Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pleasure Trap, a.k.a. STAY AWAY FROM THE CHIPS!

I know I have BIG issues with certain foods (and drinks, I might add). You know the saying with potato chips, right? Can't eat just one. And that is really the case with me. I cannot have just one chip. I need the whole package, no matter the package size.  But let's take it a bit further. Here are some other foods/drinks I cannot stop shoveling into my mouth once I get a taste:

black jelly beans (I know, gross right?)
candied ginger (or any ginger product)
buttered popcorn w/ arare
pecan pie (let me add coconut pie to that mix)
a great martini or margarita or mojito
squid luau
shrimp tempura

I could go on and on. But these are some major culprits.  Now take a look at them. Each one is either filled with sugar or fat. Or a combination of the two (kalbi and pecan pie are two fine examples that also contain a good amount of salt...the evil trifecta: salt, sugar, fat).

I was reminded of the evils of these trigger foods of mine when I read this article by Jeff Novick. In it he talks about whole, natural foods vs. processed foods and how whole/natural doesn't always equate to good for you. The reading also reminded me of this great youtube video featuring The Pleasure Trap author, Douglas Lisle. Many times, even though you may KNOW the truth, re-reading and re-watching helps you to kick things into gear again.

So no more preparing homemade corned beef hash with a side of hollandaise sauce (who would have known it was so easy to make?) for breakfast or shrimp scampi with tons of garlic for dinner. The pleasure trap will definitely kick into gear because butter is like cocaine to me.

Yes, it looks so delicious and yes, it is a special treat and we all deserve special treats once in a while. But this led to a mimosa and then some salami and a delicious artichoke dip and some shrimp scampi and, oh yes, that is a beautiful spinach salad but the scallops looks so much better! And the madness just continues. So into the trash goes that box of chocolates and down the sink goes the rest of the champagne. I know I am addicted to crap so I will just attempt to keep it out of my reach.

Butter, anyone?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Itʻs All About the Dressing

Dr. Fuhrman, author of the famed Eat to Live book, says to EAT THE SALAD FIRST. I have not adhered to that mantra. I have the magnet on my fridge (two separate ones) and yet I still neglected that all important rule. For me, I don't mind salad and if there are lots of special goodies to go with it, I actually love it. But put anything else on my plate and I will go to it first. And that has got to stop.

In the beginning of my plant strong journey the key to enjoying my salad was a good salad dressing. I blogged about it a couple of times here and here. As time went on what I found was that the salad dressing, while important, became less so. I could actually eat the greens sans dressing, especially if I had a lot of added goodies but usually I needed something to spice it up.

And then I went on a trip to Washington. And found the answer to my dreams: the most delicious vinegars that absolutely wake up my taste buds! I stumbled upon a quaint little store in the town of Camas and after sampling just about everything in there I walked away with 6 bottles of vinegars that go absolutely GREAT on any salad. in fact, I am SURE they will go great on just about anything (I'm thinking artichokes, brussel sprouts, marinade for grilled veggies, and more). Navidi's Olive Oils and Vinegars rocked my world. After I had time to calm down I realized that there are other towns out there with similar businesses. A couple of years ago my sister in law sent me a great package from a store in Temecula, CA. Same thing! Olive oil and vinegars!

Might I suggest that you check the area you live in to see if there is such a store. And if there is not, maybe check your nearest specialty food store. I don't want you to go in and buy your typical brand of cheap vinegar of the typical apple cider brand. Get something of good quality. Plain balsamic can be wonderful on its own but flavored it will knock your socks off. Imagine wild blueberry balsamic or chocolate balsamic (yes, chocolate, on your salad, OH YEAH!) or honey ginger.

My school lunch with an itty bitty bottle of tangerine balsamic, perfect size for on the go meals

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

When In Rome?

You know the old saying? When in Rome? That saying is coming to mind right now as I sit in an all day meeting on another island. I walk into the meeting and fortunately, in addition to the usual pastries, cream puffs, mochi, and chips there is a basket of fruits and a bowl of cut persimmons. Okay. I'm safe. I left home so early I didn't have a chance to eat breakfast. Saved by the fruits.

In no time, it's lunchtime. Hmmm, what's in store? I glance behind me: white rice (when you've eaten brown rice for SO LONG white rice is almost glaringly white, roast pork with gravy, noodles, and the most delicious looking mochiko chicken. Now of all of that what can I eat?


So guess what I had for lunch? Yup. Persimmons. And someone brought a delicious bag of steamed 'ulu. So I was saved. But I must admit I glanced behind me several times and pondered the thought...just one small piece of chicken. What harm could come of it? I mean when in Rome, do as the Romans do, right? I'm no fool. Well I'm no fool today. I knew that one small infraction could lead to another and another. It's my M.O. Same reason I can't eat potato chips.

So here I sit. Everyone else had salt, oil, meat, and refined carbs for lunch. I had persimmons and 'ulu. And I feel great. I'm gonna live.

Heck I'm pretty darned proud of myself.

Update: On the way to the airport, with some time to kill, I stopped at Whole Foods and made myself the most delicious green salad with tons of "stuff" on top. Totally worth the wait.

What are some of your challenges? Do you have a strategy to overcome?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

SAD No More

SAD = Standard American Diet. Read into that: an overabundance of fat, sugar, and salt and a minimal amount, if any, of whole plant foods.
     My mantra for the next six weeks (and longer) is: fruits, veggies, beans, and a few whole grains and nuts thrown in. I don't want to be sad no more.
     So seeing as how I like to do things on the FIRST (hence, December 1), I am now on day 2. Whoop. Dee. Doo. I have a huge challenge in front of me. 1) PMS. 2) Getting over what the doc thought might be pneumonia (so he finally gave me antibiotics). 3) marathon one week from today. Yup. 26.2 miles. On foot. I can barely climb a flight of stairs right now, I get so winded. 4) I missed a whole weeks worth of work so I got a whole lotta work to do (message: stress eating). And I think that's it. Hey, that's not bad!!!
     Just a couple things I'm allowing myself this time around: 1-2 cups of coffee a day if I feel like it, but it has to be black. A bit of honey in my oatmeal if I feel like it. And seafood, but not fried (I live in Hawai'i for goodness sake. MY PEOPLE EAT SEAFOOD! But no fried kole for me).
     Non negotiables: I absolutely will not consume any candy, ice cream (or other dairy products including cheese), meat (yup, even kalbi), or alcohol (oooh, that's a tough one...through the new year! Maybe just red wine, and only AFTER dinner and not before).
     While I don't have any new recipes to share with you, I can share you a few pics of what nutritional food is healing my body this weekend!

Frozen organic blueberries (Costco), unsweetened cocoa powder (Trader Joe's), a few dates, a few lettuce leaves, and organic soy milk

Quinoa (with cranberries, cilantro, toasted almond slivers), vine ripened tomatoes, and an indian curry (sauce from TJs, carrots, onions, celery, cilantro, and garbanzo beans)

Coach's Oats (w/ mac nut bits, cacao nibs, cranberries and a hint of honey)

I could eat salad all day everyday if I had tons of fixins--here is what I prepped: onions, mini peppers, olives, beets, tomatoes, chickpeas, black beans, cranberries and toasted sliver almonds

Organic baby romaine (bought at the Waimea Open Market)

Had two bowls full - I used a fig balsami dressing from Navidi's (best vinegars EVER!)
     What I've re-learned: Simple can be good. Hard to overeat when you eat a plant strong diet. It helps to have friends, near or far, joining in on the fun. It isn't about losing weight, it's about getting healthy. Losing weight is just a side benefit! Bon Appetit!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Ending. Beginning.

Whoa. I don't even want to check the date on my last blog post. I am sure it was decades ago. It's embarrassing.
Ah but it does take life changing moments to kick one in one's backside to RE-focus, RE-adjust, and get back to living the good life.
For me the life changing moment has been a severe case of sickie. Yes. For the first time ever (besides childbirth) I have been out from work for an entire week. I hate it. I love my job. I love the kids. I love the people I work with. And I hate the backlog that will be waiting for me. Oh sure, I went in for a few hours on Monday but I shouldn't have. I have been laid out on my back with what the doctor thinks is pneumonia. Since he was finally willing to give me antibiotics once I succumbed to fever, I opted out of the chest xray. After all, what would it prove? That I had a viral infection and didn't need the antibiotic after all? I'm not an abuser of the drug, in fact one of the things I heart about my doctor is his reluctance to take the easy way out and administer antibiotics everytime I cry in his office.  My cough is awful, my lower back aches, it feels like someone has been punching me in my ribs, my butt hurts from sitting and lying on it all week and I have a headache from all the coughing. But I digress.
I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I actually got up to clean the mess I've created. And I see the evils of my ways. I am once again making the connection between good nutrition and good health. I feel the pain in my back and ribs from the all the coughing and the weight gain that I was forced to see in the doctor's office. I feel the uncomfortable-ness (is there even a word?) of overstuffing myself when I'm eating NON-plant strong food and the binge-out-ridiculousness (another even a word?) of my food intake. And I'm over it. Oh. Plus I got reinspired through reading this blog. She spoke to me. In a good way. And I'm taking her lead.
Thus the title of today's post: Ending the happy go lucky eat whatevers because I am mostly plant strong mindset  and Beginning to focus on the long term goal (HEALTH) over the short term fix (the triangle of death in food: sugar, salt, & fat).
So here I go again, back to being plant strong but realistic about two things. Well sort of. And I'm just saying this because I want to be upfront and honest. I will not give up coffee (but I'll stick to 1cup a day) and I'll use raw honey as a sweetener (and not just any honey, but honey that was born and raised right down the road from me by a dear friend of mine). And that's that.
But for today I'm going to work on healing with a wonderful healing drink.
Let's start with organic ginger. You either love ginger or you hate it. I don't just love ginger. I LOVE ginger. I love it in all forms including raw and in my tea and in my soap and shampoo and juice. Anyway I can have it I want it. Fortunately ginger grows quite well on Hawai'i Island and it's easy to pick up local organic ginger.

 Coconut water is definitely an option but hey if you have it, use it. I love my neighbor. He has coconuts and he shares. Not only did he open up a couple of young coconuts so I could use some coconut water (and believe me, I am not a coconut water buying person...seems like a waste of good money when you have each county in the state cutting down coconuts right and left in all the parks), but he let me have the meat inside, too. I love me some coconut, almost as much as I love ginger. But not quite as much.
 A friend brought me some of his lemons. They were beautiful. I kept a couple of them to eat. I love lemons probably equal to ginger. And here you can see the beautiful honey that I just received from my friend. And it's half gone already. Only a week after she gave me a full jar full. This healing concoction took about 3/4 cup.

I sliced up some ginger, added some honey, squeezed some lemons and let that simmer on the stove for about 20 minutes. Once I could actually taste the ginger (it took a while for the essence to seep into the lemony goodness) I turned off the stove and added the coconut water. And some regular water. I taste tested along the way to make sure it was sweet enough and not too watery. All that was left to do was pour it into jars.
When I buy this stuff in the health food store it is about $5 a jar. So I figure I got about $20 worth of healthy goodness right here and I made it for $2.00 (cost of ginger), thanks to the generosity of friends and friends are priceless. Thanks Deb, Lynol, and Wally.
I'm on my way. December 1=plant strong. I'm committing to 6 weeks for now. That'll take me to January 11, 2013.
Are you with me?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Chia Pudding

Remember the chia pet?

That's not what this post is about. But who knew that those same seeds used for Chia Pets is also chock full of omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seeds. In addition, it is rich in antioxidants and when added with water or other liquids, it becomes gelatinous, an added benefit for the gut region, helping to slow down digestive process.

If you love tapioca pudding I have no doubt you will love chia pudding. And fortunately there are recipes galore on the web. Click on this link for a basic recipe from Whole Foods. But know this: if you try it and like it, you will want to change it up and add different ingredients, namely cocoa powder with cacao nibs, or add in goji berries or whatever else suits your fancy. The Fat Free Vegan has a great chocolate chia pudding recipe. I tend to use honey for my sweetener or date syrup (preferred). 

Tips: use a jar and put the milk in first then add chia seeds. Stir and give it a good shake. You may want to stir it up about 1/2 hour after making it. Sometimes clumps form. 

Do you have any great chia pudding recipes? Comment below! 
Never tried it before but might be willing to now? Let me know how you like it!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Most Yummy Weekend Glow Kale Salad

I always try to give credit where credit is due. For this post all the credit goes to the Oh She Glows blogger, Angela Liddon. And my friend, Jenn. But here's the full story:

I went to a first birthday party celebration. The food line consisted of all the delicious goodness you would expect at a local Hawaiian pāʻina, mostly things I don't need to consume (namely fat...I got more than I already need). But I was quickly directed to another table, off to the side, that was for the nutritarians at the party (and there were several). It was stock full of big salads. One of them (the one that I kept going back for over and over) had what I was told was the Oh She Glows Weekend Glow Kale Salad. OMG. Whoa. Wowza. Was it good. I could not stop. It had a million different veggies and fruits in it. Or so it seemed. And all chopped in bite sized pieces. I so do not like having to use a knife with my salad.

As soon as I could, I made some at home. Only thing is I only followed the dressing recipe. Whatever went into the salad part was what I had on hand at home: chard, peppers, beets, carrots, garbanzo beans, corn and cherry tomatoes. Any veggies will do. Raisins or some sort of fruits cut small are a must. And a nut or two Maybe some seeds. I used pecans. Trust me when I say the dressing recipe is forgiving because I know I didn't have enough lemon OR tahini. And I only added half the oil. But I did add oil. Next time I'll try it without.

Click on Angela's link here to get the full recipe.

Dressing in the food processor.

I poured the dressing on and mixed and THEN put the beets on top. I didn't want pink chard. That's just wrong.

Close up view of goodness.

Don't you just love beet lips on my babe magnet?

A nutritarian baby!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Breakfast in a Jar

I first posted about Salads in a Jar back in January. I thought it was the greatest thing since fried rice. And since then I have been putting all sorts of things in my mason jars, including dried beans, nuts and seeds (though I tend to keep the jarred nuts in the freezer because unless I vacuum seal them they tend to go stale sooner than I eat them). When I cut up fruit (cantaloupe just yesterday) I will store a jar full in the fridge and take it "to go" as a snack. I never have to worry that the lid will pop off (which I do with my plastic containers) and they are oh so easy to clean, especially if I have a plastic lid on them.

My latest favorite is now my Breakfast in a Jar. During the winter my mainstay for breakfast is usually steel cut oats. Nice and warm. Topped with all sorts of goodness. But now in the summer, I am looking for something a bit more refreshing. I have found it with oats in a jar, but this time it's with rolled oats. Good ole fashioned Quaker Oats. Not the quick ones. For my entire life I have only eaten raw rolled oats found in that familiar paper canister or in your nearest health food's bins. I never even knew that most people cooked them till I was in my 30s. I love raw oats. Cheap and full of yumminess. But when you let them sit in milk overnight, they turn nice and soft like they were cooked and then cooled off. But better.

Get a jar of your choice (enough for just you). Fill it halfway with raw oats. Add any fixings. THis may include but is not limited to: raisins, cranberries, goji berries, nuts, chia seeds, bananas. If you need to sweeten it, add a bit of honey. To me, the fruity additions make it PLENTY sweet enough. If you're doing this for your kids they might like the added sweetness that honey or brown sugar gives. You might try adding cocoa powder and/or vanilla extract. Fill the jar with a non dairy milk. Let it sit in the fridge overnight. I kid you not. I am in love with this easy breakfast treat. I grab it out of the fridge, throw it in my brand new pink purse (yup, not afraid at all that it might spill in there) and head to work with it because who has time to eat at work. I have even had my granddaughter eat hers on the way to school. In the carseat. Worked great. Give it a go. Try different additions. If you add fruits before its overnight sit, it'll sweeten it all up though you could add them in the morning. I tend to add the nuts in the morning. Canteloupe works well. Even pineapple. But here's an added tip: cut up any fresh fruit you add into small pieces, about the size of an M&M. Makes it even better.
The bigger ones are for me and hubby, smaller ones for kids. See the mangoes?

I love these plastic lids that I bought from a hardware store. Clean up is a lot easier.

This one has mango, goji berries, nuts and bananas.

Seriously good stuff

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I'm NOT on a Diet

It's been over one year since I changed my eating lifestyle. I went REALLY strict for many of those months (Dr. Fuhrman's 6 week challenge many times over cutting out all salt, sugar, dairy, meat, refined carbs). Right now I'm more on a 80/20 plan. I eat lots and lots of fruits and veggies all day long and once in a whiel I'll splurge. Today's splurge consisted of eggs benedict this morning (that was QUITE a splurge is is not the norm of my splurges). After that auspicious beginning I ate dehydrated bananas, a few dried bananas, potato  leek soup for dinner. And some peanut butter mixed with 1/2 tsp of raw honey.

My meals nowadays are usually really really simple. In the past dinners used to be huge and varied. Now I am satisfied with something quick and rather bland. A salad is fine. Or a bowl of soup. I could eat oatmeal every single morning as long as it had raisins or bananas in/on it. And I can munch on a bowl of small tomatoes for lunch.

It's not a diet anymore. It's how I eat. It's how I'll eat forever. I hope. I cannot believe how I can sit with a bowl of cherry tomatoes and enjoy each and everyone, much like I enjoy grapes. Yup. That is my life in a nutshell. Chocolate candies don't excite me. For the first time ever I passed up the opportunity to buy super cheap black jelly beans before Easter. But hand me a piece of dark chocolate covered Marzipan and I'll eat it. Give me some kalbi and chances are I will go back for seconds. A fresh just caught fish meal? I'm there.

I'm not on a diet. I'm eating healthy. Most of the time. And I feel good.

How about you?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Excalibur and Dehydrating

For months I have wanted a good dehydrator. In fact I blogged about borrowing an Excalibur dehydrator here back in October 2011. My friend, Kris, from Attainable Sustainable, let me borrow hers and from that moment I have been pining over having my very own. But it is pricey. So I made sure to do my research which consisted of asking others (including Sylvia of Licious Dishes) what brand they prefer.

I finally broke down and bought one on Amazon. I got the 9 tray one. It looks like this only black. And I bought the ParaFlexx sheets to make fruit leathers and crackers. I reasoned it out in my head. I saved money in January by not going to Starbucks or Jamba Juice at all. I have been very frugal in my driving so I actually saved hundreds in gas money.  And I came up with a few more reasons that I could "afford" to finally splurge on a dehydrator. From all I heard Excalibur is top of the line goodness. And now that I have it, I know this to be true.

An inside look

Good drying guide included on machine. I like 135 but I think raw foodists keep it in the yellow (more like 105)

The best of the lot, according to those I talked to (Licious Dishes included!)

Bananas are extremely 'ono dehydrated.

I always cut them this way but next time I'll cut them as "coin" shaped

My first try at fruit leather though it wasn't that great. This was just leftover smoothie. Not a good idea.

kale chips and pineapple are both HUGE WINNERS!

Tomatoes on the top shelves

Strawberry, rhubarb and honey blended together in Vitamix.

After dehydrating just put on a piece of wax paper and rolled it up. SO SO DELICIOUS!

Scored free tomatoes from 'Ano'ano Farms


Sunday, April 1, 2012


So I anticipated catching up and even storing some blog posts during the spring break of two weeks ago. Let's just call that my wishful thinking period. Reality is that I had three grandchildren and a daughter or two in on the mix. And all dreams of fancy footwork in the kitchen went to pieces.

And so it reminded me about how hard it is for those of you with little ones. Or even semi big ones. The day to day grind of entertaining kids, shuttling them to and fro, cleaning up, playing games, going outside, coming back in, going outside, coming back in leaves a Mama (or Puna) with little time to ponder and conjure up a great home cooked whole foods meal (not even going to talk about exercise).

Visions of me driving through McDonalds or buying fries for the kids wherever fries were sold came to mind as did boxed mac n cheese and hamburger helper.

And then I listened to Hungry for Change that likened sugar to cocaine. Ouch. And that reminded me of how dairy products are filled with hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and pus. Oh my. Okay. Got it.

So my meals that week weren't necessarily gourmet exquisiteness. They were quite simple: stir fries, pastas, peanut butter honey sandwiches (that the kiddos made themselves), cut fruits, smoothies. No juice or soda. No sugary cereals. No dairy at all and maybe meat a time or two (kalua pig I(of the hunter gatherer type) and cabbage comes to mind).

So to all my child rearing friends and family members: keep it simple. Make lots so there are leftovers. Freeze even the one servings for a quick microwave zap lunch one day. Do whatever it takes to get you through another day of joyful living with your kids because like everyone on earth who has had kids say: they grow up fast. (Oh. And then they have their own kids and ship 'em to you whenever they can. But it's a lot more fun the second time around.)

Bundling up little ones takes a while!

Now I know why parents love t.v. There is something so wrong with this scene but SORRY! Better this than Mac 'n Cheese.

So much work but oh so fun!
This is all of 'em!

Try taking a 4 kid pic

Someone always wants to clown around

The same swing her Mama used when she was a kid.

The same swing his Dad used when he was a kid.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hungry for Change

I have been remiss in blogging. I know. I apologize. No excuse other than busy life. And not really cooking a lot. Or cooking nondescript meals. But maybe there is a post in that whole notion!

But what I really want to get you to do is to stop right now and watch this. NOW. Hungry for Change. I think everyone is hungry for change but they don't really know why or how. This will help you.  Free viewing ends on March 31st. And I think it is that important that you shouldn't do any more reading of this other than to click here. All you have to do is enter your name and email and then you can watch it. Numerous times. I watched it three times already. And I wrote down the names of the people featured in the documentary so that I could look up their books online. Oh yes I did! This documentary rejuvenated me along the same lines as Forks Over Knives and Food Matters and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.

I hope you will be inspired too.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Licious Dishes

I fell in love with Licious Dishes last year when I went to KCC and happened upon the booth of Sylvia and Pete Thompson featuring very creative and delicious raw foods. Disclaimer: while raw foods are generally very high in fruits, veggies, nuts and whole grains, they can also contain oils, sugars, and salt.  With that out of the way, I would still highly recommend foods at Licious Dishes. Sylvia uses organic high quality and when at all possible, local ingredients. If you stop by her LITTLE shop at Dole Cannery, you can also buy hemp seed, spirulina, chia seeds and much more. 

Outside their Dole Cannery store

Sylvia (w/ the blue apron) and her crew pause for a photo

Sylvia and Pete Thompson

Their booth at KCC Farmer's Market) Saturday
My ultimate favorite thing to buy at her shop is the Macho Nachos. It is my chip fix. When I cannot make my own kale chips, I grab an order of Macho Nachos. It has the perfect mix of spicy, crunchy, yummy goodness. When I need a meal when others want to eat at Costco I run into Licious Dishes and grab me a Not Tuna Salad or a Garden Burger. I can honestly say that there is NOTHING I don't like that Licious Dishes makes. Honestly. Check out her meals and grab and goes here.

Her hubby is a KS grad and together they radiate health so there must be something working in a raw diet. In fact, Dr. Fuhrman touts eating raw! I bet you're not meeting your one pound of raw veggies a day! But if you buy your meals from Licious Dishes you just might meet that goal!

Go check them out.


S L O W   F O O D    F R I D A Y Wow. Has it been that long? Don't think I fell off the face of the earth due to my increased weig...