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.