Truly Magical Night…


Moon and Venus (with clouds) February 27, 2009

Photo by Gene Spesard, Distraction Limited

I gazed upon this gorgeous site last night as I casually peered out to the sky. I was so surprised and instantly felt mesmerized and drawn to the glow. It was picturesque, almost unreal looking, breathtaking beauty; a bit of child-like wonder; and a touch of romance …  I got lost in wonderment. Makes you kind of believe in magic, love, and all that other stuff  sort of lost in the day to day grind 🙂


sm row smiles

Fear. And Success…

I have activated a reply option in the  comments section of the blog: this just means readers have the ability to reply to certain person’s comment. If you want to respond to a comment someone leaves, just click the new “reply” field right below their post.

Fear of Success

When I first heard that there are some people who actually fear “success,” in whatever their definition happens to be — such as in a career, a relationship, and for many, fear of weightloss — I was stunned! It was confusing to my pre-teenaged self to relate to; however, I did intellectually understand it after reading and hearing more about it. I think it was one of those old Oprah shows, haha. Anyway, as I got older I heard about it more and more, but still couldn’t relate to it…

There is a woman who worked with my father and was his friend for several years. She was obese and a classic case of this fear. She was beyond intelligent — my father considered her genius. I so admired her intellect…it was her self-sabotage in different areas of her life I couldn’t comprehend… But, eventually, I did learn and come to understand her better.

So, I’ve come to realize there has been at least one time I feared of success. It was as a child. It had to do with not wanting to stand out so much in school (I’ll save you the ramble). It lasted for no longer than a couple weeks, I confess, but still…Anyway, I defy any cut throat banking fatcat to survive the unforgiving grammar school playground, complete with “mean girls,” status, and “cool kids”!

Anyway, as small as that experience may seem it was significant; and it allows me to have some empathy and a bit more understanding when I read or hear about it. I quickly realized it was foolish to do this, and thank God I have parents who always encouraged me to give 100% effort to whatever I was doing.

So many people go through an unfortunate side effect of losing weight — being successful. Tragic.  Others treat them poorly, whether it’s jealousy; resentment; seeing that person as a threat; or even seeing it as a “loss” of that person or who they think that person “used to be”… as if their self had changed…
As well, many who lose the weight, are, themselves, uncomfortable for various reasons, whether induced by external forces, or from within themselves – self-induced — “Maybe I don’t deserve to be thin? What do I do now that I’m healthy? What do I do now that I’m thin? People are looking at me now, what does this mean? Others are attracted to me suddenly…is this good or bad? Are people sincere? Do I feel exposed? I have nothing to hide me any longer. Now I have to be __ and I’m scared. Can I do it? Can my inside live up to my outside?”

I wonder how many people sabotage their “diets” or goals and, perhaps don’t know it’s fear-based. Or maybe they do know, and it’s a way to — protect themselves?
Maybe they like not reaching certain goals… because it’s easier, because it’s comforting/able, because it’s what they’re used to. What will they do when they no longer have weight to lean on?

What positive things can we do to deal with it? Maybe sharing will help others going through this. I could wax on — Y’All know I could 😀 — but I’d like to hear from others. Becoming healthy — not just thin, of course — should be a good, positive thing! We all know about fear of failure…what about success?


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Just In!

Been waiting for these babies for MONTHS…Oh, the terrible, terrible months, were they.

UN-Salted, Organic  Olives


My love affair with unsalted, pure, raw, unadulterated olives is (almost) unsurpassed…(Don’t tell my avos, though) These are delicious eaten the way nature intended, I imagine, raw and unprocessed — kissed by the sun is quite enough *smooch*

Whenever I purchase these there are, unfortunately, almost always a couple “bad” ones, meaning, bitter and sort of shrunken/wrinkled and dry — Oh, the horr-or. A few are not enough to dissuade 😉 The rest are like biting into a juicy dried plum! They should have a fruity flavor, mostly sometimes, very fruity; but some are savory — never bland! And, if you’re off salt (as you should be 😉 ), these won’t taste bad, and you should be able to taste its complexity.


img_0030_30-copy_smDelicious and juicy — sometimes, sweet! Of course everyone has a different palate; and I can see how these may be a “love it or hate it” thing. I think, with the exception of the rare occasional goji berry, and my recent use of sun-dried tomatoes, it is the only dried fruit I consume. Very easy on the digestion, and nothing like eating “dried fruit.”

Olives are a healthful food. Most you read about the benefits, refer to its oil. But, as we know, per wise, nutritional experts, whole foods pack bigger, better nutritional punches. Why would one not want to get all they can from food?

~ * ~


I love my fats as whole foods, too. Who needs olive oil?! These are much more flavorful than oil. I have also found that simply soaking these in good, pure water removes any unsavory bitterness which a few may possess (how long is up to you; just not too long, or they get soggy). You can marinate in a yummy vinegar, too, if water ain’t workin’ for ya. Add some spices, even. Yum! Your own marinated olives! So, even if these aren’t to your liking, straight, you can make them to your liking with a bit of imagination and tapping into your flavor preferences.

I enjoy them with my raw Zucchini “Spaghetti,” too!

And you can use them for a spaghetti squash dish too, or in salads — how yummy in Summer bean salads?!! They are strong-flavored, as well, and so you don’t need to eat a lot of them. Slice them to distribute flavor before tossing and you will have that wonderful olive flavor permeate your dish. I’ve popped a couple into dressings, and it works —  well, sometimes  Lol.


Beloved Avos, I still love you:


Only thing I do not like, is these are first come first serve! And you’d better load up if you do like them, ’cause the “off season” is long and lonely 🙂 I buy these by the case, and have them last quite a long time. I am waiting impatiently for my next shipment — I just received a small one. I get them from NaturalZing (they take them off the site when unavailable) or from The ‘Zing’s sometimes come in plastic bags, as in pic; also in jars sometimes. always sells them in jars.


My latest shipment, a mere 6 jars 😉  to tide me over; they are now back to full stock as I await my dozen. Settle for nothing less than fresh olives!


~ *** ~

I enjoyed some of these juicy gems last night, and they are superb! I can tell they are fresh. I ordered from another place, which happened to have them off-season — I assumed they were old, but took a chance anyway. They were okay, but definitely old. In fact, they must have been VERY old because I’ve had olives a year old and they were just as good as the day I got them. Never do that again!



If you love ’em, get ’em while they’re available!


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

ETL Friday! Eating Well in Peru Part II

Sara’s quest for decent eats for a vegan ETLer in Peru continues!

Eating in Peru, Part II

Cusco, Peru: A beautiful but chilly city in the Andes Mountains .  It’s near freezing at night; brilliant sunny skies during the day. I was so happy to breathe in the crisp, fresh air as I stepped off the plane. First stop for food: a vegetarian restaurant. They had several, possibly due to the huge tourist market, much better than many American cities! I had quinoa and lentil soup (quickly became my staple!), veggie soup, tofu, rice, salads, smoothies, and roasted field corn. Another restaurant even had vegan baked goods (not so healthy, though); herbal teas;  fresh-squeezed juices; or bottled water. Coca tea is another staple, said to help one acclimate to the altitude. Healthful and non-stimulating, it is illegal in the United States for purely political reasons.

They also had a Govinda’s restaurant–a worldwide vegetarian chain run by Hare Krishnas — each is different, depending on who runs it:  Think Indian-meets-Peruvian. (Lima has two or three Govinda’s as well). Watch out for overly fried veggies.

The best was when we went to a market where huge smoothies were the equivalent of an American dollar. They would add in any fruit you wanted, maca, bee pollen, beet and/or carrot juice, and sometimes sprouts. Yummmm. The market also had tons of fruit from all over — small delicious strawberries, cherimoyas, different types of bananas, passion fruits, and more — dried fruit; nuts-in-the-shell; and tons of veggies. I made bean-and-veggie soups with ingredients from the market, and cooked quinoa on the side.

The food isn’t all beautiful. Vegan snack cookies and cereals caught my eye. Coca candies and sweet potato chips asked me to try them (I don’t see non-vegan food). I did, but wasn’t able to finish them–fried food really doesn’t taste like anything except rancid oil! Who needs that?  I much preferred buying sweet potatoes or cassava, cooking them in water, and eating them with greens.

And what about sickness? Aren’t you supposed to avoid anything you can’t peel or cook? Well, eating vegan and mostly organic, I don’t usually think much about food sickness. I was fine the whole time, until after 2 or 3 weeks, when I drank some bad water. The two nights following that were horrible–but quickly turned around after a quick and cheap visit with a pharmacist. Strictly avoiding bad water after that but continuing with raw fruits and veggies, I had no problems.

The mountains were beautiful, and people in the neighboring small towns were in much better shape than people in the United States. Much older women would leave me in the dust as I gasped for air, walking up hills. Junk food was around, but more pronounced in tourist areas. Clean air was a given still. Being active was a way of life for people working the land for food on their diversified, small farms. It was beautiful inside and out, not just in terms of available food. I can only hope that continues. After two weeks enjoying the beautiful mountainous region of Peru, I gained appreciation for another way of life. And stayed healthy the whole time (just avoid Peruvian chocolate!) It was a great trip, wonderful and diverse… I still want to go to Mexico during mango season, though! Maybe next time!


It seems one can ETL anywhere! It’s up to us to do our best 😀
Thanks, Sara, for showin’ us how it’s done!


sm row smiles

Just Like “Campbell’s…Canned Tomato Soup”…

Well, sorta like 😉


I had to make slight adjustments to my recipe to make it ETL. (Recipe below)

Here is what you need:



Celery Seeds (from a fresh jar!)


Carrot and Whole thyme, dry (from a fresh jar!)

Sorry, no pics 😀

Good Quality no-salt Tomato Paste


and some Nut Milk

A few more pics of the process, full recipe follows 😉

Carrots added to the celery seed, lemon, and water


Later, thyme added…


When it’s thyme, 🙂 add the paste…


Stir in thoroughly and bring to a simmer…


And some nut milk…


Here shows the blended mixture added to the soup…





“Below” 😉 This is quite easy, and quick to make!

~ *** ~

Here is my basic — “like canned tomato soup,” tomato soup to use in recipes calling for same:


*Have your ingredients ready*

Put into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer
1 TB lemon juice
1/4 C water

Add 3/8 tsp celery seeds, simmer couple minutes.

Add 3-ounces carrot, chunks (weight after trimming) and
3/4 C water. Bring to a boil.

Crumble in with your fingers 1/4 tsp dried, whole thyme. Mix. Cover.       Lower heat and
Simmer 10 minutes.
Add pure, unsalted, 3-ounces tomato paste*
Mix thoroughly. Boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and
Simmer 10-15 minutes or till carrots are just done.

Spoon out the carrots and add to blender with 1/4 C nut milk and blend till completely smooth.
Pour and scrape all you can back into pan.
Add 1/2 C water to blender to swish around and clean out the remnants of mixture.
Add to soup.
Mix thoroughly, and
On medium-low heat, bring back to just a simmer and cook, till thoroughly heated, stirring, for a couple of minutes.
Remove from heat. Partially cover. Let sit several minutes before serving.
Variation: Use all nut milk (3/4 C  in place of the 1/4 C nutmilk + 1/2 C water) for a canned “Cream of tomato soup”; etc

Notes: I like to let it sit several minutes before serving, if using right away.
*The picture above is of Bionaturae Tomato Paste– if you use it, use 4-ounces; it seems to be less concentrated than the canned varieties. There are very good canned pastes; even Trader Joe’s Organic makes a good soup. Organic is always preferable. Either way, use the best quality tomato paste you can find, that you know tastes good. This recipe has few ingredients, so it matters! Use fresh celery seed, as well. I have found old containers of spices from 10 years ago, haha.


Also, you’ll only use about half a can tomato paste, since most come in 6- or 7-ounces:  Leftover tomato paste freezes well; so you don’t have to throw out the rest of it. You can freeze in an ice cube tray, if that’s easier.

Notes on Salt: If you decide to salt, add per Dr. Fuhrman’s recommendations. Also, add after cooking and after it has settled and has sat for a bit, but still warm.

It really doesn’t require much, if you do choose  to use it. I found it to need only 3/8  tsp of salt added to the entire recipe to satisfy those who wanted it — so that’s good news 😀

If you’d like, a pinch of white pepper, AFTER soup is made, is fine; but taste a small portion first: It may effect a flavor you don’t want.

I used a clean-tasting nut milk for this: Use a cashew or almond milk, unsweetened, for example; don’t use a strong tasting seed or nut or something that may give an off-taste.

Of course, you can always add to this, next time you want to make a bit fancier soup by adding various spices, herb; etc., to taste.

Stores well, and even tastes better the following day.

Makes 16-ounces:


Please leave comments on your results, if you try this recipe, thanks!


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Guest Review: Easy Green Sprouter

Red-Clover_SproutsRed Clover Sprouts

The Easy Green Sprouter

By Cindy

Ease of use:  Very easy to set up and use

Sprouting results:   All good results, even when sprouting broccoli seeds

Clean up:  Once per week cleaning required which takes about  4 to 6 hrs
to complete.   It gets easier each cleaning and you don’t have to be home the whole time.

Value:  I feel it is a good value and worth the money I spent on it.

Seeds sprouted so far:  Wheat berries, barley, alfalfa, clover, broccoli and a few other tiny seeds (like alfalfa/clover) blends from Sproutman.

This allows me to sprout a lot more seeds than I had been able to.  I still use a few mason jars to sprout and recently bought more sprouting trays and stored those in a plastic storage bin.  I won’t know the results of this simple method for a few weeks yet so I can’t compare the two.  I can’t get enough sprouts and use them in my green smoothies too to that is why I need so many.

One thing I found that I don’t like is the tube that the water drains out of has a strange chemical smell to it and this smell transfers into the drained water also.  I plan on looking at  hardware or home store to replace this tubing.  It doesn’t smell up the room, just the water that drains out of it.

Here is where I purchased it:   Evolution Health It is the best price I have found yet.


I want to add that since Sunday I have had seeds of  sprout trays in a plastic bin, hand watering and misting.  They are not sprouting nearly as fast as in the Easy Green Sprouter which makes me appreciate the Easy Green that much more.

Some of the seeds I am using in the Easy Green sprouter are from The Sprout House. They are the organic sunflower and buckwheat and I like them both.


~ *** ~

Here is a video presentation of the Easy Green Sprouter

Thanks for the review, Cindy!

I love product reviews! Anyone has any reviews? Places? Products? Quality?  Send ’em— the good, the bad, and the ugly 🙂


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

ETL Friday! ETL…in the Jungle?

Talk about determination! This week, Sara explores Peru and gives us a look at how to do it Eating To Live style … Where there’s a will, there’s a way. So, do take it away, Sara 🙂

Eating Well in Peru (as a vegan) Part I

Iquitos, Peru: an isolated jungle city. The only way out is on a plane, via the Amazon River, or through the jungle. This makes it unusually safe (if you commit a crime, where are you going to run to that they can’t block off?), but it also means everything is imported. Beautiful and warm, but it’s also humid, sticky, and impoverished in parts.

First thing on the agenda: Look for mangos. Should be cheap and easy, right? Nope. Summer for me is mango season… in Mexico. In Peru, it’s winter, and the only mangos I could find were older and not so great. I found nicer ones in the US! “Tenemos manzanas!” the fruit stand seller would proudly tell me. They had apples. Tsk, tsk, I shook my head in disappointment. I love local, home-grown apples. But I did not go to Peru to feast on mere apples! Eventually I was able to stay content with oranges; grapes; melons; passion fruits; and the illustrious and exotic “cherimoyas,” or custard apple. Not available everywhere, but soooooo good. And the price was a million times cheaper than at home. I ate meals of them.

Next stop: Meal-time! Fruit is nice, but a woman craves something more meal-like and savory after awhile. What was I able to come up with?
A few restaurants, catering to tourists, had vegetarian burgers or even tofu–but cooked with plenty of oil and salt, and offered with white bread. Peruvian Chinese is also big all over the country, and you can find stir-fried noodle dishes. Hmm, white flour, salt, oil, minute amounts of veggies. Nope, would rather do a fruit meal. Instead, I found I was able to make a meal out of salads with lettuce, tomato, avocado, palm hearts, and other miscellaneous veggies, plus a smoothie on the side (no milk, no sugar added, por favor). And unlike Mexico, they don’t sprinkle cheese over everything! Nope, you have to pay for cheese if you want it. This vegan was very happy.

Next challenge: can I make a meal for myself with limited hostel kitchen access and whatever I find at the market or store? We start at the market: chicken hearts, livers, intestines and everything else are put on display. But then! Fruits! Veggies! Palm hearts!!! It was very exciting — ditto for the store. I would eat the veggies raw, in slices. The joy of eating simply! But gradually the excitement started to fade. It started to set in–the imported veggies, for the most part, looked like something from the back of my fridge. Rotted. The last few days I was sick to death of half-rotten veggies and finally succumbed to some vegan “health food” junk I found–bars and cookies made with amaranth, quinoa, maca, sesame. Not the worst, but not so healthy, either. Also tried sancha inchi, an omega-3 rich bean (it seemed), and spit it out–it had been cooked and the oils tasted rancid. My skin started to erupt from the junk, and my digestion wasn’t as squeaky clean as normal…it was easy enough to be vegan, but I needed some sustenance. Luckily, by this point we were about leave, off to Cusco in the Andes Mountains, a completely different climate.


I don’t know that I could do so well! Seriously inspiring. It can be done, even in so remote locations. Forget the tv show, this is true life “Survivor” 😀

Part II, next week —  Tune in!  🙂

Strix (daydreaming of meals of miles and miles of cherimoyas…)

sm row smiles

« Older entries

%d bloggers like this: