Monday, 16 August 2010

Lentil and Parsley Soup

Very similar to my lentil pate recipe, this one is watered down and made in a blender

Generous amount of sprouted lentils (puy, brown or green)
1/2 a courgette
1 or 2 sticks celery
1/4 of an onion
small handful of kale or spinach (optional)
generous handful of parsley
filtered water as required

You can also add lemon juice and Braggs/Tamari if desired.

Blend carefully until smooth in a blender, adding water slowly to get it moving.

Or use a handblender and have it as a version of lentil pate with more courgette and herbs.

I love having this first thing for breakfast, mid morning a couple of hours after green juice, or for lunch.

Anti-candida diet

I have been on an anti-candida diet for some time (the one with no sugar including fruit!) now and without much success ... I recently started to seriously consider the argument that it is an excess of fat in your diet, rather than an excess of sugar, that is the problem. The ideas came mostly from Doug Graham and his 'The 80/10/10 Diet' - he has loads of videos on YouTube about it. I cut down my fat significantly and noticed a real difference. I have not yet tried re-introducing fruit but when I reintroduced fats I'd previously cut out (sunflower seeds, flaxseed and avocado) the symptoms came back! I particularly felt that unsoaked sunflower seeds were the worst culprit. (Got into a habit of eating them this way during a time of disorganization and eating the fastest and easiest things to hand, and I di struggle with willpower on that one!! I need to find a good ethical reason not to eat them and it would be a lot easier!)

I have to say I have thrived on a high carb low fat, high in wholefoods diet before, although it included animal products. I have reintroduced a lot of rice and eat a lot of cooked quinoa (raw sprouted quinoa is horribe in my opinion, although you can probably disguise it in things!)

My aim now is to eat more sprouted legumes which are delicious and very filling. I have a new amazing sprouted lentil soup recipe which I adore. (See post 'Lentil Soup' under recipes, August 2010) Another favourite is mung bean and pea salad which I love to have for breakfast (see Mung Bean, Pea and Chive Salad)

All these recipes are extremely basic - the way my taste buds have gone since going raw. But I think things like chives, parsley, apple cider vinegar are all the condiments I need : )

Saturday 25th September - FESTIVAL OF LIFE - London

I am so excited because I have just realised the Festival Of Life is on in London on 25th Sept!! I wanted to go last year but did not organise getting the day off work!

So much there for a bargain price of something like £12 - would be mad to miss it this year!! It's been ages since I've been to an event like this, and I always enjoy networking loads! :) :) :) :) :)

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Blog re-vamp!

Welcome to the newly designed, interactive, informative blog! It will continue to document 'my raw journey', (and there is lots of catch up on) as well as my progress on running on a high raw, vegan diet. I will also be writing about the anti-candida diet I have recently embarked upon. Be prepared for more links to a wider range of subjects as I branch out into the wider world of vegan nutrition, including cooked food, and eating to treat specific conditions. Your comments are always welcomed!!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Food, communication and relationships.

During reading week back in March I think it was, I did have a bit of break from work and spent quite a lot of time watching David Wolfe videos on youtube! There are so many of them you could actually watch all day. I remember being more than happy doing some therapeutic cleaning of my kitchen and just listening to him talk! (Actually David Wolfe is coming to London in October and I've bought a ticket to his lecture!! I just couldn't not. I am extremely excited!) There was one video in particular I found really interesting which I just found again on youtube.

3 Keys to Good Health:

These things are food, communication and relationships. It makes perfect sense to me. I have done a joint literature / language and communication degree and find human communication fascinating. I've said for ages now, I don't know the meaning of life, but I know that life would be meaningless without other people, because without being able to relate to them through communication we would have no idea how to make sense of our own existence. I am not attempting to sound as knowledgeable of David Wolfe of course!! But the amazing thing about so much of all this wisdom is that it is like stuff all humans know anyway, like innate knowledge we are born with. It just seems hectic materialistic societies create the perfect conditions for forgetting it all.

I also went to the Farmers' market and bought a bag of mixed leaves which I thought looked really pretty.

And I added some sliced pepper which looked a bit like hearts : )

I have more loads more to tell and will blog more tomorrow!


I have been taking pictures of things since February, they just haven't made it on to the blog, so I have some catching up to do ...

I think I mentioned in some earlier posts about going abroad with my family to the Algarve for 4 days - we were very lucky to be taken away by my Dad to celebrate his 65th Birthday. Well, I made some dehydrated food to take with me: lentil burgers (based on a recipe by Chris he made on the retreat in the Gower last August) - I can't even remember what quantities I used - just hoped for the best with sprouted green lentils, walnuts, tamari, mushrooms and onions. I think that's all. I liked Chris's drier, bite size ones; the ones I made were too big, fairly moist and well, too much like real burgers for my liking. It was the onions and the saltiness that did it.

They travelled ok, but not as well as the buckwheat bread I made. I ate basically the same thing every day - the hotel and restaurants we went too were really kind and accomodating and always made me a salad with lettuce, grated carrot, onion, garlic if I asked for it, sliced tomato and cucumber. I usually had loads of fruit for breakfast with cucumber. I supplemented with avocados I had brought with me (carefully selected so they would ripen one after the other!) and did some sprouting in the room and ate these and the dehydrated food in between meals. By the end I was pretty sick of all this and had bad stomach ache most of the time, as I had had for a few weeks before we left.

I felt rude asking the Brazilian restaurant to serve me a raw salad, (to which I added my own avocado, just to add insult to injury) and by this point I was pretty sick of grated carrot, sliced tomato and cucumber. So I ate some of the big pot of bean stew and rice on the table... only to be told it contained tiny bits of sausage. It was embarrassing for me and for the chef, who felt bad for not telling me, as I had only asked about whether something else on the menu was vegan (banana - which was fried in egg). I felt awful. Learned my lesson there.

However to end on a more positive note, I found loads of carob pods in the grounds of where we stayed!! And was able to bring a load home with me. I saw them as I was running round the running track with my sister. It was really nice to be able to get away and spend some time with my family.

Monday, 17 May 2010

A Return to the New

I have not written on my blog since February because my teaching course was consuming me, leaving me with no love to give to it. I was beginning to feel I had no love left for anything. I had not been getting enough sleep and I was not eating properly. I left the course over 3 weeks ago, after what I called a complete melt-down. There were a lot of tears and a lot of feelings of emptiness. My first happy thought after I finally allowed myself to stop was raw food. However, I did not return to food creation and blogging immediately, even though I stuck to the raw vegan diet throughout the ordeal. I have been wondered why this might be, but now I understand. A book called ‘The Joy of Burnout’ by Dina Glouberman, which I just finished about half an hour ago, has helped clarify this.

I have always been a great believer in books as providers of knowledge. With no-one who seemed to understand what was happening to me, including myself, it seemed natural to turn to them again. I went to the library to look for a self-help book. This one was there and something about the word ‘burnout’ seemed to resonate with me. The book explains that ‘burnout’ results from a failure to honour ourself, when we don’t listen to the voice of our inner truth. It recommends stopping, resting and letting go of all our expectations of the past and of our hopes for the future. If we invest all our energies in to hopes of becoming something or someone in the future, like a teacher, we lose our ability to honour our real selves in the present.

I was thinking of trying to pursue a career in raw food before I started my teacher training course. This is why the idea of returning to creating new recipes following my crash out of the course did not grab me straight away. Beginning the book, I knew there would be a reason for this and that I would return to it, but only when I was ready. I now realise that the idea of a career in raw is just another hope for the future that could endanger my ability to just be myself, right now.

The book explains how we think that our emotional selves, our hearts, will catch up, ‘once we are there’, but really they are already far ahead of us, calling to us to catch up and get in line with them. I thought I would have time to return to my food passions once I was qualified, but began to increasingly realise that teaching is the kind of career in which it is not easy to maintain a healthy-work life balance, particularly when combined with my kind of personality. And raw food or not, my heart was just not in teaching children.

The first experience I have had with connecting to an inner truth is through raw food, which later came together with veganism. The author describes burnout: “We became unable to continue in the old structures and needed to find another way of going forward by going deep into our true selves.” (p.246) Last March I felt I was no longer able to continue in the old structures of eating meat and dairy. I felt this represented a structure, rather than simply a meal, because I believe what we eat affects our consciousness, which affects our societies. It was in seeing the alternative that I saw the errors of the old way. My blog introduction: ‘this (raw food) is my life, and I have never been any more certain of anything in my life’ suggests how fundamental to my very being this new-found lifestyle felt, and still feels now.

“Eventually, if we are patient enough, we start to get a sense that some more basic energy is coming back that is asking to be harnessed to our creativity. It is only at that point that we should consider having visions of the future, and wondering how to get there.” (p. 245) I am not completely at this point yet, and so am comfortable to just lead a simple, less career-driven life for now, and wait for this time to come. I can not even be sure it ever will, but that is ok too. What I need to do now is keep creating and blogging with no expectation, and learn to remember the positive energy that this generated, and generated simply for its own sake, before things started to go wrong.

Ultimately the answers (if they can be called that) have to come from myself, and not from a book, but this book has been an enormous help in setting that process in motion. Actually, I think it was when I found raw food that I began to listen to my inner self, and this book has reminded me of that.

I have questioned whether 100% raw is the ideal diet, and I am not sure that it necessarily is. I think a very high raw diet is best but that it may not suit everyone. I am in no doubt that veganism is the best lifestyle, although I have eaten honey and bee pollen since calling myself a vegan! I have made a new friend who is a vegan and he explained to me this week the view why eating honey and bee pollen is unacceptable and I now agree. I was not sure of the story of bees, and rather than wait to find out I ate honey and bee pollen (not much of it, but still) in the mean time. I am not sure why I did this. It feels strange now to think that this means I have not been a true vegan… I think I read somewhere it was a grey area so that it was somehow acceptable. So it all comes back to what you believe in rather than what criteria fit under certain labels.

He is a member of vegan runners and asked me to run a 10K race with him and I decided to become a member too. I am feeling really stoked at the idea of running to raise awareness of veganism, and that vegans can be fit and healthy too – that they can’t be seems to be a common misconception! I am really happy to have made this new friend (and hope he will read this and feel the same!)

So I am now ready to start sharing more openly what I believe in with the world, and this includes more blog entries. I feel very excited…

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Spagetti bolognaise

I just am marvelling at my recent piece of culinary genius, if I do say so myself. I am so proud of myself because I did not follow a recipe for this one! Here's what I did. You'll need a spiralizer for this one. If you dont you can grate the courgette but unfortunately I don't think it will be as good this way!

Serves One:



2 1/2 medium courgettes
1 tsp salt

3 or 4 chestnut mushrooms, sliced
3 small tomatoes
1 tbsp coconut butter

Handful of cashews (soaked for a couple of hours)
Sprinkle of dried or finely chopped basil
1 tsp nutritional yeast

First spiralize the courgette. Place in a bowl and sprinkle evenly with the salt. This will soften it. You can peel the courgette first for aesthetics but I felt this was a waste of chlorophyll!

To make the pesto, grind up the cashews in a coffe grinder or food processor. Add the basil and nutritional yeast.

Melt the coconut butter in a bowl inside a bigger bowl with hot but not boiling water in it.

While that is melting, scoop the out insides of the tomatoes and put to one side. Process gently in a food processor so they are roughly chopped. Add the mushrooms, then add to the coconut butter when it is melted. You can add some of the tomato seeds back in if you like.

Rinse the courgette with warm water. Drain well. Arrange on a place, add the sauce in the middle and sprinkle with pesto.

The Carrot Cake!

My Valentine's Day gift to myself. Have been meaning to make it for ages. The recipe is from Winter 2007 Get Fresh! by Alissa Cohen:

7 carrots
1 cup walnuts
1 cup dates, pitted and soaked
3/4 cup raisins, soaked for at least 1 hour
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp nutmeg

3 tbsp honey (I used agave syrup)
3 tbsp orange juice
1 cup cashews, soaked

Food process separately carrots, then walnuts, then dates together with spices. The blend all three together in the food processor. Stir in the raisins.

Put all frosting ingredients in the blender (I found hand blender easier as there wasn't quite enough to get the blender moving) Spread over cake and sprinkle with cinnamon.

I lined a cake tin with baking paper and just it slid off easily when set. You don't need to bother with anything to stick the paper to the inside of the tin either - if you pour the mixture in carefully it will hold it in place.

It is definitely better if made the night before and left in the fridge for all the flavours to meld together. It is beautifully moist, but if I was to do a review it would say that it could be slightly more stodgy with more dates, more orange juice and possibly including sprouted wheat grain...

Lovely Layla's lovely bowl

I love eating from this bowl - it belongs to my housemate! Gives a completely different feel to a gleaming white one.

Coleslaw I had for lunch today

Loved this combination last night: Kate's 'Egg Mayonaise (Raw Living) with a tomato, pepper, cuc and celery salad with some nori sprinkle.

Sprout salad: mund beans, alfalfa, pak choi, grated courgette, tomato and red onion with lemon and garlic dressing. The more it looks like a school project insect managery, the better (without cruelly cooping up any insects, of course)


Before I upload my photos of some awesome food I have made recently I will just fill in some details of how I've been getting on since my last post which was well over 2 weeks ago now!!

To begin with, I seem to be eating loads! I was hoping the weight from December would have come off by now but it hasn't. However, I have come to terms with this, I think. I am still running 3 times a week and did some sit ups, or curl ups as their better called, yesterday for the first time in about 6 months so will try and do this more often. My tummy is still looking pretty ugly. Anyway I am obsessing less about it now so that's good. I also discovered a super-cheap aerobics class (£1 for an hour!) at uni so am doing that now too.

This morning I thought about doing another 3 day juice fast but then thought, nah, I'll just cut down my portions and I have a feeling that I ought to eat fewers sprouted seeds and legumes too... they seem to be slightly bloating if I eat too many... (actually I think the Fresh Network have organized a lecture in London with 'The Sproutman' (whose name I can't remember) in March..? am probably going to go to that) Cutting down portions is proving hard though. Must try harder. I have not been juicing recently at all - I think if I start this again it will help me to eat less as it really makes me feel nourished and so less inclined to scoff.

Anyway, enough about that. I am pretty contented and chilled out at the moment! On Valentine's Day I made a carrot cake (recipe by Alissa Cohen from the Winter 2007 issue of Get Fresh! mag. It was not as good as I hoped and I thought of some ways to alter the recipe to make it better. However, on the second day it had improved massively after chilling overnight in the fridge. I decided it was actually pretty subtle, light and really very nice. I could eat lots without feeling sick (a virtue of pretty much all raw food I think) and know when to stop (and then go back a few hours later for more of course)

I am giving up fruit and dried fruit for lent. I am still considering the rules for this though. Lemons, avocados and tomatoes will not count. I may limit it to fruit not contained within a recipe. i.e. not eating dates and raisins straight from the packet when I am bored. I can't seem to buy any raisins or dates without eating the lot within 2 days. Really I don't eat any other fruit apart from oranges on their own and bananas in chocolate avocado pudding. This way I can still experiment with alterations to the carrot cake recipe... hhmm. So really is is dried fruit that is the vice...

Finally, the Brighton Vegan Fayre 2010 is going to be in March! Can't believe it is a year since the last one! Not long til my 1 year anniversary of being vegan!!

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Will I ever get bored of salads?

I have salad everyday. I can't remember the last time day I didn't have one, apart from when I was on my 3 day juice fast.

Last night, my housemate asked me: 'Don't you ever get bored of salad?' This is when I really realised that the answer is 'Well... no.'

Especially when they look like this

I don't often put thin slices of red onion and red pepper in it. It looks so pretty. If it had sweetcorn in it it would have all the colours of the rainbow. Wow, I love taking time to appreciate my food!! I realised I have not being doing this enough recently. That is why I love raw food - it is not just about the physical health, but the well-being that comes from so much appreciation and gratitude of having found this amazing way of eating!!!!! It just fills me up with happiness!!!!!

Creamy lemon-sesame dressing

This is just like a carrot salad dressing my mum makes in the summer with mayonaise, olive oil, salt and pepper. You can add pepper to this if you want.

3 tbsp ground sesame seed*
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp tamari
add water slowly to reach desired consistency (about 4 tbsps)

*must be well processed in a coffee grinder until the oil starts to separate

Serve with grated carrot


Having become aware of some things I seemed to have for one reason or another fallen out of the habit of eating (coconut oil, spirulina, garlic, mung beans) and some things I only eat seldomly (sesame seeds, brazil nuts) I thought it would be interesting to list all the different foods I ate yesterday: some of these I have eaten more than once and of course some fall in more than one category

Vegetables and Fruit
Romaine lettuce
Red Onion

Olive oil
Flax oil
Brazil nuts
Virgin cocounut oil

Sesame seeds
Sprouted sunflower seeds
Sprouted buckwheat

Dehydrated food
flaxseed, onion, courgette, tomato, lemon juice, olive oil (contained in buckwheat bread)
NAKD coco loco snack bar

Cacao powder

Dark leafy greens are noticeably absent after the whole goitrogen thing. I thought it might be best to give my body a break from them until it got the iodine back on track. I was kindly pointed to advice by 'Bitt' from that criticizes that claim that links kale and spinach (cruciferous vegetables) to under active thyroid, Thank you Bitt! In any case I should still include these foods in moderation and can choose other greens, so will have some spinach today.

Very little fruit (although lots of sugar in snack bar)

Legumes also absent (green lentils and mung beans are soaking as I write - I can only get green lentils in one place now and can't get brown ones anywhere!)

Also interesting is that there is a lot of fat there! I have always believed that all these good fats do not contribute to weight gain and recently read that sugar with a high GI is what makes you change your food into fat, but maybe the fats are still one to watch...

Friday, 29 January 2010

Salad dressing experimentation ...

I am in experimentation with an a new salad dressing using sesame seeds ground up in a coffee grinder (which I bought specially for this kind of thing by the way!) Whole unsoaked sesame seeds ground up and mixed with oil seem to make a pretty good resemblance to tahini ... mix with lemon juice, garlic and spirulina to make a dip, water down for a thick creamy dressing!! Am going to experiment more with this over the weekend.

I really enjoyed my reflexology with my mum last night. She handed me a couple of nutrition and well-being books for women and we discussed some of the things it said. Was really interesting and nice to spend time with my mum and talk about something we are both interested in.

My run didn't happen as it started to rain just when I wanted to go... it stopped but then I was motivated to actually do some reading! My concentration and motivation seems to be improving ... I managed 2 and a half hours solid work! I also went out and got myself a printer to make life easier for myself, which I see as a sign of motivation!

What else has happened.... well, I am trying to lose weight but can't seem to stop eating!! I am thinking maybe it's just because it's winter and my body is naturally fattening up! Here's hoping I'll lose the weight in the spring!

I also made a batch of buckwheat bread - spread with brown rice miso it is just like marmite on toast - awesome : ) The concern about hypothyroidism also flagged up selenium - brazil nuts being a good source. I have a bag of shell-on ones from Christmas which I haven't eaten. Am now enjoying them very much : ) Probably not helping with the weight loss though haha