As February comes to a close…


…I don’t like to wish my life away, but being so close to saying ‘Goodbye’ to February fills me with relief and anticipation.  I can hardly wait until Spring and Summer, at which time I’ll be able to grow some herbs and some potted vegetables in my tiny, dark patio out back, and go to markets that are simply over-flowing with affordable, fresh, locally grown produce.  Soon.

Last I left off, I believe I had a bit of a set-back.  I am happy to report that I have managed to stay within my 80% goal for almost a full three weeks now!  Yes, I’ve eaten some crap, but for the most part I have been making sure I do my food planning and/or preparation so I have the raw meals I need, when I need them.  It is getting easier.

I know we all know this, but sometimes a “reset” is required.  I don’t know where you are from…perhaps you have wild jungle birds cawing outside your window at this moment, but where I come from, it is winter.  Winter around here can be unpredictable:  we never know if it’s going to hover around -10C for a week, fly all the way up to a balmy -1C, or when a week or longer of -20C (feels like -35 with the windchill) will settle upon us.  And I don’t care what other winter dwellers report:  sunshine does not make my life any more bearable in January and February.  So I struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (also known as SAD) and it is a real conscious effort to stay positive, to find energy, and to just give a crap in general.  Since I have moved away from the prairies, it hasn’t hit me as hard, but this year:  with the raw diet, although I have had low and negative times, I’m not a constant dweller in the cave of despair and frustration.

As a matter of fact, I’ve been able to consciously press my reset button a couple of times and have it be successful.  I’ve been able to choose to be positive, to continue to exercise, to make the effort to make sure I eat well, and these are wonderful, wonderful things for someone trapped in winter.

My week days have been better than my weekends.  My diet is only about 40% raw on weekends and I now INSTANTLY notice a difference when not eating enough raw.  I need naps because I’m a droopy, drooling mess, I feel puffy and bloated, I feel stupid and dull.  It is absolutely startling the difference a couple of cooked or junk food ‘meals’ can make and how quickly it shows in my physical feeling and mood.

I called it a controlled experiment: eating raw and well all week, and eating cooked or crap on weekends.  There is no way I can deny now how much my body and mind love the raw diet and how much good I am doing for myself when I stick to it.  I’m so pleased.

And, like I said, it is getting easier to prepare the foods and ensure I continue to eat this way, so this pleases me too.  I find I’m mostly smoothies or raw granola in the mornings, which I will have to diversify or I will get bored.  I always have raw snacks on hand, and raw lunches are mostly salads, but I try to mix it up from time-to-time with raw veggie burgers, guacamole and raw breads, and my dinners are often light raw soups, fruit salad, but I often try to get some meats in there, like seared beef tenderloin, prosciutto and raw cheese, and the like.  I haven’t yet ventured into the realm of seared tuna, or sashimi at home, mostly because the stores where I could get it are a distance away and I’m too busy.  This is another reason I’m waiting impatiently for Spring – easier trips to a market for produce where, nearby, there are both a fish monger and international cheese place where I’ll be able to pick up more foods that I can eat in one stop.

I’m also working hard to keep things diverse for my health, not just out of boredom.  I’m finding that, other than guacamole, I am not a big lover of avocado, so I have to diversify where I get my healthy fats from.  I also need to make sure I continue to pull in decent amounts of calcium, so I am eating non-raw cheese, drinking Keifer, and will occasionally make yogurt at home with organic (but not raw) milk.  I am also still eating eggs (cooked) as I need to make sure my protein intake stays up because of my strength training at the gym.  Unfortunately a lot of the protein powders for athletes (for “repair” – post-workout), although are vegan, are not raw.  So it really doesn’t make a difference to me whether I wolf back a hard boiled egg and a couple pieces of cheese, or throw back an expensive sport powder, and my appetite finds the egg and cheese more appealing and sustaining.

So I’m making progress!  I feel fantastic!  I believe my next steps will be to start trying more intricate recipes, and I certainly have a lot of resources to pick from.  I am THRILLED to have come to realize that I am able to find more recipes than I will ever live long enough to try, where I had initially been scared that I would find it hard to locate resources to take this lifestyle on.  The interweb is a bloody amazing place and I love it to pieces.  It is improving my life. Now if only I could stop myself from reading the ridiculous comments on the news sites, I could improve my state of mind as well!  Two steps forward….

My photos are sparse this week simply because I have forgotten to take them.  :-\  I will admit to a small cheat…or perhaps a better phrase is ‘pragmatic approach’ for someone as busy as I can be…for my lunch salads:  when I’m too tired in the evening to chop and slice and grate and dice, I use the pre-cut “broccoli slaw” or “carrot slaw” as the base for my salads (not a fan of lettuce, remember?).  Into the couple handfuls of pre-cut slaw, I throw my home grown sprouts and whatever else I’m in the mood for:  olives, peppers, chunks of cheese, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, celery…and then I make a home made dressing.  One of my favourite salads to-date had cheddar and apples (in addition to a lot of what I just listed) and I made a wonderful dressing that I’ll list here:

1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 Tblsp raw honey (or less – to taste), juice from 1/2 a lemon, small chunk of ginger, and enough olive oil to make a decent base.  Blend well, pour into bottle, and there you go…ready for your salad when it is time to eat.  I’m finding that ‘winging’ new dressings are the funnest part of my evening these days!  So many choices…so many choices…

Lastly, I had wondered where I could find food-grade lavender now that it doesn’t seem like Epicure carries it anymore, and lo-and-behold, I found it at Kardish!  To the rescue again…..

In the next couple of weeks I hope the garden centres will start populating their shelves with growing trays and bags of soil….I see wheat grass in my future!

Here are my 2 lowly photos.  Be well and talk to you soon!

Sun burgers from the Raw Rose "uncook" book.  They are full of carrot, seeds, and flavour.  Their happy orange colour helped to make a dull winter day a little more bright as well.

Sun burgers from the Raw Rose “uncook” book. They are full of carrot, seeds,  buckwheat, flax, and flavour. Their happy orange colour helped to make a dull winter day a little more bright as well.

The raw chili from the Raw Rose 'uncook' book as well.  It looks a little muddy but tastes divine.  There is just the right amount of cumin and jalapeno to make this warm to your mouth, the sun-dried tomatoes make it rich, and the shredded carrot and zucchini made the texture crunchy rather than gooey.  This is a keeper recipe.

The raw chili from the Raw Rose ‘uncook’ book as well. It looks a little muddy but tastes divine. There is just the right amount of cumin and jalapeno to make this warm to your mouth, the sun-dried tomatoes make it rich, and the shredded carrot and zucchini made the texture crunchy rather than gooey. This is a keeper recipe.

 

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Too impatient for lettuce…


….really, it takes so long to eat.  I’m too impatient.  I have tolerated it in the past, but now that I’m eating salads more often, I can feel the wasted seconds ticking as I fight to get it on my fork, and chew, chew, chew, chew….boring!

As a result, I have managed to make several salads these past few weeks sans lettuce and I’m having a lot of fun experimenting.  Shredded things, spiralled other things, sprouted more things, toss! 

I will admit, salads and smoothies aside, I haven’t been as raw as I should have been these past two weeks.  I have an arms length of excuses to offer up, everything from how the ‘coldest week in eight years’ and getting the flu knocked me down, both physically and emotionally, but just suffice it to say that I fell back to old habits because they were easy.  What can I say:  I’m Canadian but I don’t like beer,  hockey, maple syrup, Beaver Tails and I DON’T DO WINTER.  I’m still waiting for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to catch on and kick me out of the country….

Tomorrow I start anew.  And, again, I am excited. There are changes happening within me that are good.  Despite falling back to old habits in the past two weeks, they DIDN’T make me feel good, they made the downward spiral worse.  Tonight, I had a sprout-based salad and raw cucumbers for supper and instantly I felt happy cells pinging.  My taste buds screamed “Oh yah, that’s what I’m talking about!” and I realized that my body, all of my body: brain, senses, cells, had been loving the wealth of health I had been feeding it before I slipped.

So onward, but this time it feels like I’m going back to what feels right, not what is hard and challenging (like it had felt before).

I also made the commitment and bought the Excalibur dehydrator.  Along with it, I bought another book to pour over that has more recipes that I am really enjoying.  It is called “Uncooking With RawRose” (click the name to see it) and I bought it from RawNutrition.ca which has been an amazing resource site for me.  When I can’t find what I’m looking for anywhere else (locally), they have it.

Like I said, the RawRose book has quite a few recipes I’m excited to try.  I have already made her granola and I simply love it.  I have a double batch on the go right now.  It’s base is soaked flax, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sprouted buckwheat groats, shredded coconut, cinnamon, dates and apples, and I added pineapple and chopped raw peanuts to the mix this time.

Because I kind of blew it these past two weeks, this will be a shorter post.  Just wanted to assure you that I haven’t dropped off the face of the Earth.  Nope, just buried my flu and self pity in a large french fries and pizza.

Just to show I wasn’t a TOTAL slacker these past two weeks….here are a few pictures….

Made the Raw Lemon Lavender Macaroons I mentioned in my last post.  Here they are! And they were amazing.  CLICK HERE to get the recipe.

Lemon Lavender Macaroons.

Lemon Lavender Macaroons.

And I was on the quest for the thinnest cracker that wasn’t all onion.  FOUND ONE!  Click here!

Finnegan admiring how thin that cracker is.

Finnegan admiring how thin that cracker is.

And remember my ‘nudge nudge, wink  wink‘ about Maca and how I thought it must be some inside joke with Raw Foodists because I could never find any?  It came in!  I got it!  Now to integrate it into my daily smoothie to see if I notice any kind of difference in my energy levels….

IT'S REAL!  IT EXISTS!! Whoop!!  Bought the wrong one though:  this one is "gelatinized"  and not the "raw".  At $35 a bag....close enough.  I'll use this one until it's done, then get the raw one next time around.

IT’S REAL! IT EXISTS!! Whoop!! Bought the wrong one though: this one is “gelatinized” and not the “raw”. At $35 a bag….close enough. I’ll use this one until it’s done, then get the raw one next time around.

And the new granola.  This batch uses the gold flax, last batch I used the brown.  I have cranberries dehydrating at the moment – they’ll be plunked into the NEXT batch.  It’s THAT good.  No added sugars, either.

Golden flax and so much more.  Once it is partially dried, it gets broken up....

Golden flax and so much more. Once it is partially dried, it gets broken up….

And my closing note:  tried one more time to make the perfect salt and vinegar potato chip and I just don’t like them.  All I taste is potato starch.  They’re icky.  So I guess I better see what all the fuss is about with Kale Chips instead.  Any recommendations for an amazing recipe?  Are they crunchy? 

Until next time….