Raw Food Gift Buying Guide for the Holidays

If you eat lots of raw food, or know of someone who does then this list will help you pick the perfect gift this holiday season. This easy to follow raw food gift buying guide will come in handy this Christmas season.

One thing to keep in mind though, is that people who eat more raw food or are into environmental causes prefer to tread lightly on the earth. So only buy them something if you know they will appreciate the gesture. :)

Raw Food Books & Stocking Stuffers

Great Raw Food Books that make great Gifts

sweet-gratitude-raw-food-books

Alright, so I’m a huge book worm. If you’ve watched any of my more recent videos you know what my bookcase looks like. I personally love looking through raw recipe books for inspiration and to spice up my kitchen routines.

That being said, always check to make sure the person you are buying a gift for doesn’t already have the book you’re getting them. :)

Here are a bunch of great raw themed books that will be a sure hit this Christmas!

Dry Skin Body Brush

dry-skin-brush

If you’ve read my post on the benefits of dry skin brushing then you’ll know that most raw food lovers will enjoy this gift.

Here’s the gist of it: dry skin brushing is great for removing toxins from the skin, allowing for lymph circulation, reversing cellulite, and getting smoother skin.

I recommend the Purest Palm Body Brush, it’s the one I use every day.

Salad On the Go Containers

chill-and-go

This makes a great gift for anyone, regardless of whether or not they have kids. It’s a great container that you can bring with you whenever you travel, or even if you’re out and about for the day.

The lid allows you to store a salad dressing, and you can pack a delicious salad in the main compartment. Never worry about leakage or soggy salads again! Get the Aladdin Chill & Go for yourself, or for the health conscious friend who is often on the go.

A Case of Larabars

cashew-cookie-larabars

When I asked what makes a good gift for fellow raw foodies on Twitter, @LuvSchweetHeart recommended a case of Larabars. I thought it was a brilliant idea, and with so many flavors to choose from you can’t go wrong.

My favorite type of Larabar is the Cashew Cookie. It’s just got the best balance of chewiness and the flavor isn’t too overpowering. You can buy a whole case of Cashew Cookie Larabars online and have them shipped before Christmas!

Handmade Raw Chocolate Treats

Gnosis Chocolate offers a variety of handmade raw chocolate bars. You can order online, and have mouth watering chocolate in time for the holidays!

Shazzie’s Chocolate bars are full of superfood goodness, and are perfect if you live in the UK. There’s a flavor for the goddess in you and for the goddess in your raw food friend or partner.

One lucky duck treats are great if you live in New York City, but they also offer shipping. Why not treat your raw foodie with some delectable desserts and hand made cookies.

Nut Milk Bags & Sprouting Bags

I’m a big fan of making your own nut milks, and sprouting your own sprouts. If the raw foodie in your life has yet to explore these new ways to “cooking” then getting them a nut milk bag is the way to go!

You can buy the kind of Nut Milk Bag that I buy here, they are handmade in Vermont. I met the lovely lady who makes them, and it really made my day to know I’m helping local people every time I make some nut milk or sprout some mung beans.

Raw Food Appliances Make Very Generous Gifts

When I surveyed Twitter, @NaomiNiles recommended kitchen appliances and tools, and I totally agree! Some of my kitchen appliances came as gifts and I couldn’t have been a happier little witch. :)

The Cadillac of Blenders: The Vitamix

Vitamix

The Vita-Mix or sometimes known as the Vitamixer is definitely a top of the line blender. I know several people who are asking for one from Santa, too.

I got my first brand new vitamix this year and I cannot see myself going back to my old blender.

Yes, it’s expensive. But if you’re spending money anyway, you might as well get something that will last. The vitamix comes with a crazy 7 year warranty, a 30 day no risk money back guarantee, and they’re even offering a 3 payment plan.

The best thing about my vitamix is that I can make green smoothies for skeptical people and they love them. The secret: no chunks!

The greens go down smooth, and I know I’m contributing to someone’s health without forcing them to gulp something down uncomfortably.

Also, I get this question a lot – the Blendtec and the Vitamix are very comparable blenders, and I definitely recommend you get whichever one you personally prefer. Either way, you’re getting a high end blender that’s going to last you for years to come.

Food Processors That Make Tasty Meals

I happen to have a Magic Bullet, but to be honest since I got my vitamix I haven’t used another type of food processor. It’s enough to handle my blending and processing needs.

That being said, after getting a blender, I think it’s a good investment to have a food processor. If you are shopping for a new raw foodie who doesn’t yet have a food processor, I recommend the Cuisinart Prep 11 Plus Food Processor.

Raw Food Dehydrator for Crunchy Treats

excalibur-dehydrator

This is the cadillac of food dehydrators, it’s the Excalibur 3900 Deluxe Series 9 Tray Food Dehydrator. I’ve had mine for a few years now and I love having it to make raw crackers, cookies, breads, kale chips, and other dehydrated snacks.

You can also buy them second hand, or opt for a cheaper smaller version. Most dehydrators don’t come with a temperature setting though, but the Excalibur does.

breville-juicer-gift

Fresh Juicer for The Juice Loving Raw Foodie

I picked up a Breville Juice Fountain about a year ago and I love how quickly it juices and how easy it is to clean. One of the benefits is that it’s a good quality juicer, for a pretty fair price.

It also has a wider opening, so you don’t need to cut fruits or vegetables as small to get them juiced. It’s also super quick, so you don’t need to spend 20 minutes a day juicing, and it’s also easy to clean and assemble.

omega-juicer-gift

The juicer I own is the Omega J8005 Nutrition Center Single-Gear Commercial Masticating Juicer. What I like about it is that you can use it to make green juice, and other treats like nut butters, raw fruit sorbets and ice creams, and baby food.

It’s got a heftier price tag, but because it uses a mastication system you’re actually getting more juice for your buck. Before I got this blender I always cringed when I saw how much juice was left in the pulp. Now the pulp is totally dry.

Pasta Making Spiralizer & Spiral Slicer

raw-spiral-slicer

One of the easy and delicious raw recipes that gets a lot of raw foodies excited is raw pasta! This type of pasta is usually made from spiral sliced vegetables like zucchinis or spaghetti squash.

After using a spiralizer, you get angel hair pasta! Or at least something that imitates the texture and look of pasta, but tastes light and delicious.

If the raw food lover in your circle doesn’t have a spiral slicer yet, you can go with a basic Saladacco Spiral Slicer or a more advanced Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer.

The Homemade Icecream Maker

raw-ice-cream-maker

Okay, so you can make raw ice cream using a vitamix, an omega juicer, and a food processor. Why do you need a specialized icecream maker you ask? Well apparently, we raw inclined folks like to collect kitchen gadgets… Just kidding!

With a specialized ice cream maker you can blend up the raw ingredients you like, then add them to the ice cream maker to get fluffed up. This is very different from soft serve ice creams you can make with the vitamix, the juicers, and the food processors.

I rest my case. This is the Cuisinart Pure Indulgence Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Sorbet, and Ice Cream Maker.

(And no, this is in no way a hint to my boyfriend or family members. Ahem. Seriously, though.)

Raw Ingredients or Superfoods

organic-raw-maca-powder

Most raw folks love to create in the kitchen and these ingredients are so much fun to experiment with! If you’re not familiar with what types of raw ingredients or superfoods you should get the raw foodist in your family or friends circle, here’s a quick run down.

Gift Certificates to Raw Food Restaurants

If you live near a raw restaurant, or are planning to travel near one then gift certificates make a great gift! What better way then to try some fun new raw dishes than by eating out at a raw restaurant.

There are tons of other raw restaurants out there too, so do a google search or look at Happy Cow to find ones in your area!

Gifts for Raw Moms with Kids

Raw Recipe Book for Kids

Kid Friendly Raw Recipe Book

This is the perfect gift for busy moms who want to include more raw foods into their kids’ diet. It’s hard enough being a mom, let alone trying to come up with raw recipes your kids will love.

With this ebook you’ll get your kids to join in the raw fun, and get recipes like Chunky Monkey Ice Cream, Froggy Delight Green Smoothie, and Alien Slime Smoothie. Yum!

Give Monkey Mike’s Raw Food Kitchen a Whirl!

snack-catchers

Kid-Engineered Snack Containers

These little Munchkin Snack Catchers are great when you’re on the go with younger kids. You can easily feed your kids munchables like grapes, berries, nuts, and seeds, without making a mess!

Your children can take out as many of the small snacks as they want, and there isn’t as much of a chance of spilling grapes all over the floor.

Giving Goodwill by Adopting a Family in Need

Master J. Begin wrote this short piece about giving to someone in need this holiday season.

This Christmas is going to be a real Christmas for us! Our group has decided to adopt a couple of families that truly are in need and the entire team will pitch in by donating gifts and food so they can have a wonderful Christmas.

The concept is easy: get in touch with a local childcare agency or church and ask if they know of a family that could use help this Christmas. Find out the number of family members and their gender, and voila you have your adopted family.

This concept can be used in your workplace or in any group. It is making this Christmas so exciting and fun for us! Imagine a wave of giving taking place across the nation… And it becomes a blizzard of goodwill!

Green & Eco Friendly Gifts

When I asked about green and eco gifts, @DRumbold had some great suggestions! Here they are. If you’re planning on hosting or would like a lovely eco-friendly bouquet of flowers, then Harmony Hill Gardens is the place to go.

Dorinda also recommended Eco Friendly Apparel from Green Changes. They’ve got some nice t-shirts that I’m sure some raw foodies would enjoy.

And of course you should check out some of Dorinda’s recycled green handmade soap. It’s just gorgeous, and will keep even the most adventurous raw foodies squeaky clean.

Another great gift idea for raw foodies is to buy JoeyFiveCents’ repurposed vintage jewelry. There are also a slew of other great small handmade gifts available on Etsy. I personally need to restrain myself from visiting the Etsy site, since there’s so much goodness there.

Another great place to shop for green and eco products is Carla Rose’s Green & Chic online shop. She’s got a variety of beauty products and other environmentally friendly gifts for the raw foodie in your life.

What Do You Intend to Give This Holiday Season?

Even though this gift guide is all about the material gifts we can give each other, I want to remind us that giving and receiving can take place in other ways too.

Being there for someone through thick and thin, providing love and support, being a good friend or family member, these are all great gifts! These are gifts that cannot be replaced by material things.

So go ahead, let us know what you intend to give this holiday season… no matter what type of gift it is. And feel free to share this list with those who could use some inspiration.

Love, Nathalie

Originally published November 2009.

Why It’s Important to Rotate Your Greens

Why Rotate Your Greens?
Photo by Rachel

I write a lot about green smoothies and the benefits of drinking green smoothies. I’m also a huge advocate of juicing your greens. But one of the important aspects of drinking your greens is the rotation of plants.

Let me explain.

When you consume the exact same variety of green leafy vegetables, your body is always getting the same nutrients. Each variety of plant will give you different nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants.

But it goes even further than that. You see, each plant has a self-defense mechanism to keep animals from completely devastating their favorite plant. For example, if monkeys loved spinach and decided to eat all the spinach around then the plant could not procreate and it would die out.

Nature’s system is so smart because it knows that it’s important to keep greens around (hello! most nutritious food pound for pound!). So green leafy plants actually have a minute amount of alkaloids, which act like a poison if ingested regularly.

That’s where rotating your greens comes in! If you switch between different types of green plans, your body’s immune system is actually getting a boost because it is working on different alkaloids all the time.

So my recommendation, backed up by Victoria Boutenko is to switch between at least 10-12 types of greens. You can have say two or three days on one green like spinach, and then two or three days on kale, then two or three days on gai lan, you get the picture.

This actually ties in well with the Traditional Chinese Medicine system of hot and cold foods. Some people do well on certain types of greens, while others are better off with different types.

I think it’s super important to swap greens regularly! Oh, and the reason we don’t need to focus on swapping fruit as much as greens is that fruit were designed to be eaten and spread by animals. Greens would rather grow, and have their seeds blow in the wind or be pollinated by insects.

Greens are the most powerful healing foods out there, so it’s great to make them a staple part of your diet!

List of Greens to Get You Started

Your best bet is to go to a farmer’s market and look a the vast array of colorful greens. Pick some up, smell it, ask the farmer what it tastes like, and give it a try! If you’ve got the space and inclination, I’d highly recommend you start a garden. Plant a few of these vegetables and see which ones you like!

  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Kale
  • Bok Choy
  • Gai Lan
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Mustard Greens
  • Carrot Tops
  • Yu Choy
  • Sunflower sprouts (sprouts in general)
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Buttercrunch lettuce
  • Boston lettuce
  • Arugula (Rocket)
  • Collard greens
  • Cabbage
  • Watercress
  • Purslane
  • Sorrel
  • Tatsoi
  • Turnip Greens
  • Radish Greens
  • Beet Greens
  • Basil leaves
  • Coriander / Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Mint leaves

What other greens do you enjoy?

There are literally hundreds of different green edible plants out there. Which ones are your favorites and what have you tried that you didn’t quite like?

Love, Nathalie

Raw Food Fight #6: Kristen Suzanne from Kristen’s Raw

Interview with Kristen Suzanne

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Kristen Suzanne from Kristen’s Raw! Check out her words of wisdom and her raw food fairytale in this candid interview.

1. What brought you to raw food, what’s the story there?

About 7 years ago, I started eating a vegan diet after reading the books Diet for a New America and The Food Revolution by John Robbins. Those books are life changing. In the span of about a week I became an activist for animals (I’d always loved animals but I had NO IDEA about the horrors of slaughter houses, and, sadly, I never made a connection between my plate and those precious creatures. But, that changed once it was brought to my attention.) So, my reason for going vegan was primarily for animal ethics/politics. The secondary benefits, in my opinion, were the health and environmental aspects.

Then, while searching for nutritious, high-energy vegan recipes in the cookbook section of Whole Foods Market (4-5 years ago), I stumbled upon a book of raw vegan recipes; I was enraptured by the gorgeous vibrant photos of both the foods and the author(!). They seemed to jump off the page at me.

I bought the book, and went home where I read it cover to cover in one sitting, practically salivating at the pictures. Afterwards, I hopped online to research more about raw – I couldn’t help myself. I had to know more! After reading about the many benefits of eating fresh whole foods, I was hooked on making it a fundamental part of my lifestyle. I had no idea I would take it this far and make a career out of it – haha.

2. You’ve got tons of awesome recipe books, what types of raw foods are your favorites?

Amazingly Simple raw recipes

Thank you! I’ve had so much fun creating recipes and writing books – it’s a real passion of mine. I think the recipe creation is genetic because my dad is a chef, and when my parents were married, my mom shared in the chef responsibilities (they owned a restaurant) – so, I’m not sure I could’ve helped myself.

Anyway… to answer your question… My favorite raw foods change depending on various things. For example, during the spring months I tend to enjoy cleansing foods like sauerkraut, green juices, green smoothies, salads, etc. During the hot summer months, my diet is heavily raw based with fresh fruits (hello watermelon!!!), salads, zucchini and cucumber pasta dishes, etc.

During the fall and winter months I gravitate toward some cooked foods (always vegan, always organic), but I still keep it pretty high in the raw department. I feel my best and perform optimally, when I have lots of organic raw foods in my day – in spite of the temperature outside. However, during these colder months you’ll catch me eating (cooked) oats, quinoa, lentils, beans, non-gmo tofu, miso soup, steamed veggies, etc.

Yummy raw soups

Then, my diet can also change based on hormones. I dive into raw chocolate usually once a month (sometimes more!).

There are times that I’m more active in the gym so you’ll see me drinking more protein shakes, etc. Or, there are times when I want to lose a few pounds so I have a couple days a week where I juice fast.

And, of course, now that I’m pregnant, I’m finding that I have some days that are all raw and some days that are moderate to high raw (again though, always vegan, and always organic, unless I’m at a restaurant that doesn’t serve organic).

Finally, when I’m traveling and there are delicious raw vegan restaurants to be visited then I’m all about the gourmet raw food – I load up, baby!

I love the flexibility of this lifestyle and the options with how we can have more raw in our lives. All of the above are favorites for me, it just depends on my life at the moment.

3. What has been the most surprising part of eating a high raw diet during pregnancy?

To tell you the truth, there really hasn’t been anything surprising. My family supports it and so does my midwife. I’m fortunate that even though I experienced all day morning sickness from weeks 7-14, I still had intense cravings for juicy fruits, salads, etc. (That being said, there was a 10-14 day period, where I consumed a lot of soups, crackers, grains, and sprouted toast.) I’m also not surprised that my health has been in top shape during this pregnancy because of my healthy diet. I’ve had pristine urine analyses, blood work, and no swelling so far.

4. What has been the most life changing aspect of eating more raw food for you?

Raw vegan food makes me feel alive, light, happy, extraordinarily vibrant – from my head to my toes. It’s like the cells in my body have truly come to life, and I approach each day with immense confidence that my health is extraordinary – that’s priceless. But that’s not all – With fresh, pure, plant-based foods, I’m connected to something that can be hard to describe for people who haven’t shared the same experience. It’s a connection to the earth. To life. To the sun. To animals. They are precious interconnections that are impossible to take for granted. I feel like I’m experiencing — and deeply connected to — a planet that is alive!

5. What one thing would you recommend for women wanting to get pregnant?

Kristen

Hhmmm…. Only one thing? Gosh, I could write a book (lol – I think I will!). But… one thing -> eat (and behave) really healthy. I can’t stress enough how important I think nutrition is to pregnancy for both the mama and the future baby.

And, in that “healthy” definition I include:

  1. ORGANIC FOODS! Pesticides can cross the placenta.
  2. Plenty of alkalizing greens (think: smoothies, juices, salads, etc.)

And, can I give one other piece of advice? I don’t recommend starting a detox diet while: trying to conceive, pregnant, or breastfeeding. It’s important to eat healthy, but it’s not the time to suddenly go all-raw if you’re body isn’t used to it.

There is a risk of your body releasing toxins if you do this, and getting pregnant isn’t the best time for that. Therefore, it’s smart to start eating (and behaving) really healthy 6-9 months before trying to conceive so your body adjusts to the changes and cleans out. Furthermore, when I say “behaving” I’m also referring to eschewing chemicals in the home and on the body, as well as reducing stress.

6. How would you approach someone who was resistant to eating raw food?

I’d simply be a glowing example of how great it is – being a walking testimonial is usually enough to at least garner curiosity. I don’t usually approach people because I prefer that they come to me when they’re ready. When people are resistant? I have two easy statements: “You can’t argue that it’s smart to eat more fresh fruits and veggies, can you?” AND “Just try it for yourself and see.”

Here is something fun: When dealing with family and friends who are resistant, I’ve used it as a gift to myself from them. One holiday season, I asked family and friends to not buy me any gifts. Instead, I asked them to go vegan (with lots of fresh raw foods) for 5 days as their gift to me. I told them to save the money they would have spent on me, and, instead, use it for the vegan and raw foods they were going to buy themselves. I provided them with the starter kit from GoVeg.com as well as a little document I wrote including easy recipes as well as tips and tricks.

7. Tell me about the project/book you’re most excited about right now, and how people can get their hands on it.

I’m excited about my latest project, Green Mommy Blog. It’s a place where I write about all things green and/or mommy related. I also have a new recipe book I’m writing that will hopefully be available in the next 1-2 months.

8. If you could summarize your experience with raw food, what one word would you use?

THRIVE!

Thank you Kristen!

Thanks again to the lovely green mommy to be Kristen. I just loved reading her advice to those who want to conceive, as well as her tips for dealing with reluctant friends and family members. You can get your hands on Kristen’s raw recipes books here.

Join us next time for more interviews and more raw related goodies! :)

Love, Nathalie