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!

Vegan Shopping Guide Part I

For any committed vegan, buying cruelty free products is a must. Clothes and makeup and skin care are all important to have been made cruelty free. No leather, no fur, no wool, no animal by products. Some may argue that synthetic materials are more damaging to the environment, but this is certainly not true. Raising animals for leather and fur and wool and feathers and etc will always be more damaging. The amount of food needed for these animals is significantly large. Also, livestock run off is one of the main causes of eutrophication or “dead” spots in bodies of water. Leather and other similar products are their own business, the leather doesn’t come from animals already killed and used for meat or the like as some may like to think. Be educated on what you put on your body and in your body!

Here are some wonderful websites and stores to fill all your vegan shopping needs:

1.  2.3. 

4.5.6.

1. LUSH is great. They have natural face cleansers, body wash, deodorant, henna hair dye, makeup, perfume and more. They list all the ingredients and give information on them on the product description page. Lush is awesome, however, some products do contain SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) and things like that but most of them don’t. Just check out the ingredients and read the reviews and find out what works for you! They have a lot of great smelling products and just overall good quality products. Another thing that’s cool is they put a sticker of the person’s face who made your product and it says “so and so made this on 1/1/12 and gives you a date of when the product is fresh until. They offer a bunch of vegan options and product labeled with V means they’re vegan. They also do not test on animals and have done campaigns against animal testing.

2. Yes To is another great skincare brand! They use natural ingredients and also do not test on animals. They have face wash, moisturizer, sunscreen, lip balm, and different products for different types of skin. My favorite is “soothing” cucumber. I’ve used several different cleansers and moisturizers from Yes To and I always loved how fresh they felt and how subtle and clean they smelled!

3. Vegan Cuts is cool because it’s a website with awesome deals on all sorts of vegan products: food, shoes, clothes, skin care, tea, you name it. I’ve gotten several cool things from vegan cuts like berryplus laundry detergent, a shirt from compassion co. and even a 14 day detox kit that was more than half off.  They have different deals often and all the products are great. They also have a points system where you get a referral link and the more people that sign up through your link, the more points you earn towards the shop.

4. Lulu’s vegan shoe section is pretty cool. A lot of online shoe stores are starting to offer sections completely dedicated to vegan shoes, Lulu’s is one of them. They have boots, flats, heels, all the shoes you could need. The shoes pictured above are Rocket Dog Timber Chocolate Brown Faux Fur-Trimmed Boots and they’re super cute and perfect for winter!

5. Another brand that offers vegan shoes is Saucony. If you’re looking for some great vegan workout or running shoes, look to Saucony. They get awesome reviews about how comfortable they are and they have options for both men and women. All the color choices are great and not only are they cruelty free but they  look super cool.

6. Mooshoes is a store dedicated to vegetarian shoes but also has  belts, wallets, and clothing too. Mooshoes has a variety of both men and women’s shoes and offer a bunch of different brands and styles of shoes to choose from. The shoes pictured above are Case Boot in Brown From Big Buddha and are great boots to match with any outfit.

I’ll add some more sites to this vegan shopping list sometime soon with more clothes and beauty products and also sites with food too! Let me know if you have any great vegan shopping guides, websites, stores or products that you think should be featured!

Reasons to go Vegan

Being a vegan myself and running my own vegan lifestyle blog, I feel the need to make this post about veganism itself.  If I can make even one person just consider veganism or vegetarianism by visiting my blog, I’d be so incredibly happy. Even going vegan or vegetarian one night a week makes a bigger difference than you could ever imagine. First of all, let’s start off with the definitions of vegetarian and vegan for those unaware: a vegetarian is someone who follows a plant based diet (no meat) but still eats eggs, dairy, etc. A vegan is someone who abstains from all animal products, no meat, no dairy, no honey, no leather, etc.

I can think of a million reasons to go vegan, but here are just a few:

1. For the animals. Millions of animals suffer everyday by humans for humans. Whether it be at factory farms, the zoo, sea world, the circus, in rodeos, in labs, dog fights, for leather, for fur, etc. Animals are abused. Being a vegan means you’re standing up to this abuse and refusing to take part in all these cruel and unusual practices and forms of entertainment. We have so much fresh vegetables and plant based foods available to us. Why eat animal products? We have so many forms of entertainment available, why use animals for entertainment? Look up vegan videos, documentaries, undercover exposé, books, articles, statements, testaments, etc. You will learn a lot!

2. For the environment. A lot of the world’s water goes to the production of livestock. Most of it is used for the irrigation of feed crops for these animals. Feed crops that they do not eat naturally and for the most part, cannot digest like corn and soy. Not only is water a factor, but also pollution. The mass amounts of animal waste (that is full of antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, etc) adds “dead” spots to local water supplies by triggering eutrophication. All the land used to feed livestock could be land used to harvest crops for hungry humans. Healthy cows and healthy pigs living in a free range farm as companion animals would be able to fertilize the land without harmful chemicals and without causing detrimental environmental effects. Mass production of abused and drugged up animals, however, only causes environmental destruction.

3. Veganism is healthier. The meat today is not like the meat humans used to eat hundreds of years ago (especially the meat in fast food). Animals are fed hormones and pesticide laden foods that they don’t naturally ingest. By eating meat, you are also at risk for certain diseases that can be carried by livestock. Finding organic fruits and vegetables is a lot easier these days than finding organic meat and grass fed / free range livestock. Since humans are not natural meat eaters, meat takes a long time to digest. We don’t have the naturally occurring enzymes that break down meat like carnivores do. Eating less meat, and eating more vegetables is good for your digestive system. There is also a myth out there that you need meat to be healthy, which is just not true. If you don’t believe me, look up the countless vegan athletes out there (Brendan Brazier, Carl Lewis, Fiona Oakes to name a few). Also, dairy and meat cause high cholesterol levels, acne, and even obesity. It is well known that eating too much red meat is bad for your health, and it is also well known that eating too much eggs and cheese can skyrocket your cholesterol levels. Animal products are very tied into heart problems. When you skip out on a cheeseburger or a fried egg & bacon sandwhich, you’re doing your entire body a favor.

4. You don’t need animal products. With each passing day, there are more and more vegan brands, products and options out there for you. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is the ultimate option, but there are also plenty of mock cheeses, burgers, and other meat products. You can go into any grocery store and pick out a nice box of veggie burgers easily. Not to mention that there’s vegan mayo, cream cheese, yogurt, ice cream and milk. Why use cow’s milk when there’s hemp, coconut, almond, rice, flax, and soy milk? These options are also healthier for you and each different one has it’s own wonderful benefits. You can still have burgers, pizza, and ice cream. There are vegan versions of everything. Can’t find it at your grocery store? Check the internet, you can find all sorts of things that aren’t offered at your local grocery store. Even if you don’t want to use these fake meat products, there are so much fresh produce available to us these days. You can find exotic fruit like mangoes and you can crack open a coconut and have fresh milk, even if you live in a suburb. Not to mention all the wonderful nuts, seeds, and beans that are available to us also. Hundreds of years ago, people had to survive on what they could grow, raise, and scavenge. Now, every food you can imagine is at your grasp.

Imagine a world where cows and chickens can roam the wilderness again. Where no animal has to live in complete fear and agony. A world where obesity levels are down, heart problems are down and cholesterol problems are down. A world where plenty of people have jobs farming, growing, educating, healing, saving, nurturing, and doing what they love.

Don’t get me wrong, I know there are plenty of people who love meat. I know a vegan world is completely far-fetched. I will promote veganism for as long as I live. I don’t care about opposition, I care about education. I want people to know that veganism is wonderful and rewarding! I have felt amazing ever since going vegan and I cotinue to feel wonderful. I know this post isn’t perfectly organized, but I really want people to find out more about veganism. Do some research yourself, you’ll find out a lot. Read both sides of the argument, find out how you feel.

I am not a doctor, so I cannot prescribe any kind of diet plan to you. Know what works for your body and know what your limits are. Know your food allergies and know what you can’t tolerate. Any questions about your health or about whether you should eat certain foods or not, contact your doctor or nutritionist or health specialist. All I can do is promote and educate!

If you have any comments, questions, opinions, feelings, anything, please tell me! I’d love to hear your experiences with veganism, animal activism, food, etc!!

Sun-dried Tomato and Rosemary Quinoa Burgers

I love veggie burgers. They’re easy and relatively quick and you can use almost anything to make them. I’ve made chickpea burgers and garlic white bean burgers and ones with all the veggies in my fridge. I always use beans as a base and you can add in any kind of grain like quinoa or brown rice. I like to use mine on salads or have it with avocado and some cashew cheese sauce. These would even be good dehydrated. These can be made completely raw if dehydrated and beans and quinoa are sprouted beforehand.

Ingredients:

cooked or sprouted quinoa

1 can or about a cup and a quarter of sprouted white beans ( I used white navy beans but any white beans would be fine!)

1/3 cup chopped bell pepper

2 tbsp red onion

2 large gloves garlic

2 tbsp olive oil

2 or 3 sun-dried tomatoes

a few pinches of fresh or dried rosemary

some freshly ground pepper

dash of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Add all these ingredients to a food processor except quinoa and blend until pattie like but it will still have some texture. I like to add in quinoa last for good texture, you can add it in to the food processor too if you like but I just stirred it in at the end. Take the mixture and form patties onto a greased sheet pan. Cook them for about 15-20 minutes on each side or until they’re at your desired crispiness! Dehydrating you can do at 105 degrees and about 4 hours on each side will probably do. This recipe makes about 4 medium sized patties

You can freeze the leftovers and reheat them later for a quick meal later on or you can keep them in your fridge and use them the rest of the week. These would be delicious with homemade ketchup, homemade cashew cheese sauce (see creamy raw zucchini noodles for a recipe), and avocado. I like to eat mine without a bun but these would also be great on a nice sprouted grain bun or on some raw bread.