Holiday Spirit & Controlling Negative Thoughts

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Last weekend was such a joyous one. Not only did I get to spend time with my mom’s side of the family Thanksgiving day, but the whole clan on my dad’s side (over 30 of us!) got together the next day for lunch at my Aunt’s. We don’t typically get together on holidays so this was an extra special occasion. It was really really nice to have everyone together. The newest addition of the family, my cousin’s baby (as seen on the left) was the main highlight of the evening. My poor boyfriend hadn’t met my family yet, so I chose that day for him to meet EVERYONE. I give him lots of credit for that – I know I would of been so nervous to meet that many family members in one shot! Needless to say, he was a hit with all of them and did a great job at fitting in. I knew he would.
That night my boyfriend and I decided to have Christmas Tree Decorating Night. We lit the first fire of the season, brought down all the ornaments, decorations and the tree from the attic. We opened a bottle of wine, had National Lampoon’s Holiday Vacation playing on the TV followed by ELF. We even bought our first ornament together earlier that evening and proudly hung it upon the tree. It was one of those nights where I couldn’t stop smiling and relishing in the moment. 

Everything seems to be going right in my life and its amazing how good my health is going along side with my happy heart. I seem to be filled with such joy that I’ve never felt before. I love my job, I appreciate my family so much, I love the cozy home I have created, love my new relationship, and I am so happy to have good health. I can’t remember when I have ever felt this good. I have an abundant amount of energy and such a positive outlook on life.

I look back and compare this feeling to how I used to always feel in my old ways of thinking. I used to dwell on the bad things happening in my life. I would tend to only see the negative things going on and it seems like with a negative outlook, negative occurrences tend to follow. I strongly believe from firsthand experience that happiness can effect your health. I notice that the old way in which my mind worked only had a way of bringing me down. Now that I am back standing up strong with my head high, I feel like I have no fears. No worries for the future. I’m just enjoying every moment in the present state. What I feel now is what I want to always feel going forward. I’m going to try to remember to always look ahead with bright eyes and an open heart. Never look at things in a negative light, because it WILL alter your outcomes.


Negative thoughts be gone!


A little tip to rid of any bad thoughts: This is what I do whenever negative thinking starts to form in my head. I picture it this way because I spend a lot of time in my car. If you want, you can picture yourself riding a bike, running or even having a wave capture your bad thoughts and carrying them out to sea.

Picture yourself driving down the highway and rolling down your window. The wind is blowing through your hair and the whipping air is drifting into your car. Imagine you can grab hold of your negative thought right out of your head….now toss it out the window. Gaze into your rearview, very briefly, for you don’t want to lose sight of where you are going. Take notice to how fast that negative being is being carried away by the wind. Now close the window, turn up the music, start singing, or just recite to yourself that it’s far gone down the road. Its all behind and you are moving ahead.

Hey, it works wonders for me, maybe it can help you too!

Some of my favorite things at the moment:

Essential Living Foods
A really yummy tasting sugar replacement. Doesn’t taste like coconut, nor does it have the bitter taste as most sugar substitutes do. To me it tastes like raw sugar and sweetens my tea and coffee perfectly. 
Teeccino Coffee herbal replacement. Sooo yummy! 

Best dairy-free Creamer I have found.

Forte Teas – especially Chai! I love the cute little leaves that sprout out from your mug while sipping. 

Vega Shake and Go 
Oh my goodness, are these good!! I am loving these in my morning smoothies.  So flavorful!

I’m really into anything ginger right now and these are pretty darn good as a sweet snack. 
Caraway Crisps remind me of my favorite type of bread – Rye! I like eating them plain with sliced tomato or avocado.

Food for Life English Muffins
I cannot get enough of these. I’ve been having one every morning toasted with Earth Balance & strawberry jam or honey apple butter. They are warm and crispy and even have similar “nooks and crannies” like the real english muffins!
Yogi Ginger Tea
This tea has been really helping me with my digestion. I try to drink a cup in between each meal.  I add lots of honey to help make it less “spicy”

Tomorrow I will post my 
Ginger Garlic Miso Soup. 
I’m feeling much better today from my cold!  
🙂

Do you have any favorite products you can’t get enough of right now? Do share!
xo
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I survived Thanksgiving!

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The holiday rush has been eating up my time to blog, so I apologize for my absence. I hope all of you had a wonderful and healthy Thanksgiving! My holiday was great, filled with family, friends, loved ones, and good food. I am so happy to say that this is the first holiday I got through without a flare. (YAY!) I think I can proudly say it is because of my new raw/vegan diet.

Let’s not try to hide it: the holidays are prettttty tough for people on a restricted diet. I knew this would be a huge test for me and my will to avoid bad food as its surrounded me at holiday functions. I’m happy with the control that I had on Thanksgiving Day (no turkey!) but I will shamefully admit that I ate a few bad things.  The last few weeks I’ve been kind of bad with sneaking in wheat, dairy and (sigh) a little meat.  I’m not going to beat myself up too much because, heck, we can’t drive ourselves crazy striving for perfection ALL THE TIME. When I am craving certain bad foods, I do everything and anything to steer clear of them but I know some days I’m going to break and give in.  I feel I live such a healthy lifestyle now, that sneaking in something bad once in a blue moon will not kill me. If anything it teaches me a good lesson: bad food = bad times for my body. Its amazing how quickly I feel like crap when I eat bad foods! Its only reassuring to me to be able to compare how good I feel on a raw/vegan diet. I think as time goes on, I will be cheating less and less because of course, eating a no-no meal is not worth being sick for a few days. Although as much as I know what the negative outcome will be from eating these things, I still battle with myself – when I get a craving it is so hard to control those thoughts. Slowly I am learning though that its just not worth the trouble it causes. Maybe one day I will completely turn away from all bad foods. Maybe not. All I can do is try.

How did you guys do during Thanksgiving? Any cheating or did something set off any bad symptoms for you? Would love to hear!

Instead of making all separate foods for myself I went the easy route and ordered my meal from a local Vegan Chef/food truck….the Cinnamon Snail. I was so excited to have a piece of his culinary magic on my plate during our Thanksgiving meal.

Appetizer: raw sunflower seed “wings” 



wild rice stuffed tofu (huge portion!)
 cranberry relish
 cornbread stuffing
 garlic smashed potatoes
 sage rubbed kale

 Raw Pumpkin Pie for dessert! Yummmy.
Tried to eat small portions. I did ok with the corn this time around…only had a taste! My aunt is a vegetarian so she always brings mushroom gravy. 
I was in charge of making a dessert and I always have the same request. I wanted to make something healthy but since everyone wants my usual Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle, I opted to make it a little healthier without effecting the flavor too much. I made whole grain ginger bread instead of regular. used a healthy, organic, non-hydrogenated whipped topping, used organic pudding mix and halved the amount of sugar. 

My family in which I am thankful for the most!

Off the wagon and now I am jumping back on.
This week I am back in the game. No more cheating. As a result of my bad behavior, I have a cold. Guess that’s what I get for slacking on my green juices! Yesterday was my first day of eating healthy again and I feel amazing digestive wise. Now I just need to get rid of my little cold. Let’s hope its a quick one.
To help battle the sniffles I made a great pot of 
ginger garlic miso soup
I will be sharing the recipe in next blog post. Its really yummy and good for your tummy too!
xo

Peanut Butter Protein Treats

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I am so excited about this recipe. My grandmother for years has been making my brother and I peanut butter rice crispy balls every Christmas holiday. I finally asked her for the recipe one year and was shocked to discover how sugary and fat filled they were. I’ve been wanting to re-make these as a new healthy version while still keeping the great crunchy peanut-buttery taste. At last I have succeeded! To make them even better, I added Sunwarrior Vanilla protein powder… because who wouldn’t benefit from a little added protein in their day? Oh, and totally optional here, but I added Maca powder too for an extra boost to my stamina! The hint of butterscotch taste from the Maca goes so well with the flavors here. 
Peanut Butter Protein Treats
3 cups puffed Millet or puffed Quinoa*
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1/3 cup coconut oil
3 tbls Protein Powder, preferably Vanilla flavor
1 tsp Maca powder
1/4 tsp salt
Mix together all the ingredients and roll into balls.  The mixture is sticky and may require some delicate handling in order to shape into balls. After shaping, let set in freezer for half hour before and after glazing. You can also make them into bars by spreading mixture into small sheet pan. If you are going to make them this way, double the Chocolate glaze below and spread evenly over top. Freeze to set and cut into bars. 
Chocolate Glaze
3 tbls Coconut Oil
1 tbls Cacoa Powder
1 tsp agave nectar
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp salt
Mix all ingredients in small bowl. If making balls, dip one side of the peanut butter balls into the chocolate. If making bars, spread evenly over top. Let set in freezer for half hour to an hour. 
Keep in freezer or fridge in an air tight container.
Enjoy whenever your sweet tooth hits. 
Fast, easy, and a healthy sweet treat. 
*Puffed Quinoa contains more protein and will work well with this recipe. 
*Also you can use brown rice krispies as an alternative. 
mmmm…..enjoy! 
xo

Choose Happiness.

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I have been kind of M.I.A. these last few days partially because I have been doing a juice fast and work has been really busy for me. Another huge reason for my absence is that my boyfriend is back from being away for 2 months! I have been catching up on spending time with him and I have never been happier with his good company 🙂 So I apologize if this post is not too exciting today…I haven’t been in the kitchen a whole lot so I don’t have fun recipes or food pics to share. I do have some neat new products I came across within the last few weeks that I haven’t shared yet. Today is the day I will finally get to them!

So first off I want to tell you why I had to do a short juice cleanse. Last post I said how finding optimal digestion is such a journey. Well this last week or two definitely has been a journey alright. An aggravating one! No matter what I was eating, I was getting very bloated and uncomfortable. Nothing had changed food wise, but I do know how nervous and excited I was for my boyfriend’s return. I was nervous mainly because I didn’t want my tummy acting up when he came home. The perfectionist in me was thriving way too strongly off my deep thoughts. All I wanted was the days of his return to be perfect and without any tummy troubles.  It’s amazing how far my mind can wander in controlling my symptoms. I took action. I started meditating to calm my worry-some thoughts, I was going to yoga every Saturday and doing some stretching and breathing techniques in the mornings, I was drinking calming and ginger tea, taking enzymes, eating my vitamins, consuming smaller meals and chewing as much as I could….yet for some reason I was having a very difficult time with my digestion. The closer the date came to his return, the more worked up I got that things were not going to get better. I therefore had to intervene with a juice cleanse to clean things out and get back on a clean track.

I save all my glass bottles and re-use them for big batches of juices.

Now I can sit here and come up with a million reasons added on to these worries why I think things were off with my digestion. Could it be my anatomy and the way my intestines are twisted and full of scars? Could it be I’m getting too much fiber? Too little water? Is my food-combining off? Is my pro-biotic working properly with my body? So many factors.  Sometimes it drives me crazy to wonder why it’s doing what it’s doing which in turn begins the whole process of my over-driven thoughts. I will admit I think way too much about all this and it is something I am working on letting go of. One thing I do know is now that my boyfriend is back, I am forgetting about my worries. He makes me so unbelievably happy that I’m forgetting about the bad thoughts that have been plaguing my mind recently. Not only has he been so understanding to my Crohn’s but he always reassures me that no matter what happens- if I have a bad tummy day, if I have to cancel plans, or if I need to rush to a restroom, he will never look at me differently. He is trying to teach me to let go of the what-if’s. He reminds me that we will deal with them as they come. There is no point in worrying about them if they have yet to even arrive. So true, yet so hard to train your mind to get there. I’ve come far, but still need some mind-tweaking.

My point here is this: If you are doing everything right by the books as far as feeding your body healthy things and treating it right but you are still not at a point of optimal being, take a look at your mind. Yes, that little dome of yours can be in such control of your body! There is such a deep mind-body connection with your thoughts and your digestion, that its too incredible to dismiss. Kris Carr made a comment in her last newsletter that made me smile. She said “Always remember, your cells know. They have ears. They listen. Think about it.” So true. If you have negative thoughts going through your mind, your body reacts. Step back, take a deep breath and clear your thoughts. From there, take a moment to delve deep into your conscience and try to discover what it is that is holding you back from being the best person you can be. It may not come right away. It may come upon you in a eureka moment days from then. Don’t rush to it. Like I said, its all a slow journey.  For me, it was a matter of finding true happiness. That is where I began to realize what happiness does to my whole-being. My boyfriend’s positive attitude, caring nature, the way he makes me laugh and smile and the reassurance he gives me is something I needed in my life and if you can find people like this that reassure you with positivity, gravitate towards them & don’t let them go. Happiness doesn’t need to come from anther person either. It can be within a hobby, passion, or even a thought. Go out and find something you love to do and bring that joy into your life on a daily basis. It could be something as simple as walking through the fall leaves down your street or hugging your pet. Do at least one happy thing for yourself everyday. Reward yourself with joy and overcome whatever it is that is stopping you from achieving full health. Surround yourself with people who bring you positive energy. Do things that unlock your true inner happiness. When you are in a moment of true joy, capture that feeling and re-create it over and over again in different ways. You may just find how addicting happiness can really be – for your mind, your being, and your physical body.

*********


Product Reviews!

I miss putting yogurt in my smoothies! I have been searching for a non-dairy, sugar free yogurt that doesn’t contain Carageenan. (additive that can cause digestive issues) Low and behold Cultured Amande Almond Yogurt. It is so good. Same consistency has thick dairy yogurt with a subtle almond taste. Perfect! I saw recently they sell small containers in all kinds of flavors at my local Whole Foods. I got these big containers at Deans, a local health store near me. 

If you haven’t tried Rawbundant’s products yet, I’m urging you to give them a whirl! I met Zoe, the owner and operator of this small raw foods business as she was doing a food demo at my local health food store. Everything I sampled was sooo good. I ended up buying the Sweet Vanilla Cream Style Cheeze to put on the Rosemary Raisin Buckwheat Crackers (what a great flavor combo!) Her Bavarian style nut cheeses are so creamy, so decadent. The next time I go there I am getting the new herb cream cheeze. It tasted just like the real thing and I love how there are probiotics in them. I cannot wait to try the new “Mexican Beans” made of sprouted sunflower and pumpkin seeds & sundried tomatoes. They may just be my new replacement for the food I cannot endure yet always crave. 
You can place orders on everything but juices by emailing or calling her :
zoe@rawbundant.com 
(908) 494-9696

For some reason, cabbage, including the raw kraut that I love so much just hasn’t been sitting with me well so I made the switch to these. Wow – they are so yummy. You can definitely taste the ginger which I love because this it helps with digestion.

So listen. Sometimes a girl just needs bread. I know Udi’s is not Vegan because it has egg whites in them but sometimes I just need to indulge in the doughy goodness of Udi’s creations. I was excited to find Millet-Chia Flavor bread at Whole Foods! Cinnamon Raisin Bagels – yes please! I use these toasted to make my PB&J’s that I often crave. I haven’t tried the Gluten Free Tortilla’s yet but I can tell my there consistency and appearance that they will be much better then the Brown Rice Wraps I get at Trader Joes. I will let you know how they are soon.
Yum – this was really good. I liked the fact that it had Flax seeds, Protein, Greens & even Chlorella. I still love my Apple Cinnamon Pure Bars the best but this is pretty up there for having more nutritional value. 

I got these Raw Breakfast Treats at a my local health food store. They were just ok. Kind of bland and too crunchy for my taste. It seemed to be all buckwheat which crumbled everywhere as you took a bite. Won’t be getting these again. 

I’ve been wanting to try these Garden of Life Raw Powders for a long time. This is packed with all great stuff but unfortunately did not please my taste buds.  I even mixed these with milk, berries, peanut butter…seems like no matter what I put in, the chalky cardboard taste still came through. I will definitely be sticking to my Sunwarrior Protein!

I absolutely love Danielle’s Veggie Chips, especially the Coconut. I saw this new flavor and had to try them. They were really good. Too good to be healthy. So I investigated and emailed the company, for there wasn’t any information on the bags or their website on how their chips are made. To get them so crispy, they fry them then bake them. Eww. I will not be buying these anymore. Yes, they have less fat than potato chips, but the fact they are flash fried is not appealing to me at all. 

Last but not least, MimicCreme!! How neat is this? I made Tomato Soup and poured some of this goodness in there to make it rich and creamy. It has a very subtle taste to it alone, it didn’t change the taste to my soup, just the consistency. I think I will definitely be finding all kinds of uses for this. 
Question of the day: Do you guys ever find your digestion changing out of the blue? What do you do to get back to normal?




Raw Buckwheat Recipes

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It seems like this week’s theme was buckwheat. I had a big bag of raw buckwheat groats that I wanted to experiment with and so in the kitchen I went to explore some possibilities of this fruit seed. (Yes, its a fruit and not a grain. Who knew!)



Health Benefits of Buckwheat

  • Buckwheat is high in fiber. 1 cup of cooked buckwheat groats contains over 4 grams of dietary fiber.
  • Buckwheat contains the eight essential amino acids.
  • Buckwheat contains many minerals including: phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese.
  • Buckwheat contains a rich supply of flavonoids, particularly rutin.
  • Buckwheat lowers glucose levels and is beneficial for managing diabetes.
  • Buckwheat has been found to lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol.
  • Buckwheat is a fruit seed and is a gluten-free alternative to grains.

Raw Cacoa Pebbles
From The Idiot’s Guide to Eating Raw
1 cup dates, pitted
1 cup water
2 cups buckwheat groats, soaked at least one hour
1/4 cup cacao or to taste
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp coconut flavor
pinch of cayenne
pinch of salt
  1. Soak dates in water for at least one hour to overnight.
  2. Drain buckwheat groats, rinse well, and allow to drain again. Transfer to large mixing bowl.
  3. In a food processor or blender, place dates, water, cacao, agave nectar, cinnamon, vanilla, coconut flavor, cayenne, and salt. Blend on low speed until a watery paste forms. Add to buckwheat groats.
  4. Divide batter  between two Teflex-lined dehydrator trays. Dehydrate at 110 for 24 hours. Flip over, remove Teflex, and continue dehydrating for another 24 hours.
  5. Remove from dehydrator and crumble mixture in bowl using your hands. Store in airtight container or plastic bag in the refrigerator for a couple weeks. 
This came out really crunchy & chocolaty! 
Best part is that you have chocolate milk to slurp up at the end!
Buckwheat Crackers
from the kitchen of The Green Lean Bean

1/2 cup almond meal
1 cup sprouted buckwheat (directions on sprouting below)
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 tbls nutritional yeast
1 tbls flax seed meal
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbls tamari
2 pinches of red pepper flakes
1/3 cup water
Himalayan sea salt
raw pumpkin seeds for top (optional)

1. In a food processor blend the red pepper, yeast, tamari, crushed red pepper and turmeric.
2. Place pepper mixture in a large mixing bowl and set aside. 
3. Place the buckwheat groats, almond meal, flax meal, and water in processor and mix until a chunky paste forms.

3. Mix this into the red pepper mixture until well combined.

4. Spread thinly onto a Teflex sheet and sprinkle with sea salt and pumpkin seeds. Gently pat down pumpkin seeds so it sets into the batter.

5. Dehydrate at 110 for about 18-20 hours or until crispy. Make sure to flip half way through to cook both sides. Break into cracker or bread size pieces with hands. Store in air tight container for a few weeks in fridge.



Sprouting your Buckwheat
Before going to bed, place a cup of groats in a nut milk bag and submerge in a bowl of water.
Next morning upon waking drain and rinse. Hang from faucet until you get home from work.
When you get home that night or 8 hours later, rinse and then place in a shallow bowl and cover with a  towel. Go to bed. Next morning check on the little guys. The dark warm environment should be making thems sprout. Leave them be another day. 8 hours later before bedtime, rinse the sprouted buckwheats off, let drain and keep in a bowl covered until ready to use. Easy-peasy!



Don’t be daunted by the next recipe. There are a lot of steps in making raw pizza. If you plan accordingly and do one thing a day in a slow timely fashion I guarantee you it will not be overwhelming. Sprout your buckwheat first to make crust. One day make the cheese. Next day make the marinara. Its all worth it, I promise!

Sprouted Buckwheat Rosemary Pizza Crusts
adapted from The Idiot’s Guide to Eating Raw

Makes 2 medium size crusts or 4 mini’s



1 cup sprouted buckwheat groats
1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked at least an hour to overnight
3 tbls flax seed meal
2 1/2 tbls fresh rosemary and oregano
1 tbls of lemon juice
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tbls tamari


  1. Drain sunflower seeds, rinse thoroughly, and drain again.
  2. Place buckwheat sprouts, sunflower seeds, flax seed meal, fresh herbs, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and tamari in a food processor. Process on high until a chunky but unified batter forms.


  3. Scoop batter onto Teflex sheets. You can make a big pizza crust or 4 mini’s. Flatten with your hand and form a little rim on egde to form crust.



  4. Dehydrate at 110 for 15 to 18 hours, flipping over midway through and removing Teflex.





Sun-dried Tomato Marinara

1 fresh tomato, chopped

2 tbls pine nuts
salt and fresh ground pepper
1 tbls Tamari
pinch of crushed red pepper
3 oz. sun-dried tomatoes, soaked for at least an hour to overnight
1 garlic clove, minced

Drain sun-dried tomatoes, but reserve liquid and set aside. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until well mixed. Adjust seasoning to taste.




Cashew Basil Cheese
2 cups cashews, soaked 8 hours
2 tbls reserved sun dried tomato liquid
juice of one lemon
salt & freshly ground pepper
1 tsp thyme
handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tbls nutritional yeast
1 tsp garlic powder or 1 garlic clove
few drizzles of olive oil


Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until a creamy consistency forms.  Adjust seasoning to taste. 


**Please note: This made more then enough for my 4 mini pizza’s so you may want to half the recipe. You can always use the cheese to make sauce for pasta, filling in raw lasagna or as a dip/spread! 

Spread a nice thin even layer of marinara onto crust. Then scoop a little teaspoon of cheese and flatten into little circles to mimic mozzarella slices. I also added little dallops of olive tapenade, chopped fresh basil and raw marinated mushroom slices. (To marinate mushrooms, clean, slice and drizzle with olive oil, sesame oil and tamari and let sit overnight in fridge.) Once you assemble the pizza, you can place in dehydrator for 20-30 minutes to gently warm right before serving. 


Hope you guys find the time to make this. Its really good! I can’t wait to make it for my raw friends to try 🙂

Hope you guys have a great healthy start to the week!
xo