Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Resolutions


It's that time of year again...reevaluation, goal setting, planning, and since I'm an organizer-driven person I am...I'm really excited to start making some lists, a fitness calender, some charts...yah, you call me a bit nutty, but hey! That's how I am...

We all have dreams. In order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.
~Jesse Owens
Getting inspired and hope you are too,
Charis

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

"Immanuel, God with us!" I'm SO grateful to God that He sent His son...so that we could have His Holy Spirit with us and in our hearts! His Presence in my life is so precious to me!

Now I'm off for an evening of family fun...and watching of a Christmas Classic, "It's a Wonderful Life"! Can't have a proper Christmas without that!

This is going to be such a special Christmas (they all are!), but I'm looking forward to the special family time together! Hope you all are having an amazing Christmas with your friends, family, and loved ones!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dry Skin Helpers

I don't know about anyone else, but I've been having crazy dry skin this last month or so...I guess it's the dry winters that we have here.

Here's some things that have helped me with the common, winter skin:

  • I used to get irritated, flaky skin by my eyes and couldn't figure it out...then I realized that it was because I was taking my eye makeup off with harsh soap. My solution: Coconut oil...this works WAY better than any typical, store bought remover and hydrates your the sensitive skin around eyes at the same time.

  • Baking soda! When my skin actually looks so dry it has flakes, this is my perfect answer! It leaves your skin super soft. Just be gentle when you use it as it can be irritating if you scrub too hard or too long. Be sure to moisturize afterwards with a dollop of olive or coconut oil. Wipe off excess with a tissue.

  • Washcloth! Use it gentle, circular motions on your face and it should do what the baking soda does...slough off the dead skin cells.

  • Do a little spa treatment. Here's one that I do occasionally, and yes, it sounds a little odd. I first scrub my face with baking soda. Then I steam my face with a hot washcloth for about 30-60 seconds. After that I put Miracle Whip on my face until it's dry and gummy. (I know, it's weird...here's a blog post I did on it a while ago). Then I rub and wash it off. Then you just moisturize with a good face lotion. Wala! Smooth, moist skin!

Two more tips for you!

1. Drink 8-10 glasses of water a day. You have to moisturize from the inside out!

2. Try an MSM lotion with is repairing, renewing, and super absorbent. Here's one I like which I got from Raw Guru. Alex has a great site there, totally recommend looking it up!

3. Make sure you get enough fats in your diet...coconut, avocado, olives, yogurt...you get the idea. If you don't get enough dietary fats it will show up in your skin.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Balancing Meals




When I came home, I decided that I really didn't get a lot of protein in my diet...I just don't crave protein as much as other things...so I've been working on trying to incorporate more protein in my meals and snacks.

The shakes above is one of my attempts at this...I bought these...and I love them! They're an all raw product that is simply loaded with fibre and protein (two VERY important things!), plus heaps of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. I tried to buy them at Nutiva, but they only ship American so I ended up getting them at Vitacost, which is a Canadian health food discount site. The people at Nutiva were super nice too, very helpful...in fact, they were the ones that told me to try Vitacost, which ended up being a better deal for me anyway.

They have 3 flavours and I got the Berry and Chocolate version. My sister bought the one below, the Amazon Acaii. Frankly, I don't feel their flavour is really tasty in of themselves, but since I put the hemp protein in with frozen fruit and almond milk anyway, it ends up tasting very good. The chocolate one isn't as good as the berry ones...but it's actually more high in fibre than the fruit flavours. What I do is add cocoa powder to the shake when I use it and it is then converted from flat to fantastic. I often like to add raw, organic maca powder to these smoothies too.
Chocolate Hemp Smoothie (you could also just use the original Nutiva hemp powder too, if that's what you have, just add more cocoa)
1 heaping TB cocoa powder (or carob, if you like that flavour)
1 frozen banana
1 tsp. raw, organic maca
about 5-8 oz. raw almond milk (depending how thick you like it)
2 ice cubes
Blend to your heart's content...
Optional: top with bee pollen, add coconut or flax oil for some healthy fats, or top with hemp seeds or cacao nibs (my favorites with a chocolate shake!)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

We're back!

Me and my sister Anne-Marie
Wow, it's been a while, but we came back from a really special, amazing music tour...but it's great to be home again.
I actually came home with the H1N1, which in my experience, was the worst flu I've ever had...took me a while to get over that...I guess when you travel a lot you get exposed to lots of bugs and viruses...anyway, I feel great now! :)
So now, I'm just getting used to life at home again...trying to get back into a routine of healthy eating...I try to eat as healthy as I can on the road, but it's a lot easier at home...
I'll try to post in the next day or two about some fun stuff. Till then...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Trail Mix

Just a quickie post before I hit the sack...tomorrow morning our family is leaving on a month long music tour, so don't expect any posts till I get back. :)

On one post a while back, actually on another singing tour we did, I posted a trail mix recipe that I did...now I'll just post what I did for the West Coast Trail that I recently did. Nothing special, but I thought it tasted fantastic.

Mix up the following:

  • freeze-dried strawberries (this totally made it!)
  • raw sunflower seeds
  • raw almonds
  • dried bananas
  • dehydrated apples
  • dried apricots
  • dried peaches
  • broken up pieces of an organic, dark chocolate bar (just do cacao nibs if you want it all raw)

I really like trail mixes that are mostly fruit for some reason...it feels lighter and much better in my tummy, I guess. I'm not really a nut person...nutty in personality, but not in food tastes. :)

Anyway, see ya'll in a month.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hiking Girl

...I haven't written in a while, but I have an amazing excuse...I've been gone about a month and I was able to do the most amazing thing ever! I went on the famous "West Coast Trail" on Vancouver Island. People come from all over the world to do this backpacking hike and lucky me, my brother, myself and 8 other friends were able to go and do it!!! It was such an amazing experience, but a lot harder than I thought it would be.
Hiking on the beach...that's me on the far left.

Being "eco-friendly", lol...I found some garbage on the beach and was getting rid of it. :)

So slippery, muddy, and rainy

We had to climb an insane amount of long, long ladders...sure got your heart pumping, especially with a 50-55 pound pack on your back!

Hiking in the forest...
I think I'm seriously addicted to backpacking now...the pamphlet says the trail is for experienced backpackers only, so I was a little apprehensive about going (I've NEVER backpacked before, only day hikes!), but I did it and loved it all! Anyway, there's a short update on my life...hope you enjoyed!
Oh, and on the health side of things, totally unrelated... I like to limit my sugar intake (the GI on raw honey is ridiculous, over 100), so here's something I've discovered I like to do with my apples. Chop 'em up, sprinkle with a little bit of stevia and cinnamon. It's perfect, plus, it's less calories. :-) The perfect afternoon snack.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Apple Green Juice

Breakfast for this morning:

Apple Green Juice


Juice these all together and stir...


1 head of Romaine lettuce


some spinach leaves


3 BIG Swiss Chard leaves


3 small apples (this is how I like to use up the brown, bruised apples no one else wants)


3 stalks celery


And Darby (who has a blog about making homemade beauty "potions" - check it out) asked me, "Are you Vegetarian or Vegan?"


And the answer is, "No. I'm actually not. I don't really like labels or restrictions, I like freedom to eat whatever I want (which strangely enought often keeps me away from the bad stuff). I think I could be perfectly fine without meat, since I rarely crave it. But I like to keep my distance from red meats, unless they're organic...I really try to stay away from dairy products such as milk and the processed, dyed cheeses...but there are dairy products I do like. I love yogurt, cottage cheese, and right now, a favorite is goat cheese. I really want raw and whole foods to be the core of my diet, but I don't ever strap myself from something I really feel like. I used to be really extreme about my diet, which actually caused stress, now I'm seeking balance. I would like to be more vegetarian and vegan inclined though."

Friday, August 7, 2009

Best Makeup Remover


In the past I've used the average makeup removers...but for the last few weeks I've realized what not only is the healthier option, is a lot more effective...organic coconut oil. It works great! And the fun thing about it...is that it actually doubles as an eye cream and eyelash conditioner. I've tried to make it a habit to put an eye cream around my eyes at night (vitamin E. oil, a little organic olive oil mixed with coconut oil), but now I don't really worry about it. The skin around my eyes is moist and free of makeup. Two steps in one!
Here's my breakfast for today:
Green Cleaning Juice (it just makes you feel "cleaner" inside :)
1 head of Romaine lettuce
some spinach
some Swiss Chard
a few green grapes
1/2 plum
Juice it up and sweeten it a tad with stevia. Perfect.
I'll try to post more regularly. We've been so busy with singing and a lot of social events this summer, so I've sorta slacked off....I'll be better. :) Really.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Drink up!


There's no better time than summer to be glugging down more water...with all the heat, a more active lifestyle, and all the sweatin' that summer gives. It seems that people don't understand how vital water is to our health. Most of us are really dehydrated, whether we know it or not.

We should all be drinking one half of our body weight in ounces of water PER DAY! For me, at my height, that's about 80 ounces of water, which is about 10 glasses of water. Two more than the average 8 glasses. And if you're more active, you should be adding more water to that.

And contrary to what everyone seems to think...tea and coffee DON'T count. They actually act as diuretics. Herbal tea is an exception you can count as water.

So why do we need so much water? What's so great about being hydrated? Here are some of the reasons (some which were new to me)...

  • it acts as a solvent (reduces everything) and a transporter

  • purifies your body, carrying out waste

  • increases energy at a cellular level

  • transports metabolites of the brain along neurons

  • creates adhesiveness to the cell structures

  • proteins and enzymes function more efficiently in a solution that is more dilute

  • keeps your skin more healthy

And here are some things that can be prevented by drinking more water...that can actually be partly caused or helped by dehydration...

  • hypertension

  • dyspepsia

  • arthritis

  • headaches (add lemon in your water for even more benefit)

  • stress and depression

  • cholesterol problems

  • diabetes

  • asthma and allergies

  • colitis

  • low back pain

My Dad was reading all these great things about water and since then, he's been drinking a lot more. Trying to get his 100 ounces (around 12 glasses) of H2o all in before the day is out. He says he feels a lot better and he's not as tired.

It might be hard to get used to and you might be running to the bathroom all of the time, but soon you're body will get more used to it. I rarely go anywhere without my water bottle...it's almost my comfort drink. I like to add lemon and stevia often, or even just a squirt of some juice from the fridge. There's lots of ways to drink water if you don't like the taste...maybe try sun tea or iced green tea. You got no excuses, so drink up!

Food so far for today:

Breakfast~ Green smoothie (kale, banana, blue manna flakes, ect)

Morning snack~ 1/2 grapefruit

Lunch (so far)~ some watermelon (another great source of hydration)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Burdock Tea...Loving your Liver

Quite a while back I was blessed with a Kombucha mushroom, which I enjoyed making into tea...but I found that after a while, I grew a little tired of making it and had a harder time drinking it (don't like homemade Kombucha? Check out Synergy's Kombucha at Whole Foods, which tastes quite good...grape is my favorite, but I like guava too!) So I got rid of my Kombucha mushroom and turned to other things to try out...

One thing I loved about the Kombucha was that it was very cleansing for the liver, which, I think, is one of the central things to good health. But guess what? There's other fantastic things you can take for your liver...one of which is Burdock Root Tea.

You can get it fresh too, which I haven't been able to try yet (as there is none in my area), chop it up and add it to salads or brew it fresh.

I went to Tea Benefits site to check out all the other great things about it and here's what I found...

It has a soothing effect on the skin and gastrointestinal tract;

It is known to improve appetite and digestion;

It has been shown to possess anti-microbial agents that may help reduce liver damage;

It also has the ability to mildly lower blood sugar (hypoglycemic effect);

It is very useful in fighting the effects of rheumatism;

It helps in the treatment of some kidney disorders;

It helps counter bronchial cough and other irritations of the pulmonary tract.

The taste is really special too, it's not like other teas I've tried. It almost tastes like Won Ton broth that you get at the Chinese restaurant...which is kind of fun. Hope you get a chance to buy a bag of it and let me know what you think...

Oh, and while you're on the web check out Tea Benefits...it's a great site, with lots of great info.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Time for an Update



...Argh, life is so hectic right now I haven't had much time to do a post. Our family is doing quite a bit of singing and traveling right now so I do have a good excuse.

Because it seems like I'm always out of my regular routine, I find it harder to eat the way I want to, especially away from home. So lately, I've been bumping up my raw food intake to where it should be. I've been trying to have green smoothies in the mornings and have been making more of a habit of big salads at lunch. (below is my 0 calorie salad dressing I really like)

We have lots of dandelions scattering our home, so I've even picked a bowl of those, washed them, and bagged them for green smoothies and salads. I'm hoping to make a juice with them too.

We've just finished planting our garden, which I'm excited about (the cucumbers especially!). We just have to plant cilantro, parsley, onions, and find some kale seeds to throw in.

I've been making it a habit to drink more lemon water too (usually 4 cups with 1 lemon, if we have lemons in the house)...with the heat here it seems like I'm always drinking, and it's nice to have a bit of a flavour in the water. I just add a bit of stevia for what Natalia Rose calls, "a quick lemonade". My sister and I have also been making "sun tea"...throwing 2 peppermint and 2 green tea bags into a gallon or two of water to steep in the sunlight all day. We then refrigerate it. This tastes great if you add some stevia too.

My Dad had started an orchard in our backyard too, with even a blackberry bush...so I'm hoping in the quirky country we live in, that it will all thrive.

Here's my salad dressing that is great if you're trying to be more careful of your weight...do it all to taste.

  • 1 tsp or so of organic Dijon mustard
  • a squirt of Braggs
  • a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp or less of lemon juice
  • maybe a little bit of balsamic vinegar
  • lots of dried parsley, dried basil, and dried oregano

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mindless Workouts


Contrary to my last post...I haven't been exercising much lately, simply because I haven't had a stitch of time. We've been doing lots of singing and traveling, so really...I've barely had one day at home (hence lack of posts here).

But I've figured out there's always those little things that I can do, without really a thought about it, that helps me get little workouts in, throughout the day.


When I brush my teeth, I stand on one foot and hold the other one behind me. This is great for stretching your hamstrings and for balance. I alternate legs as I do the top and bottom teeth.


When I floss, I do lunges, alternating legs with top and bottom teeth. Maybe you think it's weird to do this, but who cares?


When I'm blending up the family's almond milk I've made it a habit to do about 50 toe raises (which are really great for your calves).


There's heaps of little things you can do...tighten your stomach muscles while driving, deep breathing while you're waiting for your appointment, or even just timing yourself for 5 minutes to get your sit ups in.


What do you do for your mindless workouts?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Half Marathon

I have been aching to do a half-marathon since last fall, since most of my brothers started getting into it...but I wasn't sure I could do it, especially since I wasn't sure I could even run a mile. But once the new year rolled around, I printed out a 10-week half-marathon training plan and stuck to it with more diligence than I thought I had. It really motivated me, but I really over trained as the workout schedule was just too intense for my running level. I ended up with a couple injuries on my foot because of that.

With over three weeks of basically no training or working out (with CD mixing and visiting my sister) the official day came. I was rawwwther nervous, wondering what ON EARTH was I doing!!!? I had not run very much or far for a few weeks (though I certainly tried!), but God really helped me. It was the best run ever...there were more hills than I expected, but it was a rainy, cold day that was quite nice for running...there were water stations every 3 K...and it was just so much fun, altho' I must admit it was really hard on my body. About half way through, I got two painful blisters on my toes...so that wasn't fun to live with for the next 6.5 miles, but I managed. The last 3 miles were, to be honest, grueling...the wind was against me and it was raining, but once again, I asked for God's strength and He answered my prayer. What an amazing feeling it was to cross the finishing line.

For my first half-marathon my goal time was to have it done by 2:30:00 and I was thrilled to discover I was just under 2:20:00.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I know

...been a while, but you'll have to wait a couple more days for an REAL post. In two days I'll be home from the most marvelous holiday you can imagine, and then I shall have something worthwhile to write. Truly. I had big news! (at least for me, it's HUGE) So till then...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Almost Done

...our CD that is. This last week I haven't posted anything, because I was away in the states, helping mix our newest project. I just got home last night (or early morning I should say), so it's been crazy here. What's more, my sister Anne-Marie and I are leaving tomorrow morning and will be heading to the airport so we can fly out to see my married sister Lizzy for 3 weeks! I'm SO stoked about it...but thoroughly tired of packing and unpacking and then packing again. But hey! I'm done now.

I'll try to do a post once or twice while I'm gone, we'll see how busy it gets. Right now I'm just so excited about seeing my sister who lives SO far away. I haven't seen her since Christmas and I miss her so much.

Food for today:

B~ Hemp Protein Smoothie with almond milk, cinnamon, and banana

L~ Fruit...1/2 grapefruit, orange, green and red grapes, and a half of banana

Snack~ a raw chocolate macaroon and later, 2 homemade cookies

D~ Salad with onions and salsa and homemade WW pizza and for good measure, another cookie, lol

Today wasn't as healthy as I would've (and should have liked it to be), but hey...it's all about being real and I feel great! This evening I went for a 6 mile run on the treadmill too, as I haven't exercised for a couple weeks since I was preoccupied at the soundboard.

Eat something good for me!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Red Palm Oil...A must try


Getting your good fats is totally vital...but lately, I seem to realize that everyone I know is stuck in a rut of olive oil or coconut oil. These fats are truly amazing, but variety is the spice of life, and there's lots of other oils that are really wonderful, that don't get the attention they deserve. I did most of this post almost two years ago, when I first started blogging and I thought it was due time that Red Palm Oil got some appreciation. (and when I talk about Red Palm Oil, of course, I'm talking about the raw stuff) So I hope this post will inspire you to try new varieties of all the amazing gifts of food God has given us.

Healthy fats is one of the most awesome things ever...I've been a fanatic of olive oil and coconut oil for a long time...but recently I have got into red palm oil. This stuff is absolutely marvelous! I didn't even know it existed until I read Serene Allison's article about it. Soon after, I bought some and I love the flavour of it, it's very different in taste compared to other healthy fats. If you're not exclusively raw you can even use it as a replacement for butter/margarine on toast (if you don't mind the way it dyes everything orange...I think it's fun), frying up your pancakes, or on your baked potato or yams. Read up on these super facts about the red palm oil...

RED PALM OIL (info from Serene Allison’s article “I love Fat”)
Red palm oil is the richest natural source of tocotrienols, which are not found in any other vegetable oil. Tocotrienols inhibit the proliferation and growth of human breast cancer cells in culture, therefore; it prohibits cancer and stops the growth of existing cancer cells. Tocotrienols also help prevent skin aging and damage from free radicals. It’s naturally rich in vitamin A for a properly functioning immune system. It contains no cholesterol and actually raises your HDL, your good cholesterol level while simultaneously lowering your LDL, the bad kind. It’s naturally rich in vitamin E for a healthy heart. It actually dissolves dangerous arterial plaque that can lead to a heart attack. It keeps the blood thin and free flowing. The antioxidants in red palm oil act as scavengers, they prevent and eat up the free radicals that lead to our modern diseases-Alzheimer’s, senility, rheumatism, heart attacks, arthritis, asthma, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, spinal muscular atrophy, macular degeneration, and stroke. One tablespoon a day contains 10000 IU of immunity boosting vitamin A, which is enough to eliminate the risk of the common cold and flu by 67 percent. The beautiful red color comes from its richness in tocotrienols, carotenoids, tocoplerols, which are all powerful antioxidants. Not only that it trims body fat by 27 percent. It's because of palmolein, a compound in red palm oil that helps your liver break down sugar for energy before it can be stored as fat.

More than that it:
*Reduces risks of diabetes by 58%

*Naturally rich in retinal for great vision

*High in essential fatty acids

*Rich in beta-carotene's – 15 times more than a carrot and 300 times more than tomatoes

*No carbs

*Prevents aging

*Easy to digest and absorb

*Excellent source of energy

*Safe for cooking, the most stable of oils because it’s protected by vitamin E, antioxidants, and has a natural resistance to oxidation and rancidity, even better than coconut oil by long shot.

There's lots of ways to use it in raw foods...turning your scrummy smoothies into orange delights, using it as a buttery spread on your raw crackers and breads (with a sprinkling of sea salt or something), replacing it with any recipe that calls for olive or coconut oil, or freezing some into your raw popsicles...WHATEVER you want. Something I do like to emphasize, is variety...keep on eating your coconut oil, just keep switching things up. Add, replace, switch around...variety is what keeps things interesting. It never ceases to amaze me the incredible things that God has placed on this earth to heal our bodies and to keep us healthy.

Here's a Red Palm Oil smoothie that I'm making with the last of my oil (sniff) tomorrow morning (a lovely Sunday breakfast)...

Safari Dream

1 banana

2 figs or dates

1 TB. Red Palm Oil

1 TB. Flax Seed Oil

1 TB. coconut (either white from the brown coconut or the flesh from a young coconut, or if you have neither of these, 1 TB. coconut oil or dried coconut)

Juice of one lemon

Blend this until like whipped cream.

And for those who care to know, I got my Red Palm Oil from Wilderness Family Naturals.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Green Beauty


...I got it! Ever since the new year, I've been wanting to own this book. A dear family friend of ours bought me this book for my birthday, which I was SO excited about! One of my resolutions for this year was to make more of my own body and beauty potions and to buy more natural products. And so far, I've done pretty good...altho' I have bought one lip color that wasn't natural, that's it. My interest was peaked in this book when Shannonmarie got the author, Julie Gabriel, to give an interview (check it out here). She also did a really great review on the book, which you must read, if you're thinking about getting the book. Julie Gabriel also has a lovely blog, which I like to check up on, from time to time.
I'm really excited about making some of my own face washes, lotions, masks, conditioners, (even recipes for the "natural" baby) and all that fun, girly stuff. She uses a lot of essential oils, which I can't wait to experiment with. Julie has a great way of writing, that really keeps your attention and makes you more aware of what is going on in the "beauty" industry...alerting us to all those nasty chemicals that are put into products we use every day, sometimes even the ones that are made to sound "natural". I haven't finished the book yet, but already I'm just super stoked about doing a lot of these things myself with her recipes. I also loved the fact that she recommended quite a few products to buy, when you can't make something yourself. Hope you get your hands on a copy of this book (check your library)...because it's definitely worth reading.
...Life here is amazingly busy now. Our family has started our second session of recording our third music CD. We'll hopefully be done on Friday night...and then pack up the sound equipment on Saturday. Then, we're singing at a church on Sunday and on Monday, my family will take me down to the states to help mix our CD for about a week and a half. After that, I'll come home for maybe 1-2 days, pack my stuff up, and my sister Anne-Marie and I are heading to the airport to visit my sister Lizzy for the next 3 weeks. I haven't seen her since Christmas so I'm, naturally, very EXCITED! So, I'll do my best to keep posting, but please forgive me if I don't have time, lol.
Oh, and here's a recipe to "green" up your breakfast...this is the one I had this morning.
Green Beauty Cilantro Shake
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 grapefruit (without pith)
1/2 Navel orange (with pith)
1/2 c. pineapple
1 TB. honey (to taste)
Add some water to blend those greens into submission. I meant to add blue-green algae flakes this morning, but I forgot...so if you have those, plop those in too.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

More Desserts

I promised I'd post more delectable desserts...so here they are. But first of all, I just wanted to say what a fantastic birthday I had...it was so amazing...lots of family and good friends here. I was completely and utterly spoiled, but it was all good! lol. I got a lot of really special presents and in one of my next posts I'll tell you about an amazing book that goes right along with one of my new year resolutions (so keep tuned!)

I love, love, love ice-creams, so above is one of the recipes I dreamed up. It's called Caramel Ice-Cream with Chocolate Fudge Chunks. (It was so sweet, on my b-day, one of my health-loving sister-in-love's made me a healthy, sugar-free, berry ice-cream...which is particularly amazing! Like I said, I was spoiled)
Next, is one of those little, quick snacks that I might mix up if I'm feeling like I need a sweet now (I'm working on my patience). Crunchy Maca Chocolate...it makes one large truffle to indulge in!

Back to the ice-cream (told you I was hooked on this stuff!)...this one, is called "The Floaty Ice-Cream", simple, cheap and perfectly tasty! I topped a thinner version of a Chocolate Banana Shake with this...



And last, but not least...are my chocolate recipes. Chocolate Caramel Bites, Turtles, Caramel Almond Smacks, Dark Truffle Fudge, dipping chocolate...You can find them all here...I made them for a Valentine's Day a year or two ago.

And the easy, cheap recipe I talked about last post, about being so amazing...is the simple Avocado Chocolate Pudding. Pretty much it's just one avocado, some cocoa (carob or raw cacao), honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup as a sweetener, a few dates too, and a wee bit of the pink salt. It's SO good and you'd never ever guess it has a green avocado in it! Simple and cheap, but so divine for the chocoholics.

On another note, my running has been going good too...altho' I feel like I don't have quite as much energy as a week or two ago. Last Saturday my two brothers and I ran to another brother's house...which, there in back is about 8 miles...but it happened to be quite hilly. It was a hard run, because I've never done really any hill training, and it was my first outdoor run since last Autumn. I walked when I needed to, but I did it and it felt good. Well, until I finally stopped. I hurt my heel again, so I've been letting it heal, by being a bit more careful and trying not to wear any shoes. I did a 5 mile run yesterday and a 3 mile run today. And guess what? I bought a snappy running outfit, even those professional running socks...I asked if God would help me get some of it on sale (sometimes that sort of thing is pricey) and when I got to the store, that's exactly what I got! He's so good to me!

Menu so far for today:

First thing: 1 c. Synergy grape Kombucha with lemon and stevia

Breakfast: 1/2 grapefruit and a bowl of Kashi Probiotic Cereal with raw almond milk (usually I don't eat cereal in the morning, but today I wanted it)

Lunch: 1 glass green smoothie (parsley, grape juice, 1/2 banana, organic pumpkin seeds, and ice), and an organic herb salad with 1/2 avocado, olive tapenade, 2 cloves garlic, organic pumpkin seeds, and dressing (organic olive oil, Braggs, APV, and maple syrup)

Eat something good for me!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Desserts Revisited

One of my readers and blogging friends, Abigail of Shine on Child, wondered if I knew any easy, or inexpensive desserts...I think that's a great question, because some people (like me!) are always craving the sweets and want something we can have right away!

So with this post I wanted to "re-visit" a lot of my dessert recipes or recipes that I've tried and absolutely love...

The creamy sweetness above is a Vanilla Swirl Cheesecake that I made when my sister Anne-Marie and I were challenging ourselves to 25 days of all-raw.

And because there's a bit of cheesecake cream left over when you make the above cake...this is a lovely fruit delight I made from it. You can do this with any raw pudding, cheesecake batter, or "whipped cream", like the stuff that Carmella of the Sunny Raw Kitchen makes. Check out her persimmon cake recipe there too, while you're there.

Another amazing dessert is Ani Phyo's Berry Cobbler...but I'm not indulging you with the recipe...you'll have to read her book yourself. Also, she just wrote a new one called "Ani's Raw Food Desserts", which you can now pre-order (this is on my wish list).

A great quick, simple (and cheap!) dessert is a sweet smoothie, whether it's the classic chocolate, vanilla, strawberry or a divine sensation from the tropics. Here's a simple strawberry one I really love...this also tastes amazing, when you replace the strawberries with blueberries.

...And here's one of my favorite smoothies...CHOCOLATE! This is a great evening dessert or snack. If you check out the above link, there's also a halva recipes there too, which is really amazing because it tastes like the non-raw version. My Dad loves this!

Fruit sorbets are SO easy to make (like the one below, made from intense Concord grapes). Just grab a fruit (EXPERIMENT and have fun! Try berry, banana, orange, apple, cantaloupe, pomegranate, lemon, whatever). Then get your sweetener (Agave, honey, maple syrup, or perhaps dates) and then whizz it into submission with a liquid base (water, nut milk, or a juice).

Since we just had St. Patrick's day I thought I'd also post what I did last year...another one of my ice-cream experiments that I had done for the occasion. I was trying to make a cheaper ice-cream that didn't require cashews or macadamia nuts, so there it is!

For those of you who crave cereal bars this one is for you...is it really one of the best that I've tasted! I created this out of a serious need for sweets with a definite crunch! This one I did use organic peanut butter for (you can either buy the raw or just use raw almond butter instead). These ones are really cheap too.


Sometime soon, in one of my next posts, I will do some more dessert recipes of mine, and tell of one of the simplest, cheapest, quick, and most delectable of desserts that I absolutely heart!

...And guess what? It's my birthday tomorrow...I was telling my sister today that it felt "so long" since I've had a birthday. Of course, that's true, because it's been a whole year. lol. So tomorrow will be extra special with lots of friends and family over, a heart-healthy cake and ice-cream, and lots of fun and games (and I know my Mom will make me a fruity breakfast in bed...she always makes me smoothies!)

So I hope you try one or two of those desserts next time you're craving something sinfully sweet. Have fun!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Green Smoothie Salads

First of all, Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Hope you're all celebrating today with green smoothies and salads!

A bit ago, I discovered the fun concept of green smoothie salads...I thought it would be fun to try having the green smoothie itself be the dressing of a fruit/veggie salad, so I gave it a go!

I made a simple orange/spinach/banana green smoothie, blended with a few organic pumpkin seeds and then poured it over a fruit/veggie salad for my lunch. I had it over green and red grapes, halved sugar snap peas, pumpkin seeds, and a half a head of Romaine lettuce. Really, it was so good! I had two helpings, lol. Next time I make it, I'd like to add cut up celery and cucumber.

I think it's such a fun idea and I'm looking forward to trying it with all fruit. You know, making a blueberry banana smoothie and pouring it over berries, cherries, sliced banana, grapes, oranges, and apple slices. I think that would a fantastic salad.

This is especially good for those who like blended drinks, but often feel like they need to "just chomp" on something too!

I was gone this weekend singing with the family so it's good to be home again. And I've even gotten more regular with my posting, haven't you noticed, lol? It feels good to be blogging again.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Kitchen Beauty


LEMONS~ Often after I squeeze a lemon I will rub the leftover half over my elbows to exfoliate. You can also just rub it on your skin to tone and refresh your skin. I've even heard that lemon juice is great for any blackheads you might have on your face.

OLIVE OIL~ I use this for a moisturizing face mask. It takes off all my makeup effortlessly and leaves my face feeling very soft. I use in on my arms and legs for a lotion. When I'm a meal in the kitchen, I always take that last drip off the lid and use it as a lip balm.

HONEY~ I betcha didn't know this, but it's a great lip balm (altho' I often end up licking it off, I love honey! lol) But my favorite way to use it is to put it on my face for about 20 minutes and it makes your skin feel like silk. Honey is very good for nipping bacteria in the bud, so it's great for breakout prone skin.

COCONUT OIL~ I know I'm young now, but I once heard that once you turn 18 you should start using eye cream. So once I reached that infamous number I started putting coconut oil around my eyes each night. I make my own eye cream by mixing the oil with some liquid vitamin E and some cold-pressed olive oil. This is an excellent potion and I simply love it. I'll often use the same stuff on my face when it needs some moisture or on scars I have. I'm always battling dry skin.


ALOE VERA~ When I make a smoothie with aloe vera in it (and I'm not wearing makeup), I'll take the gel-removed leaf and rub it on my face. This tones and tightens my face and is very healing and moisturizing. Aloe vera is great for irritated or sensitive skin, even as a lotion.


CUCUMBER~ Yes, the famous cucumber. Just cut two slices and place them over your eyes for ten minutes to refresh and de-puff your eyes. This works well with two regular tea bags too, just makes sure to chill them. You can even whiz up cucumbers in the blender and use it for a toning mask.


SESAME OIL~ Of course I've never used it for this, but apparently it's a great stretch mark lotion.


I did a post of another "non-raw" mask that I really love too, it's really amazing! Check it out here.


While I was surfing the web for more kitchen beauty tips I found this link. Try out some of these great-looking recipes and let me know what you think of them


And since health is one of the best beautifiers ever, here's a smoothie recipe I did this morning after my run. It has cherries (anti-aging because they're chock full of antioxidants), red chard (greens, majorly important!), pumpkin seeds (full of zinc, which protects the skin and is an EFA source), flax seeds (EFA content, which is a must) and a banana (really good after exercise).


CHERRY CHARD SMOOTHIE


1 c. frozen cherries

Over 2 c. of red chard (or 6-7 big leaves)

1 TB. raw flax seed

1 TB. organic, raw pumpkin seeds

1 banana

3 ice cubes

...and water to blend. Whirl up and chug it down. The color doesn't end up being the nicest, but it tastes fantastic.

Have fun!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Simple-ness


...And I'm back. We had a lovely girl time away together. It was so nice to just have a refreshing break from everyday life. I was able get caught up on some journaling, some reading, and sister time.
And guess what? Out hotel was pretty much beside a Whole Food store, which made me perfectly happy. We bought some organic fruit and some healthy groceries there, so that was fun. It's not often I we get to shop there, since Whole Foods, sadly, is not in Canada. I even splurged and got some natural ice-cream there. I wasn't going to write that here, lol...but hey! I'm going to be a real person on my blog, so there you go...I ate ice-cream!
I ran 26 miles in total last week, right before we left for the trip, which was the most I've ever run in one week, so that was exciting! I ran 4 miles this morning, after a breakfast of fruit and this afternoon I had a lovely salad for one. I adapted it from Carol Alt's "Raw 50" and was so happy with it. It had lots of juices from the ingredients so I didn't even need a dressing, which made it low calorie and it tasted simply delectable.
Charis' Salad for One
1 head of Romaine lettuce
4 TB. sauerkraut
1 TB. olive tapenade (or a few olives thrown in instead)
1/2. avocado
a splash of APV
Mix it up and eat! That's all. This is only about 162 calories, so it works as a great snack too.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Quickie...


Just a quick note...my sister-in-law Lisa is taking Anne-Marie and I to the states for a few days. She's attending a midwifery course and Annie and I will watch her baby for her, while she's there.
We'll all have the evenings free, so it will be a special sister time for all of us. I'm really looking forward to some girl time.
So in a few minutes we're off...be back in a few days!
...P.S. A really great drink for travelling is the Master Cleanse Lemonade. That's what I'm bringing today. It's delicious and very cleansing.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mind Over Body


Today I was determined to run 12 miles...so I marched to the treadmill, armed with a banana, a couple dates and dried apricots, and my 32 oz. water bottle. Honestly, it was the most horrid run ever, because the last 4 miles something sort of snapped in my foot which made every step really painful. It was like I pulled something hard and then I could feel a blister on my other foot...and then my hip felt all funny, like it wasn't really in the right spot...I knew I should probably stop, but I get so stubborn sometimes and I hated the idea of stopping at 8 miles when I had only 4 more to go to finish my goal. So I kept on going...but then it hurt so much, that I had to slow down and put a lot of my weight on the handbars. I know holding on handbars doesn't really count as true running, but I was so desperate to finish.
My i-pod tracks my runs (thanks to Nike+ shoes) and I had paused the workout for a minute...when I had run for a while, I realized that I hadn't un-paused it. So I stopped my room at 11.25 miles, because I guessed that I had probably run a quarter of a mile when it wasn't tracking. But because I'm so physcological and felt like I hadn't quite finished, so later, after I had rested my feet a bit, I "ran" around our hall for around 15 minutes to get .75 miles more done. This was just to make sure I had really done it, lol. I couldn't believe that it took me 15 minutes to run that little, but my foot hurt so much I had to go really slow. But I did it and that's all that mattered! (see, I said I was stubborn)
Anyway, my lesson learned? Well, I'm not quite sure, but maybe I should warm up before I run. I'm a complete lazy person when it comes to warming up prior to exercise and have never done it, nor had any ill effects for not doing it.
I simply love this quote...
"Now if you are going to win any battle you have do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired."
-George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian
All the same...it's a very wise idea to listen to your body, especially if it hurts, lol. Oh, and warm up!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

What helps me RUN...


Six weeks ago I thought running 3 miles was killing me...but now, since following a ten-week running program, I consider those miles almost relaxing. Yesterday I ran 11 miles, the most I've ever run in my life. Over the past 6 weeks...I've run a total of 105 miles. I never dreamt I'd be able to do that.

Of course, it's still winter where I live so I've been doing this on the treadmill. I expect that once I'm outdoors again, it will be harder, since you're dealing with hills and different terrain, but doing things a little a time really works. I'm not a hardcore runner like my brothers...I run for about 9 minutes and walk about 1 minute. I've tried the other way, where you just don't stop at all, but the prospect of running 2 solid hours does not sound appealing.

Here's what's been helping me...
  • dates and dried apricots...I don't think I'd last long running without these. The intense sugars in them gives me quick energy. I usually have one bite of dried fruit per ten minutes and that really seems to work for me. I think Lara Bars or the new Pure bars would be fun to try, since they're all dried fruit too. Next time I think I'll try goji berries.

  • coconut water...I don't get this all the time because it's pricey...but when I can, it sure is nice. I like to chill it overnight in the fridge so that when I run the next morning or afternoon it's refreshingly cold. The electrolytes in coconut water are simply amazing for your body during strenuous exercise. (a pinch of sea salt is really great to put in the water for sodium)

  • Nikie Plus shoes...one of my big brothers bought me this pair of shoes when he noticed I went running in flip flops all the time...and they're truly amazing. There's a chip in your shoe that connects to your i-pod, so that it tracks your run...distance, time, and calories included. It's like a running coach for me.

  • Water!!! And lots of it...yesterday I drank a whole Nalgene bottle's worth during my run...and afterwards all I wanted was more. It's really important to rehydrate your body after a you lose a lot of water.

  • Comfy running pants...I've ran in jeans and that's just dumb. Not very comfy.

  • Green Smoothies for a post-run meal.

Yesterday I made the most amazing green smoothie...I adapted it from Tim VanOrden's recipe.

Here it is....

Post Run Smoothie

1 banana

1 c. blueberries

1 tsp. organic, raw maca

1 tsp. blue manna flakes (helps adrenals recover) and a pinch of dulse (sodium)

1 TB. North Coast organic Hemp Protein Powder

1 TB. raw, organic pumpkin seeds

As much spinach as you can fit in your high-speed blender

3 ice cubes and some water to blend, as needed

BLEND, BLEND, and BLEND...it is absolutely delish!!

And I really recommend North Coast Naturals Hemp Protein powder...(here's a link where there's a sale on for it)

Hemp Protein Powder can supply any diet with a vegetarian source of essential fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibre, chlorophyll and a complete, balanced gluten-free source of the essential amino acids. Hope you give it a try...it's nice to refuel with a protein powder, but there aren't many powders that are really good quality. Raw Power, I hear, is also really good, but I have yet to try it.

Benefits:
100% certified organic hemp protein powder; absolutely zero non-organic powder present!
100% Vegan
50% protein which is 56% more protein than other hemp proteins, which contain only 32-37% protein.
Very rich in fibre (8g per serving) and high in EFAs, including GLA.
Derived from non-gmo, certified organic, THC free hemp seeds.
Derived from a cold press milling process, that does not use solvents or hexane.
Gluten Free, Wheat Free
Kosher Powder
Contains edestin and albumen proteins, which are similar in structure to the proteins that naturally occur in our bodies.

What helps you run?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Awww, thanks!


Paulina of Eating as Nature Intended, nominated me for the Kreativ Blogger Award, which was sweet of her. I love blogging, though I have been too busy lately to keep up with it...but now, I'm trying to be more regular with it.

Here's the rules: I share with you seven things that I love and then I nominate seven other bloggers for the honor.

1. I absolutely love, love, love trying new things and don't understand people who don't, it's the experience that's so magical, even it happens to be eating frog's legs (which, I've discovered, I do not like)

2. I adore drama and acting and hope to be in Christian film someday

3. I don't care how childish it is, but I adore swinging and will never stop, even at 99.

4. I love makeup and green masks and all those girly things...as long as they're natural
5. Heels are the most amazing things ever, but I don't wear them too often because then I tower over people..like, you know, a tower (I'm already 5' 11")

6. I love singing SO much, it's one of my most fave things to do!

7. People are really important to me...I love meeting new people and observing them

8. I love God so much and am thankful to Him for the amazing life He's given me...I always want to go through life grateful (oops! Is that eight, lol?!)

And I'm tagging...


1. Shannonmarie of Rawdorable
2. Tera and/or Amy of Raw Divas
3. Penni of Real Food Tulsa
4. Jayna of Raw Fit Mama
5. Kristen of Kristen's Raw
6. Heidi of HiHoRosie's Place
7. Heather of Adventures of a Raw Goddess

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Little Cleanup



A few days ago my stomach wasn't feeling top notch, so I decided my insides needed a good ole bath...so this week, for a couple days, I've been doing the Master Cleanse...finally breaking with some grapefruit and an orange...


It's amazing how two days without food makes you a very grateful person...I seem to take everything for granted sometimes, especially food, lol. Now a slice of orange is like heaven...


I even did a couple runs on my empty stomach and they weren't too bad, but I certainly didn't have the energy that I do when I have eaten something the night before.


Even though I don't really like "cleansing", the feeling afterwards always makes me want to do it again...you just feel better and it hypes your appreciation for food in general.


Stay grateful...