Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Spring Greening 2011

Wow. That was lame. Never been much for titles :P heh.


I'm finally taking the leap. Or, I should say, I'm finally planning to, if everything goes exactly as planned and I don't flake out at the last minute as usual, take the leap. 

I will be experiencing April 2011 on a completely RAW, VEGAN diet. 

What this means is, I will be consuming only ingredients which have not been heated over 115 (118 depending what crew you roll with) degrees farenheit, and no animal products. I have chosen to fore go the animal products, not because I'm completely opposed to their consumption (I eat eggs quite regularly), but because I am only doing this diet/cleanse/whateveryouwannacallit for a month, so I'm aiming for MAXIMUM results. I wanna FEEEEEEL the raw power!!! I want to go the puritan route. This time. Who knows what route I'll take next time or the time after that, but this time, it's raw vegan all the way baby :) I've been interested in this lifestyle for quite some time, collecting books and knowledge on the topic for around a year now, and I finally have the motivation and the extra cash (sort of) needed to take the plunge! 

Originally I planned to do this in January, but then December 1st (tomorrow) rolled around (yes, I am speaking to you from the future yet also the past somehow) and I started thinking, “shit.” You see, right now, at this very moment, I am in the process of buying my first CAR. Thank you, thank you. Yes indeed. I am buying a 2000 Honda Accord, which involves repairs, transfers of ownership, registration, license plates, insurance… and probably more crap that I can’t even think of at the moment. It’s not so much the stress of it all that makes me want to postpone this challenge, but the FINANCIAL factor. Now, I know the raw diet has the potential to actually be CHEAPER than a cooked diet. I know this. But since this will be my first attempt at “raw”, I’m thinking there’s a good chance I’ll end up spending a whole lot more money than I need to (I tend to go a lit-tle overboard at the grocery store), and with all this car business I just can’t afford to be overspending on anything.

So, with any luck, by April, I will be financially comfortable (HA!), or at least enough so that I can confidently embark on this very exciting journey.

I think I basically know what to expect. There is no shortage of information and testimonials out there supporting this diet and touting its amazing range of health benefits. If all goes well (or as well as it has for some), I could be a whole new me by May! Wouldn’t that be something? I was considering going gluten-free as well, which would turn this into a full-blown cleanse, but I actually find myself pretty stoked to experiment with raw, soaked and sprouted grains, so I’m gonna roll with that J

So that’s it on the subject for now. I’ve been buzzing about this for a little while but hadn’t been able to put my thoughts into blog-form for some reason. I will be updating now, though. I’ll post my plans for the month, diet plans, exercise plans, etc, and hopefully I’ll get my youtube channel up and running so I can post some recipes and document my progress that way as well. One thing that will hopefully make my videos and posts unique is that I do not have a high-speed blender such as a blendtec or vitamix, nor do I have a dehydrator. One of my goals is to make this lifestyle seem more realistic and approachable for the average person seeking above-average health on a budget. I hope you'll follow along! :) 

Until next time!
Loving waves and hairy buds,
Jess <3 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Young Blood: My recent, confusing experience with varicose/spider veins.

I started working in an office recently. I worked in my Dad's office before this, but the work day there was always fragmented, peppered with dog-walking and food making and laundry doing... I rarely sat for more than an hour or two, at most. At this job, however, I am sitting for multiple hours a day, arising only to file things and take my lunch.

As a result, over the last month, I've been noticing a weird kind of pain in my calves and sometimes in my back lower thighs. As I'm pretty vigilant (aka a hypochondriac) about noticing any possible or arising health problems, within a few times of noticing this pain I checked out my legs, and lo and behold, exactly where I felt the pain, I noticed some veins. They were bulging but I could definitely see them through my skin and they looked pretty large. I've also noticed small clusters of what appear to be spider veins, also in exact proximity to where I feel the pain. They're not at all what I would classify as full on "varicose" or "spider" veins, but they're definitely visible in a way they were not before.

My first reaction was: "WHAT THE FUCK?!

Varicose veins? SERIOUSLY? I'm 22 years old, for Christ's sake! This cannot be happening!"

For those of you who do not know what varicose veins are, they occur when (from my very recent and limited understanding) the valves that pump the blood through your veins, stop working properly and causes blood to collect in the veins. The veins then expand and the blood in them begins flowing in reverse, causing them to protrude and be painful. Greeeaaaaat.

The most common causes of varicose and spider veins include:

  • Going through a pregnancy
  • Standing or sitting for long periods of time
  • Being overweight
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Age - they appear more often as people grow older
  • Sex - they are more common in women
  • Heredity
  • Diet rich in processed, salty, sugary and otherwise shit foods
And, more rarely, varicose veins can be symptoms of serious health problems, such as tumours in the pelvis.

So far as I know, the only things on that list that apply to me are the fact that I am female, and the fact that I have recently begun sitting for long periods of time. Actually, I should say, I have recently started sitting for long periods of time in one position :P I have always done a lot of sitting. A lot, of sitting. So I guess in a way the "sedentary lifestyle" one could apply to me, too. Some would undoubtedly argue that it does.

I also, up until recently when I realized this, sit with my legs crossed a lot, in various different positions, but crossed nonetheless. This, I have learned, is a very bad idea, so I stopped.

But anyway, like I said I'm 22 years old, so the age thing definitely doesn't apply (most women who develop this problem develop it after 35 years of age). I'm 5'10" and between 125 and 130 lbs, so it's pretty safe to say I'm not overweight. And while my diet isn't perfect and may never be (does that even exist? ask anyone and you'll get a different answer), I eat a pretty large amount of raw, unprocessed food and steer pretty clear of fast food and junk food, with the exception of subs, pitas and pizza, the latter of which I don't even eat often. I haven't had any kids, and to my knowledge neither my Mother nor my Grandmother suffer from it.

Soooo I'm in a pretty weird spot mentally right now. I'm in the process of finding a new doctor in my area (STILL, after over a year living here), and when I find one I'll definitely ask about it. But since I have a pretty good idea what they'll suggest (nothing/drugs/surgery), and I have no intention of going down any of those paths, I've decided to start naturally remedying (?) myself until I can get some professional insight on the matter.

Some natural remedies I've come across are:

-Collinsonia Root
-Horse Chestnut Extract
-Bilberry Extract
-Grapeseed Extract
-Gingko Biloba
-Pine Bark Extract
-Raw Garlic
-Butcher's Broom
-Apple Cider Vinegar
-Vitamin E
-Vitamin K (topically)
-Vitamin C with Bioflavanoids
-EXERCISE. Even if it means pumping and bopping your legs under your desk, it's better than nothing!

Foods that are good for preventing and maintaining are:
-And others that currently escape me.

Foods to avoid:
-Foods with added salt
-White flour products
-Limit starch intake

So I'm going to try a bunch of these things and see if I get any results. I've also taken to massaging my legs in an heartward motion and keeping them raised whenever I can. I'll keep you posted :) I sure hope I can improve or reverse this, because I love to be active and the prospect of living the rest of my life with pain in my legs is completely heartbreaking...

Hoping for the best :) If anyone has other suggestions, I would love to hear them!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Summer without ice cream.

I just did it. No joke. Well as of tomorrow I will have done it. And I must say I am rather proud of myself :)

It was one of my 5 new years resolutions this year, and since I broke the other four by February, as per usual, I decided that this resolve needed to stick. Reason number one being that I have never once in my life made good on a new years resolution. Not one. Reason number two being that I kind of really want to kick dairy anyway so I figured this would be a nice, gentle transition :) Never the less, come May 31st, I was terrified. Why? Because I *love* ice cream (obviously! hello!). I could eat a gallon right to my face. Or at least prior to June 1st I would have jumped at the chance :P Though I must admit my pension for dairy-based treats began waning long before then. Let's say a pint. Couple pints :P

I was sure I would fail, as was everyone I shared my plan with. Actually that's not fair. People were very supportive, albeit doubtful, in my resolve to abstain from my favourite frozen treat from June 1st to August 31st. No doubt, temptation would be EVERYWHERE, in the form of gas station freezers, ice cream trucks, the tiny, amazing ice cream shoppe which is a summer staple in my town, friends' houses, grocery stores and restaurants rife with giant posters of happy children licking away at sweet, creamy cones of delight.........*ahem*, etc, etc...

Yet I remained determined! And I'm so glad that I did :) With the exception of a secret "Dibs" bite from a friend's freezer while "slightly" intoxicated on my birthday (OOPS!) and a single serving of frozen yogurt, I stayed pure ALL SUMMER! YEAH! :D And honestly, it wasn't even hard. There were temptations, of course, as I mentioned, but it was something I really wanted to do.

So that's my "I'm proud of meeeeeee!!!" post for the summer :)

Winter is on the horizon now, as is a glowing, yellow (or marble, mmm) vision of my next masochistic bout of epicurian celibacy: CHEESE!!! hold me :(

Until then, enjoy this glorious christmas cheese cow. I won't be :(

Friday, July 30, 2010

Today, I love...

bizzy beez

open hearts

tree houses!

and this :)


So Dan and I were in the Lakeshore area visiting an old friend, and decided we HAD to check out Raw Aura Organic Cuisine at 94 Lakeshore Rd E.

Here is what we had :)

my juice :) parsley, carrot, ginger, apple... hmmm i can't remember what else. it was so good!
i also got a shot of E3 Live in it :)

Dan's Strawberry Cacao Smoothie :)

Caesar Salad with Kale Chips on top (they ran out of eggplant bacon)!

"Pasta Bolognese" - Zucchini pasta tossed in some kind of deeeliicious (!) spicy sauce, and seemingly every vegetable from carrots to kale to sundried tomatoes. SO GOOD! <3

"Mac & Cheese" - Carrots mandolined into what was supposed to be elbow pasta shape (I applaud the effort, lol) and served covered in cashew cheese, nooch (nutritional yeast) and other veggies. Dan liked it but said there was way too much cashew cheese. Despite enjoying the overall flavour, he wasn't able to finish it.

Pecan Pie & Chocolate Avocado Pie
Holy Crap.

<3 *drool* <3

more desserts <3

US :)

The Wonderful World of MYCELIA! (Mushrooms! Fungiiiiiiiii)

I have recently - or I should say in the last several months - become fascinated by fungi. The majority of people have no idea how important and intelligent (seriously) mushrooms are. Beneath our feet lies an almost unimaginably intricate network of mycelia, trading nutrients with plants for energy, transporting nutrients from tree to tree, and helping to heal and detoxify whole ecosystems.

Here are a few short exerpts from an interview with expert on mycelia and author of such books as "Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World", Paul Stamets, about the secret world of the Mycelial network; Nature's internet.

Jensen: "Almost since life began on earth, mycelia have performed important ecological roles: nourishing ecosystems, repairing them, and sometimes even helping create them. The fungi’s exquisitely fine filaments absorb nutrients from the soil and then trade them with the roots of plants for some of the energy that the plants produce through photosynthesis. No plant community could exist without mycelia. I’ve long been a resident and defender of forests, but Stamets helped me understand that I’ve been misperceiving my home. I thought a forest was made up entirely of trees, but now I know that the foundation lies below ground, in the fungi."

Stamets: "There are an estimated one to two million species of fungi, of which about 150,000 form mushrooms. A mushroom is the fruit body — the reproductive structure — of the mycelium, which is the network of thin, cobweblike cells that infuses all soil."

"A mycelial “mat,” which scientists think of as one entity, can be thousands of acres in size. The largest organism in the world is a mycelial mat in eastern Oregon that covers 2,200 acres and is more than two thousand years old. Its survival strategy is somewhat mysterious. We have five or six layers of skin to protect us from infection; the mycelium has one cell wall. How is it that this vast mycelial network, which is surrounded by hundreds of millions of microbes all trying to eat it, is protected by one cell wall? I believe it’s because the mycelium is in constant biochemical communication with its ecosystem."

"I think these mycelial mats are neurological networks. They’re sentient, they’re aware, and they’re highly evolved. They have external stomachs, which produce enzymes and acids to digest nutrients outside the mycelium, and then bring in those compounds that it needs for nutrition. As you walk through a forest, you break twigs underneath your feet, and the mycelium surges upward to capture those newly available nutrients as quickly as possible. I say they have “lungs,” because they are inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, just like we are. I say they are sentient, because they produce pharmacological compounds — which can activate receptor sites in our neurons — and also serotonin-like compounds, including psilocybin, the hallucinogen found in some mushrooms. This speaks to the fact that there is an evolutionary common denominator between fungi and humans. We evolved from fungi. We took an overground route. The fungi took the route of producing these underground networks that are highly resilient and extremely adaptive: if you disturb a mycelial network, it just regrows. It might even benefit from the disturbance.

I have long proposed that mycelia are the earth’s “natural Internet.” I’ve gotten some flak for this, but recently scientists in Great Britain have published papers about the “architecture” of a mycelium — how it’s organized. They focused on the nodes of crossing, which are the branchings that allow the mycelium, when there is a breakage or an infection, to choose an alternate route and regrow. There’s no one specific point on the network that can shut the whole operation down."

Now, these small chunks, should you choose to read them (in other words, should you have a burning interest in a seemingly irrelevent topic that doesn't interest most people in the slightest, as i happen to =P) may not reveal any mind-blowing truths to you. It was difficult to find specific chunks of text that conveyed the entire message of the interview.

The jist is, all fungi release spores (spores are like their seeds), which float around and eventually settle on the ground. When a male and a female mycelial spore touch, they begin to form a network, that can span many miles, across entire forests and beyond given enough time. There can also be multiple networks in the same area because each year/season, leaves and dirt obviously accumulate, and then more spores float down, creating another network overtop of it, and so on and so forth. Through these networks, the mycelia can do amazing things such as transport nutrients from a thriving tree to a dying tree many miles away. They also, as mentioned previously, trade nutrients with plants for their photosynthesized energy, creating a symbiotic relationship between the mycelia, the plants, and the trees. And that's how a forest really works.

Here's to seeing the forest for the fungi :) YAY FUNGI!! lol

Here's the rest of the interview, for anyone interested.

Joe Rogan: Unexpectedly Awesome.

Yeah, the guy from Fear Factor!

This guy

I started to love him a little when he produced "The Union: The Business Behind Getting High" which focused on the injustice of cannabis prohibition in North America and - in part - the British Columbia "union" of marijuana growers.

And NOW, he's going to be doing a documentary based on Dr. Rick Strassman's "DMT: The Spirit Molecule" !!! Whaaaaaat! And now that I'm actually reading up on him he seems to be a pretty outspoken advocate for the exploration of DMT. The film might already be out, actually. Whether the doc will focus on the more "illicit" method of smoking DMT or natural methods of stimulating your brain's DMT production through things like superfoods (eg Mucuna Pruriens), kundalini yoga and meditation, I'm not sure, as I have not [yet!] gotten around to reading the book, and I'm at work so I can't watch the trailer >_<

Either way it should be pretty mind-blowing. DMT is a very powerful and fascinating subject.

stoked. <3ujoe.

Get improved concentration, memory and overall brain power with SUPER BRAIN YOGA

This technique is being used by doctors and teachers alike to improve brain function and increase concentration and mental clarity. And it really works! Improved grades and increased mental focus among people who practice it are being reported, even among those with mental disabilities.

Super Brain Yoga, as it's being called, is essentially a form of acupressure and breathing technique used to balance both hemispheres of the brain and bring energy up to the brain. It was developed by Master Choa Kok Sui who has written a book on the subject. The exercise is easy to learn, takes only a few minutes to do and can be done basically anywhere! :)

Step 1: Face east, if you can. I don't really bother with this as I'm not aware of the significance, but if you happen to be aware of where east is, it can't hurt.

Step 2: Connect your tongue with the roof of your mouth, pressing lightly.

Step 3: Grasp your earlobes with your thumb and index finger, your thumb on the front of the earlobe and index on the back. Your right arms should be crossed OVER your left arm.

Step 4: Inhale and squat down to the ground (or as close as you can, the degree of squat isn't terribly important, but try to get as low as you can without hurting your knees or any other part of your body) while inhaling.

Step 5: Stand back up on the exhale. So as you're squatting, inhale, then as you're standing, exhale.

Step 6: Repeat this 15-20 times once or twice a day

I started doing this yesterday and plan to do it everyday. I'll post updates on whether I start to notice improved concentration, memory and overall balance. I definitely notice slight effects right away, but it's hard to determine whether it's as a result of the systematic breathing, the squats, a placebo effect or whether my brain hemispheres are actually being affected =P but I plan to practice it everyday and I'll let you know what I discover :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Innard Smoothie, Falafel Numminess and "Cheesy" Potato and Kale Soup

blended guts anyone? jk, it's just a blenderless smoothie =P mash berries, add [100%!] Juice (NOT FROM CONCENTRATE, PLEASE) I used strawberries and 100% pineapple and orange juices, and some fresh lemon juice.

Dan, grindin' some flax seeds. He's so strong *swoon* lol

Chick peas (canned. in hind-sight i definitely should have used dried/soaked for a more neutral flavour), onions, parsley, cilantro, garlic, cumin, coriander, ground flax seeds (in place of the flour in the recipe)... what else? olive oil... i think that's it.

Falafel-flavoured mess ♥

I don't have any pictures of the cooking process, but I preheated the oven to 350, lined a baking sheet with foil and then preheated the baking sheet (as per the recipe). I then made a bunch of balls, plopped 'em on the sheet, flattened them slightly and baked for, idk, half an hour or something, flipping them when the bottom side looks flippable (pardon the vagueness, i cook very much by eye)

Tahini. Sesame seeds and olive oil. Datsit.

Hummus. Chick peas, tahini and lemon juice.

For the record, I did not like this hummus AT ALL. In fact it's still sitting in my fridge. Again, should not have used canned chick peas. I couldn't get the flavour of the canning liquid out even though I rinsed the hell out of them. Oh well. Now I know for next time =P

Clockwise from the top: lil bitta bruschetta, arugula salad with organic balsamic vinaigrette, tzatziki (delicious, but made me feel all cloggy and phlegmy. ugh), hummus, and falafel patties :)

Dan, 30 seconds after placing the plate in front of him: "I hope you took a picture of that."

Yes, I did =P

ps sorry for the crummy lighting. this was literally the best one, ,lol.

DELICIOUS potato and kale soup. Basically I just boiled some potatoes, then added some organic veggie broth (TO THE POTATO BOILING LIQUID. This is key to the starchy cheesy consistency of the final soup), brought back to a boil, then blended (with the heat off =P) with my immersion blender. Then I brought it back up to a boil, added some onions and garlic, turned off the heat, then added some chopped kale. Blend JUST A WEE BIT more (you want to keep the kale bits in tact. unless you don't, then blend it right up. doesn't matter) add some salt (not iodized table salt, if you can help it) and pepper and voila!

OMG this was good. And it had a total cheesy quality to me. Idk. It was so thick and goopy ♥ Definitely making this again extremely soon.

and that's my numminess post for the week (or however long its been since I last posted) =P

have a spectacular day :)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Raw Vegan "Breakfast Treat" :)

I used to call this my Raw Vegan Oatmeal but Dan won't let me call it that anymore since it doesn't contain any actual oats and Dan despises misnomers, lol.

I've been toying around with this "recipe" for a few weeks now, and I love every variation I've tried =P

The basic components are 1 banana, 1 serving of up to 3 ground or easily digestible grains/seeds (depending how dry/oatmealy you want it to be), and a sweetener.

Today I used 3 tbsp (1 serving, 6g protein) organic, raw golden flax seed (ground with my mortar (sp?) and pestle, which takes a while but you could obviously use a grain mill or coffee grinder if you have one).

I usually use 2 tbsp (1 serving, 11g protein) of shelled hemp seeds but the grocery store I shopped at last didn't have any, so I'll have to go without until I can find some :(

"In place" (in quotations because it no where near replaces hemp seed) of the hemp seed I used 1 tbsp ground sunflower seeds (shelled, obviously). These seeds ground up really nice, almost into a flour, and lent great texture to this "breakfast treat" ;)

So you mash the banana. Add your seeds. Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/8 tsp nutmeg (optional). Add sweetener of choice (today I used 1/2 tsp raw honey, sometimes I use [real!] maple syrup, which is not raw but is ridiculously delicious and breakfasty, and natural, so screw you). You COULD use agave, I suppose, if you really like the taste of it... it might overpower the other flavours here though, idk.

And that's basically it!

Today I also topped it with some raw goji berries, cranberries, pumpkin seeds & walnuts (Organically Yours' "Goji Trek Mix")

delissssshhhh <3 nothx@bacon&eggs. THIS is how I like to start my day :) With effective, usable, raw nutrients. I also considered chopping up some 85% cacao for topping but decided to save that until after breakfast ;)