Fruit and Nut Grawnola for SALE!

Hi All,

I’m really excited to be writing this post! Last month I sold a small batch of my raw grawnola on Instagram and the response was pretty good (thank you all of you who bought!).

Was really motivated by the feedback so I’m thinking of selling this once- twice a month. This month I made a bigger batch and will be selling around 20 packets on a first come first served basis..not a crazy amount but that’s the max my dehydrator can make. Check out the details below@grawnola

Fruit and Nut Grawnola
Made with yummy fruits, activated nuts and seeds…and of course, lots of homemade love! 100% Raw and Vegan of course=)
My favourite way to have it is with non-dairy milk or yogurt and topped with fruits! Or even as an afternoon snack=)
Price : $11.80/pk for 200g

Place an Order!
If you’re keen to buy a pack or two, drop me an email at eatgreencake.sg@gmail.com with the following details:
Name:
Contact Number:
Number of packet(s):
Collection Date: 24/25/26 June (Wed to Fri) evenings @ 730pm City Hall MRT
Or if you’re around HarbourFront during those 3 days, then anytime during 12-2pm is fine too!

Love,
Sheryl

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Green Smoothies 101

I ❤ Green Smoothies and today’s post is dedicated to this favourite drink of mine!  A green smoothie is basically a smoothie blend of both fruits and green vegetables. It’s healthy, delicious and makes a great meal substitute! Just like how there are caffeine addicts out there, I’ve coined myself a Green smoothie addict because if I don’t have my fix for 2 straight days.. I feel really weird!

I’ve been bring my green smoothies to work daily and my new colleagues have been fascinated with the large green jar on my table. Just the other day, I was having a discussion with an interested co-worker about green smoothies and thought it would be a great idea to share what I know here too.

So before I start converting you, let’s start with the most basic question:

greensmoothie

Why do I love Green Smoothies so much?
It tastes GREAT!!
It’s high in nutrition value, has loads vitamins and full of live enzymes
It gives me a burst of energy to kick start my day.
It gives me my daily required intake of fruits and veggies EASILY
Aids digestion
Gives me clearer skin
Its fuss free
And probably the most palatable way to consume large amounts of vegetables.

If you’re sold, lets start!

I’ve racked my brains to remember all the questions I’ve ever got asked about Green Smoothies and I hope this FAQ I’ve come up with is comprehensive enough. If not, feel free to leave a question in the comments section and I’ll try my best to answer you!

1)Is Juicing the same as Blending?
Nope, they are different.

Juicing involved extracting the juice and water of the fruit/vegetable while discarding the fibrous pulp. Juices are easily digestible since your body doesn’t need to work process the fibre and are extremely high in nutrients. Try to opt for green juices or juices that mix fruits and vegetables because fruit juices are quite high in sugar and can spike your blood sugar level.
Unlike juicing, blending contains the whole fruit and vegetable including the fibre. The blending process breaks down the fibre making the drink more digestible and gives an even release of nutrients into the blood stream. Because of the fibre, blended drinks tend to make you full longer. They are also much faster to make!

2)What type of fruits can I use for blending?
You can use almost all types of fruits for blending! When necessary, remove the skin, seeds and core of fruits before blending them.

3)What type of liquid can I use for my smoothies?
You can use water, non-dairy milk (like almond, cashew, soy, hemp milk), coconut water and fresh fruit juice.

4)What type of vegetables can I use to blend?
I recommend using leafy vegetables that have very neutral tastes such as baby spinach, romaine and kale. Vegetables that have very strong flavours such as arugula and cabbage

5)What equipment do I need?
You’ll need a blender, a juicer (not necessary but a plus if you have), a chopping board and a sharp knife.

6)What type of blender do you use?
I use a Vitamix and I highly recommend it! Or you can use any high-powered blender as it can break down the fruits and fibre easily.

7)How much smoothie do you drink in a day?
I drink one large green smoothie in the morning …from 1L – 1.5L (or 50oz).

8)How are you able to drink so much liquid?!
Initially I couldn’t drink so much at one go and it took a bit of time to get used to drinking so such a large amount. Start with one large cup and increase and decrease the amount you drink each day as your body gets used to it.

9)Is having a green smoothie as a meal filling?
It totally is! A typical smoothie keeps me full for around 3hours. Even longer when I use heavier ingredients like bananas and dates. Plus it gives me a huge boost of energy to kick off the day.

10)Can you taste the vegetables?
Probably the most common question I get asked all the time. And no, I hardly taste the vegetables because the sweetness and flavours of the other ingredients balance it out! It is honestly the most palatable way to consume your vegetables! But do take note that the type of vegetables you use will affect how your smoothie tastes (see Q4 above).

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11) How much fruits and veggies do you buy a week and is it costly?
Here’s what goes into a week’s worth of green smoothies:

–       2 boxes of organic baby spinach,
–       1.5 pineapples
–       2 bunches of bananas
–       1 box strawberries
–       1 box of 4 kiwis
–       2 peaches
–       8 oranges
–       2 avocadoes

Total cost: $35.10 or around $5 per day for a 1.5 large green smoothie. That’s really affordable  as compared to the 400ml-500ml smoothies you buy in town that costs around $6.80. Plus I’m pretty sure those don’t contain as many fresh ingredients. So as much as possible, blend at home if you can. It’s easy and helps you save money!

12) How do I start building a smoothie
I always start off with a base and then add complimentary fruits and vegetables. Use fruits that give volume and are sweet- like banana and manago. Add 2 – 3 fruits that go well with your base fruit and end off with some vegetables.

green smoothie

13) How do you find time to blend your smoothies in the morning?
Another question I get asked all the time! People assume I’m really hardworking and get up really early to prepare my smoothie, but the truth is, it only takes me 10 min or less to prepare my smoothies every morning! The trick is to plan plan and plan.

I like to buy a whole ton of different fruits (not vegetables) and pre-pack them in advance. I portion them into servings for each day and pack them in zip lock bags. I then store them in the freezer. So each morning, I simply take out one packet of pre-pack smoothie and pop it in the blender together with my desired amount of vegetables and water and let the magic begin.
*if you’re not using a high-speed blender, it may be hard to blend frozen fruit. So I would suggest setting it out to thaw before you blend it.

14) What do you store your green smoothies in?
I try to drink my smoothies immediately after I blend (that’s the best!). But when I bring them to work or have them on the go, I store them in mason jars. For where to find Mason jars in Singapore, click here.

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15) Why aren’t my green smoothies green?
Surprise surprise, most green smoothies are, (ironically), not green! It all depends on the combination of fruits and vegetables you use in your smoothies. For eg, if you use blueberries in your smoothies, depending on the amount, it could turn the smoothie a beautiful rich purple or a very murky brown.
However don’t worry about the colour, non-green looking smoothies taste just as good! One trick to guarantee that your smoothies turn out green is to combine white to yellow tone fruits with the vegetables (eg, pineapples, mangoes, peaches etc).

16) What else can I add in my smoothies to increase the nutritional content?
Besides fruits and vegetables, you can increase the nutritional content of your smoothie by adding ingredients such as

  • Super food powders (eg, spirulina powder, maca powder)
  • Vegan protein powders
  • Cacao powder
  • Oils (eg, coconut oil)
  • Seeds (eg, hemp seeds, flax seeds )
  • Spices (eg, cinnamon powder)
  • Liquid sweeteners (eg, agave nectar)
  • Others like goji berries, nut butters, dates etc

Mango+Kiwi+Orange

Recipes please?
Based on the fruits and vegetables I’ve listed in Q11, here are a basic recipes you can try:
The following recipes make 1 – 1.5 L of green smoothies, reduce the amount of fruit and water if you don’t want such a large amount.
Add 1 – 2 cups of spinach and 1- 2 cups of water depending on your desired consistency.

a)       2 wedges x Pineapple, 1  x ripe Kiwi, 5 – 6 Strawberries , 1 x ripe Banana
b)       1 wedge x Pineapple, 1 x ripe Kiwi, 1 x Orange, 1 x ripe Banana
c)       1 wedge x Pineapple, 2 x ripe Kiw, 1.5 x ripe Banana
d)       2  wedges  x Pineapple, 2 x ripe Peach, 1 cup orange juice
e)       2 wedges x Pineapple, 2 x Orange, 1 x ripe Banana
f)        2 x ripe Banana, 10 Strawberries, 1 cup Orange juice ,
g)      2 x ripe Banana, 6 – 8  Strawberries , 1 x Orange, 1 x ripe Peach
h)      2 x ripe Banana,  1 x ripe avocado ,  1 cup orange juice  (with some orange rind)

Tip –
* Always make sure your fruits are cold/frozen. Warm smoothies are really gross
* Add ice cubes to get the beautiful frosty texture
* Start with a small amount of liquid and add more till you find the consistency you desire.
* Similarly, if you’re ensure of the taste, start off with 1 cup of vegetables first, and add more if you find it palatable enough.

Once you’ve mastered the basic smoothie, get creative and use different types of liquid, fruits and vegetables! My last piece of advice to you would be to HAVE FUN and don’t be afraid to try!

Dehydrating 101

HI all,

dried-fruits

Dehydrating 101
If you’ve just been introduced to raw foods, you would have come across the method of Dehydrating food quite a bit. For this post, I’m going to share a very simple FAQ from  questions about Dehydrating foods:

1. What is Dehydrator?
A dehydrator is a device that removes the water content from your food and aids as a form of food preservation. It is a common equipment in the raw food movement as moisture is removed from food at a very low heat (47 degrees and below), keeping the active enzymes and nutrients intact. I like to call it an “oven that blows cool air”! Dehydrated food normally tastes more intense because when moisture is removed, it alleviates the taste of the ingredients’ natural flavour and taste.

2. Is it necessary to buy a dehydrator on a Raw Foods Diet

Raw buckwheat bread
It isn’t necessary but it definitely makes going raw more fun and interesting! Think raw pizzas, cookies, breads etc!  Espeially if you’re on a strictly raw lifestyle – after meals of salads and fruits, its common to crave warm, salty, chewy comfort food. The picture above is a sandwich I made from raw dehydrated bread and mushrooms!

3. What dehydrator do you use?
I own 2 dehydrators – An Ezi Dri snack maker and a Sedona Dehydrator.

my dehydrators

I bought the Ezi Dri snack maker around a year back. Back then I didn’t want to invest so much in a dehydrator and I thought the price for the Ezi Dri was very reasonable ( can’t really rem, I think it was around $200 plus). I think the Ezi Dri is great if you just wanna dehydrate snacks (like fruits, nuts, veggies, juice pulp etc) so its suitable for anyone really (whether raw or not). What I didn’t really like was that I couldn’t adjust the temperature because it was already preset at Low, Medium, High. Also, the hole in the middle deterred me from making items like pizzas and others that required more height (like bread loafs).

So, 2 months back for my birthday i decided to invest in something more professional. The most widely recognised dehydrator is the Excalibur but i choose to buy the up and  coming Sedona Dehydrator. I’ve used both dehydrators before while working in the kitchen and all I can say is both work well with dehydrating food. But I chose to buy the Sedona it has other functions that give it an edge over the Excalibur:

sedona-dehydrator

1) It looks aesthetically better  – sleek and black like a posh little oven
2) It has energy saving functions You can choose to dehydrate all trays or simply the top/bottom half. Probably my fav function because it allows you to dehydrate in small batches!
3) It is less noisy – Really much less noisy than the Excalibur and you can even set the night mode so that it because even quieter.
4) BPA free trays and mesh screens – important because you are using raw foods!
5) Clear glass door –  to see results without opening!
6) The digital display – which allows you to set timers and set accurate temperature settings.

*I’m not sponsored by Sedona…I’m just a big fan and I highly recommend it!

4. Where can I buy a dehydrator in Singapore?
You can purchase a dehydrator at a few places in Singapore – TOTT store, The Living Cafe, Tangs Orchard or Lemon Zest. Or you can purchase it online at Amazon, Ebay or NaturaWorks (Free SG delivery for more than $80).

5. Is it necessary to get an expensive dehydrator?

Like i mentioned in point 4, it really depends on the lifestyle you are leading. If you are fully raw, then I highly suggest getting a good dehydrator. However, if you are still experimenting with raw foods or simply want to make healthy snacks…then I think a normal dehydrator will suffice. Oh some modern ovens also allow you to adjust the temperature at vey low heat too! The last thing you would want is to buy something expensive and not use it.

6. Is consuming dehydrated food healthy?

There has been quite the debate about this question and you can probably google it online. But my two cents worth – compared to the rest of the food preservation methods out there like canning, baking, frozen food…dehydrated food is probably the least harmful and most healthy way to preserve raw fresh foods because the foods aren’t subjected to extreme temperatures and artificial preservatives. Plus dehydrating them at a low temperature minimizes nutrient loss.  Please please please drink lots of water when you are consuming dehydrated food because there is low or no moisture!

7. How long do I need to dehydrate foods for?\
It depends on the item you are dehydrating, its size, water content and the temperature. But typically, around 12 hours.

Hope the above questions were useful! Do leave a comment if you anything else you want to know and I’ll try my best to answer them! Here are some videos I found about dehydrating foods that might be useful to you too:

Going 801010 – Day 1 to 10 and FAQS

Hi All,

Sorry for the lack of posts! Been extremely busy last week – running errands, interviews, catching up with friends and preparing something exciting for Eat Green Cake *hint hint*! And erm I’ve also be binge watching the entire season 5 of Breaking Bad….How awesome is the finale?? ALL HAIL WALTER WHITE!

Anyway wanted to write about how the first 10 days of going 80/10/10 has been. I have to be honest here; I was pretty diligent for the first 5 days….but not so much the next 5 days because of the long weekend and social obligations.

 

FULLY RAW

(picture from Fully Raw Krisztina)

The first few days were actually quite a breeze for me because I LOVE fruit. I ate as much fruit as and when I wanted. I also made light salads when I started craving food that wasn’t so sweet. On the 5th day, I started getting a very bad migraine. Wasn’t sure if it was because I wasn’t sleeping well or because the detox effects were kicking in. Either way, it went away on day 6 because I started to eat non-raw food. I think I’ll have to go on the 801010 on a longer period before I can give you a more accurate account of my experience.

Even though I’ve went off track the past couple of days, I’ve started gearing up again on Wednesday! That’s also something I’d like to address when it comes to fasts and detoxes. If you fail and fall off the bandwagon, the most important thing is not to give up, be discouraged. I know of friends (and myself too) who have gone on fasts and detoxes only to break their streak by giving in to their cravings midway….and then deciding “what the heck, since I’ve already broken the fast, might as well just eat what I like”. Hey, its not the end of the world if you have a cheat meal. No biggie, just pick yourself up and continue where you left off!

I’ve compiled a few common questions about going on a Low Fat Raw Vegan lifestyle:

FAQs

What do you eat on a daily basis

I start of the day with a LARGE jar of green smoothie, normally made with a bananas, a sweet/citrus fruit and organic vegetables. Try an easy combination of  2 ripe frozen bananas + flesh of 1 mango + 1 cup of organic baby spinach + 1 cup cold water.  Lunch is normally a salad with only lemon juice as a dressing. Dinner will be a fruit platter of my favourite fruits. In between meals, I also munch on, you guessed it, more fruits!

So … I can eat as much as I want?

The 801010 diet claims that you can eat unlimited amounts of fruits each day and still lose weight  and hit your nutritional intake *gasp*!  Sounds too good to be true? Well I’ve tried, tested it out, and did abit more research…..and yes its too good to be true. The 801010 diet is ideal for endurance athletes because of the high amounts of carbs consumed. But even if you’re not an Olympic runner, you can still follow this diet as long as you keep active. So you can eat alot of fruit but you need to make sure you set aside time for exercise. For my first 5 days of the 801010 diet I actually put on weight *sob* because I didn’t have time to exercise

Are there any side effects?

Some side effects from going such a detox include

–       Migraines, Flu like symptoms, pimples, lethargy, body ache etc

It’s pretty common because its your body’s way detoxifying itself by getting rid of all the piled up toxins inside you. Do read this article that will do a much better job at explaining. Note that side effects vary from person to person.

 What is a mono- meal and must I eat this way?

Eating a mono meal meals eating ONE fruit per meal …and normally its a large portion of that one fruit. The reason behind eating a mono meal is simple – different fruits take different amount of time to digest. And eating the same fruit actually makes it simpler and less complicated for your body to digest the food since it doesn’t need to sort them out. A 80/10/10 lifestyle highly encourages you consume mono meals to aid digestion.

* This is something I struggle with because I love variety! Am not sure how people are able to eat 6 – 8 bananas in one go…because I sure as hell can’t. But I’m trying to pace my eating by consuming smaller amounts of one fruit each time, giving it some time to digest , then eating a different fruit.  Or simply blend 3 – 4 bananas in a go for a yummy smooothie!

How do I get enough calories from just mainly fruits?

– You will definitely need to consume more to hit your calorie intake. I recommend that you start off the day with a HUGE smoothie – my typical smoothie contains at least 600 – 700 calories. Its easily digestible, gives you the energy to start off your day and helps if you’re not used to eating large amounts of fruit. Sometimes I have a smoothie for diner too! I also downloaded the Cron-0-meter app on android to track the amount of calories I’m getting so as not to under-eat. This app is pretty awesome! It not only tracks your calorie intake but also tracks if you are getting enough of your daily nutrients. See the screen shot I took. Another tip, try to exercise in the morning so it kick starts your appetite and metabolism for the day. I also eat more during the day when I do yoga in the morning.

Even though the diet suggests that you eat as much fruit as you want, I also think you should not take that as a green light to stuff your face with fruit every living second. The most important thing is to find a balance between listening to your body, making sure you get enough calories and doing some exercise.

Should I take supplements?

In Dr Graham’s book, he deosn’t recommend taking additional supplements because fruits and exercise should adequately provide the important nutrients that we need. But I do beg to differ. After looking at my Cron-o-meter chart for the first 5 days, its kinda obvious that I don’t consume any Vitamin B12 or D. So I still take my regular Vit B and Multi Vit supplements.

CRONNOMETER

Is eating 801010 expensive?

For me, its actually pretty much the same as my High Fat Raw Food lifestyle. I spend ALOT on raw nuts, sweeteners, superfoods etc…now I just transfer to cost to fruits! I don’t buy very expensive fruits either. My staples are bananas, papayas, apples, dragon fruit and oranges. I try to buy fruits that are on sale too – like berries or those really ripe ones because it tastes great in smoothies!

One way to help you lessen the cost is to plan your meals. I find that when I don’t plan my meals, especially when I’m outside, I have to buy the most available option and that’s usually costly. (Seriously the cost of fruits in town are crazy!)

Is eating 801010 too restrictive?

I wont’ deny, it is. I’ve heard everything from “wow you’re so extreme”/ “ How do you enjoy life?”to “Why make life so difficult?”…. haha. I really think this is a personal choice –  finding the right lifestyle that suits you and having fun with it.  I’ve also learnt to be flexible and choose the next best option when the time calls for it.

Can I eat dried or dehydrated fruits?

In Dr Graham’s book, he discourages eating too much dried and dehydrated food because these are no longer whole foods. I still take a handful here and there…am not super strict on this myself.

Will share more in the coming days!

Going 80/10/10

Hello All,

Today I wanna share with you how I’m going to go Back To Basics with the 80/10/10 Raw Vegan diet over the next few weeks. But first …

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WHAT IS THE 801010 DIET?

The 801010 diet was coined by Dr Douglas Graham, a long time raw foodist and athlete. This diet is essentially a low fat version of the Raw Foods Diet  and promotes that you should get 80% of your daily intake from fruit/veg carbohydrates, 10% from protein(non-animal sources) and 10% comes from whole fat sources, such as avocado and raw nuts. Dr Graham who has been a raw foodist for almost 30 years claims that this ratio optimises one’s energy, ability to maintain weight and boost athletic performance. A typical meal a day consists of consuming large amounts of fruits, some leafy vegetables and a small amount of nuts and seeds. As compared the the typical Raw Foods Diet which is more highly laden with fat because of the large consumption of nuts, seeds, oils and sweeteners.

WHY IM DOING THIS

When I  started my raw foods lifestyle a few years ago, my meals were very basic. I didn’t own any fancy equipment like a blender, a food processor or a dehydrator. All I had was a chopping board and a peeler. My knowledge of raw foods was very limited –  My meals consisted mostly of fruits, large raw salads , nut milks and small portions of raw nuts and seeds. I felt great, full of energy, positivity, had a stabilised weight and most of all healthy – alll the benefits of going RAW! Looking back, I unknowingly started off my raw foods journey as a Low Fat Raw Vegan eater.

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that this year, I quit my corporate job to work at a raw food restaurant in Singapore. It was such an eye opener for me! I got introduced to a wider spectrum of the raw cuisine and the  many possibilities . I started consuming alot more complex raw meals (like raw pizzas, burgers, sauces, cakes) which used a range of ingredients and different techniques (from soaking, sprouting, marination, dehydration etc). You have to give it up to raw foodists/vegans – they manage to recreate all their familiar favourites in a way that is in line with their ethics while feeling no sense of deprivation. Oh and i loved and embraced this new way of eating raw! The creativity, the flavours, the endless possibilities… i was hooked!

I have a huge weakness for desserts. While I was at the Living Cafe, on top of the raw meals, I ATE SO MUCH RAW DESSERTS. Seriously, I’m not kidding you. It was like Buffet Town everyday and “eating in moderation” was not a slogan i identified with.

The result? I put on around 3Kg in 7 months…and even more after I came back from London last month. Though I’ve finished my stint at the Living Cafe, my love for high fat, complex raw foods stayed. I always have raw chocolate and some sort of raw dessert in my fridge, and basically use nuts and sweeteners in almost all my dishes (from appetizers to mains to snacks). Even when I’m not making raw foods, I make vegan dishes that similarly use lots of nuts and oils too. I slowly started feeling more bloated/sluggish and because my digestive tract is very sensitive, I also got constipated more easily. But I didn’t listen to my body and continued eating the way I did.

Last month, after undergoing a 5 day juice cleanse, I felt GREAT! After the fast ended I went back to my normal way of eating raw foods and then the bloatedness/weight came back. I was actually quite demoralized. Like…what was I doing wrong? I’m wasn’t eating anything unhealthy! Then while scrolling through Instagram around 1 week plus ago, one my favourite instagrammers (@Serenesayyian) mentioned that she was going on a 801010 cleanse.  I read up abit more bout this 801010 diet …and the more I read up and researched, the more I realised what went wrong – I was eating a High Fat Raw Vegan diet.  And I decided it was time for a change. Time to go back to basics.

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THE RAW DEAL

While happily indulging on guilt-free raw meals, its easy to forget that though these meals may not contain unhealthy stuff like dairy products or animal fat, they are not devoid of fats and calories. Especially so for raw desserts as they seem to be missing the large quantities of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals that come from fresh fruits and vegetables.

Take a typical raw cake for example – its made up of 60-70% nuts, uses natural sweeteners (like agave, xyltiol), coconut oil,  fruits high in fat like coconut and avocados and cacao/cacao butters. Likewise, a raw pizza uses a nutty/grainy base, marinated raw vegetables (ie, marinated in oils & seasoning) and mostly nut/oil based dressings.

nuts

BUT…NOT ALL FATS ARE BAD RIGHT?

This was the first question that came to my mind when I read about a High Fat Raw Vegan Diet. Surely the fat that comes from nuts, seeds and plants are healthier than saturated or trans fats right? And aren’t there many studies that support the fact that unsaturated fat (fat from plants) have benefits such as improving your HDL and reducing the risks of heart diseases? I’m no doctor or nutritionist but my thoughts are that whilst these fats are essential and not harmful…they should also be taken in moderation and within the required daily intake. Its VERY easy to consume more fat than you normally need (will touch more about this in the later weeks)

Do you know ? An average …

Vegetarian diet contains 42% fats

Vegan diet contains 42% fats (think non-dairy milks, vegan margarine, vegan packaged food, soy cheese, coconut products etc)

Raw Vegan diet contains 60%+ fats! (easily more if you’re living in a country with easy access to pre-packaged raw snacks, butters, desserts and entree in health food stores)**

**Data take from Dr Graham’s book : The 80/10/10 Diet

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that : I believe in a Raw Vegan diet and have personally benefited from it. But as I’ve come to realise this past year, there is also such a thing as an Unhealthy Raw Vegan diet too. You definitely don’t have to stop eating raw cakes and entrees of course ( God knows I can’t do that!! ) but its best to find a balance so that you don’t over consume your intake of fats and calories.

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I’ll be going back to simple, basic raw meals that’ll follow closely to the 801010 diet for the next 3 weeks (7 – 31 Oct). I’ll share my experiences, results, meal intakes, FAQs, tips, health issues etc during this period too. I’ve downloaded the Cron-o-meter app to track the number of calories and nutrients I’ll be getting to make sure I’m not under eating or risk being malnutrition. Drop me a comment if you have any tips/advice or thoughts! =)

Homemade Cashew Milk

I love making my own nut milk because its fresh, more affordable and just tastes different from the store bought ones. If its your first time making nut milk, Cashew milk is probably the easiest and most fuss-free milk you can start off with.

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Before I start, you should know that the “raw cashews” you purchase in the stores aren’t really completely raw. The raw cashew nut is protected with a shell which contains the urushiol, which is the same chemical that you’d find in poison ivy and can be toxic when ingested. When cashew nuts are sold as a “raw” product, the cashew has actually been steamed to release the urushiol prior to packaging.

Even though I make Almond milk more regularly, I still love my Cashew milk from time to time.

3 reasons why I love Cashew milk
– EXTREMELY EASY to make! No need for a nut milk bag or cheese cloth.
– Thick and creamy
– Great for smoothies!

HOMEMADE CASHEW MILK
Raw, Vegan, Gluten free

What you’ll need
1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked for around 4 hours )
2 1/2 cups water
2 large medjool dates (pits removed)
Pinch of salt
2 drops pure vanilla essence

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Here’s how
1) Blend all the ingredients in a high speed blender till smooth (you should not feel any nut bits). This will probably take 1  – 2 min. If you don’t have a high speed blender, you may need to blend it longer….or get some nut bits in your milk.
2) Pour and store in glass jar for 3 – 5 days.

Easy right?

Here are 2 simple smoothie recipes you can try with your freshly made cashew nut milk

CHOCOLATE “MILKSHAKE”

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What you’ll need
1 cup cashew milk (cold)
1 heaping tbs of cacao powder
1 1/2 frozen bananas (preferably ripe!)
2 drops vanilla essence
4 cubes of ice
Cacao nibs for topping (optional)

Here’s how
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender and top with cacao nibs!

GREEN CREAMY SMOOTHIE

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What you’ll need
1/2 cup cashew milk
1/2 cup water
3 frozen bananas (preferably ripe!)
1 large bunch spinach
3 – 4 cubes of ice

Here’s how
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender and top with your favourite toppings. In the pic above, I topped it with pomegranate seeds, cacao nibs, blueberries, hemp seeds and goji berries.

My new journey

Hello,

Wanted to take a break from all the recipe posts and add a more personal one today=) Wordy entry ahead!

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It has been slightly more than a month since I started my job at The Living Cafe – a restaurant in Singapore than specialises in raw cuisine. And I wanted to share how that experience has been so far!

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THE HOW AND WHY
Before joining The Living Cafe, I was working in a corporate job which i LOVED – awesome boss, great colleagues, good work environment and my work place even had a kitchen area where I could blend my smoothies every morning haha. But ever since I started getting serious about raw foods, I would spend all my free time reading up/trying recipes/conceptualizing recipes/spreading the word to my friends & family etc.. and I just knew that this was something I wanted to pursue and where my passion lay. It wasn’t easy to leave because I was happy in my job and had a comfortable lifestyle…but when I hit my 26 birthday, I had a sudden epiphany ( or maybe it was my quarter life crisis lol) If not now, then when?! There will always be what-ifs, and buts and the fear of failure…there will never be “the perfect time”…you just have to take that leap of faith and pursue your dream.

So early this year, I traded high heels and dresses for kitchen boots and aprons…and off to the kitchen I went!

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THE LEAP OF FAITH
It has been a really fantastic journey so far. Im learning so much, getting exposed to so many new ingredients (today i just tried kefir for the first time!) and ways of using them. Working alongside real chefs who give tips like TASTE TASTE TASTE. And words like “dehydration”, “nut milk and “juice fast” are thrown around casually without people raising their eyebrows in curiosity. I’ve been doing the juices, smoothies and breakfast items and helping here and there with the raw pastries so far. Later on I’ll be moving on to the salad bar and raw desserts! YAY! So excited!

I’ve worked in F&B before doing part time waitressing back in school, but this time, i was on the other side of the restaurant and its a whole other world there! When the restaurant is busy…it becomes HELLS KITCHEN! Haha okay I’m probably exaggerating and my chef is definitely no devil like Gordan Ramsey. But I can finally understand why the chefs in Hell’s Kitchen sometimes forget to add this or that ingredient or mess up an order because that really happens when you have orders piling up and customers waiting. Whole different ball game of stress as compared to the corporate world – but i sure as hell won’t miss following up on emails and attending long meetings haha.

It was physically tiring initially because you’re standing all day and you have to get down and dirty. Literally. I mop the floors, scrub my station, clean the sinks, carry out trash etc all in a days work. But once you get the hang of it, its all pretty okay=)

THE CHALLENGES
There have been quite a few challenges-
From simple ones like learning how to cut fruits properly with minimal wastage and learning to hold the knife correctly…
to the more complicated ones like adjusting to this new lifestyle change and fencing off disapproving comments/looks from naysayers who can’t seem to understand what possessed me to “waste” my degree (in dramatic cases, my life) and work in the kitchen. Okay, to be fair, some are genuinely worried about how I’ll get by (like financially) and what my plans for the future are. You know, the typical Singaporean questions!

THE LESSONS LEARNT
I guess the most important lesson I’ve learnt is to stay humble and have a positive attitude. I came to the kitchen armed with some raw food knowledge..but I had to start learning the basics all over! Even things like making nut milk which I’ve been doing at home for quite some time. Sometimes I get a little impatient wanting to do more; but I keep reminding myself that everyone starts off as a beginner and there is no shortcut to success.

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THE FUTURE
My dream is to one day set up something of my own and share this amazing cuisine with as many people as possible. Shake off the misconception that raw and vegan foods = salads and sad looking skinny people! Right now, I’m just going in faith and allowing God to show me the way. So wish me luck!

Just wanted to end off with this beautiful quote and some pictures of my time at the cafe!

The guilt of following your heart is a weight you can bear if your dream is strong enough . Its the price of admission to fulfillment -Danielle LaPorte .

Cacao butter…..in all its 24 KG glory!
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My best friend at work – the green juice!

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Trying new raw food ingredients like Pili nuts for the first time

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Biggest spinach leaf ever!

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And….the highlight so far has definitely been the World Flavours Tapas Event we held at the restaurant. We invited world renowned raw food chef Elaina Love from Pure Joy Academy to “cook” alongside us!  Such an privilege=)

Elaina Love and I !

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preparing for the tapas night!  2013-04-30 20.16.27

Trio of lentils with coconut mint and tamarind almond relish 2013-04-30 19.27.58

Raw lemon and raspberry parfait IMG_20130430_213327

Curried flavour raw kale chips IMG_20130430_202858

Raw Enchilada Tamale Spirals with a pine cream sauce  IMG_20130430_201711Raw pot stickers with hosin sauce – basically dumplings! LOVED THESE!! The skin is made of avocado, how ingenious is that?  IMG_20130430_192432Raw phad thai salad with zucchini and bean sprout noodles IMG_20130430_192022DRUMROLL PLEASE – RAW TIRAMISU. OH. MY. GOD. This is heavenly!!! The top layer tastes like mashmallows…..but its actually coconut whipped cream!  IMG_20130430_185253

Took this photo off The Living Cafe’s facebook page to show our small but happy kitchen team!  393020_646987851984429_1411155817_n

Do say hi if you dropby =)

What’s your lifestyle diet?

Came across this interesiting chart Frites & Fries

I think they’ve missed out a column for some ingredients like nuts and honey; and also a few other categories like the rawvegan/ paleo/ blood type diets! But it still serves as a pretty good overview to the different types of labels there are out there. Plus, I’m a sucker for charts haha

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My Raw Foods Journey

Wow this year has really flown by…Can’t quite believe its already April!Warning : Wordy entry ahead

I’m really thankful that I’ve had the time and opportunity to do some travelling over the past one month. I’ve seen some beautiful places and created some amazing memories =) So Wanderlust curbed …for now haha.

The only downside about travelling is how reality strikes you hard when you’re back. For me, the junk eating and gluttoning it out has really taken a toll on my health and waistline =(

So I’m dedicating April to be my “GET BACK ON TRACK” month. This month, I’ll be starting on another raw food detox and cleansing my body from all the post-holiday junk.

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I stumbled across the concept of a raw food detox by accident almost 2 years ago. It was one year into my first corporate job when I realised that I was leading a really unhealthy lifestyle. I was eating and snacking on a lot of unhealthy food and nights out involved heavy drinking and suppers in the wee hours of the morning. Exercising was out of the question because I was just too lazy after work. I wasn’t exactly fat but I could feel myself getting flabby and feeling tired all the time. I’ve also had very bad digestion problems and chronic constipation since I was a kid; and this sedentary lifestyle and junk eating was making it worse.

So one fine day, after almost 2 weeks constipating (okay gross i know..) I was surfing the net for natural remedies or some form of detox solution. Didn’t exactly know what i was looking for but I knew I wanted to stop taking laxatives because I was already immune to some of them. By sheer luck, Steve Pavlina’s blog appeared on my google search and I was intrigued by his 30 day raw vegan challenge. It seemed so….clean! Yes, that was the first word that came to my mind haha. I then spent the entire weekend googling about this detox/lifestyle. Initially, I didn’t think much about this detox because it seemed IMPOSSIBLE to follow. What? Give up cooked food? But i love my economic mixed vegetable rice and weekly ice cream treats! But the more research I did and more i read about the benefits, the more I was convinced to try. I have to admit here that vanity was a huge motivator. I read that some benefits of this detox included clearer skin, smaller pores and healthier hair…so of course i had to give it a shot right? I mean, WHO DOESN”T WANT SMALLER PORES???

I knew very little about raw foods when I first started. My meals consisted of alot of plain salads and fruits and I didn’t own any kitchen equipment except for a chopping board and a knife. My friends and family thought I was crazy…even I thought so too myself. I didn’t manage to complete a full 30 day detox on my first try..it was more like 2 weeks. But even then, i felt much healthier and was SOLD on this detox.I went to the toilet more regularly, and I SWEAR, my pores were smaller. Heheheh

Fast forward 2 years, and much more research and experimenting later, this raw food “detox” has become more of a lifestyle for me. Every 2- 3 months or so, I’ll do a strict 1 month raw detox…and then for the subsequent 2 months, I follow a 60% or so raw diet.

I’m greeted with either blank stares or bombarded by a long list of questions when i tell people about my lifestyle. So let me share with you the more common ones:

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FOOD
> So…what do you eat? Carrots and more carrots?
This is the number 1 question I get from people!

> How do you get full? You must really have a small appetite!
On the contrary, people who know me will tell you I can eat. Alot. But the beauty about raw foods is that you can eat all you want and not feel guilty about it!

> What do you eat on a typical day?
I always start off the day with a green smoothie. I LOVE GREEN SMOOTHIES!! I have salads or raw wraps for lunch and dinner. In between, i snack on lots of fruits, nuts and raw bars. Once every few days ,I’ll try out some new recipe – like a raw dessert or bread.

> Do you crave/miss cooked food?
It really depends on my mood. Sometimes when I see a cooked dish that i like, I’m more motivated to re-create it as a raw dish. Other times, like for example when I’m having a bad day I’ll crave my comfort snacks or when I visit my grandma and she cooks my favourite childhood dish.

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RAW FOOD DETOX
 > Its so hard to go 100% raw! How do you do it?
Well yes, i have to admit that it is hard. Some days, I add things like cooked chickpeas or a spoonful of quinoa in my salad and some days, I have a small bowl of cooked soup. But i don’t beat myself up over it. I try to make sure it’s at least 80 – 90 % raw though.

> Must you eat organic? It must be very expensive…
Not all my fruits and vegetables are organic…but i make sure that my leafy greens for my smoothies are because I’m blending the entire vegetable.
It is more pricey than a normal lifestyle but definitely manageable if you plan your meals and mix and match the expensive and cheaper vegetables. Think of it this way. Pay a bit more for your health now, and spend less on healthcare when you’re older!

BENEFITS
> What are some of the benefits of a raw food detox?
tons tons! Off the top of my head because I’ve experienced them – improved digestion, higher energy levels, weight loss, clearer complexions, mental clarity, smaller pores! But please read more from the experts here and hereeating-out.EATING OUT
 > Do you eat out?
Yes, duh.

> Where do you eat out? I can’t imagine you have many places to dine.
Well, luckily for me, my favourite cuisine is Japanese food and they have lots of raw items on their menu! I would go to Sushi tei/Ichiban sushi and order a fresh salad…and sometimes get a miso soup/edamame peas/ cold tofu to accompany it. I don’t eat meat but do eat the occasional raw sashimi…so japnese restaurants are my go to eating out place!

Some other places that are great for eating out with non-raw friends are places like Marche (target the vege bar), Cedele, The salad stop, Dann’s pescetarian, PS cafe, The little part one cafe, Real food grocer etc.
I also go to hawker centers and food courts – I order one giant plate of fruits and a large glass of sugar cane!

> Do you socialize less?
Not at all! When im meeting up with my friends, I go to the  restaurant’s website to see if they have an online menu. If they do, then I look through what I can eat. Luckily for me, my friends are huge jap food /western food fans so I always have something to order. Sometimes, if the restaurant allows, they allow you to customize your dish if you ask. I also omit the dressing and fried stuff on salads like bacon and crotons. If not, I just meet them after dinner and we chill at some place for drinks. (tea for me please!) .

> What about work lunches and stuff life that?
Normally i pack my own food to work. But when we have corporate events and I’m on a detox, that’s a bitch haha. I either try to get out of it (personally, Im not really a PR person) or I go and just have a cooked meal no choice lor.

SHOPPING LIST
> Where do you get your groceries?
Sadly, there aren’t any farmer markets in Singapore or natural foods mecca like Wholefoods=( I get my greens and fruits from the local supermarkets. For specific fruits and vegetables (like organic veges/ avocados..), I prefer going to the higher end supermarkets like cold storage or fair price finest. I get my nuts and dates from Mustafa and sometimes Malaysia. I also frequent a few organic food places for raw food specific ingredients (ie, cacao powder, cacao butter, chia seeds) like Four seasons organic market and Eat Organic @ Bukit Timah.
I’ve not yet tried shopping at iherb.com but I’ve heard rave reviews about it. Shall try getting a few items once my stash from Whole foods finishes.

EQUIPMENT
 > What kind of kitchen equipment do you use and what do I need?
I use a blender, food processor and dehydrator to prepare meals. BUt honestly, if you’re starting out, all you need is one dammed good blender that can make your smoothies, sauces, nut milks etc. I’m SO LUSTING AFTER THE VITAMIXXXXX!!!!!

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Honestly, I can’t rave enough about this lifestyle but you really have to try it for yourself to see and experience the benefits. Because its different for everyone. Even if you don’t wanna start 100% raw, try making small changes like going raw for one meal of the day. To replacing your snacks with fruits . To eventually trying it out for 2 – 3 weeks =) Just have fun while at it! I for one have discovered so many different types of fruits and vegetables I never knew exsisted in the supermarkets that have become my new faves. Trust me, its worth it!

HERE’S TO A HEALTHY APRIL!!!!DSCN8492-horz

Raw Breakfast Parfaits

pumpkin chiaSorry for the yet again, long hiatus!
Have been travelling quite a bit this year – first it was Hong Kong, then Scotland and London, and now I just got back after spending 2 weeks in China. But no upcoming trips planned for the next few montths so i promise to update more regularly o_O.

Wanna talk about my new breakfast obsession – Raw/Vegan Parfaits!

I started making them in London because we were staying in a service apartment and Tesco was just across the road. I jumped at the sight of soy yogurt and the abundance of fresh berries ( seriously, berries are SO CHEAP in the UK.. Unfair!!) I loaded my basket with so much fruit I’m pretty sure i caught the cashier raising her eyebrows in disbelief. And then when I was in China, I had every intention to make green smoothies with my mum’s travel blender…but alas, it started going up in smoke when i made my first smoothie. Not sure if its the voltage or what. So I turned to makin trusty parfaits again=)

Made this ultra delicious parfait today, just had to share:

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Recipe : Pumpkin and chia breakfast parfait with ginger cashew whipped cream Raw, Vegan, GF
Makes 3 tall glasses

Ingredients

There are 4 different layers to this parfait :

1) Overnight oats layer
1/2 cup raw oats
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 cups raw almond milk
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup flax seeds
1 tsp of agave

Mix everything and leave in the fridge overnight

2) Fruits layer
I used 30 small strawberries for layering and garnishing

3) Pumpkin puree layer
1/4 small pumpkin (with the skin removed and seeded, cut into cubes)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbs agave
1/4 cup water

Food process all ingredients till its turns to puree. If you’re using a normal food processor like me (aka, not anything high end) , you’ll need to process for some time so be patient.

4) Ginger cashew whipped cream
500g of ginger
1/2 cup raw cashew nuts soaked overnight
1/3 cup water
2 tbs of coconut oil
1 tbs agave

Blend/process all ingredients. Leave to set for around 1 – 2 hours.

5) Optional : Toppings
I added pumpkin seeds and raw pecans as toppings. But feel free to add your favourite nuts and dried/ fresh fruit!

GO crazy!