Category Archives: Tasty Vegan Cuisine

Green Smoothies & Other Tasty Treats to Help You Avoid Caffeine

I sometimes try not to consume caffeine, especially coffee. Among my various reasons are: (1) even though i LOOOOVE coffee, the caffeine does not love me back; (2) Some of my go-to health gurus recommend limiting one’s caffeine intake because this addictive drug reeks havoc on many people adrenal systems; and (3) I like to change things up periodically. During these caffeine-free situations, i find other tasty ways to energize myself throughout the day. Green smoothies and fresh juices are useful.  These are especially good during the seasons when a greater variety of fruit is available (and probably a little cheaper). They help the detox process go a little smoother, which helps me not be such a grouch! Here are a few options that help me.

GREEN SMOOTHIES 

Green Smoothie & FanonI absolutely LOVE green smoothies!!! They taste good, help me work plenty of greens into my daily diet life-it, and allow me to explore fruits and foods that i might not otherwise think twice about. For example, i had never heard of lucuma or acai powder before i got into green smoothies. Now, i always have some in my pantry.

 

Here are two recipes that i enjoy:

Cherry-Banana Green Smoothie
1c vegan milk
1-2 bananas 5-6 cherries [or more!]
2t Lucuma Powder
1t Acai Powder
2T nut butter [i use cashew or almond]
Fresh kale or spinach work well [or any other greens you like]

Walnut-Date-Banana
1c walnut milk
2 pitted and soaked dates
1 inch peeled raw ginger
2-3 frozen bananas
pinch of cinnamon [to your taste] 1/4t (or more) Maringa or Spirulina

Fresh greens

WATER, FRESH JUICE & Tea

First and foremost… DRINK MORE WATER!!! So many times, we forget how important water is for proper body function.

Fresh Juice
If you can get your hands on a juicer (any ol’ juicer will do), you will be doing yourself a HUGE favor. Like smoothies, fresh fruit and veggie juices are great snacks and may even act as periodic meal replacements.
Tea
There are a variety of caffeine free teas out there. I go for Rooibos or Honeybush tea when i want the sensation of drinking something warm, but don’t want the caffeine. One quick warning is to go for the high quality teas. Some brands include potentially harmful substances in their tea and tea bags, so choose carefully.

BONUS: NUTS & SEEDS

Assuming you’re not allergic, a handful of cashews, almonds, or sunflower seeds can go a looooong way when you’re battling sleep after lunch. Mix them together with some raisins and you’ve got a delicious snack that might also sooth your sweet tooth. I’ve recently had conversations with people who told me that they’re supposed avoid these items because of their fat content. I would argue that if you’re trying to limit your fat intake, go for the nuts and seeds and cut back (or completely cut out) the saturated animal fats. Studies have shown that fat from plants is much better for your body than animal fat. You don’t want to over consume any fatty food. But when you consider the various options, i think it’s better to indulge in some homemade trail mix than to feast on the steak.Just my humble opinion.

Now for a simple recipe:

1/4c Raw or RoastedAlmond
1/4c Raw or Roasted Cashew
1/2c Raw or Roasted Sunflower seed
1/4 c Raisins or date chunks
and if you don’t mind being bad…
dark chocolate (which will likely have a tad bit of caffeine, by the way) Enjoy!
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A Path to Healthier Eating

People often ask me for advice when they desire to create a healthier diet LIFE-it. Out of these conversations, as well as my research, self-reflection, etc., i’ve developed a strategy that may be helpful to folks going through that process. I mention vegan and raw food often, but the ideas can be applied to and embraced by those who eat animal products as well. This is a work-in-progress, so i’ll update it periodically as i learn more about healthy living.

Beginning
If i’m ever famous, then the saying that i hope people associate with me is that being vegan and/or raw is harder to think about than to actually put into practice. It’s as simple as cutting an apple or making a delicious Green Smoothie! [note: i strongly encourage that you CHEW your green smoothies as opposed to gulping them down. it will help you digest better and allow you more time to listen more carefully to your body as you eat.]

As you begin to cut animal products from your meals, don’t worry about protein.You’ll get enough unless you try (very hard) not to! Instead, think about trying a variety of veggies, especially the green leafy ones. Look up recipes on www.vegweb.com, www.fatfreevegan.com, etc. There is a list of great websites below. Consider what meals you already like, then look up the vegan versions of those recipes.

Stay away from sugary foods and added salt as much as possible.I’ve experimented with this in a variety of ways. I noticed that i feel my best when i’m not adding much (if any) salt to my recipes. Also, try to consume only a minimal amount concentrated sugars and high-sugar fruits (agave, honey, dates, raisins, figs, etc).

Raw Caesar Salad

Finally, eat organic green leafy veggies with every meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner).It’s not as difficult as it may seem. Begin your day with a green smoothie, have a hearty salad with lunch, then maybe eat some lightly cooked greens with dinner. If you’re eating a head of lettuce or bunch of greens (along with other veggies) each day, then your body will love you!

I emphasize vegetables because i, and many other people, have made the mistake of being junk food vegans. We depend(ed) on processed, fake meats, tofu, etc. There is nothing wrong with consuming these things in moderation. But some folks overdo it. Also, many of us depend too much on fruit and nuts, which can also be a bad thing.

Drink More Water. Make the eight glasses of water thing your bare minimum. Most of the natural health experts suggest drinking half of your body weight (in ounces) worth of water. In other words, if a person weighs 160 lbs then s/he should consume 80 ounces of water each day.

Getting Good at It
Invest in some appliances that will help you become more creative with your edible art! You may want to purchase a good blender, food processor, high quality water filter (at least something like this), juicer, and dehydrator. If you only get the first three, you’ll be very happy. I highly recommend a juicer, because i believe that drinking store bought juice is similar to drinking soda and artificial “juice” drinks. Having a dehydrator is also a great investment for people who are serious about eating raw and/or low-heat (under 105º) prepared foods. It definitely makes more options available for anyone who’s trying to diversify their recipe book!

Soak your nuts and seed before eating them. One naturepath told me that they’re “1000% healthier that way.” I believe it!

Learn the best food combinations: http://www.rawfoodexplained.com/digestive-physiology-and-food-combining/food-combining-rules.html

Eat alkaline forming foods:
http://www.acidalkalinediet.com/Alkaline-Foods-Chart.htm

Helpful Practices
Find other vegans to hang out with. People seem a little less hostile to vegans now than when i first started down this path. Even still, it’s great to know people with whom you can eat out without worrying about whether their preferred restaurants are TRULY vegan friendly (i.e. complete separation of vegan food from animal product food). You may also want to attend some of the local vegan meetups like these: http://www.meetup.com/The-Raw-Chicago/ and http://rawfood.meetup.com/222/.

Cleanse/fast regularly. Most of the health gurus recommend doing a variety of cleanses that help the body purge built up wastes and toxins (environmental and edible). How often one should cleanse/fast is debatable, so check with a variety of sources and decide what’s best for you.

Patronize Vegan Restaurants.I personally don’t like to eat out very often. But, i do find it important to make sure that fully vegan dining options are available. So, when i go out to eat at these places when the option is available. Some of my favorites are Cousin’s Raw Vitality (Chicago), Yah’s (Chicago), and Chicago Diner (yes, it’s in Chicago), Spiral (Dallas), Green (San Antonio), Go Raw Cafe (Las Vegas), Lovin’ It Live (Atlanta)… The list could go on for days, especially once i get my D.C., Baltimore, NYC, & Detroit spots on the list. The food is great, and my non-vegan friends often prefer these places over the many options!

EXERCISE!!!
There’s no getting around it! In order to help your body function at it best, you must exercise. You don’t have to do P90x in order to feel great; you can walk to and from the grocery store and do some yoga, purchase some exercise DVDs that have “beginner,” “intermediate,” and “advanced” level workouts, and/or ride a bike to work. And, there are exercise routines floating around the internet for people of almost ALL levels of ability. I’ve found that the best exercise for me is that which i work into my lifestyle. Get creative and imaginative, and GET MOVING!

Recipes & Health Advice:
http://therawdifference.com/blog/
http://freshblackberry.com/
http://blackgirlsguidetoweightloss.com
http://byanygreensnecessary.com/
http://finallynomoreacne.com/
http://renegadehealth.com/blog/
http://www.aniphyo.com/
http://goneraw.com/
http://www.living-foods.com/recipes/
http://chetday.com/bethrecipes.html

http://rawveg.info/
http://www.gojuvo.com/
http://www.greensmoothie.com
http://almostrawvegan.com/
http://www.rawfullytempting.com/
http://www.nomeatathlete.com/
http://www.brendanbrazier.com/

Are you creating a healthier lifestyle for yourself? If so, what’s your strategy? What tasty vegan restaurants do you recommend in your city? With whom do you consult for recipes and advice? How do you stay in shape?

– Much Love

You can literally exercise ANYWHERE!


7 Day Juice Fast: Some Recipes & Lessons Learned

Every now and then i like to give my digestive system a break as part of my larger effort to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle. I recently did that via a 7-day juice fast. During that seven days i enjoyed some of super tasty juices for which i have a few recipes! Check em out:

1. Life Juice (1-2 Apples, 1-2 Leafy Greens, 3″ Burdock Root, 1″ Ginger, 1/2 Lemon w/peel)

2. Mean Green

3. Pomegranate-Blueberry Juice (1 large Pomegranate, 10-15 Blueberries)

4. Citrus Flush (1 grapefruit, 1 orange, 2 carrots, 1 orange pepper) * Add 1-2″ Burdock for a delightful flavor enhancement

5. Minty-licious (4 Celery, 1 Apple, 1 Lime, Handful o’ Mint, Handful o’ Spinach)

6. Red Velvet (3 Carrots, 2 Granny Smith Apples, 1 Orange, 1/4 Beet)

7. Random Experiment (2 Sweet Orange Peppers, 1 Head Romaine, 1/5 Orange, 1 Grapefruit, Handful of Parsley) tasted “interesting.” Not bad, but prob wont make this one again.

8. The REAL V8 This one hit the SPOT when i wanted “something to eat!”

Some Lessons Learned

I’ve done similar things before and thought that i had gotten all of the mistakes out of the way. But, i neglected one important — i’d say essential — rule of fasting. One must eliminate for optimum results. I spoke with several people who had done this type of fast/cleanse (one who went 21 days on juice) and none of them seemed to worry about elimination. However, whenever i looked up “juice fasting” on the web, folks would advocate doing something daily to give the colon a lil rinse. It makes sense to me; when We fast, the body begins to push toxins out of muscle tissue and organs. A major channel for getting those things out of the body is the the colon.

On day 4, i got really sick. I felt nauseous and had terrible stomach pains. I believe this was “healing crisis.” Healing crisis is a wide range of uncomfortable physical symptoms that one may experience as the body attempts to purge itself of medications, heavy metals (other environmental pollutants), excess wastes, and many other things that might be stored in ones body tissue. By all accounts, the best way to minimize healing crisis is to eliminate the toxins one’s body is attempting to remove.

Another possible problem are my fruit & veggie combination juices. Some online resources recommend juicing fruits and veggies separately. I’ve also heard that one should minimize the fruit juice and drink it during the early hours of the day. I mixed the fruit and veggie juices and drank fruit juices into the evening. Maybe those actions were problematic and contributed to the wackness i felt on day four (and beyond — i was extra sleepy for the remainder of the fast).

The lesson for me is that next time i juice, i’ll need to be ready to drink some special tea, do a salt water flush, or do daily enemas. Maybe that will help me avoid some of the healing crisis symptoms that i believe i experienced this time around. I’m going to experiment more with the fruit & veggie combinations, and try to keep the fruit juices as daytime drinks.

Have you ever done a juice (or water) fast for more than a day or two? If so, what was your experience like? Did you consult with fellow fasters or an expert? Please do share.

– Much Love

Tryna Get Healthy For The New Year?

Happy 2012!

I hope that you are well. If you — like many people — have made a New Year resolution or intention to improve your health, then you might wanna check out some of the info below.

The first is a great blog that i’ve been checking in recent days, called Finally, No More Acne. It contains great information about everything from detoxing to women’s menstruation. The blog also has some great recipes that i can’t wait to try!

Next, is a film that i watched recently, called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead (watch it for free on Hulu). The first half chronicles that dis-eases and natural cures of a wealthy Australian businessman and explains why he decided to change his lifestyle. The 2nd half follows a trucker whom the businessman met randomly as he was filming his journey. It’s pretty interesting, and i recommend watching it with an open mind and will to learn!

You can literally exercise ANYWHERE!

Finally (for now), i recommend looking into some fitness routines to compliment whatever eating program you find that works for you. I’ve personally been a big fan of Brenden Brazier’s Thrive series. I’ve noticed that the philosophy behind it (looking for nutrient dense, alkaline-forming foods) is now popping up in grocery stores in one form or another. Did i mention that Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) has been on the Thrive program? Keeping all of that in mind, you can be sure that  Thrive Fitness is worth checking out!

If you’re making some changes to your lifestyle, let a brotha know! I’m always happy to listen to folks’ concerns and offer my unprofessional opinion. Also, i’m always searching for health information. If you have some info, raw or cooked vegan recipes, have ventured into the world of detoxing, etc., def hit me up. Much Love.

– Brotha Onaci