January 19, 2009


To date I have lost nearly 40 lbs incorporating raw foods into my diet. And aside from the obvious, like exercising and eliminating junk food, the single most important factor that has made all the difference in helping me slim down is JUICING!

I have noticed that a green juice, first thing in the morning, kicks my metabolism into gear and keeps my crav
ings under control throughout the day. Plus, juicing is very hydrating for the skin which has given me a lovely natural glow!

And because juicing separates the fiber, I like to use fruits/veggies that are low on the glycemic index. This way the juice won’t spike up my blood sugar since it's absorbed directly into the bloodstream. So make sure to drink your green juice on an empty stomach for instant absorption.

By the way, I'm usually not nearly as picky about the ingredients I use when making green smoothies, since blending keeps the fiber intact. Fiber slows the rate of absorption which has a lesser effect on blood sugar levels.

I also enjoy making a green juice right after a workout or yoga. I find that flooding my body with hydrating nutrients helps with recovery between workouts and keeps my body fluid and flexible!

Here's my all time favorite green juice recipe, I call
it the Juice of Radiance! All ingredients in this recipe are low on the glycemic index.

Juice of Radiance

2 celery stalks
1 large kale leaf
1 large collard leaf
1 small apple
1/2 carrot
1/2 lemon (pealed)

This juice is absolutely wonderful and refreshing! Not only is it healthy and loaded with nutrients, it's also hydrating, alkalizing, and it's mighty tasty if I do say so myself!

Plus, it’s great for those who are just starting out and still need to get accustomed to the taste of greens. Once you feel comfortable you can always add more greens or cut back on the apple.

January 15, 2009


I recently graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in International Affairs. In my final course, Intro to International Political Economy, I desperately wanted to write my senior paper on something related to global sustainability.

I was doing some research on sustainable agriculture and I came across an article that I feel is a MUST READ, especially for those of us who promote healthy, natural living and support a sustainable organic future. This is a brilliantly written article that is well thought out and proposes realistic alternatives to a broken irresponsible system of agricultural production.

The article was recently featured in The New York Times called Farmer in Chief written by Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food. It's a great read so pass it on!


The article addresses local and global effects of conventional industrial agriculture. What Michael Pollan calls the “sun-food” agenda, proposes large-scale systems of local, organic and humane agriculture to replace industrial agriculture. His suggestions are brilliantly innovative yet practical and realistic!

So enjoy the article and pass it along to your friends and family! Our future depends on spreading the word and awareness on alternative solutions that can heal our planet.


By the way, President-elect Barack Obama read Michael Pollan's Farmer in Chief article! See Obama's brief response featured on the Tree Hugger.

If anyone is interested in reading the research paper I submitted for class on Sustainable Agriculture (which I am happy to say I got a 100% on), I would be more than happy to post a copy. In the report I discuss how both the liberal and the realist political perspectives fail to address the fundamental issues regarding the sustainably of agriculture, and the proven agricultural techniques for long-term sustainability.

Thank you kindly, wishing everyone a radiant year ahead!

January 10, 2009


I frequently get asked the question, "How raw are you?" And I don't blame people for asking because there's so many ways to go about transitioning to a raw diet, not to mention all the conflicting information about which raw foods and superfoods to focus on.

For me, I don’t actually see raw foods as a diet at all, but rather a lifestyle. And although I have personally lost a significant amount of weight incorporation raw foods into my routine (over 35 lbs), there are other aspect of a raw lifestyle that I was drawn to, including the idea of connecting back to nature… to a more natural way of living. In fact, I think that living naturally, organically, sustainably, and raw is by far the most beautiful way to live!

And yes, I do still struggle on occasion especially around the holidays, but I try not to give myself a hard time over it. Instead, I give myself enough love and understanding to know that I'm always doing the best I can… a work in progress.

But ideally, I try to aim for about 80% raw vegan, gluten free. I try to focus on incorporating lots of organic leafy greens. In fact, I prefer greens over many of the “superfood” supplements promoted in the raw community. I feel that eating foods in their natural state is far more superior. But I do have a select few favorite superfoods that I occasionally use in smoothies and/or recipes to make sure all my essential nutrients are covered.

I love making low-glycemic green juices (see my Juice of Radiance recipe), berry-collard smoothies, tomato-herb soups, and hardy salads with avocado-base dressings. But I equally enjoy gluten-free whole grains, cooked. Some of my favorites include quinoa grain and organic brown rice pasta with raw spicy marinara.

Adding in some gluten-free whole grains makes me feel a bit more grounded. And as Rick and Karin Dina, D.C. (the Raw Food Doctors) once explained, nutritionally speaking steamed veggies over brown rice is probably better for you than "raw" cake loaded with fat and sugar, even though the fat and sugar is natural and unprocessed. For this reason I try to keep my diet balanced rather than getting caught up in whether or not something is "raw". My first priority is keeping it high quality and organic.

I also occasionally incorporate wild-caught fish into my diet, both raw and cooked. I find that my body responds well to the protein. And I've been known to eat unpasteurized raw goats cheese. So in that regard I'm definitely not vegan, but I do try to maintain at least 80% raw vegan, which is amazing considering I grew up in Russia eating meat and potatoes practically at every meal.

I am also very drawn to the Hippocrates approach to raw foods rather than the Natural Hygiene 80/10/10 approach. I find that the Hippocrates perspective on nutrition is far more balanced and well-rounded, whereas the 80/10/10 diet focuses on 80% carbs (from fruit), 10% protein, and 10% fat. I find this approach a bit restrictive.

But having said that, I also think that everyone has their own physiology, and therefore one must always tune in and listen to their body. The wisdom inside of us is always more accurate than advice of any expert!

January 7, 2009


A healthy, radiant lifestyle goes beyond nutrition. Balance and harmony in the body is achieved not only with what you put in your body, but also with what you put on your body.

Skin is your body’s largest organ, absorbing just about everything. Consider using natural and organic cosmetics, body and skin-care products... NOT tested on animals! Remember to always read labels. Here's a great organic, raw vegan body and skin-care product line Raw Gaia.

And don’t forget the importance of fitness for optimal and vibrant health. Staying fit and flexible circulates oxygen throughout the body, releasing stagnant energy and tension while expelling toxins out of the system.

And yet equally important to radiant health is the overall environment in which you live. Creating a clean, warm environment in your home will inspire and invite you to relax and unwind. A good place to start is by uncluttering your home, and replacing all your household cleaning products for eco-friendly ones.

Taking care of mind, body, soul and environment ensures that you are living in harmony with the laws of nature. When you are mindful of your health and your environment, radiant living becomes a natural way of life!

January 5, 2009


Isn’t it peculiar, we are the only species in the history of our planet’s existence to have ever cooked food? No other species has ever done this.

In fact, if you’ve ever noticed at the zoo there are caution signs everywhere instructing us NOT to feed the animals. Well that’s because we know that feeding animals processed “human” food will make them sick!

But why are we eating it, and more importantly, why are we feeding our children the same foods that we know make other animals sick?

Could there be a link between our heavily cooked, processed diet and the epidemic of cancers, diabetes, heart disease, depression, arthritis, and obesity? And yes, we are the only species with an epidemic of chronic and degenerative disease.

Notice that even our domesticated animals, when fed processed foods, develop the same degenerative health conditions that we do.

But if we turn to nature for answers and observe animals in their natural habitat, we see that species in the wild hardly, if ever develop disease. And for good reason! Not only is their environment less polluted and toxic, but even more importantly they are eating a natural, uncooked diet. They are not destroying the nutritional integrity of their food with fire.

And if you recall from basic chemistry, heat alters compounds changing their molecular structure. Cooking food is no exception to the rule. Exposure to high heat denatures food and specifically the nutrients in food.

If you ask me, it's simply not natural to cook food! And it is absolutely no coincidence that so many people in our culture are chronically sick, unlike most species in the wild. Changing diet and lifestyle is key. Give up the fire!


Raw food cuisine is a revolutionary culinary art focusing on healthy nutrition. This beautifying, gourmet cuisine nourishes the body, increases energy, aids in digestion, fights against disease, and slows the aging process... leaving you with a healthy radiant glow!

It is a healing, nutrient rich cuisine high in vitamins and minerals, enzymes, phytonutrients, anti-oxidants, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Although there are variations of the raw food diet, including the use of raw meats, dairy and eggs, the cuisine is traditionally vegan (with the exception of occasional use of raw honey).

It focuses on the use of organic fruits and vegetables, leafy greens, fresh herbs, nuts and seeds, sprouts, mushrooms, seaweeds, fermented foods, and wild superfoods.

There are no refined sugars, white flour, gluten, trans-fats, or cholesterol... because remember, cholesterol does not exist in the plant kingdom! It is unprocessed, unrefined, and untreated with heat above 118 degrees Fahrenheit.

Why 118 degrees Fahrenheit? If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. In nature vegetation can't withstand sun's extremely high temperatures. Most plants cannot grow in desert climates where temperatures exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. And it just so happens that above 100 plus degrees nutrients and enzymes begin to break down.

Not to worry, just because you are no longer cooking food does not mean you’re stuck eating salads and carrot sticks. Raw foods is a gourmet cuisine that you can actually cater a five course wedding dinner with. Everything from orderves and appetizers, to the main course, to an entirely raw vegan wedding cake!

How is this possible, you ask? With a little imagination anything is possible! Avocados for instance can replace butter, eggs, and heavy cream. And if you think about it, avocados don’t have much of a flavor, but they have the right consistency for creamy textures. Whereas nuts and seeds, ground up to a powder, can replace flour in any recipe.


Beyond the obvious nutritional benefits, there's an additional reason for incorporating more raw foods into your diet. It has to do with enzymes and what’s commonly referred to as enzymatic "life-force” in foods.

Enzymes are proteins that break down starches into simple sugars. When a fruit ripens, what's actually happening is the enzymes are “digesting” the starches and turning them into simple sugars… thus the fruit gets sweeter. This is why ripe fruit is best, the starches are practically pre-digested.

So when you are eating fresh, enzyme rich fruits and veggies, you actually end up using less of your body’s own digestive enzymes, which lightens up the load on digestion.

Enzymes are also believed to be the “life-force” in plant foods. And for this reason, raw foods are often referred to as “living” foods.

Let me explain. If we were to take an apple and plant its seeds into the earth, with proper moisture the seeds would grow an apple tree! However, if we were to bake the apple first and then plant the seeds into the earth, no matter how ideal the conditions may be, the seeds from this apple could never reproduce an apple tree.

This is because the enzymatic “life-force” has been destroyed by heat. There's no longer life potential in that apple or its seeds!

So we’re practically digesting nutrient-depleted "dead" material when eating foods that have had nutrients and enzymes cooked out of them. And of all nutrients, enzymes are the most heat sensitive as they begin to break down anywhere between 105 and 118 degrees Fahrenheit.

So it's clear to see why eating more organic, fresh foods is so beneficial for optimal health. Raw cuisine floods the body with essential nutrients and living enzymes.

Remember, eating a nutrient rich diet of whole natural foods is the only way to ensure lasting radiant health. When you nourish the body with a vibrant living cuisine, as nature intended, you become an expression of radiant health. Raw cuisine is in fact nature’s secret to youthful longevity.

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