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.
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.
- 1 cup of almonds
- 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.
- 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.
- Drain and rinse the almonds from their soaking water.
- Place in blender with 4-5 cups of water, depending on how rich you like the milk.
- Blend until the milk gets creamy and the almonds are pulverized.
- Strain the milk through your straining bag into a large bowl and squeeze as much milk out as possible.
- Place almond pulp in a Zip Loc bag and freeze for use in raw breads or pizza crust.
- 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.
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.
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:
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:
Posted by Joe | Filed under Cheap Raw Food
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” »
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.
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” »
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
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
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!
Posted by Joe | Filed under Productivity
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:
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…
Raw foodists are generally defined as people who eat raw uncooked vegan food as 70-80% of their diet daily. What do you call people who eat 100% raw for three days, 50% raw for a week, and 300% raw the two weeks after? The vast majority of us.
If you think of a bell curve, I would venture to say that the vast majority of raw food aspirants and lovers fall in that middle section of the bell curve, just like most things in life. Of all those who aspire to be a raw foodist, there are those who are beginners who are failing terribly at it on the left portion. Those that are elite and actually eat 80-100% raw food make up a smaller section on the right side. Then there are the most of us in the middle who are excellent and devoted for a full month, then you put us on a plane and send us to a new city and we fall off the wagon.
There are benefits to falling off the raw food train, and we don’t have to be self-loathing for missing a meal. One of the benefits of relapsing to say being a full time vegan instead of eating mostly raw is that you have time to reflect on what it was about eating mostly live foods that attracted us the most. Do you notice that you might feel a little more sluggish after that cooked yam and black beans. Or how the hot cooked falafel hummus wrap was good, but left you feeling a bit empty and not completely nutritionally satisfied? This period gives us a chance to not freak out that we had two cooked meals, but be thankful for the food we have and start fresh the next day ready to eat mostly living foods once again.
The times I move from mainly raw foods to cooked vegan foods are days when I was rushed and didn’t have time to prepare my next two or three raw meals. I know I am at my weakest when I don’t take the time out the night before to prepare my raw food for the next day, and I find myself in a rush in the morning and in a rut when it comes to lunch time. Those are the times I am the most vulnerable. This is an opportunity to realize that a lot of our success on the diet comes from thoughtful preparing. In a world that doesn’t make it easy to quickly grab healthy delicious raw food, we do have to work a little harder than the rest of the omnivorous population to keep ourselves honest and satisfied.
For most of us we enter and exit periods of motivation. We may read a life changing book that convinces us raw foods is the way to go and the way of the future and be energized and motivated for a few weeks, then get distracted and lose focus for a few months at a time. What I’ve found best to keep me motivated is to set shorter term goals for myself. If I am coming off a rough period where I haven’t been very raw, I’ll set a goal to eat raw foods for three days in a row, and I’m usually able to do this easily. What got me into raw foods long term initially was when I set a two week goal for myself, which then turned into about a 6-month period of only raw foods (except for beer!). Everyone has a different motivational timeline that we know works for us. It may be similar to an exercise timeline, whereas we can motivate ourselves to exercise hard for two weeks at a time or so before we have to move on to a new exercise routine. Some of you pros out there may be able to flip a switch in your brain and just charge it for three months at a time, but we’re all different.
The main point here is that we can view periods of relapse away from our goal of eating a mostly or only raw diet not as a failure but as an opportunity to reset. You will find that as you keep trying, you will become more resilient and intuitive in your food choices and motivation. Eventually it will become mostly muscle memory and you will be flowing with that raw food life force energy 24/7! The key is to treat ourselves when we relapse like that ideal disciplinary father – kind but firm. Learn from your mistake and get back on the horse the next day.
We can make ourselves feel good by reaching for stimulants that are quick and dirty, such as caffeine, sugar, fried foods, alcohol, or marijuana. We can also take another path that also makes us feel good, doesn’t take much more time to do, and requires even less effort than going to the store to buy our stimulant.
This other path is mediation. It’s something I am trying to do more and more, and after every mediation I am wondering why I am not doing it every day! Meditation has been used by all people throughout the world since the ancient times and it is not only an exotic practice from the Far East, as it has been encouraged throughout the church in the Western world just as long, although not as prominently perhaps since we usually associate meditation with some yogi sitting up high in the Himalayas.
Posted by Joe | Filed under Basics
There is often a dichotomy between our long term vision of who we want to be and the decisions we make in the moment. When hunger settles in and we have no readily available food options, our long term plan of eating a healthy diet flies out the window. I’ve been there many times myself, we start to crave something and end up letting the thing we are craving enter our thoughts and start to control our mind. We can rationalize anything as humans, thinking we owe it to ourselves to eat this burrito just this once, how we will become frail and weak if we don’t eat our body weight in protein every day.
The key to fighting this is awareness in the moment, put so eloquently by Leo Babuta at zenhabits:
“When we have urges to eat something we know is bad for us, we often give in. But is it that simple? The truth is that our mind is actually rationalizing why we should just eat that cake, why it’s too hard to not eat it, why it isn’t that bad to eat it. It asks why we’re putting ourselves through pain, why can’t we let ourselves just live, and don’t we deserve that treat?
All of this happens without our noticing, usually. It’s quiet, in the background of our consciousness, but it’s there. And it’s incredibly powerful. It’s even more powerful when we’re not aware it’s happening.
How can we defeat this powerful force — our own mind?
Awareness is the key. It’s the start.”
Of course there is flexibility for special occasions and social events, but every day is not a special occasion and the habits and self-control we exhibit on a day by day, meal by meal basis start to seep into our routine until it gets to the point where you will be able to control your cravings without even thinking about it. If we throw away our rationalization in that moment when our hunger is starting to control us, and instead listen to our intuition that tells us we are more powerful than that which we are after.
When you are extremely hungry in the moment, realize that your body is asking for nutritional satiation, not fullness. We often confuse the two, but there is a difference between eating to get the satisfaction of fullness and eating to give us more energy and nutrition. That’s not to say that we can’t meet our need to feel like we ate a full meal and be nutritionally satisfied – I recommend a huge salad with avocado, persimmons, pepitas, spinach and a savory dressing to meet that.
On a more practical level, when we are craving certain foods that means our body is trying to tell us something and if you take a moment to listen to your body and you have this handy cravings chart memorized or in your hands, I believe you can beat your cravings and stay on the path every time.
“The distinction between mind and body is an artificial dichotomy, a discrimination which is unquestionably based far more on the peculiarity of intellectual understanding than on the nature of things.” -Carl Jung