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Going raw again

9 Jul

Today is the day. I’m sick of making excuses for myself.

It’s too expensive. (It’s not.)

I don’t have time. (I can make the time)

I like cooked food. (Oh well.)

Etc.

I have had a cough and stuffy nose for over a week now and I just can’t seem to shake it. I have been tired (no surprise, with a bug, and a sick toddler who has me up at all hours of the night). I can almost feel myself putting on weight.

Enough is enough! I have done raw before, and I know how it good it makes me feel, even if I don’t love the food. I do like it, I just don’t love it. Eating needn’t be such an emotional deal thing anyway. I’m weary of putting crap into my body.

Again, I’m not going 100% raw. I’m still allowing myself eggs, cheese, potatoes (cooked in a healthy manner!), and things like chickpeas and kidney beans. But I’m going to eat a lot more raw vegies and fruit, and snack on things like nuts and raw crackers.

Yeeha!

 

 

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Times

7 Jul

You know that feeling when you think you’re really busy? And then you get busier, and you look back and think you had leisure time then, but you really don’t now. And then you get busier again?

I totally feel like this

That’s where I am at the moment. I thought I had a fairly busy life pre-baby, although I also had plenty of time for chilling out. Then I had a baby, and mothering him takes up a lot of time! Then I started a business which involves a lot of sewing, website administration, and marketing. Then I started a part time swim teaching job. Then I started working on a book (I’m really, actually working on a book.). Then I got a part time nannying job. In August, I’m going to start studying organic horticulture. And I’m a single mother which means I have to do all the housework and all the errands, and I don’t have any childcare so I take my son everywhere or work while he’s sleeping (with one exception – my brother looks after him for a couple of hours a week while I teach swimming.). I’m also applying to be a foster parent.

Heck!

So you can understand why I have been a little absent on the blog lately. I’ve been working really hard on my book with the aim of finishing it by the time I start studying.

I have also been really slack with eating raw food. When going through a heartbreaking separation and adjusting to life as a working single parent to a busy toddler, it is easy to revert to the style of eating that I have done for 24 years, rather than the way I was eating for a couple of months. I know it’s better for me. I know that once I get into a routine it won’t be too much harder.But did I mention I’m a little busy? It’s also a lot more expensive to eat raw – for me, anyway, as I ate a lot of nuts and things when I was mostly raw, but I didn’t eat much expensive processed food when I eat mostly cooked. So anyway, excuses excuses. I’m taking the baby on a trip to visit my Mum in a couple of weeks; it’ll be the school holidays so I won’t be teaching or nannying. It’ll be my last break for quite a while, and I plan to make the most of it! She is planning for us to be at least 80% raw while I’m there so I’m hoping I will get into healthier habits and continue them when we get back.

The fruit pick-me-up

13 Jun

My fruit wasn't as fancy as this, but I am definitely going to make these rainbow kebabs when strawberries are in season!

For the last couple of days I have been feeling SO tired. There’s no immediately obvious reason, because I have been getting plenty of sleep. Slept in til 10.30 on Sunday morning as my son was at his Dad’s overnight. Bliss! He usually sleeps til 8am or even 8.30am so it’s not like I have to wake up early (he occasionally wakes up in the night but not often). Yesterday I was so tired I almost fell asleep when I was cuddling him to sleep at naptime and bedtime. Today I was feeling bereft of all pizazz.

Then I realised that as I couldn’t afford my vege box last week, I haven’t been eating as much raw food / fruit / vegetables as usual. So today when I went to the post office to post off my foster care application, I also stopped by the supermarket and got some fruit. When we got home I chopped up a plateful of fruit for me and the baby. I feel so much better! 1 apple, 3 mandarins, 2 kiwifruit, 2 bananas… magic.

Must remember to stick to eating more raw food. I am particularly looking forward to my vege box this week.

Organic vege boxes

19 May

I have discovered a wonderful thing. Delivered. Organic. Boxes. Of fruit and vegetables.

I don’t have an established garden, but I love organic vegetables. People argue over the health benefits (which seems stupid, really; obviously something that is natural is going to be healthier than something that isn’t… it’s that simple) but aside from all that, organic tastes so much better. No wonder veges are so uninspiring and people have to force themselves to eat them, when they buy sterile supermarket vegetables. I can’t afford to shop at the organics store, but the delivered boxes are actually not much more than I would pay for fruit and veg at the supermarket.

It’s also a good way to make sure that the largest portion of my grocery bill is made up of fresh, healthy, fruit and vegetables. And although it can be somewhat inconvenient to not choose the produce myself, it’s also rather cool to get a mystery box of deliciousness, and have to use what I have to figure out some different meals than I might otherwise make.

I have been getting baby boxes from the Organic Connection and they are pretty good. But I have also come across the same service through Commonsense Organics which is a bit cheaper, so I am going to trial that in a couple of weeks. Their website is crap, so I haven’t bothered to go through the process yet. I also got a voucher through groupy for Organic Boxes – $25 for a $50 box – so I am going to use that next week.

I will report back in a few weeks or so with the results of my market research.

UPDATE: The Organic Boxes box was less plentiful than the Organic Connection one. It was good quality, but I wouldn’t have thought it was enough for a couple for a week. I tried to go through the Commonsense website again to order one of their boxes but they really don’t make it easy… I have given up for now; maybe once they upgrade their website I will have a crack at it. I am sticking with Organic Connection for the moment.

Struggling to stay raw

25 Apr

I was excited and motivated about this raw food thing for the first month. Lots of new recipes to try, feeling more energy, having less insulin, and let’s be honest, feeling rather virtuous for eating so healthily.

This isn't me. But I feel a bit like she looks.

But we’ve been mostly raw for over a month now, and the novelty is wearing off. The more lenient I become with the amount of cooked food I allow myself, the more difficult it seems to stay raw.

Last night we had friends over for dinner; pictures of their gourmet ‘raw vegan Christmas feast’ helped inspire me to try raw food, as I saw that it didn’t need to be just salads and green smoothies. So it was nice to be in company of people who ‘get it’.

But it’s still feeling like a lot of effort now. The gourmet raw meals that were exciting me to start with are now paling in comparison to the cooked versions. I keep telling myself that it is good for me, but the little person on the other shoulder says ‘as long as you have a high amount of raw, the odd bit of cooked food is OK’. But the more I think like that, the more cooked food I eat.

I’ve made some nice meals, but with the exception of one nice batch, all the raw crackers and flat breads I’ve tried to make have been failures. I’m weary of snacking on fruit and nuts and carrot sticks.

I guess there’s a point with every new thing where the novelty wears off and you are stuck with the fact that this is reality. I do believe in raw food now, so I’m going to stick with it. But I’m cutting myself some slack; just because I eat some cooked food one day doesn’t mean I have to pack the whole thing in. I just start again the next day.

Who says kids won’t eat their greens?

19 Apr

I know green smoothies are all the rage with raw foodies, but I don’t actually have any greens growing, so haven’t got round to making any yet. Then I remembered that I have 1.5 packets of Claridges Life Greens which a lovely family friend gave to us when the baby was born. So this morning we had our first green smoothie, which was basically our normal breakfast whizzed up in the magic bullet with a spoonful of green powder added. (Wholegrain oats, fresh banana, brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, shredded coconut, plain yoghurt, a smidgen of honey.)

I tried to feed it to him with a spoon, but he didn’t put up with that for long…

So who said kids won't eat greens?

A sampling of raw

13 Apr

Here are some pictures of some of the yummy raw things I have been making lately.

I don’t intend to be 100% raw; partly for social reasons, and partly because I don’t believe everything needs to be raw. It makes sense for fruit, veges, nuts and some grains to be raw, and to eat a lot of them, but I plan to eat eggs and cheese, cook my chickpeas and kidney beans, and roast the occasional potato. I may even have some chicken, but I’ve never been a big meat eater anyway so I doubt I will eat red meat. I would say I’m about 80% raw in general. Today I have been 100% raw.

This was the first raw meal we had. I sneaked in some boiled eggs. It was divine. It had surprise ingredients like fresh grated ginger.

This is a raw corn chowder. Pretty good, although I used a little too much olive oil.

I was rather proud of these raw oatmeal raisin cookies. Whizzed em up and stuck em in the dehydrator. You wouldnt guess they were raw. Delish!

Raw pizza. OK, the cheese isnt raw, but the base is made of sprouted buckwheat and carrot, whizzed and dehydrated, the tomato paste is raw, and the avocado was perfectly ripe and delicious.

These are raw walnut and mushroom 'burgers' with cauliflower 'couscous'. It was quite yummy - even my non-raw brother thought so!

I have been surprised at how full I feel after a raw meal. I don’t need as much on my plate as I used to, which strikes me as odd, as starchy carbohydrates always seemed more filling than veges. But I have been making my meals smaller and smaller over the last couple of weeks. I do find I get peckish more often though, it just takes less to satisfy me. So I tend to snack on nuts or fruit throughout the day, and have small meals.

Another thing that’s surprised me is how quick my cravings for unhealthy food went away. I guess it’s true: when your body is getting what it needs, it doesn’t crave approximations.

I swear I’m not a dieter

13 Apr

I have always maintained that diets are a waste of time and food is for enjoying. I’ve never been into fast food and I always have veges with my dinner, but I have felt for a while that I really ought to stop denying the fact that I could have a healthier lifestyle. It’s so easy to just stick with the same old patterns.

I heard about this raw food thing, and thought ‘ no way!’. Why would I give up fettucine carbonara, roast chicken, pastries etc? Sure it’s good to eat more fruit and vegetables, but that’s a bit extreme. My Mum has been increasing her raw diet, but she has a lot of salads and green smoothies, and that just doesn’t appeal to me. Then I saw some pictures a friend posted on Facebook of her raw vegan Christmas feast. The food looked delicious, the recipes sounded easy, and the seed was planted.

The reason I could contemplate the raw food diet is because I have always preferred my vegetables raw, and I love nuts. Even when I was a kid Mum would make two separate lots of veges – raw for me, cooked for her and my brother. But even so, the thought of all the delicious food I’d miss out on was too much. I love cheese, and potatoes, and eggy bread, and sausage rolls (I know, I know). I am so not the type.

Then I read the book ‘Raw Family’ in which the son got diabetes at about the same age as I did. His mother learnt that it wasn’t diabetes that causes eyesight loss and kidney damage, but the insulin used to treat it. I never knew this, and quite frankly, it freaked me out. Living with the spectre of ill health is not an easy thing. They made the huge lifestyle shift to eating 100% raw, and he has never had to take insulin.

With the equally scary spectre of Peak Oil looming, I know that I am particularly vulnerable. If I didn’t have access to insulin, I would die within a week. I finally felt that something needed to be done; I needed to grasp at any possibility to heal or manage my diabetes without synthetic genetically engineered medications which are heavily subsidised and reliant on oil and a stable infrastructure to get them to my fridge.

So I decided to give the ‘raw thing’ a go. When I told a friend a few days ago it felt strange to say a ‘raw food diet’, because to me diets are motivated by weight loss and are a short term thing. This feels like a lifestyle overhaul, and it’s for health reasons. I was worried that I would crave cooked food but to my surprise, I haven’t. I usually find it near impossible to walk past a bakery, but the other day it was as uninteresting to me as a shoe shop. (I’m not really into retail therapy.)

The results were almost instant. Within a couple of days my insulin intake was drastically reduced. Usually I take 30 – 60 units of my short acting novorapid per day, and now I’m taking 10 – 18. I’m still having my usual 32 units per day of long acting.

And as for the energy thing? Last weekend I climbed Mt Kaukau with my husband and baby (he was carrying the baby) and I was fine! Quite a different story to climbing Mt Iron (which is not much of a mountain really) on our honeymoon 2+ years ago and bawling my eyes out halfway up. I want to be more ‘fine’ when I’m doing physical work. I’m sick of not having quite-enough-energy to really live life to the fullest. I’m also sick of letting my diabetes and asthma have so much say in my life.

I feel better already, and it’s been less than two weeks.

Time for a list

12 Apr

I like lists. They help make things simple and clear. So here is a list of things I want to do this year to be more prepared.

  • Take a pottery class. I figure making bowls and things is a practical skill that I would also enjoy doing. Cost is $150 for an 8 week class so I may have to take it in term 3 instead of next term.
  • Study permaculture and put in a garden. I figure if I can learn from a small scale city garden it will be easier to put into practice on a larger scale. Our landlords are so lax with the many maintenance issues we have had with this place that I’m not even going to bother asking if I can put in a garden. From what I have read so far I really like the idea of zoning, and keyhole gardens, and spiral herb patches outside the door and whatnot. I have a poor track record of maintaining gardens so I’d better get practicing.
  • Build up my business. I am really passionate about my business and I believe it will work. But it is not an easy economic environment to be starting a business in, so it is an unknown. I hope to make enough money to save up for things like solar panels, electric bikes and woodstoves, while they are still being produced, and for a piece of land. That requires a huge amount of money, but I have hope that we can at least make a deposit…
  • Foster connections and join local groups, here in Wellington and in Motueka if possible. I want to sign the baby up for Playcentre and Steiner School, and I have already joined Transition Towns online. I also want to join a community currency group, as well as simply network with all the wonderful people out there who have so much knowledge and goodness that I aspire to.
  • Learn more about homesteading and self sufficiency. I want to know how to survive, like my ancestors. It makes me sad that my generation (in general, of course) hasn’t learned the useful skills that our grandparents and great grandparents and great great grandparents had. I want to reclaim that.
  • Get fit and healthy. This is such a broad term and such a common goal that it’s almost cliche. But I have started eating a mostly raw diet, and it is working wonders so far. I will write more about that in another post.

OK, so that’s quite a detailed to-do list, and fairly broad, but it still lays out my immediate goals in front of me.