Friday, September 30, 2011


I just watched a video for a new type knife set called Duo-Glide. (This is not an endorsement) however, if I can slice and dice my won veggies again, I will be shouting from the rooftops. The hardest part of having Rheumatoid Arthritis is learning to deal with limitations and being humble enough to ask for help when I need it.
Watch Video
I like doing things myself.
Asking hubby to do several days food prep in between his conference calls is not the ideal situation.

If these knives are the answer, it would be an amazing answer! I could eat what I want when I want it again, instead of settling for a banana (which thankfully I can still peel by myself) or eating an organic apple which I don't have to peel...

And best of all...they are not so expensive I can't afford them! Yay!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Raw Food Rehab

I recently stumbled upon a website that is promoting an eleven-week guidance and support program...for $33. That's only $3. a day!! I think it will definitely be worth it. Every day I spend hours looking for motivational tips and tricks to keep my raw food diet on, it will be in one least that's the promise they are pitching.

I'm in. It starts October 1st!
Join me?

Here's the information:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I'm doing detox, juicing, and fasting research and among my recent tidbits of knowledge, this seemed a worthwhile share. I found it at, the speaker is David Wolfe. I'm not particularly looking for weightloss, but getting accumulated toxins and crap out of my body would be awesome:

How-To Raw

Diet changes don't happen over night... my diet struggles have been ongoing since my twenties (although there was a brief 15 year period of veganism that seemed magical and it is that experience that leads my current journey) ...and food addiction is still my number one issue. I've spent so many years limiting my food intake, forbidding foods, doing maniacally disgusting "tricks" to not hurt (like chewing the Oreo and spitting it out) because the bottom line for me and always has been... pain.

When I eat too much... regardless of the what... bread, dairy, meat, veggies, sweets... my guts hurt.
I hurt less when I'm vegan.
I really hurt less when I fast.
And now, on a mostly raw diet, it seems like I've figure out a way to eat as much as I want, grazing all day, and not having any pain. The hardest lesson I'm learning is that a few weeks/months of raw is not going to "cure me" as evidenced by the pain flair I'm still in the midst of days later because of some chicken and spaghetti Sunday night. So, if I could stay raw every day for the rest of my life, would I never have gut pain again? And is raw every day forever even a possibility? Even the major raw food experts don't agree on that.

I'm going to let my body decide.
Yesterday I was raw all day...I'm on a raw path today, so far just orange juice and watermelon...
I've decided to not count the number of days raw to try to get to ten, or twenty, or a hundred and twenty... or even five. It seems numbers set me up for failure.

What I need is simple, easy to follow meal plans without a lot of prep days of dehydrating... because that sets me up for failure too.

I've heard a lot of raw foodist experts claim that all the gourmet recipes and rituals are necessary for newbies because it makes them feel like they're cooking...and I felt that way for about a minute last week... and I stirred and mixed and dehydrated and tried to create meals that "seemed" like a real meal...and all that happened was I REALLY WANTED A REAL MEAL...and caved...and ate chicken and spaghetti.

That isn't the least not for me.
I need that super easy. When I went vegan it was easy... I answered one question: Did /this/ have a heart beat? If the answer was yes...I didn't eat it.

There has to be a similar question for raw...and just asking: "Was this cooked?" isn't enough. I need "unprocessed" as well to avoid all of the additives that are making my food-life a nightmare. I've heard: "If it has more than five ingredients, don't eat it." That may or may not work.

I keep going back to Dan the Man... most of what he says really resonates and he doesn't have a recipe for everything. And no, you cannot start with a mango and end up with mayonnaise as another youtube raw food personality suggests. And don't get me started on turning nuts into everything from aioli to cheese. With Dan McDonald, there's a cut right to the bottom line. Eat simple foods. Yes, there's a bunch of smoothies thrown in, and a lot of dvd's he's promoting, but when I listen to what he's saying in between... it makes sense. Like this video of Juicing. It's now suddenly more simple:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Breakthrough! wasn't a huge milestone but it was a significant moment on my raw journey...
For dinner, I had raw pumpkin/mango/coconut soup ... while hubby and daughter had steak and baked potatoes . No cheating, no tasting, no desire to eat the cooked meal. And that knowing that steak was the boulder that broke me after 15 years of vegan ...

I think I've crossed a threshold...

Now, if I can ever get to the point where I'm not always being asked by everyone in my life: "Why raw?"
Actually, that isn't fair... my daughters have stopped asking.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Today I feel a little beat up but it's a Monday following a Faire weekend, so I expect to be achy...
I didn't expect my digestive tract to flair:( I mean, hey, I'm on Simponi, good for RA and Crohn's, I'm eating 99% RAW food...aching guts should not be a part of the equation!!!

But then I remember Saturday's weakness...I wasn't raw Saturday night...after an amazing day at faire, sticking to my carrot sticks, zucchini hummus, watermelon, kale salad, bananas and apples routine...I came home tired, hungry, grumpy...and in no mood to face anything but real food. Hubby obliged with spaghetti tossed with sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, onions, and serrano chilis...I'd have probably been fine if I'd stopped at that...I didn't. Add a half a chicken breast (free-range, all organic, no hormones...but still...)

My guts hate me...

I'd forgotten that I have digestive tract issues...that's how good I've felt lately. Which is a good thing. Sometimes I just need my body to remind me why I started this journey in the first place. Not MSG. Not RA. But the terror of dealing with everything that can go hand and hand with living with Crohn's. It honestly isn't a far stretch for my mind because I have multiple cousins (and a deceased bother) who have experienced multiple surgeries and colostomy bags... If I can avoid the worst case scenario...yeah, I want that option.

As a result of my big food binge Saturday...I have no interest in food...herb teas are good, ditto juice. I'm toying with the idea of a Juice Fast, but I have to get through the emotional hurdle of tomorrow...

September 27th is a double whammy day for me. It's my father's birthday (he passed away eleven years ago) and it's also the day my first husband had a life-altering car accident which left him brain damaged and a quadriplegic (he is now also deceased, following complications many years after the accident). I'd forgotten the date was even near until I woke up fueled by anger and adrenaline, spent hours tearing through the house in a cleaning fury, and left myself too depleted to get back upstairs... that's when I looked at the calendar, saw today's date, realized the implications of tomorrow's date and suddenly understood why rage had surfaced as the emotion of the moment. How does my mind/body remember a tragedy that happened twenty-five years ago? I haven't reacted so blindly and strongly since the ten year anniversary. This is just plain weird to me.

Anyway, Wednesday seems the appropriate day for beginning a Juice Fast if I am indeed heading down that path...not wholly committed yet... just getting through today's flair and hoping tomorrow starts better than today...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flouless, Raw, Vegan...Chocolake...Cake. I need more than one language to say yum in! As you can see, all that's left are the crumbs!

I made a cake and took it to Faire today because I knew my friend Dani was bringing cake to celebrate her son Zachary's 6th birthday...and I knew I'd be tempted to eat it. I went prepared with this cake I found a recipe for on Raw Fusion Living... and it's amazing. I wish I could convey just how yummy this cake was!

And it would have been even better with the cream sauce...but someone ate all the cashews...
You gotta watch those hubbies...

Anyway, next time I will be better prepared with all the ingredients hidden until needed.

Here is a video of Dr LJ Rose on the morning show Daytime, showing just how easy it is...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Amazing RAW Day

Spent time at my granddaughter's school for Grandparent's Day and then went to my daughter's house where she had a "All-Raw Spread" laid out! Amazing! So in addition to the Kale Salad I took to share, there was:

Layered Hummus Salad - layer hummus, cucumbers, red onion, tomato, kalamata olives, and feta cheese
Melon Salad with a Blackberry Basil Sauce
Cucumber Blueberry Pudding
Carrots and Celery Sticks

So awesome!
Thank you Rina, Nikia, and Taeya for making my day AMAZING!

And on the way home, I stopped at a farmer's market and found luscious, huge pablanos, heirloom tomatoes, sugar pumpkins, and honeycrisp apples. Of course we had to eat apples on the way home.Yum!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Shreeeech. Yep. That is the sound in my head I awoke to. Not a bad dream, quite the opposite. I am throwing the brakes on myself. And doing an abrupt u-turn.

You see, I had it all wrong.
And...I had it all right.

Here's the problem: I was going to start my day, mixing and dehydrating, creating all the luscious raw-yummies I'd planned for the week... crackers, wraps, breads, cakes... just to replace my yearning to bake... and knowing that all those nuts and seeds in those dishes were going to skyrocket my fat-intake average through the roof! Bad, bad, bad!

I woke up, not dreaming about car wrecks and destruction as the day's post title might imply, but rather the foods I know it is going to take to heal me. Yep. I said that too. Heal. Me. Call it a renewed attitude.

Sunday, a friend said, "You just said two things I never want to hear out of your mouth again: "Suffering builds strength of character" and "You can't seem to heal yourself." She said, "From this moment you will choose to not suffer and you will start healing yourself." .. I wasn't uplifted by her encouragement, I was depressed that I was no longer the one saying those words to someone else.

Tuesday night, I was reading The Detox Miracle Sourcebook, in which Robert Morse says, "Attitude is crucial. Health should be fun and challenging, not a chore. You are rebuilding yourself to become new again. As you build self-discepline, it will be much easier for you to become whole and alive. Don't settle for less than robust health. Change yourself. Expand yourself. Keep it simple. And don't allow anyone to stop you. Become free of all disease." .. I fell asleep during the next page, which was so sad because that quote is so powerful .. but I wasn't ready to embrace it. Not yet. It would take a night of dreaming to put the puzzle pieces together.

Dreams are an amazing functionality of our brains. We have conversations with ourselves and others. If we are lucky we travel deeply enough to touch that divine part of ourselves and if we listen to the messages... magical things happen... even healing and transformation. I once always listened to my dreams. I always listened to my body... but that time seems so far away..

A few years ago several things changed in quick succession: personal losses, emotional losses, physical losses, mind-numbing grief followed... lifestyle and location changes... and then my eating habits changed drastically. I should have stayed centered. I should have stepped closer to the divine instead of retreating.

I allowed all of the loss and grief to take a toll on my mind and body... the result has been illness, in my case Rheumatoid Arthritis and a very grumpy digestive tract.  In my heart I know the truth of truths. I allowed disease to attack my body, and if I can allow myself to become ill, I can allow myself to become healed.

In this lifetime I have been called Sensei (karate), Guru (yoga), Master (reiki)... and by a select few... Mama Chia (after the the spiritual teacher in Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior since I once recommended the book to every single person I met.) I have been a life coach, a spiritual guide, a prayer warrior. And somewhere along my life's journey I veered left and took a path (still in progress) that took me away from the goals and dreams I had prior... and filled those spaces with other dreams and goals. Looking at the whole of who I am you might think I am two distinct people. Sometimes I feel that way too.

This morning I'm coming to terms with who I was(am)... I may have retired from being a teacher/healer/guide/coach but that doesn't mean I can't teach myself/heal myself/guide myself/coach myself..
And the first thing I would tell my student would be to KISS IT - Keep It Simple Stupid. The second thing would be to lay out a performance plan and follow through. Here's the plan I came up with (based on the theory that anyone can do anything five days in a row.) For the next five days, I follow the plan. When I succeed I face the next five days and do it again.

Five Day Plan: (complete daily)

RAINBOW - eat something raw and fresh from every color of the rainbow
ALIVE - choose alive foods
SLEEP - eight hours, no more, no less
EXERCISE - 1 hour yoga, 1 brisk 20 minute walk
FEEL GOOD - do activities that make me smile - dance, sing, meditate
BE HAPPY - embrace momentary joys, read daily affirmations
CONNECT TO THE DIVINE - prayerful gratitude

Intuition tells me raw foods are the right plan at this time in my life; and it is up to me to have the will-power to step away from foods that aren't alive. Today I am (again) becoming purely accountable for my mental/physical/spiritual being. I choose to be strong and healthy again.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Hardest Part of Being RAW

Changing an eating habit shouldn't be so hard .. that's logic. The problem with my logic is this: eating is about food and food is about emotion. Memories are tied to food. Social relationships are tied to food.

I have eaten cooked food for most of forty-seven years. That's a lot of memories .. love, laughter. Try being the raw foodie in the room during any social interaction .. it's not easy. Even the people who love me and try to be supportive don't really understand why I am trying so hard to make this transition.

I've heard "eat what makes you feel good but don't get all fanatical."
I've heard "what's wrong with cooking the vegetables?"
And I won't even get into ever single person's opinion of what I should cut or don't cut: Like - "go vegan, but don't stop cooking your vegetables." Or "go vegan but keep in eggs and dairy for the protein and calcium" (that's ovo-lacto vegetarian btw.) Or "avoid grains no matter what, but eggs or an occasional cooked veggie is ok."

Who makes up these food rules for what will make me "normal enough" but not a "nut-job"?

My question is .. what behaviors do I have that would ever lead anyone to believe I'd be zealot about anything? My other question is .. what's wrong with eating my vegetables raw if I want to?

The easiest part about being raw is holding onto the conviction that raw food will heal me in the face of doubt and constant questions. The hardest part of being raw is just doing it. Stop cooking. Stop eating prepared for me food that is cooked... The extra-hardest part is constantly defending why I am raw.

Just say no...
Sounds like I'm trying to give up illegal drugs, but trust me that was easier than this. February 15 is my clean and sober birthday. It has been for twenty-six years. Maybe I need to just write it down on a piece of paper and put it in my pocket (my raw-foodie rebirth-day) .. maybe I need a food-addiction sponsor to phone before I eat to talk me down from the edge ..

You think I'm joking. I'm not.
I've never kicked anything as hard as cooked food. This is ridiculous. Since September 1st, I've "cheated" three times, always managing to stay 80% raw - until today. Today I binged. If three pieces of pepperoni pizza can be classified as a binge ... and it isn't even that I feel guilty about it, I don't .. what I feel is physically ill. I am on the couch. Again. Under a blanket. Again. Not quite in a fetal position from the pain .. yet .. but I don't doubt my body is a ticking time bomb. The signs are all there: pounding head, aching joints, cramping guts.

So here are a few answers to the questions people keep asking me, mostly to remind myself so that I don't become a stuttering moron in the face of adversity ..

Why RAW, why not vegan or vegetarian or carnivore that just takes out the MSG?

MSG is only part of my problem (a very recent part of my problem brought on by my medication Simponi beginning 2 months ago.) You have to remember, I have been trying to "go raw" off and on for over three years. When I eat cooked food I experience intense gut problems. It starts in my stomach and works its way all the way through all the twists and turns of unhappy colon. This results in PAIN. Not pain, but the kind that makes you rock back and forth, gritting your teeth and swearing you are never, ever going to eat again. Period. TUMS and pain pills help me sleep, caffeine and Gas-X and more pain pills to get through the next morning, putting off eating until I am ready to pass out from glucose drop.. I don't know what's wrong with my insides and I'm not willing to go through a million tests, or even two or three very invasive ones to find out. Does it matter if it is IBS? Or Crohn's? Or Celiac's? What I do know is that if I eat uncooked, unprocessed food in its purest form I do not hurt. I don't need a single pill. That seems like a pretty acceptable reason to go raw to me ..

Aren't you worried you aren't going to get enough nutrition?

I almost laugh out-loud at this one. Maybe I should start .. because the person doing the asking believes their standard american diet chock full o'fast food is more nutritious than what I'm eating .. I don't, I'm nice.
I assume they are asking about protein, so I spout off sources: nuts, seeds, legumes, dark leafy greens. Or dairy .. I'm not sure why people have such a hang up about milk and cheese. My Vitamin D is monitored by my doctor who reports my Vitamin D is very good .. and I know my calcium intake is low so I've taken a supplement for almost 30 years.

I did have a fairly health-conscious whole-foods friend approach me because she was worried about my trying to drop the fat below 10%. She asked, how are you going to get your Omegas?
If you don't know .. Omega 3, 6, and 9 are what's considered our EFA (essential fatty acids) and almost 90% of Americans on a standard diet are deficient. Raw foodists rarely ever have that problem because EFA's are found in the foods raw foodies consume on a regular basis because we consume the raw versions of these foods (the cooked versions have reduced nutrients). Omega 3's can be found in flax seeds and flax seed oil, hemp seeds and hemp seed oil, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and sesame oil, spinach, kale, collards. Omega 6's can be found in the previous list plus pine nuts, pistachio's, sunflower seeds, olives and olive oil. Omega 9's can be found in olives and olive oil, avocados, almonds, peanuts, macadamia's and pecans. **This is a partial list of the ones I consume .. there are others I rarely or never consume which I don't have listed, like salmon and eel (sometimes but only as sashimi) and anchovies (not in this lifetime thank you) ***this is a great page if you want a quick look but there are entire thesis and books on the subject if you want more detailed information on EFA's.

Since I am still in the "trying to get my shit together" phase of raw, I am obviously not healing yet. But I am soooo close. I can feel it. If it were a perfect world I'd live in an area that was surrounded by people who think alternative eating lifestyles are normal (California) but I am not .. thankfully, every day I find new raw foodies online and in real life who I am working hard to build networks and relationships with because I know I need a strong support system to pull this off.

It's so sad to me that if I gave up tomorrow and said "Fine, I quit. Find me a doctor to do all the tests, schedule whatever tests or surgery I need, hand me a stack of Rx's an inch thick." - no one would blink an eye. No one would try to interfere or discourage my decision. People would line up to commiserate with me.

Instead, I'm saying "Fuck normal. It doesn't work. I have a right to be pain free and healthy. If raw does that for me, who are you or anyone else to stand in my way and prevent it from happening?"

I will step off my soapbox now and I'm sorry if I sounded a little fanatical there for a second. Tomorrow the regularly scheduled, hopefully entertaining, non-ranting blog will continue.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What I'm Reading

Reading Greens For Life by Victoria Boutenko...
You have to realize this is not a book I would have chosen for myself to read... I'm not a big fan of greens..
I know, and I'm trying to go raw .. you can roll your eyes now. It's okay, I roll my eyes at myself all the time.

Anyway, my dear, sweet friend Tricia (and fellow raw foodie) loaned me this book. Mostly because I've been moaning and groaning about fat and protein all week... and I'm reading it because I do like to read, but also because I'm a people-pleaser and I wanted to make Tricia happy...

Also, because she's such a smart, intuitive woman, she brought a raw kale salad to Ohio Renaissance Festival (where we're both working) today and shared some with me and I honestly said, "Don't be offended if I don't like it because I don't like kale." To be honest my only close to favorable experience with kale has been dehydrated kale chips that were vaguely nacho cheese flavored (think Doritos) .. so I tasted, ready to say, "I just don't like kale," but my brain said "Shut up, idiot, and take another bite." ...glad I took another bite, and another, and another .. until it was gone. I've thought about nothing but that kale salad all day long... I won't say I'm head over heels in love .. but I NEED IT and I'm in-tuned with my body enough to know that my brain response of thinking about this salad, which made my taste buds sit up and say "huh," is a direct result of my body craving something in this salad.

Boy, am I glad I got this book to read!
It answers the salad question fairly quickly:
KALE contains every essential amino acid.
What is protein? A molecular chain of amino acids...

Also, did you know that there is more nutrition in the green carrot tops rather than the orange carrot roots? Not that I want to eat a whole bowl of carrot tops but chopping some into every salad would add up over time... so would adding them to smoothies. Ditto for beets and beet leaves! And this is free food!! I'm been throwing this stuff away!!!

Well, no more...
I'm more excited than ever about my diet changes and yes, I'm still struggling with raw a little, but it's the baking I'm craving... biscuits, breads, cookies, cakes... crackers...

So, this week I am going to focus on one recipe a week and figure out a way to replace my love for baking stuff (3/4 of which I never eat) with a love for dehydrating foods I will want to eat! How's that for a goal?

Friday, September 16, 2011

New Title Maybe?

I'm beginning to think instead of RAW To Feel Better, I need to call it Almost-Raw To feel better because RAW and winter are not going to be advocates of each other. I'm already feeling it, that cooler weather pull to hunker down, dress warmer, nest, bake, drink warm liquids...

Today was in the low fifties (F) and I have no idea how cold it actually got outside but the themometer inside read 60*F and I know that doesn't sound cold ... but brrr... I went straight from bed to wearing a turtleneck and corduroy pants. Then the tea kettle went on. And then a pan for brown rice...

The rice was cooking before I even remembered ... "Oh yeah, I'm raw now."
Some habits are just too hard to break and my macro-biotic upbringing are the hardest...

Not that I want to break all the rules I learned growing up. I still chew every bite 50-75x. I don't drink with meals (or very rarely a sip or two of water). I am prayerful and filled with gratitude as I prepare meals. And I try to eat local whenever possible, but that is getting harder every year with fewer farmer's markets nearby.

And that is one area macrobiotic and raw philosophies clash. There is no place in Ohio that has a single fruit or vegetable crop available from November to June. On the raw diet I would be subsisting on fruits and vegetables coming from thousands of miles away (and yes I do eat bananas, citrus crops and mangoes year round anyway) but it definitely argues a philosophy. And forget lowering my carbon footprint at that point.

Normal falls and winters include lots of cabbage and sauerkraut... which I could still do raw... but it just won't be the same as fresh out from under the broiler surrounded by other root crops (potatoes, carrots, yams, turnips) ...

I'm not sure I can survive a whole winter without Root Soup!!

I haven't given up... I'm just resigned that 80-90% raw may be my max...

On a brighter note. I did find an "Almost Raw" Pumplin Pie recipe that is all raw, except for prebaking the whole pumpkin first... and I philosophically and scientifically agree with doing that. Heating orange fleshed vegetables and roots releases more betacartene. So baking pumpkins, yams, and carrots makes as much sense to me because even more than wanting to fit a profile of someone's definition of 100% raw... I want to be a hundred percent healthy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Trouble in Paradise

To be honest, I haven't been very hungry the last few days. I think all the nuts in the tostadas really filled a gap and now the almost constant hunger I was feeling is gone...
however, there is a downside. I pain-flaired yesterday because of the high fat in the nuts. I knew when I did the numbers at the end of the day Sunday that I might be in trouble. For my RA symptoms to stay quiet, I must keep my daily fat intake between 10 and 15%. I was over double that ...

The result? Mega-pain flair.
This morning I got almost out of bed... I made it to the floor and laid there for about an hour, maybe two...long enough for 2grams of aspirin to kick in. (Do not take high doses of aspirin without the advisement and guidance of a physician!! I work very closely with my RA doc who monitors me very closely with regular bloodwork) The aspirin got me across the room to the Jacuzzi where I soaked and jetted for over an hour. The entire time cursing myself for having seconds of the tostadas ... but they were soooo yummy. Lesson learned: Everything in Moderation!!

I won't say I'm moving freely, I'm mostly couch-sitting, juicing ... and watching youtube videos, which takes much less energy than writing ...  

Tonight, I thought I wanted a salad... and made a huge salad. It made enough for hubby and I to have small lunch salads as leftovers tomorrow. Another reason to keep the lettuce separate until serving...

Here is my Very Filling Mid-Day Salad Recipe:
1 medium zucchini, peeled and diced (1 cup)
3 heirloom tomatoes ( 2 cups)
kernels from 1 ear corn
1 T fresh herbs of your choice (I usually use cilantro or basil)
2 small heads heirloom lettuce ( save till last)

 dressing - blender on medium until smooth
3 cloves garlic
1 T olive oil
1 T honey juice
1 lime

 Pour dressing over first 4 ingredients and mix well, add lettuce at end or just before serving if delayed from serving immediately.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday, Another Faire Weekend Passes

Preparation payed off big time!!!

I packed more food than I needed, including 32 ounces of "Goatsblood Smoothie" ( beets lol) multiple bananas, apples. Today was especially sucessful in the not hungry, not craving anything department thanks to a lot of late night prep last night. In addition to the Smoothie, I packed RAW TOSTADAS!!!

Yes, I dehydrated corn tortillas and nut/mushroom "meat"... I made "sour cream" from cashews and limes OMG sooo good I could eat the whole bowl...oops, I did ;P ...and I'm paying for the total fat today, but soooo good!!! Oh yeah, I said that already... and Pico de Gallo. This was a super yummy raw-lifestyle-saver! Whew!!!

The best part is that I FEEL GOOD. Yes, I'm on the Simponi now and it has made a huge difference in my life, but works for 3 weeks out of 4 and that fourth week has been brutal. I've dreaded this week (forth week) ever since I got my last injection...and it hasn't been horrible. I actually went to the RA doc on Thursday for a pre-planned steroid shot to get me through the "bad days" and I don't think I would have needed it. Next month I'm testing the theory and not getting the preventative. Why would I do that? Taking a chance I might not be able to do faire at all on the fourth weekend? Because I think I'm on the right track. That's how much better I feel RAW compared to Not-Raw. Do I plan to stop the biologic? Not a chance... ask me in a year after I've been 100% raw. I'm smart enough to know that this damaging disease didn't take a few weeks to set in motion...cell regeneration takes time and my body has a whole lotta damage to correct. But just taking fewer NSAIDS and fewer Steroids will be an awesome benefit, hopefully dropping down to no NSAID's and No Steroids!! And even though I'm still very aware I have a degenerative joint disease...the IBF/undiagnosed** Crohn's Disease symptoms are gone. GONE! It has happened every single time I' attempted raw in the past, so I expected the same results this time...and since September 1st I've had no gut issues whatsoever. Nothing. That's amazing. I also haven't needed to take a single Tums (antacid) and I had a 2-4 habit a night going. I'm definitely on the right track!! Here's the Raw Caesar Salad that I am telling everyone about. Even hubby agrees its one of the best Caesar Salads he's ever had ... we're having it again tomorrow!

**Having lived with what I considered IBF all my life, and many RA patients also have Crohn's, my RA doctor suggested a lot of tests to prove I have Crohn's Disease...and I refused all of them. I really don't try to be difficult. I just don't think that barium enema's, colonoscopy's, endoscopy's or MRI's are necessary. Something is wrong with my guts. Period. I don't need tests or an exploratory look around when I know that seven full days of RAW fixes me...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Surviving A Faire Day

Yesterday I promised the Thai Coconut Soup recipe, so here it is. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! I adapted this recipe from a recipe at
Thai Coconut Soup

Soup Base - blend all in blender – and place in 9”x13” baking dish
 2 cups young coconut meat from 4 young Thai coconuts
2 cups coconut water
2 tbs agave nectar
1-2 serrano chilis (or pepper of your choice)
4-5 cloves garlic
1 green onion, sliced
2 T lime juice
1/2 tsp lime zest
4 tsp white miso
 1 inch ginger

Veggies – add to liquid – dehydrate for 2 hours
1/2 cup broccoli, julienned
1/2 cup red pepper, julienned
1/2 cup fresh peas
1/2 cup bok choy, cut in thin strips
 1/2 cup carrots, julienned
1 green onion, julienned 
cilantro leaves, chopped (to taste) (the original recipe called for 1/4 cup and both hubby and I felt that much overpowered the other subtle flavors)

My day...
Early A.M.
I bartend on the weekends at the Ohio Renaissance Festival and last week Faire derailed my RAW efforts...well, not really faire, me, I derailed because I wasn't prepared well enough for a faire day. I thought I was. I packed a huge smoothie, lunch, snacks...and came home starving...without a raw dinner planned or prepared. That was my big mistake. The weather didn't help... a fifty-plus degree drop over night... 105*F to 52*F knocked the wind right out of my raw-intentioned sails.

This weekend I am a Raw Warrior. Nothing is going to knock me down!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Is This Really Only Day Two (Again)?

I honest feel like I've been on this merry-go-round a few times...oh, wait, I HAVE.
Yes, it's Day Two (again) and I don't even want to think about just how many day two's I've had in my life, but since I know you are curious, I'll tell you... This makes Number Seven. Maybe that will be the lucky time it takes to actually "stick" as a lifestyle change...

I'm genuinely hopeful.

Suddenly, my MSG allergy seems like a miracle because there are so many things that are off limits.
Okay, that part still kinda sucks, but honestly, I'm starting to see a bright side. I remarked to my hubby that I am not experiencing the cravings that derailed me each of the times before. Listed from strongest to weakest:
Fast Food
Dairy Products
Guess what's the number one common denominator? You guessed it...MSG...which BTW is highly addictive and trying to give it up is murder. Until now. I am starting to associate MSG with severe pain: Migraine, debilitating stomach pain, and a tranquilizer effect that can only be described as immediate and bizarre. Here's what happen's: my head has a stabbing pain that immediately becomes blinding then I double over because the same thing happens in my gut, and hope there is a bed nearby because I will fall asleep wherever I happen to be...sofa, car, movie theater...and all of this happens within an hour of consuming MSG. Is there any wonder I've lost complete interest in many of the foods I used to cave for? Or that I was threatening to just stop eating altogether?

I'm just glad we figured out the MSG thing before a doctor took a knife to my gut...

So, all of that to say...going raw seems to be easier this time around...but then again, it's only day two.

Also, and this has been going on for several months, and I've noticed because I have been between 75 and 80% raw for almost a year...but my tastebuds have somehow changed...and I'm really noticing it on the 100% raw days. I'm craving weird things, namely, sour and hot. Almost every meal has something insanely sour: lemons, limes (I'm buying key-limes 30# at a time and they're lasting about a week), pepperoncinis (two jars a week) and everything has at least one pepper (jalapeno, thai chili, serrano, or habanaro) either sliced, diced, sauced, or if all else fails in the form of habanero powder hubby dried from the garden and grinded.

Weird craving or not, I always listen to my body because in most cases my body is smarter than I am. To satisfy my curiosity as to whether my body knows something in this instance, I googled the foods I'm craving and this is what I learned:

Lemons/Limes: "lemons and limes are an excellent source of vitamin C, one of the most important antioxidants in nature. Vitamin C travels through the body neutralizing any free radicals with which it comes into contact in the aqueous environments in the body both inside and outside cells. Free radicals can interact with the healthy cells of the body, damaging them and their membranes, and also cause a lot of inflammation, or painful swelling, in the body. This is one of the reasons that vitamin C has been shown to be helpful for reducing some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis." So, my body seems on target here:) Go intuition!

Peppers: "Chili peppers contain a substance called capsaicin, which gives peppers their characteristic pungence, producing mild to intense spice when eaten. Capsaicin is a potent inhibitor of substance P, a neuropeptide associated with inflammatory processes. The hotter the chili pepper, the more capsaicin it contains. The hottest varieties include habanero and Scotch bonnet peppers. Jalapenos are next in their heat and capsaicin content, followed by the milder varieties, including Spanish pimentos, and Anaheim and Hungarian cherry peppers. Capsaicin is being studied as an effective treatment for sensory nerve fiber disorders, including pain associated with arthritis." Two for two. Clearly my body knows what it's doing...Carry on.

What my body doesn't seem too impressed with: nuts in large quantities. Yesterday, I was appalled that my fat intake percentage was off the charts, but what I didn't consider was that I didn't eat full servings of any of the dishes with a lot of nuts. The portabellas stuffed with a brazil nut filling...I took two bites. The Caesar Salad with cashew "parmesan" ... I tasted before eating and used the dressing sans cashews. I did eat eight almonds, but compared to the huge handful hubby walked away with, I think I skimped...

More googling:
Cashews: there are a lot of health benefits... so I won't shun them altogether...but a handful every once in awhile is much more appealing than throwing them into recipes willy-nilly.
Brazil nuts: too many health benefits to list, so I guess an occasional handful wouldn't be a bad idea...
Almonds: good thing these are the ones I sneak most...turns out they're lowering my cholesterol...I need that.

So the lesson learned is to keep listening to my body and it keeps telling me to GO RAW... so, at the end of day two, I am still successful:)

Food Today: 
Breakfast: 160 cal, 0.6 fat 
Hot Herb Tea 

Lunch: 105 cal, 6.8 fat 
Beet Juice 
24 ounces water 

Dinner: 232 cal, 17.9 fat 
Thai Coconut Soup 
24 ounces water 

Today's Totals: 497 cal, 25.3 fat (33% fat! eek!!!)** 

 **The Thai Coconut Soup (combined with the lunch cashews) really blew my fat intake for the day, thinking on future Thai Coconut Soup days I will have to skip any other high fat content food. And there are guaranteed to be many more Thai Coconut Soup days because this is my new favorite:) Nom Nom Nom

In fact, I am soooo in love with soup, I have to share the recipe. So it will be the beginning of tomorrow's post:)