Monday, May 12, 2014

Sun Love! Natural sun protection for your skin

Announcing natural sun protection from the Annmarie Skin Care line: 
Sun Love -- a topical lotion without the poison! I had the privilege to try a sample, and it is lovely. Unlike other sunblocks, it does not make my skin feel greasy, does not clog my pores, and it has a pleasing, subtle scent.

Sun Love uses 18% zinc oxide, a trusted ingredient that blocks both UVA and UVB rays -- the culprits of skin cancer and sun burns. Instead of toxic chemicals found in most off-the-shelf sunscreens, Annmarie skin care opted for natural herbs & oils for the Sun Love formula. You'll notice that Sun Love does not have an SPF rating. However, please educate yourself further on what this means and why you can trust zinc oxide to provide sun refracting power.

Keep in mind, however, this does not give you a free license to bake yourself for hours out in the sun. As much as I love to bask in the afternoon rays myself, it's not a good idea for maintaining youthful, healthy skin. Sun Love can extend you a little more time to enjoy the summer sunshine with much less worry.

In tandem, I recommend protecting yourself from the inside, using the antioxidant supplement astaxanthin. I call this my internal sunscreen and take it all summer long. It's more effective if you begin supplementing a couple days leading up to sun exposure.

Double your protection from skin cancer & accelerated aging, 100% naturally, from the inside & outside with this killer combination: Sun Love and Astaxanthin.

Try Sun Love for FREE: samples of Sun Love, Natural Sun Protection will be given to every person who places a sample kit order between May 12-19th. The sun is out! Get yours now.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Going Omnivore….

Approximately this time two years ago, I decided conduct a little experiment... just to see how I would feel. When it comes to food and health, I am always tweaking something. I like to read and educate myself, then try things that have worked for others to see if they will work for me. It started when I ran across Mark’s Daily Apple. And then I ran across this, which lead to this here and this other really cool thing. I decided to “go Primal” for one month to see what would happen.

These are some basic guidelines of the Primal Diet:

  • Animals: Meat, fish, fowl, & eggs. Strive for local, pasture-raised, or organic.
  • Vegetables: Bulk of dietary emphasis, enjoy in abundance. Strive for locally-grown or organic
  • Healthy fats: Butter, coconut oil, avocados, coconut products, olive/olive oil, macadamia nuts
  • Moderation foods: Local, seasonal fruits. High-fat dairy. Nuts, seeds, & nut butters. Starchy tubers, quinoa, and wild rice for supplemental carbs if you really need them (i.e. you are really active).
  • Sensible indulgences: Red wine and dark chocolate 


  • Beverages: soda, sport drinks, bottled juices
  • Conventional meats: Hormones and pesticides, antibiotics, grain-fed, and nitrates
  • Dairy: non and low-fat conventional products
  • Fast food: chemically treated, deep fried
  • Farmed fish and Atlantic salmon
  • Grains: cereal, corn, pasta, rice, crackers, chips, muffins, tortillas, bread – including whole grains!
  • Legumes: beans, soy, peanuts, peanut butter
  • Oils: Trans/partially hydrogenated and vegetable/seed oils
  • Processed/Packaged Snack Food, Sweets, and Condiments 

Inner voice: “What?? Give up beans and rice, my main subsistence?? What’s wrong with beans anyway??”

Well, the fact was my digestion was not working properly. I felt I had tried everything... all kinds of herbs and natural remedies and cleanses and so on. I was popping digestive enzymes like an 8-year-old with a bag of Halloween candy. But still no permanent cure. Daily upset stomachs were really cramping my style. A digestive protocol will follow in another post, but for now let’s get back to my experiment.

After going primal, only a short time later I experienced the following major results:

  1. I no longer had to eat continuously. I could suddenly make it through hour-long meetings at work without having a complete mental melt-down. Currently, I can eat 3 meals a day and feel sustained throughout my day. I can feel hunger and still maintain strong mental and physical performance in dealing with “life.” If I’m too busy to get to my next meal, I can survive an extended period between meals. 
  2. Combined with my daily CrossFit practice, I gained a very healthy 10 or 12 pounds of lean body mass. It should be noted that I still fit in my jeans... (well, mostly). The fact is, I was kinda scrawny, so this weight-gain for me was a *good* thing. 

Two years later, the experiment is long over, but I have not gone back to my former dietary ways.

I feel I've run the gamut as far as diets go. I've tried vegetarian, vegan, and raw. I spent half my life eating what the typical American family eats (think Cheerios, pizza, and Rice-A-Roni). And now I am basically a conscious omnivore that stays away from the USDA food pyramid recommended guidelines (6 servings of pasta per day? Really?).

Please note that:

I do not think there is a one-size-fits-all diet (This is MY experience).
I do not think that following this kind of diet is harmful to the planet (stay tuned for another post on how this diet is actually more in-line with a healthy vegetarian/vegan diet than it seems.)

Until then, remember this:

....We are all on our own journey here. My truth is not the same as your truth. But we can all borrow a few gems from here, there, or one’s neighbor for the continual betterment of ourselves and thereby the planet.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Shaving to bring about world peace...

Ladies and Gents! I’d like to solve one of your biggest problems…

Razor rash. Shaving is something that all of us have in common. For me, it’s been a life-long frustration.

Well, razor rash no more! Perhaps world peace sounds like a much more significant achievement, but eliminating razor rash would certainly solve a daily, nagging irritation, yes? Perhaps if Flavius Odoacer had eliminated his razor rash, the Roman Empire would still be alive and well today…

Hark! Let’s embrace a phenomenal solution.

I’d like to introduce you to MyShavingClub. For as little as $5.99 per month, you can have the best shave of your life without the nagging after-effects. You’ll never even miss the nicks and cuts you’ve come to accept as facts of human life. This brand new, Chicago startup just launched last week with the aim of delivering high-end, American-made shaving products via monthly subscription right to your doorstep.

Read their press release here.

I got my razors in the mail mere days ago and put them to the test. In all honesty, I can say it was the best shave I've ever experienced. Not only the best but also the quickest. It didn't even feel like blades scraping over my skin. Silky smooth legs in no time!

My sweetie tried out the men's blades and said it was a definite upgrade from the Mach3 blades he had been using in the past. Now he's sporting a silky smoooooth face! …Nice!

If you buy razors at all, there's no reason not to buy from MyShavingClub. Not only is it convenient (delivered to your door with no added shipping charge!), but it's just as affordable as the refill cartridges you buy at the super market. Not only that, but they are 10 times BETTER than what your supermarket provides!

Your first shipment includes a handle and blades while subsequent shipments provide blade refills. No shipping costs are added to the already low price, and you can cancel your subscription any time. What a deal! I am SOLD SOLD SOLD.

Hey hey, for those of you women always looking for a good, manly gift to give, this is a great option (men are rather difficult to buy for, no?).

Bonus tips from the Lemon Letter for a better shave experience:

  • Before using your razor, disinfect the blades with a sprayable hydrogen peroxide. If you store your razor in the shower, the daily moisture and steam creates an ideal environment for mold and bacterial growth -- the last thing you want under your skin!
  • After shaving, moisturize with a 15% tea tree and jojoba mixture. I merely purchase Jojoba oil and Tea Tree from Trader Joe's or Mountain Rose Herbs and combine them together in a dropper bottle. The Tea Tree will disinfect and prevent the possibility of inflamed red bumps while Jojoba will moisturize and carry the Tea Tree into your pores.

Check out and let’s embrace a solution that brings us one step closer to world peace.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Immunity Arsenal

An especially brutal cold/flu virus has afflicted a great many friends and coworkers in recent weeks. Some of these people haven’t been sick in years yet were totally wiped out by this bug. 
BUT.... I seem to have skipped right through the raindrops in perfect health when historically, I tend to catch every ailment that crosses my path.
So what can be attributed to my stalwart resilience against this particularly nasty epidemic???
One thing to which I can give credit is Oil of Oregano.

Oregano is antiviral, antibacterial, and an immune stimulant. I took one capsule in the morning and one at night. This stuff is potent.

Whilst searching the corners of the earth for remedies to heal my ailing coworkers and friends, I happened upon this little gem:

It reminded me of the Stanley Burroughs lemon drink my dad dubbed “Lemon Cure.”
I made this “Flu Shot” drink for myself to try it out.
And then I made a second, modified version. This is what I did:
  • 6 Lemons, juiced
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne
  • 3 C. Warm water

And a bonus remedy for your plague-fighting bag of tricks:

  • Fresh grapefruit juice blended with garlic

Blend ‘er up and drink it down if you feel something chipping away at your immunity. This one, I believe, comes from a mountaineer. He swears by it, so give it a go and report back.

In the meantime, stay tuned to hear what else I’ve been up to in the last year such that the Lemon Letter has fallen dismally to the way side... you know, besides holding down a full-time job, staying fit, reading books, & constantly exploring the definition of healthy, whole food.

Oh, and a girl needs a little down-time too, ya know....


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Super Duper Green Salad

Behold, my new, favorite salad...... and the best part is, I don't get sick of eating it after 2 days. All this time I was searching for the perfect dressing to help me enjoy salads day after day. But the solution was so simple. Read on....

Super delicious Lemon Letter Salad (all organic):
  1. Mixed greens
  2. Herbs such as basil, cilantro, or parsley
  3. Grated carrot
  4. Petite peas (frozen and then soaked in a bowl of water for a bit to thaw)
  5. Avocado
  6. Lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
  7. Olive oil
  8. Nutritional yeast flakes (generous sprinkling)
  9. Sea salt
Just stack it up in a bowl, mix, and enjoy!

In addition to my lovely salad, I like to steam a sweet potato and top it with coconut butter, cinnamon, and a little honey. Ooh, I can't get enough of this dinner. It's a great wintertime option and requires very little effort in prep or clean up.

For the sweet potato, I try to pick a long, skinny one so the cooking time is less. I put the potato in a steamer on the stovetop, poke it full of holes, and set the timer for 20 minutes. If a fork passes easily all the way into the flesh of the sweet potato, it's done. If not, set the timer for another 10 minutes and keep on steaming. It's so worth it. You can even steam while you're chomping down on the salad.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pumpkin Seed Milk: Wowee!

Hazelnuts, move over and make room for the latest and greatest: Pumpkin seed milk! I was skeptical when I made my first batch. But it turned out so well! The milk has none of the grainy-ness that nut milks typically have. And since I don't like to strain out the pulp, this is a fantastic discovery. Pumpkin seed milk is suuuuuuuper smoooooooth :)

Here is the approximate recipe and procedure to make 1 quart:

  1. Soak 1/2 cup of raw pumpkin seeds overnight
  2. Place the soaked seeds in the blender with about 2 cups of ice water
  3. Add about 4 or 5 medjool dates
  4. Add 1/2 of a vanilla bean
  5. Blend on high for about 1 minute
  6. Add 2 more cups of water
  7. Taste and adjust sweetness or thickness

I made another batch using a combination of pumpkin and sunflower seeds. This is a great way to mix up the routine and get a wider array
of nutrients. I'm not abandoning the Hazelnuts altogether, but it was time to rotate them out for a while.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cool As A Cucumber

My latest juicing creation:

  • 3 apples
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1" ginger root
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 head of celery
  • 1 fennel bulb

It's not too sweet. Just cool and refreshing.

I was nervous about adding fennel to my juices at first. I thought it would produce an overpowering licorice flavor. To my surprise, the flavor is extremely mild and delicious to the final drop.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hire a maid... or use this homemade multipurpose cleaner for your spring cleaning

If you're like me, you would much rather have someone else do the cleaning. Even though I am responsible for fewer than 800 square feet, keeping it clean sometimes seems like a vain pursuit; it always needs to be cleaned again by next weekend!

I'm not yet willing to hire a maid to take care of my messes, but I am willing to whip up my own multipurpose cleaner. This can be very handy if you find yourself in the middle of spring cleaning and your trusty Trader Joe's Next To Godliness cleaner is down to the last drop. Don't fret. You probably already have all the ingredients in your house already... including that empty spray bottle.

I took this out of a Housekeeping magazine :)

Multipurpose Cleaner:

  • 1.5 tsp castile soap
  • 3 tsp white vinegar
  • 4 C water

Just shake it up in the bottle and go! Judging by the way my counter tops and floors sparkle, this stuff works. Additionally, it's completely safe for you and the environment! Read more...

Saturday, April 30, 2011

"Almond Moo" Smoothie

It's after 3 PM, and I'm hungry. But I don't want to spoil my appetite for dinner. So what do I do?

I'm thinking, Almond Moo :)

My friend, Lynn, made this smoothie for me a couple weeks ago. I had to have two glasses full. The next day, I made my own.

This is her recipe:

  1. 1/2 C plain or vanilla soy milk
  2. 1/2 C chocolate soy milk
  3. 1 frozen banana (this makes it thick!)
  4. 1-2 tsp almond butter (freshly ground, no additives)
  5. Blend!

For mine, I substituted Hazelnut milk for soy milk.

But I also add other things like carob (I am on a total carob kick lately), coconut oil, cinnamon, etc. Whatever strikes my fancy. I also like to add a tsp of chia seeds and take it to-go. By the time I drink it, the chia has had time to soak and gel. I love those little gel-ly chia seeds. It reminds me of bubble tea. Add chia to your favorite beverage and see what happens!

PS. you can also make this into Peanut Butter Moo by sub-ing in peanut butter.



Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chocolate Carob Protein Shake with SUNWARRIOR

Had an amazing workout at the gym this morning, and I want to share with you my latest post-workout drink. I'm loving it!

It contains only three ingredients:
  • 1-2 C Hazelnut milk
  • 1 scoop Sunwarrior Protein powder
  • 2 T Carob
You can mix them in a blender or shaker. I use my Vitamix. It's quick; it's easy. That is, as long as you have your hazelnut milk prepared. I've written before on how to make almond milk and touched on Hazelnut milk once in this article. But now I use Hazelnuts (also called Filberts) because they are locally grown, can be obtained in a truly raw state (unlike almonds which are by law pasteurized), and thus can be sprouted.

Hazelnut milk is also easy to prepare. You just need to plan ahead about 8 hours to allow the nuts to sprout.

Needed ingredients for 1/2 gallon of milk:
  • 1 C Hazelnuts
  • 1/2 C Brazil nuts
  • 6 large medjool dates
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • Water

  • First, I soak the nuts in water for at least 8 hours. This allows the nut to sprout, making its nutrients bioavailable.
  • Second, I drain the soaked nuts and put them in my Vitamix blender with the dates and vanilla bean and about 2 cups of water.
    I blend on high until the nuts are reduced to an extremely fine texture. They should be basically liquified.
  • Third, I add more cold water to make 1/2 gallon in total.
  • Lastly, I taste it. Mmmmm... yummy.
And that's it. You have your Hazelnut milk ready to go into the super-easy carob protein shake.

The reason I like the Sunwarrior protein is because it contains one amazing ingredient: Brown Rice Protein (Biofermented Raw Sprouted Whole Grain Brown Rice Protein). Talk about amazing. No fillers, extra junk, or dubious ingredients. It has a complete amino acid profile and is gluten free. If you have allergic reactions to most other protein powders, I encourage you to sample this one. Chances are, you will not react badly. I prefer the natural flavor because then I can tailor it to be chocolate, vanilla, or whatever.

This shake is just enough to recharge me right after a whirlwind session of weight training and intervals on the stairmaster.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Green Juice of the Year

For all you fresh juice lovers, try this combo. It blew my taste buds outta the water. It's basically my typical green juice with bell pepper added. I didn't realize what an amazing twist bell pepper adds.

Here is approximately what I put through my juicer:

  • 1 head celery
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 apples
  • 1 lime (peeled)
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 2" fresh ginger root
  • 2" fresh turmeric root
When you're finished juicing, add a dash of cayenne pepper to each glass. A fantastic addition would be cilantro (blended in or juiced).

Add a beet to make it a lovely valentine drink for your sweetie.

The fresh turmeric root is a great addition because of its anti-inflammatory properties. If you are looking for turmeric root in the grocery store, you might confuse it with ginger root. It looks the same but is orange on the inside.

Cheers to health and deliciousness!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Raw Beet Salad

My search for a raw beet salad recipe was inspired by the mother of my two piano students. We held a small recital the beginning of January complete with piano music and delicious food. Her beet salad was fantastic. I didn't ask for the recipe, but found this one on my own. I love beets and am always looking for a new way to eat them. I plan to make the beet salad again this week for a daily lunchtime appetizer. Perhaps you should too...

Raw Beet Salad
  • 3 beets
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon minced chives, mint, or parsley (or a combination)
  • Salt to taste
  • Leaves of 1 romaine heart
1. Wash the beets and grate them in a food processor fitted with the shredding blade.

2. Combine the orange juice, lemon juice and olive oil. Toss with the beets and herbs. Season to taste with salt. Line a salad bowl or platter with romaine lettuce leaves, top with the grated beets and serve.

See the original recipe here.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Raw, Vegan "Egg nog"

Have the twinkling Christmas lights got you in the mood for a holiday beverage? Try this raw, vegan version of egg nog. It's thick and creamy with a touch of spice.

Step 1 - Make a thick almond milk.

I used Almonds, Sesame seeds, & Brazil nuts.
1 cup nuts to 3 cups water plus 5 dates
Blend well and strain the pulp if you like. I prefer to keep the pulp in there.

Step 2 - Blend the following ingredients:
  • 1 batch of Almond milk
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ginger

The spice measurements are approximate. I just kept adding spice until I was satisfied. Also, the drink tastes better if it has time to sit overnight.

This recipe was adapted from Raw Glow.

I hope you enjoy it!


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Truly Natural Skin Care

Have you been spending a lot of time and money looking for truly natural and organic skin care? I have been making my own for years because it is nearly impossible to find truly pure products. Finally, I would like to present to you a skin care line that is truly pure: Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.

Read a review on the products here.

I have used 3 of the products myself.

Coconut Body & Face Oil - I loooooooove this, and so does my skin. It smells great, calms, and nourishes.

Anti-Aging Serum & Anti-Aging Oil - I put these on before bed. They have a nice herbal scent. A little goes a loooooong way too, so your 15ml bottle will last a long time.

Good news is, mini sets were just made available, so you can try it out without committing too much. Also, you get free shipping until Dec 15... that's just 3 days away, so check it out now. Read more...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

How To Open A Pomegranate + Pom Smoothie

With the fall season come the delightful pomegranates and pears. Pomegranates, however, can be quite perplexing. Let me show you how to open this unique fruit to get the most out of it.

Here's a delicious fall pomegranate smoothie to try:

  • Seeds from 1 pomegranate

  • 1 ripe bartlett pear

  • 1 lemon, juiced or peeled

  • 2 t cinnamon

  • Blend all ingredients in your Vitamix blender until smooth.


    Friday, October 8, 2010

    Food Rules

    In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan is one of my favorite books ever. It's phenomenal. The introduction alone is worth a read. As I read it, I am jumping up and down in my mind, cheering the author on. It's absolutely right on point concerning the evolution of health and nutrition in America and the confusing mess Americans find themselves in today.

    One thing Michael Pollan mentions is orthorexia. This really hit home for me. If you don't know already, orthorexia is an unhealthy obsession with being healthy. It's true; obsessing over health can be very unhealthy. We health nuts need to take a step back and ask ourselves: Am I enjoying my food? Check this out:

    "What you think about your food is more important than what the food actually is."

    Wow! Simple but incredible! So what does this mean to me? It means,

    • Do not eat when I am upset.
    • Always bless my food and those who prepared it.
    • Always be grateful for my food no matter what it is.
    This is very important because sometimes I find myself in situations where I cannot eat the food I would prefer because maybe it's not available or I would be rude to turn it down. Thoughts are powerful, so the lesson is don't get caught up in negative thinking about your food or health.

    Back to Michael Pollan... his books are great. He wrote a little book in 2009 called Food Rules which is basically a quick summary of the conclusions he has reached through his research while writing previous books such as In Defense Of Food and The Omnivore's Dilemma.

    I am going to share some of his rules here because I think they are important, and it will help all of us be less obsessive over the little things, appreciate more, and still pursue high-quality nutrition. Additionally, these rules apply to all types of eaters: vegan, vegetarian, and omnivore. By following them, we can all relax and be healthier as a result.

    • Eat Food. This raises the question, "what is food?" Some of the following rules will help you distinguish between real food and food-like substances.
    • Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.
    • Avoid food products that contain more than five ingredients.
    • Avoid food products containing ingredients a third-grader cannot pronounce.
    • Eat only foods that will eventually rot.
    • Eat foods made from ingredients that you can picture in their raw, natural state.
    • If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don't.
    • Eat mostly plants, especially leaves.
    • Treat meat as a flavoring or special occasion food.
    • Eat animals that have themselves eaten well.
    • Eat well-grown food from healthy soil.
    • Eat sweet foods as you find them in nature.
    • Spend as much time enjoying the meal as it took to prepare.
    • Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper.
    • Treat treats like treats.
    There are 64 rules in total. Most have a short explanation. Additionally, most have exceptions... because life doesn't always follow 'the rules' :)

    "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."


    Thursday, September 30, 2010

    Peanut Butter (and Chlorophyll!)

    When I was a child I would eat nothing but peanut butter. Every cell of my body was built on peanut butter and honey sandwiches. Fortunately I grew out of that limited diet, but I still enjoy a little PB here and there. Remember peanut butter on celery? Good snack. But let's talk about peanut butter itself, because I am realizing that the peanut butter I am thinking of may not be the same thing you are thinking of...

    I recently discovered that to most Americans, peanut butter equals JIF. I'll hold back my gasps of horror to offer my suggestion. To me, peanut butter equals peanuts and perhaps some sea salt--no more. It contains no added sugar or hydrogenated oils. Have you checked out the ingredient label of your peanut butter of choice? You'd be surprised to find substances that really don't belong.

    A complaint about natural peanut butter is that it has to be stirred. The natural oils settle on top and must be stirred in when the jar is first opened. Additionally, natural peanut butter should be refrigerated. But this is more than worth it because natural peanut butter is far healthier and tastes far better.

    Tip: turn the unopened jar of peanut butter upsidedown for a couple days before opening the first time. This will make stirring easier because the oil will get to the bottom of the jar where the peanut butter is prone to become rock hard.

    While peanut butter may not be the absolute purest, healthiest choice on the planet, it still has lots of nutrition to offer such as protein, fiber, folate, and niacin..... hey, I did survive on it for a couple decades afterall...

    The primary risk of peanuts is contamination by mold, particularly aflatoxins which are very toxic and can affect the liver. Fortunately, the FDA has established some regulation to help protect humans and animals. My advice is to always purchase organic, natural peanut butter from a company who cares. A glass jar is preferable over plastic also :)

    Tip: Sprinkle nutritional yeast on your peanut butter snacks for extra B vitamins. It's good. I've been doing that since childhood too.

    If you are particularly worried about aflatoxins, increase the chlorophyll in your diet (which you really should do anyway!) as chlorophyll blocks absorption of toxic carcinogens, according to this article from Natural News. Take the suggestion from Mike Adams and drink some parsley juice. Add it to your green smoothie or put it through a twin-screw juicer such as the Greenstar: Tribest Green Star 3000 Deluxe Juicer/Juice Extractor.

    Try out this juice combination:
    • 2 organic granny smith apples
    • 1/2 organic cucumber
    • 1/2 head of organic celery
    • 1 lemon
    • 1" of ginger root
    • 1 bunch of organic parsley
    If you are a peanut butter lover, throw away the Skippy and try something natural. Just do it, please.

    Wednesday, July 28, 2010

    More "After School" Snacks: Vega Shake & Go Smoothie

    I have been taking advantage of the nice weather this summer by biking to and from work. I save so much time by combining my daily exercise and commute, it's awesome! However, when I get home after the 4 mile uphill ride, I need some food right away. This week my dynamite solution has been the Vega Shake & Go Smoothie.

    The Vega Shake & Go Smoothie comes in four different flavors: Choc-A-Lot, Vanilla Almondilla, Bodacious Berry, and Tropical Tango. I have tried 3 of the 4. The first time I tried this product, I blended just the powder with water and ice. Result: eh, not too fantastic, and they sat on my refrigerator shelf untouched for several weeks. However, I got inspired this week to add a banana and nut butter to help out. Result: Fantastic!

    First smoothie (probably my favorite):
    1/4 C Water
    Ice cubes
    1 banana
    2 heaping tablespoons of Choc-A-Lot powder
    2 T Raw Almond butter

    Second smoothie:
    1/4 C Water
    Frozen banana
    2 heaping tablespoons of Vanilla Almondilla
    2 T Peanut butter

    These smoothies not only serve as post-biking nutrition but also pre-activity nutrition before I head out the door again to play futsal. These smoothie powders are a combination of proteins, fiber, greens, and probiotics. They serve as a great, quick, whole-food snack for the famished. Give 'em a shot.

    Quick note on nut butters: unless you grind the nuts yourself, you should look at the ingredient label. One would think peanut butter is self-explanatory; however, have you seen some of the labels out there? Holy cow! Steer way clear of those containing even a little high fructose corn syrup and/or hydrogenated oils. When I purchase peanut butter or almond butter, I check the label to see that the only ingredients are nuts and sea salt. If there is anything more, I put it right back on the shelf.

    Friday, July 23, 2010

    Quick Raw Snacks

    When I get home from work, I'm usually famished and need something in my belly right away. Recently, my favorite 'after-school snack' has been fresh green juice and cilantro-jalapeño hummus on bell pepper slices or a delicious raw paté on crackers. This holds me over well until I can get a more substantial dinner prepared. I got my last raw paté from the farmer's market. My friend has a cart there called The New Leaf selling delicious and satisfying raw meals, patés, and salad dressings. However, when I need to make my own raw spread, I go to my friend Lou's recipe for 'Brazil Nut Cheeze.' Today, I'm having it with avocado.Wow is it good. You should try it too.

    Here's the recipe below. Be sure to check out the rest of Lou's blog post for more quick, raw food ideas.

    Lou’s Brazil Nut Cheeze
    • 1 c Brazil nuts (no need to soak these nuts)
    • 1 lemon, juiced
    • 1 - 2 cloves of garlic
    • 1/2 t salt
    • Bunch of cilantro
    • 1/2 jalapeño seeded
    Add as little water as needed for consistency.
    Process all ingredients until smooth.

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    Raw Strawberry Pie

    I found this raw strawberry pie recipe on a blog about a year ago and finally got to making it. I made 5 pies total and shared with my raw community here in Portland. It was a smashing success! So many people wanted the recipe for themselves. If you are looking for a delicious, springtime, healthy dessert, give this one a try! It is actually more like cheesecake than a traditional fruit pie but delicious nonetheless.

    The recipe comes from Andrea Caplan Livingston of Phytofoods in Portland, Oregon. Her recipe is copied below.

    Raw Strawberry Pie

    2 cups almonds or pecans
    1 tablespoon coconut oil
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or half of a vanilla bean
    4-5 medjool dates, pitted
    pinch of sea salt

    2 cups cashews soaked 1-2 hours
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    1/4-1/2 cup agave
    3/4 cup fresh strawberries
    3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
    1/4 cup water
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean (I prefer the bean)
    1/4 teaspoon sea salt

    1-2 cups sliced strawberries

    Place almonds or pecans in food processor and process with the S blade until crumbled. Add coconut oil, sea salt, and vanilla and pulse a couple of times. Add the dates last, one at a time, and pulse until the crust holds together when you squeeze it between your fingertips. If the crust does not hold, add more dates (again, one at a time). Press into oiled (with coconut oil) tart or pie pan. Chill in Freezer for 30 minutes before adding filling.

    Blend all ingredients well in a Vitamix blender if you have one. Pour part of the filling into the pie crust (just enought to cover the bottom). Take some of the strawberries you cut up for the topping and scatter them on top of the filling. Pour the rest of the filling on top and place in freezer for 1-2 hours until firm. Decorate with the rest of your cut up strawberries. This pie needs to stay refrigerated to keep its firmness so make sure you keep in cold up until serving!

    Thursday, May 13, 2010

    Non-toxic Herbal Hair Care

    Truly natural body care products can be difficult to find, and the really good, pure ones are often fairly expensive. If you have been looking for a natural solution to shampoo, conditioner, and hair spray, I have your answer! As an added bonus, I'll tell you how to make a quick & easy hair sheen and perfume combo (my favorite!). Not only do you get to have non-toxic hair care, you get to have fun making it too.

    These are do-it-yourself herbal recipes that I got at a workshop sponsored by Create Plenty, a non-profit organization here in Portland, OR whose mission is to reduce waste by connecting local producers and local consumers and following sustainable consumer practices. They have lots going on so check out their website. By the way, I think the workshop took these recipes from the book Organic Body Care Recipes. Check it out if you'd like to do more herbal experimenting.

    And back to the hair care...

    I made and used these recipes, so I know they work! I think they are good enough to enter into the Mountain Rose Herbs Recipe Contest. Speaking of Mountain Rose Herbs, most of the ingredients can be purchased through their website. Bounce on over for a visit as I'm confident you will find many other fun goodies to play with.

    Besides the ingredients listed below, you will need 2 empty bottles in which to store the shampoo and conditioner and 1 empty spray bottle for the hairspray. I also recommend a glass dropper to make the hair sheen easier to apply.

    Herbal Shampoo

    Mix in small to medium sized bowl the following:
    1 tbl calendula blossoms
    1 tbl chamomile buds
    1 tbl nettle leaf
    2 tsp comfrey root
    2 tsp orange peel
    2 tsp rosemary leaf
    2 cups boiling water

    After steeping for 30 minutes, add
    20 drops of lavender essential oil
    ½ tsp jojoba oil
    ½ c castile soap

    Herbal Conditioner
    2 cups of boiling water
    ½ c vinegar
    2 tbl Rosemary leaf
    2 tbl Sage leaf
    1 tbl Nettle leaf
    Mix and steep for two hours. Strain, then add:
    10 drops Rosemary essential oil or Tea Tree oil

    Here is a second conditioner recipe for a simpler alternative:

    Simple Conditioner

    ½ cup rosemary leaf
    1 tsp borax
    4 c boiling water
    Mix and steep for two hours. Strain.

    Activities for when your herbs are steeping:

    Hair Sheen
    I love to apply this hair sheen after blow drying my hair in the morning. It soothes dry frizzies and makes my hair smell great! It helps if you have your jojoba oil in a glass dropper. I merely drop the oil in the palm of one hand, rub my palms together, and rub the oil into the ends of my hair.

    3-5 drops of jojoba oil
    1-2 drops of bergamot (or another favorite essential oil like lavender or ylang ylang)

    I love the beautiful floral citrus fragrance of bergamot. Do be warned though not to wear bergamot on the skin in the sun. It will turn the skin red for months. I speak from experience.

    Hair Spray

    1 cup of water
    1 chopped lemon
    Boil until lemons are soft. Let cool, then add ½ tbl of 80 proof Vodka.

    Consider adding a few drops of essential oil such as lemon or mandarin for a fresh fragrance.

    This hairspray offers a gentle, flexible hold. It's enough to smooth fly-aways and keep strays out of your eyes without cementing your hair into an immovable block. Lol. Do be advised that it contains lemon which may have a highlighting effect when combined with sunshine. I cannot say for certain though since it is not so much a concern for blonde hair like mine.

    Mountain Rose Herbs is my favorite place to get organic herbs and essential oils. They have everything you need to create your own body care, teas, and home remedies. Go get your herbs now and have fun creating personal care products you and the environment can truly feel good about!

    Bulk organic herbs, spices and essential oils. Sin


    Sunday, May 2, 2010

    A Bowl Of Gratitude

    This week for dinner I made a recipe for A Bowl Of Gratitude, a delicious rice bowl from Cafe Gratitude in San Fransisco. And, wow, was it good. I made it basically as this blog describes, but I was all out of hearty greens and used cilantro instead. I also used avocado rather than egg. It was like an avocado roll in bowl. So good! "I am grateful!" were the first words out of my mouth when I finished this. Here is the basic recipe copied below:

    A Bowl Of Gratitude

    1. Cook 1 cup of red Bhutanese rice
    2. In a large skillet, saute onions and garlic. Add greens and a little water to steam.
    3. In a small bowl whisk together orange juice, tamari, vinegar, olive oil, sesame oil salt, and pepper.
    4. Add the sauce and rice to the skillet and stir together. Sprinkle on sesame seeds and serve with sliced avocado and a shredded nori sheet.


    • 4 T. orange juice (freshly squeezed if you can get it!)
    • 1/4 t. salt
    • 1 T. olive oil
    • 1 T. tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)
    • 1 T. rice vinegar
    • 1/2 t. toasted sesame oil


    • 1 T. olive oil or coconut oil
    • 1/2 onion, chopped
    • 1 serrano chile, finely chopped
    • Pinch of salt
    • 4 small garlic cloves, pressed or minced
    • 2-3 tightly packed cups of greens (such as collards or kale)
    • 2-3 cups cooked black Chinese “forbidden” rice (or other nutty rice – brown or red Bhutanese)
    • 2 large or 3 small scallions, coarsely chopped
    • 1 ripe avocado (or 3 eggs)

    Super delicious! Makes good leftovers too.


    Friday, April 16, 2010

    Vega Sport! Energy Booster

    Whew! Finally a day of rest and rejuvenation after a seemingly endless season of tax deadlines. I'm already feeling refreshed! But the last few months certainly weren't easy. One of the tools I used to cope with the fatigue of long days at the office was Vega Sport.

    Vega Sport calls itself the "Natural Plant-Based Performance Optimizer." It is designed specifically to be used as a pre-workout sport drink; however, it works fantastically as an afternoon pick-me-up too. Sounds like a great substitute for coffee and diet coke. Nice!

    It's not without caffeine but does not cause the caffeine jitters like coffee does. Some of the energy-boosting ingredients include Yerba Maté Leaf, Green Tea Leaf, Rhodiola Root, and Ginseng Root. It also contains Devil's Claw Root, Turmeric Root, and Ginger Root which work to alleviate joint and muscle pain. This is great for post-workout recovery.

    The container label boasts the following features:
    • Provides immediate & sustaining energy
    • Increases endurance, aerobic and anaerobic capacity
    • Enhances mental focus and motor performance
    • Reduces stress and enhances immune system function
    • Replenishes electrolytes lost during exercise
    • Reduces inflammation, joint and muscle pain
    • Improves body composition and reduces body fat
    • Supports healthy weight management

    I have used this product several times before workouts and noticed a definite performance boost. So.... it works!

    Vega Sport comes in 2 flavors: Acai Berry and Lemon-Lime. It doesn't taste great, in my opinion; but one can get used to it. After all, I'm not drinking it for taste; I'm drinking it for effect!

    I recommend giving it a try. You can purchase this at along with other great Vegan nutrition products such as the new Vega Sport Performance Protein which does everything Vega Sports does but adds the muscle protein synthesis factor. I got my hands on a sample packet and gave it a try for post-workout recovery. This one doesn't taste great either, but I like the ingredient label a lot! I just shook up a single serving with water and a couple ice cubes and gulped it down. I am able to get past taste when seeking important results; it's just a sport drink after all. You could sufficiently improve the flavor by taking it a step further and blending it with a banana.

    Get some Vega Sport and take it to the office, gym, or both for energy and performance enhancement.


    Friday, January 29, 2010

    Chocolate Avocado Mousse

    At $3 a piece, an avocado is not something to waste. If you're wondering what to do with an overripe, bruised, or less-than-flavorful avocado, just add chocolate...

    Raw Chocolate Avocado Mousse:

    • 1 Avocado
    • 1/2 C Dates
    • 1.5 C Nut Milk (Hazelnut, Almond, Brazil nut, or your favorite)
    • 1/3 C Raw Cacao (use a combo of cacao nibs, cacao powder, and carob)
    • 1/4 C Pecans
    • 1 T Maca Powder
    • 2 T Mequite Powder
    • 1 t Vanilla
    • Pinch of Sea Salt

    Blend all ingredients in your VitaMix until you get a thick, smooth, chocolatey pudding.

    ...'Cause avocados are too good for the compost bucket.

    Saturday, January 2, 2010

    Health & Fitness for the New Year

    For those of us in the northern hemisphere, winter just started, but trust me, it's not too early to start getting your beach body back. If you wait until June, it will already be too late. I know, it's tough to fight the impulse to hibernate in front of the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate and a novel. A little hibernation is therapeutic, but make it your goal right now to take action, alter stagnating behaviors, and implement a few new tools toward shaping up for the new year. I am going to share with you 5 simple steps to get healthier, more fit, and increased energy. What better way to start the new decade?

    Health & Fitness Step #1: Eat fruit for breakfast. Fruit is best consumed on an empty stomach for optimal digestion. Fruit contains all the components it needs to digest itself and requires little assistance from the body. Fruit for breakfast will wake your body up and stimulate elimination channels. Proper elimination is the most important factor for improved health and weight loss. When you do your grocery shopping, look around the produce section for seasonal fruit that stands out and looks delicious. Always make sure you keep your fruit basket full at home, so you don't even have to think in the morning. Just grab a piece of delicious, juicy fruit and bite in!

    Health & Fitness Step #2: Eat at least one green salad every day. Greens are such an important food to include in your diet because they contain an array of important vitamins, trace minerals, fiber, phytonutrients, even macronutrients in perfect proportion to nourish the body's tissues and cells. They even contain plenty of amino acids to help you build muscle! Greens are truly a super food. I know it can be difficult to get that green salad in every day. I love greens, but I get tired of them too! I have a solution, however, which will guarantee you to eat your green every day and love it! The answer is the green smoothie. I have one every single day for breakfast. By making my green smoothie every morning, I knock out step 1 and 2 at the same time: fruit first and greens every day! This is what my green smoothie was this morning:
    • 1/4 C. purified water
    • Half organic cucumber
    • 1 peeled lime
    • 1 ripe banana
    • Kale & Cilantro
    • 1 T. freshly ground flax seed
    • 1 C. frozen mango
    Toss it all into the blender and power it up. Making breakfast and eating my greens takes 10 minutes tops. Fantastic!
    It is important to rotate your greens and get creative with your smoothie ingredients.

    Health & Fitness Step #3: Find an enjoyable form of exercise or physical activity and schedule it into your day. Lack of time is probably the biggest excuse for not exercising. Exercise doesn't have to take a long time. I do enjoy going to the gym for an hour-long workout, but most of the time, I just don't have that kind of time. I solve this problem by implementing the habit of waking up 15 minutes earlier to perform a quick, high-intensity workout that will get my blood and lymph moving. If you haven't discovered CrossFit yet, check it out because that is exactly what you need if you are short on time.

    My typical morning workout, which doesn't cost me any money or any more time than 15 minutes per day, looks something like this:
    • Jog to my neighborhood park
    • 10 pullups on the playground bars
    • 3 uphill sprints
    • 10 pushups between each set of sprints
    • 50 lunges back toward home
    • Sprint home
    • Cool down with 4 sun salutations
    These are all bodyweight exercises requiring no special equipment and no money, just 15 minutes per day. The high-intensity factor helps me stay lean and toned. My muscles stay strong and toned without 50 pound barbells.

    The first step for successful exercising is just making it a habit. Decide that is what you are going to do first thing in the morning and don't give yourself any other choice. Write down the five exercises you are going to do the night before. If you do this just four times per week, it will make a big difference. If you are one who really needs someone else to motivate you to action, get a personal trainer. A personal trainer will customize an exercise program for you, keep you accountable, and force you to constantly improve. A personal trainer could be your fast-track to physical results. If you really want to see a difference in 2010, prioritize your finances and hire a personal trainer. Get your butt in shape and get your body moving whatever it takes. By 9AM, you can have steps 1, 2, & 3 knocked out.

    Health & Fitness Step #4: Quit drinking sodas and bottled beverages full of high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. These drinks full of highly refined sugar or toxic sugar substitutes that do nothing but subtract from your overall health. High fructose corn syrup is not metabolized in the same manner as whole sugars and is linked to obesity and diabetes. Sugar substitutes are composed of toxic elements foreign to the body which may lead to sweet cravings and weight gain anyway. Our bodies are exposed to enough toxic elements in the water and air already. Don't contribute more to that toxic load; the liver already has a demanding job without the food additives.

    If you are attached to the fizz factor, try drinking sparkling water with a squeeze of fresh lime. You will be surprised how satisfying this really is. If you are attached to the sugar factor, this is going to take serious self-discipline. Sugar is addictive, so you will have to really make an effort at beating the soda habit. An extremely beneficial habit would be to replace the soda with Kombucha. Kombucha is a fermented beverage containing beneficial organisms that aid in digestion and detoxification. For me, it is a treat that ranks above chocolate! In fact, when I get post-lunch sugar cravings, drinking kombucha knocks the craving right out. And how fantastic is it that I am giving my body something healthful?!

    If you are addicted to the caffeine factor, switch to Yerba Maté tea which has caffeine without the other ingredients. Yerba Maté comes from a South American shrub. The tea infusion is similar to green tea. When I drink Yerba Maté for an energy boost, I do not experience the negative side effects that come from drinking coffee such as jitteriness, headaches, or nausea. I keep a Yerba Maté in my desk drawer at work for those especially tiresome days.

    Health & Fitness Step #5: Eliminate fried foods. Fried foods are detrimental for two reasons: 1. They contain trans fat and 2. They are usually fried in vegetable oil. So, what is so bad about these two facts?

    1. Trans fat is an artery-clogging fat that is formed when vegetable oils are made to be solids at room temperature. This kind of fat is not found in nature and has been linked to cancer, neurological disorders, birth defects, nutritional deficiency, among others and should be completely avoided. Start reading the labels on any packaged food and look for "Hydrogenated", "Partially Hydrogenated", and "Shortening". Strictly avoid these foods. Hydrogenated oils are supertoxins that may get caught in the liver and contribute to gradual health decline. Also, note that fast food is loaded with this fat and should be avoided.

    2. Vegetable oils such as sunflower, safflower, canola, and soybean oils are polyunsaturated fats which are highly susceptible to heat damage. Heat causes oxidative damage creating free radicals. Translation: these oils after heat exposure become cancer causing.

    The bottom line is, there is absolutely no reason your body would want you to eat french fries or doughnuts. There is plenty of healthful, natural food to eat instead. For a mid-morning snack, if I want something bread-like, I eat a slice of toasted sprouted-grain cinnamon-raisin bread sometimes topped with an organic nut butter. This a much better choice over doughnuts.

    If you start the new year off by following these 5 steps, you will be feeling better and looking better in no time. Cheers to your beach body 2010.


    Wednesday, December 30, 2009

    Go Green: Smoothie & Juice Du Jour

    With the new year approaching, many are thinking about self improvement. One of the best ways I can think of to accomplish health improvement is to incorporate more greens into one's diet. That doesn't sound fun at first, but it totally is. Check this out: Green Smoothie & Green Juice du jour. It will make your cells dance. Wahoo!

    My green smoothie of the day:
    • 1/2 cup of water
    • Half cucumber
    • 1 peeled lemon
    • 1 ripe banana
    • Big handful of spinach
    • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple

    Add all ingredients to your Vita-Mix blender and power it up.

    Green juice of the week:
    • 1 head of organic celery
    • 2 organic granny smith apples
    • 1 lemon
    • 1 bunch organic lacinto kale
    • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger

    Run all ingredients through a masticating juicer such as the Champion or Green Star. This makes about 4 cups of juice. Drink it up!

    Make it your green smoothie and green juice of the year!

    Saturday, December 12, 2009

    CrossFit into the New Year

    I LOVE CrossFit! I recently discovered CrossFit and attended my first CrossFit class through (As a side note, if you haven't yet discovered, I HIGHLY encourage you to check it out and browse for a meetup that interests you - raw food, gardening, outdoor activites, etc. It is a fantastic way to find new friends and make new discoveries right in your own neighborhood. Okay... it pretty much changed my life).

    CrossFit was invented by Greg Glassman. The official website is According to Gregg, the CrossFit prescription is “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement.” These high intensity workouts not only take minimal time, they build muscle, help you lean up and tone up, keep your bones strong and joints limber, and make you happy :) Just trust me.

    At my first CrossFit meetup, the group of us competed against each other by doing the following exercises as fast as we could while maintaining good form:

    • 5 pushups
    • 10 situps
    • 15 squats

    We performed this set of exercises as many times as we possibly could squeeze into a 10 minute window. It was tiring and exhilarating, leaving me full of energy to take on the rest of my day. Having some great, healthy competition was certainly a motivating factor.

    My normal morning routine already consists of basically a CrossFit workout. For example, today I jogged to the park and completed the following:

    • 10 Pullups
    • 50 Lunges
    • 5 Uphill sprints
    • 10 Burpees/Squat Thrusts
    • Sprint home
    • 2 Sun Salutations to cool down

    The great thing about CrossFit is that it requires minimal equipment. You use your own bodyweight most of the time. It is the perfect way for both beginners and long-time athletes to be challenged physically. A new workout every day is posted on For example, today's fantastic workout is the following:

    • Back Squat

    • Shoulder Press

    • Deadlift

    The instructions are to perform each exercise until you can't do it anymore. Write down your totals. I, personally, would perform these the similar to the way I did in class, 10 reps each for 10 minutes.

    Don't tell me you don't have time for 10 minutes per day. AND bodyweight exercising is free too! Good. You no longer have an excuse. Get to it! By the time 2010 hits, you'll be well on your way to achieving your new year's fitness goal.

    Here is a video I made to demonstrate a quick pre-exercise warm up:


    Friday, December 11, 2009

    Proper Food Combining: Fruit First!

    As a kid, I thought it would be a great idea to eat dessert first. But Mom was certainly correct to argue that it would spoil my dinner. However, you may be surprised to find out that dessert first is actually not such a bad idea after all. That is, if you would prefer to avoid post-meal intestinal discomfort.

    For optimal digestion and assimilation of nutrients, certain types of foods should not be combined with others. Follow these rules when preparing meals in order to achieve comfortable and optimal digestion:

    1. Fruit First: Fruit should only be eaten on an empty stomach and never after consumption of starches or proteins. A piece of fresh fruit contains all the elements it needs to digest itself; it needs almost no help from the body. Fruit passes through the digestive system in under an hour and will rot or ferment if the passage of the fruit is hindered by starch or protein. Often, desserts are made of fruit. That is why I say dessert first may not be such a bad idea. When you slam fruit on top of a tofu burger, the fruit will begin to rot since it takes the digestive system 3-4 hours to digest that protein. When you slam fruit on top of mashed potatoes, the fruit will ferment. In each case, the result is gas, bloating, indigestion, or heartburn. No fun for you, your neighbors, or your digestive system.

      My strategy is always to eat fruit first thing in the morning. I know my stomach is completely empty and no problems will result. Additionally, fruit for breakfast is a great idea because it is cleansing and the perfect way to stimulate bowel elimination.

    2. Separate Starch From Protein: Starches and proteins require different digestive environments. The protein requires an acid environment while the starch needs a more alkaline one. If the two are combined, no ideal environment is achieved which results in undigested starches and proteins moving through the digestive system. This means you are not only suffering the discomfort but you are also not absorbing the nutrients from your food. Some foods, such as a garbanzo bean, are naturally composed of some combination of protein and starch. In this case, it is okay to eat the food because it is naturally composed. The body can coordinate digestion. Don't make it difficult on your body by combining all kinds of proteins and starches yourself.

    3. High Water Content Vegetables & Natural Fats Are Neutral: Vegetables and natural fats such as avocados and olive oil are neutral and may be combined with either starch or protein. It is a great idea to eat a big, green salad with any meal. Fats and oils can really add flavor and substance.

    A sample day's worth of meals might look like this:

    Fruit or Green Smoothie

    Vegetable salad

    Green Salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar

    Now that you know the basic rules to proper food combining, apply them and become aware of how your current habits can be altered for improved digestion.

    Smile, 'cause dessert is being served first from now on!

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Yumm! Sauce, with a Lemon Letter twist...

    I only recently discovered the addictive Yumm! Sauce that most who have lived in Eugene, Oregon know all about. I missed it somehow while living there for 2 years. It comes from Cafe Yumm! who makes the Yumm! Bowl. I discovered first the Whole Bowl lunch cart in downtown Portland which consists of the following:

    • Brown rice
    • Red & black beans
    • Tali sauce (secret recipe much like Yumm! sauce)
    • Salsa
    • Cheese
    • Avocado
    • Cilantro
    • Black olives
    • Sour Cream

    It can be made vegan if specified.

    I purchased the famed Yumm! Sauce at a New Seasons market here in Portland to find out what I had missed all my life. It was very good, but I wanted to make my own version substituting a couple ingredients that I find more wholesome (i.e. olive oil for canola). I also wanted to give it my own twist like the Tali sauce does. Lastly, I wanted to make it available for others to make & enjoy since the other two sauce recipes are top secret.

    So here is what I have come up with for the Lemon Letter version of the Whole Bowl.

    Lemon Twist Sauce:
    • 1/4 C. Olive oil
    • 1/4 C. Almonds (soaked)
    • 2 Tbsp. Brewer's Yeast / Nutritional Yeast
    • 1/4 C. Garbanzo Beans (properly sprouted and cooked)
    • 1/4 C. Water
    • 1/4 C. Lemon juice, fresh
    • 1 clove of garlic
    • 1/2 tsp. Sea salt
    • 1 tsp. Curry powder
    • 1 tsp. Cumin
    • 1/2 tsp. Onion powder
    • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

    Blend all ingredients together to make a creamy sauce.
    Keep the sauce sealed and refridgerated for storage. I suppose it will last about a week if uneaten.

    Lemon Letter Whole Bowl - building instructions:
    Add the following ingredients to a bowl in this order:
    How does a Whole Bowl with a Lemon Twist for dinner tonight sound?

    UPDATE! May 1, 2011:

    Inspired by my reader Zachary (see comments), I decided to modify the Lemon Twist Sauce recipe in attempt to get it closer to the Yumm sauce. I have been eating Yumm bowls for lunch 2 or 3 times a week since a franchise was established blocks from my work. I'm not thrilled with the use of canola oil and soy in the sauce, so I really would like to make my own using olive oil and no soy.

    In this modification I eliminated the mustard altogether. Last time I made the recipe it was WAY to mustardy! I also increased the lemon juice and spice content. Even though I did a side-by-side comparison with Yumm sauce while I worked, I didn't get to an exact match. I think the use of lemon juice concentrate gives Yumm sauce a stronger punch. But the sauce is still good. This is what I ended up with:
    • 1/2 C. Olive oil
    • 1/4 C. Almonds (soaked)
    • 2 Tbsp. Brewer's Yeast / Nutritional Yeast
    • 1/2 C. Garbanzo Beans (properly sprouted and cooked)
    • 1/4 C. Water
    • 1/2 C. Lemon juice, fresh
    • 1 clove of garlic
    • 1/2 tsp. Sea salt
    • 1/2 tsp. Curry powder
    • 1.5 tsp. Cumin
    • 1.5 tsp. Onion powder
    • Freshly ground pepper

    Please share what YOU would change!