The Raw Glow Blog

Posts from — October 2009

How to Increase Your Feelings of Self Love and Self Worth

A Painting of a Heart

To some it might sound trite, but I’ve come to believe that the thoughts that you feed your body are just as important as the food that you feed it. Just as much as I am passionate about healthy food, I’m passionate about having the knowledge and ability to consciously create your life how you want it. I am an eternal student of the Law of Attraction and I wanted to share some of my thoughts about the importance of self love and self worth in our lives, especially as woman.

 If you believe in the Law of Attraction then you believe that the universe matches your vibration and your reality directly correlates to the vibrational signal you are sending out. Then imagine what would happen if you really started loving and adoring yourself, imagine the change in your vibration, and imagine what the universe would bring. Imagine how your body would feel if you showered it with love and praise on a daily basis. Imagine how your relationships would change. If you love you, others will mirror you, and treat you based on your feelings of self worth. What I have learned is that the more you love yourself the more open you are to the abundance of the universe because you truly believe that you deserve all the good things that this life has to offer. Also, you’re more apt to make decisions that are the best for you, that honor your body and enrich your life.

I don’t consider myself a master by any means, but I have learned a few techniques about increasing your self love and sense of self worth that I wanted to share with you:

  • You don’t need to work for or to keep someone’s love for you. The people that matter in your life will love you, simply for being you.

For example: In my twenties I chose partners that I didn’t feel I was good enough for, so I went out of my way to please them so they would “love me” and I would loose myself along the way. It wasn’t until my thirties that I was comfortable with being myself and being loved for who I am faults and all.

Now that I’ve found truly a special person who loves me unconditionally,  a fear I have had is that I might not be good enough to keep his love. One of the things that has really helped me is the realization that my husband loves me for my heart, my energy, and the love I give. I finally realized that he loves my presence and my being and there is no action that I have to take, all I have to do is be myself. This does not mean that I don’t take action in our relationship, but for me it has meant that I don’t have to live in fear and that I can just relax and receive his love. I also realized that everyone in my life who loves me feels the same, they love my presence and I don’t need to work for anyone’s love.

  • Notice your thoughts and self talk. Are you being nice to yourself? Be your own friend by being encouraging and forgiving to yourself everyday.
  • Make a list everyday of things to praise yourself about. Celebrate small accomplishments.
  • Don’t compare yourself others. Do YOUR personal best.

For example: I finally realized how hard I am on myself about my accomplishments or lack there of. I always used to compare myself to others, and berate myself for not being smarter, savier, and more productive. Just recently I realized I was in a negative self talk mode at least 6-8 hrs. a day!

What has helped me is to really notice my thoughts. Every hour I would take an inventory of what I was thinking and feeling. Once I realized that I was putting myself down often, I decided to change. First, I started by making a list of at least 10 things that I was really proud of myself for accomplishing before I went to bed. Even if they were small, like that fact that I stayed positive most of the day. Then I lowered my expectations for myself by not comparing myself to others. Of course I still want to constantly improve, but I had unrealistic expectations by comparing myself to others. What I realized is that the only person I need to compare myself to is me and I need to try to achieve my personal best, not someone else’s.

little girl making a wish

  • Write down or talk about your dreams, there are no dreams too small or too silly. Know that you deserve them all.

When my mother committed suicide it influenced how I felt about myself. I somehow felt less special for not having a mother around like the other kids, and that maybe that I wasn’t good enough for her to stay.

For example; I didn’t want anyone to make a fuss over me getting married, I wanted to elope and get it over with. It wasn’t until I got a reading from a medical intuitive, that she said that my mother wanted me to feel special and like a princess on my wedding day and that I didn’t need to feel less than because of the stigma of her death. This gave me the encouragement to have a really fun and special day.

This is still a tough one for me, but a fun exercise I have been doing lately to break my limitations about my own self worth and I what I deserve is by making fun dream lists. You can write them down, make a vision board, or talk about them with a loved one. Last night I told my husband a list of what I thought were really fun dreams; they got me giggling and they got me dreaming about all the wonderful things in my life that I deserve to have. 

Here are some of them:

1. I want a princess ballgown and tiara (for no reason, but just to feel special)I want to visit every island on this earth (for research purposes, of course:)
2. I want to sleep under the stars in a tropical location in one of those fancy mesh cabins ( I think I got that from the T.V. show the bachelor)
3. I want to go dress shopping and dancing in S.F. and eat at a fancy vegan 5 star restaurant and stay at a nice 5 star hotel. ( Millennium  here I come! )
4. I want my husband to repropose to me where I always dreamed of being proposed to as a little girl. (He was like, why didn’t you tell me in the first place?)
5. I want to go to the Academy of Sciences Planetarium in Golden Gate Park ( I used to do that as a little girl)
6. I want to go swim in some hot springs (need I say more?)
7. Get in touch with my femininity by taking some sensual dance classes (I’ve said too much!)

Most of the time when I talk about my goals they are so serious: make this much money by this time, bla, bla, bla. This exercise was different because my dream list was fun, maybe even a little silly and focused solely on pleasure.

heart shaped earth

  • Put yourself first, even if it means letting others down. The best thing you could do for anyone is to be happy.
  • Learn to feel good about yourself even if other’s around you aren’t pleased with you. Don’t let anyone determine how you should feel about yourself.

For example: I’ve had to quit stressful jobs that were draining my energy and making me sick even though it let down a few people.

Honoring yourself might mean at times that you have to put yourself first and let other people down, so don’t be afraid to be selfish. I’d rather be known as a happy healthy flake than a sick unhappy dependable person. Just be aware, that by putting yourself first there are other’s who will not be happy with you.

My first reaction when someone was not pleased with me was to automatically make it better and do anything to get back into their good graces, even if pleasing them meant demeaning myself. One thing that has helped me is to step back and meditate on the situation, and what I realized is that when someone doesn’t like me, I don’t die. Actually once I meditated and centered myself I forgot about the whole thing and chances are the person who was not pleased with me will get over it pretty quickly. If we let other’s determine our self worth then we are the whim of someone’s ever changing thoughts, like a puppet on a string. Peoples opinions of you will come and go, but your attitude about yourself can be a constant if you choose it to be.

  • When you look in the mirror only notice the positive and shower yourself with self love.
  • Adorn yourself with clothes and accessories that make you feel beautiful.
  • Give yourself some pampering once and awhile; you deserve it. 

According to Abraham:

“Since every perspective or thought that you have flows through the lens of your physical body, your attitude on virtually every subject is influenced by the way you feel about your physical body” 

From : Money, and the Law of Attraction: Learning to Attract Wealth, Health, and Happiness

For example: For years whenever I looked in the mirror I would point out what I perceived to be all my physical shortcomings.

One of things that has helped me is to look in the mirror and smile at myself and compliment myself for how I look. Looking in the mirror after I use the restroom is now the time in my life where I shower myself with love and gratitude. I think things like: wow you look good for 32, or that my eyes look happy and bright, my hair is shinny, . . (etc.) I try to focus on the positive.

Another thing that has helped me is to find clothes, lingerie, that flatter my figure so that I feel beautiful and sexy. Every woman deserves to feel beautiful. It also helps to adorn yourself with beautiful jewelry, flowers in your hair, and any other little accessory that makes you feel like a woman. It is part of our unique feminine energy to adorn ourselves with treasures.

Another way of loving ourselves is to treat ourselves once an awhile. It could be as simple as scheduling a massage, buying a new sweater, making a delicious meal, or something big like scheduling a vacation. Just know that you deserve to be happy.

I hope some of my suggestions have been useful.  Increasing my feeling of self worth has definitely been a never ending learning process. Just when I’m feeling really good about myself, an experience in my life will trigger a painful thought and I’ll uncover another layer that is ready for healing. So don’t be discouraged, every little step in the right direction can build a delicious momentum.

I leave you with a poem I wrote a few years ago when I was going through a difficult time and I find it still rings true today.

a big pink heart

A Woman Who Knows Her Worth

A woman who knows her worth
knows it is not defined
by what anyone thinks of her or tells her
Not by money, material possessions, external beauty, and least not
by the size of her waist
It runs much much deeper than that
Her worth is in inherent
in every breath that she takes
Every cell in her body
a diamond
ringing , singing, vibrating in a glorious mantra
I AM WORTHY

A woman who knows her worth
knows she is enough
simply because
she was born
A seed planted of divine light
whose only job
IS TO BLOOM

 A woman who knows her worth
knows that her beauty
her enthusiasm for life
is glowing from the inside
and that people will flock from miles around
to watch her passion burn
Inflaming the world
WITH HER PRESENCE

A woman who knows her worth
never harms herself or puts herself in harms way
She never lets anyone make her feel less
than she is
All the lies that were told to her
and that she told herself about herself
are a thing of the past
She only sees herself through God’s eyes now
She finally sees the light about who she truly is
MAGNIFICENT BEYOND WONDER

 A woman who knows her worth
cultivates that great love in herself
for herself
everyday
She nurtures herself
by the things she does
the things she says
and the way she looks
at herself
in the mirror
She has learned
how not to give it
ALL AWAY

 A woman who knows her worth
sources her strength
from that
deep
inner
well
of conviction
She has the will to fight for what she believes in
And this time
what she believes in
happens to be
HERSELF

A woman who knows her worth
knows she deserves
all the love
and all the good things that this world has to offer
She owns them
She receives them with open arms
because she knows
in the very deep core of her being
she
IS WORTH IT

Links for further reading:

The Lefkoe Method
This is a belief eliminating program that you can use to get rid of self limiting beliefs like, “I’m Not Worthy”
Try it for Free Here:
http://www.recreateyourlife.com/free/

Confident-Vision-Living
 A free information website designed to help others connect with their power so they can make their life dreams come true.
http://www.confident-vision-living.com/

Question of the Day:
How do you to increase your feelings of  self worth and self love?

♥,
C

October 28, 2009   17 Comments

My Organic Vegan Wedding

Ceci, Darrell, and Dancer Getting Married

I must admit I feel a little vain writing a blog post about my vegan wedding but I remember that before I was married I would love to peruse wedding blogs and websites and look at what offbeatbride.com affectionately calls wedding porn.

Since this is a mostly raw food related blog, my disclaimer is that my wedding was not a raw wedding, but a vegan wedding. Why? One, since I was having a small wedding I knew that I was going to be the only raw foodist attending, and the venue I picked already had amazing organic cooked vegan food available, so I decided not to complicate things. Also, I eat cooked vegan food occasionally and since it was a special occasion, I considered it a special treat.

Believe me, my friends and family have been plenty exposed to raw food over the years. Countless birthdays and special occasions at Café Gratitude , all raw Thanksgivings and Christmas’s and in April we had a good sized engagement party that was mostly raw.

ceci and darrell in gardenWe were married in Standford Inn by the Sea, in beautiful Mendocino, California. I did a lot of research on our vegan wedding venue and it really represented what we’re about: vegetarian, organic, sustainable, and pet friendly, not to mention the sheer natural beauty of the place.

The coolest thing about the venue I choose was that all the food served there was mostly vegan (which the one exception of being able to order eggs for breakfast, if desired) and mostly organic and they grow a lot of their own food in their organic vegetable garden which was the location of our marriage ceremony. How very appropriate :)

Even the flowers used for the bouquets were locally grown and organic. I know some people thought I was crazy, but I gave the florist my color scheme and told her to surprise me with flowers in season. What I ended up getting was in season locally grown organic Dahlias which have now become my favorite flower. I loved the surprise factor and my bouquets were delightful.

Dahlia Bouquets

I know that weddings can often be wasteful and I tried to keep that in mind by buying a dress that I’m going to shorten and then be able to wear again to a nice party. I also wore black shoes that I’ve already worn again on a few occasions. No veil either, just a flower in my hair. I also asked my bridesmaid’s to buy a nice black dress, in their budget, that looked good on them, and that they will be able to wear again as well. I asked the florist for small vases and reused the bouquets as centerpieces, and then gave the vases to my bridesmaids to reuse at home. I skipped the wedding favors; I’ve never been a fan. I also sent out e-mail invitations instead of paper ones. This worked because our wedding was small, but hey if it saved a little paper that’s a good thing. I also asked my florist for loose flower petals that were used to throw on us, decorate the aisle, and the reception table. They looked beautiful and it just happened to be a bonus that they are also biodegradable:)

Receiving Line

I did my own make-up with natural make-up that I use on a regular basis. I try to use make-up that avoids or at least minimizes the use of toxic chemicals in their formulations. My favorite makeup choices were a subtle peach lip gloss by PeaceKeeper called Eternal Equity and a light shimmery lavender rose eye shadow by Larenim called Bewitched Sand.

Since I had a small wedding, I asked for cupcakes instead of a cake, and for a little extra the baker made the cupcakes organic and vegan, using coconut milk for the creamy factor. They were decorated with organic edible Cecil Brunner roses. I passed out the leftovers to guests staying at the Inn.

reception tableSome other things I did that were not necessarily vegan or environmentally friendly, but they did save me some money. I bought my dress at a dress store off the rack; it was probably 1/10 the price of a normal wedding dress, and so far I can’t believe how many compliments I’ve received about it. I also made all my own jewelry and my bridesmaid’s jewelry. For the price of buying wedding jewelry already made, I was able to make 4 pairs of earrings, 4 necklaces, 1 bracelet, and one brooch!

And I guess the number one thing I did to keep it simple was to keep the wedding intimate. Even though it was tough to not have everyone with us, it was really neat how connected everyone who attended was. We all were able to sit at one long table and this created a special atmosphere. Instead of dancing like at most weddings, the younger crowd went to the indoor heated pool and hot tub and talked and swam late into the evening. That will always be a special memory for me.

We were married by the owner of  the Stanford Inn who will preach Veganism to anyone who is willing to listen! The ceremony itself was unique; an Apache poem was recited, Maria Reiner Rilke was quoted, although I don’t remember much as I was too busy starring adoringly into the eyes of my soon to be husband.

quinoa and califlowerIt was really our little white rescue Chihuahua, Dancer (A.K.A. Sheepie) that stole the show. She was running around the organic vegetable garden like crazy enjoying all the yummy sights and sounds, sneaking into our pictures here and there.

During the reception I toasted to some heart warming speeches with some sparkling water that I flavored with some vanilla stevia and was so pleased that everyone enjoyed their vegan fare. My dinner consisted of a coconut carrot bell pepper soup and a quinoa pilaf with a yummy cauliflower puree. Because our wedding party was so small, we were able to order whatever we wanted off the menu. One of my bridesmaids ordered the sea palm strudel and I got to try it, it was unique and delicious and I will definitely order it next time I visit. Not once did anyone complain that their dinner was vegan. They did a good job.

Mr.and Mrs. My wedding was a reflection of Darrell and I: simple, unpretentious, and natural. I knew that I wanted to marry Darrell from the first moment we met and our wedding really was just a formality. I am so glad that the anticipation, stress, and planning is over and that we can relax into married life. But I can say that I am glad that we didn’t elope. I felt pretty and special on that day and I felt my mom’s presence with me. I’m glad we had a formal ritual to symbolize such an important life passage. I’m so happy to have found Darrell, my best friend, lover and life partner and I’m really glad that I got to share some of the details of our wedding with you. I hope you enjoyed it, and here is a link to view more pictures:

Click Here for More Pictures of Cecilia’s Wedding

and below are a list of some of the vendors I used for my vegan wedding:

Venue
Stanford Inn by The Sea
A Vegetarian Bed and Breakfast on the Mendocino Coast
http://www.stanfordinn.com/

Food
Ravens Restaurant
Stanford Inn By The Sea Vegetarian Dining
http://www.ravensrestaurant.com/

Flowers
Mendocino Floral Design
http://www.mendocinofloraldesign.com/

Vegan Cupcakes
http://www.mendocakes.com/

List of my Favorite Natural Body Care Products:
http://www.rawglow.com/Naturalbodycare.htm,

♥,
C

October 16, 2009   21 Comments

Your Raw Food Guide to Watermelons

 big watermelon slice

I know that in most of the U.S. the weather has cooled and people are gearing up for the cold winter ahead. Here in Northern California we usually have an Indian summer and just last weekend watermelons became in season at my local farm, hence the timing of this article!

 How to Pick a Watermelon

I have to admit that I never knew how to pick out a watermelon, which is strange considering my husband considers me an expert at picking out the ripest most sweet fruits whenever we go shopping. I have to say that at my local farm they were all good, but there is a trick to picking a sweet one that I finally mastered.

  • The best advice I can give you is to buy them from a local farm or farmer’s market where they pick them when they are ripe.
  • Then you want to make sure they have a yellow or light spot on them.  This spot develops from the watermelons sitting on the ground as they ripen. If a watermelon doesn’t have the spot it was likely picked too soon.
  • Then you want to tap the watermelon and what you a listening for is a high pitched tone,  that my husband described as “springy” because the sound feels like it bounces back at you like you are tapping something that is hollow.
  • The sound should NOT be low, flat, or dull. 
  • If you follow this advice you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the quality of your watermelons.

Nutrition Info

I did a little research on watermelon and as it turns out they have a lot more nutrition in them than I realized. They are an excellent source of vitamin A, C, vitamin B1, and B6. In addition, watermelon is a good source of thiamin, potassium and magnesium. It is also a good source of beta carotene and red watermelon is a great source of the antioxidant, Lycopene.

Source:
The World’s Healthiest Foods

I couldn’t fine much information on the rind since most people in our country don’t eat the rind except for in the South. In the South and in some cultures they pickle it. What I did find though, is that it contains the amino acid known as citrulline. Our bodies use citrulline to make another amino acid, arginine, which helps cells to divide, wounds to heal, and has the ability to relax blood vessels among other important functions in our bodies.

Sources:
Want Citrulline? Try Watermelon
Watermelon May Have Viagra-effect

I also suspect there are other nutrients in the rind and, at the very least, they are a good source of chlorophyll.

 Juicing The Rind

watermelon cilantro green juice

One of the things that I’ve been doing lately is adding the rind along with the fruit to my green juices instead of cucumber or celery and I’ve gotten great results. Juicing the rind is a great way not to waste the rind and it cuts the sweetness of the watermelon juice. Not only do I feel great when I drink them, but I notice they keep me full for longer than I expected. I don’t feel a sugar rush and even though I know you aren’t supposed to combine watermelon with any other food for proper digestion, I found they digested fine. 

My tricks for watermelon for digesting well:

  • Only eat ripe and sweet watermelon
  • I always eat it alone or blended with greens or I juice it with greens and some other water rich fruit
  • Always eat watermelon or watermelon drinks on an empty stomach
  • Eat or drink watermelon very slowly
  • Never overeat on watermelon! If you overeat on watermelon you will get a bad stomach ache that I affectionately call, watermelon tummy, but it really hurts!

 Watermelon Green Juice

watermelon green juice

1-2 small apples
3 crescent slices of watermelon with the fruit and rind
( about 3 cups chopped )
1 bunch parsley, cilantro, OR spinach
1 cup water

Chop all ingredients and blend in a high speed blender and squeeze through a sprout bag. If you want to make it less sweet you can substitute one of the apples for a small cucumber. Enjoy!

Please drink these juices on an empty stomach and slowly. Stop drinking them if you notice any stomach discomfort at all. I didn’t notice any discomfort but everyone is different.

If you live in Northern California I hope you can add this healing green juice to your routine, if not I hope you can enjoy it next summer!

♥,
C

October 8, 2009   8 Comments

How to Use the Nopal and Cactus Pear Fruit in Raw Food Recipes

nopal cactus with fruit

In Northern California it’s cactus pear season right now. You might have seen these colorful little spiny cactus fruits around, but weren’t sure how to eat them. Well here is a little guide to these delicious and nutritious prickly pear fruits and their stems, also known as nopales.

 yellow cactus pear

The fruit of the nopal cactus are commonly called prickly pear fruit, cactus figs, cactus pears, Indian figs, or tuna. I have seen them in many color variations including a bright deep magenta, light yellow, light orange, and light green. They are available in California in early fall and are generally available only in the western hemipshere, such as the West of the United States, Mexico, Southern Europe, and South Africa. Tunas grow mostly in desert, semi-desert, grasslands, and Mexico has the most species. They are very hardy plants and in some places they grow like weeds. In California I have seen them growing wildly, in neighbor’s yards, at my local farmer’s market, and Mexican Super Markets.

  • Besides tasting lovely, both the fruits and pads of the prickly pear cactus are rich in slowly absorbed soluble fibers that supposedly help keep blood sugar stable and the fruit contain a high amount of antioxidants.

yellow cactus pear spilt in half

It is really important that you purchase them de-spined; if you do pick them yourself be extremely careful. And never ever eat the skin! If you cut them in half they have some really great fruit inside that you can easily scoop out. The fruit inside is full of super hard seeds that you can swallow, but I prefer to blend the cactus fruit and then strain out the seeds with a fine mesh strainer or sprout bag.

  •  The fruit tastes like a cross between a pear and a melon with the consistency of a mealy watermelon. It makes for a great drink like the one below:

 cactus pear non alcoholic drink

This is a great non alcoholic drink, super light, refreshing, and delicious!

Tunarita

2 cactus pears fruits (sliced in half with the fruit scooped out)
1 cup young coconut water
squeeze of lime

Make sure to scoop out the fruit from the cactus pear. Do not eat the skins! Blend the nopal cactus pear meat and the coconut water in a blender for 10-20 seconds and then squeeze the mixture through a sprout bag to strain out the seeds. Top with a squeeze of lime if desired. Makes about 16 ounces.

Click here to learn how to open a coconut

Nopales: The Stem of The Cactus Pear

Nopales, also known as prickly pear cactus or paddle cactus are actually the stems of the cactus pears. They have a slight tart flavor and a crisp yet mucilaginous consistency. In traditional Mexican cuisine they are usually cooked, but I have found them a nice addition to smoothies and blended soups. Just make sure you remove the spines first!

  • Nopales are very rich in insoluble and especially soluble dietary fiber.
  • They are also rich in vitamins (especially vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, but also riboflavin and vitamin B6) and minerals (especially magnesium, potassium, and manganese, but also iron and copper). Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nopal

 They are more widely available than the cactus pears, and you can find them at almost any supermarket in California and especially in Mexican Markets. Sometimes you can find them with the spines already removed and in little bags already chopped up for you. Just be aware that you must use the cacti without spines very quickly as they are vulnerable to bacteria.

If you do buy them with the spines, it is easy to take the spines off with a good sharp chef’s knife. I like to first cut my cactus in half and chop of the top, bottom, and sides to remove the spines. Then I lay the knife flat against the cactus and remove the top layer of skin along with the spines.

removing cactus spines

 This is what it should look like after the spines are removed:

cactus after removing the spines

Then I chop them up and use them in a smoothie. Here is a good one:

 Cantaloupe Cactus Cooler

 cantalope cactus cooler

1 Nopal Cactus Leaf (spines removed)
2 cups coconut water
2 cups chopped Cantaloupe
2-4 drops liquid Stevia
squeeze lime

Carefully remove spines from the nopal cactus and chop into pieces. Add all ingredients into the blender except for the lime. Taste for desired sweetness and top off with a squeeze of lime. Makes about 32 ounces.

 I had this for breakfast the other day, mmmmmm! The melon seemed to digest well with the cactus for me.

 I hope I’ve encouraged you to not be scared of the prickly pear cactus and maybe even try your hand at eating one soon:)

♥,
C

More Reading:
Tasty cactus pears keep fans a-prickle
Wikipedia/Opuntia
Nopal on Foodista

October 1, 2009   30 Comments