real raw kitchen: April 2013

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

RECIPE: superfood salad

The other day I went to the Yoga Fest 2013 in Fort Lauderdale with high hopes. It was a beautiful event with lots of potential but the temperature crept into the 90s with a humidity index that was bordering unsafe. Also, and ironically, the food vendors were mostly turkey-legs-and-pina-coladas booths which doesn't really match my personal preference for food choices ... or that of hundreds of yogis.
the GBK inspiration

So afterward my SO and I headed to Green Bar & Kitchen to replenish our very empty reserves. I had read rave reviews on Yelp so it was a pretty easy decision. Originally I had my heart set on the coconut rice bowl but once I got there I just couldn't shake the craving I had for greens. So I opted for the Superfood Salad.

I have not stopped obsessing over it since then.


I have tried to recreate the magical salad and so far I think I've done a pretty good job. Nothing will ever compare to the original but this certainly is a winning salad on its own, as well.




 Let me also share why this salad has proven to be a pivotal moment in my blogging career: I have learned to never plan to take pictures of my upcoming recipes at the end of a very long day. I hadn't eaten for 10 hours, I had just completed a challenging yoga session, and I was exhausted and starving. All I wanted to do was scoop handfuls of the cacao nibs and goji berries into my mouth but instead I had to figure out how to use the camera.



I also learned that morning light is so much more romantic and forgiving than evening light (or, 10 p.m. light).  This is the day that I learned to plan ahead and keep myself well fed. 


Superfood Salad:
the ingredients
2-3 cups kale, torn apart
2-3 cups spring mix
2-3 cups spinach
1/4 cabbage, thinly sliced
handful sunflower sprouts
fresh figs (I used about 6)
2 T goji berries
2 T cacao nibs
2 T dried mulberries
1 T sesame seeds
2 T unsweetened coconut flakes
handful of edible flowers

First pour the dressing over the kale and massage with your hands until the kale is wilted. Put everything in a large bowl and toss (or don't, it looks pretty when it's all layered ...).


Spirulina Dressing
2 T coconut nectar
4 T coconut water
1 t spirulina (or chlorella)
2 T olive oil (optional)

Place everything in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the olive oil in last and blend just until smooth.


Pour over the salad and enjoy. I massaged the kale with the dressing and then topped the salad with the remaining ingredients. You could try that, as well.

Be well. Be fed. And get some sleep.

xo




Monday, April 29, 2013

DIY: anti-inflammatory masque

Turmeric is an incredible anti-inflammatory  agent and is one of the most potent spices to exist. Whether ingested internally or used as a topical agent it can have powerful effects. Curcumin is the magical component of turmeric that makes all of this possible. It is effective in almost any inflammatory issues.

Turmeric is also an incredible healing agent when it comes to marks and scars. It sweeps away old damaged cells and allows new and beautiful, glow-y cells to surface.

In this case, it can also be used as a topical masque for any flare ups. Since going off birth control a little over a year ago my skin has been on a hormonal roller coaster and seems to finally be slowing down. Now my flare ups are only around the final week of my cycle and are much more manageable ... which means they are much more responsive to treatment. 

And so, behold, the simplest masque to treat flare ups, irritations, or even just good, old-fashioned skin sweeping.


Anti-Inflammatory Masque
1 T turmeric
1 T raw honey

Put into a small bowl and mix together until incorporated thoroughly. Spread on your face and leave anywhere from 5-20 minutes. Use a washcloth (one you don't care about) and rinse it in warm/hot water. Place over your face and let the heat work with the masque and skin. Once the damp washcloth is cooled wipe everything off. You can even use it, at this point, as a scrub as well. 

Don't be alarmed when your washcloth turns yellow and if your skin has a yellow tint as well. Use a good cleanser to get the color off (how about organic virgin olive oil?!).

Another one of my favorite at-home treatments. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

xo


Saturday, April 27, 2013

most inspirational yoga video of the year

I often like to equate myself to a mouse. A six-foot mouse. I am tall, I am quiet, I scurry behind the scenes and I scare easily. Naturally, as such, yoga does not come easily to me. Balancing all 6' of my curves on top of my head is very challenging, and getting my legs to bend behind me is a bit uncomfortable. Unhinging my hips, to boot, makes yoga more of a personal journey than one of graceful poses. 

I do it anyway.

Mainly because I love it and I love how it feels. But then also because I see videos like this one, below, and I am overwhelmed with warmth and love. The beauty in this video is inspiring. I'd like to believe that all of us have the goal to be this beautiful one day. And I'd really like to believe that one day I, too, will achieve it.


Friday, April 26, 2013

RECIPE: snickers bar

Every raw brownie seems to have essentially the same ingredients but I am still somehow enamored by all the variations. Instead of creating another brownie recipe (for now) I decided to mix things around a bit.

In college one of my favorite candy bars was a Snickers bar. I often got one to munch on in the California sunshine as I walked to class. Once I went away to grad school, though, I discovered raw food and dropped the Snickers bar for good!

To this day I still have a sweet tooth and raw food has plenty of sweets to offer. I've been looking for a way to creatively make a dessert that mimics some comfort foods of my childhood while also making it more like an adult version. I made these into dessert bars versus the traditional candy bar and used almonds instead of peanuts. By doing that I've created a dessert that is just the perfect feel-good-treat.


 
Crust
1 cup raw macadamia nuts
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup Medjool dates (soaked for 20 minutes)

In a food processor, whirl the nuts and dates until combined. Spoon into a square dish lined with parchment paper and press down until evenly spread. Set aside.

Caramel Goo
1 cup Medjool dates (soaked for 20 minutes)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or vanilla bean seeds, like I use)
¼ cup water
Pinch of sea salt

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth, adding water slowly as needed. Pour the batter on top of the base and place in the freezer while you work on the chocolate layer. (add chopped almonds if you want the crunchy Snickers feel)

Chocolate Coating
1/2 cup maple syrup (non raw)
3/4 cup cacao powder
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup water, added slowly

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth, adding water slowly as needed (don't over water). Spread on top of the caramel layer (over the nuts, if added) and put back into the freezer for an hour (or so) until set. When you can't take it anymore, take out of freezer and cut into small bite-sized pieces.


In a previous post a reader had commented that maple syrup is not raw and I address the reasons why I choose to use it as a sweetener, anyway, here.


Enjoy! xo





Thursday, April 25, 2013

RECIPE: basic green juice

As a raw foodie it seems like a requirement to like green juice (and kale). Whenever I drink a green juice and cringe there is a part of me that feels guilty. I feel like drinking green juice has gotten so out-of-control-trendy that people aren't owning up to the fact that a lot of times it just doesn't taste good.

There. I said it. Green juice is gross.
Unless, of course, you find a way to combine ingredients properly. As most raw foodies will discover, this lifestyle becomes an obsession and most of us jump in 100% juicing anything in the fridge. I've had hundreds of awful juices but touted them as "cleansing" and "detoxifying" just to console myself. I even convinced myself that my taste buds were just not mature enough for the taste. Then, as if a divine lifeline from beyond the clouds zapped my brain, it occurred to me: stop putting weird things in your juice!
I had a habit of combining every green possible and then guzzling it as quickly as possible: broccoli, sprouts, zucchini, cucumber, beets, carrots, celery, kale, swiss chard .. you name it, it was in there. All at once. And it was usually gross.

Then I found a juice that is always good and is always a hit with whomever I share it with. This is because I follow three simple rules when making a green juice:
  1. It must have a sweet fruit
  2. It must have a citrus
  3. It must have ginger

When I follow these simple rules then I can add whatever greens I want and it turns out perfectly. Also, it helps when the juice is ice cold.

Just sayin'.

So this is now my signature drink. I alternate the lemon and lime but the ratio is pretty much always the same (and always delicious).

Green Refresher:
the recipe
1 cucumber
3-4 stalks of kale
3 stalks celery
1 lime
1 apple
1/4" ginger

Either run everything through your juicer or do like I do and blend in your high speed blender. Then strain the contents through a nut mylk bag or another strainer.

Pour over ice and enjoy.

What's your favorite green drink combination?

xo




Wednesday, April 24, 2013

RECIPE: basic tahini miso sauce recipe

I have long been playing with both Miso and Tahini. During this entire time of experimenting, though, I never thought to put them together. Then I came across this post at Daily Garnish and I was hooked. I make this dressing almost every week now.

If you haven't checked out the Daily Garnish yet, I suggest you do. It is loaded with incredible recipes and an  even more incredible account of her pregnancy, birth, and life as a mother (and now, second pregnancy!).

I made her miso sauce and poured it over sweet potatoes just like her simple recipe calls for. And then after that magical meal I began pouring the miso sauce over everything. I've adjusted it a bit, mostly because I have found what is easiest for me, but it's the perfect dressing.


Tahini Miso Sauce:
the recipe
1/4 cup raw organic tahini 
2 T light chickpea miso 
1/2 lemon, juiced 
Water to achieve desired consistency (usually a 1/4 cup)

Whirl everything in your blender until saucey and use over salad, use as a veggie dip (my family LOVES it this way), use over roasted sweet potatoes .. The possibilities are endless!!

I use it over sweet potatoes about once a week. I also usually make enough to last me throughout the week and drizzle it over a scrumptious salad, like this one:


This salad also happens to be the meal where I debuted my Asparagus Crisps so it was a good day.

I usually find miso in the refrigerated Vegetarian/Asian section at Whole Foods or a health food store. I haven't been to Trader Joe's in awhile (don't even. I know. I'm devastated there isn't one here in Miami) so I'm not sure if they carry it.

Now I opt for the chickpea miso to avoid the soy in traditional miso. Though the soy is non-GMO, organic, and fermented makes it the best possible version of soy possible, I'm still hesitant; the way my hormones get all sensitive makes me question whether I'm ready for soy yet.

Plus, the chickpea miso has a deeper, less salty, more earthy flavor.

Go check out Emily at the Daily Garnish and send her some love! And let me know what you think of the sauce!

xo


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

RECIPE: lemon bars and why I choose maple syrup



I have this terrible problem. Every time I think of a remarkable recipe and start playing with ideas I end up discovering that Emily from This Rawsome Vegan Life has already done it. And not just that, but rocked it. Every. Single. Time.

Usually I go on with my own creation and learn some tips and guidelines from her (awesome) site. This time, however, I just couldn't even compare. This recipe is so divine all on its own that I just created it in my own kitchen.

All the glory belongs to her. She is a raw foods genius.

Basic Crust:
the recipe
3/4 cup buckwheat
8-10 medjool dates
3/4 cup coconut shreds

Soak the dates in warm water for 20-30 minutes. Put the buckwheat in a food processor and buzz it a couple times until it's powdery. Add the coconut shreds and do the same. Peel the dates, take out the pits, and add them to the processor and process until sticky. Dump the contents into a baking dish lined with parchment paper and press down until everything is even. Set aside.

Lemon Custard Filling:
the recipe
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup (not raw)
Juice from 3 lemons
1/2 cup coconut shreds
2 bananas

Put everything into a high speed blender and blend until completely smooth. Pour the contents over the crust. Cover and place in the fridge overnight. The next morning awake to this:





It was a hit.

And a reader in a previous post has brought up a good point: maple syrup is not raw. I know this and I understand this but I choose to use it in a lot of recipes, anyway. I don't intend to dupe you so let me explain why I prefer maple syrup over any other sweetener of choice.

First of all, the taste really is superior. Agave is essentially the same as Mrs. Buttersworth on the sweetness scale and it is often too sweet for my taste. Maple syrup has so much depth and provides a caramel undertone that I really just love it (it may also be because my ancestors hail from Canada??). 

I've tried the Stevia route and I'm not a fan. I don't care how cool it is for your blood sugar count.

Maple Syrup is derived from the sap of a Maple tree and so actually offers a lot of powerful health benefits. (Did you know that my Grandma's nephew makes his own maple syrup on his property in Canada?? Cool, eh?) Maple syrup contains thiamine, manganese, and zinc which are incredible beauty nutrients. When consumed in moderation it really does not do too much harm to your sugar levels, either.

Isn't maple syrup just amazing?

Yes, it is. And even if you're strictly raw I still wouldn't recommend agave. Agave is essentially a more sugary form of High Fructose Corn Syrup. Sometimes I opt for raw honey (though some argue this isn't vegan) but it doesn't always provide the right taste I'm going for.

How do you feel about maple syrup/agave/honey? Who knew there was so much debate over a sweetener??!

Enjoy and go show Em some love

xo








Sunday, April 21, 2013

RECIPE: coconut chocolate pudding

The other morning I had some extra time on my hands I was sort of bored with my usual juice/green smoothie breakfast. It was pretty easy to come up with this recipe as the ingredients are staples in my fridge and also just killer ingredients that make any recipe better. 



Coconut Chocolate Pudding
1 coconut, meat only
1/4 cup coconut water, from coconut
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 cup maple syrup (non raw)
1 t vanilla powder
strawberries for garnish

Blend everything but the strawberries in your blender. Pour over sliced strawberries, blueberries, or whatever! Split with your boo and sit back and enjoy. Seriously, this is a divine recipe that feels like a guilty pleasure (but it's definitely not).

Enjoy! Share with others and share often ...

xo



Saturday, April 20, 2013

daring to be happy

Good morning from the hot, humid, and perpetual spring break life of Miami! It's the weekend and if there's anything I take seriously .. it's the weekend. There is a huge incentive to have fun on the weekends and that is your overall state of mental health. Being happy is not an elusive treasure we go "seeking". It should be easy, accessible, affordable, and fun! 



In the U.S. we tend to have a workaholic mentality but very rarely do we stop and ask ourselves, "but are we happy?" Sometimes we work and we work and it's just to pay for the lives that simply support us working. And if we aren't happy with that work, then that is not a very exciting life to lead!

"And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth. "
— Raymond Carver

Sometimes it is just so important to take a moment and go through your mental checklist:


  • Am I happy?
  • Am I loved?
  • Am I healthy?
  • Do I look forward to my day? 
  • Do I look forward to my evening?
  • Do I look forward to my future?

If you can easily and quickly answer "yes" to all of these questions then I'd say you're on the right track! But if not, it's time for some self-lovin' and some self-care. Dare to be happy. The 9-5 grind sure pays the bills but what about the minutes in between then?

Sure, yoga is one fabulous way to do so many wonderful things (on the inside and out) but what about taking some play time for yourself in other ways? What about creating a life you look forward to living each day? It really is that simple (and a good night's rest doesn't hurt).

So I say: make it your goal to be happy today. Don't just think yourself happy. Go and be happy.

This weekend we will be at the Yoga Fest in For Lauderdale ... what are YOU up to??

xo


Friday, April 19, 2013

fabulous flat abs

Work, work, workin' it out is the best way to tone those muscles. I'm a firm believer in using your body how it was meant to be used and I really doubt Adam, Eve, Cavemen, or the likes ever took the time to do sit-ups. But as a 20-something woman working her way up in the world it is inevitable that I will need to push my body just a little extra to make up for these busy work days.

Rather than spend tons of cash (that could be used on good food) on a gym I like to do my own thang and shop around on YouTube for free videos. Walking, running, yoga, pilates ... all free and fairly approachable from home.

Give this one a try. And then put on your sexiest bikini. Your body will thank you ...




xo


Thursday, April 18, 2013

RECIPE: cheezy sauce with noodles

I rarely crave traditional pasta anymore and for good reason. This dense and delicious meal provides all the same satiety but with a lot less effort and processed carbs. It takes about 20 minutes to make from start to finish but makes your cells sing as it actually nourishes you. Also, it helps keep your digestion moving along and keeps your blood sugar levels steady (unlike the carbo-loading pasta most of us grew up on).

Simple Spaghetti
2 medium sized zucchinis

Simply peel the zucchini and make spaghetti using either a spiralizer, potato peeler or a julienne peeler. The possibilities are endless.

Cheezy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
one grind of the shaker of sea salt
one grind of the shaker black pepper
2 t maple syrup
3 t tamari
5 T tahini
1/2 t ground dried turmeric
1/4 cup water

Put all ingredients in a a high speed blender. Blend until a creamy then pour over your noodles. Gently massage the noodles a bit to help incorporate the sauce and also soften the noodles.

I like to have mine with cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, snap peas .... anything really!

xo

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

RECIPE: miami beach salad with mango chutney

I have some of the most incredible in-laws and I am willing to compare notes with anyone that may argue otherwise. While visiting the in-laws one weekend we spent most of our time on the beach (aka their backyard). When it was time for lunch they had this special creation prepared for me.

Miami Beach Salad
1 mango
1 avocado
1/2 yellow bell pepper
1 tomato
1/4 red onion, sliced,
1 cup mango chutney (recipe below)
2-4 cups greens

Cube everything and toss. Pour chutney over the top and devour.


Mango Chutney
1fresh mango
1 T virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chile flakes
1/8 cups medium dice red onion
1/4 t minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 t curry powder
pinch seat salt
pinch freshly ground pepper
2 T golden raisins, chopped
1 T chopped macadamia nuts

Mix everything in a bowl and set aside. Use over the top of the above salad and reserve the rest for whatever else you think this would be delicious with. It's amazingly refreshing.

12 health tips for everyone

Sometimes I come across something that resonates with me so deeply that I don't even bother rewording it to make it my own. The article below is one such time that I identify so deeply with what is being said that I immediately thought to bring it to you. I have been getting acupuncture for the past 9 months or so and I have loved the experience. What I found, however, was that no matter how much acupuncture I got it was all irrelevant if I didn't take care of myself, first.

Firstly, spending fun and quality time outside of your obligations had the best results on my skin, digestion, mood, and sleep. Hands down. Happiness always wins. Then the other things fell into place, as well. Below is a list of my non-negotiables in life. 

Read on and let me know what you think!!

Acupuncturists Spill: The 12 Health Tips They Wish Everyone Would Remember

By Sara Calabro


Acupuncturists do more than just poke people with needles. They use non-needling techniques, such as moxibustion and cupping, and some prescribe herbs. They also offer advice—acupuncture-inspired tips that can help you feel healthier and happier.

Some people heed this advice and others ignore it, often to the chagrin of acupuncturists. There are many simple practices that, when committed to, can drastically improve a person’s symptoms and overall quality of life. If only everyone remembered to do them!

Now you have them in writing. We asked acupuncturists from around the country, what is onething you wish all of your patients did to be healthier?

Here are 12 do-it-yourself health tips that acupuncturists wish everyone would remember.

Connect with people

“I have come to believe that people need connection more than anything else,” says Richard Mandell, an acupuncturist from Brookline, Massachusetts who founded The PanAfrican Acupuncture Project.

“We acupuncturists use needles as a starting point, but it is our relationship with patients—the conversations, the gentle touch—that is most important. Isolation, and holding independence as the ultimate goal, separates us from healing potential.

“Connection in the simplest sense can begin with acknowledgement of its importance. Helping others, greeting a homeless person, looking people in the eye, recognizing the good in each moment… These things increase our potential to heal ourselves and others. From an acupuncture perspective, they build and move qi.”

Breathe deeply into your belly

“In acupuncture, the Lungs govern the circulation of qi in the body,” explains Corvalis, Oregon-based acupuncturist Brodie Welch.

“When we feel stress, the breath automatically becomes more shallow and rapid. Shallow, tense breathing tells the body to remain in a state of fight-or-flight. By inviting our breath to be slow, deep, easy, and gentle, we rein in the stress response, protect the adrenals from exhaustion, and activate the self-healing (parasympathetic) mode.

“A daily breathing practice, which can be as simple as five minutes a day, or 10 breaths every hour, is the fastest way I know of to re-pattern the nervous system.”

“While you’re breathing deeply, it’s helpful to focus on your belly,” adds San Francisco acupuncturist Jeremy Rothenberg.

“People can coax their own bodies into relaxation by focusing on deep belly breathing,” he says. “There are so many parasympathetic nerve endings in the belly, so deep breathing into that area shifts the body into rest-and-digest mode.

“If everyone spent time each day breathing into their bellies, many physical problems would be reversed. It’s like doing acupuncture on yourself.”

Exercise

“If only all of my patients would take the time to exercise every day,” says acupuncturist Lara Ferguson Diaz, from Asheville, North Carolina.

“I’m not talking about running a marathon. There’s nothing quite as simple yet profoundly helpful as a daily brisk walk in the park, or dancing with your kid in the living room. Our bodies are not designed to be static. They are designed to be in fairly constant motion except while sleeping or resting.

“From an acupuncture perspective, too much sitting injures the Spleen, which affects digestion, energy level, and even makes us more likely to gain weight. Blood and qi stagnation, the most common cause of pain that I see in my clinic, also occur when people have sedentary lifestyles.

“Daily exercise will make you happier, less stressed, and better equipped to handle life. So, go take a hike!”
Meditate

“I wish all of my patients would engage in a meditation practice,” says Brooklyn, New York acupuncturist Melanie Severo.

“So many of the issues that hold us back in our lives can be transformed through the simple act of awareness, and a meditation practice can be the doorway to heightened presence in all of our activities.”

Use a dry skin brush


“Dry skin brushing takes just minutes a day but makes a huge difference in how someone feels and looks,” says San Diego-based acupuncturist Justin Burkett.

“Using a natural-fiber, stiff-brissled, sisal body brush on dry skin before or after a shower is a great way to stimulate the skin, the lymphatic system, and the acupuncture meridian system. At the same time, it increases peripheral circulation and boosts immune function, which gives a healthy glow to the skin.

“People can stimulate acupuncture points all over the body, on a daily basis, using a dry skin brush.”

Stretch before bed

“Stretching in the evening is just as important as in the morning, which is when most people think about doing it,” says Laurel, Maryland acupuncturist Allison Vaccaro.

“Like acupuncture, stretching helps break up stagnation and encourages movement throughout the channels. Stretching in the evening helps loosen the muscles that haven’t been used during the day. Many people spend their evenings sitting on the couch watching TV. Some hit the gym first thing in the morning, then sit at a desk all day. These routines prime the body for stiffness, and can produce pain at night and upon waking.

“Patients of mine who follow my advice to stretch at night report better sleep quality, and less pain and stiffness in the morning.”

Get to bed by 11 pm

“I encourage all of my patients to go to bed at 11 pm so that they are sleeping soundly by 1 am,” says Susan Wadden, an acupuncturist in Shoreline, Washington.

“Each organ system in acupuncture has an assigned two-hour time frame. One o’clock in the morning is when when the Liver time cycle begins. Between 1 and 3 am is the optimal time for the Liver to cleanse itself. This cleansing, which plays a big role in whether we feel rested when we wake up, happens most efficiently when a person is in a deep state of sleep.”
Find a spiritual practice

“I wish everyone would find a spiritual outlet to address their concerns, stress, and grief,” saysKari-Ann Hubbard, an acupuncturist in Tempe, Arizona.

“These natural emotions can consume us and, from an acupuncture perspective, stagnate our qi and blood. This on its own can cause pain and other ailments, and it sets the stage for future imbalances.

“A spiritual practice can be anything from journaling to prayer to meditation. Whatever works for you.”

Choose tea

“I wish more of my patients would drink warm herbal teas instead of cold soft drinks and diet sodas,” says acupuncturist Lindsay Long, of Maple Grove, Minnesota.

“The phosphoric acid in colas can be harmful to bone health, and it can soften tooth enamel. According to acupuncture dietary theory, warm drinks are most supportive to the digestive system, and the bitter flavor of tea clears excess heat and dries dampness from the body.”

Stop waiting for perfect

“Stop waiting for the perfect time to engage in perfect behavior,” says Wayland, Massachusetts acupuncturist Marisa Fanelli.

“Many of my patients consider anything less than a dramatic life change to be a failure. So, they wait until the perfect time to start eating the perfect diet. Or they wait until the perfect time to start working out again, since anything less than seven days a week at the gym is a failure.

“This kind of all-or-nothing thinking leads to being perpetually stuck. In acupuncture-speak, we call this stagnation. Remember that even small steps forward are beneficial—and far easier to maintain in the long run.”

Engage in conscious eating

“I wish all of my patients practiced conscious eating,” says Kathleen Port, an acupuncturist in Los Angeles.

“This means being sensitive to portion size but also quality of food and eating habits—for example, not eating in the car or late at night, or not eating highly processed foods.

“When we don’t bring consciousness to our eating habits, our Spleen and Stomach systems can become easily overwhelmed. When this happens, digestion slows down and cannot convert food into qi and blood. Qi and blood deficiencies give rise to a variety of issues, including poor sleep, poor digestion, menstrual dysfunction, infertility, and mood disorders.”

Listen to your body

“When we are in a state of balance, our bodies stay healthy on their own, without much effort on our part,” says acupuncturist Michelle McGlade, from Mendota Heights, Minnesota.

“When we are out of balance, our bodies signal alarms. These alarms can show up as fatigue, pain, or depression, to name just a few.

“If everyone listened for these signals and took action when they happened—for example, made a diet change or started going to bed earlier—we’d all be much better off. When we take care of ourselves, we are better able to take care of the people we love.”

Bonus tip for pets: Change up the food

“On behalf of my dog patients, I wish their owners would follow my nutritional recommendations,” says pet acupuncturist Jeanie Mossa Kraft, of Falls Church, Virginia.

“Dogs’ acupuncture treatments are enhanced by a healthy diet that does not include wheat, gluten, soy, or corn. Wheat and gluten exacerbate pain, especially arthritic pain—what we call bi syndrome in acupuncture. Soy and corn can make allergies worse in pets.

“I beg the owners, ‘If you do nothing else, please change the dog’s food!’ If only dogs could talk!”

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

juice for two

I love juice ... any raw foodie does ... and juice is best enjoyed with someone you love. My Sig. O. is not a raw foodie--or health conscious by any means--but frequently asks me to prepare him a juice alongside his meal as well. This is one of those particular times, and I was happy to oblige because I had just one perfectly and beautifully ripe watermelon waiting to be used.

Watermelon Refresher
1 whole watermelon
2 lemons
1" fresh ginger

Place everything in your blender and strain through a nut mylk bag. (or use your fancy juicer!)

Serve with a delicious salad, like this simple salad that is loaded with veggies, sprouts, dulse flakes and dressed with a tahini-miso dressing.

xo


mr. tinman

Anyone else feel like this in the mornings?


Whenever I do morning yoga it takes at least 5 minutes of stretching before I can do a successful downward dog. My body is still dreaming of cozying up next to the warm body still nuzzled in the sheets and my mind is in a quiet slumber. This is the best time to meditate, where distraction is mostly limited. I use this time as a focused moving meditation, breathing in and out intently while I wait for my body to join me. Once I feel awake I am better able to complete a more vigorous morning routine.


Monday, April 15, 2013

RECIPE: banana cream pie

Every time my SO is away at a business dinner I make something incredible to convince him to consider this stay-at-home status I'm playing with (I mean, on the weekends for now...) and this time I made a banana cream pie. 

This banana cream is inspired by the Coconut Cream Dream I made from Gliving but I altered the ratios a bit. The crust is hopefully thicker and the emphasis on the bananas is (rightfully) increased. Also, the coconut-meat-to-oil ratio is switched up so this is more creamy.

I love incorporating coconuts any chance I get because they truly are a superfood, if there ever were one. The fats are so incredible for your skin, hair, and brain (umm... smart people have LOTS of fat in their brains. It's called myelination and is found in the myelin sheath on the neuron. More of it means faster brain processing. Look it up while you munch on this brain power food). Coconut is also such an incredible source of nutrition for infants so give your babies some coconut water and coconut meat to nibble on ... my child will be eating coconut like it's going out of style. 

Anyway, for more information on this true super brain power superfood, check out my little post on coconuts.

And now, for the food (please don't judge my artsy skills with the chocolate sauce ... I got carried away):

macadamia crust:
the recipe
1 Cup macadamia nuts 
1 Cup shredded dry coconut 
2 T coconut oil 
3-4 T maple syrup (non raw)



Blend first 5 ingredients in a food processor (I used my Vitamix). Dump onto your pan (I used a springform pan) and press down until firm. It should be crumbly but also sticky enough to hold. Set aside on the counter.

bananas:
the ingredients
3 bananas
half lemon, juiced

Slice the bananas and throw into a bowl. Toss with lemon juice. Line your crust with a layer of banana slices and then save the rest to fold into the filling.


banana cream filling:
the recipe
2 whole young coconuts, meat only 
½ Cup coconut oil 
1/4 Cup maple syrup (non raw)
coconut water (if needed) 
2 grinds of sea salt
½ tsp Vanilla Extract (or seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean) 

Blend the ingredients in a blender until smooth. (Make sure there is enough liquid to have the ingredients blend completely ... add coconut water if needed, 1 T at a time) Pour filling into a bowl and fold in the remaining banana slices. Pour over the crust and smooth out.

toppings
1/2 Cup shredded dry coconut
cacao sauce (equal parts cacao, coconut oil, maple syrup)


This pie is not for the faint of heart. It's serious business and seriously good for your skin. I'm dreaming of topping it with coconut cream but we were out of coconut milk and I was too impatient to wait for a chilled can.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

the COCONUT

David Wolfe's Superfoods book (2009) is like my own personal bible when looking for power foods to incorporate into my highly green diet. Though it doesn't take a superfood-bible to convince me to eat lots of coconuts it's exactly where I look to when I want to see what I'm doing for my body.


Coconuts are so incredible and they are mostly accessible anywhere you are in the United States (especially if you're near a Whole Foods). I usually pair them with fruit in smoothies, puddings, or desserts (hello banana cream pie and coconut cream dream ...)

We live in Miami and it is almost cruel how hot and humid it gets here. It does funky things to my skin, like increasing oil production and dehydrating the bejeezies out of it. I'm special, I think. So I suck down coconuts during the rainy seasons to combat this weird effect and also use it in Ayurveda to cool down my Pitta.



Here are some noticeable benefits of coconuts:
  • improves digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and amino acids
  • boosts the immune system with healthy antiviral, antifungal, and antimicrobial fatty acids (this makes it a great natural deodorant)
  • lessens the symptoms of hypoglycemia as it stabilizes blood sugar levels
  • helps with absorption of calcium and magnesium
  • serious amounts of lauric acid (a beauty food for skin and immunity)
  • helps regulate and support hormone production
  • they increase metabolism and are a nutritional precursor to anti-aging hormone compound known as pregnenolone
It is also like nature's Gatorade, which is so much better than neon blue sugar water. It is also an incredible beauty product on the outside. I use it daily as a skin moisturizer and for my hair (and it's also usable as an erotic oil).

Let's get to the recipes (Wolfe, 2009):

Coconut Jerky
1/4 cup curry powder
2 T raw honey
1 t sea salt
1/3-1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
3-4 coconuts, meat only

Mix everything (save the coconut meat) in a bowl. Add the coconut meat and toss to coat. Let it marinate for at least 2 hours, overnight is best, in the fridge.

Lay the pieces out on a dehydrator tray and dehydrate until it is the desired texture.

Goji Coconut Balls
1 cup shreeded coconut
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 cup raw cashews
1 1/4 cup hempseeds
1/2 cup goji berry powder extract
1 1/2 cup goji berries
1 cup tocotrienols 
2 T raw honey
a pinch of sea salt

Grind nuts and seeds and then place in a blender. Blend with remaining ingredients and then scoop out in bite sized balls. Refrigerate until firm.








Saturday, April 13, 2013

RECIPE: raw asparagus salad

The local farmer's market offers tons of raw vegan foods and it's pretty incredible. However, it's also  pretty expensive. I usually make note of the ingredients and then head home to make my own humble version. This particular salad is my own re-creation of something that inspired me at the market.

RAW asparagus salad
1 bunch of asparagus, chopped
1 tomato, chopped (or 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved)
1 avocado, cubed
1/4 cup red onion, sliced thinly
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 T mustard powder
1 T maple syrup

Combine the asparagus, tomatoes, avocado, and onions in a bowl and mix. Mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and then pour over the salad. ENJOY! 

How easy is that? It's so easy, so delicious, refreshing, easy, and totally rad.

xo





Friday, April 12, 2013

RECIPE: sloppy chocolate tart


The other night, after a seriously long day of hard werk, I got home and just wanted something decadent. I didn't want anything fancy and I didn't feel like waiting around for an entire chocolate pie to set. Luckily, I am pretty creative in desperate times and I am also very lucky to have a live-in partner that is ready to eat up my craving-induced-mistakes at a moments notice. Thus, this creation was born.

As a fair warning this is an incredibly sweet and rich dessert. I was desperate and wasn't thinking about nutritional value but I have to say that my body seemed to love it .. I finished about half and then foolishly pushed the other half to the edge of the plate. This is where my dutiful hubby stepped in.


Raw Brownies 
1/2 cup walnuts 
1/2 cup dates (soak in warm water)
3 tablespoons raw cacao powder
2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons maple syrup (non raw)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Place walnuts alone in your food processor and process until the walnuts become small and crumbly. Add the (drained) dates and process again until the mixture sticks together and the dates are well processed. Add the remaining ingredients and process again until the mixture is incorporated.

Dump the mixture into a small tart pan, pressing up on the sides to build walls to hold in the filling. Set aside while you make the filling.

Raw Chocolate Filling
1/2 cup dates (soak in warm water)
2 T raw cacao powder
2-4 T cold-pressed coconut butter
2 T cup of reserved date water 

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend. Blend, scraping down the sides if necessary, to get a velvety consistency. This is one of those recipes that really makes use of the power of a high-speed blender.

Pour over the top of the crust. I placed mine in the fridge while I got out of my werkin'-girl clothes and into some comfy sweats. It set up just enough that it was still gooey but not runny.

Adjust the amounts as need, any combination of these ingredients will work! Enjoy!

xo


Thursday, April 11, 2013

hard-core core strength with Tara Stiles

Every single day I have a midday ritual. Instead of jumping up to stuff my face during lunch I shut my office door, roll out my mat, and do 20 minutes of yoga. I'm not that flexible and I'm not that impressive but it feels so good. Work just doesn't seem so work-ey when you're in a bendy pose with your leg over your head. 

Lately I've been doubling up on these Yoga Solution videos as inspiration. Today I completed this routine alongside the Tara Stiles in my computer screen, followed up by a deep stretch routine below .. get bendy and move that money maker! Who knows what skills you will develop from such a ritual ??





RECIPE: carrot cake

Can I please tell you how much I love dessert and how grateful I am when I come across one that is not the weigh-me-down kind?? And then can I also please tell you about this cute little blog I discovered over at We Heart Vegan ...

As a new source of inspiration I have browsed through many delicious looking recipes and fortuitously came across her simple and easy and guilt-free carrot cake. With a few adaptations (based, mainly, on what I had on hand) I present to you ...

The Cake
2 cups shredded carrot (I used leftover carrot pulp from juice)
1 cup dried dates, soaked 20 minutes
1 cup raw walnuts, soaked 20 minutes
1 cup raisins, soaked 20 minutes
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/3 teaspoon sea salt

In a bowl, combine the dates, raisins and walnuts and soak together for at least 30 minutes.

In a separate bowl, shred in the carrots. (or, if you're like me, dump your leftover carrot pulp into a bowl and save to add to the rest ...)

In a food processor combine the nuts and fruit and blend until pureed and combined yet still chunky (I split mine into two batches to fit my processor). Add in the carrots/carrot pulp and the salt and spices and pulse a few times until completely incorporated. Fold in the coconut (if using). Drop the contents into a medium sized baking dish and press down until evenly disbursed.

The Frosting
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 30 minutes
1/2 lemon, juiced
3 tablespoons maple syrup (non raw)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup diced pineapple
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons liquid (water, coconut water, etc.)

 Put all ingredients into a high-speed blender and run until combined and smooth, adding more liquid if necessary. Pour over the top of the cake and smooth out.

Assembly
You can either create cupcakes by filling cupcake molds with the batter, as suggested by the original author here, or you can line a small baking dish with the batter and make little carrot cake bars. Frost with the tangy frosting and then try not to eat all at once. Place in fridge to set until you're ready to eat. Careful ... I've been known to eat an entire dish in one sitting !!!




Wednesday, April 10, 2013

RECIPE: strawberry basil dressing

Inspired by a fresh bunch of basil from the farmer's market I decided to make a summery dressing that is so light and so fresh that I ate this salad on repeat until the dressing ran out. 

This picture doesn't do it justice, but it's really a beautiful salad.


Strawberry Basil Dressing
1 cup fresh strawberries
handful fresh basil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon oil
a few shakes sea salt

Blend everything in a blender and pour over very large salad. If you are not using it right away store in a glass jar in the fridge. The dressing kept for about a week.

I served this with sprig mix, spinach, avocado, tomatoes, strawberries, and fresh basil.



RECIPE: cinnamon chia pudding

I've always loved chia seeds and I love adding them to puddings and shakes to bulk them up. This morning I put together very few ingredients to create such a basic, delicious, and all-day-stick-to-your-ribs kind of breakfast.

I'm not exaggerating when I say I wasn't hungry until the afternoon ...

Cinnamon Chia Pudding
1/4 cup dry chia seeds
1/2 cup (or more) coconut water (or nut mylk)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup (depending on your taste; non raw)
1 tablespoon raw almond butter

Place the chia seeds in a bowl and cover with liquid. Allow the chia seeds to soak up the liquid, stirring every few minutes to incorporate everything. Once the liquid is soaked, add the remaining ingredients and stir. I threw mine in a blender and added just a touch more coconut water and blended until smooth. Throw in some blueberries, granola, and maybe another shake of cinnamon and EN JOY !!

This works wonderfully in the morning and takes minimal effort. You can let the seeds soak while you get your fabulous self ready.

Chia seeds are an amazing superfood with incredible protein and omega benefits. The long lasting satiety of the seeds is also one of the best attributes of these tiny guys.