I am so delighted to say I have a guest blog post today over at rozsavage.com. Please check it out! So exciting to be a small part in Roz's big history making journey.

 

I decided to post my rough draft from the article I sent to Roz just in case there are more details that might interest readers here. Remember to check out Roz's site, she's endless in inspiration and amazes me!

I love food! I love to talk about food, eat food, and for the first time in my life, I love making food.  My newest passion is raw, or "live," food — a radically simple and healthy way to eat.  Over a year ago, I met Roz as one of her personal trainers in Northern California, and she recently became interested in raw food after reading my blog.  Roz is incorporating it into her diet, so she's asked me to write a little about my lifestyle and how to get started with raw foodism.

My introduction to raw food came several years ago, with the opening of Juliano's Raw in Santa Monica. I was amazed at the potential of raw vegan food and the surge of energy and happiness that came with every meal. I was raised a meat-eater, but switched to vegetarianism 15 years ago, before becoming vegan last year. In the process of my own journey, I've read countless books, taken classes, and paid for nutritional advice — all to find what would give me loads of energy, lose body fat and increase lean muscle. But it wasn't until earlier this year that I really dove into raw food.

Raw food is nutritious, available and easy. As a rule of thumb, stick to local, organic and in-season ingredients, with a staple diet of greens, green juice, green smoothies, salads, fruit, fruit smoothies, nuts, seeds and sprouts.  Sprouts are very easy to grow, even in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!  During her row, Roz is growing her own fresh sprouts, providing instant access to a great source of vitamins A, C, E, and B.  Raw chef and instructor Kristin Suzanne writes, "There is no doubt that sprouts are one of the healthiest foods you can consume because they're considered a “pre-digested” food, making them more easily assimilated by your body."
 
Recommended, but not required, are some fun kitchen gadgets — a powerful blender, a food processor, dehydrator and juicer. I only own the first two and get by famously. Almost every day, I make fresh, green juices by using my BlendTec blender, then straining through a cheesecloth-like bag. It's so easy and feels like instant energy! If you do have a juicer and dehydrator, your big bonus is the ability to create flax crackers with extraordinary flavors and densely-packed nutrition until your heart and belly are content.

More and more, ready-made raw food products are being offered because of growing demand from raw-curious consumers. Larabar and Lydia's Organics make it easy to not own a dehydrator for this aspiring raw foodist.  Roz wrote about her supply of Larabars' "yummy fruit and nut bars" on day 32, writing, "My favourite flavours are Apple Pie, Banana Cookie, Ginger Snap, Chocolate and Chocolate Coffee."  Lydia's Organics makes delicious bars, cereals, crackers, breads and trail mix.

But where do you get your protein? Sprouts, seeds, nuts, goji berries, spirulina, quinoa, collards, coconuts and more.  Carbohydrates come from vegetables, fruit, nut butters.  Healthy fats are only available in flaxseed, hemp seed, olive oil, avocados, nuts, and more seeds. And like Roz, I'm one of those people that believes a day without chocolate is like a day without sunshine. So yes, I eat chocolate every single day!

"Superfoods" is a buzzy word in the raw and health food worlds, short for highly-nutritious foods packed with anti-oxidants. Things like cacao, goji berries, spirulina, acai, hemp seeds, and bee pollen (not strictly vegan, so you'll have to decide for yourself).  These shining superstar foods really pack a lot of nutrition, and they're easy to add to cereals, smoothies and, in some cases, even homemade ice cream.  Yum!

I've found eating this way has given me energy, quicker recovery from physical training, sleep improvements, and beautiful skin, which I've struggled with most of my life having some minor rosacea and acne. Plus, less processed foods mean less waste in the trash can and around the waist!

To get started with making your own raw foods, start with some simple Green Smoothies.   Blend up a couple of your favorite fruits like a banana and a handful of frozen blueberries, a cucumber and a few spinach leaves. Slowly add more spinach each day, or try some kale. If you still taste the greens, try squeezing in some lemon to cut it.

For Green Juice, try a mix of kale, celery, cucumber and a whole lemon. Blend it up and strain thoroughly. Put in on ice, and you have green lemonade!

For dessert, blend up a few bananas, cacao powder, mesquite, vanilla, pitted dates, a little chocolate liquid stevia, ice cubes, and a little water to get it all moving. Set this mixture in the freezer and you have healthy ice cream!  Seriously!

The raw food community is also abundant. Lovely people at Gone Raw and We Like It Raw post recipes and inspiring stories from all points of view.

So, there you have it. A little crash course in raw food fun. Lots of people tend to be turned off by the term raw food and prefer to say live food.  But I say, how about just "food"? Sometimes, I think we need to relearn what real food is. For myself I've found that there are incredible benefits to adding more greens, fruits, and veggies to my diet. How new and revolutionary is that? Ha!

Thank you, Roz!
 Have a beautiful day everyone!

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