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Homemade Moisturizing Hand Lotion

5 Sep

Indulge in your own homemade hand lotion. You can make it as light or heavy as you want. You can personalize the scent and the oils that you use. Best of all, you control the ingredients.

I’m not going to lie and tell you this concoction is not greasy. It is, but only for a while. There’s actually a trick so that it moisturizes well, soothes the skin, and the rich creaminess dissipates into your skin quickly.

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Recipe:

Melt the following in a double boiler:

  • 3T olive oil, extra virgin (don’t even get me started… I ditched all my high-end facial creams for olive oil and my skin is so much happier)
  • 1 1/2 T shea butter, unrefined (great moisturizer for dry skin and reduces inflamed skin reactions)
  • 1 T avocado oil (relieves dry and itchy skin, naturally boosts collagen production, retains water)
  • 1 T jojoba oil (similar to our skin’s natural oils, it is easily absorbed into our skin)
  • 1 1/2 T your choice of wax (there is soy, Carnauba, or Candelilla wax for vegans and beeswax for vegetarians, this is added to help blend and solidify the oils)

Take off the heat, add and mix well:

  • 1T honey, raw (optional, but I love honey on the skin and hair. Honey fragrance is an extra bonus.)
  • 10 drops Frankincense Essential Oil (or choose your own, but if you believe in EO, Frankincense has anti-aging properties and speeds up healing)
  • 10 drops Sandalwood Essential Oil (or choose your own, added for antiseptic, astringent, and amazing fragrance)

Refrigerate for 10 minutes until it solidifies somewhat. Place in your container of choice.

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When you want to use it, simply take a dab or two with a finger. It will feel greasy.
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What you want to do is rub it all over your hands with a few drops of water. It will feel like regular lotion. In this way, you are in control of how light or heavy this lotion will feel on your skin, as well as how much you want. By not adding water to our lotion, we are also preventing mold.

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Enjoy it on your hands, elbows, and knees.

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Pineapple Ginger Lemonade

8 May

 

If you loved the Strawberry Ginger Lemonade I posted a few days ago and you love pineapples, then this will be a hit at your house too! Puree in a high speed blender till smooth:

1 – 1 1/2 tspns grated ginger (we prefer more ginger for this compared to the strawberry version)

zest from 2 lemons

juice from 2 lemons

1/2 cup raw local honey or your choice of sweetener (we found that this drink usually requires a little more sugar than the 1/3 cup in the strawberry version)

2 cups fresh pineapple

3 cup water (or a mix of ice and water)

Slice some pineapples to garnish. Yummy! By the way, if you have some leftovers, these are great for popsicles too!

Review and Give Away: Bee Yummy

16 Apr

Are you looking for RAW facial products?  I have tried Alkaitis day and night creams before.  Although I loved them, they left my face feeling greasy and sticky all the time.  The fragrance was also pretty overpowering.  Applying make-up, which I seldom do, was a little difficult on a sticky face too.

After asking around for Vegan product recommendations for my face, nobody recommended Bee Yummy.  Maybe because their products are not fully Vegan.  Although they are RAW FOOD products, honey, bee pollen, proplis and Royal Jelly are their primary ingredients.   Many Raw Vegans like me, who consume raw honey, would use them.  I stumbled upon them through my own research and I wondered how well they would work on my face.  live live organic accommodated my curiosity and sent me 2 sets of samples: 1 for me and 1 for one of my lucky readers!

Bee Yummy Face Products are made of RAW ingredients: Eye & Lip Cream, Face Lift and Skinfood. Feel free to eat some while applying on your face!

Bee Yummy Eye & Lip Cream is simply Olive Oil, Beeswax and Balsam Fir Needles.  It is a solid, but you can melt a little at a time when you apply it on your skin.  I had come back from a trip to Colorado, where it was dry and cold.  My lips were a little chapped – and after only a day of application, this made my lips feel soft and smooth.  I tried to use it on my eyes, but found it a little difficult (I am used to dabbing eye cream, not applying some with so much pressure that it stretches my skin) and time consuming to melt and apply around my eye area.

Bee Yummy Face Lift is simply Wildflower Honey & Honey Cappings, Kombucha Mushroom, Royal Jelly and Pure Water.  I used it twice in the past 2 weeks as a mask for 30 minutes (though they suggest using it throughout the night too) and I loved the feeling!   On my search for more products that work, I recently tried one mask that was so tight it felt like my skin was going to crack.   Bee Yummy Face Lift was not like this at all.  It made my skin feel moisturized and firm without being too tight at all. In fact, it will be the mask I use from now on! Although I still want to try some DIY Superfood Facemasks… when I have some extra ingredients and time on my hands that is!

Bee Yummy Skinfood is simply Wildflower Honey & Honey Cappings, Bee Pollen, St. John’s Wort Flowers, Propolis, Royal Jelly, Balsam Fir Needles and Pure Water.  I haven’t had a chance to try this product myself at all because I gave my sample to my son.  He ate something he was allergic to 2 weeks ago and broke out with eczema on his face.  I usually use coconut oil or shea butter to help reduce it and more high-raw Vegan foods in his diet to help cleanse his system.  This time, I wanted to try Skinfood instead of the coconut or shea butters. Well… after seeing how fast my son’s eczema disappeared after using Bee Yummy Skinfood, I went ahead and bought my son a 2oz bottle to keep in his drawer.  I wish I had some photos but I frankly didn’t think his skin would be better so quickly and I lost the opportunity.  Another good thing about Skinfood is that a small amount goes a long way too.

Any of you want a sample?  Please simply comment here and the winner will be announced on Earth Day!

Did it pass my cosmetics criteria?  Absolutely!

1. smell – who doesn’t love the smell of honey?

2. sensitivities – my son is allergic to so many sweeteners.  The only sweetener that his body is truly fine with is honey.  Needless to say, we don’t have honey allergies at our house.  We love raw honey.

3. taste – you can EAT all of Bee Yummy products.

4. moisturize – I love the Face Lift!  It is now my preferred face mask.

5. everyday comfort and 6. lasting effect – According to their website: “As a cosmetic cream Bee Yummy™ nourishes your skin with at least 27 minerals, 22 amino acids, 105 live enzymes & co-enzymes, hormones, antioxidants, bioflavonoids, and pigments. Another amazing, if not the  main feature of  Bee Yummy™ is it’s healing effect. It is excellent to help heal wide range of skin conditions: burns, sunburns, open wounds & cuts, pimples, blemishes, bed sores, stretch marks, chapping etc. We have reports from our clients that it has been very helpful for psoriasis, eczema, rosatia, poison ivy, and other conditions.”

7. eco-friendly – Vegans won’t like that honey is their primary ingredient, of course.  According to their website, their “ingredients have been hand harvested in a small wilderness area with it’s own micro climate. Honey, Pollen, Propolis & Royal Jelly are made by the same colony of bees from a small apiary, which accounts for energetic harmony and synergy of our cream. Honey is collected from the wildflowers, is unfiltered (just dripped from the comb), and contains the cappings of the hive with their precious, mysterious substances. Pollen, depending on season, is from a mixture of Wild Dandelion, Wild Roses, Raspberries, Asparagus, Goldenrod, Wild Apples, and Cherry Tree blossoms. Propolis is of the highest quality: only from Poplar and Fir trees. The flowers of St. Johnswort are picked by hand at noon, when the juices are drawn up from the roots, stems, and leaves into the flowers. Only select, young tips of Balsam Fir are used as a vitamin C source. No preservatives are needed because Honey, Propolis, and Balsam Fir are the nature’s  best preservatives and antibiotics. Honey is the only food on earth that will keep forever, and so will our cream.”

Want to try them? Just leave a comment below and the winner of the sample set will be announced on Earth Day!

A Raw Mama’s Reality Check: We Need Supplements?

13 Dec

Our allergic reaction or sensitivities to supplements: my rough hands and my son's rashes. How do we supplement our diet properly if we react to the exact nutrients that we need?

Every year, around my birthday, I take my family to our naturopath to have an annual check up. What did we find this year? Not exactly the news I wanted to share with you.  I wish I could say that our families have all the nutrients they need in a Raw Vegan Diet, but this simply is not true.  I’m sharing what my family found out about our food deficiencies with you, because I think it is important for Vegan Mamas to know that we need to supplement our family’s diets.

The Good:

We are all healthier than last year. This was great news considering my kitchen turned fully Vegan this year and my husband and son now only eat Vegan at home ( and at least 50% of their diet still remains raw).

The Bad:

We all have difficulty in handling sugar.  And, we still need more B vitamins, iron, zinc, iodine and protein in our diet.

A Raw Mama’s Reality Check

1. Just because it’s raw doesn’t mean we can over-indulge. Too much of a good thing…

This means decreasing our fruit (in breakfast puddings, smoothies) and raw sweetener intake (honey, maple syrup, dates in our fave raw oatmeal).

A surprising and wonderful discovery: My son sipped his cup of Pooh Bear Smoothie clean without even noticing that the 2 additional dates were missing!

2. B Vitamins is a must!

Nutritional Yeast is back on our table.  We prefer the fortified Red Star brand.  I don’t know why but we react to Bragg’s.  I also have Hawaiian Spirulina sometimes with breakfast.  I’m on a mission to look for a supplement too that agrees with us – especially after reading that nutritional yeast should NOT be our only source of Vegan B12!

3. Trying to find Supplements

Our iron, zinc and iodine levels are low and have hardly improved since last year (and we were consciously eating foods high in these)… so we really need to supplement this time.  My big problem is finding the supplements that actually agree with us! We’ve been trying a few supplements and I have been suffering with rough hands and my son with eczema on his.

4. Protein

As for protein, I decided it would be best for me to add cooked legumes to my diet and cook more for my family.  Maybe this will help with our iron levels too!

Mama’s Supplement Information and Support from Gabriel Cousens

Mama’s Brainstorming

Oooh, I just looked at all the Vitamin Code products from Vitacost.  They’re very expensive and I don’t know if my family might be sensitive or react to them. But, they’re RAW.  I guess it’s the best bet we have in supplementing right now.

Raw Syrup for Chest Colds

6 Jun

A Spoonful of Honey Makes The Medicine Go Down!

At 3 am the other night, I quickly whipped this up for my son who was coughing up a storm.  After a taste, he exclaimed half-asleep: “This is better than our other cough medicine!”  Spicy, sour, sweet and RAW, this is a kid- AND adult-friendly syrup “for coughs, bronchitis, pneumonia, mucus and lung congestion due to coldness.”  Needless to say, my son was able to sleep and so did the rest of the house!

Enchanted Garlic Syrup

Reprinted here with the kind permission of Lesley Tierra from her book, A Kid’s Herb Book.

Puree together in a blender:

dash of cayenne pepper (this is a must if you like feeling the medicine go down)

1 tsp fresh ginger, roughly chopped

5 large cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed (at 3am, I used raw apple cider vinegar)

1/2 cup raw local honey

1/2 cup water

Take 1 tsp every 2 hours.  The syrup will keep for 1 week if refrigerated.

Cinnamon Donut Holes

28 May

Raw Cinnamon Donut Holes

My husband tells me today that he’s been craving Donuts.  Not just any donuts, but Krispy Kreme Donuts. And he’s been craving it for 3 weeks.

Ugh.  Really? Why didn’t he tell me earlier?

Not one to encourage processed foods in my house, I scramble and come up with these Cinnamon Donut Holes tonight.  Son was happy I had dessert and devoured them.  Hubby doesn’t crave the other donuts as much anymore.

I consider that a success.

Place in a bowl:

1/2 cup raw coconut flour (use high speed blender or food processor to grind dried shredded coconut to a fine powder, be careful not to over grind or else you will end up with coconut butter)

1 cup raw oat groats flour (soak oat groats overnight, drain and rinse the next day, sprout if you wish, dehydrate and process in a high speed blender to a fine powder – or grind raw rolled oats to a powder, if you wish)*

1 cup raw sprouted soft wheat flour (soak soft wheat berries overnight, drain and rinse the next day, sprout if you wish, dehydrate and process in a high speed blender to a fine powder)*

* I always have these on hand and keep them in the refrigerator or freezer.

Add to the bowl:

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

5 tbspns extra virgin coconut oil at room temperature

5 tbspns raw local honey

Mix together until a batter forms.  If it is still to dry, add just a little water at a time to create a batter that sticks. Roll into small balls.  Coat with ‘powdered cinnamon sugar’. Although not raw, this is the least processed and closest alternative to the sugar coating of regular donuts.  Grind together in a high speed blender:

2 tbspns ground cinnamon

6 tbspns Sucanat (dried whole cane sugar)

Alternatively, you can coat the donuts with more ground coconut flour or dip in raw chocolate syrup (2 tbspns raw local honey mixed with 1-2 tbspns raw carob powder or raw cacao powder) for a Donut Fondue!

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Once refrigerated or frozen, allow to thaw at room temperature before serving.

Can I Have More of those Raw Oatmeal Cookies Mama?

4 Apr

The Yummiest and Easiest Raw Oatmeal Cookies

“Mama!” my son’s eyes widened as he exclaimed, “Daddy put one whole raw oatmeal cookie in his mouth and ate it in one gulp!”

Pause.

“So, can I have more of those raw oatmeal cookies?” he smiled.

Yes, these raw oatmeal cookies are delicious and they will have the kids and daddies wanting more! They are so very simple to make and highly nutritious. Cookies made of sprouted oats, coconut oil and almond butter… hmmm… I have no qualms serving it to my family anytime of day. We hardly enjoy dehydrated food anymore preferring fresh instead but this recipe may change all that.

Soak overnight. Next day, drain and rinse. Sprout for a day, if you wish:

1 cup organic oat groats

Place in a food processor and process until you have a nice thick batter:

pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbspns raw almond butter
2 tbspns extra virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup raw local honey
2 cups sprouted oat groats

Place by a spoonful on a Texflex sheet on dehydrator trays. Dehydrate at 110F until desired hardness, turning cookies over once and placing them directly on trays to dry quicker.

Note: my friend Bonnie reminded me that if you set your machine to 150F for the first 2 to 3 hours, the food being dehydrated will not reach a temperature of more than 110F and it will speed up the process of dehydration by at least half the time. After 2 to 3 hours at 150F, you can decrease the temperature to 110F for the remainder of the process. In doing so, these cookies will be done in about 6 hours.

Top 12 Kid-Friendly Year-Round Raw Superfoods

7 Mar

After discussing the top 5 reasons to feed our children more raw vegan foods, I thought it would be good to list the most kid-friendly raw foods that are in-season all year round and/or available all year round.  It is best to find organic, local and in-season foods, but sometimes it is just not possible for many reasons (one being I have a monkey who loves bananas and we don’t grow bananas where we live).

So, here is a list of 12 superfoods that are full of, as my son says, “En-zines! En-zines!”

Hope your kids enjoy these living and enzyme rich foods!

FRESH FRUITS

1. bananas – all kids love bananas.  They are rich in enzymes, best eaten just ripe when there are brown spots on the skin.  Many kids are monkey bananas for them in

  • breakfast – cereals, granola, porridge, pudding
  • green smoothies – a must in any
  • ice cream – with the texture of real ice cream, you can add different ingredients to change its flavor
  • lollipops – name me a kid who doesn’t like them!

2. apples – sweet and crunchy!  Full of phyto-nutrients and anti-oxidants, what’s there not to love in

  • breakfast – in our favorite Raw Muesli and a yummy accompaniment to Almond Yogurt.
  • easy snacks – simply slice one up and serve with or without a dip, or create Apple Sandwiches
  • raw Applesauce
  • immune booster ‘tea’: mix together equal parts of apple cider vinegar and honey, add water to taste
  • veggie juices – to make it more palatable for kids. I know my son prefers apple green juices over carrot ones.

3. lemons – rich in raw vitamin C and bioflavanoids.  Enjoy in

  • salad dressings: 1 tbspn lemon juice, 2-4 tbspns extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp sea salt, spices and herbs
  • raw lemonade

4. avocado – rich in protein, enzymes, fiber, potassium, vitamin E and healthy fats.  Avocados add a richness and creaminess in

  • dips – Guacamole
  • soups
  • a simple side – sliced with a little sea salt and extra virgin olive oil
  • desserts – creamy chocolate Sundae

5. papaya – loaded with living enzymes, papaya contains papain, a digestive enzyme which helps break down protein and soothes the stomach.  Enjoy in

FRESH VEGGIES

6. romaine lettuce – rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, manganese, and chromium, it is also a very good source of dietary fiber.  It is the mildest of all leafy greens and the easiest for kids to learn to love.  Enjoy in

  • easy salads – Kid’s Only Salad and South Asian Salad
  • smoothies – in any smoothie, this is the easiest way to get kids to eat them
  • as wraps – simply place a banana in a leaf, topped with almond butter and honey or dates or nama shoyu, or other filling

SPROUTED GRAINS

7. sprouted oat groats: a good source of dietary fiber, significant amount of vitamin B1, potassium, iron, phosphorous, selenium, zinc, manganese and magnesium.  Enjoy in

RAW NUTS and SEEDS

8. almonds – higher in fiber than other nuts, contains healthy omega-9 oleic fatty acids, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. Enjoy in

  • Almond Butter – use it instead of peanut butter on bananas with honey, or in lettuce wraps
  • Almond Orange Salad Dressing
  • Raw Almond Milk – soak 1 cup of almonds overnight, rinse and drain the next day, process in a high speed blender with 4 cups of water and your choices of sweetener (honey, dates, to taste) and flavor (cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom)
  • Raw Almond Yogurt

9. coconut – besides being anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal (Coconut Research Center), coconuts are highly nutritious, rich in fiber (4x as much as oat bran and 2x as much as wheat bran or flaxseed meal), vitamins and minerals.  We have a tub of coconut oil in my son’s bathroom and he enjoys eating the butter as I lather moisturize his skin with it. Enjoy in

  • breakfast – granola
  • coconut oil – in desserts, pit a date and place a little coconut oil inside, close and enjoy
  • creamy milk – simply blend together fresh raw coconut water and meat from one coconut.
  • Pina Colada smoothie – blend together water and meat from 1 coconut, 1 banana, 1 cup pineapple, 1 tbspn honey.
  • soups – we love my Coconut Gazpacho, but you can make a simple Avocado Coconut Soup by blending 1 avocado and water and meat from 1 coconut and your choice of flavours (curry, vanilla, sea salt or honey)

10. sunflower seeds – excellent source of vitamin E, as well as vitamin B1, manganese, magnesium, copper, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B5 and folate.  We enjoy this is our son’s fave salad

11. flax seeds – great source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, good source of dietary fiber, manganese, folate, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and lignan phytonutrients.  Enjoy as

SWEETENER

12. raw local honey – not only will this help with seasonal allergies, but this is an unprocessed sweetener that kids just love.  Since finding out more about the negatives of agave syrup, honey is now our favorite liquid sweetener.  Enjoy in

  • breakfast
  • chocolate syrup with raw cacao or carob powder
  • desserts
  • toppings or dips for cut fruit

Cream of Buckwheat

4 Mar

 

Cream of Buckwheat

Buckwheat is actually a fruit seed, not a grain as widely thought.  It is high in manganese and contains more fiber per volume than oats.  Manganese is important in various functions in the body including bone formation, thyroid function, formation of connective tissues, sex hormone function, calcium absorption, blood sugar regulation, immune function and in fat and carbohydrate metabolism.

This is a nice and simple raw breakfast porridge that can vary according to fruits in season and spices used.

Soak overnight:

2 cups raw buckwheat groats

Drain and rinse in the morning and place in food processor with:

pinch of sea salt

tspn of cinnamon or vanilla or cardamom, optional

1/2 cup pitted dates

4 ripe bananas

1 – 2 cups water, depending on consistency preference

Top with:

berries of choice

raw honey

Enjoy!

Coconut Snowballs

21 Apr

I really enjoy Sarma Melngailis’ book Living Raw Food.  I love her outlook on food.  She is not strict raw herself and neither are her chefs in her restaurant – yet her mission is to introduce people to raw food and hope that they enjoy it.  I was lucky enough to eat at Pure Foods and Wine for my last birthday and delighted in her raw Peppermint-Cacao Ice Cream (the recipe is in her book).  It was the most delicious chocolate mint ice cream I have ever eaten – raw or otherwise.  For the next month after that, I enjoyed my own quick version at home: cashew butter, coconut oil, raw chocolate, honey, mint leaves, sea salt and a little water.  Yum. 

I recently tried her Coconut Snowballs.  They taste like a mix of marzipan and/or condensed milk – and therefore, a hit with kids as well.  I love raw sweets because they are nutritious and satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time.  I have adapted the recipe as we prefer to use honey instead of agave syrup, because honey in its raw form is high in enzymes, contains minerals and helps our immune system.  Agave syrup, like maple syrup, is a cooked sweetener, which despite its preparation is consumed by a lot of raw foodies.  Raw local honey is a better option, in my opinion.

Process until finely ground in food processor:
2 cups Brazil nuts, soaked overnight and drained
Add and process until you have a thick sticky dough:
2 cups shredded coconut
1 cup local raw honey
1/4 cup raw coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla extract (without alcohol)
1/4 tsp sea salt
Form into balls and dip and roll in more shredded coconut.  We have stored these in the freezer and we simply take it out as we wish.