Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Plastic Bottles

Yesterday I watched a documentary entitled Tapped. It was fabulous. I appreciated the excellent information, its beautiful photography, sensitive narration, good use of silence with just visuals, and its overall stimulation. I found it very provocative.

What I want for Christmas and all the year is for people to STOP drinking bottled water. There are many valid reasons for changing our behavior. First, the water is acidic, highly oxidizing, and very costly. The cost per gallon exceeds that of gasoline!

In many cases the quality of the water is no better than what comes from the public water supply, which is highly regulated and frequently tested. Bottled water, on the contrary, escapes governmental scrutiny! Citizens assume that because it's bottled and has a fancy name and label that the contents is safe and sanitary. Not necessarily so.

What disgusts me is knowing that several of the largest bottlers (Nestle via Poland Springs, CocaCola, and Pepsi) actually use the public water supply. We citizens are footing the bill and then buying the water from these conglomerates.

As Tapped pointed out, some locales are experiencing major droughts. Yet these companies continue to take water from lakes and springs while the neighborhood must limit its use of water or go without! One such community is Atlanta.

It bothers me to see that the precious resources in Maine are being taken from the community without compensation. The cost of water for Poland Springs, a meager 4 cents per bottle. The profit, about 160%.

And the bottles themselves pose more problems. Do you know how much petroleum goes into their manufacture and distribution? Enough to fuel 10,000 vehicles daily.

Then there's the issue of health. People living close to companies that produce these plastics develop cancer at higher than average rates. Here's another Love Canal happening in Corpus Christy, TX. These families are experiencing devastation both health-wise and financially.

Those of use who drink from these bottles also risk exposure to carcinogens. It turns out that polycarbonate also leaches chemicals just like PET plastic.

Finally our environment cannot handle the mountains, no acres of plastic bottles that are clogging streams, rivers, even the ocean. There is a place in the Pacific twice the size of Texas that consists of tons of plastic bottles. There is a beach where instead of sand, these is a mixture of plastic particles. Landfills are overflowing with plastic waste.

Sadly, less than 30% of plastic bottles are recycled in the US. Europe has a higher rate. Where the 13 states have passed legislation requiring deposits on plastic bottles (mainly soda), recycling increases to more than 50%. In Michigan, the only state to put a 10 cent deposit, the rate is 95%. However, most states exempt water bottles from this law!

The industry pretends that the solution is curbside recycling, but less than one in four of us in the US have such access. Thus we toss them away randomly and most wind up in the waterways. It takes over 1000 years for them to degrade. In the meantime, the fish eating the plastic pieces are getting sick and die. We who eat such fish also risk these plastics accumulating in our bodies.

Can you see the disaster brewing? It's here. Please stop buying bottled water (soda too). Let's be mindful of our legacy to the next generation as well as protecting the health and environment right now.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

First Demonstration

Thanks to my friend Patti who suggestions and organized this event, I gave my first presentation on Kangen water. It was a hit! I'm very happy.

About 3 weeks ago, Patti and I attended a demonstration and we both had similar reactions. While it was very informative, it seemed overly complicated and long. We both thought it needed to be simplified and shortened.

Although Patti has not yet purchased her own machine, she loves this water and comes regularly to my home to refill her jugs. She suggested that I do a demonstration and she would invite all her friends. I developed the copy and she sent out 40 invitations.

In the last week, I began telling a few of my friends about the event and knew that they would be coming too. Then I began to prepare for this evening.

First I wrote out my "speech". I find that this helps me organize my thoughts and plants some phrases in my brain so that when I speak extemporaneously, I know where I'm going and what I want to say. I shared my written speech with a few friends and got feedback. One woman, whom I recently met, suggested that the best way to do this type of presentation is to begin with stories. She said, information tells but stories sell.

So I abandoned my original script and followed her suggestion. Since my own stories seemed a bit weak, I asked my sponsor if he would share his via telephone. (He lives in Florida whereas I reside in Massachusetts.) I put him on speaker phone and he told about having a liver transplant that required him to take lots of immune-suppressant medications. As a result, his kidney function was gravely compromised and he was informed that he would next need a kidney transplant. However, he began drinking large amounts of Kangen water and his health was restored. Rather than 20 medications, he takes just 3 and no longer has kidney problems.

Another member of the team told his story via telephone. His father had died from acid reflux. Following in his footsteps, he too was diagnosed with the condition and found himself on various medications. The problem was so severe that his whole life revolved around taking these drugs. Once he started drinking Kangen water, the symptoms disappeared. Now he is drug-free and has no acid reflux.

I shared a couple of stories of women I have helped by sharing this water. One had acid reflux that required daily medication. Within 3 days, she was able to stop all drugs. The other person had severe morning sickness well into her 5th month of pregnancy. Within 2 days of drinking Kangen water, the morning sickness resolved and she is doing fine.

I've found that my weight has redistributed by drinking this water and my body is able to let go more easily of extra pounds. Moreover, the slight aches and joint pains that I was unaware were there, disappeared entirely, and then came back during the 5 days when I was out of town during Thanksgiving. Now I know for sure that the water benefits me.

After these stories I did several demonstrations. The first was to show the amount of anti-oxidants contained in Kangen water in comparison to other types of water. We used tap water, Penta, Poland Spring, SmartWater, VitaminWater, Fiji Water, Sprite, and Pelagrino. All of the other waters had positive ORP readings, meaning that they actually contribute free radicals and help age the body more rapidly. Kange water had negative 350 ORP reading, meaning it contains lots of anti-oxidants that neutralize free radicals.

The next demonstration was the pH level. Most of the waters are acid with the exception of Fiji and tap water, which were both neutral, even a bit alkaline. Kangen water was highly alkaline, and it quickly alkalized the other waters, except for soda and Pelagrino.

It was the last demonstration that was most impressive. Using a cluster of tomatoes, I soaked them in plain tap water and strong Kangen water. I test for chlorine. Tap water is loaded with chlorine. After "cleaning" the tomatoes, the soaked tap water test negative for chlorine, whereas the Kangen soaked water was "dirty". Where did the chlorine go? Obviously, it was absorped by the tomatoes! So the tomatoes actually washed the water rather than the other way around. It made us all think about what kind of pesticides and acid rain are on our produce, as well as what we might be eating.

If you want more information about Kangen water, go to

My audience gave me feedback at the end and I appreciated their support. Thanks!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Super Charge Me

This week I attended a movie/lecture at Harvard University featuring Jenna Norwood and her movie, Super Charge Me. In contrast with Super Size Me, which documents one person's journey eating 30 days exclusively at MacDonald's, Super Charge Me shows Jenna's adventures eating raw foods for 30 days.

What prompted her to begin this path was her desire to look ravishing in a chorus girl costume that she hoped to wear for Halloween. When she tried it on months before the event, the mirror reflected back unattractive bulges. That motivated her to do something. Coincidentally a few friends had recently experimented with raw foods, which caused her to do some research. So she enrolled in a 21-day detox experience at Optimum Health Institute in San Diego. When she completed the program, she continued eating raw for the full 30 days.

Before beginning this month, she consulted her doctor and had various tests performed. The same battery of tests were repeated at the end. As expected, she lost about 15 pounds. Most of her blood work showed vast improvement. There were two exceptions: iron and B12 levels.

As a person who has been eating no animal products for many years, B12 levels could be a concern. However, as I've researched the topic, I've learned that many people, not just vegans, have low B12 levels. So I recently decided to add a sublingual supplement.

The point of the film is that eating living foods is a viable option and can lead to improvements in overall health. My own experience substantiates this conclusion.

Following the documentary, Jenna appeared and answered questions. I learned that she formed a raw food community in Sarasota, Florida, where she hails. So upon return, she began to meet like-minded people and participate in potluck get-togethers. With the prodding of her new friends, she eventually taught food preparation and later opened a raw food restaurant. Sadly the new building where the restaurant was going to be housed had a major flood and so this venture is temporarily on hold.

I liked how Jenna responded to people's inquiries. Although it was apparent that she advocates for raw food, she also is supportive of other choices. She admits that she has strayed several times, even though she feels better when eating living foods. I appreciated her comment to one questioner, "Just try it and judge for yourself."

As I listened to the audience reflect on this documentary, I recalled one quote that the movie cited from Margaret Mead. To paraphrase, it's easier to change a man's religion than his diet. So true.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving week vacation

I traveled to California over Thanksgiving week to see my brother and his family. He celebrated a milestone birthday the week before, and instead of visiting him then, he suggested a Thanksgiving gathering. Since we hadn't been together to share this holiday in well over a decade, I was very happy to accept this invitation.

I last saw my brother and sister-in-law in March. At that time, we celebrated my birthday. At the time I was following a vegan food plan. In July, however, I experimented with eating 100% living foods for a week. Well that 7-day adventure has grown into nearly 5 months of continuous uncooked, unprocessed, vegan foods. The more I eat this way, the more I enjoy and choose to eat this way.

Because it had been his birthday and because I personally wanted to eat live food, I prepared a dinner for the family the next day after my arrival. That meant going to the supermarket to purchase organic produce. Fortunately my adult niece offered to take me and she also became my sous chef once we returned from the errand.

I brought with me kelp noodles so I could prepare Thailicious noodles. I've made it 4-5 times. The trick was that I didn't have my trusty VitaMix. Instead I was using a Cuisinart. Since the machine belonged to my niece, she helped assemble it and then told me that there was too much liquid so that we could make it in batches. This introduced a new challenge of getting the seasoning correct since I was serving the whole dish, not portions of it. In my opinion, the end result was delicious as evidenced by the fact that everyone had second helpings.

Instead of salad, since the majority of the family had eaten one for lunch (why we couldn't eat a second one I didn't understand), so I made soup. This was my first venture preparing Thai carrot soup. This too required ingenuity in making it in batches and then correcting the seasoning. Again it was successful.

My dessert was maple and chocolate ice cream. I found immature Thai coconuts at the store. We managed to crack them open, pour out the divine liquid milk, and then scoop out the gel-like pulp. Not having the VitaMix for this recipe was a major drawback. The food processor was unable to make the base creamy enough. At least the raspberry cookies I brought from home were a hit.

For Thanksgiving we had a potluck meal. My sister-in-law had ordered and then roasted a speically marinated steak. Obviously I wasn't going to consume this item! Nor did I want to eat it. Had she roasted a turkey and I smelled it cooking all day long, I might have wanted to taste it. But steak? No way. Although I had given myself permission to eat anything during this trip, when checking internally I truly wanted and was satisfied by living foods. So I got busy and prepared lots of dishes.

For the previous dinner I had made kale salad and a sunflower pate. Because there was a lot of leftover pate, I used it to create an appetizer: celery sticks stuffed with pate.

I had plenty of kale that I lovingly prepared, removing the spine and massaging with lemon juice and a touch of olive oil. To this I added dried cranberries, pecans, and carrots. I didn't even make more dressing as it seemed fine and light as it was.

For a main dish I made my chili using soaked almonds and carrots as the base. I brought with me organic sun-dried tomatoes that I purchased from Aimee's Livin' Magic. They're the best. I soaked them and then added seasonings and vegetables that constituted chili. The dish has a lot of oral satisfaction, lots of chew, lots of textures, and great taste.

Finally, I also made dessert, my famous carrot cake. I invented this recipe and the only challenge was the lack of access to the kitchen equipment I so cherish: juicer and VitaMix. Fortunately I noticed that there was a blender in this home, and it helped make the icing smooth.

Since I had access to a blender, I also made some cacao treats from cacao powder, medjooul dates, cacao nibs, gogi berries, and pecans. I hope my sister-in-law likes them because I understand she enjoys good quality chocolate.

Happily I took kale salad and chili with me on my long return flight home. What a treat it was to eat living food in the midst of airplane fare!

I received as a gift a Canon digital camera. Hopefully I'll be able to add some photos to this blog in due time.

I'm glad to be home again. I spent the day shopping for fresh produce and preparing food that required dehydration. I made some delicious yam chips by simply coating the chips with nutritional yeast, sea salt, pepper and basil. I liked this recipe so much I'm going shopping for more yams!

Hope you enjoyed your holiday week.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Water, water everywhere

75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. In 37% of Americans the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger. One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University of Washington study.

Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue. Even MILD dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism as much as 3%. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.

Drinking adequate water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer. It can also significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.

This weekend I attended a demonstration of Kangen water. I'm convinced that drinking water from the tap or bottled water is not the answer to dehydration. Restructured, ionized water is the only way for me.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The World Peace Diet

Yesterday afternoon I attended a presentation by Dr. Will Tuttle in which he gave an overview of his book, The World Peace Diet, Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony. I so enjoyed his talk that I returned in the evening (different location) so that I could get a second dose!

A major premise of his book is that the maltreatment of animals is intimately linked to a multitude of human ills including violence and war. I'm looking forward to reading the chapter that outlines the history of when animals became property. Having taught courses and lectured on violence against women, I found his analysis particularly provocative.

If you ask just one question, the intention of his writing will have been achieved: Where did this food I'm about to eat come from? Most of us eat unconsciously, putting out of mind that the hamburger or tuna fish salad we consume have anything to do with creatures that lived, creatures with intelligence and feelings.

Many readers of his book became instant vegans before finishing it. I had a similar experience about 5 years ago when I saw a documentary, Eating ( It is an expose about how most human diseases can be traced to eating animal products. If that message weren't enough, the film then shows the inhumane treatment of animals that are raised for slaughter.

Will Tuttle also mentioned how fish are farmed. The water in the tanks where they are reared appears black in color because of the amount of feces discharged from the numerous fish that can barely swim in place. More of these fish are fed to livestock -- herbivores such as cows and sheep -- than are consumed by people! This is appalling.

I'm aware that the laborers who staff these farms and slaughterhouses have a high rate of addiction and suicide. Will said repeatedly that what we do to animals we do to ourselves.

There are several websites where you can get more information and order the book:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lost in recipes

Last Friday evening I attended a raw food potluck dinner in Manchester, NH. I love this group, so lively, so personable, and of course the foods are so tasty. It's a great way to sample different foods as well as try out new recipes.

For that occasion, I brought a carrot cake. For the days preceding the event, I searched out various recipes for carrot cake. I noticed the different ingredients and preparations suggested. From them, I chose to make my own recipe.

Of course, carrots are the basis for carrot cake. I juiced some and kept the pulp for the batter. To the juice I added raisins and dates for sweetness and texture.

For the flour, I blended walnuts and coconut. I left some of the walnuts chunky because I like eating nuts in my cake.

I combined wet and dry ingredients and made a "dough" of sorts. To this I added spices: cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. I placed the batter into a cake pan. Into the refrigerator it went while I concocted the icing.

I used cashews and orange juice and zest for the topping. I added some orange extract because I really wanted a strong orange flavor. Then I iced the cake and placed it into the freezer to set.

The cake was such a hit that I made it again on Sunday. This time I had a lot more confidence as I combined ingredients. I found that I could add all the carrot juice to the batter without the cake being too wet. It was moist and delicious. I also thought that next time I would add pineapple, perhaps both to the cake and icing.

In view of Thanksgiving around the corner, I'm experimenting with more recipes. So I'm on the prowl for desserts, soups, pates, or other items. I made a no-bake pumpkin pie (no crust either).
Using the VitaMix, I blended raw pumpkin, some orange juice, and spices, primarily pumpkin pie spices (nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, allspice). Sweetener wasn't even necessary.

My latest effort is a chocolate torte. I'm mostly following a recipe from Chef Stuart Reiter from Cafe Prana in Newton, MA. My sister-in-law loves fine chocolate and I think she'll love this dessert.

I feel blessed that I can find so many recipes and ideas on the internet without having to visit a library or a bookstore. I'm spending hours looking and copying them. So more tasty treats are around the corner.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Decisions, decisions

Selecting a new website was difficult. I wanted just the right sound and look to the name. It had to do with water and I thought about whether to use WellnessWiz, my company name, as part of its title. However, I decided against as it sounded slightly obscene. Instead I selected

Once I had the website, I needed business cards and other materials. So VistaPrint was my next stopping place. Slowly I found the graphics that brought the website to life. Then I chose several kinds of items: business cards, letterhead, note pads, sticky notes, banners, lawn sign, and magnets for the car. I think I got a couple of freebies, a wall calendar or pen.

Now I have to put content on the site. Or, better yet, redirect it. All of these activities require lots of decision-making effort. Strangely enough, I'm a fast decision maker on certain things, and extremely slow on others. What does that say? In business I'm quick to make decisions. Personally, aesthetically, I'm quite slow.

For example, I saw a message this morning from a member of the raw food community presenting a new business opportunity. I immediately opted to sign up. Granted the cost was nothing to join. Later there will be costs. Nor did it take much in the way of thought for me to send it to my friends.

You might be interested too. Here are the details.

From:The Organic Acres Family
RE: Your Organic Acres Membership

Now that you have chosen to become a garden owner/member you can help to spread the word and start earning great referral fees. It's free and easy. Just start sending people to your website then watch your community build by clicking on your genealogy link.

Your Personal Marketing Website URL:

Every member you refer that signs up and then leases a bed or becomes a paying member after we launch, you will receive money placed into your General Store Account or placed in your bank account.;
As a FREE member tell others about this amazing program you can earn up to $5 per month on every Garden Member you refer for one level deep.

Or upgrade to at least a basic member and you can earn up to $10 every month for every Garden Member you help join and up to $10 every month for every Garden Member they help join!

For 5 levels deep...!

There is no limit as to the number of new members you may sponsor and get paid on. However this next year there will be only 4,000 full Gardens or 8,000 Half Gardens available to be leased! So get busy sponsoring because we intend to have all the Gardens leased and ready to start working by January of 2010.

So this was a quick decision. Selecting a website was slow.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Boston Vegetarian Society Food Fest

I attended the Boston Vegetarian Society 14th Annual Food Fest. Last night and today I volunteered. My duties included putting table coverings on the exhibitor tables; unloading and pricing books; copying materials at a copy shop; helping patrol the recycle receptacles, refilling the give-away basket, and selling water. There were a few other stray tasks I did along the way.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I especially appreciated hearing Dr. Michael Gregor present. Each year he culls through thousands of articles on health and nutrition, and selects tasty morsels that he develops into a quiz. He rewards a few of the audience members who are clever enough to get the answers right with a disc containing some of the latest findings. How I covet that disc!

I also purchased several recipe books at half price or less. My bounty included:
Celebrating our Raw Nature, by Dorit
Healthful Cuisine, 2nd edition by Anna Maria Clement with Chef Kelly Serbonich
The Raw Gourmet by Nomi Shannon and
Alive in 5, Angela Elliott.

I also picked up a DVD, Eating, which first prompted me to become vegan.

Already I devoured the recipe books eyeing several good choices to try. I met a fellow at the Fest who is buff. He said he ate vegan but couldn't go raw because he enjoys cooking too much. What a hoot! I retorted that I've never had so much fun preparing living foods, as it really gets my creative juices flowing.

There were lots of foods to sample and purchase. Seeing all the people munching away made me hungry. A few times I took a bite of some of the cooked fare. Surprisingly I was immediately aware of heavy and dense was the food. I looked forward to coming home this evening and indulging in my own clean living meal (Thailicious noodles). I used kelp noodles as the base.

Soak kelp noodles in alkaline water (add lemon or lime to plain water)
In the meantime, blend cashews (1 cup and/or peanuts).
Add juice from a lemon,
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar,
1 inch of fresh ginger,
1 inch or so of lemon grass,
1T. coconut oil,
pepper, salt to taste.

I also have to add some water because the sauce gets a bit thick. I pour it over the noodles, which I cut into small pieces, and then top with fresh veggies. Today I had carrots, celery, peas, and corn. Yummy! It's an easy dish to prepare and I love eating it.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Living Foods and Weight Loss

I read a fascinating statement from Raw Food Right Now

I'm glad this subject is being addressed and I look forward to the interview with Victoria Botenka in a few weeks.

For those who don't know who Victoria is, she has been a proponent of green smoothies for many years. As an immigrant to this country, she and her family suffered from many health challenges, which as a concerned mother, she sought to overcome. So she asked people who "looked" healthy to tell her what they did to get that way. After many unsatisfactory encounters, one woman told her about eating raw foods. Thus started Victoria on the road to healing her family of their various maladies.

Later she did extensive research on the eating habits of primates and developed what she called green smoothies. This is a beverage made from dark leafy green vegetables such as chard, spinach, kale plus fruit, often banana, apple, pear. The bitterness of the greens are offset by the sweetness of the fruit, thus making this drink both yummy and beneficial.

Victoria lost weight by eliminating cooked foods in her diet. Yet today she is a woman of substance. What has happened? People in the raw foods community are curious and concerned.

I've been a person who has been overweight since age 5. As you can imagine, I've tried a lot of food plans and even took hormone shots as a teenager to help me lose weight. Invariably, whatever plan I followed failed to change my lifestyle for the good. In fact I often went on a diet so that I could return to eating "normally". Normal, of course, was what caused me to gain weight!

As a child I didn't allow the extra weight to keep me sedentary. I was a tom boy growing up and have been an active adult. I've often used exercise to lose weight and keep it down with only so-so results.

I'll also mention that I've been a member of 12-step recovery (Overeaters Anonymous) for over 23 years. So I've tried the gamut of approaches to be rid of excess pounds.

A year ago I began exercising with specific workout programs offered through BeachBody. Slowly I lost weight and also changed dimensions. Still the scale would barely budge in the downward direction.

This past July I decided to go 100% uncooked, unprocessed, whole foods. I had been eating a vegan food plan for 3-4 years, drinking Green Smoothies (after hearing Victoria speak), and thought the leap was manageable, especially during the summer.

The first month I hardly lost any weight. Mind you, I'm exercising 6 times a week quite vigorously with P90. The second month my weight loss began in earnest. I now weigh less than I did in high school and am thrilled. I've dropped about 15 pounds since July, which is a huge accomplishment for me.

I share this story because body size is quite peculiar and individual. I doubt that I will ever be "thin" and am exceedingly pleased with how I look and feel on this living foods diet (I prefer this term to raw, which sounds unsanitary and unsafe!).

One of the things that attracted me to this food plan was the fact that I didn't have to measure, count or weigh food items. However, this may be a myth and delusion. Nuts and oils are dense and high in calories. People eating 100% raw can choose unhealthy living foods and eat in excess, which could account for their (surplus) weight.

I'm still a work in progress. I'm curious to know whether I'll continue to lose weight with this living food diet, and whether I gain weight if I add back cooked food. A day at a time I'm choosing to follow this plan and continue exercising. For me this combination seems to work. If you've struggled with weight, what have you found that works for you?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Did you know that your body is more than 70% water?

If you are a person who is actively working out, you need to extra water to flush away toxins that are released while exercising as well as to replenish the fluids lost.

Now-a-days, people are turning to bottled water because of the concerns about the public drinking water. Some of the various chemicals used to treat water have been shown to be carcinogens, substances linked to cancer.

Yet bottled water has its drawbacks too. First it may be of no better quality than tap water. In fact some of the distributors of bottled water actually get it from the public supply.

The bottles themselves contribute to environmental pollution. Landfills are overflowing with plastic debris. Some cities have actually banned bottled water.

Plus, are you aware that the plastic may leach into the water contaminating it? Those plastic bottles that are extremely flexible are the biggest culprits. So you should never refill your plastic containers.

And then there's the cost. How much are you spending for water that has a fancy name?

Three things to consider about water. First its pH level. Our bodies operate best in a slightly alkaline environment, 7.2-7.4. Most bottled waters test in the high acidic range of 2.0-4.0. By the way, soda is a huge offender.

Second, the ability of the body to absorb water. Micro-clusters enable the body to readily take in water so that you don't feel bloated after drinking a glass.

Third, the oxidation impact. Oxidation to the body is like rust to a car; it corrodes it. In the case of the body, it contributes to aging and disease. Most bottled waters score high on this scale, just the opposite of what is desired.

I've recently come across the rolls royce of water. Rather than a filter, it's been licensed as medical equipment in Japan. The water produced can range from 2.5 to 11.5 on the pH scale.

At the low end, highly acid water is beneficial for sanitizing. At the high end, highly alkaline water is excellent for removing stains, dirt, and other cleaning tasks.

Mildly acid water makes the best toner for the face and body. It also conditions hair.

Mildly alkaline water is excellent to drink. It completely hydrates the body at the cellular level. Without changing caloric intake, people who drink mildly alkaline water are reporting weight loss. Since I'm already losing weight by eating a living foods diet, I asked my housemate to experiment by drinking this alkaline water exclusively for the next week. I'll let you know her results.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Seasonal eating

I attended a raw food potluck event last night that featured Dorit. She has written many books and is well known to the raw food community. She spoke on raw eating during the winter season.

Many people recommend herbs and spices that warm the system: ginger, cloves, garlic, cayenne pepper, to name a few. I once worked with a nutritionist and author, Hale Baycu Shatz who taught me to eat according to the season. In the winter, root vegetables are in abundance.

As a resident of chilly New England, I was wondering whether I would remain raw with winter approaching. As friends would inquire about my progress (over 100 days eating living foods), I would answer that I kept making my decision to remain raw on a daily basis. I might let go once the cold weather was constant.

This last week the temperatures dropped and on Sunday it actually snowed (didn't stick). If you saw or heard about the Patriots' game, then you're aware of the snow. Yet, I continued to eat raw living foods. I haven't been cold and haven't desired hot foods.

I have had some sips of tea. And I do boil and steep my tea. Yet, it is not a staple of my diet. Living foods are.

What I heard Dorit say is that external circumstances do not have power over individual decisions. I have the power. I'm in control. I can use the coldness of the weather to alter my choice or not.

She gave some great suggestions about being with the weather. Surprisingly I had already put into effect some of those very ideas. She recommended changing colors, going from the cool light colors and fabrics of summer to dark and heavy colors of winter. I had already transitioned by changing something as simple as the sheets on my bed.

I liked her observation of how animals behave during the winter. Many hibernate. They slow done their activities and function solely during daylight hours. She suggested that we consider hibernating too in the sense of going inward and being with oneself. Also, we might rise at day break and go to bed at dusk.

She recommended self care that allowed for introspection and nourishment. Massages, saunas, baths, yoga, meditation.

Her approach is to adopt a raw food lifestyle, not just a raw food plan. This makes sense to me.

One other thought she reinforced was how language shapes us. We can use language to emphasize the cold or emphasize the warmth, emphasize powerlessness or emphasize personal power. Do I tell myself that I can't possibly eat this cold salad or do I reflect on taking in the sunshine from this produce?

I drove two friends to the event and on the way home we talked about Dorit's message. An epiphany came to me. Rather than raw foods, I'm into living foods, much better term. I have power to choose my words and thus shape my experience.

This season, I eat living foods. I experience the change in light and temperature and respond accordingly. I am alive!

Monday, October 19, 2009


As a vegan and now raw foodist, I'm aware of the concern about whether I'm getting all the nutrients I need. Yet, as I continue to read, I find this topic filled with contradictory information. As a result, I'm unable to figure out what's my best course of action. I'm curious to know what others are thinking and doing.

Ten years ago I began taking quality supplements. My diet was poor and I wasn't doing much in the way of enhancing my health. So the supplements made a big difference. Several conditions were relieved and I was convinced that supplements were beneficial.

However, as I began to observe others, I realized that some people did not get the same good results as I did from supplementation. How could I make sense of this ? -- especially because I thought that everyone needed certain ones and our food was deficient in providing them. Slowly my mind has opened to the idea that each person is a unique individual with unique biology. What works for one person doesn't necessarily translate into the same results for another.

When I faced a health challenge 5 years ago (broken wrist that required surgery; still can't make a fist or bend the last digits in my fingers), I searched for and experienced many alternative healing options. Some made a big difference; others less so. I've conclude that if a person truly desires healing, then keep looking and trying out various approaches. There are some excellent ways to improve and maintain health. Just be open to them!

So here I am, 3 months into eating 100% raw, wondering whether the cold weather will derail this food plan, and trying to figure out how to optimize my self care. I exercise regularly; I eat raw foods in abundance; I drink alkaline water; I take ionic foot baths twice a week; I meditate daily; I pursue other spiritual practices. Should I supplement? What about B12?

What do you do to optimzie health?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Wedded Bliss

I attended a wedding reception for Gogi Girl and Frankie G. Although I "know" these people through their blogs and the raw food community, I had never met them until this afternoon. I was thrilled to be a part of their special day and had fun preparing my contributions.

Raw Broccoli Salad
My own creation

2 bunches of broccoli cut into small pieces
1 minced onion
2 large carrots chopped in small pieces

1 c. cashews
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1 lemon
1 c. water
3-4 cloves of garlic
1/4 c. nutritional yeast
sea salt to taste
Blend dressing and pour over broccoli mixture.

Raw Tabouli
adapted from Matt Amsden

1 large bunch parsley or as much as you like ( I used 2)
1 cup chopped tomato, more or less (from my garden, the last of the cherry tomatoes)
1/2 cup hemp seeds, more or less (1.5 cups, which I soaked for 30 minutes)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

1/2 cup lemon juice (3 lemons through the Champion Juicer)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
garlic cloves, put through garlic press to taste (4 large cloves)

In food processor chop parsley
Transfer to bowl and mix in remaining ingredients.
Add dressing.

Raw Hawaiian Balls

2 cups raisins
1 cup sesame seeds
1 cup coconut
cacao powder

Put raisins through blank juice so that they're mashed.
Add sesame seeds and half of the coconut.
Form into balls.
Roll balls into coconut and/or cacao powder.
Freeze and enjoy

The wedding cake, which mother Aimee ( made, was a 4-layer beauty decorated with gogi berries. The berries formed a heart on the top layer! How appropriate and special.

The groom made a short speech before cutting the wedding cake with his bride. As he looked around at the 75-100 guests who filled the rooms, he commented that although he didn't know most of the people gathered, he felt the warmth as we were all part of the raw community at that moment. Yes, one of our own got married and we celebrated the occasion.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Soup's on

Someone posted a website today with raw food holiday recipes. Immediately I went prowling on that site as well as several others, copying down various recipes along the way. While I don't intend to deny people their royalties for the food preparation books, I tend to be frugal. I love the various raw food blogs available where people so generously and freely share their recipes.

As the weather gets colder, I'm attracted to soups. This one sounds particularly yummy.

Marvellous Mushroom Soup

1/2 c. water
1/4 c. almond butter
1 1/2 c. mushrooms, quartered
1 T. Liquid Aminos
pinch of salt
4 T. finely chopped mushrooms

In a blender, combine the water and almond butter, and blend.
Add the quartered mushrooms, liquid aminos and salt. Blend until smooth.
Warm in a double boiler so that the temperature doesn't rise above 115 degrees. (If you dip your finger into the bowl and it's pleasantly warm, that's sufficient heat without killing the living enzymes.)
Pour into individual bowls and top with finely chopped mushrooms. Yields 1 cup.

Here's a creamy version of Mushroom soup for raw foodists.

Raw Creamy Mushroom Soup

1 cup torn Chanterelle mushrooms (they pull apart like "chicken")
1-2 T. olive oil
1/2 ounce dried mushrooms
1 cup water
4-5 large fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced
2 T. dark miso paste
4 cups water
sliced green onions tops (garnish)
olive oil for garnish

Take the torn Chanterells and marinate them with a little olive oil. Place them on a Teflex sheet and dehydrate for about 1 hour at 100*.

While the Chanterelles are in the dehydrator, soak your dried mushrooms in warm water for 30 minutes. In another bowl place the sliced shitake mushrooms and miso paste. Pour the now reconstituted mushrooms along with the soaking water over this mixture. Massage it with your fingers to loosen up the miso paste. Let this mixture now stand for 30 minutes or so.

Take this mixture, pour into your blender and blend it along with the 4 cups of water until smooth. Add more water if the flavor is too strong. Pour into individual soup bowls, top with the chanterells and garnish with some green onion tops and a little drop or two of olive oil.

When I was a child, the first recipe I asked my mother to teach me to make was beef-barley-mushroom soup. It was easy to do, and I have since made countless variations. If I stop being 100% raw this winter, it will probably be with this soup or one like it where I substitute lentils for barley.

Beef-Barley-Mushroom Soup

4-8 cups water
beef bones (short ribs are plain knuckle bones work swell)
1-4 bay leaves
1-2 t. salt, depending on your taste buds
1 c. barley (or half barley, half yellow or green split pea)
1 pound mushrooms cut
2-4 carrots
1-3 stalks of celery
1 onion (more or less to your taste)
Your favorite seasons (salt, pepper, liquid smoke)

Put soup bones into a pot with water and a bay leaf plus salt. Bring to a boil and skim the surface. Now add the barley, or a combination of peas and barley. These absorb water like crazy, so be sure you started with enough or add more as needed. Once the barley is soft, about 40 minutes, add vegetables as well as other seasonings.

Stay warm.
To your good health!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Flu shots

Have you thought about the flu? Have you thought about getting a flu shot?

How could such ideas not filter through your brain given all the publicity for months now. I have not thought about the flu or gotten a flu shot for many years. At least 10. That's because it was over 10 years ago that I began taking quality supplements to boost my immune system. With a strong, vigorous immune system, the probability of getting the flu is practically nil.

In addition to taking supplements, I do many things to enhance my health. I meditate and exercise almost daily. I watch my diet and select mainly raw, whole foods. These practices are highly related to remaining well.

Today I came across this website and found the research and comments of interest. Perhaps you will too.

Here's to good health!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


My grandson stayed with me this past weekend. His teachers have let us know that he is highly distracted in the classroom, which is probably one of the major reasons he doesn't complete his work and fails to retain information. His mom, my adopted daughter, needed a break from being a single parent. Thus grandma (me) became the temporary solution in their lives.

Since Emmanuel lives about 90 minutes away, we had ample time to chat as we drove to and from. We also had time throughout the visit. I tried to balance fun with school work. The hour or so we spent on his studies gave me great insights as to how this boy of 13 is processing information.

So I asked him what success meant to him. He first replied that having a good job and family would signify success. I had him back up and explain what success meant for a 7th grader. He answered that he would pass his tests and courses. "Just pass", I inquired?

In listening to his answer I heard that he has wishes, not dreams. Wishes are things that are desirable but out of reach. It would take a miracle to obtain them. Dreams are also desirable conditions that can come true with a plan and hard work.

What I realized is that Emmanuel lacked dedication. He wants to do well in school. He wants to do well playing basketball. Yet he is not devoting the time and effort to achieve that end. I defined the concept of dedication and explained that when a person is dedicated, he/she is highly focused and most of their energies and resources are devoted to that task.

I hope that by adding the word dedication to his vocabulary that Emmanuel may begin to realize his dreams rather than continue to wish things for the future. Before returning him to his mother, I gave him a card with a simple message about success.

When you change your mind, your change everything.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Walking and talking

I just returned from a 90 minute walk with an old friend. Did you ever notice how easy it is to walk and talk? It just seems like a natural process to move the legs and move the jaws.

Today was a beautiful, crisp, clear, partly sunny day in New England. The leaves are changing gradually and I doubt they'll reach peak this weekend, which is traditionally the designated time for visitors to flock here. Perhaps further north they'll enjoy the brilliant scarlets, eye-popping oranges, and dazzling yellows coloring the foliage.

Judy is an old friend and I almost lost this relationship. I have the mind of a chronic alcoholic, which means that in the past I often distorted reality and harbored resentments. I tended to get peeved when things didn't go my way and my usual retort was sarcasm, sighing, eye rolling, and the like. In other words, I lacked good communication skills.

Fortunately I've been working to recover from a seeming hopeless condition of mind and body. In particular, I own my past behavior and am making amends for having hurt people. I hurt Judy with my behavior, not deliberately, unintentionally with my unexpressed displeasure. Although I did speak with her a while back and identified my poor conduct, she was already so distressed that she was ready to let the relationship go. In fact, she needed a break.

When I saw her a year ago, she made it clear that our relationship was on hold. So I backed off and had no contact at all during the year. Then we saw each other during the High Holiday service, and she indicated a softening.

Rather than risk more discomfort, I waited for her to initiate a call. She did and we planned this walk. I thought we might talk about what happened, but as it turned out, our conversation never wondered down that path. Perhaps in the future it might. I'll take my cues from her.

What I learned is that I cannot take our relationship, any relationship, for granted. A friend is a gift, a precious gift. We choose our friends, and have to earn their friendship in return. I hope that I can maintain and grow my relationship with Judy. Here's to another walk and talk.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Creative Juices and a Food Dehydrator

I'm thrilled. My new Vegikiln 8-drawer dehydrator arrived 2 days ago and I've been running it almost non-stop. Currently I've got kale chips, onion rings, and granola bars drying out. Yesterday I made 2 types of crackers using chia seeds as the base. I also whipped up a batch of luscious lemon cookies. Yum, yum.

Since deciding to eat raw, I've discovered a whole new world of food preparation. It's allowed me to experiment and let my creative juices flow. For example, the granola bars. I started with a base of rolled oats. I'm not sure if they are raw; however, I did see a recipe on a raw food blog that used this ingredient.

Next I added chia seeds and water. When chia seeds are soaked in water, they form a gel that is sticky. This holds ingredients together. That's the basis of the cracker recipe. Start with chia seeds and water; then add other ingredients.

I looked in the pantry and added various nuts: brazil nuts, almonds, sunflower seeds. I also put in raw cacao nibs, coconut (left over from the luscious lemon cookies that call for cashews, coconut, lemon and agave). Can you believe? I actually started with a whole coconut and split it capturing the milk and then shredding the meat.

For extra nutrition I added coconut oil, which I placed in warm water to melt (it's solid at room temperature), and for sweetener, raw honey and agave. Cinnamon was my main seasoning. Finally, gogi berries gave it color and more flavor.

There were so many other ingredients I might have used. That's what makes it fun to prepare raw foods. Next time the batch will be entirely different.

I especially enjoy being able to taste the mixture before it is ready for eating. Because it's raw, I can actually alter the flavors and make it taste right. No guesswork. The granola bars are an easy thing to pack when traveling and I'll be out of town tomorrow.

The new dehydrator is fast and quiet. What kinds of things do you like to make in a dehydrator?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Food Matters

I was fortunate to attend a screening of the documentary, Food Matters ( It was powerful. Sadly most of the people raised in the US are unaware how our attitudes and ideas about food (and medication) have been shaped by society. We weren't born to eat the highly processed packed and fast foods that make up the majority of the American diet. We're killing ourselves with our food choices. Just look around and see the sickness that increases daily. Note the number of children born with challenges. How do we account for this? It's lifestyle, plain and simple.

I'm learning that asking a person to make changes in their food choices is more controversial and more highly resisted than almost any other activity. We fiercely hold onto our old ideas about what to eat. We lament that "it tastes good." Is the tongue the only part of our body we consult?

Last week I learned how to test whether the body wants a particular food or medication. The technique is to hold the item against the solar plexis with both hands, close your eyes, then inhale deeply and hold. Now exhale slowly. Let your body become a pendulum. Does it move forward? This means your body desires the item. Does it move backward? This means your body repels the item. Occasionally, no movement occurs, which means the item is neutral, neither good nor bad for you. However, you can always make more positive choices.

You can do this same technique to determine the dose of medication or supplements.

Back to the movie. According to many of the guest speakers, eliminating cooked food and adding more vegetables to our diets would enhance health. For people who are struggling with life-threatening illness, taking this step immediately could save their lives. How many of us are willing to do this without having our backs against the wall?

A few years back I saw a different document, Eating ( It changed my life. After hearing that every human disease could be traced to eating animal products and that each disease could be reduced or reversed by avoiding them, the choice was easy. I became a vegan that very day. The movie also documented the cruel treatment of animals raised for food including dairy cows and chickens. If you're a pet lover, think carefully about your food choices.

Food Matters makes a strong case for personal responsibility. Once you know the facts, would you hurt yourself and shorten your lifespan? I won't.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Raw Juice Experience

Ever since I announced to friends and family that I would do a raw juice food plan, they asked how I felt. Candidly, I didn't notice a difference. I think that was because I had been eating "clean" for so long. It wasn't much of a change to my system.

Yet, I did notice a difference when I resumed eating whole raw food. I could feel a slight heaviness in my stomach as it geared up to digest the simple banana and apple I ate. Happily I didn't take in anything too taxing. The next item I tried was a green smoothie: kale and pear combo.

The next day, I did a complete fast (in honor of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur). I broke the fast with garden fresh tomatoes and an apple.

Yesterday I did introduce more foods including some raw cashews, more kale, more fruit. What I'm noticing is that my bowels are sluggish. Thank goodness I have my last colonic scheduled for tomorrow! I want to stay clean, clean, clean.

Sadly I'm probably not drinking enough water. I just don't think to drink. I'll have to fill a liter container and put it directly in my line of vision as a reminder to take sips throughout the day. Hopefully that will increase my fluid intake.

Today I'll stick to a gentle eating plan, more kale, fruit, probably a few nuts and seeds too.

Friday, September 25, 2009

How time flies

Wow, has it been a week since I've blogged?! I can't believe how time flies. I was so diligent when I first began to blog. Now this lapse. I must recommit to my blog.

Yesterday I had my second colonic. Because I've been doing a juice fast for the last 4 days, and because I've been a vegan for years, my colon is actually in better shape than most. My practitioner was able to work on the entire transverse segment and secum. She said that with some people it takes several sessions before this is accomplished. I'm hoping that next week, we'll work on the ascending section of the large intestines.

Even without treating this last segment, I feel very clean, light, expansive, energized.

Or do these feelings come from my juice cleanse. I started on Monday and have done it for 5 straight days. Hunger has been nonexistent, even from the first day. I'm guessing that eating raw before this fast probably helped. I have to encourage myself to drink more and I think my overall caloric intake is quite low. I didn't intend to fast, just to cleanse.

Believe it or not, I've been reading and researching raw recipes even though I'm not eating. I'm looking forward to preparing new dishes. I plan to break the cleanse Monday evening (or Tuesday morning). Monday is a fast day in the Jewish tradition, and I plan to fast.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thai Coconuts

Wednesday night I attended a raw food potluck dinner and demonstration. I've been to this group twice before and enjoy the members and food. I contributed flax seed crackers: plain, sesame seed and caraway, and kelp chips. Both dishes were highly successful, which meant I came home empty-handed and lots of people asked for the recipes.

After the dinner, a couple of members demonstrated how to open young coconuts imported from Thailand. They are quite different from the tropical coconuts with the hairy brown exteriors. They are best consumed when immature. The liquid inside, referred to as Coconut Water, is sweet and delicious; the flesh is white and gelatinous. As the coconut matures, the water changes color and taste. The flesh hardens and thins. Also the color becomes pink to purple to brown.

In selecting a Thai coconut, inspect the bottom. Make sure it does not give way to touch (not springy or soft). It should be white all around, no pink, brown, or purple markings. When you shake it, you should not be able to hear anything inside, no water moving about.

Because the coconut water is prized, when opening the coconut, you first remove the water. This is done by inserting a couple of holes at the top, one for drainage and one for air. Coconuts have about 1-2 cups of liquid inside.

Once the coconut is emptied, then you can whack it open. This requires brute strength, usually a cleaver. Most people attack the top, Once it's off, then you can access the flesh inside. Because the flesh is soft and can be removed simply by running a spoon around the edge.

Our hostess used the Thai coconuts to make a couple of items. First whipped cream. Although you don't need coconut water for this delight, the flavor is enhanced with the coconut water. Cashews are the base and the mixture is sweetened usually with dates. Agave nectar, stevia, and raw honey are also possibilities.

The second dish was coconog. This tastes like egg nog and uses almond milk plus coconut flesh blended together along with nutmeg. Thai coconuts are also a featured item in raw ice cream. Can't wait to make that!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My first colonic

In a few days the autumnal equinox occurs. That's when the sun passes over the equator and there is an equal amount of time both day and night. Officially in the northern hemisphere, we call this moment the start of Fall. as the days grow short and the weather changes, because we're biological organisms, we respond. I like to commemorate this time period that allows me to transition between the seasons.

This year I decided a cleanse made sense. So I decided to do a raw juice fast, which I'll begin Sunday or Monday at the latest. In preparation for the dietary change, I gave myself the gift of a colonic, a colon cleanse.

Most people are unaware of how much fecal matter builds up in the colon. A famous story exists about John Wayne who allegedly had more than 40 pounds in his intestines upon death. That's a lot of bloat! However, the real issue is the toxicity.

Fecal matter is meant to be eliminated from the body because it is waste. So when it remains trapped in the colon, eventually it seeps into the rest of the body and may cause disease. If you've ever heard the expression, death begins in the colon, this is why. So live can also begin in the colon, if it is clean and able to function at its best.

A clean colon means easy bowel movements, better absorption of nutrients, especially if you're taking supplements, and overall improved health. Five years ago when I had my first colonoscopy, I was anxious. I hated the preparations before hand, and was concerned about the awkwardness and embarrassment of it. Of course, there was a vague concern that something might be discovered. Then what??

On the contrary, the colonic excited me. I was eager to experience it. I found it easy to follow the suggested diet plan in advance and was unconcerned a bout what might happen. Perhaps had I gone with a diagnosed condition, this mindset would have been substantially different.

It was no big deal. I had very little discomfort during the procedure as well as after. I definitely feel clean on the inside in a way I never knew before. I'll undergo 2 more colonics in the following weeks as part of my overall cleanse. I can highly recommend you consider having one too. It makes everything else you do for your health more accessible to your system.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Alkaline Water

It just arrived, my Kangen water filtration system. I'm so excited. It has the capacity to dial up water from acid to alkaline. from 1 to 12 on the Ph scale.

Why is that so important? Our bodies normally measure about 7.2 to 7.4 on the Ph scale, slightly alkaline (7.0 is neutral). Yet most of the food we consume is highly acidic. This interferes with the body's functioning and results in more susceptibility to disease and aging. Research shows that cancer and other viruses and bacteria cannot live in an alkaline environment.

Thank goodness I don't have any diagnosed illnesses. However, I'm very health-conscious and like to prevent problems before they arise. So I'm planning to drink alkaline water. According to other information, it also facilitates weight loss. That means that alkaline water provides three huge benefits:

1. prevent disease
2. inhibit aging
3. enhance weight loss

The Kangen water system also makes acid water. Why is this valuable? Bacterial infections do not like an acid environment. So if I want to rid my house of bacteria, then all I have to do is wash the surfaces in acid water.

This system is found in many hospitals throughout Japan and has been shown to be effective in enabling many people to restore their health. You can check out more information on YouTube.

Just in case you're wondering, those bottled waters that cost so much all measure highly acid. So unless you're buying them to scrub your bathroom, I'd avoid drinking the water.

To your good health!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lost 2 pounds

In the last few weeks I lost 2 pounds. I'm not looking to find them. They can remain lost. I'm thrilled that they decided to leave my body and convert to energy. I've got about 15 more such pounds to let go.

I've struggled with being overweight most of my childhood and adulthood too. Some time around the age of 5 I gained weight, enough so that I couldn't wear regular-sized clothing. My mom and I had to shop in the chubby department. As a little person, I didn't understand. Over the years, it became embarrassing and shameful to be extra large.

I was dieting at age 8. I was the youngest in an overweight family. So going on a diet was a family activity. By age 10 I had memorized the caloric content of hundreds of foods. My oldest brother went out of his way to make home-made avocado ice cream to celebrate the day when I reached goal weight. Ice cream and avocados topped the list of high calorie items.

The family had contests and offered incentives for those who could lose weight quickly. But the real prize was to resume eating the way I used to eat. I was unaware that this very behavior was what packed on the weight in the first place!

As a teenager I tried more desperate measures that included amphetamines and other drugs. These were prescribed and administered by a bariatric specialist and approved by my parents. The same yo-yo pattern persisted and followed me into adulthood.

Like many people, I learned that exercise could burn calories and increase metabolism. Fortunately I liked being active and easily added swimming and yoga into my routine. Later I tried a trampoline called a cellucizer. Despite claims of how others lost weight and kept it off, the best I could do was not to gain more.

Last year I switched workout programs and began using Slim in 6, then TurboJam, Hip Hop Abs, and now P90. Unlike the other exercises I saw a difference in my shape. The weight was reluctant to leave, but my body size was changing.

A couple of months ago I decided to try eating 100% raw. I've learned that this is a healthy lifestyle, albeit a challenging one in this society. However, with summer in full swing, I figured it would work. Since beginning this food plan, I've lost 10 pounds. What a gift! The last 3 weeks I've barely exercised and still lost those 2 pounds I mentioned at the opening. I'm amazed and gratified.

So although I wondered if I would continue eating raw as the weather changed, I'm so happy with this weight loss that I'll probably remain raw for a while. Next week to mark the autumnal equinox, I'm going on a juice fast and cleanse. Perhaps I'll be rewarded by even more lost pounds. Hey if you find them, keep them!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

12-Step Recovery

Chances are you're familiar with self-help recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, Narcotics Anonymous, and Overeaters Anonymous. There are many such programs patterned after the original one, AA, founded in 1935. Twelve Step programs have enabled millions of people around the world to recover from a seeming hopeless condition of mind and body. AA has been called the most outstanding social movement of the 20th Century.

Unless you're a member of one of these meetings and are working the steps outlined in the textbook of Alcoholics Anonymous, you probably are unaware of what people actually do to recover. More than a fellowship where people congregate to share their experience, strength and hope, 12-step programs require action on a daily basis.

The first step is crucial, because without admitting a problem, the individual would have no motivation to do any of the other steps. Step one involves an acceptance that one's body responds differently than other people. At the same time, step one also requires an admission that one cannot manage life alone.

If a person has fully conceded to their innermost self this admission of powerless, then how is it possible to live? The answer lies in seeking a Power greater than oneself for guidance and direction. Here the spiritual side of 12-step recovery becomes paramount. The rest of the steps are based on the desire to seek and know a Higher Power that will solve all one's problems.

Before one can fully establish a working relationship with that Power, and individual has to take stock honestly of the obstacles that get in the way of living life on life's terms. Also, it's imperative that the person clear away the wreckage of the past and make peace with family members, friends, and business associates present and in the past. Having done so, the individual is graced with new found peace of mind, intuition, and power to find happiness, joy and freedom.

I've been in recovery for 23 years. The first 13 years I mainly focused on the fellowship, although I did read about the steps and had tried working them on a limited basis. Ten years ago I discovered the directions on how to work the steps, got a sponsor to guide me, and took the suggested actions. The result? I was catapulted into a 4th dimension that I couldn't have imagined and take joy in living the solution.

Now I have the honor to share this program of action with other women who are sincerely seeking recovery. Just this summer alone I've listened to 3 women read their inventories and witness their spiritual growth. I'm currently working with a new person who is on fire working these steps. The desire to drink and drug has been lifted without her having to swear off. It just comes. That's the miracle of doing these steps.

Twelve-step recovery work has definitely been a major turning point in my life. It has opened me up to other spiritual avenues. To better know and do God's will, I meditate and pray on a daily basis. I observe the major holidays in my religion and attend services. I also appreciate being present when other people celebrate and mark their religious holidays.

My life goes more smoothly when I take time for spirituality. What do you do to stay spiritually focused and spiritually centered?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Raw or not, they're delicious

I've been a raw foodist for over 2 months. Not much of a feat when you compare it to some of the better known members of the raw food community who have eaten this way for decades. However, it feels like an accomplishment to me.

Having acquired a dehydrator recently, I've been on the prowl for recipes where I could make use of it. Yesterday I concocted a granola bar and I'm delighted with the result.

I combined soaked flax seeds with rolled oats (are they raw?). Next I mixed in chopped dates and nuts. I also found some goji berries and maca root powder to blend in, making the mixture a super food!

I added some sweetener, to one batch agave nectar and to the other raw honey. Since the batch didn't hold together, despite the flax seeds which make a gel-type substance, I decided to add water. This seemed to be the magic trick. The water helped make a glutinous mass that I could shape into bars.

After letting the ingredients settled in the refrigerator for a few hours, I then made bars and put them in the dehydrator. Overnight they became solid, chewy, delicious, packable. I froze half and have been munching on the remainder that I put in an air-tight tin. I've been looking for some kind of raw food energy bar that could travel well. I just found it. What do you do

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tuina Massage

About 5 years ago I broke my wrist and needed a surgical procedure to attach metal rods to hold it in place while it knit together. Because I was immobile (I elevated it 24-7), when the rods were finally removed, my hand was unable to grasp or clench. I couldn't make a fist.

Of course I saw a physical therapist and worked with her for several months. I also worked with an occupational therapist. However, the disability remained and this set me on a course to find alternative treatments that could help me regain the use of my hand.

One approach that seemed to make a big difference was the Graston Technique, which addresses soft tissue injuries. It's quite painful. Although I progressed, I still had residual disability.

Massage was another therapy I employed. In selecting a practitioner, I'm concerned not only with their credentials and experience, but more so with their energy.

I believe that the body knows how to heal itself when given the raw resources. Energy is one of those invaluable resources. Each of us is an energy field and I've discovered that some people's field touch me in a positive way and promote healing. Others have less of an impact.

My massage therapist was excellent. Unlike the physical therapist and occupation therapist who focused exclusively on my wrist and hand, she worked on my shoulder and arm, even my back. She suggested that I might benefit from acupuncture, so off I went to see if this treatment would improve my condition.

Acupuncture had some effect. It's based on the concept that life force, energy, chi, gets blocked, which results in symptoms. Most practitioners who study acupuncture also learn about Tuina, Chinese massage. It too identifies and relieves energy blocks. Rather than needles to open the channels, Tuina practitioners use their hands, arms to "roll" and knead the body.

The Tuina Therapist I'm seeing teaches others and is highly skilled. At times the massage was quite painful, which happens when energy cannot flow freely through a channel. However, despite the momentary pain, this treatment has been extremely effective in restoring my health. I still have some disability (can't bend the last digits on my fingers to make a complete fist), but I can do everything (hold a hairbrush, a pen, turn my wrist over to receive change) so that most individuals are unaware of any limitations.

Two days ago I suddenly found my salivary gland swollen on the left side. It occurred as I was eating a piece of fruit. After reflecting internally on what was happening and then doing some homework on the internet, I concluded that it was the salivary gland and not some other condition. As it turned out, I was scheduled to see my Tuina Therapist yesterday. So I presented the situation to him.

Rather than work directly on the area, he rolled on my chest and arm and other body parts. Sure enough the channel opened and the energy flowed easily again. My symptom was relieved.

If you have some kind of health issue, consider alternative treatments. There are many types available and each has its benefits. If one doesn't work, continue to explore and try another. If you're open, you'll find the right one for you. I did.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Garden warmed tomatoes

I am blessed. What a joy it is to walk into my garden and pluck a vine-ripened tomato, still warm from the sun, and pop it into my mouth to consume! Can't find anything sweeter or more delectable.

Despite the plethora of rain this Spring and Summer, my garden is finally producing a wealth of tomatoes. Earlier I enjoyed sugar snap peas. However, the season has come and gone. Last week I planted a second crop and I hope there is enough growing time to see them mature. The radishes are already coming through the earth. However, the kale seeds and spinach have yet to announce themselves.

I enjoy gardening. Not just vegetables either. I also appreciate flowers and fruits. I have a wonderful raspberry patch which has dwindled over the years, but still tastes better than any store-bought commodity. Also the strawberries are like ground cover. They infiltrate every piece of dirt in the garden. This is the first time I'm enjoying a second crop in a season. That's how unusual the weather pattern has been this year.

While I rave about these other plants, tomatoes top the list. I won't eat tomatoes except this time of year, when they're vine-ripened and warm from the sun. It's my favorite summer flavor. I especially like the cherry tomatoes, although I also am growing grape tomatoes, jetstar (super-sized), and lemon tomatoes (less acid).

I'm in heaven.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I'm not an expert on detoxification. However, I'm convinced that life (and death) begins in the colon. So keeping the bowels clean can only be a positive step towards overall good health. And my mission all along has been to achieve optimal health.

With the approach of the vernal equinox (September 21), I've decided to do a juice fast and cleanse. I've been eating vegan for over 3 years and raw for the last 2 months. One might conclude that my system should be relatively clean. I hope that's true, but I have no way of knowing.

Why a juice fast? From what I'm reading it appears that fruit and vegetable juice, when the fiber is eliminated, requires very little from the digestive system to process. Thus a juice fast enables the body to rest, as well as to release any build up of toxic materials. Certain fruits and vegetables are known to assist in detoxifying various chemicals and toxins.

Along with this fast, I'm also considering colonics. I've never had such a procedure, which is basically a long-lasting enema done under the guidance of a certified practitioner.

My last idea for cleansing is a therapeutic foot bath. I've seen this machine which gently vibrates and contains water (possibly other agents -- I don't know). You soak your feet in the tub where toxins are then drawn out. Depending on the color of the water and other factors, a skilled practitioner can determine which systems of the body are being cleansed.

All these approaches are new to me. I welcome your ideas and experience.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Energy Bars

As a new raw foodist, I've been looking for quick snacks and pack-along items. Of course raw fruit, vegetable slices are great standbys. However, sometimes, I'm looking for something more substantial.

I came across the idea of an energy bar. It started when I saw information about raw food bars. I bought them, enjoyed them, and then thought, why not make them myself. I also discovered that the so-called raw food bars may still be processed and not entirely raw.

My first attempt to make a snack was raw brownies. The base for most brownies and energy bars appears to be dates, medjool dates to be precise, although I suspect that other varieties may also work. Raisins and figs could substitute for the dates.

The dates are pitted, then blended. They form a paste. Into this base you can mix almost anything else. Usually nuts, coconut, cacoa powder, flavorings such as vanilla bean or vanilla extract are used. I've also tried coconut oil, which enhances the flavor and texture in a tasty way. Seeds add texture. Sprouted grains would add crunch and chewiness.

The exact measurements are not so important as you can easily make changes as you go. Sweetener isn't necessary because the dates are naturally sweet.

My first experiment was with walnuts. Remember I was making brownies. Since then, I've tried many different types of nuts and seeds. Brazil nuts are especially good. Today's experiment I formed a ball around a whole soaked almond.

I usually spread the mixture in a rectangular glass dish and stick it in the freezer. These treats keep for a long time when frozen, and really take minutes to thaw. Because I offer them to all my friends and enjoy snacking daily, my energy bars don't last long! Try them and see.

Monday, August 31, 2009


Have you ever tried losing weight? If you're like 2 of every 3 Americans, the needle on the scale indicates that you're carrying excess baggage. Chances are you're tried at least once to reduce that number.

I've had a weight issue since age 5. When I closely examined photos of me before that age, my size and shape seemed normal. Definitely by school age I was a chubby child and I recall vividly how painful it was to shop for clothes. My entire family seemed to suffer from overeating, although the women (my Mom and me) were more discriminated against because of our portly appearance.

As a result, diets were a regular feature of our family life. Summer was an especially good time to diet, probably because school was out of session and produce was more abundant. (I grew up outside Cleveland, Ohio where the growing season was limited.)

I recall that the object was to lose weight so that I could resume eating as "normal". The only catch to this distorted thinking was that so-called normal eating was what got me overweight. I didn't fully understand this dynamic until way into adulthood!

Fortunately I was an active child and wouldn't let my size keep me from participating in playground competition. I had 2 older brothers and I followed in their footsteps. They liked playing outdoors; so did I.

Still I was overweight consistently from early childhood right until the present. I tried countless food plans and even more drastic protocols to lose weight. I read lots of diet books and sought help with experts who specialized in treating obesity. Invariably the pounds went up; the pounds went down always to be followed by more pounds up.

Exercise was something I did, not strictly for weight loss. I did it for cardiovascular health. By early adulthood I had settled on swimming as my preferred program. Reluctantly as my body aged, I added some weight-lifting exercises, which I was quick to abandon because they were boring.

A year ago I discovered exercise DVDs. These are programs that you can do in the convenience and privacy of your own home. Often they include both cardio and weight-lifting movements.

I started with Slim in 6 by Debbie Siebers. It was gentle and had 3 levels. As I gained confidence in doing these workout routines, I became willing to try more advanced programs. So 5 months ago I graduated to P90. This is the original program developed by Tony Horton, who has gone on to create P90X, a more extreme workout, 10-minute Trainer, and some other shows.

For the first time ever my body shape is shaping up. I've lost a total of 20 pounds this year, which is remarkable for someone who is reluctant to part with any pounds. Naturally I've gained lots of muscle strength and endurance.

So I'm now a convert to diet AND exercise, the right exercise. If you're having trouble shedding the pounds, consider adding a workout program. For me it made 20 pounds difference.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Salad Dressing

When I first went raw, I was intimidated by salad dressing. Other than those bottled or made "fresh" with a packaged mix, I had no clue how to make tasty salad dressing. I watched enviously as a friend, Patricia, would whip together olive oil, vinegar and herbs. Hers always tasted so good.

Initially, to find a raw salad dressing I searched the internet. I learned that avocados and cashews made the basis for a piquant sauce. I could thin it for dressing. With my first success, I began to deviate and now feel I am an excellent maker of salad dressing.

Let me share my recipe for today's version. I started with sesame seeds, added apple cider vinegar, garlic, onion, pepper, Bragg's amino acids, and nutritional yeast. Add water to get the desired thick- or thinness. Just blend in Vitamix.

I inquired about nutritional yeast, whether it was considered raw. For most people, the answer is yes. If you're vegan, then perhaps you might hesitate in using yeast. Is yeast a plant or an animal? It hovers between kingdoms.

This particular dressing is one I've used on kale to make kale chips. Thanks Rawman! It's delicious. I'd love to share more ideas. Happy muching.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Veggie Chips

Update from yesterday about the Key Lime Pie. I created my own recipe for the filling. Using the juice I had extracted from about 20 small key limes, I added 2 avocadoes and some cashew nuts plus agave nectar. Since I'm not much for pie crust, I skipped it and filled the pie pan directly. I placed it in the freezer. Later I added a topping which consisted of soaked brazil nuts and almonds along with some water, small tablespoon of raw honey and a splash of vanilla extract. Then I smeared it on top of the filling and continued to freeze it.

The results? Delicious! The tartness of the limes were still obvious in the filling and were well balanced by the sweetness of the topping. The filling was like an ice cream. I will do it again and perhaps use a regular juicer on the limes. I did the extraction by hand and it was very time consuming.

Since I was enjoying my time in the kitchen, I looked to make more raw food dishes. Having just acquired a food dehydrator 2 weeks ago, I'm still experimenting with it. One of my favorite recipes is kale chips. I used the one from Rawman's and fell in love instantly. So that you don't have to look it up, here it is:

3-4 heads of Kale, - Wash it - Tear off and only use the tips of the Kale,
as the leaf has too many veins. (Save the veiny leaf for your green smoothie.)
1 cup of Tahini - I grind up sesame seeds first until creamy.
1/4 cup Tamari OR 1/8 cup Braggs amino's
1/4 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup of water. I tend to omit this, which makes for a thicker dressing.
1/2 small yellow bell pepper; red works too. Avoid green as it's not as sweet.
Juice of 1 whole lemon
1/2 cup of nutritional yeast or more to thicken up the dressing.
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of onion powder or 1/2 small onion
dash of sea salt, which I often omit.

Blend the ingredients and it should be pretty thick, but smooth & pour able.
You may add water as needed. Pour the mixture in to a bowl and combine with the Kale.
I like to use my hands to massage the mix into the Kale and that way it really gets a
good coating and has my life energy in it, as well.
Place kale onto parchment paper or a teflex sheet, on top of your dehydrator tray, and dehydrate for 8 -10 hours, possibly longer until crispy @ 105 degrees.

I absolutely LOVE this recipe. And it's great eaten raw. Make lots of dressing as you'll enjoy this on other salads too.

Since I still had some trays in my dehydrator empty, I continued puttering in the kitchen and tried another recipe for Sweet Potato Chips. It was very easy.


Remove skin from sweet potatoes.
Slice thin by using a mandolin slicer or other tool.
You can dehydrate as is OR
Spray with olive oil and then sprinkle with 1) sea salt, 2) vegetable salt, 3) cayenne pepper, or 4) any other seasoning.
Dehydrate at 105 degrees until crispy, about 12-14 hours.

Results? yum, yummy. These veggie chips are great to take with me as a snack while I'm traveling. Or add as crumbles to a salad.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Key Lime Pie

The other day I bought key limes, which were on sale. Seeing them provoked a desire for key lime pie. Since going raw, I am having fun preparing dishes that I never made before, even those days when I cooked and baked. Eating raw has also given me the freedom to make desserts because I know that the ingredients are generally healthy.

Since I didn't have a recipe for key lime pie, I explored on the internet. Much to the chagrin of authors who would like me to purchase their cookbooks, I have found lots of recipes online to copy and download. In fact I quickly found about a half dozen.

Previously I made a pie crust using dates and nuts. Even baked, I'm not much for pie dough. So I concentrated on the filling. There seem to be a few variations. Shall I use avocados or young coconut as the main ingredient for making the filling? Or another recipe calls for mangos with psyllium seeds.

I have no experience with making raw pudding, which seems to be the basis for key lime pie. Because I've got a couple of avocados on hand, I'll use them today. In the mean time, I juiced about 20 key limes, which netted about 1 cup of juice. I added some zest. I found it difficult to grate these small fruits and that explains the small amount of zest available.

The recipe I settled on also prepares a frosting. Looking at the ingredients, almond milk, macadamia nuts, cashews, vanilla and sweetener, I suspect that this will yield a sort of whipped cream.

Although I don't have much experience preparing raw foods, I do enjoy cooking and am gifted with the notion of how foods combine. I've been able to transfer this understanding to raw foods. Bottom line: I don't follow recipes precisely. I usually get creative and add my own touch. My creativity is often triggered by the ingredients on hand, or lack thereof, as well as those items I like.

I'll let you know how my experiment turns out. Lacking a camera, I won't be able to take a picture. Hopefully in the future, I'll get one.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


For the last 50 days I've gone 100% raw. I've lost 9 pounds thus far.

Initially I started with the challenge to eat raw foods for a week. But I liked it so much and had so much fun, that I have continued, a day at a time, until now. While I am not promising to remain 100% raw, I do pledge to incorporate as much raw food in my diet as possible. [Note: Living in New England, I'm only too aware that cold winter days may set my desire towards consuming hot meals.] Yet, because I've learned so much about the benefits of going raw, I intend to keep at it.

I've been on a health journey since age 5 when my beloved maternal grandmother died from cancer. As a young child might do, I vowed to find the cure for cancer and have been focused on health ever since. As different members of my extended family (as well as friends) have gotten sick or died, their circumstances have kept alive my commitment to find viable treatments.

Although I began to study medicine in college, I found myself more drawn to psychology and spirituality. I believe that mind and body mutually affect each other and that spirit, or cosmic energy, overrides both.

Increasingly my search has focused on natural approaches to health and healing. About 10 years ago I was introduced to supplements, specifically glyconutrients, and witnessed many people recover from life-threatening conditions by changing their diet and adding supplements. Strangely enough, other people with similar conditions following similar protocols were unable to get well. How could I make sense of these conflicting stories?

I've concluded that healing is more than cause and effect. Each person being a unique entity requires a unique approach. The best advice I can offer someone looking to heal is be open to trying many things. I myself have benefited from various alternative practices. If you strongly desire to heal, you WILL heal.

My current health regime, besides eating raw, consists of supplements (omega 3, phytonutrients, anti-oxidants, to name a few), daily meditation and exercise. I've got a lot to learn and am enjoying the journey. Hopefully this vehicle will enable me to meet like-minded people. As the saying goes, when the Student is ready, the Teacher will appear.

To your good health!
Nancy Zare