Wednesday, August 20th, 2008
It really makes no sense to make the effort to eat as much healthy organic produce as you can, only to rinse it with tap water. And, what about the water you drink? Think about it… seemingly healthy green smoothies of fresh organic greens and fruit and…. ummm… tap water. Now, some of you might think you’re okay because you’re drinking bottled water, but drinking water from disposable plastic bottles is an ecological nightmare due to all of the waste plastic produces and the fuel used for shipping. (Consequently, I also avoid letting my food touch plastic whenever possible, which rules out both disposable and refillable plastic bottles. Most of you know that I’m a glass mason jar gal for just about everything.)
Depending on where you live, your tap water might be relatively safe to drink… that is, relative to other municipalities. Municipal water is routinely monitored, with quality reports available for free online. Most cities do a good job of testing for and filtering out the really harmful stuff, but there are two problems. First, laws do not require testing for many dangerous substances, such as hormones and prescription drugs that make their way into the water supply via urine. Second, contaminants can make their way into your water between the treatment plant and your faucet, either in the public pipes or the pipes in your home. There is a great article I just came across from the Wall Street Journal here.
The ideal solution therefore is to filter your own water. There are many household systems available, ranging from small $30 Brita filters that screw onto your faucet, to $2000+ household systems. But the small Brita filters don’t last long and aren’t very effective. The $2000 systems are too expensive for many and don’t make sense for renters.
After much research, we found the answer! The Multi-Pure chrome counter-top (or undercounter) water filters hit the sweet spot with high-end filtration at an affordable price $320-340). Like all good filters, the Multi-Pure is independently tested and certified by the state of California, with test results available here.
But nothing quite beats the taste test. Our unit installed in less than five minutes and when we conducted our own blind taste test, my boyfriend gave me a taste of our new filtered water first. Then he gave me our unfiltered tap water, and I instantly spit it out and yelled “yeccchh” due to the chlorine smell and taste. I had been vaguely aware of it before, but once I compared it to the amazing-tasting filtered water, I could never drink it or prepare food with it again!
I’ve become a true believer. The unit comes with a filter cartridge that needs to be replaced ($60) every 750 gallons, or about 12-18 months, depending on how much water you use. We opted for the stainless steel housing, which has a 25 year warranty. When you do the math, this is absolutely the smartest, cheapest way to drink the healthiest possible and most environmentally responsible water.
This is one of those rare “Why didn’t I do this two years ago?” products. Please help spread the word, about this and the evils of plastic bottles. We plan to give a couple filters as Christmas gifts this year!
Saturday, August 16th, 2008
Today’s blog post is a bit random, but I had a mix of things to share… so here we go!
Looking for new walking scenery? Tired of your usual path? Want some inspiration? Then check out this cool site here. Just type in your address and see the different walking options that surround you. It’s really great!
Raw Breakfast-in-Bed is my next class – Sept. 27 at Whole Foods. The class is already filling up so if you’re interested in joining us for delicious raw vegan food and a really FUN time, then reserve your seat now by registering here. (This is one of my favorite classes!)
Celery. I thought I’d shed some love on celery because it’s usually in my Plant Blood recipes and definitely worthy of praise. When you put celery in your Plant Blood, then you’re getting all kinds of vitamins and minerals (vitamin A – the darker the green, the higher the amount; vitamins C, B1, B2, and B6; calcium; magnesium; iron; phosphorous; fiber; folate; manganese; potassium & sodium – important for regulating fluid balance). Overall, celery is also shown to help lower cholesterol and may be useful in preventing cancer. I’ve also read that celery has a reputation for being an aphrodisiac. hhmmm…. any of you find this to be true? ;)
Here are two of my favorite Plant Blood combinations:
1. celery, carrot
2. celery, cucumber, zucchini, kale
And, speaking of fresh produce for Plant Blood… I wanted to talk about bugs. There are times that I find a bug here and there on my produce. Now, I’m not typically a bug huggin’ gal. I pretty much freak out at the site of most of them (you know the kind I’m talking about – creepy crawlies – eeeeek!). BUT, when I see a bug on my organic produce, I can’t help but feel a little relief because that means my produce is really free of pesticides. For that, I can celebrate bugs.
Update! I just checked out my recipes in VegNews magazine… I’m totally stoked to be a two-time winner. Whoo-hoo! Happy dance going on right now!
Daily Conversation Question:
Which celebrity would you most like to see in person?
Monday, August 11th, 2008
I was asked recently which juicer I use. The answer is that I actually have two, and I love them both for different reasons. Nothing – and I mean nothing – beats juicing. Like the vegan version of being a vampire, you feel absolutely super-human when you drink down pure Plant Blood.
1) Green Star
This bad boy isn’t cheap, but it’s life-changing. Wanna go hardcore? This is it! This machine is great because it’s extremely durable, reliable, can also juice wheatgrass (most juicers cannot do this, so you often have to buy a separate wheatgrass juicer), plus more. Because this juicer uses twin gears which gently and slowly extract the juice, it doesn’t degrade or oxidize nearly as fast as it does with a centrifugal juicer (below). Green Star juice can be stored in an airtight container for a couple of days without much oxidation, which makes it perfect for people who can only juice once a day or less.
This juicer squeezes out every bit of juice, leaving you with very dry pulp, so you’re really getting your money’s worth from your organic produce. Here are other tricks this juicer can do: make ice cream from frozen produce such as bananas or mangoes, as well as homogenize nuts, seeds and grains for pate and butters, and it’s great for making baby foods, apple sauce, etc.
The Green Star takes longer to use and clean up, but it’s still amazing and well worth the money (and the time if you have it).
2) Breville Fountain Juicer
This juicer has a special place in my heart. I LOVE my Breville Fountain Juicer (and pretty much use it daily) because it’s lightening fast and SUPER EASY to clean. This machine inspires me to juice multiple times a day due to its ease of use. It’s considerably less expensive than the Green Star, but because it’s centrifugal, you should drink the juice within 15 minutes of making it to prevent oxidation and nutrient loss.
This is the perfect juicer for people who plan to do a lot of daily juicing, and want it to be fast and efficient — just be sure to drink right after juicing. The other thing to note is that the pulp from this juicer is quite moist, so you know that you’re not extracting all of the juice like you do with the Green Star. However, I usually add the pulp to my dog’s food or put it on top of my salad or feed it to the bunnies in my yard or make raw dehydrated crackers from it (so, you can see, it doesn’t go to waste).
All in all, I love both of my juicers and I’m happy to have and use both. I find that I drink a lot more juice having the Breville due to its ease of use and cleaning, but I love having my Green Star for times I juice wheatgrass, make other things besides juice, or for those days that I need to make my juice made ahead of time.
For those of you looking for great juicing and smoothie recipes, I have a terrific ebook loaded with fresh raw vegan beverage recipes.
UPDATE! A new juicer is on my scene! Check out the video I did comparing it with the Breville and Green Star here.
Sunday, August 10th, 2008
This is such a fun and beautiful video to watch. It’s cool to see all the different places around the world and you can’t help but smile seeing everyone dancing. Cheers! *Note: you can turn off HD if it’s playing too jerky, but the HD makes it look much better :)
Here is one of the comments from the website:
Truly epic. No other words for it really. I’m sitting in front of the tv with the laptop on, and on sky news, there is a story about the muslim extremists who were planning on bombing civilian planes. When I watch this video though, it makes me think maybe we will make it after all.
Dancing World Video
Saturday, August 9th, 2008
It’s been a terrific few days since my last post (let’s just say that a lot has been going on in my life – all great stuff!). I’m feeling fantastic, as usual, and filling my body with tons of fresh Raw food nutrition. I’m drinking lots of Plant Blood (a.k.a. green juice), and it’s so refreshing during the hot summer months in Arizona; definitely helps keep me cool, especially when I make the base with cucumber. I’m also taking in about 10-15 minutes of daily vitamin D (sunshine), getting restful sleep, eating healthy organic food, taking daily walks, and just having a ball :)
Special THANK YOU to ShannonMarie of Rawdorable for nominating me for VegNews Annual Veg Awards. I’m not an official nominee, but you’re allowed to add “other” as an option and she did that for Favorite Cookbook!!! I’m so honored that you thought of me, ShannonMarie, thank you!
We purchased a kick-ass water filter (this thing is so great!) that I can’t wait to tell you about (a future post will give you details). My water is officially delicious, fresh, clean, healthy and it’s another step toward a more environmental life (no plastic water bottles!)
Well, I’m off to spend part of the day with my mom :)
Rainbow Plant Blood
1 delicious quart
1 lg cucumber
3 lg rainbow Swiss chard leaves
Daily Conversation Question:
If you didn’t have to worry about money what would you do with your life?
Wednesday, August 6th, 2008
GREAT NEWS!!! I was just contacted by my ALL-TIME FAVORITE MAGAZINE, VegNews, and told that two of my recipes were selected as winners in VegNews Magazine’s first-ever reader recipe showdown! I’m doing so many happy dances right now, yelling at the top of my lungs, Whoo-hoo! My winning raw vegan eats will be featured in the upcoming September/October Issue, which hits newsstands in a few short weeks.
My winning recipes:
Chinese Hemp Noodles
Spinach Thyme Soup
*UPDATE! I just received my copy and noticed that they altered the names of my two winning recipes… so you’ll see them listed under Raw Teriyaki Noodles and Sumptuous Spinach-Thyme Soup.
If you’re not a subscriber to this magazine, NOW would be a great time! And, if you don’t sign up in time to get this issue, be sure to get it hot off the press at a bookstore or health food store. I love supporting this magazine as a subscriber, because it’s ALWAYS (and I mean always) filled with loads of terrific and super fun information. Let me just share some of what this amazing magazine offers:
~ Monthly feature that has me laughing out loud until my stomach hurts (Dan Piraro)
~ Monthly advice column by one of my favorite authors, Rory Freedman of Skinny Bitch, who dishes out practical, tough-love advice
~ Up-to-date news on vegan happenings around the world
~ They’re featuring more and more raw lifestyle goodness all the time
~ Amazing recipes (eh-hem)
~ Great global veg travel information for cool veg-friendly places to visit
~ Super book and media recommendations
~ The latest and greatest in products and foods
This is the second time Kristen’s Raw has been featured in VegNews Magazine, so you can imagine I’m one proud and smiling gal :)
Tuesday, August 5th, 2008
A lot of bloggers out there have been asking me to create an affiliate program so they can help spread the word about Raw Vegan food and make money at the same time. Today I’m happy to announce that your wish has been granted! Becoming an affiliate is free, fast, and super easy.
Full details here.
Even though I’ve seen this a few times already, I still love watching it.
Here is a touching video about a lion who was raised by a couple of guys and then sent to the wild when he became too big for them to care for. The video shows what happened when they went to see him in the wild after being separated and he was considered a “wild” animal. (And, if you have seen it, you’ll probably want to see it again because it’s so sweet.) Oh, I love animals. They’re my biggest passion.
Enjoy this video and the following link to Dr. Ben Kim’s website, which is filled with lots of great health information.
Update: I was nominated for the third and fourth time for another blog award. Thank you so much to Vegan Tickles and Julie’s Raw Ambition for this honor :) I’m thrilled that so many people are enjoying my blog. Thank you to my readers. Y’all ROCK!
News to Peruse:
European Commission Supports Organic Food – Cool. Maybe someday we’ll follow suit ;)
Can Changing Your Diet Help You Have A Baby In Your 40s? – With all the pregnancy talk on my blog, this fits.
Trans-Fats Banned In CA – Okay, if I can’t live in Europe, maybe I should move to CA because they’re always ahead of the game on issues I care so much about.
As promised, I’m listing my favorite makeup, body and hair products that I’m currently using. I’ve chosen these because they’re some of the healthiest on the planet. I’m continuously on the hunt for the most environmentally conscious, non-toxic, truly natural and certified organic products (not many companies offer USDA certified organic) for my hair, face and body. I’ll be getting pregnant one of these days; therefore, I’m going extra extra clean. I found some amazing options that I’ll be using from here on out. The great news: I’m pampered in healthy luxury and I can still get gussied up for my boyfriend :)
I did plenty of research to find companies that use the highest quality and safest ingredients. The following list of companies is the result. As part of my research, I checked them out on the Skin Deep database. If you’re curious as to how your products stack up, visit here. I also contacted the companies and peppered them with questions, testing their customer service along the way. The experience has been terrific and I highly recommend them all. I’ll continue to search for other companies, but I’m definitely satisfied with what I’ve purchased so far. Bottom line: I’m happy to put their products on my skin.
Hair and Total Face/Body Care
Terressentials: Pretty much everything I use is from this company from shampoo to face and body cleanser to face toner to hand soap (the citrus smells divine!) to deodorant (haven’t tried yet, just ordered for those rare occasions that I need it) to intensive shea butter moisturizer. I’m ecstatic about their fragrance-free line because with my future pregnancy I’ll need to avoid products with essential oils. Their products are hand-crafted, USDA Certified Organic which means these products are truly 100% Natural. I’m so glad I found them…these products have changed my life! I will be trying their baby line, too, when the time comes. (See below for another great baby option.)
Raw Gaia: Here is a great company that I don’t use much of because most of their products have essential oils and my research has told me to stay away from essential oils if pregnant. Even though I’m not pregnant yet, I didn’t want to buy something only to have to stop using it once I’m pregnant, besides… I’m very much in love with Terressentials. That said, I still like this company and wanted to showcase them. Raw Gaia has beautiful, living skin care products created from cold-pressed, organic and vegan ingredients, infused with essential oils and floral waters of the finest quality. I do currently use and love their Sun-dried Green Clay Face Pack. After pregnancy, I look forward to trying their other products :)
Zosimos Botanicals: When it comes to makeup, I want the healthiest possible. I have used their loose powder mineral foundation. And, what’s more… they’re an environmentally conscious company. They handcraft their own line of natural products in a 100% wind-powered workshop. Cool.
Coastal Classic Creations: My makeup has to be as pure as possible, eco-friendly, cruelty-free, all natural, and non-toxic. Enter: Coastal Creations. This company makes good blushes like, Stargazer, plus eye shadows, and lipsticks. Try their sample sizes to experiment with colors first.
Nature’s Paradise: This company makes one of the best USDA certified organic shampoo/soap options for babies. They offer products for the whole family, too. I’ve only tried the baby shampoo, but many of their other products look promising.
Daily Conversation Question:
Is science or art more essential to humanity?
Today’s Raw Vegan food for us (boyfriend & me) was fit for a King & Queen. This might seem strange to some people since we don’t dine in 5-star restaurants, which is by choice since most 5-star restaurants don’t even serve organic. I laugh at it because, like come on, are these restaurants serious? There is no way that we’re paying top dollar to have food made with cheap and conventional ingredients. When you take a closer look at what we eat, you’ll see that we certainly dine in luxury. Our food is the healthiest cuisine on the planet, fit for royalty.
When it comes to my food and body care, I go first class, but what’s cool is that it doesn’t break the bank. As my Papa used to always say, “It doesn’t cost more to go first class.” I totally agree. Think about it… you either pay for cheap, crappy, refined, conventional food and body care products and have to pay for other things (doctor bills, medicine, zit cream, wrinkle fighting creams, expensive caffeinated beverages to give you energy, etc) OR you go first class with your food and body care (this is true luxury, my friends) and save on all of those other expenses. It’s a no-brainer to me.
In the past, I used to purchase the high end cosmetics (Chanel, Christian Dior, La Mer, etc), thinking I was doing a good thing. I happily wave good-bye to those days because these days I only purchase cosmetics and body care products that are truly natural, non-toxic, environmentally friendly, and organic (when available). These products aren’t always the least expensive, but they’re nowhere near the cost of my previous toxic and chemical laden purchases. Still, I feel more wrapped in luxury every time I use my organic, natural face soap. I feel like a queen with every pump of my organic, purely natural facial moisturizer. I feel like a first class babe when I’m washing my hair with mud (yup, you read that right… mud!). I’m thrilled and proud to be using products (I’ll blog my favorites tomorrow) with the finest ingredients on earth which are eco-friendly and good for my body. That’s royalty!
So, back to food and the healthiest cuisine that we enjoy every day. I have to tell you about the dressing I made us yesterday. I’ve been practically slurping up since I made it. It’s a super simple (6 easy ingredients), mega delicious dressing, and for now, it’s MY FAVORITE DRESSING! I’ll feature it in my monthly email newsletter for August. (Sign up here). It’s so EASY and takes only 2-minutes to make.
Today’s Raw Food For This King & Queen: You all already know the drill of metal detox, camu, vitamin B, vitamineral green, women’s tea, etc that I’m doing daily. (Details for newbies to my blog)
Then, I had the following (all organic, of course, it always is):
~3 cups Spicy Cancer Fighting Plant Blood (broccoli, carrot, cayenne)
~1 bowl cereal with raisins and raw hemp seed milk (made with hemp seed butter)
~Rockin’ Protein Smoothie (2 c water, 1 c spinach, 1/4 c hemp protein powder, 2 frozen bananas, 1/2 vanilla bean minced, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon) – it was so freakin’ great. I tell ya, I love my lifestyle. The food is so delicious and I feel so amazing! Okay… back to the rest of my food for the day (I’m just so happy and grateful and love sharing how I feel – haha – that sometimes I can’t help myself)…
~Spinach Sprout Salad I used my home grown sprouts on top of a bowl of spinach, quickly diced up a zucchini and avocado, poured some of My Favorite Dressing on top and I was one happy camper (oh, and my boyfriend was licking his bowl – no lie!).
Later on… I’ll have:
Another Spinach Salad Salad with My Favorite Dressing, sans sprouts because I can’t harvest more until tomorrow
Another energizing Plant Blood (celery, cucumber, kale this time)
Another Rockin’ Protein Smoothie, sans vanilla bean because it’s all gone, but I’ll throw in a clove for a little pizzaz!
As you can see, I’m all about living simply & easily. I certainly don’t mind repeat meals in the same day. I mean, how could you? The food is amazing!!! And, oh by the way, my lifestyle is fit for royalty with superior nutrition. Not bad, eh?
Think Raw Vegan Food Is Expensive? Think Again!
Buying Organic On A Budget