Category Archives: AS IT IS

RAW FOOD DIET DOESN’T HAVE TO BE EXPENSIVE

I went raw when I was in graduate school in the 1970s. (back then, being in grad school meant you were stone-cold broke, working and going to school most of the time. I went raw first just because it was easier than cooking, and I was doing something I called a “five-day salad” (all of this was intuitive, no one had told me about raw) My five day salad was “I chopped up some cabbage, tomatoes, onions, lentil sprouts, and spinach, threw in some kelp powder and garlic, added olive oil and vinegar, and I was good to go. What I didn’t eat the first day went in the fridge and I added more vegetables on the second day, and so on… the fifth day was soup day (I didn’t know I was raw at the time, so I put water in the leftover salad and put hot water on it, and voila, soup.)

One day, I was in Yes! the New Age bookstore we had back then in Washington DC, and I saw this book “Live Foods” by George and Doris Fathman, and the recipes inside looked like ramped up versions of my daily fare, so I bought that book and played around with the recipes. I actually lived intuitively, i.e. with no other recipe books, until my mother bought me a very fancy raw vegan recipe book in 1999.

Nowadays, there is so much information on line, but, yet, it is challenging to find ways to go what I am going to call “minimalist raw”, where you don’t have to have all the fancy machines (my first “food processor” was a fabulous Chinese stainless steel cleaver which I use to this day). I do have a food processor now, and I have finally acquired a spiralizer because, in my old age, I have decided that zucchini noodles and other vegetable “noodles” are fun, and I deserve them)

When you start out being raw, there are so many different opinions. I still say that the most important thing is to go raw, and figure out where you’re getting your protein (raw nuts and seeds, either straight up or ground to bits and put in each and every food you make, either as “nut meat” or cream sauces, or made into shakes), get your oils (eat an avocado, use extra virgin olive oil – Trader Joe’s is cheap and trustworthy), and vary your diet, i.e., do try to eat different things sometimes. You do not have to get all of the fancy superfoods whose names you cannot pronounce. As I said before, I didn’t even know I was going raw: I was just eating a serious salad that would hold out, with additions, for up to 5 days.

Of course, every raw foodist is going to tell you that you should only use organic vegetables, and that is true,, but, hey! If you cannot afford organic, you can still go raw. I did, and I have lived to tell the story.

Actually, although, since 1999, I have read a lot of raw vegan recipe books, I still keep it pretty simple. My biggest successes, according to me, have been learning how to grow those lentil sprouts, and, also, learning how to make easy 4-day sauerkraut, and cashew cheeze! Those three things really liven up my diet.

I should note that, while I was finishing up this post , and adding tags, I noticed that things I have posted over the last ten or so years are quite simple, and don’t require much in the way of machinery. You can make just about anything I have posted with a knife, a blender, and a food processor . Blender-wise, I use a NutriBullet, but my mom uses a Magic Bullet with good results .

Please note that there are no links to follow to buy anything I have mentioned. I am not an affiliate of anything I have mentioned here. You’ll have to google it yourself.

NEW BOOKS and SAUERKRAUT

I have been kind of busy lately.  I’ve had to put off a bunch of things I want to do, like finish up my Raw Vegan Nutritionist Centre of Excellence online course (hope they’ll give me some extra time on account of the virus or some other excuse – I really do want to finish the thing up. More about that later.)

My job went from brick-and-mortar English school to on-line virtual English school over one weekend.  We got about 5 minutes of training,  and then they handed me a computer and said, basically ‘go home and do the job’.  So I’m learning how to do that.

Meanwhile, I’m self-isolated in my building. So, what to do.  I accidentally found some raw vegan books when I answered a dumb question on Quora (have you ever done that?)… So, anyway, someone recommended this book, The Health Seekers’ Yearbook:  a Revolutionist’s Handbook for Getting Well and Staying Well Without the Medicine Men, and it’s by Victoria Bidwell, an author I had never heard of before.   This goes on my “early books shelf” – published in 1990 – how did I miss it?  Anyhow it is really seriously about food combining, nutrition, and lifestyle.  It’s kind of strict, but that’s not so bad.   There are some recipes, but not too many… it’s more about managing a very healthy lifestyle with exercise, positive thoughts, and la la la.  Once I’d found that one, I found another one which is pretty much an encyclopedia  (like 2 or 3 inches thick), again talking seriously about nutrition and raw vegan natural hygiene (food combining).

I’m looking forward to having time to sit down seriously and read through these books (I’ve just looked at the index and, yes, they are influenced by T.C. Fry’s work, among others.)

Then, too, I found Cherie Soria’s book Raw Food for Dummies.  How come I didn’t know about that?  Probably because I’ve been working my way to a minimalist approach toward raw veganism, where you don’t need an arsenal of expensive equipment to be raw vegan. (I’m back to my knife, and my cutting board. Okay, I do have a food processor and a spiralizer.  And a nut grinder.  I’ve always followed Soria, and liked her recipes.  Now I have a book full of them, plus lots of instructions for stuff I had forgotten about. This book was published in 2013.  I think that, by then, I had decided that all the great books had already been written.  Nope!  This is a fun romp, with lots of recipes I’ll be willing to make when I get some time (i.e., not everything is made using a dehydrator or a juicer costing hundreds of dollars and requiring gobs of space)

My other news is my new sauerkraut batch.  When I went in the supermarket and saw a head of cabbage for 59cents, I knew it was time.   So, the day before yesterday, I went into the kitchen, chopped up the head of cabbage, chopped like 4 jalapeno peppers, mixed it all with salt, probiotics, and water, and I am eagerly expecting some delish sauerkraut the day after tomorrow.

Oh, yes! I forgot to mention that I have been sprouting lentils like nobody’s business!  They’re so easy, so fast, so gratifying, and so tasty!  It only takes about 3 days to get a nice quart of lentil sprouts, and they’ll last in the refrigerator for 5-6 days!  Yum!  Now, I am a window farmer!

Now, off to teach another class.

Sort-of Southern Barbecue & Cole Slaw – It’s almost close enough!

In the last post, I said I was going to make a Southern style barbecue with a mushroom, and I did.  Here’s what happened:

I laid out my ingredients:

For the cole slaw:

  • Cabbage
  • Onion (that’s how I like my cole slaw)
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Apple cider vinegar

For the “pulled mushroom barbecue”:

  • A maitake mushroom
  • Eastern North Carolina barbecue sauce (ACV, black pepper, red pepper flakes, hot pepper sauce)

Then I sat in front of the TV and pulled strands of maitake mushroom forever. (Honestly, there must be an easier way!)  At last, I pulled the last strand, and put the mushroom bits in a large plastic bag to marinate with some barbecue sauce.  Set that aside.

I cut half of the head of cabbage and half of the onion, and put them in the food processor (I like my cole slaw in little bits – so much easier and neater to chew!)

Then I mixed up the cabbage with black pepper and just enough oil and vinegar to dampen it but not drown it.

By this time, I was wavering between starving and bereft of appetite for having worked so hard on that maitake.  I decided I was starving, so I ate a delicious bowl of cole slaw.

Then I decided that the maitake really did not need to be so very marinated, and I took some out of the bag, put it in a bowl, put some cole slaw on top, and…… well, it was tasty and filling, and different from my usual fare, and sort of almost like barbecue.  Good enough at that point in time. (in the lead-up to this momentous project, I always known that I would probably need a couple of tries to get it right, but this definitely was better than no barbecue. I mean, it was good enough that I am looking forward to eating the rest of it just as soon as I finish this post.)

I CUT OFF THE GAS – who knew they charge you even if you don’t use it

POST #912
Okay, call me dim!  This is my first time to have an apartment all to myself, and I just got the utility bill! What? They charged me for gas? How come? Did I use it? Nope!  So I called the company and found out that, for the privilege of having gas connected, I have to pay. Then, enlightened as they seem to be, they told me that if I am not using the gas, I can have the service cut off (there must be enough raw vegans to attract their attention!)  They did give me a caveat — if I use the gas, even once, they will turn it back on. Oh, I can live with that!   Yea! $27 less on the utility bill, without even having to suffer!

POTLUCK ON SATURDAY NIGHT – What to make and take?

POST #908
Okay, it’s time to obsess over what to take to the raw potluck meet-up again!  (Every time I get invited to a potluck, I start obsessing over what to take).

Originally, the meet-up was going to be an intimate affair of about 12 people in a wonderful tiny boat-like UWS apartment, and I had planned to make the kale/cashew cheese on tomato slices (always popular).

Now, the venue has moved to a SoHo loft, with 20 or so people attending, so that recipe is not such a good idea – I want to make something that more people can enjoy. (I’m not griping too much, because I get to see what a SoHo loft looks like in person)

Will it be a “noodle” dish (not! These so often fail heroically – I’ve never tried making one for a potluck, but the ones I’ve seen in potlucks have all too often sat there lonely all night)

Kale Chips?  (too messy in the end – they crumb all over the place and I don’t want to cause clean-up problems for the hostess)

Crackers?  Then I would also have to make a dip, pate, or cheese.  (Too much space required, too much work for the eaters, besides that I would probably eat half of it before I ever got there).

OR WHAT?

I want something elegant and tasty,  that I can (relatively) easily, quickly, and economically make on a large scale.

I’m thinking a sea vegetable/marinated kale/cabbage/lentil sprout salad with a sesame oil/apple cider vinegar dressing, possibly seasoned with garlic, onion, cilantro, and cayenne.  I could make that kind of big so more people could enjoy it (I’m sure they would).  The advantage of this dish is that I know I would like to eat it, and would be willing to chew it (lazy chewer strikes again!)

Yep! I think that’s what I will do! As soon as I finish this post, I will go to the kitchen and start soaking some lentils, so that they will be reasonably sprouted by Friday night so I can assemble the dish.  Thanks for helping me decide!

QUESTIONS PEOPLE ASK ME

POST #887
Last night, at the raw vegan potluck dinner, I fielded  a lot of questions – the most common among them were:
“How long have you been raw?”
“Why did you go raw?”
“Have you always been 100% raw?”

I figure that, because I was clearly the oldest attendee,  “how long have you been raw” was the most popular question.
Let’s see – I did not clock in or anything, I was just in college full-time and working full-time to pay my tuition, rent, and food,  and I started making what I called a “progressive salad” – chopped cabbage, bell peppers, onions,lentil sprouts, and tomatoes, with olive oil and apple cider vinegar: the “progressive” part was that what I didn’t eat went in the refrigerator, and each day, I added some more, or something different, until, after about 4 days, I would put water in it and warm it to soup temperature and finish it off. (I made lentil sprouts because they tasted good and they were easy to make and almost never failed)   Back then, there was a bookstore in Washington, DC, where I lived, called Yes!, and they carried lots of interesting New Age books.  In the cookbook section, I found  a book on raw food (Live Foods, by George and Doris Fathman).  That book taught me some new ideas, some new recipes, and told me what I had been doing all the while.  Fast forward to 1999, when I went to a health food store with my mom, and she saw Rose Lee Calabro’s book, Livng in the Raw and bought it for me.  I had never seen fancy recipes before, I had never had a fancy juicer, I had only my serious-business all-stainless-steel Chinese cleaver as a food processor, and now I was facing a whole new world of possibilities.  I did save my money and get a VitaMix, and, a couple of years later, an Excalibur dehydrator (now, also, I have a Cuisinart food  processor which, at 2 years old, has outlasted all three of the cheap food processors I had before).  I still do eat pretty simply, although not as simply as the fellow I met last night, who said he eats kale by the leaf – my food has to taste like food, and not “health food”.  Most of the dishes I make up are not much more complicated than the ones I was making way back when, although I do love to make crackers and breads from time to time, and dehydrate fruit when it is in season and sauces when I make too much, and I am terribly fond of banana soft serve ice cream which I make with my 1976 vintage Champion juicer.

“Why did I go raw?”  The answer to that is, in all honesty,  “pure laziness”.  I was paying my way through college, so I took the maximum number of credits I thought you could take (18) each semester, and I took a maximum load in summer session also, and I was working full-time to meet the bills, so I did not have much time to fool around with things like food.  I had my Chinese knife and a cutting board, and it made more sense to take the vegetables I chopped up and throw them in a bowl and eat them than to take the extra step of throwing them in a pan and cooking them.  Once that was going, it was easy enough to keep it going, rather than to try anything new.

Have I always been 100% raw?  Now, I will be perfectly honest with you.  I say I have been raw for over 30 years.  That is when I started. Since then, I have, like any good raw foodist (let’s be real here), gone off and eaten other stuff.  Like any good vegan (again, reality check) I have gone off and eaten wild and crazy stuff like honey, or cheese, or ice cream.  The thing with milk products is that, as it turns out, I am allergic to milk protein (not the more common “lactose intolerance”), so consuming them has always come back to bite me big time.  As far as eating cooked food, the laziness is still a factor: it’s just a heck of a lot easier to throw something into the food processor, and then scarf it up, rather than to take that intermediate step and cook it.  I have never gone off for long enough to really count, unless you are counting every minute, every second, in which case, I have only been 99% raw for all this time. (At any time, I normally tell people I am 95% raw, because I know I am a human, and I might change my mind at any moment, even if I have been 100% raw for longer than I have been counting – I don’t stop and start the count, anyway, since I always end up raw.)

When I lost my teeth, as a result of an accident, I went to cooked food because raw food seemed hard to manage (I was very distressed when I found that I couldn’t even chew a lettuce leaf!).  I even wrote a cookbook for people who have no teeth or have dentures, or have other chewing/swallowing issues — but, even then, I came back to raw food quickly (my food processor and my Vitamix can make anything do-able!).

I’ve been honest with you here, which is more than a lot of the “raw food gurus” will do.

TODAY I AM RAW.  And that is exactly what I teach my clients: Think “Today I am raw”.  If you can do that, you can wake up tomorrow and say the same thing.  If you wake up the next day and feel like you want to eat something else, you can make that choice if you want to, and, then, when you are ready, you can go right back and say “Today I am raw” (you can even go right back after one or two meals. *NOW I am raw* works.  If you want to observe a raw food lifestyle at any level (okay, 50% raw, okay, 80% raw, or whatever, you can do that.  No judgements. I do raw because it works for me.  High raw (90%) is a really good thing to shoot for, but more raw is better than no raw (even the AMA agrees with me on this one). If you want to include more raw food in your diet, you just do it, one meal at a time. If you want to observe a raw vegan diet, you just do it one day at a time.

COLD REMEDY: HONEY AND CINNAMON

POST #884
from rawforbeauty.com
COLD CURE HONEY AND CINNAMON raw for beauty

FIRE CIDER RECIPE from Rosemary Gladstar

POST #880
I cannot have the flu vaccine (allergies, reactions, etc.& so forth, and even if I could, I don’t know that I would — this is not to say that you shouldn’t, if you feel so inclined), so I am happy to see this traditional cold/flu remedy recipe.

HOME-MADE FIRE CIDER
From Rosemary Gladstar, MountainRose blog
Fire Cider is a traditional cold remedy with deep roots in folk medicine. The tasty combination of vinegar infused with powerful immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, decongestant, and spicy circulatory movers makes this recipe especially pleasant and easy to incorporate into your daily diet to help boost the immune system, stimulate digestion, and get you nice and warmed up on cold days.
Because this is a folk preparation, the ingredients can change from year to year depending on when you make it and what’s growing around you. The standard base ingredients are apple cider vinegar, garlic, onion, ginger, horseradish, and hot peppers, but there are plenty of other herbs that can be thrown in for added kick. This year I had lots of spicy jalapenos and vibrant rosemary in the garden, so I used those along with some organic turmeric powder in the cupboard and fresh lemon peel. Some people like to bury their fire cider jar in the ground for a month while it extracts and then dig it up during a great feast to celebrate the changing of the seasons.
Fire Cider can be taken straight by the spoonful, added to organic veggie juice (throw in some olives and pickles and think non-alcoholic, health boosting bloody mary!), splashed in fried rice, or drizzled on a salad with good olive oil. You can also save the strained pulp and mix it with shredded veggies like carrots, cabbage, broccoli, and fresh herbs to make delicious and aromatic stir-fries and spring rolls! I like to take 1 tbsp each morning to help warm me up and rev the immune system, or 3 tbsp at the first sign of a cold.
Time to make the Fire Cider!

FIRE CIDER INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup fresh grated organic ginger root
1/2 cup fresh grated organic horseradish root
1 medium organic onion, chopped
10 cloves of organic garlic, crushed or chopped
2 organic jalapeno peppers, chopped
Zest and juice from 1 organic lemon
Several sprigs of fresh organic rosemary or 2 tbsp of dried rosemary leaves
1 tbsp organic turmeric powder
organic apple cider vinegar
raw local honey to taste

DIRECTIONS
Prepare all of your cold-fighting roots, fruits, and herbs and place them in a quart sized jar. If you’ve never grated fresh horseradish, be prepared for a powerful sinus opening experience! Use a piece of natural parchment paper or wax paper under the lid to keep the vinegar from touching the metal. Shake well! Store in a dark, cool place for one month and remember to shake daily.
After one month, use cheesecloth to strain out the pulp, pouring the vinegar into a clean jar. Be sure to squeeze as much of the liquid goodness as you can from the pulp while straining. Next, comes the honey! Add 1/4 cup of honey and stir until incorporated. Taste your cider and add another 1/4 cup unrtil you reach the desired sweetness.
INGREDIENT VARIATIONS
These herbs and spices would make a wonderful addition to your Fire Cider creations: Thyme, Cayenne, Rosehips, Ginseng, Orange, Grapefruit, Schizandra berries, Astragalus, Parsley, Burdock, Oregano, Peppercorns

HERBAL HEALER – Dr. Marijah McCain’s herbal healing website

POST #876
This is not strictly raw vegan info, but it may well be of interest to those who have come to raw foods as a way to avoid or heal health issues naturally.  I’d like to say, up front, that I am not selling anything, I am not an affiliate of Dr. Marijah McCain’s Herbal Healer website, and I think that Dr. McCain does not particularly like me (she cut me off from her very useful email list a while back, although she has since re-instated my subscription).  I just believe  that Dr. McCain offers a very useful, valuable service, and would like others to know of this opportunity. If you click on the “private membership organization” text at the top of the webpage, you can get a free hard-copy catalog of products, which also contains valuable health information and guidance (just do it–  if you get it, you will see how useful it is – you will find information that is not necessarily widely available).

15 years ago, I discovered  the work of Dr. Marijah McCain.  At first, I was looking for herbs that I could use to combat physical issues and strengthen my system, and, then, I was attracted to the correspondence courses Dr. McCain offered — through her programs, I became a certified nutritional consultant (although I’ve since studied nutrition in other programs,  her nutrition program was the most thorough correspondence course I have yet seen), and a certified Flower Essence Therapy practitioner. Dr. McCain offers a number of worthwhile health-related courses, and also sells health-related books that are not commonly found elsewhere.

From her website, Dr. McCain offers bulk herbs, foods, and other products, at reasonable prices.  Hers is one of the most comprehensive and direct sites I have seen for information about and products for combating systemic candidiasis, as well as other physical challenges, including cancer.  Her prices are competitive.

If you are interested in natural healing, herbology, flower essences, or any other area of natural healing, you would do well to pay a visit to this website, and look around (as of my visit this evening, I can say that the navigation of the site is a bit tricky — certain subjects/topics/products might not be listed in the search, but might be found when you go to pages of related products or ideas– still, the exercise is worth your while.)

What can I say? Whether or not Dr. McCain wants to give me the time of day, I still value her contribution and would like others to  know of her and her offerings.

YOUNG THAI COCONUT – I dream of a frozen or dried option

POST #876
Many of us do not have easy access to young Thai coconuts, even though so .many raw recipes call for them.   I dream that, some day soon, someone will come up with a way to market frozen or dried young Thai coconut flesh, so that we can all have a chance to try out all of those delicious-sounding recipes.

I mean, how hard could it be to set up a factory similar to those which produce dried coconut and coconut water and coconut milk, to extract young Thai coconut from its shell and freeze it, or else dehydrate it, for use in food preparation?  It would seem, to me, at least, that such a venture would be cheaper, ultimately, than importing whole young Thai coconuts, which can go bad in a short time.  Such a production plant/factory could be established in a place where the coconuts grow, providing employment for local people (oh, green! oh, free market! oh, fair trade!), and still provide a competitive product for sale in Europe and North America (I say North America because I have seen, and partaken of young coconuts in South America, although they were not called “Thai” coconuts there.)