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Thai Sweet Sticky Chia with Mango

2 Apr Coconut Chia with Mango

Ataulfo Mangoes are now in season and Whole Foods is giving one of my readers a $75 Gift Card!*

Coconut Chia with Mango. I prefer it a lot more mangoes.

Do you ever crave for Thai Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango?  Well… I do!  This is so easy and simple to prepare, I wish I had done it sooner.  I love this as a dessert and even as a breakfast pudding.

Mix together in a bowl and set aside overnight:

pinch of sea salt

1/2 cup raw local honey

1 cup chia seeds

3 cups fresh coconut milk (about 2 Thai coconuts: open and place white meat and coconut water in the high speed blender and puree)

The next day, top the pudding with mangoes and sprinkle on some sesame seeds.  If you want, you can drizzle some sauce on top (freshly made coconut milk mixed with more raw local honey).

*To join the Whole Foods Giveaway, just comment below with your fave mango recipe and we will choose the winner noon, 15th April 2014. Whole Foods will email you the $75 Gift Card! Good luck! And enjoy other ways to eat mangoes!

Fresh Mature Coconut Milk

15 Jan


Mature Coconut Milk  from Scratch

If you want to cook with coconut milk, you have to use the milk from mature coconuts.  While we love my raw Curry in a Hurry made from young coconuts, the boys have been craving cooked Massaman Curry with potatoes.  So my hubby bought some mature coconuts the other day and opening it became a family affair.

Mature Coconuts

Since I didn’t have an ice pick, hubby used a drill to make 3 holes on top of the coconut to drain the coconut water out.

The Three Holes in a Mature Coconut

We wrapped the coconut in a towel and my son hammered it open.  It helps so that pieces of coconut don’t fly out everywhere.

Hammering Mature Coconut

Make sure you hammer it more at this stage so you have smaller pieces to work with.  Prying out the meat from a big piece of coconut, like below, is tough.

Opened Mature Coconuts

With a knife, separate the coconut meat from the coconut shell.

Meat from Mature Coconut

Peel the brown skin off the meat, as this part is hard and difficult to chew.

Peel Coconut Meat

Place the peeled coconut meat in your high speed blender with water.  We blended meat from 2 mature coconuts with 3 cups of water.

Clean Coconut Meat

It will seem very thick.  Place in a nut bag and squeeze out all the liquid.

Mature coconut blended with water

You will have about 3 1/2 cups of pure mature coconut milk.  Compared to other nut milks, mature coconut milk is as white and creamy as cow’s milk.  I had to stop myself from drinking more than a sip or else we wouldn’t have enough for our curry.

Mature Coconut Milk

 

Click here for more information about different coconuts and their nutritional effects on our health from an Ayurvedic perspective.

Click here for a nutritional comparison between Young and Mature Coconut Water and Meat.

Yummiest Raw Coconut Milk Ever

13 Jan

My son calls this the Yummiest Raw Coconut Milk Ever!  Not only is it yummy, it is also very easy to make. You only need three ingredients: young Thai Coconut, Vanilla Extract and Raw Honey.

IMG_9123001

  1. Open up a Thai Coconut.  Pour the coconut water in a Vitamix.  Take all the white meat out and place in the Vitamix along with the coconut water.
  2. Add 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of the Singing Dog Vanilla Extract (the one with the vanilla bean in it!).
  3. Add raw honey to taste (usually a tablespoon).  Or alternatively, choose another sweetener.
  4. Blend all together.  Serve.

Finding Balance

29 Dec

I haven’t been posting on this blog for a few months because I end this year a little more tentative than I began. In the beginning of Autumn this year, my dear son and hubby decided on “no more nuts”. This was followed by “no more raw smoothies”. Then “no more raw salads”. In other words, NO MORE RAW ANYTHING.

Gah, had I pushed them too far?

So, I started cooking more and more veggies: in soups, with dressing, steamed, boiled, baked, etc. And, I discovered that my family actually have increased their intake of veggies this way. Dead broccoli is the new fave around here and mushroom miso soup. Surprise, surprise – I even lost a few pounds without all the added fats from nuts.

Cooked to death Broccoli.  Boil till the broccoli breaks apart.  Dress with orange juice or balsamic vinegar, sea salt and olive oil.

Cooked to death Broccoli: boil till the broccoli breaks apart, dress with a mixture of orange juice or balsamic vinegar, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil. My son loves it!

But I’m still a firm believer in RAW, so I slowly but surely added back some old faves after a month or two. Without complaints, we are all enjoying raw fruit puddings for breakfast again, Japanese and Kale salads for pre-meals and lots of coconut smoothies. We are not quite as raw as I would like, but dare I say I have found a new kind of “balance”?

I don’t know how RAW families do it. How do they function in society? How do they enjoy being with family and friends who don’t eat the way they do? How do their kids relate to other kids in the community? My big guess is that they don’t… not really in the same capacity we do. My second guess is that husband and wife have to agree on diet and nutrition principles to make it work for the family. My third guess is that the parents have to impose and work hard to ingrain these beliefs at home (unless the children have allergies and sickness that inhibit their diets). I cannot imagine regular kids not wanting what other mainstream kids can have – unless they don’t have much of a relationship with other kids, and therefore have no knowledge base of what goes on “on the other side”.

My husband recently bought some Maine root beer, a package of cereal and a carton of soy milk. My son’s hoarding some Vegan candy canes and has a new obsession with gum (it was hard finding one he isn’t allergic to).

Our Xmas Experiment: will Santa prefer the processed candy the restaurant gave you or will he prefer the homemade Vegan cookies we baked?

Our Xmas Experiment: will Santa prefer the processed candy the restaurant gave you or will he prefer the homemade Vegan cookies we baked from scratch? We discovered that Santa prefers homemade cookies to processed candy… and even left a small bit behind.

As a Mama, it is hard to let go of control – especially in the kitchen. But this year, I found more peace and happiness at the dining table by relinquishing more control over my family’s diet. I still buy the groceries, prepare and cook our food. I still educate my family on food matters. But at the end of the day, I let go and allow them the freedom to choose what they want to eat.

A little discouraged one day, I asked my husband and son separately if they wanted to branch out from our Vegan diet, they both said “NO”. Are you sure? “YES!” Both look forward to their fave homemade organic and Vegan cooked foods: Mulligatawny Soup, Shepherd’s Pie, Japanese Buckwheat Noodles, Popcorn and Chocolate Chip Cookies. But I notice they too have their fave raw foods. My son was sick recently and only wanted to eat fruit. He prefers to start each day with bananas and he asks for fresh raw coconut milk almost everyday. He will eat a huge bowl of romaine lettuce. My hubby can drink a quart of green smoothie during a meal and he will keep going back for more salad.

I offer my family healthy food, I empower them with current food knowledge, and I model good eating habits. Then, I let go in peace.

A Young Child’s Thoughts about Transitioning from Omni to Vegan

17 Jun

My son and I came up with this today.

Interviewer: A lot of parents out there don’t want to change their family’s diet because they think their children will have the hardest time. How long have you been eating a whole food plant based diet?

5 year old boy: Since I was 2. I had a lot of allergies when I was a baby and I was sick a lot.

Interviewer: Did you have a hard time changing your diet?

5 year old boy: I miss meat, but I don’t get sick like I used to. And when I do, not for so long. My Mama and Daddy also explain to me that we eat this way, so that I’m healthy when I’m older. Did you know my grandpa’s dad is 98 years old today? He eats a lot of veggies and he still has muscles!

Interviewer: Cool! What’s your fave fruit?

5 year old boy: Bananas with peanut butter and honey.

Interviewer: What’s your fave veggie?

5 year old boy: Raw kale salad with sunflower seeds.

Interviewer: What’s your fave plant dish?

5 year old boy: Avocado sushi.

Interviewer: What do you think a whole food plant based diet does for your health?

5 year old boy: When I have processed foods, I don’t feel well. Once, I ate candy on Valentine’s Day and I was sick for 4 weeks. I know it’s not good for me. When my Mama makes me food like Vegan Soup I feel well again. I also can sleep better at night. Did you know I’m already a world ranked indoor rower? I’ve got muscles to prove it!

Interviewer: What do you like most about eating a whole food plant based diet?

5 year old boy: I don’t get sick! (He really ought to have said “not so often” too… I think he got carried away!)

Half Raw and Half Cooked: Avocado, Corn and Tomato Salad over Beans

21 Apr Corn Salad over Beans

Corn Salad over Beans

We got to our local health food shop just in time the other day to buy the last 5 ears of local and organic sweet corn.  We were excited because we love our Avocado, Corn and Tomato Salad!  We enjoy the salad plain, or in lettuce as wraps… or even in a half-raw/half-cooked meal.  Today, we enjoyed them over Mashed White Kidney Beans.  Yummy!

For Mashed White Kidney Beans (the easy for Mama way): 

1. Soak 3 cups of white kidney beans in water overnight.

2. Drain and rinse the beans the next morning.

3. Place in slow cooker on high until soft (usually around 9 hours).

4. Drain.

5. Heat a pot and add 1/2 cup of water.

6. Sweat 1 chopped sweet onion in the water until softened.

7. Add 2 tsp ground cumin.

8. Add all the cooked beans and mash.

9. Season with some sea salt and your choice of herbs.

Raw Corn Salad on top of Cooked Mashed Beans, served with Flax Crackers

To Serve:

1. Place some mashed beans on a plate.

2. Top with Avocado, Corn and Tomato Salad.

3. Garnish with cilantro or a flax seed cracker.

4. Enjoy!

Creamy Plantain Green Smoothie

9 Apr Plantain Bananas

Plantain Bananas

Because they are in season all year round in the tropics, I grew up eating plantains fried or baked or boiled or steamed almost daily.  They were one of my fave foods.  I was told not to eat them raw, but I couldn’t resist trying one as it ripened on my kitchen counter one day a few years ago.  Now I love them RAW when they are all black, soft and super sweet.  Sometimes, I can’t wait and eat them when they are a little soft, but still quite yellow (like in the photo above).  For breakfast, I love them with a little raw almond butter and raw honey or with cayenne spices.  For lunch, I like to eat them plain with a huge salad to bulk up my meal when I am really hungry.  Sometimes, we love them in smoothies because they create really lovely creamy drinks.  For days when you are really hungry, these smoothies have a heavier creaminess than regular bananas.  Plantains are an excellent source of potassium, magnesium and vitamins B6 and C.

Today, my whole family enjoyed a Strawberry Plantain Green Smoothie.  For me, the fewer ingredients, the better.   I like keeping things simple.  I used to add dates when my family was transitioning to a more raw food diet, but we find dates in green smoothies too sweet now.  We prefer them a little plainer these days – so we can really taste the ingredients in the smoothie.  I also used to add only 4 cups of greens, but now we prefer 6 cups or more.  But feel free to experiment with other veggies and fruits and add your fave raw ingredients too like nuts and/seeds.  Here’s my basic recipe.

Blend all in a high speed blender:

2 really ripe, soft and black plantains, peeled

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 cup water

1 pint of strawberries or fruits in season

6 cups of greens, or more

I find it easier to add the greens to the blender first, so I can measure it to make sure I have at least more than 6 cups.

Then I add the strawberries.

Then I add the orange juice and water.

Then I add the plantains last.

Puree it all together for a creamy green smoothie.

A Raw Vegan Mama’s Weekly Grocery Cart

12 Mar A Raw Vegan Mama's Fridge

A lot of people ask me where I shop, how I shop and how much produce do I buy:

  • WHERE: for the most part, I shop at my local health food store because they source things as locally and as seasonally as they can. I also shop at www.vitacost.com for non-perishable items.
  • HOW: I buy organic produce when on sale: produce is 30% off on Thursdays and Sundays at our local store. I am astounded at how much money I save just by dropping by on these days! I typically only visit the organic produce, bulk and oil/vinegar sections.
  • HOW MUCH: take a look at the photos, below, of my typical shopping cart from different angles:

I am usually the person with the most produce in their cart every time I check out at the cash register. We rarely eat out as a family, so what you see in my cart, above, is everything we eat in a week. We don’t buy extras, like Starbucks coffee or a Krispy Kreme Doughnut or pop into a shop/restaurant midweek for more food.

Bringing the produce home. The top drawer is filled with nuts and dried fruit. The bottom drawer is filled with hardier veggies, like carrots, celery and mushrooms. This is not all the produce at home as we have fruit baskets on our counters too!

When this photo (above) was taken, I spent $200. $200 – $250/week for groceries is typical for us. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average American consumer (single or families with dependents) spent $6,129 in 2010 on food ($3,624 at home and $2,505 away from home). That’s around $118 on food/week. Although we are a 3 person household, I want to say that I buy for a typical 4 person household because my athlete husband eats double a normal adult portion at any meal. Whichever way you look at it, as a high raw and organic vegan 3-person household, it seems we are spending a low $67 on food/person/week to a high of $83 on food/person/week – and the numbers decrease when you factor in how much we consume. That’s not bad at all!

Blissful Bites: Heavenly Raw Chocolate Mousse

8 Mar Heavenly Raw Chocolate Mousse is also heavenly to prepare with only 5 ingredients.  You will have a delightful dessert in less than 10 minutes (clean up included)!

Heavenly Raw Chocolate Mousse is also heavenly to prepare with only 5 ingredients. You will have a delightful dessert in less than 10 minutes (clean up included)!

When little hands help... you never know what they are going to add. Hmph... those sprinkles don't look like anything RAW to me, but what's important is he's helping me create a RAW TREAT that he absolutely loves.

As my sous-chef, I think my son purposely miscounted the dates and added 1 more to our mixture.  It was a little sweet for me and my husband, but my son was in dessert heaven.  The recipe is reprinted here with the kind permission of Christy Morgan, chef and author of Blissful Bites.

Blend until it becomes a paste:

12 dates, soaked for 2 hours and pitted, or ¾ cup maple syrup (we used wet dates, so we didn’t need to soak them)

Add and blend until smooth:

2 ripe avocados

1/3 cup raw cacao powder (we used raw carob powder)

1 tsp vanilla flavouring or 1 fresh vanilla bean

Serve in martini glasses with:

4 strawberries, sliced

Makes 2 – 3 servings.

Blissful Bites: Raw Mock Tuna

8 Mar I wanted to follow Christy Morgan's recipe to the tee for my review of her book.  Feel free to use raw cauliflower rice (simply pulse in food processor until you get 'rice') for Mock Tuna Sushi.

I wanted to follow Christy Morgan's recipe to the tee for my review of her book. Feel free to use raw cauliflower rice (simply pulse in food processor until you get 'rice') for Mock Tuna Sushi.

This makes a delicious Mock Tuna Sushi.  Chef Christy Morgan says the walnuts here replace the omega-3 of the salmon and the sea veggies give a hint of fish flavor.  I loved the taste and texture with the seaweed and rice.  The only thing I would change next time is that I would use cauliflower rice instead of the brown rice for a real RAW meal. The recipe is reprinted here with the kind permission of Christy Morgan, chef and author of Blissful Bites.

Blend in food processor until finely ground:

1 cup almonds, soaked 4 hours, drained and rinsed

½ cup walnuts, soaked 4 hours, drained and rinsed

Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth:

2 carrots, grated

2 stalks celery, minced

1 lemon, juiced

1 lime, juiced

3 tbspns kelp granules

2 tbspns dulse flakes

2 tbspns nutritional yeast

2 tbspns dried parsley

1 tsp maple or brown rice syrup (I used raw honey because son has maple allergy, I am agave sensitive and we have never used brown rice syrup)

1 tsp coriander (ground)

3 tbspns tamari (I used Nama Shoyu)

¼ cup filtered water, as needed

Serve with crackers or bread or as a filling for veggie sushi rolls.  Makes 6 – 8 servings.

Blissful Bites: Vegan Meals That Nourish Mind, Body, and Planet

8 Mar

One thing that I love about being a Mama in the Kitchen is being able to read cookbooks and recreate the recipes that have inspired me to take my nose out of the book and move about in the kitchen.  I have enjoyed looking through Christy Morgan’s new book Blissful Bites.  I love how mainstream Vegan Chefs are now embracing more and more RAW foods into their own diets and recipe books – even a Macrobiotic Vegan Chef like Christy (check out her website and her video… she’s adorable)!  At least 10% of all recipes in Blissful Bites are RAW! 

EH…

Unfortunately, the book was published before all the brown rice syrup hullabaloo, so it is an ingredient in many of her recipes (an option with maple syrup, which you can easily substitute).

THINGS I LOVE ABOUT THE BOOK

-           the recipes are divided according to season, with a special place for ‘anytime’ recipes.  This is a time saver for busy Mamas who want to feed their families seasonally!

-          the sample menus at the end of the book is helpful. It even includes ‘perfect no-oil potluck dishes’ and ‘food for kiddos’.

-          labels for recipes include: RAW, GLUTEN-FREE, SOY-FREE, NO/LOW-OIL, and UNDER 45 MINUTES.

-          all the recipes I have tested, both raw and cooked, taste wonderful!

RAW RECIPES IN BLISSFUL BITES

Ginger-Miso Dressing: I used unrefined sesame oil for the toasted sesame oil and raw honey (we have sensitivities and allergies to other choices) instead of the brown rice or maple syrup. Very tasty!

Mock Tuna: you can serve as a RAW side dish or as a filling for Sushi. I chose to follow her Veggie Sushi Rolls recipe with brown rice for a half-raw, half-cooked dish. It was delicious!! You could also use raw cauliflower for the 'rice' in this recipe.

Heavenly Raw Chocolate Mousse: we substituted the raw cacao powder with raw carob powder. My son went wild for this pudding!

If you are thinking of getting hold of the book, thought you’d like to have the full list of the RAW RECIPES first:

Easy Guacamole
Chilled Corn Bisque
Heirloom Gazpacho
Mango Pineapple Tropical Soup
Pineapple Cucumber Gazpacho
Raw Pear-Walnut Bisque
Citrus Herb Cashew Crudites
Spring Kale Salad with Sweet Miso Dressing
Creamy Basil Dressing
Avocado, Strawberry and Grape Tomato Slad
Zucchini Pasta with Mint-Cashew Pesto Sauce
Raw Pasta with Almond Sauce
Cilantro-Lime Dressing
Fall Harvest Fruit Salad
Mac N Kale Salad
Tropical Relish
Mango Peach Salsa
Heavenly Raw Chocolate Mousse (photo above)
Strawberry Mint Limemade

There are other recipes that have not been labeled Raw, but are or can be tweaked easily for Raw Foodies, like Mock Tuna (photo above), Ginger-Miso Dressing (photo above), and Blueberry Hemp Drops.

Cooked Recipes in Blissful Bites

I am always looking for gluten-free recipes that really work, these Gluten-Free Savory Biscuits have a fantastic consistency and are delicious. My boys enjoyed these very very much! Note, the recipe states it makes about 5 biscuits only... but I made about a dozen.

Lemon-Roasted Asparagus: these were very tasty. I did roast them much longer than the recipe states in order to get them 'crispy' and I would suggest tossing the asparagus spears in the remaining liquid after they have cooked just to make sure the flavors are mixed well before serving.

We also tried the Azuki Beans with Squash and Chestnuts, which my son devoured.

Now, if you want to meet Christy Morgan…

…and live on the East Coast, then you are in luck!  Her East Coast Book Tour just begun this March.  You just missed her in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, FL, but you still have lots of time to see her in Washington DC, New York, Boston, Portland, Maine, New Jersey, Philadelphia. In April, she will be in Austin and Fort Worth, Texas.

New Year’s Resolutions for 2012

30 Dec New Year's Resolutions 2012

There are 3 ingredients that make eating Raw Vegan food more appealing to transitioning mamas, hubbies and kids: raw sugars, raw oils and sea salt.  It is time for me to decrease my family’s consumption of all 3.  

1. Prepare food with less sugar.

My plan:

  • use less raw sweeteners all together
  • use more fruit (fresh or dried) to replace sweeteners
  • omit any unnecessary sugars all together in Green Smoothies.

Note: I have been successful this past week in serving my boys their favourite Pooh Bear Smoothie without additional dates AND with another handful of greens without complaints!

2. Prepare food with less oils.

My plan:

  • use less extra virgin olive oil in salads
  • use more flax seed oil to replace extra virgin olive oil in salads to increase our Omega 3 intake.
We enjoy our favourite Kale Salad at least once or twice a week and it contains a lot of olive oil.  I have prepared it before by substituting 1/4 of the olive oil with plain water and we loved it just the same.  I am going to try substituting some of the olive oil with flax seed oil too.

3. Prepare food with less salt.

My plan is to:
  • simply decrease our intake of salt by using less of it.  While my general rule is to add 1 tsp sea salt for every 1 pound of food, I want to decrease this to 3/4 tsp.
This will be difficult for me because I love sea salt.  Salt brings out the flavor in food.  Will my family be ready to eat bland food?  I guess more importantly, will I?

There are 2 ingredients that have made the transition into a Vegan Diet much easier for my husband and son: soy and wheat, which has given them the texture and heaviness of animal products they have craved.  These are the 2 ingredients I struggle with the most because of the GMO’s in soy and the gluten in wheat.  

4. Avoid soy and other GMOs.

The contamination of organic products with genetically modified counterparts are increasing, as they are inevitable.  This is scary.  Now I just have to figure out what to do when preparing Asian fare without Nama Shoyu?

5. Avoid wheat.

Dr. Hyman’s Huffington Post article on Gluten opened my eyes on why eliminating wheat is very important.  He writes that “… an estimated 99 percent of people who have a problem with eating gluten don’t even know it. They ascribe their ill health or symptoms to something else–not gluten sensitivity, which is 100 percent curable.” And that a “study comparing the blood of 10,000 people from 50 years ago to 10,000 people today found that the incidences of full-blown celiac disease increased by 400 percent (elevated TTG antibodies) during that time period.”  WOW.
My plan is to:
  • eliminate all wheat
  • then substitute with spelt (although it contains gluten, people with wheat allergies and not gluten allergies, can tolerate spelt)
  • then continue to experiment with and use home-milled gluten-free flours from now on.  Here’s how to substitute for wheat with other grains.

Supplementing a Family’s Vegan Diet is important!

6. A continued search for fantastic food-based vitamin supplements for:

  • B12
  • other B vitamins
  • iron
  • zinc
  • iodine
According to Gabriel Cousens, we all need to supplement Omega 3s, minerals, carnosine, Vitamins A, B12, C, D, K.  I just found his supplement recommendations and will be working from this list!  Note: he doesn’t advice taking nutritional yeast as the B12 supplement because of fungal potential.

On Exercise

7. Continue to exercise better.

My husband is an Exercise Scientist and an Athlete.  Last month, he got me to row 120,000 meters.  I think that is more exercise than I have ever done in my entire life.  And I don’t think I have ever felt as physically well as I do today!  And yet, I took a physical test yesterday that placed me below average for my age range in cardiovascular strength… I was sorely disappointed, but I guess I have a lot of room for improvement in this department!

 

One with Nature

8. Make more time to be outdoors.

My family’s days are not complete anymore if there isn’t at least half an hour each day outdoors, rain or shine.  I/We want more!

What are your and your family’s New Year’s Resolutions for this coming year?

Family Friendly High Raw Vegan Sample Menu: Week 3

30 Oct

When we go out to eat and/or travel and/or eat at other people’s houses, my boys eat what they want.  But they are still happy to maintain a Vegan kitchen here at home.  Here is our Family Friendly High Raw Vegan Sample Menu Week 3.  Enjoy!

Some Recipes for you:

Raw Drinks: smoothies, juices

Raw Breakfast: Oatmeal, Fruit Pudding (my favourite one is the Green Sundae!), Apple Almond Yoghurt

Raw Dishes: Asian Marinated Veggies, Carrot Salad, Kale Salad, your choice of other  Salads, half raw and half cooked Curry below under Carissa’s Cooked Vegan Recipes, Spinach Dip (add a handful or two of baby spinach leaves to Guacamole), Flax Crackers

Cooked Vegan Dishes: Lentil Burgers, Tofu Eggs, Banana Bread from How it all Vegan!, Mushroom, Kale and Potatoes from Forks Over Knives, Puy Lentils with Beets without the Feta, Hash Browns from Meatless Meals for Working People, Veggie Stew with Dumplings from Vegan Diner

Carissa’s Cooked Vegan Recipes:

Buckwheat Noodles: cook 1 # buckwheat noodles and serve with sauce (mix together 1 1/2 cup veggie broth, 5 tbspn Nama Shoyu (or soy sauce), 4 tbspn Sucanat (or your choice of sweetener), 1 tbspn mirin) and top with scallion and ginger.

Mushroom Chips: slice 2 # mushrooms, toss with olive oil, 2 cloves minced garlic and 2 tsp sea salt, roast at 400-450F for about 15 – 20 minutes or until crispy.

Potato Cauliflower Curry: this is mostly RAW!  Simply top raw cauliflower bites and boiled (in salted water) chopped potatoes with my Curry in a Hurry sauce.  You can add mung sprouts if you wish.

Family Friendly High Raw Vegan Sample Menu: Week 2

17 Oct

“Meat and milk really matter. 

Reduced consumption could

decrease the future emissions of nitrous oxide and methane from agriculture

to levels below those of 1995.” 

~ Alexander Popp of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research ~

 

Hubby and Son are still on the Vegan Wagon!  Here is our Family Friendly High Raw Vegan Sample Menu Week 2.  You will notice that breakfast in our house is typically the same as last week’s menu.  My boys love certain Raw Vegan Meals for Breakfast and although I have tried to experiment and veer away from Raw Oatmeal, Fruit Pudding and Granola, these are their faves.  Please try out others to see what your family might like too.

Some Recipes for you:

Raw Drinks: smoothies, juices, limeade

Raw Breakfast: Oatmeal, Fruit Pudding (my favourite one is the Green Sundae!), Granola

Raw Dishes: Collard Green Noodle Salad, Marinated Mushrooms, Curried Vegetables, Kale Salad, B12 Salad, your choice of other  Salads

Cooked Vegan Dishes: Chinese Stir-Fry from The Happy Herbivore, Paella from Whole Foods Recipes (use whole tomatoes instead if you prefer and by the way, I love their APP. Their Vegan Soups are so much better than Epicurious Vegan Soups!), Maple Baked Beans (I use maple syrup instead of molasses – although molasses is a good source of iron if you want to use that instead – and I’m trying to wean my boys from canned tomato sauce by substituting with raw applesauce),  Shepherd’s Pie and Refried Beans from How it all Vegan!, Chocolate Chip Cookies from Vegan Diner (these are the best we’ve tasted and one of the healthiest! I substitute my home milled spelt flour for all purpose flour, Sucanat from brown sugar, coconut oil for canola, water for milk, whole flax meal for golden… still YUM!), 5 minute Vegan Pancakes from the wonderful web (just substitute Sucanat for sugar, coconut oil for vegetable and raw almond milk for soymilk), homemade Wheat Tortillas recipe from Anson Mills (although I use my own home milled flour).

Carissa’s Cooked Vegan Recipes:

Tempeh Joes: Our most fast food and processed dish ever… I’m scared to write this on here… but I wanted to let you know that I’m not the perfect Mama in the Kitchen sometimes too… and to let you know that sometimes the boys just want certain foods now and this is better than going to some fast food joint to get their ‘fix’.  No other substitute for the meat in this works for them… and no other ‘sauce’ is faster than organic ketchup.  Steam 2 packages of Wild Rice Tempeh (if anyone has a better non-soy substitute, please let me know!) for 10-15 minutes.  Grate to resemble meat.  Saute 1 diced onion in olive oil, add grated tempeh, stir-fry for a few minutes and then add ketchup to coat.  Add Nama Shoyu or Bragg’s Amino if desired.  Serve with loads of raw veggies on the side (corn, avocado and tomatoes work well!).

Load Up on B12!

12 Oct

Loading up on B12!

I have I recently bought Spirulina that boasted 150% DV of Vitamin B12 in just 1 teaspoon. I like to sprinkle it on my breakfast fruit puddings a lot. But today, I’ve just been enjoying digging into my salad bowl loaded with the easiest creamy B12 dressing. I actually prefer this dressing to the Raw Caesar I posted a while back… this is so much simpler, easier and quicker to prepare! Here it is:

Mix together:

2 tbspns nutritional yeast (I have Red Star in my pantry right now, but usually use Bragg’s)
2 tbspns raw tahini
1-2 tbspns raw apple cider vinegar
6 tbspns extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp to 1 tsp sea salt, or to taste

Toss with Romaine Lettuce or other greens. Top with seeds or nuts, as you please. This makes just enough for 1!

A comparison of B12 content:

Red Star Nutritional Yeast has 130% DV of Vitamin B12 per 1 1/2 tbspns

Bragg's Nutritional Yeast has 40% DV of Vitamin B12 per 1 tablespoon

Washington D.C. VegFest

22 Sep

According to VegNews, Washington, DC has the biggest Veggie eating population at 8.3 percent, the biggest percentage of any city in the United States. And this Saturday, the nation’s capital will be offering a FREE outdoor festival with the very best of everything VEGGIE in D.C.!

When: this Saturday, 24th September 2011, 11am to 6pm

Where: George Washington University at the Univ. Yard, 2000 blk of H St., NW, DC

Price: FREE

Organized by: Compassion Over Killing and the Vegetarian Society of D.C.

Scheduled Talks include: The Latest in Clinical Nutrition, The Meat Crisis and Gas Prices and The Meat of the Matter: how our diet impacts the planet (details here)

Exhibitors: food and commercial vendors, as well as non-profit organizations (details here)

For more information: http://dcvegfest.com/

Easy Raw Pizza

29 Aug Easy Raw Pizza

Easy Raw Pizza

 

The last time we visited my mother-in-law, she ordered delicious Raw Pizza for me which I just devoured.  As soon as I got home, I needed to make my own – one that required the least amount of time, the least amount of ingredients and still be yummy.  This week, I have been indulging in a very simple Cheeze Pizza and my husband, a California Pizza Kitchen Thai Pizza Lover, inspired me to create this Raw Thai Pizza.  After eating one large pizza pie to himself, he exclaimed: “That is a yummy raw pizza!”

Ummm, need I say more?

Enjoy!

Sprouted Buckwheat Pizza Crust

Soak in water overnight:

2 cups buckwheat groats

Rinse and drain buckwheat well.  Add to food processor with:

1 garlic clove, chopped

2 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup flax seed meal

2 medium zucchinis, chopped

Dehydrating Pizza Crust

Spread on Texflex sheets, makes 3 large ones or 6 small pizzas.  Dehydrate 8 – 12 hours, then turn out onto mesh screens and dehydrate another 1 – 2 hours at 105F.  Alternatively, dehydrate on full at 150F for 1 – 2 hours, decrease to 105F and dehydrate until dry but still soft, 2 – 4 hours.

Raw Cheeze Pizza

For A Cheeze Pizza

Makes enough for 2 large raw pizzas.

Blend ‘Cashew Cheeze’ well in a high speed blender:

1 tsp sea salt

1 tbspn nutritional yeast

1 cup water

1 1/2 cups cashews, soaked for a few hours

Spread this cheeze on the pizza crust.  Top with vegetables:

marinated cherry tomatoes (2 cups quartered and mixed with 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tbspn extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp maple syrup, 1 tsp sea salt)

mushrooms, sliced

olives, pitted and sliced

basil, sliced thinly

Sprinkle top with:

nutritional yeast

sea salt

Dehydrate at 105F for an hour, if desired, and serve.

 

Raw Thai Pizza

For A Thai Pizza

Makes enough for 2 large raw pizzas.

Blend together well in a high speed blender:

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 inch ginger root, skinned and chopped

1 scallion, chopped

1 tbspn unrefined sesame oil

1 tbspn brown rice vinegar

2 tbspns maple syrup

2 tbspns water

3 tbspns Nama Shoyu

4 tbspns raw almond butter (or peanut butter for those transitioning)

Spread sauce on dehydrated pizza crust.  Top with your choice to toppings:

Shredded carrots

Sliced mushrooms

Tomatoes, sliced or cherry tomatoes, quartered

Scallions, sliced

Bean sprouts

Cilantro

Dehydrate at 105 F for an hour, if desired, and serve.

Peace @ the Healthy Table: What Does It Take?

28 Jul

What happens when a Veggie marries an Omni? Peace or Burn-Out?

What Happens When A Veggie Marries An Omni?

I recently have met quite a few Vegan and Vegetarian women married to men who love their meat and processed foods.  The women joke that their hubbies eat these ‘on the side’.

Then Kids Come Along… and the dynamics drastically change…

Joy recently wrote to me: “how much I relate to so much of what you say. I am a raw foodie at heart stuck with a husband who loves soda, processed foods, pizza, candy, etc. He thinks he knows about healthy eating and argues with me on a regular basis regarding what we feed our kids 2 and 4. They are great eaters but definitely influenced by him and after almost five years, I’ve found myself exhausted and close to burn out.”

Exhausted and Burned Out Trying To Get The Family To Eat Healthy?

Yes, I’ve been there too!

I love nurturing the people I love through CLEAN, unprocessed food.  But, frankly, I sometimes want to quit and give up on days when my efforts are not appreciated or fail on the home front.  Sometimes I imagine just giving my family the typical SAD (Standard American Diet) Foods they would love to get their hands on. Wouldn’t I be more popular around here at meal times!?  Wouldn’t I have so much more time on my hands!?

But then I am reminded of why I do what I do in the first place and I look at how far we’ve come in the past 5 years.

Take Just One Step At A Time, Slowly Does It

Just 3 years ago, my husband and son were sick with a cough or cold every month.  This year alone, my husband has been sick only once.  My son twice (after choosing to eat overly processed foods).

3 years ago, my husband would have thought nothing about sharing a Krispy Kreme doughnut, corn syrup filled soda or dairy ice cream with our son with allergiesA few weeks ago, my husband and son sat down with me to write up and agree on a month’s worth of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack menus for them that are 50% raw vegan and 50% home cooked foods, which are mainly Vegan or Vegetarian!

5 years ago, I used to buy 7 gallons of bottled juices, the biggest package of hubby’s fave breakfast cereal, a few packages of junk food and about 14 pounds of animal products each week… for my husband alone! And not to even mention all the other refined foods: white flour, white sugar and some candy!  Today, I am buying my husband and son a cart full of fresh produce, whole grains to mill or sprout at home and about 3 pounds of animal products for them to share each week.  That is basically it.

Even When You Don’t Think You Are Making Progress… You Are!

Finding and creating balance is difficult when a health-conscious family wants to interact and be a part of the community obsessed with fast foods, meats and processed junk.

After a 4th of July celebration this year, I realized that in in promoting fruits, greens, unrefined and un-processed foods at home, I had inadvertently created a little processed food junkie who, when away from home, craves his white sugar/corn syrup rush and his fat high.  Admittedly, children will ‘test’ and want what they cannot always have. But there needs to be a balance so that depravity does not lead to such intense craving. So, at the request of my son, I baked Zucchini Bread almost every week since that party with the least refined Vegan ingredients.  My son exclaims almost every time he eats it, “Mama, I love this more than the cupcake at the party!”  Sure it isn’t raw, but the bread is full of zucchini – and that in itself has created my son’s new love for squash!

A few months ago, my son also announced: “No more Salads for me!  No more leafy greens!  Just smoothies!”  Instead of making it a big deal, I just served up green smoothies breakfast, lunch and dinner.  One day for lunch, I decided to make a big bowl of his old fave Kale Salad for dinner.  I was surprised when my son finished a big bowl quickly and quietly and said aloud, not to anyone in particular: “This was yummy!  This is the best salad!” Although technically, my son is still in his “no salad” stage, when I don’t make it a big deal, he will finish his fave bowl of greens.

As for my husband, he really loves his meat. I don’t want to deprive him. Nor do I want the topic of meals and food to be a thorn between us, when it should be something to enjoy together.  Considering he used to eat some animal product at every meal, a few times a week is such a positive change.  Processed foods, on the other hand, are foods I don’t wish to have at home.  If he chooses to eat some, he can do so elsewhere or I can try to create a better substitute.

What Does It Take To Make Peace @ My Table?

Perseverance.  Balance.  Determination.  Education.  Motivation.  Empowerment.  Compromise.  And, knowing that true permanent change comes slowly, one step at a time.

Are you a Veggie Lover married to an Omnivore Junkie?  What do you do to make peace at your table?

Similar Posts/Resources

Do We Have To Love What We Eat?

Free APP Gets Kids Excited About Eating Fruits and Veggies

How To Transition The Family Into More Raw Vegan Foods

Let’s Un-Process Our Children’s Food

Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change and Health

Top 10 Tips To Get Your Kids To Eat More Fruits And Veggies

FREE APP Gets Kids Excited About Eating Fruits and Veggies

26 Jul Munch 5 Home Page

Munch 5 Home Page

Got a tech-loving kid?  Want him or her to get excited about eating fruits and veggies? 

Munch-5-A-Day does just that.  And it is deliciously FREE!

I discovered it last week and it has been very popular at our house because it engages kids with its game-like feel.  Thought all you Mamas out there would love it too.

What I Love

  • you can set your own goals, so it doesn’t have to be just 5-a-day.  Right now, ours is set for 8 a day which is the average fruit and veggie consumption for my preschooler.  The highest goal is 12 a day.
  • it engages and empowers my son to eat his fruits and veggies, without me having to nag him.  Very IMPORTANT!

 

Munch 5 Badges

What My Son Loves

  • the sounds it makes when he taps the fruit and vegetable icons to record his daily consumption
  • the badges that he ‘wins’ – or rather, the app keeps him looking forward for the badges after recording his daily consumption because a badge isn’t given everyday.
  • the self-motivation of trying to reach his goal. My son keeps wanting to tap the fruit or vegetable icon, but I keep reminding him he has to eat it first in order to record his progress.  An empowering tool!
  • looking at his own fruit and veggie progress report.  By turning your device horizontally, you can view your progress for the past 7 or 30 days.  Last night, when he saw his progress report for the first time, he smiled saying “I ate all that?”

 

Munch 5 Progress

 

An Added Bonus

  • you can ‘share’ your successes with friends over Twitter and Facebook

Living Limeade

23 Jul Living Limeade

Living Limeade

When I was growing up, we always drank freshly squeezed Calamansi Juice at home.  It is a refreshing and delicious drink on hot days, but is made with lots of white sugar.  Today when it is above 100F outdoors, this Living Limeade version will cool anyone down – without anything refined!

Drink Up and Cool Down!

Mix together:

1 tsp sea salt

3 limes, juiced (you can use 2 lemons too, but we prefer it with limes)

5 – 6 oz raw local honey (or your preferred sweetener)

3 cups water

Enjoy!

Raw Vegan Caesar Salad

18 Jul Raw Caesar Salad

Raw Vegan Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad was one of my favorite salads growing up!  I think this raw vegan version is definitely going to be one of my faves from now on!  Raw Tahini is the main ingredient in this dressing and is a wonderful source of calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper and manganese.

The Greens

3 to 4 heads of romaine lettuce, chopped

The Dressing

Puree in a high speed blender:

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1 small clove garlic

1 date, pitted

1 lemon, juiced

1/2 tbspn unpasteurized white miso

2 tbspns water (more for a runnier dressing, less for a dip)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup raw tahini (sesame paste)

To Serve

Mix the lettuce well with the dressing.  Top with Nutritional Yeast for some B12 and flaxseed crackers for croutons!

Do We Have To Love What We Eat?

12 Jul
My son actually enjoying this salad!

In Ayurveda, they say that your mental state affects how your body digests food.  So, if a child doesn’t like veggies, forcing them to eat it will cause them to improperly break down their food and therefore cause toxins in the body.

But, my son has gladly eaten 2 big bags of Valentine’s candy and was ill for a month.  My son has also fought many times against our ‘veggies first’ rule, begrudgingly ate his very green salad and has become much healthier for it. Looking at the bigger picture, the chemicals contained in junk or fast foods cause consumers to have a high, cause them to crave these same foods and within weeks can wreak havoc on their healthy systems.  Cancer patients, though willing but who may not love the drastic change in diet, have cured themselves off cancer on Raw Vegan Foods.

Do we really have to love the food we eat? Compared to the quality of the food we eat, it can’t be as important, can it?

Should We Have Fun Now and Pay For It Later?

Some people may call me fanatical and extreme for being a Raw Vegan Mama.  For the past 2 1/2 years, I have been transitioning my hubby and son’s diet from a Cooked Meat-based one to a largely Plant-based diet that is high in Raw Vegan foods.  We hardly eat out.  I make most of our meals from scratch and have all the appliances I need to make it easy for me.  When my family does eat out, I secretly cringe when my hubby and son order Sweet Tea (corn syrup! yikes!), Shrimp Tempura (mercury! hydrogenated oil!), a Hamburger (not-organic meat! hormones! dioxins! cow poop!) or celebrate a friend’s birthday with a store-bought cupcake (GMOs, preservatives, artificial dyes, I give up!).

But here’s the thing: when my husband and I married, we vowed to work at being PHYSICALLY HEALTHY so that we could live a long life together.  I take this vow very seriously and now that we have a family,  I dream of a healthy and disease-free family too.  I honestly can’t sleep at night knowing I served my family foods that could potentially harm their future health.

Why Do I Believe In A Plant-Based Diet?

There are so many reasons (look under Research)!  Here are more reasons why:

  • Did you know that we can decrease our chances of cancer by 40%, heart disease by 50% and diabetes by 60% through a whole foods Vegetarian Diet? (from Kathy Freston’s Veganist)
  • A plant-based diet also reduces BMI, cholesterol, blood pressure and hypertension.
  • Did you know that Diabetes is on an upswing worldwide?  1/3 of the kids born after 2000 will get type 2 diabetes and it has been proven that it is preventable through diet and lifestyle.  Dr. Barnard has shown that beef and cheese are bigger insulin spikers than pasta and fish more than popcorn!  The Vegetarian Diet helps prevent diabetes!

My Solution

As a Mama in my kitchen, I have the power to influence what my family eats.  I am lucky that I am able to spend a big part of my day in the kitchen to create healthy, as un-processed as possible, tasty Plant-Based meals for my family.   Admittedly, I work hard at it because I want my family to enjoy and crave healthy food.

So, do we really have to love the food we eat?

Yes.  I want my family to love what I serve.  Isn’t it the only way to get them to come back for seconds?  And not only today, but tomorrow and the day after.

Very Cherry Smoothie

9 Jul Very Cherry Smoothie

Very Cherry Smoothie

A lot of parents always ask: “What is the easiest and quickest way to get my kids to eat vegetables?”

As many will exclaim, I do too: “GREEN SMOOTHIES!”

The Winnie-The-Pooh Bear Smoothie was our gold standard, but then I discovered I could add 50% more greens in what I like to call our  “More Greens Please” Strawberry Smoothie.  And it works even better with fresh summer cherries!

Cherries seem to be the ‘in’ fruit these days. They are a wonderful fruit for cleansing the blood, detoxifying acids in the body and strengthening our heart and plasma.  Just 1 cup of cherries contains 2% Vitamin A, 2 % calcium, 3% iron, 12% dietary fiber and 16% vitamin C. They also contain beta carotene, potassium, magnesium and melatonin.  Dr. Oz has been promoting the amazing antioxidant filled tart cherry juice that helps ease arthritis and gout and reduces the risk for heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.  Whole Foods Market is now promoting their Summer Cherry Fest with a Kid-Friendly Cherry Recipe Contest.  So I thought I’d send in my Raw Recipe that really gets kids to drink a bunch of greens too!

But, first thing’s first: here is the quickest and simplest way to pit cherries… with a paperclip!

Yummy for the Tummy ingredients!

Puree in a high speed blender:

2 pitted dates

3 bananas (I sometimes freeze my bananas for a cooler drink in the Summer)

2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice

16 oz of pitted cherries

6 cups kale, stemmed

Enjoy!

Why Is The Sugar Always Sweeter On The Other Side?

5 Jul

MAMA: "Yes, that's seaweed! And it is green!"

The Problem

I hardly hear of other health conscious Mamas discuss how their children behave in community settings that serve Standard American Diet (SAD) Foods.  Many claim their children only want the perfectly healthy foods they are used to and avoid any junk altogether.  Let me tell you – this simply cannot be true!

It’s human isn’t it: to want what you don’t have?  The grass is always greener on the other side. And for kids, at least mine, the sugar is always sweeter on the other side!

And this is something I struggle with.  Can I sleep at night knowing I have served my son foods with dioxins, GMO products, allergens and other toxins that negatively affect his future health?

What Happens

At our neighbor’s Fourth of July Celebration, my son made a B line for the store-bought lemonade and the processed cupcakes.  Forget about lunch, he just wanted the sweets!  After a full glass of high fructose corn syrup sweet lemonade, he kept asking for more.  And before lunch was even served, he kept eyeing the cupcakes and asked at least 5 times when he could have his cupcake (can I have it now?  can I have it now? now? now? NOW?).

My Realization

In my quest for my family’s health, the last thing I want to do is to create an environment in my home that pushes my son to choose unhealthy foods or lead him to gravitate towards an unhealthy lifestyle. Yet, as I watched my son demand for MORE and MORE, one word kept popping into my mind: DEPRIVED. In promoting fruits, greens, unrefined and un-processed foods at home, I have inadvertently created a little processed food junkie who, when away from home, craves his white sugar/corn syrup rush and his fat high.  Admittedly, children will ‘test’ and want what they cannot always have.  But there needs to be a balance so that depravity does not lead to such intense craving. 

It’s sad, isn’t it? And it makes me angry because it is so difficult and challenging for a Mama to educate the family about health and nutrition, when we are all living in a culture that supports disease.

The Solution

Yesterday, we sat down as a family to go over 1 month’s worth of menus for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, drinks, sweets and other miscellaneous fave foods – and we agreed on every item on each menu.  We agreed on the Raw Vegan Foods, the Cooked Vegetarian Foods and the handful Cooked Animal Products.  We also agreed that I will make the healthiest and freshest Vegan versions of some of the verboten Standard American Diet (SAD) foods my son so craves so that he doesn’t feel so deprived. 

In discussing these menus with them, I have made my husband and son more a part of the process of being a Mama in the Kitchen and I have allowed them to have more responsibility for their own nutrition.

I hope it works!

When A Green Salad Just Won’t Do! Top 6 Ways To Get Kids To Love Plant-Based Food Again!

21 Jun

Look familiar? This is the "I don't think I can eat this!" look.

My fabulous niece Lia loves raw Kale Salad and Green Smoothies, but a piece of plain lettuce may be asking her for too much!  How many kids have you seen do this exact same thing? Many! And there are even more who won’t even touch any kind of vegetable.

A few months ago, when Karen Ranzi came to speak at our local university, she was so excited to see my 4 year old son eat a Banana Lettuce Wrap (below) and exclaimed “Wow! We need to take a picture of that!”  Unfortunately, as he grows up and gets more exposed to the Standard American Diet, his preference for unhealthy ‘normal American’ foods has escalated.  Recently, he has exclaimed: “No more Green Salads for me!  Only Green Smoothies!”

Banana Date Lettuce Wrap: a very simple meal

What’s a Mama to do? 

I knew this wouldn’t be easy.  So I have armed myself with new ways to get my little one to love eating unprocessed plant-based whole foods again. Here’s what I make sure we have:

1. A variety of fresh fruit in the house, for breakfast, snacks and/or pre-dinner munchies.

2. Lots of GREEN Smoothies in the house.

3. My niece Lia just discovered GREEN Smoothie Popsicles and loves them.  We have loved them in the summer time too!  Simply place leftover Green Smoothie into your popsicle molds and voila! another treat with nutritional benefits! By the way, we love our BPA free popsicle molds!

My son loves his popsicle from a Blueberry Green Smoothie!

3. Get the JUICER out for GREEN Juices.  If they won’t eat the salad, they can definitely drink them (as long as they are yummy!).  For most kids, this means a mixture of fruit and vegetable juices.  Although it is hard work, it is worth any Mama’s time: fresh green juices go directly into our cells and work their wonders.

4. Mix raw and cooked together for Half & Half! Yes, definitely the easier way to get the family to eat more fresh raw veggies.

Asparagus and Tomato Salad: cooked asparagus and raw tomatoes with Balsamic Vinaigrette (this is great with Broccoli and Tomatoes too!)

Zucchini Pasta topped with Cooked Lentils... you can always try!

Vegetable Sushi: my family loves Avocado, we use raw untoasted Nori... and yes that's white rice, they prefer it that way... maybe because they feel it's more authentic?

5. Prepare more COOKED PLANT-BASED options at each meal so that the family doesn’t crave other SAD (Standard American Diet) Foods.  This is important and something I often forget because I am so involved in making something Raw Vegan at each meal.  As I add more home-cooked vegan options at every meal, my family craves less for the unhealthier cooked fare.  Some of their Vegan faves: Japanese Vegetable Pancakes, Buckwheat Soba Noodles, Vegetable Sushi, Steamed Sweet Potato, Steamed Artichokes, Baked Potato Chips, Peanut (or Raw Almond) Butter and Jelly Sandwiches, Pasta Alfredo, Pasta with a very simple Tomato Sauce, Chinese Dumplings, Sloppy Joes, Fajitas, Zucchini Bread… They don’t seem to like beans all that much.

6. Remind them that there are Raw Vegan Cookies and other Sweets too.  While I prefer fresh foods, I do make some treats for my family occasionally as well.

Other Resources:

How To Transition The Family Into More Raw Vegan Foods

Top 10 Tips To Get Your Kids To Eat Fruits and Veggies

Top 12 Kid-Friendly Year-Round Raw Superfoods

Top 10 Questions on the Raw Vegan Diet

17 Jun

From a Restaurant Menu

UN-PROCESSED foods is what is important to me and my family. In getting rid of all the processed foods in our pantry, it made sense to increase foods that were at the other end of the spectrum: raw, fresh, organic, in-season fruits and vegetables.  For the past 2 years, my husband and son opted to eat at least 50% Raw Vegan Foods, with the other 50% cooked whole foods made from scratch.  I am on my 3rd year as a Raw Vegan (about 100%) and although I feel great, I am now contemplating adding more cooked whole Vegan foods into my diet.  Like I state below a few times, in my opinion, it would be a better choice to eat a plain steamed sweet potato than a big piece of raw cheese cake loaded with cashews and sweetener.  Also, some foods just taste better when they are slightly cooked (artichokes for example).  And some foods are not toxic when cooked (raw green beans were horrible for me for example).  However, on the whole, it is important for people to consider adding more RAW fruits and vegetables into their family’s diets because of the added nutritional and health benefits To help you understand what we have learned about adding more Raw Vegan Foods into our diets, here are the top 10 questions we get asked regularly.

1. Will my skin glow on a Raw Vegan Diet?

YES.  No doubt about it!

Although I have always looked young, I don’t think I’ve aged much either.  And since switching to a Raw Vegan Diet, I’ve had my share of compliments on my glowing facial skin.  Not only that, but my overall skin is clearer.   I grew up with constant whiteheads all over my arms and blackheads all over my legs. My dermatologists would charge me for different creams, shampoos and other quick-fixes which never worked.  Just 1 month after I turned Raw Vegan, all of these skin inflammations were gone and I had not one white or black head on my body.  I have since discovered that it is after I eat some foods sautéed in oil that I usually break out with a bump or two.

My son, who has had terrible eczema, now is at least 50% Raw also has beautiful flawless skin.  Hubby’s skin looks the same.

2.  Will I have a lot of energy on the Raw Vegan Diet?

YES.  On a balanced Raw Vegan Diet, I have more energy ‘to go the extra mile’ in situations where I did not before.  My husband has noted that I do much more and complain much less, especially when I need to clean up…  ;)

3. Will I sleep less on the Raw Vegan Diet?

DEPENDS.  A lot of Raw Foodies really believe that they don’t need much sleep.  I used to get by with 5 hours of sleep a night on my first year of raw.  Now, on my third, I prefer about 7 hours.  If I don’t get enough sleep, I am more inclined to get sick.  So, I think this depends on the person.  Also, having a lot of energy while awake doesn’t equate to needing less sleep.

4.  Can I eat whatever I want on a Raw Vegan Diet?

NO.  I met a Raw Vegan once and she said on a Raw Vegan diet there isn’t a pyramid or plate chart to follow, “just eat whatever you feel like.”  Well… some famous Raw Vegans have become sick from an unbalanced diet of too many sweets and heavy foods (such as fruit, sweeteners, nuts), and too little greens (where the bulk of raw vegan nutrition is). Many long-time Raw Vegans have added raw dairy, raw egg and raw fish back into their diets because they felt something was missing.  Like any diet, a Raw Vegan must pay attention to daily balanced nutrition.  In my opinion, it would be a better choice to eat a plain steamed sweet potato than a big piece of raw cheese cake loaded with cashews and sweetener, for example.

What I have discovered on a Raw Vegan Diet is that I can easily pinpoint what my body needs by being sensitive to little changes.  I have found that I need to supplement with iodine, zinc and B12, for example.

(Resource: Raw Vegan Ingredients and Foods Raw Vegans Avoid)

5. Can I gain weight on a Raw Vegan Diet?

YES. You actually can gain weight and some people have!  If you eat a lot of nuts, avocados and oils, you can gain weight on a Raw Vegan Diet.  That said, it is easy to maintain your weight on a Raw Vegan Diet if you have a tendency to gain weight.  But you can also lose a lot of weight and have difficulty putting on some.

One thing that I have discovered is that I crave a lot of GREENS.  When I do crave other foods, I don’t eat a whole lot of it to feel satisfied.  When I get hungry, I don’t get “I-need-to-eat-now!!!” mad like I used to.

6. Will I get sick on a Raw Vegan Diet?

People have cured themselves off many diseases on the Raw Vegan Diet, which is testament to its efficacy. But, YES.  It’s not that we never get sick by adding more raw produce into our diets, but we get sick much less.

On 100% Cooked Foods, my husband and son were sick at least once a month.  I was sick less, but perhaps more than a few times a year.  After adding more Raw Vegan foods into our diet, we are all sick much less and our immune systems are much stronger.  By combining more Raw foods with exercise, sleep, time outdoors for sun and fresh air and more time to relax, we are creating a much healthier lifestyle for our family.

Note: The one thing that Raw Vegans must watch out for is food poisoning.  We have to be vigilant in washing our produce before we feed our family.  Animal foods are not the only foods that carry E. coli these days!  Also look at question #4.

7. 100% Raw Vegan is the only way to go!

NO.  Some people add only 25% Raw – and still feel the added benefits.  Many prefer to eat 50% Raw, but the term Raw Vegan describes people who are at least 75% Raw.  Although your family may prefer cooked foods, by adding live foods to your diet a little at a time, you and your family may be surprised how much Raw foods you are actually eating and enjoying in the process: a fresh fruit for breakfast, big salads for lunch and dinner, green smoothies and fresh juices at mealtimes or snack times, and raw desserts.

8. Is All Cooked Food poison?

NO.  Although a lot of Raw Vegans believe all cooked food is poison, I cannot make such a blanket statement.  What I like to say instead is that processed foods are poison!  What is most important is to UN-PROCESS the foods our families eat to improve their health.  We need to focus on foods prepared from raw, fresh, organic, local and seasonal whole foods – whether Raw or Lightly Cooked.  Like I said before, in my opinion, eating a plain steamed sweet potato is better than eating a big piece of raw cheesecake loaded with cashews and sweetener, for example.

9. Is it more expensive to add Raw Vegan foods to my family’s diet?

YES and NO.    It is true that buying organic produce is expensive, but I buy them on sale.  In our favourite health food store, produce is 30% off on certain days.  That’s when I buy!  A savings of 30% is tremendous.   And, if I cooked all the produce I already buy, I’d have to buy even more.  My family would want to eat double the amount of servings of  cooked foods as they would the same food served fresh, which is more filling.

Most restaurants serve salads these days! I ask them to make a big bowl of any fresh and raw veggies they have.

10. I won’t be able to eat out on a Raw Vegan Diet and I’ll have to learn to be satisfied with boring food!

NO.  Most restaurants have fruit and vegetables on the menu.  I order salads or slightly cooked vegetables for my family when we eat out.  There are also so many options available today for eating more Raw Vegan Fare.  In my own city, for example, we have our local Good Life Café.  In DC, we love going to Java Green where they serve Raw and Cooked Vegan fare.  In NYC, we have loved Pure Foods and Wine.  In London, we visit SAF Kensington on top of Whole Foods.  All their menus are interesting and their food delicious!  Just look at my Food Photos and you can see that Raw Vegan Food is far from boring.  There is an abundance of fruits, vegetables and dishes to eat and enjoy!

I Like Vegetables Video for your Kids!

9 Jun

Always on a lookout for more marketing strategies on getting kids to eat healthier, I was thrilled when a friend sent this to me.  I can add this to my #7  tip out of my top 10 tips to get my son to eat more fruits and veggies.

A… a… a.. I LIKE MY VEGETABLES!

Thank you Kathy!

Top 5 Appliances That Make This Raw Vegan Mama’s Life Easier

8 Jun

I love being in the kitchen.  But most of all, I love being with my family.  Here are my top 5 must-have appliances that help me feed my family nutritious food and give me more time with the people I love.

1. My Spice Grinder

My Spice Grinder

I use a Coffee Grinder to grind up my spices and flax seeds in seconds.  No pounding away with my mortar and pestle!

2. My Personal Blender

My Personal/Travel Blender

I bought this for my son as suggested by my friend and author of Creating Healthy Children: Through Attachment Parenting and Raw Foods Karen Ranzi.  She said her kids would use it as they played restaurant in their kitchen by making their own green smoothie concoctions.  My son loves it, but I actually use it more than he does!

Sometimes I just want Chocolate Milk or need a small batch of salad dressing or need to make my son’s Cough Syrup.  With this machine, I can whip it up in a minute and when I’m done, I can place the dirty cup and lid in the dishwasher.  Plus, when I travel, I can take it along!

3. My Food Processor

My Food Processor

It slices, grates, mixes and can puree sauces.  I love that grating is made easy because my family will eat grated hard veggies.  And I love that this machine saves me so much time!

4. My Dehydrator

My Dehydrator

Want to get your family away from processed foods?  Try making them Veggie Chips, Raw Bread and Raw Oatmeal Cookies!  I also make my own raw flour by dehydrating sprouted grains or nuts or seeds.

5. My High Speed Blender

My Vitamix

Not a day goes by without us using our Vitamix.  It will make any drink, smoothie or veggie soup smooth and silky!  Frozen fruits (such as bananas) are rendered creamy like ice cream.  Sprouted dehydrated grains are processed into fine powder.  The possibilities are endless.  I would highly recommend this appliance to anyone who wants to add more raw foods into their diet.

Resources:

More Appliances here.

I would love to have added a juicer to this list, but we simply don’t juice every week because it just takes so much of my time and it requires buying so much more produce than we already do.

A Typical Day of Food for My Family: All Vegan

7 Jun

My son has swimmer’s ear today and rested a lot. So I had a lot of time and with all my raw food energy, by 9am the dehydrator was full of spinach chips, raw bread and oatmeal cookies AND the slow cooker was already cooking my family’s cooked Vegan lunch. While yesterday’s post was to show Tonya what our typical non-Vegan food day looks like, this is our all Vegan food day to show how I incorporate more Raw Foods into my family’s diet.

Breakfast

Banana for my son (he’s a monkey!)

Raw Granola with Vanilla Almond Milk (this recipe without the cacao and sweetener) for all of us

Water

Lunch

Leftover Kale Salad from yesterday for all of us

Vegan “Arroz con Pollo” with Chickpeas for hubby and son

Water

Snack

Roasted Salted Wild Jungle Peanuts for hubby (I get them raw, but he likes them roasted… at least I make them from scratch!)

Pre-Dinner

Melon Smoothie for all

Spinach Chips for hubby

Dinner

Collard Green Salad with grated Zucchini and Tomatoes with Almond-Orange Dressing for all

Raw Bread for me

Homemade Seitan Pot Roast with Carrots, Potatoes and Plantains for hubby and son

Raw Oatmeal Cookies for all

A Typical Day of Food for My Family: Not All Vegan

6 Jun

Tonya asked what I feed my family everyday.  Her family is all vegan but she is looking for more ways to get raw foods into their diet.  Well, remember my Confessions?  My boys eat at least 50% raw everyday, but they want their organic meat 3 times a week too.  Tonya and readers out there, I would love YOUR tips on how you get everyone in your family to eat Vegan!  ;)

I’ll post on a typical vegan food day for us later.  In the meantime, here is what my family ate today.

Breakfast

Peach (organic and local!) and Banana Breakfast Pudding topped with Flax Meal ‘Sprinkles’ for me and hubby

Bananas for son

Water to drink

Lunch

Red Lettuce and Cucumber Salad for all of us – I didn’t think my son would finish a whole bowl, but he did enjoy this simple salad.  The cucumber was freshly picked by a friend, so maybe that helped!

An additional Avocado, Greens and Hemp Seed Salad for me

Homemade Vegan Pasta Alfredo for the boys with raw toppings (cherry tomatoes and corn) if they wish

Water or herbal tea to drink

Snack

Blueberries (freshly picked by our new friend)

Apple Almond Sandwiches

Dinner

Green Smoothie

I Can’t Get Enough Of This Kale Salad

Homemade Organic Roasted Chicken with Baked Potato ‘Chips’ – my son has been asking for roast chicken for a few weeks and my husband for potato chips, so today their wishes came true.  ;)  I ordinarily would poach the chicken to make ‘pulled-chicken’ and combine it with an olive oil dressing, serve it with brown rice or homemade tortillas and various raw toppings (thinly sliced lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, etc).

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