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


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