Today we’d like to introduce you to Lena Ksanti.
Lena is a Plant – Based Chef, Educator, Social Media Influencer and Author based in Laguna Beach, California. Ever since she made the connection between how the foods we prepare affect our health, it has been her personal mission to share that we can take control over our health starting in the kitchen. Lena’s biggest passions are feeding people delicious, healthy living food in all corners of the globe and inspiring them to live happier life and to make healthier food choices to satisfy, heal, and nurture their bodies. She puts tons of love and healing intentions into everything she serves, and get amazing amounts of joy from doing it. When bringing groups of people together, food is one of the most important facets, and Lena takes pride in crafting her dishes around what is available locally, what season, weather, and people’s energy levels call for, and what will be most in alignment with the intentions of the event.
Lena is committed to make plant-based cuisine palatable to most fashionable dinners with dishes that are as gorgeous-looking as they are delicious, fresh, and healthy.
As a Chef, Lena finds the raw food the most vibrant and colorful and the flavors most crisp. Raw food requires a lot of innovative techniques. From a health perspective, the raw food feels more clean and pure. Lena takes familia flavors and applies new techniques, uses unexpected combinations to adjust and enhance.
Lena is the author of eBooks PureVeganFood Desserts, PureVeganFood Smoothies and Nice creams and PureVeganFood: Savory Dishes. Lena’s Instagram account @pureveganfood was featured in The Huffington Post as one of the “17 Vegan Instagram Accounts You Should Definitely Be Following” in February 2015. Lena has been contributing Chef to numerous recipe books as well as featured in many national print and online publications such as One Green Planet, The Healthy Mama Magazine and THRIVE Magazine.
She graduated from Cornell University’s Plant-Based Nutrition Program based on Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s The China Study and The Institute for Integrated Nutrition. Lena runs living & raw culinary classes, retreats, cater private events, makes raw vegan cakes and cheesecakes and counsels clients around the world to help them become more energetic, radiant and vibrant. Through the intersection of clean food and culinary education, Lena continues to share her passion for helping others achieve their health goals, starting in the kitchen.
Has it been a smooth road?
Everybody asks, where do you get your protein from? We get our protein from fruits and vegetables. Those who believe plant protein is inferior to animal protein may be surprised to learn that plant proteins contain the same 22 amino acids as animal proteins. In fact, it is protein that gives all plants their structure. Whether plants grow upright or sprawl on a vine, protein is a basic component of their cell structure. Eating a diet consisting of whole, fresh, ripe, raw, organic fruits and vegetables, and eating enough of it, supplies us with all the nutrients we need. Sweet fruit averages 4-8% of its calories from protein and vegetables and leafy greens average 15-20% of its calories from protein. The best sources of plant based protein are: quinoa, buckwheat, lentils, beans, chickpeas, nuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, spirulina, and dark green leafy veggies.
The next concern is always about calcium? The healthiest calcium sources are greens and beans. Green leafy vegetables are loaded with calcium. One cup of broccoli has 178 milligrams of calcium. What’s more, the calcium in broccoli and most other green leafy vegetables is more absorbable than the calcium in milk. Beans, lentils and other legumes are also loaded with calcium.
What makes me happy that I sustain my healthy weight eating a whole food, plant-based diet. Taking out processed food, animal products and refined sugar allows your digestive system to work a million times better so everything will be digested faster and more effectively which allows you to loose weight. Eating that way does not require you to count calories or measure food to feel healthy and lose weight! Getting rid of the junk means getting rid of weight issues, blood pressure problems, cholesterol medication, etc. Whole food, fruits and vegetables will supply you with fiber, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, essential fats, protein, and energy!
Most think that it’s expensive to be plant-based, I recommend to focus on seasonal fruit and veggies, lots of grains like brown rice and beans/legumes – those are all super cheap and make an amazing base for any meal! For smoothies use frozen berries, bananas and greens plus things like oats – all of which are really inexpensive. One of kid’s favorite dinners is brown rice cooked with black beans, chopped broccoli and cauliflower and spinach with a mashed avocado. It takes me 10 minutes to throw together, tastes amazing, costs very little and fills them with goodness! I find that on a day to day basis eating this way is actually much cheaper than eating a ‘normal’ diet, as meat and processed food is much more expensive than seasonal veggies. I also think that investing in your health is the best thing that you can do and what you eat really does determine how amazing your health is!
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
We live in the best place on the planet! Summer is all year round, abundance of local fresh produce makes it so easy to live a healthy lifestyle, happy people always smiling you back and there are so many terrific ways to spend time with kids outdoors. Ocean, mountains are all around.
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