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, July 24, 2014

Tour de Cane Juice Endurance Cycling, Weekly Update #2

Here is weekly update #2 of the Tour de Cane Juice for your viewing pleasure. Fear not, I kept my chatting to a minimum so this video is short and sweet and I really hope you guys enjoy it!

If you have any questions about raw cane juice: where to find it, more info. about it, etc. please feel free to leave a comment below!

Also, please share this video with all your fitness buff friends and or anyone who is interested in achieving optimal health through clean energy! Sugar cane juice is the ULTIMATE sports drink! So let's get people off the artificial, dyed, preservative-loaded sugar water and onto raw cane juice!

Have an awesome weekend and don't forget to like and subscribe after you watch the youtube video!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Plant-based Summer Berry Smoothie

Smoothies, especially in the summer months, are a great way to get in all your vitamins and keep your calories up, when you're appetite is less than normal because of the heat.

I love to start my mornings with a nice cold smoothie when I'm not pounding back a 15 lb watermelon!

My newest obsession is my Summer Berry Smoothie which I whipped up on a whim while trying to jazz up my standard "Dateorade" of dates, water, dash of cinnamon or a few drops of Sweetleaf Liquid Stevia Drops, and a bit of ice.

Give this once a try too! Dates make the BEST base for a smoothie because they are sweet and their texture, when blended, makes for a frothy/milkshake like consistency. Mmmm mmm!

This particular blend of organic mixed berries is blackberry-free which makes this the perfect berry mix in my opinion -- too many seeds that never officially break down in the Vitamix which makes for a less than enjoyable smoothie experience because I'm constantly biting down on tiny seed particles. Just not a fan..

It's SO good, I just had to share it with you guys so you can try it too!

1 lb of your favorite dates
1.5 cups of Sunrise Growers Organic Berry Mix 
(Can be purchased at Costco in the frozen fruit section!) 
24 oz-32 oz of water depending on desired thickness 

Make Your Smoothie:
Blend your dates and water in your high speed blender until fully combined. Next blend in your frozen berries.  Blend for 30 seconds and taste to make sure consistency is to your liking. 

Poor into your favorite smoothie glass and slurp it up! 

(P.S. Don't forget to chew your smoothie for optimal digestion!) 

I will be back early next week with another Tour de Cane Juice update for Week 2 so make sure to check back! 

And don't forget to "like" my Facebook Page, Positively Plant-Powered, check out my website, and follow me on Instagram @RawFoodNerd! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Tour de Cane Juice Weekly Update

Tour de Cane Juice is well under way! Here is the first installment of the weekly updates I will be doing. This is my first video ever so please don't judge too hard. I promise I will get better with my "ums" and hopefully, I will be able to improve my editing skills as well! 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Cane Juice Chronicles: Tour de Cane Juice

And so I am back, with another cane juice challenge this July in tandem with the start of the Tour de France which began on Saturday!

In the previous Cane Juice Chronicles (which you can find here and here) I put raw cane juice to the test, using it as fuel for my running and testing its ability to help improve my speed and overall running performance. I kept a detailed log via the Runtastic App and was able to graph my steady improvements while drinking cane juice. In the end I ran my first 10k in 51:08, placed 109 out of 2,356 runners and 33rd out of the 1,636 women who ran, all thanks to the 16 oz of pure, raw cane juice I drank 45 minutes before the start of the race which had me soaring! (Note to self and first time race runners: don't put yourself in a slower corral just because you think you might not be able to keep a faster pace. You will get bogged down by the crowds. Next time, I will definitely put myself in a closer corral so I won't have to spend as much time getting past people.) Seeing as though in the middle of my training I aggravated an old injury and was only able to get in a mere 4 training runs post-injury/pre-race, I was very happy with my results.

In the second installment of The Cane Juice Chronicles, amidst my running injury, I decided to take an active role in the healing process and truly put cane juice to the test as a recovery aid. I signed myself up for a 30 day Bikram Yoga Challenge at my yoga studio, Bikram Yoga South Pasadena  and spent the month leading up to the race drinking cane juice nightly and doing Bikram yoga like it was my job. Between the healing properties of the raw cane juice (chock-full of animo acids and chlorophyl) and the restorative properties of Bikram Yoga (heat plus stretching is glorious for healing the body) I was able to regain full-range of motion in my hip and inner thigh.
Check out www.sugarcanejuice.org for more information on where you can find their products

Now, this July, I am taking cane juice to a whole new level to see how it will affect my endurance while cycling; a sport I don't have too much experience in...unless, you count spinning classes? My goal is to hit 400 or more miles over the course of the month. Now, you may be thinking, "400 miles is really only 12-13 miles a day, pfft, that's too easy." Well, for an experienced cyclist, sure, but for the average person trying to get fit and be healthy, 12-13 miles is a substantial amount.

However, this wouldn't be a Raw Food Nerd challenge without the stakes being raised and as I said, when I put cane juice to the test, I REALLY put it the test. I plan to maintain my normal 40-90 minute daily exercise routine in addition to the miles I will be putting in on the bike. Oh, snap!

I am not going to divulge all the details of my training so far because I will be posting a video later this week about my progress, but I will say that it going exceedingly well! So most definitely stay tuned!!

In the meantime you can follow me on Strava where I log all my rides.

image credit: www.adalaidecyclists.com

Don't forget to like my Facebook Page, Positively Plant-Powered, subscribe to my blog, and check out my website - Positively Plant-Powered!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Raw Vegan Zucchini Chips and Organic Tomato Corn Salsa

For years the notion of a crispy chip has alluded me on the raw food lifestyle. My chips, be it savory or sweet, were always chewy. The exception being only my beloved kale chips. (Who would have ever thought kale chips would become so popular?!)

Kale chips are even Kardashian-approved (Oh lord.) with Kourtney Kardashian espousing the benefits of kale chips vs. regular snore bore 'tater chips. But this isn't really about kale chips, which seemingly always give me a weird reflux reaction where I feel like I've got shards of kale stuck in my throat (not fun) for days. And since I avoid gut-bombing condiments like vinegar, oil, & salt, these days I much prefer a crispy zucchini chipper.

Bring it!

The beauty of this crunch-satisfying chip is not just in texture, but also in simplicity in that once you put them in the dehydrator at the standard temperature for raw-fooding-- 115-118 degrees-- you can forget about them for about 2 days. The longer you let them dry the more crispness your chip will bestow upon you.

Recipe? Sure.

1-2 organic zucchini peeled or unpeeled whatever is your groove, sliced thinly on the mandolin
Juice of 1 lemon
For me, I love dill or thyme so I chop them up really well and sprinkle on generously.

I let my zucchini and herbs soak overnight, but an hour or two will do.

Then I put them in the dehydrator at 118 degrees and let those babies go, only checking periodically to flip them over if need be.

After two days they are as crispy as a gosh darn Lays chip MINUS the gmos, preservatives, oils, and salt.

I eat them with guac or my fav. Mango And Sweet Organic Corn Salsa and they are righteously and absurdly delicious.

By the way, that insanely-mind-blowing salsa that eeks of summer bounty goes as follows: (all ripe and organic)

1 mango
2 heirloom tomatoes
1 ripe peach or nectarine
2 ears of corn
1 bell pepper (any color but green which are unripe, therefore, inedible)
Small handful of chives or the top of one green onion
Massive fistful of cilantro
Half a peeled lime

Pulse to your desired consistency and use your chips to go to town!

I would imagine if you were joansing for some serious chip-age of the Cheeze-y variety you could add a heaping tablespoon of Nooch to the lemon juice and dill and then lovingly MASSAGE it into the zucchini. (Is meditation through the vehicle of food possible? Anyone? Anyone?)

Happy Chipping my fellow raw food nerds!

How to Navigate Social Situations, Dining Out, & Making Food for Your Family While Adhering to a Plant-based Diet

One of the most effective ways we can connect with another person is to share a meal with them. However, in today's modern world where everyone has particular dietary specifications -- gluten-free, nut-free, vegan, vegetarian, etc. is it still possible for food to function in that same way? Can we still bond while sharing different meals?

Well, I say, YES!

Food is something that has always been a very important part my relationship with my husband; probably because food - the act of making a meal and sharing it with others, was a large part of my childhood too.

So, in the 12 years that my husband and I have been together, we have found ways to make our ever-evolving vegan diets work for us-- both when we go out together and in social situations with family and friends.

While this post focuses primarily on making a plant-based lifestyle work for you, it can really be applied to any type of dietary specifications!

My number one best tip for making your lifestyle work in the real world is to PLAN AHEAD!

If we are going out to eat, we always check out www.happycow.com or www.menupages.com to look over the menu and make sure we can BOTH find something we will enjoy. Back when I was only eating raw vegan food, we would always check to see if there was a nice salad on the menu or a fruit platter. I would simply just bring my own dressing and I was good to go! I, of course, always check portion-size too- the bigger the better. Fortunately for me, being raw vegan also meant that I didn't really need to take into consideration my gluten-allergy because fruits and veggies are naturally gluten-free. However, my dad actually has Celiac Disease, so he has to be incredibly careful when dining out due to possible cross-contamination.

Photo courtesy globalanimal.org
  Another good tip here, especially if you are heading out to a non-veg or non-vegan restaurant with family and friends, is to CALL AHEAD! This is one of the best pieces of advise I can offer. Most chefs are more than happy to prepare a little something special  for you as it lets them get creative. Just make sure you are specific and clear in what your preferences are; allergies, food sensitivities, likes, dislikes..

Now, what about office parties, holiday get-togethers with family, or dinner parties with friends? Navigating those can be a bit more tricky. The restaurant will likely not take offense to the fact that you have specific dietary preferences -- family and friends on the other hand, well, it usually requires a bit more finesse.

For work parties, I would ultimately suggest eating something substantial beforehand and then just nibbling on the fruit and veg platter if you are still hungry. Or as some offices do now, parties are typically held at restaurants, so follow the restaurant protocol for this one!

If it is a holiday get-together with family or a dinner party with friends, I would say that much like dining out, you should call ahead and talk to the host. Explain that because you eat a certain way, you will be brining your own dish or dishes and that you will gladly prepare enough for everyone to try. Sometimes the host will offer to make you a separate dish and depending on how comfortable you are with that or what kind of relationship you have, this may very well be a great option.

My in-laws have a holiday party every year the day after Christmas. My mother-in-law used to prepare the most delicious raw food meal for my husband and I on top of all the other food for the party. I was always so incredibly grateful because it meant I got to take a little break, especially since it was the day after Christmas and I had spent days before meal planning, shopping, and preparing for Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner.

On the other hand, sometimes you may feel too guilty (or perhaps you are also a control freak like me, lol) allowing someone else to do all the work. In which case you can kindly convey this to your host and explain that you'd rather just bring your own food because you don't want to burden them.

I do, typically, always bring my own food, and that's partly because I never want people to think that I EXPECT some sort of special treatment just because I choose to eat differently, nor do I want to (as above) burden them with preparing an entirely separate meal.

Another reason, which lends itself to my inherent control-freakness, is because unless you are a vegan, most people simply don't grasp the fact that vegan means no animal products what-so-ever. And what constitutes "animal products," for whatever reason, seems to have a very loose interpretation within the veg/vegan community.

photo courtesy of Vegans of Instagram

 I mean, how many times have you gotten the, "Oh, you're vegan...cool, so you still eat chicken/fish/butter/mayo right?"

or, "Well, can't you just have it this ONE time? It won't kill you!"

I wish I could say that I initially removed animal products from my diet because I felt it was ethically wrong to consume another sentient being, but it was purely for health reasons. It was literally making me sick; migraines, debilitating depression, anemia, severe digestive issues - and this was only the half of it. (You can read My Story here and about how I took back my health by adhering to a plant-based diet!)

So, yeah, while it may not "kill" me if  I were to accidentally eat animal products again, I'd really rather not take the risk.

Personally, cooking is my number one passion and I truly enjoy making my own food. You can often find me on a Saturday night in the kitchen whipping up new recipes or preparing for our big Sunday dinner. Bringing my own food not only saves my host the hassle, but it actually means less stress for the both of us. He or she doesn't have to worry about making a separate dish for me and I don't have to worry about what is or could possibly be lurking in my seemingly benign bowl of [insert meal here.]

So now that we've covered dining out as a couple and dealing with social situations, what about eating at home when your partner or kids don't eat the same thing as you?

The last thing most people want to do after a long day at work is make a different meal for each person in the house based on their likes and dislikes. By now, I'm pretty sure most people are aware of what their families or partner enjoy eating. So, utilize that knowledge and stock your pantry with basics that you can jazz up by adding whatever veggies and sauces you have on hand in your fridge.

This means always having a wide variety of different pastas, rices, potatoes, polenta, beans, grains, and canned goods like tomatoes for homemade sauce.

From there you can build on that by adding whatever you and your family enjoy most. If I am making food for my non-vegan family I like to stick to things that everyone can enjoy without any real modifications, like stir-fry or chickpea curry. Fortunately, my family really enjoys my raw food creations too and don't mind eating a bowl of cucumber pasta with sun-dried tomato mango sauce either.

Here is an example of my His & Her Pasta from our Sunday dinner last week. Since I still eat primarily raw vegan, I made myself some zucchini pasta that I topped with my homemade Marinara (cooked and prepared the night before) for a delicious high-raw meal. While my husband ate brown rice penne pasta that I topped with the same sauce. So all I had to do here was make a big batch of sauce, spiralize my zucchini, and boil his pasta; a no fuss dinner that satisfies both are dietary specifications!

Zucchini Pasta Marinara + Brown Rice Penne Pasta Marinara

Close up of my delicious Zucchini Pasta Marinara w. fresh chopped tomatoes, red bell pepper, & scallions
Close up of Brown Rice Penne with my simple, homemade Marinara

To learn how to make this recipe or find out more about Positively Plant-Powered meal plans that help you transition to a plant-based lifestyle with ease, check out my website or contact me for more information! And don't forget to check out and hit "Like" my Facebook page where I post daily!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Transition Me: High Carb Low Fat Cooked Vegan Meals for The Frugal Eater

So, on this blog, I talk A LOT about fruit and raw food in general. My name is, after all, RAW food nerd. However, I am well aware that such a lifestyle is not for everyone, nor does everyone desire to be 100% raw. For some, eating fully raw is cost prohibitive or they simply desire to merely only incorporate more raw food or even just add more plant-based foods overall.

Today, I would like to address those issues by sharing one of my favorite simple, healthy, high carb low fat vegan meals that you can incorporate into your diet as you transition to a healthier lifestyle! Over the next few weeks I am going to be sharing more of these types of recipes, because I think it's important for people to see that you really don't have to give up EVERYTHING just to be healthy. All meals are budget-friendly and great if you are short on time because everything can be made the night before or left in your steamer/crock pot to be ready when you get home!

My top most cost effective starches that I recommend as a way to transition to a more plant-based or vegan lifestyle: (unlimited)
  • Potatoes 
  • Rice 
  • Corn 
  • Gluten-free pastas (corn/brown rice pasta) 
My first easy transition meal is for baked french fries with homemade salt-free, refined sugar-free, and vinegar-free ketchup. Say what? Healthy fries? Hell yeah!! 

Crispy, no-oil French Fries straight out of the oven are a match made in foodie heaven with this tangy, salty, and slightly sweet homemade Ketchup! Eat as much as you desire without feeling the slightest bit of guilt!

For the French Fries: 
Serves 1-2 people
Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees 

2-3 lbs of organic potatoes that have been cut in strips and partially steamed for about 15-20/25 mins. -- they should still be firm, but soft enough that you are able to slide a knife in and out cleanly
 (I have found that golden yellow potatoes hold up really well and I generally just cut these in half or thirds, but russets will work just as well too. Sweet potato is excellent as well!) 
1 sheet of parchment paper cut to fit your baking sheet 
Once your potatoes are done steaming, let them cool, and then place them on your baking sheet. 

Season as desired: a dash of black pepper and some chopped fresh rosemary is my favorite combination! 
Bake in the oven until golden brown 

For the Homemade Ketchup:
1 small can of salt-free, Organic tomato paste 
onion powder 
garlic powder 
black pepper
1 teaspoon molasses
1 teaspoon of coconut sugar
1 cup of filtered water

In a mixing bowl combine your tomato paste, molasses, and coconut sugar gradually adding your filtered water to thin out the mixture. You may need to add more then 1 cup of water depending on how thin or thick you want the ketchup to be. 
Mix until the ingredients have fully come together, and you have a smooth, silky consistency. 
Next, add in your spices. I start with 2-3 shakes of onion and garlic powder and a small pinch of black pepper. Then I taste and adjust as needed. 

Chef tip: Don't get hung up on exact amounts when it comes to seasoning in recipes. Everyone's taste preferences are different, so don't worry if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of pepper, but you feel like half a teaspoon is enough for you. 

As with most sauce/condiment recipes the longer they sit the better and more flavorful they become, so feel free to make a big batch of this and let it sit in your fridge until you are ready to use it! Just make sure to pull it out 30 minutes before you are going to eat and perhaps add a little more water if necessary to thin it out. 

You can even steam your potatoes ahead of time and leave them in the fridge until you are ready to bake them which makes this meal not only super affordable for anyone on a budget, but also incredibly simple for those who are busy and just want quick, easy meals. 

Pair this with a nice big salad and you have a satisfying, nutritious, high carb plant-based meal that will GIVE you energy and not weigh you down! 
I know I was guilty of this for a long time, but I was convinced that potatoes (specifically) were going to make me fat. They were carb-laden starches after all and I was positive that one bite and I would surely bust a gut turning me obese overnight. Instead, I stuffed my face with bacon, cheese, sausage, steaks, and more cheese. Hmmm...

The notion that starches (or fruit for that matter) make you fat is incredibly FALSE. In fact, it's a blatant lie. One that is pushed by the diet industry, specifically those advocating for high protein, low carb diets like the Atkins and Paleo diets. These are the same people that also say that fruit makes you obese and eating more than one slice of melon a day is "dangerous." Not very credible when you consider that fact that they advocate eating the majority of your calories from animal products, which any MD will tell you is the reverse of what you should be doing if you want to ward off heart disease at the very least! (If you want to learn more about the connection between high protein diets and disease please read Colin T. Campbell's books Whole, The China Study, and/or The Low-Carb Fraud)

And just in case you still don't believe me I'm going to drop some quality info bombs from Dr. John McDougall, MD and author of The Starch Solution:

"A widely held myth holds that sugars in starches are readily converted into fat, which is then stored visibly in our abdomen, hips, and buttocks. If you read the published research, you will see that there is no disagreement about this whatsoever among scientists, and that they say that THIS IS INCORRECT! After eating, we break down the complex carbohydrates in starchy foods into simple sugars. These sugars are absorbed into the bloodstream, where they are transported to trillions of cells throughout the body for energy. if you eat more carbohydrates than your body needs, you'll store up to 2 lbs of it invisibly in the muscles and liver in the form of glycogen. If you eat more carbohydrates than you can use (as your daily energy) and store (as glycogen), you'll burn the remainder off as body heat and through physical movement other than sports, such as walking to work, typing, yard work, and fidgeting.

Turning sugars into fats is a process called de novo lipogensis. Pigs and cows use this process to convert carbohydrates from grains and grasses into calorie-dense fats. That's what makes them so appealing as a food source. Bees do it, too, converting honey (simple carbohydrate) into wax (fatty acids and alcohols).

We humans, on the other hand, are very inefficient at converting carbohydrate to fat: we don't do it under normal conditions. (The cost for this conversion is 30 percent of calories consumed.)  Subjects overfed large amounts of simple sugars under experimental lab rotary conditions, however, will convert a small amount of carbohydrate to fat. For example, both trim and obese women fed 50 percent more calories than they usually ate in a day, along with an extra 3 1/2 ounces (135 grams) of refined sugar, produced less than 4 grams of fat daily (less than 1/8 ounce). That's just 36 extra calories stored as fat per day. You'd have to overeat all of those extra calories and table sugar every day for nearly 4 months just to gain ONE pound of extra body fat." (Pages 112-116)

(Personal interjection: Water-weight from eating high sodium foods as well as eating cooked food and not drinking enough water throughout the day can and will manifest as what looks and feels like fat or weight gain. It's kind of like a David Copperfield illusion in that respect; it feels like it's there, but ultimately, it really isn't. Proper hydration is just as important as what you are and aren't eating!)

"The warning about carbohydrate turning to body fat is a myth and nothing more: In humans, even substantial quantities of refined and processed carbohydrates contribute only a trivial amount to body fat.

The same is not true of animal and vegetable fats, however. ... Fat is the Metabolic Dollar Saved for the Next Famine. After you eat dairy, meat, nuts, oils, and other high-fat foods, you absorb their fat from your intestine into the bloodstream. From there, it is transported to billions of adipose (fat) called for storage...The fat you eat is the fat you wear." (Pages 120-121)

(Dr. McDougall references several clinical studies in footnotes throughout these paragraphs which you can see for yourself in his book, as I have listed the pages for you.)

So why do people think starches make them fat? Well, the answer is simple really: because they cover those starches in FAT. It's not often where you see someone digging into a plain potato or french fries that haven't been fried not only in oil, but often oil plus animal fat. Corn with no butter? WHATTT?!
No, it's covered in butter, sour cream, cheese, bacon, what have you.

This is not to say that ALL fat is bad or that fat is evil and you should avoid it at all costs. Fat is a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle, but HIGH quantities of fat coming from animal sources are what cause people to run into problems. The type of fats you choose to eat are important and overall fat consumption should not exceed 15% (This does not apply to children or pregnant women who require more fat for brain development). The average person typically averages around 42% fat, including vegans and gourmet raw vegans eating lots of nut-based foods and 'cold-pressed oils!'

Here are some healthy fats that are excellent to eat in moderation:
  • Avocados 
  • Young Thai Coconut Meat 
  • Durian 
  • Hemp seeds 
  • Tahini, Sesame Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Fresh cracked nuts (Nuts, in my opinion should be kept to a minimum. Once out of the shell they spoil easily, are lower in water content compared to fruity-fats like avos, coco meat, and durian -- and they are particularly difficult on digestion. They are perfectly suitable to eat in small quantities, but not something you should be consuming in large amounts on a daily basis. And if you do, it should be with greens in your salad as part of the last meal of the day as long as you are not eating cooked food during that meal. They should never be combined with fruits if you want to have effortless, smooth digestion!) 
The number one point you should take away from this post (other than my bombin' french fry recipe!) is that you shouldn't be afraid of carbohydrates and you should NEVER deprive or restrict your calories from them. Carbohydrates produce lean, healthy bodies that are full of energy and free of disease!

Don't forget to check out the new website, www.positivelyplantpowered.com where you can sign up for my email and Skype coaching packages, meal plans, and follow my Facebook page for daily updates!

Have a great day guys!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Get Fit and Healthy on a Plant-Based Diet!

 I'm back! I took a small hiatus from blogging to update Raw Food Nerd a bit and to work on something very special that has been pretty much a year in the making:

My NEW website, Positively Plant-Powered!  < Click to check it out!!! >

I am beyond excited as I have been waiting for this for quite some time. The concept of Positively Plant-Powered came to me after seeing way too many people struggling and failing on the raw and vegan diet and consequently returning to eating animal products. I also began to recognize that while many people are interested in adopting a plant-based lifestyle, they simply don't know where to begin, and that's where I come in! I want to be there to help you achieve any and all of your health-oriented goals from weight loss to improved energy and everything in-between!

My goal with Positively Plant-Powered is to help educate and assist people in leading a healthier, more optimal lifestyle by adding more fruits and vegetables to their diet, but without having to sacrifice an ounce of taste. I will be offering packages of online or in-person coaching, personalized meal plans, shopping lists, and tons of yummy recipes that will appeal to even the most skeptical and discerning of eaters. (Pizza! French-Fries! Ice Kream for BREAKFAST! Eating to your hearts content while getting lean and healthy!)

 In the future there will be recipe e-books for sale, you-tube videos, and even awesome Positively Plant-Powered merchandise! (Everything will be very affordable and some will be donation-based because I really do not believe that you can put a price on true health!)

So, if you want to learn more about a plant-based lifestyle, go visit the website! Read my story, check out the services I offer, or just send me a shout out via email. I'm happy to answer any and ALL questions!

 BONUS: If you go to the Positively Plant-Powered website and LIKE my page on Facebook, then send me an email telling me you did, -- I will send you the recipe for my epic, super secret, life-altering 'Marshmallow Sauce' for banana nice kream, as seen on my IG: RawFoodNerd!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Cane Juice Chronicles: 31 Day Bikram Yoga Challenge

Before I get into the deets about the challenge, let me give you a little background info.

Bikram yoga is a series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises that takes place in a room heated to 105 degrees with at least 40% humidity. It requires a balance of both strength and flexibility; it will test your endurance, your stamina, and ultimately what type of person you are when things get tough. And much like cane juice, it's entirely addicting.

I began practicing Bikram five years ago in Manhattan. To say that I was inflexible before beginning this practice is an understatement -- I couldn't even touch my toes. No really, I'm not joking. And I didn't like the heat either. So basically, there was nothing about this that I should have enjoyed at all.

Except for the fact that it was incredibly challenging and pushed me far beyond my limits...therefore, I loved it. And I felt ah-mah-zing afterwards; the greatest post-workout high ever!

Bikram is- me, actualized. It is all of my hard-work, effort, and determination in it's most tangible form. It is all that I am, poured out on the mat -- no running from things that are difficult, no giving up. Bikram is my form of meditation where for those 90 minutes it's just me and my yoga; I leave everything else outside the room.

All I wanted when I was younger was to be able to do a split! After about three years into my practice my body was finally flexible enough to be able to do one!

Thanks to some wonderful teachers who recognized a bit of potential in me, I have been able to really hone my practice and progress farther in postures than I ever dreamed would be possible! Bikram transformed my body once, and I hoped that it could do the same again by correcting my hip/thigh injury once and for all. (To learn more about why Bikram is so beneficial for healing injuries please go to www.bikramyoga.com, research)

Needless to say, the idea to incorporate raw sugar cane juice, given it's high mineral content and potent healing potential, was a given. If you read my previous post about cane juice and running you might remember that cane juice is a grass, one that can be likened to wheat grass but infinitely more delicious. You also might recall me mentioning how great it is for muscle recovery due to it's ability to help alkalize the body post-workout; precisely what we need to help fight inflammation for said injuries.

Truth be told,  I'm no stranger to yoga challenges; I once did 285 days in a row. However, using Bikram in conjunction with cane juice to heal my injury was something I had little experience with.

And then Rey told me about this amazing woman, Lindsy, who works for her and who also does Bikram. She suffered a pretty severe knee injury where her kneecap popped off and she tore several ligaments. Her doctors insisted on surgery, but she opted for natural care, using cane juice and Bikram to heal her injury. This woman is so tough that she actually drinks Raw Cane Juice's Detox Elixir (think Sriracha-level spicy)  WHILE she is in class because it heats her up even more!! (Yeah, this girl is the bomb!)

Quick injury recap: My injury (discussed in the post about running) was certainly not as traumatic as popping my knee cap off, but it was severe enough that I really could not walk and when I did walk, it was with a very obvious limp and leaning to the left side. When I would sit down and then get up, my hip would go into full spasms and what felt like an electric shock would shoot up my whole leg and through my body. The aggravated injury this time around was more of a groin pull that centered around my left thigh and felt like a cross between pinching and someone applying deep pressure to the area. This time around I could walk (thankfully) but, running was out of the question.

Anyway, after that, I felt emboldened and I was confident that yoga paired with cane juice would be my ticket to renewed health and I'd be race-ready in no time.

Now, before I officially share my detailed notes, I feel that it is necessary to clear something up: Cane juice is NOT sugar water. People often see the word 'sugar' in the title and they immediately swear it off. Sugar in the form of fruit, and in this case cane sugar, is NOT the same as refined, processed sugar.

I'm going to let the expert explain this, so here is what Rey told me: "Comparing the two (cane sugar and refined sugar) is like comparing table sugar to an actual beet pulled from the soil. [90% of U.S. table sugar is made from sugar beets, but that granulated stuff has nothing to do with the root veggie, the source, a non-hybridized beet.) Comparing man-made dehydrated crystalline sugar to any kind of actual unaltered whole food is like comparing Starburst (which has some elements of real fruit, supposedly), to an actual fruit. Without the entirety of the food- including the natural water content that suspends and keeps alive and intact the full spectrum of minerals, vitamins, enzymes, prebiotics (lactobacillius in cane juice), fiber, etc. isolated sugars like high fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, palm sugar, evaporated cane juice, etc. are just crystalline, man-made sugar that enters the blood and offer no nutritional value. Furthermore, to synthesize non-whole sugar, the body must leach from its reserved and often limited mineral source. On the other hand, naturally occurring poliosaccharides and oligosaccharides are complex, intact sugars that are unaltered from their natural state. These complex sugars are what are bodies need for real, sustained energy that does not deplete or leave residue that is toxic to our bodies.

Alkalizer Tonic! Tastes like Lemonade! Super hydrating and with the added chlorophyll my cells were so happy!
 Cane juice is NATURALLY OCCURRING sucrose (NOT table sucrose made by man!) And this naturally occurring sucrose found in cane juice is fully metabolized by the stomach, bypassing the pancreas, thus it requires ZERO insulin to break down and turn into useful energy. This is why diabetics can use raw cane juice as well, no blood sugar spikes."

 (Probably why I have such great results using cane juice as fuel for my running and as a post-recovery drink, the body virtually has to do nothing so all those minerals and vitamins are just sucked up by my cells!)

So there you have it, the "sugar" in cane juice is really just a misnomer.

And now, my ode to cane juice and Bikram, a rustic testimonial highlighting my ups and downs and ultimately, how I fixed my injury using 100% natural methods. Included here are the times of each class I took as well as what cane juice I drank that day.

2/25: 9 am class, first day back after 3 days off doing T-25; swimming, arduous breathing series because my arms were sore from swimming and push-ups
2/26; 9 am class, tight hamstrings but more flexible in my shoulders
2/27: 9 am class; still having trouble with standing bow because of my connector muscle- more difficult to pull back and up because it feels stuck esp in the morning. biking makes it worse!!! lower back feels like it is opening up again-- more bend
2/28: took 8:15 pm class last night, haven't taken a night class in 6 years; felt so much more flexible and it was easier to get into full postures most specifically forward bend in half moon pose (whereas I usually have a very tight right hamstring, tonight it felt less tender and tight.) rabbit, and even triangle-- one of my hardest poses because of my hip tightness -was able to get my hips more in line so I'm not leaning forward as much, working on keeping knee locked throughout whole pose.
3/1: 9 am class -March challenge begins! interested to see how I will feel less then 12 hrs after my last class. doubles in my future again??? maybe! also, going to get cane juice today so I can start to see how that effects my recovery and future flexibility!!
*can almost see the back window when I do cobra !!!
*standing bow pose is way more open; leg extended

goals for march:
full tear drop shape in bow pose; wrap my arm around my back to do full spine-twisting pose
last night: 1 c detox elixir and 1 32 oz cane juice
3/2: 9 am class; this morning my ankles are sore better after stretching; shoulders felt so open during breathing and I noticed I could look all the way back to the window and still keep my arms straight. Epsom salt + eucalyptus oil bath after Bikram: really exhausted today- little detox maybe? pineapple juice for b-fast today because I felt really nauseous after class. 1 c detox elixir before bed
3/3: woke up this morning with no muscle soreness!! and this is after walking some pretty steep hills in Elysian Park yesterday. pulled something in my neck reaching for shampoo. detox elixir is SO spicy but I think it's really helping ease the inflammation in my thigh because of the high dose of ginger and the warming effects of cayenne. pretty awesome! not going to Bikram until tonight because I have a doc. appointment so we will see if Friday night's enhanced flexibility was a fluke or legit. doing an abs video this morning- noticed that strengthening my core has really helped with Floor Series; the most difficult part of Bikram for me. had alkalizer elixir post-Bikram-- the best!! class last night was tough; noticed when I eat raw I am more flexible- had potatoes and steamed greens, zucchini pasta and big green salad for dinner (5 hrs before class) and felt tight and really thirsty; soreness in knee when locking out left side (problem hip side)
So close to locking out!
3/4: 9 am class; I'm now obsessed with alkalizer elixir; very hydrating post Bikram (TMI: peed clear night and morning, good sign!!) knee soreness gone, no muscle soreness in legs even tho I am again less than 12 hrs out from last night's class. proper hydration is one of the key tenets of recovery and so far cane juice has been incredibly effective. should try detox elixir (shot) and then have alkalize for mega recovery power; hips more open than typical morning class. feel like I an opening up more and more each day; pull in neck/shoulder from other day gone! regular cane juice for breakfast + 1 shot of detox elixir at night
3/5: 9 am class; noticed that I feel much more flexible and stronger the next day when I have cane juice at night instead of having it after Bikram for breakfast. went to bed a bit late last night and didn't feel that great in class today; my obliques were tight during half moon esp on my right side. progress: I'm fully able to touch my head above my thigh now in standing separate leg head to knee pose. AND in stretching pose i can finally touch my head to my toes without as much difficulty! going to test my theory and have alkalizer elixir tonight and see how I feel tomorrow! reg cane juice
3/6: 9 am class; theory proven, much less tight when I have cane juice at night. drank 3 L water  before 12 in the afternoon yesterday and still don't think it's enough as I I feel very dehydrated in class-- nauseous the whole time/dizzy/ loss of appetite. makes class very difficult because I need to bend over a lot to slow my heart down. consistency is bringing out a lot of old toxins and emotions. poor sleep contributing.
alkalizer elixir at night!
3/7: 9 am class; same as yesterday-- poor sleep/feeling dizzy/dehydrated despite drinking tons of water. class was very hot and difficult for me today. reg cane juice + shot detox elixir
3/8: 9 am class; legs/hips feeling really flexible and open today. *almost as much as before my injury which after that has always thwarted my progress and depth mostly because so much of Bikram is about the hips and back and lower back + hips have always caused me so much pain after the injury. made sure to drink A LOT yesterday + cane juice to make sure I'm super hydrated; good sleep last night.
so close to locking out in standing bow!! working on back bend in half moon: getting my arms straight and really bending my middle back while lifting up. so many moving parts to acknowledge when doing the posture properly! alkalizer elixir shot of detox elixir
3/9: 9 am class: very good class today- nausea has abated, hydrated a lot yesterday (3+ L)  starting to feel stronger in class again. Noticed that in certain postures that I haven't consciously focused on over the years (but beginning to now) are very stubborn to change and allow my body to open up. also noticed that if I drink alkalizer elixir the night before a class, in the morning I feel more awake and not as tight.
trying out a new combo this week-- ginger lime!
3/10: 11 am class; caught up on some lost sleep and in turn want to see how my body will be effected by sleeping in later. had 32 oz of cane juice yesterday and 32 oz of alkalizer last night + shot of detox elixir, so far today my body feels GREAT! my back was hurting a little yesterday (left lower flank) but it's gone today. with so much Bikram I'm really having to be so much more conscious of hydration. think I need to eat more melon for breakfast again because that works as natural hydration for me. 32 oz cane juice
3/11: skipped because I am doing a double on Thursday. detox elixir as salad dressing + 32 oz cane juice
3/12: 11 am class; no difference I flexibility between 9 am vs 11 am class BUT big difference between Bikram on 8+ hrs of really excellent sleep vs 7-8 hrs of crappy sleep. after injury my hip rotation has been limited/tight and at times painful. today was the first time since Sept that I felt I had regained full hip rotation most notably in two important postures -- triangle and tree pose. pre-injury, in tree I could line my heel with my belly button, and keep my knee completely in line with my other knee so it looked like from the side like I only had one knee. it was one of my best postures! post-injury I could not do that at all. it really gives motivation to push on. and I think this plus the consistent cane juice (with all it's healing/mineralizing properties) is fixing my body from the inside out-- it's the perfect marriage of plant food + restorative exercise! had an alkalizer after class + ginger lime 16 oz tonight
3/13: 9 am class-- LOVE the ginger lime! pinched a nerve in my back this morning while riding my bike w. back pack on. hurts to breathe. still did pretty well in Bikram, despite this hiccup. no new things to report. cane juice pm
3/14: 11 am class; back still hurts. acupuncture tomorrow.  in Bikram vs running I think raw food is better; if I eat cooked food I definitely feel more stiff. whereas with running I feel like the denser carbs I.e. starches are more effective with providing long lasting energy. I would say the cane juice neutralizes the stiffness and provides more agility because I feel LESS stiff eating cooked food + cane juice vs just cooked food and no cane juice. Notable: I legit crave the cane juice. I could drink gallons. Tells me that my body needs those electrolytes and minerals. alkalizer + shot of detox
3/15: 9 am class; back is still bothering me and standing bow right side is compromised. always feels better after class, but I think acupuncture will release the nerve or whatever it is. cane juice pm/ detox elixir as salad dressing
3/16: 9 am class- back still felt sore, but I put my natural muscle cream on it before Bikram and on the back of my legs (tight hamstrings) and it really opened me up and made my back feel normal again. still limited motion in class because of back but doing my best to push through.
3/17: 9 am class-- I CAN RUN AGAIN! that's about 15 day of consecutive cane juice and restorative yoga and I'm good-- compared to the last injury which took 4-5 months!! between the yoga and cane juice that's some powerful natural anti-inflammatory which is key for healing. ginger lime 32 oz
3/18: 9 am class; arms/shoulders super tight today, but I felt very open in the hips. doing a double today for the first time in 5 years!
11 am class: my hips felt stretched and open and  SO flexible. was able to nearly lock out in standing now and my lower back was incredibly flexible second time around-- was able to go much deeper than I have before. drank 32 oz of alkalizer in between and I had so much energy! still working on hydration.
3/19: 9 am class; no muscle soreness today what-so-ever!! crediting this to getting quality minerals between classes yesterday!
ginger lime 16 oz
3/20: 9 am class today's focus is hip rotation; really trying to build on this and heal my hip fully and correctly. seems that back bends are what really open my hips and while it hurts to stretch it that way, it definitely aids in gaining more hip rotation. shot of detox elixir
3/21: 9 am class; after yesterday's class my hips feel amazing and flexible. and yesterday I really worked in pulling my leg out and up vs going down so far and I think it really helped. practicing the back bend from half moon series and doing camel are two of my most difficult postures now even though they used to be two of my "easiest".
3/22 7 am class //  cane juice: in Palm Springs for yoga! feeling very tired and tighter than normal in my arms. kind of feel like my body intuitively knows what body parts to focus on and heal because daily I seem to experience tightness in my arms and shoulders, but conversely, I feel like everyday my lower back/ hips become progressively more open
Standing head to knee pose. This took me a good two to two and a half years to be able to do properly (locking the knee is essential here for maintaining balance. After my first hip injury, I couldn't do this any more because it simply put too much pressure on my bad hip. Now, I'm back in the game!
3/23: 7 am class // cane juice: felt nauseous the whole class, but pushed through. I'm using my time in PS to work on my back as far as say not using my hands (as much) in cobra and keeping my belly button on the floor per the dialogue. I feel like my brain intuitively knows which body parts/areas of my body need the most healing because daily my shoulders and arms feel so tight whereas it's the exact opposite with my lower back and hips- everyday they feel more open/flexible and I feel that I make progress each day even tho I may be struggling in a class. as I have mentioned, I am not stranger to daily Bikram, practicing six days a week most weeks and that's why I am certain that cane juice is a HUGE part of this healing process. I don't think I would have come this far in 30 days without it.
3/24: 7 am class // alkalizer: the teacher here is helping me keep my upper back lifted in half-moon back bend it's really allowing me to go back even farther! So much satisfaction in these small improvements.
3/25 9 am class // cane juice: excellent, strong class today. was able to get my chest up and hips off the ground during floor series bow!
3/26 9 am class // alkalizer: this past week has been weird for me in that I haven't felt normal in class; I feel nauseous and my heart races and I have to bend over. I push through of course because I can see the bigger picture and I know it's just my bodies way of getting rid of old toxins. even though I don't feel amazingly strong in every class I do feel stronger in certain poses which I think is important vs just being mediocre in every pose. Still working on lifting up in poses and thinking more consciously about when to use strength vs flexibility.
3/27: 8 pm class // cane juice: after nearly a week at Palm Springs yoga where it is more humid than hot, which for me means enhanced flexibility, my lower back and shoulders felt remarkably open. back bend in half moon series was NOT painful (usually is) and I was able to keep my arms with my ears-- all in the knee lock. unfortunately, as it was a night class and I had a full days worth of food in me, I felt pretty nauseous by the time triangle came around. felt much better after drinking my cane juice.
3/28: 9 am class-- no tightness or muscle soreness today! feeling really open and stretchy! back bend in awkward series was EPIC! went back farther than ever before--all in the knee lockout vs lower back contraction-- sugar cane juice
3/29: 11 am class; alkalizer: one of my worst classes since I started Bikram 5 years ago, felt dizzy the whole time, very abnormal for me, though as noted I've felt this way on and off all week! arms/upper back felt very tight. good news tho: I've made so much progress in continuing to open my hips, everyday I feel like I am able open more and more. aggravated injury healed!
3/30: 9 am class-cane juice-- felt great until the end where I started to feel nauseous again. had cane juice right after class and instantly felt better. think my electrolytes were depleted because I've been sweating so much in class. nothing to note about postures today.
3/31: 9 am class, alkalizer: it's the final day of my 31 day march challenge with cane juice and despite my nausea that came about during triangle I had a really awesome last day as far as my standing bow, standing head to knee, floor bow, and twisting posture.
 The goals I set for March were quite grand and I'm still working at them, but it's like running- shaving 5 seconds off your PB is extraordinary and the same applies for Bikram- incremental improvements are big!

Obviously my main goal in undertaking this challenge and incorporating cane juice into my regime, was to heal my hip/thigh injury (as in, feel no pain), but in the end I gained so much more! Not only was I able to heal the aggravated injury, but as you can see I also regained full range of motion to my hips. They no longer feel incredibly tight and sore. I feel like the flexibility that I had worked so hard to acquire over these last couple of years has been restored, and now I am even stronger.

As I mentioned in my data, I was already practicing about 5-6 times a week and was doing so with the injury, but it wasn't until I introduced the cane juice that I believe the real healing began. Recovery is about getting proper nutrition to your cells in order to effectively repair the injury and fight inflammation. Raw cane juice provides exactly that-- amino acids, unprocessed, live enzymes, and the right pH balance that our cells just soak up.

Bikram and cane juice is, in my opinion, perhaps the best natural and most effective way to truly heal any injury. 

[I am happy to report that I was able to run my race, the Hollywood 10k, with success. I drank 32 oz. of cane juice the night before, 16 oz. 45 minutes before my race, and 32 oz. after the race. I felt incredible during the race, like my legs had wings and I was flying! The next day I had no muscle soreness or tightness at all.]

 *I'd like to thank Rey and Robby and everyone at Raw Cane SuperJuice Bar for supplying all the cane juice and for believing in this project as much as I do*

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spicy Detox Salad Dressing

So, remember that post a few weeks back where I blogged about my running improvements while training with sugar cane juice?

Ironically, a few short days after I declared that I was going to be running that 10k sponsored by Raw Cane SuperJuice Bar and subsequently ran my fastest 2 mile time to date (7:30 pace!!!), I aggravated my old hip injury and unfortunately was unable to continue running (training) at the time.

I knew there was only one solution for this so I pitched the idea to Rey, co-owner and dealer of my cane addiction: a 30 day Bikram yoga challenge in conjunction with various forms of cane juice; regular sugar cane juice, a detox elixir, ginger cane juice, and alkalizer elixir (chlorophyll, lime, and cane juice)

Between the restorative nature of Bikram yoga and the enhanced mineral composition of cane juice, I was positive some serious healing action would take place and I'd be as good as golden by the time the race came. (It's actually this weekend!)

[In my next post I will be discussing this in greater detail. Over the course of the last 31 days, I kept a detailed journal documenting my experience; how my body felt, goals, progress, accessing postures, etc. Recovery being the overall theme for this installment of the cane juice chronicles!]

During the last 31 days I have successfully incorporated cane juice into my lifestyle as much as possible, which wasn't too difficult all things considered!

Raw Cane SuperJuice Bar makes a killer anti-inflammatory mix called Detox Elixir- think Master Cleanse but, way better- with cane juice, ginger (extremely powerful anti-inflammatory and healing properties), and cayenne (also good for easing inflammation).

picture courtesy of sugarcanejuice.org
Detox Elixir has a serious kick and I personally have a low tolerance for things of the spicy variety, so, I turned that baby into the most amazing salad dressings!

Raw Cane SuperJuice Bar WILL SHIP CANE JUICE TO YOU ANYWHERE IN THE US! So if you don't live in LA you can STILL make this delicious dressing. (Or perhaps you too are lucky enough to live in a place like Hawaii where fresh cane juice can still be found which in that case, you can make your own detox elixir! If you can't get cane juice to make these dressing you can also replace it with dates and water blended together, but make sure if you do this that you don't add the avocado. Avocado plus dates is absolutely horrible food combining and this will make you very bloated and cause very, very uncomfortable digestion. Just sayin'. )

Needless to say, my salads this month have been to-die-for. And it would be SO wrong for me to keep them to myself!

Note: I am quite liberal with my use of ginger and turmeric here because I found them particularly beneficial in my healing process, so feel free to scale back. But, turmeric is the bomb- fresh, it tastes like mustard which used to be my favorite condiment.

 Eat the Rainbow Salad w.Detox Vinaigrette 

This salad is just bursting with color and so much flavor! You will hardly realize you're eating a salad!

 What you will need: Organic Salad
Swiss Chard
Beet Greens
Green Leaf Lettuce
Detox Vinaigrette
Detox Elixir: Sugar cane juice, cayenne, and ginger 
Juice from 1 lemon 
Chopped turmeric
Chopped ginger
Chopped dill
Finely chopped chives 
In a medium-sized bowl combine chopped turmeric, ginger, dill, and chives. Squeeze in juice from one lemon and then wisk in 3-4 tablespoons of detox elixir. Pour over salad. 
I like to let this sit for about 10-15 minutes because the dressing softens the greens and allows for all the flavors to combine making for a particularly delicious salad! Crisp and light, perfect for slimming that waistline, packing in those dark leafy greens, and reducing inflammation!
 Hearts of Palm Spicy Greek Salad

Hearts of palm (I buy from Whole Foods, this brand is organic and has the lowest amount of sodium) 
Greek Dressing:
2-3 T Detox Elixir 
juice of two lemons
1 teaspoon dried oregano 
chopped chives
dash of lemon-pepper 
dash of greek (salt-free) seasoning that has marjoram, oregano, sweet basil, rosemary, garlic, onion, spearmint, thyme, and chili

For the dressing, mix everything together in a bowl and pour over salad ingredients. I like to shake this one up really well so that the dressing covers every inch of my salad for maximum flavor. In order to do that I put this in a large salad Tupperware and cover it so I can shake this baby real good! 

On occassion, I will add some avocado to this salad, either whole or I will take all my dressing ingredients and blend it up with the avocado. This makes a great Creamy Greek Dressing or even a dip for veggies! 

 I'd like to stress that for me, these salads are either a first or second courses. Salad alone is too low in calories and does not supply the necessary amount of carbohydrates to properly fuel your body, regardless of your fitness level or amount of exercise. 

If I am having an all raw day either of these salads will follow a large fruit meal. Right now, I am SUPER into jackfruit and mangos, so I make sure I get enough calories from them FIRST. If I am having a cooked food day then I will have either of these salads first followed by potatoes or rice plus an obscene amount of steamed greens. The point? Carb-up, raw or cooked, always vegan and you will never fail! 

Give these dressings a try and remember to check out and like my page on Facebook: Positively Plant-Powered and follow me on Instagram and Tumblr: Rawfoodnerd and if you live in LA don't forget to hit up the Hollywood Farmers Market where you cane find fresh cane juice! 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Know Your Food: Something's Fishy

Where does your food come from?

A very important question that seems to be popping up more frequently. And while it may seem to be a topic that originally only concerned niche groups or 'radical' animal rights activists, it seems to be infiltrating main stream media much more often these days.
Less than two months ago 9 million pounds of ground beef got recalled from a huge supplier. Eggs from various states are continually being recalled (In CA, I hear about Albertons' eggs getting recalled all the time!) About a year ago there was the huge listeria scare. Pink slime. Swine flu. Avian flu. Mad-cow disease.

Notice a trend here?

Regardless of the label you apply to yourself; vegan, vegetarian, omnivore, junk-food eater-- I think we can all agree on one thing: it's important to know where our food comes from. And further more, what the hell else we're being fed on top of it.

I could write a whole book about the unsanitary health violations of the meat and diary industry and how it correlates to the widespread disease in our country, but today, it's all about the fish.

Fish. Those adorable creatures that suck up and filter all the various forms of pollution we dump into our precious ocean...that little kids and dogs pee in...where ships sink to the bottom and rust away...
 I don't have enough fingers or toes to count the number of times I have heard or read someone say that they were trying to eat more healthy and therefore, eating fish. Not to mention the number of times I have annoyingly seen fish tagged as "clean-eating" on instrgram or tumblr.

Regardless of what you want you choose to believe, science and the biology of the body doesn't change. It will always react the same way when it encounters an animal product., every.single.time. It doesn't matter how fresh, farmers market-y, just milked, grass-fed, or wild your animal product is -- the body always sees it as an acid-forming food. your body will always go into state of acidosis when consumed. And it will always leach nutrients from the body (typically bones) in order to neutralize that acid.

Recently, Freelee the Banana Girl, from the ever popular forum www.30bananasaday.com posted a video on YouTube about the dangers of consuming fish due to toxicity from high levels of mercury. It is a compilation of her own opinion, TV news clips, and general research. I personally thought it was one of her best videos yet, mostly because it contained so much indisputable facts (and lord knows how much I looooveee facts! Especially ones backed by hard-hitting research!) The video is insightful and truly riveting, and honestly, a must see if you are even the slightest bit curious about improving your health. 


Also, if you want to learn more then I would suggest watching this excellent piece of investigative journalism called, The Cove: Mercury Rising. It is a great short-documentary that sheds light on the increasing hazards of mercury poisoning.

So, now that you have (hopefully) watched these videos and are incredibly disturbed by what's in your filet-o-fish, here are some helpful tips to help remove those toxins:
  • Has to be said, remove the fish from your diet 
  • Eat more dark, leafy greens 
  • Put cilantro in EV-RE-Y-THING; cilantro helps bind heavy metals like mercury together and carry them out of the body
  • Want a fishy taste sans fish: add dried dulse or dulse flakes -- very yummy, has a nice smokey taste to it too! 
  • Seaweeds in general, preferably organic, also help bind heavy metals and remove them from the body 
  • Drink green smoothies (fruit + greens = get that muthatruckin' mercury outta ya body!) 
  • Eat more juicy fruit! 
  • Overall, the more plant-based foods/proteins you include in your diet the more efficiently your body will be at detoxing the heavy metals out 

 I hope you found this interesting and informative and that you will consider a healthier Positively Plant-Powered option the next time you eat out or plan a meal!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Taco Tuesday! #thebomb

Last week for taco Thursday (I like to be different, ok?)  I posted these bad boys on my IG: RawFoodNerd (Check it out!) and got several requests asking for the recipe.

Romaine hearts as "shells" or "boats" for your favorite dips are an excellent and fun way to eat more greens without always feeling like you have to eat a salad. Chips and guac, anyone? 

So I decided I better share this recipe with you guys too..for taco Tuesday, which I suppose is the more "traditional" weekly celebration of all things taco. The salsa is the perfect combo of sweet, tangy, and a hint of kick to spice things up and the Mexi Mac & Cheeze is reminiscent of sour cream; the perfect cooling agent if you like your tacos especially spicy or if you were like me and used to lob on the sour cream quite liberally. 

Honestly, I don't care when you eat tacos, but you NEED this recipe in your life- it's that good! 

What you will need: (all of my ingredients were organic)

Food Processor

  • 1 head of romaine
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 juicy ripe mango
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 lime
  • 1 large handful of cilantro
  • 3-4 zucchini, shredded
  • 1 ripe medium tomatillo (optional)
  • 4 scallions (chopped; green tops only)
  • sliver of hot pepper of your choosing
  • 1/2 avocado

Salsafy Your Life: 
In a food processor pulse together your tomatoes, red bell pepper, mango, two of your chopped scallions, tomatillo, 1/2 of the [whole] lime (peeled), cilantro, and your sliver of hot pepper. Set aside until you are ready to assemble zee tacos!

Mexi Mac & Cheeze:
 Peel and chop off the ends of your zucchini. In the food processor, push the zucchini through the blade that allows you to shred veggies (or you can do this manually with a grater)

In a separate bowl mash your avocado, juice from 1/2 a lime, and the green tops from the other two scallions. You want the mixture to be as smooth and creamy as possible

Once you have shredded your zucchini and made your avocado sauce you can now combine the two together, making sure the zucchini and the sauce are fully incorporated. 

I like to add extra cilantro to my Mexi Mac & Cheeze because I am a bit of a cilantro-freak, but you can abstain from adding more cilantro if you choose. I know most people like their Mexican food/tacos spicy so feel free to add more hot pepper if you wish. I, personally, am not that crazy about spicy food so I only add a little just to give it a small kick. 

This is a different version of Mexi Mac & Cheeze where I spiralized
the zucchini instead of shredding it. And then I added in
additional chopped scallions, tomatoes, & red bell pepper. You
can see the flecks of cilantro too! Love the green!
Now, for the best part- assemble and EAT!

 There is nothing better than being able to take your old favorites and make them healthy and Positively Plant-Powered without having to sacrifice an ounce of flavor!