Saturday, June 30, 2007

Voting with my grocery dollars

Some of you may not be aware that I have been painstakingly recording our monthly grocery intake and dollar out-go every day in a post entitled June Food Expenses. Those of you who love to see what I get out of the dumpster and my garden will be really interested in that post.

Since today is the last day of June, I'd like to summarize our purchasing (and foraging) habits and reflect on how they impact our health and the health of our planet.

Total Grocery Receipts: $645.77

Estimated value of Free Food We Obtained This Month: $575.67

Estimated Value of Food We Grew This Month: $57.00

Total Consumption For a Family of 5 plus 1 Cat on a Raw Diet: $1278.44

This works out to $42.61 per day.

At first glance, this seems like an overwhelming number, but there are some mitigating factors to consider.

First, we spent a grand total of $135.81 on cat food for Bart, who we are transitioning to a raw diet. Much of this food is still in the freezer and though we will have continued expenses in future months, this amount will greatly decrease in upcoming months. Subtracting this amount from our total grocery receipts would make our total out-of-pocket expenditures for our 5 humans a total $509.96, much less than we spent before we discovered the amazing combo of raw food AND dumpster diving, when our average was more like $850.

Second, we spent $16.01 on non-raw food. This expense won't continue.

Third, this amount includes paying $0.33 per gallon for the water we drink. In June, we purchased 45 gallons of water. This may not be a concern for families who have water purification systems (or access to a clean spring). Our family spent only $470.10 on raw human food this month.

Finally, we have a large quantity of food remaining in the fridge and the freezer. This "inventory" is always in flux at our house and after months of tracking our expenses, it will balance out and we will be able to see our patterns of consumption more clearly.

$470.10 is NOT too much to invest in optimal health. For that matter, neither is $1278.44, if you have that kind of money to spend. (Check your budget. How much is spent on medications and out-of-pocket health bills? How much do you spend eating out, drinking alchohol or pop, and consuming processed junk foods? How much of your budget is spent on entertainment or luxury items? Are you sure you can't afford some fruit? :)

How do our spending habits affect the health of the planet? This question is so important to me, as I want my children and their children, and all children for that matter, to have the benefit of living in a clean, healthy, beautiful place.

One issue I am particularly interested in is consuming a high percentage of my food from local sources. Buying locally supports my local economy. It means that my food is fresher, healthier, and requires many less resources to deliver to my plate. I can meet (or be) the person who grew the food and have some influence on their practices. This month, $274 of local foods were consumed in my household. This equates to 21% of our total food consumption. However, if each dollar is a "vote" then the picture changes. Because of my gardening and foraging practices, many of our local foods were not "purchases." (Of course, by dumpster diving, much of our non-local consumption was also not purchased.) This means we only spent $35 purchasing food from local producers. This equates to 8% of our actual dollars spent on food.

Another issue is our support of organic (or better) agriculture. Conventional agriculture is doing so much damage to our ecosystem and our bodies, I feel exhausted just thinking about explaining it. In The 80-10-10 Diet, Dr. Graham says that choosing between cooked organic food and raw non-organic food is like "choosing whether to shoot oneself in the foot or shoot oneself in the hand." Unfortunately, though much of the produce we purchase locally is not sprayed with pesticides, much of it is not organic either. Many of the local producers use commercial fertilizer and/or use non-organic seed or seedlings (I do this one myself). Our source of local free-range eggs does feed some commercial chicken food to her chickens.

In our area, organic produce is difficult to find. Certain items are never available--watermelon, for example, or are available for short periods of time (grapes). The cost is quite high, usually at least twice that of conventional produce, and the quality is sometimes poorer. I believe that we will continue to improve our supply only if we demand it and build it. I plan to document my family's moves in this direction in the coming months! This month, we consumed $119.75 in organics, but only $42.78 in actual expenditures (or dollar votes, as I like to call them).

Finally, if you visited the June Food Expenses post, you will note that we went to the store virtually every day this month. This is RIDICULOUS. Sometimes, we went because we were going to our garden and it was on the way, but many times, we were making trips specifically to go to the store. Several days, we actually went to the store more than once. Surely, better planning next month will result in less pollution coming from our tailpipe and less money leaking from our wallet.

Next month, we plan to trim our expenditures by only purchasing bananas, cat food, and water at the grocery store. We will purchase everything else at the Farmer's Market, harvest it from our garden, or get it out of the dumpster.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Fire the Grid

Are you ready to become one of the millions who will channel their energy on July 17th to heal the Earth? If someone asked me this question, I would think they were some kind of New Age whacked-out kook. But I as I watched Shelley Yates tell her story of how she and her son died and how they returned with a message, I believed her! And the message was just what I needed to hear.

Watch her story and check out her site and join me on July 17th!

Today's Food (I was kinda in a funk today, until tonight when I watched Shelley, can you tell?)

11:30 a.m. 2 oranges and 2 C. frozen mango, blended
3 p.m. 5 bananas and 5 C. iceberg lettuce, blended
6:30 p.m. 2 avocados, 1 C. purslane

Approx. 1500 cal., C-P-F 63-6-31


Picture found on

I went to bed at a proper hour last night, so I didn't get a chance to blog about my day. Imagine that. So here's what happened yesterday.

The weather was nice and cool so my husband worked a bit longer at his painting job than he normally does. This gave me a chance to work on some housework, something I haven't done in ages, it seems. My husband has been taking care of things quite nicely while I've been gardening, but it was nice to scrub the kitchen and hang out some laundry myself.

When he returned, I headed to a friend's house with the girls to pick more raspberries. Mmmmm. Not many came home. My friend is one of my dumpster diving converts and so she also shared some of her dumpster finds with me--peppers, tomatoes, red grapes, and more.

My son has been suffering from some cleansing symptoms, so he rested on the couch all day and read books and slept. My daughter had a similar bout last week, so we all know it will pass. :) For some reason, he became obsessed with wanting to know how big the longest shrimp in the world is--maybe this was inspired by the full-color flier for Long John Silver's I found under his pillow? Anyway, you might like to know that the largest variety of shrimp in the world is the Black Tiger shrimp, which averages 21 centimeters in length, but a fisherman in Colombia caught one that was 40 centimeters long! Check it out here

I headed to my garden in the afternoon and did more weeding and replanted some okra where I didn't get good germination. My garden looks better every day and it is especially nice to have the cool weather to work in this week.

On my way home, I checked out a wild place near my friend's house to see if I could find any ripe berries. I tried some ripe gooseberries for the first time! I can see why they're mainly used in pies. Not bad but bland and somewhat tart at the same time and with a sort of strange consistency. Not something I'd go out of my way to pick again.

Yesterday's Food
12 p.m. About 3 cups black and red raspberries
2 p.m. 5 medium bananas
5 p.m. A few gooseberries, black raspberries, and mulberries
5:30 p.m. Salad with iceberg and endive, half an avocado, and a salsa made with grape tomatoes, zucchini, onion, cilantro, lime juice and a few sprinkles of spices and salt
8 p.m. Another salad with purslane and green leaf lettuce and more salsa

Approx. 1500 calories, C-P-F 80-8-12

No formal exercise.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Thunderstorms are beautiful.

Photo by Hayes Cummins

It is amazing how a different a thunderstorm looks when you're out in open space (as opposed to a city). You can see it approaching in all its glory. Wish I had my camera with me!

This morning, I planted some more beans in our home garden with the kids. The two year-old had a great time mixing all the seeds together, dumping them in her dress and on the ground and then picking them up and sorting them.

Then I went and picked up a lady I've gotten to know through the Farmer's Market so she could come help in my garden. She is an interesting character and was up for a little adventure. We got some Turk's Turban gourds and cucumbers planted, and a bit of weeding done as the storm approached and managed to get in before we got wet. Of course, I ruined my dry clothing by insisting on doing a dumpster run on the way home. Figured in the rain, less chance of getting caught. Made off with tons of oranges and green grapes, which I shared with my friend. She was happy, especially since she didn't have to get out of the car herself. She had fun stomping in puddles on her way into the house, though. "Just because I'm getting old doesn't mean I have to grow up," she told me.

Today's Food

10 a.m. 1 1/2 cups sweet cherries (rushing)

12 p.m. 1 1/2 cups sweet cherries--not that hungry, just eating because others were

2:30 p.m. (after my workout, I WAS hungry), 4 bananas and 3 stalks of celery blended over 3 cups iceberg lettuce

5:30 p.m. 4 cups mixed lettuce, mostly iceberg, with a blended dressing made of avocado, oranges, and celery*, about 1/2 C. sliced zucchini

*For some reason, I thought avocado was an o.k. combination with citrus. Not so, I found out when I examined my chart. One of several less-than-optimal choices today.

Such as:

8:30 p.m. 2 frozen bananas, 1 C. frozen mango, blended

Approx. 1200 calories

Today's Workout: 45 minute Jane Fonda's Step Aerobics, an oldie but a goodie, that oddly, is NOT led by Jane Fonda (unless you do the final 10 minutes of situps, which I always skip).

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Let me put a bug in your ear...

Photo by Silvano Cervelli

Working in an organic garden gives me new appreciation of insects. Every day, I see hundreds of different varieties of beetles, ants, worms, butterflies, moths, flies, mites, and grubs. I have no idea, for the most part, which insects are "beneficial" and which are going to munch my vegetables. But I appreciate the intricate web of life and enjoy all of the sizes, shapes, and colors of these little beings.

Today, I got some weeding done and planted yellow and white patty-pan squash, more green beans, and cucumbers.

I also made off with an impressive haul from Aldi. Sixteen beautiful just-ripe avocados (not even a bruise on them!) were the prize of the day.

I followed through with my commitment to get more exercise and did Kathy Smith's Functionally Fit Peak Fat Burning video--40 minutes of high intensity intervals mixed with squats and other strength training moves. Whew!

Today's Food

9:30 a.m. About 12 cups of watermelon
12 p.m. About 8 cups of watermelon
4 p.m. 5 small bananas, about 1/4 C. of mulberries off the tree
7 p.m. Lots of red and green leaf lettuce and iceberg dressed with 1 whole avocado mixed with the juice of 2 oranges

About 2,000 calories

Monday, June 25, 2007

Is Greenmama Crazy?

Yes, folks, that's exactly what you think it is... jars of urine in my lovely leaded glass window. Following Jgunn's advice, I have started sprinkling my urine around my garden in an attempt to discourage the groundhogs and the rabbits who are wreaking havoc on all of my tender greens. Is it working? Well, if it's working on some of the critters, I don't know. But it's not working on all of them. Maybe my raw vegan pee isn't stinky enough to scare them. Or maybe I just don't have all right places "watered"--it is a pretty big garden! Pretty soon, I'm going to have to start camping out there! (By the way, before I get any more tips, I have already tried moth balls, Irish Spring soap, and other deterrents. Next year, I plan to invest in a fence.)

Yesterday, I did rest and fast as planned, although I chose to break my fast in the evening and eat a bit. I slept in until 12:30 in the afternoon! I haven't done that (except when very ill) since I've had children. I am feeling better.

Today, I spent a solid 6 hours weeding my corn. I wish I could say I was finished. I also had a fun time picking red and black raspberries with my daughters and planting beans with my son.

This weekend, my husband and I discovered that our son had been convincing neighbor children to give him junk food and he had a major stash hidden in his room. After talking with him, we decided to institute a reward system. If he is able to go one week without eating junk food, he will get a Transformer. He is very excited. I am not sure this is the right way to go, but it seems more productive than our earlier attempts, which included long talks and grounding him when he broke the rules. He understands why we eat the way we do and he agrees with it, but he is just simply compulsively drawn (one might say, addicted) to white flour and sugar.

Today's Food

10 a.m. 4 cups iceberg lettuce, 4 blended bananas over the top
12 p.m. 3 cups red and black raspberries, while picking
5:30 p.m. Some purslane while weeding in the garden, 1 Greek fig (a present)
7 p.m. 4 cups iceberg lettuce, 1 cup raspberries, 8 bananas (4 blended for salad dressing, 4 blended for "ice cream")

Approx. 1700 calories

*I have not lost any weight since June 5th, people. I need to get back on the exercise wagon ASAP!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Transition Slowly?

I am reposting the above picture of my beloved junk heap because it went to junkyard heaven this week. The final straw was a major gas leak. So, Greenmama's family just got greener now that we're down to a single vehicle. Less money for insurance should mean more banana money, too!

I recently joined Nora Lenz's Raw School Yahoo group and have enjoyed reading through old posts this evening. One of her early teachings that intrigues me is her suggestion that transition foods, such as dehydrated foods, nuts, and non-optimal combinations, are a good idea for many people to use in the beginning. Her argument is that many people try to go to a 100% optimal raw diet too fast, and then give up quickly when the going gets tough. (I don't know if she still advocates this... the posts I was reading were from 2005.)

My first reaction is to reject this option... why continue to poison the body unnecessarily? I know that dehydrated foods are downright difficult for the body to process and salt and onion powder and cayenne are basically excitotoxins (emphasis on the toxins). If my intention is to adopt an optimal diet, why not just DO IT and not look back?

On the other hand, Nora's approach certainly would allow me to not beat myself up today for again indulging in those darn Sprouted Salad Crunchies, that I promised that I WOULD NOT eat again after my discomfort 2 weeks ago. The question is why. After thinking about this for awhile, I think I am trying to numb myself from feeling the fear and pain of making so many "radical changes" and having many decisions and anxieties about the way forward for me and my family in many areas of our life.

In the short term, I am thinking about lending my dehydrator to a friend and buying some dates. The middle road?

Tomorrow, I plan to rest and read in bed for much of the day and fast. If the last time I ate like this was any indication, I will probably not be feeling well.

Today's Eating (and eating and eating and eating)

7:30 A couple of tablespoons of Sprouted Salad Crunchies
9:30 5 bananas, 1 small head bok choy
12:00 4 bananas blended over a lot of Four Seasons and Black-seeded Simpson lettuce
1-2 p.m. About 3 cups of black raspberries while picking
4 p.m. About 1 1/2 cups of Sprouted Salad Crunchies, 1 avocado
6 p.m. About 1 cup of bok choy with a bit of lime juice
8:30 p.m. A banana "shake" with 4 bananas

Approx. 2200 calories

Friday, June 22, 2007

Don't eat like me...

One of the new things I am getting used to is how to tell if I'm really hungry or not. It used to be that I ate when I got a craving, or during a scheduled mealtime. And since I was eating all kinds of toxic things that produced cravings and I had 3 meals scheduled for the family, I basically ate all the time.

Now, I don't have cravings to guide me. I don't take an hour three times a day to cook a meal either, although we still do three meals' worth of preparation such as cutting fruit, tossing salad, and blending dressings, soups, or smoothies.

I am having to learn how to experience true hunger, and let me tell you, it's not easy.

Two concepts I am trying to internalize:

1) Hunger is not a rumbling stomach (actually, this is a symptom of digestion of food still in your body). Hunger is also not cravings. Those are by-products of "food addictions," created by toxic substances that, like drugs, create withdrawal after they leave the body. After almost 2 months raw, I rarely experience tummy rumbling and I have no cravings. Now, I am waiting to get the "pleasant tingling sensation in the mouth and throat" that is supposedly the sign of true hunger. I'll keep you posted. Right now, I'm eating when I think, "I should eat!" Sometimes this feels like a response to physical hunger, like after I've been working for hours in the garden. But sometimes, it's just "time" to eat. So, this is still a work in progress!

By the way, eating monomeals is supposed to help with relearning the true signals of hunger and satiation. Though I do at least one monomeal per day, I probably could benefit from an extended stretch of all mono-meals, like a banana fast. Stay tuned.

2) It is not good for your body to be digesting all the time. You should try to eat several large meals instead of snacking all day. Digestion requires lots of energy and taxes your digestive organs if they don't get a rest between meals.

Sometimes, I find myself eating when I really need a rest, but am trying to force myself to keep moving. Today was one of those days.

Today's food

9:30 a.m. 10 C. watermelon
12 p.m. Some purslane while weeding the garden
1 p.m. 5 blended bananas over 4 C. Four Seasons and Black-seeded Simpson lettuce
5 p.m. About 2 C. mulberries off the tree, about 1 C. of sugar snap and shell peas
7:30 p.m. 4 blended bananas over 4 C. Four Seasons and Black-seeded Simpson lettuce
9:30 1/2 of a large red pepper, some seasoned lentil sprouts (only about 1 Tbs., had to check the seasoning for my Sprouted Salad Crunchies that I'm selling tomorrow at market)
10:30 A few more spoonfuls of seasoned lentil sprouts--the salt is calling my name! Go to bed already!

Approx. 1700 calories

Freegans Unite!

Joe Fornabaio for The New York Times

I was thrilled when my friend Courtney sent me this NY times article about freegans
One of my sisters, who lives in Madison, WI, spends lots of time diving in dormitory dumpsters getting books and other usable items to sell on eBay. She is also a member of Food Not Bombs. I love the idea of being a freegan, although living in a small decaying industrial city limits the wealth found in my neighborhood dumpsters. I pretty much stick to getting produce out of the Aldi dumpster.

I think freeganism, while worthwhile, can only represent a temporary response to an awful reality. In America, we suffer from an overwhelming glut of consumer goods. We have TOO MUCH STUFF, and we are constantly being encouraged and pressured to buy more and more. It's wonderful that freegans are "dropping out" of the consumption racket and preventing usable items from ending up in landfills.

But for a long-term solution, I think that ALL of us must adopt a simpler lifestyle consuming less overall and supporting sources of ecologically-sustainable and healthy consumer goods. I don't need more furniture or clothing or "gourmet meals" made from dumpster-dived meat and cheese.

Gardening and foraging for food may actually be more ecologically-responsible in the long-term than dumpster diving.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Too tired to write much!

I'm not kidding--tuck in your shirt!

I spent another day on the go. Various errands and business for the community garden and lots of weeding in my personal garden. I have the intention of gradually moving my bedtime back to a reasonable 10 p.m. no matter what it takes! I'm already an hour late, so short and sweet it is...

Today's Food

10 a.m. 12 C. watermelon
2 p.m. Smoothie with 3 frozen bananas (slightly thawed), 2/3 C. blackberries, and about 2 C. of Four Seasons lettuce
3 p.m. About 1 C. of lamb's quarter while weeding in the garden
7 p.m. 12 C. watermelon
8 p.m. Salad with bibb lettuce and Four Seasons lettuce, dressed with the juice of one lemon and a little bit of dried dill weed

About 1600 calories

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tuck in your shirt

Last night's excellent rainstorm cooled the weather for us and made the weeds easy to pull, even the gigantic lamb's quarters with huge root structures (see photo above). My farmer friend Phil and I tackled weeds together all day in my garden. We also had fun picking and sampling various varieties of peas he planted. He has sugar snaps, shell peas, snow peas, including a unique yellow snow pea. My favorite sample--the new Eclipse super-sweet shell pea. Wow--super-sweet is right!

The coolness of the day did not negate the affects of the bright sun. Unfortunately, I did not realize until too late that there was a significant gap between my waistband and my shirt when I bent over the rows. I have an extremely painful red strip of skin there. Oops. I don't think that part of my body has ever seen the sun before.

Today's Food
9 a.m. About 12 cups watermelon
2 p.m. About 4 cups of juicy sweet mulberries as big as blackberries right off the tree. Wow!
3-5 p.m. Snacking on random peas
7 p.m. Ice cream made with 3 frozen bananas and a 12 oz. bag of frozen mango

Approx. 1600 calories

Monday, June 18, 2007

Yesterday I was busy in my garden until after sunset and when I got home and nursed my daughter to sleep, I fell asleep also. Guess I needed some rest!

Today, I sold some lettuce to a local eaterie, brought the Farmer's Market donations to the local food pantry, and then the whole family headed to visit my parents to go swimming. Some of you may remember that last week our swimming was cut short by a surprise swim meet. This week it was cut short by thunder and showers.

As usual, it was a fun/ tense combo of hanging out with my family. I asked my mom some parenting advice about my children and their food choices, but she didn't really answer me. My mom doesn't like to give advice. She likes people to make their own way. I love my mom! (But I'd love her advice sometimes. At least I think would.)

Bad news! Aldi is closed for one week for remodeling. The horror! How will I replace the hundreds of dollars of free produce I get every week?

Today's food

9 a.m. About 10 cups watermelon
1 p.m. About 3 cups sweet cherries, large salad of iceberg and Four Seasons lettuce, more of that salsa made with Roma tomatoes, colored peppers, onion, cilantro, lime juice, agave syrup, cumin, and salt. I added a lot less salt this time (although I should NOT be eating any!)
4 p.m. About 4 cups watermelon
6:30 p.m. Zucchini "Pasta" with Raw Pomodoro sauce made with blended Roma tomatoes, a little avocado, fresh oregano and tarragon, lemon juice, and a bit of agave and a sprinkle of salt

About 1600 calories

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Rest and Optimal Eating

A photo of me, my son, and our cat, Bartimaeas taken today. Bart's wondering why the heck I picked him up while he was playing outside. That's our little gazebo in the background.

I have been really working hard these past few days in my garden, the community garden, and today at the Farmer's Market. I am noticing how the less I rest and the more sleep-deprived I get, the less I tend to make optimal food choices. Why is that?

I ate a LOT of raw salsa with salt in the past two days. Since I have been completely abstaining from salt in the past month, I really notice a difference. I'm thirsty, despite drinking more water, and am feeling a bit of extra fatigue. I have also been allowing myself to eat too late at night and eating more blended foods, rather than taking the time to slowly eat and thoroughly chew whole foods. I also have been making more "ice creams" and while they're a great treat, I don't want to start eating too many frozen foods because of the stress they can place on your digestive system and the flora inside it.

Today, after another fun day at the Farmer's Market, I spent some time with our friends wrapping up a garage sale. We made a pretty penny, and cleared out lots of unwanted clutter from our house. My husband and the kids spent some time with my husband's extended family at a local "lake" fishing and swimming, so I had the afternoon to run errands, sell Farmer's Market leftovers to some shut-ins, buy a Father's Day present, pick up waste to compost from a local florist, and meet with a plumber about the water hook-up in the community garden.

My husband has just finished a full week of 100% low fat raw vegan! He challenged himself to do a full week, with a reward at the end. I'm very proud of him. What a great gift to a great Dad for Father's Day.

My cat has not really taken to the raw meat yet, even with the regular food and egg mixed in. Yesterday, he vomited on the floor in the living room, a mixture of what looked like grass and water. He has never vomited indoors before and I believe cats eat grass when they are feeling ill. I really need to research more on transitioning him properly.

But, I better be off to bed now!

Today's Eating

9 a.m. 1 pint raspberries, 1 pint blackberries, about a cup of mulberries
12:30 p.m. Lots of homemade raw salsa (Roma tomatoes, red, green and yellow pepper, raw onion, cilantro, lime juice, agave nectar, cumin and salt) over Four Seasons Lettuce
5 p.m. Green smoothie with bananas, mango, and Four Seasons lettuce
6:30 p.m. Another large green smoothie with bananas, mango and Four Seasons lettuce
8:30 p.m. A totally unnecessary frozen banana-mango ice cream (wasn't even hungry, but made some for my husband and decided to eat some)

Total: About 1900 calories

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hare Today

Photo Above posted on Flickr by RawAllison

Our cat food situation is interesting, to say the least. Today, I made some attempt to start getting the raw meat organized. The 30 lb. block of ground chicken seemed too daunting, so I decided to try the cat out on the rabbit.

Bart, our kitty, has been eating mainly raw eggs mixed with small amounts of canned (cooked) food or tuna. Definitely not optimal, I know! He has been spending a lot of time outside and I'm not sure he's not getting some of his food elsewhere. I can only hope it's not kibble and not threatened species of birds or something!

Today I thawed the 5 lb. of rabbit pieces and the 3 lb. of ground rabbit and 2 lb. of chicken hearts. Tonight when he meowed for food, we gave him about 1/4 C. of ground rabbit mixed with a couple tablespoons of the canned organic food (cooked) and cracked an egg over the top. Bart ate the egg, but didn't seem to try the meat. Hard to tell.

Tonight, I started portioning out the rest. The instructions on were a little daunting... I didn't have some of the tools and haven't been able to find some of the ingredients. And they separate the egg yolks from the whites and discard the whites. Am I hurting my cat feeding them to him? He eats them!

First, I cut the rabbit into big chunks. This proved more difficult than I thought! I will have to invest in some poultry shears. I only did half the package. And I HATE handling raw meat. The smell, the crack of the bones. The poor little animal. I am not made for this! This will be my last cat, I think.

I put a big chunk of bone and rabbit meat in the bottom of a glass pint jar, added a chicken heart, and topped with ground rabbit. Then, when the jar was 2/3 full, I added another chunk of bone and rabbit meat and another chicken heart and a bit more of the ground rabbit. I only filled the jars 3/4 full so that the meat has room to expand when it freezes.

I am not going to try the big chunks of bone and meat on Bart yet, as he still seems squeamish about raw in general. So, I made 2 jars of just the ground meat and put those in the fridge for use this week.

I was very frustrated at my health food store. I ordered Torula yeast, which Tommie from Really Raw Food Forum says gets her cat to eat anything. Two weeks later, I still have not heard from them and when I stopped in, there was no record of my order. Grrr... I got taurine tablets and sprinkled some ground taurine in with my cat's food, but I'd love to get the magical yeast that cats love so much.

Today's Human Food (Thank God I'm a vegan!)

9 a.m. About 10 C. watermelon
12 p.m. About 3 C. sweet cherries
3 p.m. "Ice cream" made with 2 large frozen bananas and 2 1/2 C. frozen mango
5:45 p.m. Zucchini "pasta" with Pomodoro Sauce* (Roma tomatoes, red pepper, sundried tomatoes, a tiny bit of avocado, fresh basil, lemon juice, agave syrup), a large salad with Four Seasons lettuce, yellow pepper and more Pomodoro Sauce
7:30 p.m. A couple of cups of spinach and baby Swiss Chard while working in the garden

The Pomodoro sauce was loosely based on a recipe by Victoria Boutenko that I saw on YouTube. It was really good, but could have been fabulous with really sweet homegrown tomatoes. I also would have preferred to sweeten it with dates, but haven't been able to get any yet.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Symptoms Update

Thought I'd post a before picture. I weighed at least 171 pounds in this picture, not counting the baby. 171 pounds was probably my morning dehydrated weight (since I ate so much salt) and my real weight was probably more like 175.

I am enjoying my new found health and lightness lately. Today, I learned how to use a post pounder and enjoyed the power of raising a big metal object high above my head and then pulling it down with a satisfying clang to drive a huge metal post into the ground. Could I have done that in the shape I was in when the above picture was taken? NO.

I find it easy and effortless to break into a run if I want to. I can jump in and out of a dumpster with ease. I can carry a big watermelon in each arm and climb the stairs into my home.

I have enjoyed almost 100% relief from my bowel symptoms. However, I now am quite tuned in to how even slight indiscretions can lead to discomfort. Anything salty, dehydrated, or overly fatty can irritate my system. This is not new, but now I notice it, where before, I felt bad all the time and so I didn't really think about what was causing it.

Yesterday, I made the mistake of eating a cup or two of collard green thinnings, about an inch in size. I figured they were young greens and should be o.k. No. Today, I have had gas that smells like fermented collard greens.

I am still coughing up a significant amount of thick yellowish mucous from my chest. However, I don't feel any irritation there--it seems to be leftover stuff to be expectorated and I don't feel like more is being produced. We'll see.

I am still not resting enough. I am also experiencing some self-induced stress, which I hope to deal with positively in the next few days.

Although I am not getting proper rest, I feel more energetic than I ever used to. I no longer wake feeling horrible and achey and longing to sleep indefinitely. I am less crabby in general in the morning. I also do not experience the intense urge to take a nap midafternoon like I usually did before.

So, here's to the amazing changes raw has brought me thus far!

Today's Food:

9 a.m. Smoothie w/ 3 large bananas, 2 C. blueberries, and 2 C. Four Seasons lettuce
12:30 p.m. 3 C. sweet cherries
4 p.m. 10 C. watermelon
6:30 Salad with iceberg and Four Seasons lettuce and red and yellow pepper w/ a soup/dressing made from Roma tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, iceberg lettuce, lime juice, fresh oregano and some cumin
About 1380 calories

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Gardening Woes

Picture courtesy of

Ever have one of those days?

The weather is gorgeous, if you aren't trying to keep a garden alive. Sunny and no rain in sight for almost a week. I had spoken with Linda, a garden volunteer last night, and we agreed to take a turn watering the garden. Many of the annuals we planted on June 5th are looking sickly from heat and lack of moisture (although they have been watered several times, it's just not enough).

We meant to get there by 10 a.m., but it was almost 11 when we did... for no reason than it just takes time to get organized and going. We had a lovely time watering together for an hour and a half. And I got a sunburn because I was not dressed right. I knew I wasn't, but we were going to be there earlier, and not that long (I thought).

Then, I meant to spend some time at home with the family and after the midday sun cooled down a bit, to head over to my garden outside of town. The main thing I wanted to accomplish there was to put up my pea fence!

Fast forward to 6:30. Yes, I finally got to my garden at 6:30 p.m., for no real reason other than disorganization, distraction, and distemper. And, when I got there, I realized I had forgotten my fence.

Of course, since I haven't been there in a few days, I was shocked to discover how high and how fast the weeds had gotten. Yikes. I did some hoeing and pulling, and was depressed by other findings.

My cole crops are being munched by flea beetles and gophers. The early broccoli may be a loss...or at the very least will take forever to give a crop. Darn those varmints! Though most things are up, there is not one single broccoli raab, fennel plant, or Nero di Tuscano kale to be found.

I must get out there and do HOURS of work immediately. Let's just face it. And I am getting behind on lots of other work, too. Now my husband and I are working on a garage sale this weekend, too.

So, I must head to bed in the hopes of getting up early and over to my garden tomorrow.

Today's food:

9:30 a.m. About 8 C. watermelon
10:30 a.m. Collard green thinnings at the garden
1 p.m. Smoothie with 3 medium bananas, 3 C. blueberries, a cup or two of Four Seasons Lettuce
5:30 p.m. About 10 C. watermelon

Total: 1500 calories

Monday, June 11, 2007

Another Adventure

Today, I really tried to cram too much in. But it was all fun, and I couldn't resist.

This morning, my husband had his rock-moving gig. It ended up being a LOT more work than we originally anticipated. The short version: At 7:30 a.m., he set out optimistically. 5 hours later, he came back, red and sweaty, and said his heart was racing and he felt dizzy. He thought he could push himself to finish the last little bit, but he was just too overheated. Luckily, he had the sense to stop when he did, or he might have ended up with heat stroke. Turns out that what looked like a thin layer of rock was really a thick layer of rock, mixed with mulch, on top of a plastic sheet, with more rock underneath. Poor guy! He made $50, though, and now will make more finishing the job and painting a garage on the property.

While he was gone, I headed out to the local Food Pantry. We donate much of the produce we raise in the Community Garden there. I also collect donations from the other Farmer's Market vendors after the market on Saturday and take them in. I have to keep track of who donates what and weigh everything and get a receipt. So it takes a bit of time. The community garden donated 1 1/2 lbs. of radishes. Yay!

Then I went downtown to a little family-owned bakery/ lunch spot to sell some lettuce and herbs. The proprietor there is a really interesting lady. She and her family are "vegetarians." (I use the quotes because she eats fish.) She said something really neat..., "I believe that the fresher the food, the more life it has in it, the healthier it is." Made me wonder if she doesn't eat a lot of raw food herself? She told me that she makes her own vegetarian stocks for all her soups, instead of using prepackaged chicken stock. I'll have to pass that along to my "cooked vegetarian" friends. She also talked about the struggle to educate her customers, but also be successful in business by giving them what they want--like meat and storebought bread.

The neatest thing she mentioned is that she is planning to go to a local park and harvest all of the mulberries there. She bought $7.50 worth of my lettuce and took some samples of my partner's herbs. She will definitely be buying fresh basil and cilantro, but wants to experiment with some others.

After that little adventure, we all packed up the car and drove 40 minutes to visit my parents and go swimming and play tennis at the country club where my mom works. My family is... let's say, unique. So, it was a relatively painless visit considering. Unfortunately, the pool closed 30 minutes after we got there because of a swim meet that no one knew about. But we had fun walking around the golf course, playing tennis, etc. The highlight of the kids' day was to see some great big bullfrogs down by the pond on the golf course. My 2 year-old would chase them until they would jump into the pond with a big PLOP.

Today's Food

10 a.m. About 10 C. watermelon
1 p.m. While preparing food--a bit of bok choy, some of the tomato herb soup that I made for "lunch"
3 p.m. (lunch) A lot of bok choy with lime juice, some Four Seasons and leaf lettuces, Tomato Herb soup with roma tomatoes, yellow pepper, lime juice, fresh chives and dill blended (not so great, unfortunately--the tomatoes needed to be riper), 2 large bananas
7 p.m. Banana ice cream made with 4 medium bananas and a bit of Chinese 5-spice powder

Total: About 1300 calories

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Day of Rest?

I slept in until 10:30 this morning. I needed it!

I did a lot of puttering around town doing errands and talking with people. Today, the universe sent me someone who gave me lots of free advice about running your own business. And about where to get a greenhouse (possibly free?!?). I'll have an inner city herb farm yet.

My husband also scored a job moving some rocks. Yep, that's right. Not a bad-paying little gig, and it might turn into more odd jobs. We could definitely use the grocery money!

Tomorrow, we are headed to visit my family and go swimming with them. Should be fun. I'm a little frustrated because I took a bit of a spill down the stairs this afternoon (carrying my daughter, thank goodness she didn't get hurt!). Now my legs have very painful scrapes on them and so I may not be able to get in the pool tomorrow after all. But if not, I'll just enjoy the sun.

Maybe I'll do some healing while I sleep. Maybe I'll actually get in bed at a decent hour! O.k., not maybe, I WILL.

Today's food...

11:30 a.m. About 12 C. watermelon
3:30 p.m. About 3 C. sweet cherries
4:00 p.m. A big salad with Four Seasons lettuce and leaf lettuce w/ a blended dressing made with roma tomatoes, red pepper, yellow pepper, iceberg lettuce, lime juice, fresh oregano, cumin and onion powder
6:00 p.m. Another big salad with Four Seasons lettuce and leaf lettuce with a very similar dressing (I added a bit of kelp powder this time--just a pinch)
9:00 p.m. About 3 more C. of sweet cherries

(I've gotta get back to eating a big enough dinner and not eating late! Not good for my sleep.)

Speaking of which, GOOD NIGHT!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Another fun market day

Our friend Lynn visiting our booth during the Grand Opening of the Market in May.

What a wild and wonderful day.

After a whopping 4 hours of sleep, I woke to a crabby 2 year-old and husband. I washed some more lettuce and bagged up my Sprouted Salad Crunchies (sampling a few before beginning--I know, I thought I could resist and then I didn't).

This week, I decided to try trimming up the lettuce, and only selling the tender inner leaves of the Four Seasons Lettuce, combined with some Black-Seeded Simpson lettuce that is finally ready. Of course, the washing and trimming process is time-consuming, explaining my 2 a.m. bedtime. The lettuce mix did sell better than the Four Seasons lettuce alone. One customer, however, wanted the Four Seasons lettuce, unwashed and in a whole head (it keeps longer that way), so I'll have to bring that next week.

It was a gorgeous day for the market! Sunny, but not too hot. And yet attendance was down from last week when it was overcast and drizzly. Go figure. Of course, I had fun! The market is my favorite part of the week. Too bad getting ready for it is soooo draining.

Kristi, my market partner, and I had the brainstorm of trying to sell our leftover wares to some elderly folks that can't make it down to the market. We made four stops after the market and sold more of Kristi's bread and rum cakes. I felt a little like a drug pusher, selling white flour and sugar to little old ladies with failing health and false teeth. None of them wanted any lettuce--can't chew or digest it, they say. But they were so thrilled to see us and said to come back next week. Perhaps they'll be more receptive to the veggies later in the season when I have tomatoes and other things.

We talked with another market vendor who works in a nursing home and hope to find another venue for our products. There is also a bakery downtown that has a little lunch counter on the weekdays and they have expressed interest in buying fresh, local produce and herbs, so we'll be trying to make a connection there soon.

Kristi and I spent time fantasizing on our joint herb farm. (Lisa, if you're reading this, we want you to move back and help us). There are some cheap vacant lots available in town that we are eyeing.

After market fun was over and a quick lunch and time with the family, I headed off to pick up rabbit poop donations for the community garden's compost bin. That turned into a lot more work than I thought it would! First of all, there was a LOT of poop. I took my two oldest kids with me, but the buckets were too heavy for them to help with, so they mainly just kept me company and complained a lot.

Then I spent some time with an elderly garden neighbor who spent time regaling me with all the details of his home repair and landscape projects and showed me his own little garden. He also gave me detailed instructions on how to refinish my hardwood floors. I may use that knowledge someday!

And then, I tried to rebury all of the flowers that the squirrels dug up. Time for some cayenne pepper! I started on the watering, but the kids' patience was wearing thin. So tomorrow morning, I'll have to head over there. The new plantings look awfully dry.

After dinner, I headed off to see The Giving Tree Band perform. What fun! Some friends got me in as an "usher." What good friends... I plan to write another post about the concert tomorrow.

After the concert, I was so energetic, I made a dumpster run at Aldi. The dumpster was so darn full that I couldn't even get in it. A lot of moldy strawberries and white bread were in the way of proper investigation. But I got LOTS of good stuff, which you can see listed in my June grocery expenses post.
And now, here it is, 11 p.m. and I'm quite tired!

Today's eating was less than optimal and resting was nonexistent. I feel better, mostly, but I have a quite strong dry cough that surfaces occasionally, making me feel like a lung is trying to hop out.

7 a.m. A few ounces of Sprouted Salad Crunchies (Triple whammy--legumes, dehydrated, salt)
9 a.m. About 8 cups watermelon
1 p.m. Big salad of Four Seasons and Black-seeded Simpson lettuce w/ blended cucumber, tomato, red pepper, lime, and basil dressing, a whole lot of Sprouted Salad Crunchies
5 p.m. A medium peach, a blended soup made from blended cucumber, roma tomatoes, red and yellow pepper, iceberg lettuce, with lime juice, onion powder, cumin, cayenne, and a dash of salt (see--more salt!), more Sprouted Salad Crunchies
6 p.m. About 4 C. watermelon

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Moldy Blueberries (The Downside of Dumpster Diving)

I get many positive responses from people about my posts on dumpster diving and many people have reported that they have begun diving themselves. I feel GREAT about this. Not only does dumpster diving make eating raw fruits and veggies affordable for my family and others, it also prevents these items from ending up in a landfill, where they will take a loooong time to decompose.

However, it must be said that dumpster diving has a seemy dark underbelly besides the obvious social stigma of "digging in the trash."

First of all, all of my dumpster diving takes place at a location where there is NO organic produce available. If you can dumpster dive for organics, terrific! But I would venture to guess that most dumpster finds are conventional produce. Conventional produce is laden with pesticides, and has a lower vitamin and mineral content than organic produce because of the growing practices used. At least, i can feel happy that I did not use my dollars to "vote" for these products by purchasing them.

Furthermore, the nutritional quality of the produce which has endured shipping and sitting on the shelf for some time, has declined.

Digging in the dumpster can range from easy clean pickin's to down and dirty diving. Sometimes I have to climb in and get my shoes gooshy. Sometimes they throw plants in potting soil in the dumpster and everything is covered with dirt. Sometimes it rains and everything is soaking wet. There is always a stinky chemical smell, that I hope is the scented trash bags they use to bag up all of the bathroom and office waste. I have never seen any rats or cockroaches. Does this mean they are spraying for them? If so, I hope they are doing it outside the dumpster. Since all of the produce is usually encased in packaging, I feel somewhat safe, but...

Then, of course, there is the obvious time and energy drain of picking through 84 quarts of moldy blueberries just to come up with 25 or so quarts of so-so blueberries.

And then there is the increase in garbage. I am able to compost a large amount of organic waste and recycle plastic containers. If you are not able to compost, expect a significant increase in your trash. As it is, I must throw away all of the styrofoam trays that much of Aldi's produce is packaged in.

However, I do hope that you keep diving, especially if you, like me, cannot otherwise afford to eat a huge quantity of fruit and veggies otherwise.


Detox or "cleansing"

I am finally experiencing the dreaded detox that everyone tells you about. I have had four days of acidic nasal discharge, sore throat and fatigue. On The Path of Health list, we have been encouraged to use the word "cleansing" rather than detox, because the connotation is positive. I am trying to stay positive. My symptoms are telling me that my body is cleaning house and I am happy that it is doing so.

Of course, part of the problem is that I have been "too busy" to rest. (Of course, it's just that I haven't been making rest a big enough priority.) So, I've been cheating on my sleep, and generally just working myself to the point of exhaustion.

Now my body is DEMANDING that I pay attention. Today, I have really felt awful, and I'm finally taking the time to really rest. The most strenuous thing I've done is read blogs and sort through blueberries. Actually, I stayed in bed until 1 p.m.

I felt that maybe I should fast, but was conflicted since I am breastfeeding my active 2 year-old and do not want to jeapordize my milk supply. I visited Dr. Graham's VegSource Forum and he advised me to not fast more than 36 hours, but to monoeat and REST. I waited until 4 p.m. to eat, and then ate watermelon to the point of satiation--about 12 cups. What a wonderful resource his forum is--I encourage anyone to go there with questions.

I plan to rest as much as possible tomorrow, but Saturday is Farmer's Market, and my partner must be away, so there's no avoiding getting there.

However, I must say, that I do feel much better than I did this morning. So, we can hope.

Community Garden Event a Big Success

Volunteers enjoying a much-needed break for dinner

Our community garden held a very successful volunteer event on June 5, 2007. Approximately 40 volunteers weeded paths, the vegetable garden and the flower beds, planted flowers, spread new mulch, and helped the children plant their vegetable patch.

The rain showers held off and it was a very nice, breezy evening. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute and can only say thank you to everyone who was so generous to donate and be involved.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today, I turn 31. And I feel at least a year younger than I did on my last birthday. I have so much to be thankful for.

Tonight is a big volunteer event at the garden and almost 40 people are coming to work. Isn't that fantastic?!?

Also, my scale said the magic number that I was aiming for by my birthday. 120 pounds this morning.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

What the heck is this raw foods thing you're doin'?

Frequently Asked Questions: Part 1

So it occurs to me that some of my readers, including my closest friends and family, have no clue what exactly this whole thing is about...

Here are some questions that I bet you've wanted to ask, but haven't.

1) Why raw foods?
I believe that human beings, like all animals, have a diet that is prescribed by Nature and perfectly-designed to keep them healthy and functioning within their ecosystem. Moving away from that natural diet results in disease of all kinds.

Cooking food destroys many of the nutrients and enzymes in the food. It creates toxins called AGEs and acrylamides that are associated with serious diseases such as cancer. Cooking food also allows us to eat foods that are not designed for our species, such as meat and grains, and when eaten over time, these foods cause chronic diseases.

2) So, what exactly do you eat?

I eat a diet based on fruit and tender greens. Many so-called vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, are actually fruits.

3) Isn't that dangerous?


4) Are you sure? All the experts say we have to have a balanced diet. Where will you get your protein and calcium and all that stuff?

Lots of "experts" say lots of things. Let's look at nature. Let's look at human biology. Let's look around us at the effects of that so-called balanced diet.

First off, human beings need the most protein when they are infants because they are growing so rapidly. And yet, the protein content of human breastmilk, the sole food they need for the first year or so, is only 5-15% protein. How can an adult require more protein than an infant?

Secondly, excess protein consumption CAUSES calcium loss. We can easily get all of the calcium we need from fruit and tender greens, if we aren't consuming things that cause calcium loss (too much protein, salt, acid-forming foods).

Thirdly, human beings cannot digest high protein foods easily. Humans lack the digestive systems of carnivores or omnivores. They do not have high-levels of stomach acid to digest raw meat. Likewise, legumes are indigestible in their raw state, and cause much digestive discomfort in their cooked or sprouted state.

Finally, studies show that protein consumption, especially animal protein, is linked with increased risks of cancer and other chronic diseases. (For more information on this, read The China Study by T. Colin Campbell.)

Our closest relatives in nature are the Bonobo monkeys. They eat a diet of primarily raw fruit, with some raw shoots and a very small amount of raw seeds. Our tooth structure, our digestive system, all of our innate senses and abilities--all are most like animals who are fruit-eaters, not like those of carnivores, omnivores, granivores, or insectivores.

5) What about Vitamin B-12? Human beings need it and the only place to get it is in animal products. Doesn't this prove we need to eat meat?

A lot isn't known about Vitamin B-12 and why deficiencies of this vitamin are becoming so common. Actually, Vitamin B-12 deficiency is equally common among meateaters than it is among vegans. The primary problem with B-12 deficiency arises from a lack of B-12 absorption rather than B-12 consumption. Eating the proper foods means your digestive system will work better, making deficiency less likely.
Also, it is thought that our industrialized food system might have something to do with a loss of B-12 in the soil because of farming practices. Also, there is thought to be a loss of B-12 on produce because of treatment with pesticides or irradiation. Some have suggested that exposure to pollutants might cause our bodies to become deficient in B vitamins. Another theory is that our food is too clean and that exposure to the bacteria in soil, insects, and feces would prevent Vitamin B-12 deficiency. All of these are theories.

Many raw vegans have normal B-12 levels without consuming supplements. Others choose to take supplements just in case. Some people feel that it is important to avoid consuming frozen foods because they may kill off intestinal flora in the gut and interfere with B-12 synthesis. Others claim that periodic fasting increases the body's ability to absorb B-12.

Anyone who is concerned that they may become deficient in B-12 can have their blood tested by a doctor and consume a supplement if they choose.

6) Yeah, well, I guess something has to kill us. We can't live forever. I'd rather have fun eating before I die.

O.k., that's assuming people are having fun. Everywhere I go, everyone I meet is suffering needlessly every day. They are overweight or obese. They are depressed and tired. Over 80% of Americans take some form of medication daily. This figure doesn't count all of the stimulants people consume in the form of caffeine, nicotine, etc. All of the surgeries and medications and technologies are not making us less sick and tired. And for what? The joy of a hamburger, cola and a sundae? Are they really THAT good?

Believe it or not, the cause of disease is not genetic. It's not nature attacking us with germs or viruses. When our bodies are healthy, we do not suffer disease.

You don't need to have "fun" with junk food. I have fun eating ripe colorful delicious fruits. I have fun gardening and walking and spending time with friends and family. I feel great physically and have the energy for many fun pursuits. As I age, I'll be healthy enough to continue to be active and have adventures, rather than spending a lot of time and money trying to stop my body from falling apart.

7) Isn't it really complicated? Lots of sprouting and dehydrating and making green smoothies?

No. There are some raw foodists who choose to eat a lot of pretend cooked foods or complicated recipes. There are sproutarians. Then there are raw foodists who are inspired by the Natural Hygiene movement and its followers, such as Doug Graham. I am following the last group because it makes the most sense in terms of health and biology.

If we really study our body's biology, we find that our ideal diet consists of mainly sweet fruits such as bananas and melons, supplemented with other fruits, tender leafy greens, and possibly a very small amount of overt fats from seeds and avocados. Anything else can cause serious health complications. For example, dehydrated foods often cause constipation, dehydration, diarrhea, mouth wounds, tooth decay, etc.

Many raw foodists eat an enormous amount of their calories from fats such as nuts and avocadoes, which causes all kinds of health problems. See Dr. Graham's 80/10/10 Diet for more information.

8) So just whole fruit and salad? That sounds unappetizing. I couldn't live without hamburgers or spaghetti or cake and ice cream.

First of all, fruit and salad are absolutely delicious. Try it and you may like it. In fact, cooked food is actually not very good without adding huge amounts of excitotoxins (toxins that are addictive because they create an opiod sensation in the body, like a drug), such as salt, spices, sugar, chemical food additives, etc.

Here's a test, take out your hamburger meat and smell it. Mmmm, don't you want to just shove some in your mouth? O.k., now take some in your hand. Ooo, doesn't that feel good? No? O.k., cook it up. Now, take a bite. Don't add any salt or catsup or seasoning of any kind. Really taste the flavor. Hmmm. Not so hot?

Try again. Take out some wheat flour. (You couldn't even try the wheat berry in it's whole form--it's impossible to chew and digest.) Sniff--not too hard, it'll go up your nose! Taste. Mix with water into a plain pancake and cook on a nonstick surface--don't add anything to it including oil or syrup. Yummy?

Now, repeat this test with an apple or a banana or your favorite fruit.

9) Doesn't eating this way make you an outcast? I bet there are no restaurants you can eat at. What about all of the holidays and birthdays?

No, I'm not an outcast, although sometimes when I'm feeling melodramatic, I feel like one. Yes, being different can be a challenge. Some friends and family do make an effort to have fruit and salad available at social occasions. I try to fly under the radar with people who I feel won't be supportive. Most people don't really notice, or at least, don't say anything. I can connect with people on other things that we have in common. Food isn't the only thing that connects us!

As for restaurants, I can usually get a plain salad anywhere. Buffets are sometimes a good option, although it depends on the buffet, because the salad and fruit can be poor quality. I don't eat out much; it's not that thrilling to me anymore.

Birthdays and holidays are a challenge for me because I want to help my kids make good food choices, which can be challenging in these settings. Also I don't always enjoy feeling singled out for being different. So far, I personally don't feel deprived at these occasions. I don't really miss the junk--it's not even "food" to me anymore.
10) Are you 100% raw? Have you ever "fallen off the wagon"?
I was 100% raw from late April to late September, 2007. From September through December, I struggled with emotional eating, eating lots of junk food. I gained 30 pounds during that time. I am working on clearing my emotional blocks so that I can enjoy my health again.
11) Doesn't the fact that so many people struggle falling off the wagon show that the 80-10-10 raw way doesn't work? You must be deficient in ____________, don't you think?
People use food as a substance to numb their feelings. In particular, eating fat, cooked food, or chemical-laden junk food requires so much energy to digest and eliminate, that our body is forced to shut down the processing of feelings. Many people don't realize how much they have relied on food as a coping mechanism.
So, I think when a person struggles with "falling off the wagon," it would be helpful to try to sort out the emotional baggage that it interfering with their success. Chances are, that baggage is contributing to a lot of other problems besides overeating.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

June Food Expenses

This is going to be a complicated post. Hopefully someone is going to teach me how to put this all into more readable tables.

Note: All figures represent the spending for a family of 5 and one cat

Grocery Receipts

6/1 Hare Today Gone Tomorrow (online), $100.06, frozen meat for the cat
6/1 Cub Foods, $25.59--bok choy, cherries, cantaloupe, frozen mango
6/1 Aldi, $51.08--romaine lettuce, apples, bananas, frozen raspberries, frozen mixed berries, cucumbers, multi-colored peppers, mangos
6/1 Sav-A-Lot, $35.92--8 large watermelons
6/1 Cub Foods, $2.60--cat food
6/2 Farmer's Market, $8--Raisin walnut bread (my husband's purchase for himself), eggs (for the cat), romaine lettuce
6/2 Cub Foods, $1.98, 6 gallons reverse osmosis water
6/4 Freeport Food Co-op Buying Club, $1.28, 1 can of albacore tuna (for the cat)
6/4 Aldi $4.18, bananas
6/4 Sav-A-Lot, $26.10, 4 watermelons, organic apples, nectarines and peaches, avocados
6/4 Cub Foods, $0.99, 3 gallons reverse osmosis water
6/7 Aldi, $25.99, 12 lbs. bananas, 4 watermelons (price went up on the watermelons!)
6/9 Farmer's Market, $5.50 Sprouted Salad Crunchies, eggs (for the cat)
6/9 Aldi, $23.08, 4 watermelons, Asian noodles (my husband's purchase for himself)
6/12 Aldi, $30.06, 4 watermelons, 4 cucumbers, 12 lbs. bananas, 3 lbs. Granny Smith apples, 4 plums, 4 cucumbers
6/12 Cub Foods, $8.98, 9 gallons reverse osmosis water, 2 12 oz. packages frozen mango
6/14 Cub Foods, 24.95, 5 cans organic cat food, 2 watermelons (sale!), 2 avocadoes, 1 pkg. sundried tomatoes, 2 12 oz. packages frozen mango
6/14 Nature's Path Health Food Store, $17.15, 23 oz. agave nectar, taurine (for the cat)
6/15 Cub Foods, $33.68, 5 watermelons, 2 pints blackberries, 2 pints raspberries, 2 12 oz. packages frozen mangos
6/15 Aldi, $13.91, 20 lbs. bananas, 4 lbs. green grapes, 3 large zucchini
6/16 Cub Foods, $9.79, 2 12 oz. packages frozen mangos, 2 packages scrub pads
6/16 Freeport Farmers Market, $3, sugar snap peas
6/17 Cub Foods, $8.07, 16 kiwi fruit, 2 pints blackberries
6/18 Cub Foods, $29.03, 4 watermelon, 8 kiwi fruit, 2 12 oz. packages frozen mangos, 2 avocadoes, 1 red pepper, 1 large head bok choy, 9 gallons reverse osmosis water
6/19 Cub Foods, $8.28, 10 lbs. bananas, 1 12 oz. package frozen cherries
6/21 Cub Foods, $29.07, 6 gallons reverse osmosis water, 8 lbs. bananas, 1 large watermelon, 2 large cantaloupe, 1 canary melon, 3 red peppers, 2 avocados, 2 lbs. tomatoes, 1 12 oz. package frozen cherries
6/23 Aldi, $7.68, 5 lbs. bananas, 2 cucumbers, 1 bunch celery, 1 watermelon
6/23 Farmer's Market, $7.50, 1 head bok choy, 1 large bag sugar snap peas, 1/2 batch of sprouted salad crunchies
6/23 SHARE food program, $13.50, Organic produce box containing 1 cantaloupe, 3 lbs. Golden Delicious apples, 4 kiwis, 3 pears, 1 large head broccoli, 1 lb. carrots, 1 cucumber, 1 head iceberg lettuce
6/24 Aldi, $9.87, 5.5 lbs. bananas, 2 lbs. green grapes, 2 lbs. red grapes, 2 avocados
6/25 Cub Foods, $3, 9 gallons reverse 0smosis water
6/27 Cub Foods, $8.74, 2 12 oz. packages frozen mangos, 2 cans organic catfood
6/29 Cub Foods, $15.14, 5 cans organic catfood, 1 watermelon, 1 cantaloupe, 3 gallons reverse osmosis water
6/30 Farmer's Market, $11, Shell peas, 2 cucumbers, 1 large head heirloom cos lettuce, 2 lbs. better than organic apricots
6/30 Cub Foods, $36.55, 15 lbs.? Organic bananas (discounted for ripeness), 2 watermelon, cucumbers, 1 cabbage, 2 1/4 lbs. Braeburn apples, 2 lbs. strawberries, 2 12 oz. packages each frozen cherries and mangos
6/30 Nature's Path Health Food Store, $10.01, Amber Agave Syrup (not raw! A mistake made by my husband. We planned to take it back, but my daughter opened it without asking. Grrr.)
Total: $645.77

Farmer's Market Expenses

6/1 Bags for bagging lettuce, $4.40
6/4 Organic chickpeas for Sprouted Salad Crunchies, $1.01
6/21 Limes and onion powder for Sprouted Salad Crunchies, $3.80
Total: $9.21

Garden Expenses

6/1 Cub Foods, $7 watermelon and kale plants
6/2 Farmer's Market, $6 cucumber and melon plants
6/6 Local farmer, straw for mulching, $15
6/16 Farm and Fleet, organic pest control sprays, 12.82
6/17 Cub Foods, eggplant and tomatillo plants on clearance, $4.82
6/21 DeMeester's Greenhouse, purple and yellow snap bean seeds, yellow and white patty pan squash seeds, large bag of rotonone (organic pesticide), $19.85
Total: $65.49

Farmer's Market Income

6/2 $8
6/9 $15.50
6/11 $7.50
6/16 $17.00
6/16 $13.50 (a friend sold lettuce for me at another area market)
6/18 $7.50
6/23 $4
6/30 $0
Total: $72.00

Free Food

6/1 Aldi dumpster, approx. $13.45 in colored peppers, a lot of sweet onions that I won't count because we're not eating them
6/2 Gift of asparagus from Farmer's Market vendor, $3
6/4 Aldi dumpster, approx. 122.36 worth of stuff--15 heads iceberg, 1 lb. romaine, 3 lbs. Granny Smith apples, 1 lb. Red Delicious apples, 14 D 'Anjou pears, 1 mango, 2 lbs. Roma tomatoes, 3 cucumbers, 3 3pks of colored peppers, 1 quart strawberries, about 84 pints of blueberries (but 2/3 of it was waste), plus a lot of stuff to give away that I did not count in the money total because I gave it away
6/7 Aldi dumpster, 6 lbs. oranges and 3 lbs. Red Delicious apples, approx. $8.50
6/9 Aldi dumpster, 9 lbs. oranges, 4 lbs. organic sweet cherries, 10 pts. blueberries (about 1/2 waste), 2 3 pks. peppers, 11 D 'Anjou pears, 15 lbs. Granny Smith apples, 8 lbs. Roma tomatoes, 2 quarts strawberries, 2 lbs. baby carrots, one package of chicken patties for the cat, and a lot of other stuff not counted in the total because I'm giving it away, approx. $78
6/12 Aldi dumpster, 14 lbs. Roma tomatoes, 3 lbs. red grapes, 4 lbs. organic sweet cherries, 5 pts. blueberries, 3 lbs. Gala apples, 1/2 qut. strawberries, 10 colored peppers, 3 cucumbers, 2 D'Anjou pears, 8 lemons, 15 limes, 1 zucchini, and 1 lonesome perfect peach, approx. $66
6/12 Mulberries from local trees, approx. $3
6/14 Mulberries from local trees, approx. $2
6/15 Aldi dumpster, 50 lbs. bananas, 9 lbs. Red Delicious apples, 6 lbs. Granny Smith apples, 3 3-packs of colored peppers, approx. $38
6/19 Mulberries from local trees, approx. $3
6/19 Peas from my farmer friends, approx. $1
6/20 Bibb lettuce from my farmer friends, approx. $2
6/21 Mulberries from local trees, approx. $1
6/22 Mulberries from local trees, approx. $1
6/22 Aldi dumpster, 6 lbs. Red Delicious apples, 6 lbs. Granny Smith apples, approx. $10
6/23 Black raspberries from a nice lady's patch, $9
6/23 Aldi dumpster, 1/2 lb. sweet cherries, $1
6/24 Aldi dumpster, 12 heads iceberg lettuce, 9 lbs. oranges, 1 lb. sweet cherries, $22 (more stuff not counted because we gave it to friends and neighbors),
6/24 Red and black raspberries from a friend's patch, $12
6/26 Aldi dumpster, 16 avocadoes in perfect condition!, 15 lbs. oranges, 10 lbs. green grapes, 5 quarts strawberries (after trimming), 4 lbs. sweet cherries, 10 lbs. bananas, 1 3-pack zucchini (more not counted because we gave it to friends and neighbors), $71.70
6/27 Aldi dumpster, 14 lbs. oranges, 12 lbs. green grapes, 1 red apple, $71.66
6/27 Mulberries, gooseberries, $3
6/27 Purslane, huge quantities! $priceless? I guess I'll charge myself $4
6/28 Red and black raspberries from a friend's patch, $12
6/28 Aldi dumpster (via a dumpster-diving friend), 8 colored peppers, 3 lbs. Granny Smith apples, 2 lbs. red grapes, 12 Roma tomatoes, 1 pint grape tomatoes, 1 bag baby carrots, $17
Total: $575.67

Garden Produce (market value based on what I would charge at the Farmer's Market for said amount of produce)

6/1 Four Seasons Lettuce, approx. $2
6/2 Four Seasons Lettuce, approx. $2
6/3 Four Seasons Lettuce, approx. $1
6/4 Four Seasons Lettuce, approx. $2
6/5 Four Seasons Lettuce, approx. $2
6/6 Four Seasons Lettuce, approx. $3
6/7 Four Seasons Lettuce, approx. $1
6/8 Mixed lettuce greens, approx. $3
6/9 Mixed lettuce greens, approx. $3
6/10 Mixed lettuce greens, approx. $3
6/11 Mixed lettuce greens, approx. $1
6/12 Four Seasons Lettuce, approx. $1
6/13 Four Seasons Lettuce, approx. $2
6/14 Four Seasons Lettuce, swiss chard, spinach, approx. $4
6/15 Mixed lettuce greens, spinach, approx. $5
6/16 Mixed lettuce greens, approx. $3
6/18 Four Seasons lettuce, approx. $2
6/19 Four Seasons lettuce, approx. $1
6/20 Four Seasons lettuce, approx. $1
6/21 Spinach approx. $2
6/22 Four Seasons and Black-seeded Simpson Lettuce, approx. $4
6/23 Four Seasons and Black-seeded Simpson lettuce, approx. $2
6/24 Four Seasons and Black-seeded Simpson lettuce, approx. $2
6/27 Black-seeded Simpson lettuce, approx. $2
6/28 Endive, $1
Total: $57

Finally, some rest

My favorite napping photo ever. That's my youngest when she was about 9 months old. Too bad that the photo quality is so poor. And too bad about those cooked peas on her tray. Oh well, I didn't know any better.

Today was Farmer's Market. It rained a bit just before market and just as market was ending. Attendance was down, but not too bad. I made a whopping $8, which I managed to spend all before I left. Luckily, my friend Kristi who shares her booth with me did pretty well. I only sold ONE bag of lettuce. Although I'm not a smoothie person, I'm going to be making a whole lot of green smoothies to use up all of this darn lettuce this week.

After market, I took a much-needed 2 1/2 hour nap. I woke up feeling a bit under the weather and I know I need to get more rest. After my nap, I took it pretty easy and spent some quality time with the family and relaxed. Tonight, I've been having fun hanging out at the Really Raw Food Forum. What a great bunch of people!

Today I ate:

9:30 10 C. of watermelon (immediately felt sick, almost like I would throw up, but it passed quickly)

3:45 (after my nap) Ate 2/3 of a medium cantaloupe. It was soft and juicy, but not sweet. Annoying.

6:15 Large salad of romaine, Four Seasons lettuce and red pepper with blended raspberries, bananas and more Four Seasons lettuce on top

About 950 calories for the day because I missed lunch.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Finally, some rain

The above photo is a 4 x 8 raised bed from our community garden. We have 15 of these that we rent out for $10 a season. I have one, but this is NOT mine, because mine doesn't look this good yet. So I chose someone else's to show off. LOL! The garden also has two large areas where we grow food for a local food pantry. Today I managed to unload a carload of compost and plant yellow crookneck squash, zucchini, okra, and slicing cucumbers just before it started raining. Yay. We really needed the moisture.

I harvested some more 4 Seasons Lettuce from my farm garden in the rain. It is supposed to rain tomorrow, which means less customers, so I didn't take it all like I originally planned.

As you may remember, my family has gone round and round with what to do for our poor cat. We want to feed him a biologically-appropriate raw diet so that he is healthy and so that our kids won't be tempted to eat cat food. But our finances are so limited. I did some research at and was shocked at how complicated it was to make your own cat food. I am not ready to be grinding and chopping meat in my own kitchen. But the premade stuff is too expensive for our budget. Finally, I just impulsively took some of our latest paycheck and purchased 40 pounds of raw preground/precut meat at Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow. . Really, that money should have paid other bills. But I can't just can't part with my cat. I also preordered some salmon oil and torula yeast at our local health food store. Luckily I didn't have to pay for that yet!

It is a big leap of faith. I hope it pays off and that our cat and our kids will be healthier for it. I will post more on this experiment

Tonight I managed a dumpster run in between everything that's going on. I got about 30 pounds of Vidalia onions and a dozen colored peppers. The onions will probably be a give-away item. I just can't leave decent produce in there to go to waste...

I didn't do any proper resting today, as I'd planned. And it is now midnight (I have to be up at 6 a.m.). Sigh. Something to work on.

Today's food:

9:30 a.m. Smoothie with 2 C. raspberries, 1 large banana, and 1 C. Four Seasons lettuce poured over 4 C. romaine
1:15 p.m. 12 cups of watermelon
5:00 p.m. 6 more cups of watermelon
8:30 p.m. A large salad of romaine, Four Seasons lettuce, and grape tomatoes, with 1/2 of a large cucumber and 1 cup of grape tomatoes blended and poured over the top, a sprinkle of cumin and a sprinkle of onion powder