Friday, August 12, 2011

30 Raw Days Have Come and Gone

My fun 30 day raw food preparation journey recently came to an end. What does my plan look like now?

I think I've made it to a lifestyle change that embraces eating-the-most-naturally-that-I-can. What does that look like? Still mostly raw, lots of raw salads, smoothies, dehydrated and natural foods—complete foods, eaten whole (or juiced), the way God made them. At least that's the idea.

I've kept off of milk and cheese and have only eaten a few farm-fresh eggs. I drink almond milk at times which I found out has about double the amount of calcium than cow milk! I don't eat regular store bought bread and shy away from bread and flour products altogether except on occasion. And I'm convinced that it is healthier to eat much less meat than what we were used to. I'm hardly eating any at all, and I am sure to take my B12 supplement.

  • The main health improvement I saw this month was a return to normal blood pressure for me. It was 126/82 the last I checked and it's been consistent for weeks now. In my recent medical/nursing study I found out that the systolic pressure (top number) is the best indicating guide for us older folks. It's the important number to look at, and considering it was consistently over 150 up to 170 the last year, I'd say that's a terrific improvement.
  • I lost about 2 pounds per week but then stagnated during my vacation and return home. But I feel good that I got my metabolism going in the right direction—losing unwanted pounds. I'm motivated to keep going and find my natural weight.
  • I still don't have that terrible aching in my legs that I had before, so bad that I had to wear heavy support hose and it kept me from a good night's sleep. I think now that that pain/discomfort was related to my blood pressure; a normal BP means no leg aching.
  • My energy level has been good. I am not getting terribly exhausted (even in the heat of summer) and I've been exercising pretty consistent (Jazzercise).
  • My head is clearer without all the mucus; I still get too many headaches, but at least not most every night like before.
I am still excited about finding and making new raw recipes, so I'm going to be posting more here as time goes on. Keep checking back!

For now, my life is turned toward homeschool planning with my youngest son who is in his last year. I can't believe that this awesome homeschool journey with our four sons is ending . . . but I'm reminded that our education NEVER ends. It's cool that I am still on FIRE about learning after all these years. That's how God made us. I've loved learning along with my sons . . . but the journey is never ending for me. How about you?

"What makes people smart, curious, alert, observant, competent, confident, resourceful, persistent—in the broadest and best sense, intelligent—is not having access to more and more learning places, resources, and specialists, but being able in their lives to do a wide variety of interesting things that matter, things that challenge their ingenuity, skill, and judgment, and that make an obvious difference in their lives and the lives of people around them."
—John Holt~ Teach Your Own

Friday, August 5, 2011

Raw Soup, Stew, and Sweet Potato Pie

This is the season for tomatoes—I hope you got lots more out of your garden than I did!

Here are several ways you can use them.

Raw Tomato Soup

Since one of my favorite soups is tomato, I went looking for a raw tomato soup recipe and found the following. The soup I made was more like the first "Pesto" soup, but without the pine nuts. I liked it but felt that next time I would add more seasonings; it was not zesty enough, and I liked it better warmed. I'm not sure what the pine nuts would have done to it except make it thicker or creamier. (Pine nuts are so expensive, but it only calls for a small amount.)

Rhonda's Raw Tomato Pesto Soup

Raw Tomato Soup

Garlic Zucchini Noodles

As a garnish for soups or salads, I made these tasty dehydrated garlic zucchini noodles using my new spiralizer tool. Here's the thing I found out about dehydrating zucchini chips or noodles (and it probably applies to other veggies): Don't use oil in the recipe or they will not get crispy. I dehydrated my zucchini chips (cut very thin) for three days having used an olive oil marinade first. They were still not crisp, so I decided to put them in the oven for a few minutes (at 350) and when I checked on them they had burned. After all that time . . .  and I had to throw them out.

This recipe is an adaptation from one in Kristen Suzanne's Easy RAW Vegan Dehydrating book.


Spiralize 3 zucchini. Blend (or shake in a jar) 2 large cloves of garlic minced, and 2 Tbsp of tamari (soy sauce) with 2 Tbsp of water and add 1 tsp of salt. Toss the noodles with the marinating mixture until well coated. Shake off excess liquid and arrange on teflex dehydrator trays. Dehydrate at 140 degrees for 1 hour and lower the temp to 105 degrees and continue to dry till crisp, turning off of teflex trays midway and onto regular screen tray. If I remember correctly, they took about 8-12 hours.

Gazpacho Stew

I wasn't sure I was going to go for this, but we made Gazpacho Stew in Lynne's raw foods class and it was delicious. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, chill, and eat.

1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 zucchini, peeled and chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
7 ripe tomatoes (5 chopped, 2 blended)
2 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Jalapeno, minced 
1 cup fresh corn
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
1 avocado, cubed (optional)

Raw Sweet Potato Pie

Today, I had 3 sweet potatoes growing in my kitchen and needing attention. I remembered making a Sweet Potato Souffle at Thanksgiving that was darn good and so I thought I'd try a Sweet Potato Pie. This recipe calles for cinnamon and nutmeg, but I replaced those with pumpkin pie spice. 
My crust consisted of 1 cup mixed nuts soaked and drained (almonds and walnuts) with 1 cup large dates soaked and drained. I mixed these well in a food processor and patted the mixture into my pie plate sprinkled with coconut.

My filling consisted of 3 sweet potatoes (peeled and chunked) and 6 large dates put through my juicer with the blank (not the screen) attachment. To this mixture, I mixed in a bowl the following with it: 1/3 cup honey, 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut, 1 tsp lime juice (or lemon), and 2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice. If I wanted it more like the souffle I made at Thanksgiving I could have blended it in the blender, but mixed in this way, it was more chunky (though little pieces) and not as fluffy. Pour into pie crust and top with chopped walnuts. Yum!

"Unless you puke, faint or die, keep going!" —Jillian Michaels