Archive | April, 2009

Where is the Raw Food in Stockholm?

28 Apr
The hypocrite even loves curried herring

The hypocrite even loves curried herring

I love Sweden, Swedish people, Swedish design, language and, at risk of sounding like a Swedophile, I even love Swedish food, which is, let’s face it, not for everybody. Elk meatballs, reindeer pizza, curried herring, pickled herring, chilli herring, cardamom buns, schnapps – it’s an acquired taste. To me, the flavours of Swedish food always seem just like their culture; creative, uncomplicated, nourishing and distinct. Their chefs are also known for being edgy, so I was surprised not to find a single dedicated raw food bar in Stockholm. However, an hour before departure, I did find Renee Voltaire.

I hadn’t been to Stockholm for ages so this weekend when my Aussie mate Sarah and I went to see my good friend Lotta Lindblad’s art exhibition, I was in heaven, especially as my visit coincided with the first official hot (15C) and sunny day of the year. It seemed as though the entire population was out walking in Djurgarden, one of the central islands of the 20,000 the archipelago of Stockholm is based on and home to the worlds’ only National Park based in a city. It was a beautiful, natural, warm way to hunt down raw food, even it meant navigating hot dog stands and a traffic jam of prams.

img00365-20090425-15341Having researched potential raw food havens in Stockholm prior to flying, I knew there were endless vegan and vegetarian outlets (I popped into Hermitage and Ekologiskt Bageri in Gamla Stan) but I was disappointed that there weren’t any raw food bars. I did note that almost every cafe (see Waynes coffee) served vegetarian options and even if serving a salmon option, the salad was generous and very green. Raw fruit smoothies were also on offer but overall I have to admit it felt like a let-down. However all was not lost on my international raw food mission. I came across my first real, grown up, slick and superb savoury raw food brand.

Renee Voltaire is a grown up slick and fantastic Swedish raw food brand
Renee Voltaire is a grown up slick and fantastic Swedish raw food brand

I shouldn’t have been surprised. Sweden is home to some of the world’s best loved brands; Ikea, Ericsson, Volvo, Absolut, Orefors, Saab, Abba…Even Pippi Longstocking is a global phenomenon. They know how to do it and do it very well. I bought the dehydrated flax seed biscuits at 699SKR or roughly £6 from a ‘normal’ supermarket chain in Gamla Stan (Old Town), Renee had an entire end of aisle to herself and I was amazed at that alone. As far as I can tell, here in London Sainsbury’s and Tescos, there are no specific raw food products besides the obvious nuts, dried fruits and fruit and veggies. The thing that makes Renee Voltaire’s products so particularly delectable is her packaging and brand. It totally rocks and turns a boring dried fruit product into a raw food experience that I am proud to be a part of.

Sverige klippa

Advertisements

Super Raw Disease Busting Pineapple Juices

21 Apr
Pineapple makes a Super juice

Pineapple makes a Super healthy juice

One of my raw food recipe bibles is the book Super Juice by Michael Van Straten.  And since discovering the overwhelming health benefits of pineapples, which is also one of my all time favourite fruits, I had a look at their juicing ideas.  Here are the two juices I loved the most:

PEAK PERFORMER
12 grapes (black or white)
4 x unpeeled pears
2 unpeeled apples
2 slices peeled pineapple

WHY IS THIS GOOD FOR ME?
The Peak Performer is packed with potassium, pectin, vitamin C, vitamin B, calcium, cancer fighting tannins (from the grapes), and amazing bromelain and it tastes yum.

CUCUMBER SOOTHER
3 x carrots
2 sticks celery plus leaves
1 x small pineapple
6 fresh leaves sage
2/3 cucumber

WHY IS THIS JUICE GOOD FOR ME?
It is high in beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin C and folic acid, the amazing bromelain as well as the little heard of thujone, an essential and healing oil found in Sage.

One more thing – according to various sources eating raw and ripe pineapple is also meant to be an excellent natural cure for tonsilitis.

Raw Pineapple Salsa Recipe

21 Apr

Try this quick recipe for a delicious and summery salsa that also happens to be a cure for cancer and indigestion!

Looks like a pineapple salsa but it's a really cure for cancer!

Looks like a pineapple salsa but it's really a cure for cancer!

THE INGREDIENTS
1 x raw soft and ripe pineapple chopped into small squares
1/2 cup red onion – finely chopped
1 x finely chopped red pepper (capsicum)
1/2 cup of chopped mint leaves
1/2 cup of chopped coriander
Juice of a lime
1 x tspn of apple cider vinegar

HOW TO MAKE IT
Add ingredients and toss roughly. Let it sit for an hour or so to make sure it’s as juicy as can be. Serve.

Pineapple Compound Treats Cancer, Inflammation and Poor Digestion

19 Apr

 

cure for everything except lack of willpower

A cure for everything except lack of willpower

Who would have thought it would be the totally tackaramma symbol of tropicana utopia to provide the cure to just about every ailment there is from cancer to indigestion and sinisitus?  I love any research that delivers overwhelming evidence about how one raw fruit or vege can cure just about anything but I would never have bet on a pineapple to be it.

This article from Natural News about the seemingly endless benefits of pineapples is based on research recently presented by the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research.

From NaturalNews:  Nothing brings up the images of summer breezes and relaxation like pineapple, the sweet juicy treat from the tropics. While thoughts of fun in the sun ease the mind, eating pineapple can greatly ease the body. Bromelain, the key enzyme in pineapple, banishes inflammation as effectively as drugs. It reduces swelling, helps against sore throat, treats arthritis and gout, and speeds digestion of proteins. New research is even showing pineapple to be highly effective at cancer prevention and treatment.

Bromelain keeps cancers from getting started and shrinks tumors. Read the rest of the article here.

Brief history of the raw chocolate revolution

15 Apr
The first raw chocolate bar in the UK - clearly packaged with male consumers in mind

The first raw chocolate bar in the UK - clearly packaged with male consumers in mind

While cacao has been around in Mayan and Aztec cultures since time began (200BC), it was only ever consumed in its cooked form, often as a hot drink given to armies on their way to war.   

The key ingredients of raw chocolate are raw cacao butter and/or cacao powder.  Both are produced through a compression process, apparently only invented in Ecuador a few years ago.  It’s this revolutionary process that ensures the integrity of the vital nutrients is kept intact until they enter our hungry digestive systems.

As you may have seen on Willy’s Wonky Chocolate Factory, the cacao that usually goes into our ‘normal’ chocolate is put through a heating process, killing off some of the vital and beneficial nutrients we desperately need in our hectic lives. While Willy’s chocolate is absolutely delicous too, raw chocolate has many healthy and nutritious bonuses as well as completely satisfying flavour.

Amongst other raw food pioneers, the rather dubiously named Shazzie’s Naked Chocolate brand claims to have produced the UK’s first ever raw chocolate bar in 2003. Before that great day, we raw food types lived with the best that carob could deliver, which, to be frank, wasn’t much to talk to about. 

If cacao in its cooked form is considered a nutritious boost for big tough soldiers on their way to conquer civilisations towards world domination, I wonder what they’d do with raw chocolate.

Viva La Revolucion

Raw Cacao Top Ten Bliss Benefits

15 Apr
raw cacao nibs

raw cacao nibs

According to my raw chocolate guru, Kate Magic, ‘we are defined as either healthy do-gooders or live-hard-die-young types and raw cacao is the bridge between the two.’ Sounds good doesn’t it?

 And to prove it – Kate gives this list of benefits:

1. Raw cacao is known as a ‘grounded’ food because it contains so many minerals from zinc, calcium, phosphorous, copper…and it is therefore thought to be spiritually ‘grounding’;
2. It’s an aphrodisiac because amongst other things, it contains anandamide, often described as an euphoric substance;
3. It’s high in essential feel good neurotransmitters such as seratonin;
4. It carries PEA (phenylethylamine) also known as the ‘molecule of joy’.  While this super molecule exists naturally in the brain, the only other food that contains PEA is blue green algae;

raw cacao butter
raw cacao butter

5. It’s also considered a natural appetite suppressant on the basis that it apparently helps the body ‘tune into its natural appetite’;
6. There are two cannibinoids in the world. One is racked with downers, paranoia, appetite increase and bad publicity and the other isn’t;
7. It’s the best source of sulphur there is, which is, by the way, also known as the beauty mineral;
8. It’s a rich source of magnesium, which is great for keeping anxieties and hormones at bay;
9. It’s extremely high in antioxidants – according to the US ORAC scale – seven times that of normal chocolate;
10. It tastes delicious.

As Kate continued; ‘Everyone is addicted to something so just choose your addictions wisely. Mine are my children, green juices, raw chocolate and yoga.’

So – raw cacao gives the high of cannabis without any of the lows, it carries something called the molecule of joy, it has the beauty mineral in it, it’s an aphrodisiac and an appetite suppressant. See you later – I’m off to Venezuala.

You can buy raw cacao in its various forms from Rob at Funky Raw or from Kate at Raw Living.

Happy Raw Chocolate Easter with Kate Magic

13 Apr

I’m sure some London-born children must think that, like Parsley, chocolate eggs sprout up from the ground from late Feb to late April. It’s damned well everywhere at Easter time and my willpower can only take so much. So – to help me deal with my chocolate addiction, my nutritionist pal and fellow chocoholic invited me along to the Camden meeting of CFEA (Cooked Food Eaters Anonoymous).

Kate - this is an old pic - she looks ten years younger these days

Kate - this is an old pic - she looks ten years younger these days

OK – there is no such thing as CFEA and it wasn’t really a CFEA addiction meeting. Even though it felt very self-helpish, it was a raw chocolate lecture by Kate Magic, a raw chocolate pioneer, author and guru, mother and raw foody foody for some 16 years! And Kate delivers on her name. She is magical. If she told me she was 172 years old, I would have believed her. She is youthful, glowing and clear eyed with a magnetic, happy energy. And she is for real. Kate’s pink-dyed hair and wholesome, some would say hippy get up, only momentarily distracts from her obvious focussed discipline and ambitious vision for her raw food business called Raw Living.

Kate describes herself and her business partners as ‘long-term, raw futurefood pioneers’.This is a superb description for the ‘raw food movement’, which is fast moving beyond a trend and into the mainstream. Her online shop sells the concept of living raw, alongside the equipment to live the raw life hands on, and a wide range of raw foods; delicious chocolate bars, something scary called high vibrational food, books, DVD’s, natural sweeteners (not sugar) and a range of raw cakes. Either Kate had her publicist planted in the audience or one excited lady could not stop raving about the cakes because they are so good. I’m about to order one.

An important part of the business being these lectures that spread the word and certainly give comfort to those of us who stick to the hypocritical cooked side of life. The topic of tonight’s lecture was ‘raw cacao’, but Kate’s extensive knowledge and experience of living a rewarding raw food life spilled over, almost taking up half the talk. Her advice makes so much sense.

As Kate said; ‘Raw food is a journey. It’s not about going 100% raw, it’s much more helpful to have some basic guidelines and nurture your cravings.’ But Kate, (wishing I asked this at the time) what if your cravings are for a roast pork sandwich?

Besides a tonne of insight about raw cacao (in my next post) – I took three things away with me:

1. The more enzymes in your system – the younger you’ll look. And raw fruit and vegetables are packed with valuable youth promoting enzymes…I like this. A lot.
2. The five most addictive foods are rice, corn, potatoes, wheat and soya. That’s almost my entire diet on a bad day.  I’ll be looking into why all my favourite food groups are no-nos.
3. 1 x Hi-Buzz Bar. This was a delicious raw chocolate bar loaded with bee pollen, and of course, raw cacao.

You can buy Kate’s books from here and her Hi-Buzz bar from here.

Go wild raw green salad

8 Apr
Lots of strong flavours in a wild raw green salad

Lots of strong flavours in a wild raw green salad

Having ethically pilfered numerous samples of wild greens on the wild green walk in Eco Park on Saturday, I made this delicious wild raw green salad.

 

The ingredients
3 x wild garlic leaves
1 x large dandelion leaf
A fistful of chopped wild leek leaves
A fistful of wild hawthorn
A fistful of spinach leaves
1 dash of extra virgin olive oil
4 x halved cherry toms
1 x big julienned carrot (not wild)

How to make it
Wash the ingredients thoroughly and chop roughly.  Throw everything into a bowl with olive oil.  The garlic and leek leaves have very strong flavours and likewise the dandelion is quite bitter, hence the spinach and carrot sort of calms it all down.  I also succumbed and added the juice of half a lime to take away my worry of eating a pile of what looked like freshly mown grass.

Walk on the wild raw green side

4 Apr

A few years ago I considered vegetarianism extreme, veganism crazy and I hadn’t even heard of a raw food diet.  And now – as a fully convinced yet try-hard raw foodist – the bar has again been raised.  Today I was guided on a walk through Stave Hill Ecological Park in the centre of metropolis London by ‘wild raw’ foodist, Rob from Funky Raw.  

Rob from Funky Raw and some edible thistle

Funky Raw Rob and edible thistle

‘There’s no way I can go back. If I eat a cooked meal – the next day, I know it – cooked food is not for me,’ said Rob, who hasn’t been sick for the seven years he has been raw. Rob runs Funky Raw, an online raw food shop, publishes Raw magazine and is no less than a raw food guru who very generously allowed eight of us into his secret world of wild raw greens.

 

Walking from Canada Water tube towards the Eco Park, Rob explained that this is the first raw wild walk of the year. ‘Last winter there were wild greens everywhere but this winter these’s been almost none. But in the last three weeks, it’s all blossomed.’

 

And wow! Blossoming it is indeed. Less than a metre into the park, we were chewing delicious hawthorn, a few steps later I ate the bitter and natural diuretic dandelion leaf (‘piss de lit’ in French), followed by a ‘slice’ of dock. Rob was hesitant to point out the nettles, but lost the battle considering that was the only plant we all recognised. A few brave team members closely followed his instructions, rolled up the nettle leaf and popped it in their mouths! I have to admit I was curious to see what would happen to someone’s tongue if they were stung half chew, but am also glad to report that my perverse curiosity was not satisfied.

 

Rob also gave us a strict health warning. ‘Some plants are poisonous, and because flowers are similar across plants, you mustn’t use them as the only identification.’ He told us that hemlock can kill and for the above reason, he doesn’t go near wild carrot or wild parsley as the leaves are fairly alike.

 

Because wild greens grow when they grow best and where they grow best, their nutrients are maximised. That means they are a super-rich and natural source of essential proteins and vitamins as well as enzymes and invaluable chlorophyll.  The two hour walk was a raw food adventure that has completely changed my narrow, superficial and commercial view of greens.  As much as I love lettuce and spinach, I can’t believe that’s been the limit of my leafy green experience until now. 

Here are some the wild raw greens we came across in the centre of London today:

make a nettle smoothy

make a nettle smoothy

I'm hooked on wild garlic

I'm hooked on wild garlic

Diuretic detox dandelion

Diuretic detox dandelion

wild leek rocks

wild leek rocks

 

 

 

 

 

 


Edible thistle – a slightly bitter taste, but delicious and as with dandelion and milk thistle – good for the liver.
Dandelion is a well known diuretic and liver tonic.  The flower heads and leaves are great in salads and the leaves make a great tea.

Wild leek is amazing and delicious. Looking a bit like out-of-control grass, it is a definite must in my future vegetable patch.

Wild Garlic – these leaves were stunningly garlicky flavoured. I am hooked.

Nettles – great steeped to make tea, juiced or added to smoothies.

 

We also saw and ate chick weed, green alkanet, mallow, plantain, which is good for de-toxing heavy metals, and sweet violet.  My salads will be a whole lot more interesting from now on. Although Rob reiterated one important rule of ‘harvesting’ wild greens; ‘If you see a plant and pick it, only pick a little and move on to make sure that particular plant will continue to thrive.’

 

Rob isn’t sure if he will be doing more of these walks but I suggest you keep an eye on the events section of his website www.funkyraw.com.

The Raw Chocolate Bar that Beats Lindt chocolate balls

2 Apr

I love chocolate, not as much as my Dad, sister, sister in law and friend Linda, but enough to make it a problem. I love it in any form but I particularly hanker for Lindt chocolate balls, which I wish with all my heart and soul, were raw.

Raw chocolate that leaves Lindt balls for dust

Raw chocolate leaves Lindt balls for dust

In my search for raw chocolate nirvana, I tried various ideas, some that worked and some that really truely didn’t.  I tried carob in its many forms, mixed raw cacao nibs with goji berries and avocado and I’ve added black strap molasses to coconut oil and dates. Most of my attempts were catagorical disasters that may have, when looking from a certain angle, in certain light, with a squint, only ever reached ‘same-colour-as-chocolate’ status. 

But now I can cease my search, give my kitchen bench a break and move on because I’ve found Twilight at my local Planet Organic.  It is a 44g chocolate bar described on the packaging as ‘creamy, sweet and lush with a touch of a rush’. It’s true.  In this particular bar, the ingredients are listed as virgin cacao butter, mulberries, cacao nibs, algarroba (American carob), and sea salt.  Every ingredient is raw, no sugar is added and all are super-good for you because they’re packed with nutrients and anti-oxidants.  And even better, the chocolate bars are made in Sussex (although the cacao is from Sth America). Lindt balls are officially out and Twilight bars are in.

Even though this sounds like a big boring ad – I should reiterate that it isn’t and I have no idea who these people are.  It’s just really astoundingly yummy and I do urge you to go to The Raw Chocolate Company’s website to order your truckload.