Sunday, January 24th, 2010

Chocolate While Trying To Conceive or Pregnant

by Kristen Suzanne in chocolate, pregnancy, raw chocolate

I’ve received a number of emails and blog comments from women asking about the consumption of chocolate while trying to conceive and/or while pregnant. It’s a great question. I know that during previous blog posts I was avoiding chocolate when trying to conceive, and at the time I imagined that I’d also be avoiding it during pregnancy. That said, it’s important to constantly reassess values, ideas, and plans on an ongoing basis to see if things change when new information becomes available (or when hormones take over, LOL… just kidding. Mostly.). But in all seriousness, as you’ll read below, yes, it’s true: I have enjoyed some Raw chocolate while pregnant. So. What changed? Read on…

As many of you know, I’m not a midwife or doctor, so the information I’m sharing is about what I am doing and is in no way prescriptive for you.

Chocolate While Trying to Conceive
When I was TTC (trying to conceive) I eliminated virtually all caffeine including chocolate, coffee, and tea. I might have had one or two bites of Raw chocolate over a span of a couple of months at a time, but you get the picture. Chocolate has a limited amount of caffeine and so I was avoiding it. It also has another “stimulating” type of ingredient called theobromine, which interestingly literally means food of the gods.

Do I think chocolate needs to be avoided completely while TTC? Not necessarily. I do think there are some bad forms of chocolate and I think there are some healthier options. Personally, I would avoid the bad forms, i.e. processed, non-vegan, loaded-with-crap chocolate. The healthier option would be Raw, organic, vegan, dark chocolate. That said, not everyone responds well to chocolate, raw or otherwise, so that should be taken into consideration.

Chocolate While Pregnant
During my first trimester, I don’t recall having any Raw chocolate… I might have had a bite, but I remember staying away from it, so maybe I had my chocolate in a dream? :) When I think back, I didn’t have a solid reason for my choc-abstinence, other than thinking it might be too stimulating from the caffeine (albeit limited) or theobromine, or that having it meant also having the sugar (like the agave in many chocolate recipes). Interestingly, I have since read of a study showing a link between regular chocolate consumption and reduced risk of miscarriage during the first trimester. Go figure.

Now that I’m in my second trimester, I have had a couple of pieces of Raw organic vegan chocolate here and there. What changed? Honestly, I don’t know that I can pinpoint it exactly. For starters, I am sticking to the Raw variety while pregnant, so I have that going for me. The other thing that happened to me was that, frankly, I really wanted a piece! It sounded so good. I was having a number of headaches at the time and maybe my body was telling me I needed magnesium. Raw chocolate is a great source for that. My hormones were raging, too, so perhaps my mind craved chocolate’s calming effects. Perhaps there was a magical force drawing me, as though by instinct alone, to my freezer where the Raw chocolate was just sitting there, waiting to be eaten. I’m guessing it’s all of the above.

I spoke with my midwife and she is fine if I have some chocolate. I’ve since learned that many healthy pregnant women I know indulged in chocolate happily and without guilt while pregnant – I was suddenly the weird one for having stayed away from it. To be sure, I continued with my research and found that prenatal chocolation is fine according to some other books and sources as well. For example, in Shazzie’s wonderful and colorful book about pregnancy and birth, Evie’s Kitchen, she writes, “…We also discovered that researchers had found babies born to chocolate-eating mothers were happier.”

Overall, I feel comfortable enjoying my Raw chocolate in moderation. I might add that it tastes so wonderful – it feels so wonderful – that I’m confident it’s spreading good feelings and vibes through my body when I have it, which are shared with my baby. Within reason, happy mommy = happy Monkey.


I totally understand if some women avoided it altogether and I would also understand if someone had some (although I wouldn’t recommend consuming large quantities). Based on all of the conflicting points of view on this subject, I’m of the opinion that there is no broad consensus as of yet on a “right answer” that can be confidently prescribed for all women. And remember, every woman is different and every pregnancy is different. As always, if you have concerns, a good place to start is by discussing the matter with your midwife or doctor.

So, I’d love to hear your feedback. Did you eat chocolate while you were pregnant? Why or Why Not? If so, how much?

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Sunday, September 13th, 2009

High Raw Food For The Day – Pure Deliciousness

Today’s awesome High Raw food (all organic):


Organic Herbal Tea
My favorite brands of tea are Mountain Rose Herbs and Traditional Medicinals. Today I made a mixture of Raspberry Leaf, Nettle, and Alfalfa. Nice female tonic. Go girl!

Pretty & Jazzy Juice
This juice was so dang pretty, I didn’t want to drink it. I just wanted to stare at it. I made it with my Breville and it contained 2 oranges (peeled), 7 smallish/medium carrots, big ol’ knob of ginger. The orange and carrots made it pretty and the heavy ginger gave it some jazz. It was AWESOME! (I should have taken a picture of it.)

Big-Ass Protein Shake
Chocolate Sun Warrior Raw Sprouted Rice Protein (my favorite protein powder), Hemp Protein (awesome complete protein giving much needed essential fatty acids – Got Hemp?), dash of stevia powder, and Amazing Grass Wheat Grass Powder (I take this when I travel to ensure I’m getting plenty of alkalizing greens)

Handful of pumpkin seeds
These were soaked, sprouted and dehydrated. They’re a great source for iron and zinc. Yum! Zinc is important for fertility, especially male fertility!

Fresh Raw Zucchini & Cucumber Pasta

I spiralized zucchini and cucumber with my Benriner Turning Slicer (demonstrated toward the end of this video). I put it in a bowl and added fresh squeezed lemon juice, Himalayan crystal salt and black pepper. Then, I diced up red bell pepper and avocado (using the fruit scooper in this video to get all my avocado out), and threw that on top. Finally, I added fresh raw corn cut from the cob and tossed that in. My husband and I were loving up this fresh concoction. *NOTE: it’s best to cut and use the juice from lemons right before serving (when possible) because from the moment of cutting, you start to lose the precious vitamin C… like, by the minute.

Buckwheat and Fresh Veggies
I mixed up a little cooked buckwheat with a bunch of fresh raw veggies and non sweet fruit and topped it with a fantastic raw sauce mixture of tahini, tamari, ginger, and other awesome flavorings.

Dessert?
Ehem…. Chocolate Crunch Hazelnut Macaroons! (recipe here, book here)
I didn’t have hazelnuts, so I used a mixture of hemp seeds, (soaked, sprouted and dehydrated) sunflower seeds, and (soaked and dehydrated) walnuts. *TIP: I have a ready supply of these gems in my freezer so I can quickly grab one whenever I want. That’s one of the keys to succeeding with the raw vegan lifestyle. Have food on hand, already made, ready to eat. Trust me. When I’m going to a restaurant, I can grab my Raw dessert and stash it in my purse so when I get a craving for dessert, I can gobble up my secret treat. When I arrive home from a day of running errands, I like knowing that I can go to my countertop ready to eat snacks and enjoy a nutritious snack (things like garlic basil chia crisps, prunes, dates, sprouted / dehydrated sunflower and pumpkin seeds, goji berries, raisins, etc).

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Monday, June 8th, 2009

Raw Vegan Recipe: Exotic Chocolate Milk

by Kristen Suzanne in chocolate, ginger, hemp seeds, raw, vegan

It’s time for a recipe! YAY! Here is a delicious, sassy, and unique recipe that is creamy and nutritious (ginger and hemp seeds rock!). This recipe is featured in my latest book, Kristen Suzanne’s Ultimate Raw Vegan Chocolate Recipes. And, the lovely Ingrid (of Raw Epicurean) also featured this on her blog with a picture.


EXOTIC CHOCOLATE MILK 

By Kristen Suzanne of KristensRaw.com

Yield 3 cups

Ginger is a rich source of powerful antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory properties, and there is evidence that ginger’s antioxidants might help fight/inhibit the growth of certain types of cancers. Not only that, studies show ginger can also help boost the immune system. 

Hemp is commonly referred to as a “superfood” because of its amazing nutritional value. Its amino acid profile dominates with the 8 essential amino acids (10 if you’re elderly or a baby), making it a vegetarian source of “complete” protein! And, it’s loaded with essential fatty acids in an ideal ratio of omega 3s to omega 6s. Go hemp!

2 cups water

1 cup hemp seeds

1/4 cup raw chocolate powder

2 tablespoons raw agave nectar or date paste (or more)

1 1/2 teaspoons orange blossom water*

1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger (or more)

pinch Himalayan crystal salt (optional)


Blend all of the ingredients until smooth and creamy. Exotic Chocolate Milk will stay fresh when stored in an airtight container for up to five days.

* Available at most Middle Eastern Markets, online, and at some Whole Foods Markets.


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Friday, May 15th, 2009

Winner of My 11th Awesome Giveaway! Congratulations Shanghai Monkey!!!

Congratulations Shanghai Monkey!!! You win!!! Whoo-hoo!!! Your name was chosen as the winner of my 11th Awesome Giveaway. The prize is a copy of my latest book (or ebook, if you live outside the continental United States), Kristen Suzanne’s Ultimate Raw Vegan Chocolate Recipes. YAY!!!!!! Simply email me the address you want your prize sent to.

Here is what Shanghai Monkey had to say when asked,What topic(s) would you like to see covered on my blog here?

Since I just discovered raw nut “milk”, I’d love to see some more recipes (for nut milks & dishes that incorporate nut milks).


My next Awesome Giveaway is in June, so check back for details!

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Saturday, March 28th, 2009

Life is Good Indeed – Candy Kale Salad

by Kristen Suzanne in chocolate

I made it through my tech difficulties! My BlackBerry is alive and well (actually even better than before! Yay!). My web email was restored – thank heavens for that!!!!! And, the other issues I was dealing with… well, we have a plan with many options, so that alone empowers me, calms me, and gives me much hope (will share more intimate details with you over time regarding this).

Today was busy and fun. I tagged along with my husband and his business partner up to Flagstaff. I made him a bagged lunch with plenty of Raw vegan goodies (and made one for myself, too). It was nice and relaxing, although pretty chilly up there. Once we came home, I wolfed down a kale salad that had chopped dates, raisins, pecans, grape tomatoes, kale (massaged with the basic lemon juice, olive oil & Himalayan crystal salt), and diced avocado. I call the kale salad, Candy Kale Salad, because it is sweetly delicious. It’s an awesome transition recipe for those of you trying to get more kale (or any hearty greens) into your diet (or your family’s) but really want the sweetness to make it extra fun and tasty. Ha Ha – Who am I kidding? I’m not in transition and I’m eating it… because it’s YUMMY!

Tonight I’ve been in the kitchen working up a couple of final recipes for the chocolate book. I was all finished with it, and then a couple of nights ago, more recipes came to me as I was falling asleep. (This is common with me… so I keep a notepad and pen on my nightstand to jot down the recipes.) These recipes were so cool and unique that I HAD to experiment with them. Great news! They’re awesome! Therefore, I’m back to editing the book, which will delay publication, but I tell ya… it’ll be worth it!!!!

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Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Some Crazy Days… But I’m Still Dancing

by Kristen Suzanne in chocolate, Kristen Suzanne

Well, it’s been some crazy days for me. My BlackBerry basically blew up (not really, but you get the picture). I rely on this device to keep my business running in real time, no matter where I am, so it’s a big deal when it’s not working. Then, my web-based email followed suit (still trying to restore my account – yikes! Wish me luck!). Plus, some other things going on that I won’t get into the details with you (yet), but let’s just say…. it’s been a trying week. However! I’m staying strong! I’m deep breathing, exercising, and eating extra-extra well to keep my immune system in top shape. I’m listening to happy music to keep my spirits soaring. I’m dancing with my dog to calm my soul. And…. it’s all working! (smile).

It’s trying times like these that I’m ever so grateful for my healthy HRAV (high raw, all vegan) diet and lifestyle. I know I can count on it to keep my cells properly functioning, happy, and protecting me.

This week I’m adding the final touches to my lastest book and ebook, Kristen Suzanne’s Ultimate Raw Vegan Chocolate Recipes, as well as getting out my March email newsletter (sign up here) – I’m going to have some super yummy recipes in it, so don’t miss out!


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Saturday, February 28th, 2009

T.G.I.F. & Kindle 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Whew! It’s been a busy and fun week. We’re staying at my mom’s for a few days and I’ve been food prepping up a storm. (She just finished getting her house remodeled, so I’m showing her gorgeous new kitchen some love and making all kinds of delicious Raw vegan goodies – Cheezy Hemp Nacho Sauce, veggie crudite, lots and lots of fresh Plant Blood (a.k.a. green juice), an awesome new chocolate cheesecake recipe, ice cream, and more!)

Ohhh! My valentine’s day gift arrived today – the new Kindle 2 is in my hands! I’m so excited about it. One of my passions is reading – it has been all of my life. Needless to say, I’m STOKED about this (big thank you to my awesome husband!). The set up for it has been a breeze and I’m getting ready to purchase my first book on it. In trying to decide which one to buy, I’m visiting one of my former Awesome Giveaways where I asked people their favorite books. I’ll take one of those recommendations. (I’ll keep you posted as to which ebook I buy for my new Kindle 2.)

A Great Interview w/ Dr. Neal Barnard by Ecorazzi.com
Dr. Neal Barnard is one of my heroes! When he was asked his opinion about the rising popularity of Raw foods? He thinks it’s great! :)

Update (2/28/09)
~ I was notified that my blog is listed in an article as one of the Top 50 Raw Food & Lifestyle Blogs. I’m listed in the Health and Beauty section. Sa-weet!
~ And, I was listed on this very cool new part of We Like It Raw’s website, Masala, as one of the “hottest raw food blogs.” Double Sa-weet!

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Saturday, February 21st, 2009

My Friday

by Kristen Suzanne in chocolate, Kristen Suzanne

It’s been a such a lovely day today! The weather is gorgeous, and I spent the whole day with my mom. We drank herbal tea and played cards – FUN! I love spending time with her. After that, my husband and I spent some time with my mom-in-law where we played games and watched BSG. Now, we’re back home and working. Saturday is going to be another super day – I can just feel it!

My Raw Food Intake Today
Plant Blood (a.k.a. green juice)

Hemp shake

Vega bar (berry flavor)

pumpkin seeds and Brazil nuts

Amazing Grass Whole Food Chocolate Bar (yum!)
Carrots, yellow bell pepper, zucchini
veggie dish with Cheezy Nacho Hemp Sauce
Miso soup

Banana (2)
Goddess Cream Cake (new recipe in my upcoming book all about chocolate!)

Saturday’s Food Plan (I like to plan my food out and here’s why)
Plant Blood
Pineapple
Hemp / Rice Protein Shake
pumpkin seeds and Brazil nuts
Pineapple
Miso soup
Beets, carrots, red bell pepper, zucchini veggie dish with Cheezy Nacho Hemp Sauce
Goddess Cream Cake

Cool News to Peruse: New Project to Make 11 Islands Waste-Free


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