Sunday, May 31, 2009

Should I Take Digestive Enzymes?

The Final Day of Our “One Month Raw Food Cleanse”
Congratulations to all of you who finished our “one month raw food cleanse”. If you didn’t get to do it in May, start it in June. It’s easier to do when the weather is warmer. I’m now coming off my cleanse and feel great. I lost 2 ½ pounds this month and 2 pounds last month when I was transitioning. I feel light and energetic and was able to get off of my allergy medication. Actually, I don’t take any medications at all! Today I will complete the month with a liquid diet full of smoothies, juice and some cooked vegetable broth. For the rest of the spring and summer, I will stay 50% to 75% raw starting each day with a raw smoothie or breakfast salad and having a nice big salad or one of the many raw recipes I’ve posted for lunch. I’ll save my cooked meal for the evening. I’ll continue to eat raw snacks of nuts, fruit, raw crackers, and veggie slices and of course, chia pudding will remain my absolute favorite dessert!

When eating this type of diet, there’s not much worry about digestive enzymes since raw food is full of its own enzymes which aid in digestion. When food is cooked, however, these enzymes are destroyed and the body must do all the heavy lifting in order to provide sufficient enzymes to digest your meal. To make matters worse, the ability to do this significantly diminishes as we age. If we don’t have enough enzymes for digestion, we cannot absorb the nutrients in the food we eat and we lack the energy to do the things we love to do. Besides lacking energy, we may also experience gas, heartburn, bloating and constipation. We may even develop headaches, allergies, ulcers and more. These conditions result from the partially digested foods that remain in your intestines that will begin to decay and create toxins.

Even when eating a raw food meal, especially if it’s made with nuts and is high in fat, it’s good to take a digestive enzyme just to be sure your body is getting the most out of the meal.

Different types of digestive enzymes
Amylase—breaks down carbohydrates
Protease—breaks down proteins
Lipase—breaks down fats
Lactase—breaks down milk sugar

Selecting a digestive enzyme supplement
Many digestive enzyme supplements have a broad spectrum of the above listed enzymes and more. Others are tailored to a specific food type. Many people think it’s just easier to just take a comprehensive product that addresses all types of food. You may want to discuss this with your holistic health practitioner, especially if you have a particular medical condition. I take a broad spectrum one before each meal.

Some digestive enzymes are derived from plant and microbial sources and others come from animals. Vegans and vegetarians should check the label for the source of the product. Some manufacturers claim that the plant and microbial enzymes work more effectively in the pH and temperature ranges of the body.

Unlike some supplements that measure strength by their weight, the strength of a digestive enzyme is measured by its “activity”. This activity level is listed on the bottle as FCC units or “Food Chemical Codex units”. If it only has weights such as milligrams, you will not be assured of any enzymatic activity at all. A high FCC number allows your food to be digested quickly so there is less chance that your food will be absorbed in a partially broken down state.

My husband and I have made many changes to improve our diet over the past 20 years but I think we both agree that taking a digestive enzyme before each meal is one of the best things we’ve done. Our dining table always has a grinder for Himalayan rock salt and whole pepper corns and a bottle of digestive enzymes. If you have any sort of digestive problems, fatigue, unexplained headaches or allergies, digestive enzyme supplements may be something you should consider.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Raw Vegan Caprese Salad

Day 29 of Our “One Month Raw Food Cleanse”
My husband and I love Caprese salad. It’s usually made, of course, with fresh Italian mozzarella cheese. There is no need to give up this wonderful dish while on a raw food diet. Simply replace the mozzarella with this simple cashew cheese and you have a very beautiful and tasty dish. The raw version has no cholesterol and one third the saturated fat. For the best results, use vine ripened heirloom tomatoes, the freshest basil, and a good quality extra virgin olive oil.


Raw Vegan Caprese Salad
[serves 4]
4 medium vine ripened heirloom tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil and 4 sprigs for garnish
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Himalayan or sea salt to taste
1 cup of raw cashews soaked in filtered water for 6 hours
3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Himalayan or sea salt
1/4 cup (or a little more) filtered water

To make the cheese, soak 1 cup of raw cashews in filtered water for 6 hours. Rinse the cashews well and place in a Vita Mix blender with lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 cup of water. Blend until absolutely smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender and adding a tiny bit more water only if needed. Place the cashew cheese in a small bowl and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Slice the top and bottom off of each tomato and cut the remaining center into 3 thick slices. Build the Caprese salad on four small salad plates starting with 1 slice of tomato, a heaping tablespoon of cheese spread in a circle over the tomato slice, another tomato slice, another layer of cheese and a third tomato slice and a final layer of cheese. Sprinkle a tablespoon of chopped basil over each salad and garnish each with a basil sprig. Top each salad with freshly ground black pepper, salt and 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 199 calories, 17 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0 cholesterol, 5.3 g protein, 9.3 g carbohydrates and 1.3 g fiber.

Menu for day 29
Breakfast is a blueberry smoothie. Lunch is a Caprese salad with sprouted lentil crackers (see May 18, 2009 posting for the crackers). Snack is half a cantaloupe filled with sliced strawberries. We’re going out to dinner so I’ll probably have a big salad (I’ll bring some raw nuts and raisins to throw on top of it).

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Is It Healthy to Drink Wine?

My son Vaughn and I enjoying a special bottle of wine for my birthday (we are NOT drinking the entire bottle!)

Day 28 of Our “One Month Raw Food Cleanse”
During my one month raw food cleanse, I have enjoyed some wine. Wine is raw, although not all wine is vegan—we’ll talk about that later. In moderation, wine has some significant health benefits. The key word is moderation which may mean different things to different people. A person who polishes off a bottle of wine with dinner each night after he’s had a few cocktails before dinner would have a different definition than someone who drinks only on occasion. As they say, the definition of an alcoholic is someone who drinks more than you do. The definition of “moderate drinking” would also depend on your sex, age, body weight and underlying physical condition. So it’s tough to say a woman should have one glass of wine a night and a man two. That should certainly be the upper limit but for some, that may still seem like too much. So you should listen to your body and use judgment – something that gets more difficult to do after you start drinking wine. After a wonderful glass of wine, it’s pretty tough to say, “Oh, one is my limit to achieve optimum health benefits”. It would be more like, “hey, that’s pretty good. I’ll have another and pass over that big block of cheese”.

So yes, if you have will power, and alcohol doesn’t completely cloud your judgment, a “moderate” amount of wine can potentially have significant health benefits.

Health Benefits of Moderate Wine Consumption
Delay dementia. David Teplow, a neurologist from UCLA, found that polyphenols in red wine can block the formation of the amyloid-beta proteins that are the plaques that form in the brain contributing to Alzheimer’s. Studies have also shown that wine may actually improve memory function by causing the release of acetylcholine. Too much alcohol can have the opposite effect.

Good for the heart and could prevent strokes. The flavonoids in wine have antioxidant qualities and can prevent the formation of plaque in the arteries and blood clots. Resveratrol, found in the skin and seeds of the grapes used to make red wine, can increase HDL (the good cholesterol), reduce LDL (the bad cholesterol) and prevent blood clotting. Preventing the formation of plaque in arteries and blood clots would also prevent a person from having a stroke.

Protects against throat cancer. A Kaiser Permanente study (see March issue of Gastroenterology) showed that moderate wine consumption could offer protection from the onset of Barrett’s Esophagus which leads to esophageal cancer. Although drinking beer had no effect and drinking spirits could actually raise the risk, drinking one or two glasses of wine a day lowered the chance of developing Barrett’s Esophagus by 56 percent.

Prevents type 2 diabetes. According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, women over 25 who had one or two glasses of wine daily were 58% less likely of developing diabetes than those who did not drink. Red wine may help regulate blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity.

May induce overwhelming joy. There are other benefits that you don’t normally see in medical journals. Like the absolute joy of sharing your favorite bottle of wine with a close family member or a good friend. Or the excitement of opening that special bottle of champagne you’ve been saving for your anniversary. And the joyous ritual of a sommelier opening a fine wine to go with a special meal. No one will dispute that joy improves health and extends life.

There are also some risks associated with wine consumption which you should be aware of.

Risks of wine consumption:
Increases the risk of breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute found that women who consume one to three drinks a day have a 24 percent increased risk of getting breast cancer.

Increase in triglycerides. Wine consumption can elevate triglyceride levels which can lead to health problems like diabetes.

Can cause fetal alcohol syndrome. Pregnant women should avoid alcohol as it has been associated with developmental disorders in their babies.

Conclusion: So should I drink wine?
If you can drink in moderation (that’s usually defined as 5 ounces of wine per day for a woman and twice that for a man) you can reap the benefits and joy of drinking wine while minimizing the risks. But if you don’t drink wine or you don’t particularly enjoy it, don’t start. You can still get many of the benefits listed above through proper nutrition and excercise.

Full disclosure:
In the spirit of full disclosure, one: My family is Italian so a little wine was mixed with water and put in my bottle when I was a child and two: my husband and I live in Sonoma county (some of California’s most beautiful wine country) and are about to plant 3,000 vines of Pinot Noir which will make us wine growers.

Is wine vegan?
Although wine is raw, it is not always vegan. Some winemakers use animal products to clear the wine which prevents it from turning cloudy. The most commonly used agents to accomplish this are casein (milk protein), gelatin (from bones), egg whites, egg albumin, and isinglass (from fish). Vegan wine makers use bentonite clay, carbon, diatomaceous earth and kaolin (a clay mineral). For a vegan wine guide, go to .

Menu for Day 28
Breakfast is a big fruit salad with fresh strawberries, cantaloupe, mango and dessert helper. I’m meeting friends for lunch so I’m not sure what I’ll find. Dinner will be raw pizza (see May 18, 2009 posting) since I just pulled a big batch of sprouted lentil crusts out of the dehydrator. Dessert is chia pudding (see April 11, 2009 posting).

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Raw Vegan Taco Salad—Rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acid

Day 26 of our “One Month Raw Food Cleanse”
I’ve been craving Mexican food and this hearty salad does the trick. It’s quick and easy and uses the heart healthy walnut “taco meat” used in the May 5th “Soft Taco” recipe and the “lime chia seed dressing” posted on April 9th. A single serving delivers 4.1 grams of omega 3 fatty acid in a perfect 4:1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3.

As we wind down our one month raw food cleanse, you should go through the many healthy raw recipes I’ve posted over the past few months and continue to incorporate your favorites into your normal eating regimen. I think this one could become one of your favorites!


Raw Vegan Taco Salad [serves 2]
1 small head of butter or red leaf lettuce, cleaned and torn into bite sized pieces
4 small tomatoes, cut into eighths
Kernels from 1 small ear of fresh corn
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/2 medium avocado, sliced
2/3 cup raw walnuts
2/3 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons Nama Shoyu soy sauce
1 teaspoon chia seeds
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper

To make the dressing, combine the chia seeds with 2 T of water. Set aside until it forms a gel (about an hour). Once it gels, add cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, sea salt and pepper.
For the taco meat, put the walnuts, chili powder and Nama Shoyu in a food processor and briefly process until the mixture resembles taco meat. Do not over process.
Prepare the salad by combining the lettuce, tomatoes, corn and green onion. Dress the salad with the lime chia seed dressing and place on two large plates. Top each salad with half of the avocado slices and half of the taco meat. For a vegetarian version, add crumbled goat cheese.

Per serving: 474 calories, 39.2 g fat, 4.3 g saturated fat, 0 g cholesterol, 12.6 g protein, 29.2 g carbohydrates, 11.3 g fiber, 4.1 g omega 3 and 16.7 g omega 6 fatty acid.

Menu for Day 26
Breakfast is a smoothie with banana, pear, spinach, stevia, two brazil nuts and a teaspoon of vitamineral green. Lunch is faux “tuna fish salad” posted April 25, 2009 but instead of stuffing an heirloom tomato, I’m stuffing a red bell pepper half. I’ll snack on fruit and vegetable slices today since there are quite a few nuts and seeds in my meals. Dinner is the featured “taco salad” recipe. Dessert is watermelon.

Monday, May 25, 2009

(Raw Vegan) Walnut and Spinach Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

Day 25
of our “One Month Raw Food Cleanse”
A new restaurant opened in downtown Sebastopol named “Pesto”. It used to be “Alice’s Restaurant” but Alice decided to move on. I was listening to the owner talk about the different pesto concoctions they were planning in the future and it got me in the mood to come home and create another raw pesto recipe.

I’ve posted two recipes using raw pesto (Vegan Lemon Basil Pesto on Raw Zucchini Spaghetti on April 20, 2009 and Raw Vegan Pesto Pizza on a Sprouted Lentil Crust on May 18, 2009). Both of these recipes use the tradition basil and pine nuts as a base. Nutritional yeast is used instead of parmesan.

Today’s recipe combines heart healthy raw walnuts with nutrient rich baby spinach. Spinach is rich in vitamin A, C, B6, folate, calcium, iron, potassium and manganese. These make very nice appetizers and would be a great dish to serve to guests or bring to a potluck, but you’ll probably have to double it. Served with a raw soup, it makes a nice dinner item.


(Raw Vegan) Walnut And Spinach Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms [8 small or 5 medium mushrooms]
8 small or 5 medium white button mushrooms
1 packed cup organic baby spinach
1/4 cup raw walnuts
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 full tablespoon nutritional yeast
Nama Shoyu soy sauce

Carefully remove the stems from the mushrooms and with a small spoon (a demitasse spoon works well) remove some of the inside so there is room for the filling. Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Save half of the stems for the filling. Toss the mushroom caps in a little Nama Shoyu and let them marinate for 20 minutes. Place the spinach, walnuts, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt, half the mushroom stems and the nutritional yeast in a food processor and process until smooth but do not over process. Fill the mushrooms caps and serve. If you want these warm you can place them on a Teflex sheet and dehydrate at 115 degrees for one hour and serve immediately.

Per mushroom (when making 8 small mushrooms): 36.4 calories, 2.7 g fat, .3 g saturated fat, 0 g cholesterol, 1.4 g protein, 1.7 g carbohydrates and 1 g of fiber.

Menu for Day 25
Breakfast is Mango and Strawberry Breakfast Salad (Posted May 8, 2009). Lunch is a spinach salad with red onion, pecans and strawberries tossed with a lemon and oil dressing (I guess you can tell I stopped at the roadside stand and bought a few baskets of freshly picked strawberries!). Dinner is veggie sushi posted on May 9, 2009. Dessert is fresh cantaloupe with Dessert Helper posted May 20, 2009. I unfortunately had little luck with my Irish moss experiment. I tried to use it to make a strawberry pudding. After soaking and rinsing it, it didn’t really whip up into a smooth gel or gum like it’s supposed to. Maybe I didn’t use enough water. It still smelled like seaweed which I must admit, did not inspire me to put it in a dessert. I don’t want to give up since it has very important nutritional qualities.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Raw Curried Lentil Soup

Day 22
of our “One Month Raw Food Cleanse”
We’re on the home stretch of our one month raw food cleanse. It’s been a lot of fun dragging out all of my raw kitchen toys and making up new recipes. This weekend I will be experimenting with Irish moss. I’ve never used it myself but I’ve had wonderful, creamy desserts with this as a key ingredient. If I create something worth sharing, you’ll see it soon!

Today I’m going to share a recipe I developed when I did my post on sprouting on May 9, 2009. I like to use tiny green lentils for this recipe and for the lentil crust on the raw pizza I posted on May 18th, 2009. I think they have a more delicate flavor than the larger brown lentils. They are extremely easy to sprout and are very digestible. As I pointed out in that May 9th post, raw lentil sprouts are a good source of protein, thiamin, iron, phosphorus and copper and a very good source of vitamin C. Since vitamin C is destroyed when heated, you’ll get the most benefit from this recipe since it is raw.


Raw Curried Lentil Soup
[serves 2]
1 packed cup of sprouted green lentils plus some extra for garnish
3 tablespoons onion, chopped
1 cup filtered water
2 tablespoons dried raw coconut
1 medium zucchini, about 1 1/2 cups chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped (1/2 for soup and 1/2 for garnish)
2 small cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons sweet curry powder
1/2 cup banana, sliced
1/2 fresh jalapeno
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped for garnish
Kernels from 1 ear of fresh, raw corn for garnish
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 small avocado
1 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)
Several dashes of cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)

Put the dried coconut in 1 cup of water and let rehydrate for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, put the coconut and the water in a high speed blender with the sprouted lentils (remember to save some for the garnish , onion, zucchini, half of the red bell pepper, garlic, curry powder, banana, jalapeno, lime juice, avocado, salt and cayenne pepper. Blend until smooth and place in two bowls. Garnish with extra sprouted lentils, chopped red bell pepper, corn kernels and cilantro and serve.

Per serving: 327 calories, 14.6 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, 2.3 g cholesterol, 8.8 g protein, 47 g carbohydrates and 9.7 g of fiber.

Menu for Day 22
Breakfast is a strawberry smoothie with fresh strawberries, a banana, a small apple, soaked almonds, a large handful of fresh spinach, a brazil nut (for selenium), flax seed oil, ice and stevia. Lunch is a large green salad with avocado, cucumber, radishes, carrot, heirloom tomatoes, pumpkin and sunflower seeds with raw crackers. Dinner is curried lentil soup and a half of a cantaloupe filled with diced watermelon. My snack today will be apple slices and raw almond butter. I’ll be experimenting with the Irish moss to come up with a dessert.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Raw Tabouli—Full Of Nutrient Rich Herbs

Day 21
of our “One Month Raw Food Cleanse”
When we search for foods rich in vitamins and minerals, we generally focus on basic food groups like fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, etc., but did you know that herbs like parsley and mint are very good sources of vitamins A, C, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, copper and potassium? In addition, parsley is loaded with vitamin K.

Nutritionists usually don’t highlight this because most recipes use insignificant amounts of herbs not to overpower the dish. Tabouli, however, is an exception and is known for its generous use of both mint and parsley.

This quick and easy raw recipe uses jicama and pine nuts instead of the traditional cooked bulgar. Each serving will have a generous 4 tablespoons of these nutrient packed herbs!


Raw Tabouli [serves 8]
4 cups jicama, diced
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 medium yellow heirloom tomato, diced
1 medium red heirloom tomato, diced
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup fresh mint, chopped
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt, (more or less to taste)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper (more or less to taste)

Dice the heirloom tomatoes and put in a colander to drain. Place jicama and pine nuts in a food processor and process briefly until it resembles large grain. Place mixture on paper towels to remove some of the moisture and then place in a large bowl. Add red onion, cucumber, parsley, mint and the drained tomatoes. Combine lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, salt and pepper. Gently mix this dressing into the salad and serve.

Per serving: 132 calories, 10 g fat, 1.1 g saturated fat, 0 g cholesterol, 2.1 g protein, 9.7 g carbohydrates and 3.9 g of fiber.

Menu for Day 21
Breakfast is a bowl of watermelon, cantaloupe and strawberries. Lunch is tabouli salad with raw crackers and guacamole. I will make faux “tuna fish salad” stuffed heirloom tomatoes for dinner (see April 25, 2009 post) and some tropical chocolate truffles for dessert (see February 12, 2009 post). I feel like juicing today so I’ll make a big pitcher of fresh vegetable juice and snack on it during the day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Raw Vegan Dessert Helper—Use As A Crumble Or A Crust

Raw Dessert Helper on papaya with coconut garnish.

Raw Dessert Helper made into a pie crust.

Day 20
of our “One Month Raw Food Cleanse”
The one thing that makes eating raw easy to do is the wonderful desserts. There are some incredibly complicated, gourmet raw desserts that can take days to prepare, but this recipe is easy, useful and versatile. I keep a container of this delicious crumble in my refrigerator at all times. It’s a combination of heart healthy raw nuts (you can use walnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, almonds or hazelnuts), a sweet dry fruit (dates, raisins or other dried fruits like dried apricots), shredded raw coconut, salt and a few flavorings (I use cinnamon but you can also use nutmeg or vanilla). You can turn any bowl of sliced fruit into a beautiful dessert. You can also press it into a pie crust and use it for your favorite chilled pie recipe (either a raw pie recipe or fill it with your favorite probiotic rich frozen yogurt and top with fresh berries). You will be tempted to just eat it with a spoon but try and contain yourself since it’s pretty high in calories.

In this recipe, I use walnuts and raw almonds. Unfortunately, in 2007 a bill requiring all raw almonds to be pasteurized was passed even though contamination in almonds is very rare. The worst part was that pasteurized almonds can still be labeled “raw”. The good news is that you can still find real “raw” almonds at your local farmers market and also online (make sure you know your source).

Almonds are known to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease perhaps due to their LDL lowering monosaturated fats as well as their high content of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. A low glycemic index food, almonds protect blood sugar surges and help protect against diabetes. They are also a good source of riboflavin, magnesium and manganese.

Walnuts also reduce the risk of heart disease and contain significantly more omega 3 fatty acids than other nuts. They are also a low glycemic index food and a very good source of manganese.


Dessert Helper—Nut Crumble and Crust [16 servings as a topping]
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup raw, unsweetened coconut
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 jumbo Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Process almonds in a food processor until they are in chunks (since almonds are harder than walnuts, they need just a bit more processing, but don’t over do it). Add walnuts, coconut, salt and cinnamon and process until course. Add dates and raisins and process until the mixture is a good “crumble” consistency. If you want to use this for a pie crust, process until it starts to stick together a bit but be careful not to over process. Use what you need for a topping and store the remaining mixture in a sealed container and refrigerate.

Per serving: 135 calories, 10 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, .6 g cholesterol, 3.2 g protein, 10.3 g carbohydrates and 2.4 g of fiber.

Menu for Day 20
Breakfast is a berry smoothie (I just can’t get enough of them) with frozen blueberries, fresh strawberries, banana, vitamineral green, flaxseed oil, soaked almonds, a soaked date (throw the soaking water from the date in the smoothie too!) and a handful of kale. Lunch is leftover soft tacos from last night’s dinner. Tonight I will be making a raw tabouli salad with some raw corn on the cob (even when I’m not raw, I always eat my corn on the cob without cooking it. Once I tasted it that way, I have never cooked it again). I’ll share the tabouli recipe with you tomorrow if it comes out good. For dessert, this wonderful dessert helper on top of some cantaloupe and strawberries.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

10 Good Reasons To Plant A Garden

My daughter-in-law Karina with her raised bed garden, Portand, Oregon.

Day 19
of our “One Month Raw Food Cleanse”
We’re 19 days into our raw food cleanse and there is no better raw food than that which is plucked from your very own garden. So I thought today I would try to tempt you, assuming you are not already hooked, on growing some of your own food.

OK, I’m pretty lucky, I live in a sunny, warm climate that screams gardening. But it doesn’t really matter where you live, you can plant something to eat. Don’t have a big back yard? Do what my daughter-in-law did. Replace that useless front lawn with raised beds! It beats watering and mowing. No yard at all? Get some pots and find a sunny window.


1. FRESHLY PICKED FRUITS AND VEGETABLES TASTE BETTER because they are picked when they are perfectly ripe. Food that must travel to the marketplace is picked green and doesn’t have that sun ripened taste (just wait until you experience a tomato that doesn’t taste like plastic!).

2. IT’S CONVENIENT. In the summer months, you would hardly have to go to the store. Ingredients for your dinner are just a few steps away.

3. GROWING YOUR OWN FOOD SAVES MONEY. The price of food is skyrocketing. With a minimal investment, you can saves hundreds of dollars or more on your grocery bills.

4. EATING FOOD THAT’S GROWN LOCALLY not only reduces your carbon footprint but locally grown food has an optimum vitamin, mineral and phytochemical content developed to withstand the specific environment in which you live.

5. IT GIVES YOU ACCESS TO FRUITS AND VEGETABLES NOT FOUND IN LOCAL SUPERMARKETS. One year I planted 13 different types of garlic and this year my husband selected 8 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes.

6. IT’S FUN FOR THE KIDS AND INTRODUCES THEM TO VEGETABLES. You’ll have much more luck getting the kids to eat their veggies if they get to watch them grow and pick them out of the garden.

7. CANNING AND FREEZING YOUR GARDEN’S BOUNTY WILL FEED YOU ALL YEAR ROUND. In our last house, we had beautiful and prolific apricot and fig trees. After eating what we could, we froze the fruit in vacu-seal bags and enjoyed them in fruit smoothies for the next entire year! I also made some delicious low sugar apricot jam.

8. WORKING IN YOUR GARDEN IS THERAPEUTIC. No matter how stressful your life is, spending time with your plants will calm you down and give you a connection with the earth and your food.

9. YOU KNOW WHAT’S IN YOUR FOOD. As the gardener, you are in control of how you fertilize and control pests. You will know for sure that harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides are not in your family’s food. Also, it has been shown that organic fruits and vegetables have a higher vitamin and mineral content.

10. PLANT A ROW FOR THE NEEDY. If you are concerned with world hunger, start in your own neighborhood. Bring extra fruits and vegetables to a local food bank where fresh produce is greatly appreciated.

So I hope I’ve inspired you to try your hand at home gardening. Even a single tomato plant in a pot is a start so go ahead and give it a shot! I also hope you have been trying this raw food cleanse. A friend of mine who has stumped her doctors at Kaiser with a mysterious ailment was actually told by her physician to consider trying a raw food diet. It’s good to see that even western medicine sees the immense good that could come from eating nature’s bounty in its pure and natural form.

Menu for Day 19
Breakfast is fresh pineapple and cantaloupe with chopped dates and walnuts. Lunch is a large green salad with butter lettuce, strawberries, avocado, cucumbers and pine nuts. For dinner, I’ll be making raw tacos that I posted on May 5, 2009 to celebrate Cinco De Mayo. I’m still working my way through the cherries and watermelon I bought the other day so that will be my dessert.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Raw Vegan Pesto Pizza On A Sprouted Lentil Crust

Day 18
of our “One Month Raw Food Cleanse”
Who doesn’t like pizza? Well, for one, people who are lactose intolerant. Maybe they actually love pizza but they definitely don’t love what it does to them. This raw pizza, with creamy cashew ricotta, is made without cheese but you’d never know it. The light, crispy crust is made from the green lentils I showed you how to sprout on May 9th, 2009. Top it with a lighter version of the pesto I posted on April 20th, 2009, and some cherry tomatoes, black olives, button mushroom slices or whatever else you’re in the mood for, and you have a very delicious, healthy and filling main course.


Sprouted Green Lentil Crust/Crackers [fills 4 – 5 Teflex sheets]
1 packed cup of sprouted green lentils
1 cup of raw walnuts soaked for 6 hours or overnight
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup flax seeds soaked in 2 cups of filtered water
2 tablespoons Nama Shoyu
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Soak 1 cup of walnuts in water for 6 hours. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of flax seeds in 2 cups of filtered water. Soak for 4 to 6 hours. The flax seeds will absorb all of the water and you will not be rinsing these. After soaking the walnuts, rinse well and place in a food processor with the sprouted lentils, carrots, celery, Nama Shoyu and lemon juice. Blend until smooth but don’t over process. Add this mixture to the large bowl with the soaked flax seeds and mix well. Drop a tablespoon or more of the mixture on a Teflex sheet (of your dehydrator) and form a 4 by 2 ½ inch rectangle crust. Don’t make it too thin as is will naturally thin out as it dries. Make as many crusts as you need for pizza and use the rest, if you’d like, for crackers. If you don’t want the extra crackers, you can cut the recipe in half. Dehydrate at 105 degrees for 8 hours, flip over, remove the Teflex sheet and dry until crisp (6 to 8 more hours).

Cashew Ricotta [makes enough for eight 4 by 2 ½ inch pizzas]
1 cup raw cashews soaked for 4 – 6 hours
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water

Add the soaked cashews, lemon juice, salt and half of the water to the Vita Mix or other high speed blender. Starting at a very slow speed, and increasing slowly, blend until the mixture reaches the texture of ricotta cheese, adding the rest of the water (or a little more) as needed.

Basil Pesto [makes enough for eight 4 by 2 ½ inch pizzas]

1 cup packed fresh basil

1 medium clove of garlic

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons raw pine nuts

1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

1 heaping tablespoon Red Star nutritional yeast

1/2 teaspoons sea salt

Run the garlic through the chute of the food processor. Add the basil, lemon juice, salt and oil and process until smooth. Add pine nuts and nutritional yeast and process again being careful not to over process the nuts.

Raw Vegan Pesto Pizza On A Sprouted Green Lentil Crust [serves 4, makes 8 small pizzas]
8 sprouted green lentil crusts (recipe above)
Cashew ricotta (recipe above)
Basil pesto (recipe above)
16 cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
2 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
8 pitted black olives, thinly sliced (those in picture are not raw but raw dried black olives are available)
2 tablespoons red onion, chopped

Place 2 sprouted green lentil crusts on each of four plates. Spread each crust with cashew ricotta and top with mushrooms, tomatoes, black olives, basil pesto and chopped onions. Serve immediately.

Menu for Day 18
Breakfast is a smoothie with banana, blueberries, strawberries with their green tops, a big handful of fresh organic spinach, stevia, soaked almonds, flaxseed oil and water. Lunch will be guacamole with red bell pepper and jicama slices. A basket of fresh cherries will be my snack. For dinner I’m going to make raw split pea soup served with sprouted lentil crackers and have watermelon for dessert.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Should I Take Vitamin Supplements?

Day 15
of our “One Month Raw Food Cleanse”
Well, I’m half way through my one month raw food cleanse. Hopefully some of you are doing this journey with me. I must admit, after the first week my stomach was a bit upset from all of the fiber, but I feel great now and I’m ready for the second half of the cleanse.

I have reminded you in previous posts that a total raw food diet will not provide vitamin B12 or vitamin D so if you are going to eat only raw food on a long term basis, you should think about taking supplements for the B12 and either get more sunshine for vitamin D or also take some supplements for that too.

With all of the press given to articles claiming vitamins are useless, many people are confused. Just yesterday the New York Times ran an article, “Vitamins Found to Curb Exercise Benefits”. A research team led by a nutritionist from Germany tested a group of young men who exercised. Some received some vitamin C and E supplements and some did not. Those that received supplements showed a decrease in the ability of their bodies’ natural defense mechanism to clean up free radicals from exercise. Kind of scary – (I’m sure their main intent). Is my body’s natural ability to defend itself getting weakened by me pumping all of these supplements into my body?

Although I have distrust in many of the articles that have appeared over the past few years, I have become somewhat concerned with over supplementing. I probably could fill a swimming pool with the number of vitamins I’ve taken over the past 20 years so why am I concerned now?

First of all, the supplement industry is now a multi-billion dollar industry. Some of the same corrupt and deceitful behavior shown by our medical system and pharmaceutical companies are now being demonstrated by the vitamin industry. Whenever there is this much money involved, unfortunately, you can expect this. So what can you do? Here’s what I’ve done.

• I never take synthetic vitamins.
• I only take organic vitamins that are derived from whole foods.
• I only purchase vitamins from reputable companies that are actually concerned about health. Just go to the NEW CHAPTER website and you will find that kind of company. So when picking a vitamin, look at their website, read their mission statement and how they make their product. Buying discount vitamins from a superstore is counterproductive.
• I find out where my vitamins are made. Ninety percent of all vitamin C is made in China, as is much of vitamin A, B12 and E. I am more than a bit concerned about a country that spikes its baby formula with melamine making my vitamins.
• I have cut down on the amounts and the number of vitamins I take. I do not take iron (I’m not anemic and it’s usually not needed past childbearing age) or vitamin E (I eat plenty of avocado and sunflower seeds). I take one New Chapter stress support multi per day (they recommend 3). I supplement with a little calcium/magnesium citrate (about 1/5 of what is recommended). If you eat an alkaline diet, (fruits and vegetables, little or no meat), your body doesn’t need as much calcium. I also take 1000 mg of vitamin D per day because my blood test showed my level to be low (I should stop blogging and get more sun which is the best source of vitamin D). Your requirements may be different so this regimen may not be optimal for you.
• To get more vitamins and minerals in my body naturally, I juice, make fruit and vegetable smoothies, eat more fresh fruit and salads, and eat raw nuts, seeds and sprouts. I try to always eat organic as it has been shown that organic food has a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals than food that has been grown with chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Taking vitamin and mineral supplements is a personal decision and one that should be based on need and data. Ask your doctor to take a blood test to see where you may have a nutrient deficiency. You should also see how you feel. Feeling badly is a sign that you may need a change in your daily regimen whether it’s sleep, proper diet, exercise, supplements, water or sunshine.

Menu for Day 15
Breakfast is a mixture of freshly picked organic strawberries and cantaloupe. Lunch will be a spinach salad with avocado, cashews and grape tomatoes with a lemon dressing. Dinner will be a sprouted green lentil curry with fresh pineapple and dessert crumble.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My Daughter’s Raw Vegan Spicy Chipotle Gazpacho

Day 13 of our “One Month Raw Food Cleanse”
As I was talking to my daughter Linda yesterday about raw soups, she got inspired and whipped up this spicy chipotle gazpacho. When I was doing my raw food nutrition research for my dissertation, she went completely raw for several months. During that time, she created some of the most beautiful dishes I’ve ever seen and since we live on opposite coasts, she’d send me gorgeous photographs of them each day.

So here’s her recipe. You can also check out her wonderful organic products at or click her link below, “Luluiswho”.


Raw Vegan Spicy Chipotle Gazpacho By Linda Aldredge
[Serves 4]
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 medium tomatoes or 6 cups, diced
1 diced red pepper, half for soup and half for garnish
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 chipotle pepper (rehydrate a dried one or use the ones canned in adobo or you can use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle powder, more or less to taste)
3 pitted jumbo Medjool dates, soaked
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 avocado, diced for garnish
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped for garnish
Kernels from 1 ear white corn
1/2 green onion, thinly sliced for garnish (optional)

Combine water, oil, tomatoes, 1/2 of the red pepper, garlic, chipotle, dates, lime juice and sea salt in a Vita Mix or other high speed blender. Blend until smooth and pour into four bowls. Garnish with the other 1/2 of the red pepper, corn, avocado, cilantro and green onion and serve.

Per serving: 303 calories, 19.5 g fat, 2.8 g saturated fat, 0 g cholesterol, 4.8 g protein, 33 g carbohydrates and 7.8 g of fiber.

Menu for Day 13
Breakfast was a berry smoothie with strawberries, blueberries, pear, almonds, brazil nuts and flax seed oil. We’re going out for lunch so I’ll probably have a raw salad. My sprouted lentil crackers and pizza crust just came out of the dehydrator so I’ll be experimenting with raw pizza tonight (yumm). For a snack today, I’ll be munching on these crackers with almond butter. Dessert will be cantaloupe with raw nut crumble.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Raw Vegan Split Pea Soup

Day 12
of our “One Month Raw Food Cleanse”
Raw soups are easy to whip up and are very filling. For creamy soups, I recommend getting a high speed blender like a Vita Mix.

My favorite cooked winter soup is split pea so when I was thinking about making a raw soup today, I experimented with pretty much the same ingredients I use when I cook this soup. Instead of dry peas, use fresh or frozen ones. Peas are a good source of protein, niacin, folate, iron and phosphorus. They are a very good source of manganese and vitamins A, C, K and thiamin. This recipe also packs 8 grams of fiber per bowl. I must say, this soup is as good as or better than the cooked version. It’s fresh and light yet very satisfying. I hope you try it!

I generally use carrots to complement split pea soup, but I decided to use corn in the raw version to get a complete protein since the peas alone lack the two amino acids, methionine and cystine. Methionine was one of the amino acids that I found to be difficult to get sufficient quantities of when on a complete raw food diet. Brazil nuts are another good source of methionine so make sure you are popping a brazil nut in your smoothie in the morning to get this important amino acid as well as your daily requirement of selenium.


Raw Vegan Split Pea Soup [serves 2]
2 cups fresh or frozen petite peas (if frozen, thaw before using)
1 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 small cloves garlic
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup filtered water
1 teaspoon sea salt, more or less to taste
Dash of cayenne pepper
Kernels from one medium ear of corn
1 tablespoon of fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped

Place peas, celery, onion, garlic, oil, lemon juice, cumin, water, salt and cayenne in a Vita Mix blender and process until smooth. Place half of the corn in each of two bowls leaving a few tablespoons for garnish. Pour half of the blended soup in each bowl. With a spoon, mix the blended soup with the corn. Top each bowl with the extra corn and either fresh parsley or cilantro.

Per serving: 214 calories, 7.5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g cholesterol, 8 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates and 8 g of fiber.

Menu for Day 12
For breakfast, I had a fruit smoothie with pineapple, banana, frozen grapes, soaked almonds and a few brazil nuts. Lunch will be a bowl of the featured, “raw vegan split pea soup” and for dinner I’ll have a big kale salad. I might make some more marinated mushrooms if I get to the store today. I have some fresh strawberries which I will eat for dessert with a raw dessert topping which I need to share with you soon.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Sprouting—Entertain The Kids AND Put Nutritious Food On Your Table

Clover sprouts.

Soak mung beans and lentils for 8 hours.

Rinse seeds 2 or 3 times a day and invert jars.

Day 10
of our “One Month Raw Food Cleanse”
I bought these delicate clover sprouts the other day to make veggie sushi. It reminded me that I hadn’t sprouted in a while. So I bought some seeds, pulled out my sprouting jars and thought it would be fun to share this with you.

I’ve kidded a lot about all the kitchen toys in a raw kitchen. Besides high speed blenders, juicers, dehydrators, spiralizers and food processors, you are bound to see a fair share of sprouting jars. Unlike some of the other gadgets, sprouting jars are inexpensive and provide a good way to have an indoor garden. And there are fewer foods on the planet more nutritious than sprouts. There are other methods of sprouting also but I’ve gotten hooked on the beauty and simplicity of big glass jars.

As a sprout germinates, it unleashes its nutritional power. Although there is not an abundance of data to demonstrate these exact figures, a seed’s nutritional content is said to increase significantly once it germinates. Once germinated, a seed is also more digestible. Sprouting also reduces the phytic acid content in seeds, grains and beans which inhibits the absorption of vital minerals such as calcium, iron and zinc. Sprouts are bursting with enzymes.

My favorite things to germinate are lentils and Mung beans. These two beans are not only nutritious and easy to digest, but they sprout easily and if there is one thing I need to keep me going, it’s results! If you have children, it will thrill them to see little guys show signs of sprouting after just a day or two.

How to sprout Mung beans and lentils:

• Start with raw, organic beans. They quadruple in size so start out with 1/4 of what you want to end up with.
• Place in a sprouting jar with a mesh top and soak for 8 hours.
• Rinse 2 to 3 times a day and leave the jar inverted on a drain board. Place them in an area around 70 degrees F.
• In 3 - 4 days the lentils will be ready. It will take about 5 days for the Mung beans. In the final day put them in indirect sunlight.
• When the sprouts are ready, soak them in a big bowl of cool water and let the empty seeds, or hulls, rise to the top. Discard the hulls and rinse and dry the sprouts. They are now ready to eat or you can store them in the refrigerator.

Raw lentil sprouts are a good source of protein, thiamin, iron, phosphorus and copper and a very good source of vitamin C, folate and manganese. They contain no saturated fat or cholesterol.

Sprouted Mung beans are a good source of protein, thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium and a very good source of vitamins C and K, riboflavin, folate, copper and manganese. They are low in calories and contain no saturated fat or cholesterol.

Put sprouts in sushi rolls, on top of salads or in sandwiches. Enjoy!

Menu for Day 10
I will just nibble on fruits and veggies until early afternoon when I will be pigging out at my favorite raw food restaurant, Café Gratitude. Happy Mother’s Day!!!

Veggie Sushi Rolls—Healthy, Easy To Create And Delicious

Placing the veggies across the Nori before rolling.

Day 9
of our “One Month Raw Food Cleanse”
Once you get the hang of making a sushi roll, this is one of the fastest meals you can put together. Especially if you make a raw roll and skip the rice. This recipe can use up whatever veggies you have in the frig. Just keep Nori sheets on hand in case you need a quick sushi fix. They seem to have a long shelf live and don’t need refrigeration.

This recipe is very low in calories and saturated fat. If it’s just part of a main meal, one roll a person is enough. You may want two if it’s a dinner entrée. Even though it’s low in calories, it’s surprisingly filling. You can dip them in Nama Shoyu or mix up a little sauce with almond butter, rice vinegar, cayenne, Nama Shoyu and a bit of sweetener (honey, stevia or sugar). Experiment and see what you like.

Veggie Sushi Rolls [makes 4 rolls]
4 sheets of dried (not toasted) Nori
1 avocado, in slices
1 small red pepper, in strips
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled and in strips
1 cup clover sprouts
4 butter lettuce leaves, green part only
8 stalks asparagus, tough bottoms snapped off

Place a sheet of Nori on a bamboo sushi mat. Put one piece of butter lettuce over the Nori starting one inch from the bottom. Place the strips of pepper, cucumber and avocado across the lettuce. Put two asparagus spears back to back so the heads peak out of the roll. Cover the veggies with sprouts. Using the sushi mat, roll from the bottom up. After the bottom edge is over the filling, squeeze it gently with the mat and then roll to the top. Wet the top of the Nori and complete the roll. The moisture will seal it. Cut the roll with a very sharp knife into 8 equal pieces. Serve with Nama Shoyu or a sauce.

Per roll (without the sauce): 85 calories, 5.3 g fat, .8 g saturated fat, 0 g cholesterol, 3 g protein, 8.5 g carbohydrate and 3.8 g fiber.

Menu for Day 9
I started the day with a few pieces of fruit and snacked on raw nuts. Even though I had this for dinner last night, I’m going to have a veggie sushi roll for lunch. For dinner, I’m making Mango Avocado salad with lime chia seed dressing (se April 9, 2009 posting) and Lemon Basil Pesto (April 20, 2009).

Friday, May 08, 2009

Mango And Strawberry Breakfast Salad

Dicing a mango.

Day 8 of our “One Month Raw Food Cleanse”
You can just look at this hearty breakfast salad and know that it is full of powerful phytochemicals. It’s also very high in vitamins A and C and delivers nearly 10 grams of fiber per serving! On my raw food cleanse, I’ve been starting many mornings with smoothies so this morning I wanted something a bit heartier. Since I had 3 ripe mangos and I’m still working my way through a flat of strawberries, I thought I’d incorporate them into my breakfast salad.

Many people stay away from mangos because they are hard to peel. A chef taught me an easy way to do this. Holding a mango so that the seed is vertical to the cutting surface, slice off half the mango. Turn the half over and, with the tip of the knife, score it into little squares being careful not to penetrate the skin. Then pop it inside out and cut away the squares. Voila, you have diced mango! Do this to the other side. You’ll have some extra mango around the edges after doing both sides but just trim around the edges and salvage what you can. It’s worth the effort!


Mango And Strawberry Breakfast Salad [serves 2]
1 medium mango, diced
12 strawberries, sliced
1 medium apple, cored and diced
1 large banana, cut vertically and sliced into half moons
1/2 cup Ezekiel 4:9 sprouted “live” whole grain cereal*
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

Mix the fruit, sunflower seeds and cereal. After mixing, let sit for a few minutes allowing the cereal to soften a bit.

Per serving: 345.5 calories, 5 g fat, .4 g saturated fat, 0 g cholesterol, 6.8 g protein, 73.3 g carbohydrate, 9.8 g fiber.

* As previously mentioned, there is some debate about the temperature at which the Ezekiel cereals are baked and whether or not they are really “raw”. They do claim that their baking techniques preserve the living food. Since it is so hard to consume enough grain in a raw food diet and the nutrients from this important food group are needed, I often eat this healthful cereal. My only issue with it, however, is how hard it is. If you soften it will some nut milk or juice or just let it sit in a fruit salad for a few minutes, it softens up.

Menu for Day 8
I started my day with our featured mango and strawberry breakfast salad. For lunch I will make more of Bernadette’s “everything in the garden salad” since I have a lot of the ingredients left. For dinner, I’m serving vegetarian sushi rolls with sprouts, avocado, other veggies and some dipping sauce. If it comes out ok, I’ll write it up and post it. For snacks, I’m trying out some onion crackers I made last night with a raw dip I haven’t invented yet. I’m craving grain so I may have a small bowl of brown rice. That will not derail the fast so if you feel a need to do that, steam a bowl of brown rice or quinoa and have that with your dinner.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Building a Colorful Meal—Bernadette’s “Everything In The Garden Dinner Salad”

Day 7
of our “One Month Raw Food Cleanse”
Are you familiar with PHYTOCHEMICALS? They are the compounds in plants that often give them their beautiful colors and fragrant smells, many of which contribute greatly to our health. Although there are thousands of these chemicals, only a fraction of them have been studied but you may have heard of the benefits of some of the more popular ones:

Carotenoids are strong antioxidants. Carotenoids include lycopene (in tomatoes and watermelon) and lutein (found in spinach and orange and yellow fruits and vegetables). There has been much written about lutein and its role in preventing macular degeneration and perhaps reducing the development of cataracts.

Flavonoids have anti-inflammatory properties and can prevent the growth of cancer. Quercetin, a well known flavonoid, is found in apples, green tea and onions. It’s a natural anti-histamine and is also known to have anti-inflammatory qualities. Anthocyanins are another flavonoid with anti-inflammatory properties and are found in strawberries, cherries, cranberries and raspberries.

Saponins are a class of phytochemicals that can reduce cholesterol and prevent the growth of cancer cells. These are commonly found in beans and whole grains.

All of these wonderful phytochemicals are found in common fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. To get as many as I can, I try to design a menu with as many COLORS as possible. I know I’ve done a good job when I look down at a dish I’ve just prepared and see a rainbow.
My friend Bernadette Astrella is a master at creating delicious, colorful and healthy salads. I met her at a raw food potluck and I always would go straight to her salads. I asked her to share one of her recipes on the blog so here’s her “Everything in the Garden” Dinner Salad. I made it tonight and as you can see, it’s colorful, beautiful and it was very yummy. Bernadette lives in Sunnyvale, California where she is a Gourmet Raw Food Chef. She attended Living Light Culinary Arts Institute (the ONLY raw vegan culinary school in the world). She also attended Bauman College in Santa Cruz and is a Certified Nutrition Consultant.


Bernadette’s “Everything In The Garden” Dinner Salad [serves 2]
1 head Green leaf or butter lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
1 shredded carrot
5 stalks of asparagus, cut in 1 inch pieces on diagonal
1/3 cucumber, thinly sliced
1/4 red and 1/4 yellow bell pepper, julienned
4 small radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 small avocado, sliced
4 white button or crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/8 to 1/4 cup fresh peas
1/8 to 1/4 cup fresh corn kernels
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup raisins
1 to 2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup alfalfa or clover sprouts

Salad Toppings
2 tablespoons of cashew pieces
2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds
1 – 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
1 – 2 tablespoons ground flax seed or hemp seed (optional)

Raspberry Date Orangegrette Dressing
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries (if using frozen, thaw and use the liquid also)
1/3 packed cup of Medjool dates, soaked
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Combine all of the salad ingredients in a big salad bowl. Blend the raspberries and their juice, the soaked dates, orange and lemon juice in a high speed blender until smooth. Dress the salad, salt and pepper to taste, and top with salad toppings. Serve immediately.

Menu for Day 7
This morning I made a mixed berry smoothie with all of the ingredients of the blueberry smoothie (posted on May 3, 2009) but I added a cup of fresh strawberries and 2 tablespoons of oat bran. I’m also going to make a several cups of fresh juice (carrot, celery, beet, apple and ginger) and sip it during the day for a snack. For lunch, I’ll make a big fruit salad topped with raw pecans. Dinner will be a large taco salad using the “meat” from the vegan soft tacos (see May 5, 2009 posting) over greens, shredded carrots, avocados and green onion dressed with the “lime chia seed dressing” posted on April 9, 2009. We still have some raw tropical chocolate truffles left over so that will surely be dessert!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

A Simple Vegan Ambrosia Salad

Day 6
of our “One Month Raw Food Cleanse”
I got on the scale this morning and was surprised to see that I’ve already lost 1 ½ pounds! That’s about 1.3% of my body weight in only 5 days. And, I’ve been eating three delicious meals, several snacks and dessert every night. What a fun way to cleanse!

Cleansing on an all raw food diet is so much easier than doing a juice fast. I have always had low blood sugar so if I tried to do a fast of any kind, I would get shaky and very irritable (just ask my husband!). But on a raw food diet, you will be satisfied and the dishes can be interesting and delicious. For one entire month, you avoid processed foods and nourish your body with ones that are fresh, alive and full of enzymes. A cleanse like this will also lessen the severity of the cleansing reactions. These reactions occur when the body starts to release toxins that have accumulated from eating processed and unhealthy foods. You may have headaches, flu-like symptoms, or just feel tired. You may still experience these on a raw food cleanse but the symptoms can be much milder. These symptoms are a normal part of detoxification. Hopefully, over the one month time you are on raw food, it will happen gradually and gently.

Today’s recipe is an old favorite—Ambrosia salad. This salad, however, will omit the processed sugar, marshmallows, sour cream, cool whip and other unsavory things people tend to put into it. This recipe is quick and easy to prepare and is very high is vitamin C.


Vegan Ambrosia Salad [2 lunch servings or 4 desserts]
1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, diced
1 large banana, sliced
1 1/2 cups organic red grapes, cup in half
1 1/2 cups honeydew melon, diced
1/3 cup shredded raw coconut
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh orange zest

Combine fruit and coconut with orange juice and zest. Gently toss and serve.

Per dessert size serving (4): 151 calories, 2.2 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, zero g cholesterol, 1.6 g protein, 33.8 g carbohydrates and 3.1 g fiber.

Menu for Day 6
Today I had a strawberry smoothie for breakfast (when using strawberries in a smoothie, wash the strawberries well but don’t remove the green tops as they also provide important nutrients). For lunch I had a double serving of today’s featured “vegan ambrosia salad”. I’ll be snacking today on nuts and raw crackers as well as red bell pepper and jicama slices with raw hummus. And for dinner I will have a large serving of my friend Bernadette’s recipe, “Everything in the Garden” dinner salad. I’ll share that recipe with you soon. Tonight we’ll make some raw tropical chocolate truffles for dessert—see February 12, 2009 posting).

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Celebrate Cinco De Mayo With Delicious Raw Vegan Tacos

Day 5
of our “One Month Raw Food Cleanse”
No need to miss a holiday like this just because you’re on a raw food cleanse. Besides, I’d never miss Cinco de Mayo. Having lived in Texas for 18 years and over 20 years in California, this is a holiday that is near and dear to my heart. When I was CEO of Ampro Computers, I’d often bring in a pile of burritos and other Mexican food for the entire company at lunch time. OK, they weren’t as healthy as the recipe I’m sharing with you today, but if you can find a white meat chicken or vegetarian burrito on a whole wheat tortilla with little or no cheese, you have a pretty healthy dish.

These soft tacos feature chili flavored “meat” from heart healthy walnuts. With a food processor, you can whip up this dish in 10 minutes and I promise you will not be able to tell the difference between the walnut meat and regular ground meat. Covered with a simple salsa, a couple of these tacos make a great lunch or dinner. For a full Cinco de Mayo celebration, serve these with the “guacamole and raw jalapeno corn chips” posted on April 14, 2009.


Raw Vegan Soft Tacos With A Simple Salsa [makes 4 soft tacos]
4 leaves of organic butter lettuce, washed
1 cup raw walnuts (NOT soaked)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon Nama Shoyu soy sauce
1 small avocado, diced
1 small yellow or red bell pepper (or ½ cup diced tomatoes)
3 tablespoons minced red onion
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno (more or less to taste)
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (more or less to taste)

Please walnuts, chili powder and Nama Shoyu in a food process and blend just until the walnuts are course and resemble ground meat. Set aside. Gently combine the avocado, bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice and salt. Place 1/4 of the nut meat and 1/4 of the salsa on each of the butter lettuce leaves and serve immediately.

Per taco: 256 calories, 24.3 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, zero g cholesterol, 5.5 g protein, 8.8 g carbohydrates, 4.8 g fiber, 2.7 g omega 3 and 11.7 g omega 6 for a healthy omega 6 to omega 3 ratio of 4.3.

Menu for Day 5
Blueberry smoothie for breakfast (I’m still working my way through that big bag of blueberries), an apple with raw almond butter for lunch and for dinner, a few of these wonderful soft tacos with salsa. I just bought 6 pounds of chia seeds so we’ll be having chia pudding for dessert (see April 11, 2009 posting). HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO!