Raw Banana Soft Serve

I’ve always loved ice cream. It’s always been a guilty pleasure of mine. There are plenty of wonderful vegan ice creams out there, but there are also plenty of raw versions as well. One of them being ice cream made from just bananas! There’s a local raw cafe relatively close to my house and one of their most popular menu items are called “banana whips.” They were so delicious I decided to look up some different recipes online to see how it was done, turns out it’s not so hard at all!

Recipe:

frozen bananas

a little bit of coconut water (a couple teaspoons)

The amount of bananas is truly up to you, depending on how hungry you are. Sometimes I’ll have this as a meal and 2-4 frozen bananas tend to do the trick. Take your desired amount of frozen bananas and place them in a food processor. I use a teeny little cuisinart which works fine for me. You can also use a high speed blender like a vitamix. Either will work. Add a couple teaspoons of coconut water and then blend until super creamy and smooth. That’s it! Take it out, put it in a bowl, and grab some toppings and eat it! It’s super satisfying and even better than regular ice cream which is made from cruelly acquired cow’s milk. Not to mention it’s also full of fat. This ice cream is wonderful because it has one of the most wonderful fruits:bananas. Top it off with hemp seeds, goji berries, cacao nibs, coconut, etc and make it even more of a superfood. Enjoy!!

A nice little tip for you: when your bananas are starting to brown, peel them and then freeze the banana. Before I did this I always had the trickiest time getting frozen banana peels off. I always have ton of bananas, so I always end up with plenty of frozen bananas which happen to be perfect for ice cream.

 banana ice creamI topped off this beauty with blackberries, cacao nibs, and a small side of frsehly ground natural peanut butter.

My Fitness Journey

When I was in high school every time summer was approaching I’d tell myself “I should really start working out so I can have a sweet beach body and look good in my bikini.” I always thought these things to myself, but I never actually made any changes. I was also trying to become fit for the wrong reasons. Of course most highschool girls go through phases where they’re unhappy with their body. So I wanted to lose some weight to look good, it wasn’t the worst mindset ever, but not the best either. My path to health didn’t even start until my junior year when I became a vegetarian and joined a gym. At this point, I cut out meat and I was doing some cardio and some strength training exercises but I wasn’t actually committed to a healthy lifestyle. I was eating a lot of bread and cheese sandwiches and honestly not a whole lot of vegetables. Then I started really cooking for myself, experimenting with flavors and herbs and going food shopping and picking out vegetables to use.  I gave up chips and ate nuts instead and made some other healthy exchanges.

Now I believe I’m at the best point of my life so far. I’ve cut out both meat and dairy, I’ve limited my intake of processed foods to an absolute minimum. Junk food is not my snack of choice anymore. Of course there will be some times when I’m at a party or a friends house or some other gathering and I’ll have some chips or something like that, but when I have the option I choose something healthier. It’s funny to me because when I was younger all I ate was chicken fingers, pizza, cheeseburgers, turkey sandwiches, etc and now I would never eat any of those things again. Now I maintain this mindset that everything I eat has to have some kind of nutritional value. I choose things based on their benefits, especially when I’m out to eat. Instead of picking something deep fried and fattening, I’ll opt for something that is going to be at least somewhat healthy for me and I won’t force myself to eat it all just because it’s there. Not only have I changed my eating habits, but I’ve changed from lazy to active. Of course I still have my lazy days, and most people do. But I’ve become interested in getting fit, sweating, and making changes to my body. I want to be strong and I want to be healthy. That’s my goal. It’s not about looking good in a bikini anymore because I’ve accepted my body. Now I just want to improve upon it. I want to live a long and healthy life, without pain and without medication. I work in a retirement community, so I’ve seen many people who can hardly even walk. I always tell myself I’m going to take care of myself, so when I’m older I won’t feel older.  I’ve been inspired by so many people: raw foodists, yoga masters, vegan chefs, vegan athletes, health junkies, etc. There’s so many people out there that have given me inspiration to cook and to be healthy in all aspects of life.

I’m really proud of myself right now. I’m continually surrounded by people eating unhealthy things at work, at home, or just when hanging out with friends. I don’t give into the temptations of food I used to love, and that is really a big thing for me. I’m really happy because community college worked out great for me. I took raw cooking classes, acquired so many useful kitchen tools (spiralizer, juicer, steamer, food processor), and I’ve done so much research on recipes and food and overall health. When I finally end up at a real university next year and live on my own, I believe I’ll be ready to continue to eat healthy. I must admit, I do have a little bit of a cocky attitude when it comes to food (which I’m not too proud of). When I see my friends buy an entire pizza or indulge in a greasy cheeseburger, I cannot help but to think that I feel so much better that I’m not eating those things and that I have the will power to abstain from them. I honestly also feel a bit of sadness whenever I go out to eat with friends and there will be 4 or 5 people ordering cheeseburgers and I’m the only one getting something meatless. It’s the fact that no one else cares what kind of suffering the animal they’re eating went through before ending up on their plate. Becoming a vegan has made me much, much more aware of the suffering of animals and I’ve become so much more passionate about promoting veganism and compassion to animals.
Today, I started off well.  I woke up and had a delicious bowl of chocolate oats (regular organic oats, coconut milk, carob powder, tiny bit of powdered chocolate peanut butter) with hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs and a couple dark chocolate covered pomegranates. It was good and filling and I felt ready to get going with my day. Over the last couple years I’ve really learned how to make better breakfasts by incorporating things like flax and chia seeds, hemp, different nuts, dried fruits, etc. Having a great breakfast is really one of the best things you can do for yourself. About an hour or so later I set out to the park for a nice walk / run. I’m just starting to get into running so I start out with walking then I run for a bit, walk for a bit, run for a bit, etc. I’m trying to build up my endurance because I never really ran for pleasure before so I don’t have much endurance when it comes to running. It is marvelous outside and it felt great to be outside and exercising. I’m so happy to have gotten interested in so many different forms of exercise.

It is true that even the laziest and pickiest of teenagers can turn into vegan health freaks.

Here are some of my current health goals:

1. Cardio 4x a week

2. Yoga / pilates as often as possible

3. Eat 2 raw meals a day at least

4. Stretch everyday

5. Eat less carbs that come from bread, pasta, etc

6. Don’t pick at food all day at work

7. Eat 100% vegan (i’ve eaten packaged foods that have had small percentages of milk or another dairy product)

Tell me about your fitness journey! Where did you start, and where are you now? What are some of your goals? 

Full Body Yoga

Yoga and stretching have some incredible benefits. Yoga is not only soothing on your body, but also your mind. Slow, strong poses help you to stay clear headed and focused. There’s so many different kinds of yoga out there, and each have wonderful benefits for your body and overall health. Yoga is also incredibly strengthening and toning. Holding difficult poses challenges your muscles and strengthens your entire body. This routine is from Tara Stiles who is well known in the yoga world.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie

I love a smoothie for breakfast. It’s light, it’s refreshing and it’s delicious! One of my favorite smoothies is a PB&J smoothie. This particular smoothie calls for almond butter, but if you like you can of course use peanut butter! The hemp powder adds extra protein while the chia or flax adds important omega 3’s. I chose almond butter over actual peanut butter because peanuts are one of the most common allergens, and almonds have more health benefits in the long run.

Recipe:

4 or 5 strawberries

2 tbsp almond butter

1 banana

1/2 cup coconut milk or soy milk

1 tsp hemp powder

1 tsp chia or flax seed

If you want this to be sweeter, add some agave or maple syrup. If you want a chocolate PB&J smoothie, add carob powder 1 tsp at a time until you have your desired chocolately-ness!

 

 

Raw Foods

A tart I’m working on and chocolate cashew cream

I’ve been feeling so inspired by raw foods lately. I first heard about raw foods when browsing through vegan blogs on tumblr and the like. Then I found a couple of raw foodists on youtube and checked out some of their testimonies and other videos. My first thought was, “this is crazy. Completely raw?” I, of course, was totally unaware of the vast world of raw food. All I could think of was a world without pasta and cooked veggies. I did a little research, I didn’t dig too deeply into thought because I just really didn’t know what it was all about. I thought it was kind of crazy to be honest. Months later, my mom being the nice lady that she is was doing some research on vegan restaurants in the area and found a particular cafe only about 20 minutes from our house. Not only was this cafe vegan, but it was raw vegan. They offer monthly cooking classes there and the one they were having that month sounded too good to resist to me. We signed up for a class.

After that class, I’ve never felt the same about cooked food. Always in the back of my mind, I think, “I could be eating raw.” I just don’t enjoy grains or baked goods they way I used to. I’ve learned so much about the world of raw foods, I feel so enlightened. There was this whole other world of food I was totally missing! I’ve taken two other classes since then at the same place and I plan to take another. I’ve gotten some incredible recipes. I was also inspired to go to the library to pick up some cook books by Ani Phyo (who is awesome, by the way). Now experimenting with raw foods is an entirely new adventure.

I honestly do feel the difference between energizing, living foods and cooked, overly starchy foods. Raw foods emphasizes raw vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, pickled and fermented vegetables, and fresh herbs and spices. I’m going to feature a lot more raw recipes on my blog so anyone can experience the benefits of raw food! I’m going to experiment with salad dressings, desserts, dehydrated goods, breads, etc. I’ve already made a pretty delicious raw fruit dip made of cashews, coconut oil, dates and some other delicious and nutrient dense foods.

I’m not ready to give up all cooked foods yet, but raw foods is definitely going to take over the majority of my diet!

Let me know how you feel about raw foods. Have you experienced any benefits? Have you never heard of raw foods? What do you think about raw foods? Do you prefer cooked over raw, raw over cooked? Tell me anything, or ask me anything!

Tahitian Cardio

I’ve found some pretty good workouts on youtube. The great thing about it is it’s convenient and a lot of them are fun and you can do them all in your own home. Sometimes I’m pressed for time so It’s really easy for me to go onto youtube and just click on a video and get right to the exercise. I found this series that I like called Island Girl and the instructor Kili really embodies fitness through Tahitian dance. There are several different workouts and they’re all great. You can feel the toning as you do it and they’ll make you surprisingly sweaty! The whole Island Girl series with Kili is on youtube and the link to buy the DVD’s is in the description

 

Apple Ginger Beet Juice

eets are awesome. I know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea but I love them. They’re beautiful in color and have a ton of great health benefits. Beets are energizing, they have zero fat, and have plenty of nutrients. They also make for an awesome juice. And apples are of course packed with fiber, antioxidants and vitamin C and they also add a sweeter taste to the juice.

I’m going to do a lot of juice and smoothie recipes lately because I’d really like to do a juice cleanse. I tend to pick at food at work and none of the food at work is healthy or good in any way. I find myself eating random crackers, pieces of bread, half a cookie, etc. It’s not good. I want to get myself back on track and really cleanse my body and feel refreshed and ready to really get back on track. I’m waiting for a time when I have at least two or three days off in a row so I can do it without having to worry about being without fresh juice. When I do do the cleanse I’ll definitely document it!

Recipe:

2 small beets or 1/3 of a large beet

1 small cucumber

1 apple of choice (organic if possible)

thumbnail size piece of ginger with skin on

 

Juice the cucumber and the beets first and then the apple and ginger. I always like to mix it a little bit after to make sure everything is well incorporated!

 

“Creamsicle” Pineapple Orange Juice

If you’re unfamiliar with juicing, it’s something that’s extremely popular in the raw foods and the entire fitness world. It’s an awesome way to get tons of raw nutrients from fruits and vegetables in one serving of juice. You can juice anything: kale, cucumber, celery, apples, beets, etc. Adding ginger or lemon juice is also common to make the flavor a little less bitter which sometimes will happen when using a lot of dark leafy greens. Ginger is also wonderful because it aids in digestion. They have cheap juicers and very expensive ones. Mine I got as a Christmas present from my oh-so-wonderful mother so I’m not exactly sure how much it cost, but I know it wasn’t expensive and it works awesome for me.

This is one of my favorite juice recipes that I like to have with breakfast or sometimes as a snack throughout the day. You could even have this for dessert its so good.

Recipe:

Pineapple

1-2 oranges

1/3 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup coconut water

I didn’t put a measurement for pineapple because I’m not particularly sure how to measure pineapple. I probably use about 1/5 or 1/6 of a whole pineapple when I do this. Really, its up to you how much pineapple you want to use. You can’t use too much! Cut off the outer skin of the pineapple and juice the nice fleshy pineapple part and you should get a nice foamy looking juice.  Peel the two oranges and juice just the fruit part. The skin will make the juice bitter. Add in the coconut milk and coconut water and give it a nice swirl to incorporate everything. Drinking this makes me wish I was in a hammock on a tropical island. Enjoy!

I’ll take a picture sometime soon, hopefully today!

10 Minute Stretching

If you’ve never checked out Cassey Ho’s blogilaties videos, you really should! She posts some seriously intense cardio, pilaties, and stretching videos. She has several that target just arms or just abs and etc. They’re all really challenging and awesome. This one is just a simple stretching for flexibility video, check it out! Stretching is very important to prevent injury, increase flexibility and it helps you improve your overall fitness!