The Lust List: May

Let me just get this out of the way first–I can’t believe it’s already May! Where did the last 4 months of my life go? I feel like it was just Christmas and I was a newbie college grad applying to jobs. Sooooo much can change in just a few months!

So I know lust is technically considered a vice, but I don’t mean lust in the traditional sense. I mean things I’ve been wanting for awhile–whether that be clothes (per usual), food or something else. Here’s my lusts for May!

Flamingo iPhone case (VS Pink).

Flamingo iPhone case (VS Pink).

Watermelon ginger lime agua fresca (Califia Farms).

Watermelon ginger lime agua fresca (Califia Farms).

Casalserugo colorblock purse (ALDO).

Casalserugo colorblock purse (ALDO).

Bridget bikini (Aerie).

Bridget bikini (Aerie).

Watermelon Amazing Grass.

Watermelon Amazing Grass.

Cucumber jalapeno margarita (photo courtesy of Fork & Beans)

Cucumber jalapeno margarita (photo courtesy of Fork & Beans).

Coconut chocolate chip Larabar.

Coconut chocolate chip Larabar.

Kaycia leather sandals (Joan & David -- Rue La La).

Kaycia leather sandals (Joan & David — Rue La La).

Obviously I’m obsessed with all things watermelon, flamingo and PINK!

What are you “lusting” after? 

 

My Health Hero

Who inspires you in your own health journey?

Recently, I was contacted by the American Recall Center to do a post about my health hero. I thought it was an interesting idea. I think we’re all inspired by someone (or even by ourselves) to be the healthiest person we can be and those ‘health heroes’ deserve a little recognition every now and then!

My health hero is my dad. He grew up in a household that wasn’t very athletic, and as a result, he never really got into sports. Despite that, he always emphasized the importance of staying active throughout my childhood.

He was the one who taught me how to ride a bike. He was the one who would walk with me and my sister to the park and push us on the tire swing. He cheered us on at our dance recitals and soccer competitions. After I participated in a tennis summer camp, he bought his own tennis racquet so he could play with me…and he’s become my unofficial tennis partner over the years. He’s gone on bike rides with me, leads the way on family hikes in the mountains and likes to go for walks around the neighborhood.

My dad LOVES to hike!

My dad LOVES to hike!

Even though he works at a desk job all week, he tries to stay active on the weekends, and I’m so happy that I’ve been an influence in getting him to do that.

I’m also so proud that he’s started to make healthier choices with his eating habits. He grew up in Wisconsin, aka land of cheese and beer, and he hasn’t always been the healthiest eater. But over the past year or so, he’s cut out most processed foods and even though he’s nowhere near vegan or vegetarian (someday 😉 ), he eats mostly fresh fruits and veggies, lean meat and nuts. He loves cookies, but now he only eats ones made with real ingredients from Whole Foods. I love cooking with him, and trying out new veggies–he introduced me to brussels sprouts and parsnips! He’s also very supportive of my plant-based lifestyle and loves eating at vegan restaurants with me.

My dad introduced me to brussels sprouts in 2011 and I've loved them ever since.

My dad introduced me to brussels sprouts in 2011 and I’ve loved them ever since.

Who is your health hero? Why do they inspire you?

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for this post! 

New in Review: Chai & Chocolate

I have a problem. A problem with starting too many post series that I never stick to. I did keep my College Vegan on a Budget series going for several months and obviously I can’t go back to it now as a post-grad. But several other series I had big plans for died an early death.

I’m hoping I can keep this one going for awhile. See, I like product review posts a lot. I read them when I spot a new product on the shelves and I’m wondering if it’s worth a purchase, or if I just bought something and want to see what other people think. Either way, I think they’re informative and fun, so I wanted to bring something like that to AlmostVegGirlie.

I’m calling this new series New in Review, and it will be my honest thoughts about products (not just food!) that I’ve recently tried. Everything I post will be products I bought myself, so no sponsored posts here. And I hope you find them to be interesting!

  • Quinn Kale & Sea Salt popcorn

2014-04-15 16.32.32

I spotted this at Whole Foods, and even though I eat grain free a lot of the time by default, I’ve been craving popcorn lately. Plus it’s gluten free and sounded interesting, so I bought it. When I opened the bag, I was surprised to see that the popcorn was green. Like spinach green. I love all things green, though, so it didn’t scare me away, though some picky people might be thrown off by it. But then, it is made with dried organic kale (and carrot), so it’s basically like salad 😉 

The ingredients list is stellar–non-gmo popcorn kernels (corn is a heavily GM product so non-gmo is important), sunflower oil (healthier than most veggie oils, though coconut oil is best), dried organic kale and carrot (seriously, veggies in popcorn is incredible), sea salt, onion powder and garlic powder. That’s it…just popcorn and spices and a little oil. The best part is how tasty this popcorn is. It’s got a slight veggie flavor but not overpowering, with the perfect amount of saltiness and tang from the spices. And it’s a little addicting, but in a good way, because one serving of popcorn (4 cups) is 150 calories.

Pros: organic/non-gmo, clean ingredients, good flavor

Cons: I wish there was more popcorn!

  • Maybelline Volum’ Express Mega Plush mascara

2014-04-15 16.33.47

I’ve been partial to Maybelline mascaras since I discovered their Illegal Length mascara. My lashes are fairly voluminous, so I’m mostly looking to add length and darkness. I like Maybelline’s mascaras because they last a long time (I use it daily) and are fairly inexpensive and available at regular stores like Target.

This mascara is gel mousse, so the texture is a bit different, but it doesn’t clump at all. It also has a flexible brush, which makes it easier to apply. I prefer washable mascaras so I haven’t tried the waterproof kind, but the washable one is easily removable with soap+water or makeup wipes but it doesn’t smudge either.

Pros: inexpensive ($7 ish for a tube), goes on smoothly, feels light

Cons: I wish it added length as well as volume

  • Fearless Chocolate

2014-04-15 16.33.18

This is officially my go-to chocolate brand now! So far, I’ve tried 4 flavors: Superfruit, Green Tea Mint, Exploding Coconuts, and Super Seeds Crunch. All of them are good, but the Exploding Coconuts is my favorite so far. It’s got great little chunks of coconut in it! Though I can’t wait to find their new coffee flavor–I love coffee+chocolate!

Fearless Chocolate has one of the simplest ingredients list of any chocolate brand. They’re soy free (no soy lecithin, which is hard to find in chocolate), gluten free, vegan and certified organic & fair trade. Best of all, they’re made with raw cacao instead of cocoa butter, making them purely chocolate, and organic cane sugar is the last ingredient, so the bars aren’t too sweet.

Pros: Basically everything I’m looking for in dark chocolate

Cons: I didn’t love the mint flavor as much as I thought I would, a little pricey

  •  Trader Joes Spiced Chai Tea

2014-04-15 16.33.07

 

I went to Trader Joes for the first time about a month ago, and while I’ve already finished off most of the things I’ve bought, I’ve still got plenty of pink sea salt and this chai tea left.

With the warm days we’ve been having lately, I decided to use these tea bags to make iced tea over the weekend. I cold-brewed them in a pitcher for 10 minutes or so, and then taste-tested. This tea has a great, complex spiced flavor but it isn’t too bold. It also pairs well mixed with a bit of stevia and some coconut-almond milk over ice.

Pros: budget friendly, good flavor

Cons: No TJs near me anymore so I can’t buy more 😦

  • Kevita Probiotic Drinks

2014-04-15 16.31.59

I still haven’t gotten on the kombucha train, but I loooooove Kevita! It’s a little fizzy, sweetened with stevia and comes in a bunch of tasty flavors (I’ve tried the lemon cayenne, strawberry acai coconut, mango coconut & mojita lime mint).

This stuff is about the same price as GT Kombucha (though generally cheaper at Sprouts and Whole Foods when on sale) and it boasts the same probiotic qualities. But there’s no weird aftertaste or floaties that come with some kombuchas. Plus it’s organic and made with reverse osmosis water. It’s almost like a light, refreshing soda but so much better for you and won’t make you all bloated like diet soda does.

My new favorite flavor is the lemon cayenne cleanse–it tastes like lemonade!

Pros: tasty, health benefits, lots of flavors

Cons: a bit expensive when not on sale

What new products have you tried lately? 

My (Now) Crazy Life

Sorry I’ve been missing lately! I wish I could promise a more regular posting and commenting schedule but my life is about to get even crazier and busier in the next couple of weeks so I may not be around much. But I want to fill you in on what’s been happening in my (now) crazy life lately!

I don't always get manis...but when I do, I take shameless selfies to show them off!

I don’t always get manis…but when I do, I take shameless selfies to show them off!

It all started on Wednesday. I drove up 2 1/2 hours to my college town to reunite with one of my best friends. We hadn’t seen each other since before I graduated in December and a fun girls’ day was in order. We got sushi for lunch with her boyfriend (I got an avocado maki roll and it was the cheapest lunch ever–like $4!) and then drove over to our favorite nail salon to get manis and then drove down to the outlet mall for a little shopping. We didn’t buy much (I only ended up getting a coral dress from American Eagle for under $20) but we had fun trying on different outfits and just reconnecting. She’s graduating in May so we talked a lot about our future plans. And I filled her in about my new job! I haven’t talked about it a lot here yet, but let’s just say I’m moving out of state in a couple weeks…

Of course, this chipped a couple of days later.

Of course, this chipped a couple of days later.

My first time at a Trader Joes! I fell in love :)

My first time at a Trader Joes! I fell in love 🙂

On Friday my mom and I headed up to Denver for a busy day of shopping and food. We got lunch at Native Foods first (my last time getting to eat there for awhile 😦 ) and then the moment I’ve been waiting for for at least a year…we stopped at the new Trader Joes! Colorado finally got with the program and opened up a few TJs last month, but since none are where we live, we had to drive about an hour up to Denver to check out the store.

Their produce is so cheap but incredibly good!

Their produce is so cheap but incredibly good!

The store was a little smaller than I was expecting it to be, but then again I’m used to Whole Foods and Sprouts which are a little bigger. But the selection is incredible! They had so many products I’ve never seen anywhere else, and a lot of stuff (like their raw almond butter) is just much cheaper than at any other store. It made me a little sad that I’m moving to a state that doesn’t have any TJs. Of course, I ended up with a bunch of stuff, including dried persimmon (!), almond butter, tofu burgers and a pink sea salt grinder. My mom was mostly impressed with their beer and wine selection!

Where else can you find exotic dried fruits for less?

Where else can you find exotic dried fruits for less?

IKEA has my heart.

IKEA has my heart.

After a quick trip to our favorite ice cream place (they always offer 4 rotating vegan flavors and I got the spiced cider sorbet–just like apple cider!), it was off to IKEA! If you’ve never been to an IKEA, you won’t realize how awesome it is. It’s also a decent workout, as you have to walk through the entire store to get to the checkout. My mom and I went to check out some inexpensive furniture for my new apartment but we didn’t get anything other than a tabletop ironing board because we realized we won’t have enough room in the car to move it. And there’s no IKEA where I’m moving to, so any IKEA furniture will have to wait until I come back home to visit and I can take some back with me.

An amazing locally-made GF vegan cookie. So buttery and maple-y.

An amazing locally-made GF vegan cookie. So buttery and maple-y.

On Saturday my dad and I hit up a vegan pop-up market downtown. The weather was seriously crappy (windy, cloudy and cool) but luckily the market was held inside. It was a lot smaller than I was expecting it to be, but we got free samples of kale chips and green juice and I also got a couple locally-made gluten free vegan cookies. I wish I had bought more, because they were incredible.

I love sangria.

I love sangria.

After church, it was time for my celebratory dinner out. My family doesn’t go out to eat often (once a month, if that) but we always do for special occasions, like birthdays and apparently job offers! I chose Tapateria, where I had my birthday dinner in July and even though we couldn’t sit outside because of the weather, it was still just as nice of an experience as it was the first time. We ordered a lot of the same things as last time, like the incredible fresh garlic bread (everything is gluten free, which I love!), the warm olives and of course, the sangria. I don’t drink that often (again, probably about once or twice a month) but I love sangria and I plan on making my own this summer.

So fresh, so garlicky, so good.

So fresh, so garlicky, so good.

It’s crazy that Saturday’s dinner was one of the last times I’ll be eating out with my family. I know it’s kinda hard on my parents too–my sister’s going off to college in the fall so they’ll officially be empty-nesters. I’m lucky to be so close with my family, so I know the transition period will be tough on all of us, but it’s nice to know that I’m always a phone call, text or 9 hour drive away from seeing them.

I'm finally an iPhone owner!

I’m finally an iPhone owner!

On Sunday, I officially became an iPhone owner! I’ve had an iPod touch since 2010 but all my smartphones have been Androids. I’ve been wanting an iPhone for awhile, and since T-Mobile finally offers them, I upgraded to the iPhone 5C. In pink, naturally. That phone is seriously my baby. I’m in love with iOS 7 and the feel of the phone. And I still have the best of both worlds, because my tablet still has all my Android stuff on it. Win win! The best part is, I can finally use emojis so…don’t be surprised if my Instagram is bombarded with them 😉

So there’s just a little glimpse into the craziness of my life lately. I’ve got one more post lined up for this week, and then I’m off to TX at the end of this week for spring break! Fair warning, my life will be even crazier post-spring break so I’ll try to keep up with commenting but I probably won’t post much for the next few weeks. See y’all in mid-April!

What were you up to this weekend? 

 

Perfectly Imperfect

This weekend was one of those weekends that I never wanted to end. Don’t get me wrong–it wasn’t the perfect weekend in every way. But perfection is boring! My weekend was perfectly imperfect, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • I finally got my hair re-done.

It was time for a change and I’m so glad I made one. I got about 5-6 inches off the length (big for me since my hair’s been this long since 9th grade!) and got it colored darker. I’m in love with the results though–but of course, hair is never as amazing as it is right after getting it done.

I'm a brunette again!

I’m a brunette again!

I was a little worried when I went out with my mom later on Friday on a few errands because it was raining & snowing and I didn’t want my new hair getting ruined. Fortunately, it stayed pretty dry and I was able to score a new bikini from Target thanks to my lovely mom. Trying on swimsuits is still an anxiety-provoking thing for me but I was able to get over my body hang-ups and find a cute suit that I love!

View from my room on Friday afternoon. Looks more like December than March!

View from my room on Friday afternoon. Looks more like December than March!

I can't wait to wear this...hopefully soon!

I can’t wait to wear this…hopefully soon!

  • I went hiking with my parents. 

After crappy weather on Friday and some cold (in the 40s) sunshine on Saturday, I was more than ready for some springlike weather like we had on Thursday. Sunday delivered on that, so my parents and I laced up our hiking boots (okay, I just wore some tennis shoes) and hit the trails at a state park in the foothills on the south side of town. The weather was perfect–in the 70s with gorgeous blue skies. I was excited to fit in some exercise out in the fresh air. Everything was great…until we ran into some mud on the trails. And by mud, I mean several inches of sloppy, gooey fresh mud. Not so ideal, especially with the shoes I was wearing but with a little help from my dad, I was able to survive the muddy trails. You never know what’s going to happen when you’re hiking, and that’s what I love. Sure, it wasn’t quite the perfect conditions but we made the best of it and now we have a great story to tell 😉

I was finally reunited with the Whole Foods salad bar!

I was finally reunited with the Whole Foods salad bar for an almost-perfect picnic lunch.

Isn't this view just gorgeous? I'm so lucky to be able to call Colorado my home (for now)!

Isn’t this view just gorgeous? I’m so lucky to be able to call Colorado my home (for now)!

A photobombed selfie on the trail.

A photobombed selfie on the trail. I love my mom!

  • I got my grocery shopping done for the week. 

I’m being serious when I say that grocery shopping is one of my highlights of the week. I love browsing the aisles for new products and being able to pick out my produce and other food for the week. I get a little upset, though, when I have to push back my grocery trip because of my mom or dad’s schedule. Mostly because I go through my groceries by the time the weekend rolls around, and being low on my favorite foods is a little annoying. But I’m learning to be patient, and just to appreciate the fact that right now, my parents are paying for my (slightly expensive) groceries.

My dad and I didn’t get to the store until 5 pm on Sunday because of our hiking escapades earlier in the day, but I really enjoyed the time I spent with him at Sprouts and Whole Foods. We ran into my internship supervisor from last summer–he’s always been so nice and funny and supportive, so we talked a little about my possible upcoming job. My dad and I share a love for fruit, so we went a little crazy in the Sprouts produce area. At Whole Foods, I wasn’t able to buy everything I had on my list (no spinach, boo!) because things weren’t stocked or they were a bit too expensive but I’m just so grateful that my dad spent the time and money to take me to my favorite store. And now I’m all stocked up for the week and ready to try out some new recipes!

Homemade grain free pizza with homemade kale pesto made from the remnants of my last grocery haul.

Homemade grain free pizza with homemade kale pesto made from the remnants of my last grocery haul.

So yeah, my weekend wasn’t perfect. My nail polish chipped right after I painted them, I had some anxieties over my workouts, I ate too many Larabars (I’ve had 1 per day since Thursday even though I meant to save them…oops!), I was disappointed by this week’s SNL, I didn’t drink enough water, I got a not-so-great voice mail from my doctor’s office and I struggled with some lingering cold symptoms. But you know what? My weekend was perfectly imperfect. I enjoyed plenty of family time, I ate some amazing pizza (of the homemade, grain free variety), I helped my sister with a baking project, I slept in and stayed up late and I just lived. Not every weekend or every day will be perfect, but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes, the imperfect days are the best!

What were some highlights of your weekend?

 

Ditch the Diet Debates

Note: In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, I created a page on my blog dedicated to my own struggles with an eating disorder and some of my most helpful posts on the topic. Check it out here and visit nedawareness.org for even more information. 

You know me…never afraid to take on a touchy subject 😉 I’ve discussed Instagram disordered behavior, figure competitions, rest days and intuitive eating and orthorexia in my personal life.

But what I haven’t talked much about is the crazy debates out there about the ‘perfect’ diet. There have been a lot of posts lately touching on the pros and cons of paleo, the Whole 30 and the primal-based lifestyles that are gaining in popularity. And of course, Instagram is full of #IIFYM hashtagged photos of ‘proyo’ and Quest bars and Walden Farms condiments. And if you’ve spent any time on my blog or Instagram, you’ll see all the raw fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds that make up my newly adopted raw vegan lifestyle. With all these conflicting dietary views out there, which one is best?

Honestly…none of them are! Let me explain. The ‘best’ diet for all humans doesn’t exist–we’re all so unique in our needs that eating a egg salad sandwich on Ezekiel bread for lunch may work for you, but it will make your gluten-free vegetarian friend feel like crap. The ‘best’ diet is the one that works for YOU and your body, period. It doesn’t matter what’s trendy, or what everyone at your gym is eating or what the latest episode of Dr. Oz tells you not to eat. If something works for you, eat it. If not, don’t…and don’t feel guilty for not eating a certain way.

This approach doesn't exactly work for everyone.

This approach doesn’t exactly work for everyone.

Source

The thing that gets me the most about these diet debates is how people trash each other’s eating style. The paleo people cut down vegans for not eating enough protein, high carb low fat vegans are militant about shunning fats and omnivores criticize many diets for being too restrictive. Where’s the appreciation for the benefits of each diet? Other than the Standard American Diet, there are benefits to every eating style, which is why people choose to follow them. Each diet gets some things right–veganism emphasizes the benefits of consuming mostly plants, primal eating promotes real food over processed crap and healthy diets that don’t exclude any food groups show the benefits of moderation.

We ALL need to be eating more real food.

We ALL need to be eating more real food.

Source

I wish people would be more respectful of everyone’s chosen eating style. I came across a blog post the other day where the blogger shared her experiences as being a vegetarian for a week and how she couldn’t do it because she’s an athlete. Nothing wrong with not being a vegetarian, but don’t claim you couldn’t cut out meat because you’re an athlete. If that were true, then Brendan Brazier, Venus Williams and Scott Jurek (all plant-based athletes) wouldn’t be among the best in their sports. Sure, you may have to be better at planning your meals as a plant-based athlete but that doesn’t mean you can’t avoid animal products and still be athletic. I know I’m guilty of questioning the paleo diet from time to time but I recognize that it works for some people and that’s great. Just because something is restrictive for you personally doesn’t mean it’s restrictive to someone else and we need to respect that.

Who says vegans can't be strong and fit?

Who says vegans can’t be strong and fit?

Source

Personally, I advocate for a plant-based diet because it’s healthier to fill up your plate with plenty of fruits and veggies and of course it’s cruelty-free, but I understand that everyone has their own beliefs and needs that determine what they eat. I try to come from a place of understanding and respect and I wish there was more of that in the blog world and life in general!

What’s your take on the ‘diet debates’?

WIAW: Foods of the Moment

I like trying new things. It’s the best way to figure out what you like, right? But sometimes, you just gotta come back to old–or new–favorites.

Doing the whole raw foodism thing for the past 2+ weeks has given me plenty of time for experimenting, and it’s helped me figure out what foods are my favorite. So lemme share them with you this WIAW!

Cauliflower ‘Rice’

Random dinner of romaine hearts, homemade guac, cilantro lime cauliflower 'rice' and dehydrated sweet potato fries.

Random dinner of romaine hearts, homemade guac, cilantro lime cauliflower ‘rice’ and dehydrated sweet potato fries.

Dehydrated Sweet Potatoes

Almost like baked fries but even better.

Almost like baked fries but even better.

Carrot Cake Anything

Banana softserve+carrot cake (added in a carrot+raisins+coconut manna) = best dessert ever.

Banana softserve+carrot cake (added in a carrot+raisins+coconut manna) = best dessert breakfast ever.

Fruits and Veggies (of ALL kinds)

Whole Foods produce haul. This makes up at least HALF of my grocery bill.

Whole Foods produce haul. This makes up at least HALF of my grocery bill.

More veggies in the produce drawer. Cauliflower, rainbow carrots, jicama, kale, bell peppers.

More veggies in the produce drawer. Cauliflower, asparagus, rainbow carrots, jicama, kale, bell peppers.

Strawberries, blackberries, spinach and romaine.

Strawberries, blackberries, spinach and romaine.

Fruit bowl. Bananas waiting to ripen, mango, blood oranges, lemon, lime.

Fruit bowl. Bananas waiting to ripen, mango, blood oranges, lemon, lime.

Beautiful blood oranges.

Beautiful blood oranges.

Zucchini ‘Pasta’

Zucchini fettuccine with easy marinaraw sauce (tomato paste+spices+date), olives, homemade pumpkin seed pesto and hemp seeds.

Zucchini fettuccine with easy marinaraw sauce (tomato paste+spices+date), olives, homemade pumpkin seed pesto and hemp seeds.

And zucchini rawsagsna. Layered with homemade marinaraw sauce, raw cashew cheez, kalamata olives and hemp seeds.

And zucchini rawsagsna. Layered with homemade marinaraw sauce, raw cashew cheez, kalamata olives and hemp seeds.

Chia Puddings

Valentine's Day breakfast of cherry vanilla Sunwarrior chia pudding topped with coconut manna and homemade raw brownie bites.

Valentine’s Day breakfast of cherry vanilla Sunwarrior chia pudding topped with coconut manna and homemade raw brownie bites.

Garden of Life mocha brownie batter chia pudding topped with fresh strawberries, coconut manna and raw brownie bites.

Garden of Life mocha brownie batter chia pudding topped with fresh strawberries, coconut manna and raw brownie bites.

Sprouted Mung Beans

Just soak and marinate for a great raw protein source.

Just soak and marinate for a great raw protein source.

Kelp Noodles

Kelp noodle 'stirfry' (adapted from Going Raw book) with rainbow carrots, spinach/arugula and orange bell pepper.

Kelp noodle ‘stirfry’ (adapted from Going Raw book) with rainbow carrots, spinach/arugula and orange bell pepper.

Avocado (in sweet things)

Avocado+Garden of Life+cacao mousse topped with coconut flakes and raisins.

Avocado+Garden of Life+cacao mousse topped with coconut flakes and raisins.

Flax Pancakes

Flax 'pancakes' topped with Garden of Life protein sauce, coconut flakes and frozen blueberries.

Flax ‘pancakes’ topped with Garden of Life protein sauce, coconut flakes and frozen blueberries.

Even though I have a lot of favorites, one thing I love about being raw is getting such a variety of foods in every day. Instead of getting stuck in a food rut, I’m always excited about trying something new and mixing things up so I get in a variety of nutrients!

What are some of your ‘foods of the moment’?

Adventures In Raw: How Anyone Can Eat More Raw

As I’ve been mentioning in my posts all week, I’ve been wanting to talk about how easy eating raw is and how anyone can do it. Now, eating high raw or 100% raw is quite an undertaking and involves a lot of planning and dietary changes for the average person, but you don’t have to eat fully raw to reap the benefits of raw food!

  • Add in more fresh fruits and veggies

I know some people can’t handle certain veggies raw, and that’s okay. But many veggies are more nutritious when eaten in their raw state, and personally, I think most taste better raw. I’m obsessed with raw cauliflower and I prefer eating my greens and carrots fresh. Even things like sweet potatoes can be eaten raw (if dehydrated) and you’ll definitely be getting more nutrients out of them when they’re fresh. As for fruits, it’s even easier to go raw! And while you’re at it, why not try some new fruits and veggies when you’re making a grocery list? You’ll never know what you may love if you don’t try it.

This should be the basis of everyone's diet--fresh produce!

This should be the basis of everyone’s diet–fresh produce!

  • Sprout and soak your grains and legumes

Beans and grains can be hard for some people to digest, and for good reason. They contain lectins and other anti-nutrients which can cause lots of problems in your body. No wonder the paleo people are so against grains and legumes! But you don’t need to give them up…just follow in the footsteps of traditional cultures who always soak and sprout their grains and beans. Soaking and fermenting not only eliminate the issues with these foods, but they also unlock the nutritional properties of them, so you get more bang for your buck. Take some time to prepare these foods properly, and your body will thank you…and so will your wallet, because buying dried beans and grains is cheaper than buying them canned or pre-packaged.

If you eat wheat, and love bread, make the switch to sprouted grain products like Ezekiel. Their breads are different than most, since they’re made from whole sprouted grains instead of nutrient-poor flour. I don’t eat this anymore since it’s not raw, but it’s a good transitional product!

I miss these sprouted sunflower seeds...so good!

I miss these sprouted sunflower seeds…so good!

  • Buy from the bulk section.

I love getting my dried fruit and nuts from the bulk section at Whole Foods because then I can buy only what I need. Whole Foods in particular has a great selection of raw nuts, sun-dried fruits and even things like raw granola so it’s perfect for the raw foodie. Some of my favorites from this section include Medjool dates, hemp hearts, Living Intentions sprouted sunflower seeds and greens, raw mixed nuts, rawpumpkin seeds and Turkish figs.

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself.

If you’re striving to be high raw, like I am, it can be easy to fall into the trap of wanting to be ‘perfect’. The thing is, it’s okay to eat cooked foods if that’s what your body (or mind) wants. If you stick to plant-based meals, there’s no reason to feel guilty. Just remind yourself that you chose this lifestyle for a reason, because it’s so nourishing and healthful, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat ‘perfectly’ all the time. In fact, I’m going out to eat with my parents tonight for Valentine’s Day (hot date, right 😉 ), and while I would rather stay in and make one of my delicious raw meals, I’m going to enjoy a cooked meal tonight and then get back on track with my regular lifestyle!

I might be eating a cheeseless vegan pizza like this and even though I'd rather eat a raw dinner, I'll still enjoy myself.

I might be eating an artisan, organic cheeseless vegan pizza like this and even though I’d rather eat a raw dinner, I’ll still enjoy myself.

What’s something you prefer to eat raw instead of cooked?