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!

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!!

Gluten Free Thrive Diet Inspired “Pizza” With White Bean Sunflower Crust and Sun-dried Tomato Sauce

When first transitioning into veganism, pizza was my biggest temptation. I cut out eggs (which I ate all the time), milk (which I always thought was gross) and butter (which I never used) and all other dairy products just fine. I’ve always loooved pizza. Even after cutting out all other dairy I did eat some pizza every now and then for the first couple months into my transition. Finally, I told myself that I was being wrong and I wasn’t fully committing to this lifestyle. I’ve made plenty of delicious homemade pizzas without cheese or with daiya and I’ve been to a vegan pizza place and they’ve all been even more delicious than the traditional pizza.

If you take apart the ingredients of a traditional pizza, it’s anything but healthy. White, enriched, bleached flour for dough. The sauce does have tomatoes in it, but there’s also a high chance of the sauce containing sugar or other unwanted ingredients. And then there’s the cheese, and lot’s of it. So the whole thing is just unhealthy. And I dont know about you, but I always found it hard to eat just one piece of pizza.

What I decided to experiment with is a Thrive Diet inspired pizza. The Thrive Diet is something that athlete Brendan Brazier put together to optimize your full athletic potential by eating whole, vegan (and raw vegan) food and cutting out allergens and processed food. In his book, he has recipes for what he calls pizza. These are not the traditional pizzas you’d find in a pizza shop. These are pizzas with crusts made with ingredients like chickpeas, sunflower seeds, and / or beets. I had never thought of a pizza with a wheat-less crust, so I decided to try out my own recipe.

1. Crust recipe:

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 can white beans (any kind will do)

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 clove garlic

a couple pinches of sea salt, dried rosemary, and black pepper

Before you do anything, preheat the oven to 300 degrees fahrenheit so it’s ready for action.

Add all the ingredients to a food processor and process until everything comes together. Make sure the oil is well incorporated into the entire thing and the herbs and spices are all mixed in. Then take the dough and flatten it onto a greased sheet pan. I made two small pizzas, but you can easily make one big one.

2. Sauce recipe:

1 1/2 cup tomato

2 gloves garlic

2 tbsp olive oil

a few pinches of fresh or dried rosemary and basil

a dash of black pepper

4 sun-dried tomatoes

Add all the ingredients except sun-dried tomatoes to the food processor. Process until everything is chopped and then add sun-dried tomatoes and process again. Evenly spread the sauce mixture onto your dough.

3. Veggies

This step is up to you, add any veggies that you want! For mine, I just added spinach and extra basil leaves. Here are some suggestions for good toppings: red onion, white onion, kale, broccoli, mushrooms, seaweed, zucchini, daiya, nutritional yeast

4. Bake

By now, you should have preheated the oven to 300 degrees fahrenheit. If not, then do this now and wait until your oven is ready. When it’s preheated, add the pizza and bake for about 45 minutes or until the crust is crisp. Don’t be surprised if it falls apart when you’re eating it. Like I said, it isn’t traditional pizza! Cut a slice and use a spatula to transfer it to your plate. This is best eaten with a fork. This “pizza” is loaded with nutrients and the textures and the flavors are really incredible!

Have you heard of the Thrive Diet? Have you read any of the books by Brazier? What do you think? If you try this pizza or have tried any other thrive diet inspired pizzas, let me know what you think!

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!

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.

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!

Energizing Green Juice

I made this juice today for an extra boost of nutrients to get me through the rest of my work day. Spinach, assorted greens, cucumber, grapes and apple all together form a mix of health benefits and raw energy for your busy day.

Recipe:

4 or 5 big handfuls of spinach

1 or 2 handfuls of spring mix (or more spinach)

1 cucumber

5 or 6 green grapes

1 apple

Wash everything thoroughly and juice the the vegetables first and the grapes and apples last. I know some people do not juice fruits and vegetables together, but I added the fruits to add a sweeter taste to the juice because it can be quite bitter with all the greens. I also like to get the benefits of both fruits and vegetables all in one drink. However, if you do not mind the taste feel free to leave out the fruits and have a nice refreshing green veggie drink. You can always add a couple drops of lemon or lime juice as well! Enjoy!