Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tastes like fall spirit

It's that time of year again; time to revisit another scrumptious recipe from the Natural Zing archives. You may recall the kabob post I tried/photographed at the end of the summer, which was the first in the series.

Today, we'll be taking a bite out of fall with these satisfying "On-The-Go Crispy Treats." I had hoped to incorporate this recipe into my Halloween post, but unfortunately, time got the best of me. If you have the ingredients already on hand, you're in luck, as these treats are perfect for little ghosts and goblins. Otherwise, this one still works well throughout the fall season and the rest of the year.

On-The-Go Crispy Treats are simple to make, not to mention being a real crowd-pleaser. I, myself, remember snacking on these treats at a Natural Zing potluck a while back, so you can imagine how excited I was to find out they would be the next recipe featured in the "From the Archives" series. Yahoo!

The base is Lydia's Organic Cinnamon Cereal, which cuts out all the soaking, sprouting and dehydrating time (it contains sprouted buckwheat, sunflower seeds, quinoa, pumpkin seeds and almonds). It's mixed with both carob and mesquite powders, which together taste similar to chocolate, but without all the caffeine. The combination compliments the cinnamon in the cereal, giving it that warming fall flavor.

The treats are bound and sweetened with coconut oil and agave nectar, although you could always make them with nut/seed butter and another liquid sweetener. You can also play around with the cereal base (Lydia's Organics makes a variety of other cereal flavors, as well as bars, crackers and breads) and dry ingredients (try combos of cocoa, lucuma, spirulina, acai, camu camu and other powders). Don't be afraid to experiment and post your results.

On-The-Go Crispy Treats
2 cups Lydia's Organics Sprouted Cinnamon Cereal
1/2 cup carob powder
1/4 cup mesquite powder
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
2 Tbsp. agave nectar

In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients (cereal, carob and mesquite). Stir with a whisk to break up any lumps (this step is not in the original recipe, but I felt it was necessary, as the powders tend to clump; you could also opt to sift them before adding to the bowl).

Stir together the coconut oil and agave in a smaller dish. Add to the dry ingredients, and stir to combine (I used my clean dry hands for this step, which absorbed some of the oil, an excellent moisturizer for this time of year. As a result, I added more coconut oil to achieve the correct consistency).

Using wax paper, form the mixture into a 1/2-inch thick square (I molded mine in a parchment-lined baking dish). Then, place in freezer for 1 hour.

Remove from freezer, cut into squares and serve.


Shannonmarie, a.k.a. "Rawdorable," also posts on her blog of the same name,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Follow Your Instincts! - From the Archives

*** This is another article from our newsletter archives that I thought was worth putting on our blog.  This articles is from March 2005.   It is still relevant today.  Please not I am not pregnant now :) ***
Some people give us unsolicited advice on what they believe is best for us. You know the usual advice on what we’re eating, what career paths we should take, and what kind of medical care we should get.   Some of this comes from genuine concern ...and sometimes a reaction to their own discomforts and fears.  Knowing our customer base as I do, I know that we often choose "other than" what the mainstream would see as a typical choice or the choices that would make them most comfortable.   I’ve run into a lot of this recently, as I am expecting a baby any day now, and my choices of health care provider, diet, where I’m choosing to birth my child and even naming my child have all been questioned.    Not surprisingly, due to my focus on health, I’ve been having an extremely healthy pregnancy.

When it comes to your choices, they are your choices and yours alone.  This is your life, your body and you must do what it best for you - in my case, what is best for my baby or me.  Through following your instincts, in experimenting with diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes you are the only one who knows you best.  It is important to keep that in mind.  Many of you do extensive research and have tested different foods and lifestyle choices.  You’ve learned a lot and you need to trust your instincts and your knowledge.   Each person is different and each person must find happiness in life.  So go find your happiness! 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

D.C. Green Festival is this weekend

I know this is short notice, but for those of you in the Washington D.C. area, it may not be too late to encourage you to attend the D.C. Green Festival this Saturday and Sunday, October 23 & 24 at the Washington Convention Center. While you are there, make sure to visit the Natural Zing booth (booth 855 & 856), where you can purchase items from the Natural Zing website.

The Green Festival is where I was first introduced to Jeff (pictured at right) and Helen, the owners of Natural Zing. Although I already had a pleasant experience ordering products from them online, meeting them in person kept me coming back to their site, even as other competitors joined the raw foods online marketplace.

You may recall me mentioning this in a prior post. The couple and their staff are very down-to-Earth and personable people, who are also very Earth-friendly. Just check out this post about the company's top 15 green business practices, its use of wind power, as well as its solar-powered warehouse, and the source of its cacao.

There's so much to do and see at the Green Festival that you are bound to get hungry. Luckily, you'll be able to sample products from various exhibitors, as well as having the opportunity to purchase snacks to take home. There is also a yummy food court set up, where I have found memories of loading up on kale salad and a mock tuna made from carrot pulp.

One year, I enjoyed this tasty kelp noodle dish (from a local restaurant at the event), which made me anxious to try replicating it at home. Conveniently, I picked up some kelp noodles from Natural Zing. The directions for rinsing and cutting the noodles were explained on the back of the package, which also provided some easy recipe ideas.

Who knows what else you'll find at the Green Festival this year, but with Natural Zing there, you, too, could take home the ingredients for recreating your favorite festival food memory.


Shannonmarie, a.k.a. "Rawdorable," also posts on her blog of the same name,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Prepare for the future, be the leader of yourself, dancing towards Utopia

This is another article from our newsletter archives.  I hope you enjoy this and other contributions "From the Archives".

Leaders usually lead others and usually are actually leading themselves too or have led themselves. Be your own leader. Be the leader of yourself. In any situation does it matter if others follow? Yes, it is easier if you hang with a group of like minded people but that is not always going to happen in a given situation. How many of us get to hug at least one raw foodist everyday? How many of us get to see two or more raw foodists on an average day? That number is rapidly growing.

We prepare for the future by leading ourselves. Lead yourself to learn how to be prepared. The best way to be prepared is to take immediate action in a given situation no matter what others are doing. No matter what happens to you, take immediate action to address your desire. Getting healthy now, today and getting even healthier each and everyday forward. Eating living food is a way to do that. Being healthy gives you an advantage in every aspect of your future. It allows you to reach your maximum level of functioning to create your future.

Leading your way to sustainable living means you do not need to rely on corporations or governments or others to provide you services or goods to survive. Learning and evolving your current environment toward sustainability would be a great area to spend some time and effort. Things we could learn include: learning to forage for food(what wild plants and weeds can be eaten), learning to grow food and/or fermenting food, learning about alternative power like solar, wind, bio-diesel or ethanol,learning to ride a bike or hike or hike carrying a bike, getting stronger emotionally, mentally, spiritually, vocationally and physically, learning to love more, learning to buy less stuff and use less stuff, and even meditating.

What if you were involved in an event that is "other than" the best ever for yourself or family? A giant wave 200 ft high crashes on the shore, a meteor hits the Earth, a hurricane strikes nearby, these are not necessarily negative events they can be challenges. Now suppose you are in an area where there is a need for a military quarantine because of a pandemic outbreak of a deadly virus. And suppose you don't want to stay in the quarantined area. You would need to take immediate action to get out. Going by vehicle would not be an option most likely unless you were very fast and there were many backroads available. A more likely reality would be that you may need to hike through a wooded area away from roads. Weighing your available options and making a fast decision would help you acheive your desired goal.

What if climate changes rapidly occur in the area where you live, rendering it unliveable? Get your bikes out, pack your backpacks and head out, maybe South to Mexico. Or take the last boat to Hawaii. What would you pack in that backpack other than water? Would it even matter?

Life is a series of situations. A pregnant lady flags you down on the highway and is giving birth. You come upon an accident in the middle of the night. The government is coming around with your vaccine filled with mercury and a microchip to help prevent the pandemic of mystery flu. A stranger or someone in your family is hurting and needs you. Take action, Be the leader and dance towards Utopia.

Have you discovered your limits? Have you pushed yourself to the edge in any aspect of your life. Go on a fifty mile bike ride in the rain on a muddy trail. I did. Here I was a good rider regularly riding 25 miles in less than 2 1/2 hours and my coworkers decided they wanted to ride 50 miles on the C & O trail. I had been around the sun about 10 times more then them and I was very game because I knew I could do it but it would not be easy. It rained that day, we rode totally soaked, through thick mud, tires sinking in and made 50 miles in about 4 1/2 hours with a 15 minute break and 32 ounces of water. I never did get that mud stain out of my underwear. I am glad we didn't let the rain keep us from that ride. I wasn't even sore the next day and didn't feel I was really pushing it. That wasn't my limit (almost). Once I hiked 16 miles in 8 hours and was much more tired.

Eating raw organic vegan living food inherently prepares you for the future. It holds the wisdom of all of nature through all of time and all spirits and that is all you need.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The best Ecuadorian "Heirloom" Raw Chocolate

Since 2004 Natural Zing has been sourcing our raw cacao from the small farmers in Ecuador that currently supply the cacao for the Pacari Raw Chocolate.  We have supported a nursery that germinates native tree species for sustainable forestry projects such as the Cacao Nacional Arriba Fino de Aroma.  This cacao variety, the “heirloom” Arriba, has been disappearing as new, high yielding, varieties have been displacing this native species despite their relative lack of aroma.  Natural Zing felt from early on the importance of encouraging the growth of the Arriba cacao tree variety.  The Cacao Nacional Arriba Fino de Aroma tree only grows in Ecuador. It is a prized species among chocolate liking because of its unique floral aroma and its nut flavor taste.  In recent years the Pacari brand was created due to the popularity of these farmers’ raw cacao by Santiago Peralta and Carla Barboto. Natural Zing has been connected to the source of this amazing cacao since 2004.

Natural Zing has worked in partnership with indigenous communities and rural small farmers to develop better products that are "good for you and the Earth"TM.  During that time we have supported the training of small farmers in organic agriculture pilot projects, which encourages small farmers to change from conventional to organic growing practices.  These small farmers learn even higher standards than just organic and sustainable methods that not only sustain their families with a better than “fair trade” wage, but support the natural environment.

Look for Natural Zing's brand when shopping for the purest "Heirloom" Cacao Nacional Arriba Fino de Aroma cacao nibs,  cocoa powder, cacao beans, cacao paste, and cocoa butter.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Natural Zing’s Solar Powered Warehouse

Natural Zing furthers its commitment to sustaining the earth with its latest solar project. This major undertaking will enable all of the power required by Natural Zing’s main warehouse to be powered by the sun. Last week the solar panels were installed on the roof of the warehouse, this week the rest of the system will be installed and turned on. This innovative on-grid/off-grid system not only supplies power to the warehouse, but also provides some power to our operational offices. With the innovative design by  a local Mount Airy Maryland alternative power contractor, Banner Homes Solutions,  this system will provide all the electricity for our warehouse, it feeds excess power back to the grid as well as charges a battery backup system that powers essential services during power outages (when the grid is down).

 “Keep in mind that not only is our warehouse going to be solar powered, but all our offices and other locations are wind powered through the power choice program, thus all of Natural Zing’s electricity is being supplied by sun and wind,” stated Jeffrey Rose, President of Natural Zing. He added “It is important for our customers to know that we are not mismanaging their support. We have been examining going solar for the past five years, waiting until we could do it right and the technology was advanced enough to be efficient for us to implement. With everything we do, lightening our foot print on the earth is always second nature to us. We are constantly asking how can we live and do business more sustainably.”

“For Natural Zing being green isn’t trendy, it is who we are and always have been”, stated Helen Rose, Vice President of Administration. “Since our start in 2003, being green is part of our identity. We’ve always practiced reduce, reuse and recycle.” Helen added. Natural Zing has been a member of GreenAmerica, formerly Coop America since 2004. Below are two other articles that highlight some of our green initiatives and practices.

Natural Zing is 100% Wind Powered

Natural Zing's Top 15 Green Business Practices.