Guac with peppers

Monique’s Voice: Raw Vegan Lifestyle

Different people choose to live different lifestyles and one of the ways they express it is through their food choices. I’m pretty sure many of you are familiar with the vegan lifestyle which means to abstain from eating any animal protein or animal by-products, like dairy, butter, and eggs, but a lifestyle referred to as “raw vegan” isn’t as popular. Raw vegans believe that cooking food can destroy its micronutrients and that the cooking process exposes foods to harmful chemicals – which resonated with me. When I began my journey as a raw vegan earlier this year, I really had no idea where to start. This lifestyle means eating uncooked and unprocessed foods – so pasta, rice, bread are all out (noooooooo). So I needed resources and recipe ideas, but I didn’t want to overwhelm myself. I chose to listen to Fully Raw Kristina – I absolutely love her energy and she makes everything look and sound incredible. And Yuri Elkaim – although he’s not 100% raw, I love his realistic down-to-earth approach on intermittent fasting, and he has some pretty bomb recipes too. Through this journey, I’ve really discovered that this is a great way to enjoy what you eat in its most natural form while maximizing its health benefits.

SO… how did I get here? I certainly wasn’t always vegan – I used to enjoy animal products on a regular basis. I considered myself relatively healthy – I never suffered from any serious health issues, other than hypoglycemia (aka low blood sugar levels), which I suppose in a way was a bad sign of things to come. Oddly enough, my mother in law (who I’m very close to), started eating raw and explained what she was learning from holistic nutritionists on YouTube videos. She’s always been very health conscious, so it wasn’t long after that I joined her and pretty immediately, I started feeling ALIVE. That’s the best way I can describe it. I was eating less calories, but I felt so satisfied. I learned that feeling was the result of my body actually being nourished on a cellular level. So naturally I continued. Fortunately, my husband joined us in this journey, which is a blessing because I don’t have to make two meals, and recently our 11 year old daughter has joined us in the raw foodie lifestyle. She was a bit resistant to it and complained she didn’t like the food options (even my hubby complained about some of the food options, so I can’t blame her) so we were patient in the hopes she would make the decision to join us. It was very important to me that she see the benefit in eating this way for herself and actually enjoy it. Growing up, my parents made me eat all kinds of things I had no desire to eat – something I don’t think should be forced upon anyone. The way you choose to eat is completely personal preference. But we’ll save that for another blog post.

A raw vegan lifestyle may sound restricting, but the truth is, you can have so much fun exploring different types of fruits and vegetables, spices, nuts, seeds, and much more. I’ve found some incredible recipes that I would’ve never dreamed could be made raw. Raw vegan taco salad with “sour cream”(photo below), raw vegan queso, raw veggie wraps (photo below), zoodles with marinara sauce, and of course my crazy good guacamole concoction (recipe below), and smoothie bowls.

I’m not a food nazi and I don’t believe that there is any such thing as perfection. I don’t condemn anyone for the decisions that they make and I will not beat myself up when I make a “less than ideal” decision. Which is the reason why I’m not 100% raw – I know I couldn’t realistically commit to never eating cooked food again and rather than lying to myself, then feeling guilty when I do have it, I’m just real with myself. I’ve made it a personal goal to be about 90% raw/10% cooked. What does that look like? If I have 10 total meals per week, then 1-2 of those meals are cooked. If you’re interested in trying this kind of lifestyle, keep in mind that it’s important to learn more about it and truly understand its mechanics, as well as some of the downfalls and benefits. I recommend starting small by replacing one cooked meal with one raw meal per day. I’m not saying that the raw vegan lifestyle is for everybody, but I know that it’s definitely worth the try. And with school starting back up, it’s a great incentive not to cook!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Is this something that you would like to read more about? Do you want to hear about my progress as I move through this journey?

Crazy good guacamole concoction recipe:

Ripe medium-sized organic avocados (usually 5-6 for a family of 4)

⅓ organic red onion chopped (food processor is your friend)

½ red bell pepper, chopped (again food processor)

Organic cherry tomatoes (I slice mine in ½ pieces since we like our guac on the chunky side)

1 lemon or lime freshly squeezed

Pitted Kalamata olives (I buy them already pre-sliced)

2-3 large spoonfuls of kimchi

Cayenne pepper to taste

Turmeric powder to taste

Black pepper to taste

Break up the avocados first, then mix in everything else. Season with cayenne, turmeric, and black pepper. Tastes delicious with romaine lettuce or stuffed inside bell peppers. You can also have it with chips. To my utter surprise, I found some dehydrated veggie chips at Whole Foods, which would still be considered raw. **Note, instead of adding salt, I use the juice from the olive jar to add more delicious salty olive flavor. Enjoy!

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