Category Archives: Vegan

The Best Tea Spot in New York (& Ginger Tea Recipe)

The Best Tea Spot in New York (& Ginger Tea Recipe)

This is a guest post by Gina Kelly.

Francia TeaI love tea. I’m always on the search for new flavors. I scan the health store shelves and get excited when I read about the health benefits of each leaf. Admittedly I’m a tea fanatic but I wasn’t always such an advocate. I used to shrink away when someone would offer me a cup. I just couldn’t handle the tannins and bitter flavor and much preferred to get my morning jolt from a cup of coffee.

My obsession with tea stated when I visited Franchia, a Korean vegan cafe in midtown Manhattan.  I was in awe all of their exotic concoctions. Their teas are filled with nuts, fruit pastes, juices, herbs and fruits and are unlike any teas I’ve tried to date

After a long and apprehensive analysis of the extensive Franchia tea menu, my curiosity got the best of my taste buds and I decided to try their Ginger Tea. When it was placed in front of me, I was overcome by the aroma and excited by the fresh ginger and pine nuts floating in my mug. One sip and I was hooked. The Ginger Tea was refreshing, spicy and sweet. 

Franchia uses 100% all natural Wild Korean Green Tea as the base for all of their teas. Korean Francia teagreen tea is lighter and has a more subtle flavor than the Japanese version most of us are familiar with. The health benefits of tea are well-known. Green tea is a potent antioxidant, which is believed to fight certain cancers, aging, obesity and quite possibly even heart disease. 

Some of my other Franchia tea favorites are Date Paste Tea, Korean Plum Tea, and Citron Paste Tea but their entire selection is worth trying. Franchia also serves delicious Asian fusion vegan food.  Their dishes are fresh and flavorful and loaded with tons of veggies.

I have yet to find a tea spot in New York that even comes close to Franchia’s unique teas but if you’re not in New York here’s how you can make your own version of their Ginger Tea (which remains my favorite!).

Ginger TeaRecipe for Ginger Tea
1 teaspoon of high quality Korean green tea leaves (you can find these on Amazon, i.e.: Korean Organic Green Tea & Strainer Set)
1 tablespoon of pine nuts
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger
1 teaspoon of ground ginger

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Combine tea leaves and ground ginger in a tea strainer and steep in water for 3 to 5 minutes. Add fresh ginger and pine nuts straight to the cup and enjoy! 

If you aren’t a fan of ginger or want to try something different, you can use different nuts, juices, pastes, and even fresh fruit to customize your cup.

Francia’s inventive concoctions have opened up a whole new world of tea for me!

Francia is located at 12 Park Avenue (between 34th and 35th Street), New York, NY

Images: One & Three  via Gentle LivingTwo via Francia

Picture of guest blogger Gina

Gina Kelly is a writer and is also studying holistic nutrition at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Gina aspires to help others through her writing and nutrition counseling.  She was previously an editorial writer for Xanga.com where she wrote for their health and food blogs.
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The Gentle Detox

The Gentle Detox


This is a guest post by health and nutrition coach Lisa Consiglio Ryan. Lisa is one of the most admirable and gentle souls I’ve ever met. This is a woman who’s following her passion and changing the world, one healthy green juice at a time. I can’t wait to start her post-holdiay detox program (details below). Enjoy this inspirational post. Change your cells, change your life, change the world…

As we heal ourselves, we can heal the world.

I’m sure you have heard this before in some shape or form.

All I know is that I agree with this statement with all my heart.

I believe that it all starts with you.  Once you treat your body as a temple, a sacred home, your thoughts and actions will shift. This shift will ultimately change the world.  I totally believe it.

Detox can be the first step towards your healing and ultimately healing the world around you. What can detox do to stop wars, end hardships, get rid of the global financial crisis?

Everything.

As a health coach, I talk about detox a lot.  First you start with getting rid of things that don’t serve your body like fake processed foods, sugar, alcohol, coffee, dairy, and meat.  As you cleanse, your body is going through a transformation. Your cells are changing, breathing in the oxygen from all those leafy greens, feeding your blood.

While this is happening, over time, you will notice that your behavior and thoughts start to soften.

As you pump your body with whole foods, REAL foods, the more REAL you feel.  You start to feel more compassion for others.  You start to understand others.  You begin to lead a gentler life.

Imagine if we all did this.  What a beautiful, caring world this would be.

Many think that detox is all about the food. While the food is important, this is not so.  It’s a time to breathe, go within by meditation, connecting to your body, mind and soul.  It’s a time to take care of you and to listen to that gorgeous body of yours.

In the mist of busy life, running errands, work, family, etc…we can lose that sense of being with our bodies. During detox, you take time to connect and find simple pleasures. Gentle surprises.  You start to change.  Your family, friends, coworkers see this change and often times mirror you.  Others around you take on your gentle demeanor; your kindness and unconditional love. This ripple effect can happen. I’ve seen it firsthand in my own life.

The first step is healing yourself. Start with detox.  It changes your cells and your being which is a gentle way to connect with your body, soul, and others.  For the New Year, connect to a gentler, more compassionate you.  It’s contagious. Best of all it can heal the world.

If you want to begin the healing journey, read more about Winter Renewal 10 Day Detox. It’s a gentle detox for the New Year. 

Lisa Consiglio Ryan is a Certified Health and Nutrition Coach for busy, active women and their families. Areas of expertise include weight loss, stress management, detox programs, and special diets such as vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free. Services include private consulting and group seminars. Lisa is also developing her own line of raw juices. 

Get your FREE guide to healthy living:  5 Shockingly Simple Steps to Getting Your Hot Body Back for Good.

Contact Lisa at Whole Health Designs for more information on detox programs: http://www.wholehealthdesigns.com

Connect with Lisa on Facebook and Twitter

Banana Kale Smoothie (shown above) Serves 1

  • 1 bunch of kale (about 3-4 pieces; you can rip off the leaves and throw stems away)
  • 1 banana, sliced (can be frozen)
  • 3 ice cubes and ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup almond milk

Blend together and drink up.

The Inconvenience of Compassion…

Convenient: Suited to personal comfort or easy performance.

Inconvenient: Not convenient especially in giving trouble or annoyance.

The word inconvenient has such a bad rap. It’s always being touted around as an excuse for not doing something or another.

We’ve become a lazy nation. How could we not, everything is at our finger tips at all times. Cell phones are no longer just phones, they’re mini computers that can do our banking, run our businesses, and entertain our children. Why go across town to visit a friend you haven’t seen in awhile when you can just do a quick scroll through their facebook posts to catch up. Why teach your child math when there’s a YouTube video that can do it for you? We want what we want when we want it and we usually get it. We are spoiled to pieces, inconveniencing ourselves is sooo yesteryear.

I had dinner with a friend of mine recently. We were discussing veganism and got into a heated discussion about how hard it is for meat eaters to find humanely raised meat. She explained how passionate she is about food politics, she’s read extensively on the subject, she’s watched the undercover investigations, and she wished there was more being done to regulate the horrors of factory farming. She said this as she gobbled down her beef negimaki.

When I pointed out the irony she explained that while she passionately wished factory farming would end, she didn’t have the power to change the system herself and was not willing to give anything up in the meantime. Her appetite still reigned supreme. She explained that there are no farmers’ markets where she lives and even if there were, she would not want to pay more for her meat. Giving up meat all together was not an option.

After I dived further into all the reasons why factory farmed meat is bad for her health, the animals, the world and the environment, she said “I complete agree, you’re preaching to the choir.” But, finding humanely raised locally farmed alternatives was still too inconvenient.

I often have heated food discussions with people but with her it seemed we were totally on the same side; same beliefs, same hopes. The only difference lied in the actions we were willing to take in response to those beliefs. The big ole “inconvenience” was the dividing line that separated us (well, that and the fact that I no longer have any desire to eat animals…).

If even people like my thoroughly educated and passionate friend aren’t willing to inconvenience themselves for their beliefs, then what hope is there for change?

This blog post isn’t about my friend as an individual, whose attitude is far more compassionate than most, it’s about a way of thinking. Someone saying they are passionate about food politics on the one hand but that they won’t make changes that are burdensome on the other was a reflection of just how high the majority of our world values their appetites of convenience. Even people who care about these issues aren’t willing to add an inconvenience to their lives to reflect their beliefs.

Inconvenience is starting to feel like an evil little monster that’s there to prevent us from being the best we can be. It’s like the PR rep for all factory farms. Sneaky little bugger.

So what if we changed the definitions of convenient and inconvenient. How do these defs work for you?

Convenient: Falling prey to greedy corporations that make their low quality junk so accessible your values fly out the window.

Inconvenient: Something that’s so darn essential you take extra steps to achieve it because doing what’s convenient is totally lame.

Works for me! So next time you’re about to do something that doesn’t feel like the right thing to do, but happens to be the most convenient thing to do, ask yourself which definitions of convenient and inconvenient you want to live by. Remember, the best things in life aren’t always easy.

So, how have you compassionately inconvenienced yourself lately?

The youngest of heroes…

“Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar.” Bradley Millar

When I was a young child, I was so shy I’d hardly speak to anyone I didn’t know. I remember getting in trouble in kindergarden for not speaking or playing with any of other children in class. The teacher actually yelled at me for it (at least it sounded like yelling in my child’s mind!), which made me speak even less…

I’m not sure what I was so afraid of, I just know how I felt inside. I wanted to be invisible, I wanted to watch things from a distance but not involve myself. I wanted to hide. I had no voice. At times it really did feel like I was scared of my own shadow, cause someone might see my shadow and drag me out of my shy girl emotional hiding place.

Sure, no surprise why I felt so comforted by animals. With them I could be my present self, no need to hide or suppress my thoughts. No fear of being ridiculed or hurt, nothing but love. I’ve changed a lot since then and I’m a pretty social person now but those feelings will always be a part of me. Those feelings are what have given me my compassion for the weakest among us.

I was contacted recently by an amazing 10 year old girl named Teya from Ghana who told me a story about how she rescued a turkey. Her mom homeschools her and as part of her homeschooling she asked her mom if they could study animal rights. They wanted to practice Teya’s interviewing skills so they asked to interview me.

I was so blown away by this young girl’s maturity, intellect and bravery. She interviewed me like a seasoned pro. She’s the antithesis of the child I was. Her voice was steady and determined. I was in awe of her.

Here’s the brave story of how she voiced her compassion to save a turkey and didn’t let her age or fears hold her back.

A turkey was given to Teya’s grandparents, whom she lived with, to be killed for dinner. In Ghana, turkeys are often given as gifts. The turkey was tied to a tree in a space less than a square meter. Watching “dinner” in her backyard was too much for Teya to handle. She kept asking herself “how can I sit here and do nothing when I can do something to help?”

Teya immediately started researching turkeys and, with the support of her mother, they named him Bob. Teya first convinced her father, then her grandmother, and finally her grandfather that Bob’s lodgings should be upgraded.

Teya didn’t stop there, after Bob was placed in more comfortable surroundings she went on to argue and debate with her family over killing him. As her mom describes it, Teya launched an eleventh hour death row campaign” that she impressively argued along “emotional, economic and humanitarian lines”! She finally convinced them to spare his life on the condition that she take total responsibility for him.

After fighting for the life of one turkey, both Teya and her mom decided to become vegetarians. Teya’s words: I reasoned how could I own an animal and eat its kind at the same time? If you had a cat, would you eat other cats, or if you had a hamster, would you eat hamsters? And then if you’re not going to eat one animal, why not spare all?”

Because of Teya, Bob lived out the rest of his life with love and comfort.

Teya’s mom must be an amazing homeschool teacher because this girl is wise beyond her years and the world could learn a lesson or two from this 10 year old who chooses to live such a compassionate, selfless and brave life.

Teya clearly doesn’t let her age stop her from anything. As she says in her blog, saving that turkey left her with a warm fuzzy feelingthat she had made a small contribution and that she triumphed over that nagging voice in her head telling her she couldn’t make a difference because she was only 10 years old.

“You can make a difference in your own little corner of the world.” ~ Teya

Wise words Teya. Today Teya is still finding new ways to help animals in her country and is always willing to challenge others to do what’s right for all living creatures.

Teya, you are amazing and inspiring. Keep living by your values. xoxo, Liz

 

My Comedian “Raw Foodie” Husband

My hubby & VP of Your Time Travels, Mr. Knish

I am a lucky girl… I am married to a sharp take no prisoners lawyer by day / total comedian supportive angel husband by night. While I was out to dinner last night my hubby decided to record his own personal video about his experience with our raw food month (I guess I interfered with his spotlight in yesterday’s video!).

Here’s his own personal roundup of the month. The “Knish S. Careathers” he keeps referring to, VP of Your Time Travels, is none other than our dog. I’m honestly not sure what the “S.” stands for…

Put your volume on full blast for this video because my hubby has technical issues without his super savy video recording wife home to guide him! Just kidding hunny, I HEART you big time

Enjoy 😎

LATER VEG HEADS!

Raw Food Month: Final Day

Well, it’s the FINAL day of our raw food live-it month! I can’t believe it’s been a month already. On the other hand, this final stretch has probably been the toughest. We didn’t make it to Whole Foods last week so things got a little rough and we had to get really creative. I actually had our local Japanese restaurant invent a raw veggie roll just for me so I had that twice last week! I think knowing that the month was coming to a close made us a bit lazy…

All in all, I am SO proud of us. It hasn’t been without its challenges but overall I feel great, I’ve lost a few pounds and I am madly in love with our juicer. Starting everyday with a juice or green smoothie ROCKS MY CELLULAR ANATOMY!!

To celebrate the final night of our month I’ll be going out to big raw dinner with the 3 friends who joined us on our raw food journey. We’ll be heading to Quintessence because the food there is AMAZING (we also ordered take out from there last week!). I’m interested in hearing how the month went for them (the good and the bad…).

Below is a little interview with my hubby where we discuss how we veggie fared this month. We taped it late last night so excuse our exhaustion. Our pup makes a couple of cameos. I’m in the middle of reading Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet so below the video are some quotes that I found inspiring. Enjoy the video and I hope you are all having some healthy and humane adventures of your own!!

Quotes from Crazy Sexy Diet:

“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, we ate real food! Getting a good meal on the table wasn’t a multibillion-dollar industry driven by focus groups, slick advertisers, and government subsidies. Today chemical companies dominate the food business while their inbred cousins, the pharmaceuticals, are standing by ready to mop up the damage – and they’re laughing all the way to the bank.”

“… our genes are not our destiny…. Genes load the gun, but environment pulls the trigger… You are the seed and your diet and lifestyle are the fertilizer.”

“More than half of all Americans die of heart disease or cancer; two-thirds are overweight and stay that way for their whole lives.”

“In the United States we spend more on sickness than wellness. Young people are being diagnosed with catastrophic diseases common among their grandparents. Some medical researches say that the next generation will be the first generation to die younger than their parents.”

“For optimum health, we need to get additional enzymes from our food – especially as we age, because our bodies slow down enzyme production. Dang! Luckily, plant foods can supply the backup enzymes needed to keep us smart and sassy. Your body is a bank account, and food enzymes are the currency. Imagine making deposits instead of constant withdrawals. The more deposits you make, the more equity and interest you build. By eating a vegetarian or vegan diet, with an emphasis on raw and living foods – which are loaded with their own enzymes – you give your body a break from the wear and tear of dining on too much cooked and acidic foods.”

“… you don’t have to be perfect. Health is about keeping in an overall “right” direction…. Perfect is beige. I am red hot! So are you. Red and Wild.”

“Crazy = bold, out of the box, forward thinking, and status quo challenging.”

“Sexy = confident, in touch, whole, passionate, and conscious.”

Now go live Crazy & Sexy!! 🙂

Raw Food Month: Week 3 (cheating & my girls)

Cheating…

I’ll start with the cheating. Yup, my hubby and I cheated on our raw food ‘live-it’ month big time last weekend. We were at a wedding, I was staying at the bride’s house for part of the weekend, and it became a cheat or starve situation. We decided that this was not a starvation diet so we needed to take Friday night off for the rehearsal dinner and I pretty much took all of Saturday off while I was at her house and at the wedding. Before I knew it I was shoving pasta, bread and chips into my mouth, I totally fell off… On Sunday, we renewed our raw food vows and drove straight from the hotel to a raw food restaurant in Brooklyn to recharge.

Did I feel guilty for my indiscretions? Maybe for a bit, but not after I gave it some thought. This month was a challenge to make ourselves healthier but by no means are we perfect at it. Perfection was definitely not the point. So I’m okay with our little food scandalous weekend.

My Girls…

I’ve mentioned before that I have 3 lovely friends who’ve decided to join us on our little raw-donkulous journey this month. Instead of posting recipes this week I figured I’d give you a little info on them and why they signed up for this challenge.

My 3 friends, Glori, Angie and Kat, are bosom buddies from college. We lived together in the dorms of Boston College over 10 years ago (yikes!) and have stuck tight ever since. Like me, they represent your average everyday women yet they are oh so beautiful, unique and special. We are close friends but our lifestyles and eating habits do not mirror each other.

I asked them to answer 2 simple questions. I’d like to note that I had NO CLUE they’d be interested in doing anything like this. I brought it up and with ZERO PRESSURE from me they immediately signed up. I was a happy girl. You can see pictures of these lovely ladies at the bottom of my previous post.

Here are the 2 questions I asked them to answer (my hubby answered these questions already here):

1. Why did you decide to embark on a raw food month?
2. What do you hope to get out of doing this?

ANGIE: This gem of a woman is Dominican and she eats a mainly plant based diet but is not 100% committed to vegetarianism or veganism. She was diagnosed with lupus a few years ago and since then has amped up her healthy regimen. She tries to exercise every week and spends a lot of time chasing around her 2 year old daughter. She has at least one cup of coffee every day. She’s in marketing.

1. I decided to join the raw food month for overall health, natural cleansing and to lose a couple of holiday pounds.  As a person living with lupus, health is always my number one priority and I am always seeking ways to improve the quality of my life.  In general, I eat pretty healthy, but over the past 6 months, I have taking health to another level.  I first started to eliminate gluten 6 days a week.  Then I decided to eliminate meat, poultry and fish – but I am not a committed vegetarian (YET). In December, I juiced for two weeks and I felt absolutely amazing. So when Liz told me about raw food month, it only made sense to take it to the ultimate health food challenge.

2. I hope to continue to improve my health.  Slowly but surely I am eliminating products that are harmful to me and the environment (and animals of course).  I am not a vegetarian or a vegan but I admire those who make the commitment to practice such a lifestyle. I would love to be vegan one day but I am just not there yet. Eating raw for a month gets me a little closer to maybe changing my lifestyle permanently.

GLORI: This sassy Puerto Rican does not eat red meat but she does eat fish and poultry and loves cheese. She drinks one cup of coffee daily and tries to exercise weekly (she goes through phases). She’s a director in business and legal affairs for a cable network.

1. I wanted to participate in this for a few reasons. One being that I wanted to start off the new year by “being good to my body”. As general as that sounds, I am a lover of food… the richer, the creamier, the better! But I also know that all of my overindulgence, while being satisfying at the moment, was only bombarding my body with toxins… so it was time to restart and recharge. With the “misery loves company” mentality (sorry I must admit), I felt confident and ready to go for it! I’m also admittedly doing this as a test to myself… a challenge if you will… I mean, who doesn’t like a good challenge after all??

2. I want to expose myself to a wider variety of food choices that I’ve never considered before (like Kale shakes, which I never knew I’d LOVE!) and hopefully (cross my fingers) lose some weight and gain more natural energy without the need for caffeine.

Kat: This dreamy pisces is Vietnamese and Polish. She eats meat and dairy. She tries to eat healthy meals but she skips meals often when she’s busy. She’s a smoker and she exercises infrequently. She drinks one coffee every morning. She’s a real estate agent.

1. I embarked on this because I wanted to do a natural cleansing.  It was something I was thinking of doing, but somewhat hesitant about because I wasn’t sure I’d have the will power. It became more inviting knowing we would do it as a group and have somewhat of a support system.

2. I would like to give my body a nice internal “tune up”.  I do not want to lose weight by doing this. I just want to do a more intensive cleansing than through my normal diet and introduce different options and a healthy lifestyle into my routine.  I would like this to be more regular in my diet than just “raw food month”.  I am sure I will introduce this healthy eating more into my life than I had before. I like exploring the possibilities and trying the inventive meals that are out there and being okay with substituting with these once in a while. I know I won’t turn completely raw but I like mixing my diet with raw unprocessed natural goodness.

That’s all from the ladies for now! Here’s some of the juices and shakes my hubby and I made last week…

Carrot, blood orange, apple & ginger juice - YUM

Cucumber, mint, Asian pear, lime juice

Almond milk, banana, almond flakes, coconut oil smoothie

Almond milk, pineapple, coconut flakes, Raw Protein smoothie

Beet, apple, orange, carrot, celery juice

Grapefruit, lime, cucumber, parsley, kale smoothie


Raw Food Month: Week 2

Hey there,

If you’re new to my blog, I happen to be in the middle of a raw food month. It’s a little experiment on healthy living and taking things back to good ole Mama Nature (cause Mama knows best!) that my husband and I (and a few friends) have embarked upon.

Here’s how it’s going so far: The beginning of Week 1 was full of excitement, nerves, anticipation and… a bad cold. I had no idea if I’d actually be able to keep this up and my cold was definitely messing with me. The end of Week 1 was full of potato chip and pasta cravings.

Thankfully, I’ve moved past Week 1 and Week 2 has been pretty great. I no longer crave chips (other than kale chips), I’ve totally forgotten about coffee, and I’m feeling light and full of energy! It’s feeling like less of a struggle and more like a way of being. I think it helped that my husband came home with a dehydrator a few days ago. I didn’t even know what a dehydrator was before starting this raw food month but it basically sucks the moisture out of foods and even warms them up a bit (but at acceptable raw food temperatures). I’ve been making kale chips religiously ever since.

I’m also learning just how perfect raw “recipes” may be for someone like me who generally does not enjoy cooking! It’s a happy coincidence that all these super healthy alive raw recipes only ever really call for a blender, food processor or dehydrator. This kinda “cooking” is totally up my alley – less prep, less time, less risk, less stress! Hallelujah!

Below are some of our recipes from the week and here’s a NY Times article a friend sent me on the health benefits of a plant based diet: click here

SMOOTHIES

Cilantro-Pineapple Shake (from Living Raw Food)

2 cucumbers, peeled & chopped
½ pineapple, peeled & chopped
1 large bunch cilantro
½ cup coconut water or filtered water
2 tablespoons agave
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Puree all ingredients together in blender

 

 

JUICES

 

The Glow (from Living Raw Food)

2 large cucumbers
2 large carrots
3 cups chopped pineapple
3 limes, rind cut away
2 lemons, rind cut away
1 inch knob of ginger
Dash of cayenne pepper

Run all ingredients except for the cayenne through a juicer. Add the cayenne and serve as is or over ice.

LIZ COMBOS

To the left: 

4 carrots
1 beet
2 oranges
½ inch ginger
bunch of wheatgrass

To the right: 2 cucumbers, 1 pear
That’s it! Cucumbers are super healthy so you can even just enjoy cucumber juice alone!

To the left:

3 carrots
3 celery stalks
1 orange
1 apple
1 beet

Delicious!!

Nutritious!! YUP!

KING OYSTER MUSHROOM “CALAMARI” (from Living Raw Food)

This dish was supposed to look like calamari but things didn’t go so smoothly for me… first my hubby came home with the wrong mushrooms, then we went out to try and find king oyster mushrooms, no easy task… we couldn’t find them anywhere, even at Whole Foods, so we settled with regular oyster mushrooms. The recipe actually said you could substitute with regular oyster mushrooms but I was not a huge fan of them or their texture. The recipe for this is really long because you also make tartar sauce and cocktail sauce so I won’t post everything here (unless asked!). I will say that the tartar sauce is SUPER delicious and the cocktail sauce is also really yummy, and the recipe made a huge amount so I’ll have condiments for weeks… fine by me!

My husband had great success with the recipes he made, unlike my above recipe, which is usually our dynamic in the kitchen so the raw food month hasn’t changed that! Here’s what he made…

SPAGHETTI AND TOMATO SAUCE (modified from various internet recipes)

Review: This was so delicious and so simple. It really felt like you were eating spaghetti because the zucchini gets very soft so it was a nice break from all the crunchy veggies. The sauce was amazing. And all so good for you!

Spaghetti:

2 zucchini (depending how much spaghetti you want)

Shred the zucchini into long strips (he used a thick cheese grater and slid the zucchini all the way down from one end to the other to make long strands)

Sauce:

1 cup sun dried tomatoes
1 bell pepper
1 clove – garlic
2 tablespoon – extra virgin olive oil
Tablespoon – salt
1/2 tablespoon – black pepper
1/2 tablespoon – red pepp flakes Tablespoon – oregano
Handful of fresh parsley
Handful of fresh basil
Dash of garlic powder

Throw everything in a blender and pulse until the thickness you prefer.

Note – If you get dry sun dried tomatoes, you must soak them in water for 30 minutes’s prior to blending (unless they’re soaking in oil already).

RAW VEGAN CHILI Incredibleraw.com recipe

 

Review: This chili is AMAZING. One of the best things I’ve eaten since we started this raw food month. It doesn’t look so pretty but it is full of flavor and so darn hearty!! This recipe calls for a dehydrator.

 

Base:

  • 1/2 cup chopped organic celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped organic zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped organic red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped organic red pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped organic carrots (optional to add a crunch)

Sauce:

  • 1 cup sun dried tomatoes, soaked
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons chili powder (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

Finely chop all vegetables for the base and dehydrate them for about 2 hours to make them soft. Do not dehydrate them for more than 2 hours because they may get too dry and crispy.

Next, blend all sauce ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor until it has a creamy texture. Once the base vegetables are dehydrated, mix them into the sauce. Grab a spoon and enjoy!

KALE CHIPS:

 

 

And lastly, to satisfy my urge for chips, I made kale chips, multiple times. I massage coconut oil into them for a few minutes (or you can use extra virgin olive oil and lemon) with a little salt and then throw them into the dehydrator. If you don’t have a dehydrator you can put them in the oven at the lowest temperature possible for almost raw kale chips! You can also put sunflower seeds into a coffee grinder and mix that with nutritional yeast and massage it into the kale for an even crunchier version (sadly our coffee grinder was broken so I couldn’t test this). Either way, they are crispy, delicious and so healthy!

DESSERT

Strawberry Shortcake (another Raw Foods Witch dessert!)

Review: This recipe is so healthy, fresh and delicious and so darn simple! It took me all of 12 minutes to make! You can make it with fresh or frozen strawberries.

Cake Base:

2 cups raw nuts of your choice (mix of almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, etc.)
1 cup soaked raisins
Dash of stevia to your desired sweetness
Dash of vanilla
Dash of sea salt

Place all ingredients into a high speed blender or food processor and blend until nice and crumbly. Pour into a pie plate or bowl.

Strawberry Topping:

1 cup fresh strawberries (I used more)
Dash of stevia to your desired sweetness Place into a high speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Put on top of your cake base. Done!

Lastly, best find of the week – RAW VEGAN ICE CREAM! YUM!

Hope you all had a happy, healthy and humane week!!

Raw Food Month: Week 1

My pooch checking out my smoothie!

If you read Monday’s blog you know that my husband and I (along with a few friends) are in the midst of doing a raw food month. For me I’m exploring the relationship between doing what’s right for animals and what’s right for my own health and what a powerful tool food is for both of these things.

My first week went pretty well. I assumed I’d be starving but I’m honestly not and I’m getting full much faster as my stomach adjusts. I will say that I’ve been seriously craving potato chips for 3 days now, not sure what that’s about but they are definitely on my mind! But what I’m really finding is that this, like everything in life, is mind over matter. I’m into this so lettuce wraps taste great to me. If you have a mental block on this way of eating, it will never satisfy you.

And here are some words from my handsome hubby Jaime to 2 questions I asked him to answer:

1. Why did you decide to embark on a raw food month?

“My wife and I have been on an exploration over the past several months, learning about healthy eating and how those concepts interweave with our respective beliefs about animal welfare and our personal consumption needs and desires. In the course of my research I came across an article that explained the many benefits of eating a raw diet. I was intrigued and inspired enough to mention to my wife that we might want to give it a shot. As always, she was a step ahead of me, and next thing I knew we had a plan to start the year off with this adventure of an experiment.”

2. What do you hope to get out of doing this?

“I hope to learn more about healthy eating, how other people approach some of the issues my wife and I have been wrestling with, and embark upon another life experience that will test some of my preconceived notions and my will power. If we make it out to the other side I expect to be stronger mentally and physically. I also believe we’ll have a new appreciation for healthy eating and perhaps some new restaurants to enjoy going forward.”

Below are some of the raw food recipes we used this week. We only have one recipe book at the moment, Living Raw Food: Get the Glow with More Recipes from Pure Food and Wine by Sarma Melngailis, the founder of Pure, Food & Wine. This book is a bit advanced for us but it was the only one we could find at Whole Foods at the time. If there’s a Raw Recipes for Dummies out there that might be more our speed. But, just like this raw food month, we gave it a go! Below the recipes are some of the shakes and juices we made this week as well – my favorite part of this raw food month!

Cucumber-Mint Gazpacho
12 to 14 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
4 jalapenos, seeded and minced
2 red bell peppers, cored and diced very small
1 small handful mint leaves, cut into thin chiffonade (reserve a few leaves for garnish)
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Place the cucumbers and lime juice in a food processor and process until no big pieces remain. (Alternatively, add the freshly squeezed lime juice and about 2 cups of the cucumbers to a blender and blend together to liquefy the cucumber. Then, add the remaining cucumbers and pulse until no large pieces remain and you have a thick liquid.)
Transfer the mix to a large bowl and fold in the jalapenos, red peppers, and mint. (To chiffonade the mint leaves: Lay the leaves one on top of the other, and roll tightly. Using a sharp knife, slice the roll very thin, so you have thin strips of mint. Doing it this way helps keep the herbs from bruising under the pressure of the knife.) Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve and garnish with mint leaves.

Review: We liked this gazpacho, it was really refreshing and the jalapenos gave it a kick but I might use less jalapenos next time. Most of these recipes serve 8 – 10 people so we cut them in half.


Sesame-Mixed Vegetable “Noodles” with Herbs
Sesame Dressing
1 cup sesame tahini
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup mellow red miso
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons filtered water
1/4 cup black sesame seeds
In a large bowl, whisk together the tahini, sesame oil, lemon juice, miso, and 1/2 cup of the water.
Vegetables
4 cups daikon radish, julienned on a mandoline
2 red bell peppers, cored and julienned
3 medium zucchini, julienned on a mandoline
3 medium carrots, peeled and julienned on a mandoline
6 baby bok choy, leaves thinly sliced on a bias
3 scallions, whites and about 1 inch of green, thinly sliced
1 big handful cilantro leaves
Sea salt
In a large bowl, toss all the prepared vegetables and the sesame dressing until evenly coated. Season to taste with salt.

Review: We LOVED the Sesame Dressing and you can pretty much use whatever veggies you want. The recipe even suggests adding mango. We didn’t have a mandoline so we just put most of the veggies into our food processor which worked out fine.


Herbal Guacamole and Spicy Jicama in Romane Leaves

“This quick recipe makes a great meal or a satisfying snack, especially when you don’t feel like using utensils. The leaves of romaine lettuce hearts are the perfect little vessel for any kind of filling. They’re like crunchy taco shells, but without the extra starchy carbs, and all you have to do is pull them apart. This version of guacamole is loaded up with healthy herbs and brightened with plenty of lime; the juicy jicama on top adds even more crunchiness.”
Serves 6
6 ripe avocados
2 large handfuls cilantor leaves, coaresly chopped
1 large handful parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon frehsly squeezed lime juice
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced
2 teaspoons plus one pinch sea salt
2 cups julienned jicama
1/2 teaspoon cayanne pepper
3 heads of romaine hearts
Additional parsley or cilantro, for garnish
In a large bowl, mash the avocados well with a fork.
Add the cilantro, parsley, 1/4 cup of the lime juice, jalapeno, and 2 teaspoons of salt, and stir well to combine. In a separate bowl, toss the jicama with the remaining tablespoon of lime juice, the cayenne and a pinch of salt.
To serve: Separate the romaine leaves. Fill each leaf with a few spoonfuls of the avocado and arrange on a serving platter. Top with the jicama and additional parsley or cilantro leaves.

Review: Lettuce wraps are officially my favorite! They are really yummy, very refreshing, nice and crispy, and so easy to make. We unfortunately forgot to buy the jicama but it was still delicious! We served it here with our gazpacho soup.

For dessert we made key lime pie! I got this recipe from rawfoodswitch.com. I had the privilege of meeting the lovely Raw Foods Witch, Nathalie Lussier, at a conference I went to recently. If you sign up on her raw food blog you’ll receive 28 raw dessert recipes that are actually good for you (raw/vegan, gluten free, unprocessed, high fiber, good for heart and fully of brain healthy fatty acids!).

Kiwi Lime Pie
Crust
1 cup walnuts
1 cup raisins
Dash of Salt
Blend the above in a high speed blender or food processor until it forms a dough. Pat the dough into the bottom of a pie plate
Pie Filling
3-4 ripe avocados, cubed
Juice of 2-3 limes or lemons
1/2 cup date
Dash of vanilla
Stevia to sweeten
Blend all pie filling ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor until nice and smooth. Taste it to make sure it’s not too sour and that you can’t taste the avocado. Pour the pie filling into the pie plate. Then decorate with slices of peeled kiwis. Slice and serve immediate. The pie will not keep long in the refrigerator because avocados turn brown once sliced open. Although this pie may be high in fat from the avocado, it’s a fat that you can easily digest and that will keep you healthy.

Review: My husband and I were really surprised at how good this tasted! We didn’t have any kiwis to decorate it but it actually tasted like key lime and the crust was delicious! Yup, we ate it right out of the pan on the couch! But again, mind over matter, you need to forget that it’s made out of avocados and just enjoy the flavor.

And here were some of our delicious smoothies and juices – a healthy fresh way to start every morning!

SMOOTHIES:

Almond milk, banana, almond flakes, raw coconut butter, ice & cinnamon

Spinach, almond milk, banana, ice

JUICES:

Cucumbers, kale, pear and wheat grass

Carrot, beet, apple & ginger (my fav)

Cucumber, spinach, apple, mint


Animals, Health & Raw Food

Happy New Year everyone! I don’t know about you but I have lots of goals for 2011. One biggie is to stop putting taking care of myself and my health as the last item on my very long to-do lists.

I can’t quite get my head around why I feel this desire to be a healthier me ever since I became vegan and especially as of late. I feel a strong connection between doing what’s right for animals, for the environment and for my own body but I can’t seem to find the right words to explain why. It just feels like our food production system has gone so far from what nature intended and it’s time to go back in every sense — because in this case going backwards is really going forwards.

What I do know is that becoming vegan has completely changed my relationship with food. Food now has a purpose – it has a vote in the role I want to play in this world and in the way I nourish the cells of my body.

We have such an insane abundance of cheap low quality food in our country and we shovel it down our faces every day without thinking about where it came from, the suffering that went into creating it, or how it affects our world or our bodies. The more I’ve learned about food production, the more I’ve realized that the very thing we consume the most of is the thing we are the most ignorant about. Learning the truth about our run amok food production system is a horrifying large scale reality to face. Ignorance truly is bliss but who wants to be ignorant? I now use food to give the finger to our factory farming system and I’m starting to use it to be the healthiest me I can be.

I used to view food as a combination of indulgence, deprivation, and guilt. My worst habit – I was a total sugar addict. I was never much of an overeater but everything revolved around my love of sugar. I’d often skip meals so that I could instead indulge on dessert and not feel as guilty about the amount of calories I was consuming. It was always about sugar, calories and weight gain, never so much about nutrition and health.  Stepping on the scale every morning was a daily ritual.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always also loved fruits and veggies and I haven’t touched meat in over 12 years but when it came to preparing food for myself, I always seemed to find better things to do. This attitude led to years of devouring processed foods and microwaving just about everything in site. I’d snack all night instead of taking the time to make myself a real dinner. I survived this way for MANY years. But I also struggled with daily sluggishness, anxiety and endless stomach problems.

Becoming vegan has caused me to see food through a completely new set of eyes. I’ve now reduced my sugar intake by about 80% (a remarkable feat for me!) and I started using the stove for more than just boiling water for tea. Cooking will probably never excite me as much as most people (and I’m not very good at it) but eating excites me more than ever! And without consciously realizing it, I completely stopped stepping on a scale.

My focus on the superficial changed to something deeper and in a sense that has liberated me.

RAW FOOD CHALLENGE…

My husband, Jaime, surprised me with a very interesting proposition a few weeks ago. He just recently declared himself vegetarian a couple of months ago and he’s having his own unique journey with food. After reading an article on the benefits of a raw diet, he asked me if I wanted to do a raw food month in January “to start the year off right”. My mouth fell to the floor, as I am usually the one challenging his food choices, and I believe to that I replied “I LOVE YOU.” So for the month of January we will be consuming only raw foods.

I admit, part of the reason I’m putting this on the blog is because I’m worried about my ability to stick with it. But hopefully putting it out there to you will give me the accountability I’ll need to persevere!

To help get us through, we’ll be turning to the experts! I’ve been a HUGE fan of Kris Carr since reading about her ‘crazy sexy’ journey with Cancer and food. For those who don’t know who she is, head over to her website. She lives with 21 incurable cancerous tumors and has virtually frozen the growth of those tumors by converting to a vegan raw food diet full of juicing and smoothies. I’ll list some other recommended resources below as well.

I don’t know if we’re ready for this, we probably haven’t done enough research but we’re just gonna go for it. I’ve already learned how short life can be and personally I don’t want to wait for a health scare to challenge myself to learn what it means to truly be healthy – on a deep cellular level.

What I really hope to get out of this is discipline in the kitchen so I get more in the habit of preparing nutritious and delicious meals that do good for the animals, the environment and my own health. There are a ton of raw food recipes out there so eating only salads for every meal is not the goal. And of course there will be TONS of smoothies and juicing. Santa was really good to me this year and I got the Omega Vert juicer (the juicer of all juicers!) so my hubby and I all ready to get started with lots of yummy nutrient filled juices!

Jaime & I at Pure Food & Wine

To give us a little kickstart, I took my husband to Pure Food & Wine last week for his birthday, the creme de la creme of raw food dining.

AND, I have 3 amazing friends – Angie, Glori & Kathy – who have decided they’d like to go on this journey as well and have committed to a month of raw food! So maybe you’ll hear from them with their stories as well.

Please wish us all luck as we embark on this little raw food journey!

Here’s a short video describing the benefits of raw foods that a new raw foodie facebook friend just sent me:

Here are some other great resources:

www.crazysexylife.comwww.choosingraw.comwww.therawfoodworld.comwww.realfood.comwww.lovingraw.com

I’ve also recently met a few raw foodie entrepreneurial ladies whose guidance I’m sure I’ll be turning to! www.tinapruitt.comhttp://rawfoodswitch.com; http://meredithgeller.com.

Me & Angie

Me, Kat & Glori

All stocked up on veggies!