Sunday, June 30, 2013


Hey guys!

There is the echo....

Things have been pretty quiet around here. Tonight, I come with news.

I have been working on a new blog ever since I graduated. I wanted to start fresh, have a simpler and cleaner looking lay out, and post very frequently with more recipes and personal thoughts. I am hoping to post at least twice a week.

Please come visit my new page, say hello :) and don't forget to subscribe!

I am also happy to have a short name for my blog haha.

Vibrante sounded perfect.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Chaga-Caramel Iced Tonic

I was gifted this dried Chaga from a friend who lives in an area up north where wild Chaga grows. After a long day at school, I came home to find at the doorstep....Chaga mushroom! I get more excited over Chaga mushroom than an iPhone (true story). I received this mushroom as a wonderful unforgettable gift at the perfect time too. Being so busy with school lately has made me spend little time in nature, so holding these Chaga nuggets, even SEEING them in person, felt so amazing and grounding to be connected to the energy of this completely wild food.
 I've seen videos of it and pictures but it's been hard getting a hold of it. I actually bought a bag of Chaga in Berkeley a few months ago but I may have bought something that they confused Chaga with. When I made the tea with my friend it reeked her kitchen and it was offensively bitter, almost toxic bitter. Of course I managed to get down half of my brewed cup because I wanted some Chaga darn it! haha. An online friend from Keystone Herbs was so kind to have sent me some of their wild harvested Chaga to make up for my first time trying "Chaga" that went bad. I will never forget this thoughtful gift.
Well this Chaga that was gifted to me came from It tasted wonderful. It has a very mild aroma of Vanilla and the Vanilla was also detectable in the tea. I needed no sweetener. It was perfect. 
Chaga-Caramel Iced Tonic
This drink has a nice hint of Caramel flavor thanks to the Maca powder, is very refreshing, energizing yet calming at the same time, & grounding. Besides being enjoyable, both the Maca powder & Chaga tea have incredible immune boosting properties & they are stress relieving. The synergy of these two ingredients make this drink a powerhouse for healing joints, relieving inflammation, prevention of cancer, & nourishing the body with anti-oxidants.
-1 cup cooled Chaga tea (Boil on medium high about a teaspoon of small pieces of dried Chaga in 4 cups in a pot for 30-40 minutes. Then strain the pieces of Chaga.)
-1/2 teaspoon raw Maca powder
-2 drops Stevia Extract (or use raw honey, or maple syrup to your preferred taste)

Blend in a blender or mix by hand thoroughly.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Chocolate Macadamia Bites (Decadently Healthy)

Chocolate Dates Macadamia 
 Get it?
Three of my favorite foods in one recipe. These past few weeks I have been going crazy over Medjool Dates. I could eat a plate filled of only Macadamias and be the happiest person! Cacao just sits deep in my heart. I've been enjoying pure chocolate pretty often throughout the week lately.
The picture speaks for itself. This recipe is as simple as it looks.
Recipe: Serves 2
-2 soft Medjool Dates
-8 Macadamia nuts
-Your favorite healthy chocolate bar (or homemade). Another great way I've been enjoying these with less sugar from the chocolate bar is to simply use Cacao Nibs. The Medjool Dates are sweet enough! Cacao Nibs are a little hard to the bite & would add a great crunchy texture.
-Sea Salt
To create, remove the pits from your Medjool Dates. Now open your Medjool Date all the way to create halves. Chop in half or in smaller pieces your Macadamia nuts. Two Macadamias for each Medjool Date half is a good base. Slice off small chunks or pieces of your chocolate bar. Add the pieces of your Macadamias & chocolate to each half of the Medjool Dates. If you are using Cacao Nibs then sprinkle about a teaspoon on each half. Lightly sprinkle a touch of Sea Salt. Enjoy! You can double the recipe and store these in the refrigerator covered for a couple of weeks.
These are enjoyable as a snack, pre-workout, & dessert.
I used my favorite chocolate bar at the moment :)
 I like my sandwiches closed.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chocolate is a Bite of Health: Pure vs. Industrialized

Love yourself & feed yourself chocolate 

Many of us are re-discovering the health values that cacao possesses. This nutrient dense exotic bean that grows from the cacao tree has been used medicinally by our ancient ancestors. It has been used to treat diarrhea, intestinal infections, asthma, bronchitis, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, & many, many other health ailments.

In past years, we have come to belief that chocolate is chocolate. It drowned in the reputation of being fattening, high in sugar, raises LDL cholesterol, is high in caffeine, has minimal nutritional value (we have come far), & wreaks havoc on your skin. These claims are true, however, you can be rest assured that it is only cheap & heavily processed industrialized chocolate with hard to pronounce ingredients that holds accountable for these claims. 

Chocolate is indeed one of nature's treasured foods. The Mayan and Aztec culture used cacao beans as high value coins and to make a bitter frothy drink. From my learnings I'd like to share some interesting facts about cacao and it's health benefits. What I have found is that not all chocolate is created equal as we tend to think. The compounds & health benefits of chocolate are affected by the way the chocolate is harvested & processed. 

 (Holding a cacao bean at a raw cacao workshop. It was so neat to hold a cacao bean in its whole form after learning so much about it and falling in love with it. Next time I hope to be holding a cacao pod! )

Hybrid vs. Heirloom Cacao Beans:
Hybrid cacao beans have become popular among industrial farmers who wish to produce a higher yield of chocolate for less labor work. These are favored for mass production of candy bars, baking products, & cheap chocolate bars. Hybrid cacao beans are easier to produce because they don't require as much shade to grow under, farmers don't need to deal with the inconveniences of the environment when there is a high demand to be met for chocolate sales, & the beans can be made disease resistant. Hybrid cacao beans also result in the ease of mono-cropping for farmers, however, this results in environmental problems as well as less nutrient-density & quality of the cacao bean. Heirloom cacao beans are the all around natural & pure cacao beans containing all of their compounds created by nature and have been cross-pollinating as nature intended, not the farmer intentionally breeding it.

Raw Cacao vs. Heated Cacao:
There is a significant difference when it comes to eating cacao in its raw state or heating it at high temperatures. The vitamin C in cacao becomes diminished when it is exposed to high temperatures, as well as the flavanol contents which are the antioxidants. Flavanols are great for healthy skin and detoxification. A study reported the concentrations of flavanols in different types of cacao processing.

Natural~ 34.6 mg/g
Lightly processed~ 13.8 mg/g
Medium processed~ 7.8 mg/g
Heavily processed~ 3.9 mg/g

Why would we want to eat heavily processed chocolate anyway? You deserve the best chocolate!

Heavily processed means that it has been treated in a way to remove the bitter parts of the cacao, change its appearance & texture, & was exposed to high temperatures when melting it. Removing the bitterness means sacrificing the medicinal qualities & antioxidants. But don't worry! There are natural ways that I will share at the end of this post to hide a little of the bitterness of chocolate to make it taste good to your desired pleasure.

 Pure Cacao: 

  • PEA is found in cacao, which is a chemical produced by the brain when we fall in love.  
  • Native Americans in Panama and the Amazon River  drank 7-8 cups daily of bitter chocolate.
  • It contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, C, & E.
  • The Polyphenols (antioxidants) in cacao help to treat against depression.
  •  Cacao fights bad bacteria in the mouth and prevents tooth decay.
  • High in magnesium: magnesium is said to be the most deficient mineral in our diet today. Magnesium relieves PMS cramps, relaxes the muscles, builds strong bones, & fights constipation.
  •  Theobroma Cacao stands for "Food of the Gods".
  • Hot Chocolate beverage lowers your LDL (bad) cholesterol and increases HDL (good) cholesterol.
  • It is high in sulfur which beautifies skin and hair.
  • It contains the bliss chemical Anandamide.
  • White chocolate does not provide the abundance of nutrients of dark chocolate.
  • Cacao scores minimally on caffeine content. 2 ounces of chocolate has 10-60mg of caffeine, whereas a 5 oz cup of coffee has up to 180 mg. 
  • Healthy Fats: Cacaco is made up mostly of Monounsaturated fats which is the good kind, and has little Polyunsaturated fats which go rancid quickly in the body and cause damage.
  • Most of the Saturated fat in cacao is Stearic Acid, which studies have shown it lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol.
  • Saturated fat enhances calcium absorption & immune function. Remember, half of your cell membrane is made up of saturated fat. Fat soluble vitamins are also present in saturated fat.
  • A study showed it imroves arterial flow in smokers. 
  • It has more anti-oxidants than green tea, fruits, vegetables, & even wine.
  • Prevents atherosclerotic plaque.
  • It is protective against Cardiovascular Disease.
  • In a study, people were fed high levels of dark chocolate and it showed that it protected them against UV damage.
  • The soluble fiber in cacao helps prevent weight gain because it takes away hunger & attracts water. It also improves arterial blood flow.
  • Studies have shown that even small amounts eaten of dark chocolate improved cholesterol and blood pressure. Consuming it regularly showed to improve heart health & overall vein & artery function.
  • It provides the body with Dopamine & Serotonin, which give you that feel good mood.
  • Cacao improves the functioning of our neurotransmitters, which transmit messages for bodily functions from neuron to neuron.   
Tasty Home-Made Chocolate:
To make pure good tasting chocolate at home, you can use natural sources of sugar such as Coconut Sugar/syrup, raw Honey, Rapadura, Date sugar, Maple Syrup, Whole Organic Unrefined Cane Sugar, Molasses, & Stevia. Add spices if you'd like such as Cinnamon & Cayenne. My favorite being Tumeric.  

(home-made shiny dark chocolate)
Because of all these health benefits packed in the cacao bean is why we experience a euphoric feeling upon consumption. Cacao soothes the body and nourishes it. Let your body get carried away in the deliciousness of chocolate and all those natural potent compounds this exotic bean has to offer. You might not be able to get away with a Hershey's chocolate bar though :p

Opt for  a chocolate bar of 50% cacao or more. Even 50% cacao has been shown to have beneficial effects on lowering blood pressure. A good chocolate bar should only have about 4 ingredients in it and you should be able to pronounce them :) The first ingredient, which makes up the bulk of the product, should say cacao/chocolate. Not sugar. Buy from a company who does give a crap about the cacao they use  and where they source it from :)  Fair Trade Chocolate bars are great for you and the farmers.

My favorite chocolate companies:
The following can be found at your health grocery store or online.

Lulu's Raw Chocolate: This company pops into my head first when I step into the grocery store in search for a chocolate bar. I've been eating a lot of their raw & dairy-free, fair trade chocolate bars lately and I love eating them as a pre breakfast! They taste amazing and I love the texture. They are a perfect size too. Click here to visit their page.

Edible Goddess: I love the woman who created this company. I know her personally and she is an inspiring & warm-hearted being. Her products are hands-down a trusted source for pure organic natural herbal infused chocolates & other products. She uses heirloom cacao in her chocolates. Visit her chocolates here.

Fearless Chocolate: This is another favorite of mine for raw chocolate on the market. Their ingredients are only raw fair-trade cacao & whole unrefined organic cane sugar. Visit their website here.

These are just three of my  top favorites that range in a medium price. There are many other great chocolate bars & raw chocolate bars on the market.
Sacred Chocolate (click here) & Chocolatl (click here) are my other favorites but I've had friends say they are a bit expensive & I also consider these a treat for me.

A square a day may keep the doctors away

Friday, April 19, 2013

Food-Picture Journal #2

On my first post sharing what I eat, I took pictures of what I ate that day. I've decided it is easier and gives a better idea of what I eat to take a collection of pictures throughout a few weeks of what I've been enjoying for snacks, afternoon meals, & dinner. I tend to be a creature of habit by nature most times, so over a certain period of time I usually stick to the same foods, just in different orders :)
I do have my share of alcoholic drinks when I go out with friends, I tend to stick to one or two drinks, unless it's a once in a while crazy special event. The purpose of this blog is to help others achieve their health goal so I will not post tempting pictures. I'm just being straight up & honest that I do enjoy a drink every now and then and that when I'm out socializing I don't freak out anymore over a few bites of "food" I wouldn't want to eat. Sometimes, it's being part of the social experience that I find to be more worth it :)
I do live with housemates at the moment (we share the kitchen) and I'm a busy college student, & getting in enough food for my weight-training can be a challenge for me sometimes. This is why I usually stick to the same foods that are easy for me to make or grab and go from the grocery stores.
Every morning upon waking, I drink about 20 oz of water. I'm very fortunate to live near by a Spring Water, but when I don't have Spring Water with me I drink bottled water or filtered water.
Most mornings before a decent meal for breakfast, I'll drink Kombucha, or Fair Trade Organic black Coffee, or a superfood drink with Coconut Water + Maca + algae + reishi medicinal mushroom extract + green powders. Sometimes I'll only eat a big chunk of raw chocolate.
Everyone is a unique individual. We all have our own machines running inside of us. Find your fuel, find your desired tastes, find what gives YOU vitality & energy.
This is what I've been enjoying lately:
(bananas, raw local eggs, spirulina, Maca, Mesquite Powder)
(What I bring to school when I'm there from 11am-8pm)
(Green Juice at Café Gratitude)
(Core Warrior Bar during Biology class)
(Math class, Almonds)
(at school)
(Working at the clinic, Berries, Macadamias, 3 Medjool Dates, Chia Seeds with Spirulina) 
(Coconut Water, Maca, Spirulina, raw egg, & Ataulfo Mango)
(3 mandarins, 1 orange, blackberries)
(Strawberries, Medjool Dates rolled in Carob Powder & shredded Coconut)
(Fruit bought at school)
(Lulu's raw Cacao bar, Medjool Dates, Macadamias)
(My raw Lemon Poppy Seed ice cream)
(My raw Chaga Vanilla Bean superfood Ice Cream)
(Trying healthy food products I find at the markets)
(In Bio class)
(Coconut Water, mandarin, raw Lulu's Cacao bar)
(raw Almond cookie from a raw food restaurant, Café Gratitude) 
(Mango, Berries, Cacao Nibs, Shredded Coconut)
(homemade shiny raw chocolate with herbs, superfoods like Maca & algae, & spices)
Breakfast & Lunch
(I eat the same food types for breakfast & lunch. During the day I like to keep most of my food intake raw such as fruits, nuts, seeds, superfoods, raw local egg smoothies, & raw wild fish.) Sometimes I eat 1 breakfast and 1 lunch, other times I just eat a lot of snacks during the day until dinner).
(Raw Cacao smoothie with a lot of Chia Seeds, nut milk, Maca  powder, Chlorella, Cinnamon, & Coconut Oil sometimes)
(Salmon, raw beets, guacamole, lettuce, carrots)
(Pumpkin seed milk with Chia Seeds)
Like I don't eat enough Chia Seeds...
(The kitchen cups are too small for my food intake lol) Green Machine smoothie.
(breakfast at school)
(Veggie raw burrito with a creamy nut spread)
(Raw wild salmon with lime juice & Tamari sauce)
(Raspberry Coconut Cream Smoothie with Spirulina)
(Chia Seed with nut milk, Cacao, Banana, frozen blueberries, Maca, Coconut Water)
(Ready to blend! Mango, Banana, Hemp Seeds, Vitamineral Green powder)
(Hemp Seed milk, banana, vitamineral green, Coconut Oil, Cacao Nibs, Maca) 
(For dinner lately I've been really enjoying ending the day with grass-fed animal protein/fats, and local as much as I can. I find that I like to have more cooked foods at the end of the day. Most times for dinner I have two-three different kinds of plates (I do eat plenty! hehe) My usual is always a salad included because I looove them) I also have hard boiled eggs with my salads when I don't feel like eating a lot of carbohydrates. I find that red meat makes me feel better than when eating white meat.
Most of my dinners are foods that I grab and go from the grocery store at the salad bar. I glance over at the ingredient labels to make sure there isn't anything I don't want to eat. Here is what I find :) 
(Sweet Potato Millet cakes, raw nut spread wrapped in Nori seaweed with saukraut, & beet salad)
(Homemade raw Pasta made of thinly sliced cucumber, with avocado mash, olives, tomatoes, green peas, & onions.)

Homemade baked Japanese Sweet Potato
(Home baked Salmon with cayenne)
(Yams with Macadamias, cinnamon, and sea salt)
(Home pan-fried local Goat with Japanese Sweet Potato and Macadamias)
(Homemade baked Halibut wild fish with cayenne and sea salt, it's expensive so this is a treat)
 Posting all these pictures of what I've eaten has helped me see I could use a little more variety! If I had my own kitchen I would be making more of my own recipes than relying on the grocery stores. Because of this I am so thankful to live in an area that is health & environment conscious.
Find foods that nourish you & that take your health & well-being to the next level.