Category Archives: Journal

Happy Boxing Day, Everyone!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful and fantabulous holiday season!  I know I am. 🙂

I have to apologize for being out of touch over the past month, but things have been so busy here with the holiday season.  Not to mention a two-week business trip/vacation to Australia in the middle of everything.  The vacation part was awesome; the business part, not so much.  Here’s a picture of me holding a Koala at this cool place on Kangaroo Island called Paul’s Place.

The best part of my work week in Adelaide was definitely a Raw Food class held by Remedy of Raw Blessings with the help of her sister Kristy.  They are both such wonderful, caring people and I want to thank them so much for helping me with my raw diet while traveling halfway across the world.  It was so lovely to have a bite of “gourmet” raw food during my stay — Remedy made us raw pizza and raw strawberry cheesecake during the class — double YUM!  But even after the class, they went out of their way to help me out.  Kristy and her partner Sven opened their (incredibly gorgeous) home to me and let me use their blender to make green smoothies for the week.  What a blessing!  One thing I really love about raw food is that it’s not just a diet, it’s a community, and Remedy and Kristy are two outstanding examples of how the raw food community is a family that comes together to support each other.  Thank you both again!!

Anyway, back to the recipes, or rather, lack therof.  Just because I haven’t been posting doesn’t mean I have been cooking — I mean, UNcooking.  I’ve been making lots and lots of raw food goodies and I can’t wait to share them with everyone.  I’ll post them up as soon as I can: Raw Pumpkin Pie with Vanilla Cream, Raw Waldorf Salad, Raw Mushroom Leek Tart, Raw Sweet Potato Latkes with Applesauce and Sour Cream, Raw Herbed Pecan Stuffing, Raw Cranberry Sauce, Raw Miso Gravy, Raw Candied Yams, and more… Wow, what a list! As you can see, it was a delicious and satisfying raw holiday season this year!

The best thing about it was that I learned that not only can I enjoy the holidays on a raw food diet without feeling deprived, but that they can be an exciting, fulfilling and delicious time of year!  I thought I would have feelings of, ‘well, since it is the holidays, I can splurge on some fried latkes, otherwise I will feel sad and deprived without them.’  But that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Instead, I feel grateful that I’ve gotten to make and enjoy so many delicious raw foods over the past month of so.  The holidays have always been a special time that I look forward to all year round because of the unique foods we make then that we don’t make the rest of the year.  I think this is just as true with a raw diet.  As you can see, I’ve already started my list of festive holiday treats that I can’t wait to make again next year!

This holiday season gets 5/5 happy monkeys for sure!

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Raw Zucchini Spaghetti

Raw Zucchini Spaghetti

Just got my Joyce Chen Saladacco in the mail and boy, does it work beautifully!  It makes way better zucchini spaghetti that I had imagined.  It puts my poor little hand-shredded zucchini “spaghetti” to shame.  Shame shame.

I’ve made this twice, both times spiralizing two zucchinis and dumping salsa on top.  It’s so easy to make a big bowl for a nice filling dinner.  Zucchini is such a flexible vegetable.  I eat it so often in many different shapes, but right now this is definitely my favorite.

Zucchini Spaghetti and my Joyce Chen Saladacco get 4/5 happy monkeys.

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Raw Rock Climbing

Raw Beet Salad in Action
This past weekend, we had a fantastic time camping and rock climbing at Joshua Tree National Park.  At first I was a little hesitant about camping out and still being able to eat the fresh foods that I’ve gotten used to, but with a little preparation, it was super easy to stay raw the whole time.  I give this camping experience 5/5 happy monkeys.

Before we left, I spent an entire evening blending 3 batches of green smoothies (lettuce, cucumber, hemp seeds, kelp flakes, lemon and parsley/dill) and a big batch of gazpacho.  Then I froze them individually in 1.5 liter empty water bottles.  I also whipped up a double batch of raw beet salad, minus the cabbage because even without it, it filled my food processor to the brim (shown above).  I also brought a selection of tomatoes, red peppers, avocados, cucumbers, and zucchini, mostly in pairs.  For condiments, I brought a small bottle of olive oil, a couple lemons and a sea salt/seaweed/gomasio-type seasoning that I made myself.

Breakfast was supposed to be green smoothies, but they were still very frozen, so one day I had leftovers  for breakfast and one morning I had gazpacho while I waited for the smoothies to defrost, and then I just drank the green smoothies throughout the day.

Lunch both days was raw beet salad with some nuts as a chaser.

Snacks were nuts and a couple raw bars – my absolute fave is the Go Raw Live Pumpkin Bar.  I also munched on whole red peppers and cucumbers.

For dinner the first night I made a simple salad of spinach, cucumber, tomato, avocado, dill with a olive oil/lemon/sea salt dressing.  For dinner the second night I had avocado, tomato and shallot on raw crackers.  This was the first time I had ever had fresh shallot – boy, is it potent!  Good, but a little goes a long way.

For dessert I had a couple of raw cinnamon raison crackers.  Yum.

Overall, I actually brought too much food.  I have an entire 1.5 liter bottle of gazpacho left over and about two more bowls of beet salad, not to mention a bunch of spinach, dill and two zucchinis.  Next time I could probably get away with less.  It was so much fun we’re already planning the next trip!

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I’m on a boat

I'm on a boat!I’m on a boat.  I got my flippy-floppies.

Actually, I’m wearing sneakers, but that’s beside the point.  I’m in the UK for work and one of British colleagues offered up the fantastic opportunity of going for an evening sail off the coast of Portsmouth.  Turns out her boss is boat-sitting for a guy that has been stationed in Cypress for the year and didn’t want to take his sailboat with him.  Apparently, he “has a few boats down there already.”  I have no idea what someone that fantastically wealthy is doing in the military, but I’m glad he is, because it gave me the opportunity to sail on his boat.  And what a boat it was!  It was definitely the fanciest private sailboat I’ve ever been on (the polish tall ship the Dar Młodzieży doesn’t count) with a huge “steering wheel” instead of a simple rudder and a complex winch and pulley system that managed the sails practically for you.

Our meetings ran a little late and so WGCDR Heycock only gave us six minutes to run up to our hotel rooms, change and grab everything we needed for the evening.  In addition, I had to figure out how to make my dinner and make it back down to the lobby within those six minutes.  Our host was being exceedingly kind enough to bring dinner for everyone, but of course, turkey sandwiches weren’t going to cut it for me.

I grabbed a bunch of stuff from the fridge, threw it in a bag and ran out the door.

Quickest Dinner Ever – Black Bean Avocado Salad
Suitable both on and off sailboats

– 1 can black beans, drained but not rinsed
– 1 avocado
– handful grape tomatoes
– one green onion
– half mini-red onion
– couple large pieces dill
– tablespoon olive oil infused with basil
– juice of a quarter lemon
– salt, pepper and seaweed gomasio (mixture of sesame seeds, sea vegetables and sea salt) to taste

Chop everything, mix it all together and enjoy!

Caveat: When sailing, this is of course easiest to make below decks in a kitchen, if you’re on a boat with such facilities.  Be careful though, the seasickness can really creep up on you when you’re down below chopping.  A word to the wise!

This is yummy enough that I’m going to make it a lot more often, even when dockside.  It reminds me of a coarse black bean guacamole.  I give it 4/5 happy monkeys.

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I love Tesco

I travel internationally quite a bit for work, and, as you can imagine, this has become more stressful as my diet has gotten more restrictive. I go to conferences where typically lunch is included and dinners are social group events.  One time, in Luxembourg, I basically starved for a week because there was no food I could eat.  At the formal dinner, they actually served me a plate of hot raisins, pickles and cabbage.  It was disgusting.  And this was after over an hour of waiting for our food.  I was so hungry and disappointed that tears came to my eyes.  My boss actually took a picture of me and the expression on my face as I gazed at the food they served me.

Anyway, point being, after that I vowed never to travel without securing my own rental car.  Typically, we often travel as a delegation but I don’t like being at the mercy at other people for my food.  So now I always make sure I have a rental car and I hit the local supermarket as soon as possible when I get in town.

This week I’m at a conference in Portsmouth, UK.  I’ve been to the UK twice before but have never driven on the left, and quite honestly, would be quite happy never to have to do so in my lifetime.  But not even my fear of driving on the wrong side of the road could overcome my desire not to go hungry.  So I drove down from Heathrow, and after many inadvertent circles around round-abouts, made it to the Marriott Portsmouth.

The Marriott was nice enough to put a good-sized mini-fridge in my room, no questions asked (unlike the Westin Casuarina, which was not nearly so accommodating) but I have no microwave, hot plate or other warming implements, so it seems I will be going mostly raw this week.  I only hoped they had a decent grocery store around to buy some fresh produce.

It turns out that there is a giant Tesco three blocks away.  Oh well, guess I didn’t really need the car, but at least I didn’t have to drag my grocery bags back to the hotel by hand.

Tesco is amazing.  I never know what to expect with grocery stores that are not Whole Foods, but Tesco absolutely exceeds any expectations I had.  They had lots of organic food.. I got tomatoes, red peppers, baby lettuces, avocados, onions, cucumbers, broccoli, cherries… yum!  They also had lots of yummy add-ons for salads: basil-infused olive oil, olives, capers, sundried tomatoes.  They even had fantastic things that are hard to find in the US:  non-dairy fake parmesan cheese (which I have never been able to find in LA), bottles of lime juice, jars of sliced lemon in lemon juice, capers in brine, not vinegar, marinated olives with no lactose.  They also had a fantastic gluten-free section.. brownies and crumpets and cereal.  It made me drool, but now that I’m back on the more-restrictive diet, I had to resist.  (I know, I know, I still bought cherries, but a girl has to have some sweetness in her life.  I promise this will be my last fruit for a while.)

Tesco gets a strong 5/5 happy monkeys from this international traveler.

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Back to Basics

I always ask for copies of my medical records.  It’s information about me, so I feel entitled to it, and I always find out interesting and important things that my doctors don’t always communicate to me.  They always say things, like, “your test results look fine,” but then once you get a hold of the actual test results, you see that your TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is out-of-range low and you have a bacterial infection that no one bothered to tell you about.  Which is exactly what happened to me recently.

Since the test results in question were over a month old, I decided to go to my favorite doctor, Dr. Melissa Huggins (I highly recommend her if you’re in the OC), to verify if the infection was still lingering.  Wouldn’t you know it, she called me back a few days later, and said that while the bacterial culture was still in process, the lab came back with a positive for candida yeast.  Oh yay.

So it seems like any progress I may have made during my months on the strict no sugar, no carb diet may have been deteriorated by my recent decision to start adding back some grains/fruits into my diet.   I probably should have guessed by the way my digestion/bladder symptoms were acting up again.

Candida 1, Me 0.

If I want to kick this yeast (and I do want to, badly), I’m going to have to take it back to basics and the ultra-restrictive candida diet.  That means, in addition to the No Food Diet as listed:

–          no vinegar
–          no mushrooms
–          no peanuts
–          no grains of any kind
–          no starchy/sugary veg, including potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots or beets
–          no sweeteners except for xylitol

I can do this.  Easy.  Bring it on.

Candida gets a big fat 0/5 happy monkeys.

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