Cat & Smoothie Oh shit, I'm obsessed. This is what's in my morning smoothie today. 2 cups filtered water 1 banana 1/2 cup of soaked raw sunflower seeds (soak 'em for 1 hour prior) 1 massive handful of mixed greens 3/4 cup of frozen wild blueberries It's blowing my ever-loving mind right now. Ok, now I'm awake. Right. Let's get to it.  

photo cred Cat Like most people, I want to make the better choice when possible. I eat a lot of almond butter. Should I make my own, probably. Have I? No. So I buy mine. I was thinking that all almond butters were created equal. But it seems to me that some are more equal than others. A lot of the store bought almond butters actually contain dry-roasted almonds (just look at the label). The commercial roasting of almonds actually breaks down the good fat and produces free radicals. Free radicals: Bad. Then while shopping at Superstore, I found a 'raw' version. I thought, I'll give this a try. I know it'll be better for me but what about the taste? HOLY COW!! It's out of this world.  Seriously, it's so good that when my friend Pow came over last night, I gave her a spoonful (just to make sure I wasn't the only one loving the stuff) and needless to say, I had to take the jar away from her. She claims it's the best nut butter she's ever had too. So there you go folks. Give it a try. Sooooo worth it.

Lovely Lama Always lots of talk around protein at the mention of raw or vegan lifestyles. One thing I've been told and believe to be true is that animal protein is inefficient when it comes to building muscle. While it bulks you up, it doesn't necessarily provide more strength. If you doubt what I'm telling you check out this article about Venus Williams, there was word about her winning Wimbledon on a raw vegan diet, but little coverage to back up that claim. Well here it is people, a quick interview with Venus but I think the pictures alone prove my point above, she has leaned out, wow! And not only that but she healed herself and went on to win. How great is that, seriously food is magic. Thanks to my raw friend Tracy in AZ for sharing. xo

We're ending soup week with a raw chili recipe. This was the first raw recipe I made and it really does taste like cooked chili plus it's a joke easy to make. Using cooked aduzki beans ups the fiber and protein intake, plus if you add them hot you can enjoy a nice warm bowl of chili on a snowy day... or an East Coast-style rain day like today. I've made a few changes to the original recipe from Victoria Boutenko's 12 Steps to Raw Foods, which by the way is a fantastic book. It's a fun read and Victoria's passion gets you excited about including raw food in your daily life. I credit that book for my smoothie obsession. Mostly Raw Warm Chili 2 cups water 2 cups tomatoes, rough chopped 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil) 1 cup celery, rough chopped 1/3 cup coconut sugar 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 bunch basil 2 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil 1-2 tbsp Italian seasoning 1-2 tbsp lemon juice Chili pepper flakes Himalayan pink salt to taste 1/2 cup organic adzuki beans, cooked Soak adzuki beans for 1-2 hours, place in a pot with 1 cup water and bring to a boil, simmer for 60 minutes. Blend all ingredients, except beans, on medium speed (don't over  blend) adding remaining 1 cup water as needed. Hand mix hot beans and sprinkle with parsley flakes, serve while warm.

Spinach and Lentils It's soup week at the goods, we're going to share a new soup recipe with you each day in hopes of warming you up and keeping you healthy. Plus I can't listen to Cat talk about her soups anymore so we're giving her an outlet. This is a vegan cooked soup, and it's delicious though not pretty and a staple in my girl Asil's house and I don't blame her, it's just soooo good and good for you. With lots of protein in the lentils and spinach, no need to ask "but where do you get your protein?"... Slow Cooker Spinach Lentil Soup “The Vegan Slow Cooker” by Kathy Hester 2 tbsp olive oil 1 small onion, minced 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced 1 cup lentils 1 cup split peas 6 cups water 1 vegan bouillon cube OR miso paste 2 bay leaves 1 tsp dried tarragon ½ tsp dried marjoram ¼ tsp rosemary Salt and pepper to taste 6 ounces spinach or more, chopped Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and sauté the onion until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes, add the garlic and sauté for a minute longer. Combine all the ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. About 30 minutes before serving, add the spinach, just stuff in as much as you can. Adjust seasonings. Remove and discard the bay leaves before serving.