So this is something that I have been relatively quiet about on my blog, and I am not entirely sure just WHY I have been so mum about it all. I guess you can count this post as a kind of culinary coming out? Haha.
Anyway, here it is! For the past few months, I have switched to a primarily raw, whole foods, vegan diet. *collective gasp from the blogosphere*
Its true! For my breakfast and lunch I chow down on raw, leafy green superfoods and fresh pressed juices, and I save my cooked nom noms for dinner with the carnivorous hubby… and sometimes we even share a raw dinner together! I have been about 50-80% raw for months now.
And guess what? As of writing this I am just ONE POUND away from my initial goal weight, making a grand total of 80 pounds lost since Thyme was born. You read that right. EIGHTY FRIKKIN POUNDS! Since switching to a primarily raw and organic food diet, my complexion is frikkin amazing, my headaches have gone away, and I am pretty sure the (unconfirmed) thyroid issues I was having are resolved. The only thing that is confounding me is that my menstrual cycle has gotten all out of wack, but from what I have read (sage Google scholar that I am!) that might just be from the weight loss.
But my point is, I am loving this improvement in my health and diet. It all started when I was trying to increase my intake of leafy greens, and salads were getting old. So old that I was preferring to skip meals altogether than make another boring salad.
I got the idea that I could buy a raw food cookbook, and try some of the recipes that looked mouth wateringly delicious as a means to increase my veggie consumption. I love to cook, and the recipes that I saw in raw cook books seemed to range from simple to complex, and that just really sparked my interest. I wanted something realistic for every day meals, but not so simple that it got old or boring or dull.
So I bought a raw cookbook (er, uncook book?) and the rest is history. Now I am HOOKED. I have even been making up my own raw recipes! While I found a lot of amazing recipes that required little to no specialized equipment, I started to realize that there are some basic kitchen items that make raw food prep a hell of a lot easier. In my quest for equipping myself and my kitchen in this new healthy lifestyle, I have stumbled upon some amazing resources, and Pure Joy Planet is one of them! Check it out:
About Elaina Love Pure Joy Planet
Pure Joy Planet was founded in 1999 by Executive Raw Chef Elaina Love. Today she is an Instructor, Lifestyle and Detox Counselor, and founder of Pure Joy Academy. (CLICK HERE to visit the site and learn more!)
Elaina Love has become known worldwide for her extensive raw food demonstrations on YouTube.com and internationally where she teaches a variety of raw gourmet creations.
She is the author of 3 recipe books and 3 DVDs, and has published recipes in a variety of the best raw food cookbooks to date. Her latest book “Raw and Beyond” is about the importance of Omega-3 oils, co-authored with Victoria Boutenko and Chad Sarno released in 2012. With a passion for sharing the knowledge she has attained through years of detoxing and cheffing experience, Elaina has helped people throughout the world bring about positive changes in their lives.
Her teaching and support empowers people to lose weight and gain energy by making positive lifestyle choices and incorporating more living, raw food into their diet.
Elaina is also the creator of the Amazing Nut Milk Bag, (CLICK HERE to purchase) which is sold and used worldwide as an integral kitchen tool for raw foodies, vegans and anyone wishing to make their own creative plant based milks.
Through the Academy, which now offers distance training ONLINE, Elaina Love has trained over 300 hundred students from 20 countries since 2010! The classes offer the highest quality immersive learning experience in the world of raw food.
To give an example of the offerings, I just sent in an application for this upcoming class:
November 7, 2016 – December 5, 2016, Online Course
Motivated to start adding more plant-based recipes into your diet but need a little more help? Learn how to immerse yourself in the lifestyle, make simple and easy recipes for daily living and get fit! Indulge in some of the best recipes on the planet while nourishing you and your family. Get the download on the most cutting edge nutrition and diet information and personal lifestyle guidance from Elaina Love. Learn all about superfoods and herbs and how to concoct your own medicinal teas and smoothies. Get the best plant-strong fitness tips, workouts and meal plans from our award winning fitness model, Ali Stringer. All recipes from the recipe book and video demonstrations are completely free of gluten, dairy, processed, and soy, so you can truly feel what it’s like to eat clean and be full of energy. Find out what it’s like to live in a healthy, vibrant body.
Pure Joy Planet Resources
In addition to recipes, online courses and online resources, I have recently had the opportunity to use the original Amazing Nut Milk Bag designed by Elaina Love, along with some USDA Certified Organic Coffee Essence and Blueberry Essence from Pure Joy Planet, all available at the Pure Love Planet online store.
The Amazing Nut Milk Bag is a large, 4 cup capacity, oval-shaped drawstring bag made of a very sturdy nylon, which works better than cheesecloth because it does not let pulp through. It also has a longer re-use life, as the nylon will not stretch out in the same way that organic materials will.
If you have not tried making your own nut milks, you need to remedy that ASAP. I think I only bought 3 cartons of boxed milk, before I made the switch to making my own nut milks, and the difference is astronomical in taste, quality, and freshness.
[Disclaimer: There are no affiliate links in this review. I am an independent product reviewer. I only review products I am truly interested in. I don’t accept payment for reviews. The products I take the time to jabber on about are either items I have personally purchased, or the product has been provided for review after me initiating contact and incessantly nagging for a sample. All of my reviews are unbiased regardless of how the item was obtained.]
It is SO EASY to make your own raw nut and seed milks. With a nut milk bag (this one is food grade certified, BPA free, and featured triple nylon seams for extra strength) you will NEVER go back to overly processed and preserved box store junk. (The bottles I am storing the almond milk in pictured above are BPA free glass bottles from Stanpac. I will be blogging much more about glass bottles and the importance of switching to food safe containers in the near future!)
But the items from Pure Joy Planet that really got me giddy are the organic extracts and essences! These organic flavor extracts are vegan, gluten free, raw and organic. In my raw food journey I have purchased and consumed raw desserts before, but I have yet to MAKE one. These little extract vials inspired me to try my hand at my first one! I gleaned the basics for this recipe from a Pinterest pin by This Rawsome Vegan Life Blog, and tweaked the rest to fit the coffee and blueberry flavors and what I had on hand in the kitchen (because I am lazy like that)… Check it out below and lemme know what you think!
Raw Coffee Crème Pie with Blueberry Caramel Drizzle
For the crust:
1 cup pecans
1 cup dates
2 tablespoons cacao powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
For the cashew coffee crème:
2 cups raw cashews
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
¼ cup agave syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
5-8 drops of coffee essence (5 drops makes the flavor decidedly coffee, 8 drops makes it in your face coffee overload, which I love!)
For the blueberry caramel drizzle:
½ cup dates covered in enough water to cover them
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon almond butter
3 drops of blueberry essence
To make the crust, process the nuts into a rough flour in a food processor and add the other ingredients until you can press it together. Press this mixture into the bottom of a lined small springform pan.
To make the crème, blend all ingredients until smooth, and then spread it onto the crust in the springform pan.
To make the drizzle, blend the dates, water, salt, nut butter and essence until it is smooth and liquid. Drizzle onto the pie and garnish with coffee beans and pumpkin seeds if desired. Set it in the freezer or fridge to firm up.
For a first attempt at a raw dessert, I think it tasted pretty dang amazing! The only thing that I did not like is that I cannot seem to get a pretty drizzle on dessert.. ever! I dont know what the secret is, but gosh darn it, my drizzled always look so goopy! Also, I have a crappy blender and food processor, so the elements were a little rough (I long for a Vitamix, you have no idea!) but even so, the taste was amazing, and the flavor essences that Pure Joy Planet offers opens up a WHOLE NEW WORLD of flavor stacking, building, and experimenting. Drinks, desserts, bars, soups… oh my! I am feeling so excited and energized with these new tools in my kitchen!
Anyhoo, if you are at all interested in a raw food diet, or even just introducing more raw foods into your diet, I urge you to check out this amazing online resource – store, blog, online academy and raw food resource center!