Home Made Almond Butter!

Homemade almond butter!

My first batch of home made almond butter in my tiny food processor!

I recently moved for grad school and have been on an adventure to find the best places to purchase health food items that previously I depended on Trader Joe’s for.  I found health food stores or ways to buy most everything I eat for reasonable prices in this city except raw almond butter. Even with coupons, I can’t find raw almond butter for less than $12 a jar. So I decided to make my own!

It’s super simple: process almonds until it turns into almond butter. I’ve made my own almond milk and almond meal this way before, but this is my first time making almond butter- and I have to say, it’s given me a new appreciation for the delicious staple. It took me nearly 20 minutes of processing until, as the article says, the almonds suddenly “magically, release more of its oils and become smooth and creamy”

Here is the recipe I used from Cooking With Laura.

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Detox for a Raw Year

For my birthday a couple days ago, I decided the best gift I could give myself for my health would be to finally go raw, and try it for a year. The kicker finally came last month when I read a section in a book at the chiropractor’s office about natural remedies for extreme pms. Unfortunately mine is so bad it’s debilitating one day out of every month, so I am desperate to do anything I can minus taking drugs to cure it. Basically it said cut out caffeine, sugar, meat and foods high in fat. Well guess what! A raw food diet covers all of that!

I have already been on this journey since early this spring but I’ll go off it for mostly social reasons or cravings. The same thing happened again the day of my birthday and a couple days after when we went out for dessert to celebrate and my dear friends brought me a cake to house church. How would they know? I didn’t tell them. Next year I will plan ahead and bake my own raw or close-to-raw birthday cake. I’m learning that if I am going to succeed in this, I need to plan ahead, and when appropriate, bring my own “goodies” to our get-togethers.

Instead of beating myself up for my birthday cake and brownie gorge last night, instead of swearing I’ll never eat sugar again, because, let’s be realistic – it probably will happen again  – I’m not going to plan for failure, but I am going to have a detox plan.  So here’s the green smoothie I made this morning and will be making tomorrow morning.

 

Detox Green Smoothie

adapted from Young and Raw

  • 1/2 Head Celery
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 1 Cup Cilantro & Parsley or Kale
  • 1 Lemon or lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp Ginger
  • 1/3 Pineapple
  • 1 Kiwi

Blend and enjoy!

Raw Fancy Berry Sorbet

I’ve been off track for the past few weeks a few relapses into processed food (which makes me feel terrible and like not going to the studio. go figure!)…trying to figure out to what extent I want to be raw, because I definitely crave more protein. I have been reading and observing the result of the Maximized Living Nutrition Plan which the chiropractor we started going to incorporates into all of his patients’ plans. It’s the best thing I’ve read in the world of nutrition so far, and most of it is raw! But more about that later… 

I can’t give myself too hard a time; I have been moving and living in other peoples’ houses, which contributes to my food regime getting off track…but it doesn’t have to. I bring with me  the foods I need, but I get seduced by things like Nutella and peanut butter cookies in my friends’ houses and have to buy my own – and then ensues a binge. So unfortunately I still have some work left to do to figure out how to avoid those triggers – maybe remembering how terrible I feel the next day!

This weekend I was inspired to experiment with raw or almost raw desserts that I could bring to a dinner gathering. The sorbet recipe below is an adaptation from one on Maximized Living’s recipe .

  • 3 cups (16 oz. bag) berries – I love Trader Joe’s Fancy Berry Medley
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water
  • stevia to taste

Blend in a high-speed blender and freeze!

 

Food Sensitivity Elimination Diet

A Medical Thangka - Root of Treatment

A Medical Thangka – Root of Treatment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Need Moral Support!

I want to do a food sensitivity elimination diet plan to figure out what foods bother me. I have attempted to start a couple times, but I eventually give into my cravings. I get so fed up with how miserable and bloated I feel from some of the foods that I eat, I swear to never eat them again, but I either 1) lack the self-discipline to resist or somehow forget how miserable I felt after I ate ___ food (for example, packaged hummus, chocolate-covered pecans,  pimento cheese, or even cooked broccoli), and 2) I’m not always exactly sure what those foods are because I often eat combinations or have delayed food sensitivity reactions.

I have become more aware of what foods irritate me lately and that it is not normal to deal with side effects of these foods, because I have been eating raw on-and-off for the past couple months. I feel fantastic and full of energy when I eat mostly raw! When I veer off is usually when my body gets angry at me.  My body doesn’t like lactose, or excess fat, or things like chocolate made with sugar and milk that I crave… yet I often have delayed reactions to these foods which make them difficult to pinpoint. The food sensitivity elimination plan by George Mateljan will allow me to pinpoint them. The elimination plan is raw except for some fish.

If I can stick with the diet for the next couple months to figure out what I need to eat and what to avoid, I am certain I will feel so much better I won’t want to go back.  I noticed a huge difference when I went raw, but it was hard to stick to with social constraints and cravings. That’s why I’m asking you all for support and reminders – I hate being a picky eater, but this is for my future well-being. I can’t dance when I feel bloated and lethargic from the food I ate, and I am certainly no fun to be around when I’m grumpy. I want tonight to be the last time I feel like I can’t dance because my stomach is yelling at me! It would be really great to have my personal diet figured out by time I start my MFA this fall.  I don’t need the added stress, and I certainly want to be a joy to be around! So… I will bring fruit and salad with me to meetings, paries, and potlucks… And I will be refusing (yes, refusing) brownies and cheese for the meantime. There, I said it. AHHH!

I do believe my body needs some animal protein like fish and eggs and I will try to re-incorporate them. I have already found that most meats and dairy don’t agree with my body except for raw milk or goat milk kefir. I have found that salmon, white fish, and eggs are fine for my body.  Grains, sugars, dairy, fermented foods, chocolate, and various fats are what I need to suss out.  I am yet undecided if I want to go 100% raw to avoid all food sensitivities, or to do the long haul elimination plan to find out exactly which foods I am sensitive to.  I’m going to start on George Mateljan’s elimination plan,  which includes some fish and eggs, and see where it leads. Also I want to keep researching the influence of acid and alkaline foods, to figure out if that’s something I should pay attention to or not… and read Maximized Living nutrition plan from our chiropractor’s office, and hope to gain more insight from that. So far, all the research I find emphasizes that fruit and vegetables are the primal most nutritious and natural energy sources which are also anti-inflammatory.

I’ll probably write a few more blog posts about my progress to stay accountable… I know my body (and most of my friends) will thank me… Thank you for your understanding and support!

Grace for the Raw Food Wannabe

I need grace, in many areas of my life. I tend to be hard on myself, a perfectionist. Thank God he is in the process of breaking it and letting me enjoy living free!

So often, when I continually mess up, I get frustrated and either make ultimatums to succeed, or I give up. Well, with going raw, I was happy to find when I searched for “tips for going raw” that it is a process for many people – a long one. Some people it takes a year to completely adjust to the raw way of life. But this is something I want to do, at least for this season in my life, because, frankly, I feel 100% more alive, mentally aware, energetic, and lighter. I’ve been searching for a way to eat that makes me feel good like this for a long time! Over the weekend and the past few days I’ve eaten some processed baked goods, chocolate, and a lot of fat when I did eat raw, and I feel weighed down and tired. It’s amazing how I’m beginning to notice the difference in the way I feel when I eat mostly raw (and low fat) and when I don’t.

Found some great advice from Young and Raw. My favorite is #3: “It’s not a cult.” BAAHAHAHA!

So I’m giving myself grace. Tomorrow is a new day. Maybe my aim should be 40% or less fat since the last few days I was at 50% or more. Slowly I’ll work down to 10 or 20% calories from fat.

P.S. If you haven’t seen the new film version of Les Miserables, go see it on the dollar theatre or look on Net-flicks. It is a must see! In M’s words, “my grace injection for the day”.

Raw Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cashew Frosting

Easter treat! After several days of “break fast” not baking (I did eat baked goods/sweets which was also initially part of my lenten fast, but my God is not a legalist. It’s all for practising discipline anyway.) I was sorely tempted to bake a carrot cake…but I have enjoyed the raw recipes I’ve been trying for the past couple weeks so much, I had to give a raw carrot “cake” recipe a try – much to my delight!

I made do with my blender and shredded carrots – which stayed pretty chunky, so I ended up with something more like “carrot cake haystacks”. ha! Delicious though. The only substitutions I made to the below recipe from The Taste Space were 2 cups shredded carrots plus 1/2 cup carrot juice for the carrot pulp. I also soaked my dates before blending to aid my blender’s job, and put the muffin tin in a warm for 45 minutes instead of the fridge to “dehydrate” them.

The frosting is INCREDIBLE. Better than canned whipped up sugar and margarine frosting any day! Although I do love a good butter cream frosting…anyway, the cashew -date frosting was delicious but would be better if it were creamy, not chunky. Looking for an inexpensive food processor, anyone??

Over all, this recipe was super easy to make and had a big pay off. In my opinion, much more satisfying than carrot cake.
-Becca

the taste space

I discovered where I inherited my veggie-loving genes.

You see, it skipped a generation.

I recently visited my grandparents. Not wanting to burden my grandmother with worrying about what I was going to eat, I took charge and delved into her kitchen to see what I could make….. While she typically makes traditional German food, I was delighted to discover she also had glass jars filled with oodles of dry beans, dried fruit, and whole grains (quinoa, millet, barley, rolled oats), a freezer filled with nuts and seeds, a pantry with tamari (my grandmother has tamari?!) and even things I have never eaten like Brewer’s yeast and soy lecithin. I almost forgot she also had a 20-year old juicer!!

My meal of the weekend was a double batch of my easy Curried Beans and Quinoa with Baby Bok Choy which was enjoyed by all.

However, my culinary bliss…

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Fully Raw FAQ

Found a helpful FAQ by FullyRawKristina. She advocates eating 100% raw, and offers supported reasons why doing so is best.  She has me convinced! However, many sites say that you will benefit from eating raw foods  if you eat 25% or 100% (kind of common sense, I would think!).  Personally I am aiming for 75-90% raw, because of my budget and lifestyle.

Ekologisk raw food

Disclaimer: I don’t approve of many raw foodist’s claims that eating raw will put you on track for physical, mental, and spiritual happiness, in that progression. Yes, your body will feel much better and you may experience more mental clarity (definitely something I’m out to get!) and even a sense of being “high” on life. I believe that this is because it is the closest to what God originally created our bodies to run on when He put us in the Garden. It’s easy for me to get caught up in this way of life too, if I let it, but it is not what defines me and will never be my identity. My blogging about this will probably taper off as I learn out how to incorporate it into my lifestyle more seamlessly. Hope that’s good news for anyone who thinks I’ve “gone off the deep end” with this foodie stuff. Come hang out with me and we can talk about what the Lord is doing in our lives AND eat some avocado carob pudding. 🙂

-Becca