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Archive for August, 2011

Traditional Oreos are pretty gross, although the U.S. version are vegan (Note: International Oreos are reportedly non-vegan). My version of the chocolate sandwich treats is low-glycemic and pretty easy to make! Feel free to substitute your sweetener of choice for stevia.

Brown’s Raw Vegan NOreos (serves 6-8)

Ingredients

Chocolate NOreo shell:

1/2 cup Raw cacao paste or cacao butter and cacao powder
Pinch salt
Liquid stevia (or other sweetener)
1/4 cup cacao nibs
Chocolate molds (or ice cube tray)

“Cream Filling” Insides:

1/4 cup raw tahini
6-8 drops liquid stevia or other vegan sweetener
1 Tbs maca

Instructions:

Melt cacao paste or cacao butter and cacao powder on very low heat until liquid. Add in stevia, salt and nibs. Place into molds or ice cube tray. Allow to cool in fridge or freezer.

Meanwhile, mix insides ingredients. Once chocolate part has hardened, make sandwiches out of insides and outsides. Place in fridge to harden, and then enjoy!

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While summer temperatures soar, it’s great to cool down with refreshing chilled smoothies for a hearty breakfast or brunch. Recently reunited with my culinary muse and partner extraordinaire Courtney Pool, I have been inspired to throw heaping tablespoons of maca into recipes. She doesn’t seem to mind, bless her raw vegan gorgeous heart.

Maca adds a caramel-malt flavor, which is well-combined with ingredients like indulgent cacao, protein-rich hemp seeds, omega-3 and bulk-adding chia seeds and alkalizing superfood powder Vitamineral Green. Experimenting with local, fruity accents like strawberries or other berries can add color and texture to rounds out your delicious, nutrient-dense meal.

Here are the two latest recipes I have created. Hope you like them as much as my muse and I have. Enjoy! ;)

THE CACAOINATOR

Sort of sounds like a B Arnold flick, right? If Arnold had any sense, he’d be downing the cacaoinator instead of eating his words on national news…

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp. Chia

1 Tbsp. Vitamineral green

Stevia

1 to 2 Tbsp. Cacao powder

1-2 tsp Lucuma

1-2 tsp Maca

1 tbs Hemp seeds

1/2 cup Pumpkin seed mylk

Brazil nuts (garnish, optional)

Bee Pollen (garnish, optional)

Ice

 

STRAWBERRY MACA ELIXIR

The secret is in the garnish! Chopped raw cacao paste or raw cacao nibs or bars and bee pollen, plus strawberries, makes this super-decadent. You can also garnish with mint, or any other type of berry or superfood.

This smoothie is rich, decadent, and best enjoyed with a friend or lover.

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp. Chia

1 Tbsp. Cacao powder

1 Tbsp. Hemp Seeds

1/4  cup Almond Mylk

1/4  cup Pumpkin Seed Mylk

1 to 2 Tbsp. Maca

1 to 2 Tbsp. Stevia (to taste)

1 to 2 Tsp. Lucuma

Bee Pollen (garnish, optional)

Chopped cacao paste or raw cacao bars (garnish, optional)

Fresh strawberries (garnish, you may use other berries)

<3

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Since I’m leaving Berkeley, Calif. pretty soon to return to work at The Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Arizona, I decided tonight would be the night I worked up the courage to go to the local burlesque class up the street that I’ve been eyeing from afar for a while now. I’m far from coordinated on the dance floor, as I tend to move mostly by wobbling my knees and hips awkwardly, and the idea of stripping sounded like a fetish for, well, more coordinated people who were super sultry and confident. Subjecting myself to burlesque class would be a challenge, I figured, but it would be a calculated risk, as I knew that if something horribly scary happened (I dunno, like a monster attacking me with a corset?), I could always run back to my apartment  conveniently located three blocks away.

Many of us search for an escape route when we suspect a situation or task seems just beyond our comfort zone. Whether that escape route is a substance, drugs/alcohol, food, or “safe choice” of some sort, we can use it to help us deal with the “holy crap, get me out of here” mentality that often rears its head when we’re facing a growth opportunity. It’s hard not to look for the exit when we hit points like this, and for me, these days the tendency to want to run and hide from uncomfortable situations is still present. I’ve been coming more into my power lately, which I attribute to devoting more attention to my meditation practice, and to realizing that this issue is incredibly universal and can only be resolved one person at a time, one moment at a time. For me as a queer vegan woman, that requires learning how to sit with discomfort and not run away from whatever I am feeling or facing. That means staying put on the meditation cushion, and, in this case, facing my self-consciousness around my femininity in burlesque class!

As soon as I walked in to Tease Training Burlesque Academy in Berkeley, Calif., beautiful and magnetic instructor Truvy Trollop closed the curtain facing the busy street and locked the door behind us. No escape! And, much to my chagrin, I looked around the room and realized I was (gasp!) the only student that evening! The sultry, sweaty fantasies I created in my head as I psyched myself to attend class always involved many, many, many people, and me in the back row. This was going to be a one-on-one class?! I wanted to run. I wanted to curl up into a ball. But in a mirror-bedecked room with a locked door and sassy Truvy Trollop, there was only one thing to do–learn how to get down on the dance floor.

Burlesque: Art, performance, dance, and sexiness!

And get down we did! Truvy (whose given name is not Truvy) says burlesque can inspire us to shed layers of masks that we wear daily. I am familiar with the concept that dance can help us free our inner creativity. A friend of mine, Parashakti, teaches Dance of Liberation, a blind-folded dance experience in which participants dance as if nobody’s watching in order to liberate true Divine nature. I learned about DOL while working at The Tree of Life, and have been excitedly awaiting Parashakti’s new film on the movement!

Tennessee native Truvy explained that the Bay Area has embraced burlesque as a form of art for women of all bodies and gender expressions, which allows many different kinds of performers to use the medium to inspire audiences. Truvy’s  studio in Berkeley is relatively new, shared with her husband who teaches Martial Arts (What an awesome partner combo, by the way!) Truvy talked about her experience as a dancer from many different backgrounds, including ballroom, tap and other styles, and how she learned to embrace burlesque as a highly creative and expressive art form.

Berkeley Tease Training Academy Instructor Truvy Trollop

A year ago I caught Christina Aguilera’s fabulous film Burlesque, which showcases stereotypically bodied women with slight control over their creative acts. When I recently saw a “queer burlesque” performance at The White Horse queer bar in Oakland, I was astonished by the different kinds of bodies and gender expressions up on stage. This was nothing like the Aguilera flick! With power and grace, women with tattoos, pre- and post-op trans guys with business suits and bound chests, round women, skinny women, and sexy humans of extremely diverse racial, ethnic, gender expression and body type strut their stuff onstage and never failed to dazzle. I was humbled by the panoply of people and hotness, which Truvy says comes from the moves and the way you carry yourself–not what your body looks like.

Bay Area queer burlesque performers

To begin our class, Truvy first had me select my burlesque name. She instructed me to do so by putting together the names of my favorite flower and cheese. And so, I became Geranium Daiya, because I am vegan and “Geranium Dr. Cow” just was not going to cut it! Then, we started dancing.

 

     “Hello, my name is Geranium Daiya!”

Truvy said that the way we carry ourselves tells someone a lot about us. She showed me simple techniques, like putting your foot in front of the other and resting your weight in certain ways to create an hour-glass shape and express our feminine power more fully. Confession time: I showed up to the class in a t-shirt and shorts and vibrams, and when I thought about moving my hips in the ways she showed, I wondered if perhaps I may be too boyish for all of this. I’ve never really thought of myself as super-feminine, and the idea of swinging my hips and accentuating my bosom–this was run and hide territory! Addressing my gender identity questions, Truvy explained that even men are starting to embrace burlesque, calling it “boylesque” and donning pasties the size of quarters. Hot! So, somewhere along the gender spectrum, most likely woman, definitely awkward, I decided to trust Truvy and go for it…

And I am so glad I did!

After an hour of shaking my bootie and moving my hips to the instruction of Tease Training instructor Truvy Trollop, I am impressed with how someone as talented and naturally graceful as Truvy could help a dolt of a dancer like me move with an iota of grace. But, as those dance mirrors (and my hips!) don’t lie, I think I may have pulled off a hot move or two. These included pulling off long red gloves with my teeth to the tune of Elton John’s Benny and the Jets and Truvy’s encouragement. Tease them! The tricks of the trade are cool: I learned that clenching your thighs is a great way to keep balance, that pulling off a glove one finger at a time, then twirling it can be as racy or racier as taking off one’s top.

The passionate and super-talented burlesque queen Truvy Trollop

Whether we’re set to perform to an audience of 100, or even just one, Truvy says we’ve got to develop proper eye contact and smile. Smile? But I thought seducing was supposed to be a tight-lipped, coquettish affair. Not necessarily, Truvy says. Give ‘em a little, take a little away. OK, sure, I can do that, Truvy!

It’s unlikely that I’ll ever get the chance to showcase my new burlesque moves to an audience of adoring onlookers, but who knows–maybe one day Geranium Daiya will get her moment in the spotlight!

Here’s to taking risks by learning how to take it all off. Thanks to Truvy Trollop for the life-changing experience. And thanks to you, reader, for reading!

Yours,

Geranium Daiya ;)

Have you ever taken a risk that felt uncomfortable but was a great opportunity for growth? Please share about it in the comments!

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Nutritionist, raw vegan health blogger, editor and fabulous woman Gena Hamshaw  posted an article my partner Courtney Pool and I wrote on links between sexuality, veganism, self-esteem on her blog Choosing Raw. Thank you for sharing our writing with your readers, Gena!

Click here to read the article…

Green Recovery: Exploring the Link Between Sexuality, Diet, and Self-Esteem

The post mentions our forthcoming book on holistic health for women who love women. If you’re interested in contributing your story, please contact queerveganfood [at] gmail [dot] com. Thanks!

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Hello Queer Vegan Food readers! It is a joy to write to you from Berkeley, Calif., where it is currently foggy and mild temps. This August is super special for me, because it marks my six-year vegan anniversary! Six years isn’t very long in the scheme of things, but as a twenty-four year old, that’s 1/4th of my life spent eschewing animal products in food, products, clothing, and trying my best to support animal welfare whenever possible. It’s been an incredible journey, and I thought I’d take this opportunity to share a bit about my journey to veganism, and say a bit about what being vegan has meant to me in my life.

I became vegetarian at age 12 after my older brother Asher convinced me it was just plain silly to eat meat. I am grateful for my amazing big bro for many, many reasons, but his cajoling me to drop the dead flesh in my life was a huge gift. Thanks, Asher!

My vegan brother Asher's LA film studio, Pollution Studios.

My vegan journey officially began at 18. I was working as a sailing instructor at a camp which served absolutely the nastiest processed food ever. It was deep fried everything, vegetables drenched in butter, sugar cereals and lots of meat, eggs, and other processed foods. It was a nutrition disaster for everyone, and as a vegetarian I started to get really jealous of this vegan girl who was working as an assistant counselor. She had absolutely no choice but to buy her own food, and what she was eating looked so much better! While I was picking at the iceberg lettuce at the salad bar, this chick was noshing on fresh fruits and veggies, organic cereals and nut milk, vegan cookies, even. She seemed happy, healthy, and very energetic. Before I could ask her why she was vegan, her session ended and she was gone.

I suddenly had to know why this girl was vegan and not vegetarian. Was there something I was missing? I went online and researched vegan primers. The first one I saw was what I ordered: Vegan Freak by Bob and Jenna Torres. After reading it, I realized that for all of the reasons I’d decided to be vegetarian (animal welfare, environmental concerns, social justice) it was just plain hypocritical of me not to go completely vegan. Some people have a hard time transitioning away from animal products and do it gradually; I totally respect that, but that wasn’t how it was for me. As soon as I put the book down, I knew what I had to do and didn’t look back.

As most vegans can attest, veganism can feel liberating on all levels, not only in the sense that there’s an abundance of foods, products and opportunities that are available to us vegans, but also in that it provides the feeling of doing everything in our power to reduce harm we cause to animals and non-human animals through consumption habits.

As a vegan, I have met tons of incredible people such as my idol and author of The Sexual Politics of Meat Carol J. Adams, and have gotten the chance to do activism through writing, hosting events, and being that visible presence that can be a catalyst for change for others. My brother, once vegetarian, is now vegan (way to go, bro!). I’ve helped some of my professors at Vassar come out of the vegan closet, and have nudged more than a handful of friends, many of whom are still vegan!

Carol J. Adams' The Sexual Politics of Meat

For me, veganism has always been primarily about animal welfare and environmental and social justice concerns. Luckily, it is also a path to healthful nourishment. When I learned about raw foods, it made my vegan experience even more fun and enjoyable, and now I incorporate a high-raw diet into my vegan activist diet. It’s pretty cool to make the connection between what’s on our plate and how it got there, and whether you’re eating mostly cooked vegan foods, raw vegan foods or a combination of raw and cooked vegan foods, I feel the key is to feel great about the choices you’re making for yourself and for the planet.

Fresh, local vegan bounty from the Berkeley Farmers' Market

One of the things I’ve realized as a vegan is how much of a privilege it is to have access to raw, organic vegan produce. Sadly, the way our twisted food economy is set up, many low-income communities just do not have access to their basic human right to healthful, nutritious produce. Food Empowerment Project leader Lauren Ornelas makes great efforts to make vegan food accessible, and my new favorite champion of raw foods for everyone, Brandi Rollins, has a sweet new book out with ingenious strategies to live an exclusively raw organic vegan diet or incorporate more raw foods into your diet without breaking the bank.

My vegan inspirations include AJ from Queer Vegan Runner, a fellow Vassar grad who shows how living a vegan lifestyle can help reduce cruelty towards animals and can also make you fit to run many miles and enjoy life! My friend Allen, whose epicurean blog Le Seitan Au Vin never fails to crack me up (wish he’d update it more..it’s SO good!) and I used to throw juice parties for our creative writing group at Vassar with our friends Nate, Joshua, and Ladee I am also inspired by JL Goes Vegan, whose entertaining and information-filled blog highlights the good life as a smart, sassy warrior woman who went vegan post-forty.

Raw vegan salad at The Tree of Life Cafe in Patagonia, Ariz.

Our Hen House is a fellow queer vegan blog that blends activism with sass. I couldn’t neglect to include nutritionist/doctor-to-be and editor wiz Gena Hamshaw’s super amazing raw vegan and vegan blog Choosing Raw, which has helped thousands of people make the connection between deliciousness and veganism. Gena’s blog is also very special because of its section Green Recovery, which highlights stories and insights that show how veganism can help people heal from eating disorders. Groundbreaking work, indeed. Whenever I need a good dose of vegan laughter or inspiration, I turn to SF-based vegan blog Vegansaurus (I’m also a semi-regular contributor as their ‘raw correspondent’). Laura Beck and the team prove veganism can be hip and hilarious.

My good friends Ivory King and Jonathan Mann have created an amazing song called “Vegan Myths Debunked,” which highlights the common myths around veganism with a tune that you’ll be humming in your sleep.

I have to give a shout out to my amazing partner and best friend Courtney Pool. Courtney is coincidentally also celebrating her six-year veganniversary this month! Her beautiful blog Radical Radiance inspires people with her insights, anecdotes and mouth-watering pictures. She also coaches and teaches about the benefits of juice feasting and fasting and cleansing on a vegan diet, which can be helpful for longtime vegans and gateways to the vegan path for those interested in health. Courtney’s new blog, Spirulina Junkie, is really exciting for vegans, as it explains how to incorporate protein and nutrient-rich spirulina into our diets, and teaches how spirulina can be grown sustainably and cost-effectively to improve global human health and the health of our planet.

Raw vegan goddess and nutrition coach Courtney Pool.

I am also grateful to raw vegan holistic medical doctor Gabriel Cousens, M.D. for leading the way with the links between veganism, spirituality and health, Co-Founder of Vivapura Chris Whitcoe, raw vegan chef/author and holistic health champion Elaina Love of Pure Joy Planet, Aviva and Yosef Funke for their work in bringing holistic health and vegan nutrition to under-represented populations of youth in Nogales, Arizona. I also am super inspired by my dear friend Mariano Caino, who proves you can be a very happy and healthy vegan in Buenos Aires, Argentina!

My friend Boaz Love-Bliss with homemade raw vegan chocolate!

In addition to everyone I’ve mentioned here, there are many other bloggers and writers whose work has inspired me and is really helping the vegan movement. I wish I could fit them all into this post! Thanks to them (and to you, reader!) for promoting compassion.

Hitting up farmers’ markets and learning how to grow our own produce are goals that I think would be great for more vegans to incorporate (many already do), but however we get our plants, it’s an enormous help just to avoid participating in animal exploitation.

Like that girl I met the summer when I was 18 (whose name I wish I had learned!), just being willing to be a visible vegan person can be enough to challenge someone to consider making the choice themselves. I never preach, but I know my friends and loved ones feel like they can come to me and ask for resources if they want them. And they do, often! It’s a great feeling to help spread compassion on a basis that people are ready for and interested in. For me, my veganism has been a path to activism, fun, community, sustainable living and joy. I’m excited to see what will happen in my own life and in the vegan movement over the next six years. ;)

In the comments, I’d love to hear how long you’ve been vegan or vegetarian! Thanks for reading.

Love, Sarah

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This vegan daal and brown rice dish incorporates tomato, ‘cheesy’ nutritional yeast, gluten-free, wheat-free tamari, broccoli, carrots, and the unexpected sweet-savory flavor pairings of maca and fresh mint. I often use maca in raw smoothies and desserts, so it’s fun to add it to this otherwise pretty simple daal and rice dish.  Here’s the recipe–let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

Daal (lentils)

Brown rice

Tomato powder concentrate (or fresh or canned tomatoes)

Wheat-free tamari, Nama Shoyu or Braggs Liquid Aminos

Broccoli

Carrots

Nutritional Yeast

Turmeric

Paprika

Fresh Mint

Raw Maca Powder

Instructions:

Cook brown rice in a rice cooker or on the stove. Cook daal on the stove, then add all seasonings except maca and mint. Take daal mixture off stove and add in raw broccoli and carrots (this step avoids over-cooking these veggies and keeps them at a nearly raw state), toss in cooked brown rice and add cold water until mixture is desired texture. Garnish with fresh mint and maca. Enjoy!

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With the right flavor balancing, green juice can be a real treat. Adding things like mint and fennel are great ways to excite your taste buds while getting in serious alkalizing nutrition. Here’s a recipe I made today that highlights the flavorings of fennel and mint with a mild cucumber-kale-romaine-celery base:

Ingredients:

Mint

Fennel

Cucumber

Celery

Kale

Romaine

Instructions:

Juice in a juicer, or blend in a high-powered blender and strain in a nut mylk bag. Enjoy!

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