The holidays are approaching. Can you believe it? Now that they’re around the corner, I’m starting my holiday food planning. What parties will I be going to (if any! lol)? What family events are in store? Am I hosting any get togethers? What foods do I want to eat for Thanksgiving and Christmas? Will I be all Raw or High Raw? What foods do I want to make in advance to freeze?
This is a great little book, covering the pluses and minuses of being Raw during the fall and winter holidays. On one hand, holidays are very social occasions that usually focus around food, which raises issues for Raw food enthusiasts, such as how to explain your food preferences to family, hosts, and visitors, and how to deal with temptations to stray too far from healthful habits.
On the other hand, again, the holidays are about FOOD. This presents a fantastic opportunity to try some super fun and delicious, seasonal recipes! (View recipe list.) There is perhaps no better way to start dabbling in Raw or to introduce the cuisine to others… the sheer novelty of Raw holiday food is certain to stimulate conversation. You’d be amazed how some people’s ears perk up when they hear about Raw, as though it’s completely novel and foreign, yet somehow instinctively feels natural and right.
All in all, the holidays are a great time to experiment with all aspects of the Raw lifestyle, both culinarily and socially, and this short book is the perfect place to start. Learn recipes that are easy to prepare, great to take to parties, and perfect for your family gatherings. At a time when the rest of the world is packing on pounds and clogging their arteries with all kinds of yule tide crud, you’ll be getting super healthy and full of energy by eating this amazing food — at the time of year when you need energy the most!
For my 26th Awesome Giveaway…. Someone will win a copy of my Holiday book. (If the winner lives in the United States, he/she has the choice of the print or ebook version. If the winner is from some other great part of the globe, then the prize is the ebook version.)
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 Friday night, November 5th @ 11:59pm. I’ll enter everyone’s name who answered the question into a drawing and announce the winner on my blog Saturday, November 6th.
QUESTION: What is your favorite holiday song?
Want another chance to win? Tweet a link to this blog post and come back to let me know in a separate comment.
Want another chance to win? Facebook a link to this blog post and come back to let me know in a separate comment.
Want another chance to win? Write about this giveaway on your blog and link back to this blog post. Come back to let me know in a separate comment.
Many people are interested in experimenting with Raw food, but don’t know where to start. Others would like to gradually work more Raw foods into their diet. And some people would like to introduce Raw foods to their spouse or family in a way that is easy, flexible, and fun.
Cheezy Corkscrew Macaroni (Kid Approved!)
In this unique book, I present “transitional” recipes designed to help people experiment or migrate gradually toward the healthy Raw food diet, using techniques such as combining raw and cooked elements in the same dish, or “sneaking” Raw food into family meals. By introducing more Raw foods gradually, people’s palates become accustomed to the delicious and unique textures and flavor profiles that are common in Raw cuisine.
Rustic Country Breakfast
This book has 107 recipes, including: Pastas, burgers, pizza, tacos, sandwiches, desserts, cookies, breakfasts, salads, soups, sides, smoothies, juices, and shakes.
Three bonus sections:
1. Raw Food Tips for beginners 2. Raw Resources 3. Instructions for Soaking & Dehydrating
Ginger Spice Carrot Cake
This latest title is available in both ebook and print format. The ebook has photos included, as all of my ebooks do now. The print book does not contain photos (so that I could keep the cost down), but if you buy the print book, you can check out the food gallery page to see the photos available.
This soup is divine! We love it so much that I’m making a second batch to have with our dinner tonight. It’s super creamy, lightly sweet, and packed full of nutrition (tons –> vitamin C, iron, fiber, folate, vitamin B6, copper, vitamin K, potassium, and much more). It’s a definite keeper! You gotta make this one. And… don’t you just love recipes that only take you a few minutes to make?
I started my Green Mommy Blog because I found myself writing (here, on my Kristen’s Raw blog) about other aspects of my life that came about as a result of going Raw and Vegan, which were green and environmentally relevant, but they weren’t always food-related. In an effort to keep my Kristen’s Raw blog focused on food, nutrition, recipes, etc., I started my Green Mommy Blog to share all kinds of fun and useful information about my green lifestyle as an eco-friendly mommy, including topics such as babywearing, cloth diapering, elimination communication, green housekeeping, organics (for clothes, food, and living in general), traveling, product reviews, pregnancy, breastfeeding, bed sharing, recycling, beauty, fashion, and much more.
As a Mother Earth Warrior, I’m doing everything I can to help preserve our home for future generations, while trying to do so with style, fun, and flair. I don’t consider myself an expert, but I’m learning so much as I go. I love animals and it’s my mission to help save as many as I can, which is also good for our environment, so you can expect to see some animal-friendly posts on my Green Mommy Blog, too. I also love all things girly-girl, so be prepared to hear me talk a lot about beauty, fashion, glitz, and glimmer. I have fun and play in everything I do, but you’ll see me get spirited and feisty, too! I can get passionate and on fire about certain causes, so although I’ll try to keep my Green Mommy Blog PG-rated, it might not always happen. There, you’ve been warned. ;)
You’ll notice that in the illustration of the Green Mommy Blog header, I am babywearing our little Monkey. Even though this hasn’t happened yet, it’s something I plan on doing a lot of, and it’s not far off. However, I wanted to have it represented in the illustration that was launched before the actual birth.
AND! There’s a GIVEAWAY going on over there right now! With many more to come this month to celebrate the launch of Green Mommy Blog!
Yay! It’s recipe time! In today’s video, I’m showing you how to make an EASY yummy bread recipe, Soft n’ Savory Hemp Onion Bread. If you’re a fan of savory onions, then you’ll be one happy camper with a slice of this! Soft n’ Savory Hemp Onion Bread is delicious, pretty, and filled with nutrition… essential fatty acids, protein, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Essential fatty acids are necessary fats that we basically cannot synthesize on our own, so we have to get them from our diet. Enter: hemp and chia! Not only that, but hemp foods are an excellent source of complete vegetarian protein. Personally, I consider hemp foods as superfoods because they are loaded with important nutrients and they make me feel great. As a pregnant gal, I’ve been upping my intake of them – great for my growing baby. So… back to the bread… It’s perfect for snacking on by itself, dipping in Raw hummus, and spreading with Raw hemp seed butter or guacamole. Depending on the size you cut, you can also use it as a nutrient rich bread for hearty Raw sandwiches. As I’m typing this post, it’s dehydrating in the kitchen and it smells soooooooo awesome!
In this video, I feature a few different kitchen tools, ingredients, and appliances. You can get your hot little hands on them buy purchasing from these links…
Yield approximately 20 – 32 pieces (depending on size you cut)
3/4 cup hemp seeds (lightly ground)
3/4 cup chia seeds
3 pounds red onions, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cup spinach, packed
1/3 cup raw agave nectar
1/3 cup tamari, wheat-free
1/4 cup hemp protein powder
Place the ground hemp seeds and whole chia seeds in a large bowl and set aside. Process the onions, tomatoes and spinach in a food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, into small pieces – don’t let it get too mushy though. One thing that might help is to do this processing in two halves (half each of the onions, tomatoes, spinach in one processing, then do it with the other half) so that you can keep it a little on the chunkier side. If you process it too long, it can get too wet (as you’ll see in the video, I should’ve done mine in two processing batches, but I shoved it all in one – lol).
Add the onion mixture and the remaining ingredients to the bowl of seeds and stir well to mix. Let the batter sit for up to 5 minutes. If you find that the batter is too “wet” then add more chia seeds to soak it up (1 – 2 tablespoons at a time and wait a few minutes).
Use approximately 4 cups per tray and spread the batter onto 2 dehydrator trays, each lined with a Paraflexx sheet. Dehydrate at 130 – 140 degrees for one hour. You can score the bread into the desired size at this time, or you can wait to cut it after it’s done dehydrating.
Lower the temperature to 105 degrees and dehydrate another 8 hours. Flip the bread over onto another dehydrator tray and peel off the Paraflexx sheet. Dehydrate another 6 – 10 hours (until you reach your desired dryness – I like mine a little moist). Cut into 16 squares per tray. These are best stored in the refrigerator.
I received the following email and decided it would make a great blog post. I suspect there are other people out there with similar Raw food struggles.
Hi Kristen, I love following your blog….. I was wondering if you could give me advice…. and your personal motivation and reasons for being raw…
I have a blender, I don’t have an expensive juicer or a dehydrator….and right now, I’m starting to become aware that I’m probably slightly caffeine/sugar dependant… I have an incredible sweet tooth…. and it seems that every time I try to start raw foodism, I fail….not so much by heating something…. (as I rarely cook my foods anyways), but mainly because I have a hard time staying away from already processed prepared foods, coffee, sugar and sweets.
I was therefore wondering if you would mind giving me some advice, on how to get started…. on how to find the real motivation to go raw…
And on how to adhere to a raw food lifestyle – on a student budget (without a juicer or dehydrator)…
What were some of your personal motivations for going raw? And what have been some of your personal benefits?
I know rationally that I will benefit from it….but every time I fail it’s because I self-sabotage myself by convincing myself that my current diet is ‘pretty healthy already’….
Any books you would recommend as good starters?
My Personal Motivations & Reasons for Going Raw:
For starters, I was looking for energy when I decided to go Raw. My research into the Raw diet showed people with tons of energy and that was something I wanted big time. I, too, was addicted (badly) to caffeine. Even though I considered myself “pretty healthy already” with my vegan diet, I was going to a coffee shop once, twice, and sometimes three times a day for a triple espresso shot soy cappuccino. I had a pretty good inclination that my adrenal glands were shot and I felt acidic internally. Every day I would wake up and my bones and joints ached until I moved around and had my morning (few) cups of coffee.
But, energy wasn’t all I was after. I wanted that GLOW! I wanted the smooth, soft, skin that was the result of Raw food’s anti-aging benefits. I was tired of my dull skin with it’s frequent break outs. I also suffered from migraine headaches and allergies. So, when I stumbled upon Raw, I was hooked. It just made sense! I loved that I was reading about people who felt amazing, knew they were eating the healthiest food in the world and so darn proud of it, had oodles of energy, and enjoyed gorgeous skin and nails (hair, too, but at the time, I was bleaching mine, so I figured that was a lost cause).
Eventually, I was so tired of not feeling great, of not feeling like I was at my peak unless I medicated myself with something like caffeine or pain pills. I was living a life of stimulated energy instead of Raw energy. I had no idea there was such a thing as Raw Energy. And, wow, what a difference that has made in my life! (I go into much more detail about this here on my website.)
How I Started with Raw
When I first started, I made it a gradual process. I started by adding more salads to my diet and simple fresh fruit and veggies. I found that it was great, yet it wasn’t making it easy for me to transition to a more (or all) Raw diet. So, I changed my plan of attack. Instead of having days where I had part cooked, part Raw foods, I decided to pick one day a week where I went all Raw. That was something I could easily do, and it was inspiring. I felt so great on those days that it wasn’t long until I wanted to incorporate more days into my diet like that. Before I knew it, I was going 3 days a week 100% Raw, and then 4 days, and so on… until I was all Raw. It was awesome and everything it promised to be for me.
After a long time of being all Raw, I started to have a little cooked vegan food from time to time. I found that when I did that, however, it was a slippery slope. What would start as a simple, wholesome organic vegan meal of lentils, brown rice, and steamed veggies turned into all that plus vegan cookies! Then, I found that it would throw me from my game for a few days at a time. But! What I discovered was that every time that happened, I found more resolve to get back to Raw. I didn’t beat myself up for it either. I didn’t stress. I knew deep down the right way. I was actually excited that my body was telling me to get back to Raw. It knew what was best for me. Over time, even though I’d have a little cooked food (or even a treat like a vegan cookie or decaf soy cappuccino), I wasn’t doing it very often, and the slippery slope was not so slippery anymore. I came up with many tips and tricks for helping me stay motivated and on my path (I detail many in my book, Kristen’s Raw).
The next period of my diet found me doing more Raw (usually 100%) and that was wonderful. My body needed it and I craved it. There were periods where my body wanted a lower fat Raw diet and times when my body thrived with higher fat Raw foods. I listened and paid attention to the changes my body was going through. I became more confident in my choices and I was learning more about my body all the time, so I found that when I introduced some cooked foods again, I actually did fine. This opened some new doors for me. I found that I could enjoy a High Raw diet at times. In fact, I felt pretty great with it. My body is so used to Raw now, and loves it so much, that I don’t go for long with cooked foods in my diet, and/or I don’t let too many in. My body quickly starts craving the fresh organic goodness that only the Raw vegan diet can provide.
My Basic Take-Home Points:
1) I listen to my body and I don’t presume that just because I thrive with a certain Raw vegan diet at one time doesn’t mean I won’t want to change it up a bit with another variation of Raw vegan another time.
2) I am flexible and don’t stress about it. In fact, I have fun with it!
3) My body naturally self-corrects and always directs me back to Raw. It knows what’s best.
Overall, it’s all about making better choices. There is a continuum on which you’ll find yourself. On one end of the continuum you have the typical SAD (Standard American Diet) eater and on the opposite end you have the 100% Organic Raw Vegan Foodist. All along this spectrum you have rungs, or steps, like along a ladder. With each rung or step being better than the last. It’s not expected to go all the way to the top at first, because that is too hard for most people. But there are always ways to make small improvements. For example, if you’re eating processed bread right now, then switching to a brand such as Genesis Sprouted Grain Bread is that next step along the spectrum of health. It’s better than what you were doing previously. Then, not much longer after that you might find yourself making your own bread from sprouted flax and chia seeds, which would be the ultimate choice for your health. However, each step takes you higher or further along the spectrum, and you’ll feel better and better as a result. Or, if you consume cow’s milk, you can move up on the ladder of health by switching to organic vegan soy, rice, hemp, or almond milk. Then, you can set your eyes on the next step and switch to Raw nut and seed milks like Creamy Dreamy Hemp Milk.
For some people, the only way to start the Raw diet is by jumping in with both feet 100%. Some people need a gradual entrance. They’re both great… you just have to find what’s right for you. One of the best ways for staying motivated is with community and education. The community can be found online (join Raw forums, read Raw blogs, and blog yourself!) and through meetups (check meetup.com for local groups), and the education comes from DVDs, books, classes, magazines, etc. I’m constantly putting all of those things in front of me. And, every time I pick up a book or magazine, or read someone’s blog about what they’re doing with Raw food, I’m excited and inspired! My cells start salivating for green juice, salads, and Raw lasagna, etc.
Raw Tools in the Kitchen: Only Have a Blender?
Having only a blender is no problem! You don’t need a juicer to be a Raw foodie, or a dehydrator for that matter. Those are just excuses for some people. With a blender, you can make smoothies, soups, salad dressings, pates, ice cream, mousse, even nut butters (with a high powered blender). You can even make juice! Just blend the fresh produce with some water and strain it with a nut milk bag (or a cheaper paint straining bag from a hardware store).
A dehydrator is fun and I use mine all the time, but it’s definitely not necessary. For starters, you can buy many things at health food stores that are made in a dehydrator. They’re not always cheap, but I’m just sayin’… they’re available as very convenient treats and snacks.
Sugar & Caffeine Addicted? No Problem!
Being addicted to those things really sucks. I know! But, it’s not hard to get off them. You just need a plan! My first tip is Green Smoothies. Getting more greens into your diet will help alkalize your body, which will help you fight the acid addiction. Don’t give up and be consistent with it. Having fresh fruit is also great for those sugar cravings. Because fruit is filled with natural sugars, fiber, and nutrients, you’ll find yourself satiated right away. Having them with greens is great, like with green smoothies, because the greens add lots of minerals, but I’m also a fan of fresh fruit on its own. Heck, I just polished off two organic persimmons before writing this blog post.
Another great tip for fighting sugar addictions is with fermented foods like Raw, organic, unpasteurized sauerkraut and kim chi. These are well reputed for helping with sugar problems. And, they’re so delicious! I make my own at home, but I didn’t always (you can buy it at health food stores). Here is a blog post (with video) detailing how to make it.
Your transition doesn’t have to be overnight, just start somewhere. And, you don’t have to eliminate your caffeine or sugar right away. Do it in stages. Look at your current diet and set up a plan for cutting it out, bit by bit. And, reward yourself when you hit those milestones!
Being Lazy?… Stop It!
There is no excuse for not making a green smoothie when you’re feeling too lazy to make something and wanting to open up a box of processed crap. Green smoothies are so freakin’ easy. And, you know what? If for some crazy reason that is even asking too much on some days, then just make sure you have bananas, oranges, persimmons (seasonal), dates, carrot / celery sticks (washed, trimmed, and ready to eat), apples, watermelon (seasonal), etc… all ready to grab whenever you get hungry. IT DOESN’T GET EASIER THAN THAT!
Candidly, if you can’t handle whipping up a green smoothie or peeling a banana, then you probably just don’t want it enough. And for that, I don’t have much advice beyond forcing yourself to try it for awhile and seeing how much better you feel. Obviously, something turned you onto this path; you just need to get back and focus on that. Do some soul searching and decide if you’re indeed ready to take control of your health. The good news is that it’s really easy. And, the better news is that it gets easier and easier, partly from practice, but mostly from just developing habits, a routine, and a little confidence. You’ll find yourself getting into your own groove and building upon each successful day you have. It’s an awesome feeling!
We all have our own personal motivations for turning to Raw. And, most people who do turn to it stick with it, at least to some degree, if not all the way. It’s as though they’ve seen the light and they know it’s the right thing to do. Even when they come and go… the key is that they keep coming back. The Raw vegan lifestyle rocks. It’s worth it! It’s awesome! It’s addictive!
I’ve written a book (available as an ebook as well) that covers these topics in great detail, Kristen’s Raw: The EASY Way to Get Started and Succeed at the Raw Food Vegan Diet & Lifestyle. It’s the perfect way to help you start on the Raw vegan path. You can get more details and purchase it here.
I should add that it also makes a great gift!
And, here are some related blog posts that are chock-full of good tips and information.
Here is what Courtney and Finding True Serenity had to say when asked, “If you could donate 1 million dollars to charity, which would you choose AND why?”
Courtney wrote, “That’s tough because there are so many that are deserving. I would donate to Ashoka, a non-profit dedicated to assisting social entrepreneurs. I love the organization because they work from the bottom up – finding individuals and small groups that are making a difference in their own communities – instead of from the top down (which rarely works!). This strategy great because the people that they fund are connected to their communities, know exactly what is needed, and are better able to figure out the best approach.”
Finding True Serenity wrote, “Wonderful question! I honesty would have to name my #1 choice as WWF (World Wildlife Fund). I think we need to protect our natural home, and all of it’s inhabitants while promoting efficient and sustainable approaches to preserve and reverse the degradation of our planet so all of our needs are met in harmony with nature! I would love to win a bag of chia seeds! They sound quite universal! Thank you for the wonderful opportunity!”
My next Awesome Giveaway is in October, so check back for details!
I’m not one to waste organic food… ever. So, when I’m done juicing, I make crackers with the leftover pulp, or I stir some into my dog’s food, or I give it to the bunny’s in my neighborhood.
Here’s a little quick video showing you the batch I made the other day.
I used my Breville to make the green juice (like only $99 bucks for this machine – so worth it). I spread the pulp mixture with an offset spatula (one of my other favorite tools in the kitchen, other than the fruit scoopers). And, I used my Excalibur Dehydrator to dry the Raw crackers (they’re the BEST on the market – hands down).
You can use any spices you have on hand. Be creative and try different combinations. And, use the juice pulp from any green juice you make.
The recipe I used below is:
For the Juice
2 cucumbers, 1 bunch Italian parsley, 5 leaves medium kale
This gives about 2 cups of pulp when using the Breville juicer.
For the pulp
1/2 cup flax* seed, 1 tablespoon tamari, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon coriander, 1 tablespoon mesquite powder, and 3/4 cup water (as needed) *The lovely flax I used was from a sample sent to me by Flax Matters.
Oh, and PS… A great thing about the Benriner turning slicer I show in the video is that the Raw veggie noodles that this tool makes are noodles that stay fresh for 2-3 days, unlike the Saladacco or other spiralizer like the Saladacco (where the inside of the produce is used), and you need to serve the noodles right away or at least the same day. With the Benriner Turning Slicer (and there are a couple of other models that are similar to the one I feature), the noodles can be made 1-2 days in advance and still taste as fresh as the day you made them. That’s awesome!
This recipe can be used in many different ways:
Use this for dipping fresh veggies (my favorite way) 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 raw dehydrated corn chips for a tortilla type salad.
Here’s a super fun way to have it… dehydrated like a slice of nacho flavored cheese… simply spread the mixture on to a dehydrator tray (Excalibur Dehydrators are, by far, the best) fitted with one of their Paraflexx sheets. Let it dehydrate (105-110 degrees) over night (or longer!), and try flipping it on to a regular mesh tray the following day, peel off the Paraflexx sheet and continue dehydrating until you reach a “dry-type” texture. Either try cutting into squares to put on your next sandwich or crumble it up and use it as a fun and yummy topping for salad. Or, if you’re like my sweet husband, he eats it straight out of the dehydrator bite by bite… plain, all by its delicious self!
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 Thursday night, August 13th @ 11:59pm. I’ll enter everyone’s name who answered the question into a drawing and announce the winner on my blog Friday, August 14th.
UPDATE! I’m excited to have so many people participating that I’m going to select THREE people to win a set of my ebooks.