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13 Ways Avocados Love You Back!

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I love avocados. And with good reason, they’re diverse, taste great and are an amazing source of nutrients. Avocado’s array of health benefits are so vast that I’m actually convinced avocados love us too.

Here are 13 Ways Avocados Love You Back!

1. Eating Avocado Regularly Can Support a Healthy Heart!

  • This creamy green fruit contains essential fatty acids that help to lubricate and protect blood vessels by removing cholesterol deposits, free radicals and other blockages.
  • Avos also contain copper, iron and b-vitamins that are key to the formation and function of red blood cells.
  • Their levels of magnesium and potassium are also known to help reduce blood pressure.

[Read more…]

Raw Sun Dried Tomato Wraps

Raw Sundried Tomato Wrapss

When I’m working with clients, helping them to transition to a healthier lifestyle, one of the things I frequently hear them request are suggestions for sandwich alternatives. Getting unhooked from refined grains including bread and tortillas can definitely require some effort. Swapping one food choice for another is often the best place to start when transitioning to a healthier lifestyle. I love wrapping up my raw vegan salads in different wraps and I’ve recently been playing around with these new raw vegan, gluten-free sun-dried tomato wraps that are super easy to make.

Raw Kitchen Essentials

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How to Cut and Serve a Pineapple in 10 Easy Steps

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The idea of slicing a pineapple can be daunting to the untrained fruitarian. Circumnavigating your knife around the core and spiky skin without wasting huge portions of the fruit is frustrating enough to drive someone to the precut fruit at the market. Yikes!

I’ve seen pineapples cut into rings, chunked, spiraled and diced but no method was as simple or as nicely served as this pineapple boat. Whether looking for a refreshing summer snack for guests or for an easy potluck dish, this simple process and presentation leaves your pineapple both easy on the eyes and easy to eat!

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Strawberry Banana Maca Smoothie Bowl

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I don’t know about you but for me the simple combination of strawberry and banana is hard to beat. With the addition of some raw maca powder and some crunchy toppings for added texture, this smoothie bowl is a great kickstart to the day.

Maca is a Peruvian superfood that has been known to boost energy; balance hormones; improve memory, cholesterol and stress management. It’s also known to support the nervous, digestive and reproductive systems and relieve depression. Aside from all the amazing health benefits this superfood claims, adding a bit to morning smoothies can totally take the place of your regular caffeine fix.

I also added a bit of raw cacao nibs to this smoothie bowl for an additional boost. If you’re unfamiliar with the health benefits of raw cacao, check out our article on “Removing the Guilt from Your Chocolate Cravings.”

Kitchen Equipment for Green Smoothies

For this easy-to-make raw food green smoothie recipe, all you’ll need is a high-powered blender. I personally use and recommend the Vitamix Blender. I wrote a comparison review, comparing the Vitamix with the Blendtec that you can read here. A high-powered blender is one of the top 4 raw food kitchen tools I recommend stocking your kitchen with.

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DIY Pumpkin Walnut Raw Vegan Power Bars

Raw vegan power bars

If you’re learning how to transition to a healthier lifestyle, one of the easiest steps you can take is to learn how to make simple snacks yourself. Planning ahead is a key factor of success on this path. If hunger strikes and you don’t have a healthy snack on you, it’s easy to find yourself reaching for unhealthy junk foods (and even the supposed “healthy” snacks) out there, full of refined, processed ingredients that keep people struggling with their weight. Most mainstream granola bars have loads of refined sugars, excess sodium and hidden soy, corn and wheat ingredients. It’s easy to make these snacks yourself, all it takes is a little practice, a little planning and some willingness to take your health back into your own hands. When you make your own snacks and meals, you have control over the quality of ingredients you use and can make better and fresher foods than available anywhere else.

Are you ready!? This is what you need to get started…

Raw Kitchen Essentials

For this easy to make raw vegan power bar recipe, you’ll need a food processor and a dehydrator. I use and recommend the 14-cup Cuisinart Food Processor, but if this is too big to suite your needs and you’re looking for something smaller, consider the 7-cup Cuisinart Food Processor, it’s a smaller and more affordable model. As for dehydrators, if you don’t yet have one, I recommend the 9-tray Excalibur – I’ve had mine for years and it’s still working great.  Owning a good quality food processor and dehydrator are two of the top 4 raw food kitchen tools I recommend stocking your kitchen with.

Easy Recipe for DIY Raw Vegan Power Bars

Plan ahead of time: I recommend soaking your nuts and seeds before using them. In most cases, soaking several hours (3-5 hours) before using them is sufficient. This requires a little bit of planning. If you want to make these raw power bars in the morning, simply soak whatever nuts and seeds you would like to use the evening before. If you decide to make them in the afternoon or evening, remind yourself to soak them in the morning to give them enough time to start to sprout.

  • Soak 1 cup of organic pumpkin seeds
  • Soak 1 cup of organic walnuts
  • Soak at least 3 hours ahead of time. After soaking, rinse well.

Set aside 1/2 cup of whole pumpkin seeds.

In a food processor blend:

  • 1 cup of walnuts
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup of pitted dates

Process until you can squeeze the mix between your fingers and it sticks together easily. This takes a little bit of practice to find that perfect consistency, and is also a matter of personal taste, in terms of how smooth or how chunky you want your power bars to be. But it does need to be blended enough so that the dates bind with the nuts and seeds.

Place dates, pumpkin seeds and walnuts in a bowl and mix the following ingredients in by hand:

  • 2 tablespoons of pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of raisins

You can add whatever spices you like including cinnamon, cardamon or any superfoods like cacao powder, cacao nibs or maca powder. You may want to add additional natural sweeteners like mesquite or stevia if you like. (Remember that with stevia, less is more! A little bit of stevia goes a long way, and I recommend using organic, whole leaf stevia powder.)

In this recipe I added a tablespoon of this amazing coconut extract that I absolutely love as well as a 2 tablespoons of chunky coconut butter, but a sprinkle of organic coconut shreds would work just fine.

Mix all raw ingredients thoroughly by hand and spread about a quarter inch thick on a dehydrator tray.

I used a Teflex sheet initially to spread my raw power bars onto, so that I could press down on the batter without pushing it through the small holes on the excalibur tray. I made one big square and then flipped it off of the teflex sheet and onto the dehydrator tray, so that it will dry faster.

Place in the dehydrator and turn it on high for the first hour, then turn it down to about 110 degrees and take the raw power bars as far as you like. It will take at least 6-8 hours to get fairly dry. Just keep in mind that if you don’t dry them all the way through, to keep them in the fridge and remember that they will have a shelf life of about 8-12 days, depending on how much moisture you left in the bars. Once you sprout nuts and seeds, they do have a shelf life, because they are now alive! You can also freeze extra bars if you won’t be able to eat all of them, making them a convenient and healthy snack food for the family.

Please post below if you have any questions at all!

Aloha from the Big Island of Hawaii!

Laura Dawn, Author of Mindful Eating for Dummies as well as Unhooked: A Holistic Approach to Ending Your Struggle with Food.

6 Reasons to Remove the Guilt from Your Chocolate Cravings

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In the health industry, there are constantly new diet trends and food fads embedding themselves as truth into our psyche. Uncovering some of these truths as myths was a real eye opener into how easily foods can be misconceived, as well as how easily wholesome foods can be turned into junk foods. When I found out that what actually makes processed chocolate, more formerly known as cacao, bad for you is all the added sugar, dairy and preservatives, I knew I needed to learn more so I could differentiate between unhealthy processed chocolate junk foods and good quality chocolate derived from the cacao pod with minimal processing. Let’s dive into some of the benefits of cacao so you too can better learn how to navigate the inundated chocolate field and reap the benefits that this incredible plant has to offer.

Getting to Know Cacao

Unlike cocoa, which is roasted, cacao is a raw pod and is chocolate in its purest form. Here in Hawaii we are lucky to have cacao trees growing all around us. I love eating the gooey white pulp, known as pulpa, which is the fruit surrounding the bitter tasting yet beautiful purple cacao beans. I personally find the taste too bitter to eat the cacao beans raw, although I know many people who love to crunch on them right out of the pod.

If you’re not in an area where cacao grows naturally and they’re unavailable at the markets nearby, fret not. There are still a few great ways to get the benefits of this superfood into your diet.

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Rosemary Magic! Five Easy Ways that Rosemary Can Improve Your Well-being

Rosemary TeaHave you ever grabbed a handful of rosemary when you are in the vegetable section of your local market, breathed in its essence, and bought it on an impulse only to bring it home to let it rot in the bottom of your refrigerator, simply because you didn’t know what to do with it? I used to belong to that club, and I kept buying it because I love the fragrance of it so much, I just kept coming up against mental road blocks with what I could actually do with it.

So I made it my mini-mission to start experimenting with all the different ways I could incorporate this amazing herb into my life and discover why I was drawn to it and what some of the health benefits are. This is what I discovered about the healing benefits of rosemary:

  • Rosemary increases blood circulation;
  • Reduces fever;
  • Stimulates the liver;
  • Improves digestion;
  • Helps to support healthy blood vessels.

Let me share with you some of the easy yet awesome things you can do with this fragrant herb. [Read more…]

Raw Crepe Recipe: Raw Coconut Pear Crepes with Strawberry Sauce

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One of the keys to transitioning to a healthier lifestyle is to learn how to swap out unhealthy food choices for healthier food choices. As I always tell my clients, it’s easier to focus on the foods that you can have, rather than the foods that you feel like you’re giving up. For many people, giving up dairy can be especially challenging, but there are substitutes that you can incorporate that are surprising delicious, nourishing and filling. If you haven’t yet checked out my ebook: Your Essential Guide to Raw Vegan Dairy Alternatives – I highly recommend it! This is a free bonus recipe that I’m posting here to get you started or continue to support you on your dairy-free journey (even if it means just starting to reduce your daily consumption of dairy products!)

Making raw crepes is actually a lot easier than you might think. Creating fun raw food and whole food recipes is really just about thinking outside of the box – and ditching that silly box all together!

Kitchen Equipment for Raw Crepe Recipe

For this raw crepe recipe you will need a high-powered blender and a dehydrator. I personally use and recommend the Vitamix Blender. I wrote a review comparing the Vitamix versus the Blendtec that you can read here. [Read more…]

Disclaimer: Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits of any foods or supplements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This also applies to recommended lifestyle changes, mentioned with the intention to help you achieve better health. This site is for informational and educational purposes only, readers are advised to take full responsibility for their actions and consult with a health care practitioner before making changes to diet or lifestyle.
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