Raspberry Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Categories: Uncategorized,


We are talkin’ one easy breezy recipe here. And one that is PERFECT for breakfast. And fall. Or basically at any hour of the day or any season of the year. When unhealthy ingredients are lacking, I say, “Why not!” to eating a treat this delicious whenever hunger strikes. The bananas in this recipe make each muffin beyond soft and combined with the melted chocolate chips and raspberries, this recipe should be considered sinful. These beauties taste too scrumptious to be healthy but they are!

We all have those moments in our lives when we possess too many overripe bananas and I could not think of a better way to use them! You can also use defrosted frozen bananas for this recipe. Flexibility abounds! Speaking of flexibility, while I didn’t plan on introducing the subject of yoga or gymnastics into this post, sweetener usage is somewhat flexible as are the words and contents of my blog posts. I used date paste, which is really easy to prepare, but you can also use maple syrup.

As for gymnastics, my mom did send me to gymnastics up until the age of 8, at which point I declared that back handsprings and splits were not for me. It took me a total of 5 months to master a split too. This was behind the other girls in my class, whom were able to master splits between 2-4 months. Yes, I do remember the details. I remember them vividly. How could I forget the extra month it took me to master the split? Memories of an early childhood event like that is bound to stick with me for life.


Also to be recalled is the fresh organic strawberries and raspberries my mom always packed me for after classes. I was very lucky that she not only let me choose which sport I participated in (it ended up being tennis ~ no splits required), but she also brought me plenty of fresh fruit. I was a lucky little one, I know. However, these muffins were not prepared for me as a little one, so while I was very, very lucky, things can always get better. These muffins might just make any situation better.


I added a huge handful of fresh organic raspberries to these muffins and boy was that a good idea, nutritionally speaking and taste speaking. And how could I post this recipe without providing for you the latest and greatest raspberry science? I could not.

Raspberry nutrition 411 to get you even more pumped to include raspberries in these muffins! 

Raspberries contain many health-promoting phytonutrients that possess antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anticarcinogenic properties.[i],[ii] Raspberries contain ellagitannins, a family of compounds almost exclusive to the raspberry that have been shown to possess anticancer properties as well as anthocynanins, ellagic acid, catechins, and other flavonoids. Woah, those phytochemical names are a mouthful, but boy are they health-promoting!

The ellagic acid content of raspberries helps prevent damage to our cell membranes and other structures in the body by defending us from free-radical damage. The anthocyanins that give raspberries their rich red color are also responsible for inhibiting cancer cell proliferation and tumor formation in many parts of the body, including the breast and colon. The antioxidant activity of raspberries is actually ten times higher than the antioxidant activity of tomatoes (!), and they are also impressively high in vitamin C, vitamin K, B-complex vitamins, manganese, folate, magnesium, potassium, and copper.[iii] Raspberries have additional cancer-inhibiting properties—they can inhibit metalloproteinase enzymes, enzymes that can play a large role in cancer development by providing a mechanism for its invasion and spread.[iv],[v] Heck, raspberries are even the perfect food for diabetics, with a hefty dose of fiber and minimal impact on blood sugars. While berries are absurdly cool (read: they have the highest micronutrient density ratio of all fruits), aim to eat a wide variety of fruits for maximum health benefits. Each fruit has a unique array of antioxidants, and to reach your best health, the name of the game should always be to eat as many different plant-based foods as possible to expose yourself to all of the wonderfully unique chemical compounds of each spectacularly colored fruit or vegetable.

These muffins contain three different fruits, brain-health promoting flaxseeds and almonds too! So, not only are they guilt-free, they really are amazing for our health.

Ingredients (makes about 8 medium-sized muffins):

3 very ripe medium-large bananas
1 cup spelt flour
½ cup almond flour
3 flax “eggs” (3 tablespoons ground flaxseeds mixed with 6 tablespoons water)
½ cup date paste or maple syrup
2 tablespoons Earth Balance or another vegan margarine
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon ground vanilla or vanilla extract
½ cup dark chocolate chips or raisins
½-1 cup fresh organic raspberries (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the ground flaxseeds with water in a cup or small bowl, stir and let sit for a minute so it can form a nice egg-like gel. Combine all ingredients (including flax “eggs”), except chcolate chips and raspberries in a food processor or high powered blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour the blended ingredients into a large bowl. Stir in chocolate chips and raspberries evenly.

Lightly grease a muffin tin or line with paper muffin cups and spoon in muffin batter. You can make medium-sized muffins by filling the cups up ¾ of the way or larger muffins by filling them up all the way. Place extra chocolate chips or raspberries on top each muffin if you’d like more on top. Bake for 20 minutes or until you can place a fork or toothpick on top and it comes out clean. Let cool for at least 10 minutes and enjoy!


[i] J. Beekwilder, R. D. Hall, and C. H. de Vos, “Identification and Dietary Relevance of Antioxidants from Raspberry,” Biofactors 23, no. 4 (2005): 197–205. PMID:16498206.

[ii] J. P. Rauha, S. Remes, Heinonen M, et al. “Antimicrobial Effects of Finnish Plant Extracts Containing Flavonoids and other Phenolic Compounds,” International Journal of Food Microbiology 56, no. 1: (2000) 3–12. PMID:13810.

[iii] S. Y. Wang and H. S. Lin, “Antioxidant Activity in Fruits and Leaves of Blackberry, Raspberry, and Strawberry Varies with Cultivar and Developmental Stage,” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 48, no. 2 (2000): 140–6. PMID:13820.

[iv] M. Liu, X. Q. Li, and C. Weber, et al., “Antioxidant and Antiproliferative Activities of Raspberries,” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 50, no. 10 (2002): 2926–30.

[v] P. Tate, J. God, R. Bibb, Q. Lu, and L. L. Larcom, “Inhibition of Metalloproteinase Activity by Fruit Extracts,” Cancer Letters 212, no. 2 (2004): 153–8. PMID:15279895.

Preventing Nutrient Deficiencies on a Vegan {Or almost vegan!} Diet!

Categories: Uncategorized,

Guys, I’m having trouble finding good pictures for this blog post because I didn’t want to post boring pictures of vitamin pills, so here’s a picture of blueberry strawberry ‘nice’ cream smoothie recipes I’ve recently made. :)


Should we all take a multivitamin to achieve nutritional adequacy? Answer: YES!

So here’s the deal. There are certain vitamins and minerals that we should take in supplement form because many of us are at risk of inadequacy (especially vitamin B12 in the case of vegans) and there are certain vitamins and minerals that are very dangerous to take in supplement form. Ideally we should look for a vitamin pill that supplies us with the desirable vitamins and avoid supplements containing the noxious supplemental vitamins. Below is a list of which vitamins are great for us to take and which we need to avoid like the black death.

Body Lovin’ Vitamins

1) Vitamin D- This is the sunshine vitamin that we should all be taking. Most of us don’t spend enough time in the sun or wear sunscreen, which minimizes our ability to absorb enough vitamin D. It’s so important that we have enough vitamin D in our bloodstreams because a lack of vitamin D has been correlated with the development of osteoporosis, several cancers, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease and depression. Yikes! Making sure we have enough vitamin D is super important for our overall health. In the wintertime it’s especially important that we take a vitamin D supplement. Seasonal depression has been linked to a deficiency in vitamin D and studies indicate adequate vitamin D levels can actually put us in a better mood. If you are not a sun worshipper then aim for a supplement that contains 2000 IU (this is 500 percent of the government’s recommendation- a accumulating body of evidence is suggesting that we need more than currently recommended). Plus, we should not be aging and needlessly wrinkling our skin or causing premature aging with excessive sun exposure. We can pay a price for the excessive sun exposure in our teens and twenties with wrinkled, discolored and skin cancer-prone skin in our 60’s and 70s. Certainly, being careful with sun exposure and assuring Vitamin D adequacy with a supplement makes good sense all around.

2) Vitamin B12– We need to make sure we’ve got enough B12! This vitamin is needed for a healthy immune system, nervous system and for the health of our red blood cells. While avoiding animal products will help us avoid pernicious toxins, prevent chronic diseases and prolong our lives, people who don’t eat animal products will just not get enough B12 without supplementation. B12 deficiency can lead to stomach problems, nerve damage, anemia and depression. Look for vitamin pills that contain the more biologically available form of B12 called methylcolbalamin (versus the synthetic cyanocobalamin, which is more absorbable.

3) Vitamin K2- Pshh, calcium move over. Vitamin K is in the house (or at least it should be in yours). Vitamin K is a bone protector and strengthener, defending the health of our bones day in and day out. Without enough, our bodies can’t use calcium for bone and teeth formation. We get plenty of vitamin K from green vegetables, which is essential, but getting some extra K2, not found in veggies adds another layer of benefits. Having enough vitamin K in our tissues is critical for the prevention of osteoporosis- a total of 13 studies have shown that vitamin K2 reduces the risk of fractures- more so than vitamin K1. This vitamin has also been shown to protect against free radical damage, hence, it has anti-aging effects. Vitamin K2 is a natural form of vitamin K that is far superior to vitamin K1, so look for supplements that contain this form.

Body Lovin’ Minerals

1) Iodine- This is one sexy mineral. We need to consume enough of it for the production of sex hormones and without enough, we can suffer from brain damage or our thyroids can go out of whack. It’s difficult to consume enough iodine unless we eat salt, which is often fortified with iodine. Considering the fact that adding salt to food increases our risk of having a heart attack or stroke, it’s a safe bet to get our iodine from a vitamin pill.

2) Zinc- Zinc is critical for a healthy immune system, resistance to infection, healthy skin, and our ability to smell and taste. The zinc in animal products is more easily absorbed than the zinc in plant foods, so vegetarians and vegans require more zinc than omnivores. Green-leafy vegetables, mushrooms and seeds are rich in zinc, but it’s wise to ensure you are getting enough via a vitamin pill.


I may need to post this smoothie recipe soon, don’t I? it was actually very easy! Now, let’s continue…

Body Hatin’ Vitamins

1) Folic Acid- Conventional nutritional wisdom may dictate otherwise, but new studies show that supplemental folic acid can be mega harmful. In fact, folic acid has been implicated in the promotion of breast, prostate, and other cancers. One study following women who took folic acid in the form of a multivitamin concluded that folic acid supplementation increases the risk of breast cancer by 20-30 percent. This is gosh darn awful news because most vitamin pills contain folic acid.

The 411 on folic acid: FA is the synthetic form of folate, which is present in pretty much all green vegetables. Folate is awesome for us and high amounts of folate in natural foods is a very good thing; the amount of folate we need is perfectly in sync with the amount in vegetables and the body regulates its absorption anyway. Folic acid, on the other hand, is not found in natural foods and is added to food or used as an ingredient in multivitamins. Most processed grains, like white bread and pasta, have folic acid added to them to counterbalance the nutrients lost in processing. Sounds tasty and nutritious, doesn’t it? NOT. Because Americans can’t get enough of processed goodies fortified with folic acid, in conjunction with a multivitamin, we are getting a hella lot of synthetic folic acid. Our bodies can’t regulate the absorption of synthetic folic acid like they can with it’s far superior natural form, folate. Basically speaking, even though folic acid and folate are related, they do not have the same effects on the body and folic acid can be toxic whereas the folate we get in natural plant foods is most certainly not. Moral of this paragraph: eat ya green veggies, yooo.

P.S. Pregnant women are often advised to take a folic acid supplement to ensure that their babies aren’t born with neural tube defects. Folate and folic acid are in the B family of vitamins and we need them to properly synthesize DNA and to regulate gene replication. This is why a lack of folate/folic acid can lead to fetal developmental abnormalities. While there is a risk for developmental abnormalities in babies whose mother’s don’t get enough, pregnant chicas are SO much better off eating green vegetables and beans which naturally contain folate as opposed to taking pills containing synthetic folic acid. Not only is a high vegetable intake associated with a lower risk of cancer for the mother, but studies show that the unborn child will have a decreased risk of developing cancer in childhood or being diagnosed with ADHD. This is a pretty spectacular research finding if I do say so myself, but the benefits of eating green vegetables versus taking supplemental folic acid during pregnancy don’t end there. Folic acid supplementation by pregnant women has been associated with a higher incidence of childhood asthma, infant respiratory tract infections, and cardiac birth defects.

2) Beta-Carotene/Vitamin A- It’s pretty remarkable how bad for us some vitamins can be when taken in isolation, extracted from natural foods. Beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, and vitamin A itself are a testament to this fact. Scientists once thought that taking beta-carotene supplements could protect against cancer because it was found that populations with high levels of beta-carotene in their bloodstreams had extremely low rates of cancer. Yet, beta-carotene is only one of over about 500 carotenoids found in natural plant foods. The high level of beta-carotene in the bloodstreams of these peoples was merely a representation of the hundreds of carotenoids and phytochemicals in the fruits and vegetables they were eating. Beta-carotene alone wasn’t responsible for the impressively low cancer rates, it was just a marker for populations with high fruits and vegetables intakes. Unfortunately, many scientists mistakenly believed that beta-carotene could be a wonder-pill.

Studies on the benefits of beta-carotene followed. Naturally, nature wins when we look for health benefits in a bottle and the results the scientists were looking for never came about. Beta-carotene supplementation didn’t just not work- it actually increased the cancer rates among study participants. In Finnish studies, subject had increased rates of lung cancer, prostate cancer, and heart disease. A review of multiple studies on beta-carotene intake, called a meta-analysis, concluded that beta-carotene supplementation was associated with increased all-cause mortality rate.

As a result of many European and American studies all pointing towards the toxicity of beta-carotene supplementation, medical journals like the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and the New England Journal of Medicine warn against taking supplements that contain this dangerous little vitamin.

Vitamin A: The Horror, The Horror!

Get this: vitamin A (aka retinyl palmatate and retinyl acetate) supplements are even more dangerous than supplements containing beta-carotene. Supplemental vitamin A has been shown to cause calcium leakage from our bones, contributing to osteoporosis, and has been linked to liver toxicity and birth defects in the children of pregnant mothers. Needless to say, vitamin A is a potent, noxious little thing. Women especially need to be careful not to take multivitamins containing vitamin A because we have a greater suceptability over men to being diagnosed with osteoporosis and suffer from spontaneous fractures as we age. One study showed that for every 1 mg increase in vitamin A consumption, hip fracture rates increased by roughly 70 percent. Like it’s precursor beta-carotene, vitamin A ingestion is linked to an increase in all-cause mortality.*

4) Copper- Like iron, we need to have a healthy balance of copper, yet too much can do some pretty frightening damage. The lowdown is that copper is needed for a healthy glow in our skin tone, for the metabolism of iron and other important cellular functions. However, we should definitely not be taking any supplements containing copper because excess copper is linked to decreased immune system functioning and a lower antioxidant status. Like iron, excess copper can contribute to an acceleration of cognitive decline as we age. I go pale just thinking about what too much of these vitamins in our bloodstreams can do. If we eat foods containing copper and don’t take copper containing supplements, we will have a perfect balance of copper and will have no need to fret about any copper toxicity.

5) Selenium– No surprise that selenium too, has pernicious effects, given its presence on this list. Excess selenium has been linked to the development of cardiovascular disease, impaired immune functioning, breast cancer, and diabetes. Just say no to multivitamins containing selenium.

So with that tidbit on vitamins and minerals (I covered the most beneficial and most dangerous), you might have to do some hunting in your local health food store for a multivitamin without the more harmful supplemental vitamins. Remember if you are a vegan, vitamin B12 is especially important for you to take and most all of us could use more of the sunshine vitamin, that lovely vitamin D {well, except if you are a mermaid or live in perpetual summer like I seem to…}. I hope you found this post useful!



Double Dark Chocolate Crispy Coconut Cookies

Categories: Uncategorized,


Guys, I think it’s time for cookies. Not just any cookies, however. Almost magical cookies. Make that almost magical, high chocolaty healthy cookies. Wow, does it get better than this?! While my brain just gave me a mental slap and informed me that, yes, yes, it does get better than this, at least in the world of cookies it doesn’t get much better than the cookie recipe you see here.


These cookies are almost magical for a few reasons. While the word magic isn’t often or basically ever associated with the words scrumptious, crispy and perfectly chewy, now would be the time to form new and 100% positive associations with these words. Why almost magical? Well firstly, I am not entirely sure that “real magic” exists on planet earth, so I’m going with almost magical. What is real magic anyway? I just thought of the movie Stardust for some reason and tragicly, we have nothing like the magic that exists in that movie in our world.

Now, these cookies are almost magical because they are delicious to the point of tasting sinful but they contain not a single not-good-for-you ingredient. They are 100 percent fruit-sweetened with date sugar and they are oil-free. Date sugar is simply ground up dehydrated dates. I used coconut butter and peanut butter instead of any oil. There is a very big difference between coconut butter and coconut oil. It is like comparing peanut butter to peanut oil. The butters still contain all of the fiber and nutrients in the whole food whereas oils do not. They are also gluten-free due to usage of rolled oats as “flour”. You must try them!

You see that I use flaxseeds in this recipe as an egg replacement and do you know how almost magical flaxseed are for our health?!!!!! They fight breast cancer with an almost magical force and you might want to check out this article and learn more if you are not already flaxseed educated.

Ingredients {makes about 8 cookies}:

Wet ingredients:

2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds + 6 tablespoons water
1/4 cup coconut butter
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter, almont butter or peanut butter
2/3 cup date sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or ground vanilla

Dry ingredients:

1 1/2 cups rolled oats or oat flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder

Optional: Melted dark chocolate to drizzle on top!


The recipe is very easy, so let’s start with it! Mix the ground flaxseeds with the water in a cup or small bowl and let sit for a minute to form two flaxseed “eggs”. It should form a gel quickly. Add this mixture along with all other wet ingredients into a food processor or high-powered blender. Once completely combined, add all of the dry ingredients to the food processor or blender too. I recommend using a food processor, but a blender should work too. If necessary, add a few tablespoons of nondairy milk or water to moisten the mixture, but this wasn’t necessary for me.

Once mixed into a nice dough {the dough should be moist enough to form balls without cracking, but not super sticky}, shape balls of dough (about the size of a golf ball or 2 heaping tablespoons) and place on the baking sheet 2-3 inches apart. Gently press down on each ball with your hand to form a disc (it should be 1/2-inch thick or so).

Bake for 13-15 minutes {I baked for 15 mins} until the cookies are just hard to the touch with a fork. I did touch them with my finger and didn’t burn myself, but I don’t take responsibility for finger burning! Cool cookies on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes or so and enjoy! They should last about a week in the fridge and up to three weeks if you store them in the freezer.


Refreshing Banana Peach Pitaya Coconut Smoothie!

Categories: Breakfast,Gluten-Free,Raw,Recipes,Snack,Uncategorized,


It has been atrociously hot in Southern California. Words that come to mind include scorching, sweltering and thermogenic. Yes, it’s been nothing less than 100% thermogenic in Newport Beach, my current equatorial-like town of residence. When it’s brutally hot, I get even more serious about my word choices to describe my experience in the heat when I am hiking for miles and miles. Why do I do that to myself? Why do I go hiking in such heat?! Maybe it’s because it feels spectacular to consume a smoothie like this upon returning. Maybe it’s because my subconscious has decided that it likes to torture me with poor life choices. I will go with the former.

Thanks to thesaurus.com as well as the English language, a few clicks on your mouse pad will result in 45 synonyms for the word, “hot.” Recalescent is amongst those 45 choices. This smoothie is the opposite of recalescent. It is positively arctic and that is one thing I love about it! It’s also amazing for a healthy body and because it’s vegan, it’s better for the planet and animals too. What’s not to love? Note: The pink is natural and it is from usage of pitaya. What a glorious fruit! Now I am about to head off to Au Lac Restaurant in Fountain Valley, CA for dinner. It’s one of my favorite vegan restaurants in Orange County. If you ever come to visit, you must try it!


Ingredients {makes 1 large or 2 smaller servings}:

4 frozen bananas, sliced into 1-2 inch chunks
1 cup frozen peaches, defrosted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or ground vanilla {1 teaspoon for each layer}
1/2 of your favorite nondairy milk
1 pack Pitaya Plus {pitaya is another name for dragon fruit!, this is optional but makes the top layer pink!}
1 cup coconut milk ice cream {optional, 1/2 cup for each layer}
Your favorite toppings {granola, sliced bananas, berries, mulberries, etc.}


Prepare the bottom layer first by blending 2 bananas, defrosted peaches, 1/4 cup nondairy milk, teaspoon vanilla and optional 1/2 cup of coconut milk ice cream in a high powdered blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour this peach layer into a bowl or glass jar as I have done.

Add remaining ingredients to your cleaned blender. This would be the 2 remaining bananas, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 cup nondairy milk of choice, pack pitaya plus, if using and 1/2 cup coconut milk ice cream. Blend until smooth and creamy and add it on top of the peach layer. Freeze for at least 15 minutes before serving, add your favorite toppings and enjoy!