Take it easy….




by Kemi Nekvapil
As mothers we are very blessed to be able to take on the role as healers in our families. Sometimes this means holding our children when they are hurt, physically or emotionally. Sometimes it means holding ourselves and our partners in the same circumstances.
But there is also the role of healer in the food we choose to nourish our families with.
If like me you are part of the green smoothie revolution, and you are enjoying the pure nectar on a regular basis, you know how it makes you feel.

What if, though, your family is not joining you?

greensmoothieMy husband Emrys may even love them more than me. My daughter Ella, will have a whole blender full, if you turn your back, your breakfast is gone!
My son Benji started to be a little ‘something’ about the texture of his drinks. He would gobble down any variety of freshly juiced fruit and veg, but when it came to a green smoothie he would always try, and sometimes ask for a cup of it, but would never really have any.

So I kept making them, as did my husband. Three of us were drinking but one was not. I was not too worried because I thought “he eats such great food and if he does not get into green smoothies, the world would not end, would it?”
And then one day it happened!

Ella was ill and she did not have an appetite all day, so later on I asked her if she wanted a little soup or a green smoothie, she choose the smoothie. I then had the idea of having a smoothie soup and bingo, I thought “I will add more texture!’’
soup_broccoliSo Benji and Ella tucked into their green smoothie soups with finely chopped fruit salad on top.
Benji  then looked and me and said ‘’Mum, can I have some more please?’’ Benji had three helpings of soup!

It made me realise that we can have the knowledge to nourish and heal our families. But if we can take it easy, be patient, and offer life-giving foods, then they can heal themselves .



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Making Love in the Kitchen!




by Jody Power

I would like to share with you one of my favorite blogs, well, obviously besides the Raw Mom and Raw Diva’s sites, it’s called Making Love in the Kitchen.  It is a blog by Meghan Telpner, who is a certified nutritionist and holistic lifestyle consultant.  Her blog is very informative, but don’t worry it is definitely not dry – I’m hoping you already figured this out based on the blog name.  Whatever subject Meghan decides to tackle she does it in a fun, entertaining and sometimes quirky manner, which will keep you coming back for more! 

For you transitioning mom’s and dad’s out there she also has a wealth of great recipes which are focused on whole food goodness which you’ll want to check out and add to your recipe arsenal to slowly wean your kids off that processed food.  For you raw mom’s and dad’s you’ll still find a wealth of information and some raw recipes.

Just so you can get to know Meghan a little bit better below is the interview she agreed to do for us.

JP: What lead you to become a certified nutritionist and holistic lifestyle consultant?

MT: Like many people in this field, I had encountered a personal health challenge that was not being resolved by conventional medicine. After university, I went to travel in Africa where I became quite ill. I came back from that trip, began a career in advertising, all the while suffering terribly from digestive dis-ease. Going from doctor to doctor, I was desperate to find a solution. Three and a half-years and 19 doctors later, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Rather than taking the conventional approach (surgery and medication) I chose a completely holistic approach that included acupuncture, yoga, meditation, herbs and natural, clean, whole foods. In a relatively short time, I was essentially healed of the symptoms that had plagued me for all those years and so inspired that I decided to go back to school to study nutrition. Three years later, I remain 100% symptom-free from an ‘incurable’ disease, and now work to inspire others that they too can take control of their health and empower them to heal through easy, simple and health supportive eating and living.

JP: When you were trying to heal yourself what made you decide to go the holistic route?

MT: The doctors hadn’t done much for me by that point, aside from make me feel fairly foolish for being so persistent. My mother has always been a big proponent of taking responsibility for our own health, so I suppose that was ingrained in me. The only options the doctor gave me were medicines that would likely have to take the rest of my life with the possibility of having a section of my intestines removed. The acupuncturist I met said that he could help me put the disease in remission. Of all the ‘experts’ I sought, he was the only person who gave me confidence that this was not a life sentence. The decision, at that point, was pretty easy.

JP: How do you ensure you maintain a balanced lifestyle when things get hectic?

MT: This is an increasing challenge as I get busier, but I also know that health must come first. I never compromise my diet. That is my main sticking point. I would hate to do something that would bring the disease back into my life, that is always somewhere at the back of my mind, so I am pretty good about checking in with how I feel physically. I am a workaholic. I love what I do with such passion that I often have a hard time taking a step back from it and stop taking care of everyone else, all my clients and students, and focus on my own health. I have now learned that if I am really going to keep things balanced, I need to schedule that time in. I do go for regular early morning bike rides by the water or long walks in the park, often before the sun is even up, I go to yoga a couple times a week, and will book weeks off here and there that are not to be used for work, just for fun. I have maintained my twice-daily meditation practice which is vital to me. This biggest lesson in maintaining balance has been learning to say no to things.

JP: What is the one biggest mistake you see people making in their diets?

MT: People worry about it all way too much. The stress we put on ourselves over what to eat, getting the right proportions or calories, getting enough protein or eating too much carbs. Trying to eat all raw, or all vegan, or all macrobiotic or whatever the chosen diet may be, is just incredibly stressful. This stress and worry around food is a greater challenge to our good health than what we are actually eating. I educate people on how to avoid foods that have had to pass through a processing factory or chemistry lab, to avoid foods that come in boxes with health claims. I try and inspire people to simply eat good, whole, natural, unprocessed foods as much as possible. If we stick to a whole foods and predominantly plant-based diet, the counting and balancing is removed and the joy comes back in to the dining experience. We can reclaim a connection to our food as our fuel, the people who grew it and the goodness it provides in our lives. There is just no need to bring any feelings of guilt into the kitchen and trying to achieve any kind of dietary perfection or fit into a specific dietary category, following all the rules to a tee, does just that.

JP: What is your favorite kitchen gadget(s)?

MT: I wish I could be original for this, but is there anyone who owns a VitaMix and doesn’t love it to bits? I use a magic bullet regularly to grind up nuts and seeds. A sharp knife and a bamboo cutting board are my essentials. I think a grain grinder will be my next kitchen gadget acquisition.

JP: Do you believe in incorporating superfoods in your diet?  If so which superfoods are your favorite and why?

MT: I sure do! I love superfoods and was even more inspired after spending a weekend with David Wolfe. I don’t eat all raw through the winter, far too cold in Toronto for that. So I like to think up creative ways to enjoy raw superfoods in some cooked meals. The staples in my pantry are whole cacao beans, goji berries, golden berries and coconut oil. I have recently fallen head over heals for maca which I’ll add to smoothies or mix in to oatmeal and sprinkle on to salads. Spirulina is my fave source of easy protein and again- a great one to add to smoothies, and to boost up juices. Chaga mushroom is the newest addition to my superfood collection which is an amazing booster for the immune system and grows on trees up near my cottage. Other superfoods I keep on hand include hemp seeds, golden berries, and always have sprouts sprouting. I suppose, now that I think about, I am a bit of a superfood junkie. As David Wolfe says, why wouldn’t I want to eat the best food ever? I do!

JP: I know you don’t have kids but do you have any tips on how incorporate healthy foods into a child’s diet.

MT: Hide them! That would be the easy way, mix some hemp seeds into their cereal, sprinkle some ground flax on their salads, or in sandwiches, mix some spirulina into their drinks. That’s the easy way. It would be ideal to start kids off on a healthy eating life, but if they are older and you are transitioning, transition them with you, though at a bit of a slower pace. Junk food should be removed from the home and never ever ever used as a reward for anything. Rewarding good behaviour with sweets is a nasty habit to form. The other suggestions are the basics, sit down and eat with them, they’ll eat what we eat, bring them in to the kitchen to help prepare and educate them on the food. Carrots make our eyes shine bright and powerful, almonds help our bones grow strong, kale builds muscles… Educate them on the positives of the healthy food without bringing stress, calories or any of that nonsense into it.

JP: Can you share with us one of your favorite recipes that is also kid friendly?

MT: Sprouted Nori Rolls are a great hands on recipe to get the kids in on the action. Have them grow the sprouts themselves. It’s a great little project for them to learn about the growing of food with the task of rinsing the sprouts each day as they grow. The rolls with the sprouts are great as mom or dad can slice up a variety of vegetables, the kids can choose from and use the sprouts they grew themselves. This gives them a sense of ownership and individuality over their creation. And it’s healthy!

Nori Rolls with Ginger Sunflower Pate

Ginger Sunflower Pate

  • 1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked overnight
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbs  lemon juice
  • 1 inch  fresh ginger, grated
  • Salt or tamari, to taste

Blend until smooth in food processor.


Topping Options

  • Sprouts (any kind will do)
  • avocado
  • carrots, sliced long
  • cucumber, sliced long
  • cabbage, shredded
  • cilantro
  • bell pepper, sliced long
  • pickled ginger, chopped
  • Tamari for dipping (optional)

Rolling Nori

Place Nori down on the bamboo mat. Typically, the shinier side is put face down.
Layer filling in neat row, leaving about half an inch of space at the edge of the nori closest to you.
Rub a bit of warm water on the edge farthest from you. This will help the two sides of nori stick together
Holding the closest edge of the bamboo mat, roll the away from you.
Tighten the roll as you go, the same way you would a rug to minimize excess space. Be careful not to make it too tight, however, or fillings may start to fall out.
Once tightened, you should be able to unwrap the bamboo without the roll coming apart.
Cover your roll with the bamboo mat and press your hands over it to further pack the roll.
Move your full roll to a cutting board. Slice it first down the middle with a very sharp or serrated knife. From there you can cut it into sixths or eighths, whichever you prefer.

JP: Anything else you want to share with our readers?

MT: We have enough in our lives to worry about, so why not bring some fun into something we have to do everyday, at least three times a day. The kitchen should be a room of joy, warmth and community. What goes on in that room is the shared responsibility of every member of the family and it is a great way to incorporate more time together. Better in the kitchen than in front of the TV. If we can establish healthy eating and a healthy attitude towards food in our children when they’re young, though they may not fully appreciate it at the time, we are building a solid foundation and understanding that will be with them through life.

 



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Rethinking the Raw Budget




by Lisa Marie Lindenschmidt

smoothie3We’ve recently had a shift in our finances. This shift spurred a family conversation about ways to rethink our food-buying and food-prepping habits. I’m a firm believer in including children in discussions about money. Many parents don’t do this – either out of fear of vulnerability or not feeling their kids will “get it.” Money only has as much power as we give it, so discussing finances with kids is a great way to rethink how money affects us individually and as a family.

Also, being up front with our kids about our financial situation helps them understand current limits, encourages creativity around ways to save and spend, and, most importantly, keeps family communication open. Children usually approach the subject of finances unburdened and can offer some solutions from angles we’d never considered.

During our conversation on rethinking our food habits, all three of us contributed ideas. We came up with some new ones, but also realized that we were already doing quite a bit to cut costs. Below are a few of our favorite recommendations.

• Buy quality kitchen gear

blender

What kitchen gear do you use the most? A blender? A knife? A juicer?
If you’re using a low-end blender, for example, chances are you’re going to burn
it out making smoothies soon. A friend of mine went through 3 $30 blenders in one year before finally deciding to invest in a high-end blender. Though the initial cost may be daunting at first, you’ll end up with an appliance that will give you years of service without the hassle. Start with the most-used piece of equipment and replace that one first and then move to the next.

• Simple meals salad

When my family first started transitioning to a rawfood diet, we made tons of lovely gourmet meals. We soon found that we couldn’t keep up financially – not to mention the indigestion we were experiencing from all that rich food! We then began to transition to less gourmet and more simple: salads, soups, smoothies, puddings, and veggies with dip. One thing I noticed was that I was enjoying the food more; it was just me and that mango as opposed to the mango being disguised as some faux SAD food.
Reclaim your food! It doesn’t have to be made into something else. Appreciate it for what it is.

• Buy local

shopping1

On our way to the spring the other day, my husband and I stopped at our local health food store to restock our honey. As we looked more closely at the label, we realized that this particular apiary was right down the street from the spring we were going to. My husband called them to see if we could stop by and they said yes. What a treat this was! We spent some time with the owner and learned how he processes his organic raw honey. And the prices! We’ve been buying our 6-pound jar of honey at the health food store for about $30. Buying it from the beekeeper directly only cost us $18! In Maine, there is a local foods association http://www.eatmainefoods.org that has information on who’s selling what. I would assume every state has something like this. Do some tooling around on the web. It’s definitely worth the time spent and the money saved.

• Buy in bulk

I search around on the Internet constantly for the best prices on foods. I also order bulk items through my local health food store. When you do this, it saves them on repackaging and they will usually give you a nice discount. Think about the items that your family consumes the most. Are they items that will keep well if ordered in bulk? Do you have the storage space for them? If so, then buying in bulk may be for you. If the initial price is daunting, order with a friend and split the costs. I can’t order tons of bulk items at a time, so I’ll do a rotation: one month I’ll get chia seeds, another month, cacao butter and cacao powder, etc. Getting on a good rotation so that I always have what I need took me about a year or so, so you’ll need to be patient with this process.


• Make your own convenience foods and comfort foods.

trailmix

My kid and I used to find ourselves at friend’s houses or out running errands without food. Or we would be at home, moaning about how “there’s nothing to eat” and would end up going out. We never really thought about it at the time, but those all add up to big money-drainers. Now we make sure that we always carry food with us and that it’s food we love (that’s very important). We pack things like crackers and nut or seed butters, chocolates, juicy fruits, cut-up veggies, and plenty of drinks. This way, we don’t get caught out with nothing but our wallets to feed us.
I’m a big advocate for revisiting your food-buying and food-prepping habits often. In many instances we get into habits that may have worked for us in the past, but are now no longer applicable. Feeling comfortable with the process will ensure that should we encounter a financial shift, we won’t immediately go into panic mode and feel compelled to make drastic changes that will bring us outside our comfort levels.

Lisa Marie Lindenschmidt is a raw foods chef and teacher and owner of Rite Food and Company, which offers workshops on intentional and joyful eating. Lisa Marie and her homeschooled daughter, Mo, record a weekly podcast – called Sweet Peas Podcast – chronicling their raw foods journey together.



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FORAGING FOR WILD EDIBLES IN NATURE'S BANQUET




My husband and I are serious about cutting down on food bills, and we have found a couple of ways that are easy and fun~ SPROUTING, GARDENING and FORAGING. You all know how to sprout and grow food for pennies right on your counter tops, right?

ShakayaBreeze-StreamIt’s so easy-peasy there is no excuse not to try it. I love to grow delicious broccoli/garlic/lentil/alfalfa micro greens. I used to grow ‘sunnies’ and buckwheat greens and wheatgrass with the trays of soil, but my smaller house doesn’t permit the space required, so we buy those now. Also, simple and nutritious sprouts that I regularly grow are buckwheat and oat groats that make beautiful raw porridges with fresh berries, and cinnamon. Also, I do sunflower seeds and almonds to germinate them and make them more digestible. We also have a garden for our greens and tomatoes and herbs and garlic. I’m no expert, but every year we are learning a little more, and it’s a great way to supplement our grocery budget for all the salads and green smoothies that we consume.

But the most fun of all is foraging for wild edibles. Reading about the Boutenko’s hiking adventures 7 years ago really inspired me. Igor would bravely test out new found plants along the trail before his family would eat any. But I didn’t know how to get started with 2 very little ones on our short hiking expeditions (my hubs wasn’t into raw much then and was away at work while I was with the kids)…avo-the-famI really couldn’t just experiment on myself…Over the years I have gone on many wild walks with herbalists and dear friends like Shantree Kacera and David Wolfe, reading and studying their works along with Susun Weed and taking courses here and there, plus buying some helpful books and field guides…so I am feeling more confident.

My husband travels in his work (he builds massive waterfall systems on large estates and pieces of land) and is always outdoors, so he hunts around for wild edible flowers, roots, leaves, grasses and berries and brings them home. We enjoy making teas and soups and smoothies and salads from all his harvests. A favourite has to be wild Day Lillies which are those big orange flowers that taste like plums with a spicy after taste- very exotic. We used to always forage for wild asparagus because they are so easy to spot and we knew they weren’t toxic. But now we have ventured into things like sumac, golden rod, St John’s Wort (David Wolfe calls these ‘happy flowers’ because they are a proven antidote to depression) mullen, burdock, and many other local weeds. My husband recently brought home some hardened spruce tree resin that when you sucked it and softened it, it turned bright purple and became like a chewing gum that lasted all day!

You can see more great photos if you find me on Facebook and click on my album FORAGING FOR WILD EDIBLES.

The other day our youngest got stung in the face on the lip. It quickly swelled up 4x its size. Fortunately, I knew about a handy common weed called PLANTAIN which is fantastic for bites and stings. I found some not even 6′ away, immediately chewed it up into a paste and applied it to the area. Within minutes the pain subsided. When Liam didn’t stop crying I asked what was wrong and he said with big eyes full of tears “the poor bee lost its life and there is nothing we can do about it”…well, plantain is a miracle, but not that good!

Next post: COLLECTING YOUR OWN NATURAL SPRING WATER

Xo Raw Mom Shannon

water-in-rootslandon-liam-berries



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Making Green Smoothies with Kids!




“Join the Dream”, said the Queen of Green!

Contributed by Karen Schachter

Today is two days after we made the video and guess what my “picky” eater gobbled up for breakfast today? A GREEN smoothie! He boldly announced that it included parsley, and devoured it! He may even tell his friends at Science Camp today – they’re off to a “NASA” field trip – what could be better for an aspiring astronaut than a green smoothie???!! (Remember Tang? When we were kids? Tang is SO passé – GREEN is IN!!)



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