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DIY Raw Anti-Aging Face Mask and Moisturizer

6 Sep

DIY Face Mask

This Face Mask is so delicious… I was eating it before, during and after applying it on my face! I adapted PeggyKotsopoulos’ Anti-Aging Homemade Natural Skin Face Mask recipe into a Raw Vegan one.

Simple Face Mask Ingredients

Raw Vegan Face Mask

Puree all together:

  • 1 banana (potassium revitalizes the skin)
  • 1 avocado (for vitamins A and E to soften the skin)
  • 1/2 orange, juiced (vitamin C)
  • 1 big spoonful raw almond butter (more vitamin E and protects skin from pollutants)
  • 1 big spoonful raw honey (for blemishes and zits, and anti-aging properties) (if you don’t use honey, try olive oil or a few drops of sea buckthorn oil instead)

Step 1: Apply generously to your face. Leave it on for 10 – 20 minutes. It will begin feeling firm and tight.

Step 2: Wipe off. My face felt kind of ‘matte’. Then rinse.

Step 3: Apply just enough DIY Anti-Aging Moisturizer and feel your face loving it. Notice my cheeks are a little rosy and glowing.

Anti-Aging Moisturizer

In a small tub, mix together:

Peggy’s book Must Have Been Something I Ate also contains other very easy and simple homemade beauty products, suck as natural skin exfoliators, toners, lip balm, lip gloss, body moisturizer, cellulite treatment, acne zapper, age-spot remover, teeth whitener and breath freshener.

Step 4: Allow your face to soak it all in.

I was surprised that extra-virgin olive oil is not at all greasy. The skin soaks it all in and my skin feels wonderful!

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School Lunches versus Packing a Lunch: How to Keep Both Healthy

23 May

We homeschool, but we are out and about a lot.  Here’s an example of our packed lunch.

How do we keep our children’s lunches healthy?  According to the World Health Organization“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”   So, we can rephrase our question as: how can we ensure our children’s lunches contribute to their physical, mental and social well-being and, by consuming them, they will not be afflicted by disease or sickness?

I recently watched a short documentary called Lunch, a film based on interviews about ‘Green School’ lunch programs, instilling healthy habits in kids and organic gardening in a school setting.  It seems to me that most people talk about kid’s lunches from a single viewpoint: the food. They say: let’s improve food quality, organic is better, no more GMOs, add more fruits and vegetables, no more fried foods, add healthier options, grow a school garden, add nutrition to the curriculum…  While I think these are all wonderful and much needed, the most important thing we can do is to empower children themselves to make the right food choices.  

At the end of the day, the children are the only ones who can control what they eat, therefore it is not enough to simply create a healthy nutrition environment for them. Children need to be taught that any kind of food can keep us alive, but it is the nutritious food that helps maintain our body, mind and social capacities well. We need to teach children about a whole lifestyle that emphasizes not only nutritional choices, but also how the choices they make affect their own physical, mental and social well-being.   When children are educated, when they understand, when they are given proper role models and when they are given tools to help them choose health, then the responsibility for parents and guardians to create a healthy nutrition environment for them becomes easier – simply because children will WANT it for themselves.  

Proper Nutrition is integral to maintaining our physical, mental and social health and well-being.

We can teach children the value of eating to live, not living to eat. We can teach them the value of maintaining physical, mental and social well-being (these are a few examples):

    • show them what happens to their bodies when they consume junk versus nutritious foods, for example:
      • what happens to teeth when they eat processed sugar (place a tooth in Coca Cola and see what happens)
      • what happens to bones when people eat too much animal protein and cow’s milk (show rates of osteoporosis in different communities)
      • teach them to look at their own poop and explain what healthy poop should look like
      • teach them how different foods create different energy levels (discuss athletes and their diet)
      • watch Wall-E and discuss why the humans are obese (foods they eat, exercise)
      • show videos like Supersize Me and Forks over Knives to older children
    • show them what happens to their minds depending on the food consumed, for example:
      • discuss how mental performance suffers/improves due to diet (i.e. Food For the Brain study)
      • show them that learning challenges and problem behaviors may decrease/increase according to diet
      • discuss how exercising the brain is just as important as sports is for the body
      • discuss how quality foods help the nerves in the brain function properly (memory, problem solving, etc)
    • show them that their nutritional choices have social implications, for example
      • discuss what “social well-being” means vis-à-vis proper nutrition within the community, the nation and the world (according to the United States Institute of Peace: “Social well-being is an end state in which basic human needs are met and people are able to coexist peacefully in communities with opportunities for advancement. This end state is characterized by equal access to and delivery of basic needs services (water, food, shelter, and health services), the provision of primary and secondary education, the return or resettlement of those displaced by violent conflict, and the restoration of social fabric and community life.)
      • discuss composting, recycling, reusing and reducing in the community and at home
      • discuss pollution and toxicity
      • discuss what stress does to us
      • discuss how the quality of food we eat affects our emotions and therefore our social well-being.
As we teach them to grow their own food and to prepare their own meals from scratch… we can sit back and see what happens.

Other ideas here too: Top 10 Tips to Get Your Kids to Eat More Fruits and Veggies

Part of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Blog Hop! Click on the image for more links to Gifted/2E Health and Wellness Issues!

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

21 Apr

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!

A Raw Vegan Mama’s Weekly Grocery Cart

12 Mar

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!

A 4 Year Old Omnivore Loves Raw Vegan Foods

17 Aug

Lia requested Raw Pink Smoothie for her Fourth Birthday

My 4 year old niece Lia is allowed to eat everything (except dairy to which she is allergic), but what does she request for her birthday party?  RAW VEGAN FOOD!

Really? I was stunned because my own son requests baked cupcakes!

Lia is the same little girl who, when her preschool teacher rewarded her with candy, told her Mama they tasted ‘yucky’ and asked if her teacher could reward her with Raw Green Smoothies instead.  She also chows down Raw Kale Salad like a veteran Raw Foodie!

Yummy Kale Salad for Dinner!

Chomping away!

I don’t know what or how my Omnivore cousin teaches her daughter about nutrition, but Lia really loves Raw Vegan Foods.  So, I interviewed her amazing Mama for some tips.

An Omnivore Family

What does your family typically eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner? What does Lia typically eat?

Breakfast is Raw Green Smoothie and cooked eggs.  Lunch is apples, hummus and raw carrots/cauliflower, crackers (the organic version of triscuits) and peanut butter and jelly. She takes this lunch to school in her lunch box, but usually only eats the apples and crackers.  Dinner is usually another Raw Green Smoothie, spinach noodles with a little tomato sauce, Salad (sometimes with greens, sometimes just tomatoes), hummus with raw veggies, sometimes edamame, and some kind of Fruit. Noodles are her favorite but the other night we made a stir fry of beef, mushrooms and broccoli and brown rice. I also try to give her some kind of seafood once a week (she loves shrimp and salmon). We eat mostly Vegetarian, but we may eat meat 2 to 3 times per week.

An Omnivore Family Highlights Raw Vegan Food

Your family eats everything, yet your 4 year old daughter requested her birthday party foods be RAW.  How does that happen?

I think it has a lot to do with the running dialogue Lia and I have on what kinds of food we eat and how Raw Foods are so good for us. Lia loves the flavor and texture of many Raw Veggies and Greens much more so than cooked ones.

It also doesn’t hurt that she knows whenever she eats Raw, her Aunt Carissa and family are so proud!  She also loves the Raw Foods that Carissa makes for her and so requested a special Raw Green Smoothie for her birthday party.

An Omnivore Little Girl Loves Raw

What are Lia’s favorite Raw Vegan Foods?

She loves Raw Green Smoothies, Carrots (with homemade hummus) and her new fave is Raw Cauliflower (she saw it in the grocery store the other day and just had to have it!).

How much Raw does she eat?

We certainly do not eat as much Raw as I would like, but right now I think she’s at about 10-15% Raw. At lunch and dinner she asks for Raw – more so than at breakfast.

Encouraging Raw Vegan Foods @ Home

Do you/does Lia make ‘Raw Foods’ part of her play?

Yes absolutely, when Lia is playing kitchen with me, her Dad or her imaginary friends she always makes them a Raw Smoothie and she usually tells her Dad “you can only have Raw Foods!” Since he is the least likely member in our family to eat Raw or drink a Smoothie, I think she is trying to help him be healthier.

What other things do you do that encourages her to eat more Raw Foods?

1. We talk a lot about what kinds of food we eat and why they may be healthy (or not as healthy as others).

2. Lia always comes to the grocery store with me and helps me pick out our fruits and veggies.

3. Of course having family that is so close to us be Raw, Lia just naturally gravitates to what they eat and loves showing off to them when she does eat Raw Greens.  It has really been seeing the example of your family eating Raw that moved us to include Raw in our diet. I am so much more aware of what we are putting into our bodies now and even if it isn’t Raw, I have worked hard to cut out processed food and eat as much local and organic as possible. Lia has a natural curiosity when it comes to foods, so we just explore together, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t (I have heard many times “I like Carissa’s -enter food name here- better than yours Mommy”) but at least we try! She does not feel deprived or upset when kids around her are eating corn dogs etc. She says “That’s yuck” and we find her something else to eat. But I really have to attribute her attitude towards eating healthy (whether its totally Raw or not) to the example that your family has set for her.  Seeing the people you love most living a healthy lifestyle makes it so much easier to do it yourself!

Thank you Cris for taking time for the interview! 

WOW.  I didn’t know our family impacted my cousin’s family’s nutrition so strongly!  

It’s amazing what constant dialogue, exposure to what is healthy and leading by example and support can do for the young ones!  Little Lia is an example! Adding Raw Vegan Foods to our children’s diet is possible.  It’s not just for the Vegans or Vegetarians.  Lia shows how Omnivore Families can join in the Raw Vegan Health Craze too!

Vegan Family Meals Blog Tour: Kale Chips

23 Jun

Mama in the Kitchen is proud to be part of Ann Gentry‘s Blog Tour for her new book Vegan Family Meals.  Ann Gentry is the creator of Real Food Daily, organic gourmet Vegan restaurants in Santa Monica and West Hollywood that serve 100 percent Vegan foods grown exclusively with organic farming methods.  She has successfully promoted and raised the standard of Vegan Cuisine through her work as chef, author and mother.  This week, the Vegan Family Meals Blog Tour is on Kale Chips.  Although Ann Gentry’s Kale Chips are baked, her recipe can easily be adapted to a delicious raw dehydrated family snack.

Ann Gentry's Kale Chips

Anne Gentry’s Kale Chips

Serves 2 to 4

1 (8-ounce) bunch large curly kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
¹⁄8 teaspoon fine sea salt

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line 2 large, heavy baking sheets with parchment paper.

Spin the kale pieces in a salad spinner, or pat them with paper towels, until they’re dry. It is important that the leaves are very dry, as oil doesn’t mix with water.

Cut away the center spine from each kale leaf and discard the spine. When removing the spine, go ahead and cut through to the top of the leaf so you have 2 pieces. Keep the leaves as halves, or cut each piece in half again. (I cut or tear these pieces so I get 4 pieces from each leaf, or I just leave them as whole as possible, since the kale shrinks to less than half its size while baking.)

Place the kale, oil, and salt in a large bowl and, using your hands, rub the oil to coat the kale pieces thoroughly. (Be prepared to get your hands oily and salty.)

Arrange the kale pieces in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets and then bake until they are crisp, about 25 minutes. Check the kale every 10 minutes or so and turn some pieces over if they look too toasty. The kale chips will stay crisp and fresh for up to 1 week, stored in a sealed container or bag.

Variations: Wash, cut, coat, and bake the kale according to the directions above. Instead of seasoning the kale with just olive oil and salt, try any of these variations. Because some of these variations include maple syrup, which makes the kale brown faster, cooking times will range from 15 to 25 minutes, so check the kale often to determine doneness.

Vinegar and Sea Salt: Combine 1 tablespoon vinegar (balsamic, apple cider, or brown rice), 1 tablespoon olive oil or a neutral cooking oil, and ¹⁄8 teaspoon fine sea salt.

Maple-Coconut: Combine 2 tablespoons finely shredded unsweetened dried coconut, 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, 1 tablespoon sunflower oil or a neutral cooking oil, and ¹⁄8 teaspoon fine sea salt.

Garlic-Sesame: Combine 2 tablespoons sesame seeds or hemp seeds, 1 tablespoon olive oil or a neutral cooking oil, 1 tablespoon tamari, and 1 clove garlic, minced.

Hot and Spicy: Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil or a neutral cooking oil, 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, ¹⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, ¹⁄8 teaspoon chili powder, and ¹⁄8 teaspoon fine sea salt.

Kale Dust for Popcorn: Crush the baked kale chips with your fingers or with a mortar and pestle into a fine powder. Sprinkle the crushed kale over popcorn. It’s colorful and nutritious; my kids love this one.

Garlic-Sesame Kale Chips

Raw Kale Chips Version

Follow the recipe above and dehydrate instead of bake, but read my notes first. I use Lacinato Kale here instead of Curly Kale.  I tried the Vinegar and Sea Salt and the Garlic-Sesame recipes today.  We wished the Vinegar and Sea Salt was stronger in flavor, but we were happy with the Garlic-Sesame Kale Chips.

Notes:

1. For an easier and quicker method to remove the spine of kale leaves, I don’t use a knife – I just use my fingers.  I hold the end of the spine and slowly tear the leaves off as I move my fingers up the spine.

I use my fingers to separate leaves from spine

Easy does it! No need for knives!

2. I soak my Kale leaves in water and vinegar, then rinse in water to clean them and dry them in my salad spinner.  Click here for my Top 5 Ways To Clean Produce.

3. I prefer to keep my kale leaves whole.  I figure I can simply cut them into smaller pieces after they are dehydrated, if needed.

Massage Dressing into Kale

4. I massage my leaves by hand in my preferred dressing.

5. I place my dressed leaves on my dehydrator mesh screens – haphazardly.  I don’t even bother to lay them in one layer properly… it would take too much time.  Plus, they dehydrate well without the added effort.

6. Some people prefer to dehydrate their kale chips at 105F until dry.  I set my dehydrator at the maximum heat of 150F for 1 hour (the kale will not have an internal temperature of 150F, the internal temperature will be below 105F and this step quickens the dehydration proces), then decrease it to 105F thereafter.  My chips were ready in 4 hours.

Picnic Wraps

18 May

Corn Picnic Wraps

For the past 2 weeks, our health shop has had organic corn, which my boys both love raw.  Lately, we’ve had a lot of plain raw corn.  The weather has been great for eating outdoors too and we’ve enjoyed our corn in Picnic Wraps.

Mix all together:

1 – 2 tsp sea salt
1 – 2 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
1 tbspn lime juice
2 tbspns extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of cherry tomatoes
1 handful of cilantro leaves
1 avocado, cubed
4 ears of corn, off the cob (organic please!  no GMOs for us)

Serve in lettuce or Napa cabbage leaves.  You can also try collard greens

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