Saturday, June 30, 2012

Natural Deodorants

Several months back, I started having irritations in my armpits. They simply wouldn't go away no matter what I did, so I decided to try going with a more natural deodorant rather than the antiperspirants I was using. I tried one naturalish deodorant that was supposed to be good for even sports, but I found I smelled of sweat eventually. The irritation went away almost immediately, though, so I knew I was on the right track. Tried a different brand and it still didn't quite help with the eventual sweat smell. I finally decided to see what else was available at this one store and found this:

(My cover looks a little different, probably older stock, but it's the same thing.)

I figured I'd give it a try. Well, it WORKS. For me, anyhow. No sweat smell. At all. And it's been weeks that I've been using it. I haven't a clue how it works, I just know that it works for me!

Do you use a natural deodorant? If so, which one? Do you like how it performs?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Mish Mash

It's been an interesting couple of days. I've had a few blog post ideas run through my head, but not the time or thought when I had the time to sit down and do them. I apologize in advance for the mix that will make up this post!


One thought I started having yesterday was about how, really, I've made so much progress with my family and their food consumption. Is it the perfection/ideal I would like it to be? Not even close. But I have realized that I've still nonetheless made progress with them. Some things I can think of:

  • My husband used to take to work each day a Gatorade-sized bottle of those awful drink crystal beverages. I don't remember how it was done, but he now brings real juice (just juices, no added sugar or anything) with him.
  • A year and a half ago, I had set the intention to have all processed foods out of the food I made my family--within 6 months. Um... that didn't happen. But it hit me just how far we have come. It used to be that most of our meals weren't really "homemade"--unless you call using a taco kit or Hamburger Helper truly homemade. We used to eat those Uncle Ben's and Lipton rice packets all the time (the ones with all kinds of stuff added into them) and more. Those kinds of things are barely eaten around here now. And I have some rice packets that have been sitting in the cupboard for many, many months. Nobody seems to want them.
  • There are so many more fruits and vegetables in our fridge now. I don't know what our fridge used to be filled with, but it wasn't stuffed with fruits and vegetables!
There were some other things I was appreciating on Thursday, but they've escaped me at the moment. All to say that sometimes progress is slow, but it's okay: you still eventually get to where you want to be.


I had a serious sugar craving today. But not white sugar: fruit. It started yesterday. I didn't have what I needed to make green smoothies I like, so I didn't have a green smoothie. I can't really remember all that I ate yesterday, but I know I did not get as many raw fruits and vegetables as the rest of the week. I even ended up eating a thick pita as a snack last night. The result? I woke up feeling puffy, swollen. I don't like it. Especially since I could tell the chronic puffiness had finally been easing up with my increased intake of raw foods. This morning, I was craving fruit so badly, I pulled out what I found in the fridge: cherries, apples, pears, a peach and grapes. Although I did manage to eat a peach the other day without any reaction (I don't think I posted about that--it was the first peach I've eaten in years that I didn't react to), I wasn't able to eat an apple today without my tongue starting to itch badly. I only succeeded in eating a quarter of it. It didn't surprise me much given I felt puffy and was sneezing like crazy. My body was already feeling "toxic" and would likely react.. But that meant I shouldn't try to eat the peach nor the pears and I don't like cherries. So, grapes it was even though there weren't many. They satisfied me a bit, but not like my green smoothie. Or even just a banana. I then resorted to having a small bowl of gluten-free granola with almond milk.

For lunch, instead of doing raw, I decided to have some steamed carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. It was kind of strange: I did not feel satisfied after eating the cooked veggies as I did from eating my mini veggie wraps the other day.

I physically feel blah. Two days of not eating with a focus of raw fruits and veggies and a slightly increased grain intake and I feel blech. I just want a green smoothie in the morning! Fortunately, I did stop at the grocery store this afternoon just to get some fruit I love: strawberries, bananas and a cantaloupe. Tomorrow, back to predominantly raw! At least with this, I know what I'm pretty much going to want on our camping trip this summer: lots and lots of fruit and veggies. :D

This has really had me realize how quickly my body is adapting to an enjoying the raw fruits and veggies I've been eating. For probably over a week, my mornings and afternoons were probably about 75%-90% raw. Then the past two days, not even close. My body really does, like so many other people, better on raw. I didn't even have any meat during the day today nor at all yesterday nor the day before, but that change in raw food consumption... I'm feeling it. And the way I was craving fruits today, I started thinking that maybe the 80/10/10 might not be such a crazy idea for me after all. ;)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

An Afternoon Adventure (or Why I Don't Believe In Weather Forecasts)

I was all set to get the missing ingredients for the Shepherd's Pie: go pick up my niece and nephew from school with my 4-year old niece and the 2-year old little guy in tow; stop at grocery store for the couple of items I needed with the 4 kids in tow [as I type this, I'm thinking to myself, "Um, the plan wasn't a good one to start with!"]; go home; start supper.

That was the plan.

And then it started to rain.

Not just rain, but at times torrential rain.

Monday, they were predicting 20% chance of rain for yesterday with a mix of sun and cloud. When I looked mid-morning, it had changed to 40% with clouds all day.

It rained for over 3 hours at my place. So much for 40%. But I'm off track here.

I headed off with the 4-year old and 2-year old in the van. It was raining lightly at that point; we'd had a short-lived deluge earlier, but it wasn't bad when we left to go pick up my niece and nephew. Which was good since the 2-year old had arrived without a coat today. (It was clear skies this morning and nice; you can hardly blame his dad. Besides, they had predicted a low chance of rain and a mix of sun and cloud!)

Within minutes of leaving my house, my wipers were on full blast and despite that, I was having some serious visibility problems. Even while stopped at a red light. This lasted for a good stretch of the road. I arrived at my niece and nephew's school a little early and the rain calmed down while we waited. Then it picked up again when I had to go into the school...with the 4-year old and the coatless 2-year old.

And this was just going to be the first leg of my trip.

The thought of torrential rain potentially returning while I tried to take 4 kids in and out of a grocery store--and just realizing the sheer amount of time it would take with 4 kids--cancelled all thoughts of actually going with them. Before the cancellation, my mind went through, "How important is it to you to have a vegan supper tonight?" My immediate mental response: "Not that important." I might one day have a higher level of commitment and forge ahead despite such rain, or perhaps I'll have enough vegan recipes under my belt that I'll whip something else up when a plan falls through, but for today, that commitment was not there. Not for that kind of rain. For which, had I known it would be that bad, I would have changed my dinner plans in the morning, possibly figuring out something else that was vegan with what we have in the house, instead of finding myself late afternoon in an insane downpour and realizing that it just wasn't going to happen and I'd have to figure out something else for supper very quickly.

Forecasts. Huh. What are they good for? Absolutely nothing! ;D

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Does life ever go as planned?


My plans yesterday didn't work out.

I thought I had everything to make the Shepherd's Pie from How It All Vegan. Well, technically I did when I had originally planned to make it this week, except that when I went into the fridge yesterday, some of the ingredients were old and rotten, but I forgot they were what I was counting on for the recipe. And then I forgot that the recipe calls for soy milk, which I don't really ever use, but my mind simply processed it as a non-dairy milk, which I had.

What I needed was not a non-dairy milk, but rice milk.

I don't have any rice milk in the house, only almond milk. I've made mashed potato topping in the past with almond milk and it tasted very strange to all of us. I had contemplated going out after my niece was picked up, but by the time that happened and after her mom and I had talked a bit, it was kind of late. I ended up searching for a decent vegetarian or vegan meal I could serve my family very quickly. Ended up deciding on potato and onion perogies with cooked green beans and raw veggies. I should have made more green beans than I did because they disappeared. The perogies (store-bought) had egg in them, so not vegan, but it was a meatless meal for Meatless Monday! Our first! lol. It does mean, however, that I did not stay grain-free and wheat-free. I think I ought to be able to today. (I keep having Kathy Freston's words coming into my mind when I start getting all "absolute" on the change: "Lean into it." Just a little note to myself here: Lean into it. It's okay if we aren't having every meal vegan and wheat-free!)

This afternoon, I should be able to pick up the necessary ingredients to make the Shepherd's Pie tonight. I'm a little nervous, looking at the ingredients, but they said that it has guests coming back for seconds. *crossingfingers* I guess if I want to continue the trend, I'm going to have to figure out a veg*n supper for tomorrow night. And make sure I get the necessary ingredients today. ;)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Today's Raw Lunch

My daughter was going to eat veggie sushi for lunch (a recipe from Gillian McKeith's You Are What You Eat Cookbook: More Than 150 Healthy and Delicious Recipes), but didn't end up doing it (had a sandwich instead), but I was going to base my lunch off the sushi idea. I don't like the seaweed (I've tried more than once; I just can't handle the texture, taste nor smell) and I didn't want the grains, so I decided I was just going to have lettuce wraps. Well, the first greens I came across in the fridge were a head of romaine. Since the rib is too stiff for wraps, I sliced that part out and ended up having a kind of sushi roll. Unfortunately, I didn't think to take a picture until I'd already eaten 4 of them:

I'd call this a recipe share, but it's almost not a recipe: I put some store-bought hummus on some of them, not on others, just for variety. For filling, I kept it simple: cucumber matchsticks, shredded carrot, alfalfa sprouts. For one, I tried some very thin slices of avocado. The ones with the hummus definitely tasted better than the ones without and I liked the taste and texture of the one with the avocado (but that one didn't have hummus). I'm sure there is so much more I could consider using as a filling. (If anybody reading this has some suggestions, I'm all ears!) Okay, let's make it more formal:

*romaine or other green, sliced long and thin
*shredded carrot
*matchstick cucumbers (just cut your cucumber in matchstick pieces)
*alfalfa sprouts
*other filling you can think of

Spread some hummus on whichever leaves you wish, put down the sprouts first (seems to help with the rolling to have the sprouts UNDER the rest) in the middle, perpendicular to the length, then put your fillings down in the same direction. I folded the one side over, then rolled into the sushi shape.

This is definitely a keeper on my menu ideas. (Oh, I just had an idea: Is there a way for me to include something like this with a supper for my family? Slowly ease them into more raw foods as a focus of the meal this way?) I should have made more than I did; I definitely could have eaten more than I did. But I'm feeling lazy today, the weather's changing (was sunny and bright and all of a sudden, dark clouds are starting to roll in and it's getting chillier; I'd like to just wrap myself up in a blanket and hole up somewhere--do you think it's an instinctive thing since there are threats of a thunderstorm this afternoon?) and I just didn't want to make more. I did have a bit of coconut "yogurt" as a little dessert of sorts and feel satisfied now.

I foresee the rest of the afternoon being just fine in terms of eating only fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, but do have to remember to have a look at the Shepherd's Pie recipe to make sure I start it early enough! I find I sometimes have wonderful intentions and plans, then I go to make something and discover that it needs to cook for much longer than I had anticipated. 8-/

Putting my intention out there

I am going to write about my intentions today as a means of trying to keep myself accountable!

What are my intentions for the day?

*Lots of raw today. How will I accomplish this? Smoothie and fresh fruits for the morning. Lettuce wrap with veggie filling for lunch. (Might have some hummus with that; it's not raw, I don't think.) Veggies or fruit as snack in the afternoon or even some seeds and nuts.

*Vegan day. How? The above, and for supper, I'm making something from

It's a Shepherd's Pie recipe I've been wanting to make for sometime. I want to serve it with salad and maybe some green beans. My husband has been really commenting on a mainly fruit and veggie diet, but I'm not sure he's really that ready. lol. I suspect he'd be the type where I would have to go all gourmet at first, but I really don't have the tools I need for that (usually requires dehydrator, a good blender and a food processor; my food processor died recently, my blender can barely handle some of my smoothies and I don't have a dehydrator).

*Wheat-free day. How? None of the above has any wheat. Actually, none of the above includes any grains, I think. Not sure if I've done a completely grain-free day before. So, another intention: grain-free.

I have a further intention: To keep going with this type of eating tomorrow. A few weeks back, I had some great days, then I seemed to cancel it all by eating lots of grains the next day and almost no fruits and vegetables. I know I should take it one day at a time, but I want to set the intention for tomorrow, just tomorrow, now so that hopefully it stays with me when I wake up tomorrow morning.

(Slight worry has just set in: "What am I getting myself into??")

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Vegan camping menu?

My mind is working ahead to our camping trip in a few weeks. I think that while I can work at getting more vegan suppers on the table over the next bit, the camping trip could either be a huge challenge or a great chance at making it work since it'll already be different meals.

Have you ever been camping while eating vegan? With picky kids and adults? What kinds of foods did you eat? Please share! I'm not usually a stressed kind of person but this is making me feel stressed! lol

I think this is it

I feel pressured.

I feel like it's time I stop lollygagging around and just do it. (Do Nike commercials still have the "Just Do It" motto?)

It's time to become vegan.

What has led to this:

Not too long ago, my husband shocked me with a comment he made and I even blogged about it here. Well, he's done it again. I don't know if he's been noticing the gazillion vegan and raw food cookbooks I have out, if he's been flipping through them, if his 5-10 minutes of watching Forks Over Knives, all of the above or what, but I made a comment the other day to my little 4yo niece when she was being picked up after work, that she can eat pretty much only fruits and vegetables and be super healthy, but if she doesn't eat the fruits and veggies and only the crackers and other stuff she often has, then it's harder to be healthy. (Her dad had given her nothing but fruits and vegetables in her lunch kit that day on purpose because she hasn't been eating  fruits and veggies lately.) Later that evening, I think it was, my husband said, "You know, if we ate only fruits and vegetables for a few weeks, meat would be disgusting after that." I had another one of my, "My husband said WHAT?" moments. The topic came up again another day and then again today. And my daughter has been bugging me on and off for months. (Why does it all rest on me? *sigh*)

Add to that, my "niece" (21yo, like my own, we'll call her niece) has gotten tired of food affecting her so negatively and has decided to do a month of her style of vegan: high fruits, high veggies, green tea and I'm not sure what else. After a week, she's already feeling better. She invited me to join her.

It's time. It's clear, isn't it? I'm stressed over it though. I love this blog post to remind me that I don't have to be perfect, but, well, dang, I've been a perfectionist pretty much my whole life. I'm the kid who at her 1st birthday party, very daintily ate her cake and had to have her mother smoosh some on her face so she could take a "worthy" picture. I still have to have all the pencil crayons back in the pack in order. Letting go of perfectionism is hard.

I know I can't wing this. I am far too much a creature of habit to be able to simply wing it. But I don't know what to plan that I think my family will eat. And we're leaving on a camping trip in a couple of weeks. (Vegan camping? It might actually be easier than trying to figure out how to keep meat from spoiling...) I feel a bit like I did the first day I tried wheat-free: stressed, antsy, how-am-I-going-to-get-through-this? I know I can do it, especially if I aim to be as vegan as possible rather than simply deciding, "Okay, we're vegan now." Over the past year, fewer processed foods have been purchased and prepared, fruits and veggies are far more prominent in our fridge... It's do-able. I intellectually know this. Now if the limbic system in my brain could stop sending out fear signals, I'll be set. ;)


On a funny note:

We had Chinese take-out for supper last night. There were some leftovers and my husband decided to claim first dibs on them. My 14yo daughter got a plate and got to the containers and decided to take from the chow mein first, since she knew her dad would go for the fried rice and want lots. She got a couple of bean sprouts onto her plate when he teasingly said, "Dibs!" She backed off, he did his plate, she stepped up to the rice and my 11yo son arrived with his plate. He looked at hers and said, jokingly, "That's all you're eating?"

Monday, June 11, 2012

Back from a hiatus!

Once again, my attempt at following the 30 (or is it 31) days of the 10-Pound Shred book have been foiled! This time: I got sick. From Tuesday until Saturday morning, I woke up each morning with a fever and a headache. I was tired, sometimes exhausted, could get out of breath just cleaning the kitchen. Not fun. Unfortunately, being out of it like that means I probably didn't eat super well. I couldn't even begin to tell you what I ate last week! I just don't know! I can tell you that I did not exercise.

I asked Tommy Europe, the book's author, what to do since I'd been off it a week. He said to back track to Day 8. So, I redid Day 8 today. Day 8 is a motivation day: do whatever physical activity you like. So, I warmed up on the treadmill and then did some ballet exercises. (My daughter's dance recital on Saturday inspired that!) I used a book I have had since I was, hm, 12? 13? I used to be able to do so many of the things in it easily, more of a turnout... *sigh* If you don't use it, you lose it, don't forget that!

Some things I've observed over this past week however: my body really doesn't like sugar. White sugar, I mean. We had a birthday celebration for my sister-in-law and my niece (her daughter; I babysit her during the day) and I made a cake on Friday to bring to the celebration. I made it dairy-free so I could eat it. It was delicious, I have to say, but I did get a little hint of a headache after eating it, even though I was fine with anything else I ate.

Just now, I dipped into some of the remaining frosting. As it so often happens, an almost immediate headache. (When will I learn? I guess the yumminess still outweighs the small headache!) I first noticed this correlation between a certain type of headache I get and sweets when I was 16. I'm now 37. I'm a slow learner in this regard, it seems. Or too apathetic. :(

Other observations: I did weigh and measure myself as scheduled last week. Weight has not changed, but I felt very puffy, so perhaps it had changed and I was retaining water that day. Some measurements have gone down. Woot! That means my very unused muscles are tightening up! That's good news. I was disappointed that my weight hadn't changed. I had eaten so much more in terms of fruits and vegetables compared to previously, cut back on grains and I think eliminated junk. It was just one of those moments of feeling like it doesn't matter what I eat, the weight is staying the same. But then it hit me how much better I had been feeling, how even my seasonal allergies were simmering down even though other people I know are still having serious problems (people whose allergy symptoms' severity matched my own in previous years). Yesterday, I decided to try a piece of a raw apple. It didn't cause me to itch. Now, sometimes apples don't bother me, but most of the time they do. I don't think it's a coincidence that I'm in the middle of a season where others are having a hard time with allergies, and here I am, have been eliminating the crud from my diet and upping the whole fruits and veggies, and I was able to eat some apple. It's been 12 years since I first started having problems with apples. I was pregnant with my son. Years later, someone said to me it sounded as though my body needed to detox. I think she was right. And I hope that's what I'm now working on. Of course, eating the frosting isn't very helpful to that. :/ But things are improving and even if the weight isn't changing (yet), my health is, and that's so much more important.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Some observations

So, I haven't been blogging each day about my 10-Pound Shred book journey. It just seems like there isn't much to comment on: "I did the workout. It was hard. I ate this." Blah, blah, blah. If I'm bored writing it, then others are surely going to be bored reading it!

That said, today is Day 14 (because I missed a day). It is a "motivation day"--a day where he writes a little thing to help you keep motivated and you get to choose your physical activity. I had been thinking of walking from my daughter's dance studio to the library--Google Maps said 2.1 km/1.3 miles--dropping the books off, picking up the holds, then heading back and getting to the studio before the end of her lesson. But then I looked outside and wasn't too sure about the wind, fairly strong and occasionally gusting, and darkish grey clouds. While I looked up the forecast, I never really trust it too much; even then, it said the winds were milder than they actually were. I have seen it rain on days where they said there was a 30% chance of raining and I've seen it not rain on days where they said there was a 99% chance of raining. I decided to not take that chance. Walking in wind and wind gusts with the potential of rain, while carrying a bag full of books, just didn't seem that appealing anymore.

I then had the thought that I'm feeling so tired now, it's probably best. This thought lead to an observation: I had just had burritos for supper, with ground beef, wheat tortilla, lettuce and burrito sauce. I did not feel tired like that before supper. I did not have that energy drain earlier in the day when I'd had my green smoothie for lunch and continued it after lunch. Which then reminded me of a pattern I have noticed since I started this 4-week program: the days after I have had a lot of raw foods, few grains and little or no meat, I wake up feeling fine; the days after I've had lots of grains and almost no fruits and vegetables, I wake up feeling sluggish, allergies are acting up worse than on the other days... How much do I really want to test this out? Do I want to keep experiencing these highs and lows because of my neglecting to eat a lot of raw food on the previous day when it's become fairly clear that raw food makes me feel better?

This has all lead to another observation: I have had more days of lots of raw food in the past two weeks than I have ever done in a "cluster" like that before. Not only that, but I'm having days where I easily have 50% or more raw, don't think twice about it, it's not hard at all... There was one day where it was probably more like 75% raw. It has been easier to start moving more in that direction than I had previously tried to plan out or try to force myself to do. The only thing I can think that is different is that I've been inconsistently using the following affirmation:

I eat mostly raw vegan foods.

Can affirmations really work that easily? I'm starting to think so!

Another observation: My sinuses, despite allergies being a problem, have not been acting up like they did not so long ago. How can I not attribute this to my dramatically increased consumption of raw foods? Sure, I'm doing some more strenuous exercise than previously, but I've never heard of exercise improving allergies and sinus conditions. I've read many accounts of people's sinus issues clearing up after consuming more raw foods. This means, too, that I have had fewer headaches than I was having not that long ago, given most of my headaches are sinus-related.

It's so good to see and feel progress! I have no idea what the numbers will show tomorrow when I do the mid-point weigh-in and measurements, but my fitness has improved and so have my eating habits. How can I possibly be disappointed with that?

Friday, June 1, 2012

I love this book!

I took a book out from the library this week that I thought was just going to be another typical raw food book.

I was WRONG!

The book in question:

This book is AMAZING! I flipped through it last night while at my son's gymnastics lesson and finally had to find a scrap piece of paper to rip in pieces to mark recipes I'd like to try. There are so many, I started thinking I should just buy it. That led to a guilty thought of having other raw food books I barely use, but I am going to go ahead and get it anyhow.

What's so great about this book?

1) There is a picture for each and every recipe. To me, this alone places it above almost all other cookbooks I've ever looked at. I like to know what something is going to look like before I take the time to try. I'm much more likely to try a recipe in a book if I've seen the picture. Seeing the pictures for these recipes is practically a God-send.

2) No dehydrator needed for any of them! (Unless I skimmed too quickly, but pretty sure there is no dehydrator used.) This makes it far more desirable for those of us who aren't sure about getting a dehydrator. Standard blender needed, some require a grinder or hand blender, and I think that's about it.

3) Normal ingredients. Most of the ingredients are pretty easy to come by.

If you are interested in raw food cuisine or just interested in getting more fruits and veggies into your diet, I highly recommend this book! (Of course, I say this without having tried any of the recipes yet, but based on recipes I have tried so far and looking at their ingredients, I would say there are definitely some yummy recipes in this book!)