Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Kale, glorious kale!! This curly green leaf is becoming my firm friend. Since I started this raw food quest, I have consistently read about the benefits of kale, so in my journey to put health before pleasure, I started buying this broad leathery leaf and must admit I was quite sceptical at first. The leaves are tough, so I was expecting something hard to chew and very earthy tasting.

I was very surprised to find it easy to eat raw and very mild in taste. So mild in fact that it's a great base for almost anything. It does not overpower any meal and I have grown to love this little leafy green. If you slice it very fine (like you would Chinese cabbage), you can't go wrong.

(Sorry, blogspot doesn't let me copy and paste, so I've added a link instead)

My only grudge with it is that it doesn't last long once you bring it home. If you are like me and avoid shopping like the plague, that poses a bit of a problem.

Because of this, growing it at home is the best solution. So, if you have a little space and are willing to give it try - Grow Some Kale.


Do it for me.

This is my favourite kale salad from Martha Stewart. I love it. It's addictive. It's simple, and yummy.

Obviously if you are trying to be totally raw, you will leave out the cheese (I did). If not, then add the cheese and let me know what you thought.

By the way, I have no idea what Russian kale is and I certainly didn't find baby Russian kale. I just bought whatever was in stock.

I also tend to play with ingredients. For example, I love chives and have plenty in the garden, so in this recipe I just added a whole handful instead of the 6 stems required.

Play with it. Make it yours.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Oh, I know.
I am a bad, bad person. I have not posted anything for ages.

Sorry, sorry, sorry. I offer you the heart of a Camellia to brighten your day and ask for forgiveness.

We transitioned from winter/spring into spring/summer and together with long weekends, garden barbecues and dinner outside at night I didn't so much fall off the wagon, but rather jumped into the deep ditch of barbecued steaks, hamburgers on the grill and ice cold beer.

I know, so far none of that is sounding very raw is it? And yes, that is my point.

Deep down I was probably feeling too guilty to sit here with a hot dog dripping mustard and relish in one hand while trying to type with the other.

Today however, I am sitting with a hemp and banana shake and feel just self righteous enough to scratch out a few lines and beg redemption.

Falling off .... Okay, jumping off the raw food wagon has however shown me once again the strong association between our memories, our experiences and food. For example, even though I don't love red meat and don't eat it very often, it's hard for me to sit with bare feet on the grass and smell the woody smoke of a barbecue curling into a blue sky and say 'Oh, I'd just love a raw carrot with some bean dip'.

No, where there is woody smoke, there must be red meat.

And, where there is red meat and the sweat of an afternoon sun dripping down between your shoulder blades, I will not be the one to yell 'chilled hemp smoothie anyone?'. No, I'll be reaching into the back of the fridge for an ice cold Bud thank you very much. Because that is what you do on slow, sweltering summer days right?

Clearly I have some things I need to work out!

However, I have two wonderful salads for you as penance for my lack of discipline and disappearance from my own blog. Keep your eyes peeled.

Because if I can't turn up for my own work, whose work can I turn up for?

(photo - mine)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

To yoga or not to yoga?

That is the burning question.

I understand the idea of doing yoga along with eating raw has been off-putting, challenging, impossible, downright scary for some of you.

And, I'm here to tell you, you don't need to do yoga. Nope, not at all. Not even half a downward facing dog, or a quarter of a lotus. Nothing.

Yoga does not have to be in your life if you don't want it to be.

Whew - huge weight off the shoulders for some of you. You can breathe easily now.

I chose this plan that included yoga simply because...
1) I knew the teacher and so I trusted the information
2) I thought daily yoga would be a good way to help me keep focus

You see, yoga is what I live for (okay, maybe I'm overstating a little), it's my poison, it's my drug, it's my morning coffee when I can't have coffee. I just love yoga, it makes me feel alive and healthy and strong....... (and un-coordinated, and fat, and un-supple and crazy)... and for the good and the bad, it's just what I like to do.

But you really don't have to do it to change your life.

What you do have to do if you want to get fitter and healthier is move. Yup, you heard me - move. It doesn't matter if is bowling, badminton, basketball, bobsledding, back country skiing or basket weaving (okay, I ran out of B exercises), just move more than you normally do.

Swim if you like to swim, dance if you love to dance, walk if you love to walk. Do it at the gym, around your neighbourhood, at the local YWCA, at your friend's house or in the privacy of your own four walls.

It doesn't matter what you do or where you do it. Just get that body movin' and shakin' and jigglin' and wigglin'.

I met a group of people when I lived in the States. And I have to admit, I laughed at them at first (bad me).
I must have been living under a rock, because I had never heard of this, but they would go to a huge shopping mall before opening hours, all decked out in tracksuits and trainers and they would walk and walk around the mall.

What I realised later was that they were all people who felt vulnerable in their neighbourhoods. They were either older, or infirm, or female and they felt that it was unsafe to walk alone around their area, so they walked around a mall where there was security and people and stuff happening. And they would go round and round on their circuit until they had enough.

Every day.

I think that's great. It's clever, it's safe and it's cheap. It shows that their really is no excuse to not get out there and just do it.
Now, if you do this, don't go walk around during peak hours when you will be fighting mom's, babies and groups of teenagers. Go when it's quiet. Oh, and stopping every 10 steps to check out the merchandise doesn't count either. You have to stay focused and walk and get your heart pumping.
Yes, stay focused.
And find something you love. Find an exercise that makes you happy. And do it.
It doesn't have to be yoga.
(Photo - mine)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Well, it's just over a week since I finished the challenge and I've just come down from my sugar high!

Just kidding. I've been pretty good.

I think.

I won't lie, I did have the poached eggs I was craving and I also had a piping hot pizza with delicious melted cheese all over it. And you know what... It wasn't that exciting. It felt heavy and over-salted and a little like a big dead weight in my stomach.
I certainly didn't feel like I was eating the most wonderful thing in the world. And trust me, when I started this challenge, I thought that if you removed pizza from my life entirely I might just die.

What I have noticed is one thing that is AMAZING. When I eat cooked food, it tastes dead. I know, that's a very harsh term, but it's the only way I can describe it. When I was only eating raw, I didn't notice that the food felt particularly alive, but once I mixed it up, cooked food tasted somewhat bland, dead and simply not full of goodness.

That's super exciting for me, because if I can remember that taste and those feelings, it's incentive to keep feeding my body with healthy, alive food.

Raw food just bursts with goodness when you eat it. And, the more you tip the balance in that direction, the better it tastes and the worse processed food tastes. It really does. You'll have to trust me.

I also have not had any coffee - yay, can you see my halo from where you are sitting? You should be able to.

I don't know how that has happened, but the minute I woke up after the challenge I did not run downstairs and brew the biggest pot of coffee I could. I just haven't bothered. I've stuck to my green and peppermint tea - peppermint is my favourite, yum.

But, all that aside. The real reason for this post today, is because I want to thank everyone for all their support.
All you guys around the world who have left comments, or asked questions, or left me messages on other message boards and blogs (yup, I've had a hard time finding some of those, but I think I've got them all)....

Your words and your kind congratulations have encouraged me to stick with this. Many of you have said I've inspired you (wow, humbled) and I want you to know that you are inspiring me.

You really are.

So let's keep doing that. Inspiring each other.
And the world will turn a whole lot smoother. Actually I'm not sure how it will affect the whole world, but it will make my world turn smoother.

I am listening to your questions and your concerns and this is what I'm going to do. I'll actually address them. Yikes, I know.

Well, I'll answer them if I can. Or I'll just make something up.

But I'll tell you if I'm making it up.

Over the next while, I will go through what I'm trying to eat daily (I still can't give you recipes from the book because of copyright and all that you understand), but what I'm going to try and do is continue to experiment with recipes that are freely available.

If I find recipes I like, I'll post them.

Now remember, I'm not promoting anyone, or being sponsored by anyone, so anything I post is just because my taste buds liked it. Yours may not. But, on Pink Passion Flower, my taste buds rule. That's how it's going to work.

So, if you have questions, ask away. Trust me, I'm learning along with you.

Friday, April 23, 2010

DAY 1 ... Observations

Today is the end, or the beginning, whichever way you want to look at it.

I have learnt a lot over the past forty days so here are my observations of the good, the bad and the ugly. Except there really is no ugly.

First things first, because I know you are dying to know. I have lost 14 pounds in 40 days. Some might think that is a lot, or a little, but I'll tell you this. As someone who has been struggling with hypothyroidism and has not been able to lose 2 pounds in a year even with the 'daily wonder drug thyroid medication'. This is not only good, it's a gosh dang miracle.

And, while we are on this, I remember doing those ridiculous diets that teenagers do, all those years back. You always seemed to loose a few pounds, gain a pound, loose some, gain some. Well, this has been steady loss. I have not gained at all during this period.

Now many people say that the weight just falls off when you go raw. I haven't exactly experienced free falling pounds just shedding themselves while I'm standing in line at the post office. But hey, like I've said before, it took me a while to get here, forty days really isn't that long in light of that.

Also, we are all different. If you aren't hypothyroid, if your metabolism functions at an optimal rate, if you are relatively fit and healthy anyway and you do this, I'm sure your results would be even more dramatic. I also believe that if I did this for six months instead of six weeks, there would be a drastic difference.

But for now, I'll take the miracle - thanks.

There have been noticeable differences in some basic things in my life. I've mentioned most of these before sleep, energy, nails, eyes and all that, so you can read earlier 'observation posts' to see those. There really hasn't been a remarkable difference from what I've already reported.

I still have almost daily headaches. Definitely not migraines, which is a wonder all on its own. But just mild, niggly dull headaches. I attribute this to two things.

Firstly exercise. I have a frustratingly tight back. It's so tight it's like a block of concrete. It practically takes heavy machinery to untangle and unlock those muscles. When I do exercise - let's say yoga for now, but really you can substitute anything - they get so shocked that they are being unlocked. They get all confused and sore and grumpy that I'm waking them from their lazy life, and I get tension headaches.

Don't worry, I spoke to a personal trainer/physiotherapist about this, that's what she said.


She might have been a little more scientific.

Secondly, detox, detox, detox. I know this is happening because I can feel it and also because I go to the toilet 100 times a day. Things are getting shaken up in there. This can cause headaches.

Now I know all the raw food guru's out there (yup, Matt Monarch, I'm talking about you) say the easiest way to speed up the detox and to lose the headaches is by doing coffee enemas.

Yup, and you know what, that's great.

Awesome in fact. I'm thrilled that one of life's mysteries have been solved. It's just that I can't quite get my head around those.

I'm a weak kneed, lily livered, yellow bellied baby and I don't mind you calling me that. But for now, if I'm going to be having coffee, I'll take it in a cup on my back deck thank you.

Enough said on that topic.

Now, I understand that raw isn't for everyone. But what I've learnt these past few weeks, is that you don't have to be 100% raw to make huge improvements. If you just can't give up meat at all (for now), you can try having a huge healthy raw salad with it, instead of a green bean casserole (which lets face it is usually more casserole and less green bean).

You can have a big luscious salad for lunch instead of the tuna mayo sub (heavy on the mayo please!). Or you can do things as simply as cut out the coffee and drink more fresh juices (no, I don't mean Tropicana). Or even better, green juice.

It's really interesting, because one thing I thought would be so tough was giving up the coffee (see earlier post, but it turns out, after the first few days, that's the one thing I haven't even thought of while doing this. Granted I haven't spent two hours sitting in Starbucks just to test my theory, but I'm also not sticking my head in the coffee jar anymore inhaling the remnants of freshly ground beans.

Now don't get me wrong, I've had my fair share of cravings during this little journey. There have been times I've been tempted to duct tape my hands together so I can't open a bag of chips, or drive to the shops to buy something. Fortunately it didn't ever get that bad and somehow I got through it.

But the good news is I have read, that between 3-6 months, these cravings really disappear. I know, don't even tell me how long 6 months sounds right now.

I really believe that as you make these little improvements, you will start to prefer the feeling and taste of eating these foods. I also feel (and don't tell the guru's or they will have the raw food police after me) that if you can't find/afford raw honey for example, it won't kill you to just use whatever honey you can buy. Just don't use white granulated sugar as a substitute.

Now don't get me wrong. I do understand that eating all natural, organic and totally raw is the ideal goal. I also understand that 100% raw is optimal.

However, all I'm saying is that making small changes can be a great way to start, because jumping in the deep end of a forty day challenge is not necessarily the easiest way to go about it. And as you progress and your taste buds change, and your thought process changes, and your shopping habits change, and your view on 'normal' food changes, as you make more of those changes you will be heading in the right direction.

Because let's face it, for the average family who is used to a Standard American Diet, going from barbecued ribs and chicken fried steak on the weekend, to raw cauliflower with a pine nut dressing, is a bit of a shock to the system!

And that's partly why I wanted to write this blog. When I was doing my research, most of what I was finding were people who have been 80 - 100% raw for years. And I mean years and years.

It's great talking about the benefits (which I truly believe are monumental) 4 years into it. But I wanted to share what it was like to start the journey. To see the ups and downs of changing from the known to the unknown. Because, that really is the hard part.

I also wanted to show it from the point of view of someone who has come from a regular way of eating, instead of someone who has been borderline organic/raw/health food conscious most of their life.

So, raw food police or not, I stand firm in the belief that anything you do to head in the direction of a raw diet is better than not even taking those steps in the first place. I would also like to think that if more people started to eat like this, all the raw seeds and nuts, the supplements and the organic produce would become more accessible and therefore more affordable to the general population.

But first, you have to change your mindset. You have to change how you view what you eat. And I'll tell you right now, that society as we know it and as it's set up currently does not support you in this. You will definitely be the lone fish swimming upstream. And that is always a hard stream to swim in.

The obvious question then is where do I go from here. Well, my plan is to be as raw as possible as much as possible. I'm not committing to being 100% raw, 100% of the time. But I am committing to being as raw as much as I can be. I have worked too hard to throw it all away now.

I'm also not saying that on Saturday I won't be having a little cooked food celebration - that would be crazy.

One huge lesson I have taken from this is that there are alternatives, you just have to look for them. So, in future, if I want cookies, I'll find a raw recipe for one. I have also learnt, that if you are going to be raw, you really do need a good supply of recipes.

I have mentioned this before and I reiterate, if you are not used to creating raw food either buy some recipe books (yes, they do exist), or find free raw recipes on the Internet (there are many of them out there). I had no idea what you could create with nuts, seeds and raw produce.

Once I started, it was easier to make up my own things, or substitute ingredients, but I would never have known to grind cashew nuts into a flour to make cookie dough on my own - would you?
If you don't have recipes, you will fall back on what you know (which is normally just boring salad) and this will impede your ability to be successful.

So, now you know my aim for the future.

I will continue to post on this site and to update my raw experiences. I won't be posting every day though. So, keep your eyes peeled.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

DAY 2 ... WOW

It's my second last day. I can hardly believe it.

Never in my life has forty days gone so quickly, or taken so long. Been so easy and been so hard. It just shows you where taking things two hours at a time can get you.

Tomorrow I'll be doing my final Observations. Like the ones I normally do on Sunday.
But for today, I'm just savouring the feeling of what it's like to be here. I'm almost sad in a way. The daily blogging, the total focus on one goal, I'm going to miss it. It's like a child going off to college. The house will be emptier and quieter without my daily obsession with raw food.

But mostly, I'm just proud of myself. Proud that I said I would do it and did it. Proud that I stuck to it, even when the going got tough and the coffee and carbs were screaming loudly for me to just give up and succumb.

And I'm happy. I'm happy for many reasons - one of them being I can have that poached egg on Saturday morning, ha!

I'm just kidding. There is a lot to be happy about. But for now, I'm going to savour, savour, savour this moment.
By the way, total change of subject and unrelated to raw, these flowers are from my sister's garden a few years ago. Aren't they gorgeous?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

DAY 3... The protein debate

For years there has been the debate between vegans / vegetarians / raw foodies and those who aren't any of the aforementioned, about protein.

Speak to most young (or old) strapping men about becoming veggie and the first thing they will say to you is 'where do I get my protein? How will I build any muscle?'.

I for one am not going to get into this debate. There are people out there who have way more information than I do on this topic and I just don't like arguing. I also just don't really get the big deal, maybe I'm missing something.

What I will say are two things. Firstly, ever seen a horse, a cow, a hippo or an elephant? They have some of the largest, strongest, leanest and most muscular bodies on this lovely planet.

Now let me ask you another question, ever invited one over for a barbecue? Ribs? Surf and turf?

No, I didn't think so, because they are all vegetarian (actually vegan)! Enough said.

Secondly, no matter what your opinion is, if you try to go raw (which happens to be vegan - although you can be vegan without being raw), you will come up against this question from concerned loved ones, inquisitive friends and very often the men in your life.

My hubby is definitely one of those guys. Whenever we discuss raw, I hear protein, protein, protein. So I did a little research.

One way you can supplement your diet is to take plant based protein powders, usually in the form of hemp protein or brown rice protein (Sun Warrior is supposed to be the best). I like to add these to the hemp seed, banana and cacao/carob shakes I have almost every day.

You can buy most of these flavoured (often vanilla or chocolate), but I don't like doing that, I prefer to have control over my own flavours, so I buy natural and then add carob or raw cacao if I want it to be chocolate or you can add vanilla seeds fresh from the pod if you prefer that.

These are available at most good health stores. They can be pricey though. So I went in search of an online source and found Raw Nutrition . They are a family based business located in the Ottawa Valley.

What I loved about ordering from them, is that not only is the shipping free (in Canada) over $100, but their service was fantastically efficient and friendly.

Okay so I didn't actually talk to anyone from the company, but the way my box was packed, and the little extra details like the food combining chart that was included told me it was friendly! You know. You can see a box that was packed in a caring friendly way can't you?

So that's my take on protein. Love it, hate it, need it, don't need it? Wherever you are, there is a source out there for you without having to turn to meat.
(Picture - Sun Warrior)