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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 jalapeƱo 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.