Our idea of what constitutes "food" in American culture has become so skewed that it is almost unrecognizable. Our supermarkets are packed with products whose ingredients include unpronounceable chemicals, dyes, bacteria, and growth hormones. They are irradiated without our consent and contain GMOs.It's time to bring back FOOD. Pure unadulterated organic RAW food.This blog is a documentation of my continuing journey on a plant-based lifestyle.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Farmers Market

So this morning I got my bum out of bed and Kevy and I went to the Thursday Costa Mesa Farmers Market. Compared to the UCI Farmers Market this one leaves MUCH room to be desired. However, I did find really ripe persimmons for $1.00 a pound!! At Mother's you pay .89 cents each! I heart persimms to the max so I was especially happy to find organic persimms at such a steal. I also got organic broccoli to change up my cauliflower mash to broccoli mash. And lastly, we bought some heirloom toms.

We had to stop at Mother's on the way home to pick up some greens to hold us over until Saturday when we can stock up for the week. While Kev typically has a salad everyday and I put sprouts on his wraps, we both agree that the best way to get greens is via juice or smoothie; easily absorbed planty goodness! I've been seriously slacking on making him green smoothies, I mean REALLY slacking...like MONTHS! I feel guilty about this because I make them for myself everyday, but he isn't home when I do. I guess I could save some? Anyway, no reason to dwell on the past- must move foward with green smoothie goodness from here on out!

I was reading Greens for Life again while on the eliptical yesterday and V.B. said that 1 cup of green smoothie a day is enough to bring about positive changes which is awesome. Anyone can do that! I made Kevy a swiss chard, banana, and pineapple smoothie with a tablespoon of Vitamineral Green today plus manna bread with almond butter and some leftover cobbler topping for breakfast. And his lunch/dinner is  a sprouted grain wrap with organic whole grain mustard, mini-portobello mushrooms, and sprout salad.

Ouu! Today I made Onion Flax Bread! It is in the dehydrator right now. I'm also sprouting some lentils, adzuki beans, mung beans, and sunflower seeds plus some soft wheat berries for rejevulac (fermented drink that is loaded with beneficial enzymes). And, I have got some banans in the freezer so I can make ice cream later.

(Onion bread in the D)

I am giving my tum a break today. I am waititng to do yoga and replacing breakfast and lunch with lemon water as a mini-fast/break for my digestive system. I like to do this at least once a week for healing purposes. So I will just post whatever I eat after yoga.

Exercise: Bikram yoga 

Eaten Today: 
 Lemon water
3 banans with 1 cup almond milk
Green smoothie (spinach/swiss chard/ orange/ 2 bananas/ frozen pineapple/ heaping tablespoon vitamineral green)
1 baby persimmon
Cucumber Dill-licious soup (half a cuc/miso/celery/alfafa sprouts/green onion blended and poured over other half of the cuc and sprout salad with nutritional yeast powder and cayanne-dulse seasoning.

And later tonight I will be eating my babanaaaaaa ice cream w/ fresh dates, cinnamon, and dried figs.

Vanilla Banana Ice Cream with Maple Caramel Sauce topped with Fresh Dates and Banana

Soooo my Onion Bread which is utterly the most simple thing to make -- ground flax seeds soaked and then mixed with blended onions, green onion, and a bit of jalepeno pepper w/ sea salt (I used Himalayan Sea Salt) is utterly fantastic. It is so light and fluffy and my whole apartment smells like cheesesteak and toast  - two of my old favourites. I am not partial to raw onion, but carmalized or blended to make a bread = onion heaven! Think I will most certainly be bringing this to the potluck in Sherman Oaks this weekend!

*FM photos from google images

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bon Appetit!

My favourite part of the blogs I read daily is finding out how other people eat. It's like a raw food support group and for those just starting out it can be an awesome way to keep yourself on track and find inspiration. Personally, it helps me realize that i'm not alone on this journey which is very comforting.

With that said, I have decided to actively document my food intake. I've done some food montages, but never a full days worth of meals.

You will notice, I eat variations of the same stuff daily. Consistancy, is important. I used to eat a bunch of random stuff changing it up everyday. However, after watching a couple of Matt Monarch and Angela Stokes-Monarch clips from The Raw Food World TV Show, I learned just how important consistancy is and that sticking to whole food combinations is much better for digestion, thus resulting in more time the body has for healing and regeneration.

I don't think this get enough attention, but exercise is drastically important when it comes to raw foods. Sweating is one of the best ways our body has to detoxify! You should try to work up a sweat EVERYDAY whether it be through power yoga, bikram yoga, running, working out at the gym. I don't think people emphasize this enough because it does take the most amount of work. I used to dread working out, until I found something that I loved. For me, my sanity/meditation/workout comes in the form of Bikram yoga. It is the only exercise I have ever done that works both my body, mind, and soul. However, to each their own. Working out not only beats the cravings, detoxifies your body, but it also helps release endorphins - the happy brain chemical. Walking and hiking are great ways to begin if you haven't exercised in a while, but don't get stuck there! After a month or two (or when you notice that it has become too easy and you are no longer breaking a sweat) it is time to up the anty! Jogging is a GREAT way to beat the bulge, gain muscle, and work your heart! If you run, you definately want to vary your workouts and not run everyday as the muscle does need time to recover. So go for a bike ride or a swim instead! Bikram is the only exercise where you can honestly do it everyday since the room is so hott and you really work deep into your muscles. And being a raw foodist helps because you virtually require no recovery time.

Anyway, I do bikram everyday. And every other day I go to the gym on top of going to Bikram. Since I work from home, I like to get out for a walk or a run up the food store (2 miles) as well. However, the 90 minute Bikram is of course just fine. I just have a lot of energy to expel and I find that if I don't do this I am restless at night.

Workout: 90 minute Bikram + 30 minutes on eliptical

Breakfast: 1 cantelop (wait 15 minutes after eating as melon should always be eaten alone for optimal digestion) + 2 bananas

Lunch: Green Smoothie (oranges, bananas, spinach, Vitamineral Green, frozen pineapple, and one apple. Topped with these awesomely sweet and juicy raisins from Mother's Market (can raisins be juicy? I don't know!)

Dinner: Sprout Salad (sprouts, saurkraut + nutritonal yeast/ACV/organic mustard) and Cream of Tomat & Basil Soup (toms, sundried toms, avo, basil, spinach, parsley, green onion over more toms/mini-portobellos/spinach-basil-parsley) The soup turned this really awful color which usually happens when you mix reds and greens, but it was so velvety and good!

                Sprout Salad



Post-Dinner Snacks: Oh boy. Mmm, some orangic dates, clems, and a bowl of mini-apple pie cereal (apples, raisins, cinnamon, bananas, mixed with almond milk. plus two more bananas in almond milk. This tastes JUST like the bowls of cereal I used to eat. So good and comforting.

             Mini-Apple Pie Cereal



Holidays Gone Raw

In my humble opinion, there is nothing better than teaching people how simple and versatile raw foods can be. For my Holidays Gone Raw class at the Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach, CA I held two classes to teach people how to make a myraid of delicious foods for the holidays- their components applicable to a variety of other dishes

We'll start with dessert because that's usually what gets people most interested in raw foods. Once again, I am not sure why anyone would eat any other way, but that's just me. I mean, is this not the dream? No counting calories, guilt-free, AND delicious?

Cinnamon Donut Holes


The ingredients for the donut holes are the same I used for the Apple Cobbler. I just swap in pumpkin seeds for the peacans!

Tagliatelle Pasta w/ a Basil Sage Cream Sauce, Wilted Spinach, Marinated Mushrooms topped with "Sausage" & Pinenut Parmsean


This zucchini pasta went over SO well. It seems like a lot of components, but you always have left overs and can use it on pizza, in wraps, or to make a non-traditional lasagna. If you let it sit, or put it in the dehydrator it makes it even better as all the flavors really meld and marry. The result is a super creamy, very flavorful, but light pasta with all the essence of the holidays!

Apple Cobbler

This Apple Cobbler is literally out of control - to DIE for! It tastes just like the apple pies my Grandmere used to make me every christmas. And once again, so versitle. You can mix the apples with raspberries, blueberries, or change it up and make a peach cobbler! The topping could easily become donut holes if you add some more dates to make it stickier. I let this sit in the dehydrator or overnight because the lemon juice plus the agave creates this awesome cinnamon syrup (just like you would get with the cooked version!) If you like walnuts, which I do, this Apple Cobbler is perrrfect. It is also a great dish to take to a holiday party. Trust me, people will not even realize that it's a "raw" dish. yup, it is THAT good!

Marseille Salad

I don't really like to tell people how to make salad because it is so much about personal tastes. However, this was the salad I created while in Marseille, France and it became my staple dinner. Literally, I hate it EVERY SINGLE DAY. Not because I had to, but because it was just that divine. What makes it so good? The tomates sechees!! Or Sundried Tomatoes! I buy mine packed in olive oil, garlic, and basil. This takes any salad to the next level. Here's an excellent tip: Instead of using regular olive oil when making your salad dressing, use the oil that the sundried tomatoes are packed in. It makes for an extra flavor-packed dressing. My favourite way to utlize this tip is to combine the sundried tomato evoo and orange juice. It doesn't get any easier than that.

I also made a "Not Egg Nog" to start off the class using my favourite ice cream Coconut Bliss. It is not raw, but I like it better than most raw ice creams anyway. It is make with coconut milk which makes for a very light and easy to digest treat -- no post-holiday dinner and dessert bloat here! All their ingredients are organic and they use agave, a low glycemic sweetner that is perfect for those trying to keep their sugar intake low or who have diabeties. I cannot say enough good things about this company. This is seriously the most delicious ice cream ever!! It is creamy and seriously just fantastic! People in my classes cannot believe that it is a dairy-free!

Well, there you go. The ultimate holiday menu. Versatile. Delicious. Simple.

Coming this January I will be offering a Raw Start-up Class at the ENC. It is going to be loaded with a whole slew of really simple, ten minute recipes from smoothies, to pates, to wraps, not to mention a bunch of tips for going raw, maintaining the high raw diet, loosing weight with raw foods, etc. AND the best part: IT IS HANDS ON. If you are interested please contact Lori Walen via the ENC website I posted above.

Friday, December 4, 2009

J'adore

For the past two years I have been a die-hard raw foodist. I have dilgently purchased my raw food un-cookbooks, studied them, re-studied them, prepared food that was supposed to be amazingly delicious. I have spent countless hours in bookstores pouring over raw food transformation stories and stockpiling recipes. I've put in my time. But lately, I find myself returning to those who originally inspired me in the first place; taking their very un-vegan recipes and making them raw. People like Alice Waters, of the slow food movement and culinary masterminds like Anthony Bourdain, Thomas Keller, Julia Child, and Gordon Ramsay; all [with the exception of A.B.] who promote sustainable, organic, local foods. 

Say what?! You're a raw food chef. You're supposed to stick with your kind -- the rawies, the vegans. Benedict Rawnold!! (oh, lord that was cheezy) Part of me feels that I am betraying my kind. And another part of me just feels that I am looking at the world more realisticly. In my dream world, everyone would be a happy raw vegan. They would understand the deterimental effects cooked food has on the body. That we were not made to consume flesh -- that our bodies appreciate it more when we give it fresh, fruits and veggies and farm to plate is the most ideal way to eat. However, I do not live in raw food lala land and the state of agriculture in the United States is only getting worse. I believe it is more important to promote organic sustainable agriculture that is affordable and readily available to all than it is to harp on people for cooking their vegetables; in all honestly, cooked food is the least of their worries when they are consuming conventionally processed meat and dairy and refined sugars/ carbs, and fast food. We need to begin there. Americans are lazy and our palettes destroyed by junk we put into our bodies. Unfortunately, most need to start from scratch and that means re-learning what fruits and vegetables that haven't been sitting in the can soaking up the aluminum compounds really taste like.
Did you know that food that is microwaved loses 100% of it's nutritional value? What are you really eating then? In the Standard American kitchen food so easily becomes "food stuff".

Ultimately, I have found that with the exception of a few raw chefs I am not too inspired and I cannot seem to figure out why that is. Maybe because raw food gourmet is so new that no one has really been able to establish themselves like Julia or Gordon. Bourdain says that cooking is not in the blood but in the ingredients and the heart you put into the food that you are preparing. I believe that. Food IS love if done in the right way with the best intentions.

I think, and not to be a negative nancy, but I get annoyed with the raw food movement.  With people who think the world is just this blissed out place of raw utopia and everything and everyone is beautiful. I think positivity is fantastic and I am all for it, but there HAS to be some sort of balance. Like a salt to pepper ratio. You would never put as much pepper into a recipe as you would salt because pepper is very overpowering, but then again you NEED that pepper to balence out the salt. Understand what I am saying? You need to be able to see the negative in the world in order to appreciate the positive. And well, that's the end of my rant today.

In other news, I have still been experimenting with my mashed-cauliflower recipe and I think I have perfected it to the point of extreme-all-hail-themashedcauliflower- goodness. And, just the way I like it - NO NUTS. I do use a little bit of tahini, but any "mashed potato" I have ever had has been loaded with cashews and tastes of absurd amounts of garlic. I like garlic, but when it is raw it often becomes far too overpowering and then I can taste garlic for days.

Speaking of garlic, I watched Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations Paris trip the other night. Kevin and I always said that we would need to explore other places before going back to France, but part of me feels like we are destined to go back there again sooner rather than later. Say what you want about the French, but I adore France. And no matter what I do I always seem to be drawn back to their culture and food. As we all know, French food is pretty much most unfriendly vegan and raw foods you can find. The eggs, the ham, the game, the pommes frittes, steak au poive. These are the foods of my yesteryear. My goal, and perhaps, as the panel of The Next Food Network Star would say, that my "culinary view point" is to make French food accessible to the raw food lifestyle. Naturally, is my job, per cheffing, i've been experimenting. First, Dill & Garlic encrusted Salmon w/ Hollendaise Sauce. First attempt: Better than any of my previous Salmon steak attempts for sure. The holldendaise needed a little more acid as it was a bit to rich and creamy for my liking. Strange how I haven't eaten hollendaise in it's real form in YEARS yet I can still remember how it is supposed to taste. Je t'aime French food!

Well, au revoir my fellow foodies. I hope you have a delightful weekend and whip up some yums in the kitchen. I shall be posting pictures of the food I made for my class as well as the salmon steaks.

P.S. If anyone from my Holidays Gone Raw class has been checking the blog fear not, the recipes from the class will be emailed out and into your mailboxes by Monday! Once again, thank you all for coming - you were a lovely group!

*Photos from google images

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fruititarian Without The Label

Bon jour fellow foodies!

Ok, I feel like I need to clarify some things from my "rant" yesterday as well as some things about myself.

1. While I may whine about not being able to indulge in raw gourmet all the time like most raw foodies I actually feel better this way. Nuts can be very heavy and for someone who has had a long time suffering with feeling bloated, I do not enjoy that heavy feeling. After eating nut heavy dishes I always crave fruit anyway. The fruit + fat combo = fermentation = badddd!

2. I've been eating a modified fruititarian diet for the past year now. It began in France two summers ago. In France there are no flax crackers, chocolate chewies, or spirulina pie (things I used to eat everyday from Lifethyme which was near my university, The New School, in the beginnings of my raw food transition). And the French idea of salad is either a small bowl of plain greens or greens piled high with lardons and oeffs (ham and eggs) slathered in a mayo/butter dressing. Needless to say, I gave up eating in the cafes early on. During the day I ate mono meals of bananas and coconut. I began making my own salads at night with an entire bag of lettuce, 1 whole english cuc, 1 red/yellow/orange pepper, sundried tomatoes, raisins, mushrooms, and 1 whole avocado with a very simple dressing of orange and olive oil -- no salt, no spices. I snacked on whole baby pineapples, mangos, and baskets of strawberries as well as some organic dried fruit from the spice shops in Les Halles section of Paris. Very simple. My digestion was fantastic. My skin (for the first time since going raw) was glowing with no blemishes. I had tons of energy which was totally essential as Kev and I walked EVERYWHERE plus our usual exercise. I left for France weighing around 125lbs and came back a toned 115 lbs. I tried to maintain the same lifestyle at home, but Europe is so far ahead of us when it comes to food quality that it was almost impossible. I yo-yo-ed back and forth between fruititarian and high fat raw gourmet for much too long. And it wasn't until this past March that I think I finally gained control over my health. It's been a slow learning process.

3. Right now, I think I am just going through a phase. Driving across the country from NYC to CA was a very strange transition for my normally active body. I went from doing Bikram yoga everyday plus walking maybe 5+ miles all over the city to sitting in a car for 8 to 9 hours at a time. Plus, eating in the car and then that food just sitting in my stomach. It totally compromised my digestion. Now I have finally found a balence. I walk as much as I possibly can, go to the gym every other day, and do Bikram everyday. The more active I am the better my digestion is. They say that your skin is a clear sign of the internal health of your body. Since I have begun eating a blended diet, more fruit, green smoothies, and incorporating Vitamineral Green my skin has totally cleared up. I always blamed Bikram and the excessive amounts of sweat for my bad skin. Tisk tisk.

4. First and foremost, I am a chef. That will never change. I will always love food; it's been my passion since before I could reach the counter. The desire to create delicious food for those around me will never die. And, I will always have sentimental emotional ties to the foods of my past and the urge to create raw food that is reminicent of the staples of my childhood. Am I going to eat it every day? No. Will it be the basis of my diet? No. However, to deny myself small pleasures like going out to raw restaurants just because it doesn't fit the mold of my typical fruititarian diet is crazy!

5. Fruitarian or raw gourmet, taste must never be sacrificed! I grew up watching old school Food Network with Mario Batali and Emeril Lagasse and even Julia Child on PBS. Before I was a raw food chef, I was simply, just a chef. I ate meat. I made pies with regular refined white sugar. I used to pretend that our kitchen in Stockton was the studio for my own television show and I would demonstarte for my "audience" how to make the perfect plum reduction for leftover steak. When you begin this way, taste, is perhaps the single most important element of any food that you create because when you are dealing with raw food or even vegan skeptics they don't give a rats ass how healthy your food is.

6. Even the best of chefs like Gordon Ramsay will tell you that food should be simple and easy. It should not be a complicated mess of 20 ingredients and spices. The best dishes are typically the ones that come together in minutes and whose ingredients number no more than five. If you apply this to the raw food lifestyle it becomes much more managable. I went through a phase where I felt I had to create these elaborate dishes every night for dinner in order to achieve optimal health, when in fact, it was quite the opposite. Screw the super foods that cost 25 dollars per oz. Not to be a negative nancy but I bought into that stuff in the beginning too. From personal experience, it made no difference when my hair was falling out or my horomones where so f-ed up that I stopped getting my period and ovulating. What did work? Well, exactly what you would think - the reason why we all become raw foodists in the first place - RAW FOOD. Green smoothies, lots of fruit, lots of greens, fresh herbs , and healthy fats like avocado.  Plus, Vitamineral Green...totally Vitamineral Green...because unlike everything else that shiz actually works.

Oh, while I am on the topic of simple food. Gordon Ramsay, a ten mischlin star chef with restaruants on just about every continent, makes a broccoli soup. Want to know what's in the soup? Broccoli boiled in sea salted water, strained, food processed with the sea salted water added back into the broccoli. Nothing else. Food does not have to be complicated to be good.

Ok, so, I think that is it. I'm a modified frutitarian who dabbles in the raw gourmet because that is what makes people happy. And I want nothing more than for people to enjoy my food.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tales of a Compromised Raw Food Nerd

 My lack of postage has been grating on my mind lately. My camera ran out of batteries and I have been too busy preparing for my Holidays Gone Raw classes at the ENC to worry about camera batteries. Shame on me. I found batteries so food pictures will resume shortly.

Moving along. I swear, I have the digestive system of an 80 year old woman on a steady diet of bacon and hard candy i.e. no matter what I do my digestive system hates me.  (Maybe i've just got a complex? I've always felt my D.S. was working against me.) I love raw gourmet -- I could eat wraps, pizza, and nut burgers until the end of time, but my body will simply having nothing to do with it. It says to me, "Alysha, you are past the transition stage, moooveee onnn!" I respond, "But d.s., it tastes so good! Why can everyone else eat that way without getting bloated or feeling exhausted or perhaps the worst- breaking out?! Whyyy me?!"

My whining does absolutely nothing to change my very stubborn digestive system who stands her ground and honestly, who am I to fight? I've tried my best to make it work: digestive enzymes galore, powders with pre and pro-biotics, green smoothies to build up my HCL (stomach acid that works to break down your food) all with only a slight improvement. Certainly not enough to allow me to eat raw gourmet more than once or twice a month. Such is the life of a raw foodist who transitioned to a very clean diet much too soon.

Let me explain.

So, when you begin on raw foods and move away from the processed garbage, meat, and diary - even the vegan mock processed food- your body is in a total state of bliss. You begin to clean out all the crap and a transition from junk to the nut-heavy goodiness of raw gourmet is such an improvement that your body simply feels greatful and lets you eat all the nut burgers and flax crackers you want. However, much like exercise, you can plateau on raw foods and a diet heavy in nuts WILL slow the healing process. I guess you can say a raw gourmet diet is like a buffer for detoxification because nuts contain a lot of fat and oil. Fresh fruit and veggies are what cleanses and heals our bodies. When you are in  transition (even if your transition period lasts 5 years!) raw gourmet is the perfect way to overcome cravings and the psychological effects of adapting to a way of life that is very "radical" for the world we live in. (Fast food, fast food, fast food, horomones, pesticides, chemcials blah blah blah) I do believe there is a place for nuts and seeds beyond the transition period, but for me, it is a very small part.

So, what's a serious foodie to do when her body rebels against the food she loves yet again? I mean, I love green smoothies and straight up fruits and veggies as much as the next girl (or guy) but, I like my savory foods. I need something hearty - I exericse twice a day! Givee me caloriessss! (God, this sounds like one of those chunky meat lovers soup ads with the football players. Apologies.) Straight up blended soup is not my deal. Neither is a blended salad that uses greens like romanine lettuce. Gross. And I had already exhausted the zucchini pasta option with marinara as I ate that straight for a couple of weeks. (Would you believe that even THAT bothers my tum! And forget big salads! Yup, FML.)

Also, if you can't tell already...I am so not one of those people who will eat anything no matter how bad it tastes just because it is good for me. Oh, I totally DO NOT ascribe to that way of life. I think if you approach food in that manner you are setting yourself up for disaster. Who the hell wants to eat food that tastes like crap? I certainly don't. Food is fuel, sure, but it is also so much more.

So, I started with Cauliflower Mash. So simple you could make it blind-folded...ok, maybe not blind-folded, but still really easy. Cauli-Mash gets such a bad wrap because people cauliflower has a very strong taste esp. raw and esp. blended but I love it. I topped it off with a Rosemary and Black Pepper Au Jus. Best part is -- there is no measuring involved. And with the Holidays cominng up this is a perfect recipe. If you can take the nuts, feel free to add a cup of cashews or pine nuts or for a decadent rich mash add mac nuts.

Dill & Rosemary Cauli-Mash:
Cauliflower
2 scoops tahini
Bunch of fresh dill
Green part of 1 scallion
2 heaping scoops of Nutritional Yeast
Dash of black pepper
Dash of sea salt
Couple shakes of rosemary powder

Throw it all into your food processor and blend into smithereens! You may have to stop every once in a while in order to push down whatever gets stuck on the sides. It should full blended, no little pieces of caultflower. If you are going for a more authentic looking mash then I would suggest adding the herbs at the end because they will turn your mash a lovely shade of green otherwise.

Rosemary Au Jus:
1 Cup hot water
1 T Dark miso paste
3 T Nutritional Yeast
1 T Rosemary Powder
Dash of pepper and sea salt to taste

I simply just mixed this up in a bowl until the miso had dissolved, but you can easily throw this in the blender, but I didn't feel like having another dish to wash so I just blended my self! Depending on your tastes and how much you like rosemary (I love it) you may want to add more or less. Adding some fresh chopped rosemary or other herbs would also be yum as well. Experiment! There is no right or wrong!

Pour au jus over your mashies and enjoy! 

Ah, more recipes from this compromised d.s. to follow. Along with pictures...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Who Doesn't Scream for Ice Cream!


God, I freaking LOVE ice cream. In my S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) days I could eat an entire carton of ice cream on my OWN. Gross, I know, right? It's ok, call me a pig, because I totally was. My love affair with ice cream runs deep and it's creamy coolness is one of my ultimate comfort foods.

These days, I like to treat myself with Coconut Bliss or Agave Nectars cashew or coconut based ice creams instead of the puss-filled diary variety. (That was supposed to make you squimish by the way.) It takes every fiber of my being NOT to eat an entire pint when I buy it. Luckily, I often have someone to share it with!

In my Bikram yoga class today, as I was sweating my life away in standing head to knee pose, the chilly goodness of raw ice cream began to call my name. Huzzah for intutition, I remembered I had frozen some over ripe bananas yesterday! But whatever is an ice cream loving girl to do without her trusty ice cream maker! (It was one of the few appliances I parted with when we moved here to California. My future mother-in-law is taking very good care of it for me though!) Ah, the food processor. So I whipped up this ultra-guilt free banana ice cream that is sitting in my freezer as we speak waiting to be eatin!

Banana-Vanilla Ice Creame :
As many frozen bananas as you got!
1 T vanilla
2 T mesquite powder
2 T lacuma powder
1 handful of Trader Joe's freeze dried banana chips
1 pinch of nutmeg
1 pinch of cinnamon

Blend in the food processor until all ingredients begin to combine to a thick, creamy, consistency. Keep checking it. You want it to be REALLY thick so do not add any water or nut mylk. It should look just like soft serve coming out of a machine. I put mine back in the freezer because I wasn't going to eat it right away, but it is ready to eat right away Totally de-lish, totally guilt free!

I plan on eating my ice cream with some choco-avo pudding tonight with some chopped nanners on top!


(Picture courtesy of myrecipes.com -- would have posted my own, but my camera seems to be out of batteries at the moment. oppsy!)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Potluck Yums: Veggie Pizza & Apple Cobbler



Italian Veggie Pizza
For potlucks I always like to make more complicated dishes. As I mentioned in my last post, I don't eat this way on my own because my body fares better with simpler food, so whenever I get the chance to flex my culinary muscles, I'm a happy girl. This pizza really wasn't that complex, but did take time because I had to dehydrate the crust.


Crust:
 2 Cups Buckwheat groats (soaked and sprouted)
 1 Cup of ground flax seed
1 T Organic Cold-Pressed Olive Oil
1 Clove of garlic
1 Medium sized zucchini
1 T Italian seasoning

Process all ingredients in the food processor until you have a semi-sticky dough. Spread dough in circle shapes on the dehydrator sheets - size and thickness is purely personal. For these pizzas I went with a thinner, but bigger crust. Last year for Xmas I made thicker, but smaller crusts. It all depends on what you need/want! Put in dehydrator at 115 degrees for 2 hours or until the top is dried. Take it out of the dehydrator and flip it over. Dehydrate at 105 degrees overnight.

Marinara:
 2 cups Sun dried Tomatoes (soaked until soft)
2 or 3 Medium sized Tomatoes
1 T Cold-pressed Organic Olive Oil
2 T Italian Seasoning
1 Plump fresh date

You want a thick gravy so as not to make the crust too moist. In this case I used smaller tomatoes so I needed a third one to make the sun dried tomatoes move more in the food processor. This was one of the best sauces that I have made. Usually, I add basil and parsley to my marinara, but this time I opted for a straight forward thicker sauce focusing on the heartiness of the sundried tomatoes.

Mozzarella Cheeze:
 1 Cup of Mac nuts
 1 Cup Cashews 
(soaked for at least two hours)
 2 T Nutritional Yeast
 1 T Nama Shoyu or Wheat-free Tamari
 Juice of 1 whole lemon
 1 Clove of garlic
 2 t Sea Salt

Process in food processor until you reach a semi-thick, spreadable, consistency. A great idea, if you have time, is to add 1 or 2 more cups of cashews to the cheeze and then add a half a cup of Rejuvulac and let it sit over night. This will add a really tangy flavor to your mozzerella, but real mozz. is more salty so adding sea salt makes this much more like real mozzarella.

Pine nut Parmsean:
1 Cup Cashews
2 T Pine nuts
1/2 Mac nuts
1 T Ground Flax seed
2 T Nutritional Yeast
Juice of 1 whole lemon
1 Clove garlic

Process ingredients together until you get a consistency that is like parmsean cheeze which means you don't want to pulverize the nuts to release all the oils, but you want everything combined. It should be crumbly. This makes a lot and is great to store in an air-tight glass container which you can sprinkle on pasta or on a caesar salad, etc.

Marinated Veggies:
1 Package of sliced white mushrooms
1 Red bell pepper
1 Zucchini
2 T Red Onion

Marinade:
2 T Italian Seasoning
2 T Flax or Olive Oil
2 T Wheat-free Tamari or Nama Shoyu
1/2 Cup filtered water
Juice of 1 lemon
Sea Salt to taste

Dice all your veggies. Mix up your marinade. Toss your veggies in the marinade until they are equally coated. I put my veggies and marinade in a pie plate because I wanted all the juices from the veggies to release into the marinade and the veggies to soak up all that goodness! Place in the dehydrator at 105 degrees for at least two hours, checking periodically to see how tender they are and mixing them up to continually make sure that all the veggies are evenly coated. These veggies should smell/be reminiscent of the veggies you used to find on everything pizzas or in stromboli.

Last, but not least: BUILD YOUR PIZZA! And throw in the dehydrator at 115 degrees until you are ready to serve!


(Doesn't this look like you just opened a SAD pizza box??)


For the second potluck I decided to test out one of the recipes I am making for my Holiday's Gone Raw class at the Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach.  I opted for my signature dish - Apple Cobbler. It is a cinnamon-y, rendition of the apple pie my Grandmere has been making for me since I was little. The apples are tender and tart and the walnut/pecan/date crust on top adds the perfect amount of sweetness. I added a bit of maple syrup this time even though it is not raw. It was sooooo good! I overheard the host of the potluck tell another woman that it was, "To die for."  I still have to figure out the exact recipes since most of my creations, both sweet and savory, come from my head and are thrown together on a whim without regard to exact amounts. Sorry! I really have to start writing this down as I go along! Here is a picture to tempt your taste buds! It is perfect served warm out of the dehydrator and topped with some shredded coconut!





I've said this a million times, but, why would anyone eat SAD food when you can eat this way without the guilt or worry! Apple Cobbler and Pizza, good for you?? Hell yeah, with raw food!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Overeaters Guide to (Stop) Overeating


Ok, so let's be honest. Raw Food Potlucks are the bomb! It doesn't get much better than sharing delicious food with like-minded people. For me, as a raw food chef, it is a chance to test my new recipes on people who are not family. Potlucks are my favorite part of being a raw foodist: Lots of yummy food, that's well...free! However, for some, the potluck can turn into a serious digestive complication that can leave you bloated and wishing you hadn't gone back for that second...or third...plate of food. And this is a crime which I have committed more times than I would like to admit, but, fear not, there is hope on the other side! It IS possible to go to a raw food potluck, indulge, and not feel like death afterwards.

My overeating began in my teenager years and its roots are purely emotional. Even to this day, certain foods instantly take me back to a certain memory: everything bagels with cream cheese = Christmas morning. Not to mention the fact that I just really LOVE food. I have always been pretty lean as well and never really thought about the connection that food and ones body had. In my junior year of high school I became aware of my body and the fact that sure I was thin..but, I could always be thinner. (I never said my story was original as I believe most girls find themselves in this position when they hit adolescence.)

My best friend got me into the Atkins Diet which is one of the most dangerous fad diets out there. It is based on the"low-carb" principle which means that the consumption of meat and cheese is paramount because both contain barely any carbs. (Just LOADS of fat and calories, oye.)  You are instructed to not eat any fruits and veggies for the first two weeks and only 20 carbs a day. I have never been so hungry in my life.

This lead me down a horrible road of more fad diets, binging, and then starving myself. When I binged, I would eat ten egg omelets or an ENTIRE loaf of "low-carb bread" with butter and jam. I could easily eat half a block of cheese and I CRAVED red meat. One time, my friend and I ate an entire package of Jimmy Dean sausages. And all this time I was wondering why my skin was so bad, my stomach ALWAYS bloated, and why I was always sick and tired. By the time I got to college I had let go over my binging and starving, but my eating was still Atkins-centered, full of fat, factory-farmed meat, and pounds of cheese. All my salads were loaded with blue-cheese dressing and cottage cheese. I would eat three burgers w/ cheese minus the bun. (Notice the dairy pattern here??) I don't even want to get into the cartons of ice cream I consumed on my own during this perilous dietary abomination. Oh, what my body has endured! When I think back, it all makes sense now. Ahh, so that's the reason why I couldn't fit into my pants, why I had the worst/longest/heaviest periods ever, and had migraines so bad that I had to go to the hospital twice. Not to mention the random bouts of depression.

When you eat this way, you get what you deserve. Eventually your body just says, screw it, and stops fighting. This is where disease and illness comes into play as your body slowly degenerates. To this day I am STILL repairing my digestive system and working on eliminating all the poly cystic fibroid I created from such high meat consumption. Meat takes at the very least 3 or 4 days to digest and by the time it makes it out of your body (if it ever does) it is no longer meat, but rather a petrified/fermented/rotten mess which only means problems for your stomach, intestines, and colon. Your body has to work overtime to break down that meat and in the process uric acid and a host of other toxins are released into the body. Cancer anyone?

When I became vegan, things improved, but, still were not as great as they could have been. I went vegan essentially because I couldn't stand it anymore. Every time I ate I felt sick - like I was going to puke. Trust me, I wish I could say it was for ethical reasons, unfortunately, it was purely health-related. (Although, a sure blessing in disguise as it has lead me here!) As a vegan I ate A LOT of tofu. And often I ate eggs and fish.  (I was far from the model vegan!) My digestive system was still pretty shot and tofu contains a digestive inhibitor which really didn't help matters. Veganism lead me back into my old habits of overeating because I was always hungry. I would go out to dinner. Eat. And be thinking about what I could eat when I got home. The notion of digestive combining or spacing my meals to let my food be broken down and absorbed was not on my radar.

Not sure where I read it, maybe Alissa Cohen's book, Living on Live Foods, but I believe she said that people who are seriously underweight and those who are overweight share the same problem -- they are malnourished. Both sides usually have a poor diet and their bodies are forced to work extra hard to try and find the nutrients it needs to survive and sustain itself. I don't think I was ever getting the proper amounts of nutrients my body needed and therefore, I was constantly hungry. Naturally, my body was yearning for the correct vitamins and minerals to feel satiated.

It wasn't until I became a raw foodist that I found some sort of balence and overeating peace. I finally would eat and feel full,  but not gross and bloated. I didn't even have the urge to overeat anymore which was something that I hadn't experienced in years! I stopped fixating on my food in general as I had read in Victoria's book 12 Steps to Going Raw about intuitive eating; in essense your body will crave what it needs -- so if you want to eat a basket of figs or a whole watermelon go right ahead! I live by this principle still and I have been a raw foodist for two years at almost 100 percent. When you eat this way your body just knows what it wants and when to stop eating; it's whether we choose to listen or not that makes the difference.

And then I discovered Raw Food Heaven -- the Potluck. (Hope I haven't digressed too much as this IS supposed to be about potlucks!) My first was at Arnold's Way in Lansdale, PA; a cute store/cafe whose owner, Arnold, has been raw for eons and works very hard at helping people go and stay raw through green smoothies. (He has tons of videos on youtube.com from people who have healed themselves of a myriad of illnesses ranging from diabetes to all types of cancer all using raw foods.) It was here that I met two of my best friends and sometimes stuffed myself to the point where I could barely stand up. Then came the familiar feeling of guilt that always accompained my overeating and of course the bloat and swearing that I was never going to do this again. They say that when you have negative feelings while you eat, you compromise digestion. So, not only was I overeating, but the feelings that came with overeating only further compromised my digestive process.

When I came to California and found the Orange County potlucks on meetup.com I made a promise to myself that I was not going to over-indulge. I wanted to start fresh and prove that I was capable of controlling myself. My first potluck was not a sure success. I would say that I didn't totally overeat, but I was definitely filled to my max. I waited about four or five hours before eating again. However, I ate way to many figs and then a green smoothie which made me feel sick.

My second potluck was this past weekend in Laguna Beach. For the first time I did not overeat!!  I knew that I was in more of a dessert mood and decided to save room for that versus the savory dishes.  It really is so hard not to keep eating because when things taste good I don't want to stop. Nevertheless, to have a happy belly, it really is a must, esp. for someone who has always had digestive problems.

I have been on a quest to find the best digestive supplements since I started taking them a year ago. Honestly, I do not know how I ever survived without them. I am not a supplement type of person, but I really think digestive enzymes are crucial regardless of how you eat. Two of the best are Healthforce Nutritionals and MRM Digestive Enzymes.



With the holidays coming up, a notorious time for stuffing thy face, here are some tips I use to try to control my urge to over-indulge:


-Pace yourself!
-Take smaller portions so if you plan to go back up for seconds.
-Think positive: when you are positive about what you are eating your digestion of that food will be much better.
-TAKE DIGESTIVE ENZYMES WITH YOUR MEAL. I never leave home without them. They are imperative for a happy non-bloated tum!
-Eat slowly.
-CHEW YOUR FOOD. Gosh, cannot tell you how important this is. It keeps you in the moment w/ your food and your body won't have to work as hard to digest.
-Fast pre-potluck. On potluck days I have a green smoothie and that is about it. And I always make sure to drink A LOT of water before you eat.
-Wait 30 minutes to one hour before drinking anything after or during your meal.
- Always wait at least 3 hours from your last bite to eat again.
-After the potluck drink some digestive tea.

If you follow these tips you are sure to prevent both the emotional and physical issues that plague us overeaters!

*pictures are from google images

Monday, November 2, 2009

Little Bit Of Green

 Ah, the infamous green smoothie; it's combinations never ending, both sweet and savory. It packs a powerful punch of nutrition in the form of easily assimilated vitamins and minerals. In my humble opinion, they are the best way to eat greens without the fuss and never ending chewing that greens often require due to their tough outer structure. (The cellulose in greens is what makes it hard to break down and often people do not chew their greens well enough to get the full spectrum of nutrients and we also loose some of those nutrients through digestion.)


Well know raw foodist and one of my personal inspirations, Victoria Boutenko, wrote an excellent book all about the importance of green smoothies called Greens for Life. The book delves into the scientific nature of raw food, inparticular greens, and is backed up by several studies and an interesting experiment using green smoothies. I would seriously suggest reading this book if you want to find out more ways to incorporate greens into your life or learning how to seriously improve your health through greens. The Boutenko's as a family have over come some pretty devastating illnesses using raw foods which you can read about in 12 Steps to Raw Foods. This was one of the first books I read when I first went raw over two years ago and after reading how this family transformed themselves with simple, fresh, organic foods I was hooked. Check out their website as even Victoria's children have some pretty awesome cookbooks. Victoria Boutenko's Raw Family

As a raw foodie, I learned early on that green smoothies were essential to succeeding on a raw food diet. They helped me beat any cravings I had for vegan junk food and coffee, were a simple breakfast that kept me full for hours, and most importantly, helped me finally beat my horrible anxiety. Greens for me have a very calming effect and no matter how I eat them I always feel balanced when I am done. Perhaps it is because I know I am consuming something that requires barely any effort to make and is amazing for my body.

The green smoothie is an evolution in and of itself. I began by using a regular old Oster blender so that should tell you that you don't need a Blendtec or Vita Mix to make a green smoothie! Seriously, it should be a fun experiment. My first smoothies were not wonderful and were more of a liquid then a smoothie, but after some tweaking I have finally found what I would consider the best green smoothie ever. I like to use spinach or baby romaine because they are mild and I can throw a pound of spinach in there without it tasting like spinach. If you can handle it you can upgrade to more intense greens like kale and swiss chard, but you might need to add some more fruit to mask the taste.

Some good combos:
figs, spinach, blueberry, banana
pineapple, swiss chard, banana, strawberry
mango, pear, banana, spinach, strawberry
raw cacao, mint leaves, spinach, banana (frozen)
spinach, cherries, banana, spirulina

If you like them thicker, which I do, you can add less water and then they turn out more like a pudding and depending on how much frozen fruit you use it can be like soft serve ice cream. I typically always use frozen mango and like to alternate between frozen strawberry and regular. Adding a frozen fruit is important to having a great green smoothie because a warm smoothie is pretty, well, gross. Pineapple is a great addition because of the bromelain(helps with digestion) and it adds a tangy/sweet flavor. Frozen cherries are mean in green smoothies because they make it super creamy. I usually don't need to add any extra sweetener, perhaps some green stevia powder or a date but the fruit generally takes care of the sweetness. You could also add agave or raw honey. And feel free to add any other ingredients you may like such has Vitamineral Green, Spirulina (love this!!!) Greener Grasses, E3Live, Hemp Seeds (excellent sprinkled on top) etc. Sooo delish! Ok, so here is what you have been waiting for (drum roll!) the best green smoothie to date!


The California Green:
1 ripe banana
2 organic oranges
4 cups of organic spinach
1 cup frozen organic strawberries
2 cups frozen mango


Non-essential Extras:
MSM powder (A sulfur compond that does naturally occur in the body, but I like to add it in as a supplement because MSM keeps your joints nice and lubricated which helps with any soreness after working out. And for me, this is essential as I do Bikram yoga everyday and stretching and flexibility are key.)

Green stevia powder ( I only like the green powder because it means that it hasn't been processed like the white variety. It has a strong flavor so you only need a pinch.)

Vitamineral Green ( A full range of probiotics, superfoods, and powerful greens such as dandelion, wheatgrass, etc. This too is really strong so for me one scoop is enough.)


P.S. Adding more bananas makes this into a serious meal. If I am going to have this for dinner after a second workout on the elliptical I might add two or three bananas for extra calories and of course, potassium which will prevent any charlie horses and muscle cramping!


Directions:
Blend banana and oranges first until they are fully combined. Then slowly add in the spinach one cup at a time until each cup is fully incorporated into the smoothie (if you have a high-powered blender you can just throw it all in together.) Add in strawberries and mango and your non-essential extras. You should have a thick, green, frozen wonder. Pour into a bowl and top with more fruit or drink it like a think green mylk shake and enjoy!!!


(Picture to follow!)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Food Montage Part Deux

Sunrise Smoothie:
5 oranges thrown into the Vita Mix
Blend!




Spicy Miso Ginger Soup:
2 cups warm water blended
with 2 tablespoons miso paste
chunk of ginger
1 clove of garlic
slice of chili pepper
slice of jalapeno pepper
1 teaspoon shallot
pinch of cayenne to taste
salt to taste
Blend!
Add: any other seasonings you
want to make it your own.
Garnish:
Bean Sprouts
Mushrooms
Spinach
Celery


Marinated Portobello w/ Pasta Marinara:
Marinade:
tamari
oregano
1 clove of garlic
2 Tablespoons shallot
juice of 1 lemon
agave to taste
Dehydrate for 2-3 hours at 110 degrees
Slice and on top of zucchini pasta
with your favorite marinara sauce

Pasta Marinara



Cajun Jicama Fries:
Cut and peel jicama to look like fries
in a bowl mix together:
chili powder
chipotlepowder
agave
garlic powder
salt to taste
cayenne to taste
dash of apple cider vinegar to make
a wet paste
toss jicama in and throw on
the dehydrator for 2-4 hours at 105 degrees





Watermelon!
Still so good!
This is a perfect example of EASY raw food. Who says you
need to have a complicated raw food all the time? Just cup up some watermelon and enjoy!



Banana and Apple Chip Chewies:
Cut up apple and toss in agave and cinnmon -- place
on dehydrator
Cut up banana and place on dehydrator
at 110 degrees for 6 hours






Strawberry and Banana Pudding:
In vitamix blend
6 strawberries
1 banana
pinch of green stevia powder
1/2 cup of non-GMO soy lecthin
touch of almond mylk
Garnish w/ more bananas,
strawberries, and coconut flakes


Recipe of the Week: Cheezy Kale Chips!

I absolutely looovee Kale Chips, especially my Cheezy Kale Chips! They immediately take me back to my childhood and the piles of Cheez-itz I used to devour. They are a perfect replacement to conventional potato chips as they offer a subtle crunch, without the unhealthy elements. These chips are actually GOOD FOR YOU! Not to mention, they are an excellent way to get your greens in!
(Chips right before going into the dehydrator.)



2 cups cashew (soaked)

1 red pepper

1 cup grape tomatoes

5 sun dried tomatoes (soaked at least 10 minutes in warm water)

2 heaping Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast

Juice of one lime

Salt to taste

Plus:

1 bunch of your favorite type of kale


First, wash and dry, and cut up your kale. Dressings and even pates will not stick to wet kale. In a food processor process cashews and sun dried tomatoes removing what sticks to the side until fully blended. Then add in your red pepper and grape tomatoes. Process again until all combined, again removing what sticks to the side. Add in your nutritional yeast and lime. Process again. You should have a creamy and thick pate. Add salt to taste.

(This makes enough pate to massage into at least two bunches of kale. I only used one bunch so I had leftovers.)



Put cut up kale in a large bowl and scoop pate onto the kale. Massage until each leaf is evenly coated. Lay kale out on mesh screens and dehydrate at 11o degrees until chips are crunchy! And then enjoy!

(Finished Product! Crunchy, Cheezy, De-LISH Kale Chips!)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

FOOD INC.

I saw this movie over the summer and despite knowing a lot about the horrors of factory farming and GMOs this movie opened my eyes even more. It is absurd that with all the knowledge out there people still eat what Michael Pollan calls "food stuff". (Food stuff is a rather endearing terminology for processed food in that the sum of its parts make up a food item, but it is so loaded with partially hydrogenated oils, GMOs, refined sugars, grains that while it may look like food there really is NO food in it.) Upon going over the site I found these ten helpful tips to living a more Eco-friendly sustainable life. If everyone could just switch over to organics our World would be in much better shape. And, none of this "organics are too expensive" business peeps. I've been raw for the last two years and vegan for four and I was a student the whole time and I made it work. Sure, I couldn't stock my cabinet with tons of super foods and it was awhile before I bought my dehydrator. However, when you get right down to it raw food is about simplicity. It is about fruits and veggies in their whole state and the amazing things you can do with them. Even if you aren't into the raw stage of things and you are still a vegan. Consuming whole foods, even cooked, is much better for you than anything out of a box.

http://www.foodincmovie.com/get-involved.php (Go here to learn more about FOOD Inc. and what you can do to get involved to make this planet better!)
Learn more about these issues and how you can take action on Takepart.com

1.Stop drinking sodas and other sweetened beverages.
You can lose 25 lbs in a year by replacing one 20 oz soda a day with a no calorie beverage (preferably water).

2.Eat at home instead of eating out.
Children consume almost twice (1.8 times) as many calories when eating food prepared outside the home.

3.Support the passage of laws requiring chain restaurants to post calorie information on menus and menu boards.
Half of the leading chain restaurants provide no nutritional information to their customers.

4.Tell schools to stop selling sodas, junk food, and sports drinks.
Over the last two decades, rates of obesity have tripled in children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years.

5.Meatless Mondays—Go without meat one day a week.
An estimated 70% of all antibiotics used in the United States are given to farm animals.

6.Buy organic or sustainable food with little or no pesticides.
According to the EPA, over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the U.S.

7.Protect family farms; visit your local farmer's market.
Farmer's markets allow farmers to keep 80 to 90 cents of each dollar spent by the consumer.

8.Make a point to know where your food comes from—READ LABELS.
The average meal travels 1500 miles from the farm to your dinner plate.

9.Tell Congress that food safety is important to you.
Each year, contaminated food causes millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths in the U.S.

10.Demand job protections for farm workers and food processors, ensuring fair wages and other protections.



Personal Tip: If you do buy something out of a box, i.e. cereal it should contain less then TEN ingredients. Make sure there are NO dyes, partially hydrogenated oils, refined sugars, etc. You will notice a clear difference in your energy and overall well-being when you eliminate these toxic substances.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Gastronomical Excursion: LA & Santa Monica

Call me crazy, but I could spend all day in a health food store. Seriously, much to the dismay of my poor fiance, I HAVE in fact spent HOURS just strolling the isles looking for nothing in particular. I can't really explain it, I guess it is just my inner food nerd coming out. So, to celebrate our six year anniversary Kevin and I went to Santa Monica and LA to explore, Raw Food Nerd-style.

This is ZenBunni. They make the most AMAZING chocolate I have ever had. Normally, I am not really a fan of raw chocolate. I always liked white-chocolate better. Most raw chocolate for me is just too bitter and/or too overpriced. In recession times, who really has the money to throw down ten dollars for a bar of chocolate??? Crazy. Anyway, this had a very delicate flavor. We tired their classic chocolate as they have a variety of flavours. It was simple -- not too sweet and not to bitter. And the store smelled of this amazing incense. It was very general store-esque; like something you would find from when the cowboys roamed the prairie. It reminded me of Jenny Lewis for some reason -- I guess because she embodies that real indie/folksy vibe. Here is the website. You should definitely check it out: http://www.zenbunni.com/zb/zb_home.html
Enter: ZenBunni


Compared to many raw chocolate bars that I have seen on the market this is a pretty big bar. We got the grey sea salt variety. Suppper delish! This bar was only $4.00. I could eat this everyday!



Next we decided to stop into EuphoriaLOVESRawvolution which is Matt Amsden and Janabai Amsden's restaurant in Santa Monica. They have outdoor seating as well, which is really nice. Outdoor seating reminds me of Paris.


I ordered a cup of Tomato Basil soup. Sorry, I was really hungry and finished before I took a picture. This was pretty good as far as soups go. Though, it was a little too garlicky for my liking and I would have preferred a bit more basil to balance it out. The cup was $3.50.


For a whooping $7.50 Kevin got the Chunky Monkey Parfait. It was a yum in the tum combination of coconut meat, bananas, cacao, and jungle peanuts. While small, it was pretty heavy and very thick and creamy. We had never had anything with jungle peanuts before so for a first try I would say that I loved them, of course, because I used to be obsessed with peanut butter...to the point where I ate it out of the jar and found ways to put it on just about everything...like plums! Who the heck puts peanut butter on PLUMS??? Glad to say that I am beyond those peanut butter obsessed days.
Here are a few pictures of the inside of the cafe. They have so much art it is really awesome. The place was very laid back and it lent for a very enjoyable little lunch.

You can see they also sell some raw food items as well.
This is the outside. See there is that outside seating I was talking about. I can't wait to go back to try all the other food on the menu esp. that burger. It looks sooo good. Here is the website. Check it out and if you happen to be in Santa Monica! http://www.euphorialoverawvolution.com/resources/Menu+6.0.pdf


We decided to at least check out the menu at Planet RAW which is famed raw food chef, Juliano's restaurant. I was looking online at the menu and had spotted some dishes that said they were 32 dollars so I had to see if it was for real or not. I mean for $32.00 there had better be some truffles on there and enough food to serve at least four people! Well, I am happy to say that while we didn't eat there, I checked the menu and there is nothing for $32.00! It is actually very reasonably priced and the menu items were making me drool. They had some awesome ones like Jalapeno Poppers, a Thanksgiving meal, Tuna Sandwich. I can't wait to go back!!

After driving around Beverly Hills and hitting up the Whole Foods (which is a raw food desert i.e. they have very little to offer in my opinion.) we went to Cru in Silverlake. Silverlake is very much like NYC's LES. There are a lot of vintage shops and what not. I love it there. And I love Cru. Their menu is very simple and totally seasonal. For example, for their Autumn Menu they were serving a root vegetable soup. The food there is amazing. It is simple, but bursting with flavour. You want to eat everything on the menu. Kevin got the Pineapple Pizza which I didn't take a picture of because honestly, I was too focused on my own darn food. I got my usual Mezze Platter except I asked to get veggies instead of flax crackers. For some reason, flax crackers just don't agree with me -- too many nuts and seeds for my body to handle I think. Anyway, on the plate is a garlicky kale salad, fig pate, herbed cashew pate, a beet and apple Tunisian salad, olives, and a cucumber dill yogurt salad. The veggies they gave me were tomatoes and radishes. I ate every bite! And for like the first time ever was too full for dessert! They have really good dessert there too. Last time we went we shared the brownie a la mode. It was chewy and warm and just super yum! Here is the menu website, but as I said, due to the seasonal aspect of the cuisine it changes. http://www.crusilverlake.com/menu.html
Anyone who says that raw food is hippie food and tastes like dirt has obviously never eaten in a raw food restaurant. The fact that I can go to a place like this and order without having to wonder or worry what I am putting into my body is so cool. AND to know that everything I ate is nourishing and good for me is even better! This is REAL food people!
Happy eating!