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Raw pesto pasta – german style

24 Jan

Raw pesto pasta thanks to Spiralschneider

Winter is never an easy time to be raw and as you can imagine, my inner-hypocrite has been dominating my food choices heading me towards anything warm and cooked with a particular leaning to pastas.  I wish this wasn’t the case for the sake of my thighs – but until I met my new RBF (raw best friend) last night – I’m sorry to say it just has been.

Otherwise known as a spiral slicer, my German Spiralschneider has expanded my raw repertoire into a delicious new dimension of raw pastas galore.  My first foray last night was raw pesto zucchini (courgette) pasta.

First I made a traditional raw pesto using a recipe from an earlier blog post here.

TRADITIONAL RAW PESTO
1 big bunch of fresh Italian basil
3 generous dollops of olive oil
1 cup of pine nuts
Sea salt for seasoning
½ garlic clove (or less – it will be very strong)

Then I spiralled the zucchini and mixed in the pesto. It was so yummy, easy and filling, my raw dinners have a new lease of life.

Raw zucchini pasta one night - raw carrot pasta the next

As it says on the back of the box, ‘with the spiral slicer you can conjure up endless Julienne strips of carrot, radish, cucumber and all kinds of other vegetables.’  Spiralisers are usually about £120 so at £19.99, it is an accessible life changing piece of equipment and you can get yours here.

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Try raw key lime pie for a natural high

18 Dec

This pic doesn't do it justice but Inspiral Cafe's raw key lime pie is an inspiration

The other day I popped into Planet Organic for some supplies and being peckish as usual, I couldn’t help but grab a ‘healthy treat’; a ‘visionary raw key lime pie’ from the range created by Inspiral Cafe, a vegan restaurant in the thick of Camden, London.

Well!!  This was more than a treat it was a decadent, lustful, slobbering one way ticket to happiness and best of all – it was 100% raw, full of nutrients and therefore packed with only natural highs.

The ingredients list is simple; avocado, lime zest and juice, cold pressed coconut butter, raw agave nectar, dessicated coconut, raw cashew nuts, vanilla extract, and fresh ginger.

It’s raw, dairy free, gluten free, soya free, low gi, vegan, organic, eco packaged and could quite possibly increase your spiritual awareness.

I’m so excited to see more raw food brands popping up that do such a great job at turning the perception that raw food has to taste like sawdust.  Try it – you wont believe your luck!

Coconut water saves lives and prevents wrinkles

29 Jun
young coconut juice is a miracle wrinkle cure that works from the inside

young coconut juice is a miracle wrinkle cure that works from the inside

One natural product that I have totally embraced in my everyday life is coconut water.  There are countless benefits but I really notice the difference in my skin, which feels much better hydrated and therefore a little less crinkly wrinkly… One of the reasons for this effect is that coconut water has the same balance of electrolytes as human blood.

It’s a natural isotonic beverage with the same level of electrolytic balance as we have in our blood. It’s the fluid of life, so to speak,” says Mr. Morton Satin, Chief of FAO’s Agricultural Industries and Post Harvest Management Service.

The clear fluid found in young, green coconuts not only satisfies your immediate thirst, but it also ensures that the water you drink from then on is properly absorbed into and carried around your system so that your body is adequately hydrated ALL over.  Coconut water is so effective because of this quality that soldiers based in the Pacific during the Second World War often used it in place of blood plasma in transfusions.  Even today in many third world countries, it is used as an intravenous fluid where medical saline is unavailable. 

With a very high level of electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium, it’s a natural isotonic that re-hydrates your body just like a sports drink without the e-numbers, sugars and chemicals.  Hence I particularly thirst for it after Bikram yoga.

“Coconut water is the very stuff of nature, biologically pure, full of natural sugars, salts, and vitamins to ward off fatigue… and is the next wave of energy drinks BUT natural!”, according to Mortin Satin, Chief of the United Nation’s Food & Agriculture Organization.

According to the Coconut Board (yes there is such a thing!) – there are these 16 benefits:

1. Good for feeding infants suffering from intestinal disturbances. 
2. Oral rehydration medium
3. Contains organic compounds possessing growth promoting properties
4. Keeps the body cool
5. Application on the body prevents prickly heat and summer boils and subsides the rashes caused by small pox, chicken pox, measles, etc.
6. Kills intestinal worms
7. Presence of saline and albumen makes it a good drink in cholera cases
8. Checks urinary infections
9. Excellent tonic for the old and sick
10. Cures malnourishment
11. Diuretic
12. Effective in the treatment of kidney and urethral stones
13. Can be injected intravenously in emergency cases
14. Found as blood plasma substitute because it is sterile, does not produce heat, does not destroy red blood cells and is readily accepted by the body
15. Aids the quick absorption of the drugs and makes their peak concentration in the blood easier by its electrolytic effect
16. Urinary antiseptic and eliminates poisons in case of mineral poisoning.

a delicious clear liquid life saver

a delicious clear liquid life saver

Coconut water is also anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-microbial. The lauric acid (also found in human mother’s milk) in coconuts is also used to heal our digestive systems and it’s a great alkaliser if your diet is very acidic. According to ayurvedics, coconut water helps prevent intestinal gas, aids in removing toxins and increases the digestive tract’s ability to absorb nutrients.  Ayurvedic practitioners also believe that coconut water can increase the production of semen in men and restores emotional stability in menopausal woman.

The main thing is that it tastes really, really yummy and in Summer, when it’s well chilled, it’s particularly delicious. I buy Vitacoco from Wholefoods, Rubicon from Bengal City in Brick Lane, but ideally, like to get it fresh, direct from the coconut, from the Rastifarian coconut man at Spitalfields or Portobello Rd markets.

Correction: Nakd bars aren’t completely naked

26 May

My friend and raw food guru, Rob from Funky Raw, has very kindly informed me that Nakd bars are not raw.  Firstly – I feel duped but secondly – I am so sorry to lead you astray. 

However it does highlight the point that perhaps there are some people jumping on the raw bandwagon without the pure raw credientials.  It is important that raw food is not only ‘not cooked’ but that ALL the ingredients are also absolutely raw.  Being ‘raw’ means that all those lovely nutrients are intact.  If something is cooked- we’re missing out. I can’t judge too harshly as I am a total hypocrite, but at least I’m honest about that…

I double checked the wording on the Nakd website and this is what they write:
‘nākd bars are a 100% natural wholefood bar – a delicious blend of unsweetened fruit, rolled oats, nuts and spices. Unlike most bars, nākd bars contain no artificial ingredients of any kind, no-added sugar and are made raw, never cooked. In fact, if they were any more natural, you’d have to peel ‘em.’

Reading that you could conclude that they are completely raw as I did.  Mmmm.  It also doesn’t change the fact they are delicious and are relatively very, very healthy. So – I recommend giving them a try but not if you are trying to be 100% raw.

You can read Rob’s full article and blog here.

It’s better to eat Nakd

25 May
My first Nakd all raw fruit bar

My first Nakd all raw fruit bar

Raw food is taking off beyond my kitchen and the proof is in the ever increasing range of raw products in my local Planet Organic. Last week I discovered Nakd bars, a raw fruit and nut bar company made right here in the UK, in Wales.

As you will have noticed, I love to travel but struggle to stay raw when I do it, so a raw food snack bar is absolutely brilliant for me. Especially if it also tastes great. These yummy nakd bars are packed with dates, oats, apples, peanuts, apple juice, walnuts and almonds and have no added artificial ingredients whatsoever. They also come in four flavours; Apple Pie, Cocoa Loco, Banana Bread, and Berry Cheeky. And there’s no wheat, sugar, soya, chemical syrups, or salt in any of them.

Nakd tells us there are these benefits to eating nakd:

1. Rich in phytonutrients from raw plant foods to promote  a healthy immune system and body function;
2. Natural source of essential vitamins and minerals like B-vitamins, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron to help provide energy, support a strong immune system, strengthen bones, and combat stress and ageing;
3. High fibre to help balance blood sugar levels, control  appetite and aid digestion; and
4. Plant-source protein to help maintain muscle, support metabolism, balance blood sugar, and control appetite.

My apple pie flavoured bar was totally satisfying and a handy snack on the six hour drive to the Welsh Brecons on Bank holiday and a much need brain booster to absorb Pulitzer prize winning Doris Kearns Goodwin’s discussion on The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln at The Hay Festival when we finally arrived.

You can order them direct from here.

Conscious Bars are a Raw Chocolate Treat Deluxe Supreme

1 May
Conscious chocolate bars wrapped in conscious recycled paper

Incredibly amazingly superlatively delicious Conscious Chocolate bars

Okay – I know I said I would stop writing about raw chocolate but I can’t help it. I’ve just had a bar of Conscious Chocolate called Love Potion Number 9. It’s amazing. It’s so amazing it’s beyond amazing and I’ll say that it could even be beyond ‘beyond amazing’. Actually, I’m holding back, it is so good it is nothing short of a culinary epiphany. Sorry –I know I might be going a little bit over the top about this chocolate bar (as I was over the others) but really and truely this is the best. I promise. And yes Vivian, you were right!

The raw ingredients in the few tiny crumbs of chocolate left on my lap are cacao butter, cacao powder, agave nectar, carob, coconut butter, spices, Himalayan salt, maca and essential oil of Otto rose. It’s also sugar free (even good for diabetics), pesticide free, gluten free, raw, vegan, handmade and wrapped in lovely recycled paper.

Based in Kent, Conscious Chocolate was founded in 2006 by vegan chef, Iyengar yoga teacher and chocolatier Emma Jackman for small scale distribution of their 40g chocolate bars only. Only a couple of years later Emma’s stunningly clever and delicious choccie bars are now, unsurprisingly, stocked in more than 50 outlets across the UK, including my local Planet Organic and Wholefoods. And best of all there are several delicious varieties:

Sunny Easter Feast
Yummy Mummy
Berry Christmas
Fruit Fantasy
Chocha Mocha Magic
Nicely Nutty
Best Ever Plain Chocolate
Best Ever Fiery Hazelnut
Best Ever Spiced Up
Fruity Goji and Coconut Delight
Love Potion No. 9
Love Your Heart Superfood
Best Ever Hint of Mint
Best Ever Citrus Zest
Best Ever Chilli Hot
Best Ever Essential Orange.

a truely life enhancing chunk of raw cacao

a truely life enhancing chunk of raw cacao

I don’t think I need to preach the benefits of raw cacao to you once again but in case you forgot or missed my post about it – it’s basically an aphrodisiac, serotonin booster, appetite suppressant, a cannibanoid without any side effects, and it’s rich in anti-oxidants, magnesium, zinc, calcium, phosphorus and sulphur (the beauty mineral).

I’m officially addicted and have the long list above to get through.

You can buy it right here.

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.

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.