Friday, July 31, 2009

"It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out; it's the grain of sand in your shoe." Anonymous
Every mountain in life is climbable. There might be adjustments that need to be made in order to reach the top but it is doable. We just have to stop every once in awhile and shake out those shoes getting rid of anyone or thing that acts like that grain of sand and holds us back painfully.
For us brain abscess and canser are our mountains. I conquered brain abscess and all of the stuff that accompanied it and we are near the top with canser(I spelled it wrong on purpose). We have shaken our shoes enough to fill a sandbox and wow what a difference it is to walk in cleared out shoes.
Some people just stand in awe of their mountain(s) and are scared to take them on but you can't let the overwhelmingness have control. Own your mountain and when you reach it's peak you will be amazed by the view.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Perfect Chocolate Mousse

I want to give you a recipe that will knock your socks off. It is a raw recipe for chocolate mousse from Living Cuisine by Renee Loux Underkoffler. I have made it servel times.
This should make about 4 cups.

1/2 cup pitted soft dates
3-4 tbs. pure maple syrup
1 tbs. cold-pressed coconut butter (optional but I recommend it)
1 1/2 tbs. non-alcohol vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups mashed avocado (about 2 med. avocados)
3/4 cup raw carob powder
4-6 tbs. cocoa powder or additional carob powder

Soak dates for 5-10 minutes in 1/2 cup fresh water. Drain the soaked dates keeping a little of the date soak water. In a food processor (not a mini) blend the dates, maple syrup, coconut butter, and vanilla until smooth. Spoon in the avocado and blend until smooth. Add a few tbs. of date soak water if needed to help in blending. Spoon in carob & cocoa powder and continue blending until smooth. Keeps fresh in the fridge for a few days. I like to serve it with pureed mixed berries. She aslo suggests freezing it for an ice cream which I haven't done... yet. Enjoy. It is yummy! All of these ingredients can be found in the health food stores.
Something I really like about this author and this recipe book is that she says "Diet is far more than what goes into our mouths. Our lifestyle, exercise and rest, emotional well-being, thoughts, and love are meaningful variables in the formula for health." I agree. Paul & I have embraced this idea and it has really paid off for us in all ways. We have never felt better, been happier and more open, or loved each other stronger than today, this very moment. Life threw us lemons and man did we ever make lemonade.

Something else to ponder from Ben Sweetland..."we cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Yesterday Paul & I started a new art class at Turing Point. We have heard former participants rave about how wonderful this class is and we have seen the amazing progress of the paintings several times so we are excited to finally be taking the class. Last night was an introductory session. In order to take this class you have to have metastatic cancer and be a family member or close friend of the participant with metastatic cancer so it is nice to be with a group of people who are sharing the same experiences and who get it. Both facilitators are cancer survivors one of pancreatic cancer which is very cool for us to know. Part of the class is about writing and part about painting. The facilitators are really cool people. The painter is a college professor. He gave a talk to us last night that I wish I could have recorded. We both related to it and thought of many people that we know who would be able too as well. He was talking about how we are either creative thinkers or critical thinkers, right brained or left and the consequences of giving up or being a creative thinker in a critical thinking world. He says art is our birthright and so is being a creative thinker. It is debilitating in all ways to shut down that part of yourself b/c it is who you are and how you learn,live,respond. Why do some artists become alcoholics...b/c supporting that side of a person is not what society does and the pressures and expectations of a critical thinking world are suppressing. An example I thought of from my experience is that I never focused on college as a means to a job. That was not why I was there. I wanted to further my education...broaden my horizons if you prefer. My degree is in English on the writing track with a minor in philosophy. I also took several art classes. I remember being asked and having the comment sarcastically thrown at me "What are you going to do with an English degree?" Add a philosophy minor and people really snickered. I was and am very proud of my choices. If I would have studied marketing I would have been miserable and a marketing job was not and is not my idea of something I want to do. Plus, in my opinion, in your early 20's you have no idea what you want to do with yourself and it is usually not the thinking that you can't wait to graduate so you can sit behind a desk all day and toil away for your future endeavors. We still want to be free, to learn, to explore, to have adventure, we haven't yet had real world reality hit us over the head. When it does we tend to give up a side of ourselves that doesn't seem rational or logical anymore but why? Why do we do this? That is what I want to know. I still want to learn,explore, be free, have adventure and I am sure I am not alone. I silenced my creative thinker for a period of time and I almost died,really.

Eleanor Roosevelt put it best when she said "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." Dreams should never be given up that is what fuels us to grow and attain personal achievements. We want to fulfill our dreams.

Keep on dreaming and unleash that creative thinker.

Monday, July 27, 2009


I just made dinner in less than 15 minutes and thought I would share it with you. It is zucchini hummus. I first made this from a recipe by Maatt Amsden from his Rawvolution book and found it again in Jennifer Cornbleet's Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 people. It is simple and soooo easy. Pretty tasty too. I prefer it over garbanzo bean hummus. So gather those garden fresh zucchini.
1 zucchini chopped (the recipe says to peel it but I don't)
2 tbs. raw tahini
2 tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp. cumin,paprika & salt ( I omit the salt)

Put all ingredients in a food processor fitted with the S blade and process until smooth. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

The mini food processors work great for this recipe. You can pick one up a target for $10. This is great as is with whole wheat or sprouted pita or as a hummus sandwhich in pita with green bell pepper slices and olives. So easy for summer and a great thing to make and just have to snack on for the week or weekend.
We love raw recipes in this house and I think Matt Amsden's Rawvolution is a great book to get started with. Jennifer Cornbleet's book is also good to start off with. Raw recipes are great all year but especially in the summer her in the midwest.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I am a blogging fool today b/c I know that on my days off,the next 2 days,I probably won't write anything and b/c I keep being inspired. I have a co-worker that is always smiling and joking and when people ask him how he is so happy all of the time especially at work he says "I fake it till I make it" which I never really thought about until I read Kris Carr's book Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor and she talks about "Act as if" or fake it till you make it. she says "Catch the beam and shine it out even if you feel too dark to bathe in it." Great advice. So often we do not acknowledge or honor ourselves. We set limitations and expectations (usually too high) about what we are supposed to be doing,acheiving, earning,etc. Material external things and titles do not make us who we are. If I am a lawyer is that all I am? No. We must leave room in our lives for opportunities and be open to them. When I was a little girl I wanted to be a vet b/c I adore animals but as I got older I wanted to be a poet b/c I loved writing. Well I did not attend veteranary school and I did study poetry and received my B.A. in English but quickly realized that that was a dream that was going to take time and I had student loans and rent to pay. I stopped writing but I still love poetry just not at the same level as I did in my 20's and I still adore animals but I tuned into that by volunteering for a few years with a low cost spay/neuter organization here in town & enjoying every minute of that experience,becoming a vegatarian and refusing to by products tested on animals. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up and that is just fine with me. Our experiences in life change all of the time bringing about different points of view. My current passion is diet & nutrition. Embrace the change and the experiences that brought them on and accompany them. Use that to foster a better understanding of yourself and your life. Before my illness and Paul's I used to clean the house for hours on my days off b/c keeping a spotless house is what we are supposed to do and I resented it. I wanted to have fun on my days off not scrub the floors. Now I do not waste my days off with chores. Oh my house is clean not spotless but clean but I shifted my schedule around to do these chores during the week. We have to balance our lives and just say screw it sometimes. "Do scary negative thoughts have the power to undo all of the hard work I've done? acting As if teaches us to believe in ourselves and to never settle for less. When weird thoughts come up we immediately correct and replace them with positive visualizations and affirmations." Kris Carr is amazing and inspiring. It is easy to dwell in a negative place. Society seems to expect this of us but as Paul and I like to say about doing this "how's that working out for you?" Ask yourself that question about your state of mind sometime and then act as if.
Goodnight and have a great beginning of the week. It is my weekend!:}
"We successfully manifest our dreams when the feelings behind our intentions are in alignment." Kris Carr from Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor
I want to share some info about sugars. Sugars of all kinds are in everything out there on the shelves. If you become a label reader you will find this out. It is truly shocking. Sugar is addictive and it is no wonder that we have the health & obeisity issues that we have nowadays with the sugar intake most people consume. It is important to recognize that just because you find a sugar in the health food store that doesn't mean it is good for you nor are most of the sugar substitutes on the market. Cane sugars have protein,fiber & other substances but when it is refined all of that is lost. Turbinado sugar & brown sugar are basically like white refined sugar. Turbinado is a raw sugar that is stripped of the molasses. Molassses has the vitamins and minerals that were in the cane sugar at one point. Blackstrap molasses is the result of sugar refining. It has calcium,iron & potassium but it can throw off blood gluclose levels. Brown sugar is made by blending white sugar with molasses. Corn syrup is made from cornstarch with added sucrose and is very high glycemic and refined. Fructose is found in fruits and it is slowly absorbed with a low glycemic index score. Fruit juice concentrate is usually made from grape juice and because its' sugars are from fructose it has a decent glycemic index rating. Glucose or dextrose mostly is an extract from corn syrup and is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream allowing for fast and dangerous spikes in blood glucose levels. Rice syrup comes from culturing rice with digestive enzymes to break starch down into glucose. It is high glycemic. Maple syrup comes from the sap of the sugar maple tree. It needs to be "pure" or else it is usually diluted with corn syrup. Not a great rating on the glycemic index. Sucanat is a trade name that stands for sugar cane natural and comes from organically grown sugar cane that has been ground up. It is a whole food containing a small percentage of fiber, vitamins, minerals & amino acids but it does not have a great score on the glycemic index. Sucrose is basic table sugar. Sorbitol comes from corn and is slowly absorbed requiring little insulin but can cause diarrhea, Xylitol comes from birchwood chips and can reduce cavities by neutralizing mouth acids. It is found in some gums like Spry at the health food stores. Stevia comes from s sweetening herb and has been around as a natural sweetener for 1500 years. The herb can be beneficial for those with poorly regulated blood glucose but concentrated forms lose this ability. Sucralose or splenda comes from sugar. It has a chlorine atom added to it. It does not raise blood sugar. Aspartame (Equal &Nutrasweet) is 180 times sweeter than table sugar and is in well over 1000 products in the US. It breaks down after longterm storage,heating or in the body into wood alcohol or methyl alcohol and another dangerous componant of amino acid called phenylalanine. It has been linked to brain tumors (cancers),severe headaches,etc. Saccharin is a chemical derivative of petroleum & toluene. It has also been linked to cancer. High Fructose Corn Syrup we have been told in classes we have taken is one of the most toxic substances we can consume. Evaporated Cane Juice comes from sugar cane and is a nono for those whose health reqires them to steer clear of sugars. I have learned this info by reading & taking classes which is something everyone can do. There is so much more just on this topic but I will stop here. I encourage you for your health to
become a label reader. It is overwhelming at first but you will be rewarded for your efforts with better health and a general wellbeing feeling and more energy. I promise this because we live it. We cut refined & fake sugars out of our diet in Dec. 2007 and have done just fine without them. We use organic Agave Nectar to sweeten. I will use local organic honey. Sugars are necessary to us but they need to be the right kind of sugars. If it isn't natural don't eat it is my philosophy.
It is important to be educated about what is manufactered and sold as food to us. We the consumers need to demand that big business and profits not decide what we are sold but we do. I am sure we would all agree that we want healthy whole foods. An apple is not created in a lab and a scientist is not a farmer. So why do we eat things created this way? We have a choice.
Remember that...We have a choice!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ahhhh the smells and sights of the farmer's market. I love it. Going to my local organic farmer's market every Saturday before work has become one of my favorite things to do. Going to the market is my shopping addiction. I get a real great feeling from buying my fresh veggies, honey,flowers,bread & breakfast. It has replaced my love of shoe shopping and it is a true investment in our wellbeing. Today was an especially exciting trip for me because I found a new veggie, to me anyway, that I had read about earlier this morning. It was like finding Stella Mccartney at Macy's or Marshall's...for me anyway, although this would make me very happy too. Tat Soi is the name of this find. It is an Asian Crucifer. Basically it has similar properties to broccoli, brussel sprouts,kale,etc. and it is a little leafy green whose leaves are spoon shaped and thick. It has a light mustard flavor. So if you like greens you will most likely like tat soi. Bonus...I got 4 little bunches for $1.
We had it for dinner tonight tossed with extra virgin olive oil,the juice of 1/2 a lemon,2 chopped garlic cloves,and about 3 tbs. chopped red onion. It was a nice break from a regular salad. I think it would be great with citrus like tangerines and with also red beans.

Friday, July 24, 2009

I want to share something so simple and easy that I do without fail every morning to help get me through the day feeling good. I think of 10 things that I am grateful for in my life and I say thank you for them usually out loud. This simple act will help you to realize, especially in crazy times, that hey,I do have a lot to be happy about more than some others do. It will also lead you to more and more things to be thankful for that you didn't even realize before. I also use this time to ask the universe for what I need or pray for people. It is just a pleasant peaceful way to spend some time in the morning. If your mornings are hectic make some room in that schedule for yourself. Don't make excuses not to treat yourself well.

Some dietary advice we can all use. This is from a class we took last year taught by a clinical dietician. Carbs should be balanced with protein. Protein or good fats should be eaten first in a meal. Examples of good fats are avocado,olives,nuts,coconut oil. We all need good fats. So many people are focused on cutting out fat in the diet and if you are talking about saturated fats great but we do need some fats. It just needs to be the right kind. Mono unsaturated fats are ok. Flax & fish oil offers great ways to get your omega 3 essential fatty acids or EFA. Chia seeds are good for this as well as many other things too. I was introduced to them last week in Santa Monica at our favorite raw restuarant. I had them with almond milk and strawberries like a cereal. So yummy. I love finding new things that are super nutritous. They can be sprinkled in salads,yogurt, cereals,etc.
Phytochemicals leak 20% per day from time of harvest which is another great reason to buy as much local as possible. But the next time you are at the Farmer's Market take some time to talk to the people behind the stands because it has become more and more popular to find a distributor instead of the actual farmer selling those veggies & herbs. You can look on line usually to get info and background on many farmer's markets and the people that sell there. At least that is the case here in Kansas City. To me this also makes joining a CSA more appealing.
If you are having trouble getting those veggies in try getting a raw foods preperation book and making some of those recipes. It worked when I wanted Paul to eat cauliflwer last year. He has never liked it but I made raw "mashed potatoes" and didn't tell him what it actually was until he tasted & liked it. Now he will eat it steamed. So if those kiddos or husbands cringe at the sight or thought of eating thier veggies whip up a recipe made entirely of raw veggies and don't let them know until they have eaten it and liked it. I have yet to make a raw recipe that was bad or not liked in this house.
Ok enough for now. Have a great day and a beautiful weekend.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hi all,

I have a new recipe book that I got on our vacation to California. It is from one of our favorite restuarants in Santa Monica Real Food Daily. I highly recommend the place to everyone and the cookbook.

"In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous." Aristotle