Raw Vegan Tummy-Loving Lemon Custard

I’ve always been a huge fan of lemon… mainly in desserts.

Lemon bars, lemon cake, lemon ice cream… the list goes on!

I think I got this from my mother, a serious lemon fanatic.

I’ve been craving lemon ever since the weather started getting warmer, but I didn’t want to make a huge, heavy dessert.

Part of me wanted to just suck it up and make lemon bars, but that would require a lot of work… and I just wasn’t feeling that. Ya know?

So, I grabbed a few lemons at the grocery store and headed for home.

And thus, this recipe was born.

This lemon custard is bright and flavorful, and has all the sunny spring vibes.

Plus, it takes literally 5 minutes to whip up (besides opening the coconuts).

It doesn’t need any thickeners, gums or food colorings, and somehow has an unbelievably creamy, pudding-like texture.

You can make it as lemon-y as you want. I added one lemon, but I could see myself adding another half if I was seriously craving that tart citrus flavor.

This recipe also contains prebiotic fiber AND probiotics, making it a wonderful breakfast or dessert for sensitive tummies (such as myself)!

These are totally optional, and can be left out. (They don’t affect the flavor at all if you choose to opt out of adding them.)

This custard would also be delicious topped with fresh berries or granola, but I love it by itself, topped with a little extra turmeric.

This recipe is also keto-friendly by default, but if you prefer to use a different sweetener, go for it. If you’re using a regular sweetener like honey or maple syrup, I would start with 2 tsp and work your way up from there.

If you’re making this keto like I did, keep in mind that every sugar-free sweetener is a bit different, so start off slow and continue to taste until your desired sweetness is reached.

This recipe makes 2-3 substantial servings.

Ingredients:

2 cups young Thai coconut meat
1 tbsp coconut water, plus more to blend if needed
Juice & zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
5-10 drops organic stevia
1 tbsp organic erythritol (optional)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 pinch sea salt
1 scoop probiotic powder (optional)
1 tbsp acacia fiber powder (optional)

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender and blend well, adding 1 teaspoon of coconut water at a time until a super thick, but smooth consistency is reached.
  2. Store covered in the fridge for up to 2 days, but best enjoyed immediately.

Enjoy! ❤

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 (-;

My Experience on the Vegan Keto Diet

In the past two years or so, there has been one diet planting its flag on the planet of fitness and weight loss:

The Ketogenic diet.

What is the “keto” diet?

It’s basically a diet that heavily restricts carbohydrate consumption, and replaces them with fat, plus moderate amounts of protein.

No fruits, no grains, no high-carb plant foods (such as potatoes).

This “trains” the body’s metabolism to burn fat instead of carbs.

This metabolic state is called “ketosis“.

While I am by no means a huge fan of “fad diets”, this one caught my interest, especially since my partner in crime owns a sugar-free chocolate company. (I’ll link his website here for anyone who’s interested)

The idea of a low-carbohydrate, zero-sugar diet sounded like a great idea for anyone (me) struggling with a sugar addiction, Candida, brain fog, digestive issues or some other sugar-related problem. 

I was already aware of the issues that sugar can cause on the human body, but there had never been a label for a diet free of this addictive, drug-like edible substance until now.

It was the first fad diet I’d heard of that didn’t sound like it was complete hogwash invented by some “nutrition guru” who was being channeled by demons of incorrect food restriction. 

Until I started scrolling through some of the “keto” hashtags on Instagram.

I soon found out that most of the people who were following this ketogenic diet were eating primarily, if not entirely, animal products… and I don’t mean grass-fed, pasture-raised, organic meat from their local butcher.

I’m talking big name meat and dairy companies – factory farmed, antibiotic-filled, hormone-laden, GMO grain-fed animal products that, in my opinion, shouldn’t ever be on the table of any health conscious individual, even in small quantities.

Some of these people were actually eating entire sticks of butter.

Let that one sink in.

I could cite dozens of articles on why eating these types of animal products this frequently can cause all types of health issues from arthritis to heart disease, but it only takes a quick google search to see for yourself. 

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re either already well versed in the plant-based diet, or – at the very least – have heard it buzzing around the mouths of hipsters for the past few years. (No shade to hipsters. Love y’all.)

I’m not saying everyone who’s following the ketogenic diet is doing it wrong, but I became increasingly weary the further I scrolled.

While many of these folks did seem to be successfully losing extra weight, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a healthy way to eat – if you catch my drift. 

When I see plate after plate full of pink, brown & varied shades of beige, I become a tad alarmed.

(In case you’re wondering, it is totally possible – often encouraged – to follow a ketogenic diet without a totally carnivore-based eating style. Even popular keto diet gurus like Thomas DeLauer have talked about this.)

Now of course, I do have a small bias:

I’m an ethical “bee-gan” (I do indulge in the occasional teaspoon of raw organic honey) and have been for years.

That being said, I do believe that for some, animal products such as eggs or raw dairy can be tremendously healing – when eaten under the right circumstances, from the right sources, and in the right quantities. 

Bias disclaimer aside, let’s get to the part where I decide to try keto on a vegan diet!

To give you a bit of backstory on why I wanted to give this a shot, I’ve been struggling with a little bit (lol) of a sugar addiction, as well as Candida Albicans overgrowth for the past two years or so. 

I figured that the ketogenic diet was the perfect experiment for my situation. 

Day one was easy peasy. I felt pretty normal. I’ve always steered clear of most grains and processed sugars, so it felt like a relatively normal day of eating.

After only two days of cutting out all sugars and severely cutting my carbs, I felt pretty great. 

Around day three, my sugar cravings were in full effect. I was desperate for sugar – any kind of sugar.

I was using loads of stevia and eating a ton of sugar-free desserts to satisfy the “sweet flavor” side of my addiction. 

But alas, the stubborn bacteria in my tummy knew the difference between stevia and maple syrup, and I had a hard time feeling satisfied from my keto treats – though they were delicious

I would desperately try to make up any excuse for why I should have that vegan, gluten-free cookie at the grocery store, or why having just a teaspoon of honey in my tea was perfectly acceptable.

Speaking of tea, here’s some “tea” that might peak your interest:

According to NIH (National Institutes of Health) microorganisms actually outnumber your human cells 10:1

Yep.

“Ok Mackenna, that’s kind of creepy, but what does that have to do with the ketogenic diet?”

Well, if you’ve heard the phrase “you are what you eat”, you already know!

The microorganisms and bacteria living in your body get hungry too.

And if you’ve been feeding them sugar and carbohydrates for any length of time, that’s what they want.

To get a little sci-fi on you, they actually tell you what you want. If you’re harboring bacteria that crave processed foods and sugars, that’s what they’re going to communicate to your brain.

I’ll link a study for you on this here.

So, around day five was when I stopped seriously craving sugar. 

Did it still sound good? 

Yes.

But it was surprisingly easy to avoid.

Around week two – yes, it took me that long – I didn’t even think about sugar. A nightly cup of unsweetened herbal tea with almond milk did the trick for me, and I felt comforted and satiated from it.

Week two was also when I started noticing serious changes in my skin. 

When I was eating a higher carbohydrate diet, I would break out in bi-weekly rashes all over my face and mouth, and had acne frequently.

After cutting out sugar and carbs for two weeks, my skin was much more even-toned, and my acne decreased significantly.

My digestion was better than it had been in months, I had more energy and I felt like I could eat only savory foods for the rest of my life and be totally stoked about it.

Of course, all good things must come to an end. (Not really, but I tell myself that to feel better about my lack of self-control in certain situations.)

I broke my keto vegan diet on week five when the holidays rolled around…. 

And it wasn’t even that satisfying.

But of course, the carb cravings immediately returned with a vengeance after my holiday indulgences.

I have since regained my strength and willpower and am excited to say that I’m currently back on my favorite diet of all time: The Raw Food diet. 

I’ll write about why I love raw food so much another time, and my experience eating only uncooked plants.

But I digress.

If someone were to ask if I recommend the vegan keto diet, I would say absolutely. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to new recipes, help cleanse the body, kickstart your body into healing from sugar-related illnesses, re-set your metabolism to burn fat, and kick cravings right in the butt.

It really helped me re-gain control over my body, gave me glowing skin, more energy and better sleep.

Here’s what I did to help keep me on track and make the vegan keto diet a little easier:

  • I ate loads of fat. I mean LOADS. I was pouring cold-pressed olive oil, pumpkin seed oil, coconut and MCT oil on all my meals, chowing down on raw nuts and seeds, and having as much avocado and high-fat, raw, sugar-free vegan cheesecake as I wanted. Hehe.
  • I made keto vegan desserts to satisfy my sweet tooth throughout the week. There are tons of recipes online for delicious keto vegan desserts, and I have some awesome ones as well. (Of course they’re awesome, I made them. *wink*)
  • I made sure to eat a wide array of nutrient-dense, fiber-rich vegetables – particularly hearty greens like kale. 
  • I ate larger meals, and tried not to snack throughout the day. I usually opted to fast through breakfast with an MCT oil drink of some kind (usually a matcha latte).
  • I drank several large almond milk matcha lattes per day. (I wouldn’t recommend this much caffeine, but I am a serious matcha addict. If hot drinks comfort you as well, I would recommend opting for a keto hot cocoa or hot herbal tea later in the day).

So there you have it!

My final thoughts on the keto vegan diet?

Totally doable, but if you aren’t already vegan or keto, I would say try one or the other for a month or two first, to dip a metaphorical toe in the water of diet theories.

As far as sustainability goes, I would give this diet a 7/10.

I love that it’s zero sugar, and that it’s a multi-use tool for more than just weight loss.

I do think, especially for vegans, that eating complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, buckwheat, quinoa, and certain fruits now and then can help to keep things varied, balanced and interesting.

I want to end this off by saying that I don’t necessarily think any ONE diet is going to work for everyone

But if you want to give the vegan keto diet a shot, I would encourage you to do so!*

And if it doesn’t work for you, it definitely isn’t the only road to feeling amazing in the magical home you call your body.

Peace & healing,

xoxo – Mackenna

*As always, speak to your healthcare professional before embarking on any rather restrictive diet journey.