Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy Food


There's something wonderfully fulfilling about making pretty food. Maybe it's because I haven't been as crafty as I like to be in other areas of my life lately that I'm taking such an interest in creating attractive food pairings.

Whatever the reason, this salad which was originally going to be veggie roll ups, was divine. Delicious. Scrumptious. Anyway, you get the idea, it was pretty tasty.

I started with bib lettuce then added avocado, carrot ribbons and marinated portobello mushrooms and onions. On top is a scoop of "Not Tuna Pate" from my favorite (and only) raw recipe book, "Raw Food Made Easy." Even if you aren't interested in eating raw foods, this is a fantastic un-cook book filled with easy to make and tasty dishes. I haven't tried anything in there that I haven't liked. Even my carnivore husband enjoyed this salad!

Walking in a winter wonderland

Yesterday, it snowed. And snowed. And then it snowed some more. It was so beautiful, the heavy, sticky snow perfect for making snowpeople and snowballs. I didn't do either of those things, but I did take the little guy out for a jaunt around the yard.

Though the snow changed our plans for the day, I still enjoyed it. Everyone needs a snowday now and then.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday Aftermath

Photo courtesy of Windows XP

Christmas is over, the tree is down, decorations are put away. Most of the holiday parties are done--time to take stock.

I wasn't sure going into last week what to do about healthy eating. Yes, it's important and makes me feel good, but I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings or miss out on annual holiday treats. Somehow I don't think gingerbread cookies would taste the same in July. On the other hand, I didn't want to overindulge and spend the week after Christmas feeling yucky. I decided to wing it.

Here's what I did:

  • Made fresh juice two mornings for breakfast with my "new" juicer that my friend Karen gave me. (She's soooo sweet--and so was the juice!)
  • Walked and did video workouts when walking wasn't possible most days.
  • Told myself to let things slide, to relax, and to enjoy myself.
  • Made a raw "cheesecake" to share at my Mom and Dad's holiday dinner. (I give it 3 stars out of 5.)

Here's what I didn't do:

  • I didn't stick to eating gluten and dairy-free. But . . .
  • I didn't eat any "white" desserts like pie, cookies, candy, etc.
  • I didn't have a stress-free holiday, but wasn't really expecting to anyway.

Even though I avoided white sugar (which was almost as hard as I expected), I'm still feeling the after effects of the gluten and dairy. My digestion is all messed up but more annoying is my mood--I feel foggy, sleepy, a little irritable and sad. Some of that may be just the holiday let down, but some I believe is directly related to my food choices. Especially since I started feeling like this before Christmas, but post Taco Bell and one holiday meal.

What about you? How was your holiday eating and how important are annual holiday foods to you?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Magic

It's hard to believe there are only 4 days until Christmas. Wow--where has the time gone? I'm usually a holiday fanatic--decorating, baking, and partaking in other "Christmas-y ventures." Not so this year. Part of this has to do with having an eight-month old who still isn't sleeping through the night consistently. Part of it is recognizing that a lot of those things--excessive shopping and buying, baking sweets and overeating, and planning so many "essential" holiday activities that I feel overwhelmed--aren't really good for me. I usually arrive at New Year's day feeling broke, bloated, and depleted. Oh, and I usually have a cold because of all the holiday sugar and the messed up sleep schedule.

The holidays can be magical if we don't get caught up in trying to make them perfect. My motto this holiday season is "Try to relax and enjoy." Note the "try to." For a recovering neurotic, I recognize that this will be a challenge!

Remember, eat good foods, take care of yourself, and spread some love this holiday season. I wish you and all of your families peace.

Raw Cereal

Here it is! This is one of my favorite breakfast foods, raw cereal. At first I was like, "Huh? Raw cereal? Sounds gross." It's anything but. If you like fruit and nuts you'll LOVE this. Plus it's fast to put together and sticks with you for hours after you eat it, giving you plenty of energy in the meantime.

Here's the recipe that I use which was roughly adapted from one I found online. You can use other ingredients that you have on hand--play with it and make it personal to your own tastes.

Raw Cereal

Quarter then slice one banana into a bowl.
Add one apple (I've had it both grated and chopped--either way is tasty but grating it tends to make the cereal a lot more wet)
Toss on a small handful of chopped almonds or walnuts
Add a small handful of sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds
Add raisins or chopped dates to the top
Sprinkle a generous helping of shredded coconut on top if you desire.
Drizzle with 1 tsp. of raw honey, dust with cinnamon.
Splash a small amount of almond or other nut milk on top.

Tah-Dah! All done and ready to eat.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Hi everyone! Sorry to be incognito--it's been a busy month (or two). A few people have asked me how the elimination diet and attempts at healthy eating are going so I thought I'd post a little update.

I've been feeling great! I notice a big difference between days when I have a lot of fresh veggies and fruits and days when I don't. Even when eating gluten/wheat-free, which I've been doing for a couple of months now, I find it's still really easy to fall into the "carb trap." There are so many breads, bakery items, pretzels, chips, etc. , that are gluten-free that it's very tempting to reach for those instead of healthier options. And they're so easy! Who wants to juggle raw food while running out the door with a baby and six bags of accompanying baby gear in hand? I tell myself this but then think, "How hard is it to grab an apple or banana for the road?" Ummm, not really too hard, actually.

I'm finding that eating healthier is really more about mindset than anything else. If you sit around thinking about all the food you "can't" eat, you will be depressed. Trust me. Changing your eating habits is HARD. Especially in the beginning when you are trying to make the healthy changes and seeing little results. It takes time to feel better. It takes time to increase your energy. BUT I would highly recommend that you start with little changes that will have the most impact. For instance, cut out all white sugar. Or have a green smoothie in the a.m., if possible. It totally changes my day when I do. I feel more energy, less cravings, and just generally more upbeat. On the other hand, if I start my day with eggs and gluten-free pancakes and lots of maple syrup I feel sluggish. Which is okay, sometimes. I'm definitely not saying you shouldn't ever indulge--but if you're indulging every day like I was (sugar really ISN'T its own food group!) then there's a problem.

Social issues are maybe the hardest to deal with, especially when you're around family. And with the holidays coming up most of us will deal with this. "Have some of my homemade pecan sandies, dear. What do you mean you can't eat them? They're good for you--now eat up!" Okay, I'm exaggerating a little here, but I'm sure most of us deal with food pushers. I admit I AM a food pusher sometimes. Everyone handles family/food situations differently. I don't want to offend anyone and for a long, loooong time I let that be my guiding principle. "What will so-and-so think if I don't eat what she offers me?" You know what? Half the time the person offering the food to you is just being polite. She could care less if you eat it or not. And sometimes people tie their own guilt up with offering you food. They might feel better if you eat some of the "bad" food they've been eating--it's like a party! But will you feel better?

If it's something I really, really want I'll eat it. Like Thanksgiving--I didn't have any dessert but did have a couple of my sister's delicious homemade rolls. Yum. I try not to let other people pressure me into eating stuff, especially if it's something I don't really even like. There are a lot of polite ways to say no, but the most effective way I've found is to say "No thanks. Maybe later." At first I went on and on about all my weird food sensitivities and explained why I couldn't have such-and-such a food. Now I just say, "No thanks. Maybe later." I feel a lot less like a little old lady and spare the person a half-hour lecture on my food sensitives. Better for everyone!

I'm hoping to post some delicious healthy recipes here soon. I'm addicted to this raw "cereal" which is yummy, fast, and healthy. I'll get it up here as soon as I have a chance to photograph it, promise.