Learning to eat …

December 3, 2008

Busy days require simple meals (green smoothies, salads and blended soups)

Filed under: Breakfast, Lunch, Supper, Today I ... — Tags: , , , , — tamiofbrooksgroth @ 2:18 pm

I just want to quickly check in —

 I’m sure I’m not the only one with a hectic and busy December schedule! We have Holiday celebrations starting this weekend, so I’m trying to eat simple and find time for at least 20 minutes of exercise each day so I can start the new year off feeling great (and no regrets!).

My meals can pretty much be described by the title: smoothies for breakfast, salads for lunch, and blended soups (warm, savory green smoothies really) for supper.

Monday —

  • I started by trying to make a warm green smoothie that resembled a chai latte or something, but it just didn’t work warm. So, there is evidence that sometimes even those of us that have been drinking green smoothies for awhile goof on a recipe. Luckily enough of it was drinkable that I still got some breakfast in because I did not have time to make anything else. It included grapes, kale, figs, and some spices.
  • For lunch on Monday I quickly did some raw chilli because I was craving it and last time when I had some extra I had dehydrated it. So I quickly blended it with warm water and put it in a coffee mug to drink.
  • A bit later I had the rest of my left over citrus salad (from Thanksgiving!) — it’s great because it’s yummy without any dressing at all — mixed greens, thinly sliced cucumbers, colored pepper (I used orange this time), thinly sliced orange segments, thinly sliced celery and pomegranate seeds (yum! — flavor and texture), and then the dressing is simply a mix of pomegranate juice, orange juice, and lime juice (all freshly squeezed/pressed using my favorite kitchen gadget — my pampered chef hand citrus juicer). This time I put the dressing on a couple of hours before eating it and I LOVED that the cucumbers soaked up all that yummy citrus juice and became just a little like refrigerator pickles! If you don’t want that to happen, then put the dressing on right before eating it. 🙂
  • I think I may have had a couple of dates in the afternoon, and I know I ate an apple. I remember it being a day that I seemed always hungry, and wondering why (I’m thinking it’s related to my menstrual cycles but more on that in another post someday).
  • For supper I had a yummy lemon soup that sadly didn’t agree with me. I’ve made it before and it was fine, so I don’t know if it was the addition of onions (didn’t use last time), or if the soaked almonds were no longer good (they had been soaking in the fridge for a few days). The recipe includes soaked almonds and water (I’m thinking you could just use almond or other nut milk as well), a zucchini or two depending on the size, juice of a lemon, a little salt, and a garlic clove. This time I added a bit of onion and ate it poured over finally chopped onion for texture. I also ate too much and should have saved half of it! That was WAY too many nuts for me any way I figure it, but I don’t remember raw soaked almonds disagreeing with me like that before (versus other nuts). So, I had embarrassing gas for the first time in a long time (hardly have it at all the way I’ve been eating in general), and some intestinal discomfort — nothing like before I started healing but still no fun! Luckily we had major errand/shopping to do so I wasn’t able to just sit there and instead was walking around much of the evening.

Tuesday —  after the episode Monday night I decided to keep it simple —

  • For breakfast , I truly kept it simply by throwing 3 bananas in the blender with a bit of water and a mix of kale and chard. Yum … sometimes simple, really is wonderful.
  • Before I left for work I threw mixed greens in a bowl and also toted along an avocado, lime, and orange pepper. I chopped the veggies (there is nothing easier to “chop” than an avocado!), and squeezed the lime juice all over it. Then I sprinkled just a little bit of sea salt that I keep at my desk along with tossing some crumbs from basic salted flax crackers that I make onto the salad. YUM! This was one of my salads that I can’t believe how good it is even though it’s so simple!
  • Supper was a simple soup of one large cucumber, a handful of parsly, a handful of cilantro, a small handful of baby spinach, a few mixed greens, a juiced lime, a bit of water, a 1/2 T. of coconut oil, and a little sea salt and pepper blended up until just a bit steamy and then poured over finely chopped red bell pepper. Yum!!! Again I made just a bit too much though — you would think that those things in salad form wouldn’t be quite so filing so I’m going to try to not add as much water next time.

    Today (Wednesday) I had a wonderful raspberry-banana smoothie because we had raspberries that needed to be eaten before they went bad. I wish I would have had time for photos — the smoothies was not green at all — nearly pink even. And there were 6 or 7 large chard leaves in there! Of course it was the rainbow chard complete with pink stems — so keep that in mind when you don’t want your smoothie too green. If you don’t like the raspberry seeds, try blending the berries with a bit of water for awhile first before making the rest of the smoothie.  Lunch today was a salad similar to yesterday’s but with tomato instead of orange pepper. I think I like the pepper better this time of year (not prime tomato time).

    And even with less sleep than I should be getting I feel really, really good! 🙂

September 26, 2008

Mom, does this have greens in it?

Filed under: Breakfast, Challenges — Tags: , , , , — tamiofbrooksgroth @ 11:50 am
Megan in the way to school: “Mom, does this have greens in it? Because it doesn’t taste like it does. And it tastes like raspberries and banana, but I don’t feel the seeds. Usually I have to put the straw back farther in my mouth when I try to drink a raspberry green smoothie, or even a regular raspberry smoothie.”
Me smiling: Yes, it has greens in it, but not enough to cover the red of the raspberries or take over the flavor. (What I didn’t tell her: Kale and beet greens to be exact, and the beet greens had some red in the stems which I’m sure helped a great deal. And there was also my now usual 3 T. of chia seed meal as well. Score!) The raspberries were frozen maybe they blend better that way, plus I blended it longer than usual because I added that second banana after tasting it.
Megan has become so picky (age 11) that being able to get her to drink 12 oz of green smoothie on the way to school is a huge accomplishment. I was smiling for awhile!
I hope I can repeat it for her and her sister this weekend!

September 25, 2008

Simple Banana Green Smoothie

Filed under: Breakfast — Tags: , , — tamiofbrooksgroth @ 10:17 am
Sometimes simplicity is best ….
The other morning all we had left for fruit for a morning green smoothie was bananas. I kind of turned up my face thinking I should have gotten something else last night. I also though, it might be a long winter of frozen fruit with this attitude. I figured I could try using more raw chocolate or nut milks in my smoothies if I needed to, but I was going to give just the bananas a try.
I used 2 regular, very ripe, bananas and one frozen banana along with my now routine 3 T. of chia seeds. I held back a bit on the greens and only used maybe four leaves of chard. And then I blended. I was running late so I just quickly poured into into my large quart to go cup and ran out of the house.
On the way I took a sip … YUM!!!
It was the smoothest and creamiest smoothie I had had in a LONG time. So yummy. It was actually almost too sweet for me, and I was wishing I had put in more greens! So the next day I did!
Today I added blueberries for some variety, but I think I like the all banana one better! 🙂

September 18, 2008

Two smoothies AND two salads today…

Filed under: Breakfast, Lunch, Supper, Today I ... — Tags: , , , , — tamiofbrooksgroth @ 12:31 am

So, today we managed to get back to basics.

Breakfast was a quart of green smoothie: pinapple, banana, chia seeds, carrot greens (small handful), a celery stick, and just a few spinach leaves.

Snack was a Lara Bar and some kale chips (dehydrated kale with spices).

Lunch was a yummy avacado and tomato salad — I just sliced a ripe avacado and a juicy sweet orange tomato, drizzeled some olive oil on it, and added a bit of ground pepper and salt. Yum!

Snack was a (raw) chocolate, banana, and chia seed smoothie (shake?) that my daughter made for me after school. It was really yummy and even better since I didn’t have to make it.

Supper was a gigantic salad with an entire super-sized cucumber, two tomatoes, an avacado, a green pepper, and mixed greens with olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper as simple dressing.

Late night snack (because that salad wasn’t big enough ?!?) was a few fudge balls from a recipe from Alyssa Cohen’s cookbook. I can’t remember everything that is in them because I made them quite awhile ago and froze them. When I get a craving now I can grab them quick from the freezer. I think it’s dates, raw chocolate and cocoa nibs, nuts (?), and coconut oil.

This morning I had to rinse my blender out in the bathtub because we were without a kitchen faucet. Thankfully I was able to sit at the kitchen table and work and catch up on things while the plumber fixed it today! Last night I kind of freaked out when it wouldn’t shut off. The good news is that the now it is up to code as well. We must be thankful for these little things like finding out that it wasn’t up to code only when it is now fixed. 🙂

This morning I was thrilled to find out that the pumpkin patch we’ll be going to in a few weeks knows all about celiac and it will be easy to eat lunch and snacks and all kinds of bad-for-you treats there with Nessa. 🙂 I’ll be sure to post about it afterward.

Besides the ups and downs of life at the moment (sick kids, stressful work, and more), I feel good. In addition to the good food, I was able to go to yoga today AND go for a bike ride with Megan. I am very blessed.

September 15, 2008

Back to basics… smoothies, salads, and soups … and dealing with hunger

Filed under: Breakfast, Challenges, Lunch, Supper, Today I ... — Tags: , , , , , , , — tamiofbrooksgroth @ 9:56 pm

It has been a busy week complete with LOTS of challenges (thought I might be getting addicted to raw cacoa). After a nice weekend away where I managed to stay, mostly, but not all, on a raw vegan diet (had some dairy), I came back and decided it was time to get back to basics. Besides dehydrating in order to save vegetables for winter, I’m going to stick to eating fresh and simple as much as possible. I’m also going to be enjoying the standbys of my early adaption of this healing diet.

Today’s Breakfast was over a quart of green smoothie: bananas (frozen), raspberries (frozen), and lots of kale.

Today’s lunch was salads — two of them since I originally planned to go home, but then decided to order the “free lunch” with co-workers. I enjoyed my summer squash salad (zucchini, summer squash, greens, olives, and some cheeses), but it wasn’t very large and I was still hungry. I went out and got a hummus “salad” (I begged them to turn a wrap into a salad at a place that usually doesn’t do salads).

I was still STARVING by late afternoon. This is very unusual as I’ve rarely been hungry since going on a raw food diet. It makes me wonder if I accidentally got some gluten as doing so seems to mess up my (and, as observed, my daughter’s) appetite control/feelings. I don’t know when/how though, but that is the way it is with a small exposure. My other thought is that it could just be a reaction to something else (the dairy? withdrawal from the chocolate?) I also had a couple of cups of coffee and a cup of hot chocolate within the last few days. This is very unusual for me. I didn’t seem to notice any immediate symptoms after having the coffee which I used to in the past, so I thought maybe now I could handle an occasional cup of coffee. However, it’s still not a healthy choice really for me.

Supper was soup (or hot blended salad?) — I’ve decided to add greens to one of my new favorite soups, and it’s just as good. My favorite includes a beet as well as carrots and tomatoes, but I’m out of beets right now, so it was just carrots, tomatoes, garlic, a little parsley, some basil, and a handful of spinach, and some black pepper along with Agar agar, flax seeds, and chia seeds to add Omega 3s and thicken the soup. the soup was VERY thick this time and yummy too. The color wasn’t quite as nice as previous soups, I’ve made, but it was still warming and yummy. Then I did eat some gluten free/dairy free french bread that my daughter didn’t finish. It was really good with the soup. I’m trying to decide if I need to stop eating anything like that at all for awhile or not. If I’m feeling generally well and energetic then I start to think it’s OK, but really I haven’t managed to stay feeling that way for more than a couple of days (although still generally WAY less tired than before the dietary changes), and I wonder if it’s part of why my energy levels keep fluctuating. I’m going to have to simply experiment with it I guess. I am really looking forward to the Body Enlightenment program by the Raw Divas to help with this, and plan to do the 7 day detox soon as well. I also need to spend some time in the online forums to ask others these questions and get more feedback. 🙂

Tonight I feel starved again wile my tummy at the same time feels bloated (screams gluten to me … which just now makes me wonder if one of the salads I ate for lunch was contaminated?). I think the first thing I’ll do is decide to only eat food from home for the next week so I know I have total control over it (Gluten, etc.). And as I said, I’ll try to stick to basics as much as I can …

September 6, 2008

Today I’m busy in the kitchen…

Tomorrow I’ll try to save time for computer work, including posting pictures, but today I’m keeping my dehydrator and kitchen gadgets busy. I already dehydrated an entire dehydrator full of tomatoes earlier this week, and I’ll likely do more later this week as I plan on using LOTS of “sun-dried” tomatoes this winter. Today I’m also making my first attempt at imitation bacon (also referred to as Raw Bac-un) using eggplant as well as summer squash and zucchini, dehydrated potato chips, dehydrated beet fries, and various veggie chips marinated with marinara sauce and other marinades.

I also want to get more watermelon sliced and frozen as well as getting some local berries in the freezer. Shawn and I are going out tonight so I’m not sure if that will all happen before it’s time to stop and get ready. Saturdays always fly by so fast when I’m in the kitchen!

Breakfast was the light and refreshing watermelon smoothie (sometimes known as the aphrodisiac smoothie) with chia seeds (the only greens were some of the rind and peeling of the watermelon), and lunch was a blender soup of carrots, beets, tomatoes and a little salt and pepper which is fast becoming one of my favorite soups!

Pictures and recipes later this week!

And a quick update on eating local (I’ll do a more official post at the end of the week) — so far today I have eaten entirely LOCAL. That balances out the rest of the family. 🙂 As far as what we’ve purchased this weekend so far — well, that has almost entirely been from the various farmer’s markets so I would round it at 95% local dollars spent. Have I missed anything? No, not really. A little pang for the avocado I would normally have put in my soup, but it was still great without it. Long term I will want more fruits, and especially bananas, but there really are lots of options right now in Wisconsin.

September 4, 2008

Breakfast smoothies on the go

Filed under: Breakfast — Tags: , , , — tamiofbrooksgroth @ 1:16 pm

This morning there was enough breakfast smoothie to share with Megan so she could also have some on our way to school. I plan on making sure there is enough for her to have some (about 8 oz is all she usually wants) every morning that I need to drive her to school. 😉

We have some wonderful fresh local raspberries grown by a friend and co-worker so I’ve been using them daily, and will be sad when they’re gone.

This morning’s smoothie included a pint of raspberries, a handful of blueberries, a frozen banana, and about 5 leaves of chard, as well as 2 tsp. of chia seeds, a cup of water and a heaping cup of ice cubes.

Megan pointed out that it was a pretty smoothie — BEFORE we blended it! 🙂 So we snapped a picture that I’ll upload to flickr later, but we opted not to take another picture after it was blended. The mix of berries with the dark greens tends to simply create a muddy color. BUT it tastes great — light, refreshing and yet filling.

It’s also perfect for sipping on the morning commute!

August 22, 2008

Breakfast: Green Smoothie of figs, grapes and beet greens

Filed under: Breakfast, Recipe — Tags: , — tamiofbrooksgroth @ 1:09 pm

This morning I finally tried figs, and made a smoothie inspired by the Fig-tastic recipe found here: http://www.squidoo.com/greensmoothies (you have to scroll a ways down). I didn’t have red grapes so I used green and I don’t have the super food she refers to (I do take a high quality probiotic supplement). I stopped throughout the process to taste test, but this is what I ended up with:

7 figs
large handful green grapes
4 beet green leaves
2 inches of celery and a couple of the little leaves
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp powdered (gluten free) vanilla
1 cup water
2 cups ice

If I had to do it again I would cut down on either the ice or water, but it was still great. This made about 24 oz so not quite the quart I usually drink, and not quite as green as far as the number of leaves. Maybe next time I make it I’ll add more greens. If you try this, or the recipe I started with, let me know as I would be interested in how you like it. It does have a distinctive taste that is indeed “earthy” but also very, very good. I will be making it again. It was a great introduction to figs.

August 21, 2008

Another Rough Morning

Filed under: Breakfast, Challenges, Health — Tags: , , — tamiofbrooksgroth @ 2:01 pm
When mornings are no longer rough I will know I have made some real progress in my health. Now part of it at the moment is getting enough sleep plain and simple, but it’s all related. Throughout most of my life I have not been a morning person. Those that love me have learned to adjust to that, and by watching my daughters I’m pretty sure it’s at least partly genetic. But there’s a difference between loving to stay up late (I do), and hating mornings because I feel like I can barely function when I get up no matter when this is (I do not want to be this person any longer). There was a brief time in my early 20s when I woke up early when I didn’t even have to, and I loved my peaceful mornings. I would love my mornings to again resemble that in some fashion. This morning did not. This morning I had to remind myself that I no longer like coffee, and then I had to remind myself again. I even caught myself taking whiffs of the freshly-brewed coffee aroma coming from the break room at work.
Yesterday I successfully resisted water/theme park food, and that is a small triumph. Feeling good is so much more to me than the temporary taste of a burger and fries or pizza (that’s one I do miss though still at times). I spent the day at a large water and amusement park (WI Dells) with my daughter and her friend. We were there ALL day. It was what my daughter wanted to do for her birthday which was actually in July, but yesterday was the day we could schedule the event. I started the morning wtih over a quart of green smoothie goodness, and packed an assortment of fruit, veggies and nuts from my dwindling supply (we stock up on Fridays and this week it seemed to go faster than ususal). Since outside food isn’t permitted I left my cooler in the car so I didn’t have anything with me except water when I started to get hungry. This was at the same time we first walked by the food court. I hadn’t planned to go back to the car so early so I told myself that I would drink my entire bottle of water first and see how I felt 20 minutes later. It worked wonderfully, and I went back around 12:30 and ate a couple of bananas, an avacodo, a few nuts, and drank a container of a high quality, but bottled, whole juice. I was easily satisfied, but just be sure it would last I decided to go ahead and take another banana and a few nuts in with me in my bag. I ate the banana at 6 p.m. while waiting for the girls to finish up their last ride. I drank lots of water all day long, and didn’t need to eat anything else until I was home and had another avacodo and the one cup of leftover tomato and veggie soup from the day before. 🙂
The good news is that even with all the driving, all the walking (a lot!), the swimming and rides, an entire day in the sun and more — I still felt like I could function when I got home. I was tired, but just a normal tired. It wasn’t long ago that I simply could not have done this, and if I would have tried I would have been a totally brain-fogged blubbering blob of a human that should not have been allowed to speak let alone drive! And then I would have been down and out (i.e. in bed) for at least a couple of days. Last night I even had to stay up to watch women beach volleyball finals and check my email before crashing. And this morning was rough, but just normal rough really.
On to today…
After my long day at the water park yesterday I new I needed get my greens this morning — my breakfast green smoothie included: 5 beet green leaves and a handful of spinach along with several inches of celery, a couple of handfuls of frozen cherries and a banana. I’m really getting addicted to that sweet/sour taste of celery and cherries.
Lunch will likely happen in two parts if I’m lucky — another smaller smoothie at home and then a garden salad out when my daughter and I meet my sister for lunch.
And as usual this week I have no idea what supper will be. Any quick and easy supper ideas, especially those that kids will also eat, would be appreciated! 🙂

August 19, 2008

Wake Up and Smell the … Green Smoothie!!!!

Filed under: Breakfast, Recipe, Today I ... — Tags: — tamiofbrooksgroth @ 11:33 am
I’ve been thinking about this post for weeks now, but this morning I could no longer put it off.
I used to LOVE coffee. Did you hear my emphasis? Yes, I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED coffee. And it still seems a bit strange to put that in the past tense as really I didn’t see myself as someone that drank coffee merely because I needed the caffeine or was in the habit or well for any reason except that I truly loved it. I was rather a coffee snob as well. Until the recent upgrade in our office break room to something wonderfully beyond the large thermal carafe for everyone to “enjoy,” I rarely even was tempted to indulge at work, and instead would detour through one of the local coffee stops prior to work or during a break (or bring and drink tea, but my love for tea is another post). During the past couple of years my once-a-week indulgence was an almond mocha made with soy milk, heavy on the chocolate to cover the soy flavor, and de-caf or at least half-caf because I really didn’t need want the caffeine. And one of my regular detours could make this specialty so good I thought it was a little bit of heaven.
My oldest daughter could order her own Mocha at ten, and I just smiled and thought of how I didn’t know what a Mocha really was until I was nearly thirty. (The coffee snob thing used to be only coffee and not all the sweetly steamed additions.) Now I wish I could somehow infuse her with the true energy I feel from my regular green smoothies — double-grande please, no detour required!
I’ve had a slow grieving process with moving my love of coffee into the past tense. Since committing to starting my day with a green smoothie I have tried to continue less frequent coffee indulgences. I told myself I was making the detour as a fun treat, and that indulging in the small size occasionally was simply part of moderation and balance. Moderation or not it actually became self-inflicted disappointment. That Mocha? The taste seemed burnt, sour, and not even the chocolate part lifted my taste buds. And there was no energy infusion of any type — natural or otherwise. I tried switching to Chai tea, and when the same disappointment followed I tried to believe it was just that that particular barista couldn’t make a good one. After telling myself that a half a dozen times, I decided maybe it was me and not them. Sometimes I still enjoy the smell of rich coffee, but I quite literally no longer crave it at all.
I’m still trying on this new identity of the non-coffee drinker. I still feel bad when someone offers me dark rich coffee, and I have to decline.
And on mornings like this one there is still a reflex deep within my psyche that immediately says, “maybe today I’ll have a cup of coffee.” Then I get up, try to keep my eyes open during ten minutes of light therapy (Go Light, light box), drink some water and bounce on my rebounder for at least a few minutes, and get in the shower. Then as if by body memory I pull out some greens and look around to see what fruit I have to work with (I’m not a morning person so I seriously may not remember what was clearly there the night before), and start blending. I see, smell, and sometimes can’t help but taste the ingredients. And I smile.
And I don’t even realize that all thoughts of coffee have disappeared…
It wasn’t easy dragging my butt out of bed this morning and to make it even more challenging my daughter felt the same way. I had had thoughts of experimenting with some type of “chai” flavored green smoothie this morning, but I neglected to prepare the night before, so I opted for nourishing and simply satisfying instead. I’ve been craving salt lately and more than that I swear I literally crave minerals. Either way I decided to experiment with throwing some celery into a smoothie that was otherwise supposed to be sweet. My family would have turned up their noses and wondered why I ruined a perfectly good smoothie, but I thought it turned out perfectly wonderful. Since I also made it icy cold I thought there was no way I could finish the entire quart on my way to work. I was wrong.
My Sweet and Salty Simple Smoothie:
  • 1/2 stalk celery
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup water (or slightly less if you like it thick)
  • 6 leaves of beet greens
  • 1 cup frozen mango (or more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup ice
I blended the celery, bananas, water, greens and half the mango first. After that was super smooth I added the ice and the rest of the mango and blended again. In reality it was 2 whirls through the “smoothie” cycle on my Blendtec, and a few pulses. It actually made slightly more than a quart so I had to eat a bit with a spoon to empty the blender.
I tried to tempt my 3-year-old with a few spoonfuls before heading off to daycare with her. Unfortunately she wasn’t in the mood, and even my telling her I had made it like ice-cream this time didn’t succeed. (For the record, she used to slurp them down as fast as I could make them months ago, but in addition to being super picky, she tends to go in streaks with what she’ll eat.)
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