Giveaway and Interview: Choosing Raw – Making Raw Foods Part of the Way You Eat Cookbook

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Giveaway and Interview: Choosing Raw – Making Raw Foods Part of the Way You Eat Cookbook

This is the second interview in my series of interviews with people with amazing accomplishments  in the field of healthy nutrition and lifestyle. Whether we are vegan, omnivore, or follow another nutritious diets we can all learn from each other. What binds us is our desire to help our families and ourselves eat a little better today than we did yesterday.

Today I am going to share with you a new cookbook that found room on my shelf recently and that I am completely in love with: “Choosing raw – Making Raw Foods Part of the Way You Eat”  the first cookbook written by the lovely Gena Hamshaw. Gena is the face behind the popular blog Choosing Raw. Gena is currently preparing to move back to her hometown New York  from Washington D.C. where she has lived for the last few years. Her cookbook is a great introduction for those of us that would like to include more raw foods in their diet and want to do it right. It is also a great resource for those of us who already have many raw foods in our diet as Gena’s cookbook abounds in delicious and interesting recipes waiting to be tried in our kitchens.

Gena has a balanced approach when it comes to including raw foods in her diet (hence the name of her cookbook). She believes that eating both cooked and raw foods is a great way to stay healthy.  I completely agree with this way of eating, as it ensures we get a  variety of nutrients that nourish our bodies. This way of eating also helps us cut down on processed foods, which in the long run is beneficial to our health.

I have been reading Gena’s website Choosing Raw for years as she writes warmly and candidly about raw and vegan foods, animals’ rights, eating disorders, yoga, and many other interesting topics. Gena’s personality shines through her writing and I check her blog on a regular basis as it is inspirational and rich in useful information.

I tried many recipes from Gena’s cookbook such as banana soft serve, zucchini pasta with quinoa meatless balls, and avocado black bean breakfast scramble. All were quickly devoured by my family.

Gena graciously offered to share with us her cashew banana yogurt recipe from her cookbook. My son sang the following words: “Mmmm, it’s yummy!”.  My daughter ate it happily. My husband tried it and said “Wow, this is goooood” (swearing omitted). I mixed this cashew banana yogurt with my homemade granola and we all had a great nutritious breakfast.

I have been trying for a long time to find a dairy-free yogurt for my son. The ones that we can buy from the store have lots of additives that are not safe for us to eat. The ones that I tried to make at home prior Gena’s recipe did not turn out very well. But this one, the cashew banana yogurt, was a big hit with my son and this recipe is a keeper. If you are looking to change it up once in a while, you can replace the banana with other fruits that your child loves.

Cashew Banana Yogurt

From “Choosing Raw – making raw foods part of the way you eat” by Gena Hamshaw. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2014.

Banana cashew yogurt

Greek yogurt is one of the last nonvegan foods I stopped eating, and it was one of my favorites. I’ve seen all sorts of super complex recipes for fermented, homemade yogurts, but this simple recipe is my go-to.

This yogurt calls for a probiotic powder. You don’t have to go out and purchase one to make it. If you take any kind of probiotic supplement, you can simply empty two to three capsules into the recipe and enjoy. If you don’t want to, or don’t have a probiotic powder at all, that’s fine. Just go ahead and enjoy the taste of this sweet, tangy treat.

Makes 4 small or 2 large servings


1 cup cashews, soaked for 2 hours or more, then drained

2 large bananas

1 1⁄2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2⁄3 cup coconut water (1⁄2 cup if you’re using a food processor)

1 pinch sea salt

1⁄2 teaspoon probiotic powder (optional; you can simply open up a few probiotic capsules for this!)


Blend all the ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth.

Alternatively, place all the ingredients, except the coconut water, in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Turn the motor on and drizzle in the coconut water in a thin stream. Keep processing until the mixture is very smooth.

Stored in an airtight container in the fridge, the yogurt will keep for 2 days.

What I did:

  1. I used 5 children’s probiotic pills that made up ½ teaspoon of probiotic needed for the recipe.
  2. I soaked the cashews for 4 hours as my blender is not too powerful and I wanted the cashews to be soft enough for my blender. I put the yogurt in the fridge before serving. It has a tangy and sweet taste in the same time.


Here is Gena, telling us more about her cookbook and her approach to whole foods (raw and cooked).

  1. Gena, tell us a little bit about yourself. Who were you at the beginning, when you first started the “Choosing raw” website? When and why did you decide to focus on eating raw foods?

My blog grew out of an infatuation with raw food, which I discovered about a year and a half into my journey as a vegan. At the time, I was super excited about eating raw, but I felt that very few websites or resources made the lifestyle seem accessible. I wanted to prove that it was possible to eat raw food while on a budget, juggling a busy lifestyle, and also choosing not to go 100% with it (I eat much more cooked food than I used to, but even in my high raw phase, I still enjoyed a lot of cooked vegan fare).

Over time, the blog has also become a space where I discuss body image, animal rights, and eating disorder recovery.

  1. What was(were) your goal(s) in writing this cookbook?

They were very similar to the goals I bring to my life as a blogger! I wanted to present veganism and raw foods as fun, bountiful, satisfying, and relaxed. I wanted to prove to folks that you don’t have to choose between eating raw food and eating cooked food. I wanted to share some of the reasons why I find veganism to be a compelling lifestyle choice in this day and age (ethics, environment, etc.). And finally, I wanted to clear up some of the common misconceptions surrounding raw and vegan diets.

In addition to all of these things–and perhaps most importantly!!–I wanted to share 125 of my favorite, most delicious recipes.

  1. What is one of your favorite dishes from your cookbook that you think would appeal to children too?

Oh, gosh! Well, any of the smoothies are kid friendly, I think, as is the famous banana soft serve recipe. Kids will also enjoy the blueberry ginger soft serve, the no bake sunflower oat bars, the coconutty for chocolate chip cookies, the raw fig bars, the macaroons–basically, any of the sweets 🙂 The zucchini and kale chips make for kid friendly snacks, and the enchiladas or quinoa salad with black beans and cilantro vinaigrette are good, family-friendly options.

  1. What is one of your favorite kid-friendly dishes from your website?

Probably banana soft serve (also in the book). You really can’t go wrong.

  1. Do you have any tips on helping parents make tasty meals and still stay on budget?

Be sure to shop for legumes, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit in bulk; it’s a major budget saver! Always take advantage of sales and deals for pantry goods. Cook in bulk, and use your freezer. And while produce is undoubtedly costly, remember that plant proteins (grains, legumes, soy, hemp) are on average quite a bit more cost-effective than animal proteins. Plant based diets can be tremendously economical!

  1. Please finish this sentence: “One of my big life lessons was when…”

…I spent four years trying to get into med school, and then didn’t. It was absolutely crushing to have invested so much in a goal that then disintegrated in front of my eyes, but it taught me so much about resilience, about the value of failures, and about the necessity of keeping an open mind when it comes to one’s life goals.

  1. Sometimes life gets in the way and we eat less healthy for a while than we would like to. What do you do to get back on track?

I try really hard never to beat myself up about less-than-ideal food choices; I come from an eating disorder history, so food guilt is territory I avoid as best I can. If I feel as though I’ve been too indulgent, then I simply take a few days to eat simply: lots of fruit, salads, simple grains, beans. I hydrate really well, and get adequate rest. That’s it. I’m not one to ever do eliminations of any food (sweets, for instance). When I’ve been less healthy than I prefer to be, I’ll certainly simplify things, but I still try to enjoy everything in moderation.

  1. Besides making and photographing amazing recipes, what is the thing/activity that makes you happy and you could not live without?

Reading and yoga.

  1. What do the words “Choosing raw” mean to you?

To me, the words “choosing raw” don’t mean “choosing a 100% raw lifestyle.” They mean eating foods that are a little closer to the earth. They mean minimal food preparation. They mean dishes that are simple, nourishing, and whole. And they also suggest freedom and flexibility: you can approach raw foods as a choice, as a series of small decisions, rather than a total lifestyle transition.


If you would like to win this great cookbook, please see below the 3 ways to enter this giveaway.

This giveaway is open to anyone, no matter where you are. It is my absolute pleasure to gift this to you.

Receive up to 3 entries if you:

  1. Let me know in the comments section what your child’s favorite breakfast is.
  2. Subscribe to the Orgali blog by email. You can see the link to subscribe (green rectangle) on the right side on this page.
  3. Mention this giveaway on your Facebook page and let me know you did this in the comments section.

The giveaway closes on Friday August the 1st at 8:00 pm Mountain time.

A winner will be chosen using a random number generator and announced on the blog on Friday August the 1st.

I will contact the winner by email once I post the result.

The giveaway is now closed.

The winner of the Choosing Raw Cookbook is Yen. Congratulations Yen! I just emailed you to ask you for your address.




About the Author:

Alina Muresan is a Holistic Nutritional Consultant who specializes in family nutrition and health. Visit her website, to find great advice on your child's nutrition and delicious recipes that are healthy and fast!


  1. Georgi July 25, 2014 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    Dear Alina,
    You know I am a vegetarian and I like to include a lot of raw foods in my diet, and I make these available for my family as well and encourage them to eat them often. While this is reasonably easy with the kids, I find it quite difficult to convince the adults that this is a good choice. Reading and sharing your posts, it makes me feel I have some support to continue my work in convincing my close friends and relatives about the benefits of healthy eating. Keep up the good work, and thank you for sharing all the great inspiring stories!
    Oh, and for the giveaway, here are my three answers:
    1 – My kids favorite breakfast is French Toast (with organic ingredients and non-dairy milk!)
    2 – Done the subscription 🙂
    3 – Shared the page on Facebook

  2. Rachel July 25, 2014 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    Signed up for newsletter!

    I don’t have a child but my godchild loves couscous for breakfast!

  3. […] Link to the contest […]

  4. Christopher July 25, 2014 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    Posted on Facebook, Hope you have lots of Responses! Good article too! No kids yet but the ones I know love pancakes for Breakfast.

  5. Sarah Marie Galle July 25, 2014 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    I did a whole foods diet for a month and while challenging, it was awfully rewarding. I felt and looked great, r aw foods were definitely a part of my eating plan. I think it would be great to win this. I’m a nanny so I take care of kids and would share some recipes with them at mealtime 🙂

  6. Stephanie Galbraith July 25, 2014 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    My favorite Childhood Breakfast was Pancakes! 🙂

  7. sarah July 25, 2014 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    oatmeal of course!!

  8. Liza Vladyka July 25, 2014 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    bacon and anything with it

  9. Liza Vladyka July 25, 2014 at 7:20 pm - Reply

    i am a new subby

  10. Pamela July 25, 2014 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    Thanks for a great giveaway! I so need this, I’m in a summer food rut!

  11. Luisa Cisneros July 25, 2014 at 10:57 pm - Reply

    My big boy’s favorite breakfast is eggs over medium, refried beans, and flour tortillas. All this with a big glass of lactose free milk!

  12. MeryeBeth Albert July 25, 2014 at 11:02 pm - Reply

    1) I’ve never had any children, so I have answer for your first part in the giveaway.
    2) I subscribed to newsletter
    3) This is the link to my mention of your giveaway on Facebook –

  13. Luisa Cisneros July 25, 2014 at 11:03 pm - Reply

    Just liked it on Facebook!


  15. Maggie Anders July 26, 2014 at 3:38 am - Reply

    my daughter’s fave breakfast is fruit, chopped up fresh organic fruit in a bowl.

  16. Maggie Anders July 26, 2014 at 3:42 am - Reply

    i shared on my facebook page – maggie anders

  17. Debbie Kennedy July 26, 2014 at 6:34 am - Reply

    My kids love wheatibix for breakfast

  18. […] go HERE […]

  19. Amy July 26, 2014 at 6:57 am - Reply

    1. No children to serve breakfast to.
    2. I have subscribed to the Orgali blog.
    3. I’m not on Facebook.

  20. Melissa July 26, 2014 at 7:15 am - Reply

    I don’t have a child but my nephews love fruit and yogurt

  21. Kimberly Camille Tiu July 26, 2014 at 9:59 am - Reply

    Hi! dont have any children, but me and my younger sister enjoy eating cereals with milk for breakfast

    Subscribed to your newsletter too

    And share this giveaway via Facebook (FB Link:

  22. Amber July 26, 2014 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    I don’t have any children, but if I did they’d eat tofu scramble with me! :]

  23. Amber July 26, 2014 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    I have signed up to receive your blog by e-mail! :]

  24. Amber July 26, 2014 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    I mentioned this giveaway on my fb! :]

  25. Lilith Katz July 26, 2014 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    No kids but I like eating cereal or granola for breakfast

  26. Liz M July 26, 2014 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    My son loves pancakes and tofu scramble!

  27. Jen Haile July 26, 2014 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    He loves my apple cinnamon quinoa for breakfast.

  28. Anka July 26, 2014 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    Hi Alina,

    My daughter loves her bowl of organic oatmeal in the morning(with a little bit of milk and a drop of natural honey).
    Done the subscription and posted your book on my timeline on facebook.
    I do hope i will be the winner of your marvelous book.


  29. Katie Bellamy July 26, 2014 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    My kids love oatmeal.

  30. Lisa L July 26, 2014 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    I don’t have children but I myself, love oatmeal with some granola on top!

  31. yen July 27, 2014 at 1:12 am - Reply

    my daughter loves cereals or oatmeal topped with fruits for breakfast
    [email protected]

  32. Judith R. July 27, 2014 at 7:51 am - Reply

    My child’s favorite breakfast is Spanish omelette.

  33. kathy downey July 27, 2014 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    No kids enjoy eating cereal with fruit for breakfast

  34. kathy downey July 27, 2014 at 4:30 pm - Reply
  35. Nancy July 27, 2014 at 8:19 pm - Reply

    Our daughter likes yogurt for breakfast.

  36. Nancy July 27, 2014 at 8:21 pm - Reply

    I am an email subscriber.

  37. Leana S July 28, 2014 at 5:27 am - Reply

    I’m just starting to explore the world of raw food and love it.

    1- my son’s favorite breakfast is oatmeal with blueberries or pancakes.

    2- subscribed

  38. Jenna O July 28, 2014 at 8:00 am - Reply

    She loves yoghurt with mysli!

  39. Janet July 28, 2014 at 10:20 am - Reply

    Sliced organic apples with a squeeze of lime.

  40. Jill Aaron July 28, 2014 at 9:49 pm - Reply

    I did post to my FB page, but you seem nice, so I’ll admit that I don’t use my FB account for anything but contests, so no one will see my post. If you don’t want to count it as an entry, I completely understand.

  41. Jill Aaron July 28, 2014 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    Ohhh, I’m supposed to leave a link. How do you do that?

  42. […] Previous […]

  43. Jennifer Monteiro July 29, 2014 at 9:13 am - Reply

    My kids favorite breakfast is gluten free pancake mix with mashed banana and chocolate chips added in.

  44. Veronique Leblanc July 29, 2014 at 12:50 pm - Reply

    Yogurt and bananas!

  45. leah July 29, 2014 at 1:30 pm - Reply

    fruit and yogurt!

  46. amber y July 29, 2014 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    Cereals always go over well as there are so many to choose from.

  47. Kristen J July 30, 2014 at 7:57 am - Reply

    I posted this on Facebook. 🙂

    kristenrjuchem at hotmail dot com

  48. kathy pease July 30, 2014 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    My son loves french toast

  49. gayle gildehaus July 30, 2014 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    My kids like oatmeal or cold cereal for breakfast.

  50. Brandee H July 30, 2014 at 9:19 pm - Reply

    My son likes to start his morning with a bowl of berries. And then we make waffles or pancakes.

  51. Thomas Gibson July 31, 2014 at 1:55 am - Reply

    My daughter’s favorite breakfast are homemade waffles.

  52. Thomas Gibson July 31, 2014 at 1:56 am - Reply

    I subscribed to your emails.

  53. Thomas Gibson July 31, 2014 at 1:57 am - Reply
  54. Tina July 31, 2014 at 7:39 am - Reply

    1. Cereal
    2. gabrielle(dot)sollis(at)yahoo(dot)com

  55. christine k July 31, 2014 at 8:43 am - Reply

    My toddler’s favourite breakfast is anything with chocolate (chocolate granola cereal, organic chocolate toaster pastry….)

    My youngest’s favourite is breastmilk 🙂

  56. christine k July 31, 2014 at 8:44 am - Reply

    I signed up for emails

  57. Helena July 31, 2014 at 9:41 am - Reply

    Thank you for this lovely giveaway!
    1-My kids favorite breakfast is the french breakfast xith the fabulous brioches and croissants.
    2-Email suscribtion:[email protected]
    3-Shared on my wall:
    Fingers crossed!

  58. Ed July 31, 2014 at 2:46 pm - Reply

    The little one adores chocolate chip pancakes.

  59. marian boll July 31, 2014 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    My granddaughter loves pancakes of any kind. My great granddaughter is learning to follow in her mother’s footsteps and also love pancakes…

  60. Christine July 31, 2014 at 8:29 pm - Reply

    cereal with fruit

  61. Jasy c August 1, 2014 at 8:31 am - Reply

    Bacon and eggs for sure!!

  62. Rachel O August 1, 2014 at 8:49 am - Reply

    Cereal! Every day!

  63. Buddy Garrett August 1, 2014 at 9:28 am - Reply

    Our daughter’s favorite BREAKFAST IS Rice Krispies and orange juice.

  64. Buddy Garrett August 1, 2014 at 9:29 am - Reply

    I subscribed to orgali by email.

  65. Helga August 1, 2014 at 10:09 am - Reply

    Their favorite food in the morning is cereal.

  66. susan smoaks August 1, 2014 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    cereal is our son’s favorite breakfast.

  67. susan smoaks August 1, 2014 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    i am an email subscriber

  68. Hazell Perez August 1, 2014 at 12:46 pm - Reply

    I made him Wheat pancakes with strawberry and banana with turkey bacon he loves it and is very healthy for him and I made the as creative he has fun and enjoy it he loves it. Thank you for the opportunity and for giving amazing tips to make them part of our family and enjoy it.

  69. Debbie August 1, 2014 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    My kids’ favorite breakfast are waffles. I started incorporating raw eating into my diet just last week and I’d love to get them on the bandwagon too. I’d love to leans me kid-friendly raw recipes.

  70. heather c August 1, 2014 at 2:46 pm - Reply

    Fave breakfast: waffles covered in greek yogurt and blueberries

  71. […] forget to enter my giveaway: Choosing Raw Cookbook. This cookbook helps us incorporate more raw, delicious, and nutritious foods into our diet. The […]

  72. Josie August 1, 2014 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    My kids love pancakes

  73. Sue J. August 1, 2014 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    I just subscribed to them via e-mail!

  74. liz l August 1, 2014 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    My niece likes scrambled eggs

  75. […] Enter this Giveaway at Orgali […]

  76. heather June 21, 2016 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    Favorite breakfast in our house is scrambled eggs and toast.

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