Today I Woke Up Happy

Day 3 and due to a super late night I was sleeping ? in so was woken up by the dogs wanting a potty break. The daylight wakes them up but they usually give us till 8 or 9 after super late bedtimes.

Kerwin let them out (thank you! ??) and as I lay there I realized I was happy. Tired and sleepy yes, but HAPPY and feeling good. Woohooo!!

I recall just a couple weeks back waking up and wondering when I would ever WANT to get up, or feel great upon waking up. Even waking up before my alarm I’d be almost sleep walking and kinda crabby, at least till I woke up. Kerwin would probably say a lot crabby. LOL. Not today. ?

I expect it’s the off loading of the recent cheese and my body doing a reset but I’m down 2.5 lbs.

What am I eating?

I have been eating practically non-stop these last two days! Nibbling and snacking on whatever Raw was in the fridge, I love leftovers!!, or pantry.

Made a fabulously yummy Nacho Cheeze, ate walnut taco meat with romaine lettuce from the garden, arugula / orange salad is made and ready to go with a very unusual, intensely flavorful tomato based dip type sauce for a “dressing”, fudge balls with coffee and my non-coffee peppermint mocha, oranges and oranges, flax crackers with almond butter and dates alternating with dipping the crackers in the nacho cheeze.

The worst thing you can do when eating Raw, or starting on any eating change I would imagine, is get hungry. So I’m heading that challenge off!

How do I FEEL?

And get this, I feel so LIGHT! Different than how I feel after eating cooked healthy foods. Still way better than the bloat I got from junk foods but not this lightness. I don’t know the right words to express it exactly but I feel beautifully empty inside this morning! Not sluggish or needing a kick start, my stomach woke up ready for whatever fuel I want to give it but I’m okay and not hungry yet.

What’s on the menu today?

I have radishes I’ve been stockpiling LOL, kale, spinach, Swiss chard and a couple other greens in my veggie bag to do something with today. I found a radish recipe I’m going to try out. ??

And that’s all she wrote. I’m off to LIVE the day!

Until next time- Choose You, Choose Joie!

Larkin is such a good snuggler. ??

Here She Goes Again!

#Raw4Joie is back!

After several months of sea-sawing between raw and cooked foods I have decided it is time to make another change.

“The Plan” had been to eat all Raw & Living Foods and then that morphed into 80/20 (raw/cooked). I started tracking it and I realized how easy it was to have a whole day go by and not eat ANY Raw foods.

Granted, I was still eating clean, healthy, no meat, no added sugar and no processed white/wheat flours but it was Cooked. And not needing to eat the same quantity of food anymore, I could make one cooked meal for me and my honey and nibble on it all day. Raw Ruh Roh! Feelings of vim and vigor, the spark of LIFE, real Zest and Passion, all start to diminish, incrementally.

I hadn’t gained any weight so the scale was of no help to catch the slide.

I found that an easy way to use the greens in my weekly CSA veggie bag from the local Farm (Quail Hollow Farm) is to saute them up with onions, garlic, seasonings and whatever other veggies I have on hand. It’s more familiar, right? Yet it feels like sacrilege! Such FRESH, better than organic, life sustaining nutrients, that I wiped out by applying heat. Makes me sad.

What to do?

I go to a BBQ with friends and knowing there will be lots of items I don’t want to eat, even the Vegan Garden Burger is not Raw. I take a raw salad, yummy desert AND my most amazing flax crackers so I can eat them with the fresh guacamole that is sure to be there. I’m prepared! Somehow I CHOOSE to eat slice after slice of processed CHEESE. At one point I’m hearing my body tell me to stop, I still eat a couple more slices before I listen. No joke, right then and there I felt myself starting to get sick, the cheese curdling in my stomach. On the drive home I sneeze and feel my nose start to get congested. Hah! Serves me right! How amazing is my body that it so quickly starts cleansing my system and pushing the mucus forming, inflammatory dairy products out of my system. I’m grateful! It sucks though too. ?

I think, what if?

What if everyone’s body spoke to them so clearly and quickly? What if people weren’t already overwhelmed with the load of toxins and environmental pollutants that their liver is unable to handle so their bodies are only able to store them until they build up and disease breaks out?

I answered myself: NO ONE would eat cheese. If you felt immediate effects from eating toxic food, you would stop. (she types as she again sneezes.) Whatever food it was.

Yup, I am stopping. I know I chose to jump off the wagon and eat the cheese due to feeling frustrated with where I was at in not being on target with my “plan” mentioned above. I got the answer I was looking for, time to implement a new plan. LOL

I’ve been learning an incredible amount of applied knowledge on this healing journey and am retraining my brain to think differently, to choose me. I’ve learned a lot more about preparing raw foods, tested recipes to find my favorite go-to’s and “un-cooking” is becoming more normal, full of all the flavors I love and EASY to be doable on an everyday basis. I am ready to be on the path of Raw and Living foods. I know I can do it, I want to do it and I’ve proven that regardless of what any experts, nutritionists, the infamous “they” or trendy diet plans say, I feel most VIBRANT and so full of LIFE when I consistently eat Raw and Living foods; It’s not debatable.

I’ve also proven that trying to be less than 100% while making it a true lifestyle change doesn’t work for me. It’s like a friend shared today regards her own health journey, you need to be all in, no “Cheat Days”. Still eating 20% cooked is cheating and defeating the purpose. If I believe eating RAW food is the best way to live and isn’t a diet but my lifestyle, what am I telling myself when I default to cooking something?

Don’t get me wrong, anything you do to take a step towards health IS a good thing. One raw meal, one grapefruit instead of a bowl of ice cream are wonderful choices and your body will thank you for them. Keep doing them!

My story has been what feels like a lifetime in the making. Many failures over years and years, with some wins mixed it here and there, until finally 2017/2018 was The Year. Doing it My Way and making the choices to change that worked for me, in a way that worked for me. Now there is no going backwards! There is no standing still, you’re either moving ahead or falling back.

Today marks Day 1 and the new beginning of eating All Raw & Living Foods!

Will I do it for life? Most likely. Why give up what makes me feel so good???That being said, I am going to document it for the first 32 days and that’s all I’m committing to at this point. ?

So here is to the journey and the next 32 days of the rest of my life! Ecstatic only scratches the surface of how I’m feeling! Joyful, confident, proud, creative, filled with anticipation, jumping up and down and giddy with glee are a few more applicable descriptives.

Stay tuned for my reflections as I go and of course all the recipes. 🙂 Please feel free to ask questions! I’d love for my story and experiences to help YOU on your journey to greater health and vitality.

You are welcome to join my Facebook group for more on this topic and to be around other healthy-minded people: Joie To Your Health! Eat. Move. Love

Until next time, Choose Joie! 🙂

Curry Sweet Potato Pasta

Sharing this most amazing sweet potato pasta recipe, courtesy of Cara Brotman here. This is a go to recipe when you need a change up from fresh green leafy salads and are craving something rich, savory, super filling that is packed full of flavor. It is one of my raw favorites!

Recipe:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, spiralized
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped raw nuts (almonds & hazelnuts are great)
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions (spring onions work well too!)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 cup mint

Curry Almond Sauce

  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 6 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce / Liquid Aminos / Tamari
  • 1 Tbsp finely minced ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, or to taste

Start with the Curry Almond Sauce, adding all of ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Add remaining ingredients, sweet potatoes – mint, stir well and Enjoy!

*due to the coconut oil, if not eaten right away the sauce will harden in the fridge. Just take it out and let it sit on the counter a bit to warm up before eating. I like to make it the same day and leave it out on the counter until dinner to allow the flavors to marinate and so the noodles are able to be twirled on my fork, like spaghetti. lol

Kerwin used the angel hair blade on the spiralizer to make the pasta in the photo and it turned out fabulous! More noodle for the sauce to cling to. ??

I haven’t tried this with the pomegranate seeds yet but I’m sure it’s wonderful!

Raw Unroasted Almonds

Top Secret Reveal!

Here is my tried and perfected recipe for making The Best Unroasted Almonds. It’s all in the details.

~Start with RAW Almonds ?

~Soak them overnight in fresh water. The nuts will absorb a lot of water and expand so put plenty of extra to keep the nuts covered.

~Drain and rinse them in the morning. *If you are pressed for time, just put new fresh water covering the nuts, place them in the fridge and you can get to them later. With daily rinsing and fresh water the nuts will keep in the fridge for 5 days so you can always have a batch soaked and ready to go for various recipes.

~Place rinsed nuts on a dehydrator tray, spread out so they are in a single layer. Dehydrate for 1 hour at 105°.

~Dump dried nuts into a big bowl

~Drizzle Olive Oil (cold pressed) and mix. You only want to “lightly” coat the nuts so the seasonings will stick, too much oil and they’ll never get the ‘pop’ or light crunch you’re looking for. So start slow, mix, and add more oil as needed.

~Add Seasonings. Below is my all time favorite mix but this is customizable to your taste buds of course.

Pink Salt – FINE Ground

Garlic Powder

Chipotle Powder

Cayenne

First 3 are pretty equal amounts, the cayenne I use about 1/4 the amount, just to give a tiny kick. Don’t worry about the quantity of salt, Himalayan Pink Salt is good for you. ?? The nuts honestly won’t taste the same without enough salt, it brings out the flavor of the other spices and once you bite in the flavors all blend with the nuts to create a mouth watering savor burst of flavor.

*One thing to note is Be Generous! Put on way more seasonings than you think you’ll need. Taste the nuts and keep adding until the balance is there and it’s bit too strong. Some will fall off as it’s dehydrating and the flavors will soften. Bland nuts are just no fun, trust me. Also, you want to taste the spices, not the oil. Add more spices if you taste mostly oil. Or add more nuts to thin out the amount of oil.

~Put back on the dehydrator trays and “roast” at 110° until the cows come home. Seriously, just leave it going for 2-3 days, periodically testing them. When you like the pop and crunch pull them out, let them cool and store them in the pantry. They won’t last long enough to get old LOL. Way to yummy.

*I like glass canning jars to store them. Ziplock bags makes the nuts not look as appealing and I swear they don’t hold the crunch the same way. ?‍♀️ They are good though to use for carrying nuts with you for on the go snacking.

I was excited to find them on sale at Sprouts this week in the bulk section. So I made a big batch! Not sure if I’m going to show them to Kerwin or not. Haha ?

After many soggy, chewy, bland batches of nuts I am excited to have found a recipe that WORKS!! I want you to skip past my failures ? so feel free to ask questions! I hope you give these nuts a go and share how they turn out for you!

Mostly Raw Carrot Cake Muffins

Muffin Base

  • 1 cup walnuts (not soaked)
  • 1 cup Medjool dates
  • 2 cups grated carrots, squeezed tightly through a nut milk bag to remove as much excess moisture as possible.
  • 1 heaping tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • Dash nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp pink salt (or more to taste)
  • 3/4 cup raisins

Icing

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked 1+ hours
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (you could use agave instead or probably honey too)
  • Few shakes of pink salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Water (reserve)

Instructions

Base

  • Blend the dates and walnuts in a food processor till they are crumbly, but holding together.
  • Add carrots and spices. (I pulsed the carrorts innmy food processor to save manually grating baby carrots. Lol) Process till the mix has taken the form of a smooth “dough.” It will take a minute or two.
  • Add raisins and pulse or stir in to combine.

Icing

  • Drain and rinse cashews, put in a food processor with maple syrup, salt and lemon. Process until the mixture is well combined. With the motor running, add just enough water as the motor is running to get the consistency you want. Keep checking. Tasting helps too. ?
  • Push the carrot cake dough into six muffin tins or ramekins, gently drop a heaping Tablespoon of icing to each and put in freezer for about two hours so they’ll set enough to be removed from the muffin tin while holding their shape.
  • Serve and enjoy!
  • These can be made a day ahead of time and stored in the fridge.

Tip – if you stretch the base to make 7 muffins you can set one aside to be sure of having a “leftover” while still having an even number to put out for guests. ?

This is me doing that very thing and having a muffin for breakfast the next day. Lol. It filled me up for hours!

Raw Hot Chocolate

On the search for a perfect cup of “not coffee” I found this yummy ? concoction that is a delicious Hot Chocolate. It’s healthy, it’s raw, it’s creamy, frothy and super rich. Everything a real cup of hot chocolate should be without all the processed sugar and inflation/mucus generating dairy milk.

Recipe:

  • 1 cup cashew/almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp Reishi powder
  • 1 T Cacao powder
  • 1 tsp coconut butter or oil
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (adjust to taste. I use date sweetened milk so didn’t need much)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of Himalayan Salt

Blend it all together in the Vitamix on high for 5 minutes or so till it gets to 105° (used a Kitchen liquid thermometer ? to test). I also heated the cup in the microwave for a minute. Serve immediately. Makes 1 extra large cup. And if you want a more bitter/strong taste just up the amount of Reishi.

Lots of options to customize this drink. I’d love to hear what you come up with!

And if you have the go-to substitute for a cup of coffee, I’m all ears! I don’t even like the taste or acidity of coffee anymore, but its the habit I’m looking to replace. I do like tea, a fall harvest spicy or camomile are my favorites with a splash of honey (though honey doesn’t really splash does it LOL), but I want something with more kick and I don’t mean caffeine, a more intense, light, flavor. The habit of holding the warm cup in your hands, drinking while chatting with friends, while traveling in airports between connections, sipping while walking the streets playing tourist…that’s what I want.

Hot Chocolate is for cozy nights at home watching a movie, sitting in front of a backyard fire, a lazy morning….aaahhhhh yes. ? What’s your favorite time/place to drink hot cocoa?

Simple Sweet Potato Salad

This salad is so simple to make, tastes light, refreshing and oh so tasty! The sweet potato noodles hold up well to being marinated in the dressing, actually tastes better after a bit, no wilting mush here.


Written Recipe????

  • 2 Sweet Potatoes – Medium, spiralized
  • 1/3 cup Organic Olive Oil
  • 1/3 cup Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 Sweet Onion, Medium, rough chopped
  • 1 heaping tsp Cumin
  • 3 large garlic cloves (I used pickled cloves. Garlic Powder can also be used if you prefer)
  • A few dashes of Cayenne Pepper
  • A few dashes of Turmeric
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 3 cups Spinach, chopped (optional)
  • 3 cups Cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • Nutritional Yeast- sprinkled on top of each bowl as you serve. Yummy cheesy flavor.

Mix together greens and noodles in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix up the dressing ingredients Olive Oil – Salt & Pepper. Then pour over the noodles, stir and let marinate for 10 minutes before serving. An hour or two or three makes it even tastier. ☺️

If not adding the greens, the Olive Oil and Apple Cider Vinegar can be reduced to 1/4 cup each.

This is a great base so get creative! Add other spiralized other root veggies like beets or daikon to add some contrast with the sweet potato ?. Chopped walnuts or sunflower seeds would be great toppers too!

I’d love to hear how you enjoy this salad and what changes you make! ?

Raw Oatmeal

Want more than the standard Oatmeal?


This yummy breakfast had:

•Oat groats, Raw – soaked overnight in dehydrator to keep the water warm.

•Almonds, Raw – soaked overnight on the counter, skins mostly come off the wet nuts on their own while being chopped for a nice smooth texture.

•Hemp seeds

•Cinnamon

•Cashew milk, Raw

•Bowl of fruit

Wild Maine blueberries

Half a banana

Raisins

*i put the fruit bowl in the dehydrator for a few minutes while making the cashew milk and it thawed the blueberries just perfectly.

•Pecan Streusel (optional) – pecans, coconut sugar, coconut oil – blended together. Streusel was leftover from my Apple pie.

This dense bowl of nutrients was easily enough for 2!

If you don’t have a dehydrator, putting the the oat groats in warm water to soak overnight works too.

If Raw Oats are too much for you right now, no worries, you’ll still get loads of benefits from cooking your oats, plus all the added “extras”. Oat Groats are less processed but need a longer cooking time; Rolled Oats are another option.

While you can get cashew milk at the store, fresh is sooo much tastier and doesn’t have preservatives, carrageenan, fillers and sugar. Plus, the % of nuts you’re getting isn’t listed on the label but I assure you it’s WAY less than homemade, closer to 6% according to an article I read. Homemade is 25% and so easy to make!

Its Time to Get Serious

What are you holding on to that is holding you back?? 

Here’s what I discovered…

My story starts by sharing that my husband and I are on a life changing journey this year and regards my eating habits I decided to be All In. What does that mean? 

I’ve taken challenges off the table and said goodbye to meat, to added sugar, to processed white & wheat flours (breads, pastries and pastas) and most recently decided that a LIFEstyle, not a diet, of Raw & Living Foods was where I wanted to be. 

Why, you ask? Great question! 

Stay with me as I back up and detour for a second to explain. 

I listened to a podcast (I love road trips!) by The Raw Chef, who I’ve followed for several years and he shared an interview he did where the conversation was on “raw” vs “living” and what those terms meant. The comment was made that being all “raw” is a calling and to be committed to it you have to know why you’re doing it. What do you want out of it? Does eating that cooked meal every two weeks ruin it? Are you looking for a title? You can still be unbalanced and unhealthy eating raw so knowing WHY you are doing whatever you are doing/eating is key. 

Me, I want to FEEL life running through my veins. I want passion, vibrancy, clarity and increased consciousness. I want an unstoppable zest for life- Joie de Vivre! 

Having said that…maybe you’re wondering if I will ever eat meat again? 

Well, I’ll answer that in two parts. 

For the first- as part of that whole increased awareness thing you get with healthy eating, I don’t see how I could forget again where meat comes from. My whole life prior to this point it was so easy to disassociate an Arby’s roast beef sandwich from the animal who gave its life for me. It was how I grew up. It was what I knew. It was normal. Maybe that roast beef is not even real meat anymore, who knows. ? I do still remember how YUMMY they taste. 

But somewhere along this journey I lost that learned disassociation and now when I see a cow or pig in a livestock hauler it makes me cry, knowing they will never get to live out their life and die a natural death after raising a family living free in nature. 

Am I humanizing them? ??‍♀️ All I can say is have you ever looked into their eyes? There’s sentience to be found. A soul. An awareness.  

Secondly, I feel amazing. My body keeps telling me what works and what doesn’t and I’m learning to listen. Quinoa pasta used to be an awesome replacement for semolina pasta, now it weighs me down and makes my brain dull. Meat is on that list too. ?

So to simply answer the question: I’m CHOOSING to feel amazing and respect sentient life. 

Back to my original point ?, I have identified a couple things holding me back from being All In that I am taking steps to correct. 

One is Cookbooks. I have several with meat, dairy, sugar and flour based recipes. When I’m hungry and looking for a new flavor having those on the shelf is NOT helpful. It’s like a safety net that I can go back to if my new eating lifestyle doesn’t work out. Well, I’ve gone through and cleaned everything out. 

I only kept a few of what I call “Memory Recipes”, handwritten ones from my mom, the dessert I made for my husband when were were dating, the Hawaiian cookbook that belonged to my husbands parents…

To put something together to store them all will be Phase 2.

It feels a little like I’ve renewed my vows. Lol. I feel lighter and more sure of my path. Still need to go through a few magazines and newer cookbooks I bought this year to lighten even more. That’ll be phase 3. ☺️

The second thing holding me back is The Pantry. Inside my much loved walk in pantry I have contriband items, like canned organic black beans, a jar of organic, no added sugar, marinara sauce, a box of edamame pasta. I’ve pulled them all out and lined them up on the counter. They will be eaten this week or else. 


I’ll use this coming week to search for new raw recipes, planning out raw meals, dehydrating/making some staple raw items and getting more organized. My Tuesday “In The Kitchen” cooking show will be fun! I think Smoky Kimchi is on the menu. ? Maybe I’ll even tackle dog treats. ?

Anyone up for helping me organize and decorate my pantry? ?? 

Having The Pantry all done up right will be a commemoration and celebration of my, our, new lifestyle. I’m excited to get started!! 

So there’s my story. ? 

I encourage you to step back for a minute and take stock of your life. What things could be acting as a crutch and slowing you down from achieving your dreams? They could be tiny and seemingly innocent, like my cookbooks. I’d love to hear what you discover and how you feel after removing the crutch! 

Cheers to the journey! 

Joie to Your Health and Mine! ??❤️?

In The Kitchen…Barefooted

This, my 2nd, episode In The Kitchen was so much fun! And all the recipes turned out amazingly delicious! I hope you enjoy watching! 🙂

Here are the “tweaked” ? directions for each recipe:

Paul’s Pâté

  • 1 cup Cashews
  • 1/2 cup Sunflower Seeds
  • 6 scallions
  • 1 large carrot
  • 3 Tbl Olive Oil
  • 2 1/2 Tbl Liquid Aminos (soy sauce or tamari work too)
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

Blend Cashews and Sunflower Seeds in food processor until fine. Add all remaining ingredients and blend until the texture you prefer. I saved half of the scallions to add at the end to leave add a little more chunky texture.

Sesame Ginger Sauce:

  • 1 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbl Apple Cieer Vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Fresh Ginger (or even a little more wouldn’t hurt, surprisingly)
  • 1 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup Liquid Aminos
  • 1/2 Tbl Sesame Oil (toasted is fine too)
  • 1 cup Water

Add all ingredients to blender and process until creamy. Make take a bit to break down the ginger.

Can be used as a salad dressing, a dip for apples / veggies or with rehydrated seaweed like Arame and Hijiki.

Flax Crackers:

  • 2 cups whole Flax Seeds (soaked in 2 cups water for a 2 hours or more, if you leave overnight that’s fine)
  • 5 cloves Garlic (I love garlic!)
  • 1/2 Lemon, juiced
  • 2 – 3 Tbl Liquid Aminos
  • 1 Tbl Fresh Ginger

Blend ingredients EXCEPT the Flax Seeds in a food processor until broken down. Then add the Flax Seeds and blend until well combined. The Flax Seeds will not grind up but you want the flavors to be well mixed.

Remove from food processor and place on a Teflex sheet on top of a mesh dehydrator screen. Spread batter thinly 1/8 – 1/4 thick. It will take 2-3 trays to use all the batter. The goopy texture will hold the crackers together even if there are holes.

Dehydrate at 105 degrees for 10-16 hours, until crispy. Halfway thru test them for firmness and flip them over onto another mesh tray and remove the Teflex sheet so they dry on both sides.

The sound of flax cracker crunch…

 

If you like these recipes you can pick up Alissa Cohen’s book here

Raw Pepper Cashew Cheese Pate Recipe:

  • 1 cup Raw Cashews (soaked in water for 30 min – 4 hours)
  • 1 cup Bell Pepper (red, orange or yellow)
  • 2 1/2 Tbl Lime Juice (or lemon)
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 3/4 tsp Salt

Place all ingredients into a food processor and puree into a smooth pate. This will take a bit, the texture will become smoother and thicken a bit after blending for longer than you think you need to. 🙂

Enjoy! ?

Please share your favorite paté or cracker recipe! If you have questions or requests for recipes you’d like to see made Raw, I’d love to hear them! 🙂