Category Archives: Raw Reviews

Making Nut Milk

Thanks to the wonders of our new nut milk bag my oldest son has now progressed to making the almond milk for me each week. Using a cheesecloth was such a drag and a messy operation too. Hooray for nut milk bags!

At $7.95 per bag they might seem expensive but we would go through several packages of cheesecloth a month so we are saving money actually. To clean I just flip it inside out and rinse well under hot water and I hang it to air dry.

Making Almond Milk

nut milk jar

The Raw Transformation

raw transformation bookAttn: Giveaway at the bottom of this post!

I love reading raw food books in general but I especially love reading books that share the personal journey to raw foods. Carol Alt’s book was my first raw food book and her story was so motivating!

A few weeks back I read another inspirational raw foods book written by Wendy Rudell called The Raw Transformation: Energizing Your Life with Living Foods. It is part memoir and part recipe book.

Rudell grew up in an unconventional household and her parents moved her to Trinidad when she was little. So she grew up in the sunshine, next to the ocean, climbing coconut trees. Then she went to college in Michigan for several years and she always felt something was missing from her life and after a vacation in Hawaii she found out what it was. She needed a simple life in warmth and sunshine with the ocean at her back and tons of raw tropical fruits to eat. Going raw felt like reclaiming a part of her childhood.

The book has lots of great info about what happens to your food when you cook it, the organic versus non-organic debate, and food combining. I am still not doing ANY meaningful food combining but the concept makes sense to me.

What I love most about her book is the collection of gorgeous pictures. They are fabulous full color pictures. The recipes are great too though! You might like Cherry Mango Cocktail, Coconut Thai Soup, and Shishkabobs with Teriyaki Sauce. The pictures of all these will have your mouth watering.

Funny story though…I have so many raw food books I seem to be losing track of what I have. I purchased a copy of The Raw Transformation: Energizing Your Life with Living Foods at Whole Foods a few weeks back and when I got it home I realized I already had it!!

So, I am giving away my extra copy to one of my blog readers. All you have to do is comment. For an extra entry you can Stumble, Twitter, or post on Facebook…just leave subsequent comments if you do extra credit. I will announce a winner on Earth Day, April 22nd. Good luck!!!

Review of the Vita-Mix 5200!

Hop on over to my other blog and read a full review of the Vita-Mix 5200 blender.

So what makes the Vita-Mix such a kick butt blender? The number one thing is that it makes healthy eating so much easier. Want a green smoothie? No problem. Not in the mood for store bought salsa…make your own with fresh ingredients in just 60 seconds. While your at it grind up some flax seeds, tomatoes, celery, a little lime, and cilantro and then spread the resulting pulp mixture onto a dehydrator tray or oven tray for homemade Mexican style crackers. Want some fresh juice? Throw the entire fruit or veggie in there skin, seeds, and all watch it get pulverized into juice. See? Healthy eating made easy.

Vita-Mix 5200

Taste Test – Raw Krispie Treat by Awesome Foods

While watching the awesome Joe Biden on the VP debate last week I was munching on a Raw Krispie Treat from Awesome Foods. I picked it up at Whole Foods for around $5 I think. The verdict: not bad. It didn’t knock my socks off but it was tasty. It grew on me too. It was a great slightly sweet treat, although nothing like a rice krispie treat, LOL. It has healthy fats and it is high in protein.

Raw Krispie Treat

Ingredients inlcude: Agave Nectar, Soaked Almonds, Soaked Sunflower Seeds, Sprouted Buckwheat, Vanilla Extract, Cinnamon, and Himalayan Crystal Salt. All organic of course.

Eating in the Raw

Eating in the RawThis wonderful book is written by a model and actress named Carol Alt. You may have seen her in Sports Illustrated or some high fashion magazine. Perhaps on the Apprentice last year? Her story is actually quite inspiring as she spent years in an industry that puts a lot of emphasis on a beautiful body and no emphasis on having a healthy body. Carol was having a hard time maintaining a model appropriate weight and she was sick all the time.  She had terrible migraines, sinusitis, stomach problems, and she suffered from general malaise.

When she found herself consistently taking pain pills and tums, using a nasal decongestant, using NyQuil to fall asleep, and using coffee and scotch to wake-up, she realized she needed to get help. When a close friend recommended a good alternative doctor she was hesitant to call him up but she did. That was the start of Carol’s journey as her new friend Dr. Brantley shared with her what he considered vital to good health…raw foods and detox.

Within days of adopting a raw foods diet Carol’s ailments started to disappear. Her body took on an amazing transformation that prompted people to ask if she’s had plastic surgery. She felt better in her forties then she had in her twenties. She was a walking testimony for raw foods.

The book Eating in the Raw not only shares her story and her transformation it has a lot of raw foods basics for people looking to enter into eating raw food themselves. It really gives a blueprint for going raw…what to eat, what to stock your kitchen with, what to do when you go out to dinner, and much more. It also includes many delicious and easy recipes that Carol refers to as uncook book. I particularly liked this book because unlike many authors among the raw food movement, Carol Alt eats raw but not raw vegan. I myself would be hard pressed to give up the occasional meal that might include raw milk and cheese or sashimi. I love sashimi!

If you are interested in learning the basics about raw food this book is a great introduction and testimonial.

Essential Equipment for a Raw Foods Kitchen

When you make the decision to go raw or at least to incorporate more raw foods into your diet you may want to buy some special equipment to make things easier. After all, cooks need good pots and pans…going raw doesn’t mean you won’t need food prep items…they are just different is all. You may already have some of these…others you might not have heard of. If you are on a budget it may be easier to use what you have for now and save for the bigger items because I will be recommending what I consider to be the absolute BEST and sometimes they aren’t cheap. SO here we go:

The Vita-Mix- A raw food eater needs a good blender. The Vita-Mix is the Cadillac of blenders with blades that rotate at 240 MPH. This baby could chew through wood blocks and it has a 7 year warranty…I know one gal that has had hers for 11 years! It is great for making green smoothies, soups, ice cream, fillings for pies and other raw dishes, and for making your own nut butters and nut milks. I would be lost without mine. Read my more detailed review here. If you want to buy directly from Vitamix.com use code 06-002324 for free standard shipping!

If you just can’t afford a Vita-Mix I have heard that some raw foodies use the Magic Bullet for small jobs.

A Food Processor – If you have a Vita-Mix (above) feel free to skip this appliance as the VM does the job a food processor would do but I will admit that for small jobs it would be nice to have a food processor just the same. I like this KitchenAid one.

A Juicer – I admit that I do not have a juicer. I prefer to keep the pulp/fiber intact and drink green smootheis instead of green juices but for quick healing and for juice feasting/fasting a juicer is a necessity. If I found out my cancer had returned I would buy one up in a heartbeat. I have a few potentials on my list including the Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite and the Omega Juicer Model 8005. A big favorite among raw foodies is the Green Star GS-1000 Juice Extractor.

DehydratorA Dehydrator- This is essential for drying fruits and nuts. Nuts often need to be soaked first and in their raw state they are sort of chewy…drying them makes them easier to eat. Fruit can be dried and stored for winter time eating and everyday snacking. You can also make rawesome cookies, crackers, and sweet potato chips with a dehydrator. I recommend the Excalibur. I have the 5 tray model.

Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer - This make is easy to cut veggies into thin spirals for pseudo pasta or super thin dipping pieces. It is vital for making sweet potato chips.

Sprouting Jars - Lots of raw foodies eat sprouts…although they are not my favorite…but I do try! If you want to make your own then you will need sprouting jars. The store bought sprouts are kind of pricey.

Wheat Grass Growing Kit- You may be able to use stuff you have laying around the house but for a newbie this kit is handy. You will also need a good juicer (see above) to juice wheatgrass..it is pretty hardy.

Cutting boards – You will need nice cutting boards for cutting your fruits and veggies! I recommend Bamboo.

So what is essential for YOUR raw food kitchen?

I am in Love With My Blender

No seriously…I am in love with it. Behold the object of my adoration…the Vita-Mix! I got this beauty about a year and a half ago from my parents. It was a “sorry you got cancer but now you need to heal” kinda gift. I have used this blender nearly every day since, sometimes 3-4 times a day.

The Vita-Mix is a regular blender on speed, a food processor, sorbet maker, wheat grinder, and so much more all encased in one spectacular package. It blends food at speeds up 240 MPH! They can be ordered online or purchased directly at store demonstrations throughout the country. Mine was purchased at Costco. It comes with a 64-ounce jar, 2 killer recipe books, an instructional DVD, and a manual.

The recipes books have hundreds of recipes for soups, salsas, ice cream, smoothies, dips, nut butters, and hundreds of other things. This machine is so good at blending smoothly you can put fruits and veggies in their whole form into this blender and mix it up smooth…aka leave the greens on your carrots and the seeds in your apple.

The Vita-Mix has a seven year warranty and I know one gal who has had hers for 11 years! The quality can’t be beat…I think this thing would chew through a wood block. I know many large smoothie chains use the Vita-Mix too.

I use mine every single day in some capacity. I have made hundreds of smoothies, sorbet, ice cream, soups, salsa, tomato sauce, cobbler, key lime pie filling, frosting, almond milk, Popsicle filling, and even pie crust. I don’t think I could survive without it at this point! I have found that I don’t even need a food processor anymore either. In fact I use my Vita-Mix so much that is rarely gets put away because I always need it for something! So it usually sits on my kitchen counter, right next to my dehydrator.

I don’t use mine for grinding my own wheat and flour but it can used for that too…you just might need the dry container that you can purchase separately.

The Vita-Mix is a must for any raw foodie. If you want to buy directly from Vitamix.com use code 06-002324 for free standard shipping!

Green for Life Book Review

Over the weekend I dived into a book I have had for awhile now. It is called Green for Life by Victoria Green for Life BookBoutenko. I read a few of her other books like Raw Family and 12 Steps to Raw Food, I even have a DVD documentary her daughter made so I am big fan.

Green for Life has to be one of the most important health books I have ever read though…if not THE most important book. It is no wonder it has been so highly acclaimed. If you are not familiar with the Boutenko family you should really read Raw Family and learn more about them. Igor Boutenko had been given two months to live, his wife Victoria was also in poor health with a heart condition and quite a bit of excess weight. Their daughter Valya had bad asthma and was having attacks every night. Their son Sergei had just received a diagnosis of juvenile diabetes. Raw foods healed all of them.

After 7 years though Victoria was still searching for something in their diets. She knew raw was best but there had to be something she was still missing. She found the answer in greens. Interestingly she began her search by studying chimpanzees. We share an amazing 99.4% of our DNA sequence with Chimps and many scientists believe they actually should be classified as humans. They have the same A-B-O blood groupings to. With all of the similarities between us why do they not also have our degenerative diseases? Victoria believes the key is in their diet. A Chimpanzees diet consists of 50% fruit, 43% greens, 5% pith, bark, and seeds, and 3% insects and on rare occasions…small animals.

Humans eat no where near that amount of greens. And no I am not talking about veggies like cucumber, zucchini, mushrooms, carrots, cauliflower, etc…because chimps don’t eat that stuff. Greens are not veggies and they eat a ton of greens and without drenching them in oils and fats like we do. So are humans eating nearly 50% of their diet as greens? Not even close. According to the chart in the book our greens consumption is more like 2%.

Realizing that she wasn’t eating enough greens Victoria started making green smoothies until she was eating about 2 pounds of greens a day. Her wrinkles disappeared, 2 moles and a wart just melted off of her body, and she felt better than ever. She even started craving greens. Her husband followed suit and whereas his hair had been growing in gray it now started growing in dark black like when he was a young man. Both looked YEARS younger and all of their friends and family noticed.

I also appreciated Victoria’s information about fiber intake and the need to properly chew your food. When you don’t chew your food properly until the food is like a liquid paste in your mouth…you are not accessing all of the nutritional benefit. For this reason the Boutenko’s let their Vita-Mix chew their food for them quite often. It has great info about colon health, proper eliminations, and it is full of charts and graphs so you can get a visual of all the great info in this book.

Since I read it I have been making green smoothies twice a day with a romaine, kale, or spinach base. Already I feel a difference. My skin just glows and my energy levels have been off the hook. Here is to eating more greens!