Posts tagged with vegan:

Ruby Red Grapefruit Salad

These days when you mention the word ‘salad’ most people think of the classics; Greek, Caesar and (God-forbid) Garden. These boring and lack-luster displays of GMO greenery are not only aesthetically deficient, they’re in desperate need of some nutrient variety! Cucumbers, tomatoes and ice-burg lettuce is just not how I roll when it comes to getting my greens in. Tonight I threw together what I would say is a solid salad. It doesn’t involve anything too complex or detailed, but it offers more flavor and variety than your usual side dish. 

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As always there’s plenty of wiggle room with the recipe and I invite you to play around with the ingredients and figure out what you like best! For example, I know a lot of folks don’t like grapefruit (I absolutely HATED it until just a few months ago) so feel free to swap it out for a preferred citrus fruit such as oranges, clementines, tangerines, blood oranges, tangelo etc. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 chopped apple
  • 1 grapefruit, cut into 8ths
  • 1 cup of dehydrated apple slices
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup of red grapes
  • 1 cup of celery greens 
  • 4 cups of mixed organic greens; spinach, arugula, romaine, red leaf etc.

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For the dried apple slices, I pulled out my mom’s old dehydrator; an rustic looking thing with 5 round trays and two settings - on and off. No idea what temperature it may or may not reach. I just chopped up a few granny smith apples and left the slices in the trays for about 8 hours or so rotating the trays twice. Dehydrating is a great way to preserve tasty fruit for the colder months when it might not be available in your area; mangoes for example are one of my favorite dried fruits! 

And yes you can eat your celery greens! The leaves are packed with five times more magnesium and calcium than the stalks! They’re also a rich source of vitamin C and potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. I like to mix them up with some parsley usually, but tonight I was fresh out. 

For a dressing you can do as you wish, though this time I blended up:

  • 1 small chunk of grapefruit
  • 1 cup of grapes 
  • a few raspberries
  • 1 medjool date, pitted

And the end result was a chunky fruit concoction that really hit the spot! I love it when my dinner tastes like desert! Haha! If you try this recipe out let me know what you think! Thanks for reading! Here’s to never having to eat another ‘garden salad’ again! ;) <3 

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A Chilly Weather Feast!

'Tis the season to stay warm! Whether that be bundling up with a good book and a pet curled up on your lap or throwing on a toque and gloves to hit the road despite the winds & sub-freezing temperatures, having a nice meal at the end of the day to warm your soul can really be just what you need! Here are two recipes that I have tried, one I just threw together for Thanksgiving this year and the other is a favorite from Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram that I think you’ll very much enjoy! :) 

The Gratitude Salad

This recipe was a little, shall we say, accidental. It was a sunny Saturday morning on Thanksgiving weekend and I was in a hurry to make a salad to share for dinner at my boyfriend’s parents’ place that evening. I had just gotten back from a trip to the Western Fair Farmer’s Market, where I had spent entirely too much time browsing the local fare and picked up several heads of kale - among a plethora of other things. I was busy trying to wash and store my heaping bags of produce while worrying about what to make for dinner (and let’s be honest - what to wear)

I set aside 10 minutes for myself to de-stress and enjoy the meal-making process while I diced & sliced my favorite, pretty-looking fruits and veggies! I find chopping to be very relaxing, almost therapeutic if you take the time to savor the smells and colors of each ingredient. 

As I placed each handful of bounty in the bowl, I thought about something in my life I was thankful for. I breathed it in & savored the moment & the memory, then sealed the affirmation with a delicious crunch of freshness! A good chef always taste-tests after all! ;) 

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Try this recipe, or your own version of the Gratitude Salad! Take a pic and tweet or instagram it with the hashtag ‘#GratitudeSalad’! I’d LOVE to see what you come up with! :) 

  • fresh figs, quartered
  • handful of raspberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  • purple bell pepper, sliced 
  • handful of fresh basil, purple & reg
  • 1 kiwi, sliced *with the skin*
  • 1 cup purple cabbage, shredded
  • 4 cups mixed organic greens; arugula, romaine, red leaf, spinach etc.
  • 3 cups kale; tuscan, purple & reg, chopped 

Garnish with lemon wedges, or blend a few raspberries with 1 fig & 1 date for a deliciously sweet dressing that will have everyone’s mouth watering! Purple veggies, like the ones featured here, are pack with phytonutrients and antioxidants to help keep the winter colds at bay. 

Fully-Raw Pumpkin Pie

If you’ve been following Kristina on YouTube for a while then you will definitely remember this recipe! Her deliciously date-filled raw pumpkin-pie with oooeyy-gooey persimmon-y goodness! ;) Who could resist trying out a raw version of a holiday favorite?! 

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I made a few alterations to the recipe, just because that’s how I roll in the kitchen, but you may wish to start with her original recipe for guaranteed success! 

  • 2-3 cups of raw pie pumpkin
  • 3 lbs of dates
  • cinnamon
  • ginger
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups pecans
  • 1 persimmon
  • vanilla

I also added:

  • 1/2 cup of almonds
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • dash of liquid stevia 

What are some of your favorite cold-weather recipes that warm the heart & soul? Wherever you are this week, I hope the snowflakes stay out of your eyes & your socks stay dry! Peas & Love! 

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5 Tips For Having a Rawesome Winter!

The snow has arrived here in Ontario and with it the chilly weather and winter woes! If you’re new to a raw vegan or high-raw foods diet, you might want to consider the following when prepping food over the next few weeks or months! In a less than tropical environment, there can be many challenges when it comes to eating clean, so here are a few tips that have helped me cope with Old Man Winter in Canada! :) 

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1. Eat More Food - Generally speaking in colder climates you’re going to need more calories. It’s different for each individual but I find even an extra 100 or 200 calories early on in the day can make a big difference! Focus on eating lots calorie dense fruits like bananas and dates in unlimited amounts. 

2. Stay Warm - Protect your skin from the chilly weather and bundle up! Find some cozy socks and that old sweater grandma knit (tis the season after all) and learn to love the layered look! Check out donation stores and thrift shops for cheap winter wear. 

3. Get Moving - Even though, like me, when you see the snow your first instinct might be to crawl up into a ball and hibernate for the next six months, you gotta get your body moving! Getting the blood pumping is an excellent way to warm your body up! If you’re a cardio lover, the winter can actually be a beautiful and magical time of year for running - if you’re prepared. Invest in some warm running gear and possibly some attachable ice cleats if you enjoy the trails. Keep your hands and your head warm and don’t neglect your hydration just because it’s cold. 

4. Have a Back Up Plan - If you find it hard to eat enough raw foods during the day in the colder months, there’s no shame in having some potatoes, rice or cooked veggies to help get more calories in and warm you up - especially if you’re new to this lifestyle! Keep it low fat and low sodium and you’ll be set! The winter is also a great time of introspection and reflection, and you might find it beneficial to keep a journal (if you don’t already) of your thoughts and feelings as they relate to your food habits - this is also a great tool for seeing ‘what went wrong’ on days where you don’t eat enough fruits and veggies! 

5. Eat Warming Foods - Stock up on warming foods like cayenne pepper and ginger. Enjoy hot beverages like decaffeinated herbal teas or even just warm water with lemon can be wonderful ways to heat up from the inside out! If you have a juicer, toss in a nub of ginger for your next recipe and see if it brings a sweat on. ;) 

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A Post About Progress

Hello lovelies!! Hope you guys are having an awesome week! I’ve noticed an increase in followers lately, and I felt like it was about time I posted some sort of updated progress pics so you can see and read about who I am, where I’ve come from and what I’m all about. :) 

"Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything." - George Bernard Shaw 

Some of you might not know this about me, but I used to be a completely different person. A few years ago, I was overweight (~160lbs at my highest weight) and I suffered from acne, depression, asthma and anemia. I was never obese, but I hated my body, to put it simply. Clothes never fit. My skin and hair were always greasy. I had no confidence and no real passion in my life. A few years of college-life and a junky cheese-filled vegetarian diet had me at my wits end and I was determined to find a way to feel and look like the person I knew I was on the inside. 

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So I started working out. I tried running a few times a week, lifted light weights occasionally and tried getting back into yoga. In the beginning I was eating 1200 calories a day and beating myself up over each and every bite! I remember sitting in my basement at night, counting every calorie I ate that day and hating myself! Looking back on it I want to hug that girl I used to be - no one should ever hate themselves because of food!! I didn’t do it often, but on occasion I would sneak away to the bathroom to throw up out of guilt or shame. I was at a breaking point and I knew there had to be something better. 

It was on one of those nights that I came across a video on YouTube about this crazy Banana Girl who ate 30 bananas in one day. At first I just stared at her flat stomach in disbelief and thought, "30? Where does she put them?! Why can’t I have a stomach like that?"

I watched all of Freelee's videos within a day or two and was totally inspired by her attitude, her knowledge and her vibrant, healthy body!I then started to read up on what raw food was all about. Everything just made so much sense to me, like a light had turned on in my soul and just screamed YES to everything I was learning! 

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It took me a LOT of trial and error before I re-learned how to eat and treat my body. My progress was slow, but I don’t regret a minute of it! Without those failures I wouldn’t have learned what I needed to! Now I never restrict my calories, ever! I aim for a minimum of 2000 calories a day from fresh fruits and veggies and a few times a week I’ll have a cooked vegan meal. The way I eat has completely changed and I am SO THANKFUL to be where I’m at today!

Thanks for taking the time to read this! <3 And feel free to share your story too! I think sharing our own healthy journeys is such a great way to inspire, connect and motivate each other! :) 

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The ‘Angry Banana’ Smoothie

I went to the Western Fair Farmer’s Market yesterday with a friend to stock up on a few weekly essentials. We had a great time; bought some delicious juices and checked out the new organics. I was also pleasantly surprised to find some organic rainbow carrots and purple kale among the stalls and as soon as I got home I felt inspired to create some sort of violet, magical concoction with my dark, leafy friends!

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to make a juice or a smoothie, so I got creative and went for a little bit of both! I juiced the kale, with some beets, a carrot, apple and an orange, then blended up some bananas with sprouts, kiwi, lemon juice, blueberries and a few leaves of basil. Mixed ‘em together and this vibrant super-drink was created! 

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Ingredients: 

Chop up the following and run through your juicer. Alternatively, if you don’t have a juicer at home you can use a blender and strain it through a cheesecloth after. Be warned: this juice will be very deep in color and stains easily - if you’ve juiced beets before you know what I’m talking about - just be a lil extra cautious about where you wipe your hands. This should yield ~500mL of fresh juice depending on the size of your produce.

  • 2 beets
  • 1 bunch of purple kale
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 apple
  • 1 orange

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Next, mix the following ingredients in your blender (keeping the greens on the bottom to eliminate any big leafy chunks) and slowly add the juice to the mix to even out the consistency. 

  • sprouts (here I used pea tenders)
  • 4 bananas
  • handful of basil leaves
  • 1 kiwi, with skin
  • 1/4 cup of blueberries
  • juice from 1 lemon

Pour it into a big glass and enjoy! The recipe takes a bit of extra work but it’s surprisingly smooth & rich! Has a nice, light Earthy flavor & I really am pleased with it! And it definitely packs a nutritional punch! ;) Let me know if you give it a whirl and what you think! What’s your favorite way to use purple kale?

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Feelin’ the Green Smoothie Love

Like I said I would in my last post, I’ve hopped back on the green smoothie train and never felt better! I’ve lost the few lbs I gained last month and I’ve bounced back into my training routine; yoga 20-30 minutes a day, weights 5 x a week, cardio 3 x a week. I’m chugging back the water, eating clean and lord help you if you get in the way of my 8 hours of beauty sleep. ;) It feels good to be energized again. 

As some of you might know, my usual routine is fresh fruit, juices and/or smoothies for breakfast. Over the past couple weeks I’ve been putting the emphasis on the big green smoothies to super-charge me throughout my day. Kale, spinach, parsley, basil, broccoli, chard, kiwi, celery… Basically anything green I’ve been tossing it in and hoping for the best! I have so many combinations that I LOVE but this one was especially tasty and simple, so I thought I’d share it with you guys!

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Ingredients: 

  • 1 russet apple 
  • 2 cups of chopped spinach
  • 2 bananas 
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 kiwi, with skin
  • juice from 1 lemon 

**Remember to put your leafy greens on the bottom when you load up your blender. It helps ensure that they get pulverized and not left in chunks. Gives it a smoother, creamier texture! 

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Try it out and let me know what you think!  What’s your favorite green smoothie recipe? A quick Google search shows literally thousands of different shades of green for you to pick from, so no matter what your taste preferences you can always find a smoothie that tantalizes your taste-buds AND gives you your daily dose of chlorophyll! Kale and spinach are my two favorites that pack a punch! I also like adding herbs like parsley, basil and mint into my smoothies for a well-rounded flavor and sometimes a surprising kick! 

After having at least one green smoothie per day this week, I’m definitely feeling the green smoothie love! My body is thanking me with more energy, my hair and skin are hydrated and smooth and my mood has definitely brightened! I think I’ll be keeping up my green-themed breakfasts for a while! ;) 

Do you feel the love? <3 

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Thanking Myself With Good Nutrition

I woke up this morning feeling happy, energetic and alive in my skin for the first time in far too long, and very thankful. Since coming home from my trip I’ve felt sick and in a funk; my eating habits were all off and I didn’t feel as excited about food as I normally do. After a few weeks of off and on again bad eating habits (LOTS of processed & cooked foods) I finally got smart with myself and got out of the way to let my body do the healing.

After just one day of clean eating with proper sleep and hydration, I woke up feeling strength in my frame and a spark in my soul. How silly we are sometimes when we’re feeling down to rely on “comfort foods” that really do us no comfort at all and in fact promote the moody, uncomfortable and dis-eased state that is a direct result of poor digestion, poor nutrition and an over-toxic system. I felt foolishly full of gratitude as I gulped down my lemon-water like in communion. Wow, so this holistic thing really works! 

I’ve put on a few lbs, big deal. My weight will work itself out once I’ve established myself back into a healthy pattern. I’ve stayed reasonably active; lifted weights a few times and cardio twice a week but nothing that has really challenged me - my inner trainer is being soft on me! Tisk Tisk!

A few days of abundantly raw meals will work my mood and energy back up and this laziness in my gut will be kick-started with green smoothies galore! ;) Have you ever felt like it was time to give your body a break and reward it with good, clean fuel? I’m taking a couple days to really repay my body for all that it puts up with from me. After all, she’s all I’ve got! 

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My Starbucks Alternative

Just in case someone was reading my last post about coffee and worried as to how they could ever give up their Starbucks addictions… I present to you my personal alternative for those devilish desires. A frothy cinnamon, banana and almond butter blend topped with frozen ‘chocolate’ shavings. Go ahead, spoil yourself! ;) 

Banana-Booster Blend*

  • 3 ripe bananas, 1 frozen
  • 1/4 cup ground cinnamon 
  • 1.5 tbsp of raw almond butter
  • 1-2 cups of water (optional: almond milk)

Blend the ingredients until smooth and evenly combined with bubbles frothing at the surface of your smoothie. Pour into a mug and top with shavings. 

*makes ~4 full cups

'Chocolate' Shavings: 

  • 1/2 cup raw crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • dash of organic coconut sugar

Roll the whole mixture into a ball and store in your freezer. Use a knife to shave off the chocolate into slices, mini rolls or as a light dusting. This recipe makes a palm-sized ball and has lasted me for several deserts and treats. Use at your own discretion. 

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