Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cook These Vegetables if you have Hypothyroidism

In this article, Debbie Whitaker states that certain vegetables contain a group of chemicals  called goitrogens which may trigger hypothyroidism in certain people.  These chemicals are  partially deactivated by cooking the vegetable.  These vegetables are "Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cassava root, horseradish, kale, millet, mustard, mustard greens, peaches, pears, radishes, rutabagas, soybeans, spinach, and turnips."  Apparently raw peanuts are another culprit.

The author is not saying that eating raw vegetables will cause hypothyroidism.  She's saying that if you have it or are at risk of having it, a specific diet can help.

I wonder if fermenting or pickling would deactivate the goitrogens in these foods?  It seems that while 100% raw  is wonderful for those who benefit from it, each person should customize their optimal diet according to their unique needs.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Energy Soup, Chili Style

A little while ago, I shared a recipe for an Italian-style energy soup.

Recently I was striving to stay 100% raw on juice, smoothies and energy soup, and one of my teenagers was into chili.  I wanted something that tasted like chili without going off my diet, so I made a chili-flavored energy soup, using the aforementioned Italian energy soup as a starting place.  It hit the spot.

Here's the recipe:

12 roma tomatoes
4 cups spinach
1  apple
8 oz sunflower sprouts
1 lb mushrooms
juice of one lemon
1/2 sweet onion,
4 small cloves garlic
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded
2 red bell peppers, seeded
1 tbsp cumin2 tsp oregano
2 avocado1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 tbsp kelp flakes
4 tbsp lecithin granules

1-2 quarts green juice
made from celery, mixed greens, (spinach, kale, chard) cucumbers, beets with tops, cilantro, parsley, lime, ginger, carrots, apples

Blend all ingredients, adding just enough green juice to reach the desired consistency.  Adjust the seasoning to your taste.

If more texture is wanted,it might be a good idea to stir in some chia seeds and chopped tomato after blending.

Next, how about a curry-flavored energy soup?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Italian Energy Soup

There are several versions of Energy Soup to be found.  The main idea is that it is like a green smoothie, with the exception that it is creamy and savory and eaten like a soup.  Once you know how to make energy soup, it's simple to put together and can be adjusted to suit your individual tastes and needs.

What do you do if you've been cleansing on green juice and smoothies, and you are dying for something savory and satisfying with an Italian flavor?  One option is to blend up a version of Energy Soup with tomatoes, basil and garlic!   It's as flavorful and satisfying as a plate spaghetti, without the pasta.  Note:  Since not everyone can have garlic and onions while on a cleanse, it might be a good idea to ask before serving this.

8 roma tomatoes
1 small shallot
4 small cloves garlic
4 ribs bok choy
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 small apple
4 oz alfalfa sprouts
1 red pepper
1/2 lb button mushrooms
juice of one lemon
2 avocado
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 tbsp kelp flakes
4 tbsp lecithin granules

1-2 quarts green juice
made from celery, mixed greens, (spinach, kale, chard) cucumbers, beets with tops, cilantro, parsley, lime, ginger, carrots, apples

Rough chop the first 8 ingredients.  Puree a few of the tomatoes, then add the shallot, sprouts and garlic.  Blend until very smooth.  Next, alternate the tomatoes with the remaining veggies, and continue to liquify.  If more liquid is needed, add some of green juice.  Be careful not to add too many tomatoes or too much liquid all at once, in order to give the blender a chance to liquify the small bits of vegetable matter.  It must be as smooth as possible. 

Next add the lemon, avocado, nutritional yeast, kelp flakes and lecithin granules.  Blend.

Transfer to a large bowl, (I use a two gallon Anchor Hocking jar, which I lovingly refer to as the family juice vat,) then stir in the desired amount of green juice.  Adjust for taste.

I find that if the flavor isn't right, it's easy to pour a few cups of the mixture back into the blender, add additional ingredients, blend, and stir it back into the bowl or container.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Response To "Don't Throw The Baby Out With The Bathwater"

This article on the Daily Raw Inspiration had me vigorously nodding YES!

You don't have to give up being raw just because you got a little derailed!  More and more raw food personalities are stepping up and saying it's okay if you aren't 100% raw and vegan, 100% of the time.  Some are even admitting that they occasionally eat cooked food.

I feel rather impassioned about this because when I first discovered raw food, I was under the impression that being raw meant being at least "high raw" all the time.  Every day.  Forever. Sort of like a life sentence.  I encounter non-raw people all the time who think that being raw means I eat a weird diet and can't eat with them without the experience being awkward for everyone.  Nothing could be further from the truth. 

There are people in the world of raw food who feel that you can't really call yourself a raw food enthusiast unless you live the raw lifestyle 100% of the time, every day.  I disagree with that.  It makes me sad when people who enjoy raw food feel like they have to completely "leave" the movement because they've found they have to make some adjustments to their diet.

For foodies, the obstacle to being 100% raw might be about experiences.  If a new restaurant, recipe, cuisine or food trend  looks intriguing, it might be hard to think that we will never have that experience because it isn't raw or vegan.  Never eat a freshly baked croissant while in a Paris cafe?  Never eat beignets in New Orleans?  For some, this is unthinkable.  True, there are raw adaptations of every type of food, and true, many raw food enthusiasts think that raw gourmet foods rival that of gourmet cooked foods.  Some of us think that raw food tastes far better than cooked food.  Generally speaking, I tend to agree.  Still, for some, the very thought of a food being "off-limits" will make it more appealing.  So, go ahead.  Eat some cooked food if you want to.  You can go back to raw, again and again. 

There is a saying, "When in Rome. . . "  Some raw foodists think it's fine to make an occasional exception and eat the local cuisine while traveling, avoiding only specific foods.  Other raw foodists cannot eat anything that isn't on their diet without severe health consequences.  Each person should decide this for himself.

For some people, family and social occasions can be tricky.  John Kohler, whom I admire, posted a video a while back about how he goes to wedding receptions.  He eats raw, participates in the occasion, and does all this without anyone noticing that he isn't eating exactly the same thing as everyone else.  However, I think most raw people understand that this isn't for everyone.  In my case, it's often not doable.  Sometimes, it's all I can do to make sure my sons leave the house with clean shirts and tied shoes, without packing a cooler of raw food too.  Despite the rumors, I do not have superpowers.  So when I go to wedding receptions, parties and the like, my family and I often eat what is being served, unless we know that the food will cause distress.  Recently, a friend who happens to be an amazing cook said, "I would invite you over and cook for you, but I don't do raw food."  I replied, "That's why we aren't 100% raw!"  Because, seriously, I love my friends and I won't let a little thing like food come between us. 

Time is another thing that can derail raw foodists.  If a person is on a crazily busy schedule, and isn't in circumstances where raw food is easily accessible, it can seem practical to just grab what everyone else is eating.  It's called convenience food for a reason.  Of course, convenience food is usually not healthy, unless it's a piece of fruit or a carrot.

For some it might be challenging to maintain a raw lifestyle for very long without becoming deficient in some type of nutrient.  If they take the time to carefully analyze their nutrition intake and research which foods contain the nutrients they need, they can learn to maintain a raw lifestyle indefinitely.  Being 100% raw and healthy definitely takes time and commitment.  Sorry if this is controversial, but I don't agree with the folks who claim that as long as you eat plenty of fruits and veggies with a small amount of nuts and seeds, you'll naturally get everything you need without having to think about it.  In my opinion, this is true of a short-term raw food lifestyle such as a two or three week cleanse, but in the long term, some nutritional analysis is a safer bet.  And no, the potential concern is not from insufficient protein, but from vitamins B12 and D, minerals zinc, selenium, and iron, and the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.

During those times when time is tight, if you can, I recommend taking advantage of the support and assistance available from the raw food community.  Eat at your local raw restaurant.  Hire a raw chef.  Sign up for a healthy meal plan, so that all you have to do is shop and prepare, with all of the nutritional research done for you.

Another thing that can derail a raw lifestyle is cost.  Not all of us can afford a raw meal service from a local raw chef.  But there are many things that we can do.  We can join fresh produce co-ops, we can buy certain conventional produce rather than organic when we have to, we can grow some of our own food, and we can skip highly priced gourmet super foods.  It is possible to be raw without eating goji berries and pine nuts.

If you have a weak moment and eat the nachos at a party, or if you just can't bear to say "no" and resist the offer of freshly baked cookies in church, it's okay.  You can be raw one meal a week, or one meal a day, or every day but Saturday, or raw in summer and cooked in winter, or 99% raw with occasional exceptions, or mostly cooked with periodic raw cleanses, or 100% raw with no exceptions for the rest of your life.  Bottom line:  If you want, you can have the best of both worlds, raw and cooked. Whatever works for you.  Go for it!

Remember, it's not healthy to feel guilty and dwell on those non-raw moments.  Just take in the nutrition you need, do your best to avoid the foods that are harmful to your body, love yourself wherever you are in your process, and above all:  BE HEALTHY! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Raw Tapas!

Raw appetizers can be healthy, appealing and delicious.  The last Raw Food Prep Class at the Go Raw Cafe was all about creating mock versions of well-loved finger foods.  Oranges, mushrooms, zucchini and dates were hollowed and filled.  The oranges were filled with a fruity gazpacho- like cold soup.  The mushrooms were piled high with a savory almond pate.  The zucchini was hollowed and filled with a creamy cashew and tomato cheese sauce.  Dates were stuffed with young Thai coconut flesh which was seasoned with smoked paprika and Bragg's Liquid Aminos, reminiscent of bacon.

clockwise from bottom left:  Cheezy Pate Zucchini Cups,  Chilled Orange Cranberry Zester, Po-Bakinz Stuffed Dates, and Stuffed Bellas
The only thing that wasn't stuffed was dessert.  It was a base of raw chocolate, layered with a delicious vanilla cashew cream and topped with a sweet black cherry.  It might not have been stuffed, but it was so delicious that it literally made my eyes roll back in my head.

Dessert:Dark Chocolate Cherry Cordials
The moral of the story:  If you'd like to make your raw food a bit more festive, stuff it!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

How To Be Well-Nourished Without Eating Meat

This raw vegan meal by Chef Areeya at the Go Raw Café contains plenty of protein.
Note:  This contains an edit to the original post.  I had said that there are 12 conditionally essential amino acids.  That was an error.  I meant to say that there are 12 nonessential amino acids that we normally produce in our bodies, 8 of which are conditionally essential, meaning that we don't produce them under certain circumstances such as stress or illness.  I'll write more on that in a future post, because it's important.

People who have been vegan or raw vegan for many years may not be able to relate to this.  But for some people who are striving to live a raw vegan lifestyle, every so often it may be tempting to walk on over to the paleo side and take a bite of flesh.

I don't believe in judging people for their food choices. If it works for you, great.  Each of us make a choice with every bite.  If you recently switched from a meat-centered diet to a mostly high-raw plant based diet, and now you only eat meat once a month when the moon is full, that's still a huge improvement, right?  I think so.   Going from eating meat one to three times daily to eating it rarely, IS an improvement.

But what if you want to be 100% meat-free?  And what if, despite your best efforts, you are struggling?  What if you are genuinely concerned about consuming adequate nutrition on a plant-based diet?

Please keep in mind that I am not an expert, a scientist, a doctor, a nutritionist, or a raw vegan guru, and nothing I write here should be construed as medical advice. But in the interest of improving my own diet, I have looked into this, and I'd like to share what I have found.

First off, why on earth would you want to be meat-free?  If you are reading this blog you probably already know, but let's run over a quick summary of the reasons:

Health benefits:  People who go meat-free live longer and experience fewer incidents of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

Environmental benefits:  The production of meat for food is an inefficient use of resources.    Instead of growing food to feed humans, the meat industry has to grow food to feed cows to feed humans.  By eliminating or even decreasing meat consumption, we can decrease our carbon footprint, reduce carbon emissions, reduce water consumption and reduce fossil fuel consumption.

Kindness and compassion:  In the majority of cases, animals which are raised to be sold for food are thought of as property and inventory, and are not thought of as sentient beings with feelings. It would cost a great deal of money to consider their quality of life as they are fattened and their comfort as they die, and this would directly impact profit margins.  For these reasons, animals which are raised for food tend to suffer.  This is a fact.  You don't have to be an animal rights activist to care whether your diet results in suffering, especially when it's unnecessary and high-quality nutrition can come from other sources.

I believe that sometimes when we have a craving for a certain type of food, it's because we need the nutrients found in that food.  This is disputed and many people disagree with this, but in my personal experience this is true.  It could also be a nostalgic or comfort feeling for a type of food, or the feeling of satiation associated with the food.  However, I find that when I consume the necessary nutrition, the craving goes away.  So first, let's take a closer look at the nutrients found in red meat, and which vegan sources contain the same nutrition.

Let's talk about the first obvious nutrient found in meat:  protein.  Here's the truth about protein:  It isn't necessary.  A lot of people dispute this, but it's true.  People think they NEED protein, but the truth is, they do not.  Before you decide I'm completely full of it, let me explain:  Technically, we need amino acids.  To be exact, we need exactly 9 essential amino acids, which are deemed essential because they cannot be manufactured by the body.  We also sometimes need 8 additional conditionally essential amino acids, meaning normally you produce them in your body with the foods you eat, and you only need to consume them in food if you are sick, under stress, or if you are a young person who is still developing.  You may remember learning in school that amino acids are the building blocks of protein.  Here is a fact:  ALL of these essential and conditionally essential amino acids are found in fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds and nuts! 

In infants and toddlers, arginine, glutamine, glycine, proline, taurine and tyrosine are essential because they do not yet make them in their bodies.    Fortunately, an infant can obtain all necessary nutrients from breast milk.  The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to six months of age and breastfeeding with appropriate complimentary foods up to age two and beyond.

When we eat animal protein, it is broken down by the body and turned into amino acids, which is a great deal of extra work.  It is much easier to assimilate the amino acids found in plant based foods.  The trick is to eat them in the right combinations, to get the full range.

One of the amino acids found in meat protein is called creatine.  Muscles are made partly of creatine, which is why it's a popular supplement with body builders.  It's not considered essential or conditionally essential because our bodies manufacture muscle with amino acids.  Seriously, if our body could not manufacture muscle tissue we would be in serious trouble, right?  We make creatine in our bodies, out of glycine, arginine, and methionine.  Glycine and arginine are conditionally essential, and L-methionine is essential.  Avocados, oats, and wheat germ contain glycine.  All nuts, seeds, berries and whole grains contain arginine, as well as all vegetables except celery and turnips.  Eggplant, strawberries, tomatoes, pineapple and coconut also contain this amino acid.  Methionine is found in a wide range of fruits and vegetables, and it is found in all nuts except Brazil nuts and in all grains, especially corn.

Another popular component found in meat, carnosine, is found in muscle tissue.  It's a dipeptide, which means it's a compound made of two linked amino acids, histidine and alanine. Alananine is found in nuts, seeds and whole grains, and histidine is found in beans, nuts and seeds, and in a wide range of  vegetables.  Histidine is essential, and alanine is nonessential.

So, the point is, you don't need protein.  You need amino acids.  Your body is unique, so depending on your lifestyle, stress levels, and other factors your needs may differ.  However, most people can take in adequate amino acids if they simply consume a wide range of fruits and vegetables each day, and a small quantity, perhaps a handful, of nuts and seeds.

Another nutrient we absolutely must have for our bodies to function normally are the Omega 3 (alpha-linolenic acid,) and Omega 6 fatty acids, (linoleic acid.)  We make cholesterol and fat in our bodies, but not these.  To be healthy, we need them to be in balance.  Because Omega 6 tends to be more common in most diets, the one that normally needs supplementation is Omega 3.  Walnuts, hemp, spirulina,  chia seeds, flaxseeds, collards and cabbage  contain alpha-linolenic acid, (ALA) which is an Omega 3 fatty acid that the body can convert to the other Omega 3s, which are also known as EPA and DHA.  EPA and DHA are found in marine life, but our body also makes it from ALA.  If one wishes to maintain a plant based diet, it's important to consume a small quantity of spirulina, hemp, walnuts, flaxseeds, flax oil, chia seeds, or some other food containing ALA each day.  Keep in mind that whole flaxseeds will pass through the body undigested.  Grind them in a high speed blender or coffee grinder before eating them.  Freshly ground flaxseed is delicious on salads, blended into smoothies or nut milks, and it makes delicious crackers, cookies and breads.  Nuts and seeds are a good source of omega 6, but many nuts and seeds tend to contain many times more omega 6 than omega 3.  This is why it's a good idea to eat foods that are higher in Omega 3 than Omega 6, to balance it out. 

In order to convert ALA into EPA and DHA, your body needs to put the ALA through a chemical reaction using the enzyme delta-6 desaturase.  In order for this enzyme to work optimally, your body needs vitamins B6, (pyridoxine) B3, (niacin) C, and the minerals magnesium and zinc.

Vitamin B6 is found in many vegetables, nuts and seeds.  Sunflower seeds, cashews, hazelnuts, spinach, bell peppers, peas and broccoli are especially rich in B6.

Beets, mushrooms, peas, avocado and sunflower seeds are rich in B3, otherwise known as niacin.  Not only do we need niacin to convert ALA into omegas, but it's a nutrient found in red meat, so it's important to get it from other sources if one is on a meat-free diet.

The other vitamins and minerals needed in the body for processing AlA are vitamin C, Magnesium, and zinc.  If you are deficient in these nutrients, your body may not be able to process the ALA from the flax seeds into Omega 3.  Vitamin C, of course is found in citrus fruits, but it's also found in bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries and kale.  Magnesium is in dark green leafy vegetables, cacao, avocado, banana, and nuts and seeds.   Zinc is in cacao, pumpkin seeds, mushrooms and spinach.

A tricky nutrient that omnivores obtain from meat is vitamin B12.  Before people understood B12 deficiency, some people grew very sick and died from it.  Some people claim that indigenous and early people probably got some of their B12 from the bacteria in soil getting into their food, and modern food preparation techniques have changed that.  We don't need much B12, but deficiency can cause serious nervous system damage.  I have seen some claims by people who have been 100% vegan for several years without supplementing this nutrient and without ill effects, but most nutritionists would not recommend it.  There is some speculation that some people may have bacteria in the gut that produces B12, however this bacteria is produced in the ileum and is not absorbed by the body.  Therefore, it's very important that vegans take a B12 supplement.  One terrific source of B12 is nutritional yeast.  Nutritional yeast has a flavor reminiscent of cheese, and is delicious sprinkled on salads, pizzas and casseroles, and adds a delicious flavor to salad dressings, sauces and dips.  About 2 tablespoons per day of fortified nutritional yeast provides an adequate source of B12.  Also, it's an inactive yeast, so those on a yeast-free diet should be able to enjoy it.  Make sure that you check the label when purchasing nutritional yeast to ensure that it contains B12.

Another source of B12 is supplementation in tablet form.   The best type of tablet is said to be sublingual, meaning that it dissolves under the tongue and is more readily absorbed by the body.  Vegans use B12 supplements made from methylcobalamin, which comes from bacteria rather than animal flesh.

My thinking on this is that B12 deficiency can be such a problem that it shouldn't be taken lightly.  I suggest incorporating nutritional yeast in the diet AND supplementing.  A person can't overdose on B12 since the excess is simply flushed out of the body.  It is possible for a vegan to become deficient however, and it's also possible to miss the signs of deficiency until after health consequences are experienced.

I recommend not only supplementing but make sure that your supplement is made by a reputable vitamin manufacturer that regularly has it's product tested for quality and efficacy by a third party testing lab.  Vitamins that are tested by a third party lab will typically have a seal on the label that can be verified by the testing lab.  In other words, don't just buy the lowest priced vitamin B12 supplement you can find, but one made by a company that places a high value on quality.  Because supplements are not regulated by the FDA, as many as 25% of the supplements tested may not actually contain the amount of nutrient stated on the label, and may be adulterated with additional ingredients that you do not want.  For this reason it's important to purchase a reliable, tested brand of vitamin.

While we are on the subject of supplementation, another vitamin to consider is D. The only unprocessed, raw, plant food source of vitamin D that I am aware of is mushrooms, if they are treated with UVB rays.  We do manufacture vitamin D with our bodies when we are exposed to the sun, but you need at least ten minutes a day of strong exposure on the arms and legs.  As everyone knows, too much sunlight can cause skin cancer.  A diet rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients will provide some limited protection to the skin from sun exposure.  However for many raw vegans, it might seem easier to simply take a supplement.  Again, it's a good idea to research the product to ensure that it has been independently lab tested and certified that it contains the ingredients advertized.

Two additional B vitamins which are found in meat are thiamin, which is B1,  and riboflavin which is B2.  Thiamin is found in sesame seeds and tahini, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, pecans, and macadamias.  Riboflavin is found in almonds, spinach, peas and crimini mushrooms.

Another chemical found in meat is called alpha-lipoic acid.  Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant which is produced in the body.  Vegan sources of this nutrient include spinach and broccoli.

The last three nutrients which are found in meat that I would like to mention are iron, zinc, and phosphorus.  Spinach, broccoli, and bok choy are rich in iron.  In a vegan diet, iron absorption is increased by eating iron rich foods with foods containing vitamin C.  Zinc is found in almonds, cashews, pecans and sunflower seeds.  Phosphorus is found in broccoli, sunflower seeds, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews and garlic.

In conclusion, if you are trying to reduce or eliminate your consumption of animal proteins, whatever the reason,  include the following foods in your diet:  a wide range of fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, (especially flax, walnuts, chia seeds and hemp,) berries, a wide range of greens, including collards, bok choy,and spinach, spirulina, cacao, pineapple, coconut, eggplant, broccoli, avocado, beets, bell peppers, peas, mushrooms, and corn.  Make sure to include nutritional yeast and/or B12 supplementation and consider taking vitamin D.  Oats are an excellent source of nourishment, and they can be found organic, whole and raw.  If you are gluten intolerant, oats can be found that are certified gluten-free.

For more information regarding which plant foods contain essential amino acids and other nutrients, the book, "Rawsome!" by Brigitte Mars, contains a section in the back that lists the important nutrients and which foods contain them.  The front of the book contains an encyclopedia of plants foods commonly found in a raw diet, and the benefits of each food along with the nutrients each food contains.

For more information on getting enough nutrition as a bodybuilder on a raw vegan diet, look into "How To Build Muscle On A Raw Food Diet" by Peter Ragnar.

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Different Kind of Thanksgiving

Menu from Chef Areeya's Go Raw Holiday Prep Class at the Go Raw Cafe, clockwise from bottom left: Spiced Pumpkin Bisque, Gramm's Pecan Dressing, Cashew Gravy, Green Bean Casserole, Split Vanilla Cheesecake Pumpkin Torte, Savory Sage Drumettes, Cranberries with Pineapple 
In the past, I was a maniac at Thanksgiving.  In my view, a Thanksgiving feast was not a success unless it was spectacular.  One of my rules was that there had to be at least two kinds of everything:  two kinds of roast meat, (like turkey AND ham,) two kinds of potatoes, bread, vegetables, salad, pie, etc.  Each year, there was so much food that the table was arranged carefully to use every square inch of space.  I often did most of work myself.  After the meal, the kitchen cleanup job was huge, and for many years I didn't ask for help with that, either.

Of course, everyone ate until they couldn't eat another bite, and then they spent the rest of the day resting.

Last year, we did things differently.  For the first time, I tried spreading out the feast over several days.  Much of what I served was raw, with a few cooked items to please certain family members.  It seemed to work out pretty well.

This year, we did it that way again.  I recruited family members to help with most of the food prep and cleanup.  We broke up our typical meal routine with more festive holiday dishes.  I asked my son which cooked dishes were essential to making it a "real Thanksgiving" for him, and only cooked those.

Many raw food recipes are best served right away.  Depending on ingredients, often the leftovers will not keep longer than two or three days.  For this reason, we aren't following the pattern of serving one huge meal and then eating the leftovers for the next week.  Instead, we are trying several different seasonal recipes over the four-day family holiday.  For example, for lunch today, we had a raw pumpkin-coconut nog smoothie, made with organic sugar pie pumpkin, young Thai coconuts, dates and pumpkin pie spice.

Another thing I did differently this year was that I didn't start planning several weeks in advance, and I didn't create an ironclad menu.  I just made sure that we had plenty of the ingredients we would need, and a general idea of which recipes we would make.  At one point, when we ran out of a staple ingredient, I considered going out to find a store that was open on Thanksgiving but decided against it.  Instead, we made something that didn't require that ingredient.  It was rather liberating.

So for us, Thanksgiving holiday was simple and easy, and yet, it's lasting the entire four days instead of one.  For some reason, it's easier for me to be thankful when the meal is smaller, lighter and simpler,  and I have more time to enjoy it.  Thanksgiving is really about spending time with family.

It does help to have some raw snacks on hand for Thanksgiving Day.  Clockwise from bottom left:  Pumpkin Pie Cookies, Magical Kale Chips, and Sprouted Buckwheat Bars

I hope that everyone who reads this had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and that you have a wonderful holiday season.  I'm heading back into the kitchen to whip up some more raw holiday deliciousness.  Raw Green Bean Casserole, anyone?

Here are a few links to some of my favorite holiday recipes:

Marinated Mushrooms and Mashed Rosemary Cauliflower over at Rawmazing

A whole selection of raw holiday recipes at Pretty Smart Raw Food ideas

My husband really loves the poultry seasoning flavor of the Save The Turkey Portobello Mushroom recipe over at Mimi Kirk's Young On Raw Food.

Fully Raw Kristina offers a delicious recipe for Pumpkin Pie Brownies

To keep people happy while the dehydrator is running, some terrific snacks are:  No Bake Pumpkin Pie Cookies, Magical Kale Chips, and Raw Sprouted Buckwheat Bars.