Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Beginnings

I've read a couple of things recently which have helped me get my head a little straighter, so I thought I'd share them here.

First, I read a post recently about how New Year's is just an arbitrary day set aside to commemorate the fact that the earth has gone around the sun yet another time. It could have been February 15, or July 22. So what's the big deal? It seems we humans need an excuse to analyze our lives and determine what is needed so that we can do some self improvement. We innately know that our human condition requires progress.

Whether we accomplish this needed progress is quite another matter...as we all know! Which brings me to the other thing I read recently that really helped me.

Monkeys are really good at swinging on trees. They do it all day long. They would be quite unhappy if they were in a restrictive environment that kept them from swinging on trees. Every once in a while a monkey slips from the branch he hopes to latch on to. This does not make him any less a monkey. Of course, if he slips often enough, he will not survive his sojourn in the jungle, so he knows the importance of grabbing the branch carefully and securely. He won't slip very often.
We too have words that define us. Some of us are vegetarians. Some are vegans, or raw vegans. Some of us have religious or race affiliations that define us. Few of us are just defined by the term "human". In the event that we are defined by our diet, i.e. a raw vegan, are we any less a raw vegan if we slip and eat some of the holiday offerings? Obviously, if we slip often enough, we, like the monkey, will not survive, and we know the importance of eating the right foods. Our lives are consumed by the need to line our habits up with our belief system. Our skins fit more comfortably (figuratively and literally) when we do.
Of course, this brings us to why we slip. Like the monkey, perhaps we get distracted and miss the next branch. Perhaps the branch is slippery and hard to grab hold of. Perhaps we misjudge how far away the next swing will be. Perhaps we just convince ourselves it isn't that important. My personal guess is that we are addicted to the societal brick walls that keep all of us from reaching our full potential. These deterents are intended to distract and addict us. It takes every effort we can make to overcome them.
I am reminded of the 12 step program taught in AA. Maybe some of you are familiar with it. Here are the first 3 steps. Most of us never get through these...
1. We admit we are powerless over the addictive substance and that our lives have become unmanageable because of it. (We really don't want to admit that we are addicted, do we? Seems too incredible that a food could control our lives... after all, aren't I a higher being and capable of being above that? This step truly is about humility.)
2. We come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity. (Again, the humility principle comes into play.)
3. We make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him. (Not as easy as it sounds...)
You can check this page out if this appeals to you (www.aa.org/en_pdfs/smf-121_en.pdf). I suspect you've probably decided I'm nuts for looking at food this way, but it is what it is for me. Without this belief system I am hopelessly mired in my addictions. For me, being a raw vegan is a very spiritual experience. I am convinced anything that distracts me from eating the foods I know are right for me is an effort on the part of the adversary to pull me away from the spirituality that will ultimately help me to fulfill my potential.
2009 has been an incredible year. We have made so many new friends this year through our work at the Beaver Street Market and at the East Palatka Farmer's Market. We would never have envisioned it having the effect on us that it has had. We are so grateful for each and every one of our contacts even if we have not had an effect in their lives. Each one has taught us something, even the ones that turn up their noses and walk quickly away. Of course, the ones that have actually become our friends have been sources of joy and fulfillment. I especially have to express my gratitude for Elizabeth who we have known for several years. She asked us why our weight had changed so much and as we explained our diet to her, she and her family embraced it. She knew too about Darius' trials and listened to how the raw vegan diet was helping him. What a blessing she is to us as she continues her journey with us!
The list is longer: the Knitschs who express their gratitude each and every week for the lovely produce we bring them (their words); the Mallory family who won a cooking contest by highlighting our organic produce; the Heekins whose children use their change to buy a carrot or tangerine when they come by; Brian who loves our ranch dressing; the sisters as we call them who are struggling to fully embrace the raw vegan lifestyle, Tatayana and Lourdes, our dear friends who struggle as well in other ways; Dee who so enthusiastically inspires us; Ed and Robert and Lisa, our newest friends, who are making remarkable health strides due to their change in habits. There are others: John and Richard and Jeanna and Mary and Rani and Kelley and Roxanne and Tesha and Kim and Gordon who share the message with anyone who will listen. It is so exciting to be in the company of any of these people. Thank you for coming into our lives. Of course, there are some who started out with us and have gone in other directions, and we appreciate them too. All have taught us something. Even the one-hit wonders are coming into my mind now, and I have special feelings of gratitude for them as well.
My biggest debt goes to Darius who lives his life day in and day out with complete faith in the inspiration given to us back in November of 2007. What's interesting about that is my first exposure to raw veganism was when he was a little boy of 18 months when his little brother was born. I was very sick at that time and became acquainted with a raw vegan, Darlene. She introduced me to green drinks and carrot juice which quickly got me on track. While Darius enjoyed his daily "gween dwink" and carrot juice, and a multitude of apples and bananas every day, my family as a whole was not very supportive of the raw vegan lifestyle, and I was sure I could never eat "all raw fruits and vegetables"; still, I knew there was something to it even if I could never do it. Little did I know what a part it would play in my later life (and his!).
May 2010 be a year of progress for all of us is my hope and prayer. It is a fun journey to do together...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Our menus that come out later this week will include some wraps. We have discovered some delicious combinations with the great collards that have been available lately. I can't believe how tender they have been. What a great way to include more plant based foods into our lives!

We have been using the loki like zucchini, and they are delicious. Sometimes they get funky looking on the outside; the skin gets dark and mottled, but the inside is still perfect. Very strange. We like to shred our summer squash and use them as a pasta substitute. We have been bringing some to the market for customers to try with very cheeses and sauces we bring samples of as well. Ask for what you'd like to try, and we'll make every effort to accomodate you. We all need more plant foods in our lives. Is there anyone that doesn't know this yet?

It reminds me of the days when they were trying to do away with television advertising for tobacco products. There was so much opposition! Now we'd be shocked to see it as we have grown so accustomed to NOT seeing it. I believe the day will come with healthy eating as well. I don't know if it will be in my lifetime, but I believe it will come! I love being part of it now, and hope that I can make a difference. If just a few people have a higher standard of living due to better health, I will feel like my efforts are not wasted. How about you? How has your life changed when you have added more plant foods to your diet?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Recipe: Zucchini Chips

Zucchini Chips

I also love, love, love dehydrated zucchini. It is better than any potato chip from my old days. I don’t even use dip with them although you could if you wanted to. [Editor's Note from Darius: I love them by themselves and also dipped in ranch dressing like a potato chip!]. Simply slice at about 3/16" on your mandolin (or thinly and uniformly with a knife), and place on dehydrator sheets. It takes about 24 hours. I pack them in mason jars and suck the air out to keep them crisp. Of course, if they get a little soggy, you can always re-dehydrate them before serving. I like to serve them with meals like a french fry as well. They add a little crunch to the meal.

[Originally published in the newsletter distributed on or around May 23, 2009]

Recipe for "Mac" n Cheez

“Mac” n Cheez

summer squash of your choice cut into match stick pieces or spiralized
nut based “cheddar cheez”

Just toss your cheez with your “noodles” and enjoy! Other vegetables can be added: broccoli, shredded
carrot, mushrooms, etc. to make it more primavera-like.

“Cheddar” Cheez

I make a fermented cheez, but if you want a simpler, less time-consuming one, here’s one adapted from Ani Phyo:

Raw, Dairy-Free Nacho Cheese Recipe - Makes 4 Servings

2 cups raw cashews or macadamia nuts
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon nama shoyu (raw soy sauce)
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup water (or as needed)

Use a food processor or strong blender to process nuts, lemon juice, nama shoyu, turmeric, and cayenne. Slowly drizzle water into food processor or blender while processing until desired consistency is reached.

This delightful dairy-free nacho cheese is perfect for drizzling on vegetables like zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, and asparagus. This dairy-free nacho cheese will keep in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to three days.

Why go dairy-free? Check out "The China Study" by T. Colin Campbell, phD or "The 80-10-10 Diet" by Dr. Doug Graham. I have copies of the latter if you are interested in one. There is a huge anti-dairy website at www.notmilk.com if you’d like lots of additional resources and information. From personal experience I can tell you that I have had dramatic improvements to my health after giving it up. Since cheese was such an important part of my life, this was not easy for me, but I have reaped the benefits of my “sacrifice”. I have known for many years that the liquid produced by bovine lactation systems was better
suited to their calves who were intended to go from 100 lbs. to 800 in a short space of time. Apparently my system was not quite as efficient as a calf’s – I hadn’t quite hit the 800 lb. mark before I gave up the moo juice (although I was well on my way!). When I learned of the addictive substances in milk, I realized why it had been so hard for me to give it up. Now free of these, I am grateful to be rid of them!

[Originally published in the newsletter distributed on or around May 16, 2009. Editorial written by Mom Trunk]

Recipe archives

I will be posting recipes that have appeared in the newsletter that we have sent out each week. We include at least one recipe in each newsletter, so please let us know if you are interested in signing up to receive it every week. We usually include a recipe for a new item we gave out as samples the previous week. So the idea is that you get to try it, and then you can get the recipe for how to make it!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Live Food Demo

"Live" in more ways than one!

We will be doing them every Saturday at the Beaver Street Farmers Market now, starting with one of our "Pasta" dishes, this Saturday at 10:00 A.M. and 1:00 P.M.

New Creation of the Week

So we've come up with this new TRIO of recipes that taste good when all combined. They were in our catalog last week, but we are just trying them for ourselves:

1. Mashed No-Taters (made from Cauliflower and Macadamia Nuts)

2. Mushroom Gravy... MMMMMM

3. Can't figure out the name yet. Either Mescla de Verduras, ¡Viva la Verdura!, or simply Veggie Mix.

In the catalog that we sent out last week, we called it “Shepherd’s Pie” Veggies, because when combined with the taters and gravy, the taste was like the traditional dish with the same name.

It is easy to make! It is basically just seasonal vegetables (zucchini, broccoli, carrot, bell pepper, strips of green kale, all marinated in lemon juice, a little bit of olive oil, salt, and vinegar). See the entry in the catalog for ALL of the ingredients.

This dish was AMAZING. We are going to be bringing samples of it Saturday to the market, and tomorrow to our friends at the Y. We are hoping it tastes just as good the day after as it does the same day it is made. Why not? More time for everything to marinate = more deliciousness!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Today's meals

Besides breakfast, of course... breakfast for me was after the gym and included some nectarines, bananas, and tangerines. Delicious! We usually do eat just fruit for breakfast... enough to satiate our needs. We also try to "earn" each of our meals by working in the garden, running around in the "pie" shape outside, or working out at home or at the gym, usually doing hte latest CrossFit "Workout of the Day" (WOD).

Today for lunch Alicia made Kale Salad, Carrot Salad (mixed with Avo Mayo), and something new--mushrooms stuffed with our No-Net Tuna Salad. I requested Kale Salad because we brought some as a sample to the YMCA, and some of our friends tried them there. They even placed an order later in the day! So anyway, I was actually a little jealous when I saw them eat it, so we had to make some more for lunch. You can find the ingredients and the recipes for all of these things in our catalog and newsletter each week! Please ask if you missed an issue with one of these things, and we can get it to you!

Also shown on the right is a strawberry mylkshake, which was absolutely wonderful. We made it using the Vanilla Mylk, which is now in our catalog. The almonds are blended with vanilla, lemon juice, and water, and then strained in a nut mylk bag:

We then blended that mixture with some fresh strawberries, ice, and agave nectar. Here is the result:

Here is a picture of Alicia making the stuffed mushrooms:

Don't they like good? Our No-Net Tuna was great this week, as we added more pickled cucumbers than usual, and the finished product was nice and moist:

For dinner, we had our new "Roasted Veggies" (shown in the bowl topped with fresh mushrooms and grape tomatoes from the garden) with some Alicia Crackers, as well as some Tomato Sandwiches (which were also topped with the Tuna--we had a LOT of extra of it this week, much to Wyatt's delight!). The roasted veggies are seasonal vegetables marinated in oil, lemon juice, and herbs and then dehydrated. This batch included squash, broccoli, and tomatoes.

This was a delicious dinner, and the kids loved it too! This was the first time we got to eat the roasted veggies, and they were a hit!

Grape Tomatoes from the ¡Viva La Verde! garden:

Questions? Comments? Yes, it was all very delicious. We can't wait to see what we come up with next! Our next post should be about the Chocolate Morsals. Stay tuned...