Purple Power Smoothie
big splash pomegranate juice
1 cup blueberries
1 cup blackberries
1 tsp. chia seeds
pinch of turmeric
one handful mixed greens
Best served with a little love.
I was perusing an awesome Vegan cookbook I had been given for Christmas last night and couldn’t help but think a) how pretty all of the food looked and b) how much I admire vegans. As an animal lover, how could I not adore all of the people on this planet who don’t actually eat any of the them?
I’ve tried to go vegan countless times before but, since I’m a little anemic, find it super challenging to eat a totally plant based diet for more than a few months. As I was thinking about this dilemma, I decided to check my Facebook feed for the umpteenth time (as any self respecting social media addict would do) and what did I stumble on?
I admit I took this as a sign from the Universe that I needed to do this vegan challenge just like Beyoncé had done. I realize that she and Jay Z did this a couple of years ago but they’re still on the vegan bandwagon with a new 22 day home delivery service that is totally plant based. And, hey, there’s nothing wrong with being a couple of years late to a challenge, right?
So, not only will I be looking at the pretty pictures in my Oh She Glows cookbook, I’ll be sampling quite a few of the recipes for the next 22 days and chronicling my faves here.
Stay tuned for the successes, failures and everything in between as I journey along the Vegan Challenge.
I have a bunch of happy childhood memories that involve me running around on hot, sunny, Ontario summer days with a bright orange creamsicle melting in my hand. And the other day as I was perusing one of my fave food blogs, I stumbled on a post about the blogger’s juice cleanse last winter. One recipe in particular made me drool. It was a juice called the dreamsicle.
Unfortunately I’m not really a juicer. I don’t own one, it seems really expensive to buy a bunch of fruit and veggies, get a tiny bit of juice and have a ton of pulp left behind. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love buying the occasional raw juice but would never invest in a juicer and try to make them at home regularly. But, this dreamsicle/creamsicle was calling my name….
So, I decided to transform the juice recipe into a smoothie version. Should work right? It did. I went a little crazy with the greens, so mine doesn’t have the brilliant orange hue that the juice version has but, damn, it tastes good and reminds me of those sunny, summer creamsicle days.
Blend until smooth.
So, I’ve been thinking quite a bit again about how much our society dreads the aging process and I’m doing everything I can to avoid joining that club.
We stick needles full of purified botulism in our faces to get rid of our life lines/wrinkles. I know it’s purified but, hello, it’s still botulism. We get laser treatment, face lifts, mini lifts, tummy tucks, lipo and fillers, all to try to turn back the proverbial clock. But why? Why are we so afraid to show, accept and even celebrate our age?
Looking back at my life in my 20’s & 30’s, um, it really wasn’t that great. I struggled with depression and anxiety and had a shaky sense of self at best. I wouldn’t go back there for the world and don’t particularly want to look that age again either. What I do want, however, is to look like the best 52 year old I possibly can.
Maybe a big part of our collective fear of aging is the thought that we’re going to fall apart as we get older. Less energy, more weight gain, less muscle tone, dull complexion etc. So what would happen if we could take those fears out of the aging equation? What if we knew we could stay fit and healthy and glowing as we got a little older? Sound good? Yes. How to achieve that? An easy-peasy 80% raw food eating plan.
I can’t say enough good things about eating this way. Whenever I drift away from it I sleep less soundly, my skin breaks out in annoying red bumps, my little tummy roll expands, and my energy drains away. And then, when I hop back on the raw food wagon, I feel and look better almost immediately. There are so many health and beauty benefits of raw food. Here are a few, taken from Mind, Body, Green:
1. Going raw got me back in the kitchen.
“Eating out or ordering in every night was the first habit I had to break. Raw food restaurants in Jakarta (where I now live) are nonexistent, and the closest menu item I could find that was suitable to eat at most places was a very unsatisfying garden salad (which just doesn’t cut it for an evening meal!).
So I started going grocery shopping again, began making green smoothies for breakfast, packing my own salad for lunch at my office, and then experimenting in the kitchen at night.
This habit alone was one of the best things I could have gained from my year on raw. Eating home cooked meals is not only better energetically, but it means consuming better ingredients. It saves heaps of money, too.
2. The raw food diet helped me discover food intolerances.
Following a raw food diet means the common allergens in food are completely avoided: eggs, soy, wheat (gluten), sugar and dairy. These get cut out completely. By not including those items in my diet anymore, I started to feel amazing.
3. Eating raw made me more intuitive.
I started to eat such a clean diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, cutting out all the processed crap and the above-mentioned allergens, that something changed inside me spiritually. My clean body seemed to open the passage for my intuition to soar.
It’s like my mind was no longer hazy from drinking too much booze the night before, or my brain fogged up from eating gluten, that I could see things with clarity. I could tap into my intuitive side, and I started to notice the beauty in the world around me. I became more focused and started to see the world differently, noticing the small and beautiful things around me.
4. Going raw changed my taste buds.
I stopped craving coffee every morning, and no longer needed alcohol to end my night. Sugar cravings got replaced by more savory ones, and if I did crave sugar I’d feed myself a super indulgent yet still healthy raw dessert, which did not have the same negative effect as eating a whole roll of Mentos or Skittles, my former vices. I now miss it when I don’t have a green smoothie for a few days if I’m traveling, and junk foods don’t even factor into any of my decisions around food anymore.
5. Following a raw lifestyle meant cleaning my act up.
The raw food lifestyle changed all my former party girl ways. The thought of sitting in a smoky bar while drinking all night seemed absurd when everything else in my life was now so clean. I much preferred to stay at home experimenting in the kitchen on a new recipe, learning about raw foods and healthy living, and practicing yoga and meditation than going out partying on a Friday or Saturday night. I had found a new passion, and that really fueled me more than any of more former bad habits had.
6. Eating raw foods taught me about diet and nutrition.
As I started to change my diet and lifestyle, I began fielding questions from curious friends and colleagues. So I started writing a blog to share recipes and other aspects of my experience.
This led me to begin learning even more about food, nutrition and health. My thirst for this new knowledge was almost insatiable. Reading novels got replaced by reading nonfiction books on nutrition and diet, and I became obsessed with healthy, raw and vegan cookbooks as I devoured all the information I could get my hands on.
7. Going raw led me on a new career path.
I then discovered a new career I could have: health coaching. I never knew that this job even existed, but as soon as I found out about it, I just knew that I had to become one.
So I did my diploma, trained as a raw food chef and started teaching classes in my home. Then I started seeing clients and decided to take my career in a whole new direction.
These days I eat a mostly raw diet, but it’s actually a plant-based diet mixed in with raw and cooked food. But if it hadn’t been for raw foods I don’t think my overall well-being would be the way it is now, and I certainly wouldn’t be writing this article. It really is amazing how things can change by making one decision. All it takes is the first step, and it can lead you to just about anywhere!“ – Simone Samuels
So, if you’re curious about the benefits raw, trying “raw until dinner” is a good way to check it out without throwing your system into complete shock. Most raw eating plans are vegan but mine is more of a raw paleo plan, including fish and a bit of organic meat and dairy. It’s important to follow whatever plan is best for you and to listen to your intuition regarding what nutrients your body needs.
Breakfast can be a green smoothie, a bowl of fruit and/or raw nut butter for breakfast, a huge salad, raw sashimi, a raw veggie salad and/or a chilled soup (gazpacho, cucumber) for lunch. Warning: you will eat a lot of fruit and veggies on this plan, so definitely stock up. Then, eat whatever you like at dinner. That’s really all it takes to see awesome health benefits. And I pretty much guarantee as time goes by you will see your dinners naturally and effortlessly get cleaner and healthier as your tastebuds change.
Throw a little fun exercise into the mix and, voila, you have the best, most kick-ass anti-aging plan ever! No botox or lipo necessary.
I’m happy with myself for limiting my sugary treats over the Holidays but, oops, I went a little over the top celebrating wine o’clock almost every day. Prosecco, beautiful BC whites, bourbon on the rocks and, of course, a delicious craft cocktail or two…
I discovered one of my fave holiday cocktails having Christmas dinner at Vancouver’s beautiful new restaurant, Boulevard. This drink is visually stunning. A gorgeous cherry red, garnished with a sprig of fresh thyme and named The Professor Suzuki, after one of my Canadian heroes. It’s an earthy, organic BC version of a Cosmopolitan. How could I resist?
Check out the recipe here: The Professor Suzuki
But now, the party is over. I’m back at work, back at school and looking to get my healthy glow back too.
My game plan for accomplishing this goal:
1) Lots of big, fresh, organic salads for dinner.
2) Taking fish oil every day. Good for our brain, our skin and our overall well being.
3) Getting my workout vibe back with a few yoga classes, and after work runs.
and, last but not least:
4) Drinking a big, delicious, detoxifying smoothie every morning.
The recipe I’m sharing with you is my current fave. It’s fresh and sweet and tastes like summer. A nice (and healthy) way to start a cold, rainy January day. I hope you enjoy and santé!
Blend, pour, serve.
It has recently come to my attention that I’ve let my healthy eating plan go pretty much off the rails once again, and the last month has been particularly hedonistic.
First it was birthday week, bringing a plethora of wine, champagne and cake. Then it was Halloween week, bringing more wine and rich, dark chocolate treats. It’s also birthday season at work and there has been cake. Lots and lots of cake. Chocolate raspberry, pumpkin cheesecake and fluffy, white layer cake. I’m beginning to feel a little like Marie Antoinette.
So, what’s a girl to do? Go raw for a few days.
Delicious, fresh, green, raw foods will cure my sugar overload in no time. The rules are very flexible. Basically try to eat at least 80% raw each days for a week. A little wine can be included in the eating plan as well (wine is raw!).
A typical detox menu might look like this:
See! Healthy and yummy and cleansing.
There are so many delicious, raw foods that we probably already eat every day – fruit, salads, oysters, seeds, nuts, sprouts – adopting an 80% raw diet just means bumping these up by adding a bit more raw and leaving desserts and processed foods behind.
As usual, I’m inviting any blogging friends who are interested to join me. Imagine how great we’ll feel (and look) for the holiday season. Glowing skin, a few lumps and bumps gone and a ton of energy.
Ready? Well then let’s get started:
The food you eat can either be the safest, most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison. – Ann Wigmore
Looking for a yummy, refreshing way to start your day? Then try this minty, peachy, mango goodness for breakfast. The ingredients may seem like an unusual combination but, trust me, they blend beautifully together.
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” ~Jim Rohn