I love raw vegan nut butters. There are so many delicious options: cashew butter, almond butter, pecan butter, walnut butter, hazelnut butter, pine nut butter, macadamia nut butter, hemp seed butter, pumpkin seed butter, sesame seed butter (tahini), and more. Raw, vegan, heavenly, nutritious, and delicious. I use raw nut butters in many different ways… from using them in dressings (ehem the 4-Ingredient Magic Dressing I posted last week), to spreading them on fruit and veggies, using them in dips, nut milks, smoothies, and more. Raw vegan nut butters are a nutritious whole food fat that are also extremely satiating.
But. When you buy them in the grocery store (or even online) they can be friggin’ expensive. Not when you make your own though. I can make my own raw, vegan, and organic nut butters for a fraction of the price. Seriously, a fraction. And, when I realized I was going to save so much money by making my own… well, I treated myself to a brand new, kick ass food processor to make those creamy dreamy butters. (Check this bad boy out- Cuisinart Elite 14-cup! I named him Toruk – also known as “Last Shadow” the orange and red Great leonopteryx from Avatar.). It kind of made it a “free” food processor, if you ask me, in that it pays for itself quickly. Don’t forget, I also make my own crackers most of the time and I use my food processor for that, too. Money saver. Ch-Ching.
Do you want to make your own fresh raw vegan organic nut butters? It’s easy! First you need to stock up on organic nuts and seeds. The best way to do this is buying in bulk so you can save more money. For example, when you go to Blue Mountain Organics and buy in bulk, you’ll see that the price goes down per pound. I buy the 5lb bags, and sometimes I split them with my mom. They have a great shelf life and I store mine in the freezer to protect them more. So, even if you don’t have someone to split them with, they’ll last you many months if you want.
Take 3-4 cups of (dry, not soaked unless you soak and dehydrate them) raw organic nuts or seeds, and place them in your food processor, fitted with the “S” blade. (If you’re using a nut or seed with enzyme inhibitors like almonds or walnuts, for example, you might opt to soak them and then dehydrate them before making them into butter. This makes them extra healthy and easier to digest. It’s believed that for cashews, Brazil nuts, hemp seeds, and pine nuts you don’t need to soak and dehydrate for that purpose.) You can add a pinch or two of Himalayan crystal salt, but I don’t. Also, if your nuts (or seeds) just don’t seem to be getting creamy for some reason, and they need a little help, you can add a tablespoon or two of raw olive oil. Personally, I have never done this because I have never needed to, but if you’re food processor isn’t cutting it for ya, then this could help. Alternatively, some people use their high powered blender to make nut butters. I find it easier to do so using a food processor.
Process them until they turn into butter. This can take anywhere from 3-7 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides. That’s it! It’s that easy.
Put in an air tight, glass container and store in your refrigerator for up to one month.
We are heading out to see Avatar for the 7th (and final) time. We really love this movie… the beauty, the story, and how it takes us to fun-land every time we see it. As you can probably guess, we don’t go near the concession stand with a 10-foot pole. Gross! And, sorry, I’m not paying $4 for a bottle of water that is contained in icky plastic. So, because I’m on a “special diet” *wink wink* I bring my own snacks and filtered water in a glass bottle. Past snacks have included: protein bar, green smoothie, fruit, kale salad (yes, I brought it in my tiffin with a travel size bamboo fork), chocolate, raw cookies… the list goes on.
But, I’ve created a special snack for this movie trip and I’m calling it Pandora Superfood. It’s made of unique and delicious treats by Navitas Naturals. Hmmm… Na’vi? Navitas? Coincidence?
It’s the perfect snack for this movie because the ingredients actually look and taste like something I’d imagine you’d find on Pandora! When I eat this I feel like I am flying on a dragon or swimming in pools of bioluminescent life force. :)
Here is what is in each portion for the movies: 2 Tablespoons Cacao Nibs
I love raw chocolate and I’m no stranger to it. According to Navitas Naturals’ website, Cacao has long been enjoyed for its healthful and invigorating properties in Mexican, Central, and South American cultures. In fact, Mayan civilizations associated cacao with the food that their gods chose to consume and thrive upon. So impressed were the Mayans with cacao’s taste (and its ability to promote energy), that cacao paste was frequently used in sacred rituals, with an annual festival held devoted entirely to honoring the “cacao god.”
Cacao contains a naturally rich supply of antioxidants, and is also an excellent source of dietary fiber. In addition, cacao is known to be one of the highest dietary sources of magnesium, contains an impressively high iron content, and also possesses many other essential minerals in significant quantities.
2 Tablespoons Goji Berries
These pretty little gems are powerhouses of nutrition. I keep plenty of these stocked at my house. According to Navitas Naturals’ website, Goji berries have been appreciated in Asian herbal medicine for several millenniums, but only recently have western cultures “discovered” the power of this remarkable food. A small and red berry, goji’s grow on a thorny perennial bush, and are indigenous to the difficult terrains of the Himalayan mountain range. Often coined as “red diamonds” on the Asian market, the goji berry has long been regarded as one of the most nutrient-rich superfoods on the planet, with ancient Chinese monks crediting this berry to greater health, vitality, longevity, energy, and stamina. Western science agrees that indeed this special berry has a remarkable nutritional profile, and it is now among the most highly sought-after superfoods around.
Arguably among the most potent superfoods known, the goji berry offers an exceptional balance of daily macronutrients: containing carbohydrates, high-quality protein, healthy fat, and soluble fiber. The goji’s solid plant-based protein is packed with 18 amino acids — including all 8 essential amino acids – which is 10% of the fruits composition. Also full of free-radical-devouring antioxidants, goji berries have been historically used to support the immune system and longevity. Rich in vitamin A and a good source of vitamin C, these berries additionally possess over 20 trace minerals and vitamins including zinc, iron, phosphorus, riboflavin (B2), vitamin E, and carotenoids which include beta-carotene. And to put things in perspective on just how powerful the little goji berry is, ounce per ounce it contains more vitamin C than oranges, more beta carotene than carrots, and more iron than soybeans or spinach.
2 Tablespoons Mulberries
Lightly sweet with a wonderful texture. I want to eat these by the handful. And, heck, why not? These are amazing! According to Navitas Naturals’ website, Mulberry trees originally came over on the Silk Road from China to Turkey thousands of years ago. As one of the precious goods for trade, their leaves served as food for silk worms, and their delicious berries enjoyed as an exotic and divine treat. Today, the fruit is still an important part of the Turkish cultural tapestry, and the berry’s unique flavor is enjoyed by people around the world.
More than just a sweet treat, Navitas Naturals Mulberries are a true superfood. They are one of the few fruits to be considered a protein source — boasting a respectable 3 grams of protein per ounce – and are an excellent source of iron, calcium, vitamin C, and fiber. Mulberries also contain a high concentration of Resveratrol, an antioxidant compound that combats free-radical damage. Recent studies have shown that regular consumption of this special antioxidant helps promote a healthy heart and longevity.
2 Tablespoons Goldenberries
The first time I tried these, I immediately thought, “Move over crappy sour patch kids, it’s time for something way more delish and oh-so-healthy at the same time!” These will throw a party in your mouth. According to Navitas Naturals’ website, Originally cultivated thousands of years ago in the Incan Empire, these dried berries have enjoyed a huge resurgence of popularity in markets around the world, due to their unique taste and remarkable health benefits. Also known as “Incan Berries” or “Cape Gooseberries,” Goldenberries grow in warm climates on a type of small but resilient bush, where natural paper hulks resembling Chinese lanterns delicately cradle the small golden fruit on the inside. Once harvested, the berries are sun-dried, developing a robust and complex citrus-like flavor that is appreciated by everyone from gourmet chefs to children.
Not your average dried fruit, flavor-packed Goldenberries also boast an excellent nutritional profile. The fruit is best noted for its high amounts of carotene and bioflavonoids (vitamin P) — nutrients which studies have shown to produce anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity (among many other benefits). Goldenberries are also an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and contain a good amount of dietary fiber and pectin. Unlike most fruits, Goldenberries also contain protein and phosphorous.
When people first learn that I’m a Raw vegan, they usually ask Why?My initial response is always the same… “Try it and you’ll see for yourself. You’ll be amazed.”Sometimes I follow it up with examples that I can’t help but brag about…
I have energy through the roof without caffeine.
I have clear, soft skin that is going to age slowly and beautifully.
I effortlessly maintain my weight.
My previously debilitating headaches cease to exist.
I’m helping my body prevent the common diseases afflicting our culture today.
I’m setting myself up to win and to reach my goal of being a centenarian.
I deserve this! My family deserves this!
Need I go on? Because I can…
This lifestyle is awesome!
I have to laugh with pure rushing joy when people doubt, question, or dare to make negative assumptions about my lifestyle, because I have no regrets. It’s like having a secret key that opens the door to life at its best, and if you don’t have it… then, guess what? You can. But, if you pass it up… well, then I wish you luck (and if you come back for help later, we’ll all be here cheering you on!). (I’m a brunette now, but my laughing expression is the same)
I love my relationship with Raw Vegan food.
I’m so grateful it came into my life. How could I not be? I experienced massive health changes at two levels. The first level of going vegan greatly reduced my headaches, decreased my lethargy, and gave me a beautiful purpose as I set out to save as many animals as I could, along with helping preserve our planet earth for future generations. The second level, going Raw, made me soar to new heights I had not experienced as only a vegan. I experienced life like never before.I felt energy explode in my mouth with every bite of organic raw food. I sensed the cells in my body wake and dance for the first time, and let me tell you… they love to dance!
Raw vegan food makes me feel alive, light, happy, extraordinarily vibrant – from my head to my toes.
And, that’s just the beginning. With fresh, pure, plant-based foods, I’m connected to something that can be hard to describe for people who haven’t shared the same experience. It’s a connection to the earth. To life. To the sun. To the stars. To the moon. To animals. They are precious interconnections that are impossible to take for granted. You know that scene in Avatar where the tribe is sitting on the ground, swaying, and chanting, and they’re all connected to the forest and Eywa at the tree of souls?… don’t laugh, but I actually feel that way when I eat fresh, organic Raw plant-based foods. I feel like I’m experiencing — and deeply connected to — a planet that is alive!
I’ve been vegan for about 7 years, of which 5 have been either high raw or all raw at different times.I eat with purpose and I love it. Now, I sometimes find myself saying to the same people who asked questions years ago…
Heck no, I don’t miss junk food.
Yes, it’s super easy to do.
And, no, it doesn’t have to be expensive.
Some of them still don’t get it.One of the fun things about it is that it can be flexible. Many of you know that I’m not a purist with my diet. Nor am I a zealot. And, I definitely don’t stress about it. I do have some cooked foods and goodies on occasion, to which I usually follow it up shortly thereafter with a fresh green juice or salad. I can count on my body to direct me to what I truly crave…alkalizing foods. My body knows better. If I’ve traveled and eaten more cooked foods than raw for a spell, that’s OK because I run back to raw. Every time. Even during the first trimester of my pregnancy when I had about 10-14 days where there wasn’t much of anything that sounded good, and I ended up eating more cooked food than raw food – that didn’t last long. It was an exciting day shortly thereafter when I felt the change ripple through my body, and I couldn’t wait to bite into a juicy piece of organic fruit, to crunch a fresh crisp salad, and to fill my mouth with a nutrient-dense green smoothie - in spite of my all-day-morning sickness! How magnificent to share all of that pure goodness with the precious life growing inside of me.
My flexibility does not cross over into vegan-land however.
I’m not always 100% raw, but I’m always 100% vegan. I’m militant about that, and proud of it. The reason is simple… the vegan aspect of my life reaches far beyond me. It saves and respects both animals and our shared earth, which I refuse to compromise. Why would I?Check out the powerful documentary Earthlings for more information.
These past years have been amazing, and I can’t wait to see how my health continues to soar year after year.What an advantage to live this way! When I look back I am thrilled about my decisions and so happy that I started when I did, but it’s better late then never for those of you still debating on this lifestyle. If you’re looking for more information on living a vegan and raw lifestyle, then check out the following favorite resources of mine.
I'm Kristen, and welcome to my blog. I'm a wife, mom, author, and I love to eat so food is usually the topic of my blog posts. I'm a former (almost decade long) vegan turned back omnivore who enjoys reading, rebounding, coffee, and dark chocolate. More...