I'm a Green Smoothie girl through and through. I love Green Smoothies - they are amazingly beneficial yet easy, inexpensive, and quick to make. That's kind of my motto.
I designed a 21 day Detox Program that was designed to transform people's bodies and lives. It consisted of 5 days of Raw Food, 4 days of Green Smoothies, 3 days of Juices, 4 days of Green Smoothies, and finished with 5 days of Raw Food. In February my husband and I went through the program with my clients. It was a wonderful experience and I learned so much, but the most life changing part of the program for me was that it made me juice for three days straight.
I've never really liked juicing. It takes a long time: you have to cut a bunch of stuff up and you have feed everything through the juice chute individually. It's expensive: you need to go through a LOT of fruits and veggies to produce a LITTLE bit of juice. It is not that easy: you can juice too much of one thing and not enough of another and end up with a juice that's difficult to drink but so expensive that you cannot throw it away. Not to mention the pulp! Oh, the pulp. So much to throw away and so much valuable nutrition lost.
But okay, I know juicing is amazing. It's supercharged nutrition. The only way to get SO much produce into you in one shot. No fiber for your body to break down, and it digests and gets absorbed quickly without taxing your body and taking valuable efforts away from detoxing/repairing/healing.
So, in February I juiced for my husband and myself for three days. I was blown away. It wasn't as time consuming as I had always expected. It was more expensive than smoothies, but I quickly learned tricks to keep my produce prices down (another blog post in the future!). AND - I was never hungry. That was the most life changing concept...I didn't NEED the fiber to keep me full all day long as I had assumed.
Still....It's more work than I'm comfortable with. For the past year I've made 128 ounces of Green Smoothie for my husband before he left for work so that he could drink all day long and stay away from all the temptations that plague him at his workplace. I then make 64 ounces of Smoothie for myself for my breakfast or lunch. When we got through the 21 Day Transformation, my husband requested that I make juice instead of smoothie. He had always enjoyed juicing (and had even done a 40 day juice fast a few years ago) and wanted to get back to it.
Okay, so let's make juice! I learned very quickly that I neither had the time or budget for 128 ounces of JUICE each morning before he left for work. So I switched to 64 ounces of juice and 64 ounces of Green Smoothie for him. I've been doing that ever since. Every so often I wake up a bit later and all he gets is Green Smoothie ("all he gets"...lol).
I inherited my husband's Breville Juicer when we got married and that's what we've been using. It's wonderful, fantastic, amazing....but for the past month I've become discontent. The amount of pulp I'm throwing away is abhorable. The chunks of fruit/veggies that end up in the pulp container are not okay. The amount of produce I'm going through...well, I wonder if there is a better way.
So I started to research. I've heard good things about Champions, Omegas, and Huroms. I started to ask people who have them, watch demo videos, read reviews, etc. One name kept coming back to me: Hurom.
So I decided to bite the bullet and invest in a superior juicer. My new Hurom arrived yesterday and like all new toys, I had to play with it immediately.
The Hurom is a single auger masticating juicer - it produces extremely dry pulp and more juice through SQUEEZING the juice out.
So I've used it three times since it has arrived. The first was simply to play and see how it worked. The second time was to use it just as I did the Breville and see how it compared. The third time was again for fun to try to juice interesting and unusual things (Butternut Squash, Collard Greens, etc).
My experiences with my new juicer:
1. SO QUIET! I was able to juice while my husband was on the phone three feet away.
2. It's so tiny! It takes up a fraction of counterspace compared to my Breville (or my former Jack LaLane).
3. DRY PULP! Seriously, this stuff is cool. It comes out looking like....well, I won't say, but it's remarkable. I'm already thinking of what I can make with it. That was never a thought previously, but it appears easier to use and my brain is already sparking with ideas.
4. MORE JUICE! I definitely am getting much more juice out of my produce...yaaaay! That was the main reason I bought this new machine! Mission accomplished.
HOWEVER, the juice isn't as smooth as the Breville. The Breville had this anti-foam screen thingy that kept the foam and such in the container as you poured out. The Hurom could use one of those. My husband mentioned that while the juice is wonderful, he has to supress his gag reflex due to the pulpy nature of the juice. Perhaps I'll learn to use it better with time and starting with oranges wasn't the smartest idea, but I'm a tad disappointed with that aspect.
So...now I'm a juicing girl. I juice a little for myself and a lot for my husband, but I still think Green Smoothies to be the golden ticket. I will always share the magic of Green Smoothies and lead Green Smoothie Detox Programs, as I believe they are powerful, easy, simple, inexpesive ways to get more nutrition into your lifestyle without making any other changes.
I love the outdoors. Sunlight, fresh air, plants, trees, animals...just thinking about it and I start to yearn for it! I live in the city with far too many cars, people and not enough nature. So every now and then I strip myself of this "civilized" life and go camping. All out camping - tents, fires, digging a hole when you need one - just nature and silence.
Camping brings memories and visions of s'mores and hotdogs. When I changed my diet and became a raw vegan nearly five years ago, I had to shift the way that I thought about camping. The food that I eat now, that brings health and healing, goes where I go.
The great thing about camping is that you don't necessarily sit down for three square meals a day. Usually it's quite a lot of snacking - which is precisely how I eat as a raw vegan. Frequent little nuggets of energy to refuel all day long. I do camp with others (who are not raw vegan) so I'll need to have a few options that would feel meal-like.
The fun thing about being me? I'm not ridiculously strict about it all. I've learn to loosen the reins and allow myself room to breathe. I don't dry my own spices, I use small amounts of processed food (like soy sauce or toasted sesame oil) for flavorings. And sometimes I enjoy some portobellos mushrooms while camping....grilled. GASP!
On my list to snack on: apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, blueberries, dried figs, raisins, raw nuts, dehydrated cheezy crackers, almond butter, and some strawberry fruit leather I made.
On my list to enjoy as a sit down meal (a.k.a. social time): Salad fixings - lettuce, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, avocados, vinegar, seasonings, olive oil. Portobello Mushrooms and Yams (to grill! woah!), and my Lemon Ginger Lettuce Rolls.
For my kids (who are about 80% raw): all the fruit I have...they could easily become fruitarian, I think, dry healthy-ish cheerios, packaged applesauce, and tortillas with ham and cheeze.
I'll eat when I'm hungry (which is pretty much all the time - some things never change), and I have a few things up my sleeve for when we gather as a group around the fire.
Oh, and did I mention water and smoothies? I will make 128 ounces of Green Smoothies to take with us to enjoy in the morning as breakfast. Sometimes I take my Vitamix if we will be gone a long time. If it's only for a few days - I premake and take them along.
So there you have it. Easy, peasy, raw pumpkin pie. A little forethought with dehydrating, but most of my food is fresh fruits and vegetables. Delicious, fun, energy-producing, and easy.
My new motto was given to me by a Marine that I'm coaching to eat healthier: "Adapt, Improvise, Conquer." That's how I help people get healthier and how I live my life. :)
Each day we are bombarded by good marketing. Billboards, magazines, TV commercials, TV shows, movies, commercials on the radio, in the schools, in our workplaces....everywhere you turn you are being told what you need to eat, how happy it will make you, how good it tastes. There is a war taking place that most people aren't aware of. Most of us are losing the battle. Americans are getting larger and larger, sicker and sicker, and aren't sure where to turn.
So how do we fight? How do we take our health back from those who are trying to make money off us? Anyone in the military will tell you the first step of battle is preparation. When we find ourselves tired, hungry, emotional - we turn to food. If we don't have anything premade - we turn to what is inexpensive and quick to satisfy our immediate needs. So we need to be prepared...equipped properly to fight our own weaknesses that others prey on.
What are our weapons that will equip us? We have food in our houses that we can turn to when we are hungry that are nutritious and life-giving. We do NOT have food in our house that will perpetuate our weigh gain or our illnesses.
How do we become that muscle-bound warrior? We build our strength of saying no to tempting food that only makes us larger and sicker. We build our self-control only one way...we practice it over and over. We make mistakes, but they don't stop us...we press forward and continue to say no.
Haley, this all sound well and good, but what does this look like? I'll share with you how I equip my own family.
1. I educate them on what is in their food, what it does to their bodies, why it's being sold to us, why others eat it but why we do not. No "because I said so"...I want my kids to be able to make their own choices when they are not with me because they have the knowledge to do so. It's also amazing to hear them tell their friends or each other why certain foods are better than others and what they need to eat when they don't feel well. I didn't have to do as much educating with my husband, in fact he asks questions that make me do more and more research and verify if what I'm spouting is fact.
2. I don't allow certain foods in the house. It's not a hard and fast rule - you don't get a lashing if you bring cheetos into the house. But "snacky" type food - chips, pretzels, etc...I'll only purchase healthier ones with fewer ingredients and they are rationed out for treats. You won't find desserts in my house, unless they are raw vegan. Those are the trickiest - you will eat an entire gallon of ice cream and still want more - it's designed to enable you to do so. If you bring candy into the house...keep a close eye on it as it will make its way to the trash can very quickly and sneakily.
3. I make sure that everyone has food available to them. I make 128 ounces of Green Smoothie for my husband every morning to take with him to work. That's all he drinks (most of the time) until evening. Ask him sometime how his health has improved. I pack my children lunches for school every day. There are three components to every meal they eat: 1. Fruit 2. Vegetable. 3. Other. For example, today's lunch was 1. Orange slices and Bananas 2. Cherry tomatoes 3. Dry Cereal (one got a healthy form of honey nut cheerios, the other got cracklin' oat bran)...I try to buy ones that mimic what's out there, but healthier versions. After school they will get home and I'll make them Raw Vegan Ice Cream for snack. It's my oldest's turn to pick the flavor. ;) The third category is usually smaller than the first two and I try to find things my children look forward to - which empowers them to eat their fruits and vegetables. Oh yes, you must eat them in order. Vegetables, Fruits, and THEN other. Fill up on the good stuff first. As with many patterns, we do what we dislike first and then move to what we like. Chores first, play second. Vegetables first, pasta second. Homework first, socializing second.
4. When we are out and about (birthday party, Disney on Ice, Ball game, etc.), nothing is forbidden, nothing is taboo - they can choose what they want (within reason of cost and availability). If they ask, I'll educate them, but I won't lecture them on their food choices. I do gently remind them when they are hyperactive, can't sleep, can't go to the bathroom, can't focus, or other lovely side effects...why we don't eat those foods on a regular basis. The choice must be theirs in the long run, not mine. You need to give your kids room to stretch their wings and make their own choices sometimes (but just like chores and homework...they need guidance at home). Likewise, I don't nag my husband, I don't tell him what he should and shouldn't eat, it is his choice as an adult. I try to provide options for him as well - although he's a little more entrenched in the snack foods that he turns to. Start young - it will pay off! ;)
Needless to say, it's a life-long war. Some battles you win, some you don't...don't beat yourself up, just get back up and fight another day. When all else fails...call me. :) I'll be your drill sergeant, your coach, your muse. Contact me if you need a battle plan.
I reviewed the Vitamix, Blendtec, and the Healthmaster in a previous blog post here, however that was over a year ago and needs to be updated! My experiences with each machine have evolved and I've used a new appliance, the Ninja, which I need to add to the mix!
This is the cream of the crop - the ultimate blender that everyone should own. My use of my Vitamix (I've had both the 5000 and the 5200) over the past four years has cemented my unwavering loyalty to this brilliant machine. I bought my high powered blender the instant I decided the raw lifestyle was worth investing into. I've taken it on trips, on airplanes (checked & carry-on!), even on my honeymoon! Not only does it help me create all my raw vegan dishes, but it saves me tons of time. It grinds nuts and seeds, completely bursts the cell walls of plants to release that incredible chlorophyll, breaks down frozen fruit to make ice cream, in fact I haven’t found anything my Vitamix cannot do. When people ask if I miss hot foods (as I don't cook anything), I demonstrated how my Vitamix warms up my food. There is no heating element, but it runs at 240 mph and the friction heats up my soups, sauces, dips, etc.
The only problem with the Vitamix? It’s expensive!!!!! If you buy a new Deluxe Vitamix 5200, with all the bells and whistles, it comes out to $650. HOWEVER! You can also buy a Vitamix that has been “factory reconditioned” for $329.00! I always recommend buying Factory Reconditioned! If you put in this code when you check out, you get free shipping ($25 savings!): 06-005351.
People are always asking if there are other blenders out there that are cheaper, yet have the same performance. I have personally used three others that come close, but I will stress that NO BLENDER have the same performance as the Vitamix, in my experiences. Now mind you, I use my Vitamix 3-8 times a day, and have used each of the following blenders at least a half dozen times each while teaching classes.
The first is a Blendtec, the rival to the Vitamix. It’s slightly more affordable, coming in at $454 for the “Wild Side” (deluxe version), $434 for the Basic Version, and $384 for the Factory Reconditioned Basic. It’s slightly more powerful than the Vitamix, coming in at 1560 Watts vs. the Vitamix’s 1380 Watts. The Basic comes with a 32 oz. pitcher, the Wild Side has a 44 oz. pitcher, and the Vitamix has a 64 oz. pitcher. The Blendtec has a broader based pitcher – easier to get your food out and nothing gets trapped under the blades. Lastly, the Blendtec is programmable and you can set it and walk away and it will shut itself off The Blendtec can also warm up your liquids and dips, which is awesome for a raw foodist. All in all, the Blendtec is a GREAT BUY. If you can find one, go for it.
BUT…there are some major drawbacks. First, it does not come with a tamper – an instrument to push food into the blades. Therefore, you need to cut and dice your food smaller so it will move AND you CANNOT make Raw Vegan Banana Ice Cream in this blender. :/ That’s a big part of my diet, so I cannot imagine having the Blendtec permanently. Second, even though the base of the pitcher is larger (my Vitamix pitcher is tapered), it has problems with small amounts of food. The blades will spin if there isn't enough food to move around - and while it's difficult to do small amounts in the Vitamix, the tamper makes it possible. Also you cannot fill it to the top with food and expect it to blend. I can make a full 64 ounces of Green Smoothie in my Vitamix, but you can only fill the 44 oz container half way! Third, the larger motor doesn’t do any more than I need, but it is a LOT louder – which is not so good when you have kids with sensitive hearing, babies, or need to do any food prep when people are sleeping. And fourth, with all its settings (ice cream, dips, smoothies, etc.), it's much harder to work manually. When trying to make a dip out of cashews, for example, you need to run the dip setting two to four times to get the same consistency with the Vitamix.
It's a good machine, but you can get a Vitamix for roughly the same price. I'd spend the money on the Vitamix.
I have had the opportunity to try out Montel William’s HealthMaster. At 4 easy payments of $49.99 (plus S&H), it’s by far the cheapest at $200. It comes in at 1100 watts of power, which isn’t much less than Vitamix’s 1380 watts. It has a monster 70 oz. pitcher that has a nice broad base where no food gets stuck. It comes with a tamper! Yaaay! Raw Vegan Ice cream, here we come! AND…the base is programmable just like the Blendtec.
Here come the con’s. First, like the Blendtec, even though the base of the pitcher is larger (my Vitamix pitcher is tapered), I have problems doing small amounts of food. One cup of dip in the HealthMaster just spins…doesn’t mix, even with the tamper. Second, the lower wattage means that it just isn’t as powerful and doesn’t blend as smooth or creamy as the Vitamix or the Blendtec. I tried to make a pie crust (crushed nuts and fruit) in the HealthMaster and it got stuck in the pitcher, and I had to take it all out and use another appliance. The pitcher has pockets where food gets caught and I can’t just spatula it down to the bottom…I’m not sure if you can see from the picture. The motor is ridiculously loud and slightly smelly (which the manufacturer says will wear off within six months). Lastly, it has two locking mechanisms that sound like a wonderful safeguard but are actually quite annoying. The thing won’t run unless the pitcher is locked to the base and the lid is locked to the pitcher. Both locks are quite difficult to engage and after working with it for a half an hour, my fingers were starting to blister. I got used to it quickly, but my friend said she was less likely to work with it because of this feature. It also doesn't run at the speeds of the previous two machines, which means it won't warm up your food. It's a great machine for the price, at nearly half the price of the other two machines, so the frugal girl in me gives it one thumb up!
Lastly, I've had more experience with the Ninja than with the previous two machines because it's far more affordable, available, and everyone seems to be getting one! This machine is wonderfully unique in that it has multiple blades. Because of this, a tamper is less necessary to push food into the blades - there are blades in the middle and on top! It has a programmable base with 1000 watts of power (only 100 less than the HealthMaster!), has a wonderfully easy to use 72 ounce container. All in all, they have taken a little bit of everything and made a great machine. AND - it's only $100!!!! That's crazy!
I've also gotten to play with the Ninja Prep - which is even cheaper at $50-75, depending on where it's sold. However, it has more than HALF the wattage of the blender (400 watts!), and in turn cannot do many things (like make dips & sauces out of nuts) well. It does make small batches of things rather well and I was able to make a few dishes with ease (my Orange UnChicken, Green Smoothies!, and Pinky Pudding)
However, you get what you pay for. With the Ninja, you pay a fraction of the price for a fraction of the ability. I cannot make the same quality of dips, sauces, desserts, smoothies, and ice cream is out of the picture. It does many amazing things and is far better for making Green Smoothies than a traditional blender (Oster or Hamilton Beach).
Each of the machines listed come with recipe books that are definitely a part of the price - wonderful recipes that get you to use the machine and eat healthier. Sure, they aren't raw vegan, but they are homemade from scratch and encourage you to move away from processed foods. That's the first step - less processed, more whole foods!
So there we are. Four different high speed blenders. Each of the blenders tackled Green Smoothies with ease and are amazing blenders. I still recommend the Vitamix. It is worth the investment and even if you aren’t raw in any capacity it is wonderful for your kitchen. Not to mention, the Vitamix has been around since 1937 and is made in the US. If a machine has a warranty, I would trust a company that has been around more then ten years and has perfected the craft that they are in. Just my two cents...
If I have moved you toward the Vitamix and are interested in purchasing one, use this code for free shipping (06-005351) and go here! I hope this helped!!!!
I have a new love in my business - taking people grocery shopping!!! I've done it a dozen times now and it's so much fun teaching others all the little tricks I've picked up over the past few years. It seems silly to some to pay someone to go shopping with you, but there is lots to learn!
1. What your grocery list should look like: Many people list what they need, but not quantities and aren't fully prepared with the right amounts of ingredients for the recipes they decide on.
2. How to pick produce to last the whole week: I teach people to only go grocery shopping once a week, which cuts down on impulse buying each time, as well as the cost of gas it takes to drive to and from the store.
3. How to pick ripe produce: Pineapples, Mangos, Avocados, Bananas, Greens...what do they look/smell like when ripe, when do you need to eat them, and how to you prepare them?
4. Inexpensive Deals: I teach how to price match, good questions for your produce managers at your stores, how to affect change in prices/selection where you shop the most.
5. Budgeting Groceries: If you know how much you have to spend, not only will you achieve that goal, but have a little left over for special grocery treats that you might not otherwise get.
6. Unknown Fruits/Vegetables: There is a good segment of the produce section I doubt you have even visited! I will introduce you to things you've only heard about, give you ideas as to how to use them, tell you why they are good for you, etc. :)
We usually spend 1-2 hours at the grocery store - and I can come to you if need be. It's a blast - wonderfully educational - and fun!
Let's talk about Price Matching! Does it seem like a lot of extra work? Don't feel as though you have the time/patience/energy for it? Well, I'm now offering my services! For $10/month, I will send you weekly emails regarding how/when/what to price match. If you would like to sign up for the year, it's a discounted $100! This pays for itself, for I save far more than $10 every time I shop, let alone per month. Imagine shopping for $100 worth of groceries, but only spending $35! That is what I did with my Green Smoothie Detox Program clients - I took them all shopping and we cut our budget by 2/3!
I try to tell people that I have this curse. It's called frugality. It can be a blessing at times, and I'm grateful for how God has wired me. And in most cases it is beneficial to those around me. For example, I price match my groceries each week. This week I'm running a bit late and am going grocery shopping today. The ads always change over on Wednesday, which is when I usually shop, but I'm dangerously low on bananas. If you know me, you know what a travesty this is. ;)
So this week, these are the specials I'm going after:
Bananas - .33/lb
Tomatoes - .33/lb
Avocados - .33 each
Mangos - .50 each
Celery - .33 each
Broccoli - .50/lb
Fuji - .33/lb
Grapes - .88/lb
Bell Peppers - .88 each
I'll get the rest of my produce from farmers markets, CSAs, and the organic isle at Sprouts. These are the deals I'm going after to save money. All of the produce above will be conventional, which isn't ideal but the prices allow me to buy organic at other times. I'll try to post these sales every week. :)
Trying to figure out how to add more organic in to your lifestyle, but are finding it hard to stretch your budget so far? Eat your fruits and vegetables! The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables FAR outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Use EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides to reduce your exposures as much as possible, but eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all.
The Shopper's Guide to Pesticide in Produce will help you determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic. You can lower your pesticide intake substantially by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated produce.
*Commodity crop corn used for animal feed and biofuels is almost all produced with genetically modified (GMO) seeds, as is sweet corn sold for human consumption. Since GMO sweet corn is not labeled as such in US stores, EWG advises those who have concerns about GMOs to buy organic sweet corn.
EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce
Dirty Dozen: Buy these organic
6 Nectarines– imported
7 Grapes – imported
8 Sweet bell peppers
10 Blueberries – domestic
12 Kale/collard greens
Clean 15: Lowest in Pesticide
2 Sweet Corn
6 Sweet peas
9 Cantaloupe - domestic
13 Sweet potatoes
What?! It's been almost three months since I've blogged?! Bad Haley! :)
So today I made a breakthrough. It was a long time coming...I've procrastinated this step for far too long. You see, I love snack foods...who doesn't?! I've always enjoyed pretzels, chips, popcorn, crackers, etc....and when I was single and on my own they were very often entire meals for me. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about!!! Well, as a Raw Vegan....my choices are limited. I make an awesome Flax Cracker (otherwise known as Flackers ;), but they take a while to dehydrate and are a bit thick and dense. I've even developed an equivalent to Goldfish Crackers, but again....slightly time consuming and not very inexpensive.
I have been toying with the idea of Green Crisps for quite a while now. Kale Chips are nothing new - they are everywhere...but you don't always have to use Kale. I loved the idea of Nori Crisps, or Collard Crisps. You see, it's quite easy, inexpensive, simple, and quick compared to any other Raw Chip out there...and very versatile as well. You can make it complex and complicated(many people do), but I made some UNBELIEVABLE Kale Chips today...so simple I've gotta share it with you!!!
Kale Chips (Green Crisps)
Tear Kale off the stem/stalk and into small pieces (see picture above). Pour Olive oil and spices in a bowl and toss your kale in. Massage your kale with the olive oil and spices until well saturated and soft. Place on your dehydrator sheet (non-stick for they will be oily) and dehydrate at 105 degrees for 4-6 hours. They should come out paper thin and crispy. Careful not to add too much spice - it will concentrate in the dehydrator!
If you do not have a dehydrator, bake on a cookie sheet at your lowest temperature for 20-40 minutes until nice and crispy. Voila!
I never know how to explain what I do. I am a teacher. Yes, I am a raw vegan, but I NEVER ask or expect anyone to follow in my footsteps. In fact, I encourage everyone to NEVER ATTEMPT TO GO 95-100% raw. It's hard! It is only by the grace of God that I can continue on this path. He has endowed me with the health I currently are able to enjoy and he provides grace when I need it most. When I am faced with temptation, say my daughter is invited to a pizza party, He provides me with substitutions, with alternatives, and with the motivation to withstand the smells, the sights, and the enjoyment everyone around me is partaking in. So again, do not do what I do, unless you have inner motivation!
Okay, let me get off my soapbox. ;) What I do: I share. I teach. I inspire. I encourage. Oh yeah, and I demonstrate how to make ridiculously simple and inexpensively healthy food. People who come to my classes get 3 new recipes to add to their diet. They don't have to change their lifestyle, they don't even have to replace regular ranch dressing with my Raw Ranch Dressing. It's their choice...I am providing tools for healthier decisions. However, it is exciting and everyone tends to dive in headfirst. Then....they are left overwhelmed and discouraged.
Where do I begin? How do I keep it simple? What do I add? How do I plan what I make? How do I keep my expenses down? I get these questions ALL THE TIME. I love getting emails, phone calls, but very often people need more. They need me to sit down with them and show them where to begin. How to plan. Where and what to focus on. That's when I put on my other hat: Consultant. I take you through what works for me, how I am able to make this lifestyle easier, simpler, healthier, and cheaper than when I lived "normally." I have two and a half years of experience under my belt. That's a lot of failures that I have learned from. I am not coaching you to become raw, but coaching you toward adding more and more health. Baby steps, people.
So if you are interested in me coming to your house and going through grocery lists, meal planning, making food together, or just sitting down and talking, contact me.
If you do not live close to me, never fear! Living Raw By Grace has gone digital! If you do not live in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, or you are too busy to attend one of my classes, you can now speak to me, watch me demo, and begin moving towards health from the comfort of your own home! Virtual Consultation through Skype. :)
I made my first green smoothie without using my Vitamix this week. I used a hand blender, because that’s all I had to use. Now, because it was much smaller and less powerful, I made four batches. Smaller quantities and smaller pieces. I blended my greens with water first, and then I started to add fruit slowly. An apple and a pear, diced very fine. A banana, broken into small pieces. More water. Technically, in order to have a full liter of smoothie, I made four small ones. They all tasted slightly different; one had a pear in it, one had three bananas, one had more cabbage. They were all wonderful and very healthful. I loved my Green Smoothie, and I loved that I could make it no matter where I went, no matter what equipment I had at hand...
There was one big difference, though. It wasn’t chunky, but it wasn’t smooth. Now this isn’t just a texture preference. Green leafy vegetables have remarkably strong cell walls. The life giving chlorophyll lives within these cell walls, unable to be crushed by our feeble jaws. That is where my Vitamix comes in. It runs at 240 mph and completely ruptures those cell walls, releasing the chlorophyll that is so life-changing and disease-fighting. As I was slightly chewing my hand blended smoothie, I realized that I was only getting part of the nutrition that was available to me.
Now, mind you, that smoothie was more nutrition than I had EVER gotten ten years ago. Just by drinking a daily Green Smoothie, you are filling your life with more DISEASE PREVENTION than almost any other addition into your lifestyle. So, I tip my smoothie to yours...whether it be a hand blended, high speed blended, commercially blended, or that inexpensive blender on your counter…let us fill our lives with more health! It’s delicious and just what your body has been craving…
I’m a bit of a people person, if you cannot tell. All my life I have adopted families left and right, and I doubt that will ever change. My current adopted family has come down with several illnesses. A few have the flu, one has bronchitis...so there is coughing, sneezing, blowing, and all sorts of stuff floating around. I can FEEL my body fighting back, not to catch what is going around. I have a slight sore throat and I have less energy than usual, but so far no further symptoms. Now I am NOT a physician. I do not give you medical advice, only share what I do and what works for me. If you do not feel well and want to seek medical advice, please do so! (Although my recommendation is a D.O. or a naturopath…I have yet to find an M.D. that does anything but overmedicate.)
There are two things that I do myself, and I recommend to others when you think you are getting sick. First – STOP EATING!!! Your body has been perfectly designed to heal itself and protect itself from foreign invaders. The more things we ask of our bodies, however, the less it’s focus is on staying healthy. We have been conditioned as a culture to reach for chicken noodle soup when we are sick…or crackers. As soon as we engage our digestive system, we cut our defenses in half. Then, if we engage in eating foods that our bodies have difficult times digesting (i.e. meat, milk products, complex grains, high sugar foods)…then we take more energy away when we crucially need it. Our bodies very often tell us that we aren’t hungry when sick – and sometimes even induce vomiting. Listen to them – don’t put food in! We have also been conditioned to believe that we derive energy from food, and need to keep our energy up. False. Quite the opposite! If you can water fast while sick – do so…your body will thank you for it, and you will recover much faster. If you cannot (I have always found it difficult to water fast and have not succeeded yet), then eat foods that are easily and quickly digested. I prefer blended foods or fresh juices – Green Smoothies or freshly squeezed Orange juice. They are blended or juiced – less for your digestive system to do. They are quickly assimilated and eliminated. They provide wonderful nutrition that your body craves while sick – vitamin C and other immune boosting vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. They also fill you up so you aren’t craving items that you have programmed your brain to desire when you are sick (i.e. soup).
My second recommendation is to drink a concoction I call “Cold-Buster Water.” It’s quite simple. We know of MANY medicinal herbs, spices, fruits, and vegetables that have been around far longer than the synthetic compounds we have created within the past hundred years. The water I drink has crushed garlic, lemon juice, raw honey, and cayenne powder. Sounds weird? Perhaps, but it does the trick!!! Lemon is ridiculously high in vitamin C – an immune system booster which protects against illness and aids in healing. Garlic, Raw Honey, and Lemon are all anti-bacterial – which prevents, protects against and helps cure bacterial infections. Garlic, Cayenne, and Honey are all anti-fungal as well. Garlic and lemon are also anti-viral which helps against these viruses (flu, etc.). Raw honey is also antiseptic – which means you can apply it to an open wound and it will guard against infection, as well as keep it sterile! Cayenne is wonderful as well, and researching it was eye-opening! This incredible spice helps to flush your system out (without any mess), and aids in heart health. It regulates blood flow from your head to your feet! Here is what I usually do.
A pitcher of “Cold Buster Water”
(A.K.A. Spicy Lemonade)
I have had several conversations with women in the past six months about poor eating habits. One that I hear about most often is the ability to stop eating when full. If the food is exceptionally incredible it is hard to put the fork down even when your belly lets me know it has had enough. Usually the taste and enjoyment of the food overrules self discipline. If this sounds like you, you are not alone. Before I went raw, this was always something in the forefront of my mind when eating, snacking, or dining with others.
This is not why I eat raw food, but for the first time I don’t worry about overeating, getting too full, feeling poor afterward. I can eat my full, even eat more than is necessary but feel no negative effects. This is part of the hope that the Lord has given me and that I am excited to share with others, especially with women. We can enjoy food again, without paranoia or feelings of guilt.
When eating “normal” food, it’s not wise to eat half a cake, a batch of cookie dough, or four burgers in one setting. The amount of sugar usually found in desserts will actually slow your immune system – which is why flu and cold season begin right after the holidays.
However, considering one of my raw cakes consists mostly of fruits and vegetable with no added sugar, no gluten, no dairy, and is low glycemic, and helps to PREVENT illness and disease…eating half the cake in one sitting is not only not dangerous or ill advised, but healthy and encouraged!
So if I’m feeling down and would like some chocolate to help pick me up, I can make some brownies using nuts and dried fruit – enjoying the simplicity of what God has created, without all the garbage man has developed. High Fructose Corn Syrup, Maltodextrose, Aspartame, Monosodium Glutamate, Artificial colors, and a host of lesser known carcinogens (cancer causing “foods”) are found in so many products, and often disguised by aliases, that it is difficult to protect ourselves. Especially from ourselves.
This is why raw food can be so exciting. Easy, fast, simple foods that we know are good for us because we make them ourselves. Inexpensive and fast…isn’t that we all seek these days? We don’t have to eat ONLY raw foods, but turn to them when we know we are vulnerable. Rediscover your comfort foods, learn to prepare them in a different way, and prepare things ahead of time so you can turn to them if need be.
I hope I get to see you at the next class, where you can add a few more recipes to your arsenal of health.
I LOVE answering emails and questions are so much fun!!! You see, I’m not a raw chef…I’m a teacher! The more you ask questions and get involved, the more I KNOW you are applying what I have given you. The Lord designed me to teach and I get such fulfillment when I see those who have been in my classes…outgrow me. The first four or five have gone on to create their own foods, make foods out of my book on their own, and don’t need to come to classes and longer. My protégés I like to call them. ;) I love seeing their progress and creativity. Ahhh, the fruit of good teaching/inspiration. I KNOW why the Lord has called me to do this.
I have recently gotten a beautiful question that I don’t often cover but is very relevant!
Q: I know it may be "elementary" but for someone who lived out of boxes and canned goods....food storage is a mystery. Like nuts: frozen, fridge, pantry and how long? Which fruits are good on the counter vs. fridge? How long do entrees stay fresh for?
A: It is NOT “elementary” because I had the same issue when I first went raw. I’ve learned what works well for me and I rarely throw any food away. Entrees/dips stay delicious for at least a week (sometimes longer depending on the dish), if they stay in the fridge as much as possible. In the freezer – 4-6 months depending if they are airtight.
Fruits that I refrigerate: berries, grapes, anything soft to the touch and ripe, or anything I don’t plan on eating within two weeks.
Fruits I keep on my counter: everything else.
Fruits I freeze: berries and peeled, halved bananas (for ice cream or smoothies)
(special note for bananas: Buy bananas green, and let them ripen to use when you want them. Banana skins turn black in the refrigerator, but the fruit will still taste the same. When bananas are overly ripe, peel them, put them in small food or fruit storage bags and freeze.
Vegetables that I refrigerate: almost everything!!! You shouldn’t refrigerate your tomatoes since it changes their nutritional value…but I find they go bad far too quickly when I do that.
Vegetables that I have on my counter: Avocados
I always keep my vegetables in their original bags, but pierce the bags to let air in. Tied (but not airtight) bags tend to grow mold faster.
Nuts that I freeze: ALL OF THEM!!! Freezing them, they last very long – six months or more (but I’ve never kept them much longer, I tend to eat them)
Nuts that I refrigerate: The ones I plan on eating that week
Nuts that I store in my pantry: None…the only thing I store in my pantry is dried items: beans, coconut, peppers, garlic, dates, dried tomatoes, seaweed, raisins, cacao, etc.
Hope this helps!!! Let me know of your experiences!!!
Pennsylvania Raw PIE Class
I come from Pennsylvania, but have relocated to Arizona. Thanks to Facebook, I am still in contact with high school and college friends. Many of whom are interested in healthy living and have bought one of my UnCookBooks and/or asked me many many questions. I had the privilege of teaching a class when I went for a visit last year, but there were quite a few people who were unable to make it. The ones who did attend wanted me to come back and teach more. However…that’s not a possibility at the moment. So I’ve been tossing around the idea of videotaping an entire class. This is pretty hard when I have no cameraman and after a few attempts at taping a few Raw Recipe Nights I was hosting, I wasn’t sure how to do it. So now I have reassessed the matter and bought myself a little pocket camera with a tripod. I tried it out on a few free smoothie videos. Last week I decided to videotape an entire class on Flatbreads. Now my usual Raw Recipe Nights run from an hour and a half to two hours. I cannot imagine anyone watching a video that long. So, I scaled back a little, edited out a lot of processing and chopping and such.
I am proud to announce that the first Raw Recipe Online Class is now available!!! The Raw FLATBREADS Online Class comes in at just over a half hour long, and I am pleased to demonstrated how to make a Raw Apple Raisin Bread, Raw Onion Bread, and Veggie Tortillas. At only $10 to view, it costs less than an actual Raw Recipe Night (usually a $15 value). So, even if you live in the Valley of the Sun and cannot make it to one of my RRN’s, you will eventually be able to view it online!
Tomorrow morning I am planning on my second Raw Recipe Online Class: KIDS! I’ll be demonstrating how easy it is to make raw food that kids will eat!!! On the menu: Chocolate Almond Ice Cream, Applesauce, Strawberry Banana Pudding. YUM! I should have this video edited by the end of the week. Stay tuned and I’ll announce its completion.
If you order the video and like it, please recommend it to your friends so I can continue to make them! :)
Today’s Green Smoothie
After my class last night I went to my friend’s house. In order to withstand the incredible food they make, I made a Green Smoothie. Green Smoothies help me to conquer cravings and fill me up pleasantly. I’m eating a full meal when I have my Green Smoothie and when I am finished I am not hungry for anything else. Green Leafy Vegetables are powerful foods that fulfill nearly all your nutritional needs. Spinach, Kale, Turnip Greens, Collard Greens, Mustard Greens, and all the rest of the greens have 2-3 times the amount of protein found in nuts and seeds (which are usually known for their high protein). Well, read all this and learn more about your Greens!!!
Check the bottom for my EASY Green Smoothie that I'm still sipping on...
Arugula - or also known as "rocket lettuce". You will understand the term once you taste the spicy nut-like flavor of this crucerferous green known for it's anti-cancer compounds. Great source of folic acid, Vit A, C, magnesium, calcium and manganese, potassium, riboflavin, copper, iron and zinc. I love the spicy flavor accented in salads.
Collard greens - amazing source of vitamins like: B6, C (one cup provides 70% RDA), carotenes, manganese, Vit. B1, B2 and E. Minerals: copper, calcium and copper. Awesome in Green Smoothies, Collard greens are also great to rolling raw burritos and their flavor is nicely balanced with savory seed cheeses, and nut pates.
Kale - their are many varieties of kale out there. My favorite by far is "dino kale", for it's super dark green color and rich taste. Kale is especially beneficial because of it's high calcium/lower phosphorus ratio, it helps conditions such as osteoporosis that tend to have an excess of phosphorus which leaches calcium from the body.
Mustard greens - this is a great leafy to add to Green Smoothies, but beware, it is on the spicy side. Use less than you usually would. Mustard is especially beneficial for woman in cases of menopause, breast and heart health. It provides quality bone support with it's high levels of calcium, magnesium and folic acid.
Bok Choy - VERY high in calcium and iron. The entire "brassica rapa" family including: tatsoi, mizuna, rapini, komatsuna, well known in European and Asian cuisine, are recently becoming popular around the world for their unique flavors and gourmet textures.
Spinach - known for it's high iron content, coming in at twice the amount of other greens, is also an incredibly alkaline food. It is one of the highest sources of lutein which help promote clear eye sight.
Lettuce - this green leafy vegetable is probably the most common in diets worldwide. There are many varieties to discover and choose from. Lettuce is a great mineralizer with high water content that is said to relax the body. I love Green Leaf Lettuce...it's a sweet, nutritious variety and still fabulous in Green Smoothies.
Parsley - high in folic acid, which is important in cell regeneration and repair. Help to cleanse the kidneys and assist in diabetes. It has a wonderful fresh taste which helps to cut spicier greens, like Mustard or Dandelion Greens.
Cilantro - has been well studied for it's effects at being able to detox mercury from the body. It's unique flavor is favored by many in salsa, pesto, and I just plain love it in a nice salad.
Easy Green Smoothie
The Marvelous Chia Seed
Chia, is familiar to most of us as a seed used for the novelty of the Chia Pet, clay animals with sprouted Chia seeds covering their bodies. Little is known, however, of the seeds tremendous nutritional value and medicinal properties.
For centuries this tiny little seed was used as a staple food by the Indians of the south west and Mexico. Known as the running food, its use as a high energy endurance food has been recorded as far back as the ancient Aztecs. It was said the Aztec warriors subsisted on the Chia seed during the conquests. The Indians of the south west would eat as little as a teaspoon full when going on a 24hr. forced march. Indians running from the Colorado River to the California coast to trade turquoise for seashells would only bring the Chia seed for their nourishment.
If you try mixing a spoonful of Chia in a glass of water and leaving it for approximately 30 minutes or so, when you return the glass will appear to contain not seeds or water, but an almost solid gelatin. This gel-forming reaction is due to the soluble fiber in the Chia. Research believe this same gel-forming phenomenon takes place in the stomach when food containing these gummy fibers, known as mucilages, are eaten. The gel that is formed in the stomach creates a physical barrier between carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes that break them down, thus slowing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar.
In addition to the obvious benefits for diabetics, this slowing in the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar offers the ability for creating endurance. Carbohydrates are the fuel for energy in our bodies. Prolonging their conversion into sugar stabilizes metabolic changes, diminishing the surges of highs and lows creating a longer duration in their fueling effects.
As a source of protein, the Chia, after ingestion, is digested and absorbed very easily. This results in rapid transport to the tissue and utilization by the cells. This efficient assimilation makes the Chia very effective when rapid development of tissue takes place, primarily during growth periods if children and adolescents. Also for the growth and regeneration of tissue during pregnancy and lactation, and this would also include regeneration of muscle tissue for conditioning, athletes, weight lifters, etc.
Another unique quality of the Chia seed is its high oil content and the richest vegetables source for the essential omega-3 fatty acid. It has approximately three to ten times the oil concentrations of most grains and one and a half to two times the protein concentrations of other grains. These oils, unsaturated fatty acids, are the essential oils your body needs to help emulsify and absorb the fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E, & K. Chia seeds are rich in the unsaturated fatty acid, linoleic, which the body cannot manufacture. When there are rich amounts of linoleic acid sufficiently supplied to the body trough diet, linoleic and arachidonic acids can be synthesized from linoleic acid.
The Chia seed is also a rich source of calcium as it contains the important mineral boron, which acts as catalyst for the absorption and utilization of the calcium by the body.
There are additional benefits from the Chia seed aside from the nutritive enhancements when used as an ingredient. It was also used by the Indians and missionaries as a poultice for gunshot wounds and other serious injuries. They would pack the wounds with Chia seeds to avoid infections and promote healing. If you place a seed or two in your eyes it will clean your eyes and will also help to clear up any infections. There is a wealth of benefits beyond the information outlined in this article and treasure-trove of benefits yet to be discovered. Chia seed, having a qualitatively unique situational richness along with a profound nutritive profile is one of man’s most useful and beneficial foods and is destined to be the Ancient Food of the Future.
I am excited to share that Living Raw By has instituted two NEW specials for 2011. The first is an exciting Frequent Raw Foodie program. If you attend four Living Raw By Grace Raw Recipe Nights (Not Parties), you attend a fifth class for FREE! I will be handing out the Frequent Raw Foodie cards at each class and at the Momma’s Organic Market. I want to honor those who attend my classes regularly and provide everyone else with encouragement to attend more.
The second special new for 2011 is a discount for those who bring friends to classes. If you Bring a Friend with you to a Raw Recipe Night, you will receive $5 off your admission! To qualify for this discount, you and your friend need to attend the same class. At the bottom of this blog is a coupon that you can print out and bring to class. If you have problems with printing, simply email me and I will send it to you to print out easier.
I have challenged myself to blog 31 days in February. It is already the fourth and I am 3 posts short…so today will be a little full. ;) I’ll do three blog posts today. The first one, this one, will be an entry out of my own daily food journal. For those of you who are curious as to what I eat…here you go!
Yesterday’s Day of Raw
When I first wake up I always try to drink as much water as I can. This morning it was 3 cups of water. Then I was in the mood for something sweet, but wasn’t that hungry, so I enjoyed a nice ripe pear, and a firm, juicy apple. A few hours later my daughter decided to make herself some chocolate pudding and my Pineapple Rightside Up Cake was looking delicious. So we both sat down with our creations. I polished off a third of my cake (one of the benefits of living alone), and she had two bowls of pudding. After my workout I sucked down two quarts of water. About two in the afternoon I was in the mood for something chewy, so I grabbed three of my Raw Pancakes and nibbled on them while I worked on my computer. After I finished most of my work, I made a huge Green Smoothie, filled three bottles full and ran out the door. I needed to go grocery shopping and since my little girl was with her father I decided to shop a little slower and longer and enjoy myself. I polished off all three bottles without even realizing it…sooooo yummy! When I got home I decided to make a few dishes of food for the next week. The first: “Where’s the Beef” & Broccoli…YUM! I love this dish and it gets even better the next few days in the fridge while the marinade breaks everything down. The second: a new recipe I’ve been working on: Ranch Veggie Baguette. Now, whenever I work in the kitchen making food…I sample…a lot. So testing and working on my foods filled my tummy. Then in the evening, I try as hard as I can not to eat late at night (I don’t quite succeed at this quite often). So at around 8pm I got three bananas, and a jar of raw almond butter. I enjoyed all three smothered in almond butter, and since the almond butter is very dense…it keeps me full longer. All in all…a fabulous day.
Now I HATE counting calories. NOT ALL CALORIES ARE CREATED EQUAL!!! Those 100 calorie “snack packs” are not the same as a 100 calorie apple. Therefore I refuse to label the caloric intake of my recipes. I will let you know if it is high in calories if you are on some sort of diet. However, the calories from my raw almond butter do NOT compare to the calories in a high fructose syrup – loaded peanut butter. So…sharing my daily caloric intake is deceiving. I have a very high calorie diet…yet most of it is water based, easily assimilated, nutritious foods that my body uses immediately. No storing, no extra time spent on digestion…since they all are loaded with soluble and insoluble fiber. But for those of you who are curious, here is this day’s calorie intake:
Apple – 72 cal.
Pear – 81 cal.
1/3 Pineapple Rightside Up Cake – 94 cal.
Green Smoothie: 481 cal.
Sampling dishes: 215 cal.
Bananas & Almond Butter: 1315 cal.
Total Calories for the day: 2258
This was a very light day. I usually eat 2-3 times this amount of fruit…but my stores are low in my kitchen. I will share what I am eating today as well. That will be another blog entry. ;) I hope this was fun to read. Any questions or comments…please email me!
I love that people are contacting me every day regarding something they have seen on TV, Facebook, or a friend about healthy living. Lately Vegan has been the buzz word.
Oprah and 378 of her staffers went Vegan for a One-Week Challenge, which touched more people than I can even imagine. I am not an Oprah fan, but she had caught my attention. I don't have TV, but I sure took a look at her website and read up on how the Challenge went. I loved that they highlighted that one staffer went from fast food to vegan and had serious addictive withdrawal symptoms. When she overcame them after a week, she decided to go vegan even longer because she felt so amazing. Another incredible story was another staffer, their video editor Rich, who lost eleven pounds during the week long vegan diet. One of the main reasons his story is so impressive is that he stuck mainly to fruits and vegetables and not grains or starches (a.k.a. High RAW!). He was off migraine medication and antacids after three days! By the end of the week, 300 out of the 378 Harpo staffers who signed up successfully completed the challenge. It raised awareness of how much animal products are in every day foods, and improved conscious eating. The company is now starting "Meatless Mondays," a phenomenon that is beginning to sweep around the nation.
Then there was Ryan Seacrest on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. Ryan brought his Green Smoothie that his Brazilian trainer had gotten him into. He kept remarking that it gave him the energy that he needed all day long and he has grown to love them. He never goes anywhere without them (I know how you feel, Ryan!). I loved that he poured a glass for Jimmy and they toasted on mainstream TV. Someone, however, needs to tell Ryan about adding fruit to his drink to make it taste less like "drinking a lawn." The fun thing about the Green Smoothies that I encourage people to begin adding to their lifestyle, is that they don't taste like health food. You cannot taste the greens, only the fruit. It appeals to everyone.
And there is always Dr. Oz, who eats a Raw Vegan diet but cannot go live with that information. He has helped many people with a vegan diet, but being raw is too extreme for his producers. But his show is littered with information regarding the food you put into your mouth. Every so often my mother tells me of an episode she watched and I usually smile and nod because I can agree with most of what he says. :)
I love the fact that people are beginning to associate animal products with disease. Now don't get me wrong...I don't believe ALL meat is bad for you...but I do believe there is far too much unhealthily prepared meat. First you begin with meat that has been pumped full of antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, and may be loaded with viruses and such. Then you deep fry it, grill it, smother it in spices full of MSG or High Fructose Corn Syrup. If you buy it precooked you have preservatives and chemicals that dye it and keep it looking like new for weeks or months. Anyway...you get the picture. I don't want you to stop eating meat...I just want you to be more conscious of what you are eating and what it is doing to your body!!
Conscious eating. Eating...then paying attention to what your body tells you. Indigestion? Bloating? Uncomfortable fullness? Lethargy? Sleepiness? Hyper then a crash? Most people simply eat and when they find a symptom related to what went into their mouth they don't associate it with the food and find a way to deal with that symptom. Feeling sleepy...they drink some form of caffeine. Indigestion...they such on antacids. Unfortunately any relief we find comes with its own problems and you weaken your immune system even further...leading to the catching of colds, the flu, acne, headaches, and even worse maladies.
My challenge to you is to become a CONSCIOUS EATER. I challenge you to keep a food long and listen to your body for THREE DAYS. Don't change anything. Just eat normally. But within TEN minutes after each time you eat/snack/nibble/gorge you write down how you feel, and really pay attention to your body. If twenty minutes later you feel different, write it down. It's only three days. Let's see if we can begin listening to our bodies.
I will do it also. I know..I'm kinda cheating, since I'm already raw....but I can get carried away with raw "junk food" as well (lots of dehydrated snacks and then I don't drink much water to compensate), and I usually eat WAAAAY too late at night. Let's see what it is really doing to my body. In fact, I'll do it online! I'll keep a log of WHAT I eat, WHEN I eat it, and HOW I feel afterwards. I dare you to do the same! ;)
Everyone who has attended a class knows that I absolutely adore my Vitamix. I bought my high powered blender the instant I decided the raw lifestyle was worth investing into. I’m not entirely sure I could do what I do without it. Not only does it help me create all my yummies, but it saves me tons of time. It grinds nuts and seeds, completely bursts the cell walls of plants to release that incredible chlorophyll, breaks down frozen fruit to make ice cream, in fact I haven’t found anything my Vitamix cannot do. The only problem with the Vitamix? It’s expensive!!!!! If you buy a new Deluxe Vitamix 5200, with all the bells and whistles, it comes out to $650 (and that’s without S&H!). You can also buy a Vitamix that has been “factory reconditioned” (aka..used) for 379.00. I called the company and got the old model – a Factory Reconditioned Vitamix 5000 for $250 – two years ago. While I consider that a steal, $300-$400 for a blender is way beyond most people’s budgets, especially when they also have an expensive stove, microwave, toaster oven, crockpot, rice cooker, etc…just sitting around their kitchen waiting to be used.
People are always asking if there are other blenders out there that are cheaper, yet have the same performance. I have personally used two others that come close. The first is a Blendtec, the rival to the Vitamix. It’s much more affordable, coming in at $440 for the “Wild Side” (deluxe version), $400 for the Basic Version, and $350 for the Factory Reconditioned Basic. It’s actually slightly more powerful than the Vitamix, coming in at 1560 Watts vs. the Vitamix’s 1380 Watts. The Basic comes with a 32 oz. pitcher, the Wild Side has a 44 oz. pitcher, and the Vitamix has a 64 oz. pitcher. The Blendtec has a broader based pitcher – easier to get your food out and nothing gets trapped under the blades. Lastly, the Blendtec is programmable and you can set it and walk away and it will shut itself off. Very cool! All in all, the Blendtec is a GREAT BUY. If you can find one, go for it. BUT…there are THREE drawbacks. First, it does not come with a tamper – an instrument to push food into the blades. Therefore, you need to cut and dice your food smaller so it will move AND you CANNOT make Ice cream in this blender. :/ That’s a big part of my diet, so I cannot imagine having the Blendtec permanently. Second, even though the base of the pitcher is larger (my Vitamix pitcher is tapered), I have problems doing small amounts of food. One cup of dip in the Blendtec just spins…doesn’t mix. And finally, the larger motor doesn’t do any more than I need, but it is a LOT louder – which is not so good when you have kids with sensitive hearing, babies, or need to do any food prep when people are sleeping.
The second blender I have had the opportunity to try out is Montel William’s HealthMaster. At 4 easy payments of $49.99 (plus S&H), it’s by far the cheapest at $200. It comes in at 1100 watts of power, which isn’t much less than Vitamix’s 1380 watts. It has a monster 70 oz. pitcher that has a nice broad base where no food gets stuck. It comes with a tamper! Yaaay! Ice cream, here we come! And for those who aren’t completely raw, lots and lots of easy recipes that are fairly healthy. AND…the base is programmable just like the Blendtec. Cool. Okay, those are the pro’s. Here come the con’s. First, like the Blendtec, even though the base of the pitcher is larger (my Vitamix pitcher is tapered), I have problems doing small amounts of food. One cup of dip in the HealthMaster just spins…doesn’t mix. Second, the lower wattage means that it just isn’t as powerful and doesn’t blend as smooth or creamy as mine. I tried to make a pie crust (crushed nuts and fruit) in the HealthMaster and it got stuck in the pitcher. The pitcher has pockets where food gets caught and I can’t just spatula it down to the bottom…I’m not sure if you can see from the picture. The motor is ridiculously loud and slightly smelly (which the manufacturer says will wear off within six months). Lastly, it has two locking mechanisms that sound like a wonderful safeguard but are actually quite annoying. The thing won’t run unless the pitcher is locked to the base and the lid is locked to the pitcher. Both locks are quite difficult to engage and after working with it for a half an hour, my fingers were starting to blister. I got used to it quickly, but my friend said she was less likely to work with it because of this feature.
So there we are. Two other options instead of the Vitamix. Both of the other blenders tackled Green Smoothies with ease and made dips and sauces effortlessly. They are both less expensive than the Vitamix, which is on sale at QVC right now for $400 in 4 easy payments. I still recommend the Vitamix. It is worth the investment and even if you aren’t raw in any capacity it is wonderful for your kitchen. If you would like to get the Factory Reconditioned Vitamix 5200 and are interested in FREE SHIPING…click on THIS LINK. :) (It has my referral code – free shipping). I hope this helped!!!!
Last summer I had the wonderful opportunity of organizing a CSA for a local farmer. This is Community Supported Agriculture - friends and family in my area that prepay for their produce so the farmer can use the investment to plant and support her business. Then each week we would get a basket overflowing with produce, usually at a fraction of the cost that we would spend at a farmer's market, and delicious varieties of fruits and vegetables that you won't find in stores. I learned that there were more varieties of tomatoes than I could imagine, like Zebra Tomatoes - YUM! I loved incorporating more and more organic foods into my diet and found that my health improved even more...which I didn't think was possible! :) Unfortunately the relationship between the farmer and I severed and I have been hoping to find another farmer that I could do business with. I had close to twelve others also committing to the CSA and they have been asking for a new opportunity as well.
At the Raw ALL AMERICAN Recipe Night last Saturday I had the privilege to meet Shyryn Joy, a local farmer. She has an active CSA in the Valley in which she harvests organic produce and distributes it to members who have prepaid for the season. I have been searching for a local, organic farmer that I could build a relationship with and trust. We are now working together. She will now be holding a new pickup location at my apartment complex and I will in turn find others that would be interested in more organic produce. I have a few people signed up and will continue to spread the wonderful news. And the best news of all...I don't have to handle any money! You work directly with the farmer...I simply refer you to her and help you get your produce.
I'm excited for this new opportunity as Shyryn (Sounds like sharon) plants heirloom varieties of vegetables - which means you get foods you'll never find in the stores. I also have met her in person, spoke in length as to the arrangement, and this is the second CSA I will be organizing so I am well prepared and have learned from my previous experiences. :) It is ALL organic (no use of pesticides WHATSOEVER), and is LOCAL...that is precisely what I have been looking for for six months.
We prepay for 10 weeks and commit to that season. She is very flexible, so you can pay in installments if necessary. It comes out to $25 a week or $250 for the entire 12 weeks. If you are interested, respond to this email and I will send you the membership application. We will receive 6-7 items in our weekly basket, in generous amounts (example: white swiss chard, Chinese watermelon radishes, Amarillo carrots, Bull's blood beets, Purple sprouting broccoli, valencia onions, snowball cauliflower, etc.) During the winter, you will get more vegetables, more greens (perfect for GREEN SMOOTHIES!) as well as some citrus...each season will bring a new variety of vegetables and fruits. :) (Now mind you, I will continue to buy bananas, apples, and other fruit at the store...but my vegetables will mostly be organic, thank God!)
Don't think you can do a whole basket, let me know and I'll find someone for you to split your share with. Then you pay for 5 weeks and only pay $125. But please let me know so I can find someone else who would like to do a split portion. You can either do every other week, or come every week and get a half share. Let me know your preference if this is what you are interested in.
Pickup at the 101 & Union Hills (my place) will begin on February 8th. Pickup will be between 5-7pm (but I will hold yours till the next day if need be), and bring a bag or basket for your ORGANIC produce. Please Email me if you would like a membership application!
Here is a note from Shyryn herself:
Greetings Haley & Friends!
Thank you very much for your interest in Whole Earth Community Supported Agriculture! I am happy to invite you to join the 10 week Winter Harvest Season to begin Tuesday, February 8th. I've attached the latest info packet Whole Earth CSA 2011 Winter Membership for you with all the details. The packet includes a sampling of the planting list, delivery locations and costs for this season.Through Whole Earth CSA, you have the opportunity to receive your share of the freshest harvest available in partnership with me, as your farmer, to sustainably & all naturally grow vegetables personally for you and your family. WE CSA members prepay for a season of vegetables and herbs delivered weekly to their chosen community location. Through your WE CSA membership, we will together create an alternative to the declining quality of our food supply, environment, farmlands, and health by supporting local agriculture!
Your vegetables are grown all naturally. I use no synthetic anything on plants or soil! I aim to create balance in the farm ecosystem as a whole by growing crops within their proper season, maintaining biodiversity through planting many types of crops, and strengthening plants through building healthy soil. I use only high quality organic fertilizers, soil amendments and pesticides (rarely necessary) and other all natural methods of fertilizing and building the soil such as cover crops, crop rotations, tons of well composted manures, and biodynamic preparations.
The planting list each season features many varieties, colors and flavors of most of the kinds of vegetables that grow during that time of year in the Phoenix area. I focus on heirloom, open pollinated varieties from many countries around the world to support the biodiversity of the farm and the planet, to save rare and endangered seeds, as well as delight members with vegetables, colors, nutritional value and tastes you won't conveniently find elsewhere.
Your share is hand harvested personally for you that very same day and delivered weekly in the season to your preferred pick up location. Shares include 6-7 types of vegetables and herbs that are most harvestable that day, in amounts generally much larger than those you'd find in retail grocers. The selection changes from week to week, with the most popular vegetables and staples harvested more frequently.
I invite you to click this link to the Harvests page on the WE CSA website (www.WholeEarthCSA.com) for a view of the vegetables member's received in their shares during previous harvest seasons. You may also visit our Recipes page to peruse the plenitude of recipes given each week with your share to help support you to prepare all those delicious veggies! As a member, you will receive notice of the vegetables planned for harvest that week for your share along with recipes. Check out our Slide Show page for some photos of us at the farm, or read Member's Voices for a sampling of comments from our members.
The number of people a share provides for is greatly subjective as this depends on how one has integrated vegetables in their diet. Members notice they are eating more vegetables than they did before and express that this is a very good thing! Some members opt to split a share with a friend or another family they know if the amounts of vegetables at first seem too much their needs. Many members comment that they truly enjoy eating vegetables they never would have known about without their CSA membership. It's exciting when a member receives a vegetable in their share they used to dislike and discovers how different and great tasting the freshly harvested, all natural & locally grown version is!
As you can imagine and may already know, the quality of vegetables grown all naturally, harvested so close to delivery, and produced by local farmers is beyond compare in terms of freshness, nutrition and vitality. This is only the beginning of the benefits of joining your CSA which extend beyond eating your veggies, toward evolving the social, environmental, financial, health and personal culture of food. You may chose from four community locations for weekly pick up, currently in Surprise, Goodyear, downtown Phoenix, and north Phoenix and now with Haley - near the Arrowhead Mall. I hope this info is helpful to you, and look forward to the possibility of growing and harvesting for you and your family. Thank you!
In Harmony & Abundance!
Your Farmer, Shyryn Joy
Hi everyone!!! The first week of the LRBG Video Club has come and gone. I finally figured out how to convert my video smaller, so it's easier to upload. The first video is on Green Smoothies, as many of you have asked me about them and because it's the first thing you should begin adding to your diet. It's an easy way to get lots of fruits and greens into your diet without chewing till your eyes pop out. This one is simple and it uses the ingredients I already had in my kitchen. I'll do a Green Smoothie video each month, so you can expect more if you sign up for the Club. You can sign up any time, and you will receive a password so as to access all the videos. Each week I will upload a new ten minute video that will have one quick and easy recipe, and nine minutes of me educating you. ;) I hope you enjoy it. Oh, PLEASE send me your feedback and any questions you might have. I also would love to hear what you would like me to demonstrate for you!
Here's a FREE Video and an invitation to join the Video Club!
I have been ridiculously busy for the past few months. Those holidays sure keep me running around! Lately I've had a sick little girl on my hands...who gave me a piece of her cold. Thankfully I didn't catch it in its fullness...I think that's a testimony to living clean. I don't restrict her diet, she is quite the little omnivore. I try to make it healthier choices than fast food, but she gets to experience that as well. As she grows she can choose the foods that make her feel better, and I can begin to share with her what I have learned about the foods she eats. As of right now I try to help her make slightly healthier choices without making it all about "good food" and "bad food"...it's hard. Kids live in black and white sometimes.
Anyway...back to the topic at hand. ;) 2011 will have some incredible additions! Living Raw By Grace is branching out into the Web! Videos to come:
Online Raw Classes.
You pay for a video and you get a shopping list. This way you have the chance to make your food along with Haley. She will go through everything she does in her regular classes. You will learn 3-4 new recipes and she will educate you about your foods. It will take around an hour and hopefully you will get to eat the creation at the end of the video. This is perfect for anyone not in the Phoenix area who wants to learn how to make raw, but is intimated by never having seen/tried it before. These videos are $10, less than a regular class because you need to buy your own supplies. These classes will be easy, yet complex - an entire menu of raw food.
LRBG Video Club
Now this is exciting. For $10 a month, you get a video a week. Each video will address any questions from the previous week as well as a new recipe. That's four recipes a month - simple, healthy, easy and under ten minutes. That's $2.50 a video!!! Even I (the frugal queen herself) would go for that. But wait, there's more! ;) For every person that you refer and they sign up, you get a $1 LRBG Coupon! You can use your coupons for UnCookBooks, Classes, and Videos! You find fifteen people who would be interested in learning more about Raw for the price of one admission to the movie theater....and you get a FREE UNCOOKBOOK. Can you tell I'm excited about this? The Club will start NEXT WEEK! Sign up right here: LRBG VIDEO CLUB
I had a simply wonderful day. I woke up nice and early, packed my car with fun goodies and headed down to Momma's Organic Market, otherwise known as the largest farmer's market on the west side. Found at the 101 and Northern Ave on the third Saturday of each month, it's in a beautiful large upscale shopping center with incredible facilities and gorgeous scenery. My wonderful friend organizes it and it has doubled in size since the beginning of the season, only two short months ago. With over 100 vendors, 4 produce vendors, and FREE family fun activities like a petting zoo, face painting, balloon animals, and a bounce house...it's an incredible day of fun and fresh air. Why was it so incredible for me?
I LOVE when the Lord introduces me to new people, and I love making new friends, sharing what I know and learn with others, making connections, and the atmosphere itself. I have made plenty of friends with other vendors and enjoy the burgeoning relationships. This morning I saw about a dozen of my own friends, including friends I made in the past few months and who have come to my Raw Recipe Nights. I was also able to meet over 150 new people, share what I love to do, and now have a fresh excitement to work on the upcoming month's newsletter.
If you have not signed up for the mailing list, send an email to LivingRawByGrace@mail.com and I'll make sure you get it. In each newsletter I share the upcoming classes in the area, I'll include a favorite food of mine and why it's healthy (a spin-off of the 31 Days Series), answers to some questions I've received lately, and exciting news!
Have you heard about December's Raw Recipe Nights? All are held at 18330 N. 79th Ave. in Glendale, AZ - right near the Arrowhead Mall from 6pm-8pm. You will get to help prepare with cutting board and knife (don't worry, I'll supply it), so that it become familiar to you and you are more likely to recreate the dishes in your own home. I want to equip YOU to become healthier, not just feed you. Although...you will get fed, so bring an empty stomach and some reusable containers to take some home as well. :)
Saturday, December 4th: Green Smoothies: For all those who are interested in learning more about Green Smoothies, I will be demonstrating the easiest ways to make them, what greens I enjoy & why they are so healthy for me, as well as sharing 3-4 specific recipes of smoothies that I adore. We'll learn how to make an Autumn Harvest Smoothie, A Pina Colada Smoothie, and an Easy Beginner Smoothie. We will also talk about blenders and WHY Green Smoothies are the FIRST thing I recommend adding into your diet if you are looking for differences in your health/weight.
Saturday, December 11th: Raw Chocolate: Oooh, who can resist chocolate? How about HEALTHY chocolate?! :) We'll be making double fudge brownies, chocolate chocolate chip ice cream, and chocolate smoothies. Yum! (This class will fill up fast, book your seat today!)
Monday December 13th: Raw Holiday Dinner: Curious about how a Raw Vegan does Thanksgiving and Christmas? This is one of the more traditional dinners, yet it satisfies any craving I have while eating with others. My “Turkey” Patties are wonderfully light and leave me with plenty of energy, my Mashed Taters are delicious, and my Cranberry Sauce has me looking forward to Cranberry season all year long.
Monday, December 20th: Flatbreads: Ever wonder how I do sandwiches, burritos, wraps, and more? Come learn why a dehydrator is a wonderful addition to your kitchen and how to use it! We'll be making some delicious Onion Bread, Apple Raisin Bread & Tortillas.
The 31 days of raw honeymoon is all over. Oh no!! Now what do I blog about? =P I need questions, inspiration, ideas, please!!!! Someone asked me a few months ago about retaining water. I did some research and found almost every source saying the same thing. Since I found someone who said it very well, I'll just quote him. This is Jeremy Likness from his book, "Lose Fat, Not Faith.":
Women around the world are constantly dealing with the bloating, or retention of water in their bodies. It causes clothes to not fit correctly and is great annoyance that affects both comfort and self-esteem. So is there anything natural a woman can do to help offset a bout of this unpredictable hormonal nuisance? YES!
First, it helps to understand what causes the body to retain water. Water helps your liver convert fat into usable energy. If you don't drink enough water, your kidneys are overwhelmed with concentrated fluids, and they will make your liver do extra work. Your liver works hard to turn your body fat into the energy that you use but if it has to do the kidney's work, then it simply hold onto the extra fat that would have been burned off if you simply had enough water.
And what's worse is that instead of excreting water and waste products, you body retains existing water to reuse. This is what causes water retention and bloating. When you don't get enough water, your body panics and holds on to it selfishly, as though you're in a famine. The best way to get rid of this water retention is to drink enough of it to return your body and its processes back to a normal equilibrium.
You'll also feel thirsty more often, and this will start a healthy cycle of thirst leading to hydration. But you have to keep it up because if you stop drinking enough water, all the good things you've gained from drinking water (balanced body fluids, weight loss, decreased hunger and thirst) will reverse back to the way they were. In the human body, water lubricates joints and organs. It maintains muscle tone. Water keeps skin soft. Water regulates body temperature, filters out impurities, and keeps the brain working properly. Water transports nutrients to and from cells.
While the human body can store energy as glycogen, fat, and tissue, it cannot "store" water - the body uses its own water but expects us to provide a continuous supply of fresh new water regularly to function. Water is critical in moving nutrients into and out of a cell, an action known as the "ion pump". When you take in the improper balance of sodium and potassium or do not drink adequate water, your body will increase a hormone and try to "retain" water by keeping your kidneys from filtering it. Ironically, one of the best ways to stop retaining water is to drink more water!
While humans can survive without food for several weeks (documented cases have shown lengths of up to two months), we can only survive a few days without water. Thirst is a signal that your body needs to be re-hydrated, but by the time you are thirsty it's already too late. Just a fraction of a percentage drop of your body's water supply can result into huge performance decreases. Even slight dehydration can be critical. In the recent sports season, a few deaths resulted from dehydration.
Contrary to popular belief, "chugging" a gallon of water is not going to provide your body with the water it needs. When too much water floods your system at once, your body will pass most of it on to your bladder, and only absorb a slight amount. Weight in the stomach is a signal for digestive processes to begin, and a number of biological chemicals enter your stomach and change the pH balance. This can result in indigestion and stomach pain.
The best way to take water is to steadily sip it throughout the day. You should also eat plenty of fruits and vegetables - most of the produce you eat is filled with water, and the body can process this water very efficiently. So - how much water? There are a million theories and equations. We've been told to drink "eight cups a day," which is better than nothing, but should every adult require this same amount of water when people come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and have different metabolisms and exercise habits? Then there is the complicated equation that involves computing your basal metabolic rate and energy expenditure.
We had to throw that one out, too - who wants to run a computer program every day just to figure out their water needs? Most people would just prefer to drink like a fish and then be done with it. Just kidding. Actually there are two ways to compute water intake and both work incredibly well. The first is a little too vague for some people to follow, but very effective - it is recommended by nutritionist Will Brink. Will says to drink enough water to have two or three absolutely clear urinations per day. If you do not have these clear urinations, then either you are not drinking enough water, are not eating healthily or have some type of infection or other illness. For a normal, healthy adult, two or three clear urinations are a great "ruler." If you do not have these, then increase your water intake until it happens.
If that is a little too general or explicit for you, another way is to take your weight and divide it in half. This is a "baseline" amount of ounces to drink every day. For every cup that you drink that is not water, drink a cup that is water. For every bout of exercise, drink a cup before and after, and one extra cup for every hour that you exercised (round up!). That's it.
Let's use an example. If you weighed in at 200 pounds, 200 / 2 = 100 ounces of water, or about 12 cups. Let's say you also ran on the treadmill for 30 minutes. One cup before, one cup for the exercise, and one cup after is three cups total. 12 + 3 = 15 cups.
You also drank two cups of coffee, so you should have two extra cups of water. 15 + 2 = 17. That's it - today's optimal water consumption for you is 17 cups!
The type of water to drink is also the subject of much debate. Filtered tap water is better because of the potential for harmful agents in "raw" tap water. Keep in mind that if you drink too much non-filtered water, you may increase your chances of acquiring kidney stones if there are many foreign materials that your body has to filter out. When you look at a water filter before you toss it out, that is exactly what your body's filter - the kidneys - would have had to process as well. Reverse osmosis water filtration is probably the best option.
About the Blogger
Haley is passionate about Raw Food and how God has used it to heal her. She loves to share what she knows with anyone who is curious, and finds herself talking to everyone around her about her lifestyle.