1-Minute Cashew Milk

I’ve always wondered why the store-bought nut milk cartons, including the organic ones, have expiration dates like weeks and months away from now. Although not too many preservatives are listed on the label, I still feel very skeptical about all the chemicals keeping the the liquid fresh for way too long.

I don’t drink the cow milk anymore since I’m human.
Besides I think the current state of dairy farming is beyond inhumane and dismal. You can learn more from my heroic friends at Mercy for Animals.

Then I came across what looked to be a very simple recipe from Blendtec for cashew milk.  When it was all done, I was beside myself for having spent so much money all these years on all the nutty nut milks!

Click here for the recipe, and I’ll also write it out below. I’m telling you, it will take you 1 minute to make the uber delicious, creamy and healthy nut milk at home. You just have to soak the raw cashews overnight (or, I give it 24 hours).

I drink the milk by itself, or mix with my favorite vegan all-in-one shake, Vega!

You will save you $ and reduce trash, win win!!

Cashew Milk :

1 cup
cashews, soaked overnight and rinsed
4 cups
1 tbsp
*honey or maple syrup (Blendtec lists agave nectar, but I think it’s too high glycemic.)


Add ingredients to jar in order listed and secure lid. Select “Whole Juice.” Serve or store in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

NOTE: If your blender does not have a “Whole Juice” cycle, blend on Medium High (speed 6 or 7) for 50-60 seconds.
Use more or less water to vary the thickness of your raw cashew milk. A 4:1 ratio of water to cashews is similar to whole milk in taste. If you add another cup of water, the resulting 5:1 ratio is similar to 2% milk.

Cashew Milk

Raw Vegan Cheesecake

I’ve recently turned vegan from vegetarian.  I had to…I’ve learned way too much about our dairy industry and what “people” do to our cows and their babies. I won’t go on too much about these horrific practices, but please do your due diligence. Here’s a site for you to get started : http://animalplace.org/

I love cheesecake, but I can no longer enjoy the cow cheese knowing what I know now. So, I’ve looked into raw vegan “cheesecake” made with nuts, mainly cashews. How healthy!

And the most surprising factor of it all is that it only takes 5-10 minutes to “bake” the cake!! (*It does take 2-3 hours to soak the nuts prior to “baking” and another 2-3 hours to freeze the cake.)

Here’s a very easy recipe for your very own raw vegan cheesecake!

6-8 servings on a 8 x 10” panCrust : 
1 cup of raw walnuts3 dates, pitted

1 tablespoon of shredded coconut

Filling :

1 ½ cup of cashews

1/2 cup of lemon juice

1/2 cup of honey

1/4  cup of melted coconut oil

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

1/4  cup of coconut milk

*For flavors, you can add ¼ cup of your favorite fruit, toppings and more.

1)  Soak cashews in water for 2-3 hours.

2)  Sprinkle shredded coconut evenly on the bottom of a pie pan.  This prevents the cake from sticking.

3) Blend walnuts and dates until crumbly.  (Careful not to overheat the blender!)  Press the crust onto the pan.

4) Blend all of the filling ingredients until creamy.  You can add a little more liquid if necessary.  Pour the filling cream evenly over the crust.  Place in freezer for at least 2-3 hours.

5)  Take the cheesecake out for 20 minutes before serving.  You can leave the rest in the freezer, or leave some pieces in the fridge for your immediate enjoyment!

Simple enough?  You’ll love the taste and you’ll wonder why you ever ate the cow cheesecake.  And it’s super healthy!  Win win!

*Check out my Blueberry Raw Vegan “Cheese” Cake : Blueberry Raw Vegan Cheesecake

Stay Lean Keep Your Wallet Fat!

What’s the first you see when you get yourself out and about in the morning? People dragging themselves around yet religiously sipping on a paper cup of coffee as if it’s a membership badge to the club, “I need my coffee in the morning! I’m so cool since the cup says Starbucks/Coffee Bean/blah blah.”

I’d hate to hate on these people who attend the Church of Starbucks every morning to gladly donate at least $4 a day, sometimes twice/thrice, but can’t help categorizing them as “Sheeple.”

Here’s a thing or two to consider :

1) Environmental aspect – The search effort to find the missing  Malaysian Airlines plane Flight 370 has raised an unexpected, yet deadly serious environmental issue. Our oceans are dying because of our own garbage. Every time they thought they found a part of the plane, it turned out to be a piece of plastic. The paper coffee cups you use are lined with plastic/wax, and they come with plastic lids. Imagine how many of those you’ve used so far? (Please don’t take my sheeple comment personally..) What? You use the sleeves too? You double cup it? Tsk tsk!! Fish and birds are often found dead with plastic bits in their stomachs. This is just so very sad!

2) Financial aspect – I’m no Suze Orman, but the donations add up. Say you “only” spend $4/day. That’s $1,460/year and $ 14,600/10 years. You were to put this money into a savings account with a 6.5% annually compounded interest rate, how much will it be at the end of 10 years? $20,491.52 to be exact! How long have you been attending the Starbucks church (or any other coffee places)? It’s starting to make you think, huh? What about the time wasted parking, waiting in line, waiting again to pick up the cup, and so on and on?

So here’s a solution I propose – buy a portable coffee mug that’s BPA-free, and make your coffee at home before you leave the house. First off, believe me, the quality of the coffee you’ve been buying is %$#@. It’s all about the bottom line for the big corporations, and you’re not getting what you’re paying for, period. So, spend some time to pick a decent, better yet, responsibly made brand of coffee.

I would love for you to watch this video posted below by Michael Pollan (the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma), titled “How Cooking Can Change Your Life.” It will give you the confirmation and inspiration you need to start thinking differently. Being the only processor of your own food can make a drastic, positive change to your health, and you will NEVER be FAT, yay!!

Imagine what kind of financial impact this change can make for you? I know you’re thinking duh, it costs to buy the coffee to make at home. Fine, deduct 20% from the money you would’ve saved. However, how much more money you can save by applying the same logic to all of your food choices?

Secondly, you will help save our one and only planet. You might say, it’s just me, one person…but that’s the type of sheeplethinking we need to shed. It’s so much better not to deposit 3,650 coffee cups and plastic lids into our soil in the next 10 years, and that’s just from you! And any change can only start with you.

Knowing is only half the battle. Researches show it takes 90 days to break a habit and develop a new one. Will you begin the first day of the 90-day blitz TODAY? Tomorrow never comes…

Downfalls of Gluten-Free Pastries : Xanthan Gum & Starches

Most of the people who are sensitive to gluten don’t even know they have gluten sensitivity.  The rise of Gluten Intolerance aka Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity is partially blamed on genetically modified wheat aka GMO wheat. (There are many theories and arguments about this subject, but doesn’t it seem more logical to keep things as natural as possible than chemically and genetically altering the crop?)

So some of us decided eating gluten-free was much healthier than partaking in the horrible wheat consumption. Gluten-free is so IN that even the toddlers on Abbot Kinney in Venice, CA are requesting gluten-free pizza, bread, pastries, you name it! Let’s focus on gluten-free pastries for a second since it’s right up my alley as I’m the co-founder/pastry chef of the Two Sisters And Organic, Gluten-free muffins.

Way back when I didn’t bake for myself, I frequently bought gluten-free pastries only to be disappointed after one bite. Sure, it lacked any sort of pleasing taste, but I would doggedly finish the whole piece thinking healthy food couldn’t possibly taste that great. However, the bigger issue was that I actually didn’t feel good either, often bloated and lethargic soon after. Why?

Yep, I’m a super nerd. My research concluded that Xanthan Gum, which is a thickening/stabilizing additive commonly found in gluten-free pastries to hold ingredients together in place of gluten, irritated my digestive system. Did you know Xanthan Gum is also used in cosmetic/dental products, pharmaceuticals, and other various industrial products. Hmm..this doesn’t sound healthy at all, does it?

Another by-product of my research left me questioning why I even bother eating gluten-free at all when the “real stuff” tastes so much better albeit fattening and unhealthy.  It turns out a lot of these so-called healthy gluten-free options have additional starches (potato, corn, white rice to name some), besides Xanthan Gum, to make the pastries more spongy and chewy  like the “real stuff” we’re used to. However, these starches are very fattening and high-glycemic, and you can Google how evil these two factors can be.

It couldn’t be more obvious to me not to add anything unnatural like Xanthan Gum and unhealthy ingredients like starches to our beloved muffins. Here’s an idea for a fun project. Let’s see how many gluten-free pastries you can find that DO NOT contain these two downfalls of the industry! I bet this might turn out a bit more difficult than you’d like.

Two Sisters and A muffin

Allison’s Top 10 Must Do’s!

Working from home has given me a lot of free time to focus on total wellness.  I’ve been lucky enough to try various diets, exercise fads and supplements.  I want to share with you my top 10 things that have impacted my life positively.

“10 Steps to Total Wellness”

1) Get up (relatively) early. Getting up early is crucial for getting things done. The early bird gets the worm!

2) Workout Routine : A routine is something you do on a regular basis, right? Don’t skip just because you don’t feel like it. Can’t cut corners in life, and everything has a price! I start with a quick session of yoga first thing in the morning. I use a yoga app called Yoga Studio on my iPad. Then I try to workout at least 4-5 times/week, including one Pilates class. I mix in swimming and tennis to keep things interesting. *Playing sports has so many benefits!

3) Cook at home! I get my produce from the local farmers market. It takes some planning, but the weekly shopping does the trick. I don’t focus on losing weight but rather using the best, healthy ingredients and making things from scratch. I limit using packaged foods, and I’ve recently ventured into baking with healthy alternative options like quinoa, coconut flour. (I’ll soon share my cookies/muffins recipes). In speaking of coconut, I use coconut oil for almost everything including frying, baking and even skincare.

4) Mental Health : I allow myself at least 5-10 minutes each day for decompression/meditation. You can try for longer, of course. We live in such a hectic world, and it’s for you to shut down your smartphone and get to know yourself a little in a quiet setting.

5) Chiropractic treatments : I’m a huge fan! I get adjusted at least bi-weekly. We take our cars in for regular tune-ups, but why is it so hard to treat our bodies with scheduled alignments? I really don’t want to walk like the hunchback of Notre-Dame when I’m older, seriously!

6) Sauna : It’s known to provide effective detoxing! I get a bucket of crushed ice, and stay in the sauna until I get really hot. Then take a quick, cold shower (to tighten my skin), then go right back in. Repeat at least 3-5 times.

7) Skincare & Supplements : I use Ūth, anti-aging creme, made with natural Glycans to restore my skin at the cellular level. It’s even made my sunspots disappear. Also, you’ve got to nourish your body from the inside. Please refer to my previous posts on the importance of choosing the right supplements such as glyconutrients.  You can find these products here —> www.MannaMotion.com/allisonbaek or click on Shop.

8) Kind deeds : “We only have what we give.” by Isabel Allende. Enough said!

9) Pets : I have two dogs, and they give me so much joy!!! Any pet-owner would agree that your pet will give back way more than you ever imagined. Please visit local animal shelters, and bring home a furry bundle of JOY (or bundles of joy)! Indeed, this is also a good deed.

10) Using empowering and positive words! Words have so much power, and you can do more research on this if you don’t already know.  Happiness is a choice, and choose your words carefully.

*I didn’t include some of the basics like drinking enough water, getting a good night’s sleep, and not drinking alcohol excessively. I figured these were too obvious for you! 😉

If It’s Good Enough for World’s Best Doctor…

Things can get pretty dicey when you are considering which things to swallow…as in nutritional supplements.

There are thousands of products, and you often twiddle your thumbs before walking away from shelves and shelves of too many bottles. You finally and bravely take one home thinking it’s going to do exactly what’s written on the label. Then you end up not even taking it as instructed. Like so many other times and inevitably, this bottle gets stashed expired and half-finished in your drawer along with other sad bottles.

We all know we need to supplement our diet with nutritional supplements since we are not getting enough nutrients, but with which ones? Then I found this YouTube video with Dr. Ben Carson recommending a specific company that produces a specific group of nutrients. Watch it and I will let you be the judge on whether you should try what he’s a huge fan of. Perhaps you might finish the product, then re-order because you’ve also become a fan as well. Who are we to go against Dr. Ben Carson, right? (Yep, I’m semi-joking!)

…in case you missed it, I too am a long-time fan of what Dr. Carson recommends! Message me with any questions as to how and what to buy, etc.

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This is why I got sick in China!

This article shocked me!!! (and I threw up a little in my mouth, TMI!)  I was visiting a friend in Shanghai several years ago.  I purposely stayed at a 4-star hotel and stuck to eating only inside the hotel since I heard a lot of gross stuff about the food situation in China.  I especially wasn’t in the mood to take any chances with my weak stomach.

All went well until my last night in Shanghai.

My friend insisted that we go out to this tourist-friendly restaurant to experience the local culture for God’s sake!  I really wanted to say no, but thought it would be sort of rude not to.  Besides, a week went by without any incidents (mind you I really stuck to my “hotel diet”).  So I stupidly agreed.

The “China Nightmare” started the next morning as soon as I boarded the plane.  My stomach was in knots, and I immediately felt feverish.  Then I made several trips to the bathroom to throw up.  I was miserable.  Ugh!

So, this article by Washington Post made perfect sense as to why I got violently sick from eating food in China.

I’m sure this gutter oil is just one of many crazy things going on there.  I recently watched “Death by China” on Netflix, and boy, oh boy, I wish I never had to buy another product made in China.

I’m not bashing the Chinese people.  I blame the broken communist government and our inability stemmed from greed to say no to their wayward system.

gutter oil used in cooking in China
gutter oil used in cooking

New Wonder Ingredient in Skincare : Glycans

Who doesn’t want to look younger?  I do!

I came across this article written on Glycans used in Yves Saint Laurent’s Forever Youth line.  Glycans are basically sugar molecules that allow cells to communicate with each other.  This “communication process” produces collagen and elastin making up the skin matrix.  Hence better, younger-looking skin.  As we age, the communication slows down, and this in turn produces less and less collagen and elastin.

What I found out next was shocking, yet expected from a corporate giant.  YSL’s line’s glycans are SYNTHETIC!  In other words, these sugars are supposed to be natural, plant-based sugars, but YSL can’t have them because there’s another company who owns a patent on the natural sugars.

The company with the patent is Mannatech (Nasdaq: MTEX), and they are launching their own glycans-based skincare next month, November 2013. 

I was able to connect with one of the test subjects of this new product, and she graciously shared her recent photos taken this week using the “wrinkle cream” for just 5 days!  She’s becoming a very young 60-year old!  (Please see the pic here : Pic)

I will share the link to the product as soon as it’s available. 

Tastes better than Crack Cocaine

DoughnutNot that I know what crack cocaine tastes like nor is it even edible??  I’ve been on this strict diet (no processed foods) for say like FOREVER.  Then came this “white chocolate doughnut.”  Don’t ask how it just magically appeared in front of me.  Anyhow, I had to take a stab at it.  Had to…and why does something so BAD taste so GOOD?

I suddenly felt a strong urge to look into this very phenomenon, “Sugar High.”  Here’s what I found :

1) Simple white sugar mainly found in bad things like doughnuts easily break down into glucose in the bloodstream.

2) The pancreas releases insulin to absorb sugar from the bloodstream.  A moderate amount of glucose present in your body is actually healthy.

3) Through this absorption, trptophan is converted into serotonin, aka “Happiness Molecule.”

4) However, when this conversion happens too quickly, in order words, the bloodstream is overloaded with too much sugar and insulin gets release too quickly, the opposite happens.  This condition is known as “hypoglycemia” or “sugar crash.”

5) Go back to 1) and you can see why eating simple sugars can be bad.

As quickly I felt “high” off that doughnut (yes, I immediately finished the rest after the photo op), I began to feel gross, lethargic, and even sad.  These are well-known symptoms of sugar crash.

I’m sure this wild consumption didn’t do any good for my health, but sometimes it takes a couple of mistakes to create a good habit.  I’ve learned my lesson, and I hope you did too without actually eating one yourself!