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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sugar Sugar

I heard on FISH radio a DJ say, “Christmas cookies—proof that the Keebler elves do not work for Santa Claus.” Yes that is correct. Nothing says the holidays like fresh baked goodies oozing in butter and sugar that remind you of your childhood or a Martha Stewart segment that you wished had been your childhood.

Like a Pavlovian experiment gone awry, every time it rained I turned on the oven and baked something. Four dozen Mexican wedding cakes, two dozen bell-shaped short bread cookies, five dozen gingerbread people, and tins of rum-balls—the spicy air filled our house and made me feel happy. I managed to make a couple dozen raw truffles for my vegan friends but that was the only sane choice I created. I did not eat any of the treats. I waited for Christmas Eve. As I did Thanksgiving, I promised myself no diet restrictions on the holiday.

Meanwhile, neighbors brought by homemade goodies of their own—cranberry bread, sugar cookies, fudge, almond bark, almond brittle. My cousin brought her famous walnut caramels. Boxes of See’s candies arrived from nowhere. Mom brought pies and I made German chocolate cake. One friend delivered a basket of fresh mushrooms—a touch of reason in a season gone mad with sugar.

So Christmas Eve came with out-of-state-relatives as well as local ones and a hot soup supper before Mass. Christmas Day sparkled with baked brie, roasted pig, olive bread, black beans, tables full of snacks and treats. The following days we shopped, ate in restaurants, ate pie before bed, and drank wine.

The sugar hit my system like a linebacker in the playoffs. By Tuesday, my hands shook, pimples popped-up everywhere, and headaches became a cascade of pulses throughout my waking hours. Oh sweet heavens, what did I do to myself?

I found the detox tea next to the green tea made myself a pot and drank. For the next two days, I sipped water then detox tea then water. Today, Thursday, I feel I can walk into the kitchen without sucking honey from the plastic bear’s head. Better but not well. From July 1st to December 24th, I removed sugar, flour, and most processed carbs from my diet. In four days, it seems I destroyed the progress that I made.

To top this all off, I gained three pounds in one week which makes a net loss/gain of zero for the month of December. All for sugar, sugar.

I have learned my lesson. Next year I will only make raw truffles if I make anything at all. Homemade will include something not baked but crafted or sewn. Better yet, I will give oranges, apples or a fresh pineapple. I will not eat myself ill.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy New Year!

The first decade of the twenty-first century is creaking to a close. This decade moved like forty-year-old motor oil in a farmer’s tractor. This wasn’t a horrible decade—not a Hitler or a Black Plague decade. We had our moments—Giants’ win of the World Series, Obama election, genome sequencing, discovery of water on Mars, and Harry Potter, a few surprises in an otherwise dim ten years. I hoped for more.

Some of images created by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick for this decade came about like big screen cell phones and uppity computers. But I wanted to jog around a cylindrical space ship, use a zero-gravity toilet, and float inside a monolith. I believed with all my teenage heart that I would be living in a solar home and flying a fusion car by now. Truth is that I wanted to have my 2001 celebration at McDonald's on the Sea of Tranquility. I even moved my expectations to a 2010. Instead, I spend most of my focus erasing decades of bad eating habits of my Standard American Diet (SAD), opting for food my great-great-grandparents grew in the old country two centuries ago with little hope of going to the moon in my lifetime.

One of the apps on my Internet home page is a graphic of our solar system that shows the actual location of each planet minute by minute. Do you remember singing “this is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius?” I do. Harmony and understanding. Peace. I think of those words watching the app that aligns planets on my flat screen. I prayed that we Americans could embrace each other during this depression, give each other a hug, veggie sandwich on sprouted bread, and a job. That "love would steer the stars."

Each year I make a list of resolutions then go somewhere alone on New Year’s Day to reflect on the past year and my future. This year I am spending the day with my husband and my friends. My resolutions will include giving hugs, feeding someone veggie sandwich on sprouted bread, and creating jobs.

Happy 2011.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Answer is “40 Inch Four Folding with Handle Trampoline”

Ignoring the obvious syntax error in the above title which was, by the way, taken off of an enclosed instruction manual, the question? What did I get from my husband for Christmas? Wait…it’s not Christmas. Not exactly but I did answer the door when FedEx delivered straight from China, a package with an ink rendering of the contents on the cardboard covering.

Yes! I beseeched my darling on a daily basis for the newest gismo, even going so far as to print out a Google price comparison of the appropriate resellers. It arrived this afternoon.

Note to all newly-weds: if you want something specific other than car floor mats for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or other important event, printouts of the online vendor will do much to increase your mate’s ability to please your wants and needs. Paul and I have been together almost twenty-nine years. We are skilled at fulfilling each other’s bliss.

I did offer to wrap it but he and I both knew that I would not be calm until the assembled work-out gear stood in the living room.

So twenty minutes later, the box shredded and the packing material spread over two rooms—thanks to my basset/pointer mutt—I mounted shiny new trampoline in front of the fireplace and bounced like Tigger, "a very bouncy fella."

I bounced until my gluteus maximus clinched like the Philadelphia Eagles clinching the NFC East. Real tight in just seven minutes and forty-three seconds.

That goal of a getting into a new size-sixteen dress for New Year’s may be within my reach. Yes, I lost one pound this week and I gained a trampoline. Life can be good if you focus on the little stuff.
Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Just shoot me

I have a cold. I have my first cold in about eighteen months. I hate getting sick and I’m a lousy patient. But here I am. I over did the holiday prep, didn’t sleep, rarely wore shoes, and played fetch with Dex when my hair was wet. But the clincher—I sat in a hospital waiting room for four hours--a virtual Petri dish of bugs. Yeah. I asked for it.
My trusty Zicam failed. So did Airbourne. Had homemade chicken soup with extra garlic last night and a hot toddy before bed. Still sick. So today, I emptied the shelves at Walgreens—Benadryl, Theraflu, Nyquil, Dayquil, Vicks, Ricola, and orange juice—trying everything. The stuff knocked me out for two hours but I still feel like garbage and look like Meg Ryan in You Got Mail.
My husband tactfully has not mentioned that I skipped my flu shot this year and last. He gets his every year. So far he is not as sick as me. Sick or not, I think the flu shot is a mistake for anyone not on the critical need list such as babies, elderly, and chronic patients like my hubby. I can type this with a wad of used Kleenex in one hand and a mug of peppermint tea in the other. I oppose subcutaneous injection of viruses that cannot be cured, contained, or controlled. Hey, maybe it’s just the fever talking.
Good news. I lost three pounds. With the gain last week that makes a net loss of two pounds for December and a total of forty-five pounds down. Of course, I have consumed a pound of dates this morning, four glasses of orange juice, and a can of Campbell’s Chicken and Stars. It’s not likely I will be dropping anymore weight today.
God bless!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Not a Great Week

My husband is in surgery having a Vitrectomy eye surgery. I wait.

When we got the date, the memories of past hospitalization that I kept suppressed, started surfacing in bits—his hip repair, the cataract on the left eye, the cataract on the right, the peritoneal implant, and multiple amputations of the right foot and leg. With each memory came the need to eat.

Not surprising, as I had plumped-up ninety pounds in the past three years, the solution to all my stress rotated around eating. Candy bars, cookies, French fries, and burgers equaled comfort. With days turning into weeks and months of hospital bed vigils, food became a reliable friend to meet the anguish and frustration wrapped around an ailing husband.

As you know, I had to battle that pattern to lose forty-two pounds these past four months.

But this week, I slipped back into old patterns. No French Fries. However, the raw chocolates sitting in the refrigerator started to call to me on a daily basis. I had a half of chocolate after dinner then one lunch and finally I threw them in the trash—with no regrets. The next day, the Medjool Dates container somehow sat on the counter. I had two, three, four, and more before they were put away. I drank less water. I ate more peanut butter. By Sunday, I wanted to eat every half hour.

This morning on the scales, my backsliding showed in a one pound weight gain. Skipping breakfast, because Paul had to fast for the surgery, I pledged to not shove my emotions onto a spoon and push them down to my waistline. So after sending him to surgery, I wandered down to the hospital cafeteria.

At a quarter to one, the food line was crowded with staff, doctors, nurses, and waiting loved ones like me. I found the salad bar, made a spinach salad with egg, grabbed a fruit bowl, water, and headed to the register.

The gentleman in scrubs in front of me had grill cheese sandwich with the specialty of the day tomato bisque soup. The couple behind me had Diet sodas, cheeseburgers with fries, and cookies. I found a table to share with a hospital administrator. She finished a plate of fried fish and fries. She left but came back with a coffee, scone, and pudding. In the entire room of predominately hospital personnel, not one person opted for a lunch of fresh vegetables and fruit as I did. The majority had a sugary-based treat to go with the popular greasy dishes.

Okay, I know that these places are set up with the desserts first, ice cream and candy bars close to the register, and fried foods being the order of the day. But this is a hospital. Shouldn’t the cafeteria be a little more proactive in the food offering?

The salad bar really sums up the intent. Start with spinach leaves and lettuce in the big bins. Next fried tofu mixed with veggies in an oil dressing, potato salad, macaroni salad, and a mix of spaghetti and veggies in a large bowls. The smaller bowls offered cucumbers, beets, olives, egg, beans, tomatoes, chickpeas, green beans, peppers, and corn. The end of the display housed five dressings—one low calorie—and toppings of sunflower seeds, raisins, and croutons. The salad bar included fried food and pasta. How easy would it be for anyone to add the calorie laden offering when dishing up a salad?

I recently read an article in Raw Food magazine. The traveling writer started with this theme, don’t leave home without food. The thought is that in the real world—outside of your home—sugar, fat, and carbs lurk around every corner. She traveled with carrots, apples, and almonds.

For me, it’s water. I need water to cut hunger and make me say no to the bad stuff. So here I am waiting for Paul to sail through his surgery, armed with a bottle of Calistoga.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

She’s shrinking...

Sandwiched between Halloween-sugar-extravaganza and the traditional Thanksgiving-stuff-the-guests, November remained a good month for my diet with a net loss of 2.2 pounds—not exactly earth-shaking but fine for the circumstances.

The excitement for me is the change in my apparel. Remember a few months ago, I gave away all the 20W and 2X clothes? I settled into 18W/1X as my new image. That only lasted a few weeks, when I discovered that my 16W pants fit very well. A cold snap in Sacramento caused me to dig out the pajamas size XL and toss the oversized 1X nightgowns. My husband and I went through our closets looking for warm clothes that fit. I unboxed his blue jeans. He tried on pair after pair with none fitting.

Just for giggles, I tried the blue jeans I borrowed from him back in the eighties when we were dating and both wore the same size jeans 36/29. Oh dear heaven, they fit and are now located in my jean drawer. Borrowing clothes—it’s like having a big sister but only it’s a husband. I told that to Paul’s nurse and she said she did not want Paul to show up in one of my dresses. We laughed because Paul has boney white knees and just last year he wore a kilt to our God-daughter’s wedding. Does that count as a dress?

This morning I tried to button a pair of size 16 corduroy pants—very cute and chocolate brown. I am a half-inch around the waist from victory with these. I know I can do it. Stick with the raw food program. Ignore cooked food especially breads, pasta, and fast food. Exercise. Okay. I have been lax on actually exercising. I prefer to mend fences, walk the dog, put up Christmas lights, and sand tables. But a few tummy crunches would get me into those brown cords a lot sooner. Sigh.

New goal: Size 16 by New Years. I will need a new dress. Oh and bra. Shoes, can’t have a new dress without shoes…

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dining with President Bush, the Elder

Some of you have followed my past travel escapades, chronicling my consumption of greasy convenience foods sold through terminal huts dotted across one airport and another. The middle of our country offers brats with beer, East coast—Philly steak sandwiches and at every gate—sugary sodas, specialty coffees, donuts, cheeseburgers and pizza. After four months of raw to near raw dieting, my taste buds hoped for something less slimy and more—dare I say—healthy. When I found that my planes transferred in Houston between Sacramento and Memphis, I figured my only option would be Tex-Mex or Texas BBQ. I was partially correct.

Immediately off the breezeway stood an elevator to a Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen with a menu that included fresh fish—tempting but a little too early for dinner. I took the hike from Terminal E, incoming flight, to Terminal B, outgoing flight which proved to be a work out when carrying a loaded computer backpack. The food options along the Houston airport ranged, as expected, from pizza to ribs to enchiladas. Losing some heart as to my options, I found myself considering hiking all the way back to the seafood place. After checking my gate, my time, and a souvenir shop, I retraced my steps finding myself in center of the terminal looking at the caramel apples beckoning me through the window of the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. With resolve I turned on my heel and walked smack into The Real Food Company.

I must have walked by the strip of food outlets a couple of times. The Real Food Company offered the usual airport fare in individual shops with the last two serving up made to order salads and handmade-in-front-of-your-eyes sushi. For less than twelve bucks, I had a small customized salad made with two slices of raw tuna plopped on top. Adding a bottle of spring water, I had a yummy raw meal fit for a…well…shrinking dieter like myself. I hated to eat alone so I consumed my healthy meal at the foot of a bronze statue of our former President George H.W. Bush. I wanted to ask him if, theoretically, he lay on his death bed what would he say to his children if they flew to his side. What the heck. When in Houston…so I asked. President Bush remained stone-cold silent on the subject.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Death by Raw Chocolate Covered Dates

How innocent? I signed up for Raw Holiday Desserts Class with Chef Stacey—a local raw chef of some renown in Sacramento. My intentions were pure. Take the class, taste the delights, then determine which recipe to make for my cousin’s Thanksgiving feast. Having zero experience in making raw confections, I had no choice but to go this route. You are following the logic. Yes?

So what happened next truly was not my fault.

I arrived exactly on time to the lovely Rancho Cordova home. Greeted by several nice ladies, I signed in and paid my entrance fee. Cucumber-laced pitcher of water and a bowl of celery sticks adorned the foyer table. Picking up a couple sticks, I sat next to a “Cooking with Chef Stacey” veteran. We talked endlessly about raw foods, desserts, evils of tap water, the loss of favor for agave syrup, and the mortality of bees.

Chef Stacey worked the kitchen like Emeril Live with one important difference nothing cooked—a dehydrator replaced the microwave and the Vitamix 5200 Blender replaced about everything else. She made orange-persimmon cheesecake, chocolate-dipped dates with orange-spice almonds, a blueberry-chia tart, and dark chocolate caramel cups. All raw. Stacey hinted we would taste later and that we could take items home. As time ticked by and trays of delights passed my face, I remembered I had not had a dessert in four months, a long time for this former heavy weight. Finally, the chef’s assistant sliced the cheesecake.

A good size piece slapped down onto the china plate, a fork added then passed to the first person in the first row. Several minutes passed before I received my plate. I skipped dinner so that I would not go over my one thousand calorie diet even if I had a bite or two of dessert.

Persimmon is not my favorite fruit. I like the taste not the pucker affects the flesh offers. Still the fruit, nuts, spices, and honey excited long neglected taste buds. My well-intention one bite plan turned into sucking up the cheesecake and scraping the nut crust across the plate into my salivating mouth. Before I could set my fork down, the plate was snatched from my hand and returned with a gooey blueberry tart plopped in the center of the dish. Blueberry. Good. My favorite. In no time at all, I consumed all of the tart. Looking around I found that I was not alone in inhaling the samples. All ten women managed to keep up with the assistant’s refills that included the last two chocolate tastings.

My head started spinning as soon as the first chocolate bite hit my tongue. My temples screamed for a hot cup of coffee to cut the sugar sliding through my stomach. I knew better than to ask for the roasted bean for it is forbidden in the raw world. My suffering continued when one of the guests offered me coconut milk laced with probiotics to “cut the sugar action.” Politely, I accepted the drink and swallowed what tasted like liquid yogurt. Normally that would not have been a problem but having consumed, in less than ten minutes, four servings of honey based desserts, my stomach thought the sour liquid was a cruel joke.

The food orgy continued with offers of samples to be taken home. Ladies pulled Rubbermaid containers from their purses and lined up at the counter to claim the booty. Unprepared for this stage, I stated to no one in particular that I did not have a container and therefore would not be taking home the gifted desserts. A collective gasp came from the crowd. A search was on to find an unclaimed container. I prayed that none would be found as I was having problems feeling my jaw. The lady to my left proudly held a container just for me and the assistant chef filled it. The sugar hit everyone—the once quiet restrained group now giggled, chatted, hugged and gained volume. I begged pardon to leave, stepped out of the house and into the night. Walking seemed as difficult as keeping my stomach at ease. I climbed into the car and sat the plastic box of treats next to me. I actually considered eating one more chocolate. Oh yes, I did consider it. Thankfully, I had enough reason left in my sugar-shocked brain to stop myself.

I drove home. I lived. I gained two-tenths of a pound.

No more dessert classes.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fresh Pickle Recipe (No Salt)

Looking to reduce salt in your diet? Here's a great pickle recipe with crunchy freshness. This pickle recipe takes ten minutes to prepare and one day to cold cure are a delicious alternative to the current briny store offerings. Start with a clean kosher pickle jar. You can buy new or clean a used jar by washing it in the long-hot cycle of your dishwasher.

1 cup Light-colored Vinegar – your favorite rice, wine, or apple. I use raw apple cider vinegar.
16 oz Persian Cucumbers or English Cucumbers—cut length wise, enough to fill jar
2 Tbsp Pickling Spices
1 Tsp Peppercorn Whole (optional)
2-3 Tbsp Agave Syrup or Honey—pickles move from dill to sweet as you increase syrup
1 Sprig Fresh Dill

Optional Flavors use 1-3 Tsp to taste:
Red Pepper Flakes
Fresh Garlic sliced thin
Fresh Jalapeño sliced thin
Fresh Bell Peppers
Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Sliced Celery if you really miss the salt

Mix syrup, vinegar, and spices in a bowl and set aside. Cut up your vegetables. Pack your jar with the cut cucumbers, dill and optional flavorings. Stir the bowl of liquids and pour into the jar to fill. Scrape in any leftover spices. If the jar is not completely filled, add water. Close the jar with a lid. Rock the jar back and forth to insure the ingredients blend. IMPORTANT—Use a marker and put the date you made the pickles on the jar. Move immediately to the refrigerator. It takes twenty-four hours for the cucumbers to turn into pickles.

Don’t get discourage if the pickles are not perfect the first time. It takes a few tries to the flavor exactly the way you like them.

Pickles will last about three weeks in the refrigerator. In our house the pickles are usually eaten in a week. Make sure you throw away uneaten at the end of three weeks.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

God Bless American Express

I lost two pounds this week. The previous week I lost nothing. The difference? Beca and I went spa-ing.

We've been talking about going with a group of women to Napa or Calistoga. The money didn’t seem to be available for such an extravagance. I'm one of those women. I have a bottle of make-up in the cupboard, touch up my own hair at the temples, and never really spend money on the luxury of massage. Matter of fact, it’s been about fifteen years since my last massage.

So I saved up my American Express points—enough to get Beca and me fifty minute body massages, forty-five minute facials and half hour exfoliating foot-softening treatments in a facility close to home. Oh Baby! The foot rub far exceeded anything that went before. By the end of our sessions, we did not have a stressed muscle between us. We had plenty when we had walked in the door.

In our happy bodies, we wandered around Old Town, had lunch, and of course shopped. A perfect day in my book. Life is so much more bearable when the neck doesn’t ache and the back isn’t hurting. I didn’t know how unhappy my feet were until they received all that attention to make them better.

We vowed to spa every three months. Well, maybe we can do it at least every fifteen years.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Who Are You?

I stopped by my best buddy Beca’s Hayward house on Saturday. We had not seen each other since the beginning of the summer. After a wonderful long hug, she turned to me and said “Who are you?”

Taken aback, I had not ready quip for her.

“No, who are you?” She grabbed my hand and pulled me to her computer. “Look.” She popped up a picture of me, her, and her sister Ruby. “That is you.” She then pointed at me. “This is a lot less of you.”

I smiled. "Forty-one pounds less."

Friday a similar reaction came from Paul’s CAT team, We have been going to the center for eight weeks. They have seen me every Friday but this day everyone congratulated me on the way I looked.

Frankly, I don’t see the difference. Yes, I am smaller. One roll of belly-fat has melted away, leaving two lesser heaps to shrink. My wrists and ankles are boney. Today, I moved my bra hook over one notch which means I’ve lost a half to one full inch around my rib cage. So I know I am shrinking but I don’t see the change.

My great-grandmother, Flossie Mapes, said that she got up in the morning and looked in the mirror and wondered, “Who is that old woman staring back at me?” She told my mother who later told me that she felt inside as a young woman and could not identify with that aging image. Flossie passed away at the age of ninety-four—still vibrant, God-loving, and beautiful.

I don’t think that I have seen myself as an obese woman for years. Probably that is why seeing my pictures shock me. The image in the mirror now closely aligns with who I think I am—sans the grey hair and crow’s feet. So here is the comparison from July 7th to Nov 2nd. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!

  Can you hear the choir of angels? I broke the barrier. Yes. I have lost forty-one pounds. I am now at my lowest weight since I turned thirty-nine. I am thrilled.
  My blog started June 29th and planned to end on November 6th—at the time, the date seemed far off. Now, not so much. So I am revising my schedule. I will stick to my modified raw diet until Thanksgiving. My cousin is serving me her homemade pumpkin soup. I wouldn’t miss that for the world. After Thanksgiving, I’ll see if I want to start the raw again.
  Absolutely, the American diet of meat three times a day, carbs with every meal, candy, and snacks that have no nutritional value, is out of my system forever. With the inexpensive home delivery of farm organic produce, I am learning to eat seasonally which is better for me and greens the planet by buying local not imported food. On my current diet, I feel less depressed, more energetic, and free of headaches—sinus or otherwise.
  I miss having a hot meal once and a while. Now that we are creeping up on soup season, I can’t imagine going through a winter without beef stew or chicken with dumpling soup. But now that I am within nineteen twenty-nine pounds of my ideal weight goal, this is a good time to keep the regimen going. Don’t you think? So I will stick it out a little longer and plan on having beef stew on Christmas Eve.
  Oh, and P.S. to my darling husband, Paul…Thanks for your support.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Slowing Down

Usually I don’t think about weighing-in. I do it once a week as a benchmark of the positive things I am doing for my body. This week was different. The scale called to me daily. Ignoring the beast, I tried to concentrate on life at hand. Why I am all-of-sudden obsessed with finding out my weight? It is because I am close to breaking the two hundred twenty pound barrier—the first time in a decade.
When you focus on something bad nothing good can happen. I lost only a half of a pound and did not hit the mark.
Spending all day waiting for special VW spark plugs to be delivered for my tune-up did not help. I sat all morning working on my book at Carl’s Jr. However, CJ’s idea of a health menu is offering orange juice with a fried egg, cheese and sausage sandwich—doomed before I started. I would have done better walking two miles to Mom’s house and eating a salad—a good thought in retrospect. Of course, I would not have written all morning.
Life is a trade off.
This week will be about prayer, exercise and raw foods. Only good can come focusing on good things.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

We Talked About Food

I met with a young woman at Church on Sunday. She sat with her six-year-old and her twin babies of just three months. Slowly, she gave up the story of her also young husband that has contracted a near-fatal heart condition causing him to quit work and go on disability. His illness is so severe that he cannot pick up his newborn sons.

The wife now has three children and a extremely sick husband to care for full-time. Her concern? What to fix for supper. The husband is limited to red meat twice per month, fish and chicken once a week, no packaged or processed foods, with the elimination of fats, eggs, and sugars. We talked about food.

Our angel-of-a-Parish Assistant organized volunteers to bring vegetarian meals to their home. She looked for someone to help do a few chores.

I promised to bring recipes. I dug out my copies of Dr. Timothy Brantly’s book The Cure and Ann Wigmore’s The Hippocrates Diet to give to the young family. Wigmore’s book covers the basics of eating healthy, the curative powers of juicing, and provides some recipes, The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen also made it into the box. Though not wholly vegetarian, the cookbook offers excellent food choices and a wide variety of flavors. The couple stated they liked all types of food.

I decided to give them a starter pack of things I found valuable in my diet. From the health food store I included—powdered wheatgrass juice, mung beans for sprouting, and organic veggies. From Trader Joes—Daily Bread brand sprouted wheat-bread, organic peanut butter, soy butter, almond milk, raw milk cheese, Pure Maple Syrup, Agave Syrup, and Brewers’ Yeast. She said she had sea-salt at home otherwise I would have included it.

The items get dropped off tomorrow. Please pray for the family.

Oh and I lost a pound this week.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I blame Church

This week resulted in a weight loss of a little more than a half of a pound. I blame Church.

You see this past Sunday was the third in six new-member classes each held after the last service of Church. The evangelism committee provides lunch to the group ranging from six to twelve people including Pastor Michael Murphy, a gentleman of Irish descent. As it was my turn to provide a meal, I put together Pastor Mike’s favorite meal—Shepherd’s pie, Irish soda bread, salad, and dessert. Shepherd’s pie is simple faire, made with ground meat (beef, turkey, or lamb), cooked in butter with onions, peas and carrots, and baked in a casserole with a delicious layer of mashed-buttery potatoes. Not low calorie. Not raw food. Comfort food.

I managed to get through the three hours of cooking without incident and held together as I transported the hot dishes from my house to Church in a closed car smelling of meat pie and soda bread—mmm the caraway seeds. Even setting out the food and serving, gave me little upset. The undoing, at last, was the drive home. The scent became so strong in the warm car—heated by the afternoon sun. I drove like a woman possessed from Church to my driveway.

It took no time at all to unload the boxes and serve up my still-ill husband the leftover meal.

Somehow bits of raisin-ladened soda bread slipped into my mouth as well as spoonful after spoonful of Shepherd’s pie. Poindexter, the dog, witnessed my transgressions and had to be silenced with his own plate of the home-made goodness. I felt guilty in the bribe but Poindexter gobbled up the offering with no apparent judgment on my sin. But now… my weight loss has slowed.

I pray I can get back to my successful raw diet.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I purchased a dehydrator. I didn’t plan to purchase a dehydrator. It started with a trip to Lodi to pick figs off of Pam and Bob, my friends’ tree—a huge twenty foot farmhouse fig tree. Filling two bags, while stuffing my face with sun-warmed gooey fruit, I hadn’t a clue what I was going to do with all the figs. On the drive home, I thought of sharing my bounty with family and neighbors. Which I did. Also I planned perhaps to find on the internet a few exotic recipes. Did that too. Still I had more figs than I could eat.

Aside from figs. Home-grown tomatoes arrived on my doorstep with alarming regularity. News of my raw diet has spread throughout the community causing an outpouring of free red-ripe and yellow-heirloom fruit offerings. Yes tomatoes are technically fruit. With my gleeful acceptance, the refrigerator now overflowed with tomatoes and the aforementioned figs.

What to do with all that fruit?
I tried drying figs in my brand new gas oven. Unfortunately the settings did not drop to the required 110 degrees so I burnt my first stab at dehydrating. I found myself that day at Fry’s Electronics and, to my surprise, a brand-new dehydrator sat on the shelf between coffee makers and vacuums. Marked down from $59 to $39, it seemed like a deal.

The three trays of skinned-sliced tomatoes and two trays of halved figs took most of two days to dry in the circular heating unit. After cooling the dried fruit, I packed them in plastic-freezer bags and popped them into the freezer where they will keep bug free for up to two years.

Now what do I do with dehydrated tomatoes and figs?
First the tomatoes—Sundried Tomato Pesto. My recipe.
6 ounces sun-dried tomatoes Soaked in water until soft. Set aside water.
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons red wine (optional)
¼ to ½ cup olive oil
Sea-salt to taste
Combine all the ingredients except the oil. Let rest for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Mix thoroughly. Add soaking water if needed. Mix in oil to taste. I like Cayenne Pepper for a little kick. Use on raw veggies. I like to pour over sprouted mung bean and grind hard raw goat cheese over the top. Tastes Italian to me!

Finally the Figs—A Christmas Figgy Pudding
Fig-raisin Pudding
2 cups 2-day sprouted wheat and rye
1-1 1/2 cups black mission figs soaked overnight
1-1 1/2 cups raisins soaked in fig water for 1 hour
Put all ingredients in a blender, and puree until smooth
- by San Francisco's Living Foods Enthusiasts
I lost one pound this week.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lost one pound - 34lbs to second goal

After reaching my primary weight goal set by University of California, San Francisco, I called the transplant nurse. The poor thing seemed rather confused. She thought I had hypertension. I don’t. She said I took medications. I don’t. She stated I should lose should lose fifty more pounds. I don't. That is when I raised my voice. A few more words back and forth, she realized she read the wrong chart.

Although I know that none of that conversation had anything to do with my reality, it depressed me for a few days. Possibly the let down came from the feeling that my weight-loss achievement could be put in a negative context by an outsider that already has too much control on my husband and my future. My expectations had been to have an intelligent and information-gathering conversation with my personal transplant nurse. That did not happen. Matter-of-fact, the lady called back to apologize but left the message on my husband’s cell phone not mine.

Transplant drama, notwithstanding, I managed to stay on track with the diet and eat sensibly. I did have a peanut butter craving that did not stop until I consumed three tablespoons, 140 calories, of the sticky stuff. All other days went smoothly.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

And the winner is…

Last week, I met a woman named Marie. She lost one hundred and ten pounds during the period January through July 2010 – that’s about four pounds a week. Modifying Weight Watchers diet, she cut carbs and fats then ate sensibly a diet full of raw vegetables, limited fruits, and barbecue lean meats. Marie is doing tons more exercise than I am.

My friend Cindy B. is raw-canning cauliflower, beans, and cucumber with jalapeño peppers and garlic. Hot but oh so good. A new acquaintance discussed the value of sprouting seeds. Another friend, Jacki, sent me a link to a raw restaurant here in Sacramento and one to a raw support group. The cover of the gardening section in Friday’s newspaper presented the trend toward more home organic gardens. It seems I am far from alone in this diet revolution.

Today, I met my transplant weight goal of two hundred and twenty five pounds. I could not have completed this goal without going raw. Over and over I have failed attaining more modest goals on the most popular diets ranging from Atkins to Grapefruit to South Beach to Weight Watchers and so many more. All diets talk about life style changes but until you stop baking, microwaving, boiling, fast-fooding, and frying that change cannot happen. Now a dietary cheat for me is a pasteurized all fruit smoothie instead of a homemade fresh one. French fries, candies, cookies, and baked goods are not tempting – an extra fig before bedtime is. That is a real change in my tastes.

Yesterday, I plowed through my closets and drawers trying on every piece of clothing I own. There is massive satisfaction in throwing garment after garment in to a pile intended for the Goodwill. The stack of over-sized rejects grew to my height approximately five-foot ten-inches high – a lovely sight that promptly fell over and covered the floor. It made me giggle.

Shopping at Eco-Thrift, a local used clothing outlet, I am purchasing smaller and smaller pants for ninety-nine cents apiece. This will do until I settle on a permanent size sometime after the holidays and the kidney transplant. My new goal for November 6th is to lose thirty-five more pounds and hit my healthy weight of one hundred and ninety pounds.

So, now I call University of California, San Francisco’s transplant nurse to let her know I have achieved the required weight. We will try to set our double surgeries for sometime in January 2011. Soon, Paul and I will have a healthy new life together. The winners are us!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fasting Failure

I started this Wednesday fast with optimism and faith. Up at 5:15 A.M – dawn, my usual time – I started with house cleaning followed by a delivery of forty-eight boxes from Baxter, the supplier of needed items for my husband’s peritoneal dialysis. After rearranging a few things for the nice delivery guy, I set about dusting and moving furniture around for the new living room chair we purchased Labor Day. A very cute chair, by the way, bought actually the day after the holiday. Mom took us down to the outlet to see the chair she almost bought the day before but had hesitated. I feel in love with it and handed the salesman my American Express while she hymned-and-hawed over the retro mid-century piece. But I digress.

Paul and I headed to the podiatrist after Baxter left. He has an ongoing foot wound from the end of May that keeps reopening. He decided to pick up his insulin and needles at the hospital pharmacy next door. There is a long ramp from where we were located to get to the pharmacy which required Paul to pull on the wheelchair while I pushed. To make a very long story short, we waited two hours and ten minutes to get his $100 bottle of insulin, receiving it only after I demanded to speak to the person in charge. The store ran out of diabetic needles. True. We left with only the insulin.

Five hours after we left home, we got to the parking lot. We were tired, hungry, and frustrated. The car keys were not in my purse. I checked again and again. Leaving Paul in his chair, I dashed back to the pharmacy retracing our steps looking for the keys. I asked each of the nine cashiers at the counter, all of the pharmacists including the supervisor I had slammed earlier and the handful of patrons still left in the place. None had seen the keys. Paul sat patiently by the car. We went through my purse together. I kept sticking my hands in the front pockets of my jeans like the keys would magically appear.

Out of lack of any other option, I called Mom and asked her to come pick us up. If she got us home, I was pretty sure there was a spare key in my junk drawer. Mom had a spare house key. The only other car key was in Paul’s backpack locked in the trunk of the car. Rather than wait, I retraced our steps one more time – a good hike under normal circumstances. Failing to find anything, I returned to the car. As I stepped toward, Paul my hand slipped into my back pocket and found the keys. I showed Paul. He laughed. He said that it has been a long time since I was able to put my hand in my jean’s back pocket. He was right.

After calling Mom and cancelling the emergency pick up, we decided that maybe I should get something to eat. I bought lunch at Mel’s Diner. Paul had a bacon burger and fries. I had a steak, blood-rare.

Monday, September 6, 2010


June 29th I held a weight of 260 pounds, obese, and wearing a size 20W. Today, September 6, I am 226 pounds – one pound short of my transplant weight goal – feeling healthy and wearing size 16 pants. Thirty-four pounds in ten weeks. 3.4 pounds per week average. Has anyone else ever experienced a diet like this?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fasting Wednesday

It’s the first of September and I’m starting my fasting Wednesdays. The fast is not as easy as I remembered it. The mind plays cruel tricks sometimes. I did okay until eleven o’clock, when I tried to convince myself that a banana smoothie somehow fit a fasting Wednesday. Keeping occupied has helped move my thoughts away from food.

I now know how my skinny co-workers had so many new clothes. They spent money on themselves and not on food. Image if you didn’t eat once a week what that could do for your budget. What if your husband or housemate didn’t eat one day either? Could you afford a new blouse this month? Kids and pets don’t fast so drop that fantasy.

The cost of food for this diet has been for items I never had in the house – powdered wheatgrass, brewer’s yeast, seeds for sprouting, and containers for sprouting. The almond milk, kale, and coconut just replace other less nutritious items in the weekly shopping. What I normal spend on food for myself has dropped by at least half. In the long term, decreasing costs will probably continue.

For example, I ran out of lettuce a few days back. Rather than drive to the store, I used some sprouted sunflower seeds as a base and made my salad. The next day I used the sprouted lentils with a different mix of vegetables. I sprouted mung beans overnight for a wonderful new luncheon faire. I love the change in flavors and textures. The sprouted seeds cost pennies where the organic lettuce cost dollars.

Oh, I made my own pickles. Yes. Using a mandolin slicer, I trimmed up some cucumber, stuffed them into a clean used pickle jar – appropriate – added garlic cloves, pickling spices, and organic vinegar. Left it in the refrigerator for three days. Now I have raw organic pickles. Yum!

How did I get on food? So eight more hours till bedtime then sleep then breakfast. I think I’ll have that banana smoothie.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


  One Pound Off This Week! August melted eleven pounds for a total of thirty-two lost since I started the diet.
  This week I added wheatgrass powder to strawberry-banana smoothies. If I have not covered wheatgrass, let me do that now. Wheatgrass supplies the body calcium, chlorine, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, sulfur, cobalt, zinc, dripping in chlorophyll that can reduce symptoms in people with obesity, hypertension, pancreatitis, and may inhibit cancer cells. Every raw-diet book, without exception, extols the virtues of wheatgrass. It is the Holy Grail of the plant kingdom.
  Simple to grow, wheat berries – wheatgrass seeds – can be soaked overnight in a jar then drained to sprout within six hours. Cover the sprouts with dirt in a pot six inches or more deep and presto! You have wheatgrass. It takes about three days to have seven inches of harvestable wheatgrass.
  Now here’s the part I didn’t like. Cut and wash the grass then grind it in a device similar to a meat grinder to squeeze out one ounce of wheatgrass juice. OR Go to Jamba Juice and have them do it for you at $1.95 per shot. OR Head down to your local health food store for powdered wheatgrass at $1.50 per ounce. The wheatgrass juice powder only loses ten percent of its potency in powdered form. I did the last two options.
  Oh, I also grew the wheatgrass for my dog, Poindexter. He wanders outside, passes the planter and snips off a few blades munching down the healthy goodness. Dex does not need a meat grinder. He has excellent canines. Cats like it too.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Four pounds lost this week. Yea! I upped my exercise a tad with the help of an overactive puppy and ate close to the outlined diet. What I’ve been eating of late: a homemade version of V-8 juice, steamed veggies like kale, carrots, green beans, spinach, and mushrooms, soft-boiled eggs, seared tuna salad with balsamic dressing, tacos made of lettuce, raw-milk goat cheese, homemade salsa verde and seared beef, many salads, fresh fruit, fruit, and more fruit gleaned from our awesome overproducing backyard trees.

My latest experiment attempted Japanese cuisine. I picked up seaweed wraps at the local grocery store, grabbed fresh crab meat, raw ahi tuna, avocado, and veg for California rolls. Following the easy instructions for sushi on the seaweed package, I made two California rolls and two tuna rolls for Mom and Paul. Each roll breaks down to eight pieces of cut sushi. Then I ground up sprouted sunflower seeds and lentils into a paste to replace the rice portion of the recipe and made the same type rolls for myself. I served up salads with ginger dressing, edamame, and hot sake. This was a necessary break from the rut I created with the raw diet. The Asian recipes far exceed most European and American faire in variety of flavor and fresh ingredients.

I am still only two weeks from my last three-day fast so I will start my one-day fast next Wednesday, September 1st. For those who think fasting destroys the muscle, I talked with a health professional who says you must fast forty days before destroying muscle tissue. One day ain’t going to hurt and I know my digestive track can use the break – not to mention what it is doing for the food budget.
July 2010

August 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Down the Rabbit Hole

When I started this diet I had no idea what new worlds I would find. Did you know that fruitarians exist? They eat only fruit. This is new information to me but part of an amazing labyrinth of raw-vegetarians juicing wheatgrass, dehydrating sprouted seeds to make raw breads, composting, and organically growing – refugees from the communes I read about in the Sixties that became successful all-natural entrepreneurs. Since this quest started, I have found organic wheatgrass farms in New Zealand and a Californian raw “baker” that ships overnight just about any healthy food craving you may have. “Curiouser and curiouser!”

The really bizarre stuff is found in the last half of each book. Just check the chapters on cleansing. You will find page after page detailing the joys of a clean and healthy bowel. How do you obtain such a thing? Glad you asked. The answer is by fasting, enemas, and high colonics. The detailed pages usually include sketches of someone on a slant board inserting a bulb into the underside of well you know. After flushing out the offending items from your system, you are to insert wheatgrass juice to hold for twenty minutes or so then expel. Apparently, this is the key to curing disease.

Now if one book mentioned it in passing… Ha! Sorry. If one book mentioned these procedures, I could have ignored it but all the books including The Cure talks about clearing the intestines. I visualized Steve Martin and Sarah Jessica Parker leaving the colonic spa in LA Story, Parker jumping up and down, reenergized and Martin walking funny, violated.

I am trying to be enthusiastic about juicing and have successfully sprouted lentils and sunflower seeds. But try as I might the idea of someone else or me, for that matter, inserting a green-water-filled bulb in my fanny is repulsive at best. Don’t let this scare you away from some really good health tips and information. The Hippocrates Diet states that specific cleanses are needed for those who are ill. Perhaps if I had colon cancer, colitis, or ulcers, maybe my desire – scratch that – my need could overcome the repulsion. I’m only seeking a lighter weight body through good nutrition...

 "and it really was a diet, after all."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Plateau - Zero Weight Loss

This is the blog I dreaded writing. I did not lose any weight this week. So what’s different?

1. No fasting. I lost five pounds last week after fasting for three days.
2. I added sprouted lentils and sunflower seeds to my salads.
3. I did not walk my usual three days per week.
I think the exercise is the big factor here.

After my weigh-in this morning I took Poindexter for a walk around Bear Dog Park where there is an open space of Roseville, relatively undisturbed that is reminiscent of my childhood memories of this place – BE – before expansion. This sweet lady from Rocklin and her dog Cocoa joined our walk making the journey more pleasant with conversation.

Over a year ago, while hiking around Lake Don Castro in Hayward, I met a woman who had lost over eighty pounds in less than a year. She said the key to weight loss is walking five miles a day. I worked up to three miles but never the five. To hit my weight goals I know I will need to build up to five miles per day.

Sunday I talked with my bible study group about this diet. I explained that obese according to Dr. Timothy Brantley is fifty pounds overweight. At the instant I said the word I realized I am no longer obese. I heard birds sing! I am within nine pounds of goal to be a kidney donor for Paul and forty-four pounds to go to my ideal weight. Okay I hit my first plateau but I am rapidly heading toward my November 6th targets. And November is a long way off.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Great Recipe

I found this recipe in Sunset Magazine, August 2010 edition, page 91. Served cold, it is refreshing tasty and low calorie. Enjoy!
Mexican Tomatillo Avocado Soup
Serves 6, 45 minute prep
1 1/4 lbs. tomatilos, husked and rinsed
1 white onion, finely chopped [I only used 1/2 onion and I used a food processor for the dish]
2 1/2 cups of vegetable broth [I changed the chicken broth to vegetable broth]
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped [I used the cucumber I had in the refrigerator]
2 tblsp lime juice [freshly squeezed]
2 tsp green hot sauce [I increased from tsp to tblsp]
1 1/2 tsp of minced fresh oregano leaves [didn't have this so left it out]
1 avocado chopped [Yum!]
3 tblsp chopped cilantro
1. Chop tomatillos coarsely, Puree half each of the tomatillos, onion, and broth in a blender with garlic. Rub through a fine strainer into a stainless steel bowl; discard contents of strainer. Finely chop remaining tomatillos. Add remaining tomatillos, onion and broth; cucumber, lime juice, hot sauce, and oregano.
to bowl and stir.
2. Nest bowl in ice water; stir often until cold, 15 minutes. Add avocado and cilantro.
Per 1-cup serving 111 calories. 52% (58 cal.) from fat, 3.8 grams protein, 6.5 grams of fat, 12 grams carbo (4.2 grams fiber)58 grams sodium, 10mg cholesterol.

No Plateau – Five Pounds Lighter

Yes indeedie. I lost five pounds this week. This is the forty-first day of the diet including the first week I just added water to my daily routine. With a total loss of twenty-seven pounds, I am averaging – are you ready – 0.65 or three-fifths of a pound per day. That is better than my average weekly loss with Tops, Weight Watchers, Slim Fast, South Beach, or any other program I have done and I have done many.

This past week I included a lemon-water fast followed by a two-day watermelon cleanse. According to “The Cure,” by Dr. Tim Brantley, you must break your fast with one week for each day fasting. I fasted three days so I cannot fast for three weeks. I remember a woman I worked with at Spartan Shops, San Jose State University – Marilyn Railsback. Every Wednesday, Marilyn sat at lunch sipping on tepid lemon-water, talking with the group, ignoring the mounds of food and desserts we stuffed into our mouths. We all thought she was a little off. Now I know she had much more respect for her body than I ever had. A weekly fast now seems the logical move for my system.

Annette passed along four more books relating to this diet. I finished “The Hippocrates Diet” by Ann Wigmore. Similar to “The Cure,” she discusses the elimination of certain diseases from the body through proper diet. In fact, last three books, including Dr. Tim’s, talked so much about how cancer, heart disease, and diabetes all stem from processed food, I felt guilty for feeding poor Poindexter canned dog food. Many of my friends pets died of cancer, making me ask if that could have been avoided by feeding carnivores raw meat like nature intended.

If we could turn back time, I would join Marilyn in her weekly fast and change my diet and my then-boyfriend’s too. We could have stopped the onset of Paul's diabetes or at the very least lessened its devastation. If we could…

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fasted and Feeling Righteous

I’m down to the last few hours of my three day fast: one day lemon-water only and two days watermelon with water chasers – three days longer than I ever fasted. I can’t say the experience pleased me but it kept me out of mischief. That is something.

Yesterday at church, my friend and I engaged in a conversation about fasting, when another joined in the conversation. I said that I managed to get through the experience by remembering that Jesus fasted forty days and I only needed to survive three.

The third person said, “…but Jesus had someone holding his hand.”

I said, “I would like to think the same hand was holding mine.”

“No,” she said, “God was really holding Jesus’ hand.”

“I understand…”

It seems my Christian friend could not believe that the same God that held Jesus hand could hold mine. I believe that Paul and I could not have lived through everything we have without God holding our hands. We are about to face surgery together – husband and wife sharing danger with the hope of a better quality of life. We cannot do that without a little faith.

Breakfast of Champions

It took three hours for me to face watermelon for breakfast. I ate three-quarters of a medium melon yesterday and the final quarter lingered around for consumption today. Mmmm watermelon. Please note that’s sarcasm. My enthusiasm for the sweet watery fruit has waned, replaced by a preoccupation of what will I eat Friday when I break my fast? Waking with a sinus headache did not help my mood. This is the first headache since this diet began. I toughed it out as taking a pill while fasting could mess up my tummy. Dex, our puppy, passed some foul air that shocked the ache right out of my head. So for now, I’m good. Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 2 Fasting

I am ending day two of the fast, first of lemon-water and second of watermelon. Yesterday seemed easier, perhaps because it is in the past. This morning the watermelon tasted like pesticides -- could be. By late afternoon, my taste buds adjusted to whatever went on before. Aside from no real food, no coffee has passed these lips. The shocker -- no coffee headaches. I am tired, a bit listless, though still working, house cleaning, and walking with Lois. What I really want to do is nap. Maybe its the lack of caffine. One more day. Wish me luck.

I did it!

One whole day of fasting! I did it. Around 4:00 yesterday, I wasn't sure that I would make it. Drinking lemon water becomes a task rather than a treat after ten hours. I switched to plain water and made it through the day. This morning little hunger and a lot of thrist hit me. I waited an hour before cutting into that beautiful cold watermelon. First juicy bite tasted bitter. I'm not sure if it was bitter or my taste buds are in shock. In a couple hours I will know when I feast again on the melon. Two days of watermelon fasting awaits...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Still Fasting

Quick post to let you know it is late afternoon and I am still fasting. Did you think I could make it this far? I didn't. Eight more hours till bedtime then I can awaken to ice cold watermelon.

Buying Seeds

Annette and my mother suggested trying WinCo as a place to pick up sprouting seeds. Paul, my husband, and I made the trek yesterday afternoon. WinCo smelled like Food4Less. If you understand that analogy then you know that I did not purchase the produce. Customer service held my keys as ransom for the electric cart that Paul used to zip – correction to creep – around the store. The bulk dry and organic foods were numerous and cheap. I picked up several types – mung bean, golden flax, lentils, and hemp. Paul and I cruised the store for other finds but only grabbed the bagels from the bakery then checked out. After unloading the bags and Paul into the car, I returned the electric cart to customer service to reclaim my keys. Back in the parking lot, I realized that my Starbucks member card worth about seventy-five cents no longer hung next to my library card on the key ring. Well, I am giving up coffee so the loss of a Starbucks card is not a problem.

Attempting the Fast

This past month ranks as a practice run for the true diet. Today, I attempt the near-impossible… the fast. My goal is to fast with lemon flavored water today, followed by two days of watermelon to cleanse. The three days of cleansing will, supposedly, jump start my immune system, clean out my urinary tract, and give my half-century old digestive system a much needed holiday. The question is – can I do it?

I prepped. First I visited one of Mom’s friends, Annette, the local sage on raw diets. She graciously invited me into her beautiful home full of handmade crafts so lovely I felt blessed to be there. Her creations included delicately carved emu eggs, woven baskets the size of a robin’s nest, and surprisingly comical beaded pebbles.

She gave me hands-on lessons in sprouting and juicing – two areas in which I am clueless. Annette had stacks of book for me to thumb through and borrow. I picked, The Raw Food Revolution Diet by Cherie Soria, Secrets of Power Juicing, Jack LaLanne, and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Raw by Mark Reinfeld. Annette's patient instruction in sprouting far surpassed the choppy information found in the Idiot’s Guide. I munched on sprouted sunflower seeds as Annette expounded the virtues of mung bean and hemp seed (legal not the other hemp).

I think sprouting helps your system by increasing helpful enzymes and nutrient intake. Annette says the starch normally found in these seeds change to proteins in the sprouting process -- more digestable and better for you. If it adds a bit of variation in the diet, I will be thrilled. I tire of the same flavors my current faire holds and look forward to some change. Thankfully, the recipes in all three books I read were inspirational. According to these guides you can make most cooked foods in a raw version if you have time, patience, an expensive dehydrator, a good food processor, and money. Okay, I don’t have five of the five but I can see where I can enhance what I am doing with some juices and a few sprouted seeds.

In a way, I feel I have dropped down the rabbit hole. Juicing, fasting, sprouting, dehydrating, raw; all so retro-hippie and not-so-much me but I feel great. I have lost 1.6 pounds this week alone. My stomach muscles are tightening on their own. Honestly, I have never had such daily positive affirmation of a diet change as I do with this one. I find myself dancing for no reason, singing to the dog, and thanking God each time I pick a ripe apple off the backyard tree. I must be doing something right.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

One Day Caloric Count = 851

Before my seventy-year-old mom reads this and goes all Ninja on me, let me explain that I have eggs, banana, fish or seared meat about every other day. Today felt like a veggie day so the calorie count came in low. Tomorrow will probably be closer to 1,500 calories. Take a look at the times and you will see I don’t stop eating all day. I am a grazer but now I’m a low calorie grazer. Moo!
Here’s a typical day of my current modified diet plan for Tuesday July 27th.
  • Time  + Calories + Food + Nutrition
  • 7AM 60, Nectarine A, C, Calcium, Iron, Sugar, Fiber
  • 8AM 15, 1 cup Half-Caff Coffee with ¼ c Almond Milk Calcium, A, D, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Manganese
  • 9AM 80, 1 slice, Trader Joe’s Sprouted Cinnamon Raisin Bread Protein, Sugar, Fiber, Fat, Iron
  • 9AM 10, 1 ½ tsp Vegan Soy Butter Fat, Sodium
  • 9AM 40, 2 tsp Organic Honey Carbs/Sugar
  • 9:30AM 35, 1 Apricot A, C, Calcium, Iron, Protein
  • 11:30AM 63, Juice: Tomato, Lemon, Carrot, Celery, Bell Pepper,Turmeric, Cayenne Pepper, Sea Salt A, C, Calcium, Iron, Protein, Sugar, Sodium
  • 1PM 23, ½ cup Jicama A, C, Calcium, Iron, Sugar, Fiber
  • 1PM 20, ½ cup Tomato Salsa w/Onions, Spices, Bell Pepper A, C, Calcium, Iron, Protein, Sugar, Sodium
  • 4:15PM 35, 1 Apricot A, C, Calcium, Iron, Protein
  • 6PM 40, 2 Raw Almonds Fat, Fiber, Protein, Calcium, Iron, Sugar
  • 6:30PM 80, ½ sm Grilled Yam with Soy Butter Protein, Fiber, Carb
  • 6:30PM 22, ½ cup Green Beans A, C, Calcium, Iron, Fiber, Protein, Sugar, Sodium
  • 6:30PM 4, ½ cup Spinach A, C, Calcium, Iron, Sodium, Fiber, Sugar
  • 6:30PM 170, 1.5 oz Whole Milk Hard Cheese Fat, Protein, Sugar, A, Calcium, Iron
  • 7PM 74, 9 Cherries Sugar, Fiber, Protein, Fat, A, C, Calcium, Iron
  • 10PM 80, 1 tbs Organic Peanut Butter Protein, Fat, Calcium, Iron

Lost 20 pounds in 27 days

     Four pounds down this week. I have been on many diets, my friend, and this is just unbelievable. My energy is up, emotions fairly stable, and old body is shrinking. Yesterday, I took a long walk with my friend Lois and Poindexter, my dog. We pulled the garage sale signs that I posted on Friday plus old signs leftover by those who apparently cannot clean-up after themselves. Poindexter encountered a large wild turkey and a couple cats. I received an excellent aerobic workout keeping a forty pound puppy from flying after the critters. When we finished the sign eradication, I felt up to a second trip around the area. Poor Dex dragged his chunky paws for the last couple of blocks. It was nice to wear out a ten-month old pup.
    Today, I am going to count calories for those asking what my caloric intake is because I haven’t a clue. I am sticking with the modified diet outlined in Dr. Brantley’s “The Cure.” I eat salads, soft boiled eggs, fruit, occasional raw fish or seared meat, and a teaspoon of peanut butter for protein cravings. Nothing beats cold watermelon for hunger-pang emergencies. Steamed dark green veggies and sliced banana every other day is needed to keep up potassium and iron levels. Plus I am still drinking eight-ounces of tepid water every half hour.
    The juicing required for the complete detoxification diet or “level A” is not something I have enjoyed so far. To cleanse requires lots of juice. I do like the combination of carrot and orange juice but have not found any combination of green juices that I like so far. I love V-8 but that is on the no-no list of processed foods.  
Does anyone have juicing ideas for me to try?

Friday, July 23, 2010

I Cheated & I Have Headache…

I cheated on my diet last night. My family celebrated Paul’s forty-sixth birthday at the local Japanese restaurant. I thought my food choices fit the plan with edamame, salad, and a tuna roll. The breakdown:

Good: Vegetables in the salad, raw tuna, avocado, fish roe, seaweed in the roll.
Bad: Processed salad dressing, soy sauce, wasabi, pickled ginger, the rice in the roll, sauce on the roll, cooked edamame, and ice water with dinner. The ice water caused my internal working to play the “1912 Overture” throughout dinner. It wouldn’t have been so bad if Mom hadn’t hummed along.

More than likely the meal contained some MSG in the mix.
This morning, I awoke with my head pounding and my sinus swollen – first time since I started this diet. As this is all a learning process, I know I could have done better ordering.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Organic on a Budget

  When you start this program, you are eliminating any processed foods – fast food, canned goods, sauces, dressings, mixes, and all. Next is buying good raw foods for your daily consumption. I tried with carefree abandon to jump into Dr. Brantley’s diet. However, the costs of goods got in my way. Dr. Tim wants organics. I’m pro organics but there is a price tag to be paid with quality fruits, vegs, and for that matter eggs.
  Whole Foods is the iconic grocery store for organics here on the West coast. So off I went to pick up items from the book: organic fruits and vegetables, unrefined sea salt, sprouted bread, whole milk (unpasteurized) products, and flax seeds for sprouting. The price came to more than my weekly budget plus I still had a husband to feed. I compared pricing with Trader Joes that had most items except young coconuts and unpasteurized yogurt. Safeway had only the organic fruits, vegetables, and eggs. Wal-Mart, or Wally World as we call it in our home, did not carry any of the items.
  My brain did the usual running away with itself. I realized that the better-for-you foods were available at the high end markets while the diabetes-cancer-heart-attack foods were readily available in mass quantities at budget-accommodating markets. But before I started soap-boxing about the poor and downtrodden, I decided to find a way to do this diet on a budget like most Americans would.
  First look to your own yard, patio, deck or window box. What can you grow organically? I am lucky to have a home in Sacramento – fertile farm land – with about a quarter of an acre. I have lemons, oranges, apricots, and apples. All organic. I’m hoping to add a small vegetable garden next spring.
  Second what do you need that is organic? The Environmental Working Group has posted on their website that lists the fruits and vegs that carry the most pesticides – “Dirty Dozen” and that carry the least pesticides – “Clean 15.” . I now buy the clean produce on sale at any market and an organic version of the dirty produce when I can. Also try haunting farmer’s markets in the area. Many are organic. This week, Trader Joes has regular and organic blueberries on sale for the same price. Maybe times are changing.
  I am still shopping at Whole Foods for the yogurt and the great deals they have on organic bulk. To stay in budget, I must be selective. Shopping at multiple stores is a pain but it is worth it to get the food I need to stay healthy and lose weight.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Diet Week Two Done – 2 ½ lbs loss

Two and one-half pounds gone! I started this blog at 260 pounds. That is seventy pounds over my healthy weight goal. To be a kidney donor for my husband, I need to weigh-in at 225 or less. Today my weight is 244, a loss of sixteen pounds, since June 29th and currently, within nineteen pounds of my donor goal. I am absolutely amazed.
First, I feel wonderful. No aches or pains. No stress headaches. Second, I can see the inches dropping. My stomach and midsection are shrinking. My clothes are fitting and I have oodles of energy. On the flip side, I am still hungry but now just every two hours.
This week Oprah, Martha Stewart, and the Sacramento Bee, all ran features on raw diets and cleansing. I must be very main stream. As you may have notice from my description of my food intake the other day, I have not attained total raw in my diet. Nor have I given up coffee. Even though, I drink half-caff coffee is the last thing I can give up.
Also I have not done a cleansing of my system yet. Cleansing is a way through eating and drinking specific raw fruits and vegetables to detoxify your body. Mostly it involves green sludge looking drinks for breakfast. The book, “The Cure” and the Mayo Clinic both say to start with the cleansing. I have tried a couple of the green sludgies so far and well… let’s say I am not eager to cleanse. I am saving this excitement for when I hit my weight plateau.
In the meantime, I am slowly replacing animal protein with vegetable protein, increasing my physical activity, and eating six small portions of food all day long. I have completed two of my eighteen week plan to lose weight. I am doing great. Please let me know how you are doing in the comments.
Other books recommended by my friend, Vicki: Dr. Neal Barnard's book on Reversing Diabetes and “Eat to Live” by Dr. Joel Furhman.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Skinny Ankles and Wearing Smaller Size

I couldn’t wait until my Tuesday morning weigh-in to give some news about this amazing diet adventure. My ankles have shrunk two inches and I put on a formerly too-small, raw-silk slack outfit I purchased three years ago. These are major events in a dieter’s life.
There is more. I have not had a headache in two weeks. I did take some Advil after using a chainsaw on a couple of branches on the shade tree out back. I expected a few aches and pains.
The most amazing thing so far is the lack of sugar-withdrawal shakes and nervousness. Do you have that when you diet? That drop in blood sugar that can happen about two hours after you have a donut, dessert, or candy item? Then there is the long period of shaking as the chocolate and sugar leave your system. Other than an occasional starving feeling in my stomach, which can be abated with a glass of water, I have none of those sugar drops at all. I am eating sweets in the form of watermelon, grapes, apples, honey, agave syrup, strawberries, blackberries, and the sweetest of all ripe peaches. Yum. I have not touched baked goods or processed food.
The only temptation that has happened in the sweets category occurred as my husband and I were about to leave the theatre, having just seen “Inception.” The movie ran two hours. I missed lunch spending my time with the chainsaw on the aforementioned tree. Paul handed me his box of Skittles to hold while he pushed his wheelchair.
I came unglued. “You don’t hand a junkie dope or give an alcoholic a bottle of whiskey.”
Paul apologized and so did I after he took the candy back.
Today’s breakfast: two soft boiled eggs with sea salt and soy butter. Coffee with soy milk.
Snack: one slice sprouted flax bread lightly toasted with soy butter and honey.
Lunch: Salmon, pea pods, carrots, mushrooms, and Mrs. Dash, steamed until warm and crunchy. Sprinkled with whole milk hard cheese shavings.
Snack: eight grapes
Dinner: Sliced Jicama to dip in homemade guacamole and salsa. Salad, lettuce, tomato, cucumber.
Snack: ½ cup whole milk yogurt, handful of strawberries, drizzle of honey.

Attaching Comments

My darling husband Paul has addressed the problem some of you are having posting a comment. He says:
Well, not sure why this is, (other than some overzealous web programmer who was an English major first) but you have to either log in OR if you use anonymous you MUST preview your message before you post it. There’s an anti-spam feature that does not come up if you just use the “post a comment” button.
Hope that helps all of you.

Friday, July 16, 2010

More Comments

From Cousin David
you can put some sea salt, nutritional (Brewers) yeast and turmeric in with firm tofu. mash it up and it tastes like scrambled eggs. totally raw.

buy a pound of flax, sprout the seeds overnight, use just enough water to sprout them. mix them with raw barbecue sauce or whatever, then lay the stuff out on a piece of wax paper or an oiled cookie sheet to dry... raw flax crackers. yum.

spirulina algae is one of only two complete plant sources of protein. mix a tablespoon of that in with your next smoothie and it will be more fishy tasting and more filling.

walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, sesame seeds, are a must for quick snacks.

portabella mushrooms with balsamic vinegar and olive oil with a little thyme and sea salt tastes just like steak. especially if it's been run in a food dehydrator for a couple of hours.

one word - tabbouleh.
From Penny
Increase your vitamin D... that might help with your food cravings... if you reach for food... get up and walk around instead. Drink a cup of water before reaching for the snack. Keep busy... Eat 6 times a day instead of 3.
Remind your self why you are trying to lose weight.
Be strong... don't give in. Portion control.. measure out your food so it's a pain in the ass. Make the serving last. Chew and count to 20 before swallowing..
Good luck Pam.. Be strong Pam... be strong...

Start with Water

Thank you for your well wishes and comments about my blog. Many of you have asked how to start the diet. First, let me say I am NOT a doctor, nutritionist, dietitian, or other medical professional. Second, I think you should start by reading “The Cure” by Dr. Timothy Brantley or visit his website is This will give you information on the value of water, evils of pasteurization, dangers of table salt, and a myriad of food options.
For one week, I started with water. I did not change anything except what I drank. By substituting tepid filtered water for diet sodas and increasing my water intake from one or two glasses a day to one cup every half hour, I dropped weight and felt better immediately.
My friend, shy Mrs. RT, suggested the following:
“Hi Pam, Congratulations on starting a new eating plan! Six pounds in six days sounds fast, though. Are you sure you are eating enough and that you're getting all the nutrients you need? Maybe you should run this by your doctor so he can keep a watch on your health.
I'm right there with you trying to lose weight. This is my second or third week. My strategy isn't as complicated. I'm trying to stick to a fixed number of calories per day (for me, right now, 1500), making sure most of them are healthy. I'm taking the focus off the diet and just telling myself that I have to eat somewhere around that many calories. In time, my bodyweight should come down to normal (I hope.). I don't know how long this will take and I don't really care. Slow and steady. That is what I'm hoping for. So far, so good, but we all know how that goes. I must say it feels good not worrying about a 'diet'. Having been on diets so often, I can pretty much tell you the calories in anything. That makes this very easy for me. I'm rooting for you. Stay in good health, though.
Have a doctor or dietitian check your diet out.”
So start with the book or website, water, and check-up with your doctor.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Diet Week One Done July 13th - 6 lbs lost

I absolutely hate my new diet. I have lost six pounds in six days and two inches off my mid-section. You would think I would be thrilled. Not so much. At one time, I thought a modified vegetarian diet had challenges but nothing compares to the rare tribulation of eating a raw diet.
Today, I had a banana, a slice of sprouted wheat and flax bread toasted with soy butter, salad with lettuce, tomato, and squash, homemade olive oil and unfiltered apple vinegar dressing, grapes, watermelon, peach, cherries, slice of whole milk cheese, steamed leaks with pea pods, celery, seasoned with unrefined sea salt and a gallon of water. I am hungry. Hungry doesn’t quite describe it. I WANT FOOD!
I stayed home today so I could graze whenever I wanted. Yesterday, I left the safety of home and ended up at Jack-in-the-Box sucking down a strawberry smoothie because Jamba Juice was two blocks too far for me to go for sustenance. I am hungry.
Eve walked in the Garden of Eden past the Tree of Knowledge and that devilish snake. She stopped. “What is that heavenly scent?” she asked the serpent.

“Oh that,” he hissed. “Just my breath.”

“Really? It smells good.”

“I just had some brownies.”

“Brownies? What are brownies.”

“Oh just something you can whip up in the kitchen with the proper recipe.”

“Kitchen? Recipe?” Eve looked confused but intrigued.

“Sorry. I shouldn’t bring it up. This information you can find only from the Tree of Knowledge. I won’t mention it again.”

Eve’s face reddened. “I hope you won’t,” she said and stomped off into the Garden.

The next day Eve walked the exact same trail she had walked the previous morning.

“Good day, Eve,” said the serpent.

“Oh,” Eve stopped and drew in her breath. “Hello. I didn’t see you there.

What,” she paused, “What is that scent?”

“That? French onion soup with bread and Swiss cheese melted over the top.”

Eve did not what most those words meant – not melted, soup, bread, cheese, Swiss or French. She really didn’t care so much for the words but the smell wafting her direction. She bent down. Her nose sniffed close to the serpent’s tongue. Her mouth watered for no discernable reason. She felt well excited like the first time she had touched something cold.

“Tomorrow? Will you be here tomorrow?” she asked.

“No, sorry, I must be on the other side of the Garden tomorrow. A reptile meeting.”

Eve looked around as if she could see some way to hold the creature. She could not think of one single thing to do.

Then the serpent said, “I will be gone tomorrow but the Tree of Knowledge will be here all day. Eat the fruit and you will know what I know.” Having said all that was needed to be said the serpent left Eve alone.
As I said, I am hungry. I know that I feel better than I felt for months. My clothes are fitting. I have learned that eating meat with starches causes indigestion and gas, water can shed pounds, and it is possible to give up sugars without craving them. Knowing all that I miss food. I am sticking with the program for my husband’s health and mine. Wish me luck!

God Bless You!