Wednesday, August 11, 2010

So very lovely!

I may have mentioned that I finally purchased a dehydrator.

An EXCALIBUR! dehydrator.

It's so very lovely!!!!!!

I got mine here. Decent price from what I've seen around.

I waited a year from going raw to actually purchase one.

Mostly due to the price.

But also, was I really going to STAY raw?

Well, after a year...with how I feel and the routine I've gotten into.....Yes, I'm staying raw.

HIGH raw.

So, I went ahead and got one. And after letting it sit for a couple of weeks - I finally began using it!

You may wonder what the big deal is -- especially if you're not into the raw scene - well, the dehydrator is nice because it can intensify flavors of some foods and offers different textures in food.

Texture is something that I missed. Not that there aren't different textures in what I was eating raw. There are - from smooth and creamy puddings and sauces to crunchy fruit and veggies and nuts.

But there isn't really anything like the crunch of crackers or the chewiness of some foods. (dates are chewy but not quite the same thing).

So although I am not trying to mimic certain foods or a SAD recipe or diet, I am hoping to increase the variety in texture.

I can't say that I was bored with my food, but I did miss these textures. For me I think that is a big part of the food experience.

So I am now able to begin experimenting with that experience.

I have only begun to play with my D, but I've already had some success.

I made my regular cashew 'cheese' and divided part out into a shallow container and put it in the dehydrator for a few hours. It thickened it a bit, deepened the flavor, and after refrigerating it is the consistency of cream cheese! Maybe not QUITE as smooth, which is fine, I don't mind that its a little different, I wasn't setting out to make cream cheeze......but the thickness of it after the little trip in the fridge - LOVE IT!!

I have had a mild success with a sort of cracker and am working on a sort of burger thing.....ohhh, and 'tortillas' -- I'd love to have an alternate 'wrapper' than leaves or seaweed.

Back to my cheese - I make my cashew 'cheese' just a little different than the standard recipes out there so I'll share my HIDI:

Cashew "Cheese" Spread

  • cashews
  • nutritional yeast
  • lemon juice (FRESH!)
  • water
  • salt
  • paprika
  • dry mustard

  • Soak the cashews for a few hours, rinse.
  • Place cashews in processor and begin processing.
  • Add juice of half a lemon (or more - to taste) and add a little water if needed to improve mixing and consistency.
  • Process until mixture begins to get smooth.
  • Add the remainder of your ingredients. [And again - its to taste. Your preference may be for a little more or a little less of something. Go with it.]
  • Process until you reach consistency

You may want to add a little more water once you add the nutritional yeast. It depends on how thick or thin you want it.

You can make this as a sauce or leave it thick for a dip or even thicker (dehydrator anyone?) for a spread.


Wondering why there is an avocado up there? We'll get to that in the next post. :)


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Background and Change

Not only was my birth birthday this week (yesterday) - but
it has been just about 1 year since I went raw.

Time sure does fly.

I began raw near the beginning of August last year.

I went 100% raw, 100% overnight. When I say 100%, I mean as close to that as it matters to me. There were some non-raws such as the tiniest amount that you'd use in a salad dressing of vinegar and some oils. Eventually I found some replacements for my old oils and switched my soy to nama shoyu in an effort to be even more raw.

But I haven't been raw the entire time. I'm not entirely raw right now.

There have been times when I haven't even been close. I try not to stress on it, I go with the flow at times.

I enjoy life - I want quality of life. Which, for me, means eating as high raw as I can. Right now I'm not satisfied with where I am so I'll make some changes.


Despite being low- to no- raw (ok, I doubt anyone is 'no-raw'. If you eat fruit you're part raw! If you have a salad or some lettuce on a sandwich - part raw!!) Anyway, despite the ups and downs of the past year, I have noticed some really wonderful benefits of the shift in my daily diet. And these are evaluable differences. Not a 'feeling' or something that can't be quantified. These are measurable things.

First of all - I have brought my glucose (blood sugar) under control (mostly). I do not say that I reversed my diabetes or that it is cured. I don't think that is the case. If I go on and overeat a bunch of cooked carbs and/or candies, then my sugar will be high. Too high. My body has not miraculously gone back to being able to process that like it could pre-diabetes. BUT - we have control. With NO meds and NO exercise! (not that I recommend no exercise! Its just that I haven't managed to fit in an exercise schedule for the past year). So YAY! Glucose control!

Next, and this is important to me - I've been migraine free since going raw. COMPLETELY. I haven't had one single migraine. In fact, I've hardly had a headache - just a couple of slight normal tension type headaches. I am THRILLED beyond words about that. I believe this is totally attributable to going raw. I was having migraines at an alarming rate and had even undergone an MRI of my brain at one point due to a migraine that was associated with subsequent confusion and a sort of aphasia (confused language, word salad, repetition). It was scary. I have been told that people with diabetes can suffer migraines, so regulating my glucose may have also alleviated the migraines. All in all - the migraines are gone (YAY!) and its in some form or fashion thanks to raw.

Finally. Weight loss. I am uncertain as to how much, nor is that important. What is important is that I had gained a LOT of weight over the years, aging, pregnancy, a sedentary job, catered lunches, and going raw effortlessly took some weight off. I do know that I was down about 45 pounds from my highest point ever, though some of that came off pre-raw. I have also, in the past couple of months, slowly found about ten of the pounds that I had 'lost'. ;-) I know much of that comes from the high sugar, high fat, high processed food I have 'indulged in' over the past 2 months.

There are some changes that I can't measure - things like mental clarity and an increase in energy, better mood, and overall sense of wellbeing. and they count! Its just that I can't fully defend or explain those. They are real, they just can't be measured very well - its not quite as objective.

To get back to being more high raw, I have recently purchased a dehydrator. I am just barely beginning to experiment with that. Thinking about making wrappers (similar to tortilla shells) and various other items has me excited about 'un-cooking' again. I did try a made up recipe for crackers in the dehydrator while on vacation (yes, I lugged that darn thing on vacation!) and although they never got crisp, they were edible and had a nice flavor. I suspect the consistency has to do with ingredients. I have now amassed a sizable collection of wraps, 'burgers', chips, crackers and other things to try in the dehydrator.

I'll leave you with a lovely little un-recipe. Or raw HIDI (How I Do It - acronym stolen from my friend Hans Meevis - google him, he's amazing) I would say recipe, but so much of what I do in the kitchen is un-measured so I trust you to eyeball ingredients to mix according to your palate.

Pear Crumble HIDI

Pears (2)
A TBS or two of agave (realized later, this could very well be omitted)
sprinkle (or 2) of cinnamon
dash of sea salt
splash of vanilla
zest of one lemon
a few walnuts and/or pecans
flax seed (or just start with flax meal)
2 medjool dates

I mixed the agave, cinnamon, salt, lemon zest, and vanilla in a medium bowl.

next, I cut up the pears and added them to the bowl, stirring to coat.

Finally, everything else went into the mini-processor to create a nice crumble.

Assembly: scoop pears into a single serving bowl and top with crumble. ENJOY!

you can place the pears in the dehydrator fro 30 minutes or so to gently warm. And you could make some lovely whipped cashew cream as a topping -- or raw ice cream! YUM! but its fine the plain jane way too.

I also found that if you mix some pears and crumble together and refrigerate for a few hours it firms up into a nice treat. You may not enjoy the resulting consistency, put I thought it was quite good!

So what have you made raw lately?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Almond butter update

I am so thankful that so many people commented here and via email about my rancid almond butter. I received the kindest email from Jennifer Barney of Barney’s Premium Foods who confirmed what I had kind of figured - that it was the added water.

Jennifer and I exchanged a few emails and I have to say she was really really nice and informative. Her products are not raw however they look to be really great and I am hoping to do a taste test soon!

I could have used oil but I was trying to keep it oil free. But now I know that I REALLY should have used oil! Or nothing and just kept processing. One problem was that the butter was heating up so much in the food processor and I didn't want it to keep heating (raw concern), thats when I reached for the water. I just wanted to get to the creamy stage quickly!

I am not the most patient person in the world. Gardening KILLS me. I have such a hard time waiting for the plants to grow, then bud, and then the baby veggies to begin to take shape. And THEN, waiting for them to grow and ripen ? ARGH!! Pain, I tell you - pain pain pain!!!

Our garden is pitiful again this year. Last year we changed locations and the new plot failed to yield much (might also have something to do with my lack of constant care) but we thought it would be better this year (the plot AND my tending it). Umm, nadda. On both counts. The ground is again rock hard.....and just doesn't seem grow-friendly. I am also not convinced that it gets enough sunlight so this weekend I am going to be tracking that. I also have not tended the garden closely again. It got weedy part way through and we were very busy and I just didn't set aside time (or make myself) weed etc. We also have some severe weather - bad storms, tons of maybe its just a combination of things and next year will be better.

One can hope. 'eh?