Archive for the ‘Living la Vida Raw’ Category

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DC Raw/Vegan Spot: Elizabeth’s Gone Raw

October 14, 2013

MenuThis past weekend for my birthday extravaganza, I was surprised with a five course decadent meal at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw. If you don’t know, Elizabeth’s is open on Friday’s only, open for reservations from 6pm to 9pm, and is pretty much the only dining experience in the DC area where you can get a gourmet raw meal. The restaurant has been up and running since 2009, and was started by Elizabeth Petty, a breast cancer survivor who parlayed her new lifestyle and love of food into the venture.

Only one word to sum up this experience. INCREDIBLE! If you have the means, I highly recommend you experience this once a week event and be sure to leave sufficient room in your stomach for all the yummy courses. You could even get away with fasting or eating extremely light and then heading over for dinner, because trust, you don’t want to miss eating anything they set in front of you on the table. If you are a foodie, even if you are  a meat lover, you’ll feel like you’ve died and gone to tasty eating heaven.

Every single dish had such intricate texture and flavor, and they do an incredible job of pairing wines with the meal if you are a drinker. I don’t drink alcohol, but still had several wonderful virgin drinks including the goji berry tonic, which was wonderful. All of the courses were amazing, but I was borderline obsessed with their kale chips that had just the right amount of spiciness paired with the warm tomato soup, the beet carpaccio, and the decadent maple sassafras cheesecake. The best part about the evening was that we left very full, but not bloated and ready to take a nap in that way you feel after gorging on Standard American Diet foods.

For more info on Elizabeth’s Gone Raw visit their website: http://www.elizabethsonlstreet.com/

-XoXo Raw Girl 

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Raw Spicy Gazpacho & Vegan Eggplant w/ Thyme

October 7, 2013

eggplant and gazpachoThis weekend I ate something fried. Don’t judge me! I’ve told you veggie lovers time and time again I am not living la vida raw one hundred percent of the time, and I encourage you to find your bliss and make the healthiest choices for you. That said, after the wonderful food demonstration at VegFest DC I decided to try out Executive Chef Ayinde Howell’s fried eggplant recipe. I did however make some modifications. I’m not a fan of fried food, but I knew my body could handle it without aggravation if I used coconut oil (because the oil is not rancid and has a higher burning/smoke point). There’s no way I could eat it without having a reaction if it was prepared with any other oil but coconut. In the demo Ayinde used earth balance, but I prefer to not add in additional heated oils of any kind that can encourage free radicals in my body. If you are a health enthusiast or concerned about keeping your skin optimal and you ever want to fry anything, I highly recommend you never use “dead” oils and stick to coconut. Anyhow it was delicious, and the eggplant has a natural buttery flavor when cooked this way.

On my first couple of days post-detox I also made a really yummy spicy gazpacho which lasted for a few days. It’s been summer hot in DC the past couple of days so cold soup is where it’s at. If you try the gazpacho know that its much better after sitting in the fridge for a couple of hours because it gets thicker and less runny. By day two, it was a much better consistency and paired well with the eggplant. If you would like to try this entire meal raw, you can marinade your eggplant and dehydrate it. There are some really great recipes out there for eggplant “bacon” which are just dehydrated marinated strips of eggplant. I will plan to revisit this soon and do a raw version of the eggplant. -XoXo Raw Girl 

gazpacho ingredientsRaw Spicy Gazpacho

Prep time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1 Cucumber

1 lb cherry tomatoes ( Used two small containers full)

1/2 sweet red pepper

1/2 red onion

small handful cilantro

1/4 cup lime

pinch of cayenne

red pepper flakes to taste

1 tsp minced ginger

1 tsp sea salt

Put all ingredients in the blender. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately, or for better consistency, let chill in the fridge and then serve. Enjoy!

fried eggplantVegan Eggplant w/ Thyme

Prep Time: 10 minutes or less

1 eggplant

thyme

sea salt (to taste)

wedge of lime

coconut oil

Slice your eggplant into thin circles, cutting across the width of it. Heat a skillet and add in your coconut oil. As eggplant cooks season with sea salt, and thyme as needed and flip sides. Remove eggplant and away excess oil when slightly brown. garnish with avocado and squeeze a small wedge of lime over the dish. Enjoy!

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VEG Transition Recipe: Steam Sauteed Kale w/ Bell Peppers

September 25, 2013

KALEI really do not mind preparing vegan dishes from time to time, but for whatever reason, it actually pains me to cook the life force out of my greens!  Last week my cooking class assignment was to make steam sauteed greens. Because I got to do what I got to do to get my degree I made this simple meal as instructed, and it took no time at all. Although I much prefer to season and massage my greens and eat them raw, this is a really great recipe for anyone looking to add more greens into their life, transition into veggie living, or those who have an aversion (gasp!) to raw greens. The combination of the carmelized onions and the bell pepper adds a sweetness to it, and throwing in some garlic and ginger makes it even yummier. Just make sure NOT to overcook your greens so you still have some of the glorious nutrients available. This is a great side dish to a main course or you could pair it with an additional hefty food like quinoa and call it a meal. If you despise greens give it a try you may find a new easy and simple way to add some more essential veggies into your life. -XoXo Raw Girl 

             Steam Sauteed Kale w/ Bell Peppers

1 bunch Green Kale roughly chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic diced

1/4 ginger root diced
Splash of good olive oil

 

1/2 Onion chopped

1 organic red bell pepper chopped 

 

Sea Salt

 

Heat a pan, or wok with a lid. Add a dash of good quality olive oil and then add in your diced onions. Cook the onions until almost translucent and then add in your peppers. Cover the pan and let the peppers and onions steam for a minute. Add your greens on top and add in your garlic and ginger with sea salt to taste. Cover and steam until cooked but not overcooked. Serve and enjoy!

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Collard Green Salad w/ Grapefruit Vinaigrette

September 16, 2013

cooking_1To kick off my Master’s program this first semester one of the classes I’m enrolled in is a cooking class. Best part so far was receiving a some awesome knives in the mail, a cutting board, apron, and other goodies.  I made this salad and vinaigrette last week for one of my first assignments to practice a few of the cutting techniques for that lesson. Eating collard greens as a salad is amazing, but for me the trick is to always use a bit of oil, vinegar (or lemon), and sea salt to massage the greens prior to adding toppings or dressing. This not only make the greens more flavorful, it also just makes it easier for the body to break them down. If collard greens are still too much for you to handle alone, try mixing in spinach or arugula. Below is the recipe for the vinaigrette which amazingly enough has a creamy texture that is really nice. For the salad, dice up your collards whatever way you like them, and add toppings. I used fresh baby tomatoes from the garden, yellow pepper, and avocado. -XoXo Raw Girl  

Grapefruit Vinaigrette

2 grapefruits

3 cloves diced garlic

1 Tablespoons Agave Nectar

Pinch of Sea Salt

1/4 cup olive oill 

1-2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

Blend, pour onto salad, enjoy!

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Raw Girl’s Adventures in NYC

September 6, 2013

photoLast weekend I had a very lovely time in the big apple. Part of what made it so wonderful besides the great company, was all of the yummy vegan fare I had from new and old favorite spots. Although I am always hyperaware of the “toxic” environment, the veg cuisine makes me happy enough to get through a weekend.

As soon as I arrived in the city, the Kombucha Brooklyn hunt began! Ever since I was introduced to their brand at Wanderlust, I’ve been madly in love. After hitting up a few places that sell it, only to find out they were out of stock, I finally scored the most amazing Kombucha flavor I’ve ever had at Graffitea in the East Village, burnt chamomile. If you can get your hands on this flavor, do, just for the experience. It has such and amazing full bodied flavor, that’s hard to explain. After one sip, I was dreaming about ordering it by the caseloads. Instead I may have to bite the bullet and start finding time to brew my own. Shout out to the lovely ladies at Birdbath Bakery in the village who gave us free vegan chocolate chip cookies because they were out of buch.

drink-your-saladWant to kill your parasites with one juice? Had a crazy potent juice from Juice Press called “Drink Your Salad,”  which is spicy (warning!)  and includes ripe tomato, carrot, celery, beet, parsley, kale, spinach, lemon, along with a pinch of cayenne, onion, garlic, and sea salt.  There’s also one called “Volcano” which includes a two ounce shot of cold pressed ginger, oil of oregano, lime, and cayenne extract. Without a doubt, one of those a day for a week would help you clean house of parasites, or just recalibrate your immune system, FAST! If your aren’t concerned about the buggers and need to satisfy your sweet tooth, the desserts are also pretty awesome. I tried their raw sweet potato pie and also tasted the raw key lime pie. The raw sweet potato pie was hands down, my favorite.

One of the nights out on the town, I went to Cafe Blossom with some friends and had a wonderful meal. My favorite things on their uptown menu thus far are the beet ravioli and autumn sweet potato rolls. So delish! Can’t wait to try more next time.

photo-1Besides all the good eats out on the town, one of my favorite people on the planet had us over for a lunch that included flaxseed crackers, raw hummus, red peppers, cucumber ceviche, raw sesame cashews that tasted like cracker jacks (also from Juice Press), and (gasp!) an avocado/mango guacamole that was unbelievable. After all of this good eating and lots of reconnecting with some of my favorite people, I was treated to a hot stone massage. Best. Idea. Ever. More on that later. -XoXo Raw Girl 

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Inspiration to Go RAW!

August 28, 2013

shutterstock_678797471-RAW-NUTRITION

A lot of people on the raw path have mentioned to me the pressure they feel to be 100% raw. My philosophy after being 100% for a long while and then shifting to around 90% or more on a given day depending on how I feel and where I am is that YOU should do YOU. Follow your bliss. Healthy living shouldn’t ever be strained or stressful. If you find yourself focused on trying to maintain dietary restrictions and it’s causing you drama, by all means necessary allow yourself more freedom. A lot of people can attest to the fact that there is something wonderful and even somewhat magical about being in the 100% raw zone, but anyone can get massive benefits just by incorporating more raw foods into their diet. The only way you can know it for sure, is to go for it! Check out below an inspirational post from my buddy Aiya, creator of Black Vegan Love who is currently on a 100% raw fast. -XoXo Raw Girl 

When I first learned about a raw food diet in 2007 I was reluctant to try it. Being vegan with so many dietary exclusions (due to many many food allergies) was already difficult at the time, but to limit my diet even more?? I didn’t think I could do it. But nonetheless, my BFF Olayinka and I aimed to try it for at least a month. We had such an amazing healing experience, we ended up doing 100% rawfor 8 months. I even stayed raw during a trip to Paris (that ish was definitely a test of my will, with all their amazing culinary preparations lol).

I gotta be real with you though…

The first few weeks were a nightmare for me. I went through a detox to end all detoxes. I was tired all the time and had to virtually camp out beside the toilet. This lasted 3 full weeks. But after that first month passed something started to happen. I actually started to feel good. Not just kinda good, really really good! Like the best I’d ever felt in my life!

I felt blissful and light, my nose finally stopped running (was a problem since I was a child), I stopped needing to take asthma medicine. The occasional headaches I had disappeared. Menstrual cycles no longer were a problem. My overall energy increased. My stomach aches went away. Skin cleared up. My indoor and outdoor allergies became a thing of the past. And I became regular like nobody’s business (lmao, sorry had to go there lol).

Here’s a list of the foods that I couldn’t eat (since childhood) before going raw. All of which I could eat (and still can eat) afterwards.

Walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, kidney beans, split peas, lentils, chickpeas, pineapple, and a gagillion more!

To me it was nothing short of a miracle. I started tripping out over the prospect. Food can do this!?! Why didn’t anyone tell me this before!?! Who else knows about this? Lol.

This is why I have maintained an 80% raw diet since then, while always aiming for 100%.

But don’t take my word for it. Nothing to it but to do it!! 

To learn more about Aiya, check out and like her page on Facebook: Black Vegan Love

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Kombucha: The Ultimate Health Tonic

August 26, 2013
Locally brewed Kombucha on tap is my favorite!

Locally brewed Kombucha on tap is my favorite!

In about seven years or so, Kombucha has gone from a relatively obscure tea that raw foodists and other health enthusiasts  drink to a super tonic touted by a wide range of companies that have taken over the refrigerated drink sections of natural food stores.  Now you can easily find kombucha in original form, and every flavor from goji berry to ginger. If you know me well, you know I live for kombucha. I cannot remember who for the life of me introduced me to it years ago, but since then I’ve been hooked. When I’m in Raw Girl mode and tapped into all my vegan superhero powers, kombucha is an essential part of my diet that is non-negotiable because it always helps to bring my body back to balance, and keep me energized.

Kombucha has been around since ancient times and there are many stories on where it may have originated. One common thread is that it began in China during the  Qin Dynasty and eventually spread to other regions including Russia and Eastern Europe where it is called “kvass.” There are variations of kombucha called by different names also found in Siberia, Tibet, Germany, Japan, and India. The word kombucha is Japanese and literally means “kelp tea” but it is actually a fermented tea made using a bacteria and yeast culture that resembles a mushroom. Kombucha is a metabolic enhancer which helps the organs to function optimally, probiotic that supports beneficial bacteria, adaptogen which balances bodily functions, and detoxifier. This bonafide health tonic contains a wide range of organic acids, vitamins (including vitamin C), enzymes, and B vitamins that provide the body with energy, help to process fats and proteins, and are vital for normal functioning of the nervous system.

Although it has been around for ages, there have been no clinical trials conducted on humans to support its purported health benefits. However, some studies conducted in rats have proven that the claims of kombucha drinkers are not completely unfounded. For instance in 2000, a study reported that mice that drank kombucha for three years lived on average at least twenty-six days longer than mice who were without it. In 2001, another study showed that drinking kombucha for fifteen days protected rat’s livers from the toxic effects of acetaminophen, a common pain killer. And later, in 2003, another study showed that kombucha reduced DNA damage in rats exposed to lead.

In addition to the immediate positive effects it has on energy and digestion, kombucha promotes elimination, weight loss,  and a healthy vegan glow. The recent issue plaguing kombucha brewers is that because of the small amount of alcohol in it from the fermentation process (around 1% alcohol), in some areas businesses are now being required to have a liquor license to serve it! This in my opinion is absolute mayhem, especially considering how easy it is to get a million and one other drinks and foods that can ruin your health and vitality. Anyhow, if  you manage to get your hands on some good kombucha, it can change your life. I met and interviewed a kombucha brewer in Virginia for my radio show, who began brewing it when his wife lost the majority of her intestines and was having constant urinary tract infections. At the time she was being fed through a tube. He started brewing his own kombucha and fed it to her through the tube. She recovered slowly but surely and to this day she’s been out of the hospital and is moving around on a walker! I met her myself. Once he began selling his kombucha locally the results were astounding and the news of people being healed from everything from skin issues to chronic fatigue to high cholesterol started pouring in.

The world over kombucha has been known to help with a wide variety of acute and chronic conditions including arthritis, digestive disorders, high blood pressure, poor circulation, high cholesterol, cancer, eczema, acne, allergies, and chronic fatigue syndrome. So what is all this hype about? Kombucha is not necessarily doing the healing; what is does is help to being your body back into balance so it can heal itself! Below is a long list of additional reasons why drinking kombucha is great for your health. If you are dealing with candida or yeast overgrowth, are pregnant, or dealing with a disease that seriously compromises your immune system you should not drink kombucha or at the very least should seek the consult of a doctor or health practitioner before doing so. You can brew your own, buy it local, or find it at a health food store. When you find that magical brand, stick with it. The most powerful brands I have ever tried have always been locally made. ~XoXo Raw Girl 

  • Promotes and helps healthy bacteria in the gut to thrive
  • Detoxifies the liver
  • Alkalinizes the body and balances internal pH
  • Improves digestion and alleviates constipation
  • Assists the body in building connective tissue
  • Boosts energy and can help relieve chronic fatigue
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Relieves headaches and migraines
  • Reduces kidney stones
  • High in antioxidants therefore great in preventing cancer
  • Lowers glucose levels
  • Aids in healthy cell regeneration
  • Heals skin issues including acne, eczema, and psoriasis and promotes a youthful glow
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