Monday, April 29, 2013

Celebrate Beltane with a Wild Wood Salad

What is a better way to celebrate the ancient Celtic feast of fertility than by preparing a scrumptious salad!


Beltane is observed on May 1st, but the festivities typically begin the evening before, on the last night of April. This feast coincides with the Nordic spring festival known as the Walpurgis Night. Both festivals have deep roots in pre-Christian veneration of nature and are surrounded with an aura of mystery and magic. 

To celebrate nature I wanted to share with you a recipe that I found on a wonderful holistic blog. If you are unable to gather wild herbs and flowers, use mixed baby leaves, baby kale, sorel, arugula and various garden herbs, and decorate your salad with edible flowers.

From The Root & The Vine blog:

Wild Wood Salad is a combination of edible flowers and wild crafted plants such as Yarrow leaves and flowers, Ground Ivy, Plantain leaves, Chickweed, Mint, White Dead Nettle, Marigold flowers, Clover, Cornflower, Borage and Pansy flowers. It makes a refreshing change to those run-of-the-mill mixed lettuce salads! It is a nutritious and flavorful mix with all the added benefits of seeds and nuts. Packed with lots of vitamins and minerals to feed even the fussiest vegan! 

Ingredients

The Herbs:
  • Yarrow leaves (Achillea millefolium) 
  • Plantain leaves (Plantago major) 
  • Chickweed (Stellaria media) 
  • Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea) 
  • White Dead Nettle (Lamium album) 
  • Common Blue Violet leaves (Viola sororia) 
  • Mint (Mentha Spicata) 
  • Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla) 
  • Marjoram (Origanum majorana) 
  • Savory (Satureja hortensis)

The Flowers:
  • Borage (Borago officinalis) 
  • Marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia - aka T. signata) 
  • Clover (Trifolium species) 
  • Cornflower (Centaurea cynaus) 
  • Pansy (Viola X wittrockiana) 
  • Rose (Rosa rugosa or R. gallica officinalis)

The Seeds:
  • Wild Angelica (Angelica sylvestri) 
  • Sesame (Sesamum indicum) 
  • Sea Purslane (Atriplex portulacoides) 
  • Hazelnuts (soaked in water overnight)

The Dressing:
  • Avocado Oil 
  • Kosher salt 
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Raspberry vinegar 

Method:
  • Wash the herb leaves well. If you own a salad spinner use it to get rid of as much water as you can. Alternatively, shake them out by hand and place on kitchen paper.
  • Prepare the flowers by holding upside down and rolling between fingers to dislodge insects. Remove any stamens and styles from whole flowers (pollen can cause allergic reactions in some people). Check the petals and cut off any white portions that you see at the bottom (normally the part where it was attached) these parts can sometimes be bitter. Wash well and arrange on a paper towel to dry. 
  • Combine all the herbs and flowers together in a bowl.  
  • Spread the seeds on a tray and bake in an oven until just slightly golden. About 10-12 minutes in a medium heat. When they are done, remove from the oven and allow to cool. 
  • Make the dressing by combining the avocado oil, salt, black pepper and raspberry vinegar together in a bowl and whisk. Adjust to taste. If you like your dressing more on the acidic side, add more vinegar. 
  • Add the cooled seeds to the herbs and flowers and pour on the dressing. Toss gently and serve immediately. 


Important:

*Some botanicals are unsafe for pregnant and nursing women. People suffering with kidney disease and epilepsy should research herbs before consuming. Please be responsible for your own health. 

*Never eat plants you cannot identify. Do not harvest plants sprayed with pesticides/herbicides.

*Do not eat flowers from florists. Not all flowers are edible.

* * *

I am forever grateful to the owner of Root & Vine for this wonderful recipe. I often use wild herbs and edible flowers, especially those that I foraged myself. I was blessed to have parents who taught me how to distinguish many edible wild plants. I love experimenting and always look for new ideas.

I hope that this recipe will inspire you to your own adventure with wild plants.

Wishing everyone Happy Beltane and a very exciting Walpurgis Night - in radiant health, passionately raw - Dominique

         

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Staying Raw When You Travel

Making healthy choices when you travel should be both easy and enticing. Staying raw when you travel may seem to be a bit more difficult, but it shouldn't be so.

Room service

I travel a lot and managed to develop very successful strategies over the years. You may have your own ways to stay raw on the road, but if you abhor traveling because it makes your life too complicated you may want consider following a few simple steps that will make any trip less stressful.

If you travel by air remember to order a special meal. Most carriers offer fruit platters on their long haul flights. Some may even accommodate you and prepare a salad or a raw vegetable plate. To avoid disappointment you may have to prepare a salad at home and take it with you. Pack some raw nuts, raw food energy bars, raw chocolate, dried apricots, carrot and celery sticks, bell pepper, apples and some other fruits that do not spoil. If you do not have the means to prepare your own food for your flight or are in transit, consider eating at the airport. Most airports have restaurants, salad bars and juice corners. You can have a nutritious raw food meal before you board the plane or take something raw on board. If you travel overseas keep in mind that you may not be permitted to "import" any food items and you will have to eat your raw goodies on the plane, before your arrival at a destination.

Things are a bit easier when you travel long distances by car. Simply take a cooler and fill it with raw goodies of your choice. Make a salad or a smoothie and pack it safely for the trip.Your cooler should be able to keep your food fresh for a few hours. Study your road map before the trip. Check if there is a place you can stop to have a freshly prepared lunch. You may have to travel a few miles off the road to find a farmers' market or a health food store, but such a diversion pays in gold. Think ahead. Buy something you can take with you if you doubt that your hotel offers any raw food alternatives at the time of your arrival. They may have juices and salads during the day, but if you arrive late at night the only item on the room service menu may be a club sandwich.

Farmers' market

Most hotels recognize nutritional needs of their guests. They offer a variety of healthy choices, but raw food as such is not always advertised. Be menue-wise and choose items that are definitely raw. Ask the waiter or the room service if they are able to prepare a  raw salad or a fresh juice. Order a fruit basket to your room. The better the hotel the easier it will be for you to satisfy your needs. Make your room reservation accordingly. However, if your company makes the reservation for you and you have no say about it, you have to be a little more industrious upon arrival. If you do not find anything on the menu you will have to explore other options. Ask concierge for a restaurant that may be serving raw food. Look for Greek,  Italian or Lebanese. They always serve salads and raw vegetarian appetizers. Find the nearest juice bar, health food store, supermarket or a farmers' market. You may have to buy fruits and raw nuts to sustain yourself during your stay.

In some countries eating raw food is not advised. When you travel to countries such as China, India, Egypt, or Sub-Saharan Africa you may have to eat foods that are cooked - partly because there is no tradition of eating food in its raw state, partly because of the hygiene standards. But everywhere you go you will be able to find wonderful fruits. Eating fruits only for a few days is not a bad idea.

If your diet consists mostly of raw foods you may not be able to digest food that is cooked. Take digestive enzymes with you whenever you travel and go on a 3-days juice detox when you come back from your trip. This will help you restore the pH equilibrium in your body.

Keep an open mind and be ready to compromise when you travel. But, most importantly, remember that if your lifestyle prevents you from living freely, there must be something wrong with the lifestyle you have chosen.

In radiant health - passionately raw - Dominique

By Dominique Allmon ©2013

Image source here and here

         

Creative Commons License
Staying Raw When You Travel by Dominique Allmon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Plate of Crudites with Spicy Santa Fe Dip

Plat de crudités or a plate of raw vegetables served with a dip is a simple, but delicious French appetizer. Vegetables such as carrots, peppers, or cucumbers are cut into "sticks" and served with a tasty dip before the main course arrives on a table. You can prepare such plate in no time and serve it to your party guests. You will notice people who normally do not eat raw vegetable enjoying the raw treat if you offer a variety of interesting dips and dressings. There is no limit to your creativity. 

 
Dried cherry tomatoes, crashed hot chili and garlic

Santa Fe dip is my way to enjoy my freshly picked raw veggies in New Mexico. With a little trick this dip can be changed into a delicious salad dressing. The ingredients can also be used to spice raw milk cheese, especially if you decide to make one yourself. 

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup dried tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp crushed hot chili peppers
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch ground cumin
  • pinch ground cinnamon 
  • pinch pink Himalaya salt
  • 1 Tbsp purified water
  • 4-5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup raw milk yoghurt or raw nut creamy cheese

Plat de crudités

Method:
  • Grind dried tomatoes in food processor or crush them with a pestle to obtain nice, red flakes. Place in a mixing bowl.
  • Add hot chili flakes and spices. Add water and mix well and set aside for a few minutes.
  • Mince garlic and mix it  with all the other ingredients.
  • Pour olive oil into the bowl.
  • Add yoghurt and mix everything thoroughly. You should obtain a creamy dip that is not too thick, but also not too flawing. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator while you are preparing your veggies: carrots, celery, bell peppers, radishes, broccoli, zucchini, etc.
  • Serve chilled with a platter of raw vegetables. Enjoy in good company!

Red chili ristras at El Rancho de las Golondrinas near Santa Fe

By adding some lime juice, more yoghurt, more olive oil, and a little less dried tomatoes you can whisk a wonderfully spicy salad dressing. Experiment! Life is so much more interesting when you do.

In radiant health - passionately raw - Dominique


         


Santa Fe image by Jo Scarborough

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Banana Lime Coconut Smoothie

This is one of my favorite smoothy recipes. I love all the ingredients in it. It is easy to make. It's  nutritious. And the taste is simply divine! I make it for breakfast, but you can make it any time during the day.


I added raw, organic, free-range egg for an extra nutritional value, but if you have chosen a vegan lifestyle you may want to add a scoop of raw, vegan protein powder instead.

Ingredients:
  • 2-3 ripe bananas 
  • 2-3 limes
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • few drops of liquid stevia
  • 1 organic raw egg 
  • pinch pink Himalaya salt

Method:
  • Peel bananas and break them into manageable chunks. Throw into blender.
  • Squeeze the juice out of limes and pour it into blender.
  • Add coconut water and stevia. Blend until smooth.
  • Add coconut milk and a pinch of salt. Blend for a few more seconds.
  • Break the raw egg and add yolk and egg white (or a scoop of raw protein) into blender and blend again for a few seconds. Your smoothie should have a light, velvety texture.
  • Serve right away in tall glasses and enjoy in good company!

I started eating raw eggs when I was a child. My father used to make a deliciously nutritious raw egg treat for me and my sister. He would break the egg blend the yolk with lemon juice and sugar or honey. He would "beat" the egg white and add the white foam into the yolk. He would mix the whole thing very gently and taste it if it was sweet enough. We loved it and had him made it for us as often as possible. Back then no one was afraid of eating eggs, raw or cooked. Eggs were free range and organic. Anything else was considered inferior and people would refuse to buy it. 

Today an egg seems to be a scary thing. And no wonder. With all the food scandals, unethical chicken farming, and the omnipresent fear of cholesterol, eggs lost their appeal to many health conscious people. And very few people choose to eat their eggs raw. This is quite unfortunate because raw eggs have amazing health benefits.

To learn more please read the article about Health Benefits of Raw Eggs by John Claydon D. Hom.

In radiant health - passionately raw - Dominique

         

Dominique Allmon ©2013

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pitaya Salad with Thai Basil and Lime Juice Dressing

Pitaya, or a dragon fruit, is one of those exotic fruit that still require some introduction. Unlike mangoes and papayas, pitaya is not widely available in grocery stores. You might be able to buy it in refined groceries or Chinese, Thai, or Vietnamese stores. 

Pitaya is rich in minerals, especially Calcium and Magnesium; Vitamin C and fiber. Moreover, pitahaya also contains considerable amounts of phyto-albumin (water soluble protein) that is believed to have a strong antioxidant effect in the human body. 

Pitaya

Most people I've met "complain" that pitaya is tasteless. The fruit has, indeed,  a very delicate scent and a very mild, almost neutral taste. It isn't even really sweet, although the riper the fruit the sweeter it becomes. Red pitahayas are more aromatic and sweeter than the white, but are also more difficult to obtain.

Because of its high water content and neutral taste pitaya can be used as a base for juices, smoothies and fruit salads. It combines very well with water melon, strawberries and other exotic fruit.

I wanted to have my pitaya salad for lunch and decided to add a little twist to it. As always this recipe is meant to be an inspiration for those who dare to experiment with food.

Ingredients:
  • 2-3 ripe pitayas
  • freshly pressed juice of 1 lime
  • 1 Tbsp Thai style coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey
  • pinch pink Himalaya salt
  • pinch lemon grass powder
  • few sprigs of Thai basil

Pitaya salad

Method:
  • Peel pitayas and chop the fruit flesh into cubes. Place the fruit in a large salad bowl. (The skin is rather thick so it is easy to peel it off.)  
  • In a smaller bowl whisk a dressing using all the lime juice, coconut milk, honey and salt. Add a tiny pinch of lemon grass powder, but be careful not to overdo it. 
  • Pour dressing over the fruit and mix gently.
  • Carefully wash the basil and pinch the tiny leaves off the twigs. Add basil to the salad bowl and mix carefully.
  • Cover the salad bowl and place it in the fridge for ca. 10 minutes to allow flavors to mix.
  • Serve chilled in individual salad bowls and enjoy in good company.

I created this recipe for white pitaya. If you are lucky enough to find red pitahaya and still want to make this salad, you may have to skip the salt and lemon grass and add more coconut milk instead. As always, experiment!

In radiant health - passionately raw - Dominique

Dominique Allmon©2013


         

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Beauty Diet

Anyone who ever decided to go raw reports dramatic changes in the way she or he looks: 
  • overweight people tend to lose weight
  • people report increased energy levels
  • people on raw food look younger
  • chronic ailments disappear in no time 
The changes are often very dramatic. And no wonder!
  • Raw nutrition delivers vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and other vital phyto-nutrients. 
  • It activates self-healing forces in the body.
  • It helps alkalize and detoxify the body. 
  • It calms the inflammation and rejuvenates bodily tissues from inside out. 


If you are a raw foodie you already know all this and your body is a proof that raw nutrition "works," but if you are looking for ways to improve your overall health, raw food may be the one "lucky discovery" that helps you not only restore your health, but also loose weight and reverse premature aging.

The spring seems to be kind of shy this year, but if you are considering change, now is the best time to make it. Take a first step to incredible wellness and introduce raw food into your diet.

Be brave. Live your life deliciously. Eat raw!

In radiant health - passionately raw - Dominique


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