Saturday, 30 January 2010

Will I ever get bored of salads?

I have salad everyday. I can't remember the last time day I didn't have one, apart from when I was on my 3 day juice fast.

Last night, my housemate asked me: 'Don't you ever get bored of salad?' This is when I really realised that the answer is 'Well... no.'

Especially when they look like this

I don't often put thin slices of red onion and red pepper in it. It looks so pretty. If it had sweetcorn in it it would have all the colours of the rainbow. Wow, I love taking time to appreciate my food!! I realised I have not being doing this enough recently. That is why I love raw food - it is not just about the physical health, but the well-being that comes from so much appreciation and gratitude of having found this amazing way of eating!!!!! It just fills me up with happiness!!!!!

Creamy lemon-sesame dressing

This is just like a carrot salad dressing my mum makes in the summer with mayonaise, olive oil, salt and pepper. You can add pepper to this if you want.

3 tbsp ground sesame seed*
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp tamari
add water slowly to reach desired consistency (about 4 tbsps)

*must be well processed in a coffee grinder until the oil starts to separate

Serve with grated carrot


Having become aware of some things I seemed to have for one reason or another fallen out of the habit of eating (coconut oil, spirulina, garlic, mung beans) and some things I only eat seldomly (sesame seeds, brazil nuts) I thought it would be interesting to list all the different foods I ate yesterday: some of these I have eaten more than once and of course some fall in more than one category

Vegetables and Fruit
Romaine lettuce
Red Onion

Olive oil
Flax oil
Brazil nuts
Virgin cocounut oil

Sesame seeds
Sprouted sunflower seeds
Sprouted buckwheat

Dehydrated food
flaxseed, onion, courgette, tomato, lemon juice, olive oil (contained in buckwheat bread)
NAKD coco loco snack bar

Cacao powder

Dark leafy greens are noticeably absent after the whole goitrogen thing. I thought it might be best to give my body a break from them until it got the iodine back on track. I was kindly pointed to advice by 'Bitt' from that criticizes that claim that links kale and spinach (cruciferous vegetables) to under active thyroid, Thank you Bitt! In any case I should still include these foods in moderation and can choose other greens, so will have some spinach today.

Very little fruit (although lots of sugar in snack bar)

Legumes also absent (green lentils and mung beans are soaking as I write - I can only get green lentils in one place now and can't get brown ones anywhere!)

Also interesting is that there is a lot of fat there! I have always believed that all these good fats do not contribute to weight gain and recently read that sugar with a high GI is what makes you change your food into fat, but maybe the fats are still one to watch...

Friday, 29 January 2010

Salad dressing experimentation ...

I am in experimentation with an a new salad dressing using sesame seeds ground up in a coffee grinder (which I bought specially for this kind of thing by the way!) Whole unsoaked sesame seeds ground up and mixed with oil seem to make a pretty good resemblance to tahini ... mix with lemon juice, garlic and spirulina to make a dip, water down for a thick creamy dressing!! Am going to experiment more with this over the weekend.

I really enjoyed my reflexology with my mum last night. She handed me a couple of nutrition and well-being books for women and we discussed some of the things it said. Was really interesting and nice to spend time with my mum and talk about something we are both interested in.

My run didn't happen as it started to rain just when I wanted to go... it stopped but then I was motivated to actually do some reading! My concentration and motivation seems to be improving ... I managed 2 and a half hours solid work! I also went out and got myself a printer to make life easier for myself, which I see as a sign of motivation!

What else has happened.... well, I am trying to lose weight but can't seem to stop eating!! I am thinking maybe it's just because it's winter and my body is naturally fattening up! Here's hoping I'll lose the weight in the spring!

I also made a batch of buckwheat bread - spread with brown rice miso it is just like marmite on toast - awesome : ) The concern about hypothyroidism also flagged up selenium - brazil nuts being a good source. I have a bag of shell-on ones from Christmas which I haven't eaten. Am now enjoying them very much : ) Probably not helping with the weight loss though haha


I just signed in to find a comment from Steve in Chicago - please make sure you read it! It is in response to my cousin and immunosuppression. The reasons for not risking any raw food are completely understandable. Steve, if you are reading this, thank you so much for your post - I don't seem to be able to comment on my own blog for some reason. It is so interesting that you ate raw food just one week after your transplant. I really would like to encourage my cousin to read into it.

Here is a link to Steve's page. It is a beautifully told story and makes me realise the power of gratitude...

I also forgot to say that another local restaurant made me a gorgeous raw meal on Monday night. They gave me a beautifully presented guacacmole decorated with shredded cucumber, and a mixed salad. All my family seemed very impressed. Also, at the Chinese restaurant I mentioned, the lady asked me about my diet and asked if I had been to The Malt House, as the guy from there had come in and they must have got talking as he had told her he had catered for a raw vegan the weekend before! I told her that raw vegan was me! So that is 3 restaurants in Bognor open to it! Even though it is a small town the thought that the idea of raw veganism could spread around town is really quite exciting!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

100% cooked?

At the weekend I ate out with my family twice as there was a big family gathering due to death in the family, unfortunately.

On Saturday night it was a Chinese restaurant and I brought my own food, under the advice of my granny who goes there regularly. To be honest I don't know much about Chinese food and wasn't sure if they would be able to provide anything. I rang them and asked if it was OK. The were very nice about it and said yes. I gave them my box of salad on the way in and they brought it out on a plate to me. My German relatives were intrigued. 'You must do it under the advice of your doctor' said one. Fair enough. 'It's fine for a while, but of course, not for ever', said another. I said of course it will be forever! She said that one day I would realise it was the wrong thing.

Since I am feeling a bit unhealthy at the moment, this made me begin to have doubts about the diet and it was a horrible feeling. I also felt really embarrassed when the lady handed me back my plastic container when I was still sitting at the table with everyone.

Then the next night I took some coleslaw round for a buffet at my granny's house. Everyone loved it and I was showered with compliments and requests for the recipe. This made me feel a whole lot better.

I also spoke to my cousin and her husband who asked me why I changed to this diet. It was hard to explain as I was trying to talk in German and so did not get all of my reasons across. He said, but surely when you cut plants they become dead too, like the animals. True, I said. But no diet will be perfect. They agreed. It was interesting because he has was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer and has been extremely ill for the past 2 years. He also have a lung transplant, which his body wants to reject, so his immune system is being kept deliberately low with drugs so his body will stop trying to reject the lung. So he has been told that everything has to be as sterile as possible so he does not get ill. This means that he can not eat ANY raw food! EVERYTHING must be throroughly, thoroughly cooked. And they acknowledged that raw food is good for your immune system which is even more reason not to have it. So they could sympathise with eating out in public with special dietary requirements and how it was so time-consuming getting used to a new way of eating.

I find this hard to get my head around...


My blood tests came back normal. Doctor was not convinced by the zinc theory. He also cautioned me about not properly qualified nutritionists, which was a fair comment. He also said if it was fluid in my abdomen it would not be fluid retention, as this usually accumulates round your ankles, but would be just free flowing fluid (the term for which I can't remember). So I feel a bit like back to square one. Will have to see what happens with the running, reflexology, etc. and see if things sort themselves out and the 'weight' comes back off. Might try sit-ups too : )

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

More photos

I had this mung bean, pea and mange tout salad at lunch time, with buckwheat bread spread with raw mixed seed butter on the side. I can not get enough peas in salads at the moment : )

My first raw vegetable crisps! Sweet potato, parsnip and carrots. Used the mandolin I got for xmas. They weren't quite as thin as I wanted but were still lovely and sweet.

A beautiful buzzy breakfast (containing bee pollen)


I went to the doctors about my stomach being bloated. He said it was not an abnormal shape and felt like it was just weight. I have certainly put on weight, and I said it had happened very rapidly. I said it didn't feel like just this. He asked about my mood and my energy levels, suggesting an underactive thyroid which would explain rapid weight gain and 'fatigue'. I am hardly fatigued, but my energy levels are not where I want them to be. They are no worse than when I was on a cooked diet I hasten to add. Better in face. Anyway I had a blood test for underactive thyroid and also for low haemoglobin. I get the results back tomorrow, when I will tell the doctor that I think it is water retention and see what he says. I am not sure whether to tell him I am a raw vegan. I suppose I don't have to act upon it, so getting his opinion can't be a bad thing. It might give me some more things to think about.

The next day it just so happened that Cherie Sorie (Living Light Institute) accepted me as a friend on facebook, and someone had posted a comment about too much raw kale and spinach on a raw fan page which was linked to Cherie's page. Before I new it I was reading about bloating and water retention is also a symptom of hypothyroidism, the cause of which is often lack of zinc. Too much raw spinach and kale, (more than 4 cups a week apparently), amongst other things, contains goitrogens which inhibit your absorption of zinc, which is vital for thyroid function. I have about 4 cups of this a day in my green juice! On top of this, it has become clear that, for some reason, I have cut down on iodine rich foods including garlic, seaweed (because it is so expensive) and bananas. Sesame seeds is another source which I don't tend to have much of. So I have decided to have kale in juice only once a week and am now eating loads of garlic! Coconut oil is also good, and I have just read that selenium is also important for your thyroid - only vegan source I know of is brazil nuts, so I will include more of these too.

I am a bit gutted because I thought my green juices were the best thing ever. It doesn't seem the same having juice with only cucumber and celery and they are not as dark green and not so rich in vitamins and minerals. So I haven't bothered with juice all week. It has saved me a lot of time in the mornings actually!

The upshot of all this is that I have sat up and thought that this diet might need more attention to make sure I am getting optimum nutrition - after all, that is what it is all about, and if I wasn't that bothered about it then I would still be eating a cooked omnivorous diet. I am preparing to make a few changes however and possible include cooked items if recommended. Strangely, I am even thinking that I don't feel as bad at the idea of eating fish, provided it is locally caught. As it is a food of the sea and not bred and manipulated specifically for human consumption. (Most veg I eat is probably mass produced for human consumption too, which is not ideal - one day I will live off my own vegetable garden - but it is not cruel because I don't believe plants have the same feelings and awareness as animals)

My mum is also giving me a reflexology treatment tomorrow afternoon to try and help the situation. I am really looking forward to this!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


I had an early night last night and went to bed with my Angel Meditation CD on my ipod. I got it for my birthday back in October and have never listened to it, so I decided tonight was the night. It lasted an hour but I must have fell asleep not long into it (it will be interesting if any of it sounds familiar when I listen to it again whilst fully conscious). So anyway I went to bed all peaceful and woke up the same. The day started well - green juice - wanted breakfast earlier than usual so had that, then ate too much at lunch and as it was late I couldn't go for a run before it got dark. I have been sitting in front of my laptop all day working on a presentation for uni and now at only 6.55pm I feel tired and hungry and a bit headachy and am also craving sugar. All this I find rather annoying. I think it is because I have not drunk enough today. I need to get away from the screen and do something else but I get into that lazy mode where I have stopped being productive but am still sat here attempting to carry on with it... should go down and get a drink. Will make sweet potato crisps overnight tonight too so that is something different : ) Right, I'm off for a change of scenery.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Raw restaurant in Bognor!

On Saturday night I went to a restaurant with my family to celebrate my dad's birthday. We went to a small local restaurant which my parents really like. When my dad booked a table he told them I was a raw vegan and they said for me to ring them to discuss requirements and they would see what they could do. I rang them and asked for a salad, said anything with raw salad/veg and avocado would be nice. They were very friendly and said 'leave it to us.' I was imagining a fairly simple plate of green salad with lots of nice bits and pieces in, mushrooms, etc.

Here is a photo of the starter!

I got there and they had made me a starter (which I hadn't even thought of) of avocado, and avocado ice cream!! They had frozen mashed avocado and it was served in thin strips with a fanned avocado and salad garnish. Main was a 'wild mushroom medley' served in a bowl and decorated on the plate with long fine shreds of carrot. It contained all sorts of things (I have to say I wasn't quite sure of a lot of it) including cauliflower florets sliced thinly (I had never thought of serving cauliflower this way!) and shredded cucumber. I was so impressed! The dressing was extremely vinegary and peppery and I think there was a bit of chilli in there as well - it was very overpowering which was a bit of a shame so I couldn't really taste the salad. But this didn't really matter at all as I was delighted with the effort they had gone to! They told me they enjoyed trying out new things and had looked for raw vegan ideas on the internet! I couldn't thank them enough. Raw most definitely does not have to ruin your social life - (and even if they had given me boring green salad, I still would not have missed out on eating out with my family!)

So my sisters and brother-in-laws were down at the weekend and I made a big jug of green juice for breakfast which they tried and one of them liked, red onion/chilli flax crackers also went down well and many wanted some of my big green salad to supplement their dinner on Sunday night! So I was happy to be able to share my food a bit more - usually I find I can only manage to feed myself on these occasions as it can be difficult when I'm away from home as well. The juicer usually goes with me to my parents and it can be hard always carting bags of vegetables to and fro but I am getting the hang of judging how much I will need for 1/2/3 days away and Mum usually has some bits and pieces I can use too, such as avocados, white cabbage.

Since the juice fast I am also feeling less inclined to just eat for the sake of it, and I haven't had porridge for 5 days now!! Woop. Feeling much more focused as it's the start of the new semester and I'm ready to get back down to work, and this is how I intend things to stay!

Next weekend will be another challenge as I have a funeral and some catering to help with, so I need to have a think what I can do that I can have and that will supplement other people's food well. I would like to have a go at some sweet potato crisps - I haven't even used my mandolin since I got it for Christmas! I am usually slow to start using/trying new things but I always know it will happen when the time is right so I don't need to worry. (If only I was better at thinking this way about the rest of my life!)

Another thing I forgot to mention is my weight. I was a bit worried about my belly being so bloated before Christmas which seemed unrelated to the weight although I knew I had put it on. I feel as if I have lost a few pounds after the juice fast, and my tummy has got flatter at times (like first thing in the morning) so that seems more normal and proportionate. Am keeping an eye on it anyway as I am still not entirely convinced there isn't something else going on with it.

To end on a more positive note - next thing I am going to try is 'rice crispie cakes' in my dehydrator - buckwheat with cacao powder and agave. Should be dead simple and easy yet awesome - just like all the best things I make : )

Friday, 15 January 2010

3-Day Juice Feast - DAY THREE

Today I felt more hungry than not. And I felt tired (7 hours sleep last night) I decided to break the fast tonight and had a romaine, cucumber and green pea salad with avocado, hemp seeds and a drizzle of flax oil and apple cider vinegar. I very much enjoyed it!! I was really conscious of the temptation to over-eat, and so have not done so, eating the salad in two portions, with a short break in between. So it has been 3 whole days minus 4 hours since I last ate solid food. I am quite proud of myself for doing it but found it to be easier than I thought it was be. I probably could have carried on til tomorrow as well but made the conscious decision to eat again tonight.

I have just found some more information on juice-feasting and the difference between this and juice-fasting.

It now appears that I have been juice fasting, as the former involves drinking 4-5 litres a day of juice! I was not having more than 2, and it didn't really feel like enough either. Juice FEASTING is apparently easting everything you need but in liquid form, so would include things like supplements and superfoods including powdered greens. Last time I was in Infinity Foods I nearly bought some hemp protein powder. I definitely will get some and include it in my next juice feast.

Overall I am pleased with how it went. I have had a few headaches and sensations in my back which I am suspicious is my kidneys. Next time I think I need to drink far more water in between juices too.

I have not done a 'before and after' weight check, but I hope I have lost a few pounds. (This was not the reason I did the feast/fast by the way) I can't wait to start running again too now the snow and ice has fiiiinally melted!! Hopefully this will help me keep a bit of the weight on so I don't look quite so thin, but I will just look like I can hold it better, (rather than it all sitting on the top of my jeans)

I feel like having something more to eat now. It will NOT be cooked porridge! But what? I think I am thirsty actually so may have a glass of water and see how I feel then. I have a mango which is tempting... hhm. Right now I feel a bit fuzzy headed too. Maybe today was when the detoxing was really starting to kick in so I should have stuck with it. The way I am going to think of it is that next time I do it, it will be easier, as I will eliminate the porridge and dried fruit from now on (and nuts as much as possible) so will be generally 'cleaner' next time.

So there you have it! 3 days with no solid food. Anything is possible hey. : )

3-Day Juice Feast - DAY TWO (ii)

I felt so so hungry last night and almost decided to eat, but made myself about 750ml of juice instead, including kale, spinach, celery, carrot, beetroot, ginger and lemon and waited to see if I would feel better. I did, but not completely satisfied. I am glad I stuck with it though.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

3-Day Juice Feast - DAY TWO (i)

I started the day off with half a litre of water with the juice of half a lemon. Then had my usual half litre of kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, ginger and lemon. Now on second glass of water with lemon. It is now 11.11am and I feel a bit hungry. I didn't feel hungry when I woke up although I went to bed hungry. I think I will up the juice intake today and have 4 instead of 3. Upping the kale content may help. (Organic kale is currently 50% extra free in my local supermarket - could it be a sign?!) It is strange though as I feel a bit hungry but not really like I am craving food. And the hunger comes in short spells; it is not constant. Overall it is going well I think :)

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

3-day Juice Feast - DAY ONE

2.29pm. Feel hungry. Otherwise fine. Had just over a half a litre this morning about 2 and a half hours ago with kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, lemon. Tasty :)

Had another of the same about 4pm with added romaine lettuce, and a lighter juice without the kale about 9pm. Not ideal timing perhaps but it just fitted with what I was doing yesterday. They say that is the liberating thing about juicing - you don't have to eat! It only takes about half an hour to juice, including washing the juicer components after.

Stomach did start rumbling about 10.30pm but this was the first time that had happened all day.


Home-made red onion flax crackers with spirulina-guacamole

Lentil and Spinach Curry (my latest invention and current favourite dinner)

Blueberry and coconut breakfast

Seaweed, courgette and avocado salad

Procrastination --> Green juice feast!!!

I have had the last 4 weeks 'off' uni (always reluctant to use the word off as student holidays always involve studying for at least some of it) and I feel like have wasted so much time! I have been working on a presentation, and have spent loads of time with friends and family which has been really important to me. For the rest of it, I have done so much faffing!! Have had a general feeling of boredom and lack of energy. I have been meaning to book myself a colonic irrigation for ages and have just been putting it off. Not even because I am reluctant to have one! I really want to go for it. I know what the problem is: porridge. Worse than that - porridge at 11pm.

Last night I had a bowl of it before bed. I have noticed that when I do this I actually wake up feeling hung over. Eating porridge after dinner is something I was doing every day from November to Christmas. (Over Christmas I didn't but only because I was filled up with nuts and dried fruit in the evenings instead.) Now it is happening again. It has got to stop.

Last night I also lay awake for a while thinking about the 3 day juice feast I have been meaning to go do for ages. This morning I googled it. I found Angela Stokes almost instantly and downloaded her report from

What did it say? "The two most damaging food groups are the refined sugars and the processed starches. THAT IS THE SECRET!" It also says it is only when we remove these foods COMPLETELY that was can reach ultimate health. I read in an anti-candida diet cookbook that if there is a food you are addicted to, it is probably the one that is causing you damage.

My packet of porridge oats is goiing straight in the bin and I am starting a 3-day juice feast. Right now! (Wednesday morning) It works out perfectly as I am just going to be at home for the next 3 days reading for uni, and I can break it on Saturday when we are going out for a family meal for my dad's birthday. Need to ring the place in advance and ask if they can do me a vegan salad. If they can't do it, so much the better, I will just not eat!

Will be updating my blog regularly with how I am feeling. Right I am off to stock up my fridge on green veg. I feel really excited!!!!

Xmas recipes

Here are the Christmas recipes I particularly liked - didn't make a note of the link to the website where I found them I'm afraid.

Cranberry Sauce by RoseLee Calabro
2 C fresh cranberries
1 orange
1 apple
1 C dates
water for consistency

Process cranberries, orange, apple and dates in a blender and serve.

Parsnip-Avocado Soup
This cold and creamy dish is a lot like gazpacho but made with parsnips and avocados which are both a very healthy substitutes for the traditional holiday meal.
1 large parsnip, grated (unless using a K-tec or Vitamix then you can just cut it up)
1/2 water or celery juice
1 large stalk peeled celery, cut up
1/4 avocado
2 teaspoons flaxseed oil
squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (optional)

In a blender blend parsnip and liquid until smooth. Add remaining ingredients, blend until smooth.


From the Sprout Café in Atlanta, this tastes just like traditional turkey stuffing to me. I top this with marinara sauce to give it a bit more moisture.

2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 Tablespoons fresh sage
2 Tablespoons rosemary
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme
2 cups walnuts, soaked 12 hours and drained
2 cups almonds, soaked 12 hours and drained
1 Tablespoon organic unpasteurized white miso
1 large onion, chopped very fine
6 stalks celery, chopped fine
1 cup parsley sprigs (as garnish)
1 cup cranberries (as garnish)

1. Place garlic in a food processor and process well.
2. Add sage, rosemary, and thyme, processing well.
3. Add walnuts, almonds, and miso, one at a time and process well.
4. Remove to a bowl and stir in onion and celery.
5. Place on a sheet of Teflex and form into an oval loaf shape. Dehydrate at 105 degrees for 6 hours.
6. Remove and turn loaf over, removing the Teflex sheet from the bottom. Dehydrate for 4 to 6 hours more.
7. Garnish with parsley and cranberries
- by Alissa Cohen

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

My first raw Christmas

The thought of having a 'raw Christmas' did not phase me in the slightest. This was my first Christmas as a raw vegan. Last year, I had a plate of turkey with all the omnivorous trimmings (well, it was put in front of me but I barely touched it, being dosed up on anti-biotics and pain-killers for a nasty bladder infection.)

This year that has all changed. This is probably one of the most stressful run-ups to Christmas I've had in a long time, and I have not been ill with anything this winter. (I was ill over Christmas 2006 but not 2007) I can't prove it, but I'd say it was down to raw food.

I will put my Christmas recipes in a separate post. I found them all on the internet and liked the look of them. The sweet potato dish and the 'mock turkey' were, unfortunately, not very nice. I didn't expect avocado, almonds and parsley to make anything like turkey, but hoped it would be nicer than it turned out. Never mind. As my first raw Christmas, I was pretty pleased. The stuffing was amazing. It would have been better straight out of the dehydrator after about 4 hours on each side, but I went out and overdehydrated it, and it was made 2 days in advance so not as great on the day. Will do that again next year for sure and time it better. Cranberry sauce, Kate Magic's Hi-Cake (from 'Raw Magic') goji-fudge (another of Kate's), Christmas Puddings and Cashew Sauce (again, Kate's, from 'Eat Smart Eat Raw') were all outstanding.

Here are some photos. (I didn't take any of the Christmas puds and sauce, or my jar of cranberry sauce! I am out of the habit! New Year's resolution is to get back into it of course.)

Hi-Cake. It was awesome

My dehydrator taking pride of place on the hob. My housemates all went home for the holidays and I had the kitchen to myself. I spread my food prep over 3 days! It took some careful forward planning, (more than a 'normal' Christmas dinner I don't know, but I expect so)


The sage and onion stuffing, with celery and walnuts. Not the best picture, but you can see where I have been nibbling from the edges!!

I went to my sister's on Boxing Day for a few days. Being organized to take food over was a pain - I ended up taking far too much! Was better than not having enough. I usually like to do a batch of buckwheat bread (an adaptation of Russel James's recipe) to take with me when I travel as it is very convenient to make sandwiches and they are a good filling supplement to any veg or salad items you might be able to get your hands on when travelling. The cake also came. Majority liked it.

My Christmas presents were a spiralizer, a mandolin, a salad spinner and two raw food hampers very thoughtfully put together by my mum and sister! I was very spoiled. I have got pretty much all the gadgets now (apart from a vita-mix - I will get one one day). Makes me think how far I've come since I discovered raw food a year and a half ago. I feel I got there properly with it after about 9 months but I still feel the journey is continuing...

Here is a picture of the food hampers!!