How to Make a Raw Cacao Drink that Will Make You Throw Out Your Iced Coffee Forever

Recently inspired by the Suja Macachino and Forager Project Nuts B drink, I decided to experiment and keep a full Hamilton (just about) in my pocket – here’s the recipe:

16 oz raw almond milk
(8 oz cold brew coffee)
Heaping tablespoon of cacao powder
1/4 cup soaked cashews
4 medjool dates
Pinch of Himalayan salt
Raw ground vanilla bean

Blend the crap out of all of it. The cashews should have been soaked for about 30-60 minutes to make them blendable. You’ll get some cashew and date pieces at the bottom, but that’s just your chunky present to look forward to.

This is an amazing and stimulating drink. A great blend of rich nutty flavor and coffee.

The cold brew coffee is not raw, as the beans are roasted, but you can take the coffee out and replace it with a little extra cacao or a pinch of maca

You know what though? Take out the coffee. Escape the tyranny of coffee. I’m on a severe anti-coffee bender right now after the havoc it wrecks on my sleep. Although paradoxically I wouldn’t spend hours and hours writing this post if it wasn’t keeping me up in the middle of the cold cold wretched night. I haven’t figured it out yet, but throw in more cacao or some carob or some of your wheatgrass powder even. Get funky with it and leave the coffee for the civets.

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Coffee is for Quitters, Switch to Anything Else

I always deceive myself into needing coffee. The problem with coffee is I haven’t built up a tolerance yet at age 25 working at a corporation. If there is anytime to really use coffee as a crutch it’s now. Now when I’m juggling my W-2 with personal projects and gigs trying to save some extra money so I can buy my future kids gluten free crackers if they need it.

Not building up a tolerance to coffee is bad for days like this when I deceive myself into it. I need coffee when I haven’t gotten enough sleep to the point of literally can’t keep my eyes open. Coffee is evil. Actually coffee didn’t do anything, it’s just chilling in the jungle as part of a larger pod, happy to be eaten RAW by some friendly jungle cats. Then us intelligent humans come along and chop it off the tree, split is apart, process it, roast it, grind it, can it, ship it as a denatured drug all over the world.

It’s bad not having a tolerance because if it’s 2pm and I have to trudge though 5 more hours of work I look to it as my only hope. I look to it as a band aid for my failure to live properly. For my failure to sleep 9 hours, medicate by meditating in the morning, have a peaceful breakfast, and kick the crap out of my mental barriers and new tech distractions.

In a way though, coffee is a canary in the coal mine. It’s a reminder to me as a non-addicted individual that I’m doing something wrong. I’m not sleeping, exercising, and planning enough. I’m not being present and aware. Not choosing kale salads and green smoothies first. After I have a green smoothie I think “This is the answer, no wonder they’re catching on.” But I forget about green smoothies. And they don’t make them at the cafe at 2pm. And I turn to coffee out of ignorance.

And now I’m writing at 1:30am and I have to wake up at 4am for a trip.

Frack you coffee.

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Conventional Strawberries are Terrible, Organic are Amazing

Conventional strawberries are disgusting. Or at least they have become so over the past decade. At Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, grocery stores across the nation, strawberries that are not organic are just not flavorful.

I think our lizard brains that like big beautiful things are dominating our thought processes at the grocery store and telling us to buy conventional strawberries because they’re red and large. But take the first bite and they taste like nothing – sour even.

Farm stand strawberries might be slightly better, but from now on just buy organic strawberries. Take this as a warning. Maybe something like 70% of consumers are just making strawberry cakes or pies or whatever sweet lies that fatten their thighs. Maybe we just don’t buy strawberries often enough to remember that anything not organic sucks. Maybe we’re putting strawberries in the smoothies and the bananas are enough to make up for the complete failure in flavor from the poor fertilizer encrusted strawberries.

Either way – buy organic strawberries. I’d rather pay double for half as much than munch on bright looking tart balls.

Much love.

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3 Easy Raw Food Recipes

I love the simplest recipes the best, especially using ingredients that I have on hand. Thankfully a lot of raw recipes share a lot of the same ingredients like apple cider vinegar, garlic, lemon, salt, cumin, walnuts, almonds, bananas, etc. The list goes on, but today I’ve selected three simple recipes from three of my favorite easy raw food recipe websites to leave you with a little inspiration for the weekend. Here they are:

1. Raw Avocado Kale Pesto with Zucchini Noodles

Anything with avocado in it and I’m sold, I love the calories, fat, and creaminess that avocados bring. Kale is the superfood of 2012 (and turmeric is the superfood of 2013). Check out the recipe at Rawmazing.com to get the directions.

2. Raw Tuna Salad Recipe

I love the hearty raw food dishes because they keep me going throughout the day and keep me away from tempting cooked and processed food. I haven’t tried out this raw tuna salad recipe yet, but it looks mighty delicious and filling from TheRawtarian.com.

3. Brazil Nut Vanilla Ice Cream

This sumptuous raw vanilla ice cream recipe looks amazing from Jenny Cornbleet’s LearnRawFood.com. She wrote the book on easy raw food recipes, and I encourage you to look at everything she has. Her salad dressing recipes are the best I’ve ever tasted.

How to Make Your Own Almond Milk

If you get almonds at Costco or in bulk at your local health food store, you can make almond milk much cheaper, tastier, and fresher than the boxed kind. It will also be the best for your health since it will contain none of the preservatives, refined sugar, or oils that even the most organic brands have.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of almonds
  • Water
  • Blender
  • Soaking Jar
  • Straining bag/cheesecloth/strainer
  • Optional ingredients: salt, cinnamon, honey or agave or maple syrup or dates

Notes on appliances:

Any blender will do the trick. Obviously a Vitamix or Blendtec will yield you the most milk and leave the least pulp, but even your big box store $20 blender will work well enough.
A specialized nut milk straining bag is the best bet, and you can get one for only a few dollars online like this one. A cheesecloth would work ok, but I’ve found them very messy if you just buy them in the sheets they come in, they are better for sprouting seeds in a jar. A strainer will do the trick, although you won’t have enough squeezing power to get the most milk out.

Directions:

    1. Soak 1 cup of almonds for at least 4 hours in a glass jar. The recommended time is 6-8 hours for almonds, but as little as 30 minutes will work if you’re really in a rush. Soaking will release the enzyme inhibiters, making the nutrients o f the almond more available to our bodies, and will also make blending much easier.

  1. Drain and rinse the almonds from their soaking water.
  2. Place in blender with 4-5 cups of water, depending on how rich you like the milk.
  3. Blend until the milk gets creamy and the almonds are pulverized.
  4. Strain the milk through your straining bag into a large bowl and squeeze as much milk out as possible.
  5. Place almond pulp in a Zip Loc bag and freeze for use in raw breads or pizza crust.
  6. If you would like to add in the flavoring ingredients, rinse out the blender add the milk bag in and add a little bit of salt, cinnamon, and sweetener to taste and then blend quickly. If you add dates you’ll want to run the milk through a strainer once more.

Done


Whalaaa! You’ve got about 32 ounces of fresh almond milk that will stay good in the refrigerator for about 3-5 days. When you include salt and sweetener, I’ve found it lasts one or two days longer.
Look for more recipes in the future containing fresh almond milk, such as Vanilla Chia smoothies and Cacao smoothies.

5 Healthy Afternoon Snacks that are Raw

Do you know that 2:30 feeling? Well that’s not a feeling that should be washed down with an artificial energy shot promising to last five hours, that’s a feeling that needs nourishment. After sitting at your desk or running errands all day, you need that little pick me up between lunch and dinner that will keep you going until the evening. That’s when it’s the perfect time to pull out or throw together a sumptuous raw healthy afternoon snack that will leave you feeling more fresh and more alive than before.

Here are five that I always turn to:

1) Carrots and hummus

Carrots are one of the most energizing foods I know. Crunchy, refreshing, and easily portable – they are nature’s answer to pretzel sticks. I always get peeled baby carrots to save time, although the standard ones are about half the cost if you have time to peel.

Raw hummus is hard to find at the store, but here are some easy recipes for you to make it at home:

Raw Zucchini Sundried Tomato Hummus from HealthyBlenderRecipes.com
Another Good Zucchini Hummus Recipe from About.com

Zucchini Sundried Tomato Hummus from HealthyBlenderRecipes.com

2) Crudites and Pesto

Crudites is really just a fancy word for chopped vegetables, similar to the ones your mom buys from the grocery store that comes with sub par ranch dressing. Your crudites will be freshly chopped and can include any vegetable such as broccoli, zucchini, carrots, any bell pepper, mushrooms, cauliflower, tomatoes, jalapenos (too far?), etc.

Instead of buying the pesto at the store that’s loaded with Parmesan cheese and cheap oil, make your own with one of these easy recipes:

Spinach Basil Pesto I like this one because it uses spinach, which is cheap
Raw Vegan Macadamia & Semi-Dried Tomato Pesto from my favorite, HealthyBlenderRecipes.com

some pesto raw
Continue reading “5 Healthy Afternoon Snacks that are Raw” »

How to Eat Raw on Less Than $7 a Day

cheap raw spinach

That seems like a ridiculous number for anyone who has been spending $5 on a bag of kale chips or $10 for a jar of raw sauerkraut. I find myself doing that all the time and I look at my grocery bill at the end of the month as the biggest non-fixed expense I have every month. Is it possible to eat fully raw on less than $7 a day? And how easy is it? The answers are here, so look no further.

We are not talking about eating 1,300 calories a day and we’re not talking about eating bananas and soaked oatmeal all day. We are talking about getting a wide spectrum of healthy raw foods in our body for less than $7 a day, and I’ll introduce you to a new tool in the process. The USDA has a pricing table of average food costs, and at the very low end of the spectrum their “Thrifty Plan” lists the average food prices for a 19-50 year old male or female at $40 a week, or $5.70 a day. Based on that, I think getting a full day of all nutritious raw food for under $7 is pretty damn good.

 

Choosing Cheap, Nutritious Raw Foods

Lets make up a quick list of the cheapest raw foods that provide enough calories, nutrients, and variety to satisfy an average day. From cheap to less cheap, a sampling of the cheapest foods from each category look something like this:
Continue reading “How to Eat Raw on Less Than $7 a Day” »

How Raw Food Affects Your Body’s Temperature

Do you ever feel hot on the surface of your skin or just in general for no reason? This might go hand in hand with a feeling of malaise and tiredness as well. I’ll talk about personal experience first and then back it up with insight from other thought leaders.

Do you like feeling hot hot hot? Image Credit

The Problems

1. Problem from Eating Lots of Breads and Starches

On days when I don’t eat mostly raw, and eat a lot of cooked starches and breads, I notice a general feeling of hotness and heat in my internal body temperature. My theory is that I’m not getting enough enzymes in my body to help digest the foods. There are lots of people who are gluten intolerant, but at the same time there are some who are slightly affected by gluten, so I imagine that there is a sliding scale of gluten intolerance, and probably nobody should eat only gluten heavy foods.

“Although much remains unknown, it is clear that gluten—a staple of human diets for 10,000 years—triggers an immune response like an enemy invader in some modern humans.” – Wall Street Journal

Some on the other side will say that your body has plenty of enzymes to digest all food and you get no enzyme from your food to help digest your food. Dr. Fuhrman says that “plant foods do not supply enzymes that aid in their digestion when consumed by animals.”
Continue reading “How Raw Food Affects Your Body’s Temperature” »

Raw Food Tips and Hacks

Like that handy measurement conversion chart that you might have laying around in your kitchen somewhere, it’s good to have a few useful guides to make the preparation of your healthy raw meals much easier. The following food hacks were all found on Lifehacker.com and all relate to your raw fruits and veggies. They all seem to be little tips that your mother would share with you and that you always found so delightful. So here are the top tips I found:

Find perfectly ripe avocados: http://lifehacker.com/5919547/always-find-the-perfect-avocado-by-popping-off-the-stem?popular=true

Peel an orange: http://lifehacker.com/5892234/an-easy-way-to-peel-an-orange?tag=fruit

Ripen avocado w/banana: http://lifehacker.com/5894448/use-a-banana-to-quickly-ripen-an-avocado?tag=fruit

Separate bananas to slow ripening: http://lifehacker.com/5891257/separate-bananas-to-slow-down-their-ripening?tag=fruit

Eat greens change genes: http://lifehacker.com/5848815/eat-your-greens-change-your-genes?tag=fruit

How many veggies are a serving [visual]: http://lifehacker.com/5804585/know-exactly-how-many-pieces-of-fruit-and-veggies-you-should-be-eating?tag=fruit

How to store fruits and veggies: http://lifehacker.com/338950/ideal-ways-to-store-fruits-and-vegetables?tag=fruit

Freeze guacamole: http://lifehacker.com/5905326/preserve-avocados-for-a-year-by-mashing-and-freezing-them

Let me know if you know of any other tips, tools, or hacks that could benefit the rest of us. I have a online raw/vegan grocery/recipe/cost planning tool in the alpha/design/braindump phase so look forward to that in the months to come!

10 Steps to Finding a Natural Form of Adderall

If you haven’t heard of Adderall, it’s a prescription drug meant to treat ADHD, but is widely used on American college campuses as a study drug to enhance performance. Students most always use it when cramming for finals or to get a huge paper done. I have seen first hand students using it while in college, and students becoming dependent on it. One of my friends was actually a dealer of Adderall and sold the pills from $3-5 a pop. He had an unlimited prescription for it, so he paid for his weekend recreational activities with his profits from his dealing – not the healthiest of lifestyles.

I think we can all agree that we want more energy and focus every day to get the projects done that we want to get done. We all have a thousand ideas and visions of our own potential, but our future superhuman self is limited by our current lack of energy and distractions throughout the day. A lot of kids and adults turn to prescription drugs like Adderrall as a shortcut to laser-like focus, but I’ve seen first hand the detrimental side effects from the drug and know there is a better, more natural way.

I truly believe that by eating certain high energy foods with the right combination of exercise and healthy habits, we can mimic the effects of Adderall and craft that focus in a more natural Zen-like way.

Let’s first address the elephant in the room – CAFFEINE. We are going to focus on foods and drinks that don’t have caffeine. There is mixed information about the health or detriment of caffeine, and in the end it’s about balance. After talking to a lot of people about coffee, a lot of them look at it as a temporary addiction that they need to get through the day, but they plan on getting rid of in the future. A lot of people I’ve talked to are trying to cut down on coffee, or have sworn it off for good and are proud of themselves. Green and black teas are clearly much better than coffee, at least in my opinion and the word on the street, but in the same way people are a little torn on this substance so we’ll not talk about tea in this post either. If you want to see how caffeine affects spiders, here you go:

 A spider on caffeine

The effect of caffeine on a spider.

The Most Energizing Foods I Know

Some foods are built to assuage hunger, others for taste, but these give our bodies the most energy. Here is a list first of all of the most energizing foods I know, and we will next look at how to utilize these to create periods of warrior-like focus and energy with them in our days.

  • Green juices – For example a concoction of apple, beets, cucumber, ginger, lemon, and kale juiced
  • Green smoothies – A base of almond or coconut milk, with bananas, wheatgrass, spinach/kale/dandelion greens, and berries
  • Cacao smoothies – 16oz almond milk, 4 medjool dates, 2 1/2 frozen bananas, 1 Tablespoon Cacao powder, 1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed (Note: Cacao does not have caffeine – Source 1, Source 2)
  • Carrots – A handful of these are super energizing with high amounts of enzymes
  • Oranges – I don’t always feel the pulsing energy from them but at the right time of the day they are phenomenal
  • Chia Seeds – In bars or kombucha – Chia is often called ‘Runners food’, and the energy it gives off is very potent

A Formula for Natural Energy and Focus

Everyone’s body and formula for daily focus and energy will fluctuate like the tides. Every person’s body is different so you must experiment and test what works for you. Here are some core principles though that will create the ideal environment for your mind to enter a zone of focus and energy similar to the effects of Adderall.

1. Absolutely get plenty of sleep the night before – you know how much you need (8+ hours generally, congrats if you need less)

2. You must have exercised the day before or on the day you want increased energy and focus, even a quick 20 minute workout makes all the difference

3. Clear your mind – if your mind is too scatterbrained to focus on your project, meditate for at least 5 minutes. Alternatively you can read an inspiring story, spiritual texts, or creatively inspiring text for 10-20 minutes.

4. In the morning drink one of the first three drinks mentioned above – the green juice, green smoothie, or cacao smoothie. The green juice is the most energizing.

5. Eat oranges, apples, bananas, or other light fruit 20 minutes after. If you feel too light-headed after your breakfast of fruit – ground yourself with some nuts or grains.

6. You should be feeling very energized and focused after your drink and fruit in the morning and you should have enough focus to start on your project. Do your project.

7. Around lunchtime, have a large salad with a diversity of greens and vegetables with some of your favorite raw dressing. If you are in the zone still from breakfast you don’t have to eat lunch until you are hungry and ready. If you are still hungry after the salad, have some nuts or flax crackers or anything whole that you can get your hands on that is as raw and vegan as possible.

8. If possible get a little bit of sun, and if you are near water jump in the ocean, river, or pool for a bit. Do some swimming and laps. Afterwards drink a cacao smoothie, another green juice, or have a bunch of carrots or celery with a raw dip if you want.

9. Continue to focus and finish the project with your continuing energy.

10. Stop the project when you have given all you can for the day, note your progress, and plan for the next day’s work.

I have had days where the pulsing energy has lasted all day until dinnertime, when I had a heavier and more grounding meal. I’ve also had days where I got a pulsing internal raw energy that allowed me to hit my peak in creativity and focus. Experiment with the above methods, but most of all listen to your body and your intuition. Note how you feel after certain foods and combinations. Tweak it until you hit that sweet spot where you can guarantee flow, creativity, and energy.

Report back what works for you and any arguments you have with some of the concepts from above. Now go find your flow…

 

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