• must-see green tv

    June 12, 2009

    I haven’t had a TV in over four years, but I do get a lot of video value out of my Mac.  Here’s a rundown of what caught my eye this week:

    Apparently viewable on YouTube only until tomorrow, so it’s really worth blocking out 1.5 hours to watch Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s amazing aerial footage of the planet as you’ve never seen it before.  May I suggest a nice, big bowl of souped-up strawberries instead of popcorn.

    FOOD, Inc
    Exposé of America’s industrialized food industry opens today in select US cities.  Being in the UK, I won’t be able to watch this yet; but my interest is quite piqued after seeing a PBS interview with director Robert Kenner.  Can’t say I’d snack on anything during this one.

    Raw Spirit Festival highlights
    Matt Monarch talks to health warrior Jameth Sheridan, who shares his honest, thought-provoking views on the many faces of raw while Troy Casey of Amazon Herbs makes me want to grow my hair long and move to Ecuador. Best enjoyed with a glass of Drink Your Greens.

    TED’s eco double bill
    John La Grou plugs smart power outlets and Kevin Surace invents eco-friendly drywall.  Who needs TV when you’ve got TED?

    Reader plea: I’d like to make this a regular feature but can’t keep up with all the great videos out there, so if you come across any you think should be included here I’d be grateful if you’d send them my way.  Happy weekend!

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  • all hail strawberry season

    June 11, 2009


    This was, admittedly, a stretch – even for me.  Yet I, and the berries, somehow managed to make it home in one piece despite carrying an additional eight pounds of apples on my back and keeping an eye on those tall leeks you see peeking out of the corner.  But how could I resist four punnets for 5 GBP (about 8 USD), plus a discount for buying double?  And how cute are those baskets?

    I do love my weekly trip to the farmers market here in West London, and yes – the British climate is such that we have abundant berries and apples at the same time.  I’ll remember that next time I’m inclined to complain about the weather.

    You’ve gotta love strawberries – they’re high in fiber, low on the glycemic index and just beautiful to look at, which has to mean nature really wants us to eat lots of them.  They’re also plentiful and relatively cheap right now, so go out and get some.  In fact, I’m so crazy about strawberries and how good they are for us that I’ve changed the blog’s background photo in honor of them.  Speaking of seasonal, I’ve now also tagged relevant recipes with seasons so you can search them that way, too.

    So, you might be wondering what a girl does with this many berries.  I’ll rinse and freeze about half of them – green tops and all – for ready inclusion in smoothies.  And the other half: well, they’ll go quite fast in this queen bee of un-recipes that ranks way up there on the simple, tasty scale.  It calls for sprouted grains, but fret not if you haven’t yet been converted to the wonders of these little gems.  I’ll soon be posting the secret to successful sprouting every time – and it requires no special equipment whatsoever.  And yes, this recipe violates that golden rule of food combining that says fruit should be eaten on its own, but I find that this combo agrees with my tummy just fine, and since the grains are sprouted we’re talking lots of live-enzyme action.

    Let me know how it works for you, and enjoy the berry bliss!

    new recipe: simply sensational strawberries

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  • mom’s first green smoothie

    June 10, 2009

    I feel really proud of my mom right now in that “baby’s first steps” kinda way – yesterday she made her first-ever green smoothie!

    They say that children end up teaching their parents, but while this is often said in the context of taking care of them in their old age, I believe this is so from the moment of birth.  One of the reasons I want to have children is to learn from them – from their innate curiosity and spontaneity that comes from being in the moment as only children know how.

    And a big reason I started Green Appetite was for my mom.  A year ago this father’s day, I got an awful call – my mom had just had a major heart attack.  Being an ocean away and experiencing the gulf more than ever, I’d never felt more useless in my life. That is, until my mom not only survived the horrible event but came away from it with an undaunted determination to turn her diet around – not an easy task, yet one she has pulled off amazingly guided by her tough spirit and selfless support of her husband who took on the same heart-healthy diet right along with her.

    When I came back from visiting her in Florida, there was only one thing I could do – if I wasn’t there to shop and cook with her, the next best thing was to come up with creative ways for her to eat deliciously while protecting her precious heart.  My mom’s commitment to health is proof that people can and do change when they choose to and when there is plenty of love to support it.  She has been an inspiration for most if not all of the recipes on this site.  And now here’s my mom’s recipe, exactly as she emailed it to me.

    The Lucy Smoothie

    l mango
    l ripe banana
    Bunch of raisins
    1/2 of a cucumber
    Piece of papaya
    l cup of bottled water

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  • banana pancakes and going all the way

    June 9, 2009

    A few days ago, I received a very nice email about my banana pancakes from a reader named Mindy.  I was wondering when I’d get a query about this recipe since, as you may have noticed, it’s the only non-raw one in the bunch so far.  I tried to reply to Mindy, but my email keeps bouncing back.  And since I believe everything happens for a reason, I reasoned it could only be that the universe wanted my answer to reach Mindy through this blog and, consequently, all of you.

    Here’s Mindy’s question:

    Dear Jessica,

    Your website is just beautiful. So glad I found it!!! About those pancakes… they look wonderful but I am wondering if there is a way to cook them so as not to destroy any enzymes. I just began eating 100% raw in March and am still learning what I can and can’t make and eat. What are your thoughts? Many thanks, Mindy

    Thank you so much for reading and for your kind words, Mindy.  A great question, especially as it presents a springboard for talking about transitioning to raw foods and how cooked foods can fit in.

    Food is considered raw if it has not been heated above 118F (some sources say 115F).  Heating, as you know, can destroy the digest enzymes in food, meaning that when we eat cooked food, the body has to call on its own enzyme reserves in order to facilitate digestion.  Digesting enzyme-depleted food is hard work for the body, draining our energy and re-directing it away from other bodily functions.

    Consuming food as close to its natural state as possible gives us the most access to those amazing digestive enzymes, hence the vitality-boosting power of raw food.  As I indicate in the recipe, cooking the pancakes at a low temperature (low to medium on the stove) as opposed to the traditional high-heat method helps conserve as much of the enzyme and nutrient content as possible.  But no, the pancakes aren’t raw.

    I debated whether to include the recipe, but my philosophy is that promoting an all-or-nothing approach is unrealistic.  While I think eating 100% raw is wonderful and admirable, I also realize that many people prefer to tip toe into raw foods rather than dive in, especially since it’s so easy to become discouraged if something doesn’t go to plan.  Raw is a lifestyle change on many levels, and it takes some time to get used to.  In short, I’d rather get people to add more raw and replace their usual cooked meals with healthier alternatives instead of advocating an extreme approach that can lead to giving up on one of the most life-enhancing gifts our planet has to offer.  Brendan Brazier, the plant-fuelled professional tri-athlete, has several pancake recipes in his book The Thrive Diet, and he also suggests low-temp cooking within the context of a high raw, plant-based diet.

    The other reason for including healthier cooked alternatives is that going too suddenly from years on a heavily-cooked diet to 100% raw can lead to discouraging detox symptoms that can cause you to jump the raw ship if you don’t know what’s going on.  The easiest way to slow down this natural cleansing process is to include some cooked foods.  Another way is complementary techniques such as dry brushing and colonics, which I’ll address in separate posts.  Natalia Rose talks about this in detail in her book The Raw Food Detox Diet.  I like her flexible, easy-does-it approach and encourage you to check her out if you haven’t already.  The other thing I love about her books is that there isn’t a single dehydrator recipe in them.  For me, one of the best things about raw food is how fast and simple it can be.  With that in mind, I prefer to eat a high-raw diet that includes occasional cooked foods rather than a 100% raw diet with lots of dehydrated foods.  Again, there are many solutions in between, and if you own a dehydrator I’d love to know if you decide to experiment with it and create an all-raw version of banana pancakes!

    As for my own journey, I used to be a complete pancake addict.  It wasn’t just a weekend treat for me, but a several-times-a-week indulgence I’d get up especially early for.  Funnily enough, I haven’t made pancakes at all since I began eating high raw.  I never believed it before, but cravings and habits do change; and now I wake up with luscious green smoothies on the brain.  That doesn’t mean I won’t make or eat pancakes ever again.  Which brings me to my last point…

    I firmly believe in not getting caught up in labels, and I think you’ll find that the more you explore the raw food community, the more you’ll discover a refreshing lack of judgement.  Instead, there is a profound respect for wherever you are on the raw continuum and a heavy emphasis on listening to your heart…and your belly.

    I’m really excited to welcome my fellow We Like it Raw readers and would love to hear your thoughts, so I hope you’ll put that comment box below to work with all your wonderful wisdom!

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  • guest feature on we like it raw

    June 8, 2009

    Buenos dias, amigos!  A few weeks ago on my snacking smart post I mentioned I would be telling you about my recent family reunion in Madrid and how I managed my green appetite while I was there.

    Well, here it is…and on none other than We Like it Raw!

    A huge thanks to Dhrumil for being so cool with the idea and showcasing it beautifully with the photos I took.  In it, you can read about how I stuck to a high-raw diet amidst la familia plus tips on how to navigate Madrid menus while enjoying Spanish cuisine that’s good for you and the planet.

    But wait, there’s more!  I wanted to welcome my fellow We Like it Raw readers with a seasonal recipe they and you can make in a jiffy.  Bienvenidos and enjoy!

    new recipe:  speedy gazpacho

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  • a film so priceless, it’s free

    June 8, 2009

    Very few things manage to dazzle, educate and motivate in 10 minutes, let alone 1.5 hours.  Yet that’s exactly what Yann Arthus-Bertrand does in his film HOME released on Friday.  Instead of the harsh graphics and jarring editing of many eco films, he uses his swooping aerial imagery to present our planet as a masterpiece: one that must not only be appreciated but lovingly restored.   By capturing nature with the sort of awe of a lover, he inspires desire rather than obligation.  It’s utterly brilliant.

    The best part?  HOME, like love, is free.  You can watch it on YouTube, but only until June 14th.  I highly recommend the full-screen option.  Many thanks to Dhrumil at We Like It Raw for tipping me onto it.

    You might also like to check out the filmmaker’s talk on TED, one of my all-time favorite sites. In fact, I could write a whole post about TED: truly thought-provoking talks from a wide-range of talented thinkers.  Again, all free. If you’ve never heard of TED, your world’s about to get rocked.

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  • blissed-out in southern california

    June 7, 2009

    Right now I’m experiencing a bit of a challenge with regards to living in the moment, because to be quite honest I’d much rather be living this moment at the Raw Spirit Festival in Santa BarbaraMatt Monarch has been giving us stranded folk an insider’s peek with his trusty camera, and I just had to share his latest clip, especially since it ties in nicely with yesterday’s post on slimming foods and my previous one on plant-powered fitness.  Have you ever seen such shiny, happy people?  Talk about the joy of plant-based food and the beautifying power of raw!

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  • skinny jeans forevah

    June 6, 2009

    “You and your flat stomach.”

    That was my dear friend Hadley as I was getting off the Underground last night.  We were going home from a garden party that inevitably turned into an everyone-crammed-in-the-kitchen gathering thanks to a bitter blast of freezing rain.  Why am I not used to this after over five years in London?

    Anyway, her comment made me realize, again, the transformative power of food and how you can, literally, re-shape your body.  I looked down at my jeans and saw that yes, my tummy was pretty flat.  And that felt more than pretty good.

    It wasn’t always this way.  Even though I’ve always been fairly slim, everything I ate seemed to miss the whole of my body and make a beeline straight for my waist.  I’d go to yoga class and watch other women in the mirror proudly baring their washboard midsections while I kept mine coyly tucked away.  The only time my stomach went into hibernation was when I was preparing for the marathon – not exactly a training schedule I was willing to continue after the big race.  Of course, as soon as I stopped my 2.5 hour runs, my old shape came back once more.

    And yet, fast-forward four years to today where my “training” regime consists of nothing more than walks in the park, yoga in my living room and running errands on my bike.  Those 100 crunches a day of my past?  Gone.  The gym membership I would force myself to use?  Hasta la vista.

    Now, I’m not saying vigorous exercise is unnecessary; on the contrary!  Raising your heart rate several times a week is always good advice.  I’m just letting you know that the best results for my “problem area” came without the usual undue exertion you might expect.  The excess weight around my middle has fallen away, unbelievably, from eating more and sweating less!  As I got off the train, I told Hadley that I eat tons; and it’s true.  But unlike before, I mostly eat the kinds of food that feed rather than fatten my body, and the results are written…all over my waist.

    Let me tell you, sliding into my jeans from the year 2000 better than I did then feels great.  Want to know how you can do it, too?  For starters, up the water-rich raw.  Keep checking the recipes section of the site and this blog for ideas on how; and if you’d like personalized advice for your own transformation with lots of motivating support, let’s chat!

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  • charlie and the raw chocolate factory

    June 4, 2009

    Just as I had grown weary of Facebook, suddenly it turned into a way to link up with people on this same joyful path of loving great food that loves you back.  That’s how I bumped into Charlie Lagoa, creator of Charlie’s Raw Treats.  When we realized we both lived in London, we just had to meet up – and where else but at Whole Foods!

    Charlie has bravely launched her new business while holding down a full-time job, and her passion and dedication were evident the minute I met her.  You can read all about her journey into raw foods on her blog where she already beat me to the punch by writing a very thoughtful post about this site.  Thank you, Charlie.

    Of course, I was secretly hoping that I might get a nibble of her raw treats with the excuse of writing about it here.  But Charlie was already on the case, and when we sat down she whipped out a bag of sweet surprises.  Being a life-long lover of cheesecake and never having tried a raw one, I was very curious about hers and, dare I say it, quite skeptical that it would induce the same kind of swoon state as the ridiculously rich cheesecakes of my past.  But one spoonful and I couldn’t believe my taste buds.  Charlie’s Lemon Cheesecake is phenomenally lemony and can’t-believe creamy!

    Her homespun business is actually as far away from a factory as you can get; she makes every single one of her treats by hand in her kitchen from honest ingredients.  The Lemon Cheesecake gets its tangy taste from coconut, cashews, agave and lemon.  That’s it!  Proof that good-for-you food should be simple and delicious.  Keep your eye on Charlie; she’s going to soar.

    And speaking of Facebook, come join us on the Green Appetite group.  Something sweet might be just around the corner.

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  • healthy eating tasting fair

    June 3, 2009

    Happy Wednesday!

    I’ve been invited to participate at the Healthy Eating Tasting Fair happening at Whole Foods Kensington in London on Wednesday, June 17th.  Details from their site:

    At whole Foods Market we believe in promoting your wellbeing through healthy eating food ranges, demonstrations and education.

    We have handpicked some of our favourite healthy eating experts and invite you along to meet these passionate producers on the evening and sample the very best healthy foods and dietary alternatives.

    Well hey!  I’m honored and excited about this, especially as the fair runs from 4-8pm so I get to meet the after-work crowd (not that I don’t thoroughly enjoy mingling with the mummies on Monday mornings!)

    I’ve put this on the calendar and hope you’ll add it to yours if you’re in the area.  l’ll be sharing tasty tips for eating green with a focus on super-fast raw food as well as a special offer on my coaching services.  Demos and samples as usual!  And if that doesn’t get you, I’m required to wear an apron and hat for this one.  Suggestions for attractive head gear most welcome.

    Hope to see you there!

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