a different kind of challenge: 60-Days of RAW

so, on Tuesday, i had the ultimate NYC girl accident: while walking to the office after a press event, my high heel caught in a pothole and i totally bit it in the street.  unfortunately for me, i have an extra bone in my foot, to which i severely damaged the connective ligaments. OUTCOME: HP in crutches for the next 2 months.

another bummer: no yoga for 2 months. :(

so, rather than eating my feelings through this, i’ve decided to try and stay healthy and embark on a 60-day raw challenge: back to being 90-100% raw for 60 full days. considering i’ve fallen off the raw wagon because it was tiring being a social leper, i’m taking this gimpy opportunity to challenge myself and get back on track!

i’m only on Day 3, but already, i’m noticing a significant lift in my energy levels, my productivity and ability to focus.  it’s truly remarkable just how much of what you eat affects your body.

wish me luck — you’ll likely see more raw posts in the weeks to come!

Basic Kale Chips: an Addict’s Tips & Tricks

after seeing a tweet from my friend Felicia Sullivan today, i got inspired to come home and whip up a batch of Kale Chips.

Kale definitely lives up to its “super food” title:

One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. (from WebMD)

 ←even my dog loves kale!

Kale Chips are a fantastic snack food – especially if you’re vegan/raw vegan and you’re missing that salty crunchy snack. not only is it nutritious, the recipe for basic Kale Chips seems SUPER easy:

  • kale, de-veined
  • salt
  • pepper

i mean, can’t beat simple ingredients. but after making a few batches at home, here are some helpful hints from a kale chip addict that will hopefully make your DIY Kale Chips easier:

  • Cleaning: kale has so many beautiful folds & curly-ness — but that just means you have to be SUPER thorough when you clean it. dirt/mold/bugs tend to get stuck in the folds.
  • De-veining:  they always tell you to “de-vein” the kale, which usually means you pull the stem/spine away from the leaf.  i don’t know about anyone else, but that always results in me tearing the kale leaf – not cute.  SO, rather than de-veining (pulling the spine away from the leaf)  – just de-leaf it instead (pull the leaves away from the stem).  this is far more manageable and this way, you have more control to make sure each “chip” piece is of equal size (see next tip)
  • basic cooking principle: make sure each piece is the same size to ensure even cooking. we should never forget basic principles of cooking – even when making something as simple as chips.  as best as possible – try to make sure each chip/leaf is of equal size so your batch cooks evenly
  • coat evenly:  whether you’re making a simple Olive Oil/S&P Kale Chip recipe, or you’re doing a more fancy version with a nut-mixture, you must make sure that each chip/leaf is evenly coated. this will also help ensure it cooks evenly

whether you bake or dehydrate your Kale Chips, the above tips should always apply.  personally, i prefer dehydrating — even though it takes longer, i feel it retains more of the green kale flavor in the chips.  but either will do!

  • for dehydrator: lay out on dehydrator trays, dehydrate for minimum of 8 hours at 115°F.
  • for oven: bake at 300°F for approximately 20 minutes (or until crisp). let cool

hope these tips are helpful for my fellow Kale Chip Addicts! :)

Organic Avenue Love Deep Cleanse: Day 2

day 2 of my 5-day Organic Avenue Love Deep Cleanse.  all juices, no solid foods.

mood:  cautious. it was a monday, so the first day i truly needed to be an active member of society. also, it was the first day of my 2-day conference on learning to “lead with presence”.  scary on more than one level.

activity level:  full day of a leadership conference + a yoga class at night.  i have to admit, there were moments during my yoga class where i was feeling light-headed.  maybe after 2 days of fewer calories, i didn’t have enough to push through a really challenging yoga class.

The Menu: total calorie count (minus the Coconut Mylk) = 715 calories.  i figure the max the Coconut Mylk could be is around 700…if so, we’re talking about 1400 calories.

  • CHLOROPHYLL SHOT (0 calories)
  • COCONUT WATER (86 calories)
  • PEAR JUICE (209 calories):  one of my favorite juices, probably because it’s so sweet and palatable.  but absolutely delicious.  apparently pear is a hypo-allergenic fruit that is high in fiber but less likely to produce adverse reactions
  • MASTER TONIC (108 calories): the very typical idea of a “cleanse” with the cayenne pepper.  not as sweet but very delicious nonetheless
  • VEGGIE VIBE (146 calories): my absolute favorite “good for you juice”. it doesn’t taste (or look) that green, and it’s quite delicious!
  • GREEN LOVE (166 calories):  my 2nd favorite “good for you juice”. while it’s definitely green, i think the lemon and parley cuts through it a little
  • COCONUT MYLK (Org Ave won’t really tell me how many calories are in this, which leads me to believe that it’s really high — also not listed on their website. very suspicious…):  it literally tastes like you’re eating a coconut. delicious!

the verdict:  by the end of day 2, i had a bit of a lull in energy — especially after the yoga class.  but was hoping that it was the worst of it!

Organic Avenue Love Deep: Day 1

Day 1 of a 5-Day Organic Avenue Love Deep.

baseline:  despite being vegan this past year+, i’ve definitely let some bad habits slip in: two fully-caffeinated sugary Starbucks drinks a day, tons of cooked stuff, candy galore and…oh hi, carbs!

mood:  apprehensive.  based on the above, i was expecting Day 1 to be painful: headaches, moodiness and major bitchiness.  oddly enough, none of it. which leads me to believe the worst is still to come. (yikes!)

activity level:  day 1 was a Sunday, so tried to keep it low key. went to a 90-minute Jivamukti yoga class before i started my cleanse, then lounged around the rest of the day watching bad-but-good movies (Miss Congeniality, Titanic, Twilight)…and also squeezed in a massage. anticipating the worst, i decided to take it easy.

the menu:  i specifically asked for there to be “more” calories, since i wanted to continue my daily workout regime during the cleanse.  today’s total calorie count: 1,054

the verdict: loved the flavor of every single juice today. in the past, i’ve had not-so-great times with some of the green soups, but thankfully, no green soups on this menu! energy levels are decent…but we’ll see what happens tomorrow when i have to go to work and be functioning member of society!

www.organicavenue.com

5-Day Organic Avenue Love Deep Cleanse — pray for me!

i love a good cleanse. my first time trying it back in 2010 – i experienced unexpected levels of energy, mental clarity and productivity.  it was because of my cleanse that i realized just how much what we eat affects our bodies.

after my first time cleansing, i went a bit extreme — became 100% raw vegan for a good 6 months.  i’m not going to lie — i felt GREAT! but at the same time, it made me into a social leper — less because of me, but more because everyone else felt like they needed to be more accommodating because i’m a “special needs” eater.  fast forward to today, when i’m more VEGAN than anything else, trying to be as raw as i can.

why a cleanse?

2 weeks of eating crap + thanksgiving holidays + no chance to go to yoga = blah Heather.  so as soon as i got back to my apt, i signed up for the 5-day Organic Avenue Love Deep Cleanse: all juices, no solids for 5-days.  i don’t know what the hell i was thinking, but i know this will give me a jump-start into resetting myself!

there are PLENTY of cleanses to choose from, but i’m down with Organic Avenue. Why?

  • they use glass bottles – they’re committed to reducing waste
  • they use organic ingredients (duh)
  • they are really accommodating with any special requests: if you don’t like the taste of something, just let them know and they’re happy to adjust
  • they are truly committed to this lifestyle — this isn’t about a quick weight loss mechanism, it’s about living a healthier, cleaner existence

will be keeping you posted on the progress!

Spirit Beauty Lounge – my go-to, one-stop natural beauty shop

i guess you can say i’m someone who’s pretty invested in wellness, what…with a high-raw addiction and slight obsession with yoga.  but once you start down this path, you realize that wellness is not just a health choice — it’s a lifestyle.

being a beauty junkie, it’s often hard to find cosmetics that fall under an organic or “wellness” category without doing some serious heavy researching.  (even the “green” products identified at Sephora aren’t as natural as they could be. they still have preservatives, etc).

enter SpiritBeautyLounge.com — an exclusively online boutique that specializes in natural beauty products.  EVERYTHING they carry is pre-selected to meet their natural product requirements.  per their website:

Reading labels and memorizing an ever growing list of ingredients to avoid can be overwhelming. On top of that, you may never know whether or not even “organic” products are ethically sourced or whether or not their packaging is eco-friendly. Spirit Beauty Lounge is a place where you can shop safe, knowing we’ve done the research for you! All of our organic and sustainable products come from companies who have clearly defined humane, ethical, and environmental policies ensuring the care of our planet and its inhabitants!

also, for all you NYC residents, i believe they’re located in Brooklyn, so when i order on their site, it literally arrives the next day, very lovingly packaged.

they also nearly always include samples of new things, so naturally a gal keeps coming back for more!

have had nothing but lovely experiences with them now for over a year! definitely a wonderful destination for all of us who care about what goes ON our bodies as much as what we put IN them!

www.spiritbeautylounge.com

pulse check: my raw challenge….do-over, please?

so….12 days into my raw food challenge, and sadly, it hasn’t been too much of a success, unfortunately.  it appears that this super-girl’s kryptonite is….PIZZA after a drink or 5.  (i knew there was a reason i meant to cut out alcohol during this 30-day period).

don’t get me wrong — i’ve probably only slipped up…thrice? (ok, maybe 4 times)  the rest of the time, i’ve managed to keep it all-raw.  nonetheless, i’m still remarkably determined to win and DO a true 30-day challenge.

even from these past 12 days, i’ve learned a lot about my relationship with food.  i often joke on Twitter that i’m sitting at home “eating my feelings” — and it’s scarily true.  food is a numbing comfort to me when i’m tired, stressed, feeling low or feeling weak.  so my determination to truly do this 30-day challenge is less about losing weight, but more about setting my relationship with food straight.

SO, i’m going to reset – as of tomorrow, the 13th.  maybe 13 will be my lucky number? it’s the a prime number.  it’s the number of my apartment that i love.  hell – WHY NOT?

i am determined to reach my goal.  yes, there have been challenges, but i’m still going to persevere! :)   trying to live my life always with a fighting spirit!

let’s check in next week and see if i’m successful.  :P

my personal 30-Day Challenge: go hard or go home

as you know, i love setting little challenges for myself, whether it be juice cleansing, 30 or 60-day Bikram Yoga challenges, or changing to a raw lifestyle.  yes, that means my mom thinks i’m “eccentric” for the sake of being eccentric…but for me, these little challenges are a good way to keep pushing yourself and keep growing.

since starting my new job as a digital ninja, my personal life has turned upside-down. needless to say, i haven’t regained my balance back, but i’m starting to find my rhythm again, slowly but surely.  the new job, the new hours and the new abysmal office location has made it really challenging to be the OM-ing, happy raw foodie i once was.

but i’m tired of hearing my own excuses.  i’m taking back my life.

have started in small steps: waking up at 5am to do yoga at home (instead of the studio), making sure i order in as much raw during the day as i can (instead of making my own raw goodies at home)…but i need a kickstart.

enter my personal 30-day Challenge!  for the month of June:

  • 100% raw food diet
  • chanting every day: morning and night
originally i was also going to throw in being “alcohol-free” into that mix, but instead, i’ll adopt to the “raw” diet mandate, and will only drink wine very sparingly.
today is Day 1!
  • BREAKFAST: some fresh OJ and a fruit salad

  • MOOD:  optimistic, but SCURRED
will try to chronicle my daily progress…wish me luck!

Green Smoothie OTD: spinach + pineapple + strawberry + banana

honestly can’t remember if I posted this one already (i probably did – sorries). I realize I tend to gravitate towards the same types of fruits and flavors when I make my green smoothies.  I guess we all have our tendencies!

trying to back on my green groove…it’s nearly summertime, season of deliciousness — so no excuses NOT to revel in the raw!

this morning:

  • 1 pint spinach
  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1/2 a pineapple, cubed
  • 1 banana
  • 6 ice cubes
  • 1 cup of water

YUM.

RESET, renew, re-commit: Organic Avenue Cleanse, take 2

Can’t hardly believe how quickly this year has gone by – it’s April, people!

So far this year: new job, new faith, new stress levels, new challenges…which means I have been drowning my sorrows in food.  (ain’t nothing quite like eating your feelings)

It’s not that I’ve fallen completely off the vegan wagon, but definitely have deviated from being raw.  So I’ve decided it’s time to press the RESET button on my life, and recommit myself to a lifestyle that makes me feel energized, refreshed, clear-headed and ALIVE.

Thus: Organic Avenue, Love Fast Cleanse – Take 2.

Unfortunately, the demons I have to overcome this time around are a bit more formidable:

  • Caffeine (up to 3 cups a day – scurred)
  • Refined sugar (I like my coffee to taste like Haagen Daz Coffee Ice Cream)
  • Salt (YUM)
  • Some cooked foods (nothing crazy, but have been eating steamed/sautéed veggies here & there)
  • Liquor (you name it, I’ve been drinking it)

Needless to say, I’m not looking forward to what Day 1 has in store.  I think it will probably be best for everyone’s general safety if they kept their distance.  But looking forward to feeling fab on the other side.  Pray for me!!!