Friday, August 13, 2010

days 3 & 4 raw: Eat Your (Raw Vegan) Desserts

I didn't have time to post yesterday, so this post will be two-in-one.

Yesterday, "Day 3" of this raw food experiment:

For starters, I woke up feeling pretty normal - no cold-like symptoms, although I did sneeze more than usual throughout the day. For breakfast, I ate plain fruit and later made a banana-blueberry-mango smoothie with maca powder and agave nectar. This time I increased the amount of fruit per the amount of maca, and the result was flavor success. My boyfriend enjoyed it, as well (but, then, he enjoys most foods).

Good Mood Foods' "Veggie Casserole"

Later, I tried another one of Good Mood Food brand's delectable, pre-made raw meals: the veggie casserole, which was nearly as amazing at the veggie-nut nuggets (damn, those nuggets are just impossible to top). If you're curious, the casserole contained the following: cashews, brazil nuts, zuchinni, almonds, sundried tomatoes, onions, flax seeds, garlic, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, raisins, extra virgin cold pressed olive oil, parsley, lemons, sea salt, Braggs Liquid Aminos, chili pepper, basil, mustard seeds, and apple cidar vinegar. Again, very delicious - surprisingly so! As I said in day 2's post, I didn't think it was possible for raw food to be so satisfying and tasty, but now I stand corrected.

Then, sometime after dinner, I had a really strong craving for kale. I wanted kale, lots and lots of it. I've actually had kale cravings before, believe it or not, but this was different somehow. It was stronger, more specific. (I think that my normal kale cravings are often just cravings for the tahini-vegenaise dressing I use in my favorite kale salad recipe.) So, I had a few bowls of fresh kale topped with some carrot shavings and flax seed oil. No vinegar this time, because I didn't want to cover that kale taste too much.

My body said kale, I said okay.

I'm interpreting this kale craving to mean that I must need more greens while eating raw. Way back when, I tried out the dietary advice from Joel Fuhrman's Eat To Live, which called for - at minimum - an entire pound of raw veggies, daily, most of which were supposed to be greens. Yeah, I know that sounds like a lot, but I felt really good while doing it.

Raw foodism has a lot of similarities to the Eat To Live philosophy, I've noticed, although I don't know of any source that says, outright, that one ought to eat this quantity of greens while being raw. Whether or not it works for everyone, I've decided that it does for me, and so tomorrow (which will be my 5th and final day), I'm going to aim for greatly increasing the amount of greens. My refrigerator is already stocked with a massive amount of green spinach and the remainder of the kale.

Finally, since I keep bringing up maca, here's a photo of the brand I'm using: 

Maca was reportedly used by Incan warriors to provide stamina and prevent fatigue.

Okay! Onto today, "Day 4" of raw:

There's a lot to say about today. First off, I had to get up earlier than usual today, so my sleeping is a bit off. I woke up feeling normal (other than not having slept enough). Still had more sneezy/nose-type symptoms than usual, although I'm not sure if this is because of detoxing or me having allergies. Most notably, today I felt pretty nauseous all day AND I finally started having "cooked-food cravings." (I really can't believe it took 4 days for me to miss cooked food!) I'm also craving soda, which is really odd for me, and I even considered stopping by a local vegan restaurant just to buy a homemade gingerale. To be fair, it's normal for me to feel nauseous and crave certain foods around "this particular time," but my current symptoms are far more intense than usual.

Speaking of intense, I tend to have a pretty good sense of smell (or perhaps I simply pay a lot of attention to scents) but today my olfactory bulb is burning ever so brightly! This could very well be why I feel so nauseous and why I'm craving cooked foods, as cooked foods are typically more bland (yes, really - I didn't believe it at first, but now I can get why raw food veterans call cooked food tasteless!). Perhaps my sense of smell is so intense because, lo and behold, my sinuses may be detoxing. Ah, it all comes full circle after all. Though, the soda thing remains a mystery to me.

Onto what I ate today... For starters, I ate (no, devoured) one of my tried-and-true favorites: Earth Cafe's "find your thrill on blueberry hill" raw vegan cheesecake. You might not love the long name, but the cake is to-die-for, whether you're vegan or not, raw or not. What I especially like about this cheesecake (aside from it being amazingly healthy and vegan) is that it's not overly sweet. Instead, it's lightly sweet with a nice, tangy zing to it. And it has a wonderfully creamy, smooth texture. I swear I don't get any money for saying this!

Remember those chick peas I was soaking? Well, they've been waiting for me to eat them, so today I tossed them in a salad and had my first experience crunching on raw chick peas. Not bad. I think I could grow to prefer them over the cooked variety.

Today I snacked on a lot of fruit (that CSA watermelon was amazing). Then I decided to try something I have been curious about for a long time: Rawk-n-Roll Cuisine's kale chips in the Kaletaliano (pizza-flavored) variety. (I know. Vegan and raw food companies just won't stop with the puns...) My first bite was questionable, but after that, I was sold. They really do taste like pizza. Kind of reminiscent of the pizza-flavored Goldfish crackers, though way more pungent. 

For dinner, friends and I took a trip to Mooi, a gourmet, organic, raw food restaurant in Echo Park. This was a special treat, as I'd been drooling over their photos for weeks. And let me say, an appetizer, an entree, and two desserts later, and I learned that it is possible to get that "full stomach" feeling on raw foods. I warn you, though, it's not something I'd recommend aiming for!  

But more importantly, let me tell you about Mooi. The decor is fabulously Alice-in-Wonderland-esque, complete with eclectic furniture and accents; our table had exaggeratedly-high-backed, pink chairs and the menus are glued inside Dr. Seuss books. Adorable. For starters, we had the jalepeno peppers with smoked paprika nut cheese and eggplant bacon. They were every bit as delicious as they sound, and I don't know how they got the eggplant to taste like bacon, but they managed. Quarrygirl has a much better photo of them on her blog.

the jalapenos
For their entrees, my friends both ordered the enchiladas in tomatillo sauce with walnut refried beans and vegetables, while I ordered the lemon caper tomato pasta with garlic bread. I vastly preferred my friends' meal to mine and will totally consider ordering what they got next time I go to Mooi. My pasta was kelp noodles, which I was determined to try and like tonight, but...alas. It's such a shame, because I was really hoping to like them! I should say, however, that the sauce, vegetables, and seasoning on my pasta were all delightful. I loved the delicately sliced and folded zucchini. In fact, I've decided that I much prefer eating moistened/soaked zucchini over cooked zucchini. Also, the "garlic bread" was good - it tasted like baked bread, somehow, yet denser. The butter on top strangely tasted a lot like butter, too.

Lemon caper tomato pasta w/garlic bread
Choosing which desserts to get was a serious matter. Finally, my friends settled on the chunky monkey ice cream and blueberry cheesecake. I got the blueberry cheesecake ice cream and snickers pie. ALL of these were delicious, but the ice creams were especially impressive. Chunky monkey has cacao, banana, and peanutbutter in a sort of vanilla-ish base. The peanutbutter was actually, I think, sunflower butter, but the taste of peanutbutter dominated this flavor (which I appreciated). The blueberry cheesecake ice cream was a dream. It tasted like...well, blueberry cheesecake, but without all the cholesterol, lactose, acid, et cetera. Not surprisingly, we devoured our ice cream before I even remembered to take my camera out. Mooi, you get a "10" when it comes to raw, vegan ice creams.

Mooi's snickers pie
As for the cakes, my friends' blueberry cheesecake was good, but it paled in comparison to Earth Cafe's. My snickers pie was really flavorful, but much too rich and sweet for me. I'm not one for rich, sweet, decadent desserts (I never liked chocolate fudge type cakes and I usually prefer hummus to cake anyway). Definitely overloaded on dessert today. Felt a bit sick after dinner but feeling mostly better now.

Mooi's blueberry cheesecake

That's about all I have to say for now. Stay tuned for tomorrow, when I finish out my 5-day raw food experiment! Thanks for reading!


  1. day 3: i think i remember the panelists at the raw food expo saying something about green food. has to do with the chlorophyll and sun's energy. i think they did recommend. just be careful of high oxalates like spinach, they chelate minerals. i stay away from them for the most part (a little spinach here and there) because my mom has osteoporosis. kale and collard greens are low oxalates. rhubarb chelates and i believe chard as well. trying to dig through that memory vault!

    all that food looks delicious!

  2. I had no idea spinach had those implications. As a female and someone whose mother also has (early) osteoporosis, this is really helpful information! Thank you!