Archive for June, 2011

Simply Perfect!

 I just love it!!

There are plants- or rather- the fruits thereof, that give us glucose, in a sweet, quickly available form.

 There are plants that give us glucose, packaged up differently to fill us for longer, and release energy throughout the day; wholegrains, potatoes, squash, sweet potatoes….

There are plants that are rich in protein; nuts, seeds, legumes…

Plants that become rich in protein, or even richer (when sprouted); grains,seeds and “seed-grains”.

Plants that contain healthy fats that will contribute to our artery health, not harm it.

Plants that grow in spring, summer, autumn, and winter.

Plants that need more sun, plants that thrive better with some shade.

Plants that grow better, and become more flavoursome in cold conditions.

Plants that satiate, plants that hydrate.

 Plants, or components thereof, that are red, pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple of very hue, peach, coral, white.

Plants that grow in the sea, plants that grow on the land.

Plants with leaves of every flavour- cool mint, delicate dill, woody rosemary, aromatic basil, zesty strong coriander, pungent parsley,and so on, and so on…

Plants that aid the liver in it’s detoxifying functions.Too many to mention!

Plants contain fibre, aiding the intestine in removing toxic waste as quickly as possible from our organism.

Plant fruits with edible peel, plants that have a protective peel for better storage.

Plants that bear long-lasting fruits as the winter months approach like pumpkins.

Plants that store all their food and goodness in the root to help it (or us!) through the winter.

Plant that help regulate blood sugar, plants that aid weight loss, plants that strengthen your immune system, plants that work against inflammation in your body.

Plant that are bite size, others that can feed a whole family.

Plants that are soft enough for a weaning infant to eat, without teeth.

Plants that heal. Yep. All edible plants have properties which contribute to your healing. Far too many to mention in detail…but too amazing not to mention in passing.

Plants, the only thing on the planet that can harvest the light of the sun and transform it into food, in little amazing green factories, packed with chlophyll-goodness- which we then get to eat!!

Plants that grow wild and are classed as “noxious weeds” which -even s0- are edible and in some cases far more nutritious than what is on the supermarket shelf!

Plants that are sticky and gooey, others that crunch, others that slurp, and still more that are creamy and unctious; refreshing, chewey, sharp, sweet, bitter, deliciously sour, and dreamily aromatic!

Plants that are just so….dang…..BEAUTIFUL! You could get lost in a purple curly kale leaf….look at that network of teeny tiny purple veins…and hiding beneath that gorgeous purple hue is that life-giving chlorophyll………look at the colours in the plant world…..just testifying that this is the food that will nurture and lift our constitution and give us energy to love life and be a contribution for good in the world!

Plants that are part of the great and marvellous circle of life, because each seed (that has not been tampered with by man) has the potential to create more life….even the “waste” peel and leaves can return to Mother earth and feed other plants. It’s goodness is never lost, only passed on and repackged in another form.

If you want to enjoy better health, energy, vitality- embrace these wonders! 

Base as much of your diet as you can around the amazing plants the earth brings forth, given by God to nurture and heal, and to be enjoyed.

Eat them as close to nature as your circumstances will allow, eat plenty of them raw, and unsprayed by chemicals, picked from your garden when you can.

You can only feel the difference of changing your diet like this if you try it; just reading about it will do nothing and will more than likely just sound like “over the top” and foolish;  but put it to the test and feel the difference.

Everyone is at a different place; you may want to start eating plants, or eat more plants than you currently do, you may want to shift to eating mainly plants, or even eat only plants.

But wherever you are, enjoy the gifts that God has given, eat more of them, and be grateful for them, they are so amazing!

I am off to Spain.

Veggie-Enthusiastically yours….  xxx

 

 

Gazpacho: Worthless fragments??

Apparently that’s where they think the Moorish word for gazpacho comes from. The worthless fragments probably referring to the week-old bread they used to pound up in the pestle and mortar with the summer vegetables. Using a blender is easier, and throwing in a chunk of wholegrain (or even sprouted grain) bread is of course optional. What is not optional is the salad! As I am sure you will know, gazpacho is just an ice-cold blended Mediterranean summer salad, and oh my heavenly!! This is so delicious. Definitely not worthless. My photo just makes it look like some wierd sort of carrot juice….but you have to give this a try!

The essential bits (in my opinion) are TOMATOES, RED PEPPER, CUCUMBER, EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, SALT, and VINEGAR (I use apple cider, normally). The optional extras (in my opinion) are garlic,  little onion, and some wholegrain bread to thicken.

You cannot really call this a recipe, because let’s face it, it’s a vegetable smoothie…but here is how I did it. Makes about a litre.

  • 2 large, flavoursome tomatoes.
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • Half a cucumber, unpeeled.
  • 250mls of ice cold water
  • 1/8 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup of quality vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt.

    This is not wierd carrot juice. It is a heavenly mediterranean elixir of goodness!

If you add onion, add only a very little, it’s quite overpowering. If you add garlic, be aware of the social consequences 🙂  Your cells will love it though. When eaten raw, it’s anti-bacterial, anti-viral-anti-fungal, anti-everything-nasty properties is kicking.

Roughly chop your vegetables, and blend all ingredients until very smooth. Taste test- and be a little more heavy handed with the condiments if you like.

YUM! This is packed with beta-carotene, the plant form of Vitamin A, which also happens to be a powerful anti-oxidant in our body, to protect your cells from free radical/oxidative damage.

It has all the enzymes of the raw plants, fibre, water, and plenty of other phytochemicals for your body. The fresher the plants, the more nutritious they are, as many vitamins begin to deplete after picking. I cannot wait to make this fresh from my father in laws garden.

4 days to go!

In Honour of my Spanish Family: Pan con Tomate

The Spanish feel really proud of  their diet. It features quite regularly in  the sobremesa (after-dinner chat) And yes, they have some good habits. Collectively, as a nation, they rarely eat sugarey junk foods, they eat plenty of beans and legumes, cook from scratch as a general rule, often favour fish over red meats, and love nothing better after a meal than a piece of juicy seasonal fruit.  

On the other hand,  whole grains,brown rice and wholewheat bread  are very conspicuous by their absence; (up until a few years ago wholemeal bread was with the Special Diet/Diabetic Products in a well-known Spanish supemarket)  Processed meats and fried foods are also a favourite; a Spanish buffet tends to be based around cheeses and cured meats. And you know what, I’m sorry guys, a breakfast of a strong coffee and a Danish pastry is not cutting it, if we are talking about a healthy organism.

Of course, if you want a fruit-only breakfast, it is so easy in Spain which has an amazing abundance; melons, cherries, peaches, figs, berries etc etc   A wonderful summer breakfast. However, if you want something a little more filling, this is truly, THE great Mediterranean breakfast!

  • Take 1-2 slices of wholegrain toast. (Okay, normally in Spain, it’s white, but  I go for wholewheat and would encourage people to do the same 🙂 )
  • Rub a clove of cut garlic over the top of your toast.If you plan to be alone…all day…throw in a small clove, whole,  into your bullet style blender with the tomato.
  • Spread over your tomato*
  • Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

*Either, cut a large flavoursome tomato in half and holding it by the skin, grate the cut sides down all the way to the skin. You end up with the “pulp”; everything but the skin. Or, in a mini chopper or bullet style blender, throw in your cherry tomatoes/chopped tomato and blend it into a “sauce”.

Two will not be enough, by the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is so, so delicious. If you are slightly addicted to toast and want to look after yourself better, then switch to a 100% wholegrain bread, (home-made? Even better..) and look for better toppings than butters and margarines.Think plants!

 Tomato and olive oil is a great one….or avocado…..or mashed banana and a sprinkling of seeds…..or home made hummous….or a raw nut butter and honey……but my favourite is this. I really hope someone tries it! It tastes best when you have just picked the tomato and garlic from my father in laws veggie patch. Only five days to go!

Buen provecho…   🙂

Raw Banoffee Pie, or “Why healthy desserts can be full of fat and sugar”

So, once I read that they did this study on rats, and that under stress, they went for fattier foods. I guess we are all familiar with that scenario. For some people, comfort food is fatty; pizza, a kebab, a burger…sometimes though, it’s sugar. And for double-“comfort”, foods that contain both. (Chocolate being the favourite).I doubt there is one person in the prosperous Western world that has not comfort eaten.

But! I do believe in healthy comfort food. Desserts that are sweet, gooey, and unctious, but made of whole plant foods, that are full of vitamins, minerals, protective phytochemicals, fibre, and fats that actually contribute to the wellbeing of my body!  

 Healthy does not necessarily mean low-fat-low-sugar, (think coconut, and dates, respectively) Conversely, low-fat-low-sugar does not necessarily mean healthy. (Choose a “diet bar”, any diet bar). 

 So by all means, investigate; it truly is possible to eat healthy, nurturing, comfort food on a Friday night, or whenever you want. They do not take long to make, and are not normally expensive.

Sadly, this recipe does not come with a photo today, because it was eaten too quickly. We were both in need of some rapid comfort,for different reasons, and this was, oh, so deeply comforting!

I did this in a 5 inch mini springform pan. Double up for a larger pan. or buy yourself a cutesie mini springform, it’s very useful for rich experimental desserts for 2 people.

 For both the crust and the caramel, if you have a very sweet tooth, you could always add 1-2 teaspoons of maple syrup to each,to give it an extra edge.But try it without, first.

For the Crust:

  • 1/2 a cup of unroasted almonds (You could use organic oat flakes’ whizzed into flour for a slightly “lighter” crust)
  • 5 soft halawi dates (or 2-3 juicy Medjool dates)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1t Maple syrup (optional)

In your food processor or beloved Mini Chopper, whizz up the nuts (or oats) and salt until they resemble a fine crumb. Add the dates and process until they are well blended through. Test the crumb between finger and thumb to see if it is sticky. If not, add one more small date , or your liquid sweetener. Press into the bottom of your pan, and refridgerate, while you make the caramel.

For the caramel:

  • 1/2 a cup of cashew butter (made from 3/4cup of cashew nuts) Follow the link for How to Make Cashew Butter.
  • 4 Medjool dates or 8-9 Halawi dates
  • 1/4cup of almond/rice/soy milky-type beverage 🙂
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2-1t maple syrup (optional)

Blend in your mini chopper until silky smooth. Spread over your base, and when ready to eat, top with sliced bananas.  Insert spoon immediately!

I really, really, really hope somebody out there tries this!

PS.  The word “health” comes from a word meaning “whole”. Clearly, real, complete health is not only about a heathy body but also well-being in mind and soul. I think long-term comfort eating, without addressing the root causes of our stresses and pains is obviously not healthy, even if your “comfort food” is nutritious. But meanwhile, short-term…. there’s always Banoffee Pie.

Get the raw glow!

It’s easy! You just eat more raw plants! But in case you are not in the habit, here are a few ways to get more raw fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds etc  into your day. This is just a starter list and I have tried to make them easy ones.

  • Big. Breakfast .Smoothie.  Bananas are filling, frozen berries are cheap. Get creative. Make it green, pink, or whatever colour you like, just drink yourself a big glass of plants! (Have you bought your blender yet?)
  • Treat yourself. If possible, go for fruit that you absolutely love, not just tolerate. Why eat an apple and feel deprived if you can eat berries and feel decadent? (For the record, I love apples, as do many people. No offense to the humble nutrient-packed apple. It was just an example)
  • Salad of Abundance every day. You will not believe how much you will come to love salad if you try this for a week or two. You will start to crave that crunch, I’m serious! Make it massive, make it colourful, make it delicious, and sprinkle some denser foods like nuts or seeds on top. Invest in large tupperware for your place of work if needbe.And YES, it is possible to get full on a salad.
  • Raw Dressing. Why put a processed supermarket junkie dressing on your lovely salad of abundance? Get yourself a little jar if you are taking your salad to work; make up a delicious vinaigrette of extra virgin olive oil-sea-salt-unpasteurised vinegar. (dash of honey? mustard? herbs?) Or whizz up an avocado with one whole orange and a pinch of salt in your mini chopper (have you got one yet?) Blend some cashews with a dash of vinegar, dill, onion and garlic powder and basil for a ranchey style one.  Mmmmmm…
  • If you like hummous, eat it with raw vegetables instead of pitta. Or as well as your pitta. Wholewheat?  🙂
  • Guacamole, yum! Mash up a large avocado, add one,some, or all of the following: lime juice, salt, coriander leaf, chopped tomato, chopped spring onion, chilli. Eat with red bell pepper sticks.
  • Drink more water. Your body will love you for it. I just snuck that one in.
  • Plan for the evening. That is when cravings for sugar hit. I don’t know why, but it’s true, isn’t it? What will you have ready? Get ready with raw, natural glucose. Our body is supposed to crave glucose. It’s one of it’s favourite fuels. Just get glucose packaged in a natural form; a cantaloupe, banana softserve ice cream, (see “Desserts”  section) grapes, strawberries, a medjool date or three. You will always have moments when you feel you have to have something sweet; but if you learn to satisfy those moments with other things, you will enjoy so much better energy in yourself. No sugar slump, no sugar mood swings. And the best part? As you go for the good stuff, you will start to lose cravings for the bad boys…slowly. Amazing!

These things are not difficult, not expensive and there is something everyone could do today, if they felt so inclined.

If you are working hard to nurture your mind, and your soul, then love your body aswell, because it is what houses the other two. And it is not just like a disposable outer casing; there is a real conection between our body and our inner self. You will absolutely feel a difference in your spirit, the more you care for your bodily health. You are so worth it!!

Pistachio Nut Butter

Wow. I am so happy I did this! I only made a small amount so I would have some more of my pistachios for something else, but I wanted to try it. I have done a few different nut butters:  almond, cashew, macadamia. I will also try some seed butters one day, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, etc Mmmm, pecan nut butter, I bet that’s nice…..

You can spread them on bread or crackers as is, use them as a luxury dip for your veggies, add some herbs and what-have-you to make a kind of savoury spread, you can bake with them instead of saturated animals fats, you can make caramel sauces with them by adding plump ripe dates and/or maple syrup…….

You need a food processor, and depending on the size of your machine you may need to use more nuts than I did. Mine is a mini chopper and I only used 1/2 a cup of nuts. Just process until it becomes like a spread. Easy!

What a lovely, alternative spread for your wholewheat toast that also happens to be packed with vitamins, minerals and healthy fats! Mine was a savoury spread (2 small pinches of salt) You could top with chopped tomato or some alfalfa sprouts. Or you could add honey and make it a sweet spread.

My photo is pretty lame, but here it is anyway.  I think maybe mine needed a little longer processing for the release of the oils, it looks a touch dry…but I was getting impatient. Also, you could add the tiniest bit of oil to make it smoother (e.g. walnut oil, almond oil, sunflower oil) By the way, the green was even prettier in real life. And I should have spread to the edges. Okay, I will stop apologising for the appearance, but seriously- it tasted GOOD!

Behold! Pistachios on Toast.

Have a great day. Right here, it’s raining. Hooray for rain, it brings forth the plants!  Go and eat some plants and be thankful for the rain.

Orange-Cranberry-Pistachio Cookies

My best Christmas present was definitely the book “Raw For Dessert” by Jennifer Cornbleet. (Oh, and a beekeeping course. Very cool, thanks darling!) You can find out about it and see some sample recipes here. She bases all of her no-bake desserts around uncooked/unprocessed nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, and some spices and condiments. They all look so good, and the ones I have tasted are fabulous. Yea, even fab.u.lous. And you feel so grateful while you eat them. What a wonderful abundance the earth brings forth and how good it feels to eat plants!!

Here is another pistachio creation, adapted from her recipe (she used lemon)

You need:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup of raw pistachios
  • pinch salt
  • 8 pitted medjool dates or 15 pitted Halawi dates (not dried)
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Process 1/2 c of the almonds in your food procesor (S blade) until you have a fine crumb. As I was rich in pistachios I also threw in some extra pistachios to please the eye and gladden the heart, quite frankly.

Put the remaining 1/2 cup of almonds in, with the pistachios and salt and process till coursely chopped. Leave some texture. Add the dates and  zest, and process till the mixture begins to stick. Add the cranberries and pulse briefly till just mixed.

Using the 1/2T, scoop out the dough and roll into balls, roll in your almond crumb and chill for one hour before serving. Oh my goodness. Look how beautiful! They made me feel all festive just looking at them. So delicious. Can be kept in the fridge for 1 month, or 3 months in the freezer.

And a close-up……

Have a great day. Love yourselves, body and soul. 🙂

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