Posts Tagged ‘ raw food ’

More Than a Quarter

More Than a Quarter was initially planned as a part deux to go with the raw food book. It’s supposed to be a compilation of deciphered life experiences in the more or less, first quarter part of my life. If 40-50 age years are considered mid-life crisis, then 20-25 years would be quarter-life crisis. I’m picking up the sense that too many people overlook this period. Too many people skip this stage of life by fast-living it without pausing and questioning enough. Too many people, especially women, surround themselves with round-the-clock troop of friends for comfort, to share things with, and for advise. The worst. ADVISE. Too many people are giving too instructive of advise that eventually mobilise the desperate seeker into acting out ‘the advise’ that is not theirs. And usually, the advise never takes them to the peaceful ending they were looking for. There are too many people who live with a big lack of selves. I cannot explain this too lengthy here, hopefully the future upcoming posts for this section will be able to.

As time went by, and as I collected more experiences, they are summing up to be a lot bigger than I expected. I’m not done collecting for the first part of it and they’re already going to overrule the food book, if put together. They need their own place, so here is where they will home temporarily.

It seems irrelevant in content to food, yes. But it shared a common denominator: Food. I know it seems like an overstated declaration I point out too often, but it’s the annoying truth. In the ‘old’ life, I was stuck in the lows for the most part, leaving me very little to be on the highs. I was distracted off living by the need for naps, the need to rest when I’m sick, and sick I was too often, more naps, bad days, bad hair days, part time partying, all night catching deadlines, and every day bad-eating followed by lots of food comas and lots of zzzzs.

Sleepy? Coffee. Hungry, quick fix? Chocolate bar. Hungry, want junk? McDonalds/Burger King/KFC Bucket. Hungry, want meal? Full house naan/curries/rice. Drunk, hungry? Let’s go Chinatown, people.

“wa woo yu lye to o-da miss?”
“sam-baa-ap-see-fan (some barely cooked runny egg over crispy pork & duck over rice), One. Deep fried spicy black pepper squid, one. Peking duck, half? Guys? Half-a-duck or whole-duck? Whole. Hot and sour soup, one.”
“chinese tea, please”

You get the picture. It was a good life. I loved every minute eating my life away. There was nothing wrong with it, I was a perfectly healthy young woman apart from the fact that I overworked myself in exercise to neutralise my uncontrollable eating. Pyschologically, I was a stream of continuous stress. “Great, I’m fat again. Time to hit the gym” Weight lost then at it again. “I’m thin. Let’s feast!” Food and fitness ruled my life. ‘Moderation’ was a missing word in my dictionary. I know a lot of people can relate to this. I wasn’t the only one.

Post-week of my conversion (oh yes. It was as good as baptism. I was in a new cult, for Pete’s sake!), the order of my pyramid started to slowly re-shuffle itself. The ruling changed. Living ruled. New food fueled it, not betray it. I like to say, I live more than the average people. Faster and more of it. I have no time left for down time. Sleep? puh. Who needs it? (you still need it. just less.) If i were working as an investment banker? Believe me when I say I can double-triple my income in this kind of state.

Unfortunately and fortunately, I’m not left-brained enough to be in banking to use up my extras. Instead, I become the very good gamer of my own life. No game overs. Just passing stage after stage of crushing things that cannot kill me. Save the princess, eat the apples, ride the dinos, jump over the cracks. It’s SO MUCH FUN. I learned how to recycle every bad into good. I accepted bads as natural occurrences and that you need them as foundation for a better good. This attitude is much simpler to attain when you’re better physically. Logic. I have to quote what Matthew Kenney said over a talk in describing the raw food community, that it really is “a very positive world”.

And that is the reason behind my addiction, and I just love abusing it. Never endingly.



Curious Questions

1. how to order smart while going out with friends or family to a restaurant (ie: chinese food, bbq resto, japanese resto, shabu2 resto, indo resto, korean resto) Coz mostly I work, I go out and I would eat out. I don’t know if my Lifestyle is suitable for the rawdiet. Any thoughts?


3. How to come up with more recipes so the rawfood menu doesn’t get boring? As u know, I work from 9-5 and its difficult for me to prepare my own food. From ur stories, I presume that u become ur own chef and came up with fantastic recipes. But how can I do it? Coz usually my maid already prepared my lunch box.

The most on-the-go or busiest lifestyles I find are actually the most suitable candidates to getting started raw. Sure there are lots of fancy dishes to make and at first sight, it seems like they are the only way to enjoy them; but these are raw ‘cook’ books we’re talking about that present such recipes. They’re not going to sell their books by telling you to just eat an orange. What most people are forgetting is the fact that whole fruits and vegetables can be enjoyed so effortlessly. A whole banana fuels me up better than a food coma-inducing full plate of bacon, eggs, and beans.

If you had to eat out and want to save your digestion, opt for a salad (that consists of mostly greens, not crisps and cheesy dressings). A vegetarian meal would be my second option. My choice always revolves around the digestive systems, in efforts to alleviate its job as much as possible. The lighter its job, the lighter I’d feel post-meal. Raw gets digested the quickest, followed by cooked vegetarian foods, and finally meats and others that do not belong like.. heavily.. deeply.. fried stuff.

Creating your own recipes will be tricky when you’re not familiar with the diet. Just the same way you would be in learning a new cuisine, regional cuisines work with different techniques and ingredients that require almost always new terms of learning. If you want to learn more, I suggest buying yourself a book and get familiarised. Otherwise, start fueling simple with whole fruits and salads. Play around with seasonings too. Toss some greens together with cut up fruits and dress with extra virgin olive oil, vinegar (whichever, lemon/lime juice does the same job), honey, sea salt and pepper, for example..


2. Do u still drink coffee? Eat icecream, yogurt, fancy drinks, etc? Coz I’m a coffee and yogurt lover. I’m curious.


4. Do u eat potatoes? Or what about veggies that need to be cooked first to serve? (Ie: potato, yam, bittergourd, eggplant, etc)

I stopped drinking coffee for a while. Only because my body cleansed at one point and made me all jittery over one serving of coffee. My taste to coffee averted. Though, I had started to drink coffee regularly again recently.

I make delicious raw ice creams.

I am very much fond to frozen yogurts. Where ever I can however, I would try to source for a place where they make fresh frozen yogurts from REAL yogurts. Most of the big, corporate froyo big boys use instant yogurt powders that they mix with water, poured into an soft-serve ice machine, which is fine (just not a preference). Yogurts contain friendly bacteria that are good for you. They are not technically raw nor vegan, and if you’re lactose intolerant it will serve you some problems but, if you can handle eating them, they’re not poisonous.

I rarely eat the vegetables you mentioned. Most of my green intakes come in powder forms I whizz into a smoothie with a banana. Chlorella and Spirulina are my top two superfoods. The darkest green, the richest source of amino acids (building blocks of protein) superfoods.


5. Do u get bored with the rawfoodselection? Is it really fulfilling? Coz usually I need to need carbs (ie: rice, noodles, bread) to feel full. Also most of the nuts that I see in grocery stores are salted. Is this okay, or u munch nuts raw and unsalted?

At first impression, the variety of raw foods dishes may seem limited, but again this is just unfamiliarity. After learning more about the diet, the creativity in creating raw dishes really goes a far way, and they are more fulfilling in a way that they are satiating at much smaller portion, this is my personal opinion. I find refined starch such as white rice and white bread are less satiating (one bite leads to a crave for the next) than unrefined whole grains such as brown and wild rice, and whole grain bread. I ballpark my theory on “the more processed or refined it is, the less satisfying.”

Salted nuts found in grocery stores have been roasted (cooked). Having said that, raw nuts are coated with what is called ‘enzyme inhibitors’; enzyme inhibitors are the dormant keepers of nuts and seeds in preventing them from sprouting into life before they are placed in the right environment of soil and moisture. Consuming them require a tremendous amount of digestive enzymes, causing an increase workload in the pancreas. In raw food preparations, all nuts have been soaked to remove all inhibitor coatings, and then seasoned and air dried in a dehydrator. The end result is similar in texture to roasted nuts. It is difficult to home-make in some parts of the world for dehydrators are not yet commercially available. So in essence, it is better to eat roasted nuts than raw.


6. I want to try to eat raw, but how can I do it? What shud be my first step? I’m afraid I’ll get bored with the taste after the 3rd day. Yikes. Will I feel the difference of boost of energy if I eat raw every other day?

Read my first week experience post. After that week, it was no longer taste that drove me into the commitment in staying raw although taste do not need to be sacrificed. It’s not all nasty green stuff that most people think. They’re all astoundingly yummy, especially the guiltless desserts..

Get a raw food book. Or wait for my book. Ha!


7. From ur stories of foodculinary, u ate enchiladas (are they raw? I thought they’re cooked), tiramisu, etc etc. Is it because u crave for them? Or u’re actually allowing urself to indulge in normal food once in a while.

They are all raw, only that they have been named after cooked dishes for familiarity of food forms. In answering your second part of the question, I still indulge in whatever I want to eat. 23 years of cooked diet is a long time to reverse and I still get cravings every now and again. There is never a restraint in my choice of food. I’m VERY raw, and I found my point of balance between raw and cooked.


8. I want to be toned. Not rail thin. Is bikram yoga the only solution? Or I can do it another way? Coz usually when I hit the gym, I participate in the classes (cycling, bodypump, bodycombat) but № significant result yet. Boo-hoo.

There’s never one solution. There are plenty of ways in getting around being fit. Just incorporate cardio, strength, and flexibility exercises. The key is consistency to results. Don’t do them on and off, find something you can be comfortable in doing over a long period of time.


9. I’m very much a food lover…I don’t know if I can do this. But it seems that u can manage urself so well. What’s ur secret in curbing ur appetite and crave for normal food? Coz I always give in when I see sumthing I like.

This is the idea of perfection that everyone needs to overcome. A lot of people are taking this way too seriously as if it’s a religion or something like it. Everyone can benefit from every little helping of raw foods when incorporated into their diets. 10% is better than 0%. Get that idea off your head or you’ll go insane.


House of Hope

I requested a friend under a self-assigned pressure a few weeks back if I could drop a visit to House of Hope (an english name it goes by) to give an introductory presentation and a raw food demo. House of Hope is an orphanage situated about 40 minutes outside Jakarta that had been financially funded and in side, run by his (the friend) family. It was a compulsive act, but I was determined to bring myself out of the comfort bubble and start tallying up my public appearances so without over thinking, I picked up the phone and dialed.. no.. I blackberry messenger’ed him sorry, and allot the commitment.

I chose House of Hope because, I have always had dwelled on a ‘problem’ of the expansion of raw food awareness. I drew an inkling of notion that it had been a movement of.. or targeted to those who are able to financially afford the lifestyle and learning of its knowledge, not so much for the under privileged; or at least, one is still yet to be spurred by the thought of actually bringing the introduction into fruition within that sector of audience.

Raw food had gained its followers from the healing of terminal illnesses, reaped benefits of boundless energy, mental clarity, and proven overall health and well-being. Yet, the efforts to raise its awareness I find, often end on the road block of published raw ‘uncook’ books and pay-in courses. What happens to those who are not lavished with such accessibility? Hospital after hospital, medical research after research in quest for a cure that had already existed in the fringe of knowledge but kept isolated like a secret unless someone stumbles upon it by a pull of luck and be able to further the feed of their new interest by paying up for the new hobby. Sure, I admit that the movement is fighting back a lot of skepticism in its concept being as a lifestyle, let alone planting faith in its concept of healing to be recognized. I speculate it is because it has been perceived as no more than just a diet, weight loss tool, or other skin-deep motives. For some people it’s a tough shell to crack. I’m still battling a number of people in my life who now call me anorexic, and ridicule my choice of eating. In fact, I was just celebrated last week for allowing myself to eat a plate of baby back ribs and one girl was particularly ecstatic for I finally eat something ‘normal’ to her definition. In truth, I still eat whatever I want. It is only that most of the time I want raw, and at that time around I wanted the ribs. There is never a restraint.

I accept the fact that it is an idea that will to take some time to sink in. It’s only natural in the sea of modern dieted bodies, so I will not linger on this subject for too long. I just hope I can lead by being a by-product example because words can only get so far until one experiences the claims to self-prove.

Going back to House of Hope. It was the first time after 11 long years of not speaking the Indonesian language, I had to make the 1800 switch back to deliver my introduction to 46 kids. All worries aside, the day ended much more successful than I had anticipated. I carefully fabricated a recipe so simple it could not possibly have left any room for mistakes: a batch of dessert truffles made out of apples, dates, and shredded coconut coating. I sampled one and left the rest in their hands. Job done.

More photos here.


Big on Organic

nitrogen, baby

Fruits and vegetables that have been grown organically tend to be more durable, and tasty. Because they have not been fed synthetic nitrogen, they grow slower, naturally. The slow growth let the plants develop thicker cell walls containing less water making them more durable. Less water also means more sugars, producing more concentrated flavors.

How about nutrition? A study by University of California-Davis published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry in 2003 pointed out an experiment where identical varieties of plant foods were grown in neighbouring plots using organic and non-organic methods to compare levels of vitamins and polyphenols. Polyphenols are compounds that can be described as plant’s own natural pesticides, vital to human health in the form of antioxidants. Organic won the counts. As to why, the researchers suggest two theories. The first, polyphenols are naturally produced to guard the plants from pests and diseases. The more microorganisms they need to defend themselves from, the more polyphenols they produce. Plants that are defended by man-made pesticides don’t need to build as strong of a defense—kind of like breeding a spoiled child. The second theory lies in the chemically fertilized soil of non-organically grown plants. They do not withhold the essential ingredients to synthesize polyphenols,

Organic is preferable in order to get the best out of your raw meals. Because there is no cooking involved to enhance flavor and aroma, I find that sourcing in some organic ingredients can make a big difference in boosting taste and texture of a dish.

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Facing Questions

The Face

There seemed to be a recurring pattern of reactions from people when I blurted the words ‘raw food’. First, there’d be genuine curiosity: “What is that? What do you eat?” I’d answer, “raw plant foods mostly, comprised of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.” Then faces begin to pull, eyes widen, forehead skin rolls, bringing the inner point of eyebrows to the center of the face, line of the lips now slanted at an angle pushing one end up, accentuating the wrinkle line that separates the nose from the apple of the cheek. “Oh”. A short response hinted with a combination of sympathy and bewilderment. A ‘why?’ is probably floating somewhere in there, too.

“Why?” There it’s said. “You’re on a diet? You want to lose weight?”



Kidding. I never pause. I continue yapping on about enzymes, energy boost, the week that changed my life, and insist to them how much of a repulsive eater once was, once upon a time, and that the benefits of raw makes it all worth giving up.

It does help to explain your ground by knowing a little about the diet itself. But facts can only get so far in convincing certain kinds of people. I’m one of those guilty hardheaded ones that need self-proof in order to trust a principle. What will stand out more is you yourself as a raw by-product. People will notice the extra glow. It is evident. I stop trying to justify myself and set myself an example instead.


More pole play

This should answer the question “Where do you get your protein from?”


My Greatest Teacher

Uh Oh

My first week in the raw has to be hailed as THE historical event of my life. A memorable story I had told many people on repeated basis unfailingly without bore. Every fact and figure of diets and medicinal knowledge stored in the brain were deleted by the end of that week. Apart from band-aids and ointments for cuts and minor discomforts, antibiotics and medicinal pills no longer play doctor in fixing me up.

In all honesty, I initially didn’t take notice at the shift of energy I suddenly had. What I did remember was one morning that mid-week I stepped out of my apartment building at Devonshire Street in starting the day with an oddly good feeling. A burst of mellow happiness and a sense power in every step I took. My suspicions were not at raw foods at the time, I was expecting the results to be long and coming. Unusually good day, I thought. A couple of days later, my body refused any more detoxification and fought out a craving for the junkiest foods. I listened. That day, I must have had a full house junk party of burgers, fries, chips, and the whole shebang. I fell fast asleep like a baby following the food coma.

I woke up the next day, unprepared, to the worst feeling imaginable. Acute hangover times one hundred and ten. I opened my eyes in the dark to adjust. I then attempted to hoist myself up and found every inch of my body unco-operating in stiffness. I fell back down to the bed. What was this I was lifting? It felt as if my body had been wrapped in an extra set of immensely heavy weight bags. No headaches, just heavily disoriented. I struggled for the next ten to fifteen minutes trying to piece myself together and comprehend what just happened. When I finally made sense of it, my life just changed.

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