How to Raw Food: Three Easy Ways to Eat Raw Food Every Day

I must apologize for the long absence. My life has changed drastically in the past few months and while it is definitely changing in exciting, unexpected and postive ways, I’ve had a lot of stress and some times of intense emotional struggling and darkness. These past few months have challenged me to really stay present and take care of myself, regardless of what is going on in my life, which has inspired me greatly. Welcome to my newest series, How to Raw Food. In this series I want to share a variety of tips and tools I use and have learned over the past eight years to make raw foods a permanent part of my diet and lifestyle, regardless of where I am or what is going on in my life. I hope this series is helpful for anyone interested in adding in more raw foods or even those who have been into raw foods for awhile but want to take their health to the next level.  So onward we go, into How to Raw Foods…

Three Easy Ways to Eat Raw Food Every Day

Most of the leading health experts and doctors agree that adding more raw food into our diet is a key to thriving and feeling our best. From the added fiber, to the extra boost of antioxidants and vitamins and minerals, there is no denying that incorporating more raw foods into one’s diet is beneficial in a variety of ways. While most people know this, many find it easier said than done. I’ve been eating a primarily raw vegan diet for the past eight years and I understand the challenges we all face on a daily basis to eat well. From the lack of resources, to a lack of time, a lack of know how, or simply the convenience factor, the odds can seem to be stacked against us at times when it comes to eating in a way that leaves us feeling truly nourished and vibrant. Fortunately, the last eight years have taught me a lot in how to maintain a mostly raw diet, in all circumstances. Today I want to focus on three easy ways to incorporate raw foods into your diet every day. When I refer to raw foods here, I mean the fresh stuff. Raw kale chips, chocolate truffles and nuts and seeds are amazing and have their place, but the surest way to reap the true benefits of raw foods are through eating them as intended, in their fresh, juicy, raw state.

1. Have a green juice or smoothie daily.

My favorite way to start any day is with a green juice. Greens are incredibly alkaline due to their chlorophyll content, and have a wide array of nutrients such as enzymes, vitamin K, vitamin C and magnesium. They assist in blood cleansing and liver cleansing, aiding your body in detoxification each time you consume them! My body craves them daily, as they leave me with a feeling of a deeply nourishing, sustaining energy boost to start the day. I believe eating and drinking an abundance of leafy green vegetables is one of the keys to vibrant health. Whether choosing a green juice or a green smoothie, your body will start the day alkalized and when our first choice of the day is one that leaves us feeling vibrant, it sets us up for good choices for the rest of the day. A delicious juice to try is my sweet green strawberry nectar.

 greensmoothie

2. Eat fruit for breakfast or as a mid morning snack.

Fresh fruit is the most convenient raw food there is. It requires no preparation unless you want to cut it up and can be transported easily. Fresh fruit is full of fiber, water and antioxidants, making it the perfect food for breakfast or a mid morning snack. My personal favorite is to chop up a variety of berries and mix them together in a (big) bowl and eat them with a spoon. Berries are one of the most fiber rich foods, contain high amounts of Vitamin C, are low in sugar, and have been studied extensively for their anti-cancer properties.

mixedberries

3. Have a green salad before dinner.

As I stated earlier, I believe leafy green vegetables are the key food to consume in abundance if you are seeking a truly outstanding level of health. A leafy green salad every night before dinner is one more easy way to get in leafy greens, while also supplying you with enzymes, fiber and a high water content to assist in the digestion of any food you eat after them. Salads are great because they can be as complex or as simple as you want. A simple salad could consist of spinach, shredded carrots, diced onion and avocado. Or you could opt for a fancier, more complex salad like my Maitake and Truffle Kale Salad.

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Stay tuned for more “How To Raw Food” posts by entering your email into the subscribe box on the right. What questions do you have about starting or maintaining a raw vegan diet? Post them below!

Raw Chocolate Kale Chips

chocolatekalechips

As if you needed one more recipe featuring kale or chocolate, here’s a combination of the two! Really though, this snack is incredibly delicious. It combines my two favorite snacks, raw chocolate and kale chips into one sweet, rich, chocolatey, crunchy and healthy treat. What else do you really want from a snack food?

Raw Chocolate Kale Chips

-3-4+ cups curly kale, torn from main stem and ripped into smaller tennis ball sized pieces
-3/4 raw sunflower seeds
-3 tbsp raw cacao powder
-4 tsp raw cacao butter, melted (raw coconut oil would be a great substitute)
-2 dates
-15 drops vanilla stevia OR 2-3 more dates
-1/4 tsp sea salt
-1/2 cup water or more to blend

Pull the kale off the stem and rip into small pieces. Place on parchment paper on a dehydrator tray or on a baking sheet if you don’t have a dehydrator.

Place the sunflower seeds in a blender or food processor and grind down finely, until flour like. Scrape down the powder from the sides of your appliance and add in the dates, raw cacao powder, melted cacao butter, sea salt, stevia and 1/2 cup water. Blend until smooth and thick. You may need to add a bit more water to this to make sure it’s thoroughly blended.

Once the mixture is smooth pour it over the kale and massage it well, until thoroughly coated. Spread the kale chips out on your parchment paper and dehydrate at 150 degrees for an hour or so then you could either continue dehydrating it at that temperature or turn it down to 115 degrees. I leave mine turned up to speed up the drying process which leaves less time for any bad bacteria to breed. It’s also been shown that enzymes can survive in higher temperatures, according to Dr. Gabriel Cousens. Once your kale chips can be pulled back easily without breaking or coming apart, flip them over to dry the other side. If you don’t have a dehydrator, bake this in your oven on the lowest setting, checking them often until they are crispy.

I have quite a few delicious and informative posts coming up, so keep your eyes open or subscribe by entering your email into the box to the right and you’ll be notified each time a new post is up.

 

What is it? Goldenberries

Over the past few weeks I’ve been agonizing over new blog post ideas. I have a few recipes I was thinking of making but felt mostly uninspired. I tend to stick to staple foods and meals so it can be challenging to get creative with food at times. For whatever reason, this past month has been particularly difficult to plan my meals, as my taste buds have been craving change. I’ve felt called to foods that I haven’t bought too often in the past, such as turmeric, fresh goldenberries, cranberries and romanesco broccoli, to name a few. Maybe you’re familiar with all those foods and use them often, or perhaps like me you’re aware of their existence but haven’t really explored them. These newfound foods brought me to the idea for today’s blog post, which I intend to be a monthly series. I want to highlight all of the gorgeous fresh food that perhaps doesn’t get as much attention. This new series which I’m calling “What is it?” will be a way to share the nutritional properties, taste profile and uses of uncommon produce. Today I’d like to discuss my current addiction to…

Goldenberries

goldenberries

Dried goldenberries showed up on the market a few years ago, promoted as a South American superfood, while the fresh version has only recently made it’s way to stores. The fruits are covered in a husk, which when peeled back reveals the small, tomato like fruit that is a golden orange or yellow color. They have a texture similar to a cherry tomato, with tiny crunchy seeds inside. The berries are a low sugar and low glycemic fruit, so the flavor can be intensely tart, to mildy tart with a sweet high note. They are amazing on their own or, chopped and mixed in  yogurt. The fruit is high in vitamin A and C, and according to one supplier, Andes Fruits of Colombia, they also have Vitamin D and B12, which is quite uncommon for most plant foods. The berries also happen to contain protein and fiber, which makes them kind of the perfect food ever…at least right now to my taste buds. Really though, they are a nutrient dense fruit that is worth picking up if you see them fresh. If you aren’t able to get the fresh ones, the dried ones taste delicious and are reminiscent of sour candy.

What’s in my bowl: Maitake and Truffle Kale Salad

mushroomkalesalad

It’s time for my second installment of the “What’s in my bowl” series. This was not what I had originally intended to share, however I thought it was so delicious and unique it was worthwhile. It uses some of my staple foods like garlic, kale, and Treeline cheese and adds a few special touches to completely transform it into a decadent meal. This salad is rich, hearty and quite fall like, and it uses some of my favorite expensive ingredients. We joke in my house that if a particular food is expensive, I’ll probably love it because that is usually how it ends up. The use of truffle salt in this recipe isn’t necessary, but it takes it over the top. It’s one of the two expensive things that I love in this salad. The second item that is worth every penny is Maitake mushrooms. They have an incredible flavor and texture that is unlike anything else I’ve ever tried. They are also extensively studied and have been found to have innumerous health benefits:

“Maitake has also been widely researched for its effects on the immune system and various cancers. Several researchers corroborate that maitake causes apoptosis (“programmed suicide”) of cancer cells and contains anti-angionenesis properties. That means they can restrict the proliferation of bloods cells that feed tumors.” – Paul Stamets

I know there is some concern about eating certain mushrooms raw, and I wasn’t able to find anything definitive about whether Maitake mushrooms were okay raw, so I just went for it and have been enjoying them raw for the past few years without any adverse affects. If eating a raw mushroom isn’t something you’re into, try lightly coating the Maitake mushrooms with coconut oil and roasting them until just crisp at the edges.

Maitake and Truffle Kale Salad

– 4-7 leaves curly kale, removed from stem and torn into bite sized pieces
– 1/3 – 1/2 block Treeline classic hard cheese, peeled into thin slices
– 1 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
– 1/3 – 1/2 cup raw maitake mushrooms, peeled into thin sections
– 2 tbsp thinly sliced red onion
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– 1/2 lemon, juice
– sprinkling of truffle salt

– 1/2 tbsp raw honey or coconut nectar (optional but fantastic)

In a large bowl, add the kale with a sprinkling of truffle salt and gently massage the kale for about 30 seconds to soften the texture. Next add in the layer of onions, followed by the Maitake mushrooms, pumpkin seeds, minced garlic and lemon juice. Finally, add the Treeline cheese slices. If you want to take this one step further, drizzle a bit of raw honey or coconut nectar over the top of the salad.

Raw Kale Chips

rawkalechips

Many people that know me know that when I find something I love, I tend to run with it, AKA…overdo it. When I discovered kale chips years ago I liked them. Two summer’s ago, I loved them and turned into a kale chip addict, my appetite insatiable. Our dehydrator was always on with batch after batch of kale chips crisping up. I ate them nightly and never tired of them. At some point I realized this habit was not serving me (eating a cup of nuts nightly, even if there is kale involved, is bad news.) So I halted my addiction abruptly and they became an occasional indulgence. This can be easier said than done, as I work at a health food store which makes it quite easy to eat them all the time get lazy and just buy a bag off the shelf. While they are delicious and I’m so grateful that snack options like this are easily accessible, they are also super pricey and my budget just doesn’t like that. This is my staple recipe that I use whenever the craving hits. It’s super easy to adjust according to your tastes and what you have on hand. Sunflower seeds are my current favorite, however cashews make a great alternative, and the addition of jalapeno adds a nice kick. Any way you make these I’m warning you now, they are addictive and will not last long!

Raw Kale Chips

-1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
-1 red bell pepper
-1.5 tbsp lemon juice
-1 large clove of garlic
-1/2-3/4 tsp sea salt
-5 large leaves of kale, roughly 3-4 cups

Pull the kale off the stem and rip into small pieces. Place on parchment paper on a dehydrator tray or on a baking sheet if you don’t have a dehydrator.

Place the sunflower seeds in a blender or food processor and grind down finely, until flour like. Scrap down the powder from the sides of your appliance and add in the red bell pepper, lemon juice, sea salt, and garlic and blend until smooth. This may require you to add a few tbsp of water, depending on how big your bell pepper is.

Once the mixture is smooth pour it over the kale and massage it well, until thoroughly coated. Spread the kale chips out on your parchment paper and dehydrate at 150 degrees for an hour or so then you could either continue dehydrating it at that temperature or turn it down to 115 degrees. I leave mine turned up to speed up the drying process which leaves less time for any bad bacteria to breed. It’s also been shown that enzymes can survive in higher temperatures, according to Dr. Gabriel Cousens. Once your kale chips can be pulled back easily without breaking or coming apart, flip them over to dry the other side. If you don’t have a dehydrator, bake this in your oven on the lowest setting, checking them often until they are crispy.

Cacao Acai Smoothie

rawcacaoacaismoothie

This smoothie came to me late at night while I was trying to fall asleep and cacao was keeping me just awake enough to think about recipes. I realized I was low on my typical smoothie ingredients and kind of tired of my daily coconut smoothie. Then I remembered some frozen Acai packets I had bought months ago with big plans…they were still in my freezer. So the idea of an Acai smoothie with Cacao was born and then I was able to fall asleep. This smoothie is super creamy and thick (I ended up eating mine with a spoon) and is most likely 2 to 3 servings for most people. I use smoothies as a convenient and easy afternoon meal, usually with the intention to hold me over until dinner, which this delivered on. It’s full of good fat, antioxidants, magnesium, vitamin C and can even help liver detoxification due to the glutathione in the avocado and the vitamin c in the Camu Camu powder. I minimized the sugar content by using avocado instead of bananas and by sweetening it with stevia. If you prefer to use a sweetener other than stevia, I think 2-3 dates or 1-2 tbsp of coconut palm sugar would be delicious.

Cacao Acai Smoothie

-8oz raw coconut water, such as Harmless Harvest brand
-1 ripe hass avocado
-1 packet frozen, unsweetened acai puree – I used AmaFruits
-1.5 tbsp raw cacao powder
-3/4 tsp raw camu camu powder
-1 tbsp raw unsweetened cacao paste or cacao nibs
sweetleaf vanilla stevia, to taste
-tbsp raw cacao paste OR a tbsp of dark chocolate chips

Blend all ingrendients except the cacao paste or chips on high until smooth, adding a tbsp of water at a time to desired thickness. Chop the cacao paste into small chunks and stir in or stir in the chocolate chips.

 

Fruity Fall Green Juice

fruityfallgreenjuice

Green juice makes a daily appearance in my household. The enzymes, alkalinity, vitamins, and minerals in an easy and quickly absorbed form drew me in and persuaded me to try it. It’s been years now since this inception of this habit, and I can honestly say I crave my juice every morning. I love how it makes me feel, how it recharges and refreshes me and I even love the flavor, despite the fact that I rarely add fruit. I feel my best on a lower sugar diet, (which I intend to explore in a future post), and while I think fruit is delicious, I don’t love the idea of removing the fiber and having the sugar spike my blood sugar levels. That’s why I eat fruit whole and keep juicing it to a minimum. There are times however, when a little fruit in my juice is just irresistible and I indulge. While grocery shopping last week, I picked up a few Asian pears with the intent to eat them. They are crisp and sweet and a delicious sign that fall is surely here. I also noticed green apples, and it suddenly clicked that the combination of the two in a green juice might just be perfect. This juice is absolutely delicious and while it won’t be a daily occurrence, I definitely intend to enjoy it weekly while we have access to the abundance of fruit that fall brings with it.

Fruity Fall Green Juice

-3-5 leaves kale
-8 stalks celery
-1 Asian pear
-1 granny smith apple
-1 lime
-small bit of ginger

After cleaning your produce, cut the apple and pear into pieces small enough to fit into your juicer. Alternate juicing all items except the lime, until complete. Squeeze the lime into the juice, and strain with a nutmilk bag, paint straining bag, or mesh strainer.

Raw Nacho Crackers

nachocrackers

A few nights ago, I had a fair amount of caffeine coursing through my veins and no idea what I wanted for dinner. I decided that a kale salad with carrots and a chive cashew cream dressing sounded good. Then I bit into one of my peeled carrots and was really not feeling it. I decided to move on to the cashew cream and threw together all the usual suspects and added in fresh chives and dill, because they were really appealing at the time. Once the cream was done, I wasn’t feeling it either, no matter how much I tweaked it. So I abandoned the entire dinner idea previously mentioned and ended up with a staple dinner of kale salad, steamed beets and Treeline cashew cheese. I was feeling a bit defeated about the cashew cream, why didn’t it work out as beautifully and deliciously as I had imagined? I had spent most of the day working on recipe creation for this blog as well as some upcoming classes and felt as though I was spinning my wheels. I felt like there was a huge mental block that was keeping me from tapping into new ideas and it was a little scary and very frustrating. I’ve experienced creative lulls at many times in life in a variety of areas, and I typically just decide I won’t force myself to create if I’m not inspired and move on. For whatever reason, Sunday night was not one of those kinds of nights. I really wrestled with the feeling of failure. After a lot of thought (I think it was all that yerba mate), I decided that while I couldn’t force my creative endeavors to turn out perfectly, I didn’t have to view results different than imagined as failures. I could use those results to learn something new, and perhaps be inspired to turn them into something different. I decided to salvage the cashew cream and make nacho crackers, since I’d had a red bell pepper for days and didn’t know what to do with it. Luckily, the recipe turned out delicious and I felt inspired to continue to create, because regardless of the outcome, I could use it as an opportunity to learn. So that’s the incredibly long story of how these crackers came to be. Now I suggest making them and using them for sandwiches, topped with sprouts, tomatoes, romaine and cashew cheese or avocado. Or just eat them plain, whatever.

Raw Nacho Crackers

– 1 cup raw cashews
– 1.5 tbsp lime juice
– 2 cloves garlic
– 1/2 tsp onion powder
– 1/3 tbsp chives
– 1 red bell pepper
– 1/3 habanero – more or less to taste
– 4 tbsp chia seeds
– 1 sweet habanero pepper (optional)

Blend all the ingredients except for chia seeds until smooth. Add in 2.5 tbsp of chia seeds and blend until smooth. Stir in by hand the remaining 1.5 tbsp of chia seeds. Spread mixture out wax paper on a dehydrator sheet and dehydrate at 150 degrees for an hour or so then you could either continue dehydrating it at that temperature or turn it down to 115 degrees. I leave mine turned up to speed up the drying process which leaves less time for any bad bacteria to breed. It’s also been shown that enzymes can survive in higher temperatures, according to Dr. Gabriel Cousens. Once your crackers can be pulled back easily without breaking or coming apart, flip it over to dry the other side. If you don’t have a dehydrator, I imagine you could bake these in your oven on the lowest temperature.

 

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

paleocookies3I’ve seen almond flour chocolate chip cookie recipes floating around for quite some time, and was intrigued, but also hesitant. You see I love fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. I am fortunate to have a mom who loves to bake things, and chocolate chip cookies were one of my favorite baked goods growing up, especially once it got cold outside. Warm cookies fresh out of the oven on a chilly day, what can beat that? Since going vegan, I’d like to think I’ve been blessed with the baking skills my mom has, and have enjoyed experimenting making chocolate chip cookies with various flours, sweeteners and chocolates. I love throwing some ingredients together and tasting the batter as I go and creating without recipes. My creative baking pursuits slowly ended as I realized that cookies always seemed to leave me feeling foggy and sluggish the day after. At first I thought it was just gluten containing flours, so I swapped out my beloved spelt for buckwheat flour. My symptoms only slightly improved so I then removed sugar completely, using only stevia and dark chocolate chips to sweeten the cookies. Once again I found that my symptoms only slightly improved, but not enough to warrant eating more cookies. I eventually went completely grain free in my pursuit of mental clarity and low and behold my memory improved, my digestion improved and my brain fog lessened. On a recent grocery outing, I stopped at a new to me store, called Oasis at Bird in Hand. I wanted to check out their produce selection and while I did end up with some fantastic kale and zucchini, I also noticed that they had packages of vegan chocolate chip cookies using almond flour. I left the store the first visit without them, only to go back within a few days to pick them up (and more kale so it was a balanced trip!). They were totally divine and amazing and I knew I had to recreate them. I bought some almond flour and this is the result of my experimenting. I dare you to share these cookies with everyone in your life. I am positive they won’t be able to tell that they’re vegan or gluten free, and will in fact love them. Not only are they kind of cookie perfection, they don’t leave me with the weighed down, foggy feeling I used to get from baking. I suggest you bake a double batch, because they most likely won’t last long.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes 12 cookies

-1.25 cups plus 2 tbsp honeyville blanched almond flour
-1.75oz or more 70% dark chocolate – I love everything from Equal Exchange and used their 70% (soy free!) bar for this recipe.
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp sea salt
-2 tbsp soft coconut oil
-4 tbsp pure grade b maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl mix together the almond flour, baking soda and sea salt. Break up the chocolate into small chunks – I broke each rectangle into four pieces. If you’d prefer actual chocolate chips, Equal Exchange makes some fantastic 70% ones. Add the chocolate to the dry ingredients and mix up.

In a separate bowl add the maple syrup and lightly softened (not completely liquid) coconut oil. Stir until well incorporated. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. You should end up with a moist dough that holds together very well. Scoop the dough up using a tablespoon and roll into a ball. Lightly flatten into a cookie on a sheet. Place the cookies in the oven and cook until desired texture is reached. I suggest doing them in two batches to ensure you have “backup cookies” in case you over bake them. I found that around 11-12 minutes yields a super soft, melt in your mouth cookie while 15-16 minutes yields a firm, chewy cookie. I liked them both equally and my family didn’t seem to have a preference so it could be worth your while to try your two batches at separate times to see which you prefer.