This weekend, one of Justin’s relatives got married, so Justin and I thought this was the perfect time to show you an example of being a raw foodist on the road.
Warning: This post is long, but it is full of pretty pictures.
Our bags were packed, the cooler was filled, and it was time for Justin’s parents to pick us up (we decided to all drive together) at our place so we could hit to road down to…. IOWA.
We hit the road around 3:30, just before rush hour began, heading south towards Iowa.
Here is a typical photo of the ride. This photo was taken while we were still in Minnesota, just a few miles from the border.
Justin and I had made ourselves a big green smoothie in the morning with our Vita-Mix before we got in the car so that we could avoid being hungry as much as possible. About an hour into our trip the smoothie had been digested in our tummies and it was time for something to drink.
All four of us had gotten thirsty. I poured everyone a glass of the lovingly created raspberry lemonade. As everyone had a sip, the ooohs and ahhhs began. The raspberry lemonade was just the right balance of tart and sweet, and it really hit the spot for all of us on the hot summer afternoon.
At about the half way point Justin’s parents got hungry, so they decided to stop in Mason City. The choices for food were slim, as most rest stops along freeways are. Justin and I were fine with our raw food, so we went along with B and D to keep them company. B and D had to choose between Denny’s, SubWay, Culver’s, and Perkins. Or gas station food, which wasn’t an option.
The standard giant Perkins flag.
B and D decided on Perkins.
We got inside, and Justin and I felt no temptation for cooked food. After all, we had just had decadent raspberry lemonade, and soon we were going to break out our flax seed crackers. I decided to have a “green salad” since I saw they had new salads that supposedly contained field greens. I ordered that, with dressing on the side. What I ended up with was not field greens, but it was plain white romaine.
I didn’t each much of it, but I didn’t care. Fortunately, neither of us were really hungry. B and D ate their meals, and felt satisfied. It took forever to get their food and even longer to get the check, but finally we got out to the car and ready to get on the road again.
Just as we were about to leave, I found this adorable Pooh bear holding on for dear life on the roof rack of a white minivan. Pooh had obviously been on many road trips, and we all wished him a safe journey.
Back on the road, we had pleasant conversation, and I was getting tired.
I managed to snap this dark, mysterious photo of Justin before I went to dreamland.
While I went in and out of naps and daydreams, we finally made it the house where Justin’s grandma lives. It is a beautiful little house with lots of vacant land all around it. Sorry, by the time we got there, it was too dark to take any photos.
After we got all the bags out of the car, Justin and I had time to walk around. We walked around the back yard, and around the vegetable garden. Justin’s grandma even has a bunch of big raspberry bushes; unfortunately, they weren’t ready yet. The fireflies were out, and we had fun watching them. Justin tried to catch one, but these were fast fireflies, and they all got away.
When it became too dark to stay outside, we went in and spent time talking with everyone. I, however, had a little surprise for everyone: Virgin Ginger Mojitos!
We were so inspired by Freshtopia’s recent video for a tasty summer “cocktail”, that we decided to make it for everyone and show them how tasty and sophisticated raw food can be!
We served the cocktails, and they were a huge hit with everyone. After a long hot summer day, this was the perfect refreshment. “Wow! This is delicious!” “So refreshing!” “This is just what I needed!” “This is raw?!”
Everyone was pleasantly surprised.
Justin and I had finally gotten hungry, so I prepared a tasty late night snack consisting of flax seed crackers, zesty cashew cheese, and red bell peppers. We offered our snacks to everyone, and they all had a little taste. “Very good!” “Mmm! Tasty!” “This is made with no cheese?” “Are you sure it’s raw?”
Slowly and surely, all of Justin’s family is starting to see why we do what we do.
We do what we do because raw food is delicious. Oh, and it makes us feel amazing.
We really wanted to blow everyone away, so we brought out the piece de resistance: raw chocolate. Justin and I brought along a raw chocolate bar that we thought the family would enjoy.
As I unwrapped the bar I realized it was shaped into perfect bite sized pieces. Everyone had a little square, and they became mesmerized by the power of raw cacao. Justin and I secretly giggled with glee, as everyone was filled with love and bliss. They couldn’t even give glowing praise for the chocolate. They were speechless.
(In a post later this week we’ll tell you more about the raw chocolate bar! Hint: It’s not by Empowered Foods)
We woke up the morning, and while everyone else had some sort of egg scramble, Justin and I had a small bowl of fresh strawberries. I put a little agave nectar on mine. Mmmm! So tasty!
Justin: It’s amazing how people are so surprised that I don’t get hungry in the mornings. “Don’t you need breakfast?”, they say. Um, nope. What I need, is to feel hungry before I eat. It’s amazing how your whole paradigm changes after “going raw”.
Heidi: Yeah, P. told you that you eat breakfast “late”…like a retired person. ;o)
We packed up the car, and headed off on a 45 minute drive to get to the wedding.
This is a photo of the landscape of Iowa. There were many farms: field after field of corn and soybeans. As we drove, I sat and watched the fields go by. I daydreamed that these farms were filled with rows of heirloom tomatoes, watermelon growing bigger everyday, and full of organic field greens. I dreamed that these fields were being converted into fruit orchards, and apples would be there next year. I kept dreaming. We kept driving. I kept seeing corn. I tried not to feel sad.
After miles and miles of farm fields, we arrived at Ledges State Park.
The setting for the wedding was absolutely beautiful. This building was gorgeous and perfect for any outdoor event. We arrived just a bit early so we helped set up while other guests arrived.
The bride and groom spent last year living in a tent in Hawaii, and they are both very passionate about the outdoors. The decorations for the wedding represented their love of Hawaii.
It was hot. HOT! Over 100 degrees at the time we arrived. Inside the shelter, fans had been set up and as guests arrived they all congregated around the fans.
The bride and groom care about the environment, and they worked hard to have an eco-friendly wedding. For plates and silverware, they chose to use Bambu plates, forks and spoons.
Archaeological find: Ancient obsolete artifacts.
I found this surprising artifact, I believe in ancient times they were informally called “grills”. There was no plaque or description, but I have seen these in old texts from thousands of years ago.
I had called the bride’s sister a few weeks before the wedding, and asked her if there would be fruit at the wedding. She assured me that there would be lots of fruit, especially strawberries.
Justin and I had a good feeling that there would be fruit there, so we went with faith that there would be fruit.
Sure enough, here are the many piles of fruit. Two types of melon, red grapes, pineapple, and of course, strawberries. We knew what our meal would be. You’re looking at it. (No, we didn’t eat all of it, we were generous, and shared our fruit with the others)
It was 2pm. Time for the wedding.
Everyone walked into the hot sun and into the seats. It was now over 100 degrees at this point. Just as everyone sat down and the wedding was about to start, a cloud came over us, and covered the hot sun. We all felt a moment of relief, and we all marveled at a miracle of nature.
was a beautiful wedding. The bride and groom wrote their own personal
vows. The mothers and fathers for each of them said a few words, and
had a few tears. A judge was there to officiate. Short, and very
sweet. Soon enough it was time to eat!
The sun had come out for awhile again and the air around us was heating up. Then, while everyone was eating, a misty rain storm appeared, and it dropped the temperature about 10 degrees.
For Hawaiians, rain is a good luck blessing for a wedding. The timing of the rain was absolutely perfect, so we all marveled and smiled.
Since we only had fruit, it didn’t take long for Justin and I to eat. While everyone else ate we talked with everyone and had fun.
Of course, there was cake. It was a beautiful cake, decorated with shells. The bride and groom had photos taken with the cake, and everyone was offered a piece, including Justin and I. We decided to share one piece. I wanted to enjoy it, but I had eaten so much pineapple my tongue felt as if I had eaten sandpaper. Nothing tasted right. I thought the filling tasted like coffee grains, and the frosting tasted like raspberries. I had two bites. Everyone else thought it was delicious. I don’t think I’ll have wedding cake next time.
Justin: I found it fascinating that the first bite tasted very foreign, almost like plastic, but then after the second or third bite, I got used to it. It felt “normal” to eat that cake. I then promptly felt tired…
Heidi: Time passed quickly, and it was time to go. We blew bubbles at the bride and groom, and after they left it was time for us to head back on the road and go home to Minnesota.
Back on the road we were all very quiet. For about an hour we mostly sat with our own thoughts. Justin and I were full, and we didn’t feel like eating anything for awhile.
About halfway through, it started to pour rain so hard we nearly had to stop. We decided to keep going and eventually we beat out the storm. Soon there was the glow of the sun peeking through the dark rain clouds.
I decided to take another nap. (I should be a professional mobile sleep artist. A new career!)
Justin’s dad was getting sleepy while driving so it was a perfect time for a change in drivers. Gas was running low, and we all needed a bathroom break.
While I was sleeping they decided to stop at the Boondocks.
I’m serious. It’s called the Boondocks.
This is apparently a famous truck stop on I-35. It seemed right out of a movie. I’m still not sure what kind of movie, but some sort of movie. I took many pictures of all the things we saw there, but here is my favorite:
Um, what?!!! A very sad mannequin with a blonde ‘fro wig and a trucker hat. Sitting on a rusty tractor. This must be the big attraction here in the Boondocks. Note the cool wind turbine in the background.
And eventually, just before dusk, we arrived safely at home. We unpacked our bags, and curled up in bed, and we both had a really deep sleep.
Raw Food Recap!
This is what we brought on our trip:
- 1 container of flax seed crackers (approx. 15-20 2 inch crackers)
- 1 small container of “zesty cheeze dip”
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 small package of red raspberries
- 2 small red plums
- 1 bottle of sparkling water
- 1 bunch of mint
- 3-4 knobs of ginger
- 6-7 limes
- 2 lemons
- 1 bottle of raw agave nectar
- 1 raw chocolate bar
- 1 tiny container of Heidi and Justin chocolate trail mix
- 1 package of goji berries
- 4 bananas
- 1 extremely large jar of my own raw raspberry lemonade mix
All in all, it was a great trip and very easy to stay raw on the road. We had some discussions about how a longer trip would change our raw food plans, but that is for another time.
We’ll have more to say about traveling and raw food in the coming months…