Top 10 EASY PEEZY Ways to Eat More Raw Foods!

No matter whether you're an omnivore, vegan, raw foodist, or junk food junky, we can all agree that more raw foods are a good thing. Raw foods are rich in antioxidants, nutrients, vitamins, enzymes, and fiber. Plus, none of their life-giving benefits have been denatured so you'll really get a lot of vitality out of them to keep you running strong!

Personally, I land in the category of health-food minded vegan who loves raw foods, but isn't a strict raw foodist by any means. However, with every new product that comes out on the market these days (think coconut butter, raw agave nectar, raw cacao), I find it easier and more exciting all the time to incorporate more living foods into my diet! Plus, it doesn't have to be hard at all. Or boring!

Here are my top ten EASY (and, uh, yummy!) ways to eat more raw foods every day, in every way...

1. Start your day with a smoothie and a smile. For a raw food smoothie, use fresh juice and fresh or frozen fruits. You can also throw in some superfood additions like hemp, flax, or spirulena for an extra woo-hoo!
2. Make a delicious salad every day. Find or make a fresh dressing you love and add lots of yummy things to your salads (like avocado, shredded beets and carrots, sprouts, and grape tomatoes).
3. Sprout it up, people! Sprouting is an incredibly cheap, nutritious way to incorporate living foods into your diet. Plus, anytime you sprout a food, you exponentially increase its available nutrients.
4. Have a yummy meal in a glass. Raw foods shakes are delicious, filling, and uber-nourishing. Try adding frozen banana for sweetness - or if you prefer things a little sweeter a few soaked dates are great as they add sweetness in a whole-foods, nutrient-dense way. I also like to add vanilla and almond milk for a delicious, creamy vanilla shake.
5. Experiment with raw desserts! Oh yum, are they good! I've been doing a lot of this for my next book (which is a yummy weight loss program) and boy have I been enjoying the recipe testing part of it! "Rawberry Star Bars" are my daughter's new raison d'etre. But until my book comes out, suffice it to say that you can have some fun making up treats using fresh fruits, raw coconut butter, soaked cashews, agave nectar, etc. and you'll never miss a thing.
6. Wrap up some deliciousness in a romaine or chard leaf! Here's a recipe for Funky Chunky Guacamole Wraps from the raw foods chapter of my book, Radiant Health, Inner Wealth. YUM.
7. If you really want cooked foods, that's fine. However, if something is just as delicious raw, then why not eat it that way? For example, I've recently discovered how delish it is to prepare kale in the raw. Simply cutting it finely and "massaging" it with its sauce really tenderizes it. It's so yummy and fresh-tasting!
8. Snack on fresh vegetables throughout the day - carrots, cherry tomatoes, pea pods, and celery are all familiar, crunchy health foods that do our bodies a big favor with their fiber, vitamins, and minerals. If you're on the go, you can make up "veggie snack packs" to grab each morning before you head out of the house.
9. Experiment with one new raw foods recipe each week. There are lots of great recipes available for everything from sushi to pies to wraps. Gone are the days when raw foods were only about health. Nowadays, they're also about the yum!
10. Consider investing in a food dehydrator. I personally finally bought one last year and now I can't believe I waited so long! I had wanted one ever since the Ronco infomercial days of the 80s! But now I have me one fine little mama - the biggest baddest Excalibur. And boy do I love it! I can make all kinds of raw/living foods -  flax crackers, veggie-based tortillas, fruit leathers (for my daughter's lunches), zucchini chips, and so much more.

Thanks so much for stopping by and I'd love to hear what YOUR favorite way to eat raw foods is!!

Eating more raw foods is a great way to stay healthy and PREVENT illnesses. I'm loving the Kathleen Show's Prevention Not Prescriptions Tuesdays. Be sure to check out the other fabulous bloggers here!

10 Ways to Eat More Veggies (and Love it!):

People always say to me: "I should eat more vegetables, Tess!" I invariably smile at them and say "Shouldn't we all!" But it's so true...eating lots of fresh, organic vegetables makes a world of difference in our health. Good ol' veggies give our skin a glow, keep our digestive system on track, and keep our weight in the happy place. It's also striking to me how much of a difference the consumption of more fresh vegetables would make in the health of our society. Many of the diseases people suffer from are due to diet - a diet that usually includes far too few whole foods and vegetables. So, my advice? Make eating vegetables a joy! If you begin eating your vegetables daily, I promise you'll notice a big difference in how you look and feel. And I also promise that you'll love it!

So here are a few tips on getting more veggies into your daily diet. Ideally, 6 cups of fresh vegetables daily is my recommendation, although even half of that is great!

10 Ways to Eat More Veggies (and Love it!):

1. Make a list of your favorite vegetables. Start there, rather than with ones you "should" like.
2. Try tossing your favorite vegetables with a little olive oil (and garlic) and baking at 400F, until browned and well roasted. Almost any veggies are surprisingly delish this way, even broccoli!
3. Discover as many recipes as you can that use vegetables as the main ingredient. Again, go for ones that sound delicious to you. You'll be more likely to stick with a healthy lifestyle if you're actually enjoying it! There are several delicious vegetable recipes on this blog, in my book, and on VegWeb.
4. Make "snack bags" for when you're on the go. For example, if I know I'll be gone for several hours, I'll often pack some organic celery, pea pods, and carrot sticks (ready to go) so that I can keep up with my veggie intake while I'm away from home.
5. Soup out! Many soups make a great medium for vegetables. Tomato Soup, vegetable barley, and Green Chili-Garlic-Potato are just a few that are veggie-packed delights.
6. Discover your happy salad! Everyone has one. What kind(s) of dressing do you love? What toppings make you smile? As long as you're using mainly whole foods ingredients, you can build a delicious salad that will love you back. For example, one of my happy salads consists of: romaine lettuce, sliced onions, kalamata olives, grape tomatoes, diced cucumber, lemon-marinated tofu, and a garlic-olive oil-lemon vinaigrette. Oooh, my mouth just started watering...
7. Try mixing fruits with vegetables for added interest. For example, some sliced pear in your arugula salad adds a delicious, nutritious element.
8. If you need a place to begin, you can also juice your vegetables to help increase your daily intake. Juicers are available for under $50 and can help you stay vitalized with veggie power! Personally, I don't feel the need to juice daily, though - I juice when I feel my immune system needs a kick, or once in a while when my body asks for it (yes, it talks to me...just like yours talks to you!).
9. Make an Asian stirfry for dinner - with a simple sauce made from tamari, garlic, toasted sesame oil, and fresh ginger, your veggies will taste divine. Just make sure to keep their nutrition intact by only cooking them until they're crisp-tender.
10. Wrap them up! Whether in rice paper (for fresh spring rolls), phyllo (for baked pockets), or whole grain tortillas (for veggie wraps), the right combination of seasonings and sauces will make you want to eat veggies til the cows come home! (And they will come home, once they find out you're eating all those veggies.)

Eating lots of vegetables is a great way to prevent illnesses and keep your immune system at its peak! The Kathleen Show has a program called Preventions Not Prescriptions every Tuesday that I really recommend checking out. Lots of great bloggers with wonderful ideas on wellness and health are always involved.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and please let me know your favorite way to incorporate vegetables into your life!

Sesame Tofu with Fresh Basil and Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Ever wonder what to do with tofu? You're not alone. This is currently a crisis in our modern world, and I'm here to help. I will not rest until every food eating citizen learns to love at least one tofu dish. Why do I care so much? Because this poor innocent food has been wrongly accused of being tasteless for far too long.

And the reason it's often tasteless is poor preparation. No you can NOT just throw some plain tofu on top of some veggies and serve it on a plate. No, no, NO. Tofu must be prepared with flavor-rich counterparts to bring out its awesomeness. Think of tofu as a neutral, passive food, just waiting for someone to tell it what to do. However, once it has direction, it goes along willingly, ready for any task.

This recipe is from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth and is a favorite amongst both kids and adults. Enjoy!

Sesame Tofu with Fresh Basil and Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Here is a dish that is very easy to make, yet completely delicious and impressive! If you use both black and brown sesame seeds, it will look beautiful as well. You can serve this plain or alongside some rice or Asian noodles. This is also a hit with kids. The last time I served this to a group of children, I was asked: “How do you spell good dinner?”

1 lb. tofu, extra-firm (not silken)
½ cup “Thai Sweet Chili Sauce” (found in the Asian section of most supermarkets)

Flavor that Tofu:
1 teaspoon dried garlic granules
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons tamari, shoyu, or soy sauce
2 tablespoons liquid vegetarian broth

Crispy Coating:
¾ cup sesame seeds (preferably a mixture of black and brown sesame seeds)
1 tablespoon dry cornmeal
2 tablespoons rice flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)

Pan-Frying: 3-4 tablespoons oil (sunflower, non-virgin olive, or coconut)

Garnish: 4 teaspoons fresh basil, minced or cut into thin ribbons

1. Cut the tofu into eight slabs. Press the tofu between paper towels to remove excess moisture for at least 30 minutes.
2. Flavor that tofu! Remove the tofu from the paper towels and cut it into triangles that are about two inches in size. Place the pieces in a single layer on a plate. Combine the garlic, ginger, and tamari. Pour this mixture over the tofu, turning the pieces to coat all sides with the marinade. When most of the liquid has been absorbed, pour the broth over the tofu to moisten it. This will help bind the coating to the tofu.
3. Place the seeds, cornmeal, and flour in a large plastic bag and shake well to combine.
4. In a large skillet or wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
5. Place several of the tofu triangles in the bag and gently shake to thoroughly coat the tofu with the breading. When the oil in the pan becomes hot, add the tofu in a single layer.
6. When the tofu pieces are golden brown and crisp on the bottom, turn them over. When both sides are golden and crisped, remove and allow them to drain on paper towels.
7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until all of the tofu has been used up.
8. Distribute the tofu onto four plates. Shake or stir the chili sauce and drizzle it evenly over the tofu. Top each portion with one teaspoon of the fresh basil and serve immediately. One final note: Once you begin eating this dish, you may inadvertently begin cursing loudly to yourself due to the excessive yumminess present on your plate. Don’t be alarmed—this is a standard reaction and will subside when you’re done.

Serves 4; GF/Purple (according to the guidelines in Radiant Health, Inner Wealth)