Wednesday, June 17th, 2009
Sunday we went to Quintessence for a raw vegan brunch. We’d heard from different people that we had to try the “bagel and cream cheese.” So, off we went on a mini-raw adventure.
I immediately liked the Quintessence when we walked in. It was a delightful place with an interior that was bright, clean, and cheerful. And, the service was superb.
I started my meal with a large glass of fresh organic Green Juice, and it was fabulous. BIG YUM! Then, I went on to have the bagel and cream cheese. It was pretty good. The cheese had a nice flavor, and although the (kamut) bagel part was hard to bite into, I still enjoyed it.
My husband had the “fofu” (a raw version of tofu). Specifically, he chose the “Fofu Benedict.” They nailed it with the raw tofu, by making something that mimicked the cooked version. Regular cooked tofu is flavorless with a unique texture. Quintessence offered the exact same, but Raw. My husband’s fofu was served on the same type of kamut “bread” as my bagel, and topped with a raw vegan hollandaise sauce.
After the meal we enjoyed a cup of teeccino. Finally! We found a place serving our favorite herbal coffee. My husband had his teeccino black, while I opted for some raw nut milk in mine. It was the perfect ending to our brunch.
We saw Food, Inc. at the Film Forum in New York City tonight. It was amazing. I was moved to tears a couple of times. I was riled up. My blood boiled in parts. I was humbled. I was motivated. And, I was inspired.
After the movie finished, the director of Food, Inc., Robert Kenner, was there for a brief Q&A session, which I recorded for my readers.
Food, Inc. is a MUST-SEE documentary. I’ve heard a couple people say, “Oh, it’s stuff I already know and has already been shown.” It doesn’t matter. Food, Inc. is to be praised. We will effect change only by getting the message put out there multiple times, until more and more people learn about these problems with the food industry. Multiple impressions and repetition work.
Even if you think you’ve heard this stuff before, I’m sure you’ll learn some new things. You’ll be motivated all over again.
Over the next few weeks, the movie will be shown in more cities around the United States, and you can expect the dvd to be available in September/October 2009. I definitely plan on picking up a copy of the Food, Inc. dvd so I can loan it out to people, who I know aren’t going to get to the theater to see it.
Even though the movie had me upset and frustrated in many instances, there is still hope for change. We have to keep pushing. Vote with your dollar. Buy locally. Buy organic. Read labels. Avoid genetically modified foods (GMOs). Go to your farmers’ market and join a CSA. I love my CSA, and after seeing this film, I love my local farmer even that much more! Throughout the film I couldn’t help but feel very protective of him and the food he makes available for my family.
If you’re as fired up as I am about making change, then tell everyone you know to go see the movie, and check out this link: Take Part.
Saturday, June 13th, 2009
Friday was a fun day. Even though it started with clouds, we actually had the sun peak out for about 3 seconds. I am hopeful that tomorrow will be even better.
We started the day with tea in our hotel room. Then, we scooted our butts to the subway so we could go to Union Square where they have a green market (farmer’s type market) every Friday. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any fresh produce that was calling my name though (I needed fruit that could sit without refrigeration in our hotel room. So, we ended up going to Whole Foods and getting (organic) bananas, apples, and cherries.
When I’m traveling, I like to have plenty of fresh, organic Raw vegan snacks on hand in the hotel room. (Later, I put the cherries in a bag, in our hotel room’s ice bucket, with some ice and water to keep them chilled. Of course, I didn’t keep them there very long because we ate them around dinner time. And, I used the same set up to keep my Norwalk juice cold until I drank that baby down!)
But, before going to Whole Foods, we met Michelle for a juice at One Lucky Duck (I’ve fast become a regular there – wish they had one of those punch cards “Buy 10 Drinks, Get One Free!” That’d be sa-weet. Or better yet, “Buy 10 Mallomars, Get One Free!” – A girl can dream, right?). My husband and I arrived at One Lucky Duck early, so we each had a smoothie (Blue Sunset) and it was really good. Then, when Michelle arrived, I had some fresh plant blood (Green Spice: greens, lemon, ginger) while Michelle had the Hot Pink (beet, pear, pineapple, ginger) and she had a Mallomar. She took her time enjoying her Mallomar and actually made it last for about 15 minutes… taking small bites using a fork. So unlike me; I tear into one of those things with my hands and it’s gone, seriously, in 2-3 bites (usually about 1 minute). Before we left, I grabbed a Norwalk One Lucky Duck green juice to go (seen in the pic with apples, bananas, and cherries above). The Norwalk juice is great because it has a little bit of a shelf life, due to the extraction process, and as long as I can keep the juice chilled, I can store it for a day or two before drinking it (although, I always drink it the day I buy it).
It has been so fun meeting all of these different people in the city. My husband and I were saying how everyone we’ve met here has been so nice… even just people on the street. New York has been very welcoming to us. Thank you, New York!
Today is Friday and it’s another gloomy day in NY. I seriously thought today would be the day that I bust open the drapes upon waking and there’d be sunshine pouring through the windows, but no, it’s completely foggy and overcast again. Are we in Seattle? The constant drizzle is… well, so constant.
Here is my High Raw food intake for Thursday.
I started the day with a cup of herbal tea and a bowl of steel cut oatmeal with a splash of organic soy milk (no, I don’t mind organic soy milk in small quantities from time to time). We had a business breakfast meeting and I’m just not crazy about fruit in a “diner” setting. I’d rather have something “cooked” and low-fat vegan in a setting like that. Then, for most of the afternoon I drank water.
Evening time rolled around and we went to One Lucky Duck. I started my meal with a fresh organic plant blood (greens, lemon, ginger). One of the biggest things I miss when traveling is fresh organic plant blood (green juice), but when you’re in NY there are quite a few options (yay!).
Then, I had the Taco Salad. It was pretty good, although quite heavy with having not only guacamole, nut sour cream, and nut meat, but also a lot of dressing on it. Even though I would prefer less dressing, I’d still probably get the salad again someday if I were really hungry.
Finally… it was dessert time. Oh, the desserts at One Lucky Duck. I’m instantly transported into heaven every time. I started my dessert feast with one of my favorites, the Mallomar. But upon taking my second bite, I dropped it on the floor! Crap! I was so bummed. No “five second” rule here, friends, the floor was not very clean considering it’d been raining all day and people were trekking through the place with wet, dirty shoes from the subway, NY streets, etc. I sadly picked up my smished Mallomar and went up to the counter, alligator tear in my eye (not really, but it could have been for how bummed I was) and I gave it to the One Lucky Duck gal. I walked back to the table, mourning my Mallomar. But… One Lucky Duck Team came to my rescue! Five minutes later the gal behind the counter came over with a new one for me. I was one happy girl!
We quickly realized though that the Mallomars still wouldn’t be enough for us, so my husband and I shared a pint of their Raw ice cream. A pint, yes. A little overboard? Sure. But, we’re in NY and we’re at One Lucky Duck! It’s not like I could take it back to the hotel with me… gotta eat it all! And, so we did. It was wonderful.
Before leaving One Lucky Duck, I bought a bottle of their Norwalk juice. This is juice extracted with a Norwalk juicer which gently juices the produce, meaning that the result is reduced oxidation and increased shelf life. The juice will usually stay pretty fresh when stored properly (airtight container) for a few days. I grabbed a Norwalk green juice to go so I could alkalize a little in the hotel before going to bed.
Ahhh… such a lovely day of food. Yum! I LOVE GOOD, HEALTHY, ORGANIC, QUALITY FOOD! My birthday is coming up shortly and my husband asked me what I wanted to do. All I want is to eat at my favorite restaurants here in the city, and enjoy super delicious healthy food – all day. That’s a great day to me.
Thursday, June 11th, 2009
Animal Planet sent me the following info about the upcoming episode for the TV series Whale Wars (I’m bummed that I can’t watch it in NY in my hotel room, but my friend is Tivo-ing it for me). Whale Wars had over 1.2 million viewers for the premiere episode last week. Here are a few clips from the upcoming episode tomorrow. Take a look below:
Weak Hull: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ-7pa6gI9I
Close Call: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siSHXStPnSE
A brief synopsis of the second episode:
A huge weather system moves in and the Steve Irwin is forced to take shelter behind a large iceberg. By morning, they are surrounded by ice so thick they can no longer move. The ice begins to push against the aging ship’s fragile hull, denting it inwards. (That’s some scary sh*t!)
Visit the official site for more info: http://animal.discovery.com/tv/whale-wars/
Whale Wars airs Fridays at 9 PM E/P on Animal Planet.
Thursday, June 11th, 2009
Today was a cloudy day in NY (many of them have been) so it felt like a good day to take the Kindle2 to Starbucks and enjoy some warm tea. I haven’t used my Kindle2 since I arrived so I was excited about checking out the new books I recently added to it. However, once we arrived at Starbucks and I was all nestled in my chair, warm tea in hand, I opened my Kindle cover and was met with: “Your battery is empty.” See in the photo to the right… the picture of the batter is EMPTY! Bummer. And, I hadn’t even been using it, so I’m not sure how this happened. Oh well. I just drank my tea and we “people watched” through the window. Good times.
Later in the day we ate a late lunch at Cafe Blossom – I am LOVING that place. I enjoy the Raw items, the cooked vegan foods, and the fresh organic juices they have. YUM! As I sit in the hotel writing this past 10pm, I’m wishing very badly that it was early enough to go grab some of their green juice and an order of their (Raw) Autumn Sweet Potato Rolls. All I have in the room is water and a Vega bar (chocolate) and if you followed my Twitter and FB update earlier today, you know that sometimes I don’t like those bars because they taste like soap?!? Hence, my apprehension to tear into the lone bar sitting by the TV across the room.
-A new Organic Trade Association report reveals sales of organic products in 2008 grew 17.1% over the previous year. Organic food sales grew more than three times the rate of nonorganic food sales.
-According to the Journal of Applied Nutrition, organically grown fruits and vegetables have significantly higher nutritional content than conventional produce: “Organically grown apples, wheat, sweet corn, potatoes and pears were examined over a 2 year period and were 63% higher in calcium, 73% higher in iron, 118% higher in magnesium, 178% higher in molybdenum, 91% higher in phosphorus, 125% higher in potassium and 60% higher in zinc than conventionally grown produce.” In addition, organic meats were not only found to be leaner, but also have about five times the omega-3s.
-In a conventional diet, we are exposed to over 70 pesticide-related pollutants on a daily basis. A recent 2009 report found that switching to an organic diet reduces pesticide exposure by over 95%.
-The Environmental Working Group published a list of the 12 most pesticide ridden foods based on 87,000 tests. Nectarines, peaches, apples, strawberries and imported grapes topped the list. The most pesticide-free non-organic produce includes onions, avocados, and sweet corn.
And… last but not least… a recipe of mine was featured in VegNews Recipe Club email newsletter today (my recipe for Teriyaki Noodles). Go to VegNews.com to subscribe.
Tonight, my husband and I were invited (by Dhru of WLIR) to attend a book launch party hosted by Donna Karan at the Urban Zen Foundation. The book is called Clean and it’s written by Alejandro Junger, M.D. I haven’t read the book yet, but I picked up a copy tonight. While flipping through it once we came back to the hotel room, I saw some recipes in the back for animal product-based meals – darn. I know Dr. Junger is a fan of Raw/Living foods (yay!), and he has some recipes for Raw beverages, soups, etc in his book. I really can’t say much more about the book because I haven’t read it yet (I plan to while on this trip). And, although I’m unhappy about recipes that include animal products, it’s possible that the book can serve as a bridge to some healthier eating (including some vegan and raw food) for people who are completely oblivious to alternatives to the Standard American Diet.
They served loads of fresh veggies and hummus dip, along with some fabulous dolmas. Plus, the bar was awesome: green juice, green smoothie, mango smoothie, coconut water, dark chocolate covered (maybe it was even Raw) goji berries & banana chips, and a bowl full of mulberries. Now, let me tell you… that’s my kind of bar! At the end of the night they also had bowls of Raw Revolution Bars for the taking. Yum!
Update (June 13, 2009) – I have started reading Clean and the first couple of chapters have been very good. I look forward to reading more.
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.
Today was a nice day in New York. The sun came out many times. We spent the early part of the day walking around Central Park which was filled with runners, walkers, families, musicians, artists, and all kinds of neat stuff.
Then, we met Gena for fresh Plant Blood at Cafe Blossom. I was pretty hungry so I had three juices! Ha! I was buzzing on greens for the rest of the day and it felt great. Gena is a great gal and we hit it off. It was a gab fest that I was not ready to have end. Fortunately, we’re meeting up for dinner (and hopefully more juice dates) before I leave. This is a picture of us each enjoying a Plant Blood called Pink Lady. It was fabulous!!!
After our juice date with Gena, my husband and I went back to the room to freshen up for our get together with Dhru and Judita. We arrived at Pure Food and Wine early, so I opted for my 4th Plant Blood of the day around the corner at One Lucky Duck – Pure Juice & Takeaway.
Then, we met Dhru. It was great to finally meet face to face, and it was everything I expected… fun & cool. We really enjoyed talking with him and I look forward to spending more time with him before my trip ends.
When drinks ended, my husband and I elected to stick around and have dinner at Pure Food and Wine. As anticipated, dinner was very good. My husband ordered the lasagna (very popular) and I ordered a falafel dish. I admit though that my favorite part about PF&W and One Lucky Duck are the desserts. Heavenly. Flavorful. Awesome. Perfection. I want to make a meal out of them… and this isn’t out of the question.
As we know… raw desserts can often be eaten even as breakfast! The next time I go there, I’m either ordering two desserts for myself along with a nice cup of herbal tea for my meal. Or, I’m getting a salad and dessert (or two! Ha!).
As many of you know, I’ve been letting my bleached blonde hair grow out to my natural brown color. Here is an email I received today…
Hi Kristen, I saw your video and wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it. You look great but I do prefer you as a blonde, it just fits better with you. I WAS a natural blonde until nature turned it darker around 16…:( Anyway I am really into raw, non toxic stuff like you are. However I almost was going to go au natural with the hair (very very blonde by the way) until I realized I just didn’t want to. I WANT to be blonde, and a little hair dye isn’t going to kill me ya know? We are all dying and everthing around us is a toxic threat, cars, flying, radiation. I personally felt I would live happier being blonde, it feels like me. And in your video I could tell you are just a blonde. I only did my roots during my pregnancy once (before I know I was preggers) and other than that just had some dark roots for 8 months lol.
I do a natural hair color, that is as non toxic as it gets and I do highlights, so nothing is really touching my scalp except for the toner for 5 minutes. I’m not bleach blonde anymore, but I am very blonde and the highlights make it seem bleach blonde. Anyway this was just to let you know I was in the same position as you and it is OK to live life. Oh and I totally agree too if you keep it natural, I just wanted to give some friendly advice!!
I got a real kick out of this email because… I am living life and I love it. I don’t take the stance that I should accept that I’m just dying (and that we all are). I am alive and I’m excited to be doing things in an attempt to prolong that. Of course, there are toxins out there that I cannot really control (cars, pollution, etc.), so I’m doing what I can, to control as much as possible many other things such as eating a healthy diet, getting exercise, making sure I rest and have good quality sleep, and using the healthiest hair and beauty products.
One of the defining moments for me when I decided to go natural was the result of spending a lot of time on Kris Carr’s forum, CrazySexyLife. It was hard seeing so many young women with cancer. And, at that point I realized that a clean diet is not enough. Yes, things are cumulative when it comes to stresses on the body and that’s the point; I want to do as much as I can to reduce that accumulation. Furthermore… even if I can reduce my toxicity… I realize that doesn’t guarantee I won’t get cancer, but I can’t help but feel that it helps.
What’s funny (and was unexpected) is that, since going back to brunette, I feel more natural now,with respect to my overall attitude and aura, than I have in 20 years. I walk by a mirror and I feel beautiful… I just wish my hair were longer and that’s the hardest thing for me right now. Not only has my hair been blond for so long, but it’s always been very long. I’m trying to grow it out and that’s been the hardest part. All I can do is be patient.
I respect that maybe the gal who wrote the email doesn’t want to be natural, but I do. I have no intention of going back to blond. I am very happy with the color of my hair. I love it. I am avoiding as many chemicals as possible, because it’s not good for my health or for the environment. I think a lot of people forget that the environment also suffers when not only the coloring products wash down the drain and into our water supply, as well as taking into account the fuel needed to produce the product, but also the upkeep of other products needed to maintain the colored hair so it doesn’t look processed (i.e., shampoos, conditioners, hair balm, gel, etc). All of those things have a detrimental eco effect. For me, it’s not just one little procedure every few months. I can’t validate what I was doing using that logic. And, the fact that some processes don’t touch my scalp doesn’t let me off the hook either… it still damages the shaft of my hair. Bleach-damaged hair requires a chemical soup of products in order to appear healthy while it’s actually quite porous. I’m so relieved that the days of seeing so many frizzed-out flyaway rogue hairs around my face are gone. No more breakage! No more ends snapping off! (Hair isn’t supposed to do that!) My hair is beautifully soft and shiny and healthy. It now feels right, both literally and figuratively.
It’s not an issue you hear about very often, but I expect we’ll all be hearing about it more as time goes by and data come in about the additive effects of toxins on the body.
So how about all of you out there? If you color your hair, or have ever considered doing so, did toxicity play any role in your thinking? Or have you switched one way or the other, only to have people coming out of the woodwork telling you they liked it the other way? Please share your story!