a RAWky road

Food, health and fitness advice while vegan in a sad, S.A.D world.


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E. coli For The Win!

A couple of days ago we got food poisoning and it was a terrible experience… obviously.

We’ve been raw ’till 4 for a few weeks now and noticed that we were feeling worse and worse. We bloated out to the point of unbearable pain and couldn’t understand why. Out ratios were 80/10/10 or 90/5/5, yet we were so physically uncomfortable that any sort of movement catalyzed intense stabbing pain within our abdomens. We thought it was just detox, but everything changed last Thursday.

Warning: The following paragraph is not for the faint of heart. You can skip to the subsequent paragraph to spare yourself the details of my self diagnosed food poisoning.

Thursday night I had severe diarrhea combined with stomach cramps that almost convinced me to hit up the emergency room. The pain was so intense that I one point I started crying and I take pride in my high tolerance for pain. I felt as though my intestines were part of a tourniquet and with each wave of agony the tourniquet slowly completed another rotation. My diarrhea was non-stop and full of phlegm. The following day, Friday, I tried to consume lots of melons and juices to try to rehydrate, but soon enough I was battling nausea and vomiting. It was a terrible couple of days and though most of the symptoms have stopped, I’m still experiencing some stomach cramps today.

E coli

We thought it was Salmonella, I was convinced it was Salmonella because the Internet is a powerful tool and I figured it was the rice we had been eating. But now, writing this post, I’ve determined that it must have been E. coli. Last week the city of Portland issued a “Boil Water Notice” due to E. coli contamination found in three separate incidents of city water supplies. We don’t live in the county where the notice was issued, but all of our food is purchased in said county and I think it may have been washed or sprayed with contaminated water before being sold to us (super). 

E.coli bacteria. Photo by Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH

So, knowing that food is the best medicine, we’ve decided to go fully raw for a bit. Hopefully we’ll heal the damage done to our digestive system these past few days and feel better. I have to admit that there came a point where I was really frightened and I contemplated seeking medical attention, but I’m stubborn and I managed to convince myself that I could get through the pain (not always a good thing and I don’t exactly recommend it).

Anyways, I wanted to give you an update on what’s been going on with me and let you know that you’ll be seeing a lot more fruit in my What I Ate Todays and Fruit Hauls. I’m excited for fully raw, but I also know that raw ’till 4 is always there for me when I want something warm or the fruit is no good. Luckily we’ve entered fruit season here in the Pacific Northwest and I’m pumped to visit the local farms and pick me some berries!

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Field Roast Deli Slices Review

Well, here I am again with another review on Field Roast products. Yes, they’re super processed, packed with sodium, fat and protein, but they can be so good in calculated moderation. If you haven’t read my review on their sausages, check it out here. This time we’re diving into their deli slices.

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There are three flavors:

  • Wild Mushroom – an earthy combination of Shiitake, Champignon and Porcini mushrooms accented with imported balsamic vinegar. This flavor is the strongest of the three and rather similar to beef. I think it would be great in a Philly Cheese Steak or in a Stroganoff.

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Ingredients: Filtered water, vital wheat gluten, mushrooms, expeller pressed safflower oil, barley malt, naturally flavored yeast extract, irish moss (sea vegetable) extract, balsamic vinegar, shitake mushrooms, onion powder, porcini mushroom powder, yellow pea flour, sea salt and spices.

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  • Smoked Tomato – an exquisite blend of tangy tomatoes, deep, rich smoky notes, hearty red wine and a wonderfully complex mixture of spices. This flavor reminds me of salami and pepperoni (and it’s just as greasy) and would be great for pizzas, paninis and, because of its strong flavors, Ruebens!

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Ingredients: Filtered water, vital wheat gluten, tomato paste, expeller pressed safflower oil, red wine, garlic, barley malt, naturally flavored yeast extract, paprika, granulated garlic, sea salt, lentils, natural liquid smoke, organic wheat flour, irish moss (sea vegetable) extract, spices.

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  • Lentil Sage – seasoned with fresh garlic, zesty lemon juice and pungent rubbed sage. This particular deli slice is much more subtle than the other two, reminiscent of chicken. I think it would make a delicious Saltimbocca sandwich or tossed into a pasta dish.

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Ingredients: Filtered water, vital wheat gluten, expeller pressed safflower oil, barley malt, naturally flavored yeast extract, garlic, granulated garlic, onion powder, carrots, lentils, sea salt, lemon juice, irish moss (sea vegetable) extract, spices, rubbed sage.

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Hot Sauce Review

As promised in my hot sauce haul

Huy Fong Foods, Inc. Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce

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Probably the most currently popular hot sauce in America, if you’ve never tried this hot sauce you’ve been living under a rock! It’s a classic and you’ll find it in just about every asian restaurant nowadays. Loads of people think this stuff is spicy, but years of Caribbean and latin food has rendered my heat receptors useless. Nonetheless, this hot sauce is super flavorful and manages to pair well with just about everything.

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It’s fat-free, protein-free and 1 teaspoon provides 80 mg of sodium, so it’s relatively low in that department. I will say that if you are sensitive to chili peppers and garlic, this isn’t the hot sauce for you, but then again, not many are.

 Four Seasons Gourmet Foods Fresh Green Sriracha

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Due to the cult status of Huy Fong Foods, Inc. Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce many companies are coming up with their own concoctions, Four Seasons Gourmet Foods being one of them. I really dig this hot sauce because it’s super fresh thanks to the jalapeños in it. It’s the perfect fusion of Mexican and Thai flavors.

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It’s fat-free and protein-free with a low sodium content of 20 mg per 1 tsp. In regards to heat, it’s similar to a medium-hot store-bought salsa and very tasty.

Busha Browne’s Spicy Jerk Sauce

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I remember growing up in Jamaica there was always a bottle of Busha Browne’s Pukka Hot Pepper Sauce next to the salt and pepper on the dinner table, but I have not seen it since. However, I have found their Spicy Jerk Sauce and the flavor takes me back instantly. If you’ve never have Jamaican jerked anything then it’s rather difficult to describe. It’s an exotic blend of herbs and spicy with a bit of heat that is undoubtedly West Indian in a nut shell.

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Fat-free and protein-free with 70 mg of sodium per tsp. It has a more “vinegary” flavor than jerk seasoning and reminds me of typical american steak sauces, but that’s because this is a sauce intended to be added after cooking (tough it can be used during).

Wild Thymes Thai Chili Dipping Sauce

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Less of a sauce more of a jam, this stuff is a garlic lovers heaven on earth. It’s sweet, slightly spicy and packed with chucks of garlic. I think this would be wonderful to top of a bowl of polenta with roasted vegetables. If you’d prefer to stick with its native flavors, you could add it to salad rolls or in salad dressings. It is a beautiful sauce and would go phenomenally with peanut butter.

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It’s fat-free and has a 1/6 of a gram of protein and about 8 mg of sodium per teaspoon. It has a beautiful balance of sweet and savory.

Earth & Vine Papaya Chili Pineapple Grilling and Dipping Sauce

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I would say this is more of a marinade than a hot sauce because it’s far less viscous and has virtually no heat to it. It is however brimming with exotic, fruity flavors and as a result is right up my alley.

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At 1 mg of sodium per teaspoon it’s practically sodium-free, whilst also being fat-free and protein-free. I’m digging this sauce and I think it may be my favorite out of the lot.

Got any recommendations?


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What I Ate Today – May 28th, 2014

Breakfast:

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Fresh Pineapple Juice: 1.1 liters – 583* calories

Mangoes: 8 oz – 136.08* calories

Total Breakfast Calories: 719.08*

Lunch:

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Water: 4 cups – 0* calories

Dried Mission Figs: 10 oz – 705.9* calories

Total Lunch Calories: 705.9*

Dinner:

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Water: 4 cups – 0* calories

Steamed Basmati Rice: 12 oz – 442.25* calories

Boiled Potatoes: 12 oz – 258.55* calories

Field Roast Sausage – Italian: 1/2 serving – 120* calories

Steamed Organic Corn: 3 oz – 73.14* calories

Spring Mix: 3 oz – 20.01* calories

Four Seasons Gourmet Fresh Green Sriracha: 2 Tbsp – 30* calories

Total Dinner Calories: 943.95*

Total Breakdown:

Calories: 2368.93*

Carbs 88.6%* : Protein 7%* : Fats 4.4%*

* All caloric quantities are calculated on Cronometer


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a RAWky road

I was folding laundry today and I realized that I haven’t really given myself a proper introduction. My “About” page is swell and all, but I feel that it really doesn’t fill you in on the nitty-gritty. I want to make sure that I provide my readers with an honest representation of myself, because even though I am on a personal journey of self-improvement, I’ve loved myself and will continue to love myself every step of the way.

I don’t know where exactly to begin my story, but I do know that I don’t want to start too far back. How about I begin when I fully committed to becoming vegan?

May 2nd, 2012 was the day I stepped out into the light and I knew my life would never be the same again. Now, I’ll leave the full story on how and why I came to this decision for another time as it is lengthy and I’m sure this post will be long enough. I was 5’4, 140 lbs and very unhappy with the way that I looked. I battled acne everyday and everyday the acne won. I would pack on the makeup to the point were I looked unnatural and reapply every few hours just to make myself feel presentable. I have a long history of issues with acne, best left for another time. My hair was beginning to thin and it was freaking me out. I remember that my clothes were feeling tighter on me and my feet were always swollen. I pooped on a weekly basis and it was often a struggle. I lived a sedentary life, glued to an office chair in a windowless room for 8 hours a day and rarely performed any physical activities. I was moody, dramatic, impulsive and detached.

I still remember my last sad, S.A.D. meal, it was vegetable pizza and while consuming it I had no idea that the following day I would swap to a completely cruelty-free, vegan lifestyle.

I tossed everything in the fridge and cupboard that wasn’t vegan and started fresh. I was doing this for me, for my health and I wasn’t going back. I recall the first month we ate mostly smoothies, salads, grains, beans and grilled or stir fried vegetables. I tried to stay away from gluten (mostly because it was the trendy thing to do), salt and processed foods. I was restricting my calories, but I wasn’t counting them. I winged it and thought I was doing a stellar job because I slowly started to see a change in my waistline.

I had so much more energy! We would go for long walks and we’d go to the park and play frisbee. I know, not the most vigorous exercise, but it was a start and I was beginning to feel really good. It was exciting times! We bought our Vitamix, we began exploring local farms (nothing was in season yet) and we were experimenting with the many vegan restaurants in town. It was during this period that we discovered FreeLee and Durianrider and raw vegan seed was planted.

I first became high-carb, low-fat, raw vegan on June 12th, 2012 and we immediately dove into a 12 day banana island. If you don’t know what this means, it’s quite simple, I consumed only water and bananas for 12 days straight. This may sound extreme to many, but I was consuming plenty of calories (about 3000 – 3500 per day) and it truly opened my eyes to just how amazing I could feel on a clean, raw vegan diet. I never felt as alive as a did during those 12 days, all my senses were heightened and I felt as though I had discovered a miracle. Why didn’t everyone know about this? How could I get the message to more people? I was hooked and I loved every second of every moment I lived.

After banana island we were strict 801010 raw vegans. We took down massive banana smoothies for breakfast, a huge mono meal for lunch and gigantic salads for dinner. On average I consumed about 3ooo calories a day, we “went to bed like Buddha and were waking up like Gandhi.” Our energy skyrocketed, so we bought bikes. We began to lose weight, fast. At first it was water weight (about 5 lbs the first week) from eliminating salt from our diet, but then it was fat and lots of it. We weren’t even exercising that often, maybe an hour-long bike ride once or twice a week and at a medium pace. I was losing weight and beginning to see my body’s true shape, an image I thought I lost my first year in the U.S.

By the end of August I was down to 118 lbs and spiraling into a calorie obsessed whole. I thought I could cheat the system. I was convinced that by cutting my calories down to about 1600 per day I would reach my goal faster and be victorious. Looking back, all I really wanted was a slender figure, I wasn’t committed to becoming the healthiest version of myself. I was beginning to plateaux, so I restricted even more and soon enough I was starving and craving everything!

We broke on September 3rd, 2012. We gorged at lunch at a Middle Eastern restaurant and later gorged again at a Thai restaurant for dinner. We ate dinner (enough for 4-5 adults) every night for 5 days in a row at that Thai restaurant. For the following 3 months we ate out almost everyday and I began to put back on all of the weight that I lost. By December I was 130 lbs and, though not pleased about the number on the scale, I didn’t want to return to my raw vegan diet because the weather was getting really cold and most of the produce was shit at this point. I had an all or nothing mentality and consequently, I fell off the wagon and felt like a complete failure.

The next year was a roller coaster ride. I had made so many attempts to be fully raw, or even just incorporating an 801010 vegan diet but I would fail over and over again. It was quite disheartening, but I managed to maintain a weight of 130 lbs because I was active. I ran 15 – 20 miles a week but then I’d get injured, I healed for a couple of months (I’d ride my bike instead) and then repeated the cycle. This was also quite disheartening, but I knew things would get better, I always know things will get better. We always knew what we needed to do to get back on track, but we kept making excuses and they were catching up to us.

We got married last December and leading up to the wedding we both experienced high levels of stress caused entirely by my family. I’m not going to get into the pain we were put through because it still hurts, but we no longer talk with them and I suppose time heals all wounds. Once the whole thing was over and everyone had left, our spirits were broken and we spent months bingeing on “comfort” foods and alcohol (I hate booze, but it lulled me into a daze, which I felt I needed to suppress the sadness). I tried running because running has alway calmed me and slapped a smile on my face, but I developed planter fasciitis and had to stop. I made excuses everyday to not exercise and to comfort myself with fatty foods. Needless to say we put on even more weight and soon enough we weren’t fitting into our clothes.

So here we are now. I decided to quit fucking around and get my shit together. It’s been a few weeks now and we’ve adopted a raw ’till 4 diet that you can see in my “What I Ate Today” posts. I’m trying to get more calories in, but I’ve settled comfortably in the 2000 – 2500 range and plan to increase it with time. I’m still very bloated and I feel I may not be digesting the rice and potato bowls too well, but I really enjoy having warm foods at night. I think I need to experiment a bit with what foods work well for me right now in order to deflate. I don’t own a scale, so I have no idea if I’ve lost any weight, but that’s just a number to me and I’m more interested in improving my overall health and fitness at the moment. I’m also not as active as I’d like to be, but I am working on it and I know in time I’ll be putting in the mileage because nothing makes me happier (with the exception of my husband) than running. I’ve dusted off my bike in anticipation of the drier summer days of the Pacific Northwest and I invested in a few workout dvds to do at home.

It’s rather intimidating for me to post this because it’s such an intimate portrait of the past couple of years of my life. I just wanted to show that I’m not perfect and that life isn’t perfect. We all struggle in life with various things, but we need to always love and respect ourselves. Being healthy is the most valuable thing you can give yourself and it’s a choice. I made some bad choices, but I know the right ones and I’m choosing a better life, for me and for my husband.


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Hot Sauce Haul – May 26th, 2014

Inspired by Freelee and Durianrider, we decided to get some sauces for our usual raw till 4 rice and potato dinner bowls. Though they don’t need condiments, we do enjoy a variety of flavors and feel it spices things up (pun intended). We tried to go for lower sodium options as well as fat-free.

I’ll be sure to do a review on them (available here) and tell you what we think about each of them. Some we’ve had before and others are completely new. 

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Huy Fong Foods Inc. Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce

Four Seasons Gourmet Foods Fresh Green Sriracha

Busha Browne’s Spicy Jerk Sauce

Wild Thymes Thai Chili Dipping Sauce

Earth & Vine Papaya Chili Pineapple Grilling Sauce and Dressing

If you’ve had any of these let me know what you though of them. Also, if you have any suggestions on vegan sauces that we should definitely try, then please leave a comment.


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What I Ate Today – May 26th, 2014

Breakfast:

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Fresh Pineapple Juice: 1.1 liters – 583* calories

Fresh Orange Juice: 0.7 liters – 315* calories

Total Breakfast Calories: 898*

Lunch:

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Water: 4 cups – 0* calories

Champagne Mangoes: 2 lbs 4 oz – 612.35* calories

Total Lunch Calories: 612.35*

Dinner:

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Water: 4 cups – 0* calories

Steamed Jasmine Rice: 12 oz – 442.25* calories

Boiled Potatoes: 12 oz – 258.55* calories

Field Roast Sausage – Smoked Apple Sage: 1/2 serving – 120* calories

Steamed Organic Corn: 2.5 oz – 60.95* calories

Earth & Vine Papaya Chili Pineapple Sauce: 1 Tbs – 23* calories

Chili Flakes: 1 Tsp – 0* calories

Total Dinner Calories: 904.75*

Total Breakdown:

Calories: 2415.1*

Carbs 88.3%* : Protein 6.9%* : Fats 4.9%*

* All caloric quantities are calculated on Cronometer