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Nori Wraps

29 Jul

A meal that takes less than 5 minutes!

Simply mix a huge bowl of salad. Use whatever ingredients you want! Easy minute salad is all I had time for last night.

Place some on a nori sheet.

Wrap.

Eat.

Happy Healthy  Tummy!

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Easy Minute Salad

29 Jun

Easy Minute Salad

An Omni Hubby Goes RAW Vegan for One Week

17 Jun

My Vegan Homeschool buddy, Bonnie, finally succeeded in getting her Omnivore Hubby, Crosby, to go on a Raw Vegan Diet for a week. Together, they lost almost 10 pounds. Bonnie discovered more energy and Crosby discovered he could actually enjoy Raw Vegan foods.

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Day 1

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Day 2

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Day 3

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Day 4

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Day 5

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Day 6

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Day 7

Q: Why did you and hubby decide to go raw? How did you convince your hubby to do it with you?  

B – I am Vegan. I want to drop a few pounds and thought I would with a raw diet. I also think it is the most healthy way to eat.

C- Just to see if it would make me feel better. I have ulcerative colitis and wondered if a raw diet would improve my condition.

 

Q: For how long did you eat just raw foods?

B- 100% for 7 days. Now probably 90%

C- 100% for 6 days. Now 10%

 

Q: How did you feel?  

B – I feel better after having lost a few pounds. I always have more energy when I am on a raw diet. I don’t get that afternoon slump and sleep better at night.

C – I was tired the first 4 days, then I felt the way I normally feel.

 

Q: What was the best day?

B – I didn’t really have a best day.

C – The best day was when I no longer felt hungry. Probably day 3.

 

Q: What was the worst day?

B – I didn’t have a worst day.

C – Day 2. I was hungry and tired.

 

Q: What did you crave that was raw during the whole process?

B – I really enjoyed bananas and dates.

C – Avocados and nuts.

 

Q: What did you crave that was not raw during the whole process?

B – I didn’t have any cravings.

C – Meat.

 

Q: What was the best meal? Worst?

B – Collard rolls with sunflower seed pate were great. A beet salad that I made with cumin was not so good.

C – Avocado, tomato and basil plate with Italian dressing. I liked them all.

 

Q: Any side effects of this raw week?

B – I lost 4 lbs and had more energy.

C – I lost 5 lbs.

 

Q: Would you do it again?

B – I would like to eat that way all the time. Its is just hard to find time to prepare both kinds of food (cooked and raw) every day.

C – Probably not 100% raw, but maybe more raw dishes during the week.

 

Q: What was the first thing you ate after the whole week?

B – Some stir fried vegies and rice.

C – A Chick-Fil-A sandwich. A real hot-dog the next day.

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Q: What was the hardest part of the process?

B – Making a lot of different dished to keep Crosby from getting tired of the food.

C – I did not feel satiated. I never felt satisfied even if I wasn’t hungry.

 

Q: What was the most surprising part of the process?

B – I was surprised that I had so much energy and that I was not hungry.

C – I wasn’t hungry.

 

Q: How are you changed?

B – I think it will be easier to add more raw meals into our weeknow that Crosby has tried to eat this way.

C – I am more open to eating raw.

 

Q: What was the nastiest thing someone had said about your week?

B – Not really nasty, but it annoys me when people try to tell me I’m not getting enough protein.

C – No one was nasty, but I did get some razzing about not eating meat.

 

Q: How has this experience changed your relationship with food, your family, or everyday diet?

B – It made me realize that I enjoy eating simple salads and fruit more than more complicated dishes.

C – There are some really tasty raw dishes that are fun to eat. My brother encouraged me to change my diet if I thought there were benefits to my health. I appreciated his concern for my health.

 

Both Bonnie and Crosby’s efforts are inspiring: Bonnie, for preparing amazing Raw Vegan dishes for a whole week, and Crosby, who was open to eating RAW for a week. Kudos to both of them!

 

Mama’s Now Cooking!

18 Feb

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Yup, this Mama is cooking again! After a few years on a highly Raw Vegan diet, our family’s wants and needs have now changed.  

No More Tree Nuts

Our son has become highly allergic to cashews and pistachios, and we want to make sure there is no cross-reactivity, cross-contamination, nor cross-contact reactions to any other tree nuts. This change rules out many Raw Vegan recipes. We also discovered that his allergies to dairy and eggs have cleared. The test also showed a mild allergy to soy. I see no good reason to make my son feel we are controlling and restricting his diet further. We are now allowing him to make more food choices for himself. He is still trying new things and figuring out what he likes and what his body prefers. So far, he is enjoying his rediscovery of raw goat’s milk and cooked eggs. He’s also since tried store-bought beef and bison jerky, which he says he absolutely loves.

Raw vs Cooked, Vegan vs Vegetarian Foods

As for my husband, he is pretty tired of raw Vegan food, although he still enjoys our faves. It’s nice when he does request for them. He prefers cooked Vegan and Vegetarian foods.

Where do I fit in?  I’m the Vegan Mama who buys and prepares/cooks the Vegan and Vegetarian food for a son who loves goat’s milk, a hubby who prefers soy milk, and for myself who can live on raw foods. Cooking for three people with different food preferences is not admittedly such an easy task when our homeschool days are full.

Keeping Mama in the Kitchen and she ain’t cookin’

I have decided to keep this blog, along with the research and the recipes on Raw Vegan foods, in hopes that the information can continue to help more people out there. My future posts, however, will reflect the new changes in our family’s dietary choices.

Hoping you stick around to watch us on our journey!

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.

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  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.

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!

30 Lessons this Raw Vegan Mama Learned from Traveling and Dining Out with Omnivore Loved Ones

4 Mar

In the last 6 months alone, it seems like my family and I have traveled non-stop to be with friends and extended family.  These days, I feel like I am a bit of a pro when traveling with and dining out with loved ones who happen to be non-Raw Omnivores. 

I wish I could tell you we did wonderfully: I ate 100% Raw Vegan Foods and my family kept up their 50% Raw Vegan diet. But we did not.

What we did a lot of instead was, what I call, nutritional compromising. Why?  Well, believe it or not, for harmony’s sake.  We love our friends and family dearly and being together with them means a lot to us.  We didn’t want to alienate anyone… or ourselves.

I cannot say I was very much OK with all the nutritional compromising in the past few months… but I met Perry the other day who made me feel a whole lot better.  He sold me a bottle of E3Live.  I asked him if he was Raw Vegan.  He said he used to be.  “Why?” I asked.  He said, his mother had cancer when he was growing up and foods were designated as BAD or GOOD, ALLOWED or NOT ALLOWED.  So Young Perry rebelled. He would go behind his mother’s back, steal her money and buy the foods that were verboten at their house.  Needless to say, he thought it was a good idea that I allow my son some slack. 

Here is what I learned while traveling with Omnivore loved ones:

Our Travel Food Bag

I always have fruit (bananas, oranges, apples) and salad for everyone. I also always have some cooked Vegan foods for the boys. Hopefully we can recycle the plastic containers.

1. I always pack my family’s meals for road trips and national/international flights. Unfortunately, the food lasts only about 8 hours and after that we have to make do with what we are given or find at the other end of our trip.

Vegan Meals up in the friendly skies: include preservatives, coloring and a bunch of other stuff we wouldn't normally eat. But - this is the best option we have when we run out of food.

2. On planes, we request either the Raw (not always available and this tends to be fruit or cut carrot and celery sticks) or Vegan (although some are cooked with many processed Vegan ingredients) options for flights.

3. Clearly, our family’s highly raw/unprocessed Vegan diet tends to go down the drain pretty much from the get-go.

I love this old photo of my son snuggling with his step-grandmother. In the first 5 minutes after they met, it was clear they had already bonded so wonderfully.

4. We want to spend time and create strong bonds with our extended family and friends while traveling/visiting with them.

5. But, this means mealtimes more often than not emphasize non-raw and non-vegan foods.

6. We tend to eat out at mainstream restaurants a whole lot while traveling with others.

7. We have lengthy and careful discussions with servers about our family’s food preferences and allergies before ordering. It seems to us that waiters, on the whole, are not trained well on matters relating to Veganism or food allergies.  Neither are they made aware of the repercussions of food allergies. Sometimes, the problem may be that they don’t properly convey diner’s requests to chefs in their kitchens.  So, we like to take our time in our communication with them.

8. Raw Vegans are not the best for diners with nut and maple/agave allergies.  After talking very carefully to servers about our son’s allergies, my son has had very bad vomiting spells after eating/drinking something at Cafe Gratitude in San Francisco and Quintessence in NYC.  Needless to say, we are not going back to these 2 places to eat.  I can, however, recommend The Farm in the Philippines, Good Life Café in South Carolina and Pure Food and Wine in NYC.

9. We tend to eat what our host provides.  “When in Rome, do as the Roman’s do!” Right?  As guests, we are really at the mercy of our host, especially when they want to treat us all the time and/or we are in a foreign country.

10. I have discovered that food allergies are difficult for others to understand.

11. The concept of Raw Vegan foods are even harder for many to grasp.  I have had, many a time, cheese and bread on my “all Raw Vegan” salad or been offered regular hummus with cooked chickpeas.

12. Requests for Gluten- and Vegan-free food is akin to speaking a foreign language.

My son kept asking for the white bread served at most mainstream restaurants. Having said 'no' so many times (due to allergies), I finally ordered some wonderful Rice Bruschetta at a Vegan restaurant we visited towards the end of one of our trips. My son was extremely happy. So was I for having found a half-raw, half-cooked meal for him too!

13. My son will want to eat what others are eating: i.e. the cooked or processed refined foods.

14. A loved one recently baked 6 loaves of maple syrup white wheat bread while we visited her for 2 weeks – even after I asked her to please stop at the first loaf.  The breads just kept appearing though, which my son gladly ate and I tried to stop.  She was thrilled of course to watch my son devour her bread. On the other hand, I was focused on his rashes (c/o maple sugar).

15. This Mama will compromise only to a certain extent.

Using a handheld immersion blender in a plastic tub while traveling to make a lamb's lettuce smoothie for my family

16. If a kitchen and/or appliances are available, I supplement our family’s meals with fresh fruit for breakfast and fresh juices or green smoothies before a meal (that is if we have access to appliances and/or a kitchen).

Someone shared this on Facebook and made me LOL!

17. If a kitchen is available and if possible, we eat ‘in’ as much as we can and I end up a Mama in the Kitchen with no holiday.  But, I can’t complain!  We minimize allergies this way.

18. You cannot simply trust labels.  My son has even reacted to packaged Raw Vegan foods we have purchased while traveling to which, according to ingredients on labels, he isn’t allergic.

19. On every trip these past few months, my son has had some type of allergy, despite our efforts.  He has been very mucus-y on the plane home twice.

20. Raw Vegan food options are not always available when eating with family and friends…or they are harder to come by when traveling or sanitation is an issue in certain countries. When eating at mainstream restaurants or at people’s homes sometimes simply boiled, steamed or stir fried veggies are the best and only options.  In many health food stores in big cities, Raw Vegan Foods usually means a lot of packaged dehydrated foods… exactly the foods we try to avoid.

21. Raw Vegan food does not win over many people.  Some of my loved ones returned home to eat SPAM with white rice after a beautiful lunch at The Farm, Philippines.

22.  I, on the other hand, will have some type of food sensitivity after eating at a Raw Vegan restaurant: headaches, swelling or bloating from an excess of agave syrup, soy products, or nuts.

Juice Bars are worth it! Here in SAF London

23. To minimize allergies or sensitivities, we order simply at Raw Food Restaurants: an abundance of green juices (not smoothies) or simple Salads, and avoid other foods altogether (unless the server/chef can be 100% clear on the ingredients used).

The food was so delicious, I made sure I bought their cookbook as soon as we got home!

Food For Thought in Covent Garden will win over Omnivores anytime for taste and bang for buck! Just be prepared for small spaces and a communal-type feel.

24. Cooked Vegan foods, on the other hand, have been the best way for us to introduce family and friends to the Vegan diet. My mother gave us a cooked Vegan party when we visited her.  My friends thought they would have to lug their families to McDonald’s afterwards – but they admitted to loving the food by my Vegan Chef cousin!  They all had second helpings of the healthy mains and the desserts!  And no trip to McDonald’s afterwards!

I got an "That doesn't look very good at all!" comment for my salad here.

25. Prepare yourself for negative comments from loved ones about your food. Yes, even those who say they understand and would love to be Raw Vegan. I have had an ugly grimace directed at my food with a “I would NOT like to eat that!”, “is that all?”, “how do you get your protein?”, “yuck! how do you eat that!” And all in front of my son too, who takes it all in.

26. People somehow forget about your family’s diet and lifestyle choice, no matter how close they are to you.  I have had a platter of Steak placed under our noses blatantly at dinner with a smile and a “here, you will love this”; baked pastry treats full of syrup, butter and refined flour placed in front of my son while he, as most kids will, drools; salmon offered to us which they know was my son’s favourite fish before our kitchen turned Vegan.

27. The good outweigh the bad.  What is important is that we are surrounded by people we love and who love us back.

28. By the end of the trip, I am always itching to return to my own kitchen, I can’t wait to shop at my own local health food store and I can’t wait to eat healthier food.

29. After returning home, it is always just a little harder to get my son to eat as healthily as he used to.  And I am OK with this too because after traveling for the past 6 months, I know in a day or two, he’ll be asking for his fave smoothie and his fave kale salad!

30. And at the end of the day, I love what traveling does for our family.

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!).

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?

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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

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!

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.

What Happens When Raw Foodies Go To A Cooked Potluck?

26 Mar

Sometimes people FREAK OUT about what is on our plates.  A young cousin recently pointed to my son’s greens and said: “Yuck!  I don’t what to sit next to THAT!”

But most of the time, our family and friends are truly receptive and I’d like to say MAGIC HAPPENS. Many friends and family are now drinking green smoothies and even taking flax seed crackers and raw dip to work.  One of my favorite cousins, Cris, and her daughter love green smoothies and are eating our fave Kale Salad regularly!  My mother is partially raw too!

My dear friend Sherri, our host for today’s lunch, asked us to bring something raw because her husband wanted to taste it.  I love small potluck get-togethers! Not only does that mean that our host feels very comfortable with us, but also that they are open to us bringing some raw foods. My favorite raw items to bring to family potlucks are green smoothies, appetizers with crackers and avocado, something non-raw foodist can relate to like Zucchini Alfredo and practically any dessert. And wherever I am, I tend to bring along the topic of food, health and nutrition too!

Always a hit: Zucchini Alfredo (zucchini noodles with macadami nut 'alfredo' sauce)

 

Today, I wanted to experiment on a Banana Cream Pie.  I didn’t actually try it properly until we got to Sherri’s house, and when I did, I was aghast because it wasn’t as good as I would have liked it to be.  I feel  that if I’m going to introduce someone to Raw Food, it better be a FANTASTIC first introduction! This was, in my opinion, a flop!

 

Banana Cream Pie

 

So I was surprised when we returned home, I found an e-mail from Sherri:

When my daughter got hungry tonight, she asked if there was any more of your banana pie that she could have after dinner was over.  I explained that you took the leftovers home but that you felt you could improve on the pie.  She told me she “loved it!”

Music to my ears! Sherri’s little one LOVED the RAW BANANA CREAM PIE!!!  ONCE AGAIN MAGIC!

(FYI, I’m still reworking it though!  And will post the recipe as soon as I have it.)

Top 5 Ways To Clean Produce

15 Mar

My mother is Mrs. Clean and she is worried about the parasites and other undesirable microorganisms in the raw foods that we eat. So to ease her mind, this post is for my Mama and for all you Mamas out there who want clean and non-toxic food for your family!

Me: Yes, I do clean my veggies! My mother: How?

WATER IS BETTER THAN COMMERCIAL WASH TREATMENTS

The University of Maine conducted a study on cleaning produce with:

1. distilled water and

three kinds of commercial wash treatments

2. Fit®

3. Ozone Water Purifier XT-301 and

4. J0-4 Multi-Functional Food Sterilizer).

They found that distilled water cleaned just as well or better than commercial wash treatments.

SCRUB BRUSHING and VINEGAR SOLUTION IS BETTER THAN WATER

Cook’s Illustrated conducted a study on apples and pears cleaning them with:

1. soap (not recommended at all because it leaves a residue)

2. vinegar solution

3. scrub brush and

4. simply water.

They found 2 solutions that cleaned better than just water: scrub brushing removed 85% of the bacteria and diluted vinegar removed 98% of the bacteria. The Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California, found that cleaning an apple by dipping in the vinegar solution and rubbing for 5 seconds reduced salmonella bacteria significantly.

How To Clean With Vinegar

1. SOAK PRODUCE for a few minutes up to 15 minutes in vinegar solution (1 part vinegar to 3 parts water) and rinse with water.

2. SPRAY PRODUCE with same solution, leave for a few minutes and rinse with water.

NOTE: Vinegar can be white or apple cider vinegar and can be substituted with lemon or lime juices. Some produce, like mushrooms, strawberries and peaches, cannot be soaked for long periods.

FULL STRENGTH VINEGAR AND HYDROGEN PEROXIDE IS THE BEST

Susan Sumner, a food scientist at Virginia at Polytechnic Institute and State University, in Blacksburg, discovered an easy yet effective method of cleaning produce by spraying them first with vinegar, then with hydrogen peroxide, or vice versa. She told Science News Online, “If the acetic acid [vinegar] got rid of 100 organisms, the hydrogen peroxide would get rid of 10,000, and the two together would get rid of 100,000.” Apparently, this method was found to be more effective than chlorine and other commercial products.

How To Clean With Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide

1. Fill a clean bottle with full strength vinegar (white or apple cider).

2. Fill another clean bottle with full strength 3% hydrogen peroxide, which you can get at any grocery or drug store.

3. Spray produce with one, then the other. It doesn’t really matter which you spray with first.

4. Rinse with water.

HOW ABOUT SALT?

If you don’t have distilled water, a scrub brush, vinegar or hydrogen peroxide? Soak produce in a saline solution (1 tsp salt to 1 cup water or 1/2 cup salt to a basin full of water) for a few minutes up to 15 minutes and rinse.

For more information on DIY cleaning visit www.healthychild.org

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

Top 5 Reasons To Feed Our Children More Raw Vegan Foods

5 Mar

All Parents Want The Best For Their Children

 

TOP 5 REASONS TO FEED OUR CHILDREN MORE RAW VEGAN FOODS

1. Health is the most important factor in our children’s life.

2. Study shows food affects not only one’s health, but affects one’s children’s health, affects a family’s health for generations and food has the power to reverse degenerative disease.

3. Meat-based Diets shorten lives and cause degenerative diseases.

4. Plant-based Diets prevent and cure diseases.

5. Our immune system is affected by cooked and processed foods.

These all point to the most natural foods most easily accepted by the body: RAW VEGAN FOODS.


RESOURCES

What is Raw Vegan Food?

Who are Raw Vegans?

Raw Vegan Ingredients

What Do Raw Vegans Avoid?

Why It Is Important To Focus On Children’s Nutrition 5

2 Mar

PARENTS WANT THE BEST FOR THEIR CHILDREN

As parents, we can agree that a child’s physical well-being is the most important factor in a child’s life and that a child cannot survive without food (Why Nutrition 1).  But we don’t want our children to merely survive, we want a healthy and disease-free future for them. We know that one’s long term health and the future health of generations in the family is affected by diet choice (Why Nutrition 2). While diets heavy on meats have shown to cause early deaths and degenerative diseases (Why Nutrition 3), vegan, vegetarian and diets low on meat, dairy and eggs have shown a reversal of diseases in various capacities (Why Nutrition 4).

As a Mama, whose child itched until there as blood on his bed because he was allergic to everything and who was thought to have a growth at 2 years old (what a scare that was!), I wanted to feed my child a healthy diet for all these given reasons. But I couldn’t fathom that a vegan or vegetarian diet high in GMO soy products or French Fries  could ever be a healthy one.  So I dug deeper.

 

The question I asked was what foods are the best for the body?  The answers:

Foods that cure and prevent disease (Why Nutrition 2).

Foods that are naturally and easily accepted by the body.

Foods that do not disrupt the system.

Foods that are not seen as alien to the system.

 

A STUDY ON RAW, COOKED, PROCESSED FOODS

When an infectious illness or foreign substance is introduced into our body, the first reaction in our blood is to increase white blood cells in order to fight them off.  In 1930 Dr. Paul Kouchakoff discovered that through the reactions of our white blood cells the body reacts differently to raw foods, cooked foods and processed foods.

RESULTS OF HIS STUDY

He found that:

fresh, unprocessed, uncooked raw foods do not affect white blood cells

raw foods tested were unboiled drinking water, unboiled mineral water, sea salt, raw greens, raw cereals, raw nuts, raw honey, raw eggs, raw meat, raw fish, raw milk, sour milk, butter

same raw foods (above) cooked causes an increase in white blood cells but the percentages in the blood formula remain the same

each food has a critical temperature that affects how the body reacts to them

Critical Temperature in F Foods
191 Water, milk
192 Cereals, cabbage, tomatoes, bananas
196 Butter
197 Apples, oranges
200 Potatoes
206 Carrots, strawberries, figs

processed and refined foods causes an increase in white blood cells, as well as changes the percentages in the blood formula

white sugar, chocolate bars, alcohol

adding raw foods to a meal with cooked foods will not increase white blood cells, as long as the the critical temperature of the raw foods is higher than that of the cooked food


LET US AGREE THEN THAT:

fresh, unprocessed, raw foods in their natural state are easily and naturally accepted by our bodies

lightly cooked foods heated at temperatures lower than their intrinsic critical temperatures are naturally accepted by the body

foods that are heated at high temperatures and foods that are processed are seen as foreign substances that cause a false alarm in our immune system and increases our white blood cells in order to fight them

raw foods have the power to negate the ill effects of cooked and processed foods in the body

 

What exactly is raw foods?  Keep posted.

 

Critical Temperature in F

Foods

 

 

191

Water, milk

192

Cereals, cabbage, tomatoes, bananas

196

Butter

197

Apples, oranges

200

Potatoes

206

Carrots, strawberries, figs

Raw Breakfast Granola

1 Feb

 

Raw Breakfast Granola

Mix all together in a bowl:
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract (non-alcohol)
3 oz extra virgin coconut oil, melted
3 oz raw almond butter
3 oz raw honey

Mix all together in another bowl:
1 cup raisins
2 c dried shredded coconut
2 c raw oat groats, soaked overnight, sprouted for a day (place in colander with a cover, rinse twice)

Pour honey mixture into oats mixture.  Mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.  This is delicious alone, topped with fruit or served with your choice of milk.

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

29 Jan

A year ago, my 3 year old son loved eating salads.  But then he became accustomed to watching his friends enjoy their pre-packaged and processed foods and he followed suit exclaiming: “YUCK! I hate veggies!”  Before long, he too started avoiding greens.  It became a challenge feeding anything green to a young child who was anti-salads and anti-greens.  The only raw greens he would enjoy was hidden through green smoothies.

Needless to say, one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to make fruits and vegetables more fun, more attractive and more palatable for him.  I didn’t really know what to do but after an unintentional ploy at marketing, my son ate most of my full bowl of Kale Salad, leaving me both happy and hungry.  From that day on, I started to figure out more ways to market fruits and veggies to him.

 

The result?

A turn-around. While before, it was almost torture asking him to finish his green smoothie or  to try a green salad, our son now readily drinks his green smoothies and asks for his ‘favorite salad’.  While before he would pile our shopping cart with bananas, he now piles it high with kale too.

The other night, he exclaimed “Goodness Gracious!  This salad is delicious!  I love it!!!”  And yesterday, as he chowed down another big bowl of kale salad, he said with bulging eyes “Mama! I can’t stop!  This is so delicious!”

Marketing does work! And as I mention in all my tips, as parents we may not have as much money as big food corporations, but we have the advantage of time, love and commitment to our children’s and family’s health. May we all use this wisely.  So, here are my:

 

Top Ten Tips To Get Your Kids To Eat More Fruits and Veggies:

1. Model Healthy Nutrition

2. Place Healthy Foods at Child’s Eye Level and Within Child’s Reach

3. Promote Fruits and Veggies Using Child’s Favourite Characters or People

4. Use Positive Imagery Associate with Eating Healthy Food

5. Watch Helpful Shows On Fruits and Veggies

6. Grow Your Own Organic Fruit & Vegetable Garden

7. Build Entertainment Value Through Raw Food

8. Find Support or Give Support

9. Allow Choices within Limits

10. Discuss Marketing Tricks

 

And don’t forget, all this works for husbands as well as the kids!  For more ideas, take a look at How To Transition The Family into More Raw Foods.

Raw Buckwheat and Oat Burger

26 Jan

Raw Buckwheat and Oat Burgers with Lettuce, Tomato and Fresh Tomato 'Catsup'

This raw burger has the same texture of its animal counterpart. The fresh raw catsup is a very important part of eating this burger. Enjoy!

The Burger:

Soak 24 hours, changing water if possible:
1 cup raw buckwheat groats
1 cup raw oat groats

Drain, rinse and sprout for a day. Process in the food processor with:
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried sage
2 cloves garlic
2 green onions
3 tbspns fresh basil or 1 tbspn dried
4 tbspns Nama Shoyu
2 carrots (or other vegetables, like zucchini)
enough water to make a burger batter

Form into patties and place on TexFlex sheets in dehydrator at 112F for about 6 hours or until firm but still soft inside.

Serve with lettuce ‘buns’, tomato, lots of Raw Catsup and a side of Spinach Chips.

Raw Catsup

Process together:
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tbspn apple cider vinegar
2 tbspns extra virgin olive oil
3 pitted dates
3 medium tomatoes

How To Market Fruits and Veggies to Your Kids: Tip #9

25 Jan

Big bucks are being spent on marketing unhealthy foods directly to children.  What are parents to do?  Learn how and what is being done, find ways to counter the commercials that make kids want to eat unhealthy foods and in the process market fruits and veggies to kids.  We may not have more money than big food corporations, but we have the advantage of time with, love for and commitment to the health of our children.

 

Tip #9:

Allow Choices

within

Limits

 

 

Son knows that each meal must be accompanied by some type of vegetable. Most of the time, we eat raw veggies, but sometimes son chooses his favorite cooked vegetable: artichokes. He can happily eat 3 all by himself for dinner. Certainly not raw, but a real veggie nonetheless!

 

The premise behind this tip is that children will make better choices if they know what the available choices are.

 

Tonight, after seeing that I made a lettuce salad for dinner, our son cries, “I don’t want that salad! I want my favorite kale salad!  Not that salad!  Waaaahhhh….”

Sigh.  “At least he wanted to eat a salad,” I tell myself.

I don’t know how raw families do it, but this is what I have learned living with a 4 year old negotiator:

1. there needs to be very clear family agreements on food:

– breakfast is all raw

– we eat fruits with breakfast

– we eat greens at each meal

– no more snacking if greens are not being eaten at mealtimes

– Mama’s kitchen is open only at meal times

– Mama is not making Son special individual meals

 

2. son has freedom to choose what he wants within the parameters of family agreements:

– he can choose his fruit for breakfast

– he can choose whether he wants his greens as a salad or as a smoothie

– snacks are mostly fruit

 

3. food is not to be used as a reward

– son learns that nutrition is important to health

 

4. if son chooses to eat junk food again on special days, he has to only remember what happened to him

– last Valentine’s, after eating a bag full of candies from well-meaning friends, he was sick for a month

– last Summer, after eating ice cream from a shop (they didn’t display their ingredients), he was sick for a whole week

– last week and a half ago, after eating 5 cookies and 3 pieces of chocolate truffles from well-meaning friends, he’s still sick

 

It seems learning the consequences of eating ‘bad’ food first-hand  is very important for a little boy to understand proper nutrition.

 

Tip # 10: Discuss Marketing Tricks

How To Market Fruits and Veggies to Your Kids: Tip #8

22 Jan

Big bucks are being spent on marketing unhealthy foods directly to children.  What are parents to do?  Learn how and what is being done, find ways to counter the commercials that make kids want to eat unhealthy foods and in the process market fruits and veggies to kids.  We may not have more money than big food corporations, but we have the advantage of time with, love for and commitment to the health of our children.

Tip #8:

Find Support

or

Give Support

Banana Ice Cream: Freeze bananas, place frozen bananas in high speed blender and process until creamy, serve. Options: add cacao or carob powder or other fruits for different flavors.

 

The premise behind this is that everyone in the family will feel encouraged and supported within a like-minded community.


Find Support:

The Raw Mom Blog is a fantastic resource for all raw vegan mothers.

– find local raw food groups in your community: raw restaurants, raw chefs, other raw food families

– shop at a health food shop that supports RAW foods: we love our local shop because of the people who run it.  Not only are they helpful but they are walking encyclopedias for everything health related.

 

Give Support:

If there isn’t any existing local support, you can always create one!

– tell family and friends about raw foods if they are interested

– make great tasting raw foods for non-raw parties… this always works for me

One of my favourite cousins, Cris, has  become a recent fan of raw food.  She told me today that she made a green smoothie for her 3 year old daughter who asked for MORE after finishing it.  She also made raw banana ice cream for her daughter and another niece the other day and the kids loved it so much that more of our cousins have become raw banana ice cream fans.  I guess we can now have a family green smoothie and raw ice cream party!

 

Tip #9: Allow Choices within Boundaries

How To Market Fruits and Veggies to Your Kids: Tip #7

21 Jan

Big bucks are being spent on marketing unhealthy foods directly to children.  What are parents to do?  Learn how and what is being done, find ways to counter the commercials that make kids want to eat unhealthy foods and in the process market fruits and veggies to kids.  We may not have more money than big food corporations, but we have the advantage of time with, love for and commitment to the health of our children.

Tip #7:

Build Entertainment Value

Through Raw Food

Morimono: Edible Art Arrangements

The premise behind this tip is that children will gravitate towards anything that is ‘fun’.

The week we were learning about Japan in our preschool homeschool co-op, my mother, an Ikebana teacher, happened to visit.  We all thought it would be a wonderful occassion for the children to learn about the art of Japanese flower arrangement.  But my mother had an even better idea: for the kids to create Morimono or fruit and veggie arrangements and eat everything afterwards.  As you can see from the photo above, it was a hit with children.  Not only did they enjoy creating 3D art with raw foods (and toothpicks), but most kids ate their creations as soon as or while building it.

Food art doesn’t have to be as complicated as Morimono. A child can create images (face, flower, car) using fruits and veggies or a child’s meal can be served in the same fun way.

Other simple ideas:

– make shopping at the produce department or farmer’s market fun with games

–  for older kids

– see who can spot or grab the most on their section of the produce list the quickest

– who can calculate the price of the groceries of the day

– for younger kids

– a match-as-you-shop game using a list of images of produce

– count how many apples you are buying

– name a fruit or vegetable that starts with ‘A’, etc.

– at home prepare meals together – participation is key

– allow kids to choose fresh produce and create their own dish after watching a video of other children doing so

experiment with different fruits and vegetables to make smoothies or soups or puddings or popsicles (let kids guess what colour the mix will be)

– go to the zoo and study fruit and veggie loving animals

– we recently saw a Tortoise that was illegally owned for years and given hamburgers to eat, its back is now deformed as a result (its fave food is now bananas!)

 

Tip #8: Find Support or Give Support

How To Market Fruits and Veggies to Your Kids: Tip #6

20 Jan

Big bucks are being spent on marketing unhealthy foods directly to children.  What are parents to do?  Learn how and what is being done, find ways to counter the commercials that make kids want to eat unhealthy foods and in the process market fruits and veggies to kids.  We may not have more money than big food corporations, but we have the advantage of time with, love for and commitment to the health of our children.

Tip #6:

Grow Your Own

Organic Fruit & Vegetable Garden

 

Reliable Seed Companies: Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Seed Savers Exchange, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

The premise behind this tip is that by planting their favorite fruits or vegetables, children will be motivated to learn

– how plants grow
– to appreciate organic farmers and their practices
– the value of produce
– how much better fresh fruits and vegetables taste right off child’s own plants
– to enjoy spending time together in nature.

We have had a few different varieties of tomatoes, eggplants, bell peppers,  onions, basil, rosemary,  thyme, lavender, mint and sage the past few years, but then my green thumb relaxed too much and I found our garden full of grubs one day, all plants failed and my ONE  ripe beefsteak tomato taken by an animal last year.   My attempt at composting was also a disaster and I killed about 200 worms while trying to vermi-compost.

Sigh.

Not giving up too easily, we have  started our broccoli, cauliflower, pak choi, snap beans and salad seeds indoors this week.  Wish us luck!

My back up plan if Tip #6 fails: visit a friend’s garden, as well as farms nearby and farmers markets.

Tip #7: Build Entertainment Value Through Raw Food

How To Market Fruits and Veggies to Your Kids: Tip #5

19 Jan

Big bucks are being spent on marketing unhealthy foods directly to children.  What are parents to do?  Learn how and what is being done, find ways to counter the commercials that make kids want to eat unhealthy foods and in the process market fruits and veggies to kids.  We may not have more money than big food corporations, but we have the advantage of time with, love for and commitment to the health of our children.

Tip #5:

Watch Helpful Shows

On Fruits and Veggies

The premise behind this tip is that children are greatly influenced by what they watch. Here are some favourites:

 

Edu-Tainment:

Grocery Store Wars – a long time fave showing the on-going fight between Organic and Conventional Produce, this short video is not only for Star Wars fans.

Kids Prepare and Eat Kale Salad – maybe inspire your kids to make their own and eat it too

Music TV:

For young kids:  ‘2 Fruits, 5 Veggies‘ song with dance movements kids can follow along

For older kids, a fun ‘rap’ song on Raw Foods by Sergei Buotenko of The Raw Family

Talks:

An 11 year old homeschooled boy tackles Organic Food and Farming on TED

Miscellaneous:

The Raw Family site has a lot of great videos too

The Raw Food Media has a few videos with raw food kids

Videos for older kids and adults:

The Cove on toxins in fish

Blue Vinyl on toxins in animal products

Food Matters and yes it does!

Food Inc on conventional and organic farming practices


Tip #6: Grow Your Own Organic Fruit & Vegetable Garden

How To Market Fruits and Veggies to Your Kids: Tip #4

18 Jan

Big bucks are being spent on marketing unhealthy foods directly to children.  What are parents to do?  Learn how and what is being done, find ways to counter the commercials that make kids want to eat unhealthy foods and in the process market fruits and veggies to kids.  We may not have more money than big food corporations, but we have the advantage of time with, love for and commitment to the health of our children.

Tip #4:

USE POSITIVE IMAGERY

ASSOCIATED WITH

EATING HEALTHY FOOD

Our Son's List of Raw Faves (inside pantry door)

 

The premise behind this tip is that children will associate positive emotions, positive physical attributes and positive social relations with healthy food.

 

We know that the big companies are showing emotional, social or health benefits for kids who eat their unhealthy products.  They use children’s insecurities in order to entice them to buy their foods with commercials showing:

– someone loves you more by buying ‘x’ for you

– someone is very popular for eating ‘y’, or

– someone is more physically fit for eating ‘z’.

 

As parents, we can counteract this heavy marketing ploy by using positive imagery in our homes. We can place the following in prominent areas of the kitchen:

1. photos of happy and loving families eating fresh produce together

2. photos of friends enjoying fresh fruit, fresh veggies and green smoothies together

3. photos of physically fit people eating fresh produce

4. a list of child’s fave fruits and vegetables with picture cut-outs of foods

5. photos of fave characters and personalities who love fruits and veggies.

 

Tip #5: Watch Helpful Shows On Fruits and Veggies

How To Market Fruits and Veggies to Your Kids: Tip #3

17 Jan

Big bucks are being spent on marketing unhealthy foods directly to children. What are parents to do? Learn how and what is being done, find ways to counter the commercials that make kids want to eat unhealthy foods and in the process Librarymarket fruits and veggies to kids. We may not have more money than big food corporations, but we have the advantage of time with, love for and commitment to the health of our children.

Tip #3:

PROMOTE FRUITS AND VEGGIES

USING FAVOURITE CHARACTERS or PEOPLE

Yoda, Aunt Beru, Luke Skywalker, Michael Jackson

The premise behind this tip is that children will be inspired to eat what their favorite characters or personalities eat.


Our son loves:

1. Star Wars

2. Michael Jackson’s music

3. Winnie the Pooh.

 

How do we incorporate these three favorites with food?

1. Star Wars:

– We talk about Aunt Beru’s Kitchen being full of vegetables and that she uses her blender to serve Luke and Uncle Owen yummy Green Smoothies.

– We research the foods Yoda eats on Dagobah: berries, mushrooms, seeds…

– We create stories about other characters, for example the Jawas must eat carrots because they have amazing night vision.

2. Michael Jackson:

This was easy because Michael Jackson was a vegetarian. We found a story on Huffington Post about Michael Jackson being a regular at a vegetarian restaurant called The Golden Temple. He met a couple there and was very interested in the woman’s vegetarian pregnancy and her baby.

3. Winnie the Pooh:

Pooh Bear loves honey!!! Our fave breakfasts and snacks include raw honey (banana with honey, raw yoghurt with honey, raw oatmeal with honey…). And we discovered a Green Smoothie our son loves because It Takes Like Honey… thus we have renamed it Pooh Bear’s Smoothie.

 

Tip #4: USE POSITIVE IMAGERY ASSOCIATED WITH EATING HEALTHY FOOD

How To Market Fruits and Veggies to Your Kids: Tip #2

17 Jan

Big bucks are being spent on marketing unhealthy foods directly to children.  What are parents to do?  Learn how and what is being done, find ways to counter the commercials that make kids want to eat unhealthy foods and in the process market fruits and veggies to kids.  We may not have more money than big food corporations, but we have the advantage of time with, love for and commitment to the health of our children.

Tip #2:

PLACE HEALTHY FOODS

at

CHILD’S EYE LEVEL

and

WITHIN CHILD’S REACH

Fruits on the Counter

The premise behind this tip is that children will gravitate towards the food that are at their eye level and within their grasp.

Son's Dedicated Fridge Level: raw almond butter, green smoothie, raw yoghurt, dehydrated buckwheat cereal, flax seed crackers and kale chips, raw salted eggs, nuts and dried fruits

1. dedicate one level of the fridge to your child’s fave healthy foods (cut fruit or veggies, raw almond butter, dried fruits, nuts and seeds, dips, snack items)

2. dedicate one level of the pantry to your child’s fave healthy foods (honey, raw chips, raw cookies, dehydrated snacks)

3. make cut fresh fruit, cut vegetables, green smoothies and raw milk available at all times (we use our stainless steel lunch box and thermos with a straw)

4. keep fresh produce on the counter at all times

Tip #3: PROMOTE FRUITS AND VEGGIES USING FAVOURITE CHARACTERS or PEOPLE