Trajet: Drivers, travelling in Morocco, and the road to Marrakesh


"Raw Paws" - or the Society for Mutts that Don't Do Meat or Cooked Veggies. The group is only a fictional one--for Mr Smokey R. Dokey (pictured) won't be giving up his viande vittles any time soon. But, being the gentle cohabitant that he is, he respects certain members of his family that are experimenting with a new way of eating... read on. 

cru (kroo) adjective

    : raw

 There are a few other definitions for "cru", most of which are not in theme with today's story. Help define the additional meanings, here in the comments box.

Example Sentence:

Manger cru, c'est manger un aliment vivant. To eat raw is to eat a living food.


A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

I, Crudivore?

My teenagers and I stand transfixed before the food processor. Smokey and Braise join our huddle which forms a demi-circle around the encased liquid: a mysterious green-flecked food source. Max's eyebrows lift in amusement, while his sister, Jackie, backs cautiously away from the counter. As for the dogs, they're just giddily grateful to be included in a food-related activity. But was this food? After all, it sort of looked like swamp matter, which, arguably, is food to some... slimy creatures and mythic beings, for example. 

"Qu'est-ce que c'est exactement?" Max questions.
"What is it? Why, it's a lettuce-banana smoothie!" I dare say.

"Un smoo-sie laitue-banane?" Jackie wants to be sure she has heard correctly.

"Un milkshake... avec de la salade?" Max repeats, unbelievingly.

"Yes, it's 'un smoothie vert'... and there is no milk in here!" I correct my son. "...and you won't even taste the greens--that's the magic of it!" (I had read that one way to get your kids interested in 'drinking green' was to get them to participate in such an experiment as this, after all, what kid isn't fascinated with weird science?

I searched the kitchen armoire for three of our most attractive glasses (having read that presentation was key) and filled three tumblers--the only glasses that were uniform in size... and not chipped... or misted with calcaire. Pouring out the smoothie, we watched, eyes agog, as the pulpy liquid slid out (our food processor did not succeed in rendering the vegetables and ice in a velvety "smoothie" state - as I had seen on Youtube, where I'd gotten the inspiration for this raw food breakfast for amphibians, or, rather, champions).

As the glasses filled, large blobs of thick green runoff slid menacingly down the side of the glass, to the horror of the voluntary tasting crew. It was all the kids could do to not pinch their noses as they took up the goblets and tilted them at the edge of their mouths....

"Et alors?" It is good?"

Max licked his green lips and Jackie wiped her own lèvres vertes with the back of her hand....

"C'est pas mal," came the non-damning consensus.

"Vraiment?! Really?!" with that I upended my own goblet in time to feel the fragments of lettuce streaming between my teeth. Surprisingly, and, as promised, the vitamin-rich greens were tasteless, and only the sweet flavor of banana prevailed. I crunched down on the unprocessed ice. "Next time I'll freeze the bananas," I promised, "...and we'll forego the ice!"

The kids set down their goblets and ran back upstairs to carry on with more conventional activities, such as playing with new hairstyles (Jackie) or resuming un jeux d'ordi (Max), activities that were sacrificed for The Green Smoothie Experiment.

Meantime, I sat down at the kitchen table and sipped the rest of my "live" drink. The watery bits (melting ice) were a little disappointing, but I reminded myself of all the vitamins that I was drinking in!

While a daily green smoothie may not cure my skin problem, it is a step in a positive direction. And it is empowering to know that, while some things are out of our bodies' control, we still have a big say in what we "feed" our living cellules


 Le Coin Commentaires
Has anyone here tried to incorporate more raw foods into their diet? What about juicing? Can you recommend a good green juicer? What equipment to you have in your healthy kitchen? Do you turn to medication--or to mangoes--at the first sign of illness? Any warnings you might like to add? Thanks for sharing your thoughts, here in the comments box.


Two books I plan on buying (add your recommendations to the comments box):

Raw Food Made Easy, by Jennifer Cornbleet

Live Raw: Raw food recipes for Good Health... by Mimi Kirk

Selected French Vocabulary

la viande = meat

calcaire = chalky

et alors? = well then?

c'est pas mal = it's not bad

vraiment = really?

un jeu d'ordi (ordinateur) = a computer game


Capture plein écran 16052011 092531

The classic Bescherelle, the complete guide to French verb conjugation. Read the five-star reviews, and order, here.




 Exercise, or healthy Alpine living, near the town of Serre Chevalier. 

  ce qui compte cest l amour

 One final health tip for you--not that I am in a position to hand out health tips!--but the French words on this sign seem a good remedy for many of the body's ills; the sign reads: Ce qui compte... c'est l'amour. ("What counts... is love"). Photo taken last month, in the town of Monetier (near Briançon).

Speaking of love, do you have a minute to read a story about my French mother-in-law? Click here to read "Elvis in Ancient France"

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

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Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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Hi Kirsten,

I have a Vitamix blender. It blends kale, spinach, lettuce and other veggies beautifully.
It is pricey (~$500) - but we use ours everyday.


teresa ewart

a lovely word K... i once had a dog who had epilepsy - horrid for us, weird for him. on advice from our vets and many forums we fed him a diet of raw, minced meat/fish AND raw, minced veg! sounds horrid, but we used to freeze the meat/fish gloop in meal-sized portions, and the veg came from the juicer - the leftover shreddings once we drank the liquid. he LOVED it... we felt quite saintly every morning

Sue J.

breakfast of amphibians! love it (and still chuckling). take good care, Kristin.

Debbie from Baltimore


I tried a raw food diet for about four months a few years back, and felt really great doing it! I was practically living alone at the time, since my husband was on the road for work, which made it easier, since I didn't have to feel like I was imposing this unique and sometimes challenging lifestyle on him. To help with preparation, I purchased a large food processor (no special brand) and a dehydrator (I think it's an Excalibur), both of which were used regularly. I lost about 7 pounds and admit that I felt great, but with a full-time job and graduate school (at the time), I found it to be quite time-consuming, not to mention expensive, and I gave it up. (My husband came home around that time too.) Anyway, two fabulous raw food gurus are Alyssa Cohen, whose book you can order on-line for about $40, and former supermodel, Carol Alt. Cohen is all vegan, but Alt believes it's okay to eat raw meat (sashimi), raw honey and even sprouted wheat bread. Either way, I think you will find some great ideas there for your budding raw food lifestyle! Good luck!

Terry Miller

Definitely freeze your bananas (sans skins) before making your smoothie. I haven't actually ever made a green smoothie, but I do make fruit smoothies using one frozen banana, some frozen berries (from the grocery freezer), about a cup of skim milk, a splash of V8 Splash berry juice, and a dash of flax. My smoothies come out perfectly and I never need ice. Not sure that frozen veggies would taste as good, but maybe just adding that frozen banana to the mix would help. Bon chance!


J'aime beaucoup steak tartare, sashimi et carpaccio, peut-etre pas ideal pour un smoothie.

Karen Whitcome

Jackie and Max are such wonderful and willing participants.

Been there, done that. Or is it, "était là. l'avons fait."? Anyway, now, I just use powdered greens. For my teenagers, I had to put the drink in thermos-type cups so that they didn't have to SEE the color. I purchased an expensive juicing machine but I don't use it anymore because it was so hard to clean and I didn't want to get ill from a festering piece of pulp that I might have missed in the cleaning process.

Robin Allen

Congrats on taking this step toward better health!

I've been a raw vegan for nine years and eat like this every single day. I would never go back to eating cooked food. I have a Champion juicer, which works really well, but I don't use it as I prefer to make smoothies in my Vitamix blender.

Frozen bananas make better smoothies. I add a little raw almond butter to make it creamy, honey, and water. (Blend the honey in the water first because the bananas will freeze the honey if you mix everything at the same time.)

Pure green smoothies are really good, too. Try spinach, parsley, tomato, and dill with a little sea salt.


I tried the raw food diet once, and it lasted only a day. Too much work, not very tasty. Now we are on a macrobiotic diet (still requires some effort, but somewhat tastier results) and we have each lost 30 lbs and feel fabulous.

marla schanck

I love reading your blog. I live in Norther NY, almost on the Canadian and its such a bright spot when our winters become gray. My dad was in the Air Force and I got to go to a NATO school in France, many years ago. I keep wanted to bring my French back.
I did a presentation on foods that are good for your skin. I will get it and send the information I came up with.
I have a juicer, not a fance one, and it does really well. In my excitement, I once juiced green beans and drank it straight. Boy was that way tooo potent.
Thank you again for your writings,

marla schanck

Just a note: In my excitement to post, I didn't proof read my entry, I apologize for all the errors. Learning lesson for me.

BAFA Studio

Kristin: As far as I'm concerned this is the 'best' juicer on the market, but I'll let you decide - here's the link:

Honestly, you can literally feel the most amazing health surge when you drink it. I always put an apple in btw, that way it will guarantee others drinking the sweet nectar of energy.


I think some raw food is fine. But according to Chinese medicine, raw food is "cold" and eating too much cold food can cause health problems (according to my acupuncturist). So everything in moderation...


I started tossing in a handful of spinach when I make a fruit smoothie. Love getting the vitamins and using up the spinach too. Delicious and no detectable taste. I think a blender does a much better job than a food processor however. Give it a try.


Kristin, we started juicing anything that moved after a serious ill-health diagnosis in our family - I highly recommend using carrots and apples as a base for just about every experience, you get huge amounts of juice and it's seriously delicious - we add or use anything fresh but try very hard to always have greens, broccoli, marrow, spinach with the carrot and apple/orange/grapefruit - bananas can be a bit overpowering unless you love them and not very productive - oh and add ginger, fresh ginger, just a small bit, delicious!I'm cynical about doing this kind thing but I'm a convert, it works for us - combine fruit and veg every time for a great experience - we make enough for three days so that it does not become too tedious - not as good as absolutely fresh on 2nd and 3rd days but better than not doing it. All done to great smoothe effect with an ordinary Phillips juicer


I also have a Vitamix, which is much better than a juicer [and easier to clean] because you use the whole vegetable and retain more nutrients. I use Kale [frozen in the winter], some coconut water or herbal tea for a base and frozen mango or banana. You can slip some celery or cucumber in there, too, with some rice protein powder and it makes a great breakfast.

Lana Holmes

Hi - Having produced VegE-News ( for 7 years, I believe that a plant-based diet is important for health - in a mix of raw and cooked. May I suggest reading "The China Study" by T. Colin Campbell to learn the negative health impact of animal products vs the positive of plants. My fave smoothie - pineapple, kale, banana, hemp or rice or soy milk. Lana


People might be surprised what a raw food diet CAN cure. It did wonders for me, and I already felt very healthy.

Cheers, Kristin and all!

Kristine, Dallas

To be the contrarian of the group, I think if I were living in France, eating raw would be the last thing on my mind. Too much bread, fresh pastries, roasted chicken and wine to taste! Regardless, bon chance! :)


It's hard to believe that we bought our 1/4 horsepower Champion Juicer back in the 1980s, but it's still going strong. The only part that we have had to replace is the tamper that pushes food into the juicer for grinding. The original tamper was wooden while the new one is plastic. The machine can also be used for making nut butter and, with the purchase of an accessory, can grind grain, such as wheat. Like everything else, I have to keep it clean. I have used it to create juices from the book, Juicing for Life, by Cherie Calbom and Maureen Keane. My paperback copy is stained from usage. The juices in it are listed according to the health issues they address. Carrots, apples, and a bit of fresh ginger is a good "starter juice" that is wonderful for everything, including acne, backache, cancer, the common cold, and many other maladies. The authors have named that juice "Ginger Hopper". I hope this info helps.


I recently finished the book "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan and would recomment reading it before embarking on any particular diet. Many things you likely already know, but Pollan brings it all into stark focus. As he states, humans are fairly obviously omnivores, and can exist on very diverse diets, but the Western diet is not really one of them.

Sophie Day

I would recommend a big sun hat for your skin problems, along with the necessary surgery your doctor recommends. Raw veggies are for rabbits and the like, not humans.

Jim Herlan

Minor correction on the vocab list: I believe the expression should be "jeu d'ordi" (without an X). The X is added in the plural form ("les jeux"). Just a small detail, I know.


I second the Vitamix recommendation (smoothies and raw soups too).
If you're serious about encorporating raw foods into your diet, then a food Dehydrator will quickly become as essential as the food processor: make crackers, pizza, and more!
I have a few "living cookbooks", here's one I'd recommend, as it's written by teens (so presumably is food that kids will appreciate more) "Eating without Heating" by Sergei Boutenko and Valya Boutenko

There's tons of tasty raw food out there, but it does require a little more planning ahead than eating heated food.
Raw pates are usually yummy and pretty easy and yummy. Looking for treats? - try raw Cacao nuts or check online for raw "icecream" recipes.
Here's a super easy one - replace pasta with zucchini, julliened or cut into spirals. Don't cook it - just run it under hot water for a minute to warm it up.
You'll be surprised at how well it simulates the texture.


Hi Kristin! Have been juicing for over two years now. My Breville Juice Fountain Plus quickly became my favorite kitchen "appliance", pretty much right after first use! For vegie juices I throw in a few tomatoes, celery (really gives a good flavor), kale (had never had this one in my life before juicing!)spinach, romaine lettuce and cucumbers. Yum!!! Another favorite is carrots, celery and apple - great for the skin. The book I like is The Juicing Bible by Pat Crocker. Have fun experimenting - to your heatlh!


I don't think a diet of any one thing is the best thing for you. I think that moderation is the key to healthy living. I could never be a vegan, I love my meats too much, but I must have lots of veggies and I miss them when they are not in a meal. Although, now we can have every kind of vegetable or fruit everyday because they are shipped from around the world. I have been trying to buy local, but I know as winter approaches, if I want zucchini in the winter it will probably come from the southern hemisphere. There is nothing better than the first asparagus or tomatoes of the season grown locally or on my deck.
Drinking my meals would not really satisfy me. I need to crunch or chew something during a meal.
Bon chance Kristin, if indeed you are going to a liquid diet - does that included wine? - LOL


Good on ya!! You are all much more brave than me! Your wonderful discription was punctuated by the fact that as I was reading it I could recall all to well some of the things my daughter has gotten me to try in the name of 'health'. The lumpy ones seem to be the hardest :)

Marianne Rankin

I could never be a vegan, either; even if I could give up meat, I wouldn't want to give up eggs or dairy products. Strict vegans need vitamin B-12, which is usually available from animal sources; otherwise, one must take a tablet.

I've never had a juicer, but have made tasty veggie dishes with a blender. My favorite is watercress soup, and the hardest part of that is finding the watercress.

Bill Facker

So .. I was having this conversation with a spotted cow the other day and she asked me how fast I could run. She had a peculiar look in her eyes. I offered her a carrot and mentioned what a lovely meal of mixed greens and vagabond turnips I had managed to stalk and procure the evening before. By the time our conversation was complete, I felt I could safely turn my back to her and walk away .. which I nervously did. I don't recommend having conversations with spotted cows .. particularly if you are being dishonest about enjoying turnips.


Last spring I started drinking one green smoothy a day and I couldn't believe how much more energy I had! I already felt really good and had a very healthy diet but the green smoothy really bumped it up another notch!

I make mine in the morning and take it to work with me to sip all morning.

I tried a lot of different recipes but now I have about 5 that I like the best and rotate through.

Simon S

Let me see, healthy eating, green vegetables, smoothies, fasting.... my brain spins at high speeds to search for the right comment. And finally all it comes up with is the story about the guy who tried to make a slow horse fast but kept feeding him!


Chère Kristin: J'espère que ton nouveau régime cru te fera du bien. Bon courage!


I may be able to drink this with closed eyes because I am a visual person...still, if the kids okay it then it must be good! Great to see you! xx

Bill in St. Paul

Mr Smokey R. Dokey looks like he is saying "do I have to drink that?"


Green drink from Hippocrates Institute in WPB
1 cucumber chopped
3 sticks of celery
1 large kale leaf
handful of spinach and chopped parsley
a clove of garlic or pinch of ginger
chop and blend in blender...
As far as Mangos, model Cindy Crawford sells cosmetics with Mango base from french doctor on line.
I had a melanoma taken off my ankle, forehead and above ear (sideburns) no big deal-just a great doctor. You may have to wear noseguard and stay out of sun for 2 weeks.and wear big straw hat..

Bruce T. Paddock

Not to cast any aspersions on your concoction, but I was under the impression that lettuce was fairly nutrient-free.

Bill is absolutely right about the picture of Smokey — I love it!

Joan Linneman

Bill Facker: I love your "spotted cow" story. And speaking of vegetables, we had an English teacher at our school who used to say, "the seed of the carrot is no friend to the rutabaga." I'm not sure what it means, but it sure sounds ominous. :) Joan L.


YUK!!! :-)

Pam is a brilliant resource for a natural lifestyle. She has 100 days to health guide avaiLable which is an email a day which provides daily advice to make slow changes for long lasting benefits... Bonne chance!


Kudos to the 'voluntary tasting crew' :). Loved the post! Bon courage and bonne chance!


I am a day late on this post, but if you have time to read it, know that I too have many times experimented on my family with such smoothie concoctions, some they liked but most ended up going down the drain. Vita-Mix has several in their recipe book to try and most of them are delicious. And, depending on your digestive system they can be quite a moving experience!

Julie F in St. Louis, MO

I'm also late on this post. But as a recent convert to a juicer I thought I'd add my two cents. I bought a juicer in the late spring because I was feeling run down and wanted a way to get more veggies in my diet. I needed energy to get ready for our summer in France since my husband had already left for the summer and it was up to me to get everything set at home before I left, too.

I did a lot of smooties with vanilla-flavored almond milk and coconut milk and handfuls of frozen fruit in my Magic Bullet blender. But juicing mixtures of apples, spinach, ginger, lemon, kale, rhubard, etc. in a real juicer really gave me the energy I needed. I have to say that I have not juiced since I returned from France, but after reading this I bought new ingredients to start the habit up again.

I find it not that much trouble to clean the juicer. But put a plastic bag in the cup that captures the skins, etc. One less thing to clean. The juicer came with a recipe book. The rest is experiments. Make smoothies with fruits and save the veggies for the juicer. My kids like the juice I make because I've learned to mix in enough sweet stuff like apples to cover up the kale greens.

Kathryn in BC, Canada

Cru! I have a limited understanding of French and was not aware of it's many translations - previous familiarity was it's use on wine bottles and delicious "fromage au lait cru" and "fromage cru" - fresh cheese curds - delicious but not on a veggie based crudivore diet!

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin,
Now I know the meaning of crudités. I just thought it was veggie appetizer. I was laughing to myself when reading "the only glasses that were uniform in size... and not chipped... or misted with calcaire." I think we all have a cabinet of mismatched glasses, chips, chalky, etc. haha
My daughter likes smoothies but we have only made them with fruit and I just use my blender.

Susan Carter

I'm very late to this post but I take Juice Plus -capsules containing all the nutrients of 17 fruits & vegetables. They were developed by someone who found juicing too expensive & time consuming.


the best thing in a raw food diet, in terms of quick and easy, is shredded veggies MARINATED in salad dressings. the dressing creates an opportunity to be really inspired by herbs and fruits (zests of lemon, orange, etc).
you may also be inspired by the macrobiotic diet. burdock root is a blood cleanser (i've just been learning about cancer and how it can only thrive in acidic blood). miso soup is tasty and fortifying as well as nourishing.


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