The Power of Raw

Summertime – don’t you love it? And summertime is the perfect time to spoil your body, recharge the old batteries and rejuvenate yourself!

I find nothing quite as powerful as a couple of days on raw food,  plant-based, entirely raw dishes, full of all the goodness you need to tune yourself back into vibrant.

Here is how it goes – for breakfast how about some  Creamy Raw Food Oatmeal

Raw food musli

Raw food musli

Or delicious Raw Food “yoghurt” with mango and raspberry coulis

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Or Raw Food Granola made from fresh sprouts and almond creme…

Raw food Breakfast

Raw food Breakfast

For lunch how about Raw Food Sushi served with ginger, garlic sauce.

Ready to enjoy

Ready to enjoy

or Raw Food Pasta with fresh tomato sauce and capers….

Raw Food Fettuccine

Raw Food Fettuccine

or a delicious salad with pomegranate, apples and pineapple 

Salad with pomegranate and apple

Salad with pomegranate and apple

or Raw Food  Veggie Chili with Cashew “Cheese” DSC_0135

And lots of green juice

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And green smoothies during the day

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For dinner Raw Food Curry served with Parsnip “Rice” 

1 red pepper

1 orange pepper

1 zucchini

5 big brown mushrooms

4 spring onions

Wash and finely chop everything – make the curry sauce

Curry Sauce 

2 big  scoops tablespoons of cashew butter

1 tablespoon of chopped fresh ginger

4 dried lime leaves or 2 fresh

1 cup of water

2 tablespoon of soya sauce

1 tablespoon sweet chill sauce

juice and rind of 1 lime fruit

1 teaspoon of Thai red curry paste

Put it all in the blender and blend into a delicious creamy curry sauce.

Raw Food Curry Sauce

Raw Food Curry Sauce

Parsnip “rice” 

Peel 2 parsnips and cut them into smaller pieces – put them in the blender and blend them till they look rice- alike – squeeze a little fresh lemon juice on and a little sea salt.

Serve on a plate with the chopped vegetables – pour over the curry sauce and enjoy!

Raw Food Curry with Parsnip "Rice"

Raw Food Curry with Parsnip “Rice”

 

” What you find at the end of your fork is more powerful than anything you’ll find at the bottom of a pill bottle” – Dr. Mark Hyman

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Raw Aubergine Lasagne with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Creamy Béchamel

One of the things that continuously surprises people, is how good healthy food tastes!

I hear it again and again – wow, this is so good!

I mean, healthy food really tastes so good that I actually prefer it to more traditional recipes! In fact, so good, I often choose it over anything else.

And by healthy food, I’m not referring to low-fat, low sugar, low taste, low life….. no life……Dietary restrictions are not for me –  I believe that it’s really more about balance!.

There are easy ways to get going: For example, try shifting the balance on your plate to mostly plants, or eating plant-based one meal a week or even an all day plants diet. Even just exchanging some meals every now and then with plant-based foods. Plant-based food nourishes the body, feeds it what is really needed, rather than just filling it up. This will make a huge difference to your body balance and add tremendous benefits to your health and overall well-being.

By eating plant-based you:

  • keep yourself nourished
  • keep your cholesterol levels down
  • lose weight and maintain your ideal weight
  • feel content
  • stop unhealthy cravings

Raw Aubergine lasagne with fresh tomato sauce and creamy béchamel 

Eggplant Lasagne

Eggplant Lasagne

The “lasagne” sheets/pasta is aubergine in this case, but it could as well be thin slices of zucchini,  sliced the long way, left to marinade for about 15min, with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon….

Aubergine

Aubergine

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Fresh Tomato Sauce

200g fresh organic tomatoes

4 whole sundried tomatoes

Fresh Basil

Fresh Oregano

A little red chili pepper

Sea salt

A clove of garlic

A small piece of shallot onion, maybe 1/4 of a whole

Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Put everything in the blender and blend into a sauce. Put it in a bowl and set aside while you make the creamy béchamel…

Creamy Bechamel

Creamy Bechamel

 Creamy Bechamel

1 cup of raw Cashew nuts

1/2 cup of avocado oil

Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup of water

Soak the cashews – I soak them overnight to make them really soft and easy to blend. Put the cashews, water, avocado oil, lemon juice, nutmeg and sea salt in the blender and blend into a creamy sauce.

Fresh Basil

Fresh Basil

Now layer the lasagne – it’s best to do this right before it’s served, minutes before eating.

Start with slices of marinated aubergine – then add micro greens, slices of avocado, some fresh tomato sauce, then another slice of aubergine, top generously with the creamy béchamel and a sprig of fresh basil.

Micro greens

Micro greens

Avocado

Avocado

Enjoy

Enjoy

This is the perfect lunch – or dinner served with a slice of freshly baked rosemary foccasccia – also perfect with a piece of fish, chicken or meat – and a glass of wine.

“You know, all that really matters is that the people you love are happy and healthy. Everything else is just sprinkles on the sundae” – Paul Walker

Sugar is the new tobacco

I’m working on my book about how to lower cholesterol – naturally. Thus I’m trying to focus on anything and everything that can play a role in actively helping us to prevent high cholesterol, but also in effectively reducing it – if/when we are diagnosed with it. The main issues in the book are exercise and food, but also includes topics on emotional health, stress, and sleep, all of which affect cholesterol levels. Foods can harm us or nourish us. Food can help us to stay strong, happy, healthy, and naturally lower our cholesterol. But, there are certain foods that can create havoc on our health – especially if we have them in excess. Processed foods, which contain a lot of hidden additives, including sugar and salt, are the worst. 

One of these really bad additives is white sugar. This stuff is a real killer. The bad and sad truth is a lot of our food is designed by the industry to get us hooked. By adding too much sugar, too much salt, MSG etc., the industry literally “pushes” food types to us and we become addicted to these things (their intention being, of course, that we buy and consume more of the same!).

I remember that when I was first diagnosed with high cholesterol I would very conscientiously examine the food value stickers and to assure myself that there was little or no cholesterol. If it said zero, I thought I was safe! However, I didn’t consider sugar, and especially the white, refined kind, is not only a contributing factor to obesity, diabetes, but a big trouble maker, when it comes to heart disease and the unhealthy cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.

According to WebMD & the American Medical Association, a study showed that people who consumed the highest levels of sugar had the lowest HDL (the good cholesterol) and the highest triglyceride levels. People who ate the least amount of sugar had the highest HDL (good cholesterol) and the lowest levels of triglyceride! As well, it showed that eating large amounts of sugar more than tripled the risk of heart disease.

As a consequence of these findings, a global campaign has been started: www.actiononsugar.org aimed at trying to reduce sugar intake by calling it the new tobacco …. this is to try, just like was done with fat, to lobby to reduce the amount of hidden sugar in processed foods.

I can only applaud that, but at the same time I think that it would be easier to simply move away from eating sugar and toward eating more clean food. By clean food, I mean food that has not been processed, food such as vegetable, fruits, grains, legumes, leafy greens, etc.

By eating clean, we feed and nourish the body with real food. And when the body gets what it needs, it stops craving the wrong kind of food like: cookies, cream cakes and smarties.

Clean food

Clean food

As my diet changed and I was eating more green food I experienced so many benefits, such as loosing weight and feeling energized. I found that things like cookies, cakes and candy; things that I had been raised to enjoy, all of a sudden tasted way too sweet and I no longer enjoyed eating them. It was the same with salty foods, like certain cheeses and even some kinds of olives, they simply tasted almost unbearably salty. So, as my tastes changed, I naturally stopped eating these thing or eating less of them.

More green

More green

Today we can get bacon with less salt, soups and stocks with less salt – and hopefully soon we will see food products with less sugar.

But – why wait? Do it yourself!

All of this is really great, but how about eating fewer processed foods all together! Then, instead, add more plant-based foods, you will reduce your sugar intake in a heart beat.

Good sugar / bad sugar?

But how about the sugar in fruit? I found an answer to that in an interesting article in The Globe and Mail: “Sugar is the new tobacco“, wherein Dr. Robert Lustig, an neuroendocrinologist and obesity expert explained how the body processes sugar calories in a way that is much more damaging than, say, a protein calorie. However, the sugar calories contained in fruits, with its vitamins, minerals, fibre and micronutrients intact, is broken down more slowly and causes much less impact on blood sugar, as well as liver processes. He states:

Sugar in excess is a toxin, unrelated to it’s calories. The dose determines the poison. Like alcohol, a little sugar is fine, but a lot is not. And the food industry has put us way over our limit” – Dr Robert Lustig

Fresh fruits and veggies

Fresh fruits and veggies

To consume less refined sugar, try to:

  • Eat less processed foods
  • Prepare home cooked meals, make you own cakes and cookies – then you know exactly how much sugar goes in. As well, you can choose the healthier kinds of sugar.
  • Say good-bye! to white sugar.
  • Eat more plant-based foods.
  • Try to replace (most of your) cakes and cookies with delicious raw food options – like this or these.….
  • Drink greens smoothies like these.
  • Enjoy dates and figs, if you crave something sweet
Green Smoothies

Green Smoothies

It’s possible to do so much yourself and remember, even little changes can make a big difference! 

Do you want to know how I lowered my hereditary cholesterol naturally? – Read here.

Fresh and Crispy Nori Rolls with Ginger & Garlic Sauce

These little Nori rolls are so easy to make and they are stuffed full of goodness!

Whether you want to: lose weight, lower your cholesterol, become more healthy, …… simply adding more green food into your diet, will bring on amazing results …

Rather than restricting yourself, and cutting out certain foods, or going on a diet – you can add more plant-based foods that feed and nourish you. Thus, there will be less space for food that is not so healthy, and more room for the food that is good for you.

It’s simple, it’s easy and it can make a huge positive change to your health.  

I hope you enjoy them! They taste just scrumptious!

Crispy Nori Rolls

Crispy Nori Rolls

Fresh and Crispy Nori Rolls with Ginger Garlic dipping Sauce

Roasted seaweed sheets

Bean sprouts

Broccoli sprouts

fresh spinach leaves

Carrots strips

Cucumber strips

Red pepper strips

Spring onions

Celery strips

On the seaweed sheet you add everything –  just like this …

Nori Roll in preparation

Nori Roll in preparation

Then you roll gently, but tightly (this can be difficult, but don’t worry they taste just as good). Serve them on a plate with the Ginger Garlic Sauce

Ready to enjoy

Ready to enjoy

Ginger Garlic Dipping Sauce

5 tablespoons of good soya sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove of freshly squeezed garlic

A little freshly grated ginger

A little wasabi

Mix it all together.

Ginger garlic sauce

Ginger garlic sauce

Nori rolls with ginger garlic sauce served with a big glass of green smoothie.

Enjoy!

Green lunch

Green lunch

Kick Ass Juice

It seems like every day I’m hearing people say ” Oh no, I’m going down with the flu”!

Yesterday afternoon, a dear friend of mine emailed me – “what do I do? I’m getting a cold, I feel it coming on – help”!

When I get these kinds of feelings, rather than filling myself with vitamin Cs in the form of pills, I load up on straight natural vitamin Cs! The ones you find in oranges, grapefruits, limes, lemons, kiwi, pineapple …….etc

Potent and effective as well as downright delicious!

This is what I do:

In a big jug of ice water I put slices of fresh ginger, lemon, and lime –  I was even so lucky this morning to find small fresh sprigs of mint in the garden!

It tastes delicious and it’s a great way to add natural vitamin C to your drink.

Vitamin C water

Vitamin C water

Here on the West Coast, we have a very popular local coffee brand called “Kick Ass Coffee”

Using that theme, I make Kick Ass Juice – if you try it, you will know that this is the perfect name for it!

This is what goes in it:

Lots of fresh oranges

Lots of fresh oranges

A couple of grapefruits

A couple of grape fruits

One fresh fennel

One fresh fennel

Lime

Lime

Fresh mint

Fresh mint

Lemon

Lemon

Fresh ginger

Fresh ginger

Kick Ass Juice

Kick Ass Juice with Fennel

Kick Ass Juice with Fennel

Apart from this, for holding off the flu/cold bugs, I also drink hot and spicy ginger tea made from fresh slices of ginger, slices of lime and lemon. Just pour steaming hot water on – you can add a spoonful of honey if you like (,) Honey 🙂

Fresh ginger tea

Fresh ginger tea

I hope these vitamin C boosters,  will help you flight off flues and colds  this winter!

Stay healthy!

Crispy Yam with Spicy Harissa

When I was first diagnosed with high cholesterol I believed that there was nothing in this world I could do to change that. I believed that I had to be on medication for the rest of my life because I had the generic kind.  A dad and a brother on cholesterol lowering medication, a granddad who suffered a heart attack and an uncle who died. I knew this was no laughing matter, soI faithfully took my statins and didn’t ask questions.

No questions

No Questions

This year I celebrate 4 years of normal cholesterol and no medication.

I did it with lifestyle changes!

Changed my diet and started exercising. You can read exactly how I did it here and a great story about the power of lifestyle changes here

A healthy lifestyle is the worlds best medicine

Lifestyle changes the best medicine

Lifestyle changes the best medicine

An example of what I eat for lunch instead of a sandwich filled with meat and cheese.

Crispy Yams and Spicy Harissa 

Lunch

Lunch

Crispy Yams and Spicy Harissa

3 red pepper 

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup olive oil

juice from one lemon

1 clove of garlic

1/2 -1 red chilli

Bake the peppers till they are tender and the skin almost black. Allow them to cool, tear off the skin and put the flesh in the blender. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend into a smooth and delicious sauce.

2 big yams

Olive oil

sea salt pepper

3 red pepper1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup olive oil

juice from one lemon

1 clove of garlic

1/2 -1 red chilli

Slice the yams and put them on a baking tray – drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Bake till golden brown, crispy  and tender.

Serve the crispy yams on a salad with the spicy Harrisa and a  fresh squeeze of lemon.

This dish can easily be made as dinner served with whatever takes your fancy – and it can be the perfect leftover lunch to bring to work.

Harrisa Sauce

Harissa Sauce

Wishing you a wonderful weekend wherever you are!

The power of natural

This time of year is prime time for colds and flus –  people are heading for their flu-shots trying to  prevent the dreaded symptoms of flu, headaches, aching bodies, sneezing and endless running noses.

At the checkout counter in the supermarket we find not only candy to tempt us, but also bags of vitamin C powder that magically is supposed to help us fight the flu.

In my life instead of pills, tablets and bags of vitamin C,  I prefer boosting my immune system the natural way, with freshly squeezed delicious juices – that are naturally packed with fresh vitamins and minerals. Like this one, for instance, freshly squeezed carrot juice with apples, lemon and ginger, made with all fresh organic ingredients.  Carrots, filled with vitamin A, organic local apples filled with fibre, minerals, and vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, C, E, K, as well as loaded with antioxidants.  Slices of fresh ginger that are packed with goodness and always has been known and praised, for its medicinnal powers to cure all kinds of ailments such as nausea, colds etc

Along with freshly squeezed lemon, with its high content of vitamin C and  its power to clear up colds. This is a seriously healthy drink which tastes delicious at the same time!

I believe this is so much more powerful than any vitamin supplement,  it’s natural, fresh and potent. A perfect way to boost our immune system naturally.

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Dinner juice

Mind over Medicine

Thank you for all the bloglove I am receiving! I apologize for not replying to comments and email messages as promptly as I would like to, but please know that your love and messages are like honey poured directly into my heart and healing tonic for my soul!

I am doing what I need to do right now – taking time to slow down, creating space to listen to my heart, to meditate, to write, spending time with people  I love – doing the things I know will assist my body in healing.

I feel the benefits in many ways –  less pain, more laughter, more ideas coming to me, more creativity, wanting to dance and do somersaults on the lawn….. 🙂

I would like to share a book title and a TED talk – by Dr. Lissa Rankin

Dr Lissa Rankin speaks my language – re-afirming to me, just how important it is to listen to the body. How important emotional health is to our overall health – it’s not a separate entity – emotional health is the foundation of health.

Dr. Lissa Rankin is wildly inspiring. I hope you enjoy!

 Lissa Ranking M.D.

Another thing I want to tell mention, is that the famous VVP Virtual Vegan Potluck, will take place on the 16th of November.  If you are into healthy eating or simply wants inspiration to a healthier diet – the VVP is a mecca of great inspiration!

Read more here –   http://virtualveganpotluck.com/november-2013/

What is stress telling you?

Since I became sick I have had my focus on, what I could do myself, to help my body heal, and preferably, as soon and as fast as possible!

Good food and rest

Good food and rest

But most importantly,

I have been thinking, what is there in this for me to learn?

I kept asking myself – how could I who is, so healthy, become so sick?

How?

How?

I poked and I prodded, I took deep breaths, I scratched my head, I turned and I swirled with the question……why, and what is in here for me to learn?

The illness, the imbalance in me, surely had a message, a very important one, I knew, but what was that message?

I finally got it ! I knew that stress creates havoc in people’s bodies. But somehow I didn’t think it also meant in my own body!

I could somehow, magically escape stress and just move on, without it having any effect on me…….

Just continue my tin soldier act …. stressing away….

But reality is, no-one can, not even me or you! Eventually, stress catches up with us and we break down in some way or the other. In my case, it was this infection, but it could just as well have been, depression or a heart attack…

I have to admit that I have been stressed, emotionally stressed for quite some time and finally my body broke down. I had neglected to hear my body’s desperate whispers in my ear for too long. I had not been listening and in the end it had to scream, in the form of an illness, that almost wiped me out, to finally, finally, get my attention!

Quiet enough to hear

Quiet enough to hear

Illness forced me to become quiet enough to hear.

What I learned is that we can eat healthier than heathy and we can exercise till the moon goes down. But, if we are stressed, its not going to work. It’s like a beach ball we can try to hold it down under the water, but it eventually will pop back up.

The truth is, stress robs us of life, it makes us sick – it’s a killer!

Please see the interview by clicking the link below, with Gabor Mate MD  –  Dr. Mate, a Vancouver based doctor, who has for many years worked in the Palliative Care Unit at Vancouver Hospital where he was the medical coordinator. Based on medical studies and his own  personal experience, and through his work, states that there are important links between the mind and the immune system.

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/2/15/dr_gabor_mat_when_the_body

Stress is a sign to slow down and listen. The problem with stress is that we become used to it and can hardly even feel we are stressed after a while it just feels “normal” to feel like that.

Stress actually starts in our childhood, for example, some of us learned not express emotions and needs as children. This means we are much more receptacle to becoming stressed because we have learned early on to suppress our emotions and needs.

Stress weakens our immumne system and makes us more prone to diseases and while stressed it’s more difficult to heal.

It’s obvious that stress creates imbalances in our bodies and our lives! It should be treated with uttermost respect – symptoms of stress are not only whispers, they are the body’s desperate scream for attention!

Read more about stress symptoms, signs and causes here

Read Gabor Mate’s book “When the body say’s no” Understanding the stress- disease connection.

Let Food be thy medicine — even in the hospital!

It has been busy around here and life is not always as you plan it or want it to be …..

I had just accompanied my beautiful daughter to her new home. Helped her as she settled and got ready to start a new life at university. We had some amazing days together and my heart was filled with of love, tenderness and tears, as Ihugged her goodbye and headed to the airport to fly home, without her.

Back home again, I was busy giving workshops and it was fun, I love it, I was busy preparing for another 4 workshops that were already booked. I was running my beautiful 10 morning k’s every other day.

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And then one day just after I had been out swimming in the lake, enjoying maybe the last swim this year — I got sick — really sick! And ended up being taken to the hospital in an ambulance! That, definitely, was NOT supposed to be!

I spent 4 intense days in the hospital, and gratefully I am now home recovering and feeling the strength and energy coming back. Wonderful!

But it definitely was not the food that healed me………..I know that for a fact. The doctors and nurses were absolutely incredible, they went out of their way to help me heal and feel comfortable. Amazing competent, warm and wonderful people!!

But the food……… that’s another very sad story!

During the 4 days, I was served 12 trays of food, each of them impossible to eat. I know I should be happy and grateful that I was served food at all ……. but honestly, it was the most unappetizing sad “food” I have ever seen in my life – I was chocked!

As a chef and a person who has been healed through food and lifestyle changes – I just couldn’t stop myself from thinking – why?

Food is so important for so many reasons!

Surely this can be done better!

Over and over again I was thinking how absurd it was that I was in hospital, a place of healing and there was no interest about the food. Fresh nourishing food is such a vital part in healing!

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food – Hippocrates (year 431 BC!)

In those 4 days I did not see a single fruit or vegetable, never mind the fresh anything at all – no fresh fruit nor fresh vegetables – no – ZERO – none at all!

The food on the trays had perhaps never been fresh! Everything was processed and as far as I could judge, had nothing to do even with nourishment! And served in dull plastic containers on a dull plastic tray.

With a rumbling tummy and food fantasies on my mind, I talked to the nurse about the food – they said that over 70% !!! of all trays go back untouched!

70% -What a waste!!! What a shame, how sad, what a total missed opportunity!

We know that healthy food helps us heal faster, we know that healthy food has the potential to prevent disease. We know that sick people more than anybody needs nourishment.

We also know that a vast majority of diseases are caused and directly linked to unhealthy lifestyle and eating the wrong diet……..so why don’t the hospitals grab the chance and serve sick patients enjoyable, nutritious fresh food. Grab the chance to feed and inspire healthy living – and help the patients to heal themselves.

So why? …….. The argument is “It’s too expensive!”

But is it, really?

In Denmark, at one point in time, they went through the same gloomy experience! 40 tons of hospital food was chucked away every day, because it was so grim, no one wanted to eat it.

To change that, they employed professional chefs along with dieticians and they designed menus for people to enjoy, to look forward to every day and to help them heal faster!

Serving meals, 3 times a day became a thing of the past — because when you are sick you are not necessarily hungry on the dot. Instead every patient has a menu and a telephone. And when hungry, they simply take the menu, pick their fancy and call the chefs in the kitchen. The meal is then prepared, cooked from fresh natural ingredients and brought up to the patient. Nutritious, fresh, delicious — real food from real people – who care and love cooking!

What they found was, not surprisingly, that there was hardly any food waste, patients got well, out of bed and home faster, too.

And, it was not more expensive!

But unfortunately, it is in general the same story – no matter where you are in the world – hospital food has a bad reputation.

Hospitals around the world are missing a huge opportunity. Hospitals, our health care system, could be the greatest example of health! Show us how to enjoy food, teach us what to eat to stay healthy and nourished, the best food for our bodies – to assist us heal, to help fight disease and prevent it.

Great food in hospitals would not only help us heal, but it would also inspire us all to practice more healthy living when we got back home.

Imagine how we could assist the body in healing if we were served something like this:

Freshly squeezed carrots

Freshly squeezed carrots

Green smoothies

Freshly prepared green smoothies with fresh spinach leafs and juicy fruits

Creamy Raw Food Oatmeal

Creamy Raw Food Oatmeal, with almonds, dates and apple – a glass of freshly squeezed orange

Fresh fruits and veggies

Free access to fresh fruits and veggies

Crispy Spring Rolls

Crispy Spring Rolls

A bowl of freshly made tomato soup

A bowl of freshly made tomato soup made of REAL tomatoes

Instead of this –

Breakfast?

Jello for breakfast?

Lunch?

Lunch?

Not sure...

Not sure….

On the fourth day I cried…….

If we have to spend money – why not spend it well?

I know there are other places that have changed the concept of tasteless grey hospital food – and with great success – that’s here in Canada.

Listen to this inspiring talk by Joshna Maharaj – an amazing passionate woman who helped change the hospital food in Toronto.

Hurraaa for people like Joshna!