RAW FOOD NEWS

Thursday, October 16, 2008

RAW FOOD BASICS

Mom and I are getting frustrated over some of our attempts at making raw food dishes and we have put our heads together and come up with the reason why. The basics is the answer.

Think of it like this; if you were a chef in a restaurant, you would be required to add things to your recipe, things like milk, water, butter, cream, juice, whatever is considered the wet stuff, the liquid ingredients. You would also need to add dry things.

The difference between the chef and you is, they already have those things on hand; they either came from a box, a container, carton or a package. In your case, you will make these things as you go which is in keeping with “rawism”. In the beginning of your raw journey, you may want to go ahead and purchase pre-made nut butters and cream, nut milks, seed milks, etc. You can choose to make your own juices or buy organic juices that match the raw criteria. Either way, you will then have the ingredients you need to finish your recipes.

A good example of starting with the basics is a recipe mom and I received recently. Somewhere in the body of the recipe, it calls for adding “butter” to your dry ingredients and you wonder where the “butter” came from. Well, the first ingredient on this list is coconut. By now, you should have taken the meat from a coconut and blended it into butter. There is your “butter”.

Remember, there are many basics to a recipe, if you have those basics on hand ahead of time, you will cut your preparation time down considerably. Make your sauces, creams, milks and butters and keep them ready.

We bought a “ball” of candy which as it happens turned out to be the “paste” in the recipe for a choco maca shake. If you have a bunch of those little balls of paste made up ahead of time, you can quickly add your liquid ingredients and make your shake in much less time.

We have agreed to purchase the basics to start with and, as we go, we will start making the basics for ourselves. Hopefully this will cut down on the frustration when things don’t turn out the way it should. It may seem like it is more expensive to start out this way but, by the time you try and try again and still don’t come up with what you want, you are wasting money on those attempts. We are going to gradually start making our own basics but, in the beginning, we are going to purchase them always keeping in mind the raw criteria. Earth Balance makes some great spreads and Cascadian Farm makes some raw veggies available in the freezer section of the supermarket. You can get raw nut butters, milks, creams and such. You can purchase many varieties of nut milks and seed milks at your local grocers as well. Many health food stores carry all of these products but may be a bit more expensive. Shop around. Start there so you don’t get frustrated and turn back before you give it a chance.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

SHOULD YOU GO ORGANIC

That is the question many have raised in recent years and more and more you will find organically grown/raised products at your local supermarket. An even bigger question is what exactly is organic? What does it mean?

Organically grown fruits and vegetables means that the land has not been treated with herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers for a period of at least three years and the produce is not subjected to harmful toxins. It means the produce you buy is unprocessed or very little process has taken place. Studies have shown that nutritional qualities is based on how the produce is grown; without the chemicals, the soil is more nutrient rich leading to more nutritious products. When they are not treated, they become more robust and capable of fighting off disease and these components are passed on to you.

For non-organic meat and eggs, it means the animals are given hormones for quicker growth and faster yield. They are given antibiotics to prevent disease. Again, these chemicals are passed on to you, the consumer. It has been found that these antibiotically-charged products have led to our immunity to antibiotics. Animals that are given treated grain can store these chemicals in their fat cells. When you consume animal fat, you are consuming these chemicals. When buying lean meat, you lower that risk but the risk is still there.

With organically produced milk, the animals are kept in a more confined area that is kept chemical-free and their feed is a key element. No chemicals for them means no chemicals for you.

So when asking yourself if you should go organic, think about what the product has been treated with and if you want to be treated with the same and remember, the more you receive these harmful additives, the more you will require them. Become chemical-free and take the plunge, go organic, you will be glad you did.

Monday, October 6, 2008

RAW FOOD RESTAURANT IN FLORIDA

On several occasions, my mother and I have had the pleasure of dining at "The Present Moment" raw food restaurant in St. Augustine, Florida. Yesterday, they offered an "uncooked" class which was attended by many people who are in varying degrees of rawism. There were several 100% raw foodists there and several who were just getting started, like mom and I. It was a very enthusiastic gathering and the class was an enjoyable experience. I had a chance to speak with several people and the thing mom and I like the most is how friendly everyone is. I think it has something to do with the good food they are consuming. The owner of the restaurant headed up the class and started out by saying raw food is good for the mind, spirit and body.

Yvette showed us how to make a variety of sauces to have on hand and showed us different ways to use these sauces. She also suggested that we date and label everything we make and Agave plastic bottles are great storage containers to use for this purpose.

We learned how to make portabella croquettes which has a seafood flavor added in which made them appear like crab cakes, or in this case, "uncrabby cakes". They were delicious as was the spinach and cheese sauce mix. The spinach she used was from Cascadian Farms and can be found in the freezer section of your local grocers. She did some research on some of the Cascadian Farms items and found them to be compliant with the "raw" guidelines.

We learned how to make a vegetable sushi and tamales. We were also able to sample some of the juices, shakes and organic wine that are available at the bar.

The booklet we received contained the above recipes with the addition of several more great ideas and a lot of helpful information. I imagine if you visit their website, you can request a copy of this booklet, there may be a small charge for it but it is well worth it.

The evening was topped off with a wonderful homemade raw ice cream which was loaded with flavor and very satisfying to the palate.

The Present Moment has a shop next door where you can find everyday items to incorporate into your raw food lifestyle with ease.

The experience was a good one and we are looking forward to our next visit to this lovely restaurant and hope that if a visit to Florida is in your future, keep this raw food restaurant in mind and add it to your itinerary, you will not regret it.

While you are there, visit the historical city of St. Augustine with all of its old buildings, an old fort, jail and school house, there is much to explore and a variety of tours available that are pleasurable for all ages.

Friday, September 26, 2008

WHEATGRASS MENTIONED ON THE TONIGHT SHOW


I am just getting started with wheatgrass and had my first real taste of it the other night. Wow, I thought I was going to start mooing but with all the benefits, I am going to start doing wheatgrass shots on a regular basis. I think I may put it in my smoothies to hide the flavor.

I was watching "The Tonight Show" last night, 09/25/08, and they had a segment of Presidential Jeopardy on with three very good impersonators for Bush, Palin and Obama.

One of the "answers" was "whole foods" and the Obama impersonator said it was a place to pick up some non-dairy tofu curry and some WHEATGRASS.

I thought it worth mentioning on my blog because more and more, mom and I are running into people that know about wheatgrass, have heard about it or are already consuming wheatgrass. Don't forget to check out mom's wheatgrass blog at GROW YOUR OWN WHEATGRASS. The tray shown in the picture is an actual tray of my mom's wheatgrass.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A WELL-BALANCED RAW FOOD DIET CONTAINS ALL THE PROTEIN NEEDED TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHY BODY

The importance of protein in your diet is best explained in The Center For Young Women's Health. If a raw foodist follows a well-balanced diet, they will get all the protein they need naturally from those raw foods. Protein contains the amino acids your body needs to help build and repair muscle, maintaining healthy tissue. Without protein, your body can start to break down leading to a variety of health issues. When on the raw food diet, you want to be sure you get all the nutrients your body needs including protein. There are many ways you can add protein to a raw food diet. Nuts are a great example of this; you can make purees or pate and also make your own milk from nuts. Seeds can also be ground and added to your recipes. Hemp seed milk is not only being sold in health food stores, it is now on the shelf at some of your local supermarkets. You can make your own butter from many of the nuts and seed varieties.

Many vegetables are rich in protein including your leafy vegetables such as romaine lettuce, kale, spinach, cabbage, chard and arugula. These types of protein can easily be added to a smoothie or, if you feel like munching on something, they can be used in a salad.

Until studying the raw food diet myself, I did not realize that many fruits contain protein as well; watermelon, tomatoes, pomegranates, dates, kiwi and avacodos are great sources of protein. The Fruit Pages contains a comprehensive table listing all nutritional information for many fruits and vegetables.

In addition to obtaining protein from seeds, nuts, vegetables and fruit, according to The Fat Free Kitchen, one ounce of wheatgrass per day contains the nutritional value of 2.5 pounds of vegetables and Living-Foods lists 35 very interesting uses for wheatgrass. Wheatgrass is sometimes hard to digest so juicing it is considered the best way to go and, if you have problems growing accustomed to the taste, you can add wheatgrass juice to grape juice or, again, throw it in with your other smoothie ingredients, let the other items conceal the taste.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

DIABETES AND THE IMPORTANCE OF LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE


If you have diabetes, you really need to watch your blood pressure. With diabetes comes a higher risk of heart disease so the target BP level is lower.

A natural approach is much safer as well as less expensive. For hypertension, I am currently on four different costly medications with their attendant side effects and hope to one day come off of all of those.

There are many ways to lower your blood pressure naturally and I am going to share a link with you. DLife – For Your Diabetes Life has a list of 16 non-drug ways to lower your blood pressure.

Please click on the above link and start working towards a much lower blood pressure today, the natural way.

Friday, September 5, 2008

THE PROBLEM WITH PROCESSED FOODS

My dad and stepmom purchased what they thought was a can of turnip greens. Instead, when they opened the can, they found the can contained what appeared to be pork and beans. The name of the company is Glory. This particular brand is available nationwide and started showing up on shelves several years ago. It was created at the Ohio State University Food Industries Center and boasts a southern-style flavor in over 50 varieties of heat-and-serve products.

With a company that large, you would expect them to have some pretty stringent food safety measures in place but to mis-label, well, someone dropped the ball and you are left wondering what else they could be missing.

The more I turn to organic foods, raw foods, fresh fruit and vegetables, the more I worry about what really is in that processed food, or in this case, that can of "turnip greens". Are the cans on your pantry shelf what they really say they are? If you want a good scare, read the label.

HEMP SEED MILK RECIPES


HEMP SEED MILK: (watch the video) CLICK YOUR BROWSERS BACK BUTTON TO COME BACK TO THIS PAGE

1 cup of hemp seeds
1 litre of mineral/filtered water

Soak the hemp seeds overnight. Drain and rinse. Place in a blender and gradually add the water while blending on maximum speed. Pour mixture through a fine sieve (or squeeze through some muslin/cheesecloth for a smoother milk) into a jug or suitable container and enjoy.

For a creamier milk, use more hemp seeds or less water. Also try blending in 1 or 2 large bananas with the finished milk to thicken and sweeten it.

To make a delicious and uplifting chocolate milk, just add 1/3rd of a cup of Cacao pieces to soak with the hemp seeds and proceed as above.

Try this for a tasty treat

1/3rd cup of cacao pieces
1 cup of hemp seeds
1 tablespoon maple syrup/honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 litre of mineral/filtered water

Make the chocolate milk as above - by adding the cacao pieces in to soak with the hemp seeds.

Pour one pint into a small saucepan and warm very gently. Add the maple syrup/honey and cinnamon and stir well. Remove the pan from the heat while the milk is warm (but not hot) and enjoy.

NOTE: Hemp seed milk will separate and taste unpleasant if it is heated too much.


RAW CHOCOLATE SMOOTHIE:

4 heaped tsp raw chocolate powder
1 tblsp virgin coconut butter/hemp oil
1/2 tsp maca
3 bananas
1/2 avocado
hemp seed milk

Chop the banana and avocado into pieces, place in a blender with other ingredients and slowly pour in the desired amount of hemp seed milk while blending.

For a delicious basic chocolate smoothy just blend the cacao powder, banana and avocado with the hemp seed milk.

SUPER GREEN SMOOTHIE:

1 level tsp spirulina
1/2 tsp maca
3 bananas
1/2 avocado
hemp seed milk

Chop the banana and avocado into pieces, place in a blender with other ingredients and slowly pour in the desired amount of hemp seed milk while blending.

For a delicious basic green smoothy just blend the spirulina, banana and avocado with the hemp seed milk.

SESAME SMOOTHIE:

75g sesame seeds
3 bananas
1 tblsp coconut butter/hemp oil
1/2 tsp maca
1 heaped tsp cacao powder
1 - 2 tsp maple syrup/honey
hemp seed milk

Soak the sesame seeds in (filtered) water for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Drain and rinse, then blend the seeds on high speed with just enough hemp milk to keep them moving. When the seeds are blended to a paste add a little more hemp milk and the other ingredients and blend thoroughly, adding more hemp seed milk to achieve the desired consistency.

For a delicious basic sesame smoothie just blend the sesame seeds with the hemp milk, banana and coconut butter/hemp oil.

BEST CHOCOLATE MILK MAY NOT COME FROM COW

This is an article taken from http://wesh.com/ where a panel tested various chocolate milk varieties. Silk chocolate milk received a rating of 95 out of 100 and Promised Land got a whopping 100. Please keep in mind that many of the varieties tested were high in sugar and if you are diabetic like myself, you will need to take that into consideration when choosing chocolate milk.

Best Chocolate Milk May Not Come From Cow
Soy Milk Surprises Testers
J. Scott Wilson, Staff writer

One of the scariest moments in my parenting life came when I asked my 3-year-old what he wanted to drink with his dinner, and he replied, "Chocolate milk!"Who had told him about the stuff? Was there a Nestle pusher hiding in the bushes outside? Had that danged rabbit hopped in through an unguarded window? Was there a brown cow nearby?

I still haven't found the guilty party, but I suspect it's one of his day care pals, maybe the one who also turned him on to the concept of monsters under the bed.

In any case, chocolate milk has not yet been added to the drink menu at our house. However, after tasting the new breed of chocolate milks made with low- or non-fat milk, I just might have to consider it as an occasional treat. There's some good stuff out there and, of course, a few that dropped the ball.
This comparison covers ready-to-drink chocolate milk, as there's really a dearth of competition in the powdered stir-in category. It's pretty much either Nesquik or Ovaltine there. All the brands tested, unless otherwise specified, are made with non- or low-fat milk. Pay attention to the calorie counts and you might be surprised -- although the sugar counts, included here, might make you feel a bit woozy.
My usual five-person tasting panel ranked each milk, awarding a total of 20 points for mouth feel and flavor, for a possible perfect score of 100. Nutritional information is provided for each one.

PET Chocolate Milk: 210 calories, 8 grams fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 230 mg sodium, 27 grams carbs, 25 grams sugar.

This whole-milk drink was one of the cheaper ones on the shelf, but it sure didn't taste that way. It had a rich, velvety mouth feel and good flavor. The chocolate could have been a touch richer to stand up to the extra milkfat, but overall our control scored it a lofty 94.

Yoohoo Chocolate Drink: 130 calories, 1 gram fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 170 mg sodium, 29 grams carbs, 20 grams sugar.

And here we have the opposite end of the spectrum. While Yoohoo isn't technically chocolate milk, it does contain nonfat milk and is sold in the refrigerated case next to the milk. Once you open the container, though, all similarity vanishes. The mouth feel was exceedingly watery, and the chocolate flavor was faint and muddled.

One tester quoted Peanuts, pronouncing it, "Water with a brown crayon dipped in it." Final score: 56.

Nesquik Milkshake: 180 calories, 5 grams fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 180 mg sodium, 26 grams carbs, 24 grams sugar.

This is one of two Nesquik entries, and the name was rather misleading. You'd think a "milkshake" would be richer than regular chocolate milk. That wasn't true. The chocolate flavor was weak, and the mouth feel was average but not as rich as the standard Nesquik flavor. Final score: 78.

Nesquik: 200 calories, 5 grams fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 32 grams carbs, 30 grams sugar.

This one has the same fat as its Milkshake cousin and a bit more sugar, and it goes to good use. The sweetness is well-balanced and the mouth feel is fairly rich. The chocolate flavor is fairly strong, but not terribly complex, like a low-priced milk chocolate bar. Final score: 82.

Organic Valley 1% Milkfat: 160 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 290 mg sodium, 27 grams carbs, 25 grams sugar.

The chocolate flavor here was good, but the mouth feel was a bit watery. The sodium content in this entry was pretty high, and that could explain the chocolaty impact, as salty will often make sweet stand out. Final score: 88.

Silk Soymilk Chocolate: 140 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 100 mg sodium, 23 grams carbs, 19 grams sugar.

No one on the planet was more surprised to find this as our clear winner. I've tried soymilk before, and while it wasn't actively repugnant it certainly wasn't my drink of choice. The Silk, however, has a rich, smooth mouth feel and an undeniably stout chocolate flavor. The testers agreed, awarding the Silk our top score of 95.

The Ultimate Chocolate Milk?

There is, however, just one more chocolate milk that you need to know about. This is not your everyday drink. It's far from the cheapest one on the grocer's shelf, and it's definitely not low-impact in the fat or the calories department.

But it's quite simply the best chocolate milk available in a grocery store, in the panel's opinion.

Promised Land: 240 calories, 10 grams fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 230 mg sodium, 33 grams carbs, 31 grams sugar.

I defy you to take a gulp of this milk. It is so rich, so thick that you have to sip it. The chocolate flavor will linger on your tongue long after the glass is empty. Eight ounces of this a week will satisfy you as much as a serving of any of the others every day. Final score: 100.

While the low-fat versions may not satisfy the way the Promised Land does, there is still some good sipping to be had. You might even find yourself with soymilk in your refrigerator on a permanent basis.

Smoothies

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MOM'S STRAWBERRY AND BANANA GREEN SMOOTHIE

1 or 2 bananas (frozen is good)
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
Add 1 or 2 handfuls of kale or spinach
2 cups of water

Blend in your favorite blender (I use Blendtec Blender)

Note: If this is your first try at making a green smoothie start with a small amount of greens and then add more greens to taste.

Optional:
1. Try blending a few carob or cacao nibs for you chocolate lovers.
2. You can add other fruits of choice.
3. Try adding organic shelled hemp seeds for a little protein.
4. Also try adding wheat grass juice for extra nutrient value.

MOM'S TROPICAL GREEN SMOOTHIE WITH CHOCOLATE

MOM'S TROPICAL GREEN SMOOTHIE WITH CHOCOLATE

1 cup young coconut juice with pulp
1 cup frozen or fresh mango juice with pulp
1/2 cup fresh or frozen pineapple
1 banana
1 small handful of organic goji berries
1 small handful of grain-sweetened chocolate chips (a little goes a long way)
1/2 juice of one lime or to taste
2 large handfuls of kale
1 cup water

Blend well and enjoy

Note: Chocolate chips can be added to taste

GOJI BERRY SMOOTHIE RECIPE

GOJI BERRY SMOOTHIE

INGREDIENTS
1 cup orange juice (may use rice milk)
5 ice cubes
1 cup dried goji berry
2 ripe bananas

DIRECTIONS
Combine ingredients in blender and serve.