Hola! I was in Mexico last week and it was very fun. The weather, beach, sunsets, hotel and food were all delicious, exciting and relaxing. We had many vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants from which to choose, so being vegan was easy! Was I Raw? For the most part, no. When I travel internationally I keep a few things in mind…the quality of the water, the quality of the produce (how it’s washed, whether it’s peeled, etc) and the culture in general (I love experiencing other cultures so I try to immerse myself as much as possible into their lifestyle). I will always stay vegan because that is my hardcore ethic and value, but when I travel to other countries, I don’t freak out about staying Raw. Therefore, I typically stick to cooked vegan for health and safety reasons. It’s too risky to eat some of the raw fruits and vegetables in some parts of the world, when I’m not accustomed to their resources, so I play it safe. I did have a fresh coconut on the beach while I was there…had to do that! (I also packed my Vitamineral Green Powder and we drank that every morning, so I still had my daily green drink.)
Today is day 1 of our juice feast. My mom, boyfriend and I are embarking on this journey for 21-days. For those of you who are not familiar with juice feasting, please visit Juice Feastingto learn more. I’ve been planning this for well over a month. I’ve taken notes, written down juice recipes and followed my fellow friends’ juice feasting blogs. It was really those blogs which inspired me. I saw them experiencing so much energy, excitement, and feeling an overall health that was taken to new levels. I was intrigued so I started planning my own feast. The main things that attracted me to this: 1) I could easily use my blender to make the juices (strain them through a 1-gallon paint strainer bag) and 2) no one seems to experience much hunger, if any. It’s truly a feast so drink, drink, and drink more juice, and 3) I’m eager to see how this affects my physical performance in the gym. Lucky for me, my boyfriend and mom want to join me, which will make it even more of an mazing experience. My mom is such a spunky little pistol…last night she told my step-dad not to bother her for 21-days and to ignore any swearing or foul words that come from her mouth – haha. We’re doing this for only 21-days because, in March, I’m teaching a Raw food class and I have a fantastic Raw dinner event (I have to taste the food!). After that, we might get back on and do another one. Until later…ta ta!
One of my favorite experiences when going Raw was the cleansing and detox aspect. Not everyone agrees with me on this. Sure, it can be a painful experience for some people. I was no exception. I had my share of headaches, pain, snotty nose, skin rashes, lethargy, and horrible pimples (my face suddenly looked like sandpaper with all the little bumps). I instinctively knew it was detox. I felt enormous relief and satisfaction at seeing it expelled from my body, while also experiencing gratitude for being smart enough to eat healthier (especially now that I saw what I was carrying around inside).
Frankly, I was a little shocked that my detox was as tough as it was. I had, after all, been vegan for about 2 years when I started incorporating more Raw. Wasn’t that enough? Apparently not. Hhmmmm…I guess I needed something stronger (Raw vegan) to shake loose the abundance of toxins I ingested prior to my vegan lifestyle (protein shakes for competitive bodybuilding, overloaded amounts of caffeine, prescriptions, cholesterol, conventionally grown produce full of pesticides and herbicides, and meat (even though it was grilled, broiled, or poached made no difference, it was unhealthy).
Bottom line – My detox was liberating, exhilarating, arduous and glorious. It was worth it. I felt free!
Goddess of Truth
I make my highest ideals real by my actions.
Use this thought when you notice that you or someone else is not living up to the standards you have set. Forgive them and yourself for this and appreciate the fact that you noticed. We must be agents of the changes we want to see happen in our world. Realize the truth of the old saying, “A good example is the best sermon.”
~Gifts of Goddess Affirmation Cards by Amy Zerner and Monte Farber
This is a fun and interesting topic and here is my take.Yes, it’s okay to date a carnivore…because it’s possible that he/she won’t be one forever. And whether they go Raw, well, the same logic follows. I remember back in my carnivore days I went on a date with a vegan. I didn’t even know what the term meant at the time. He took me to dinner and I thought to myself, “What the hell? You don’t eat meat? Are you serious? What-evaah!” Even though the guy was nice, I felt uncomfortable dating someone who didn’t eat meat. I wondered how we’d eat together if we were ever to make a more permanent relationship of it. Looking back, the date taught me a lot. I learned patience with the subject and I try to answer people’s questions about it, without ever getting defensive. It’s the only way people will learn. As it turns out, when I became a vegan I was single, and not surprisingly, I wanted everyone to give me a fair chance. Keep in mind the following:
People don’t know what they don’t know.Although nature designed me to be an herbivore, my parents didn’t know that. I grew up like many Americans…eating meat. I didn’t know any better UNTIL I began reading and learning on my own. I try not to judge others and remember that they probably just don’t know any better either (there was, after all, a time when I didn’t).
Even after enlightening people on the topic, not everyone is ready to make a switch over night.It could take months or even years. When I met my boyfriend, I was vegan (mostly Raw) and he ate meat. I didn’t mind. I knew he was a smart fellow (after all, he was dating me, right? Haha) He was cool with the fact that I wouldn’t make him meat dishes and happy that I made him fabulous vegan and Raw vegan foods. When we went to dinner, that was the time he ate meat and I was fine with that.He respected me and I respected him.He knew it was important to me, so he made an effort to learn more. He was curious and an open-minded skeptic. He asked hard questions that we looked into and both learned from it. After about 8 months, he read the book,The China Study, and one day just stopped eating meat… in fact, he went High Raw at the same time. So, keep in mind, it could take the time to read books, see movies or just staying up all night talking about it on multiple occasions. My advice is to “be there” for him/her and make as many resources available as he/she wants and needs. What would not have worked, however, is dating somebody who either didn’t respect my decision, or care enough — or was too closed-minded to try to understand. Humility means to remain teachable, and I believe it’s a quality you want in a partner for all things, not just dietary choices.
Make terrific recipes and show him/her how easy it can be. Get your carnivore mate involved by asking him/her to pick out recipes for you to make. (Hey, it works with kids, why not grown ups? haha) Get their opinion and help them feel involved. If you’re set on only dating a vegan/Raw vegan and you have no idea how to begin. Then, pay attention to proximity. Spend time in places where vegans and raw vegans go… vegan or vegan-friendly restaurants, pot lucks, health food stores, retreats, classes for vegan/Raw vegan food prep, yoga classes, gyms or health clubs, hiking clubs, etc. — in fact, university campuses in general! :) A great place to get started is through meetup.com. It’s a useful way to find local groups of people with similar interests doing fun activities.
Bottom line: If you meet a carnivore who is crazy about you, then that person will be excited to learn more and support you. Odds are in your favor, in my opinion, and they won’t be a carnivore forever.
You probably know by now that I’m all about LIVING THE RAW VEGAN LIFESTYLE, and that means my actions are beyond what food passes my lips. I’m also trying to be as green as possible. Here is a helpful list from Co-op America Quarterly (Fall 2007) for 10 Things You Should Never Buy Again to help preserve our home, earth:
Styrofoam cups Paper towels Bleached coffee filters Overpackaged foods & other products Teak and mahogany Chemical pesticides and herbicides Conventional household cleaners Higher-octane gas than you need Toys made with PVC plastic Plastic forks and spoons
PLUS 5 MORE: Farm raised salmon Rayon Beauty/Body care with phthalates and parabens Cling wrap High VOC paints and finishes
And, did you know that you can recycle your compact fluorescent bulbs by taking them to your local IKEA store? Details. Another option – you can order a Sylvania RecyclePak for $15, which is a special lined box for 8 average CFLs. The fee covers shipping to and recycling at Veolia Environmental Systems. Cheers to our earth!
Oh, and by the way…One of my favorite shows on CNBC, Mad Money with Jim Cramer, is focusing on Greencompaniesthis week. It’s been great so far, as I’ve learned about Green technology companies as well as companies making changes to be more Green (like Wells Fargo). Whether you invest in the market or not, it’s great because it can help you make educated choices as a consumer… maybe you’ll choose Wells Fargo over another bank because they are doing so much to be Green. I think he’s doing Green all week, so there are still some days left to check it out.
Here is a cool idea that I’m so excited to do this holiday season – I’m asking family and friends to go vegan for 5-7 days, as their gift to me. (Asking them to go Raw is probably too much of a stretch, so I’m starting with vegan. Next year I’ll hit them up with Raw! Remember, baby steps are important.) It’s a chance for them to feel great, learn about the health benefits, reduce their carbon footprint, see how simple it is, and hopefully start making better choices about their food in the future. This is a great gift for any occasion (birthday, anniversary, etc). With the money they won’t be spending on me, I told them to buy a few staples to last the week (soy or hemp milk, fresh/frozen vegan foods, fresh Raw produce, etc). I’m providing them with a shopping list and I offered to go with them to show them how easy it is. I’ll also give them simple and delicious vegan recipes (as well as easy and great Raw recipes), a list of restaurants in their areas for great vegan food (I’ll use the Internet for areas that I’m not familiar with), as well as giving them ideas for breakfasts, lunches and dinners. The goal is to give them everything they could possibly need for making the week easy and fun. I’m also giving them a free vegetarian starter kit from “GoVeg” www.goveg.com that I pre-ordered early to arrive in time.
Think: Delicious, Floral, Chocolatey, Creamy. One of my creations, this recipe is simple (less than 10 minutes to make!) with only a handful of ingredients. Enjoy!
Orange Blossom Chocolate Mousse Yield 1 1/4 cup
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons orange blossom water*
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons raw agave nectar
1/4 cup raw chocolate powder
2 tablespoons raw carob powder**
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 avocado pitted, peeled
Blend all of the ingredients in your blender until creamy. It’s wonderful to eat right away or chilled in the refrigerator or you can freeze it in an ice cube tray for Frozen Orange Blossom Chocolate Bites!
*You can easily find this at most Middle Eastern Markets and some Whole Foods Markets, or purchase it online here: Dayna’s Market (while you’re there, pick up a bottle of rose water, which I use in some of my Easy Raw Food Recipe ebooks). The orange blossom water provides the unique floral and orange essence to this recipe. You can, of course, replace it with plain water, but it will be plain chocolate mousse (delicious still, but certainly not the same).
**The only place I have found “true” raw carob is at NaturalZing.com.
I just created a most delicious soup! I named it Kristen Suzanne’s Harvest Soup because the colors and flavors subtly remind me of a fall harvest. It’s an easy and delicious raw vegan food recipe that the whole family will love (just like all the recipes in my raw food recipe ebooks). With raw being this easy and delicious, who needs cooked food?
Kristen Suzanne’s Harvest Soup
Yield 6 cups
1 cup water
1 large zucchini, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, quartered
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 cups carrot, chopped
2 dates, pitted
1 clove garlic
1-2 teaspoons Himalayan crystal salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup raw flax oil or raw olive oil (or mix them both)
Blend all of the ingredients, except for the flax oil, on high speed in your blender until really creamy (approximately one minute – I prefer this soup a tad warm and very creamy). Then, while the blender is running on low speed, add the flax oil. Continue blending, at a higher speed, for another minute or less. This will make it slightly warm.
~Substitute avocado or nut butter… for the flax/olive oil
Move over Old School and Wedding Crashers! I just saw what might be the funniest movie ever. I laughed so hard, I almost peed my pants! In fact, I had to force myself to curb my laughing so that I didn’t miss the next funny line. Are you ready for the name of the movie yet? It’s Death at a Funeral. If it’s playing near you and laughing is one of your favorite things to do, then go see this movie straight away! With studies showing that laughter is the truly the best medicine, go get your dose.
On a Raw note, when I go to the movies, the choices for snacks are slim to none. Well, none actually (there’s nothing slim about it!) So, my favorite snack for the movies is a big fresh organic smoothie. Sometimes it’s green and sometimes it’s all fruit. I’m a big advocate of using glass over plastic, so I take a purse and put my glass mason jar filled smoothie right in (we ladies are lucky to carry purses). Ssshhhh…don’t tell the movie police on me. Truthfully, if the movie houses actually offered healthy snacks, I wouldn’t have to bring my own.
While I understand that alcohol destroys pretty much every cell it comes in contact with, I also understand that not everyone is going to swear off alcohol for life. Wine would be the best choice for your alcoholic beverage since it’s considered Raw. In fact, I created some amazing and fun beverages with wine in my book (boy those were fun to make and test!): Kristen Suzanne’s EASY Raw Smoothies, Juices, Elixirs & Drinks.Once you go Raw though, expect to feel the effects of alcohol more quickly and strongly, as your body will have become very efficient at absorption. Until you discover your new, lower tolerance for alcohol, be very careful when you drink. And…don’t drink and drive.
Organic: Look for organic wine that is low in sulfites or without added sulfites. This is sometimes a point of confusion because sulfites occur naturally even in 100% organically produced wine. According to Professor Roger Boulton, Ph.D., of UC Davis’ Department of Viticulture and Enology, even if no sulfur dioxide is added to wine, fermenting yeasts will produce SO2 from the naturally occurring inorganic sulfates in all grape juices. Thus, says Boulton, it is impossible for any wine to be completely free of sulfur dioxide.
Vegan: But, just because the wine is Raw and even Organic, doesn’t mean it’s Vegan. If it says “vegan” on the bottle, then you’re good to go. Does yours? If not, you might want to contact the company and ask, although I suspect it won’t be vegan unless it says so on the bottle. Here is one that I have tried and enjoyed. It’s organic and vegan: Organic Vintners Mendocino Pinot Noir (pictured here). This is what they had to say about vegan and biodynamic wines:
Biodynamic principles take the organic approach a step further by making sure that the growth of the grapes is in tune with the larger environment. Using homeopathic sprays, herbal preparations and lunar cycles, soil fertility is increased and vines are protected from pests and diseases.
Vegan wines. Winemakers, both organic and conventional, are not obliged to declare on the label when they use animal by-products as fining agents to clarify wine. These include egg white (to brighten red wines), casein (a milk protein to make wine taste softer), gelatin (removes bitterness) and isinglass (derived from fish). A vegan wine, on the other hand, uses no animal products whatsoever. The vegan versions typically use clay to make the wines clear.
I’m excited to see the organic vegan wine selection growing at Whole Foods, as well as to see such a great collection online at places like The Organic Wine Company. Sometimes for holiday, anniversary, or birthday gifts, I buy a bottle of organic vegan wine for people and have it shipped. I like The Organic Wine Company’s selection. AND! Since I’m all about voting with my dollar….here is my planwhen visiting restaurants. I’ll ask if they offer an organic (and vegan!) wine selection. If they say, “no” then I’ll tell them that I’ll just drink water. That’ll teach them, eh?
Here’s a fantastic recipe from my book, Kristen Suzanne’s EASY Raw Sides & Snacks, available on my website by clicking here. This great recipe is so easy and takes very little time to prepare, like most of my recipes. I like to call my recipes “No Excuse Recipes” because they’re so delicious, nutritious, easy and quick to make that you really have no excuse not to make them and, therefore, always have fabulous Raw food on hand whenever you’re hungry.
Tuscan Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Yield 4 servings
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked 2 hours in enough water just to cover, reserve soak water
1/2 cup fresh basil, packed
1/4 cup pine nuts (or pili nuts, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, etc… you can pretty much use any you want)
1 teaspoon garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
In a food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, combine all of the ingredients except the olive oil, adding a little of the sun-dried tomato “soak” water, if necessary. While the mixture is pureeing, add the olive oil. Enjoy!
~ Dip zucchini slices into this delicious pesto for a fast and easy treat
~ Stuff 1/2 of a seeded tomato or bell pepper (yellow or orange are especially beautiful) with 1/4 cup of pesto, topped with fresh sprouts
~ Serve on top of zucchini angel hair pasta or kelp noodles for an awesome meal
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.