Monthly Archives: June 2012

really good salmon burgers


I’m on my cooked foods goodbye-for-now tour!  I am officially starting my Summer Solstice raw food lifestyle.  Important word here…”lifestyle”.  As you all may recall, I began this blog with my Raw Diet experiemnt over the Spring Solstice.  Two weeks of delicious mayhem.  I loved to hate it.  So much so infact, I’ve stuck with it 80% of the way ever since!  So this time, I’ve made myself a few promises:

  • I will use the dehydrator!
  • I will sprout more grains!
  • I will “bake” breads and pastries!
  • I will enjoy raw fish ceviche

Now if I can successfully do all those things, I have a suspicious that Raw could become my diet of choice!  No promises, to myself or to you, but we’ll see!  I’m excited to go into this as an intermediate this time, as opposed to a beginner like last time.  But for now, with a couple days left before getting started, you have to try these:

really good salmon burgers

Jinji’s Really Good Salmon Burgers

  • 1 BPA-free can of wild pink salmon
  • 1 tbsp light lemonaise (veganaise would be fine)
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • squeezes of lemon
  • shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup of oats
  • 1 egg white ( I think nut milk + chia could work here if you are vegan)
  • Salt, Pepper
  • Cilantro

Cook lightly in coconut oil.  YUM!

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…And the Rest is Pudding!

That’s a saying, right?  Well I’m back on the Raw!  But this time, instead of as an experiment, I am feeling really confident and committed to maintaining a high-raw diet.  For me, life is just tastier that way!  And, if I play my cards right, I might find life is easier this way too.  Even having been about 75% raw since completing my raw diet experiment nearly 3 months ago (WOW), I have continued to notice a quiet, very subtle escalation in benefits.  I don’t need as much sleep each night as I used to.  My skin feels lovely, and my jeans fit great!  I have bounds of energy, and I rarely get sleepy during the day.  My mood is good and steady as she goes!

Most my meals are really all raw, except fish here and there, Ezekial bread and grains.  I’ll keep doing those things.  So where does the extra 10% come in to qualify me as a “high-raw” participant in the raw foodie club?  DESSERT.  I’m super psyched about raw desserts, and I know I’ve talked about them here and there, but I’m more convinced than ever of the power of them, and the delicious-ness of them!  Not to mention that moonpie I had at One Lucky Duck that has made me a believer for life.  Not a whole lot of raw fruits in these desserts–its luscious raw cacao, coconuts, cashews, avocados (yup!), oh there are bananas, but then also raw honey, and agave nectar here and there.  The beauty for me, beyond the taste even, if that’s even possible, is that these are Superfoods we’re talking about here!  These are life sustaining, healthy foods to eat.  No guilt.  No food remorse.  All the taste, and then some.

So I am getting started with some experimenting.  Of course I can never leave well enough alone, so I anticipate some slips here and there.  Food wars from time to time.  But I also look forward to some sweeeeet victories!  Oh, by the way, about that avocado.  I’ve heard a commercial on the radio now enough times to really get on my nerves.  Avocado’s are delicious.  They are really healthy, and a fantastic way to get essential fats in the diet.  Huge fan!  And probably personally eat enough of them in a week for 2 people! 

BUT!  Excuse me, Subway.  So sorry to be the one to burst your marketing campaign (really am!  especially since I love avocado’s so much!), but avocados are not a bonafide Superfood.  Cacao, Honey, Coconut, hempseeds, gogi berries, spirulina…these are all super foods for their unique set of diverse and life sustaining properties and array of high levels in minerals and vitamins.  I’m glad you have avocado’s, Subway, really I am.  It makes me feel like on my next road trip if I run out of pre-packed snacks, I can turn to you for a thing of avocados and a packet of salt (do you have sea salt?).  Let’s just be sure not to confuse the masses!  Afterall, haven’t you already tricked us enough into thinking your menu is healthy?  I digress.  To convince you that I truly do appreciate the avocado availability (even if they aren’t Hass), I made pudding last night…and guess who was the star?

Delicious Subway Pudding

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 c. raw almond milk
  • 1/2 c. raw cacao powder
  • Raw honey…add by the T until you like it
  • 2 T unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Sea salt

Give it a good whir!  And enjoy!

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I’m Official! Food Official. Read and see!

So, I have made it official!  I’d been doing Nutrition Counseling on the side, but now I am combining it with two other objectives under my new name (old to us!): jinjisfoodlove!  Essentially I will be doing Whole Food Immersions.  WHat does that mean you may ask? (Oh, come on!  Humor me!) It’s three-pronged: I help individuals integrate whole foods into their diet through counseling, I work with restaurants and markets to integrate whole food recipes and concepts into their menus, and I create whole food event experiences!  This has really always been a dream of mine, so I am super excited.

The question that I will find out the answer to, in very short order is: Is Baltimore ready.  Are we ready to expand our palates and tastes to the beauty of whole foods?  And to the adventurous ones of us, how about raw foods?  Are we ready to go to restaurants and have the option of getting a whole food entree?  Colorful and bountiful of grains and veggies?  Again, maybe even a raw entree!  Perhaps a raw cacao truffle for when you finish.  Are we ready to explore?  Can we socialize over creative juices at happy hours, and delight in delicious raw pastries.  I think so!  And afterall, we need to catch-up.  New York is ready.  DC is ready.  LA was born ready.  This will be fun and delicious!  I will keep you all posted on the new baltimore scene!

First Event: Saturday June 30th :: Blend + Flo At The Black Olive with SoulBody Yoga :: 802 S. Caroline Street/Baltimore with special guest Woody Harrelson!

If I have any Marylanders out there, feel free to send me an email if you would like to stay in the loop with all upcoming events, tastes, and classes!

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Raw: Re-Inspired!

 Wow! Spent the last couple of days in New York, and really wishing I had been able to visit while I was all-in on the raw diet.  It’s so completely normal, and dare I say, even mainstream!  Now, at about 80% raw though, i could still thoroughly enjoy my food experience there.  Raw is HUGE in New York.  Even only having been there 2 days, I got pretty good exposure.  I mean here, in Baltimore, there is raw food, yes.  Certain places with a bigger offering than others (The Black Olive, Zia’s, Great Sage)–but there!  Oh there.  In every borrough there are several.  I ate at two: Carravan of Dreams in Manhatten and One Lucky Duck by Union Square.  Each place with its own unique identity–beautiful, bountiful plates, carefully put together, and lovingly made.  Tons of diversity in the menu, and huge flavor in the food.  One Lucky Duck is actually owned by the same couple who authored Real Raw “cook”book–which has been an culinary inspiration to myself and many who I talk to.  So it was a MUST that I had to go there.  Most impressive?  Moonpie.  Raw cacao based moonpie.  UN.BE.LIEVABLE.  I also had the seaweed salad, that had an impressive mix of 4 different seaweeds and a killer dressing to go with.  Even outside of Manhatten though, regretably I didn’t get to go bu rave reviews for Rawstar in Brooklyn!  Next time.

So anyway, feeling really, really inspired with this Raw thing.  In fact, before I left for NYC, I had the pleasure of attending a special lecture by David Wolfe.  Can you say 7 courses of Raw heaven??  Not to mention his inspirational lecture about the deliciousness and power of Raw.  Amazing.  I don’t know, but I am thinking I need to get involved here….!!  More to come.

Banana Smoothie! Photo is a little dark, because I had to eat it under the light of the moon…but trust me–delicious!!


An inspired Raw Banana milkshake

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 c. raw almond milk
  • pinch of sea salt
  • drop of raw honey
  • sprinkle of unsweetened coconut
  • dusting of raw cocao
  • a few shelled hemp seeds

Give it a good whir, and ENJOY!

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Excuse Me, Mr. Joe…Trader Joe’s That Is

First, I would like to profess my endeared, if not nostalgic love for you Trader Joe’s.  I feel like you are the first stop for people who are newly committed to living a healthier life.  It’s so easy to shop your aisles, everything is packaged so simply, and you even have non-frozen Ezekial bread for us to dabble with.  To boot, you have ingeniously developed your own line of products, many of which are organic, that are a landslide cheaper than their organic Whole Foods counterparts.  And if all that weren’t enough, your people wear Hawaiian shirts, and always smile.  Still, I need to clean the air, Trader Joe’s, for I have been deceived.

I’m a long time Trader Joe believer.  In shopping excursions, and even in doing “health food” tours, I usually turn to Trader Joe’s.  It’s non-intimidating for the newbie because the prices are right and emloyees are happy.  As I’ve ventured a little further into the growing world of health food stores, gourmet products, boutique-ish condiments and snacks though, I must air a grievance.  Fearful that I was speaking too soon, I even checked with some friends and family to see if I was being a bit too foodie persnickety.  Low and behold, they’d had a similar experience in one way or another.

With its low prices, and self-brand, it would appear and taste as if, well, you get what you pay for.  And truth be told, had I not experienced other options–more expensive options–at other places, I might not have noticed!  For instance, coconut oil and raw honey.  They are two specialty items that are REALLY expensive!  But at Trader Joe’s, they are each about half the cost of what you would find elsewhere.  So I’ve been buying these items from TJ’s for years!  I decided to branch out recently, just out of curiosity.  WOW.  First of all, worth every penny of the additional cost.  Why?  Because second of all, the TJ’s brand of each tastes like water compared to the flavor of these other brands.  It even made me wonder what types of checks and balances are in place to make sure what you see is what you get at TJ’s!  I was mad.  Were the health benefits I had been relying on even there?  But the ingredients…the nutrition panel…it all reads the same!  How could this be that the taste is so unequivocally different?  Herein lies the Trader Joe’s fallacy.  I had a similarly disappointing/awakening moment with whole grain mustard, salsa and lentil chips.  I started to look at the veggies a little differently too.  They’re all really too big to have been picked in a sustainable way.  They claim to be organic, but even they do not taste as they should.  True, no oen really goes to TJ’s for the produce, but they do seem to be increasing their selection in response to that sentiment all the time.  And I don’t like how there is a liner in the bottom of the organic blueberries preventing the fresh test (looking on the bottom to see that there isn’t any juice or old ones), because almost without fail, the ones on the bottom actually are mushy!

I’m not boycotting…yet.  I’m just saying.  I’m saying it’s still a great option in a lot of ways.  But I’m also saying that there is a bigger grocery world out there.  You’ll pay more, but you’ll smile more when you eat it.  And Mr. Joe, answer me this–how organic are you?

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An Alarming List…And (of course) We’re at the Top of it

Yesterday I made some comments about the healthiest countries in the world.  I wrote about how there are those regions of the world that prioritize health farming practices, active lifestyle, and have supportive Government bodies who are interested in maintaining healthy citizens.

So I know we like to be the best at everything.  We want to have the most, do it the quickest, be the smartest, and yes, be the biggest.  Apparently we are literally the biggest country in the world.  According to the Huffington Post, here is the rest of our shameful company:

  1. United States | 33.8% Obesity
  2. Mexico | 30%
  3. New Zealand | 26.5%**
  4. Chile | 25.1%
  5. Australia | 24.6%
  6. Canada | 24.2%
  7. United Kingdom | 23%
  8. Ireland | 23%
  9. Luxemborg | 22.1%
  10. Finland | 20.2

**First things first, what in the world is New Zealand doing here?  They are also mentioned on several of the healthiest countries lists.  But at number three here, they definitely suffer obesity, and in no slight way!  I’m curious about why this is–how could it be that a country with a fantastic record of low disease, high activity and long life spans is also the world’s 3rd most obese.  Seems to directly disprove any thought that diet and exercise is enough, so I turn to mentality.  I also turn to the theory that moderation is key, and that even too much of an inherently good thing, is a bad thing. 

Oh, America.  What are we going to do with you?  It’s to the point where the other members of this list attribute their obesity issues to becoming “Americanized”.  Meaning McDonalds type “restaurants” are showing up more often now, and other convenience foods found in the notorious center aisles of grocery stores are becoming more popular.  The thing is, we’re still the cool kid on the block.  What, with New York, LA, San Fran, Chicago, America is swimming with amazing scenes and opportunity.  Apparently, we’re contagious.  One would hope in the good ways, as well as the obese ones.

Some of the irony for me lies in the fact that we are a a giant collage of cultures and ideas.  And our food is no different.  So when I see Mexico on the list, about as obese as we are, I think, “okay, make sense.  Eat enough Mexican food and you’re gonna get fat”.  But, wait!  How do I know that?  Because you can eat as much Mexican food here as you can in Mexico!  Same goes with Irish food, or Canadian (are they really any different from us?  What is Canadian food, anyway?).  I digress.  My point is, collectively, we don’t really have a cultural cuisine that we can look at and say–“yup, it’s that American food that did it”.  Maybe I’m wrong.  But, if I’m right, it’s even harder to pinpoint where the problem is exactly so we can begin recoursive action. 

To be safe, we can easily say it’s the practices we have here that diametrically oppose those in countries like Japan (2% obesity):  Unsafe farming, refined sugars and processed goods, lack of focus on making improvements, lack of Governmental support of healthy living.  Certainly, an elimination of even ONE of these factors would make a measureable difference in the old American waistline. 

But I would prefer to propose a challenge.  Unlike Mexico, whose culture is grounded in centuries of mono-cuisine (delicious, but unhealhty and fattening), Americans have an opportunity!  We are what we make ourselves.  We are rebellious.  We recreate ourselves all the time.  There is no mono-culture here, because we all bring whatever we like to the table.  So let’s start talking dinner table, and invite all the wonderful cool kid parts about us to the kitchen and to the garden.  We might be the fattest, but I thoroughly believe that the same way we got here, we can turn it around.  Reinvention is our middle name.

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The Healthiest Places in the World

Are by all estimations part of a very esteemed short list, by no surprise.  Also by no surprise, the good old US of A is no where in ear shot of this list.  So then naturally, it begs the question–what does it take to be the world’s healthiest country, and are we capable of ever joining the ranks.  So let’s first take a look:

  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Iceland
  • Sweden
  • Japan (Major)
  • South Korea

That’s basically in order, according to average life-spans and incidence of disease.  Notice a trend?  Nearly half the list is comprised of Asian countries.  The list is however fully comprised of countries whose focus has been on good water, clean air, and sustainable, organic farming.  In fact, in many articles I have been reading they don’t even decipher between organic farming, and conventional farming, because organic is the standard.  In many cases there are laws in place to protect consumers from GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms), and other dangerous pesticides.  So, ok–check.  Healthy growing practices. 

What else?  I noticed that they all eat clean food as a standard.  There aren’t modified ingredients, few refined foods, and very little processing.  Not only does this protect the heart and waistline, it also protects the air and water quality as well–see point above re: healthy agriculture.  In a couple inquiries I sent out in curiosity about clean eating diets, I was met with raised eyebrows and question marks as to what exactly clean eating is!  Can you imagine?  The concept is so normal, it’s not even a concept!  It’s a way of life.  So high quality, clean food.  Check. 

In Okinawa, it is not abnormal for people to live to see 110 years old.  In fact, it’s normal!  The answer?  Simplicity.  The thing we very ironically seem to have to fabricate, and strive for, and invest huge amounts of effort into here in the States.  They eat a plant based diet full of organic, local produce, they walk, do tai chi and martial arts, and stay busy all day long, promoting restful nights sleep.  That’s it!  This is not new information.  We all know this, right?  Eat well, exercise, do meaningful work and sleep.  Essentially, being kind to yourself.  Check.

To be fair, the food, agricultural and nutrition practices in these regions of the world have survived from generation to generation for centuries.  They believe in what they are doing, and there is no other alternative.  They settle for nothing when it comes to health, and the governments make it a determined mission to protect everyone from anything less.  Admirable!  We try here, but we have so much against us.  It doesn’t feel like we really know how to eat.  We follow fad diets, eat crap, put exercising last, and work to make money, as opposed to doing passion driven work.  Take the Netherlands.  It’s cold there.  Yet, there are few cars and everyone rides bikes.  New Zealand has it easiest–they are in the sun all day long eating kiwi’s and enjoying the freedom of building in a multitude of outdoor activities into daily life. 

So can we get there?  We’ll have to each answer that on our own, as it will take a community effort to achieve country wide healthfulness.  Afterall, it’s our demand that drives the production of all our little nutrition sins.  We can learn from these trail blazing countries though that it starts (literally!) from the ground up.  Good water breeds good soil.  Good soil breeds healthy crops.  Healthy crops breed clean air.  Clean air breeds healthy people.  And of course, healthy crops is the beginning of all nutrition.  We have to take it upon ourselves to care more, and pay attention to what we are doing and certainly what we are eating.  Then, surely, Government policies and regulations will respond resoundingly.  Sorry dairy.  Sorry caged animals.  Sorry corn & soy.  We can take this country back!  That’s a start!

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Ode to the Bento Box

!! I love Bento Boxes!!  And in particular, MY bento box, gifted to me by a dear friend. But I think I like it beyond reasons the average bento box user might.  I suspect she might like it because it’s compact.  True enough, it fits places, and keeps food secure.  She might also like it because it’s convenient.  No longer are the tupperware wars in the morning trying to pull together a last minute lunch for work.  Maybe her favorite part is that it’s cute!  I mean really, all the little compartments?  Love them.  I agree with you, average bento box user, but I have reasons of my foodie own. 

First of all, using a bento box nearly guarantees that you are going to do something healthy.  You are going to pack into it something colorful, and with all those sections (all those cute sections), there are going to be some veggies.  Now, truth be told, I gave in to this now favorite feature of mine a bit begrudgingly.  My bento box has FIVE sections.  I thought I was going to take a short cut a couple days ago and utilize only three sections, but bento box had other plans.  It won’t close properly unless you use ALL the sections!  Imagine me, 10 minutes late for work staring  at my bento box, trying to perform a feat of amazing engineering–being the first woman in history to take 3 of her 5 sections to work that day.  It didn’t happen.  We fought.  It won.  I was late, and threw everything in a tupperware.  I hate when my food and/or inanimate objects win battles over me.  And in fact, the only thing I hate more, is when they win AND I realize they should’ve.  My revelation was as follows:  Me?!  Creator of all things imaginative and yummy could not figure out how to fill a 5 section bento box.  And had the nerve to be pissed about it.  So the next day, I promised myself that I would do better!  And I did. The result?  a lovely and delicious multi-colored food assortment of grains, spinach, carrots, raw zucchini hummus (which doesn’t leak out of it’s section because I followed the bento box design…sigh), avocado slices, cucumber, tomato.  Delicious!  Rolled it up into a coconut meat wrapper and had a a fun bento box lunch!  I loved pulling apart the sections, remembering what I had packed.

Second of all, from a Nutritional consultant point of view, bento boxes will help you manage your weight!  Well, not so fast.  Let me re-phrase that.  Bento boxes CAN help one manage their weight, when used properly.  And to use them properly you go according to the healthy eating pyramid (NOT FDA one, but the other one), and fill the sections, largest to smallest accordingly.  Now this theory assumes that A, you have the bento box with the different sized sections vs. the equal sized tier, and B, you’re stocked up!  So basically, you would fill the large section with the leafy greens, the couple medium sections–one with a whole grain, and the other with a complete protein source (i.e lentils), then the couple smaller sections with fats (i.e nuts and avocado), then finally add another colorful veggie for good balance and color ( I had beets today!).

And the best part?  WHen you’re ready to go, dump everything together into the leafy large section if it’s salad, or if it’s a wrap, have fun digging through each layer until you’re all filled up–make a salad out of the leftovers.  Oh, and while I’m at it–PORTION CONTROL!  Not only does the bento box help you eat healthy things, it helps you eat the right AMOUNT of healthy things!  If you’ve followed me at all, you know I don’t believe in being hungry, at all, ever.  The moment your body goes into hunger mode, is the moment you also start to store fat!  I digress.  So I also try not to be stuffed either.  I usually fail at the latter!  I am always full, and I never learn that age-old lesson–stop when you’re full.  I’m more of a “clean plate club” kind of girl, myself.  Waste not, want not, right?  Really the issue may be that I put too much food on my plate at once!  Or in this case, too much in my tupperwares!  But leave it to bento box to control all that.  Afterall, can only fit so much brown rice before I am in another engineering emergency.

Jinji’s Zucchini Hummus

  • 1 zucchini, peeled, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 T EVOO
  • 2 T H2O
  • Herbs, cilantro is great
  • A bunch of turmeric
  • A little nutritional yeast
  • A couple squirts of bragg’s amino acids

Blend it all up, and pack in a section!! ENJOY!!

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