Back at It

Hello again! Thanks for sticking around, I know it’s been a long LONG time… My ambitious “I’ll post sporadically” didn’t exactly pan out when I was skipping around America, seeing family and friends, eating delicious food, and generally obsessing over my homeland.

Now I’m back and eager to get into a routine, and with summer on the horizon I am really feeling the raw foods vibe. This could also have to do with all the inspiration I picked up in NYC. When you have access to fresh green juices and smoothies on almost every corner in Manhattan, it’s pretty easy to start swooning and floating up to Cloud 9. In addition, my beautiful mother owns a Vitamix, so while I was staying at my parents’ house, I couldn’t resist the urge to make smoothies all around almost everyday. Those machines are pure power.

Sometimes it’s difficult to get back into a healthy routine after being on vacation for so long, but for me it comes down to three things:

1. Sleep

2. Eats

3. Exercise

….and in that order.

While all relate to each other, I think first and foremost, you want to get back into a healthy sleeping routine. Feeling rested enables you to make healthier and more mindful food and lifestyle choices. After that comes the Eats. While my first day back may have included more chocolate than I’d like to admit (Pumpkin Spice Hershey’s Kisses should be illegal), each day I’ve managed to incorporate more and more fruits and veggies and doing this gradually feels good and natural, rather than forced. Being jet-lagged does not make exercise appealing or easy, but taking the dog for a walk and other low-key activities are good for eventually getting back into a strong routine.

I hope you find these tips useful next time you’re in a post-vacay funk. Overall, it’s always bittersweet to come home from a holiday, but for me seeing these goons was the best part of being back.

piperandjemima

 

Enjoy the rest of your hump day and see you soon!

 

xo,

Natalia

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Juicy Wednesdays: Tickled Pink

I hate pink. There I said it. I think it has something to do with the fact that it’s pegged as a “girly” color, and I firmly believe this business of “boy” and “girl” colors is one of the many problems of society… it’s a color. Colors are universal.

Anyway, for someone who’s not a fan of pink, a lot of my juices lately have been pink. This might have something to do with the big bag of beets that I bought, but I have to admit, there’s something fun and springlike about sipping on something pink. So without further ado, here is the beverage that had me tickled pink and with a lovely soft pink lip stain. Please excuse the quality of the photo, I was too busy guzzling my juice to notice… sorry.

prettyinpink(Converse photobomb…)

Tickled Pink

serves 2

1 large cucumber, peeled, unless organic

3 small, or 2 medium beets

2 carrots

1/2 a pineapple

1 orange, peeled

Clean, Juice, Guzzle.

Some benefits:

Hydrating; detoxifying; good for bone health, skin health, eye sight, blood health; anti-inflammatory; high in Vitamin A, B2, B6, C, beta carotene, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, and more.

Hope your Wednesday and week are tickled pink!

xo,

Natalia

Juicy Wednesdays: Coconut Milk

Happy Spring to my South Africans and Happy Pumpkin Season to my Americans 🙂

First off, apologies are in order for the a) hiatus and b) lack of guest post on Friday. Unfortunately life got in the way this past week, but I have it on good order that a sprouting post will be coming our way soon. Regardless, I’m back and today I’m sharing one of my favorite new discoveries: homemade coconut milk.

Now let me just start by making one thing very clear: my love of coconut is only surpassed by one thing: pumpkin. I spoke of my pumpkin infatuation in this post, so I think you can see why this was so exciting. Coconut milk from a can often has so many additives that it loses a lot of its nutritional advantages and picks up some preservatives along the way. Homemade coconut milk is better nutritionally AND in terms of flavor. Furthermore, you can control what goes into the milk and decide how sweet/plain/creamy you want it to come out.

This milk is easy, cheaper than its almond version, and an excellent milk alternative.

coconut-dreams

 

(coconut dreams)

Coconut Milk

2 cups of dried coconut (soaked overnight)

3-4 cups of water depending on your creaminess preference

1 tsp of vanilla (optional)

Pinch of salt

1TBS of liquid sweetener of choice (agave, maple syrup and honey are all good options)

  1. Find dried coconut that is shred into larger pieces if possible (preferably organic), finely desiccated coconut won’t have the same effect. Measure out 2 cups and soak in water for at least 6-8 hours.
  2. Drain the coconut, place in blender, add desired amount of water (3 cups yields a creamier milk than 4 cups) and blend for 1 -2 minutes, until the mixture looks nice and creamy.
  3. Strain through a nut milk bag, squeezing out as much liquid as possible, and reserve pulp.
  4. Place the milk back into the blender with optional vanilla, salt and sweetener and blend for 30 more seconds.
  5. Enjoy! Store the milk in the fridge and give it a good shake before every use, should keep for up to 5 days.

The coconut pulp can be spread on a baking sheet and dehydrated (oven at 50C or a dehydrator) for several hours until it becomes coconut flour. If the texture comes out clumpy after several hours of dehydration, just give it a spin in the blender or food processor until it resembles fine flour.

Some health benefits of coconut milk: high levels of magnesium, selenium, calcium, copper and vitamin C. The results of these include: good for the skin, nervous system, joins and bones!

Enjoy the rest of your Wednesday, coconuts!

 

xo,

Natalia

 

Friday Delights: 5 things

becool

be cool….

Happy Friday! The weekend is in sight 🙂

Today I am sharing 5 things I’m currently finding delightful that I hope you will too:

1) I have a huge nerdy culinary crush on Mark Bittman. I said it. Mark (it’s cool, he said I can call him by his first name) had a column called The Minimalist in the New York Times Dining section (that I stalked) for years, was the lead food writer for Times Magazine (also stalked) and also the author of a few books. Recently, Mark published a book called VB6 where he encourages readers to eat like a vegan until dinner time. My heart.

2) I gave up gluten/wheat for lent this past March and immediately noticed major differences. While I do not have a gluten intolerance, I found that avoiding it makes me feel better, and since I’m an avid baker, a healthier flour option was already an urgent need. I’ve been experimenting with affordable alternatives and have fallen in love with Nature’s Choice Gluten Free Cake Flour. This flour’s main ingredient is brown rice flour (winning!), but it also incorporates soya flour, sago flour, potato flour, tapioca and sea salt, to give your baked goods a lovely texture that is very similar to your classic wheat flours. Brown rice flour= healthy carbs. I love it.

3) Davines hair products. I have been using Davines products for almost a year now and when I say these products saved my hair… I mean it. I have long hair, which is fun, but requires a good hair care regime. Davines are phenomenal and the best part is that they’re a sustainable brand that incorporates sustainability principles in their ingredients, production and distribution. They are a natural brand with environmentally-friendly practices, and the products speak for themselves. Love love love.

4) It took me a long time to find a Stevia that I could stomach (most are horribly bitter), but Canderel Green, not only can I stomach you, I like you. Stevia is tricky… it’s the preferred safe sweetener (low in calories, all natural, etc), but it tastes like garbage, and the after taste is even worse. Let me honest… it does not taste like sugar or other sweeteners, but it’s also not full of foreign ingredients that are known carcinogens. It’s all-natural and I like it in my morning cuppa.

5) With VB6 as an inspiration and Spring in the air, I’ve decided to start not only eating vegan before 6 (that’s already pretty much in order) but eating vegan AND raw before dinner time. With that in mind, I’m going to start sprouting regularly. Sprouting is a great way to get in some raw protein, enzymes and vitamins, plus it diversifies your meals. Watch this space, my resident sprouter (aka boyfriend) will be doing a post next week explaining the process and some benefits.

Have a delightful weekend!

xo,
Natalia

Green Eating on a Budget

Hi! How was everyone’s weekend? Mine was lovely and one of the highlights had to be this:

sunshineandgreenjuice

Lots of beautiful sunshine and lots of juice. A jug full of green juice makes me giddy. *sigh* It’s the little things…

 

Today’s post is focused on green eating in an affordable manner. Healthy eating has a terrible reputation for being expensive and therefore unsustainable to the average Joe. Food isn’t cheap, but I don’t think being healthy has to be pricey and the economics behind food prices and investments in our health and environment, need to be considered when buying food. Yes, coconut oil is more expensive than your over-processed vegetable oil, but so are the health risks you’re likely to encounter as a result of using it. Below are my guidelines for eating green on a budget:

1. Buy in Bulk– Healthy grains like quinoa, millet, and brown rice are more expensive than generic white rice, but when bought in bulk it becomes affordable and worthwhile to incorporate these ingredients into our diets. The same goes for things like coconut oil, flours, legumes and many fruits and vegetables. The key is to look at the unit price of most grocery items. There you will see the price in terms of weight for each packaged item and you can determine which is the cheapest over all. Perishables can be bought frozen and used later, and grains and legumes have a long shelf life.

2. Eat Seasonally– In season fruits and vegetables are better for you, the environment and your wallet. Because they are in season, they have not been imported from another part of the world and since they are in the middle of their own harvest, they are readily available and need to be sold.

3. Use discretion when buying organic- Yes, organic is much better, but no, it is not imperative that you buy EVERYTHING organic. Print out the Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen for 2013 sheet and use this to carefully pick and choose where you want to invest in organic produce. 

4. Buy Local– Go to your local farmer’s market or order a farm box. Not only does this support your local farmers and cut back on emissions from transport, you’re buying the produce from the source and therefore there are no store markups and the food is usually organic.

5. Plan ahead– There is a slight art to green shopping on a budget, but 90% of that simply comes down to planning. Plan what you will eat during week, know what you need and know what you have in your cupboards so nothing goes to waste. This isn’t to say that everything must go according to your meal plan, life happens. But if a dinner invitation comes along and you know that you won’t be eating something, try freezing it or incorporating it into another meal.

6. Homemade is better– processed foods can add up and not have much return. While we often pay for the convenience of store bought goods, homemade is usually tastier, healthier and more affordable. One of my favorite examples is muesli. Store-bought “healthy” muesli can be very expensive and is often loaded with added sugars, preservatives and sometimes even… trans fats. I mean, really? If we’re going to go there, let’s just have the donuts please. While homemade requires the extra effort, it’s worth it. You are in complete control of what goes into the food and ultimately it will be more affordable and have a higher return on your health.

7. Eat less meat– I’m a believer that if you’re going to eat meat, then regard it as a luxury and not a staple. Meat is expensive and reducing it from your diet will aid your health and cut back on your costs. If you’re going to buy meat, then best you buy organic/free-range because that factory raised stuff is not only incredibly unethical, it’s very very bad for your body. I’m not here to preach or represent PETA, it’s just the truth and I’m pretty sure no one wants hormone-infused food in their bodies. Rather find a local butcher who can tell you exactly where the meat is coming from and how it is produced. Then, ask if you can buy in bulk and freeze to save some money.

 

Bottom line: Healthy and green eating are not always the cheapest options, but part of eating is nourishing our bodies to invest in our health and longevity. Spending a little extra on better quality ingredients, means you may not have medical bills coming out of your ears in the future. Furthermore, it invests in the environment and means you’re treading a little more lightly 🙂

 

Happy shopping!

 

xo,

Natalia

Friday Delights: 4 things

Happiest Friday to you all and I hope all you South Africans are staying warm… talk about a cold front!!!

Today I’m sharing 4 delightful things that I’ve got on my mind at the moment:

1. Have you heard of Lorde? She’s this Kiwi teenager singer-songwriter, who has a really nice sound and I just can’t get enough of her song “Royals”. Here it is for your listening pleasure: 

2. This weekend we’re hosting a lunch and I’m thinking these beet crostinis, and these butternut croquettes might have to happen. Sneaky veggie treats for the meat eaters in attendance. Note: those butternut croquettes are delicious and so easy.

3. Hot Toddies. I’m really loving these at the moment, and I have to say… it’s probably one of the healthiest cocktails out there. I use the juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1 teaspoon of raw honey, hot water and some whiskey. So comforting. I’ve been told Hot Toddies are “good for the soul”, so I’m going to go ahead and keep telling myself that.

4. It’s August. While that’s delightful in some respects (Spring is around the corner, USA trip is coming up, etc), where did this year go??? They say life only gets faster, so even if your weekend is jam-packed, take a minute to soak it in, slow down and really enjoy every moment. That’s my goal 🙂

 

Enjoy your weekend and stay warm (preferably with a Hot Toddy)!

xo,

Natalia

Juicy Wednesday: Natalia Rose’s “Chocolate Milk”

Hello!

Today I am sharing a recipe by Natalia Rose that I love and wish I could take credit for because it’s GENIUS. Natalia Rose is a Manhattan-based clinical nutritionist who has worked with a variety of men and women. She was formerly the nutrition director for the Frederic Fekkai Spa (umm… talk about a dream job) and the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa. She has several interesting books and I acquired her “Detox 4 Women” book about a year ago. Rose likes to promote raw foods and food combining principles, and I’d recommend the book to both women and men.

In addition to Food Combining, Rose is a juice junkie and this recipe for her “Chocolate Milk” is easy, delicious, cheap and great for you. It is a 100% vegetable juice, but when the flavors combine the taste has an uncanny resemblance to rich chocolate milk.

chocolate milk

I’m not on glue… I know the above looks like a swamp, but just try it.

Natalia Rose’s Vegetable Chocolate Milk

serves 2

1 head of Romaine (Cos) lettuce

1 pound (approximately 500grams) of fresh carrots

Clean everything and juice. That’s it. 2 ingredients found year-round.

*A twist: when I want the combination to be a little more filling and decadent, I blend the juice with one banana and ¼ of an avocado.

Enjoy your Wednesday and let me know if you give this “Chocolate Milk” a shot!

xo,

(the other) Natalia