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Heart Health!

8 Mar

The time has come when I can finally make some time for a new post! Although spring break will be over before I feel like it has started, I have had a little time to take a break from my crazy schedule and unwind & relax a bit. I have missed having time to not only blog, but look at other blogs, get great food ideas, and try out some new recipes.

February was Heart Disease Awareness Month. With Student Dietetic Association, we did a “heart health” nutrition booth at the gym, I also recently shadowed a RD who works with a pediatric cardiologist, & I just watched the documentary “Forks over Knives”. So…heart health has been on my mind a bunch these past couple weeks. Some quick heart health facts….

  • Omega 3 vs. Omega 6 Fatty Acids: Both alpha linolenic acid (n-3) and alpha linoleic acid (n-6) are essential for good health and brain function with the proper ratio of about 1:2 or 1:3 (O-3:O-6). Yet most Americans get more like 1: 15-25. Too much of omega-6 has been shown to actually compete with omega-3 in your body, lowering you ability to take in n-3 and properly convert that n-3 to DHA (which is essential for physiological & brain development-that our bodies can’t make on our own). Too much omega-6 if pro inflammatory= heart disease! Inflammation is the main cause of so many diseases we encounter, but especially heart disease.
  • So why do Americans eat so much omega-6!? Omega-6 is found in all vegetable oils, some grains, and meats. Soybean oil is the #1 provider of omega-6 because almost all processed, take-out, and prepared foods at restaurants are loaded with vegetable oils (especially for cooking).
  • Focus on getting as much omega-3 as possible every day. The best sources are flax seed (make sure you grind it and don’t heat it up!) & Walnuts. I try to eat these two everyday. Salmon is very high as well…if you eat fish (make sure it is wild though)
  • Omega-3 reduces inflammation, prevent blood clotting, increases your body’s response to insulin, lowers the amount of lipids in your blood, and so so much more.

A Quick Heart Healthy idea:

Healthy Heart Breakfast or Snack Bowl

1-2 Tbs  of ground flax seed

1-2 Tbs of ground chia seed

(1:3 ratio of chia/flax to water/milk for a thick egg-like consistency. So use ~6 Tbs or so of liquid. About 1/4 + 1/8 cup roughly)

unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/2 cup chopped apple

1-2 large dates chopped

1/2 -1 tsp cinnamon (I would do a full tsp)

1/8 tsp fresh nutmeg

Add-ins:  chopped walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, unsweetened shredded coconut, extra vanilla, scoop of dark cocoa powder, cashews, dark cocoa nibs, frozen organic berries, sliced banana. Or sprinkle some lacuma powder, maca powder, or another whole food supplement.

–> The options are endless!

Combine ground flax and chia with almond milk, let it rest a couple of minute. Add more or less almond milk to get the right consistency. Then stir in the remaining ingredients! You can make this thicker by added slightly less almond milk. This is perfect to make in a tupperware to take on the go. You can even add in “raw” rolled oats if you want!

 

I highly recommend watching the documentary Forks Over Knives, it is a very informative movie that gives a ton of information on the research and scientific evidence between the obvious results and conclusions that a plant-based vegan diet is a direct cause of lowering/eliminating heart disease. It observes different cultures and countries throughout the world, comparing groups of people who ate plant diets vs. meat and dairy diets. The casein in animal products (regardless of it being low/non-fat or organic products) is the key component in triggering diseases and cancer. I love how the research given in these studies is very clear, especially in trends over time concerning groups of people or individual’s diets and cancer specifically. Netflix it!

 

Raw Sunflower Burgers (from Choosing Raw)

1 cup sunflower seeds (not pre-soaked)
2-3 tbsp tamari, nama shoyu, or braggs liquid aminos
2 cups greens or green juice pulp (kale, parsley, celery, romaine, cucumber, broccoli) I used fresh spinach-because I didn’t have the pulp)
1/4 cup ground flax meal
2 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dried oregano + some other herb you like. I added some rosmarry

Grind Sunflower seeds in food processor, then add the rest of the ingredients. Form into 3-5 burger patties. Place on parchment paper on the dehydrator sheets and dehydrate for 4 hours at 115 degrees then flip and dehydrate for another 4 hours.

New Dehydrator I got for Christmas!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These were DELICIOUS! Raw burgers are so so worth the long wait. I put on top of a bed of romaine with red peppers, corn, green peppers, red onion, & some hemp seed pesto (also from Choosing Raw!) These flavors together were as far from bland as you can possibly get.

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Raw Raspberry Dream Cheesecake

9 Jan

Okay this cheesecake was beyond delicious. It was creamy and the perfect sweetness. I adapted the recipe from here. I added a little cinnamon to the crust and almost doubled the recipe to make it in a larger pan. This cashew base became a great consistency once it froze then defrosted a bit. You can  enjoy a slice of decadent cheesecake full of healthful cashews, almonds, dates, and raspberries! Desserts are awesome to take to parties or for others if introducing them to vegan and/or raw foods. Everybody loves raw desserts…who can’t!?!?

Raw Raspberry Dream Cheesecake (Dairy free, gluten free, guilt-free)

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds (or sub pecans or walnuts-but almonds are my preference)
  • 1/2 cup soft Medjool dates
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  •  1/4 tsp.  sea salt (Himalayan)

Filling

  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 5 hours, overnight is best
  • juice of 1-2 lemons (I used 1 large lemon)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract or the seeds of one vanilla bean
  • 3 Tbs coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup raw agave or honey
  • 1-1.5 cup frozen raspberries thawed. (or just fresh)
  • Add small amounts of water at a time if too thick

* I almost doubled everything to use a larger spring-form pan. You can’t really go wrong-the thickness will just vary.

*The filling should be a thick batter consistency, not as thick as a pudding though.

Directions:
1. Place nuts and dates in a food processor with sea salt  and cinnamon and pulse to chop until they are to your desired fineness. Mine became a very thick and sticky consistency. It does not necessarily need to be wet, just make sure the crust will hold together. Scoop out crust mixture in a 7” spring-form pan (if you don’t have a spring-form pan, use a pie plate lined with saran wrap), and press firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base is relatively even throughout.
2. Heat coconut oil and agave or honey in a small saucepan on low heat until liquid. Whisk to combine.
3. In the vitamix place all filling ingredients (except raspberries) and blend on high until very smooth.
4. Pour about 2/3 (just eyeball it) over crust.  I did less than I should have, so even though it may seem like too much pour more rather than less and  smooth with a spatula. Add the raspberries to the remaining filling in the vitamix and blend on high until smooth. Pour onto the first layer of filling. Place in freezer until solid. You want to make sure there is a thicker white layer, but still a good bold pink color for the top layer!
5. To serve, remove from freezer 15-30 minutes prior to eating. It is best to use a very sharp and smooth knife to cut slices. Keep in the freezer, if you have any leftovers (:

This went pretty fast in my house. I think it was difficult for my parents to save me a piece since I left for Atlanta for 4 days right after I made it. But I mean Passion Conference as soooooooo worth leaving to have most of my cheesecake eaten. I will just have to make some more before I go back to school-maybe lemon, pumpkin, or blueberry?

Gotta Get the Greens

20 Nov

Amidst the holiday season, it can be very difficult to incorporate all the greens we need. Which is a LOT. I know I’ll use the excuse of making something with cooked squash, some grains, or other “comforting” foods, as the weather gets colder. Yes I think it is important to listen to our bodies in what we should eat (to a certain extent) but it is also vital we don’t skimp on the raw veggies. Hey- kale, collards, chard and spinach are all in season anyways, so it’s perfect! I buy atleast one of those dark leafy’s from the farmers market at least once a week. Then I can always freeze what I didn’t use by the end of the week for smoothies.

Plant protein is extremely bioavailable to our bodies from dark leafy greens, as well as beta-carotene, vitamin K, as well as folate, iron, and calcium.

These are the most nutritionally dense foods (most nutrients per calorie). When it comes to serving and portion control, RAW dark leafy (and unleafy, like broccoli) greens are in the “as much as you can eat” list.

Our plates should be 2/3rds  raw dark green vegetables, with a small rich source of plant protein, fruit and very little grains to follow.

No I do not remotely agree with the “My Plate” recommendations set by the USDA. They don’t address portion size, allows WAY too much grains and protein. Americans eat way more protein then they need, which gets stored as fat in excess. Which is why it is hilarious to always here people ask me “Where do you get your protein!?” Protein deficiency in vegans is rare. Plant protein is much better absorbable and digestible by our bodies.

“Eat (real) Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants.” -Michael Pollan  (I added the “real” part)

Broccoli and Kale Ginger Miso Salad (RAW)

2-3 Cups of raw kale

2 Cups raw broccoli

1 Zucchini –> Spiralized into noodles

1 onion chopped

Slivered Almonds (optional)

1 Organic Red Bell Pepper, chopped

Handful of raisins or dried cranberries

Ginger Miso Dressing (Recipe from Choosing Raw)

(Makes 1.5 cups)

1 inch ginger
1 cup olive or flax oil
2 tsp sesame oil (toasted)
Juice of 1 lime
4 tbsp mellow white miso
4 large dates, pitted, or ¼ cup maple syrup
2 tbsp nama shoyu or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1/3 cup water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raw kale can be hard to digest, if not properly worked. So make sure you massage raw kale with some olive oil, other dressing, or simply water. This also prevents chelation of some key minerals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asian-Ginger Tofu over Kale

(Serves 1 1/2)

5.5 oz Sprouted Tofu (You can buy a 2-5.5 oz package, with the 2 small 5.5oz attached, so when you only need enough to serve 1 the other half stays sealed and fresh)

2 Cups Raw Kale

1/4 Sliced Onion

7-8 Cherry Tomatoes, halved

1/2 Large Green Bell Pepper Sliced

Drizzle of Olive Oil and Lime Juice

Squeeze tofu as much as possible to remove the liquid. I do not have a tofu-press. But I usually just wrap it in a towel in a baking dish and place a heavy pan or bowl on top for several hours.

Use a combination of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, Brown Rice vinegar, Lime Juice, Garlic Powder, and Ground Ginger. Mix and cover over tofu (cut into cubes) for as long a you would like it to marinate.

Bake tofu at 400 for about 30 minutes, flipping once. I threw in my sliced onions in the pan for the last 10 minutes to soften them up.

Drizzle a little olive oil and lime juice over kale, and massage until tender. Top tofu and the rest of the veggies on top and enjoy!

 

Vegfest 2011

8 Oct

I went home 2 weekends ago for many reasons, but Vegfest 2011 in DC was one of the main contributors. This was just like a mini version of Green Festival! My friend Colleen first found out about it and told me, so I couldn’t miss it. I seem to drop everything to go to events like this, who knows when I’ll be able to go again? This was a Vegan/Vegetarian festival at George Washington University with a ton of exhibitors/vendors from mainly the DC area. There were many different businesses, food places, animal activists, and TON of vegan bakeries-including Sticky Fingers Bakery which is a famous vegan bakery in DC that was on Cupcake Wars on Food Network many times! We talked to the owner Doron Petersan who has a cupcake cook book, and was so so nice! (How awesome is it to have vegan representatives on food network!?) She gave use sample of her chocolate cupcake winner and it was the best chocolate I have ever had-even before my pre-vegan days. That is a big statement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ahhh coconut delight!

We got so many free samples and informational handouts. Throughout the day there were different speakers, book signings (cupcake eating contests), and cooking demos. Dr. Michael Gregor was there, who is a M.D. and puts out nutritional videos that people can subscribe to. He takes the medical literature/articles, and summarized them to make it easier for people to understand and apply. He talks about the data and facts behind studies and findings, and it is just amazing how everything points back to how human are meant to be eating a plant-based diet today. He went through all the medical schooling and has all the credentials of a doctor and is brilliant. And he chooses to not put animal products into his body because he knows it is not good for us. I feel like he has so much more “pull” with people than those in the integrative/functional/holistic/homeopathic field. They are certified in some way, but clearly not the same way as doctors. Part of the reason is that when someone gets sick or when something is wrong with their health, they must “go to the doctors”. When in reality doctors often treat the symptoms and not the cause. I am so glad there are vegan doctors like Dr. Greger, so he can reach those people who only listen to “doctors”, and may be positively influenced in their way of eating. This is mainly why I am going through my Undergrad in dietetics/ a dietetic internship to get become a RD (registered dietician). Although I could go to school for two years and become certified in integrative nutrition (which I really just want to do sometime),  I’ve decided to go through the 4 years then a 1-2 year internship to  become more “recognized” and “accredited”. I am not saying that people certified in integrative,  holistic, homeopathy, or osteopathy are not accredited, because they most definitely are-just not in the same way as other people view it. But it is very hard sometimes to be learning things and told to implement certain habits and guidelines which I am completely opposed to and know it is harmful to one’s health. But that’s a whole new story.

I was asked the other day by a good friend, if I could do anything in the world for my career, what would it be. I couldn’t answer because there is just so much I would love to be doing and combining so many areas of interests. After I become an RD I want to go into integrative and functional nutrition, and some homeopathy, with a focus on sustainability. The nutrition content of food is so important, but there is so much more to just that. (which many RDs do not stress) I am passionate about being a mindful eater, caring for the environment, eating local and organic, and making connections with your food. So much is lost from our food system today, and I want to help bring some of the community and meaning back to the way we eat and how we treat our bodies. I want to help people realize how important it is to treat your body right and how they can do so to live their best life. So I am praying for direction on where I can go with all of my passions, and how I can best use these to serve the Lord, most importantly.

Sorry for that long tangent, but anyways….I waited in line to get my cholesterol checked by Dr. Greger and it was 156. I was a little surprised, but he immediately said it was the coconut products I eat. Yes coconut oil, coconut butter, and coconut milk increase your cholesterol because it has a type of saturated fat, but not in the same way that red meat does. I am doing more research on this subject and will definitely do a blog about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think many people can relate with me when I say that there is nothing like being at a place where everyone there has a similar mindset and passion as you. It is exhilarating for other’s to be on the same page and understand where you are coming from. I have to say there was a huge proportion of animal activist exhibitors, which is not the main reason why I choose to eat vegan, but I was pleasantly surprised to also have a fair representation of environmental as well as  health advocates. Colleen Goudreau is a vegan author and health advocate-author of a ton of books! She was hilarious and did a 30-day vegan challenge. I loved her. She writes The Joy of Vegan Baking, The Vegan Table, Color Me Vegan, and Vegan’s Daily Companion

There was AMAZING food here, with 18 restaurants represented, so many of them completely raw!

Here was lunch…. Raw lasagna (zucchini noodles, cashew cheese, roasted tomato sauce and other veggies- it had ridiculous flavor), raw gingery sprouted black rice, and a lemony garlic kale salad. Honestly, was in my top 10 best meals ever list. I even got a vegan pumpkin whoopee pie at the end of day as a super special treat. When will I ever get a change to get a vegan one of those!?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re interested here is a list of all the food exhibitors that were there!

Amsterdam Falafelshop – sponsor

Bakeshop

Bread and Brew – sponsor

Burrito Bandits

Cafe Green – sponsor

Curry Mantra

Dama Ethiopian

 Dama Pastry

Everlasting Life Cafe

Fojol Bros. of Benethiopia

Fojol Bros. of Merlindia

Mojo Juice

Saveur India

Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats – sponsor 

Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant – sponsor

Sweet and Natural

Vegan Treats

The day was so amazing and enlightening. Events like this just pump me up and inspire me to work hard to be able to do what I am passionate about in the future.

Food Grace

5 Jun

Starting this blog has made me appreciate the beauty of food even more. Now that I am taking pictures of everything, documenting most of the foods I make and their ingredients, it has made me realize the beauty behind every natural, whole ingredient used. There are few things better than admiring a simple piece of fruit or vegetable that you know grew from the ground without being fed toxic chemicals and pesticides. It is so cool how God gave food such diversity and color, showing the numerous nutrients intended for us to consume to keep us healthy and alive. It is no coincidence how the foods he gave us for direct consumption is our natural medicine. It not only keeps us alive, but it heals us, cures us, makes us feel better, and IS meant to ENJOY.

These past two semesters at school in my nutrition classes, it’s been interesting to hear some of my professors talk about how it is fascinating how certain foods put together make a complete protein, or how eating some vitamin C with your spinach allows the body to better absorb the iron.  I don’t understand how people can truly think that it was by chance how when we put certain minerals and vitamins in our body from their natural source, our bodies thrive and actually function their best. It is no coincidence, the Lord gave us these foods from the ground to nourish us and build us up.

“Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”

Genesis 1:29

So go out to a garden, field, or  local farmers market, and pick some organic living food from the ground and enjoy the beauty and medicine God gave it for our bodies  (: