Posted by: Shavai | April 5, 2010

Another Strawberry Pie Attempt

I spent all day Easter Sunday “uncooking.”  I hadn’t made lasagna in a while and although I recently found out I’m sensitive to nightshades, I had already purchased the ingredients for the lasagna so it was important to use them.  This raw strawberry pie pictured above is still in the “not quite perfect” mode.  I have more changes to make to the recipe.

The lasagna turned out magnificent! At least to my tastebuds.  I’m not a big fan of oil dripping all over and I prefer my italian tomato sauce to be a bit sweet instead of acidic (think Prego spaghetti sauce).  I’ve found tomato creations taste better after some time in the fridge over night.

Every time I eat that first bite of lasagna I feel like I’m flying high!  It has faux meat, faux cheese, sauce and spinach in it with three layers of zucchini (top, middle and bottom).  It’s best when served to multiple people when all the flavors are fresh from it’s over night settling, but I believe it lasts three days in the fridge, which is good for me.  Anything I can make that lasts for a bit makes me happy.

Having not been trained on how to do things in the kitchen with food, it takes me forever.  For example, I examine the basil and Italian Parsley leaves since the first time I made raw lasagna I found there were bugs in leafy products.  The packages also recommend that the items be washed prior to being used (I guess they’re acknowledging the fact that there are bugs in the bunch) and that’s a bit of a time consuming thing.  My sister always washes her blueberries and lays them out on the counter to dry before putting them in her fridge.  She has a LOT of nice counter space in her home though.

I’m trying to formulate a plan of pre-paring items for this dish so it doesn’t take all day to make, but with so little knowledge about how a kitchen should be run or how to prepare recipes I’m sure I’m not being as efficient as possible.  I may have to call my sister today and have her help me decide how to tackle it.  Perhaps I need one of those choppers I’ve seen at Wal-Mart so I can just dump the basil and parsley in it. My knife does not seem to be too keen on cutting them all the way through and with my hands being the way they are I don’t feel comfortable getting my knives any sharper.

The strawberry pie came out better than worse.  This time instead of using the way too sweet recipe I did last time, I took my own Lemon Mousse recipe and made that the foundation of the filling.  Unfortunately, that was made to be a mousse.  It’s not really thick enough to hold the heavy strawberries in it, even with a teaspoon of lecithin.  I think next time I may add some coconut butter to the mix and see if that gives it a little firmer base.  I blended not only cut up strawberries into the mousse to give it the red color and strawberry flavor (over the lemon flavor it usually has), but folded in chopped strawberries before putting the mix into the crust.

The raw whipped cream topping is a recipe from “The Sunny Raw Kitchen” for a much thicker cream layer of a cake.  She has a recipe on her site for regular whipped cream, but I believe it calls for coconut meat which is out of my league.  Coconuts are not only expensive here, but my previous experience with Dominican Republic coconuts available in the grocery store was not pleasant.  I may try leaving out the lecithin next time for a fluffier whipped cream.  I admit to using canned organic coconut milk as it’s only around $2.50 at the Kroger.  I did notice that without proper sealing, the whipped cream topping tends to start turning tan the 2nd day.  All I did was put some wrap around the exposed pie where I had cut a piece out as I didn’t have a tupperware container big enough for the whole thing.  I don’t remember the last pie doing that and there was no lecithin in the last pie so I’ll have to figure that out.

There is a note on Carmella’s recipe (The Sunny Raw Kitchen) about putting lecithin in your coffee grinder.  This worked beautifully for the whipped cream, HOWEVER, it leaves a heck of a mess to clean up!  Ground lecithin (at least the kind I bought from my health food store) is sticky as all out and clumps everywhere.  It was stuck to both the top and sides of the coffee grinder (which I bought only to grind herbs and lecithin in) and everything in the bottom.  My coffee grinder well cannot be taken out to wash and I haven’t discerned yet whether the thing that holds the blades in it was meant to come out.  The instructions do not mention that as a feature and specifically state that the grinder should not be taken apart by anyone other than an authorized service provider.  At any rate, I’m going to see if there is a way to get powdered lecithin for these types of recipes as opposed to going through that again.

As far as my weight, my last check in was a little over a week ago. During that time it seemed like I had to go shopping every day for fresh ingredients.  Unfortunately, I had other errands to run and had two specific times when my blood sugar dropped like an anvil while I was out.  Of course, I did what I traditionally do – I ran for the closest place that had meat (protein).  In both cases, this was Kentucky Fried Chicken for a piece of their grilled chicken.  It seems to be the least offensive and the cheapest way to get quick protein in.  Their recipe for grilled chicken has changed since the last time I ate it though.  The marinade is a little sweeter.  I’m not sure I want to know why.  The chicken itself is also greasier now, which leads me to wonder if they aren’t sticking it in the crescor like they do the rest of the chicken.

I probably shouldn’t have tried to make such a long trip without raw food supplies with me.  I just haven’t gotten that part of the raw food equation down yet.  My brain doesn’t automatically think “do I have adequate supplies before I leave the house?” I’m so used to the cheap, fast food life style I have this built in foundation that reinforces “there is always food on the road.”  In truth, there aren’t a lot of “fast” choices for blood sugar emergencies out there.  Stopping at a grocery store for a salad from the salad bar would be my best bet, but when I get down that low all I want is meat protein.

I don’t know if that is because I went to a raw food diet cold turkey or not. Since I knew I was a die-hard meat eater before I started the diet, I don’t have any guilt over eating meat.  Oddly enough, I found on a metabolism chart that I should be eating dark meat when eating poultry and I had been favoring just that type of meat for a few months before I started on my raw food diet.  I’m not going to get spastic over eating meat since I’m not trying to be vegan.  I’m going to take it as it comes and if I’m completely able to get meat out of my diet permanently, so be it.  If a piece of meat slips in here and there, so be it.  The important thing is the bulk of my diet be comprised of raw, live foods and my health (whatever that entails) be as optimal as I can get it.  Living a happy life is always the goal to shoot for. 😀

Today’s Statistics

Weight: 273.4
Fat %: 60.8
BMI: 48.4
Water %: 28.6

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Posted by: Shavai | March 31, 2010

A Tale of Two Salads

I’ve been looking ALL over the place for a good chicken and tuna salad type recipe to replace the ones I always used to eat for lunch. I had purchased some Better Than Turkey Salad from Awesome Foods, but had no idea how to make it.  My sister could have probably figured it out as she is just that type of genius in the kitchen, but she lives in Maryland.

As luck would have it, I had a reaction to some Creamy Tomato Soup I made last night and while I was looking up information for nightshades I found these two recipes.  It’s interesting that I should have a reaction to nightshades now.  I was told back in my 20s (when health insurance used to cover nutritionists) I had a problem with nightshades.  I didn’t think anything about it, but did try to stay away from green peppers.

I found an amazing article on nightshades.  When I looked at the list of items that were nightshades, I was in shock.  Two of the biggest nightshade items (potatoes and tomatoes) were the main thing I loved before I went on this diet.  I always had to eat potatoes (whether baked or homemade mashed) and whenever I ordered a sandwich out, I always asked for extra tomatoes.  According to the article, nightshades (potatoes in particular) help to counteract the sodium and protein of meat.  In addition, tomatoes (both astringent and acidic) assist in the digestion and discharge of dairy products.  After looking at some of the nightshade symptoms, there is a possibility some of my current problems aren’t being helped by eating them.

Finding the two salad recipes was a Godsend.  They are very much alike, yet the differences in the nuts used make two distinctly different salads.  The chicken salad is chunkier and has more liquid to it, while the tuna is somewhat dry and reminds me of the solid Albacore I used to buy after I drained the fish juice out of the can.  After making the recipe and tasting the results, I added a couple extra ingredients to the tuna – onion salt and garlic powder.  After making the main tuna recipe, I would suggest using whatever spices you are used to adding to tuna to make it taste the same.

Before I list the recipes, I thought I would pass along the fact that this week is the first week I have not purchased organic fresh vegetables.  Unless my miracle comes this very minute, I have to shop within my budget.  Unfortunately, there is no room for expensive organic products in it at this time.  It will be interesting to see how this affects the detox symptoms I’ve been having these last couple of weeks.

My blender also has one foot in the grave.  The spindle is either too old or too small to be mixing the things I mix in it (most raw food recipes “assume” you have a Vitamix blender when they give the instructions for the recipe).  Any liquid I put in the blender has now started leaking through the spindle (not the gasket).  There is no way to fix the spindle as it is all metal.  It is too worn.   Pretty soon I won’t be able to use it at all, so I’m going to check out the blenders at the Wal-Mart and see if ANYTHING is better than the blender I now have. That’s the only place I’m going to be able to afford a blender.  I put a Vitamix on my wishlist, so if anyone would like to buy me one, please feel free. 🙂

The “Not Tuna Salad” recipe is credited to the “Living Light” student handbook.

NOT TUNA SALAD
From the “Living Light” student handbook.

1/2 Cup Almonds (Soaked for 24 hours, then rinsed and drained.)
1/2 Cup Sun Flower Seeds (Soaked for 6 hours, rinsed and drained.)
1/4 Cup Filtered Water (If necessary.)
1/4 Cup Celery (Minced)
1/4 Cup Onion (Minced)
1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley (Minced)
3 T. Fresh Lemon Juice
1 t. Kelp Powder or Dulse Flakes
1/2 t. Salt
1/2 t. Dried Dill Weed (Or 1 T. Fresh)

Put all ingredients into a food processor and process until mixture is smooth.  It should resemble the picture above.

MOCK CHICKEN SALAD
From Michelle & Lori @ http://www.pure2raw.com

1 Cup Sun Flower Seeds (Soaked)
4 Stalks of Celery
2 Scallions
Small Handful Fresh Parsley
4 T. Fresh Lemon Juice
1 T. Tahini (Secret Ingredient)
1 t. Dulse Flakes
1/2 t. Salt

Pulse in food processor until mix is in small chunks or until desired texture.  Their original recipe called for 1/3 of a black radish, but I’ve never used a radish before and don’t have any in my house.  As you can see, the recipe is very much like the one above from the student handbook.  By changing which nuts are used for a mock meat salad, you can come up with different flavors and taste experiences.

Michelle and Lori have an amazing web site.  Many of their recipes come complete with step by step pictures so you can tell you’re on the right track while making a recipe.  Be sure to stop by and have a look.

Posted by: Shavai | March 27, 2010

The Coconut Question

To use fresh coconuts or not use fresh coconuts – that is the question.  If you live in Florida where senior residents consider them a nuisance, you’ve got it made in the shade!  They will be more than happy to let you climb up their tree, bring these wonderful little treats down and haul them off before mother nature decides to drop them from the tree branches onto someone’s head. If you live anywhere else, the coconut issue can be a problem.

When I started this raw food diet, I looked around for coconuts to no avail.  I knew they would probably have them in the Chinese market, but my sleep schedule since I started this diet has not be favorable to being out in the sun.  I’m sure there’s a good reason for this somewhere in the heavens, but I’ve learned to accept the fact and move on.  This limits my shopping to stores that stay open late or 24 hours.

The last time I went to the Kroger I was surprised to see an actual coconut sitting in amongst the produce.  I grabbed two right away without thinking – something I clearly shouldn’t do again.  The next step was to get it open, something regular Floridians accomplish with a machete.  Having a machete in my house isn’t a good idea as I’m the only one here and I have definite side affects from carpel tunnel syndrome which hinder a lot of the things I do.  I was so overjoyed at finding a coconut at 10:30 at night I forgot my physical limitations.

Tonight I finally decided to venture into the coconut.  I had watched the two wonderful Renegade Health Show videos that had information and instructions on how to work with coconuts.  Unfortunately, the one I cracked open had gray water in it, meaning it was no good.   The meat inside was hard as a rock and very little water came out of the coconut.  I had better luck with the second coconut once I got it open. I used a drill and while one of the eyes of the coconut was very easy to get through, I had a HECK of a time trying to drill the hole on the bottom of the coconut to easily release all the coconut water inside.

The two things I have learned about extracting coconut water is that drills put a whole lot of brown crud into the water that even a coffee filter won’t strain out. (The nutbag I used let a lot of big pieces through.)  The second thing I learned was there is nothing in this world like coconut water that comes out of the coconut just after you open it! It’s flavor is so amazing and robust and strangely sweet. My O.N.E. coconut water is good, but has only about 3/4 of the vibrance of the water that comes directly out of the coconut.  I can imagine the same thing is said for those vegetables you grown in your own back yard garden that go directly into your meals from the Earth.

Having finally drained (and consumed the water from) the coconut, I tried to find a way to get it open.  I drilled a couple spots along the groove someone had cut in it, but it wasn’t budging.  I gave up and went downstairs, where it opened up with just one slam against the ground.  This time, however, the break was very clean and the meat very white as opposed to what happened to the other coconut (pieces went everywhere).

I brought it back up to the kitchen and proceeded to try and get the meat out, but quite frankly brown shell grit and pieces were getting everywhere.  There is another thin shell/skin that stands between you and your coconut after you get the harder outer brown shell off.  When I went back and watched the video, I saw they recommended using a vegetable peeler to get it off.  Some of it had already come off, so in some situations I used my paring knife and in others the peeler.

After a VERY long, painstaking effort the meat was finally clean (well, as clean as coconut meat gets).  I stuffed it in a ziplock bag and tossed it in the refrigerator until I could find a recipe that uses it.  Word is that fresh coconut meat will only last a couple of days in the fridge.  If you need to save it longer than that, some have suggested you toss it in the freezer after getting it clean.  I’m going to have to go to the store tonight as I found out my Olive Oil had gone rancid (very bitter) and I’m out of lemons.  Personally, I’d much rather wait until the Kroger opens so I can get some organic Meyer lemons, but I don’t know if I can hold on another 4 or 5 hours for that.

My water level was the highest it’s been when I weighed myself today.  I was proud of that. Not really sure how it happened, but I’m happy. I can’t say whether or not I’m back to losing weight since the plateau, but I’m still going to try not to weigh myself every day. I’m spending so much time, shopping and preparing raw food I don’t have time to do anything else.

Today’s Statistics

Weight: 277.6
Fat: 59.5%
BMI: 49.1
Water: 29.5%

Posted by: Shavai | March 26, 2010

Slipping Off The Wagon

I got really hungry Wednesday night.  I ran out of most of my supplies and prospects were not looking good.  As I was walking through the Harris Teeter (it was after midnight and the Kroger was closed) I was having trouble trying to figure out how I would get through the next few days until another income opportunity came.  Finally, I ended up at the meat isle and they had an amazing sale on steak.  There was a beautiful rib-eye for $5.99.  This is usually a $12-13 steak!  I was so hungry and I knew how quickly this steak would cook, so I gave in, bought it and took it home and ate it.  I was in heaven the rest of the evening and felt like my stomach was finally full.

You would expect that eating something so far off the raw food mark would make me sick as a dog.  It didn’t.  As a matter of fact, I felt better than I had in a really long time.  I’m sure there was probably some weight gain attached, but I’ve stopped weighing myself every day as I know I’m at a plateau and it’s not going to come off as easily as the first month’s weight did.

The next day I was searching all over for some baking rings.  I couldn’t find them anywhere.  Unfortunately, I was miles away from home and my blood sugar started dropping.  It got so bad the car started swerving a little bit and I knew I needed to get off the road. There was a Chick-a-fila around the corner and so I figured I’d get some fries to tide me over on the way home since the smoothie place was closed.  When I got the bag it was clear they had just been cooked.  They were hot and smelled great, but the minute I put one on my tongue, I could tell I’d made a big mistake.  It tasted exactly like salty, greasy cardboard!  I couldn’t believe I’d ever eaten these things. After that, it was a little easier to fully appreciate the opportunity to be on a raw food diet.  Even if I have so few recipes that I actually enjoy.

Here’s a picture of the last recipe I enjoyed.  It was a mushroom tart that required soaking the mushrooms overnight in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  It also required the use of a dehydrator…something that I have no hope of getting any time soon.  I had read on the internet that a regular oven could be used as a dehydrator substitute if you put it on it’s lowest heat, left the door open as below and had a large oscillating fan pointed at the open door.  They prefer the heat in the oven not be allowed to go over 110°.  Since most ovens coolest temperature is 140°, the fan helps to keep the temperature from getting too high.  I’m not sure what my experience was like because out of the two thermometers I DO have, one doesn’t go below 140° and the other doesn’t go above 85°. It must have been ok, as the tart crusts came out great after an hour of dehydrating.

The finished product was MARVELOUS!  I won’t be putting up the recipe until I alter it some as when I made this recipe the amounts were a bit out of whack.  I wound up having WAY too much crust and not enough tart.  It was delicious enough though and it lasts for 2-3 days.

My next challenge?  Figure out how to either simulate a juicer or come up with $150 for a Jack LaLane juicer.  They actually sell them at Target.  Right now, that and a spiralizer are the only two things standing in my way of recipe freedom.  I’m happily back eating raw foods again, but I can’t really claim to be a raw foodist.  The memory of that steak will always be in the back of my mind.

Posted by: Shavai | March 24, 2010

Getting Into The Groove

It’s been a week since I last posted.  I’ve been having some wonderful experiences (yes, that is sarcasm) on this raw food diet.  I bought some wooden spoons from the Wal-Mart.  While I washed them well before using them, I had the opportunity to lick something off one of them with my tongue and had the most distasteful experience of my life!  It tasted like I had just licked formaldehyde.  I got light-headed, then got a headache and was out of it for the rest of the day.

Most people might think that being poisoned by pine nuts and wooden spoons would be enough to make them stop doing whatever was causing these bad events.  The allergic breakouts would be enough for me normally.  That type of detox is it’s own little hell. They say that anything worth doing is worth doing right though.  So I’m going to stick to raw food.

I’ve been living off the Alfredo sauce and celery root I fixed in my last blog.  For a whole week.  On one hand, that makes me very happy. On the other, I REALLY have to fix the flavors in that sauce as they are WAY too intense.  If it weren’t for the bland nature of the celery root, I wouldn’t be able to eat the rest of the sauce up.

I’ve been eating my smoothies in the morning, the Alfredo for lunch/dinner (because my sleep cycle is still that messed up) and whatever I can find for my third meal.  A couple of days, I had the avocado soup, which is REALLY good comfort food.  The other days, I ate a large romaine leaf with sliced tomato and either some of the mock turkey salad or the mock egg salad I picked up at the Heritage.

I spent all day yesterday browsing through recipes on the web for new things to eat and coming up blank.  So many of what people are calling “raw” recipes use some type of flour or oat mix.  I didn’t think those items were included in a raw diet.  I don’t know why I should be surprised. I sit here eating my spelt crackers when I get hungry (which reminds me, I DID eat a can of organic lentil soup this week when I was SOOO hungry I though I was going to croak if I didn’t get some real food in my stomach). Yet the idea of going to the store and buying pre-made meal or flour seems like cheating to me.  Perhaps it’s my body trying to tell me I shouldn’t be making recipes that include those types of things in them.

I tried to look for other dessert type recipes as well.  Everything that I want to try seems to have a half cup of agave in it.  That seems to defeat the purpose of going on a raw diet to me.  I know agave syrup is pretty high on the glycemic index, only because they’ve have multiple discussions about it on The Renegade Health Show. There seem to be a lot of other recipes that need coconut milk, coconut butter and coconut meat – three things I haven’t seen during my travels to the store.  I’m also betting they are expensive if they are that hard to find.

I actually found some mature coconuts at the Kroger last night!  I was really psyched to use them, but by the time I got home it was midnight and trying to get a coconut open is a little too noisy for that time of night.  I ended up buying a can of organic coconut milk and made a pie from someone’s blog that was horribly too sweet – but where do you go once you’ve mixed it all?  I tried a couple of things, but realized I was going to have to make a completely different setup – perhaps using the basis of my lemon cream mousse which only requires 1 tablespoon of honey.  It seems like every recipe needs fixing or recalibrating or just plain changing.

I can honestly say I don’t know how I’m going to make it from here on in as in a couple of weeks I’ll get paid my one monthly pay check and have to figure out how to stretch that across another four weeks.  When I look back at my receipts from the previous month it seems unthinkable.  I’m going to cross my fingers and pray.

Posted by: Shavai | March 17, 2010

Raw Food Hands

One of the least favorite things about going on a raw food diet (at least to me) is what it does to your hands. I finally realized today that the reason my hands turned brown the last time was from pulling the Thyme leaves off the stalk (well, actually the fingers I used to do so). After preparing my latest dish, my hands were not only dark brown, but mud brown as well.

It may look a little disgusting, but what you are looking at is raw Fettucine Alfredo.  I used a recipe from a highly skilled chef (way out of my league) which looked simple. It is a simple recipe, but unless you’ve got the right tools it can take a little while to prepare.  I’m not going to share the recipe just yet, because I’m not really happy with the way the flavors evolved.  This recipe is WAY too intense for me.  I LOVE Fettucine Alfredo, but with this recipe the flavors felt like the were smacking me in the face with their intensity – not the experience I was looking for.  I’d like a comfort-food tasting Fettucine Alfredo I can be proud of, so I’m going to experiment with some different textures and possibly some different Alfredo recipes and see if I can come up with one more friendly to my palate.

I will say my favorite thing about this recipe is the choice of celery root for the noodles.  It complimented the sauce fantastically!  The sauce tastes like a sharper, stronger cheese than what is used on regular Alfredo, which I think is from the nutritional yeast and black pepper in the recipe.

The unfortunate part of this recipe was I could not find an “organic” celery root so I just went mainstream.  When I tried to clean it up before the julienne, what looked like red clay came off all over my hands.  They look like I’ve been playing in red Georgia clay even after washing again and again, sanding off the browner parts with a nail file and constantly soaking them with hand lotion.  My right thumbnail looks dirty from stripping the leaves of the thyme stalk.  I’m beginning to wonder if fresh thyme is worth it.

The other thing I’ve noticed over the past few days is my hunger thing seems to be broken.  I have to almost force myself to eat.  The day before last I never got hungry enough.  Yesterday, I kept waiting until the Alfredo was done, eating a strawberry here, a romaine leaf there.  Food was minimal between my breakfast smoothie and dinner.

I know this type of eating doesn’t help my weight loss.  When I got on the scale this morning and wound up with .2 back on my weight, I realized I really needed to stop weighing myself every day and I needed to make sure I eat all the time.  I have also been taking an anti-histamine, which shouldn’t be a part of the problem because it was a plain one – no decongestant.  I’m trying to eat as often as I can today, but if I don’t see any change I’m going to have to reconsider what I’m doing with my diet. While eating raw is healthy, I need weight loss to be a part of the equation.  I’ve stayed away from those components (like orange juice and canola oil) that sabotage weight loss efforts.  Perhaps the second-hand cigarette smoke that has started to come back into my apartment if affecting it.  I guess only time will tell.

Posted by: Shavai | March 16, 2010

The Ups and Downs of Raw

I’m still on a flipped sleep schedule, going to bed at 10-11a.m. and waking up sometime after dinnertime.  Switching over to daylight time hasn’t helped any.  I’m really craving a steak now, which is odd to me as habits are supposed to be locked in place after 21 days. I should be over the whole meat thing.  I suppose it could be in direct relation to not getting enough protein, but the night before last I was starting to wonder if I had created a nut allergy by eating so many.  Nuts weren’t a big part of my life before.  I would frequently have three almonds in the morning, but that was it.

Yesterday I was exhausted and colder than I remember feeling in the winter. Someone has started smoking inside again as when I went to wash my face and brush my teeth before bed I walked into a room full of cigarette smoke when entering the bathroom.  I don’t know if it was from the apartment downstairs next to the one under me or the one under me.  I haven’t been bombarded with smoke in a while. It must have been going on for the last couple of days though as I’ve been coughing up a lot when I wake up in the morning.

I’ve often wondered why my body keeps flipping to a night existence instead of the traditional day one.  As I lay in my bed drifting off to sleep this morning, I realized it may have to do with that very thing.  In my bedroom, I’m relatively safe from drifting cigarette smoke. I’m also impervious to the loud sounds of the Navy jets doing non-stop touch-n-goes over my head.  Perhaps sleep is the only way to deal with it? Being awake at night while all these factors are absent seems to be it’s own Godsend.

I was also a little upset about the weight gain of .2 lbs. from the day before.  When I got on the scale, it said I had lost .2 lbs., but my fat percentage had gone up (the mango mousse I tried to make?) and my water percentage had gone down.  It was something to think about.  Every time I eat the mousse, regardless of what I use in it, I either don’t lose weight or my fat content goes up.  All this for one tablespoon of flax oil?  I thought flax oil was supposed to be good for you.  I used lucuma powder the last time, so I can’t blame it on the honey.  I use the dehydrated coconut in my smoothies, which includes its own oil and I lose weight every day for the most part.  I haven’t figured out that equation, but I have promised myself to finish reading some of the eBooks I have on diet and raw to see if I can find the answers.

Today I am still a little tired, but not as bad as the last two.  I’m still a bit itchy…I’ll have to wait and see if another allergy pill is required.  I am happy that I’ve lost another pound.  This time it looks real as my water percentage has gone up and both my fat and BMI have gone down.  Interesting result for a day I did not do cardio.

Yesterday I had my morning smoothie, a Better Than Turkey Salad wrap with tomato and a romaine leaf used for the wrap and an apple dessert raw recipe I made that I was a little disappointed in (picture and recipe below).  Even after several modifications to lighten up the original recipe it wound up tasting just like a Sara Lee Apple Cinnamon danish or a coffee cake. It was basically half apples, half dates, with some chopped walnuts and macadamias (there were other ingredients, but they were minimal).

It seems a lot of these raw dessert recipes on the web are on the heavier side instead of the light, fluffy mousse I make (and yet it’s the one that always gets me in trouble). How so many dates make a person lose a pound of real weight, I don’t understand. Clearly I need to investigate more regarding how different raw foods affect your body.  In the mean time, I’m gong to dream about steak.  Man cannot live by dates and apples alone.

Today’s Statistics

Weight: 279.0
Fat %: 64.1
BMI: 49.4
Water %: 26.2

Raw Apple Crumble

APPLE COFFEE CAKE

1 Organic Golden Delicious Apple Cut Into Chunks
1 Organic Golden Delicious Apple Thinly Sliced
12 Organic Medjool Dates (Or more if you like prefer a sweeter crumble.)
1 tsp. Organic Cinnamon
Juice from Half An Organic Lemon
1/4 tsp. Organic Ground Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Himalayan Salt (1/4 tsp. 2x)
Filtered water IF needed.
4 oz. Organic Raw Walnuts (Soaking optional.)
8-10 Organic Raw Macadamia Nuts (Soaking optional.)

Put nuts and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a food processor.  Process until nuts are finely ground.  Put dates on a chopping board and carefully de-pit them, ensuring no hard pieces of the pit are left behind.  Cut each date in half. Spread out the halves from the six (6) dates across the top of the nut mixture and process until you have an evenly mixed crumble topping.  Take a little taste to ensure it is sweet enough for your liking.  If not, add pitted date halves and reprocess until it is.  Set aside.

Put chopped apple, remaining dates, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt into food processor and blend. Dribble water very judiciously through the water addition hole in your food processor top if your mix is still clumping.  Your mix will be thick.  Put mixture into a bowl.  Cut second apple into very thin slices and fold into the mix in you just created.  (Apples turn brown quickly, so I prefer to chop them up right before using them.)

Spread filling mixture evenly over the bottom of a regular-sized, shallow glass pie pan (or several small glass desert cups).  Sprinkle crumble mixture evenly over the top of the apple/date mixture.  Put in refrigerator for an hour or so to let flavors settle before serving.

NOTES: I chose not to soak my nuts as I was hoping for a “crunchier” topping. Typically when I soak nuts and grind them, they turn into mush, but the option to soak your nuts for an hour or two is completely up to you.  My only comment would be soaking does remove some of the oil from the nuts. I don’t know if that will make a difference in the final flavors.

The nut amounts aren’t exact as I just used what was left of my walnuts and macadamia nuts. It looked like there was 1/4 left of a 16 oz. bag of walnuts left and 8-10 macadamia nuts left in the container.

Posted by: Shavai | March 14, 2010

Detox or Something Else?

While on this raw food diet, I’ve felt incredibly energized after every meal.  Today, however, I’m exhausted.  I don’t have the energy to do anything or the willpower to force myself to do anything.  It feels almost like a detox as I had problems breathing while I was watching a sad video on my computer.

When I first started this diet, my face cleared up, bumps on my forehead started going away – there were many good physical things happening.  Over the last week or so, however, I’ve been noticing other things that smack of detox issues, like the breathing thing.  For some reason, I’m having some type of allergic reaction under my arms.  There’s a patch of skin (where you would shave) that’s a little darker rose color than my skin tone.  It itches too.  This leads me to believe my exhaustion might be linked to some type of detox.  We’ll have to see.

Instead of making a smoothie this morning (which in reality was 4:00p.m.), I ate the last of my lasagna as it was starting to get old and I didn’t want it going to waste. Later, I ate an Eggless Salad wrap and realized I was having a reaction to the wrap itself.  Something didn’t make sense as there were no ingredients in it that I haven’t eaten before.  I’m thinking the flax meal in it may have had something to do with it, but I’ve used flax oil in recipes without a problem.

Last night I had tried to blend a mango instead of a banana into the lemon mousse I usually make.  It didn’t come out as well.  The sliced mango took up much more room than a banana would have, but it’s flavor wasn’t conducive to the mousse.  You could barely taste it.  It’s probably also why I gained .2 of a pound back today.  Since I did a cardio workout yesterday, I’m a little confused about the weight gain.  Especially since my water percentage was so low as well.  I drank a LOT of water yesterday.

I’m hoping this will all be water under the bridge tomorrow as I have several things that still need to be done.  I don’t like being held hostage by my body.  Whatever is detoxing out of it, needs to go quickly as I think 20 lbs. is a little too soon to be plateauing on a diet. I’m ready to get to work on the next 20 lbs.

There was a raw potluck today in Chesapeake.  While I hadn’t really planned to go due to the metallic taste from the Trader Joe’s rancid pine nuts, I’m glad I didn’t say I would be there when I received the notice about it.  I wound up being asleep the entire time it was taking place today.  Tomorrow will be better…if for no other reason than I demand it!

Today’s Statistics

Weight: 280.2
Fat %: 64.2
BMI: 49.6
Water %: 26.1

Posted by: Shavai | March 13, 2010

The Little Things and More Shopping

I made a coleslaw this week without knowing what to expect from the recipe.  When you’re not a domestic Goddess, that’s the way it goes – trial and error.  I found out later that one small onion does not equal half a large onion.  My cole slaw (made with a dressing from cashews) reeked of onions and filled up a huge bowl.  Clearly I would be eating it for a week straight.  Second lesson learned…never make coleslaw with a whole head of cabbage (or a whole onion), unless you need to feed a football team.

In truth, I bought the cabbage because I thought it was a component of the very first raw recipe I ever tried to make from back in the late ’90s.  When I came home, I was saddened to find that cabbage was not an ingredient.  Even sadder was the realization the recipe had orange juice in it.  I’m still somewhat following the loose guidelines set in the diet presentation I watched, which mentioned that orange juice is a weight loss inhibitor.  I need to keep losing, so I decided to forgo that recipe.

In searching for raw coleslaw recipes, I found several sites saying you should drink cabbage juice three times a day until you’re digestive system is optimal. Tonight I made my first batch, which since I only had a half of a head of cabbage left was 1/3 the amount you’re supposed to make.  I also found that web page I had been looking for “The Best Cabbage Cures.”  Not exactly a scientific tome, but I appreciated all the reader comments on it.  (It also had the standard recipe for cultured cabbage juice in one of the comments.)

Last night was an OCD night for me.  We’re a couple days away from the new moon – typically when I stay up anywhere from 48 to 72 hours straight.  I never was able to get back on day hours after the full moon.  I went to bed at 10:00 a.m. this morning and woke up slightly before 4:00 p.m.  While I’ve noticed I seem to lose more weight when I get an uninterrupted eight hours of sleep, six is still better than four or five hours.  As a result I went shopping to pick up a few things and spent WAY too much money.  It’s because I got in there so late (usually 15-20 minutes before it’s supposed to close).

One of my biggest problems was a FULL case of Awesome Foods products.  I wanted so bad to try some of them I hadn’t seen there before that I bought them, causing my final total to go up to $90.92.  This is what happens when I don’t have a plan to follow. I was so hungry (hadn’t eaten breakfast again before going as I needed to get my shower taken first) I picked up too many of their products.  These are not cheap – they are prepared raw food dishes.  On the other hand, I was able to pick up another Raw Blueberry Cheeseless Cake, Sweet Potato Delights (little cookies with filling), Raw Chocolate Fudge, Better Than Turkey Salad, Eggless Salad (which I’ve ALWAYS wanted to try, but was too chicken to) and a package of Raw Wraps for the salad. That’s $39 right there.  Sometimes you have to just take a moment and ask yourself what the heck is wrong with you!

The bad news is I ate the slice of Cheeseless Cake and during the rest of the “day” tasted one of the Sweet Potatoe Delights and four little squares of the fudge.  The Cheeseless cake seemed heavier than I remember it.  The Sweet Potatoe Delights were not very sweet, and felt like I was eating a heavier cake.  The raw fudge – I shouldn’t have eaten four pieces, but I kept wondering why the first taste in my mouth was alcohol.  They were so small, by the time I realized there were crunchy pieces in them (cacao nibs) and tried to conjure up the flavor of my favorite chocolate (Belgium milk chocolate), the piece was ingested.  Even after ALL THAT and two servings of lasagna (one for lunch, one for the dinner meal) I didn’t gain weight.  I gained FAT, but not weight.  I couldn’t believe my water content was so low after all the water I drank yesterday.  This raw food diet never ceases to amaze me.

Below are more shopping costs for your perusal.

Todays’ Statistics

Weight: 280.0
Fat %: 64.0
BMI: 49.6
Water %: 26.2

THE HERITAGE STORE

Organic Romaine Lettuce – 2.5 Heads (what the heck???) – $9.98
Organic Celery – 1 Bunch – $2.29
Awesome Foods Raw Blueberry Cheeseless Cake – $5.99
Awesome Foods Raw Sweet Potato Delights – $6.99
Awesome Foods Raw Egg(less) Salad – $5.99
Awesome Foods Raw Better Than Turkey Salad – $5.99
Awesome Foods Raw Wraps (2 in a bag) – $6.99
Avocado – 2 Each – $3.38
Organic Medjool Dates – $5.91
Awesome Raw Fudge – $6.99
Raw Organic Cashews (Bulk – 1.16 lbs.) – $11.24
Deluxe Nut Milk Bag – $7.99
Ultimate Superfoods Organic “Real” Raw Hemp Seeds – 2 oz. – $2.99
Ultimate Superfoods Organic “Real” Raw Cacao Powder – 2 oz. – $2.99
Ultimate Superfoods 100% Organic Real Raw Cacao Butter – 2 oz. $2.99
Tax: $2.22
TOTAL: $90.92

KROGER

O.N.E. Coconut Water – 4 Count – $6.36 – SALE
Organic Frozen Blueberries (10 oz. – 2 Bags) – $7.38
Organic Frozen Strawberries (10 oz. – 3 Bags) – $11.07
Regular Banana (The organic ones I bought were far from ripe.) – $.19
Organic Bananas – (1.85 lbs.) – $1.09
Organic Meyer Lemons (Bag of 6) – $3.49
Organic Zucchini – 4 Count – $3.92
Premium Select (Store Brand) Fresh Organic Spinach – $3.34 – SALE
Premium Select Fresh Organic Basil – $3.99
Fresh Parsley – .66 oz., 2 Count – $1.98
Fresh Organic Strawberries – $3.89 – SALE
Fresh Organic Orange Bell Peppers – 2 Count – $5.98
Fresh Organic Mangos – 2 Count – $2.58 – SALE
Food For Life All Natural Rice Almond Bread – 24 oz. – $4.99
McCormack Organic Paprika – $3.61 – SALE
Cheesecloth (For straining.) – $3.99
Tax: $1.81
TOTAL: $72.90

While I have never championed the concept of having a sugar daddy, it’s becoming abundantly clear that I need one.  Anyone out there who LOVES to spend money or see money spent in the pursuit for the love of life, please inquire within.  Instead of calling you a sugar daddy (or mommy), I’ll give you the esteemed title of “Weight Loss Sponsor.”  I’ll even wear your business’ t-shirt if you provide one. 🙂

Posted by: Shavai | March 12, 2010

What’s So Good About This Raw Food Diet?

Since everything I’ve been eating for the last week has tasted like metal, I thought it would be a good time to talk about all the GOOD things I noticed before that happened; the benefits I’m seeing so far from being on a raw food diet.  On February 15, 2010 I weighed 302 pounds.  While I was already morbidly obese for many years, I had never gone over 280.  Over this last year, however, I had gained 20 pounds and was continuing to gain more.

A week or so earlier, Kevin and Annmarie Gianni had offered their readers an opportunity to work with them for free; a 30-day consultation helping people learn to switch to a raw food diet along with an exercise program. While I filled out an application, after so much time had passed (I sent mine in when it was first announced) I began to realize I couldn’t count on being chosen.  I had several obstacles to overcome; lack of financial freedom, lack of utensils (I don’t own a juicer, dehydrator, decent blender or food processor or any of the other little kitchen gadgets such as a mandolin) and lack of free-moving body parts.  I thought it would be a great challenge for them – if *I* could do it, surely ANYONE could.  I just couldn’t pin my hopes on it.  So I jumped in with both feet.

The first thing I began to realize was how much I missed being able to eat a piece of meat for protein.  My main staple before this raw food diet was anything I could drive up to a window and buy cheaply and rotisserie chickens from Sam’s Club.  A chicken from Sam’s would last a whole week and it was a great source of protein.  Buying a 10 lb. bag of russet potatoes to go with it would keep my stomach full, especially if I had to go down to one meal a day.  I always had the requisite spaghetti meal in the background if I ran out of money.  A pound of spaghetti would last 4-5 days.  This was what my body had been living on, including ice cream when I could afford it.  Ice cream, even though I’m lactose intolerant, has a wonderful affect on endorphin levels.

Other than the weight loss, the change to raw live foods wasn’t really noticeable until two weeks later.  As I began to use only raw and organic ingredients in my food preparation, I was able to feel the affect it had on my body.  After eating I felt alive! I had energy and I wanted to go do something immediately while the endorphins were raging through my body.  My lungs started to clear up and I could actually walk for a while without feeling like I needed to have my asthma inhaler in hand.  My mind seemed much clearer and my eyesight a little better.  I was able to go for longer periods of time before I had to put my glasses on.

Now I can bend my legs again and my ankles don’t get as hideously swollen as they did when I sat too long at the computer.  The most noticeable thing that has changed is my ability to pick something up on the floor with my foot.  My mother and I have had a long history of leg and foot cramps.  When I was at 302, I couldn’t even try to pick something up with my toes without them cramping horribly.  Now, it’s easy as a breeze – a major accomplishment in my eyes.  I’ve even found my showers are taking half the time with the new physical freedom of being 20 pounds lighter.

One of my biggest reasons for starting on this raw food diet was for physical freedom. I wanted to be able to do anything.  While my right arm is still causing me problems (carpal tunnel) and I can’t use my right hand to do things like peel a kiwi, wash dishes – anything requiring hand dexterity, I am hopeful this will go away as well.  I’ve only been on this diet for about a month.

The weight chart I use to record my weight is left over from when I first bought my fancy scale on January 14, 2008. I had hope of losing weight at that time, starting at 276 pounds.  It took me until June 24, 2008 to get down to 252.6, a loss of 23.4 pounds.  As of this morning, I weigh 280.6 pounds, a loss of 21.4 pounds.  In four weeks on my raw food diet, I’ve lost almost the same amount of weight it took me six months to lose on a traditional diet.  The traditional diet required watching every calorie I put in my mouth (including weighing it on a food scale) and walking on the treadmill every day (sometimes twice).  While I long for a treadmill again (the one I had back then broke), I can still do cardio in the house.

On this diet I can eat sweet things.  Raw organic foods have their own natural sweeteners in them.  I’ve even used the highly sugared raw agave syrup in a recipe without giving it another thought.  I also don’t have to anal retentively watch my oil intake; as a matter of fact when I don’t take in oils such as coconut or olive oil I DON’T lose weight.  My protein comes mainly from nuts and they are full of oils. While soaking does rinse some of it off, I have found them to be non-fattening with my body.

I get to eat a smoothie every morning that taste’s fantastic, addresses my blood sugar issues (hypoglycemic) and isn’t full of calories like the ones I used to buy at Tropical Smoothie, while still being the same size (close to 32 oz some days).  I’m pretty much living a great nutritional life…even though I got poisoned by rancid pine nuts. LOL!

If you are thinking about or trying to lose weight, a raw food diet might be the answer you are looking for.  As I learn more, I intend to put it all down so even someone like me can try and do this.  For those of us on highly structured income, there is a blog called Raw on $10 A Day (or Less!) that has some great recipes (although I’m going to have to try and find a place I can buy things separately instead of in a package to really take advantage of it).  I can’t wait to see what happens with my body over the next 30 days.  The first 30 have been a dream.

Today’s Statistics

Weight: 280.6
Fat %: 63.1
BMI: 49.7
Water %: 26.9

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