Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Some Notes on Healing Our Self

As I pursue knowledge, training and greater ability at working with the body(mind) for greater health, energy and opening of awareness I find myself speaking with more people all the time who are very interested in what I am doing and in how they might benefit from understanding it. I am working with people on a range of things that includes management of water quality, food choices, design, cooking skills and even certain kinds of behavioral change.

I think that people see us differently depending on the hat we wear when we interact with them. I'm wearing a few hats, but the conversations all seem to come back to creating whole experience. Many people experience lack and they seek to fill it. Folks who have tried some very ineffective or even destructive ways of filling the holes, will start to seek out real, lasting solutions as they observe and reconsider the strategies they've used and that have failed them; What I am happily discovering these days is that real, lasting solutions exist, in fact, they've been here all along. Of course!

When it comes to healing our body, our mind I am finding that many people seek outside constantly and that as a culture we seem to be conditioned to ask someone else what to do when we are not well. When working with people on more existential questions I refer to this as "exporting power". When there is no obvious physical construction to what is being worked on, one can often, very quickly and easily, see the contradiction of going outside to find solutions or help. "Obviously, if this is just a thought I am having, then once I make an effort, I can think something else!", one might think. And it is true. Then, once the new thoughts are thunk, we can make a habit of thinking in these new ways anytime we have an issue.

In tension with this is our relationship to the physical wherein we are often taught to treat the body(brain) as if it belongs to someone else and is not in our domain. But if not ours then whose is it? I say that it is ours first; by "ours" I mean whomever is there looking out from the point of view that locates your awareness as emanating from the physical location around which "your" body is manifest. Even if you maintain certain religious stands, then God(s) have given you this body as a vessel to care for and to transport you through this incarnation.

Point being, that we are the ones who must ultimately be responsible for the body(mind) which we inhabit. It is good to seek opinions, to seek help, to seek medicine. But, in the final count, we must take responsibility and to do so we must have the most complete connection and receptivity between that physical vehicle and our infinite intelligence as we can create. We do this through many means including exercise, massage, yoga (union), sex, eating, drinking fresh water, breathing good air and much else.

In regards to many of the folks I have spoken to who are at the threshold of taking control of this aspect of their lives; The most important factor in healing our selves is knowing that we can, knowing that we have control of our health, of our bodies, of our weight, of our energy, our strength our focus and our thoughts, even what we do with our emotions. Once we decide what we want from our health and that we can bring it about, we've taken the first step to making it real.

To illustrate; I spoke to someone the other day who had mild diabetic condition and he was opining the misery of his incurable condition. I told him that there are people who don't believe it incurable and that it's being cured daily, he could check out what Tree of Life had to say about it or just search the web if he liked. He told me that if it were curable he wouldn't have it. I asked him if he had considered quitting smoking. I think this bares itself well enough. He is living in a stunted personal paradigm of possibility. If he's diabetic and smoking a pack-a-day, then what has he really done about his dis-ease?

I met another fellow in the desert in Nevada, he'd developed a brain tumor and been given 6 months by his doctors. He cried, moped, gave up and then lifted his middle finger high for all to see. This gentlemen left for the Amazon basin and worked with a shaman there who told him he couldn't understand why the tumor should kill him and administered a series of treatment. That was about... 12 years ago, he's been in remission ever since. Everyone has heard these kind of stories, but what we should start to understand is that they are the rule, not the exception. We live in a miraculous world and the first step to performing miracles is taking responsibility for ourselves, understanding our own power.

In every case of healing, what must happen first, even if we must find help of a practitioner in a specific field, is that we must align with a belief in our ability to become what it is we desire, in this case, healthy; Then we can find the medicine we require. The state, the resonant energy, always pre-exists the manifestation. We must be ready to receive before any solution will come. Why should anyone internalize the idea of "incurable" about a condition they have? Or, in reductionist terms, what harm could possibly come from believing that one can do good for oneself?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Super Fruit Mash... Deluxe Recharge

This is a recipe that I make a a little different each time and you can do it with all kinds of fruit. The following is a basic version that includes the ingredients I consider most essential, just remember if you change the fruit, you might need to change the sorts of spices or other sweeteners you use in order to get a balance. This preparation will give you great soothing energy. It is delicious and speaks directly to your body. I started creating variations of this while in Peru traveling in the Amazon basin. None of the foods in it need refrigeration or cooking and it can be done with a knife, fork and spoon which is all I had to use. It was the perfect food to recharge the whole bodymind after a strenuous night.

Ceremonial Mash:

2 T coconut oil
1 ripe banana
Big handful raw cacao nibs
handful raw almonds, mashed or cut up slightly.
1 Mango, torn up
t Maca
vanilla bean if you've got it
bit of honey, start small, it may need very little

Mash it all together, being sure to spread the coconut oil among the other ingredients.

The fat source is very important, especially if you've been taxing your mind adventuring. Sub avocado for coconut oil, maybe even Durian fruit. No Mangos?? No problem, lose 'em altogether or try some papaya, cherries, bluberries, strawberries. Most things will work if you adjust the other flavors. Prepare as attentivley as you can in a beautiful piece of glass or ceramic ware and it will bring great life to all those who partake.


Foods that travel well and don't need a fridge

Many folks work or go to school and would like to bring their own homemade meals with them. They may prefer the quality of their own foods, the nutrition, the enjoyment we get from feeding ourselves or just don't care to spend extra money on eating out. Sometimes there is no refrigerator or acceptable heating source (see note below) around for them to use while they are working or in class. This is by no means meant to be the final word but does offer some ideas for people who run into this issue. So, here are some food ideas for people with no fridge or heat source!

Energy bars, will keep all day unrefrigerated without any problem. But, just as you would with any food don't leave it in high-heat area or sunlight (in a car during summer for instance).

Salads' ingredients mostly grow in the sun so a few hours in a container aren't going to cause any problem. The thing that goes wrong when left to sit for too long is dressed salads. This isn't the lettuce or carrots or whathaveyou going bad, this is the salt-oil-acid combination in the dressing accelerating the decay of the salad ingredients. The way to deal with this is to pack dressing separate and only dress what you intend to eat. There are a million sorts of salads you can make and that's a conservative number.

To get the best nutrition out of a salad that will transport with you like this, it is helpful if you keep the components in larger pieces. This means that you might prefer chopping less, and shredding less. It also means that you might choose fewer things that you might need to shred, such as raw beets. The more you cut up your produce and let it sit around, the more it oxidizes and loses living energy. Avoid buying pre-shredded produce such as carrots. But, if you want a salad with shredded beets, arugula, raisins and walnuts and you are going to work and you know it will sit around for a few hours. Make it anyway! It will still be good for you, it will still be delicious, just hold the dressing off until you are ready to eat.

One salad that does very well if you dress it in the morning and let it hang out for a a few hours is kale. Raw kale is very tough and tends to tenderize and become more flavorful after it has had time to cure. Try this kale salad! Consider other tough greens for similar uses as well, such as collards or mustard. Another fantastic leafy relative that holds up well is cabbage which can be used in salads or you may consider creating a coleslaw that doesn't use mayo or dairy. Consider a nutcheese, sundried tomato sort of direction, perhaps a tahini... many possibilities. Have a little bit of live sauerkraut!

Some people are worried their food will go bad too quickly, so check this idea out.. Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage, nut cheese is fermented nut-cream, cheese is cultured milk. Leafy greens just sitting in a container don't have the conditions to ferment and will hold up ok as long as the environment is damp. Cooked meat, kept warm and allowed to sit for a while tends to grow the kinds of things that like that environment and which we should avoid. Point here is that good food and bad food is kind of a fuzzy line anyway and lots of the things we love to eat are some kind of controlled rotting process. Knowing a little bit about how this works can help us decide how to create and transport the best foods for these situations.

A lot of your quicker degradation of food quality or ferment has to do with having a lot of sugar mixed with other things, warm and sitting in the sun... I was once told a story about how to make some very quick, cheap moonshine; It involved taking some old donuts at the end of the workday and putting them in a clear plastic bag with some water; Hang this arrangement over a tree limb and wait. Strain it out after about a week and you'll get at least drunk from the contents... probably have some other unpleasant effects.

Soups often keep very well at room temperatures and many of them are very tasty that way as well. Some soups, such as gazpacho and many raw soups are only to be eaten at room temp or even cold. Which of these might work depends upon your tastes as well as the type of soup. Consider a raw carrot ginger soup; this one is very good, but you'll need to reduce the recipe by about 3-4 depending on how much you want to eat. Or yell at me and I'll get to rewriting.

Besides soups, consider stews and chilis. Here's a link with a whole bunch of raw soups http://www.rawbc.org/raw_soups.html or try googling "raw soup recipe" there are more soup recipes than you could make in a lifetime and most raw soups will hold up at room temp for a few hours.

Fruits come in endless variety and are prewrapped to stay fresh (apple, orange, mango, cherry, dried- raisins, figs, dates). If you get tired of one, there is a whole bioregion more of fruits you may not have even tried yet. There are also some vegetables such as carrots, celery, marinated
vegetables in all sorts of sauces, avocados, coconuts, all of which can be eaten on the go. How about some hemp seeds, to toss onto one of those salads you were going to bring? You could pack an apple, some almonds, celery and some soup you had for dinner.

I like to have a steel knife, fork and spoon with me when I'm going to places where I expect to want to eat. These open up all kinds of possibilities like: avocado, olives and a banana. Those three instruments allow you to open, scoop out and mash all sorts of things so you can have a lot of foods fresh anywhere! If you carry a bowl with some coconut oil, cacao, hemp seed, agave already mixed up you could break that out and add a mango or a banana, or both and you would have one of the most delicious, sustaining meals you could dream of in the time it takes to peel the fruit. Check out this fruit mash recipe. Ever just eat whole cacao beans dipped in honey? A few of these and some almonds ooooh! Macadamias! Its fantastic and will keep you going through the middle part of a day without weighing you down; have with an avocado, but be sure to have some leafy greens or fresh fruit later.

Often a good stir-fry or steamed vegetable dish from dinner can be tossed with some brown rice, maybe make some dressing and eat at room temp and still be quite tasty. You could also add some nuts and grated carrot to give it a little bit of a fresher note; hold the dressing until you are ready to eat.

I also find that hummus travels well, bring only a portion though as it will lose freshness going back and forth. Bean dips and other similar foods too. The issue I see many people run into with things like hummus is that they eat it with pita or cornchips and then they feel heavy. Try bringing along some washed lettuce leaves to eat with it instead; try something hardy, romaine perhaps. Have with a few olives, perhaps some carrot spears, maybe a fresh tomato. I like to carry a little bit of sea salt with me for occasions like this, but if you have some good olives you're already there!

Hope you enjoy these suggestions. Please leave a note if you have some other ideas and I'm sure soon more will come to mind.


*Another possibility if you like warm soups and stews, try getting a thermos or, for cooling only, they make little mini coolers that are just enough space for a lunch.

Note: If you don't know what "acceptable heating" means, I am referring to the microwave, the machine that emits enough high frequency radiation to heat-up frozen TV dinners or transmit telecom data into outer space... Don't heat your food with these things. Don't even stand in the same room with them when they are on. Ever notice how they mess with radio transmission? That is because they are emitting radiation. They damage the chemical constitution of foods causing oxidation, loss of nutrients and the rendering of various components of our meals into toxic waste.. Eat something cold or get a hotplate, find a window and wrap your food in a black blanket! Leave the microwave out of your life!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Parsley Pesto (no cheese, but with some traditional flair)

Just made up a batch of this, hard not to eat too much.

Bunch of flat parsley, chopped
Handful Walnuts, chopped
2/3 cup EV olive oil
1/2 t sea salt
t ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic pressed or fine
handful hemp seeds
T lemon juice
t lemon zest

Chop parsley in uneven manner coarse to fine. I had a lot of stem and decided I wanted to eat them since it all looked so pretty, so I put the stems through a blender, you can do this, or save them for juice or stock. The lower ends of the stems are a little too coarse without processing. Put everything except nuts and seeds into a bowl and mix it up, Macerate the mixture some by stirring aggressively with strong wooden spoon. Add remaining ingredients and test. Adjust as necessary. If the flavor is flat, try sea salt. Yum!

Note for the equipment freaks; Do not put the whole mess in a processor as this will homogenize the pesto into something more like a dip. When it's done it should separate as it sits and you can dig in there with bread or crackers or whathaveyou to get that variety of flavor back out. A pesto isn't really a dip, it's probably more akin to a salsa or chutney in that they all tend to have liquid and solid portions and are generally not completely combined into a smooth paste or cream consistency.

If you want a bit of a cheesy flavor, but want to stay non-dairy, try adding a bit of nutritional yeast and holding back some of the hemp seed. Or if you want cheese, hold the hemp and use Regiano. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How to Add a Little Bit of Sustainability to Your Kitchen

It drives me up the wall! Watching someone spill a drink and then grab a couple of paper towels to sop it up from the floor or table. So imagine if every time someone spilled something, you would go outside, find the nearest tree and hack a limb off... This will never work and it doesn't matter if it's recycled or made of hemp or whathaveyou. There is no need for this. It's just a very wasteful habit created by industry adverts and laziness and it's time for us all to get over it. Paper towels are useful, but in the running of a kitchen you need them for very little and can do without them totally. They cost you money that can be better spent as well.

How to use little to no paper towels and napkins? Pretty easy! Get some dish towels and inexpensive linen napkins. If you have some old bath towels these are fantastic to keep around for bigger disasters. You'll likely rip them in half or thirds to make them more manageable. When something spills reach for an already dirty dish towel or one of the big disaster towels instead of that role of dead tree. When it's soaked, wring it out over the sink and go again. If the stuff you are mopping is staining, then dry and save it for an appropriate laundry load. Your disposable paper usage can be cut to nothing in an instant.

The only thing I use a paper towel for is to wipe my iron pans clean using oil and salt. Even then I tend to use about a quarter of a sheet. Fabric towels can not not be effectively cleaned after this process without unreasonable effort. Everything else is a job for fabric, washable towels. After a little while you will get the hang of it and realize that it is pretty simple. You'll have your new towels, your salty veterans and the lowly floor cleaning towel that you don't like the guests to see. If you don't have a washroom, keep a bucket under the sink to drape the towels over allowing them to dry and you'll never find them mildewed or stinking.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Some feedback on dehydrated breads and crackers.

Since I had some dried cornmeal and spelt I tried using them as ingredients in some of what I did. I've decided not to do that anymore. It's tasty, but missing something that seems only to come from baking. I've made some other breads using sprouted buckwheat, sprouted kamut, ground flax, chia seed and various other ingredients. The breads with the sprouted grains are far and above the ones made with ground, dried. I also experimented with using other vegetables such as zuchinni, tomatoes and onions all of which helped to produce a more flexible and tasty bread. The bread made with sprouted grains, but without zuchinni and tomatoes is very good but is more like a thick cracker. I prefer the softer, thin breads and will concentrate on them. I may try making a tortilla chip when fresh corn becomes available. Crackers are no problem.

I've got a Garden Master dehydrator, it's fantastic, but it's round and I'm making breads and crackers so I'm going to look to sell and get an Excalibur 9-tray I believe.

Raw Kale Salad w/ Lemon Tahini

kale salad

People have been asking, "How do you eat Kale raw?". Here is one very simple answer.

Kale Salad:

Raw bunch of kale shredded
handful Brazil nuts chopped
handful raisins

Tahini dressing: (you'll have some extra

3 T raw tahini
1/4 cup EVolive oil
2 lemons juiced
1 T shoyu
2 cloves garlic minced
dash sea salt
add some apple cider vinegar or more lemon if not tangy enough

Toss well and let it sit for a half hour before you eat it, this will give time for the kale to tenderize due to the salt, oil and acid from lemons.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dehydrated Breads and Crackers - Experiments!

I bought a Nesco American Harvest dehydrator about a week ago in order to expand the sorts of raw foods I could create into the realm of sprouted live grains in things like breads and crackers. So far I've been experimenting with drying some fruits (cranberries, papaya, peaches), banana bread and crackers. Everything came off pretty well and I've started to understand how this thing works. The crackers were a little too thin and don't form the kind of strong bonds between the many ingredients created by heat and so they broke too easily, though they were pretty good. They had in them:

1/4 cup ground spelt
3/4 cup yellow corn meal
3/4 cup ground flax
dusting of berbere seasoning
sprinkling of sesame seeds
enough water to form workable paste

I realize it may not be of great benefit to use ground grains in this manner, but I had some and thought I might just try it out. It probably added to the crackers breaking so easily. I also realized that the crackers, which start out on a sheet should be flipped to the open screen after a couple of hours in order to speed the drying process, perhaps by many times.

I've started another recipe of crackers this time in some uncertain proportions
1 1/4 cup ground flax,
1/4 cup corn meal
2 T oil
2 or 3 fire roasted tomatoes
1/4 cup sprouted buckwheat
garlic powder
nutritional yeast

They were a sort of pretty pink color before I put all of the flax seed in the batter and mixed it all together. It's been loaded into the dehydrator along with a bread I've mixed up. The bread is loosely based on another recipe I found here and it has, also in uncertain proportions

3 cups sprouted buckwheat
1 1/2 cups ground flax
fire roasted tomatoes
1 zucchini
red onion
olive oil

I put this mixture through a blender and spread onto paraflex. Many of the recipes I've found don't give you a good idea of how deep the batter should be on the sheet... they give recipe size and say to spread on sheet.. So I assume it isn't that critical or everyone else is using the Excalibur.. I think it's just a matter of getting a good feel for the way it all goes together and perhaps making damn sure what doesn't work... I am beginning to think it may have behooved me to get the Excalibur tray dehydrator. The one I have is very good it seems, but I think that I miscalculated one bit, that is, I would be making a lot of things that would do best on a big rectangular sheet and I've got a round thing with a circle in the middle.. oops! Otherwise I have no complaints, though I may try to sell it and buy an Excalibur.. More on Bread in a while... I just put it in.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

What to do with Leftovers and Cuttings!

stew in bowl

Leftovers, Cuttings, Soups

Leftovers are a lot more interesting than people often give them opportunity for. Some dishes really don't come into their own until the second or third day, stews for example, some things are just not worth eating the day after and can be a lesson in letting go. I've read in yogic reflections on food, phrases like, "fresh food, freshly prepared" in connection with longer passages on sacredness of body and importance of the spirit which we invest in the foods we eat through giving grace, chewing well and preparing with presence. At the moment when we find ourselves eating leftover salad with soft mushy lettuce soaked in dressing we likely realize the wisdom and simple truth of that statement. But as an artist there is another interpretation to the statement. And to give up on the day-olds simply because we don't think they'll reheat well robs us of a creative possibility.

Often leftovers can be a wonderful set of ingredients for a new soup or stew or as ingredient in some other combination. This can even be done in a way that preserves the sense of freshness by reclassifying that prepared portion as an important part of the flavor of the new dish. The trick is finding the way in which that previously created dish that has now had a night or two to integrate all its own flavors can really contribute something valuable to what you are making. One of the easiest ways that we can see this at work is in the making of soups and stocks. People are often not sure what to do with leftovers and can be equally unclear about soups. Luckily enough these two conundrums solve each other very well.

Never again do you need to reach for bullion, store-bought soup stock or the like! Just open up the fridge and take a look. What do you have? Some fried potatoes? Greenbeans and garlic? stewed tomatoes? some slightly wilted salad greens, half chopped onion, few broccoli spears, chunk of cabbage.... whatever it is, even a soggy salad soaked in dressing, it very well might be a great set of ingredients to saute, chop, blend and combine into a fantastic and often very easily made soup or stock. Great thing about soups is they keep well, travel well, are satisfying and very forgiving in preparation.

Part of learning how to work this skill is to forget for a second what the taste and texture of something might be at that moment and focus more on a couple of other questions: Is it still good? Ignoring some of the textures and look of the thing, just figure whether it has gone bad. is it old, tasteless or moldy? For instance, that soggy salad that was fresh yesterday at lunch, is certainly not bad it's just ugly and icky which leads us to the second question: What's really in it? This icky salad for instance has Romaine lettuce, red onions, garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper. What's a vegetable soup stock have in it? Vegetable matter, salt, fat, sugar... Huh... Great! We've got something that once blended will supply some great ingredients for our soup!

Just for starters, here is a bunch of bits that are commonly thrown out that can be saved to make a stock or juice later. There are a lot of perfectly edible bits that happen to be too tough to chew but can be pureed into an edible state. There are a couple of ways of achieving that. One is the old-fashioned way where you put a stock pot on the stove, bring some water to boil and start tossing everything you've got into it with some salt and then simmer that down, sometimes for a couple of hours. I like my food raw or as little cooked as possible so I like to do it one of the two following ways. Most often I take cut the dirty bits off, wash carefully and then run through a very aggressive blender adding water as necessary, leaving a thick, raw puree which I then use as a base. The other way of going involves breaking out a juicer if you've got one and putting whatever you have through there. This option can give you some wonderfully concentrated raw stock from which you can create all sorts of powerful, energizing soups or juices.

Consider holding on to some of these bits by tossing into a bag in the freezer: Asparagus ends. broccoli stalks, Chard Stalks, Cabbage core and outer leaves, half-cut onion you may not get to, Celery butt, avocado pits, wilted lettuces, ugly looking tomatoes and anything else with some edible matter that won't make it as it is.

This is what went into a soup I just put together. I wanted to clear everything that had been forgotten about or left for dead out of the refrigerator and give it either a second life or a farewell! What I found that made the cut for freshness: Raw Kale salad, Raw Cauliflower salad, cooked buckwheat kasha with berbere seasoning, fresh cranberry sauce, brie cheese wedge, chunk of blue cheese, a beat-up summer squash, slightly wilted fresh dill and some raw carrot ginger soup. I found that all of it was still perfectly good, just not very appetizing in its current condition. As a base, I thought about some stems and cuttings I already had from the past week, but then eyed that cauliflower salad.. It had raisins, red onions and garlic among other things.. I didn't want whole raisins in this soup, but thought they would add a nice fruit sweetness, so I had found my base. I put that and the kale salad in the blender with some water and pureed.

I put that puree into the stock pot, added a can of peeled Roma tomatoes, the buckwheat, carrot soup, dill and heated it all up. I generally like to cook my foods as little as possible so as to retain what I can of their nutrients and let the flavors mingle with time. Even a few hours does incredible things for a soup. Once the soup had heated up to bubbling I went ahead and added everything else but the cheese and cranberry sauce. I let it cool just a bit and stirred the cheese in as I didn't want it to boil which can make it difficult to digest. I gave it a taste, added some parsley and cilantro I had found and then miraculously enough thought it needed something else to bring it up, maybe cut through it a bit and so I eyed that fresh cranberry sauce with its half an orange with zest and blended it in. AHA!

There it was, a pot of soup made of all sorts of leftovers a few new ingredients, spices and herbs. It's been disappearing with great speed.

stew in pot

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Raw Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

cauliflower, salad

I made this for a lunch that I was invited to do at a friend's office for people interested in live foods. It's a slightly different take on a common dish.


1 head broccoli
1 head cauliflower
1 cup raisins
1 medium red onion, fine

4 cloves garlic, pressed
3/4 cup creamy nutmilk (recipe on this blog)
2 T EV olive oil
1/2 t black pepper
2 T apple cider vinegar, raw unfiltered
1 T shoyu
1 T sesame oil

Chop broccoli and cauliflower to bite sized pieces and combine with other dry ingredients. Mix dressing and be sure it is still a bit creamy, sweet and with a tang. Adjust as necessary. Make sure all salad ingredients are coated, but not sopping. This recipe is best served a couple hours after being dressed and does very well the next day.

Last night was not smooth sailing.. so after I spilled my carrot juice I found aphids on my broccoli... my salad had 2 heads cauliflower and 1 floret broccoli!

Live Foods Crash Course - 6 Lux Lunch - Raw Carrot Ginger Soup

Today has been a lot of fun. I was invited to the office of a friend of mine to do a live lunch with everyone there. People had a lot of questions about foods, preparation, buying, detoxing and much else. I was very warmly received and want to thank everyone there for their positive energy and interest in what I am doing.

There was so much information and so many questions that I have started writing another piece to address all of that. The central themes that I will begin outlining for that are:

1. transitioning your diet 2: raw preparations 3: acquiring good quality foods

For now though, we go back to the beginning of my day, which was last night; Making the Lunch!

I used a base recipe from here

Raw Carrot Ginger Soup:

But had some issues with the preparation, most of which were funny and so I modified a bit. I ended up not having enough carrot juice to make 4x this recipe. I also had very big avocados and not very sweet carrots... I was tired and am still in the process of getting this kitchen setup fine-tuned. This is significant because it led to me spilling some carrot juice which there was already too little of; This then became an issue because the salt measurement in the soup was added based on the original recipe... HAHA, I was a bit of a disaster, but... I went ahead and put the ingredients together anyway, including about: (minus stuff in these!)

10 cups of carrot juice and
6 avocados
1/2 cup of ginger (+2T)
1/2 cup lemon juice (+2T)
2 T sea salt

(1 t cayenne)
(1/2 t allspice)
(1 orange, peeled (I left seeds in)
(1 cup+ apple cider)

I found this to be a little salty, too thick, not sweet enough, not enough character and missing something I wasn't sure of yet. (this is in no way a comment on original recipe as I had not followed it very closely) I looked around and considered possibilities with a mild sort of broken- down-car-on-the-highway desperation; Too thick and too salty meant most likely increasing volume... I was out of carrots which could have been an easy fix... I had a few things that I felt could do it, but only a couple that seemed well in line with the character I wanted; Water I felt was unacceptable.

I pulled 1/3 gallon out and returned to the blender and added an orange... that helped and was even the right color... I added another couple of T ginger juice as well as Lemon Juice and about a cup+ of some very pulpy apple cider that happened to be there... This really started to work, so I returned it to the balance. After a round of tastings with folks I added 1/2 t allspice and 1 t cayenne to bring it around and it was right. The apple cider I used makes it not all raw, but you could do it with fresh, so I call it legal in a pinch. Enjoy!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Super Creamy Nut Milk - Raw Recipe

This stuff is fantastic and a bit addictive. I originally made it to go with a Chai that I brewed, but it could be used most anywhere a sweet cream style milk is called for.

2 handfuls raw cashew
1 Big handful raw almonds
1 t rounded; vanilla powder (use extract if no powder around)
1 t Maca powder
1/2 cup coconut oil (virgin, unrefined)
1/3 cup raw honey
8 dates, pitted
3/4 t sea salt
1 t rounded; lecithin

Fresh water, approx 32 oz depending on the consistency desired and the size of your hands.

Add all dry ingredients except lecithin. Add about half of the water and cream this mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth. add water until desired consistency is reached, add lecithin and blend again. It is ready to serve. Store refrigerated. I use it in chai, coffee or over fruit, with a little thinner version you could use it over cereal, in oatmeal etc.. I imagine you could kefir or otherwise culture it if you were interested.. I've made some nut cheeses and founf they come out sweet without added sugars. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Making Sauerkraut and Pickles!


Yip, that's what I been up to this afternoon, cutting and shredding cabbage heads and brining. So as not to reinvent the wheel, here is a perfect, all-purpose set of instructions for making kraut:


I don't have a food processor currently and the grater available is a bit unimpressive and kinked up so not the easiest tool for trying to tear down cabbage, but I wanted a mix of texture in this ferment so I did some chopping and some grating with 3 1/2 heads of green cabbage. I added some coriander seed, mustard seed, black pepper, cayenne, bit of garlic and some leftover kraut juice for the already developed lactic acid bacterial culture. It's well tamped into a gigantic mason jar with a couple of big outer leaves wrapped on the top of the kraut inside the jar and weighted with another long thin jar of water acting like a plunger. I'll taste this in about a week, though I don't expect it to mature for another few weeks.

The other day I was out at an asian grocery and I saw some firm green Japanese cucumbers in one of the bins. I had been thinking on making some pickles, so I grabbed a few. I had to read up a bit on pickles as my last attempt, though edible, were mushy. I found some notes about mushy pickles and it said very plainly that ripened, yellowing pickles will get mushy, look for firmer, greener fruits with more bumps. Well when I made pickles last year with a friend of mine, we figured, "Huh, these cukes are getting pretty ripe and we won't have time to eat them all. Why don't we make pickles? Isn't that what you do with stuuf to preserve it naturally?". We were partially correct and it did in fact create edible pickles, just not the texture we'd have liked them to be. Not a failure nor a success.

Here I am again, though this time I think I have it half right at least. These cukess I picked up are firmer and greener, but this species doesn't really have bumps? So I cleaned them, took the ends off, halved them all and put them in a 32oz jar half full of brine from a previous live pickle culture. It was a store bought, but live brine, name of Bubbies Kosher Dills. Very good and a fantastic starter. I expect these to take about a month. I'll update when I've tasted them in perhaps a couple of weeks.

A note on cultured foods: In caswe you are not in the know, cultured foods are meant to be alive when you buy them as well as when you eat them. If they've been pasteurized, they're dead, don't bother. Equally, once you are getting ready to eat them, heating them much past 114 F will start to destroy the probiotic culture resident in the ferment, so very important to eat it raw!

sauerkraut too

Sprouted Quinoa Tabouli - Recipe


Made this today for lunch. If you want to make a dish like this, you do need to think ahead and have your sprouts started. I got these quinoa sprouts going on Friday afternoon and they were ready to go today, so about 2 full days.

Raw Quinoa Tabouli -

3 Cups Sprouted Quinoa well rinsed
1/4 Cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 Cup chopped fresh flat parsley
1/2 medium red onion, fine
1 large carrot grated, coarse
3 large cloves garlic, fine
1 T flax oil
2 T EV Olive Oil
1 T Shoyu
1 T raw apple cider vinegar
Ground Black Pepper

Combine. May need a dash of sea salt. Delicious with lettuce and raw hummus, fresh tomatoes and sprouts. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Coconut Oil - What's it for and Why do I care?


Many of the people I speak to about Coconut Oil say they like it, they hear a lot about the health benefits and some of them go as far as buying some, but then it seems that people have some trouble finding uses for it. Many people don't hear much about it and may have little interest, so for those all of those folks who might be checking this out, I'd like to offer the idea that as far as plant-based oils go, Coconut oil is Fantastic and once you've read this you'll know more about it, you will be interested, you'll have some ideas of what you can do with it and you'll know the basics of which you are buying!

Some people in the USA and other countries who follow our lead on certain things have concerns about coconut oil having problematic effects on the health, weight gain, cholesterol and various other related issues. It isn't true. Coconut oil got a bunch of bad press in the US based on faulty, biased research years ago. Coconut and palm oil had various culinary uses widespread in our country but were suddenly out of favor after some research was publicized noting the "dangerous" effects that they posed, the research was largely backed by the folks who happened to have the industrial, manufactured replacements at the ready, products like margarine, hydrogenated vegetable oils and Crisco.

The facts? Here is a little bit of info from researcher Dr. Mary Enig regarding coconut oil and its health effects, "Approximately 50% of the fatty acids in coconut fat are lauric acid... [this] is a medium chain fatty acid... additional beneficial function of being formed into monolaurin in the human or animal body. Monolaurin is the anti-viral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal monoglyceride used by the human or animal to destroy lipid coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza, various pathogenic bacteria including listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and protozoa such as giardia lamblia. Some studies have also shown some antimicrobial effects of the free lauric acid.". Coconut oil has been shown to have positive effects on regulating weight, building immunity, soothing digestion, improving skin and hair texture, moisture and regulation of cholesterol levels.

In order to get the best effects from coconut oil through eating it, you'll need to know a couple of things about buying, storing and using. Being a plant-derived oil, coconut does go rancid so you'll want to be sure any coconut product that you buy is fresh and has been stored properly. Coconut oil should be kept cool, dry and away from sunlight. If these conditions are met, coconut oil will stay viable for more than a year. The second bit to be aware of are the different grades of oil available. I am a raw fooder and so am not very interested in cooking anything ever. If you are cooking, then be aware of the smoke point of the oils that you use as healthy fats become oxidized and unhealthful if they are overheated.

For heating, refined coconut oil is best as it has a higher smoke point (450 F) vs unrefined which burns at 350 F. So as one can intuit, the refined has much wider application in cooked foods such as sautes, baked goods etc.. and can replace many of the fats used in those applications with its much healthier and whole characteristics as well as the incredible flavor that it brings. For lower heat applications you can use virgin, unrefined coconut oil which has a greater amount of the meat still present and so has a more whole, aromatic, rounded flavor. Be sure to use certified, raw, organic coconut oils. Many oils are extracted through processes using heat and chemicals which add toxins and destroy nutritional aspects of this fantastic oil!

The thing that many people do not realize about their bodies is the role of fats. Your brain is made out of fat! If you are not eating healthy fats your body will break down, you will develop all sorts of ill effects. Healthy fats do not make you fat! Crappy food makes you fat! Processed sugars have more to do with weight gain in our country than most fats. If you try to eliminate fats from your diet your brain will malfunction along with everything else! So, that said...

There are all sorts of awesome ways you can use virgin coconut oil in its raw form. It easily replaces butter and can be subbed for many other oils on toast, in oatmeal, in sauces, in dressings, in soups, in candies, desserts... on and on! The way I most often use coconut oil is in nut milks, fruit-superfood mashes and in smoothies. Fat is one of the most important parts of our diet and so if you are making a smoothie to start your day that is a perfect place to get some of the fat you need.

Many people are lactose intolerant or having discovered what a mess the dairy industry in our country is, have decided that eating the mother's milk from mistreated, factory farmed animals might not be such a good idea. Once you check into it, you will find that it is very difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff in the mass-market place; Add to this the deleterious health effects of the processing (pasteurization) of milk products and it will become obvious that consumption of these is difficult to do in a sustainable manner.

So then, what do I make my smoothie with if I don't have any yogurt or milk? No Problem! You can make a delicious, energizing and wonderfully nutritive smoothie that is also dairy-free.

Try this!


Fat T coconut oil
small handful raw almonds
pinch sea salt
big handful fresh fruit of your choice (There are some great quality frozen fruits, make sure there is no sugar added)
half a banana
enough fresh water to get a nice consistency
blob o raw honey or agave if not sweet enough
1/4 vanilla bean if you have it
Fat T raw cacao
1 t Maca if you've got it.

if it seems a little flat, add some more fruit!

You'll feel great with this as the start of your day.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Nut Latte - Crazy Energy

By request, I happy divulge the following recipe:

Nut Latte - as balanced and fantastic as it gets

This is the Nut Milk I've been using.

You will need a good blender.

big handful raw almonds (soaked if possible)
another handful 1/2 cashew 1/2 hemp seeds (raw)
1/4 t cinammon
1/4 t cayenne
1/4 t green cardamon
big pinch sea salt
1/4 cup agave nectar
about 2 cups fresh water
1/4 cup EV coconut oil
1/2 t raw vanilla
1 t lecithin (optional)

Put it all in the blender, but hold back half of the water. Here is a trick that I've noticed most people haven't figured yet; Hold back half of the water and cream everything together, this is especially important if you are using a less extreme blender. Once the mixture is completely smooth, add enough water to get a cream consistency. A bit of lecithin can stop it from seperatin', but I generally don't concern my self. If you have cheescloth you can strain particles and use in other recipes but this is not necessary to enjoy nut milk.

Now, for the slightly naughty part. Get that mug of hot coffee, pour a generous Double shot into it. Yes, this is not perfectly raw, (though you can do it as an iced, which is rawer) It will heat up the nut milk, though it won't boil it. I find that this combination has much friendlier qualities for the body than does the standard milk/sugar combo. It is fantastic for those in a transition or who enjoy a coffee at times. Enjoy!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Live Foods Crash Course - 5 Cooking Intro (LFCC)

Cooking Intro

First thing I think when listening to someone talk about cooking and why they either don't do it or don't like it is that they need to take some of the thinking and deciding out of it, or at least put them in a different part of the process. We often confuse ourselves by taking what could be a simple, natural process and turning it into a set of decisions, lists and work that needs done. Some do it in a way in which they plunge into a review, consideration and planning process in order to accomplish the most rudimentary of things. Which shirt we want to wear, which movie to rent, which toothbrush will get the junk off my molars best?

This process is boring, we don't have to do it at all and we can make our food without it certainly. Food doesn't come from steps, has no bullet points and is very forgiving when we come to it with love. The food itself and our bodies will tell us what we need and what to do when we open ourselves intuitively. Going at it with a sense of openness and interest puts us in a more creative and warmer place. Try this caution-to-the-wind experiment if you've been following recipes and want to be more flexible with your culination!


Look in the fridge and in the produce basket, see what seems like it should go first and pull it all out. Don't think, just do it... listen to some Bistro-sounding Italian wine music. Look at it together and start washing up, a bit of wilt or softness is often fine and just informs you of what type of food this ingredient will lend itself to most readily. Cut away bad bits and imagine how good whatever it is is going to be. Out of this reverie will come a vision! Once you've got this stuff prepped it will be much easier to imagine what you might make with it.

Figuring out what you might make is of course a case by case event, new recipes are made at every meal. The point here is that whatever you've got is fine, that's your starting point not a recipe book. Making meals creatively out of what is at hand solves many issues that arise in peoples' relationship to the hearth and in the process they go through when considering what to make.

With an unstructured, open approach to managing your cupboards, more variety comes to your table and much less food is wasted, so trips to the grocer don't have such an air of defeat or burden. Further, cleaning out the fridge doesn't involve hazardous waste, preparing foods becomes more natural, more fun and more of a highpoint in the day once whatever you've got is exactly what you needed.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Live Foods Crash Course - 4 Storage (LFCC)

In a nutshell, there is much more to keeping good food good than just putting it in a refrigerator or cabinet. Many foods do not do well in the fridge, or must be in there, or may need to be moved at certain point in their maturation. Further, many foods that people do not generally refrigerate benefit from freezing and refrigeration though it may not be mentioned on packaging. The manner in which things are stored makes a noticeable difference in the quality and life of the subject foods.

In the line of simplicity I offer these basics to ingrain deeply:

Not everything should be refrigerated! Many things lose flavor and texture in the fridge, some become tough, dry or just ugly. (Tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, oranges, bananas etc.) Learn how to store and get more flavor out of what you buy.

Every food has limits to how long it will remain viable, nutritious and worth the energy of consuming. This comment is made with two things immediately in mind: Oils and Spices. (by oils I include oily foods such as nuts and seeds) Upon a moment more of reflection I'll include frozen foods as a close inbred cousin. I've seen it in almost every kitchen I've had the fortune of walking into and been allowed to snoop around in. People either lack cognizance of what is in their kitchen or are unrealistic about the rate of decay of what they've got.

Recently I was making some eggnog (rare for me as my diet is often undairy) for my family over the holidays. They had some processed "Cocaine" Sugar as I sometimes refer to it, the white slightly bitter standard for many confections and some Cinnamon but no nutmeg. I thought it over and called my grandmother "Nan" as she is officially known. I requested a bottle of honey and some nutmeg. I proceeded to make the Nog, added ingredients and toward the end I opened up that jar of nutmeg. When you open nutmeg, it should hit you... hard. It is one of the most lively and intense seasonings available, up there with powerhouses like Cardamom, clove, oregano.

I notice very little and do not feel the exhilaration I've learned to associate with the uncapping or even better, fresh grating of nutmeg. So I recap and flip the bottle, a faded digitized stamp reads something like 8/01... It's almost 2009, this nutmeg is just a little past it's prime. Against my better judgement I decide to use a bit anyway and supplement with some added Cinnamon and I get a Nog that is drinkable but definitely lacking in some quality... so I add more cinnamon and more rum and we play some Pinochle.

Everything has its limits. Spices lose potency due to time, sunlight, heat and the quality of the storage vessel (glass always preferable). I find people keep things and then try to use them far past their having any taste whatsoever. The other place where issues of duration were mentioned is oils. Oils whether refined such as Canola or Olive or in the original packaging such as that jar of peanuts or almonds, goes rancid. The greatest culprits in this process of rancidity are heat and time, light being an important factor as well.

That jar of peanut butter will not last forever, though you will often find folks proceeding as if this were so. Best practice for nuts and seeds is to acquire some good packaging and put them in the freezer if you intend to keep them for an extended period. Oils should not be kept out in clear bottles near sources of heat, dark cool places instead.

Folks sometimes refrigerate oils though this can be dicey when you need them to flow, depending on the oil. If you plan on keeping oils for a period beyond a couple of months then it is wise to make some plan for what sort of storage you will employ to keep it fresh. Rancid or oxidized oils are not only poor in taste, depreciating the foods you put them in, but add acidity and free radicals to your diet which works against any desire for good health you might be pursuing.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Live Foods Crash Course - 3 Cookware (LFCC)


Once we have a space ready for the act of creation we require the necessary implements to work our Magic. There are a million different kitchen gadgets, knives, pots, graters, processors, mixers, wisks, blenders, ladels, grinders etc. You could never have them all nor want even a 10th what is available. They all take space and care and often require some practice in order to use them effectively. What is really important is that you have just a few basic, good quality items and you can expand from there as you require. Almost anything you want to create can be done with just a few items. Here is a shortlist:

1. Clear workspace! Seems obvious, but often there is all sorts of stuff covering useful counter and workspace. Which stuff needs to be there, which is just taking up room? If you have a microwave get rid of it. Do you really use that Foreman Grill that often or can it go underneath? The Blender? Country Duck Ornaments? You get the picture.

2. Large Wooden Chopping Board (14" x 20" or more if possible!)! This is the center of your workspace, it should feel satisfying just to touch it, it should also have enough room that things aren't falling off when you're chopping or working something. Wooden Boards develop character as they age and become more beautiful and rounded. Keep it oiled and never use soap or dirty sponges on it. Wash well with hot water, tip up to drain dry. Wood has natural anti-biotic qualities that will keep it properly sanitary. Warm, soapy sponges are the dirtiest thing in the kitchen.

3. 8" Chef knife of solid construction w/ sharpener. One good knife like this, with a sharp blade can get you just about anywhere.

4. larger strainer

5. Big Washing and Salad Bowl. Something ceramic or even wood can be nice, I like an earthy piece if it's available.

6. 4 quart boiling pot , 2 & 1 quart saucepans, 12" & 8" fry pans or something like this.

In addition a small array of wooden spoons, solid steel spatula and a couple serving spoons. If you're high-falutin' like I am you might add in a few big pyrex measuring vessels 1/2, 1 & 2 Quart. I love these, though I never really measure much anything. I also have a very exciting commercial blender that has more horsepower than most lawnmowers.. (Waring Commercial Xtreme!.. some peak 4hp I think) Sounds funny but it does have a purpose, though much to complex and secret to talk about here. Baking gear is extra curricular and not covered in this installment.

Much cookware, particularly pots and pans are often made of toxic Materials such as Aluminum which is then sometimes coated with Teflon (Plastic). Some folks then proceed to use metal implements to cook with or a dishwasher to clean, drop the thing a couple of times and end up with a sort of lumpy ovoid aluminum debris with tattered, sliced plastic interior. They take this injured creation and put it on the stove, light it up and put some food in it, which they then let heat up together with the plastic and aluminum. They mix all that together and call it dinner... Just throw them away. One old cliche I've heard is "Pay for it now, or pay for it later". With this item, you are sabotaging your health. Do not use Aluminum, do not cook on hot plastic and definitely don't cook on either of these when the surfaces are damaged to boot. Cooking Surfaces should be stainless steel, iron, glass, stone, clay, wood. Some enamels are ok but I like to know where and when they come from. Jury is out on anodized pans from what I can tell through researching it. These are aluminum that has been put through a hardening process and is used in some very good cookware such as Calphalon's high-end series'. They are harder than the old pots and do not seem to be leeching. They do not oxidize and I do use them. If they do oxidize or start to dull, they are done. Call Manufacturer for replacement (many of these have lifetime warranty) or recycle it in some non-food-related capacity, but do not eat from it. Aluminum is not food and is not a mineral that you want your RDA met on.

If you follow this series to its end you'll need almost no cookware at all as by that time you'll want nothing but raw foods!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Live Foods Crash Course - 2 Refrigerator

One of the freakiest places in a person's kitchen is often the refrigerator. Some of the things that will offer the best diagnosis of the health of this organ are: Is the fridge full of condiments and bottled sauces? Are there use-by dates stamped on that remind you of the last career change you made? Are there things obviously going off, turning green or trying to eat the carrots you just bought? Is the refrigerator a barren wasteland with a bottle of water, a take-out container from Taco-Ted's, some ketchup and a soda that was there when you moved in? In any case, if the fridge is off your radar, it needs some love, otherwise the good things we want to put in there either have no room to go, or are at risk of spoiling due to the already rotted foods around them.

Cleaning out the fridge can be a great way to get some of your energy back and clearing up blockages. Things that nobody cares about hanging around your place suck the energy and freshness out of what you are intending. Break that stagnancy by opening the door cleaning and getting rid of stuff that you do not use or have not looked at forever. Take a look at the labels on some of these products that may be there and notice all of the ingredients that may not even be food. Empty out glass containers, wash them up and use for storage of all the tasty creations you will make in the future (glass is much better than plastic for taste, quality and toxicity of foods).

With counters cleared, refrigerator gone over, sink emptied and trash out the kitchen starts to take on the form necessary to welcome fresh foods, people and creativity into its midst. The hearth has begun to reawaken to its timeless purpose within the fabric of our lives. We need only bring the life energy of fruits, vegetables, our enthusiasm for fresh meals and the folks we love to eat with to make it complete.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Live Foods Crash Course - 1 Hearth (LFCC)

The kitchen is a Sacred Place! Running a Kitchen with presence and joy leads to greater awareness of foods and tastes as well as our bodies and our needs; By engaging this space we can learn quicker, simpler preparations and increase our creativity both in the kitchen as well as other areas of our lives. Every action can be an expression of Love or Yoga if you like. The similarity in both spelling and meaning of the words "Heart" and "Hearth" in itself is worth reflecting as well as the radiant quality of both. When we give ourselves to the hearth it gives back the energy we need to care for it, ourselves and our world.

Cooking can be a frugal art and works from a kind of precision and desire to use what we have available to create something delicious and nourishing... we need not waste nor want, but learn to recognize abundance and perfection while at the same time loving all that we are given as if it were everything. In the hearth we show this love in many ways, one of which is by learning to make beauty of whatever we have. By giving this kind of care to the ingredients as well as what we prepare, the foods, the kitchen, the cook and the diners all share in a kind of sacred eternal blessing that comes only from the heart and from endowing our acts with love and presence.

One of the first ways we can begin to endow the hearth with our Presence is quite pragmatic as many deep spiritual practices generally are. Walk into the kitchen and consider the arrangement. Is it set in a way that lends itself to your being there and creating within the space? Are there mail and bills on the counter? Are there a lot of dirty dishes in the sink? Are the counters clean? Is the lighting good? Is the garbage piled up? A space with these characteristics doesn't invite most people to embrace the joy of creating sacramental meals, or even snacks. No great crime in the big picture, but often an obstacle within our search for quality of life experience and in finding the motivation to be creative. An unpleasant environment can make it difficult to feel the blessing when creating the meal and leads many to order out or eat from a box even if they have good food waiting. A hearth that is about food, spirit, family and creation energizes and invites us even when we are tired or ill and gives back to us what it is that we require.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Live Foods Crash Course - Intro

Many people in western society today have come to a place where they are unsure of how to feed themselves properly, of how to shop for foods, prepare them, store them or feel that they just do not have the time or energy to give to these practices, some say they just don't like cooking. There are myriad reasons why people feel this way including anything from working long hours to never learning how much of it works, to feeling discouraged after watching so much of the food they buy go off, or come out poorly after the time spent preparing it. Whatever the reasons for staying out of the kitchen, there are more and better for getting into the kitchen. All that most folks need is some basic understanding that will get them past some basic hurdles such as: What to Buy, What to Make, What is good for me, What do I have time for, How do I do that???

This blog will offer something along the lines of what the title portends, Live Foods Crash Course. In it we will go into a lot of questions I've been asked about how to make all sorts of foods, raw food preparation, buying, storing, avoiding toxins in foods, cooking, uncooking, eating live foods to feel great, more energy, losing weight and much more. There will be links to recipes, other natural food sites, private consultation and other relevant information. Let us know what you would like to know more about!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Diet Basics

Our current diet was designed and discovered (rediscovered?) through experience and study. In many ways, it is a return to the basics of human nutrition.

It is specifically designed to maximize the nutrients that you get out of every bite of food that passes your lips, and it avoids foods that uses processing and storage practices that destroys it's value and quality.

The end result is that you eat less, and your body's functioning is maximized.

Here are the diet basics.