Friday, November 28, 2008

Emotions and Raw Food

It really is amazing what a difference even a small change in diet can make. The past few days I had mostly been eating high raw. Andrew (my hubby) had been taking very good care of me and making me lots of big salads and smoothies. I had noticed some changes in how I was feeling mentally & emotionally this past week. I was feeling better about myself and those around me. Then yesterday was an "off" day and I had eaten too much cooked food, and I noticed last night I was feeling down and emotional again. Gee, do you think there's a connection between the food we eat and how we feel? ;) I could sit here and beat myself up about not eating well yesterday, but I'm not going to. Why? Simply because this experience has taught me a lot, and that's a good thing. I'm actually becoming grateful for all that I've been through lately. The past few days have solidified for me how awesome a raw food lifestyle is and what it can do for me. I now know so much about the difference in how I feel when I'm eating cooked/processed food, and how wonderful I start to feel when I eat raw, fresh foods. The difference is crystal clear now, and so is the path I'm meant to be on. It's the easiest choice ever. Or should I say "The Best Choice Ever!". Raw foodists everywhere will get that one. Did you get it? ;)

I'm feeling a sense of urgency, and that I don't want to waste any more time. There is SO much I want to accomplish, and I have a lot of goals I want to work towards. They've taken a back seat for far too long. The best thing I can do right now to get myself moving is to get right back to raw foods and that will make me feel better again, and better enable me to work on my other goals. So, again my plans for the weekend are to get organized. I hope to have a menu-planning session with a friend. I need to plan my food more so I don't get super-hungry and end up grabbing something I really don't want to be eating. I also want to make some food up that my daughter can take to school for lunches. The school is nut-free so it makes it more difficult. She likes salad so I do veggie salads and fruit salads, but she doesn't always want them and I don't force her. She's doing well on raw foods, so I just need to find a couple more things for variety that I can alternate salads with, and some more raw snacks, and then I can get rid of the rest of the non-raw food in the house. That will be a fun day. :)

Friday's Question: Do you have goals that you'd like to be working towards, but have been taking a back burner lately? What do you think would help you to move it to the front lines?

Happy emotions to all,

Monday, November 24, 2008

Raw Cheesecake for health!

Woke up this morning not feeling well. I was perfectly fine last night so was not expecting it at all. Overall I'm feeling very weak so my body is clearly fighting something, and my sinuses are congested. I have zero energy, not fun. I don't know where we picked up this bug, but hopefully will feel better tomorrow. Managed about 50% raw today. It's been kind of a wake-up call that I clearly need to continue improving my health so I can better ward off illnesses such as these. As well as a host of other reasons of course. So... I'm going to start logging my raw food intake for each day, like I said I was going to. ;-) I'll also share some recipes where I can, or state the source and let you know what book or website the recipe is from so you can track them down if they look good to you.

Raw goodness consumed today:
- Large salad with mixed baby greens and cherry tomatoes
- raw cheesecake (recipe below!!)
- my favourite raw cacao shake concoction... mmmmmm.

Lemony Cheesecake (raw vegan)

We have tried a few different raw cheesecake recipes floating around on the web, and this is our version, taking little bits of different recipes and creating our own. I usually make two of these at a time, so I don't have to make them as often. We usually have at least one of these in the freezer. :)

For the crust:
2 cups almonds
1 cup dates

For the cheese:

3 cups cashews (soaked for at least 1 hour)
3/4 cup lemon juice, fresh
3/4 cup raw honey
3/4 cup virgin, unrefined coconut oil (when liquid, see 2nd step)
1/2 cup water
1/3 vanilla bean (seeds only) or 1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon celtic sea salt

For the berry sauce:
3 cups frozen berries
1/2 cup dates or 1/4 cup honey

  • Soaking the cashews makes them nice and soft, and will help make the cheese smooth, so do try to soak them for a full hour before you start the recipe, if possible. So, if they're not in water yet, get those cashews in some water first! :)
  • Scoop out a little over 3/4 cup of coconut oil in a glass measuring cup, and place measuring cup in a few inches of very warm water, but not reaching the top of the measuring cup. You could do this in the sink or in a large bowl. This is to warm the coconut oil from a solid to a liquid. Stir every couple of minutes while you make the crust, and it will melt faster. If your house is very warm, and your coconut oil is already liquid, you get to skip this step!
  • Place ingredients for crust in a food processor, and process until fine. Press crust mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.
  • Check your coconut oil, and double-check measurement once it's all melted.
  • Put all ingredients for cheese into food processor, and process at high speed until very smooth. Adjust to taste.
  • Pour mixture onto crust. Tap the pan on your countertop a few times to remove any air bubbles.
  • Put cheesecake in freezer until firm, at least 3 hours, but I usually do it overnight. The freezer step is important because it sets the mixture. Transfer to fridge and it will be ready to eat after about an hour.
  • To make the berry sauce, blend or process ingredients until smooth, and adjust to taste. Store in airtight jar in the fridge, and spoon a couple of tablespoons onto slices when serving.
Note: If it's a very hot day, keep in mind that the cheesecake will melt if it's left out, because of the coconut oil, so leave it in the fridge until just before serving, and all will be fine.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Struggling and sad. :(

I can't believe it's been 2 WEEKS since I blogged last. Not good. It's not surprising though, since I've been struggling quite a bit. When I'm having a hard time sticking to my goals, I tend to withdraw from things, basically ignoring and denying what I'm doing... and that's actually what I'm trying to prevent by keeping this blog. Obviously not working so well so far. I guess I still have a lot to work through. I'll try harder to blog every day because it helps me stay on course, and keep things at the top of my mind. Clearly it's just too easy to stray from the path I'm on, and wander around oblivious to what's happening, continuing to do what's comfortable for me... which is what I've always done. Unfortunately some of the things that are comfortable for me are things that aren't working in my life, and what I need to change in order to improve weight, my emotions, my overall health. So, I'm stepping out of my comfort zone again and typing my thoughts and emotions. Honesty and transparency are the only things that seem to get my feelings out. Some people may think I'm crazy for posting my deepest thoughts in a public blog for anyone to see. But I figure at the very least, someone else may relate to my struggles, and I know how much it helps me when I come across someone who's going through the same things... and it's proving to be therapeutic for me to get things out in the open.

I'm trying hard not to beat myself up for not doing better, for not being closer to my goal... but it's difficult not to. I'm trying to be gentle with myself, but this is new to me since I've always been so hard on myself. For instance, piling on layers upon layers of guilt every time I eat something I don't want to be eating. The reality is I feel truly sad. I have done SO much research on living foods. I know in my heart, mind and soul that a raw food lifestyle is what I desperately want and need in order to not only be healthy, but also be the best person I can be, inside and out. I remember how much better I felt when I was raw before. Right now I feel pathetic, and weak, and so frustrated. If I know from experience how much better my life is when I'm living a raw food lifestyle, why don't I just do it? What is holding me back? I'm struggling so hard to increase my percentage of raw food, and some days just to stay raw at all. I don't know why this is. I love raw food. I feel awesome preparing it, I love serving it, I feel wonderful eating it, and I feel amazing after I eat it. The more I eat the better I feel emotionally, physically and mentally.

But... I feel this fear that I don't know the source of. It keeps holding me back. It's like I'm scared to be happy. I'm afraid of being successful. I'm worried that if I'm healthy and thin again my life will change and I don't know what it will be like. It seems so irrational, but there it is...
It would also mean I'd have to take more responsibility for my life... I won't be able to hide behind all my extra weight anymore. Hmmmm... I think I'm afraid of my emotions. I'm a very emotional person and cooked food keeps everything at bay. It numbs everything. When I'm raw the black cloud starts to lift and everything starts to become clearer, and emotions come to the surface. I think I'm afraid of working through all those emotions. So I need to find a way to come to terms with it and realize that I can get through it, and once I've released all the emotions things will be SO much better. Things will be amazing. I have a wonderful hubby and a best friend I can lean on, who'll put up with all my emotions. I hope they're ready for it.

Well... that was a mouthful, wasn't it...

Next time I fall silent for more than a day or two, someone PLEASE give me a kick in the butt! Seriously...


Sunday, November 9, 2008

That "defining moment".

Many people when they make a major lifestyle change speak about a single "defining moment" that sparked them to jump into action and change their lives. For me, there have been many times I've had an epiphany like that, a moment where I suddenly realize how wrong the path that I'm on is, how completely right another path is, and just as suddenly feel a desperate need to jump from the clearly wrong path, to the path that's glowing with obvious clarity. And I do jump paths, but only for a certain amount of time unfortunately.

So I'm not so sure anymore that they were all epiphanies so much as little "light bulb moments", where the lifestyle I know I should be living is gradually getting more and more bright. The little pieces of the puzzle I'm trying to finish are gradually finding their way, and when it's all completed, will make everything crystal clear for me and I won't ever want to go back to my old ways. When everything is in place, I won't be struggling anymore for the answers, I'll have the whole picture, and it will finally make sense. I will still always be researching and learning as much as I can about health and nutrition, and nature's gifts to us, but I will have all the tools I need to live the raw food lifestyle, cleanse and heal my body and live naturally.

This week I'm going to work on planning ahead, and making up raw food dishes that I think will fill the void of cooked food cravings I think we will struggle with, and that we have been struggling with. This is the puzzle piece I'm feeling the most compelled to work on right now. I think it's the main one that's holding us back from being 100% raw. And who knows, this could be the final piece. Maybe not... But maybe so... Time will tell. :-)


Friday, November 7, 2008

Getting there slowly...

As we have been adding more and more raw food back into our diet, I've been spending a lot of time thinking, and getting my head on straight. Changing my whole lifestyle involves so many aspects of my life that it's hard to concentrate on all of them. But I want to do this right this time. I want to do this for the LAST time, and make it stick. What really helped me was an article I read by Karen Knowler. She said it was important to continue work on all aspects of your life, and not push anything to the side while you work on other things. This surprised me at first, but then as I thought about it, it made a lot of sense. When I began this journey I originally thought that in order to get myself where I wanted to be and really make a new lifestyle stick I needed to concentrate on raw food. Making sure there's plenty of raw food in the house, reorganizing the kitchen, planning ahead for meals and conquering cravings for cooked/processed foods. Thinking about all the adjustments needed I really wanted to just concentrate on getting my raw food diet on track, and put other goals I have aside for a little while.

But after reading what Karen had said, I changed my mind. I realized she was right and that if I put other things aside and just concentrated on my raw food diet and getting that where I wanted it to be, then when that was on track I would look around and realize that... sure, I had the raw food diet down, but as for the rest of my life, there was not much else going on. I've decided that I need to work slowly on all aspects including my body, mind, spirit and emotions. I can't put the rest of my life on hold. I want to live life, not plan to live it sometime in the future! Putting off other goals until later is just basically putting my life on hold! So, my plan is to work on balancing time for all of my goals, and slowly work towards each of them. Not do one goal at a time. Because the thing is, working on one aspect of your life can support the work on another aspect. Mind, body, spirit and emotions are all intertwined, so when you slowly work on each of them, you get sustainable change. Change that works, because the body as a whole is improving, and all areas are being nurtured. If you work on your physical body but not your emotions for instance, your emotions could get in the way of your physical improvement. In other words your health as a whole is affected when just one aspect of your life is shoved aside.

So, that is what I've pulled out from all my thoughts this week. I'm excited about how much I'm growing this time around. It's made a world of difference looking at my whole life, especially my emotions, and working on my entire self. Not just a portion of it!

If you want to check out Karen Knowler's website, click HERE. She has some great ebooks about beginning on raw food, and a wealth of information about adopting a raw food lifestyle and staying raw. I've really learned a lot from her ebooks, and her weekly e-newsletter. She is so genuine and inspiring. :-)

Please let me know how you're doing too, and thanks for stopping by. :)