Raw Vegan Blueberry Maca Cinnamon Rolls

Who doesn’t love cinnamon rolls?

Seriously… I want to know!

Because they clearly haven’t tried these ones.

This recipe was born during a frantic night of rummaging around the kitchen in search of something sweet.

It was one of those “it’s 10 PM and my second stomach is officially open for business” kinds of situations.

Luckily, something in the cupboard caught my eye: a package of raw coconut wraps!

Knowing I also had a ton of frozen wild blueberries in the freezer and a tub of fresh almond butter, I got right to work.

One important thing to note about this recipe is they’re best eaten immediately – unless you enjoy soggy treats!

They require zero baking time (since they’re raw) and won’t weigh you down like a regular cinnamon roll.

I’ve been known to eat an entire plate in a matter of minutes….

Feel free to omit the maca powder – it was a last minute superfood boost, but I don’t regret it!

My final recommendation is to use a thin, smooth almond butter. This helps the filling to be a bit more spreadable. It isn’t a necessity, but if the almond butter is super thick it will end up a little gooey… which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!

Ingredients:

4 raw coconut wraps such as these
5 tbsp raw almond butter
1 tsp vanilla extract 
11-15 drops liquid vanilla stevia
1 tsp maca powder
2 tsp ceylon cinnamon
1 pinch sea salt
1 tbsp almond meal or almond flour
1/2 cup wild blueberries

Cream Cheeze Icing

2 tbsp cashew butter
2 tbsp non-dairy milk
7 drops liquid vanilla stevia 
1 tsp MCT oil
2/3 tsp lime or lemon juice
1 pinch of nutritional yeast
1 pinch sea salt
1/4 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Mix the cinnamon roll filling together and smear evenly onto a coconut wrap.
  2. Sprinkle a small handful of berries inside and roll ’em up!
  3. Using a very sharp knife, cut the cinnamon rolls evenly – I like making them about 1.5 to 2 inches thick.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the icing ingredients.
  5. Thoroughly mix until a thick, yet drizzle-able consistency is reached. You can add 1 tsp of non-dairy milk at a time until it’s smooth and creamy.
  6. Drizzle the icing over the cinnamon rolls.

Enjoy ❤

How to Successfully Follow a Raw Vegan Diet

So, this is a topic that I am very passionate about.

I hear it time and time again:

“I tried the raw vegan diet, but it just wasn’t for me.”

While the raw diet may seem wildly restrictive, to me it actually makes eating healthy a whole lot easier.

As long as it falls under the “raw vegan” category, I can probably eat it without worrying about feeling sick!

Even with cooked vegan food, there is a wide array of foods that I intentionally avoid due to sensitivities or preferences, whether it’s wheat, soy, canola oil or legumes.

With raw food, seldom do I pick up a drink, snack or even pre-made meal, read the ingredients and find somethin’ sketchy.

As someone with a very sensitive digestive system and body in general, the raw food diet makes enjoying and not worrying about food a dream.

While I’ve never believed that there is one diet for everyone, I do think that many people follow the raw food diet incorrectly, resulting in a negative experience.

The first thing I notice about those who follow raw food diets and end up switching back to eating meat and dairy is their limited, obsessive food restriction.

To be a bit more specific, I’m talking about those who hop on the “fruitarian”, “bazillion bananas a day”, “mango mono-meal” bandwagon.

The only exception to my observations on this are those who live in warm, tropical climates where fresh fruit grows in abundance.

I’ve always believed that we should try to eat according to our location, climate and time of year (for the most part).

So if you’re living in, say, Colorado or Northern California, maybe the high-fruit diet isn’t exactly the best plan of action.

But, if you’re living in Hawaii or Costa Rica, plucking fresh mangoes off a tree makes perfect sense.

Not only does this have a lot to do with the quality and freshness of the produce you’re consuming, but also with how our minds and bodies react to different climates, temperatures and weather patterns.

For example, when it’s sunny and warm out, I automatically eat less, crave fresher foods like salads and juices, and enjoy fruit more often.

But, when it’s cold and rainy, I crave warm soups, hot drinks and heavier comfort foods.

When eating a raw diet that consists primarily (or strictly) of fruit, there is an alarming nutrient deficit that occurs over time, particularly those found in healthy fats.

An article published in the National Institute of General Medical Sciences states that:

“Triglycerides, cholesterol and other essential fatty acids—the scientific term for fats the body can’t make on its own—store energy, insulate us and protect our vital organs. They act as messengers, helping proteins do their jobs. They also start chemical reactions that help control growth, immune function, reproduction and other aspects of basic metabolism. The cycle of making, breaking, storing and mobilizing fats is at the core of how humans and all animals regulate their energy.”

While fruits do contain a wide variety of nutrients and fiber, they simply do not contain everything we need to thrive on a raw vegan diet – and fat is one of those things!

This brings me to my number one recommendation to those wanting to try the raw vegan diet:

Consume plenty of healthy fats!

There are tons of amazing raw sources of healthy fats including coconut oil and coconut meat, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds.

The human brain is made up of nearly 60% fat. It needs fat to function properly!

Enjoy healthy fats with every meal, and make sure to keep them varied.

An article published in the Harvard School of Public Health States that:

“The human body can make most of the types of fats it needs from other fats or raw materials. That isn’t the case for omega-3 fatty acids (also called omega-3 fats and n-3 fats). These are essential fats—the body can’t make them from scratch but must get them from food. Foods high in Omega-3 include fish, vegetable oils, nuts (especially walnuts), flax seeds, flaxseed oil, and leafy vegetables.”

So add the second half of that avocado to your meal!

Add an extra dollop of cashew cheese to your raw vegan pizza!

Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on that salad!

In my opinion, healthy fats play an essential role in maintaining any diet.

While healthy fats are a great addition to the raw vegan lifestyle, there are some foods that will hinder your success.

This brings me to my next tip:

Beware of sugars!

It’s so easy to consume large quantities of sugar when following a raw diet.

When it comes to raw food, some of the easiest things to find are these amazing, beautiful raw desserts… some of which are far more tasty than their cooked, non-vegan counterparts I may add!

When I first committed to a fully raw diet, I binged on desserts.

Whether I was making them myself or found them at health food stores and restaurants, I was consuming way too much sugar.

“It’s raw, so it’s fine!” I thought to myself.

While this is partially true, and raw desserts are generally way healthier than traditional desserts, they’re best eaten in moderation.

Sugar, no matter where it’s coming from, is still sugar.

It feeds candida, perpetuates sugar addiction, and can cause all sorts of health issues from brain fog to obesity when over-consumed.

When following a raw diet, try to stick to whole fruits when sugar cravings creep up…. And even then, it’s best to ask yourself if you really need it, or if it’s possible you’re craving something else.

Start off slow.

When I made the switch to raw foods, I had already been vegan for years.

In my opinion, drastic, cold-turkey changes can often be stressful and/or traumatic to the mind and body.

If I’ve been eating hamburgers and ice cream my whole life, changing them out for salads and green juices could mean more than just a new diet.

While we often don’t like to admit it, we have deep-rooted emotional attachments to the foods we eat – and generally, they’re the same foods we loved growing up.

Food is comforting… certain foods even trigger chemicals in our brain that make us feel happy, sleepy or calm.

While raw food can be totally delicious and satisfy these cravings, it’s still a huge leap from traditional, cooked comfort food.

If you’re considering the raw vegan diet and are not yet vegan or vegetarian, I would strongly recommend making a transition to veganism first.

If you’re already plant-based and/or eating clean foods, maybe start by preparing one raw meal a day.

Then, increase it to two.

This will help to keep stress levels under control, and give you plenty of freedom to experiment with recipes and plan meals.

Switching to the raw diet overnight can be a little intimidating, especially when you haven’t found your go-to meal recipes yet, but you have to feed your body enough nutrients for an entire day.

Letting yourself not have to worry about preparing at least one meal a day can give you plenty of time to research, test and find which recipes you truly love.

Then, when you do make the switch to 100% raw foods, you’ll be well prepared with tons of recipes to get you through the week.

Making and eating raw food can be super fun, especially if you like to experiment in the kitchen. Trying to make raw vegan recipes that look and taste identical to traditional cooked favorites is a blast!

Get your nutrients down!

There is an intimidating list of nutrients that we need to function properly as human beings.

When you first start your raw vegan diet, it’s imperative to make sure you’re reaching your nutrient goals.

It’s generally pretty easy to reach macronutrient goals on a raw diet (these are the “umbrella” nutrients such as fat and protein), but micronutrients require a bit more attention.

The good news is, raw plant foods are loaded with bio-available nutrients, as well as the enzymes and fiber necessary for our body to properly absorb them.

When food is cooked, many of those enzymes and nutrients are killed or lost in the heating process.

The not-so-good news is that it can be a little bit of a pain in the butt to track your intake of these nutrients.

My favorite way to do this is with an app called Cronometer.

While I’m not affiliated with or sponsored by this app at all, it’s extremely useful – especially when first starting any new diet.

It’s easy to use (you just log the foods you eat into the app) and they have a vast database of foods already available.

You will learn very quickly whether or not you’re getting the nutrients you need, and things get pretty simple from there.

For example, by using Cronometer for just four days I learned that I rarely hit my daily recommended intake of selenium.

Luckily, this was such an easy fix!

I added brazil nuts into my diet, and… bam! the problem was solved.

Even just one missing nutrient can cause a diet to be unsuccessful… even if there’s an easy way to get it!

My top nutrient deficiencies to look out for on a raw diet are:

Vitamin B-12: Vegan B-12 spray such as this one

Iron: Leafy greens, beets, tomatoes, blackstrap molasses

Selenium: Brazil nuts

Choline: Collard greens, cauliflower, cabbage, sunflower seeds

Protein (complete amino acid profile): Spirulina, leafy greens, hemp seeds, flax seeds

Warm is good… especially during the winter!

I have a lot more difficulties with following a raw diet when it’s cold outside.

Generally, it’s easy for me to eat 100% raw during the spring and summer, but come fall I start to want to incorporate some cooked foods.

Root vegetables, veggie broths, cooked carbs like quinoa and plentiful hot almond milk matcha lattes are hard for me to stay away from.

While I do sometimes enjoy adding cooked veggies to the mix when the rain rolls around, there are periods of time when I still want to eat fully raw, whether it’s for a winter detox or just because.

This is when the dehydrator becomes my best friend.

When the rain is pouring down and all I want to do is curl up with a big bowl of pasta, warm zucchini noodles and raw “neatballs” straight out of the dehydrator works wonders!

Hot teas, miso broth and warm blended raw soups are all winter favorites of mine as well.

Another great winter addition to any raw diet is spice!

Spicy foods can help increase fire in the body, keeping you warm and helping to maintain digestive efficiency.

Adding lots of healthy fats to your diet is also a great way to stay satisfied all winter long!

Overall, it is possible to eat… and stay…. raw vegan!

By following the rules above, I have had zero problems maintaining a raw vegan diet.

I have more energy, my digestion works better and my skin clears up within weeks of transitioning to only raw foods!

I’ll write a separate post soon on the science of raw food soon, and why it can be a great tool for those who are trying to heal themselves.

Are you raw vegan?

Have you tried the raw vegan diet?

Let me know!!

Peace & Healing,

xoxo – Mackenna

Sugar-Free Mango Cardamom Chia Pudding

Chia puddings have always been my favorite go-to breakfast (or dessert) recipe.

I remember when I was about seven, I thought chia seed gel tasted (and looked) just like what I imagined frog eggs to taste like… but I still ate them.

Kids are weird.

Chia puddings are so easy to make and taste amazing – plus they’re loaded with nutritional benefits.

Chia seeds are one of my favorite “superfoods” of all time!

They’re chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids, functional protein, soothing fiber and antioxidants.

In fact, chia seeds are one of the foods that I credit to helping my gut health improve in leaps and bounds.

Because of their high fiber content, they help to keep you full for a longer time without weighing you down, and are the perfect pre or post-workout snack.

Since chia seeds don’t have much taste to them, it’s easy to get creative with flavors for your puddings.

I’m a huge fan of cardamom, so I wanted to make a spin-off on a mango lassi – in pudding form!

Chia puddings tend to be similar in texture to tapioca pudding, but if you want a smoother texture you can actually blend the chia seeds into the mango cashew cream as well.

They’ll still “bloom” and form a sort of gel, so just let it sit in the fridge as normal before enjoying.

Another thing to note about this recipe is the type of mango you’re using.

Since we’ll be blending the mangoes, it doesn’t much matter if it’s a “good mango” – as long as it’s ripe, it’s totally fine.

There are two main types of mango available in most areas of the United States:

The Tommy Atkins Mango (or very similar)

And the Ataulfo Mango (or very similar)

Both will work wonderfully in this recipe, but keep in mind that the Ataulfo and similar mangoes are much smaller than the Tommy mango.

If you’re opting for Ataulfo, I would use two.

Let’s jump in!

Ingredients:

2 small Ataulfo mangoes OR 1 large Tommy Atkins mango (or similar)
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in filtered water overnight
1/2 cup chia seeds 
2 cups filtered or spring water
2 tsp vanilla extract 
1/8 tsp monk fruit OR 1 tbsp maple syrup OR 4 pitted medjool dates
1/4 tsp cardamom 
1 tbsp coconut MCT oil (optional)
1/4 tsp sea salt 

Directions:

  1. Blend cashews with water, sea salt, vanilla, cardamom and sweetener.
  2. Cut mangos into small chunks and add to the cashew cream.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Pour into a large bowl, and add chia seeds.
  5. Mix until well-combined.
  6. Cover chia pudding and put it into the fridge for about 6-8 hours, stirring once or twice to make sure the seeds don’t gel at the bottom.

Enjoy! ❤

Chia Later (-;

Creamy Cashew Mylk

As far as flavor, creaminess and versatility, cashew milk is probably my favorite non-dairy milk alternative.

While cashews are a little heavier and more difficult for your digestive system to process, I notice that when I blend them into milks or sauces, I have a much easier time with them.

Cashews are actually not nuts, but a seed harvested from a variety of fruit called a “Cashew Apple”, which is native to Brazil.

While we will be using “raw” cashews for this recipe, take note that all cashews sold in stores have been steamed to remove harmful compounds found in truly raw cashews.

Cashews aren’t my top choice of nut in terms of overall digestibility, but they actually contain a ton of nutrients, healthy fats and protein.

They’re extremely high in copper, which plays a vital role in maintaining healthy blood and bones.

They also have high amounts of magnesium, the “anti-stress” mineral; vitamin E, a skin-loving antioxidant; manganese, a metabolism booster; and oleic acid, a healthy omega fatty acid.

So to sum it up, cashews are kind of a major superfood – just stick to the ones sold at the grocery store.

Because this milk recipe is rich with glorious, creamy cashew nuts, it’s perfect for making lattes, adding to coffee or tea, making chia puddings, baking, and adding creaminess to smoothies and “mylkshakes”.

If you have a friend, co-worker or family member who thinks they don’t like non-dairy milks, give them this one.

Probably my favorite thing about this milk recipe is you don’t actually need to use a nut milk bag.

The raw cashews break down to a smooth consistency in any high-speed blender. This also helps make it a heartier, more filling and protein-rich nut milk option.

Which for me, is a godsend, as I tend to be lazy when it comes to making nut milks. But there is such a difference between homemade and store bought nut milks, it’s so worth it in the end.

You also don’t have to soak your cashews, but it will help with consistency – especially if you don’t have a Vitamix or other high-powered blender.

This recipe will make you about 6 cups of cashew milk, which turns out to be quite a lot. I like to share mine with friends and family, because it’s such a crowd-pleaser!

With refrigeration it should last up to about 4 days in the fridge.

Ingredients:

2 cups raw cashews
6 cups filtered or spring water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 pitted medjool dates (optional)
1/8 tsp sea salt 

Directions:

  1. If you’re soaking your cashews, let them soak in three cups of filtered water, in an airtight container (in the fridge) for 6-8 hours, or overnight.
  2. Drain and rinse the cashews before adding to the blender.
  3. Add everything to a high speed blender.
  4. Blend on high for about 3 minutes, or until the outside of the blender becomes a tiny bit warm.
  5. Pour into a mason jar or reusable container.

Enjoy! ❤

Raw Vegan Sugar-Free Cinnamon Apple Crepes with Probiotic Pecan Cream

This raw vegan dish totally highlights the amazing honeycrisp apples I found at the health food store 

It’s sweet, creamy, cinnamon-y, and the crepes are soooo tender and soft (and the best part is, I used pre-made coconut wraps to make them!)

If you’re a fan of anything sweet and breakfast-y, you’ll love these.

These crepes make the perfect dessert, as well. Especially for anyone with sugar-sensitivities! 

I myself have a very low tolerance for fructose, meaning I can’t really eat very many fruits or I’ll bloat up like nobody’s business.

If you don’t already know this, I have been dealing with Candida overgrowth in my digestive tract off and on, so fruit doesn’t sit with me so well.

The few fruits I tolerate are most types of berries, certain types of melon and apples.

Luckily, I love all those things.

While I don’t consume any fruit besides berries often, once in a while I love adding apples to raw recipes because of their amazing fiber content!

Apples actually contain a soluble fiber called “pectin”. 

Pectin helps your body detoxify, and scrubs the colon clean of old waste material.

Apples also contain loads of minerals and nutrients. They contain a surprising amount of vitamin C, and a high amount of potassium. 

Apples are made up of mostly water (like most fruits), making them very hydrating and cleansing.

This recipe is also topped with a probiotic pecan & cashew cream.

I try to add probiotics to almost every dessert recipe I make. 

Apples are also an amazing prebiotic food, meaning the good bacteria in your gut love to feed off of them.

So by adding probiotics to this recipe, you’re not only adding more friendly bacteria to your digestive tract, but also giving them a meal to keep them happy.

The probiotics are, of course, totally optional, and you’re welcome to sub the apples for any other fruit you like.

(I’m thinking a blackberry or strawberry crepe would be to die for.)

Anyway, let’s get on to the recipe.

*makes about 5 servings*

Ingredients:

Crepes:

1 package Cinnamon Coconut Wraps (Plain will work just fine if you can’t find cinnamon)

Cinnamon Apple Filling:

4 honeycrisp apples
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla bean
1/8 tsp organic monk fruit 
1 pinch sea salt 
1 tbsp coconut MCT oil or coconut oil

Probiotic Pecan Cream:

1 cup coconut water
1/4 cup raw pecans
2 cups raw cashews 
1/8 tsp vanilla bean 
1/8 tsp monk fruit 
Contents of 2 probiotic capsules
1 pinch sea salt 

Directions:

  1. Finely dice the apples and mix well with the rest of the filling ingredients.
  2. Spread evenly onto a dehydrator sheet and dehydrate at 115° for 45 minutes, or until soft.
  3. In the meantime, blend pecan cream ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth.
  4. Line 4 coconut wraps on a dehydrator sheet, and spread 1 tbsp pecan cream evenly onto the surface of each wrap. 
  5. Place wraps in the dehydrator and dehydrate at 110° for about 5-7 minutes, or until warm, soft and pliable. 
  6. Remove cinnamon apples from the dehydrator, and mix in 3-4 tbsp of the pecan cream. 
  7. Scoop 1/4 cup cinnamon apple mixture onto a wrap, and roll it up tight, like a crepe!
  8. You can dehydrate these again for a few minutes to re-warm them.
  9. Top with a dollop of pecan cream and sprinkle with chopped pecan nuts and cinnamon!

Enjoy ❤