Friday, May 29, 2015

Raw Vegan Jicama and Parsnip "No-tato" Salad

It is officially cook-out season, which is one of the hardest times of year for those of us trying to eat a healthy diet. Sure, you may be able to turn down the double cheeseburgers and even the potato chips, but what about the veggie burgers and veggie dogs some other non-meat eater kindly brought? Well, sorry to tell you, but they are most likely heavily processed, glutenous, soy-packed downers. But there is salad... and a pickle... a pickle that you aren't even sure about. You wanted to eat healthy, but you still wanted to EAT!

Just like the holidays, planning ahead and making enough to share can save you from caving in to other people's diets. Being self-sufficient means you get exactly what you want. All the taste and none of the junk. Over the Memorial Day weekend I was craving some potato salad, so I whipped up a mock recipe of my own! If you eat cooked potatoes or even sweet potatoes you can still use the rest of this recipe for an awesome vegan macadamia mayonnaise-type dressing!

1 cup jicama, peeled and chopped
1 cup parsnips, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
 handful of fresh herbs (I used dill, parsley, and oregano), finely chopped
1 cup macadamia nuts
1/2 cup hemp or almond milk
1/2 a lemon
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon truffle oil 
pink Himalayan salt to taste

Place chopped jicama, parsnips, onion, and herbs in a large bowl. In a small food processor or blender combine all remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour dressing mix in bowl and stir well. Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Raw Spicy Mango Thai Kelp Noodles

Kelp noodles are one of those foods which are on the fence for a lot of raw vegans. Many people question whether kelp noodles are actually raw, as they are processed to get into noodle form. From my research it seems some kelp noodles are raw, some are not, depending on the brand you choose. Either way they can be eaten without additional cooking and seem a much better option than cooked pasta. I would recommend kelp noodles as an occasional addition to your diet, for times when you just don't feel like spiralizing.

Many people ask and easy, fast raw meals that I make. This is one of the easiest. In fact, I almost feel as though this post is a non-recipe, because it is so basic! But sometimes we need reminders of those, right?

1 package of kelp noodles (12 ounces)
1 mango, peeled and pitted
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon coconut vinegar
1 tablespoon coconut aminos
dash cayenne pepper (as to your desired spiciness)
dash hot pepper flakes (as to your desired spiciness)
pink Himalayan salt
1 teaspoon dulse flakes
small handful Thai basil

Open package of kelp noodles and rinse. Place noodles in a large bowl of salt water and massage. Set aside. In a blender combine the mango, tomatoes, vinegar, coconut aminos, cayenne, hot pepper flakes, and salt. Blend until smooth. Drain the kelp noodles and return to large bowl. Pour the blended mixture on the noodles. Sprinkle with dulse and stir. Top with basil and serve.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Distinguishing Between a Healthy Diet and an Eating Disorder

Bodies, especially female bodies, constantly are critiqued by outside sources. It can be difficult as a person, particularly a woman, to be able to look past these outside sources and discover what is right for yourself. Sometimes these outside forces are so pressing that they make their way within our own minds.

I recently had someone tell me I was not allowed to lose any more weight and that I was becoming too skinny. In the past I was told by someone who poked my stomach that it looked like I had been drinking too many beers. Honestly, these two comments are not very different. It is difficult to have an exact pinning of the motivations between the commentators, but both comments could either be genuine concern or personal biases. Either way, the only opinion that matters is my own.

Eating disorders are diseases. They are in no way related to health. Any eating disorder, be it anorexia or binge eating, is the exact opposite of health. Health is nourishing and caring for your body; celebrating it as a temple. A person with an eating disorder views their own body as the enemy.

There can be criticism of the raw diet, from those who do not understand it or have been approaching it incorrectly. I have found many cases where a raw food or whole food diet has actually been a recovery mechanism for people with eating disorders. The truth of the matter is that people are going to talk, and formulate critical opinions about anything you do which is different from what they believe. The important thing to stay focused on is your health, be it physical, emotional, or mental.

I have composed a list to help break down the differences between a healthy diet and an eating disorder. Please be honest with yourself about your responses. Please love and care for yourself. Your body is a gift.

Healthy Diet: Your eating habits strengthen your muscles, organs, and nerves.
Eating Disorder: Your eating habits deteriorate your muscles, organs, and nerves.

Healthy Diet: You feel comfortable in your own skin, and feel good about your appearance and abilities.
Eating Disorder: You hate the way you look, and nothing you do is ever enough to make you feel good about yourself.

Healthy Diet: Your pantry is abundant, and you love it that way!
Eating Disorder: You avoid being around food.

Healthy Diet: You have a regular menstrual cycle.
Eating Disorder: You have stopped having a menstrual cycle.

Healthy Diet: You eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full.
Eating Disorder: You allow yourself to be hungry for long periods of time or else constantly over-eat to the point of severe discomfort.

Healthy Diet: You listen to your body for how much and what to eat.
Eating Disorder: You listen to your emotions for how much and what to eat.

Healthy Diet: You decide what is right for your own body.
Eating Disorder: You compare your body to other people and media images.

Obviously, this is a loaded topic to fit into a short blog. I am not a psychologist, and would encourage anyone who thinks they may have an eating disorder to seek out professional help. Be supportive of people who make good choices for themselves. Encouragement is a powerful tool. I want this blog to be a source of information to help women take ownership of their own bodies in a positive way. This is not a place for body-shaming, it is a place for body-celebrating.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Raw Vegan Sprouted Chickpea Salad Wraps

A raw, sprouted chickpea isn't exactly the same as a cooked chickpea. It isn't as soft, and therefore needs to be broken down a bit to make it more appealing. Blending sprouted chickpeas into a hummus is a great option, but sometimes hummus can get a bit boring. If you have been vegetarian as long as I have, you are probably used to it being your main meatless party option. I wanted to explore what else could be down with the raw, sprouted chickpeas, so I came up with these wraps!

If you don't have any collard leafs handy you can also use lettuce, dehydrated coconut wraps, or simply eat it as-is! If young coconuts are hard for you to come by, replace the coconut meat with your favorite nuts or seeds and use regular water instead of coconut water.

meat from 1 young coconut
1 cup coconut water
2 tablespoons stoneground mustard
juice from 1/2 a lemon
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
dash of black pepper
2 cups of sprouted chickpeas (2-3 days to sprout)
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup red onion
small handful of dill
5 large collard leaves
pink Himalayan salt to taste

In a blender combine coconut meat, coconut water, mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, curry powder, turmeric, black pepper, and salt. Blend until smooth. Add in the sprouted chickpeas and pulse a few times to get a choppy texture. Hand chop the tomatoes, onion, and dill. Add to mixture and stir. Add extra salt as needed. Spoon mixture evenly onto collard wraps. fold in edges, roll, and slice down the middle. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Eat What You Deserve

Unfortunately sometimes people in the raw food community think they are being helpful and motivational when actually they are being just the opposite. If you take someone who is eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) and introduce them to these new ideas about food it can be a shock to the system. The average person is trying to free themselves from fast food and microwave meals and looking for help. To have a raw food guru gushing on about how they only are eating banana mono-meals and going on extensive water fasts doesn't relate to your average working man who needs to make it through the day with enough energy to do grueling physical labor in an urban environment. While immediate extremism may work for some, I feel that most people do best with gradual changes of everyday habits. I think this is more beneficial for our bodies, as well.

I wanted to take a moment on this blog to say this: There is no guilt, there is no shame. It is not your fault. You may be obese, you may have severe health problems. Your body may be swollen and skin may be horrific. You are not to blame. Your body is responding to what have become cultural norms for food, medications, daily chemical interactions, and environment. It is amazing that everyone is not obese and knocking on death's door. It is a miracle that our teeth are not falling out from excess sugar. These things aren't happening to you because you did something wrong. They are happening because our culture hasn't been doing what is right. Sit down in any average restaurant across the country and you are consuming massive amounts of sugar, bad oils, and GMOs. There is nothing in your office's vending machine that is good for you, and nothing at the local mini-mart that you can feel good snacking on. It is a set-up, trying to make it seem as though you are predestined to fail.

But you are not predestined to fail, because you have free will. And you can choose right this moment to take active steps to make improvements and seek out the answers. No one is going to be perfect, and I don't think health is really about perfection. It should be about improvement. I have seen too many people give up, thinking they simply are the way they are when they didn't see a change they were looking for. I also assumed that I was just going to keep getting a little heavier every year of my life. I assumed I would be taking anti-biotics to suppress my boils forever. I assumed nothing would ever improve my skin, though I would continue to put on chemical product after product in vain. But I have lost 40 pounds and my skin is improving, and I haven't had a boil in years.

Make changes. Listen to your body. Do your research. Take things out of your diet (meat, gluten, dairy, soy, canola and vegetable oils) and replace them with better ingredients. Make your own pace. Make your own meals. Do not let anyone tell you what you are. YOU are not FAT. YOU are not WEAK. You can be in control, and let no corporation, bully, or negative influence let you think otherwise.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Raw Vegan Cacao-Orange Breakfast Pudding

During the week I have a pretty strict regiment of smoothies and juice for breakfast, and it works well for me. It is part of my schedule and I know what to expect. On the weekends, when my child and cat have decided that it is time to get up although my husband has not, those are some of my indulgence times. Not heavy, greasy, syrupy indulgences, just sweet treats to give me enough energy to be able to handle some of the exciting tasks like laundry or dishes from the night before.

The reason I consider this recipe a breakfast pudding instead of dessert is that it almost resembles a smoothie bowl, but has just a touch more decadence. Breakfast, dessert, you decide. Anytime you have it, it is delicious.


1/2 cup hemp seeds
1/3 cup raisins
1 tablespoon cacao
dash pink Himalayan salt


3 bananas (the riper, the better)
juice from 1 orange
1 tablespoon hemp milk
1 tablespoon cacao
1 tablespoon carob
1/2 tablespoon coconut butter
1 tablespoon liquid sweetener (coconut nectar, honey, maple syrup, agave, or honey substitute)

In a small food processor combine all topping ingredients and pulse into a crumble texture. In a blender combine all pudding ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour pudding in a bowl and top with crumble. Add an orange slice to garnish, in you so desire.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Raw Vegan Black Cumin Seed "Caviar"

Having a husband who is interested in herbalism and improving himself means sometimes I am given unknown mysterious ingredients to cook with. This week I was introduced to black cumin seed. I read up on the product, and it has am impressive resume. Black cumin seed oil was found in King Tut's tomb. Cleopatra reportedly used it as part of her beauty regiment. And the Prophet Mohammad is quoted as saying that black cumin seed could cure everything but death itself.

I wasn't exactly sure what to do with it, but after all I had read, it seemed deserving of the royal treatment. What is more royal than caviar? If this little seed can do everything people claim of it, it only deserves the best. Health benefits of black cumin seed include strengthening of the hair and nails, increasing breast milk flow, calming the nervous system, improving skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, boosting bone marrow production, and some studies even link it to treating pancreatic cancer.

If you have trouble locating black cumin seeds you can use black sesame seeds instead. Either way, it is decadently delicious.

3/4 cup black cumin seeds (soaked roughly 8 hours, then drained)
3/4 cup botija olives
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon paprika
pink Himalayan salt to taste

Put all ingredients in small food processor. Blend, stopping periodically to scrape the sides, until desired texture is reach. Pair with your favorite raw crackers or sliced veggies. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Poverty Consciousness and Raw Food

One of the main responses I have gotten to my diet is, "I would like to eat more raw food, but it is so expensive." I know many of us, myself included, struggle with our finances. I am aware that certain deemed super-foods are overpriced, and that organic produce is always more expensive than conventional. But I also feel this sort of thinking falls into poverty consciousness.

If you take your thinking from, "I can't do this because I don't have money" and replace it with, "How can I do this, despite not having a lot of money?", you would be surprised with the results. If you do not try, you have a 100% chance of not succeeding. If you try, you have at least a chance at success. Here are a few tips to keep in mind next time you think your finances are holding you back from adding more raw foods to your diet.

- Fast food may be cheap, but healthcare isn't. Every medical professional will admit that obesity leads to more health problems. More health problems lead to more bills. Opting for drive-thru options or heavily processed meals may save you money in the short-term, but consuming greater amounts of fruits and vegetables is a lifetime investment.

- If you can't buy top of the line culinary equipment, don't. I have been using a $50 dehydrator and a $50 blender through a year of eating primarily raw foods. I would love to have a Vitamix, if it weren't $500. I would love to have an Excalibur, if it weren't $250. But spending $100 instead of $750 doesn't change my food being exactly what I want! If $100 still seems like too much, keep in mind you can get secondhand kitchen equipment at a very affordable price. Try eBay, Craiglist, yard sales, or the thrift store. Or just stick to recipes which don't require special equipment!

- If organic gets too expensive, pay attention to which organic foods you should buy. When it comes to produce, not all veggies are created equal. While I like to avoid chemicals as much as possible both for my personal use and in terms of environmental impact, there are some fruits and vegetables which are not as directly impacted by pesticides. Generally anything with a hard rind is safe to eat. For a more specific list, check out this link.

- Think before you buy. A quick internet search just showed that one pound of raw walnuts costs $8.99, but one pound of raw sunflower seeds only costs $3.49. The good news is that in most raw recipes any seed or nut will work! Don't spend tons on money on prepackaged raw foods if you can make them yourself. I love a kale chip treat, but I also know the mark up on those is insanely high. Buy things to sprout so you have a back-up plan for times you are low on produce money. Buy lots of bananas to fill up on as cheap snacks.

- Stop wasting money on getting wasted. Booze, cigarettes, and other recreational substances destroy your body, mind, and pocketbook. If it is that important to your socializing, re-evaluate your social circles. If you need it to relax, remind yourself that meditating in the woods is free. You will likely also save money on wrecked cars, headache medicine, and late-night greasy diner meals.

Keep in mind that these are my tips to avoid allowing a lack of funds to keep you from your personal raw health goal. If this isn't your goal, be honest with yourself and admit that this might not be the path you want to take for yourself. Even the food pantry around the corner from me gives out fresh produce to those in need, so have some faith that with some clear-headed planning you can take control of your health and your life.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Super Protein Raw Sloppy Joes

A friend of mine requested some high protein raw vegan recipes the other day. Anyone who has chosen a raw vegan or cooked vegan diet is familiar with the question, "But where do you get your protein?" There are a lot of different ways to answer this question, but as a challenge I thought I would make one meal that meets your daily recommended protein requirement, yes raw vegan style!

The daily recommended protein intake for women is 46 grams and for men is 56 grams. Now, I know many people take the words of doctors and scientists to be untouchable truths, but there have been a lot of people in the nutritional community that feel these numbers are too high.

On the other hand there are people with specific needs where high protein diets are recommended, my son being one of them. When his challenges with ADHD first started becoming apparent I originally wanted to switch him from a vegetarian diet to a meat diet. I had been vegetarian since the age of 7 myself, but watching my son struggle was painful. He fought the chicken tenders we gave him and we didn't see much improvement. Now we have switched the game up entirely, and he is vegan. I make sure he has a high protein plant-based diet including peas, hemp milk, almond milk, quinoa, spirulina, moringa, and edamame. And you know what? Next year he will be going to his local school instead of being bused away for his special needs. So I would say we are doing something right.

Enjoy this high protein punch. The recipe makes 4 sloppy joes, to be shared by 2 people. The wraps can be used with any sandwich fillings, and you can stay on the high protein kick by switching the filling with sprouted chickpea salad or sunflower seed "tuna" salad. If you don't have a dehydrator you can use the sloppy joe filling (without dehydrating the mushrooms) and use a collard wrap instead, though you will loose some protein points. The pumpkin seeds can also be replaced with nuts of your choice!

For the wrap:

1 1/2 cup peas - 12 g
1/2 cup flax seeds - 15 g
meat from 1 young coconut - 13 g
1 cup coconut water - 2 g
1/2 cup of apple pulp (leftover from juicing)
1 cup spinach - 1 g
1/2 teaspoon spirulina - 1 g
1/2 teaspoon moringa - .5 g
pink Himalayan salt to taste

For the filling:

1 1/2 cup mushrooms - 3g
1 teaspoon coconut aminos
3/4 cup raisins - 1.5 g
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds - 21 g
2 medium tomatoes - 2 g
1 cup carrots - 1 g
1/2 cup red onion  - .5 g
2 dates, pitted - 1 g
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast - 8 g
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon chili pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper
1/2 cup sauerkraut - .5 g
2 avocados - 8 g
1 cup spinach - 1 g
pink Himalayan salt to taste

Total protein: 92 g
Total protein per person (feeds 2 people): 46 g
Total protein per sloppy joe (recipe makes 4 total): 23 g

Open coconut, drain and save water, and scrape meat from inside being sure to dispose of any wood chips. Put flax seeds into a spice grinder and grind into a fine powder. Put all wrap ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. This may require stopping to scrape the sides of the blender with a spatula and blending again. Pour mixture into wrap sheets, smooth down evenly with a spatula, and place in dehydrator. (There should be enough for two trays.) Dehydrate for 1 hour at 115 degrees, then bring temperature down to 95 degrees and dehydrate for 10 hours. Peel off sheets, flip over, and dehydrate for an addition hour at 115 degrees. Slice each wrap in half so you have a total of 4 equal pieces.

Marinate mushrooms in coconut aminos for at least 15 minutes. Place mushrooms on a dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 115 for 1 hour. (It is best to plan this along with the flipping of the wrap if you have time restraints). In a food processor combine the raisins, tomatoes, onion, carrots, apple cider vinegar, chili pepper, cumin, chipotle pepper, nutritional yeast, and salt. Blend into a thick sauce. Add pumpkin seeds to blender and pulse a few times to reach desired texture. Take mushrooms out of dehydrator and add to blender. Give a few quick pulses until you have a meaty texture.

Slice avocados. Fold wraps into a cone shape and fill bottom of each with a few spinach leaves. Scoop in even amounts of sloppy joe mixture. Top each with equal amounts sliced avocado and sauerkraut. (Make sure to drain to avoid excess liquid.) If desired for a less sloppy experience, wrap in wax paper for more convenient eating and less clean up. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Raw Vegan Hot and Sour Soup

Yesterday I thought I had really bad allergies, but since both my husband and son have the same symptoms today that I had yesterday I am pretty sure it is a virus. It happens. Especially after having a birthday party with lots of kids running around. I also ate some cooked vegan food this weekend. The specialty vegan cupcakes we ordered were delicious, but not gluten-free, had processed sugar and cooked oils my body is not used to. This was a bad choice on my part, so I think next time I will skip the cupcakes and stick with the strawberries instead. I focus on raw foods not to live up to someone else's standards or show how extreme I am. I do it because I feel better when I do!

So back to feeling better... my favorite sick meal has been hot and sour soup. It used to be hard enough to find a vegetarian version of this recipe, but this raw vegan version is a real treat. The mushrooms are a bit versatile. Mushrooms are a good one to cook if you feel you need to cook something, as raw mushrooms can be hard to digest. I feel that marinating them and dehydrating breaks them down in the same way, but if you do not have a dehydrator I recommend cooking them at your lowest temperature and with coconut oil instead of olive oil. If you choose to cook your mushrooms, you have a wider variety that you can choose from, but if you want to stay raw portobello are the best to use. Here is my raw version:

For the mushrooms:

1 cup portobello mushrooms
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon coconut aminos
pink Himalayan salt to taste

Soup base:

2 tomatoes
1 cup sauerkraut juice
2 cups water
1/2 cup coconut aminos
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon coconut vinegar
1/2 cup red onion
3 dates, pitted
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon fennel powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
 pink Himalayan salt to taste

Soup texture:

1/4 cup of red onion (additional)
1 handful cilantro
1 small handful nettles
1 small handful dulse
dash of red pepper flakes

Slice mushrooms and place in a bowl with olive oil, coconut aminos, and salt. Allow to marinate for 15 to 30 minutes. Place on dehydrator sheets and dehydrate at 115 degrees for 30 minutes. Place all soup base ingredients in a blender and blend until even. Finely chop the remaining onion, cilantro, and dulse (if not in flake form). Add onion, cilantro, dulse, nettles, red pepper flakes, and mushrooms to the soup mixture. Serve at room temperature and garnish as desired.