Monday, March 26, 2012

Leaning into it

I decided to weigh myself a couple of times this week. Why? Because I felt I looked a bit different and wanted to see. Indeed, two pounds have come off and stayed off.

I thought back to what I did this past week in terms of food (exercise wasn't any different--as in 0 exercise this past good while), so it had to be food. Was I eating less? Eating fewer grains? Eating healthier grains when I did eat grains? I'm not tracking my food (maybe I should) so I can't be certain, but I do know that I had a few lunches of brown rice with veggies, did turn to fruits and veggies more most days... Started several days off with fruit. That's about all I can come up with. lol. Over all, yes, it was a healthier week, even if a couple of days were grain-heavy.

Another aspect that is changing is I've been working at chewing more and eating more mindfully. This led to me eating white rice last night and not being very impressed. There's pretty much no texture to it, it gets chewed very quickly with little flavour. No wonder my family puts soy sauce or Braggs on their rice! (I've never liked the taste; I usually put just a bit of vegan margarine but didn't this past week and didn't last night, which perhaps emphasized the reality of how "yuck" white rice really is.) Compared with the mindful eating of the brown jasmine rice earlier, it was really not good. The brown jasmine rice was tasty without anything added to it, nice and chewy, too. On that bad food side, I can't remember what it was that I ate but it was something not at all good for us and I was really struck by the taste and texture--and not in a good way. So, my advice to you: eat mindfully! Be really aware of what you are eating and the after effects. It can really change what you end up choosing to eat. The mentality starts leaving of "I should eat brown instead of white rice" to "I really do prefer the brown rice. Why would I want the white rice?"

Kathy Freston really encourages leaning into veganism. It's nice. It's gentle. You take whichever step you can at the moment you are in. I am confident that I will make the whole switch over time. Not sure how long--hopefully within the next year. But I'm doing it. I've been doing it. And I'll keep doing it. :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

My husband said what?

Something interesting happened last night.

My 14yo, my husband and I were watching an episode of X-Files on Netflix. Part of it showed a meat plant for beef. Of course, it affected me, with my thoughts going, "What am I doing eating meat? Why have I not stopped yet?" (There's apparently a book out on our psychology around meat-eating. I should maybe read it.)  It was just disgusting. My husband, who has always proclaimed himself a definite meat eater, actually said a few things about it that showed empathy for the animals and then said, "It really gets you thinking."


My husband did NOT just say that, did he???

He did!

This is the first glimmer I have ever had that maybe, just maybe, I will be able to at least mostly "convert" my family to a vegan, whole foods lifestyle. It has really helped with the motivation factor to try to find some vegan recipes that they will like and to make them! There are some I would like to try, but I think I would like to make them as lunchtime meals for myself first before trying them on my family. I even have a rough plan in mind: 1 vegan meal the first week, 2 vegan meals the 2nd week and so on. If some recipes are flops with them, then I will probably have to double up a week (meaning, if it doesn't go so well with 2 meals in week 2, then do another week of 2 meals) before moving onto the next.

This has added a feeling of excitement, that I can make this change with less resistance. My son has been resisting more and more meats lately as it is, so it really is time to, if not take the plunge, then at least take a dip. ;)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Just feel like posting

I'm tired. Sluggish. Don't feel like doing anything. Part of it is definitely the weather! It's changed on us, is gloomy, cold and now snowing in the gloominess. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) symptoms?

In any case, I would like to track a bit more my food consumption, and what better way than to blog it?

So far today:
*Had a cinnamon bun before I even thought about the fact I was trying to focus on healthy foods. This wasn't a healthy cinnamon bun by any standard: white flour, lots of brown sugar, lots of vegan margarine... It was yummy though. ;)
* LOTS of water. I couldn't seem to get enough. My sinuses have been problematic today and sometimes that is related to mild dehydration. I do seem to be feeling a bit better now.
*Green smoothie: baby spinach, splash of orange juice, water, half an overripe banana and some frozen mango chunks
*3/4 cup of leftover cooked brown jasmine rice with some sauteed in water cauliflower pieces and carrots, with a small amount (maybe 1-1 1/2 tbsp?) of VH Teriyaki sauce (yep, I know, not very healthy, helped add a bit of interest!)

That's been it so far. Before making my rice and veggie lunch, I checked the Canada Food Guide to see how much rice made a serving. 1/2 cup. I couldn't believe it after I measured it (I just wanted to have a real idea of how much 1/2 cup of cooked rice is). It's TINY! We completely overeat grains around here, that's for sure. This will be something to work on, to get my kids to eat veggies before supper or to establish limits on how they fill their plates. Or, well, maybe even measuring out a serving so they see! I know the more I can get myself to do it, the more of an effect it will have on them to choose to do it.

Other than that, I would really like to curl up for a nap, but I can't: dayhome kids are here and fully awake! lol

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Step by step

(LOL. As I typed the subject line for this post, I couldn't help but think of the song "Step by Step" by New Kids On The Block. In case you are too young to know who they are or the song, here is the video :D :)

Ok, flashback moment done with.

I am trying to remind myself of focusing on my health and that taking things step by step is the way I need to do it. I don't have any special recipes or anything to share right now. I've been making green smoothies the past few days to start off my day, although having toast or oatmeal between then and lunch. I've made fruit salads for snack, munched on lettuce just cuz... I realized this morning, though, that I'd consumed about 8 servings of grains yesterday. Ach! (Think how a German might pronounce that. :D) 

With that realization, I made a bigger effort today to curb that tendency. I started my day off with a glass and a half of green smoothie, which actually took me all the way until lunch. (Haha, we had a bit of fun with my green smoothie. I homeschool a teen from another family and when I went to put the remaining smoothie in my glass and came back, he thought I had put water. So seeing it from the corner of his eye kind of startled him as to what kind of disgusting water was I drinking!) We went to the food court for lunch and I decided I would definitely do a veggie lunch, but couldn't decide between Edo Japan or Extreme Pita. I thought about how I would end up with a lot of (white) rice if I picked Edo and I don't know about Edo without the teriyaki sauce, which I'm sure isn't at all healthy, so I decided to go for a veggie wrap and a bottle of orange juice. I get the lettuce, tomato and cucumbers with the grilled peppers, onions and mushrooms. It was delicious, as usual! I just had a piece of toast as a snack and am trying to figure out supper.

Other than that, I've started reading a couple of books to help support me in my steps:


I haven't made it very far with Live Raw yet. She has an intro with a section on her journey and then information on what is raw, why raw and suggestions. I'm still in this latter part. So far, I am really enjoying it! Once I finish that, it will be on to the recipes section.

With Veganist, I only picked it up from the library last night. I flipped through it a bit and read one of the stories and did find it motivating to make a greater effort at changing. It's not a recipe book. It's rather a book about why to go vegan, or at least lean in that direction, and includes someone's story in each section. I read one of the stories and truly found it inspiring and motivational. I think this will be a good book.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Recipe share

I just have to share the link to this recipe on my blog:

I have to admit that I have not yet tried it. But it looks delicious! I can't make the sesame milk because I don't have a powerful enough machine to even attempt it, but I figure I can substitute a store-bought milk and use the recipe otherwise as is. I just have to figure out what mesquite is and if my Planet Organic has some.

Raw Food Mini Rant

I keep seeing over and over how you can eat as much as you want on a raw food diet, with the implication being that you never have to worry about your weight again.


I have read anecdotes and seen enough from raw foodist pictures that have shown raw fooders can definitely put on excess weight. Including those who lost weight initially, kept believing that they could eat however much they want of whatever they wanted, ate lots of the "gourmet" raw foods and eventually put back the weight. In one case, it looks like the raw foodist weighs more now than before they went raw. (And no, it doesn't look healthy.)

Now don't get me wrong--I'm all for eating a completely raw food diet. But that doesn't mean that you can just eat as much as you want of anything. Many raw foodists eat a ton of nuts. Guess what? Many of them gained weight. Who knows what it could be doing to their cholesterol levels (cholesterol levels are not only tied to animal products consumption. We produce cholesterol and the food we eat affects how much and of what type.) There are some foods that you can overeat on a raw food diet.

Don't fool yourself into thinking you can eat as much as you want of whatever you want!

I saw this raw food pyramid today (you can buy a poster of it from the site

Do you see how it's laid out? Now, this is only one version of the raw food pyramid, but it's one that makes a lot of sense. Having more fruits is another possibility. Do you see where nuts are? Way up near the top. The nuts section, the herbs section and the seaweed section combined don't make as much as the leafy greens section. You could probably eat as many greens as you like, as many fruits and veggies as you like, perhaps even as many sprouts as you like, but you can not eat as many nuts as you like. They may have some wonderful nutrients for you, but you have to still be careful. None of us is designed to have nuts be a major source of nutrients!

Motto: Question everything. Yes, even question what I've written above. We live in an age where people pass around information without having their facts straight and you need to check into it before you buy into it!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mimi Kirk Quote

This is just affirming my change in focus!

You have to make a commitment to your own health. Some people don't want to know about this stuff because they don't want to change, and it can be hard...

 Said by Mimi Kirk here.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Changing Focus

My mind has been thinking a lot lately. Not that it doesn't usually ;), but it's been thinking along the lines of how do I change to accomplish what I want to accomplish?

I will not have the -Free Life I long for if I keep doing the same things I'm already doing. "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result." Change has to happen. But it's not going to just happen on its own. I have to change myself. I have to change the parts of me that block me into parts that support me. And maybe add in some new things.

Change can be hard. It requires we get out of our comfort zone and sometimes by a lot. Being out of our comfort zone can feel threatening, scary, nerve-racking and even wrong. We have a mistaken belief that everything feels right when it is right, but that's not always true. Sometimes all that's wrong is that we're just not used to it and we need to grow into it.

There's a lot of talk out there that says that everything we do should feel right. Which feeling though? Some feelings are really instinct talking, or divine inspiration. Absolutely, if that side isn't "feeling it", we should listen. But others are just emotional issues--or even physical issues, like in the case of an alcoholic.  Addicts don't feel right when they're not succumbing to their addiction, so does that mean they should stay addicted? A ridiculous thought! Clearly feeling isn't all what it's about. Some feelings are wisdom and others are just our emotions talking. And it's not always easy to tell the difference.

My point with all of this is that I feel the need to change. I'm tired of not getting closer to my goals. I learn all about things but can't seem to get myself to take action on them. There are all kinds of plans and no action. The only way I will get to action is if I change at least a bit. The saying "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail" doesn't actually mean that if you plan it will all just work out. Action needs to be taken, too.

One thing I've realized is that part of my main motivator in changing my diet to a -Free diet has been my weight. My weight is still considered "normal", so it's not really a serious issue, just one of those things I'd like to improve upon. It's been clear in my mind that the water retention and likely fat gain over the past 10 years has been the result of lifestyle, mostly what I eat. They say that in your 30s, your metabolism changes and that's why weight gets put on. But what if part of it is that your body just can't handle the cr*p anymore? I've seen this slow weight gain as a message to detox my diet. Not just do one of those detox weeks or whatever, but really remove the cr*p. Weight is not my only issue: sinus problems, sinus headaches, frequent colds/flu, tiredness, skin issues (acne, rashes, dry skin...), my complexion is no longer bright and vital looking, increased environmental allergies and food sensitivities... Good grief, with this list, my weight should hold no importance! And I know it's not about the weight. Losing 10-15 lbs is not going to make my health any better unless the 10-15 lbs are the result of my health getting better. I know that as I take charge of what I put in my body and aim to be healthy with all the other current issues, the weight will take care of itself.

And yet, what do I do? I check the scale. I don't check to see how long I've had a headache--or when I can last remember not having a bit of a dull ache. I don't check to see if I've got increased or decreased skin issues. I don't check to see how healthy my diet was yesterday. I imagine how I will look when I've lost the weight--because that's what things like The Secret say to do, right?--but don't really imagine how it would feel to be fully healthy. (Do I even know?)

So, I'm changing myself. I'm changing my thoughts and focus. My focus is on being healthy. I know that to do this, I need to pay more attention to really fuelling my body with healthy foods. (And really, let's be honest, if it's not healthy food, is it really food?) I started today at lunch. "What can I eat that will be loving toward my body and help it be healthy?" was my focus rather than simply, "What is there to eat?" or "What should I eat?" I came up with this:

Essentially, a salad (without dressing) in a pita, like buying a wrap from... hm... can't remember the name of that outlet at the food courts. Yes, it's a white pita and not whole wheat. I spent 5-10 minutes at the store trying to find one that did not say, "May contain milk ingredients." (I do wonder how much of my water retention is the result of all these "may contain milk" products. I have gained in the past 3-5 lbs of water weight overnight simply by having milk products, and have equally lost 3-5 lbs over the course of a couple of days when I was careful to cut all milk and any chance of milk. And now I wonder just what is in that pita--is it healthy? Does it have nasty chemicals? I was so focused on it not containing milk that I didn't think about the rest. And obviously wasn't thinking in any way about wheat-free. ;) ) It was vegan until I decided to put a bit of mayonnaise on the one pita flap. I didn't fill it enough, so I was hungry afterwards and steamed myself some cauliflower. Yes, I've had some junk over the course of the day (and paid attention to the headache after the cookie), but I do believe in the mantra, "Progress, not perfection". And more than anything, I can truly feel my focus changing to "What can I do to support my body being healthy?"

This change in focus is going to force me to change in other ways. Like (at least sometimes) not eating some unhealthy thing that I'm craving. Like taking the time to prepare that orange or bowl of grapes or whatever. And despite my talk above about not necessarily trusting when it "feels right", this change in focus and the changes it will lead to does feel right. Gut feeling right. It's not going to be easy, I don't think. Memories of my first wheat-free day from a while back come to mind on how difficult it might end up becoming. But...

It'll be worth it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The What If's

I was messaging with my pseudo-niece this evening and the topic of what if's came up. Originally, it was about what will I do money-wise next school year since my income is going to simply disappear this summer. (Stopping my dayhome because everybody's moving on.) In my case, every time I start thinking about job/career possibilities, a little nagging voice says, "Why aren't you writing [your book]?" And the what if's start:

"What if I can't finish the book/finish it in time?"
"What if I can't get published?"
"What if I can't figure out what to write?"
"What if it doesn't make enough money?"
"What if...?"

It hit me that I do this with food, too.

"What if I change my diet and I still have allergy symptoms?"
"What if I change my diet and I don't feel any better?"
"What if I change my diet and I don't lose the excess water/weight on me?"
"What if I finally make the commitment to veg*n and can't find enough yummy food to make?"
"What if I finally make the veg*n commitment and it causes a lot of problems with extended family?" (We get together for meals a LOT.)
"What if I try that recipe for supper and my family won't eat it (because they're really picky eaters, just like me)?"
"What if...???"

I could go on and on. It didn't hit me until tonight just how many what if's I've really got going on inside. I don't usually think of myself as a doubting kind of gal, but it seems I am. At least in some areas.

What is the purpose of what if? What does it do? Does it show us our doubt? Is it fear of forging ahead anyhow and it's trying to stop us? Is it a form of anxiety? Does it matter? It's a pest. An annoyance. A self-created block. The what if's above are like little bullies or liars doing NOTHING but holding me back from achieving things I want to achieve! This is starting to make me mad! lol

I've just had a thought: What if I ignored these doubts or told them to take a hike? What if I treated such doubts as lying thoughts out to ruin me? (That sounds decidedly paranoid, doesn't it?) What if I forged ahead and wrote that book and changed my diet, and everything else I'm self-blocking regardless of problems or difficulties that could arise?

Maybe what if's aren't so bad. Maybe we just need to use them to work for us instead of against us.

(Taken from How to Escape the What-If Trap. A good read if you, too, 
are suffering from negative What If's!)

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Do you know the acronym KISS?


(I think the original was Stupid instead of Silly, but that's just mean, isn't it? :D)

I got all caught up in technicalities instead of just focusing on what I was trying to accomplish this week: take  a step in the raw/vegan direction. Last night, when I realized I was making it huge--which is really just setting myself up for failure--KISS came to mind. Keep It Simple, Silly.

Here are some simple things I (or anybody reading) can do this week to improve the vegan/raw intake:

  • Eat lots of fruit, a variety and whatever you feel like eating. Sure, there are all these recommendations about buying in season and all that, but forget that for now: just eat as much fruit as you can each and every day! This does complicate things slightly for me since the fruits I would most like to eat, I can't :( (apples, plums, peaches, nectarines... I'm longing to be food sensitivity-free!). However, there is plenty of other stuff I can eat: melons, grapes (red grapes have the same chemical in them that is beneficial in red wine!), blueberries, bananas, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries. Smoothies are ideal for getting in lots of fruits and greens, but I'm not always in a smoothie mood.
  • Lettuce and more lettuce. These greens are fantastic for us. I think it was Victoria Boutenko who wrote that greens ought to be in a category of their own. It doesn't even always have to be a salad: My kids and I will eat green leaf lettuce as is. No preparation (other than rinsing) required. This is easy to do. (By the way, a little tip if you find good-looking lettuce color-wise at the store that is wilted: bring it home, separate and rinse the leaves, put them in a sealable container with a small amount of water, seal and put in the fridge. They crisp up beautifully!) I know we have greens, but they were bought over a week ago, before I was so sick I barely bothered with meal preparation. I'll have to check and see if anything's still good.
  • Veggies. Whatever you like. Carrots, broccoli and cucumber are favourites around here. Cucumber's a huge favourite lately: I cut up a long English cucumber this evening and my little family of 4 polished it off in no time. We'll also eat cauliflower rather readily. There's not much else I like. lol. I know, I'm picky! I will buy some things to make some pitas or wraps filled with veggies and greens. Like tomatoes and sprouts.
This is ridiculously simple, isn't it? (And it naturally eliminates a lot of wheat-eating!) What is going to get me to actually eat this? I need a new routine where I prep food in the morning, or prep some things that will still be good for a couple of days or more, depending on the food. Or may an enormous poster on my fridge reminding me of my intentions. My husband does the following and I hope you won't; I'm trying to get the message across to him that it's a bad idea. We'll see if I manage to over time. What he does: He will cut up an entire bag of carrots into sticks and put them in a Tupperware container. Do you know how long it takes for us to eat an entire bag of carrots? 4 days later, still some carrots in the container. They are getting dry and have been losing valuable nutrients being exposed to the air like that. Things like broccoli and cauliflower work okay; so little of the inside is affected when you cut off the florets and wash them up and store them. Lettuce is absolutely fine when processed as I mentioned above. Carrots? No. Bad idea. It's like cutting up an apple and thinking it'll still be full of nutrients 4 days later. Okay, maybe not quite that bad, but the same idea.

Only thing left to do now is to perhaps make a better laid-out plan of what I will be serving for supper this week, lunch plans and then go get the groceries. I'm feeling worse than yesterday :(, but groceries are needed. I might take a nap first. ;)

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Before I get going on my menu planning for the upcoming week, I've been reading up on the 80/10/10 plan. Some people swear by it. Others have found their cholesterol levels increase (?!?!). It seems so heavy on the fruits, much more so than other raw foodists recommend. I do think he's right about limiting nuts and fat, but I don't know about the 80/10/10 balance. I also have a lot of raw fruit issues still (several make my mouth itch; part of a cross-reaction to a birch bark allergy) and I just don't know how it would work. Of course, I haven't yet read the book, so I don't really know. And there isn't a library in my province that carries it. I will have to buy it new if I want it. Or pay a ridiculous amount for a used (why are all the used ones more expensive??). Although some of the new are ridiculously priced: $999.99. I take it they don't really want to sell it? lol

My point in writing this is: If you know about this plan, have tried it, anything, please leave a comment! I'm always hesitant to buy a book I haven't seen myself or haven't had people share their experiences with.

Saturday Night's All Right

It's been a while, hasn't it? I didn't realize it had been quite so long until I saw the date on my last post. The weeks have not only been busy, but I've been hit by one nasty virus after another, not leaving me with any desire to blog--and certainly a lack of focus in healthy eating.

But I'm on the mend (I hope--it's been over a week) and have been thinking. Mostly I've been thinking about how many anecdotes/testimonials I've read of how healthy people are when they are eating a healthy vegan or raw vegan diet. I've been thinking how my 11yo son, who is almost NEVER sick, has been sick alongside me these past weeks--and how prior to getting sick, he had clearly not been consuming as much fruit as he had in the past. Two and two are being put together.

Another thing that got me thinking was when I was in the kitchen earlier today (or maybe it was yesterday--my thought processes and sense of time are messed up right now) was noticing my cookbooks. I have a section of a shelf reserved for all the vegan and raw vegan books. I have 4 books on raw veganism alone. How many recipes have I made from any of them???? But a handful. I have nice little tags sticking out of a few, hinting at me to try them, and somehow it just hasn't happened. I'd like to take at least a step in this direction this week.

So, I'm sitting here this Saturday night on the sofa, laptop on my curled up legs, a pile of vegan and raw vegan cookbooks next to me. Elton John may have sung that Saturday night was all right for fighting, but me, I think it's all right for exploring and planning. :)