I’m sure you have heard on more than one occasion about the importance of eating broccoli, right? And, does the thought excite you? Probably not… at least not if it’s raw. Am I right? You probably don’t find yourself getting all weak in the knees at the thought of chomping down on some raw organic broccoli. (Um… if you do… power to you!)
Now, there are some authorities that say it’s easier digested if it’s lightly cooked, but most others talk about the importance of having it raw to ensure you’re getting all of the cancer fighting properties. Not only that, but did you know that it should be thoroughly chopped, chewed, blended, or juiced, etc to release the cancer fighting properties to their fullest?
Blending broccoli? Meh. I’m not one to blend broccoli very often, so that’s not a good option for me.
Juicing broccoli? Oh yeah, baby. I add it to my green juices, but not in large quantities. I feel almost super human drinking green juice with broccoli. Silly? Nope. Throw on my Vibrams while I’m drinking it and I swear I could scale walls like Spider Man.
Eating it? That doesn’t happen much because like I said, I’m not a huge raving fan of the flavor. Well, guess what? That’s no longer a problem because I’ve figured out how to secretly add broccoli to foods and you won’t even notice it (your family won’t either!).
How??? You mince the broccoli with a knife! I know that might sound simple (and it is) but honestly, I never thought to do it. In all these years… it never dawned on my to chop my broccoli super duper small so as to hide it. And, it’s brilliant. By mincing it teeny tiny with my knifeI get little bits in bites that don’t overwhelm plus all the cancer fighting properties. It gets even easier though… I then started using my ceramic hand mandolin slicer (you could use a traditional mandolin or grater). Brilliant. It minces it super tiny.
Funny thing is that I started out small by just shredding a little. But, I quickly added more because, well, I couldn’t taste it. Like in the picture above, I grated a bunch of broccoli for Greg and I to eat in that salad (more specifically, it was 3 heads within one rubber banded bunch). I admit, though, there is another trick. Having good stuff to eat with the broccoli. So, here is what my staples are in my salads like this:
Tons of broccoli(!) and the sweet potato makes an appearance.
But, don’t stop there! Add more flair and deliciousness, by adding things like chopped basil (or dill), cooked (chopped) sweet potato, sun-dried tomatoes, and/or raw marinated/dehydrated mushrooms and onions. Basically, just toss into your bowl whatever you have on hand. Keep in mind that overcoming the broccoli-ness is not only greatly achieved by the tiny pieces you’ve minced but also by the texture and flavor contrasts you add like avocado, sweet potato, kraut (salty yum), and apple (lightly sweet). I’ve made this dish many ways and each time Greg is amazed at how much broccoli we’re consuming and how delicious it is.
Here’s another idea… Broccoli Guacamole! Mash up some avocado with miso and lime juice. Add cilantro and onion perhaps. Then…. grate in some broccoli. That’s on tonight’s menu!
I love a good warm comfy bowl of oatmeal. Sure, there are many times I’ve had my oats raw, but I also love them cooked. They are great as a transition to raw food because as you’ll see in the recipe below… the oats are the only cooked part. The rest of the dish is filled with nutrient dense raw foods.
The other day I decided to cook up a large batch so we could have some for eating (Kamea is a fan) and some for freezing to eat later. As a busy mom, I’m all about making food ahead of time and freezing it when possible (whether raw or cooked). For that, I use my FoodSaver. I’ve had it for years and can’t imagine my kitchen without it – a total kitchen BFF. (For more info on freezing raw food see my post here.)
Cinnamon Apricot Oatmeal
So! The other day Kamea was happily playing in her kinder perch. If you’re wondering what a kinder perch is, oh lovely, let me tell you! It’s another amazing investment if you have kids. I saw this nifty item before I was pregnant and knew I would have to have one after Kamea was born. It’s for use once your baby can stand and can be used for years(!). In fact, if we have two kids, they can both stand in it to help me in the kitchen at the same time (it has a pretty good weight limit). The main purpose is to make a safe area where your baby/toddler/small child can stand at counter height with you in the kitchen (um… it’s also great for forts.) We bought ours here.Does our kitchen have room for it? Not exactly. Do I care? No. :)
I’ve really gotten into the video mood, can you tell? Are you enjoying them? Are they useful? I hope so!
In this video I decide to totally wing it and make a dressing I’ve never made, while doing it on camera. My plan was to post the video no matter what because I figured 1) we’d all learn something anyway (I learn a lot from failed recipes) and 2) it’d be kind of funny if the dressing sucked seeing as I was doing it on camera. I still don’t have the ingredients written down so I can’t add them here to the post yet, but I remember… water, oranges, grape tomatoes, garlic, salt, raw almond butter, basil??? I think those are the ingredients. When I find time, I’ll come back and add the ingredient list.
Spoiler alert...Turns out, it was so good! Easy to throw together as you’ll see… and mega fresh. I loved it on fresh lettuce and I also gobbled it up on cauliflower. If a dressing makes you enjoy raw cauliflower, then you know it’s darn good.
Enjoy the show! (By the way, as you know by now I’m still in a video making mode – I suspect I will be for a long time – so check out my popular Cinnamon Brownies post I wrote a while back because I put up a video showing you how easy they are to make here!)
I have a ladder I imagine myself on when it comes to healthy living. The ultimate tippy top includes growing my own food. Well, I’m almost there. (What are the other steps under it? Well, going vegan to going raw/high raw, all organic, juicing a lot, getting a Norwalk, and growing my own food tops it out.)
But, I’m a total newbie and completely intimidated. That is until I read about Square Food Gardening. OK, still a tad intimidated but I’m taking it step by step and crossing my fingers.
I made this dressing for our easter dinner last week. It was great and everyone loved it, so I wanted to share it with you. It gives you a fun warming sensation from the horseradish in it, and it’s a pretty yellow color from the mustard. And… as usual, it’s so easy to make! I still consider this recipe raw even though the mustard and horseradish probably aren’t technically raw, but you could make it truly raw by making raw mustard and using fresh horseradish (not always easy to find). And, if you don’t want to use raw agave nectar, you could try blending 1 to 2 pitted dates.
Horseradish Mustard Dressing
Yield about 1 1/4 cups
1/2 cup raw cashews
water for soaking
1/2 cup water for blending
1 1/2 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon raw agave nectar
2 tablespoons mustard
2 teaspoons prepared, ground horseradish
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Horseradish Mustard Dressing
Put the cashews in a small bowl and add enough water to cover the cashews by about an inch. Soak the cashews for 30 to 60 minutes. Strain the cashews and put them in a blender. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
We enjoyed this dressing on salads with romaine lettuce (perfect for holding up to the heat from the horseradish), cucumbers, zucchini, purple cabbage, celery, and carrots. My mom loved it so much, she asked me to make another batch for her before we left.
I wrote about why protein powders have a place in my raw diet here. But, in the post I wrote that I generally don’t use the protein powders in shakes or smoothies blended with other ingredients (unless it’s hemp protein powder, I prefer that in a shake or smoothie). Traditionally when I consume Sun Warrior’s chocolate protein powder, I do so with water (and sometimes an extract or seasoning as mentioned in the post).
Today, however, I’m sharing a recipe with you where I blend Sun Warrior chocolate protein in a shake with cinnamon and banana. It’s fun and delish! I’ve been making it all week, and last night I made it as dessert for mom, Greg, and myself. I facebooked it last week and a couple of people tried it and reported the same results: YUM!
Here it is if you can’t see it from the writing in the picture.
Update 7/24/13: I’ve made this recipe into a 2.0 version that is paleo friendly.
Here it is! My 4-Ingredient Magic Dressing! I have been dressing my salads with this almost daily for about a month. It’s magical because it’ll make everyone love any salad you put in front of them if it’s dressed with this. My whole family goes crazy over it.
Get ready to really love salad.
4-Ingredient Magic Dressing 2.0 (Raw Vegan Paleo Gluten Free Soy Free) Recipe by Kristen Suzanne of KristensRaw.com
Yield 2/3 cup*
Place the ingredients in a bowl or mug and mash it together with a fork. (Or blend it.)
Now, to make the perfect salad, put all of the salad ingredients in one big bowl. Pour the dressing on top and then toss the salad until the dressing coats it all. I usually use this one recipe to cover a salad that serves two really big portions. The salad we’ve been making the most with this is: romaine lettuce (my favorite), orange, raisins, red bell pepper, cucumber, and sprouts. (Carrot and tomato sometimes make an appearance, too.)
* If you’re making this as a single serving, then stir together 2 tablespoons raw cashew butter with 1 tablespoon coconut vinegar, 2 teaspoons tamari coconut aminos, and 2 tablespoons water.
** I have made this with fresh lime juice, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar – all very delicious, but my favorite is the coconut vinegar. You can also use Coconut Secret’s Coconut Aminos in place of the tamari.
I recently had someone email me through facebook asking the following:
Hi Kristen. I am ready to do some kind of detox at the first of the year, but I can’t spend a ton of money on a “program.” I know there are natural ways that don’t cost an arm and a leg, but wanted to know if you could recommend one that you may have done before you were pregnant. I’m a big fan of yours and trust your opinions. Thank you so much.
As the new year approaches, I suspect this is something on many minds. The new year is a great time to start over, try something new, or intensify what you already do, and take your health to new levels.
So, I’ll get straight to my answer… There are many ways – for free (other than the cost of organic produce and equipment needed such as a juicer or blender). I’m only touching on them briefly in this post, but if you have specific questions about any of them, then feel free to post the question in the comments section. For great tools, books, and resources to help your health journey, visit here for links to my favorite products. Note* I’m not a doctor or nurse or medical professional of any type, so I have to tell you that you should consult one before embarking on any major diet changes… okay, now that that is out of the way… here are some ideas:
1) Go Vegan Cleanse
If you’re not already, then adhering to a delicious all vegan diet is a great place to start. By eschewing all animal products and by-products you’ll not only do your body a heap of good, but you’ll also make animals very happy, and help save our earth. Be careful though, it’s possible to eat a junk food vegan diet, and while that might help animals and the earth, it’s not going to do much for your health. Keep it clean, organic, and fresh! If you want tips and ideas for foods, let me know in the comments section. You can do this for 3 days, 5 days, a month, or the whole year. Just get started, take it day by day, and enjoy the awesome journey.
2) Go Raw Cleanse
If you’re already vegetarian or vegan, then step it up a notch and go RAW! Whoo hoo! Get ready for some major energy when you do that, too. By eating all of your vegan food fresh, and uncooked, you’re getting the most out of your food by way of nutrients and enzymes. As I wrote in the vegan section above, you can do this 3 days a week, or a week at a time, or heck, set yourself a goal for one month of all Raw. Don’t be surprised if you want to make a long term lifestyle out of it, most people do. You’ll be amazed at how awesome you feel.
3) Smoothie (Greens and Fruit) Cleanse
Want to go a little more hard core? Consume all of your meals in a liquid form with smoothies. This is a nice, gentle, and fun approach to cleaning our your digestive tract with blended foods. Basically you drink green smoothies all day (this can include blended salads, green smoothies, and even all fruit smoothies). Green smoothies are great because they’re EASY to make, you can store them for a couple of days at a time if you can only prep them a few days a week, they’re satiating with plenty of diverse options, and they’re totally delicious! You could start with going for 3 days and then seeing how you feel. Or, you could do it every other day, and eat raw vegan the opposite days to get started. You’ll need a blender (regular or high powered will work) for this plan – I’ve written about my favorite blenders here.
4) Green Juice Cleanse
This is for the more ninja folks out there who want to go all the way with cleansing and renewal at an accelerated pace. Essentially, you only consume green juices all day (once in a while you can do an all fruit blend, but it’s recommended that you primarily guzzle down the green goodness). This is harder than a green smoothie fast so maybe you would want to start with just a couple of days and see how you feel. You can set up a program for yourself where you juice 3 days a week. Or, you can go truly hardcore and juice fast for a week or more at a time. Or, you could drink green juices one day, green smoothies the next and go back and forth, too. Keep in mind that on days where you only juice, you should aim for 4-5 quarts of juice a day. You’ll need a juicer for this plan, and I’ve written about my favorite juicers here.
You can do a mix of all of the above plans day by day, or you can go vegan for one week, then raw another week, then green smoothies another week, then graduate to green juices the final week. It’s important to: Be flexible. Have fun. Enjoy the journey. Give it a chance. Remember to watch how you’re body responds and make sure you get enough calories so you don’t lose your energy. Also(!), you might get a little sick in the form of detox (headache, flu like feelings with a snotty nose, skin eruptions, etc), so it’s really important to carve out some resting time for yourself.
5) You can try a program that my friend, Gena, is part of leading (it’s not free, but the price seems reasonable). The program has three levels. I’m not a huge fan of the first two levels, because they include animal products, but for the third level (Gena’s), she’s doing it all vegan! I have not gone through her program or seen specifics/results, so I can’t write about how good it is. But, Gena is an awesome coach, so I have high expectations. You can get more information here.
Hi! I'm a chef, author, homeschooling mom, and I love to eat and cook super healthy food. I'm a former vegan, now real-food omnivore, who enjoys coffee(!), dark chocolate, rebounding, and researching the latest tips for optimal living.