Sweat and Smoothies

 
 
 
Well it may have been too long since the last time I wrote, but the workouts haven’t stopped and neither has the healthy eating!  My original workouts are starting to really kick my ass.  Exhibit A:Image
This was after today’s workout, which is the last one on the list here.  It’s the first time I’ve done box jumps and now I understand the fuss.  They feel to me like burpees did before I did the 90 Day Burpee Challenge.  Great way to get your heart rate UP!  I found that following them up with snatches and the kettlebell renegade row was really brutal. It made pull-ups a relief, which is saying a lot.  So without further ado here is my backlog of original workouts to share.  Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom for a delicious smoothie recipe. 🙂
 
7/6/13
Buy-In: 10 Burpees
 
45 sec activity/15 sec rest/3 rounds
  1. KB Snatch-Reverse Lunge R
  2. KB Snatch-Reverse Lunge L
  3. Double KB step-ups
  4. Elevated Plank Pushup/Knee Tuck
  5. Ab roller
  6. Weighted Sit-Ups

Buy-Out: 10 Burpees

 
7/12/13
45 sec activity/15 sec rest/2 rounds
  1. KB Swings
  2. KB Clean R
  3. KB Clean L
  4. KB Reverse Lunge
  5. Weighted Lunge Twists
  6. KB Renegade Row
  7. Reverse Crunch
  8. Side-Plank Toe Touch
  9. Front plank
  10. Pull-ups
7/16/13
45 sec activity/15 sec rest/3 rounds
  1. 6 Turkish Getups (3 each side)
  2. KB Single-leg Deadlift R
  3. KB Single-leg Deadlift R
  4. Ab Roller
  5. Weighted Ab Twists
  6. Pilates Hundreds
  7. Plank w/ Knee Tuck
7/18/13
45 sec activity/15 sec rest/2 rounds
  1. KB Swings
  2. Thruster R
  3. Thruster L
  4. KB Bent-Over Row
  5. Weighted Lunge-Twist
  6. Plank->Side Planks
  7. Dive Bombers
  8. Pilates Sit-Ups
  9. Bicycle w/ out-and-in-arms
  10. Pull-ups
8/2/13 – Time Challenge, 3 Rounds (My Time: 18:45)
  1. Box jumps x 20
  2. KB Snatch R x 10
  3. KB Snatch L x 10
  4. KB Renegade Row x 10
  5. Lunge Twist R x 5
  6. Lunge Twist L x 5
  7. Pull ups x 3-10 depending on your fitness level

And now for something completely different delicious…

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Raspberry Mint Smoothie

I’m on a mint kick right now and have really enjoyed adding it to my smoothies.  It’s great for digestion and adds a nice refreshing kick to the smoothie.  I’ve also learned that many fresh herbs go well in smoothies and have lately enjoyed cilantro and basil; can’t wait to find more good combinations!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds (or try using sprouted flax or chia seeds!)
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 2-3 sprigs of mint
  • 1/2 package frozen raspberries

Mix that up in your blender until smooth and you will have a sucka-punch of flavor to your face!

Speaking of sprouted flax and chia seeds, that’s been my latest experiment and I’m pretty happy with the results:

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That is chia on the left and flax on the right.  It took only a week to go from seed to overflowing sprouts that were pushing the top of the container off.  They added a really nice fresh flavor to my smoothies and some wonderful nutrients.  The one thing I haven’t been able to find out is if sprouted flax and chia are more or less nutritious than the raw seeds.  If anyone has info on that I’d love to see it!

Keep healthy!

Upper Arm Beatings and Post-Workout Pancakes!

One of my friends, Rosie of Rock Bodies, is a personal trainer who often posts delicious healthy recipes to Facebook.  She found a recipe for pancakes that uses just two ingredients: banana and eggs.  Seriously, that’s it.  They are AMAZING.  Before I made them though I had to finish my workout for the day (especially since I was having local sausage with my pancakes).

Today I wanted to focus on arms and abs.  Yesterday I did Zuzka’s ZShred #3 which was a legs-intensive high-intensity workout.  I really prefer full-body workouts and while I felt like a new person after this workout, it ended up being too much for me and I am HURTING today. So I decided to take it easier on my legs.  This workout will definitely get your heart rate up but it’s primarily a strength training workout and while it’s an upper-body focus there’s definitely leg involvement as well.

6/29/13 – Set interval timer to 2 rounds 45 sec activity, 15 sec rest
  1. KB Swing
  2. KB Snatch R
  3. KB Snatch L
  4. Weighted pilates sit-ups
  5. Plank climbers
  6. Pull-ups (as many as you can do
  7. Dive bombers
  8. Renegade Row
  9. Single-Leg deadlifts
  10. Dragon flags

Once you’ve completed that you deserve some pancakes right?

Paleo Pancakes

Paleo High Protein Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Banana
  • Optional: pinch of cinnamon
  • Optional: ~1tbsp protein powder or tapioca flour

Directions:

  1. Beat the banana and egg together.  You’re done making the batter!  No, seriously, this recipe couldn’t be easier.  I used my Vitamix to mix them but you can easily do it by hand.  I added cinnamon, which turned out great.  I also made the mistake of using jumbo eggs so my batter was a bit too thin so I added some tapioca flour to thicken it.  You can use protein powder as a thickener if you prefer (I recommend using a plant-based powder without GMOs, soy or whey).
  2. Cook on skillet like normal pancakes.  I recommend making them small and thin (the large one in the picture was to finish off my batter).

I found with the sweetness of the banana no syrup was necessary, though I’m sure if you like you can add some maple syrup or agave.  Enjoy!!

Pies and Pushups

It has have been a while since my last entry but I’m still going STRONG on workouts and sticking to my food allergy/healthy diet.  I’m really enjoying seeing my muscle tone improve and I’ve been taking on new challenges.  I’ve fallen in love with kettlebells and have also added some heavier free weights to my collection.  My biggest struggle continues to be learning to do pullups.  So far I can do ONE unassisted and that’s a good start.

To keep my workouts interesting I’ve been varying things a bit.  I’m generally doing two Zuzka workouts per week (I’ve shelled out for her new ZGYM and in full honesty the first two workouts were worth more than the $10/mo price tag; they’re way harder than her free ZWOWs).  I also do two workouts inspired by myomytv.com, which offers awesome free kettlebell and bodyweight workouts.  I say “inspired” because while I sometimes outright do one of their routines, I’ve been experimenting with creating my own routines and so far I’m kicking my own ass. 🙂  I also do 1-2 pilates or yoga workouts per week.  On top of that I’m still running 1.6 miles per day, happily on the Mad River Path with my pup.  This has been a good mix for me and gets me moving at least an hour per day six times a week.  I take a day off to rest.

I’m going to start posting my self-made workouts here.  I’m not comfy recording videos yet, but I think I’d like to in the future.  So here are my three most recent WOD’s.  If you need a better description of the exercise just ask!  I’d consider these intermediate->advanced.  If you want to do them just listen to your body and adjust as needed.  Beginners should use lighter weights, shorter reps and a longer resting period.  If you’re more advanced use heavier weights, longer reps and a shorter resting period.  In general I’m using a 25lb kettlebell (or two for doubles).  My free-weights range from 5lb->20lb.

For an interval timer I’m using Seconds on my iPhone.

6/10/13 – Set interval timer to 3 rounds 45 sec activity, 15 sec rest
  1. Goblet Squat (20kg)
  2. Alternating KB Swing
  3. Alternating Curtsy Lunge (14kg)
  4. KB Single-Leg Deadlifts
  5. Skater Hops
  6. Renegade Row
  7. Chin-Up
6/11/13 – Set interval timer to 3 rounds 40 sec activity, 15 sec rest
  1. Glute Bridge Booty Pump
  2. Single-leg deadlift R
  3. Single-leg deadllift L
  4. Eccentric Focused Chin Ups
  5. Push Up Lean/Push Up/Push Back Combo
  6. Kneeling Ab Wheel Rollout
  7. Dumbbell Hammer Curl
  8. Dragon Flag
6/19/13 – Set interval timer to 2 rounds 45 sec activity, 15 sec rest
  1. KB Reverse lunge
  2. Snatch R
  3. Snatch L
  4. Around-the-world KB swings
  5. Single-Leg Deadlift R
  6. Single-Leg Deadlift L
  7. Side-crunch R
  8. Side-crunch L
  9. Weighted sit-up
  10. Double KB Swings

And now for recipes!  This past Saturday I hosted a large dinner party for my family.  Along with accommodating my long list of food allergies, I also had to make the meal low-carb/sugar for my father who’s diabetic, low-salt for his wife who has high BP, dairy/gluten free for my sister-in-law (this is in line with my own diet too) and garlic-free for my brother.  Even more importantly, I wanted it to be FREAKING DELICIOUS to help show that you don’t have to eat crappy-tasting food just because you have a dietary restriction.  Also, since my family showered me with a ton of pie-making paraphernalia for Christmas, I made the meal Pie-themed.

Bring In The Pies!!

86aa7b8cd6c011e29c6622000a1f9e4a_7Paleo Shepard’s Pie (adapted from Elana’s Pantry and The Functional Foodie)

Ingredients – Makes ~1 large deep dish pie

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 lb ground grass fed beef
  • 1/2 lb ground lamb
  • 1/4 lb ground pork (I used a mild chorizo sausage from my local butcher which gave it a nice kick)
  • 1/2 lb uncured bacon, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced mushrooms of your choosing
  • 1/2 cup low sodium beef or chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup red wine (I used a merlot)
  • 2 tsp coconut aminos (can use Worcester Sauce if you prefer)
  • 2 tbsp chopped mixed herbs (I used basil, oregano, thyme and parsley from my garden)
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 large heads cauliflower, trimmed, chopped and steamed until very soft (I used one white and one yellow)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance or Virgin Coconut Oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan.  Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft.  Add shallots and cook for another few minutes.
  3. Add bacon and sauté until cooked, ~10 minutes (note: the bacon will not crisp, that’s ok).
  4. Add the carrots, celery and mushrooms and sauté until soft (it’s ok of the carrots stay a bit firm), ~10 mins.
  5. Add the meats, herbs, salt and pepper and sauté until browned.
  6. Add the stock, wine, coconut aminos and a paprika.  Stir and cook down broth until it’s ~60% evaporated.
  7. Meanwhile, add the cauliflower, coconut milk, Earth Balance/VCO, and a pinch of salt and pepper to your food processor and blend until it’s the consistency of mashed potatoes; this will not take long.  Taste-test and see if you need to add more salt and pepper.
  8. Pour the filling into a pie plate and top with the cauliflower mash.  Add a pinch of smoked paprika to the top for decoration if you like.
  9. Cook at 375ºF for 30 minutes, or until the inside is bubbly and the top is slightly firm.  Let cool for ~10 mins before serving.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (Gluten and Dairy free, no sugar added to filling)

Ingredients

Crust (and trust me, it’s GOOD, the non-gluten free folks loved it!):

  • 1 cup Almond or Pecan flour (I was out of almond so I ground pecans in my Vitamix which worked out beautifully!)
  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour (my sister-in-law says next time I should try Bob’s Red Mill Shortbread Mix)
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Palm Sugar (you can use cane sugar if you’d like, I’m just allergic to it)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ cup Virgin Coconut Oil (room temperature)
  • 5-8 tbsp Cool Water

Filling (adapted from here):

  • 2 1/2 cups chopped red rhubarb, fresh
  • 2 1/2 cups de-stemmed, washed and cut strawberries (in larger pieces)
  • 2 tbsp minute tapioca
  • 1 tablespoon Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance cut into small slices
  • 1 egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Directions

Crust:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a mixer.
  2. Add the coconut oil and beat until dough forms small balls.
  3. Add the water one tbsp at a time while mixing until the dough reaches the proper consistency (it should hold together well but not be sticky).
  4. Separate into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap or parchment and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Roll out dough and add bottom crust to a greased and floured pie plate.

Filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  2. Mix the rhubarb, strawberries, tapioca, flour, zest and juice of lemon, dash of cinnamon, and vanilla.
  3. Mix well in a large bowl and pour out into bottom crust.
  4. Dot with butter.
  5. Roll out top crust and top the pie (if you want to do the lattice design I did use a pizza-cutter to cut strips of the rolled-dough and a long spatula to carefully lift the crust from the counter to the pie).
  6. Brush top of crust with beaten egg yolk.
  7. Wrap aluminum foil loosely around the outside edge of the crust to protect the crust from burning.
  8. Cook at 425ºF for 15 minutes, then drop the temperature to 375ºF and cook for another 40 minutes.  The crust should be golden brown and the filling should be bubbling.  I found the gluten free crust cooks faster than when using traditional flour so keep an eye on the pie so it doesn’t get over-cooked.  Cool before serving.

I’d love to know if you try my recipes or workouts.  Please pass along your feedback!  Now it’s time for a run!

 

720 Burpees in 8 Days and Smoothies to Spare!

While my urge to run has ebbs and flows, my love of fitness and nutrition lives on and I’d like to start sharing my latest obsessions with you.  2013 has brought me two things so far: burpees and….

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I FINALLY BOUGHT A VITAMIX!!!  More on that in a minute.  First…

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Oh, burpees, you’re the exercise everyone loves to hate!  Eight days ago we started a new challenge at work.  Well, two challenges to be exact.  You could pick either a 90 or 100 day burpee challenge.  The 90 day challenge is 90 burpees a day for 90 days.  The 100 day challenge is one burpee on day one, two on day two, three on day three and so on and so forth until you’ve reached 100 on day 100.  Naturally, I chose the 90 day challenge and have been in sweet pain ever since.

One might ask, “What is a burpee?”  Well, if you’re lucky I’ll post a video sometime soon but today is not that day.  There are literally dozens of burpee variations.  Two of the most basic are:

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Squat, jump out to plank, jump back to squat, jump up.

And…

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Squat, jump out to plank, do a pushup, jump back to squat and jump up.

The latter is called a “Competition Burpee” and that’s the one I’m doing.  So, I’m basically doing 90 squat thrusts, 90 pushups and 90 jumps a day…on top of my normal workouts.  Yes,  it’s a bit much, but I have to say that after only 8 days I’m noticing much more definition in my arms and legs so, hey, I’m going to keep it up.  Speaking of “normal workouts”, ZuzkaLight is the latest woman kicking my ass.  If you haven’t seen her YouTube channel before check it out!  I try to do one of her workouts 3-4x/wk.  I’m on #40 as of today.

Ok, enough about burpees, let’s talk about my new beloved Vitamix.  I’ve wanted a high-powered blender for a very long time and after doing my taxes this past weekend (oh the luxurious life I lead) I decided to use some refund money and invest in my health.  After watching far too many videos and reading reviews comparing the Blendtec to the Vitamix to the Kitchenaid to the Ninja to the etc. etc. etc., I decided to go with the Vitamix which honestly was my first choice to begin with.  So far I’m not disappointed.

To honor my new toy and give me something to think about aside from burpees I thought it’d be fun to share some of my creations with you.  Here are some of the first smoothies I’ve made.  I should note I also made brazil nut butter (brazil nuts, raw honey, sea salt, flaxseed oil) before learning how high in saturated fat brazil nuts are (damn shame since it tastes just like cookie dough) and a caper-parsley sauce but since I didn’t photograph either I’m not putting them in here.  I should also note that while I have some strong beliefs about nutrition, I am not a nutritionist, nor do I purport to be.

Smoothie #1

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Ingredients:

  • Frozen strawberries
  • Frozen peaches
  • Whole banana
  • Flaxseed
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Coconut Milk
  • Protein Powder*

This was fruity and amazing and I can’t say enough good things about it.

Green Smoothie

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Ingredients:

  • Pomegranate-Cranberry Juice
  • Spinach
  • Frozen strawberries
  • Frozen mangos
  • Chia seeds
  • Spirulina

Again, another winner.  VERY fruity. VERY green (thank you spirulina). VERY nutritious.  It was my after-workout smoothie and not only did I get to enjoy it, but my boyfriend kept gulping it down saying, “This can’t be healthy!”.

*Why is there an asterisk next to protein powder?  Well, I’m in the “testing” phase of powders right now and I’d love to open up some discussion on that.

Protein Powders

Generally I’m a big fan of whole foods and I try to use whole foods over processed foods as much as possible in my diet.  I ALSO have a strong desire to have ton of protein in my diet so I do want to use a protein powder in my morning smoothie.  I have some ground rules for protein powder:

  1. It must not contain soy, whey or animal proteins. There’s a lot of controversy over soy but aside from the concern that it could increase my chances of breast cancer if I ingest it regularly, I can say from my personal experience that it’s very slow for my system to digest and, frankly, it makes me gassy; so no thanks, soy! 
  2. It must not contain a bunch of chemicals, stabilizers and preservatives because it just doesn’t have to.
  3. It must be at the very least 17-20g/serving of protein and no more than 100 calories per serving.
  4. No GMOs. Period.
  5. It must be sugar free.
  6. It shouldn’t taste like crap.

I have four contenders so far (pictured above): Fat Flush Body Protein, Peaceful Planet Supreme Meal, Warrior Food, and plain Rice Protein, and can review two so far.

Fat Flush: A friend of mine who is a nutritionist highly recommended this and gave me a scoop to try.  Normally I’d stay away from things that say “Fat Flush” because it sounds too infomercially and I’m looking to be healthy, not emaciated.  That said, the ingredient list is pretty good: Pea protein concentrate, Rice protein concentrate, French vanilla extract, guar gum, inulin, and stevia.  So, not a ton of crap.  I will say stevia isn’t my favorite but I couldn’t taste it much in this, and I’m really picky about the stevia aftertaste so I was impressed that I only noticed it a tad.  It was a little grittier than I’d like, even in the vitamin (which turns flaxseeds and chia seeds into dust).  I give it an “I’ll think about it”.  Which probably equates to a B+

The Supreme Meal: I found this at my local coop.  You might be surprised I bought it considering how many ingredients it has: Protein blend (non-GMO pea protein isolate, organic Hawaiian spirulina, rice protein concentrate), freeze-dried sprouts blend (quinoa, millet, amaranth, broccoli), organic flax meal, lecithin, natural vegan flavors, horsetail herb, proprietary FOS fiber blend (fructooligosaccaharides, sprouted mung bean extract), bioflavanoids concentrate, vitamin D2, vitamin B12.  Ok, so a lot of ingredients but a lot of GOOD ingredients.  So far this one is my favorite.  It has poor reviews if you just mix it into liquid with a spoon (it clumps).  I had no problem in my Vitamix.  It was smooth and tasty.  The spirulina makes it dark green, which doesn’t bother me one bit but bothers some people.  I also love that there’s nothing in there pretending to be sweet.  It was just yummy.  Unfortunately, it’s 140 cal/serving but I may overlook that due to how much I liked it and how many nutrients it has. A-

I picked up the Warrior Food from Vermont Fiddle Heads, who I tend to trust as Linda is our local raw foods extraordinaire.  I haven’t tried it yet and I’ll be fully honest that the bottle is filled with so much homeopathic new-age propaganda that I almost didn’t buy it.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a pretty crunchy chick, but this was over the top.  That said, I trust Linda and it’s the only protein powder that she sells and I was impressed by the ingredients: Sprouted, Raw, Non-GMO, Organic Brown Rice Protein, Organic Hemp Protein, Organic Actual Vanilla Bean, Wildcrafted Nopal Cactus, Organic Whole Leaf Stevia.  I love that it’s 100% organic and doesn’t have much in it.  I’m wary of the stevia but I’ll let you all know what I think.

What protein powder do you love and why?

Raw Revelations

After finishing C25K and starting up fartleks my running entries have kind of petered out.  In light of not wanting this blog to die a terrible death of repetitive running entries that put even me to sleep, I’m branching out a bit into the general topic of staying healthy and active.  Today, I want to share a couple raw food recipes that I made yesterday as part of a two week liver cleanse.

I saw my acupuncturist last week and as soon as she took my pulse she gave me a funny look.  Some stomach pokes and prods later and she said, “You’ve been eating a lot of sugar and getting cravings, huh?”  Oh holy crap did she hit the nail on the head there.  Fall for me is the start of hibernation.  I make rich foods filled with fats, carbs and sugars.  Life has been especially stressful lately and I use that as an excuse to “comfort eat”, despite knowing how unhealthy and energy-draining that is.

The acupuncturist asked me to do a liver cleanse, which I’ve never done before.  She told me to try something “gentle” and the only real guidance she gave was to research it and start by drinking Apple Cider Vinegar.  I went online and was inundated with a barrage of liver cleanses: everything from fasting to colonics and from two-day to eight-week scenarios.  Most of the sites were trying to sell me some system, so it was easy to weed those out.  I compared sources and spoke with some of my nutritionist and herbalist friends to come up with the cleanse I’m doing.  I’ll fully admit that this is my first ever liver cleanse so please do not treat me as an expert.

The basic cleanse that I’m following is that for two weeks I’m completely cutting out alcohol and caffeine and I’m greatly limiting sugars, dairy and processed foods.  I’m trying to get all of my sugars from unprocessed sources (e.g. fruits, raw honey, raw agave nectar) and I’m trying to eat raw foods as much as possible.  Then, for three days I’ll be doing a more traditional liver cleanse which entails a juice fast and having to drink some nasty concoctions that I’ll write about it another entry when that gets closer.

So what’s the point of all of this?  People do cleanses for a variety of reasons and there’s a whole school of thought for cleansing and another whole school that thinks it’s ludicrous.  I’m doing this cleanse to change up my destructive Fall eating habit and give my body some easy-to-digest food so my digestive system gets a break and I gain more energy as a result.  The last part of the cleanse supposedly helps dislodge liver stones, and if that really happens that’s cool but I’m taking that piece with a grain of salt right now.  The biggest thing is to get my digestion back on track and get my energy levels up.

This leads to the next logical question, why raw?  I was introduced to raw foods a couple years ago and have been in awe ever since with the health benefits behind it and the opportunity for creativity in the kitchen.  The health benefits are fairly undebatable.  Raw foods are more nutrient dense and easily digested by the body.  Most people on raw diets notice a large increase of energy and a happier digestive system.  On the latter, it’s important to note that if you’re going to try a raw meal out of the blue you might get some stomach upset at first.  It’s recommended to eat light meals on the day you’re going to have a raw meal and don’t start off with an entire day of raw if you’ve been living off of burgers and fries for months (unless you’re down with spending a good chunk of your day in the bathroom).

The daunting task of changing my diet for a two-week period is finding yummy recipes.  Tons of raw recipes sound good, but I’ve definitely had a few flops; usually my issue is that they’re not flavorful enough.  Luckily, the recipes I’ve tried so far have all been super-easy to make (most can be made right in a food processor).  Out of the four recipes I tried yesterday, two were freaking amazing so I have to share.  These are not original recipes, but I can’t really credit a source because for each of them I mixed up different recipes and added some things in so they’re original-ish.  That said, if you want to find more raw recipes, my favorite sources so far are: We Like It Raw, gone raw, Sweetly Raw, and Raw Food Talk.

Now, without further ado, the recipes!

Om Noms Raw Food Snack (mostly based on Morning-After Delight)

This is a great easy-to-make snack that I’m personally using as a breakfast.  Yes, it has raw cacao in it so I’m technically cheating on the caffeine but it is omg delicious!  I split this up into five small ball jars and am finding that I get full a little over halfway through.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Almonds
1/2 cup Walnuts
1/2 cup Cashews
1/2 cup Pumpkin Seeds
1/2 cup Raw Carob Nibs
1/2 cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 cup Dried Gogi Berries
1/2 Cup Banana Chips
2 table spoons Cup Raw Chocolate Powder
1 table spoon of Raw Honey
4 table spoons of Raw Agave nectar
2 dashes of Sea Salt
2 dashes of Cinnamon

Directions:
1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Eat and enjoy!

Raw Vegan Sushi

Eating raw doesn’t necessarily imply “vegan”.  While most raw foodists are vegetarian or vegan, some do eat meat.  This particular recipe is 100% vegan-friendly and it’s very malleable.  Pick ingredients that sound yummy to you and be creative.  Unlike the above recipe, this one is quite time intensive just for the actual sushi prep part.  It’s a great interactive activity at a dinner party, especially since you don’t have to worry about the ingredients getting “cold” or going bad.  The portion size in this recipe is enough for two hungry people.

Ingredients:
2 Parsnips, peeled
1/2 cup Cashews (can substitute other nuts, I saw recipes with pine nuts, macadamia nuts and walnuts)
1/2 tbsp White Miso (supposedly red works too)
1.5 tsp Sesame Oil (you’ll see from the picture that I cheated here and used Toasted Sesame Oil, that’s obviously not raw but it’s what I had on hand)
1 ripe Avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced thinly
1 seedless Cucumber, peeled and cut into sticks
3-5 Baby Carrots, thinly chopped
1/2 cup Kale, chopped
1/2 cup Spinach, chopped
1-2 tbsp minced Cilantro
Nori wrappers (black is usually raw, green is usually toasted)
1 tbsp Rice Vinegar
Bamboo Mat
Tamari Soy Sauce, as desired.

Directions:

1. Make Parsnip “Rice” by combining the parsnips, cashews, miso and sesame oil in a food processor until “fluffy”; it really will look and feel rice-like (it also tastes freaking awesome).

2. Prepare your other ingredients so they’re easily grabbed.

3. Add the rice vinegar to a small bowl of water and keep that next to your bamboo mat.

4. Lay a piece of nori shiny-side down on your bamboo matt.  Dip your fingers into the rice vinegar mixture and lightly brush them over the nori; this will soften it.

5. Spread a thin coat of the Parsnip “Rice” over the nori.  Add any of remaining ingredients to the roll that you desire.  My favorite combo was avocado+cilantro+cucumber+kale.

6. Now it’s time to roll it up.  For this, you may want to watch a YouTube video on rolling sushi (there are a million out there).  I usually start on one end of the bamboo and I curl the roll into itself.  Once I’ve reached the far side (so the roll is fully rolled) I hold the bamboo that’s still flat on the table by the far side and I pull the roll towards me with the opposite hand; this makes it tighter and is similar to burrito rolling.  Then I shape it a little better with the bamboo mat.  The trick is to get it tight enough so it doesn’t fall apart when cutting/eating.  To be honest, I’ve never found it particularly challenging but it takes a couple tries to get it right.

7. At this point you can unroll it and cut it.  One trick I use is to lay plastic wrap on top of the roll (you can also lay the plastic wrap down before you put the nori down so it’s there to begin with).  Next, I clean my knife with some of the rice vinegar solution and slice the roll through the plastic wrap; this helps it stay together and helps you get a clean cut.  The obvious downside is using the plastic wrap itself.  For those of us who are environmentally conscious this is not ideal.

8. Eat and enjoy!  I dipped my sushi into the tamari soy and it was great.  I think in the future, though, I’m going to drizzle the soy into the roll before rolling it up.

The thing I really love about both of these recipes is that I don’t feel like I’m giving anything up.  They’re both delicious recipes and amazingly nutritionally dense.  It’s like getting all of my food groups crammed into one tasty meal.  Hopefully I can find more tasty recipes to keep me going for the next two weeks.  The “bliss balls” and “pumpkin pudding” I tried yesterday were unfortunate disasters of “blah”, but these two sure were winners!