make healthy food taste good

6 Mistakes in Cooking Yummy Vegan Meals: Make Healthy Food Taste Good

Okay, so, vegetables and giant salads for dinner… are you getting excited? I am assuming that if you were about to eat a gourmet meal at a restaurant, with a ton of oil and sugar, you’d get much more excited, right? There is this bias out there in the world that making healthy food taste good is impossible.

I get it, trust me. I used to make plenty of vegan meals in the beginning of my vegan journey that I could barely stomach or finish. However, let me tell you that once I understood my mistakes and learned a few tricks, I fell in love with vegan food, and making healthy food taste good became a breeze for me.

I want to share with you 7 common mistakes when trying to make vegan, healthy food taste good. And don’t worry, of course I will present some solutions to each – I won’t leave you hanging!

Once you learn these simple strategies, you will get as excited about your home-made meals, that will be bursting with flavor, as you do about a gourmet meal at a restaurant.

And if you’d like to learn more about this topic, be sure to register for a live training that I’ll be teaching for FREE on March 30th, 6PM PST by entering your name and email here:

 

And now, let’s get into the common mistakes when trying to make healthy food taste good.

6 Common Mistakes When Trying to Make Healthy Food Taste Good + How to Make Flavorful Vegan Meals  

make healthy food taste good

  1. Mistake #1 when trying to make healthy food taste good: believing that healthy food = bland, boring food

I always like to start with mindset. If you believe that healthy food is always bland, boring, and tasteless, well then, it will be!

When I look at fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds I get inspired. I am in awe of their beauty. I know them so intimately that I can envision exactly what meal can be created out of using each of them.

food pairings for nutrient absorption

Fruits and vegetables are extremely beautiful – if you look at food photos, there is nothing more appealing than a meal made up of colorful produce. You just have to know how to enhance their flavor a tiny bit, and you can easily create something that will totally tantalize your senses.

This is a photo of a home-made meal that took me less than 15 minutes to prepare. It is satisfying, super healthy, and it looks so beautiful.

So many people think that the food I create takes hours, and is very complicated. But the truth is, I just know some simple tricks around the kitchen that I have learned over the past 5 years of working with healthy food. If you know these tricks, you can easily do the same!

So how to fix mistake #1?

Start believing that firstly, fruits and vegetables can easily create a healthy, tantalizing meal. And secondly, know and believe that you can easily prepare it, even if right now, you do not know your way around the kitchen at all.

  1. Mistake #2 when trying to make healthy food taste good: purchasing ingredients and produce that is not ripe and fresh

When produce becomes your main meal, you cannot expect to be able to turn bad-quality basics into a healthy, delicious meal. 

healthy food taste good

Making healthy food taste good is about starting with really great quality basic ingredients. Splurge a bit on your fruits and vegetables, and you’ll see that it skyrockets the taste of your meals!

One of the best tips I share in my online course, “The Effortlessly Flavorful Vegan Kitchen”, is how to store fruits and vegetables in a way that ensures their flavor.

A Little secret from the course: your tomatoes do not go in the fridge. That is one sure way to ruin their delicious flavor.

So purchasing organic, ripe fruits and vegetables is a great starting point. You can find these at your local co-op, health food store, or farmer’s market. The longer they have been transported from another country, the worse their taste will be.

In addition, buying produce out of season is also a bad idea – it usually entirely loses flavor by the time it gets to you.

What I like to do is shop seasonally, and get most of my produce from local farmer’s markets and fruit stands. If nothing good is available, I go for frozen. Frozen produce is usually picked ripe and then frozen, so it tastes wonderful.

I also stay away from purchasing canned beans and legumes. I prefer to buy dry, organic ones and cook them fresh after soaking them. This makes them more flavorful, and that way I can ensure they have been cooked in a healthy way, and avoid extra aluminum and BPA (chemicals that are usually found in cans).

If you are struggling with budget when it comes to purchasing good-quality produce, read my post here with tips on budget-friendly vegan shopping.

  1. Mistake #3 when trying to make healthy food taste good: not using enough spices and seasonings

My grandmother, who inspired my love for healthy food, never uses spices. I am pretty sure she is just scared of them and doesn’t really know where to start.

Not only are spices extremely food for you (they are a primary source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds), they also make food absolutely delicious and enhance the flavor of produce.

In “The Effortlessly Flavorful Vegan Kitchen”, I lay out the formula for flavoring your meals right. It is a step-by-step method, one of the steps being “flavoring”. I explain my favorite spices to use, and how much of them I use in meals.

I love using spice blends and seasonings. Let me share some of my favorites with you: cajun seasoning, chili blend, chicken seasoning (funny, I know), cumin, smoked paprika, chipotle, cayenne pepper, turmeric + black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, onion and garlic powder, and many more.

I like to purchase these at my favorite online store called Vitacost.

A general rule is to start with about ½ teaspoon per large dish, and to taste test to see whether you need more – is the flavor bold enough? Can it be enhanced further by adding a bit more? Increase slowly – 1/4 teaspoon at a time.

When picking which spices to use, think of the culture you are borrowing from. Use a chili blend + chipotle for Mexican-inspired recipes, curry powder for Indian, and cumin and cilantro for Thai, etc.

I also love adding nutritional yeast to recipes that I want to taste cheesy, and even to Mexican-inspired dishes as well.

You can make any vegetable taste wonderful by adding spices to it – don’t be shy and experiment your way into it.

4. Mistake #4 when trying to make healthy food taste good: not using enough salt

Many people think of salt as the devil, trying to avoid it at all costs in an attempt to remain healthy. The result of this is that your food ends up tasting very bland compared to restaurant or processed food.

Sea salt really kicks up flavor. Unless you have a specific health issue, like kidney problems or high blood pressure (in which case you can get yourself used to eating lower sodium content), you should not be afraid of good-quality salt.

I like to use Himalayan pink salt, or Celtic sea salt. Start with ¼ teaspoon per dish, and add more if needed.

I also love adding different types of seaweeds to my vegetables, including wakame, nori, and dulse. These are extremely mineral rich, and provide iodine. They also taste amazing in any Asian-inspired dish.  

Another one of my favorite additions are fermented foods. 

The fermentation process enhances the flavor of salt and sour in the original mixture, so this can also help you eat lower sodium. If can use just a small amount of kimchi, sauerkraut, ume plum vinegar, or miso to boost flavor.

A little health tip when it comes to fermented foods: be sure to purchase raw and unpasteurized varieties to preserve the beneficial gut bacteria they provide (for better digestion), and add them when the food is relatively cool in order not to destroy the probiotics in them.

In “The Effortlessly Flavor Vegan Kitchen”, I also teach how to actually ferment any condiment (such as home-made salsa and sriracha) yourself – it’s an extremely easy process.

  1. Mistake #5 when trying to make healthy food taste good: making your meals too dry

Imagine a bowl of quinoa and chickpeas. And that’s it. Very healthy, but definitely needs some kind of enhancement beyond just spices and sea salt.

There are two mistakes when it comes to making your meals too dry.

healthy food taste good

The first one has to do with health:

A big mistake here is to pour on the olive oil. I am a huge advocate for taking out the oil from your diet, and this is one of the biggest things I teach in the course.

A very healthy vegan meal of vegetables can turn into extremely unhealthy when you add olive or coconut oil to it. Does this surprise you? Did you hear that oil is really good for you?

Wrong. I explain all of the reasons why in the course, but here is some research to show you why coconut oil and olive oil are unhealthy.

The second mistake has to do with flavor:

Just because you don’t use oil, does not mean your meals should not taste AMAZING. The trick is to know how to create delicious, flavorful salad dressings, dips, and sauces.

Oil-free sauces combine all of the elements of flavor that I have discussed so far, and more. These sauces make your vegetables really stand out.

They are based on soaked nuts and seeds, as well as nut and seed butters. These sauces are much lower in fat than oils, and include other ingredients to cut down the fat content. They provide an amazing creaminess to your meal.

By the way, here you can download my 3 favorite oil-free vegan sauces, dips, and dressings.

It does not take a genius in the kitchen to know how to create these dressings, dips, and sauces. It simply requires understanding a basic step-by-step method to do it right. This is the method I teach in “The Effortlessly Flavorful Vegan Kitchen”.

If you want to learn the basics of this method, be sure to register for my upcoming live training here:

  1. Mistake #6 when trying to make healthy food taste good: cooking in a bad mood

Every time I cook in a bad mood, my meal does not turn out as delicious.

It has been scientifically proven that you lose minerals when you eat when you’re upset. Similarly, you should not cook in a bad mood.

Instead, try to do a guided meditation, talk to a good friend, or get your energies out through movement. Only when you are happier, begin to prepare the meal.

I even like to take in my love for every ingredient in the meal while I am preparing it. I tell ya – it makes such a huge difference in flavor!

Whether you are only cooking for yourself, or for your family, visualize health when you cook. Think of all the health benefits this amazing meal you are creating will bring to you and them!

make healthy food taste good

So these are all of the mistakes you can possibly make when trying to make healthy food taste good. Start to believe that healthy vegan food can be extremely exciting. This is where the change starts. 

Which strategy was your favorite, and one that you will begin implementing immediately?

Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Chipotle-Cilantro Cashew Sauce Recipe

Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Chipotle-Cilantro Cashew Sauce Recipe

Nothing makes a meal more delicious than the sauce! The chipotle-cilantro cashew sauce I used to top these poblano peppers gave them such an amazing flavor. It can turn any plain veggie + quinoa meal into heaven, seriously. And you only need a tiny amount.  

When I started my raw vegan journey, I really could not tolerate cashews. They were so harsh on my stomach. If you are struggling with any nut sensitivity like I was, just take some time off of eating them – a good few months. Then try again – the sensitivity often disappears! 

And I am so glad it is gone now! I love using cashew sauce in different dishes to augment the flavor. I don’t believe cashews should be the main source of your calories, of course. Sauces made of nuts and seeds are there to give our meals a boost of flavor and creaminess. 

You only need a small amount of this sauce to really enhance your taste bud experience. And it helps you get in more veggies – so who can argue with that?

Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Chipotle-Cilantro Cashew Sauce Recipe

The Cooking Process

It was so much fun creating these stuffed poblano peppers, topped with cashew sauce. First, I roasted the peppers. Most people roast vegetables in oil, but there is absolutely no need. Roasting oil-free simply means placing your veggies on a tray lined with parchment paper and turning on the oven. It’s that easy.

After properly roasting the peppers, I then decided to leave the seeds in. Because I am a spicy gal. They were not all that spicy – poblano peppers are pretty mild. But of course, you can scrape out the seeds.

While they cooked, I made my quinoa by just dumping all ingredients into the pot. And meanwhile, I blended up all my cashew sauce ingredients. It was that easy!

Make the recipe with me, step by step: https://youtu.be/fUNY0an11ho

Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Chipotle-Cilantro Cashew Sauce Recipe

It’s All in the Sauce – the Cashew Sauce

I love having easy, flavorful sauces on hand. They make every meal so easy to make, and taste awesome. Plus, sauces that are based on nuts, rather than oil, are so much easier on your digestion, and healthier for you.

Eating a bit of fat in your meal is important for allowing you to absorb all the fat-soluble nutrients in your meal. Don’t make it your main meal – just add it to your delicious carbs for a complete feast. 

My love affair with sauces, dips, and dressings that are actually healthy (and oil free) made me create an entire online course entitled, “The Effortlessly Flavorful Vegan Kitchen”. In the course, you can learn all about flavoring your meals with simple, quick, oil-free sauces, dips, and dressings that literally take under 5 minutes to make. The course will also teach you about improving your digestion through not only food, but many different (and often surprising) lifestyle factors. 

Remember, you can download the exact recipe for this week’s cashew sauce here. When you download, you will also enter the wait list for the course so you can be the first to hear all the details!

Now, let’s move on to making this delicious recipe.  

Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Chipotle-Cilantro Cashew Sauce Recipe
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Prep Time
15 hr
Cook Time
30 hr
Total Time
45 hr
Prep Time
15 hr
Cook Time
30 hr
Total Time
45 hr
Ingredients
  1. 6-8 medium poblano peppers (you can also use any other kind of pepper you'd like)
For the sauce
  1. www.soulintheraw.com/oil-free-vegan-sauces/
For the stuffing
  1. 1 cup quinoa, soaked overnight in filtered water
  2. 2 cups filtered water
  3. 2 cups baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  4. 1 cup frozen corn
  5. 1 medium leak, washed very well and roughly chopped
Topping
  1. Chopped cilantro and a sprinkle of chipotle powder, or smoked paprika for less spice
Instructions
  1. Start by pre-heating the oven to 500F.
  2. Place the poblano peppers on a parchment-lined baking tray, and put in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until they start to go a bit black on the outside.
  3. Meanwhile, drain and rinse your quinoa really well, and place it in a pot of boiling water with the mushrooms, frozen corn, and leek (be sure to wash the leek very well as it usually has a lot of mud on it). Cook for about 20 minutes, or until all water is absorbed.
  4. While these are cooking, prepare your sauce by placing all ingredients in the blender, and blending really well. Exact instructions here: www.soulintheraw.com/oil-free-vegan-sauces/. You will probably have a lot of sauce left over, but trust me, this will not make you sad in any way! Use it with any vegetables as a delicious drizzle.
  5. When the peppers are done, take them out carefully, and slice them in a half with a fork and knife as they will be very hot. You can take out the seeds to make them less spicy at this point.
  6. Then, stuff them with the quinoa mixture, and top with some cilantro for garnish, a drizzle of the cashew sauce, and a sprinkle of chipotle or smoked paprika.
http://soulintheraw.com/
cucumber noodles

Cucumber Noodles with a Creamy Asian Sauce: Raw Vegan, Oil Free

These cucumber noodles were developed to perfection when I was teaching classes locally, here in San Diego. I wanted to develop a recipe that was unique, flavorful, and very easy to make. The Asian, or Thai sauce, goes perfectly with the crisp and fresh cucumber noodles. I know that zucchini noodles are all the rage, but move over – cucumber noodles are the next big thing, trust me!
cucumber noodles

The process of recipe creation is an exciting one. I actually make my best recipes in my sleep: I dream them up, all the flavor combining in my mind. Then I wake up, and immediately write down the ingredients quickly so that I don’t forget them. This is a truly creative process, but with raw vegan food it’s so easy. There is a specific easy formula that I use when I do this, and it can work for anyone!

Making your Own Vegan, Oil-Free Sauces

After years of eating a high-raw vegan diet, meaning most of my calories coming from raw food, I came up with a very easy method for making my own sauces. Knowing how to make your own oil-free vegan sauces is critical. Without sauces, vegetables do not taste as flavorful.

Think of eating a plate of cucumber noodles and broccoli. And that’s it. Doesn’t sound so appealing, does it?

Well, when you have an incredible sauce, like this raw vegan Asian, or Thai-inspired sauce, eating broccoli, kale, or any other vegetable, becomes exciting! 

This is why I am so excited to share my online course with you, which comes out this March 2017. It will teach you how to make your own sauces, dips, and dressings, and to improve digestive issues in the process. The step by step method I developed for creating these is easy, and helps you eat your food without oil, using only pure ingredients.

Now, this oil-free raw vegan Asian sauce is a great example of how you can use my formula to make delicious sauces easily. And finally, give those vegetables some much-needed flavor! 

Get Rid of Oil, Improve Digestion

And why do I teach oil-free recipes? Because oil is one of the main reasons that many vegans still experience digestive issues. I explain all about this in this blog post.

Perhaps you are intimidated by the idea of getting rid of oil from your diet. I was too, when I decided to try it. Including oil in your diet can make you feel heavy and tires, or bogged down. I realized that I needed to change something about my diet to feel good again.   

If you’re feeling tired, or experiencing digestive discomfort, getting rid of oil is definitely the first step. And there are many more things you can do – which I teach in my course.   

Don’t be intimidated by excluding oil from your diet – it’s quite easy, really. You will learn the basic idea in this video:

https://youtu.be/MJHO3LK9fEM 

If you want to learn how to do this in depth, with the step by step process in detail, wait-list for my online course here. You’ll also receive 3 delicious, oil-free vegan sauces to download and make when you waitlist.

Now, let’s get into our recipe for today: the cucumber noodles with Asian sauce!

Cucumber Noodles with a Creamy Asian Sauce

Making this recipe is really quick and easy. First, you will make your adorable and refreshing cucumber noodles.

cucumber noodles

It is really important to remember to place them in the fridge while you make your sauce so that they stay cold and do not drip out liquid. Cucumbers are extremely water-rich, and when you leave them out of the fridge they will start to “sweat”. You know, like us, on a hot day!

Then, blend up your sauce, and add any vegetables you like on top. You can use tomatoes, red bell pepper, cauliflower, broccoli, or green onion, all sliced very thinly.

cucumber noodles

This process is all about having a simple, quick oil-free sauce to mix with your vegetables and give them flavor. Anything to make us eat more veggies, right?

Cucumber Noodles with a Creamy Asian Sauce
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Total Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
For the veggies
  1. 1-2 English cucumbers, or 4 small cucumbers
  2. 1 cup chopped broccoli florets
  3. For the sauce, see ingredients here: http://soulintheraw.com/oil-free-vegan-sauces/
Instructions
  1. First, spiralize your cucumbers. You can do this using any of the methods I describe here.
  2. After you make your cucumber noodles, make sure to place them in the fridge while you are making your sauce so that they don't release too much liquid, or "sweat".
  3. Then, make your sauce following the instructions in the downloadable PDF: http://soulintheraw.com/oil-free-vegan-sauces/
  4. Lastly, mix the cold noodles with about 4 tablespoons of the sauce (or as much as you want), and top with chopped broccoli. You can also use any other vegetables you like, such as mushrooms, tomatoes, bell pepper, green onion, etc. - all thinly chopped.
http://soulintheraw.com/

 

vegan eggplant parmesan

Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Recipe: Oil Free and Gluten Free

I always love combining both raw food and cooked food in a hearty recipe – that way you are getting the awesome benefits of those. And this vegan eggplant parmesan is perfect in this sense. The scrumptious oil-free baked eggplant, the fresh tomato, and of course, the raw vegan parmesan. Oh yum! 

The secret to any delicious main dish is always in the sauce. Don’t you agree? In the case of this vegan eggplant parmesan, the sauce is in pate form – crumbly and perfectly crunchy. The raw vegan parmesan sprinkled on top of our dish, and also between its delectable layers, makes the whole thing come together beautifully.

Vegan Oil-Free Sauces for the Perfect Vegan Meals

Be sure to download the raw vegan parmesan recipe here. It’s actually part of a brand new course that is going to come out this March. In the course, I am teaching you all about oil-free salad dressings, dips, sauces and pates for improved digestion. Oh and flavor! 

Becuase no vegetable dish could ever taste as amazing as when it is immersed in the mouth-watering sauce!

And if you are an eggplant lover like me, be sure to make these mini eggplant pizzas. There was a time when all I ever wanted for dinner were these. And we ate them none stop! A crowd pleaser for sure.

And now, let’s get into our vegan eggplant parmesan recipe.

vegan eggplant parmesan

Vegan Eggplant Parmesan, Stacked 

This dish is a bit different than the traditional vegan eggplant parmesan. Ok, ok, I know that saying “traditional” and “vegan” in one sentence can be silly. But to me, vegan is now traditional!

More than being vegan, this dish is also stacked – you will layer all the vegan eggplant parmesan layers on top of one another instead of how they are usually presented. This is a lot more fun to eat, because it becomes an appetizer. 

As you can see in the video recipe, I was not able to put an entire stack in my mouth. If you’d like to be able to do that, be sure to make them shorter than I did.  

While many vegan eggplant parmesan recipes are very high in oil and fat, this one is higher in vegetables. It includes eggplant, tomatoes, and even cauliflower, in the sneaky cauliflower parmesan cheese. It also includes basil, an extremely healthy herb that has made one of the top spots in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s ANDI score of healthiest foods!  

vegan eggplant parmesan

Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Stacks Recipe
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
For the stacks
  1. 2 eggplants
  2. A few pinches of your favorite Italian herbs (optional)
  3. 2 roma tomatoes, or heirloom tomatoes
  4. 1 small bunch basil
  5. A few pinches of smoked paprika (optional)
For the Parmesan Cheese
  1. Recipe here: http://soulintheraw.com/oil-free-vegan-sauces/
For the eggplant
  1. Cut the eggplants into medium-size rounds, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle your Italian herbs on top of each round - this is optional.
  2. Bake at 375 Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes, or until the eggplant is very soft. Use a fork to pierce it and make sure it's soft enough.
Putting it all together
  1. Chop the tomatoes into round disks, like the eggplant. Tear a few leaves of basil and put them off to the side.
  2. Take the oil-free baked eggplant out of the oven, and allow it to cool slightly.
  3. Then, create your stacks by layering the base of eggplant, tomatoes, a leaf of basil, and 1-2 tablespoons of your prepared Parmesan. You can make as many "floors" as you like. Lastly, sprinkle with smoked paprika if you'd like. Top with a beautiful fresh leaf of basil.
http://soulintheraw.com/

 

digestion

5 Things You’re Not Doing to Improve Digestion on a Vegan Diet

A whole-food plant based diet is one of the best ways to improve digestion due to its high fiber content. However, it does not always do the trick. If you’re suffering from bad digestion, constipation, bloating and the like, simply being vegan may not be enough. There are some specific tweaks that will really help you majorly improve your digestion, even if you’re already vegan. 

When I first went vegan, I was already dealing with some pretty severe digestive issues. I took every supplement under the sun to try to improve them. But nothing really worked.

I moved, I ate peppermint (+peppermint essential oil), I took natural laxatives, I fasted, I juiced – you name it, I did it.

In fact, my constipation only got worse. I often felt as if I was having a heart attack as a result of it!

It was extremely frustrating. When I was constipated, my self-worth often went down. My mood immediately plummeted significantly, and I just wanted to lay in bed and not function.

Are you familiar with those moments when you feel like there is a heavy block of stuff stuck inside you, and nothing can move it out except some crazy laxative pill?

I have gone through over 4 years of pain and discomfort to get to a point when finally, I was able to improve my digestion on a vegan diet! And I want to share my most important, scientifically-backed lessons from this experience.

digestion

Watch the video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUrGTsjJFIk 

Improve your Digestion on a Vegan Diet While Eating Delicious Food

The tips I am about to share are part of The Effortlessly Flavorful Vegan Kitchen, my brand new online course that will help you improve your digestion through an insanely delicious, easy, and unprocessed plant-based vegan diet. The course will help you put these digestion-improving tips into practice, and will provide even more tested information on how to kick-start better digestion.

To learn some amazing strategies to make your own delicious vegan meals that benefit digestion, register for my FREE LIVE MASTERCLASS: 

Free Live Masterclass: How to Create Flavorful Vegan Meals Effortlessly

Learn to create easy, oil-free vegan meals in 15 minutes or less!

Sign up for the free Live Masterclass

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Enter your name and email to register for the free live training: How to Create Flavorful Vegan Meals Effortlessly: My Simple 7-Step Method that will Make you Confident in the Kitchen, Without Using Recipes

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5 Things You Can Start Doing Right Now to Improve Your Digestion

Let’s dive into the 5 things you may not be doing to improve your digestion – and you can start doing these right now! Just keep in mind that these are all food related items. In my course, I will be teaching you all of the strategies I have used to improve my own digestion, including aspects that go way beyond food. 

And another important thing to keep in mind: don’t look for specific supplements to save you or heal you immediately. Healing your digestion TAKES TIME and there is no magic pill! It’s a process that will happen by eating more and more plant foods, and watching your general dietary patterns rather than focusing on specific foods to eat and not eat. 

There is no single magic pill. It’s about the combined impact of your daily choices – this is how you will improve your digestion! 

  1. Improve Digestion: Eat More Greens

Dark leafy greens are incredible for digestion because they lower inflammation. They provide fiber, amazing nutrients, and are super easy to digest. Even if you are eating a heavy meal, make sure to always include greens on the side.

In addition, greens and other fibrous fruits and vegetables are pre-biotics for the good gut bacteria in your gut. It is what feeds the good bacteria, and the good bacteria determines our digestion. So definitely eat your greens, and get enough fiber through plant foods to keep that healthy bacteria working. 

The easiest way to incorporate more greens into your diet is to start your day with a green smoothie. Incorporate greens into any of these heavenly smoothies. My favorites are lettuce, spinach, kale, mixed baby greens, and cilantro. 2 handfuls per smoothie is a great amount.

digestion

  1. Improve Digestion: Eat Unprocessed Plant Foods Most of the Time

Imagine yourself in a beautiful garden, half dressed (you are currently a prehistoric woman), picking delicious fruit off the tree or bush. This is what we did for thousands of years. And this is what we digest best today as well. 

In order to have regular bowel movements and to improve your digestion, you gotta eat like our ancestors did. Our gut is used to eating simple, unprocessed plant foods. Try to eat as close as you can to the original: fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, and small amounts of nuts, seeds, avocadoes, coconuts and olives in their whole form.

Stay as far as you can from packaged foods, and if you do buy a package, make sure all of the ingredients on there make sense to you – no funky stuff with weird names!

And if your digestion is in extremely bad shape, make sure to start eating very simple foods. For example, make sure that there are no more than 5 ingredients in every meal you eat, and eat a high-fruit diet – which is easy to digest for most people. 

  1. Improve Digestion: Avoid Oils

Speaking of processed foods – oils are in this category. The ABSOLUTE KEY to how I healed my digestive issues was to stop consuming oils!

Because oils go through a process to be made from nut/seed/fruit into pure fat, not only do they lose a ton of nutrients on the way, but they can also easily be oxidized.

Omega 6’s are plentiful in plant oils like olive, coconut, canola, sesame, and many more. Consuming mostly omega 6’s, as opposed to omega 3’s, leads to inflammation. And inflammation is a major cause of digestive issues and other serious diseases. 

When you stop eating oil, your digestion can improve, that terrible heavy feeling after meals can drift away, and you can even lose weight. 

I know it can be intimidating to remove oil from your diet, especially if you’re used to cooking with it and adding it to salads. I know because it took me forever to do it myself, in a way that I actually enjoyed! 

This whole struggle is exactly why I created my brand new course. Un this course, I make this move easy, fun, fast, and most importantly – PACKED WITH FLAVOR. 

The #1 way to give up oil is to learn to blend up flavorful sauces, dips, and dressings without using oils. Having these on hand will make any main vegetable meal sing. The unique aspect of my brand new online course is that you will not only get 50+ sauce, dips, and dressing recipes. You will also get 3 weeks of main meals using those recipes. AND I will teach you an easy step-by-step method for creating your own sauce, dressings, and dips without having to constantly learn more new recipes! 

Exciting, isn’t it? I cannot wait to share this all with you this March 2017. 

Free Live Masterclass: How to Create Flavorful Vegan Meals Effortlessly

Learn to create easy, oil-free vegan meals in 15 minutes or less!

Sign up for the free Live Masterclass

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Enter your name and email to register for the free live training: How to Create Flavorful Vegan Meals Effortlessly: My Simple 7-Step Method that will Make you Confident in the Kitchen, Without Using Recipes

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Ok, now let’s get back to learning out digestion-improving strategies.  

  1. Improve Digestion: Consume Raw, Rather Than Roasted Nuts and Seeds

Oils and fats are two different things. Oils are 100% fat, while fats like avocado, coconut, olives, nuts and seeds contain many beneficial nutrients, as well as carbohydrates, proteins, and of course fats, in varying amounts. As such, oil is a processed food. It is an extraction of a perfect package, as it is found in nature. 

I highly recommend including modest amounts of healthy plant-based fats in your diet. Unroasted fats are best for optimal digestion. 

Roasting nuts can damage their fats and make them more prone to oxidation. Oxidized nuts can be rancid, and taste strange. And rancid nuts are inflammatory and even carcinogenic. And as already mentioned, inflammation often leads to weight gain and digestive issues. 

Raw and unroasted nuts and seeds from a trusted source are best for digestion. One great way to make sure they are fresh is to get them from a local farmer, in their shell. Alternatively, buy organic, packaged nuts. Nuts that are in the bulk bins at your local health food store tend to go rancid quickly due to their exposure to air. Chopped or ground nuts and seeds also go rancid quickly, so make sure to chop them only when you are about to use them, and store them in the fridge or freezer.

  1. Improve Digestion: Soak + Sprout

The last way to improve digestion on a plant-based diet is by soaking and sprouting. 

In my course, I will teach you exactly how to soak and sprout nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes. I will also provide a printable chart with soaking and sprouting times and instructions.

I have already written about the benefits of soaking and sprouting to increase nutrient absorption of protein. Soaking and sprouting are also extremely beneficial for better digestion. Soaking and sprouting release phytic acid, which can be hard to digest. It decreases cooking time and digestion time for some harder to digest foods, like nuts, seeds, and beans. These are foods that are hard to digest for many people. But nonetheless, you should still include them in your diet due to their incredible health benefits.  


Those are all of the food-related tips I have for you. Just remember, improving digestion is a process that happens over time. It is not magic. It takes a bit of work, but it is so worth it! The results are ever-lasting if you just continue to establish a healthy pattern as I have described.

Here’s to healing all of our digestions! 

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Vegan Breakfast Recipe: Ginger Turmeric Oatmeal

The vegan breakfast recipe  I am about to present to you may sound very strange at first. When I told my friend I was putting turmeric in my oatmeal in the morning, she said I had to create such a recipe and prove to her that it actually tastes good. But you know me, right? I never create any recipe without being absolutely sure that it tastes divine.

And this vegan breakfast recipe definitely does. So much so, that I have it on  many cold mornings. And my favorite part is that it is so easy to make – it literally takes less than 5 minutes to put together.

Watch the video recipe:

Inflammation 

Inflammation is at the root of many different illnesses, from arthritis to bronchitis. Many -itis, I know. Inflammation has been really interesting to me lately, and if you have been following me for a while, you would know that I have researched it a lot. This is because I have discovered that inflammation can be an issue when it comes to menstrual cramps. This is something I am still looking into, and reading research on, and I promise to report back soon.

Meanwhile, If you want to learn more about inflammation and its impact on the body, I highly recommend reading this article that I wrote.

Turmeric: the Anti-Inflammatory King

In the article I have already written on inflammation, I mentioned that research found that 4 spices/roots are particularly important in fighting inflammation – be sure to check out the article to learn what they are.  

Here, I want to focus on the true king of anti-inflammation: turmeric.

There has been extensive research about the amazing health benefits and preventative abilities of turmeric: 

  • Turmeric and disease: a study showed that turmeric stops or slows pre-cancerous changes in the body from becoming cancer. Research has also shown turmeric’s positive impact on digestion, as it helps the gallbladder produce bile, drive ulcerative colities to remission, atherosclerosis buildup, infections, inflammation in the eye (uveitis), and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer, Parkinson, multiple sclerosis, and more. All in all, a pretty impressive track record for a little orange root!
  • Turmeric and inflammation: turmeric is stronger than many anti-inflammatory drugs in its impact on the body! Inflammation puts humans at risk for such a huge variety of disease (such as ones mentioned above like cancer, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, and more), and it is incredible to learn that turmeric was found to be stronger than Ibuprofen and aspirin in fighting inflammation, as this study found. 
  • Turmeric has been found to be safe, tolerable, non-toxic, even at 8 grams per day.

vegan breakfast recipe ginger turmeric oatmeal that is so easy to make

Vegan Breakfast Recipe: Ginger Turmeric Oatmeal 

Looking at all of these incredible health benefits of turmeric, I have decided to be start consuming it every single day in small amounts. This vegan breakfast recipe was a perfect way to start my day turmeric-rich.

The best part of it was adding the black pepper to enhance turmeric absorption, as so many studies have shown that turmeric is not very bioavailable to the body, and so it does not get absorbed when eaten on its own. Black pepper does the magic. I have written more about this, including a delicious savory recipe that includes turmeric + black pepper, here

This sweet vegan breakfast recipe is quick, easy, and super yum. I also sometimes like to make it the night before, if I am rushing somewhere, and eat it in the morning. It makes it even more soft and breaks down the oats further to let them sit overnight, but it’s not a must.

vegan breakfast recipe ginger turmeric oatmeal that is so easy to make

Vegan Breakfast Recipe: Ginger Turmeric Oatmeal
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Total Time
10 hr
Total Time
10 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup rolled oats
  2. 1/2 cup water
  3. 2 tablespoons maple syrup (you can also chop up 5 Medjoul dates instead)
  4. 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric (or freshly grated)
  5. 1 pinch of black pepper
  6. 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (or freshly grated, less if you don't like ginger)
  7. 1 cup frozen or fresh berries of choice
Instructions
  1. Mix oats with water, maple, turmeric, black pepper, and ginger, and mix really well. Add in the fresh or frozen berries. I love to use blueberries or raspberries in this recipe.
  2. Let sit for 10 minutes, or overnight in your fridge for a mushier oatmeal.
http://soulintheraw.com/

 

turmeric and ginger

Anti Inflammatory Foods: Turmeric Ginger Shots to Fight Inflammation

Inflammation, a marker for heart disease and the cause of pain in our bodies, impacts millions of people. Not surprisingly, there is a strong link between inflammation and your diet. For example, a 1989 study found that foods like animal products, sugar, fat, salt, caffeine, and night shades (like tomatoes and eggplant), all worsen inflammation. Research has also found that the inflammatory part of dairy is protein, not the dairy fat. Do not despair, though. Thankfully, we can take control of our lives and fight inflammation with anti inflammatory foods. 

In this post, I am going to briefly go over what inflammation is. Then, I’ll discuss the difference between acute and chronic inflammation, and which diet helps fight chronic inflammation best. I will also provide my favorite recipe for a combination of anti inflammatory foods: an anti inflammatory juice recipe. 

What is Inflammation? 

Inflammation is a part of the body’s biological response to harmful stimuli. These include pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants. It is the body tissues’ protective response in the immune cells and blood vessels. Inflammation is meant to eliminate the cause of cell injury, clear tissue damage, and begin tissue repair. 

Acute Versus Chronic Inflammation 

Inflammation can be either acute or chronic. Acute inflammation is the body’s first response. It starts quickly and becomes severe very fast. Symptoms include bronchitis, sore throat, cut on the skin, sinusitis, and more. Exercise can also result in acute inflammation.

Prolonged, or chronic inflammation, lasts for several months or years. It leads to a change in the type of cells at the site of inflammation. It can result from not removing whatever was causing the acute inflammation, an immune system attack on healthy tissue, or a chronic irritant that is not removed. Asthma, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are all examples of diseases that include chronic inflammation. 

As you can see, the body’s inflammatory response is extremely important and necessary. But when it turns into chronic inflammation, then there is something wrong. 

Anti Inflammatory Foods: the Vegan Diet

Research has shown that the vegan diet is a very anti-inflammatory diet. A 2002 study found that in just one month, consuming a low-fat vegan diet severely reduced rheumatoid arthritis-related pain. Another study found that a raw vegan diet reduces join pain in rheumatoid arthritis patients.

In addition, obesity is strongly related to inflammation in the body. Since a health whole-food vegan diet keeps us thin, it is a great way to ward off chronic inflammation. Obesity is also linked to altered bacteria that reside in the gut and produce chronic inflammation. This can interfere with insulin signals and eventually lead to Type 2 diabetes. Studies have found that a certain type of bacteria is more commonly found in vegans and vegetarians. This bacteria plays a critical role in disease prevention, such as intestinal disorders, obesity, and inflammation.   

Anti Inflammatory Foods: the Spices that are Research-Proven to Fight Inflammation

Dr. McDougall sites several studies that have been conducted since the 1920’s showing a vegan diet to be an effective treatment for inflammation-cased arthritis. Anti inflammatory foods include vegan foods that are high in carbohydrates, and low in fat. Vegetable oils, and all oils, are extremely damaging to the intestines, and suppress the immune system. 

There are also particular anti inflammatory foods that have extra inflammation fighting capabilities.

anti inflammatory foods

4 amazing anti-inflammatory foods that can fight inflammation often better than drugs are:

  • Cloves
  • Ginger
  • Rosemary
  • and turmeric 

Now the cool thing is that you don’t need to use mega-doses of these incredible spices. These anti-inflammatory foods can work with just 1 small pinch in your salad, pasta, or even juice! That is what a recent study has found, and you can listen to more about it here

But, if you want a powerful shot of anti inflammatory foods, this juice I am about to show you would be it. Quick, easy, and powerful, right in your home juicer. I have started using it lately to see how it would impact my menstrual cramps, since this recent study found that cramping during the monthly period is related to acute inflammation in the body. I will let you know of the results soon! 

Anti Inflammatory Foods: Ginger Shots  

This juice recipe is a wonderful way to get some turmeric and ginger into your system, two powerful anti inflammatory foods. 

If you want to include turmeric in another format, or don’t have a juicer, you can download my incredible salad dressing recipe that also includes turmeric with black pepper, for maximum absorption. 

anti inflammatory foods

Anti Inflammatory Juice Recipe
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Total Time
10 hr
Total Time
10 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3 pieces of turmeric (about 4 cm in length)
  2. 2 pieces of ginger (about 5 cm in length)
  3. 2 oranges
  4. 2 lemons
  5. A few shakes of black pepper
Instructions
  1. Juice all ingredients in your slow-speed juicer. Make sure to switch between a piece of each for most efficient juicing.
  2. Add a few black pepper shakes at the very end, and drink quickly, on an empty stomach if possible.
http://soulintheraw.com/

References:

  1. “Which Foods Fight Inflammation?” http://nutritionfacts.org/video/which-spices-fight-inflammation/
  2. Sobel D. Arthritis: What Works. New York, St. Martin’s Press, 1989.
    4. Skoldstam L, Larsson L, Lindstrom FD. Effects of fasting and lactovegetarian diet on rheumatoid arthritis. Scand J Rheumatol. 1979;8:249-255.
  3. McDougall, J., et al., Effects of a very low-fat vegan diet in subjects with rheumatoid arthritis, J Altern Complement Med, 8, 71, 2002. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11890437
  4. “Divergent changes in serum sterols during a strict uncooked vegan diet in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.” Agren JJ, Tvrzicka E, Nenonen MT, Helve T, Hanninen O. British Journal of Nutrition, 2001 Feb; vol. 85, pp. 137-9.
  5. Glick·Bauer M, Yeh M·e The health advantage of a vegan diet: exploring the gut microbiota connection. Nutrients. 2014:6(11):4822-4838. Available at www.mdpi.com/20726643/6/11/4822/htm. Accessed March 25, 2015.
  6. Spices that help fight inflammation: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/which-spices-fight-inflammation/
  7. Inflammation and menstrual cramps: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/behindtheheadlines/news/2016-06-23-study-suggests-that-inflammation-is-behind-period-pain/
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How to Deal with an Unsupportive Family and Parents as a Vegan

As new and even veteran vegans, many of us often deal with an unsupportive family. Our family may not agree with our personal choice of becoming vegan. Whether it is because they are traditional and don’t believe we can survive without eating animal products, or because they are afraid we won’t get enough nutrients, or they think that a vegan diet is too restrictive, families often get very concerned about this transition and make it even harder on the new vegans among us.

In this blog post, I will address how to deal with an unsupportive family as a vegan. I have combined the advice and tips of 4 awesome vegan bloggers who, like many vegans, have had to deal with these situations. They each have their own unique approach about how to deal with an unsupportive family, and I have also added my top tips as well. I hope these will be helpful to any of you who are struggling with a family member who gives you that look (or comment) at the dinner table, or those of you who really want your family to go vegan and you don’t know how to talk to them about it.

If you’re a newbie vegan reading this and want more tips on how to go and stay vegan, read my mini-guide post: Becoming Vegan: How to Transition to a Vegan Diet + a Raw Food Diet. It’s loaded with great information that will support you on this journey.

And if you want to hear some funny vegan family stories and more of my tips, check out my video:

Now, let’s get into some great tips on how to deal with an unsupportive family as a vegan.

How to Deal with an Unsupportive Family as a Vegan: Set an Example

Many family members have probably told you that you are pushing your vegan diet on them. Whether you actually are or not, it is quite possible that they will perceive you as pushy if the concept of veganism is very new and strange to them.

Both Janine, from Jolie Janine, and Tiasha, from Shine with Nature, suggest a gentle approach with your family, and acting as an example, rather than preaching, as a main strategy. 

Janine says, “Try and come from a place of understanding and not push your family and friends too much (even though that might be hard at times). Show them how great you feel on the Vegan Lifestyle and be an example of all the benefits it brings. When they see how well you are doing they will become interested and will want to know more about Veganism. Don’t force them.”

Tiasha says, “just be the example and show them what’s possible. Live what you preach and the results that they will see on you will naturally get them curious. This is exactly what we want. To get them curious. But don’t try to convince them into something because it will not work. If we begin proving something to someone, we are actually telling them that we are smarter than they are. And by doing that we only destroy their ego. We will never be able to influence them like that. Also, nobody likes a “know it all”, so don’t come out like you have all the answers, this will again make them feel like you are superior to them in a way. Instead, make them curious and get them to ask questions.

If they want to argue with you about it, they are probably concerned. They are usually asking questions like: “But where do you get your protein?!” or “No, you cannot survive without meat!!”… What I would do in this case is not try to win the argument, I would just say: “Hm.. I’m not really sure. Where do YOU get your protein?”, or to the second argument that you cannot survive without meat, I would just say: “Yes, maybe. But this is currently working for me. I feel better than before but you may be right.” By letting them know that you’re not so sure about everything yourself, it actually has a positive effect on the relationship. This way, you are reassuring them.”

I have a great example of being able to do this in my personal life. When my partner and I started our vegan journey, his family were very confused of what we were doing. They often mocked us, lovingly, and blankly stared as we chugged our giant delicious green smoothies.

Deal with an Unsupportive Family

While my partner would often harass them with, “your intestines are probably rotting right now because of all the animal carcasses you just ate”, I took a different approach. Perhaps it was easier for me to do this because I didn’t feel comfortable yelling at them…

Every get together with them, I’d bring a delicious vegan or raw vegan dish, and ask them to try it. The more time went on, the more they could see how serious we were about being vegan. That it was not just a fad, but a wonderful lifestyle for us. They saw how good we felt and looked, and also really enjoyed the food we brought for them to try.

His parents are now mostly vegan, and are striving to completely cut out animal products from their diet. It took over 5 years of being an example to them, but it was so worth it! They always tell my partner that this switch is due to my calm, loving, and understanding approach towards them throughout the years.

 

Similar to my approach, Sivan Berko also suggests meeting people where they are at, and trying to understand where they are coming from. “If you know a person likes a specific food/ingredient that is vegan, you want to mention it too. The more vegan options and positive light you show the vegan diet, the more open they’ll be in their subconscious mind. It might take a while, but eventually they’ll get there”.

Now, what happens if your family isn’t vegan and you are eager to help them go vegan, whether it is for health reasons, or ethical reasons? In the next section, I will address this question.

How to Deal with an Unsupportive Family as a Vegan: Backing Your Choice with Research

As Olivia Budgen points out, backing your vegan choices with research and knowledge is a great way to show your family that this is indeed a wonderful way of life.

She says,“It is important to kindly and gentle educate your family about a plant based lifestyle through appropriate tools like films, books and articles. A lot of the time family members will open up to the idea of something when they hear it from someone else. So providing reliable, credible sources about the lifestyle is a great way to get them to think about it. Some films include Cowspiracy, Forks Over Knives, Earthinglings, and Live and Let Live. Books include The China Study, Making a Killing, and Eat to Live”.

Perhaps your family is worried that you are not getting all of your required nutrients on a vegan diet. Or that your diet is too restrictive and unhealthy.

In this case, I highly recommend showing them the website and youtube channel, www.nutritionfacts.org. On there, you will find a plethora of scientific research on the vegan diet. The website collects data that clearly points to a whole-foods plant-based diet as a way to overcome, prevent, and reverse most of today’s leading killer diseases!

In addition, here are a few blog posts with research-based information on leading nutrient concerns that can help you argue your case as well:

How to Get Protein on a Vegan Diet, and Absorb it too!

How to Get Enough Raw Vegan Protein, and Absorb it too

Best Sources of Calcium on a Plant-Based Diet

How to Deal with an Unsupportive Family as a Vegan: Know the Nutrition Facts

Sivan Berko also has some great advice about how to respond to questions about vegan nutrition. “A person’s diet is usually a very sensitive topic. When people first hear about the vegan diet, they don’t have a lot of knowledge. It’s hard for them to imagine how it can work because they’ve never experienced it. So you might be their first “exposure” to the topic. That’s why it’s important to educate yourself on how to do it right and in a healthy way. Be prepared for questions. For example, a lot of people would like to know how to get their protein, iron, calcium, etc.

So a smart thing to do will be to learn about the content of macro and micronutrients on the vegan diet and walk people through the list when they ask you about it.

Since we are so programed to think about animal products as the source of protein in our diet, people never even stop to think if there is another option. But there are lots of protein sources on a vegan diet. They just haven’t thought about these foods or are not familiar with them. Things like: tofu, beans, lentils, tempeh, quinoa, leafy greens, etc.

Same goes for calcium; we grew up thinking that dairy products are good calcium source and great for your bones. But actually, they are your bones’ worst enemy. Because of their acidity, your body actually takes calcium out of your bones to help the body return to an alkaline state again. And that’s not the only damage dairy products cause in our body. There’s a lot of information and research about it online. Where can we get calcium on a vegan diet? oranges, leafy greens, tahini, broccoli, tofu, almond butter, beans and more”.

Indeed, there are so many misconceptions out there about veganism. This is a great opportunity to turn those around, in a loving way.

Hope these tips are helpful for you when you discuss veganism around family and friends. Do you have any additional questions or suggestions that weren’t mentioned? Post them below!

And don’t forget to give a shout-out to our guest contributors: Sivan Berko, Olivia Budgen, Jolie Janine, and Tiasha Slana.

 

top-posts-of-2016-2

Most Popular Posts of 2016

Thank you so much for spending 2016 with me.

Soul in the Raw was launched this year as a full-time venture, passionate pursuit of my heart, and a place to bring connection to all: connection to our body, to the planet, to the animals, and to each other.

top-posts-of-2016-2

 

 

I am so proud of Soul in the Raw, and I am beyond thankful and slightly teary-eyed thinking of how much love and support is flowing from your heart to mine. So many of you have been loyal readers, and so many have experienced healing, on so many levels, from reading Soul in the Raw, and being part of Raw Souls on Facebook.

I have also experienced massive healing and gratitude through the process of blogging on Soul in the Raw. It has changed my life. It has challenged every ounce of patience, motivation, self-love, and self-worthiness that was ever in me. It has taught me to overcome my craziest fears, and my biggest catastrophic scenarios. And I am so very grateful, excited, and overjoyed that I get to be delivering my true passion into our beautiful world for another year, and another…

And it’s all thanks to you, my lovely, amazing readers.

I love you!

And I present to you, the most popular articles of 2016. It makes me ecstatic to see these – as they reflect the core values, and most important nutritional points that I addressed this year. And if you haven’t read them, dive in, because they are packed with incredible nutritional information and recipes that will change your life. I mean it. 

Enjoy them, and I cannot wait to see you back in 2017 with even more transformational content.

Love,

Marina 


Raw Vegan Challenge: 10-Day Learn Raw Vegan Refresh

How to Make Flavorful Oil Free Salad Dressings, Dips, and Sauces Easily

How to Get Protein on a Vegan Diet, and Absorb it too!

Part 2: How to Get Enough Raw Vegan Protein, and Absorb it too

Maca Root for Hormonal Imbalances and 2 Easy Maca Recipes

Raw Vegan Ice Cream Recipe Ebook: 26 Banana Ice Creams

 

 

Raw Vegan Strawberry Santas

Vegan Christmas Recipe: Raw Vegan Strawberry Santas

raw-vegan-strawberry-santa

I have never celebrate a vegan Christmas before. To be exact, I have never celebrated Christmas at all before! Growing up in Israel and born to a Ukrainian family, our Christmas was celebrated on New Year’s eve. It was not religious – we had a tree, a “Santa” (called ded maroz, in Russian), and even presents under the tree.

Russian New Years’ was my favorite holiday ever! And that is why I am so excited to publish a recipe for this vegan Christmas. These truly adorable strawberry Santas look so cute. And I swear I said the word cute at least 10 times in the video, when I made them for you:

This vegan Christmas recipe is delicious, easy to make, and so much fun!  You gotta get the kiddos in on this one – because they will have loads of fun.

First, I wanted to show you how I made Santa’s beard and pompom, using coconut cream. Let’s make it together, step by step:

Vegan Christmas Recipe: How to Open a Coconut and Scrape Out the Flesh 

Step 1: Opening a Young Thai Coconut

For this recipe, we will need the flesh part of approximately 1 young Thai coconut. I will show you the easiest way to get this out.

You will need a cleaver, and either a spoon or a coconut buddie for this. Here is how to get the water and meat out of a coconut, easily:

  1. Use a cleaver to shave off the top part of the coconut husk, leaving you with this:

p1000219

2. Use the bottom tip of the cleaver to whack the coconut in a circle, to get the top to open. You can do this easily by whacking it in a circle around the three middle lines, until you will hear a cracking sound. This means the coconut is starting to open, and then you can insert the tip and use the weight of the cleaver to crack it open completely: 

p1000222

3. Drink the water from the coconut, or save it for later. It’s extremely yummy!

p1000225

4. Use either a coconut buddie, or the back of a spoon, to scrape out the young Thai coconut flesh. You can do this by using the back of your spoon to scrape the coconut, making sure that you wedge the spoon, or your coconut buddie, in between the coconut shell and the coconut flesh. The coconut buddie does an absolutely fantastic job with it, because it is so bendy. You will end up with something like this (perhaps in pieces, not in whole form):

p1000230

5. Clean the coconut flesh of all the hard, woody pieces. You can leave the soft brown pieces – those will blend up well. Just be sure to remove the parts of the coconut shell itself that stick to the coconut flesh.

Vegan Christmas Recipe: A Note on Ingredients and Equipment

p1000274There are two kinds (or more?) of strawberries. For this vegan Christmas recipe, be sure to use the strawberry on the right for better-looking Santas:

 

Also, you will need to use either a high-speed blender to make the cream, or a food processor. Either way, begin on the lowest setting, and work your way up to make some smooth, delicious cream.

 

Vegan Christmas Recipe: Raw Vegan Strawberry Santas

Now, we are ready to make our amazing recipe. From here on, it’s going to be a piece of Santa’s hat 😉 aka cake!

strawberrysanta2

Vegan Christmas Recipe: Raw Vegan Strawberry Santas
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Total Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
For the coconut cream
  1. 1 cup young Thai coconut flesh
  2. 2 Medjoul dates
  3. 1 tablespoon almond butter
  4. 2 tablespoons water
Other ingredients
  1. About 20 strawberries
  2. A few raw cacao nibs for eyes
For the coconut cream
  1. Use a high speed blender to blend all of the ingredients. Do not add extra water - simply blend on the lowest setting for about 2-3 minutes, and then turn the blender up to blend until very smooth and creamy. It will take a few minutes to accomplish.
To assemble
  1. Cut off the leaves of the strawberry.
  2. Then, Cut the strawberry a little from the top.
  3. Place a dollop of cream between the two parts, and place the small cone on top of that dollop.
  4. Add a tiny dot of cream for the Santa's pompom on the very top.
  5. Finish by adding 2 cacao nibs for Santa's eyes.
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