Vegan Cheating Confessional

Confession time: I cheated on my vegan diet the other day and had a little cheese in my salad. The aged cheese was a thoughtful gift from the travels of a friend and not something we bought, it should be noted haha. I felt as though I was a crazed animal with a newly found, hypersensitivity to my taste buds and palette. Oh the massive amount of guilt that consumed me. In the past, if a little cheese was on something I was eating I barely noticed, didn’t give much thought to before. But now, it’s a completely different story. It’s an once-in-a-lifetime treat in my mind. The thrill and happiness that I experienced from eating that cheese… I was disgusted with myself, how it could have this affect over me, leaving me feeling weak and powerless.


         I was reminded of a story my mom had told me of one of her former students. The child in her class had parents that enforced very strict diets for their kids since they were born, forbidding any and all sugar. But once their children were old enough to enter school and have the freedom from their parents’ presence, they stuffed themselves sick with candy and sugary treats, going on a wild mission for it. The restrictions that were placed upon them made them hunger for it and crave the unhealthy food more than the average child, who was used to having treats fairly often. I worry about having a similar incident and the parallels that I feel to those kids and one day cracking, giving this up. Perhaps going cold turkey was not the best approach for me, too much all at once. Although “cold turkey” is not the best term of phrase when speaking about veganism, I have to admit.

My boyfriend nicely shook off my worries and advised that it’s best not to refer to my cheese transgression as cheating, perhaps to remove the “forbidden-ness” aspect out of the picture. Rather than dwelling on your cheating, you should accept your few weak moments and actions, forgive yourself, and move on. Allowing you to continue on your path and be successful and guilt free, without the all-hope-is-lost attitude that tends to spin you back to your old habits. It all sounds very similar to the diet tips for people trying to lose weight. No one guaranteed it would be easy. I must remind myself what I’m going through is normal and I am not alone in my feelings during this journey, as others before me have wrestled problems during their diet change. I also have the support and backing from my boyfriend, family, and other loved ones to help me along.

From the lessons I’ve gained from the matter, if you slip up, do not think that everything is ruined forever. You must have an optimistic and determined mentality. Just continue on no matter how many times you have to hit the “reset” button on your diet change and keep going in the direction of your goal. In fact, a lot of people go through a transition period on their path to becoming fully vegan, and it’s ok, as long as you remember the exact reason that led you to becoming vegan in the first place. That will help get you through the weak moments.


         Because all of this is psychological, we must train ourselves, body AND mind, in order to undertake one of the hardest challenges we face on a regular basis with every choice we make; which is to delay our immediate joy/gratification, in exchange for a much greater benefit in the future. I’m forgiving my cheese offense and carrying on.

The Pursuit of Taste

Want versus need. What really, truly drives our decisions? Do we listen to what our bodies actually require rather than answer our strong, current desires each time we sit down for a meal? Is it a balancing act of sorts? As I reach the third week mark of my vegan diet, my cravings have been on the forefront of my mind, consuming any other thoughts of nutrition and threatening to drown out all the reasons why I chose to follow a vegan diet in the first place.

My boyfriend noticed my struggling and poignantly reminded me of the true, little importance that taste-based food choices have in the long-term and towards your happiness. He simply asked me if I could remember what we had to eat for dinner three nights ago and my mind drew a complete blank and I couldn’t recall. Which was astonishing because I’ve never craved, discussed, blogged, and thought about food as much as I am now. In the moment, you think how you absolutely must indulge and order those fries, buy that candy in the grocery store, and have that frozen pizza in your fridge instead of preparing a salad. Taste is your main focus. Yet, as my boyfriend has found, nine times out of ten, if you ask anyone, they cannot tell you what they had to eat for dinner three nights ago. Some time after I remembered, when I really thought it out, but his point really resonated with me; how taste is completely insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

That discovery gave me pause and I hope will create a shift in my thinking. Having worked as a waitress for a number of years, I am far too used to the atmosphere of a restaurant where taste is absolutely everything, customers come to indulge and gluttony doesn’t exist. I hope that’s what’s happened to me. Trapped too long in the restaurant world, warping my way of thinking temporarily. How am I so wrapped up in the present, pursuing mere taste and my wants time and time again? Allowing this inner child/brat in my head, without any regard for health, win out. In those times of temptation when I give in, I tell myself it’s just a little treat and all in moderation, as long as I’m not having this every day… maybe there’s still some truth to that, but I’m so focused on taste.

Hopefully there’s an ideal middle ground where you can have both, taste and health. I’m happily discovering it really is possible and proven to be so with the nutritious and delicious vegan cooking my boyfriend creates every day and undoubtedly surprises my taste buds with as well. There have been some things, such as juicing, that I have had trouble mustering though, even with hearing all the health benefits. Which leaves me contemplating the ultimate dilemma; how do I rise above and overcome my obsession with taste? Perhaps I have a very unhealthy relationship to food. I wonder if everyone faces this same battle, with some of us having stronger self-discipline than others, silencing their urges.

I suppose it boils down to a mental game to be won then. A test of determination. And in that case I must fight, every day, until the battle is so familiar to me that I hardly notice it, until it’s not a struggle any longer. I must resist my cravings that have built up, cutting off their power to take hold and control me. I cannot allow my heightened attention to food influence my desires and goal to maintain a healthy vegan diet. I do not wish to be at the mercy of my cravings. My problem has been that I’m too focused on what I cannot eat, instead of concentrating on all the new food possibilities that’s opened up to me since becoming vegan. I must let it go, recognize what is truly driving these unwanted urges and remember that these cravings feel and seem more important than they actually are. What’s more important to me is leading a healthy, happy life and that can easily start with diet.


Taste is fleeting, too easy to give into, allows you effortlessly to think solely on pleasure, living in the present and not the future. Health is forever. Or in a case where you’re not thinking about health and nutrition, health isn’t forever at all. Health will be your doom and take your life sooner. Life and health are forever entwined. When you are in a hospital bed with death on the horizon, you won’t be applauding yourself for indulging all your life and you still won’t remember what you had three nights ago for dinner. Health and every food choice you make right now, add up, it is all your future stands on; it’s the entirety of your life. Taste, therefore, no matter how hard it is, must be secondary to health. Like the Rolling Stones’ song lyrics state,


“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.”

Super Inexpensive Super Foods!


tamarindTamarind -Tamarindo=]

Not so easy to plant, trees take ten years to grow… BUT, they are super cheap to buy, either in the actual pod form which are fun to pull apart or the pre-separated tamarind pulp.  Taste is nice and sweet, but not overly sweet, loaded with vitamins and nutrients, considered medicinal.

Great with lime juice and some cayenne.  This is one of the primary ingredients for the sauce in Pad Thai!

quinoaQuinoa –

Grows like a weed, seriously, it grows so easily, try some in your backyard, you cold be pleasantly surprised!  Young plants, from 2 to 8 inches can be used whole in smoothies as a super food.

As they get larger, use the leaves and compost the stem, once they start to seed, all the ninja vibe has gone to that part of the plant so wait till they are ready to harvest and eat.

Once harvested, clean them, or buy store bought and then cook as you would rice, but they take about half the time!

Considered a complete protein, meaning it has all the necessary amino acids, alkaline, no one really has an allergy to it that I know of, chap to buy and again, easy to grow!

amaranthAmaranth –

Again, grows like a weed, young plants, from 2 to 8 inches can be used in smoothies as a super food.  as they get larger, use the leaves in salads or as a steamed dish which tastes great with a little tamari/soy/braggs and pepper, or whatever you would normally season your steamed veggies with, once they start to seed, all the ninja vibe has gone to that part of the plant so wait till they are ready to harvest and eat.

The seeds can most effectively be eaten by popping them.  They will resemble tiny popcorns but are spheres.  hey have little to no taste and can therefore be added to ANYTHING you wish to supercharge with vitamins, minerals and protein.

Allow your skillet to get very hot, add a few hand fulls of seeds, they will be tiny, cover and check often.  Add to anything.  Depending on the country, you can buy pre-popped amaranth extremely inexpensively.

My top Vegan Eateries…. thus far=]

Vegan Revolution

Look for the gold stargold star as it represents places that go above and beyond the call of duty, not only in what they offer, but how they go about offering it!

I have been biking for some time now and am happy to say that I finally came up with my top Veqan/Vegetarian/Plant Based eateries list, don’t know what took me so long actually.  At any rate, know that I am the type who would rather cook for myself as I am EXTREMELY picky about not only what I eat, but how it is prepared, the portions I get ( I tend to be an “eater”), the service, I am, while on the outside a decent enough guy, internally I will speak to every last little nuance about my meal, which is why this list is so golden for any of you in the areas where the restaurants reside!

The Number One spot is currently and I am thinking will be forever inhabited by a wonderful place called:

Mary’s Secret Garden

website here!

Ventura, California

The food they serve is so meticulously prepared and so well done, the ingredients, I am at a loss for what to speak to first, so I’ll tell you a story…

I went there a total of a few times in the short while that I stayed in Ventura.  On the final time that I went, I was a bit tipsy and ordered the “chicken” sandwich.  Now, I had at some point forgotten I was in a vegan eatery, i.e., you can not order anything that isn’t vegan, it simply isn’t there.  My sandwich came and I began to eat with gusto as the taste was so wonderful, what could I do?!?

At some point I stopped and looked at what I was eaten and a cold dread crept through my veins, my god I thought, did they make a mistake and accidentally give me a real chicken fillet!?!

I immediately called over my wonderful waitress, who I think was the owner and quickly asked her if there was any chance they’d given me a real chicken and not my vegan sandwich.

She laughed and assured me that it was quite impossible and she was glad I was enjoying my meal.

Raw foods, wonderful salads, foods that mimic meat fares, great fries and a wonderful assortment of smoothies, drinks and teas are just what the doctor ordered.  Prices for what you get are rad – 8-10 dollars and you leave feeling glorious!

No. 2Evolution Fast Food 

website here!

San Diego, California

What a place!  Vegan fast food with options for raw main meals and deserts, even the soft serve ice cream is raw or regular!

So, to give you the best idea of what we have to offer, here is what I usually order each time I go, and yes, I share this with whomever is with me, please don’t think me a glutton, big eater, yes, glutton, not so much, unless I get into the pakalolo, then it can be dangerous=]

So, I get the swiss mushroom burger with guacamole and a side of bacon, large order of spicy chicken tenders, sweet potato and regular fries mixed with soft serve ice cream for desert.  This in one of the few places that I even bother with a desert.  I have become quite picky about my sugar intake and quality of what you get, not to mention, some of these vegan eateries give you a 7 dollar sliver of something or other and look at you like they did something great.

Not here –  They use great ingredients and give you enough that you don’t feel confused about what just happened.

In addition to what I ordered, there are a variety of burgers to choose from, different patties available, different fries, drinks, salads, super food creations, smoothies, free wi-fi and some pretty cool art=]

No. 3Loving Hut

website here!

San Diego California

What a concept and idea!  Started by Supreme Master Ching Hai, this has grown to a chain of restaurants [most major US and international cities] that not only promote a plant based lifestyle, but also the effects of mental focus on one’s life.  The food is incredible and varied, with a definite Asian influence.  Very inexpensive and wonderfully food with great service!

No. 4105 Degrees by Matthew Kenney

website here!

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

This is the spot, one of the reasons that it is not at number one is due to the cost and the location.  While I do love my Oklahomies, I’m just not a fan of the cold and large flat desolate spots…

The food was impeccable, this is a raw eatery, hence the 105 degrees, food taken above this temperature, say to 110, you are now slowly killing off the important digestive enzymes and other nutrients in the food.  This is a “bad” thing as then your body has to create the enzymes for digestion and that is a whole ‘nother story.

So, what did I have….  I wish I would have started this sooner… I had lasagna, a salad, forgot which appetizer[s], tea and I think a beer, I was drinking at the time, it has been an on and off thing throughout this journey depending on the whims of my health and thoughts at the time, for now it is once again off and will remain so for the foreseeable future as I decided to go lush free for a year just because of the vast amounts of alcohol I drank while making wine and beer in Ensenada with my former partner on this ride!

Of this place I cold say the usual, you know, how the staff was superb, how very posh the place looked, how meticulous the kitchen was – an open view kitchen at that, but what really matters is this.  After taking all this time write this for you, after all the places I have eaten at, this stands out some 2 years later.  That’s my review=]

gold stargold starNo. 5 Karma Kitchen

website here!

San Francisco, Califronia

What an amazing story this is.  I had the wonderful pleasure of being able to go to a Wednesday meditation put on by the founder and originator of the group Charity Focus which is now operating and expanding at a fantastic rate under the new name of Service Space – website here!

Karma Kitchen is now spreading across the globe and has many restaurants adopting this style of eating, you see, when you dine there, there are no prices on the menu, the food is ridiculously fantastic and at the end, you pay what you can.  This money then goes towards the next person who comes to dine.

They have never operated in the red, always in the black, meaning, always at a surplus of money, which means we are good people when it comes to it aren’t we!

I am honored to have met Nipun and all his friends and family.  I hope with my new outlook on things, I will be able to not only help out, but help to grow this network and organization as it is truly one of the most profound and honest organizations I have found to date!

Oh, and did I mention that the food is excellent?


Enjoy with Aloha!

Part 1 – Monsanto and how we allow this to happen by way of our Children…

If you Eat Food, Please Read…

This is written for those of you reading who eat food.

You are what YOU eat.

All facts  and situations written about below may be found in multiple locations on the internet, the real world [farmers, scientists], your supermarket and of course, books.

While this article is mean to display the dire need to have our food put back into the hands of the common man, the UN-conventional/commercial farmer and individual growers seeking to feed their family, please do not for a moment think that I am not in awe of what this company, Monsanto, has created, and with the zeal they display in their slow yet steady march for control the Global Food Supply.

My awe does not sway my opinion however, they are batshit crazy in their aim.

In fact the depth and breadth of what is happening with this single company has been recently paralleled in the James Bond film, Quantum of Solace, where the villain SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion – Amazing how close Mr. Flemming was when it came to the irony government) sought control of the water supply of South America and ultimately the rest of the globe.  Be it water or food, the result is the same is it not?

If anyone person or group of people were to control the water or food supply, they would in fact control the world… wouldn’t they…  Do you understand this basic fact?  Its very important that you see the connection.

You are what you eat and if you stop eating, you will die.

Many of you reading this do not even know this company exists and yet you use the products of this company on a daily basis and in the course of many of your lives, you use them ALL DAY.  Odd that you wouldn’t even know of this company, and for those of you who do know this company, I assure you that whatever you know is a tip of the iceberg.  Whatever you think, hasn’t been thoroughly thought through, the ramifications of this company’s impact on your, OUR lives and that of the planet are so cloaked in shadow and circumspection that until you spend a week or so contemplating to the true genius and then, the breadth and scope of what is happening, you may not feel the need to spring into action of any sort, and I guess that’s the point.

I say all this as I am continually learning about this company and I have realized that I shall never know the true depth of this corporation.  I dare say that many of the employees, even the heads of entire divisions do not have a clue.  The size is simply too large, its reach now fully encircles the globe.

For those of you who know about the Monsanto corporation, you may find yourself asking, “Why reinvent the wheel [plants] when you can be spending all this money [hundreds of Billions] on figuring out the myriad problems we are currently faced with?”.  To now knowingly add further problems, I say knowingly, as the very procedures and rights of trial by jury are in fact now rigged to ensure that they are all circumvented for sake of speedy delivery to market, what motive could there possibly be other than that of profit.  In a world where our government is constantly toting profit over people, what are we to discern from their collusion with this entity?

And let us hope that the lust for ever increasing profits is their only aim.  For truly, an endeavor such as this could have much more dire consequences than fattened bank accounts.  You, the consumer, could find yourself living in a most deliberately changed world one day and you will have nothing to say but “meep”.

No one likes to say meep.

I used to always hear in my sales training, it is easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission, if you see a golden opportunity, go for it.  I would say Monsanto is doing just that to a degree beyond the scope of reality, and perhaps that is how they manage to fly under everyone’s radar, the scope is simply too grand in design for it to even register in the average persons brain.

But then, what can one expect from a company that seeks to patent the very food you eat?

First we have to look at ourselves and why it is possible for this to even be happening.  Then we need to understand the growth, or history of the company in order to fully understand the magnitude and reach on a global scale, from there we can enter into conversation and conjecture, finally closing with a very real look at the actual results they have achieved and if it is actually the boon to mankind they try to represent or if indeed it is a extremely large can of shinola which we will all be eating from sooner or later.  Literally.

How Did we get to this place in time where a Single Company is poised to take control of the “Food Supply” of the planet?

We Seek Complete Control of the Worlds Food Supply – purportedly said by a Monsanto official (with no evidence of the officials name or at what point it was said), which should not even be bothered to be re-recorded here if not for the company’s current direction and history.

While this may seem very ostentatious indeed, and surely for the person who struggles to pay bills on a daily basis,  the full extent of this madness will undeniably be lost in the details and the fact that it doesn’t seem to be an immediate threat, even more so.   The very idea that any one company could position themselves to own the worlds food supply is madness at best.   And yet it is due to our own lethargy in action which allows for this to be occurring.

Especially when we consider that fact that most children in school do not know the names of vegetables, nor do they know how they are grown, nor where they “come from”.

We aren’t even getting into proper nutrition yet!  Proper nutrition being proportions, vitamins and minerals, exercise, all that further makes us, well, us.

As most children do not know the names of common vegetables nor the reasons to eat them, we can then therefore assume, since the foremost teacher of a child is its parent, that the parents do not have grasp on the import of food.  Further, it is obvious that for the most part, the schools we send our children do not see the need to educate humans on what it is to be human.

You are what You eat.

This is a key element in Monsanto’s ability to do what it is doing, and for most of the major food brands to sell food that is decidedly not food.  Food, being by definition that which fuels the body, is now largely anything but.  These days the average food is more a chemical intruder that must be processed out of the body with all haste possible.  One need only look at current health statistics for confirmation of this fact.  Silly me, we need only look at what the average school passes off as “breakfast” or “lunch” to get the idea of just how miserably we are failing the FUTURE OF OUR SPECIES.

The human body is made up of trillions of cells.  Each and every cell/system in the human body needs a certain amount of vitamins, minerals, water, fat, sugars, proteins, carbs, etc. to run correctly.  If it does not get what it needs, you will get some form of sickness.  As you are a human being who is not genetically modified, your food must be of the most organic form possible with the widest variety available to you so that you may get all you need.  Every step away from ORGANIC and NATURAL makes it a bit more difficult for the body to function correctly as now it must deal with unnatural elements and chemicals which are nothing but trash to be taken out.

Hanks to the current food system in place, we must even be wary of Organic and Natural, in fact, did you know that the USDA now requires a minimum of 94% organic ingredients in order to label something 100 percent organic.

Wait, what?  Yes, you read correctly.  Our system has been whipplsnapificated by the very people you rely on to keep you safe.

It is easier for a thief to steal when they are not found out.  And if the ignorance of the theft and what exactly is being stolen in the first place can be made generational, all the better for a long term theft on a global scale.

As the education of our children is so very key, and that you may not believe in the true disparity between what we think children know and what they actually know, I now turn to a TedTalks video with Jamie Oliver.

Mr. Oliver is a World Renowned Chef and Activist and has a British accent which we all know makes all the difference for our puerile American ears.

When you see this video, you will be shown in the lower right hand of the screen, “What to Watch Next.” .  I invite you to watch the ones by Dean Ornish, and Mark Bittman.  If you do not take a moment from time to time to educate yourself on food, how do you ever expect your diet to change for the better?  Surely by now most of you believe that we are what we eat…. No?

Children in French schools in France, that’s a country over there, to the right of the USA on a map, where French fries came from, these children were asked to draw a chicken in a country wide sampling of basic education.

They drew a roast chicken in a pan.

Can that really be accidental, are we merely forgetting to educate children in basics…?

That people have a basic overall lack of knowledge, not to mention a near complete lack of how their bodies work in relation to everything; many do not have the slightest clue about digestion or what makes muscles work.  It is simply known that something makes the muscles work the fingers to pull back the pop top of the soda and peel off the wrapper of the microwave jiffy meal.

Many people do not see the importance of chewing food properly, the most fundamental process for your ENTIRE digestive process, and a “secret” to longevity in every centenarian I have ever read or had the pleasure of seeing interviewed by the weatherman, what was his name…?

They have a body, but feel completely helpless should anything go wrong.  This is due to a fundamental lack of knowledge about one of the most important things you will ever “have” in your life, your body.

I know this may seem like I am covering the same ground in myriad ways, and I am in fact doing so as I truly hope at least one of you will leave this article with a new plan forming…

In this lack of understanding it is the smallest leap to seeing how easy it is for a person to then not understand why nutrition is important, it merely becomes a word that may or may not fit their socioeconomic status.  What I mean is that the word itself is a tool to be used.  Many do not feel that nutrition is within the allowable constraints of what they consider their lives, it is above their “paygrade” and hence they eat accordingly.  Fast foods, pre-packaged chemical GMO mixes made with all the love one would expect of serial murderers.

To help you understand what I mean with socioeconomic class eating, as we go up in class structure, we see better meals, but this isn’t due to the people themselves necessarily.  This is a byproduct of having more money and a slightly better education.

The places they go and shop have generally better products, or at least a greater diversity of products.  There is more “TIME” at the family level and meals begin to take on at least the guise of the “traditional” home-owning family.  Namely, one in which a family meal is considered important.  In trying to keep to the ideal of this mental family image, the meals will naturally tend to be slightly healthier than the fast food of the family in the economic status below.  This is a sweeping generalization and should be read as such.

Now, as with anything, from cars to literature to education, as we move up the rungs of the socio-economic ladder, we see the quality and ingredients used,  increase at a near exponential level.  Of course, food follows suit.  One only need go into any “high end” grocer to see the difference between a Whole Foods Market and the Walmart food section.

Let it be known that Whole Foods has also agreed to sell GMO foods.

It should be noted that much of what I am writing is a generalization.  That at all levels there are those who fully understand the impact of diet on health and eat accordingly. 

It is through a general lack of education in the fundamental idea of diet and “what to eat”, makes possible the subjugation of food, after all, once you have the person eating subjugated, the next step, naturally, is subjugation of what they eat.  Its what is done in prisons, in third world countries, it is through the withholding of foreign aid, Henry Kissinger was very good at this, it is through control of food you control people.  First you must gain a basic control f the people or they wont let you control their food.

That’s the beauty of America, give the citizens remote controls and you have them… hook, line and sinker.

One of the most deplorable examples of this general lack of education/control, is the simple fact that anyone may grow a garden and yet so few do.  Many languish in the idea that they are doomed to poor food quality, when a bit of sweat, some seeds and a modicum of education will allow for such a bounty as to be near magical in nature.  Yet, we see very few people doing this, especially those of the lower economic status, those who would benefit MOST, do it least!?  This is 100 percent due to education and nothing more.

Of course in many places you will hear and read stories of people being fined by cities for having vegetable gardens, most recently there is a family in Florida who is under the gun.

The overall system of educating humans has been, in my estimation, subjugated towards an end goal of serving the state and not the individual.  Of course, not the state that people are led to believe they are voting for.

Now we must look at the history of the company that is making the most use of this lack of generalized education of not only the body but the nature of eco-systems and the planet whole.

Please continue to Part 2 for the remarkable and extremely scary history of this corporation, after you read it, ask yourself, why would I choose the makers of pharmaceuticals, plastic, nuclear weapons and astro-turf be the best provider for food for myself and family….?

Caribbean Ceviche for all mankind

Just back from the West Coast from what turned out to be a mini food tour. Having been raised in Puerto Rico into my young adulthood you can safely assume I’m not a natural lover of winter. I was even surprised at how smitten I was by the snow covered hills and massive icicles in Lake Tahoe. For that moment it felt like I was home in paradise. We ventured from Lake Tahoe to Napa, Sonoma and ended in San Francisco where we visited chef friends, vineyards and many restaurants along the way. And like my unforgettable trip last year to Buenos Aires and Uruguay, this too was a priceless experience to start the year with!

Self-inflicted culinary adventures and childhood is where I draw most of my inspiration. Where ceviche originated is debatable but it is nonetheless a very popular dish across Latin America. It is raw fish or seafood that has been marinated in citrus such as lemon, lime and orange. The acid in the citrus is what “cooks” the fish. So technically it is a raw food, just not vegan. I created this vegan version based on the local tropical flavors of Puerto Rico. The texture and flavor is very close to the “real” thing. Great meal when you feel you want to eat something different and exotic.

I like to use shiitake mushrooms but you can mix it up with your favorite mushroom, although some work better than others. You’ll be amazed at how delicious it is! This dish is also great for those concerned with protein intake on a vegan diet. According to a study done at the University of Maryland, shiitake mushrooms contain all eight essential amino acids better than any other protein source, including red meat and eggs. That sounds like pretty good stuff!

1-2 oranges for juicing
2 lemons, freshly squeezed
2 limes, freshly squeezed
1/4 red onions, fine diced
2 cups wild mushroom mix or favorite type, cleaned and diced
1 avocado, hass varietal, diced
1 mango, medium, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, finely minced
Gray sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a medium size bowl, mix the orange, lemon, and lime juices. Add the red onions and let soak for a couple of minutes to allow the citrus acid to break down the onion and make it easier to digest.

Meanwhile, clean mushrooms by placing them in a bowl of cold water and massage with your hands to remove any dirt. Using a kitchen or paper towel, lay the mushrooms out and pat dry.

Add the mushrooms to the bowl, mix well and let them sit for up to 30 minutes.

While mushrooms marinade, chop mango, avocado and cilantro.

Strain the mushrooms and onions from mixture and squeeze gently to release some liquid. Discard the liquid. In a separate bowl, mix well the mushroom, onion, mango, avocado and cilantro.

Enjoy with baked tostones!

Raw Pumpkin Pie Spiced “Cheesecake”! It is possible!

Just in time for the holidays! I was just thinking to myself as I thought of an appropriate opening how shocked we are when the end of a year arrives…as if we didn’t know it would come?! Well it was an awesome year. I can’t complain even through all the peaks and valleys and natural disasters, I am happy and thrilled to be sharing recipes at Pedaling for Peace. Thank you for the opportunity!

Often people speak about how difficult it is to be healthy around the holidays and excuse themselves from skipping out on certain foods at the table. I’ll be honest, I used to be very strict to the point where it alienated me from loved ones. These are great and important topics we can touch on in the new year so we can live balanced lives and still hold your ground. What do you think?

So here is a little something to share with your friends and family this holiday. I love the shock factor when people try raw desserts because it tastes so much like the original thing. Sometimes I like to bring ingredients with me and make the dessert in front of everyone. It’s a fun way to include the people you love into your world. Make everyone part of your great adventure!

Until we are able to post videos, you can catch quick videos on how to make this and other featured recipes on my site!

For the Crust:
1 3/4 cups almond flour (any nut will really work well here)
3 tbsp maple sugar or coconut sugar (or use pure maple syrup)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp melted coconut oil (or olive oil)

For the Filling:
3 cups cashews, soaked 1-2 hours
1 cup butternut squash, chopped (the smaller the better for blending- optional)
1 cup coconut meat or melted coconut oil (you can use more cashews in place)
1⁄2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup light agave or coconut nectar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 tbsp coconut flour (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a food processor, blend almonds to create the almond flour. (Do not over blend or it will turn into nut butter.) Add the rest of the dry ingredients and blend. In a separate bowl (or food processor if large enough), mix flour and oil until well combined and dough looks moist.
Line a 9″ spring-form/tart pan with plastic wrap and press dough in the bottom and sides of the pan in a thin layer and until uniform. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes while you work on the filling.

Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth and creamy. (You may want to blend the mixture in batches for best results, running a cup of soaked cashews at a time with some of the liquid before adding the rest of the ingredients.) For an even creamier consistency, pass the mixture through a chamois (a great tool to have in the kitchen). Pour into crust and make sure to work out the bubbles by gently tapping the pan on the counter. Refrigerate for about an hour or more to set. Enjoy!

Happy Holidays!
xo This Chick

Carla Serrano, Ninja Chef on Patrol with Pedaling for Peace!

Carla S. Ninja ChefALOHA! 

I am very pleased to have the honor of introducing you all to Ms. Carla Serrano our Ninja Chef and Nutritionist Extraordinaire!

She began her culinary career as a holistic nutrition coach, but her desire to create appealing, healthy food coupled with variety (outside the norm of salads and green drinks), inspired her to devote an ever increasing time to the culinary arts. While all styles of food have their place nutritionally, she noticed the disciplinary struggle within herself and her clients.  Simply put, she just wasn’t having fun being so strict!

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, she moved to New York City 15 years ago. She traded in her corporate job to do what she loves and now devotes herself full-time to teaching about healthy food preparation and nutrition to a wide range of individuals and organizations. Her most recent adventure was living 3 months in Buenos Aires teaching culinary nutrition as well as catering events at the coveted Punta del Este in Uruguay.  

Her company, The Raw Kitchen NYC Catering & Events is dedicated to making healthy food creative, enjoyable, colorful and fun. When she’s not working she’s most likely to spend her time in Puerto Rico or with her daughter in Alaska.

And now a few words from Carla –

     I’m Carla, a natural and raw food chef, founder of The Raw Kitchen Catering & Events, world inspired natural cuisine. Travel is where I get my ideas. Life is where get my inspiration. My kitchen is eclectic with flirty colors, flavors and textures we often crave. For the past decade I have devoted myself to reinventing our favorite foods in a guiltless way- perfect for a party and adaptable enough for the health conscious.

I challenge my cuisine to be creative, upbeat, fun, traditional, transitional and inspirational. Often raw, mostly vegan, gluten-free, always free of refined sugars and organic when at all possible. I guess you could say I do like a challenge!

YES!  So what does all this mean for you…?

 A whole new way look at health and fitness based on the “Still not Rocket Science” of you are what you eat, coupled with flexibility and great ingredients with a serious look at health.  As many of you know, I prefer the vegan diet for many reasons.  I also know that I am only one man in this world, and my thoughts do not constitute a reality for everyone, much the opposite in fact!  I am trusting that Ms. Serrano will be able to bring more health into the lives of those of you who do not wish to be vegan at this time, and yet still want the benefits of a great food!

Aloha and Bon Appetite!

Almond Cranberry Muffins

***English version below!!!***


1/2 taza de germen de avena
1 taza de harina de spelt
1/2 taza de quinoa
1/2 taza de hojuelas de almendras
1/2 taza de arándanos secos
1/2 taza de sucanat
3 cucharadas soperas de aceite de coco
1/2 taza de leche de almendras
3 cucharadas soperas de semillas de linaza
1/2 taza de té yerba mate tibio

En un molino de café muele las semillas de linaza hasta hacer un polvo fino y la quinoa hasta hacerla harina, mezcla con los otros ingredientes secos y poco a poco ve incorporando el resto de ingredientes hasta obtener una masa suave. Hornea por 20 minutos a 420F y listo!! … para la cubierta puedes colocar una almendra y espolvorear un poco de azúcar, irresistible!!

1/2 cup oat bran
1 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup sucanat
3 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 cup almond milk
3 Tbsp. flax seeds
1/2 cup warm yerba mate tea

In a coffee grinder grind the flax seeds into meal and the quinoa into flour, mix with the rest of dry ingredients and little by little mix in the other ingredients. Bake at 420F for 20 minutes, done!! …. for the crust you can place an almond and sprinkle some sugar, irresistible!!