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.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Unlimited Calorie Mentality

As I mentioned in my last post, eating a whole foods, plant-based lifestyle does not automatically correlate to sacrifice. So, I figured, I would show you how a high carb, low fat, plant-based vegan gets down by posting my general eats.

Now, let me be clear, I'm tall (5"7') but, I'm quiet lean weighing in at no more than 110 lbs of pure muscle. However, I can pack it away, often to the shock of other people who simply don't know WHERE all that food goes!

I can assure you that I eat more food in one sitting than my husband. And I probably eat more calories in a meal then some people eat in a whole day.

On a high carb lifestyle, calorie consumption is of upmost importance. And I personally eat an upwards of 3,000 calories a day (primarily coming from sweet fruit), never, ever calorie restricting. I eat until I am full and satisfied and I don't have to moderate my intake or feel guilty about anything I eat.

*Just to note, all these meals follow proper food combining and are salt and oil free.*

Every morning without question I always drink at least 16 oz. or more of distilled water. I do this to flush out my system after a full night of detoxing, regenerating, and healing. It also hydrates my muscles and gets me energized and ready to work out! Sometimes I add some lemon, which is especially good for removing toxins from the body and also functions as an electrolyte.

After I workout, which either involves me going to Bikram Yoga or running & taking a spin class, I always re-fuel with a juicy, mono-meal. Mono-meal, meaning I eat only one type of fruit until I can't eat anymore. I am melon apologist of the highest order. I love love LOVE honeydew and golden melon. I can effectively count on both hands the days where I have not had some type of melon this year. In the summer, watermelon aptly becomes apart of this wonderous rotation.

When I am eating melon, I usually eat anywhere between 2-3 melons depending on the size. And I will generally eat one whole watermelon on my own.

 My next meal functions as what I like to call 'linner' which is a mash up of lunch and dinner, i.e. late lunch + early dinner. I don't like to eat at night because it makes me feel groggy and bloated the next day. Eating early ensures that my food is completely digested before I go to sleep and thus, I sleep more soundly at night. Also, my body can do what it was intended to do while I sleep, and that's remove toxins and heal versus having to focus on digesting my meal.

That being said, my linner meals are quite large, very high carb. I always make sure to carb-up with a large amount of fruit before I move onto the savory part of my linner - whether it be salad, zucchini pasta, or a savory stew.

Cucumbers w. Mango Herb Dressing + Arugula 

Cucumber Pasta with Peach Nectarine & Heirloom Tomato Salasa

Romaine lettuce, Cucumbers, Grapes w. Lemon Dill Tahini Dressing

 Zucchini Pasta w. Sun Dried Tomato & Nectarine Sauce

Butter Leaf Lettuce Fruitful Salad w. Blueberries & Mango-Cilantro Dressing
(I indulged in that perfectly ripe pile of bananas to the left before I ate this salad! Incorporating fruit INTO my salad is like getting two for the price of one, as i'm able to make sure I carb up AND get my greens in, satisfying my sweet tooth and getting my minerals!) 

Mango & Heirloom Tomato Salad w. Spring Mix, Mint,& Basil 
Two Different Mango-based dressings: Mango-Celery Sage & Mango-Tomato w. Pomegranate mixed in for added crunch!

 Sometimes, I like to just have a dinner entirely composed of sweet fruits. In the warmer months that most definitely means I am eating bowls and bowls of fruit-based ice creams. I have written extensively about my fruity ice creams on this blog so I won't get into too much detail here. These are delicious and loved by all. I have found that desserts are the best way to introduce omnivores to a plant-based lifestyle - it's familiar, approachable, and everybody loves sweets!

Mango-Banana Ice & Papaya-Banana-Date-Cinnamon Ice Cream
 topped with Passion Fruit & Pomegranates 

As I mentioned above my "Linner" falls into the late lunch/early dinner category, so by the time dinner actually does roll around I'm usually still not hungry, but more so I crave calories of the liquid variety aka i'm thirsty! As a particularly active person I like to make sure I am topping off my calorie intake so at night I usually go for high-quality juice like Lakewood Organics. Their Pineapple Juice is my absolute favorite! Each bottle is 4 servings and each serving is 120 calories so in one bottle I get nearly 500 calories, huzzah! Not to mention, this juice contains no added junk, it's strictly pineapple juice that has been fresh pressed and the fiber from organic pineapple! In addition, pineapple is notoriously excellent for digestion and it's even better in juice form! Obviously, juicing your own pineapple is numero uno, but I am more concerned with not allowing myself to be under-carbbed than I am with the fact that this was pasteurized; high quality juice is a perfectly acceptable option!

Lakewood Organic Fresh Pressed Pure Pineapple Juice 

Another one of my go-to nightly drinks is fresh squeezed orange juice. There is nothing more satisfying then drinking OJ you juiced yourself- the taste and quality are second to none. I typically juice about five lbs of oranges, give or take depending on their size, which is generally enough to fill my 32 oz Vitamix carafe. OJ is a potent blend of vitamins and a remarkable immune booster. It helps cleanse the body of toxins and when juiced in this way the fiber remains intact so as to aid in cleaning out the system. I love love love orange juice, but don't be confused-- not all OJ is the same. Tropicana and conventional OJ often contains animal by-product in the added form of Vitamin C they use to fortify it. And because their OJ typically comes from oranges that are picked before they were ripe, it tends to be very acidic; both in taste and inside the body. However, while ripe oranges, and fresh pressed juice as shown here are actually alkaline once inside the body.

Fresh-Squeezed Organic Orange Juice

My last and final example, and shhh, don't tell the others - but, my favvvvorite, is raw cane [sugar] juice! You have not lived unless you have tasted this delightful, refreshing, sweet bottle of liquid gold. Cane Juice is actually considered a grass so it totally counts as a green juice! ::high five:: I like to get mine frozen and let it thaw halfway and then I blend the frozen juice with the thawed juice and it's like drinking a very indulgent milkshake. I believe it the ultimate cravings buster. It's also great for pre and post-run fueling! For a more complete description of all the amazing benefits of drinking cane juice click here!

Organic Raw Cane Juice

So there you go, a SMALL sampling of the food I typically consume on a plant-based lifestyle. From my perspective, this is not limiting at all. I believe in eating food that makes me feel like my best self and plants (fruits and vegetables, high carb/low fat) is the way to go if you want to feel like your BEST self too! 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Vegan Pizza FTW

 When people commit to a plant-based lifestyle they assume that sacrifice is inevitable. They believe that teeth-gritting will-power will be a necessity; how else will they manage to power through sans their favorite disease-inducing foods like pizza, hamburgers, and ice cream? The horizon looks bleak, marred by restriction, social anxiety (or fear of missing out), and tasteless rabbit food.

Hey, i'm all for rabbit food - lettuce, carrots, delish! Buuut, if you were to tell me that those were to be the two staples of my diet, I might just cry...no, I can promise you I would sob uncontrollably and be inconsolable for quite some time. Nobody wants to be reduced to carrots and lettuce, that I am sure!

Fortunately, this fear-based ideology surrounding the plant-based diet (surely bolstered by the meat and diary industry who desperately want you to believe the aforementioned in addition to the fact that you will without a doubt develop an array of deficiencies and become malnourished) is a bunch of nonsense! Plants are the most usable and absorbable proteins for the human body and with such an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables at our disposal, the body is able to get ALL the micro and macro-nutrients it needs from plants alone!

Yes, switching to this type of lifestyle DOES take commitment, but it's all in how you approach it. When I talk to people about adopting a whole foods, plant-based lifestyle I like to remind them that it isn't and never will be about RESTRICTION but, instead, SUBSTITUTION!

Once that negative, doubting frame of mind is ousted - the possibilities are endless!

For example, my husband's favorite vegan and non-vegan junk food was and is, you guessed it: Pizza.

I have watched him eat entire pizzas himself, nay, multiple pizzas. Pre-vegan he could polish off boxes of Red Baron Bagel Bites without blinking an eye. During college he was known to make late night calls to Dominos and order a large pizza and bread sticks for.him.self. and eat the entire thing. This year during the Los Angeles Pizza Crawl he ate vegan pizza from dawn 'til dusk, in various thicknesses, with and without cheese - and at the end of the day he still wanted more.

To please him with homemade pizza, one that is high carb, low fat with no oil or salt is a daunting task. Especially since he is bananas for Diaya cheese (which is really just creatively solidified fat + color).  And i've been promising to wow him with my Cheese-Less Bombin' Veg Pizza for a looong time.

At Whole Foods I found a great gluten-free pizza crust that was made from just brown rice and water called Nature's Hilights. This meant I was able to switch out a crust that otherwise would have contained wheat, yeast, oil, and added sodium. And it's always a plus when you can find products that have a short ingredient list because it means they are less processed.

Next, I bought a BPA-free can of Bionature no salt added tomatoes. It is important to look for low or no-salt when you are buying canned tomatoes. Tomatoes are salty by nature so added salt is really unnecessary and often takes away from the great flavor imparted by all your toppings.

I crushed up the tomatoes by hand, added chopped fresh basil. parsley, thyme, and 1 teaspoon of onion powder.

Then I prepared my veggies! Feel free to make this as simple or as complex as you desire. Get creative and a little adventurous.

A good tip for parents or adult picky eaters: introduce new and different tastes in vehicles that eaters will be familiar with. This will make them less hesitant to try it because they already know, for example, what pizza crust tastes like even if say, this is the first time they are trying red bell pepper. 

 I topped Kevin's pizza with organic mushrooms, artichokes, & red bell pepper. The crust needs to be fully defrosted first and the oven pre-heated to 500 degrees. I popped it in for 10 minutes before I put the toppings on just to make sure it was cooked all the way through. Then I covered it in sauce and veggies and put it back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes; occasionally checking to make sure it didn't burn.

 The result? A masterpiece of rustic deliciousness! #humblebrag The crust, according to my pizza savant of a husband, was crispy along the edges and chewy towards the center, kind of like wood-fired pizza lending itself perfectly to the gently roasted veggies from the saltiness in the tomatoes to the sweetness of the pepper, effectively complimented by the fresh herbs. Despite its cheese-less nature he was satisfied and in true Kevin fashion processed to demolish BOTH pizzas!

Tell me there is even a HINT of sacrifice here! I dare you!

*Bionature picture and Nature's Hilight Pizza Crust Picture from Google Images

Thursday, October 3, 2013

#Respect The Chemistry

Yes, I am one of those crazily obsessed Breaking Bad people. And yes, I am 'stealing' a Breaking Bad tagline for my blog title, but what the hell, it applies. I'm mourning in my own way...

Whether we want to admit it or not, food-- (un)cooking (and baking, entirely) is a science. And there is an inherent chemistry that exists between carefully chosen ingredients that when combined, either make or break our chosen meal; much like when certain chemicals are combined they garner different types of chemical reactions. Some, result in an explosion (of flavor), while others fall flat and require tweaking until all the right proportions have been reached.

Luckily, as plant-based enthusiasts, what we are starting off with (organic, whole foods) tastes pretty darn good already-- so, for us, it's more about the synergy of our ingredients.

A good sandwich or wrap, specifically of the gluten-free, vegan, & raw variety epitomizes perfect chemistry; a synergistic pop of flavor where, say, the tomato juice mixes with your chosen sauce and dribbles down your chin just a little. Ya, chem-is-try!

Enter, my bread-less sammie of choice, the portobello. Honestly, it doesn't get more straight forward than this, except, for maybe a collard wrap, but even that requires some handy covert wrapping skillz. It's so literally just two portobellos, cleaned and stuffed with your most favorite ingredients.

I should tell you that I marinated my portobellos in the leftover soaking water from my sun-dried tomatoes. And then dehydrated them for about two hours. This is not necessary at all, but, I like how it changes the texture - making it more chewy...kind of like real bread.

Look at me, so very put together...and so very delicious!

 Like an open book...a friggin' tasty one, am I right?! 

Heirloom tomato, thinly sliced zucchini that was dehydrated overnight, & sun-dried tomato with oregano. On the flip side: red leaf lettuce & a sun-dried tomato and mango sauce with a touch of basil and oregano 

Ta da! She cleans up nicely, no?

But if you are aiming for a no-fuss sammie, I suggest you opt for the ever popular, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink-stuffed-inside-romaine-hearts-sub. If you are traveling, and trying to stay raw, THIS should be your go-to meal. If you are trying out a plant-based RAW diet and miss your bread, THIS is what you should be eating. If you like food AT ALL, THIS is what you should be eating! It's BOMB-IN'!

Romaine hearts stuffed with heirloom tomato, champagne mango, zucchini, sun-dried tomato, scallion, & red bell pepper. No sauce necessary for me because the ingredients meld together perfectly, creating their own chin-dribblingly wonderful sauce. 

Frankly, Nature has her 'ish' together. She knows what she's doing by giving us these perfect little vessels with which to enjoy her bounty. Not to get crazy cosmic-ish on you, but seriously, we are species-specific eaters and that means we were designed to eat ripe, juicy, whole, plant-foods as such. 

It doesn't matter how raw we are, 50%-99.9%, what matters is that we are adding more fruits and vegetables to our current diet and thus, over time, gradually, cutting out nasties like meat, dairy, and processed, refined foods. Changing up your sandwich by replacing the meat with a really hardy heirloom, beefsteak tomato or exchanging your mayo for a creamy tahini sauce, or even just stuffing a head of lettuce with your favorite veggies is an excellent way to start! 

Seriously, #RespectTheChemistry, & eat sandwiches like these!