Tag Archives: vegan lifestyle

Best Gazpacho Ever

17 October

Last Full Moon, I made the best gazpacho soup ever! We fast every Full Moon and this is one of my favorite soups to make at the end of the fast since it’s liquid but has some “chunks” of veggies that are easy to eat to break the fast.

These are the ingredients needed:
4 Heirloom tomatoes (soft ones, medium size)
2 Stalks of celery
1 Clove of garlic
1/4 of a medium sweet onion
Juice of 1/2 lime or lemon
1 Date (soaked for 10 to 15 minutes)
Cilantro and basil to taste
Salt and olive oil to taste
1/2 medium avocado cut in cubes

In the food processor, add 2 of the tomatoes, celery, garlic onion, lime/lemon juice, date, cilantro, basil, and salt. Pulse as many times as needed to make chunks that will be added to the base. Take everything out of the food processor into a bowl and set aside.

Take the remaining tomatoes and put them in the food processor or blender, add salt and make into the base of the soup. You can also add water if desired. I prefer mine with no water.

Pour the tomato juice into the bowl with the chunks, add olive oil, and mix with a spoon.

To make it spicy, you can add a chilli pepper or any hot pepper you can handle and blend with the base. Another option is to add cayenne pepper powder on each bowl.

Add the avocado cubes to each soup bowl and serve! It’s simple and delicious!

Road Trip to ECHO Farms

01 September

About a week ago, Denis, my new BFF, and I drove to Fort Myers to ECHO Farms to check out their edible plants and trees and see what we could get. After a quick stop in Naples for lunch, we headed north on I-75 to Bayshore Rd and arrived at the farm.

ECHO stands for Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization, they are a non-profit organization that educates and trains people that work or volunteer around the world to help communities in need.

It was getting ready to rain so we had to hurry. But the staff at the farms was very friendly and spent time with us showing us all the greens and fruits available.

The prices were reasonable and they had a nice variety of edible greens.  So here are some of the trees and plants they had at ECHO farms:

Avocado Trees! This made me want to have a yeard to plant some of these!

Grapefruits! Our favorites! Once again I caught myself staring at it and wondering how I can grow a grapefruit tree on the beach! LOL

Neem: We bought this little tree and I hope I won’t kill it. Don’t know exactly what I’ll use it for, but I’m sure I be making something!

Tropical fruit trees: As most of you know, Denis and I stay away from tropical fruit as most is acidic. But ECHO had a good variety of tropical fruit trees if anyone is interested.

Jaboticaba Tree: This is one we love, but won’t be growing in our yard anytime soon for sure. But at least now I know where I can get one.

Katuk: This one will be on my salads this week for sure! We got it and it was about $5 bucks! You can get any better than that!

We also purchased two varieties of hot peppers, a moringa plant, spinach plant, and cilantro seeds for next season and worm manure. It was a great trip to the West coast!

What Kind of Issues Can a Juice Fast bring?

30 August

Denis and I had wanted to do a green juice fast for the longest time. We do a monthly liquid fast during the full moon and it feels great. So we wanted to know what it was like to just do a green juice fast. We decided this full moon was good time to do it and planned to get all our juices from Josh’s Organic Garden.
We started on Monday and finished it on Saturday. Initially we wanted to do seven days, but I had the feeling I wouldn’t last more than two days. I thought for sure by Tuesday I would quit and go back to eating. Sure enough by day two I was ready to quit, but decided to stick with it because a lot of emotions were surfacing and I wanted to see what else would come up.
Instead of describing how each day went, I wanted to share some insights I had during my fast, not about how my body responded or all the benefits I enjoyed, but the emotions I had to deal with during the green juice fast. We followed Dr. Young’s pH Miracle Cleanse in case you’re wondering.

Empty Refrigerator

Since we decided to get all the juices already made at the Josh’s Juice bar, we didn’t shop and our refrigerator was empty. I hid the truffles we had purchased during our trip to Naples and any other “goodies” I would cheat with.
Seeing the refrigerator with no greens, no food made me sad. I felt like I had nothing in life. Empty. Without a home, without love, without money. I felt like my world was ending because my refrigerator was empty. I immediately told Denis about this and he hugged me and laughed. So I started laughing too. This happened the second day of the fast and it was the reason I decided to keep going.
I don’t know exactly how my brain/mind believes that food equal the meaning of life (apparently). All I can say is that it may go back all the way to childhood but I’m not sure yet.

Not Having to Make Food

The second thing that surfaced in my mind was this. I had extra time in my hands by not having to prepare food and not going to yoga class so I was able to take time for blogging. While I was working on my blog, I kept thinking: “Oh I have to go make food, I better stop typing” and then I would remember: Oh I’m fasting no need to make food. Ten minutes later I would start panicking cause I hadn’t make food yet and it was getting late, but then I would remember I’m fasting, no need to make food. And that continue the whole night.
One of the first reasons I got sold on the “Raw” idea was cause it took less time to prepare food. I’m constantly looking to cut things out so that I can have more time to do other things. And I always feel stressed out about making food. Once this issue came right in front of me, I realized that I think making food is all I do and live for. To feed people. I don’t know exactly how to handle this information, but it was very interesting to find that deep inside I feel food is my ONLY job and purpose in life.

Variety of Food

I’ve always known this about me: I get bored with the same thing over and over. And that’s just not food. Everything. Well except for my partner in life (9 years and still not bored one bit!)… Anyways, so going into the fast I knew that having the same juice everyday wasn’t going to work for me and would probably quit by day two. But this time was worse than ever. I didn’t want to see the green juice even as hungry as I would get, I didn’t want it. Instead I wanted to keep drinking water but not the green juice. I believe one of the reasons why I’m creative in the kitchen is because I have to have variety. Even my lunch salad is different everyday.

Sticking with the green juice fast help me see that my issue with food variety is deeper than I imagined.

Dreams about Food

Going in I had the feeling I would be dreaming about food every night and eating all sorts of junk in my dreams. I actually thought that in the dreams I would want to stop my raw diet. But I was wrong.  One night I had a dream about a carnival, possibly Renaissance fest, where I had to drop off something for work. I walked through the food to where I was going, but no I didn’t stop for any food even thought I was offered a donut. That was one of the two dreams about food I had.

During the fast, I wasn’t even attracted to junk food. I didn’t even for a minute think I would run and start eating a SAD diet again, even a vegan junk cooked diet for that matter. But I did want and was tempted to eat the sun dried olives in my refrigerator, my avocados and some oil. So all doubts that I had about ever “cheating” or going back to a cooked vegan diet are no longer there. I now know that I love my raw food, even under stressful circumstances, I only want raw food.

In conclusion, and now a day after we broke the fast, I’ve got work to do with all this information I collected during this fast. I do have to say that compared to the first fast I ever did (6 years ago, water fast for three days while I was still on a vegetarian SAD diet), I did excellent. But compared to my monthly liquid fast, I did not do well at all. I complained the whole time and didn’t want to drink my juice.

Physically my body felt great, happy, healthy and grateful. I’m going to try it again, possibly the next full moon or the one after. Not having any fruits this week was amazing for my body and it let me know so.

So what’s next? Meditate on all these issues that came up.

30 Coconuts a Week

27 August

About 4 weeks ago, Denis bought 30 coconuts and we had a feast! From drinking the water to making creams, salad dressings, smoothies, soups, etc. The following week he bought 20 coconuts, and the week after that 15 coconuts.

By the end of the third week I couldn’t come up with any more coconut dishes, and Denis had made coconut cream and stored it in the refrigerator. I didn’t want to waste it, and I needed breakfast but was tired of coconut smoothies, so I made cereal!

I soaked some nuts, seeds, goji berries, and raisins in water overnight. The next morning I mixed in the coconut cream with cinnamon powder, maca, mesquite, salt, and palm sugar to taste.

I took it to work and when I got to the office all the flavors had come together rather nicely. So that night I soaked the nuts, seeds, etc but only for a short time. After I rinsed everything, I mixed them in the coconut cream with the same powders, etc and stored overnight in the refrigerator. The next morning I had an amazing breakfast! The flavors of all the nuts, seeds, dried fruit and powders had blended and made an amazing cereal!

The coconut cream was made by blending the coconut meat and water from a young fresh local coconut. You can add extra water or more coconut butter to make as smooth as desired. The water from young coconuts is very energizing and mildly alkaline.

Enjoy!

RAW FAQs

27 May

Raw Food Party

I’ve summarized the questions I get all the time from family, friends, strangers on the beach, at work, in a plane, etc.

What do you eat normally on a daily basis?

For breakfast I eat one of these: fruit smoothie, green smoothie, fruit, oatmeal, ALT (Avocado, Lettuce, Tomato) salad, or a green juice.

For lunch it depends, weekdays a salad because is the easiest to take to work than some fancy raw gourmet dish. Weekends I get fancy or go out to lunch at one of my favorite raw food restaurants.

Dinner is always different. Most times it will be a new recipe or one or favorite meals like hummus, nori rolls, kelp noodles, cucumber noodles, tabouli, and all meals always accompanied by avocado and a bed of romaine lettuce.

Indian Dish

Raw Indian Food

Do you miss cooked food?

Not eating the cooked food so much but cooking it. I have been cooking food since I was 11 years old and that way my only creative outlet. The first 6 months I missed eating cooked lentils the way I made them and some vegan spicy Indian foods.

Do you get tempted to eat cooked foods?

No, I may enjoy the smell of cook food I see other people eat or at the beach while I ride my bicycle and the smell all the fried food, but when I imagine putting something cooked in my mouth and eating, I know it’s not for me.


What is the biggest challenge of being raw vegan?

For every person is different. For me the biggest bump on the road was not being able to prepare food and be creative. With cooked food, I was able to go to a restaurant and copy the recipe at home and make it ten times better. With raw food it was hard at the beginning, it was like learning a new language. I had to start from my ABCs and then make sentences until I was able to speak, write, and read fluently! So for me the biggest struggle was in preparing the food, not eating it because I was so attached to working in the kitchen and making from delicious exotic gourmet dishes to your regular fast food favorites.

What do you drink?

Juices

Thank God, Orange Juice, & Grapefruit Juice

Well this is tough one because most people struggle with things I gave up years ago. I stopped drinking sodas when I was 11 cause my basketball coach said he would throw us out of the team if  he saw us drinking sodas! When I turned 18, I was drinking a lot of coffee and water all day long, about 8 cups of coffee and 1 bottle of water per coffee cup. And I did it for years until I turned 21. At 21, I started drinking teas cause of the Russian and so I replaced my coffee habit for tea. So I stopped caffeine 9 years ago, and when we started on Dr. Young’s diet, we began drinking a green powder in our water. So now I drink my “greens” from Alkavision or Dr. Broc’s from Dr. Young, fresh non-heated non processed juices made at home or from Josh’s Organic Garden Juice Bar or Glaser. So drinks were not an issue for me when I transition to raw because I had started it years ago.

What do you use to replace sugar or artificial sweeteners?

This is also a hard question to answer for me because I haven’t had regular bleached sugar since I was 12, unless it was sugar included in processed foods that  I consumed. And once I switched to Dr. Young’s diet, I had no sugar at all, not even from fruits and if I wanted to sweetened my tea I would use stevia. I only starting eating fruits again when I became raw, but they bother me, so I avoid most fruits. We also used agave for the first year we were raw, but now agave make us sick too. So what’s left that works for us? Stevia or lucuma powder. Some raw foodists will use honey, but I’m a vegan and I believe honey farms are a form of slavery and therefore I don’t support them.

What about Kombucha?

I love Kombucha! Yeah it’s fermented and it’s not good for me. So I’ve had it for “recreational” purposes, but now I avoid it.

What supplements do you take?

I don’t take any, I started fading them away about 3 years now. But there are other people who may need them, so again, I would recommend to consult a doctor about that. I know a lot of raw foodists that are against supplements or doctors, but one’s gotta do what is good for the body. I let my body guide me and if it needs something, I’ll go directly to the source. For example, if I need iron, I’ll eat foods that have iron and so forth. Lately, I’ve been eating raw tahini by the gallon (JK) so I can guess that I probably need the calcium.

If you have any questions, please send us an email.

Raw Cashew Tofu Salad

Raw Cashew Tofu Salad

Raw

24 May

Raw Vegan - Rebel with a Cause

“What is a raw vegan?” I get asked sometimes or why I choose to eat a raw vegan diet. So in this post I’m going to describe in my own terms what I consider my diet is.  First, I choose to do vegan diet first and foremost, before organic or before raw, I’m a VEGAN. That means no animal byproducts such as honey, eggs, cheese, etc. Raw means that I choose to eat all vegan foods uncooked or unheated.

Some people wonder what is left to eat if I don’t eat animals. Well, any vegetables, grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, sprouts and to eat them raw means no steaming, stir frying, boiling, roasting, or heating above 105 degrees.  While most people get to a supermarket and head for the frozen section, I head over to the produce and the bulk grains and nuts.

I was a vegan for about a year before I transition to 100% raw, but before I even knew what raw was, I was already eating about 70% raw for years. I started the raw vegan lifestyle inspired by a documentary by Kris Carr, Crazy Sexy Cancer, and haven’t turn to look back since then!

There are many types of raw diets, and what works best for me is a raw alkalarien diet. I use Dr. Robert Young’s pH scale and principles to do a raw alkalarian diet. He basically states that to stay balance and not create an acidic environment in one’s body, one must balance the pH in the body by consuming more alkaline foods and practicing more alkalarian ways of living. Denis and I learned about Dr. Young’s pH diet 7 years ago and before transitioning to raw, we had already been following the pH diet which made it very easy to transition to raw.

As I mentioned, I chose to eat a raw vegan diet for health reasons. However, I now see that this lifestyle fits my beliefs. For example, being raw helps the environment which as you all know I’ve been passionate for many years. I can write a whole new post about the different ways being raw contributes to the environment. It  has also helped me improve my spiritual practice and sculpting my body.

A raw vegan diet is not for everyone and it’s not the solution to one’s issues. As always, when making any changes in my lifestyle, I made sure I monitor my health by visiting my doctors and ensure that the changes I made were beneficial to my body and mind.

In part two of this blog, I will answer the most common questions I get asked about my raw vegan lifestyle. But the most important point I would like to get across in this blog is that everyone is different and while this lifestyle works for me, it may not work for other people at this point in their lives. That’s why is critical to do research and consult a doctor before making any changes.

Here are some tips on how to transition to a vegan diet. Enjoy!

Chubby Hubby Raw Brownies

10 March
Raw Brownies

Raw Brownies

Denis is supper addicted to chocolate and it has been a real challenge for him to stop eating chocolate (raw cacao). But once in awhile we both breakdown and make these brownies. I used to call them Midnight brownies because they would keep me up all night. But Denis prepares them and has perfected the recipe as time goes by and so now I call them Chubby Hubby Raw Brownies.

1 cup of almond flour
1 cup of chocolate powder

1/4 cup flax seeds meal* (powder)
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup agave
2 Tbs. of Maca
1 Tbs. of Mesquite
Pinch of Salt
1 Tsp. of ashwagandha
1 Tsp. of shilajit
1 Tbs. of vanilla powder

Mix in food processor until you get the brownie consistency. Mold into squares or any shape wanted. Eat next to a love one and watch TV all night.

*Flax meal is made by grinding the seeds

Enjoy!

5 Tips to Become a Vegan

25 February
vegan pie

Vegan Pie

Last year I wrote about beginning to transition to a vegetarian diet.  If you are ready to take the next step and have decided this is the right choice for you, here are five ways to get started with a vegan diet. These tips follow the steps from the previous post.

Start Fading Fish from Your Diet

Fish was hard to give up because I loved sushi! I started using mock meats and substitutes such as tofu & tempeh. I used the same formula for meats and other animals; I started eating fish only three times a week for a month and only if I prepared it at home. When I went out, I would order a vegetarian or vegan meal. After a few months, I was able to only eat fish once a week and soon stopped completely.

Substitute Milk and other Dairy for Soy or Almond Milk

There are many products out there to replace dairy. I started with almond and rice milk, cheeses, ice cream, butter, etc.

Soy CreamPhoto by:  Veganbaking.net

Tofu, Your New Best Transitional Choice!

Learning to prepare and enjoy tofu can be challenging. But with the right recipes or going to the right restaurants, one can soon enjoy tofu. I found that the best tofu recipes can be found at Asian restaurants like Japanese, Korean, Chinese, etc. I also learned that the trick to preparing tofu at home is marinating it for about 4 to 8 hours in your favorite sauce. I used to copy the recipes from my favorite restaurants and prepared them at home. It’s important to know the different textures tofu is sold and how it is used. Most brands have a picture of how to use tofu depending on its texture. Silken is most commonly used in puddings and smoothies, firm and extra form for frying baking, etc.

TofuPhoto by: avlxyz

Read it: No Animal Bi-Products

Once I found out that I was allergic to dairy, I stopped consuming dairy products. However, I was not aware that hundreds of packaged foods have dairy. For example, crackers and you good-old-plain saltines have dairy. It’s important to read the labels of packaged foods even if they are labeled vegetarian.

Learn to Order Vegan Dishes in Non-Vegan/Non-Vegetarian Restaurants

Vegan Potato Green BeansPhoto by: rusvaplauke

This is one of the tips that saved me, learning how to order a healthy meal at an unhealthy restaurant. Whenever I went out to eat, I would ask the waiter/waitress for any vegan or vegetarian dishes so that I wouldn’t have to read the entire menu. I have yet to find a restaurant that doesn’t have a vegetarian or vegan alternative. If they didn’t have a dish, I would make one on my own. For example, every restaurant offers side dishes, baked potatoes, side vegetables, fruit plates, etc. So I would order three sides and a house salad which usually didn’t include meats or dairy. Because I was allergic to dairy, I would always ask for no butter or cheese in any of the side dishes and would let them know of my allergies.

One of the biggest challenges is learning to change your habits, and enjoy the transition. If it is done right, it will be very rewarding. Any time I made changes to my diet and lifestyle, I made sure to visit my doctor to monitor my health.

It is important not to judge others and preach. We’re all different and what works for one person, may not work for someone else. So love your family and friends the way they are and don’t try to convert anyone. Just because you made a choice, doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for others.

Have fun & don’t stress!

Vegan Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

Recommended reading

  • Vegan with a Vengeance: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
  • The pH Miracle: Balance Your Diet, Reclaim Your Health by Robert O. Young
  • Vegetarian Times Vegetarian Beginner’s Guide by the Editors of Vegetarians Times
  • Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman
  • Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World’s Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples by John Robbins

My Father’s Scramble Tomato, Onion, and Rice Eggs… Vegan Style

10 February
Raw Vegan "Eggs"

Raw Vegan “Eggs”

When someone doesn’t feel like making food or cooking, they order take out or go out to eat. And if budgets are tight, most of us have a recipe we make for those days when we just don’t feel creative about making food or are tired.

My dad’s recipe for those occasions was scramble eggs with rice, tomatoes, and onions. He would fry the chopped onions, tomatoes, and left over rice and throw a few whipped eggs and make a meal out of that. For many years before we became raw vegans, I would use my father’s recipe for when I felt tired and didn’t want order take out food.

I now have a raw vegan version of this recipe that is very quick to prepare and tastes amazing.

Here are the ingredients:

2 Handfuls of Almonds (hopefully sprouted)

¼ cup Flax Seed Powder

Turmeric

Organic Cumin Seed Powder

Real Salt

2 Tomatoes

½ Medium Onion

Cilantro

½ small jalapeno pepper (optional)

Olive Oil

Avocado and Shredded Romaine lettuce

Put the almonds in the food processor with the flax seed powder, turmeric, cumin, and salt. Process to a powder and set aside in a bowl.

Almond Powder and Tomatoes in Food Processor

Almond Powder and Tomatoes in Food Processor

Using the same food processor (no need to wash it), put cut tomatoes, onions, oil, cilantro, and salt to taste. Pulse to make a semi-chunky salsa and avoid making it too liquidy. If you are using the jalapeno pepper, add them to the salsa to make it as spicy as you can handle. Add the salsa to the powdered almonds and mix without making to mushy.

Mixing Powder and Salsa

Mixing Powder and Salsa

Serve over shredded lettuce, I use the lettuce to replace the rice in my father’s recipe. Slice the avocado and serve on the side. This serves two people, a tiny woman and a big Russian!

I recently added something else to this recipe; I’ve been using pumpkin seed oil and pour it over avocado. It’s delicious!

Enjoy!

Raw Borsch – Beet Soup

05 December
Russian Raw Borsch

Russian Raw Borsch

One of my favorite cooked dishes was Russian borsch. It was my favorite soup to make for Denis and when we became vegetarians I stopped using beef to make it. However, when we became raw, I had a hard time finding a recipe for borsch that I liked. Finally, I invented my own and liked how it came out.  The almond milk gives it a “sour cream” feeling to it.  I have actually made this soup with golden beets as well.  So I hope you enjoy it as well!

1/2 cup of raw almonds & water (or 1 cup of raw almond milk)
1 medium size tomato
2 medium size beet
2 carrots
3/4 cup shredded cabbage
Garlic and onion to taste
Salt to taste
Olive Oil
Chopped dill

Blend the almonds and water to make almond milk. Strain the milk in a nut bag or if you want to keep the pulp, don’t strain. Poor the milk back into the blender and add one beet, one carrot, and the tomato. Add some salt, garlic, onion, and olive oil and blend until smooth. Put aside in a bowl.

Shred the other carrot and beet and add to the soup base.  I use my food processor with a shredding blade to save time. Add cabbage and dill.

Pour in serving bowls and add some olive oil on the top.

Serves two hungry adults :)

Making the Almond Milk/Base for Borsch

Making the Almond Milk/Base for Borsch