As a long time admirer of her work, I was both excited and honored when Gena Hamshaw asked me to review her new book, Choosing Raw.
For those of you who don’t know Gena, you should. She runs the wildly popular blog, Choosing Raw, and whether you are vegan or just trying to include more plants in your diet, she has something for everyone.
The Author: Gena Hamshaw
Most of you know that I was vegan for a while, and Gena’s blog was one that guided me through that transition. Her recipes her delicious but simple. More importantly they are doable, even for a busy mom like me.
What I love most about Gena is her compassion. Of course, all vegans have compassion towards animals, but Gena has compassion towards people too. The biggest thing I’ve learned from her is to be kind to myself with regards to food. As someone who struggled with an eating disorder, Gena KNOWS what it is like to struggle. I can appreciate this, especially as I try to navigate my own relationship with food after my hypothyroidism diagnosis.
When you pick up her book, you are of course tempted to go straight to the recipes, but you are cheating yourself if you don’t read the introduction. After reading her story, you will feel like you know Gena. And, if you are struggling with food in any way, you will probably wish she were right there to give you a hug.
For those of you who are a little scared by the term “Raw”, let me reassure you that Gena is not a strict raw foodist and her book includes both raw recipes and cooked. (In fact she has been so kind as to let me share a cooked quinoa recipe with you today!)
Gena isn’t radical in any way – she encourages you to enjoy veganism “one meal at a time” and to not be “paralyzed by the idea of perfection”. This attitude of self compassion is one reason why Gena has changed so many lives.
There are so many things that I love about this book.
First, she provides 21 days of meal plans. We are talking snacks and everything! As someone who really struggles at putting it all together, this is incredibly helpful. She also gives you starter meal plans, higher protein meal plans and higher raw meal plans for those with special needs.
And the recipes! Whether you are vegan or not there is plenty to love here! Looking for healthy snacks? Zucchini Ranch Chips, No-Bake Sunflower Oat Bars, Cheesy Kale Chips and Hummus Kale Chips all look and sound amazing.
Gena is quite famous in the blogging world for her sauces and salad dressings, and I have to say that I am absolutely dying to try her Creamy Maple Chipotle dressing. Speaking of salads, my mom is always telling me that I should write about how I make meal sized green salads. Gena did it and it is an excellent primer for anyone who struggles to turn a salad into a meal. (Mom, are you reading?)
Another great feature is that she breaks the recipes into Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3, so that those who are just starting out don’t become overwhelmed. (Level 1 has the least raw roods, Level 3 the most.)
Recipes I can’t wait to try include:
Cashew Banana Yogurt
Kale Salad with Sweet Potato, Almonds and Creamy Maple Chipotle Dressing
Raw Cobb Salad
Asparagus Quinoa Sushi Rolls
Zucchini Pasta with Quinoa Meatless Balls
Mango Coconut Chia Pudding
Avocado Black Bean Breakfast Scramble
Raw Key Lime Pie
Burnt-Sugar Coconut Ice Cream (just 4 ingredients!)
You are drooling now, aren’t you?
You can get your hands on a copy here.
And in the mean time, check out this amazing recipe!
Most of us are used to thinking about quinoa in the context of savory recipes. As it turns out, this super-grain is every bit as delicious in the morning. Try replacing your standard bowl of oats with a warm bowl of quinoa. You can serve the quinoa plain and top it with some almond butter and banana, or, if you’d like to get a little fancy, give this simple, yet decadent breakfast pudding a try. Coconut milk makes the pudding incredibly delicious and satisfying.??Be sure to get full fat coconut milk; the “lite” stuff just isn’t the same!
photo credit: Hannah Kaminsky
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 1 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out
- Pinch sea salt
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 cups berries (optional)
- Transfer the quinoa to a sieve and run it under cold water to rinse it off. Drain the quinoa well.
- Transfer the quinoa to a medium-size pot. Add 1 cup of the coconut milk, along with 1 cup of water. Add the vanilla bean, sea salt, and maple syrup and give it all a stir.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Place the lid of the pot on, slightly ajar, so that some steam can escape. Simmer the quinoa until all of the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15 or 20 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup of coconut milk.
- Divide the pudding into four serving bowls. Top with fresh berries, if desired.
- Serve. Leftover pudding will keep for a night or two in the fridge and can easily be reheated.
From Choosing Raw by Gena Hamshaw. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2014.
Disclosure: I received a copy of Choosing Raw from the publisher to review. All opinions are strictly my own.