Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Health Journey: More Watermelon Please!

Hi Folks -

Summer time has hit with a vengeance and my favorite fruit to eat, and what I yearn for every summer, is WATERMELON!

I love watermelon.  It's the most refreshing, filling, enjoyable fruit that has come into my life. Nice, cold, sweet, watermelon! Does anyone else drink the leftover juice in the bowl??? That's my favorite part! Although I do not use a "method" to pick my watermelons (thumping, smelling, etc.), 90% of the time I get a pretty good one.  I love the kind that has slightly mealy pulp, sweet flavor,  good color and less than a 1/4 inch of rind. 

A few years ago we tried to grow some in our garden.  Watching them grow was like going to a theme park for me! It was amazing to see the growth process (see below).

Watermelon emerging from the vine

Baby melon

Starting to take shape. mmmm good!
Melons in general have an excellent cleansing effect.  They alkalize the body and will hydrate you after a long run or day in the sun better than a sports drink.  My mother always raves about how much energy she received from eating watermelon after a long day working on their farm (in the Dirty South). 

Here are some other facts about watermelon:
1.  It can remove toxins from the blood.
2.  It should be eaten between meals - not right after because the water content can affect digestion.
3.  It can be tolerated well by diabetics due to it's low sugar content (but it tastes so sweet!).
4.  It can help fight urinary conditions such as kidney stones.
5.  Eating watermelon is a good way to loose weight.  It fills you up and satisfies cravings for something sweet.

So, eat up this summer season......I know I will!  Most melons in the US are grown in the Southern states and are a watermelon lover's DREAM! Watermelon is Caleb approved and a good way for him to hydrate, especially the days where he refuses to drink pure water. 

May I have more watermelon please??

What is your favorite summer fruit?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Rebellion in Raw Food Land (30 Day Challenge - Part 6)


I had a wake up call today (just now actually).  All day I had a spirit of rebellion towards living in Raw Food Land. There was almost a coup at lunchtime as pizza from one of my favorite local joints was ordered for a lunch meeting.  I called myself being prepared by having a salad ready...but the revolution was already beginning because I added a vegan veggie burger to my salad to "jazz" it give me a different mouth spice it up a lil!

The rebellion:
Pizza (especially from my favorite places) is a TRIGGER for me! As posted on The Food Journey: Eating Out, this sista right here can eat a whole pizza without any assistance!

Even though I was tempted, I did not partake in the pizza resting just a few feet away.  The salad (with the veggie burger) was actually quite satisfying. 

I have something else to tell you:  Last night I ate potato chips....more than three! This morning I finished Caleb's soup (it was only 2-3 tablespoons left) because I didn't want to throw it away!

I confess! I have been weak!  I let my mind cravings hijack my commitment to the challenge.  I consumed things I should not have. I don't feel guilty, just slightly hypocritical, but now I have a new resolve to finish this challenge strong. 

Every attachment to food has been tested during this challenge.  I'm spent....but not willing to let the rebels in my mind take complete control.  I'm calling in the reserves and fortifying the castle. 

Who pulled the fire alarm?
What led to this wake up call?  Well, I started following a blog called The Raw Raw Life
and the author, Carla, has been doing a 30 day juice fast during the entire month of June.  Her post today was EXACTLY what I NEEDED to HEAR! She reintroduced me to why I started this challenge in the first place:  to have a better life!

It's time to focus!
Wake up ya'll!  If you are making life changes to heal yourself and to straighten up your life, don't turn back! Employ radical practices to catapult you to the gold mine of excellent health. Keep moving toward the positive goal and enjoy the blessings you will receive by getting through the hard parts.

I am a witness that bad habits CAN change! You can do better. Positive change, although hard to do, is worth it for a better body and better health which ultimately leads to a better life.

I want a life as healthy and vibrant as this beautiful red rose!  It's going to take some work to get there, but I'm moving in the right direction!

5 more days!  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

Has anyone ever struggled with making life changes for health reasons?  How did you do it?

Peace and blessings!

Monday, June 24, 2013

30 Day Raw Food Challenge (Part 5)

Hi Folks....we are ALMOST FINISHED with this challenge (8 more days to go).  I'm having mixed emotions.  On one hand I'm impressed with how I've been handling the challenge (sticking to the regimen VERY well) and on the other I'M READY TO EAT COOKED FOOD! This last week has been emotionally and mentally tough.

The cloud of irritation I posted about last week (Raw Food Land...Not a Happy Place To Be!) lifted this past weekend and although my desire for cooked food has dwindled, I gained more determination to finish this challenge.  I went out to eat with family this past weekend, and was tempted by the piping hot, crispy French fries that were ordered.  Hmmm mmmm! I've had a long standing relationship with French fries....(love them!!).  But I did NOT cave.  The NBA finals brought pizza to my kitchen table. But I did NOT consume any.  The memory of being refreshed by a creamy, cold Oreo cookie Blizzard from Dairy Queen tickled my senses on a steamy humid June evening.  But I did NOT indulge! Last week was tough...but going through that fire is keeping me on track for this last lap.

Along with all the detoxing and cleansing this challenge has rendered (mind, body and spirit) I'm really pleased at how I have been able to train for my duathalon with no performance issues.  I'm physically stronger and have been making progress in biking and running.  I rode 10 miles today (first time on a bike in over 10 years!!) then went on a brick run for 1 mile, lifted weights after that and ate a HUGE salad filled with greens, nuts, seeds and other veggies.

Due to the sour attitude I had  last week, I did not keep a good picture diary of what I've been eating (I was NOT in the mood). But I'll share with you what I did capture.

Day #17 - I honestly don't remember what I ate on this day......all I know is that I was exhausted and went to sleep before 9:30pm.

Day #18 - Breakfast tahini yogurt with blueberries and lunch was chickpea pilaf. Dinner was celery soup. Again...I was I was in bed before 10pm.

Breakfast for Day #18 - Tahini Yogurt (lemon juice, hemp seeds, chia seeds, blueberries, almonds, pumpkin seeds)

Lunch for Day #18 - Chick pea pilaf (onions, garlic, cilantro, tomato and avocado, other spices, lemon juice)

Day #19 - I was not really able to stick to the planned menu but I kept it raw (ALL DAY LONG).  Had a smoothie for breakfast, a huge salad for lunch and don't remember what my dinner was.  I also began to bulk up on nuts and protein shakes (made with seeds, nuts,  coconuts and cocoa). One of my co-workers had a canister full of raw almonds.  I ate 90% of the container......Plus with my training, I needed more calories. 

Day #20 - Kale salad was the special of the day. Quite yummy (I added pumpkin seeds and cranberries for more calories)! It contained kale, dandelion greens, spinach, vinegar, olive oil, cumin, coriander, and salt.

Day #21 - This day was tough from a time management perspective.  Again....I wasn't able to stick to the planned menu but I had a great fruit salad for breakfast drank banana cocoa smoothies for lunch and snacks. Now I did indulge on a Chitpotle salad on the was great! And MOSTLY raw...I added black beans (oooops!!!!!!)

Breakfast for Day #21 - (papaya, pineapple, watermelon, strawberries, peach,  hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, orange juice)

Day #22 -  Smoothies were for breakfast and I made some sushi wraps for lunch.  Dinner was watermelon, cherries and water.

All the fixings: Nut pate (almonds, lemon, garlic, ginger, broccoli), carrots, lettuce, avocado, peaches, cilantro

Finished product!


Overall -- a decent week.  8 more days to go! But what am I going to do then?  I don't want to put the toxins back in.....but I'm ready for something more! Oxtails? Mac and cheese?  Oreo cookie Blizzard?????   I have to work out a plan for the next steps. 

Any advice?

Peace and blessings!!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Hair Journey....more coping skills!

Hi Folks!

My fabulous growing tresses have been molded into a closer replica of a Mohawk! I love it!

I blew it out to get enough length to braid....then I twisted the rest of it! Love it!!! I'm so excited about my new do!

The pictures below show the "released" version.  I felt a bit like Coolio with the straight twists. Plus releasing the twists gives more body to the style.

As usual there have been looks and comments about the new look....most of which have been extremely positive.  If I may be transparent, I am a tad bit concerned about this not being a "professional" look.  I work in corporate America and although things are relaxed (people come to work in jeans and sneakers...maybe a spandex skirt here or there)....I still feel a bit strange rocking such a radical (Afrocentric) style.  My faux-hawk from last week was "boss approved"....but I don't know....

Yes...this means I've been brainwashed....just a little....but I do believe in looking the "part" while you are in the workplace.  I've never straightened my hair for a job interview since I've been natural. I've always worn it, in it's natural state.  But I've never had this style before.........

Well....the braids are NOT coming out...sooooo....I'll just see what kind of response I get! :)

I'm walking on the wild side!!

What do you think about my new look?

Peace and blessings!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Caleb's Corner: Prince of the Mango Mountains

Another fruit has come on the scene in Caleb's life:  the mango.  The tropical fruit that people love to eat and drink.  I don't know anyone who doesn't like  a voluptuous, sweet and juicy mango!

A few months ago you could not get Caleb to even taste a it's second in popularity to the  banana (King of Banana Land). Personally, I love mangos! There are so many different types.  In my opinion each one has a particular flavor profile and amount of pulp (aka those pesky strings).

I'm pleased that Caleb has entered into a relationship with mangos. Here are 5 reasons why:

1.  Mangos are extremely rich in vitamin A. Eating one 300g mango can provide the RDA for vitamin A.  It has the greatest vitamin A content out of all the fresh fruit.

2. If you need a vitamin C boost, eat a mango! One mango provides 138% of the adult requirement.  Try this when you are sick instead of vitamin C tablets!

3. Vitamin E, what I like to call the "skin oil" is represented well in mangos.  It can provide 33% of the daily requirement.

4. Having skin issues? Go get some mangos quick! It has been cited that vitamin A deficiencies produce dryness and scaling...mangos can combat that by hydrating and toning the skin (VERY GOOD for Caleb's eczema issues (Bye Bye Eczema!). 

5. Mangos are beneficial to the circulatory system and should be included in your diet if you suffer from poor circulation (my hand is raised!..... I need to eat more mangos!!!!!)

After learning about these excellent properties...I'm all for Caleb being the Prince of the Mango Mountains!

Peace and blessings!!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Raw Food Land - Not a happy place to be! (30 Day Raw Part 4)

I'm still living in Raw Food Land.

I think I have begun to experience a mental/emotional detoxification that has been linked to the toxins I've been consuming.

Over the last few days, I've had feelings of irritation, anger, low patience and mental fatigue. Raw Food Land has lost it's titillating allure and pleasure.  As I posted, I made it through the water fast and even "liquids only" week (The Water Fast....3 Things I did to Cope).  As solid food was re-introduced to the diet, my mind frame shifted from jubilation and confidence to a place of cravings and displeasure.  I have not given up on the challenge (I've invested too much!!!), but I almost caved today.  It's almost as if my mental stamina is waning.  I've tried to "out smart" my cravings by thinking about what sweet or salty whole food item I can replace with the need for junk food...what is my body really asking for (The Food Journey: Cravings!!!).? So far it's been working.

Maybe I'm getting rid of BRAIN toxins or my attachment to certain foods are coming under attack and I'm subconsciously resisting it!  I feel like a drug addict going through rehab.  I didn't think I was addicted to any foods.  But I do have some undesirable food habits.

I did not cave today.  I filled up with raw almonds and a banana cocoa protein shake (after dinner snack).  I tried to flush out my mental toxins by drinking as much water as possible!! I worked out like a maniac to relieve my tension and was still impatient with Caleb this evening. The glory of making it through the tough "liquids only" week is gone.....

I was FOCUSED for the water fast.... and I need that focus now to complete this challenge.  It's been more than I bargained for and expected....but nothing but growth can come from this experience.  Yes....I am giving myself a pep talk!!! :)

So now, after that soliloquy, let me share with you what I've been eating and drinking:

Day #11 - The water fast (Read about how I coped).

Day #12 - This is the day almond milk was introduced and I became obsessed with it.  Almond milk was for dinner and I combined it with rosemary tea (pictured below).  It was quite tasty.


Day #13 -  I mixed the leftover almond milk with fresh cantaloupe......YUM - MY!!!!! Later that evening green juice was on the menu.  I had a snack of chocolate almond milk which hit the spot. This is the day my feelings of irritation began to surface. My belly/body was satisfied...but my emotions began to turn south.

Breakfast for Day #13 - Cantaloupe - Almond milk
Lunch for Day#13 - Sprout salad (sprouts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, cranberries, avocado, lemon juice and salt)
Day #14 -  I was feeling even more anxious than the evening before, but was happy fruit was introduced to the plan.

Breakfast and Lunch for Day #14 - fruit salad (blueberries, raspberries, papaya, pineapple, apple, watermelon, cantaloupe, cilantro) and Kale/orange smoothie.  I added nuts and seeds to the fruit salad for lunch.

Day #15 -  I went to the movies and overdosed on POPCORN!! was no where near and overdose...but I did have movie popcorn. And more chocolate almond milk.  Cucumber dill salad was on the menu and I bulked up on watermelon.

Cucumber and dill salad

Day #16 - My hunger levels went through the roof today.  All my angst about not being able to eat cooked food (bread, hot soup, chips, Chitpotle) came to a head.  I was emotionally upset.  Green Apple smoothie was for breakfast and sprout salad was for lunch. I had a lunch meeting and ate more salad there....instead of the rolls and jerk chicken that were whispering my name.  Dinner was a broccoli quiche and I followed that up with a banana cocoa protein shake.

Breakfast for Day #16 - Green Apple smoothie (kale, lettuce apples)

Supplement for Day # 16 - Banana Protein shake - (bananas, pumpkin seeds, seasame seeds, hemp seeds, cocao powder, dates, alkaline water, coconut butter, salt, vanilla)

Pray Church!!!!!!!!!!  13 more days to go!!

Peace and blessings (dropped the mic!)

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Hair Journey: Tress Update #4

Hi Folks!

Since my hair is growing nicely I've decided to begin to explore various hair styles.

The Flo Fro is back with a vengeance and a bit of a twist.  I've been picking it out and patting it into  a nice smooth halo. (I actually wore it like this to work the other day).

Then I decided to add some side twists to mimic a I'm rocking the faux-hawk now.
I'm not quite sold on the faux - hawk.  I think I have a bit more styling to do around making sure the profile is just the way I like it, but I appreciate the variety it gives me.

Based on my dry scalp issues (The Hair Journey: Dry Scalp Woes) I've been diligently applying apple cider vinegar (ACV) and tea tree oil (cut with jojoba oil) to my scalp.  It's been a week and so far so good.  My scalp is not itchy, flaky or dry!  I've also been using a mixture of fresh aloe and water to help moisturize my growing tresses.  It's definitely cheaper to treat my hair to the natural, fresh goodies as opposed to products that run $8 - $14 (or more) a bottle.  One aloe leaf costs approximately $2, and  a big bottle of ACV (unfiltered) is around $3.99.  Both last a really long time!!
You have to be careful with the aloe, because it can get flaky and leave white pieces in your hair after it dries.  Be sure to wash it out fully or cut it with water to eliminate the flakes (if using it as a leave in).
I've also noted how dry my hair I've been spritzing with aloe and water, putting  a shower cap on and sealing the moisture in with shea butter.  So far so good!
Today someone surveyed my faux-hawk curiously, then suggested I cut my hair into a fade and dye it blond.........NO THANK YOU! :)  On the other end of the spectrum, I received compliments on my new look.   When I cut my hair some folks got that I'm growing it back they don't like it either! Sheesh!
There will always be an opinion out there...but the one that really matters is MINE! And the hubby's....but my opinion still trumps his! It's my hair after all!  :)
What do you think about my shapely Flo Fro and faux-hawk??
Peace and blessings!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

THE WATER FAST.....3 things I did to cope..

Ya'll would be proud of me!  I survived the water fast with flying colors.  My day was pretty easy and I didn't feel hungry for food AT ALL!  When I wanted something to fill my belly I took out my lemon water.  I even ran 3 miles and lifted weights.  However, I ended up trimming my reps down from 3 to 2 towards the end of the workout...I started feeling a tad bit weak.  But overall pretty energetic!

When I left work the hunger pangs started in on me.  I finally ate some raw chicken noodle soup around 7pm. 
Breakfast, lunch, snack, early dinner......

The water fast breaker - raw "chicken" noodle soup
Then I ate some cantaloupe..........

And I had 3 potato chips!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just three though!!! LOL!

I am proud of my accomplishment!  I have never completed ANY fast.  Granted this fast was for one day, but I'm happy about it.

What got me through it? Thanks for asking....

1. I had a made up mind.  I possessed the determination to see the challenge through.  The mind is a POWERFUL tool.

2. I didn't focus on food.  When lunch time hit, I was outdoors (being chased by cicadas - have MERCY!!) going for a run. I avoided even smelling other people's lunch.

3. I had support.  I knew others were doing it with me.  I also was texting a friend throughout the day to keep me laughing.

I know now that I can do ANYTHING I set my mind to DO.

Now I have no excuse to GET IT TOGETHER!! I have shown myself that self determination and self control is available for me to tap into.

Peace and blessings!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

30 Day Raw Food Challenge! (Part 3)

I'm still living in Raw Food Land and things are progressing nicely. Emotions, thoughts and physical symptoms have ranged from being really hungry to extremely satisfied. Or totally exhausted to having enough energy to potentially run a 10K.   I've had cravings for fried chicken and candy bars and then felt absolutely no desire to eat any junk at all.  Today wasn't as bad as I anticipated.  There was no solid food on the menu....only juice and smoothies.

The breakdown for Day #10:
Breakfast: Grapefruit/Watermelon juice
Lunch: Grapefruit/Watermelon juice
Dinner: OJ banana raspberry smoothie

Before I tell you about how today ended, let me give you an update on the last five days: 

Day #6 - We ate lettuce wrap tacos that were pretty satisfying for lunch.  I felt no adverse symptoms and had a ton of ENERGY.

Day #7 - Pretty quiet day.  Felt really tired, but ate well and had no cravings. Lunch was an Asian inspired slaw (see pic below).

Lunch for Day #7 - Asian cole slaw (cabbage, carrots, ginger, garlic, cilantro, corn, green onions, Braggs liquid amino, lemon juice)

Dinner on Day #7 - Melon mint smoothie (cantaloupe, mint, banana, papaya, nectarine)

Day #8 - I went out to eat with friends and maintained the integrity of the challenge (Eating Out While Raw).  BIG pat on the back!! But later that night before bed I caught an enormous case of the munchies! I was getting ready to tear open and consume any bag of chips I could find (in 5 seconds or less).  Sanity stepped in at the last moment and I resorted to eating watermelon! The mind is a POWERFUL thing!

Day # 9 - Green Juice was my breakfast and all I wanted to do was chew on something! I had a great lunch and ate a peach and banana for snack.  Work was a walk on the wild side and I had visions of Snicker bars dancing across my desk! I opted for the Sunshine salad instead (pictured below) and drank a whole heap of swamp style water (blackberries, lemons and mint). That evening I had a bowl of air popped corn (is that cheating?????????)

Breakfast for Day #9 - Green juice (kale, pears, apples, lemons, cabbage, lettuce)

Lunch for Day #9 - Sunshine salad (tomatoes, rosemary, thyme, oregano, cilantro, dill, garlic, onions, cranberries, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, dressed with lemon juice and salt)

Dinner for Day #9 - blended salad (aka gazpacho)
Day #10 - Today was  NOT as bad as I expected.  I actually brought fruit with me to supplement my huger pangs (a peach and blueberries) but I didn't need to eat them.  Surprisingly the juice and water kept me full today at work.  I had a carob shake on stand by to help curb the cravings for Snicker bars I had yesterday.  I actually drank all of the carob was absolutely DI-VINE!

Lunch and snacks for Day #10 - water w/blueberries, grapefruit watermelon juice, carob shake, peach (which I didn't eat)

Up close and personal with the carob shake............hmm mmmm GOOD!

The last 10 days of this challenge have been trying but encouraging.  Aside from the first week (30 Day Raw Food CHALLENGE! (Part 2), I've been feeling really good.  I've kept my duathlon engines revved up and have been running and working out.  I have not buckled and left the gym or track with an incomplete workout.  On Sunday I was void of  knee pain for 85% of my workout.  Awesome!! I see some progress being made and I'm happy!
Tomorrow is going to challenge me mentally and emotionally because it is a WATER FAST! heard right.  I didn't know fasting was a part of this challenge..........SURPRISE!
I have never lasted through any fast for the allotted period of time prescribed.  I've always cut it short.  Well folks, tomorrow is the day I will PUSH THROUGH.  Nothing but water (with lemon). 
If I can make it through this, I will be one step closer to a higher level of peace, tranquility, self control, and strength.  I will be better equipped to handle all the other issues in my life that I've been struggling with. It's called: GROWTH! And I am excited for what is to come!!!
Pray church!!!
Peace and blessings!

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Hair Journey: Dry Scalp Woes!

I've stated before that I have had issues with my scalp being flaky, dry and irritated.  I have pictures that show light spots on my forehead.  I've also used countless shampoos and conditioners or just ignored it and increased the amount of times I washed it in a week.  But I had a lot of hair and frequent washings were not practical or timely based on how I needed to style my hair to be presentable.  The funny thing is, some of it got better with out me really targeting the issue.  Maybe it was a change in body chemistry.........Sadly I ended up getting used to it.

Check out the light spots on my forehead

Well most recently I was enlightened to the fact that my scalp flakiness and light patches were not because I couldn't make up my mind on which pair of shoes to wear or what restaurant to go to for lunch.  I had scalp friends.....called Malassezia  a.k.a FUNGUS! Yuck!!! I feel like a big fungus after all my research on this topic. 

There is a particular type of fungus that most of us have on our skin (malassezia) and when the opportunity arises (body chemistry changes, etc.) it can begin to grow...and grow......and multiply...and just start having nightly parties.  Depending on what products you use or what you eat, you can promote or inhibit growth.  For years, I was promoting growth by feeding the fungus with the wrong hair care products (and maybe my diet too).

Now I know better...and thought I was doing better until the parties started again.  So now, I'm on a quest to kill the fungus on my scalp for good.  I want to clear this problem up for good especially with my hair being much shorter now.  It should be easier for me to increase the wash frequency and address the issue with out so much hair to deal with!

So far I've come across some natural remedies that I'm going to try, but I'm not sure what regime I need to employ for optimal benefits (i.e. calling the cops on the parties and stopping them for good).  

1. Apple cider vinegar
2. Tea tree oil
3. Coconut oil
4. Anti dandruff shampoos and conditioners
5. Black walnut and aloe vera

Today I  used a tea tree shampoo and conditioner, sprayed my scalp with black walnut/aloe vera mixture and applied tea tree oil to my scalp after the black walnut solution dried.

Dandruff....the result of fungal parties

I'm still on the prowl for a good fungus killing program.  If anybody out there has any suggestions please let me know.  Does anybody else have a scalp that looks like the pictures above?

I will not let this fungus define me....I am not FUNGUS! I just have it on my scalp! Ewwwww!

Peace and blessings!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Eating out during the 30 Day Raw Food Challenge......

Hi Folks -

Today I met a few friends at an Italian restaurant for dinner.

Prior to arriving I had some thoughts running through my head: "What do I eat?"  "I love me some bread!" Ya'll know me - if I get a whiff of pizza there's no telling what I will do (The Food Journey: Eating Out)!

Well I'm happy to report that I stuck to eating salad...and more salad....and even more salad! It was a family style restaurant so there was plenty of salad!

As a strategy to thwart any temptations that may show up,  I bulked up on watermelon and cantaloupe prior to leaving my house.  I figured I would already be pretty full by the time I got to the restaurant.  It also helped that others ordered food that was not my favorite (shrimp pasta, calamari, etc.), so the desire to munch....or snatch a taste didn't arise. 

I was fortunate that this restaurant had salad...what if I get invited to a burger joint with no salads on the menu? Do I decline?  Do I go and have them put the burger fixings on a plate for me?  How much would that cost I wonder........?

I know that the previous challenges I've put myself through such as Airplane Food (part 1 - 5) and (Detoxification: Small brush..Large impact) have helped my self control and discipline. YES! Fist pump!! Progress! And that's what it's all about....progressing, growing, changing into a better person.  Even on Day #8 I have a feeling of accomplishment.

My next test will be later this month, where I'll meet up with some folks at a French joint.  Let's see what happens!!!

Peace and blessings!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

30 Day Raw Food CHALLENGE!.....(Part 2)

Hi Folks! Today is Day #5 of my 30 Day Raw Food Challenge.  So far it has been a roller coaster (yes...only after 5 days.....)!  Today was the best day of the challenge so far in terms of how I've been feeling.  Let me update you on the last 5 days:

Day #1 - This day was awesome! I ate well.  Had a lot of water and fruit and felt really good.  I didn't miss anything from my previous diet and had no cravings.  Check out my previous post for what I ate that day (30 Day Raw Food Challenge Part 1). 

Day #2 - I had a headache and felt very HUNGRY....all day long, even after I ate.  So I supplemented the meal plan provided by Herbal Bush House with fruit (apples and blueberries). 

Dinner on Day #2 - Red pepper stuffed with gazpacho (I ate two of these with a mango lassi)
Day #3 - Things started turning ugly. I had really bad stomach pain followed by diarrhea....ALL DAY LONG.  Based on what was happening at work this week, I could not afford to take a sick I suffered through it...praying (literally) that there would be no "accidents".  Have Mercy!! Along with the sharp stomach pains, nausea started to set in and that evening my legs felt achy and I was absolutely drained/exhausted.  I felt like I had the flu! Every time I ate I felt I didn't eat much on Day #3.

Day #4 - The stomach pain and diarrhea continued.  I had very low energy and felt down emotionally.  Later that evening the nausea began to lift along with the stomach pains.

Dinner on Day #4 - Zucchini pasta with tomato sauce and fresh oregano (This was yummy!)

Day #5 - I woke up feeling MUCH better! No stomach pains, no diarrhea and the nausea is gone! Thank God! Whew!

Lunch for Day #5 - The Incredible Hulk salad (spinach, cilantro, kale, avocado, green onion, pear, cranberries,  hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds -- dressed with lime juice and salt) This was an awesome salad!

Every day I tried to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I stayed hydrated with my swamp water (Airplane Food Part 2) and added a smoothie and fruits and nuts when necessary.  Today (Day #5) I had no desire to eat dinner at all.  I think it was the Incredible Hulk salad (pictured above).

Swamp water - mint, limes, blueberries and ginger (Dee-lish!)
Five days down.....twenty-five to go!

Are there any detox experiences you've had that you are willing to share? I'm ALL ears!! :)

Peace and blessings!

The Juice Journey: Detox by Juicing!

Hi Folks!

Last night I took part in a juicing Q&A session sponsored by Soul Food Therapy, where it is Juicy June Month.  It was great! The guest was Kareen (a dietician) of  I am Eating Right

Have you ever heard of a film called: "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead"? Well it's about a man who cleans up an extremely overweight and unhealthy body by going on a juice fast for 60 days. 

This is what Kareen has done....TWICE!

Juicing for improved health is becoming a fast moving train.   I was enlightened on some things last night that I want to share with you.  As posted in The Juice Journey, I've dabbled in juicing and still make juices now....but I've never tried a juice fast.

Key Points:
1.  9 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day can boost your body's cancer fighting ability.

2. If using juice to replace a meal,  drink 32 ounces.

3. Benefits to juicing: increases energy levels,  you consume more veggies, and you look better (skin, hair and nails).

4. If partaking in a juice fast YOU MUST PREPARE YOUR BODY by eliminating junk (processed foods, caffeine, etc. one to two weeks prior).  And this goes for any type of  detox or cleanse.  (I am a witness!!!)

5. Exercise levels while on a juice fast will depend on you! Also, protein can be added to the juice if necessary.

6. Smoothies and juices are both excellent ways to fuel your body. Note that smoothies contain more fiber and will not give your digestive system a complete rest like juices will.  Juicing removes all insoluble fiber allowing the nutrients to be delivered in an clean, pure format.  There is a higher concentration of nutrients in juice compared to smoothies.

7. Juice fasting can last from one day to 60 days. A one day juice fast can help clease your palate and give your system a rest.

8. Discipline key in following any juicing or detox plan.  Having an accountability partner will help greatly.  It's a challenging experience not just physically but mentally and emotionally.  Personally, when you conquer the task of having self control, you have a deep feeling of accomplishment.  This is how I felt after my airplane food challenge (The Food Journey: Airplane Food).  Succeeding in the last two challenges have boosted my self control and is helping to keep me on track with this new challenge.

The first time Kareen did the 60 day juice fast she lost 40 POUNDS!!!

Because a juice fast is a form of detoxification, some adverse symptoms may rear their ugly heads.  According to Kareen, detox symptoms are the worst on Day 2 through Day 4, and decrease around Day 5.   I can attest to this.  We are on Day #4 of the 30 Day RAW Food Challenge and I have been feeling it!

Luscious Lacinto Kale Juice( Great Juice recipe!)
Grapefruit Mango Smoothie

I also got a hold of some awesome juicing resources! Check out the following:

The Sweeter the Juice (You can get a free e-book on juicing!)
I Am Eating Right (Here you can link to Kareen's You Tube Channel and see demos)

Happy Juicing!

Peace and Blessings!

Monday, June 3, 2013

30 Day Raw Food CHALLENGE!......(Part 1)

Hi Folks!

It's time for another self induced challenge! For the next thirty (30) days I will be consuming 100% raw food.  RAW? Yes....raw.  No food that I will consume will be baked, broiled, fried, boiled, sauteed, or braised.  Instead it will be diced, chopped, blended, pureed, sliced and eaten in it's natural state (Raw Sausage? You're asking for food poisoning....). 

This challenge falls into the  DETOXIFICATION bucket due to the nature of the food and the break my liver will get from not consuming highly processed food (The Health Journey: Detoxification). 

My expectations/goals are:
1. To have more energy due to the living food I'll be eating.
2. To expand my knowledge of raw food and enjoy new food and recipes.
3  Improve my elimination (TMI!!!)
4. To loose a little thigh jiggle and increase muscle.

This challenge is being sponsored by Herbal Bush House (Herbal Bush House - 30 Day Raw/Real Food Challenge).  One of the really cool things about this challenge is that Herbal Bush House provides a daily menu and weekly shopping lists so you don't have to rack your brain to figure out what to eat.  It's all provided for you.  Now, of course you can free style any recipe and make it to your liking (that's what I'm going to do). It's also a group challenge so I am not alone! :) The other good thing is that 30 - 50% of my daily meals for the last 3 months have been raw (Raw Burrito! and The almost raw lunch).  So it appears that I will only have to change a few habits to make it through this challenge.

I don't think I'll become a "raw foodist" after this, but I'm looking forward to the positive changes I am sure to experience. 

Raw food has become a movement and there are  people (called raw foodists) who have cited this way of living as the only way to have a truly healthful diet.  I agree, that eating food in it's natural state is better for you. We are alive, so our food should be too!  But I must admit....I really like bread....and an occasional piece of fish or chicken...and that's where the struggle is! Note that your dietary habits equate to a specific lifestyle. We are what we eat! Food is a huge part of every culture, it's hard to separate how you eat from how you live.

What do I have to eliminate?
1. Dairy
2. Meat
3. Drugs/alcohol (which I do not consume anyway)
4. All processed foods (included breads and chips)
5. Anything that has been heat treated under extreme conditions (cooked, baked, pasteurized, etc.)

What can I eat?
1. Nuts and seeds
2. Fruits and vegetables
3. Fresh smoothies and juices
4. Dehydrated foods
5. Legumes (if prepared properly).
6. Anything else considered "RAW"

What I feel will be challenging to stop or give up
1. My late night snacking choice of chips or crackers......just a small amount though! :)
2. Bread
3. An occasional cookie or two!

Also - don't worry about how I'll get enough fat and protein....seeds, nuts, fruits (like avocado) are packed with good fats and protein.

Today was DAY #1 and I know you can't wait for me to tell you what I ate! So here it goes......

Grapefruit Mango Smoothie (protein powder and seeds added for a protein punch)
Silken Carob shake (made with coconut)
Silken Carob Shake
Grapefruit Mango Smoothie

Nut/Seed Sushi (white mixture is garlic, coconut, hemp seeds and spices)

NONE! I was so full...I had no desire for dinner.  But if I had eaten dinner it would have been a salad.

Snacks: Watermelon

I'm excited for what is to come!

I'll be updating the blog on my progress every 5 days...or more if I'm feeling extra inspired!

It's not too late to join the challenge!

Peace and blessings!