I’m marinating….

…myself that is. I’ve rubbed coconut oil all over my hair and scalp. It’s 10:15am on Sunday morning and I plan on keeping this in my hair until I shower tomorrow morning. I’ve been having so many problems with dry hair over the last couple months that I have been searching high and low, or really just on the internet for some healthy solutions. I’ve tried the “no poo” route, giving up shampoo and using apple cider vinegar for a rinse and that didn’t seem to help. I’m still limiting how often I shampoo and using a more natural shampoo from Whole Foods that is paraben free and not tested on animals. But it hasn’t resolved my dry hair issues. So I’ve moved onto coconut oil. Which as I’ve been reading is good for just about everything, it can be rubbed on your body as a moisturizer and eaten in your smoothies to help prevent Alzheimer’s plus it’s good for about a million other things. Here are just a few from Global Healing Center:

10 Benefits of Organic Coconut Oil:

Used in tropical cultures as a nutritious diet staple for many centuries, organic coconut oil can help:

  1. Keep You Healthy and Slim
    You can help boost and regulate your metabolism to keep your weight under control with this wonder oil.
  2. Support Your Immune System
    Organic coconut oil is jam-packed with lauric acid, the immune supporting nutrient.
  3. Promote Heart Health
    Packed full of healthy fats that are good for your heart, organic coconut oil is a great addition to your daily diet.
  4. Give You Instant Energy
    Organic coconut oil can help you feel less fatigued and require less sleep by stimulating your metabolism. It can also enhance athletic performance.
  5. Support Healthy Thyroid Function
    Organic coconut oil helps to stimulate the activity and proper functioning of this important gland which provides energy, supports the health of your skin and metabolism, and keeps your moods in balance.
  6. Help Keep Your Skin Youthful, Smooth & Healthy Looking
    Using organic virgin coconut oil as a lotion will help improve your skin, hair, and nails due to its moisturizing and smoothing effects that also promote elasticity.
  7. Increase Cell Regeneration
    When your metabolic rate increases, your cell regeneration speeds up, too. This means that your body will more quickly replace old cells with newer, healthier cells.
  8. Promote Anti-Viral, Anti-Fungal, and Anti-Bacterial Activity
    Teeming with lauric acid, organic coconut oil possesses abundant natural agents that may reduce fungus, bacteria and the viruses that cause influenza, herpes, and other illnesses.
  9. Improve Insulin Secretion
    This helps to better utilize glucose to balance insulin output which can help relieve the symptoms and reduce the health risks associated with diabetes.
  10. Protect Your Body from Disease
    Organic coconut oil may help protect your body from cell damaging free radicals.

Here are 2 of the external benefits of coconut oil from Living a Whole Life

Hair Care:
Coconut oil is one of the best natural nutrition for hair. It helps in healthy growth of hair providing them a shiny complexion. Regular massage of the head with coconut oil ensures that your scalp is free of dandruff, lice, and lice eggs, even if your scalp is dry. Coconut oil is extensively used in the Indian sub-continent for hair care. It is an excellent conditioner and helps in the re-growth of damaged air. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing damaged hair.

Skin Care:
Coconut oil is excellent massage oil for the skin as well. It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skins including dry skin. The benefit of coconut oil on the skin is comparable to that of mineral oil. Further, unlike mineral oil, there is no chance of having any adverse side effects on the skin with the application of coconut oil. Coconut oil therefore is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. It also delays wrinkles, and sagging of skin which normally become prominent with age. Coconut oil also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections.

I smell like the beach and I’m not sure if this will stain my clothes so I’m wearing an old t-shirt with my hair in a pony tail and stuffed into a hat, so I look a little silly. But I’m hopeful that tomorrow after I shower it will all be worth it. This may become a weekly routine, but next time I’ll wait until bedtime to apply the oil.

My next change in my hair care will be to start using a boar’s hair brush and to continue with the infrequent use of shampoo, read more here: getting rid of shampoo & hair products for good

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RAW food restaurants


I was inspired by a friend, that is planning a trip to NY where there are a few raw restaurants, to search for a raw restaurant in Seattle for my trip next month. This is what I found Chaco Canyon Cafe.

I wonder who in my brave family will be going out to eat with me? The food looks and sounds so yummy, I can’t wait!


Review

Patricia Amaya, of Huffington Post, July 2008

Traveling Green From Now On

“Seattle has a restaurant treasure, The Chaco Canyon Café. It’s located in the University District, and is open 7 days a week, here are the hours. Truly environmentally conscious in every way imaginable, this eco-haven of fine dining collaborated with Tiny’s Organic to bring CSA pick ups back to Chaco Canyon in support of local agriculture and the environment. Chaco Canyon Café composts and recycles 90% of their total waste. Wireless internet is available while enjoying a cup of local fair trade, shade grown, organic coffee or tea. Offering a choice between a raw foods menu or vegan menu, you’ll find various dishes beautifully displayed, fulfilling and appetizing. Crowd pleasers and favorites are the Cilantro Pesto Pizza, Nacho Plate, Grilled Vegan Cheese and Soup and Hot Tunaless Melt to name a few. You will leave feeling well nourished and satisfied knowing you helped the environment, local communities and yourself.”

What I ate this week in my raw quest

Well I’ll start right off admitting I did not stay 100% raw this week. I’ve found that staying raw all through the day is no problem but when dinner rolls around it is very hard for me to resist some of the foods I cook for the rest of the family. I’ve also done fine when I’ve been eating at my parents or in laws houses I can just bring along something to eat and its not a problem but when I’ve gone out to restaurants again it’s hard to stick with just a salad. I don’t want this to be like a diet where I feel guilty for “cheating” so I let myself enjoy those meals that aren’t raw knowing that the majority of my food is raw and that is so much healthier than how I’ve been eating in the past. So besides my son who likes to point out that I’ll be going to hell anytime I eat something that’s not raw I feel ok. I think that since I’ve been a non-practicing Catholic for many years and the 100% raw goal for lent was more symbolic than a declaration of my return to Catholicism my soul is safe.

On to the recipes, I’ve found that I really prefer simpler foods, like this raw slaw, which I love:

Raw coleslaw

½ head cabbage, finely sliced (with food processor)
3 carrot, peeled and finely shredded (with food processor)
½ yellow pepper, chopped
½ red pepper, chopped
1-2 cup bean sprouts (I used home-sprouted Mung beans)

Dressing (blended in food processor)

4 garlic cloves, minced
7 T extra-virgin cold pressed olive oil
3 T liquid aminos
2 T raw apple cider vinegar
1 T raw agave nectar
Grated fresh ginger

In a large bowl, toss the vegetables.

Blend the garlic, olive oil, liquid aminos, vinegar, agave nectar and ginger then pour over the veggies. Toss well and serve. (Let sit for at least an hour before serving.)

The original recipe can be found at the urban vegan

This next recipe turned out pretty good, it does taste kinda like an Alfredo sauce but I’ve decided that I’m not really crazy about sauces over squash noodles. I even bought the fancy spiralizing cutter but I’m just not that impressed with it. It seems to turn the squash into mush more than noodles. I need to try it with some other types of squash maybe. The original recipe came from Alive in 5, Raw Gourmet Meals in 5 minutes by Angela Elliott (of course I made some changes.)

Alfredo Sauce
1 cup nut pulp (I keep trying to find ways to use this up, I can’t wait to get a dehydrator)
1 tea salt
2 cloves garlic
¼ tea ground nutmeg
¼ tea ground basil or oregano
2 Tbls nutritional yeast

Blend in vita mix, adding enough water to blend smoothly (approx 1 cup) can use warm water and let blend for a minute or two to heat sauce up but not too hot.

Sprinkle with parsley and salt & pepper to taste
Serve over zucchini or squash noodles or eat with veggies.

I also tried Zucchini Linguine with Basil Pesto, it was just OK. I have a ton of pesto starter in the freezer from last year’s garden (we chopped up basil and mixed it with olive oil and garlic then froze it in ½ cup lumps.) Unfortunately, I’ve found that I’m really not crazy for pesto so this wasn’t my favorite dish.

And lastly for dessert I plan on making these Butter Ball Cookies today. I made them with some major alterations and they were just ok so I thought I would try the original recipe and see if they turned out better.

(Since I often am the only one in my house that will eat my experiments I have learned to make the recipes much smaller just in case they turn out to be duds and also so I don’t eat too much if they’re really good)

My version:
1 cup nuts (1/2 walnut, ½ almonds)
2 Tbls flax meal
1 Tbls dried coconut
2 Tbls cacao powder
5 figs (pitted)

Blend everything in food processor then add:
½ cup oats (pulsed in at the end)
2 Tbls water (to help it stick together)
Rolled into balls with coconut

My favorite snack:

an apple or banana dipped in raw organic almond butter with cacao nibs and goji berries. Yumm! I had been eating this with just apples but the other day I tried it with a banana and it was so yummy. For some reason I had never eaten bananas and nut butters together before, man I’ve been missing out! The only downside to this snack is how expensive raw organic almond butter is, $20 for 16oz, ouch! If anyone has any suggestions on a less expensive place to buy it I’d appreciate it.


Here are the raw “cookbooks” I’ve been reading this week

Alive in 5, Raw Gourmet Meals in 5 minutes by Angela Elliott

Everyday Raw by Matthew Kenney (I love this book because almost every recipe has great pictures to go with. You can find it pretty cheap at half.com)

Raw Food Real World by Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis (this book is awesome and on my list to buy)

The Raw Food Gourmet by Gabrielle Chavez

Living in the Raw Desserts by Rose Lee Calabro

Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich (I’m dying to make Kimchee)

I miss my lattes

I grew up in Seattle the home of Starbucks and now I live in Grandview where there are at least 8 coffee shops within a mile of my house and we can smell Stauf’s roasting their coffee beans on a warm day. For the past several years I had been going to Caribou Coffee approximately 2-5 times a weeks for a white chocolate- mint latte or one of the several other varieties that sounded good on that visit. My mom, aunt and I would meet every Sunday morning for coffee and time to visit. If I had to go do something I didn’t particularly want to I would reward myself by getting a coffee. On the days I went to work I would get a coffee. Dan and I often walked to Caribou for morning coffees and some time alone. While I was studying for my State Boards I would go to Caribou every morning for a few hours to study and visit with my friend Paulita who was also at Caribou writing her novel. We may have spent more time visiting than working but I passed my boards and she finished her novel so we must have got some work done along the way.

I always had lots of reasons why I deserved to stop and buy a $4.00 coffee drink. On the days when I didn’t go to Caribou I would make my own latte’s at home but they were never as good. Then I broke my espresso machine so that cut out the home lattes. About that same time I decided it was ridiculous to spend that much money on coffee drinks so I limited myself to 1 latte a week. When the New Year rolled around and I made my resolution to only eat raw foods until noon that eliminated any morning latte’s, then I decided to give up sugar and that wiped out the rest. So I have not had a latte since at least Feb. 7 when I gave up sugar but I don’t think I’ve had any since the beginning of the year. I’ve even walked with Dan to Caribou so he could get a coffee and I still resisted. I really miss my latte’s but I have found a replacement that I will have occasionally and while it doesn’t have the smell of coffee that I really love it does taste pretty darn good.

RAW hot cocoa:

Fill a coffee mug half way with hot water

Fill the rest of the way with raw almond milk

Put in a scoop of raw cacao (you can also add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, that surprisingly goes really well with the cacao, but don’t add too much)

Sweeten with a little raw agave nectar

This is really good and not as syrupy sweet as traditional hot chocolate.

While I was perusing the many raw cook books I’ve been getting from the library I saw a recipe for a Chai Latte and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. So I went to Whole Foods and bought some Tazo Organic Chai –spiced black tea- This is not the same as the premixed Chai latte that are already sweetened and processed, these are just tea bags.

Chai Latte

Brew a cup of the tea but again only fill your mug ½ way with hot water

After the tea was done steeping I filled the mug the rest of the way with raw almond milk

Sweeten with raw agave nectar

I nailed it, this tasted exactly like a Chai Latte from a coffee shop. It was then after my first sip that I remembered I really don’t like Chai. I like the idea of Chai, I like the smell of Chai I even like the first taste of Chai but after the first drink I really don’t like Chai. Bummer! At least I still have my hot cocoa.

This weeks RAW recipes

Well there have been some hits and misses this week. First off for the hits:

Raw Cacao Cookies

½ cup each walnuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts

¼ cup agave nectar

1 Tbls coconut butter

½ tsp vanilla

¼ cup cacao powder

¼ cup raw oats (optional, pulsed in at the end)

2 Tbls cacao nibs (pulsed in at the end)

Split the nuts in half and process them first. Half of them ground chunky (then set aside) and the other half ground fine. Pulse in the chunky nuts at the end along with the cacao nibs and oats. After mixing everything in a food processor, scoop into mounds (or roll into balls if you added oats) and freeze. This will make them stiffer and easier to eat, otherwise they are pretty gooey.

These are so good! They definitely take care of my sweet tooth when I want something decadent!



I’ve been trying to sprout different seeds and nuts. The mustard seed didn’t really work, the sunflower seeds worked fine but I can’t decide if the slightly pink coloring is mold or if they’re supposed to look like that. But the Mung beans worked great. I started with 1 cup of dry beans and they expanded and outgrew the mason jar.

Mung Bean Sprout Salad

Salad:

2 cup Mung bean sprouts
1 cup chopped sweet peppers (red and yellow)

1 cup shredded carrot
1/3 cup Fresh cilantro

Dressing:
2 Tbls Liquid Aminos
1 Tbls Olive Oil

1 Tbls hot sauce
1 Lime

Preparation:

Toss sprouts, peppers, carrot and cilantro in a bowl.

In a small dish whisk soy sauce, olive oil, hot sauce and juice of one lime.

Pour dressing over salad, place in fridge for and hour before eating to soak in flavors

This looked so pretty, it definitely could be taken to a potluck and appreciated by everyone. It is addictive, it is so fresh and crunchy, I could eat bowl after bowl. Dan really liked it also.

Raw Ranch Dip

This was a miss that tuned into a hit:

This recipe comes from The Complete Book of Raw Food by way of pepper paints:

1 1/2 cups raw cashews (I used macadamia nuts because that what I had)

Juice from 1 lemon or 2 1/2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon onion flakes

1 garlic clove

1 teaspoon dill weed

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon basil

Blend the cashews, lemon juice, sea salt, onion and garlic powder with 1/2 cup water (more if you want it like a dressing) until smooth and creamy. Pour into a bowl.

Add the dill, Italian seasoning and basil leaf by hand. Store in fridge up to 2 weeks.

I tried to use only nut pulp (left over from making almond milk) but it was way too grainy. I hated to throw it all out so instead I took ½ cup of the nut pulp mixture that I made and added it to the recipe in place of ½ cup of raw cashews. Also I tried to use my food processor the first time and it just didn’t mix it as smooth and my blender. So the second batch was blended in the vita mix. It was so much better, Dan and I both loved it!

Simple Curry

This recipe was from: gone raw, sharing raw, vegan recipes and advice

Sauce

1 medium ripe tomato
2 T. raisins
1 T. sesame seeds
1/3 c. cilantro (I use stems)
juice from 1/2 a lime
1/2 t. tumeric
1/2 t. cumin
curry to taste
1/2 inch slice of ginger
1 clove garlic
2 green onions, sliced

Salt

Preparation:

Soak the seeds and raisins if you have time.

Throw it all in the blender with enough water to make it move. I added water before I started blending which was a mistake as it turned to runny, so I added a handful of almonds to thicken it up. Next time I’ll start blending first & only add water as needed.

Serve over chopped vegetables of choice (I julienned (very thin) a butternut squash with my mandolin (it was like angel hair pasta) and some cherry tomatoes. It would be good over shredded cauliflower also.


Toppings of choice (sunflower seeds, raisins, cilantro etc.) I used some of the Mung Bean Sprout Salad as a topping.

Yum, this was very good and spicy! Don’t use too much garlic, raw garlic is way stronger than cooked garlic!


And last and most definitely least was my battle with the coconut (I had some awesome pictures of Dan breaking it open but when I was downloading them off my memory card they were all mysteriously erased. )

I bought one of the brown coconuts that you see at the grocery store (mine was from Giant Eagle) I have since learned that there are actually 3 different types of coconuts and what I bought was the least desirable and most likely to be rancid. Dan split it apart & drained the liquid into a cup and got all the pulp out for me. I tried a bite and thought it was pretty gross but hoped that it would be better in a recipe (I don’t know why I thought that, boy was I wrong.) I made a chocolate mousse with about ½ of the pulp and the liquid. I blended it all together in the vita mix and it looked really good. I tried a bite and it was disgusting, very grainy and just gross. So I put it in the freezer hoping that once it was cold it would be better. Then I put away the rest of the coconut for later. The next day I thought I would make a coconut milk, so I blended the rest of the coconut with water until it turned white and creamy, then I strained it through my yogurt bag to remove any left over pulp. It looked really good and smelled fine, I put it in the fridge to chill. Later that day I was starving and thought a smoothie with fresh pineapple, coconut milk and some other goodies sounded great. I blended it all together took a drink and had this gross burning acid like taste in the back of my throat, kinda like when you throw up a little in your throat. So I dumped the smoothie and tasted a little of the coconut milk to see if it was the culprit. It was, so I dumped the milk and the frozen chocolate mousse. I’m assuming this was just a bad coconut; I’ll try one more time with one from Whole Foods. I noticed theirs are refrigerated and don’t have the brown skin, so I think they are younger coconuts.

As you can see I’ve added some variety this week. Once you get the hang of cooking this way the meals are really quick and easy to prepare. It just takes a little getting used to.

Resolution update, March

I decided that each month I would reassess my resolutions and see how I’m doing at sticking to them. Here they are, yet again:

stay enrolled in at least 1 art class: This one has been easy! I love the book making class, so I signed up for a second session and Beth has joined me.

lose weight by changing my eating habits and exercising: I’ve lost 13 pounds since the beginning of the year and I have transitioned to an almost all raw diet. I’m really enjoying learning a whole new way to eat and “cook.” I haven’t been very consistent with exercising but now that the weather has warmed up I’ll recommit to walking every day.

less TV & less time at the computer: Hmm well I’m blogging more and researching raw foods and buying more groceries online so my computer time has not gone down but I’d say my TV time has. And it will go down even more with the warm weather.

participate in an art show: haven’t done anything for this, but Beth and I have been making lots of books so maybe we’ll still pull something together.

clothing- I want to use fair trade companies or shop at thrift stores: well I have been shopping at thrift stores a lot lately but I haven’t been buying any clothes. As the seasons change and the kids need new clothes I do plan on looking at thrift stores before we go to a traditional store.

buy less: Let’s see I’ve been over-hauling my kitchen, getting rid of all the plastics replacing them with glass and stainless steel containers, getting rid of any possible leaded dishes and replacing them with clear glass dishes (there are tons at the thrift stores!) so no I’ve still been buying too much. But I have instituted a strict budget for my spending money so we’ll see how that goes this month.

natural cleaning products: tomorrow I plan on going through the house and pulling all the cleaning supplies that I’m no longer using and giving them away. I’ve switched to home made natural cleaners or eco cleaners from whole foods. I’ll be blogging about this later.

natural body products: This is another future blog…I have been making some strange changes. No more shampoo or conditioner instead I just use apple cider vinegar for a rinse; no more body lotion instead I’m using Grapeseed and Vit. E oil when I get out of the shower; I went through my back stock of body products (from my CVS deal days) and boxed it all up to give away; Beth and I have been researching natural, cruelty free make-ups and she hopes to get a few things for her 16th b-day, which is coming up.

This is the first year I’ve ever made so many resolutions and actually stuck with them, I’m impressed with myself!

Raw for Lent

I decided that for Lent I would go all raw. I’ve been pretty successful; I’d say I hit 95-100% every day. There have been a few rough days, like when I really needed to go grocery shopping and had absolutely no fresh veggies, fruit or nuts in the house (and was trying to wait until pay day to go to the store.) That day I used frozen spinach and veggies and had 3 green smoothies with a few date/ nut balls but nothing else. I kinda feel like I’m on one of those allergy elimination diets where you start out with one thing in your diet and slowly add more.

I’ve got the green smoothies down, I usually have one every morning for breakfast. And date/ nut balls, those fill my need for sweets and fill me up when I’m a little hungry. Then I added raw muesli with fruit and home made almond milk (yum!) Next was the “cheesy” nacho dip with veggies. Today I’m going to try some type of dessert with a coconut I bought. We’re going to my MIL for b-day dinners tomorrow and I need to bring a few things along so I can stay all raw surrounded by tons of cooked foods and desserts.

My family thinks I’ve gone a bit far with the healthy eating, they are definitely not on board with my changes. So now I get to make 1 traditional meal, 1 vegetarian meal and 1 raw meal. I try to merge the 3 as much as possible. It will be easier when the garden is going and were getting stuff from the CSA. Then we can have huge salads to cover the raw (me) and vegetarian (Beth) with something grilled on the side for the carnivores (also known as the boys.)

Even with all the difficulties I really like this way of eating. I can see myself sticking with this even after Easter.

Some of my favorite raw blogs and books so far:

http://greenandcrunchy.blogspot.com/

http://kristensraw.blogspot.com/

http://rawgoddessheathy.blogspot.com/

Eating in the Raw by Carol Alt

Living in the Raw Rose by Lee Calabro

Complete Idiots Guide to Eating Raw