Tag Archives: raw food

Vegan & Raw Kitchen Tools

27 September

One of the most frequently asked questions I get about eating raw vegan is what kitchen tools or appliances are needed. The reality is that you don’t need much, and it’s possible that you already have some of these things. But if you want to invest money in your new lifestyle, it’s important to understand why you will use them and how to use them. Don’t let this stop you from starting your transition to a vegan or raw lifestyle though.

I’ve put together a list of the things I own and how I use and I will tell you on a scale of 1 to 5 how essential they are, 5 being EXTREMELY Essential.

Water Nano Filter & Water Ionizer

The Chanson Miracle M.A.X. PREMIER PACKAGE comes with the Miracle M.A.X. Ionizer, the C3 Pre-Filter, and the Ionizer Armor
Water is super important! In fact, if you aren’t ready to be 100% vegan, invest in a nano filter water system and a water ionizer right away. Denis and I got our ionizer in 2004 and were lucky that prices were lower back then, though at the time, I was right out of college and still a bit broke :( So it was a lot of money to me. We finally got a nano filter last summer and haven’t looked back since then. I get the best water I can afford whether I’m vegan or not. (Yes I’m strictly vegan, just saying you don’t need to be to have good water). So in the scale, I’d say this is a 10. Yes, super extra extremely important to your health! I would recommend to brake your piggy bank and get a nano filter asap.

Food Processor

This get a number 5 on the scale. Super important even if you are not vegan or raw! I’ve had a Food Processor since I was 12 years old! I don’t know how people cook or prepare food without one! I use it at least once a day. For real! Like this is my most valuable possession if someone breaks in. Ok, the ionizer is my most valuable possession but we won’t tell my 10 cup Food Processor. I use to make pates, to cut veggies, to make puddings, to make sauces and salad dressings, and who know what else! I just love it and can’t live without it.

Vitamix, High-Speed Blender

Vitamix

 

I have had my Vitamix since 2004 before I became vegetarian even. So I don’t know what life is without one. This is a number 5 on the scale and a great investment to your health. I do have to confess though that the first few months I had a Vitamix, I used it to blend cocktails for after work, made great Pina Coladas and Strawberry Daiquiris in it. But later, I was glad I had it and was able to use it during my transition to vegan and raw. I love Vitamix and 100% of my friends have it. I only know one person at work with a different kind of high speed blender and most people I talk to say they prefer Vitamix.

Knives

Very important and if you don’t have good sharpened knives, then get some.  Ceramic are great but if you are on a budget, you can also get MAC Knives at an affordable price. I don’t have a whole set. In fact, I only own three knives and that’s enough for me.

Vegetable Juicer

Unless you are planning to juice every day, I say this is number 3 in the scale. (OK, I bunch of my friends just went, WHAT?). I don’t like juicing, it’s a lot of work for me, and I don’t have to juice because I have Josh’s Organic Garden three mile bike ride from my home. So that’s why to me it’s not so important. I also calculated what I pay for juices at Josh’s compared to if I was juicing, which I did try for a whole month, and it came out more economical for me to buy my juices each night. But if you want to have a juice and have the $200+ hanging around in your pocket, then yes, get one. The trick about juicers is to get one that doesn’t heat up the vegetables. I recommend single gear juicer which masticates or chews your vegetables. I only use mine to make my Raw Vegan Kimchi or to make fruit sauces.

Other Fun Tools

Spiralizer

I use to make veggie noodles and it doesn’t cost much. It’s fun to have but not a must. So it gets a 2 on the scale.

Dehydrator

I don’t use mine much, I did at the beginning when transitioning to 100% raw. I use for parties when I make Indian Raw Food or my some of my party recipes. I do wish I had bought one with a timer. So that’s what I recommend you do if you want to get one. In the scale, I give the dehydrator a 1.

Ice Cream Maker

OK, this was a purchase made by Denis. How many times have we used it, five times since we bought it with a 20% discount. So I’m thankful I didn’t spend much money on it. It’s fun to have if you like to make ice cream and you are an ice cream lover. I’m not. Denis is, but he doesn’t make much food. So to me this get a -2 on the scale… unless you are an ice cream lover, then it gets a 0.

So to summarize, nano water filter and water ionizer are the most important, the Vitamix next, then the Food Processor. All others come later.

Which one would you buy first and why?

Vitamix Photo by wrestlingentropy

Zen and Diet: Can Food Assist You on Your Spiritual Path?

22 July

denis sunduki

Denis and his friends started this project last week. It’s a documentary on whether a person with a strong spiritual practice can take their practice to a higher level with the introduction of a healthy diet. Here is some information on the current project as described by Denis below.

Outline for the Documentary

  • Carlos Londono as Director/Star, Frank Padron as Director of Photography, Denis Soukhanov as Producer/Expert
  • Daily spiritual practice should include: meditation, yoga, satsang, kirtan
  • Weekly recorded conversations
  • Expert Interviews
  • Daily Video Journal
  • Diet is based on pH Miracle by Robert Young

Phase 1: Yogic Diet (30 days)

  • End of First Week: coffee replaced with green tea
  • Whole Food Vegetarian Diet
  •  “Whole foods are foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible, before being consumed. Whole foods typically do not contain added ingredients, such as salt, carbohydrates, or fat.” – Wikipedia
  • Organic when possible
  • Avoid stimulants (coffee, alcohol, drugs)
  • Multi-vitamin whole foods supplement
  • “In the Ayurvedic tradition, foods that are considered sattvic include most vegetables, ghee (clarified butter), fruits, legumes, and whole grains.” – Yoga Journal
  • Learning Ahimsa
  • Fasting on Ekadashi days (11th lunar day, twice a month)

Phase 2: Beyond Ahimsa – Vegan Diet (30 days)

  • All of the above
  • Avoid all animal products (no dairy, no honey, no eggs)
  • At least one big salad a day
  • Learning about pH of the foods
  • Multi-vitamin whole foods supplement

Phase 3: Alkaline Diet  (30 days)

  • First week (Green Juice fast)
  • 80/20 pH balanced
  •  80/20 Raw Vegan
  • Green Juices and Green Smoothies for breakfast
  • Multi-vitamin whole foods supplement

 

Raw Vegan Cream of Spinach Soup

09 January

Raw Vegan Cream of Spinach SoupI love soups! I think I have mentioned that many posts ago and if you noticed, a lot of my recipes are for soups.

Denis and I recently took a trip to Colombia in South America and had a blast. But after 14 days of plain salads, I was ready for some “fancy” raw food. However, we got home and drove to the Green Wave Cafe right after the airport! Yes, we wanted some raw food!

The next day though we had no food in our refrigerator but fortunately it was Sunday and time for shopping at Josh’s Organic Garden. He had everything I wanted and more! The spinach, for some wild reason, looked amazing to me. I’m not a big fan of spinach but once in awhile I go crazy for it. And when I saw last Sunday at Josh’s, I wanted Cream of Spinach.

So I googled it and then modified the recipe for my raw lifestyle and here is how I created my own Raw Vegan Cream of Spinach Soup.

Ingredients:

Fresh Organic Spinach (about 2 handfuls – about 1/2 of your vitamix)

1/3 cup of cashews (you can also use 1/2 cup sun flower seeds instead)

1/2 cup of water

1/2 Tb Spoon of white miso paste

Onion (I did one large amethyst/green onion, but it could be about 1/4 medium size onion)

Garlic to taste (I did a small clove)

Bariani Olive Oil to taste

Real Salt to taste

Black Pepper to taste

 

Add everything in the vitamix and blend until smooth. If too much water or not enough spinach, add more spinach or cashews. I also like to add a celery stalk and some Italian seasoning even though the common cream of spinach soup doesn’t call for either.

Let it blend until it has the consistency that you like, if you want more creamy add more seeds or cashews. I let it blend until is a little warm or sometimes I add warm water so that it’s a little warm.

Serve with some raw crackers or raw bread and sprinkle some black pepper. It’s delicious and nutritious!

 

 

 

Yellow Soup

28 September

Raw Yellow Noodle SoupI love soups! Specially when I’m tired, I just want soup. But until today, I was stuck with my soup-creating ideas. All I kept making for months was my Tomato Bisque soup or my Miso soup.

On my last trip to California for Bhakti Fest 2011, we made a stop at Au Lac’s in LA for raw food. I love their Paella and soups. This time I tried a Tumeric soup that I don’t remember the correct name, but it had kelp noodles.

So today, in trying to come up with something that had noodles in it, I came up with a brand new AMAZING recipe for soup, which is now Yellow soup.

This what you’ll need:

1 handful of kelp noodles

1/2 Red Bell Pepper

3 Celery stalks

2 Medium Carrots

1 Medium  Heirloom Tomato

Cilantro (about 2 handfuls not chopped)

1 Kale Leaf

1 Chard leaf

1 handful cashews (optional)

1/4 cup Coconut Oil

1 Tea Spoon Red Miso paste

1/2 Lime

Bariani Olive Oil

2 long Green Onion (scallions), chopped

Real Salt, Tumeric, and Paprika to taste

Water

 

Start by rising the kelp noodles and then place them in a bowl. I like to cut them in half or even in quarters so that they are easy to take out the bowl while eating the soup. Sprinkle some salt and olice oil on them. Cut half of the red pepper in long strips or juliened and throw on top of the noodles. Chop 1 of the celery stalks in small pieces. I make mine tiny, like for a baby to chew because Denis and I don’t like celery otherwise. Place in the bowl with noodles and pepper.

Take the Kale and chard and cut in strips and add to bowl. Chopped half of the cilantro and  the tomato and add to the bowl as well.

Cut the carrots and place them in your vitamix or blender. Cut the rest of the celery, red bell pepper, and cilantro and add to blender as well. Add the miso paste, salt, tumeric, paprika, and coconut oil and some water to begin blending. When it becomes smooth, begin adding the cashews. Add as much water as you want. I like it on the smooth creamy side so I didn’t add more than  1 cup. Squeeze the lime before you stop blending. Leave as long as you want to warm up or not. When you feel is ready, pour over the vegetables and noodles in bowl. Mix well and let it sit for a few minutes.

Serve and sprinkle the green onion/scallions on top of each bowl of soup. Makes about 6 servings (of course Denis and I finished the entire thing!).

I also put some sprouts on the table and plantains to accompany the soup.

Hope you enjoy my Yellow Soup :)

 

 

 

 

3 Farmers Markets in South Florida

26 September

One of the most important parts of planning your vacation or traveling is to know where to find food and restaurants. Some people plan ahead, specially if they have specific requests for food or if they love food traveling as much as I do. As a raw vegan and eco-activist, I always plan ahead my food stops before I head out in to my destination. One of my favorites sites to help me plan is Happycow.net where I can find all the local vegetarian and vegan places to eat and shop. As a full time South Florida resident, there are several places here for my fellow vegetarians/vegans to eat and shop. So here is a list of my favorite South Florida places to shop for healthy food:

Josh’s Organic Garden & Juice Bar – Hollywood

Josh’s is probably one of the best, if not THE best, farmers market in the country. Most of the produce is organically grown locally and in Pennsylvania and treated with the utmost care. You can hear Josh scream and see him run every Sunday as he tries to keep the veggies and fruits in the best condition possible. Josh’s greens in the winter beat any store in the county. Once you eat his greens, you cannot accept anything less.

The juice bar is out of this world too! Even though you may feel the prices are high, other supermarkets charge way more for less. Josh’s Juice bar uses their own greens, veggies, and fruits right from the market to make the juices and smoothies. Nothing is processed or pasteurized.

Josh’s Organic Garden is open on Sundays from 9:30 to 5:31 pm and it’s located on Hollywood Beach’s Boardwalk on Harrison street. The Juice Bar is open Sundays 9:30am to 5:31pm, Monday to Thursday 7pm to 9pm.

 

Glaser Farms – Coconut Grove

The actual farm is located way south in Homestead, but on Saturdays Stan and Tracy bring the farm to Coconut Grove from 11am to 7pm. Located just west of the main Coco Walk center on Grand avenue, Glaser Farmer’s Market is a great place to hang out and enjoy delicious organic, vegetarian, raw food including ice cream and pies! Other vendors set up tents around the market making locals and visitors feel at home.

 

Marando Farms – Fort Lauderdale

Fairly new, Marando Farms offers great prices for mostly non-organic produce. Some are locally grown from other farmers and some from their own farm. They also offer eggs from their own chickens and sometimes you can see the chickens running around. Great for the kids! They recently open another “wing” for high quality pet foods, so now you can get your food and your pet’s food in the same place!

Marando Farms is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10am to 5pm; Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 5pm; Closed on Wednesdays.

 

Other places for Organic Produce

Other places in South Florida where you can find great prices for organic produce include Green Wave Cafe in Plantation, a raw vegan restaurant. On Mondays Green Wave opens for their “Organic Market” from 8am to 2pm.

Thrive Restaurant in Miami Beach and LifeFood Gourmet in Coral Way also have Farmer’s Market days. You can visit their sites to see more information on when they offer organic produce for sale.

 

 

 

Before and Way Before

26 June

Many friends have been asking me to post pictures of Denis and I when we first began our journey in the health food path. But first, here is one of my favorite clips from the Sopranos that kinda reminds me of the pictures you will see below. I call these pictures, the pictures of when we were over weight: the Sopranos… you’ll see why.

Denis lost a total of 93 Lbs

I lost over 50 lbs.

 

Most of the weight loss came after we switched to raw vegan, but the first weight we lost was after we switched from red meat to only poultry and fish. After a few years on just fish, we lost more weight again.

I do have to confess that being only raw vegan, can also add weight. I’ve been able to keep my weight stable for 2 years and continue to stay on that weight. I have also been able to build muscle on just raw by adding vegan protein. However, the minute I stop exercising to build muscle and didn’t change my way of eating, my weight changed.

Each person is different as I always say, so we all must find what works for us.

Arugula Dandelion Dip

14 June

On the way back from the market Saturday, we were having a discussion in the car about creamy sweet dishes vs. creamy salty dishes. We all agreed we liked both. And that brought a memory of spinach dip. So I went to Josh’s Market Sunday but wasn’t able to find spinach to make it. Instead, I decided to change the recipe and get dandelions and arugula, which I very often don’t buy because I’m not a fan of them even though I know they are good for you.

Here is what you’ll need:

Arugula (abut a handful or two)
Red and Green Dandelions (about a handful)
6 leaves of basil
6 shitake mushrooms cut (as big as wanted)
4 mini sweet peppers (red and orange) chopped
4 green scallions chopped
6 stalks of broccolini chopped

For the sauce:
1/2 cup of cashews
1 TBS unpasteurized white miso paste
1 Tea spoon olive oil
1 Tea spoon sesame oil
Italian seasoning to taste
Salt to taste
water (as needed)

I like to start with the sauce so that I can let the veggies soak the flavor, so blend all the ingredients from the sauce until smooth. In a mixing bowl, add the mushrooms, peppers, broccolini and scallions and mix with some salt and oil.

Take the dandelion, basil and arugula in the food processor and pulse until obtaining the desired consistency for the dip. Ensure that the leaves do not become liquid but chopped enough for the dip. Mix in with the vegetables and pour the sauce and mix well. I let it sit there for a few minutes to soak the flavors. You can also add garlic to the sauce before mixing.

Serve with other veggies or raw crackers.

Almond Ginger Kelp Noodles

12 June

I love kelp noodles! I have them at least once a week, and this past week I made the best ones so far. So I felt I should share with the world. Plus a few friends on Facebook wanted the recipe as well. So here it is.

1 bag of kelp noodles (16oz bag I believe)
1 cup of red shredded cabbage
6 mini sweet peppers (red and orange)
1 cup of Kale sliced or shredded
4 Scallions chopped
Olive oil to taste
Salt to taste
Cilantro

For the Sauce:
2 Tbs almond butter
1 Tbs unpasteurized white miso
1 clove of garlic
1 cube of ginger (about 1 inch)
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs coconut oil
1 Tea spoon sesame oil
Thai seasoning
Salt

 

Rinse the noodles and soaked for about 10 or 15 minutes. Mixed the onions, peppers, cabbage, and cilantro in a mixing bowl and sprinkle some salt, olive oil and Thai seasoning to taste and mixed well. Leave aside and prepare the sauce.

Put the sauce ingredients in the blender and mix well until smooth. Pour about half on the mixed vegetables and let is soak in the sauce while you rinse out the noodles again. Strain the noodles and put in mixing bowl. I like to cut the noodles so that they are shorter than how they are packaged. Mix well and add remaining sauce.

Sprinkle some black sesame seeds when serving. You can also add a jalapeno pepper or any spicy pepper to the sauce to make it hot. This serves about 2 big people like Denis and I… but if you love kelp noodles, you can have it all and not share it ;)

Raw Tomato Bisque Soup

14 February

I was on my way from work to home while Denis was driving and we were talking about food. Whenever I get bored of the same thing over and over and I believe I’m done with raw food, I come up with an amazing recipe!

Tonight, I came up with a delicious and simple tomato bisque recipe. I love soups, specially for dinner on a cold night.

Here is what I used (makes enough soup for 2 people):

4 Skinny carrots
1 Medium red tomato
1/2 Medium red pepper
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup pine nuts (optional to make it creamy)
2 Celery stalks (cut is smaller pieces for easier blending)
1/2 cup sun dried tomato flakes (you can also use whole sun dried tomatoes)
1 Tbs miso paste
2 Tbs coconut oil
1 Tbs Italian seasoning
1 tea spoon garlic powder
Pinch of organic cumin seed powder (optional)
Sesame oil, flax seed oil, and salt to taste
1/2 cup Water

I like to put the nuts in the blender first for any recipe but you can just drop all the ingredients in your blender and blend.

Since tonight was a cold night, I wanted my soup a little warm. My vitamix is able to warm up my soup without cooking it.

You can add any herbs like cilantro, parsley, or dill to decorate when serving.

It was so good that I decided to share the recipe immediately. Enjoy!

If I was Having a Wedding – Green Wedding

08 January

Miami Beach Courthouse Wedding

We eloped to the Miami Beach Courthouse

I wrote this post last year when Denis and I were thinking of getting married but somehow it got lost in the shuffle and I never actually published it.

Most wedding aren’t environmental friendly. Unless both the bride and the groom are very conscious, they will make more than an effort to keep it  “green” in every aspect.

Denis and I are very true to our beliefs, and we have been for the last nine years we have been together. We also are just not the wedding kinda people.  While most young girls plan their weddings their entire lives, I was never interested in marriage. I strongly believed that if someone loved me, there wasn’t a document they could sign to prove it.

BUT, unfortunately living partners do not have the benefits that married partners do. Not even heterosexual couples… (don’t even get me started on how unfair I believe it is not allowing homosexual couples to get married!!).

Anyways, and unfo rtunately, in order to prevent a Stig Larsson case, (not that I’m a writer), we wanted to ensure Denis could visit me in the hospital and make decisions if ever came up to that. Why me in hospital and not Denis? Cause I’m most likely to get into a car accident than he is… long story and not for this blog post :)

Anyways, so I came up with this thought about  “If we had the money to spend, what kind of wedding ceremony would we have?” And here is what I came up with:

If I was having a wedding, I would….

  • Host it at the beach: Of course, we love the ocean and it’s a great place for a party and “legalizing” an union.
  • Ask an Shaman to do the ceremony.
  • Wear a bikini, not white for sure! And Denis would wear swimming trunks. Guests would wear beach gear and no one would be allowed speedos or thongs!
  • Have my friends play music & do a drumming circle with the sage and all.
  • Serve all local seasonal raw vegan organic food catered by a friend or prepared by me. All the food left would be composted of course. The plates and utensils etc would all be re-usable of course.
  • Send email invitations, not paper.
  • Register at non-profit organizations like 350.org, PETA,J/P RHO, Humane Society, and have people donate money instead of gifts.
  • Have everyone that is coming farther than 30 miles be picked up in a hybrid vehicle. And anyone who was flying in, their trip would be offset.
  • Offset any carbon footprint left because of the party.

I think that’s all… I’m not familiar with what else happens at weddings so these are as much as I would do.

We certainly cannot afford something like this anyways at this time in our lives and anything else would not be true to our beliefs. Therefore, please know that as much as we would love to have you all be part of this moment, we are going to have to do what we can that meets our standards.

So yes, consider this post as your “Save the Date” email (sorry it’s now late though!). But who knows, maybe in 10 years we will be able to do something as such again, one never knows.

Much love,

Lina

As I mentioned in the beginning, I wrote this in October or November and somehow it got lost with all the other drafts.
So here are pictures of our actually wedding ceremony.

Wedding Miami Beach Courthouse

We are officially Mr. & Mrs. Gonzalez

Recycle Wedding Rings - Green Wedding Rings

The rings are recycled silver coins. They read "Liberty" :)

After the ceremony at the courthouse, we went to a new raw vegan restaurant that opened in SoBe, T.H.R.I.V.E.

Wedding Raw Vegan Food at T.H.R.I.V.E.

I had called ahead and asked the owner Sheryn, to make a nontraditional “wedding” cake for Denis and I that would have chocolate and berries. And this is the result:

Raw Vegan Wedding Cake

Raw Vegan Wedding Cake by T.H.R.I.V.E.