I will be recapping the last year of my life as I transitioned from a standard 'cooked food vegan' to a 'raw food vegan' and then documenting my experiences as a raw food traveler. Will it be difficult to stay raw as I travel the world? What unique fruits and vegetables will I have the pleasure of discovering along the way? Hopefully, this will serve as a guide for other raw foodists on the road.
Thanks for reading!
This is one of two trips I made to Portland during my week-long stay in Hood River. I arrived mid-morning and immediately headed to my old stomping grounds in the area of the city simply known as "southeast". My first stop was at The Herb Shoppe on Hawthorne street.
Mon - Fri 11 AM - 7 PM, Sat 10 AM - 6 PM, Sun 12 PM - 5 PM
This place is full of great stuff - all kinds of herbs, pre-blended dried herb tonics for bladder/kidney troubles, candida, low energy, women's tonics, relaxation, adrenal fatigue (etc), essential oils, supplements, superfood powders, massage oils, aromatherapy, and it even has a massage room in the back. The employees are extremely knowledgeable, patient, and helpful. This is one of my favorite places ever and I'm sad I won't be living down the street anymore.
My second stop was at Mirador - a "green" gift and household goods store.
This is the kind of place that has everything you need and even more of what you don't need. They have items and knick-knacks ranging from kitchenware, water bottles, aromatherapy, toiletries, juicers, soaps, teas, other odds and ends - and they're all either locally made and/or made of recycled material and/or made with organic ingredients and forever generally better for the environment than going to a drug store or a supermarket like Fred Meyer. For example, I left with a toothbrush made from yogurt containers, a ylang ylang body spray that I adore (Uncle Henry's brand), and a sea salt mouth rinse (also Uncle Henry's brand).
From there, I went across the street to New Seasons Market, a Portland-based chain of natural foods. It's very similar to Whole Foods, but it's not Whole Foods and that's why we love it.
Their salad bar, while not all organic still boasts a pretty good price at $6.99/lb. I've admittedly never had their salad bar and you'll find out why if you read on.
It does look pretty darn good, though.
I will often reserve a trip to New Seasons if People's Co-op, of which I'm a member, doesn't have what I need. More about People's in just a few scrolls. People's, for instance, doesn't carry the makeup I used to wear, Dr. Haushka - all fair-trade, organic, natural and preservative-free. I'm now a big fan of the Jane Iredale line (if anyone cares).
Some of the treasures you might find at New Seasons Market: I saw that they were carrying a juice brand called Genesis, which claims it is unpasteurized (unheated). I just went to their website and read that instead of pasteurizing their juice, they use a method called HPP - High Pressure Processing. Instead of heating the juice to high temperatures to get rid of food-borne pathogens and other organic material they use high pressure that squeezes the unwanted materials out, but keeps most of the good stuff in resulting in a fresher tasting juice with more of the nutrients preserved. For information on HPP click here
They have a giant produce section, of course. They carry both conventional and organic produce.
Organic signs in green, conventional in grey.
I took this picture becuase I wanted to remind myself to make this vegan arugula hazelnut pesto.
Just a few blocks down from New Seasons, you'll find my personal all-time favorite, People's Food Co-op. I'm always raving about it so I'm stoked to finally get to share it with you.
I've been a member of People's since I moved to Portland in April 2009. They've done an amazing job of meeting all of my needs except when it comes to things like makeup and maybe perfume and hair products (but I'm a bit of hair and makeup snob, so I don't hold it against them in the least).
I volunteered at the co-op while I was in Portland as a "hands-on owner" (HOO) for a 15% discount. Once a week I would arrive bright and early to set up the front patio and stock the produce section from 6 - 9 AM every Tuesday. It was awesome aside from the fact that I had to work at Papa G's Organic Vegan Deli the night before and wouldn't get to sleep until often times 1:00 AM or sometimes later, and thenI would have to go back to G's that afternoon. The only thing that got me through Tuesday was the fact that it was my Friday (the end of my week).
So what makes People's Food Co-op so outstanding? For one, they have a top-notch, all-organic produce section. In addition, most if not all of their grocery and dry goods items are organic or contain only organic ingredients - including locally made salsas, cultured veggies, pesto, cheeses, and more. They research each product to make sure it's of the highest quality before they start stocking their shelves.
They do their best to carry local organic produce all year round and hold the only year-round Farmer's Market in Portland on Wednesday afternoons from 2 PM to 7 PM.
They have an out-of-this-world bulk section. Below you'll find seven or eight different types of seaweeds and sea vegetables....
...some of which are from the Oregon coast!
They have a stellar bulk spice and herb section, too.
If you can't find what you need here, they will special order it for you and that goes for pretty much anything else in the store (or not in the store, rather).
...and their bathroom is equipped with a dual-flusher to conserve.
Another favorite local joint I used to frequent is the Sip juice and smoothie trailer, which is parked directly outside People's on the patio I used to set up during my once-a-week, 6 - 9 AM volunteer shift.
During the colder months they'll add hot soup to their juice, smoothie, and shakes menu. Today's drink special is the Red Pepper Cooler with fuji apple, red pepper, and parsley.
I tried it out and it was quite refreshing.
Served up in a compostable cup.
Here are a few of the things I bought during my tour of the co-op: local dino kale, cultured coconut meat (coconut yogurt), Oregon coast sea palm fronds, snow peas, nutritional yeast (not pictured), and a couple of small travel containers of Healthforce Nutritionals vitamineral green.
I brought my trusty tupperware container and made a salad right there on the patio for all to see. I wasn't trying to draw attention to myself, I was just hungry and fairly used to making food outside of a kitchen by now. Most of the patrons passing by paid no mind, but I did get a few questions about what I was making and the ingredients I was using (which I always love to answer).
I started by washing the kale. I filled my tupperware container with the filtered water provided by the co-op inside.
I let the sea palm soak for about 15 minutes while I destemmed the dino. I would normally let the sea veg soak a little longer maybe 20 to 30 minutes, but 15 is fine as long as it softens up and expands.
I tore up the kale leaves into semi-small pieces and then massaged it a bit by squeezing and releasing the kale with both hands. This allows the juices to escape and breakdown the cell wall so it's easier to chew and digest. After about a minute of massaging the kale, it should take on a cooked or steamed appearance (and shrink in size).
Oila! Kale digesting in its own juices (no added oils or dressings of any kind).
I brought some dressings from home because I wanted to finish them up before I left town.
I drizzled my kale and sea palm salad with a low-fat organic balsamic vinegrette, Annies Naturals Organic Green Goddess, and fresh organic salsa.
Oh, and I topped it off with some nutritional yeast.
1) Sea Palm: All seaweeds and sea vegetables are super high in minerals. Especially in important minerals like iodine, calcium, and iron.
2) Kale: High in calcium and vitamin C as well as chlorophyll, which gives plants their green color and cleanses the blood.
3) Nutritional Yeast: A yeast grown on molasses (not an active form of yeast, so technically not a "raw" food), but very high in amino acids and vitamins, particularly the B vitamins.
This one guy, John, serenaded me as I ate and asked me questions about my food. I gave him my blog link and took his info so I could send him this photo. He never got back to me.
From Peep's I headed to my former place of employment:
I wanted to do some work on my blog and fill up on the best salad bar in the world.
It's $9.75/lb and one of the onlyall-organic salad bars I've ever seen (quite possibly the only all-organic salad bar I've ever seen) and they've stocked it with a myriad of raw food options to choose from including:
...house-made dressings including a raw fruit-based lemongrette (center) and non-raw green goddess (left), ranch dressings (right). I hear the vegan ranch dressing is delicious - it always smelled fantastic, but I've yet to try it.
...house-made raw zucchini pesto pasta...
...not to mention a whole host of rotating raw fruits and vegetables that are all farm-direct and organic.
Aside from their salad bar, they carry similar raw salads in their deli case that you can buy per pound ($9.75/lb).
I worked for a bit and then got a few items to-go: A salad from their enticing salad bar, of course...
and an extra container of raw zucchini pesto pasta for my brother and Jenny to try that I ended up eating before they got home.
Back at the ranch, Muir and I made a bangin' batch of fresh salsa.
Ingredients: tomatoes, sweet onions, jalapenos, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, sea salt, cayenne, and chili powder.
For dessert, and I know this looks extremely unappetizing (I'm almost too embarrassed to post it), but I tried out the Culturebiota coconut yogurt that I bought at People's earlier that day by mixing it with these autumnal spices - allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, ground clove, and several drops of stevia concentrate. Oh, and a few random chunks of banana. It tasted better than it looks, but it still wasn't very good. I think if I had blended it in a blender it may have come out more appealing, perhaps? Cultured foods like Culturebiota (cultured coconut meat) are insanely good for your intestinal flora and aids digestion. I had never seen it before so I thought I'd give it a try. It's left unsweetened and has a sour taste to it, so I sweetened it up with the stevia and spices.
Finished the night off with a movie.
I went back into Portland a couple of days later to meet my two raw-foodie/health-conscious family friends for lunch at:
This is Blossoming Lotus' second location. I heard they recently closed their downtown spot (Update: their downtown location is now called Prasad). You may have heard of the Blossoming Lotus located in Hawaii, which went out of business a couple of years ago. This is the same restaurant on the mainland. I've only been to BL a few times and they haven't let me down, yet. Their food is all vegan and organic with several raw food options on the menu.
Here's a look inside. This location is more upscale than their original restaurant in Portland's Pearl District. There is now a serving staff whereas their original restaurant was strictly counter service. I can only speculate that their original space in the Pearl - which was shared with a yoga studio - didn't allow enough room for all their customers. At least at this new place in northeast, there is more seating available.
Jane and Ciel - my vegan cohorts
We started with some fresh juice ($5.00) and raw soup ($5.00). I forget what this soup was called, but I remember commenting on the salt content. It was a little too much for my palate.
As my main dish, I ordered the Garden of Eden salad ($8.00) replete with mixed greens, spiralized beets, carrots, sweet & spicy eden nuts/seeds with a creamy ginger dressing. It's the perfect combination of leafy green vibrancy with a hint of crunch. The sweetness in the clusters and the spiraled beets brings out the mild saltiness of the creamy dressing and the spicy ginger quality is just right - subdued; tiptoeing across your taste buds. This is a delightful salad.
We also indulged in their Live Nachos appetizer ($9.00):
Spiced tomato and walnut chips, seasonal squash nacho cheese, and taco crumbles, topped with onion, tomato, cilantro, scallion, cashew sour cream, and avocado goddess sauce served with lime wedges. The photo is blurry, but this was also a fabulous dish. The chips were not crispy like your standard tortilla chips would be - it was more like slices of raw bread (if you've ever had that). The "chips" were crumbly in the mouth, but in a pleasant way - mixed with the rich nacho cheese and sour cream, sauces, and fresh pico de gallo - it all melded together quite nicely.
Ciel opted for a cooked entrée - I believe she got the Basic Bowl with tempeh ($10.00):
Choice of brown rice or quinoa, daily beans, and steamed kale, choice of house-made sauce (see sauce selection) -
For dessert we went for the raw Turtle Cheesecake. I think their dessert selection is constantly changing, but this was really good. So rich and creamy (most likely made out of cashews) and topped with crushed walnuts, cacao nibs, and shredded coconut. The crust was made out of maybe walnuts as well? You really can't go wrong combining nuts with sweets (agave) when it comes to pleasing the gustutory system. Your digestive tract may beg to differ, however.
Before we wrapped things up at BL, Jane handed me a small bag of her famous raw cinnamon bread. I heard about this creation from my mom who had previously sampled Jane's Raw Cinnamon Bread with rave reviews.
Jane graciously gifted me a bag of these lovely treats for the plane ride back to Austin the following day. Ha. Yeah right. Those tasty slices of veggie pulp and sugary spices were gobbled up on the drive back to Hood River. They were so good.
And she even emailed me the ingredients so you can make Jane's Raw Cinnamon Bread yourself:
~Back in HR~
My friend, Mariva (owner and operator of Dawn Patrol, the coffee shop and snack bar off Hwy 35 in Hood River) invited me over to get some foodie input on salad recipes for DP. She was at home slaving away in the kitchen preparing for the big grand opening the next day.
Outside, we gawked at Trevor (her hunk)'s new gutted cargo van. Not quite spiffed out or road trip-ready, but well on its way! Needless to say, I was envious. It was so clean and untouched and dent-free and probably doesn't make strange noises or lose its steering when you drive over bumps.
And look who joined the party? Mark (Mariva's dad) walked by with uke in hand.
Then I said goodnight with Mt. Adams in the distance.
Next travel post: Life after Texas (Yeehaw!)
~Thanks for reading~
Questions or comments? Email me at: soyvey (at) aol (dot) com
(or comment below)