Saturday, October 22, 2011

Juice it Up! Our Breville Juicer

Yes, this week was a health-focused one. D and I purchased a Blendtec blender and a Breville Juice Fountain Elite. We've been waiting quite some time for these appliances so I am thankful we were able to save up for them!

Do you need a high-speed blender and juicer for a healthy lifestyle? No, of course not! It's a choice we made and are excited to have these new appliances in our kitchen.

I wasn't expecting the juicer to arrive until next week but again, I was surprised when it came a mere three days after placing the order.

The juicer has a thicker manual than the Blendtec but there are a lot more moving parts. D had it up and together in no time, i.e. he did not read the manual :)

So pretty!

We went with apple juice as I've never tasted fresh apple juice. 

Ready to fire up
The juice was delicious!
Apple juice w a little lime
Making the juice is a breeze but cleaning takes more time - well, just the basket, really. 

Here's the culprit and its brush
D is continuing to experiment with easier ways to get squeaky clean but right now, it's time consuming. We're all ears if you have any suggestions!

I had promised to myself when I got a Blendtec or juicer, I would embark on another feasting journey. Not only did I start but D is joining in this time. We're on our second day but that's another post.

Happy and healthy weekend!

- Kareen, RD

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Blender Love – My New Blendtec!

My husband and I took the plunge and purchased a Blendtec Total Blender on Sunday from Costco online. The deal included not only the regular jar but also the Wild Side – normally a $100 value. I was excited for the Wild Side jar as it’s supposed to make smoothies in a whiz. I was expecting delivery in five to seven days so you can imagine my surprise when my husband opened the trunk of our car on Tuesday to this. . .

That sneaky guy opted for express shipping and didn’t tell me! I was a super happy camper that night!

The blender came with a DVD that covered a history of the company, recipe demonstrations and a brief overview of the blender. The user manual is essentially a ½ page - it's a VERY user friendly appliance.

We headed to Sprouts for smoothie ingredients and then I made this lovely concoction.
Strawberries, Mango, Papaya, Pineapple, Banana, Ginger & Lime
The delicious finished product! No tamper required.
D added a ton more ginger and lime juice and wowsers! What a spicy, tasty concoction.
I’m excited to play around with it more. D and I have big plans over the next couple of months with one more treat appliance that came in tonight! I'll blog on that in a couple of days.

What are some of your favorite blender recipes?

- Kareen, RD

p.s. follow me on twitter - @i_ameatingright

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kicking Caffeine to the Curb

My husband has been caffeine free for about two months now. It’s been a tough go – first with the very real withdrawal effects and then with developing new habits and overcoming the cravings. He reports his sleep quality is much better and he feels less anxious. I’m really proud of him!

I, too, drink coffee but have never considered myself dependent. I only drink about 8oz Monday through Friday and never crave it on the weekends. So when I made the decision to join my husband in his avoidance of caffeine, I didn’t think I would have any issues.


I’m dependent. Soooo addicted.

Here we are two months after my first statement of solidarity and I’m only now ready to give up my cup of joe. 

Even though my usual intake is about 8oz and it's usually done by 9:00 AM, I find myself tossing and turning at 10:00 PM unable to fall asleep. I’m tense, jittery and end up exhausted leading right back to the java juice the next morning.

A moderate amount of caffeine is considered 200 to 300 mg daily which is about 2 – 4 cups of coffee. Drinking more than 600 mg daily, ie. more than 4 cups of coffee or other sources (check the back of that Red Bull!) can be harmful and lead to insomnia, irritability, elevated heart rate  and more.

Check. Check. And Check. I’m clearly a lightweight. The heavy caffeine intake symptoms are what I experience. Logically, why would I continue ingesting something that makes me feel so horrible? Not only that, caffeine is the arch nemesis of IBS. My stomach is usually in knots for the entire week. No thank you. I’m done.

In addition, caffeine can elevate blood pressure, lead to ulcers and dehydration (it’s a mild diuretic) and stimulate stress hormones. I certainly don’t need more cortisol coursing through my system.

I’ve gone cold turkey since I don’t drink that much a day to wean down. Today I ingested a lot of sugar but I know the cravings will pass. I’m working to get to bed early tonight and tomorrow start practicing walking outside, stretching, deep breathing and increasing my water intake.

If you’re considering quitting or cutting back – good for you! You may choose to decrease your intake by a cup daily, switching to decaf or mixing decaf into your regular brew. Also beware of other caffeine sources such as chocolate and certain medications.

No headaches so far. I'll keep you updated!

Are you a caffeine lover?

- Kareen, RD

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tips & Tricks - My Transition to a Raw Vegan Lifestyle

I first discovered the raw vegan world last year around November. I've been transitioning ever since then so I’m definitely a transition expert! These ideas have come from my experience and each person’s individual journey may take them down a different path.

I’m not one for labels so I don’t refer to myself as a raw foodist or raw food practitioner. As a Registered Dietitian, I see (and feel) the benefits of including as much raw fruits and vegetables as possible into one’s diet. I aim for 100% vegan and high raw – about 85% intake daily.

So what lessons have I learned in the past year?

1.       Don’t beat yourself up - If my goal percentages are off, I don’t consider that day a failure. For me, it’s a continuum but when my diet is off, my Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) lets me know right away. For that reason, I do work hard at maintaining high raw.

2.       Be prepared – It’s easier to maintain this lifestyle when you have meals and/or snacks at your fingertips.

3.       Eat! – This style of eating is naturally lower in calories so you cannot be afraid of food. Even if your goal is weight loss, your focus should be on maintaining your energy and nutrient levels. The weight will come off so don’t fret about that. The chances of sliding back into your old diet habits are greater the hungrier you let yourself get.

4.       Look for sales – I’ve been eating a lot of romaine the past couple of weeks because it’s been on sale (2 for 1!) at Sprouts. I then supplement with a smaller amount of other greens like spinach or kale to ensure variety.

5.       Pick your staple fruit – Vegetables are a key portion of the diet but they are low in calories. The majority of your energy will come from fruit. My staple fruit is mango and fortunately, they have been on sale recently at Sprouts, too! Most people in the raw food world choose bananas as their staple. You can supplement with other fruits in smaller amounts like berries or my other fave passion fruit. Don’t forget to consider frozen varieties as well. Fresh veggies will round out the remainder of your daily intake.

6.       Find a favorite transition snack – Mine is fresh guac (raw) with rice chips (not raw but vegan). I always have these ingredients on hand to help me through cravings or when I feel I need more calories. If you have a dehydrator, you could make your own chips/crackers and make your snack 100% raw.

7.       Keep it simple! – The raw world is full of options from the most complicated recipes to the quick and easy. Don't get overwhelmed! I enjoy making gourmet recipes as a treat but on a daily basis, I'm all about a big bowl of fruit, giant salads and green smoothies.

Of course there are more tips but as you move forward everyday, you'll realize you're doing it and it's second nature!

What tips do you have for making a lifestyle change - raw or otherwise?

- Kareen, RD

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Chia as food? Yep! It's not just a 1980's infomercial gimmick! I didn't even realize that chia seeds were edible until I started my raw journey about a year ago. Of course, they're not just for those consuming a raw diet.

So what are chia seeds and why should you bother? They were a key staple in the Aztec and Mayan cultures that provided not only calories but also soluble fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.

When you see the seeds they may remind you of flax. And while flax seeds are good for your health, chia is an alternative that contains more antioxidants making it more stable (i.e.doesn't turn rancid as fast) than flax. Additionally, for flax seeds to be absorbed by the body, they must be ground or in an oil format. The human body can absorb the nutritional benefits from digesting the whole chia seed.

Two tablespoons of this delicious nutty-flavored seed provides approximately 70 calories, 4.5 g of fat, 7 g of carbohydrates, 6 g of dietary fiber and 3 g of protein. So that's no trans fat, saturated fat, sodium or cholesterol! You also have the added benefits of calcium, vitamin C, zinc, iron, phosphorus among other micronutrients.

What are you waiting for? Give chia seeds a try sprinkled on your salads, on your yogurt or make a pudding! Simply add water and a sweetener to chia seeds and they form a gel similar to tapioca but better tasting (in my opinion) when left in the fridge for about 4 to 6 hours. I enjoyed chia pudding for breakfast yesterday morning and today. The wait is worth it!

Try it out and let me know what you think.

Happy Sunday!

- Kareen, RD

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Raw Eats This Week - Part II

Highlights of my eats this week. I maintained about 85% raw with a couple of 100% days. 

Mission figs with bananas - Great energy snack

More Mission figs with apples and dates this time - delish!

Mango with red onions, heirloom tomato and lime juice

Yummy Apple Crumble w Maple Cream

Crumble topping and maple cream paired with Sierra Figs - great pairing! Sierra figs not as sweet as Mission variety but still very good

Plain Brown Turkey figs. Sweet and big! My fave variety
Protein-boosted green smoothie ingredients

The delicious and filling final result

Romaine salad with avo, hemp hears, red onions, cilantro and dill

Chia Pudding - I want to experiment more with this one and then I'll share the deets
Lastly, I was stoked to see that my favorite romaine lettuce was on sale at Sprouts

Made me smile 
That's the overview for this week. I'm really loving it :)

- Kareen, RD

p.s. you definitely want to follow me on twitter - thanks!
p.p.s. and I'm assuming you're already following this blog - if not you should! I appreciate it :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Raw Vegan Apple Cobbler with Maple Cream

I had the 'pleasure' of working last Sunday which means that I had the opportunity to enjoy a rare Monday off. I had a long list of errands to finish but I made sure to save time to play in the kitchen.

My husband gave me this un-cookbook for my birthday all the way back in July. It's 'Going Raw' by Judita Wignall. Be sure to check out her

You can only imagine how much I was itching to give the recipes a try
Judita's book is unique in that it offers a bonus DVD which features tutorials on raw food techniques such as using a dehydrator, a spiralizer and basic knife skills. She does a great job at teaching in these brief vignettes. The book includes discussion on the benefits of living raw and basically everything you need to start your own raw food diet (which happens to be the tag line of the book!).

Some recipes on my must-try list include Herbed Cashew Hemp Cheese, Sunshine Smoothie, Chia Pudding, Jicama-Papaya-Mango Salad, Mexian Spiced Brownies and of course the Apple Cobbler with Maple Cream.

To respect Judita's copyright, I won't list the recipe here but I will mention that I did not follow it to the letter. I chose to omit the agave nectar because of its high fructose content and used maple syrup instead even though it's not raw. Next time I'm going to try making a syrup with dates and use that mixture as the sweetener.

I also chose to omit the rolled oats. Ingredients I didn't have on hand were raisins and a vanilla bean. I used extract instead (I know, heresy) but next time I'll be completely ready. Lastly, I used walnuts for the crumble.

With all of those modifications, the final result was delicious!

In all, I took about 45 minutes to put everything together and yielded 4 servings. I need to practice my knife skills and get a better blender. I struggled with that cashew cream. For my first try, I was happy!

Have you tried any new foods or recipes this week?

- Kareen, RD

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Raw Eats This Week

This past week was busy with the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) in San Diego, CA. And then the return to work with all that email and voicemail waiting. So I was definitely out of my comfort zone but I managed to stay raw at least 80% each day. My stomach thanked me - the IBS flare-ups were kept to a minimum.

Here's a highlight of what I ate from my kitchen.
Mono meal of grapes. Not much effort required for this meal :)
Romaine with an heirloom tomato, radishes, red onions, dill. I used to HATE tomatoes :) I made this x 2.
And then came the figs! 

I've been searching since August so I could try Megan Elizabeth's Strawberry Bread Pudding Recipe

 The final result. Super duper good! 

 Most of my meals this week were from the free samples at the expo so I'm glad to be back on a regular eating schedule.

I'm on twitter - follow me @i_amEatingRight for daily updates on my meals, pics and general fun randomness! Let me know what you're eating by tagging your posts with #iameatingright.

What was on your plate this week? Let me know on twitter!

- Kareen, RD