Friday, January 8, 2010

First Post!

'ello blogspot community! This is my first post, and I'm a newbie so please be gentle :)

Just as a brief introduction, my new blog is inspired by a newly adopted raw vegan lifestyle. I feel that this is a good way to share information with other raw foodies, document my findings, and create a sort of timeline that I can look back on about my chosen raw path.

I adopted the raw diet almost 3 months ago, but had been living a cruelty-free lifestyle for some number of years now.... 6, I believe. So the transition wasn't as rough as it certainly could have been.

I'd say my path to raw began a long time ago. I struggled my entire adolescence with eating issues... whether I was struggling with anorexia or bulimia, or simply eating dangerously unhealthy foods. When I ate a "normal" SAD diet, I never felt good about myself, so I'd restrict, restrict, restrict, or I'd find ways of "getting rid of" the things that I put into my body. It would become very exhausting at times, and I was in and out of therapy constantly throughout high school and afterwards up until recently. It would become exhausting, and I'd fall back and just indulge in everything I could for awhile until I felt awful about myself again. It was a really dangerous, and mentally taxing vicious cycle...

When I went vegetarian at 17, I had no idea what raw was. And, I wasn't too concerned about being healthy. I wanted to be thin, but just like most people in our modern world, felt it would be too much effort to do in any healthy way. (looking back and realizing how much painful effort I put into damaging my body I can't grasp how this made sense in my head at some point. boy, what a twisted way of looking at things...)

At any rate, I was your typical "junk-food vegetarian" and when I went vegan a short time later, that didn't really change. I was all about the convenience foods, and the desserts. It was my mission to find vegan food that was fast, cheap, and full of fatty flavor. Ew.

As my journey went on, I started reading about the raw diet. I kept it in the back of my mind for quite some time, and thought about it, but felt like I could never do it.

Over the years my unhealthy habits lead to many problems. I was a chain-smoker, I drank, guzzled soda pops and energy drinks until no tomorrow, you name it. I suffered from chronic sinus infections that I just couldn't get rid of. I was always tired, always sick to my stomach, and I felt depressed. I suffered from anxiety and panic attacks. It was just horrid...

Finally, just 2 years ago, I decided to quit smoking. My doctor had told me that my lungs had sounded awful for my young age, and that if I didn't do something about my habit soon, I'd be in some serious danger. It scared me enough to make quitting really easy.

And once I quit cigarettes, I wanted to be healthier yet. I felt so proud of I could do ANYTHING. So I quit drinking alcohol, quit soda, gum, etc...

But I still had the eating issues to address. I'm not sure if it was learning more about the dangers of the food that's out there today that kick started it (you know...hydrogenated oils, preservatives, etc.) or if it was just a matter of time, but about 3 months ago I decided to take the plunge.

It was difficult at first, I will admit, but not as difficult as I ever thought it would be. The hardest thing was getting rid of sugar. I was your average run-of-the-mill sugar addict. I mean... to the point where I broke down into tears after a couple of days without sugar.

Sugar might have been one of the main motivations to adopting the raw lifestyle. My sugar intake was out of control, and I felt awful about myself because of it... not to mention, I was putting myself at serious risk for diseases like diabetes.

At any rate... after the first month on raw things got easier. When I started experimenting more with cashew sauces and what not, things got interesting and more fun. At the end of my first month, I indulged in some cooked food and didn't feel too well afterwards. I don't just mean physically, but I just didn't feel good about me.

Raw has given me a chance to have a new and improved relationship with food. Whereas I used to eat sparingly to control my weight, and get upset when I did eat... I now eat every couple of hours, and I feel great every time, because I know I'm doing such good things for myself. I feel more connected and at one with the earth, and the list of benefits goes on!

So I decided to hold onto my new lifestyle. Over the past few months, I've still gotten cravings, and I've let myself have nibbles of those old favorites as not to put too much pressure on myself and set myself up for failure.

With that said, what had inspired me to start a blog, was my recent experience with sugar. A couple days ago when I had gotten a painful urge for chocolate and peanut butter, I let myself have some and whipped up a vegan peanut butter cup (which I normally could have eaten like 10 of). I took two bites, and absolutely hated the taste of it. I realized at that moment, what I had done. I overcame yet another unhealthy habit!

It inspired me to start journaling.

So, to kick-start my first entry, I'd like to share a recipe, and a photo (not of the recipe).

The recipe is nothing fancy shmancy, but I sure love it...
South of the Border Pasta (for one)

You will need:
Bottom Spinach Layer (optional)
Zucchini pasta
Avocado spread
Sunflower Seed topping

For the bottom spinach layer I use:
about 1/4 cup of spinach
1 carrot (peeled into shavings/pasta)
a handful of mushrooms
a bit of garlic

Mix ingredients together on the dish you will be serving on. Set aside.

Zucchini Pasta
1 zucchini
dash of sea salt

Spiralize the zucchini, and sprinkle sea salt over to soften. Set aside.

Avocado Spread
1 ripe avocado
dash of vinegar (any kind you like to use)
dash of sea salt

cut open avocado length wise and remove pit. scrape out insides with a spoon and transfer to a small bowl. mash it up with a fork and add in vinegar and sea salt to taste. set aside.

Salsa (this makes an entire batch)

6 roma tomatoes, quartered
1/2 sweet onion, quartered
2 green onions, chopped
2 jalapenos, quartered
1/2 cup cilantro
2 small cloves of garlic, minced (more or less to suit your own tastes)
1 1/2 tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. sea salt

Use the chopping blade on your food processor. Add all ingredients to your food processor and pulse for 1-2 seconds at a time until desired consistency is reached. Store in a container (keeps for a couple days)

Sunflower Topping
handful of sunflower seeds
sea salt
garlic powder, to taste
Italian seasonings, to tase

Add all ingredients to a coffee grinder and grind until powdery.

Then the rest is simple, simply layer the zucchini noodles onto the spinach layer, and then the avocado, then as much salsa as desired (rest to be stored), then the sunflower topping, and you're ready to eat! I like to mix mine up a lot. And fresh corn is also a really good addition at just about any spot in this recipe.

And before I start my weekend, I'd like to share a photo of one of the best sauces I ever made:

Over zucchini "pasta" (pre-spiralizer!)

It was really good over broccoli!

Hope everyone has a great weekend, and I hope you enjoyed my first post :)

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