Milks!

I prefer to use cashew or hemp milk for most things because I can make it on the spot. No thinking ahead! For those of you who like to drink nut and seed milks, you’ll need to try them to determine if you like them straight up, but using them to make chia seed pudding, or on homemade raw cereal, or as a base for creamy soups, you may prefer a different blend. Here are my recipes and, as usual, some thoughts…

Hemp milk

½ cup Raw Hemp seeds – I prefer to use ones I purchase from the refrigerator section, if possible

1 ½ cups Water

Blend in the blender

Cashew milk

½ cup Cashews – you can soak for ½ to 2 hours, but if you have a high speed blender and need the milk right now, you can skip this…

1 ½ cups Water

Blend in the blender

Almond (or sunflower or macadamia nut or pumpkin seed or ????) milk

1 cup Almonds, soaked 8 hours or over night in 2 cups water (or raw sunflower seeds)

2 cups Water for blending – adding up to 2 additional cups of water as you blend; starting with less water helps to blend the almonds up better. Once they are blended to a creamy texture, add the additional water.

Blend in the blender

(Note: my food co-op isn’t selling raw sunflower seeds any more, they are steam pasteurized. I found raw sunflower seeds at a reasonable price at Azure Standard https://www.azurestandard.com/. They sell lots of good organic and non-GMO things.)

Now, none of these needs to be strained with a nut milk bag or mesh strainer, but you probably should if you want to drink them straight. If you are using them on raw granola or in chia seed pudding or the like, you can use them as is. The hemp milk and cashew milk will come out much creamier than the almond milk. The hemp and cashew milks can be whipped up in a sec, just when you need them. With the almond and some of the other milks, since they require pre-planning and need to be soaked, you can make a batch, then freeze in individual serving size jars and use when needed. Just set your container on the counter or put in the fridge overnight to thaw.

If you like your milk a little sweeter, add a bit of date paste to the recipe. Play with the amounts until you get the exact sweetness you are looking for. Start with less paste than you think you need and add until it is just right. You can also add a little vanilla bean if that is more your speed.

Don’t forget 2 tablespoons of cacao or carob powder for chocolate milk or a cup or 2 of strawberries for strawberry milk in each recipe!

As with all raw recipes, start with the basic recipe and adjust the amount of water or nuts/seeds until it suits what you like.

The cashew and almond milks have a milder flavor and go with anything. The hemp and almond milk has a unique, but good, flavor. You might find that the unique flavors don’t pair with your coffee as well but are better on your raw granola. Of course, this is my opinion and you might think otherwise. 😊

In love and good health!

The Alkaline Environment

Acid-alkaline balance is important to your body. An acidic environment is the perfect setting for illness and disease. Cancer can not survive in an alkaline environment. We want to keep our bodies at a slightly alkaline on the pH scale. A pH of 7 is neutral. Human blood should be at 7.35 to 7.45. The food we eat determines the how acidic or alkaline the body is.

Eating foods that assist the body in maintaining the alkaline environment help to reduce anxiety and depression, digestive problems, chronic pain, inflammation, kidney stones, and muscle wasting/spasms, promote stronger bones, and so much more!

Eating a mostly raw, whole plant food diet supports the alkaline environment your body needs to thrive. While all plant foods are good for this, yes, even lemons when metabolized have an alkaline effect on the body, greens have an excellent alkaline effect on the body. Another reason to snarf up those greens!!

Hardy Gazpacho

 

Squeeze of lemon juice

3-4 tomatoes

1 cucumber

1 red pepper

1 cup basil

¼ onion, or to taste

1-2 cloves garlic, or to taste

½ to 1 t. jalapeño chili

½ avocado

(Add water if you want a thinner consistency).

 

Chunk all ingredients except avocado, then put in the food processor. Process to desired consistency. Transfer to bowl(s). Cube avocado and garnish soup. May also chop other veggies to garnish if you want to be really fancy, and add a whole basil leave to the garnish.

 

Of all the ways I have made gazpacho over the years, adding the chili in this recipe is what makes it great. Eat up!!

Eating simply

Fancy food is fun but isn’t necessary to good health. In fact, it is easier on the body when the food we consume is simple. It takes less energy to digest, leaving more energy to do the work of cleaning and detoxification, absorbing nutrients, and giving you a spring in your step!

Variety is necessary in the food you eat overall, but the variety doesn’t have to be in one meal or even one day.

Why eat more simply?

Eating more simply doesn’t overstimulate the appetite. It is easier for the body to find its satiation point. When there isn’t so much going on in your mouth, your taste buds can really perk up and savor the flavor of the food. Then when you have had enough to eat, your taste buds can more easily play a role in telling you that you are satisfied.

Eating more simply stimulates the digestive response for that one food, rather than multiple foods. Different enzymes are needed to break down proteins, carbohydrates, fat, and sugars. If too much activity is happening in the digestive tract, acids can cancel out enzymes causing food to ferment or decompose, not digest.

When many different kinds of foods consumed at once, our body can tire trying to sort digestion times for the various foods. Again, causing some food to not get digested properly.

Best of all, eating more simply saves time and energy in the planning, preparation, and cleanup of a meal, making it easier to stick to a whole plant food diet when life is busy.

So don’t pressure yourself to make every meal gourmet. A simple meal of your favorite fruit or a blended soup with only a few veggies makes it quick and leaves you with plenty of energy to enjoy the other pleasures in your life too!

Yummy Corn Chowder

I needed to use some frozen corn, so I thought Chowder. I was a little skeptical of what I might get…But be amazed!

 

¼ cup cashews, soak for at least a half hour if you don’t’ have a high speed blender

½ cup water

1 T. apple cider vinegar

½ to 1 clove garlic, depending your taste

1 thin slice onion, again depending on your taste

1t. paprika

Very small chunk jalapeno (I keep diced jalapenos in the freezer. I added a teeny tiny bit to this recipe, but you may add more, or omit, per your tastes).

1 cup corn

Put ingredients into blender and blend until smooth. Transfer ingredients to food processor and add:

1 cup corn

2 t. dried dill

½ cup sundried tomatoes

Water to blend to desired consistency. Start with a little water and add more until you get to what you want.

Process in food processor until blended by chunky. Eat immediately, or refrigerate overnight to take to work for lunch the next day.

Add ons:

I topped the chowder with raw croutons, avocado cubes, and nutritional yeast. Holy cats was this good! But it was equally good without the fancy toppings too. Use any or all if you are so inclined, or experiment with your topping ideas!

 

It really should be easy…

Raw whole plant-based foods rock our world! They are the ultimate to sustain and repair our health, they reduce the needless and cruel suffering of countless sentient beings, and they help save the planet. But, in my opinion, humans over complicate it! The science is confusing and will tell us almost anything depending on who funded the study. And I am convinced that we really know little about the produce we eat, in part because we only study food in parts, rather than in the way the food as a whole affects our bodies.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to learn what science has discovered, but I think it is only a fraction of what is really happening in our food. Some of us love the currently touted superfoods for all of the “extra” health benefits they are supposed to offer, some of us worry about food combining and getting just the right foods together in each meal, and some feel that it is best to count the carbs and nutrients we consume each day. But all whole, plant based, raw food is excellent for us, and I want to reduce the barriers and excuses for people to enjoy it. Nobody likes rules. The truth is we need variety, not just a concentrated few or in complicated combos or precise amounts.

Be free! Just focus on all the colors, flavors, and textures of the raw food diet for optimum health. Listen to your body, after all it knows best. If it tells you it wants watermelon for dinner, eat it! Enjoy your food, don’t stress about it. The only thing we really need to know is that raw, whole, plant food provides us the best possible nutrition.

In love and good health!

Wild Rice Salad

While this recipe is easy, it does take a bit of prior planning. But it’s sooo worth it!

2 servings

¾ cup wild rice, soaked 24 to 48 hours

To soak wild rice, cover with 3 times the amount of water. Soak for 12 hours, rinse and cover with fresh water again. Continue to do this for 24 to 48 hours. The rice will chewy and hardy.

½ green apple, dices

1 carrot, diced

1 celery rib, diced

1 green onion, chopped

¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped

Mix wild rice and chopped ingredients together into a bowl

½ tomato

½ avocado

1 T. apple cider vinegar

Put ingredients into blender or food processor and mix. It should be a little creamy but there can be some chunks in it. Add to the wild rice and mix well.

1 large handful arugula, roughly chopped

Put arugula in two bowls. Top with half of the wild rice mix in each bowl. Top with fresh cracked black pepper if you like it a little more peppery. YUM!!!

 

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Super Easy Fruit Smoothies

Fruit smoothies are so refreshing in summer, and are satisfying for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack! And they are super portable. With only a few general ingredients, greens, fruit, and a banana or avocado for a nice texture, they whip up in minutes (including cleanup!) and they are super portable. If I am going to have one for breakfast, I fill my blender container with the ingredients the night before and put it in the fridge. In the morning, I take it out and blend away! I keep a couple of 20 ounce double wall stainless steel shaker bottles in the fridge so I take my smoothie with me anywhere I go and have it at the ready. They stay cold all day long! I have turned a few people on to smoothie making when I have sat down to lunch at a conference I was attending and pulled out my smoothie, forgoing the oily, bland, unappealing fare being served at the buffet! It always catches people’s curiosity and interest!

There are so many combinations you can put together you can have a different flavor every day of the month!

 Super Easy Fruit Smoothies

1 large handful spinach (can also use romaine or kale)

1 banana

1 c. fresh or frozen fruit, choose a single fruit or a blend of 2 or more fruits, try all kinds of fruit combinations to excite your taste buds!

Add all ingredients to your blender. If using frozen fruit, let sit for a few minutes to allow fruit to slightly thaw. Blend until smooth.

Tips: For a nice change in flavor substitute ½ avocado for banana.

I happen to like my smoothies thick. If you like yours thinner, or if your blender has trouble blending the thicker ingredients, add water until you get the consistency you prefer, or until your blender processes the ingredients adequately.

If you want to get fancy about it, try any of these add-ins to your smoothie:

1 T. of any of these:
Vinegar
Hemp seeds
Chia seeds
Flax seeds
Maca powder

Small chunk:
Turmeric
Burdock root
Ginger

Fresh aloe – this has a very strong taste so start with a tiny bit and work your way up to the taste

 

Eat Your Sunscreen

May gray moved aside in Southern California this weekend and I took advantage of it! I LOVE the sun and hot weather. But what about all that exposure to the sun we are supposed to avoid by slathering on the toxic, cancer causing sun screen, or keeping ourselves completely covered up? There’s a better way! Eat your sun screen!

Say what? Whole plant based foods have been shown to increase the skin’s ability to protect against sun damage. A raw food diet delivers optimal nutrition so that our bodies can do all the work they were meant to do, including helping our bodies utilize the health promoting factors of the sun. What’s the secret? Antioxidants, phytonutrients, and probably a ton of other good for us stuff in whole, raw, plant foods that we don’t even understand yet.

So first, let’s look the health benefits of the sun. The sun promotes vitamin D production in the body which is necessary for strong teeth and bones, has a beneficial effect on skin disorders, protects against and helps heal certain kinds of cancer, supports a healthy immune system, protects against dementia, helps the body release excess fat, helps children grow, cures depression, promotes good sleep, protects against heart disease, lowers blood pressure, it’s a natural pain killer, is good for your eyes, and the list goes on! So, the sun isn’t the problem.

Just as a poor diet has a negative effect on skin and overall health, a diet of whole raw foods may offer protection from various health problems, including sun-related ones! Food is our first line of defense. What we eat can have a big impact on how our skin manages the sun. Eating plant foods give us the raw materials to build our own sun protection, from the inside out. While I believe that all foods in their whole raw form create a healthy body that can manage sun exposure, here are some foods that stand out for skin protection:

Red and orange fruits and veggies rock your world! Lycopene, found in tomatoes and other red and pink produce, has been shown to aid in protection against some UV-induced skin irritations and minimizes any inflammatory response to UV damage by your body. Watermelon, the perfect summer food, explodes with lycopene, containing 40% more than tomatoes. Components found in red grapes have been shown to protect against sun damage, skin cancer, and skin cell death.

Beta-carotene, found in carrots and other orange produce, reduces reactions to sunburns, and the flavanoids found in orange and pink citrus fruits have also been shown to improve the skin’s ability to protect against UV rays

Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, and cauliflower, are packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients that help fight sun damage and skin cancer and help protect the body’s cells against UV radiation. Cauliflower is a great source of histidine, which stimulates healthy production of urocanic acid, a natural photoprotective. There’s never been a better time to load up on those sprouts!

If it’s green and leaf-like, it’s likely good for sun protection. Fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, sage, and rosemary, are loaded with antioxidants. Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, lettuce, and swiss chard are also chock full antioxidants. These greens may naturally protect the skin from sun damage and may halt cell growth prompted by UV light.

Turmeric has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help protect the epidermal skin cells from the damage caused by ultraviolet B radiation.

The Omega 3 fatty acids in flax seeds can protect your skin from sunburn, reduce inflammation if sunburn occurs, and fight against skin cancer. It also helps keep your skin moisturized so it won’t dry out. Why not add 2 tablespoons to your next smoothie.

Almonds are an excellent source of vitamin E, which protects and repairs the skin from sunlight, and quercetin, which has been shown to protect against UV damage and the wrinkle-causing breakdown of collagen.

And don’t forget the green tea, after all, it started as green leafies. When you sip a cup of green tea, it contains properties that protect against sunburn inflammation and long-term UV radiation damage. The tannic acid helps calm sunburn pain.

Even after loading up on all this raw goodness, please use common sense when out in the sun. Don’t get sun burned. When you haven’t been in the sun for a while, acclimate to sun exposure slowly. If you are going to be out in the sun for an extended period of time, wear a light long sleeved shirt, pants, and a hat. If you need to wear a sunscreen, look for non-toxic options. Check out EWG’s guide to sunscreens. The sun gets negative press, but the real negative press should be on the harmful effects of the chemically laden sunscreens we are exposed to. And, skin cancer rates are on the rise, despite the use of sunscreen and reduced exposure! So, don’t be afraid of the sun; be afraid of the chemicals in your sunscreen…

Eat up and enjoy the summer!

In love and good health.

Best Beet Smoothie

 

1 beet, leaves and all
½ inch chunk or so of ginger
Wedge of lemon, peel removed
Handful spinach
½ avocado, optional, this gives it a creamier texture
1 Apple or pear, if using a high speed blender there is no reason to remove the core
Filtered water for blending or to add to make your smoothie the consistency you want

Chunk the beet and apple or pear and put in blender container. Add remaining ingredients. Blend, adding water (or not), until you get the desired consistency and your smoothie is…smooth! I usually like my smoothies thick so I can eat them with a spoon. But sometimes they are better with more liquid so you can drink them easily. Whatever you feel like that day!

Beets are super good for your cardiovascular health and may improve your stamina. I have never been a fan of beets, but this recipe is absolutely yummy! And I can report an improvement in my running performance since I have made this recipe a regular in my diet.

Additional benefits of beets: Greater focus, better concentration, supports liver cleansing, and helps fight chronic disease.

Drink up!