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!  


6 thoughts on “Striving for Optimal Digestion

  1. I love how you said what you eat and how your body reacts with food is a journey. It's so true! I definitely always go through different phases with foods I eat and sometimes they bother me and other times they don't. It's definitely a positive and a negative because sometimes you get to try foods you never thought you would like and other times your stressed about what you can eat.Good post I am super curious about that green soup. I'll have to find a recipe sometime! = ]

  2. you are so right when you say 'its all a journey!' i've definitely had ups and downs with my digestion and i'm learning that sometimes things get worse before they get better. but overall- it turns to better

  3. Hi Lauren,I absolutely love you and your posts. Have you checked out Melomeals: vegan for $3.33 a day? If not, google her she's fantastic. I also recommend the Crazy Sexy Life Diet by Kris Carr. As well as her doc CrazySexyCancer. As someone who just got diagnosed with Crohn's it is amazing to have so many empowering, talented, beautiful women who inspire me to be mindful of what I eat, drink, and think. Definitely check out my blog as I post daily inspirational thoughts as well!!xoMorgan

  4. Wow – guys! Thank you so much for all of your sweet comments. It means so much to me, you have no idea! Thank you Morgan for the the great suggestions…I will def check out your blog and Melomeals…also I love Kris Carr so much, yet I have never read her books. I did see her movie and from then on she has been such an inspiration. It brings me such joy to be able to bring positivity into all of you. Thank you again so much for being a part of my blog. muah! xoxox

  5. I love your blog! I look forward to new posts! This post was amazing! I find I can eat corn with no problem, but popcorn, never!!! Also, I can't take spicy. Cayenne is fine, but hot peppers, etc. Kill me.I've seen that kraut in different flavors, going to have to try it! And I will be making that soup! Mm!

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