Tag Archives: funky raw

Ancient superfood Chia brings bodies back from the dead

7 Jun

Add some cha cha cha to your life with chia seeds

The raw food hypocrite should be on top of the latest raw food foods and trends but I have to admit I only stumbled across Chia seeds (also known as Salvia hispanica) in an obscure health food shop in Melbourne.  At first I had a tablespoon with my breakfast a few times a week, however since I’ve been so super busy the last few months, I’ve been eating badly, forgetting my healthy extras, feeling particularly dehydrated and hence retaining water and swelling to the size of blimp.  With busy-ness down a notch, I’ve stopped coffee, upped my coconut water (and water) and dandelion tea (good for liver and gall bladder and water retention), added chia seeds back in and voila, I already feel much, much better.

So what are chia seeds?

According to Living Foods – For centuries this tiny little seed was used as a staple food by the Indians of the south west and Mexico. Known as the running food, its use as a high energy endurance food has been recorded as far back as the ancient Aztecs. It was said the Aztec warriors subsisted on the Chia seed during the conquests. The Indians of the south west would eat as little as a teaspoon full when going on a 24hr. forced march. Indians running form the Colorado River to the California coast to trade turquoise for seashells would only bring the Chia seed for their nourishment.

There are tonnes of benefits and thanks to mychaiseeds and living foods amongst others, here are some of them:

1. Lose weight
When a chia seed is exposed to water, it forms a coating of gel, increasing its size and weight to nine times its original form. Since the gel is made of water, it has no calories and also fills you up to prevent cravings.

2. Balance blood sugar
Both the gelling action of the seed, and its unique combination of soluble and insoluble fiber combine to slow down conversion of starches into sugars. This means if you eat chia with a meal, it will help you turn your food into constant, steady energy rather than a series of ups and downs that wear you out.

3. Improve digestion
The exterior of the seed is protected by insoluble fiber that keeps food moving smoothly through the digestive process. Soluble fiber and the gel coating of the seed also keep the colon well-hydrated.

4. Add good fats
By weight, chia contains more omega 3 than salmon, and yet it doesn’t taste remotely like salmon.  Omega 3 oil is important in heart and cholesterol health and a sensational source for vegetarians and rawists.

5. Add more protein
Chai is one of nature’s highest plant-sources of complete protein, which makes it highly valuable for vegetarians and raw foodists. The combination of complete protein, vitamins, minerals and blood-sugar balancing gel all work together to make sure you have steady, never jittery energy

6. Keep your cells young
Chia is extremely high in anti-oxidants, which makes the Chia Seed stay fresh and ready to eat for over two whole years! And that’s all without a single chemical or preservative. This amazing ability is not found in other seeds like flax or sesame, because those seeds don’t have the same rich anti-oxidant content.

As a reminder – anti-oxidants help prevent free-radical damage in your body. Free radicals lead to problematic conditions such as premature aging of the skin and inflammation of various tissues. Fight free radical damage by staying fresh and healthy with nature’s anti-oxidant powerhouse

8. Look younger
One of the exceptional qualities of the Chia seed is its hydrophilic properties, having the ability to absorb more than 12 times its weight in water. This prolongs hydration in the body, keeping skin and cells inside and out looking plump, supple and great.

Healthyfellow runs us through some of the scientific evidence behind the rejuvenation of this ancient super food:

1. In a june 2009 study, results showed the serum levels of plant-based omega-3 fats (alpha linolenic acid) increased by 24% in the chia seed group (vs control). This is considered a positive finding and indicates some degree of absorption of the healthy fats contained within the seeds, however according to the study no other direct benefits were noted.

2. A scientific trial completed in 2009 examined the effect of chia seeds on appetite and blood sugar levels. The authors of this study found that the middle (15 grams) and highest dosages (24 grams) resulted in blood glucose reductions of between 33-44%. The “intermediate dose” of chia also prompted a 47% drop in hunger levels.

3. In a longer-term experiment published in November 2007 in the journal Diabetes Care results showed – while undergoing the chia diet there was a significant reduction in C-reactive protein (an inflammatory marker), improvements in blood sugar control (A1C) and circulatory factors (fibrinogen) and a drop in systolic blood pressure.

It’s absolutely in my daily regime and I can absolutely vouch for the benefits of this ancient superfood – although I can suggest rinsing your teeth before rushing out the door as they stick around and make you look as though you desperately need a visit to the dentist…I recommend buying them from my friend Rob at funkyraw – only £18 for a 1 kilo is a bargain.

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.

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.