Tuesday, March 31, 2015

3 Tips for Being Raw Away from Home

I have been a bit slow with the blogs as there has been a lot going on in the rest of my life lately. One big thing which is going on this weekend is my sister's wedding! I am so happy to be a part of this event, and will be eating a bit of cooked vegan food as part of the celebration. For the rest of the weekend though, I would like to stay as raw as possible.

Since I have made these lifestyle changes I have improved my skin (although not completely yet), cured myself of boils, stopped my stomach cramps, and lost 40 pounds. I really don't want to get in the vacation mindset and ignore all my hard work and dedication, just to revert back to how I felt before. So aside from the wedding meal treat, I have been planning some food options for the weekend while I am away from the kitchen. I hope you find these tips helpful!

1. Plan ahead. I won't have my dehydrator. I won't have my food processor. I won't have a large blender or a juicer. I won't even have mandolins of julienne peelers. But I have those things now! Even though it is only Tuesday I have sprouted buckwheat going in the dehydrator right now so that we will have cereal to take with us. I may also be bringing pre-made dip or hummus to keep in the hotel's mini-fridge. I will likely blend and dehydrate some flax crackers or kale chips to take with us. And I plan on bringing a bottle of nut milk as well!

2. Fruit. The amazing thing about eating raw food is that so much of what you eat doesn't really need anything done to it! Apples, oranges, bananas, pears, peaches, and plums all fit right in your hand and don't even need refrigeration. Berries and grapes make quick easy snacks or additions to raw cereal or chia bowls. Dried fruit makes for easy eating in the car without the mess. And dates are basically candy. Yummy, yummy candy.

3. Enjoy some store-bought raw foods. A lot of the time in the grocery store I will eye the kale chips or the cacao truffles and sigh, "Looks good, but it is so much cheaper if I make it myself." Well, the challenges of eating raw on the road is kind of like the Universe telling you, "Just buy it. You earned it." Nowadays even major grocery chains like Safeway and Giant carry a few pre-packaged raw goodies. Partake in the treat... it is easier than loosing your mind!

Here is a list of some specifics I plan on bringing or purchasing:

-raw cereal
-hemp milk
-baby carrots
-mini cucumbers
-dried apple slices
-dried apricots
-dehydrated strawberries
-sunflower seed butter
-cacao nibs
-Gopal's raw warps
-Go Raw sprouted pumpkin seeds
-Go Raw flax snax
-Two Mom's in the Raw almond butter truffles

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Raw Vegan Strawberry Shortcake with Whipped Topping

I have become more regular about making my own almond milk than buying the premade ones at the store. It takes an extra 10 minutes out of my week, but now my milk doesn't have the additives. It is also a much less wasteful process, and I get to use the leftover pulp! Almond pulp is great for making raw crackers, breads, cookies, and cakes.

This recipe is especially easy because I don't have to worry about the shape of the dessert, I just throw it in a jar! You could also switch out the strawberries for any other berry, or even apple or mango! I know food in jars like this seems to be a bit of a trend lately, but I guess the reasoning behind it is that it is an easy way to get healthy food fast!

Strawberry Shortcake

2 cups sliced strawberries
1 cup almond pulp (leftover from making almond milk)
6 dates, pitted
1 teaspoon coconut butter
1 teaspoon maca powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
dash of pink Himalayan salt

Whipped Topping

meat from 1 young coconut
1/2 cup water from young coconut
1/4 cup of macadamia nuts
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon liquid sweetener (honey, agave, coconut nectar or maple syrup)
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Slice strawberries and set aside. Put all remaining shortcake ingredients in a small food processor and mix until even. Fill two jars with the mixture, layering with strawberries every so often. In a small food processor or blender, combine the whipped topping ingredients and blend until smooth. Top jars with the whipped topping. *Tip: If you plan on letting this sit for a few hours, leave the topping off until right before serving.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Golden Beet Spring Pasta in Raw Artichoke "Butter"

Sometimes zucchini noodles, as much as I appreciate them, can get a little bit mushy and wet for my taste. Don't get me wrong, they have their place, but some sauces just work better with something a little more solid. Other options are carrots, parsnips, sweet potato, or beets. Yellow beets are particularly exciting because they are the perfect color, especially for spring pasta where the noodles don't get hidden by super thick sauce.

The artichoke in this recipe comes across as a subtle flavor. I used fresh artichoke heart, but if you aren't strict about staying raw vegan you could use jarred, but that will definitely have a more intense flavor. Another raw option would be to use sunchokes in place of artichoke.

The peas, nuts, seeds, nutritional yeast, and beets included in this recipe pack a big (and unexpected) protein punch. So next time someone asks where you get your protein, direct there attention right here!


2 large golden beets
2 cups of peas (fresh or thawed from frozen)
1/4 cup red onion
l/4 cup cherry tomatoes
large handful of parsley
1/2 a lemon, juiced
dash of Celtic sea salt

Artichoke "Butter"

1 fresh artichoke heart, leaves and choke removed
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon tahini
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon coconut aminos
1 teaspoon truffle oil
2 tablespoons hemp or almond milk
1/2 teaspoon fennel powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
dash of turmeric
dash of white pepper
pink Himalayan salt to taste

"Parmesan" Crumble

1/4 cup macadamia nuts
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
dash of Celtic sea salt

Spiralize the golden beets. (This takes a bit more effort than zucchini, so be patient.) Place in a large bowl along with the peas. Chop the red onion, tomatoes, and parsley and add to bowl. Add the lemon and salt. Toss well and allow to become tender and you prepare the rest of the recipe.

Place all artichoke "butter" ingredients in a small food processor and blend until smooth. If mixture seems too thick you can add a bit more milk. Pour mixture in bowl with the pasta and toss well.

In a spice grinder, combine crumble ingredients and blend until you reach your desired texture. Plate your pasta, sprinkle topping, and serve.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

How I Got a 9 Year-Old to Take Spirulina and Other Kid's Health Tips

My son has had his fair share of challenges, and still does. The school psychologist wanted him labeled on the autism spectrum, but after having him tested by experts in more specialized areas that is not the case. He does, however, have a slew of other diagnoses ranging from ADHD to encephalopathy to dyslexia to dyspraxia. I was hesitant as to whether or not to post this in a blog, but I do so to help others know that while these are obstacles in my son's path they do not stop him from walking the good walk.

I didn't help him get on a good path as early as I should have. As a single mother early on I found myself getting home from work at 7 PM and having to stop by Burger King to get him Kraft mac and cheese and french fries for dinner before he passed out. He ate lots of Doritos and Oreos. He ate lots of dairy and gluten. Luckily, he was at least never a fan of soda.

Along with the encouragement of my health conscious husband we have been able to make several improvements. My son now has gummy multi-vitamins every day, and apple juice with liquid herbal supplements every night. On top of that I thought I would share a few other diet tips for the picky child eaters out there!
- Hide spirulina in "chocolate milk." My chocolate milk is hemp milk (which has Omega-3s) with carob powder and honey (feel free to use a vegan sweetener if preferred). A teaspoon of spirulina mixed in doesn't alter the taste or color, since carob is pretty dominant. Spirulina is perfect for making up for the areas of a vegan diet that can go neglected. Spirulina is high in bio-available iron, B vitamins (including B-12), protein, and antioxidants.You can also use cacao instead of carob, if you like. In my son's drink I even add a little diatomaceous earth into the mix!

- Switch out your oils. My son eats cooked food, but I still make sure when I cook with oil I use coconut oil for him. I also sneak in some hemp oil afterwards, so he gets his Omega-3s.

- Look at what healthy things your child already likes. When my son was diagnosed with ADHD I read that high protein diets were beneficial. I actually started feeding him organic chicken nuggets (even though I have been vegetarian since the age of seven, and he had been more or less his whole life, just naturally). He refused to eat them. I just panicked because I wanted him to flourish. I knew he didn't eat nuts or seeds and was trying to limit his dairy intake. What I wasn't paying attention to was that he LOVES peas and edamame. So I have just increased his intake of that! One cup of peas has almost as much protein as a glass of milk!

- Be honest with your child about food. I know I said I "hide" spirulina in chocolate milk, but I also tell him that I put magic Hawaiian powder in there to make it extra healthy. We explain why fast food is bad, and now when we drive by a McDonald's instead of asking to play he points and says, "Evil." While this may seem extreme, I much prefer it to sitting in the Play Place watching him stuff his face with rancid grease. We also explain the meat industry to him, and that the animals are often raising in inhumane conditions. Many people think we need to shelter children from these details, but it is the truth and your child has every right to know it now and make their own decisions from that information.

- Let your child eat as many fruits and veggies as they like. A little while ago I asked my son if he wanted pasta, since the Annie's box had been staring me if the face for months. He said, "No, I want a vegetable platter." I asked again, "Are you sure you don't want this pasta?" And then I stopped to think about what I was actually doing. My son had made a decision on his own that was healthy! Why was I trying to detour him from that? Was it that I was being cheap and wanted to use up the old pasta? Was it some old convention that "just vegetables" couldn't be enough to constitute a meal? Either way, I gave up and now about twice a week he has a dinner which is solely a fruit and vegetable platter. On his request.

An example of my son's vegetable platter.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Raw Vegan Leek, Artichoke, and Avocado Soup

A few fruits and vegetables don't make frequent appearances in raw recipes. Two of those such vegetables are in this recipe. Leeks and artichokes are almost always cooked, but that doesn't mean they have to be. Both of these foods are high in vitamins and minerals, but beware raw leeks are a lot like garlic and not for everyone. In fact I recommend both garlic and leeks for only occasional use in preparing foods. Otherwise, stuff can get kind of stinky.

If you are not opposed to cooked food you could use marinated artichokes, but try and avoid oil and preservatives. I used fresh artichokes and cut away to the heart. Here is a link to how to cut down your artichokes to the heart... don't forget to remove the choke!

1 large leek, hard parts of stalk and roots removed
1 fresh artichoke heart, leaves and choke removed
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
1/2 of a green bell pepper
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup macadamia nuts
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons coconut aminos
1 teaspoon hemp oil
1 teaspoon truffle oil
1 teaspoon stone ground mustard
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon fennel
small handful parsley
sprinkle of nettles (optional, additional health benefits)
pink Himalayan salt to taste

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If needed, add some additional water until desired texture is reached. Serve at room temperature and garnish with additional parsley or nettles.

Monday, March 16, 2015

I Ate Some Cooked Food... It Wasn't That Good, It Wasn't That Bad

To some people, this may come across as the most boring blog topic ever. To me, it is a lesson in knowing yourself, while learning how to become your best self.

My husband and I last had a cooked meal the day after Christmas with family. I had eaten a green curry with vegetables and rice. It was delicious, but the rice seemed to expand a bit painfully in my stomach. I may also have over eaten that night. Since then we have been completely raw, with the exception of a bit of maple syrup or an olive or two. I have lost weight. Puffiness under my chin and jawline has gone down significantly. My cystic-acne prone skin has seen some significant improvements. I have not had a single boil recently, which I had suffered from frequently before.

My switching to a raw diet has also included quite a few other changes. We have removed most of the chemical cleaning and beauty products from our house. Our son is eating more fruits and vegetables, as well as taking herbal supplements and consuming much less dairy (we are hoping to ease our way away from dairy altogether, eventually).

Last week, as a departure from my son's dairy cheese pizza, I made him a pizza with Chao cheese (made from fermented soy and coconut oil), homemade sauce (tomatoes, olive oil, and spices), and sprouted wheatberry frozen crust. He ate two slices, half of what was placed before him. If you knew my son, and what a challenge new foods can be, you would say this was a mild success. I asked him if there was something about the pizza which could be better, and he said, "The sauce." So next time I will use some organic sauce from a jar, but for this time I had six pieces of vegan pizza that would likely not be eaten when reheated.

So, after a busy Saturday rushing around, getting my son shoes and a haircut, getting groceries from two locations, buying pet food, and fighting traffic, we finally made it home by 6 PM. The pizza was still sitting there. It was either going in the trash or our stomachs.

Now the moral dilemma came into play. We have been eating raw for our health benefits, and we have felt them. We are not interested in dogma for its own sake. We do not like to waste food or money either, but we don't want to revert back to our old ways when we are so happy with the path we have taken. So what did we do? We loaded the pizza with mushrooms and green peppers, warmed it up and ate it.

Impacts? Not that good, but not that bad. We were not emotionally eating. We were not wasting. The food was still vegan and relatively healthy, but also an out of the ordinary treat and viewed as such. The taste was nothing astounding, and didn't seem much different than raw pizzas I have been creating. I didn't feel sick afterwards, but I didn't feel particularly energetic either.

Sometimes it can be better for your emotional health to be 99%. Living to fit a standard that you did not even write can limit what you actually want to achieve. I want to be healthy, and obsessing about what I do not eat is not healthy. Eating the Standard American Diet is not healthy either. Whether it is the raw norm, the vegan norm, or the SAD norm, I am not interested. I am interested in what will make me and my family thrive.

This scenario speaks of a broader issue which everyone faces in their own way. Vegans condemning others for eating honey and still using the term vegan. Religions and political parties coming down on their own members for not agreeing on specific issues. Where does the humanity fit in? When can we just be viewed, not by our categorizations, but as the choices we make and the goals we set out to achieve?

Will I eat a cooked meal every few months? Probably. Will I still make raw food, take pictures and write about raw veganism? Of course. Because while I cannot say that it is always the right choice for every person 100% of the time, I do believe it has been the best choice, for me, the greater majority of the time.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Raw Szechuan Broccoli in Sunflower Seed Sauce with Coconut "Rice"

For about a week now I have been healing from some sort of bug my son shared with me (yes, healthy people can get germs too). I have been sneezing, coughing, and having flashes of dizziness. On top of that mother nature blessed me with a monthly gift. Getting through work has been a drag. I was pretty close to throwing in the raw towel for a night (which I am not even fully opposed to) and eating up the vegan pizza I made my son. It wasn't gluten-free, or soy-free, but it wasn't that bad either (made with Chao cheese, so at least the soy was fermented, homemade sauce, and sprouted wheatberry crust).

I know, you are reading this saying, "Just eat the dang pizza." But I stopped and listened to my body instead of my emotions. I was craving protein, calcium, and good fats. My sinuses wanted some spice to clear them out. So I made this little creation. The seeds gave me my protein and fats, the broccoli gave me my calcium, and there was plenty of spice for my throat!

As I carried it to the table my husband commented, "We're having cooked tonight?" It would have been surprising since the last time we had a full cooked meal was Christmas. I recommend this meal for cravings... to keep you from giving up and getting the greasy, battered Chinese carry-out from down the street. You'll be just as happy, and in the long run more so.

Coconut "Rice"

1 large or 2 small parsnips
3/4 cup hemp seeds
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon coconut oil
pink Himalayan salt

Put all rice ingredients in a food processor and pulse into grain-like texture.

Szechuan Broccoli in Sunflower Seed Butter

1 head of broccoli
1 yellow mini bell pepper
1/4 of an onion
1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons sunflower seed butter
2 tablespoons coconut aminos
1 tablespoon coconut vinegar
1 teaspoon hemp oil
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
dash of star anise
dash of fennel powder
dash of cinnamon
dash of cloves
pink Himalayan salt to taste

Chop broccoli, bell pepper, onion, and tomatoes and place in large bowl. Put remaining ingredients  in a small food processor or blender, and mix until smooth. Pour mixture over vegetables and allow to marinate for 15 to 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Plate with rice and garnish with parsley or orange wedge, if desired.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Raw Vegan Blue Cheese

There are certain foods within the Standard American Diet that are so specific they are hard to replicate, and blue cheese is one of them. The color, the texture, and the flavor are so specific. Recently, though, I was watching a Dr. Cassar video on Youtube on his green coconut cheese and got struck with some inspiration. If you haven't seen his videos, I highly recommend them for health information.

This is not an instant cheese. It can take anywhere between 3 days and 2 weeks, and the longer you wait the better. If you don't want to use sauerkraut juice as a starter you can use rejuvelac instead. Also, feel free to uses macadamia or Brazil nuts instead of almonds. If you are wondering what sort of chlorella/ spirulina tablets to buy, I recommend either Thor's Hammer by Raw Power or Earth Shift's chlorella/ spirulina tablets (as a thank you for Dr. Cassar's inspiration!)

1 1/2 cups almonds (soaked for 8 hours, peeled)
1/4 cup of sauerkraut juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
dash Celtic sea salt
1/4 cup of chlorella/ spirulina tablets

Soak your almonds for 8 hours, then peel away skin on each almond by squeezing gently. Put in a small food processor or blender with sauerkraut juice, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and salt. Blend until smooth. Using the blunt side of a knife, crush the chlorella/ spirulina tablets (you want large chunks, not ground to powder). Add crushed chlorella/ spirulina to the food processor or blender and give one quick pulse (do NOT overdo). Scoop out mixture and put in a nut milk bag and hang somewhere where the excess liquid can drain into a bowl below. (I usually use the handles on my cabinets.) After about 15 minutes of straining, transfer mixture to a small pyrex container or individual spring form pan. Cover with a coffer filter or paper towel, held on by a rubber band. Leave on counter for 2 to 3 days, at room temperature and out of direct sun. Transfer the cheese out of the container. It should be firm enough now to hold its own shape. Place in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Serve and enjoy!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Raw Brussel Sprout, Fennel, and Arugula Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

Maryland is covered in a thick blanket of white snow right now. Instead of letting cabin fever set in I figured I would celebrate this as winter's final hoorah... at least I hope so. For a salad, these winter vegetables make for a pretty dense and filling meal! So enjoy now, spring fruits and vegetables are just around the corner!


1 bulb of fennel
8 brussel sprouts
2 cups arugula
1/4 a red onion
1/4 cup sprouted pumpkin seeds (bought pre-sprouted)
pink Himalayan salt to taste


1 cup cranberries
1 tablespoon hemp oil
1 tablespoon coconut vinegar
2 tablespoons sweetener (honey, agave, coconut nectar, or maple syrup)
small handful of parsley
dash of pink Himalayan salt


1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon flax seeds
dash of pink Himalayan salt

In a food processor chop the fennel and brussel sprouts, and transfer to a large bowl. Chop the red onion and add to bowl. Add arugula, pumpkin seeds and salt. Mix evenly.

Put all vinaigrette ingredients in a small food processor or blender and blend evenly. Pour on salad.

Put topping ingredients in a spice grinder and crumble over top of salad. Serve.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Raw Vegan Frosted Lemon Chia-Poppy Seed Cookies

In our house we go through a LOT of lemons. My husband has been drinking a large lemon water every morning, which has an alkalizing effect on the body. Lemon water also boosts your immune system, aids in digestion, and benefits skin. I am glad he has found a regiment that has been helping him and I am starting to get into the routine as well. But now we are left with A LOT of lemon rinds!

I soak some lemon rinds in white vinegar to make a cleaning solution. I dehydrate some lemon rinds and grind them up with salt and other herbs to make spice mixes. And still I am left throwing out lemon rinds! So I decided to come up with a recipe to use a few. I was pleasantly surprised. Be sure you are using organic lemons for this recipe, as with conventional lemons chemical residue is likely to be found on the peels.


Lemon peels from 2 lemons
1 cup almond pulp (leftover from making almond milk)
5 dates, pitted
1/3 cup chia seeds
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 tablespoon coconut flakes
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of salt


1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup of coconut butter
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons sweetener (agave, honey, coconut nectar, or maple syrup)

Put all cookie ingredients in a food processor and blend well. Roll into balls and flatten into roughly 1-inch cookie circles. Dehydrate at 105 degrees for 6 to 8 hours.

Put all frosting ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Top each cookie with frosting and put in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes to allow time for frosting to harden. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Raw Vegan Creamy Curried Carrot Soup

I know, I know. My last post was a soup, and I am posting another soup! Soupity soup soup soup! But you know what? If you are trying to eat as much raw vegan food as possible, and potentially stay completely raw, your soups and your salads are lifesavers! Soups are a great way to use up your leftover produce and can be made in as little as 10 minutes.

At first I was hesitant about too many cold soups, and then I realized they don't have to be cold to be raw. Room temperature or anything warmed up under 115 degrees will do just fine. Adding spices can also trick your brain about heat. So enjoy all the flavors, and know you are still reaping all the health benefits!

Also, I know some people snub their noses at curry powder for not being authentic, but it comes in handy in a pinch. If you don't have sauerkraut juice, feel free to substitute with 1/2 a cup of apple cider vinegar and 1 extra cup of water.

3 large carrots, tops removed
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
1 small tomato
1 1/2 cups sauerkraut juice
1 cup water
1 tablespoon coconut aminos
1 1-inch cube of ginger
1 teaspoon hemp oil
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Dash red pepper flakes
Pink Himalayan salt to taste

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If needed, add additional water to get desired consistency. Garnish with extra peeled carrot bits, tiny bits of chopped ginger, or red pepper flakes. Serve room temperature.