Digestive Enzymes! DIGESTIVE ENZYMES!!!

I can’t believe I didn’t mention these in my last post! How remiss of me! Bad Darcie! Bad girl!

So what are they and what do they do? Yes – they help you digest, smarty pants. They are present in your body, but they are also present in food. The more of them that are in your food, the less your body has to use your precious enzymes to digest so it can then use your precious enzymes for other important things.

Great! So why did I yell their name at you?

Because they’re also very helpful in pill form when you first transition to a raw diet and your body is adjusting to being able to “cope and tolerate less” and “use food more”.

How does it help to have more digestive enzymes in your body when first transitioning, you ask? Excellent question, wow, you are inquisitive today!

Do you live in the woods with a wardrobe of nothing but drawstring sweatpants or flouncy dresses and with no one else around for miles? No? Me neither.

I live on planet Earth and I live in a city and work in an office with lots of other people and I’m expected to attempt professional appearance and behaviour. (The appearance part is sometimes touch and go….I never wanted to be a slave to “the man” and sometimes the old hippie in me picks my outfit for the day, but for the most part I’m presentable). (OK, sometimes the professional behaviour is touch and go too….but that’s a whole other blog….)

So my daily interactions make expanding and contracting like the universe, wearing a loose fitting¬†mumu, and constant fog horn noises escaping from my nether-regions a little inconvenient and, sometimes, invasive and embarrassing (for my co-workers. Personally, I couldn’t care less) ūüėČ

When first converting to a raw diet, your body has to take a little time to remember how to digest and process all those raw foods and they’re a little harder to digest just because they are whole and not depleted or softer from cooking.

Because it can take a little longer to digest, your food is breaking down slower, permitting the opportunity for sugars and other things to ferment in your body (and, as we know, fermenting stuff gets all bubbly and frothy), which then will expand you and making you a gaseous anomaly, like the sun or a star….or a¬†dirigible! Just not as pretty and awesome….

Taking digestive enzymes in pill form (available at most drug stores in the vitamin section) for even just a couple of weeks helps break your foods down faster, reducing the fermentation and permitting your body to absorb nutrients. So pick some up! You’ll feel better and your co-workers will thank you.

(Legal disclaimer Рplease only take pills if you know they are OK for you.  Consult your doctor or pharmacist, and always read the label)

Happy eating!


The Numbers Game…

Here I am, at the end of my first week of my “80% Raw¬†Commitment” ¬†and I find it amazing how ‘80%’ can be translated to suit one’s needs….especially when one knows they’re faltering somewhat. ¬†Is it 80% of a meal? ¬†80% of a whole diet? ¬†80% of all the meals in a day? ¬†It all depends on how the day went, I guess! ¬†Uhem…

Here’s an example: ¬†7 days = 21 meals and approximately 10 snacks = 31. ¬†80% would equal approximately 23.25 Meals/Snacks would have to be raw. ¬†2 Breakfasts and 3 Dinners were not raw = 5. ¬†31 – 5 = 26. ¬†WHOOP! I made it! ¬†But what if I know two of those dinners were not only ‘not raw’ but really not good for me either (tempura fish sticks and pizza, sigh). ¬†I do have to consider the good I’m undoing by eating them. ¬†I think I should give myself a few demerit points, but I hate losing, so…

And the good I’m undoing brings me to the next topic: ¬†Detoxing. ¬†I had a, hmmmm – what’s the right word….alarming? Surprising? Frightening? ¬†Impressive? Explosive?! ¬†couple of days in there.

(Fair Warning – a little Potty Talk ahead – but I’ll try to be dignified)

I promised a blog that gives you the warts and all of a raw diet conversion, right? ¬†It’s wart time.

Never in my whole life have I had occasion to speak to a toilet, but this past week I found myself walking in to the bathroom and whispering an encouraging “Be Brave….” in the general direction of the¬†porcelain¬†bowl, and when (with a laboured but enthusiastic gulp) it handled everything I, um…, threw? at it, I actually gave it a thumbs up. ¬†I went through this little routine several times in a day.

It was about this time that I started to Google “how the hell long will this last?!” in regards to my overt detoxing symptoms. ¬†What I read made me cry…“FIVE MONTHS?!” one site proclaimed. Luckily, it looks like I got off pretty easy, because mine lasted two days…the worst of it, at least (I thank an accidental cleansing the weekend before: ¬†Dandelion¬†Greens in my smoothie caused some unplanned colon activity….lots of it) . ¬†I fully anticipate minor to moderate detoxing/bathroom symptoms *forever* since there are always toxins to be expunged from the body. ¬†Thank you Industrialization, you’re swell.

Potty Problems aside, I also felt like I had the flu with body aches, a couple of headaches (one of which was cured with a small cup of coffee and I have resolved that I will not withhold from myself a cup of coffee when that headache appears. ¬†I have a demanding job and life and need to be able to function. ¬†There was no functioning with that blinding caffeine headache (says she of the migraine headaches)). ¬†I fought ‘quitting smoking-like’ food cravings for most of the week, and wailed once “Why, oh WHY can’t there be a french fry tree!!” ¬†but I coped. ¬†I also needed a little more sleep.

But (when I was awake)¬†I also had more energy. ¬†I felt a balance this past week that I haven’t felt for a long time. ¬†My mind was clear, my ambitions renewed, my focus more precise. ¬†And it’s only the beginning of this journey, so I am getting as excited as a chihuahua in a room full of fireworks. ¬†And another interesting change I noticed was that, despite the cravings in my mind, my nose found the smell of cooked food to be strange and unappealing, especially all those instant nuker lunches full of ‘sauces’ and spices that everyone, and I mean everyone, seemed to be eating at the office last week. ¬†Where they used to get my tummy rumbling with hunger, I am now starting to be able to smell the chemicals in them and they don’t smell like food, they smell like danger.

Pitfalls and Drawbacks: ¬†My ‘non-raw’ meals this past week were as a result of a lack of planning or time. ¬†Woke up late two mornings, didn’t have time for a smoothie and picked up a breakfast wrap on the way to work instead. ¬†The dinners were due to being in a rush (plans, visitors, etc) and rather than making 2 meals (one for me, one for my son), I just ate what I was making for him, which was not raw. ¬†So I have to get better at making sure I give myself the time I need to prepare the food that I need. ¬†Because this diet is not yet my habit and I still have to really think about what I’m going to make, being short on time is not my friend.

To assist with the above issue, I also have to adjust how I view a meal. ¬†Yes, dinner CAN be sitting at the table with a tomato, a cucumber, some raw crackers and a piece of fruit, small handful of nuts. ¬†Seems so obvious now that I write it, but it seems strange to put this on the table, start eating, and feel like I’ve had “Dinner”. ¬†Changing how I feel about it and what I think about it is just a matter of making a choice, but it wasn’t a choice that I saw when I was in a rush. ¬†I know better now.

Last bit of house keeping: ¬†I have decided not be dogmatic about all of this and to be kind to myself. ¬†As you may be able to tell, I get a little obsessive about numbers, data, statistics and could drive myself crazy keeping track of everything and, rather than feeling really good about the things I do well, I can easily be negative and self-chastising¬†if I don’t do everything right all the time. ¬†So no dogma, damnit! ¬†Just chillin, experimenting, enjoying, and loving the changes I have managed to make for the better. ¬†I have enough stress in my life, this should be a thrilling awesome thing I’m doing for me! ¬†Weeeeeee!

I contemplated posting a page with my one week meal plan, which I needed so I didn’t feel¬†panicked AND would remember what recipes I bought ingredients for, but a lot of it went to pot as I made meals based on what I was in the mood for rather than how I plotted it. ¬†Perhaps after a few weeks I’ll post a ‘sample’ one week meal plan instead. ¬†I’ll see how it goes.

Finally, my 20% non-raw is going to include a dairy or coconut milk, some cheese, and eggs. ¬†I’m still trying to figure out if I can dehydrate bacon. ¬†I found some with no nitrates or nitrites, so hmmmmm ūüôā

Some food highlights and links:

I’m loving raw miso soup. ¬†I’m chopping up veggies into small pieces (cucumber, red or green pepper, mushrooms, scallions, spinach), putting it in the broth, and chowing down with a side of raw crackers. ¬†I didn’t take any pictures. ¬†It’s soup.

I have tried and failed twice to sprout chickpeas using chickpeas from two different sources. ¬†By day 3 they smell horrible, despite diligent rinsing and covering up to keep bacteria off. So I haven’t managed raw hummus yet. ¬†Wah!

I’m already tired of the dense raw bread, crackers, and pizza crusts I’ve made and am on the hunt for a thin, crispy cracker that doesn’t contain a single sliver of onion. ¬†I think I’ve found a couple candidates – I’ll keep you posted.

I have made The Rawtarian’s Raw Brownies. ¬†I’m madly in love with them! ¬†I made a double batch and froze half. ¬†I also made her raw burger and have found them perfect to freeze and/or take in my lunch to work. ¬†Also good in my lunch this week at work was ‘sushi’ (sans fish) rolls. ¬†I admit to using rice, but they can be made without….if you want to be dogmatic about it ūüėČ

Tonight I’m trying to make my version of the perfect salt and vinegar potato chip, and I also have a batch of Fragrant Vanilla Cake’s raw Lemon and Lavender Macaroons in the dehydrator as well (I purchased my food-grade Lavender through Epicure. ¬†A search of their site seems to indicate that they don’t have it anymore. ¬†Let me know if you find it elsewhere). ¬†Amy, who runs the site with the Macaroon recipe, has some eye-bulging recipes for raw foodists (key lime! ¬†KEY LIME!!), and her blog is a lot of fun too. ¬†Check it out!

This coming week, I’ll be playing with Butternut Squash, Pad Thai,¬†Caesar¬†Salads and I have a fridge full of avocados I have to put to good use. ¬†Still no Maca, nudge nudge, wink wink…

Here are a couple pictures of my week…thanks for reading and I’ll ‘see’ you soon!!

Sprouting, but getting ultra stinky.  This was the 2nd batch of chickpeas I tossed this week.

Sprouting, but getting ultra stinky. This was the 2nd batch of chickpeas I tossed this week.

Raw dinner! Raw cheese, prosciutto, avocado, sprouts, olives.

Raw dinner! Raw cheese, prosciutto, avocado, sprouts, olives.

Rawtarian's Raw Burgers.

Rawtarian’s Raw Burgers.

My temporary answer to a craving for chips.  Crispy Snap Peas.  Good enough!

My temporary answer to a craving for potato chips. Crispy Snap Peas. Good enough!

Salad Dressing: Olive Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 Garlic Clove, ground fennel seeds, and liberal amounts of Turmeric.  It was wonderful...

Salad Dressing: Olive Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 Garlic Clove, ground fennel seeds, and liberal amounts of Turmeric. It was a wonderful dressing for…

Raw lunch! Spiral sweet potato, carrots, cucumber, mushrooms, orange pepper, tomato, pomegranate, cheese, olives, pretty much anything you could want!

…Raw lunch! Spiral sweet potato, carrots, cucumber, mushrooms, orange pepper, tomato, pomegranate, cheese, olives, pretty much anything you could want! Down-side: it took an hour to eat this with a plastic fork ūüôā

All I want out of life is the perfect salt and vinegar chip!  Is that too much to ask?!

All I want out of life is the perfect salt and vinegar chip! Is that too much to ask?!

Lemon Lavender Macaroons headed to the dehydrator.  Once they're done, they get dipped in a raw chocolate.  Om nom nom......

Lemon Lavender Macaroons headed to the dehydrator. Once they’re done, they get dipped in a raw chocolate. Om nom nom……

2013 – The Year of Feeding the Whole

Happy New Year to you all.  With all the elation or low down dirty fights, peace or total discontent, balance and imbalance that a day, week, month or whole year can bring, sometimes staring down the barrel of a new year can be daunting!  But I do hope you and yours have more of the good, quality of good, noticeable good, supporting good than you do anything else.

And why not start with what we eat?  Whole, living food can help alleviate stress and illness while supporting our self esteem and inner peace.  Staying in touch with our whole selves can be challenging on a daily basis Рconsistently eating well removes one less detail to have to worry about, permitting us to move on to think about growing and supporting other parts of our whole being.

And here is it, January 1st, 2013 already. ¬†The time that I pledged to myself to transition completely to a raw diet (or ‘lifestyle’ as it were). ¬†I’m 97% ready.

As I’m sure you can imagine, and perhaps empathize, I did manage to collect some non-raw foodstuffs this holiday season that I’m still working on ‘eliminating’ (or eating). ¬†But I’m so, so close to being ready, I can taste it (excuse the pun), and I’m excited. ¬†I’m back to work and a regular schedule tomorrow. ¬†I’ll start my days with smoothies, healthy (if not completely raw) lunches, then dinner will consist of what is handy. ¬†Come Monday, January 7th, I’m aiming for a complete transition with my days being raw-by-design, and anything not raw will be a slip or what I consciously decide to make part of my 20% (aiming for 80, remember?)

In the meantime, I’m making pizza crusts to have handy in the freezer, sprouting some chickpeas for¬†hummus¬†and mung beans for crunchy fun. ¬†I have made rosemary crackers, and have a freezer full of options that I have been stockpiling for about a month. ¬†No excuses left. ¬†ūüôā

So there it is.  Hope to see you back here as I kick this transition and period of discovery into the next gear!  Will post again soon.