WIAW: Raw Til 6

One of my resolutions for this year, and also one of my goals last summer¬†was to eat more raw. I love so many raw foods, and I prefer most of my produce raw too, but there are some cooked things I still love and don’t really want to give them up just yet. Maybe someday I’ll be fully raw but for now, I’m trying the popular Raw Til 4 plan, where you basically eat all raw until dinner time. Since I eat my afternoon snack around 4, I’m changing the name to Raw Til 6 to fit my schedule better ūüėČ

Basically how I’m going about it is eating all raw until dinner, and then for dinner/dessert I’ll eat something cooked or something that’s not necessarily raw if I’m feeling like it. See, I love my roasted sweet potatoes/peanut flour/grain free pizza¬†and since I usually eat these for dinner, it makes sense to keep them in my food rotation. My other meals will stay pretty similar to how they are now —> breakfast will be Sunwarrior/Garden of Life raw protein or chia seed pudding or a green smoothie or raw flax cakes, lunch will be a salad or lettuce wraps or a protein smoothie made with raw protein powder, and my snacks will be banana softserve or snackplates with plenty of fresh produce or homemade raw desserts. What I won’t be doing is restricting my fats or carbs. I personally don’t believe that 80/10/10 is the most balanced way to eat (I love my fruit but I can’t survive on just carbs) and I don’t want to go raw gourmet either because I don’t want to rely so heavily on nuts and avocados for every meal. Instead, I’ll be sticking pretty close to my normal macros (45% carbs, 25% protein, 30% fat) and just incorporating more raw foods. I’m also planning on making plenty of raw dinners as well because I’ve been bookmarking a TON of amazing-looking raw entrees and I’m really excited to try them out. I’m also going to start sprouting legumes and making my own almond milk and I can’t wait to try all these new things!

Enough of the wordiness, let’s get to the food. I’ve also got 2 recipes for you today, and another one linked up from my other blog, so I’m going pretty recipe-crazy over here!

Homemade [cheaters] almond milk.

Homemade [cheaters] almond milk.

I’ve been meaning to start doing this for a loooooong time, since there have been a lot of posts and articles out there lately discussing the potential harmful effects of carrageenan and other things added to packaged almond milk. It’s easier than you’d think to whip up your own almond milk at home, especially when you take the cheater’s route like I did. I had some fresh ground raw almond butter on hand and within a few seconds of blending with water, I had homemade almond milk, raw and completely free of unnecessary ingredients!

3 Ingredient 3 Second Almond Milk (vegan, raw, gluten free, grain free, no added sugar)

  • 1 tbsp raw almond butter
  • 4 cups water (can use filtered, or just plain tap water)
  • pinch stevia extract (optional)

In a large food processor or blender (I used my Ninja processor), add all the ingredients and blend or pulse for a few seconds or until it turns white-ish and creamy. Makes 4 1-cup servings. 

Superbowl snacks, gone raw.

Superbowl snacks, gone raw.

By now, we all know the outcome of the Superbowl. Even though I’m a fan of the Denver Broncos, being raised in Colorado, I’m not a diehard fan by any means and I honestly didn’t even watch the game so I’m not really upset by their loss. Besides, the Superbowl is just an excuse for snacks, am I right? This year, I made my raw jalapeno poppers¬†(if you haven’t made them and love spicy things, I suggest you do!) and I had one alongside some raw cauliflower, local salsa, spicy guac made fresh at my Whole Foods, spicy sprouted sunflower seeds and a dried fig. This was the perfect snack plate for a spicy food lover like me and I didn’t even care who won the game!

A typical raw breakfast.

A typical raw breakfast.

My breakfasts have been pretty simple lately, though I’m planning on trying some new things soon. I’ve mostly been making raw protein puddings–Sunwarrior or Garden of Life raw protein powder mixed with water/homemade almond milk and sometimes raw coconut flour to thicken, and topped with pomegranate and raw nuts or seeds. It covers all the macros, tastes great and is beyond easy to whip up in just a minute.

Protein chia pudding topped with pom seeds and raw mixed nuts.

Protein chia pudding topped with pom seeds and raw mixed nuts.

Protein-packed chia puddings have been happening for breakfasts and snacks, too. I forgot how much I adore the thick and creamy texture that chia seeds make when they gel up. Honestly, I could eat these all day but it really is all about the toppings and mix ins. The one above was Garden of Life RAW Marley coffee protein powder+homemade almond milk+1/2 tbsp chia seeds and topped in the morning with pom seeds and raw mixed nuts.

Sunwarrior vanilla+frozen cherries+homemade almond milk+baby kale+coconut flour smoothie, with a side of raisins and raw mixed nuts.

Sunwarrior vanilla+frozen cherries+homemade almond milk+baby kale+coconut flour smoothie, with a side of raisins and raw mixed nuts.

Lunches have been a little bit less predictable. On Monday I had a green protein smoothie with some raw trail mix (just raisins & raw nuts) on the side. Really quick and easy to make and pretty filling, too. I love how eating raw makes food prep so much easier. Sure, I’ve been using my dehydrator and food processor a lot but it’s so hands-off and meals come together so quickly.

BLA lettuce wraps and pineapple. Romaine hearts+homemade coconut 'bacon' and Whole Foods fresh guacamole.

BLA lettuce wraps and pineapple. Romaine hearts+homemade coconut ‘bacon’ and Whole Foods fresh guacamole.

Tuesday’s lunch was a little more creative. I made a batch of raw coconut ‘bacon’ in the morning and since I’m basically addicted to it, I decided to incorporate it into my lunch in a creative way. Enter the BLA wraps. The BLA is a spin on the classic BLT, only without the tomato…and avocado in its place. This raw version was incredibly good and I miiiiight have it for lunch again today.

Homemade raw banana protein bars.

Homemade raw banana protein bars.

Going mostly raw has made me more creative in the kitchen! I love that I have so much time to experiment with recipes right now (truth time–I’m still itching to get my first post-grad job!) and I’ve been making a lot of things that I probably wouldn’t normally if I was still eating mostly cooked foods. Like these raw protein bars. I’ve stopped buying Larabars for the time being to save some money and also so I can try making my own raw bars. These are NOT the same consistency as Larabars but I still love ’em…and who says being raw means no protein? I’ve actually been keeping my protein levels up (about 25-30% of my daily macros) during this raw challenge with raw protein powders/nuts/seeds and I’m planning on sprouting lentils soon so stay tuned for that!

Raw Banana Bread Protein Bars (vegan, raw, gluten free, grain free, no added sugar)

  • 2 ripe bananas (best when spotty)
  • 2 scoops Garden of Life RAW protein powder (or any raw plant-based protein powder)
  • 3 tbsp raw coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

In a food processor or high-powered blender, pulse bananas until smooth and liquefied. Add in remaining ingredients and pulse until combined. Divide into 6 large balls and flatten into bar shapes. Makes 6 bars, ~100 calories and 8 grams protein per bar.

Zucchini pasta and raw pumpkin seed pesto for dinner.

Zucchini pasta and raw pumpkin seed pesto for dinner.

So far, my dinners have been raw because that’s what I’ve been craving, even though it’s been snowing here and below freezing! I’ve been making raw pastas with zucchini, carrots and kelp noodles and tossing them in a nut or seed based sauce, pairing it with fruit and calling it dinner. Raw dinners are the simplest things ever, but I’m learning to appreciate simplicity!

Do you prefer homemade or store-bought when it comes to bars? Do you like your produce cooked or raw? 

WIAW: A Day of Raw Challenge

Hey ladies, how is February treating you so far? I’m just glad we’re that much closer to March–I can’t wait to bust out the dresses and flip-flops again!

Peas and Crayons

 

As I promised in last week’s WIAW, I have a special edition of the weekly foodie party for you this week. As you might know, I’ve recently become interested in raw foodism. Let me just clarify that I am not considering eating 100% raw–I like the principles behind it and its health benefits, but I feel good right now with my current ‘almost vegan’ lifestyle and I feel like at this point in my ED recovery, I shouldn’t be excluding all cooked foods, because they are nutritious (not to mention delicious)! However, I do like making raw treats from time to time and I also love things like raw fruits and veggies (I actually prefer my veggies raw!) and nuts so I thought I’d try eating totally raw for one day and share my experience on here for a WIAW post. So here goes!

Breakfast: raw carrot cake bite topped with raw walnut butter, red grapes, dried mango slice.

Normally, I love my oat-filled breakfasts, usually with a side of veggie bacon or veggie sausage, or sometimes just a bowl of plain Greek yogurt and fruit, but this was a good way of switching things up. However, this meal didn’t have quite¬†enough staying power (aka protein), so it’s not an ideal breakfast but still tasty.

Lunch: chocolate brownie Pure bar, baby carrots, freeze-dried mixed fruit.

However, I did get a little more protein at lunch with the delicious Pure bar! I love Pure bars, because they are basically bigger Larabars with a little bit fewer calories and more protein (7 grams in this flavor). I almost can’t believe they’re raw, they’re so good! The chocolate brownie is my favorite flavor, hands-down, plus I really needed my chocolate fix for the day since I couldn’t have my usual daily dose of ¬†a handful of dark chocolate chips. I think I should invest in cacao nibs because they’re raw–I’ve heard they take some getting used to, though. The carrots and dried fruit were good for crunch and overall, this was a pretty balanced meal.

Post-lunch dessert: Medjool date stuffed with raw pecan halves.

I also had some unpictured frozen pineapple chunks during my weather and climate lab. The date and nut combo is amazing, it tastes exactly like a turtle sundae. Well, without the ice cream, of course, but it’s a good raw substitute.

Afternoon snack: Pink Lady apple, handful raw pecan pieces.

Having just fruit and nuts for a snack isn’t something I usually do, but it was actually really tasty. I drizzled the pecans with a little raw honey and they were even tastier. I think pecans are my new favorite nut–sorry, almonds.

Dinner: sprouted quinoa bowl with raisins, shredded carrots and raw walnut butter, blood orange.

Sorry about the awful photo quality–I eat dinner around 7 pm so it’s pretty dark, aka no natural lighting so I just wing it. Instagramming the photos usually helps somewhat though! Anyway, this was my first time trying sprouted quinoa and I gotta say, it was a little weird at first, since I’m used to fluffy cooked quinoa but the crunchiness was interesting. I mixed it up with some raw walnut butter, carrots and raisins, making a carrot cake sprouted quinoa bowl of sorts, and I had some water and a blood orange on the side. The quinoa was pretty bland, but I’d like to try using sprouted quinoa in some kind of salad with a good dressing.

Dessert: frozen banana slices drizzled with raw honey.

No day would be complete without a nighttime snack! Of course, I love the combo of frozen bananas and raw honey, so I definitely enjoyed this dessert. Sweet, simple and cold. It was worth shivering the rest of the night–yes, I eat frozen stuff in the middle of winter!

Overall–I had plenty of energy to get through the day, and it made me feel refreshed and ‘clean’. However, there were definitely some foods I missed (namely peanut flour, sweet potatoes and oats), so obviously this raw food thing is not going to become a daily¬†occurrence. I think cooked foods have a place in a healthy diet, and I don’t want to deprive myself of foods I love just to be completely raw. I do like that the challenge helped me get out of food ruts and try out some new combos, and it also challenged me to overcome my fear of fats (most raw foodism is based on using nuts, which have lots of healthy fats). I didn’t like that I wasn’t able to get as much protein as I usually can, and I don’t even normally eat a ton of protein, usually between 35-50 grams per day, and on my raw day, I only got 18 grams. Yeah, not so good but it was just one day so I’m not sweating it. So basically, there are some aspects I liked about the challenge and others weren’t my favorites but I feel good about mixing it up and trying something new. I would consider doing another ‘day of raw’ challenge in the future if I had more options, since being in a dorm I was mostly limited to fruits and nuts. In the future, I’m going to stick with my usual mix of raw and cooked foods, and also try out new raw food recipes occasionally.

Would you eat raw for a whole day? What’s your favorite nut?

Best Of…December!

Hey¬†everyone! Have you been enjoying your weekend so far? I can’t believe we’re already a week into the new year, it’s completely crazy. I feel like just yesterday it was Christmas, but that was already 2 weeks ago!

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about my monthly “Best Of…” post! I love recapping my favorite moments from the previous month, and even though I just did a 2011 recap post, I almost neglected a recap of December.

Best Recipe: Coffee Maple Pecan Butter

I probably had the most recipes ever this month, from raw salted caramel dip to nutty cherry chocolate chunk cookies to raw mini pecan pies. All were delicious and devoured (I was surprised that my dad ate half of the cookies–he really loved them!) but this nut butter takes the cake. It was my first attempt at making nut butter, and since it was so successful, I hope to make another kind soon.

Best Fun Post: Oh We Need a Little Christmas [Inspiration]

I love looking for random inspiring photos on Pinterest and weheartit, so this was just a fun little way to get in the Christmas spirit!

Best Challenge: Jumping on the Bandwagon

I joined in on the NaNeFoMo train, and I didn’t regret it. In fact, I want to make it one of my goals for this year to try one new food each month. Food ruts and ‘safe foods’ are fine and all but if I truly want to challenge my ED and find new food loves, I’ve gotta branch out and try new things. Kombucha and vegan marshmallows are still on my list!

Best Really Long Post: It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Super long post, but then again when isn’t a recap post really long, especially a Christmas recap post? Christmas 2011 was honestly one of the best Christmases I’ve had in a while, not sure why–maybe because we actually had a ton of snow and got to go sledding? Yeah, that was probably it ūüėČ

Best Fashion Post: Shopping & Sledding

Sadly, it was my only fashion post of the month, but I really want to get back to doing my Style Phile posts every once in a while. Fashion is one of my obsessions, so I’d like to include it a little more on this blog. After all, it’s not all about the food!

What was the best part of December for you? Christmas, and Christmas break!

What are you anticipating in January? Starting my new classes in about a week. 

Jumping on the Bandwagon

Hi lovelies, how were all your weekends? I am beyond excited that it’s less than a week til Christmas, but I’ll save that excitement for later!

After having read a lot about NaNeFoMo (or National New Food Month) around the bloggy world, I decided to finally join in! Yes, I know it’s kinda late, but I have already made some progress and created a “bucket list” of things I’ve been wanting to try for a while.

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1. Peanut flour. I finally sucked it up and ordered some online a couple of weeks back. This has changed my life, for real! I’ve had it practically on a daily basis since it first arrived in the mail (which is why I just had to order more!) and I’m definitely not sick of it yet. It makes an amazing paste, peanut sauce for stir-frys and salads, as flavoring for Greek yogurt and as a source of protein in smoothies. I even used it in place of flour in my festive garland bars. Definitely a new staple in my pantry!

The perfect topper for banana softserve and Puffins!

2. Chocolate chips. These were (and still are) a fear food of mine, so I thought they’d be perfect to include in my list. I bought some vegan chocolate chips at Whole Foods, used them in a few recipes and now I love them! Yes, they’re still scary, so I only eat maybe a teaspoon or so per day, but I don’t want to deprive myself of dark chocolate ever again!

Chocolate chips make an appearance in nutty cherry chocolate chunk cookies...recipe to come!

3. Making my own nut butter. Being home alone a week ago gave me the perfect opportunity to whip up a batch of homemade nut butter. But what kind to make? I had a bag of chopped pecans, so I mixed those up with some instant coffee powder, a little maple syrup and coffee maple pecan butter was born. You’re welcome ūüėČ

Simple combination, but oh so tasty!

4. Vegan marshmallows. Erm, well, not quite yet! I haven’t been able to find any in stores near me, so I decided to settle for some pescetarian marshmallows. Ummmm, say what? Yeah, marshmallows have gelatin in them, which is made from animals, but I was able to find some kosher ones, which means the gelatin is made from fish. Since I am basically a pescetarian right now, these are fine by me til I can find some truly vegan marshmallows.

5. Kombucha.¬†This one is very scary to me. Not a fear food, in the eating disorder sense, but scary because A) they’re expensive and B) what if they taste horrible? I’ve still yet to take the plunge on this, but I’m hoping maybe I’ll get to sample it at Whole Foods or something and see if it’s worth the price.

6. More raw/vegan desserts.¬†Every one I’ve attempted so far has turned out amazingly well (even if I am the only one who ends up eating them…oh well, more for me!) and I’d love to do more experimenting in the kitchen over the next month. Raw desserts can be kinda “scary” since they include lots of calorically-dense foods such as dates and nuts, but they taste so good and are so healthy for you compared to regular desserts. A few things I have in the works include raw salted caramel sauce, vegan peppermint bark and another variation on my raw brownies with chocolate peppermint avocado “buttercream” frosting. This month sure is looking delicious 8)

One of my favorite desserts ever--raw brownie pie with frozen raspberries and nonfat coffee froyo.

So that’s my bucket list so far–three things down, three to go! I’m proud of myself for conquering one fear food so far and I’m looking forward to trying out new things, especially the recipes. While I like to make “tried and true” type things, it’s always rewarding making something brand new and having it turn out amazing. And if it doesn’t, it’s not a huge deal!

Are you participating in NaNeFoMo? Have you ever made a raw dessert?