Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 2

Today was day 2 of my raw diet. My raw opinion on how I felt today?- Energetic, never hungry, but honestly, I woke up with a brutal dull achey headache that lasted until this evening. It caused me to be in a mental fog all day at work. I really think it has to do with the lack of complex carbs in the diet, becauseafter my dates for snacks, the headache slowly subsided.

The menu was just as I thought it would be- easy for breakfast and lunch, but come dinner time I really craved a bowl of hot chili, or a plate of spaghetti and meatballs, or even some chicken with steamed spinach. After dessert though, I felt full enough that the idea for any of these things subsided. Gary ate what I did for dinner, but between dinner and dessert, he had a nice huge chunk of cheese and a slice of bread with butter.

I may have drooled a bit.

All I have at the moment are almonds for protein source, I'm working at getting some chick peas and beans sprouted, but until then- it's gonna be just the almonds.

I also successfully made some almond milk, however, my blender gave me a prompt scolding afterwards by sending up a flash of smoke.

Menu looked like this:

Breakfast (7:30am):

1 Nectarine
1/2 handful of raw almonds
4 cups of water with 1/2 lemon

Snack (10:30am):

4 dates
1/4 cup raw almonds

Lunch (12:00pm):

Salad: Lettuce, tomato, radish, peppers, basil, carrots, celery, lemon juice.
1/2 Grapefruit

Snack (4:00pm) :

2 dates

Dinner (5:30pm):

Cold soup: 1/2 avocado, handful spinach, 4 radishes, basil, garlic, 2 plum tomato, 1 red pepper, 2 baby cucumbers

Veggie/Fruit Platter: Celery sticks, carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, apple slices
4 cups water w/ lemon

Dessert (7:30pm):

1 small slice Trader Joe's Flattened Banana
1 small scoop frozen almond pulp

Evening Tea (8:15pm): 1 cup herbal teawith 2 leaves of stevia

Totals for today are estimated to be:

1,876 calories
45 g of protein
87 g of fat
271 g of carbohydrates

My recommended daily amounts suggested from here:

89 g of protein
70g of fat
328g of carbohydrates

Here's a graph of my nutrition as percent daily value. I log all my stuff into fit day. Can really see what I'm lacking in!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sweet and Salty

Back again! I've been busy getting prepped for the start of my month of raw tomorrow. So busy, I haven't had much time to blog about it.

I've been getting myself prepped to help avoid pitfalls I may encounter. One of which, is my sweet tooth the size of Russia. So, ok- I've admitted it, I've got a substantial weakness for all things sugar-like.

One way I've discovered to help in regards to the sweet tooth, is this little gem of a plant. I first learned of this plant while at one of Gary's friend's house. He is a man in his 40's or 50's (maybe?) who is bound in a wheelchair due to Multiple Sclerosis (MS). He lives on a very strict diet of zero sodium, no sugar, no dairy, meats, or alcohol.

Do you know how hard it is to have a zero sodium diet? Do you know there is naturally ocuring sodium incarrots? How about corn, apples, lemons, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, artichokes, brussels sprouts, squash, sweet potatoes, cherries, avocados, blueberries, honeydew melon, AND swiss chard? My goodness, what in the world does this man eat? I know...I asked the same questions.

Well, in my questions- I found an answer to my achilles heal- my sweet tooth.

His answer for the zero sugar?


While Gary and I were browsing the farmer's market one Saturday morning (we're lucky to have a great, diverse, farmer's market just 2 miles from our house), I stumbled upon a bag of dried Stevia. I had seen the powered form of it in the grocery store, but never bought it due to the processed nature of it. But this stevia was from a farm. In Pittsfield. Organically grown. The leaves where right there in the bag. I asked Tom if I could try a leaf. (Yes, Gary and I know a few of our farmer's market vendors by name- we just so happen to know Tom because he looks like Gandalf with a wooden pipe, green wool pants, and he wears a piece of paper clothed-pinned to his flannel shirt that says "TOM"........ If you don't believe me, check out his picture- here.)

Anyways, back to the story- Tom encouraged me to try a stevia leaf, and as I placed it in my mouth, the raw sugar-like sweetness excited the area of taste buds on the front of my tongue that get all happy when they experience sweet.

It was love at first taste.

I bit the bullet and bought a one-ounce bag of the Stevia for $5.00. It was one of the best purchases I've made. I swapped out the raw honey in my tea for stevia. 1-2 leaves per cup of tea is comparable to a spoonful of honey.

I also make up a strong concentration of "tea" by brewing some leaves in a small amount of water. This sweet water can then be added to smoothies or anything for baking. The leaves can also be blended and pulverized for a sugar-effect.

I've had the bag of stevia now for nearly 3 months, and as you can see- it only takes a small amount to make a big impact.

What Are the Benefits of Stevia?

Stevia doesn't contain any carbohydrate molecules. It gets it's sweet taste from glycosides. What does this mean? This means that your body does not react to stevia like it does to sugars and carbohydrates, but is actually about 30 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia can help your pancreas regulate your blood glucose levels rather than disrupt it, making it a safe sweetener for diabetics. Stevia has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce gas, sooth upset stomachs, and aids in digestion. Stevia has even been shown to reduce bacterial growth that causes gum and tooth decay, making it an excellent additive for toothpastes. Stevia is also beneficial to the skin and has been shown to decrease skin issues such as psoriasis, eczema, acne, burns, lip sores, and even to help reduce scarring from wounds.

What Are the Down Falls of Stevia?

Stevia, being a plant, has very little known problems with it. To give you the raw truth, I should note that some studies suggest a link between large amounts of stevia and a decrease in male reproductive function. Also- a possibility of very large amounts of stevia may disrupt the normal breakdown of carbohydrates in your body. And, another study suggests that in large quantities, stevia may negatively effect the kidneys.

My raw opinion?

None of the negative effects of stevia have been proven, and if used in moderation as everything else should be, stevia can be a wonderful replacement for unhealthy refined sugars.

To do your own homework- just google "Stevia" and read all there is to read!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Calling All Opinions....

My plan to go raw for the month of February was reconfirmed yesterday in the face of some of my doubts.

I stopped in at the gas station [on my death trip down to Waterville in the middle of our largest snow storm] to grab a cup of hot chocolate. I don't drink coffee, I never have, so it's never been a stumbling point for me.

I got a hot cocoa, and because I always think hot cocoa is better with a bit of milk, I added a few of these bad boys.

Biggest. Mistake. Ever.

Ugghhh I knew I should have gone with the tea instead.

I started noticing this problem in high school. I think it might be an allergy of some sort or inflammation, [which is weird for me, because I'm not allergic to anything- not even poison ivy]? I'm looking for opinions.

A few hours after coffee mate products, some whipped creams, Starbuck's strawberries and cream drink, and some Dairy Queen smoothies every joint in my body begins to ache like a 90 year old woman who just finished the Boston marathon. I almost always notice it first in my knees, hips, and elbows, but it spreads right down to my ankles, toes, and fingertips. It's so painful, I usually spend the evening rubbing my knees and elbows trying to make the aching pain go away. It makes sitting still nearly unbearable and I find myself pacing trying to "walk it off." I go to bed restless and wake up in the morning feeling much better.

When I first noticed it happen, I thought it was an activity-induced issue, but after it happening sporadically for years and years I was able to narrow it down to these specific products.

This does NOT happen with regular dairy products like milk, cheeses, and ice cream.

I should know by now to steer clear of these products, but sometimes I just don't think of it until it's too late.

Any thoughts or opinions as to what causes this or why it happens?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


For Christmas this year, my good friend [let's call her Berts] gave me some wonderful orange sugar bath scrub that she made and bottled in a mason jar.

This stuff is amazing. It leaves my skin feeling clean and moisturized all while smelling orangey. Plus it's something you can make in your own home and save yourself the cost of those expensive exfoliating scrubs!

Although high sugar diets have been scientifically proven to be poor for your skin, glycolic acid, one of the natural alpha-hydroxy acids that exfoliates the skin, is produced by sugar cane. So if you shouldn't eat it, why not wear it?

I don't have the recipe that she used [note to self: get recipe from Berts], but when I do get it, I will make sure to share it with you. Seriously, this stuff is amazing.

My best guess at ingredients is sugar, oils, and orangey goodness.

Anyways, my point is your skin is your body's largest organ. It makes up for 16% of your body mass. It plays a key role in protecting you against nasty pathogens, excessive water loss, provides you insulation, and the sense of touch. The skin is an amazing part of your body that is in constant battle with the environment to protect you. Why make it work harder with slapping it with some chemically-induced products? Why not reward it for all it's hard work it does for you?

In part of my raw food diet, I've started phasing in more natural products for hygiene. After reading up on Rawsome Detox for Healthy You, I'm curious also to try oil pulling, especially with my teeth history. I'm often times a bit too skeptical for my own good, so I certainly have been doing my research on this one. I even looked up some scientific articles on it, because I wanted to know the mechanism in which vegetable oils kill bacteria [read: nerd] and clears your body of toxins.

This is worthy of a whole post of it's own.... and will come in due time, once I've tried it sufficiently enough to give you my raw opinion on it.

If you'd like more info on sugar scrubs, please check out this recipe. It's not exact to what Berts made me, but I think it's close enough, so you get the idea.

Plus, I'm pretty sure once you're done taking care of your skin, you could throw any extra into a batch of cookies!....Uhh ok, nevermind. That's just really gross.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Friday Night Treats and Great News

Friday night is always treat night at the Craig residence. Gary usually treats himself to a beer (or three) and I sometimes treat myself to a bar of organic dark chocolate, or in this past friday night's case. A lovely bit of this:
It's heavenly. Its dairy, soy, and gluten free. Organic and Vegan. Made with coconut milk, and sweetened with agave syrup. No extra preservatives, artificial flavors, etc. It also comes in all sorts of flavors. It's also reasonable in price.

The downside: on the label, it says-

Turtle Mountain adheres to the highest standards of pasteurization, sanitation and kosher certification in the production of this product. This product was produced on equipment that also processes peanuts, tree nuts and dairy products.

So it's not completely raw. I guess I'll have to try my hand at making my own.

Also- I am monitoring the amount of coconut products I take in. Coconut- although a great source of nutrients, it does contain a high amount of fat. Even though coconut contains the health[ier] kind of fat: the Medium-Chain Fatty Acids, it's still important to monitor fats and sugar intakes.

On a side note: please watch from where you're raw almonds are coming from.

Now for the more exciting news:

My sister has agreed to join me in my 30 day raw food trial. She is going to set hers up a bit differently than mine (what works for me does not necessarily work for everybody) but we'll be doing it together!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I've started using the couple of weeks before my start date to wean myself off of cooked food. I'm not aiming for a perfect raw diet during these days, just slowly fading them out of my diet.

Today's Menu looked like this:

Breakfast (7:45am): 1 banana

Lunch (12:00pm): 1/2 cup of whole wheat spaghetti
2 Turkey Meatballs
Tomato sauce

Dinner (5:30pm): 1 Fruit Smoothie
1 Grilled Chicken Sandwich on Flatbread with Pesto, Hummus, Spinach, and Tomato

Dessert (7:30pm): 2 Celery sticks with nutella

Recipe for the Fruit Smoothie is as follows:

1 Banana
1 Ripe Mango
1/2 Cup Pineapple (Canned in Natural Pineapple Juice, because I had it and needed to use it....would rather have used fresh)
1 Large Handful of Baby Spinach
Juice from 1/2 Lime
A few ice cubes
Water to get the blender going

To me, I predict that dinner will be the most difficult meal of my day. That- and snacks. You see, breakfast and lunch are my easiest meals, because breakfast is almost always 2 pieces of fruit (I was running late today and only grabbed a banana) that I eat on my drive into work. So not much change will need to take place there. It's quick and easy and it has worked for me for a long time.

Lunch, I also predict will be easy, because it's usually a "oh, I gotta grab my lunch quick while I do these other 15 things." Lunch is always a necessity not an enjoyment- I just eat what I have to fulfill the hunger of the day.

Dinner will be difficult.

That's because dinner is the mark of the end of the work day. Dinner is something Gary and I both enjoy. Together. We usually sit down and have a proper dinner together where the food is less for necessity of hunger and more for an enjoyment and reward for our day's efforts.

If I end up with just a salad at dinner- this is not going to be the blog of a happy girl.

That's why I've started collecting recipes now to try and plan for dinner.....that and snacks. You can see from my menu- there's just no snack times in there. I go from about 8am until noon time with no food. By the time lunch comes around, I'm usually hungry, but too busy to take much notice. I'm going to try and incorporate more snacks into my diet- simple things like celery or carrot sticks, nuts and seeds, or more fruit to have between breakfast and lunch and likewise, lunch and dinner. I think the snacks will help to take the added emphasis off of dinner maybe when it is time for a cold meal at dinner, I won't be so disappointed.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


New Year's came and went and I didn't make any resolutions. I didn't want to promise anything that I wasn't ready to keep. About a week later though, I started thinking about how I wanted to change this year and improve. Things I wanted to try and things I wanted to do.

One thing, inspired by my aunt debbie, was a raw food diet. I've done raw food meals before, but never an all-out everyday diet.

I thought about it and realized that February is a very slow month for us, and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to commit to one month of raw.

I've been spending the last couple of weeks thinking about it and planning.

This is where I plan to blog everyday on my month of raw food, honestly with all the good and bad that may come with it.

My purpose in doing this little experiment is as follows:

1. Increase my daily energy
2. Increase my overall health
3. Try new foods/experiment with my food
4. Eat more purposefully and deliberate
5. [Maybe] Decrease my grocery bill
6. Decrease weight

I plan to use this blog as a form of accountability, a place to share my experience, plan my menus and grocery lists, and keep a record of how this is working out for me.

I will not be restricting my amount of food intake. If I am hungry, I will eat.

I will be tracking everything I eat [calories], my weight, how I generally "feel", costs, and amount of time I spend preparing meals.

I will not be changing my exercise routine, as I want to see how much the raw food diet effects my daily life.

I will choose organic options when available, but will not restrict myself to organic only.

Hope you enjoy!