Resurrection

Christians around the world are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus this Easter Sunday. Today I’d like to resurrect the original reason I began this blog: to eat raw foods for 365 days. Currently one of my sister friends is on a juice fast. Her commitment has brought back those original feelings I had that sparked my desire to eat raw foods.

Self reflection is powerful! I was asked for some tips to enhance a juice fast. The first thing that came to mind was the Boy Scouts’ motto: Be Prepared! To be successful with any endeavor, most especially a change in eating habits, you must be prepared. Eating is such a visceral experience that any changes to your routine can cause all sorts of havoc if you’re not prepared for it. As I reflect on my attempt at eating raw foods, through reading my first blog posts, there was one glaring fact. I was NOT prepared for the shift to eating raw foods. I ask myself why I was not prepared and how I did not realize it.

I underestimated what it meant to be prepared. I bought food equipment, gathered recipes, attended classes and potlucks all in an effort to create a community and have the tools to be able prepare a variety of raw foods. Where I fell short was in my household. Having personal space is required to eat a raw foods lifestyle. What I found is that my household was/is out of order. Currently my household has been in transition for nearly a year now. I underestimated how not having my personal space conducive to eating raw foods has been a major impediment. It stopped me from being adequately prepared for the shift.

As my fifth grade teacher used to always say: knowing is half the battle. Today I acknowledge what has made me unprepared for eating raw foods. So, the first order of business is getting my personal space in order to eat raw foods. I don’t put any time limit on it, just as long as I am actively working towards the goal of getting my personal space in order. Though this finding throws my whole timeline out of whack, my overall goal is to eat raw foods not adhere to a time table.

Until next Sunday,

lillieth

P.S. Since most of my blog posts are food-related I thought I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a few lines to recognize that today is Cesar Chavez’s birthday. Chavez was a farm labor organizer and “led the first successful farm-workers union in the U.S. He won industry-wide labor contracts in American agriculture,” according to James Harrington in the Houston Chronicle.  Check out www.cesarechavezfoundation.org for more information about Cesar Chavez’s life.

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Benefits of Water

I know there are tomes written about water and its significance and benefits. I know I don’t have anything new to add to the subject, but I’d like to take a few lines to emphasize the importance of prioritizing water daily. It’s important that we each plan our day to include water. It may sound trivial, but it is essential to quantify how much water we’re in-taking daily. Water’s health benefits can’t be overstated. Here’s a list of reasons/ benefits of drinking a sizeable amount of water daily.

1) Our body is made up of about 60% water and needs to be replenished daily.

2) Drinking 8 to 10 8-ounce glasses of water daily helps replenish water loss.

3) It’s reported that people who drink sufficient amounts of water daily helps regulate their metabolism.

4)  Drinking enough water also helps with overeating, often our body is thirsty when we think its hungry.

5) Water keeps skin, hair and nails looking supple and hydrated.

If you want more reasons to prioritize daily water intake please reference the article “6 Reasons to Drink Water” on WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/6-reasons-to-drink-water

Until next Sunday,

lillieth

P.S. Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I value any holiday that is symbolized by my favorite color, green. 🙂

Food and Black History Month

Since we’re more than halfway through Black History month, I thought I’d merge the month’s focus with my ever-present topic of eating raw foods. Through the years, I have built a mini-library of raw foods, vegan, vegetarian, and general food books. I have been preoccupied with the topic of food for some time now. I thought I’d use this blog post to recommend a few books that have served me well through the years.

I initially started dabbling with a raw food diet in 1997. There were two books I used during that time. I’m not sure they’re still in print today.

1) Sunfried Foods: Cookless Recipes – Aris La Tham :This book is more of a pamphlet of raw recipes written by a Jamaican man who toured the U.S catering events. Last I heard he was preparing raw foods at a resort in Jamaica. I learned how to make almond milk from scratch using this book. At the time, I was able to get fresh squeezed sugar cane juice for my almond milk and raw cactus juice for my salad dressing! Beyond yum 🙂

2) 30 Days @ Delights of the Garden – Imar Hutchins: I just did a google search, and I believe the book is still available on Amazon.com. I was a huge fan of the Greener Hummus recipe. This book was a great help because it gave daily affirmations and the back story on the importance of eating raw foods if only for 30 days. The brother that wrote this book had a restaurant named Delights of the Garden in Washington, D.C. I’m not sure if it’s still open.

A vegan cookbook I’ve taken to lately is Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry. On the back cover Terry is described as an eco-chef in Oakland, California. He uses his recipes to debunk the notion that soul food, African-American southern cuisine born out of slavery, is always bad for our health. If you saw the independent film “Soul Food Junkies”, you would have seen him in it. This book was at least published in this century (2009). 🙂  He also pairs the recipes with a soundtrack generally from jazz, African, or blues music.

Two other books that have broadened my understanding of food are Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, and terra madre: Forging a Global Network of Sustainable Food Communities. The first is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by noted author Barbara Kingslover. The book journals Kingslover year long commitment to eating only food she grew on her Virginia farm or bought in her neighborhood. The book chronicles the intense preparation needed to maintain a commitment to eating mostly what she grew. The book gives perspective on eating local and the challenges that go along with it. She comes up with a catchy term: vegetannual. The second book is terra madre: Forging a Global Network of Sustainable Food Communities by Carlo Petrini. Petrini is a journalist turned activist as well as the founder of the Slow Food movement. He began the Slow Food movement as a reaction to the ever-increasing “homogenization of food and culture”. Every two years Terra Madre hosts an international event that highlights indigenous and traditionalists who share their food cultures in Turin, Italy.

Lastly, all books by food guru Michael Pollan helps with understanding the history of the American food diet how it began and how it has effected our present-day lives and lifestyle.

Until next Sunday,

lillieth

2013

Don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good! –Arne Duncan (U.S. Secretary of Education)

The beginning of the year is like mornings to me. It is a sacred time, a time to reflect on goals made and accomplished. Each year I create a vision board of aspirations. As most people, I suppose, I’m successful at some goals and not so much so at others. In years’ past I have discovered that some goals take more than a year to accomplish. They become a continuation for the following year. 2013 is such a year. I had a mini metamorphosis in June 2012, and revamped my goals entirely; therefore, my mid-2012 goals have become my 2013 goals. One of my goals is to eat 100% raw foods for 365 days. That’s why I created this blog. Week after week I’ve chronicled my progress or lack thereof eating raw foods. Of the 186 days on my 365livefoods journey I have eaten 30 days 100% raw foods. Smaller successes have been eating 25% or 50% raw foods on some days. People who have character traits of “all or nothing” (such as myself) feel unsuccessful when they don’t accomplish their goals perfectly, and tend not to count smaller successes as success. This “all or nothing” character trait has had deleterious results on being successful at eating raw foods and on my waistline.

So, I find myself at a crossroads: do I continue on this journey, redefine it or abandon it?

The Race is NOT given to the Swift, but to those who Endure to the EndTortoise and the Hare

Years of creating vision boards and settings goals have taught me that accomplishing goals takes time. Also, there is a hierarchy of goals from the simplistic to ones that require steps i.e. becoming a medical doctor. I have to constantly remind myself of that. Often the timetables we set for ourselves aren’t adequate. Goals are accomplished with time and through habits and routines. It’s the unglamorous part of goal setting, and in my case the overlooked part. Habits and routines are especially essential when your goal is something you haven’t been successful at accomplishing in your life before. I have decided not to abandon my raw foods goal, just to redefine it. I will take it in steps. I was trying to do one meal at a time, but I will modify it to eating something raw each day. I have faith that in 2013 I will eat 100% raw foods in due time. Hopefully, this post will be motivation to stay the course when the results are bleak.

Until next Sunday,

lillieth

Top 10 Reasons to Eat Raw

After a marathon conversation with my life coach, we decided that eating raw foods is as much a spiritual experience as a physical one. So, I decided to list my own Top 10 reasons for eating raw foods.

The first 30 days of eating raw foods your body goes through a detox that may feel uncomfortable both physically and emotionally. In my experience, once you’re past that you begin to experience the beauty of eating raw foods. Such as…

1.  Waking up with a sense of euphoria

2. Heightened senses

3. Understanding the rhythm of your body

4. Healing physical ailments

5. Clarity of mind & purpose

6. Trying fruits and vegetables in different forms, i.e. juicing, sprouts

7. Expanding your food palette

8. Persimmons (they look like orange tomatoes to me)

9. Shopping at farmer’s markets and co-ops for local foods

10. Accomplishing a goal I’ve had for a very, very long time 🙂

Until next Sunday,

lillieth

It’s December

It’s December!

The end of 2012 is 30 days away. Most Decembers I take the time to reflect. I, like most people, create vision boards and resolutions at the beginning of each year. Today I find myself reflecting on my progress with eating raw foods. The purpose of this blog was to serve as an accountability tool. Thinking positively, I have eaten raw foods 30 days more in 2012 than in 2011. For that I am grateful. While reflecting, I was assessing why I even started this journey. My gravatar for this blog states, “Purify to unleash your heart’s desires!” So there you have it, that’s why I began this journey. Eating raw foods is less about the physical aspects of food, and more about the spiritual aspects to actualize your heart’s desires. So on that note, happy planning for 2013.

Until next Sunday,

lillieth

P.S. Here’s a link to a video about the SNAP challenge I talked about last Sunday: http://www.waywire.com/v/50aa798b8c43c8792a5718642ccd3140

SNAP Challenge

The Thanksgiving season brings various articles on food-related issues. I found one such article while perusing the internet on Yahoo! News: Newark Mayor preparing to live a week on food stamps. The official name for food stamps is Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In Texas it is known as the Lone Star Card. As the story states Mayor Cory Booker challenged a twitter user to live on food stamps for a week. The point of the challenge is to demonstrate how difficult it is to eat on such a limited budget, especially residing in high cost-of-living regions. Cory Booker and his challenger will have a $4/day ($31/week) food budget.

$4/day…I want to marinate on a $4/day food budget. If I “guestimate” the costs of eating raw foods, on the low end would be around $100/ week. Let’s be clear though, that’s for the highly organized raw foodists, i.e. participants in Community Farm Alliances (CFAs) or Co-ops that allow consumers to buy organic produce directly from farmers; thereby, cutting out the retailer to attain a cheaper price. For us ordinary Americans who fumble through each day without an eating plan, the costs are far higher. I have easily spent $35/day eating raw foods, and that’s living in Houston, Texas, where cost of living is nominal compared to the East or West Coast.

$4/day… so I’m visualizing how a $4/day food budget would be sufficient. I contend that our relationship to food has to change back to the way our grandparents used to relate to food. Once upon a time, our grandparents could look in their pantries or backyard gardens and make a meal based on what they already had. As God would have it, my spiritual reading for today discussed money. It stated that money is not just dollars and cents, but resources. Cooking, gardening, and meal planning are unstated resources. The first thought I had about the mayor’s SNAP challenge was that he is going to be preparing and planning in advance for all of his meals. To make $4/day stretch (if that’s even possible) you have to cook, plan and buy food staples, i.e. rice/pasta, dried beans. Also it can’t go unsaid, that unfortunately for many SNAP recipients they live in food deserts or food swamps. These are areas that either lack any food choices or only have junk food choices.

What is clear to me: NOONE living on a $4/day food budget could ever be a raw foodists. As someone who has spent the last five months trying to transition to raw, it is more than disheartening to think that only a few (with the current food system) can actually have the choice to eat 100% organic, raw produce daily.

 I would love for someone to disprove my belief.

Until next Sunday,

lillieth

Positive Affirmations (Part 1)

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,

When the funds are low, and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When  care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As everyone of us sometimes learns,

And many a failure turns about,

When he might have won had he  stuck it out,

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,

You may succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out,

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

And you never can tell how close you are,

It may be near when it seems so far,

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,

It’s when things seem worse,

That you must not quit.

-Anonymous

This poem has been my saving grace, when I’m having a rough time staying focused on my larger goals. It helps me remember that what I see isn’t all there is. Please share any inspirational poems you may use to encourage yourself.

Until next Sunday,

lillieth

Gratitude

Gratitude – n. being thankful; appreciation.  Synonyms: acknowledgement, recognition, thanksgiving

July 1st  to October 1st have been my transition period to raw foods. As my “Relationships” post detailed, this journey has been more about my emotional attachment to foods than anything else. So, this post I want to do nothing but show my gratitude to this process. I am grateful…

  1. to be able to eat raw foods seamlessly.
  2. for my reward stickers I put on the calendar  for each day I eat raw foods.
  3. for organized meals that can be eaten on the go.
  4. for fruits (bananas) that are very convenient .
  5. that my appetite/ cravings are for raw foods.
  6. for Green Seed Vegan’s “rocking tacos” and Almond Joi Smoothies.
  7. for 1 week of 100% raw foods.
  8. I woke up invigorated; Houston Texans record is 5-0.
  9. I went to the gym.
  10. I’m 5 lbs lighter
  11. that Whole Foods has marinated raw veggies that are very delicious
  12. to be able to pass up cupcakes for my co-worker’s birthday.
  13. that I made a great smoothie; met neighbors canvassing for the Election.
  14. for 365livefoods blog and a “fruit day”.

Until next Sunday,

lillieth

Community Conversation

Today I’m short on words, truthfully I’m only writing because I made a commitment while doing 365livefoods to post every week until June 2013. The goal this week is to eat two raw meals/day. I’ll report next Sunday on how that is going.

I’d like to do something new and start a community conversation about supporting each other in our healthy lifestyle choices. My past posts have been one-sided, so today I want to start to make this blog interactive to serve as a virtual conversation.

So, the question for this week is: What are your healthy lifestyle choices and how can they be expanded within our community to help us become healthier?

Please leave a comment so we can get this conversation started.

lillieth