Friday, January 29, 2010

Do vegetarians look like skinny, shriveled vegetables when they get old?

Hey all!

To answer my title question.... I think not! I can talk about the numerous studies that talk about the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle. We have heard it over and over that vegetarians live longer, have fewer diseases, and generally have a lower BMI (body mass index). Yet, when someone says the word "vegetarian" or "vegan", visions of weak, skinny, or crazy animal activists come into people's minds. I have seen many veg*ns and the majority do not fit into any of those categories. This stereotype has got to change. And I have the person to do just that! No not me, silly! I would like you to meet Mimi Kirk. Mimi was one of the winners of PETA's Sexiest Vegetarian Over 50. Julian was voted the other winner, he's 51 and has been vegetarian for 33 years! Amazing hey? Now, you may been wondering, "how old is Mimi"? Well, brace yourselves, she is 71, YES 71 and she's been veg*n since she was in her 30's! Isn't she gorgeous? I just asked the Hubby how old he thought she was and he said late 50's, early 60's. I hope I get this response when I'm in my 70's. She is truly inspirational and so positive about life. Yesterday I listened to an audio interview with her and Jim Dee on Pure Jeevan's site. I liked how she made it clear that she lived, and is continuing to live, a normal life with challenges like everybody else. She only recently sold her business, she has 4 children and 7 grand kids, and has a boyfriend 19 years younger than her. In the last two years she has become 100% raw and said it has given her even more energy!
She is a thriving example that us veg*ns will continue to look fabulous well into our senior years! Still any skeptics out there? No? I didn't think so!
I just became Mimi's friend on facebook which is where she mostly communicates with her fans and answers questions. So, add her as a friend today (She is under Mimi Kirk)! You know you want a sexy 70 year old veg as one of your friends. Who can say they have that?
Ps. I just made Nikki's Sundried tomato zucchini hummus, and let me tell you, it totally ROCKS! It's so yummy and you really have to try it. I also made some banana oatmeal raisin cookies from A Grateful Life on the Gone Raw website. This is a raw recipe but I don't have a dehydrator so i improvises. I turned on my oven to the lowest setting for a couple minutes then turned it off. Placing the cookies in the oven when it cooled down a bit (my lowest setting is 140). These were great but I think I should have taken them out a bit sooner. Super yummy too! Sorry no picts as I'm still waiting for my laptop charger to arrive.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Did you get your laugh on today?

Hey Everyone!

So, technology is not on my side today. I've lost internet connection throughout the day, ,my laptop AC adapter decided it was time to die, and my work computer won't accept my USB stick. Ever heard the expression 'when it rains, it pours.' Well that about sums up my day. Luckily, I work from home so I can blog from my other computer. The bad thing is I can't access any pictures. So, what's a girl to do? Write a post about laughing things off, of course!

I think I can speak for most people when I say, laughing is awesome. I mean when something makes me laugh I am usually infected by it for a couple of minutes. It feels so darn good to get a good chuckle out that it must be good for you to do on a regular basis. They do say that laughter is the best medicine!

In fact, laughing is actually called a healing activity. Natural News says that laughter can be broken down to three levels. The biophysical, the biochemical, and the bioenergetic levels.

Biophysical Level- Laughter moves lymph around your body, boosting immune system function. So, why not jump on your rebounder and laugh hysterically. Or, is that not a good idea? I will test it out and let you know:) Killing two birds with one stone here guys and gals!

Biochemical Level- Every minute of laughter produces so many healing biochemicals in the body which you simply could not find in a pill. These chemicals range from serotonin to immune helpers like interleukins. Having these circulate around in your body can produce numerous health benefits including reduced chronic stress.

Bioenergetic Level- As you are laughing hysterically, you are actually breathing in heaps of oxygen. All this oxygen has to go somewhere, so the ciruculation system picks up the pace to get it to your cells. Along with improved circulation, comes mental clarity and disease prevention. People actually go to oxygen bars to improve their focus. Yes, these people are paying for lots and lots of air! Also, did you know that many parasites, and even cancer, cannot live in an oxygenated environment?

Research by Dr. Lee Berk suggests that even if you know you are about to laugh, that is enough to change the biochemistry. This anticipation caused the increase of two hormones, beta-endorphins and human growth hormone. The endorphins are involved in elevating mood and the HGH is involved in immune function. Another study looked at the reduction of bad stress hormones and found that the same anticipation of laughter reduced cortisol, epinephrine, and dopac (related to dopamine).

Laughter is so good for you they even have classes where you just laugh. How cool would that be to have in University or high school?

So, how does laughing actually take place? A cool article by Care2 sums it up pretty well. First off, it actually only takes about a half a second for something to register as being funny. This causes electrical "waves" to move about the higher functions of the cerebral cortex, the outer most tissue of the cerebrum. The left hemisphere of the brain analyzes the words and their structure. The right side of the brain makes sense out of it. The visual-sensory section of the occipital lobe conjures up images, the limbic section makes you happier, and the motor sections make you laugh or smile.
It amazes me how quickly all these connections can take place allowing me to laugh!
So, have a great laugh today! Whether its a movie, a funny pet moment, or pasting a post-it to your co-workers back (be nice!), enjoy a chuckle and know that you are doing a great thing for your health!
P.S. if you want to watch something super funny and cute, check out the YouTube vid below. The hubby and I watched it over and over and it still didn't get old.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sending the Love to Haiti

Happy Monday!

I had the craziest working weekends and so I'm sorry for the lack of posts. Nothing too much to report, except Olympic stuff which I'll talk about another time. I really feel like I need to talk about the devastation that has hit one of the poorest countries on the planet.

I knew that it happened, and I knew it was bad, really, really bad. Yet, somehow I still didn't completely "feel" the pain, the sorrow, and the hopelessness of the people. That is until yesterday. I don't have cable TV so a lot of what I have seen and heard was through brief news articles here and there. So, I came home last night after a long day and I opened my inbox and clicked on the an email from the Huffington Post who is hosting the journal of Dr. Mark Hyman. He is in Haiti providing medical aid, along with his wife Pier who is an orthopedic surgeon. I read his post and totally lost it, tears were just pouring down. Not only was it heart wrenching to hear his stories about the suffering of the Haitians, but it killed me to feel his own helplessness. He is a trained medical doctor and he has to pick and choose who he can treat as supplies have not arrived. It was so personal and it felt like I physically absorbed his words and they settled heavily on my heart. I became angry that they cannot get a bottle of water or a piece of bread and yet here in North America businesses and people alike throw away perfectly good food. I quickly realized being angry would not help anyone and I had to DO something. So, today I made a donation via CBC's website. In Canada, the government is going to match donations up to $50 million which is pretty cool.

There is a special place in my heart for those who are living in poverty and have little hope. I have vowed to myself to visit as many of these countries as I can once I'm an ND and to try to make a difference in some small way.

I live a privileged life, and most people in North America can say the same. The hardest decision I have to make some days is whether to have one piece of chocolate or two. I truly feel humbled by Mark Hyman and the people of Haiti . I pray that all the donations and volunteers can help re-build the crumbled nation and the spirit of the Haitian people.

If you can donate anything to help those in Haiti, please do. Coffee shops here in Nelson are donating tips and earnings. So, check out your local business to see if they are collecting donations or supplies. Below I've listed some charities if you don't know where to donate online and some other cool ways to get Haiti some help.

Red Cross

Click to Help Haiti via Care2 - FREE, simply click on the button and the Sponsors do the rest!
Provides funds to OXFAM.

World Water Relief- Clean water is so scarce. They will use the funds to install water filtration systems.

The little baby below was delivered by a Red Cross volunteer. Unfortunately, her mother passed away.

Please send out lots of prayers and positive thoughts to those in Haiti!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

How to naturally freshen the air in your home!

Hey all,

Now, there are so many different air fresheners out there. The puff, they spray, they glow, they do so many things except add to your health. In fact, they are quite toxic! Now, I love my home to smell good but I do not use commercial air fresheners. In fact, I make my own and it takes about a minute! I'll tell you all about freshening up your home the natural way but I first want to talk about why commercial air fresheners are harmful.

A recent study by the NRDC (National Resource Defence Council) stated that 12 out of 14 tested air fresheners contained phthalates. These chemicals are known hormone disruptors. The phthalate compounds can cause reduced sperm counts, cause structural abnormalities in the male reproductive system, and some studies even suggest that they might cause cancer. Especially sensitive to these chemicals are unborn babies and young children. The government of California even stated that five types of phthalates (including those in air fresheners) are known to cause birth defects or reproductive problems. Another shout out to all you Moms and moms-to-be out there! An article by Care2 noted a study that found mothers who lived in homes with daily air fresheners had a 26% increased risk of depression. If they can make their effects known at the endocrine level, what can they do at the respiratory level (or any other level for that matter). Breathing these chemicals into our lungs can cause great harm, including asthma. Our Canadian government has even asked employers to not use them in the work place as they can trigger an asthma attack.

The scary part about these products is that the government does not set safety standards for them and that means there is virtually no testing. Yikes! And if you think you will just check the label, think again! They do not have to list it in the ingredients. So, you really do not know what you are spraying, breathing, or absorbing in your home.

This $200 million dollar industry needs to have some standards. It's crazy that they can get their product on the shelves but it can take years to approve a natural supplement that comes from a plant. Something is definitely wrong here.

Please keep these boogy monsters out of your home and freshen it up naturally!
  • Open doors and windows- This is the easiest option and the best way to get rid of odors (in my opinion). I know this may not be an option in the winter where you live so take advantage of it in the summer.

  • Vinegar- Place bowls of vinegar in the area where there is an odor or boil 1 cup of water with 1 tablespoon on vinegar (if the odor is in the kitchen)

  • Baking Soda- This is a great thing for your fridge or freezer. Just buy a box and leave it open in the fridge/freezer. Replace every couple of months.
  • Essential Oils - Heat these up and they can make the room smell delish!

Now, my favorite and best defence for household odors is to boil some citrus peels (from one orange, grapefruit, or lemon) with various herbs such as cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, or ginger. I add about a teaspoon of each.

The wonderful smell lasts a long time and its super cheap to make. So, next time something makes your nose crinkle and your hand wave rapidly in front of you, try a more natural approach . You will be breathing easy once again and your house will smell good enough to eat!

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Weekend overview-Skip-Bo, flying avo's, and pre-birthday present

Hey everybody,

Hope you all had a great weekend. I know its already Wednesday but I wanted to include everything in one humongous post so I'm including what I did on Monday and Tuesday too. Okay, where do I start. We had a great time Saturday morning chit chatting while I did my TT workout. I told you I was dedicated to this program:) Then we went out to The Full Circle for brunch. I had this amazing wrap made with black bean hummus, tofu, sprouts, and a bunch of veggies. So yummy! When I have great food at a restaurant I try to make a mental note of what's in it so that I can attempt it at home. Now I have a picture which is even more motivation. After brunch we walked around downtown a little bit and then went for tea at Oso Negro. They have this really cool dandelion tea from Swiss that is a blend of extracts from dandelion root, barley, rye, beet root, and chicory root. It's a coffee substitute that is caffeine free. It really does have the taste of a dark roast coffee and I really enjoy it. Mom had it with steamed rice milk and that tasted so good! The coffee (and tea) there is all organic and free trade so two thumbs up to Oso Negro. After drinking our delicious teas and coffees we headed home (ten steps away he he) and played some Skip-Bo. I'm not a huge card game player but I like a game that has promotes a healthy dose of competition (especially between your partner). Ya, that's right I was talking smack! My good hearted comments did nothing to confuse Ry but they did cause my mom to go into laughing hysterics. Ahh good fun! Ry also wanted some cookies so I made the Happy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies from Vegweb. These were super yummy! Probably the best cookies I have made so far. We also watched a few episodes of The Dog Whisperer. Mom loved it and was absolutely amazed at his confidence. I love how he can handle the tiny dogs with just two fingers. This brings us to Sunday which involved more exploring, tea, grocery shopping, and skip-bo. It was nice to have an extra pair of hands on our shopping day as we need to walk to a couple of different stores. We started off at Save on Foods as we have a gift card for there, then we move on to Wholesale Club for the rest of our staples like fruit, some veggies, oatmeal ( for Ry's breakfast), trail mix, beans, legumes, and other miscellaneous stuff. The final stop is usually the Kootenay Co-op where I pick up all my organic greens. I try to eat organic as much as possible but we are on a pretty strict budget so I sacrifice some things. If I don't buy it organic I check and re-check the label to ensure that I'm not eating a gazillion preservatives and chemicals. This is enough for me and I don't beat myself up for not eating 100% organic. So, after shopping we played some more games and watched a movie. Nice and chill. Then Monday morning (Mom's birthday) after my workout we snuck out to another breakfast at The Full Circle. So delish! This time I had the veggie (tofu) scramble and Mom had the grown-up grilled cheese. Suiting hey? We both enjoyed it to the last morsel! After breakie we were off! We explored some second hand shops where I picked up some interesting health books by Dr. Murray (a popular ND), Dr. Neal Bernard, and Linus Pauling. I can't wait to get reading! Also at the thrift store they had this pet halter there and I bought it hoping that it would fit Nemo so we could slowly introduce him to the outdoors . Yet, he is still too large! It's too bad as it is bright pink which would go so well with his personality. LOL! Then Mom bought me my new mini-trampoline! I'm so stoked to use it as I have read into how good they are for your lymphatic system plus so many other health benefits. Rebounders unite!
We realized it was passed 4 and so we rushed home as we had lots of cooking (and uncooking to do). I started off the meal by making Heathy's Tomato Basil soup. It was my first experience with a raw soup and it was a great one! I loved how smooth and how pungent the flavors were. I topped the soup with some cashew cream which was awesome! I will definitely make this soup again. I also made a huge salad and two dressings. One was a simple olive oil and lemon vinaigrette from Veganomicon and the other was the Green Goddess dressing from Rawsome . As the kitchen in my place is tiny, I don't have that much counter space. So, I was trying to make things easier on myself and to put the dressing in the fridge until we were ready for it. Well, I lost my grip on the bowl and it dropped to the floor spraying the Green Goddess dressing everywhere, including the whole right side of my mom. I felt so bad but we laughed about it in the end:) Even though it was Mom's birthday, she wanted to cook up a dish that got rave reviews from my aunts back home! It was this great pasta dish with cherry
tomatoes, radicchio, and chicken(I went without the chicken). It was yummy and spicy because of the radicchio! I really wanted to show mom that raw foods is delicious and so I made Ani Phyo's raspberry ganache fudge cake for the finale. Apparently raw desserts are the gateway "drug" for conventional eaters, and I agree! This take takes so little time to put together (besides the soaking time for the walnuts) which is fantastic. And hello? This cake is full of super foods including walnuts, cocao, and honey (I used this instead of Agave). Mom loved it and she even took the recipe home! We sang Happy Birthday and she blew out the match (we didn't have any and we devoured the cake. Although, we did leave a little bit for the next day. Just enough so we didn't feel guilty. I really enjoyed it with the raspberries this time but I think I should have added more! Mom is Skip-Bo obsessed , you see in the picture she wouldn't even put down her cards to blow out the Now that we are on the topic of sweets, I also put together some sunflower seed-date-cocao-coconut balls that are always good to have in your freezer. Mom loved these as well but they were a little tough on her teeth, as they harden right up in the freezer. Mom loves to have a glass of red wine so we trucked it to the liquor store and picked up an Organic red wine from Chili. I was really impressed at the Organic wine selection they had and am glad that this industry is going green too. Now, I used to be a huge wine lover as I once worked for viticulture (wine grape) researchers, but over time I shifted to drinking beer. So, it took me a 1/2 glass just to get used to it again but it was really nice along with the rich cake. Ry likes his beer so Mom bought him a tallie so he wouldn't feel left out. He definitely has a designer mind, so when he was left with the dilemma of having a beer and no holder, he came up with this ingenious design.
Ya, he cut out a hole in my mini-tramp box that he was also using a laptop stand. What a a lazy guy!

This brings us to Tuesday and we were all pretty tired. Too much food , perhaps? So, Ryan went off to school and Mom and I wandered the town and had more tea. We tried to take a good mother-daughter pict and we eventually got one but it only took 20 tries lol. Mom is pretty picky and she kept looking way up lol!

Thank You for coming to visit Mom!

PS- Ryan decided to give me my birthday present already ( My b-day is in March) and am I ever glad he did. He adopted Nemo!!! Of course, I cried and gave lots of hugs and Nemo..just kidding! But I am so happy that he is part of the family as he is the coolest cat I've ever known. Welcome to your forever home, buddy!

Yes, he loves to blog too! But he also loves mousey more (and my shopping bags)!

Have a great rest of the week and hope that you get to spend some time with your Mom too!

I'm still here and Happy Birthday Mom!

Hey all,

Sorry for the lack of posting but I wanted to soak up my visiting time with my mutti (mom is Mennonite German). My mom is from Paraguay and she speaks a lower dialect of German which is cool! I can understand words but I can't speak back, unfortunately. Anyways, we are having a grand time hanging out and walking all around Nelson. We ate some fabulous food at my favorite restaurant here called The Full Circle. We also drank lots of dandelion tea (Mom had a dandelion latte with rice milk, YUM) and played many rounds of Skip-Bo. I also got a late Christmas present, a mini-trampoline! I'm so excited to bound away on it and give my lymphatic system a boost. I introduced mom to Cesar Millan and his show The Dog Whisperer. Ry and I are truly mesmerized by his abilities to calm down crazy dogs! We are trying to learn his ways so when we get our dog, eventually, we will be in a calm, submissive state! Also, as yesterday was Mom's birthday we stayed in and made dinner and dessert, and sipped on Organic wine. I started the feast off with raw tomato basil soup from Heathy and topped it with some cashew cream, YUM! Then mom was intent on making a recipe she brought from home , so we had a lovely, light pasta dish. We finished off the night with the raw raspberry ganache fudge cake from the lovely, Ani Phyo . All in all, a fabulous night of eating! I will do a more extensive post later with lots of pictures but I have to run now as we are meeting my good friend Synje for tea and I haven't finished my green smoothie yet!

Have a great day and I'll be back on Wednesday with the longest blog post ever!

Friday, January 15, 2010


Hey all,

Just a quick note today about an amazing event that is happening in March. WISH or Women's International Summit of Health begins on March 8 for 9 consecutive days. The best part about this event is that it is absolutely FREE. Yes, free! The Raw Divas have been working super hard to make this happen and I'm so grateful. What an amazing opportunity to learn about the many different aspects of woman's health from the best experts in the field. I listened to The Raw Mom Summit last year, even though I'm not a mom, and I learned so much valuable information. This truly encouraged me to take further steps to eat more raw foods.

So, who is going to be speaking at this great Event? Here is just a small sample of the fantastic people they have lined up:

Rory Freedman- Anyone heard of Skinny Bitch? Yes, this is one of the Authors of this insanely popular diet (or lifestyle) book. Should be a great interview!

Victoria Boutenko- One of the original raw foodies who has done extensive research on the benefits of a raw food lifestyle, including green smoothies. She always has some new research to add so it will be very interesting to hear her interview.

Brendan Brazier- Vegan Triathlete, speaker, and author of multiple books including The Thrive Diet. I use his Living Harvest and Vega products and highly recommend them. This interview will be great for the plant-eating athletes and work out babes out there.

Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo- This lady is a chiropractor, certified acupuncturist, certified clinical nutritionist, and much more! I listen to her whenever she gives a telecast and I learn something new every time.

So, if you want to take your health to the next level, sign up on the website today! I know you will not regret it! You'll only regret it if you don't!

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Eyes Wide Open

Hey everyone,

Since I really began looking into the healthiest options for my body, I came across a few topics that really shook up my world. One of these topics was dairy and how it (and high amounts of animal protein) actually leaches calcium from our bones. Even though I never liked drinking milk, even as a baby (sorry mom!), I liked dairy products. After reading about dairy and the whole dairy industry, I have reduced my cheese consumption to a couple times a year. I want to get rid of it completely as I feel my body change right away and my skin suffers too. Another topic was just how much the meat industry is destroying the planet. Eating the close to 200 pounds of meat that people in North America eat is worse than driving a gas guzzling car. This is one reason I went veg. You can help the planet by even just eating vegetarian one day a week. Check out Meatless Monday . Recently, I came across another such topic that has changed the way I look at science and medicine. As I want to become an ND (naturopathic doctor), I try to keep updated on what is happening in the conventional and alternative medicine worlds. So, when I found the trailer for House of Numbers I couldn't believe that I had not heard about the theory that HIV does not cause AIDS. Check out the trailer below.

I also did a bit more research into this topic and it is really quite interesting. I'm going to refer to an analogy that was made on a Natural News article to help explain the role of HIV. First off, any virus can be either a "pilot" or a "passenger". A pilot type virus can change the physiology of a cell and cause it to be more susceptible to disease. A passenger type virus lives off the cell but does not cause significant changes that steer it towards disease. Guess which one HIV is? Yep, its a passenger virus. Did you the know the founder of HIV, Dr. Robert Gallo, has since been accused of professional misconduct. Also, the test he developed for HIV has been found to be fraud. Dr. Gallo's HIV-founding partner , Luc Montagnier even admitted later on that HIV doesn't have the ability to cause such immune depression as is seen in AIDS sufferers. He also claims that you can be exposed to AIDS and not get infected if you have a strong immune system to fight it off. The implications of this are immense as you might imagine!

The HIV hypothesis states that HIV causes AIDS by killing CD4+ directly or indirectly after a 10 year or longer incubation period. The numbers of these cells will get to extremely low numbers ( less than 300 per ml) which leads to severe immune deficiency. Now that you apparently have the HIV virus, you are put on a treatment plan. This would usually involve AZT, a drug originally produced for cancer treatments but was found to be too TOXIC for even cancer cells. .This powerful drug literally sweeps cells, healthy and sick, from the body. So, what happens next? The immune system is practically destroyed. This is quite scary that big pharma is pushing this extreme drug.

Anything that destroys the immune system causes AIDS!

I always assumed AIDS was mainly spread through sexual activity, but this is apparently not the case. As the disease is highly associated with homosexuals, this was automatically assumed to be sexual in nature. Again, not the case. It seems that it is more related to drug and alcohol use (immune suppressing). An article by Mohammed Ali Al-Bayati stated that in1997 the US had approximately 570,000 adult AIDS cases and 90% of them were male homosexuals and heterosexuals and homosexual drug users.

Now, what about Africa? There is an epidemic of AIDS on that continent. If the theory holds true that AIDS is due to severe immune system depression, it makes sense that there are so many sufferers due to little quality food and poor water.

WOW, so much to think about! I found this to be quite an overwhelming topic as it goes against all that I thought HIV/AIDS was about. I hope that I did not offend anyone, as this was not my intention. I'm not taking this research as the be-all-end-all. I just like to look at all the available research out there and to think critically about what is being said.

Hope you have a great Friday!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Feeling the Love, green clean, and giddiness!

Hello everyone,

Happy Wednesday to you all! I am so excited that this week is half way done as Friday is when my mom is arriving from the Okanagan. I haven't seen her since September so there is a lot of catch up to be done and sight-seeing as she only been to Nelson once. I love seeing the awe that visitors have when they get to experience an amazing view, a beautiful beach, or amazing food that they don't have back home. It really makes you appreciate your surroundings. As its my mom's birthday when she is here we are going to go out for dinner. I will take pictures of the meal for sure!! I'm lucky too that Nelson is super veggie friendly, even the steakhouse advertises that they have veggie dishes. Yum!

I want to give a huge, I mean HUGE shout out to Nikki and Evergreen for letting me know about my little commenting problem. Sorry, if you have tried to comment and the word verification was cut-off. I have changed the format so the comments will open in a new window. Looking forward to hearing from you!

I want to talk about some of the food I made this week and then I'm going to talk about something that happened yesterday that has made me totally giddy with delight:)

So, I made some of my chili and I'm amazed at how it gets better and better the more I make it. I took some pictures this time so you know I actually did do some work in the kitchen this week! It really is an easy dish and so economical too. I want to try it in my crock pot but I keep forgetting to dig it out of the box it has been since I got it as a wedding present (sorry auntie, I promise I will use it soon). Maybe I shouldn't have admitted that? lol!

I also made some sunflower seed Mexican pate from Brigette Mars's book Rawsome. I made some tweaks to suit my taste. I added a 1/2 cup soaked sundried tomatoes and some of the
soaking water just because my little food processor was having some trouble. My taste tester (hubby) told me he would like it with some fresh tomatoes. I didn't have any on hand so I took a couple tablespoons of the canned diced tomatoes I was going to add to the chili. This was great, although a fresh tomato would have really topped it off. I really like these with tortilla chips or with my salad. I usually add a dollop or two and then half the amount of dressing. love it! Pates are one of the best raw additions to my diet. Try a pate today, they are fantastic with a sandwich, salad, cracker, or veggies. Check out gone raw for some tried and tested recipes.

I'd like to switch gears a little bit and talk about green cleaning. I try to buy Eco-friendly cleaning products for every part of the house. I mainly use vinegar and baking soda. This combo is so effective and my house doesn't smell like a pine cones or a bottle of perfume afterward. Laundry detergent is one of those areas where I strive to get the best product out there. I'm quite sensitive to smells and the hubby's skin is very sensitive to chemicals. I have used a variety of Eco-friendly brands , including Ecover and Seventh Generation. They are all great and I highly recommend them. The problem comes with the price, usually the Eco-friendly products are significantly more expensive than your typical laundry detergent (at least in my neck of the woods). So, I looked into making my own and found a ton of recipes online. I followed the one for powdered detergent on the Planet Green website. This was so easy, taking only about 10 minutes to complete. I used a regular unscented bar of soap as the stores around here wanted too much for a more natural one (I already blew my weekly budget). The recipe barely made a dent in the Borax or Washing Soda, so its really great on the pocket book. The washing soda and borax came to about $10 and the bar of soap around $2. So, there is the initial investment but this will provide you with laundry detergent for a long time. The verdict? I washed my first load of laundry today and my clothes are nice and clean. I'm so glad to have a simple detergent with no added chemicals or perfumes. If you like to have a nice scent to your clothes, try adding some essential oils. Next week I'll make more and try it with an organic bar of soap. Or, I might get really ambitious and make the liquid version. Let me know if you make your own detergent and what has worked best for your clothes!

Now, what am I totally delighted about? Well, Evergreen read my post where I hoped that I could match her Happy 101 blog awards next time. Then she gave me an award! WOW, thanks Evergreen. I am smiling from ear to ear!

First: Copy the award image in your post.
Then, list 10 things that make you happy, try to do at least one of them today, and tag 10 bloggers that brighten your day.

For those 10 bloggers who get the award, you must link back to my blog!….the last part..only if you want too!

Ten things that make me happy? Can I list 100?...Just kidding! Here we go:

1. My hubby- Every day just keeps getting better! The support and love from him is endless and he truly is my soulmate. He still makes me laugh (benefit of dry humor, it never dries up haha) too much and we can still have fun doing the simple things!

2. My two families- My family will drop anything to help somebody out and they just genuinly care and love. My other family (hubby's side) is just as supportive and caring. They took me into their family and treated me with such kindness and love. They are so close and I'm so excited to have two sisters now!

3. BC- I love BC and all that it offers. The mountains, the lakes,the beaches, the ocean, the wildlife, its just incredible. I hope to discover more of my beautiful province in the summer. So much I have yet to see!

4. Blogging- Even though I'm relatively new to the blogosphere, I'm appreciative of the community that I'm surrounded with. Blogging has also allowed me to be proud of what I believe in, and to tell people about it!

5. Green Smoothies - I'm so happy to have the ability to use organic greens and fruits to make such powerful and delicious smoothies. These make my day!

6. My foster cats- These little critters have brought me so many smiles and laughs. In return, they have shown such love and affection.

7. Music - Music does something to the blood in my veins, it feels electric! I love to groove!

8. Turbulance Training- Yes, I love my exercise! I love moving my body and getting a sweat! It makes me happy to sit down after a workout and know I kicked but.

9. Eating more raw foods - It makes me happy to think that the changes I'm making to my diet are greatly benefitting my health. I love making new things and trying great recipes.

10. Doing things to better the planet- Recycling more, eating items that are not packaged, using eco-friendy products, and supporting local businesses. These put a smile on my face as I know it helps!

Now for 10 Bloggers who make my day:

The happy raw kitchen
Choosing raw
Renegade Health
Adventures of Raw Goddess Heathy
Yummy raw kitchen
A love for New Recipes
Vegan Dad
Fatfree Vegan Kitchen
Love Veggies and Yoga

Hopefully, you check out these amazing bloggers! Have a great Thursday!

During my workout today Nemo was acting funny as usual! I look over and he is on his back in the prayer position. He's very spiritual, apparently. love him!

Monday, January 11, 2010


Hey all,

The post title explains a lot about the weekend I had. First off, I tried a new brand of dark chocolate from my local co-op. It is called Flirt and the company is Zazubean. I didn't read all the ingredients, just the first couple as I didn't want any milk ingredients in there. Anyways, so I got home and took a closer look and that's when I noticed the bar contained horny goat weed. I have not heard of such a weed so I looked it up and apparently it is a much valued herb in Chinese medicine. Its use , as you might have guessed, is to support a healthy sex life. So, if your are looking for a little natural booster, try some horny goat weed and combine it with dark chocolate and, well, you have an electric combination! Some other ingredients in there were maca and damiana leaf. Maca is an ancient tuber that grows in the Andes and was used by the natives in the area for a multitude of uses, including increasing sexual performance. Yet, according to Dr.Weil studies on the subject are not conclusive. I think maca is a healthy food and so if it helps in the bedroom or not, I am happy to eat it , especially with chocolate! Damiana leaf is another shrub from Central and South America. A good, old wikipedia search says that this herb was used by the natives of these areas in a tea form. It is thought to be an aphrodisiac. Yet, the main reason why I bought this chocolate was because it had acai berries and cherries in it, plus the wrapper is an awesome pink color!. This is the real truth, I swear (wink, wink)! I really liked the chocolate but I thought there should have been more acai and cherries in there. There are 9 flavors available and they all have funky names like Squeeze, Smooch, and Ego! There is only one possible no-no about this chocolate bar. It contains glycerin. I have emailed the company to see if this is vegetable-based which I really hope it is. Although, I wish there was no glycerin in there at all.

The hubby and I enjoyed two visits to just one of the great coffee shops in Nelson called Oso Negro. Everything about the place is great. Two levels of seating, great organic coffee and tea, fresh baked goodies (mostly vegan), and lunch too! The best part about it for us is that it is only 10 steps from our place. Talk about convenience! If you are planning on coming to the Kootenays this place is a must try!

Onto my workouts, I just finished week 2 of my Turbulance Training Journey! I am totally loving it so far and can't wait to try more of Craig's programs (check out my post on how fun TT is). I am currently using TT intermediate and bodyweight intervals. I am so dedicated to this and even took pictures so I can compare my body before and after. I might even feel gutsy one day and post them on here...eek! So, I hope your fitness routine is kicking you in the but and getting you the fat loss (or muscle gain) you want.

Now for the bitter part of my weekend. I have a second job and am liking it so far! It's always hard to start working in a new atmosphere but the other employees and the manager are great! There was mistake with the schedule and I was put down to work when I requested time off for when my mom was in town. I got super upset and it seemed like I might have to work the whole time she was going to be here. All weekend I had knots in my stomach and was withdrawn because I was so looking forward to the visit which then seemed ruined. I found out today that I am good to go and only have to work one short day. Yippee! I don't know why I let myself get that way but I did. I know it is not healthy! I am definitely going to work on this.

Then I made some cookies as the hubby was craving something sweet. I didn't want to search through all my cookbooks and blogs for a recipe so I trusted supercook and put in the ingredients I had and chose a recipe. Well, they turned out horribly and were nothing what a oatmeal cookies should be. The hubby sprinkled some brown sugar on top and then resorted to dipping them is some of my mom's apricot jam. I should have know better than to use a recipe on a site that I never used before. Oh well, live and learn!


I hope you had a SWEET weekend! I'm looking forward to this week of preparing for my mom to come and I want to make some good food too!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Food Stuffs!

Happy Friday!

It's Nemo and me checking in! He loves the computer , in fact, he would like to sit on it every time I have it on my lap. He smiles like that too! Hope you have some great things planned for the weekend. I have to work during the day on Saturday and Sunday so I don't have too much going on. I don't mind though, a quiet weekend is a great time to catch up on some reading whether it be books or blogs. Another relaxing activity the hubby and I love to do is walk around the town with our coffee and tea discovering new stores, have-to-try restaurants, and cool houses. Hope you have fun discovering new in your own town. I'll let you know if I find anything blog worthy!

So, I thought I haven't posted anything about what I eat so here it goes:

In the morning I try to drink a glass of water or herbal tea before I eat anything. It helps to wake up my body and get it ready for the food to come. I then wait 10 minutes before I eat my breakfast.

Breakfast usually consists of 2 pieces of Silver Hills bread, Squirrelly is our favorite, with some almond butter and just a few shavings of raw coconut butter. Otherwise, I have a green smoothie usually with kale, bananas, hemp protein, and cinnamon.

Just a little side note! Silver Hills is located in Abbotsford, BC and so if you live on the coast and have time to stop by it is definitely worth the trip. They have a little store on site where they sell the "seconds" and if you aren't worried about slice size or having a bad that says Squirrrley, then you can save yourself some dough (sorry, couldn't resist). For instance, my mom is bringing me up some of their bread next week and she got the loaves for $2 each, here they are close to $5. Great deal!

Lunch is a highly variable meal for me. I might hav some leftovers like soup, chili, steamed veggies, or rarely, pasta. I also might make a huge salad. This week I had an awesome salad made up of two kinds of kale, romaine lettuce, carrots, red cabbage, parsley, and dulse. I used the Mediterranean Olive Oil and Lemon Vinaigrette from Veganomicon . This was so great and exactly what I was craving. I also made the Ginger Carrot dressing from Brendan Brazier's The Thrive Diet. This was pretty good except the apple cider vinegar was a bit too overpowering. When I make it next time I'll try it with less ACV and see how it goes.

Dinner lately has consisted of a lot of chili, quinoa, steamed squash, yams, and salad. I am on a pretty strict budget so I have to buy food items that will stretch my dollar. Beans or lentils are one of those items and so I have been buying a bulk bag of them every couple of weeks. I mainly buy kidney beans, and split peas. I like the split pea soup recipe from fatfreevegan and usually replace the potato with some sweet potatoes or yams. I like the texture and flavor these give to the soup. I never remember to buy the celery seed powder so I add marjoram and increase the amount of the other spices until the flavor is fantastico!

The following recipe is somewhat based on the Skinny Bitch in the Kitch Cha Cha Chili recipe but I made some modifications to spice it up a notch and I also added some more veggies. This is so great as it will last for a couple of days and I can have some time away from the kitchen or some time for experimenting.

Vegan Chili Extraordinaire (makes enough to last me three days worth of dinner and lunch for two people)

2 Cups Kidney beans, soaked overnight ( you can add more beans if you like). I've also done it with different beans like pintos.
2 Onions , chopped
3 Cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup chili powder
salt, as desired, or add some dulse
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons dried oregano or 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
1 teaspoon dried sage or 1 tablespoon fresh sage
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more if you like it spicy
28 oz can of chopped or whole tomatoes
1 can tomato paste, or 1/2 can of tomato sauce
1/2 cup rice or lentils
1 can of organic corn, or 1 ear of organic corn
2-3 kale leaves, chopped finely in food processor
2 carrots, chopped or grated
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped

Rinse the soaked beans and add to a large pot. Add fresh water so that there is about an inch of water covering the beans. Cook the beans until they reach a boil then reduce to medium heat. Cook for approximately 30 minutes, checking their softness regularly after 20 minutes.

In a large pan melt some coconut oil (or oil of choice) and fry the onions. Fry them until soft and then add the minced garlic along with the chili powder, salt (if using dulse, add later), pepper, oregano, sage, marjoram, and cayenne. Cook until the onions and garlic are coated with the spices. If the mixture starts sticking to the pan add some water and scrape the bottom lightly. Add this to the beans. Also add the rice or lentils, tomatoes, carrots, and celery. Cook for 20-30 minutes.

Add the corn, kale, pepper, tomato paste, and dulse. Cook until veggies are tender (15-20 minutes). Enjoy!

I had a couple of picts to show you of my latest pot of chili but they were on my memory stick that has now erased all my picts:( So, I'll be sure to take extra the next time I make this, which will most likely be next week.

Have a great weekend and do something relaxing and fun!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bloggers, bloggers , and more bloggers

Hello all!

Hope everyone is having a great week! I still feel like tomorrow is going to be Wednesday. It usually happens in the opposite direction, It's Monday at 5:30 and you are telling people to have a great weekend. Oh, the embarrassment! So, how awesome is it that its already Friday tomorrow? Totally awesome, I say. Anywho, this week I have been adding new bloggers to my bookmarks like they are going out of style. I've added so many new blogs I haven't even had the chance to add them to my blogroll. Yet, what I have seen so far, looks really yummy and inspiring! I like to read blogs that have recipes or food talk, advice on a healthy diet, and generally have a great character about them. So, here are a few that you can add to your bookmarks or your Delicious page:

  • Love Veggies and Yoga- Cool lady who shows lots of pictures of what she eats and links to recipes she uses. Also, there is lots of talk about yoga as she is a teacher!
  • Hungry Hungry Hippie- As the name suggests, this girl likes her (health) food! She talks about eating a clean diet, making great food, and life in general. There is a lot of spunk here too!
  • A Love For New Recipes - This is another clean eating blog. She covers raw, vegan, and gluten free recipes. Great place to get inspiration!

There are so many more but I'll get cracking and add them to my blogroll . How I found all these awesome bloggers was through the Happy 101 blog awards that were passed out. What a great way to find new blogs that you may have not come across yet! And congratulations to all those who received an award. I'm striving to beat Evergreen at The Happy Raw Kitchen for most awards next year! Just kidding Evergreen, you cannot be beaten! I at least am hoping for an honorable mention:) Lots of competition out there though so I better get cracking, I mean blogging!

Have a great Friday and I'll be posting a recipe for a some awesome chili really soon!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Unbeaten Path

Good Morning!

I have been reading some crazy inspirational blog posts today (and here). I’m feeling pumped! Here’s a little story of my struggles to be my own person. In the past I was always leery of people who would want you to do some self discovery to find your passions, needs, weaknesses, etc. You mean I have to go out into the big, scary world and blaze my own trail? No, no! I need direction, guides, step-by-step instructions, anything so I don’t need to use my brain or my personality. Please, please, pretty please, let mebe a robot! I was so afraid to be myself, I wasn’t. Being a follower created a lot of inner turmoil, suppressing my soul to the point where I didn’t know who I was anymore. I didn’t want to be around friends, I cried all the time, I fought with my husband, and made my amazing family pull away. But, I am happy to say my soul won the battle and I am now my own person, creating my own path. I am still tempted to be a follower, and sometimes I fail, but I get right back on my horse and move on. This has been such a HUGE development for me that I am near tears writing this post, actually whose kidding who, I AM crying. This has taken my whole adult life to figure out, and of course I just needed to accept and love who I am. The truth shall set you free!

I was raised in a single parent household. My mother is the strongest person I know (crying again), but I felt that in certain situations she could have used that louder roar I knew was in there somewhere. I believe that you learn habits from the environment in which you are surrounded. Naturally, I grew up being an independent lady but I still followed the crowds. Rarely did I speak my mind. Oh, the horror! This went on throughout high school and college. I very slowly started to change after I graduated but nothing major. I got married, adopted a plant based diet, and started my health info quest. This is when I learned to emotional side to health and how it impacts so many areas of life. I felt the urge to shine like never before. Yet, I still fought it and fought it some more. I was exhausted and feeling pretty sorry for myself. Then I woke up. I realized how destructive I was and that it’s not worth living life if you cannot express who you really are and live your passion. I feel like I have this new chance to make my life all that I want it to be. It’s going to take a lot of work, and yes, self discovery, but I finally feel ready. I will never forget what my seventh grade teacher said to my mom on the last day of class. He told her that I would be a leader in this world! Wow, such a powerful statement to say about a 13 year old. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, of course, but these days I use it as a constant reminder to be proud of the woman I am.

Wherever you are in your journey of “you”, I wish you lots of joy, excitement, and happiness as you blaze your path. You are awesome!!

Thanks to sraburton for such a great pict!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Got Sprouts?

Hey All,

One of the funnest, healthy foods I adopted into my diet is sprouts. You have seen those alfalfa sprouts at the grocery store, but how many times have you just pass them by? Too many, I’m sure. I’m even guilty of it. Yet, during my research into raw foods, I discovered that I was missing out on some big time health benefits. Sprouts are nutrient powerhouses and a great, cheap way to add some healthy food into your diet.

So, what is the difference between eating a piece of cooked broccoli, and eating broccoli sprouts? The difference is enzymes. A piece of broccoli that has been cooked above 115 degrees has denatured some/most of its enzymes. This results in more work for the body as it needs to use its own enzymes to break down proteins, carbs, and fats. The process of sprouting, according to Brigette Mars’s book Rawsome, brings to life the plant hormones in the seed called phytosterols. These hormones cause an increase in metabolic activity whereby complex nutrients such as, proteins, carbs, and fats are broken down into their simpler counterparts: amino acids, simple sugars, and free amino acids. Sprouts are obviously very rich in enzymes and can help your depleted enzyme reserves get back to positive levels. Another cool fact that Brigitte mentions is that seeds (and nuts) contain enzyme inhibitors. One such inhibitor called phytic acid prevents calcium, iron, and zinc from being absorbed into the cells. If you sprout seeds the enzyme inhibitors are destroyed. Other abundant compounds are chlorophyll, and vitamins C, B-complex, and E.

Society today is eating so much processed foods that the body is constantly being depleted of enzymes. As most processed foods are chemically made or heated to such high temperatures, there is nothing “living” in these foods that can help to digest it. Therefore, the body needs to produce digestive enzyme, also known as endogenous enzymes, to break these foods into their simpler components. If this sort of diet continues, the body may become so depleted that it can no longer produce specific enzymes (I’ll go into greater depth in a later post). This depletion can result in numerous conditions such as, allergies, skin problems, diabetes, cancer, weight gain, and lethargy.

An article on Natural News mentioned a new study that looked at efficacy of using broccoli sprouts to help reduce the colonization of H-pylori, which is linked with stomach cancer. This immediately caught my attention as my mom nearly died from a very aggressive colonization of H-pylori a few years ago. They discovered that a compound in the broccoli sprouts called Sulforaphane helps to activate cells in the body to produce enzymes that protect against free radicals and inflammation. Although the sprouts did not completely rid the body of the bacterium, it helped to reduce its spread. Isn’t that just awesome? I told you these things pack a punch!

The all popular alfalfa sprouts are loaded with saponins. The sprouted seed has over 450% greater saponin content compared to the unsprouted seed. Now that’s a great rate of production! These little guys reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL) but they leave the good cholesterol (HDL) to work its magic. Saponins also play a role in the immune system function. They wake up the immune system by increasing the activity of killer cells (T-lymphocytes).

There are so many types of sprouts to try, pick a few a give it a shot. My favorites are alfalfa, mung beans, peas, buckwheat, lentils, and sunflower seeds. On my list to try are broccoli, red clover, radish, and almonds. You can buy sprouting equipment such as bags, lids, and automatic sprouting machines, but I just use some mason jars which you cover with some mesh material or cheesecloth and then place an elastic around the mouth. I sometimes don’t even do this, using only my hands to prevent seeds from escaping. A quick and easy guide to sprouting can be found here. It’s so simple and takes only seconds a day. The kids will love it too as they can watch the seeds germinate and grow.

Have fun with some sprouts this year, your body will thank you!

Just a little side note! I needed something to relax after my memory stick decided to not work on my best camera and now over 200 pictures have disappeared like Houdini himself. So, who else to the rescue but Nemo the cat, whose hide-and-seek places need a little work but are always amusing. Thanks Nemo for brightening my day!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Hello everyone,

Hope you had a wonderful time ringing in the New Year. I'm so excited for a new year, new opportunities. I didn't make any resolutions ,per se, but I do have some goals that I want to achieve this year.

  • Self Confidence: I feel confident about my health choices, yet when I am around others who do not share the same passion for health, I tend to cower. I want to stand tall and proud for the positive choices I have made towards my health.
  • More Raw Foods: I recently have done a lot of reading and research about this lifestyle and believe it to be extremely beneficial. I incorporate as much raw, organic foods as I can into my diet but there is room for improvement.
  • Networking: I have always had a problem introducing myself to others. This is one of the reasons I created this blog. I know networking is how this whole blogging world works and I'm ready to dive in. I'm really excited to meet new people who share my same passions.
  • Vision Board: I read an article by Kris Carr on Crazy Sexy Life about creating a vision board and have had it on my mind ever since. I really like the idea of having your goals staring you in the face.

You are probably thinking that I will not have any fun during 2o10 but I do have a lot of fun things planned too. I plan on doing a lot of hiking, family visits to the sunny Okanagan, day trips to cool places, camping, and thrift store shopping with the best bargain-hunting ladies back home.

So, whatever 2010 holds for you, I hope it will be a great year of character building, green smoothies, and laughter.

Have a great first week of the year!