Making Life Delicious!

Posts tagged ‘plant-based diet’

Avocado Love

I grew up surrounded by avocado trees.  There were seventy-five of them on our heavenly acre of orchard in Santa Barbara, California.  I’m told avocados were my first solid food – and believe me, it was love at first bite!  These friendly fat fruits are a mainstay of my diet and belong on the top shelf of any raw pantry.  In Dan’s and my new book, Raw Food for Dummies, I cover all sorts of information about avocados as well as some fabulous recipes, two of which are reproduced here.  Avocados have so many health benefits; the fact that they’re so delicious is almost a side note to why we should eat them.  But – like so much else on our beautiful planet – they make healthy living delicious!

The typical avocado is about 250 calories, 75% of which are fat calories.  But wait – almost all of an avocado’s fat is monounsaturated – the kind we need to process the other less desirable kinds.  In fact, avocados are proven to decrease LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (helpful cholesterol).  Did you know avocados have more potassium than bananas do? And extracts of avocado are being researched as aiding in the reversal of hypertension and diabetes mellitus.  And a new study out of Japan suggests that avocados may have an antibacterial component.  Avocados are truly amazing.  Here is one of my favorite avocado recipes (also featured on page 128 of Raw Food for Dummies, along with easy to follow instructions on how to pit and peel them):Vitality Soup

Vitality Soup

Yield: 2 servings

1 cup orange juice

2 cups stemmed and chopped kale or other dark leafy greens

1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped

1⁄4 cup fresh parsley, basil, or dill weed

1 tablespoon light miso

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1⁄2 teaspoon garlic, crushed (1 clove)

1⁄2 green onion, chopped

1⁄2 avocado, peeled and pitted

Filtered water as needed for desired consistency

1 Combine the orange juice, kale, cucumber, herbs, miso, lemon juice, garlic, and green onion. Blend the mixture until smooth.

2 Add the avocado and blend again — no more than 1 minute — until smooth.

The avocado originates in Mexico, the earliest reference to which dates around 10,000 BC.  The avocado tree also has a long history of cultivation in both Central and South America, with an avocado shaped urn found near the pre-Incan city of Chan Chan dating from 900 AD.  The domesticated avocado tree we know today is descended from these ancient roots and provides us with this irresistible treat.  Beside being a creamy, delicious alternative to dairy foods like sour cream and butter, not to mention making a wonderful base for chocolaty raw treats, the avocado is perhaps best know for its place in south of the border style cuisine.  One of my favorite avocado recipes of this sort is Avocado-Pineapple Salsa found in Raw Food for Dummies on page 198:

Avocado-Pineapple Salsa-7450Avocado-Pineapple Salsa

Yield: 3 servings

 1⁄2 cup diced pineapple

2 Roma tomatoes, finely diced

1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1⁄4-inch cubes

1⁄2 cup peeled, seeded, and finely diced cucumber

1⁄4 cup packed chopped cilantro

1 green onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons minced red onion

1⁄2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

1 1⁄2 teaspoons lime juice

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1 Put all the ingredients into a bowl and stir to mix.

Avocados are so special to me.  My history with them is so close to my heart when I remember mycherie and fred childhood and my father’s avocado trees.  And I love all the ways I can incorporate them – my first food – into so many delicious raw dishes.  Avocados are so satisfying and such a sensual food.  They are truly one of the best, most comforting and healthy things we get to keep with us as we embark on our raw journey.  Enjoy!

Touring in the Raw

collageI’m so excited about the way this year is shaping up for Dan and me.  Our new book Raw Food for Dummies has been so well received by the raw community, not to mention a curious public.  I’m so proud of this accomplishment!  So now, of course, I want to share it with everyone – and that means a tour!  Dan and I will be doing lots of traveling this year – putting into practice Chapter 19 in the book: “Eating Raw on the Go”.

Many people who are new to raw feel intimidated by eating out.  But that’s not necessary.  Part of RawRocksthe fun of travel is experiencing different places and people – things you’re sure to miss if you insist upon eating self prepared raw meals in your hotel room.  These days, it’s easy to find vegetarian, if not vegan, options when eating out.  And you can make it even easier with the help of online resources like Yelp or Happy Cow.  If you still can’t seem to find anything specific, remember – just about every restaurant has a salad on the menu and often has yummy raw appetizers like guacamole, which could be ordered with veggie sticks rather than chips.  Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.  Chefs are used to tailoring their menu items to allow for food allergies, etc.  Cutting up a few vegetables shouldn’t be an issue.

kale chipsOf course, most of the places Dan and I are going on our tour this year are pretty raw friendly.  For example, our first stop is the Raw Living Expo in Sedona, Arizona where I’ll be giving the keynote address.  Obviously we won’t have any trouble eating raw there.  But – no matter how wonderfully raw your destination might be, traveling is unpredictable.  To be prepared for delays and other unplanned events, Dan and I like to bring portable snacks along.  These raw treats will tide us over between destinations if need be.  One of our favorites is flavored kale chips.  These high energy snacks are so delicious and satisfying – they make the perfect snack on the go.  There are lots of prepackaged varieties commercially available today in lots of delicious flavors.  But – you can make your own.  I’ve included a great recipe for Nacho Cheese Kale Chips on page 272 of Raw Food for Dummies.  Enjoy – and happy raw travels!

Release by Cherie Soria

EatSmart (2)My husband Dan and I are so excited our new book Raw Food For Dummies, which was  released on December 12th . When Wiley Publishing first approached us about doing a book, I admit I was hesitant.  I wasn’t familiar with the “Dummies” books and didn’t like the connotation of the word, “dummies.” But once we started reading Dummies books, we realized why they are so popular! These books are not for Dummies! They are for smart, busy people who want to learn as much as they can in the shortest possible time. They are filled with facts that are readable and empowering. Once we decided to do the book, we had to dig deep to remember what it was like for us when we started on our individual raw food paths, so we could capture not only where we are now, but where we started from.

No matter where you are on your raw journey, there will be something in this book you can use.  It was good for Dan and I to get back to the basics and it’ll be good for you, too. As raw food enthusiasts, we need to support one another and sometimes, the most supportive things are the things we tend to take for granted once we’ve been raw for a while. That’s why, in addition to great recipes and food preparation tips, we included important information about what raw food is and what the benefits are; how cooking harms food; which foods are harmed most and which are harmed least. We shared things like how to set-up your raw food kitchen, how to shop, and how to plan menus. We even included how to connect with other raw food enthusiasts and of course, I shared my techniques for making raw food for cooked food lovers!

With a book of this magnitude and its potential to reach so many peopled new to raw foods, we haddan and cherie to make each word count. The tips, the recipes, the practical strategies are all based on our years of experience. None of these recipes are experiments concocted just for this book. Dan and I have been eating this way for decades and  have helped thousands of others “go raw” successfully and deliciously. We were new to raw once, too, and we know the pitfalls and challenges that can come up for the newly raw. We’re confident that this book will equip anyone to begin their raw journey well prepared. Our combined years of experience “walking the walk” make us excellent guides.

.As we look back on all the work we put into this book, we realize what an honor it was to work together to create this culmination of our knowledge and experience. And we couldn’t have done it without the dedicated support of our staff at Living Light. What a team! I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished together and can’t wait for all of you to see it. We think you’ll be as pleased with it as we are!

Stay Young Longer!

Health. Beauty. Youth. We all want them, and some people are willing to do whatever it takes to get them. Keeping people looking young is a billion-dollar industry, but looks aren’t everything. In fact, looks can be deceiving. Lots of things can make you look younger, and even more beautiful, but what can actually make you feel younger? What can actually turn back the hands of time and reverse your physiological age?

There are many keys to achieving a more naturally youthful appearance, brighter eyes, a clearer complexion, more supple skin, shinier hair, stronger nails, a sharper memory, or a more positive outlook on life. Some people claim yoga is the key. Others say meditation. Still others swear by their favorite natural cosmetics, structured water, or exotic superfoods. In reality, a variety of products, practices, and lifestyle choices work together synergistically, and the mix differs for each individual. The good news is that taking any one positive action to look and feel younger often starts a chain reaction that improves other areas, as well.

But of all the actions you could take to look younger, feel more vibrant and joyful, and have clear beautiful skin, one thing stands out among the rest—raw plant foods.

Here’s why:

Whole, fresh, raw natural plant foods contribute nutrients important for clear skin, vivid eyesight, a sharp mind, and radiant health as we age. Many of these act as antioxidants, helping protect our cells from free radicals (highly reactive molecules that contain unpaired electrons, which can damage cells and cause premature aging). Here’s what you need:

Antioxidants found in darkly colored foods, like blueberries, blackberries, and black mission figs. and cruciferous vegetables such as collard greens, kale, bok choy, broccoli, and Napa cabbage.

Vitamin C which is essential to the  formation of collagen that makes up the connective tissue within our bodies and is important for good muscle and skin tone.  Damage to collagen in the skin can result in wrinkles, eye diseases, and cancer.

Essential fatty acids, especially omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential to good health and brain function, eye sight, and many other common heath and age-related issues, including healthy skin. A lack of this important nutrient can result in arthritis and can contribute to degenerative diseases like heart disease, stroke, and other age-related diseases.

Selenium contributes to antioxidant activity in the body and is essential for the production of thyroid hormone and proper immune system function.

Zinc  plays an integral role in skin health, especially skin cell growth and replication, collagen synthesis, DNA formation, and immune system function.

Hydration is the easiest and often the most overlooked consideration in anti-aging, and the general health of the body. Water is involved in many essential bodily processes, so if we don’t have enough, our bodies degrade and age rapidly. Fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as plenty of pure, un-chlorinated water are an important part of one’s diet.

If you are interested in learning which of these nutrients are available in whole plant foods, and how they can help keep you looking and feeling young longer, I recommend the Living Light Science of Raw Food Nutrition course with Drs. Rick and Karin Dina, D.C. We offer a basic course  as short as 2-days or stay for 3 weeks to earn certification as a raw food nutrition educator.

Learn how to make whole raw plant foods like these at Living Light International

Of course, there is more to health and beauty than just food, but we’ll save that for another day! Here’s to your health!

Why be ordinary when you can be extraordinary?

One of my goals is to help students become the best that they can be. I know that each of us can be extraordinary if we just realize our potential and not be afraid to express it.
Many things make you extraordinary already: you are interested in a healthy lifestyle, you have a desire to learn and to live an inspired life, and you want to share your experience of life with others – these core values are things many of us share! When we choose a plant-based diet, we are more connected to the earth and all of its inhabitants, and we become more connected to our spiritual center.

Because of my life experiences, and success in my field, many of you may think I’m special, but I’m no more special than each of you! How many of you are not doing something you once did or want to do, because you don’t think you can do it as well as you want to? My advice to you is just do it!

You’ll be surprised at how your body, mind, and spirit will rise to the challenge. The important thing to remember is not to compare yourself to others or to how you were in the past.

We are all perfect just the way we are right now – which doesn’t mean that we want to stop learning – just that given everything that has led us to this point, where we are now is AMAZING and wonderful AND each of us still has more to learn, create, and do.

Always be sure to remember that you are unique and special – only you have your precious gifts to offer the world!
16 keys to living an extraordinary life!

  1. Start your day with appreciation
  2. Choose healthful habits (food, water, air, relaxation, and positive thoughts)
  3. Enjoy fun activities and exercise
  4. Align and identify yourself with people you admire
  5. Know who YOU are and what you want
  6. Do good deeds
  7. Celebrate your accomplishments
  8. Live with integrity
  9. Express love and appreciation daily (to yourself and others)
  10. Challenge yourself!
  11. Forgive and let go: Forgive everyone for everything that they have ever done to you! After all, we are all co-creators in our own experience and without challenges, we would not be who we are – we would not have learned the valuable lessons we’ve learned! Each experience is essential to the fabric of our existence.
  12. Accept yourself where you are now. Stop blaming yourself. What is past is past
  13. Start fresh each day and know that you can be all you want to be!
  14. Be mindful, conscious, and present in all of your daily choices
  15. Listen to you body – it speaks to you.
  16. And always: choose fresh, ripe, raw, organic foods with high nutrient density, breathe fresh air, and drink clean water (alkaline)

At Living Light, we teach a standard of excellence that sometimes challenges people, but when they leave, they know that they have the ability to live up to the challenge of being extraordinary! 

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