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Author Archives: Milly

  • Raw Ecstasy Chocolate Activated Walnuts

    Chocolate Activated Walnuts
    The most telling thing I can say about these nuts is simply to point out that the bag in the picture is empty!  I was unable to help myself.  In my defence, it took me longer to take the photograph than I had planned because the camera batteries needed recharging so it wasn’t like I inhaled the whole bag in 2 minutes.  So it’s only partly that I have issues with impulse control around chocolate nuts; the rest is of it is all about these being so more-ish they should be a Class A controlled substance.
    Continue reading

  • Tea Break of the Gods with Sweet Cookies

    Sweet Gingerspice Vanilla Bean Cream Sandwich Cookies

    Take a Sweet cookie and just look at it; it is a thing of beauty.  I’ve not been one to go in for raw biscuits much because certainly the ones I have made myself have tended to turn out rather stodgy and chewy and unappealingly earnest.  But a Sweet cookie is in a class of its own.  The biscuit layers are thin and perfectly formed and the cream layer is thick and smoothly sweet with a glossy feel on the tongue.  The whole thing is delicately luxurious.  It gives you a burst of sweetness without ever being sickly; it has that clean feeling that beautiful raw foods have. Continue reading

  • Sweetleaf Stevia English Toffee flavour

    Sweetleaf Toffee Stevia

    Stevia extract is one of life’s true blessings.  It’s a natural plant extract that is healthy, has zero calories, has zero impact on blood sugar, and is cheaper than many other healthy sweeteners because one little bottle lasts practically forever.  I was already a fan of stevia in general, and now English Toffee flavour has come along, I love it even more.  The first thing you notice as soon as you open the bottle is that it’s reminiscent of a certain butterscotch flavour instant pudding that many of us loved as children.

    I did wonder if it would make everything taste of butterscotch but it just adds a subtle hint, as if the dish you’ve sweetened has been carried through a grove of butterscotch trees (yes I know there is no such thing but go along with me on this…)  I can’t think of anything I’d sweeten that English Toffee Stevia wouldn’t go with perfectly.  It’s a no-brainer for anything with carob or chocolate in it of course, but even delicate lemon flavoured dishes benefit from it, such as Kate’s heavenly Lemon Deelite pudding. Continue reading

  • The Mysterious Alchemy of Spirulina Crunchies

    Spirulina Crunchies

    These pretty little green crunchies are made of 100% raw spirulina and are 100% delicious.  Many people find straight spirulina a bit of an acquired taste but even those eating a mainstream diet find these crunchies tasty.  It’s a bit of mystery; what do they do to the spirulina to make it taste good?  I gather that it’s some sort of natural alchemy involving sun-drying strands of spirulina paste, but however they do it, I love the results.  I sprinkle these crunchies on practically everything to add sparkles of savoury tastiness to my food, similar to the way the Italians use parmesan cheese.  This photo shows them adding extra flavour to red pepper and walnut pate on a light and crispy Lebanese Cauliflower Cracker from Kate's brilliant recipe book Raw Living.

    Continue reading

  • Living Libations Poetic Pits Deodorant

    Poetic Pits

    For me, it has proven nearly impossible to find a deodorant that uses completely non-toxic ingredients and also actually works.  There hasn’t been a single one I’ve tried that has been completely effective at banishing odour.  In my mission to find one, I decided to invest in the Living Libations deodorant because it gets very good reviews and is made of absolute tip-top quality essential oils (hence the price).  It comes in a tiny bottle that doesn’t look like it will last five minutes, but you don’t need much – just a quick stroke with the little roller applicator.  My verdict?  It’s effective in most situations so I’d rate it the best I have tried so far.

    I tried the lavender one.  It’s not completely infallible; there were at least two occasions when I detected a sweaty smell after a long day.  But to be fair, I am a tough challenge for any deodorant at the moment as I’m going through a period of deep cleansing and a lot of toxic gunk is coming out through my skin.  I am also doing intermittent fasting which means I am in ketosis some of the time, which is notorious for making a person pong.  I would expect that someone who is either cleaner than me or who just isn’t emitting waste through the skin would find this product more than capable of keeping their pits sweet-smelling.  Also, the days I did feel less than fresh were both hot humid days when I was doing something that made me sweat with nerves because I was meeting people, so definitely a tough test for this deodorant.  The funny thing I noticed was that when I undressed at the end of the day, my actual underarm area smelled fine – it was the clothes that had a slightly sweaty odour.  They were man-made fabrics because I had to be dressed up, and that may have been a factor.

    My overall rating of Poetic Pits is 8/10 because it smells good, the ingredients are of exceptional quality, and it works well under most normal circumstances.

  • Raw Living Books: Cellular Awakening by Barbara Wren

    Cellular Awakening by Barbara Wren

    Are you keen to learn more about natural health but feel a little confused or overwhelmed when trying to decide what to read or even just what superfoods and supplements to get?  Maybe you wish you had a knowledgeable and experienced friend who could pick out a handful of the best books and say to you, ‘Start with these.’  Raw Living have done this for you; they have made a selection of some of the best books out there which makes choosing a lot easier.  They have some real stand-out classics.  Some are helpful in a practical way if you want to eat more raw but aren’t sure where to start - any of Kate’s recipe books are good on that.  Others are great if you want to develop a deeper understanding of the theory and research behind the natural health movement, such as Conscious Eating and The China Study.  There are others that look at key issues, like enzymes and specific nutrients.  You could just browse through the list and see what jumps out at you as most appealing, safe in the knowledge that you’re not going to be disappointed, because there are no duds on this list.

    There are some books that come at you from a completely unexpected direction and give you a new and hugely enlightening perspective.  Cellular Awakening by Barbara Wren is one of the these.  It has given me a framework to help me understand all sorts of puzzles, problems and symptoms that I thought were unconnected but that turn out to be parts of a coherent bigger picture.  It’s a hugely relevant book for those healing from disease and for healthy people who want to get to the next level.

    Barbara Wren writes in a way that makes a new (to me) idea easy to grasp without ever being patronising.  She explains how the body holds and creates light, and how disease and low energy relate to stagnation and a lack of light at a cellular level.  It makes sense of how illness progresses in an individual and how to tell symptoms that show an illness is getting worse from symptoms arising naturally from the healing process.  I found the section on how the seasons and the phases of the moon affect us interesting, as I find the full moon does affect me adversely.  There’s also a fascinating bit on how different organs are active at different times of the day and night, which helps us pinpoint what bits most need our attention.

    She does give practical steps for reversing stagnation in the body and getting the healing processes moving gently, along with some case studies to illustrate how poor health is created over a lifetime.  Some of the techniques she describes were already well known to me, such as colonics, enemas and flax tea.  But I still learned something new even about those, because she describes what they do on an energetic level.  But the main strength of this book is less in the practical suggestions than in the big picture it offers of how the body works in terms of energy.

    I think this book gives two gifts of huge importance.  One is that it teaches you how wise your body is and how it always works for you, never against you.  It gives you the gift of trusting your body and its innate wisdom, releasing you from the fear of future illness.  The other gift of this book is that it shows how our spiritual well-being can develop naturally from gaining good physical health and energy.  I have known for some time that this happens and have read and heard a lot of testimony to that effect.  But it was always hard to understand how better physical health creates a greater sense of spiritual connectedness.  This book clearly shows how a body that is clean at a cellular level, that has healthy energy flow and is full of light, connects us back to ourselves and to the universe.  The best word to describe this book – pun most certainly intended – is enlightening.

  • Chocodelic Chocolate Covered Incan Berries

    Chocodelic Chocolate Covered Incan Berries

    These are delicious, I love these.  The Incan berries have a sweet lemony, tartness without being at all sour.  They are wrapped in luxuriously thick chocolate, and the combination is a sophisticated treat.  Each one is big compared to a choc-covered raisin - almost the size of a Malteser, so I find just one or two is enough to round off a meal.  For me, it's not just that they taste wonderful, but they also seem to have a happy, sunny vibe that makes me feel cheery when I eat them.  Where that comes from I don't know - maybe the people who make them are sunny-natured folk who put love into what they do.  On the packet it says 'stimulating passion' - a perfect description!  On the basis of how these taste, I want to try the other chocolate goodies in this range.  I bet the almonds are good.

    I always did like lemon and chocolate flavours together - when I ate conventional chocolates, one of my favourites was the dark chocolate lemon parfait from a well-known retail chain of chocolatiers.  I did worry that I'd feel deprived when I switched to raw, but now there are so many high-quality, delicious raw chocolate goodies on offer that make it easy to avoid being tempted by the cooked, sugary stuff.  I'm just hoping someone will come up with a raw version of my other favourite, the apricot parfait - hint!

  • Why Your Body Loves Liquid Nutrition

    Have you noticed how super-nutrition at its most digestible is often in liquid form?  I have begun to take more of my food as liquids. I’m aware both from what I have learned and from first-hand experience that in the transition of moving to a higher raw diet, people can find raw foods more difficult to digest.  A lifetime of eating conventional processed and cooked food can leave the digestive system stressed and weak so raw foods, with all their fibre intact, can be hard work initially if you go full-on.  Also recent research shows that blended foods like soup keep us feeling full for longer than the same meal eaten as unblended solid food so liquid food could be helpful in controlling weight.

    Long term raw fooders report that digestive strength improves over time.  I look forward to that, but meanwhile, I am focusing more on liquid nutrition.  I want my food to work really hard for me, giving as much benefit as possible for as little effort as possible.  I want food that cleanses, heals and nourishes me, all at the same time if possible.  I want liquids that love me and lift me and give me everything I need to thrive.

    I am finding to my great pleasure that far from being boring,  there aren’t enough hours in the day to drink all of my favourite stuff.  My menu has to cycle over several days because of the variety of good things available.  If it was possible to have a day where I could somehow fit it all in, that day might look like this;

    For example, first thing in the morning I always have a litre of lukewarm spring water with the juice of a lemon, a teaspoon of sole*, a tablespoon of MSM and a good dose of ionic minerals like Ultratrace.  A litre might sound a lot but it goes down easily because it’s slightly warm.  The salt in the sole takes the edge off the tartness of the lemon nicely.  The lemon helps cleanse the liver, as does the MSM.  In fact the MSM does a whole lot more.  The list is too long to mention here but the benefit I particularly value is that it’s a methyl group donor so it helps detox the body and clean up bad oestrogens.  If I had unlimited funds I would also add Crystal Energy and MegaHydrate.

    *Sole (‘solay’) is a saturated solution of Himalayan pink salt that tops up the body’s electrolytes and is made simply by adding coarse pink salt crystals to good water until no more will dissolve.  A saturated salt solution is 26% salt so I add around one part salt to two parts water and leave it, giving it an occasional stir.  If after 24 hours there are still undissolved crystals, I know no more will dissolve and it’s ready to use.

    Next is a green juice, usually cucumber, celery and spinach with a squirt of marine phytoplankton. A nice combination is spinach, celery and pear (tastes like milk, yummy).  Also there’s kale, celery and cucumber if I’m being saintly or kale, celery and apple with a squeeze of lime if I’m not.  The lime and apple means you can hardly taste the kale, the result is almost like green limeade.  Green juice is a drink with a list of benefits too long to detail here.  Suffice to say, it is alkalizing and nourishing and very digestible – very handy way to get your green into you especially if your teeth are as dodgy as mine are.

    When my stomach is empty again, I have my first half-litre mug of tea, a powerful tonic tea like gynostemma or a good herb tea blend.

    For lunch I might have my absolutely favourite thing, a raw chocolate (or carob) and chia smoothie.  I love this not just because it’s delicious and filling but because I can stuff lots of my favourite superfoods into it.  Smoothies contain fibre which makes them more complete as a meal while still being easily digested.  My ‘chock full’ smoothie has soluble fibre from the chia seeds.  Soluble fibre is important for many reasons, not least because it’s the only kind of fibre that will transport waste from the liver (in the form of bile salts) through the intestines to the exit.  If there's no soluble fibre and the bile salts are left in the intestine, they get re-absorbed into the blood stream and the liver has to deal with them all over again.  Other sources of soluble fibre include seaweed especially irish mossaloe vera gel, flax seeds, oatsapples and any fruit containing pectin. The smoothie recipe is;

    Put everything except the maca into the blender.  Add a little water (or leftover cool tea), no more than half a cup, and blend until smooth.  Add up to 1T of maca, and little more water and blend again.  With the maca you can add all sorts of extra goodies.  I add kelp, tocotrienols (makes it extra creamy) and moringa, TMG, barleygrass powder.  It’s a good smoothie for adding all the stuff that doesn’t taste nice on its own because the chocolate hides nasty tastes, some days in goes the shilajit and the mucuna as well.

    Another good lunch smoothie is the green smoothie.  I’ve tried some hideous-tasting combinations but the best one I’ve found is avocado, peeled lemon, spinach, spirulina, garlic, chilli and salt.  This is based on a recipe by Elwin Robinson of Lion Heart Herbs.  I have Victoria Boutenko’s book on green smoothies and would recommend it to anyone, though I personally would get into trouble with the fruity ones, too much sugar.

    Once my smoothie has digested, I will drink water and/or more tea in the afternoon.  I love gynostemma tea, but will also drink nettle and horsetail for the silica, or blends of tonic herbs like the Three Immortals blend.  Apparently the 3 Immortals blend tastes coffee-like and is good for those who miss coffee.

    If I need a snack in the afternoon I might have spirulina mylk.  Remember this is a hypothetical day to show you all the options.  I wouldn’t have all this in one day in reality.  A  small glass of nut and seed mylk makes a good snack.  I make different kinds but at the moment my favourite is a rich brazil nut and pumpkin seed mylk with a teaspoon of spirulina and a quarter teaspoon of honey added.  This mylk looks an unearthly but pretty shade of pale greeny blue and tastes lovely.  I imagine children might like this one, especially if it came with a raw cookie or brownie though I haven't road-tested it on an actual child - if somebody's child does try it, let me know how it went!

    By tea-time I generally do want something to get my teeth into but still with a liquid element.  I love raw dishes that consist of pieces of vegetable in a tasty sauce or soup and something crunchy sprinkled over.  One of my favourite recipes for winter is by Kate’s son Reuben, Garlick Soup (published on the Bubble).  This is a garlicky curry flavoured soup with pieces of broccoli and beetroot in.  Any vegetable with just about any raw soup or sauce you fancy is worth a try to see what works together.  I do a simple blended sauce made of red pepper, sundried tomato and hemp butter (which has a wonderfully savoury taste) with a little tamari, olive oil and apple cider vinegar, lovely with any kind of seaweed like kelp noodles or sea spaghetti.  It is always good on a spiralized combination of raw beetroot and celeriac, or my holy trinity (sauerkraut, seaweed and avocado) with cherry tomatoes.  As an aside - those three are my favourite trinity of foods not just because they taste wonderful together but because raw sauerkraut gives me a massive probiotic boost, seaweed provides minerals, vital polysaccharides and soluble fibre and avocado is a fatty fruit (as are olives and durian, rare and precious!)  On this dish, it's a treat to have crunchy sprinkles on top too – either Sunseeds, or spirulina crunchies which are heaven, or even the kale chip crumbs left behind when the bite sized pieces are all eaten.

    While relaxing in the evening, more tonic tea is always a good idea because it helps me relax but also I might have a cold refreshing glass of kombucha or water kefir instead of a glass of wine.  Both of these are fermented drinks full of probiotics and enzymes that help cleanse the colon and boost the good bacteria in it.  For everything you need to know about fermented foods and their wonderful health benefits, see Sandor Katz's book on Wild Fermentation.

    In the evening in cold weather, I’ll get some jing-restoring tonic herbs like schizandra, reishi and chaga into me, either as a tea or a tonic elixir.  An elixir is a form of liquid nutrition advocated by David Wolfe, Truth Calkins and Daniel Vitalis.  They take tonic tea, add a load of superherbs (especially the medicinal mushrooms like the three I just mentioned), some form of fat (eg coconut butter, cashew nuts or milk thistle seed mylk) and a natural sweetener and blend that up. An example is one that tastes like a malted milk drink.   Into the blender you put a teaspoon each of reishi, chaga, astragalus, ho shou wu and maca.  You also add a dollop of coconut oil, a tbsp of non-gm lecithin and whatever sweetener you prefer and then blend this up in half a litre of warm gynostemma tea.  The result tastes like Horlicks Malted Milk, and is intensely healing, soothing and nutritious.  Then you go to bed and sleep blissfully, knowing you have done your best to give your body the best nutrients in the most easily digested form.  But make sure you go to the bathroom first…

  • Medicine Flower Apricot Flavour Extract

    Medicine Flower Apricot Flavour Extract

    Medicine Flower do an amazing range of extract flavours, and having tried and loved the dark chocolate and coconut flavours, I wanted to have a go with the apricot one next.  When I opened the little bottle and took a sniff I expected it to smell like that baby food apricot pudding that used to come in tiny jars.  But the extract smells of real, actual apricots.  Do beware though – on the label it says ‘concentrated’ and they’re not kidding – this stuff is POTENT!  So what can you use it (sparingly) in?  The answer is, practically anything that you want to make taste of apricot!

    Try one or two drops in a glass of water kefir.  Don’t be tempted to put more in without tasting it first.  The first time I tried this, I put about 4 drops in and made it taste like Polish apricot brandy.  But two drops gives an apricot infusion, I can practically feel the fuzz on my tongue as it goes down.  I also tried putting some in my raw chocolate smoothie and as long as I only use 2 drops, it gives the deep dark taste a fruity lift reminiscent of apricot parfait chocs from a well-known high street chocolatier.

    Kate has a great apricot mousse recipe that is just gagging for a few drops of Apricot Extract.  Have a go at this (Kate uses fresh apricots but I imagine soaked dried ones would work well too).

  • Sacred Sage Smokeless Mist by Medicine Flower

    Sacred Sage Smokeless Mist Spray

    This spray is made by the same company who produce the incredibly popular Medicine Flower Extracts, so I knew it was going to be a premium product from the off. But I first imagined  it was simply a nice-smelling room spray.  Although I was never a fan of those artificial commercial air freshener aerosols, the idea of a pleasant room spray that is non-toxic appeals to me.  But I’m so impressed with this product because I find it does so much more than just make a nice smell – it functions as a kind of energy medicine that you breathe in.

    First thing you notice is it smells pleasant in a very natural way, like a walk through the woods.  It’s not at all artificial or overpowering.  But I soon noticed that it also completely neutralizes bad smells with great efficiency.  I guess Febr*ze does the same thing only the makers of that probably use all sorts of stuff you don’t want to be breathing in.  I have tested Sacred Sage mist on a very smelly bathroom and found one spray was enough to get rid of the pong.  I’m not sure if the people at Medicine Flower intended it to be used for such a lowly function, but if it works, I’ll use it!

    The third level this spray works at is a little harder to describe without sounding a little "out there".  Let’s say, it helps to calm my mind when I try to meditate - I say try, ‘cos I’m still total rubbish, but this stuff helps.  It doesn’t surprise me to learn that the Native Americans have used sage and cedar for hundreds of years to prepare a space for sacred rituals.  The spray does seem to have a clearing effect on an energetic level.  This is something I only dimly perceive as yet. I imagine others may find it more obvious.  Certainly this spray mist is intended for use to purify a space for ritual or healing purposes and is an easy and pleasant way to achieve this aim, a lot more convenient than setting fire to a bunch of leaves and wafting them about.  So whether you want to meditate, heal or just breathe easy in the bathroom, have a go with Sacred Sage mist and relax…

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