Wednesday, January 9th, 2008
I’m back from my snowboarding adventure and it was so much fun. I love learning new skills. Funny thing is that I thought for sure my legs and butt would be sore. Nope! My back and arms are aching from all the snow shoveling I did to help dig out our car. Flagstaff was dumped on with snow the past few days…it was positively gorgeous, glistening, and refreshing. That being said, it’s always nice to be back in the sunny, warm part of Arizona, of which I can never get enough.
I began a fascinating book while I was away titled, The Ethics of What We Eat by Peter Singer. Oh my…it’s a compelling page-turner. I think the review by The New York Times describes it best, “Vital, urgent and disturbing.” I can confidently recommend this book even though I only just started it.
Today’s food was simple:
A dose of E3’s Renew Me Emerald Blend
Handful of Raw Sweet Vanilla Rain Almonds
Large fresh green juice
Huge portion of curly kale salad with dried cranberries
Hemp Chocolate Protein Shake
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals.
Monday, January 7th, 2008
I’m alive and well! I made it through my first day of snowboarding. BOOH-YAH! We started the morning with organic green smoothies made in my awesome travel blender. Then, we stuffed our pockets full with Raw snack bars to enjoy during the day. I came prepared.
It was so beautiful and picture perfect driving up the mountain. We had a ton of snow overnight so it topped the mountain with lovely, fluffy snow perfect for falling down on my bum (or face!) Fortunately, I didn’t do too much of that. It was exhilaratingly exhausting. Just getting used to attaching the snowboard to my seemingly 20-pound boots, getting up from a seated position, under layers of clothes and snow gear that makes me feel the like the Pillsbury Dough Boy, from delicate snow that you sink into and want to fall asleep on (if it didn’t start to make your clothes wet)… all of that is a workout in itself (not to mention the elevation adjustment). My heart was racing all day. Then, as a beginner in a class, they take you down the bunny slope a little, make you walk back up, go down just a little again, and walk back up. Talk about an arduous affair in the cold and blistery wind when my life is typically basked in the warm therapeutic sun of the desert. I admit, I had moments when I looked enviously upon the skiers, feeling a longing tug at my heart to run back into the lodge and swap out the board for familiar skies. But, I’m all for new adventures. All I can say is…Wow. I kept thinking to myself, this is such great exercise even if I’m only spending 15 seconds at a time actually riding the snowboard. All that hard work topped by a few brief moments of sheer thrill…totally worth it and I’m going back for more.
Next up on the lifetime list: surfing!
Saturday, January 5th, 2008
Tomorrow we’re leaving for a snowboarding trip. Whoo-hoo! I used to be a big-time skier, but this is the first time I’ll be snowboarding. I can’t wait! It’s going to be awesome exercise and I’m sure I’ll work muscles that I haven’t used in a VERY long time.
Staying Raw while going on our snowboarding adventure will be super easy. I’m not going to abandon my healthy eating habits while I’m on the slopes, so I’m planning in advance. Since we’re driving to the mountains for our adventure, we’re able to take a cooler, which will be full of fresh produce. I packed my Tribest Personal Blender so we can still enjoy our super nutritious smoothies every morning and evening. (To keep our produce fresh, I’ll change out the ice in the cooler using the hotel’s ice machine.)
I packed organic Raw Sweet Vanilla Rain Almonds (recipe in this ebook), along with fresh dates, dehydrated buckwheat groats and energy bars (all perfect for stuffing into my ski coat pockets) which will serve as filling snacks when we’re warming up in the lodge between runs – clearly I won’t be having the traditional donuts and hot chocolate.
I researched the area for health food stores (fresh, organic produce) and vegan-friendly restaurants ahead of time. What did people do before the Internet? And, when we’re back in the room and need a midnight snack…no worries!…I’m prepared with Raw cookies.
Living the Raw vegan lifestyle is easy even when I’m away from home because I make it that way. It’s simply a matter of thinking ahead, being prepared and packing the essentials.
Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness. ~Edward Stanley, Earl of Derby, speech 1873
Thursday, January 3rd, 2008
Today it was such a lovely day in Arizona. The warm sun was shining in the bright blue sky, and I filled my body with Organic Raw goodness. I was craving Mesquite Carob Banana Smoothies with Sassy Superfood Green Goodness…so I drank like…uhmm, four of them. And they were large ones at that. What can say? I go a little overboard sometimes. *giggle*
When I was not outside enjoying the gorgeous sun today, I was having fun exchanging emails with people all over the world answering great questions about living the Raw lifestyle, swapping cool ideas about athletics, and making friends. I get so excited when I think about all of the new pals I’m making. (Note: This is always nice when you’re traveling and need somewhere to stay, am I right? haha).
Welcome to the center of your life.
Wake up and see the other souls around you. Let them affect you. Live in the center of your life.
~Juicy Living Cards by SARK
Tuesday, January 1st, 2008
Are you trying to get your family (and kids!) to eat more Raw Vegan? Here are some fantastic tips from my latest ebook, Kristen’s Raw – The EASY Way to Get Started & SUCCEED with Raw Food:
1. Show your family great Raw recipes from books and the Internet. Then, let them take turns picking out which recipes you make for them. This will really get their taste buds overflowing with anticipation.
2. Make one Raw dish at every dinner (or every other dinner), and don’t even mention it. They probably won’t even realize they are eating so much Raw food.
3. Introduce your family to Raw with Raw desserts. When kids get to eat dessert after every meal, that is exciting, especially when they can have second helpings of it.
4. Make certain meals Raw. The easiest way to do this is to make breakfast 100% Raw. You can start by drinking fresh organic smoothies for breakfast or having creamy cinnamon nut milk with crunchy Raw granola. It’ll greatly help if you let your family take part in choosing what flavors to make. So, the night before you make a smoothie, ask your kids which flavors they would like. Make it fun by talking about the different colors, too. I love getting my nephews excited about drinking Green Smoothies. I give it a much cooler name, however: “Dragon Smoothies,” or, make a strawberry and banana smoothie and call it “Pretty-In-Pink Smoothie.” Trust me…these things help!
5. Give your kids choices so they don’t feel forced to eat just one thing. You can do this by offering them something really tasty compared to something that might not be as tasty, thereby making the tasty option seem that much better. For example, offer your kids a choice between blueberries and celery. They will probably pick the blueberries and be happy about it because they had a say in the matter and blueberries taste good (imagine how different this is than offering them blueberries or Oreos!) Or, make it a choice between carrots and zucchini. They’ll probably pick the carrots and be happy about it because of the alternative.
6. Another super tip is to cut your children’s fruit and veggies into fun shapes and sizes using inexpensive kitchen tools. They’ll be sure to show these off in school!
7. Include your children in the experience of shopping and preparing the food. This helps them feel more connected to the food and it makes them feel proud to have helped. Have fun while you’re doing it and be sure to thank them for their help.
8. Here is another great way to get children excited about eating fruits and vegetables. Tell them that they get to eat a “rainbow of colors” each day. Get a piece of construction paper for every color of the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Then, have your children cut out a big, fun shape for each color. On one side of each shape, write the word “DONE” and draw a smiley face. Stick them on the front of your refrigerator door with the word “DONE” side down. Each day, as your kids eat a fresh fruit or vegetable that is a color of the rainbow, flip over that color’s shape so the word “DONE” is face up and you can see it. It’s a great way to motivate your kids and get them excited about eating all the colors of the rainbow, because they get a challenge and a sense of accomplishment.
Tuesday, January 1st, 2008
Going organic on a budget is not impossible. Here are things to keep in mind that will help you afford it:
1. Buy in bulk. Ask the store you frequent if they’ll give you a deal for buying certain foods by the case. (Just make sure it’s a case of something that you can go through in a timely fashion so it doesn’t go to waste). Consider this for bananas or greens especially if you drink lots of smoothies or juice, like I do.
2. See if local neighbors, family or friends will share the price of getting cases of certain foods. When you do this, you can go beyond your local grocery store and contact places like Boxed Greens or Diamond Organic. Maybe they’ll extend a discount if your order goes above a certain amount or if you get certain foods by the case. It never hurts to ask.
3. Pay attention to organic foods that aren’t very expensive to buy relative to conventional prices (bananas, for example). Load up on those.
4. Be smart when picking what you buy as organic. Some conventionally grown foods have higher levels of pesticides than others. For those, go organic. Then, for foods that aren’t sprayed as much, go conventional. Avocados, for example, aren’t sprayed too much so you could buy those as conventional. Here is a resource that keeps an updated list.
5. Buy things on sale. Pay attention to which organic foods are on sale for the week and plan your menu around that. Every little bit adds up!
6. Grow your own sprouts. Load up on these for salads, soups, and smoothies. Very inexpensive. Buy the organic seeds in the bulk bins at your health food store or buy online and grow them yourself. Fun!
7. Buy organic seeds/nuts in bulk online and freeze. Nuts and seeds typically get less expensive when you order in bulk from somewhere like Sun Organic. Take advantage of this and freeze them (they’ll last the year!). Do the same with dried fruits/dates/etc. And remember, when making a recipe that calls for expensive nuts, you can often easily replace them with less expensive sunflower or pumpkin seeds.
8. Buy seasonally; hence, don’t buy a bunch of organic berries out of season (eat more apples and bananas in winter). Also, consider buying frozen organic fruits, especially when they’re on sale!
9. Be content with minimal variety. Organic spinach banana smoothies are inexpensive. So, having this most mornings for breakfast can save money. You can change it by adding cinnamon one day, nutmeg another, vanilla extract yet another. Make spinach apple smoothies and throw in a date in or some soaked raisins for pizazz. Make salads, smoothies, and soups with ingredients that tend to be less expensive such as carrots (year round), bananas (year round), zucchini and cucumbers (in the summer), etc.
Happy New Year!
Sunday, December 30th, 2007
I’m receiving so many emails for the recipe of my Organic Double Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake. Here it is (already!). It’s so impressive (sure to please everyone) and easy to make. Enjoy as you enter chocolate ecstasy heaven…ohh-la-la!
Organic Double Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake
Yield one 9-inch cake
1 ¾ cups nuts (I used raw almonds)
½ cup raw cacao nibs
1/8 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt
¾ teaspoon cherry extract
1 tablespoon raw chocolate powder
¾ cup raisins
3 cups cashews, soaked 1-2 hours, drained
1/3 cup raw honey, coconut nectar, or maple syrup
6 dates, pitted
½ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup water
2 teaspoons cherry extract
1 cup coconut oil
¾ cup raw chocolate powder
1 bag frozen berries (cherries would be optimal but any will do!)
¼ cup raw agave
dash fresh lemon juice
Crust directions: Grind the nuts, cacao nibs and salt in a food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, until coarsely ground. Add the cherry extract and chocolate powder and pulse to thoroughly combine. Add the raisins and process until the mixture sticks together when gently pressed between your fingers. Press into the bottom of an 8 or 9-inch round spring form pan. Place in the freezer while you make the filling.
Filling directions: Using a food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, process the cashews, agave, dates, lemon juice, and water until it’s creamy. This could take 3-5 minutes. You might need to stop and scrape down the sides a couple of times. Add the cherry extract, coconut oil, and chocolate powder and process until creamy. Pour the filling into the spring form pan and freeze the cheesecake so it sets. Let thaw for up to an hour or more before eating.
Coulis directions: Blend all of the ingredients together.
Sunday, December 30th, 2007
I’m working on a fabulous Raw vegan dinner that I’ll be serving family and out-of-town guests tomorrow. For the main course, I’m serving Gourmet Italian Quiche Tarts that will be served alongside a fresh, crisp romaine salad sprinkled with Raw Parmesan Cheese and topped with my brilliant new Hemp Omega Caesar Dressing. For dessert, I made a divine Organic Double Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake (will post recipe later).
Nutrition never tasted so good!
In the meantime, I’ve been gobbling up this scrumptiously saucy dish. I’m sure you all know by now that I love eating salads loaded with chopped veggies. Well, here is a delicious creamy sauce that will sass up any combination of chopped veggies (or salad). I’ve been enjoying this all day. Fresh avocados, orange, garlic, curry….hhhmmm. Yum!
Creamy Curry Sauce
Yield approximately 2 cups
3/4 cup water
2 avocados, pitted and peeled
1 orange, peeled, seeded
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt
2 teaspoons curry
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Blend all of the ingredients until creamy. Serve over your favorite chopped veggies or salad.
Friday, December 28th, 2007
Kristen Suzanne in kids
The holidays have been WONDERFUL! I’ve been having such a lovely, relaxing time.
One of the things my boyfriend and I did to celebrate the holidays was to attend the Luminaria Holiday Lights at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. It was gorgeous fun. Basically, you walk through the gardens at night where they’re lit with fabulous holiday lights. Along the walk at different spots they have live music playing and snack/drink bars. The highlight of my evening was when we were drinking a sassy Hot Apple Pie made from warm apple cider and tuaca liqueur beverage (not Raw, but definitely festive). The drink normally comes with whipped cream, which we passed on since we’re vegan. We took our warm drinks and sat by a fire with some other people and we were “oohing and aahhing” about how delicious our drinks were. This caught the attention of others and they inquired as to what we were drinking. We told them what it was and made sure to tell them it was without whipped cream, because I’m always looking for a reason to talk about being vegan (hoping it conjures up vegan conversation)…which it did! Here’s the highlight…a teenager joined the talk and volunteered that he was vegetarian. When I inquired as to why, he replied, “because eating animals is mean.”
I’m continually inspired by our youth. There is an interesting book called MicroTrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes, which details the importance of small groups and their profound impact on our economy. One of the groups he writes about is vegan kids and how they’re on the rise. Very exciting!
Saturday, December 22nd, 2007
Yesterday, my awesome, loving boyfriend and I celebrated our 2-year anniversary. Whoo-hoo! It’s been the best two years of my life; we have so much fun together! I couldn’t have asked for a better boyfriend. I absolutely adore him. This is a picture from yesterday with the gorgeous bouquet of flowers he bought me.
I’m often asked about the kinds of things we do, the places we go, restaurants we frequent, etc. We’re High-Raw Vegans, which means that we eat 100% vegan and it’s Raw most of the time (with many periods when we’re 100% Raw). Since we don’t have totally Raw restaurants in our area, we eat a lot at home (and why not, since I love to prepare food). We enjoy physical fitness activities together: going to the gym, hiking, bowling, bike riding, epic walks in the middle of the night under the stars, and of course this. We’re also huge fans of going to the movies. When we do this, I can be counted on to smuggle in our green smoothies and Raw treats in my big purse.
One of our favorite things to do is spending part of the day at one of the many big, beautiful hotel resorts here in Arizona. I pack up a little bag of organic Raw snacks and we sip herbal tea or wine, while enjoying our books or working on our laptops. The hotels have fantastic lobbies, bars and patio areas that are furnished with big, comfy couches and it doesn’t cost hardly a thing (just whatever we order to eat or drink).
None of our friends are Raw (not yet at least – ha!) but a few are transitioning to a vegan diet (YAY!). Just because our friends don’t completely share our lifestyle doesn’t stop us from socializing with them though. They know we value our health and that we feel great with our lifestyle, so they support us. We bring our own food to gatherings, unless it’s at a restaurant. If that’s the case, our friends are more than happy to meet us at restaurants that offer some Raw vegan friendly items (delicious salads, etc).
We’re very excited about the holidays. I’ll prepare a number of Raw dishes to bring to our family gatherings as we visit each side of the family. Scrumptious fun!
The process of love is exciting, and it fills me with joy and anticipation.
Being in love makes me feel powerful – it makes me feel as if all kinds of wild and wonderful things are possible.