Thursday, January 31, 2013

Group Outing: Mt. Tam Wild Walk and Grounding Chocolate Drink recipe

I'd like to share some pictures that bring back memories of a great experience I had in the summer of 2012. Christian Bates a long with his partner Bethanne Wanamaker as his co-hostess, both Marin County locals and experts in wild foods, led a group of us on a journey through the trails of Mt. Tam giving us insightful information about the plants that grow wild. We also visited two Spring Water sources and some of us filled up our small water jugs. For me it felt like we were tiny people walking on the edge of this huge mountain, but with all of Christian's knowledge that he poured out to us it really made me feel so empowered and connected to where I was. There is so much to learn about our environment and how humans and nature can be ONE.
We learned about the benefits of each plant and how to consume it, such as using Pine Needles, high in Vitamin A & C, for making tea or as a garnish for a superfood dessert. We each got a taste of the lemony Pine Needles. As we hiked up the trail I spotted some dark purple looking berries and asked if those are edible. We discovered some Huckleberries! They were so sweet and tiny. Further up the trail Christian introduced us to a wild Avocado tree. I found myself to be so amazed by standing infront of a wild Avocado tree. I love a good Avocado so seeing the wild species was a very neat experience. They are so small compared to the commercial variaties!

UPDATE: Unfortunately.....there was no wild avocado tree :(
I must have heard him wrong through all the commotion of the group infront of me. The tree Christian introduced to us was the Bay Laurel, which is in the same Lauraceae family as the avocado, but they are different genus from one another. Kind of a bummer....but still pretty neat!
Christian Bates' Wild Walk and Spring Water Gathering was an experience I'll never forget. He is a great public speaker, so warm-hearted, and you can just feel his passion for helping others to find wellness and happiness within themselves. We learned a lot about superfoods, wild foods, and herbs.
This was my first time meeting Christian Bates and his partner Bethanne Wanamaker in person. They are both beautiful and inspirational people. Bethanne is so sweet and has a fire within her when she speaks infront of an audience. She is passionate about helping others become the healthiest version of themselves, finding vitality, and take care of our environment. I've stayed connected with her after our meet and she has been a mentor for me and so inspirational. You should definitly check out her health classes and raw food workshops such as superfood chocolate classes, natural beauty care classes, and raw superfood smoothie classes.  
You can learn more about Christian Bates by visiting his blog here
and Bethanne Wanamaker here
 My good friend and I drinking a superfood
drink before the start of the hike.

We decided to share a cup
of this homemade superfood Cacao
drink brought for our group by Bethanne
and Christian. It was very tasty and
chocolatey :) Great light fuel for our hike.

 Christian teaching us about wild plants

Looks like our DNA structure,
 doesn't it?
Little man gathering his very own Spring Water
 Bethanne Wanamaker on the left meeting everyone
(lemon balm)
(old man's beard)

Good times with one of my besties! She had a great time and learned a lot too.
Time for a nourishing and grounding pure chocolate recipe...

So simple and easy....

-Brew a cup of your favorite herbal tea (my favorite being sweet chammomile)

-Wait for your cup of tea to cool down to a warm-hot temperature and add a tablespoon
of raw Cacao Powder. I find that the raw Cacao powder gives such a grounding and
comforting feeling as you sip this drink warm. If you'd like sweetner some good ones are
Honey, Maple Syrup, Stevia, etc.

We are small people in this world, but capable of many things if we go after it and make it happen. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mini Donuts-Paleo & Au Naturel

They say the only healthy part of a donut is... the whole in the middle. Not for these donuts! The ingredients used...and the ONLY ingredients used, were- Coconut Flour, grass-fed Butter, pasture-raised local eggs, Honey, Maple Syrup, Vanilla Extract, Baking Soda, and Sea Salt. They were then baked in the oven. They did come out a little too moist for a donut.

I decided to make mini Donuts as a birthday surprise for my Dad. I remembered a couple weeks ago he said how much he used to like Entenmann's donuts (these donuts are commercial donuts that are heavily processed flour with sugar and has a longer shelf-life than a human!) When my Dad said how much he liked those, my eyes widened at the thought of surprising him with a healthy version of a donut. Trust me...taste is SO not sacrificed. These taste absolutely delicious on their own, but the Cacao sauce tops it off.

Happy Birthday, Dad :) The greatest person in my life, with my momma.  He inspires me in many ways.

I went over to (Paleo community) to ask around for a good tasting healthy version of a donut. I didn't want to do a raw donut because so far the only recipes I have found for raw donuts contain nuts and dried fruit, which does not give the texture of a typical donut. I was looking for something on the cakey-side. So I decided to give these Coconut Flour Donuts a try!

Recipe used from Comfy Belly

My home-made pure Cacao Sauce:
-1/2 cup melted Cacao Butter
-1/4 cup Carob powder
-1/4 cup raw Cacao powder
-11 drops liquid Stevia Extract

Gently melt the Cacao butter in a double broiler. Once melted, turn the heat off, and slowly incorporate the powders into the melted cacao and mix well. Once it is smooth, remove from heat and stir.

Tip: to have the cacao sauce harden fast for decoration, have your plate be cold so once the cacao sauce touches the plate it becomes hard fast. For a smooth sauce make sure the serving plate is at room temperature and the cacao sauce is a little warm.

I don't know why, but I decided to flip them over. After I turned these babies upside down they remind me of a fried Peruvian dessert called "Picarones" ....hmm stay tuned for Part II of these donuts :p

I ran out of mini donut molds, so I used the leftover batter to make small cakes.
These would be delicious for breakfast! I may warm up one of these tomorrow morning ...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mountain Biking day + 2 complimentary fun recipes

Beautiful Marin County, CA lays on an abundance of nature and is surrounded by so much wild life...

(Checking out Pine Mountain!)
(me @ Kent Lake)
(Stinson Beach- home! )

This place is heaven for photographers. It has plenty of breath-taking views and landscapes. There are many trails that take you far into the mountains to ground yourself, listen to the chirping of birds you haven't heard before, nourish yourself with fresh air, and to get lost in paradise to treat your mind to some silence.  
My Dad and I look forward to the days we plan for a mountain bike ride. I see this as a great way to get out and play. We ride around these steep, beautiful, challenging, and living mountains. When we take a break and stop riding, we find ourselves quiet for a couple of minutes because the silence is just so captivating. It is unbelievable. Being in nature is so empowering and healing. My Dad loves mountain biking because he loves being surrounded by nature, it helps relax him, and take a break from interacting with the many customers at his grocery store. He is one of the most social people I know, but dealing with busy crazy days at the grocery store takes a good toll on him at times. This is his escape :) This is where he finds peace.
When we go on rides together it makes for daughter-father time. We talk, push each other to keep pedaling hard up those hills, and share the amazing views when we reach the top of the mountains.
My Dad mountain bikes. I have one of the coolest Dads!
So lately, after our sweaty bike rides, I come home and whip up some refreshing recipes for recovery and as a way to top off our amazing day.

I added some pasture-raised Chicken

Recipe: Coconut Goji Malt Blend (inspired by Jason Wrobel's Maca Coconut Milkshake)
-1 whole Young Coconut flesh
-1 cup water of the coconut
-1 oz Goji Berries
-1 Tablespoon Maca powder
-A small dash of Cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon Mesquite powder
-1 oz unpasturized Almonds, soaked and peeled.


Recipe: Sunset Crunch Salad

For the salad: 

-Mesclun Salad or use any kind of lettuce
-shredded raw carrots
-shredded raw beets

Add the Cashew-Dill Cream on top, mix the salad gently, and garnish with Hemp Seeds.

For the Cashew Cream/dressing:
-3/4 cup Cashew nuts that have been soaked for a couple of hours
-1/4 cup water
-1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Lemon juice
-1 teaspoon Olive Oil
-1 garlic clove crushed
-1 teaspoon Onion Powder
-1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
-Fresh herbs (I used fresh Dill)

Blend everything in the blender, except for the fresh herbs. Transfer the creamy mixture to a bowl and fold in your fresh herbs. Keeps covered in the fridge for about 5 days.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Going High with Hemp Seeds

(At the end of this post you will find a short video demonstration of how I made fresh home-made Hemp milk in 2 minutes).

I love working with Hemp seeds! They are tiny, versatile, nutty flavored gems packed with nutrients. I love to sprinkle them on salads, add to dressings, make milk out of them, make a seed butter out of them, and incorporate them into my snack bars. Sprinkling them on top of your finished salad recipe will take your salad to the next level. It will make it look so vibrant and beautiful. Move aside Parmesan cheese!  

Lately Hemp Seeds have been my go-to fat source for smoothies besides raw eggs.
I also love making Hemp Seed drinks when I make milk out of them. It really is very easy to just dump 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds into a cup of water and you have instant fresh "milk"!
I did some research on hemp seeds to learn more about it since I'm consuming it daily now.
I also realized it is perfect to make a post about these nutrient dense seeds at this time of year since it is flu season and a lot of people are coming down with colds. This is a great food for easy absorption and to keep your immune system up

Hemp seeds have been around for so long in history, since about 10,000 years ago, and modern society has overlooked its amazing nutritional benefits. We are now discovering just how important this seed is for humans and for the environment as well. It used to be the most important crop produced because of its resistance to harsh weather and its strong fibers for textile production such as cloth, ropes, and paper. Another cool fact is that Hemp was used for non-toxic paints, but ever since its ban it has been replaced with toxic-chemical based paints. Hemp can be grown almost anywhere in the world and is very low maintenance to grow. The ancient Chinese learned to use every part of the plant. The root of Hemp was used for medicinal purposes, the stem was used for material production, and the leaves and flowers were used for medicine as well as for lets just say, getting appropriately high.

It's array of balanced nutrients make it a superfood, that many people can enjoy. Ancient cultures enjoyed Hemp as a medicinal food. Hemp seeds are highly absorbable for the body and unlike peanuts, soy, brown rice, corn, beans, and other seeds, they don't contain phytic acid, which inhibits the absorption of minerals and enzymes found in the food making it hard for digestion.

Hemp seeds are about 30% complete protein per 100grams that are easy to absorb. They provide us with all the essential amino acids. They are high in fiber, minerals, vitamins and essential fatty acids as well. Good fats we need! They have an ideal ratio of 3:1 of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids which is important to maintain a healthy human. Good fats defend against depression, osteoporosis, hunger, and are good for our hormones, cell membranes, proper thyroid functioning, aids inflammation, lowers blood pressure, and supports healthy skin and nails. This is a great food for athletes to get fueled on.

" Almost 60% of the protein in hemp is made up of a globulin source called edestin. Most of the rest is in the form of albumin. Albumin and Edestin have a very similar molecular makeup as the protein found in the human body. Because of this common link, hemp protein is very easily absorbed into human blood and used for roles as critical as DNA repair." ( 

 Hemp seeds will take you higher on life! but no, you will not get high from the THC content because the separate plantation for hemp products such as the seeds, oils, and fiber are strictly regulated to be less than 0.03% of THC. However, they provide a fatty dose of iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, Vitamin E, phytonutrients, B Vitamins, Folic acid (which is important for pregnancy), antioxidants, and regulates cholesterol levels. This is a great food for men to consume because the EFAS (essential fatty acids) produce prostaglandins, which high amounts are found in semen.

 Nowadays it is pretty easy to find Hemp seeds at the health grocery store. For a cheaper price, buy them in the bulk section instead of their packaged kind. There are various products of Hemp that are sold at the markets. You can find Hemp Oil, Hemp Protein Powder, Hemp Seeds, Hemp power bars, Hemp clothing, Hemp soaps, Hemp accessories, and many more products. Are you down with Hemp?

Simple easy home-made Hemp "Milk":

-1 cup water
-2 Tablespoons Hemp seeds
-Add sweetner of your choice if you'd like. (Ex: maple syrup, 1 soft Medjool Date, Vanilla Extract, Lucuma powder, Stevia, raw honey, Mesquite powder, Coconut Sugar Crystals, Yacon Syrup, Organic Brown Sugar, etc)

Blend on high for about 20 seconds. Pour in a glass, and enjoy.

Superfood Hemp drink:

-1 cup home-made Hemp milk (recipe above) or store bought Hemp Milk.
-1 Tablespoon Cacao powder
-1/2 Tablespoon Maca Powder
-3 drops liquid Stevia Extract (or your own preferred sweetner)

Blend and enjoy!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

LA New Years Trip! and Travel Foods

 I can't believe it is already the 5th...of 2013! Is it just me, or does it seem like 2013 is going to go by very fast?! I did a little bit of reflection these past few days after my 23rd birthday, and it seems that the older I get, the faster the years seem to go by. I'm taking this as a reminder to live in the moment, accept new experiences that come my way, put myself more out there to meet new people, and keep taking care of myself to have all the energy to live more

I didn't seem to have cared much about my 22nd birthday, it came and it was fun, but no big deal. However, my new year of being 23 has hit me! And I'm feeling all sorts of positive vibrational energy. I am excited for this new year! Plus, we are still alive!! 

So my good friend decided for us to leave the Bay Area and head down to Los Angeles to spend New Years. It was a neat and crazy trip. Taking trips are a great way to reflect on life, gain new experiences, see what is out there, meet new people, and learn about your own self. 

We decided to have someone drive for us, so we took the train and then the bus. We spent  about 11 hours total together on the transportation and 95% of the time we talked and laughed our butts off. 

Before heading out to meet up with my friend for the departure, I stopped at Whole Foods grocery store to buy a snack for the road. I knew I would not be around much food, so I looked for something nutrient dense and satisfying. I bought these Superfood Balls! 

These are made by Lydia's Organics and the ingredients are: Sprouted almonds, sprouted sunflower seeds, dates, raisins, toasted carob powder, coconut, Lydia's Green Powder (alfalfa, wheatgrass, spirulina, nettle, rosehips, licorice, fennel, dandelion, kelp, beet, ginger, burdock, stevia, peppermint powder), vanilla, and LOVE! All organic ingredients. 

I arrived to my friend's house and the next day it was time for our train ride. We bought some snacks for the train ride. I bought this bag of goodies, which I seemed to never run out of even though I was eating so many of them. 

The ingredients are:
Organic date paste, organic cacao powder, organic chia seed, organic sesame seed, organic raisin, organic sunflower seed, organic goji powder, organic maca powder, organic lucuma powder, organic camu-camu powder, natural chocolate flavor. Lovvviinnn' itt! The flavor was okay. Very mild, but still good. My friend loved it and said just a few pieces of it took her hunger away. 

Hehe I invited some to the train driver who enjoyed talking to us. He was a little skeptical at first to try them, but once he did, he said they were allright. He told me he likes to bring bananas and oranges to snack on while he drives the train. He was very nice to give us one of his bottles of water for each of us :) It's a nice feeling when people look out for one another. 

 Here are the rest of the snacks I took with me on the trip. Maca Root Powder on the left, and Cacao powder on the right, then some bananas and an avocado. These are easy to travel with. I ate these throughout our days in Los Angeles when I wasn't around good food. Good thing I brought these with me because the people we were with wanted to just snack a little on food before the New Years party. These foods kept my energy up, specially the Cacao and Maca! I mixed the powders with warm/hot water and drank it just like that. The Maca gives a little sweetness to the drink, and the Cacao of course, is very chocolatey :) On the trip I noticed how the Cacao gave me fuel and kept me from feeling hungry when I ate very small amounts of food during the day. It was cool to experience that. 

We arrived to LA!

For dinner that night my friend's family took us out to dinner and they wanted to show me this Vegetarian restaurant in downtown Hermosa Beach. It was beautiful inside! Loved the energy in there and for dinner we had appetizers, which were very flavorful. 

My favorite drink of the trip! My friend's uncle ordered it for us and I can't exactly remember what he ordered. I definitely had more drinks than I planned on having during the trip, but they all made for good times. 

 In LA we also went shopping at The Grove.  Really nice shopping area with very expensive clothing stores. We went into a candy store and since everyone was having fun buying candy I decided to be a part of their fun moment so I went for the DARKEST chocolate I could find haha. I got a coconut chocolate treat, almonds covered in dark chocolate, and a small piece of dark chocolate. I can't believe how cheap that was to pay for chocolate, which definitely says something about the ingredients. Remember, you pay for quality. 

My LA trip was fun. I am really hoping to go back soon!