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Last week in the grocery store as I was grabbing some organic bananas above the citrus fruits, I noticed this giant thing that I thought perhaps was a grapefruit but it was labeled “pummelo.” Being the adventurous raw foodie I am, I grabbed one and put it in my cart. This citrus fruit which is in the family of the orange and the grapefruit, has more aliases than P.Diddy and is also known as pomelo, pummelo, Chinese grapefruit, shaddock, jabong…and the list seems to go on. The color of the pomelo and it’s flesh varies. The one I picked up looked just like a grapefruit but still had a great deal of green, and apparently they can be ripe when green.
This large diva fruit (sometimes can grow to 10″ in diameter) originates from South East Asia and tastes like a sweeter version of a grapefruit. Not only is it more citrus bang for your buck, it also apparently has 193% of DV of Vitamin C, beta carotene, nice amount of soluble fiber, B Vitamins, Vitamin A, calcium, iron, and potassium. Thus, the fruit sometimes known as pomelo is great for infections, diseases, and has been used to cure fever, treat coughs, relieve sore throats, and my favorite…treat insomnia. Pretty groovy benefits if you ask me, plus add in the fact that it can assist with weight loss and of course helps to keep the body alkaline. I chose to eat it raw for breakfast, and it was definitely enough citrus to get me going in the morning. If you’re into grapefruits and oranges, and want to give the mother of all citrus fruits a try, I highly recommend the fruit sometimes known as pomelo. -XoXo Raw Girl
Summer is officially here, and if you’re in the DMV, the recent heat advisories have been no joke. Hopefully you’re taking precautions when necessary by hibernating indoors, and staying hydrated. Another great way to beat the heat is have in your arsenal some beverages and foods that can help cool you down. Watermelon will do just that.
Most of us know that watermelon is mostly water, about 92% to be exact, but may not know that 8% of watermelon is lycopene, an antioxidant that protects the heart, prostate, and boosts overall skin health. Watermelon also provides our bodies with almost 25% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin C, and packs in a great serving of Vitamin A.
Not only can watermelon quench your thirst, consuming it can help to stop the inflammation that contributes to diabetes, colon cancer, arthritis, and asthma. Beyond all that, my most shocking discovery was that watermelon may have viagra like effects? Yep. According to Dr. Brahma Patil director of Texas A&M Fruits and Vegetable Improvement Center, consuming watermelon helps to relax the blood vessels and therefore increase blood flow which is necessary for peak sexual performance. Interesting…I’ll take that as more evidence that fruits and veggies most definitely do a body good.
Of course you can eat watermelon the simplest way and chop it up into pieces, but my favorite new thing to do is juice it. You can also blend it and get the same effect. Thanks to a suggestion from John Jai via our Facebook page I am embarking on a 3 Day Watermelon Fast! Starting Monday June 27 and winding down June 30th. Excited to try it, check back for a followup post to see how it went.
Watermelon fasts are great for cleansing the blood, supporting the kidneys, cleaning colon, healing cysts, canker sores, tissue inflammation, and reducing hypertension. You can get a little creative by juicing watermelon or blending with lemon, lime, ginger, and/or other herbs to make a watermelon smoothie. Fasting on watermelon alone is not recommended for people with hypoglycemia or diabetes. Interested in joining the Watermelon Fast? You have the weekend to get those watermelons together and get on the program! Email firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Facebook, lets cleanse together! -XoXo Raw Girl
Who says you can’t be a sexy raw foodie? When people think of raw food or raw foodists for that matter, they most often do not think of either as sexy. However many raw foodies are proving just the opposite; if we are what we eat and our diet helps us to remain vibrant, youthful, and energetic, we most certainly can bring sexy back. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are a great deal of raw vegan foods that can help anyone do just that because they happen to be natural aphrodisiacs.
For ages many cultures have deemed certain foods because of their aroma, appearance, or powers of stimulation, the magical and mysterious label of aphrodisiac. These luscious foods are not only packed with nutrition, they can be used to seduce a potential lover, enhance lovemaking, increase sexual desire, and in some cases were used to cure impotence and infertility. Below is a list of sexy raw foods, that can add a little passion, flavor, and spice back in your love life.
- Arugula One of the oldest known aphrodisiacs, arugula, also known as “rocket seed” has been used in this capacity since the time of the ancient Egyptians and Romans. This spicy and earthy flavored lettuce is rich in Vitamin A, C, and iron, and apparently clears the mind while simultaneously increasing power and energy. Try tossing this into a mixed green salad on a dinner date; you may skip the dessert.
- Avocado This creamy textured fruit has a feminine shape but it’s actually more associated with male sexuality. The avocado tree, which grows with the fruit hanging in pairs was referred to as “Ahuacuatl” or testicle tree by the ancient Aztecs. Avocados are so sexy in fact, they were banned by Spanish priests in the middle ages. Beyond their titillating properties, avocados can boost immune function, are known to help anti-aging, and are a great source of B6 and potassium.
- Almonds Men take note: apparently the smell of almonds turns women on. For ages, almonds have been considered fertility symbols; they also contain high doses of vitamin E, magnesium, and fiber.
- Asparagus Considered an aphrodisiac primarily because of its shape, asparagus was often fed as a prenuptial meal to brides in many cultures. On the nutrition front, asparagus gives your body a nice dose of Vitamin E, which stimulates sex hormones and boosts sexual powers.
- Banana This raw food is packed with nutrition providing the body with potassium, magnesium, B vitamins, and also the bromelain enzyme said to enhance male libido. Also deemed an aphrodisiac because of its phallic shape, Hindus regard it as a symbol of fertility, and Central Americans drank the sap of the red banana to promote sexual desire.
- CacaoIn my opinion, you have not tasted the true power of this aphrodisiac until you have experienced raw chocolate. This superfood, also known as the “food of the gods” is one of the most well known aphrodisiacs because of its uncanny ability to stimulate the body and help the brain produce serotonin, which makes us feel in a nutshell, pretty darn good. Cacao also helps to reduce risk of cancer as it absorbs free radicals from the body, can strengthen your cardiovascular system, stimulate your immune system, and reduce chronic fatigue. Add on top of that the fact that it can be truly orgasmic to the taste, and you’ve got yourself a serious aphrodisiac.
- FigsThis fruit, which is one of the oldest recorded fruits on the planet, is said to emulate female sexual organs when cut open. In ancient times, the Greeks associated figs with fertility and the beautiful Cleopatra ranked figs among her favorite fruits to consume. Some sources say that figs not only give you great nutrition for sexual health, as they are loaded with manganese, magnesium, vitamin E, and zinc, but also they may have the power to increase sexual stamina.
- Ginger Root This root with a spicy kick has been classified an aphrodisiac due to its scent and ability to stimulate the bodies circulatory system which increases sexual desire and also sensitivity in the erogenous zones.
- Goji Berries These “happy berries” as they were called in ancient China, have been considered a food source that boosts male fertility for centuries in Asia. In Chinese medicine goji berries are used to strengthen the adrenal system which controls most of the working of the sex hormones. Other modern studies in Beijing have shown that goji berries may contain polysaccharides which help to protect sperm cells. These berries, nowadays known as a “superfood” pack an incredible amount of nutrition including: Vitamins B1, B2, B6, A, C, and E, antioxidants, fiber, and one of the highest levels of beta-carotene of any fruit. Besides helping you get your groove on, these berries will benefit your cardiovascular health and give your body a nice dose of nutrients!
- Peruvian Maca This root which can be consumed in the powder form is another “superfood” that makes you want to “turn out the lights.” Nutrition wise, it packs a real punch with Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, essential fatty acids, minerals, enzymes, sterols, and phytochemicals. Incan warriors consumed maca before battle to increase their stamina and strength, but were prohibited from having maca when invading a city, in order to protect the women from the raging sexual libido. Consuming maca can give a general sense of well-being, decrease stress, increase sex drive, and increase adrenaline. Sounds like a thoughtful Valentines Day gift for a significant other that will leave you reaping some benefits as well.
There are a host of other aphrodisiacs that didn’t make my top ten list including: vanilla, basil, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, chili peppers. Remember, one of the key components to producing amorous feelings within ourselves is possessing optimum health and cultivating balance. At the end of the day our health has a direct effect on our sex drive and reproductive systems. So if you’re desperately searching for a way to bring sexy back, try starting with giving your body optimal nutrition and taking care of you, the best way you can. -XoXo Raw Girl
Since returning from France I have been in love with artichokes. I never ate them very often in the past, or prepared them in my meals at home. It was usually when dining out if they happened to be in my meal that I would indulge. For some reason in Cannes artichokes were one of the few veggies available everywhere, and I started craving them. Over time I’ve learned to honor my bodies’ cravings because usually there are some nutrients I may need from that source.
Like most of the miraculous vegetables we have on our planet artichokes offer amazing health benefits and nutrients. It is one of the oldest known cultivated veggies, actually originating from Ethiopia, and was used in ancient Greece and Rome as a digestive aid. Artichokes are packed with magnesium, fiber, vitamins A, C, chromium, potassium, manganese and more. They also have more antioxidants than any other vegetable! This is great as antioxidants help slow aging and protect against free radicals. Their high fiber content coupled with ability to stimulate bile flow helps with health digestion.
Artichokes can also support healing of a plethora of ailments including: irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol, (helps body to excrete bad cholesterol), diabetes, (helps stabilize blood sugar levels), liver issues, hypertension, and potassium deficiency. Due to their high potassium content, artichokes assists body in dealing with excess sodium, and if taking anti-hypertensive drugs, can make sure that one doesn’t become potassium deficient. All this said, artichokes can be eaten raw or cooked. When you are choosing artichokes, look for tightly packed leaves. They are in season from March to May but can be found year round in most grocery stores. Bon appetit! –XoXo Raw Girl
When I hit up the grocery store, it is inevitable that I will buy several types of greens for the week. I try to change it up and but most weeks I have love affairs with various combinations of arugula (right now arugula is my main green lover–it’s a committed but open relationship), spinach, kale, and a variety of mixed greens. Last week while choosing which greens to get down with besides arugula, I came across Mache. It looked pretty so although I knew my arugula might get a little jealous I added it to the greens for the week and made a variety of salads with mache mixed in.
So what is Mache? Pronounced “mosh.” Well it’s a sweet nutty flavored lettuce sometimes referred to as “Lamb’s lettuce” grown in France. Mache grows very low to the ground so it cannot be mechanically harvested,which makes it more costly to produce, and probably explains why a lot of people might not have heard of it. On the plus side, this pretty lettuce has great nutritional value: 150g or one 5 oz serving of mache contains 95% of the daily recommended value for vitamin C, and 100 g contains half the daily recommended value of Vitamin B9. The high B9 content makes it a great green that is naturally anti-stress, anti-fatigue, and anti-depression. In addition to the potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, and iron it provides, mache also contains a notably high amount of beta carotene, which is anti-aging. I tried it once, and now that I know I get a nice dose of nutritional bang for my buck, an all natural face lift, and little R&R to boot, I am definitely going to add it to the list of greens I love. -XoXo Raw Girl
We’ve had a short spurt of beautiful weather down here in the DMV, and I’m hoping that soon the good weather will be here to stay. Whenever it gets warmer, I find myself longing for one of favorite fruits: mangoes! They are awesome to peel and eat or blend into smoothies. Although I eat them frequently, I never knew what nutrients I was getting. To my pleasant surprise, mangoes have a lot to offer beyond just being sweet and flavorful.
Mangoes are native to India, and belong to the same family as cashews and pistachios (I never would have guessed this). They are known widely as the “king of fruit” because they are packed with nutrients including, but not limited to: amino acids, vitamin A, C (1 cup has around 75% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin C), and E, beta carotene, calcium, iron, copper, magnesium, potassium, and B Vitamins. Sound good? Below are six more reasons why you may want to get down with a mango. -XoXo Raw Girl
- Promotes Good Digestion. The soluble fiber in mangoes prevent constipation, and also mangoes contain digestive enzymes that soothe the stomach and help to digest proteins.
- Keep Your Eyes Healthy. Apparently one cup of mangoes contain 25% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin A. This will help prevent night blindness, dry eyes, softening of the cornea, or any itching and burning in the eyes.
- Prevent Cancer! In a study conducted that Food Science and Human Nutrition Department of Florida they found after testing mango juice for antioxidant and anticancer activity that mango juice inhibits the growth cycle of cancer cells. In addition consuming mangoes or other foods which are high in soluble fiber is scientifically linked with a lower risk of contracting cancer in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Get that Vegan Glow. Mango is a fruit that will help keep your skin flawless, as it is known to help unclog pores if the pulp is directly applied to the skin. Also eating mangoes with keep your skin smooth and of course give you that vegan glow!
- An Anemic’s Best Friend. Mangoes are great for anemic and pregnant women because of their iron content.
- Parasite Killa! Last but never least, to my delight mangoes are another addition to a parasite killa’s arsenal. A study in mexico tested the effectiveness of plant extracts against giardia and found that mango has anti-giardia properties. Giardia is the most common parasite people are infected with because it is water-borne and spreads through our drinking water sources. I’m definitely keeping some mango ammo handy, from now on!
When I shop for berries, I usually go for the popular varieties: strawberries, blueberries, and sometimes raspberries. The other day while making my rounds for fruit, there was a special on blackberries and I decided to give them a try. To my delight not only were they great in my smoothie, I discovered that they offer an awesome amount of nutrition.
Most notably blackberries, which are not true “berries” but are actually an aggregate fruit – a cluster of tiny fruits, are packed with Vitamin C. Just one cup contains somewhere in the neighborhood of half of the daily recommended value of Vitamin C, which can help to boost the immune system. In addition these “berries” have a nice amount of manganese, soluble fiber to assist in maintaining a healthy digestive system, and are extremely high in antioxidants which fight free radicals that could lead to cancer. Apparently in Germany, blackberries were recommended to treat mouth infections, sore throats, and even hemorrhoids because they are an astringent due to their high tannin content. These antiseptic properties also make blackberries a good source to tighten tissues and deal with minor bleeding. Some even go as far to claim that a dose of blackberries every now and then may decrease signs of aging, but then again we know raw food in general will do that! Below is a recipe for the concoction I created with my new batch of blackberries, Raw Blackberry Yogurt that can be eaten for breakfast or dessert. Feel free to try them raw, throw them in a smoothie, or sample my yummy yogurt concoction. – XoXo Raw Girl
Raw Blackberry Yogurt
1 small container of blackberries, 1/2 cup of fresh coconut water, 2 ripe bananas, 2-3 dates, 1/2-3/4 cup shredded coconut
Blend all ingredients together and add more coconut water if necessary, but take care to not add too much. It should blend into a creamy consistency. Pour in bowl and sprinkle coconut on top. Yum!
A couple of months ago, we were overwhelmed by the large harvest of okra in the garden. I had to get down and dirty in the garden to help pick all of it, and also put my creative cooking skills to work to whip up new uses for it. Below is the video for my delicious Okra Cobb Salad that I shot awhile back and am just now getting around to releasing. Before you check that out, here’s a few fun facts about okra you may not know that’ll make you think twice when you pass it by in the veggie aisle.
Okra also known as gumbo, lady’s finger, bamia, or bindi, is a member of the mallow plant family and is kin to cotton, hibiscus, and cocoa. It was also discovered in Ethiopia during 12th century B.C and cultivated by ancient Egyptians; Cleopatra of Egypt was known to regularly consume okra, possibly because of its beauty enhancing benefits as it protects from pimples and enhances the skin. The seeds in some regions are toasted, ground and served as a substitute for coffee!
Okra is a mucilaginous vegetable, full of natural fiber which regulates blood sugar levels by curbing the amount of sugar absorbed in the intestinal tract. It helps to relieve constipation and can aid with a host of other ailments including diabetes, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, and acne.
Besides being fat-free, okra is also low in calories it is packed with nutrients including: vitamin A, Thiamin, B6, C, folic acid, riboflavin, calcium, zinc and dietary fiber. In addition, okra feeds good bacteria/probiotics to flourish in the body. What’s not to love about this gooey veggie? If you need some inspiration, below is the raw okra salad recipe that had everyone in my household talking for days. I was surprised at how good it tasted raw; okra is now a staple for me. Hope you’ll give it a try! -XoXo RawGirl
If it wasn’t too nutty, I think I would seriously consider composing a love song with a lot of bass about coconuts, and how I can’t live without them. I LOVE COCONUTS, and coconut water. I am very often seen with a giant cleaver in hand hacking open coconuts and then sipping the fresh water through a straw with a contented smirk on my face. It really makes my day. And then the next best thing is scooping out the meat from the insides. Yum. On days when I want to get fancier with my coconut love, I put it all in a blender and add in some tropical fruits of choice, and maybe some spirulina. Double Yum.
In the past when I’ve been caught in the middle of my coconut bliss, people frequently ask me, what the benefits are of drinking coconut water and eating coconuts in general. When I bring up facts, sometimes people find them hard to believe, so I am writing this post to defend my coconut love, and also to hopefully inspire you to get down with a coconut sometime soon. When you drink fresh coconut water, it’s important to consume it immediately or as soon as possible because some nutrients begin to dissipate when exposed to the open air. What I am working on now, because I am so in love with coconuts is finding somewhere that I can buy them wholesale by the crate. Yep, I’m not kidding. If anybody knows a source holler at your girl. If all else fails, I’m gonna have to use my coconut fetish as an excuse to pop over to Jamaica each year. -XoXo Raw Girl
Little Known Facts About My Coconut Love:
- Coconut water is a naturally isotonic beverage and has the same electrolyte balance as your blood! I say this all the time, that drinking coconut water is like giving yourself a blood transfusion and people literally roll their eyes and laugh. Well people, it’s true. Coconut water is identical to liquid plasma. In fact, coconut water, direct from the nut was used to give emergency blood transfusions to wounded soldiers in the Pacific War of 1941-1945 and Coconut IV’s have been used to save lives in third world countries. Dig that!
- It takes up to a year for coconuts to mature, but coconut trees bloom up to thirteen times a year, meaning they are available year round!
- Coconut palm in sanskrit is kalpa vriksha, meaning: “Tree that gives everything necessary for living.” This is definitely appropriate because all parts of a coconut tree can be put to use.
- It’s the best energy drink around! Coconut water contains more potassium than energy and sports drinks, less sugars (and of course the sugars are natural), less sodium, and hydrates the body better.
- Coconut water is more nutritious than whole milk, with less fat and no cholesterol.
- Contains glucose–natural sugars that give the body energy, vitamin B’s which replace tissue and worn out cells, vitamin C, lauric acid (found in mother’s milk), iron, chloride, and electrolytes: potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium, and phosphorous.
- Coconut water is a strong detoxifying agent and actually neutralizes poisons in the body. It has literally been administered to poison victims and used to neutralize and completely flush the poisons out of the body!
Health Benefits of Drinking Coconut Water Regularly
- Naturally Boost Immune System
- Improves Intestinal Health
- Increases Metabolism & Weight Loss
- Balances Body PH
- Detoxify & Fight Viruses
- Stops Fatigue
- Prevents Hypertension
- Controls Diabetes
- Boosts Poor Circulation
- Reduces Cancer Risk
- Treats Kidney Stones
- Eases Stomach Pain & Vomiting
- Helps to heal age spots, acne, and other skin issues
Choosing Your Coconut
I regularly get down with Thai coconuts which can be found at health food stores like Whole Foods, or if I’m in Brooklyn near all the Caribbean transplants in the Crown Heights area I’ll drink the water from green coconuts. If you choose to get a green coconut, see if you can find one with brown spots, apparently that signifies higher water content. The water from Bangladeshi and Indian coconuts is sweeter than Thai and Brazilian, so you can choose by your taste buds or if your like me you’ll love them all.
**Warning: If you are a coconut virgin, perhaps you need to get someone to assist you in opening one for the first time. Take care when hacking it open. We don’t want any finger-less coconut lovers!
If you missed it, check the archives for Papaya Breeze for another cool way to incorporate papaya into a light meal! If you are like me—I used to hate eating papaya plain, try adding a squeeze of lemon/lime and a little bit of sea salt, it is really yummy. – XoXo Raw Girl
Hey gang! This week we are going to get the low down on the lovely papaya, a bright Caribbean fruit with the soft texture of a melon and a complex sweet flavor. Papaya has a smooth butter-like consistency, with a sweet flavor and a light musky aftertaste. Great in salads and smoothies, papaya is an excellent refreshing summer fruit.
Why is it good for you? Papaya is an excellent source of vitamin C, folate and potassium. It’s also a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin E, vitamin A and vitamin K. The combination of these vitamins provides protection against heart disease due to antioxidants, promotes digestive health, has anti-inflammatory effects aiding asthma and osteoarthritis, and offers supreme immune support. Papaya can also help prevent cancer, most notably colon and lung cancers. Basically, there’s no reason not to eat papaya!
Papaya can be treated like melon: either cutting in half scooping out the seeds and eating with a spoon, or peeling first and then chopping for recipes. The skin is pretty thin, so you can peel it with a vegetable peeler. Once you cut inside, you’ll be greeted with a ton of little black seeds. These are edible, but very peppery and bitter. Feel free to discard, or get creative with a peppery salad dressing. The flesh is soft, so treat gently when chopping and dicing. The recipe this week is an absolute delight! I served it on the side of some raw tacos on a beautiful spring day and it looked so decadent and colorful. It’s a must try for the season.
1 large papaya
1/2 large cucumber
juice from 1 lime
¼ cup chopped mint
¼ cup chopped cilantro
salt to taste
Peel outer skin of papaya. Slice lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Carefully dice into small pieces. Peel and chop the cucumber. Add remaining ingredients. Serve chilled.
Glad to share the love,
Kenzie, signing in for Raw Girl