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Deliciouso Italiano raw linseed crackers

20 Oct

Italian raw crackers and smashed avo…the perfect raw emergency desk lunch

If you’re anything like me, you’ll more often than not be chained to your desk over lunchtime – making it unnecessarily ambitious to eat well.  If I’m in a hurry and short of green leaves, I usually grab the emergency oat crackers from my drawer and smash some  on some avo with a splash of lemon juice. In the spirit of pursuing rawdom – I decided to explore raw cracker production with my beloved dehydrator.

The raw ingredients
1 cup of raw linseeds
1.5 cups of water (I used filtered but that’s another story)
Dash of salt
Tablespoon (or more) of oregano (but also think basil, wasabi powder, chilli…it’s endless)

Linseeds crackers on the way – thick layer – predehydration

 The recipe
Soak the linseeds in the water and salt overnight until they’re nicely swollen and plump. Add the oregano (or other flavourings) and spread thickly on a dehydrator mat (or oven tray if using the oven). Dehydrate on 45 deg C for 16 hours  – and there you have it – raw Italian crackers.

For the record:

Linseeds are a product close to my Australian heart and heritage. Roughly some time in the 30’s, my great Grandfather established a company called Meggitt Linseed Oil, which fed highly nutritious omega oils to various livestock throughout Australia until more sophisticated mass produced feeding systems were introduced.  Meggitt Linseed Oil also oiled the nation’s cricket bats…

Getting back to the facts – described by the Guardian newspaper as power houses of nutrition, linseeds are very low in cholesterol and sodium but rich in magnesium, phosphorus and copper, as well as providing an excellent source of dietary fiber, thiamin and manganese. Also according to Vital Health Zonelinseed seeds contain many beneficial nutrients, such as protein and minerals and omega-3 fatty acids in the form of lignans. Lignans are phytoestrogens, which have a positive hormone-like action in the body. Lignans have very strong antioxidant properties as well as strong anti-cancer properties. Various studies have shown that phytoestrogens can possibly prevent some types of cancer, including oestrogen-dependent breast cancer, as well as colon and prostate cancer.

Every day I add a tablespoon of linseeds to my raw porridge soaking them in coconut water beforehand…but from now on I’ll also be smashing my avo on my raw crackers…

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A raw beetroot salad recipe to prevent cancer and regenerate your liver

11 Sep

Raw beetroot salad with raw tahini dressing. It's addictive.

Beetroots are in season here in autumnal UK and seeing them in abundance at the markets and even in the aisles Tesco, makes my heart sing and liver jump for joy.  Sharing the top spot of my favourite vege with broccoli, beetroot is not only delicious but it also happens to be exceptionally good for you with scientific evidence that it regenerates the liver and prevents cancer.  

The Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Howard University, Washington, DC is quoted on alternative-cancer-care.com as saying: ‘Our previous studies identified the extract of Beta vulgaris (beetroot), commercially also known as betanin, as a potent cancer chemopreventive agent. An in vivo anti-tumor promoting activity evaluation against the mice skin and lung bioassays revealed a significant tumor inhibitory effect. The combined findings suggest that beetroot ingestion can be one of the useful means to prevent cancer.’

PSC Trust says that, ‘Beetroot is probably the single most important liver food. The red pigment (called anthocyanin) and beetroot enzymes (called peroxidases) help to re-energise tired cells – especially liver cells. The liver is the major organ of detoxification, working to filter and detoxify the debris and toxins which accumulate in the body. Beetroot juice also contains large quantities of betaine and choline (which assist fat metabolism), with silicic acids, trace minerals, potassium, magnesium and the B-vitamins, Vitamin B6, B12 and folate.’ 

INGREDIENTS

1 large beetroot
rocket leaves
1green apple or a pear
7 walnuts
1 tbsp tahini paste
good dash apple cider vinegar
olive oil

RECIPE (for one)

Grate your beetroot (carefully) and finely slice your green apple or pear. Throw in a salad bowl and mix in rocket leaves and walnuts.

To make the dressing- stir the tahini, apple cider vinegar and olive oil together until saucy.  I usually need to add some water to make it runnier…

And eat up…

PREPARATION NOTE: If a CSI unit popped into my kitchen right now – their first pre-forensic thought would be that a massacre had taken place. Somehow when I grated just a single beetroot, my kitchen is now a crime scene and with beetroot bloodied hands, I am the chief suspect.  I’m sure when you make it – it won’t be such a domestic disaster…

Wheatgrass: the miracle juice

24 Oct

 

Doesn't taste great but the benefits are endless

I wish I could say I was a fan of the taste of wheatgrass but I’m not.  Somehow it just does not go down well with my body and frankly, makes me gag.  But – I am a fan of what it does.  I drink it as often as I can, because according to my research and the boost I feel when I have a shot – it is a miracle juice.  As my favourite Borough market wheatgrass ‘dealer’ says, ‘there’s three days worth of green leafy vegetables in one shot’.

There’s a tonne of info on the internet about wheatgrass but the other day I came across The Wheatgrass Book by Ann Wigmore.  Ann and her husband are founders of the controversial Hippocrates Institute that provides a rigorous psychological and nutritional process with a wheatgrass fast at its core designed to support the body in its fight against such diseases as cancer. While modern medicine will refute their claims, I have heard them speak and the logic is, at least to me, irrefutable. 

While wheatgrass contains at least 13 vitamins including B12, many minerals and trace elements, including selenium, and all 20 amino acids, the number one benefit is the supply of chlorophyll.  As you might remember from biology classes and as Ann explains on her website, cancertutor.com, chlorophyll has almost the same molecular structure as human hemoglobin and works to increase hemoglobin production, meaning more oxygen gets to the whole body.  Chlorophyll is also a protein compound found in green leaves and grasses that converts the sun’s energy into the energy that helps a plant grow. While our bodies store energy, plants get theirs directly from the sun.  Ie by consuming chlorophyll in leafy plants that enables roots of trees to push through the earth, we humans can directly benefit from what Ann describes as a life-force.

The other essential vitamins and minerals include;

A for eyesight and reproduction
B helps use up carbs for energy and aids our nervous system
E protects the heart
Calcium is good for bones
Sodium aids digestion and water balance
Potassium tones muscle and firms skin
Zinc supports hair growth and synthesis of protein
Iron is essential for blood formation
Selenium is a mood balancer and an immunity builder
Magnesium is for muscle function and helps draw fat from the liver 

The long list of amino acids (AKA protein) includes:
Lysine for immune support
Leucine to keep us alert
Tryptophane to calm the nerves and build rich blood
Phenylalnine helps the thyroid do its job to calm our nerves
And many more

So where is the evidence that wheatgrass is really any good for you?

Ann provides it in abundance. However I should remind you that I am not a qualified scientist or nutritionist and cannot verify any of the studies, but I am sure the internet can if you’re interested. So here’s some of it:

Dr Chiu-Lan at University of Texas showed that wheatgrass as an anti-mutagenic effect and has the ability to fight tumours.

Japanese scientists working alongside Yosihide Hagiwara M.D. found that enzymes and amino acids in young grass plants neutralise the toxicity of nitrogen in exhaust fumes and deactivate the carcinogenic effects of 3.4 benzyprene, a substance found in smoked fish and charcoaled meats.

Dr Arthur Robinson, co-founder of Linus Pauling Institute says that wheatgrass juice makes blood vessels bigger so that blood flows more easily.  This results in increased nutrition to our body’s cells and more efficient removal of waste.

Otto Warburg M.D. a German biochemist won the Nobel prize because of his work in cancer research.  His studies show that cancer thrives in an oxygen-poor environment supporting his view that cancer is not a virus, but a process of cell mutation caused by oxygen deprivation.

Smoking, meat, air pollution, high fat and sugar intake and lack of exercise starve the body of oxygen. Fresh green juices such as wheatgrass, raw leafy greens, living sprouts and deep breathing increase oxygen in our bodies.  We get chlorophyll from these living leafy plants.  Chlorophyll is practically liquid oxygen. Oxygen keeps you alkaline and disease-free. What are you waiting for?

I buy mine fresh at Crush or Planet Organic. To buy it frozen – try naturallygreen.co.uk, and in tablet form -try wheat-grassuk.com.

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.

Cinnamon has antioxidant superpowers

21 Jun
Who knew that cinnamon can lower your cholesterol and prevent diabetes

Who knew that cinnamon can lower your cholesterol and prevent diabetes

I absolutely love cinnamon, so when I found this article about its amazing superpowers I obviously just had to tell you about it.  But firstly – what exactly is it?

Cinnamon is the rolled, pressed and dried up inner bark from Cassia trees, which are native to Sri Lanka but cultivated in South America, Vietnam, India, Madagascar and Egypt. The superpower benefits of cinnamon might be news to me but cinnamon and cinnamon extract have been popular ‘medicines’ for thousands of years. 

Sought after and used by ancient civilisations, including the Chinese and the Egyptians, cinnamon was listed as one of the 350 ‘medicinal plants’ by Hippocrates.  According to the book, New Healing Herbs by Michael Castleman, cinnamon is commonly used as treatment for nausea and indigestion and also has antibiotic qualities.  But those benefits are old news.  This article below is written by Joyce Schneider, a health writer from New York, whom I follow on Twitter. 

Cinnamon has 5 times as many antioxidants as ½ cup of bluberries or a cup of pomegranate juice. 

Some of our best medicines are in our kitchen cabinet, not the bathroom cabinet. Recent, surprising studies show that some herbs and spices are antioxidant powerhouses — and that cinnamon is the second highest. (Cloves are the first, but are harder to work into our daily diet).

Here is a list of the top ten antioxidant spices. All these substances have something wonderful in common: their shared anti-inflammatory power is commonly described as helping arthritis sufferers and people with other types of pain. But the bigger picture of antioxidants’ anti-inflammatory power is their ability to reduce inflammation of the inner lining of the arteries and neutralize LDL (bad cholesterol)’s ability to deposit cholesterol, thus preventing atherosclerosis.  

You can read the rest of the article here.

Revolution in Thailand: the green smoothy kind

9 Jun
Jennifer Thompson green smoothy guru

Jennifer Thompson green smoothy guru

On the night before I began my fast here on Koh Samui, Thailand, I was lucky enough to bump into ‘my’ iridologist, and raw foodist, crystal healer and friend Jennifer Thompson. And as luck would have it she invited me to a free green smoothy talk she was giving that evening. Of course I accepted her very kind invitation and me and my fuchsia sunburn trundled along to her lovely beach hut to have my raw life revolutionised.

The first thing you notice about Jennifer is that she glows.  A problem if you come from Chernobyl but in this case it’s a very good thing.  She is gorgeous, vibrant and energetic and lives a raw food life in a way that I don’t think would ever fit with my hectic London schedule and weak willpower.

Six of us sit around a low table groaning with a giant pile of green leaves, exotic fruit and bananas and of course, a blender.  Nothing fancy, it’s just a slightly battered well loved, plastic blender I’ve seen in Sainsbury’s for a tenner.

First off we define what a green smoothy is.  Jennifer tells us; ‘it is not a naughty treat, it’s a healthy meal in itself.  Green as in green leaves are the only thing in nature that the sun turns into edible energy and blending them helps break them down and open up the nutrients to our bodies. ’ She also told us that ‘green leaves are not a carbohydrate like vegetables or fruit and they provide lots of essential minerals and proteins normally associated with meats.   They are a category of their own.’ 

Jennifer continued and rapidly fired off the benefits of green smoothies. Here are the top seven I managed to remember:

1. it’s an EASY way to get your nutrients (iron, calcium, magnesium, Vits K, C, E, B) for the day;
‘A smoothy is a perfect way to eat greens because we need such a big volume of them that we couldn’t get in a salad. You just add the green leaves to a fruit base such as apples, pears, bananas, berries, whatever and blend.’

2. it’s a QUICK way to get all your nutrients for the day;
‘We’re all too busy to chew.’

3.  You’ll have LOTS OF ENERGY;
‘When you start drinking green smoothies you’ll notice you’ll have a lot more energy because it is energy coming directly from the sun.’

4. It’s CHEAP;
‘Instead of coming all the to Thailand you can a three day or two week  (or whatever) green smoothy diet and fast every month.’

5. GREAT FOR BABIES;
‘Green smoothies are a great transitional food for babies because they’re delicious and easy to swallow.’

6. it’s a HEALING food; and
‘Your body can’t heal itself without the tools.  The tools are the nutrients.’

7. STOP CRAVINGS.
‘Underneath every addiction, is your body craving for nutrients.’

The one major yet superficial benefit of green smoothies that Jennifer didn’t really go into, is that you’ll lose weight.  Once you stop succumbing to the cravings, your body has the nutrients it needs to heal itself and because it will feel the love from you, you’ll shift the pounds! She also mentioned that because of the high level of fibre in the smoothy they can last up to three days so you can make them at night and eat them the next day. Oh – and they’re packed with anti-oxidants.  I’m 99% sold at this point and already visualise my new life as a green smoothy disciple.  And so we begin to blend…

For more information about the nutritional value of green leaves I found this easy to understand article on About.com.

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.

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.

Is water raw?

15 Mar
There's 'raw' water and then there's 'raw' water

There's 'raw' water and then there's 'raw' water

Having yet another debate with my carnivorous friends about the point of a raw fruit and vegetable diet, I was asked what seemed to be a ridiculous question. Is water raw? My answer was immediately a resounding ‘yes’, however, rather annoyingly, my research could be interpreted to suggest otherwise.

 
Raw water is defined as the water that comes directly from a natural source such as a stream, river or well. This means it will certainly contain many impurities ranging from dissolved minerals and plain old dirt and leaves, to sewerage, bacteria and even dangerous chemicals such as leached insecticides and pesticides. Hence and thankfully so, raw water is treated to make it fit for our consumption. This treatment is extensive and consists of sedimentation, coagulation, filtration, disinfection, conditioning, softening, fluoridation, removal of tastes and odours, corrosion control, algae control, and aeration.

So – is water raw even though it has withstood every possible type of process?

Despite the small issue of the processes above, my answer stubbornly remains ‘yes’.  My conclusion is based on the fact that the fundamental molecular structure of the water is not altered even it has been ‘treated’. Whereas the result of processing or cooking, say a tomato or potato, alters the molecular state of the food irreversibly.

Our bodies will still benefit from consuming the hydrogen and oxygen that makes up that water, whether it has been boiled, frozen, softened or aerated. The answer is yes, yes, yes, and yes. For the purposes of enjoying a raw fruit and vegetable diet, in my opinion, water is ‘raw’.

Raw Food Long Long Road Trip Tips

3 Mar
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A passenger view of French highways on Black Saturday

There are two totally different types of people on a long car trip and both require a very different menu of raw travelling delights. 

And from my recent experience, nothing fresh and raw whatsover is available from any of the highway pitstops dotted along the tarmac from London to the Alps.  So it is really, really, really worthwhile preparing ahead, particularly if you are dim enough to take that car trip through France on a February Black Saturday.


For drivers
You need lots of energy and obviously you need to be alert. 

 

1. Sugar up with lots of dried fruit, such as dates, apricots and prunes;
2. Also eat lots of fresh fruit, such as bananas and apples, cherries and grapes; and
3. Drink young coconut water and lots of H2O.  The extra water will force you to stop regularly so you can walk around, get your blood moving around your body and take in some fresh air. With the bonus electrolytes in the coconut water, your brain will also stay nice, fresh and hydrated to keep you thinking clearly.

 

For passengers
Unlike your driver, you need to stay as chilled out as possible.

 

1. Stay off sugars completely;
2. Swamp your system with magnesium and potassium to calm your nerves with vital salts. To do this, I suggest starting out with a tablespoon of Black Strap Molasses dissolved in a pint of warm water. A by-product of sugar cane production, and with more potassium than almost any other food, Black Strap Molasses is one of my absolute, all time favourite raw food superfoods. It is also a rich source of essential magnesium, iron and vitamin B;
3. Eat lots of avocado, carrots, nuts and celery to keep full. And make sure you share these with your focussed, hopefully wide-eyed driver.