Monday, January 31, 2011

Vegan on the Go

(Literally combing the streets of Paris for a vegan spot. Don't go to Paris in August btw, the whole city is shut down lol)

One of the hardest things about being a vegan is letting go of the convenience you once had in eating on the go. Depending on where you live, the nearest veggie spot might be miles away and when you do find a non-veggie spot that serves up vegan options (the type of restaurant that I only patronize when desperate), the choices might not be that appetizing. So what's a vegan to do?

Plan ahead. It sucks I know but it's so important. I keep relearning this lesson the hard way every time I'm away from home. Take today for instance. All I brought with me on an extended day trip was 2 raw bars, a banana and a bottle of water and had no time to grab anything else all day. I'm not sure about other folks but I tend to eat a lot of little meals throughout the day, so this didn't cut it. By the time I arrived home my stomach was cursing my name lol. I almost cracked on the way home and bought some vegan nachos because it's at these times that we are the most tempted. But to avoid this predicament and prevent yourself from slipping up on not so healthy choices try some of these tips...

Buy yourself a non-leaching stainless steel beverage container/bottle. Great for smoothies, nut milks, freshly squeezed juices or whatever. Many times we misinterpret our body's signals, believing that we're hungry when it's actually thirst that we're suffering from. You can also buy a non-leaching thermos if you're not doing raw. Throw in some boiling water to fill prior to leaving (to keep it warm for hours), then throw out the water and add your hot soup, pasta or dish of choice.

Bring along a wide variety of fruits. That bunch of blueberries might not look so appetizing in the fridge after you've just had a meal, but try several hours later when the hunger pangs set in. It's like the flavors become alive lol. The rationale behind bringing along more than one kind of fruit is to satisfy your palate no matter what the craving.

Bring along a dissembled salad. Make your own dressing and stow in one container, leave the greens in another and fresh toppings like sesame seeds or crushed nuts for example in yet another. If possible leave any veggies you plan to add intact until the last minute, cutting hass avocados and cucumbers right before eating (a great way to maintain maximum enzyme availability).

Raw bars are very convenient but today I got tired of them really quick so when all else fails, know your local veg spots. You might be surprised to find that there are more health food stores/restaurants nearby than you imagined.

I always share this link cause it has literally saved me countless times when travelling to Canada and Europe (not to mention within the US).

http://www.happycow.net/

Be realistic. When you adopt this lifestyle know that you're unfortunately a minority and so every dietary whim may not be available to you right at the second you need/want it to be. The good news is that times are changing and more and more vegan spots are opening up everyday. In the meantime, let it serve as inspiration to step up your own culinary game, rather than as empty frustration.

And finally, go easy about it. No one's perfects. If I had of slipped up and ordered the veggie nachos today, you can best believe I would have started fresh without a guilty conscious tomorrow. Life is a string of choices and the choice to go vegan is an admirable one regardless of if you haven't worked out all the kinks and cravings ;)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Food For Thought...

"People are quick to look at the stock market and say that it's good if it's going up and bad if it's going down, when in truth it may not even mean that at all. Because when you look at pharmaceuticals, you look at prisons, you look at war, you look at ammunition, when they're selling high the stock market is up. So that means that more people are sick, more people are being arrested, there are many negative things happening that are driving the stock market up. 

But what if suddenly people were to wake up and stop eating bad food, stop eating fast food, what if they would wake up and start exercising, what if they would wake up and start doing a tremendous amount of preventative measures, then the pharmaceutical companies would go down and the stock market would go down but it would reflect something good. So you can't really look at the stock market as an indicator of something good other than profit and all profit is not a good thing". - Michael Bernard Beckwith

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Shadow Benny

My all time favorite herb. Shadow benny. It goes by many different names depending on the country of origin but that's what we call it in Trinidad, where it's frequently used in a variety of dishes.


It has a similar taste to cilantro but ooooh so much better. It's like cilantro to the 20th power lol. It will kick up the flavor of any dish. Not so tasty eaten alone but when you let it marinate for a while....wow.

Seriously!

You can find it in your local Caribbean, Indian, Spanish or International food market.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Belly Fat

If the body is said to regenerate itself at the cellular level every 7 years, what are you replacing your dead and decaying cells with?

When you learn better ways of doing things do you continue with old patterns that no longer serve you, or do you move past the temporary discomfort to reach new heights? 

Whether you choose to take part in it or not you are constantly evolving. 

Question is, what are you evolving into?

Which leads us to a touchy subject among many women...belly fat!

Kangaroo pouch, forward love handle, baby weight, regardless of what you call it I'm going to say what someone should have told me a long time ago:

If your baby is out of diapers there's no excuse!

Unless you like being that way of course, but who honestly does? I'm not advocating being bone skinny, nor am I speaking of adhering to anyone else's standard of beauty. I'm simply speaking on meeting your own individual goals in the weight department. And by the looks of it many of us aren't...not even close (men you too). 

I can speak on this so freely because up until recently (this month actually) I had a little pouch. Never had a problem with weight whatsoever, but after I had my son (over a decade ago mind you lol) I never regained the flat stomach I used to have. Even with a proper diet the pouch remained. Not a huge pouch, actually barely noticeable when clothed (hee hee), but still a pouch nonetheless. So for me, my goal was to tone up my thighs, thicken up my skinny calves and minimize my belly. But whether your goals are big or small the answer is always the same.

Exercise.

Let's take a closer look at exercise and more specifically aerobics. The word aerobics literally means the carriage, use or presence of oxygen. Aerobic activity brings the life giving force all throughout your body. You need it, I need it, our cells need it (even beyond weight loss).

We hear it all the time but who really has the time and mental focus? Well, even if it's a consistent 10-20 minutes a day, it's still better than nothing. 

And if you do currently eat a healthy diet, the effects of exercise will be seen in half the time. Not to mention the increased energy and overall "damn I feel good" feeling. 

Like I said, just one month has FINALLY got my stomach back to where I've longed for it to be for years. Years!!! Now I'm scratching my head wondering what took me so long.

(a very pregnant me)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

GMNooo!


My mother bought these for my son. But they are known hybrids. They're called tangelos. Tangerines mixed with pomelos or grapefruit. Besides the label, you can identify them by the way they bubble out at the top.

Our food supply is largely tampered with. Cultivated foods after all (the foods we buy from most grocers) are generally rearranged in some way to make it "fit" for production, but this kind of blatant tampering is scary *shivers*. So we had to pass. Notice the organic label as well. *double shivers* lol.

Here's another example straight from my facebook page:


Were you able to spot the discrepancy?

It's organic AND seedless. Should be an oxymoron.

Natural foods do not grow without seeds. To do so would ensure that species extinction.

But many unnatural foods are still given the ORGANIC label...

Laboratory designed food is way more common than you may realize, but not so easy to spot because it's not always made by crossing two different species. Instead, the process often involves extensive laboratory work to pick and choose from a variety of desired traits, ending in a completely unnatural result.

From the domestication of the wild blueberry by Elizabeth Coleman White and Dr. Frederick Coville...

To the Charleston Gray Watermelon which was developed by the Southeastern Vegetable Breeding Labratory...

Papayas bred to be disease and wilt resistant...

And more recently, the genes of wild strawberries being cracked (check my post on 12/28/10).

There's no end to the madness.

The more informed we become about the food we eat, the greater the chance that we'll make wise dietary decisions. 

To your health! :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

VCaps

VCaps are empty vegetable derived capsules (as opposed to commonly used gelatin capsules) useful for building your own supplement pills. They're a great way to down those not so tasty supplements. Just screw off the top, fill with the powdered supplement of choice, put the top back on and swallow.


There are a number of brands out there which can all usually be found in your local health food store. Look for one that carries the, no animal by-products/plant based/non GMO/SLS free/preservative free label. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Raw Scramble

Leading a raw lifestyle is not always about getting your gourmet on. Most of the food preparations on my blog took less than an hour. Some less than a 1/2 hour. The tasty bad boy below...10 minutes flat. This, along with a side salad was our Sunday brunch.


Sprouted almonds, kale, cilantro, onions, squash, hot peppers, turmeric and a few other dried herbs and spices (all roughly chopped in the food processor) and voila! It's supposed to be the raw counterpart to scrambled eggs, but it tastes way better in my family's opinion. ;)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Flax Seeds Just as Harmful as Soy?


I'm not a fan of flax seeds or flax seed oil. I've been speaking out on their estrogenic effects for a while, but it's always nice to get the backing of a Naturopath who has also noted the same effects.

"The question is how many women will suffer before the word on flax is out, how many men will unknowingly emasculate themselves before the word on flax is fully out. The same holds for flax as holds for soy, just because it’s touted and sold as health food does not mean it’s actually healthy! Don’t be a victim!"

Read on...

Fibroids, Industry Spin vs. Clinical Experience

By William Wong ND, PhD, Member World Sports
Medicine Hall of Fame

As the saying goes: It’s Deja Vu all over again! Round about 8-9 years ago when the bad news about soy was being found out by researchers. These results were slowly leaking out to the public despite agribusiness pressure to the contrary. The major soy growers (Monsanto, and ADM), knowing they had to do something to support their major cash crop, directly and indirectly sponsored "counter-research" to show that soy was good for all the things the real research was finding soy to be bad for. Due to the inexhaustible funds available to these two, especially Monsanto, their research got a lot more press and air time than the results finding that soy was bad. In statistics, research designed to prove a particular point is called a "self-fulfilling prophecy" in other words the findings are invalid from the get go! Statistics also teaches that no matter how well thought out and done, research findings that do not match observed reality are also invalid. In medicine, clinical experience is the "observed Reality".

We come to today: in new research meant to find an estrogen replacement for the soy isoflavones that are, as the research reviewers put it, "falling out of favor", flax and its effects on uterine fibroids are being looked at. Lately, flax has been coming under fire as a source of xenoestrogen and a potential driver of fibroid growth. This has arisen from the fact that many women who have given up all soy products, most beans, have moved away from farm fields and golf courses (where pesticide and organophosphate fertilizers are used) in order to lower their xenoestrogen exposure and consumption still have their fibroids growing. Some of these women have been put on the drug Lupron and are making no hormones of any type of their own yet their fibroids continue to grow. The one common factor these gals had was the fact that they were all taking flax oil as a dietary supplement. No one had told them that the lignans from flax are estrogenic! In most all of these cases when the women stopped eating the flax their fibroids stopped growing! This is the clinical experience. This is the observed reality.

Now we look at the flax growing/ selling company research: One meta study ( a review of studies already done), finds that the lignans from flax are a very mild estrogen and will likely act as estrogen blockers in estrogen sensitive tissues and prevent the occurrence of such things as Fibrocystic Breast Disease, Uterine Fibroids, Endometriosis and Ovarian Cysts. Déjà vu: does anyone remember the study where the isoflavones of soy were said to do the same thing! It turned out not to be so, to the point where the likes of Mayo Clinic now advise their breast cancer survivors to never again eat soy products of any type for fear that it will restart their cancer!

New research showed that women with heightened urinary excretion levels of dietary flax lignans have a lowered incidence of fibroids. The spin is that the more lignans you eat and get rid of, the lower your chances of making your fibroids bigger. Does that make sense to you? This "explanation" of the study results are about as big a spin as former president Clinton not classifying his affair with Monica as a sexual act. When read through, what the study does show is that the gals who got rid of the lignans most had the least growth in their fibroids! SOOO, what if you did not eat the fax and its lignans at all?

We know what the observed reality has found, and no matter what the agribusiness and health food industry concocts to obfuscate the facts will eventually come to light just as the facts about soy being poison have come to be heard and are being reinforced by new research. The question is how many women will suffer before the word on flax is out, how many men will unknowingly emasculate themselves before the word on flax is fully out. The same holds for flax as holds for soy, just because it’s touted and sold as health food does not mean it’s actually healthy! Don’t be a victim!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cold Buster Raw Almond Milk

NOT GOT MILK?


Raw almonds (soaked for 12 hours then sprouted), dates, cinnamon, raw coconut butter, alkaline water, and a pinch of turmeric, garam masala and cayenne pepper. 

Very delicious, pleasantly sweet, with the side benefit of the anti-inflammatory and mucus busting properties of turmeric and cayenne. 

The garam masala also contains cloves, which are anti-microbial/anti-viral.

Will have you saying cold what? Flu who? lol

plantFolk

Artist, designer, health advocate and visionary, Janine Jackson's blog plantFolk provides a wealth of knowledge on all things creative, natural and healthy. Here are some of her blog's features:



The Yum Facilitation Guide - "A simple, accessible, healthy, and delicious guide developed for myself and others so they may enjoy their plant-based diets without relying on soy products." -Janine


Natural Hair Care - This innovative e-class focuses on the benefits of natural hair care and the empowerment that results via this knowledge. The class is ongoing and convenient — can be accessed in the comfort of your home or on the go via (smart) phone or laptop. (I've taken this e-class myself. Loved it!)


T-Shirt Designs - Visual Manipulator, Janine Jackson, has created these nature inspired tree-shirts with you in mind. The art is unique, fun, and charged with the feelings that are intended to attract abundance, love, and fresh opportunities.


Ma’art (unique art pieces) - Ma’art creations are designed to enhance and enrich your living space or environment. They are constructed with the best of intentions, visually stimulating, and intended to assist you. Various colors, shells, and stones are utilized to create pieces that are both aesthetically pleasing and visually healing.

Her blog also includes, recipes, videos and much more...Be sure to check it out for yourself:

http://plantfolk.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It's Time For a Change - Part 2


Part of the human condition involves holding onto things, whether good or bad. The repetitive nature of our daily routine makes it very easy to become accustomed to doing things in the same manner as the day before, and the day before that, and so on.

Some of the things we cling to are good for us. Family, friends, loved ones, for example, all are a wonderful part of the human experience. On the flip side however, we sometimes cling to things that no longer serve us. Bad habits, toxic tendencies/people, the need to be right. But in order to fully engage in healing we must learn to let go of what no longer serves us in all aspects.

Negative thoughts and stress causes physical degeneration, faster than need be. Most often we attribute the negative experiences of our lives to the role that others play in it, but this is incorrect. A negative experience initiated from the outside doesn’t have to lead to us actively contributing our own negative thoughts towards it. We don’t have to be reactionary, we can consciously pick and choose the thoughts we hold onto and thus we can also choose what feelings we radiate as well.

We could all greatly benefit from learning how to separate the outside world from our own inner workings. After all, one we have full control over and the other we do not. ♥

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

There’s Stomach in That Cheese!

Dairy is the first thing I usually recommend that people let go of when deciding to go vegan. Once taken out of their diet, people usually report positive results very shortly after. Decreased symptoms of stomach upset, nausea, bloating, chest and nasal congestion to name a few. That being said, it’s still not an easy item to eliminate because dairy is in everything from salad dressings to vegetable crackers and many vegetarians openly admit that they’re hooked.

But did you know that most cheeses on the market today contain rennet, enzymes taken from the stomachs of animals like cows, placed in cheese to help in its production?

And as if animal stomach enzymes weren't bad enough, rennet is often genetically modified, extracted from animal cells and placed in host bacteria in order to reproduce. So what’s a vegetarian or someone looking to move towards a more natural lifestyle to do?

Some swear off of cheese as soon as they learn about rennet and decide to go vegan turning to soy cheese as an alternative, but even soy can’t be trusted. Besides the fact that many healers such as Dr. Sebi strongly advise against eating soy, soy cheeses often contain casein (milk protein) which as I've noted before, is believed by a growing number of health experts to increase the symptoms of autism in children who have the condition.

An alternative to all of the above is Daiya vegan cheese (no relation lol). Gluten-free, soy-free, vegan cheese that actually melts and tastes great! You can check it out on my Vegan Mac & Cheese post:

http://www.blackveganlove.com/2011/01/vegan-mac-cheese.html.

I always let folks know that it's not the most alkalizing product out there, but it's a great transitional tool and definitely beats out soy and dairy hands down!

Check out this link to find a store that carries it near you:





What’s Really in the Food You’re Eating?


What if someone told you that the lipstick you were wearing, or the gum you were chewing contained a dye made from beetles? And what if that same dye was an ingredient in the wine you just sipped, along with another ingredient taken from the bladders of fish. Would you still want to drink it? What if you knew that the dairy milk protein you just ate was considered by some physicians and health professionals to be one of the causes of abnormal behavior in children diagnosed with autism? Sounds crazy, but the use of animal ingredients like these ones are more common than you may think.

Animal Ingredients and By-Products

When you first begin to shift to a plant based diet it might feel a bit overwhelming. Walking freely into any store and choosing what you want based on your mood or cravings no longer is an option. Now you have to read and inspect product labels and you may come to realize that this is not always an easy task. Food labels list words that are difficult to pronounce, and even more difficult to understand. It’s usually at this point that people get discouraged, but that doesn’t need to be the case. Even seasoned vegans don’t always know what each and every product ingredient means. The good news is that there are numerous vegan options out there to choose from and by arming yourself with the knowledge of some commonly used, and not-so-obvious animal by-products, you’ll be ahead of the game.

Animal ingredients or by-products are substances derived from the hair, skin, bones, meat, blood, organs, or any other part of an animal, used in the making of items like food and cosmetics. They are often left over from the slaughtering process and come in many forms. Some are very unusual and may seem weird to someone hearing about them for the first time, such as beetle dye, (carmine), and the substance taken from fish bladders used to filter alcoholic beverages (isinglass). Some are so common that they can be found in many places throughout most households. By-products like wool fat (lanolin, found in most cosmetic and beauty products, and vitamin D supplements), gelatin (generally made from cow or pig skin, bones and connective tissue, used in candy and the gel capsules of certain vitamins/supplements) and animal glycerin (animal fat used in soaps, toothpastes and other cosmetics) are some examples.

If you're looking to identify more animal by-products check out this link to happycow.net. It's also a great vegan/vegetarian resource and a useful tool for finding veggie restaurants and health food stores all around the globe:

http://www.happycow.net/health-animal-ingredients.html

Monday, January 17, 2011

Kale Chips!

Meet every raw vegan's best friend! Kale chips!!!

Every time I make these they never even make it off the dehydrator tray before they're finished. My son and I literally dive in. But today we waited just long enough to take this pic. Now sadly, they're gone lol.


They are so easy to make, and besides being nutritious, are so yummy. A great way to get your children to eat right. I think my son loves them more than I do.

I literally threw a few handfuls of cashews in the food processor, 1 habanero pepper, 1 red pepper, a few shakes of nutritional yeast, a few squirts of lime, some dried herbs and himalayan pink salt. Blend all of the ingredients together with a little water till smooth, then slather the mixture onto pieces of kale and you're almost done. Dehydrate at around 105-115 degrees overnight or as long as it takes for them to get crispy and that's it! Don't worry about measuring. Seriously. As long as the mixture you make tastes good to you, they will come out extra flavorful as dehydrating foods pulls out all the water, thus making the flavors more potent.

Enjoy!!! :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My Earthday Dinner

Raw Cucumber Mint Coolada (non-alcoholic lol)

Black/wild rice, quinoa, squash, mushrooms, and cauliflower

Picture is kinda fuzzy but this one was a surprise. Raw chocolate mousse. Was so rich!

Made this one myself, raw cherry cheesecake parfait

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Immunoglobulin E (IgE) Antibody Test

While many allergic reactions are very easy to spot, some are more subtle and difficult to diagnose, sometimes manifesting in the form of a wide variety of symptoms that appear unrelated to what we eat such as asthma, acne, depression, headaches, anxiety, …

One test useful in identifying food allergies/intolerances is the immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody test, designed to identify if your body produces (IgE) antibodies in reaction to various foods. In layman’s terms, your body produces antibodies in response to foreign, potentially dangerous substances. It’s a part of your natural defense system. 

My family has had a lot of success with this test and so have those I’ve recommended it to. It’s an important one for children to have, especially those who are constantly sick "without reason", and adults who have shifted to a healthier lifestyle but still are experiencing health problems. Common foods that trigger a reaction are: soy, dairy, corn, wheat, even tomatoes. 

It’s a great way to get a jump start on the journey towards full health, because it provides the tangible evidence most people are looking for in terms of what foods should be avoided right off the bat. It’s important for people to know the reactions that are going on inside their body because the effects are not isolated. A reaction to food can alter everything from your mood and behavior, to your overall health and well being.

Once the food culprits are identified a shift towards alkaline foods is what should come next because there really is no substitute for a healthy diet and lifestyle and the less acidic our body is, the less health issues that will plague us.

Everyone who I have sent to take the test has come back with a positive (food intolerant) result to one or more foods. But note that even if the test comes back negative, it doesn’t mean that all foods are good to go. It just means that your body likely doesn’t go into hyper-sensitive attack mode when it eats the food in question. But that alone still does not ensure that that food is a healthy option.

Some general practitioners perform the test, but if not an allergy specialist will. You have to request it by name otherwise they will likely only do a topical scratch test. You also need to request the foods that you want to be tested for. Non-food items can also be tested i.e. dust, pollen. Ask your doctor for the full list of test choices possible.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Hood Health Handbook Vol. 1 & 2

A Practical Guide to Health and Wellness in the Urban Community.


"The Hood Health Handbook is a COMPREHENSIVE source of information and insight on EVERY health issue faced by the urban community. In plain language, the authors draw on well-known examples from urban culture to illustrate what works...and what doesn’t. Focusing on natural and affordable alternatives to Western medicine, the authors provide recommendations that anyone can put to practice. Don’t wait to pick this book up until it’s too late."

www.supremedesignonline.com/hoodhealthhandbook.html#

The Mystery Surrounding "Natural Flavors"

As more and more people begin to learn about the benefits of healthy living, food companies have to work harder and harder at keeping their customers in the dark. Who wants to eat something that is chemically based or genetically modified when they’re trying to live and eat healthier after all? The term “natural flavors” is a common ingredient listed on "healthy" products. But you may be surprised to learn that foods containing “natural flavors” are not always vegan or even vegetarian. The Code of Federal Regulations has a standard definition for natural flavor:

“The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.”

So while natural flavoring might mean plant based ingredients, it might also mean meat or animal ingredients. There may very well be meat in something appearing to be made up of only fruits and vegetables under this definition. And despite the word “natural” being used, items that contain this ingredient may not be derived from whole foods and may in fact be chemically altered. That’s a scary thought, especially when you see that the term “natural flavors” is a widely used one in products all throughout health food stores.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It’s Time For a Change

The key is to not wait until you get sick to make changes to your diet. When cancer patients first get diagnosed, one of the first things that doctors recommend they do diet wise is eat plenty of organic fruits and vegetables. Even classically trained doctors get that part right, so why is it that we wait until we get such a diagnosis to do what we know we should already be doing in regards to our health and diet? 

Everyone knows deep down which foods will promote healing and which ones will take away from their health. We all know that McDonald's has not tapped into the fountain of youth, so there has to come a time when the decision is made to stop eating what doesn’t serve us. Our communities are in crisis and it’s truly a sad state of affairs but we have to make a choice. Either we make the decision to seriously take care of ourselves, or our body will make the decision to respond accordingly to what we’ve been feeding it. 

The fact is that the people in charge of our food supply are playing with our health. They are taking ingredients from animals, often sick and injected with antibiotics, or fish infected with mercury and they are knowingly tainting our foods with it. Of all this tainted food, the black community has some of the worst food options of all. Our corner stores are filled with foods that contain many harmful preservatives and chemicals, some that are animal derived and some that are not, but many of which are dangerous to our health.

Why are our people dying from preventable causes at such disproportionate rates than the rest of the masses? We can’t just take this information and continue as if it’s business as usual. Our current conditions are unacceptable and we should be outraged and motivated to change.

Taking Your Health into Your Own Hands: What You Can Do to Change Unhealthy Patterns

We have to make our health our number one priority. Step our game up. If you can’t pronounce it and don’t know what it is, don’t eat it or give it to your children. Do your research. Read labels. If you don’t know what it means, don’t assume that it won’t do any damage. Look it up online. Ask members of the holistic community about what they know. Look into what alternative health experts are saying about the food that you’re eating. Find out why people are raving about the benefits of a vegan and even a raw vegan diet.

Don’t be discouraged. It may seem like a lot to take in at first but in time it will get easier and your body will show you the proof that you need to motivate you to continue. Most of all “don’t believe the hype”. If the information is coming at you from someone who hasn't proven that they’re looking out for what’s best for you, or from someone who has a vested interest in keeping you sick, or even someone who hasn’t taken the time to research what they’re trying to convince you, be skeptical. Look towards individuals in your community that are thriving both physically and mentally instead.

Above all there is no better teacher than what your own experience can provide. We often don’t make the connection between what we eat and how we feel, but the fact is that our personal well being is directly tied to our diet. We've trained ourselves away from paying attention to our body and instead act out of habit, taste and convenience when it comes to the food we eat and feed our families. It may feel convenient at the moment to continue doing things the way we’ve always done them, but convenience shouldn’t be the only factor you consider when buying food. The health of our families and our collective future depends on the choices we make today. Choose wisely.

unLearn

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Raw Ice Cream

Whew! It wasn't easy but I finally did it. Green Tea Mullein/Nettle Ice Cream. Lately I've been seeing more and more raw ice creams popping up in the freezer section of health food stores in my area. A few of them are actually very tasty, but they're a little expensive at around $14.99 a pint. Growing up, green tea ice cream was my favorite. So this is my take on it.


This recipe took A LOT of trial and error. I started with some homemade cashew milk. Cashews, kangen water, dates and avocado. Once finished I strained it and froze. Then I blended 3 young coconuts (coconut meat and water) until smooth and froze. Next I made some mullein and nettle tea. Mullein is great for expelling mucus, safe for kids and has a really pleasant flavor. Nettle isn't as pleasant tasting so I only used a bit of it for color, but it is also safe for kids, a great source of iron, a detoxifier, blood purifier and great for allergies.

Adding herbs to raw treats like this is a great way to get children to eat healthier (without them knowing it). *Just make sure you know about the herb in question i.e. side effects, interactions etc. Anyhoo, I strained the tea and poured it in some ice trays. Later the following day I combined the ingredients in the food processor along with some agave nectar to taste. That's it!

(Technically it isn't 100% raw but to make it more raw you can soak the mullein and nettle in water overnight instead of steeping them in boiling water :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Vegan Mac & Cheese

Now I'm a raw foodist for life, but there are those times when I give into temptation and indulge in a lil cooked food. Sometimes the indulgences are worse than others though lol, like yesterday for example. Vegan Mac & Cheese.


Admittedly it's not the most alkaline food, buuuut at least it's still wheat-free, gluten-free and soy free. The cheese I used was Daiya vegan cheese (the best vegan cheese in the world because it doesn't taste like chalk lol and it actually melts), and quinoa pasta.

My First Raw Food Pic

This was the first picture I took of raw food prepared by my friend and I. It was taken back in 2007, before it was cool to be raw, or vegan, or post pictures of healthy food on facebook lol. My how times have changed (for the better).

The meal consisted of "fried" tomatoes, nori "tuna" and a fresh salad (all vegan and raw of course). The picture below that was my first attempt at getting fancy with my food, before I really knew what I was doing lol (it's a spicy habanero mango salad).


Sunday, January 9, 2011

You Forgot Blueberries

If you're not ready to go green yet (see green smoothie in post below), you can always opt for a more traditional smoothie. 

The first smoothie contains, strawberries, pineapple, bananas, mangoes and dates. 

The one below contains strawberries, pineapple, bananas, mangoes, avocado, dates, oh and almost forgot...blueberries lol.





Never gets old lol. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

But it's Greeeeeen!!


LOL as freaky as this looks it was actually very delicious. Lil man asked for seconds so you know your grown up taste can handle it. All it has in it is frozen pineapples, bananas, strawberries, mangoes, dates and spinach.

Green smoothies are a great way to get those alkalizing greens down, as not everyone is a salad person. And the good news is that if you have enough frozen fruits in there, you can't even taste the spinach...I promise ;)

Autism is Treatable!


It was my son’s former pediatrician, a medical doctor who specialized in alternative remedies, who first put me on to this information. Several years ago my son was diagnosed with autism and after reviewing the results of his blood work, his doctor strongly recommended that I stop giving him dairy and gluten. I decided to do as he advised, feeling that I had nothing to lose. I didn't expect much but what I started to notice was shocking. I began to see huge changes in his behavior for the better and just one week later his teachers reported a remarkable improvement in his behavior and focus as well. None of them were aware of his change in diet at the time, but all of them agreed that something was up. Was the whole thing just a coincidence? His doctor and I didn't think so, and we’re not the only ones.

His pediatrician explained that in some people proteins like casein (milk protein) and gluten (protein found in grains like wheat) act as opiates within the body. In other words, in sensitive individuals, these proteins have the potential to alter moods and behaviors, sometimes even drastically just like a drug would do. By removing casein and gluten from their diet, some parents are finding that their autistic children are starting to take on more and more “normal” behaviors. When I fully transitioned my son to a vegan diet a short time later, and gave him a daily dose of cilantro and other natural chelators (substances that bind to and pull heavy metals from the body) to help excrete the mercury from his system (his mercury readings were off the chart from what his doctor and I account to him being vaccinated), his behavior once again dramatically improved. Now the symptoms of his disorder are barely noticeable and most people who don’t know him personally can’t tell that he was once diagnosed.

My son’s doctor further explained that the list of suspect ingredients unfortunately doesn't stop there. Red food dyes, like those extracted from the cochineal beetle (carmine), are known to cause potentially serious allergic reactions, and are believed to have an effect on the behavior of children as well. Each day more and more young people are being diagnosed with developmental disabilities such as autism and ADHD. The instances within the black community are growing also, but what exactly has led to the increase in these types of cases?

Children’s fragile systems are hit with so many toxins before their very first birthday. Unnatural vaccines, chemicals in the air, water and food supply and the breakdown of strong healthy families within our neighborhoods all contribute to this epidemic. Studies have shown that children who come to school hungry do not perform as well academically, but what about children who are experiencing adverse reactions to the foods they eat? In addition to social stigmatization, the “hood diet” might be one of the reasons our young black brothers and sisters are struggling within our school systems. We must take control of what we can, if you or someone you know is currently experiencing something similar, know that there are countless natural options out there that can significantly improve the lives of families affected by this condition. Check out the following websites for more information:


Informational Resources:

The following are two very informative websites all centered around the belief that "Autism is Treatable!"

Generation Rescue:
http://www.generationrescue.org/

The Autism Research Institute:
http://www.autism.com/

Find a Doctor:

Many of the health professionals listed below are medical doctors, but like my son's former pediatrician they specialize in alternative treatments, many of which are covered by most health insurance. Some of them also treat other behavioral conditions such as ADHD so be sure to ask if you require such treatment.

DAN (Defeat Autism Now) Practitioners
http://www.autism.com/pro_danlists_us.asp

http://www.generationrescue.org/recovery/doctors

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Benefits of Coconut Oil


The coconut is an amazing whole food for countless reasons, but one of its greatest benefits is its antifungal properties. Most people (yep I said most) unknowingly have an overgrowth of Candida albicans (pathogenic yeast) in their body, which manifests in the form of everything from chronic skin conditions, fatigue and venereal issues to mental and behavioral problems.

Common Symtoms of Candida Overgrowth Are:

Headaches
Itchiness
Eczema
Acne
Irritability
Food cravings (lol who isn't guilty of this one)
Sinus issues
Chronic yeast infections/jock itch/athlete's foot
Anal Itchiness
Nasea
Gassy and bloated feeling
Indigestion
Hyperactivity
PMS
Depression

And the list goes on...

Candida is a yeast that is naturally found in all of us, but due to poor diets of sugary/starchy foods it grows out of control, plaguing us with a variety of reoccurring symptoms. In its most advanced cases it's been named as a cause of death for people with severely compromised immune systems, but in less severe instances, as common as it is, it often goes undiagnosed. The good news is that coconut, and more specifically coconut oil, naturally combats this yeast.

What You Can Do

If you're looking to treat Candida start by taking 1/2 - 1 tablespoon of raw coconut oil daily (a little less if the coconut oil is solid), preferably over the weekend so that you can be at home while your body responds. You should consume the coconut oil alone (by mouth) rather than adding it to a beverage. Downing oil is not the most pleasant sensation, so follow it up with a sip of water if need be. Many people given this remedy often complain of stomach upset, nausea and diarrhea during treatment. This is known as die off symptoms. Literally the symptoms your body experiences as the yeast dies and the toxins spill into your system. If the symptoms are too much you can reduce the daily dose but don't fall off completely as Candida is one persistent little bugger. Complete treatment sometimes takes several months or longer. But once treated you'll feel like a whole new you. My favorite brand of raw coconut oil is Nutiva btw.

On a lighter note I had to plug my favorite raw coconut butter.


Not for treatment but this stuff is soooo yummy! I can eat it right out of the jar. Made from dehydrated whole coconut meat, it has a slightly sweet chocolaty taste to it. I put it in my smoothies, in nut milks, raw cookies and sometimes mix it into sauces for salads.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Get Your Glow On!


As we age our skin becomes thinner, loses elasticity and sometimes just looks tired, dull and lack luster. Diet, exercise and making sure we drink plenty of water will help to slow the aging process, but even the best of us could use a natural boost every once and a while.

Lately I've been mixing and concocting herbal formulas to help my friends and family with various health conditions and stumbled across one that has had excellent benefits on the skin. Since taking it myself my skin has been extra glowy, soft and refreshed looking and the compliments on my complexion keep on coming. Here's the herbs I've been using:

Sarsaparilla
Yellow Dock
Mullein
Marshmallow Root
Pau d'Arco
Rose Hips

(Buy the above herbs in loose tea form if at all possible. This formula is to be taken internally. I use about a tablespoon of each herb. I'm working on one to be used topically as well so stay tuned)...

Oh and almost forgot Happy New Year to all who celebrate it on this day. Peace, love and infinite joy! Life is most certainly what you make it, so I will that all of you make this year one that meets all of your desires and more ♥