Some people are content to see the world exactly as they view it through their eyes and call it a day, every day. Other people yearn for more: brighter colors, deeper feelings, cosmic connection. I’ve always been the latter, and even as a small child I did things to get “high,” like push on my eyeballs with my fingers because it made me see flashes of pretty colors. I have multiple memories of my mother scolding at me to stop that, it can hurt your eyes. It became a late-at-night (read: after 8 pm bedtime) pleasure, pretty much until I was old enough to smoke pot and moved on to that instead. My college years were spent seeing A LOT OF PRETTY COLORS on a regular basis, and in the many years since my UC Santa Cruz haze, aka since “growing up” (while remaining a rainbow haired tattooed girl in DIY torn up tank tops), I’ve transitioned to finding euphoria in everything from farmers markets to herbal tonics.
Just because tonic herbs are legal, doesn’t mean they can’t get you crazy blissed out. Beyond that, of course, are their myriad health benefits, which include everything from reversing gray hair (thank you, he shou wu!!) to helping your body better adapt to stress. The only real issue I ever had with herbal tonics is the fact that though they are best absorbed eaten as a food rather than taken as a pill, they tend to taste pretty nasty. Enter Longevity Power, purveyors of outrageously effective– and delightfully palatable– premium quality herbs.
When I first tried LP’s “Levity,” which is an extract of red asparagus root (not related to normal asparagus, the veggie), I seriously felt like I was back in Santa Cruz partying like the type of rock star I am way too old to make my body be these days. It tastes like caramel, and it feels like ecstasy. And it totally helps your body adapt to stress, to boot. Add to that their Epic Reishi, which has an espresso flavor and provides support for your immune system, liver, and nervous system, and what do you get? Well, if you’re a culinary creative, you get ICE CREAM. Killer joyful mocha ice cream that is crazy good for you, being made predominantly of avocado and sweet potato, and is both vegan AND paleo, in addition to low glycemic. It is also super easy to make, the most difficult aspect of it being the do-ahead roasted sweet potato, and no one will know it isn’t full of dairy, soy, or anything processed at all. Because ice cream, like everything else, deserves to make you feel really, really good inside.
Magic Mocha Chip Ice Cream
1 small roasted sweet potato (any color)
1 1/2 cups coconut milk or other thick milk
1/4 cup raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
2 tbls coconut nectar, or honey if not vegan
3 tbls Levity
1 1/2 tsp Epic Reishi
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp chocolate extract
3/4 tsp salt
stevia to taste: I like Sweet Drops toffee and use 2 droppers full
Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender until smooth. If you don’t have a high powered blender like a Vitamix, add additional milk as needed.
This is awesome eaten straight from the blender as a pudding, especially if you add a couple tbls of coconut oil before blending. But if you want to persevere and take it a step further to the land of frozen summer happiness, just chill the mixture until cold (about 1/2 an hour in the fridge, presuming your roasted sweet potato was cooled off) and then process in an ice cream maker.
Add 1/2 cup cacao nibs or chocolate chips, or some of each, at the very end, and freeze until firm.
Serve with a sprinkle of extra reishi on top and subsequently confound your friends and loved ones when you give them some then let them in on the fact that the tastiest mocha ice cream they’ve ever had has not a drop of dairy, soy, or coffee in it. Whole foods and superfoods take the cake– hell, they take the whole dessert– every time.
Oh. my. yumminess. Yesterday was typical 75 degree in late February L.A. gorgeousness, and I was totally craving ice cream. Unwilling to actually EAT ice cream on a random Friday afternoon, which I save for special occasions usually involving another person, I made an amazingly delicious toffee superfood raw protein shake from heaven.
The shake was based on a candy I’ve been making recently, which is only called “candy” because it looks and tastes like it, not because it’s full of candy-like ingredients. Contrarily, the candy is loaded with superfoods like chia, hemp, gojis, raw protein powder, and coconut oil. The recipe for it is here: the Tastiest Healthy Treat I’ve Ever Made and the shake I made contained both it, and larger amounts of a few of its ingredients, plus of course liquid. This candy, for the record, is beyond worth the half hour it will take you to throw ingredients into a bowl, and I would like to say it is the most addictive food I have created, but my Rawk-n-Roll Cuisine Notchos have enough kale chip eaters around America hooked that I don’t want to jinx anything with such a claim. That said, I’ve eaten three batches in three weeks, and am showing no signs of slowing down yet.
Recipe For an Amazingly Delicious Toffee Superfood Raw Protein Shake From Heaven:
a 2-inch square of the Tastiest Healthy Treat I’ve Ever Made, broken by hand into little pieces
2 scoops/one serving of your favorite vanilla protein powder
2/3 cup nut or other milk of your choice
little pinch Himalayan salt
3/4 dropper of toffee stevia (I am presently having a torrid affair with toffee flavored stevia. It is completely worth eating “natural flavors” for, as it makes healthy things taste ridiculously junk foodish.)
1 tbls raw almond butter or nut butter you prefer
Blend until moderately smooth– I liked that it still had little bits of chocolate etc. from the candy, so I didn’t blend till 100% smooth/creamy. The amount of milk is small, and I didn’t add any ice, so the photo shown in an eight ounce mason jar is of the full smoothie minus a couple sips. I was looking for a compact ice cream type shake moreso than a big “meal replacement” sized drink, though this did work very successfully as my delectable lunch. It was sweet, rich, and tasted incredibly similar to what I imagine a junk food candy milkshake would be like, though I can’t confirm that because I’ve been a food snot for so long that I’ve never had one of those. I garnished my shake with a couple little extra “candy” pieces on top, and voila:
Perfect for an ice cream craving, satisfying enough for a meal, full of protein and a moderate amount of good fats and carbs. Health-food life doesn’t get better than this!
Nuts are one of my caloric staples, and I’m a snacker/grazer by nature, so trail mix and I are an obvious match. In the last few months I’ve begun playing around with adding different flavors to mixes, and the one I made recently is my favorite so far. It’s low in sugar because there is very little fruit, and even though it has a sweetness from the fruit powders, they contain almost no sugars themselves. This mixture is a flavor overload of sweet, salty, sour and spicy!
There is no real “recipe,” just guidelines. As always, all ingredients should be organic if possible.
1 cup each, all raw:
You could also use cashews, jungle peanuts, and/or any other nuts. They can be used as is, but I sprout and dry them for the health benefits. To do that, soak them in a bowl of filtered or spring water for several hours. Rinse and drain, and either put in a sprouting system or leave in the bowl with a towel or plate over it. Rinse and drain every eight hours until you see tails sprouting; this usually takes 24 hours or less. Place on dehydrator trays, and dry at 105 degrees for about 24 hours. You can skip all that and make this right away, or you can have time consuming but very healthy sprouted nuts- your choice.
To the dried nut mix, add 1 cup goji berries, and combine.
2 tsp Himalayan salt
1 tsp cayenne (reduce if you don’t like things HOT)
2 tbls camu camu powder
2 tbls lucuma powder
1/2 tsp stevia
You can mix these together beforehand, but I just add them directly to the nut and goji mix and stir thoroughly. Taste can be adjusted according to how sweet, salty, etc. you prefer it. The camu adds a distinct sour bite, since it is chock full of vitamin c, and the lucuma lends a lightly sweet, maple-y quality. Both of these products are available in the bulk section of a good health food store, or in 8 oz packages in the raw section of one. Conversely, you can easily find them online. My favorite brands are Essential Living Foods for lucuma, and Navitas Naturals for camu camu. I get my nuts either from the farmers market or ELF, my pumpkin seeds from the bulk bins, and my gojis from Dragon Herbs via iHerb. Dragon Herbs’ gojis are much softer than the standard ones you find.
I love how the superfood powder mix makes these simple nuts and seeds absolutely burst with flavor. If you’ve been getting bored with trail mix, this is the perfect way to reintroduce yourself and liven it back up.
Everyone loves samples (or should, because they are free and fun), and when we visit my mom she always gives us a slew of them from a local store that includes a baggie-full with every special vitamin order. We came home this past trip with scads of samples, and as always I was excited to leaf through the little packets and discover new healthy goodness.
When I came across a green powder, I was skeptical; green powders tend to taste like poop. But I am always looking for a good tasting one, so I inspected it more closely, and it was awash in no-no’s. First, the brand name is “Food Science of Vermont.” “Science” is not generally something I want in my food, and using the state of Vermont to conjure images of nature does not do enough to negate the fact that you’ve put the word “science” in your brand of food. Next, I noticed that nowhere did it say the ingredients were organic, which is a definite must when dealing with concentrates. Who the hell wants to eat powdered pesticides? Apparently Food Scientists think you and I do, but on my end at least, they are wrong. Then, listed in the “other” ingredients was “natural apple flavor.” Natural flavors are not actually natural, since they are made in labs. Well, at least the “science” has come into play now. Lastly, and worst, the first damn ingredient of these “Superior Greens” is SOY LECITHIN. Not only does the lack of specification that it’s non-GMO mean that it is GMO, since most soy grown in America is, it’s not food, it’s not green, and it surely isn’t superior to much of anything. Soy lecithin is used commercially as an emulsifier, not a food/ingredient for nutritive value- yet here it is as the #1 component. That’s when I decided I would not be trying this product out after all, as besides my aversions to FrankenFood I am suffering from severe hormonal imbalance at the moment and the last thing I need is to throw a bunch of estrogen into the mix, which is one of soy’s many evils.
I did go ahead and taste this supposedly-superior not-really-green greens by dipping my finger into the packet, and it tasted like what I imagine Apple Jacks are like. I think I ate Apple Jacks once, in 3rd grade, at my best friend Jami’s house (they were her favorite cereal), and I was so used to health-food cereals that I didn’t care much for them, even though she had done a lot of leading up to the situation with talk about how pink they turn your milk. So yes, to the average consumer these might taste ok, though certainly not “delicious” as the package claims, unless you have a propensity for fake apple flavor.
Food Science of Vermont, I declare you guilty of putting out GMO crap under the guise of health food. I am reminded once again: if you want greens, you’re best served simply EATING them in fresh, natural form.
This is the standard packaging for this offensive product. It is also available as a box of individual packets, one of which was the sample I received.