Raw “Nachos”

This dish has a creamy cheese sauce and sun-dried tomato sauce made from cashews. It also has marinated onions, sprouted lentils, and beets as chips. Raw food has full flavor, and full amounts of nutrients. The feeling of eating an entirely raw, extremely healthy, and filling meal is seriously like  no other. There are so many ways to experiment with raw foods and the flavors and textures they offer.

Nacho recipe:

Beets

Kale

Sprouted Lentils

Marinated onions

cilantro

lemon

avocado
Slice the beets very thin. You want them to be the chips in your nachos. Nice thin and crunchy beets add flavor and all the added benefits of beets. See all additional recipes below for the other ingredients. Layer the desired amount of beets, kale, lentils, avocado, and onions and then drizzle with both sauces and add desired amount of lemon juice and cilantro. Add any other veggies you’d like! Mushrooms, pickles, jalepenos, or carrot would all be great additions.

Cheeze sauce (bulk recipe):

1 cup cashews

1 cup water

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

few dashes of dried basil

few dashes of cayenne

dash of salt

Blend all the ingredients together until the sauce has a smooth and creamy consistency. I love a simple cashew based cheese sauce. The base is simply cashews, water and olive oil. A little bit of herbs and spices adds a little more flavor. I like to add a little bit of sriracha to mine as well, I love spiciness. You’ll have plenty of this leftover to spread on sandwiches, put on raw noodles, use as a dip or a salad dressing and etc.

Sun-dried tomato sauce:

1/2 cup cashews

1/2 cup water

1 tbsp oil

few dashes of cayenne

1 tsp nutritional yeast

dash of salt

1 tsp white miso

1 tsp maple syrup

1 tbsp onion

2 – 3 sun-dried tomato

up to 2 cups water

Add half the water and the rest of the ingredients except sun-dried tomato in blender and blend until smooth. Add each sun-dried tomato one by one and taste until it’s to your liking. Too much sun-dried tomato can make it too strong so go one by one to make sure it tastes good to you. Add the rest of the water as needed. You’ll have some leftover of this sauce too for  another batch of nachos and etc.

Marinated onions:

Red onion

White onion

1 tsp braggs liquid aminos

1 tsp coconut aminos

1 tsp maple syrup

Cut rings off of both the red and white onion. It’s up to you how much you want, I only did a little bit but if you love onions and if you want to add extra spiciness, add more onion. If you don’t have coconut aminos, that’s fine. Add a little bit more braggs or maple syrup or both. Put the onion in a bowl with the liquid and let sit while you prepare the rest, at least ten minutes.

Sprouted lentils:

You need to prepare ahead of time for this. To sprout lentils, take the desired amount and place in a bowl of water for at least 7 hours. After soaking, leave in a colander overnight or at least 8 hours. Soon enough the lentils will start to sprout. Full sprouting time is around 3 days but lentils will start to sprout after about one day. After they’re done sprouting, keep in the fridge to keep them fresh. I used mine after the first day of sprouting.

There is a lot of flavor in this dish so it wasn’t hard for me to sit down and enjoy it slowly. I tend to usually eat quite fast, so it was nice to be able to take my time without even trying. I’m still rather new to raw food but I’m continually taking classes and learning and looking at recipes!

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? 

Raw “Honey” Mustard Sunflower Seed Dressing

I’ve been really intrigued by juice cleanses lately and I’ve been dying to do one. I just remembered today about the juice cleanse you can get delivered right to your doorstep! It’s called BluePrintCleanse and there’s three different levels of cleansing and the juice comes to you ready to go and you just drink them throughout the day. For those of you who don’t own a juicer or don’t have time to do all the juicing, BluePrintCleanse is the way to go. I do have a juicer, and I would like to do all the juicing myself. I have plenty of greens to do it, so hopefully it works out!

For those of you who don’t know, or think juice cleansing sounds crazy, it’s actually something that almost everyone can do and should do (however, you should always do research on the process if you’re unsure and if you have questions about your overall health consult your doctor or nutritionist). Over our lifetime, we’re exposed to vast amounts of chemicals and toxins. There’s pollution, exposure to cleaning products and other toxic chemicals, processed foods, and old waste in our system that can best be removed by doing a juice cleanse. I’m waiting for at least two or three days off from work to do this, because I have no idea how high the levels of toxins are in my body and how doing this will make me feel. I have been eating well the last several years, but before then it was all junk food and some fruits and vegetables here and there. Now, the majority of my diet is fruits and vegetables. My eating is clean, but I want to feel clean from the inside out. Right now, I’m trying to focus on preparing for a cleanse by eating light and mostly raw (which is how I eat anyway for the most part). For lunch today I decided to have a nice light salad with some raw homemade dressing.

I usually make this with cashews but at the moment, I don’t have any. I do, however, have plenty of sunflower seeds. Salads are such a quick and easy light meal to prepare and having homemade salad dressing on hand is a must for me.

Recipe:

1/2 cup raw shelled sunflower seeds

1-2 cloves of garlic

small piece of ginger (about the size of your garlic clove)

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp stone ground mustard

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

a couple dashes of salt, mustard powder, and turmeric

1 tbsp maple syrup or agave

1 tbsp onion

1 cup water

Add all the ingredients to your blender except the water and pulse a couple of times. Add about half the water and blend. Add water until you have a creamy consistency. If you like your dressing to be a little spicier, you can add more mustard or more onion or both. If you want it to be sweeter, add more agave or maple syrup. This dressing is creamy and can be a little thick, so if you want to thin it out more add more water until the consistency is perfect for you!

Raw Peanut Butter Carob Oatmeal Cookies

I suddenly had an urge to make something sweet and something chocolately. I made two batches of these, one with actual peanut butter and one with almond butter. The almond butter actually turned out even better in my opinion, but either way it’s delicious! I’ve seen a lot of recipes for oatmeal cookies like this where the batter is heated on the stove before being chilled. I decided to go all raw and just mix everything together and chill them and see how it went. It turned out great, they make awesome little cookies.

Ingredients:

1 cup organic raw oats

dash of salt

1 tsp flax seed

1/3 cup coconut milk

2 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 cup liquid coconut oil

1/4 cup almond or peanut butter

1/3 cup carob powder

1/4 cup chopped dried cherries or pited dates

Put the salt and oats and flax in one bowl. Put the coconut milk, maple syrup, almond or peanut butter and carob powder all in another bowl and mix well. Add the wet to the dry and mix everything together until the oats are all well coated and everything is incorporated. Take the cherries and / or dates and put them in a food processor to chop them up small and then mix them into the whole thing. Cover a tray with plastic wrap and place about a tbsp of batter down and flatten it to make cookies. You can of course make these as big or small as you like. Put them in the freezer for one to two hours and you can keep them in there and eat them or transfer them to your fridge and eat them. You could add chopped nuts to these or coconut flakes and they’d be even better! Goji berries would also be awesome in these in place of cherries.

If you want these to be really peanut buttery add another 1/4 cup! With this recipe it’s just a subtle amount of peanut buttery flavor

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!

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!

 

Creamy Raw Zucchini Noodles

Zucchini noodles are an excellent raw alternative to the regular carb filled wheat noodles. They make a great dinner because they’re easily digestible and also very light and won’t leave you feeling full or bloated. If anything you’ll feel vibrant and energized from the full power of raw, living, foods. This particular recipe also has a delicious cashew based cheezy mustardy type sauce that is creamy and also raw. Fresh basil, hot sauce, and some freshly ground black pepper top it all off for a really refreshing and light entree.

I used a spiralizer to get these lovely zucchini noodles. This is the one that I bought and it works just perfectly. If you do not have a spiralizer you can certainly just use a vegetable peeler to make noodles that are more wide and thin but still work as noodles.

Sauce recipe:

1/2 cup cashews

1/2 cup white beans

1 tbsp onion

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1 tbsp stone ground mustard

2 tbsp olive oil (or other oil of choice)

dash of sea salt

dash of pepper

water as needed (for creamy consistency)

If it’s too watery add a few more cashews or a bit more nutritional yeast, if it’s too thick add a bit more water and etc.

*additional ingredients: cayenne, garlic, mustard powder, lemon juice, basil, agave,  hot sauce to taste

Toss the noodles in the desired amount of sauce, serve with fresh basil,

black pepper and hot sauce and enjoy!

You can of course add any other veggies that you’d like to this dish too. I always love the coolness of a fresh cucumber or some thinly peeled carrot strips. You can also spiralize another kind of noodle like sweet potato or yellow squash and have some beautiful colors and variety of nutrients on your plate!

Yummy green smoothie

This is a recipe for a great green smoothie to jumpstart your morning. I like to have smoothies like this for breakfast or sometimes as a snack after a workout.

Recipe:

1/2 cup coconut water

1 cup water

1 loosely packed cup of organic spinach

1 loosely packed cup of lettuce of your choice

1 banana

1/2 pineapple

1 tsp of agave or maple syrup

1/2 tbsp of hemp powder

1 tsp of flax seeds

Just add all this to your blender, blend until smooth and enjoy! You can add more or less of any of the ingredients listed or add in other fruits or vegetables to really make it your own ❤