WIAW: Going Raw-ish

One of my goals for the summer is to eat more raw. Now, I’m not saying I’m following the 80-10-10 lifestyle, or anything like that, but I’ve been genuinely curious about the raw food diet for quite awhile, and now that I have many of the ‘tools of the trade’ (a good food processor, a dehydrator) and it’s summer, I’ve been trying to eat at least one raw or high raw (80-99% raw) meal per day and on Monday, I ate pretty much entirely raw, aside from one square of Alter Eco chocolate, a peanut butter Larabar (peanuts aren’t raw) and some peanut flour in my kelp noodle salad, and I felt really energized throughout the day, despite the heat and being at my internship for the afternoon. I’m definitely not planning on eating raw all day every day, but it’s nice to get a break from cooking, especially when it’s hot out. It literally took me just a few minutes to put my meals together and plate them!

With that said, here’s some raw meals and snacks I’ve been enjoying lately. These weren’t all from one day, but I’ve been eating at least one raw meal a day for probably the past week and loving it!


Breakfast: raw ‘French toast’ topped with raw coconut ‘bacon’ and raw honey. Side of chocolate Sunwarrior+coconut cream ‘mousse’ topped with fresh raspberries.

I’ve been wanting to make over a traditional breakfast food in a raw way for awhile. I attempted pancakes, but they got too hard in the dehydrator overnight. I wanted to make waffles, but the recipe seemed complicated. When I found a recipe for raw French toast, I was intrigued. It seemed simple enough, and I had everything on hand. It didn’t turn out perfect, but it held together quite well after a few hours in the dehydrator and tasted delish topped with raw coconut ‘bacon’ and a drizzle of raw honey. A side of raw protein mousse made the breakfast complete, and a definite repeat meal.

Raw French Toast with Coconut ‘Bacon’ (vegan, gluten free, grain free, raw)

1/2 cup raw buckwheat groats

5 pitted dates

1/4 cup flaked coconut 

coconut aminos and liquid smoke, to taste (for non-raw version, can use tamari)

In a food processor or blender, grind groats into fine meal. Add in dates and process until mixture is sticky. Add in more dates or a little water as needed. Shape mixture into 4 small rectangles and place on a nonstick dehydrator sheet (or parchment paper). Dehydrate at 115 for 3-6 hours, or until mixture holds together. 

In a bowl, mix coconut flakes, coconut aminos and liquid smoke until combined. Spread coconut on nonstick dehydrator sheet and dehydrate at 115 for 1-2 hours, or until crisp.

Serve raw French toast soaked in raw coconut or almond milk and top with coconut bacon and coconut nectar (or raw honey, for non-vegan version). 

Raw desserts > regular desserts.

Raw desserts > regular desserts.

I love Hail Merry’s line of raw nuts and raw Miracle Tarts, but my Whole Foods only ever carries the chocolate and Meyer lemon and I’ve been dying to try the other flavors. When my mom took me to Natural Grocers to check out their prices and selection, I was blown away by their raw food selection. Not only did they have amazing raw ‘caramel’ chocolate cheaper than Whole Foods (Righteously Raw brand, BTW!) but they also had a few more Miracle Tart flavors. I had to get the chocolate almond butter, of course, and it reminded me of a more decadent PB cup! I loved the raw almond butter filling and the chocolate mousse-like outside. I will be making a trip back to Natural Grocers for sure…and not just for their raw desserts!

Enjoying the sun before the storm.

Enjoying the sun before the storm.

I’ve been trying to get outside as much as possible, whether to lay out for half an hour or just enjoy a meal outside in the sunshine. We’ve been having some random weather (it was 90 degrees on Monday, then yesterday it got cloudy and rained, today it’s supposed to be like 60…what’s up, Colorado?) so I’ve been going outside when it’s been nice and hoping for even warmer weather.

Nori 'burrito' filled with spinach, sprouted tofu, raw kimchi and homemade raw cilantro cashew cream.

Nori ‘burrito’ filled with spinach, sprouted tofu, raw kimchi and homemade raw cilantro cashew cream.

This is another ‘high raw’ meal, because apparently sprouted tofu is generally made from cooked and sprouted soybeans, but I ate it raw (aka right out of the package, seasoned with coconut aminos) so it counts, right? I’ve been liking tofu a lot more lately but I’m wanting to go back to tempeh, since it’s a healthier form of soy and it’s higher in protein than tofu. I used to love tempeh, but after getting sick early last summer, I haven’t wanted to touch it since for some reason.

Blue skies.

Blue skies.

We got some sun yesterday morning before the clouds and thunder rolled in and rain dumped on us for a solid 15 minutes. Don’t get me wrong, it was much-needed and appreciated, but I would have liked a little more sunshine and a little less thunder and lightning. Oh well, thunderstorms are pretty much a part of life in the summers here.

Muscle progress?

Muscle progress?

I’ve been continuing with my lifting routine, doing arm and shoulder focused routines a few times a week at least and I’ve been seeing some more progress. My biceps are more defined and my triceps are a lot stronger and firmer now (they’re pretty hard even when I barely flex now) and I’m even getting some definition in my shoulders and back. I’m not lifting heavy by any means, but I’m still loving the progress I’m making. Eating clean and working out almost daily (with more regular rest days now) are really making me fitter! I would love to work out my legs too, but since I don’t have gym access, I can’t really use any machines and just have to focus on yoga and cardio to tone my legs.

High raw powerbowl for dessert. Chocolate Sunwarrior+peanut flour base (mixed with coconut milk) and topped with strawberries, crumbled Hail Merry chocolate almond butter tart and raw coconut butter.

High raw powerbowl for dessert. Chocolate Sunwarrior+peanut flour base (mixed with coconut milk) and topped with strawberries, cacao nibs, crumbled Hail Merry chocolate almond butter tart and raw coconut butter.

When I first bought Sunwarrior and coconut butter, I thought they’d be a huge waste of money. I wasn’t in love with either of them and I used them just to get rid of them. But lately I’ve been loving them like crazy and using them daily. The coconut butter (Artisana brand) is even better now that it’s summer and the heat of my house makes it a little melty. And the Sunwarrior makes the perfect protein-packed base for raw powerbowl desserts. I’ve been eating these powerbowls at least once a day and they’re still not getting old. And they’re a lot easier to make than most raw desserts!

Has it been sunny where you live? If you had to pick one meal to eat raw, what would it be?

College Vegan on a Budget: 2 Weeks & Counting

One clean-eating college girl’s goal to save as much money as possible at Whole Foods and beyond.

Well folks, there’s just over two weeks left until I’m officially done with my junior year of college (it’s also just under 3 months til I’m 21, but who’s counting 😉 ). It actually feels so weird to be saying that–I feel like I was just in 5th grade. It’s crazy to think that a year (or less) from now, I could be at my first big-girl job. Wow.

Like I mentioned in my last CVB post, this little series will be taking a hiatus over the summer as I transition back into life at home with my family. Obviously I’m looking forward to that, and also to be taking a break from budgeting! I’ve learned a lot, but I’m ready to have my parent’s financial support again for a few months. Considering that I may be living completely on my own in a year, it’ll be nice to rely on my parents for a little while to save up money for that!

I went to both Sprouts and Whole Foods this weekend, but I’ll only be listing and photographing my Whole Foods buys here, as I feel like I’ve come a long way with my budgeting skills there. Not too long ago, I was spending at least $80 there per week, sometimes upwards of $100. Yikes. Lately, I’ve been reigning in my impulse purchases, and it’s helped me stay below $60 almost every week there. I even spent under $40 there the other week…and who says it’s called Whole Paycheck? You really can shop there on a budget (maybe not a super-tight one), you just have to watch what you’re buying. I even buy more expensive things there sometimes, and still come in below $60.

Whole Foods produce

Whole Foods produce


Whole Foods

What I Got: baby spinach*, lemons x2, romaine lettuce*, Ataulfo mangos x3, strawberries*, watermelon, bulk section almond flour, bulk section coconut flakes, bulk section raw cashew pieces, grind-your-own raw cashew butter, coconut aminos*, Thai curry cashew mix*, Vega One bar, Vega vanilla chai protein powder sample pack, Theo dark chocolate orange bar*, Tessemae’s paleo BBQ sauce (on sale, and the only BBQ sauce I know sweetened only with dates), Skinny Crisps cinnamon (like grain free graham crackers!)

What I Spent: $58.48

Verdict: I bought a LOT of produce this week (most of it organic) and it still didn’t eat up my budget! As I’ve said before, produce is typically about 1/3 of my budget per store and trying to stick with the Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 guidelines can help me save money and decide what really needs to be bought organic when I have the choice. Buying from the bulk section in only the amount I need saves me a lot (for instance, I bought 1/3 a pound of almond flour for only $1.88!) and looking for deals helps when I make impulse buys. I like the Tessemae line of dressings, and when I saw their new BBQ flavor was on sale for about half the usual price, I had to try it, especially because I’ve been looking for a clean BBQ sauce. Some things, like the coconut aminos, cost a lot upfront (at least more than traditional soy sauce or even tamari/Bragg’s) but the quality ingredients and taste are worth it to me, and it lasts me a few months too. Basically, I try to make tradeoffs and figure out what the ‘real’ cost of an item is (good ingredients, how long it’ll last, etc.)

Other Whole Foods buys.

Other Whole Foods buys.

Are better ingredients/nutritional benefits worth it to you over low cost? How much does the organic label matter to you?