Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Is the Rest of Your Family Raw?"

I get this question all the time!  The short answer is "No."  The longer answer is, "Well, my husband is a man of many diets, one of which is Raw, and he never met a menu he didn't like."  Of our 6 daughters, all eat fairly healthy versions of the Standard American Diet, and will try things that I present when I visit them, or they visit us here.  Mostly, with a couple of more accepting or even eager exceptions, they raise their eyebrows in toleration. We have 26 grandchildren from age 21 to 16 months.  One, Leah, is Raw. She first introduced me to Raw several years ago (pictured above) . Another is vegetarian, moving toward vegan, and a third is mostly vegetarian, but has recently re-introduced some chicken into his diet.

As we go along, though, there are some things that my grandchildren enjoy making in the kitchen with me.  One is making juice.  In a recent blog I spoke of how much I like my new Omega Juicer.  Last weekend one family of grandchildren got to try it out.
While they were here, we also made some raw fudge balls, an activity that always seems to work its way into our sporadic and activity-packed weekend visits.  (None of our children live nearby, so we see them and the grandchildren relatively  infrequently.) Here are some pics of Michaela, Nathan, and Ella Wright having fun creating balls and other things with raw fudge.  We all had plenty to eat, and they each took a baggie full for their 6 hour ride home. 
Let me know if you'd like a copy of the recipe!

I had this great idea about the children creating their own happy faces for Sunday breakfast.  They were not nearly as enthused as I was about the idea, but played along.  Ella had the most fun, using raisins, blue berries and juice, and almond butter on the banana smile. Michaela experimented with a variety of  nuts and seeds, and Nathan turned his into a sad face with his favored raspberries,  which we did not discuss.

Let me know what fun raw things you do with children.  I have alot to learn in this area!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

RAGBRAI ~ Staying Nourished During the Long Biking Hours

WOW!  It's been a long time between posts!  I was focussed on  my October 1 retirement for awhile, then took a celebratory trip to Mexico with Bob and some friends...time just flies.
'See this watermelon slice?  Nothing...nothing, I tell you, looked better to me after the half-way  point on any given day of RAGBRAI.  Even though we were on our bikes and peddling by 6:30 every morning, it was very hot and humid all week.  Many vendors along the way sold watermelon slices for $1.00, and they tasted so very delicious that we probably would  have paid 5 times that without question.  Luckily, there were many such vendors.
Good nutrition on long bike rides begins long before hopping on the bike each morning.  It's important to eat lots and eat very nutriciously from the end of the day's ride until bedtime.  No matter how good the mounds of cooked pasta marinara, barbecued chicken, and pulled pork sandwiche, followed by sweet berry and other fruit pies look and smell, they are loaded with things that will not be your best friend on the bike, when you're interested in feeling good and performing well for long miles.
That said, the main thing for the riding hours is consuming liquids, and many of them.  I carry two water bottles which I have frozen the night before, filled with water and a green supplement powder.  My preference is one of the Garden of Life powders, all of which are whole organic food based.  Click this picture to learn more and/or order.

The secret to maximum long distance biking (or for any endurance athletic event, for that matter), is to drink lots of fluids, and consume enough food which is easily digested and will give some energy boost and nutrition along the way.  Bananas and water are my mainstays.  The watermelon was terrific and very satisfying.  Other things that worked well and was easy to come by among the many vendors on the road were fruit smoothies.  I didn't discover until about the third day of riding that I could get a smoothie made with real fruit and no yogurt or canned or boxed or powderded juices.  They were icy and cold, and when I had drunk half of one, I poured the rest into one of my water bottles and drank it along the way.

So there you have it.  Thus concludes my musings on staying very high raw
while doing a long distance (did I mention 450 miles?) bike trip.
Next, I turn my attention to some new pages on this blog.  I'd like to write about some kitchen equipment that I find helpful and reliable, and also some reading that I recommend.  I encourage discussion here....we can all learn from each other on this raw food path to greater health and energy.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

RAGBRAI -- Eating after Long Hours on the Bike

Life is relatively simple on a long bike ride.  Ride, eat, shower, eat, rest, eat, rest eat, repeat until an early bedtime.  For me, the biking day was generally over near lunch time.  After a morning of bananas, watermelon and fruit smoothies, which tasted wonderful on the road, I was ready for some menu diversity.

The first thing I generally went for  was a 1/2 cup or so of homemade trail mix that I had packed into a snack-size zip-loc bag.  This size bag fit very nicely into my biking jersey, handy if I did want it along the way.

I usually didn't, but the crunch of the nuts and seeds combined with sweet of the dried fruits and raw cacao nibs were a wonderful reward for my efforts of the morning.

Shortly thereafter, or sometimes after I had showered, I made a green smoothie in the blender which I had packed along.  A good quart of blended fruits and leafy greens -- spinach, kale, collards, etc. was like mainlining pure energy.  It tasted delicious no matter what the combination.  I usually start my smoothies with 2 pieces of fruit, (1 cup berries counts as a piece of fruit), then add a cup of water and blend.  Next, I fill the blender to the brim with lightly packed greens, add another cup of water and blend again.  Too delicious!

Blueberry, banana, spinach smoothie in the rv.

I snacked on more fruit, nuts, and trail mix until we wandered off for supper, where I fairly easily could find a satisfying salad.  If I was still hungry into the evening, I had some dried figs, apricots, pineapple, and mango to enjoy.  I was not lacking for good food.  I had also packed some raw energy bars, some of which were made with raw cacao.  Those provided me with a wonderful chocolate "fix" on some evenings. Life is simple on long bike rides.  It's a blessing!  Next, I'll share a little of food on the road. Stay tuned!

Friday, August 26, 2011

New at Abundant Raw Life

I'm pretty excited!  After two juicers, followed by lots of research, I've ordered what I think will be my favorite. Check it out.

And to go with it I just ordered a book I think I will love, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Raw Food Detox, just as I loved its predecessor The Complete Idiot's Guide to Raw Foods. Take a peek.

I'm also trying out a new partnership with Amazon.  If you like one of these things I recommend, you can click into Amazon right from here and order what you like.  I get a small percentage, so everyone wins.  See how you like it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

RAGBRAI Raw -- Food I Brought from Home

I've been a high raw traveler for a number of years now, so I didn't have to think too hard about what foods would pack well.  As usual, I brought about 3 each of apples, oranges, and bananas.  I could rely on those to hold up for a few days in the air-conditioned RV. I had made a big batch of homemade trailmix, which I then packaged in 1/2 cup servings inside snack sized baggies.  A couple of those will fit nicely into my biking jersey back pockets. It's fun and easy to put together a trailmix. Into a big bowl I put 1 cup each of every raw nut I can find at the health food store--almonds, cashews, brazils, filberts, pistachios, pecans, and walnuts. (Pinenuts and macadamia nuts don't hold up well in the heat, so I leave them out.)  Then I add 1 cup each of raw sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.  Afer that I add one cup each of all the dried fruit and berries that I can find.  I take care to avoid the ones that have sulphur (for color) added to them.  Cranberries, apricots, figs, date rolls, raisins, mulberries, etc., dried mango, pineapple, apple, pear pieces work well, and provide some much appreciated sweet and tart combinations, in addition to their considerable amounts of various vitamins and minerals.  Sometimes I add a cup of raw shredded coconut, but I didn't for this trip.  My favorite thing to add is 1 cup of raw cacao nibs.  They add a little caffeine (my only source of caffeine), magnesium, and the wonerful taste of chocolate.  Somehow that little bit tastes really good after a long day on the bike! This homemade trailmix, while I usually pack some in a back pocket, I typically don't eat until the end of the day's biking, when I appreciate taking the time to enjoy the chewing.  But I do pack some with me, just in case I decide I want it enroute.  More on that later.
Other things that I brought along with me for snacks later in the day and into the evenings after supper were some packages of dried figs, mangos, papayas and  some raw bars from the healthfood stores.  These bars are pricey, so I don't eat them usually, but they provide some variety on a trip, and are satisfying when others are enjoying ice cream or some other dessert.
I didn't need much of the food I had brought from home.  The point is that I knew it was there if I needed it, and that was a comforting thought.
I do tend to overpack food from home, I suppose.  It works better for me to know that I've got plenty of the foods that I know will help me to perform well, than to wonder if there won't be enough along the road and in the towns, and then not have enough calories----and I need plenty of them riding many miles a day. I was able to replenish fresh fruits and vegetables along the way, mostly in the towns where we stopped for the night. These healthy raw snacks from home, however, are much harder to find along the bike routes.  Next time I'll talk about how and what I ate when we did get off our bikes at the end of the day.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

RAGBRAI Raw --Getting Started

The 39th running of the Register's (DesMoines) Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI)  was held the last week of July. It is the oldest, longest, and biggest ride of its kind -- not a race, but a gathering of between 10 and 15 thousand cyclists, and hundreds of support vehicles and camping tents.  My husband Bob, 4 other friends,  and I rented an RV for the week. We slept in the cool of our generator-produced air conditioning every night, and had the benefits of a refrigerator and running water. We took turns, each driving a day, and sometimes a little extra.  The other days we rode and average of 64 miles each day.  Well, some of us did.  I, for one, rode more like 35 miles a day in the mornings before it got blistering hot, and the numerous hills got the best of me.  Still, it was lots of riding, about which, at age 70, I feel quite proud.  Part of the challenge for me was to ride raw all week, not as a contest, or to prove anything.  Rather, I knew that if my nutrition was clean, and I was giving my exercising body raw, living, whole, easy to digest foods, I would have maximum energy for the riding itself.  I knew that my body would not be working extra hard to digest things (like preservatives) that it was never designed to digest, nor would  it be working overtime to handle meat, which takes a long time to process, nor cooked things which would also be toxin laden.  In other words, I wanted to give myself the optimum situation to ride well, and be burdened with things like undue muscle fatigue, digestive upset, or  unnecessary fatigue because of my diet.
So, if you're a biker, or other endurance athlete, or just want maximum performance from your beautiful body, stick with me for a few blogs here while I share with you just how I managed it all, and what I think were some really fine results.  Next time I will write about the foods that I packed along with me for the week.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Way it Grows!

Eating raw in public places is enough of an oddity that some people get really curious about it. For example, a couple of weeks ago I was in a faraway city with some colleagues whom I cherish, and whom I generally see only twice a year.  Two of them have been watching how I order my food in restaurants for a couple of years now. They have correctly observed how I always get served some really nice looking salads in unfamiliar places that aren't necessarily on the menu.  (It's a skill I've cultivateed in the 4+ years of my raw living.) 
Anyway, I've seen it before.  First they watch me order, then they order what I order, then they want recipes and/or book recommendations, and then they tell me that they're trying out the raw vegan way of eating and life. And the word spreads, and then the country gets demonstrably healthier.  It's all good  I love it!

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Beauty of a Supportive Community

When I moved 11 years ago  to where I now live, I had been a vegetarian for about 4 years.  It gets a little lonely being the only one I know with such seemingly different eating habits, so I decided to find some vegetarian folks to gather with periodically and enjoy a variety of home prepared delicious meatless food. It was a good thing to do, and that group, though changed some in membership over the last 10 years, still meets montly.
  It was only natural then, when, in late 2006 I made the leap into avery high raw and living cuisine, to try the same approach to gather some people around me with whom I could share food, information, and, in general, the company of others attempting to eat in a very healthy, earth-sustaining, animal friendly way. 
It worked!  Next month our Columbia Raw Food Feasters Meetup Group will be 3 years old.  We now enjoy a membership of more than 125 people, between 25 and 50 of whom show up every month for a casual and delicious raw food potluck.  Every month it gives me a real boost to be part of this vibrant, energetic, healthy, life-seeking community.  I am most grateful for their enthusiasm, their good company, and their exquisite, nourishing food!!  For more information, or to join us, go to  We'll be watching for you!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Bicycling and Eating Raw

My husband and I took up biking in 1996 and during the season we now bike close to 100 miles a week.  When I started eating a very high raw diet in 2006, one thing I had to learn was how to bike raw without the questionable benefit of processed bars and drinks.  It was one thing to pack some fruit and a couple of raw bars for a few hours of riding, and quite another to plan for sometimes days of riding, and then sleeping in a different motel every night.  Two years ago we did a ride in the non-glaciated part of southwestern Wisconsin (read VERY HILLY)--but that's another story). I brought my trusty old Oster blender which was a wedding present in 1961.  The tour guide was kind enough to buy me a fresh bag of organic spinach every day while the cyclists rode.  I had brought some fresh fruit from home, so every morning I whipped up abut 40 oz. of green smoothie to give myself a very nutricious start to the eay.  I  also packed along some raw trail mix that I had made and packed in snack baggies.  One or two of those fit very nicely into the back pocket of my cycling jersey.  Then, as we rode the 45-75 miles for the day, I would buy a banana or two to eat when we went through a town and took a short rest.  Occasionally we stopped for a real lunch and I could order a salad.  Some of them were good, others mediocre.  At the end of our riding day, the guide had snaacks wiating for us, which included fresh fruit.  I remember that after one really long, hot, hilly day, he had watermelon and strawberries waiting for us.  Terrific!!  Then in the evenings, when we all went out to dinner, I had the biggest salad I could find, and then finished off the day with some more fresh fruit. I did 5 days on the bike pretty much that same way.  The good news is that while the menu may sound boring, it filled me with just what my hard working body needed to be able to do those long, (and did I say VERY HILLY?) miles.  I finished the week tired like everyone else, but positively pain free.  At my age, that's just a wonderful thing to experience!  I am not a very fast rider, but I can ride a long time, and now that I am 70, I am more and more grateful every day to have found the right food to give me energy, endurance, and vibrant health.  The moral of the story??  Live Well ~~ Eat Raw!! ~~ and lots of it!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Spiritually Speaking -- It's Easter!

"See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth  and every tree tthat has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food; and to all the animals of the land, alll the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground, I give all the green plants for food."  And so  it happened.  God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good." (Genesis 1:30)

In my religious tradition, we hear this Scripture passage, along  with several others, every year at the beginning of the long vigil service the evening before Easter.  We sit in the dark and listen to a recounting of salvation history for Christians, beginning with this wonderful creation narrative from the book  of Genesis.

I guess that because I think alot anyway about the amounts and quality of foods I eat, I am particularly moved each year by the exerpt above.  And  it seems to me that even if I weren't immersed in Christianity, that I could as well ponder on the thought that God, or the Universe, or the big bang, or from whence ever we humans began living on this planet, saw to it from the beginning that there would be plenty of rich nutricious food to feed us, to maintain our well-being, to encourage us to learn and grow and become the magnificent creatures we are intended to be.

All the life-giving vitamins, minerals, and enzymes were given to us in abundance from the beginning.  We don't have to kill animals for food. We don't have to box, jar, pasteurize, can, or wrap any of it.  Just pick it off the tree and enjoy! Fabulous!

Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Gifts of a Friendship that Just Keeps Growing

 Living healthy, simple, natural and justly are all one thing. – Socrates

My good and long-time friend Kathleen Erickson visited this weekend.  She and I worked on some social justice projects years ago, and spent some time listening to each other "discern" as we transitioned into new avocations.  She ended up spending 18 years on the  US/Mexico border leading "immersion" experiences, creating an International Cultural Center for Women, and taught English to Spanish speaking people.  I, on the other hand made my way into chaplaincy, and then to pastoral care among persons with mental illness and another academic degree. We kept in touch over the years, and this weekend she came 300 miles to do a presentation at my parish on immigration, her current passion, and a workshop called Awakening the Dreamer, which invites people to look at their surroundings with more compassinate vision and then make changes that yeild a more environmentally sustainable , spiritually fulfilling, socially just presence on the planet.  Both events were a big hit.
What is relevant to my current passion of encouraging people to add more raw and living foods into their diets, however, is the wonderful way we spent the weekend sharing and learning from each other.  I fed Kathleen lots of raw food, which she graciously accepted, and I listened to and  absorbed much of what she was presenting, particularly the "care for the environment" presentation. She vowed to renew her efforts to eat more raw and living foods regularly, and I vowed to be more creative in my efforts of recycling and conserving water and energy.  Where we both agree and can embrace change from our respective places at the moment is in the reminder that when we make a good choice with food--meaning eating raw and living foods, we are, in fact, making a good move for the planet which we habitate.  That is, when we improve our nutrition, we are building that environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on the planet.
It was a rich, rich weekend on many levels!  For more information on Awakening  the Dreamer, which I heartily recommend, go to and look around the website.  And, if you're interested, find someone who can make the presentation to your favorite group. Meanwhile....Live well ~ ~ Eat Raw!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Great Afternoon at the Columbia Library

The Columbia Raw Food Feasters meetup group met today for its monthly potluck.  We held this special meeting at the library and invited Dr. John Ikerd, professor emiritus at MU to speak about agriculture sustainability, the American food system, the changing health patterns of Americans, and mostly, the great need we have for reform in these areas.  We invited the public, which is a new outreach effort for our group, which usually has between 25 and 35 members and guests attend each month.  We were very gratified to have 98 in attendance this afternoon.  The talk was terrific, as we knew it would be, the conversation with the speaker which followed was enlightening, and the raw food that the Columbia Raw Food Feasters brought to share was delicious, nutritious, and quite well received.  We'll hope that some folks who were experiencing Raw Food for the first time will add more of it to their diets, and visit us soon at one of our potlucks!

Friday, March 25, 2011

News from Charlotte

I got an email from a long time friend today.  We have alot in common---both raised 7 children, have been very active women in developing women's roles in the Church.  We are very close in age.  Some months ago, after she had seen some raw food related posts on my facebook page, she asked me about making green smoothies.  I sent her some directions and she incorporated daily green smoothies into her life.  Naturally, she began to fel more alive, more vibrant.  She didn't say if she lost any weight or not, but I suspect she might have, although she has always kept herself pretty trim and fit.  Anyway, I hadn't heard from er for awhile, and today she wrote with the news that she had attended a "meet the author" event at a local bookstore in Las Vegas where she lives.  The speaker was an author of a raw food preparation book, the name of which escapes me now, but she inspired Charlotte, who then sent inquiries tome about such thngs as dehydrators and sprouting mechanisms.  We emailed back and forth for a good part ofthe morning.  It was so wonderful to hear of her progress into the  raw food lifestyle. It gave me goosebumps, it did!  She has also signed up on ;a raw food meetup site. I hope she'll attend a potluck soon.  Having some support is very helpfuland, shall we say "normalizing.?"  More on that thought later.
My latest "growing edge" is to start a newsletter for my raw food classs students.  I hope to get a little something out this weekend.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pesto - Zucchini Rollups

I made a new recipe for a party this evening. They were quite tasty,  and got lots of interest about the raw food lifestyle, our monthly meetup, my raw food clases, etc. It was quite fun.  This is my first blog.
See my page at