Sunday, April 29, 2012

NYC Farmer's Market

Headed to the Union Square Farmer's Market yesterday. It's open every mon, wed, fri and sat. It has quite a big selection of vendors and it's open until 6pm on saturday which is nice for sleeping in.


My scores for the day: sorrel, purslane, russian kale, mustard greens and mixed shoots (sunflower, asian, broccoli, sweet pea).

Apple Cinnamon Donut Holes

Made from almond flour, shredded coconut,  and apples.

These were fun and easy to make. I always love a fake rendition of common American food. :)

The recipe calls for dates as the main sweetener, which before dehydrating was enough but after, they were not sweet enough to my liking. So I rolled them in palm nectar and cinnamon to make them a little sweeter. The coconut oil in the recipe combined with the warmness of them coming out of the dehydrator, gave them a nice baked flavor.

Recipe from Everyday Raw Desserts, by Matthew Kenney.

Cauliflower Stuffing and Brussel Sprouts

Cauliflower Stuffing with carrot, onion, celery and pecans. Brussel Sprouts marinated in flax oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper.

These are a couple side dish recipes from Living Raw Food, by Sarma Melngailis that are intended for Thanksgiving. It was a chilly not so spring week last week, and this fit the mood. She has other recipes for Thanksgiving as well, such as a veggie mash, marinated mushrooms, and cranberry sauce.

These two dishes were easy to make and tasty, and I would make them again for Thanksgiving. The stuffing tasted a lot like stuffing, I did add tamari to the recipe to give it more flavor but other than that, a great recipe. The brussel sprouts were easy, slightly sweet (I added less maybe syrup than the recipe called for) and savory. Both dishes were put in the dehydrator which solidified the flavors, warmed them and gave them a golden brown texture. The dehydrator is great for that.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Best Smoothie I've Ever Made

Kale, coconut, banana, hemp milk, almond butter, maca powder.

More please.

I made this one up inspired by a coconut kale smoothie I used to get in LA, but added hemp milk and maca powder to bump it up a bit.

Super yum town and really good for you.

1 fresh coconut, water and meat
1/2 bunch kale
2 bananas, frozen preferably
1 cup unsweetened hemp milk
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 1/2 teaspoons maca powder

blend it up.

I've recently been enjoying maca powder for, as David Wolfe writes
"its ability to balance and stabilize the body's glandular-hormonal system, nervous system, cardiovascular system, and musculature". 

It has a sweet malty taste that I think compliments creamier smoothies, sweet snacks or desserts.

Fruit Sorbet

Mango, mixed berry and banana (topped with shredded coconut)

SUPER easy to make.

Cut up fresh fruit and freeze it. Put frozen fruit through a juicer with the solid (non screen) plate in. It turns the frozen fruit into a nice creamy texture.


Chia Seeds

Chia seeds really are amazing, and are gaining recognition as of late for good reason. They were once a staple of the Incan, Mayan and Aztec cultures, along with the Native Americans of the southwest. They are high in omega 3's and 6's, protein, calcium, potassium, iron, and antioxidants.

Other benefits according to Raw Reform, are that the provide energy, boost strength, bolster endurance,  level blood sugar, induce weight loss, and aid intestinal regularity.

When put the seeds in liquid, they absorb the liquid and develop a gummy halo, which makes them very hydrating when consumed. This halo is removed slowly by the digestive system, keeping the colon hydrated while releasing electrolytes and nutrients. 

They are virtually flavorless making them great to add to anything you want. I like to add them to a cold sun tea with lemon and agave. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

High Raw

I just finished reading a very important book written by three long term raw food pioneers, called Raw & Beyond, How Omega-3 Nutrition Is Transforming the Raw Food Paradigm. It talks about the importance of focusing more on balancing omega 3's and 6's, and incorporating in cooked food if necessary. They all found that about 6-7 years into a 100% raw diet, that their health was not as tip top as it had been. They each individually discovered on their own that they were needing more omega 3's in their diet. They discovered that that was the one thing that a 100% raw diet couldn't provide for them in a sustainable way.

For example, raw foodists turn to nuts to get enough calorie intake, to get healthy fats and to keep them feeling full. But with more reaserch they discovered that most nuts were high in omega 6's, which ironically, if too much is consummed, it counteracts the Omega 3's that are consummed. One of the authors even started feeling nauseous at the even thought of eating nuts. She started listening to her body and cut back on her nut intake and like the others, did more research on how to improve her diet.

Despite possible scruitany, they looked to a few cooked foods, like quinoa, millet, various beans and vegetables that are a little easier to consume lightly cooked, like broccoli, bok choy, and sweet potatoes. They decided it was better to eat some of these foods that are omega balanced or a have a good amount of omega 3's, than to eat more nuts or oils that were high in omega 6's. They decided to evolove into what they call a "High Raw" diet, or a diet consisting of 80-95% raw foods.

I was relieved to read this for many reasons.
One - I was glad to receive such important nutrition information early in my raw food "journey".  I've thought about omega 3's and their importance but didn't know much about them or took them very seriously.
Two - It is more sustainable in the long run to be able to eat out at more places, or more easily with non raw foodists.
Three - I too had moments of feeling like my body was trying to tell me to ease off the nuts, just in my short time of eating all raw. I had mild moments of nausea, feeling dehydrated, tiredness, and now I know why.  Just since incorportating in more omega 3 heavy ingredients, I haven't felt those things and I'm back to feeling consistantly good.

Some foods that are high in Omega 3's that are good to focus on getting more of:

greens greens and more greens
chia seeds
hemp seeds/milk
flax seeds/meal/oil
kidney beans

Eating a high raw diet might also be easier for newcomers to transition into raw food as well. There is less pressure to be 100%, all or nothing. I echo the authors in the book, and still value the importance of a mostly raw food diet, for its low inflammatory, high enzyme, high nutritional makeup. So I focus on eating raw first, getting enough omega 3's and welcome more lightly cooked foods when I am needing them.

One dish I made last week that was partially raw and partially cooked:

Modified Macro Plate

Raw kale, wakame and arame on top of cooked quinoa, black beans, and lightly steamed sweet potato, topped with raw tahini dressing and avocado. First time I had beans in 2 months! I was definitely glad to give the cashews a break for a night.

You can find more info from Victoria Boutenko about omega 6's and 3's here.

Watermelon Mint Cooler

A nice simple bev I threw together the other night. It's good by itself and a great base for a cocktail too.

1/4 watermelon, fruit removed from rind and chopped
juice of one lime
1/2 cup mint leaves
16 oz coconut water

 Blend it all in a blender. Just make sure to drink separately from food, as melons take over your stomach when you are digesting, and do not combine well in your stomach with other things. A good 1-2 hour window from other stuff is preferable.

 For cocktails, would be great with vodka, gin, rum or tequila.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Why I Do It

I have been blessed with overall good health and an upbringing of open mindedness, good nutrition and accessibility to healthy food. My family went vegetarian when I was 13 simply because we thought it would be healthier. Since then I have continued to be vegetarian for 18 years, and within that I was strict vegan for 6 and for another 5 years, was a mixture of vegetarian/vegan/raw. I have to say that I have always felt my best when I ate mostly raw foods.

I first became aware of the raw diet when my uncle was diagnosed with cancer. His wife, having a history of raw food eating and detoxing introduced the practice to him. With a variety of detoxing, healing herbs, ph awareness/balance and a raw food diet, he was able to cure his stage one colon cancer.

A couple years later, I moved to LA and was living with my uncle, his wife and my cousin in our family/my grandparents home. My uncles wife and daughter would prepare a variety of raw foods for him and I got introduced to a lot of things just by being around that. I learned about juicing, blending, dehydrating, sprouting, and ph balancing. It was something I eventually tried on my own, simply out of an interest in being more healthy.

I did a long cleanse and ate raw afterwards for a few months. It wasn't until I started introducing certain foods back into my diet that I learned that my body didn't prefer them. I "can" eat things like sugar, dairy, soy, and wheat without having major problems but i now KNOW all the intricacies of why they are not good for me. And I can tell the differences in how I feel, and I don't like it. Also, in once having a partner with candida, I learned a lot about foods that can grow bad bacteria and cause problems to the intestines and your overall health. Not surprisingly, I found some major similarities in the foods that cause candida and in the foods that I was starting to learn about, which only furthered my interest in eating better.

So I have been healthier since then, taking breaks from cooked food, limiting my dairy, wheat, soy and sugar intake, and doing cleanses at least twice a year. I figure why not try to PREVENT problems from happening instead of ignoring what might happen if I continue to eat an American FDA approved diet.

Improvements I have experienced by eating a more nutritionally dense, ph balanced and inflammation free diet include:

almost no back pain and tension from my scoliosis
no crazy mood swings or anxiety attacks. I have overall emotional balance and happiness
feeling inspired on a daily basis
stable energy levels, no need for stimulants
no cravings for unhealthy food
clear radient skin free of eczema (which I used to have a small amount on my face)
ph balance (I was always a tad on the acid side, which can be a breeding ground for disease)
no yeast/bacteria imbalance
good check ups at the doctors including the dentist!
sick only once a year or less
a feeling of self control and pride about being in charge of my own health
piece of mind knowing that I'm treating my body the best I can (a priceless feeling)

In the contrary when I have eaten wheat, sugar, soy and dairy for an extended amount of time I have experienced:

moodiness or irritability
sugar addiction
felt temporary lumps in my breasts and breast tenderness for long periods of time (SCARY)
severe back pain and muscle inflammation
ichy dry skin and breakouts
chronic, week lasting coughs after having a cold
mild depression, lack of motivation to go out and be social
guilt about how I was treating my body

When you know things, when you have researched nutrition, eating in not so healthy ways isn't as fun after a while. Sure I love to try all kinds of food, especially differing cultural foods, but in terms of my daily regime, I try to treat my body the best I have found for myself.

Which speaking of, I firmly believe that everybody is their OWN best judge for what is best for them. I have never been interested in imposing beliefs of dietary habits on people especially fueled by fatphobia, classism, and racism. There are limits in the world to the amount of information and accessibility to food for people that is very real, that makes everyones situation different. I personally love to share my experiences and hearing about others and hopefully we can all take charge of our own health, in the ways in which we feel fit for ourselves; but that is certainly limited by accessibility to such things. Further, being vegetarian for 18 years, I 'm definitely used to being around differing lifestyles and accepting of varying eating habits and know first hand that judgement and isolation are the worst things for anyone!

So I continue to find what is best for me, and I hope you can find what's best for you. I can only hope for self love and empowerment, for EVERYONE. We don't need that other shit.

Raw Food Testimonials

I recently watched a documentary called Reversing the Irreversible, the Remake, by Valya Boutenko. It simply shows interviews of several people who have suffered from everything from IBS, diabetes, rare lung diseases, skin diseases, to cancer, and who have CURED such ailments simply by drinking green smoothies and eating a raw diet. All of these people have come off their medication and have drastically expanded their life spans from it, its mind blowing?!

Its one thing to read about the benefits of raw food, but its another to hear story after story or remarkable changes told by the people themselves. Frankly I balled my eyes out for the first half because I couldn't get over how wonderful it was to hear of peoples sufferings and ailments being treated and cured simply by eating what nature has always provided for us. I mean, intuitively I have believed this, wanted to believe this, but I have received so many messages against this from everything and everyone around me. Its a wonderful thing, a validating thing to hear testimonials on the subject, which personally will continue to help inspire me and fight the isolation I feel sometimes on the subject.

I learn the best through my own personal experiences but I am always moved to hear personal experiences told by others. There are hundreds of people who eat raw, and who are benefitting from it and we still hardly hear about it. As cheesy as it sounds, I'm here to tell you that you are not alone. And if you are looking to be convinced on why raw food is good in any way, this film will def do the trick.

The trailer:

"Reversing the Irreversible is a documentary featuring 37 people who have healed illnesses believed to be incurable by medical professionals. The participants of this film share their unbelievable recovery stories from conditions such as obesity, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, lupus, colitis, psoriasis, cancer, and many more. Find out what these people did to reverse the irreversible in this captivating new documentary."

The film can be ordered online here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

More Truffles

This time I experimented and created my own flavors: coconut sea salt, orange cacao, and lavender cacao.

Mind blowing! and so easy

I used the same recipe as before, split into thirds and:

For coconut sea salt, add a 1/4 tsp more salt and roll in coconut instead of cacao powder.

For orange, just add 1 tablespoon of orange zest (preferably organic as conventional oranges have pesticides imbedded in their peels), decor with more zest.

For lavender, add 1/2 tsp lavender extract, roll in cacao powder.

Recipe from Living Raw Food.


Rice made from sprouted sunflower seed pate, rolled with carrots, cucumbers, avo and sprouts. Technically the nori sheets are roasted but they are still very good for you!

Recipe from Fresh: The Ultimate Live-Food Cookbook.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wild Rice Pilaf

This is one of my favorite dishes, I make it pretty often. Its filling and savory and I love the chewiness of the sprouted wild rice.

You do have to soak the wild rice for three days, but if you plan ahead, the recipe is quite easy. On the third day, you just rinse the rice and add the remaining ingredients. It doesn't require any equipment and it can be made in 15 minutes.

Recipe is from Raw Food for Real People, by Rotondi.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Raw Brownies

This was a pretty easy recipe and they turned out great. Blend it all up, spread it in a baking pan and "bake" in the bottom of a dehydrator for a bit. I added shredded coconut and walnut pieces to the recipe as well for texture.

Also another great thing to pair ice cream with :)

Recipe from Everyday Raw.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Raw Pesto Pizza

Holy crap was this good!

I made a herbed flax crust with pesto sauce, topped with arugula, roma tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, hearts of palm, and black olives.

Got the first few layers going

Finished adding the rest and put it back in the dehydrator to warm up and slightly "cook"

And she's done.

Crust recipe from Everyday Raw by Matthew Kenney.

Pesto recipe:

1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 bunch fresh basil leaves
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste

Blend it all in a food processor and spread on dehydrated crust.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Tamari Almonds

Quick recipe for a savory and addictive snack.

2 cups almonds
1/4 cup tamari or braggs
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tsp salt

Mix ingredients in a bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. Then spread in one lined dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 104 degrees for 2-3 hours.

Recipe from Ani's Raw Food Essentials.