Thursday, February 25, 2010

The most amazing sunset and I'm out of here!

McClure Meadows at Sunset – Evolution Valley August 2009

in the High Sierra Backcountry

Hey my little vegans! Quickie post! I am off for anniversary camping this weekend with the hub-a-dub-dub. No kiddos on this trip (bittersweet – I always miss them). So anyways, if I get a chance I will finally snap a pic of the food I tote along on these camping trips. High Raw, lots of fresh produce and a little vegan cooked meals at night. I will tell you a secret (sssshhh!) I might sneak a little popcorn in at night while we watch Lost on the I-Touch. I soooo miss popcorn! We are almost finished with season 3 – and yes I like Sawyer…can't help myself.

Quickie list of food stuff I am bringing:


Nut milk, a tad bit of raw granola

Frozen green juice

Teeccino herbal tea

Apples, oranges, pineapple – all fresh and organic

Massaged kale salad with carrots and hemp seeds

Fresh guacamole and salsa with raw corn chips

Pure and Larabars (But I am trying to stay off these lately)

Gena's Chocomole


Mary Jane's outpost Vegan backcountry meals

Quinoa spaghetti with Amy's organic pasta sauce

Bell peppers and onion for fajita stir fry with a brown rice tortilla

Popcorn (ssshhh!)


Hope everyone has a great weekend and see you in March! Oh and we have to see the tax man on Monday – boo!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Feeling Raw-Blah and yummy granola bars

It's official! I have been raw (well high raw) for three months now. It is also my 18th Wedding anniversary this weekend! Well, the date is really February 29th but that only comes every four years. I am sure you are wondering why anyone would pick Feb. 29th for their wedding day, but that is another post! In honor of these two momentous occasions I decided to make some yummy treat to take with us this weekend as we are going camping (of course). My hubby and I are turning into hippies as we get older, and camping just seemed the right way to celebrate 18 years of bliss! (haha – mostly bliss).

So hop on over to Miss Averie's site and check out her recipe for High Raw Vegan Chocolate-Coconut-Chia-Oat Dessert/Energy BarsThese were so fantastic during the creation process that I could not stop licking the spoon! I did omit the banana as I still detest them. I also added some pre-soaked pumpkin seeds and pecans.

I should have taken a pic with the spoon in the batter but I was to busy applying it to the inside of my mouth!


This is just delicious goodness! High Raw yumminess!

Now I popped this into the freezer and later I will cut them into bars and package them up for our camping trip. I am still trying to lose a little weight (can I get a grrrr!) on the raw diet and having trouble with it even though I eat nothing but green juice and kale all day long.  I will make sure to only eat one small bar a day while camping…maybe a snack.  And just so you know, I did not have enough peanut butter, so I added some sunflower seed nut butter and they still turned out fab.

So my thoughts on this RAW diet thang– has it helped my Rheumatoid Arthritis?

I went through some NASTY detox symptoms (at least I think they were detox symptoms). Within one week of the raw diet (and I was 100% raw from the get-go) my knees were super stiff and hurt all day long. My RA got much worse everywhere. Basically I started a major flare and I think it was detox symptoms. Maybe us RA people detox in a weird, joint-associated way. I took more prednisone during this time period than the last 13 years of my RA disease.

Still injecting Enbrel into my thighs 2x/week. In fact, it does not work as good as it used to since I went raw – go figure!

Has my RA improved overall in the last three months?

Well, let me see – in a word – NO.  How sucky is that? I am still worse than when I started. I think it might take longer to detox for people with auto-immune disorders. But I am no expert. I can only tell you what I have experienced.

Have I seen any health symptoms improve?

YES and can I get a YES. I know this a tabu subject but can we talk constipation? I am the queen of it. No the King of it. No the Galactic Ruler of it! I have struggled for my entire life with the number 2 thing. I lived on Senekot. I am sure I kept that company in business. I have tried it all, Benefiber, Metamucil, you name it I have tried it. Now I have always consumed massive quantities of water so that was never an issue. Before I went raw, I ate a ton of steamed green beans which seemed to help but then I would digress to my old sluggish ways. RAW has seemed to cure me of this awful problem. So was it meat, dairy, crap processed food? Do I lack enzymes that help me digest stuff? I have no idea, all I know is that the RAW diet has CURED my constipation.

How about weight loss on the RAW diet?

Yeah whatever (She says with arms folded and back turned!) – Seriously, damn it. I lost seven pounds when I first began this diet, but since then I have lost NOTHING. ZIP. NADA. In fact, I have put on two pounds. Now, to be fair, when I started RAW I had just had a hysterectomy so I basically laid around for three months due to a horrid recovery. So I am sure I lost some muscle mass. In the last month I have really stepped it up and I am lifting weights again and walking alot with the hubby. Yes, it does hurt to lift light weights and exercise when you have RA. At times I find myself cursing my own body parts (damn these wrists, damn you to hell!) but we RA people have got to keep moving no matter what. So maybe the two pound weight gain is muscle? At least I can tell myself that! But after three months of being RAW (two months 100% raw, and this last month high-raw), I expected to be down at least 10 pounds! What the heck is going on? I will have to cut off an arm to lose that last five pounds.

What about your hair and skin?

Is my hair fuller and thicker? NO. But keep in mind I have RA, and the meds make you go bald (seriously, I used to have 100 times more hair). Has my skin improved? Do I have that glow everyone talks about? NO! In fact I still have adult acne at times. I always battle clear skin. I was hoping going RAW might really help that but so far I have not seen any difference in my skin.


Besides the obvious benefits of helping stave off animal cruelty and environmental impact issues, the jury is still out for me as far as my health is concerned. I really had high hopes for going RAW. I really thought I might be able to get off all my meds one day. So far, this seems to be unattainable for me. RA drugs have really nasty side effects, but the disease is so debilitating that most choose to take the meds (including me) or I will cease to function. Now I realize my inside health has probably improved since I am not eating animal fat. I do realize all the benefits, but my main goal was to overcome this dang, crappy RA thing.

My Ultimate Goal

I want to transition to a high raw diet/vegan. I miss cooked food. I miss stir fry and soups. I miss going out to dinner with my hubby. I can see myself doing Raw for breakfast and lunch and eating a cooked vegan meal for dinner. I already find myself assimilating some cooked food into my diet and so far my digestive issues have not returned. I tell you one thing, being a vegetarian would be a piece of cake for me now! I think being dairy free is harder than not eating meat. Not that I ate that much dairy. In fact, I love nut milks and all the dairy alternatives, but eating at a restaurant and being dairy free is almost impossible. My favorite restaurant, The Cheesecake Factory, offers basically zilch for vegan options. Even their pasta is made with eggs, and veggies are cooked in butter, and milk products are added to sauces. Yes, I could order a plate of veggies cooked in olive oil but why bother spending the money. I can cook or uncook veggies my way at home.

Lately I am finding it hard to be on the Raw diet. The excitement is not there and I am getting bored of my food choices. Maybe I will feel different tomorrow!

Is it just me, or does everyone hit a RAW plateau? Do you ever get bored of the Raw diet? Maybe I am going through Raw Mid Life Crisis! lol


Friday, February 19, 2010

Fave smoothie of the week – So Cherry

Quick post and then I got to go spend time with the hubby as my butt has been in this computer chair all day and he is watching Star Trek NG without me. This is about the millionth time I have made Kristen's Raw Cherry Chocolate Bomb Shake and it is SCRUMPTIOUS! Now ya got to go visit that link for the recipe but I have tweaked it every time. Here are some additional yummies you can add:

  • Pumpkin seeds for extra iron (pre-soaked of course)
  • A touch of agave (if you have a sweet tooth)
  • Raw cacoa nibs for crunch
  • Maca – I like to just say that word!

Okay peoples, have a great Friday night. Off to watch Season 3 Episode 1 of LOST on HULU – dang I love that show, and I am big Sawyer fan!


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

*WARNING* – vegan cheese to die for! and camping too!

Dreaming of Vegan Cheese? I know you are!

Hey peeps! Happy Wednesday! I hope you all had a fab Valentine's Day. We went camping with the kids – I  know, not very romantic but we had alot of fun anyways. On the way home, I finally got my crippled hands (get it? I have RA - crippled hands?! haha) on some Daiya Vegan Cheese! Yeah baby! I was at Whole Foods in Henderson, NV and decided to see if they had any of this taking-the-vegan-world-by-storm cheese stuff in stock. At first I could not find it *sigh* but I finally asked some nice WF dude and we found it in the pizza/olive section. It was in plastic containers, so I am guessing they buy it in bulk? Who knows…I bought two kinds - yellow cheddar and white cheesy Italian – It kind of looks like cheese, but who cares what it looks like – WHAT DOES IT TASTE LIKE??!!???  That is the ultimate question for all you "wanna-be-vegans-but-wont-commit-cuz-you-love-cheese" people! jk - (BFF you know who you are! hee hee).


Daiya Italian Shredded and Cheddar Shredded

It kinda has a crumbly-shredded texture

So this raw girl decided to do some actual vegan cooking!

I am still trying to stay clear of gluten for the most part and these Trader Joe's Brown Rice Tortillas were a nice alternative. They are really stiff so they would be hard to eat right out of the bag. I decided to make a yummy quesadilla with my new non-cheese find.


This was one screaming-good quesadilla –with grilled onions and peppers – I thought I died and went to cooked food Heaven.

Check out the melty not-cheese action! Got it going on baby!

I wanted to play a Barry White song!

Can't get enough of your love baby! Oh yeah it was that good.


Daiya not-cheese rocks the house people! I mean it was really melty and greasy (in a good way) like real cheese.


And I think it tasted like cheese – although I have never been a huge cheese connoisseur. If I think about cheese too long, visions of spores, molds, and fungus fill my head – hee hee – its twu- its twu!



The verdict: Me like 'em Daiya not-Cheese!



Hey, we went to the Valley of Fire in Nevada over the weekend and took the whole fam damily camping. Even flew in the college kid to spend the weekend with us. The red sandstone scenery was spectacular. You will love this place if you are into rocks - rocks are awesome by the way – of course I am a geologist so I am partial. Check out this pic my son took of an arch in the park. Amazing.

valley of fire Cool arch – looks like a scorpion tail

valley of fire

Cool campsite at Arch Rock Campground


valley of fire Another cool shot of the campground – we used to have a big trailer and F350 when the kids were little. Now we just tent it. We like the easy set up. I could live in a tent and plan to for a few years when we retire – cannot wait!

valley of fire

It was 40 degrees in the manana, I have 3 layers of pants on and 2 tops and a jacket on! People with RA get really cold (in general). All the kiddos are still sleeping in the tent~


valley of fire

My raw breakfast – GoRaw Chocolate Granola with Brazil Nut Milk and my Sierra Sunrise Cocktail (juice). And while we are on the subject, as far as nut milks go, Brazil Nut milk is my all time fave! I also packed three days worth of Massaged Kale Salad, Carrot Juice, sprouted bread with some coconut butter, oranges and apples, avocados (of course), veggie burgers, Pure Bars and Larabars, and a vegan cookie – so I stayed about 85-90% raw on a three day camping trip – not bad eh? I did have one handful of popcorn before the fam buttered it up – man do I miss popcorn on the raw diet!


valley of fire

My Chiquitita


The Valley of Fire is a great place to see some thrust fault action. Younger, Jurassic sandstone is found beneath the older Cambrian Limestone in this area. I came here for a geology field trip back in my college days – I am surprised I can remember it. I am sure you have heard about geologists – hardcore partiers– hey, but not me! lol (in case my kids read this blog.)



Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Kale Rocks the Raw House!

Hey peeps! I am having a love affair with Kale lately. Good thing it's not french fries anymore. lol - This salad is a MUST have in your raw food arsenal. KALE ROCKS in so many ways – nutrients, taste, sturdiness (it holds up really well compared to other lettuce like iceberg – bleh) My feelings towards iceberg lettuce is that it is worthless but that is just me!

Okay a few little facts about kale you probably already knew:

  • Kale is a form of cabbage
  • Kale has powerful antioxidant properties and is considered to be an anti-inflammatory (well  my RA still sucks, but I'll keep eating it)
  • Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C and calcium
  • Kale has sulfur-containing phytonutrients that help fight cancer

Dr. Joel Fuhrman, who is renowned for his Eat to Live Diet books, rates Kale on his nutrient density scale at a score of 1000 out of 1000. Hands down Kale is one of the most nutritious plants on the Earth. It is also high in magnesium which helps the absorption of calcium

Dinosaur kale is my favorite type of kale and has very curly leaves so  you have to make sure you soak and wash the leaves. There are other types of kale, so you can be creative. You can always find kale at most farmers markets since it is so hardy to grow.

So onto my favorite way to eat kale (so far – as someday I am going to cook it in olive oil and garlic)

Massaged Kale Salad



1 head of curly kale soaked and rinsed

1-2 TBSP olive oil (start with 1 tbsp and then add more if you need to)

1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

*1-2 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar or lemon juice (this is optional)

1 cup or more of baby carrots

1 Avocado

1 cup Grape tomatoes

2 TBSP Hemp Seeds

Dressing of your choice

Now simply destem the kale and chop it up into bite size pieces and put it into a bowl (I use a large glass Pyrex dish with a lid). Now add the olive oil, the salt, and the vinegar or lemon juice option if you want it. (I have made it both ways, right now I prefer to skip this option because I use alot of cider vinegar in my salad dressing.)

Now massage away! Get your hands in there and massage the oil and salt into all the leaves. You are done! Just put a lid on the bowl and place in the refrig and in a few hours the kale will have softened a bit. This keeps ALL WEEK LONG…and that is so convenient on the raw diet! I just grab some massaged kale and toss it in a salad bowl with veggies and dressing and I have instant lunch.

This recipe is adapted from Gena at and Kristen's Raw at and of course both these awesome girls have created the most yummy raw recipes on the planet.

This weekend we are headed off to the Valley of Fire in Nevada for a camping trip. My boy will be flying in from Berkeley to join us. I can't wait for a fun, family getaway! We used to take alot of vacations when the kids were younger, but as they get older, they don't like hanging out with their old parents! And you have to pry their fingers off the XBOX! I am going to take some pics all the raw food I have packed for the trip. I plan on staying raw except for one dinner which will be a cooked vegan backpacking meal and some organic muesli (maybe muesli is raw? idk).

Do you find that kids today are not as interested in old-fashioned activities like camping because of all the high-tech toys they have to play with?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Raw Cookie Dough Cleanse – Day 1

Haha – gotcha! I am sure in heaven there is a cookie dough cleanse, but not here on Planet Earth baby! Even if they are made from all raw, vegan ingredients!  These little beauties are courtesy of the lovely Averie at – and I have to tell you she is a cookie dough genius! This raw version is so much better than the real, non-vegan version. You have to try these and they are super easy to make.

mmm...cookie dough

mmmmm….cookie dough (as Homer Simpson would say)

cookie dough is your friend Have you ever seen such a beautiful sight?

cookie dough - mine

Averie's Raw Cookie Dough and My Brazil Nut Milk

To be honest, desserts on the raw diet ROCK – it is the main dishes I miss. I mean I grew up on In-N-Out double double…and I still miss them when the carnivore family orders them -

In-N-Out is an institution here in California. In high school, I would order a double double, a single, fries and a chocolate shake. Holy cr@p! I would gain 10 pounds in one day if I ate that now. And yes, I have watched Food, Inc. and know all the bad and nasty stuff about our meat supply – but -


16x16Now this would be excessive. But someone ate this 16x16 burger. I wish my desire for some of my old eats would just go away! But I am sorry, my kale salad sometimes just does not compare to the In-N-Out double double. You Cali people know what I am talking 'bout!

What do you all miss on the Raw diet? Do you have any desire for the old foods you used to consume?


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I can has veggie burger? lol

Happy Wednesday everyone! Today I find myself feeling blah – and I do not know why. So I am trying to remind myself all the things I have to be thankful for and the list is long. God, husband, kids, family, friends, my life, etc. I need to express my gratitude everyday to all the good and wonderful things in my life. This seems to help the blahs!

So what's going on this Wednesday with you? This year is already flying by if you ask me. Of course ever since I turned 40 last year (ahem, cough, cough - lol) I feel like time travels at the speed of light!

So, I am starting to introduce a little more cooked, vegan food into my diet. Not everyday, but maybe twice a week. Got to get ready for a big backpacking trip in July (Sawtooth's? Justin you going?) where I will be eating cooked food every night. So I thought I would take a shot at some veggie burgers…..tada!

vegburgersMy first veggie burger thingys evah! Thanks to Angela at Oh She Glows for the Jiffy Spelt Burger Recipe (I used Oat flour instead of Spelt cuz I am trying to be gluten free these days). Heck I never even heard of Spelt until I went to Angela's site! How is that for ignorance! I do not think I have a gluten intolerance, but who knows what effects RA these days. So I am trying to cut out all that stuff. Its tough being raw and gluten free isn't it? Especially when your family is made up of voracious carnivores!


This morning I had green juice that was about the best green juice I have made as of late. I am trying to cut down my fruit in my green juice so I was a proud mama, only including one apple in this recipe. I LOVE celery in juice, do you? It gives such a salty kick to juice.


Today is ENBREL day. For those of you that do not know what this is, it is a Biological RA med that you inject 1 or 2 times per week depending on the type of ENBREL you are prescribed. RA is an autoimmune disease. So the short answer is, if you have RA, your immune system is attacking itself. Can I get a big BOO to that? ENBREL helps stop some of that bad-action-immune-system-attacking from occurring. So I got to inject this stuff and lately my thighs look like I am junkie. My bruises from the injections linger forever! Could I have a vitamin deficiency? We shall see as I am getting a full blood panel next week.

I hate taking this stuff. Yes, it makes my RA alot better, but the side effects suck – like Cancer, TB, infections, oh and even death. How's that for a cure for RA? Haha –

I won't get into the logistics of how ENBREL works to stop the immune system from attacking itself. But know this, ENBREL is EXPENSIVE. If you do not have insurance it is around $1500 for a one month supply. And it probably will not go generic since it is a biologic drug made in special facilities. It is very sad to think there are people with RA who cannot afford to take the latest breakthrough drugs to ease their symptoms. And if you are on Medicare fughettaboutit! With Medicare's tier pricing, you are in the donut hole in less than two months. Can you see why we need healthcare reform in this country?


I started a RAW diet to see if I could get off this stuff. ENBREL helps me ALOT, but the side effects suck. Some of the side effects I have experienced recently are nerve issues in both hips and ENBREL warns about nerve damage among other things. But, if I do not take ENBREL, I will never get out of bed – Yes, RA sucks that much!

Let me list the positive things that the RAW diet has helped me with:

The good things RAW has done

  • Constipation (I know a yukky subject, but it has cured me of this chronic ailment – a miracle!)
  • Weight Loss – I was not heavy to begin with but I have lost about 6 pounds and I do not count calories – yeah!
  • Food Addiction – I pretty much eat to live now instead of live to eat (does this make sense? – food does not have as much control over me as it used to)

What I am still waiting for RAW to do

  • Acne – I do NOT have that glow or good skin yet? What is up!!!! Everyone on the raw diet says their skin clears up…well not mine! And I want it now! lol
  • Energy – I feel NO difference in energy levels – boo. Maybe its my RA, no duh, I am sure its my RA
  • More weight loss – having RA, I would like to be slightly underweight to put less pressure on my joints, but my body does NOT want to cooperate! I want to get to 115 lbs, but I think I will have to cut off an arm or something.
  • Cure RA – well one can hope right?! At least ease my symptoms
  • World Peace

Okay, so there you have my long-winded post! I hope everyone has a terrific night. My hubby and I are watching LOST on Hulu (my son, Cody, got us addicted, and we are on the final episode of season 1.

Love to all! – More backpacking pics for your enjoyment!


Monday, February 1, 2010

Sierra Sunrise Morning Cocktail – Rawlicious!


This delicious and scrumptious juice is filled with Beta-carotene and Vitamin C and all sorts of raw goodness! Beta-carotene really helps boost your immunity and we RA sufferers know all about yukky immune systems don't we? I guarantee you will love this juice as much as I do.

Sierra Sunrise Morning Cocktail

8 medium-large carrots peeled (less earthy this way)

2 apples (green or red or mix em')

2 small-medium celery stalks

4 oranges (peeled)

Wash them all thoroughly and toss them in your juicer – I have a Hurom slow juicer, but any juicer will do. You can strain your juice to remove any pulp or don't strain it – it's up to you.

This recipe makes one quart and stores well for a few days  - meaning it does not lose much taste integrity from oxidation.

Right now this is my favorite morning juice. I store it in a one quart mason jar with a plastic lid. I love mason jars to store things, and I am gonna ditch all my plastic tupperware with all its nasty toxins for glass mason jars and glass containers.

Hey I went camping in Death Valley over the weekend and stayed high-raw. I did have a vegan, cooked dinner and I did not notice any difference with my digestion. Death Valley, is quite beautiful and serene and filled with 10,000 abandoned mines – how cool is that? Death Valley Raw Food Camping post coming soon!