Category Archives: food facts

Why We Went Vegan

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Elizabeth, Lauren & Maggie rawkin’ a salad lunch

We had the pleasure of answering some questions about why we went vegan. Our Rawk Star employee, Lauren Lear, of Lola Studios, is a blogger for the Bangor Daily News–“Happy New Lear” is the name of her fabulous blog–and she was invited to guest post on “Oh, Honestly!” and she chose to share our story. Check out what we had to say about what inspired us to make the switch to vegan living and how it led to Kids Gone Raw HERE.   Happy Earth DAY!

RAWsome Tip Tuesday: The Real Flu Shot

Have you escaped the flu? Fingers crossed your family makes a clean escape, but the flu peaks over the next two weeks.

Nothing about the flu is funny.

A lot of people run out and get the medicinal flu shot even at this late stage in the season, but it is controversial for many reasons including the fact it is egg-based (not Vegan), tested on animals (not kind) and not guaranteed to work!

Escaping the feverish clutches of the flu is fairly easy. Wash your hands, keep up your plant-based, whole foods diet and take a daily dose of Nature’s Flu Shot: WHEATGRASS!

Mommy Nature is the best doctor

Wheatgrass is chock-full of living vitamins and nutrients that the human body needs to thrive. You are drinking the pure energy of the sun in every sip, which keeps the body purified, alkaline and energized. When your physical body is in balance it keeps sickness at bay. And if you do happen to get sick, recovery time is much faster with more mild symptoms.

Not to jinx myself, but my family does a shot each morning and we have avoided the flu for years now. Kids love the idea of drinking grass, especially if you have the space to grow it yourself. It also adds the most gorgeous splash of color in these months of white and gray.

Here is a video from the Sproutpeople that talk about growing wheatgrass. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gS8Xch0G0jMGrowing Wheatgrass

I prefer to order organic grass on-line through http://dynamicgreens.com, which is grown outside in a loving environment. The grass is frozen upon juicing and separated into 1oz cubes. This makes the morning process go by much quicker. My son usually likes the taste, but some batches are sweeter than others, so you can mix in a bit of juice or have an orange or pineapple slice to use as a chaser if your kiddos aren’t used to the taste yet.

On their website, Dynamic Greens offer serving suggestions for all ages. They also say people with grass allergies or those on blood thinners may not be able to enjoy, but you can always check with your (open-minded) doctor.

Most health food stores and juice bars offer shots as well!

Cheers to your RAWKin’ Health!!

 

 

Getting Your Kids Back on a Healthy Track

I know, I know…it’s hard when the visions of sugarplums and candy canes turn into the hard reality of sugar addicted kids.

Time to toss the holiday sweets!

The holidays are over, Mom! You can no longer use the excuse of parties and shopping to explain away the gum drops and Happy Meals. You know better than anyone that if you don’t prioritize healthy food you are going to be stuck with some sick, cranky, chubby kiddos come March.

“But it is just so easy to throw stuff in the microwave or hit the drive-thru!”

Zip that Lazy Bone up! I know it seems like that is easier and seemingly cheaper to feed them processed food, but in the long run you are doing your family a huge disservice. Not only will they gain weight, but their risk for Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and allergies increases greatly. Their immune systems also suffer and they will be sick much more often. I am sure their pediatrician is cute, but come on, hanging around a germy office when you could be skiing isn’t worth it.

The bottom line is that kids will eat what YOU feed them. Sure they are going to cause a scene when you take away the coco puffs, but when they are hungry they will eat (and love) the nourishing foods you serve them.

Here are a few tips to ease into your new Healthy Day:

1) Start the day GREEN. Green Smoothies are the best way to get a truck-load of vitamins and nutrients into your kids’ system. They will be filled up with the sun’s energy and will be rawkin’ until lunchtime. Older kids love peeling, chopping and blending gorgeous fruits and veggies, so let them make their own creations.

Here is a great starter smoothie:

This Rawk Star starts each day with Green Power!

IN a high-speed blender add:

1.5 cups filtered water

2 ripe, peeled bananas

handful frozen or fresh berries

the meat of one ripe mango (or cup frozen cubes)

big handful baby spinach

Agave nectar is optional for extra sweeteness

cup ice

Blend until smooth

We have an e-book, Smoothies Gone Raw that has over 100 amazing smoothies for extra inspiration.

Our e-book will help you create months worth of smoothie goodness!

http://www.amazon.com/Smoothies-Gone-Raw-Gorgeous-ebook/dp/B009J3KI56/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357238652&sr=8-1&keywords=smoothies+gone+raw

2) Be a role model! You can’t preach to your kids to eat fruits and veggies if you are chowing down on Chinese take-out. Eat what you are telling them to eat. That influence goes a long way! Eat as a family. That is so valuable in many ways.

Eating all together is a magical way to end the day.

3) Take your kids shopping with you. Children are naturally attracted to the vibrant colors of fresh fruits and veggies. Let them pick our what they gravitate towards and they will be much more likely to eat it.

4) Get some help. There are so many amazing raw and Vegan cookbooks out there. You can find pretty much anything in a vegan (or healthier) version. Pizza, cake, chicken nuggets–you can still feed them their favorites but just in much better versions. Follow Vegan blogs, visit your local bookstore and library and buy veg magazines for some incredible treats.

5) Start slowly. If all you do for now is add one Green Smoothie a day, that is great! In Feb, start adding one all-vegan meal once or twice a week and grow from there. The family will be much more appreciative and receptive if they can still cling to some familiar foods. But before long they will be craving the POWER OF PLANTS!

Wicked Smaht Monday: Smoothies Gone Raw

We did it!! After many fun months in the kitchen creating smoothies we know your family will love, we published Smoothies Gone Raw last week. And nothing is smahter than adding a smoothie to your day, everyday!

Elizabeth and Maggie came up with 131 recipes that are divided into three rawlicious sections: All-Fruit, which is great place to start if you or the kiddos are new to smoothies; Green Smoothies, where we expand the nutritional value by adding rawkin’ greens like kale, spinach and watercress; and Dessert, all guilt-free and delicious!

Smoothie Lickin' Good!

Here is our Berry Muddy Smoothie that you can make today! Kids love it and can’t even taste the spinach.

In a high-speed blender, place two peeled, ripe bananas; two cups of your favorite berry mixture (in these pics, we used raspberries, blackberries and blueberries); two handfuls of baby spinach, 1 cup filtered water and 1 cup ice. You can add sweetener like agave if you wish, but it really isn’t necessary! Blend until smooth and drink up! (Or store some extra in a mason jar for later.)

This RAWK STAR keeps asking for more!

To buy Smoothies Gone Raw for only $4.99, please visit Amazon.com at  http://www.amazon.com/Smoothies-Gone-Raw-Gorgeous-ebook/dp/B009J3KI56/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349120533&sr=8-1&keywords=smoothies+gone+raw

Thank you so much for your RAWSOME support!

Rainbows on this RAWsome Tip Tuesday

We like to say:  “Eat a rainbow of food and you will get all of the nutrients your body needs to live your best life.”  If you aren’t sure what we mean by that, take a look at your plate.  Is it colorful?  Does it include many of the colors in the rainbow?

Shopping for a rainbow of food at the farmers’ market and the produce section of the grocery store makes shopping fun.  Turn rainbow shopping into a game for you and your family.   Let each child pick 2-3 foods in each color and then have them help prepare a meal or snack platter with the gorgeous food.

RED:  Red fruits and veggies are high in antioxidants which help keep our cells healthy.  They also contain vitamins A and C and lycopene which is known to reduce your risk of certain types of cancer.

beets, red peppers, tomatoes, raspberries, strawberries, goji berries, pomegranates, watermelon, radishes, cherries

ORANGE:  Orange produce is generally loaded with vitamins A, C and beta-carotene.  Vitamin C helps keep our immune systems working and beta-carotene keeps our eyesight healthy.

Oranges, cantaloupe, orange peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash

YELLOW:  Yellow fruits and veggies mean lots of vitamin C, potassium and fiber too which keeps our internal systems running smooth.

Bananas, yellow squash, golden apples, lemons, corn, mango

GREEN:  Green gives us is our favorite category as it is loaded with the biggest rawk stars of all … leafy greens.  Leafy greens keep our blood clean, our immune systems working and the pH level in our bodies balanced.

Spinach, kale, collards, chard, broccoli, celery, cucumbers, grapes, pears, avocados

BLUE / PURPLE / DARK:  Blue, purple and dark foods are high in antioxidants and help keep our hearts healthy and our brains working … some say they even make us smahter.

Blueberries, grapes, cabbage, blackberries, figs, eggplants, seaweeds

WHITE:  White foods are also loaded with antioxidants and fiber and anthoxanthins that can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

Cauliflower, radish, turnips, parsnips, garlic,onions


EAT A RAINBOW!

Rainbows are beautiful and so are you! 

 

Labor Day RAWKS on this Wicked Smaht Monday

Labor Day celebrates all of our contributions and achievements as Americans in the work force and it marks the end of summer and the start of the school year … Happy Labor Day to you!  :-)  On this beautiful Labor Day I would like to say thank you for letting us do what we love for “work.”  It is such a gift to be able to share the joy of raw & living foods with the world & we look forward to lots of exciting things to come.

I know we all work hard and make wonderful contributions to the places we call home and beyond, but today I thought I would honor our farmers, the men and women who grow the rawmazing food that nourish our bodies and minds so that we can live our best lives.

Maggie recently shared a book with me called Farm Together NOW and it is a beautiful book that shares stories from our nation’s farms, the people that run them and the land that they work.  The message is simple … enjoy community, get back to basics and shift our food movement to one of sustainability and whole foods living.  The book is filled with interviews with different farmers and organizations, farm facts and stunning photographs and info that tell a story about different people and places.

One farm that stands out is “Nuestras Raíces” in Holyoke, Massachusetts.  This farm has 10 community gardens a 30 acre of farm which is home to a farmer-training program that they offer.  It also has a cafe.  Nuestras Raíces creates community, a place for learning, pride and food for its people, & that is a beautiful thing!  You can check out their website at www.nuestras-raices.com .

Another group that jumped out at me was “City Slicker Farms” in Oakland, California.  Located within a part of the city that has little to offer when it comes to fresh produce, this organization farms leafy greens and root vegetables and inspires folks from the community to start their own backyard gardens.  They help 75 backyard gardeners set up their own garden each year which is totally RAWsome! Check them out at www.cityslickerfarms.org.

Every farmer and organization featured in this book has something special to share and it is worth taking some time to get to know some of these folks that are doing extraordinary things with a simple concept that begins with planting seeds.  RAWK ON!

THANK YOU, FARMERS, for all you give us!

RAWsome Tip Tuesday: Becoming a Label Sleuth

Those sticky little oval labels are actually for more than just making you dig holes into your apples. If you look closer, there are numbers on them. What do they mean?

Those Labels Can Help You Buy Healthier

 

These numbers are clues as to how the produce was grown.

Your first choice is to look for five digits that start with a “9.” This means the produce was grown ORGANICALLY.

A string of four digits that begin with a “3” or “4,” mean the item is conventionally grown with the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. They are not Genetically Modified. If you buy this produce, make sure you wash them very well to remove any leftover chemicals. (Though, some will penetrate the skin, so avoid if possible.)

STAY AWAY from five digits that begin with an “8.” This denotes it is Genetically Modified (mucked up in a laboratory before it got to you–not the way Mother Nature intended!)

Labels? Solved!

Codes are standard across the country, so if you look for a “9” in Maine or Hawaii, it will be organic. But while you can use these numbers as a guide, they don’t tell you everything about the produce, so it is best to use your eyes, nose and fingers to judge the quality of the apple or bean.

The best is to use the mouth of your local farmer who can tell you the exact information before you choose!

"I can tell you everything about my corn."

Iodine & Wicked Smaht Monday

“Dear Kids Gone Raw,
What are your thoughts on eating too many iodine blocking foods such as kale, spinach, strawberries, etc?”

We got this question on facebook last week & we thought we’d dive into it a little on this wicked Smaht Monday!

There’s a lot of confusion out there around cruciferous veggies, iodine and thyroid health.  Let’s break it down a bit.

What is the thyroid?  The thyroid is a gland in the front of our throat/neck that produces thyroid hormones which help regulate our metabolism.  Research does not show a clear connection between diet and the production of thyroid hormones, but there are foods out there that make it hard for the thyroid to absorb iodine, and iodine is needed for a healthy thyroid.  Iodine, a trace mineral, helps boost our immune system and feeds our thyroid, allowing it to produce the hormones that keeps our metabolism working.

Goitrogens is the name given to foods that hinder iodine absorption in the thyroid.  Goitrogens include cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, turnips, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, soy & mustard greens to name a few.  Peaches, spinach & strawberries are also considered mildly goitrogenic.

What’s a rawk star to do to have a healthy life that results in getting enough iodine and maintaining a healthy thyroid?  Well, we think the key is to eat a rainbow of food that includes lots of different kinds of greens and a little seaweed too.  Variety is the spice of life & enjoying all of your favorite fruits and veggies in moderation is perfectly fine!  So keep rawking on & loving your veggies and sprinkle them with some iodine-rich seaweeds like nori, dulse flakes or kelp granules.  Enjoy a little himalayan sea salt on your food too!

And take care of your beautiful body by sleeping enough, eating 3 balanced meals  & getting some exercise in each day!  All of these things contribute to a healthy body & a healthy thyroid!

If you do have thyroid problems then you may need to follow a special diet that limits your intake of certain foods and cruciferous veggies.  See your doc for more info!  Here are more links that may be of interest:

Details on the thyroid: http://www.nenahsylver.com/thyroid—low-function-and-remedies,-page-2.html

About iodine:  http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=69

About goitrogens: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=47

 

 

 

 

Staying Cool on this Wicked Smaht Monday

The smahtest thing we can all do during this wicked hot & humid heat wave is to stay cool & hydrated!  One on my favorite things to enjoy during hot weather is mint.  Mint is so cooling & refreshing & it also packed with all kinds of rawsome nutrients.  Here’s the skinny on mint:

• It’s got vitamins A & C & B2. It also has some essential minerals in it that include manganese, calcium, copper, iron & potassium.

• helps with allergies

• relieves cold & flu symptoms

• aids in digestion & is simply good for the tummy

• can help treat skin irritations when applied directly to the body

• keeps our blood clean blood

• tastes great in smoothies, teas & nice creams

Here’s a simple iced Mint Tea recipe for you to keep on hand to battle the heat.

 

MINT TEA

1 cup fresh mint leaves, packed

2 quarts of cold water

liquid stevia to taste, approx 8-10 drops

1/2 lemon, juiced – optional

10 ice cubes

1.  Wash & crush your mint leaves in your hand & then tear each mint leaf to release some of the mintiness.

2.  Place crushed mint leaves & remaining ingredients in a pitcher & stir.

3.  Drink up to stay cool!

Note:  Once you have finished your mint tea, throw your mint leaves into a smoothie for another refreshing treat.

Stay cool, kids & enjoy Summer!  Ahhhhhhhhh!  :-)

 

Blueberries for Wicked Smaht Monday

Have you ever picked blueberries?  Today my partner and I went blueberry picking for the first time and we had a blast.  We hopped in the car early this morning and headed to Buxton to visit Little River Flower Farm for a rawsome blueberry fix.  We picked about 4.5 quarts in an hour.  Happiness!  And I can’t wait to share a blueberry recipe with you on Foodie Friday this week … stay tuned!

Spending time picking and eating blueberries got me thinking about the magic of these little berries.  Here are some cool blueberry facts for this Wicked Smaht Monday:

1.  Maine produces 25% of all lowbush blueberries in the country which requires lots of bees for pollinating … so many bees in fact that many hives are shipped into the state for pollinating them.  Cool, huh?  Without bees, we’d have no blueberries & no produce to eat.  Check out Maggies post about bees.

2.  Blueberries are LOADED with antioxidants!  Antioxidants protect us from harmful free radicals from the environment and the foods we eat.  They also fight aging & disease!  Wooo-hoooooooo!

3.  Blueberries are good for fighting urinary tract infections like their friend the cranberry, but they naturally taste better because they are sweet.  :-) They also help with diarrhea and constipation because they contain tannins which work as astringents that reduce inflammation in the digestive tract.  Cool, huh?

4.  Blueberries really do make you smaht!  Research in animals has shown that diets rich in blueberries improve learning capacity and motor skills and they reduce the effects of dementia.

5.  Blueberries are low in calories, low on the glycemic index (they score a 4 of 10), they taste great & they are so fun to eat!

EAT YOUR BLUEBERRIES & check back for Friday’s special Blueberry recipe!

Where did these wicked smaht blueberry tips come from? 

Check out Wikipedia, Barlett’s Blueberry Farm and bewellbuzz.com