Tag Archives: veganism

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!

Raw Coconut Curry Kelp Noodles

22 March
kelp curry noodles

Kelp curry noodles

At my first Raw Spirit Festival in ’08, Sedona AZ, I came across Kelp Noodles. My friend John Schott from LifeFood Gourmet had a table at the festival and made an awesome tomato Italian sauce for these noodles. I got the last bowl he was selling and boy I’ve been hooked since then!

So when we got back to FL, Denis went online and looked them up… he ordered them and I’ve been making different sauces for them. My favorite is Coconut Curry sauce I created by accident trying to copy a red Thai chili sauce.

What  I enjoy most about this sauce and the noodles is that is easy to prepare and makes a great “fancy” meal when I’m tired and don’t want to send a lot of time in the kitchen.

Here is what you’ll need:

Kelp Noodles

Kelp Noodles

1 Pack of Kelp noodles

3 cloves of garlic (less if you can’t handle raw garlic)

Organic Cumin, organic curry powder, coriander, turmeric (all in powder form)

Ginger

1 Handful of cilantro

2 cups of coconut oil

Red chillies (Thai chillies)

Salt

Olive Oil

Lime or Lemon

Red Pepper strips

1  1/2 cup of almond or other white nut milk

Shredded lettuce & avocado

*Sweet peas, shredded celery & carrots optional

**To make it spicy (picante) add more chili peppers

First make the curry paste by putting the garlic, cumin, curry, coriander, turmeric, ginger, cilantro, chilies, salt, lemon, olive oil in the food processor and mixing until it becomes a paste. Add the nut milk and coconut oil and continue to mix.

Rinse the noodles well and put aside in a bowl to mix. Add sauce, red pepper strips, and optional vegetables (peas, carrots, celery). Mix well and let it sit for a few minutes.

Serve over a bed of lettuce with avocado.

Kelp curry noodles

Mixing the noodles, sauce, and vegetables

Moving to the Beach Salad

15 March
Seaweed Salad

Seaweed Salad

Denis and I moved from a small 3-bedroom house to a tiny beach apartment a few months back and during that stressful packing time, I made this recipe everyday.

I was making sure to empty my refrigerator so that I could clean it before returning the house, so we had very little fresh food left. I came up with this salad with different types of Seaweed to sort of keep the “ocean-sea” theme since we were moving to the beach. So I named it “Moving to the Beach Salad”!

Here is what you need:

Romaine lettuce

1 Tomato

Yellow/green beans

1 pack of Pacific Sea Vegetable Mix (wakame, funori, kiriboshi wakame, shiro kikurage, ito kanten, kizami hoshi kombu)*

Seaweed Dressing

1 Tbs. Namashoyu (unpasteurized soy sauce)

1/8 Raw sesame seed oil

1/8 Olive Oil

A few drops of Apple Cider vinegar (optional)

Pepper flakes

Real Salt to taste

*I’m able to buy a pack from Glaser market that is ready to prepare, but any seaweed salad mix will do.

Soak the seaweed salad for 10 minutes and drain water and add more water to soak for another 10 minutes. Or if you buy a particular brand of seaweed mix, simply follow the directions in the package. Some mixes require more or less time soaked in water.

In a separate bowl, mix the sesame oil, olive oil, namashoyu, pepper flakes, and apple cider vinegar if you are using it. We don’t use vinegar, but most seaweed salad dressings have vinegar and agave, but I believe apple cider vinegar replaces both. Depending on how big the package of seaweed is, you may have to increase the amounts of the oils and ingredients for the dressing.

After draining the seaweed water the second time, rinse the seaweed in a strainer or colander with more water. Shake the excess water off and add the salad to the bowl with the dressing. Mix well and let sit for about 5 minutes.

In the meantime, shred the lettuce or cut thinly to use a bed for the seaweed. Cut the beans as thin as you like and add to the lettuce. Cut tomatoes to complement the meal and finally add the seaweed on top of the lettuce and beans. I also serve this with avocado slices.

We eat seaweed at least once a week; it’s a good source of minerals and vitamins. We are fortunate that we can buy the seaweed mix at our local farm, but there are websites that sells amazing seaweed salads for a reasonable price. I recommend the Sea Tangle Noodle Company which also offers kelp noodles.

Hope you enjoy this recipe and stay tuned for my kelp noodle recipes!

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

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

Raw Hummus

14 November
Mediterranean Plate

Mediterranean Plate

Whenever I don’t feel like making a complicated dish for dinner or I have run out of greens, I make this hummus I learned at this year’s Raw Spirit Fest in D.C. I also add some cut veggies, usually left over veggies, to make a “Mediterranean” dinner or plate that comes out amazing with very little effort.

1 cup of Sunflower Seeds

2/3 cup of Hazelnuts

1/3 cup of Sesame Seeds

1 Tbs. Raw Tahini

2 cloves of Garlic

2 Tbs. Bariani Olive oil

The juice of ½ Lime or Lemon

Organic Cumin seed powder and Salt to taste

½ cup water

½ cup sun dried black olives

Using the food processor, combine the seeds and nuts; add tahini, olive oil, salt, garlic, cumin, lemon or line juice and begin mixing. After most of the nuts are grind, begin adding some water until you reach the desired consistency. I personally like it very smooth and liquid, but you can decide how much water to add. Add the sun dried black olives and continue to mix in the food processor until smooth.

Cut other vegetables such as broccoli, celery, carrots, cucumbers, red peppers, etc, and serve as a meal. It takes a few minutes and everyone loves the hummus.

Raw Party Menu

09 August

Appetizers

Zucchini Rolls

10 Zucchinis sliced in a mandolin slicer (for two people use 2 or 3 zucchinis and reduce the marinade)

1 cup of your favorite marinade (see recipe below)

2 cups of your favorite pate (see recipe below)

Slice zucchini using a Mandolin slicer and marinate the night before (I place them into a lasagna pan as if they were lasagna noodles and pour the marinade over each layer). When ready, prepare the pate to fill the rolls. Line up the zucchini slices and put a spoon of pate at on the slice and roll the zucchini and put in the dehydrator sheet. Repeat process to use all slices and pate. Dehydrate for 2-3 hours.

Marinade I recommend

Namashoyu

Braggs

Olive Oil

Italian Herbs

Pate I used for party

1 cup of hemp seeds

¼ cup of pine nuts

½ sun flower seeds

Olive oil

Salt to taste

2 Tbs. water

Italian herbs to taste

Crackers and Pate

White Crackers

1 cup sunflower seeds soaked for 1 hour

½ cup hemp seeds soaked for 1 hour

¼ sesame seeds soaked for 1 hour

¼ pumpkin seeds soaked for 1 hour

1 cup ground yellow flax seeds (I used yellow to make them light)

½ shredded zucchini

Any seasoning to taste (I often alternate between Italian herbs or Mexican Seasoning)

About 1 cup water

1 Tbs. salt

I soak all the seeds in the same container and after 1 or 2 hours I drain them and rinse them again with ionized water. I them put them in the food processor and grind. Put the grind mixed seeds in a bowl and add the flax powder and seasonings as well as salt. Mix well and then add the shredded zucchini. I add as much water as I want and continue to mix until I have the desired consistency and that way the crackers won’t have to dehydrate for a very long time. After mixing and making a “dough”, press them flat onto a teflex sheet and dehydrate for approximately 4 to 8 hours. Serve with any pate, salsa, or guacamole.

The original recipes is from LifeFood Recipe Book by Anni Padden Jubb and David Jubb

Main Dishes

Indian food

Indian Dish

3 zucchinis diced small

1 small eggplant diced small

1 broccoli cut in mini florets same size as the other vegetables

1 cup of diced tomatoes

1 yellow zucchini diced small

1 cup peas

1 Tbs. lemon juice

2 Tbs. olive oil

Curry powder to taste (I use about 2 Tbs. of curry)

A pinch of garam masala

A pinch of cumin

Salt to taste

Curry Sauce (see recipe below)

Mixed all the ingredients in a bowl and let the marinade mix well. Transfer to a teflex sheet and dehydrate for 1 to 2 hours.

Curry Sauce

1 red pepper

1 cup of sundried tomatoes soaked for about 2 hours

Garlic to taste (I use about 2 cloves or more)

1 Tbs. lemon juice

Ginger to taste (I use about an inch cube)

½ cup of cilantro

Curry powder to taste

1 Tbs. Coconut oil

Salt to taste

*To make it spicy I add about 1 red or green jalapeño

Blend all the ingredients in the blender until smooth (you may want to add a little bit of water or oil to make it more liquid). Bring the vegetables out from the dehydrator and put in a glass container and add the curry sauce. Mix well and return to dehydrator for another hour or so.

The original recipe is from Get Fresh Magazine by Russell James

Salad & Raw Nut Tofu

 

Salad and Tofu

 

I made a big salad and one of our friends brought another salad which everyone loved! I often use lettuce to replace rice and serve with any dish.

Raw Nut Tofu

1 cup Irish moss paste

¼ cup water

½ lemon juice

2 cups of Cashews soaked for 2 hours

1 Tbs. of unpasteurized light miso

Salt to taste

Blend in high power blender until smooth. Use a plastic wrapped container to pour the mix. Refrigerate for a few hours and serve. Another variation on this is to actually marinade the tofu in the kind of sauce you want until it soaks the sauce. I put the marinade in the blender from the beginning and refrigerate longer.

The original recipe is from Get Fresh Magazine by Russell James

Drinks

Ice Tea & Watermelon Juice

Ionized Water

Desserts

Chocolate Pudding

1 Avocado

¼ cup raw cacao

2 Tbs. maca powder

¼ cup raw agave

1 Tsp. of Mesquite powder

Salt to taste

Put all the ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth. Set in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Vegetarian vs. Vegan

26 July
Vegan Sandwich

Vegan Sandwich

Many of my friends and family members often ask us what is vegetarianism and veganism, difference between them, and the benefits of changing to these lifestyles. So I’ve decided to write about these three commonly asked questions and explain what I have learned in the subject of vegetarianism and veganism.

Definitions and Difference

Vegetarianism means to me to exclude all animals (meats and fish) from one’s diet. There are three subcategories within the definition of being a vegetarian. Lacto-Vegetarian includes dairy, Ovo-Vegetarian includes eggs, and Lacto-Ovo vegetarian includes both eggs and dairy. Veganism excludes all animals and animal byproducts not only from one’s diet but also one’s lifestyle. For example, vegan will not buy leather goods, or soaps that contain animals, etc. Therefore, the difference between being a vegetarian and a vegan is that vegetarians still consume some animal products (eggs, cheese, butter, honey, etc) even though they don’t eat the flesh. Vegans don’t eat, wear, or buy any animal products.

Benefits

Some of the benefits I found by transitioning to a vegetarian and later vegan diet included improvement in my health, increase in money savings, and decrease in environmental impact.

When I first started in the whole-foods/health journey, I was obese. Once I started fading out the amount of flesh I consumed, I started to loose weight. In addition, I saw changes improving my skin, energy level, mood swings, and productivity. I made sure to transition carefully and visit my doctor regularly to run blood tests to ensure that the process was not damaging to my body.

As we stopped buying animal products, I noticed that we were spending less money on food bills and eating out. We were also spending less money on energy drinks, extra vitamins, and restaurants as we found that vegetarian dishes are usually the least expensive in restaurant menus.

When we became vegetarians and later vegans, we were not aware of the impact that consuming animal flesh has in the environment. Always being an environmental conscious person, I was blinded about the effects that animal consumption has on our earth. I was glad to find months after the complete transition to veganism that we were helping save the planet by not consuming and not buying any animal byproducts.  I strongly believe that one cannot be an environmentalist and still eat animal flesh.

I don’t judge people for what they choose to eat. I have many friends and family members who will eat a steak in front of me while I’m eating a raw vegan meal. I believe every person has the right to make their own decisions when it comes to their lifestyle, and therefore, only one knows what is good for one’s self. I do not recommend anyone to change their lifestyle without doing the appropriate research and getting the advice of experts. I strongly believe that every person is different and what is good for me may not be good for another person. So here are some resources that can direct you to find answers.

Books

  • Vegetarian Times Vegetarian Beginner’s Guide by the Editors of Vegetarians Times
  • The pH Miracle: Balance Your Diet, Reclaim Your Health by Robert O. Young
  • The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World by John Robbins
  • Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World’s Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples by John Robbins
  • The Newman’s Own Organics Guide to a Good Life: Simple Measures That benefit You and the Place You Live by Nell Newman
  • Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman
  • The Great American Detox Diet: Feel Better, Look Better, and Lose Weight by Cleaning Up Your Diet by Alex Jamieson
  • If the Buddha Came to Dinner: How to Nourish Your Body to Awaken Your Spirit by Hale Sofia Schatz (Halé Sofia Schatz, Shira Shaiman)

Movies

  • Super Size Me (2004)
  • Crazy Sexy Cancer (2007)