choosing-raw

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"The New Veganism" on Food 52

Have you guys been reading Gena Hamshaw’s column on Food 52? If not, you should! It’s wonderful. I’ve been a faithful reader of Gena’s blog, Choosing Raw, for several years, in fact it was one of the first blogs I stumbled upon when I began looking deeper into raw foods & veganism. I love Gena’s gentle approach to the raw food diet, & her passionate, yet tactful, discussions about everything from eating disorders to animal issues. 

Last June Gena launched her biweekly column on Food 52, called The New Veganism,” with the goal of showing readers "how to make rabbit food taste delicious and satisfying." In Gena’s words: 

"My hope is that I can show you that vegan recipes — cooked, raw, sweet & savory — need not feel overly exotic. You do not need to fill your pantry with a new battery of condiments, & no, you don’t have to love tofu (though I bet I can tempt you to try it). Whether you’re looking to add a meatless meal to your weeknight rotation or just figure out what to serve to vegan friends at a dinner party, vegan cooking requires nothing more than a willingness to see new possibility in the same vegetables, grains, & legumes you’ve been familiar with all along."

I think Gena has done a fantastic job sharing delicious & simple recipes that prove that a vegan diet is absolutely accessible to anyone looking to add more meatless meals into their repertoire, or jump into veganism head first. It doesn’t have to be complicated, bland, or full of nothing but tofu. Eating vegan is as vibrant & flavorful, as it is compassionate & healthful. 

The beautiful photos above are courtesy of Food 52, & are just a sampling of the wonderful dishes Gena has shared. If you haven’t read the column yet, I suggest you catch up now & check back every other Thursday for new recipes!

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GET TO KNOW ME MEME | FIVE MALE CHARACTERS (1/5)

[Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal] Kaito Tenjo
I just want to save my little brother and my father. I’m a guy who used Dragons, really. I just borrowed my Galaxy-Eyes’ power, but meeting that card has lead me here, up until this point, making me stronger and stronger. My Galax-Eyes lead me to meet Yuma and Astral, as well as Ryouga and many other friends. And I was able to meet you. They all taught me, someone so lonely who didn’t believe in others, to believe in people.

Curried Carrot & Red Grape Slaw

Someone chased fall away & came back with summer. NO THANK YOU. I was enjoying the crisp air & cloudy days, but now it’s back in the 90s. This “Indian Summer” is typical in mid-October here in Southern California. Summer blows through for a few more weeks, bringing with it soaring temperatures, Santa Ana winds, & the threat of wildfires before finally handing the reins back to fall. I should be used to this by now, as I’ve been here all my life, but with rain & cooler than average temperatures last week, I was hopeful it would last. It didn’t, so I’ve gotta get over it, & make a crisp cooling summer salad…

I found this recipe on Choosing Raw, one of my favorite go-to blogs for healthy recipes, mouthwatering photos, & thoughtful, intelligent content. I’d been sitting on a head of cabbage from my CSA, neglecting to use it until I absolutely had to. I probably wouldn’t buy cabbage at the market, so I am always less-than-thrilled when the CSA sends one my way, but of course I won’t let it go to waste. That’s why I was more-than-thrilled when I found this recipe - shredded carrots, cabbage & romaine lettuce, tossed with red grapes, raisins & a curried tahini dressing. I’m a sucker for anything curry based. 

I first tried it over the weekend & made it for a small gathering of friends, dogs, & toddlers at the park. It was a hit & was devoured in minutes. 

I was craving it again today & used the leftover ingredients to make it again, this time adding my own little twist. I subbed lime for lemon in the dressing, used a little less water to make it a bit thicker, & topped the salad with sunflower seeds for extra crunch. I also think adding some plain vegan yogurt to the dressing would be a yummy way to make it a bit creamier. Next time.

As Gena said on her blog post, this salad is “tangy, salty, sweet & full of crunch & texture.” Indeed. I’ll dread cabbage a little less from now on! 

Choosing Raw

Kale-Slaw with Hemp Cashew Dressing (raw, vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Serves 2

3 cups thinly sliced lacinato kale 
3 cups finely shredded cabbage 
3/4 cup cashews, soaked 2 hours or more and drained 
1/2 cup hemp seeds 
1 cup water 
1 tbsp lemon juice 
2 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar 
1/4 tsp sea salt 
2 pitted dates 
2 tbsp dijon mustard

1. Blend the cashews, hemp seeds, water, lemon juice, vinegar, sea salt, dates, and mustard in a blender till totally smooth.

2. Pour about 1/3 cup of the dressing over the kale and cabbage. Massage it in with hands. Add more dressing as needed until the slaw is creamy and evenly coated. Save remaining dressing for salads, wraps, and for veggie dipping. Serve!

Vegan French Toast

When I first went vegan I used to dream of French Toast — I honestly thought my life was going to be a lot worse for never being able to eat it again, and after a couple of years of experimenting I finally accepted that I might just have to live without it. BUT that was until I stumbled across THIS recipe. Now I eat it once a week, and it is actually better than non-vegan french toast… Delicious, super-easy to make and cruelty-free 

Ingredients: 

1 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons flour of choice
2 tbsp agave
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp cinnamon
4-6 stale bread slices (stale bread absorbs the mixture better)

1) Mix all ingredients save the bread together in a food processor or simply with a whisk.

2) Heat a tbsp of earth balance in a skillet over medium-high heat, or simply spray a skillet with coconut oil to coat it.

3) Dip each slice of bread in the batter and submerge it well, making sure it soaks up some of the liquid. Lay the bread two slices at a time in your skillet, and fry them until they’re a little crusty and golden on the bottom. Flip, and repeat on the other side.

4) Keep repeating until all the bread is used. Serve with berries, and enjoy!

Enjoy! xo

What to Make this Weekend

What to Make this Weekend

So, this week started out kind of scary, when Eli ate a bunch of rat poison and had to be rushed to the vet. Luckily, he is okay now. They induced vomiting and were, like, “So, Eli ate a bunch of rat poison, but here’s the good news.” My parents didn’t even know they had any rat poison in the house (they’re super-careful about these things and think it may have been put there by the former owner…

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Choosing Raw: How Organic?

In our toxic world it’s important to get food and water as clean and pure as we can. I recommend buying or growing as much organic food as possible. It’s more expensive to buy organic foods than conventionally produced foods. But it’s also more expensive to be slowly sickened and devitalized. So if you can’t spend the money, then spend the time.

Below in the following “How Organic?” posts are suggestions of what foods it’s imperative to get organic (buy it or grow it) because of the high toxic load of pesticides and herbicides sprayed on the conventionally grown versions, and because of the way such chemicals penetrate the skins of these fruits and vegetables.

Also included are animal products which should be wild-caught or free-range. The hope with these products, whether purchased or hunted/herded/fished, is that they’ve been able to eat natural/organic foods in their environment and are free of antibiotics and steroids so ever-present in the conventionally raised animals. If you can’t afford the cost of purchase, learn to obtain it yourself, or make animal-products a smaller part of your diet, more like an accent rather than the main course.

Life is going to cost you: your money, your time or your health.
Choose your currency wisely. You have only one vehicle. Do your research. And convince yourself on the importance of obtaining organic foods.

Click the “HOW ORGANIC?" tag below to see the entire post - this is just the cover post.

Eating raw will not ruin your life!


When Megan Rascal sent me this article asserting that a mostly raw diet is inherently unhealthful, I debated whether to write a response or just ignore it. It’s always a toss-up when ill-informed crap ends up in my inbox; I thought I might ignore it because I believe that giving press to bullshit can sometimes just perpetuate the bullshit, but I decided to respond because of the (growing? I hope not) misconception that raw food = crazy people food, and that high-to-fully raw people know nothing about nutrition or how to take care of ourselves, and are basically just all counting our days until our nutritional deficiencies kick in and turn us into vegetables.

The article I’m referring to, also published on a “science” blog, claims that a raw vegan diet is super unhealthful. I’ll be honest, it’s got some good (if obvious, already widely known) points in support of expanding a raw diet to incorporate cooked food. Yes, some cooked food has value, and yes, if you don’t supplement your B12 or take a multivitamin bad things will happen, but how the author takes these points and comes to such rash conclusions makes me wonder if he had a bad break-up with a raw vegan or something. When I read lines like “You have nothing to gain and much to lose by going totally or even mostly raw,” I wonder if this article was written to prove that the author’s target was on the wrong path, damn it, and look! now it says so on the Internet!

The piece completely misses the point of a high-raw vegan diet, which incorporates tons of raw greens, veggies, and fruits in whole, unprocessed form, and just picks on the zealots who refuse to supplement and only eat bananas. It even brings up the “you’ll kill your kids if you feed them raw food!” argument, which we have heard about all forms of vegan diets and continue to prove wrong.

(Side note: I hate it when vegan doctors are cited to prove that one vegan diet is better than another. This article cites Dr. Eseystein and Dr. McDougal, both of whom have made millions hawking their unique brands of veganism, as evidence against a high-raw vegan diet, which has its own doctors rooting for and staking millions in its value.)

I really appreciate Gena Hamshaw’s balanced, science-driven approach to raw food in her post “Why Raw? Revisiting the Question.” I love Vegan RD Ginny Messina’s compassionate post, “Raw or Cooked Foods? Which Is the Best Diet for Vegans?,” on why raw foodists should consider incorporating some (or lots) of cooked vegan foods to round out their diets and have an easier time staying vegan. There are plenty of folks who jettison veganism or raw veganism when health issues come up, and while I have no judgement for them I supremely admire folks who take every measure to hold true to their values while minding their health needs. Bonzai Aphrodite recently posted this beautiful long-read about how she’s navigated health issues while staying vegan. Brava! I wrote a Vegansaurus post about why there are so many ex-raw vegans and advocated for folks to consider adopting a more expansive raw vegan diet. In the context of these articles, the anger and all-or-nothing conclusions made by this article and many like it baffle me and make me think there’s a personal grudge.

Closing thoughts: Some (but not all) raw foodies are inflexible and unrealistic, just like some (but not all) vegans and some (OK, most) meat-eaters. Everyone should be taking B12, and probably a multivitamin, omega-3, and maybe a D supplement, too. Mostly raw vegans can be very happy and healthy. I am doing pretty damn well on a high-raw vegan diet that includes lots of raw greens-rich salads and raw smoothies and juices on the reg, as well as a variety of cooked foods. I just got my bloodwork done as a routine every-few-years thing so I can brag in articles like this, and my doctor said my blood is so groovy it makes her want to go vegan. So to the author of these articles, I say this: Please don’t judge all high-raw vegans based on a tiny fraction of us who go to extremes, and in return, I promise not to call the raw vegan who broke your heart and alert this person that you’re hella casting aspersions on them.

[Photo of Pure Food and Wine's tacos by Edsel Little via Flickr]