Raw Food Chef Ani Phyo Shares Tips on Gourmet Raw, What is in Her Pantry and the Best Blenders

In this article, Ani Phyo shares on gourmet raw, what is in her pantry and the best blenders for home and travel. Ani Phyo is a raw food chef extraordinaire and the author of Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen and Ani’s Raw Food Desserts.

Kevin: I am excited to have Ani Phyo with us today. Today’s going to be really fun. Why not introduce yourself and tell how you got into this whole arena.

Ani: Sure, okay. Let’s see. I was really lucky to have been raised on a lot of raw food. My father was a raw fooder. That was like the previous generation of raw. It was when raw food was really about the functionality. So my mom would make vegetable juices with everything that was ripe in the garden that day, without any consideration for visual color or look or flavor. It was more about “put everything in there because it’s good for you and hold your breath and chug it down and get it into your body because it was good for you.”

Then around the mid-90s when I was in San Francisco during the whole dot-com boom, explosion, the multi-media gulch, I came upon Juliano’s restaurant in San Francisco. For the first time I was introduced to a gourmet raw, this new wave of gourmet raw food, without really realizing that is was the same philosophy of what I had been raised with. As I started learning about that and discovering how it affected my body and gave me mental clarity and focus and kept me from getting sick and made my productivity very high, I started delving into it and making more of that food for myself. As I would have somebody over to dinner or go to dinner I’d be making more of it and sharing it. Everyone that would taste the food would be interested in it because everyone that I talked with wants to look and feel their best and get the most out of life and stay healthy and not be sick, all of that great stuff, be their ideal weight.

So I guess by the late 90s I had started doing more catering and events and dinners. When I went down to Los Angeles I was doing weekly dinners for 50-100 people, before there were any raw restaurants down here, really just as a service to the raw community because there were not restaurants. But also for selfish reasons because I needed to feed myself. It was like extreme gourmet. I would be soaking, dehydrating, marinating, sprouting. Really complex recipes. I don’t enjoy doing that when making the food for myself. It’s all about sharing it with others. So by having these events I could have a reason for making this food and then I’d have food to eat up to those events and then leftovers after the events. That would carry me through the week. So that’s really how I got started, for selfish reasons, to have food to feed myself.

Kevin: The book is on consulting. You’d done consulting for different companies, correct? The original book you wrote. The first book you wrote.

Ani: “Return on Design”?

Kevin: Yes.

Ani: It was an interaction, user-experience design book.

Kevin: How did you go into raw food chef? What made you flip the switch? Was it just, “Hey I need to do something different, I don’t like this anymore”?

Ani: I think what it was…I started off as a 3D modeler, animator and then a special effects person. That was the early 90s. As the web started happening in the early 90s and mid-90s, I sort of moved onto the web and doing multimedia online. Towards the later 90s it really became about the large corporations and eCommerce online. That was when I was doing the dinners on the weekends so I could have food to have to take with me into these corporate offices during the weekdays. I think it really just hit this plateau when I got down to LA and I was working with some of the studios and it was really heartbreaking for me to be in these environments because it was during the rolling blackouts and things and there was a shortage of energy, yet these huge corporate towers were really over-cooling the buildings to a point where employees were wearing like fall jackets to the office in the middle of summer when it was 110 degrees. They were wearing blankets over their shoulders at their desks. Our fingers were so cold I couldn’t type. So they were wasting that much energy and then also they weren’t recycling in the break room or whatever. They were drinking water out of Styrofoam cups. People would go and drink like three ounces of water out of a Styrofoam cup and then throw it away.

So being in that kind of environment was really challenging for me. By that time I had been several years of doing the catering and events. They were really taking off. I realized doing dinners 50-100 people every week, I was like, “Wow, this is really a viable business actually.” So I thought, “Why don’t I take a break from the convergence media and focus 100 percent on the food business?” That was really where my heart was. I could see how it was helping people. It was helping the community. It was helping people gain better health and getting more out of their lives and helping them feel better. So I just really believed in that. So that was when I made the switch from making large corporations more and more money when they weren’t really taking care of their communities or the environment, over to the raw food.

Kevin: Great. Well, we have a lot of questions here. They’re all over the map. We have a lot of great people who are listening and a lot of great questions. I’m kind of struggling as to where to start. Why don’t we start with this listener’s question? What are the top five things in your pantry?

Ani: That are in my pantry…

Kevin: Or that are in your arsenal?

Ani: The top five things. Well, right now I go to the Farmer’s Market all the time, when I’m at home. I love it. Peaches are just so amazing. So I always have the vegetables and the fruit in my kitchen, always. I really like the dark leafy greens like the kales and the chards and I like cabbages because they’re so alkalinizing. In my pantry I always have almonds and cashews and different kinds of nuts and seeds. Actually, in my fridge I have hemp and hemp protein. I always have my superfoods, like acai and my chia seeds and my maca and lucuma, all that kind of stuff, my goji berries. Then I have my greens like spirulina, E3live, Vitamineral Green, that kind of stuff, which I really love. So I think those things I would have on hand.

Then when I’m traveling I always have my personal blender with me and I just take the powders in one of the containers to make a smoothie. I’ll have my hemp protein or something. That way when I get somewhere I can just pick up a banana and blend it in. I have my hemp protein and usually I put in some of the powdered E3Live stuff and different superfoods and I make mix. That way in my hotel room every morning I can start with a smoothie.

Kevin: Great. What kind of blender are you using? Are you traveling with?

Ani: A personal blender from TriBest. It’s my favorite. I just love it because it’s so tiny. I used to travel with my food processor or my Vitamix, so now I have more room in my suitcase for my clothes and my books and things like that. It’s really tiny. I take my two-cup size container and it has the little blender top but it also has a storage top and it has a little travel top for it. It’s really versatile. I really love that blender.

Addictions to Fast Food – Important Things You Need to Know

Hash browns for breakfast, double-patty cheeseburgers for mid-morning snacks, a large helping of fries and supersize double everything burger for lunch, chocolate sundae and float for afternoon snacks and hotdogs with all the sidings for supper. Don’t forget the late night bacon and cheese pizza for after dinner. And everything must come with the largest soda available. Ah! This is the fast food life. Delicious, absolutely mouth-watering and leaving you wanting more.

As you continue to indulge your taste buds, fats slowly and insidiously creep into your midsection, lying there in comfortable sleep. Fat deposits build up in your arterial walls until one night in the middle of your comfortable life as a couch potato watching your favorite television show, you feel the shortness of your breath and tightness in your chest, then you begin to see stars and black dots and pretty soon, that sharp searing pain that threatens to rip your heart apart. You grip your chest and had the presence of mind to call 911 before passing out. The next morning you find yourself talking with your doctor as he grimly informs you of the need for a heart surgery of some sort that you just can’t digest. After all, you’re only 25 and in the prime of your life.

Our reliance on fast food has become a matter of national concern. As obese Americans continue to grow by the numbers with more coming from the young adult population, it becomes imperative that we start the campaign to wean the fast food addict that have slowly crept into each of us. But because it’s food, we don’t consider it addiction. After all, food nourishes the body, right? Not all kinds of food.

Food stuffs that are rich in nothing but sodium, preservatives and additives serve to poison our own bodies. But because they are delicious, we are tricked into believing that they are good for us. It’s our sad plight that we have become a nation of fast food addicts and don’t even recognize this malady that has hit us.

When we say fast food addicts, we do mean those of us who rely on processed fare morning, noon and night. No, we’re not out to declare war against all fast food establishments and we’re not quick to condemn them either. We put the focus on the individual and his or her lack of restraint in indulging in these conveniences. A family day to treat the kids out to their fast food place is certainly acceptable. But when individuals begin to treat it as their dining room then that becomes a cause for concern.

If you know of a friend or relative who fits this description, he or she definitely needs your help. Like any form of addiction that can be difficult to get rid off, the fast food addict needs all the moral and emotional support he or she can get to get back on the road to good health. In most of these cases, psychological intervention is even necessary. If you yourself is a fast food junkie, then you need to seek help before those fats that are now deposited in your midsection starts off a chain of inflammatory processes that will ultimately end in the scenario described above. In some cases, you don’t end up facing the doctor but a man with a rooster. That’s when you’ll know just how addicted you have become. And by then, it’s already too late to make any changes.

7 Worst Foods To Avoid When Dieting

Here are 7 worst foods that you must strictly avoid when dieting.

1. Multigrain Breads..

Howsoever healthy it may sound; multigrain bread is not so good for your diet plan. These over processed foods are generally stripped off their nutrients including vitamins and minerals. Hence, opt for whole grain breads that are more fibrous and delicious. Avoid falling in the lure of multigrain products.

2. Whole Milk.

Although you love the fuller taste of whole milk, avoid this drink totally when dieting. Along with minerals and vitamins, whole milk is also rich in saturated fats that are deteriorating for your health. One cup serving of whole milk passes 5 grams of fat to your body. So, better opt for low fat or skim milk in your diet.

3. Sugar Free Packed Snacks.

These products are claimed to be totally sugar free. They are definitely low in calories. But often, they contain more fatty sugar alternatives. The alternative fake sugar is also processed by our body. This ultimately raises the levels of insulin. So, it’s always better to read the labels first and then consume a so-called sugar free snack.

4. Granola.

It’s good to like the crunchy taste of granola. It is a perfect dressing for your hot cereals, yogurt, or delicious desserts. But it is also packed with lots of calories and fat. Actually, the ingredients of granola include butter and sugar. As such, one bowl of granola contains around 550 calories and 28 grams of fat. So, instead of granola, opt for bran cereal which is high in fiber and has fuller flavor. Alternatively, cut down the amount of granola per serving that you consume.

5. Tropical Fruits.

Fruits are known for their high nutrients and they are an obvious choice when dieting. But tropical fruits like mango and pineapple are equally rich in calories as well. Here, apple is an intelligent choice because it is high in fiber and considerably low in fat.

6. Creamy Salad Dressings.

Whether you are dieting or not, salads are quite healthy, anyways. But the moment you add cream based dressing to them, they are worse for your dieting plan. Most of these creamy dressings contain lots of sugar and fats. They increase calorie count of your salad and make it worthless for your diet plan.

7. White Rice.

White rice is a common recipe for dinner. But it is not that healthy. Along with low nutritional values, white rice also induces storage of excess fat in your body. Hence, it can become quite challenging for your weight loss schedule. You can better switch to brown rice with high nutrition and fiber content.

With these avoidable foods you can certainly give required boost to your diet regimen and attain the shape you dream about.

Comfort Food For The Economy

If Obama and staff can’t quickly energize the economy, we will all need more comfort food. And, we will be eating at home more. As a society, I think we needed to slow down a bit and enjoy more “moments.” Today’s economic downturn may just have been the wakeup call we needed.

I personally have felt like I’ve been on a 20-year roller coaster blending family, career, friends, networking, volunteering, raising a child beginning at 40, becoming a widow, re-marrying, getting my daughter through college, being her career advisor, and—going to the gym!! I made money, saved money, and spent a whole lot of money. Is all this pure craziness?

I had a 17-year-old student from France, Audrey, about 16 years ago. I took her to Costco. She was overwhelmed at the low prices we have. She loved America. Two years later she came to visit again. She observed, “In France we are taken care of from cradle to grave by the government. As a result we have no money and prices are high. We don’t have much ‘stuff’.” This time she was trying to evaluate which system was best. I became more conscious of how much “stuff” we have.

Audrey got me to begin thinking also that it is a lot easier to buy things than to get rid of them. I am sure my age is the main reason. Young people can’t get enough “stuff.” My 22 year old daughter is a prime example. However, I did teach her that she could buy many things, but it is best to only buy what she LOVED. One time when she was in high school, she went into Macy’s dressing room and tried on at least 20 garments. She came out with nothing and said, “I didn’t LOVE anything.”

Why is comfort food the medicine we need in a bad economy. Well, it reminds us of what our mothers and grandmothers cooked. It is often the retro or classic recipes that nouveau cuisine ignores. It is often a blend of a lot of food categories into one dish. It often cooks for 30 min. to an hour adding yummy smells to the home. It makes us feel secure that someone cares enough for us to cook dinner. And, we then all sit down and eat together.

Aha, this is sounding good. Can we stop long enough to dine together as a family? It has been proven that there are huge benefits to children to have family dinners. The conclusions of a study done by Columbia University show that teens who eat fewer than 3 family dinners a week are:

o Two and a half times likelier to smoke cigarettes.
o More than one and a half times likelier to drink alcohol.
o Almost three times likelier to try marijuana.

Two researchers at the University of Minnesota investigated the potential benefits of family mealtimes and found children gain these benefits:

o Better nutrition
o Better language and literacy
o Fewer eating disorders
o Fewer risky behaviours.

Joseph Califano Jr., chairman and president of the national Center on Addition and Substance Abuse, says that “the family dinner is more powerful than any law we can pass, any punishment we can level” for protecting children against risky behavior. “parental engagement is a critical weapon in the fight against substance abuse,” he says. “If I could wave a want, I’d make everyone have family dinner.”

The new cookbook, The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner, Easy Family Meals for Every Day of the Week not only is chock full of comfort food recipes, but one day of the week is dedicated to comfort food, Monday. The author Liz Edmunds says that this is because Monday is the day after the weekend where children need to get back into the routine of school for the week. Comfort food helps achieve this.

My new year’s resolution is to slow down, have comfort food for family dinners, and learn to make bread and home-made pizzas like the author of the above book exclaims is not as hard as you’d think and makes mom very “special.”