Monday, July 28, 2014

New 21-Day Meditation with Oprah & Deepak Starts 8.11.14!!!

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Kickin' It Vegan, Santa Monica Style

Recently, I was in glorious, sunny Santa Monica, CA to celebrate my birthday.  Why Santa Monica?  Because a quick Happy Cow search revealed SIX PAGES of vegan/vegetarian restaurants - SIX PAGES!

Without a doubt, Santa Monica did not disappoint, it even blew my past Vegan Vegas trip out of the water with not only vegan options, vegan variety, but also in terms of healthy food.

Check of these highlights and yes I have to admit that the food was the highlight of my trip.

Day 1

We arrived just in time for lunch and I just had to check out Stuff I Eat - 100% vegan, 95% organic soul-food!  Yes, soul-food!  My bf got their house-made Nut Burger, made with: cashews, walnuts, & wild rice; served on Ezekiel sprouted grain bun topped with Vegenaise, German mustard, cucumbers, mushrooms, grilled onions, tomatoes, pickles, mixed greens and sprouts.  The burger was towering and proclaimed it to be the best veggie burger he of his life.  I had to get the Organic Soul Food Platter, which came with: yams, mac’n’ cheese, BBQ tofu, kale greens, black-eyed peas, a cornbread muffin, potato salad & coleslaw.  And, we couldn't resist their Tropical Blend Smoothie, made with bananas, assorted fruit and apple juice - so thick, rich and creamy!  I suspect the Smoothieista makes these on the fly because mine was a deep dark green and my boyfriend's was a bright pink.  Everything was AMAZING!  Bonus, this is a very laid back place with a very open atmosphere and super, super friendly staff!!!  If I'm ever in Ingelwood, CA again, I am going back for more!

For dinner, we hit Veggie Grill for a little vegan American fast food.  Seriously, Veggie Grill is a chain of fast food vegan restaurants in Cali!  Not as healthy (soy-based products) as an independent joint, but definitely blows any other fast food chain of the Pacific, Atlantic, etc.  We were overwhelmed with choices, everything on the menu is vegan and my boyfriend didn't believe it at first.  He opted for the Buffalo Bomber: crispy Chickin’ tossed with spicy Buffalo sauce, tomato, red onion, lettuce and creamy ranch dressing, while I indulged on the VG-Cheeseburger, topped with VG-Cheese, pickles, lettuce, tomato and caramelized onions.  And just because we could, we splurged on Mondo Nachos:
“Chicasa” taco blend of veggie proteins, caramelized onions, mashed avocado, VG-Cheese, jalapeños, soy cream on a very generous pile of corn chips.  For dessert, two Chocolate Chip Cookies for the road - we were off to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery for movie night!

Day 2

After a personal morning meditation/yoga/walk on the beach, we stumbled on Gratitude Cafe in Venice and I am so glad that we did - I LOVE THIS PLACE!  It just so happens to be 100% vegan & organic!  You walk in and everything is white and open and airy and simple and soooo calming!  The staff is so nice too!  There is always a question of the day; since we were new, our question was, "What are you grateful for?"  I said that I was grateful for my curiosity because it drives me to learn new things.  I adore that each menu item is named with a positive affirmation.  So to order you would say "I am..."  My bf was OPEN-HEARTED: two buckwheat-flax pancakes with maple syrup and cashew whipped cream, while I was TRUSTING: a tempeh scramble with seasonal vegetables, shitake mushrooms, spinach, scallions, cilantro, avocado and a side of whole grain sesame toast.  We also have a very good time with their wide selection of freshly made juices before we were off to Beach Yoga with Brad!  After that we were right back to Gratitude Cafe for a quick smoothie on-the-go and vegan donuts to tie us over while we visited the awesome staff and animals at LA's Farm Sanctuary.

There was little vegan action to choose from in Acton CA, which is where the Farm Sanctuary actually is, so we headed back to Santa Monica and stopped in North Hollywood along the way to check out Lotus Vegan (Thanks Kara!) for dinner.  This 100% vegan, some organic restaurant has an extensive menu of delectable Thai and American dishes all MSG-free!  We started our meal with my go-to Asian staple, Seaweed Salad and their Fresh Rolls: rice noodles with romaine lettuce, basil leaves, cucumber, carrots and rice vermichelli wrapped in rice paper.  Both super fresh and super delicious!  For an entree, my bf had the Chef's Special: Chicken over Quinoa & Rice served with a ginger sauce and miso soup; while I had their Rad Nah: flat rice noodles with broccoli and gravy sauce. My bf really liked his meal; it was a little plain for me.  I felt like my dish was just swimming in sauce and didn't care for it all that much.  I do feel that I would have been happier with any other selection.  But, I couldn't get out the door without trying their vegan Chocolate Chip cookies - LOVE!  Very nice staff, I would like to visit again to try another entree.

Day 3

This morning, we were on our way out of Santa Monica to visit the San Diego Zoo!  So, we stopped for a quick breakfast at the Vegan Joint in Los Angeles; another 100% vegan place!  My bf went for the pancakes again, sensing a trend?  While I opted for Burrito #1: soy bacon bits, tofu scramble and cheese.  We both had a side of breakfast potatoes.  Overall, a decent meal.  Can't say one of my favorites or most memorable of the trip, but it did its job and kept us vegan fueled until lunch.

Now for lunch, we hit Evolution in San Diego!  This fast food, counter service, 100% vegan shack has a menu bigger than the place itself!  While there is a patio area, don't plan on eating inside.  But that was fine with us because our mission was to get our meals to go, so we could have a "picnic" at the zoo, since the zoo is basically not vegan friendly at all.  We were overwhelmed with all the options and I was tempted to order everything, but kept it reasonable with a two Cheeseburgers (one organic house made black bean and one Gardein patty) a Chocolate Shake (AMAZING), a Tropical Sunrise Smoothie: Orange juice, coconut milk, papaya, mango, banana, ginger and of course two Chocolate Chip Cookies (I really can't help myself).  Everything was awesome, made to order, fresh and since Evolution is minutes from the zoo, still hot once we were ready for lunch.  I had a pic, but it somehow disappeared, but trust me, this was no typical fast food meal.  I have to hit this place again someday!

We stayed pretty late at the zoo and were dead tired, so we decided to grab dinner at a local mall which just happened to have another Veggie Grille!  I guess it was just a fast food type of day.  Despite that, I was feeling a need to get back to basics and went with a simple, gluten-free Bombay Bowl: herb-roasted veggies, super grains, steamed kale, cannellini beans, cilantro/green curry sauce with coconut milk, almonds and hemp seeds.  But lets not get crazy, I still had their Mac-N-Cheese on my mind since the first visit and just for fun threw in a Mexi-mini Wrap: “Chicasa” taco blend of veggie proteins, caramelized onions, Mexican spices, avocado, lettuce, spicy sauce in a flour tortilla.  Don't worry, I'm a sharer and my bf equally indulged as he gleefully chowed down on their Buffalo Wings, which are pretty non-existent in Ohio vegan restaurants.

Day 4

This was our last morning to have a leisurely breakfast and I didn't want to spend it anywhere else but the Cafe Gratitude.  I told you that I love this place!  We had to change it up for our last meal here.  This time we both had a freshly made smoothie.  My bf was BONITA, a breakfast taco plate: local brown rice, black beans, salsa fresca, avocado, cashew nacho cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds, served with corn tortillas.  Tres yummy!  But, I wanted to go raw myself. I started with PEACE raw open-faced bagel: onion sesame crust, cashew cream cheese, nori, tomato, onion, capers & sprouts and "finaled" with being FANTASTI, a raw crêpe: cashew crêpe, fresh fruit, coconut yogurt, maple syrup, pecans.  It was AMAZING!  I highly recommend Cafe Gratitude to anyone!

On recommendation from a fellow vegan friend (Hey Katie!) we had lunch at the Golden Mean Cafe in Santa Monica.  Just look at that food! This little laid back 100% vegan cafe is not only organic, but also keeps the ingredients local!  My bf once again went with a burger, their Famous “Works" Burger to be exact: a homemade blend of 27 ingredients including a bean, grain & vegetable burger patty with lettuce, tomato, pickle, avocado, cheese and smoked tempeh bacon with special sauce on a toasted whole wheat sesame seed bun and a side of potato salad. While I finally got my pizza on with their Tomato Pizza: made with tomato basil sauce, onion, bell peppers, mushroom and Daiya cheese.  Very light, but yet filling.  We both got either a juice or smoothie can't remember which - both made fresh!  I love that almost every restaurant in L.A. makes fresh juice & smoothies and if you're too busy for a restaurant, there are juice bars everywhere, like Moon Juice - just pop in and pop out.  Back to the cafe...with their bakery case staring at me, I jumped at one of their vegan cupcakes - mmmmm.  We had every intention of returning for dinner, but didn't quite make time.

For our last night in town, we decided to hit the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) to drive up to Malibu. Not a whole lot of vegan options in Malibu; actually so dismal that Happy Cow had nothing, I had to hit Yelp just to find Plate, a vegan-friendly restaurant overlooking the (well across a 5-lane street and over a metal fence) ocean.  After having complete freedom at 100% vegan restaurants for the past four days, Plate was pretty disappointing.  Great staff, swanky digs, but the vegan options were scarce and unimaginative.  I take issue with the Yelp reviewer who stated that Plate was a must for any vegan.  I say this one is a pass.  In any other state where vegan restaurants are few and far between, I would have been ok with their vegan offering, but in Cali, you got to set up your game if you want to play in the vegan arena.  Nevertheless my bf opted for their
Garden Burger: grilled vegan patty, lettuce, tomato, onions, vegan wheat bun, hummus dip & shoestring fries.  Not bad.  I went for the Stir Fry Vegetables: seasonal vegetables, mushrooms in a ginger-garlic teriyaki sauce served over brown rice.  Again, fair - not bad.  I could not in good conscious recommend this place to a die-hard vegan - there are just too many other stellar places to check out in Cali.

Day 5 

I did my homework and discovered that there was one vegan restaurant at LAX, Real Food Daily.  But, RFD is located in terminal 4 and we were in terminal 6 and despite all our MacGyver moves could not get to terminal 4 without having to go through airport security again (they aren't connected).  I was to say the least disheartened.  However, ever the trooper, I made the Loteria Grill in terminal 7 work.  It took some fast talking, ok, a lot of talking to get two Papa Con Rajas Burritos: potatoes with roasted poblano peppers, salsa verde cruda, onion, cilantro and queso fresco (which were actually mashed potatoes and we suspected may contain milk, so I had to avoid) and two Calabacitas Burritos: zucchini and roasted corn succotash with salsa verde cruda, onion and cilantro and queso fresco.  You really need to emphasize no cheese!  I know it sounds like a lot of food, but one burrito was for breakfast and one was for lunch on our five hour trip home.  Remember, I don't touch airplane food.  They were...fine...I guess.  Not the high note I wanted to end our trip on, but it was better than starving.  I guess I was so brokenhearted over not getting to experience RFD, that I didn't even bother taking a pic.  You'll just have to use your imagination...

I hope this inspires you to take a trip to beautiful Santa Monica; it's a vegan paradise!

Happy vegan travels!

P.S Not a pound gained on this trip - now that is some healthy food!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Cleveland Metroparks opens Merwin's Wharf!!!

Cleveland Metroparks opens Merwin's Wharf!

As if the Cleveland Metroparks couldn't get any cooler, they just opened their first full-service restaurant!!!

Merwin's Wharf located at 1785 Merwin Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44113, opened this past Tuesday (7/22/14)!

A quick look at their menu and it looks like vegans can hang here too!

They have:

Vega-nachos: Pita chips served with black bean hummus, guacamole, pico de gallo, freshly pickled jalapenos and black olives

Black Bean Burger: Homemade veggie burger served on a brioche bun and topped with house pickles, fresh dill, basil aioli and roasted tomatoes
Portabello Melt: Grilled portabello mushroom, pickled red onion, pickled carrot, arugula and goat cheese on grilled sourdough bread (ask for some sliced avocado instead of the goat cheese)

There are salads, but you guys know how I feel about salads so I won't even mention them.

I have not been there myself and cannot confirm if these are actually 100% vegan offerings, but they sound very promising.

Check it out!

Mitchell's Ice Cream Does Vegan

If you're in the Cleveland area, you're in for a fantastic treat!

About a month ago, I finally made it to Mitchell's Ice Cream to check out their newly crafted vegan ice creams.  I wish I would have checked them out sooner because, OMG!

They only have two flavors, which coincidentally tend to sell-out: Salted Caramel Pecan, made with coconut milk flavored with homemade toasted pecan butter, caramelized brown sugar and sea salt and Chocolate, made with coconut milk and Belgian 72% chocolate.  The ingredients alone make you drool.

I naturally had to check both out (for you readers; I do it all for you...) and got a double scoop of each. AMAZING!  The Chocolate is super rich, creamy and literally melts in your mouth and pairs so well with the mellow salty kick of the Salted Caramel Pecan.  I highly recommend that you do the same and get both... together, the perfect pairing.

So, I was super excited when my local Heinen's grocery store started carrying both flavors.  Unfortunately, they are $5.99 a pint - OUCH!  The steep sticker shock kept me from my beloved new find for quite some time until recently... 

Being my birthday month (yeah, that's right, all of July is blocked for my birthday extravaganza!!!), I decided to splurge to celebrate.  Supreme yumminess ensued in the comfort of my cozy home.  I still can't justify a $12 ice cream run any ole' day of the week, but this just might be my new celebration ritual!

Check it out!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hoff's Carrot Apple Ginger Juice

Hoff's Carrot Apple Ginger Juice
Serves: 2

RawTill4 Compliant

  • 4-5 Carrots
  • 4-5 Apples
  • 1 Organic Lemon
  • 1 tsp. Fresh/Frozen Ginger

  1. Using a Juicer, push 2 Carrots through, then 2 Apples, then the Lemon, then the Ginger, finish with remaining Carrots & Apples
  2. Strain through a fine wire sieve
  3. Server over ice

Hoff Thoughts:  The amount of Carrots & Apples you use depends on the size you have and how much juice you want.  I use an Organic Lemon because I juice the peel as well and therefore the pesticides aren't so rough.  Look in your freezer section for Frozen Herbs such as Ginger in convenient 1 tsp. cubes.  Straining isn't absolutely necessary, but it gives me peace of mind. Want more juice?  Use a funnel to run the leftover pulp through the juicer a second time.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hoff's Berry & Black Plum Smoothie

Hoff's Berry & Black Plum Smoothie
Yields: 8 cups
dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free, gluten-free
RawTill4 Compliant 

  • Water
  • 2 handfuls mixed Greens
  • 2 cups frozen Strawberries
  • 2 cups frozen Blueberries
  • 4 frozen Black Plums
  • 1/4 cup Raw Cashews
  • 3-4 pitted Dates
  • 1 tbsp. Chia Seeds

  1. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender (ahem, Vitamix)
  2. Add just enough Water until there is 1" of ingredients uncovered
  3. Blend on high for about 2 minutes or until thoroughly combined, using tamper if necessary

Hoff Thoughts: I froze the Black Plums by cutting in half and removing the pit, leaving the skin intact and placing in a freezer Ziplock bag.  The Raw Cashews really kick up the creaminess, making this one richly satisfying smoothie.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Farm Sanctuary, Los Angeles

You've heard me boast about Farm Sanctuary before in my posts: Mary Had A Little Lamb...But She Didn't Eat It! and Give A Lucky Turkey A Happy Thanksgiving! and I Just Became A Farm Sanctuary Member!

I've been planning a trip to one of their locations ever since I became a member.

Living in Ohio, I naturally thought that I would visit their Watkins Glen, NY location.  But instead on a recent trip to California, I was able to check out the Los Angeles location, which was founded in 2005.

You don't need to be a member of the sanctuary to take their hour long tour, but wouldn't you just feel better?  Their $5 tour offered only on Sundays allows you to get up close and personal with various farm animals who were fortunate enough to land their forever home at this 26-acre sanctuary.  Unfortunately, they are there because they were abused, in a bad situation or left for dead.  The 100 cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens and one lama got lucky and were rescued, many more are not so fortunate.  You can learn about each animal's story during the tour and a lot more.

Make a plan to check out Animal Sanctuary, it's an experience you won't forget.

Check it out!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Beach Yoga With Brad

Every year, I like to travel for my birthday.  This year I landed in sunny, vegan, super friendly - Santa Monica, CA.  :)

The first thing I had to do was find a yoga class on the glorious shores of the Pacific and a quick Google search turned up Beach Yoga With Brad!

Brad is a character - super nice, full of energy and full of spirit.  He leads both sunrise and sunset yoga classes just a few scant feet from the beautiful soothing waves of the ocean - for a mere $10.  Quite the bargain if you ask me.

His 1.5 hour class is low key, but challenging - there's all types of yogis here and there's no shame at going at your own pace.

Truly a one of a kind experience that, I highly recommend.  Picture this, downward facing down facing the ocean - can you imagine!

If you're lucky enough to live in or near Santa Monica or are ever visiting, put this on your to do list.

Be sure to like the Brad's Facebook page, Beach Yoga With Brad & Friends to get the latest updates on upcoming classes.


P.S. Dolphins are not guaranteed, but while in Warrior 1, we go to watch these magnificent guys playing in the surf!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Hoff's Black Plum & Blueberry Smoothie

Hoff's Black Plum & Blueberry Smoothie
Yields: 5 cups
dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free, gluten-free
RawTill4 Compliant

  • Water
  • 1 Banana
  • 2 cups frozen Blueberries
  • 4 frozen Black Plums
  • 4 pitted Dates
  • 2 tsp. frozen or fresh Ginger
  • 1 tbsp. Chia Seeds

  1. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender (ahem, Vitamix)
  2. Add just enough Water until there is 1" of ingredients uncovered
  3. Blend on high for about 1-2 minutes or until thoroughly combined, using tamper if necessary

Hoff Thoughts: I froze the Black Plums by cutting in half and removing the pit, leaving the skin intact and placing in a freezer Ziplock bag.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hoff's Black Plum & Raspberry Smoothie

Hoff's Black Plum & Raspberry Smoothie
Yields: 4 cups
dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free, gluten-free
RawTill4 Compliant

  • Water
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 cup frozen Raspberries
  • 4 frozen Black Plums
  • 1/4 cup Raw Cashews
  • 3-4 pitted Dates
  • 1 tbsp. Flaxseed

  1. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender (ahem, Vitamix)
  2. Add just enough Water until there is 1" of ingredients uncovered
  3. Blend on high for about 60 seconds or until thoroughly combined, using tamper if necessary

Hoff Thoughts: I froze the Black Plums by cutting in half and removing the pit, leaving the skin intact and placing in a freezer Ziplock bag.  The Raw Cashews really kick up the creaminess, making this one richly satisfying smoothie.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hoff's Simply Strawberry Smoothie

Hoff's Simply Strawberry Smoothie
Yields: 6 cups
dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free, gluten-free

  • 3 cups unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 3 cups frozen Strawberries
  • 1 tbsp. Chia or Flaxseed
  • 1 dropper liquid Vanilla Stevia

  1. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender (ahem, Vitamix)
  2. Blend on high for about 30-60 seconds or until creamy, using tamper if necessary

Hoff Thoughts: No liquid Stevia on hand?  Just use 3 pitted dates.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hoff's Vegan Curry

Hoff's Vegan Curry
Yields: 4-6 servings
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free, gluten-free

  • 3 cups Water
  • 2 cups Jasmine Rice
  • 1 small head Cauliflower (chopped & steamed)
  • 1 15 oz. can diced Potatoes (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 15 oz. can Chickpeas (rinsed & drained)
  • 14 oz. Lite Coconut Milk
  • 1 15 oz. can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Sweet Onion (half moon slices)
  • Juice from 1 Lemon
  • 2 tsp. Frozen Ginger
  • 2 tsp. Frozen Garlic
  • 1 tbsp. Garam Masala
  • 1 tbsp. Cumin
  • 1 tbsp. Curry
  • 1 tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Turmeric
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt

  1. Bring Water to a boil in a large pot, reduce to simmer, add Rice and cover
  2. Cook for 15 minutes, set aside
  3.  Meanwhile, in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat, saute Onions until translucent
  4. Stir in Cauliflower, Potatoes & Chickpeas
  5. Add Seasonings and stir to evenly distribute
  6. Pour in Coconut Milk & Tomato Sauce and bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cook for additional 5 minutes
  7. Stir in Lemon Juice
  8. Serve over Rice

Hoff Thoughts:  Check out your freezer section, hopefully you will find fresh herbs such as ginger, garlic, basil, cilantro that have been frozen into little ice cubes.  This makes cooking with fresh herbs hassle-free!  If you can't find, just use fresh or dried.  If the saturated fat in the Coconut Milk is too high for your liking - substitute 1 cup plain Almond Milk with 1/2 cup Cashews blended together.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Doc: Finding Joe

Two paws up for Finding Joe!

"In the early 20th century, while studying world mythology, Joseph Campbell discovered a pattern hidden in every story ever told and he called it “the heroes journey”. A truly inspirational film, FINDING JOE takes us on the ultimate heroes journey: the journey of self discovery. As you slay dragons and uncover treasures, you just may find that the holy grail you seek is closer than you think."

Being a major movie buff, I love how they interwove famous movie clips to help deliver the meaning of this inspiring doc!

Is there a hero in you?  You may be surprised by the answer...

Check out the trailer!

Finding Joe - Trailer V.7 from pat solomon on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hoff's Swiss Chard Pasta

Hoff's Swiss Chard Pasta
Yields: 4 servings
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free

  • 16 oz. Whole Wheat Pasta
  • 1/2 cup cooked Pasta Water reserved
  • 2 bunches Swiss Chard (chopped & stems removed)
  • 1 15 oz. can White Beans (rinsed & drained)
  • 3.8 oz. sliced Black Olives (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 Onion (half moon slices)
  • 4 cloves Garlic (diced)
  • 4 tbsp. Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder

  1. Cook Pasta according to directions
  2. Meanwhile, in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat, satuee Onions
  3. Add Garlic for a few seconds before adding Swiss Chard & reserved cooking Water
  4. Allow to wilt down, about 10 minutes
  5. Stir in White Beans & Black Olives
  6. Mix in Pasta, Nutritional Yeast and Seasonings - serve!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Doc: E-Motion

E-Motion is a must see doc for everyone!

Are you really happy?
Are you stress-free?
Do you know your purpose?
Do you know how to rid yourself of negative emotions?

If you answered "no" to any or all of those questions, this doc can help you get to "yes!"

"Imagine a world where the trapped emotions, fears, anxieties and unprocessed life experiences we hold in our bodies are the source of everything that ails us. That’s the world we live in. Now imagine a world where everyone is manifesting from their heart the perfect creation that’s inside each of us. Imagine a world where abundance, inner peace, longevity and loving relationships abound. Imagine emotion experts from around the world sharing their wisdom and negative emotion clearing techniques to light a new pathway for humanity. Imagine we are sacred, spiritual beings here for a much larger reason, serving a much higher purpose, a divine purpose."

"The average person has no idea what they're doing here."

Check out the trailer!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Raw Till 4...

A few years ago, I got hooked on a YouTube channel featuring Freelee the Banana Girl.  Freelee is an Australian chick, who advocates a raw, vegan lifestyle and while I was vegan at the time and still am, I had no desire to go raw (um it snows in Ohio like 5 out of 12 months and sometimes if feels longer).  But, I continued to watch because, well she's cool and she's positive and she has good things to say and she's real and I like her and her little dog too...

Recently, Freelee has evolved her diet to be Raw Till 4, a concept in which you eat raw until 4pm.  So breakfast, lunch and any snacky snacks are raw and then come dinner time, you "carb the fuck up" (Gee, why do I like her so much...) with a high carb, no-oil, vegan meal.  P.S. I'm generalizing, get the full Raw Till 4 rules, here!

Once the winter winds & snow left Ohio and summer descended, this diet seemed doable.  I decided to give it a go.  I'm a working girl & time is scarce, so my plan of attack was to have a smoothie for breakfast and a smoothie ("A Shake for Breakfast, a Shake for Lunch and a Sensible Dinner" - sound familiar? Yeah, I did that.) for lunch as well as some baby carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and homemade picklesFreelee would keep it all fruit till 4 and monomeal - check out her videos to learn what that is & more.  In order to work this into my schedule, I make my lunch smoothie the night before and store in mason jars.  Then I trek off to work with an insulated lunch bag, works great!

I feared that this would be boring and monotonous and well, not enough food to get me through the day.

I'm two months in and well...I LOVE IT!!!

I'm not bored; in fact, I'm craving freshly made smoothies.  I am having a blast coming up with new smoothie concoctions, some winners, some not so much.  I'm even freezing my own fruit, fresh from the farmer's markets!  I have more energy (on the spur of the moment, I did 216 sun salutations in 80 degree sun - 60 people started, 2 hours later, 20 people finished and I was one of them!!!), my skin is glowing (I'm not conceded, that's what people are telling me), the love handles have disappeared and I'm loving the freedom of the minimal, quick prep-work.

I really hope I can keep this going into fall & winter, but time & weather will tell.  Since it's like winter in my office yearlong, my body might not notice the difference.  Either way, I'm glad that I took the leap into the raw food world and can't wait to see what good things follow!

My job here is done, I have now planted the Raw till 4 (FB support group) seed in your mind.

What will you do with it?

Check it out!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Asian Cucumber Salad

Asian Cucumber Salad
Yields:About 1 cup
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, gluten-free

  • 1 English Cucumber
  • 2 tbsp. Braggs
  • 2 tbsp. Rice Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. Sesame Seeds

  1. Using a vegetable peeler or mandoline, make long strips of Cucumber, slice around middle seeds
  2. Place slices in a medium size bowl & toss with Braggs, Rice Vinegar & Sesame Seeds
  3. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes before serving