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Going Raw – Day 18

Great day. Lots of energy and all day I felt refreshed. It’s hard to explain, but it is a feeling like I have just had a nap, or maybe finished a swim or maybe lying in a hammock sipping a cold drink. A feeling of relaxation, of being in the moment and of clarity of thought. It seems remarkable that finding the right food for my body could cause me to feel this way. I am curious to see if it lasts. The combination of raw and cooked vegan food is working well for me, but I am thinking about those canned sardines and eggs and salmon. It will be interesting to see after this month if I can incorporate back some animal protein and still maintain good health. We never did eat much of it, and I intend to keep eating mostly a plant based diet, but a little now and then I would like for variety of taste, a concentrated source of protein and B12. I plan to steer clear of dairy, gluten and most processed and refined food. There are no cravings, and when I am full, my body gives me clear signals and I just stop eating. There is little to no fatigue after meals now, and I am sleeping very well at night. The joints are better, no back pain, my neck still creaks but has not locked into place for a few weeks now, and my knees let me squat and stand up without pain. Digestion is a lot better. This is a pretty ideal state. Here’s what I ate today:

Breakfast:

Millet porridge, cooked then raw chopped apple added, with homemade hemp milk
Cacao cinnamon hot drink with hemp milk

Lunch:

Chopped tomato
Delicious kale chips (recipe below)

Snack:

Mango and water smoothie

Supper:

Leftover brown rice and tomato sauce
Leftover collard
Dahl (quick version with lentils, garlic, curry powder)
Avocado slices
Dates

Snack;

Apple
Pumpkin and sunflower seeds soaked, then marinated in coconut aminos, then dehydrated

Kale chips:

I love kale chips. Since I seem to be sensitive to nuts and lemon, and my favourite kale chip recipes call for these, I invented one today and it was fantastic. I ate almost the whole batch by myself, just reluctantly shared a little with my daughter because I am such a nice person and have to set a good example.

1 or 2 bunches of kale
lots of nutritional yeast (say 1/2 to 2/3 cup for 1 bunch)
1/8 cup Balsamic vinegar (maybe for 1 bunch)
sprinkle of sea salt
1/8 cup of Olive oil (maybe for 1 bunch)

As you can see the measurements are pretty vague. Here is what I did. First wash the kale, then cut out the hard center stems. Put in a big bowl and massage it with the vinegar, olive oil, salt and nutritional yeast until soft. Put in the dehydrator at 145 degrees for a couple of hours, then down to 115 until very crispy. Try to transfer some of it to an airtight container before it gets all eaten up! Best way in the world to eat kale!

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Going Raw – Day 17

Another good day – that’s two in a row! I asked my daughter today if she thinks I have more energy now than I used to and she remarked that I am taking fewer naps, so it isn’t just me thinking that. I like having enough energy to see patients during the day and then still feel active in the evening. I am sleeping really well too, and waking up feeling more restled. Digestion is much improved, but it is still not what it was before May. Again today, I warmed most of the raw food up to room temperature before eating, and I was careful to take moderate portions of everything. If I eat too much at one time, then I risk overloading my digestive enzymes. Here’s what I ate today:

Breakfast:

Smoothie – lettuce, apple, strawberries
slice of gluten-free toast (Silver hills chia, chia) with coconut oil

Lunch:

lentil vegetable soup
large salad of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red pepper, dressing – olive oil, agave, coconut aminos
chia cherry pudding

Snack:

orange
gluten-free bread with coconut oil

Supper:

brown rice with tomato sauce
collard greens stir-fried with garlic and olive oil
sweet potatoes with coconut oil
dates

Going Raw – Day 16

A very good day. It seems this diet has either been about eating foods that taste good, but don’t benefit my body, or eating foods I don’t really like but feel really good. Today all three meals seemed to fit both criteria. My energy was consistent, my stomach was happy. I ate a mix of cooked and raw vegan foods today, and left out anything cold on the counter for a time before eating it. This seemed to work far better. Here’s what I ate today:

Breakfast:

apple, orange, soaked pumpkin seeds, cinnamon processed in food processor

Lunch:

Lentil vegetable soup from yesterday
Chia cherry pudding (recipe below)

Supper:

Steamed sweet potato, mashed with coconut oil
Tomato sauce over brown Basmati rice
Mix from breakfast with brocolli sprouts and red pepper
Chia cherry pudding

Chia cherry pudding:

After I made this, I grabbed the Agave thinking it might need more sweet flavour. It totally didn’t. I ate it and then sat happily waiting as my cells absorbed all the wonderful chia nutrients. Well, ok, I know digestion takes longer than that, but really my body seems to love chia.

1/2 cup chia seeds (soak first for a few hours or overnight0
1 cup fresh or frozen thawed cherries
1/4 cup raisins

Process in a food processor and enjoy. Makes plenty for 2 people to enjoy.

Going Raw – Day Six

I had major digestive issues again today. I don’t think I can blame the greens, so now I am looking at either the nuts or the lemon. Yesterday was mostly sunflower seeds for protein, so I think I’ll try that again since I felt pretty good. On a positive note, there is no hunger and I haven’t had any weakness between meals. I would like to maintain my current weight, but lose inches around my waist. Belly fat is the fat most closely linked to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance happens when the cells become resistant to the influence of insulin, which is supposed to move sugar into the cell. This means that the sugar level goes up and then the insulin level rises. An increase in insulin means more fat is stored. So – my starting BMI (body mass index), measured on the first day of this diet was 20 (normal for my height is 19 to 24.5), but my waist:hip ratio was 0.92. A waist:hip ratio for women should be 0.80 or below. 0.92 puts me into the high risk category for chronic disease such as diabetes. Over time insulin resistance leads to diabetes, and I certainly want to prevent that. Tomorrow I will weigh and measure again and see if there are any changes yet. I am also trying to keep my exercise consistent with this diet, so that it won’t be too much of a factor at the end of the month. Here’s what I ate today:

Breakfast:

Lettuce, blueberry and raspberry smoothie
soaked buckwheat, chia and hemp seeds, dates

Lunch:

Kale and almond butter chips
grapefruit

Supper:

cauliflower
walnut pesto sauce
jicama fries (it sure made a lot, still from a few days ago)
lentil sprouts
orange

Snack:

Dates
tamari almonds

Going Raw – Day Two

I survived a second day of raw! My digestion was better today, and energy level was OK. I am generally feeling less tired after meals, which is likely because my digestive system doesn’t have to work so hard. I have been keeping track of my protein intake as well and it is totaling at least 47 grams a day, which is lots for my weight. I picked up some more fresh herbs today as well as some apples, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and jicama. That last one was a new one for me! It is actually quite tasty, and I used a recipe for Jicama fries from “Raw Food” a collection of recipes from raw food chefs. Julie Rodwell is the editor. Here is what I ate today:

Breakfast

same smoothie as yesterday
bowl of soaked hemp, chia, buckwheat, dates, almond pulp with almond milk

Snack

banana

Lunch

leaf lettuce
bean pate as yesterday with curry powder added (really improved the taste)
avocado
alfalfa sprouts
flax crackers

dessert made of:
coconut
apple
pecans
a drizzle of raw agave

Supper

2 cups kale softened with lemon juice, olive oil and salt
Jicana fires
leftover raw lasagne from last night
nutritional yeast

snack

fruit salad consisiting of:
1/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup coconut
apple
mandarin orange
1/2 grapefruit

I am not at all hungry on this diet. In fact, I feel full quickly, but then need to eat again in a couple of hours. I think it is easier for my body to absorb the raw food than it does cooked food.

I had a request for the flax cracker recipe. I make these a little different each time, and I don’t measure, so feel free to use this as a guideline and adapt it. Great way to use up leftover bits of vegetables and herbs in the fridge!

Confetti Flax crackers

1 cup blonde flax
2 cups brown flax
2 cloves garlic
1/2 red bell pepper
1 tsp salt or seasoned salt
1/2 cup fresh dill
1/2 cup fresh parsley

Let the flax soak in water overnight. The next day, put 1/3 to 1/2 of the flax in the food processor, add the herbs and vegetables and puree. Add this mix back into the bowl of soaked flax and enough water to make a fairly thin mixture and mix well. Spread on parchment paper or special sheets in the dehydrator. Dehydrate until no longer tacky, then flip and finish on screens. Crackers are ready when they are nice and crispy. These crackers are great with any kind of bean dip, or with nut butters. Confetti Flax crackers

Going Raw – the books

Going Raw - the books 001I have been researching raw food vegan diet for the last couple of years. In just seven days, I will take the plunge and eat nothing but raw vegan foods for 1 month. In preparation for that, I have been reading lots of books. These will be my core five books to use during the cleanse. If you are interested in purchasing any of them, my affiliate link with Amazon will follow the book descriptions.

1. “Becoming Raw” by Brenda Davis, RD and Vesanto Melina, MS, RD – This book contains the science behind the raw food diet (as well as a few great recipes). Initially I was thrown off by the fact that these two women are registered dietitians. I always think of dietitians in relation to developing the Canada Food Guide and supporting currently acceptable nutritional norms such as eating whole wheat bread and drinking lots of skim milk. Then I read their credentials and realized they are eminently qualified to write about a vegan diet. They write about the history of the raw food movement, compare nutritional positives and negatives of eating raw, and give timely advice on how to avoid possible nutritional pitfalls. This is a must have for those who “want to do it right”.

2. “Raw Food Made Easy” by Jennifer Cornbleet – This is a lovely go to book for plunging right into the raw food diet, even if you haven’t yet bought a dehydrator, high speed blender, mandolin, nut milk bag, or any other fancy equipment. All you need to make these recipes is a normal blender, a food processor and a sharp knife. The recipes are easy, the results delicious and shopping and staple lists are provided so you can begin right away. I will be relying heavily on this book for the month.

3. “Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine” by Gabriel Cousens, MD – Dr. Cousens is one of the masters of the raw food universe, and his book has his own unique style. He believes that cooked food composts in the body and is the cause of all illness. This is not my belief, and I can’t find any good research, either, to support his claims. There are tons of recipes in this book, many taken from the “Tree of Life cafe” . Some are simple, and some take days to prepare, using all the fancy raw equipment mentioned above. I may be trying some of the more simple recipes here since I have no time for hours of fuss. Still, it is a classic tome for raw food vegans and may inspire you.

4.”The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook” by Alissa Sergersten and Tom Malterre, MS,CN – Although not a raw food cookbook, this book and the one that follows are gluten-free, use only whole natural foods and contain many raw food or raw food adaptable recipes. I love these authors. I first heard Tom Malterre speak at a naturopathic convention a number of years ago, and was very impressed. Both he and his wife are graduates of the Bastyr University nutrition program, and their advanced nutritional knowledge shows through on every page of their books. This book contains a 28 day elimination diet, many tips about using whole foods and lots of recipes.

5. “Nourishing Meals”, by Alissa Sergersten and Tom Malterre, MS, CN – The eagerly awaited second cookbook by this couple. Even more fermented recipes. A focus on kid-friendly recipes (tried and tested on their own children), and lots of very simple, delicious recipes. True disease prevention starts with good nutrition. I would not want to be without these two books regardless of what type of diet I was following.