this recipe with one of those.  If you like a bit of tart, then pick one like that.  If you like sweet apples, ditto.  I like mine either just a little tart, or sweet, so I picked sweet apples, and then just added a tiny bit of lemon juice to balance out the sweetness.

You can make this recipe with pears too!  Or  mix of apples and pears!  Yum!! 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Well hello there!

It's a scorcher outside today!  I just went to get a tea from Tim's and it was already meltingly hot.  It was already 29C/85F and it was only 10am.  For those who are under the impression that here in Canada it's cold all the time (as I heard once in Florida, from a man who said it "must be mighty cold up there this time of year" was July...) it's most vehemently not cold! lol  It's more of a dry heat today thank goodness, 'cause if it were humid I'd DIE!

Fortunately, I'm leaving very soon for a raw picnic!  I didn't even know there were raw foodists around here.  I'll have to ask them if they maintain their raw-ism during the winter, and how they go about it.  If people are partly raw, that's one thing, but to be 100% raw here when there isn't a year-round growing season, would be difficult I'm sure.  There's not a lot of variety, especially if you also want to buy as local as you can.  The only local produce available in the winter is from greenhouses.  Fortunately at the market I frequent there are vendors who grow fresh herbs year round, which is totally lovely.  And kale apparently grows outside under the snow until about February!  Who knew?! 

Anyway, I knew that people would be making salad for sure, and probably specifically kale salad, so I planned to make something different.   Turns out I was right--the first person to sign up is bringing it! lol

I made mini tostadas.  I had heard of them before, but had no idea what they were--Americans would know right away I'm sure, but we don't as a people (or from my impression anyway) get a lot of exposure to Mexican food here, so though I have heard of things like empenadas, and tostadas, I'd never actually seen them, even when I was in Mexico! 

The potluck picnic was great!  I'd never met them before, but everyone was so incredibly friendly that I completely forgot that they were virtual strangers!

And what a spread!  Only 2 or 3 salads, which all tasted wonderful, and the rest were all kinds of things.  My favourite were these little felafel things that I believe our host had made.  Just as good as the original, and a LOT healthier!  That's my first plate on the right.  You can see the felafel thing to the left and slightly above the beg piece of watermelon--the small brown thingy with the red pepper on it.  REALLY tasty! 
And dessert!  Cheesecake, chocolate cake, carrot cake...  HELLO!!  Raw foodists eat only salad and carrot sticks?  I don't think so!

Everyone really liked my tostadas.  I was concerned that I'd have to take some home with me (I loathe raw tomatoes so the raw salsa would be totally wasted on me) but there was NOTHING left of anything.  Even the corn tortillas were gone, and I made a LOT of them.  Everyone kept asking who made the tostadas, and I was more than happy to tell them it was ME!! lol  Though it's not my recipe, since I'm so new at this that I didn't want to take the chance of making something inedible and bringing it to the potluck! lol  So here's the recipe, from LIVE RAW by Mimi Kirk:

Mini Tostadas

6-8 ears corn, kernels cut off the cob (I used raw, organic frozen corn, as corn isn't in season here for about another month)
1/2 cup ground golden flax seed
1/3 cup yellow onion
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp combined Mexican seasonings, cumin, oregano, and garlic powder (Mexican chili blend for the Mexican seasonings)

Mix corn, onion and salt in the food processor until on the smooth side.  Add ground flax and pulse to blend. 

Drop a tablespoonful at a time onto nonstick dehydrator sheet and smooth into 3" rounds.

Dehydrate for 8 hours at 110 degrees.  Flip directly onto mesh dehydrator screen and dehydrate another 7-8 hours until crispy.

The rest I made without a recipe:

Guacamole:  Blend together with a fork--1 ripe avocado, lemon and lime juice, fresh garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  I like to do it by hand rather than in a processor because I like it to be more authentic.  Normally I would chop up a hot pepper too,  but as there would be kids at the picnic, I wanted it to be kid-friendly.

Salsa:  In a food processor, blend a bunch of fresh cilantro, then a clove of fresh garlic, then a small onion, then tomatoes, chunked, then add ground cumin and some lime juice to taste.  I also added a tiny bit of sea salt, to kick up the flavour a bit.

I wish sometimes that I lived somewhere that there was a year-round growing season.  It would be so gosh darned easy to eat almost entirely raw year-round if that were the case.  Sigh...  We must deal with what we have.  Maybe I can winter in Costa Rica?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I suspected that salt and saturated fat cravings would come on strong, once I kicked processed sugar to the curb, and boy was I right!  I found myself diving into an entire bag of chips and onion dip, and only came up for air when the bag was finished.  Wholly mother!

So, from this I'm choosing to make fried foods also a "no fly zone".  I was going to do it anyway, but I had been thinking that I'd work on one vice at a time, the first being the worst--sugar.  But I now know that it will be much kinder to both my body, and my emotions, if I eliminate fried things sooner than later.  It's also my oh-so-lovely PMS time, so I know that if I "give in" at all, that will lead to more more MORE!!  Best to love myself enough to avoid the whole situation. 

It's my solemn pledge to not force processed sugar and fried things on my body from this moment on.  My body doesn't want it.

I have no idea what my body is fully capable of.  I already can do things that I never would have thought possible 10 years ago:  I can run, I can hike, I can cross my legs and tie my shoes without cutting off my air (because my stomach squished my lungs and diaphragm), I can take the stairs without needing to rest afterwards, I have baby muscles which are turning slowly into adolescents...  My blood pressure and cholesterol are "rock star" (doctor's words!), and yet I've never really given my body a chance to become it's healthiest and most vibrant and powerful, because I've still eating junk. 

I'll be 38 years old in 13 days, and it's time I start acting like an adult!  Just because a lot of people eat junk every day doesn't mean that it's OK.  I don't want to just be "above average health" because frankly that doesn't really mean much, when you think about it.  If 30% of people are really unhealthy (due to lifestyle choices, not illnesses they can't help having), 40% are OK but not great, and 30% are healthy, then if I'm "above average" that doesn't mean that I'm particularly healthy at all...just that I'm healthier than the average.  Out of 100% (100% being freakishly uber-healthy, and 0% being dead), then "average health" with the percents above would be 33%.  Is 33/100 a passing grade??  Isn't that something like an F?  Can you get an F-??

Get me?  I want to be the healthiest I can be, not healthier than average.  And I have no idea what that could possibly be, because of the junk. 

I feel like I'm at a cross-roads, or perhaps even at a crisis point (in the sense of things coming to a head).  I'm finally ready to bash through this bullshit "need" I have for junk.  My friend Carla suggested that I'm butting up against the edge of my comfort zone, and I think she's absolutely right.  I'm  tired of fighting the same things over and over, never feeling like I'm getting anywhere, or like I'm getting closer to the person I want to be.  The only person who can break through it is ME, just as the only person who can stop me is me!!  So what am I waiting for?

No more waiting.  No more hemming and hawing.  The time is NOW to make the changes!  So that's what I'm doing!! 

(cape on, chest out, symphony swelling behind me...)  I WILL TAKE STEPS TO LIVE THE LIFE OF MY DREAMS, AND TO BE THE BEST ME I CAN!!!  Can ya dig it?!

Of course, part of the person and lifestyle I want to be, will be with raw foods.  I'm still finding recipes, and learning techniques.  Currently I am reading Live Raw:  Raw Food Recipes for Good Health and Timeless Beauty, which I checked out of the library yesterday.  It's written by Mimi Kirk, who at more than 70 years old, was recently voted the sexiest vegetarian over 50!  I'd like to be voted the sexiest ANYTHING at ANY AGE! lol

It looks like a pretty interesting book, and right away I found a recipe for mini tostadas that I MUST make!  Oh my gosh they look absolutely DIVINE!  And super duper easy too--hardly any ingredients, and of course they're all fresh and lovely.  I think that will be the first recipe I try.  I'll let you know how it turns out, and if it's good, I'll give you the recipe.

Anyway, must go and get the couple of things at the supermarket that I couldn't get at the farmer's market.  Have a wonderful, healthy day everyone!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It's war!!!

Junk food has always been part of my life.  At one point it was a HUGE part of my life, while the rest of the time it's been around less, but still WAY too often. 

I've been reading a very interesting e-book called "Raw Emotions", which has really illuminated some things with regard to my relationship with food.  It's from the perspective of going raw, but it could really be applied to any healthy eating lifestyle, such as eating clean, whole foods over junk. 

I've realized that my attachment to junk food seems to be something other than how it tastes--I don't really like it all that much for the most part.  Perhaps it's comfort, perhaps something else, but what is clear as day is that it needs to STOP!  All the lovely raw foods I've been eating lately have shown me, and my body, that I really need to eliminate most, if not all, the junk food out of my daily life.  I feel so fantastic when I'm eating really well, and so sick when I eat junk...and yet I still eat it.

It's time for an old fashioned SMACK DOWN!  Take no prisoners!!!

Phase One--White Death.

I have five huge trigger foods, and numero uno is processed sugar.  I'm not alone in this I know--processed sugar truly is an evil substance.  And I want it GONE.

I don't want to have to fight the want for it forever.  I don't want it to be part of my regular life at all--to not even think of refined sugar anymore would be unbelievably fantastic!  When I don't have it, I find myself wanting it less and less as time goes on, but when I have it often, I'm constantly fighting my cravings.  Every 5 minutes it seems, I'm saying, "No!' to myself...or "OK".  I don't want a narrative around sugar at all! 

Back at the beginning of the year, I went six full weeks white death free.  NONE whatsoever.  It got to the point where it wasn't even an issue anymore...and then I slid back into old habits again.  I want that back again--but permanently.  Once I get into that head space again, there shouldn't really be any difference between 6 weeks and 6 months...or 6 years.  When it's out of my head, it should be GONE.  At that point, the ONLY reason I'll ever be back where I am, and have been forever, is if I DECIDE to let it back into my life.  It's MY CHOICE.  And I will choose health, joy and vitality!!

I'm drawing a line in the sand.  IT SHALL NOT PASS!  (little Gandalf wisdom there!)

On another note, I'm increasing the volume of green smoothie I'm drinking.  Every time I get to the bottom of my bottle I'm like, "aawwwweeeee..." so I might as well indulge myself!  I mean come on people!  It's salad in a jar!! : )  I figure I'll make a full mason jar's worth, which I think is at least a quart.  They're so darned tasty, and so darned nutritious!  Maybe the green smoothie will become my replacement for sugar!!