Back in the Raw

March 25, 2009

babyboyAfter suffering through the worst morning sickness imaginable at the end of 2008, I felt concerned about getting the maximum nutrition available to me with each calorie, while still indulging all my pregnancy cravings. Guess where I ended up? Raw foods, again.

I discovered raw foods about a year ago, shortly after returning to a vegetarian diet when the warm summer sun brought a bounty of luscious fruits and veggies to my door. But we live in a high alpine climate and once the snow started falling, even the bananas from Ecuador were mealy and tasteless, not to mention hardly worth the fossil fuels it took to get them to Colorado. So while staying vegetarian, I lost my love of raw cuisine, and slipped into the occasional fruit smoothie with some greens added for good measure. But I didn’t feel great.

And then I got pregnant.

Morning sickness lasted a full 4 months for me this time around, and I emerged from the fog in January just in time for a month long trip we had planned to the Australian Coast. As luck would have it, our winter is their summer and I discovered the most amazing produce at every corner: mangoes, passion fruit, avocados, rocket were all plentiful, inexpensive and RAW. And it was on again.

I returned to the states, 10 pounds heavier and determined to keep the raw food love alive. So I bought a juicer. Now I had been religious about morning smoothies and thought that I could not live without them, but when I discovered juicing, raw foods took on a whole new dimension. I could juice almost anything that landed on the counter, and didn’t have to worry about weird stringy pulp that felt like hair in my mouth.

Since purchasing the juicer 2 months ago, i’ve returned to a 70% ish raw diet, and felt amazing. My skin has never felt softer and smoother, i’ve gained a modest amount of weight and the baby has maintained a steady growth curve that the doctor finds pleasing.

The best part, however, is that I know i’m giving my child the very best health possible, without using pharmaceutical products whose true effect is only marginally known. It’s funny how the universe opens the doors for you if you can just sit back and be aware. This is a lifestyle for me, and my family, and i’m pleased to have discovered it once again.

Now if only I could figure out how to grow anything edible in this darn Rocky Mountain climate!

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Things I Never Thought

March 14, 2008

03-04-winter-preseason-31.jpgI’ve been (re) vegetarian for a year and ‘high’ raw for almost two months now. It’s been great saving energy, reducing waste, regaining some level of fitness and educating our family. What I didn’t expect to have happen is that I would fall in love with my dog.

9 years ago I rescued a mangey looking little pup from the local animal shelter. He was sort of a ranch dog and completely a mutt, meaning the local ranchers could not trust him with their cattle but he would need a sh*tload of exercise. At the time I was running marathons and took him in as a perfect companion.

Life changes, kids happen, marathon running takes a backseat to diapers, nursing, cleaning etc. And my little buddy sort of got the shaft.

Until I rediscovered vegetarianism. And an amazing, informative podcast called Food for Thought. Suddenly all the animal cruelty from meat consumption had a face, and the face was my rotten little dog that I had forgotten was always at my side in our younger years.

I started running again in the fall, and since going raw have been feeling so much more energetic and at peace with my food choices. I pass cows in the pasture where I live and don’t have to compartmentalize my feelings of sadness for them, because I don’t eat them or their secretions anymore.

I can look at my dog and know that i’m giving him the best life possible, that I respect who he is and the we are equals, he and I. I’m not really the master – thanks to vegan living. Veganism really is a lifestyle of expansion – one of love, self-respect and nurturing all living things. It’s a lifestyle I never expected would make me fall in love with my dog all over again.

Selling Melons for Money

February 13, 2008

photo_4528_20071220.jpgBeing frugal by nature, I struggle with the price i’m paying to be faithful to my newfound love of raw living. As I incorporate more nutrient dense foods such a bee pollen, my grocery bill skyrockets. Not only that, but since the US requires pasteurization of many raw items, i’m forced to acknowledge the oil used to bring my raw cashews from who-knows-where – presumably Canada where pasteurization is not mandatory.

I don’t live in a climate where I can wander down the street eating fresh oranges that are hanging onto the sidewalk or avocados that have rolled in to my yard as I did when I lived on Maui. I live in Colorado where the trees that I planted last fall are buried under 10 feet of snow.

It’s easy to rationalize my purchases, arguing that I do not spend money on alcohol since I don’t drink (maybe worth $20/week) and have weened myself from my daily nonfat latte habit (at least another $20/week not to mention additional savings for eliminating tortured cow’s milk from my diet) – but still, I paid $8 for a honeydew melon at Safeway yesterday, and it wasn’t even organic.

Suddenly buying a piece of dirt in a warm climate and growing my own food sounds sort of nice. That way, when the peak oil is upon is (I know, it already is upon us), I can sell my own melons for $8 and have yummy living food for my family. Somehow that came out sounding illegal, but really, it’s worth thinking about.

In the Raw

February 8, 2008

Of all the things we have done as a family to lessen our impact on the environment, the most important and dramatic has been changing our diet. Initially, I switched our home to a vegetarian diet after watching the meet you meat video and started to incorporate more organic and locally grown produce whenever possible (not entirely easy in the Colorado Rocky Mountains). The change was seemless and while it did not reduce our grocery bill, I felt good about our efforts.

Recently, following a NY Times article reiterating some of the things I knew about the effects of cattle rearing on our planet, I began looking deeper into my food consumption habits. Christmas, of course, was a time of indulgence and I awoke in January feeling as if Santa had actually run me over with his sleigh. Poking around the internet let me to the raw food movement.

The theory behind raw or living foods is that the cooking process destroys the beneficial enzymes that live in the food, and since our bodies have a limited supply of these essential enzymes, we must obtain them from living food. There is a wealth of knowledge about the living food world available but I have found Raw Reform to be inspirational, educational and actually humorous.

Currently I make breakfast and lunch my raw meals, and chose a healthy, whole grain dinner that I am able to fix for the whole family. So far it is working out, however, I have struggled with feeling cold and hungry more than I am accustomed to. I do attribute this to the 30 feet of snow that has fallen in my town this season though, and know that my mind is adjusting to eating less just as much as my body.

It’s a fascinating journey and I hope the way my daughter will look at food as she grows into her own decision making years will be forever changed by the lessons she is learning in our home.

Animal Prisons

December 27, 2007

smalllion.jpgThe concept of putting wild animals in cages for the enjoyment of people has always made me sad, and more than a little disgusted. Circuses, zoos and rodeos top the list of things that horrify me but are deemed ‘entertainment’ to other people, and i’ve never really understood it.

Last year I urged our local free paper (not the local ‘news’ paper) to do an article on how the rodeo is akin to dogfighting in its gross mistreatment of animals, but the editor told me to write it myself and send it in. Obviously, I am no journalist and thus deleted his response without a second thought.

But now I read the headlines about a tiger escaping from it’s pen and killing someone, I feel compelled to revisit my awful feelings of horror that scream ‘why the hell are we surprised when a wild animal breaks free from it’s prison and mauls someone’. Why do people find pleasure in strolling through caged arenas of animals that should be free?

I’m not a total party pooper, I have a child who I am certain would love seeing all the animals in a circus or zoo. But I can’t pretend that these places don’t send a message to her, one that says we humans still see ourselves as superior creatures, ones who have the right to mistreat others for our own gain.

If we don’t eat the animals because they are penned up and mistreated in confined feedlots, why would we go see them locked away in cages at a zoo just for fun?

Up and Reading

September 5, 2007

I’ve decided to start a blog separate from my business blog, since my off-topic ramblings have started to monopolize my massage practice site. I really wanted a place to organize all the information that I gather about topics that interest me, mostly the environment and veganism. Today I ordered my first vegan cookbook and look forward to writing about it in the future.