Sunday, March 31, 2013

Running Tip #6 + Delicious Energy Truffles

Hey everyone!!! 

Before I share the delicious recipes, I would like to share another important tip I've learned in my journey to better fitness. I call these tips "running" tips only because I'm trying to get into running, but again, these tips apply to any type of exercise.

Tip #6: Embrace your situation, whatever it may be.

I know that before I started to strive for daily exercise in February, I was very afraid of trying too many different workouts because I felt like they were "unequal" exercises - in other words, I believed that if I stopped doing them and just stuck to running, I would get super fat (part of my minor eating disorder issues..). Doesn't make much sense, does it?

But our minds do these things to us - they really do. Which is why it's very important sometimes to just ignore these wacky thoughts and just give new workouts a try. Remember, a workout - no matter what type - is still just that: a workout. Calories get burned no matter what, right? It can be pilates, it can be zoomba, it can be dancing, rockclimbing, running. AND doing these types of workouts does not mean that you have given up as a runner. It just means that you're embracing your situation and the resources given to you.

Why is this sixth tip so important, you may ask?

Today, I was planning on running, but then when I woke up, I was home alone. My parents told me they wouldn't be back until 1:00 pm. The first thought that crossed my mind was "SHOOT! How am I going to run this morning??" If you're like me, I absolutely HATE going around my neighborhood when I'm home alone. For some reason, it's so comforting to know my parents are at home while I'm outside working out. I don't know, maybe it's just me.

Anyway, it was right after that moment that I realized that there is nothing wrong with working out inside today. I've had workouts where I've simply ran around my house a bajillion times for like 15 minutes, but today, I wasn't feeling that idea. So I went upstairs, turned on my apple TV (a computer works too), and looked for podcasts and Youtube videos that had great workouts. And so began my search for TODAY's perfect workout...

Looks promising...
Nahh. WAY too cheesy.
So I tried Youtube:

She looks fit and all, but I don't see any abs. I want to see abs so that I stay motivated. 
So I decided a Jillian Michael's workout would give me a running start to my cardio for the week. 

Lasted 15 minutes, and had to take a break!! *sweaty, exhausted*

It was great! I think I'm going to try to finish it now that I have recovered! 


Speaking of recovery, I made energy truffles this morning! They would probably make great pre-workout or post-workout snacks! 

I made two flavors: Spirulina Superfood Dream and Mexican Hot Chocolate Bliss, and to bind and sweeten them, I used plenty of these lovely dates from Costco:

Deglet noor dates

You are free to use Medjool dates, but make sure you put a little less than what the recipe asks for. 

The balls rolled in powder at the bottom are spirulina flavor. The darker chocolatey ones are Mexican hot chocolate flavor!

Spirulina Superfood Dream

Makes 40-50 small energy bites

* 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
* 3/4 cup oat flour
* 15 deglet noor dates
* 1/4 cup maple syrup
* 1 Tbsp. chia seeds (optional, for energy)
* 1/2 tsp. spirulina powder (optional, adds spirulina flavor and nutrition)
* 1 Tbsp. cacao powder
* 2 Tbsp. roasted salted peanut butter
* 3-4 pinches sea salt
* 3 parts oat flour to one part cacao powder
* sea salt

1) Put all ingredients in food processor. 
2) Keep processing/pulsing until mixture forms into a ball of dough.
3) Take out and form into small balls. 
4) Roll the balls in the cacao/oat mixture. Store in airtight tupperware and refrigerate leftovers. 

Mexican Hot Chocolate Bliss

Makes 12-15 small balls

* 1/4 cup oat flour and cacao mixture (the garnish for the previous recipe)
* additional 1/3 cup oat flour
* 5 deglet noor dates
* 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
* 3-4 pinches salt
* cinnamon, to taste (start with 1/2 tsp.)
* Grade B maple syrup, to bind mixture (maybe start with two tablespoons)
1) Put all ingredients in food processor.
2) Keep processing/pulsing until mixture forms into ball of dough. 
3) Take out and form into small balls. 
4) EAT! 
5) Store leftovers in airtight tupperware and refrigerate. 


The last recipe is my favorite. It literally tastes like Mexican Hot Chocolate. 

Both of these energy bites sport some fabulous raw ingredients, like freshly ground cinnamon, juicy dates, and raw oat and buckwheat flours. And pink himalayan sea salt. :) 

By the way, I'm sure you can substitute raw honey or agave for the maple syrup. 


Ok everyone, I hope you have a happy Easter and a wonderful day! 

I'm going to finish my workout now - wish me luck!!!! *bites nails* 

Much love.... and chocolate!

~ Natalyn 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Out-of-this-world Veggie Sushi

Quite an exciting title, eh?

Anyhoo, I hope you are having a wonderful Spring break (for those of you who have a spring break). And for those of you who don't have a spring break, I hope life is treating you well as you carry on with work, school, etcetera.. :)

So today, I went to Whole Foods - pretty much my "mecca" that I go to like every other month or even ever other other month - and got all sorts of goodies:
These raw vegan macaroons melt in your mouth and are just decadent.
Organic Cameo Apples - super crisp with beautiful stripes

...And many other stuff, including the star ingredient of today's recipe: Sushi Nori!!!

So we (my parents and I) got home from our fabulous trip to Whole Foods, and after our exercise we were trying to decide what to eat for dinner. 
My mom decided oatmeal. I was feeling fresh cucumbers, mangos, and seaweed... aha! Sushi! 

I had just watched a documentary the other night and in one of the parts, the raw vegan chef showed a group of people how to make sushi with just veggies. He used totally different veggies than what I had in mind, though. I was feeling some fresh cucumber, sweet mango, and daikon radish! 

So I got to work! I gathered and chopped my ingredients...

Then I grabbed my nori sheet, filled it, and rolled it up!

Roll 'er up!

And here's the finished product:

Drooling yet? ;) 

That lovely sauce you see there is definitely a key ingredient in this sushi.

It's super simple. It's just lemon juice, miso, ginger and a hint of sesame oil.

Lemon-Miso Ginger Nori Spread

* juice of 1/4 lemon (more if desired)
* 1 tsp. red miso
* pinky-size piece of ginger, minced
* one drop of sesame oil
In a super small sauce bowl, mix all ingredients together until thoroughly combined - spread should have a thick consistency. 

~          ~         ~

Ok, now that you have your spread ready to go, you can now chop up those veggies and assemble your sushi! 

Nat's Out-of-this-world Veggie Sushi

Serves: 1+ (depends on how much you make)

Sushi Ingredients:
* Sushi Nori Sheets
* Daikon radish, julienned
* Cucumber, julienned
* Mango, slightly underripe, julienned
* Miso mushrooms (sauteed mushrooms massaged in a little miso paste)
* Cilantro (optional)
* Green onion, cut into thin strips (optional)

* Lemon-Miso Ginger Nori Spread 

* Organic Baby Spinach
* Pink sea salt
* Everyday Seasoning
* Hot sauce of choice

1) First, cut up and organize all the sushi ingredients and sauté the mushrooms. 
2) Grab a nori sheet, and fill the corner with equal amounts of cut up ingredients. Just one layer of cucumber, mango, daikon (3 strips each veggie). Add other ingredients.
3) To roll sushi, start at the side with the filling. Roll until you cannot see the filling, then press hard with your fingers to help it keep its shape (a bamboo sushi mat helps). 
4) Continue rolling and pressing until you have a thin piece of nori sticking out. Spread a super thin layer of Lemon-Miso Ginger Nori Spread on here, and then finish rolling. The spread should help the sushi hold together. 
5) With a serrated knife, carefully cut your sushi roll to make 4 smaller rolls.
6) Do this process over and over until you have desired amount of sushi rolls. 
7) Garnish each little roll with a leaf of organic baby spinach and some pink salt/everyday seasoning.

~ ~ ~

Yeah, these were my OUT OF THIS WORLD garnishes. :)

But the great thing about this recipe is that it is very adaptable. Don't have daikon? Use jicama. Have a bunch of lettuce? Add it into your sushi! 
... Don't have mangoes? .... GO BUY SOME!! ;)

I hope you guys enjoy this sushi! The mangos, cucumber, and daikon radish make such a flavorful combination. And that spread - even in the small amount I used - makes all the flavors go together and POP! 

Talk to you soon!

Much love,

~ Natalyn 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Running Tip #5, a Story, and Tangerine Pineapple Juice Smoothie

Usually I would post the recipe first, but I wasn't in the mood to do that today. :P

So let's talk about it - Running tip #5: Have a support system.

Friends. Family. Your dog (or other pet). Maybe a person you've never met but always admired... each and every one of us has someone (or a group of people) who inspire us to strive to be our best. 

Well, let me tell you, it is amazing what happens when you develop friendships with people who are always encouraging you to strive for your best in health and wellness. 

Found that picture on Pinterest. :)

Being a budding runner, I share this tip for running, but it honestly applies to all exercise. 

Now, here are my top ways to get a strong support system:
1 Online buddies - I have found that a little encouraging message here and there from my online/texting buddies makes a big difference in my motivation level to exercise for the day.
2 Share with others - more on this in a moment.
3 Accountability buddy - have a reliable friend or two that you can talk to for encouragement when you feel down (you may want to return the favor and do the same for them - which strengthens both your desire to workout AND your friendship).
4 Youtube/blogs/pinterest/tumblr/etc. - this one works wonders for me. Although, be careful. It's easy to get feel-good feelings from reading so many running quotes and using the good feelings as an excuse not to exercise. 

Those are my top four.. but out of all of them, tip #2 is hardest to put into one sentence. So let me share with you a little bit of my story so far...

   Since the summer of 2012, I've been on my own journey in finding out what true health and wellness means. I must admit, the journey has been hard. I've been through all sorts of extremes and painful moments to get to where I am right now, and I still have a long way to go.
   Nonetheless, there are two amazing people who have stuck with me and put up with me through it all (and more) - my parents. I remember the first night my life changed that summer... little did I know I would inspire them to change theirs. This was my own journey, and I had not expected for them to follow me, but they have - today, our kitchen is always stocked with fresh fruits and veggies (some even from the garden!). Always. 
   That kitchen - and our perspectives on healthy living - did not become like that overnight. Rather, it is the result of those little, seemingly unimportant moments when I would excitedly show my parents that organic apples taste loads better than store-bought, or when we celebrated our very first completely organic salad from our own garden (that was the best salad we had ever eaten). Or when we would sit together watching a documentary on wholesome food. We have laughed, cried, suffered, and celebrated the small moments to get to where we are today. And it all started with a small desire in someone else to share, which created a small desire in me to share, which created a small desire in my parents to share.. and now we're getting people telling us that they are inspired to eat healthier too!  
   Let's get to the exercise part of this story, though. Now that I am eating better and better each day, I am really putting extra effort to work on my exercising habits.. they are not consistent yet, and that's a problem for me. I've been trying to get consistent exercise ever since last summer, but it would always be in "chunks". For a couple weeks, I would be great, and then I would fail and give up for a while, thinking my efforts were a waste. At the same time, every time my parents (I shared all my exercise success and fail stories with them) saw me try so hard to workout consistently, they became more encouraged to work out more. 
   Now, my perspective of working out has changed a lot from what it used to be. Nonetheless, I continue to lack consistency. Yesterday, I got up and completely forgot about working out. Plumb forgot. Even when I finally did remember, marathon running sounded far away to me, and I felt like putting off that dream until "tomorrow". Then my mom came up to me and said, "Let's eat, go to the farmer's market, and then we'll come back and go RUNNING!" Now a little background info - I have NEVER seen my mom running or jogging around. Never. She was willing to go running with me + she encouraged me when I lost my desire to pursue my dreams. 

So guess what we did? My mom, my dad, and myself... went running! 

My dad took that picture. We ran to a nearby park and then did some strength training. And then we ran back. Best workout ever! And want to know something funny? They did better than me!! I was so proud of them, and they told me they were super proud of me. I love those two. 

So yes, that's my tip of the day: Get a support system! Need an online buddy? Like my Facebook page (Natalyn in the Raw) and send me a message! I love when my readers talk to me about their goals, desires, and tips for healthy living. 

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

Ok, ready for this??


Is that a delicious change of subject or what?!?!

I like to call this drink a "juice-smoothie". It is the perfect thickness (a little bit thicker in consistency than juice), and it's slightly cold and super refreshing on a beautiful spring day! 

This is the juice that fueled my mom, dad, and me when we went running later that morning. And let me tell you, that was some tasty fuel.

Pineapple Strawberry Tangerine Juice Smoothie

Serves 3 

* 16 oz. tangerine juice (10-15 tangerines)
* 1/3 pineapple or 1.5 cups chopped pineapple
* 5 strawberries
1) Juice tangerines with an orange juicer.
2) Put all ingredients in vitamix and blend until smooth. 
3) Fuel up! 

Enjoy the running tip and the smoothie, and I'll talk to y'all very soon! 

Much love 

~ Natalyn

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spring is in the air!

Hey everyone!! Happy spring/Easter (almost)!

Today I went to the farmer's market to grab me some fresh seasonal produce.

Just look at those blueberries. I got them from the farmer's market today. Well, actually my mommy bought them for me. Yippee!! 

Seriously guys, the variety of produce available right now is wonderful! Peas, blueberries, strawberries, asparagus, radishes..

Who wouldn't want to eat this deliciousness??
I've been snacking on peas and blueberries all day. So yummy! 

Ok, so now for the salad: A super light and zesty corn salad.

You weren't expecting that, were you? I must admit, the corn is not seasonal or organic, but my mom had bought some sweet corn from Costco and I couldn't resist. ^_^ 

But anyways, not to worry, because I also incorporated plenty of true spring in this salad. Fresh lemon juice, daikon radish, green onion, and a handful or two of fresh sugar peas. 

The salad obviously has SPRING written all over it. Pastel colors with a pop of bright green from the green onion. And the flavor is just the right amount of zesty and ever-so-slightly savory and sweet. Daikon radish and corn get along much better than I expected! *licks plate*   ...     *eats plate* 

Super Light and Zesty Spring Corn Salad

Serves 4-6 as a side, 1-2 as a meal

* Kernels from 6 ears of corn
* 1/2 daikon radish, cut into small cubes
* 1 green onion, chopped
* couple handfuls of sugar snap peas (optional)
* juice of one lemon
* 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil 
* A pinch or three of sea salt  
1) Prepare ingredients - to prepare corn without a mess: use a bowl to keep the kernels from flying everywhere. 
2) Combine all chopped up ingredients and sugar snap peas in a medium salad bowl. Add lemon juice, olive oil, and sea salt, and toss well to combine. 
3) EAT IT UP! :)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

One more thing about this recipe: the radish.

The radish - not just any radish.. A daikon radish. This is the first time I have tried one, because I was never brave enough before now. You can find daikon radish at any asian or international food markets, and yes, I have seen some farmer's markets sell them. 

But seriously, people, give it a try. It's VERY mild in spiciness, but generous in flavor. It's also huge (almost as long as my arm), so it might last you a couple days. :)

I usually never like to post recipes with "weird" ingredients.. simply because you would have to hike to the store to get them, and that's time, money, and GAS. 

But the daikon radish is worth becoming a new ingredient in your kitchen, trust me. 

Okie dokie, that's it for today. If you've liked my Facebook page, you may have already seen that mouthwatering tangerine juice recipe I created for my breakfast this morning. Well, no worries, I'm posting that - and running tip #5 - tomorrow! 

Peace, love.. and zesty corn salad!!

~ Natalyn :) 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

3 Recipes Fit for St. Paddy's Day (coincidentally)

St. Paddy's day is here!!

I usually don't make a big deal about these kinds of holidays on my blog - Christmas and Thanksgiving are more important to me - but today I realized that my recipes as of late have coincidentally sported a LOT of green and orange. So I thought, why not make a post about St. Paddy's Day?

Today, I'm going to share three fantastic recipes for you. The first two were done weeks ago, and I had promised I would post them on the blog for my friends and family to enjoy. So here they are: Coconut miso- sauteed winter greens and a winter waldorf salad.

Oh man, you're gonna love that salad.

Here's the base I depended on for these two fabulous sides : Coconut cream from a young Thai coconut. One ingredient, and can be found at the nearest asian market, whole foods, or other natural foods store. Sometimes even a regular grocery store will carry them. 

Coconut Cream
Makes about 1.5 cups
* Meat of one young Thai coconut
* water of one young Thai coconut minus 1/4 cup (for your enjoyment and to keep it from being to runny)
Open young coconut and empty liquid out into a cup. Set aside. Scoop flesh and add to blender, then add the reserved coconut water. Blend until perfectly creamy and smooth.

Once you have prepared that, you can now quickly make some delicious gourmet sides!

Sauteed Winter Greens
Serves 3 as a small side
* Big handful Kale
* Big bunch of Swiss Chard
* Generous handful Carrot tops
* 2 green onions
* 2-3 leaves fresh sage, minced
* 1 tsp. coconut oil
* 1 tsp. miso paste
* salt and pepper, to taste (the miso does a pretty good job though)
* coconut cream, as desired (start with 2 tbsp.)
1) Chop the kale, chard, carrot tops, and green onions into small pieces. Add fresh sage.
2) In a large wok, melt coconut oil, add miso paste, and then throw in the greens. 
3) Stir this around for a minute or so, then let it sit 30 seconds. Repeat, this time adding the coconut cream, and stir a bit more frequently. 
4) When the greens start wilting and become very fragrant of coconut and savory goodness, you may remove them from heat. 

Tip: Cook no longer than 5 minutes. The less you cook this, the better it will be for you (and yes, it will still taste divine). 
~    ~    ~

Ok, now for the waldorf salad. Being that it's late winter/early spring, tangerines in my grandma's backyard are now fully ripe and at the peak of sweet tanginess.

These lovely little orange gems are what inspired my winter waldorf salad. You know what's funny? I don't think I've ever even made a regular waldorf salad before - but the idea of crunchy deliciousness from sweet apples, salty celery, and savory walnuts in a creamy sauce just completely won me over. I merged this idea with my desire to use citrus and maple syrup and crossed my fingers. 

So here's my result:

Sucky photo. I know. But many times the best recipes from bloggers are the ones where they are so hurried to eat that they just snap a quick, slapdash photo and devour the dish. So trust me when I tell you... this salad is GOOD. Very, very, good. It's so balanced - tart apples, salty celery, savory walnuts in a sweet glaze, citrusy sweet tangerines, and a creamy coconut blanket over everything.

I know, enough talk. Onward to the recipe:

Winter Waldorf Salad
* 2 large green apples, diced small
* 5 stalks celery, chopped small
* 1 tangerine, sliced, diced, and de-seeded 
* 3/4 cup maple-glazed walnuts 1)
* juice of 1/2 lime
* coconut cream - a lot
* pinch of salt (optional)
Combine all all chopped salad ingredients in bowl. Add walnuts and pour coconut cream over the whole thing. 

1) Tip: you can make your favorite maple-glazed walnut recipe or just do what I did: 3/4 cup walnuts, heat in a pan with maple syrup. Stir around until well coated, remove from heat, add powdered coconut palm sugar. Let it get sticky and hard, and then break up the pieces. 

Now for another great salad. Just made it today, actually. 

Do you see what I did there with that cilantro leaf?? Do you see that?? *snicker*
This, my friends, is a creamy salad inspired by the fresh mangos and in-season avocados I had on hand.  The salad itself is comprised of fresh organic spinach, purple kale, bell pepper, green onions, a squeeze of lime, and lots of fresh champagne mango. 
The dressing is avocado, celery, lime, ginger, dates, and sesame oil. 

The sesame oil and ginger are the most important parts of this dressing - they tie the whole salad together. 

Creamy Mango Avocado Sesame Salad
With a kiss of fresh ginger
Serves 4-6 people as a side, 1-3 as a dish
Salad Ingredients:
* lots of spinach, chopped
* Couple leaves of kale, finely chopped
* 1-2 mangos, diced
* 1 bell pepper, diced small
* 2-3 green onions
* Generous handful of cilantro, finely chopped
* Squeeze of lime
Dressing Ingredients:
* 1 Avocado
* 1 cup celery, chopped
* 2 medjool dates, chopped
* scant 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
* finger-size knob of ginger
* 1-2 squeezes of lime
* water as needed
1) Assemble salad ingredients in a big, beautiful bowl. Add a little lime juice, toss salad, and set aside.
2) In vitamix blender, blend avocado, celery, lime juice, and sesame oil. Add ginger and dates. Add some water as needed.
3) Blend until very creamy, like mousse (not runny like thousand island dressing)
4) Toss salad and dressing until thoroughly combined.


Check out how green this dressing is:

Yeah, that's the leftover. Delish!

Here's some more photos to convince you to make this salad:

I hope y'all enjoy these recipes. I know my family and I sure did! 

Peace, love, and salad!!

~ Natalyn 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Step 4: When in Doubt... Run it out!

Or walk it out, or rock climb it out, or jump-rope or zumba (or however you spell that). You get the idea, right?

That's what I'm trying to tell myself. I'll admit, I haven't worked out as much as I have wanted.. which sucks. But the good news is that my cold is finally going away. That cough didn't want to leave my body.

Anyway, so here's the best news for both of us: Today is a new day!
A new day to inspire myself, motivate myself, and to take the hardest step: out the door. Again, Nike's ubiquitous motto rings in my brain: just do it.

And it's true. Sometimes the biggest struggle is imagining yourself out there, but then when you actually go out there and run off all of the doubt, all of the negative feelings, you come out of it an overall happier person.

If you think about it, step 4 is pretty much a necessary repetition of step 1: sometimes the hardest step you take is out the door. The doubt is telling you no, but you need to beat that doubt... I need to beat my doubt today. 

My mind is giving me every reason I shouldn't work out: "It's too late. You're gonna get fat." "You don't have time to be working out. Do it tomorrow." "Don't your shins hurt from last time?" "What if you're doing it wrong?" "A marathon? Really? Is that what you think you can do?" 

Well, I'm going to give my mind a little bit of it's own medicine today. 

To my thoughts,

Hey, I appreciate your concern. And yes, I've got unhealthy habits that could potentially make me              fat. Yes, I don't necessarily have the time to be working out. Yes, my shins sometimes hurt when I run because they are getting used to it. And yes, perhaps I am working out the wrong way. 

Nevertheless, exercise does something for you and me both that you don't like to admit - it stabilizes us, disciplines us... it makes you a giver of positive thoughts rather than negative self-criticism. Don't you see, the more we don't exercise my body, the more you're going to be out of shape as well? 

Though you do not agree with my body (and though my body sometimes doesn't agree with me either), I'm going to do what's best for all of us... and push aside my doubt as I step out the door. 

You can thank me later.

~ Natalyn

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Well, I'm gonna go for a run. Wish me luck - I have no desire to do this, but I would like to follow my own advice and go out there. I'm going to feel so much happier and accomplished once this is over - and I'll be ready to tackle my giants and challenges of the day.

Much love,

~ Natalyn :)

P.S. SO sorry about never posting those delightful dinner recipes. They will eventually come - especially that waldorf salad (YUM!). As of late, I have been collecting my most successful recipes (not on this blog yet) and organizing them onto ONE notebook so that I can easily transfer them to my blog and give out recipes to people. This may take a while, so I appreciate your patience.