I recently featured chia seeds in my monthly email newsletter. (Not signed up for my newsletter yet? You can do so at www.KristensRaw.com). I received so many wonderful emails as a result that I decided to feature it here, too, along with a third Chia Fresca Breeze recipe. (It’s scrumptiously fun!)
Chia is called the “Dieter’s Dream Food,” and there is no shortage of the attention they’ve been getting lately through TV, newspapers, and magazines. And, I’m here to tell you, it’s not because they make cute little animal-shaped plants (although that is cool!). Chia seeds are being praised for many things including their fantastic nutrient profile, which proudly boasts iron, boron, essential fatty acids, fiber, and more. Add to that the claims that they may improve heart health, reduce blood pressure, stabilize blood sugar, help people lose weight from giving them extra stamina, energy, and curbing hunger, and you might become a fan of these little guys, too. They’re superstars in my book.
There is more to the story of chia seeds though. They have an amazing history dating as far back to times where they were a staple of the Aztec and Mayan diets. Even the Aztec warriors relied on them. According to Andrew Weil, M.D., “Chia is undergoing something of a renaissance after centuries of neglect. It was a major crop in central Mexico between 1500 and 900 B.C. and was still cultivated well into the 16th century, AD, but after the Spanish conquest, authorities banned it because of its close association with Aztec religion (Indians used the seeds as offerings in rituals).”
Chia seeds are extremely versatile. They can be used in place of flax seeds in any recipe, you can sprinkle them on salad or cereal, eat a spoonful straight out of the jar, roll your banana in them, or make one my favorite recipes…Chia Fresca, which is a very common drink in Mexico and Central America. It’s positively perfect for spring and summer.
When you consume chia seeds in a drink like Chia Fresca, they take on a fun and groovy texture because of the slightly gelatinous composition they embrace. Well, I’ve added a little sassiness to the basic recipe and thought I’d share it with you. In my latest email newsletter (again, if you’re not yet signed up for it, do so here), I shared two wonderful recipes, Chia Fresca Breeze I and II. I’m addicted to them. When I first created Chia Fresca Breeze I, I drank it down and went straight back into the kitchen to make another. Later that night, wanting more, I came up with Chia Fresca Breeze II. They’re so refreshing, delicious and light. Make sure you try them for yourself. In the meantime, here is my third delicious recipe, Chia Fresca Breeze III. I’m sipping one right now and it’s wonderful.
Chia Fresca Breeze III
Yield 1 serving
1 cup water
Juice of 1/2 grapefruit
2 teaspoons Raw agave nectar
dash powdered ginger
Stir all of the ingredients together in your favorite drinking glass and enjoy. I like drinking this with a straw so I can stir the beverage between sips to prevent the chia seeds from all settling in the bottom of the glass.
Saturday, April 5th, 2008
I make a real effort to get a great balance of fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, herbs, etc in my diet. I want to make sure I’m getting the whole spectrum of phytonutrients, minerals, and vitamins that are for the taking. This is important for fighting diseases and helping me reach optimal health, energy, and vitality.
I thought I’d showcase some of them in my blog posts, so you can follow along with me. Some of these might not be new to you; nonetheless, it serves as a reminder that there is such amazing variety with the Raw lifestyle because of the vast array of produce.
Today, I’m making my green smoothie with arugula. Now, this isn’t one of my favorite leafy greens because of its flavor, but I’m taking it in anyway. Sometimes, you just gotta do what you gotta do. After you read a little about it, I think you might want to add more arugula to your life as well.
Let me begin by telling you that it’s reputed to have aphrodisiac qualities, or at least that is what the ancient Egyptians and Romans thought about it. Okay, sign me up!
Oh, wait, there’s more. It’s extremely low in calories with only five per cup. And when you add in all the nutrients it contains, that five calories is impressive. Let’s see, you’ll be giving your body vitamin A, carotenoids, lutein & zeaxanthin (great for eyes), folate, vitamin K (this is a key for building stronger bones), calcium, and more. Here’s the cool thing about calcium in arugula as compared to spinach…arugula has the same amount of calcium as spinach, but it is lower in oxalates than spinach (a substance fighting calcium absorption).
Arugula Green Smoothie
2 cups water
1 bunch arugula
pinch (or more!) nutmeg
Blend and enjoy!
Daily Conversation Question:
What makes a house a home?
Thursday, April 3rd, 2008
I’m still amazed (and tricked almost every time…okay, who am I kidding, I’m still tricked every time) when I look at the illusions in the following article. I’d swear one was bigger than the other. I’ve even taken out the scale and ruler…to make sure I’m right…just to find out…WHAT? It can’t be!
There is a great lesson here about portion control with respect to our food consumption. In a world where super-sizing and obesity go hand-in-hand, it’s important to get a grip on our portion sizes now. This article shows how we can easily trick our minds (even when we think already know the answer!), and this comes in handy when eating.
Some of you might be asking, “Why would I need to control my portion size when I’m eating Raw?”
My answer: Not everyone who reads my blog is 100% Raw. And, even if you are, I’ll bet there are times that you still eat too much Raw food. When it comes to longevity, more scientists show that reducing our caloric consumption might be the key. Yes, many Raw foods are already low in calories, but let’s be honest. Are we all snacking on apples and carrot sticks all day long? Not likely. I’ll bet that a number of you are still consuming a lot of calories due to the high caloric content of most nuts, seeds and oils, while still accustomed to big portions. Not to worry though, we can still enjoy our delicious gourmet Raw foods…just eat smaller portions. And to do that just right…we need to simply use smaller plates, cups, bowls, etc. It works and it’s effective!
So, are optical illusions making you fat or hindering your weight loss efforts? No worries! Turn that problem around and use it to your advantage. Throw out the dinner plates and start using those salad plates for your next entire meal and you’ll find yourself consuming fewer calories, yet being more satiated than before. It’s like magic.
For those of you interested in more on the topic, I highly recommend this fantastic read by Dr. Brian Wansink, Mindless Eating – Why We Eat More Than We Think. I read the book in about two sittings and have already passed it on to many friends.
Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008
Hating it: It’s bitter…damn bitter! I just took a swig of the green juice I made with dandelion (I put the whole bunch in and it was big!), and if you could see my face, you’d laugh your butt off at me. Major face contortions going on here, even though I sweetened it as much as I could with apples (while trying not to go overboard on sugar). I’m a hard core gal, remember. I used to compete in bodybuilding where we chugged down protein shake after protein shake (those rarely taste good when they’re made with powder and water only). So, I’m usually cool with just gettin’ it down the hatch. No pain no gain.
Loving it: Even though it’s bitter as hell, dandelion is worthy of being added to my diet any day. According to The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, the following information shows that dandelion is amazing, truly amazing. Check it out:
“The Latin name for dandelion is Taraxacum officinale, which essentially means ‘official remedy for the disorders.’” I should just stop there, because that’s great enough. I mean, come on, “official remedy for the disorders” – I love that. However, I feel the need to brag after drinking this green juice and making faces, so I’ll keep going…One of its main benefits is its ability to help cleanse and detoxify the liver (this is not to be taken lightly because it’s very important to have a healthy, functioning liver).
Dandelion is helpful for diabetes because it contains inulin and pectin. (If only I could get my dad to drink some…hhhmmm….unfortunately, this is not something I can sneak into a meal.)
Helping with PMS. (Sign me up!) If there are two things I can’t stand during PMS, it’s retaining water and mood swings. Dandelion to the rescue! It’s a natural diuretic, and it has two hormone-balancing constituents to help save the day.
Dandelion is one of the most nutrient-rich vegetables available. It contains calcium, potassium, vitamin K, beta-carotene, vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin (great for your eyes), and fiber.
So, blend a bunch of dandelions for your next smoothie or juice, grab a mirror, drink it down and have a laugh at the face you make because of the bitterness. You’re doing your body GOOD! I just took my last big swig and although I held my breath while drinking it, I feel G-R-E-A-T! I do believe I’m beginning to feel like a superhero right about now.
Getting physically fit is one of the best things you can do for your mind and body, and here are three great reasons to get started today:
1) Burn Fat Fast! When it comes to getting the best body ever, I want super fast results. For me, that means pumping iron. It’s simple…muscle accelerates fat loss. The muscle works on your behalf all day long burning extra calories. Who wouldn’t want that?
2) Reduce Stress! Want to reduce stress? No problem! Have you ever beat the crap out of a punching bag? Now, that’s therapy!
3) Fight Osteoporosis! I am on a mission to fight osteoporosis and lifting weights is one of the most effective ways to do just that. With my history of shoveling slabs of ribs into my mouth and drinking cauldrons full of coffee, I have some major making up to do with my skeletal structure. Lifting weights is the best ally I have for building my bones and fighting that damage.
Today’s Recipe: Power Energy Elixir
Yield 1 serving
1/2 cup water
Juice from 2 oranges
1 tablespoon Vitamineral Green Powder
2 teaspoons Navitas Naturals maca powder
1 teaspoon carob powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Place all of the ingredients in a glass mason jar and shake it up to thoroughly mix. Drink it down (this is just one of those concoctions that is best gulped instead of sipped). Feel the buzz of energy take you over and carry you through your day.
For the rest of the day I’ll be enjoying:
1 quart fresh green juice
The Beowulf Workout Smoothie (featured in my upcoming class, Weight Loss & High Energy)
1 quart fresh green juice
Green Moxie Soup (this, too, is taught in my upcoming class)
Bok Choy Salad with a delicious dressing on top
Daily Conversation Question:
What quality do you think is most important in a marriage?
Saturday, March 29th, 2008
Here it is, after one o’clock in the morning and I am still buzzing with energy. It must have been that delicious Super Star Chocolate Vanilla Power Smoothie I made earlier. Or, maybe it was my Blueberry Omnipotent Smoothie (water, frozen blueberries, hemp protein powder, maca powder, Vitamineral Green Powder, cinnamon)…Or maybe it was the awesome salad sandwich I had for dinner. Who knows, but here I am, still buzzing with beautiful energy so I thought I’d do a little planning for my Saturday.
I’m going back to the gym tomorrow (or, actually later today – haha) and I can’t wait. My plan is to do 30 -minutes of “circuit” type training for cardio and 30-minutes of circuit weight training.
Circuit Cardio: Time to start sweatin’ again! I love doing a circuit cardio routine, because it changes it up with all of the activities and the time flies.
1 minute: jump rope
10 minutes: high inclined treadmill at a speed of 3.7-3.9
1 minute: jump rope
10 minutes: eliptical machine
1 minute: jumping jacks
5 minutes: stairstepper
2 minutes: jump rope
Circuit weights: circuit three times through, with each exercise having 8-10 reps. Weight training is definitely a major key in keeping my sassy, sexy body lean and firm with strong bones!
Chest: Dumbell press
Tri’s: Tri kickback
Back: Overhead pull down (wide grip)
Bi’s: Barbell curls
Shoulders: Triangle shoulders
Legs: Walking lunges
I’m sure I’ll have a smoothie upon waking before I head to the gym. After the gym, I’ll have another smoothie with Manitoba Hemp protein powder and Vitamineral Green powder added for extra “post-workout” nutrition. Later in the day, I have a feeling that my body will want a delicious, huge, fresh green salad with an amazing dressing, Raw Hemp Oil Za’atar, drizzled on top (YUM!!! and so nutritious!). For dinner, we’re celebrating my boyfriend’s mom’s birthday at a Mexican restaurant so I’m sure I’ll enjoy guacamole and salsa as part of my dinner. And, last but certainly not least, I just took some Raw vegan chocolate coconut treats out of my freezer to snack on tomorrow for dessert (gotta get my chocolate fix!).
I love my Fridays…new movies typically start, everyone is in a good mood, life seems more relaxed and I’m more than happy to participate in all of that goodness! I’m hoping to see the movie 21 tonight and sneak in a tasty smoothie to enjoy at the same time. I made an especially delicious one for it:
Super Star Chocolate Vanilla Power
Yield 2 1/2 cups
1 cup water
1 cup Super Star Vanilla Sauce
2 tablespoons Navitas Raw chocolate powder
2 tablespoons Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein Powder
Blend it all up, transfer to a glass mason jar and sneak into the movie with this amazing treat! (Oops, I just drank it all while writing this – it was so I delicious that I couldn’t help myself – haha – so I guess I won’t be taking it to the movies.)
Update! Great news – my neck is getting better, thanks to the fantastic treatment I’m receiving at Iron Care. I’ve been given the green light to get back into the gym – hooray!
Daily Conversation Question:
If you owned a boat, what name would you choose for it and why?
Wednesday, March 26th, 2008
I strive to live a life that is more Zen (mindful, non-judgmental, and in the moment), and believe me, I’m a work in progress – haha. That being said, I make a point to be particularly aware of my Zen-ness when I’m in the kitchen preparing Raw food. Why? Because it helps me create the most delicious food ever!
Here are seven things I do to get my Raw Zen Kitchen on. I adapted them from zenhabits.net. You’ll see I’ve changed them up a bit so they apply to my food prep.
1) Do things deliberately. Have patience and and take your time…feel yourself flow with your actions. Don’t be rushed when making your food. Before making a recipe, take the time to sit down and read the recipe. Read through the ingredients and picture them in your mind. Imagine the steps you’ll take as you review the directions. Then, when you’re ready, make the recipe and take your time with each step.
2) Don’t multi-task. Doing things in a Zen style also means doing them one at a time. For example, when you’re washing produce, simply wash your produce. When you’re in the kitchen, keep the phone and television turned off while you’re preparing your delicious Raw meals. Feel the fresh produce while you’re washing it, smell it as you cut into it, be mindful and observe it while it’s blending…these are all ways to be present while preparing your Raw food. Then, when you eat, just eat. Don’t do the mail, don’t talk on the phone and don’t turn on the TV. Simply eat your food. Taste each bite and experience all of the delicious flavors and textures exploding in your mouth. Raw food is full of exquisite flavors damn close to being worthy of worship, so appreciate it with every bite.
3) Do each task completely before moving on, and each step of the recipe, in the same way. Put your mind completely on the recipe. Don’t move on to the next task until you’re finished. When you finish the task of making the meal, don’t eat until you’ve cleaned up your kitchen (and practice your new Zen groove while you’re at it!).
4) Do less in the kitchen (and in life). For example, I don’t worry about making a bunch of different recipes all week. I take a little time every Sunday to select a few recipes for the week and I just make those. I’ll make enough so I have leftovers to last a couple of days each, thereby giving me more time to just enjoy my food. When I do less (in the kitchen and in life), then I can do those things with more focus and be more relaxed in the process.
5) Rituals Are Special. Having a ritual offers the activity a sense of appreciation and importance. I have a ritual for making my daily smoothie, my weekly recipes, etc. When I think of those activities in that way, they actually become even more exciting to do. In fact, I can’t wait to do them each day because I feel so lovely and relaxed in the process.
6) Timing can be everything. “There are certain times in the day of a Zen monk designated for certain activities. A time for bathing, a time for work, a time for cleaning, a time for eating. This ensures that those things get done regularly.” I designate time for my activities, such as a special time for selecting the recipes I’ll make for the week, as well as making my weekly shopping list. I also designate time to shop. When I get home from food shopping, I have a designated time where I prep my produce (washing some of it, proper storage, etc).
7) “Make cleaning and cooking become meditation” (boohyah!). “Cooking and cleaning are two of the most exalted parts of a Zen monk’s day. They are both great ways to practice mindfulness.” Put your whole self into those tasks, and do them mindfully with patience and passion. Be grateful you have food to prepare, a house to clean, and an able body to do both of those things.
Enjoy every moment (it’s all you truly have). Love your life and get your Raw Zen kitchen on!
I saw these questions posted at one of my favorite blogs and thought I’d follow suit. I’ve been tagged again to share the “5 things about me” so I think this also accomplishes that.
1. Favorite Raw Vegan milk? Chocolate Hemp Seed Milk is one of my favorites. Hemp is so nutritious that it’s an automatic winner every time for my entire family. Just blend Manitoba Harvest Hemp Seeds with water, raw chocolate, and a couple of pitted dates.
2. What are the top 3 recipes you are planning to make? I’m working on a new ebook (yep, another one!) and it’s top secret for now. But, let’s just say that one recipe will have raw chocolate in it, and another will have some raw chocolate in it and another will have…um, yep, raw chocolate.
3. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure? This was an expensive lesson learned here: I made cheesecake with a coconut oil that was bad even though the expiration date was fine. It had a horrible, weird “soapy” after-taste. I tried making it again (not knowing the coconut oil was the culprit) and the end result was still awful. I made it with a different jar of coconut oil, and it turned out wonderfully!
If you get that “soapy” taste and there is coconut oil in your Raw recipe, try it again with a different jar of coconut oil. Better yet, do this…I will now only buy coconut oil from Wilderness Family Naturals because it’s so deliciously fresh (the flavor and quality are unsurpassed – ALWAYS!). I’ve never had a problem since.
4. How do you organize your recipes? I’m an organization and color freak. My recipes are color coded, tabbed, flagged, highlighted, filed, alphabetized, labeled…you name it, I do it.
5. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal? None of the above. I toss it over my balcony to the bunnies running around my neighborhood. I love animals…they are one of my biggest passions and mission.
6. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods…what would they be? Hemp, coconut water and Vitamineral Green powder all the way! If given the opportunity to bring a fourth, it might be raw chocolate powder.
7. Fondest food memory from your childhood? Grocery shopping with mom. Oh…those were the days. We’d spend 2-hours every Saturday at the grocery store. It was so fun.
8. Favorite raw ice cream? I haven’t been eating much ice cream lately, but in a couple of months, it’ll be my Summer Strawberry Ice Cream. Someone I know, who has a monkey for a pet, said this is the monkey’s favorite ice cream! How’s that for a testimonial?
9. Most loved kitchen appliance? Blend-tec blender all the way. The best high-powered blender on the market. I make green juices to smoothies to ice cream to dressings to mousse and so much more with it.
10. Spice/herb you can’t be without? Only one? Damn! Well, if you’ve been to any of my classes, you know I’m in a constant love affair with basil and will put it into almost everything I can.
11. Recipe (Cook) book you have owned for the longest time? I grew up with chefs and come from a family in the restaurant business, so I literally grew up with cookbooks. My mom and I have over 500 cookbooks between the two of us. I have no idea which I’ve had the longest…probably something that came with my Easy Bake Oven – LOL.
12. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly? I love strawberries with a touch of agave, dates to thicken, and accented with a smidge of cinnamon.
13. Favorite raw (vegan) recipe to serve to an omni-friend? The Chinese Hemp Noodles from my hemp ebook always wins the crowd over (the flavor is AMAZING), as well as my stuffed mushrooms (same ebook). The mushrooms resemble cooked food so well. In fact, I’m often asked to bring both of these dishes as “my dish to pass” at parties with omni-guests.
14. Favorite meal to make? I love to chop and use my knife in the kitchen. Therefore, I’m always making a big, fresh salad topped with an amazing dressing.
15. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking. Manitoba Harvest Hemp Products, frozen bananas, raw cheesecake.
16. Favorite grocery store? Whole Foods
17. Food blog you read the most. There are way too many to name. But, I will say that when Sarma posts on her blog, I step back, make a chocolate smoothie and then settle in for a great read.
18. What is one ingredient that you’ve become familiar with that you can’t imagine you ever lived without? Anything related to hemp (oil, seeds, powder and butter). The nutritional profile is fantastic and I love the flavor.
19. Do you have a food inspiration in your life? Definitely! All of my food memories revolve around my mom. She’s brilliant and taught me so much. During my pre-vegan days, I remember going to some fancy restaurants…sometimes there was a food item on the menu that I didn’t know (and someone, usually my date!, was asking me what it was). I’d change the subject and then secretly text message my mom or excuse myself from the table and call her from the bathroom to get the answer – haha.
Saturday, March 22nd, 2008
Update on acupuncture: Yay! I’m feeling better. I hope it lasts. I don’t see my amazing chiropractor until next week – fingers crossed it keeps feeling better and better. I’m not in the gym yet because I’m trying to take as much time to heal as possible, but my spirits are VERY high.
I made a scrumptious smoothie that was so yummy I was smiling from ear to ear with every swig (yes, it’s a swigger, I tell ya!). Did you know that bananas are known to help fight bloating as a result of the potassium content in them? Ladies, if any of you are experiencing excess bloat from PMS, then bring on the bananas (and this smoothie does just that).
Yield 4 cups
1 cup water
3 frozen bananas, peeled
2 oranges, peeled
1/2 cup coconut, unsweetened, shredded and dried
2 tablespoons raw chocolate powder (I love Nutiva)
2 tablespoons Manitoba Harvest hemp protein powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blend all of the ingredients thoroughly and smile with every swig :)
Vegan Diet Study – Keep ‘em coming! I love seeing vegan studies promoted in the news. If you know anyone suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, then send them here because the vegan diet comes to the rescue yet again.
Daily Conversation Question:
How would you like to spend your elder years?
*For those of you celebrating Easter this weekend…Happy Easter!