Monday, 18 February 2013

love food, love love

It's been such an amazing start to the month, not only do I feel great after nearly a month of eating clean and mainly raw but I also took part in what is one of the most important of traditions.  
Yep, I got married!!!
Getting ready for the big day was an incentive for my new direction in eating and now that it's over, I don't think I want to stop!

Not feeling bloated, getting good sleep, feeling energised, getting compliments on my skin, all good reasons why I want to continue.  Not to mention that it's also so much fun experimenting with new tastes and textures when making a meal.

Of course, this isn't the first time I've gone raw, I did a month of raw a little while ago.  This time however, I did it a little bit different.

I didn't consume as much nuts and seeds as last time, and I also kept oils to a minimum.
I have been keeping mainly to the 801010 philosophy which basically translates to a high carb, low fat way of eating.
Basically, I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables.  I get my fat from avocados or flax seed oil, chia and some nuts.
I get my protein, vitamins and minerals from veggies and fruit, making sure I eat a lot of greens which contain all the good things your body needs in abundance.

People ask me all the time if I feel any different now than I did when I ate animal products and the answer is always the same.  A big YES!
Now when I see someone tucking into fried foods covered in sauces, I actually feel a bit sick and I wonder if that person knows that what they are putting in to their bodies is actually doing them harm.
But that's not to say that all vegans are healthy, quite the opposite is sometimes the case.  
One google search of vegan food reveals some pretty scary stuff. Packaged soy products, not-meats, sugar laden cakes made from nutritionally devoid ingredients, these are not what your body is meant to be eating.  But hey, we're all human and we all make mistakes, I know I have.  I haven't always eaten what's good for me.  But if you can learn from your mistakes, then you are on the right track.
I think a common mistake people make when going down the vegan path is that they remove the animal products but don't replace it with anything.
This is why people look sick and pale. 
A diet full of starches and packaged foods is not sufficient to maintain good health.
At the end of the day, regardless of whether you follow a plant based diet or one that contains animal products, eating foods as close to their natural state is what is best.

So what does a raw foodie high carb low fat day look like?
I start the day with 0.5-1L of water.
Follow with a 1 L smoothie/juice, mostly green with some fruit.
Lunch is a big salad with lots of green veggies like kale, baby spinach, cos lettuce and whatever other veggies I have.  
Nori rolls are also a favourite because they are quick to make and super tasty.  Sometimes I replace the nori with rainbow chard leaves, or choy sum leaves.  I still haven't been able to find collard greens here but if anyone has, please message me, I'm dying to sink my teeth into those!!
Snack on fruit if I need to, or half an avocado.
Dinner is sometimes banana sundaes (i kid you not), salad, raw pasta, or some fruit or a smoothie, depending on my level of hunger.

If you think smoothies can get boring, then here are some that you can try to get you out of your smoothie rut.
All recipes serves 1

Pitaya, Blueberry and Banana

2 frozen bananas
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup pittaya cubes
a sprinkle of chia seeds (optional)

You know what to do!!
Pitaya, or dragon fruit as it's known in Australia, is said to be a good source of vitamin C, specially the red skinned variety.
Pitayas, like most fruit, are also rich in fibre and minerals, notably phosphorus and calcium.

The seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, and in particular Red Pitayas contain very little saturated fat.
Pitayas also contain significant quantities of phytoalbumin antioxidants.  WIN!

Banana, Blueberry, Beetroot and Pear 

2 frozen bananas
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 medium beetroot
2 small pears

green on left, beetroot on right.
Green Smoothie

1 frozen banana
3 cos lettuce leaves
2 cups baby spinach
4 cm piece of celery
1/2 mango cheek
1 pear
goji berries for garnish (optional)

I had this particular combination of smoothies on the day before a fun run.
Beetroot is said to help with carrying oxygen in your blood, particularly helpful when you're going to be needing the extra oxygen I think!

Banana Chocolate Pie

2 frozen bananas
1 pear
1/4 avocado
2 medjool dates
2 TBS raw cacao powder
chia seeds and raw cacao nibs (optional)

When a chocolate craving calls, I don't shy away from it.  
I just make sure it's as full of as many nutrients as possible.
The avocado really gives it that creamy taste and the good fats your body needs.
The dates give it an extra touch of sweetness and a hint of caramel.
Are you drooling yet? I am!

Pine Green Smoothie

2 frozen bananas
1 large pear
3 kale leaves
2 handfuls of baby spinach
2 cups of pineapple cubes
8 mint leaves
We went on holidays with our girls after the wedding, more like a "famimoon" if you will.
We stayed at a caravan park but that didn't stop me from taking my hand held blender.
I just can't live without my breakfast smoothies!
This combination was really fresh and tropical and it just screamed out sandy feet and salty skin.

The Valentine's Edition

1 large frozen banana
3 kale leaves
2 handfuls of spinach
2 medjool dates
1/2 lemon juiced
1 punnet of strawberries
1 mango
6 basil leaves

We went to a strawberry and tomato farm the day before Valentine's day and had the pleasure of picking strawberries with our girls.
It was such an enjoyable experience, specially getting to eat them after our hard work.
I had to add them to my smoothie the next day, being Valentine's day and all.

Cherrie Berry Smoothie

1 frozen banana
1 cup frozen blueberry
1/2 cup of cherries, stones removed
1 pear
With the end of cherry season upon us, I tried to make the most of it by adding them to my smoothies and making some cherry ripe sundaes, but more on those later :)
Antioxidant Hit

3 kale leaves
2 handfuls of baby spinach
4 cos lettuce leaves
1/2 stalk of celery
2 frozen bananas
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 TBS raw cacao powder
coconut water (about 300 mls)
Raw cacao nibs and dried coconut flakes to garnish

I really needed this after a weekend of celebrating with friends and drinking a glass of wine more than I'm used to.

Definitely did the trick though.  Felt so energised and revived after this little beauty, I think I'm going to keep it as my secret weapon anytime I'm having a down day.  Well, not so secret anymore but sharing is caring!

Pear Vanilla & Coconut

2 frozen bananas
2 large ripe pears
400 mls of coconut water
2 TBS of coconut flesh
1 vanilla bean, insides scraped out and added to the smoothie

It was hot and humid today and after my huge lunch, I just wasn't up to making a big salad so I whipped up this most uncomplicated smoothie and had it with a mixed fruit salad for dinner.
It was absolutely delicious and ended up being super filling too.  So satisfying.  

Sometimes I can't decide on what flavour smoothie to make, when that happens, I make a little bit of all the ones I want, stick it in a glass and call it a Breakfast Parfait!
The bottom and top layer is green smoothie, the second layer is blueberry smoothie and the white layer is just banana and coconut flesh.
Just make sure that you reduce the amount of water and ingredients so that you don't get any wastage.
What I did was use 1/2 a banana for each layer and that gave it the perfect consistency for each layer.

And before we move on to the more savoury dishes, I just have two more treats for you.

Choc Chip Banana Split
Serves 1


2 frozen bananas
1 fresh large ripe banana
2 TBS raw cacao powder
1 tsp raw cacao nibs
1 tsp dried coconut flakes
3 fresh cherries


In a food processor, place your frozen bananas and process until banana has broken up and starts to look like soft serve.  Add your raw cacao powder and process until it becomes incorporated into the banana ice cream.
Cut your large banana in half lengthways, place on a serving plate, spoon on your chocolate ice cream.  Top with fresh cherries, and sprinkle on the cacao nibs and coconut.

and yes, i did have this for dinner!!

Cherry Ripe Sundaes
Serves 2


2 fresh cherries
1 TBS dried coconut

For Cherry Ice Cream                    For Chocolate Mousse

10 pitted fresh cherries                2 small avocados
2 TBS coconut milk                      2 medjool dates
2 frozen banana                         2 TBS of raw cacao powder
                                        1 tsp vanilla extract
                                        1/4 cup coconut nectar *


For Cherry Ice Cream

Place all ingredients in your high speed blender (i use vitamix) and blend until ingredients are incorporated and resemble ice cream.

For Chocolate Mousse

Place all ingredients in your food processor and process until super smooth.
*coconut nectar can be hard to get, feel free to use 100% maple syrup if you can't find it.  I use loving earth and order it through their website.
Alternatively, you could leave it out and add some extra dates, possibly half the amount of raw cacao powder as it is pretty rich!

To Assemble

Just layer the chocolate mousse and cherry ice cream in whatever beautiful glass you have, top it off with a cherry and sprinkle on the coconut.
Too easy!

I placed mine in the freezer for a little while as it was a very hot day and I wasn't going to eat it until later.  You could double the recipe and make some to have in your freezer for those days when you don't have time to make something delicious.

Okay, let's go down to savoury town with these next few recipes.
Y'all know I love nori rolls and I've put up some recipes for them before so I may be repeating myself but so it goes....
I love the simplicity of them and the fact that you can add anything you want!  It's such an easy meal, and perfect for when you need to eat your veggies fast before they lose their sparkle.

Seasoned Seaweed Nori Rolls
Serves 1


2 nori sheets
1 cup of alfalfa sprouts
1/2 handful of enoki mushrooms
6 strips of red capsicum
100g of seasoned seaweed (i bought mine from the fish markets)


Lay out your nori rolls on a sushi mat, make sure you have some water close by as you'll need it to seal the edges once you roll them.
Place your chosen ingredients in the middle, leaving about a 1.5 cm space at the edge.
Roll up, roll up, seal and serve with your favourite accompaniments.
 Note the pickled ginger.  You should try to include some type of pickled or fermented food in your diet, it really helps your digestive system stay in tip top shape.

I also love sauerkraut,  really delicious on it's own, or in fillings with some salad and tahini.

The following recipe is for a dressing that I made up when we were away.
As I said, all I had was my hand held blender so this was quick and pleased the family.

Minty Avocado Dressing
Makes approx. 1 cup


1 large ripe avocado
1/2 lime juiced
small handful of mint sprigs, leaves only (or more depending on how minty you want it)
Freshly ground pepper
Himalayan pink salt to taste


Place all your ingredients in a blender (or use your handheld) and process until super smooth.

I served it on top of a salad made up of baby spinach, thinly sliced zucchini (use potato peeler, no spiralizer), grated carrots, capsicum, tomatoes and cos lettuce.
Fresh and delicious.
If you don't like mint, feel free to substitute with whichever herb tickles your fancy.
I also use this dressing like mayonnaise and add it to my nori rolls or when I make sandwiches for my girls.

If you eat salmon or tuna, this would be really nice if you substituted dill and had it in a wrap with some salad greens and capers.  

If you have any left over, it will last in the fridge for a max of 3 days.

Mango, Pineapple and Grapefruit Ceviche
Makes 6 cos lettuce cups


6 large cos lettuce leaves
1/2 large mango diced
1 cup of diced pineapple
2 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves sliced thinly
1/2 cup mint leaves chopped
1/2 cup coriander leaves chopped
1/2 large red chilli thinly sliced (remove pith and seeds if you don't like it hot)
1 lime juiced
Himalayan sea salt 
Freshly ground pepper
12 grapefruit segments


In a large bowl, mix your ingredients except for your lettuce leaves and grapefruit segments.
Do so gently with your hands, just enough to coat all the ingredients whilst keeping them fresh.  You don't want a squishy mess.  Remember, people eat with their eyes also ;)
Once mixed add your grapefruit and mix gently again.
Place your cos lettuce cups on a serving platter and carefully add your ceviche into the middle.
The idea is that you leave room to wrap them up in little parcel which you stick in your mouth and devour!

Ceviche is a dish that is traditional to my birth country Peru and I grew up eating it.
It is a really healthy dish that traditionally uses boneless white fish and it's eaten raw, with the only cooking taking place due to the acid from the lime and lemon juice.  It is normally served in a lettuce cup with a side of corn and sweet potato.  There is no oil used, and the only other ingredients are red onion, coriander, salt, pepper and chilli.
This is my version of a beloved dish that always reminds me of my family and Peruvian heritage.

Fettucine with Spicy Tomato Sauce*
Serves 2


For pasta

4 medium zucchini
2 handfuls of baby spinach
4 medium cup mushrooms sliced
8 kalamata olives sliced thinly
4 cherry tomatoes halved
2 basil leaves roughly torn for garnish

For sauce

2 large tomatoes
1 garlic clove
1/4 red onion
1/3 cup red capsicum
1 TBS tomato paste
1 small red chilli (remove seeds and pith if you don't want it too hot)
1 tsp dried oregano 
5 large basil leaves
1 medjool date pitted
1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1/2 lime juiced
1/2 medium carrot


For the fettucine

You will need a spiraliser or a potato peeler (please see previous posts re: how to do this).
Use whatever method to make the zucchini into fettucine.
Place zucchini pasta in a large bowl and add your other ingredients except basil.  Toss gently to combine.  Set aside.

For Sauce

Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and process until super smooth.  

To serve, pour sauce over fettucine, sprinkle with basil leaves and serve.
if that's not fast food, i don't know what is!
*ok so this may not be completely raw due to the tomato paste.  You can make it completely raw by using sundried tomatoes and soaking them in water for 30 mins before adding them to your sauce.  I just didn't have any at hand but was craving this dish so bad.

Cherry Tomato Salad
Serves 4 as a side


20 cherry tomatos
5 large basil leaves
1/2 small red onion
1/2 lemon juiced
extra virgin olive oil
Himalayan pink salt and fresh pepper to taste


In a large bowl, add all your ingredients and toss gently to coat with oil and juice.
Serve with your meal.
These are the tomatoes that we got at the farm.  They are award winning due to their amazing flavour and I just didn't want to complicate the dish. With flavour this good, it was best to leave things simple.

Choy Sum Wraps
Serves 1



4 large choy sum leaves
1 cup of fenugreek sprouts (or whatever sprouts you like)
carrot sticks
red capsicum sticks
thinly sliced zucchini


Fresh chilli thinly sliced


Place choy sum leaf on a plate and add fillings to the centre of the leaf, leaving some space on the bottom so that you can turn it up and tuck it when you are rolling so that your filling doesn't escape.
Roll them up and use a toothpick to secure them into place.
Place them, edge down, on your serving plate.

To make dressing, just add your tamari and mix it with your chilli and place in a little dipping bowl.

I served this with a yummy salad which is super easy but super tasty.

Apple and Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Lemon & Poppyseed Dressing
Serves 1


10 brussel sprouts (remove tough outter leaves)
1 apple peeled
5 mint leaves sliced thinly*


1 TBS apple cider vinegar
1/2 lemon juiced
1 tsp poppy seeds


Put your apple and brussels sprouts into a food processor and process until it resembles chunky crumbs.
Place in a medium bowl and add mint leaves and dressing ingredients.  Toss well to combine and serve.
Top with some pomegranate seeds (optional).

*an easy way to thinly slice herbs is to get all the leaves on top of each other, roll into a tight little stick and slice thinly.  Fast and gives you uniform strips.... and yes, I am a bit of a control freak.

So, that's me and my raw food clean eating adventures to date.
Lots of fresh, in season ingredients, which in this country, we are lucky to have in abundance.
Which brings me to a point I want to make.
Being able to have a choice about what food you put into your body is a gift.  I am humbled and grateful every day that mother earth has chosen me as one of the lucky people who can do this.
To eat food, (let's call it food but I don't believe that junk food is real food, just junk)that is bad for you and is doing damage to your body, is like shitting on those people who are not as fortunate.  Sorry to be so blunt and crude but seriously. 
And no, I don't believe that you necessarily have to have a plant based diet to do this.  Just be mindful of what you eat, where it comes from, what you waste, what you consume. 
Waste not, want not.

Peas, love and mungbeans



  1. beautiful post, Brenda. i'm going to try a bunch of those smoothies and can't wait to see what else you get up to! x

    1. Thanks Megan, glad you liked it. Please try them out and let me know what you think xx