My Beloved Vita-Mix!

(Warning: This is part personal opinion and part advertisement…but it’s all good!)

I have a new love in my life. It is my new Vita-Mix 5200. When I received my Federal Stimulus check I deposited it, and then immediately went online to order my fabulous new toy. Check it out…isn’t it beautiful?

I’ll be straight with you…they’re expensive. My total purchase came out to almost exactly the amount I had deposited – which is a lot of money for a piece of kitchen equipment – but they’re virtually indestructible and they come with a seven year warranty, so I felt it was a good investment. Besides…everyone in the raw food community I had talked to up to that point had said they loved theirs, so I was very excited at the prospect of having my very own machine, in spite of the cost.

So I ordered the 5200 and got the package with both the wet and dry blades, just in case. I haven’t used the dry blade yet. That one is for things like grinding nuts or seeds into something like flour. You can also mix and kneed bread with the dry blade, but I’m not sure I’ll use mine for that since bread isn’t on my good food list.

I have used the wet blade, though, for all sorts of raw and vegetarian goodies. Here’s a short list:

  • Green Smoothies My favorite is baby spinach with just about any combination of fruit. Add a little Hemp oil and you’ve got a great energy drink!
  • Mango Sorbet Fresh organic Mango and some ice – it’s that simple!
  • Chopped Cabbage for Salad The first time I tried chopping cabbage things did not go well. Then I waatched the DVD that came with the machine and learned the trick – it’s actually super easy!
  • Vegetable Soup (Not raw, but very tasty!) I like to use sauteed leeks and onions as a starter, then add organic vegetable stock to complete the base. Chop up a variety of your favorite organic veggies, and you’ve got a great healthy soup! To give it a creamy base, put a cup or two of the broth into the Vita-Mix and give it a spin, then pour it back in with the rest of the soup.

The Vita-Mix website even has a section for raw foodies. And there’s a community for Vita-Mix owners of all types to connect and share information. It’s called Vita-Village (corny, I know).

I’ve had my Vita-Mix only a few months, but it is one of the most effective tools I have to support me in my raw food adventure.

If you think you might like to try one, Vita-Mix offers a 30-day no-risk in-home trial…and you can get FREE Standard Ground Shipping if you click the banner above or use this link! If you prefer to upgrade your shipping method, the banner or link will get you a discount off of expedited shipping.

Happy Eating!

Raw Carrot & Orange Cake – It Rocks!

I have to pass this recipe on to you because it’s just so yummy! If you like carrot cake, but the “real” stuff is too sweet (or unhealthy) for you, this recipe is perfect! Not only does it not contain all those things I need to stay away from (flour, oil and sugar), but – believe it or not – it tastes very much like the real thing!

I found the recipe quite by accident. I had been searching for a recipe for something like raw mushroom pate because I had these great looking portobello’s in my fridge and I was anxious to try something new with them.

But the Universe had other plans for me. Somehow, as I was searching, I stumbled onto this great recipe for raw carrot cake! Now, understand, I’ve seen plenty of raw carrot cake recipes in my travels, but so far the pictures haven’t made me want to try them. This one is different. The picture above the recipe (see top of post) looks very appetizing, and the cake I made looks even better!

I won’t post the full recipe here…you can pop on over to Raw Food Chef Russell James’ blog when you’re ready. But I will provide a couple of tips from my experience making it.

First, I made it in an 8 x 8 baking pan, so mine came out a little higher than the one in the picture above. I’d say mine is about 1 1/2″ to 2″ high.

I made the “icing” first, and set it in the fridge while I prepared the base. That worked well, and the base was plenty firm enough that I didn’t have to worry about tearing up the cake as I iced it.

Last, I did not put it into the dehydrator, as the recipe suggests. I just finished the base and put the icing on it right away, covered it all and set it in the fridge.
About 10 minutes later I pulled it back out of the fridge so I could have a piece (I couldn’t wait!).

Getting that first piece out of the pan was a little tricky, but I managed to do it without mangling it too much. It really was no more difficult than getting the first piece of any kind of cake out of a pan like mine. And when I pulled the pan out of the fridge this morning to cut myself a piece for my lunchbox the rest of the cake was still in very good shape…no bleeding or falling over of stuff into the empty space I’d left the night before.

Here’s a picture of my version after I’ve been in it a few times 😉

That’s it! There are several ingredients, so there’s a lot of chopping to be done for the base, but you can chop each thing and dump it into the bowl right on top of the last thing you chopped, and then when you’re all done chopping, just mix it all together. Simple!

I would highly recommend this recipe to anyone who has ever moaned in ecstacy over a warm slice of carrot cake! (I’ll have more on the fate of the portobello’s in a later post.)

The Effect of Seasonal Changes and Stress on Fibromyalgia

It’s interesting how season changes and emotions can play into your overall feeling of well-being. For the past three weeks or so, I had been feeling achy and sore just about every day, and the degenerative disc in my lower back was inflamed to a degree that almost had me heading back to the chiropractor.

I had a feeling the change in seasons was contributing to my achiness, but I know that food can trigger it as well. I had hoped the changes I made to my diet recently to manage the diabetes would help, but in this case it did not. While I did notice an improvement in my mood and overall sense of well-being after restarting on raw food, the achiness remained.

Until about three days ago. On Wednesday morning of this past week, I woke up, got out of bed and walked…pain free…to the bathroom! It felt great! And I felt another positive boost in my attitude as well.

What made the difference? I have a couple theories. First, I think the recent change in weather had an affect. We’re heading into Fall weather here, but it’s been slow going. The weather has been warmer than usual, and pretty dry as well. I won’t get into all the details, but weather definitely is a factor in the severity of fibromyalgia symptoms. If you want to learn more, there’s a great article about it here:

My second theory is that I have recently been able to release some of my frustration over my job. I’m still working for the same company, but I’ve been moved into a position that I feel suits me better than my previous one. The atmosphere in this group is much more positive, and I feel I will have more freedom (and support) to dig in and make a difference. That’s important to me.

So..even though the weather has changed again since last Wednesday, I still feel pretty good!

Make Money From Home…Not!

I recently stumbled upon an online ad that sent me back in time. It said, “Make Money Stuffing Envelopes.” You know where I saw it? Come on. You do realize this is a con, right? I mean, if you fall for this one, you deserve what you get.

I know. I fell for it when I was young and gullible. It was 20+ years ago, shortly after giving birth to my twin daughters at the ripe old age of 21. At that time I was determined to be a stay-at-home mom – at least until my girls started school.

The ad I fell for promised I could make $200-$300 a week stuffing envelopes. I was stoked! I filled out the order form, wrote out my $10.00 check and then excitedly checked the mail slot every day, anxious for my “kit” to arrive so that I could start pulling my financial weight at home.

When my package arrived, I was dismayed to find that it was nothing more than a poorly printed booklet containing lists of agencies and types of businesses I could contact who may need envelope stuffing and other clerical services. The other option that was suggested was that I could recreate the booklet and market it as my own. I read the booklet from cover to cover and briefly considered whether it really would be possible for me to build a business in that manner and decided…no. It wasn’t for me. I tossed the thing in the trash – lesson learned. Nine months later I was back in an office job.

The ad I saw on last week claimed I could make $1,000 a week stuffing envelopes. Well, the pretend paycheck has gone up, as has the “initial investment” amount, but other than that, I’m sure things haven’t changed. Even if this were real, I can’t even imagine how many envelopes a person would have to stuff in order to earn $1,000 in a single week. It just doesn’t seem possible. There are so many obvious problems with that idea I can’t even justify listing them. It brings to mind the Seinfeld episode where George Costanza’s fiance dies from licking the envelope glue on their wedding invitations.

But you know what really chaps me? These ads are EVERYWHERE! Including legitimate employment sites. I did a search on for “Work at Home” and got 160 pages of results! gave me 10 pages.…I don’t know how many…I stopped scrolling at 30.

While some of these jobs may be legitimate, I’m pretty sure they’re not the kinds of jobs you would feel good about having. For example, my search resulted in a slue of listings for “Call Center Agent.” I think there was one for every possible city/state combination. You know what that job is, right? It’s answering inbound calls and processing orders from those infomercials you see on tv. Glamorous!

There’s also a “Diet Gum Company” claiming you can make $1,500 per week processing orders at home. Even better – there’s a “Diet Company” that is going to pay you $6,000 a week for taking orders on your home computer. If these jobs were legitimate, first, instead of “Diet Gum Company” you’d see the real name of the company, and second, everyone would be working from home!

While the “Call Center Agent” job may be real, I have to ask this…Does anybody out there know anybody who has really made the money stated in those other ads?

These types of ads prey on people who have to make decisions like, “Do I go to the dentist to have my abscessed tooth pulled or do I feed my family?” They are desperate. If you’ve ever responded to one of these ads I’m guessing you didn’t do it because you were financially independent and just needed something to pass the time. You responded because you really needed the money and were fresh out of ideas for getting it any other way (legally).

I’m think I’m going to take some time and explore some of these listings over the next few weeks. I’ll report back on what I find.