My Unplanned Hiatus

I sincerely apologize to anyone who still might be following my blog. I took a very-unplanned hiatus due to a lot of personal stuff deciding to happen in my life all at once. You know what they say… when it rains, it pours. Or in my case, thunderstorms with a chance of hail. I leave to Cartagena, Columbia, next week and I plan on beginning to post regularly again when I come back, which will be the 18th of May. Hasta luego!

Allie

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Grocery Shopping

I apologize for not blogging for two weeks. I have an exam tomorrow and my grandpa had a heart attack and is in the hospital in critical condition. He is slowly, but steadily, improving and it would be rad if you guys could all keep him in your hearts, if only for a minute.

As far as food… so much to catch up on! First off:

Grocery shopping! These are last week’s groceries, that’s how behind I am. I bought beans, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, bananas, hummus, avocadoes, cumin, ezekial bread, kale, broccoli, half a baby coconut, a larabar, a vegan cookie, vegan coconut ice cream, and a raw vegan white chocolate bar! I used up pretty much all my fresh stuff today so there will be another grocery trip tomorrow.

That huge case of strawberries in the middle? $7.99. Awwwwwesome! I’ll put them in my freezer and use them for smoothies.

Strawberries!!

Other than buying super discounted items in bulk, here are the ways I save money on groceries:

1. Shop locally. I shop at a local grocer called Ward’s where everything is cheaper than the grocery chains here and they have 3 times more organic selection. If you don’t have a local grocer check out co-ops and farmer’s markets. Research and contact local farmers and ask them if you can buy straight from the source.

2. Second guess EVERY purchase. If I don’t do this I often go home with lots of things that I don’t use or have trouble finding ways to use because I love spontaneous purchases and buying things like freshly ground raw cashew butter (yes, Ward’s has this, how cool is that??) that I won’t use enough of.

3. Know how much you eat. I am a college student so I eat out a few times a week for convenience. This is slightly more expensive but it saves time I need to study. Occasionally I’ll buy too much at the grocery store or eat out too much and waste food I have at home. Knowing how much you eat in general, and how much you eat out, will help you save yourself from wasteful spending.

4. Only buy on sale. I’ve gone into the grocery store and decided I would only buy what was on sale. Of course, this limits me to non-organic produce, but it saved money. At the end of my trip, there would be a few things I still didn’t have that I needed and I would go back for those things, even though they weren’t on sale. This is my quick and dirty way of by-passing all of the things I don’t absolutely need.

Things that I needlessly spend on are dessert items. But dessert is a definite need for me! ;)

Every once in a while I buy different flavors of this brand of ice cream. I’ve tried chocolate, pineapple, peanut butter chocolate, and turtle trails. I’ve liked all of them but the pineapple because it still had the strands from the actual pineapple and I’m a huge texture freak. In the turtle trails, there are delicious chocolate covered pecans that becomes a bit like uncovering buried treasure while you’re eating it. =)

These are probably my favorite brand of cookies, EVER. They are so soft and delicious. I’ve tried pumpkin pie, mac the chip, chocolate chip, double fudge, espresso chip, and oatmeal. I didn’t dig the oatmeal so much, even though SAD oatmeal cookies were some of my favs. Double fudge was AMAZING but I bought that on a trip to the local rock climbing gym and Ward’s doesn’t carry that flavor. =( My second fav is mac the chip, as shown above.

I have been searching for a white chocolate vegan bar for quite a while and to find one that’s raw?? I gasped the kind of gasp that you don’t gasp unless something bad is about to happen, out loud in the middle of the busy grocery store, haha. The front of the wrapper says rich in Vitamin C, rich in macronutrients, rich in antioxidants, NO refined sugar, NO dairy, NO gluten, NO soy. It was made primarily from coconut, and I do not recall if there were nuts in it or not. It was delicious, although not near the flavor of SAD white chocolate. It was very smooth with a caramel hint underneath.

Speaking of dessert, I occasioned a vegan ice cream/coffee shop that’s 2 blocks from my apartment quite a bit this week. I did not capture any pictures of the ice cream because I was too busy devouring it. Next time though, I will grab a quick pic.

My bes' fraind Sabrina at Karma Cream studying with me

Other eats this week:

Chipotle Imitation Bowl

Tofu Teriyaki at a sushi restaurant downtown

Pita bread and Hummus

This pita and hummus was from a local salad place called Designer Greens where I also had a huge salad… no picture of the huge salad because I ate it before it occurred to me to take a picture, haha. … I need to remember to do that more often….

Navy bean and potato soup

This was some of the best vegan comfort food I’ve ever had, thanks to my boyfraind’s mom. They mashed up navy beans and mixed with water, salt, and herbs for the thick stew-like broth and just threw in potatos and more navy beans. I will never ever give up beans, no matter how raw I get. They are just too damn good.

Green smoothie

This was the green smoothie I had this morning with one frozen banana, a handful of strawberries, coconut water, maca, kale, and 4 tablespoons of the coconut pineapple ice cream I don’t enjoy on its own. The ice cream actually made the smoothie. I found a use for it!

Count on a blog post within the next few days.

Who would be interest in a post on all the great places to get vegan food in Gainesville, Florida? Anyone?

What’s your favorite vegan comfort food?

How do you save money on groceries?

6 Comments

Filed under chocolate, coconut, dessert, green smoothie, grocery list, ice cream, strawberries, tips, Uncategorized

Chipotle Is One of My Food Groups

I’m quoting one of my friends here for the title. Chipotle was once upon a time a 5-9 times a week venture. It was within walking distance from my dorm. If you’ve ever been to Chipotle, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The food there is divine. I ate meatatarian there and now I eat vegan there. Rice, black beans, double veggies, tomato salsa, tomatillo salsa, and GUACAMOLE, thaswassup.

But it’s an expensive habit, and an unhealthy one. They add tons of salt to everything, rice is basically empty calories, and the portion sizes are huge. So I got inspiration from another blogger [it was a while ago, I'm sorry I cannot remember who you are! =( ] and created my own imitation Chipotle bowl at home, (mostly) raw vegan style.

I started out by throwing salt-free black beans in a pot with paprika, curry powder, fennel seeds, onion, garlic, and chipotle chili powder.

Then I chopped some bell pepper, avocado, and tomato, in that order.

And while the beans were simmering, I threw the leftover avocado on my face! It does wonders for my acne.

This is what my bowl looked like pre-mixing… there’s only 3 spoonfuls of beans in the bowl so this is a mostly raw dish:

And I like to super mix my guacamole into everything. The guac should pervade the entire bowl ;)

Exam tomorrow, so until next time chickadees!

Do you guys like Chipotle? If so, what’s your favorite bowl/burrito combination?

3 Comments

Filed under avocado, bell pepper, Uncategorized

How to Do the Morning Smoothie When You Have No Time

I have to regularly break my addiction to coffee. Not caffeine, coffee. And this is only partially because of lack of willpower ;)

I work for the most recognized corporate coffee shop in the U.S. I’m not gonna say which it is directly in case it somehow gets me in trouble. We get coffee for free. For our entire shift. … And I have to be there, 5 days a week, at 4:45 A.M. Talk about your recipe for addiction disaster!! I have tried to quit cold turkey drinking anything except tea from work many times since declaring my raw veganness. Oh, and did I mention sometimes free food is available too? And none of it is vegan. Because of this constant free source of non vegan eatables and drinkables I have hit many many bumps (and taken a few detours) on my road to my diet goals. I wasn’t even fully vegetarian until 2-3 months after this blog got started. I had a rough time giving up chicken from Chipotle.

So basically the point of this is:

1. Rarely does anyone go vegetarian/vegan overnight. I was gung-ho about going cold turkey, even while I was still eating meat! I was in love with the ideal but I didn’t know how to transition. I read all the books, all the blogs, knew the necessary kitchen equipment, wanted to try all kinds of new recipes… but I didn’t know what to eat to stay full; I didn’t know how to make meals out of legitimate raw vegan food. For me, this was a learning-by-doing process. Changing my diet so radically was a learning experience and took time. It still is. Raw uncooked foods are only 30-40% of my daily diet, at best. But, I am 100% vegan now and I am proud of myself for reaching that goal. Slowly, day by day, I am making myself aware of what I eat and how I can change the vegan snacks and meals to raw vegan snacks and meals. If you are reading this and you haven’t reached your diet goals yet, realize that you will make it there, no matter how long it takes. You are already amazing for wanting to reach those goals.

Now, onto the point of the title! When I drank green smoothies every day for breakfast I had so much more energy, I was much more likely to eat vegan and raw for the rest of the day, my skin was clearer, etc, etc. The last few weeks I’ve had black and white americanos every day. Granted, they’ve been decaf, but the coffee dehydrates me and the sugar has been SO bad for my skin. It’s comforting in the morning to have hot, sweet coffee but I have to break this bad habit and start making green smoothies again… which is what I did this morning bright and early at 4:15 A.M.

Ingredients! =)

If I can make smoothies at 4:15 A.M., 15 minutes before I have to leave for work, then anyone can do it.

How to Make A Smoothie In the Morning When You Have No Time

1. Find yourself a fabulous to go-cup. I bought mine at Wal-Mart for like 5 bucks. It’s around 30 ounces, BPA free, spill-proof, insulated, with a built in straw and a loop to hang off of a backpack. It was everything I was looking for in a cup.

You want your to-go cup to give you as much convenience as possible. This  means spill proof, a suckable straw, and double insulated so there’s no condensation. If you prefer, something to enable attaching to a backpack or bicycle. If you are health conscious, you will want BPA-free plastic, or stainless steel. Glass is probably the healthiest material to drink a smoothie out of but because of breakability, will not work for your to-go cup.

2. Set up EVERYTHING, down to the last detail, the night before.

  • Put everything together in a giant baggy, prechopped and peeled as needed, in the fridge or freezer. If your blender can’t handle frozen items, pre-chill your cup by putting it in the freezer overnight. This is what I did, since I have a $250 Cuisinart and not a Vitamix.
  • Put your blender where you blend in the morning. Plug it in. Have the lid handy. Put every non-chilled ingredient right next to the blender, pre-measured if so desired. Personally, I don’t really measure ingredients so I just set the bags out.

3. If you don’t have a Vitamix or a Blendtec, only you know your blenders capabilities. If you can throw everything in with some liquid and put it on a low setting and leave it while you get dressed and brush your teeth, then awesome! Do that to save yourself from time. If you know your blender will need some coaxing set aside 3 extra minutes and follow your blender’s manual as to order of ingredients to blend. Some blenders recommend that you blend liquid and non-frozen things first, and then add in the frozen stuff.

Some other tips: If you are making a breakfast smoothie, for god sake’s make a breakfast smoothie. Make it dense and thick and caloric and DELICIOUS!!! Good ingredients to make it more caloric and thick are frozen bananas, hemp milk/seeds, nut milk/seeds, dates, and apples.

Yum!

This morning, mine had hemp milk, a banana (I should have put 2), some frozen strawberries, cacao powder, maca powder, and TONS of greens. It was chocolatey and delicious!

6 Comments

Filed under banana, cacao, chocolate, goals, green, green smoothie, strawberries, tips, Uncategorized

Good Eats!

Today has been an amazing day off so far! I woke up to fresh OJ that my boyfriend made for me… SO delicious! It’s what I most look forward to on my days off… if I had to choose between a dehydrator or a juicer I would def go with the juicer. As much as I love comfort foods, I love the way juices make me feel, even if I am drinking non-raw juices from Naked or Bolthouse Farms. I forgot to take a picture of the OJ because I had just woke up, but it’s thick and it has FROTH on top! I love froth! I work at a certain corporate coffee shop that taught me to make and LoVe excellent milk foam (now I would say “Bleh!” on the milk), so froth/foam on top of my orange juice makes it ten times better.

After the OJ, we watched an episode of Dexter (I’m obsessed) and then went to my boyfriend’s place (I don’t have a stove) to make vegan buckwheat pancakes with bananas and his grandma’s homemade blueberry jam. If you are just starting out into veganism, and have somehow stumbled across my blog, flaxseed powder/ground flaxseed are a super health egg replacement for your recipes.

My boyfriend slicing the nanners.

Sadly, did not capture a picture with the blueberry jam =(

 

I devoured all mine ;)

For dinner tonight, I’m thinking teriyaki salad and pumpkin ice cream for dessert ;) More on that later!

8 Comments

Filed under banana, blueberry, flaxseed, juice, pancakes

Productive Sunday

Normally, I have Saturdays off and then have to work Sunday, but this week is the opposite. No fresh orange juice today, the boyfriend had to work early this morning =( but here is a picture of how my weekend mornings usually look:

Blended Spanish carmellos (is that how you spell that?) then pushed through a sieve for a thick orange juice with no pulp!

On the bright side, since the boyfriend is off today, I can be productive. So I am off to the grocery store! There’s a little store here called Ward’s that sells only local produce, meats, and cheeses, and they have a large organic selection for great prices. Makes it easy for me to support local farmers without having to schedule going to a farmer’s market around my busy schedule! They also sell everything cheaper than the large chains, which is double awesome!

Leave a comment

Filed under juice, oranges

Getting over… the flu?

Bah, I just got sick! It came out of nowhere too. That’s the downside of being a student. Flus and colds rage around campus like wildfire and if you catch the head, you might also catch the tail, which SUCKS. Probably wouldn’t have happened if I ate raw foods more, but I do the best I can.

Awesome news! I am going back to Cartagena, Colombia again this year, with a nonprofit organization for impoverished children. These kids are SO amazing. They are in such destitute situations, yet they are the some of the bravest, kindest children I’ve ever met. I am currently making a blog about them and the trips. The trip is $1,100 and last year I managed the foot the bill myself, although this year I am trying to hardcore fundraise!

I am also going to update on here while I am in Colombia. It will be absolutely impossible to stay raw or even vegan. Colombians eat meat with every meal, as it is part of the culture. Vegetarianism they have heard of if they’ve come in contact with Americans, but they don’t understand it. Most Colombians wouldn’t even be able to wrap their heads around the idea of veganism. I am, however, going to stay away from milk and cheese. I will eat eggs if I absolutely feel I must. We work in 96 degree and above heat with 100% humidity and we go all day long. If I feel like I am not getting enough to eat in the morning, I will eat eggs. My health will come first in a choice between eating eggs and going hungry in the heat. I am also considering eating fish if it is offered to me. Last year we went to an island on the weekend, and they served freshly caught fish… there was no vegetarian option. It was the best damn fish I ever had, hands down. My goal is to stay 85% vegan and try to eat as much fresh, tropical fruit down there as I can. My god, the mangoes and the avocados! The first time I had these 2 delightful fruits was during last year’s trip to Cartagena. The mangoes were fresh, sweet, juicy… the perfect cure for the heat. And the avocadoes… they are “Hass” avocadoes and they were the size of Florida avocadoes! When I came back to America I wondered why the avocadoes were so small, haha!

On Saturday I will post the link to that blog. Until then!

Leave a comment

Filed under avocado, colombia, mango, vegan, veganism

A New Semester

I am not perfect. I have a very busy schedule and I make $9.70 an hour at 30 hours a week to pay all my bills. I am behind in my schoolwork, already. All that being said, I’ve been getting away from raw (again) although this time I have stayed vegan, which I commend myself on. Time to get back on track.

I downloaded Dr. Graham’s book (illegally, sorry Dr. Graham, I am but a poor student) and it was eye-opening, just like Viktoria Boutenko’s book. As soon as I get back on track with just being raw, I am going to start monitoring my daily intake of fat. I don’t aim to get it as low as 5-7%. Maybe I will in the future, who knows. But right now, after I am 95% raw again, my goal is to get my fat intake down to 20%, if it isn’t already there. I love reading all about raw, whatever legitimate info I can get my hands on. I just started reading Becoming Raw by Davis and Melina and it looks like it is going to have lots of solid information for me.

I made a raw vegan coconut curry for my boyfriend and I (after a year and a half of long distance, he moved here! yay!). It was deliciousss. Definitely not 8-1-1, haha! I did not have actual coconut meat so it took 30 minutes and some persuading of my blender to get the coconut butter (which is mostly oil) to mix with water. I roughly went by Sarma’s coconut curry recipe in her second book, but I always get a little creative with the gurus’ creations ;).

Carrot, bell pepper, cauliflower rice, onion, mushroom.

Short post after a while of not posting, but I am off to watch 3 stats lectures and study for upcoming exams.

Leave a comment

Filed under bell pepper, coconut, curry

Some Helpful Tips for Starting Out Raw

So I have been on my raw journey for a little over 6 months now. It’s been a crazy roller coaster ride. First, I had no idea how to start out. All I saw in raw books were recipes that catered to SAD mindset meaning complex recipes, dehydrated recipes, recipes requiring a vitamix or food processor or even simple recipes with expensive ingredients. Being that I had no money, no dehydrator, no blender, no food processor, I was lost and Larabar was my light.

It didn’t help that half my family are meatavores and my mom (love her for this but it made things difficult at the time) is always trying to buy me treats and food I will enjoy. The fridge was constantly stuffed with my favorite SAD foods.

Being that I have had my fair share of ups, downs, and learning experiences, I thought I’d post sort of a mini-guide for beginners. Not necessarily a how-to, but more of an FAQ for the questions I had when I first started out.

First, and foremost. Start out with super easy meals, even if you think they’ll bore you. I hated salad when I started out and then I discovered I could put apples in my salad for an even better substitute for the crunchiness of iceberg lettuce (which has no nutritional value). Find recipes with less than 7 ingredients, ingredients you can easily find at your local grocery store. If you feel like you can’t find any (which you can), look at more complicated recipes for inspiration and take out some of the ingredients. Examples I can think of off the top of my head include zucchini pasta with a simple marinara sauce, slaws, muesli, and marinated veggies.

Bananas are your best friend. When in doubt, eat a banana. They’re good for any meal, any snack, any time of day. They’re filling and sweet and delicious. Sure, there are other fruits besides bananas. And I recommend these too. Peaches, nectarines, honeydew, pineapple, strawberries, and grapes are some of my favorites. But bananas are the most caloric and therefore, the most filling.

Let go of your preconceived notions of food, and what constitutes a meal. This is both the hardest and most practical advice I can give you. When I first started, all I saw in my books were the dehyrated meals, the ones that were the most complicated and resembled my favorite SAD foods. I didn’t think three bananas was a breakfast, or that a smoothie could be really filling. I tried raw oatmeal, and found I hated the taste of raw oats. I ate Larabars, random crap, or nothing, and struggled with the first, and most important, meal of the day. I craved bread and pasta and tried in vain to find recipes to imitate these, but I didn’t have a spiralizer or dehydrator. Normal raw foodists don’t eat dehydrated bread, SAD imitations, raw desserts, etc. They eat fruit, greens, vegetables, and small amounts of nuts, seeds, avocado, seaweed. Let go of the notion that whole fruit, salads, and vegetables are boring. They can be as delicious and creative as you want them to be.

As you continue, allow yourself to buy a few expensive specialty items every once in a while. Eventually, you will have a pantry full of these items and you can make any recipe you want, but you’ll find you don’t actually make them very often.

Buy a variety of things at the grocery store. You’ll want to experiment when you are first starting, and buying a little bit of everything will allow you to do that. There’s merit in planning meals and buying accordingly, but if you do that too strictly when you first start out and a recipe fails, you get bored, or you don’t like something, you are set back more than if you dabble. Buy lots of salad ingredients, one package of nuts to make trail mix/nut milk, lots of fruit (bananas!, bananas!, bananas!), and maybe one or two specialty items to start you out on a couple of recipes.

Leave a comment

Filed under banana, menu, salad, tips

Life is Good =)

Kayla (a Friend/Coworker) and I at a Gator Game!

So, true to my word, here is a picture of me at a gator game! This isn’t a picture from my first gator game, that one was hotter than the Sahara and I left early to go home.

I have lots of bills to pay and I had to drop a class because I wasn’t doing so well in it, and my university might introduce block tuition (woe is me!), but…. life is good. Reading books on yoga, raw, holistic nutrition, and Daoism, is changing my attitude and habits. I am trying to eat mostly fresh fruits and veggies, as well as green smoothies! I now own, and have read, Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko. The protein chapter absolutely amazed me… it was simple, so easy to understand. Animal protein is long, complex chains of amino acids that the animals’ bodies built from the grass/grains that they ate. The grass that they (are supposed to) eat is made up of simpler chains of amino acids. Which would be easier for your body to break down, the long chains from the meat/dairy or the simple chains from the greens? The greens, obv. Awesome! Amazing! So crystal-clear. How come this isn’t explained in every article/book that explains where vegans get their protein from??

I read the Tao of Pooh and I am trying to change my attitude, mostly while I am at work. It gets extremely frustrating to serve ungrateful people who think they’re being healthy when they order nonfat and sugar free who are constantly on their phones or crackberries talking loudly about their personal/business lives who thinks their latte just magically appears in front of them and that I’m not a human being with feelings who makes that latte. I just need to realize that that is the way things are and to accept them and go with the situation I am in. I am work to pay for my education to be in less debt. These people I serve may not be as compassionate as I am, nor as informed in the area of nutrition but I am there to give them the best damn latte they’ve ever had and hopefully make their day a little brighter. Do I think they reach the end of the day and remember me and/or their latte and think of it as one of the highlights of their day? No. But why should I care? The moment where I made their latte and handed it to them is over. I tried, it didn’t work, I keep going. I keep being happy, I keep making money, I keep striving. I go with the flow. If I can’t do something I really want to do… I change what I want to do. Or accept that I can do what I want to do later. I’ll quit rambling, though ;)

Tonight I am making raw stuffed bell peppers, a cross between a recipe on goneraw.com and Ani Phyo’s raw cheddar cheeze made from sunflower seeds. I’m getting my meatatarian dad to eat it! (He’s gonna love it he just doesn’t know it yet ;) ) Pictures from my day and from dinner later!

Leave a comment

Filed under green smoothie, taoism, university of florida, vegan protein