day 100. we’ve got the whole world in our hands

world in hands

Last night I was watching a show on iView called redesigning your brain. It’s based on this guy, Todd Sampson, who undertakes brain training for three months while neurologists monitor the changes in his brain. It’s all about brain plasticity. And it’s fascinating.

As I watched, it occurred to me that the brain training was focused on engaging in new behaviours, new habits, which cause the brain to create new pathways or synapses, and then strengthening these pathways through repetition.

I realised that by setting myself this raw challenge, I had embarked on a kind of redesigning my brain. I had made myself more likely to stick to new behaviour because I implicitly accepted that, as a challenge, it would be, well, challenging, duh, right? To challenge myself means being out of my comfort zone, accepting things will be unusual, uncomfortable, new.

I couldn’t do it lazy and eat the same thing every day because I needed to post new recipes. Writing this blog strengthened my resolve by making me accountable to the commitment I’d made.

I knew people were curious about my discoveries – friends, families, colleagues, and people I hadn’t even met, began to share their food and health journeys with me. This gave me faith and courage that this wasn’t some self indulgent exercise, but an undertaking of meaning and purpose.

According to Redesign Your Brain, something as simple as eating a new food each day creates new connections in your brain. (Mine should be huge by now!) The research on brain plasticity shows there is much to be gained by challenging ourselves with new behaviours.

The old thinking about brain cells, that once programmed they were set in stone, has been overturned. Now the research shows that the brain is incredibly resilient, resourceful and adaptable.

But you have to use it. Like all of nature, the human brain is super-efficient and energy saving, so if you only make the same old demands on it, eat the same food, drive the same way to work, do the same activities all the time, your brain doesn’t need to create new connections, so it doesn’t.

It’s fascinating watching the show as Todd’s brain increases in capability, functionality, and effectiveness through simple brain training exercises. And it’s inspiring to know that by changing our diet, or taking a different route to work we can begin to expand our own brain power. How simple is that?

I also read this article about the brain-gut connection and it’s effect on psychiatric disorders, see here. I have a particular interest in the brain-gut connection since my son was diagnosed with autism 8 years ago.

After his diagnosis, in addition to various accepted modalities for treating autism, such as speech therapy, psychology, and social skills training, I also investigated all kinds of alternative treatments.

As a result, he was treated at age 4 for leaky gut. Leaky gut is a syndrome where the intestinal lining has become compromised and both fails to absorb essential nutrients and allows particles to pass into the blood stream that essentially toxify the body.

The treatment for this syndrome was a special diet and supplements. I’m not saying it cured him, but you wouldn’t know he had autism these days. And I always know when he hasn’t been following his diet because the decline in his communication skills is quite dramatic.

All this research supports my gut feeling (excuse the pun) that diet really is vital to all aspects of our health.

I also read a really saddening article today about the state of the ocean. It’s here if you want to read it The Ocean Is Broken by Greg Ray.

I found it especially sad because it doesn’t offer any solutions. In fact the most obvious solution, like, well, go clean up the ocean, could potentially do more harm than good.

There’s a number of factors at play, but the main one was the fishing industry, the massive trawlers that plunder the ocean day and night, keeping only a small portion of what they catch then tossing dead fish back into an almost lifeless ocean.

It’s almost like reading about genocide. Because essentially we are murdering this planet.

It’s easy to get disillusioned, to reach a state of despair over the environmental catastrophe we find ourselves in. It’s easy to feel powerless when politics and activism don’t seem to be changing things, and certainly not fast enough. The logical mind would rightly call the situation hopeless.

Yet there is another perception which I am very open to, because really the alternative is too depressing.

The other alternative, espoused by many people from Albert Einstein, to the postmodern quantum physicists, to Marianne Williamson and Louise Hay, not to mention pretty much all spiritual doctrine, is that we create the world through our perception of it. So that all that is needed for change – even for the scale of change that seems truly miraculous – is for enough people to believe it’s possible. And that’s it.

What? I know. It just sounds too simplistic. It couldn’t be that easy, right? Then I thought about a book I read about quantum physicists when they first encountered wave-particle duality, they discovered that it was totally dependent on the observer (and their expectations) as to whether they saw one “reality” or another.

So if there’s no absolute reality, if the act of observing, interacting, and perceiving the world actually changes its form, then, hell yeah, it’s totally reasonable to assume that what can happen at the microscopic scale can also happen on a massive scale  – a change in human consciousness could change the physical environment. See more here on wave-particle duality.

Phew! I know a tangent when I see one! My point is…

So 100 days. Who would have thought that I’d still be eating raw? Not me, that’s for sure!

I said at the outset I would try eating raw and see what happens. So what has happened? Probably not what I thought would happen – I did have some lurking notion that I’d end up looking like Miranda Kerr. That hasn’t happened. However plenty of positive (and mostly unexpected) things have.

I love green smoothies, I feel like a clean, green machine. I never thought I’d honestly say that. It’s hard to explain, like a sensation that my body is running efficiently, that it’s not clogged up with processed and “filler” foods. I have developed a real respect for real food, as made by mother nature and just how perfectly nourishing it is.

I feel connected to the earth, I’m making ethical choices by eating fresh, locally grown, organic, plant-based food. Ethical because it leaves a smaller carbon footprint than buying processed and imported food; it financially supports local farmers; and it ensures there will be the option of organic food for future generations by making organic land use sustainable.

The top 13 things I most love about going raw (so far)…

1. Feeling clean on the inside

2. Eating the way nature intended

3. Reading about nutrition

4. Discovering like-minded friends

5. Trying new foods

6. Switching to organically grown food

7. Respect for my body and the earth

8. Eliminating toxins in cleaning products, make-up, toiletries

9. Giving up pharmaceutical pain killers

10. Being a positive role model for my son

11. Growing my own food

12. Not using the microwave

13. Reawakening my intuition

That last one sounds very woo-woo I know. But there’s something about feeding your body with raw, natural foods and eliminating toxins that opens up the mind/body/spirit connection. It is also a by-product of choosing an eating regime that is outside of the norm, so you have to learn to trust yourself.

In short making a commitment to eat raw, to change one thing in my life, has changed my whole life. And so it can be with the world. From little things big things grow.

Although it’s hard to believe something as simple as what we eat can change the world, the reality is our food choices have an impact on our carbon footprint. Eating a plant-based, locally, organically grown diet ensures we are not contributing to the destruction of our environment through over-fishing and unsustainable agricultural practices.

One person can’t change the world. But maybe someone will read my blog and make a small change, and they’ll influence someone else to change a little and so on. And maybe Marianne Williamson will get elected to the US Congress and even politics could change. If we believe in it, anything is possible!

Now for some food. After all that pontificating, how about the recipe for this super-simple, but insanely delicious salad dressing?

satay salad

The best salad dressing ever!

1 tbsp tahini paste

1 tbsp Braggs Amino Acid Sauce

1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Whish with a fork in a cup or jar. Pour on salad. Be amazed!

Thanks for following my raw journey!


day 89. consistency and patience – boring! how about some chocolate instead?

cacao beans

I was at a Korean restaurant last night and in the bathroom was one of those generic pictures of a lightning bolt with an inspirational quote. Apparently a misquote from Emerson, but it said something like “Be like nature: her pace is consistency and patience”

You know what its like with those things. One day you read an inspirational quote and groan with how twee it all is. And the next day it hits you between the eyes like God herself is speaking directly to you. I really pondered this.

It makes sense, if you think about it. If you do something consistently and with patience, it means you do it, and you keep doing it, and even when it sucks and it doesn’t seem to be working and you’re sick of it, well, you just keep doing it. And being patient means you’re not at all obsessed with seeing instant results or quick fixes, you just wait, like, patiently.

Now to some of you, this is a duh moment. But to me, its a lightbulb moment, a ray of light, if you will. Because nature always breaks through in the end, green sprouts grow through cracks in the concrete, you just can’t keep her down.

I want to be like nature – quietly irrepressible.

This week, however, I think I’m still under the concrete pavement waiting to break through.

I don’t know where the week has gone, or more to the point I don’t know where I ever found the time to blog, because at the moment, I just can’t seem to.

I blame the juicer. It’s one thing making green smoothies every morning, but juicing as well. It’s very time consuming.

Seriously though, it’s not the juicer. I’m just having another tired phase. I’m so tired, ALL the time. I go to sleep tired, I wake up tired, I drag my tired body through the day.

I think out of all the physical symptoms I suffer, the tiredness is the worst. Because it is really hard to get motivated to do the stuff I need to do to feel better. I JUST CANT BE BOTHERED. Pull the doona up. Nigh nigh.

So I have finally decided that while I believe all the dietary and lifestyle changes are good for me, I need some help with getting over whatever the hell is wrong with me. Because I’ve checked, it’s just not normal to want to sleep ALL the time.

My friend told me about an integrative doctor she is seeing. It’s super expensive which has put me off, as my already straining budget tries to incorporate organic food and my social life evaporates due to lethargy and poverty, but I have become willing to try anything that might help.

So I’ll fork out the bucks for the fancy doctor, but I’ll stick with my smoothies and juices, even though it’s like a full time job, and I already have a job, and a kid, and ten gazillion other things on my plate. Just keep saying it, consistency and patience…

While I’m being so patient, I’ve been experimenting with making my own raw chocolate. A rather pleasurable experiment – far better than my green smoothie experiments. Because really, compared to liquified vegetables, how wrong can chocolate get?

These are my faves so far.

And cacao is really good for you – antioxidants, antidepressants, and magnesium. So don’t worry, they’re guilt-free (in moderation).

raw choc nuts

raw choc

Raw chocolate

So the base recipe is the same:

6 tbsps raw cacao

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tbsp honey (or other sweetener)

Vanilla essence or pod

Blend in food processor. You know it’s blended when it rolls itself up into a ball.

Add whatever you like in the way of flavourings. The first one I just added some almonds and gave it another spin in the food processor until they were roughly chopped through the chocolate.

The second one has almonds, coconut and goji berries.

Press into a container or chocolate moulds and put in the fridge for at least an hour to set. Chop up into pieces and enjoy!

Day 64. It’s a (green) smoothie, no it’s ice-cream!

ice cream smoothie I admit to being somewhat infantile in my attachment to all things sweet and creamy, like ice-cream. I’ve discussed it here before, it’s no secret. I’m trying to adhere to a green smoothie detox, but I just find that time of night, post-dinner and pre-bed, is when I hanker for that sweet creaminess.

Many years ago my cousin showed me a quick ice-cream made from blended frozen mango cheeks and yoghurt. When I went dairy free I just substituted coconut milk or cream for the yoghurt. It has the consistency of a soft serve ice-cream, and you have to eat it straight away or it melts, but it’s super quick and super yummy.

I got to thinking how much like a smoothie it is and how really, smoothie and ice-cream are so similar, just differing levels of frozenness. So today’s post is dedicated to smoothies, that taste like soft serve ice-cream, so I can stick to my detox and have happy grown up time, eating ice-cream in bed with a good book.

Bananas are naturally creamy and are delicious frozen. I have started roughly chopping two bananas and freezing them in readiness for making smoothies. The ice-cream below is simply 1 frozen banana, 1 tbsp coconut flakes, 1 tbsp coconut milk and cinnamon. Blend in a food processor (not too long or it won’t be frozen anymore) – delish! banana ice cream 3 Bananas are a very good source of vitamin A, B6 and a good source of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fibre, and manganese. Bananas contain high levels of antioxidant phenolic compounds which have been found to protect kidney function. Bananas are an exceptionally rich source of fructooligosaccharide, a compound called a prebiotic because it nourishes probiotic (friendly) bacteria in the colon. This assists with healthy bowel function and absorption of nutrients such as calcium. They also protect eyesight, protect against cardiovascular disease, and protect against stomach ulcers (they are a great antacid). Thanks for all that info!

Frozen berries also work really well. I just blend them with some coconut milk and add some pepitas on top for a bit of crunchy yumminess. The one below is 1 cup frozen mixed berries, 1/3 cup coconut milk, blended in a food processor. berry sorbet The smoothie pictured at the top of the post is amazing. I adapted it from a recipe by Tess from Healthy Blender Recipes featured at

It’s called pistachio even though there’s none in it, I can see why though, if you love pistachio ice-cream you’ll love this. I made it with a lot of water as a delicious smoothie, but you could easily cut down the water ratio and make it more of an ice-cream. Then you can have spinach for dessert! Spinach for dessert – who’d have thunk it?

Creamy “pistachio ice-cream” green smoothie

  • 1/2 cup spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup chard leaves
  • 2 ripe bananas – frozen
  • 2 1/2 cups filtered water (less for ice-cream consistency)
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • sweetener to taste (I used stevia)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Blend ingredients in blender and enjoy!

Day 47. Spring has sprung!

beet jewel salad

Spring is sprung

Da grass is riz

I wonder where dem boidies iz

Da little boids is on da wing

Ain’t dat absoid

Da little wings is on da boid

– Anonymous

I know it’s rather risky in Melbourne to pronounce the early arrival of a season. Half the time the seasons never really arrive at all, they are merely hinted at and then disappear back into a medley of warm/cold/rainy/sunny, “if you don’t like the weather wait 10 minutes”, changeability that drives both weather forecasters and their followers to distraction.

That said, doesn’t it feel like spring? I’ve only been back in the country a few days, but it’s glorious! Sunny, blue-skied days, blossums blooming, birds chirping, I keep expecting Mary Poppins to drop from the sky at any moment!

The warmer months are welcome relief to us raw foodies. Not only does it mean an abundance of seasonal produce, but also menus overflowing with salads. No more lectures from the guy at the health food store about why Winter is not the time to go raw (I know that NOW, I replied, but I’ve already started writing a blog!)

Spring is so colourful with all the trees sprouting green leaves, flowers blooming, and blue skies, it brings to mind my mum’s jewel salad. Hers is not entirely raw, being based on brown rice, so I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart.

I tell you, a storm could brew and blow this house down, but while I’m eating this salad it’s perpetual springtime!

Okay disclaimer here. I blame jetlag (how long is this a viable excuse?) My salad doesn’t look as good as it should because I didn’t follow the recipe. Martha says you need to keep all the ingredients separate and assemble them before serving, I just threw them all in and mixed them up. But it still tasted really good!

jewel salad

Spring Jewelled Salad

(adapted from

  • 1 pomegranate seeded
  • 1 persimmon, finely chopped
  • 1 beetroot diced into small squares
  • 1/2 cups finely chopped dates
  • 2 mandarins, peeled, sectioned and finely chopped
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large bulb fennel, finely chopped
  • 1 large stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 head radicchio, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoons Dijon mustard (optional, not a raw food, unless you use mustard seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp agave syrup
  • 2 tablespoons shoyu or Braggs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cashew cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup pistachios

In a small bowl whisk together 1 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, orange juice, salt, pepper, and agave syrup to combine. Toss dressing with the fruit and beetroot.

In another small bowl, whisk shoyu or Braggs, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, salt, pepper,  1/2 tsp agave, and the cashew cheese to combine. Toss dressing with the fennel, celery and radicchio and spread a layer on a large platter.

Add additional layers, alternating between the fruit and the vegetables, and gradually build up the salad.

Sprinkle with additional pomegranate seeds, pistachios, and crumbled cashew cheese. Serve immediately. Kaboom! It’s a flavour explosion in your mouth!

Day 44. Step away from the grief bacon!

tiramisu 2

Raw Tiramisu by Naked Treaties

Kummerspeck. Literally translated as “grief bacon”. It’s a German word for the weight gained as a result of emotional overeating. A friend who loves discovering new words posted it on Facebook the other day. I’d never heard of it. I have long admired the German language for it’s outstanding vocabulary, its ability to nail a sentiment which would take a paragraph to describe in English. Schadenfraude is another favourite of mine (the word not the sentiment!)

So why am I talking about Kummerspeck? Because I have it. A good 2-3 kilos of it gained while I was overseas. Now the weight itself is no big deal, I know it will come off after a few weeks of my usual eating and exercising routine. What interests me is the phenomena of emotional overeating.

To my surprise I found eating raw food whilst away was not impossible. My friends were most accommodating, there were many food options when eating out. Despite all this I found my eating degenerated over the two weeks. My rock bottom was the 27 hour journey home (three 7-hour flights and transfers). I ate the entire time.

I learned long ago to be kind to myself when I fall from grace. I have no interest in berating myself unduly – it is unhelpful and self-destructive. My interest is in observing patterns of behaviour and learning from them.

I had not intended to eat 100% raw whilst away, so I don’t feel that I “failed”. What I do feel, is that I saw the link between emotional duress and eating.

Travelling for 27 hours overseas, plus all the packing, organising, checking of passports and tickets, money and credit cards, not to mention trying not to lose my child in busy airports, well, lets just say it was testing to my preferred state of calm.

Now, let’s just get this straight from the outset, calm is my preferred state of being NOT my natural state – which is more like anxious, worried, fearful, and a tad paranoid. It takes a lot of learned techniques; mindfulness, meditation, affirmations and Bach flower essences for me to stay even remotely calm at the best of times.

I’m an anxious person. I can say that now but I didn’t know this for the first 35 years of my life. I thought life was just really, REALLY scary. At one stage, I discovered alcohol made the scary feelings go away and I used that a lot, too much in the end. Alcohol is not an effective treatment for anxiety or depression. It is a little like – to steal someone else’s analogy – beating yourself on the head with a hammer to cure a headache, yes, it’s a distraction but it really only exacerbates the problem.

After I gave up alcohol I was left with my anxiety 24/7. Only I didn’t know I had anxiety. So I just attributed the feeling to various events in my life. I’m feeling anxious because I’m pregnant, a new mum, going back to uni, going back to work, money problems, relationship problems etc. There’s always some external thing to attach anxiety to.

It was only when I found myself at a happier, more settled place in my life that I realised the anxiety was still there. It ebbed and flowed but it never really went away. I saw that my mind would create dramas to be anxious about. Sometimes there were really worrying things happening in my life, but other times I could lose sleep over thinking that I hadn’t bought enough holiday souvenirs to give my family and friends. (Yep, true story from about a week ago!)

Alongside this anxiety was an unhealthy relationship with food. It can go either way with me. When my anxiety is very high and the adrenaline is really pumping, I can’t eat at all. However, low-level anxiety brings on a desire to comfort eat. How do I know when it’s comfort eating? If I’m eating for any reason other than hunger. In retrospect I can see I “comfort” ate for most of my trip, but it really became obvious when I couldn’t stop eating on the return flights home. I mean no one is continuously hungry for 27 hours, right?

Don’t get me wrong, I had a fantastic time in England, and I ate really well, and mostly raw, most of the time. I also ate when I wasn’t hungry because I felt out of routine, out of control, and out of my comfort zone.

To be honest though, anxiety was only part – albeit a large part – of the eating equation. I also noticed a sense of “treating” myself, of not wanting to “miss out”, and not wanting to stand out or be different. It’s hard enough being the person who doesn’t drink alcohol, never mind also asking for food that’s gluten free, dairy free, vegan, sugar free, and raw. I realise I felt embarrassed to speak up about my lifestyle choices. I lacked commitment to myself and my decision to eat raw food.

So now I’m back home. Extremely jetlagged, a little bloated and pudgy.

The good news is that I discovered I didn’t like the way I felt eating processed foods. As soon as I got home I went shopping for fruit and veggies at the organic food shop. I had a craving for mushrooms so I made this amazing salad. I call it my jetlag recovery salad. I also treated myself to some pre-prepared raw crackers and a very decadent slice of raw tiramisu. The tiramsu was made by Naked Treaties, a Byron Bay cafe who now supply to selected health food shops and cafes Their desserts are delicious! I haven’t tried making tiramisu yet, but I’ve included a couple of recipes I’ve found below.

And my nut bag has arrived.  Say what? It’s a special muslin bag to make nut milk and cheeses, so that’s the next raw adventure!

Inspired by my friends’ veggie garden in England, I have bought seeds to start my own.

Funnily enough my lapse into Kummerspeck has strengthened my resolve to eat well. Sometimes it is only by falling off the wagon that it becomes apparent how much better it is on the wagon. The comparison made me realise I was onto a good thing. But it doesn’t have to be 100% perfect either. I want to find balance, a way of living that is pleasurable, healthy, and effortless. Here’s to that journey!

The Bounce-back from Jetlag Salad


4 mushrooms, sliced

1/2 capsicum, sliced

1/2 cup thinly chopped kale

1/2 cup mixed sprouted beans

1/2 avocado diced

100g tempeh sliced thinly

1 tsp chopped ginger

1/3 Braggs Amino Acids

1/2 chilli chopped finely

Mix ginger, Braggs and chilli in a small cup or jug. Add tempeh and stir to marinate in dressing. Add to the remaining ingredients in a bowl, mix and serve.

This serves one person so multiply the ingredients by the number of people you are serving.

Raw Tiramisu Recipes:

Day 27. Up, up, and away

fruit crumble brekky

For all the children of the 70’s growing up in Australia, remember this? TAA ad circa 1975 on youtube

So the day has arrived, we are up, up, and away – not on TAA, that would require time travel which would negate the need for air travel at all…

United Kingdom, here we come.

I don’t know how the blogging will pan out over the next few weeks, but I intend to try some raw food in London, attend a vegan picnic in Moseley, and try the famous Birmingham Pakistani cuisine.


As for today I started the day with a sweet variation on my sprouted buckwheat bread (see Day 21) which was just sensational. I left out the thyme, and added mixed spice, some coconut nectar, banana, walnuts, and vanilla. Oooh, it was yummy. I also made a fruit with crumble. I think I’m worrying about starving on the plane.

I may eat raw but I eat a lot (as you may well have noticed). I’m a little concerned by what an airplane “raw vegetable meal” actually entails. I think it may just be raw vegetables, like a dinner plate of crudités.

Never fear, I have a doggy bag of sweet and savoury bread, some fruit and nut mix, and some raw chocolate.

I may gain 10 pounds before Dubai, but I won’t go hungry!

Fruit crumble

1/2 cup almonds

1/2 cup dates

1/2 vanilla pod

1/2 tsp mixed spice

Blend ingredients until forms a crumbly mixture.

1 banana sliced

1 cup frozen mixed berries

1/3 cup sunflower seeds

Put fruit and seeds in a bowl, top with crumble and enjoy for breakfast or dessert. Whatevs!

Day 26. Friends are like stars…

day 26 kel beetroot bolog

Friends are like stars, you can’t always see them, but they are always there.

I love my friends. I really do. You can tell good friends by how they respond to wacky ideas like going on a 21 day raw challenge and blogging about it! My friend Kel for example will eat any experimental recipe I give her. She’s fearless! We share a love of food, film and music, amongst other things (like Ryan Gosling and Patrick from Offspring!)

There’s so many ways to make friends, one of my dearest friends became so because we went through our divorces at the same time. We must have talked on the phone every day for years to help each other through. My son still refers to her as my “wife”.

My longest-serving (suffering?) friend is Amanda. I’m about to get on a plane and fly for 24 hours to go and visit her in the UK. We’ve been friends for 30 years. *expletive* that’s a long time! She has been there through so many ups and downs in my life, she’s witnessed me growing from a 10 year old school girl, through many teenage incarnations (which spanned well into my 20’s), into a 40 year old woman, as I have her. It’s a very special bond. She’s promised me an embarrassing placard at the airport on arrival. Stay tuned for that! (It’s a worry, she has 30 years of embarrassing photos and stories – really if she wasn’t my best friend, I’d have to eliminate her!)

So last night I served my beetroot bolognese, which I already used as the feature recipe on Day 18. However, I have been experimenting with variations on that theme, the beetroot theme, I love them so. And I do believe I have come up with another winning and oh-so-easy sauce recipe. So, as usual, bung this on some zucchini noodles.

Beetroot “pasta” sauce (serves 2)

1 large beetroot, grated

1 clove garlic, grated

10 sun-dried tomatoes

1 tbsp tahini paste

Blend ingredients in food processor and enjoy on your favourite raw noodles. And beetroot is red so it makes you go faster!