Wednesday, January 26, 2011

[Blog] My Top Ten Lessons On Sunfood

Photo taken January 2011

Time & Energy

Today someone mentioned to me that they were working towards getting their family raw. She said that it was "soo worth it" but that it took up a lot of her energy and time to keep her family healthy.

I wrote this in response:

"It certainly takes a lot of time and energy -- especially at first -- but the more progress you make the more time you get back out of it. I used to sleep between 8 and 10 hours every night. Now I sleep between 5 and 7 hours a night and I have more energy than I've ever had in my life -- even more energy than when I was a toddler. (I was chronically tired practically since birth.)"

It's also amazing how much more I can accomplish within a span of time. My brain seems to analyze tasks more efficiently so that I can prioritize tasks and accomplish deeds without much of any effort at all. Naturally, much of this is also due to narrowing my goals and life down to the things I really want and striving towards those things constantly without letting side distractions enter my life.

Of course, you can't just "Go Raw" and expect everything to be butterflies, rainbows and bunnies. I made a lot of mistakes in the first couple of months; like eating fruit balls every single day. Those are still a treat, even if they are worlds and worlds better for you than a twix bar could ever be.

My Top Ten Lessons On Sunfood

I'd like to share the top ten things I've learned since I've harmonized myself to the sunfood diet.
  • 1. One vegetable-based smoothie or juice daily, drank immediately.

  • 2. One to three fruit-based smoothies or juices that contain a small amount of vegetables per day, drank immediately.

  • 3. One large salad with as many diverse vegetables on it as possible per day.

  • 4. (At least) three servings of whole fruits, such as an orange, cantaloupe and blackberries.

  • 5. One quarter cup of nuts/seeds per day (not more than half a cup of nuts/seeds per day.)

  • 6. No more than a half cup of dehydrated food in a day, accompanied by two tall glasses of water.

  • 7. Lots and lots of water!

  • 8. Eat fruits mostly in the morning, and nuts/seeds mostly in the evening. Try to limit combining fruits and fats to once a week or less. (Fats: mushrooms, olives, seeds, nuts and avocados)

  • 9. Limit dried fruit to a quarter cup over the span of three days, and if you splurge, follow with a large green vegetable juice/smoothie.

  • 10. Eat sprouts, eat spouts, and eat more sprouts.

Truths Are Universal

"There never was a good knife made of bad steel." -Benjamin Franklin
Just like you can't have a fit healthy body if your body is made up of cells that have been fed "bad food" or more accurately; nutrient-deficient toxin-filled stuff labeled "food."

Yesterday I wrote a bit of a rant. It's not like my usually entries on this blog, but I believe there is some information within it that is worth the read:


I'm currently taking a survey that is supposed to analyze my health on but the questions are starting to annoy me.

For one thing, with examples of fish it lists; "sushi, sashimi, shell fish, imitation crab and lobster meat" but it doesn't list "fresh caught high quality local fish" which is the only sort of fish I'd be willing to consume, and may consume. Also, I would only have it once a month, not one to three times a week. So I can't put down that I'm consuming fish at all, even though I have had two tiny servings in the past two months. (Each "tiny serving" was around a half cup.)


Another thing on this same page that is irking me is that it's asking if I consume vegetable or fruit juice. It doesn't ask whether it is pasteurized or not, which makes a huge difference, and it doesn't ask if I'm juicing it myself or not, which makes a tremendous difference since drinking juice within fifteen minutes of making it is crucial to getting the full benefits of the juice.

If I drank a bunch of store bought fruit juice from concentrate made from conventional fruits it would be worlds and worlds away from growing my own fruit, picking it fresh that morning, juicing it and drinking it immediately. That's like the difference between eating a meal of red meat, cheese, sugared white bread versus eating a meal of fresh vegetables and fruits.

But, in order for the results to be accurate I have to put down that I eat something I imagine. So far I've put down "none" for every food question since I don't eat red meat, cured meat, barbequed meat, canned meat, low-fat dairy or high-fat dairy (as if the level of fat was the relevant information about the dairy!), or beans, or any "imitation crab" -- as if that counts as fish! (I suppose some imitation crab meat is actually made from fish, but the ones I've seen in stores contain food coloring and refined sugar.)

I suppose I'll put down that I consume vegetable juice five to six times a week, since I have vegetables in my smoothies at least five times a week. As for fruit juice, I'll put down "more than six" since I have a smoothie containing fruit usually daily, if not twice in a day.

And nope, I don't drink alcoholic beverages... (Quit at eighteen, ironically.)


Oh, that reminds me of an earlier question that annoyed me. There was a question "Do you smoke?" and "Did you ever smoke?" and it meant cigarettes. There is no option for, "Yes, I smoked weed during my teenage years," which I think will apply to many Americans, and I do believe it is relevant to my health and to the health of anyone else taking this survey.

Fresh or Frozen

Onto the food questions; it's asking me how much fruit I consume, "fresh or frozen" as if that doesn't make a difference! Argh. I'm putting "more than five daily" and that is all fresh, none frozen. Today thus far I've had a banana and a half in a smoothie, a third of a pomegranate, a small bite of avocado, the juice of about quarter of a lemon, two spoonfuls of coconut kefir, two sips of coconut juice, nearly half a pint of blueberries and an apple. And it's not even noon.

Raw Vegetables

Oh, nice, at least it is specifying a question for how much raw vegetables I eat as well as how much cooked, frozen or canned vegetables I eat. That's something. More than five cups daily of raw vegetables, especially since they're including lettuce and spinach. I've had about two cups of assorted baby greens today thus far for my first salad of the day.

Under cooked, frozen or canned vegetables there is no option for once a week, which is about how often I eat one cup of cooked vegetables, so I guess I'll put none.

Here is something funny, under "Other Vegetables" it lists; "Peppers, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, peas, etc..."

Cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes are fruits, folks. Just so you know. But that's okay, in my mind I mentally consider them nutritionally like vegetables anyway, however it is still important to remember not to mix those with much (or any) fat in one meal.

Anyway, how much of those do I consume? I eat about a quarter cup of onion a day on my salads, and about a half cup of hot pepper a week, about one cucumber a week which is around two cups, around one bunch of carrots every two weeks... It's hard to say how many cups of these "other vegetables" I eat daily. Perhaps it means all vegetables that are not leafy greens, since the examples for the other were all green leafy things. I suppose I'll go with two to three daily.

Nuts & Seeds

"Raw nuts and seeds: How many servings (around an ounce or 1/4 cup) do you consume in a day?"

That depends on the day. I'm trying to keep it to one quarter cup a day, but I think I'm still ending up with half a cup a day. For example, I had some almond butter on celery today with my salad and it was around an 1/8th cup of almond butter. I'll put "Two daily."

"Roasted (not salted)?" None. "Roasted and Salted?" None.

"How many one-cup servings (count energy drinks double) of caffeinated drinks other than soda do you consume? Coffee, tea, energy drinks, etc?"
This is an unfair question. Energy drinks and tea are entirely different things, also white tea is a far cry from black tea and both are farther still from sun tea made with one's own fresh herbs. Of course, the options are insane anyway. None, 3-5 Weekly, 1-2 Daily, 3-5 Daily, 5 or more Daily... I have around eight cups of green tea a week. I suppose that counts as 1-2 Daily, but it irritates me that someone who drinks an "energy drink" daily could put down the same.

Cups of soda? None. Diet soda? None. Caffine-free soda? None. Diet caffine-free soda? None.

"Do you salt your food? (Either you salt when cooking or afterwards with a salt shaker.)"

There is only "yes" and "no" to this question. Well, yes. I do salt some things, on occasion. Usually raw soups, desserts I make for potlucks and that one cup of cooked vegetables a week will have salt on it. There you have my total salt intake.

"Do you avoid commercially prepared food that are high in salt such as soups and salad dressings?"

There is only "yes" and "no" to this question. Well, yes, I avoid all commercially prepared food entirely. I really begin to wonder why I'm taking this survey; as if it's going to tell me how to combat the last few issues I do have left.


"How many meals do you eat outside the home each week?" None.

"When you eat outside the home, what types of food do you go out for?"

There are many options, including Mexican, Chinese and Fast Food; I selected the "Vegan/Vegetarian" option, obviously.

"How much strength training per week? Free-weights, resistance training, machines, etc?"

The examples annoy me. Doesn't anyone do push-ups anymore? Anyway, I do about thirty minutes of "strength training" daily, so that is three and a half hours.

Ha, it figures that my answer falls in between these two options, "2-3 hours" and "4-5 hours." I guess I'll go with 2-3 since I do miss a day on occasion and rarely exceed four hours in a week.

"How much cardiovascular training per week? Biking, jogging, walking, swimming, team sports, etc."

This is one of my areas I need to improve. Around two walks to the store per week, and about an hour of indoor running and dancing per week, which means two and half hours a week. Pretty lame.

"How much flexibility training per week? Stretching, yoga, etc."

Clearly these folks have not taken yoga. Yoga is more focused on balance and strength than flexibility, by far. I've been to a number of different studios (on two different sides of the country) and it requires a lot of strength and balance, but an ordinary person's flexibility is usually adequate to at least do a modified version of any pose or series of yoga position.

Anyway, I do around fifteen minutes of yoga a day at home, plus an hour session outside of the home weekly. I miss a day around every four days, so that is around two and a half hours a week.

"What is your highest level of education?"

It doesn't list "high school drop out" as an option. I think that's funny. Anyway, I graduated high school, so I don't have to worry about that, but still it's funny that it isn't an option when I've met so many drop outs in my life.

"What is your marital status?"

Married! I love being married so much.

"Are you a parent?"

No. Not yet I'm not, at least. Give it two more years.


So I finish the survey and pull up the results. It tells me I'm eating thirteen servings of snacks a week because of all the fruit juice I drink. This is certainly a palm-to-forehead moment. Yes, store bought juice is a junk food ninety-nine out of a hundred times, but my "juice" is really blended fruit at home. *sigh* Although there are some useful statistics on the results page I can use in various places online.

For example:

"Most of us think we eat better than we really do. According to the USDA, only 19% of adults and less than 10% of children get the minimum daily requirement of nutrients. And this is from the organization that recommends 27% of your calories come from fatty animal products and dairy. When lobbyists are taken out of the equation, the nation’s top physicians in the area of nutrition put the number of healthy eating Americans at below 5%."

That's great information if you ask me. Although the fact that it says I need to consume whole grains and beans on a daily basis is a little absurd, but it's true that doing that is much better than consuming ice cream and steak and calling it dinner.

It says my weight is normal, of which I'm aware. I simply want to convert some of this last thin skein of fat into muscle. It's happening faster than ever before, and yet I still wish I could make it happen faster. I want to be fit now, or at least within six months. I don't want to have to build for three years before I look and feel really fit.

Another quote from the information that comes with the results:

"Among seniors, 28% of women and nearly 22% of men take five or more medications daily. America is by far the most medicated country in the world. With 84% of chronic conditions diet related, the overwhelming majority of medications could be avoided with a healthy diet." -- Eat Right America Online

The results go on to say that I will probably live over the age of ninety. It's good to hear that, actually. I always stress that I'm doing this for the quality of my life, but it's still good to hear that I should live over ninety anyway.

I mean, if I die next year, I still want to be healthy this year so that I can do as much as possible this last year I'm on the planet. It doesn't make sense to waste hours and days of my life being ill when it can be prevented without a loss of time or money.

In fact, it saves money and time to be healthy to such a degree that it's amazing that people say they "don't have time" or "don't have money" to be healthy at all. Whenever I hear that, I become concerned about the level of ignorance towards the reality of being healthy versus being merely "not stuck in bed."

The results go on to tell me that I am not at risk for any of the following (as it describes each of these in detail): heart attack, cardiac death, stroke, diabetes, cancer, or bone fracture. Good to hear, although I knew all of that.

There are some useful resources besides the statistics however, including a list of ANDI score stuff. There are also some appalling things, like a suggestion to use hydrolyzed alternatives... Disgusting. At least they're speaking against "trans fats" also known as hydrogenated products.

All in all, it's a good survey and results system for your average person, but to me, I found it somewhat disappointing.

Edible Decorations

Decorate your home with edible nature, and eat your decorations before they wilt!

Raederle & Edible Decor, January 2011

I love my "dining room" table being covered in edible beauty.

Closing Statements

Please take my polls that you'll find to the right of the blog entry as well as at the bottom of the page. If you have a question for me, ask away and I'll post your question, my answer and a site you desire to link on the FAQ page. If you have not read my story, I urge you to. It's hard to understand what someone is saying the way they mean it when you don't know where they are coming from. The more we know about one another, the better we can communicate.


The divine being in me honors the divine being within you.

~ Raederle Phoenix

Sunday, January 23, 2011

[Blog] Coconut Curry Soup & How To Fight Yeast

A friend asked me a question that is of rising concern to the populace as more and more people are faced with Candida (which your doctor will probably discredit):

Amy asks: If one wanted to control the yeast in their bodies, what else (besides yogurt) might one eat to help that?

The first thing I wanted to address is the issue with the belief that yogurt will eliminate yeast, or at least help. I used to have Candida. I had it for years. I tried probiotic tablets in combination with eating plain yogurt, as well as taking Three-Lac and other things designed to fight yeast, and guess what? I only saw moderate improvements even though all of that together was costing over eighty dollars a month. Considering my own experience and what I've learned over the years, I wrote Amy the following reply:


Conventional yogurt generally will not actually help much, unless you eat in entirely plain, and then sometimes it still doesn't do much good because the yogurt is pasteurized which kills off all the good bacteria along with any possible bad bacteria.

I used to have raging Candida, so this is one of the very first things I studied. There are several main foods that fuel yeast to overgrowth and sporing within the body. Refined sugars, certainly, and also any conventional ordinary breads you find in grocery stores. They don't let the bread rise all the way, usually only forty five minutes or so, when bread should rise for many hours. A real bread with no sugar added or used in the process that has risen entirely correctly using mainly wheat berries instead of flour will not do much of anything to stimulate yeast, but I've met only three or four people in my entire life who solely eat *real* bread. For the most part, when people say "bread" they mean the awful stuff that is perfect for feeding yeast throughout your body. (You can find *real* bread at the Five Points Bakery on Rhode Island in Buffalo. I used to get a loaf on occasion even when my diet otherwise contained no wheat or flour.)

I imagine there is a reason you're asking this question; either for yourself or for a friend. There are many signs of too much yeast in the body, and most of them are quite subtle and not well known. Flaking scalp, excessive ear wax, stuffed sinuses, sticky and/or smelly saliva, saliva that tastes "off" or "weird," excess eye "sand" in the morning -- gritty stuff on one's eyes when they wake up, itchy skin and especially itchy genitals. None of those guarantee yeast over production, but some sure signs are the same as above, but to an extreme degree. For example, if you wake with so much grit on your eyes that you can not open your eyes, then you most definitely are dealing with lots of excessive yeast throughout the body.

So far, we have: Avoid refined sugars and conventional breads, and also that yogurt, unless plain and raw, is not very effective

I made my own coconut kefir which I have almost daily now, but that may be more effort than most people are interested in going to, although it's a lot of bang for your buck. Last I was in Buffalo, you could buy young coconuts in the Lexington Co-op. Coconut kefir is made by blending the "meat" and the "water" of the young coconut in a blender, and then stirring in a probiotic. This probiotic should come from a refrigerated section of a store; otherwise it may be entirely ineffective. Once you've stirred your probiotic into the blended meat and juice of a young coconut, you put a lid on the jar (don't fill all the way, it will expand by 20% to 80%), and then put the jar in a somewhat warm and dark place for 30 to 48 hours. Stir up your jar and eat plain or use as a smoothie base. I love to just add on banana to about a quarter cup of coconut kefir with just a dash of cinnamon and about a half cup of water.

Kambucha is a probiotic beverage that is sold in many different forms at Whole Foods, so they may have some sort of it at the Co-Op. It contains live cultures. I don't yet know how to make it myself, but I believe the nutshell of it is the same as the coconut kefir, except with tea made from fresh herbs. I could be mistaken however. (Kambucha is also raw. Anything that contains probiotics supposedly but is also pasteurized is contradicting itself. You can't have live cultures in something that has been cooked.)

A diet that frequently mixes sugars and fats will assist yeast. The natural sugar content of a fruit digests very rapidly when eaten with other fruit and/or vegetables. The natural fat content within nuts, avocados, seeds and olives takes hours to digest. (Obviously, when not on a raw diet, there are tons of other sources of sugar and fat. The rule applies to all sugars and fats, including lab-altered sugars and fats. Although refined sugar is processed very differently in general than natural fruit sugar that is still within the fruit that it's hard to compare.) When you eat both fat and sugar together, then the sugar is digested at the same rate as the fat, which means that you have a bunch of fruit fermenting within your body, feeding bacteria -- and yeast. This is often what causes gas and bloating.

I've discovered that reserving fat only for the last meal of the day agrees with my body much, much better. It makes a huge difference in energy level for me.

Something else that will help is green leafy things, especially dark green leafy things. The magic of dark green leafy things is that they help you no matter what your problem is. The nutrients nourish your own body's defenses against unwanted problems and build better cells, the live plentiful enzymes of live leafy plants cultivates full digestion and full absorption of minerals, and the high fiber content scrapes bacterias, dead matter (cooked foods that didn't fully digest), toxins, and yeast from the intestines.

Dos & Don'ts Summary

Do: Kambucha, Coconut Kefir, Green Leafy Stuff

Don't: Refined Sugar, Conventional Breads, Fat & Sugar Combination (and what I mentioned in the "PS:")

PS: Toxins can assist yeast just by dampening the body's ability to do anything about any issue the body is having. Removing excess toxins from the diet and lifestyle will always improve any condition.

Sources of toxins include: bad air, stale air, dirty carpets (all carpets are dirty), dirty ventilation systems, cigarette smoke, cooking smoke, artificial colorings, artificial flavoring, "natural" flavorings, convention produce, unwashed produce, mold, many laundry detergents, many dish soaps and even hand soaps, most tooth pastes, most floor cleaning agents, window cleaning agents, carpet cleaners, dust, paint, car smog, jet fuel (which we all breathe constantly), artificial sweeteners (such as splenda, aspartame, etc.), stress, and many people would add "negative energy" to this list (meaning being around people who leech energy and/or give off negative energy interrupting your flow of chi.)

Removing any of these sources from your life will improve any/all conditions, so I thought I'd mention it.

~ Raederle

Photo by Raederle Phoenix, 2010, Road Trip #2

In other news, I heard the most disappointing story at the farmer's market today.

They were selling heirloom navel oranges from trees over 100 years old. The sample was so rich in flavor; I had no idea an orange could have so much flavor. I was impressed and delighted.

They told me that 90% of those old trees had been replaced by new trees because grocery stores wouldn't accept the "dirty looking" heirloom oranges. My delight turned sour, and I found myself thinking of those wonderful, beautiful, ancient orange trees... Ripped up because Americans will choose a washed orange over an orange with some dirt on it. It's absurd.

Demand quality, not vanity!

I was asked this question today as well: "Is raw food more filling? It seems that way to me, but I'm not sure."

My reply:

Absolutely. The more flavor and nutrients, the more genuinely full you will be. Many cheap foods seem filling, but then you're starving again ten minutes later when your body realizes it still didn't get any nutrients it needed. How much any individual raw foodist eats however varies greatly. Luckily, you can just eat your fill without worrying about over-eating since your body will naturally crave what you need when you're eating a toxin-free nutrient-dense diet.

~ Raederle

Today is January 23rd 2011, last year on this very same day, January 23rd of 2010, something very special happened to me. My husband and I met in person for the first time. We met online in October, through a letter I wrote to him. We talked over Skype all through November, and in December, on the 10th, we officially called ourselves "a couple" but it wasn't until the 23rd of January that I took a plane out here to California to meet him. Since that day we've only spent a few weeks apart.

This morning we rose early and attended yoga at Lululemon here in Walnut Creek. Afterward we went directly to the farmer's market where we bought a huge mound of oranges, five apples, a stalk of celery, celery root, a pomegrante, kale, chard, parsley, cilantro, spinach, an avocado, raw almonds and walnuts, as well as walnuts within the shell. I'm probably forgetting something.

We also stopped by Whole Foods to pick up bananas, a young coconut, blueberries, an heirloom tomato, and a huge tub of assorted lettuce.

When we returned home my wonderful husband made the most delicious raw soup. I've never been much for soup in general, cooked or raw, but this was by far one of the most delicious things I've ever had, and certainly the best soup.

Coconut curry soup, mostly following the recipe from our new book we bought: the Cafe Gratitude recipe book which contains the recipes they use at their delightful establishment.

After we devoured the spicy sexy flavors of the soup (with a nice large salad on the side), we enjoyed an experiment with raw "rice" made from grated celery root and a creamy coating made of cashews and garlic.

To finish off this delicious lunch feast, we mixed the rest of the two dishes together; the celery root "rice" and the coconut curry soup which was both excellent in flavor and in texture. Most definitely something we will make again.

I'm feeling very satisfied with life in general today, and am pleased to be able to share each of these things with you.


~ Raederle Phoenix An Lydell West Jacot

PS: I turn twenty-two on January 30th 2010, and I received a package in the mail yesterday. Inside was a wrapped present from my mom in a lovely blue wrapping paper with white ribbon and bow. I've set the small package in a visible place so I can admire it until the day comes this next Sunday. I'm throwing a raw potluck at my house as my birthday celebration. I'm quite excited about it all.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

[Article] Traveling Raw

Have you ever gone on a trip without planning what you were going to eat?

You arrive at your destination, realize your stomach is rumbling, and the only local grocery stores don't even carry organic produce, and the food joint your family or friends wants to go to is a cheap sandwich place... Now what?

One possible solution is to look for the classiest restaurant you can find and then order up a custom salad with every fresh thing they have on hand. I've found that this can actually work out quite well. I have an entry about eating out and how to get something healthy while eating out that includes photos of things I've ordered at your run-of-the-mill restaurants.

The best way to avoid this situation, however, is to plan ahead.

Something I've learned across-the-board in my life is that planning is vital. Not because I am incapable of being spontaneous, but because it's easier to have spontaneous fun if you plan ahead. Sounds hypocritical, but think about it. If you didn't plan ahead and bring an extra change of clothing to the creek, then you couldn't decide to spontaneously jump in the creek with your friends... Unless you fancy walking home in wet clothing, which you probably don't. Or, if you didn't plan ahead and bring a packed lunch and bottled water, then you might feel uncomfortable going to that fast food place your family or friends is going to that you don't want to order from: but since you already have your lunch, you can go ahead and go with them.

But when embarking on a raw food diet, or detox diet, or primarily raw diet, what can you take with you?

Kiwi and Celery filled with Raw Almond Butter

I have a set of particular things I make use of when I travel. The longer the trip, the more of the following items I'll have packed with me.

If I leave for three days, you can bet I'll take everything I intend on eating for those three days. I would rather go hungry and have a improvised fast than go off the raw diet and eat something that will make me feel like crap.

(If I absolutely had to eat something cooked just because I was literally dizzy from lack of calories, then I'd go for something that contained no sugar whatsoever, no bread/pasta, and no red meat. For example, cooked broccoli or chick peas might be options I'd consider if I had to.)

My travel foods:

  • 1. Celery sticks filled with raw almond butter. I cover the almond butter with baby spinach leaves to keep the almond butter fresh. I pack these in a glass portable container.

  • 2. Home-made kale chips. I pack these in a plastic baggie. If I don't have any home-made on hand, then I may buy a bag.

  • 3. Raw energy bar from the store, often one of Lydia's spirulina bars.

  • 4. Vegetable crackers, home made. I dehydrated crackers made from carrots, carrot tops, sunflower sprouts, sunflower seeds and other vegetables and seeds. I have one of these crackers with almost every salad.

  • 5. Simple basic washed fruit. A scrubbed kiwi. A washed apple. An orange. I also pack napkins with these, for obvious reasons.

  • 6. Grapefruit. I pre-cut the grapefruit in half and then press back together and put in a bag or glass container and pack my grapefruit spoon along.

  • 7. Plain washed spinach, kale and lettuce. If I'm going to make a salad somewhere, having these already with me and washed is excellent. Also, if someone can provide just a few things, like spicy peppers and avocado, I can add the leaves to make a real meal.

  • 8. Chopped onion. If it's going to be an extended trip, you'll find a container of chopped onion on me, just as I always have in my fridge.

  • 9. Raw olives. They carry these excellent green raw olives at my local Whole Foods. I never liked olives before I tried these particular olives. I eat two to ten of them in a day on average, and would pack them accordingly.

  • 10. Assorted seeds. Flax, sesame, hemp, chia, sunflower -- it's great to bring a bag of assorted seeds. I can mash these into a banana with a fork and have a fairly filling pudding mash. I also like to add raw cacao powder and coconut shreds to my assorted seeds.

This meal was packed and taken with me. A dehydrated vegetable cracker, a celery stick filled with raw almond butter, half a grapefruit, my grapefruit spoon, spinach, lettuce, raw spicy sour krout, cucumber and chopped onion.

If I were leaving home for three days, you can bet I'd had all of the above with me, and more. Being prepared is priceless.

An important note: If you want to make a complete salad in a portable container to bring with you, squeeze the juice of a lemon onto it to preserve the freshness.

Some raw foodie gurus suggest taking a mini blender with you. You're welcome to do this, although I find the idea rather tiresome. I don't want to wash a blender in unfamiliar territory, personally. Most any fruit is delicious to me as it is, and I'm happy to chew it for a few days while I'm away. I can get back to my nearly daily smoothies when I get home.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

[Blog] Every Cell In Our Bodies

Yesterday I posted a question that an acquaintance of mine asked me, and a reply.

Sara gave me the following reply (to the large amount of information I replied initial comments with):

"Thanks. You gave me a lot of information I really didn't know.

Figured it definitely couldn't hurt to ask. Maybe [raw food is] something I [should] look into more, because I'm on six prescriptions right now and its side effects are knocking me down.

I missed two weeks of work and feel generally sick all the time the past couple years. Lately I don't have an appetite for anything, but I had some strawberries and its the one thing that tasted great and I kept down.

I love fruit. Thank you for the answers. I appreciate it."

I replied:

You're very welcome. :D

I used to feel sick constantly and I missed two weeks of school or work regularly. It's hard to keep a day job when you're sick that long, that often! It's hard to do anything when you feel like crap.

The six prescriptions thing...
There is this guy, he calls himself the "Raw Food Trucker" because he is a truck driver. He used to be over 400 pounds, was on 25 prescription drugs and was diabetic. He went on the same diet I'm on -- he did it the right way, not the half-ass way -- and (over time) he lost more than 200 pounds, got off all the prescriptions and reversed his diabetes. So, if he could do all that, I'm sure you could get off the six that you're on.

Just adding one fruit and one vegetable a day and removing one or two sugared things from your diet can have a huge effect. If you have any more specific questions, ask away.


~ Raederle

At this point, Mary joined the conversation as well:

"I was on over ten scripts myself when I came home from the hospital and I started to cut sugar and red meat out of my diet and felt better, then because of packing I reverted back to cooked fast food and I feel like crap again. Today and tomorrow I am going to try and go back to water and 100% juice. It's hard to get fruit when your house bound like I am. Once I move I want to work on my diet more."

My letter to Mary:


Drinking lots of water is something I used to underestimate the power of. I always thought, "yeah, but water doesn't offer any nutrition, so it's not important, right?" Little did I know that without water everything in your body functions less effectively.

Each cell in the body needs a certain amount of water, sodium and potassium in order to be hydrated, and if the cell isn't hydrated, then it isn't functioning correctly. (Two great sources of potassium are bananas and coconut juice or coconut meat from a young coconut. Very specifically a young coconut.)

Digestive cells, cells that are meant to take toxins from the blood, cells that are meant to transport nutrients from one place to another of need, cells you need in order to think clearly, cells you need in order to smell, cells you need in order to feel cold and heat the way they actually are (and not overly too hot, or too cold), cells you need in order to heal, etc. All of those cells need to be toxin-free, and have a balance of sodium and potassium, and have a certain level of natural sugar (that came from a whole fresh fruit or vegetable - you can get enough sugar from carrots to survive), and so forth, in order to perform their functions.

When the entire society is not feeling, smelling, thinking, tasting, healing, hearing or seeing correctly because of a diet loaded with toxins and depleted of nutrients... A recession is bound to happen, crime rates are bound to spike, and drama is just waiting around every corner. Why? Because everyone feels like crap inside their own body.

This is why I gravitated to raw foodists. I discovered that they were happy! Every raw food potluck I've been to I've met people who were deeply satisfied with their lives... Why? Because they were truly healthy, not merely getting by with being "not sick" which is what most people call "healthy."

On the topic of meat...

Occasional meat accompanied by lots of fresh vegetables before hand is okay for most digestive systems as long as the ratio of vegetable to meat is around six cups of vegetable to one cup of meat, and the meat is eaten twice a week or less. While a meat-free diet may be optimal, having a little meat with vegetables before hand can be perfectly "safe." Personally, I would highly suggest using only organic grass-fed meat sources.

The reason to eat raw vegetables before you eat the meat is because it's very hard to digest meat and the meat itself offers you nothing to help you digest it. When you eat the raw vegetables your body gets loaded up with enzymes, including digestive enzymes which will help break down the meat and allow you to actually use some of the minerals and protein in the meat that would usually just clog up your body unused and eventually pass out of you body.

Conclusion: Drinking water is important. And: Whenever eating anything hard to digest (meat, dairy, bread, pasta), it becomes more important than ever to eat raw vegetables beforehand to prime the body to digest the food after.

~ Raederle

I've been thinking about the butterfly effect of poor health a lot lately. One domino after another, living in a ill and poorly "functioning" body has a negative impact on our whole life. For example:

  • Say you spend twenty minutes a day rubbing your eyes because you feel tired. Five minutes in the morning, another five at work, another five in the bathroom, another five around bed time.

  • Perhaps you spend ten minutes rubbing your temples while you're at work due to a headache three times a week.

  • Once a week you might have a stomach ache and end up laying down for an hour feeling uncomfortable and sick, and possibly have to cancel plans with friends.

  • Twice a week you might have muscle pains that cause you to continually have to get up and stretch, rub your neck with your hands, hold your lower back, or simply space out and try to escape the pain with television, or a day dream. Perhaps this lasts an hour each time.

  • Each night you may spend twenty minutes tossing and turning, unable to get comfortable, unable to sleep.

  • Each morning it may take you ten minutes to get out bed. Stretching, yawning, rolling about in bed, fiddling with the alarm, feeling tired and down about having to get up.

  • Perhaps once a month you are feeling unwell and break a commitment to do something someone was depending on you to do. They feel hurt by this and argue with you over it. Or perhaps you get into an argument with someone because you refuse to do something due to not wanting to get out of the house due to cramps, depression, or irritable bowels. The argument may last ten minutes or half an hour, but the emotional hurt will last longer. Repairing the damage always takes time.

  • Say once a month you fall into a lull for a couple days, not wanting to accomplish anything at all, feeling depressed and down about life, spending more hours than usual watching TV, spending the entire day playing video games (not that I see something wrong with video games, but playing all day because you're depressed is not healthy), perhaps emotional eating takes place, perhaps during this lull further disagreements may occur. If you normally sleep eight hours a night, then you're awake sixteen hours a day. That's thirty-two hours you throw away when you spend two days depressed and down on life.

You may have less problems than the above, but for most people I know who live the "standard American lifestyle" and eat the "Standard American Diet," they have much worse issues than just those listed above. I know it was much worse for me in the past. Much, much worse.

But, let's say the above is you for a moment. If you do the math, this is the time wasted on "not feeling so great:"

  • 10 hours a month rubbing your eyes, tired and groggy

  • 2 hours a month rubbing your temples, with a headache

  • 4 hours a month lying about with a stomachache

  • 8 hours a month with muscle pains

  • 10 hours a month tossing and turning, unable to sleep well

  • 5 hours a month sleepily trying to get awake, feeling tired

  • 1 hour a month in an argument or upset about an argument stemming from illness

  • 32 hours of depression in a month

That's 72 hours wasted every month because you're not in good health! And what is people's biggest argument for not doing healthy things? Not enough time! What's wrong with this picture people?

Beyond that, the healthier you are, the easier it is to do every single thing you like to do throughout your daily life.

Do you like to dance? You can dance better and longer if you're healthy.
Do you like to play games? You'll think faster and have better coordination if you're healthy.
Do you like to write? Your ideas will come faster if you're healthy.

And let's get something else straight: It's not as simple as "being healthy" and "not being healthy." There are many levels of wellness, and it's not a linear scale. It's not even "how healthy am I?" It's more like, "How healthy am I in this particular area?" You can have very healthy hair and finger nails while the rest of your body is falling apart.

As a side note, today my husband and I went out on a date. I find it's very important to still go out on dates no matter how long you've been together. I braided my hair for him. He put on the clothes I like to see him in best. We saw a movie with the tickets a coworker gave him for Christmas and we went to Cafe Gratitude (in Berkley) beforehand to have a lovely meal.

We ordered their Live Spring Rolls (an appetizer we hadn't tried before), and I adored their wonderful diverse flavor. We ordered their Live Nachos, one of my favorite items on their menu (also listed as an appetizer). And, also, their raw pesto pizza which I now believe is my official favorite on the entire menu.

Some photos from today:

Live Nachos
Chips made from seeds in a bed of greens, guacamole, spicy "cheese" that is made from nuts and beans made from seeds and other things.

Raw Pesto Pizza
Crust made from seeds, "cheese" made from nuts, greens... Similar sounding ingredients to the Live Nachos, but very different flavor.

Raederle enjoying her Live Pesto Pizza
I didn't manage to photograph the Spring Rolls because we ended up eating them before I thought to take photos. They were served with a delicious Thai sauce that was mildly spicy and very creamy.

Raederle, January 16th 2011

Raederle, January 16th 2011

Raederle and her husband at Cafe Gratitude

It's been a lovely day. A day that wouldn't have been possible if either of us had felt unwell. Your health is your ability to do everything that you love, it is your time, and every time you invest time or money in your health, you reap what ever you put into it five-fold down the line, if not more than five-fold.

~ Raederle Phoenix

Saturday, January 15, 2011

[Blog] "Fake" Health Foods & Status Update

I'm so excited! When I take off my clothes and look in the mirror I can't believe what I see. My stomach is so flat, and it's starting to have this little line going down the center... The beginnings of definition of my abdominal muscles! I also notice when I do a quick wash-up in the sink in front of the mirror that my arms are transforming in shape. My arms used to have a very uniform noodle-shape that sagged a little. More and more, especially as I'm moving around and lifting my arms up, I can see muscles beginning to define the shape, instead of limp fat.

Note: Photos of my progress coming within a couple of weeks.

This is very exciting for me because before this I wasn't able to build muscle at all. I tried at the age of ten (as I may have mentioned in that part of my life story article) to start doing daily sit-ups, push-ups, crunches, cardiovascular exercises and dancing. I was tired of being the weakest in the class, the slowest runner, the first to be too tired to go on, the last person tagging along on a class hike, the only person sweating, exhausted and miserable during gym, and so forth. I wanted to be truly helpful when carrying in the groceries with my mom, not just someone in the way in the hall way dragging a single bag with both hands.

I failed. I failed time and time again. If I did "only a little" exercise, I saw no results. If I did a lot, I became ill. No kidding. Just a little working out, walking, running, etc, was too much exertion for me. I didn't know how to take "baby steps" because it was hard to understand where my limit was. My limit was so far, far beneath normal that everyone always tried to push me too hard, disbelieving that I was really that weak. And so, every time I made a tiny, itty, little bit of progress... wham! ...I'd be sick again, usually for at least a week, often two weeks. I'd lose all the progress I had just made.

I was discouraged by the time I was twelve after two years of trying to get stronger with little to no result. I didn't try much to get fitter again until I was fourteen. I started trying to run a little bit every day. At first I could only run half a city block, and I mean small city blocks. That's a very, very short distance to be able to run, especially for a fourteen year old. (I'm sure I mentioned some of that in that section of "My Story") I knew a lot more about "my limit" at fourteen and I only ran if I was warm enough, if I wasn't too warm, if I was well rested, etc. I made sure I didn't let anybody push me. I was able to run for a full block at the age of fifteen.

Unfortunately, some emotional upheavals and further illnesses made me lose the progress I had started, once again. At the age of sixteen I actually went the opposite direction and gained ten pounds. I went from border-line pudgy at 140lbs to 153lbs that year. Are you getting the picture? I didn't put on any muscle my entire life. Not at age seven, not at ten, not at sixteen. When I lost weight at seventeen, I still didn't put any muscle on. I lost weight because I took meat, dairy, bread, pasta, and highly refined sugars out of my diet, not because I was successfully working out tons. In fact, I lost the weight while I was deeply engrossed in video games and not getting any exercise at all.

I've grown accustomed to being stationary. I learned as a child that psychical exertion led to illness. Sports were never fun for me. Things that other people enjoyed were so physically exhausting for me that they felt more like torture than anything else.

And now... Now there is this little tiny line going down the center of my tummy and it is the most beautiful line I've ever seen on the planet. The joy in my heart is so deep. It sounds almost like vanity, but it means so much more than my appearance is improving. It means I'm becoming more capable. I'm getting stronger. And yes, also more beautiful. It's so gratifying to be finally making real progress that I can keep and continue to build from year after year. It was so disheartening to have to keep losing my progress, but now that I know what is and isn't good for me, I can just keep going.

Blackberry Smoothie

My entire life is brighter.

I'd like to move forward onto answering some excellent questions I was asked recently.

An acquaintance of mine, Sara Elizabeth, sent me the following message:

"I'm kinda ignorant about living food. What does that mean exactly? Is it like the yogurts with living bacteria? I'm curious now since I saw you post about raw and living foods. Isn't it a lot more expensive? Or is that the fake healthy stuff the stores sell that are more expensive?"

My reply:

"Raw" and "Living" refers to anything that is uncooked. A plain apple is a live, living food. You can plant it and get a tree. If you cook the apple, you no longer can grow a tree from it.

Actually, I find I spend just as much, or less, on food than I did before I went on a raw diet. Raw fresh vegetables and fruit -- even organic, which is generally all I buy -- costs a lot less than pre-packaged garbage that leaves you hungry, sick, depressed, overweight, and overall does nothing for you but hurt you.

For example, Ramon noodles are "cheap" but they offer no nutrition and flours, pastas, etc, are actually harmful so you end up paying for it later in lost time, medical bills, medications, and misery. Misery certainly is a high toll to pay for anything you eat, I believe.

The way I used to ate left me feeling awful all the time, which is why I'm so die-hard about food now. (I used to eat a lot of Ramon noodles, by the by.) It's such a huge difference in my life to have the energy and time to do the things I want! Which is why I've become a health coach. I want other people to stop feeling as miserable as I was and discover how many problems just disappear when you love how your body feels and looks.

Imagine if you never have a stomach ache, never had a headache, never spent two weeks sick with the flu, never woke up covered in pimples or dry spots, never lost three days to feeling depressed in front of the TV, never was "too tired" to do what you planned to do that day, imagine your cramps and/or PMS was reduced or went away entirely... That's the difference food has made for me, and it can do the same for anybody if they have the right information.

You're right that there is a lot of expensive "fake" "healthy" stuff out there that is just as bad as junk food. I read the label on some "healthy diet" cookies in the store the other day (just because I was curious, I expected they'd be junk), and they had aspartame and maltodextrin in them which are both highly toxic to the body. They didn't contain anything worth consuming at all. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I can't imagine how those cookies could have been considered "healthy" or "natural" by anybody.

As for yogurts and bacteria. I don't eat milk-based yogurt because I don't eat dairy at all, and it's hard to find it raw and full of natural probiotics. Most yogurt does not actually contain the probiotic (live cultures) that it claims to have.

A "live food diet" is unrelated to the "live cultures" within yogurt. The "live cultures" that are present in yogurt before it is pasteurized (cooked) to death are bacteria that is good for the body.

After it is pasteurized all the enzymes are bound up and become indigestible, and the probiotic live cultures are killed. Besides that, most yogurt is loaded with corn syrup or sugar, so it's double-bad for you. And most of the time it comes from a cow raised on genetically modified corn and genetically modified soy which means the cow milk to begin with was junk. (Yogurt was also on the list of things I used to eat when I was overweight, depressed, constantly fatigued, having indigestion every morning, etc.)

The yogurt I make now is from young coconuts, which basically means I'm just growing friendly bacteria in the coconut which makes it creamy, slightly effervescent, bubbly, and a somewhat sour flavor that is distantly related to the yogurt taste of cow-milk-yogurt.

"Good bacteria" is naturally present within a healthy body, but due to people taking antibotics to fight diseases, or weakened immune systems that let bad bacterias take over, it's very common in today's society to find that you don't have enough of the natural good bacteria which are also known as probiotics or live cultures.

So to quickly summarize all of that to directly answer you questions:

"Living Food" and "Raw Food" both mean the same thing: Uncooked food -- spinach, broccoli, mangoes, apples, bean sprouts, coconuts -- all in the natural "alive" state.

Yogurts with healthy live cultures are different, and most cow-yogurt is not actually what it claims to be. Most cow-milk based yogurt is essentially junk food.

It isn't a lot more expensive to be on a raw food diet if you're doing it right. It is possible to spend a lot of money while being a raw foodist just like it's possible to spend a lot if you're not a raw foodist. It all depends on how sensible you are with your budget and your nutritional intake.

The stuff I eat certainly isn't the "fake" stuff. If anything, I eat more real food than most anybody I've ever known up until recently. I'd describe "fake" food as being the food made in laboratories. The raw food diet (also known as the sunfood diet and rawvegan diet) is all about eating what nature made, instead of eating what some chemical companies threw together to make money.

~ Raederle Phoenix

James left a comment on my last blog post that went like this:

Hi Raederle. Great documentation of your raw food and exercise. Did you attend any raw food support groups or raw food meetups? How did you keep up your motivation?

Thanks and have a happy and healthy New Year!

My reply is as follows:


That's an excellent question!

I discovered the raw food diet through raw food potlucks. I was struggling both emotionally, physically and financially and I was very open to trying something new in my life. I didn't know anything about what "raw food" was when I first attended a potluck. I was so clueless -- I brought a few apples.

I never thought when I first went to one of those groups that I would ever be a raw foodist. I just loved all the new foods.

When I first started attending these "raw potlucks" I was surprised by a few things: everybody looked healthy, everyone at the meeting was happy and smiling, nobody was particularly negative, and there was so much intelligent conversation. I was completely blown away by what great company it was. It's rare to go to a large gathering of people where there is nobody present with a sour disposition.

I went back to another potluck and then another and another because I loved the conversation and the food. Slowly a change began to happen. I started to want my life to be like the lives of these new people I was meeting. I wanted my daily meals to look like the meals I was having at these potlucks.

I discovered the raw food diet at the potlucks in Buffalo, New York. After I moved in Walnut Creek, California in April 2010 I joined the groups for raw food in this area and met new people. Again, lots of new recipes, lots of new ideas, and lots healthy great people. I was convinced. I started trying to incorporate the new recipes I learned into my day to day life.

I've had serious digestive issues, as I talk about on the part of my site called "My Story" and I've been overweight, I had constant burps, headaches, dizziness, etc, and I was getting sick for weeks at a time since I've been a small child.

Through diet changes before I discovered the raw diet I made progress, but until I switched to a 99% raw food diet (and I really mean 99% literally), on September 3rd 2011, I couldn't honestly say that I was a "healthy" person. Progress isn't enough. I need success. And with the raw diet, I've found it.

I don't need more motivation anymore. At first, my husband's support and the raw potlucks were needed to keep me interested in "making the switch" but now my own results are my motivation. I see my arms and stomach starting to look toned instead of fat and I know there is no way I'll ever go back. I see that I get so much more done now because I don't lose time being sick, tired, depressed or "not in the mood" to accomplish things.

I see that my entire life is better and that is more than enough motivation.

Merry 2011

~ Raederle

Misa in Red
Digital Painting by Raederle Phoenix
Click to read the blog entry about this artwork and to be able to view larger.

Speaking of progress... I've been going through my incomplete digital painting projects and finishing them so I could add them to my portfolio.

I've finished three projects that I've had sitting about for a year more, the first of which being a painting I've dubbed, A Fine Evening, the second being a much more impressive and time-intensive piece called Flaming Sprites, and the third of which being my first (currently my only) piece of fan art, pertaining to Death Note (an anime series), Misa in Red.

Another current project I'm working on is the planning for a road trip to film a documentary. The current status of plans, who is involved, who will be interviewed on the trip, etc, will always be available at that link. I've been writing a lot of letters asking raw foodists, health gurus, etc, if they'd like to be interviewed for the documentary, and I'm starting to see a few replies. Anyone who definitely wants to be involved will be mentioned on the documentary site.

Almost as a whim, I've decided to organize all of my poetry online into one comprehensive site, including my angst-y teen poetry which may provide a good laugh for some.

If you have not already friended me on my facebook, please do so. I've started adding "Notes" there when I have something small to say but don't want to make a full blog entry here about it, as well as continually posting updates there for anyone who is interested in my daily artistic and food-related activities.


~ Raederle Phoenix