Posts Tagged ‘raw’

  1. Summer Is Here! Banana Date Pops Recipe

    June 29, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    Well, it’s official. The sun is shining (for the most part), and the beautiful weather is here to stay. Summer is here! Yippee!! I have many memories of being a little girl and walking to the nearest convenience store in the summer. I would often walk back home with a Popsicle in hand. I always loved a Banana Popsicle. Looking back now, I wish I realized what I was putting in my body. Just check out the ingredients:

    water, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sugar, contains 1 percent or less of each of the following: banana juice concentrate, guar gum, natural flavor, locust bean gum, phosphoric acid, turmeric oleoresin (for color).

    It kind of makes me giggle that these Banana Popsicles have less than 1 percent banana juice. Maybe they should be called a high fructose corn syrup sugar Popsicle. I don’t think they would sell as many though…?

    Maybe this summer instead of walking to the convenience store, I will just open my freezer and enjoy my own delicious creation. I certainly want to enjoy a summer treat (or two) every once in a while, especially on those hot sunny days – like today!

    So here it is, just in time for summer – a creamy frozen treat that I will be sure to enjoy all summer long!

    banana date pops

    Printable recipe for Banana Date Pops

    Banana Date Pops Recipe

     
    
    

    Ingredients

    2 cups of filtered water (plus extra for soaking cashews)

    ½ cup raw cashews, soaked

    2 ripe bananas

    8 medjool dates, pitted

    1 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean)

    Method

    Cover and soak the raw cashews in filtered water for 2-4 hours. Once softened, drain and rinse the cashews. Add them to the blender with 2 cups of water and blend until smooth. You can also use almond milk in replace of the cashew milk, but it won’t be as creamy.

    Pour hot water over the dates to let them soften before using. Let them sit for a few minutes. If the dates have pits, be sure to remove them.

    Add all of the ingredients into a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into Popsicle containers and let them sit in the freezer overnight, or until they are fully frozen. If you can’t fit all of the mixture in your Popsicle containers, just drink it like a smoothie. You wont be sorry.

    *Tip – If the Popsicle wont come out when it is frozen, pour hot water over the outside of the container to help them slide out easier.

     

     


  2. The Truth About Who I Am – The “Raw” Melanie Faris

    June 27, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    Today I was planning on writing about ripe bananas. I changed my mind. I decided to eat one instead.

    This post isn’t about eating a raw food diet, or food related at all. Today I want to talk about being raw on the inside and some of the struggles I deal with daily.

    There have been some things in my life that have caused me to be fake. You heard me. Covered up. Not real. Artificial. Whatever you want to call it. I’ll admit it – I have tried to cover up who I am. It seems a little silly, but I want to be real with you now and bring the “raw” me into the light.

    This was me 4 years or so ago….fit, confident & skinny.

    Melanie Faris body

     

    This is me now…an extra 15-20 lbs, pimply, scarred and a little more insecure in my body.

    Melanie Faris Now

    Melanie 1

     

    I sure as heck know I’m not perfect. In fact, in the past few years I have felt the most distant from my idea of perfection. How can someone who is healthy have pimples and gain weight? Sigh. I know….

    I used to look at people with acne and think: oh they should really stop having dairy. If only they knew… Little did I know, dairy isn’t always the problem (although I do believe it is for many). Here I am today, no dairy, and still pimply and scarred. Shoot, I guess I shouldn’t be so quick to judge others in their struggles.

    I used to look at people who experience weight gain and think, if only they did more strength training, they would tone up and slim down. Here I am today, still weight training, and not slimming down like I was before.

    I’ll admit it – I am not the image of health, or at least not in my opinion. I watch these health bloggers, vloggers and YouTube stars and wonder, why hasn’t this worked for me? Their skin is flawless, their abs are flat, their diets are perfect, and they exercise often. I feel like I do all the right things, but get the wrong results. What the heck is wrong with me?!

    I want to write this because I know many of you can relate.

     You feel like you are doing everything right without getting any results.

     

    When I look at my old self I think, was I really healthy then? Maybe I had more confidence wearing a bikini, or walking around in public without makeup – but I can’t say I was healthier than the current me. I was restricted from eating fruit unless it was for breakfast, I wore makeup filled with chemicals on a daily basis, took synthetic hormones to keep my skin under control, watched everything I ate, packed my meals wherever I went, and exercised often twice per day. No wonder I looked the way I did! On the outside I was “perfect”, on the inside I was a disaster.

    I often went to the extremes to get the image of perfection. I wanted to have smooth skin, so I took birth control, antibiotics, and wore chemical skin products that bleached my pillow cases and killed my hair. I wanted to have a perfect body so I made exercise my life. I remember a time when I ran almost 15 km without eating anything. I thought to myself, if I did this everyday I would look the way I want. I felt guilty after eating anything that was not part of my “diet” and often thought about making myself puke to make up for it. Thank goodness it never went that far. But I was not healthy. The thought of this torture makes me want to cry. How could I possibly hate the way I look so much to torture it this way?

    I want you all to realize something. There is no such thing as perfect. As “perfect” as some people may seem, we really don’t know what they are struggling with. I’ve decided that I don’t need to try and be perfect anymore. I don’t need to wear makeup if I am going to make a video or take a picture (the thought still scares me a bit). I want to be raw with you today. I want to be straight up Melanie Faris. I don’t have perfect skin, my diet isn’t always great, my body isn’t flawless and I don’t know the answer to every question. I’m just a girl finding my way and learning as I go. I’m sure God will bring me through my struggles and teach me as I go. But in the mean time, I’m going to love myself as I am, imperfections and all.

     

    Love always,

    Melanie Faris

     


  3. Reflecting on my 30 day raw diet – I’m eating cooked food again!

    April 24, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    I’m sitting here, enjoying a delicious bowl of HOT oatmeal. I can’t believe my 30 days raw has come to an end. I remember the feeling of beginning this new adventure, wondering how the heck I was going to survive this and what I was going to eat!! I was concerned I would feel faint or weak without eating cooked carbohydrates. I have done “low carb diets” in the past without lasting a couple of days because I couldn’t function without them. In all honesty, the last 30 days were nothing like I expected and NOTHING like a “low-carb diet”.

    During the first week or so of my raw journey, it was somewhat of a challenge, but not one that I couldn’t handle. I was suffering with a pounding head and all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and sleep for the first 3 days. When I watch YouTube videos of “raw foodies”, all they talk about is the amount of energy, vitality and clarity they have. I was beginning to think that they were all nuts…or maybe I was eating too many nuts and not enough greens. Then I struggled with thinking I should eat fruit and forget about greens, or juice more, or have smoothies, or take enzymes, more probiotics…the list goes on. You hear so many opinions, and sometimes it’s hard to know what to do and who to listen to.

    The most important thing I learned during my 30 days raw was to listen to my body and not always what everyone else had to say.

    I’m not saying that it’s not important to take the advice of others (I definitely spent hours, and still do, listening to many people online talk about eating a plant-based diet). God made me, he made you, he made her and him too – we are all so unique that there cannot possibly be ONE WAY of eating that is right for everyone. Maybe you need to eat more nuts and seeds and I need to eat less (yes, I probably do need to lay off on the cashews a bit…). Listen to your body and see how it responds to certain food. YOU are the only one who really knows how you feel. Although I didn’t “feel great” for the first few days, I stuck to it because I knew it would get better after the detox phase. Needless to say, my headache went away after 3 days and I began to feel like a new person.

    If you decide to go raw, get ready for people to think you are crazy. Also, get ready to be in awkward or uncomfortable situations (aka, trying to explain why you are going raw to most people or why you can’t eat what everyone else is eating). It is probably best to avoid social gatherings at first until you really get the swing of this lifestyle and develop the willpower to say no. I was tempted many times during my raw journey to eat the food that everyone else was eating around me, but after feeling sorry for myself while I ate my boring salad (instead of a juicy steak), I began to realize that I am POWERFUL. I saw that I was more than capable to do this, and nothing was stopping me – Yeah!!

    green and glowing > steak

    I didn’t just develop better health over the 30 days, I developed a LOVE for myself and the food I was eating. I took joy in creating healthy meals, and I also began to appreciate everything I put in my body. I found that by going to raw food restaurants, or simply listening to raw foodies on YouTube, I was able to stay motivated and on track. If you don’t have access to a raw food restaurant, this was only the cherry on the cake for me and not really necessary. I was blessed to be able to visit Rawlicious and Live Restaurant to add a variety to my diet (with foods far too complicated for me to attempt at home). Again – not necessary, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent there.

    You might be wondering, “so what do you eat at home?”…

    To be honest, I am a bit weird and can eat the same things over and over, especially when I find something I LOVE. Once I get into a routine, I don’t often change. I found myself eating my garden green wraps or eating an avocado with a spoon for a snack often. I just LOVE avocado and could eat 3 a day if I wanted (but I didn’t). I tried to limit myself to 1 avocado/day since I didn’t want to over-do the fats and wanted to also enjoy some nuts/seeds and salad dressings that were high in fat throughout the day as well. I became slightly addicted to cashews, and this was a bit of a problem (at least for my waist line). Yes, it is definitely possible to gain weight on a raw diet, but most people lose weight. I really didn’t care about weight gain/loss since I wanted to enjoy being raw.

    If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t stick to it.
    Garden Green Energy Wrap

    For the first 2 weeks, I literally ate/drank only greens. I wouldn’t recommend this for everyone, but I was pretty determined to do a “sugar-fast”and I felt incredible when I finished. I then began to introduce coloured veggies and fruits into my raw diet on week 3. I couldn’t believe how much food I had available for me to eat! After eating only greens, a whole new WORLD of food became available to me and the variety seemed endless. I was never bored with my food, and never hungry. Most think that a raw diet means less variety, but I think this is slightly because we have too much of a variety of food available to us. Walk down the canned food aisle and you will see what I mean!

     

    Here is what a day in the life of Raw Melanie looks like:

    Morning:

    Fresh Juice: ex, celery, cucumber, dandelion greens, parsley, cilantro, lemon and ginger).

    Breakfast: 1 banana, scoop of hemp protein, almond milk and chia seed (in the blender)

    Snack: apple and/or nuts

    Lunch: Huge salad with homemade dressing (olive oil, lemon, tahini & garlic)

    Lunch #2: (yes I would like more than a salad for lunch most days) garden green energy wrap

    Snack: fresh juice (I love carrot juice with chia seeds)

    Snack: More fruit/veggies and glass of almond milk. *I also purchased raw snacks from Natures Emporium and snacked on them throughout the day often…(I love these nud food crackers)

    Dinner: Big salad (or sometimes I would order Rawlicious and bring it home with me)

    Snack: soaked almonds or homemade cultured almond/coconut yogurt.

    **I also drank herbal tea. Even though this is not considered “raw”, I didn’t care and I enjoyed every sip!!

    As you can see, I ate a lot throughout the day. I never felt hungry because I wouldn’t let myself get bored. I enjoyed everything I ate and made sure I felt satisfied. I was filled with nutrition and also filled with energy! Besides having natural energy (without a cup of coffee), I was able to think clearly. I don’t handle stress well, and while eating only raw, I felt like I could tackle the world. It was awesome!

    I was also really happy with my glowing skin. I felt beautiful (inside and out) because the food was nourishing every cell in my body. I didn’t feel like wearing makeup most of the time, but after one day of wearing foundation, I woke up the next day with new zits. I wasn’t too happy about it, especially since my skin was so great before. But on the bright side, I was able to pinpoint exactly how my skin reacts to makeup without wondering if it was something I ate. I enjoy wearing makeup, but for now, I don’t wear it often anymore.

    I can honestly write so much more on here about my journey, but I don’t want to bore you with too many details. All in all, I would definitely recommend this to everyone. It is empowering being able to finish 30 days of eating only raw food, and the time flies by (I didn’t want it to end). After doing this, I no longer desire to eat meat like I did before (I still haven’t had any, even on Easter when I finished my raw diet and the turkey was hot out of the oven). I’m sure I will again, but for now, I feel incredible and have transitioned to mostly vegan. I am doing fresh juice everyday still and I still feel great. I don’t have a desire to go back to my old habits. Instead of reaching for a coffee, I wanted to reach for my wheatgrass instead :).  I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I do know that I will be eating more plant foods and as much raw as possible. I love this way of life and I am excited to try this again in the future.

    Please feel free to email me, comment below or send me a facebook message. I would love to hear your thoughts or answer any questions you have.

    Bye for now and chat soon!
    Melanie.

     

     


  4. My Final Week Raw

    April 16, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    Well, I am on my final week. I can’t believe I have made it this far on a raw food diet. 30 days seems like a long time, but it really has been enjoyable and I would definitely recommend it to others. I am not sure what lies ahead in the future for me, but after this experience, I know that meat won’t be part of my diet the same way it was before. I am thinking of moving off my raw diet on Monday into a vegan lifestyle and try that for a while. I still want to eat fish and eggs on occasion, but I really have no desire to dig into a steak or cook up a piece of chicken for myself. I’m really not sure what I want to do next, but that’s the fun of it. I don’t want to give myself “rules”, but rather go by how I feel and listen to my body.

    I don’t think one diet fits all. Life is a journey of discovering what path YOU want to take.

    I have discovered that I really enjoy the raw lifestyle, but I also know it is not something I want to continue 100% for the rest of my life. I just love cooking food too much. But when I commit to trying something new, I give it my all. I would encourage you to do the same when trying something new. If you really want to experience something, don’t just dip your toes in the water, you need to jump right in and fully embrace the opportunity before you. That is the key to success.

    While I get ready to venture into more of a vegan lifestyle, I have decided to start experimenting in the kitchen again to “prepare myself.” I also can’t help myself from cooking, even if I can’t eat the food yet! Many of you are probably hoping for a new recipe to be posted that actually involves a stove and not only avocado and greenery. Thanks for waiting so patiently! With that being said, I now present to you a vegan recipe that is a perfect snack to eat or pack in your children’s lunch bag. Completely NUT free, gluten-free, added-sugar free, dairy free, “raw” free (lol). Here is my newest recipe for “not-too sweet” Granola Squares.

    granola squares

    Click here for the printable recipe

    Recipe By: Melanie Faris

    Makes 12 Squares

     

    Dry Ingredients

    ¾ cup of large flake oats

    ¼ cup of oat flour (or almond meal/flour if using nut products)

    ½ cup of dried pitted dates

    ½ cup of dried figs

    ¼ cup each of sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds

    2 tablespoons of sesame seeds

    2 tablespoons of chia seeds

    1 teaspoon of cinnamon

     

    Wet Ingredients

    1/3 cup of coconut oil

    1/3 cup of water

    ¼ cup of unsweetened rice, coconut or other nut free milk (or almond milk if using nut products)

    1 tsp vanilla extract

     

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8×8 dish and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
    2. Begin by soaking the dried dates and figs in a bowl of hot water to let them soften.
    3. Add the chia seeds to a small cup or dish with the milk and stir. Let them sit to expand (at least 5 minutes). You may need to stir once or twice while it thickens.
    4. Once the oven is preheated, spread the large flake oats on a dry baking sheet, and toast them in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until light brown.
    5. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the coconut oil until melted. Set aside to cool.
    6. Drain the water from the dates and figs, and then add to a blender with 1/3 cup of water. Blend until smooth, or slightly chunky. You may need to scrape the sides and add touch more water and blend again.
    7. Add all ingredients (including toasted oats) to a large mixing bowl, (or in the saucepan with the coconut oil for less cleaning). Mix everything together well. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and smooth out to make it as flat as possible.
    8. Turn the oven down to 275 degrees and bake for 40-45 minutes.
    9. Let the granola squares cool, and then cut them into 12 squares.

    Cover and refrigerate leftovers.


  5. Want To Try Going Raw?

    April 10, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    I never imagined being able to do a month of eating only raw food. If you asked me a year or two ago to do a raw cleanse, there’s no way I would have. I was so focused on eating protein with every meal that I couldn’t imagine completely eliminating meat and dairy from my diet. It’s not like my diet was bad before, it just most certainly was not raw. I remember a couple years ago when I first got into body building. I was at the gym 6 days a week lifting heavy weights. My lowest weight was 108 lbs (I was tiny), but I sure was mighty. I was able to squat more than some of the boys (or at least I thought so, hehe). I took pride in my muscles and would look forward to my workouts at the gym.

    For those of you interested, I am at around 120lbs now, give or a take a few. I am still exercising and lifting weights on a regular basis (around 4 times/week), but I decided not to make my life about how I look anymore, but how I feel…

     

    My Past Diet

     

    In all honesty, my outer appearance always mattered more to me than anything else. I used to carry my phone around and keep track of my macronutrients (proteins, carbs & fats) with every meal I ate. I had it down to every gram that I consumed. With all the effort I put into my eating and workout routine, I certainly earned the body I had attained through my dedication. I was in the best shape of my life, but I was not what I would call healthy now.

    Ring, ring, ring. The alarm clock goes off and I have already preplanned my breakfast lying in bed the night before. I need to incorporate around 20 grams of protein, 30 grams of carbs, 5 grams of fat and less than 5 grams of sugar into my breakfast. I mastered egg whites with all of my recipes – the Mother of protein sources. I could make scrambled egg whites with cottage cheese, a slice of ezekiel toast and a handful of berries. I also could have oatmeal with egg whites and protein powder stirred in at the end. Oh – how could I forget…egg white PANCAKES with oatmeal, cottage cheese and applesauce. Yum! The possibilities were endless….or not. Guess what I was eating for my bedtime meal?….egg whites. I would hard boil another 5 eggs and toss out the yokes when they were cooked. I was so concerned about my protein that it didn’t matter about the micronutrients (vitamins & minerals) anymore. I was way more concerned about growing muscle, leaning out and eating within my calorie and macronutrient range. I can’t believe I lived this way. I was like a slave.

    I guess I started to slow down with my crazy workouts and calorie/macronutrient counting when I decided to go off the pill (read about my experience here). I realized my internal health was more important than my external appearance. I was now willing to do anything to get my body balanced again. My face was turning into the rocky mountains and I realized my body was not happy with the torture I was putting it through. I went to see a homeopathic doctor about my problem and I did an allergy/food sensitivity test. Guess what came up? Eggs. I was eating 10 eggs a day. This is not good. I had caused my own intolerance to eggs by eating SO MANY. Did you know you need variety in your diet? Don’t eat too much of the same thing  every day because you just might end up intolerant to it – especially high allergenic foods. I decided to stop eating eggs and give my body a rest. Unfortunately, the rocky mountains on my face decided to stay a while, regardless of my decision to stop eating eggs. To this day my body is still recovering from all that I put it through.

    Now

     

    As you probably know from following my journey thus far, I have come a long way since then. I decided to stop focusing on counting macronutrients and calories and switched my focus to my health. I am resetting my body (so to speak) by doing a raw 30 day journey (see here for the start of my journey). I went into this raw 30 days thinking that it was a cleanse – AKA, it has a start and finish (heavy emphasis on the finish!!). Starting out, I missed eating my regular breakfast. I missed my lunch. I missed my dinner. I missed FOOD. I was looking forward to the end. It wasn’t until the first week was over that I realized this isn’t just a cleanse, this is a current lifestyle. This is a journey. This is fun! I was beginning to see my options in front of me instead of everything I couldn’t have. I had an “AHA!” moment:

    It all comes down to your perspective.

    The key to success in a raw diet is your mindset going into it…if you see it as a cleanse, you will most certainly be excited for the end when you get to eat “real food” again. If you see it as a different lifestyle (for a short while) and focus on enjoying each meal/food you consume, it is so enjoyable! It does take work to train your brain to think this way, but once you get over the first week, it is smooth sailing from there.

    I have to say, what I have been doing is totally my own thing and not an official plan or program. I made the decision to go into this on my own and figure it out as I go. That is my personality. I research everything and get a ton of different information to form my own “plan.” I know that the cleanse/raw plans out there are quite expensive, especially if you are signing up for a cleanse where the food is already prepared for you. BUT, I’ll have you know, it doesn’t need to be expensive if you have the will power and focus to do it on your own. I know first hand that it is not easy cutting out what seems like EVERYTHING from your diet and switching to a plant based diet. With my own experience, I found that once you get into the groove of it, you become creative and discover a whole new world you have been missing out on for so long! It is invigorating to be able to make the decision at a restaurant to eat a salad with olive oil and lemon instead of digging into a huge piece of beef (I had to do this at a family dinner at Milestones when I first began this journey). It is not always easy, and you will have to make difficult decisions…”Do I have just one bite of the appetizers on the table? It wont kill me…” Your brain will make you believe whatever you want. You need to have willpower and push through the difficult times and keep persevering. Before long, it won’t even be a thought in your mind.

    What next?

     

    I am thinking of creating a very affordable 5 day plan for those interested in trying a week of the raw lifestyle. I would love to be able to put together recipes, tips and a grocery list for those interested in trying this out. Day by day you would know exactly what to do. I want everyone to have access to an affordable “guide” to help you through this – if you are serious about trying the raw lifestyle. It is only 5 days, and I know you can do it! You can continue on after the 5 days or you can stop and go right back to however you were eating before. My hope is that you will feel refreshed, confident and invigorated by this challenge. Maybe you will decide to eat more raw food after feeling the difference for yourself! If there is enough interest, I will need to do some digging to see how I can put this together (without putting myself at risk). Keep in mind, I am not a certified nutritionist and am definitely not a doctor. This would be a “try at your own risk”…but in my opinion, diets like the Atkins and South Beach Diet have far far FAR greater risk. We were created to eat the food from the earth, and it would be my pleasure to help more people do JUST that.

    Please comment below, email or Facebook me if this sounds like something you would be interested in. If there is enough interest, I will begin planning as soon as possible.

    Bye for now!

    Melanie.


  6. Garden Green Energy Wrap

    April 3, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    I keep talking about the amount of energy I have from this raw food cleanse. I simply am amazed. If you want a little taste of what real energy feels like (not from caffeine), start to eat your greens! Don’t know where to start? Find it hard to add flavor and variety with greens? Well then you have to try my favourite raw lunch recipe below, packed with plant based protein and healthy fats. You will have sustaining energy to get you through until your next meal, with extra energy to spare!

     

    Day 11 Raw

     

    Today I went to the gym bright and early with Thomas. We started off our workout with a quick warm up on the elliptical and then went over to the scale. We were a bit nervous (mostly me since the last time I weighed myself I was 10lbs heavier than I thought). I have never been into weighing myself much, but since I have been slacking a bit on my workout routine and eating lots of food, I wanted to know where I was at. Jamaica did not help the waistline either. I was pretty excited to see my weight has dropped 5 pounds since my first weight-in 11 days ago – Yippee! I would like to lose 5 more pounds, which should be enough to get me back into my old jeans. I miss them oh so much.

    I was a bit worried about gaining weight from all the avocados (my current favourite food), and nuts I have been eating daily. I’m not used to eating such a high-fat diet, but it is the only food that keeps me feeling full for a long period of time on this “diet.” I generally have 1 avocado/day and a handful of nuts, plus I have been using tahini paste like it is going out of style. Yum! But like I said before, I’m not doing this to lose weight, but if it gets me back into my jeans, I’m really going to be happy. So far, I guess I haven’t overdone it on the avocado and tahini! I just so happen to use both of these in my recipe below…

    So you want to be raw…even for only 1 meal? That’s awesome! You will feel so much better after eating this wrap than you would after having a regular sandwich or wrap from the store. You can also use an Ezekiel or whole grain wrap with cooked quinoa for a quicker vegan version – that works great too! Let me know what you think in the comments below, or on my Facebook Page!

     

    Garden Green Energy Wrap

     

      Garden Green Energy Wrap

    Click here for the printable Recipe

    Recipe by: Melanie Faris

    Servings: 1

    Preparation: 5-15 minutes (plus sprouting/cooking time)

    Ingredients

    1 raw or sprouted wrap (I use Live organic raw super green wraps)

    ½ ripe avocado

    1 handful of mixed sprouts or dark leafy green lettuce mix (or both!)

    2 tablespoons of quinoa, sprouted (or cooked for vegan option)

    1 handful of fresh herbs (cilantro and parsley are great in this wrap)

    1 tablespoon of raw hemp seeds

    1 tablespoons of tahini

    ½ clove of garlic

    1-2 small lemon or lime wedges

    Sprinkle of dulse flakes (or sea salt)

    Freshly cracked pepper

     

    Method

    Sprouting Quinoa

    To make this wrap 100% raw, sprouting the quinoa is a great alternative to cooking it. To sprout quinoa, rinse the quinoa and cover with water. Let it soak overnight in a mason jar or sprouting container. After soaking, drain and rinse the quinoa. Place a sprouting lid or mesh screen over the lid and turn the jar upside-down to allow the liquid to drain from the container. For the next 3-5 days, rinse the quinoa daily (twice if you can), leaving the jar upside down with a sprouting lid or mesh screen on the jar. You will begin to see sprouts popping out of the quinoa within a day or two. In approximately 3-5 days, your sprouts are ready to eat!

    If you are not eating a raw diet and would like to use cooked quinoa instead, follow the cooking directions on the package.

    To begin making the wrap, mice the garlic and mix it with the tahini paste plus the juice from the lemon and/or lime wedge. Spread the garlic tahini sauce onto the wrap. Cut an avocado in half and spoon out the flesh onto the wrap. Roughly chop the fresh herbs and sprinkle on top of the avocado. Add the remaining ingredients to the wrap (plus an extra squeeze of lemon or lime juice for added flavor). Don’t forget to add your dusle (or sea salt) and freshly cracked pepper!

     

    This wrap has lots of healthy fats and plant based protein to give you sustaining energy!

     

     


  7. 10 Days Raw

    April 2, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    It has been 10 days, and I have to admit, this lifestyle is growing on me. I never imaged enjoying this as much as I am. I find that I’m not thinking about food as much anymore (besides when I am cooking for clients). If I am thinking about food, it’s fun and delicious raw food that I can experiment with! Mind you, I have had some moments where I am ready to pack it in and dive into Thomas’ dinner (that moment may have been tonight).

    The Rawlicious restaurant has really helped me for the past week, especially with adding variety to my diet lately. I have eaten salads and the same avocado wraps for days (and still enjoying them), but a change is always nice, especially without having to prepare it myself. I had their Caesar wrap today, and boy was it delicious! I think the new scent lingering with me wherever I go is garlic. Poor Thomas has to put up with my breath, but I have been sneaking garlic in his meals too so I’m not the only one with the bad breath – hehe.

    This whole experience has been amazing so far. I always thought my energy only came from carbs, but now I am beginning to see that I have MORE energy without carbs. I’m not saying, “go cut your carbs!” I’m simply realizing that I don’t need starchy or processed carbohydrates to give me energy. In fact, carbs and coffee cannot compete with the energy fresh green vegetables have given me. My focus and attention to detail has grown, and my overall feeling of well-being is amazing. I am continuing with fresh green juice every morning and still eating only greens all day. I want to make it to the 2 week mark before introducing any form of sugar (including fruits and certain vegetables) into my diet. I may continue longer than 2 weeks with greens to fully detox and give my body a break from sugar entirely. I will keep you posted!

    In my free time, I have been watching tons of documentaries and reading books on raw and/or vegan diets. It is fascinating. I love to learn and lately my brain has been getting crammed with new information non-stop. I am amazed that society has practically shunned this lifestyle, when in reality, this is possibly the most healthful way to live (in my opinion it is). There are many many opinions on this subject, and I’m not trying to start a debate. I don’t judge anyone’s way of living and I’m not against eating meat. I have just opened my eyes to see another way of living and have found great enjoyment from it so far. I don’t plan on staying raw after the 30 days, but I may venture on and try life as a vegan, or at least 80% since I love eggs for breakfast some mornings and sushi on occasion…I’m a cheater, but that’s okay.

    Life is about learning, growing and discovering the best you that you can be. For the past 2 years (at least), my focus has been eating animal protein 5 times a day. I was trying to gain muscle and look my best. I did look my best physically, but internally my body was screaming. I thought I was perfectly healthy then, but now I see that I was not as healthy as I thought. My snacks consisted of yogurt or cottage cheese instead of vegetables, and my meals always had to have a big piece of meat. I love meat, I really do. You may still catch me at The Keg on occasion digging into a juicy steak – I’ll be real with you on that. But, take it from the carnivore, I feel way better without the meat at every meal. I don’t feel hungry all the time and I certainly am not as “addicted” to eating as I was before. I feel better. Period. Your quality and quantity of life increases when you cut out processed and cooked foods. If you don’t believe me, try it for 21 days (to break your habit of eating cooked foods), and feel the difference for yourself.

    Well, that’s all I have to say on my progress so far. As for tonight, I’m off to grab an avocado and sit on the couch with my husband. Besides all the food and health talk, he really is my favourite one to focus my attention on. Chow for now and chat with you soon!

     

    Melanie.


  8. 6 Days Raw and counting

    March 29, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    Well, I’ve made it to day 6! Only 24 days to go. That sounds like a long time, but I’m quite surprised by how I feel so far…

    Day 5

     

    I woke up this morning not feeling so great. No headache, but I really wanted food. By food, I mean over easy eggs, two thick slices of rye bread and a side of fruit. It wasn’t happening though. I pulled out my juicer and began making a green juice to start my day. I was feeling a bit dizzy and not “normal” so I decided to lie down for a bit. Around 15 minutes or so, the juice must have digested because I felt energized and ready to take on the day! I guess I didn’t eat enough the night before so I was in need of nutrition to get me going again…

    I had another large green drink for lunch from Natures Emporium and headed off to “work”, although cooking never feels like work at all. I had a ton of energy and focus the entire day. With a big list of things to cook, I often get a bit flustered and can’t seem to time things properly. Well today – I was on the ball! I couldn’t believe it. I was able to think clearly and get everything done in perfect timing without feeling flustered or stressed at all. Coincidence? I think not.

    You might be wondering if cooking is difficult for me on the Raw Diet. Surprisingly…no! Although certain things I need to have a taste of, but I haven’t had any cravings or strong desire to eat the food I am cooking. I had WAY more cravings when I wasn’t eating raw compared to now. I think it comes down to mind over matter – since I know I’m not allowed cooked foods, I automatically don’t make it an option for myself. Since coffee isn’t an option for me in the morning, I don’t even think about it anymore. Although, now that I mention it, a nice cup of hot coffee would be pretty good right now – Hehe, but I’m totally fine without it! This morning’s craving for eggs went away right after my fresh juice. I may think about a food I want to eat that’s not raw, but it’s not a desire that controls my body. I simply say no and the craving goes away. I also don’t have the urge to “sneak” bites here and there because I just don’t want to. That right there is a miracle.

    Day 6

     

    I’ll keep this short because I don’t have much to say besides:

    I feel gggggrrrrrreat

    without the frosted flakes…

    Today I have the most energy yet. I woke up at 4:30 am for personal training, pulled out my greens and started juicing. Although going back to bed was tempting because it is warm and cozy, and who doesn’t like sleep?!…But I certainly had tons of energy, and it just kept on comin’! I had one juice for breakfast, a raw green wrap for snack with avocado, and a delicious Green & Glowing Salad (recipe posted below) for lunch. I am going out for dinner with the family tonight and plan on making a green drink before. I will order a salad for dinner and bring my own dressing with me (weird? maybe, but I’m ok with it). Check out the juicer I use and salad recipe below!

     

    Omega NC800

     

    nc800hds_1 <—–There is my new baby. The Omega NC800. I have to say, she purrs like a kitten. Thomas stays snoozing even when I am juicing at 4:30 am! It is incredible how quiet it is. I also love how easy it is to clean. It is not a “big ordeal” to juice anymore, which is why I think most juicers stay in cupboards…this baby is sitting on my counter, and she is there to stay. This is one of the best investments I have made for my health yet. If you could preserve years of your life and relieve any sickness, pain and disease from your body for only a small cost under $400 would you not do it?! I think I spent almost that on my prom dress, which I wore once and is still hanging in my closet…hmph.

     

     Green and Glowing Salad

    with Creamy Ginger Dressing

    
    

     

    green and glowing

     

    Click Here for the Printable Recipe

     

    Recipe By: Melanie Faris

    Servings: I eat this all to myself, but it is probably big enough to share!

    Preparation: 5-10 minutes

    Ingredients

    1 big handful of dark green lettuce mix (I like spring mix)

    3-4 purple kale leaves, chopped (hard stems removed)

    1 handful of sprouts (I like to use a mix – sunflower, broccoli, radish…etc)

    Fresh parsley and cilantro leaves picked off the stem (however much you desire)

    ½ ripe avocado

    ¼ large cucumber

    Slice of lime

    *Optional – pinch of dulse flakes

     

    Method

    Rinse all lettuce and vegetables. Chop, cut and place salad in a large bowl or plate. Sprinkle with dulse flakes and squeeze lime to add a burst of citrus. Top with creamy ginger dressing and enjoy.

     

    Creamy Ginger Dressing

     

    DSC_0135 (1)  

    Ingredients

    ¼ cup cold-pressed olive oil

    ½ of each lemon & lime (juice only)

    2 tbl raw tahini paste

    1 tbl raw unpasteurized apple cider vinegar

    ½ inch of fresh ginger, peeled

    1 clove of garlic

    pinch of sea salt and pepper

    1-2 tablespoons of water

     

    Method

    Place all ingredients in a blender (or food processor) and combine until smooth. Add water until it reaches desired consistency (you may want to add more or less than suggested). Keep leftover dressing in a sealed container in the fridge. The dressing will thicken as it sits so you will need to add a bit more water again.

     

    Fill your body with greens that nourish your cells and give you glowing skin!

     

     


  9. Going Raw After Jamaica, Yeah Mon!

    March 27, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    After visiting Jamaica last week and seeing the people live off the earth, I was struck with a realization – their lifestyle is so calming, relaxing, and brings you to a whole new place mentally…Yeah Mon! If you have ever been to Jamaica, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I still can’t believe how many pool boys or maintenance workers asked, “You good? Need anything? I got some good stuff if you want…” Oh, how they sincerely cared about our well-being…Teehee. If you have never been to Jamaica and are completely lost, ignore that joke and continue on…

    Jamaica – March 2014

    IMG_0255

    Thomas and I having a blast!

    IMG_0170

    Fresh Coconut Water. So delicious!

    IMG_0134

    This Filet Mignon was so good. I ate it all.

     

     

    I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I wished I had enough courage to go raw. I always admired those with glowing skin, incredible energy and piercing clear eyes from their healthy lifestyle. Some of you reading this probably think that is the most absurd thing you have ever heard, and you may not even know what “going raw” is or why I am giving it a try. Let me explain…

    What is RAW?

     

    Unplug your oven, forget about dumping your veggies in boiling water or frying them up on the stove top. Raw foodism is eating completely uncooked, unprocessed, and entirely plant-based food. Think: all vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds & only sprouted grains/legumes. Sounds exciting doesn’t it?!

    I know you are probably thinking: Who would put themselves through eating only plant-based foods? What about meat and dairy? Are you nuts? Why?

    I’m definitely one who LOVES food. All kinds of food. In Jamaica, I had desert with every meal. I’m not kidding. I enjoyed pasta AND pizza for lunch (along with many other things from the amazing buffet…). I also was not shy on drinking pina coladas, “dirty bananas” & beer. Oh – and the cappuccinos were heavenly! I had 2 or 3 a day…oops?

    IMG_0126

    Desert and specialty coffees daily. Yum! I’m going to miss this…

    The point is – I’m a foodie! I have nothing against cooked food. I love meat, dairy and every kind of food you can think of. The fact is, I know that there are many benefits to eating only raw foods. I know eating all the junk I could manage on vacation had something to do with the 10 lbs I happened to gain over the past little while. I also know as much as my taste buds were satisfied, every cell in my body was lacking proper nutrients. I could eat a whole heap of food and not feel satisfied simply because my body was not receiving the nutrients it was expecting from the food I was eating. I was starving “nutritionally” on the inside but not showing any signs of this on the outside. When trying to squeeze my caboose into my jeans, I finally realized…

    “Houston, we have a problem!”

    As weird as some of it seems, I am attracted to the beauty of the raw food lifestyle. So simple, so healthy and completely…freeing. You may think this lifestyle is the exact opposite of freeing – it does kind of feel that way at first, but I’m beginning to see that by having the strength to say “no” to certain foods, the chains that have been holding me back from true nutrition are being cut free (sorry, I’m getting deep on you here). I’m free to have the choice to eat what I want, but I am deciding not to.

    I have always been interested in raw foodism, but could never muster up the will to do it. Who really wants to eat greens for breakfast lunch and dinner? That does not sound overly appetizing. But, I decided to take a challenge and do 30 days raw (primarily greens). I’m going to document my journey and take some pictures along the way to be living proof of a raw lifestyle and the transformation that takes place in my own life.

    I also want to clear something up – as much as weight loss is an awesome benefit to a raw food diet, I am not doing it for this purpose. I am simply doing it to cleanse my body of toxins and to feel the difference! If I fit into my jeans comfortably by my 30 days – Bonus!! hehe.

     My Raw Experience So Far

     

    I am currently on day 4 of my raw experience. I have to say, I wasn’t planning on doing a blog on this, especially after the first few days of agony. I was expecting to feel energized and healthy…I wasn’t feelin it. Not one bit. I thought I would have felt amazing from the start. To my surprise, I felt like crap. I honestly had a raging headache for 2-3 days and wanted to sleep. I was having green juice in the morning (kale, cucumber, celery, spinach, dandelion, wheat grass, parsley, lemon, lime & ginger) and eating salads, veggies, avocado, and some nuts/seeds throughout the day. Surprisingly, I felt pretty satisfied and I didn’t feel hungry. My body was going through the detoxifying process, and I was praying that there would be a light at the end of the tunnel…

    On day 2, I decided to go to the gym and sweat a bit. That didn’t last long. I wasn’t feeling overly great and my head was pounding, so I decided to leave after only 30 minutes. Darn you toxins! (Also, no coffee is definitely contributing to the head pounding…).

    Yesterday (day 3), I was beginning to feel better. I had more energy and was starting to enjoy the lifestyle a bit. I attempting a workout once again and to my surprise it went well! I had energy and only a slight headache. Things were improving.

    The most difficult thing has been planning food when I am not home. I was so thankful to find some amazing raw wraps at the health food store that are a total life saver. I spread some raw tahini paste, avocado and a sprinkle of sprouts and away I go. Yum! I can’t find the wraps online, but here is the company who makes them: Live Organic Raw. The ingredients are all greens, and surprisingly the wrap actually wraps well! I hate when you buy healthy wraps and they just fall apart. What’s the point?! Mine as well call it a crumble instead of wrap since there is no wrapping involved. I don’t mind the flavour of these raw wraps, although it does taste a bit “green”. There is another kind they sell (not green), maybe I will try that in the future. For now, green is where it’s at!

    Today (day 4) has been the first day where I feel darn fantastic. I feel energized, healthy and cleansed. It is amazing how quickly your body can detoxify and reboot. It really is a wonderful feeling knowing that your health is in your own hands! I am beginning to realize my addiction to food and how I used to eat out of emotion, or boredom and not out of real hunger. Now, I am actually eating when my body tells me to and feeling satisfied with foods I never imaged would fill me up. It’s awesome! There is something about this experience that I can’t explain. Although difficult at times, I am beginning to embrace this lifestyle and see food in a new way. Trust me, get passed those first few days and then you start to see why people live this way.

    Tonight I am off to the movies to see Divergent with my hubby. I know the smell of popcorn will bring on the cravings, but I won’t give in. 26 days to go and I’m not slowing down any time soon.

    Check back for more updates on my raw experience…

    Check out some of the links and documentaries below that helped me make my decision on trying a raw food diet:

    Cancer Cure: Gerson Therapy

    Diabetes Cure: Simply Raw

    Improved Health and Healing: Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead & Hungry for Change

     

     


  10. Raw Almond-Coconut Powerballs

    January 11, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    Raw Almond-Coconut Powerballs

    Yesterday I went to the gym and met one of my favourite people there; A friend of mine since I was a little girl. We tackled an incredible leg workout and talked about some of our favourite things: our faith, good food & fitness tips. We simply enjoy each other’s company and have so much in common. I would say this friend is one of the main people who inspired me to begin my healthy journey. Her beauty on the outside truly reflects the beauty that is within. I always admired how healthy she is and the way she lives her life; a true gem guided by her Faith and trust in God.

    I can still remember visiting her house as a little girl and eating the most delicious lunch. Tuna melts on a whole grain ciabatta bun. Mmmm. I can still taste how delicious it was! It is amazing how one person can influence your life so greatly just by being themselves and modelling a good example. My Mom often tells me of the influence Diana had on her health as well, and how she so gently encouraged her to try different foods and health products. Eventually, Mom and I began our own journey of health and discovered why Diana loved eating and living so healthy.

    After a crazy hard leg workout and sweating our bums off in the sauna, we ended our time together sharing the most delicious treat I ever did eat. Diana whipped up her own recipe at home and brought it to the gym with her as a post-workout snack. I took a bite and immediately was in heaven. The gooey coconut almond-butter balls melted in my mouth. I was inspired once again by Diana! She told me the ingredients she used and I could feel the wheels turning in my brain as I was thinking of all the ingredients in my cupboards at home. She gave me permission to create my own version of these little powerballs, and so I bring to you today my favourite treat EVER, inspired by my beautiful friend Diana.

    I am telling you, these will not be in your fridge for long because they are way too good. I call them powerballs because these little balls are filled with “energy” nutritious ingredients to keep your sustained and satisfied. They will hold you over with some protein and healthy fats (and these healthy fats actually burn the bad fat from your body – SCORE!). You must make these like right now. Trust me. Best thing of all? They take zero baking time because they are raw and have not one single bad ingredient in them. You can eat them without feeling guilty! If you have kids, I can almost guarantee that they will love these too. Give them a try and let me know what you think on my Facebook Page or on the comments below. Enjoy!

     

    Raw Almond-Coconut Powerballs Recipe

     

    Almond-Coconut Powerballs

    Click Here for Raw Almond-Coconut Powerball Printable Recipe

    Recipe By: Melanie Faris

    Makes 13 powerballs

    Preparation takes only 15 minutes

    Ingredients

    3 tablespoons of melted coconut oil

    ¼ cup of raw almond butter

    ¼ cup of almond milk (fresh is best!)

    ¼ cup of local honey

    ½ teaspoon of almond extract

    1/3 cup brown rice or other raw protein powder (I used Sun Warrior Vanilla)

    3+3 tablespoons of raw shredded unsweetened coconut

    ¼ cup sliced almonds

    Method 

    Whisk together wet ingredients in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, mix protein powder, 3 tablespoons of shredded coconut and sliced almonds together. Combine wet and dry ingredients, stirring until thick. Sprinkle the remaining 3 tablespoons of shredded coconut on a plate and set aside. Put the mixture in the freezer so the dough becomes easier to handle. Using your hands, form little balls out of the mixture (approximately 1 tablespoon in size) and roll each ball in the shredded coconut until the outside is coated. Place the powerballs on a dish or baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put in the freezer for approximately 15 minutes, or until the balls are semi-hard. You can also leave these in the refrigerator to harden.

     

    Nutritional Facts (1 Powerball)
    134 kcal
    8 grams of carbohydrates
    10 grams of fat
    5 grams of protein
    5 grams of sugar
    1 gram of fiber