Striving for Optimal Digestion


So last Saturday I was hit with a very unexpected bout of pain. It started before I went to morning yoga and by the time I got home from class I was in bed taking pain pills. I knew I was having an obstruction and luckily I knew exactly what caused it. I have been secretly late-night snacking on corn on the cob. I know, kinda weird & so so bad of me. I should know better. I somehow rationalized that if I can eat raw foods all the time, why not eat some corn? Yeah, corn and popcorn should be banned from my household all together. They are evil. I don’t know how many times I need to experiment with disaster to realize this. There is good news though! Typically my obstructions throw me into a full flare that usually last at least 7 days. I was fully recovered within a couple days. I find this to a very positive thing.

As much as I think I know what foods bother me and what doesn’t, its all very hard to figure out. Some things that I was convinced I could eat, creep up and give me problems. Some things I used to crave, I no longer want. Some things I used to not be able to digest, I can now eat. Sometimes I have to experiment with probiotics, increasing or changing brands. I’m always over-thinking food combining. Instead of eating everything in sight and not being aware of the combination I’m putting in my stomach, I now stop and consider what I’m putting in my mouth. I eat small frequent meals all day. I try not to drink too much before or after a meal. Always trying to not eat after 9 pm. It can make your head spin with all the variables to consider! It’s all a journey. Trying to figure out what my body wants, needs, or repels. It can be an aggravating process but in the end its all worth it. I will always strive for perfection when it comes to optimal digestion. I may think about it too much but I know how much the struggle is worth to have good back-to-back digestion days.

Lately I’ve taken notice to how heavy my body feels after eating cooked meals. I was doing the 80/20 ratio for raw foods but as the season turned I was craving warm foods and eating lots of cooked meals. For some reason, although I was craving them, my body was not happy after eating them so I am back to being more strict with the 80% raw 20% cooked. It feels really good to be in control again!

Another thing I realized this week is that I need fermented foods in my life. They make my digestive system happy. Below you will find my new favorite discovery of Raw Kraut.

So enough about my discoveries for the week. Let’s get to the fun stuff…what I ate! 

One night I was craving Italian so I made brown rice pasta with Marinara, mustard greens, Daiya Mozzarella, lots of garlic and raw diced red pepper. Mustard greens remind me of broccoli rabe – it went perfect with this dish!

Mid week came and I had a hankering for a Rueben. I don’t know what came over me but I HAD to have one. So I went home to experiment and came up with my version of a “rueben salad”  

Mix vegan mayo with ground mustard and a touch of hot sauce. You could probably add tomato paste as well for the thousand island effect. While sautéing your tempeh strips, add the mayo and saute just enough to coat all the tempeh. I topped this with diced raw pickles, raw kraut, caraway seeds to mimic the rye bread and then placed it on top of a collard leaf so I could roll it up and eat it as a wrap. 
This definitely hit the spot. Exactly what I needed. 
This is the new kraut I was talking about! Wow, is it good. I hate to post it though because I don’t think its easy to get. I know they sell it at the Union Square farmer’s market in NYC and in a few retail locations, but otherwise you have to visit the farm store in upstate NY to purchase it. Here is their website. This stuff is way better then the kraut I have been eating! 
One day for lunch this week I treated myself to a meal from Quintessence, my favorite raw restaurant in NYC. On the left is the tostada: a crunchy tostada shell topped with nut-meat, guacamole, sour kreme, pickled jalepeno’s, tomatoes and hot sauce. I absolutely love this dish!

Take a look at that soup! This bowl of green goodness was so fresh and tasty. It was made of kale, spinach, celery, extra virgin olive oil, celtic sea salt, lemon juice and avocado. I topped it with a side of wild rice, scallion and garlic. The perfect meal to ward of those nasty colds that are floating around! Even my non-raw eating friend at work was impressed by the color and ran out to get himself a bowl. I was so happy. Its always really nice to show people that raw tastes good.
This salad was amaaaazing. I posted on facebook that I have been craving spicy foods and this was definitely one of those hit the spot meals. I “flash steamed” kale and mustard greens. Topped them with radishes, red pepper, sprouts, sunflower seeds, raw kraut and the key ingredient: chipotle chili powder sprinkled on top. This is what gave it the kick I needed. I enjoyed it so much that I had it three times this week! 
One of my mainstay snacks are salad boats. They are so crunchy, fresh tasting and easy to pickup and eat. This one is topped with cashew cream cheese, red pepper, kraut, and lots of sprouts! 
The RA Vegan posted a banana ice creme dessert she was having and that made me pull out the blender and make my own version. Yummmmy. Frozen bananas, a few strawberries and a splash of almond milk blended into this thick creamy treat. I topped it with raw mint chocolate shavings. 

Last but not least, some soup!
Cabbage happens to be anti-inflammatory veggie, that can help to prevent swelling and tenderness. It contain lactic acid which helps in disinfecting the digestive tract.
 I keep hearing about how healing cabbage soup is for colds, how high in nutrients it is (vitamin K, B, C, phytonutrients and fiber!), it’s great detoxing effects and how it can contribute to gastrointestinal health. Since nasty colds are prevalent right now,  I’ve been loading up on green juices, garlic and immune boosting things like this soup. I researched a few recipes and came up with my own. It came out really good, it was really easy and very reminiscent of my grandmother’s famous stuffed cabbage. 
Cabbage Comfort Soup
1/2 head of cabbage, sliced into thin ribbons
3 potatoes, skin on, diced into 1/4″ cubes
1/2 onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14.5 oz.) can of crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper
32 oz. vegetable broth
4 cups of water
olive oil
Heat olive oil in pan and brown the potatoes for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and onions and saute for another 5 minutes. Next add the cabbage, vegetable broth, water (enough to cover cabbage) and tomatoes. Bring to a boil then turn down heat and let simmer for 45 minutes or until cabbage is soft. Serve hot with a slash of olive olive oil, vegan parmesan cheese and freshly ground pepper. 

Juice of the Week!
Hope you all have a great Halloween! I have goodies in the dehydrator right now. Next post I will share some new recipes! I also purchased a lot of new yummy products from the health food store and can’t wait to review them for you!  


Raw Banana Bread Recipe

After a few attempts, 3 to be exact, I think I have finally perfected my raw banana bread! As you all may or may not know, I am totally in love with the raw breads from Rayo De Sol (pictured below) I can’t quite figure out how they get their bread to be such a perfect chewy consistency. Maybe after a few more attempts at my own, I will figure it out. 

Until then I need to share with you this recipe, which in my mind has become the best thing I have made in my dehydrator so far. Yay!
Raw Banana Bread
makes about (24) 2-inch squares
1 cup almond meal
1 cup golden raisins
2/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 cup carrot pulp
4 bananas, mashed
1 tsp almond extract (you could use vanilla instead)
3 dates
1 tsp water
1 tbls cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 tbls agave nectar 
1/3 cup almond butter
Soak dates in water for at least a half hour to soften them up. Drain water and remove pits and place in processor with 1 tsp of water and puree into a thick paste.
Next, chop your walnuts roughly into small pieces. 
If you do not have carrot pulp on hand, make some carrot juice for yourself to get some pulp! Mash your bananas. Now we can start adding all the ingredients to a bowl. 
Mix all together until well combined.

Flatten on a Teflex sheet to about 1/4″ thick.
Dehydrate at 105 for about 14-18 hours or until you are happy with the consistency.  Make sure to flip half way through to “cook” both sides!
cut into squares and enjoy!
I like to spread nut butter or Rawtella on mine for a breakfast snack…mmmm.
Since I am on the subject I would love to share with you some benefits that banana’s can have on the digestive tract. A banana a day instead of an apple a day is a great idea!

– They are very easy to digest. They help in restoring the colon and they can help to promote regularity.

potassium is important for digestive health because it helps to regulate the amount of fluid and electrolytes in the intestinal tract.

-A banana provides 3.1 g of fiber, which is the perfect amount… not too much, not too little for our sensitive intestines.  The fiber bananas provide in the diet help with digestion by absorbing toxins and providing the material necessary in intestinal waste that expands and stimulates peristalsis, the muscle movement that propels elimination.

Water provides the fluid necessary for balancing intestinal waste consistency essential for maintaining healthy bowel regularity. Bananas provide 75 percent of its composition as water, contributing to the daily water intake that combines with food and propels its movement through the digestive tract.

-A banana provides 1.3 g of protein. The protein the banana provides repairs and maintains the digestive tract tissue and slows the digestion of carbohydrates, the body’s primary source of energy. If carbohydrate absorption occurs too quickly, the blood sugar elevates suddenly and metabolism becomes imbalanced. Including a banana in the diet improves the regulation and maintenance of the metabolic system.

-Bananas also help neutralize stomach acids, and are preventative against ulcers.

Hope you all had a wonderful start to the week!


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Chia is an ideal food for nearly everyone

Native Americans consumed the seeds of the chia plant for hundreds of years before the arrival of Europeans. Chia was cultivated or gathered by the Aztecs, Mayans, and other Native Americans. In most of these cultures, chia was a staple food considered to be sacred, and was consumed specifically for greater energy by runners, warriors, and athletes.”Chia” is even the Mayan word for “strength”, and Chia seeds used to be referred to as “Indian Running Food” because they are so energizing.

Chia seed is a naturally miraculous energy source from the earth. 
  • Chia is an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, boron, niacin.
  • Contains all essential amino acids
  • Vitamins B, D & E.
  • 20% protein by weight
  • More digestible protein than beans, soy or peas.
  • 8.7 times the omega-3 in wild atlantic salmon.
  • 5.4 times the calcium in 2% milk.
  • 2.7 times more iron than raw spinach.
  • More antioxidants than blueberries.
  • Mucin – reduces inflammation in digestive tract <———Good for Crohn’s!!

Low In Sodium and Cholesterol-Free
Chia contains less than half the sodium of flax seed, per serving. This is important to those with high blood pressure and concerned about sodium intake. As a plant-based source of Omega-3, Chia is cholesterol-free.

Promotes Hydration

One of the exceptional qualities of the Chia seed is it’s ability to absorb more than 12 times its weight in water. Its ability to hold on to water offers prolong hydration. Fluids and electrolytes provide the environment that supports the life of all the body’s cells. Their concentration and composition are regulated to remain as constant as possible. When you eat chia seeds there is a greater efficiency in the utilization of body fluids, and the electrolyte balance is maintained.
Helps in Weight Loss
Chia is very filling. As more Chia is eaten, there’s less room for fattening foods.

Stabilizes Blood Sugar

Chia Seed reduces blood glucose swings and supports conditions of hypoglycemia and diabetes. Chia’s soluble fiber exerts a stabilizing influence on blood glucose levels by regulating the rate at which complex carbohydrates are digested and assimilated in the body. This creates steady, stable blood glucose levels…which also means steady, high energy levels.
Builds Endurance
The Mayan word for Chia is “strength.” Chia builds stamina and endurance because it steadily releases slow-burning glucose into the bloodstream.
Chia has a high energy to weight ratio, (more than wheat, corn, rice or oats) that makes it a favorite choice of long distance runners and other athletics.

Source of Fiber

Chia seed produces a thick mucilage in water, absorbing up to 30 times its weight in water. This soluble fiber cleans the intestines by binding and transporting debris from the intestinal walls so that it can be eliminated efficiently and regularly. A daily dose of chia seed provides an excellent fiber source and most people notice a difference in less than a week.

Efficient Assimilation

As a source of protein, Chia seed is digested and absorbed very easily. This results in rapid transport to the tissues and utilization by the cells. This efficient assimilation makes the Chia very effective during periods of rapid growth, as in children and adolescents. Chia is also helpful for the growth and regeneration of tissue during pregnancy and lactation, and for regeneration of muscle tissue for athletes, weight lifters, etc.


Unlike typical grain-source proteins, chia protein contains no gluten. Chia is an ideal food for individuals having gluten sensitivity, carbohydrate intolerance, hypoglycemia, Celiac Disease, Crohn’s Disease, or for anyone wishing to avoid common gluten-containing grains like corn, barley, and wheat.

Stays Fresh

Chia contains the usual Vitamin C, ferulates, and Vitamin E. The real secret is the Cinnamic acids that guard the omega-3 oils from oxidation. This is why chia is a stable product for years! Unlike flax seed, chia seed can be stored at room temperature for 4-5 years.

Superfood for People with Food Allergies

Chia seed is great superfood for all people, including individuals exhibiting food allergies, food sensitivities, or food and chemical hypersensitivity. One study found no evidence of allergic response to chia, even among individuals having peanut and tree nut allergies.

How to use Chia Seeds:

Mix Chia seeds into yogurt, sprinkle them on cereal in the morning, add to salads, or even add them to your baking. There are many ways to add chia seeds into your daily routine. Chia seed drinks can be prepared simply by adding water, fruit juice, or stock broths, etc. Not only will it increase the nutrients of whatever food it’s prepared in, its absorbency makes the natural flavor of the broths or soups even richer.
Chia Protein Pudding Recipe here

Chia Gel: One of the most common ways to consume Chia seeds is to make a Chia gel. To make Chia gel, place 1/3 cup Chia seeds into a sealable container, add 2 cups of water, and whisk briskly. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, and then whisk again before placing into the refrigerator. The mixture will turn into a gel, and will last up to 3 weeks, if refrigerated. The recommended dosage is 3 Tablespoons 3 times per day, and the gel may be incorporated into jam, cereal, yogurt, smoothies, or any other foods for consumption. One pound of Chia will make approximately 24 cups of gel, which will last over a month, if consumed at the recommended amount of 3 tablespoons of gel 3 times per day.

Chia Meal: Chia seeds can be ground into a powder and added to smoothies, used in baking or cooking, or substituted for Flax seeds in recipes. They have a pleasant nutty flavor. Refrigerate Chia after grinding it.

Chia Sprouts: Anyone who has ever owned a Chia Pet knows that Chia seeds sprout quickly and easily. They are ready to eat in 5-6 days. Click here for detailed instructions on how to sprout chia seeds at

Chia Gel with Applesauce: Mix your Chia Gel with unsweetened applesauce. Add sweetener to taste. You can also add some cinnamon for extra flavor. A pinch of salt is optional.

One way I love incorporating them into my day is from this great drink by Mamma Chia. I absolutely love the energy I get from one little bottle plus I know I am doing my body good feeding it so many Omega-3’s. So far I’ve enjoyed every flavor. The consistency is a little gel-like but not so bad. I typically can’t do things like tapioca or bubble tea because I don’t like the gumminess but this I can tolerate without any problem!
…if you are into Organic good-for-you skin products check out this line I just discovered. This has chia as the star ingredient. Chia can be great for your skin too – who ever knew?
One Love Organics

I have perfected my Raw Banana Bread and am so excited to share with you on my next post. Hope you all had a healthy beautiful Fall weekend!

And the Liebster Award goes to….


I am so honored to announce that I received a Liebster award from my blogger buddy the The RA Vegan! She is using a vegan diet to help manage her symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis. It’s so great to hear about another illness being helped by the Vegan diet.  It just goes to show how good it is and how many various ailments it can help! I’m so happy for her that she is managing her RA better by eating healthy. Keep up the good work! Let’s all send positive vibes her way to help in the healing process! Check out the blogs I listed below – all very different in their own way, but each and every one are portraits of positive and beautiful people trying to help others all while trying to heal themselves. Love to all of you! Thank you for for always brightening up my days!  xo

“Liebster” is German and means ‘dearest’ or ‘beloved’ but it can also mean ‘favorite’.

The idea behind this award is to bring attention to bloggers who have less than 200 followers and show your support during Vegan Mofo!
The rules of winning this award are as follows:
1.       Show your thanks to those who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2.       Reveal 5 of your top picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3.       Post the award on your blog.
4.       Enjoy the love and support of some wonderful people on the www!
And the Liebster goes to:

Warming Cauliflower Stew with Potatoes & Leeks

I had a lot of leeks and cauliflower on hand so I got creative in the kitchen last night. I wasn’t expecting much because I was kind of adding things as I went along, but surprisingly the end result was worthy of sharing with you!
Warming Cauliflower Stew with Potatoes and Leeks
1 leek, light green and white parts only, sliced
2 potatoes, skin left on, cubed
olive oil
1 head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
1 carton of vegetable broth (4 cups)
salt and ground pepper
Frank’s Red Hot or any hot sauce (yes this makes the soup!)
1 tsp curry powder
juice from half a lemon
soymilk or unsweetened milk of choice
fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
  1. Cut the leeks lengthwise and clean under running water to remove all the dirt. Slice and add to pot with a few swigs of olive oil. Saute for a minute or two.
  2. Add cauliflower and cubed potatoes and saute for a few minutes longer until leeks are soft. 
  3. Add vegetable broth and let simmer on medium-low heat for about 25 minutes or until vegetables are fork-tender. 
  4. Reduce heat to low and ladle 3 scoops of soup in to blender. (Let cool before blending otherwise you will have a hot mess on your hands!) Blend with just enough soymilk to get a smooth and silky consistency. You want it to remain thick and not too watered down. 
  5. Add the pureed mixture back into soup and mix well. Add curry and few drops of hot sauce and juice from half of lemon. Don’t worry, the hot sauce doesn’t make the soup spicy, it just balances out the flavors very well.  Start off with 3 drops and work up from there according to taste. 
  6. Serve with lots of fresh chopped parsley and fresh ground pepper. 
Pureeing some of the soup and adding it back in gives this stew a lovely creamy consistency.  I instantly warmed up all-over after eating a bowl of this. I always seem to be cold, so that kind of effect makes me happy 🙂
Simple and quick dinner idea:
Over the weekend I was craving pizza but didn’t want to go through the trouble of making a crust so I made these instead….
Portabella Pizzettes
Saute mushroom caps in a little olive oil. Once cooked through, add cheese and allow to melt for a few minutes (I use Daiya) and then top with Tomato Sauce. I added blanched broccoli for color and crunch. 
The Cinnamon Snail
Every Sunday I visit my local Farmers Market. The main reason I go is to stock up on cheap kale and fresh tomato sauce and the other reason is to indulge in meals from the best Vegan food truck around! They have a whole line up of sandwiches, breakfast and tons of fresh pastries & donuts. They also serve raw pizza and a few raw desserts!
Words can’t even describe how good Adam’s food is. I need to know his magical secrets! I hear a cookbook is in the works so I am super excited. If I could learn to make one thing it would be this:
Provincial White Wine Grilled Tofu
with white truffled cashew cheese, kalamata olive tapenade, arugula, onions and fried sage leaves 
This was to die for. I sat in my car eating this and inspected every bit of food and thought to myself “how!?” How does one create such unbelievably tasty vegan food, on a food truck nonetheless?
Adam has some talent for sure and I am so lucky to be local to his truck so I can enjoy his creations. 
Maple Mustard Tempeh 
My second favorite!
with roasted garlic aioli, kale, tomato and onion
Gluten-free Peanut Butter Blondie

Raw Rasberry Bar

could eat one of these everyday!
Check out their menu here
They visit Hoboken, Newark, Jersey City and Snail’s home-base is in Red Bank, NJ.
Adam also does custom cakes and catering orders!
Next week they announce their pre-order Thanksgiving menu which I cannot wait to see! This year will be my first holiday doing this diet so I think I’m going to trust in the Snail to help me not miss the regular food!
Almost forgot….
Juice of the Week!
2 apples
4 stalks of kale
1 lemon
2 stalks of celery
5 romaine leaves
1 pear
handful of parsley
Hope everyone is having a wonderful and healthy week! 
Look out this weekend for new recipe posts and some information regarding these little power-packed seeds:

Breakfast Treats

Breakfast sometimes can be a tough one while being on a raw diet. There’s only enough raw nut granolas or smoothies you can do. I’ve been trying to get creative to mix it up a bit so breakfast doesn’t get boring. 
I typically have a green juice and something raw in the mornings but on the weekends I like to treat myself to warming breakfasts such as oatmeal, hot chai tea or if I want a real special treat –  vegan pancakes. 
This past weekend’s treat was 
Pumpkin Cinnamon Oatmeal
Make oatmeal as you normally would. (I use the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Old-Fashioned Oats) I cook mine on the stovetop in a sauce pan, covering oats with water and bringing to a boil.  Let water cook down and oats get soft. Add a few scoops of canned pumpkin and a good shaking of cinnamon, handful of raisins as its cooking and at the end add milk of your choice. 
Another breakfast I have been enjoying a lot is 
Raw Banana Bread with Rawtella Silk Spread
Now if you haven’t tried the Silk flavor of the Rawtella line, you are missing out! Instead of all Cacao it has coconut butter and vanilla making it a “White Chocolate Spread”. Its so delicious! 
I attempted to make my own Raw Banana Bread. It turned out great but still tweaking things. When I get it down-pat I will post recipe!

For the last two weeks this has been my all time favorite mid-morning breakfast snack. Its kinda like a raw “bagel” with cream cheese. 
I discovered Dr-Cow’s Cream Cashew Cheese.  Its creamy and oh so delicious.
I spread it on raw bread or crackers and top with sliced organic tomato, a pile of fresh sprouts, and sprinkle of Herbamare, fresh cracked pepper and Dulse flakes
One other breakfast item that always revolves in my mix is 
Chia Protein Pudding. 
I doctor it up with a few beneficial additions. 
Overnight I set chia seeds in nut milk, with a tsp of Maca powder, one tsp of Maqui Berry powder and a scoop of Sunwarrior Protein Powder Vanilla  & a dash of cinnamon.  Then in the morning its ready to go – you may add fresh berries or more milk if you’d like! This gives me so much energy in the morning. 
One more recipe before I go. I know, I know, it’s not Breakfast but its too good not to share with you. 
 I was so surprised at how easy it was to make and how darn good it was!
Tempeh with maple, 
mustard, & balsamic glaze

Adapted from 1,000 Vegan Recipes
1 pound of Tempeh, cut into 2″ bars
3 tbls balsamic vinegar
3 tbls pure maple syrup
1 1/2 tbls spicy brown mustard
1 tsp Tabasco or Hot sauce 
(don’t worry this doesn’t make it hot – just balances out sweetness of vinegar)
1 tbls olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup vegetable broth
salt and pepper
1. In a medium saucepan of simmering water, cook the tempeh for 20 minutes. Drain and put aside. 
2. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, and Tabasco. 
3. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the tempeh and brown on both sides, turning once, about 4 minutes per side. Add the garlic and saute about 1 minute longer. 
4. Stir in broth and salt and pepper to taste. Increase heat to medium high and cook for about 3-5 minutes or until liquid is nearly evaporated.
5. Add the reserved mustard mixture and cook for another few minutes, turning the tempeh to coat with the sauce and glaze nicely. Be careful not to burn. Serve immediately. 
I served it over lightly steamed kale. It also reheated very well the next day! 
This is my favorite kind of Tempeh – Flax flavor & organic. 

Juice of the Week

Tis’ the season to enjoy the benefits of pears. They help keep the lungs moist in preparation for the Winter! I’ve been adding them to my daily juices all week. 

The Green Lean Bean

Until next time…

The Green Lean Bean is now on Facebook!

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Hi everyone!
 I’ve gotten such a good response from some of you folks for starting my blog and since we all seem to be on Facebook nowadays, I’ve decided to make a page for The Green Lean Bean. This way we can keep in touch more often and connect with others in the same boat as us! I will be posting healthy tidbits along with articles I come across online in my researches and positive, fun things to get you through the day. Please follow the link below and “like” the new page. 
Thank you so much for all your support. It means the world to me.