Dill Nut Cheese | Plant Based Raw

My Anniversary Month trip to Canada with my husband (of 19 years 💝) was a culinary experience to remember!

One of the highlights from our time in Vancouver BC was the discovery and visit to this plant based cafe in North Van. It was also our very first time boarding the Sea Bus for a fun 20 minute ride over. We didn’t have to go far from the water, which was great since we were on foot. The ‘port’, or so it seemed to be one to me, had a buzzing with activity boardwalk and mall, jam packed with a wide variety of shops, cafes, including a Kombucha growler refilling hang out and a farmers market stand. The Plaza outside had great views over the water looking back out at Downtown Vancouver. 

I got goosebumps as soon as we walked through the doors of Cafe by Tao. I was jumping out of my skin with excitement and sheer bliss looking at the products on the shelves and in the cooler, already dreaming of how much I could carry away with me.

Not to mention reading the menu…Ahhhhhh.

If you think I’m exaggerating, just ask Kerwin. He was right there watching me and laughing.
Who knew 2 years ago that I’d be so excited over (non pasta, non pastry, non potato chips, non cheesecake) food?! I certainly didn’t.

Here’s a video flashback to afterwards, as we were leaving.

Now that the stage is set…the reason for ‘this’ blog LOL is to share a raw food win – I made the ‘to die for’ Dill Nut Cheese for the first time today and am in heaven!

It tastes almost exactly as I remember it!

I spread it, nice and thick, on the matching ‘to die for’ raw onion bread I had a freshly made batch of. Pictured ⬇️. Needing a tasty topping for the bread is what actually triggered me to finally pull up this recipe and give it a go.

It’s food like this that makes me laugh when I tell people I eat raw and they say “oh. Don’t you get tired of eating salads?” Nope. lol. 

Part of this life journey I’m on is about celebrating the joys, wins, and delicious food, so instead of simply sharing a picture on Facebook, I am choosing to savor this moment with an intentional post.

For this Dill Cheese recipe and more check out Cafe by Tao!

I promise I’ll share more about our day and incredible eating experience at Cafe by Tao in another post. 😊

Looking back at Day 8 – Read The Labels

2 years ago today I had just returned from a Barn Hunt extravaganza trip up to Reno, NV with my oldest boy Nicklas who got himself his Senior 🥳🌟😃 AND Crazy 8’s Bronze titles. Wow! What a incredible ride!

I had just started my 87 Day Adventure and everything was uncharted territory. So of course a road trip far from home, with a cooler of healthier food and a hotel stay in an unfamiliar city was in order. Lol.

This is what food on Day 3 looks like when it’s late at night, you’re starving, you need energy to keep driving and even if you wanted to stop and eat at a restaurant there was nowhere to go.

A salad taste sensation. 🙂

The transition had begun!

The biggest challenge, right out of the starting gate, was Sugar. Surprised that I didn’t say Meat?

Meat was obvious and easy to not select it to eat. I mean, it was easy to avoid in that its kind of hard to eat a cheeseburger and not know you’re eating meat. Haha. This was before I knew of the crazy, way too real, Beyond Burger.

The other item I was eliminating was white/wheat processed flours. Bread is bread, pastries and pizza look like what they are too so I could ‘see’ to not choose items made out of flour.

Sugar, on the other hand, is sneaky. It’s added to EVERYTHING! A jar, box, can, package, bag, processed foods, salad dressing, sauces, broths… you get the idea. To be clear, I mean the added kind of sugar, not the naturally occurring, delicious and important fuel for you body type of sugar found in oranges, honey or grapes. Avoiding this kind of sugar and ALL it’s numerous forms was giving me some trouble.

I was in no way ready to stop eating out or make every single meal / ingredient from scratch.

What’d I do?

I started reading labels and let me tell you was it ever like going on a treasure hunt. When I found gold, a store bought item without added sugar, it was real cause for celebration!

Here’s a peak into a time when I found gold, shortly after returning from Barn Hunting in Reno. 😃

“Day 8 update:

Wiped out today recovering from my road trip but I’m super happy to have completed my first travel of my 87 day eating adventure. 👍🏼😃

I scored two finds today I’m excited about! Whole Foods’s no sugar added Sriracha Sauce (for tomorrow’s zucchini recipe) and Costco’s no sugar added marinara sauce, which tastes great by the way. 😉 I had it for dinner with edamame noodles, which aren’t my favorite but….they’ll do.

It’s a great thing when all the ingredients on the label are recognizable, pronounceable and actual whole foods and spices!!”

•Ok, side note…I’ll never eat edamame noodles again! They are way beyond ‘not my favorite’ and I actually eventually ended up disposing of the rest of that massive box of them I’d gotten from Costco. Which was something else I learned on this journey – there’s only so much food you can eat in a day, so make it count.

When’s the last time you read the label on a jar of marinara sauce? Or any label for that matter.

I challenge you to start reading labels! Make a choice for your health and buy the jar of spaghetti sauce that has only 6 ingredients in it, all pronounceable whole foods and tomatoes need to be right there at the top.

Tomatoes do have naturally occurring sugar, so you can ignore the chart showing the list of %’s by nutrient. Look further down at the actual list of ingredients – (the most important section on the entire label!) anything listed there is considered “added sugar” and is what you want to avoid.

Sprouts Market does also have an organic jar of marinara sauce that fits this criteria, mixed in among the 30 or so varieties 😲 they also have with sugar. Yup, I stood there one day and read them all. Ugh! On the bright side, I only had to do it once.

Not sure about Trader Joe’s. 🤔 If you find one, take a picture and post it in a comment!

To follow along as I continue to tell the story of my journey to greater health, energy and vitality make sure to subscribe here on my website.

To join the FB community and see how I’m living and eating now, click here!

My Gordons & Me Project – Doggy Doshas

The wisdom of Ayurveda teaches that the highest levels of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being can be achieved through the application of ancient principles of healing to restore your body to it’s natural state of balance.
Bringing balance to my pack is what this project is all about!
How do you know if YOUR pack is balanced? Or maybe it’s you that is out of balance? Some questions for self/pack assessment can be found in this blog post.

We, along with all of nature, are made up of the 5 elements – Earth, Water, Air, Space and Fire. The combinations are expressed in energies, or Doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. This article goes into more detail.

What’s that got to do with my Gordons, you may be wondering? Dogs have Doshas too! The even cooler part is that you can bring balance to each type of dosha with nutrition.

I have dreams of Ian and Larkin being like this ⬇️ all the time when they are together.

To that end, I’m going to be testing out how their behavior is effected by adjusting their foods, based on what I learn about each of their doshas. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Identifying Doshas

First, I needed to identify the dosha combinations for each of my dogs and then looking into their imbalances and the associated foods I can feed them.

Using a Dog Quiz and Behavior Characteristics documents I got a copy of from animal relationship expert, Jamie Lee, I’ve arrived at these doshas:

Nicklas –  Vata / Pitta

Ian- Kapha / Pitta

Larkin – Kapha / Pitta

Elly – Vata / Pitta

4 dogs with the secondary dosha of the Fire 🔥 element. 😱 Which is where Ian’s intensity, Elly’s spunk, Nicklas’ determination and Larkin’s strength all come from. Also makes sense why they push each other’s button, lol, especially the 2 boys whose doshas match – Ian & Larkin.

I will probably look into this a little more to quadruple verify.😛 I get that first impressions are usually correct but this is all new to me so I want to be as sure as I can to know I can trust the results I get from my “experiment”. Up to this point it’s making a lot of sense but if anything changes, I’ll be sure to come back and update!

Imbalances

Because of having identified their doshas, I can next look at how each combination shows up with their characteristics and what those imbalanced behaviors look like. Here it is by dog:

Nicklas – anxiety, worry and over active mind

Ian – aggression and withdrawing when sad

Larkin – aggression, needy

Elly – Fear, confusion

Wow, yup this still makes sense. I could easily identify which was the imbalanced behavior they have simply by looking at a list of them organized by dosha. Very interesting!

Now what?

Next I need to read up on those dosha combinations and the foods associated with bringing balance. For example, I know that meats are known as cold, warm or neutral. Which is which and which is for which imbalance? Lol. I’ll share what I discover in a future blog!

The days of feeding 4 identical meals may be over….uh oh…

Ayurvedic Herbs

My Gordons & Me Project – Days 4 – 14

The days run together when I let too much time go by between posting, oh well, I’m not losing sleep over it. 😂😉 That would defeat the purpose now wouldn’t it? 😜

Here are some highlights:

•I’ve proven that meditating IS helping as the days I haven’t done so, everyone has been a little out of sorts, me included. Regardless of the time of day I do it, a simple 10 minute time out works wonders. And we’re only inconsistently just getting started. Imagine when I get good at it and the gang learns the routine?!

•I love the simplicity of the Joshin Kokyu Ho meditation but I’m ready to branch out and add a second one into my repertoire.

•Larkin’s pattern of going out of his way to growl at the other 2 boys after eating makes meditating then a challenge. It works, IF I can get everyone settled but trying to sit down, get comfy and relaxed myself while also holding onto a squirming Larkin’s collar to stop him running off to stir up trouble…🤦🏼‍♀️ is not setting us up for success. I decided to try something new.

Larkin most often (99.9% of the time) finishes eating first, though he gets his food after the two older boys. Always hopeful there is another bone or second helping waiting for them, as each boy finishes they race inside to the kitchen sink and lift their noses in the air – checking. Many times there IS indeed something else. 🙂

 As Larkin runs in first I quickly close the door behind him, wipe his face as I take off his snood and then I gently escort him over to the carpet, have him lay down and tell him to STAY.

My new plan is to have him stay there and as Nicklas and Ian each came in I’ll do the same and have them join Larkin one at a time.

The first time I lost track of how many times I returned Larkin to his spot, ugh! but nobody was perfect. They all “forgot” at least a few times and would try to go find another napping spot.

I remained calm and patient, after pausing a few times to remind myself. I finally released them a while later when they were chill, relaxed and staying in place. One by one they slowly moved away after my “ok” and found cozy places apart from each other where they all immediately curled up again and went to sleep. My plan worked! Peace, quiet and no growling.

I’m extremely pleased by the great response and plan to continue this new routine.

•Exercise has been lacking but I did manage to get Ian out on a little adventure to exercise his brain.

•Ball playing is now back on! I figure this is good practice for them too as it’s a ‘group’ play time. Well, except for Elly, as she doesn’t like to play ball. The boys get to experience lots of bodily contact and hopefully they will learn some manners and tolerance.

•Need to ramp up the exercise plan, especially while the weather is not hot, and set up a rotation for taking them out on walks and adventures. Solo trips for now.

Day 11 ~

•While out in the backyard, Nicklas started staring at Ian all wrong so right there and then I stopped what I was doing (working on my new veggie bed), corrected both, sat down between them and had them lay right there by me on the grass. Ian immediately relaxed into the meditation energy ⬇️

(hard to mistake the feeling in this face).

Nicklas however was up and loudly protesting – “No mom, I don’t WANT to lay down. I want to play ball. Throw it for me, NOW!”

Tough to stay focused to meditate when you can’t hear yourself think 🙄 but it at least changed the vibe – Ian was soaking it up, Larkin came over to hang out, note the leg in Ian’s face (smh), and Nicklas was back to his demanding self. Crisis averted 👍🏼

•Manners update – sitting and having to hold it till released before going outside, one at a time, is in progress. Whew, more patience is needed on my part! It IS helping though. Nicklas is no longer harassing Ian when they first go out. Another win! 👍🏼

 

I think that’s everything.

Previous episodes can be found here:

My Gordons & Me Project – Days 1, 2, 3

It’s already the evening of Day 3 and things are starting to become blurry so I’m writing quickly to put something on “paper” before it blends in with the days that are ahead. ☺️

 

Day 1

  • EHT supplement – Gave the boys each a half pill and Elly a third, with dinner.
  • 10 minute Joshin Kokyu Ho meditation after feeding the gang breakfast.
  • Put snoods on ‘before’ getting the meat out as they are calmer then. Made everyone sit while putting on their snoods. Lots of “Shhhhh…ing” with my hand palm out in the “stop” sign, till everyone was relatively quiet. Lol.
  • Morning was busy with Kerwin and I both needing to leave the house together, so he was putting food together in the kitchen and I had still had wet hair. Larkin was doing his usual challenging growls after eating. I sat down anyway, said Let’s Meditate! and started deep breathing.

Larkin needed lots of my attention but finally settled down and at the end he was sweetly kneading his toy at my feet. Nicklas eventually stopped barking at me and curled up in the chair next to me. Ian went to his space on the couch once he couldn’t get to me because Larkin was hogging my lap. Elly was back in the bedroom, in her usual place on the bed.

Coming home that night the gang was overall much calmer, it was strange as I’d expected them to be wound up since they’d been alone all day. Dinner was a simple affair and everyone chilled on their own afterwards. Hmmm….nice.

Day 2

  • EHT with breakfast as that was the boneless meal of the day and I mostly got away with hiding the pill in their food. 🙂
  • Probiotics – (This isn’t new but I’m calling it out for clarification purposes) I always split a packet of the same probiotics that Kerwin and I use between the 4 of them, once a day. They LOVE it and will gladly open their mouths as soon as they see me tear open a packet. But it’s much easier to sprinkle on their food as I’m sure you can imagine.
  • 10 minute Joshin Kokyu Ho meditation.
  • Nicklas got a 2 minute walk with me out to the mailbox. I had the other 3 out in the backyard but when Nicklas entered the house, his energy was good.
  • It was Saturday and my morning was clear so we had a slow time of it, late breakfast as the meat was still frozen and lots of backyard time as it was a gorgeous, windy day. I decided to meditate outdoors in the sunshine, only making sure they were all out there with me but let them do their own thing. It was lovely!

Here is Larkin afterwards – it’s become his thing to be sweetly playful after I meditate, more puppyish – Cuteness reappears. 🥰 Elly, Ian and Nicklas were all lounging on the grass, awake and sniffing in the breeze but grounded and calm.

Day 3

  • I’m already getting things confused! Lol
  • EHT & Probiotics at breakfast again.
  • No morning meditation. Unexpected garden soil delivery, from the fabulous Tomato Lady, used up my available time.
  • Need to get some new balls so we can play in the morning as has been our routine. Nobody likes their all time favorite balls to be half chewed up. Thanks, Ian!
  • Meditated an hour or so after dinner as Larkin started getting grouchy.

It’s challenging to focus on meditating when you have a dog in your lap with his toy that he’s constantly licking. (Larkin!) My friend and animal relationship expert Jamie Lee tells me that licking is a sign of accepting meditation energy. Better the toy than my face, which he was doing when I first started meditating!

Post Meditation

Always revved up and ready, Nicklas is looking mighty relaxed with those droopy eyes. 😍Woohooo!

During...

Notice where Larkin’s toy is in the picture….🤦🏼‍♀️ One guess how it got there.

If you missed my Introductory post with the details on this project, you can find it here!

My Gordons & Me Project

Part of my mission to be the healthiest I can be and live a vibrant, joyful life absolutely includes my dogs.

This new project is the next step in that journey. Organizing it as a Project helps me stay focused and documenting it for posterity allows it to help other dog owners and ensures I don’t forget.

On this path of health I recently drastically changed their diet, just as I’ve done mine, although in kind of the opposite way. 😋 I’ve stopped eating all meat, of all kinds, and now feed raw meat to my dogs. The change in their lives, brightness of eyes, energy, shiny coats….has been a joy to see! Nicklas has beaten the fatal diagnosis of Dilated Cardiomyopathy thanks to skilled emergency cardiology medicine AND the diet he now eats.

Now that revved up energy and happiness has changed the vibe in the house a bit, okay let’s be honest – a LOT. I’m feeling outnumbered by their pack energy. It’s time to step it up as Pack Leader and create some change, to ‘bring balance to the force’. 😉

Some of the things I want to address are:

  • The mad rush to get out the door, the first to go after the bird in the yard.
  • The jostling to be the first to make it through the bedroom door in the morning, even before me.
  • Craziness at meal times. Although it’s an incredible shift from when I had to beg and cajole Nicklas to even come sniff his bowl of kibble that he’d leave half-finished.
  • Larkin, the baby of the group, challenging Nicklas and Ian, especially Ian ALL THE TIME.
  • Nicklas and Ian able to walk peacefully together.
  • Dog(s) returning home are peacefully greeted by the pack so I’m able to take one dog out at a time for exercise and one on one time.
  • No jumping up, no matter how much they want to smell my lipstick or the day cream I’ve just put on.
  • Politely greeting guests that come over. Not bowling them over with their excitement to meet a new friend.
  • Ian’s intensity that destroyed the grass in the yard and my garden and his anxiety that sorely tests my patience.

Though it looks all like ‘dog’ items, I know it’s going to involve more of me and changes I make, then about them. I’ve created and enabled the energy in my pack and now it’s time to bring some grounding influences into my/our lives.

Why am I doing this?

Simple answer is – Peace. Harmony. Wellness. Love.

The longer answer is that stress, tension, uncontrolled energy, anxiety, jostling for position and power are all negative energy. Energy creates health or disease. I want, like I’m sure we all do, HEALTH. Our dogs die waaaay too young and I’m passionate to do what I can to change that. It’s not just the genes they were born with. Not by a long shot.

The Plan

I don’t even know all that I’ll be doing yet. I’m open for new ideas and learning from others. Please share in a comment what you’ve done or learned to do with your dog(s) that has been beneficial. I’m open!

Here are a few things I know I’m going to look into. If you’re a little skeptical of the Eastern Medicine items, no worries let me be the guinea pig for you. 😛

  • Ayurveda. Did you know dogs have doshas too? There are even are specific foods that support each of the doshas to bring balance and wellness.
  • Meditation. As much as it kills me to slow down and be still I’m going to tackle this head on!
  • Yoga. I’m learning that the poses are only 1 piece of the larger whole, that is how you live and go through life. Ashtanga yoga sounds surprisingly right up my alley.
  • Training. Simple positive training hacks and GAMES that I can incorporate into our routine.
  • Reiki. This healing ‘art’ that uses energy is fascinating. I may not understand it and certainly can’t SEE it but I’ve seen how responsive my dogs are to it and for me, that’s all the “seeing is believing” I need.
  • Exercise. No, this one is definitely NOT for me. Lol. I see them running free in the desert while I calmly stroll along. 😉
  • Essential Oils. Supportive diffuser blends and ways to use different oils topically on each dog based on their needs.
  • EHT – Brain supplement. Dogs experience neural degeneration and dementia too. Who knows, it may help their ‘moods’ too, like it does for people.

And I still want to have a life outside of this project! 😂 I am planning for a 60 day course and will tackle one item at a time, making adjustments as I go depending on the results I get. By the end of these next 2 months, I hope to have fine tuned a system for us that works. 🙂

It really feels like a lonely journey I’m beginning, with many even vehemently opposed. Actually, I’ve been on this lonely road since I started saying No to vaccines and even more so since starting to feed raw. I’m not looking for confrontation but that being said, I feel I owe it to the 4 amazing dogs my husband and I have the honor to have in our lives and care for, those that came before them 💕💕and to all the dog moms and dads out there (aka owners) who are open to asking questions and long to have dogs with a better quality and even extended length of life – to not be silent, to bravely move forward.

Be sure to subscribe to stay in the loop on my adventure!

Nothing Like Tea & Pastries

On a cold night in Vegas...

It’s fun to be able to say that. I almost thought the Winter season was over but the snow, winds and below freezing temps (just barely mind you 😉) have done their sneaky thing, as is often the case in February.

Out comes the tea and ‘pastries’, or in my world, these yummy snacks that are better known as Joie Bites. This creamy, sweet, richness that, until yesterday I’d forgotten how to make, is the perfect compliment to my Cinnamon Roobois Chai tea from David’s Tea. 

I’m not a big fan of chotzky souvenirs when traveling, instead I like to get things that we’ll use. This lovely tea cup with lid and loose tea brewing insert (I’m sure it has a more proper name than that lol) is the perfect memory of cozy mornings in our condo sipping tea as we journaled. 

I don’t need a mug that says YVR to help me remember our #CanadaTrip holiday. ☺️

It makes me happy to think back on our trip. It’s the reason we do what we do – to travel, explore and create amazing memories together! Having items out and visible to serve as these reminders is a wonderful thing – it keeps me focused and on track building my side gig.

Mel Robbins calls these visible reminders Positive Triggers in her Mindset Reset program. Check it out here! It’s available on demand replay and is incredibly beneficial. Best thing I did to kick off 2019 was signing up for her free program!

Or….it might actually be tied for top spot with my decision to start my 160 day eating Raw & Living foods challenge. Today is Day 51! And OMG, I had to get a calculator out to add up the days, it’s already flying by. 🤩

Signing off now so I can go feed the babies 🐶🐶🐶🐶! Till next blog…

For fun tips and healthy recipes you can follow me and my friends here: Joy, Wellness and Women. Creating a Vibrant Life You Love!

Cheers!