It’s time for a little “Girl Talk” on Kristen’s Raw Blog.
The idea of using organic cloth pads for “period time” has always intrigued me… and, scared me a bit. I love the eco-friendly aspect of it, as well as not having to always buy organic cotton pads (I’m not a fan of tampons, even if they are organic, and only use them on rare occasions). However, I’ve always been a bit shy to try the cloth pad option. But… it keeps coming to my attention, so I decided it was time to give it a try. When I was buying my husband a hemp sweater from Rawganique for Valentine’s Day, I saw they had these “LunaPanties: organic cotton period panties” and I decided to give them a try. I haven’t had the chance to use them yet… but that full moon is on its way. UPDATE: I’ve used them and they are a bit stretchy to wear they don’t fit that well. The “pad” part is fine, but the overall comfort of the underwear isn’t anything to write home about.
Then, that same week, I was reading up on some blogs I follow, and a fellow blogger actually wrote an informative post on the topic. I highly recommend checking it out. She writes, “The minute I tell folks I use cloth menstrual pads, their expression noticeably changes into one of confusion and sometimes disgust. But as I glowingly tell them about the benefits of cloth both to myself and to the environment, they start to listen and realize it’s not so weird or strange after all.” Read more here.
On to the topic of Raw food now… Here is my food intake/plan
Water w/ New Chapter Organic’s Berry Greens (I buy mine from Vitacost.com but they also sell it on Amazon and in some Whole Foods Markets) and Amazing Wheat Grass Powder
~ I like the taste of these two products, both together and independently. It’s a great alkalizing way to start my day. I also add them to smoothies, too, if I’m not drinking them straight with water.
~ Bananas are easy, full of vitamins, and taste awesome. Need I say more?
Cherry Tomatoes, Carrot Sticks, and Cheezy Hemp Nacho Sauce
~ I know… AGAIN? Emphatically… YES! I cannot seem to get enough. I’ve been making it every other day. If I’m not eating it with veggies, I eat it with Raw corn chips, and I’ve even enjoyed it w/ organic, baked corn chips. I love the flavor!!! It’s a satiating snack that keeps me filled for hours.
Strawberry Fennel Kale Salad (2 servings)
~ I’ve also been eating a lot of kale salads lately, trying different combinations of ingredients. This was a lovely combo.
3 Spoonfuls of Chia Seed Pudding w/ Raw Cashew Milk
~ This is a great way to fix a sweet tooth. And, chia seeds are loaded with nutrition (read more here). The Raw cashews and chia seeds are from Navitas Naturals.
Goji Berries (a few small handfuls)
~ I’m making a new dessert recipe, with goji berries, so I have them sitting on the counter. I’ve been munching on some here and there when I walk by them.
Kelp Noodles and Raw Marinara
~ I have a bag of kelp noodles begging to be used in the refrigerator. I think I’ll whip up some Raw Marinara tonight and we’ll enjoy that for dinner… alongside some Cheezy Hemp Nacho Sauce and Corn Chips of course – ha ha.
~ We’ll either have some more Chia Pudding or the new dessert recipe I’m working on. Either way… we’re having dessert!
Wednesday, March 4th, 2009
Wow! My last ebook, Kristen Suzanne’s Ultimate Raw Vegan Hemp Recipes, is now available in print. YEAH! YIPPEE! WOWEE! HURRAY!
Hemp foods, now widely available in health food stores across the country, are taking the natural foods world by storm! A true “superfood,” hemp is high in protein, has excellent ratios of all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids, tastes absolutely delicious, and is amazingly helpful to the environment due to its fast growth and lack of need for herbicides or pesticides.
Hemp is not your typical granola fare — it’s a subtle and delicious dream come true for foodies and connoisseurs of everything exotic and unique! These recipes range from quick snacks for the kids, to boldly sexy n’ sassy, and just like all of my recipes, they’re amazingly EASY.
In this totally unique, one-of-a-kind book, you’ll find some of the most amazing recipes I’ve ever developed, all using hemp seeds, hemp oil, or hemp protein powder. Check out the photos in our photo gallery (I’d love to know which photos you like best in the comment section of today’s post).
It’s been a LOT of work and I’m so proud and happy to finally have all of my ebooks available in print. It is officially DANCE TIME!!!
As I promised earlier today on Facebook, I’m featuring one of the recipes from the book (both the book/ebook have been updated with new recipes added!). Let me tell you, this recipe is so good! I mean, like, really really awesomely delicious. I’ve made it every week for the past five weeks because we seriously cannot get enough of it. I’ve made it for lots of different people (non-Raw and Raw) and they all love it… I’m talking “lick-the-bowl-please-give-me-more” loving it. It’s perfect for showing off at the next party you attend or host. And, of course, it’s full of nutrition… hemp seeds (complete protein, essential fatty acids), red bell pepper and garlic (antioxidants, vitamins, minerals), and more. So, without further ado… here it is!
CHEEZY HEMP NACHO SAUCE
By Kristen Suzanne of KristensRaw.com
Yield approximately 1 1/2 cups
1/3 cup water
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 red bell pepper, seeded, rough chopped (approximately 1 cup)
1 cup hemp seeds
2 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon chili powder*
2 teaspoons tamari, wheat-free
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
Blend all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy. This can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
*My favorite is by Simply Organic
· Use this for dipping fresh veggies or corn chips (Raw or not – it’s up to you!)
· For those eating cooked vegan foods, this is an awesome sauce on top of veggie burgers
· This also makes a delicious Raw vegan dressing on a hearty salad with romaine lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and cucumbers. You could even sprinkle on some Raw vegan taco meat and Fun Corn Chips for a tortilla type salad.
And! Here’s a new video that I made 9/3/09.
I can appreciate that controversial articles can make us question our choices. We’re constantly bombarded with various advertisements, opinions, figures, information, etc., and I know it can make you wonder… “WHAT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO?”
So, here is yet another opinion on the matter (mine). I’m emailed all the time about this issue and decided to blog about it.
Different Sweeteners For Different Reasons
The healthiest sweeteners are fresh, organic whole fruits, including dates. That said, dates sometimes compromise texture in recipes. As a chef, I look for beautiful texture, and as a health food advocate, I lean towards fresh dates. And, then, as a consultant helping people embrace a Raw vegan lifestyle, I’m supportive of helping them transition, which can mean using organic raw agave nectar (an easy-to-use sweetener that might not have the healthiest ranking in the Raw food world – especially to purists, which I am not), but is still much healthier than most sweeteners used in the Standard American Diet. I think it’s important to support people in the transition with eating a healthier lifestyle and, therefore, it’s important to be flexible. After all, a slice of Raw vegan cheesecake made with raw agave nectar is a heck of a lot better than a typical candy bar found in a convenience store or cookies made with white sugar and butter (and cooked!).
Agave isn’t something that you have to put in your recipes every day. If you’re unsure about it, then balance it out with dates. Many dessert recipes probably come out with the best texture if you use raw agave nectar (think mousse, pudding, etc). But, if it’s a soup or a smoothie or a dressing, then you can pretty easily just swap out the agave for 1-2 pitted dates. In my life… sometimes I use dates or date paste (recipe below), sometimes I use raw organic agave nectar, and sometimes I use a combination of both raw agave nectar and dates.
My main stance is that I’m comfortable with organic raw agave nectar and I use it in some of my recipes. I do not consume it every day.
Raw & Organic Agave Nectar – But Is It Really?
I agree that there are agave brands out there that claim to be raw and probably aren’t. The label says that it’s raw, but it doesn’t specify the temperature at which it was created. That’s why I stick with Madhava’s Raw Organic Agave for light agave (check out the FAQ of theirs for more details). I also use Wholesome Sweeteners Blue Agave when my recipe calls for a darker (or blue) agave nectar. Both companies claim on the label to not process their agave nectar over temps of 115F and 118F.
Update 3/6/09: I’ve recently been sent a sample of another Raw agave nectar. I’ll let you know my feedback, but from what I’ve read… it’s very promising.]
Update 12/9/09: I do like the raw agave from Ultimate Superfoods. Update 3/17/10: I came across this blog where an article is featured “Agave Nectar: Hold on now… Response to Rami Nagel’s article By Craig Gerbore, President of Madhave”
Listen To Your Body
People are different and at different stages of raw (or even just healthy eating, for that matter) – this is important to consider if you have doubts about the health of raw agave nectar. Ask yourself… How does it make you feel? If you have something made with raw agave nectar, do you feel OK? Do you feel icky? Do you feel good and healthy? Many people on the Raw vegan journey find that over time, they eat meals that are simpler (for the most part) and don’t eat as many gourmet foods, where you find raw agave nectar used more. So, over time, you might not consume a lot of raw agave nectar, but to have some occasionally is common.
Honey? Heck No!
As a happy and very proud vegan, honey is not an option, nor is it something that I advocate for other people. Dr. Michael Klapper, M.D., (a vegan doctor and best selling author) advises against using honey for health reasons, because it spikes natural sugar levels of the body. Honey is, basically, regurgitated bee vomit. Gross!
Bees make honey for the colony and pollen for the new queen. They don’t go to all the trouble to give it to me. When a colony is disturbed by someone taking their honey or pollen, it places a great amount of stress on the bees. This can disorient them and, in that sense, their whole order has been tampered with. I wouldn’t dream of stealing from bees. (There is a lot of information here about bees and their honey.)
In my opinion, there is no need to consume honey and harm bees, when you can use delicious and nutritious alternatives such as fresh organic dates to sweeten recipes. You can even make a date paste if you need something of a liquid nature (recipe below).
Stress About It? Double Heck No!
Stress is one of the worst things for us. So, don’t stress about your choice to use, or not use, raw agave nectar. When you do things in moderation, it helps ease your mind. And, if you use agave nectar, get the best on the market (organic and raw) and feel secure with your choice.
Date Paste – Yummy & Healthy! It’s great to keep this on hand in the refrigerator so you have it available and ready to use. It’s easy and should take you less than 10 minutes to prepare. Moreover, I love Medjool dates for my date needs because they’re plump and big (I usually buy them from SunOrganic
For those of you who want to stay away from both raw agave nectar and honey, here is a nutritious alternative that is smooth and delicious.
By Kristen Suzanne of KristensRaw.com
Yield 1 cup
15 Medjool dates, pitted, and soaked 15 minutes (reserve soak water)
1/4 – 1/2 cup reserved “soak water”
Using a blender, or a food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, puree the ingredients until you have a smooth paste. You can add a pinch of Himalayan crystal salt, if desired. Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator (glass mason jar is perfect), Date Paste will stay fresh for 10-14 days or longer.
Monday, February 23rd, 2009
I’ve received some blog comments (as well as emails) asking me to post my Raw food intake more often. Your wish is my command ;)
Monday’s Raw Food (all foods are organic)
Water with a squeeze of lemon
Freshly squeezed orange juice (large glass)
Water with Amazing Grass’ Wheat Grass Powder, New Chapter Organic’s Berry Greens, and Vega’s EFA oil
Hemp / Rice Protein Drink (hemp protein powder, rice protein, cinnamon, water)
Chocolate Candied Pumpkin Seeds (recipe in my upcoming chocolate book)
Raspberry Leaf Herbal Tea (giant mug – aaahhhh)
Amazing Grass Chocolate Whole Food Energy Bar
Guacamole, salsa, Fun Corn Chips
Green and Crunchy Blog
Here is a blog that I enjoy following. I loved this particular post about how she is feeding her family Raw vegan style. Check it out here.
Daily Conversation Question:
If you were offered a seat on the next space shuttle would you take it?
Monday, February 23rd, 2009
I’m excited to announce that my book, Kristen Suzanne’s EASY RAW Vegan Dehydrating is now available in print from Amazon. Yeehaw!
If you are trying to decide whether or not to buy one, then this book is for you! There are SO many fun and interesting things you can do with dehydrating Raw foods, such as making breads, crackers, wraps, pancakes, granolas, plant leathers (fruit roll-ups, etc.), seasonings, and much more. You can also intensify flavors, add cooked-like textures to your foods, and even serve warm dishes with the food’s nutritional integrity totally intact!
This book is a great, thorough, and comprehensive introduction to dehydrating for people who are curious about the subject. It’s also a must-have for Raw food enthusiasts who want to experience the full range of experiences in the Raw food cuisine.
This book also comes with a special offer: 10% off Excalibur dehydrators & products.
Sunday, February 22nd, 2009
Congratulations Sweetie! Your name was chosen as the winner of my 8th Awesome Giveaway. Your prize is a a copy of my book, Kristen Suzanne’s EASY Raw Vegan Smoothies, Juices, Elixirs & Drinks. YAY!!!!!! Simply email me the address you want your prize sent to.
Here is what Sweetie had to say when asked, “If you could master one musical instrument, which one would you choose and why?“
Great question and thank you for your generosity=-)For me it would be the harp. It is so beautiful and also sounds beautiful. To me it is one of the strongest symbols that can represent feminine beauty. Grace…LOVE ALWAYS
My next Awesome Giveaway is in March, so check back for details!
Saturday, February 21st, 2009
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)
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
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)
Hemp / Rice Protein Shake
pumpkin seeds and Brazil nuts
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
Wednesday, February 18th, 2009
Yay! It’s that time again! I want to have another awesome giveaway. This time I’m giving away a copy of my book, Kristen Suzanne’s EASY RAW VEGAN Smoothies, Juices, Elixirs, & Drinks (includes wine drinks!). Everyone around the world is welcome to participate. If I draw the name of someone who lives outside the continental United States, I’ll email you the ebook version.
This book is so fun! Getting all of the nutrition and anti-oxidants your body needs for maximum health is SUPER EASY once you start eating Raw plant-based foods every day, and one of the easiest ways to do this consistently is to DRINK THEM! These recipes are among the easiest Raw recipes you will find… just blend ‘em up (or juice ‘em) and chug ‘em down. You’ll start feeling the powerful effects immediately, and this book gives you so many recipes that you’ll never run out of variety.
Want the chance to win? It’s simple to participate! All you have to do is answer the following question in this post’s comment section. The contest will end Saturday night, February 21st @ 11:59pm. I’ll enter everyone’s name who answered the question into a drawing and announce the winner on my blog Sunday, Feb 22nd.
Question: If you could master one musical instrument, which one would you choose and WHY?
Thursday, February 5th, 2009
“Superfoods” is a buzz word in the Raw vegan world, but it’s usually referring to some exotic ingredient such as maca or goji berries. But, what earns the right to be classified as a “superfood?” Does it have to be hard to get? Not at the common store? Full of mystical powers – or at least it makes you feel as such? Or, does it just mean that it’s chock full of awesome compounds including precious antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals?
I came across an article, Top 10 Superfoods for Winter and I wanted to share some of it here. The following list includes some foods you might not have considered “superfoods” in the past if you got caught up in the typical sexy superfood whirlwind we frequently hear about in Raw circles. However, these foods deserve some cheers and should be included.
I was excited upon reading the article that eight of the ten foods listed can easily be consumed Raw. Sa-weet! Here are some bits from the article, along with my own spin on things, including links to recipes of mine featuring some of the superfoods. Enjoy!
Cinnamon has always been one of my mom’s favorite spices so she has been adding it to her recipes for most of my life. So much so that my brother and I started teasing her about it when we were growing up. Well, well, well… what do ya know? It turns out that mom knows best (sorry, Mom, it took me twenty-some years to come to this realization!). It’s been said that the compounds in cinnamon can help moderate blood sugar, improve capillary function, fight candida and inflammation, improve digestion, and may help reduce blood pressure. Cinnamon rocks the house!
Here is a recipe to get you started adding more cinnamon to your life: Blissed Out Chocolate Runner’s Smoothie.
According to the article, “Pecans have shown to significantly lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL. Frequent consumption of nuts is associated with a lowered risk of sudden cardiac death and other coronary heart disease, as well as a lower risk of Type II diabetes in women.”
Here is an easy and delicious cookie recipe that people love love love! Pecan Spice Delight Cookies.
The article also stated that “a Penn State-led review of the available evidence from 66 published studies, supports the view that consuming flavonoid-rich chocolate, in moderation, can be associated with reduced risk for cardiovascular disease. Chocolate that is minimally processed and has the highest cocoa content (which means the darkest chocolate) has the highest level of flavonoids. With dark chocolate, even eating as little as 30 calories per day can have a moderate effect. (But more can make you really happy.)”
I totally agree with the author there! For a truly decadent experience with plenty of Raw vegan chocolate, you gotta make this recipe: Organic Double Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake.
The article mentions consuming pomegranates in the form of juice, but in my opinion, the pomegranate is best experienced in the whole form, i.e. the seeds. I want to feel spoonful after spoonful of juicy seeds burst in my mouth. My ritual of many years is donning a t-shirt that I’m happy to stain with pomegranate juice, as I seed 2-3 pomegranates at a time. I carry my bowl of precious seeds upstairs and I take pleasure in them as I enjoy a long, warm bath. That being said, I do realize the juice is much easier to come by year round.
In the Greek myth of Persephone, the pomegranate is called the fruit of the underworld. This legend tells the story that Persephone was bound to hell because she ate a pomegranate seed(s) from Hades. I don’t know about you, but a pomegranate might just be worth it… to me they’re glamorous and sensuous. Cutting into a pomegranate is like opening a treasure chest…inside you find brilliantly sparkling, sweet-tart flavored ruby-like seeds.
The joy doesn’t stop there though. The pomegranate has anti-inflammatory effects and high levels of anti-oxidants. It offers you potassium, vitamin C and niacin, making this labor intensive fruit worth the effort.
Apples are awesome. I mean, hello, an apple graces the cover of Twilight! But seriously, apples are filled with antioxidants for helping fight cancer and improve cardiovascular health. But, that’s not all. Apples also contain pectin (a great source of soluble fiber), bone-building boron, and Vitamin C. If you want the most bang for your buck when it comes to selecting which variety of apple you enjoy, consider this – Red Delicious apples are reputed for having the highest levels of anti-oxidants.
Here is a great green smoothie recipe that includes both apples and cinnamon!
Fluffy Green Smoothie
Yield 1 serving
1 1/2 – 2 cups water
2 apples, cored and chopped
2 handfuls spinach
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Blend it up and enjoy!
Blueberries are crazy awesome for you. They’re rich in phytonutrients and shown to be some major brain food from an anti-aging perspective. In fact, they may help keep your memory sharp. The next time you forget where you park your car, eat some extra blueberries. However, there’s more to blueberries than just some brain power… Wild blueberries, in particular, are shown to help improve eyesight by reducing eye strain and improving night vision. Total score – Night Vision! Next time you want your kids (or husband – haha) to eat healthier, give them a bowl of blueberries and tell them it’ll help their night vision. :) I’ll bet they gobble them up without a second thought.
All in all, blueberries rock. They are so good for you. And, I’ve read that you can get these benefits by eating fresh or frozen blueberries (get the “wild” ones if you can). This makes eating blueberries year round much easier.
No recipe here… I just eat them straight up by the bowl!
Prunes (dried plums) are not just for shuffle board players. They’re a force to be reckoned with and should be enjoyed by people of all ages. Prunes are loaded with antioxidants (LOTS!), fiber, vitamins A & C, potassium, iron and more.
Updated 2/8: And, check this out… Plums Poised To Give Blueberries Run For The Money.
Although, I typically eat prunes by themselves, here is a delicious dressing recipe with prunes: Creamy Kickin’ Dressing.
According to the article, “A New York Times article in December suggests that cabbage is the most important [vegetable] in the world from the point of view of nutritional benefits and cancer-fighting ability. Cabbage possesses phytochemicals including sulforaphane, which studies suggest protects the body against cancer-causing free radicals, and indoles, which help metabolize estrogens. It’s also an excellent source of vitamins K and C, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, folate, manganese and Omega 3 fatty acids.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself! Now, most people associate cabbage recipes with cole slaw. And, it’s definitely a good source for it. However, to concentrate lots of those valuable nutrients in one serving, I also get my cabbage in the form of fresh organic Plant Blood. When I juice it, I include lots of purple cabbage, an apple or two, a carrot or two, and fresh ginger.
So, there you have it. 8 great superfoods for winter (and year round if you ask me!).
Wednesday, February 4th, 2009
I had a fun interview with Revvell of Rawkin Radio, which is now available here.
Just a few of the things we chatted about…
~my bodybuilding experience and how I found vegan and then Raw
~tips for eating Raw in the winter
~getting kids and family into Raw
~supplements… are they important? who should take them?
~exercise and my latest endeavor
~changing one’s mindset
~digestion (poop is important!)
Oh! And if you haven’t entered for your chance to win the Lexen Healthy Juicer, you can do so here.