Nut, Ginger, and Chocolate Radiance Bars

Your search for a healthy crowd-pleasing holiday treat ends here. These are perfectly sweet and satisfying with a warming hint of ginger, and an irresistible combination of crunch and chocolatey creaminess.  Please watch the recipe video from http://www.greenkitchenstories.com for the original recipe.  It is my favorite recipe video of all time, beautiful videography ❤ and the recipe is truly delicious.

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Makes about 24 bars

  • 10 coconut date rolls
  • 2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 cup raw almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 cup puffed millet
  • 1 handful walnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3.5oz 60% dark chocolate
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  1. Watch video
  2. Combine date rolls together by smushing them with a fork on a plate and add to a medium saucepan over low heat with coconut oil, almond butter, and grated ginger. Mix well to combine
  3. Add in millet, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and salt and mix well
  4. Line a 13” x 9” pan with parchment paper and press mixture evenly into pan
  5. Melt chocolate and spread over the top. Sprinkle with coconut flakes.
  6. Cover and freeze for about an hour. Cut into 24 bars. Store in the freezer or refrigerator.

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1 Bar (based on 24 bar yield):
Calories 140
Protein 3g
Carbohydrate 8g
Total Fat 12g
Fiber 2g
Cholesterol 0mg

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Why these bars make you radiant?

  • Sweetened with fruit with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants; preventing blood sugar spike and crash which ultimately prevents depression, fatigue, and cravings for more sugar
  • Coconut oil, although the gold standard saturated fat source, should be regarded like any other oil: a concentrated food that provides a lot of calories with limited nutrients. It’s okay to use some unrefined high-quality coconut oil when preparing special-occasion treats, but as with other oils, its use should be minimized. *read more about coconut + coconut oil in article below!
  • Almonds are high in the antioxidant vitamin E, which protects cell membranes from damage; preventing disease, inflammation, muscle soreness, and keeping skin glowing preventing wrinkles
  • Ginger is well known for its powers of healing indigestion and migraine headaches. Ginger also has potent anti-inflammatory properties
  • Millet is a whole grain, a complex carbohydrate helping to maintain stable energy levels throughout the day. It also has protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals
  • Walnuts contain the essential omega-3 fatty acids, which convert to the most abundant fatty acid in our brains, DHA. Omega-3s in the diet improve focus and cognitive function, and they have also been shown to decrease inflammation leading to heart disease.
  • Raw pumpkin seeds are a fabulous source of minerals like zinc, which is important for immune system function as well as formation of proteins and DNA. Pumpkin seeds also have vitamins like the antioxidant vitamin E mentioned previously.
  • Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are part of a group of antioxidants known as polyphenols. These flavonoids may decrease oxidation (damage) from LDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Also, chocolate contains many minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium

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*Coconut Oil Info:

“Few foods have been at once as maligned and acclaimed as coconut oil. Because it’s the most concentrated source of saturated fat in the food supply—even higher than lard or butter—some view it as a notorious health villain. Not surprisingly, it rests atop the “avoid” column of mainstream healthy-heart-food lists.

Others view coconut oil as a fountain of youth and the greatest health discovery in decades. These advocates claim that coconut oil can provide therapeutic benefits for Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, cancer, diabetes, digestive disturbances, heart disease, high blood pressure, HIV, kidney disease, osteoporosis, overweight, Parkinson’s disease, and many other serious conditions. So what’s the truth?

Based on the available science, coconut oil is neither a menace nor a miracle food. Coconut oil should be regarded like any other oil: a concentrated food that provides a lot of calories with limited nutrients. It’s okay to use some high-quality coconut oil when preparing special-occasion treats, but as with other oils, its use should be minimized. On the other hand, whole coconut should be treated in much the same way as other high-fat plant foods—enjoyed primarily as a whole food. As such, it’s loaded with fiber, vitamin E, and healthful phytochemicals, and has powerful antimicrobial properties.

The relative health effects of coconut oil consumption remain somewhat uncertain. Some people believe that eating coconut oil does no harm because it’s cholesterol-free; others claim it’s harmful because it lacks essential fatty acids. But we can’t ignore the fact that in many parts of the world where coconut and coconut oil are the principal sources of dietary fat, the rates of chronic disease, including CAD, are low. There is one major caveat: the benefits seem to apply only when coconut products are consumed as part of a diet rich in high-fiber plant foods and lacking processed foods.

The people of the Marshall Islands provide a poignant example. The traditional Marshallese diet employed a wide variety of coconut products, which furnished an estimated 50 to 60 percent of total calories. Seventy years ago, when this diet was standard fare, diabetes was pretty much unheard of. When their indigenous diet gave way to a Western-style diet of processed foods and fatty animal products, diabetes rates escalated even though coconut products continued to be featured prominently in the diet.

Coconut oil is so often blacklisted by health-care providers mainly because approximately 87 percent of its fat is saturated. Many people imagine saturated fat as a single tyrant that clogs arteries, but different types of saturated fats exist. They contain fatty acid chains whose lengths contain from 4 to 30 carbon atoms. Depending on the length of the carbon chain, these fatty acids have very different effects on blood cholesterol levels and on health.

The most common saturated fatty acids are lauric acid, myristic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid. Their carbon-chain length and main food sources are:

  • lauric acid (12 carbon atoms): coconut, coconut oil, palm kernel oil
  • myristic acid (14 carbon atoms): dairy products, coconut, palm oil, palm kernel oil, nutmeg oil
  • palmitic acid (16 carbon atoms): palm oil, animal fats
  • stearic acid (18 carbon atoms): cocoa butter, mutton fat, beef fat, lard, butter

Saturated fatty acids with 12 to 16 carbon atoms increase LDL cholesterol levels, while 18-carbon stearic acid doesn’t. However, stearic acid isn’t completely off the hook; some evidence shows high intakes could adversely affect other CVD risk factors, such as lipoprotein(a) and certain clotting factors.

As it happens, approximately three-quarters of the fat in coconut oil comprises saturated fatty acids known to raise blood cholesterol levels: 15 percent is saturated fatty acids with small carbon chains (6 to 10 carbon atoms), 47 percent is lauric acid, 18 percent is myristic acid, 9 percent is palmitic acid, and 3 percent is stearic acid. Case closed?

Well, not exactly. The predominant fatty acid, lauric acid, does raise total cholesterol, but it appears to raise HDL cholesterol to an even greater extent than LDL cholesterol, favorably altering the ratio of HDL to total cholesterol. In addition, lauric acid is converted in the body into monolaurin, a powerful antiviral, antifungal, and antiseptic compound—and coconut oil is among the richest food sources of lauric acid. There’s also evidence that coconut products have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. However, the compounds responsible (which include a variety of phytochemicals, such as phenolic acids) are largely eliminated when coconut oil is refined.”

– See more at: http://plantbaseddietitian.com/coconut-oil-menace-or-miracle/#sthash.ld9rrM3w.dpuf

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Zucchini Linguini with Sweet Potato and Quinoa | Gluten Free, Vegan, Mostly Raw

Zucchini Linguini

Rawctober Pasta

Hello October!  While at home back in MA, the curvy streets covered with overhung trees are probably glowing red, yellow, and orange.  Here in South Texas, the palm trees are still green, blowing a warm breeze.  No matter where I am, October will always welcome the grounding, snuggly, sweater weather that requires something orange in every recipe.  This simple pasta dish provides a creamy sauce with earthy tones and a variety of textures that can be served hot or cold- perfect for Mama back home and my friends here in the heat 🙂 Balance our chemistry, hydrate these cells!  Enjoy ❤

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Serves 2, One portion: 350 calories, 15g protein, 51g carbohydrate, 12g healthy fat

Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchinis, spiralized
  • 2 leaves of kale, chiffonaded
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 key limes or 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/2 sweet potato, boiled
  • 3/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup sprouted lentils

Steps:

  1. Chiffonade kale and spiralize zucchini. If you don’t have a spiralizer, a potato peeler works great for making nice long thick noodles
  2. Blend lime juice, tomato, and avocado, (and if you have any herbs like italian seasoning or fresh basil, thyme, or sage, throw some of that in! That’s be SO GOOD!) in blender or small food processor until creamy
  3. In a large bowl, combine kale, zucchini, and sauce and mix
  4. Dice the boiled sweet potato and add it to the bowl. Also add quinoa and sprouted lentils
  5. Serve with sunflower seeds, lime, and grilled okra (I baked mine on a lightly greased with coconut oil pan on 350F for about 15-20 minutes, just to get it tender, I love the stuff raw too!)

Rawctober Pasta2

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Orange Glazed Tempeh | Fat Free, Gluten Free, Vegan

Orange Glazed Tempeh

orange glazed tempeh

What even is “tempeh”???  It is made by cooking and fermenting soybeans and forming them into a condensed patty type thing.  I prefer its texture to its similar tofu brother, however, this is my first time actually experimenting with a soy product, so we’ll see!westsoytempeh  I love how it has a meaty texture and picks of flavors really well.  It has a slight bite of chewiness and is full of protein, calcium, and iron.  I used the WESTSOY Five Grain tempeh (which has gluten), but I’m sure any kind would be superb. Just be sure the version you get is GF if you have a sensitivity.

tempehr

Serves one. About 230 calories and 14g protein per serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 block of organic “west soy” tempeh
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • juice of 1 key lime or about 1/2 regular lime
  • 1/2 – 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • juice of 1 orange or about 1/3 cup orange juice

Steps:

  1. Using a knife and a cutting board, cut off 1/3 of the block of tempeh.  Turn this on its side and slice it in half so that you have 2 skinnier third pieces. Cut these two third pieces into triangles.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the orange juice, lime juice, maple syrup, and ginger, and mix with a spatula to combine
  3. Put the tempeh triangles in the pan and allow them to sizzle on one side, moving around while sizzling.
  4. Flip the tempeh when ready, and allow it to sizzle on the other side. Be sure to keep it moving so it doesn’t burn and add a little more oj (or whatever you’d like to add to make it even better!) if needed.
  5. When the tempeh has soaked it up, time to eat! I had a little orange glaze left over in the pan so I stir fried some rice in there, delish! Serve with kale, rice, scallion, avocado, sunflower seeds – whatever you got! 🙂 xx

What I Ate Less Than $4 / Meal Nutrient Breakdown

Save money and eat a healthy diet? Easy!

Click here to watch video
Click here to watch video

Saving money on a vegan diet is simple, as long as you’re willing to eat simply, haha. Every day is different and variety and adequate hydration are important. It doesn’t matter what I eat, what matters is what you eat and what makes you feel good. Just because I eat this way doesn’t mean you have to to be healthy. (I happened to get 3 boxes of bananas for free and feel great eating them!) The nutrient breakdown of this day will be on my blog to see what vitamins and minerals are lacking. I recommend that you log your food every so often to see what vitamins and minerals you might be low in so that you can research what foods contain those nutrients and begin incorporating more of those foods in your balanced vegan diet.

Today, I am definitely vegan for the animals after seeing a cute kitty smeared on the side of the road. Hope he didn’t know what hit him, unlike all the mass produced animals for food these days. I hate to be a vegan pusher, but I really can’t stand to see people supporting that business, it breaks my heart.

According to supertracker.com. I color coded green = good, yellow=warning to look out for, and red = do something about this! warning: these recommended values are based on a 2200 calorie diet and I wasn’t that hungry today so I only ate 2045 calories.  I am sure I would have met pretty much everything based on a 2000 calorie recommendation. Had I eaten more calories – I would have had higher numbers. Kapeesh!?

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Vegans should consider B12 supplementation or be sure to eat fortified products like plant milks, nutritional yeast, or cereals. Also, spending 10-15 minutes in the sun for fair-skinned individuals provides plenty of vitamin D.
Vegans should consider B12 supplementation or be sure to eat fortified products like plant milks, nutritional yeast, or cereals. Also, spending 10-15 minutes in the sun for fair-skinned individuals provides plenty of vitamin D.

Reds:

Vitamin B12: I take a supplement and normally like to drink fortified hemp milk that has B12 in it (I ran out).

Vitamin D: Sunshine baby! I spend at least 30 minutes in the sun everyday exercising, or just sitting, haha 🙂

Yellows:

% Protein: This is up for debate considering I clearly consumed plenty of protein.  I am only 1% low as well, 10% is recommended and I ate 9% of my diet from protein.  Should have eaten a few more lentils, huh!

% Carbohydrate and % Total Fat: Clearly I ate a high carb diet today.  I feel good and energized eating mostly carbs and have noticed though documenting food in the past that a higher fat percentage for me makes me sleepy.  I used to enjoy peanut butter sandwiches and handfuls of nuts but I honestly noticed they slowed me down a lot, both in my digestive tract and just throughout my day.  So, this is a personal thing, but just shows it wouldn’t hurt me to consume less calories from carbohydrates and more from fat.

Linoleic Acid: This is a very important essential fatty acid that is necessary for formation of hormones, brain function, and cell membrane stability.  It is great for me to see how my high carb diet is effecting my intake of essential fatty acids.  Looks like I need my hemp milk!

Calcium: Also a little up for debate, it has been questioned whether clean eating vegans really need that much calcium since fruits and vegetables have been shown to increase the absorption and utilization of calcium. However, this tells me I could stand to of course eat my fortified hemp milk that I love (the chocolate version is SO GOOD!), as well as more okra, figs, broccoli, almonds, collards, and kale in my diet to get some more calcium.  Calcium is in lots of plant foods, even oranges!

Iron: I was a little low in iron today, 16/18mg. Lentils and greens and beans are great sources of iron.  This worries me a little because plant based iron (non-heme iron) is less readily absorbed than iron from animal products (heme iron). To absorb it better, it is necessary to combine it with a source of vitamin C like red bell peppers, lemon juice, oranges or tomatoes.  Last time I got my blood checked I had more iron than my doctor, so I am not too concerned about it.

Selenium: a little low 46/55. I like to eat brown rice which is a decent source for me, (1 cup has 19 micro grams) also brazil nuts are high in selenium and I like to eat a couple of those once in a while when I get a few from the bulk section at Sprouts.

Vitamin E: This should definitely be higher.  I usually eat more greens, (5 cups of spinach has 6mg vitamin E) I am running low so I am trying to make my last bunch last me for the next two days.  Greens are a great source of the essential cell membrane saving fat soluble vitamin antioxidant vitamin E! I could stand to eat a few more sunflower seeds and almonds too.  Even fruit has vitamin E, 1 ripe mango has 2mg.

Choline: Pinto beans (which I have been loving lately) are high in choline, as well as soy products like soy milk and tempeh, also quinoa, broccoli, and green peas, even oranges, bananas and dates have choline.  I should try some tempeh next week to get some variety 🙂

There you have it! Hope this helps, and I hope you do the same once in a while to make sure you are on track! Not to get obsessive! I don’t record what I eat everyday! Very rarely do I actually measure out my food unless I am doing something like this.  There are lots of sites out there these days, I use http://www.supertracker.com because that is the USDA’s website affiliated with RDs. I like http://www.loseit.com and http://www.cronometer.com and http://www.myfitnesspal.com as well. Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.

Raw Vegan Blueberry Ice Cream | Thickest, Creamiest, Smoothest Ice Cream EVER!

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Click here to watch video

Raw Vegan Blueberry Ice Cream | VIDEO

Does anyone out there love ice cream as much as I do?? I used to work at an ice cream shop, and boy was a feeling like CRAP. This is ice cream that makes me feel AMAZING and it does not compromise taste for health.  It is sweet, smooth, thick and creamy and can be made the way you like with whatever animal free ingredients you have. Feel high on life all day eating ice cream for breakfast, and reap the benefits of all the cell and DNA protecting antioxidants, phytochemicals, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Serves 1:  ~336 Calories

  • Uses food processor or high speed blender.
  • Easy, takes about 5 minutes.
  • Prep: Freeze 2 ripe bananas for 6 hours or overnight

Ingredients:

  • 2 frozen ripe bananas (peeled before freezing)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Steps: Click here to watch my video~

  1. Blend ingredients until smooth- yup it’s that easy!

Enjoy!!

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