Holiday cleansing and weekend baking

There’s nothing like a nice pair of jeans to keep you in shape during the holidays. Since it’s been cold, I’ve been wearing leggings and tights to fit into my boots, so I hadn’t noticed that I’d gained weight until I put on my jeans a few weeks ago. So I did what I know best to stabilize my weight and went raw. Today marks my eleventh day of eating a raw food diet. At first it was torture, because I was so used to having oatmeal and toast for breakfast and making warm, vegetable and carb soup for dinner.

I ain’t gonna lie. I love carbs, especially when I’m cold. But what I love better is the feeling I have right now. During the first three days of my raw food cleanse, I thought…why is this so hard this time around? Well, I have never done a cleanse during the holidays because this is the time I usually put on weight and don’t care because it’s almost socially acceptable to get fat during this season. One of my yoga teachers told us before Halloween that the average American gains 10 lbs during the holidays. She’s like, “that’s the size of a baby! That’s not gonna happen to us, okay?”

Going raw put me in control during the holiday season. After eleven days of cleansing I feel so much better and really inspired to keep it going during Christmas. This holiday is traditionally centered around presents, people, and food. Thanksgiving is over but I am determined to keep the thanks and gratitude going by making healthy raw and vegan food next week. This seems to be one of the only ways you can stay raw and keep healthy during the holidays. I’d rather be loaded up on veggies, fruits, and grains first rather than get stuffed on bread or whatever else and be done for the night feeling all bloated and gross.

I was watching one of my favorite raw foodists on youtube–fully Raw Kristina. She made a video of all these raw food platters she was bringing to a holiday meal and some of them seemed nice but really unrealistic. Who’s gonna be salivating over a platter of apples or persimmons or a vegetable platter in the shape of a turkey? One thing she made that seems really cool is her recipe for pumpkin pie brownies.

Anyway, I’m just going to be baking this weekend, making vegan cookies and biscuits to give as gifts. Holiday shopping confuses me because I don’t like getting people random crap, so I’m just going to make some healthy good tasting items wrapped really cute. Oh, and I’m super excited to try baking with chia as a vegan egg replacement. Should be a nice cooking adventure this weekend. I’ll share more later.


Cashews as Natural Cure for Depression

Today I was craving cashews and after cuddling up with one of my favorite raw food books, I read that cashews can help naturally cure depression. I thought that was pretty interesting since I’ve known people who used to take anti-depressant pills that didn’t seem to help much. I always say try something natural before you drug yourself up, and reading this was exciting especially during holiday time.

I think some people tend to get depressed during the cold months because they might be too cold or lazy to exercise off all the sweets and indulgent treats they may be eating and also, holiday time tends to be tailored for family and relationships. What do you do if you don’t have a good relationship with your family? This is the time where it’s harder to hide it. Many would say that life is too short and you just gotta suck it up and release resentments because they only make you sick, but what if you aren’t ready to do that? That’s okay too but in the meantime you just have to make yourself happy and do things that make you happy, eat things that make you feel good but that doesn’t always mean eating a pumpkin pie or turkey leg.
So how do cashews cure depression I wondered? I did some research and found that cashews are high in tryptophan, the amino acid that is the primary building block of serotonin, the neurotransmitter believed to responsible for making us feel good, for enabling us to relax, helping to stabilize the nervous system and prevent anxiety and depression.

Cashews might be one of the most favored nuts out there because they are buttery and many raw food recipes use them to replace savory and rich dairy ingredients such as butter, cheese, or even milk. People say don’t eat nuts if you want to lose weight or aren’t trying to gain weight, but we need to eat a little bit of fat. I often find people who don’t agree with eating nuts favor heart clogging meats and mucus forming dairy. So who’s right? What makes more sense? I say make your own decisions. Do your own research.
Yea, nuts are fatty but so is meat. A nut is easier to digest and won’t stay in your system for a long time like meat would. We only gain weight when we eat like pigs, don’t exercise and feel unsafe. Don’t blame the nuts.

Recipes using cashews:
1) Throw 1/4 cup of cashews in a smoothie with 1 cup strawberries, 1 tbs coconut oil, 1 tbs vanilla, pinch of stevia, 1 cup water.
2) Cashew ice kream (Ani Phyo recipe: 1 cup cashew, 1/4 cup agave, 4-6 tbs water thrown into a blender)
3) Maple walnut bars (Stephanie Tourles recipe: 1 cup cashews, 10 dates, 1/2 cup raw oats, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, pinch sea salt, coconut oil. Put ingredients in food processor. Coat 8-inch square pan with coconut oil, spread mixture in pan 1/2 inch thick. Cover and freeze for 4 hours. Store in freezer)

Post Lemonade Cleanse and Vegetarian Love

So yesterday was my first day off the cleanse and it felt amazing. I still flushed myself out in the morning since the night before I had the laxative tea and I knew my body would thank me for releasing the junk that had been stirred up.

Yesterday I drank pure orange juice and water. It was good enough though. I have a different perspective on food after doing this cleanse. I don’t find myself wanting to eat food the way I used to because of how light I feel right now.
When you only drink your nutrition, you allow your body to rest from the often taxing process of digestion, especially if what you ingest is meat or dairy. I wasn’t eating meat but sometimes I would eat dairy.

One of the things I learned from this cleanse is to hold true to your beliefs. Sometimes you may be the only person in your family who thinks and eats differently and it may seem hard because people might look and tell you what my mom told me when I first became a vegetarian at 15, “cut the crap and eat meat.”

I didn’t cut the crap for seven years until I turned 22 and started eating a little bit of meat. Why? I don’t even remember. But I gained thirty pounds after I started eating meat over the course of three years and then two years ago after I was getting sick every month I told myself, this is enough. I seriously looked at what I was doing and reevaluated my diet, stopped eating meat and cut waaaaaay back on dairy. My weight started to stabilize and things are almost back to normal.

Meat doesn’t do anything for you. I know this from personal experience. It just made me fat and sick and that wasn’t cool.
I don’t care what anybody says now. Dairy is just as evil as meat. As an uneducated teenage vegetarian, dairy was my go-to since I gave up meat. But now I know that a real vegetarian eats tons of vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts. That’s how you get your protein. Nobody can bully you into eating meat especially if you are educated about nutrition.

And I believe that you can heal yourself naturally by eating natural foods, by creating your own path where no path was before. Just because your family or friends or the great majority of society won’t go where you are going now doesn’t mean they won’t follow you one day.

This is my post lemonade cleanse rant. I’m more committed to health than ever before and I’m doing what’s best for my body. I can help change others by changing myself first and that’s all I can do for now.

The Lemonade Cleanse Day 9

I am excited to have come this far and at the same time so ready for this to be over. I can totally see why people would want to continue a cleanse like this, because 10 days only really scratches the surface. I’m sure people can rid themselves of junk in the body for two months, but I’m not there yet. Ten days is my max for now. I’m good with it, even though I know I’ve only scratched the surface.

On the plus side, the fuzzy coating on my tongue has nearly disappeared whereas last time I did the cleanse, it was still there on day 10. I think I’m definitely more clean this time around than before when I was cleaning out 28 years of pent up waste. This time around I know there was much less to clear up.

I’ve been watching this documentary called “Forks over knives” that advocates eating a plant based diet and avoiding meat and dairy. I love watching these documentaries because they inspire me to keep going on my health food journey. I once met a vegan who chewed me out for sometimes eating dairy products even though I knew the bad effects of them. I don’t like labels so I never called myself vegan but I mostly avoid meat and dairy products and regular sugar but sometimes I would eat the bad stuff. I used to justify it by saying that it was ungrateful for me not to eat food prepared by oh, let’s say my grandmother or mother. When I used to visit my family, they would often make things that involved refined carbs and dairy. They were used to me being a vegetarian because I became one when I was 15, but not to eat their dishes made with things like dairy and refined carbs is a bit harder to do.

Those foods are meant to be enjoyable. I find myself wanting them, but there are vegan options for almost anything. Watching documentaries like “Forks over knives” keeps my mind on track about why I’m doing the lemonade cleanse in the first place. I’ve been working on being clean for some time. I’ve learned that nobody is going to make you eat anything or go against your beliefs if you believe them strongly. You don’t have to shut yourself out or avoid a family get together just because they are serving regular food. I think the trick could be in bringing your own food, setting the example. People don’t always get it and they don’t have to. You set the example and maybe when they taste your good food they will come to the health side.
Those are my thoughts for this day. I thank the documentary for inspiring me to stick to my guns, and believe and practice what I know to be true even if others don’t get it.

Fibromyalgia quest calling

My heart breaks when I come to visit my grandmother in Los Angeles. I had a conversation with her about food and health over the weekend. She suffers from chronic leg cramps and pain. She’s so upset that doctors prescribe her pills to deal with the problems she faces. The pills only provide a temporary solution that only lasts an hour in her case, but they in no way provide the solution.

My grandmother is one of the most important people to me in my life. She asked me to research fibromyalgia symptoms and solutions. Her doctors aren’t helping her. They are giving her pills but not providing solutions. Why haven’t they told her that she has fibromyalgia? Are they trying to keep her medicated so they can continue to make money from her pain?

I was very impressed to hear her knowledge about food and health. She seems to know a lot about food and what good nutrition can do to heal the body. I just wonder why she is still the way she is? Why does she continue to eat things that aren’t improving her health?

I think when people are in situations that don’t make them happy, such as the one she is in where she lives in an unfavorable situation, people get sick and stay sick until they get happy again. How do we become happy? When we take control of our lives and our health and stop being victims?

Well, in doing research I was able to find this resource, a study that proves that fibromyalgia symptoms were improved by using a mostly raw vegetarian diet.

I am completely committed to helping my grandmother improve her life and health. I love her with all my heart. She asked me for help. It’s not like I came into her home and said, hey grandma, I hear you have leg cramps and fibromyalgia, let’s get you on the raw food diet. No. She asked for help. There is a difference. People have to ask for it. You can’t make them do anything. But you can help them when they ask for it.

So this is another task at hand–to find recipes and a plan that can help my grandmother combat Fibromyalgia and chronic leg pain. I saw the light in her eyes this weekend. I saw love working its magic and I know she will get better with a little help from raw food and affirmations. I learned from Bikram Choudhury who once said:  “It’s never too late, it’s never too bad, you’re never too old, you’re never too sick to start from scratch once again, to be born once again.”

Tofu, fact or fiction? To eat or not to eat?

The other day I got a new vegan cookbook from the library and as I browsed through it, I saw that many of the recipes used the ultimate meat and dairy substitute: tofu. My uncle introduced me to tofu when I was around 14, a year before I became vegetarian, as he would put it in his veggie and rice dishes. I fell in love with how you could make it taste as good as any meat. So I inhaled tofu throughout high school and college when I was a full on vegetarian. Now that I am becoming a vegetarian again as a late 20’s adult, I’ve educated myself much more about nutrition and I have some things to say about tofu.

So many vegetarian and vegan cookbooks praise tofu, as does the book I am currently  reading titled, “The 30-day vegan challenge,” by Colleen Patrick Goudreau.

The first time I heard that tofu was bad for you and considered a filler food, I was pissed and skeptical because the person who said it sported a pot belly and didn’t seem to know anything about health. But after reading the same thing from Ani Phyo’s books, I thought twice about it. Was the pot belly girl right?

Ani Phyo references a book called “The Whole Soy story,” by Kaayla Daniel.

Apparently the difference in the way soy is made is fermentation vs. processing. In Asia, soy is fermented to eliminate anti-nutrients and soy toxins in raw soy beans. But in America, soy is processed and not fermented, failing to remove anti-nutrients and toxins that are naturally present in soy beans. Most American soy is genetically modified and the soy crop grown in the USA contains the highest levels of poisonous pesticide contaminants.


My precious soy and tofu are highly processed and bad for me?

Is that why food companies are advocating soy products? To kill us with our seemingly evolved knowledge of healthy food and eating? The same corporations that brought Agent Orange are now the driving forces behind the promotion of soy as food for humans.

I tried to find the book, “The Whole Soy Story,” at the library–two libraries. No dice.

But…I did find a bunch of reviews on the book that support the book as well as reviews that don’t support the book.

People seem to be really into soy due to research done that compared Asian diets to American diets and it was found that Asians have fewer heart attacks, less breast and prostate cancer, fewer hip fractures, and the women report fewer hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause, because they eat soy. But is that the only reason reason? Maybe it also has to do with the fact that the soy in Asia is good for you because it is fermented and the soy in America is not because it is processed.

All that aside, I don’t think there is one food product that is the magic solution to all the ailments our bodies may face here in America. Do people think that if they eat so much soy they will not get a heart attack? Of course if you have soy instead of dairy, it’s better. If you drink something other than pasteurized cow’s milk, your health will improve. If you stop eating hormone-injected animals, your health will improve. I don’t believe that soy is the answer or the only solution.

Hearing what I have about soy I’ve definitely thought twice about eating tofu. I look at soy and tofu like a protein. Finding other sources of protein is what my mission is. If American soy is bad, then I can eat other things to get my protein. And you can have a variety of nut or hemp mylks rather than soy milk.

Day 18 of 21

With the weekend approaching, I am super excited to have some days off work and I am so close to finishing this cleanse, it makes me giddy. Last night before I went to bed, I made the raw brownies for today’s snack. What I did differently was I put the batter inside of cupcake tins with cupcake liners because I knew I wanted to take some to work to have as an afternoon snack. And I also wanted to make them cute and travel friendly for my mom as well since she seemed very interested in trying them out.

With most raw food desserts, the texture can be crumbly. I found that the brownies held together best inside of the cupcake liners. I did my best to make sure the batter was moist enough by adding a few splashes of water in addition to the sticky dates.  Putting the brownies in the refrigerator overnight helped as well. They are still pretty crumbly but oh well. That’s what you get when you don’t have milk and hydrogenated oils holding everything together for you. I feel much better eating these and in using the cacao powder, you still get a nice chocolately taste.

Well, my mom and her coworkers loved the brownies. I am so excited to share raw food with people and have them enjoy it as much as I do. It will make them want to eat and explore more. Also because I love cooking for people and sharing food. Since I’ve been exploring raw foods, I experiment with so many different ingredients and recipes. When I get to cook or shall I say prepare food for people, they can see how easy it is to make, how good it tastes, and how well eating this food makes them feel.

Day 12 of 21

Since I already completed Phase 1 and 2 of this cleanse once last week, I feel liberal with interchanging the recipes. That may not be the entirely correct way to go about this cleanse but I’m basically using what I have so it doesn’t go bad before I go out and buy the supplies for the last phase of the cleanse next week. You don’t want to miss out on the phase 3 recipes of the Ani Phyo fat blast cleanse. You get to make wraps, rolls, desserts, pate, zucchini noodles. Phase 3 is delicious, fulfilling, and so worth the wait.

Today I had the Strawberry Mint Shake which includes avocado, providing a very creamy consistency that tastes very much like strawberry yogurt without the dairy. Avocado is amazing in its versatility. It makes me want to cry with how simple and delicious it is. Whenever people ask what my favorite food is, I always say avocado. People go around saying, oh I like Italian, pizza, fried chicken, Sushi, etc. I just straight up say, avocado.

The first time I did the fat blast cleanse last year, whenever I would have cravings, I would look up raw food recipes online and watch raw food cooking videos on Youtube for inspiration. You can pretty much make any familiar dish using raw food ingredients. There are so many creative geniuses out there that will keep you inspired if you ever feel like falling off the wagon.

One of the recipes I enjoyed and eventually made was the avocado mousse which uses avocado as the cream base, carob or cacao powder for the chocolate flavor as well as agave for sweetness and vanilla or almond extract for a nice kick to bring out the chocolate flavor. This is such a delicious recipe by raw food author and chef, Jennifer Cornbleet. She is such a spunky woman who has a great speaking voice. You can find more of her recipes at

And watch her video for the chocolate mousse tart at:

People love to badger vegetarians by asking them how they get their protein. Avocados! I trip out on people sometimes when they seem to be so concerned with the fats in avocados and nuts, like eating these natural sources of protein is such a crime and ingesting them will make you fatter than oh, a hormone injected fat pig or cow carcass would.

But anyway, it’s the middle of the day. I had the Easy Being Green Salad which consists of greens, tomatoes, sauerkraut, capers, fresh corn, and avocado. It’s really not as dry as you might think. The sauerkraut and avocado make it moist and flavorful. I wasn’t much of a fan of sauerkraut before but now that I’ve read about it, I understand that due to its fermentation, sauerkraut is used on this cleanse to clean out your stomach and improve your digestion so that you can better absorb the nutrients from your food and  release all the built up crap in your stomach.

This cleanse is all about probiotics and fermented food such as sauerkraut, capers, miso, apple cider vinegar. Good stuff. And my favorite “yoga beer,” otherwise known as kombucha , that is also a fermented beverage. I had a yoga instructor who called it that. Forget soda, man. Kombucha is just as good, and of course better for you.

I once thought about going to a party with a six pack of kombucha. It is said you can get drunk off kombucha. One day I’ll try that. Maybe.

Day 8 of 21

Today I was at work, eating my Spicy Avocado soup in the breakroom and I saw two young girls eating hot cheetos and chips. As I observed their thin bodies and perfect skin, I started to think about age and metabolism and genes and all sorts of thinks went through my head. I’ve never been skinny, even when I was a kid but I lost weight when I became a vegetarian and modified my diet. I still ate crappy but I think avoiding meat will make you lose weight. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that I really can’t eat what I want anymore because I allowed myself to do that for a few years and I gained thirty pounds. Thirty pounds! But you know, now that I think about it, I had been a vegetarian from age 15 till 22 when I started eating chicken and other random meats. And over the course of about three years I gained that weight. I was around 25 at the time when I realized I was a heifer. I started to change my diet after I kept getting sick and had to go up in a pants size. I happened and I’ve been losing weight by doing Insanity, Bikram yoga, eating raw food. It’s been really rewarding but tough as hell.

I remember working out when I was around 19 or 20 years old and I used to eat weird stuff like whipped cream and chips for dinner. lol. and I never gained weight. But now, I’m almost 30 and I gain weight so easily and break out easily when I eat cheese or drink alcohol. Is this what we have to look forward to as we age? Well, maybe that’s the case now that I eat better and my system is sensitive?

Anyway, Day 8 has been cool. I can’t wait for phase 1 to be over so I can have salads again and then I will make note of the most awesome dishes in Phase 3 that really make you want to be and stay raw.