Tag Archives: vegan lifestyle

10 Acidic Foods to Avoid

02 October

I have talked about alkaline foods but many of you have asked what are acidic foods that can be eliminated from your diet for anyone, not just those with disease or transitioning to the alkaline lifestyle.

Acidic Foods

What are Acidic Foods?

In the Alkaline lifestyle, foods that are not alkaline are considered acidic and are below 7 in the pH scale. These are the foods that cause disease and allergic reactions to the body yielding an unhealthy environment for disease to grow and bacteria to thrive. These foods have been linked to cancer and heart disease.

Acidic Foods to Avoid

Here is a list of the top ten most acidic foods that should be avoided at all times:

  • Dairy products
  • Meat and shellfish
  • All forms of sugar (including fruits)
  • Vinegar
  • Mushrooms and algae
  • Peanut and peanut oil
  • Corn
  • Fermented foods (including soy sauce and miso)
  • Eggs
  • Alcohol

Anyone who wants to improve their general health can start avoiding these gradually and adding more alkaline foods to their diet to see results. From loosing weight to improving heart disease, these changes to your lifestyle will make a difference. Many doctors are starting to recommend a vegan lifestyle for heart disease patients. But it’s important to understand that a vegan diet can also be acidic or unhealthy. I was a raw vegan junk food eater and a vegan junk food years ago too. Before the decision to be a vegan became an energy/spiritual path reason, I would not mind eating french fries at a fast food joint, or eating a mushroom burger with fake cheese and drinking a sake bottle. I could still be a vegan, but the choices I was making were not healthy and highly acidic.

The same can be said about eating a raw vegan diet. There are those that eat 30 bananas a day believing that’s healthy because it’s fruit that fell from a tree. The truth is that tropical fruit is acidic and creates a terrible environment for the body. You might as well eat a steak!

Making healthy choices can be difficult but making small steps can be beneficial to your health.

Acidic Foods cheese and wine

Photo of steak, bacon, and eggs by missvancamp

Photo of wine and cheese by wendyness

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

The Spiritual Vegan Diet

21 August

Ahimsa The Spiritual Vegan Diet

Last year at Bhakti Fest, one of the MCs talked about a lifestyle challenge he entered as a way to improve his health. As he started the new vegan raw diet, he realized that his new diet is part of what Ahimsa in the yoga world means: Non-violence towards animals. I connected to that because being a vegan for me now is more of a choice-of-energy that enters my body than non-cruelty towards animals. But I knew Ahimsa meant much more beyond food. I was inspired by this topic and wrote about it on my post for MentalBlox.com. Here is a copy of the post:

 

Ahimsa | The Non-Violent Spiritual Diet

If you are a student of Yoga, whether it’s the asana practice only or all the other parts of yoga, you have heard the term Ahimsa. It means non-violence and avoiding harming ourselves and others including animals. Many yogis and yoginis are vegetarian or vegan, because, a true practitioner of yoga will take a vow of non-violence. Eating animals is part of Ahimsa because of the suffering and the violence animals are submitted before they died to become food on a plate. Vegetarism is a start, but Ahimsa is much more beyond being a vegetarian.

You Are What You Eat

I chose to become a vegan many years ago, at the beginning for health reasons, but now I choose to stay vegan for energy reasons. I don’t want the energy of another being in my body; I feel it affects my spiritual path, especially if the animal was hurt and tortured during the dying process to become food for humans. I’m fortunate to be allergic to eggs and dairy and therefore I’m not able to eat those either. Many of my friends have been able to get deeper once they adjust their diets to the principal of Ahimsa. And it’s no surprise that many religions avoid eating certain animals because they might not be as “pure” as others or because some animals are sacred and cannot be consumed.

Walking The Walk

When I started learning more about yoga, deepening my practice thru my teacher training, I became more aware of the term Ahimsa and why it was important in order to advance in my spiritual path. I felt great I was a vegan and thought that was all to it. Ahimsa doesn’t just refer to food and the killing of animals for food. It refers to everything in our lives, not having harmful thoughts about ourselves or others and other violent actions that lead to negative emotions like anger, frustration, fear, rage, and anxiety. So I had to stop wishing people on the road traffic tickets for bad driving, getting angry at my cat for spitting hairballs on my white couch, or killing roaches that come in to my house after a rainy day.

But the most difficult part has been not wounding and hurting me with my thoughts. Every time we judge ourselves and say mean things, we hurt our souls and self-esteem. I know it sounds corny but it’s true. Saying “I’m fat and ugly, nothing fits me”, or “I have a horrible hair day”, or “I’m so stupid”. Even not saying it out loud but thinking it, we are hurting ourselves. And if you have children or siblings that look up to you, they are learning from you to say those things about themselves too.

The Process

It may take a while for us to get used to being more loving towards ourselves and others. I started moving to the middle lane when I see a car coming fast behind me on the left lane, so instead of wishing them a ticket, I let them pass me. I stop telling myself how “fat I feel” when clothes don’t fit or calling myself “stupid” for closing a drawer on my fingers. One might be clumsy at times but it doesn’t mean we have to call ourselves a name or attach a negative feeling to that. Love your clumsy curvy self and the roaches or other animals that share this earth with us. That is the first step to Ahimsa.

Are there other ways you have come to realized Ahimsa applies in your life? Share with us!

Day of Organic Vegan Beauty

23 July
South Florida Organic and Vegan skin and hair care products and services

Vegan Lipstick from Lush Cosmetics

I’ve been pretty un-girly most of my life, not much into makeup, nails, and anything pink. But I do take care of my body inside and out at home. I put my money where my mouth is when it comes to skin and hair care and products. Because I’m a strict vegan, I won’t use anything that has bees wax even. So it’s difficult to find places and products that I’m willing to try if they don’t meet my expectations. However, I was happily surprised in the last six months to find that I won’t have to order online or wait until I go to another state to find the kind of establishments and products that do meet my requirements. So I had a nice day of organic vegan beauty right here in South Florida.

 

 

Organic Hair Salon

My hair is one the best assess I have, at least I believe so. I’ve never been afraid to try new styles and colors because fortunately hair is one of the few things we can grow back and try again. We are lucky to have Debbie Carusso in South Florida of Capello Salon and Boutique in Fort Lauderdale. She’s not only a great hair stylist but also has started a great conscious business that many of us in the health community needed. For many years I had to get my hair cut by people that do not live my reality and therefore understand why I’m so “picky” on what I use. But with Debbie, she understands why some of us are sticking to our beliefs. They also offer organic vegan nail services too!

 

Organic Vegan Waxing

As my life got busy with my full time job and our new business, I was finding less time to spend grooming. So I had to outsource my eye brows grooming to an expert. The problem was finding someone who would not use Bee’s wax or chemical waxes on my face. So one day, on my way to my yoga class at Red Pearl, I passed by 1111 Organic Day Spa. I went to their site when I got home, but I hated the site. One day I found a Groupon for a massage, so I bought and went. I felt in love with the place I had judge by their website. So next I asked about the ingredients in their wax and it was not only organic but also vegan! So I schedule a time to go get my eye brows done and haven’t stopped going there since then.

 

Vegan Makeup

My bff took me to the mall, which we both kinda hate. But she had to go purchase a face wash that she had ran out of. So I tagged along just hoping to get some tea at Teavana, but instead I stumble upon vegan makeup! The place she took me was launching their new vegan line. I played with some colors and other things and found the best mascara yet. My eyelashes are one of those top assess for me and I take really good care of them, and therefore have always been very strict about what I use. I was really happy to find vegan makeup that wasn’t at whole foods or online that I could try and see if it worked. The place is Lush Cosmetics and they have a store at the Aventura mall. The girls working there were so much fun and helpful that it made want to get a job there. But I can only take the mall for about twenty minutes every six months!

 

Body Oils and Soaps

Tree of India is the cutest soap and body oil shop in South Florida. It recently opened and its owner, Jessica is not only a yogini but connoisseur of oils. I’m obsessed with natural soaps and had traveled miles to get handmade organic vegan soaps, but now I’m able to go to Fort Lauderdale and get my soaps at Tree of India. I had been using Aubrey organics skin creams but started to make my own oil mixes in spray bottles instead using Jojoba oil from Whole Foods and avocado oil from Dr. Young. When the spray ran out, I decided to just keep using Jojoba oil. But once I discovered Jessica’s shop, I got the best oil I have tried so far on my skin.

 

It’s exciting to see our little South Florida organic vegan health community growing and providing the quality of services and products we all deserve to have accessible in our own backyard. As I discover more places, I’ll post them here. In the meantime, share with us any other places you have found in South Florida.

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

 

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.

 

 

 

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!

Happy Thanksgiving & Happy Raw Anniversary!

25 November

Thanksgiving Lunch Nov. 2010

Today Denis and I celebrated Thanksgiving and our 3 year anniversary of being 100% raw vegans.  I didn’t want to put a big production as I usually do every year so we kept it to just the two of us today.

Last week, I got asked: “What are you guys doing for Thanksgiving?” and it’s been so overwhelming for us in the last month that I realized I was not planning ahead for this weekend. I answered back: “I’m just trying to get thru today!” Which was true! I’ve been so busy with my school and work and life that I’ve been just taking it one day at the time.

Oh and no, I’m still not ready to share what I’m going to school for… in case you were hoping I spilled the beans here 🙂 .

So I woke up this morning and I asked Denis what he wanted to eat. His response was: “Nori rolls!”  I smiled and got my phone to show him pictures of last year’s Thanksgiving food and even what I made for Christmas last year to see if it would inspire him to ask for something other than nori rolls. But he still wanted nori rolls and instead he said: “If you feel inspired to make something, go ahead.” And I did.

After all, I was grateful that I didn’t have to stress about having people over, clean the house, and roll out the “big carpet” as I always do for my guests. I LOVE having people over, but with all the weekends I’ve had to give up, I haven’t been able to rest. So these four days were strictly for me and Denis to rest, spend time alone, and beach! And that’s what we did!

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Three Year Anniversary to Denis and I! Here is what I wind up “putting together” for today’s holiday:

Avocado Steaks with Sun-dried tomato gravy, cranberry sauce,  stuffing, and salad with hearts of palm and olives on the side and pumpkin pie for dessert.

Raw Thanksgiving Dinner in Islamorada, Nov. 2007