Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I've fallen and I can't get up!!!!

So, seriously...(sorry guys) ...pms and rawkin food are HARD!!! Monday I was craving It was ugly, frankly. It probably did not help that my beautiful pre-teen daughter had a horrible hormonal adolescent day and rubbed me raw a bit (excuse the pun) . By the end of my afternoon I was ready to eat a whole pizza and swallow some capn and coke to make it all humb and happy again. Instead, I went with a friend to Olive Garden and custom ordered some tortellini alfredo. UGH. First of all, their tortellini is HUGE!!! It was delicious and wonderful and satisfied every craving I had. We contemplated dessert but opted out (thank goodness!). If it's any consilation I ate a delicious salad first-but it's really not...LOL.

So, there you go...I fell off the wagon. Yes, I came home and am back on raw but oh my is it hard!!! All I want is MORE tortellini. It hurt my stomach and made me feel a little buzzed for a while but I still want more...more....more!!! I feel like I cheated on my children. Today, the cravings are worse! I want Lucky Charms and milk. I still want MORE tortellini and a bagel with butter and salt. I bought a couple of new rawkin books which look really good and have some new recipes I want to try. I am looking forward to it!

Was craving more pasta last night and almost broke down and made something but instead whipped up some rawkin guacamole and ate it instead. It satiated me. It was a good choice. :)

Oh boy, wish me luck. Para menopause and pms-ing every two weeks is rough. I have heard that Maca stuff helps this so I am going to get some and see if it will regulate the hormones a bit. I thought just going raw would do it but it doesn't seem to be enough yet. Maybe over time things will regulate but MAN, I have NEVER pms-d so hard! Can she do it??? Will she make it??? We shall see. I have eaten two oranges trying to satiate the sweet cravings. LOL That's like trying to substitue a hot fudge sunday with WAY! LOL

BTW, kids and school lunches are going great! Both kiddos seems to have plenty to eat, even left overs that they nibble on the way home. I think my daughter is starting to lose weight which started to concern me since she's already so skinny so I made sure she's eating more proteins. She's such a "vatta" she would just whisp away on fruits and veggies. Gotta ground that girl with some nuts. LOL And so...we rawk on.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Tools of the Trade

Well, I don't know where I would be without my handy gadgets. I have found that it makes a BIG difference in the taste depending on the gadget used and HOW that gadget was used. I suppose I should run down my list of handy dandy rawkin gadgets before I launch into the differences in their utilization.

My biggest handy dandy items is my 9 tray dehydrator. It's big and has mesh sheets that are square and it can dehydrate at several temps making it easier to adjust depending on what I am making. I also got 9 teflex sheets to use which increased the original purchase amount but was worth it in saving me lots of hastle with saran wrap or wax paper. They are reuseable, easy to wash and quite multi functional. The dehydrator sits on my counter and when it is turned on the fan can be annoying until you learn to tune it out a bit but I am glad I got the 9 tray because I try to fill it up and then run it instead of doing a little bit and a little bit more and a little bit more. Last night and all day today all 9 trays were pretty much full. I think it is more economical and less electricity to load it up reather then doing little bits at a time and leaving it running. It cost more at first but I think I am saving more by doing that. Could be my own delusions and please do not snap me out of it. :)

My second handy dandy tool is my food processor, another essential tool. Now, I don't have one of those expensive kinds and I really don't need to get one until this one dies. I will probably upgrade when I need to because it does struggle to make the rawkin fudge (and rawkin fudge is an essential part of life) but still gets the job done. I would love one with varying speeds or something adjustable.

I started this journey long long ago on my own with a regular blender but quickly found from my initial classes that the blender makes a BIG difference. I saved up for the Vita-Mix and it is well worth it. Honestly, it makes a big difference in a lot of my recipes. I don't know if it's the texture-smoother feels more comfortable or if getting things smoother brings out more or different taste. I don't care, I'm glad I got the Vita Mix.

I use a spiral slicer which is much better then a cheese grater or mandolin or even julienne slicer in making either angel hair pasta or fettucini. The long thin slices make it more convincing for the mouth.

I broke down a while back and bought an inexpensive but adjustable coffee grinder which I used for grinding flax seed and sunflower seeds. Well worth the purchase for sure. I wouldn't use the one you might actually some day use to grind actual coffee beans in...the seeds tend to build up a little oil and it needs to be cleaned at times.

I broke down recently and bought a mandolin because I tried to make ravioli and the actual ravioli part is supposed to be made with something sliced very thin and even and it was nearly impossible to do with anything other then a mandolin.

I have had for years a chopper which I love and is sometimes quite indespensible as is my egg slicer, great for olives and mushrooms.

I started with a wooden citrus juicer which I still use on occasion but I recently upgraded to a twist hand one that catches seeds and lets me do three or four lemons at once. I got tired of filtering seeds out all the time. I know there are electric ones but I like the idea of doing it by hand.

So, those are my main gadgets. Flax crackers taste very different if you grind the seeds up first, or if you dehydrate them at higher temps. The difference in the toaster tarts from the food processor to the Vita-Mix is AWESOME! The food processor left them lumpy and bumpy and kept some of the wheat berry sprout taste-a little greenish ( like grass) but the Vita-Mix chops it all and really gets it wonderfully smooth. I will try to take pictures and put them up in the near future so that you can see what some of these tools look like. I think if you go to some raw food websites, they are probably available there.

Today I found a new yummy and happy mouth recipe. I made the carrot pecan burgers from Alissa Cohens book. If you want the recipe, let me know and I will share. What a happy yummy food. Actually tastes like a veggie burger. I think I might have made them too thin but after this initial trial, I am going to make more tomorrow and just keep them on hand. Both the kids loved them. They are good plain but would also be good between two romaine lettuce leaves with some avocado and tomato. I made more tortillas for enchiladas and took some of the mixture and spread it really thin to try to make corn chips, I might have gone too thin with it because as it set up in the dehydrator there were cracks in it like the desert. LOL I didn't try it in the Vita-Mix this time like I wanted to but I tried extra long times in the food processor. I'll let you know how it turns out. I made lots of flax crackers and was disappointed that I forgot to grind the seeds first-which I really like. Oh well, there will be plenty more opportunities. Made the toaster tarts again but am dehydrating at a lower temp due to other recipes and they are really taking a long time. Got banana-strawberry crepes for my daughter's first day back at school. Also made cinnamon rolls and almond milk, always a big hit for the kids. Big difference in the dates from Whole Foods and the ones from The Date People. I can't wait until the Date People have crops ready to sell again. I have more sprouted wheat berries then I can handle so tomorrow I will make muffins out of them. I also plan on making chocolate chip cookies tomorrow. The recipe I have calls for a made up chocolate chip out of apricots and raisins but I am going to try it with just cacoe chunks in it and see how it tastes. I am lovin the rawkin cacoe. I have decided that there is something I could add to the corn tortillas but haven't exactly figured it out yet. Could it be cumin? I'll let you know next time it comes up. I am also getting ready to experiment with some salad dressings. I liked a honey mustard one that I found but want something a little different now. Tomorrow is the first day back at school for my daughter. She packed up her RAWKIN lunch so I'll let you know how it goes with food preservation, her hunger level and all.

Rawk ON! :)

learning the keys

One of the things I am learning is that I can't get too busy and stop focusing on the rawkin food. Unfortunately with rawkin food, you can't call and order it and have it delivered to your door like the pizza place. Rawkin means, I have to make sure we don't run out of crackers, we don't run out of a fresh supply of fruits and veggies and I don't get too tired to whip something up now and again. When these things happen, temptations come into play.

I become tired and tempted to just have ONE meal quick and easy. If I haven't made enough travelling snacks or enough varieties of travelling snacks then we all become tempted to go through a coffee shop drive thru and get salads with dressing and croutons and cheese...glorious...bad cheese. After a long day of work and then running errands, ending with the grocery store, it is SO easy to think of all the yummy, processed, bad-for-you foods that could satiate my exhaustion and programmed tasted buds. Suuuuuggggaaarrr. Want a donut and coffee? Want pizza and coca cola? These things will give fake energy and help me get all that I need to accomplished tonight. I hear a voice telling me..."just one, it's your friend, you are so tired and you know that this will help give you energy..." NOOOOOOO!

This week poses our first real test with the kids going back to school. We shall see how we all handle it. In the dehydrator are more flax, cinnamon, apple and honey crackers, flax and veggie crackers and banana puree'd for strawberry crepes. I have wheat berries ready to go for toaster tarts, I have almonds soaking for cinnamon rolls, I have corn for tomorrow to make more tortilla's and some chips, I am going to try the pecan burger, make some more falafels and maybe more. Will be an adventurous day tomorrow. Wish me luck. We rawk on.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Easy Day

Still suffering the stomach distress from yesterday's non-rawkin adventure, it was easy to stay focused on raw food today. It was also a busy day of work so my mind did not have much time to wander. Tonight we made veggie Nori rolls with raw nori rolls. My son LOVED them but my daughter did not. I stayed on track with the enchiladas-not wanting to waste those delicious tortilla's I made. Honestly, they make my mouth SO happy. I ate one of the kid's toaster tarts this morning and was quite pleased with it. It most definitely is not a pop tart, nor is it a yummy muffin from your local coffee store but it was rawkin delicious.

I think my next adventure will be tweaking the tortilla's-maybe putting them in the vita mix to make them smoother. Not sure what to make next. I want to try something new. Oh, wait, I am going to make the pecan burgers. I have all the ingredients and am looking forward to trying it. I think it is time for some more morning muffins so I have wheat berries in process of sprouting. We have mushrooms marinating in Nama Shoyu to make some more pesto stuffed mushrooms by my daughter's request. Since the last two recipes we tried were not big hits for her, I thought I'd give in and make one of her favorites AGAIN. I really like those enchiladas and will be prepping more of those.

A client came in hungry so I dished her up some rawkin food and she loved it. She couldn't believe I had made everything I was feeding her. As she's eating one of the flax crackers with some rawkin guac, she asked, "so where's the protein?" What part of nuts, seeds, veggies and fruit does not include protein. NUTS and SEEDS!!! In three crackers plus a cinnamon honey flax cracker smeared with almond butter and raw honey, she got a TON of protein!!! It's funny how people just overlook that part of this nutrition.

My only wish is that weight would fall off of me as fast as it is falling off of my son. Please Rawkin fairies...let my wish come true! :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Calculated Crash and Burn

Well, we did it! The kids and I went out to dinner and purposefully ate NON raw. The kids wanted to see what it would be like and I, in my para menopausal nightmare was craving meat...I hate meat...why would I crave it? We went and got a burger for me, a veggie burger for my son and a quesadilla for my daughter. Normally when we pull up to this restarant, we love the smell but not this time. It was SO interesting how the smell seemed gross and greasy. My son said it smelled like chemicals.

We ordered an appetizer and after a few bites each one of us could not stomach it. It tasted horrid. Normally, my kids would be shovelling that particular appetizer into their faces like they hadn't eaten in two months but not this time. When our dinners came we all gave them a fair try. My daughter, who LOVES cheese and had been craving it terribly did not eat even half of her quesadilla. My son picked apart his veggie burger and really ate mostly the vegetables. By the end of his meal he said that it tasted awful and everything seemed rancid or rotten. I dove into my burger following my strange hormonal craving and tried so hard to enjoy it. It seems that my memory of this particular meal was WAY better then the actuality of it. No kidding, it just seemed so icky in my mouth. Where was the taste? I used to LOVE this stuff.

When it was time to go, the kids and I started our trek out to the car and I felt like I had a huge rock in my stomach with another rock inside that. The kids were exhausted and complaining about how far away the car was from the door. I told them that this is how we used to eat but MORE. They complained and said that they regretted wanting to try this experiment. Both kids ended up in the bathroom shortly after coming home. From this day forward we are croutons on salads, no chips, no NON raw food that would cause us to crave "the other side" I felt dragged down, blurry eyed and gross all night. I'm gonna have to work out a lot tomorrow to clear some of this junk out of my body. What an interesting experience. Rawkin just feels WAY better. I sort of knew but I didn't really know. Now I know!

Today we made Rawkin enchiladas. They were the most happy thing I have put in my mouth. So much flavor! The tortillas came out awesome and putting fresh raw veggies in was just delicious. My son liked it except he's losing a tooth so the corn kept sticking to his teeth and made him very unhappy. My daughter said it wasn't a big hit for her. The apple, honey, cinnaamon flax crackers are GREAT with almond butter and honey on them. It has become her favorite so far. She's gotten so good at just packing a little lunch bag with her wherever she goes so that if she's hungry she can pull out some fruit or a cracker or a fruit leather. I like that she's learning to reach for good foods.

We are hardcore Rawkin from now on!

Monday, August 17, 2009


I am sort of getting addicted to trying something new or trying something I knew different. It's like a whole new world, this raw food stuff. It's not enough to make delcioius flax crackers but I get to play at "what if I do this???" and then it turns out different. I have never had so much fun cooking in my life. For example, instead of putting the flax seed stuff in the food processor, I put it in my Vita-Mix which almost killed the poor blenderbut it made a completely different texture to the cracker which made it really yummy. We did the same with toaster tarts-which the blender was much more agreeable to, and they turned out SO smooth and really like bread. I think with those, I need to turn up the temp on the dehydrator in order to get the crust to be crisper. It's all experimentation.

We found that blue berries in fruit leather, while still good, are not as good as kiwi fruit or peaches. Something about the tart makes them yummy. We found that putting peaches in the muffins is not as good as putting bananas. The kids report the peaches to make them too sweet. Imagine that?! I've tried several different pesto recipes and figured out the less zesty one hits our preference. We tried mashed potatoes-not a good thing. FYI, cauliflower did not make it as a potato substitute for me. I tried chicken fingers but they tasted more like bad corn flakes. I am hoping to achieve a good pecan burger later in the week. It is so much fun to experiment. There are SO many recipes out there and variations. Once you get started playing, the possibilities are endless. Trying one recipe gives me an idea for another recipe or tweaking something I've already tried. This is RAWKIN fun! So many discoveries!

Busy evening with work so we just did salad again for dinner but the kids topped their day off with peach pie. Soaking almonds to make almond milk and maybe some almond raisin cookies tomorrow. Bought some alfalfa sprout to try out the Nori rolls. Also have wonderful looking tortillas to make enchiladas tomorrow. I am SO excited about those. I will post pictures of that for sure! My daughter is reporting that she may never go off raw food-and she was the one most pensive about trying raw. She has also reported her taste buds are getting more sensitive and the dressing was too much for her tonight so it is time to start letting up on the saltier stuff and let the true taste of food come through more. How cool is it to hear a 9 year old become so aware! I'll let you know what we discover tomorrow! :) RAWK on!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Need to Go Hard Core

Due to the family getting so shakey yesterday on cravings, I decided to read up on Rawkin diets. The one thing that hit me hard in my reading was that going "mostly" raw makes it SO much harder then going 100% raw. Something about the philosophy that eating SOME cooked foods, even a little, keeps you connected to them and cutting them out makes a clean break for your body and mind. Supposedly the cravings go away and stay away after a few days to a week of 100% raw. I can see how that would make sense.

My daughter especially was so pensive about RAWKIN that I agreed to not go hard core on the family. I allowed the steel cut oatmeal and brown rice. I even allowed croutons in salad and organic tortilla chips on occassion. I had leftover saltine crackers-a mother's staple food for stomach virus problems that float in and out of a house, and I caught my daughter eating a few of those one day. She is especially staying connected to "the other side". This might be why days like yesterday were so much more dramatic for her.

I also was worried that going hard core on kids would shock them into absolute disapproval. Going slow, although more painful in the craving department perhaps, was easier in the mental and emotional department. Pre-teens especially need to "buy-in" to the journey because one wrong turn and they will assert their little unfiltered, arrogantly ignorant, hormonal based wills and may not try it again until they are 37. By conceding to their having some control on this process with oatmeal and brown rice, I gave them the power to make this journey with me. As the weeks have gone on, my daughter has announced that foods she didn't like weeks ago she now really loves. The flax seed crackers were "disgusting" to her when we began this journey together and today she ate 6 of them at lunch and a few with almond butter and honey for a snack. (This whole time, I have been insisting that she eat one a day) She has actually requested more! (of course I have to remember what in the world I put in that last batch...oh's an adventure) She even ate sliced tomato today and has NEVER done that. So, I think the time has come to take the final step...go hard core.

We talked about it tonight and have agreed that as the non-raw things run out, they will not be replaced. It is for the good and sanity of the whole family to see what it is like to be 100% RAWKIN. No cheating. We also talked about how good we are all feeling, in general. My daughter is reporting that her tremors, while still there, seem to be less. My son is reporting better energy. I don't know that I have more energy but I really do feel better in my body. How good we feel is really motivating us to keep going. It really is great to have the kids support and for them to feel my support of them. I am finding that really talking with my kids and getting them in on the reasoning, the science behind food, raw nutrition and health is really making us closer. They seem to trust me more and are opening up to my hopes for us as a family and individually.

They are beginning to ask questions about why food is so processed and why people don't change more when it is proven to be more detrimental to the health of the body. They are asking why people stay sick. My ex-husbands mother is fighting cancer and I have talked to her about going raw and different methods of bettering her nutrition and she has refused. I figure that she doesn't want to LIVE a different way and that's her choice but I think kids don't understand as easily. To them, it is more simple and black and white, "if this MIGHT help, why wouldn't she try it?" So much research and science out there on all sides and what I am telling the kids is that everybody is making the best choices for themselves with what they want or can handle. There are many who would disagree with me on my choices as much as I would disagree with the guy at the McDonald's drive thru right now but it is HIS choice and mine is MY choice. I am so proud to have an opportunity to teach my kids this level of difference and acceptance.

This morning we made juice with apple and carrots but it was too sweet for me so I added broccoli, cucumber, ginger and celery to balance it out. The kids and I worked out together which was a lot of fun and a weekend treat. They made a yummy banana strawberry pudding for breakfast with dehydrated sprouted buckwheat. Lunch for them was the last of the veggie falx crackers and raw almond butter. I later made up some more guacamole which was delicious! Dinner went awry as I had left the mushrooms in the fridge too long-bad planning-so we had a delicious salad with sunflower seeds and hemp heart. My son went off to a play date where they were having spaghetti for dinner so I whipped out a pizza crust and threw on some toppings and he was happy as can be. I have almonds and dates soaking, wheatberries srpouting, buckwheat sprouting, walnuts soaking and flax seeds soaking for tomorrows mass food prep. We are runnning out of basics and I need to dig in and build our stock piles back up. I am finding that we are eating less and less and the concept of the S.A.D. and 3 meals a day is beginning to fade. I am glad we have begun this journey before school starts so we can figure out our own rhythym with Rawkin. We RAWK on!

Friday, August 14, 2009

It's Been a Hard Days Night

I think I made it through the day but I won't know officially until I fall asleep. I had no clients today so my focus was on paper work and phone calls, emails and faxes. The slower pace and need for self initiative made the munchies and cravings sit on my shoulder all day long like an evil gremlin. Gotta tell you, I was NOT craving fresh fruits and vegetables. I was NOT craving delicious and nutritious flax seed crackers. I was craving bagels, Cheez-Its, pretzels and even the lowerst of the crackers reserved only for tummy upsets and historically partnered with bubbly drinks...saltines. What was it today that made me crave breads?

I am trying to cut my work outs to every other day in order to maintain a healthier balance in my life and body since I was getting fatigued exercising 2 hrs a day every day. Today was a non-work out day. Every time I looked in the mirror I felt fat which didn't help my cravings at all. What is with feeling fat making me want to eat MORE?! That is such a backward response and yet one that is very common beyond myself. I was a good girl and ate my orange for breakfast and a salad with delicious raw falafel balls in it for protein. I snacked on a couple of red bell pepper crackers and some olives (thank you God for olives) and finished the night off with another salad with sunflower seeds and hemp heart on it. I am satiated. That is the best I can say. I am NOT hungry and for the moment, my cravings have subsided enough to allow me to write about them. There was a point there when the pizza delivery guy was vibrationally on notice.

I broke down and told the kids how I was struggling and they admitted feeling the same way. It must have just been one of those days. By late afternoon and early evening we were all snapping at one another. I called a spade a spade and told them that we need to make a decision to pull together and support each other or pull out and go to our rooms until the cravings passed. We decided to pull together and support each other. This is when the can of olives was opened and feasted upon. The stressed muscles in our faces began to relax and smiles returned.

We did the unthinkable and decided to grocery shop on our weakest day. My thought was that if I wake up tomrrow feeling this way, I am not sure how long I can be this strong to muddle through and we were out of bananas, the store must be conquered soon. We went to our local Whole Foods and parked nearest to the produce door so as not to be tempted by the bread sitting in waiting at the other door. We filled our basket with lovely organic fruits and vegetables. We went to the bulk section to buy a few types of nuts and the jelly beans (natural and yummy) called to me. I think I even heard them tapping their little hardened shells on the plastic bin to get my attention but I stayed focused. The chip aisle holds more raw nuts at the end and since the bulk section was out of pine nuts we had to bare the torture of the chip aisle. My poor son tried to talk me into several different kinds but I stayed strong for him. We ended our grocery trip in the raw food aisle where we found scrumptious raw food cookies which I held out of the grocery bag and offered as a reward if we made it to the car without buying or eating someothing, ney anything,, we would regret later. Oh how we cherished those cookies. They really were delicious!

We came home and my daughter, fatigued from being so good all day, had a pre-adolescent melt down that made no sense, admittedly by her. Just one of those hormonal moments for a pre-teen when she needed to cry and be mad and then cry some more. I think at that point the whole family would have liked a bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough. The hardest part about RAWKIN is that there are no buffers. Gotta face those dang emotions head on, no crutches, no escapes, no cheese to numb ya, no sugar to stimulate your brain away from the issues, just life and it's ups and downs...head on. So when the storm had basically passed, I got up and moved away from the kitchen.

My daughter has since pulled herself together and we have hugged and both kids have gone off to bed. I still need to go turn off all the lights around the kitchen and lock it all up. I am feeling strong enough to go do that as long as I don't stop and get sucked in by the television. On a night like this, t.v. would call me and then the pantry would begin to whisper at me like the amityville horror house..."eat something"..."pssst, eat something..." It can get scarey in my head. Thank goodness tomorrow I will work out again and we will end our day trying a new recipe for peach pie. I will let you know how it goes. My daughter did not notice but we did not buy anymore oatmeal so there may be an oatmeal d.t. meltdown to follow in a day or so. In my defense, the oatmeal is in the cereal aisle and cereal is my absolute biggest weakness. Stay tuned as we RAWK on!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Plus and Minus Rawkin

Today we ate pizza! It actually was delcious! The new crust recipe is WAY better then the first one we tried. I think it is better when the crust is really thin as opposed to the thick like the "bloody lamb" that my son made. He had so much fun making that and eating it that he didn't mind how thick it was. My daughter complained because she still has a bad taste in her mouth from the first pizza experience but she ate it all without leaving a crumb so I don't quite believe her complaints.

So the good part of rawkin is that I can see my son finally losing some weight he put on when he tried a new medication over a year ago. We stopped the medication after four months because in that time he put on 24lbs. He has been very upset and wanting to lose the weight since then and has exercised with me with that goal in mind. He is a very active kid so exercise has never been a problem. I am a strict mean mother who doesn't want kids to get sucked into tv, computer or video games. Kids are supposed to move their bodie's and play play play. Finally shedding that weight is making him feel so much better about himself. The definition in his face is beginning to come back and his clothes are fitting better every day.

On the other hand, my daughter, who is already pretty thin and tall, is not losing any weight but is growing taller. She still looks healthy and beautifiuli. I had read that eating raw helps your body find where it is supposed to be and where it is most happy. With both kids to measure against, I am finding that to be true. This is a great benefit to Rawkin, for sure!

For me, I had already been losing weight since around April. I started working out and changing some eating habits and was releasing some pounds. About 8 weeks ago I re-injured an ankle and was told by the doctors to stop working out completely. I listened to the doctors for about a month and definitely started to feel the pounds beginning to creep back on. With the Rawkin food, not only have those creepy pounds left but they are taking more with them. The BEST part is that, the scale weight might not be going down as quickly as I would like but my BMI has dropped ramatically. I have dieted, worked out and all sorts of things before but NEVER have I seen my BMI drop so much so fast! Seriously, like 15 points. I have begrudgingly gotten on that scale now for 4 years and that BMI has hardly moved which always blew my mind. It's movin' now, baby! Woot!

Another plus to raw food is watching my kids have more independence. When they are hungry, they can just get a snack. We have Rawkin muffins, Rawkin cookies, Rawkin crackers, plus a large variety of fresh fruits and veggies and sprouted nuts around. They can just go grab an assortment of something to eat and I know it is pretty balanced and very healthy. The minus with that is the mess independent kids leave behind to clean I just need to teach them THAT part of independence.

On the menu today was cinnamon rolls, only one left now...will have to make more soon, had an onion dip made from shallots today with flax crackers, cut cucumbers and sliced tomatoes. My son even got some baby carrots in on the action. It was yummy but I added extra lemon for some kick. Dinner was the pizza's which were a big hit in taste. The texture took a bit of getting used to but was good after awhile. Sometimes I miss the programmed yummy fluffy bread. I'm not hungry for it, just miss that comfort feeling of bread. Kids had a piece of raw chocolate after pizza. I think they snacked on muffins and fruit leather today as well as cut themselves an apple and an orange. I enjoyed squeezing a grapefruit and drinking the juice mixed with a bit of water. It was a nice refreshing drink on a hot day. Tomorrow is a slow day so I can think about what to start prepping for next. We have enough to eat for a couple of days so I can rest easy tonight. Rawkin on!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Food Fun for All!

The kids and I just had so much fun making some new recipes. Our first attempt together at "Easiest Pizza Crust" was not that delicious so I found a new recipe with sprouted barley. It looks SO much better. The kids had a blast cutting up the veggies and whirling it all around watching as it turned into a dough for crust. Then they shaped the dough into round individual sized crusts but each one got to make one their very own shape. My son turned his into the head of a lamb and is going to call it "bloody lamb" when he puts sauce on it-leave it to a pre-teen boy to come up with that, and my daughter made her's into a heart...awww.

We also made a new cracker from red bell peppers, corn, flax, raisins and almond butter. It's a recipe from my class but I tweaked it a bit to tone down some of the red bell pepper taste. Hopefully it will work. I am looking for something that the kids can easily have at school but offers variety from the flax seed cracker. If this works I might make more another time and cut them into shapes for fun.

Seeing as it's summer and lots of great sales on fruit we keep buying tons of strawberries and making fruit leather. This time both kids got very excited and did it all themselves, I only oversaw the details. They had fun adding different fruits, washing, prepping and then we had to decide on our source of protein for the fruit leather. My son ground up flax seeds, sunflower seeds and hemp heart in the coffee grinder. These should be delicious. They actually smelled like candy. I'll get some pictures up tomorrow when they are all done. The kids have the option to take some of the fruit leather and cut them into designs, too. They can make hearts or stars or all kinds of shapes. I want to pick up some fun scissors at a craft store and let them have at it.

Kids are way more likely to eat something that they make themselves, even if it doesn't taste quite how they might have hoped, they are invested in it and the process is a form of "buy-in". They really have fun doing it, too. I think it is somewhat self esteem building and confidence building to know that they can prepare yummy foods out of basic ingredients. They are not only learning measuring and such that we all know kids benefit from when they help us cook but I think with raw cooking, they are also learning tastes, food combinations and nutrition. Everything they are working with is unprocessed, basic food so to know how almond butter, raisins, red bell peppers and such mix together to make something is pretty fascinating.

Earlier today I wanted to duct tape them to the wall because they were bored, fighting and being destructive, now we all kind of like each other again and they helped me do some work I needed to get done. Talk about win-win!

Obviously in process are red bell pepper crackers, pizza crust, and fruit leathers. Also starting the process for more pesto stuffed mushrooms. For dinner we had zuchini through the spiral with marinara sauce on it. It was lovely and filling. The first couple of bites I missed real pasta and then my mouth was used to it and it was delicious. Oh yeah, need to get that eggplant cut up and soaking in salt water. I'm still feeling a little tired today, did not work out to help balance my fatigue. I tried to eat more but really don't have the appetite I used to so it's hard to remember to eat. Caught my daughter eating some organic crackers we had left over in the cupboard, she said she didn't feel like raw food right then. Weight is slowly melting off of me but never quick enough...I am SO impatient. My son is still ticking and clicking but his energy level seems to be more stable, less ups and downs and big extremes. We RAWK on!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Guests and Rawkin Cuisine

Being a RAWKIN family poses some challenges socially as we entertain on different levels. Over the last few weeks we have experienced some challenges on the social front in staying commited to our RAWKIN lilfestyle and making others comfortable around us with our choices. The first of these challenges is sending children to play dates without making the hosting family feel strange about my children's nutrition.

Having had a child with autism and at one time on a very restricted diet, I have walked this path before. At one time my son was allergic to gluten, dairy, casseine, citrus, peppers, pineapple, chicken, corn and soy-oh yeah-and refined sugar. Yeah, wasn't a lot he could eat but what he was able to eat, we learned to capitalize on. However, we could not trust many foods because SO many foods have hidden ingredients, there was wheat and soy in EVERYTHING. Citrus was another sneakky food. I learned to just pack him food for wherever he went. I suppose raw food will be very much the same. Although most places have fresh fruits and veggies, keeping the protein levels up and stable is important too. I have been packing them full of a protein rich food before they leave and then packing them a few yummy things for the journey.

The next social issue was kids coming here to have play dates. Honestly, we are seeing some rejections. One of my son's friends doesn't want to come here because we eat fruits and vegetables and at his house he eats candy, soda and junk food. He's a nice kid and all but I figure if he doesn't want to come and share in some grapes and cut up apples then he can stay home with his junk food. My son see's it different and it hurts his feelings. He's not willing to compromise on the raw, he really loves being raw, but it is hard on him.

Then there is the movie theatre...yes...popcorn. I folded and we got popcorn. It is a weakness of mine and it has been heavily programmed into my little wee brain that movies and popcorn go together. It really didn't taste that good anymore, more like salted styrafoam but the kids enjoyed it. I found it interesting that my daughter ate a HUGE amount and was still "starving" at the end where with a rawkin meal she is so quickly and easily satiated. Was it the salt? There was no butter on it so it makes me question what triggers are in there for her.

In the last week we had two guests come to our home to visit. The first set of guests posed the most challenge for me. It was my Dad and his wife. They are self proclaimed "Foodee's". I'm not exactly sure what that means except that they really like cooking, cooking shows, cook books, gourmet cooking "stuff" and seem almost happily elitist about it. I'm sure I mean that in a nice way. Hey, their food is delicious! When I first went raw by myself, I was scheduled to go visit them and offered to bring some recipe's to share but was immediately shot down with, "We aren't going to eat any of that raw food stuff!". Okay...nuff said. So, now that the whole family has gone raw, they were scheduled to come to OUR house. Ah ha, so the tables turned.

I thought about it and thought about it and tried to think of the easiest but yummiest hourdevour I could find in my brain. I decided to make pesto stuffed mushrooms. I also brandished some of my delcisious latest variety of flax seed crackers with shredded carrots and shallots in them, and some raw guacamole since it is summer and avocados are irresistable right now. As we sat down, I could tell they were pensive but my step mom was politely and subtly making my Dad give it a try. They actually LOVED it! He loved the guac and flax crackers as well. It prompted me to show off our raw chocolate and fruit leathers which they were deliciously pleased to encounter. I think I heard their brains crack wide open to raw food.

We also recently entertained my daughter's teacher for a "home visit" and found it easy to offer cut apples and almond butter as a nice snack. He was very open and supportive of our rawkin habits. I think that will help my daughter when she goes back to school. We are fortunate that she goes to a charter school with families more prone to natural foods. Having met most of the parents, I do not think anyone else does raw but I don't think it will be seen as freaksih as it would have in a more main stream public school. My son's school might be a different story, although private, not kids from a more natural experience. His friends are more main streamed and McDonald kinda families doing the best they can with what they know having a kid with challenges.

It will be ineteresting to see how the kids will handle these social challenges. Some might criticize me or our family for making more differences then we need by eating all raw. I still say the health benefits that have been proclaimed by others about raw food, the environmentally friendly benefits and the incredible benefits of nutrition it is giving my children and myself are far out weighing the "challenges" of eating different then most others. At least, that's how I feel about it today. Today we are RAWKIN on!

Falafel's are a big hit for me, not so much for the kids. I don't think they like the tahini much. Made more cinnamon rolls so kids are very happy. Was gifted some egg plant and zuchini from some clients so I will be making some egg plant parmesan and spaghetti in the next couple of days. Looking forward to it. Made muffins with peach inside and pureed strawberries dropped on top. They were delicious. Tried to make the toaster tarts and something went wrong. I think I left them in the dehydrator too long. Turned 'em into something else with peanut butter and pureed strawberries. Kids are agreeable but disappointed about the toaster tarts. Not sure what to make next, so much to chose from but my cravings are going away so I need to really begin planning and thinking harder. I'm feeling kind of tired so I may need to tweak my protein intake to match my work out better. Kids seem to be okay.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

It's Not So Hard

Going "raw" has presented many challenges and has forced me to really think about things differently. One of the chief objections that people have for my raw-ed-ness is that they have heard it is "so much work". I would not say that doing this is more work but it is more thought. I don't think that is such a bad thing, either. I think processed food and the marketing that has surrounded it keeps getting more and more thoughtless, more and more unconcscious and more about quick, thoughtless, brain dead, instant gratification meals. Raw is quite the opposite. So here I go swimming up stream.

There are aspects of raw food that are easy, fruits, veggies, salads, etc but then there are aspects that take more thought. In order to plan several recipes, one can not just go pull the ingredients out of the cupboard, add water and go. Several recipes call for sprouted nuts or seeds. Well, who do you think sprouts them? Yep, I do. Sprouting by the way is a lot easier then I first gave it credit. Rinse, cover and go-repeat several times a day and like MAGIC...little sprouts appear. It's kind of fun to watch and if left over time the smallest amount of food multiplies like little aliens taking over your bowls.

For example, to make the muffins my kids seem to like so much, I must first sprout wheat berries. Now, as I mentioned earlier, this is not difficult but it does take planning. At least two days prior to wanting to prepare these muffins I must start the sprouting process. Then I must remain concious enough so that whenever I walk through my kitchen I give them a little rinse once in awhile. This part makes me smile as I sometimes tell them hello...of course I lead a lonely life of a single Mom, work-a-holic and speaking to sprouting seeds is probably not a necessary part of the process.

After achieving sprout I then get to mix the ingredients in a food processor but alas, no muffins today. I roll them into cute little balls and put them in my handy dandy dehydrator and wait one more day. Now we have achieved muffin. Now, none of that was difficult but staying conscious of timing and such was a different use of my energy. Once it came down to the food processor, it only took a few minutes. All in all, I've prepared casseroles that have taken longer when actual time is stacked against actual time but casseroles are a wham bam thank you ma'am kinda meal...boil it, blend it, throw it in a dish, bake it and be done. Rawkin muffins take my brain power.

One of the benefits of rawkin is that the kids become more self-sufficient. My son now gets up and makes his own breakfast and has a variety of options adding dehydrated sprouted buckwheat or sprouted granole mixes into fruit or a muffin or more. My daughter is still switching back and forth between steel cut oats and rawkin breakfast combos like her brother makes. The oatmeal lasts longer and longer as time goes on. The rawkin breakfast is beginning to taste better.

Throughout the day, they snack on raw food items like flax crackers or other recipes with some sort of dip or even have some veggies and dip. My son and I are quite pleased with sprouted almonds because just a few of them satiate the appetite and give lots of energy. I read that the sprouting process wakes up some enzymes that actually help the body digest more of the protein and amino acids so it takes less food to satiate the body. This brings me to my last point that raw food seems to be cheaper or equivelant in groceries.

The initial outlay for rawkin was uncomfortable but now that we are used to it and getting into a rhythym it is actually seeming less then typical or regular groceries. Because we are more satiated, we are eating less. Food is going much farther and we are getting a lot more out of it. The down fall is that rawkin makes more trips to the grocery store to buy fresh produce more often. We are going through our fresh fruits and veggies quicker and need to keep fresh and yummy stuff on hand. I find that keeping a variety of fresh fruits and veggies on hand is helping my mind stay focused and not wander into the processed food it sometimes misses because it is bored or feeling lonely. That's a subject for another day but making sure I can pull out a handful of grapes or grab some quick carrots on the go is helping keep my focus.

I understand from reading books on the subject that our impulsive eating will pretty much go away and the desires will change so I suppose my brain power will change, too. So, I wouldn't say there is a lot more work involved in rawkin but I would say there is more thought. I'm not sure how this will pan out in the scheme of things but I am feeling like it is just going to require a shift in thinking as opposed to thinking more.

Currently in the making are some beanless falafels, some peach muffins and the crust of mini toaster tarts...I am sprouting barley and rice for gourmet pizza crusts (never knew you could sprout rice) and have on hand almond meal from fresh made almond milk and soaked dates and sprouted wheat berries to make cinnamon rolls. Trying to keep the varieties up a bit and kids full and happy.

What is RAW food and for heaven's sake WHY?

Whenever I tell people that I am or have gone "raw" I usually get contorted faces of disgust wondering why I would ever want to subject myself to such a thing. Many think I am eating raw eggs and meat. I am not eating raw eggs or meat. I have no intention of subjecting myself to food poisoning. Raw food is a way of eating that is all nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies in various forms and combinations.
I was first subjected to "raw" food when I was studying kundalini yoga and sound healing. Most of what I experienced was made in a blender and was a bit too spicy for my taste. I usually went to these events smuggling in granola bars to sustain me as I politely sipped my baby food. I'm not saying what I was served was not good, it probably was delicious but I could not tolerate it for whatever reasons being physical, emotional, spiritual or just plain not my desired food combinations.
Working in the "wellness" industry, I have lots of folks in various stages of seeking health. Very few come in with McDonald's and there is a lot of discussion about nutrition. As I am a larger kinda gal who works out regularly, eats pretty darn healthy but still battles a slower then average thyroid and genetics that really like fat to stay on my body, I prompt a great deal of critiques from my yoga students, pilates students and bodywork clients. Still big and bending like a pretzel don't seem to match in peoples minds, but possible none the less.
I have been all organic or at least mostly organic for years. I believe in the power of nutrition. My son, who has autism, has taught me the power of nutrition in healing. Modifying his diet early on changed his behavior dramatically. Dieting has been in and out of my life more than men or good dates and I have tried everything to break my sugar habit (sometimes successful-sometimes not) from Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, medicine, herbs, standing on my head and whistling dixie.
One day a yoga student told me that her daughter had gone all "raw" and was eating delicious recipes. She asked me if I had ever heard of the program, which I had not and later brought me a DVD of this woman cooking raw food. It looked so easy and delicious but I still had a bad taste in my mouth from kundalini. I held off but it ate at my brain.
Several months later, I decided I would buy some equipment to head into the raw direction. For my birthday, I got a dehydrator. Not your average birthday present but it meant I did not have to commit right away because I had not spent MY money on it. My dehydrator sat in it's box for months. Maybe half a year later, I decided to go on some websites and find a class. I took my tax return money and signed up. At this point, I got the dehydrator out of the box and gave my first go at "going raw".
The class was SO MUCH FUN! I enjoyed learning the basics that I was fumbling over and we made delicious raw italian food. I went 100% raw for about two and a half weeks until my children got a pizza and my will power went down the toilet. The pizza won. It tasted AWFUL but I stomached it and then convinced myself that I could live in both worlds. I took another class and became certified to teach raw food cooking to others. I had so much fun but I found it extremely difficult to prepare raw foods for myself while preparing regular foods for the kids. Not only was I doing twice the work but my old programming went the way of tortellini before it went the way of raw. I tip-toed in and out of raw-ness for the next several months with varying reactions in my body but never stayed there long enough to really go for it.
Recently my daughter seemed to start getting sick on most dairy products which prompted me to re-examine our diet and nutrition. My son's fixation is global warming so we are already mostly vegetarian to reduce our carbon foot print. He has been asking to go vegan for awhile but I did not support it because I wanted to make sure he would get enough protein. With my daughter's intestinal objections to dairy and meat already pretty much out of the picture, I picked up my books on raw food and re-examined the issue.
I called a family meeting and asked the kids if they wanted to go for it and got a thumbs up from my son and a pensive thumbs up from my daughter as long as I still allowed oatmeal and brown rice in case she didn't like what was being served. I agreed and three weeks ago we began our journey as a family into being raw. Being hip and cool to my pre-adolecent children and building my own enthusiasm for this new lifestyle, we have titled our journey together as the RAWKIN ADVENTURE! Did you hear the enthusiasm? We make RAWKIN food! We are a RAWKIN family! You gotta feel it by now.
It has been an interesting three weeks so far with some success and some failure but our commitment grows stronger as our journey goes on. I want to chronicle this journey as we examine how changing our perspective on food, it's preperation, our health and the social impact we face doing it "different" then the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) and all that society places on it's importance. Take what you like and leave the rest but know that I am NOT preaching nor trying to be idealistic, I am simply trying to do what is best for my kids, myself and be honest about the ups, the downs and the all the way arounds. Hopefully with some humor and a lot of reality.