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I’m almost done my raw week.  It’s been easy in a lot of ways (the food is just as delicious as any “normal” food), and in other ways a bit of a challenge (detox symptoms, having to throw out lots of food that spoiled unexpectedly fast, the whole nut soaking thing, the whole raw food extremism thing)…

It’s actually going to be bittersweet easing back into regular food, I think.  I don’t feel any huge inclination towards it at the moment, even though I know that someone as flighty and spacey as me really does flourish better on the standard vegan fare.  But that said… I should get onto the food of this week, more or less a meal by meal replay of all the lego-bright dishes I got to have the time of my life constructing.

Okay, so this is technically a pre-raw warm-up (haha, warm up, is that a pun?).  I made a carrot/tomato/miso soup to see how I’d feel about it all, thick with pumpkin seeds and bowl-licking good, and so….
I jumped in headfirst.  Would you look at that?  It looks like a deep-sea fish it’s so pretty.  A lot of green, but worth it.  The sprouted chickpea hummous in those wraps kept me going for snack times for the first few days, and the minty cucumber dressing from Vegan World Fusion doubled as a salad topper and a soup, before spoiling way too fast as these enzymic dishes are wont to do.  Alas, alas!
Avocado was also a life-saver, as I never felt warmer or more satisfied than after a meal that incorporated it.  I mashed this one up with rice vinegar, soy sauce and ginger, and made showy crunchy (astoundingly good) sushi rolls.  And a fruit salad with loquat and date syrup beside it.
Breakfast of day 2: the incarnation of my oatmeal habit!
Raw oats ground up in a spice grinder, with a heavy pinch of ground flaxseed, half a mashed banana, berries and lots of salt and cinnamon, left to soak overnight.  I’m keeping this one!  I’d been getting tired of regular oatmeal and this is perfect for summer and very laid back.  You have to choose fairly soft fruit for best results, but again – peaches, berries, tropical things – all available right now!  It’s very nutty and satisfying to have for breakfast.
Lunch day 2: Zucchini bites with spicy hummous, a salad of shredded carrot, red pepper, soaked walnuts and red wine vinegar (yum!!), and broccoli tossed with cucumber dressing.
Dinner that night was my first green smoothie.  I will admit I thought it the concept very strange at first, at least before I took my first sip.  Is it totally an unabashedly weird that I love the taste of green things in my smoothie now?  It adds a neat texture and a resonant kind of garden note that makes it more of a meal to me.  Especially wonderful with banana and pomegranate juice, I might add.
I’m skipping breakfast reports because they’re all variations on the raw oat groat thing, but…
Lunch day 3: A curried miso carrot dressing on spinach with avocado chunks and dried pineapple pieces – ZOMG.  Genius.  And some cucumber dressing in a bowl trying to be soup as I attempt to slurp it all up before it goes bad.  
Dinner 3: My attempt at flatbread without a dehydrator resulted in (of course) a lot of prematurely fuzzy food, but there was a small grace period where it was semi-firm enough to eat as bread and I made little sandwiches with homemade sumac tahini cheese, and some green beans tossed with organic stone-ground mustard and lemon.
Dinner day 4: pizza!
(lunch seems to be missing from the record)
The pizza is topped with sage-y sundried tomato marinara, green pepper, onions, pineapple, almond cheese, and artichoke hearts.
Lunch day 5: Possibly in the top 5 sandwiches I’ve ever eaten, is this Haiku Wrap from Juliano’s contribution to The Complete Book of Raw Food.  It has avocado mashed with garlic, ginger and lemon topped with wakame, mustard, pickle, burdock, bell pepper, onion, corn and shoyu – and it’s a magical, magical combination.  (carrot slaw with sprouted peanuts keeping the sammiches upright on either side).
Dinner 5: Another one of those raw standbys I never understood (like the green smoothie), was the zucchini pasta thing, but you know what?  It’s pasta-like, and not salad-like as I thought it would be!  Really good, actually, enough to repeat it later.  And the things that look like eggs are crunchy turnip slices topped with nut cheese.
Lunch 6: Cabbage burrito-wraps with cumin and chili sunflower pate inside (along with corn and tomatoes and green onions and things).  With a side of Pringle lookalikes (but really it’s delicious turnip) and nut cheese again for my new favourite take on nachos.  Soaking the slices in cold water gives them the perfect chip shape and makes them sweeter, too!
And that’s not to say there were no sweets!  I made some tahini-geranium cookies, that I could upload but they look pretty much like little brown discs.  The brownies are gorgeous, though!  I ground up some sprouted and dried buckwheat into flour and combined it with dates, ground almonds, walnuts, carob powder, salt and vanilla and proceeded to nom NOM NOM them up because they were so amazing!!  I highly recommend the buckwheat flour thing, I have a container of the sprouts in my freezer right now and it gives things a more cake-like texture than the usual wodgy raw dessert texture.
And here’s a plate full of desserts I took to a raw potluck last night.  Clockwise from the top left are salty sunflower seed cookies, then those buckwheat brownies with a banana-fudge frosting, then coconut-cashew-agave crusted pear tarts with gojis on top, and finally like orange & clove oatmeal raisin cookies!  So much fun, and so easy to just make a few servings of anything, and experiment all over the place!  I definitely got into the habit of whizzing up just a single cookie for after lunch sometimes when I needed something for my sweet tooth.
Potluck food itself was possibly the BEST vegan thing any non-vegan has ever made for when I came to dinner.  It was a sundried tomato-cashew romesco sauce over marinated eggplant and it was mindblowingly good.  I think it was from a book by the same people who did Raw Food/Real World, if you wanted to try it, and you might want to add extra orange juice like my friend did and eat every indulgence-soaked aubergine triangle with additional gusto for having done so.  :)
Day 7….
….   it’s day 7?  It’s the end of the week?
Do you realize I didn’t realize that until about halfway through writing this post and counting up the dates?  Oh my goodness, I suppose that means I’m done and I should ground myself now.  Part of me wants to keep going, and in fact… *goes off to buy bananas for a few minutes*
* a few minutes later *
Well… on the way down the stairs to the market, oh what do I smell but buttery wafts of rice and faint hints of curry? and whoa-p, there goes MY 100% raw convinction!  That, and charred hot dogs on the street as I walked… and I’d like to feel like myself again, I think. :D
A few things I noticed, though, to sum up the week…
* it doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive at all to eat raw.  I stuck mostly to almonds and sunflower seeds for nut protein, which can be relatively cheap.  And I didn’t indulge in the condiments like nama shoyu and special apple cider vinegar or anything.  If anything it might have been cheaper due to me not buying coffee all the time.  OH YEAH I QUIT COFFEE FOR A WEEK.  !  Craziness.
* nut soaking liquid is super mucilagous and gross, and I’ll probably soak most things now if I think of it beforehand.
* white wine was okay to drink, as was whiskey (although I’m pretty used to whiskey).  Red wine on the other hand, made me terribly achey for a whole day after drinking it, and then the ache turned into a kinda “detox ache” that I’ve still got in my calves when I bend over too far.  
* a couple drying racks set in front of a sunny window was my dehydrator, and it worked pretty well for cookies and buckwheat sprouts.  Terrible for bread though, and I wouldn’t even try crackers.  Oh yeah, and sun tea!  Tasty stuff!  And not even that long to make, maybe a few hours in the sun for amber-steeped liquid.
* I caved once, for a bunch of artichokes I got for free, but wouldn’t you?  All succulent and dipped in lime & olive oil???  I’d never tried artichokes before and it was my chance right there, so I don’t feel bad.  And they are, by the way, not nearly as hard to make and eat as advertised and mysteriously sweet and I ate the stems too, YUM.
* Guess that’s it!  And I’m so making pizza, man, like, soon.
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It’s funny when you don’t eat during the day, how certain activities grow in fascination to replace the habit of cooking. Case in point: cat watching. Oh, Satchmo… curled up with the collected works of Lewis Carroll… so peaceful. I spent a lot of time reading over those ten days (a LOT), drawing, walking around late at night with legs that felt oddly leaden but powered by this strange eternal sense of energy. I even went to a party on the weekend stone-cold sobre, swizzled my lemonade and had a blast. Near the end there was a definite natural high going on, and I could see how people could continue for 14, 20, 40 days….

Not that I was going to. I’d have to take out real estate to manage all the recycling!

P (hereby referred to as “Pomme”) came off the fast one day before me, so we went to work together making a pottage of soup with about half a garden in it, it was the most nourishing amazing thing I’d ever seen… (turnip, celery, carrot, zucchini, sweet potato, leek, onion, cabbage, mushrooms, broccoli, tomato, green beans, wakame, brown rice and barley). It was so tempting, in fact… that 3 AM of day 11…. I crept out of bed………….. and had a bowl of it!

I know you’re supposed to wait and spend a whole day drinking orange juice to break the fast…. but I am not patient! And my trusty guts of steel worked like a charm! It was delicious, and sat perfectly. (I’m not recommending this to anyone, though – I almost ate it in the spirit of science, to see if I doubled over in crippling cramps or something equally bad, and that might still happen if your stomach is sensitive)

This is my first real meal! On day 2 of breaking the fast, I woke up to the most enticing smell ever, and Pomme had made the most perfect and delicious (and spicy!) dhal, which we had for dinner with brown rice, steamed veggies, salad, and this very cool sesame coleslaw I made weeks ago that magically started fermenting all on it’s own. I’ll have to see if I can recreate that…

And then, after dinner, because we are daredevils after all…. we made a raw pie, and (oh dear) ate the whole thing between us! Okay, I had most of it. ;)

It had a walnut/almond/cinnamon crust, and the filling was a blend of banana, cashews, mango, blueberries and maple syrup, and it was pretty amazing. Raw pies are especially fun to make because they involve using the blender a lot! And they’re easier on the post-fasting tummy, too.

So that’s pretty much it! There’s loads of other things I could talk about the fast, but it’s already kind of fading in my memory… it really wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be at all. I was positive I’d give up somewhere around Day 3. I did spend Day 3 reading every dissenting opinion on the cleanse that I could find, and almost thought of stopping. But I didn’t, and I’m so glad, because the real treasure I got from it was I SUCCESSFULLY QUIT SMOKING, I’m free! There was no craving, no coughing, no weight gain, no insomnia, no irritability… it’s basically the most perfect way to quit, ever. I hope anyone who wants to quit tries this method, I can’t recommend it highly enough! And little things like pickles and curry taste like absolute heaven afterwards. :P~~~~~

(next post: my veganversary and I finally get to try tempeh!)

There’s a reason I haven’t been posting this past week… and a reason I haven’t been around to your blogs. It is a very good reason, but we’ll get to that in a moment. For now, here are the handful of beautiful things I’ve eaten recently. That salad up there was way back on Father’s Day, but it was so delicious and so lovingly assembled by my own sister that it has to get blogged. You can’t see it for all the chunky/sumptuous organic veg on top, but she bought one of those salad mixes with furry bites of mint and even flowers in it – so posh! All it needed was a squeeze of orange and some sesame oil to make it sing. And also cashews on top!

This is my Om-inspired meal. The bean salad component was actually made at 3 in the morning, the night I got in from camping. No, not shower first, oh no… beans need time to marinade of course! And then the next day I threw together this miraculous pilaf with apricots and cumin seeds that tasted WAY better than I ever could have predicted (what did I do??? It just started melting in one’s mouth!), and an addictive tahini-dressed salad with radish greens, red onions, yellow beets, parsley and cucumber.

I think the best part of this was my mother’s roommate admitting that she didn’t need to make that eggy frittata after all, it was a complete meal on it’s own. (duh!). No, actually, the best part was the leftovers…. mmmmmmm.

And this is a last meal of sorts. Pretty good for a last meal, though, eh? The sushi ginger was even the fancy kind I had stored away with shiso leaf in it, ooooooh. And it’s probably okay that we polished all this off between two people because……….

It’s MASTER CLEANSE time! – nothing but lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and mint tea for 10 whole days. Who’da thought I’d ever do it? Actually, it’s going okay. I’m on my 5th day right now, and since P and I are both doing it at the same time, it’s been really supportive and fairly easy. I’m not even light-headed anymore, and I have zero cigarette cravings. I can’t believe I used to poison myself like that, tsk… not when my skin looks this good right now! Things I have noticed, however:

* one must budget heavy-lifting/long walks in proportion to nap times
* limes are totally allowed and taste way better
* eating food seems weird to me now
* I miss alcohol and coffee, though :p
* P is crazy for wanting to do this for 14 days. It’s peach season, after all! Expect 5 more days from me and then back to wanton baking/stirring/blending/concocting of actual real FOOD, I can’t wait!

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