Wednesday, April 29, 2015

5-Ingredient Raw Vegan Almond Butter Balls

It has been a rough week to be a Marylander. There has been a lot to take in and try to process. My thoughts have been pretty consumed and I haven't had much time to or focus to dedicate to posting.

One thing I wanted to mention, in relation to the raw foods movement, is that I have been encouraged by how diverse this community is. Health is an aspiration which crosses over all categorizations. Easily people can get sucked in to what things are and the way things are, but within the raw foods movement I have felt inspired by the dedication of its participants to rise above and take ownership of their own well-being. I have seen people from varying ethnic, racial, religious, and economical backgrounds embracing dietary changes, as well as mental perspectives and global awareness, to improve the quality of their lives.

That being said, there are communities which are not able to access this information as easily as we can. There are food deserts within cities where local food marts offer mainly soda, sticky buns, and cigarillos. Transportation may be costly and money may be scarce, but worse is that aspirations are low. It is harder in these communities to succeed. Many have tried and failed and become discouraged to continue to try.

I am not bringing this information to a food blog to be negative. My intentions are just the opposite. Be supportive of the individuals who are working to improve their communities, even if it is not your community. This may require stepping outside of your comfort zone. It will likely mean going somewhere you are unsure of or being the only person in a location who looks the way you do. Improvement is universal, but guidance, inspiration, and love help it spread.

Here is a quick treat made from only 5 ingredients. May it bring a little sweetness to those who could use some right now.

1 cup almond meal (leftover from making almond milk, or else you can use 1 cup soaked almonds)
6 dates, pitted
1 cup nut butter (I used sunflower seed butter)
1 tablespoon maca powder (optional for health benefits)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides on the food processor and blend again as needed. Once desired consistency is reached, spoon out portions and roll into ball shapes. If desired, dust additional maca on plate and roll balls in it until coated. Enjoy. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Raw Easy Green Latte

I used to use coffee as a reward. At work it would be a treat on a boring day. On the weekends it would be a pick-me-up while I got the shopping done. Between avoid caffeine, dairy, soy, and chemical additives, coffee is no longer in my diet. But this new reward fills my cravings in the exact same way!

I used homemade nut milk, but you can use store-bought if you are strapped for time. Keep in mind store bought nut milks add a lot of different things into their milks than just nuts. You can make your own at home in about 15 minutes. All you need is 1 cup of nuts (preferably soaked) to 4 cups of water (preferably filtered). Blend, strain through a nut milk bag and store in a glass bottle. It really is that easy, and then you can use the leftover pulp for more recipes!

I have written about the different sweetener choices in previous blogs, but I also want to mention that I stumbled across a new option. There is now a mock honey which is apple-based and does not involve bees. I personally use raw honey, and feel happy with that decision morally and health-wise, but as many people have different convictions it is good to know the products that are available on the market (or in the market!)

I love this drink because it is so delicious, but it has so many health benefits too. Matcha has a high antioxidant content. Spirulina is high in protein and anti-inflammatory. Diatomaceous earth is a natural source of silica. And moringa, well it just has way too many health benefits for me to even want to get into right now, but among those it is listed as high in calcium and magnesium. And I swear, it fills the Starbucks void.

1 tablespoon matcha powder (the higher grade the better)
1 tablespoon sweetener (honey, agave, coconut nectar, or maple syrup)
1 teaspoon spirulina
1 teaspoon moringa
1 teaspoon diatomaceous earth
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
16 ounces nut milk (I used cashew)

Use a glass container with a lid. Combine all ingredient, adding milk last. Put on lid and shake well. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Surprising Enviormental Benefits of a Raw or Whole Foods Diet

As a reminder, I would like to state that I would like to see people adopt the diet that is most healthy for the environment and for themselves. While I do not believe this need to mean 100% raw for everyone all of the time, I do believe in focusing on a heavily raw, plant-based diet which primarily consists of living foods.

Adopting this lifestyle has opened me up to a lot of unexpected experiences. In ridding my diet of processed foods I have lost 40 lbs., rid myself or boils, and stopped incessant stomach cramping. Aside from the physical, I have felt much more aware about my freedoms of choice, and how the smallest everyday actions can impact a larger picture. I am in no way environmentally perfect, but I am aware and set on self-improvement. My small personal goal today is to start bringing silverware to work everyday instead of using plastic utensils. Little changes can add up.

In honor of Earth Day I have written a list of some of the positive environmental impacts of adopting a raw vegan, plant-based, or whole foods diet.

1. Avoiding meat and dairy saves water and natural habitat. The UN itself has released a report about the positive environmental impacts of a vegan diet, stating that meat- and dairy-heavy diets are "unsustainable". To raise 2.2 lbs. of beef takes 16,000 gallons of water, while it only takes 18 gallons to produce an apple. 70% of the world's fresh water consumption is from agriculture, "particularly the meat and dairy industry". Rainforests in South America are cut down to create pastures for cattle farming. By taking animals products off the menu you are no longer financially supporting the corporate monster which is reeking havoc on our planet.

2. Farming over factories. Raw food diets rely primarily on fresh fruits and vegetables. Imagine what the food industry would look like if everyone adopted this lifestyle. Without stuffing ourselves on processed food, we would forgo the smokestack and conveyor belt for soil and greenery. Fruit yields the most crops per acre compare to other farmed foods, so we wouldn't be making land sacrifices either. In fact with more greenery we would be improving our air quality.

3. Less cooking oil run-off residue. When cooking food in oil, a lot will be leftover in the pan. It is easy not to think much of this and just pour it down the drain, but that doesn't really get rid off it. In fact, look how it has collected in sewers underneath London! If an average household has a bit of oil waste, imagine how much fast food restaurants have day after day! With a raw food diet oil consumption is minimal and typical eaten. There is nothing left at the bottom of the pan to wonder what to do with!

4. Less individual material waste. I was pleasantly surprised that switching to a primarily raw food diet has decreased our trash pile. Sure, we still buy some pre-packaged raw food snacks and bagged health powders, but most of our weekly groceries are produce! Having a pile of apple cores and avocado pits instead of plastic wrappers and styrofoam makes me feel much better about my choices. We also tend to buy in bulk more often, which also cuts down on packaging. When you are driving down the road and get upset about the litter are you thinking, "I wonder what jerk dropped that banana peel" or "I wonder what jerk dropped that McDonald's bag?"

5. Energy savings in the home. Not cooking means not turning on the oven or the microwave. It may sound simple, but that is an energy saver right there! Dehydrators, blenders, and food processors can use up a lot of energy too, so don't stress about making every single meal a big production. Fruit and salads are often the best choices you can make!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Raw Vegan Swedish "Meatballs"

Sometimes eating a high raw diet is like playing house. A lot of the time a big salad or a bowl of fruit is some of the best tasting stuff to eat. Other times, it can be nice to have things that are a bit more exciting, or nostalgic, or evoke a certain feeling.

There has been a lot of talk about Ikea releasing their vegan meatballs. I am not really sure what they are made out of, but I am guessing soy or wheat gluten is somehow involved. They are also definitely cooked, and I doubt they are cooked in coconut oil. (Why isn't there a restaurant yet that only cooks with coconut oil? At least then eating cooked food at a restaurant wouldn't be that bad!)

So, while I am happy for my vegan friends that this Ikea option has popped up, it hasn't done much for me personally. So I did something for me personally, and made my own Swedish "meatballs".

One of the best things about this recipe is that it used a lot of leftover pulp that would have gone into the trash if I didn't have a use for it... and what a waste of fiber that would have been! I will warn you to drink a tall glass of water with these, so you don't get too dehydrated after. It is also a good idea to pair these with a salad of some sort, as you'll need to rehydrate.


1 cup beet pulp (leftover from juicing)
1 cup almond pulp (leftover from almond milk)
1 large portobello mushroom
1/4 cup red onion
1 small tomato
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon coconut aminos
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Celtic sea salt to taste


1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon coconut aminos
1 date, pitted
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon all spice
dash of paprika
dash of cumin
dash of white pepper
pink Himalayan salt to taste
small handful of parsley

Put all "meatball" ingredients in a food processor and blend to desired texture (depending if you prefer chunky or even "meatballs". Roll in to 1" balls and place on dehydrator sheets. Dehydrate at 110 degrees for 8 to 10 hours.

For the sauce, combine all ingredients (minus the parsley) in a small food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl, along with "meatballs", and cover evenly. (There may be a bit of color bleeding from the beets, but that is okay!) Finely chop the parsley and sprinkle on top. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Raw Banana Pecan Breakfast Parfait

There is a fine line in some recipes where breakfast ends and dessert begins. Since there is no added sweetener other than fruit in this recipe, let's call it breakfast. Even if your taste buds tell you it is dessert.

I invented this little treat when I realized I was going to make raw banana pancakes the night before, but got too lazy to whip up a batch and put them in the dehydrator. Ho hum. Luckily this recipe has most of the same flavors without taking as much forethought. In fact, the only thing I did to prepare ahead of time was soak and dehydrate my pecans, to make them more easily digestible.

Move over IHOP, raw parfaits are coming to town!

6 dates, pitted
1/2 an apple (I used Fuji)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons almond milk
dash pink Himalayan salt
1 banana
1/3 cup pecans (soaked and dehydrated)
1/3 cup mulberries
1/3 cup raisins (I used golden)

In a small food processor, combine the dates, apple (coarsely chopped), cinnamon, almond milk, and salt. Blend until smooth and set aside. Slice your banana. In a glass or jar start layering your banana slices with the pecans, mulberries, raisins, and cinnamon-date mixture. Top with pecans and banana slice.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Raw Nut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Excuse my mediocre photo here, but some foods are more comforting than a picture can explain. PBJ has been a staple in my life. Being vegetarian since the age of 8, I was sometimes put in situations where adults didn't know what to feed me, but peanut butter and jelly was always a safe bet. Except with my current diet there are a few problems.

Firstly, peanuts are not nuts, they are legumes. And as different nut butters go this is your worst choice. Peanuts contain aflatoxins (naturally occuring fungal toxins) and peanut lectin, which are better avoided since other options exist, such as sunflower seed butter, hemp seed butter, hazelnut butter, walnut butter, or cashew butter. You can find raw versions of all of these or make them yourself if you want to save a bit of money.

Moving on to the jelly. Most store bought jellies contain preservatives, refined sugar, and/or corn syrup. Pectin is also made from corn, so usually GMO. If you aren't raw I recommend making your own jams and jellies. It isn't all that hard and that way you can control exactly what you put in that cute little jar.

And finally, the bread. I don't think I need to go into the gluten debate, as there are a million other websites dedicated to why many people avoid gluten. Even if you don't feel impacted by the gluten argument, the truth of the matter is that wheat, corn, and soy are the top 3 genetically modified crops in the country. So it can be very difficult, especially with a processed food like bread, to avoid GMOs.

The good news is I have a delicious little recipe I whipped up to cure the comfort food cravings of your childhood, while maintaining all the health awareness of a mature adult. Feel free to modify with the fruit of your choice for the jelly, although I recommend strawberry or raspberry as it goes well with the seed consistency. Another option would be to grind the chia seeds first for a smoother texture, which might make for a great blueberry or grape jelly.


4 bananas
1 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup of sprouted pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon maca powder (optional)
dash pink Himalayan salt
1/4 cup water

Strawberry Jam

1 cup strawberries
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 tablespoon sweetener (coconut nectar, honey, maple syrup, or agave)
1 teaspoon water

Nut Butter

1/2 cup of your favorite nut or seed butter (I used sunflower seed butter)
1 tablespoon of coconut oil* (definitely optional, but adds a bit more of a decadent factor)

For the bread, start by grinding the flax seeds in a spice grinder. Then transfer to a food processor and combine the bananas, pumpkin seeds, maca, salt, and water. Blend until evenly smooth. Scoop the mixture onto a dehydrator screen and dehydrate for 10 to 12 hours at 110 degrees. If you are able to flip at the halfway mark it would be preferable, but I did not. Remove bread carefully, as not to tear, and cut into slices.

For the jam, combine all ingredients in a small food processor or blender and blend until even. As you allow the mixture to sit (at least 5 minutes) the chia seeds will make the jam more gelatinous.

Cover bread in coconut oil (if using), nut butter, and jam mixture. Slap your slices together and enjoy!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Raw Vegan Apple-Carrot Pulp Muffins

I have gotten pretty good at juicing almost every day now. The juicer pulp I end up collecting the most of is usually either apple or carrot. Luckily the two of these combined together are great for sweet and savory combinations.

I made these muffins without a dehydrator, which left them very moist. If that isn't your preference you can pop these in the dehydrator for a bit to get a crunchier outer layer. Either way, these can satisfy those morning cravings without the wheat.

1 cup apple pulp (I used Fuji)
1 cup carrot pulp
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, sprouted (I bought pre-sprouted)
7 dates, pitted
1/2 cup dried apple slices
1 banana
1/2 cup brazil nuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon
dash pink Himalayan salt

Put all ingredients into a food processor and pulse into desired texture. (I recommend not overdoing it, as I like them kind of hearty.) Scoop out a small handful and roll into a tightly packed muffin shape. Eat as is or dehydrate at 105 degrees for an hour or two. Place on cupcake wrapper for effect. Enjoy!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Raw Apple-Cinnamon-Raisin Sprouted Buckwheat Granola

Hopefully everyone was aware that my post from April 1st was an April Fool's joke by now. Moving on...

We just got back from my sister's beautiful and emotional wedding! While at our hotels we did our best to stick to our diet. One of the things I made ahead of time which kept my head straight was this sprouted buckwheat granola. It was chewy and crunchy, and help me through breakfast as well as snack times.

I know what you are thinking. Buckwheat... it has the word wheat in it, so it probably has gluten. Wrong! Buckwheat is actually a different plant than wheat. The scientific name for buckwheat is Fagopyrum esculentum, and the part we eat is actually the fruit of the plant. So this recipe is a raw, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, living cereal treat that just about everyone should be able to enjoy!

2 cups of sprouted buckwheat (sprout for roughly 2 days, a little tail should form)
1 apple (I used Fuji)
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup sprouted pumpkin seeds (buy pre-sprouted or sprout your own)
6 dates, pitted
1 tablespoon coconut nectar (or liquid sweetener of your choice)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon water
dash of nutmeg
dash of powdered ginger
dash of pink Himalayan salt

In a small food processor combine the dates, coconut nectar, cinnamon, water, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Blend until smooth. If needed, add some more water to blend evenly. Pour mixture into a large mixing bowl and add the sprouted buckwheat, pumpkin seeds, and raisins. Finely chop your apple and add to the bowl. Stir so that the mixture is evenly covered. Scoop thin layers of mixture onto dehydrator sheets and dehydrate at 110 degrees for roughly 12 hours. The granola should keep at least a week if kept in a dry, cool place. Possibly longer if you use moisture absorbing packets.

Buckwheat... see the difference?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Newly Released Health Food Information is a Game Changer

Alright guys, let me be the first to admit that I have been COMPLETELY WRONG! Apparently, there has been a release of new scientific research which has discovered that through a very specific chemical bonding procedure the oil used by most fast food establishments makes the nutrients in our food more bio-available. Due to the length of time most vegetable and canola oils stay stagnant (generally speaking changed about twice a week) it actually begins a fermentation process which turns starchy potatoes and ground beef into super foods.

The FDA had commented that they have been aware of the oil's bonding benefits, which is why they have teamed up with big businesses across the country to make sure Americans are getting their optimal intake of nutrition. Senior authorities from the FDA have stated that their motivations in supporting large scale fast food corporations, as well as the meat industry in general, have always been to focus on the good of mankind.

In related news, additional research has shown that animals are incapable of feeling pain. The specific nerve endings which trigger the pain response in humans have been found not to exist in mammals, birds, and fish. In fact, there may be a closer correlation in animals, under times of physical harm, to experiences within the pleasure center.

Some old school zealots are clinging to the idea that beef farming creates large amounts of waste, uses up large amounts of water, and creates a higher amount of pollution. But further research shows that feeding the cows oil-rich burgers causes them to emit high oxygen gas, which keeps our air clean and densely fertilizes the soil. 

So in short, all scientific research seems to point out that high protein foods rich in cultured and un-rotated oils are best not only for the individual, but for the planet as well! Eat up and enjoy!