Tag Archives: health

ALCOHOL & RAW FOOD: Do they mix?

One of the blogs that I visit most often is Raw Food Right Now. Now, Heidi Ohlander has written a very interesting article on that subject that few talk about and many (probably) think about, at least from time to time.  Can raw people have a drink here and there, or is it entirely verboten? (Sure, some of us have considered this issue… I know some people who will drink at home alone, or with close friends whose beliefs in this respect have been carefully polled. The raw restaurant, Pure Food & Wine, here in New York City, actually has wine in its name, and offers “raw organic wines on its menu.)  Consequently, when Heidi republished this article, originally written for the British raw magazine, Get Fresh!, on Raw Food Right Now, I was very interested to see her take on the issue.  How refreshing it turned out to be!  With Heidi’s permission, I am publishing it here:

For optimum health, is it necessary to swear off alcohol for life, or is it okay to “indulge” occassionally?

So many experts in the raw food world talk a lot about what not to eat or drink. With all the different “rules” that are put out there, a lot of fear can go into our decisions about what’s truly healthy for us to consume. When you bring alcoholic beverages into the debate, all hell can break loose.

I’m not going to argue that alcohol is healthy and should be consumed every day like those strange reports that say you should drink a glass of red wine for your heart. That’s ridiculous, and you know it. I’m not going to say that everything is good in moderation, because a little bit of arsenic isn’t good in moderation.

I’m not like all the other experts out there. My mission in the raw food community is to offer multiple options from my own personal research and experience. I want you to make the choice that is right for you. I have recieved countless emails from people who have gone raw, telling me that they want to drink alcohol once in awhile, especially during the holidays, but they don’t know what to drink.

Here’s the deal: no matter if you just found out about raw food last week or if you have been raw for the last decade, if you want to have an alcoholic beverage, you are the one that is going to make that choice.

Your choices for drinking may be personal. Perhaps you are seeing friends from college that you haven’t seen in a long time and just for tonight, you want to seem “normal”. Maybe you are going to your sister’s wedding and you want a glass to celebrate during the toast. It might be your birthday, and tonight, you are going to have a glass of wine, no matter what your favorite raw guru says to the contrary!

No matter what the occasion, you have decided that you want something do drink, and I don’t mean water with lemon. So, you’ve listened to the experts and you’ve made the choice: you’re drinking.

Here are a few important distinctions when it comes to alcohol and raw food:

  • Go for organic and biodynamic whenever possible. It is amazing how many new choices are out there for wine and spirits.
  • Hard alcohol has been distilled, meaning it was boiled. It is not raw. You may be able to drink hard liquour now that you are raw, but your tolerance will have changed! Personally I have found that I cannot tolerate any hard alcohol – it is too strong for me. If you decide to go with hard alcohol, choose a cocktail and sip it slowly. If I had to choose one hard alcohol, it would be organic grain vodka.
  • Wines tend to be the easiest for most raw foodists to consume.Fun Fact: White wine and champange tend to be easier on raw foodists than deep red wines, possibly due to lighter alcohol content and lower sulphite content.
  • I realize that during the holidays there are parties at clubs and pubs. If you choose to drink at these public places, realize that your organic, no-sulphite alcohol choices might not be available. Look at the options, and choose the best option for you. And try to have a good time!
  • Whatever you drink, just say no to beer. According to the research out there, modern beer is probably one of the most dangerous beverages you can drink. It has oestrogenic properties, causes acidic symptoms, and is very toxic to the liver. I have known multiple raw foodists who used to love beer, but when they went raw and they tried a sip of beer, it was intolerable. Try it if you must, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!
  • No matter what beverage you choose, drink lots of water! It is so easy to become dehydrated from drinking alcohol. The classic rule is to drink one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume. For those eating high-raw diets I recomend two glasses of water for every alcoholic beverage.

You’ve probably heard this before, but it is true: the more raw you are, the “lighter” you are. This affects not just weight but also sensitivity. Lighter constitution means lower alcohol tolerance. Knowing this can make all the difference between enjoying a cocktail with friends, and puking your brains out because you had too much. Listen to your body. Keep aware of the entire experience while consuming alcohol.

I have found my experiments with alcohol after going raw have been some of the most fascinating experiments during my raw food journey. Before going raw I used to drink with friends on the weekends. Now I might have a glass of wine or champagne once or twice a year.

I know what I can drink, what I can’t drink, how much I can tolerate, and the effects afterwards.

And with time you can too. You can experiment for yourself and find what works for you.

One final important tip: Raw foodists (or anyone) should not drink and drive. It takes a small amount of alcohol to be legally intoxicated, especially for raw men and women. As a general rule, if I choose to drink, I refuse to drive. Even if it is “just a little bit”.

That way it is safe for everyone.

Here’s a quick recap:

  • Find a drink that works for you.
  • Wine tends to be the best for raw foodists, especially white wine.
  • Drink small amounts.
  • Drink 2 glasses of water with each drink.
  • Don’t drink and drive.
  • Have fun!

– Heidi Ohlander

Heidi Ohlander and her husband JS are the team behind Raw Food Right Now, a frequently updated raw food blog which is a constant source of great information, ideas, reviews and tips. The site also contains the most comprehensive list of raw blogs in the world.

Find out more at www.rawfoodrightnow.com



Whew! This was a day!  I don’t recall ever having it so rough on a Master Cleanse.
First, I had cold/flu-like symptoms in the morning.   Then, I felt starved and actually got half-way down the street to the deli before I could stop myself…. Yes! I did stop and turn around and go back and drink some more lemonade – That starved feeling passed after about a half hour  (Praise the Lord!)

Hallelluia! I have made it through the day.

Tomorrow is a new day.


Aw, man! Another thing to add to my wish list! Raw Soul is doing a Raw Chef training,in New York City, and I just know it is going to be fabulous! The raw food training I attended at Raw Soul was so fabulous that I KNOW I want to do their Raw Chef training.

Since I won’t be able to attend the March training, which I believe is the first (because I will be attending another training at that time, as well as paying for my CSA membership for 2009), I am going to have to hope and pray that all goes well and that the training is a big success, so that there will be more, and I will, hopefully soon, be able to plunk down the $1800 investment. I hope that the word will get around — they don’t seem to be publicizing much — about this program, which I am sure will be fabulous.

Sadly, on my visit to check on this training, I see that, apparently, Lillian Butler has discontinued her fabulous Raw Food training. This was the only raw food lifestyle training available in New York City, and it will be missed. I imagine that their failure to publicize this program may have contributed to demise of the program. Hopefully, Raw Soul will find a way to publicize their programs more actively and widely, and soon.

I would also recommend Raw Soul’s new book, Raw Soul Health Journey, by Lillian Butler and Eddie Robinson, the powers behind Raw Soul.  I  have only had one opportunity to look through the book, but it looks like just about everything that Lillian presented in her raw food trainings is detailed in this book, in addition to a healthy selection of the recipes Raw Soul serves daily.  This book would be a good addition to anyone’s library of nutrition, lifestyle, and food prep books. (This is not available on amazon.com — you will have to go directly to the publisher, Raw Soul — although I do think I may have seen it at the Integral Yoga bookstore in Greenwich Village, in New York….)

CSA POTLUCK TOMORROW, and I still don’t know what dish I will take

There is a CSA Potluck Dinner tomorrow, coupled with a silent auction. I have donated a malachite and silver necklace and a package of 20 corn crackers with a container of cashew cheez.

Now I need to think about what I will make for my contribution to the potluck. I am really really thinking of bringing a plate worth of the corn crackers and a pot of the cheez, to generate interest in buying the auction item.

Maybe I should make something else as well.

I have several sweet potatoes lying around, and some oranges, some dates, and some raw unsweetened dried coconut. That is the beginning of two possible recipes (I don’t think I want to make my two usual stand-by’s – raw marinated massaged collards, or raw beets/turnips in vinegar– although I do have some beets, some radishes, and some turnips in the refrigerator)

I’m thinking of one of two sweet potato recipes. I like them both because people are surprised when they realize that what they are eating is raw. I don’t know if I would make the whole pie, but I would offer the filling — with all those dates, it is very sweet. I am also thinking about a “stuffing” recipe made with sunflower seeds.

2 – 3 sweet potatoes (or yams)
1 C coconut, dried
2 apples
1/4 C ginger root
4 lemons juiced
2 oranges, juiced
1 C walnuts, chopped fine

• Chop sweet potatoes, apples, and ginger, and run through Champion juicer with ….blank plate. (Alternatively, grate sweet potatoes, apples, and ginger).
• Remove mixtureto a large bowl. Add shredded dried coconut, lemon and orange …juices, and chopped walnuts.
• Mix thoroughly

this is most amazing

2 C almonds, soaked
1 C walnuts or pecans, soaked
1 C unsweetened shredded coconut
20 dates, soaked overnight
2 C cashews, soaked overnight, and drained
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced.
3 t pumpkin pie spice
drizzle agave nectar

• Combine almonds, walnuts (or pecans, and coconut in food processor or Vitamix, …..and process until ground fine and dough-like
• Pat the dough into two pie plates

• Drain dates; reserve soak water.
• In food processor, puree dates, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie spice
• Remove mixture from food processor and set aside in a bowl.
• Set mixture aside in a bowl.
• Process cashews, agave nectar, vanilla, and date soak water as needed, until …..smooth and creamy.
• Combine cashew mixture and sweet potato mix puree
• Spread filling in pie shells
• Dehydrate for 6 hours, then refrigerate.

1 C sunflower seeds, soaked and drained
1 T flax seeds
1-1/2 C celery
1-1/2 C onion
1-1/4 C red bell pepper
1 T sage to taste (or use Bell’s Poultry Seasoning)
Salt and pepper to taste
Garlic to taste (optional)
1/2 C kalamata olives, chopped fine

• In a food processor, grind soaked sunflower seeds fine.
• Grind flax seeds fine in a coffee grinder.
• Remove ground seeds to a bowl.
• Place all remaining ingredients, save olives, in the food processor, and mince.
• Add olives and combine all ingredients thoroughly.
• Place in a pie tin, or rectangular tin of suitable size and dehydrate for six hours, or until dressing has reached your desired consistency.

No matter what, I need to go to the supermarket.

If I make ‘Amazing Sweet Potatoes” I need lemons.

If I make the sunflower seed dressing, I need the olives.

Oh!! If I make the pie filling, I don’t need anything, and it tastes really good…

What will I choose??? I need to decide in the next half hour. Oops! I’ve just gone for the easy one. Excuse me, I need to go soak the nuts.

SPROUT BALLS (cookies)

adapted from a recipe found at http://www.eatsofeden.com/

1 C soft wheatberries, sprouted
1 C raisins soaked, soaked water reserved
1 C shredded coconut
2 t Vanilla
Cinnamon (optional)

•    Homogenize sprouted wheat in the Champion juicer, with the blank plate, into a large bowl..
•    Mix in raisins, coconut, vanilla, and cinnamon (optional)
•    Wet hands with raisin soak water and form mix into 25  1 inch balls.
•    Place balls on dehydrator mesh screen on plastic tray.
•    Dehydrate at 110 degrees for 6-8 hours.


adapted from a recipe found at http://users.chariot.net.au

To make champagne rejuvelac the rejuvelac must be covered with a tight fitting lid during fermentation. In this way, CO2 gas created during fermentation remains in the finished drink, causing bubbles.


1 C whole millet
1 T raisins

• Sprout millet for 24 hours, then rinse and drain well.
• In a mortar, lightly pound the millet with a pestle, to bruise the grains.
• Place the sprouted millet in a large jar.
• Fill the jar no more than 2/3 full with fresh spring water (approx. 4 C)
• Add 1 T raisins.
• Tightly close the jar with an airtight lid.
• Ferment for 2 to 3 days, shaking the jar gently once each day.

Millet is most suitable for making Champagne rejuvelac as it produces a slightly more sour taste than do other grains, providing for a more champagne-like flavor.


These recipes were adapted from recipes in
The Kitchen Garden by Steve Meyerowitz

Yield: 2 quarts

1/2 C Soft wheat berries
3/4 C organic reaisins
2-3 T star anise
Pure water

•    Soak wheat berries for 8 hours, then sprout them for 2-3 days.
•    Grind sprouts in a blender with water to cover plus 2 inches.
•    Put the chopped sprouts and water mix in a half gallon mason jar
•    Add raisins and anise and fill to the top with pure water.
•    Cover jar and let sit at room temperature for 3 days.  Stir twice daily.
•    After 3 days, strain and decant.
•    Refrigerate covered for up to two weeks.
•    Refill “mother bottle” for a second batch. Let sit for 2 days.  This will be less strong.

1/2 C soft wheat berries
3/4 C organic raisins
1/4 C sassafras bark

•    Soak wehat berries for 8 hours, then sprout them for 2-3 days.
•    Grind sprouts in a blender with water to cover plus 2 inches.
•    Put the chopped sprouts and water mix in a half gallon mason jar
•    Add raisins and sassafras bark and top off with pure water.
•    Cover jar and let sit at room temperature for 3 days.  Stir twice daily.
•    After 3 days, strain and decant.
•    Refrigerate covered for up to two weeks.

Substitute chopped dates for raisins


1/2 C soft wheat berries
3/4 c organic raisins
2   licorice sticks (twigs)
Pure water

•    Soak wheat berries for 8 hours, then sprout them for 2-3 days.
•    Grind sprouts in a blender with water to cover plus 2 inches.
•    Put the chopped sprouts and water mix in a half gallon mason jar
•    Add raisins and licorice twigs and top off with pure water
•    Cover jar and let sit at room temperature for 3 days.  Stir twice daily.
•    After 3 days, strain and decant.
•    Refrigerate covered for up to two weeks.

1/2 C Soft Wheat berries
1 C dates, chopped
2 T peppermint leaves
Pure water

•    Soak wheat berries for 8 hours, then sprout them for 2-3 days.
•    Grind sprouts in a blender with water to cover plus 2 inches.
•    Put the chopped sprouts and water mix in a half gallon mason jar
•    Add dates and peppermint and top off with pure water
•    Cover jar and let sit at room temperature for 3 days.  Stir twice daily.
•    After 3 days, strain and decant.
•    Refrigerate covered for up to two weeks.

1 C raisins
3 T peppermint

INTRO TO REJUVELAC, with one recipe


Rejuvelac, said to be the accidental discovery of Ann Wigmore, is a very good, easy way to add enzymes, friendly bacteria, vitamins and minerals to the diet.

Rejuvelac is a beverage made by fermenting wheat sprouts in water over a 2-3 day period.  Many grains can be used to create Rejuvelac, however soft white wheatberries produce the best results and, also, the best taste.

1 C wheatberries

•    Soak 1 C wheatberries for 8-10 hours, then drain and rinse, and drain again thoroughly.
•    Sprout wheat for 3 days, rinsing 3 – 4 times daily.
•    Grind the sprouted wheat for about 10 seconds in a high speed blender (some people do not grind the wheat, but I find it easier to ferment the Rejuvelac when the sprouts are chopped).
•    Put the sprout pulp in a half-gallon jar, and fill the jar to the top with spring water..
•    Cover the mouth of the jar with cheesecloth held on with a rubberband.
•    Let the jar sit, at room temperature, for 3 days, stirring 3 – 5 times daily.
•    The finished Rejuvelac should taste a bit tart like lemonade,  It should not taste sour. Ferment to taste, tart not sour.

Raisins, dates, figs, or other fruit, as well as spices, such as mulling spices, can be added to vary the flavor, making it taste more like wine.

Even if, at first, you find the taste unusual, stick with it.  Rejuvelac will grow on you, and your health will improve.

REJUVELAC: Is It Good or Bad?

Since Ann Wigmore died, Rejuvelac has come under attack. Many who had never had any problem with Rejuvelac before are suddenly concerned.
Even some of the people who carry on the name of her institute, and, ostensibly, her legacy, such as Brian Clement, of the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida, eschew Rejuvelac as unhealthy. According to Mr. Clement, those healthy bacteria which made Ann Wigmore, and many others, believe in Rejuvelac, are now unhealthy.

Ann Wigmore recommended the use of rejuvelac. Her associate, Viktoras Kulvinskas also recommended it when he worked with her. Numerous authors and educators have recommended the use of rejuvelac, among them Lillian Butler, of Raw Soul, in New York City, and Brenda Cobb, of the Living Foods Institute in Georgia. (I have recommended it since I learned of it in the 70s) At this point, I would say that whether or not to use rejuvelac would have to be a personal choice. How would you make that choice? Make up a couple of batches of rejuvelac, drink up the product, and then make your own decision about whether you want to use this product or not.
I want to.