The Seven Alchemical Healers

I can only imagine that if you are reading this, then you have at least a fleeting interest in health and wellness.  Although my path to those ideals has been, and still is, full of detours, mistakes and a dash of apathy, I am getting there. Slowly but surely, and picking up more and more information and experience along the way.  To me, than is more important than any number on the scales.

I know that I tend to focus entirely too much on food.  I think to myself, if I can just eat raw food, if I can just eat clean for x amount of time then I will be healthy.  While what we put into our mouths is absolutely important, it isn’t everything and quite often I need to be reminded of that.  

I had the pleasure and privilege of doing a short certification course with Dr. Gabriel Cousens last November, and while I know that the seeming austerity of a low-glycemic diet isn’t for everyone, I have no doubt in my mind that for optimal healing that man knows what he is doing.

In his book, Spiritual Nutrition, he talks about the Seven Alchemical Healers.  They are the foundations to a healthy and balanced life and I would like to share them with you.

  1. Fresh air– This can include breathing exercises (pranayama), or simply exposing as much of our bodies as possible to pure, fresh air (air baths)
  2. Pure Water-It is becoming more and more difficult for many people on this earth to find truly pure water and there are seemingly endless opinions on what type of water is best.  I recommend spring water if you have access to it http://www.findaspring.com/  Otherwise, do a bit of research and buy the best quality filter you can afford.  
  3. Sunlight- Dr. Cousens recommends a minimum of 30-60 minutes a day either in the early morning or late afternoon.  This is essential for Vitamin D in the body, but be aware that the further you are from the equator, the more you will need.  Here in Spain, 30 minutes would probably be enough to get away with not supplementing but if you live in England, you would need much, much more.
  4. Exercise– This means more than just a leisurely stroll around the block or a relaxing yoga class.  It means reaching between 50-80% of your capacity.  That surely involves sweat! 
  5. Rest– Generally, this means finding a quiet spot in nature and/or meditation.  However, for sedentary or intellectually active types of people, this means activities like gardening, hiking, game playing, and periods of silence.
  6. Right Diet– This can mean many different things to different people.  A clean, whole-food and plant-based diet is without doubt optimal.
  7. Mental, Emotional and Spiritual Peace- Although this is quite broad, it generally means living in right relationship.  Are you living in a way that aligns your deepest self with your current reality?  If not, then peace cannot be found.

I know that I can personally benefit from making sure to include each of these in my daily life and I challenge myself to do so!  What about you?  What do you currently do and what could you improve?

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image from http://www.rickrichards.com/chakras/chakra_man1.jpg

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Back to the old school…

…superfoods, that is!

 I wouldn’t say that I am one of those people obsessed with superfoods, making elixirs that end up costing something outrageous like 20 dollars per blenderful.  But on the other hand, I do think that they have their place in a conscious diet.  

Ideally, it would be amazing to get all of our nutrients and trace minerals from the produce that we eat, but we have to be realistic about the fact that our soil is seriously depleted of these necessary trace elements (yes, even in organic food!)

Another objection that people generally have to superfoods, and one that I understand and struggle with myself is the whole local foods being ideal vs. superfoods being sourced from across the globe.  Again, I think it is always best to balance idealism with a balance of pragmatism.  Absolutely, each geographic area on this planet has it’s own indigenous superfoods and it is not explicitly necessary to eat suma from Brazil, ashwaganda from India, goji berries from China, mesquite from Arizona and chaga from Russia if a person lives in Western Europe, for example.  Living in Spain, there is an ABUNDANCE of wild edibles and herbals, which to me should be considered superfoods.  My husband and I routinely collect nettles, purslane, chicory, rosemary, lavender, pine pollen  and more, depending on the season of course!

On the flip side of that, we DO live in a global society, however much we may dislike that fact.  That does have it’s advantages.  I absolutely adore the flavors of Thai food, and some of those ingredients are simply not local to me.  Does that mean that I shouldn’t enjoy it?  Of course not!  I think the same is true for superfoods, when they are sourced as ethically and sustainably as possible.  I truly believe that the world IS facing some massive structural changes, and that we will in our lifetimes undergo  radical changes to our lifestyle, necessarily resulting in a return to more local economies.  But for the moment, I think that we have been given a special gift in that we are able to pick and choose the most nutrient-dense and delicious foods from all over the globe.  

Anyway, my point in all of this (after much rambling!) is simply that recently, I have had an intense craving for the very first superfoods that I was introduced to years ago, but which have fallen into disuse in my kitchen- goji berries and maca.  Maybe it has something to do with my body craving specific nutrients, or maybe not, but all I know is that I HAD to have them!

So, I whipped a few things up!  These are what I am calling

Local vs. Global Superfood Truffle Balls

These balls are not especially sweet, so if you have a massive sweet tooth or are accustomed to sugary foods, then I would suggest adding in 2 tbsp. local honey or agave syrup.

  • 1 cup walnuts and 1 c hazelnuts ( or 2 cups whatever nuts are local to you- these are local to me)
  • 1 cup dried figs (or another dried fruit that is local to you)
  • 1/2 cup goji berries
  • 2 tbsp. carob powder (carob happens to be grown in Spain- if mesquite is more local to you, use that!)
  • 2 tbsp. cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp. maca powder
  • 1 tsp. crystal manna powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup cacao butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup xylitol, for rolling balls in

Process nuts and dried fruit, then add everything else minus the cacao butter to the food processor and process again until fully incorporated.  It will still be quite crumbly.  Add cacao butter and process once more. Roll into balls with your hands, and then roll in xylitol to finish.

Ingredients assembled:

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Look at those gorgeous figs from the Alpujarran mountains:

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Finished product:

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Another recipe I made with the maca is my 

Super Curry Macamole

  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. bee pollen
  • 1/4 tsp. crystal manna
  • 1/2-1 tbsp. maca powder
  • 1/2-1 tbsp. curry powder

Mush everything together in a bowl and enjoy!

I loved this on some red pepper flax crackers I made:

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That is it for now!  I have to go pack for this weekend, as I am going on a retreat for the end of my Kundalini Yoga teacher training.  We are going to be learning about Ayurvedic cooking among other things, so hopefully I will be able to come back with some new inspiration on Monday!  I made the truffles to take along, so hopefully they will be well received 🙂

Thanks for reading!

xx

When Life gives you apples…Fruit Leather


Fruit Leather

Originally uploaded by DivineMissEm

I noticed that we were literally swimming in apples. We get them in our organic vegetable box delivery and I haven’t been very much in to them as I have been enjoying the rest of summers bounty (watermelons, peaches, berries, etc.) so they have been piling up. The other day, a friend comes over with a bag of apples from a tree in his yard. So…I had a ridiculous surplus and got really tired of throwing away apples that have been going bad.

I decided to make fruit leather with them and for a first attempt just winging it, they came out pretty delicious. I can see the definite possibilities.

It’s actually ridiculously easy. I chopped up all the apples and then blended about a third (which filled up the blender) with some cinnamon, nutmeg and a few tablespoons of agave. I blended until smooth and spread thinly on teflex sheets.

The concept is the same for the other flavors. The Apple/Goji is my favorite, I think. The Blackberry/Apple tastes nice, but next time I would strain the mixture because the seeds are kind of hard to deal with.

Red Thai Curry Nori Bites, take one

It’s been such a long time since I last posted.  I really got stuck in a major rut and had some personal issues to sort out, but I am ready to try this again!

When I went to the Raw Magic Retreat, one of the things in the shop were these a-freaking-mazing thai curry nori crackers made by Anna over at http://www.annamiddleton.blogspot.com.  Since she lives in Bristol and I live in Madrid, I knew I had to recreate those crackers to the best of my ability.  So this is my first attempt, although certainly not the last.  There are a few tweaks that I want to make and I also want to try green thai curry.

If you want to make this 100% raw and make your own Thai curry paste, then please feel free.  There are many recipes that can be found easily on the internet. I am happy with using the highest quality prepared paste that I can find.

Without further ado:

Red Thai Curry Nori Bites

3 c flax, soaked

2 small red bell peppers

.5 zucchini or summer squash

2 stalks celery

2 heaping tablespoons red curry paste

1 red onion, chopped

.25 c cilantro

Nori sheets

Blend  peppers, zucchini and celery until semi-smooth. Add curry paste and blend again.

Add flax and blend until well combined

Add onion and cilantro and pulse until incorporated.

Spread on nori sheets and dehydrate.

For me, this amount made about 7 sheets.

Enjoy!

Emily

xx

Falafel- two ways

Falafel is something that I have loved ever since I became vegan about 6 years ago.  It is the ultimate fast food- portable, delicious and slightly healthier than the alternatives.  In Madrid, and all over Europe, there is a falafel chain called Maoz.  You can add-on to your falafel many salads- marinated carrots, olive paté, pickled beets, fried cauliflower, etc.  You can add some hummus or guacamole and put it all inside a whole wheat pita and you are good to go!

Except now, I can´t eat wheat and of course, I am doing raw.  So deep fried morsels, no matter how tasty they may be, are out.  I have experimented with several falafel recipes, some calling for sprouted garbanzos, others no.  This is by far the best and most authentic raw falafel recipe I have come across.  I love using sprouted garbanzos as well.  In my experience, they don´t work so well for hummus- too sprouty tasting and grainy.  For hummus, I think it is best to go with a zucchini base or a creamy nut base like macadamia or cashew.

So here is falafel plate number 1- Falafel Lettuce Wraps: They have a romaine lettuce leaf for wrapping, marinated broccoli, avocado slices, a tomato/onion/basil relish, sprouted lentils and sunflower sprouts.  With the falafels, of course.  And on the side for dipping, a tahini-hemp cream sauce.  Super yummy, and super easy to prepare!
And falafel plate number two:  This meal was heavily based on Russell James recipe.  You can see the original  http://therawchef.com/therawchefblog/falafel-hummus-wrap-with-mediterranean-“roasted”-vegetables

I made the tortilla wraps as per his recipe, and the roasted veggies were very similar except I used leeks instead of onions and added some finely chopped spinach as well.  I used my falafel recipe, topped it with sprouts and then before serving I drizzled on the same tahini-hemp cream as above.  I can´t find macadamia nuts here to make Russell´s hummus, although I imagine it would be amazing.  This was well worth the time it took to prepare, and we have since made it a number of times.  The roasted veggies alone are worth making!

So, without further ado, here is the falafel recipe.  It is based on Jeremy Safron´s falafel recipe in his book The Raw Truth.

3 cups sprouted garbanzos

.5 cup parsley

.5 cup tahini

juice of 1 lemon

4 stalks spring onion or .25 red onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp. cumin

2 tbsp. Himalayan or sea salt

.25 cup olive oil

In a food processor or high-speed blender, blend all ingredients except for parsley and onion until just slightly chunky.  Then add parsley and onions and blend or pulse for a few seconds more.

Form mixture into small balls and place on Teflexx sheet. Press down to make them slightly flat and dehydrate at 115 degrees for about 16 hours, turning once.  We like them when they are still slightly soft inside and not completely hard throughout.  If you like them a little more well-done, continue dehydrating to desired consistency.

This recipe makes about 15 good-sized falafels and keeps well for up to a week in an airtight container.  I imagine you could make a very large batch and store them in the freezer with good result if you wanted.

I hope you try making raw falafel!

x

An Attitude of Gratitude

I am the kind of person who has a tendency to be very much in my head.  I overanalyze things, dwell on the negative, and can always think of a worst-case scenario.  This tendency has no doubt contributed to a lot of the depression and apathy that has marked much of my life until very recently.

This morning, a lot of those old patterns began to surface and I could feel myself getting stressed, anxious and angry.  Thankfully, I have built up a little tool kit of coping mechanisms.  The one I want to share with you today seems ridiculously simply, but is actually quite profound.

Periodically, especially when I start to dwell on negative things or what is missing in my life, I like to make a list of the positives in my life- the things that I am grateful for.

Today, it looked like this:

1. I am grateful for the changes that have taken place in my life in terms of diet, spirituality and my relationship with myself.

2. I am grateful that Dan is on board for all of it.

3. I am grateful for the long walk we took this morning and the happy look on Tater´s face as she was exploring the tunnels.

4. I am grateful for the sunny day and the promise of spring

5. I am grateful for the raw ice cream sundae with vanilla cashew ice cream, cacao nibs, hemp seeds, goji berries, almond butter, strawberries      and bee pollen.

6. I am grateful for friends who push me until I actually come through.

By number 2 or 3, I could tangibly feel my mood lifting.

So, try it- honestly, you´ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain!

x