Friday, October 28, 2011

Unprocessed Plant-Based Diet

It may stun many people, including me, to learn that humans require NO animal products in their diet! In reality animal products are the cause of numerous health ailments and diseases. I learned this a few years ago when I began becoming familiar with the raw living foods lifestyle. The real shocker is that all of our nutritional requirements can be met by consuming all of our food from the plant kingdom! Two different lifestyles can help one accomplish this feat: Raw Vegan or Vegan. A raw vegan consumes raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouted vegetables, sprouted grains and sprouted beans, sea vegetables and sometimes a small amount of cooked plant based foods like soaked, sprouted and then cooked quiona or other whole grains. Whereas a vegan may consume both raw and cooked fruits, vegetable, nuts, seeds, whole grains, sprouts, and sea vegetables. The tricky part to the vegan diet is keeping processed vegan "junk" foods out of the picture, with the exception of certain condiments, wheat free pastas and perhaps organic tofu occasionally. So how did I get started on all of this talk? Well, I have my nose buried in the following two books:

THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO PLANT-BASED NUTRITION by Julieanna Hever and UNPROCESSED by Chef AJ.
I am trying to teach my children the facts when it comes to nutrition or should I say proper nutrition, that will allow their wonderfully created bodies to thrive as they were meant to. We have some major inherited health issues to face in this household and I am trying to do the best possible job in giving them the tools to make proper life choices when they leave the nest. Did I really say that? Leave the nest? This mama bird can't swallow THAT reality, but back to the topic--
The first book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition", has alot of good nutritional information and also some great recipes. Some of her material I find conflicting with other sources but for the most part she does a good job. I don't agree with all of her view points, as I am sure no one could agree with EVERYTHING someone writes, but I feel this book is a great tool to help people take back their health one bite at a time. It is amazing how once the light bulb goes on your whole world changes. The major difference between this book and the second title, "Unprocessed" is that the former author cooks with more "processed" food items like maple syrup, canned beans, vegan chocolate chips, nutritional yeast, canned vegetables and a few other things. Whereas in "Unprocessd" she is teaching you how to eat a diet free of salt, sugar, fats and processed products. Only on rare occasion does she use something "semi-processed" like gluten free brown rice noodles, alcohol free extracts and Dijon mustard. But for the most part her recipes are straight up fresh and unprocessed, whole foods--I love that! I like most all of their recipes and can really incorporate several of them, with minor changes, into the families diet. I like how many raw recipes are included in the "Unprocessed" title. The rest of the family does eat cooked foods and a high amount of raw. I on the other hand choose to eat raw with an occasional cooked item thrown in. I feel the best though on completely raw, to be honest.
So here are two recipes that we experimented with; we made the "Unclassic Oatmeal Raisin Cookies" from the Idiot's Guide and then I combined two recipes, one from each book, to make a mock parmesan.
Let's start with the mock Parmesan. Chef AJ's recipe is called, "Faux Parmesan" and Julieanna's is called, "Parmesan Shake". They recommend using this on anything you would put dairy Parmesan cheese. I think it makes a great "seasoning". The kids like sprinkling it on food as if it were salt. The beautiful part is this "shake" is high in:
Calcium
Magnesium
Vitamin E
All B vitamins
Protein and
Healthy fats
I made this amazing mock parmesan in less than a minute! Here is how I put it together:
Mock Parmesan Cheeze
1 C raw, soaked, sprouted and dehydrated almonds
1/2 C nutritional yeast flakes
2 tsp kelp powder
1/3 C raw sesame seeds, white
2 T salt free, MSG free "McCormick Perfect Pinch Original All Purpose Seasoning"
In a small food processor, process all of the ingredients for roughly 40 seconds or until you achieve a slightly powdery texture. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed. Don't go overboard with the raw sesame seeds or it will be too bitter.

The next recipe I made for the children was Julieanna's "Unclassic Oatmeal Raisin Cookies". Let's just say that our oldest son kept trying to grab the cookie jar and run away with these! He is our pickiest eater so that says a great deal for this recipe. You can get your children to eat cookies with no wheat, oil, eggs, or other nasty stuff!!
I started the day before by preparing my date fluff, as I call it. The authors of the books call it "date paste" but mine always turns out so beautifully fluffy and yummy I prefer to call it date fluff. Anywaaays...to make the date fluff I soak 1 Cup of pitted dates in coconut water overnight. The next day I process it into a fluff using my mini food processor fitted with the "S" blade. Store your fluff in the refrigerator or freeze if you make a double or triple batch, for later use. Into a large mixing bowl I placed a mashed banana, date fluff and powdered vanilla.
Next I made oat flour using my new Blendtec blender, thanks again honey!!!
Added that to the bowl.
On top of that I measured in the baking soda, baking powder and a pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt.
Stir until creamy.
The oats, coconut flour (I added that to the recipe!) and raisins went into the bowl.
I also put in a half a cup of "Enjoy Life" vegan mini chocolate chips--raisins and chocolate go soooo good together in our opinions.
Form into cookie shapes, place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake (350 degrees for 7 min) or dehydrate till set.
I must mention that the author's do cross reference to each other's books, so you will see some of Chef AJ's recipes listed in Julieanna's book. I must say that I am very happy with both of these books, I have found several helpful hints and techniques that I can pass on to the children. They understand the whole raw living foods lifestyle but I wanted them to have a better grasp on continuing to eat  plant-based cooked items -vs- unhealthy cooked choices throughout life.
I am very excited to say that my garden has been planted!! I will post about that soon as well as another unexpected "science class" discovery in our yard.
+JMJ+ Today I am grateful for fantastic test results x two!

Friday, October 21, 2011

I Love Simple Raw Foods

Raw lunches like these make me smile. So simple and so delicious. With our home school year in full swing there are days when simplicity is just what I need. Time runs short but I will not compromise when it comes to what I eat and the example I am trying to set for the children. Today we all also had some Apple Kale Lemonade. It was very tart and very good. I used a beautiful deep purple kale and a mixture of organic macs, yellow delicious and Fuji and then we juiced 3 lemons. Now that is lemonade! (no pic--the color was awful) If you are not use to green juices you may want to sweeten it with some liquid steevia.
Pear and Sprout Sandwiches
The sunflower greens that you see in the pic are mine but the alfalfa sprouts came from the market. I used the romaine as my "bread" and made mini sandwiches by rolling up pair slices topped with sprouts and greens. This was a very filling lunch--loads of fiber.
 I have been posting some new posts to the home school page, so you can click on that to see some new, fun pics of the kiddos having fun learning. For the first month and a half of our new school year,every other day another box of books and supplies would arrive. It is always kinda crazy our first few months getting back into the swing of things but so far so good. I look forward to a great year. Formally teaching all five kids will keep me challenged, to say the least, but I am up for it!
+JMJ+ Today I am grateful for a new start on my exercise program. It has been hit and miss and I am trying to commit to a regular schedule of weights and aerobic activities. They say it takes 21 days to develop a habit--we shall see about that.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Blendtec Blender Birthday and a Sphinx



Happy Birthday to Me
Oh yes, I finally have a high speed blender!!!!  My wonderful husband got it for me for my birthday. Happy birthday to me :)
The first thing I made with it was an orange sorbet for the family. We ate it so fast I forgot to get a pic of the finished product, oops!
Into the blender went:
3 large oranges
1/2 C organic green grapes
2 Cups of ice
Blend on the "ice cream" function and presto, fresh living sorbet. It was wonderful! Since then I have been whipping up the green smoothies in 15 seconds flat. I am so happy to finally have the power I have waited for for 13 long months. We have burned up 3 conventional blenders since the start of my raw food journey but I still have my travel (Tribest) blender for trips.
Take a look at what I found hanging out on the backyard fence.
 Tomato Sphinx Moth

 It turned into a great science study for the children. We got out all of our moth and butterfly field guides and determined it was a Tomato Sphinx Moth. Pretty cool!! And I didn't even scream like a sissy when I saw it. Normally I would have screamed so loud that the whole neighborhood would hear. I do that every time those darn Florida Anoles jump out at me.
+JMJ+Today I am grateful for my wonderful, new blender!!!!! Thanks honey. XOXOXO

Monday, October 3, 2011

Asian Marinade

Here is an incredibly simple raw recipe that I know you will love!! I could eat this several times a week and never get tired of it--it is just that good! I call it "Asian Marinated Veggies". Peace and Raw Health!!


Asian Marinated Veggies
by Elizabeth @ rawlivingandlearning.blogspot.com

1 Bunch of Organic Broccoli
1 Large Yellow
1 pkg Organic Mushrooms
Tamari
Pure Maple Syrup
Splash of Water
EVOO
Sesame Oil
Fresh Garlic
Sliced Ginger
Sesame Seeds (black and white)
Directions:
Chop the broccoli, dice the onion, slice the mushrooms and toss them with the Tamari, syrup, water, EVOO, sesame seeds, ginger and garlic. Allow to marinate for six hours and then place in dehydrator until warm. Serve and enjoy the goodness!!
+JMJ+ Today I am grateful for my peaceful kayak trip. I saw a raccoon fishing in the mangroves, a flock of Ibis feasting on an oyster bed, and a Grey Heron. I also found a yellow "noodle" and a brand new fishing lure wrapped up in the top of a mangrove; I brought both of those back home! It's the simple things that make me give thanks!!!