Category Archives: Viva Live!

Raw Recipe: Easy Pie Crusts

Viva Institute's Banana Cacau Torte

We often rave about raw desserts because they’re SO easy to make. In just 10 minutes you can create a sweet and delicious treat that’s healthy enough to eat for breakfast!

Once you know the basics of making raw fruit pies, it’s fun to experiment with different fillings. This raw pie crust from Matt Amsden is the easiest we’ve found. It has just 2 little ingredients!

Matt Amsden’s Raw Pie Crust


  • 2 cups raw almonds, finely ground in a food processor
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar


In a  mixing bowl, combine the ground almonds and agave nectar, and mix well. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 5–inch pie tin.

This simple recipe can be used to make peach pies (fill it with 2 sliced peaches tossed with a tbsp of agave nectar), apple pies (sliced apples, raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg), or whatever fruits you happen to have around the house. Leigh’s Banana Cacau Torte is one of our favorites.  She forms the crust by hand (no pie dish necessary) and fills it with blended bananas, cacau, and grated coconut. Not only does it taste delicious, our guests always squeal with excitement when the see it. Yes, we said “squeal,” and meant it!

Ani Phyo’s Raw Apple Pie

Raw Chef Ani Phyo’s recipe for Raw Apple Pie uses the following ingredients to make the crust:

  • 2 cup almonds
  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 1 teaspoon sea-salt

Blend the almonds first until they’re very fine, then add the salt and dates. Depending on the dates you use, you may need to soak them first so that they’re nice and soft and will blend well in your food processor.

Here’s Ani making her famous Raw Apple Pie:

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Eating healthy doesn’t mean having to give up your sweet tooth. Keep these basic ingredients around the house (raw almonds, agave nectar or honey, and dates) and you’ve got instant dessert, whenever you want it!

Using “Segment Intending” to Create Your Day

When you’re feeling overwrought and overwhelmed and the day ahead just feels like one long to-do list, Abraham-Hicks’ technique of “Segment Intending” is one of the most effective approaches we’ve put into practice. Not only does it work, it can completely change the tone for your day before it’s even started.

How Segment Intending Works

Thoughts are powerful things. When you wake up in the morning and your firsts thought is, “There’s no way I’m going to make it through this day,” how does it make you feel? Miserable, right?

If instead you wake up and choose to think:

“OK, I’m gonna give this my best shot…”

Then you put on some music, grab a favorite outfit and pack yourself a really nice lunch. While you do this, you imagine how great it’s going to feel later that night when you curl up on the couch with a blanket and a movie—maybe with someone you love—and suddenly life starts feel a little sunnier. In Law of Attraction speak, this is called “prepaving your vibrational path.” By projecting a positive vision of the day ahead, you automatically activate a different thought pattern, which results in a experience that you would have had otherwise.

To Use Segment Intending:

  1. Before beginning your day, take 23 minutes to imagine how you would like the day to go. Picture how things will go from the moment you wake up: imagine getting ready for work (or whatever/wherever it is that you need to do/go); see yourself getting ready on time, wearing something that feels good, and eating something for breakfast that will give you the energy to face your day.
  2. Next, break your day up into segments. While you’re getting for work, you realized that the backache you were feeling the night before has suddenly disappeared. Your commute goes smoothly without traffic or complications, you walk into the office and everyone is in a good mood, the meeting that you were dreading is actually fun (or maybe even canceled!), and you eat the lunch you prepared while relaxing in a sunny spot somewhere that you enjoy. Imagine the whole day, from start to finish, as though it’s a movie of your day.
  3. Before each individual “segment,” take 2 minutes to imagine how you want that period of time to go. If you’re expecting a tough phone call, envision the best possible outcome: the person you’re talking to is in a good mood, you’re calm and say all the right things, the call goes quickly and results in something better than you’d expected, and you feel confident and good at your job.
  4. Throughout your day, continue to prepare before each segment of your day: Imagine the taxi ride to a meeting, your afternoon coffee break, the commute home, and grocery shopping…each segment moving seamlessly from one pleasant experience to the next.

By retraining your thought process to anticipate good things, you will automatically increase your “Emotional Set Point.” Like attracts like, good attracts better, and happiness and gratitude inevitably attract bliss.


Then tell us what you discovered. Did it work?

NOTE:  This post is an excerpt from Viva Institute’s online course, Live Your Bliss: Tools for Transforming Your Life. Look for announcements about upcoming courses or join our Fan Page on Facebook for updates, daily affirmations, and news about life at Viva Institute.

30 Day Green Smoothie ChallengeDesafio: 30 Dias de Suco Verde

Universo Organico and Viva Institute present the 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge! It’s free, it’s easy, and it’s going to make you feel really, really great!

What’s a Green Smoothie?

Classic Green Smoothie

A Green Smoothie is simply a blended shake  made of whole fruits and leafy greens. It’s a quick and delicious way to get all of your daily required fruits veggies down the hatch in sixty seconds. Many people drink them as a breakfast replacement because they’re packed full of vitamins and easy to pack.

The benefits of Green Smoothies include:

  • increased energy and vitality
  • improved concentration
  • weight loss
  • clearer skin
  • improved digestion
  • fewer cravings and mood swings

When we first started drinking smoothies, we weren’t raw foodists, we just wanted to do something to improve our health fast. Within weeks, we’d dropped five pounds!  Within a month, our cravings for caffeine and sugar disappeared.

How to Participate

Post a comment at the bottom of this post letting us know that you’re “in.”  Then, beginning Sunday, January 9th, replace your usual breakfast with a  green smoothie. Every few days, check back in with us for new recipes and tell us how you feel. That’s it!

What You’ll Need

  • A high powered blender or Vitamix
  • Lots of leafy greens (kale, spinach, lettuce, or watercress)
  • One to two pieces of fruit each day (bananas, apples, mangoes, papayas, melon)
  • Filtered water

Chef Tiana Rodrigues, Universo Organico

How To Make a Green Smoothie

You can make a smoothie in sixty seconds or less. Prep your greens and fruits the night before and pop them in the blender in the morning. Just be sure to blend thoroughly so that there are no chunks…it’s a smoothie! Here’s a demo to get you started, along with your first recipe.

About Us

Universo Organico is Rio de Janeiro’s premiere raw food restaurant, with two locations and an organic market in Leblon. Viva Institute provides provides seminars, online learning, one-on-one coaching, nutritional counseling and a variety of holistic individual services. We promote organic plant-based nutrition and encourage the care of the body, mind and spirit by providing opportunities for people to learn and connect in inspiring natural settings. Viva Institute provides Universo Organico’s educational programs, including raw food classes, detox programs, an online courses.

Follow us on Facebook

“Like” Viva Institute on Facebook and you’ll receive health tips, daily affirmations, updates on upcoming online courses and retreats, and find a community of other people who are hoping to change the world, one smoothie at a time!

Viva Live! Week of September 27 (B&B Shopping Expedition)

Who knew that being B&B owners could be so much work?!

For the past 6 weeks we’ve been playing the role of pseudo-construction site managers, making all kinds of decisions about tiling and painting and windows that we’d never really expected (or wanted?) to get into. But honestly, it’s been fun, because we’ve really able to put our own personal touches on the place.

Which is why last weekend we decided to take a 5-hour drive to the state of Minas Gerais to a small artisan community called Resende Costas. We were mostly interested in looking for eclectic and authentic Brazilian decorations, but we also wound up with some fan-TAS-tic porch furniture, a new hammock, four bedside tables and a hand carved queen-sized bed for the biggest guest room.

C’mon along for the ride…

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As it turns out, most of the stuff we bought came from Tiradentes, which is the gorgeous little colonial town you saw on Day Two. We were really excited to find furniture made from demolition wood, so we managed to support the local economy and be good environmentalists at the same time!

Online classes are jumping–two going at the same time right now–and we made the decision this morning to add three new courses over the next few months. I’ll include some more news about those in our next update.

Thanks for all of the Happy Anniversary wishes…we love you, too!

Viva Live! Week of September 12, 2010

It’s been awhile since we’ve done a video update. We’ve been busy with the construction of our future Bed and Breakfast, due to open in November 2010. We’ll serve organic plant-based food, all made with food grown on our farm. Here’s what’s going on, in Leigh’s words:

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There’s still time to sign up for Level One of Psychic Development for Beginners. If you’re looking for an opportunity to grow spiritually, this is a beautiful class, full of wonderful and supportive people. It’s like a happy online family. Think about joining us.

More from us soon…and lots of love to all of you out there!

Viva Live!

For an up-close-and-personal view of what we’ve working on, check out Viva Live! at the beginning of each week. This week, Leigh talks about the new online course she’s been developing, along with some exciting news about our future B&B.

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