Friday, August 1, 2008

Raw Travels

I'm finally back home after what seemed like a long journey, but what really amounted to a week away. I guess it seemed so hectic because I drove to Tampa and back with my son for his college orientation, then got on a plane to NY the next day. Lots of packing and unpacking, although I still haven't unpacked entirely from the NY segment.
I had a very productive week, so I'll fill you in on each part of my trip.
First up- Tampa:
The trip took about four hours and much to my surprise I could have gone without stopping if not for my pea sized bladder and outsized water consumption. Not your ideal combination. Last time I went I had to stop because of the pain in my sit bones caused by the cancer, but not this time. Woo-Hoo- another great sign.
Anyhow, the orientation went well and although it was a bit talky, boring, and overlong, we did get at least some useful information. And my son got his schedule and signed up for the ultimate frisbee team, which is of primo importance of course!
The best part of the trip was a raw and vegan restaurant called The Grass Root.This was by far and away the best raw food I've ever eaten, excepting my own of course. The seaweed salad was magnificent, and Michael had the Live Spaghetti and Marinara with Treatballs, which was out of this world. We also had Marrakesh, which was raw hummus, assorted veggies and sprouts on a bed of lettuce. Yummy! Michael raved about the vegan key lime cheesecake for desert. I didn't have any because it was made with tofu, which I'm totally against, but is a necessary evil if you serve vegan food.
I also spoke to the chef for a long time. She looks 20 years younger than her actual age and saw many ailments disappear after trading in her SAD diet for a raw vegan one. She even gave me a piece of homemade natural soap made by one of her customers.
I loved the place so much that I went back the next night for the massaged kale salad while Michael was spending the night at the dorm. Definitely two enthusiastic thumbs up for this place!
We got home on Friday evening and I left the next night for NY. I flew into Long Island airport and spent a couple of days in Southampton for some quality time with my awesome, wonderful cousin. We had a great time shopping around Sag Harbor, pampering ourselves with a mani/pedi, lounging by the pool, shopping at the health food stores, and even going to the movies. We managed to fit in some green juices from the local juice bar and I made us green smoothies in the magic bullet. I actually found a way to make a mean smoothie sans Vitamix! The trick is to blend the leafy greens with some water first, then add the other ingredients in stages. A bit more work, but good in a pinch!
I made us a raw tomato tahini soup also in the bullet and some raw vegan sushi. I even found some raw, untoasted nori in the local health food store! NY rocks when it comes to raw resources. Of course my rolling skills are not up to the par of my cousin's wonderful husband, who took over the sushi rolling with ease. I think maybe he gets more practice than I do.
The next night we had raw cabbage salad and massaged kale and avocado salad wrapped in collard leaves. I put out the salads and it was "roll your own".
The next morning my brother came early, and after some green smoothies we were off to the city for my appointment with Dr. Gonzalez. Amazingly there was no traffic and we made it in record time.
Dr. G was his usual upbeat, positive, insanely knowledgeable self and he was thrilled with the results of my metabolic testing. Some of my numbers were extremely impressive, including the total toxins, which went from a 15 to a 10 in only 6 months! My cancer numbers were 23, down from a 29. The goal is to be at or less than 10, so I have a way to go, but still a big dip in such a short time. The first thing to go when this number reaches 10 is my 4AM enzyme dose, so I definitely have a new goal in mind! Overall, most of my numbers went in the intended direction or stayed stable.
After my appointment I met a good friend for lunch. On our long walk over there we stopped at a local juice bar for a green juice, then on to Quintessence.
I was surprised at how tiny the place was, but what we both noticed was that everyone eating there was so healthy looking and slim. This is in sharp contrast to what you see when you go to a traditional TGI Fridays type eatery.
I had marinated chard mixed with coconut noodles and my friend had a green soup and sundried tomato pate rolled inside cucumber or zucchini. Whatever it was it was delish! To my dismay, I was too full for desert, which looked amazing.
After dinner we walked back to her office after which I took a taxi to LaGuardia airport for my flight home. I definitely want to make sure I have more time in the city next time to try out all the raw restaurant choices.
Well, gotta go unpack, so here's my tomato tahini soup recipe:
This recipe is bullet sized for one person.

1 tomato cut up
2-4 tablespoons tahini (depending upon how much you like it)
1 clove garlic (there will be no vampires around after eating this)
1 tsp curry paste
cayenne pepper to taste
celtic sea salt
1 oz extra virgin olive oil
filtered water (start with a small amount and add more to adjust consistency)
Whirl in blender or magic bullet
That's it- enjoy!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Raw addiction

It's funny how this lifestyle becomes addicting. I was thinking the other day that I never particularly cared for cooking, but now I'm so into my "uncooking", It's so satisfying to create a dish from raw, healthy foods that essentially replicates and usually blows away it's SAD counterpart.
Many of these recipes are as easy as popping a bunch of veggies into the blender, or slicing up some veggies. I'm at the point now that I may start with a recipe, then ad lib as I go along.
Here's some of the simplest ideas:

You like pasta? How about raw, veggie pasta:

The "pasta" is simply spiralized zucchini. Yellow squash, carrots, beets, daikon radish, parsnip, or any firm vegetable works also.
The sauce is tomatoes, garlic, onion, basil, and any other spices you desire whirled in the blender or magic bullet. Uncooked, delish, and bursting with enzymes and important nutrients.
Serve with a side of dehydrated flax crackers and you won't even miss Italian night.

Flax Seed Veggie Crackers
1 cup flax seeds, soaked at least 4 hrs.
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, parsely, or whatever spice you desire
3/4 cup sundried tomatoes, soaked at least 2 hrs (if you use sundried tomatoes in oil from a jar, omit soaking)
1 tsp kelp or dulse (or both)
1 jalapeno or hot red pepper to taste
1 tsp cayenne
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 onion
2 cups veggie pulp from juice

Place all ingredients except flax seeds in blender or food processor and puree.
Add soaked flax seeds, which will now be gelatinous and thick.
Spread onto non stick sheets in dehydrator and dehydrate at 105 degrees for 8 hrs. or until top is dry.
Flip onto mesh rack and dry an additional 5-8 hrs or until crisp.

These crackers can be easily modified by adding different ingredients, so experiment!

If you've been missing bread and the dehydrated crackers and flat breads don't quite do it for you, here's a recipe for healthy sprouted bread that's absoulutely delicious! While not technically raw, it's cooked in low temps for a short time, so the inside temperature of the bread is probably not high enough to kill the enzymes. I'm going to experiment with dehydrating it next time instead, but it may take forever due to the thickness.

Sproutman's Basic Sprout Bread
From Steve Meyerowitz' "Sproutman's Kitchen Garden Cookbook"

Soak 1 cup of hard winter wheat in jar for 8-10 hrs. Sprout for 2 days until the shoot is the length of the berry. (The shoot is short and thick, and grows in the opposite direction of the hair-like roots.)
Grind the sprouts in food processor or Omega/Champion juicer with the blank screen to form a smooth paste.
Form a 1 1/2 X 3" loaf by hand. Wet hands constantly while shaping to prevent sticking.
Line cookie sheet with seeds (I used sesame) to keep bread from sticking and bake at 250 degrees F for approximately 2 1/2-3 1/2 hrs. or until underside is firm. The inside will remain moist. Lift bread up momentarily half way through baking to avoid sticking.

Even my dog is crazy for the veggies now. I've created a monster that stalks me every time she hears the juicer.

Veggie dog waiting for her next fix

Then she inhales the pulp without even breathing!

She never takes her head out of the bowl.
Ah, but now she has her new slim figure to show for it!

Well, I hope everyone had a great 4th. I got a bird's eye view of some great fireworks:


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Rainy Day Recipes

I was inspired by all the rain today to stay inside and do some decluttering and culinary experimentation. I managed to clean out my bathroom closet and create some new recipes.
For breakfast I had some Raw Apple Banana Bread topped with homegrown clover sprouts and pureed strawberries. Very yummy and so easy to make.


2 apples (I use granny smith)
1 cup ground flax
1/8 cup extra virgin coconut oil
1/2 banana
1/4 cup chopped, soaked almonds
1/4 cup water
raw agave to taste (if using red apples, this may not be necessary)
shredded coconut

Blend all ingredients except almonds and coconut in food processor or vitamix
Stir in almonds and coconut
Spread 1/2 inch thick on keflex sheet
Dehydrate for 10 hrs. at 115 degrees
Flip and dry 2 additional hours

I was recently in Whole Foods (my second home) and I was tempted by this dark chocolate bar by Vosges. It's called "Red Fire" bar and it just sounds so exotic and delicious. It's dark chocolate with Mexican chili's and cinnamon.
I didn't buy it because A)Too much sugar B)Too much green- and I don't mean the kind I juice! $8.49 for a candy bar- good grief!

So I got to thinking- hmmm...why not make a healthier raw version. It's more like a fudge than a candy bar, but still delish.

I had some left over and dipped some strawberries into it.


1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup agave
seeds from one vanilla bean
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup dry coconut flakes
cayenne to taste
chili powder to taste
cinnamon to taste

Blend first 6 ingredients until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients. Add small amounts of the last 3 ingredients until the taste is to your liking. Remember, it's always easier to add more than to adjust for too much spice.
Spread mixture on a pie plate lined with natural wax paper and freeze until set. Caliente!

For lunch I made a Thai Vegetable soup that I found on Raw Freedom Community, but messed around with the ingredients a bit to fit what I had in the house. Since it was pouring out, I didn't feel like going to the store.
I have to admit, I'm getting really good at improvising.

2 mini red bell peppers
1/4 tsp. sea salt
2 carrots
1/3 cup soaked cashews
2 radishes
1 cup warm water
1 tsp. curry paste
1/3 cup almond milk
1/2 tbsp. agave
1/8 cup vidalia onion
1/2 tsp tumeric

Blend all ingredients in VitaMix until smooth. Garnish with coconut flakes and parsley sprigs.

All in all I actually enjoyed my rainy day, but I'm still hoping for some sunshine tomorrow!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Fasting and Foraging, South Florida style

I know it's been a while since my last post. I've have lots to talk about, so I decided to save it all up and do a combo post.
I've been juice feasting in varying degrees for the last week or so. I just felt like my body needed extra detox, so I went for it.
I met a dude called "Tony the Gardener", who takes over abandoned urban community gardens in some pretty rough neighborhoods. He grows organic, "wild crafted" herbs and vegetables which are vastly different from the organic veggies I'm used to, as I was about to find out.
I went to meet him in Whole Foods parking lot and waited 30 minutes with my friend before she gave up and went home. He has no cell phone and my only communication with him was through email. I figured I'd already made the trip so I went inside to pick up a few things and wait a bit more. About 15 min later he called from a pay phone (they still have those?) and said he got held up harvesting in the rain, but would be there soon. He showed up soon after with 3 huge boxes of....WEEDS! He said that because I was so nice and waited, that he would throw in the third box for free. Wow, free weeds, just what I need.
I tell you, these looked like what you would throw away when you clean your garden. There I was on my kitchen floor, with my computer on one side of me, the box of weeds on the other, looking on foraging websites trying to figure out what this stuff was. Two hours later, I was sure of dandelion with the root attached, basil, lemongrass, and some type of cabbage. The rest was a mystery.
I decided to be daring, so the next morning I stuffed it all in my juicer. It smelled like I was mowing my lawn, and tasted like I was drinking it. Well, Tony said that this stuff would be potent. Maybe it would just take some getting used to. So I suffered through two more juices, but it was the salad that would prove to be the last straw.
I decide to eat for the first time in three days, so I made a salad and added some of the weeds. I put some dressing on and the weeds just sucked it up, so I added more and more, and each time it just sucked it up like a sponge. This stuff was like it's own life force, feeding on the dressing for it's nourishment. Would it grow and multiply? Well, if it does, it's doing it in the back of the garbage truck, because I threw it's weedy ass into the circular file! And I don't even want to talk about the snotty cactus-thingy! The nightmares have only just stopped! =shudder=
I guess I'm just not that adventurous yet. But on to my juice feast.
For three days I drank 3-4 juices a day and 2 green smoothies.
Here's an example:
Breakfast Green juice-
radish, kale, cucumber, parsley, bell peppers, yellow squash, watermelon rind

The radish makes this pretty pink on top. The picture just doesn't do it justice. I'm such a girly-girl!

Lunch- Choco Cherry Green Smoothie
1/2 avocado
1 cup watermelon
4 cherries, pitted
2 oz. coconut water
1/4 cucumber
1 large handful spinach
2 tbsp. hemp seeds
5 ice cubes
sweetleaf dark chocolate flavored stevia to taste
coconut flakes

Blend first 4 ingredients until thick and smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients except the coconut and blend until smooth.
Garnish with coconut flakes

Post lunch- another juice
Dinner-Green Soup
I don't measure, just dump everything green that I can find in. The things that are important to include are the avocado for creaminess, and the cucumber and celery for the juicy base.
I think I added spinach, kale, collard, chard, cucumber, celery, avocado, zucchini
Then add spices, whichever you like. Mine had dulse, basil, cilantro, parsley, himalayan sea salt, cayenne
Add some purified water and into the Vitamix it all goes. The cayenne gives it heat, so you get that "hot" feel.

Post dinner- another juice

In between, I drink lots and lots of water with lemon or PH drops. I always drink lemon water through a straw to protect my teeth.

On day 4, I had a few bites of the weed salad for dinner. That staved off my salad craving for a while.

On the 5th & 6th day, I ate a healthy breakfast and did green juices and smoothies the rest of the day.
My breakfast was sprouted quinoa & sprouted buckwheat with berries on day 5, and two dehydrated flax crackers with sprouts, avocado, and berries on day 6.

All in all, it was easy and I really didn't crave eating food. I felt satisfied, but I did miss my berries, because I never juice my fruit and I use very little in my smoothies. I like to eat it for breakfast, so it was nice to get back to that.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Those amazing dads

Since today's father's day I want to dedicate my blog to all the dads out there, especially my own wonderful dad, Garry.
My dad is incredibly supportive and is always there when I need him. He's been by my side throughout this entire ordeal and is always amazingly positive. Although he wasn't always aligned with my decision to pursue alternative avenues, he did the research and is now solidly in my camp.
The support of family through a health crisis is key, as attitude is at least 90% of the battle. So for this in addition to putting up with me during my extremely rebellious teen years, I cannot thank my dad enough!

Yesterday I checked out another raw restaurant called Soma Cafe in Lake Worth. My friends and I had a Kale salad made with green apples, celery, and a delicious lemon based marinade, an awesome corn chowder with hints of cilantro and cayenne for a nice spicy kick, angel hair zucchini "pasta" with marinara, and for desert apples with "caramel" dip and chocolate chip "rawkies".
Everything was delicious, the service was attentive, and the owner was very appreciative of our input and constructive criticism. (The raw macaroons rated a less than favorable review and were replaced by the chocolate chip "Rawkies"). All in all, the restaurant gets our recommendation and is on the revisit list.

Lastly, I made this awesome apple flax bread yesterday. It's got a nice moist texture and tastes delicious topped with my raw almond/cashew/hemp butter. Yesterday I added some pureed raspberries. Yummy, healthy, and low on sugar.

Here's the recipe:

APPLE FLAX BREAD- thanks to Anthony (
2 apples (I used green for less sugar)
1 cup of organic ground flax
1/8 cup of organic extra virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup of purified water.

Blend all in food processor
spread 1/2 inch thick on dehydrator sheet and dry for 10 hours.
Flip and dry for another 2

1 cup soaked organic raw cashews
1 cup soaked organic raw almonds
4 tbsp organic shelled hemp seeds
organic extra virgin coconut oil as needed

Blend nuts and seeds in food processor, adding small amounts of oil as needed to obtain a creamy, buttery texture.

Unbelievably simple, delish, and healthy! Add pureed berries for a healthy take on the classic SAD food staple, peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Got Protein?

Lately the hot topic surrounding vegetarians and vegans seems to be getting enough Amino Acids and Protein. The naysayers will tell you that you must ingest something that once moved and had a mom in order to get enough of those.
I don't go up to people at the drive thru and ask them "how do you get your chlorophyl?"

so I wish the burgermeisters would stop asking me how I get my protein!

The answer is easy- I get them from my vegetables (and an occasional nut, sprouted bean, or grain).

Here's the down and dirty:
We can get our protein from both animal and vegetable sources. The difference is that animal proteins are "complete" meaning that they contain all of the essential amino acids, while vegetable sources usually are incomplete (low on or missing certain essential amino acids). Different vegetable sources are deficient in different amino acids, so as long as one eats different vegetables, one can get all of the essential amino acids throughout the course of the day.

Some vegetable sources such as beans and nuts are especially high in protein, and some such as quinoa and hemp seeds are complete proteins.

Soy is also a complete protein, but much of it is unusable to the body and it contains a trypsin inhibitor. Soy also stimulates mucous production similar to dairy products and most of it is genetically modified and chemically treated.

Here's the real clincher: During digestion, all proteins are broken down into their amino acids so that they can enter the bloodstream where they become the building blocks of cells. What's not needed is excreted by the body.
Vegetables contain amino acids in their pure form, whereas animal sources contain proteins that must be broken down into amino acids.
So in other words, the body has to work much harder to extract the amino acids from the protein and then get rid of what it doesn't need!

Another interesting fact: The RDA for protein is 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight, which for me works out to about 36 grams. A can of tuna has 32 grams, which makes it easy to see why most Americans get WAY too much protein!

*There's 2.5 servings in a can of tuna

This is bad, because diets high in protein can lead to kidney problems, and if carbohydrates are restricted can leach calcium from the bones.

So where do I get my protein? Let me count the ways:

Spread the veggie love!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Graduation Day

The last few days have been pretty busy. I finished doing my "purge" cleanse, and aside from almost fainting outside of my son's graduation ceremony, it went by unceremoniously. It's pretty tough eating nothing for two days save for 2 oranges and a couple of gallons of watered down citrus juice.
But it's behind me now and I'm just savoring my last couple of days without pills.
The best thing is that my son graduated with honors from high school! And the great part is that I was there to see it and enjoy it- and I'm so grateful for that!