real raw kitchen: April 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012

Migraine Relief : all N A T U R A L

Huffington Post Living just published a great article highlighting the latest research on natural alternatives to migraine treatment and prevention. As a former migraine sufferer (2-3 migraines a WEEK) I am so very excited to see this approach making mainstream news.

Butterbur, a noted natural treatment for migraines

I am a bit disappointed in the study and this article, however, because it highlights natural medicinal approaches versus the simplest most cost effective approach: healthy living. When I changed my lifestyle it was for no particular reason except curiosity. I had so many ailments but I never made the connection to my lifestyle.

My entire body used to break out in hives, I got migraines several times a week, I was SO tired all the time (so much so I asked the doctor to check my thyroids), I had stomach issues and sensitivities, and I slept so so much. Once I started exploring raw foods my ailments started falling by the wayside. Now I am 80% - 100% raw most days and the only ailment I get is a headache once a month (also when I get mild cramps, bloating, and intolerable cravings ... yup, you guessed it). Even so all of it is completely manageable without ANY medicine.

I am not saying one must be a raw foodie to be pain-free, but what I am saying is that cleaning up your diet and using your blood system as a natural drain-o for your veins is probably the most effective at treating migraines. If you take care of your body it will take care of you. The cleaner you are, and the more you treat your body the way it's intended to be treated, the more likely your body will function at the capacity it is meant to function at.

For more information on the emotional-spiritual connection to such ailments, check out Dr. Sha's work or Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss. Both are incredible reads with such valuable information ...

The article does not highlight this, but it's making steps in the right direction!

RECIPE: superfood eggnog

As a kid I loved sipping on eggnog during the holidays but I usually ended up with a stomach ache. Now I mix a few all N A T U R A L ingredients together and I have a guilt-free, pain-free, better-than-eggnog eggnog to enjoy.

It doesn't look like eggnog and it's milder than eggnog, but it reminds me so much of the creamy drink that I can't help but think of Santa Claus (the holidays...).

Raw Vegan Superfood Eggnog
1 cup coconut water (fresh from the coconut, if you can) (healthy fats, electrolytes)
1 frozen banana
1 ripe banana
1 heaping tablespoon raw almond butter (protein)
1 heaping tablespoon raw cacao powder (antioxidants, magnesium, serotonin...too many benefits to name!)
1/2 tablespoon raw honey (immunity)
1 teaspoon maca powder (hormone balancing)
1 teaspoon spirulina-optional (protein)
1 teaspoon bee pollen (immunity, protein)

Pour the coconut water into a high speed blender and place the bananas in at the bottom. Add everything else, making sure it all sits in the middle (so it doesn't get stuck to the sides of the blender). Blend until smooth and THAT'S IT.

So delicious. Incredible.

Friday, April 27, 2012

"Doesn't Taste Green" Green Smoothie

One Green Planet has a great bit on how to create the perfect green smoothie. It really is a no-fail meal in that you are the master and there are no rules. However, if you're fairly new at this then undoubtedly drinking your veggies sounds awful. In this article One Green Planet highlights some great tips that make the task less daunting. With me, I started out with vanilla hemp milk, frozen bananas, agave, and a handful of spinach... there was hardly any green in my "green" smoothie!! Now I'm able to include a whole head of lettuce, several cups of spinach, wheat grass, and broccoli along with a banana and coconut water.

So work your way up to the Green-ness and go at your own pace. The way I see it is this: regardless of your green to color ratio, you're replacing a potentially fattening, oily, animal-based meal with pure fruits and veggies ... that cannot be a bad thing. Ever.

Slurp up! Check out my green smoothies (Awesomeness: cantaloup edition  and Hazelnut Kale) or Skin Beautifying Smoothie for more inspiration!!

The article from One Green Planet:

Guide: Amazing Green Smoothie Combos

Posted on March 29, 2012 by Jennifer Valentine: Editorial Manager, OneGreenPlanet.Org

A few notes:

-Ripe, frozen bananas make a great smoothie base, adding a sweet flavor and creamy texture. Try using one banana and half a cup of other fruit. If you don’t like bananas, use a cup of one or more of the other types of fruit listed.
-If you’re shy about greens, try starting with 1 cup instead of 2, but be sure to use a whole cup of liquid.
-If you don’t have a high-powered blender (like a Vitamix or Blendtec), try blending the liquid and greens together before adding the frozen fruit. This will ensure a smooth consistency and make the mixture easier to blend.
-Feel free to use as many add-in’s as you like! They’re a great way to add flavor and extra nutritional punch to your smoothie.
-This matrix is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all possible smoothie ingredients. Once you’ve mastered the basic smoothie, don’t be afraid to experiment with other ingredients like avocados, carrots, tofu, soy yogurt, kiwis, apples, and other greens!

½ to 1 cup liquid2 cups greens1 cup frozen fruitadd-in’s
soy milkspinachbanananut butter
almond milkkalecherriescocoa or mesquite powder
coconut milkswiss chardblueberriesvanilla extract
coconut waterromaine or leaf lettucestrawberries, raspberries, blackberriesprotein powder
flax milkturnip, beet, collard, dandelion greensmango, pineapple, papayaginger, cinnamon, other spices
hemp milkparsleypeach, plum, peardates

And finally, here’s my favorite combination!

The “Doesn’t Taste Green” Smoothie:
½ cup plain or unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 cups organic baby spinach
1 frozen banana
½ cup frozen blueberries
1 T raw cacao powder
1 T mesquite powder
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 scoop vegan protein powder

Thursday, April 26, 2012

RECIPE: Chocolate cravings and the 5-minute fix

For perfectly justifiable feminine reasons I wanted a quick indulgent bite of something chocolate. Panicked at the thought of not having anything on hand and fearing the task of creating an entirely new recipe, I threw together a simple and most decadent  dessert.

5-minute Chocolate Mint Tart
(serves 2-3)
1 heaping tablespoon coconut oil (warm/melted)
1 tablespoon cacao powder
1 tablespoon maple syrup
a few drops of peppermint extract

In the smallest bowl/dish you can find (in our case, an espresso cup) combine all of the ingredients and stir until mixed completely. Stick the tart in the fridge for 5 minutes to harden. When it's firm it's ready! 

So easy! So delicious! and no nuts, flours, grains, or questionable ingredients.

Play with the combination a bit: omit the peppermint, add vanilla or almond extract, throw some goji berries in there, whatever! It's YOUR cravings you're listening to.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

RECIPE: southwestern bowl with corn and guac

It was a curl-up-on-the-couch-and-eat-something-cozy kind of evening. I always have the makings for a southwestern meal stocked in the fridge so the possibilities for this theme are usually endless. In the event of this meal, I threw together several very simple, very basic ingredients.

Southwestern Corn and Guac Salad
1 ear of corn
1 tomato, chopped
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
juice from one lime
a couple scoops of guacamole 

Shave the corn off the cob (see video below from YouTube) into a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and you are set for a DELICIOUS meal. (For the guacamole mash together one avocado with chopped garlic, lime juice, diced onion, and chopped cilantro.) I paired this with some of my Raw Rye Bread.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

RECIPE: pecan pie

My mom sent home with me a fresh bag of just-picked pecans from the Central Valley (California). I could hardly wait to get home and make some magic happen with those unadulterated beauties. First on the list: Pecan Pie.

For the crust:
2 cups pecans
5-7 pitted dates, soaked
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon clove powder
1 teaspoon vanilla (seeds scraped from a bean)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Put the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until crumbly and sticking together a bit. Dump the contents into the bottom of a 9-inch spring-form pan and press down until the entire bottom is evenly covered. Place in freezer until you are ready to pour the filling on top.

For the filling:
2 cups cashews (soaked for about 30 minutes)
2 teaspoons molasses 
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 cup maple syrup (non raw)
7 dates pitted, soaked
1/4 cup of coconut oil/butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon each of nutmeg and clove powder

Place everything save the coconut, vanilla, and salt into a high speed blender. Blend until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until everything is incorporated, but do not over blend. Pour the filling atop the crust. Decorate the top with halves of pecans (or however you want) and then place the pie into the freezer for 2-3 hours. Move to the frig and keep there until ready to eat.

YUM! and it's GOOD for you, too!! Within the first 24 hours we gave up on plates and just started taking a fork to the pie out of the pan ...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Product Review: Excalibur Dehydrator

When I first went raw I wasn't sure where to begin when it came to kitchen appliances. Now I am more familiar with my own skills, preferences, and challenges and so I am able to make more educated purchases.

Knowing what I know now I might go for a Vitamix instead of a Blendtec, or a masticating juicer instead of a centrifugal, or a larger cup size food processor versus the day-after-Thanksgiving-sale-processor... the same goes for my dehydrator. I LOVE my dehydrator and I am very very satisfied with it. However, I do wish I had paid more attention to whether or not there was a timer. Other than wishing the dehydrator would magically shut off after 8 hours, I am still very much in love with my Excalibur as I was the day we met.
This beast is incredibly durable and gets the job done. If you have yet to buy a dehydrator then this is the one. I have a 5 tray dehydrator and I find that it works. I prepare food for myself and sometimes for my less interested Significant Other. If you are preparing for more then get a larger one.

Friday, April 20, 2012

visiting family / friends

Visiting others and their kitchens can at first seem daunting. There is the struggle of whether or not your hosts support your lifestyle and then whether or not their kitchens support your lifestyle. My go-to food item for traveling is avocados. They maintain their freshness when traveling, remain protected, and are fairly easy to slice open and scoop out. They are very filling and packed with fat, fiber, and an array of nutrients. For the most part most kitchens have a sharp knife to cut it open and scoop it out.

I visited home this past weekend and before I had a chance to stock pile my own goodies I HAD to eat. Luckily the family kitch had an avocado, a tomato, and a beautiful bin of salsa. I threw everything together and enjoyed one of my favorite snacks.

Traveling? Don't panic. It's really not as difficult as everyone makes it out to be. Being RAW is a lifestyle choice and once you realize it's not a diet or a burden it really becomes one of the simplest ways to live!

Kimberly Snyder also has some great tips on traveling, which I tend to follow regularly. Happy travels!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

RECIPE: raw tacos

I'm from California so I LOVE a good Mexican meal. Whenever I can recreate my own Mexican meal from home I am one happy girl. Tonight we had tacos with chocolate mole sauce. It was so delicious and the depth of flavor was killer. It had the perfect balance of sweet, savory, spicy, and tangy.

For this meal I placed three tortillas on my plate, lined with guacamole (avocado, garlic, onion, salt, lime juice,  jalapeño), shredded romaine lettuce, homemade salsa (diced tomatoes, onions, red bell pepper, jalapeño, lime juice, cilantro) and topped with chipotle spiced nuts. I added slices of avocado and drizzled chocolate mole sauce, too!

RAW Corn Buckwheat Tortillas
inspired by Raw Food Essentials
(makes 6)

  • 2 ears of white corn 
  • 1/4 cup dry buckwheat 
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1-2 tablespoons water

  • First place the buckwheat into a high speed blender and blend until a powder forms.
  •  Put the powder/flour into a bowl and set aside.
  •  Scrape the kernels off the corn and pace kernels into the blender. 
  • Add the buckwheat flour, the olive oil, and the water. Blend until smooth.
  • Make six circles on 2-3 Teflex liners, spreading out until they are the size you like. Be sure there is a fairly thick layer as thinner tortillas will fall apart once the moisture from the guac, salsa, etc. soaks into them.
  • Dehydrate at 104 for 5-6 hours, peel from liner, and dehydrate until dry but still flexible. They will dehydrate about 8 hours total.

RAW Chocolate Mole Sauce
inspired by Raw Food Essentials

  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, seeded 
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder 
  • 1 teaspoon agave 
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder 
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 2 tablespoons water 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • Put everything in the blender and blend until smooth. 

Spiced Chipotle Nuts
inspired by Raw Food Essentials

  • 1 cup almonds, soaked and chopped 
  • 1 handful sunflower seeds, soaked and chopped 
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup 
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle powder 
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder (to taste) 
  • 1 teaspoon coriander 
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt 
  • a few shakes of liquid smoke for a more bbq flavor (optional)

  • Soak the nuts and seeds overnight.
  •  In the morning drain and chop the nuts and seeds. 
  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. 
  • Spread mixture onto a Teflex sheet and dehydrate at 104 for 24 hours. 
  • Remove the mixture from the sheet the next day and spread onto the mesh layer of the dehydrating trays and continue to dehydrate at 104 for another 24 hours. 
  • Break apart and then store in a glass container in the fridge. Great on tacos, salads, as a snack, whatever!


**disclosure: if you purchase anything I link to you via Amazon I make a small percentage out of it at no cost to you! So cool for me, so cool for you!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

RECIPE: basic chia bowl

Chia seeds are a great source of omegas, are very filling, and provide long-term satiety for the hard-werkin' babes. They are also quick and easy when looking for a satisfying meal in a snap.

Basic Chia Bowl
1/4 cup chia seeds
water / coconut water/ nut mylk
1/4 tsp vanilla powder
1 tsp agave or maple syrup

Put the seeds in a bowl. Pick whatever liquid you want and pour to cover the seeds. Add the vanilla and sweetener and then mix. I like to put everything into a small jar with a lid and then shake vigorously to mix. Let the chia pudding stand for 15-20 minutes until you get a gelatinous pudding. Add whatever fruit and enjoy!

Here I had papaya, blueberries, and raw chocolate granola.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012



Nutrient Dense and contains essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients:

Eating nutrient dense foods is one of the healthiest ways to eat. Nutrient density is a measure of the amount of nutrients a food contains in comparison to the number of calories. California Avocados are naturally nutrient dense containing the following key nutrients:

Fresh. Natural. Wholesome.

Here’s The Scoop on the Goodness of Fresh California Avocados.

California Avocados are a fresh, natural, wholesome part of a healthful diet. They’re irresistibly rich in flavor and avocados also provide vital nutrients and phytochemicals. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some types of cancer and other chronic diseases.

There are 13 vitamins that the body absolutely needs: vitamins A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate). Avocados naturally contain many of these vitamins.

    MONOUNSATURATED FATS (3g per serving) – Helps to lower blood cholesterol if used in place of saturated fats.

    VITAMIN K (6.3 mcg/8% DV per serving) – Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in blood clotting. It is known as the clotting vitamin, because without it blood would not clot. Some studies indicate that it helps in maintaining strong bones in the elderly.
    FOLATE (27 mcg/6% DV per serving) – Promotes healthy cell and tissue development. This is especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth such as infancy and pregnancy. Folate is also essential for metabolism of homocysteine and helps maintain normal levels of this amino acid.
    POTASSIUM (152 mg/4% DV per serving) – In the body, potassium is classified as an electrolyte. Potassium is a very important mineral to the human body. It has various roles in metabolism and body functions and is essential for the proper function of all cells, tissues, and organs: It assists in the regulation of the acid-base balance; assists in protein synthesis from amino acids and in carbohydrate metabolism; and, it is necessary for the building of muscle and for normal body growth.

    VITAMIN E (.590 mg/4% DV per serving) – A fat-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant that protects the body tissue from damage caused by unstable substances called free radicals. Free radicals can harm cells, tissues, and organs. They are believed to play a role in certain conditions associated with aging. Vitamin E is important in the formation of red blood cells and helps the body use vitamin K. At lower levels, vitamin E may help protect the heart. Vitamin E also plays a role in healthy skin and hair.
    LUTEIN (81 mcg) – A carotenoid (a natural pigment) that may be associated with a lower risk of eye diseases. Lutein is an important antioxidant that may help your eyes stay healthy while maintaining the health of your skin. It provides nutritional support to your eyes and skin and has been linked to promoting healthy eyes through reducing the risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in adults 65 years of age and older.

    MAGNESIUM (9.0 mg/2% DV per serving) –An essential mineral for human nutrition. Magnesium in the body serves several important functions: Contraction and relaxation of muscles; Function of certain enzymes in the body; Production and transport of energy; and Production of Protein.

    VITAMIN C (2.6 mg/4% DV per serving) –A water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for normal growth and development. Vitamin C is one of many antioxidants. Antioxidants are nutrients that block some of the damage caused by free radicals, which are by-products that result when our bodies transform food into energy. Vitamin C is required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. It is necessary to form collagen, an important protein used to make skin, scar tissue, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels.
    VITAMIN B6 (0.086 mg/4% DV per serving) –A water-soluble vitamin. Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water. The body cannot store them. That means you need a continuous supply of such vitamins in your diet. Vitamin B6 helps the immune system produce antibodies. Antibodies are needed to fight many diseases. Vitamin B6 helps maintain normal nerve function and form red blood cells. The body uses it to help break down proteins. The more protein you eat, the more vitamin B6 you need.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

RAW Eats : LifeFood Gourmet

I am so fortunate to have this little shop down the street from me.

The food is incredible, good quality, fresh, and easy to eat. They have a tiny little storefront, as well, where you can buy all kinds of goodies that are impossible to find in Miami.

Burrito with Side Salad

All Raw Veggie Pizza
Life Food Burger

Life Food Nachos
I will be back, for sure. Probably to sample everything on the menu.


Friday, April 6, 2012

RAW superfood, Cacao

Cacao is an incredible superfood with so many benefits overflowing from its natural state. My favorite benefit from cacao is the belief that cacao supports the heart in a literal, metaphysical, and spiritual sense (Wolfe, 2009). Cacao is known to reconnect us to the intuition of Mother Nature. It is a very grounding substance. Yes!

The more measurable benefits are as follows:

  • Antioxidants- highest concentration of antioxidants of any food in the world
  • Magnesium- number one source, increases brain power, strong bowel movements, and muscle relaxation
  • Iron- one serving contains 314% the RDA of this oxygen-carrying protein
  • Chromium-balances blood sugar
  • Manganese- assists in oxygenation of blood
  • Zinc- immunity, sexual fluids, skin health
  • Copper- immunity
  • Vitamin C- immunity
  • Omega-6 Fatty Acids- healthy omega that helps balance overall intake
  • Phenylethylamine (PEA)- chemical naturally present when we fall in love
  • Anandamide- natural endorphin
  • Tryptophan- a powerful mood-enhancing nutrient
  • Serotonin- the primary neurotransmitter in the human body
  • Fiber- smooth and regular bowel movements
A real cacao plant I saw in Miami

Where to start? Here are some basic and quick recipes to get cacao (the raw, unadulterated version of cocoa) into your diet (recipes from Wolfe, 2009):

RAW avocado mousse
3 avocados
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
2-4 tablespoons maple syrup or agave (or 1/4 dates)
1 tablespoon maca powder

Combine in a food processor and serve with berries or nuts (or both!).  Serves 2-3. 

Awesome Chocolate Shake
2 frozen bananas
1 cup nut mylk
1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
1 tablespoon maca powder
1 tablespoon raw almond butter

Blend in a high speed blender and enjoy immediately. Serves YOU.

Cacao Goji Trail Mix
handful raw cacao nibs
handful goji berries
handful pumpkin seeds
handful macadamia nuts
handful sunflower seeds

Mix well and store in a glass jar. I keep mine at work and munch on it whenever I'm hungry but have a long ways to go before my next meal. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Life is painful ...

One of my favorite sayings I heard while in grad school ...

How true is this? This is why community is so important. Reach out and find your support system. Check out this mental health blog at Healthy Mind Happy Life for rad ideas on how to live a suffer-free life.

So beautiful. Radically empowering.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

RAW on the town

Creativity and passion can get you a lot in life, and it can certainly make dining out a lot easier when staying RAW.

Today, after hours in the sun on the beach and in the salty Atlantic Ocean, I ordered one of the most simple and delicious meals while walking around an outdoor mall.

Here I had a Mediterranean Salad (cucumber, tomato, red and green bell peppers, onion, olive oil and lemon juice) and a fresh squeezed glass of pure melon juice. It was incredible and so delicious. It was less than $10, too!

How to eat RAW

When people hear the words "raw vegan" they usually ask, "but what do you eat?" And here's exactly how I eat raw:
I stick to a plant-based diet and mostly raw/natural states. I enjoy a cooked meal just as much as the next person but if it's coming from my kitchen then it's most likely raw.

It's amazing how much better food tastes when you've cleaned everything out of the body. It's like nature suddenly becomes this silver platter.