Monthly Archives: March 2012

PS…Is Hot Water Raw? Raw Diet Day 11

I guess I should have inquired about this earlier.  Earlier, as opposed to in the final hours of this Raw Diet experience!  But, so many questions up on an hourly basis each day, it’s hard to follow up on each of them!  There’s only so much googling a girl can do.  But today, as I was fondly reminiscing over my coffee cheat from yesterday (and pissed about my sleepless night last night) getting bottle after bottle of hot water, I thought to myself–Am I unwittingly cheating…again??  So, imagine me standing at the office watering hole with my bottle, all of a sudden in deep thought over what I was filling my bottle with.  Indeed, such deep thought, that it nearly runneth over…

So I quickly started googling…Can raw foodists drink hot water.  Low and behold, little surprise–Controversy!  Some say go for it, others say go for it…if you want to poison yourself.  Really?  Even if it technically isn’t allowed…poison?  Splenda=poison (sigh).  Hot water=…hot water.  Some say it interferes with digestion, others say it aids in breaking down all the fiber from the abundant fruits and veggies.  The latter sounds much more colorful, no?  I have decided to go with that.  I am allowed hot water because it helps digest all the glorious fruits & veggies I’ve been eating.  I especially excepted this notion as I ate my cold soup for lunch on this rainy, seasonably (yet for this year, unseasonably) chilly Baltimore day.  I figure this Raw Diet thing should really be a give and take relationship.  So today, I gave up hot soup for hot water.  Delicious as it was, I’ll take it.

Jinji’s Gracious Green Soup, adopted from Judita Wignall’s Going Raw

Base (blend all this together):

  • 3/4 avocado
  • A bunch of kale
  • 2 chopped roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 of a cucumber
  • juice of 1/2 of a lemon
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Salt, salt, salt
  • Cayenne
  • A cup of water (to start with)

Add-In (don’t blend):

  • 1/4 avocado
  • some pomegranite seeds
  • sprouted sunflower seeds
  • corn from the cob (yummm)
  • cilantro
  • diced red bell pepper
  • pepper

ENJOY!!

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Sweet Surrender…Raw Diet Day 10

I was sleepy again today.  I remembered all my restraint yesterday in not drinking the java.  Of keeping it clean.  Not setting myself up to want gum.  I even remembered how proud I was of myself when I made it all the way through the day, and how well I slept last night.  And my delicious sleepy balls!  I remembered they were waiting for me at home.  Even with all these thoughts, I was so sleepy, and it was only 10:30a.

So I did it.  And I did it big.  A girlfriend and I got into the car, and very intentionally drove to Starbucks.  I walked straight passed the apples and basket of banana’s, directly to the girl at the register, and said it: “A tall blonde roast, please”…”room for cream and sugar?”…”no, thanks.”  I wondered if she knew what I was sacrificing in that moment?  That I wasn’t just another customer, but that I was on a mission–now, a mission diverted.  I wish I could lie and say I drank it without any sweetener or cream.  But truth-be-told, I had a delicious cup of blonde roast coffee with a whole pack of…SPLENDA.  It happened.  Went against all my lessons in pretentious foodie behavior, let alone the rules of the Raw.  Do I even like Splenda, you may ask?  Nope.  I think it is, and tastes like poison.  So why did I do it?  I blame exhaustion.  I was so sleepy!!

But I thought about it, in my hours of jitteriness, nausea, hyper-activity and sweaty palms…I thought about it, and decided I wouldn’t feel bad about it.  Even as I chewed the stick of gum I stole from someone’s desk, I decided not to have any shame.  It’s Day 10, and I have done really well!  It hasn’t been easy, and really it’s been pretty tough.  I’ve fought some unbelievable battles, and even won a couple wars in the past week and half.  And I intend to enjoy these last few days without being burdened by the guilt of a cup of joe (although the Splenda is a little harder to get over!) or a stick of gum.  Surely, there’s worse things.  And I’m sure I’ll think of every single one of them as I lay awake in bed for the next 3 nights.

Tonight’s recipe: Forgiveness.

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Just Out of Curiosity…Raw Diet Day 9

I’m not a coffee drinker.  I drink tea, but because I like it, not as a caffeine source.  That being said, I have been known to have a cup of coffee from time to time to make through the mid morning, or worse, mid afternoon.  It’s rare really, but build a couple late nights in a row, mixed with morning work outs, and it’s about the only thing that can keep me above water.  Today was one such day.  Only, today, on day 9 of my Raw Diet journey, coffee isn’t exactly part of the program.  I even tried to reason with myself…”it comes from a plant, so it must be fine”.  Of course, ignoring the bold, bragging all over the front of the box boasting about the roasting techniques they’ve used to create the best, and hottest coffee around.  Sigh.  I also thought about the coffee aftertaste, and no gum rule.

So, out of curiosity, how in the world do raw foodists stay awake?  The energy, I know.  They’ll probably say raw food gives you so much abundant energy, that staying awake is never an issue.  I agree, the diet does provide lots of energy, and good feelings.  But come on, seriously.  How do they stay awake on the other days?  My acquired sugar addiction is already feeling normal, so that’s not helping.  Anxiety about what to eat and when doesn’t really exist anymore, so that doesn’t help!  And to the contrary, feeling full constantly definitely doesn’t help!  And please don’t say cocoa.  Or cacao.  Or dark chocolate.  Or some other superfood.  They each have about 1/32 the amount of caffeine as coffee, so we’ll just put those in the delicious feel-good category.  Not stay awake category.  Oh, here’s a thought…maybe, just maybe raw foodists take…wait for it…NAPS!  Yes, I think they take naps.

But, alas.  Just in case, I thought I would give it a shot with what I had in the pantry:

Jinji’s  Sleepy Balls

  • 1/4 c almond butter
  • 1/2 c unsweetened coconut shreds
  • alot of cinnamon
  • a few good shakes of salt
  • 1/3 c raisins, or dried cranberries, or something else sweet and dried.  Not apricots.
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 T cocoa

Mix it all together!  And use your hands, it’s fun! Make little balls and refrigerate.  Will it wake you up if you’re sleepy? Suspect.  But are they delicious? YES!  So enjoy & take a nice nap!

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Sweet Redemption…Raw Diet Day 8

I know I was brave.  I know I put on my best smile.  I know I was resourceful in saving them for another time, and acting like they hadn’t hurt my feelings.  I know I pretended my pride was in tact.  But after my victory over the Oat Groat yesterday, I couldn’t help but be reminded of my Collard Green defeat.  I was embarrassed by a Collard Green leaf, and I needed to change that story.  So I gathered my courage, collected my determination and went and purchased an entire bunch of Collard Greens, all the while grimacing, remembering…the incident.  I knew I needed a method to the madness, and so I decided to forgo the recipe books, leave google alone, and check the Southern ancestry at the door.  I’d use my own mind and soul to make a delicious plate of raw Collard Greens.  Fifty/fifty chance really, but I figured I wouldn’t have to tell anyone what happened if I failed, because everyone thinks the greens are in the freezer!  Lie.  I mean there are greens in the freezer.  Still, I didn’t feel good about it, but I needed a back-out plan!

I washed, I chiffonaded, I separated, I drizzled, I marinated, I weighted.  I weighted with a brick, an actual brick.  I purposefully, and consciously opened the crisper drawer, put in a bag of marinating Collard Greens, and put a brick from my balcony on top of it.  I was out to win.  And ladies and gentlemen, tonight, I do declare, I made the best raw Collard Green salad there ever was.  Another victory under the old belt, this time, from an unexpected foe.

Jinji’s Collard Green Redemption

  • a bunch of collards, chiffonade very fine
  • equal parts lemon juice, olive oil, braggs apple cider vinegar, braggs amino acids
  • a few shakes of cayenne
  • a few shakes of paprika
  • some pepper
  • and a brick, or heavy weight
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • some soaked nuts
  • some plump raisins
  • thinly sliced red onion
  • some carrot
  • thinly sliced, seeded roma tomato
  • thinly sliced apple–about half an apple

Combine everything through the pepper.  Weigh it down with a brick in the fridge overnight.  Combine with the remaining ingredients for dinner the next day, give a squeeze of lemon, and taste the sweet taste of Collard redemption!  ENJOY!!

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Day 7…Raw Food Fight.

They say fights are won and lost on the smallest levels, in the details.  They also say the best inventions happen on accident.  Oat groats.  I had never actually had oat groats before starting this experiment, always thinking, why spend the time with a groat when I can get great benefits out of a flake.  I’ve even thought that for much of this diet, having raw oatmeal most mornings.  You measure out, soak overnight, and have delicious oatmeal the next day.  So I have this recipe that calls for oat groats, and asks you to soak them overnight before eating.  Fair enough, even though I found it odd that they carried the same soaking time as its cousin, the flake.  But then, those you don’t really have to soak–I just do for the porridge effect.  Fast forward to this morning, at my desk starving after a Bikram session.  First, I notice the groats have not changed in shape at ALL–they haven’t puffed out or anything.  I think, looks are deceiving, I am sure they’ve softened up.  Wrong.  Well mainly wrong–they softened slightly–from the shell of a rock, to that of say, well half-cooked rice.  So the fight ensued.  I was at work already, so there was no turning back.  I was starving so there was no “oh, I’ll eat this apple instead”.  And I had a lot of pride at stake because for 7 days, I still have yet to have a food casualty amidst my many battles. 

So first I think, keep busy for 20 minutes, let it sit in the sun for a bit.  Idiotic in retrospect considering the prior 15 hours hadn’t helped.  But at least it made the bowl warm.  Next I think, start mashing.  More idiotic, because a. I had a plastic spoon, b. i pulverized perfectly good blueberries and bananas, c. who ever heard of mashing a half-cooked piece of rice.  The groats were winning.  Somehow, I had to make this bowl edible!  I turn to the manna.  I thought, if I can’t beat the groats into softness, I’d hide them in soft, sweet, gooey Manna bread.  So in my last ditch effort to win this war, I plunged (a perfectly good piece) a slice of Manna bread into the almond milk, and furiously stirred, blended, and combined…with my plastic spoon.  IT WORKED.  And it was delicious.  Despite the hard groats, the rest of the flavors and textures thanks to the Manna were impeccable.  Imagine me, at my desk, in my cube at my corporate job celebrating victory over a bowl of oat groats.  Sigh…Raw Diet, day 7!  Oh, and side note–after some googling, this war could have been averted with a quick food processor pulse this morning.  Literally for a couple of seconds.  Details!

Jinji’s Vicorious Oat Groats

  • 1/4 cup oat groats
  • Berries
  • 1/2 a banana
  • Soaked almonds
  • Soaked walnuts
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • salt
  • agave
  • I SLICE OF MANNA BREAD!

Soak the groats overnight, mash it up in the morning and enjoy! (you can also just soak 1/2 cup raw oat flakes overnight, and eat the Manna on the side like a normal person)

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Day of Rest, Even on a Raw Diet…Day 6

Yes, even on this all-encompassing Raw Food diet, I was able to find some time to relax today.  Somehow I still found myself elbow deep in dishes three separate times today (!), I still felt like today was a great day to reflect on my nearly one-week journey.  To fuel my reflection, I kept it simple(ish) with three round shakes.  The first I had after a morning jog, then the second and third at normal lunch and dinner times.  I was excited to have fresh squeezed orange and grapefruit juices in between, but never even got to plug the thing in!  I was SO full all day!  And in thinking about it, I’ve never really been hungry during this diet.  In fact, eating very little seems to get me feeling pretty full.  I’m guessing because all the water of the fruits and veggies is being retained instead of heated away.  Brings me to think of the weight loss “benefit” again.  People lose weight on raw diets because they are always full!  Eureka!  Now, for me, she who loves eating and savors every opportunity to do so, I’m a little sad.  I feel slightly remiss.  I miss my snack times.  I missed having delicious blood orange juice today.  I’m happy to be on this path, and I fully intend on taking the full 14 days of it.  But, when I return to my normal diet, I will be happy to have all my little snacks back.  My empty stomach back.  Again, maybe I need to make some sort of adjustments.  Maybe not.  It’s sure delicious all the same!

Jinji’s Sunshine Full Belly Shake

  • Some mango
  • A handful of strawberries
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • A date
  • A little bit of Agave Nectar (teaspoon or so)
  • A cup of water
  • 1/2 a frozen banana
  • A few soaked (overnight) almonds
  • A few soaked cashews
  • A dollop of almond butter

Blend, sip and chew!  And don’t expect to be hungry for 4-6 hours!  ENJOY!

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The Odd Things a Raw Diet will Make you Do…Day 5

Well not only will it make you do odd things, but in the moment, you’ll think it’s beyond normal.  Like there’s nothing more natural that you could possibly do, than the obviously odd thing that you’re doing.  I mean, at the risk of sounding totally judgmental, don’t raw foodists kind of…feel odd?  Like, if it’s not the dreads when the rest of us are off to our next color appointment, then it’s the constant smiling, even on rainy days (like today) when the rest of us are rushing for shelter.  Or maybe it’s the hemp.  Clothes, of course.  Anyway, they are a quite curious bunch.  And if the “they” is “you”, take this all as a compliment, for you have somehow circumvented the conventional grumpy human experience, to take part in an otherwise…happy one.  In fact, I wonder if in my two week Raw Food experiment, I too will enter into the land of odd.

Today, actually, I took a great leap toward that eventual, or perhaps inevitable reality.  For dinner tonight, I decided to make Chili.  A homestyle chili, including everything a hot chili would have, except of course the heat.  I was skeptical.  Converting classics into Raw meals seems risky at best, but I had all the ingredients, so I went for it.  One of the ingredients was one of my greatest moments of pride; no, not the almonds (although those count!), but the barley.  I sprouted barley!  And I needed to put it to good use.  Anyway, as I was preparing the chili–chopping, dicing, combining, blending, peeling, rinsing, soaking, reserving (…sigh)–I caught myself doing things I would have never imagined myself to do (..another ‘imagine my surprise!’ moment).  I cut corn from the cob, then started cleaning the rest of the raw cob–nawing down each sweet, raw row, not even stopping to think I was eating RAW corn off the RAW cob.  I was alternating throwing some zucchini in the bowl, and dipping the rest into the (zucchini based!) hummus I’d made a couple days ago.  Raw zucchini!  I was licking spoons, and reserving tops of carrots for juices.  I don’t know maybe none of this is a big deal, but what it symbolized to me was that as much as I have loved food, I have never been as connected to it as I am now.  Everything is fair game, and anything goes.  To boot, it’s all delicious!  And in my kitchen, by myself, I found myself smiling a little bit as I sampled, ate, chopped and blended.  Go figure!  Here’s to being odd!

Jinji’s Odd Homestyle Chili, adopted from Judita Wignall’s Going Raw & Rhio’s Hooked on Raw

Chili

  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1/2 cup soaked (overnight) walnuts
  • corn off of one cob
  • some carrots
  • some zucchini
  • a couple tomatoes, diced–seeds and all
  • some sweet onion
  • lots of chili powder
  • a couple shakes of cumin
  • a couple shakes of cinnamon
  • some oregano
  • some chopped parsley
  • lots of cilantro
  • a few soaked prunes, a few soaked apricots–chopped

Chili’s Sauce

  • soaked sundried tomatoes, keep the water–about 3/4 cups of each
  • a couple tomatoes, seeded
  • a little bit of agave nectar
  • a lot of chili powder
  • a small onion
  • several shakes of salt
  • a bunch of oregano
  • some cumin
  • cayenne pepper

Put all the ingredients for the sauce in the blender, blend until smooth.  Put all the ingredients for chili together–pulse the barley and walnuts together briefly before combining with the rest…it will look a little like cooked ground turkey.  Combine everything, and enjoy the best chili ever!  Garnish with avocado slices and cilantro.  Smile!

 

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Wait…There are Politics Involved in Raw Diets? Day 4.

I thought it was going to be all kumbaya.  I thought we’d all eat of the same fruit, share the same Manna, and sprout the same seed.  Again…Imagine my surprise!  when in fact, there are categories of raw, each filled with it’s own distinctions, classifications and (GASP!) commitment levels.  As if it’s not enough to agree to oneself that this is the lifestyle he/she wants to lead…you have to be judged by your commitment level at the same time?  True. 

So, I learned that there are percentages that classify how raw a person is.  Many claim 80%.  Meaning the remaining 20 is filled with some other unholiness (I’m already dreaming of what my 40% will be–raosted sweet potatoes and cauliflower, wild mushrooms in a delicate broth). 

There are also vegan-raw foodists, vegetarian-raw foodists, and then there’s the…wait for it…raw foodists.  I sort of love being any kind of “foodists”, but really?  I feel like I need letters after my name, or like one of those bracelets diabetics wear.  I guess the classifications help on some level.  Wait! I’m a pesqu…raw-foodist (that word again).  This diet is forcing me to behave so pretentiously! 

In light of my questionable classification, I was nervous about showing myself in a public restaurant, but had plans to go out for lunch.  (Shockingly) What an amazing experience I had!  The Black Olive, in Baltimore.  I had the fortune of being able to speak with the Chef, who was totally hip to my foodist request that everything be prepared raw.  He responded with letting me know they had just received a wild salmon delivery, and would I like for him to sashimi some on top of my avocado Greek salad.  Would I??!!!

So in the midst of my newly found politically driven, foodist pretentions, I had the best lunch I’ve had in quite some time!

The Black Olive//814 South Bond Street  Baltimore, MD 21231
(410) 276-7141

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I’m Becoming an Addict…Raw Diet Day 3.5

Before I started this Raw Diet experiment, I read in several different places that weight loss is one of the effects of following this raw food only regimen.  I thought, “fine”, but knew it wasn’t really my goal–I am doing this for food’s sake, and for personal growth.  I’m a Certified Holistic Health Counselor, and so I pride myself on living a whole, healthy lifestyle, fully educated on the various ways to go about doing that.  Anyway, weight loss is not the goal, but neither is weight GAIN!  Dates this, raisins that, raw honey and raw agave nectar to the gills…dried papaya, and dried mango to my heart’s content!  Prunes, apricots, forget about it!  All delicious don’t get me wrong, but my!  The sugar!!  Not only am I pretty sure I’ve put on a pound or two in just a couple days, but I’m also becoming a sugar addict!  Now granted, before I started this diet, I ate very little sugar, if any at all.  I was the queen of whole grains, veggies, Ezekial breads, green apples and fish galore.  Now, I’m lucky if I can make a smoothie or a sauce without tablespoons of Agave or raw honey!  And forget about nighttime cravings–I think I just shoveled six strips of dried papaya in my mouth between leaving the kitchen and getting to my computer.  I don’t know.  Maybe I’m doing something wrong!  Oh, but all the sugar feels so right!  In any event, I was relieved to make a sugar-free dinner tonight (even if I did binge eat delicious papaya afterwards).  If green smoothies are the raw foodist pinnacle of full nutrition, zucchini fettucini is the pinnacle of the raw foodist “we’re normal” nutrition:

Jinji’s Fettucini, adopted from Going Raw by Judita Wignall

Sauce

  • a cup of cashews (soaked for a couple hours at least)
  • a cup of water
  • some soaked sun-dried tomatoes
  • a bunch of oregano
  • a bunch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • juice of half of a juicy lemon, or the juice of a whole regular lemon
  • a healthy drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • a bunch of salt, about a tsp

Noodles: 2 zucchini, thinly sliced on the mandoline or with a really good knife, then cut into fettucini pieces

Throw the sauce (there will be a lot left over, but it’s so delicious I feel like I could drink it out of the tupperware!) over the zucchini, add some diced tomatoes and more oregano and pepper flakes.  ENJOY!

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Two Confessions of a Raw Dieter…Day 3

This is a story about gum and green smoothies.  And how I’m seeing yet another side of all this Raw Diet entails.  So, confession number one:  I am a habitual and compulsive gum chewer.  One piece loses its flavor, chew it for a little longer just to be sure, then immediately replace.  Maybe we should call it “chain-chewing”.  A couple pieces every hour.  I know my dealers (or, people at work who always have gum in case I run out), I know which gas stations, 7-Eleven’s, and grocery stores have my brand in the flavors I like.  That said, imagine my horror yesterday, in the 6th hour of the day when I had a sudden revelation–gum is NOT raw!  I should call this diet the “Imagine my surprise” diet.  Because it feels like everything I experience catches me totally off guard, as if I have no rhyme or reason or direction at all!  In fact, the opposite is true.  I did do alot of planning, and alot of research to bring this diet to fruition.  In doing so, I came across the pinnacle of the Raw Diet: The Green Smoothie.  There are many variations, but the one I have chosen ends up being VERY green, very DARK green, and pretty thick.  Also delicious! 

Nonetheless, this brings me to Confession number two: Raw Diets for the two-week experimenter, like myself are lonely.  You’ll have to read about my collards incident yesterday to get the full picture, but here I am, at my desk, in my cubicle where it’s hard to see if someone is approaching.  I’m drinking my very (delicious) dark green smoothie from my (previously known as) tea cup, on my desk, and here someone comes.  The first expression is usually, “what IS that???!!”, followed by, “Are you actually drinking that??!” then comes the inevitable, “GROSS!”  Really?? I wonder to myself if defending myself and preventing the ostracization that could follow is worth it, or if I should just rock to the beat of my Raw Food drum, and drink my drink.  I decide to drink my drink, not because I don’t care what my colleagues think, but because I think the only thing that can make the situation worse is that I have kale breath that apparently, I can do nothing about:

Jinji’s Green Smoothie, adopted from 24 hour marathon world champion (raw foodist!), Tim Van Orden

  • 3 leaves of Kale
  • A bunch of spinach
  • A cup of water
  • 1/2 a banana
  • Blueberries
  • 2 dates, pitted
  • 1/2 an apple

Blend and enjoy!

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