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How To Use Up Almond Pulp (from Nut Milk)

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I know people always want to know what to do with abundance of pulp that is left after making your own delicious and preservative free nut milks and other than wasting it in the compost (noooo!) or dehydrating it then blending it to make your own almond flour (not everyone has a dehydrator right?) then a great way is to make some kiddie approved bliss balls!

Despite these being less crunchy and textured than the usual style of bliss balls made from whole nuts and seeds, these balls are super popular with the smaller people in our lives as they’re less chunky to prevent choking.

If your littlies can’t eat nuts, you can alway try and play around with making them with a combination of pumpkin seeds (pepitas), sunflower seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds etc.

Also bliss balls can be left up to your imagination as to combination of ingredients and volumes.

I try and make a huge batch of them every month with all the leftover pulp I have stored in the freezer, defrosted of course, to not only use up the ingredient but to have little sweet morsels of whole food goodness to offer to my 15 month old and my 3 year old. They love them. My husband, the sweet tooth, requires a bit more sweetness, so the great thing about making your own balls is you can taste as you go along and adjust according to your critics family! 😉

Oh and they’re a great little after dinner sweet snack that doesn’t leave you feeling guilty and they’re satisfying enough to only have one or two. Keep them in the freezer if you make them in bulk so you always have them on hand when the sweet tooth strikes.

Sorry I cannot give you specific amounts (everything below is an approximate) but take that as permission to come up with your own combinations and play around with making your own bliss balls. You can do it  :)

Some other ingredients to consider:

  • cacao nibs/powder
  • soaked raisins
  • soaked goji berries
  • superfood powders like maca, mesquite, spirulina/chlorella (test smaller amounts as can be too overpowering),
  • hemp seeds/powder
  • protein powders like brown rice, hemp or pea protein
  • dried (then soaked) apricots or other dried fruits
  • other seeds like chia, sesame, pumpkin (pepitas), sunflower,
  • different nuts: Brazil, macadamia, cashew, walnuts, hazelnut, almonds.
  • coconut oil
  • nut butters
  • tahini
  • shredded coconut
  • banana
  • cinnamon
  • vanilla

I’d love you to share your own bliss ball combinations in the comments below. Sharing is caring right and you guys are always such a caring community!

6 Reasons Why We Don’t Do Cow’s Milk

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Recently when discussing my 14 month old weaning from the breast (nursing) a friend of mine asked if I was replacing my daughter’s breast milk with cow’s milk.

The answer was no.

Upon her query as to why we didn’t do dairy in our family (apart from the occasional cheese and butter now and then) I shared with her the following reasons and thought you’d like to know why too.

  1. Dairy has been proven to be linked to tumour growth (especially testicular cancer in men aged 20-39 and breast cancer)
  2. Countries where dairy consumption is lowest, they also appear to have the lowest incidence of cancer and other disease
  3. Contrary to belief, dairy does contain calcium but it also it not retained by the body when consumed (those with osteoporosis have been known to be large consumers of dairy). The more dairy we consume the weaker our bones become. It’s true that cow’s milk contains calcium, but it causes the body to leach more of it out of our bones. There are plenty other sources of calcium that are more readily absorbed by the body – sea vegetables, sesame seeds and tahini, leafy greens, blackstrap molasses, almonds (we make almond milk and make smoothies) and beans. Calcium absorption is also facilited by Vitamin D 
  4. Milk is connected to so many allergies and asthma (the body can view milk from another species as an attacker or allergen).
  5. Dairy can mess with hormones
  6. Links to diabetes
We don’t really notice the absence of milk in our family and if a recipe calls for milk then we will substitute with our own home made nut and or seed milks (or water if it will work if the said recipe) and as for calcium requirements for little onesI make sure we have loads of almond milk, tahini, blackstrap molasses in smoothies, and greens with some Vitamin D supplements to help with absorption (as Vitamin D is a major deficiency in our region of the world especially as we spend so much time indoors during the heat of the Saudi summer.)

Of course, for those people following Ayurvedic traditions, milk does play a part and this is just another one of those times when I encourage you to do your own research, and question what works for your own bodies and your family’s.

I’d love to hear your experiences with dairy, and cow’s milk. Have you eliminated it from you or your children’s diet completely? Have you found a raw and organic dairy that you are happy consuming? Please comment below!

15 Reasons to Get on the Green Smoothie Train

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Listen up!

If you are anything like me, you don’t have hours to spare, pouring over recipe books and the stove trying to come up with gourmet meals each day for you and your families!

This was something I really enjoyed when I had oodles of time to spare as a single flight attendant waiting for my next duty, especially when I didn’t have much else to do here in Saudi Arabia.

But now I am married with 2 under the age of 3, running a business, and a household, it’s just not viable to spend the same amount of time I used to on eating healthy. And I bet it’s not for you either?!

But that doesn’t mean OUR health has to go out the window!

I spend 1 day a week prepping family meals for the week ahead (more about that in a later post!) so that we only have 1 or 2 treat meals a week (usually on the weekend!) and so that I have more time to spend with my babies and work on my business too.

Of course sometimes as the mama, I get forgotten while looking after everyone else so lately I’ve gotten back on the green smoothie train.

Who can argue that eating more greens is a bad thing*?

Here’s 15 reasons why you should get on the Green Smoothie Train!

1. Great transition to raw/healthy foods!

2. You don’t have to make any other massive changes to you diet, but starting your day with a green smoothie can give you your daily allotment of fruit & veg.

3.. They’re the healthiest convenience food! I take my green smoothies out to run errands ALL the time!

4. They’re so dense and satisfying that they can be a meal replacer when you don’t have time to sit down and eat, potentially then ending up through drive though or grabbing a less desirable quick eat out of the cupboard (biscuits/cookies, crisps etc).

5. You can share them with your little ones and if you find the right recipe then they’ll ask for them all the time!!

6. So quick and easy to make. My green smoothie this morning took 5 mins max to make

7. You can make them sweet or savoury (blended salads/soups)

8. They give you soooo much energy and noooo guilt.

9. They last longer than juices, so you can pre make them and sip on them all day or take them to work in a flask

10. Clean up is E-A-S-Y!

11. Effortless weightloss and overall vitality

12. Are a complete food

13. reduce cravings for sugary and junk foods

14. Helps keep you regular as they are full of fibre, so will assist in eliminating toxins

15. if you diet is otherwise not the greatest, as least you know you have done something favourable for your health today.

If you’re still not convinced you’ll like sipping on something that looks a bit more like swamp juice, then here’s a great starter green smoothie recipe (that I’ve been sipping on for the last 3 days as we’ve been enjoying Badami mangoes from India.

Green Mango

2 mangoes, peeled

1 cup of pineapple (I use frozen but if you are using fresh then add 4 ice cubes)

half romaine/cos lettuce

1 cup of packed spinach

1 cup of water

Place all ingredients in blender until smooth. I prefer mine thick but you can add extra water as desired.

If mangoes aren’t in season where you are, then try this simple banana smoothie that was my first ever green smoothie!

Simple Green Smoothie

1 cup of packed baby spinach

1 banana

1 cup of water

Place all ingredients in blender until smooth.

Chocolate Monkey Milkshake

can use carob powder instead of cacao (which is raw cocoa)

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If you want to come up with your own recipe check out this blog post I wrote on green smoothies here

*unless you are using spinach, swiss chard and beet greens  and have a thyroid issue as spinach has oxalic acid – you an use romaine/cos lettuce instead!

Video Post | Juicing vs Blending

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Video Post Blending vs Juicing

Well hello there!

It’s been a while between green drinks, but I’m slowly creeping back into work now that Chloé is almost 9 weeks old (and a dream might I add) so hopefully I’ll get to pop in here and post a little more frequently now as I begin to find my flow as a mama to two beautiful babies.

Last week we celebrated our little man’s 2nd birthday, so I can no longer say I have two children under the age of 2 but they’re still pretty close in age.

Last week I dipped my toe back into presenting some more workshops and classes with a presentation on the benefits of juicing to the Garden Group up at another compound in our area.

I’m also kicking off some raw food classes, so if you’re local and interested in attending, check out the details here. Remember I’m in Saudi Arabia, Dhahran to be exact, but I’m planning some events hopefully in Australia later this year. You can sign up here to be notified of any upcoming events so you don’t miss out – Click HERE 

This week I showed one of my favourite movies, Fat Sick & Nearly Dead, to 26 people in my local community and that has sparked a need for me to lead a gentle group cleanse commencing April 1.

We have started our own little local Facebook group to encourage, support and answer questions and for those people REALLY wanting to attempt a full juice fast (7days) we will be talking pre cleansing these next two weeks, with introducing more raw foods and less unrefined foods and meat & dairy. It’s going to be a challenge, but I think we’ll have strength in numbers. Wish us luck!

So here’s a little something I filmed for my group tonight to answer some questions on the difference between juices & smoothies and thought you might like it too. This is something I have covered on the blog before and in my eBook, Smoothies & Juices for Newbies.

If you have any questions, suggestions or comments, please pop them down below.

See you soon!

Staying Raw in Social Situations

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Socialising whilst adopting a new way of eating can be quite daunting, and previous to being high raw, I’d even opted to NOT socialise whilst bedding down a new diet fad or whilst doing a detox. I remember one time, when I was still a flight attendant,deciding to pick up more flights for a month as I was giving myself a 30 day (month) ban of anything social, just so I could focus on my eating and exercising without having to have the anxiety of peer pressure to drink or eat things I just didn’t want to.

However this was before I went raw, and possibly had an unhealthy association with diets or ‘detoxes’ that would only be for a period of time, and what I found with RAW was that it was something that was going to last me over time and become a habit, and not just last for a short timeframe.

I promise you, there are ways you can still care for your health without dropping out of the social scene.

Here are some tips I’ve employed over the years to stick on track:

  • Have a treat day and coincide it with your outting: the whole idea of having a treat day is to ensure you don’t have a feeling of deprivation and resent the new way of eating. Treats for me since having gone raw have changed quite significantly and even if they are still considered junk food, as long as I aim to stick to vegan foods, even if cooked, then I am not too stressed out
  • Load up: fill up on a green smoothie, cooked or raw soup of salad monster before heading to a party. This will curb your appetite and ensure you are able to stop at just one or two nibblies when you get to the party. Don’t arrive hungry
  • Pack your own smoothie! I’ve done this loads, and before you say ‘how embarrassing’ basically it’s not really a big deal at a party. Mostly everyone else is concerned with what they are drinking to worry about what you are drinking (usually why I never recommend people to announce ‘they are not drinking alcohol tonight’ as it was probably likely no one would have noticed anyway. I often take a pineapple and coconut smoothie or an equally delicious smoothie – usually my husband will choose to have some of mine rather than alcohol instead. I pack my smoothie in a cold flask so it doesn’t need to be refrigerated and at a party where it is ‘help yourself’ to drinks I just discretely pour my drink into a cup like everyone else’s. In a situation where you are at a dinner party, perhaps make enough for everyone to try. Also green smoothies are a great conversation starter!
  • Dinner Time! When I am asked to a friends house for dinner, I never assume they know what kind of food I like to eat, so rather than be ‘that person’ who can’t eat this or can’t eat that, I actually make my own dinner (enough for a full meal size) plus extra for everyone else to sample. I take it along, and if I am lucky then the host has prepared something for me, and I have contributed something healthy and delicious as well. Usually I pick a show stopper – something that will really impress people so it encourages them to try it and I’ve always taken home empty dishes!
  • Going out to dinner? If you know where you are going ahead of time, call up the restaurant for a copy of their menu or check them out online. Most restaurants have vegetarian dishes than can be easily modified – think salad minus the cheese, or even ask to speak to the chef and let them know your requirements to see if they can come up with something to suit you prior to arriving. I’ve been known to take a ripe avocado in my bag to bulk out my meal if the options have been poorly. If you cannot prepare ahead of time by calling ahead, or it’s a spontaneous dinner plan, think of ordering 2 or 3 appetiser size meals if there are no or minimal options in the main meal section. Don’t be afraid to speak to your server about your requirements (you can use the ‘I’m allergic to these foods…will help). I have a friend who carries a business card size card with their food requirements for the server to give to the chef, good idea!
  • Relax your rules: sometimes it’s just not going to be easy to get the exact meal you require due to the fact you are in a social environment that is a little challenging. Don’t stress out, make the most of your situation, hopefully you’ll have a lara bar or some trail mix in your bag to get you by, until you can have your next meal as you want! Try and enjoy the moment for what it is, it’s about being with friends and loved ones, and if you happen to slip up, you can get right back on track when you get home!

Do you have any other suggestions?

Fitness Fudge *RAW*

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I’ve been overwhelmed and excited by the interest and sales in my debut eBook Travelling in the Raw which launched last week and this was largely the reason for my absence from blogging. Thank you to those of you that have already bought it, I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.

So I’ve been absent and I promised you kombucha and raw vegan felafel. All I can say is, they are  coming 😉

I find whenever I promise something on the blog, life throws me a curveball and other priorities crop up, and being a mummy to an almost walking 8 month old add to the spontaneity of my life.

In the meantime, I get plenty of requests and emails asking all sorts of questions, and the latest was did I have any pre workout breakfast ideas that are healthy?

Even though I am not a fitness professional, the timing of this question was impeccable as I had recently pulled out of the cobwebs, a book I first purchased for the hubs when he was flirting with the idea of competing in triathlons.

Thrive – The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports & Life, by Brendan Brazier. Brendan is a professional ironman triathlete and the guy behind Vega – the raw wholefoods product line.

As I’ve recently returned to regular work outs again, post pregnancy, I have been paying extra attention to how I fuel my body both pre and post exercise, as my work out routines have been slowly increasing in intensity, as I vow to get my pre pregnancy glow back :)

 

Whilst I strive for a mainly raw diet, I do like to keep updated with new research or philosophies to ensure I can feel and look the best I can, now and in old age, but sometimes get confused with conflicting information that bombards our senses.

I was finding my endurance during runs and strength training to be waning, and started to question if I was fuelling myself correctly.

Body for Life tells you to work out on an empty stomach, other training techniques tell you to eat something before you train, so what was I supposed to do? If I worked out on an empty stomach, my workout session suffered, if I ate something light, what should I eat, and was I only then burning off what I had just eaten and not my stored fat I am trying to lose?

Brendan talks about pre exercise snacks in Chapter 4, and breaks exercise down into 3 levels: level one high intensity for shorter time, level two moderate intensity between one and three hours, and level three lower intensity lasting more than 3 hours.

Most of my activity whether it is strength training, running/jogging, walking, home workout DVD’s, is usually level one or two.

Brendan suggests the best fuel is a simple carbohydrate of which the healthiest is naturally, fruit. Dates (which hello hello, grow in abundance here in Saudi) are his favourite choice as they are rich in glucose and once this is consumed it does not have to be converted and is sent straight to the liver for instant energy.

Of course there is fructose which is also present in fruit, has a lower GI than glucose which means it takes longer to start to work once consumed but it burns for longer, giving prolonged energy. He says bananas, mangos and papayas, as well as being high alkalinity are also high in fructose providing both immediate and longer lasting energy – which is why my bananas pre work out snack are ideal!

He also notes that coconut oil is often overlooked as a quick energy source. As it contains medium chain triglycerides, these too, go straight to the liver for an instant power boost.

For level two activities, he suggests bumping up the nutrient ratio in the pre exercise snack to contain a small amount of protein and essential fatty acids. If placed in the right ratio, they will not only digest quickly but also provide sustained energy for a longer period of time, whether your exercise is vigorous or not.

Examples of vegan sources of protein could be hemp , pea protein, brown rice protein powders and essential fatty acids can be found in ingredients like ground flaxseeds or almonds.

So bearing all that in mind I came up with this recipe to munch on prior to my level one training – usually walking or running.

Fitness Fudge

adapted from Brendan Brazier’s Direct Fuel Bites

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I have made three versions of this, all delicious. See if you can come up with your own, and let me know how they taste!

Chocolate 

1/2 cup of lightly packed dates

3 tablespoons of coconut oil

zest & juice of one lemon

2 tablespoons of cacao powder

1/4 teaspoon himalayan or celtic sea salt (rocks are best as they give the fudge delicious salty crunch!)

Cinnamon Donut

1/2 cup of lightly packed dates

3 tablespoons of coconut oil

1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice

1  1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon powder

1/4 teaspoon of himalaya or celtic sea salt (rocks are best as they give the fudge delicious salty crunch!)

Mint Chip – one of my all time favourite recipe flavour combinations

1/2 cup of lightly packed dates

3 tablespoons of coconut oil

1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice

1 teaspoon of peppermint extract

2 T cacao nibs

1/4 teaspoon of himalaya or celtic sea salt (rocks are best as they give the fudge delicious salty crunch!)

Method – same for each recipe above

Place all ingredients in food processor and process with the S blade until it rolls up into a sticky ball. You may need to knead the ball down and process a few more times to ensure all ingredients are thoroughly mixed and almost smooth. You still want a slight texture but want it to resemble fudge as much as possible.

The mix will be almost a caramel consistency and very sticky once fully combined.

 

Place the mix onto a piece of cling/plastic wrap  and gently shape into the thickness and size of a block of fudge.

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Wrap up and place in the freezer, where you will store it. It should take half an hour to firm up.

You can slice off bite size pieces direct from the freezer prior to your work out, but I’ll warn you, you might just want to eat them anytime of the day!

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How to Store Your Juice

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What about spoiling/oxidisation? Isn’t it best to drink your juice immediately to ensure no spoilage and maximum enzyme/nutrient hit?

Sure but for those busy people (and people that hate the juicer clean up every morning) there is a solution.

If you store the juice correctly, you can actually store it for up to 3 days without too much damage.

So here’s what you do:

You will need:

A glass jar/s of some kind (large enough to fit you juice) canning jars with 2 piece lids like Ball are great.

STEP 1:

Fill the jar ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP with even a little overflow (you want this airtight)

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STEP TWO:

Place first part of lid on top. You want to create a vacuum seal. Best to have a little overflow of juice to make sure. If you don’t have a 2 part lid system, you will then want to cover the juice with cling/plastic wrap but ENSURE there are no air bubbles

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STEP THREE:

Cover with 2nd lid and secure tight. If you are using cling/plastic film, then place your only lid over the top.

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Voila.

How to Wash Non Organic (Conventional) Produce

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I’ve spoken about veggie washes for inorganic/non organic produce before on the blog, but often get asked how do I handle the lack of organic produce here in the barren desert, so here’s something you can try at home too.

Lemon/Baking Soda Wash

1 Tbsp. lemon juice – (natural disinfectant) 2 Tbsp. baking soda (neutralises the PH level of pesticides)

Vinegar/Salt Wash

1/4 cup vinegar (cleans the fruits and vegetables and neutralizes most pesticides)
2 Tbsp. salt (draws out dirt and insects)

Lemon/Vinegar Wash

1 Tbsp. Lemon juice – (natural disinfectant) 2 Tbsp. Vinegar (cleans the fruits and vegetables neutralizes most pesticides)

Method:

Just fill a sink or a large bowl with water and the above ingredients (depending on the method you choose) and let the vegetables sit for about 20 minutes then rinse or else you can fill an empty water bottle and spray onto your produce and then rinse and wipe.

 

Video Recipe : Iron & Protein Packed Smoothie

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Happy Monday! Did you have a great weekend? In today’s video I demonstrate a smoothie with hemp. Hemp seed is a relatively new addition to my diet but it truly a wonderful raw superfood for many reasons:

  • supplies more levels of iron than red meat or flax seed
  • greatest source of protein in the vegetable kingdom
  • hemp is NEVER genetically modified
  • is an ideal balance of omega 3 & 6 fatty acids
  • can be purchased in seed, oil or flour form – seeds can be hulled or unhulled.
  • can be assistive for people with high cholestrol, blood pressure, blood sugar obesity, constipation, fatigue & depression
  • also great for weight loss as it provides long term appetite satisfaction (similar to chia seeds)

In the video I say we only need 4 teaspoons a day – I meant 4 tablespoons – I ALWAYS  get tablespoons and teaspoons confused!!! Vitamin C consumption always enhances the bodies ability to absorb iron when consumed together so the following recipe although includes plenty of iron in the hemp and spinach, the berries compliment perfectly by providing the Vitamin C needed.

Iron & Protein Packed Smoothie

2 frozen bananas 1 cup of strawberries (fresh or frozen) 1 cup of raspberries (fresh or frozen) 1 cup of packed spinach (fresh or frozen) 1/2 cup of hemp seeds (mine are hulled) 3 cups of water If you are in Australia, you might find it a little hard to get hold of hemp seeds, oil or flour but here are some suppliers:

If you are in Saudi or Bahrain, I have found hemp protein powder brand name V-Pro (hemp flour) in the compound commissary, Lulu in Saudi and also in Al Hosra in Bahrain.