Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving in the Raw 2009!

     Well the lovely autumn day where people gather together to feast and give thanks to God has finally come and gone. This year was my first raw Thanksgiving and it was probably one of the best Thanksgivings I have ever, or will ever have.

     If you will remember, my mother is on a high raw plant based diet, and my brother is vegan/occasional vegetarian. Anyway, my family and I had also invited over a couple of friends to join us for our Thanksgiving meal so we wanted to be sure we had enough cooked and uncooked food to go around. To make this happen, it was decided between my mother and I that she would do all the baking and the cooking, and I would do all the uncooking.

     Thanksgiving morning I got up and went to work in the kitchen. My mom had been in there the night before, baking some vegan bread for stuffing and vegan pumpkin pie, so it was my turn for the kitchen. I washed all the fresh produce, and over the course of about three hours proceeded to make:

1. Raw Cranberry Sauce  

2. "Not Pumpkin Pie" from via Swayze Foster's suggestion (kudos to both you guys!)


3 & 4. My signature Rawslaw & a big bowl of mixed greens (butterhead, romaine, baby spring mix, dandelion, & alfalfa sprouts)

5. A nice veggie tray: red/yellow/orange bell pepper, corn, peas, shredded carrot, cucumber, radishes, and soaked edamame beans.

6. Tomato Bruschetta (forgot to take a picture of this)

     After cleaning up the kitchen when I was finished, my mother came in to finish up her cooking and made stuffing (from scratch) and smoked Tofurky, cashew gravy, green beans, and golden baby potatoes.

     When it was all done, my mom and I put everything out on the kitchen table.

     Not long afterwards, our friends arrived. We all piled the food onto our plates, and headed off to the dining room to enjoy our food with some Synergy Strawberry Kombocha! My plate looked like this:

     For dessert I had my "Not Pumpkin Pie" with a side of cranberry sauce (my memory card was full at this point. So no picture). It was so good!! Yummy yummy. . .  I went back for seconds. LOL :D 

     The Rawslaw was a big hit and our friend Scott said he really liked how it wasn't greasy, oily, or "heavy" like traditional coleslaw. Everyone (besides my brother because he didn't want to try it) really liked my pie, and LOVED my cranberry sauce. They all agreed my cranberry sauce was better than the canned stuff. This made me so happy!!! :D

      In summation I would say that my fist raw Thanksgiving was a success! Yaaay! Later everyone, and I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My 48 Hour Juice Fast

     For this past week I had been really bad and gone back to drinking soy cappuccinos on a regular basis which I think many of us would agree isn't a very good thing (decaf or no decaf). Eventually it started getting to me as my appetite decreased, my face (which is currently recovering from acne) started to slow  in the clearing process, I became thirsty often, and in general I just felt "heavy."

     After giving it some consideration I decided that my colon needed a break and my body needed to rehydrate, so I decided to go on a short fast. Now, being 18, active, and already on the lower end of a proper weight for my height, I have to be careful as it is quite easier for me to lose weight than it is to gain it. Also, I wanted to make sure that I wasn't depriving my body of the crucial nutrients and simple sugars I need to function throughout my days. With this in mind I decided to attempt a 48 hour juice feast.

     In the end the juice fast went magnificently well! From 7 p.m. Monday night until 7 p.m. Wednesday night I drank nothing but water, kombocha tea, herbal tea, and fresh fruit and veggie juices.

     All through out Tuesday I had an increasing good mood with loads of energy, and the later it got through the day, the lighter I started to feel. The general good mood I had reached its zenith that night when I went to karate where we focused on stretching, forms, and drills. Moving around, getting the blood flowing left me with a boisterous smile on my face until I went to bed.

     Wednesday I didn't have quite as much energy as the day before, but my mood still remained steady/positive/uplifting for the entire day, and my skin began to clear up considerably. I also experienced a great sense of focus and was able to get through my CSNN studies much more easily as my concentration was better.

Throughout the entire 
fast I drank about 2 of the Volvic water bottles a day (which is 68 liters) and 1/2 a bottle of Synergy kombocha (8 oz. a day). Keeping me really hydrated and maintaining good intestinal flora.

My first juice Tuesday morning (bottom left pic) was pomegranate/orange/
grape juice blended with ice and raw honey.

My second Tuesday juice (top right pic) was
juice blended with ice.

Tuesday night, before my karate class, I made my mom and I each a 2 oz. shot of wheatgrass in lovely little martini glasses. We joke about having sweet green martinis. LOL. Cheer! :D

After downing that sweet grassy treat, I proceeded to make myself a nice big green juice made up of apple/pear/celery/lemon/kale blended with spirulina and ice. Yummy!

This green juice really gave me a good energy booster for karate. I really needed it considering the instructor had me punch the living daylights out of punching bag until I broke the skin on my knuckle. Ouch!

Now you see it . . . 

Wednesday morning I got up and my lovely mother an Raw Orange Julius for her breakfast on the go. You juice two oranges, add a tbs. of pineapple juice (optional), 1 small very ripe banana (fresh or frozen), 3-4 ice cubes, and blend! It was gone before she could even make it out the door!

Now you don't!

My juice was a simple orange/pineapple juice blended with some raw honey, ice, and a dash of cayenne pepper. It think this was my favorite juice out of all the ones I had.

For lunch I pulled out the watermelon. I wasn't able to juice the rind since it wasn't organic (going to have to wait until next summer to try that), but it was still a lovely juice. My mom made a beeline for some of the cut up watermelon as soon as she saw it. She was so exited, "You got watermelon?!" :D

Eventually on Wednesday 7 p.m. rolled around and it was time to break my fast. I had prepared a lovely low-fat nutrient rich RAWslaw for my mom and I. I hadn't expected to be all that hungry until I took the first bite. After that I really had to concentrate on pacing myself and chewing well as not to overeat.

     Overall I would say that I enjoyed this experience and might actually for a longer one at the beginning of the summer when more fruits are available and when it's warm enough to soak up lot's of sun! Since this really seemed to work wonders for my physical and emotional well being I may do a few 48 hour - 2 day juice fasts through the winter months if I feel the need to clean out my system and boost my immune system. I also realize that reigning my coffee drinking back in and keep consuming lot's of raw fruits and greens will help keep the "heavy" feeling and dehydration away. We all have our vices that we struggle on and off with, coffee just happens to be mine. 

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hello From Sunny Florida!

     Well, my family and I made it!  Things didn't run as smoothly or as exactly as we planned, but in the end we actually managed to make it in time to drop my brother off in time for the wedding rehearsal (he's a groomsmen in our friend Corey's wedding, which is the reason why we're here in Florida). Why don't I start from the beginning so you can get the full picture.

 Part 1 - Takeoff! Stall. Takeoff! Stall. Takeoff?!

     It's about a 7.5 hour drive from my hometown to Tampa Springs, Florida; adding on about 2 hours to this estimation for bathroom brakes and traffic, my mom and I figured we would leave the house at around 6 a.m. Friday morning. So we wake up at around 4:30 a.m., get dressed, pack up the car, and leave the hose a couple minutes after 6. Half way to our neighborhood entrance, my mom realizes that she forgot her jacket! LOL. So we turn around, get her jacket, and THEN we see the light for the tires is on, so we have to stop off at a gas station to put air back into the tires. Finally we get onto the freeway and it's about 6:25 a.m.

Part 2 - Headaches, Nausea, and Shivers, Oh My! 

     Now the night before the trip, I had started feeling "off" but I just figured it was the traveling jitters. This morning I felt it a bit more intensely and still shrugged it off again to nerves. It wasn't until my family and I were about an hour into the trip that I began to really feel terrible. I suddenly got a headache, stomach cramps, the shivers, and bouts of nausea. 

     My family was kind enough to make several stops for me to use the restrooms. Actually it wasn't until about 10:30 a.m. that I felt sick enough that I couldn't put on an act anymore and told my mom how I was really feeling. As soon as she could, my mom stopped at another gas station, where I commenced with being sick. When I came out, my mom had me sit in the front seat where the sun could hit me and gave me a vitamin C, vitamin D3 (liquid form), and a zinc.

Part 3 - Recovery

     An hour later I awoke from a nap and to my great joy (and physical relief) found myself to be feeling almost almost 100% again. My mom chalked my sudden sickness to the bug she had caught and recovered from within 24 hours this Wednesday. I had experienced pretty much the same symptoms as her. 

     See I don't think that people who eat a raw plant-based lifestyle are immune to illness. We are exposed to so many different germs and viruses, nutrient dense fresh produce is harder to come by, and people have fewer opportunities to obtain enough vitamin D3 from the sun, it shouldn't come to much of a surprise if you DO get sick, even if you do everything within your ability to live a healthy lifestyle. 

     The difference between a SAD eater and raw plant eater, is the speed of recovery, the ability to bounce back. If a SAD eater gets a mean bug, their body's organs that are used to detox of foreign entities are already hard at work on digesting all the animal products (which is food for many viruses and bacteria) that it takes them awhile to dispel the bug. As a result, SAD eaters can be sick anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks! A raw plant eater, however, only eats plant foods, so it's quick and easy for the body to digest. This leaves the body's organs and immune system strong and able to quickly rid itself of the bug.

Part 4 - Traveling and Food

     While on the road, how does one stay away from all the fast food places when the tummy begins to cry? Simple, pack raw foods that travel well (i.e. apples, bananas, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds). If it sounds dull and boring, think again. You can make all kinds of yummy combos. My mom for example had apples and bananas with walnuts and pecans. I had apples and bananas with dates. Pop either of these combos in your mouth and it simply emanates autumn in it's thanksgiving flavors.

Part 5 - Arrival and Dinner

     As soon as we dropped my brother off at the wedding rehearsal (about 4:35 p.m.), my mom and I set off to the nearest store that had fresh produce, Publix. I bought some precut fruit to bring to the weeding, some mixed berries and some more bananas for breakfast tomorrow, and some mangos for dinner tonight. Sadly when I got back to our hotel room and cut up the mango, I found them to be quite bland. Not wanting to waste it I made a cacao vanilla agave syrup to pour on top off it. The concoction turned out so well that I saved some to share with my mom for her dessert. 

Part 6 - Today's Conclusion

     This day has been a crazy one, but I've managed to keep it a healthy one. I spent the whole day with my family (who I love very much) and was able to see a experience a little bit of Florida. What will happen tomorrow? I'll let you know.  ;-)


     I just want to wish my dear friend Michael a very Happy Birthday! You did it Michael! You turned 18, and you are still incorrigible! :D

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Take an Autumn Stroll With Me

Thank you for joining me! :)

Skin Imbalance = ACNE

     So far today has turned out rather well. I made good progress in all my work and even managed to squeeze in a 50 minute power walk around a lovely little community that is so articulately quaint, that you would swear that you had gone back in time. I took a lot of pictures so that you could enjoy my walk as well, but sadly, I am currently sitting at the coffee shop of the community, TCB, with my mother while writing this, and I forgot my camera cord. Oh well, when I get home I will post them.

     Today I want to specifically talk about skin problems, most specifically acne. Up until my 14th birthday I had a perfect, olive toned complexion, but afterwards my worst nightmare developed, acne. And mine wasn't just mild teen acne, we are talking cystic acne, not just on my face, but on my shoulders and back. I was so embarrassed that I covered up my back and shoulders and caked make-up onto my face, and tried to   do my hair in a style that could cover as much of my problem areas as possible. As a result a became quite pale and the little self-confidence I had dwindled to nothing. 

     At the time I was still on the vegan version of the SAD diet and not in the right mind set to think about changing by diet to alleviate my symptoms and so I started using ProActive. At the time this worked nicely and lightened my facial acne considerably, but did nothing for my back or shoulders. It wasn't until a started eating a raw plant based diet in combination with the ProActive, that all my acne disappeared.

So at the beginning of this past summer I decided to try going off the ProActive since I felt that I wouldn't need it anymore. Let me tell you, my attempt didn't go so well. The first week in, my skin dried out so badly it felt raw and I broke out acutely. Before you know it I was back on ProActive, but this time it didn't clear up my skin like it did before. Instead, the ProActive barely managed my break outs and I was forced to revert back to wearing make-up in public. 

While staying on the ProActive I searched for a new facial regime that would work for me. I tried oatmeal and strawberries with Witch Hazel, Carrot Soap, Baking Soda, the Alba Facial Pack, a tea tree oil scrub from Lush, and a couple others, none of them helped. In October, I got ahold of Burt's Bees Acne Facial regime and turned out to give me the best results, being that it managed my break outs a bit better then ProActive, so I switched to it and quite the ProActive for good.

      Still, I couldn't figure out why I still couldn't get my skin back to the smooth, blemish free skin that I had once achieved. I was exercising, eating lot's of fresh fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of water, avoided wearing cover up (even though it embarrassed me to know end) and getting no less than 8 hours of sleep. Finally though, I believe I have discovered the answer! One thing I didn't think to take into account was that around the same time I quite the ProActive, I had also begun to swim in the morning, three times a week at a PUBLIC pool. Public pools, because of their intense usage of it by numerous amounts of people, has to be heavily chlorinated. Swimming in this water can dry out even the oiliest of skin as well as getting absorbed into the body, building up my bloods toxicity levels. Not good! This past week, other obligations have kept me from going to the pool so I was forced to find other means of exercise via running. Within two days, I woke up and found my skin to be getting clearer! It has now been a week since I've swum and my face is almost back to peaches and cream!

     The point of this story is that acne usually does have a root problem, even id you are genetically inclined to it. The process of elimination, of trial and error, coupled with a bit of research, or just accidental stumbling, may lead you to the source of YOUR acne problems. :)