December 28, 2010

The End of Raw

I officially lasted almost two weeks on raw. I had a series of minor breakdowns, followed by a biggie that had my husband wondering if he needed to lock me in a padded room.  It was ugly.  I apologize for not telling you sooner, but it’s taken me quite a while to get back to feeling like me again.

I spent quite a while feeling like a total loser because I couldn’t even go 30 days.  
30 days is nothing.  
Or so I glibly thought.

I kept telling myself that those darn people on Simply Raw went 30 days.  And they had detox like I did.  They wanted to give up.  They had breakdowns.  And THEY KEPT GOING.  
Why couldn’t I????

As my husband pointed out…

1.     They were at a retreat where their food was made for them.  And most likely it was delicious.

2.     They were at a retreat where they did not have to take care of laundry and dishes and kids and homeschool and church service and many other things.

I was in no such place.

I will openly admit that the detox was badReally bad.  The first week or so I was feeling great…and then I started crying…and getting angry…and crying…and getting impatient…and edgy….and crying…and raising my voice (which I NEVER do)….and crying….Most of my detox was emotional and my kids were noticing.  I didn’t like the mom I was becoming and felt very little control over myself at that point. That made me cry even more. 

By the end of the almost two weeks I was a quivering mass of depressed mucous-covered raw nerves.  My husband called an end to the insanity and I started eating “normal” food.  And wouldn’t you know it, within a few days I was happier, calmer, and in control of my emotions again.  And fatter.  I regained the 7 pounds I lost. 

I’m currently working on a semi-raw diet.  So far I’m doing well emotionally and physically.  I eat raw for breakfast in the form of a large smoothie (usually a green one).  Lunch is either salad or vegetable soup/chowder with another massive smoothie.   Dinner is a small portion of whatever I cooked for dinner with veggies and fruit on the side.  I’ve been making a lot of vegetarian meals lately and tons of soup.  I feel so calm, so healthy after a big bowl of veggie soup with homemade broth.  It is very grounding.  I’m also trying to avoid sugar and bread.  
But they are NOT trying to avoid me.

My husband still thinks that raw is a great idea, in moderation.  He also suggested that I try various recipes out while eating “normal” thus building a collection of meals that I enjoy…after a while I should have a supply of “go to” raw recipes that I like, instead of ones I throw in the garbage. 

So, our current goal is to maintain the status quo albeit a modified status quo including many, many more smoothies….and work on building a repertoire of raw and/or vegetarian meals.  Are we giving up meat and dairy?  Not for now.  But we do want to decrease the amount we eat…and increase the quality. 

I found that I don’t really care for “gourmet raw”.  I don’t like the fake sour creams and fake noodles and fake whatevers.  They taste fake.  The things I enjoyed the most were raw foods acting like themselves – a salad acting like a salad, veggies tasting like veggies instead of like some nasty sauce, fruit that still looked and tasted like the actual fruit.   Gourmet raw relies on a lot of nuts and seeds, which I found somewhat irritating (to my gut).  And expensive.  Some recipes used hardly any veggies at all – it was all nuts and seeds.  That didn’t feel “raw” to me.  Just fake.  (The repeated use of the word fake in this post has now ended.)

I have learned a few things from this experience:

     For my mental health and well-being, I need to make gradual changes to my diet.  Some people may not have this problem.  I do.

     I was surprised at how strong a hold food has over me.  How emotional eating is.  I want to work at freeing myself from this dependence.  Food is my drug…and I want to break the chains.  Any suggestions?

     Food tastes best when it is in its most natural state.  Covering it with a sauce, even a raw sauce, usually doesn’t enhance the food.

     Blended soups need my attention.  I must figure out how to make more blended soups…but make them  chunkier  …and warmer.

    Smoothies are my friend.

     There is really no replacement for a great salad.  All the gourmet raw in the world doesn’t beat a salad with a fantastic dressing.

     Foods eaten in their natural state are faster than making fancy recipes.  That’s a big duh, but I need to learn it.  A nectarine is much faster, much tastier, much easier than putting together a frilly little doo-dah to snack on.

For now, raw is done.  It was not fun.  Hey, that rhymed! I’m still learning though, and still experimenting with raw recipes.  Just at a slower pace
I’m taking one day at a time and doing the best I can that day to be healthy.

December 10, 2010

My lovely long skirts

Sadly, I do not sew.  Let me amend that.  I do know how to sew but I do NOT know how to cut out a pattern.  My grandmother always did that part, then she'd pin it together and I'd sew it on the machine.

I have set a goal to learn how to sew, really sew, but haven't found anyone in my local area that can teach me.

So, I bought some skirts.  To tide me over until I learn....whenever that is.....

Some of you asked for pictures.  My camera is broken, or it hates me, I'm not sure which.  But I got them at New Creation Apparel.
Aline Seams Heather Gray 98% cotton, 2% Spandex       Brick Red Flax 53.9% flax  46.1% cotton

Black Diamond Comfort a combination of cotton, spandex and polyester

This last one is my absolute favorite and it's the one I went walking in!!!!  It has a zipper on the bottom allowing it to "open up" for walking.  It is 98% cotton, 2% spandex.  The one to the left of it is also a blend of cotton/spandex (70%/30%). 

The customer service is absolutely incredible.  They were out of stock on a few items and they immediately contacted me via email, then phone.  They worked very hard to make sure I was happy.  Shipping was fast and quality is excellent.

If you know of any other companies/persons that sell modest skirts, please let me know.  I'm always on the hunt for good quality, attractive, feminine clothes.

December 9, 2010

I walked a mile in a long skirt

I did.  And it felt great.  And a little weird.  I went swish, swish, swish the entire time.

So, you should know two things.  First, I've been wearing more skirts lately (don’t laugh, mom).  Like several times a week.  I thought I'd hate it but I actually love it.  Wearing a skirt makes me feel pretty and  homemakey  .  The big kicker for me is NOT to wear pantyhose with them.  I reserve pantyhose for special occasions like weddings and church.  For daily kicking it with my kiddos, it's just a long skirt and bare feet.  Ah, the freedom!

Second, I'm walking every day.  Winter has settled upon us here in West Texas.  Today it is in the high 50s/low 60s - we wore t-shirts to the park.  About halfway through our school day I send all my kids to the park to play and I walk around the neighborhood so I can still see them.  I walk around and around and around.  Then around some more.

The neighbors probably think I'm crazy, but at least I'm doing something healthy!  I've been doing a little over a mile each day, for the last 5 days.  Dragging my little mutt behind me.  Seriously, he’s so out of shape….worse than me!

And today I was wearing an ankle-length denim skirt with black tennis shoes.  Perhaps not my most lovely fashion statement, but I've proved to myself that I can exercise anywhere, anytime.  It doesn't matter if I don't have the right clothes or "enough time".  Excuses are no longer valid.  Well, at least for now.

My boys love being able to play outside for long hours everyday without frying to a crisp.  I love the fresh air and bright blue skies.  We all feel happier, calmer and sleep better at night.

I love Texas in the winter!

December 8, 2010

My latest venture

I want to introduce you to a fun project I'm working on.  It started over at my beloved Simply Charlotte Mason forum when someone asked how to stretch your money at the grocery store.  Seven pages of comments later we decided to start a blog to create a one-stop place for all our frugal tips, from scratch recipes, and information about repurposing clothes, gardening, canning and such.

You can find us at Penny-wise Women. We welcome any and all submissions relating to thriftiness, self-reliance, being a good steward and all that jazz.  I hope you enjoy!!
Penny-wise Women

December 3, 2010

A (Not Gross) Raw Recipe

For lunch today I made a raw "chicken" salad.  It was rather tasty!  If only they all were.....

Raw “Chicken” Salad
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, soaked 3 hours
1/2 cup cashews, soaked 3 hours
2" piece cucumber
1 tablespoon chopped onion
1/2 celery stick
1/4 cup pecans pieces
1 teaspoon dill
1/4 teaspoon curry powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt
 Juice from 1/2 lemon
 lots of ground black pepper
one half carrot (optional)

In a food processor bowl fitted with a metal blade, combine all ingredients. Pulse to combine. It should be a finer texture than regular chicken salad--that helps it to stick together.   The cucumber and nuts and carrot should release water after it sits.  Stuff sweet peppers or wrap with Romaine.

I just pulsed everything in my Blendtec.  I had to stir it around a few times to make sure everything got their turn on the blade.  I didn't soak the nuts because I decided to make it last minute; it turned out just fine.

I'm still raw...and I hate it

I haven't posted for the last few days.  I'm still raw.  I hate it.  I've had several recipe disasters lately which has me feeling demotivated to keep going.  I can't tell you how awful it is to cook a meal for the kids, make a raw meal for me and hubby and then taste it and realize it's putrid...and then have to go back in the kitchen to try again.

The kitchen is my prison.  I spend so much time there right now.  I feel like the only thing I do, all day, is cook, "uncook" and wash dishes so I can do it all again in a couple hours.

Not to sound any more pathetic and whiny than I already do, but mealtimes are now a dreaded part of my day.  I have actually spent the last two dinner preps crying the entire time.  It's difficult to chop veggies with a sharp knife while tears are streaming down your face.  Try it sometime.  Okay, don't.  It's dangerous.

The thing I was most unprepared for was how the whole diet change would affect me emotionally.  Warm food calls to me, beckons me, mocks me and makes me sob. 
Warm food……

My husband is encouraging me to continue.  A part of me is grateful for that…..the other part is really angry.  I want him to say it’s okay to eat comforting, delicious food again.  I’m tired of eating weird tasting COLD food. 
I want a steak.

I’ve lost around 7 pounds.  That should encourage me.  It does.  Sort of.  I’ve resigned myself to not enjoying my food for the next three weeks.  In fact, I’m on a short of uncooking strike.  I’m eating salads and drinking smoothies.  All those fancy schmancy raw food recipes are just sitting on my counter gathering dust right now.  Too many failed recipes.  Too many ingredients wasted.

Have you ever noticed that most raw foodists are single?  Okay, some of them are married, but they only have a designer dog.  They’re not trying to prepare food for small children.  They’re not trying to maintain a home filled with small children.  Small children who need attention and who make messes.  Not that my children would ever make messes.  They would never take the entire bucket of Legos and dump it on the floor.   Okay, they might.  They did.

I need to go shopping tomorrow.  It’s a serious debate for me whether I buy another week’s worth of “raw food”.
 It cost over $230 last week. 
That’s over HALF of my monthly budget.
That’s a lot of money.
And did I mention it’s gross?

Thanks for listening. 
I will now go back to my normally scheduled happy mood.
After I eat a steak...