Sunday, August 31, 2008

Colon Cleanse: Days 1 through 4

Peach-Banana-Collard Smoothie
On Day 1, I had:
avocado/apple/cilantro smoothie
apple/carrot/broccoli/green pepper/cilantro juice with fiber mix
carrot/apple/spinach juice
carrot/apple/green beans/lettuce juice
carrot juice with fiber mix
Bolthouse green smoothie
a whole lot of water

On Day 2, I had:
apple/lemon/green beans/kale juice with fiber mix
watermelon/spinach/cilantro juice
carrot/apple/green pepper/spinach juice with fiber mix
a whole lot of water

On Day 3, I had:
Chamomile tea
water with fiber mix (YUCK. I will never do that again.)
carrot/apple juice
apple/lemons/green beans juice
carrot juice with fiber mix
peach/banana/kale/green pepper smoothie
kale salad
a whole lot of water

Reaching for the apple juice :-)
On Day 4, I had:
Carrot juice with fiber mix
apple/lemon/green beans/green pepper juice
watermelon/kale juice with fiber mix
apple/kale/collard juice with fiber mix
kale salad
a whole lot of water
Two major changes I've seen have been in my mood, which is generally sunny. And I have more energy. The other revelation I've had has been LEMONS. They really do cut the "green" taste of green leafy veggies. When I made apple/lemon/green bean juice yesterday, I shared some with my oldest son (the one in the picture. He turned six yesterday) and he nearly drank it all. He even asked for more! That will be my secret weapon to getting my kids to drink green juice. It really did taste like apple lemonade. There was no hint of green beans at all. I was out of lemons after that, so I made him more today.
Oh, and that fiber mix of psyllium, bentonite, and flax seed, whooooo...that is nasty stuff in some water. What was I thinking? Only in juice can someone drink that. It was a bad mix of dirt and slime. Yuck. But mixed with juice it's fine.
Until next time,


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Starting the Fast

I'm starting my fast today, August 28, instead of September 2nd. I have no idea how long I am doing this. It will either be 21 days or 30 days. I'll simply see how I feel. Today is the start of the colon cleanse, as outlined in Juicing, Fasting, and Detoxing for Life. Above is the book, flax seeds, bentonite, psyllium, and probotics. I ground the flax seeds and mixed them with the psyllium and bentonite for a homemade fiber shake. I'm supposed to add 1 1/2 tablespoons of that mix into 8 oz. of juice or water. Taken 3 times a day, plus other juices, is my plan for at least this week.

I'll focus on green juices, with something sweet as a base, like these carrots. I got two 5-lb bags for $2.00 each at the natural market near my house. I've got apples, cilantro, spinach, celery, lettuce, and green beans. I'm getting more stuff from the farmer's market this afternoon.
I'll post again tomorrow with Day 1 updates.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Battling the PMS Monster

Talk about being knocked off my center! I am crazy right now! Sisters, send me what you use to alleviate PMS symptoms. I got acupuncture, which was a WONDERFUL help with pain. And I forgot to upload the photo of the acupuncturist, but I'll do that next time. He was great. But I need to hear from holistic women who know how to turn down the noise of PMS. I look at it differently from the conventional wisdom. I know I don't have to live with this. I know I need to detox; that was the point of the cleanse (which will be starting sooner rather than September 2nd).

This is how I feel right now.
And I have yet to get my period. Lord help me! I think it's stress. Because it's only been my last cycle and this one that I've felt so off-center. I had a dream last night that summed up my home life. Talk about right on point. Queen Afua says to fast and pray to open up blockages in your life. I'll be doing that soon.

But the Angels are always here to help :-)

So I haven't eaten any meat. Meat is so far away as anything I would touch ever again, but it's still baked goods and rice. God help me. I'm making green smoothies but I still don't feel right. Remember I said that at PMS time another women inhabits my body and demands every sugary product she can see? It's the weirdest feeling I cannot describe with words. In a jokey-joke moment, I started to give her a name, but I won't do that. I do not want to empower this hormonal aberration.
So I'm asking for help. HELP!
Leave me a comment so other women may be helped as well.


Friday, August 15, 2008

What I've Been Eating

"Burger" Salad

I've talked about this one before as a Leftover Salad. I made it yesterday and my husband (who previously dissed my meatballs) said, "Hey, this hamburger salad joint is great. Who says you can't be vegan and eat well?" Straight from a still-meat eating brother: it's a fantastic salad.

The "burger" is really Cashew Garden Burgers from Sergei and Valya Boutenko's book Fresh. That recipe is so versatile. You are supposed to dehydrate them into burgers, but I've found that it's not necessary.

Cashew Garden Burgers

2 cups cashews

1 cup dried tomatoes - soaked for 10 minutes

1/4 bunch cilantro

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Blend all ingredient in a food processor. Use leftover tomato water if you need help blending ingredients. (Optional: form into patties, dehydrate at 110 degrees for 10-12 hours, flip and dry for another 5-8 hours). I don't dry them anymore. I use this pate in burritos, nori rolls, and now salad.

Tomato Kale Soup
This is another Boutenko/Energy Soup inspired recipe. It's 1 tomato, 1 peeled lemon (no seeds), 1 avocado, and a handful of kale and spinach. It was good, not great. But I would eat it again. I'll add cilantro next time.

Peach Green Smoothie
This was great! It's two peaches (not peeled), two bananas, a handful of kale and spinach, and enough water to blend with (I didn't measure). Good stuff!
And the lentils are sprouted. I'll talk about how to sprout next time :-).


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Energy Soup and My First 21 Days

Raw Family’s All New:Stupendously Magnificent, Outstandingly Exceptional,Green Spinach Soup

When I was going through my slog of raw food material a few weeks ago, I found some stuff I printed out from Creative Health Institute in 2005. It was about Energy Soup. I decided to start making some soups for myself. Energy Soup was made famous by Dr. Ann Wigmore.

Energy Soup recipes usually consist of:

-Rejuvelac, or lemon and water, and sea vegetables

-un-sweet fruit (tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet pepper or squash)

-sweet fruit-celery for salt and potassium


-avocado (or banana, sesame seeds, or sunflower seeds) to thicken-shredded fruit, veggies, or dehydrated soup chunks (to chew)

(from 2005 issue of Creative Health Institute Newsletter)

Life is weird because over at The Daily Raw Cafe, Terilynn is doing the same thing. I had a Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure Moment. I was like, "Woah, dude. That is weird." But we are both busy moms, so it's no surprise we both gravitated toward Energy Soup. I've said many times that I'd been good at avoiding green juices, smoothies, and soups. My first soup was from the February 2005 Raw Family newsletter. I had printed it out on 11/7/06, so that means I'd always known this is what I needed. Here is the recipe:
Raw Family’s All New:Stupendously Magnificent, Outstandingly Exceptional,Green Spinach Soup
3 Small avocados (or one extra large)
2 Red bell peppers
½ Bunch cilantro
½ Bunch Organic Spinach
2 Small lemons (without seeds)
3 Cups pure water
1 Small jalapeno pepper
½ Teaspoon celtic sea salt (optional)
Put all the ingredients in a Vita-Mix blender and blend well using the tamper.Once the ingredients are well blended, pour the soup into a large bowl.Add thinly sliced napa cabbage or red cabbage and dulse leaves or flakes. Serves 6

I cut the recipe in half and used my $20 Osterizer blender from Target. It worked just fine. And how did the soup taste? GREAT! I was shocked. This isn't haute cuisine, but it was tastier than it looked. And I sprinkled dulse flakes on top. Dulse is a seaweed that tastes salty. So would I make it again? Yes. Probably today :-) I will be making other versions of Energy Soup and will keep you all posted.

Corn Salad
This salad is one of those things made when you go, "I have nothing to eat and I'm hungry." I threw it together. Shuck the corn, toss it with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and salad dressing of your choice. Eat well :-).


This was NOT a success story. I won't even tell you all which book this came from. My husband tasted one and said, "I have to be honest. That wasn't good." I think I didn't add enough sun dried tomatoes and I also had the dehydrator up too high. Mine is a round one, and the temperatures are set every ten degrees. I think I had it on 125 degrees, which is too high for raw food.

But even before any pate is dehydrated, my experience is if it doesn't taste good before it's dehydrated, it's not going to taste good after. And that is what happened here. Edible, but I would not make them again.

A FAR superior nutmeat is by Jeremy Safron in The Complete Book of Raw Food.
-2 cups of dry walnuts (not soaked)
-1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked
-1 clove garlic
-1/4 cup olive oil
-2 tablespoons Braggs Liquid Aminos or nama shoyu
In a food processor, grind the walnuts in to a powder. Blend the other ingredients separately.
Stir the wet mixture into the dry nuts. Use as a filling for raw burritos, tacos, lasagna, or stuffed porcini mushrooms. This is very rich. It's not something you eat everyday. But if you want to impress someone, try this recipe.

About the first 21 days of my 336 days of wellness: It showed me how important it is for me to be raw. I was not 100% raw the entire time. More like 75%. Even that pulled down my energy. I had a lot of rice, which apparently zaps the life out of me. Now I am cramping even though I'm not on my cycle yet. It should be rolling around tomorrow or the next day. But cramps BEFORE my period remind me of my meat-eating days. So this 21-day cycle, I'm committing to 100% raw, to prepare for the cleanse in September, and to compare how I feel versus last month.

I'm also sprouting lentils and taking pictures to show you all how to sprout. That's coming in a few days.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Thank You!

I just wanted to take the time to thank everyone who subscribes to or reads my blog. I started this blog on November 17, 2007 at the urging of Heidi and JS over at their blog, Raw Food, Right Now!

It wasn't a personal urging. They asked all of their readers to blog. So I did! Nine months later, I am astounded by the love and appreciation I receive. My intention was to chronicle my raw food journey. Along the way, I've met new friends, discovered I had readers in other countries, and learned a lot about myself. I am so glad that I've done this. You all rock the house.
And now, I may have a chance to present a workshop about blogging at the Black Writer's Reunion Conference which will be in Las Vegas next June. When I was writing my proposal, all my experience as a content writer for America Online came rushing back. I haven't worked there in eight years. And I never thought I would ever use that experience again. But here it is.
Thank you all for reading my blog. Thank you for pushing me along. I'm going to keep on keepin' on. You all have no idea how much your comments and emails mean to me.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

For the love of Aaron and Paula

I love the Food Network. I love food, food, food...but raw vegan food because I know that is what's best for me. But...when I watch Food Network, I'm always thinking, "how can I vegan-ize that?" And since my husband and kids are still cooked vegans, anything that calls for chicken can easily become tofu. (And I was SO happy yesterday when they had an episode of Rescue Chef where Dan helped a sister named Zion in the kitchen. Everything was vegan.)

Today my whole family watched the first episode of Big Daddy's House on Food Network. "Big Daddy" is Aaron McCargo, Jr. who won the fourth season of The Next Food Network Star. We all loved the show. Even my husband, who is not easy to impress, said, "He did a great job!" And my five-year-old, who has been calling himself a "chef" lately, is still talking about the show.

I sent Food Network an email to tell them that we loved the show. It comes on Sundays at 1:30pm EST. Check Aaron out when you can, and show "Big Daddy" some love!

And Paula Deen. I was moved to write about her for one simple reason: JOY. I can't eat a thing that Paula makes, but darn if she is not having a ball in the kitchen. Her enthusiasm and love for food just comes right through the television.

When I meet Paula and tell her that I'm a raw vegan, I can hear the conversation now:
Paula: "So what can you eat, Sugar?"
Me: "Fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, berries, wild edibles, and spices. It's far more palatable than it sounds."
Paula: (Looking at me quizzically): Okay, Sweetie. Let Miss Paula whip you up the best salad yo' honeysuckle-complexioned self has ev-ah had!"
Me: Do your thing, Paula. Need me to help?"

Paula loves her job, clearly. I want to bring that same passion to my raw food videos. I'm not ready yet, but when I start, I want them to be fun. Because food is fun and my love. Even though we are preparing completely different dishes, Aaron and Paula are inspirational to me. And Paula's story is an inspiration because it really is a "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" story. I first read about it in Good Housekeeping, while standing in line at the grocery store. I was like, "Wow!" From her bio on Food Network website:

Living with agoraphobia for 20 years, and a crumbling marriage, Paula Deen was left with two growing sons and no source of income. Without a college education, and very little to fall back on, the then 42-year-old housewife reached deep into her Southern roots and drew inspiration from what she knew best – her kitchen stove. Her culinary career began in her own kitchen, June 1989, with The Bag Lady. This home based lunch delivery service started with homemade chicken salad sandwiches and warm, fresh cookies wrapped in saran wrap which her sons, Jamie and Bobby Deen, delivered to local businesses to sell. Within two years, The Bag Lady grew too large for her home, and she opened her first restaurant on Savannah’s Southside called The Lady. In 1996, after five successful years, Deen was ready for another challenge. She re-located downtown and opened The Lady & Sons, which to this day serves thousands of Savannah visitors, including celebrity and political clientele.

And that's just a part of the story. No college education, no job skills, her husband left her with nothing, and she has accomplished all that she has. Paula learned how to cook from her late grandmother and still talks about her now. I think that is so cool.

Inspiration can come from anywhere. My hats off to Aaron and Paula for their success stories. Perhaps I'll meet them one day to say "thank you," and then prepare them a raw food meal that they love!

Love, Althea ◦

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Struggle vs Challenge

You all have got to read this article by Dhrumil Purohit, the founder of Give it to me Raw and We Like it Raw. It's a very inspiring piece. Forward to anyone you'd think would be interested.


Friday, August 1, 2008


Leftover Salad

I was going to talk about my love for Paula Deen today, but I'll wait until next time. :-)

Something interesting happened today. In my last post, I wrote about healing my relationship with my in-laws. Well, on yesterday's Tavis Smiley Show, Louise Hay was his guest. She talked a lot about forgiveness. I was on the same page with her. I know I need to forgive some people in my life, past and present, my in-laws being two of them.

This morning, I asked my angels and guides to help us purchase our dream house and property, which is another story in itself. (I have a lot of stories to tell, don't I?) I mean I was jumping around with joy (that's how you manifest something into reality faster - feel it as if you have it.) But I really asked, sincerely, for help.

So today, Tavis's guest was Andrew Bridge, author of Hope's Boy, who shares the emotional story of his mother's battle with schizophrenia and his experience in foster care. One of my in-laws, I'll call her Mattie, has schizophrenia. I was captivated.

Then, on Charlie Rose, which follows Tavis, his guest was Barbara Walters. She talked about how her relationship with her developmentally disabled older sister had a profound impact on her life.

The other in-law, I'll call her Sally, is developmentally disabled.

The irony of all this was obvious. First, I walked into my house at noon, when Tavis comes on here. Second, this stay-at-home mom rarely gets to watch TV during the day. Today, however, I sat myself down on my couch for an hour and a half, with my kids treating me as their private jungle gym, and I watched both of those shows.

I was like, "Wow, this is incredible." I felt like the Universe was helping me heal these relationships. I was getting an answer to my prayers from this morning, but not in a plain, "here's your house" sort of way. Forgiveness is part of the journey to the house. Louise Hay says that forgiveness helps you change your life because you become "unstuck" from the pain you are holding on to. It frees you. Forgiveness doesn't mean that you condone the person's actions. It simply means that you've let go.

Things have been calmer at my house, because I've been calmer, and nicer. I'm learning that if you want peace, be peaceful.

And when I'm peaceful, I'm less of an emotional eater. The above photo is "leftover salad." I've been throwing together dishes lately. No recipes. That's leftover cashew pate, with avocados and lettuce. I used a house dressing over it.

These are cherry tomatoes and vine-ripe tomatoes from my yoga student Robin's garden. She brought them to me on Thursday. The vine tomatoes were the best ever. Melt in your mouth good. It had FLAVOR. Nothing like the kind you buy in the store. That's why I need to learn how to garden!

Thanks Universe!





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