Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What I ate on Sunday

Last Sunday was paying respects to "Kale" Day.
The day started off with some delicious and aromatic saffron tea followed by some ripe bananas.  I enjoyed the tea while oven baking some green raw coffee.


Once the coffee was roasted and cooled I ground it down with some cardamom and I  brewed a small but strong thick and syrupy cup of coffee.

Then while I was vacuuming and cleaning my house I was able to oven bake a few batches of kale chips (not raw).
I used to make "raw" ones years ago but my feeling is once you dehydrate them and get all the water out of them it's about the same thing. So I sold my Excalibur Dehydrator on craigslist to someone who makes Hollywood special effects make up and body parts - props for scary movies :).

The kale chips are a fun and healthy snack but you're ultimately better off eating fresh raw kale instead of baking or dehydrating them. And even boiling it in soups and stews is a great nourishing option.

The kale baking turned out spectacular.
I made 2 flavors
The first one was kale, nutritional yeast, peanut butter, coconut oil, soy sauce and chile.
Raw and ready to go in the oven.

Spicy, peanut butter coated kale chips. 

The second batch was Chocolate, maple syrup, vanilla and peanut butter kale chips. Sounds odd but believe me - you don't even taste the kale. It's just a crunchy airy base for the maple cacao peanut butter mix. 
I baked them at around 250-275 F and I turned them over 2-3 times to make sure they were all evenly baked/dried. 
Chocolate Maple Kale Chips with Vanilla and Chipotle 

 While I was still busy cleaning I decided to get some strong chamomile tea going for after I am done with the house chores.

After the tea I ate the maple chips... mmm yes a whole batch which seemed pretty small considering how much kale there was before baking it. It turned out to be very filling. So that was lunch and I headed out to meet a friend for a hike.
I managed to catch a beautiful sunset overlooking the city.

And headed home. A few friends came over so I had a glass of wine and a few huge mugs of chamomile tea with almond milk. 
The wine was biodynamic and yummy. I get this question a lot. Do I drink? Not often. With occasion I have wine. On a summer afternoon I have wine. When I travel europe I have beer. I love microbreweries. I don't really pay attention to it but sometimes I have wine once a month or less, sometimes 2x week if there is a lot of fun activities going on. I find wine to be very blood building from a chinese medicine perspective and I DO KNOW how to value it :) As long as it's not a habit I consider wine to be a healthy and full of antioxidants drink. WINE is nature's nectar.  I might even be a tiny bit of a wine snob. I love cuvees, australian cuvees, californian cuvees, love syrahs and certain pinots, lately cabernet has been good. 

                                                    ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

The size of my tea mug :)

Dinner was a healthy huge raw veggie platter with 2 dips.
Kale Dip: 
Sprouted Tofu
Coconut Milk
Carrots (they make the dip sweet and work as a base to thicken it)
All Organic
(optional- garlic, spices, hot pepper, oil, salt)
 But I noticed that this dip is super yummy with fewer ingredients. 
Cinnamon and cayenne on top.
The kale dip turned out creamy and delicious. It reminded me of a spinach mayo dip. Just a much healthier version. 

The second dip was carrots, tofu, spices, tomato juice, coconut milk (sorry if there is one food I had to pick to live on if I was stranded on a deserted island I think I would have to go with young coconuts :).
 I love me some young coconuts :) )

Vegan raw carrot creamy dip!
The carrot dip color was spectacular. Milky peach orange. I don't think these pictures are doing it any justice :)

 (note I have an industrial blender that can get through pretty much anything and can liquify raw foods  so if you have a regular blender you can just steam the carrots before blending them)

I added some freshly squeezed lime juice on top of the dips.

Then I decided to put everything in Cron-O-Meter - a website that tracks your calories and nutrients for the day/week. You may find this interesting!
This is my mineral and vitamin  ratios/intake for the day.

B1 (Thiamine)
B12 (Cobalamin)
B2 (Riboflavin)
B3 (Niacin)
B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
B6 (Pyridoxine)
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
Vitamin D
Vitamin E
Vitamin K

For mostly having veggies and fruit this looks pretty impressive. Selenium is low, but in general, selenium is a nutrient we can't rely to get from our food supply because the soil is so depleted. BRAZIL NUTS ARE A VERY GOOD SOURCE OF SELENIUM.

Also the Vitamin D and B12 come from the store bought Almond Milk so if I had used homemade milk the values were gonna be at 0.

The high Vitamin K and A values are obviously from the kale, cabbage and carrots :)

OK this was all my food and drinks for the day :)

My macro nutrients ratios were at 70 20 10. A higher in fat day which happens here and there as I don't really pre-plan anything.

(my blogging skills are still a bit rough around the edges but I am working on polishing them
 :P )


Saturday, January 25, 2014

What I eat in a day

Namaste Beautiful Yogis,

I am continuing with "What I eat in a day" blogs once a week :)
If I continue the date & banana and veggies & dip trend it might get boring and redundant, but I do go through phases :) And then I move on. 
For example last summer I went through a broccoli phase. Couldn't get enough broccoli. Now the love affair with broccoli is over and i have moved on to bigger and better relationships haha
This week was all about tomato dip.... just tastes divine.
So yesterday's breakfast was late. I had tea in the morning and got caught up working so didn't get to eat till 2pm. 
Here's my morning tea "ceremony".

The republic of Tea milk oolong. If you want to try Oolong tea I would say get a different one. This is my least favorite of the Milk Oolong varieties I have tried so far.

I got caught up in work so next thing I know it's 2 o'clock. I had some hojicha tea (I am on a  rare tea kick which passes quickly- usually I have a lot of herbal teas) with dates and shared a few bananas with Sofie (she wanted her cut for protecting me 24/7)
Then some more work. And a raw cacao herbal drink with shilajit, dandelion root, chipotle/cayenne, slippery elm, peppermint, hazelnut, coconut milk.

An hour later I had a ton of dates with cacao cayenne tea. This drink was amazing. Not sure what made it so delicious. Maybe the dates.

Then it was time for Sofie's walk. She practically kicked me out of the house with her leash in her mouth. She figured she's been patient long enough. Beautiful flowering tree in my neighborhood on the walk. 
Any guesses what the name of the tree is?

My whole neighborhood smells like Orange Blossom - heavenly aroma reminiscent Jasmine flowers in May.

Embarrassing but a fact- I had more tea after that- Organic india Tulsi Vanilla Cream and saffron. IMO vanilla and tulsi do not go together. 

After the walk I shot the next challenge which I will upload later. Then I went shopping for food and came home and worked out for only 10 minutes but at a high intensity. 

Dinner time! Woohooo
The secret to eating vegan, 80/10/10 , Raw or High in fruits and Veggies diet is Dips and Salad dressings. They taste divine. You can prepare amazing high in anti-oxidants concoctions with healing spices and herbs and that way you can get all your healing herbs in, plus your raw veggies. I eat a lot of raw veggies. Big portions. I had a few refills of what you see below:
Raw cabbage with tomato pumpkin hummus almond dip.  Summer savory, chipotle, sage added. Over the cabbage I sprinkled some designer mexican chile and some kelp. (I had it in my cupboard- you can sprinkle anything on it really) 

I also played with creating some pineapple, tomato, pepper salsa-dip. Refreshing!

I also experimented with some saffron pumpkin dip. Turned out tasting like an ethnic amazing dessert that you may find in a small shop in a strange country while traveling the world.  :) This is a pumpkin, cinnamon, mesquite powder, saffron, tofu dip. It's sweet, but if you add onions and chile to it it's sweet and savory ;) (this is either gross or divine depending on interpretation) it's like durian recreated.
 I love the color!

After dinner I had some organic lolly pops (do not recommend you do that haha)  They are so flavorful so I had to try them. Just FYI last time I had pops was 2 years ago so it's not a regular part of my diet. Those ones 2 years ago were mango chipotle- I had to have them. The reason I put chipotle on everything is because it's freaking DELICIOUS. I learned that from a mexican farmer probably 8  years ago. I was in a Vegas orchard picking fruit- apricots, figs, pecans, peaches, nectarines, etc. And he saw me holding apricots and asked me if I knew how to eat them. Silly farmer! of course I know how to eat fruit- I eat it off the tree haha....
OK not the answer he was looking for- you open it in 2 halves, remove the stone and sprinkle some salt, chipotle and lime on it. And then it's ready to eat (tastes amazing on watermelon and mango- even cilantro and black pepper can go on top)  :D I skip the salt now but chipotle goes in everything nowadays. 

On a side note, in the evening I wanted to make some anklets and bracelets. I have never been into crafts before, NEVER; but I had these beautiful beads laying around and wanted to make bracelets. However, I realized that I had to order elastic string for it in order to complete my jewelry-making skills out. 

Beautiful Beads- semi precious stones. Two colors of turquoise, rose quarts, garnets, etc.

Thats all my foods and activities for the day :)

These is probably around 1700 calories at around 80/10/10 ratio (carbs to fat to protein percentage from calories)

Love and Light 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Vegan Diet and Cravings

Q: Hey Ali! I am really eager to know about your eating. If you don't mind answer to my questions. How long you been vegan? Did you chose to eat that way because its healthier or because you just like to? Dont you have some foods that you would really like to eat but don't let youself? For me example, I try to rehab myself from chocolate, chips, burgers and etc, junk food. I know that they aren't good for me but still, Im thinking about these kind of food a lot. It is kind of stressing. However, I dont let myself loose and eat junk food, but Im thinking bout them often. Have you had something similar or whats your opinion on foods thats not good to our body and what can stress us out when we forbid ourselves to eat them?

A: Hi, these are some really important questions for anyone that is considering going vegan or just switching their food habits and going towards a cleaner, more natural diet. 
I have been vegetarian for just under 20 years and more than half that time vegan (on and off). 
When I first became vegan it was just an intuitive decision. I was probably 15 and had never met or heard of a vegetarian before that so I didn't know what I was doing and had no examples of vegetarians in my life. I felt that it was the right thing to do and dropped meat out of my diet. Then I started reading spiritual literature and it became more of a spiritual practice the way Osho said that veganism is just a part of Buddhism. 
I appreciate the health aspect of vegetarianism but for me it's more a choice of non-violence and an intuitive need to eat that way. 

Do I have cravings? - Not any more! I am not sure if I have strong will power and once I decide something I do it or just eating this way makes you really appreciate and crave fresh food. Personally I enjoy everything I eat and I crave fruits and veggies. I do prepare some chocolate dishes and hot cocoa whenever I crave that. (I will post the recipe for the cocoa below)  If I crave chocolate I  have some healthy chocolate. I am not very dogmatic. But if you eat enough dates and fruit you actually satisfy your sweet tooth and you get your carbs in so I find that I don't crave chocolate. 
As far as meat cravings go- I think the same applies. Give your body solid, good nutrition. You can even recreate your favorite foods in a healthy version- such as lentil burgers, black bean chipotle burgers, etc and your body will adjust. Just make sure that you eat enough carbs so you don't get overly hungry. If you under-eat then your body will try to overcompensate and crave high caloric foods. 

Replace chips with big plates of steamed potatoes with a good dressing as well as kale chips. I find that to be so satisfying and filling that I don't crave fried food. 
It takes a while for you to develop the habits but once you do you never really look back.
I have not had a fried food craving for 10 years now :D I have developed an attraction to clean, high quality food and I can smell the rancidity of cooked oils and there is no way I can look and crave it or think that it could be yummy. i can really taste  low quality oils and ingredients and it doesn't appeal to me. For example white sugar tastes empty and unsatisfying to me. Your body can tell there is no nutrition in low quality foods and after a while you begin to dislike them. 

Definitely don't stress and don't exclude foods - just include so much good food that your cravings fall off. If you mess up and give in and have something "unhealthy" don't feel guilty.  THE GUILT ONLY PERPETUATES BAD HABITS AND CAUSES ONE TO SIMPLY GIVE UP. Just have a huge salad the next meal and keep moving forward. The body eventually adjusts to liking just vibrant, high quality food. And if you are eating right 90% of the time that's enough. There is even some evidence in support of cheat days- they can be healthy. SO PERHAPS WORK A CHEAT DAY INTO YOUR WEEK AND ENJOY! 

Hope that helps! 

Here is the raw cacao drink recipe:
you can omit any of the ingredients that are not available in your country.
Raw or regular cacao powder 
Dandelion root (or chicory coffee such as INKA which is widely available in Europe)
Shilajit (it's high in minerals,  Enhances energy and stamina, it's detoxifying, Supports healthy menstrual functions, Supports the immune system and much more)
Cayenne powder (hot pepper, chipotle)
Hazelnut Stevia (or stevia, honey, maple syrup, unprocessed sugar, palm sugar, etc)
Optional organic essential oil of peppermint (less than half a drop - it's that strong)
Almond milk

You can heat the milk and mix everything in, stir and serve. It's delicious!