Monday, November 28, 2011

Housekeeping! aka Detox

With Thanksgiving week over, I have to admit that I am much worse for wear.

I did decide to take part in Thanksgiving dinner and while I did not consume much, I did eat cooked carbs. That lead to more cooked food later in the week, again not too much but I am totally shocked by the way my body has responded. I have all sorts of very uncomfortable symptoms, ranging from systemic congestion to a full on and very painful gallbladder attack. It has made me aware of just how sensitive I am and there is no denying the level of toxicity or congestion that I have throughout my systems.

No doubt about it. It's time for a detox!

If you read my last post I said somewhere that I was not going to be doing a Grape Cure Diet anytime soon.  Well I am here to say that I'm going to eat those words along with some grapes.

I mentioned that I have been following Dr. Robert Morse and his videos on YouTube. Dr. Morse mentions putting people on the grape detox so I researched and came across the original Grape Cure written by Johanna Brandt. I purchased a book called The Detox Mono Diet: The Miracle Grape Cure and Other Cleansing Diets which not only covers the details of the diet and Brandt's own experience and explanation, but goes on to explain why these mono diets work at all and how to best prepare for them.

Why a Cleanse?

It makes a great deal of sense to me. I always understood that during a cleanse, by eating very simply as in a juice fast, a water fast or even mono meals- meals made up of one item only, you are allowing the body to rest from digestion so that that energy can be used by the body to clean house instead. What I didn't fully understand was exactly how that happened and what happens.

According to this book, the key is autolysis- the process of the body literally digesting itself. When calories are sufficiently reduced and the process of digestion is simplified, the body starts to look within itself for the nutrients that it needs to function. This happens on the cellular level and in the body's own genius way, it starts with the least necessary items first. The first to go is cellular debris, toxins, congestion, and fat cells. I visualize it as clearing up the hallways and then digging through the storage closets. If given the time and energy long enough, the body will even digest diseased tissue including cysts and tumors, the deep storage items. But just as importantly, it can not go on too long or the vital organs will eventually be affected.

The body really is remarkably designed to heal itself.

The All Important Prep

Since this is a major house cleaning, it's very important to have all the exits cleared and free of barriers before this process begins.  Just as you would't start sweeping up a storm inside a filthy house with all the windows and doors closed, you need to open up all the channels of elimination prior to the cleanse. You don't want all this junk just being moved from room to room. You want it out! I don't think we hear about the importance of the prep often enough.

The excretory organs include the intestines, the liver, the kidneys, the lungs and the skin. The best way to prepare for a cleanse or fast is to flush these organs so as to make sure the exit channels are open and ready to move the toxins out of the body. This is done with herbs, enemas, or colonics, and lots of water for the kidneys and even heat and dry brushing for the skin. The clearer the channels the more comfortable the cleanse will be.

The Healing Crisis

As the cleanse begins and all the toxins start circulating, most likely there will be some discomfort. This is often referred to as a "healing crisis." Many people are not prepared for this and think they are getting worse, often turning back. But just as you wouldn't start sweeping dirt under a rug or shoving things back in the closet when trying to clean out a house, you need to just keep going and push through to the cleaner side.

Another key to jump starting a good cleanse is a water fast for a couple of days. This is a way to let the body know it's time to get ready for autolysis as it's moving though the last bit of food and digestion left in the system.

Why Grapes?

The reason that I am doing a grape fast as opposed to just continuing a water fast, is that a mono diet is a little easier to sustain. Grapes are not only easy to eat and require little prep if any, they have many properties which make it a good food for the long haul. It also is not as drastic in its results as a water fast. You have to be in fairly good condition to do a water fast for any length of time or the "healing crisis" can be extreme. It's the difference between having 50 people cleaning your house all at once versus 10.

So that's what I've learned this week on cleanses. Today is day one of my water fast and prep.

I have to say that oddly enough writing this post has got me in the mood for some serious house cleaning as well. We'll just have to see how that goes.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Mystery Melons

Mixed Melon Bowl

We are fortunate to have a local certified Farmer's Market that provides fresh produce and food every Sunday, fall through spring. We live in the desert so unlike other places that get this privilege through the summer, it's just too hot for them to come our way.  

One of the best things about this market is the samples. They always have samples to test the fruit and I am always surprised to discover new tasty treats. 

Last week I discovered these little beauties and although they had them marked as "melon and papaya," I was not able to get the actual names. I figured I could look them up online but after much searching, I was disappointed. I can't identify them.  Maybe someone reading this knows their names?  I'll also try to ask again at the market this weekend. The sellers were asian so perhaps they are a type of asian melons? 

Whatever they are called they are delicious!!!

This melon is about the size of a soft ball.
It's very sweet. Sort of like a sweeter version of a honeydew. 

This one they called a papaya.
It tastes like a melon with almost a slight flavor of a cucumber. Very mild.

We are also fortunate to have little watermelons around this fall so I thought the three of them would make a nice melody of flavors.

And I was right. 
 These three little melons made a really lovely Thanksgiving breakfast.

I hope this encourages you to break out of the usual and open up to the idea of trying something new. Even if you don't have a local farmer's market, I have learned that if you ask your produce person about something new and different, most will be happy to slice one open and let you sample it. 
There's a whole big produce world out there. Go explore!

This Thanksgiving I am especially thankful for the bounty that nature provides us
and for readers like you. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Getting Fruity

Pineapple, Kiwi, Banana "cup"
Getting Fruity Smoothie
It's been almost a full week now of me eating primarily fruit. To be honest it has been easier than I thought. I do drink them for the most part in smoothies and that is quite filling. I have tried making some more savory smoothies with more of the non sweet fruit like cucumbers and tomatoes but for now my body and taste buds seem to be craving the fruit more. With time I think I will be more ready for the other.

I have been researching the work of Dr. Robert Morse ND and watching his detox videos on Youtube (highly recommend!) and he is a big proponent of the fruit diet especially to heal. I feel like I've been learning so much! Don't get me wrong, I think if I could chew I would still be having a big salad for dinner as I do miss that but for right now I am enjoying my smoothies.

Right now pineapples are on special at our market and I am taking full advantage. Yes- they are picked green in Hawaii I imagine and that's not the best way to eat pineapple but truth be told,  they are delicious and since I can't get to Hawaii right now, I'm enjoying them here.

The above Pineapple cup just seemed like a pretty idea. I made it for Rich for breakfast this week and blended the same ingredients for me. Then of course he wanted mine. So I blended his as well. Go figure.

My other favorite smoothie with the pineapple is mango, pineapple, banana and greens. Yum! Matter of fact I think I'll go make one now!

Okay... so another great food I am finding to be delicious is Grapes!
Grapes are so nutritive and sustaining not to mention cleansing.  And oh! They are so easy to eat!

look at the size of these organic grapes!
Dr. Morse is such a fan of grapes that he puts his cancer patients on grape fasts. Up to 42 days at a time and experiences tumors actually disappearing.  Amazing!

There is actually an old publication all about the curative powers of grapes called The Grape Diet written in 192 by Johann Brandt.
I am assuming that's where Dr. Morse got his idea. It has been a natural healing method used in Europe for almost 100 years.

I'm not ready for a grape fast anytime soon but I do plan to continue to enjoy them and I look at them now with a whole new appreciation.

hammock time
This is my idea of how to rest and relax while getting some much needed fresh air.

A hammock, a good book on my Kindle, water, some fruit, the sound of the water fountain and of course my pooch by my side.

Her latest thing is that she wants to climb into the hammock with me but I prefer Lili to stay on the ground. It's too easy to bounce yourself onto the ground as it is.

Her snoring though can really put me to sleep!

Funny tidbit:
While we were out there (and after I put the camera away) a road runner skulked right behind her under the tree. Fortunately Lili never saw it. I think I would have been bounced to the ground for sure!

Lili snoring up a storm
Lili Von Shtupp in her pukas
That's it for today my friends. I hope this post reminds you that simple fruit can be a meal and is arguably our perfect fit as far as nutrition goes. I will also be sharing some of  low fat soup combinations I am working on but this week was just about enjoying the simplicity of fruit!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Spoons Over Forks

The Reason For My No-Chew Challenge

TMD/ TMJ Treatment

A couple months back I started a dental treatment program for severe TMJ or more accurately called TMD, which requires that I wear a dental device (a splint) 24 hrs a day. The point of the two devices, one for day and another for night is to keep my teeth from touching fully, so that the space between the skull and the jaw can heal, forming scar tissue that will replace my ruptured disc. The ultimate goal is to reposition my jaw completely and let it return to full function and range of motion. I did not know that my jaw was actually locked. I just knew I could not really open my mouth very wide and that there was a lot of popping and clicking when I tried to.

The TMJ- CFIDS/FMS Connection

I suffer from CFIDS/FMS, the full syndrome and not just the "muscle pain" that the word Fibromyalgia means. My chiropractor said there is a major connection between TMD (TMJ) and the nerve-causing pain that radiates down through the body and keeps my spine and pelvis out of alignment. They believe that the chronic fatigue is also caused by the misplacement of my jaw, which keeps my airway constricted, not allowing for full oxygen to reach the brain and never allowing me full deep restorative sleep. I had not even noticed that I had stopped dreaming (REM sleep) altogether. The constant body pain also keeps me moving and waking through the night. I have been tested for sleep apnea and was cleared but there are many with apnea that would be helped by this night splint as well. The C-Pap is just a bandaid approach when it could be a misaligned jaw. (I'd choose sleeping with the night splint over a C-pap any day.) And just to clarify, most of the night guards that people wear for teeth grinding is not the same thing. Your jaw is still active as you can still grind those, you are just grinding plastic instead.

My chiropractor assured me he works with a dentist that has had much success with treating TMD and reversing fibromyalgia.  Patients even come to see him for treatment from other states. After the results from my initial testing, being desperate for relief, I was up for anything and agreed to the 9-12 months treatment.

So part of the challenge of this program is the "no-chew"diet. I really can't chew with the device in place and of all times, while eating is the most important time to have it in.  They tell me even one hour without the splint in place is equal to a whole day of treatment lost.  I thought it would be a snap seeing how I really like green smoothies but it turned out to be more of a challenge mentally. I started experiencing hypoglycemic episodes and out of fear gravitated towards cooked soft foods, which has just brought up other health issues.

Blood Sugar Imbalances and Dietary Fat Connection

In an attempt to try to understand my hypoglycemic episodes, I was researching blood sugar imbalances and came across Dr. Doug Graham's explanation about how he believes fat is the cause of blood sugar swings, not sugar. He even goes on to explain what he believes is the cause for the Chronic Fatigue epidemic, not to mention Diabetes. I'll give you a clue- dietary fat and it all makes good sense, especially as I think about people that have had amazing health improvements from juicing. I never did well with juicing but probably because I never fully did it while not eating fat as well.

So after a soul to soul with myself, I decided to give this low fat raw angle a try and to take it even one more step and recommit to the liquid based diet idea. It will not only help with my dental treatment but also if I stay with low fat options, will go along way towards restoring my health.

So that is my new direction: Low Fat Raw Vegan but in a liquids only format.

What this means for the blog:

My eating will be a lot more simple, which has always been my goal. I will be focusing more on the beauty of fruits and veggies in close to their natural state. Recipes or more accurately combos will be very simple and most likely liquid in form although Rich is still able to chew and I will share what I make for him as well. I hope you stay tuned. There are actually not a lot of blogs out there that focus predominantly on low fat vegan and even fewer on the liquid side of this. I'm also going to keep a daily journal for accountability and reflection.

As for the TMD treatment,

I have to say within 2 weeks my jaw started responding with my range of motion improving 100-150%!! I also started dreaming within days. So that's all good and exciting. The sleep has still been sporadic with a whole couple of weeks keeping me up all night and asleep most of the day but I think that will work itself out. Keep your fingers crossed.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11 Your Portal Awaits

Knock Knock! It’s Your Cosmic Wake Up Call

Have you heard all the buzz? November 11, 2011 is considered an auspicious date. A rare occurance and a really cool looking date on paper, 11-11-11.  If you are getting married, like one of my very best friends, it’s like the Super Bowl of wedding dates- everyone wants in on it and the competition is fierce!

For some it holds a lot more significance than just a cool date on paper and here is where I think it gets interesting.  (I’m going to just highlight what I think are the intriguing parts because there is tons out there on this and well, it is my blog after all ; ^)

According to numerologist, astrologist and my reiki master extraordinaire, Anne Reith in her blog 
“The number one signifies new beginnings, fresh starts, laying foundations for new projects.... double numbers (11, 22, etc) are known as “master numbers. They represent a higher octave expression of the single-digit number.  The master number 11 represents the emergence of enlightenment.  Therefore, the date 11/11/11 is believed to represent a spiritual initiation or gateway.

So if you think of a single one (1) as a new beginning or a new cycle, a double one (11) is like a door way and 11-11-11 is like three doorways- extra powerful!

Doreen Virtue author of the book, Angel Numbers has this to say, “ in Angel Numbers 111111 is highly significant of a gateway energy opening where everything is possible."

Hear that? Everything is possible!!

Now we, here in the northern hemisphere, also have a full moon on this 11-11-11 as well and a combination that only rolls around once every hundred years.

Again according to Anne, “We are being urged to align our feelings with our actions, and vice versa... On this special day, you are encouraged to focus on your ideal vision of your life, our relationships, and the world. ... This is a time when we can more clearly see where we are and where we are choosing to go....Use the extraordinary energy of the Full Moon and 11/11/11 to take a giant leap forward on your path.”

According to Claire Louise Hay (no relation to Louise Hay) the combination of the date and full moon makes for an even more powerful day of releasing the past and starting anew. 

“This day is about thoughts manifesting...This means we have opportunity to release everything inside of us that stands in our way of creating what we want in life.”

We can look at this as a time to step through that new doorway, leaving all our baggage behind. Release the past, forgive others as well as ourselves and leave all those blockages that have stood in the way of us living the lives that we want and know in our hearts that we fully deserve.

Whether you believe in numerology, astrology, science, or none of the above and think it’s all just hogwash and the numbers are pure numerical sequence, I think you’re right!

I believe that it’s the belief and power that we give these beliefs that holds true significance for each and every one of us, everyday.

So whatever you believe, maybe just for today, set aside a little time (just in case) to sit quietly and think or meditate about where you are in your life, what vision you have for your most perfect life, what you need to release and leave behind and what you would like to bring into your life from this point forward. 

And if you are so inclined maybe even take it a step further and go ahead and make the decision to have a brand new start. Wipe the slate clean. Decide that from here on out that not only is everything possible, everything you want can be yours and more. What could it hurt? 

Visualize shedding all that has held you back and go ahead and step through that new doorway.

Decide to wake up on the 12th with a whole new outlook and a brand new feeling of empowerment. Because if the 11th is the gateway that releases you from the past, then the 12th is really the first day of your new amazing life.

Good news too because my friends that are getting married had to settle for the 12th as their wedding day (I told you competition was fierce) but what has turned out to be a very auspicious day after all!

So happy 11-11-11 everyone and here’s to making it an incredible start to your new life!!

This blog post is dedicated to Mike and Alexis. 
May you have the most wonderous, joyful and loving life together. 
I love you both! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Red Pepper Bisque Soup and Spicy Cheez- itzs!

More favorite recipes!

I realize I am saying that quite a bit. I honestly didn't know I had so many favorites!
But these two are  hands down winners- for sure!

This soup was one of my first raw soup go- to recipes and a huge hit in my house! It was shared by my friend, Wendy Campbell from It is so flavor full and delicious and super easy! I might have changed it a smidgen since the original but we love it!!

And need I remind you the best thing about raw soups? They take only minutes, no cooking and the clean up is as easy as blending a little soap in your blender. No pots and pans- no muss no fuss!

Fast and easy!

And the Cheez-itzs? Well, Super Good! I don't make them all that often because they disappear so quickly. Sometimes within hours!! They are more like a special treat. They are a dehydrator food recipe and are a nut based and not a flax based cracker but so worth sharing!

Red Pepper Bisque Soup

Raw Red Pepper Bisque Soup
This recipe is especially easy because you don't even need your knife or cutting board! Just a few measuring spoons and cups and your hands and a blender of course and clean up is a snap!

Almond Butter, Nutritional Yeast, Sun-dried Tomatoes, EVOO, Red Pepper, Garlic, and Salt

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soak in water until softened and reserve the soak water
1 large bell pepper, cored and seeded
1 clove of garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 almond butter
1 TBSp nutritional Yeast
1/2 tsp salt

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender. 

It comes out quite thick. Add soak water to desired consistancy. I usually use one cup of soak water and at least another cup of hot water to bring the temperature up when I'm ready to eat.  It makes about one quart.

Tip: Before adding more water, I usually pour off about half the "thick mix" into a jar for later and then add the hot water for what I am about to eat. I store the "thick mix" as a concentrate in the fridge and then before eating add in hot water, put the top back on and shake to mix. This works out really well with raw soups to have leftovers without diluting it too much.

Although Wendy says she also makes this without the oil and nut butter, I have yet to try this but it sounds good!
Raw Spicy Cheez-itzs!!

The Raw Cracker Barrel
Another easy dehydrator cracker that is a no fail hit. Even my 80 year old neighbor who basically eats all her meals from packages, loves these. Hmmm... probably doesn't sound like the best taste tester but I think you get the picture of their universal appeal.

This recipe has been around the web and too many to name have been involved with its' metamorphosis to be sure who to really credit. So if this is your final recipe, I humbly thank you for sharing.

Almonds, Sun Flower Seeds, Brazil Nuts, Ground Flax Red Pepper, Tomato, Spices

1 cup sunflower seeds (soaked and dehydrated if you have planned ahead)
1 cup brazil nuts
1 cup almonds
1 big tomato
1 red pepper, cored
1/4 cup ground golden flax seeds
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt or to taste

Process all until well mixed and a coarse texture. Spread onto a Teflex sheet as thin as you like.
cheez-itzs spread onto tray about 1/4 inch

Set in dehydrator at 115 degrees. After a few hours, score with a butter knife and leave until dry on the top, then flip onto a screened dehydrator sheet and leave until crispy- usually all day. 

Raw Spicy Cheez-itzs Crackers

Now watch how fast they disappear!

Printer friendly recipe

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ba-Bye BLT

There's a New Kid on the Sandwich Board!

Say Hello to O.S.T.A.
(Onion Bread, Sprouts, Tomato, Avocado)

Yep that's right, O.S.T.A. as in Asta la Vista Baby! Bye- bye B.L.T. 
There is a new go-to favorite in town!

No unhealthy bacon or questionable bread ingredients and with the avocado, no mayo required. With the onions, the bread has lots of flavor and in this case since we are using Heirloom tomatoes, the tomatoes do too!

I hear you saying, sure it's colorful and healthy but how does it taste? 
Well, as an example, if I have the ingredients in the house, R, the former high protein (aka meat) eater will actually make this for himself and eat it on a daily basis and even sometimes for a snack! 
I know! Total Shocker! 

So while you can make this tasty temptation with a bread (preferably sprouted bread) from the market, this post is all about the bread, The Onion Bread!

It is a dehydrator bread and while I know many people do not have dehydrators, for those that do this is a beginner recipe or better yet, an easy staple! This is Getting Raw remember? Not Gone Raw.

New to Dehydrators?

When I was new to raw, I ran out and got every new gadget to start my new "way of life," including one of these. It was an investment but by the time I got around to getting a dehydrator I had already been through the hassle of replacing several of my cheaper appliances to upgrade. I didn't want to do that here. So I bit the bullet and bought the 9 tray Excalibur. (the why's of this are another post entirely.)

So I was even more upset when the dehydrator recipes I tried turned into expensive garbage. Oh yeah! That went over well!

Dehydrators are tricky!!

It is not like baking, which I can do. I had no idea what things were supposed to look like, wet or dry, how long to leave it, how crispy or crunchy- no frame of reference at all. Plus I think I was overwhelmed by recipes that included dehydrator food that you had to start days before. Who can do that? Not Simple Raw recipes for sure. So I kind of gave up, a little, okay a lot!! Every time I look at that machine I feel badly. The expense!! Ugh!

So now with fall here and wanting a little heartier food, I decided to dust off the machine and get back at it. Before I gave up, I did have some successes and even favorites that came out well repeatedly. So that is what I'm sharing with you here today- a tried and true recipe that aside from drying time is easy and quick to make and can become a staple for sandwiches.

Onion Bread

Finished Onion Bread
This bread is really tasty and can be made both as a cracker, a little thinner and crispier, or as a bread as shown here. Also you can make it with larger onion slices that stay visible. The choice is yours.

Sunflower Seeds, Flax Seeds, Onions, Olive Oi, Nama Shoyu


2 1/2 lbs sweet onions, peeled and quartered
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup olive oil
3 oz Nama Shoyu or Tamari

Grind seeds in a dry ingredient  type blender or grinder, a little at a time until you get 1 cup of ground seeds each. You want it coarsely ground, not flour but nut butter either.
Coarsely Ground Seeds
Place the seeds in a large bowl. Process onions as desired in food processor. Mine works best with half at a time. You want the onion pieces small, although mine border on mush.

Processed Onions
Mix with the seeds and the other ingredients until well combined. The flax will absorb the liquid.

Mixed Batter
Smooth onto non-stick Teflex sheets. An off-handed spatula works best for this. Spread about 1/4 inch thick. Mine covered about 1 and 3/4 sheets and next time I may make even thicker.

Onion Bread on Teflex Sheet

Dehydrate at 115 degrees for 3 hrs or until slightly tacky to touch. Remove trays from dehydrator and score into bread slices with a butter knife and return to dehydrator.

Here's the part that I can't tell you. Each area will have different drying times by weather, temperature, altitude, individual onions, etc. All things make a difference. 

What you are looking for with first drying time is to be able to peel the Teflex from the bread without it sticking too much. 

Once you get to this point, go ahead and place a new screen tray upside down on the bread and flip over. Remove the other tray and peel off the Teflex, placing the bread directly on the screen sheet. This will make drying time much faster now.

(Sorry no picture as I did this outside in the dark.)

Watch it for another 3-4 hrs. At this point you can carefully fold the slices until they break apart and if still not dry enough, replace them on the sheet and back in the dehydrator. You don't want the bread wet but how crisp you want it is up to you. I stopped when the bread would still bend a little on it's own and when it passed the taste test.

This is what leads to the "vanishing syndrome" with dehydrators. It encourages nibbling out of the machine. If you have others in the house, don't be surprised if there is not much left by the time it's done.
Finished Bread- notice the slight bend still at overhang

Once finished, store in the fridge for moister bread or an air tight canister for crackers.


I turn the dehydrator off at night and resume when I wake up, so I can keep and eye on the doneness during the day. 

If it gets too dry you can always spritz with water to rehydrate, just not too much.

Another look at O.S.T.A.

THE Raw Sandwich

Sliced Avocado, an Heirloom Tomato (this is actually almost yellow-orange) and Micro Greens

Hope you give it a try!

What kind of sandwiches do you make now??


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