Raw Food, Right Now! The best of raw food and beyond Welcome to Raw Food, Right Now (RFRN). RFRN is a blog with news and information about the best of what the raw food world has to offer you. RFRN is for health conscious people who are passionate about raw food and healthy eating. This site offers information and inspiration to help you easily bring raw foods into your lifestyle in a way that works for you. Helping people since 2006!
Yes, we regret to inform you, that this is the last and final post of Raw Food Right Now.
We're not kidding. This is the end.
The end of something beautiful.
But first, a little history...
And to think that Raw Food Right Now almost never happened…all because someone else had a raw food coaching business with a name too similar to our original name.
Our blog had a name that someone else also had. I (Heidi) had just given a raw food demonstration in front of 50 people in summer of 2006. They all wanted our website address. And two weeks in we had to rename our website.
One afternoon, we had a big meeting while having iced tea in an organic coffee shop. We asked ourselves….
"What is this website going to be about?" We wrote down a lot of ideas. We kept going back into recipes. We looked at what everyone else was doing with their raw food blogs… (and keep in mind that was only about less than a dozen people) …writing down what they ate everyday…we thought we could do that…
But then we got serious. What is our ultimate problem with raw food?
Our ultimate problem was this:
"How does someone GO RAW and STAY RAW"? That was the ultimate problem for everyone. How do you do it? What do you do when you "go raw"?
And why does it seem that going raw is sooo hard? Isn't there an easier way?
And JS said it - so simply - just like that ….Raw Food Right Now...and there it was. It became Raw Food Right Now.
That simple question became our mission. Our mantra.
When we started, we just wanted to make the decision to be raw, and just do it. Now. And have it be that easy for everyone.
After that, over the years, we wrote over 650 articles.
Articles that you just read through, if you're here on the final blog post.
The vibe of RFRN didn't happen right away.
We didn't know where we were headed when we started, but within the first month we knew we had a purpose - to capture the raw food movement as it was happening on the Web.
We became devoted to being THE news site for the raw food movement. We became journalists, covering the raw food beat. So many stories….
We searched for news stories about raw food.
We shared up-and-coming raw bloggers. New raw products. New raw websites.
We connected with so many amazing people. And a few jerks. But mostly good people.
We tried to capture the news. Not the cheesey raw food news in newspapers. Rather, we covered what was really happening in the raw food world. We knew what the news was. It was our job to talk about it.
We even started this site with a challenge called the Raw Recipe Challenge. Where we decided that we would learn how to be 100% raw by making every single recipe in the few raw food books we had. Before we got really tired of it.
We had products sent to us. Constantly. WAY more than you ever saw, because many people had products that didn't meet our standards.
There were some products you really liked. Some products we really liked. We tried to tell you how much the good products meant to us.
In sharing the raw food world, we succeeded. We succeeded in sharing with you what is happening in the raw food world.
We were given the gift of being journalists….without working for a big publication with ulterior motives.
Some companies we really believed in. This wasn't some marketing propaganda. This was because we went behind the scenes. We knew that these companies were truly walking their raw walk, while others were flat our liars.
Everything we posted about, we stood behind. That is something we will ALWAYS do, wherever we go from this day forward.
Some companies aren't completely honest. There are less of them now, but then again there are still some big companies that are out there trying to be "raw" for the sake of convincing you that their product is "raw" and therefore, "healthy".
We believe in truth. It is more than just a word to both of us. It is a sacred word . So…yeah. We blogged. Some months more than others, but we didn't stop. We kept going.
Why did we keep going with RFRN? Because we believed we had to share our knowledge with others….and most importantly with YOU.
We wanted you to know what is happening in the raw food world. We wanted you to know what products worked for us, what recipes worked for us, what companies have good food and equipment to buy.
We wanted YOU to be as raw as YOU wanted to be.
And that certainly meant 100% if you want, or less than that.
Did you know that before JS and I got on the raw food scene….it was totally uncool to be "less than 100%"???
If there is something that we added to the raw food community, it was that we were willing to stand up and say we aren't 100%. And that is totally OK.
And then over the years we found out that almost everyone isn't PERFECT 100% RAW ALL THE TIME. What a complete and utter lie.
That is the ultimate lie of the raw food world.
We've seen with our own eyes, actual raw food experts, eating - gasp! - cooked food. And they were always telling people how perfect they always are with their food.
It can break your spirit. And in a way, it broke my spirit. It broke my raw food spirit. It broke my heart.
But eventually we had to move on.
We changed, over time. But mostly we became even more passionate to share what WAS working, what products ARE raw, what people DO have integrity, and so on, and so on.
We learned so much.
We learned about blogging. We blogged. We read about how to blog. We kept blogging. We became authors. Our first ebook,Raw Thanksgiving eBook, was an inspired work of creativity. We shared our actual Thanksgiving meal with over a thousand people over the years via that eBook.
We podcasted. We interviewed Carol Alt, among others. We were podcasting just as podcasting was about to become cool.
We streamed video on UStream.
We had a Facebook page.
We had Raw Success Right Now, a successful membership site. For those that were a part of that, thank you again for being a part of such an amazing experience.
Our books were so popular, we released two more recipe books - Raw Christmas and Raw Easter. We wrote these books because we hated what it felt like to be a part of the holidays with family while on this diet. We didn't want other people to suffer.
We released many, many free resources. Like the Raw Holiday Guide, which was a free email support system and PDF that Heidi created. People STILL remember that and thank us every Christmas for it.
We wrote for multiple magazines, both raw and non-raw.
We were interviewed for multiple magazines, both raw and non-raw.
Raw Food Right Now was kind of like a marriage. In good times and in bad, we stuck it out. We kept sharing. We kept blogging.
Maybe that's why the end of Raw Food Right Now feels so emotional for us.
How did this happen? How did we get here? How did we get to the end?
All I know is that it is the end. And there is nothing I can do about it.
Now I know how John, Paul, George, and Ringo felt like when the Beatles broke up. Sure, things happened, they each had their own part in it, but in the end, it was over. They couldn't help it.
In the past year JS and I have had a lot of very personal things happen in our life, too personal to share right now. Painful, emotional things, that made it impossible to blog about raw food.
And now its gone too far, making it impossible for us to go further with this website.
But we should not be sad at this ending.
Everything ends at some point. Even blogs.
We're just willing to tell it how it is. To share with you that this is the end of something. This isn't the end of either of us…just a dissolving of a project that we loved so much.
So here we are.
The end of an era. It truly is. We feel so fortunate that the raw food world had a "Golden Era", and we were totally a part of that. It was a wonderful time, these past few years. In the past year we have seen that the raw food world has fragmented into different groups. Some people have gotten "EVEN MORE RAW", whatever that means. Others, have kept raw food a part of their diet, but also added in different foods, especially fermented foods.
Raw food is still here. For many of us, it is a foundation. And for many of us, it is something that we use to build our other foods and health practices upon.
Nowadays most people we know don't even call the way they eat with a label like "raw foodist", or "raw vegan" or whatever. Now people use a variety of different ways of eating, and blend it all together in a way that works for them, and that is what they eat.
That's what's happened to JS and myself. We aren't just "raw" anymore. We're so much more than that. We've been putting together the pieces into something I can't just define with one word. We may never have a word to explain how we eat.
The closest I can get is that we eat "healthy"....most of the time.
As always, JS and I have always wanted to leave you with something to learn. Some parting wisdom.
Well, here it is...
If there is any wisdom we can end our RFRN journey together, it is to inspire YOU to strive to be 100% HAPPY.
If you are forcing yourself to eat food you hate, you are hurting your body.
If you are forcing yourself to be 100% raw, and you feel something isn't quite right, then you are hurting your body.
You have to be happy in this life. Health and happiness go hand in hand.
We want you to be happy. We want you to find out what makes you happy.
We want you to continue exploring what makes you feel healthy, and happy.
There is no end to health. It keeps going. You keep adding to it. There is always more to learn.
There is always more to tweak in your own health.
Keep trying new foods, new recipes, new health adventures.
Keep reading new books. Keep reading new blogs.
Keep it up and never stop.
And while you're on this adventure…make sure you do it with a smile.
Smile, and enjoy the ride……
Thank you, thank you, thank you, for everything. THE END.
~ Heidi and JS The End of Raw Food Right Now
THIS BLOG WILL DESTRUCT IN TWO WEEKS. THIS BLOG WILL BE DELETED ON DECEMBER 1st 2011. THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO CONNECT WITH US.....
FIND US ON THE WEB:
So, where do we go from here? We have so much more that we want to share with the world. For now, here is where you can find us:
NEW MAILING LIST!! Also, we’ve started a mailing list where we will be announcing our upcoming projects as they unfold. We have lots of plans for where we want to take our careers. Over the years, many of you have gotten to know US as people, (as Heidi and Justin), beyond the relationship of raw food blogger to raw food blog reader. But you got to know us, and many of you always are wondering what we are up to.
Sign up to this list to find out.
We are not going to be constantly spamming you with lots of emails. This will be a pretty low-key list, mostly announcing different projects, blogs, and other stuff we are launching. Feel free to sign up below, you can unsubscribe anytime:
Do you want everything we ever did from this site?
We turned this blog into a PDF to back it up and realized that we wrote a lot of useful information that we left for free to the world for years. Tons of it.It would be a shame to see it all go to waste in the ash bin of history.
If you ever found any value in what we wrote, we are offering our 1,320 pages of content we wrote on this blog in one handy, searchable PDF for $10.
We are only going to offer it for the next two weeks and then this information will be gone forever, as we are completely taking this site down on December 1st, 2011
You can purhcase RFRN: The Book here: Purchase RFRN: The Book
Thank you for supporting our work all these years!
Fitness pioneer and raw food enthusiast Jack LaLanne passed away earlier today at his home in Morro Bay, along the California coast. Friends and family were there by his bedside. Cause of death was complications of pneumonia.
"I can't afford to die... it would wreck my image."- Jack LaLanne, 2010
We would normally say Rest in Peace...but we know Jack is already working out in heaven.
We hope there begins a new internet meme where Chuck Norris jokes are replaced with Jack LaLanne jokes...becuase with Jack Lalanne.... everything that would be said about him would be TRUE!
p.s. We don't have an affiliate link for the Longevity Now Conference...but we really really liked it and got a lot of great information and inspiration from watching the Conference. If you want to purchase the Longevity Now CD's, and you appreciated the lightness and humor of Daniel's videos, it would be nice if you purchased a copy of the DVDs via Daniel's affiliate link. He's not asking us to mention it, we just think it is nice to let you know what his direct link to purchasing the DVDs are. So if you want to buy the Longevity Now Conference DVD set... click Daniel's affiliate link here: http://bit.ly/aewiX0
Recently we posted about 109-year old raw foodist Bernardo LaPallo. Bernardo's incredible story has been sweeping the raw and living food scene ever since the story broke. People are absolutely fascinated and want to know more about this man.
Our friend and author of Heal Yourself 101, Markus Rothkranz, had a chance to recently sit down and interview Bernardo about his history, what his top favorite foods are, and lots of other fascinating info.
He's Already Outlived His Son By Nearly 29 Years
Yes, this is a really great interview to watch and inspire you to keep eating as healthy as you can, but we found it mind-blowing that he's been eating this way for 104 years! Yes, you read that right.... 104 YEARS.
He even has outlived his son already...by about 29 years! Wow.
Listen closely to his top favorite foods. When we found out what his number one food was, we had to smile. What a amazing food to be included in your diet! And so simple and readily available, even locally. Find out what it is by watching the video above.
As we mentioned in our last post about Bernardo, he stresses how important it is to take an open and relaxed view to your health and food. He says how important it is to not be so dogged in your beliefs that you obsess over obtaining perfection in your diet.
Bernando hasn't been 100% perfect in his diet every day of his life, and it seems to be working well for him!
How would you feel if one day while shopping at your local food co-op, a group federal agents, FDA, FBI, and agents from the Department of Agriculture entered the building with guns, wanting to take your raw food away?
Watch the video now. You will be shocked! This is a food buying club!
That's exactly what happened earlier this summer at Rawsome, a private buying club in Venice, California.
You probably haven't heard about this on most raw food blogs because they are scared to mention it.
How would you feel if your organic raw food was taken away from you without proper warning, without a proper search warrant? How would you feel if your main food source, your access to local food was taken away from you?
This could happen to YOU! This could happen to YOUR TOWN!
I can tell you how it makes me feel because MY local private buying club, Traditional Foods, endured a very similar situation earlier this summer! We were going for our weekly grocery shopping when we walked up to the door and found an "Embargo" sign posted on the locked door. Our buying club has been CLOSED ever since.
There is Hope
Fortunately there are passionate people who won't back down and are continuing to fight for our food rights. There are Farmer Defense Funds, and even Rawsome has created their own fund called Real Food Rights where you can donate to help with the incredible costs of trying to keep food freedom alive.
Tonight the topic of the Rawsome raid will be featured on The Colbert Report. Hopefully with an element of comedy can we get the word out about what happened in Venice, California.
After all....medical marijuana grows just down the street from Rawsome...but the feds decided to raid Rawsome instead. Should be an interesting show!
New to this story on Rawsome? Here are some great links for more information.
Raw foodist and author Bernardo LaPallo just celebrated his 109th birthday on August 17. Take a look at the video from Fox News Phoenix below to see just how young and vibrant this amazing man is:
Bernardo looks younger than most people I know in their 70s and 80s! He is a living example at just how powerful diet and a positive outlook in life can be.
109 years old! Let's put that into perspective. Birth year: 1901. Bernardo is still very much alive and kicking, and was born before Lou Gehrig, Charles Lindbergh, Bob Hope, George Orwell and 13 years before World War I.
And he's not even done yet. Bernardo expresses to the interviewer in the video above just how often he thinks of death: never.
A true Immortalist!
Bernardo LaPallo is not a 100% raw foodist
If you watch the video, note that he is not a 100% raw foodist and still consumes fish along with some other basic grocery store foods, but the bulk of his diet is fresh vegetables, fruits, and fish. I would wager that most healthy centenarians are not so obsessive about their diet and don't maintain the strict dogma that many of us in the movement are prone to. Bernardo is a true Health Rebel.
Bernado shows us that a relaxed and open attitude to diet is amenable to a long and truly healthy life.
Bernardo doesn't just eat his way to youth, though. He is a confirmed advocate of using olive oil on his skin every single day as one of his youthening protocols. Those of us in the optimal health community are well aware of the benefits of rubbing coconut oil on the skin as often as possible.
Not Waiting to Die...
What's so cool about Bernardo's story, is that he isn't just sitting down everyday with tubes sticking up his nose. He is very active and very aware. His brain is firing and he has a fire in his eyes.
In fact, this centenarian is the author of a recent book about health and longevity called Age Less, Live More. In addition, he is actively pursued as a consultant by those wishing to maintain their own high levels of health from around the world.
What else does the future hold for Bernardo? In addition to releasing another book soon, he wants to open up a raw food/American food hybrid restaurant in his town of Mesa. Oh, and he has a blog too: http://www.agelesslivemorestore.com.
We don't know about you, but we can definitely say that we hope to be as active, aware, and ambitious as Bernardo LaPallo is at 109 years young.
Long time RFRN reader and fabulous designer Marta Spendowska recently posted one of the best summaries we've seen on how to start (and stick) with a raw food diet. Marta has been around the raw food scene at least as long as we have and has a lot of insightful wisdom to share.
Even though we no longer follow a strict 'raw vegan' diet these days, we encourage many of those starting their health journeys to follow such a regimen for a while to cleanse their bodies before they start adding other things back in. The raw vegan diet is excellent at completely stripping and cleansing a toxic body when done properly.
How to Start Eating Raw So how does one start this path? We're going to summarize Marta's 10 steps here and you can go to her full article to get the overview of her steps. We're going to list each step below and give a little commentary from our own perspective:
Educate yourself. This is extremely important. Without at least some prior knowledge about what you're doing, you are doomed to fail. This means reading raw food blogs (like this one!), websites, and books.
Decide about so-called ‘ percentage ‘ of how much raw food you're going to start eating. To someone first starting out, they may not realize that not every raw fooders eats "100% raw". Many quickly abandon the diet when they can't do what they think is the only way to do it. A good rule of thumb is to start "50% raw", then as you adjust to the diet, increase more raw food until you get to the magical "100% raw".
Decide about the time frame of raw diet. This is very important. Give it a 2 week trial to see how it feels for you. Or, if you are really passionate, make a commitment to stick with it long enough until you've cleansed your body.
Buy nice, inspiring notebook and set an intention. It's critical to keep yourself motivated and inspired. The best question you can ask yourself is, "Why am I doing this"? Do you want to lose weight, clear your skin, etc.?
Decide if you can get rid of everything that contradicts with raw food diet. If you're not going 100% raw, what do you want to keep around? See if you can get rid of any item in your kitchen that doesn't match what you intend to eat. We know some people are 100% raw except for steamed veggies. Other people like to eat sprouted grain bread, or perhaps some cheese.
Decide if you should talk about your raw trip with others. Often it's best and easiest to tell as few people as possible about what you're doing. Unless you are 100% confident in what you are doing and armed with lots of knowledge, you may get easily swayed away from what you're doing from well-meaning friends and family. Keep it to yourself if you can.
Decide how to act in public places. How are you going to eat out? It's going to happen, so you may as well plan for it. If you aren't going 100%, we recommend just eating the best you can and not making it a big deal when you're out. Just wing it, but try to avoid going out as much as you can while you are doing this.
Search for local food. This is ideal, but not always feasible on a raw diet. Do the best you can. Farmers Markets are excellent sources of local raw food!
Always, always, always have something prepared in your fridge. This is the most important step and key in this list in how to stay raw. Make sure you always have something available to eat that is on your plan.
Food is not everything. Find other healthy obsessions! Yes! Chill out. It's just food. Don't make it a raw-ligion. Obsessions are never healthy.
Making a big dietary shift doesn't have to be difficult if you plan and intend what you are actually doing properly. Give yourself a little prep time, a goal, a time line, and stick to it. You can always re-evaluate after your trail or cleanse ends.
We love elixirs - We both make at least one Elixir a day...and sometimes two. Tonic herbal drinks have become the basis of our diet in the last two years and we absolutely love making these magical drinks!
Elixirs save so much time in the kitchen. After years of making these amazing drinks, our health has improved dramatically.
We enjoy elixirs so much that we had to write an ebook about it!
That is why we are happy to announce our latest creation:
We have been tweaking elixir recipes for years. But we wanted an elixir book with a wide range of recipes. That's why we've teamed up with tonic herbal master Brandon Gilbert to bring you a project we are very excited about!
We first introduced you to Brandon when he launched his online herb shop, Hyperion Herbs.
Brandon has been learning about herbalism and elixirs for years and even ran a series of successful herbal tonic bars.
Many of the recipes you'll find in Elixir Synergy are the ones you would find in his tonic bars!
Quantum Leap in RFRN ebooks
Nothing has given us the deep satisfaction and joy that we felt when creating Elixir Synergy.
Heidi designed this entire book, making it a labor of love, carefully crafted over the past six months. Over 200 hours went into creating this book.
So What Exactly is in this ebook?
These tonic drinks are a re-awakening of ancient herbal traditions coupled with our modern technology (blenders) and access to powerful new foods (superfoods and herbs).
We've specifically designed this ebook to be:
One part basic introductory course on how to create Elixirs, and;
One part recipe book, so you can take this new knowledge and immediately apply it to making your own unique Elixir creations.
The ebook is designed to guide you through, step-by-step, how to make a basic Elixir; from tea creation, to nut milks, and more. You will get a solid foundation on how to make elixirs.
The recipes are well rounded enough that you get some very simple ones in addition to some of our favorite intermediate and advanced recipes.
We've taken our elixir knowledge and whittled it down into the easiest to follow instructions we possibly could. On top of that, we filled the book full of a variety of Elixir recipes to not only get you started, but to take you on a long journey to advanced tonic herbal drinks.
No more secrets of mysterious herb sources!
If you've followed any of us on Facebook or YouTube, you may have been wondering where we get all of these crazy herbs and powders from. Included in Elixir Synergy is a Shopping Guide so you will learn where to get these herbs and powders for your own Elixirs.
So if you have been making your own Elixirs and are bored with your favorite recipes, or have never done Elixirs before or are just looking for something new or to deepen your experience and knowledge, this guide has you covered!
Brandon, Heidi, and I want to thank you deeply for all of you've done for us over the years and we sincerely desire that you will get a lifetime of skills out of this book as well as helping to support our work.
For those following a sugar-free raw food diet, low-glycemic diet or other sugar/ carb-free dietary modality, the question of 'What is the best sweetener?' is an important one.
Our friends over at We Like it Raw are asking the same question. Since both of us (JS and Heidi) have been doing a low-sugar diet for a couple years now, we've been through the sweetener merry-go-round and have quite a lot of experience with many different natural sweeteners.
Many people out there, for various reasons, are following a Dr. Gabriel Cousens Phase I diet or a Body Ecology Diet type of protocol. These are both low-glycemic and/or sugar-free dietary plans for those looking to overcome certain challenges that sugar can provoke, and both of them have various amounts of raw/living food incorporated into the programs. These programs have been very popular with people suffering with candida symptoms, as well as overall issues with health that have not been helped with simply a "raw food diet" by itself.
The two that are at the forefront of the low-sugar quest right now are stevia and xylitol.
Stevia: The Natural King of the Sweeteners
We talked about stevia in our SweetLeaf review last year as probably one of the most popular dietary sweeteners in the world. And now that the FDA finally gave stevia GRAS in 2008, this 'sweet leaf' has become the sweetener of choice for many in the raw and superfood movements.
It is rare to find an expert bad-mouthing stevia. Most people and health experts cite stevia as an ideal sweetener. After all, stevia is:
sweeter than sugar
Some people like it. Other people can't get used to the flavor and try to avoid it completely.
We love stevia. And the thing we both really like about it is that it's just an herb, a plant! In fact, you can even just take the powdered version of the raw stevia plant and use it as a sweetener. This is often referred to as 'Green Leaf Stevia', whereas most stevias you will find in packets or bottles are white and refined (known as stevia 'crystals'). We don't usually recommend the white powdered stevias, as sometimes there are questionable additives. The white stevia powders are also many times sweeter than the dried, ground leaf. If you're going to use white stevia, finding a quality source is crucial.
Unless you are a stevia die-hard, it's best to use stevia in conjunction with another sweetener, such as honey, maple syrup, clear agave, Yacon syrup, or another sugar-free sweetener to mitigate some of the intensely sweet flavor that many find unpleasant. If you are on a sugar-free diet, however, using any type of glycemic sweetner will not work for you. Also, you have to be sure to be cautious with amounts of stevia in recipes as a little bit of stevia goes a very long way and can easily ruin any recipe or drink.
One more thing - the honest truth about stevia: Stevia is an acquired taste. Some people say it is bitter. Other people complain it is "too sweet". And some people freak out when they think it tastes almost like an artificial sweetener. When we first tried stevia years ago, we hated it. We crinkled up our noses too. But we knew other people who had grown to love the flavor, so we continued to give it a second chance. And a third. And so on, until we got used to the taste, and then the flavor of stevia grew on us to where we are today - using it in nearly every sweet recipe...along with other sweeteners. If you don't like the taste, don't give up entirely. Give it some time. And for goodness sakes...don't use it 100% stevia the first time you try it! Start slow! A pinch at a time mixed in with your favorite other sweetener and you will soon love it too!
Xylitol - the Healthy Natural Sweetener That Starts With an X
Xylitol has been going around the raw movement for quite some time, but most people do not understand what xylitol really is. Xylitol is a powdered sugar-alcohol that is naturally occurring in many fruits and vegetables, but is usually derived commercially from corn or birch trees. Xylitol is often found in health food stores as a sweetener for gum and toothpastes. It's been reported to be excellent for teeth, but this fact is highly disputed.
We've found xylitol works best when combined with stevia or honey and is great for drinks and elixirs.
Note: Xylitol is poisonous to dogs, but totally non-toxic to humans. Be very careful with this sweetener around your pets.
Xylitol is also part of the whole sugar-alcohol sweetener family. Other popular sugar-alcohol sweeteners are erythritol, malitol, sorbitol, etc. It should be noted that all sugar-alcohols do have a small amount of carbohydrates and calories, while stevia is calorie-free.
What is nice about xylitol is that it has a pleasant taste that is similar to sugar. It can be found in packages in granulated form or powdered form, just like sugar. The flavor of xylitol works nicely in all sorts of recipes that call for sweetener. Compared to agave, it is slightly less sweet, so you would want to add a bit more, or make a combination of xylitol and stevia, or a variety of sweetners until you reach your desired taste.
Important: If you are going to get xylitol, make sure you get organic birch xylitol and not corn xylitol, which is often derived from GMO-corn. We know you are health conscious, and you don't want to be eating GMO corn! Besides, according to research it is the birch xylitol that has been found to aid the teeth.
Sugar-alcohol sweeteners have been naturally occurring in plants, but have been extracted only recently. While stevia has been used by many cultures for centuries, sugar-alcohols have been produced commercially within the last 30 years. Although we personally have been using the sugar-alcohol sweeteners with great success for years, along with many other people who are following various low-sugar diets, the long-term effects of these new sweeteners are still undecided. That is why it is important to look for new research and information on this subject. Keep up to date on any developments in this area and enjoy sparingly. We will do our best to keep you updated as well.
While not generally considered "sweeteners", there are many superfood flours out there that are low-glycemic but sweet to the taste. These come from the carbohydrates in the superfood, but for those who can handle a small amount of carbohydrates, these are excellent and may even be sweet enough to use without resorting to other sweeteners. These include: lucuma, maca, mesquite, and tocotrienols.
There are many others that we won't go into in this article, but you can research on your own, including: jerusalem artichoke syrup, yacon root syrup, coconut palm sugar, lo han guo, and many others. These are harder to find and are not as commercially available at this time.
Our Personal Experience With Sugar-Free Sweeteners
We've been using natural sugar-free sweeteners fairly regularly for a couple years. Too much of these sweeteers does seem to create a strange reaction (only high amounts!) in some people. Also, we have experimented with many different brands, and have found that there is a huge difference in quality of brands and types.
If you want to use stevia leaf, the best brand to go with is Sweet Leaf.
Just like stevia, with any of these sweeteners you want to be careful with dosage. Not because it's too sweet, but because large amounts can 'set you off' if you're not used to it. It's best to combine multiple no-sugar sweeteners to get the desired effect. Or combine with small amounts of honey. Honey and a pinch of stevia go a long way if you're not on a completely sugar-free diet.
That being said, it will be interesting to see where all the research and direct experience from users of these sweeteneres will lead us in the next few years, especially with all the sugar-alcohols.
Start slow and gauge your reaction carefully. If they jibe well with you, you will have found some new best friends!
Spring is the perfect time to start juicing again. Once the warm weather sets in here where we live, we start to feel the 'call of juice'. Spring time is generally a great time to eat lighter and allow your body to cleanse and release some of the stored-up junk in your body from the more dense winter foods.
What's the best type of juice to drink?
Well, that is a matter of personal choice, but if we had to go with one type of juice, we'd definitely pick a standard green juice. You probably hear a lot about the benefits of not only greens, but specifically green juice. Is there an easy way to get these liquid greens into your diet?
Green Juice: The Simple Method
As we've been simplifying our kitchen and diet over the last year or so, we've thought a great deal about what's really essential and beneficial to our diets. There is a lot of talk about the benefits of juicing and more specifically, green juice. But nothing sucks the fun and desire out of juicing than dealing with a juicer...the cleaning, the assembling, etc.
Do you need to buy a juicing book to get the benefits of juicing? No. Do you need to buy a juicer? Not necessarily.
We're going to give you our favorite, streamlined method of the only juice we really make these days.
Your fresh produce! (recommended: organic celery, cucumber, green apples, ginger, lemon, and dark leafy greens)
Instructions for Making 'Simple Green Juice':
Wash, scrub, clean your produce.
Start off with anywhere from 1-6 stalks of celery (cut in thirds) and pour in enough spring water (or other filtered water) to nearly cover the celery. Blend in a Vita-Mix or whatever blender you have until it's all liquid. It may be a little "goopy" from the celery, and that's ok as long as it is an evenly blended mixture.
Add in 1/2 to a full chopped cucumber (de-skinned if non-organic).
Add in 1/2 or one whole peeled lemon.
Add in one thumb-sized piece of ginger (more or less to taste). Optional but strongly recommended.
Cut up a couple green, granny-smith apples and throw them in too.
Blend this us into a liquid.
Add in as many greens as you can handle. Great ones to add are: chard, kale, spinach, arugula, any lettuce, any sprouts you like, fresh watercress, wheatgrass, etc.
Blend it all up into a thick liquid.
Get out a nut-milk bag and pour the liquid mash into the bowl through the bag. Squeeze out all the juice you can.
Rinse out the blender, pour your green juice back in.
Add in any superfood green powders you like (chlorella, spirulina, Vitamineral Green, etc.). Blend on low to medium speed. Taste. Make sure to end your blend cycle on low to remove the foam.
Best to drink right away to maintain all the vital nutrients.
Storing tips: to retain the most amount of nutrients, fill a mason jar with your green juice all the way to the top and seal tightly. Store in your fridge and enjoy within 12 hours.
There is a lot of variations you can do to this juice recipe. The most beneficial variable is to rotate your greens each time you do this. Experiment with every green vegetable you can out there. People will tell you there is all sorts of things you can do to this juice, and they are right, but you don't really need to worry about it unless you are interested. So if you are busy like us, stick with the base and rotate your greens.
Get on with living your life and don't spend all your time juicing.
Note: if you don't have a high-speed blender, buy one. We're not going to skirt around the issue here and tell you to use a cheap blender. Without a powerful blender, you will be extremely limited in what you can do in your kitchen. We have used our Vita-Mix every single day for the past 5 years. How often can you say that about your kitchen appliances?! Get free shipping on the VitaMix 5200 by ordering through us here.
This green juice recipe/method is all that you really need to know to get the most from the benefits of juicing. It tastes great, fills you up with valuable nutrients, and is easy to do in a standard raw foods kitchen or just a kitchen with a good blender.
You'll never need to buy a juicing book now unless you are really interested in trying the multitude of juice varieties out there. There is a lot you can do with juicing and it can be very involved. Fruit juices are fun to drink, but are too much sugar for most people and some fruits will require a separate juicer and won't work in a nut milk bag.
JuiceFeasting.com - This is a site dedicated to a 92 day (or less) juice cleanse in which you drink enough juice in a day to meet your caloric needs. Our green juice recipe is the base for this entire program.
If you've made the commitment to eating healthy but are still looking to take things to the next level, experimenting with raw food recipes is a perfect idea! Most people who begin introducing these into their diet find they have more energy, recovery better from their workouts, have more focus and concentration, and don't experience nearly the same level of gas and bloating that you may get from a standard diet.
The following are some great raw food recipes to get you started.
Stuffed Mushroom Cups
Stuffed mushrooms are often a pricey appetizer at most restaurants, but with this easy recipe you can create your own healthier version to serve at your next meal.
Ingredients - ¼ cup pine nuts - 3 cloves minced garlic - 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped - 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice - 1 cup chopped tomato - ¼ cup diced cucumber - 2 tablespoons sesame seeds - 10-12 large mushrooms
Place all the ingredients except for the tomatoes into a food processor and chop until well mixed. Remove any built-up mixture from the sides of the blender and repeat the process until a very fine mixture has formed.
Next add in the tomato and pulse a couple of times lightly to chop it up and distribute into the mixture. Scoop this into the top of the mushrooms with stems removed and then place on a dehydrated sheet and dehydrate at 105 degrees for two to four hours checking at halftime.
Carrot Ginger Soup
If you're in the mood for a soup, this one will fit the bill perfectly. It's high in beta-carotene so will promote healthy eyesight.
Ingredients - 10 carrots - 1 green apple - 1 avocado - ½ lime - ½ tsp sea salt - ½ tsp chopped ginger - Pepper to taste (optional)
First juice the carrots and green apple and place into a blender. Next, add avocado, the juice from the lime, sea salt, chopped ginger, and a small amount of pepper to taste if desired. Blend up until a relatively thick consistency is formed and then place in a pot and heat until slightly warm. Serve.
If you're trying to reduce the overall carbohydrate content in your diet, this is a very nice option that will satisfy those cravings. Note that you can add additional herbs or spices if desired to suit your natural taste preferences and what you're serving it with.
Begin by grating the cauliflower with a cheese grater that contains large holes until you get small grain-like pieces. Mix this with the yeast flakes and then stir in the apple cider vinegar and olive oil along with salt. Serve.
Simple Kale Chips
If you're looking for something crunchy to munch on, these simple kale chips will fit the bill nicely. They can be eaten with your own homemade salsa or just by themselves for a quick snack on the run.
- 2 heads of kale, washed and torn up - ¼ cup Tamari - 3 tbsp olive oil - 2 tbsp yeast - Salt to taste
First be sure you wash the entire kale and remove off the thickest part of the stem. Next you are to tear the kale into bite sized pieces and place that in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle over top the olive oil, tamari, yeast, as well as salt and then rub into the kale with hands.
Place this on a food dehydrator or baking sheet and then dehydrate them for about 8 hours at 115 degrees.
Mango Avocado Salad
This refreshing salad combines a very nice sweet taste that will be the perfect snack or light lunch option for warmer days.
- 2 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, and chopped - 1 large avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped - 1 tablespoon lime juice - 2 tsp olive oil - 1 tbsp cilantro leaves - 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
After you have the mangoes and avocado's chopped and pitted, simply mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and serve. Note that you will want to eat this dish fairly soon after it's made as it won't stay fresh for extended periods of time.
So be sure you add these recipes to your raw food meal plan in the coming weeks. They are easy to prepare and you'll definitely enjoy the change of pace.
A lot of raw foodists and health conscious individuals are always looking for an alternative to coffee. There are many options out there and if you've battled long with coffee/caffeine addiction (such as I have), quality replacements can be a lifesaver.
Before we get to the roasted maca, I want to talk a little bit about coffee itself.
Now that I've long overcome my coffee addiction, I can enjoy it in small amounts (or infrequently in larger amounts) and won't feel any negative side effects such as cravings, headaches, irritability, etc.
These days I brew my own light espressos at home using fresh spring water, organic coffee, and a stovetop espresso maker. I'll often use shots of espresso inside of my elixirs making delicious "coffee elixirs".
But when I don't want something too stimulating, but mimics some of the effects of coffee with that 'robust' flavor, I'll turn to roasted maca.
Many of us reading this are familiar with raw maca and it's long list of benefits. But roasted maca is an entirely different food. Roasting the maca root will bring out more of its flavors and stimulating effects. For those who aren't used to stimulants, roasted maca may be too much to handle. Caution, as always, is advised.
Roasted maca can also be brewed just like coffee in a coffee-maker or french press, making it even easier as a near-instant replacement.
I often use roasted maca "coffee" as part of or as a liquid base to my elixirs. I love the flavor and turning it into a 'mocha' or 'latte' is extremely easy. I feel like a Taoist Barista when I'm brewing up a big batch of a roasted maca latte with daoist tonic herbs. Yum!
Here is a quick recipe for a roasted maca beverage that will be a good introduction to those wanting to embark down the Dark Roasted Maca Road.
Iced 'Roasted' Maca Latte Coffee Elixir Recipe
Makes approx. 28 oz.
16 oz cold, already brewed roasted maca "coffee". Make this by getting yourself some roasted maca and brewing it in hot water either through a coffee maker or in a hot-water infusion with a gold tea strainer.