Archives for November 2012

How Do You Care For Yourself?

When was the last time you stopped to take care of yourself?  In the morning before leaving for work or to start a hectic day, how do you care for yourself first?

The question might seem philosophical, therefore one to just ponder for a while.  But in fact, it’s extremely practical, meaning it is one to use, to put into practice in order to change behavior.

Self-care is really under-rated in American society and perhaps in many other societies too and particularly with women.  For some reason, it seems less than professional to stop and take care of self instead of always being on the go, taking care of others. 

A lack of self-care means facing a potential deteriorating of effectiveness in all aspects of your life over time.  For example, without good nourishment, your cells will become undernourished.  This can lead to all types of diseases including high blood pressure, diabetes and more.  With this, you begin to diminish in effectiveness and abilities to function at a peak level. 

If you are consistently tired, worn-out, your brain is not functioning at peak levels. You’re drawing on adrenaline to keep going, over-taxing your adrenal glands and causing fatigue to overtake your body.

Not caring for your skin can cause you to look older.  Your skin will be less fresh, having dead cells that make your appearance seem dull and faded.  

If you are a professional woman, all of these things can have a negative effect on your ability to appear energetic and productive.  The competition in the world is fierce.  Self-care could be the factor that allows you to be selected over the competition for the big deal or promotion because your “look” exudes confidence and potential.

Think again about the question, “How do you care for yourself?” This time, think about the real, practical ways you do this on a regular basis and what you can do to improve the response.

Simplicity of Foods

Putting delicious dishes together doesn’t to be complex.  I always wonder why people say they don’t’ like to cook, but coming from a tradition of cooks who spend the whole day in the kitchen, I can understand when people think cooking has to take to much time out of a busy day.

That was my experience until just recently.  I started using the Healthiest Foods in the world cookbook a few months ago and realized that the meals were very simple.  While I was used to having at least four sections of a plate filled with a different dish, I noticed that only one or two dishes were presented in each meal.  This downsizing was odd to me at first.  The question was would there be enough food?  Would the eaters be satisfied with only two tastes instead of multiple ones? 

As I gave into this way of cooking I soon realized how much the palette enjoys the simplicity of pure flavors brought on by only a few tastes. For instance,  a piece of salmon on a bed of pureed peas.  A scoop of Lima beans cradled in the hollow of low-fat mashed potatoes.  Very comforting and providing the ability to actually taste the foods.

Simple cooking protects the meal from being too muddled with so many seasoning that you can’t guess what’s in them.  Of course, there are times for complex seasonings, such as in curries or some Southern foods.  But as I think of it, I know that I was always amazed at how simple the cooking was in Creole cooking from New Orleans, yet the tastes were so rich and hearty.   There was something about the skill of molding flavors together in just the right way.

After this month of eating simply, I’ve learned the pleasure of eating only one food at a time.  A baked sweet potato with just a teaspoon of coconut oil and a bit of sea salt.  A salad of simple lettuce, tomatoes and avocado with a squeeze of lemon.  A baked squash pureed with a dash of cinnamon and red pepper flakes.  Simple, pure and delicious.  The whole mouth feel is different as this allows you to really taste your food. 

There’s a lot to be said for the simplicity of foods.  Perhaps approaching cooking and food preparation in this way will make a difference for the home cook who depends on take-out instead of firing up the stove or learning a few quick and easy no-cook raw recipes to satisfy the taste and nutritional needs.

Season of Detox – Day 28!

Yeah – Success!  My 28 days of detoxing in raw/vegan format has been successfully completed.  I feel successful, healthy, lighter, and fulfilled in this attempt.  I haven’t stepped on a scale but I know I’ve lost weight because of a much flatter mid-section, ad clothes fitting much better.  In fact, I’ve moved from a large in several outfits to a medium; that’s huge.  All in 28 days without being hungry or feeling deprived.

This is the longest detox I’ve completed.  I would suggest to anyone to give this a go.  All you do is bring healthier, wholesome foods into your system for a month.  You eat what is fresh and easy to prepare and known to bring antioxidants and nutrients to your cells.  After spending this time caring for my health I can only look forward to encouraging more people to do the same.  I could continue on my path to coach on business development which I will always do for those that want it.  However, I know there is nothing as important as your health.  Once that’s gone all of the money in the world won’t do anything to make your life better.

Take care of yourself now.  During this month alone, I’ve heard of two people with issues with inflammation, one with diabetes, one with a bacterial infection.  Except for the infection, the others could have been helped or maybe even avoided with the proper nutrition.  My bet is that none of the people involved knew this or specifically what to eat or drink to help themselves.  I’ve also learned this month that diabetes in the US has become epidemic.  this is another disease that can be monitored through diet and exercises.  Yet that information is not fully out there.  There’s a lot of work to do in the field of healthy eating and nutrition.  I want to be a major player in helping this happen.

For those of you that followed this detox I want to thank-you for your support.  Now that I’ve chronicled the process, you can follow this as you go through your detox or just to get a sense of some of the issue you might face during your detox.    Also, I hope you will experiment with raw foods and detox foods.  Another process I will keep is eating primarily vegan with a high percentage of raw foods.  I feel my digestion is much better, and I’m anxious to have my cholesterol levels checked to see how they have changed.  I’ve been exercising more and with better results and believe I actually look younger.

For the last time, I will share my daily meals.  After my morning green smoothie, I ate some black-eyed peas and cabbage for lunch.  Later in the afternoon, I had a green salad with tomatoes and carrot dressing.  Dinner was an absolutely scrumptious broccoli stir-fry with tofu, mushrooms, and a bit of miso.  Yum- I wrote that recipe done for the cookbook Ill be writing later this year.

I intend to finish my book the Seasoned Women’s Wellness Guide in a few weeks, get the new website introduced and start gearing up with new products and services.  I hope you’ll become a part of my healthier community this year and at least start around to read the blogs reports and so much more!

Season for Detox – Day 27

I kid you not, I actually think I look a bit younger!  I looked in the mirror tonight and realized that some of the wrinkles in my brow had diminished; some gone away.  Now that was worth going on a detox for 27 days. I have to get to a scale to see how many pounds have come off.  I can’t tell although my clothes are fitting better.  I’m also feeling better and definitely getting the results of detoxing my body with better elimination. 

Another new taste I’ve tried is nutritional yeast  (did I mention this yesterday)?  It has a cheesy type taste to it.  I made the carrot based salad dressing with it a few days ago and had that on a green salad with tomatoes for lunch and a bit more for dinner.  Very good I must say.  My husband enjoyed it too since he ate it all without complaint.  I was going to go completely raw today but ended up finishing off left-overs; the Tom Kha Kha Soup and some of the black-eyed peas and cabbage from last night for lunch and dinner.  It was a chilly day and I wanted something warm.  Had another good night at the gym too.  Have to start going a bit earlier; we didn’t get home until 8:30 p.m.  That’s too late as we should be winding down for bed by then especially when we have really early mornings.

Tomorrow should be a special day since it’s the end of this journey.  I’m ready to go again – or to just keep going in this manner. I just ordered two new raw foods cookbooks yesterday (Cyber Monday) so I’ll decide which book I want to cook through when they get here.

Season for Detox – Day 26

Only two more days to go.  I’m definitely not ready to finish eating raw/vegan.  In fact, I’m so excited about this that I’m going to do some special episodes on raw cooking on my radio show Seasoned Women Health Radio.  Additionally, I’m going through the online raw cooking course by the well known Raw Chef, Jennifer Cornbleet.  My Raw Eating Coach Training will start soon and I’m going to study how to develop raw foods courses.  However, I don’t’ think I’ll be calling all of this “raw foods” coaching but a broader type of idea that embraces the health benefits of adding fresh, whole foods to the diet.

The primary reason for my venture into this is the health aspect.  There hasn’t been one day that someone I know hasn’t brought up a health issue or mentioned someone else with one.  Too many people are suffering needlessly because of wrong eating.  Yet they have no idea about what is wrong with their eating habits.  I was the same way only a few years ago.  And even though I had a sense of how to eat better, I recognize the need to make the full commitment to change life-long eating habits in order to be healthier. 

I can’t wait to design a health retreat here on the Central California Coast for those ready to come here to better themselves.  

Today’s diet was simple.  After a morning of the regular green smoothie, I had left over leek and potato soup for lunch.  My husband and I decided to go to the gym for a work-out in the evening so I threw some black-eyed peas in the crock-pot with red and green cabbage.  Of course, there was onion and garlic along with onion powder, cumin, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste.  A great vegan meal that was enjoyed when we got home.

With only two official days to go I’m going to concentrate on some raw recipes to complete the detox.  To do that I’ll just go back to the original menu and recipes.  It’s late, I’m off to bed.

Season for Detox – Day 25

It’s almost time to start winding down now.   Day 25 and only three days to go.  Here’s what I know will happen.  I will go deeper into the high raw life even studying raw foods.  I’m doing this for my health in that I want to lower the high cholesterol levels that have plagued me for decades. 

Except for a month in Spain when my cholesterol count came down to normal, I have always had to pay attention to this problem.  Doctors continually threaten to put me on drugs such as Lipitor but I refuse to do that; I’m more fearful of the side effects than the cholesterol.  When a doctor informed me that the liver can be negatively affected by statin drugs I was done with that concept. 

I mean come on, I asked the doctor how would I know if my liver was being affected by the drugs and his response was “Let me worry about that.”  Are you kidding?  Mess with the liver and you might as well kick it in.  The liver is the primary cleansing organ of the body.  If it’s not functioning well, you can’t expect to have much of a life. 

Instead, I’ve been taking an herbal supplement of Shuddaka Guggula which comes from India.  It’s been known to help drastically reduce cholesterol without side effects as it’s a natural substance and herb.  My new doctor (yep, dropped the old guy for a natural health oriented MD) was excited that I had taken this initiative, even asking me where I found this herb so she could share it with others.  So between the natural herbs, exercise and raw, vegan eating I expect only great results.  I’ll have to let you know as soon as I get a check-up.

For day 25 I decided to create a new salad dressing.  Funny thing, I didn’t want to actually eat the dressing, but just made it from carrots, nutritional yeast and a few seasonings.  Nutritional yeast has a cheesy type of taste and I’ve been wanting to use it for a long time.  It’s another new food to have as a newbie “high-raw” eater.  Tomorrow I’ll have my new salad dressing all ready to go.

But I did eat today. In fact, I probably ate too much even though it was raw.  You see, it’s possible to eat too much no matter what type of food you’re having.  It started with handfuls of grapes in the morning and a little piece of the still lingering carrot cake.  I probably really blew the raw diet thing by now so I’ll have to go back to being more careful about it.  For lunch, it was the kale and avocado salad from yesterday still left over. 

Dinner was a fabulous new recipe, a Tom Kha Soup.  I love Tom Kha Kha soups at Indian restaurants so it’s been a goal to try a recipe.  I used canned coconut milk so that wasn’t very raw.  I also added an organic tofu so hopefully it wasn’t a GMO product because the product will never say, especially after Californians voted down the proposition that would require this labeling.   Oh well, that’s another point.  

Back to the soup.  It also had fresh lemon grass, ginger, scallions, mushrooms and lime and lemon juice.  This will definitely be another favorite from this experience.  For my husband I added Spicy Italian Organic Sausage and piece of  roiled fish along with three hot peppers.  I’m finding that having non-raw eating person to feed is not too difficult with some creativity.  Wrapped the evening up with another handful of grapes and loads of water.  

A good day overall.  Oh, let me add that we spent an hour at the gym exercising which felt really wonderful.

 

Season for Detox – Day 24

I had a great walk this morning.  It was warm and just a bit breezy, perfect for a power walk.  For months I’ve been trying to keep the habit of getting up first thing in the morning, doing my Bible reading, drinking a green smoothie and maybe some other breakfast if I’m really hungry and then taking a walk.  If I dion’t get out there first thing in the morning it can often get skipped for the whole day.  Then I can decide to do more exercise later in the day.

I’ve been trying to work on a new book on healthy eating these past weeks.  It seemed thehat the direction was clear at first then I got myself confused by considering too many great ideas at once.  I figured I could write the end all and do all book or just get started with one idea and move from there.  Of course, I know better; I know to get the one idea and stick to it in order to get anything done.  I’m a certified creativity coach for goodness sake (among so many other certifications) so I know the routine of needing to get focused.  My mind goes to information on health and wellness while my heart goes to a detox cookbook type of product.  I’m enjoying this detox so much that I want to share this concept with others in the form of a book or ebook.  The main thing is to just get started.

Food wise, there was a great smoothie for breakfast.  I also juiced about half a bag of oranges.  There’s something special about freshly squeeze orange juice.  I haven’t’ done a lot of organie juice during his detox because of its sugar content but I did drink a few ounces of this after squeezing.  Also had a few bites of the carrot cake made on Thanksgiving.  For lunch I did the left-over routine using the leek and potato soup.  The soups just seems to taste better  on the second day.  A snack of raw almonds and raisins went with me during an afternoon shopping trip for a new vacuum and a wonderful surprise – a new Cuisinart Food Processor.  I used to have one literally decades ago, but just didn’t need it at the time.  Now I’m so ready to try new raw food recipes.  Honestly, I’m getting ready to work on setting up some live cooking classes which will be so wonderfully fun to do.

For dinner, I made a spicy warmed cauliflower with coconut oil and spices.  With that I put together a kale, avocado salad.  This is really one of my favorite new dishes form this detox.  YUM! Talk to you tomorrow.

 

 

 

Season for Detox – Day 23

Today was Black Friday.  I’ve never been excited about rushing to stores to chase down deals.  I figure that if something is there for me, it will be there at an even better price when it’s my time to have it.  With that said, I did go shopping today, mainly out of boredom.  What I wanted wasn’t on sale anyway.  I did  get a pair of ski pants because I’m expecting to take  trip to a very cold area in January.  I didn’t find a jacket but intend to order that and boots online in a few weeks.

Eating wise, it was a light day.  I started with my smoothie but used an apply and orange and some blueberries as I was out of bananas.  It was very good and let me know that I’ve gotten into a rut drinking the same type of smoothie each morning.  I think I’ll do a bit more experimenting in these last few detox days.

I also ate a piece of the carrot cake I was able to salvage (cake #2 from yesterday that was supposed to be the raw cake but got baked after all).  It wasn’t too bad today and by warming it the flavors really came out.  One thing about raw foods is that you actually get to taste the essence of whatever food you are eating.

For lunch I ate some of the left-over black-eyed pea and collard greens that I made for dinner yesterday.  That is a great meal that I’m going to keep as a favorite.  I decided to use some beautiful leeks and white potatoes in a soup today.  Because I wanted to go out for a while I putt he ingredients into the crock pot set on low.  It’s so nice to walk into a home and smell fresh food all ready to eat.  The soup was delicious.  Another benefit of the detox is learning how great it is to have simple flavors in the foods instead of so many flavors that none are distinguishable.

In my shopping I went to the equivalent of our Whole Foods Market. I want to try making flax seed crackers on my dehydrator as soon as I find the sheets that are used to lay out the ingredients on for drying.  So I bought some bulk flax seeds.  I also found a bulk hemp protein flour.  I want to start adding this to my smoothies and soups to increase the natural protein content.  I also took the opportunity to speak to the bakers in the deli area and ask about xanthan gum.  This is a natural thickener used when backing with gluten free flours.  It provides the necessary binding agent needed to create a cake or bread with this flour.  So that’s another experiment I intend to do very soon.

 

Season for Detox – Day 22

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you though belated.  For those that do not celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you had a peaceful and thankful day yesterday.  For me, it was Day 22 of this 28 day detox which it seems I will be completing after all.  I wasn’t sure about doing this for 28 days when first starting.   In looking forward to this I have learned multiple things about me and about the foods we eat.  

1. It takes wonderful discipline to eat consciously each day. Planning the food to eat as well as being determined not to eat unless it’s apart of the detox took a real discipline.  There have been many days when I just wanted to grab some chips and dip and squelch a hunger.  But instead, I grabbed some carrots or celery to hold myself over until I could get to what was really good to eat.

2. The pantry and refrigerator actually start to take on the look of the type of foods I want to eat.  That means as I focused on purchasing foods to go with this detox I found I just reached for those foods at the store instead of spending loads of time considering foods I really didn’t want to put into my body. Shopping for food became much quicker as a result.  It meant spending time on the parameter of the grocery store where the fresh produce is located instead of in the middle aisles where you find the packaged foods.

3. Physically, I can see the changes as the excess weight and puffiness is starting to fall off.  It took a while to get going with the weight loss.  I’ve realized that weight loss doesn’t happen immediately.  It takes time to get going.  The body must adjust to a new way of eating.  Sometimes, eating less calories will make weight loss take a bit longer than going faster.  The body will put itself into a starvation modality if there aren’t enough calories.  Eating raw and vegan can mean cutting out calories and only eating a few at a time.  That takes some adjusting to get the right calorie count.

4.  Mentally, I definitely feel more clear-headed.  This is one of the best, unexpected benefits about this experience.  Instead of waking up feeling “fuzzy headed” with all of the obligations I have to fulfill daily, I feel like I wake up able to zoom into exactly what I need to do with clarity and assurance.  It seems that my memory has improved too.  What seasoned person wouldn’t love that?

That’s just a few ways I can see the benefits of this detox so far.  I’ll share more as the days start to wind down.

Okay, confession time.  I tried two different carrot cake recipes yesterday.  Unfortunately, I made too many changes to the original recipes at once and had some flops.  I Know better than to make changes to a recipe prior to doing the original one first.  But I wanted to modify a gluten free recipe to also be vegan.  Instead of using eggs as a binder, I used applesauce for the eggs.  That meant with the lack of gluten and lack of binder, there was nothing to hold the cake together.  DUH!  Ended up with a gooey mess.  I really hated to have to throw that cake out but there was no saving it. 

The second recipe was a raw carrot cake.  I thought I had read the recipe repeatedly, but missed a crucial step.  After mixing the grated carrots and walnuts, I should have set these aside to process the other ingredients and spices that would serve as the binder for this cake.  Instead, I blended half of the carrot,walnut and spices mixture until smooth.  Fortunately, I was doing this half at a time but the batter was now too soft.  So I had to try to salvage it by turning it into a regular cake by adding almond and amaranth flour, baking soda and baking powder and two eggs.  I baked this batter.  It still came out a but mushy but edible.  Oh well, when you’re trying to start something new, you have to experiment.  I’m not accustomed to food failures so I had to encourage myself in this remembering that great things come out of experiments. 

Otherwise for Thanksgiving, my main meal was black-eyed peas with collard greens which was sumptuous.  I’m having a bit more of that for lunch today (the day after).

Season for Detox – Day 21

End of week three today.  It seems to have come and gone.  The idea of starting a 28 day detox seemed like an extensive venture at the beginning.  I wasn’t sure I could do it since my husband wasn’t keen on trying the foods.  However, what’shappened is that he’s been eating exactly what I’ve had only I prepare some animal protein for him in addition to the raw foods.  He also gets grains and maybe coked vegetables while I do the raw.  So essentially, he has also changed his eating habits during this period of time too.  It was gratifying that he mentioned this over the weekend to family and friends who also noticed the weight loss in both of us.  That was a great benefit of this adventure and very motivating.

Thinking of Thanksgiving tomorrow I’ve been looking at a lot of recipes.  I’m staying home in order to stick with my detox as well as to get some needed rest and reflections time.  So today was another simple day.  I had a butternut squash still in the refrigerator so I decided to make a vegetable soup using the squash as well as sweet potatoes, along with other veggie sin the refrigerator.  Soups are great ways to use left over vegetables while creating a warm comforting meal.  I also had a nice vegetable salad.  The tastes were pretty “One-note” today but I was satisfied.

Interestingly, I decided to prepare hamburger patties out of some organic ground beef for the hubby.  Included jalapeno chili’s, brown rice, and spices.  For an extra taste treat for him I added some bacon.  Then I got lazy.  I was going to bake them but decided to pan fry them in teh bacon drippings.  I used to think bacon drippings were bad for you but in fact, they are a good fat because they are a natural fat.  How about that?  Plus it’s not something we do on a regular basis.  Anyway, there were some home made corn tortillas in the refrigerator that my husband bought from a new tortilla place in town.  I decided to fry some tortilla chips for him.  I added some coconut oil to the rying pan for that.  I admit, I cheated and had a few.  They were worth the cheating – fresh homemade corn tortillas fried in coconut oil   YUM.

Well, I’m going to try something new for Thanksgiving tomorrow; two different carrot cakes.  One gluten free, sugar-free, the other raw carrot cake.  This evening I prepared the carrots in the food processor.  I’m making raisin syrup by soaking raisins tonight as a sweetener.  I’m looking forward to trying the recipes and tasting the cakes.   Will let you know how they come out tomorrow.

Have an incredibly wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!