Category Archives: raw food

YES EQUALS YES!

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Paloma and I getting ready for the New Year's cleanse orientation at Goldensol yoga studio, Los Feliz.

Paloma and I getting ready for the New Year’s cleanse orientation at Goldensol yoga studio, Los Feliz.

Yesterday I offered a one week cleanse orientation at Goldensol, a new yoga studio in Los Feliz. As my daughter Paloma and I were unloading the car in the parking lot, we were welcomed by a mysterious sign that said YES EQUALS YES. Interesting! I kept thinking about this affirmation as I prepared the table with the food and the equipment I would use to prepare the green veggie juices and smoothie recipes I would demo during the workshop. YES EQUALS YES. What a way to affirm a desire!

During the class, this affirmation kept dancing in my consciousness as I witnessed the ganas, the excitement of the participants, who were looking for natural ways to reverse some health conditions as I shared how easy it is to use food as medicine in a simple and effective way. Their enthusiasm pushed me forward and I knew they were doubly affirming their celebration of life as they discovered effective tools to improve their health in the delicious drinks.

YES EQUALS YES when we are ready to make a major shift in our lives, step into our power and arrive at decisions out of the wisdom of our hearts. YES MEANS YES when we let go of negativity to dive full-on into what we know is going to be supportive of our growth and unfoldment. YES EQUALS YES when we take that leap of faith and embark in enterprises that seem scary and hard at the beginning. YES MEANS YES when we affirm life over fear, insecurities, hesitations, no matter what the challenges are, no matter what others say, no matter if it’s going to work or not.

What are YOU saying YES to today?

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My interview for the San Diego Veg Festival

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At wonderful veg cafe Casa de Luz, with organizers extraordinaires Linda Le and Elza Angulo

At wonderful veg cafe Casa de Luz, with organizers extraordinaires Linda Le and Elza Angulo

Last weekend I was invited to be a guest demo speaker for the second annual San Diego Veg Festival. I was asked to share my experience as a raw food educator and holistic healer, and it was a great opportunity to meet people ready to recover their health by choosing healthier food options. Here’s the interview:

  1. 1.      What do you enjoy most about your career in the veg community?

I enjoy the fact that it’s growing so fast. More and more people are getting into a plant-based diet and becoming much more aware of the issues related to the eating of animal products. In my own area of raw food, I see people experimenting with green juices and smoothies daily, and seeing the incredibly positive effects that these have in their health. I feel there is a change in consciousness in many areas, and food is one of them. People realize that to change the world, we need to change individually—as members of a larger community—and one of the ways is by paying attention to how we fuel our bodies, that is in accordance with a sustainable way of preserving our planet. Moreover, as a food justice activist, I believe in autonomous and vibrantly healthy individuals and communities, and that our bodies are the ultimate site of self-determination. So, in order to become really autonomous, the first thing we need to do is decolonize our bodies from commercial, processed food and other substances that keep us lethargic and lacking in energy.

  1. 2.      What is one thing you wish someone had told you before becoming a vegan/vegetarian?

Fortunately, I started exploring a raw food diet and cleansing in January 2002, when I participated in a program called The 21 Day Detox, led in Los Angeles by two amazing individuals, both naturopaths, Richard D’Andrea, M.D., and John Woods. I learnt so much from them, that I think they prepared me very well to go on my own journey safely. That’s why I have taken it to heart to teach other people how to develop personalized cleanses that are effective and safe. I felt the duty to share my experience with the Chicano/a Latino/a communities with whom I interact daily, as there is a lot of chronic disease and obesity in these communities due to a less than optimal diet resulting from the lack of good fresh produce in the “food deserts” where many of these people reside.

  1. 3.      What caused you to want to become veg friendly?

I was raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where the ingestion of meat is overwhelming. When I arrived in this country in 1988 to pursue a doctoral program, luckily, I started eating much less meat because I felt it didn’t taste as good as back home. I also come from a history of emotional eating, so the idea of exploring a raw food diet and periodic detoxing was very appealing to me. It happened right at a time in my life when my spiritual practices were becoming much deeper, and it was natural for me to change my diet to support that process.

  1. 4.      Tell us more about your business? How can we get connected?

After years of hosting seasonal community cleanses and raw food preparation classes, I decided to retire from my position as a college professor and work full-time in the area of health. I became certified as a holistic health coach and have been growing my practice since late 2011. I am using everything I learnt in my own journey to support post-menopausal women to recover their power over their bodies, and debunk disempowering beliefs about aging. As a holistic healer, I model for my clients how to courageously step center-stage in their lives by unleashing their unique personal power, creative self-expression and overall wellbeing. I offer bilingual programs that inspire individuals to reconnect with their bodies, minds and spirits by going back to the basics of a healthy lifestyle: a personalized nutrient-rich diet, energizing physical movement and a meaningful spiritual practice. I specialize in weight management for women in their prime through life-changing programs that include DIY detoxifications, live foods and powerful transformational techniques. I also offer wellness seminars in English and Spanish.

I have a blog that focuses on live foods and detoxifications, http://livefoods4life.com/, and my holistic healing website is www.vivamivida.com.

  1. 5.      What other activities are you involved with in San Diego?

Every six months I spend a week doing a deep detox at the Optimum Health Institute in Lemon Grove, an amazing institution that firmly believes in the power of food as medicine. They follow Anne Wigmore’s principles of using the healing power of live food (sprouting, fermenting, juicing, lots of wheatgrass) to restore health. Every Friday morning, guests have the opportunity to share to the community their testimonials about healing with the power of plants. I have seen time and again hundreds of cases of individuals with “incurable diseases”–as defined by the traditional medical industrial complex–, make a 100% recovery and regain their health and vitality by sticking to this type of diet. Everything that I’ve learnt at OHI I share with the participants of my workshops and cleanses. I am looking forward to continue to collaborate with the San Diego Veg community in spreading this information to the public.

  1. 6.      What tips do you have for those wanting to stay on a veg-friendly path?

I would invite individuals to consider practicing a plant-based diet. I have seen many vegetarians and vegans who eat a lot of processed food, fake meats, etc. I think that the power of being on a veg-friendly path is to get acquainted with the amazing power of plants. That’s the natural fuel that our bodies need. And, if some “slips” happen, to just recommit and continue on the path. There are so many different varieties, flavors, textures, ways of preparing plants, that there is no way that we would feel deprived (not even in the intake of protein!). Also, I would suggest that individuals explore and pay close attention to their ancestral diet. According to the principle of “bio-individuality,” the great diversity of body types demand different types of diets.  Usually, whatever our ancestors ate, our bodies do well with. We can always modify those traditional dishes with choices that are more congruent with the diet that we choose now.

  1. 7.      What are your favorite veg dishes?

I like very simple flavors, and I eat mostly what I prepare at home. I love greens, and I prepare them in juices and smoothies, salads and wraps. I always tell the participants of my food preparation workshops that I am not that interested in gourmet raw food, that my diet mostly responds to the requirements of a “colon boot camp.” I’m interested mainly in food that makes me feel vibrant and healthy and that keeps my body clean. That’s why I am very much into fermentation and sprouting. I always sprout my beans, grains and nuts, and if I happen to prepare a cooked quinoa dish (my favorite grain/seed), I will sprout it for a couple of days first, so that the life force and enzymatic power gets unleashed and becomes more digestible and nutritious.

8. What advice do you have for those that are interested or curious about being a vegetarian/vegan?

I usually suggest to my clients to start slowly, adding veggies and fruits into their diet. The best way to do that is with green juices and smoothies. I have seen time and again that as people start to add these delicious and nutrient rich drinks into their diet, their taste buds get used to the natural flavors, they start to crave veggies and fruits due to the fact that they feel much better eating clean, and slowly, their diet starts transforming completely. This is a wonderful way to jump start a journey towards a plant-based diet. Enjoy the process, and don’t become too dogmatic, just find pleasure in your new choices!

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Are you “inflamed”?

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Clean-CoveI know that this question might elicit different responses at this moment. Today we could feel “inflamed” due to another example of how the justice system in this country has shown one more time that we are really not all equal under the law. And I would say that is a very justified way of feeling, and at some point, I promise I’ll write a post about this.

But what I really mean when I ask this question is if you have stopped to think whether your body has created an inflamed environment that is prone to disease, which eventually could become chronic. Some of my clients complain about digestive issues, for example, and this condition is a result of inflammation.

I am reading an excellent book that explains the relation of inflammation and the need for detoxification, Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself. Author and fellow rioplatense Alejandro Junger, M.D. explains this condition

…inflammation is a survival mechanism of great complexity. [It] occurs when a set of chemicals in the blood are activated by something foreign or broken. These chemicals attract defense cells that protect tissues against whatever is injuring them, from a thorn to a disease-causing microbe. The repair system is also activated by calling in different cells to fix the damage. Normally, inflammation is self-regulated, which means that as soon as it is triggered, it will start reactions that will stop further inflammation. However, if the body is constantly exposed to irritants, the inflammation response is switched on all the time—not just at small specific sites, but systemically all over the body and throughout the blood. This is what happens when exposure to toxins is high: modern humans are chronically inflamed. Inflammation (from the Latin word inflatio, “to set on fire”) becomes to the body’s environment what wildfires are to the planet’s” (92).

Only now modern medicine has recognized that inflammation is the common condition underlying chronic ailments like cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and autoimmune disorders. So, how can we prevent inflammation? We need to consider that, in addition to environmental toxins and stress, the ingestion of certain foods promote inflammation. For example:

  • Packaged and processed foods and drinks that contain additives, preservatives and other chemicals
  • Acid producing foods: red meat, refined grains (mostly gluten)
  • Dairy
  • Sugars
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Trans-fats: hydrogenated oils
  • Foods that can cause irritation and allergies:
  • nightshade family: tomatoes, sweet peppers, eggplant, potatoes
  • Strawberries, chocolate, shellfish
  • Peanuts

If we reduce the intake of these foods, and add anti-inflammatory nutrients to our diet, like Omega 3 fatty acids (hemp, flax and chia seeds, walnuts, algae, fish and krill oil), curcumin (turmeric), plants that contain polyphenols, like all types of berries, raw plants that cool down our system and dark leafy greens that support liver detoxification (my favorite are dandelions), we limit our stressors and we cleanse our system regularly, we will keep inflammation in check. Dr Junger asserts that the root of inflammation is the “the toxicity of modern life, and our bodies’ weakness in dealing with it. Only when we start a treatment there, targeting the seed of the problem, can we truly begin to ward off disease” (11).

This is why I am so insistent on periodic detoxifications of our bodies. It’s not that I’m a broken record, it’s that periodic cleanses are the most effective and empowering practices to keep our bodies clean and healthy.

If reading this post has convinced you that it’s time for a tune-up, please check my upcoming DIY Mid-Summer Community Cleanse and Raw Food Preparation Class starting July 27. Your body and the planet will thank you for it.

If you’d like to receive information on my upcoming programs, please sign up here.

Our body’s many cries for water

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imagesAs we move through these interesting times, mostly in the recent weeks, with a cosmic alignment of three eclipses in a row, ending with a powerful full moon eclipse on May 24-25, our energies shift, we feel tired, overwhelmed, stressed out, sad, etc. Some of the authors writing about how to deal with these emotions suggest we go back to the element of water as medicine. I can relate to that as a Sirena!

Lena Stevens suggests that we “take care of the body in some way as the body struggles with new energies it does not understand. You may be experiencing aches and pains you never had before. Work with water, drink lots of it, immerse yourself in it and make sure you are getting enough minerals.” And Pat Liles mentions that in this alignment there is “such effortless, easeful energy available, especially from the water signs–our emotional, receptive, fluid nature where we just tap in and intuitively understand what is going on from our deep knowingness. This water energy is part of our learning as well at this time – how to be fluid, receive, use our feminine powers of cooperation…”

So, in this time of deep transformation and renewal, the astrological experts invite us to go back to the most simple and essential of elements. Why?

From a scientific point of view, F. Batmanghelidj, M.D. in his famous book Your Body’s Many Cries for Water assures us “you are not sick, you’re thirsty,” and recommends to use water as a cure for an infinite array of diseases: from rheumatoid arthritis, low back pain, headaches, depression and stress, to high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

I always remind my clients to drink their good, fresh, clean water constantly. How much? The rule of thumb is 2-3 ½ quarts of high quality water per day, or half our weight in ounces. Drink more if you sweat a lot, like I do when I practice Bikram yoga. If we eat raw veggies and fruits, those will hydrate us and we won’t need that much water. Remember, though, that if you are eating a lot of dehydrated food, you will need more water to rehydrate it.

When should we drink it? At least one hour before and one hour after the meals, so that the water doesn’t dilute the acids necessary for digestion.

I have a reverse osmosis filter in my kitchen that I use to refill a metal bottle, so to avoid the waste of plastic bottles that also leach carcinogens. Spring water is the best!

Warm baths with Epsom Salts are great too, they relax our muscles when we exercise, help us calm down after a stressful day and provide the soothing environment to dream and simply chill.

We’ll be talking about this and many other seasonal tips in my next phone group coaching program Are you ready to benefit from the healing power of the summer season?

I have to go now. My mermaid’s tail is getting dry, it needs to dip into the oceanic womb of Iemanja.

Top Seven Reasons to Join A Group Coaching Program

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Hello all!

I am launching an eight session intensive phone group coaching program in weight loss. From the convenience of your home, I will be coaching you on how to release the weight issues forever. As I know that many times we need someone to hold us accountable to make permanent changes to support our health, I designed this easy-to-follow program. I hope you join me. And, if you know of someone who might benefit from a program like this one (who wouldn’t?), please forward the information to them. For more info and to register, go here.

Group coaching programs are very beneficial, as the next seven reasons will show.

1.  Find a  Personal Support System

Group coaching gives you the opportunity to share your feelings with others and develop deeper connections, making your sessions more meaningful. Knowing you are not alone in your journey will help you develop the confidence to address your challenges and the motivation to succeed.

2. Higher Likelihood of Achieving Goals

When individuals are part of a group, they procrastinate less, accomplish more, and reach their goals faster.

3. Benefit from Collective Wisdom

You’ll brainstorm solutions, open creativity channels, and uncover opportunities you may not have discovered working alone.

4. Gain a New Perspective

When you work in a group, you’re exposed to a variety of insights that offer you multiple angles and motivate you to develop new solutions.

5. A Great Value

Get the same quality coaching, but at a fraction of what individual coaching costs. Group coaching is a smart and affordable way to receive top-notch guidance.

6. A Team Invested in Your Success

When you work in a group, the whole team supports you and celebrates your success.

7. Turn Work into Play

Working with a group is a social event that participants look forward to. You will join a close-knit group that is energizing, motivating and most of all – fun! Group members often become lifelong friends.

Please sign up to receive information on my upcoming programs here.

Dandelions: let food be your medicine

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photoLlegó la primavera y el amor!

I love spring time! I love the weather and to be able to witness nature yawning back to life. How beautiful!

When I walk in the mornings or when I go out and feed the pack of (former) stray cats in my backyard, I am welcomed by a flourish of colorful and aromatic aliveness. Bouganvillia and morning glory blooming, jasmines of all types sharing their equisite aroma… And my favorite: yes, the loyal dandelions. Most people want to kill them, because they feel they are “weeds,” but I love to forage them because they are locally and seasonally grown and they are FREE!!!! And, of course, they have amazing medicinal properties.

According to a post by David Metz, Certified Clinical Herbalist, “Dandelions: from weed to medicine,” these herbs have “been known for perhaps thousands of years as a springtime cleanser and rejuvenator. The young leaves are perfect in the spring to cleanse your liver, kick-start your kidneys and release the winter stagnancy out of your muscles and bones.”  He adds that they are also “a premier digestive aid,” easing ” indigestion, gas and bloating.” Moreover, the bitterness of the herb helps the liver to release built-up bile,  “making dandelion good for gallstones, gout, jaundice, constipation, acne and eczema.”

Dandelions are also used as diuretics and a “potent anti-inflammatory, a cholesterol reducer, a type 2 diabetes balancer, and a reducer of muscular pain and swelling.  These qualities are due to its cooling nature. “

So, I invite you to try these amazing plants. How can we eat them? Well, I make the most delicious salad; simple, tasty and stimulating. Enjoy!SAM_0345

Dandelion Greens Salad

1 bunch of thinly sliced dandelion greens

½ cup chopped mushrooms

3 chopped garlic cloves.

a handfull of cranberries

Dressing: olive oil, raw apple cider vinegar and 1 tbsp. amino acids (Braggs) made with fermented soy beans.

Equipment: bowl, knife, chopping board

Gluten* and sugar- free fruit and nut cookies-Galletas de frutas secas y nueces sin gluten* ni azúcar

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-DSC_1113smThis is a deliciously  healthy snack that can be dehydrated or baked

Ingredients

2 cups of assorted dry fruits (soaked 4-6 hours)
1 cup of pitted dates (soaked 4-6 hours)
1 cup of pecan nuts
1 cup of shredded/grated coconut
1 cup of flax seeds
1 cup of oat groats
2 tablespoons of raw agave nectar
Coconut oil to cover the cookie sheet

Preparation
Filter the water used to soak the dry fruits and dates and keep it.  Process the fruit and dates in the Cuisinart and place in a bowl. Frind the flax seeds and the oat groats and add to the bowl. Mix well, using the water used for soaking the fruits. Add chopped nuts, shredded coconut and the agave. Continue to blend and add the water as needed. The consistency should be firm, in order to shape the cookies. You can bake them in the oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or dehydrate for 24 hours. Enjoy!

* thank you, Lorena, for your comment. Oats don’t have gluten naturally, but many times they are packed in facilities that handle other grains with gluten. Make sure to use uncontaminated oats to prepare this recipe.

 
Estas galletas son muy saludables, y se pueden hornear o deshidratar

Ingredientes
2 tazas de frutas secas variadas remojadas en agua filtrada por 4-6 horas.
1 taza de dátiles sin carozo remojadas en agua filtrada por 4-6 horas.
1 taza de nueces pecan (se pueden remojar también)
1 taza de coco rallado
1 taza de semillas de linaza
1 taza de granos de avena
2 cucharadas de nectar de agave
Aceite de coco para aceitar la asadera

Preparación
Filtre el agua que se usó para remojar las frutas secas y los dátiles y guárdela. Ponga las frutas y los dátiles en una procesadora y procese bien y pase a un bol. Muela las semillas de linaza y los granos de avena y agregue al bol. Mezcle bien usando el agua del remojo. Agregue las nueces picadas, el coco rallado y el agave. Siga mezclando y agregue agua cuando la necesite. La consistencia debe ser firme, para formar copos en la asadera. Aceite la asadera y ponga la masa en copos para hacer las galletas. Cocine en horno de 400 grados por 45 minutos.

* Gracias, Lorena, por tu comentario. Si bien la avena no tiene gluten naturalmente, muchas veces se empaqueta en establecimientos con otros granos que sí lo tienen. Para asegurarse de que la receta no tiene gluten, por favor, asegúrense de que la avena no ha sido contaminada.

Raw lunch: hors d’oeuvres, entrées, dessert

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Hors d’oeuvres

SAM_0345

Dehydrated Onion bread

1 cup of fermented rye (left over from the preparation of Rejuvelac)

1 cup of left-over veggie pulp from juicing

1 cup of ground flax seeds

1 cup of ground sunflower seeds

3 sliced large yellow onions

½ cup of Nama Shoyu

½ cup of olive oil

Thinly slice or chop the onions. Grind the flax and sunflower seeds and put them in a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients, including the onions. Mix well with your hands, massaging the mixture. Allow the mix to settle for 30 minutes. You will need a dehydrator for this. (Or you could put the batter in a crock-pot or the oven at a very low temperature). Spread the mix on the Teflex sheets of the dehydrator and dehydrate for 24 hours at 105 degrees, then take out the Teflex sheets and flip over the bread and dehydrate for another 12 hours.

Nut/seed cheese with dill, parsely and seaweed

1 cup raw almonds/cashews or sun flower/pumpkin seeds– soaked overnight with filtered water.

Add ½ cup rejuvelac (or less) to promote the fermentation of the “cheese” and blend.

Add the rest of the ingredients, and mix well:

¼ cup Chopped scallions

2 chopped celery sticks

¼ cup Italian parsley

2 tbsp. kelp

Dulse flakes

1 ½ tbsp. dried dill

Allow the cheese to ferment for several hours in the oven with the pilot on

Equipment: Blendtec, bowl, knife, chopping board

 

Entrées

Dandelion Greens Salad

1 bunch of dandelions greens

½ cup chopped mushrooms

3 chopped garlic cloves.

1 tbsp. amino acids (Braggs) made with fermented soy beans, raw apple cider vinegar.

Equipment: bowl, knife, chopping board

Zucchini Noodles with pesto

2 green zucchini

For the pesto, blend:

4 cloves garlic

2 bunches cilantro or basil

1 tbsp. amino acid

1/3 cup olive oil

A handful of pine nuts

Mix zucchini noodles with pesto

Add nutritional yeast or rice parmegian

Equipment: Spirooli, Blendtec, bowl

Dessert

Hemp Seed Crusted Raw Chili Fudge

Crust

8 soaked dates or raisins

¾ cup of raw hemp seeds

Process dates and mix with hemp seeds and cover a 8×8 glass plate, spread evenly. Refrigerate.

Fudge

1 cup liquefied raw coconut oil

1 or 2 chiles

¾ cup of raw honey or maple syrup or agave

1 cup raw cacao powder

Process or blend liquefied coconut oil and chiles. Add the raw honey and mix. Slowly add the cacao powder and mix until smooth. Pour fudge into glass mix on top of the hemp crust. Chill for 30 minutes.

Equipment: Cuisinart, Vitamix, bowl, glass container

Two recipes for fermenting and culturing veggies: raw sauerkraut and ceviche de coliflor

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cropped pic event page 9-11 - CopyFermenting: fermented foods help restore the good bacteria in our digestive system. They are natural pro-biotics, and all cultures do have some kind of fermented or cultured foods (curtido, sauerkraut, ceviche, tepache).

Fermented cabbage (sauerkraut)

One small cabbage  (red or white or combined) grated

One carrot, one beet (for flavor)

one red onion

A pinch of salt

Lemon juice of 4 lemons/ limes

A big mason jar

Grate all the ingredients and put in a bowl. Add lemon juice and salt and mix well. Place ingredients in a glass mason jar. Push until tight and cover with a cabbage leaf and then a kitchen towel. Leave at room temperature to ferment overnight. For a deeper fermentation, leave outside the fridge for one/two days, depending on temperature. After that, regifregerate. It will keep for a couple of weeks. Great to add to a salad, or to accompany any plate.

Ceviche de coliflor

1 medium cauliflower, grated

1 or 2 beets grated

1 red onion (or less) finely sliced

1 o 2 garlic cloves finely choppedraw ceviche

1 bunch of cilantro chopped

1 slice of ginger finely chopped

1 mango sliced (optional)

Juice of  2 or 3 limes

Mix everything well. Make sure to start with the grated coliflor and put the lemon juice right away, so it starts to “cook”.  You can serve it with tostadas with guacamole made with ripe tomatoes and chipotle veganaise.

La comida fermentada  es importantísima para activar nuestro sistema digestivo: como con la fermentación se han cultivado bacterias que ayudan la digestión, todo lo fermentado trae compuestos encimáticos que son muy útiles para nuestro cuerpo.

Col (repollo) fermentada

1 col pequeña, rallada (morada o blanca)

1 zanahoria or betabel

Sal a gusto

El jugo de dos limones/ limas

Un recipient de vidrio

Ceviche de coliflor

1 coliflor mediano, rallado

1 o 2 betabel o zanahoria, ralladas

1 cebolla morada en rodajas finas

1 o 2 dientes de ajo, picados

1 ramito de cilantro, picado

1 rodaja de jengibre, picada

1 mango, en rodajes pequeñas

El jugo de 2 o 3 limones/ limas

Mezclar todo y asegurarse de que la coliflor sea lo primero que se ralle, y reciba el jugo del limón inmediatamente, así comienza a “cocinarse.” Se puede servir con tostada untadas con guacamole hecho con tomates y Veganaise de Chipotle.