Amber Shea Crawley, creator and author of the popular food blog Chef Amber Shea, is a classically trained chef, linguist, and writer in Kansas City, Missouri. Specializing in healthful, plant-rich food, she is the author of the cookbooks Practically Raw and Practically Raw Desserts as well as the ebook The REAL FOOD Cleanse. Amber blogs at www.chefambershea.com and can also be found on Facebook and Twitter (@ChefAmberShea).

Vegan sushi. Photo by Amber Shea Ford.

A lot of people who “go raw” start out with loads of enthusiasm. They may vow to be 100% raw straight out of the gate, or to never touch a morsel of cooked food for the rest of their lives. How often do they succeed? Almost never.

Let’s face it: most restaurants are not great at providing vegan (let alone raw) options on their menus. However, when armed with the killer combination of flexibility and creativity, no restaurant meal can derail your healthy lifestyle. Here’s how to cheat on your raw food diet–sans guilt–when dining out. (more…)

Posted by on July 29th, 2011

Photo by Amber Shea Ford

If the thought of traveling while eating a vegan diet makes you sweat, relax! A little advance planning can take the stress out of vegan traveling. Try these simple solutions and snack ideas to ensure you have access to vegan (and even some raw!) food options while on the road, in the air, or anywhere else on-the-go. (more…)

Posted by on May 4th, 2011


Vegan Dining in the South of France. Photo by Amber Shea Ford.

I firmly believe vegans should never have to relegate themselves to ordering a meager salad when dining out. In fact, I have never eaten salad at a restaurant in my life! A healthy vegan meal can be “invented” at any kind of restaurant whether or not vegan options exist on the menu; all it takes is a willingness to ask questions and make specific requests. The vast majority of restaurants are more than happy to accommodate your needs as best they can. No matter what which restaurants you frequent or what types of cuisines you crave, there’s an easy vegan solution. Here are some examples of vegan or almost-vegan (for those who are approximating) meals you could find at your favorite restaurants and in a variety of dining scenarios. (more…)

Posted by on April 4th, 2011

Photo by Amber Shea Ford

Increasing your intake of raw foods might feel like quite an undertaking. But a diet high in raw foods doesn’t have to be difficult, dull or pricey. In fact, you don’t need fancy equipment, expensive ingredients, or—heaven forbid—an endless parade of salads in order to incorporate more raw foods into your meals. Here are a few painless ways to work raw foods into your everyday diet.

(more…)

Posted by on March 9th, 2011

Raw Paella: Photo and Dish by Amber Shea Ford

Raw food consists of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds in their natural, unprocessed state. The benefits of eating raw food go beyond esoteric concepts like detoxifying or alkalinizing the body. Whether you’re a committed vegan or a meat-and-potatoes omnivore, here are seven compelling reasons you should consider adding more raw foods to your everyday diet.

1. Raw food has more of what your body wants and less of what it doesn’t want.

A raw vegan diet is rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, water, essential fatty acids, plant protein, beneficial enzymes and probiotics, phytochemicals and antioxidants. It is free of processed sugars, artificial sweeteners, chemicals and preservatives, unhealthy fats, animal products, and common allergens such as gluten and soy. Also, if you buy organic, a raw diet minimizes your intake of pesticides and GMOs. (more…)

Posted by on February 9th, 2011

Amber Shea Ford of Almost Vegan

First things first: Amber Shea Ford is a classically trained raw vegan chef who attended the prestigious 105degrees Academy. A practicing vegan and raw foodist who has a refreshingly inclusive perspective (and some serious good taste), Amber is joining our dynamic team of experts and will be bringing you monthly exclusives on her delicious brand of culinary delights.

We know what you may be thinking. You can’t give up your decadent indulgences. You don’t want to read about salads. Well, we’ve got a secret to share: Amber happens to be anti-salad herself. Problem solved. And lest you think she’s all about radishes and watercress, here’s a peek of Amber in action–don’t forget to vote for her and her decadent Caramel-Fudge Brownies at Hot Raw Chef’s 2011 Sweet Valentine Contest. Oh, and those caramel-fudge brownies? They’re raw. And vegan.

Describe your personal food philosophy.

My whole approach to food and diet is one of flexibility. I am a health-driven vegan, pure and simple, and I feel that allowing my veganism and raw foodism to have slightly blurred edges is actually healthier for me (physically AND mentally) in the long run. I’m pretty much 100% vegan at home (although I don’t scour labels or ingredient lists for microscopic bits of hidden animal products). When I travel or eat out, I give myself more leeway. For example, if I go out to a restaurant with friends, I might have a few bites of their dessert, even if it has butter in it. I’m not a fan of dogmatism or strict “rules” about food—I prefer to be flexible and focus on enjoying what I eat! Basically, although 99.5% of my diet is vegan (and largely raw!), as long as I feel happy, healthy, and vibrantly nourished at the end of the day, I have no problem making little exceptions here and there. (more…)

Posted by on February 7th, 2011

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