Vegan Courgetti Bolognese ft Hanna’s Vegetable Protein Sauce

28062544_UnknownThe inspiration for this was a video on Instagram of Hanna Sillitoe (@mygoodnessrecipes) making a vegetable protein bolognese sauce to have with gluten-free spaghetti and a parmesan substitute made from almonds and nutritional yeast. (The recipe is in her new book ‘Radiant’, available on Amazon). She made it look so simple, and quick, all done in a blender and frying pan. We had some of her Tomatoless Sauce in the freezer which forms the basis of this new sauce and decided to give it a try. If you are ok with nightshade foods*, you can just use a tin of tomatoes instead. As you can see, I had it with spiralised courgette zoodles. Hanna uses blanched almonds in the ‘parmesan’ which make it look a creamy white, but mine looks more like brown sugar as they were unpeeled!

Hanna’s Instagram photos are very professional, her recipes are always quick and easy and are especially suitable for anyone trying to clear their skin.

Just over three years ago, when I first ‘met’ Hanna, she had rampant psoriasis and no relief in sight, but she began juicing and exercising, rid her diet of junk and nightshades and now has clear skin. It worked for me too, see How I Juiced My Skin Clear: A Rash Decision?

Back to this recipe: The amounts we used are somewhat imprecise, we just did a handful of this and a few spoons of that – if you want more precise measurements then do look at Hanna’s book, her website or Instagram feed. 28063136_UnknownShe uses ingredients from Aldi UK to demonstrate that you can still eat healthily on a budget: for instance, she used a pack of mixed rice and quinoa, but we had both organic brown basmati rice and organic quinoa in the cupboard so we cooked them and guessed the amount, using the leftovers for the next two meals.

(Aldi often sell budget blenders and juicers too which always receive good reviews).

Basic steps:

Cook some rice and some quinoa so that the grains are still separate, be careful not to overcook them. Cool a little while preparing the mushrooms. (The rice and quinoa can be cooked in advance if necessary).

Wash and chop some mushrooms, we used chestnut because I like the meaty texture. Pulse them a couple of times in a processor before adding several spoons of the rice and quinoa mixture and pulsing again until it looks like a vegetable protein mix.

Chop an onion, press some garlic and fry in coconut oil until it begins to soften, add the vegetable protein mix and the tomatoless sauce or a tin of tomatoes.

Add some mixed herbs, black pepper, salt.

In the blender, blitz a large handful of almonds and a couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast until it looks like parmesan. If it makes too much, don’t worry, it will keep well in a jar in the fridge. Hanna also adds garlic powder, but we don’t use it so we had none in.

Cook some spaghetti or spiralise some courgette noodles and serve, adding some basil leaves (which I forgot for the photo!).

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Hanna has several recipe videos on her Instagram feed and on her website, all quick and easy, her enthusiasm is highly contagious!

See also Hanna’s Simple Turmeric Breakfast Pot

*Nightshade foods can exacerbate inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis and arthritis and include potatoes, tomatoes, aubergine and all peppers.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

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Leslie Kenton’s Sandstone Loaf

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I first had this in the summer of 1986 when my friend and I discovered ‘Raw Energy’, the book and the philosophy. It was a beautifully sunny summer (remember them?) and we spent many days eating our raw creations in her garden – with the occasional glass of white! I think this may well have been the first thing I made with my faithful Braun Multipractic Food Processor, bought that summer and still going strong.

*

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I altered the amounts and some of the ingredients each time I had it, but this one is relatively faithful to the recipe, although I prefer more seeds to give it a bit more of a bite and we used coriander instead of parsley. Leslie often used to use vegetable bouillon powder in her raw savoury recipes, we didn’t have any so we improvised and used some dried King Soba instant organic miso soup! You could also use nutritional yeast.

You can make it as smooth or as coarse as you like, depending whether you would prefer it as a pâté or spread, or more like nut roast to have with salad.

(You could use almond butter instead of tahini for a slightly different flavour, but it would need to be fairly runny).

As always, the measurements are very approximate, you can never stipulate the size of a carrot for instance! So, go with what looks right and taste as you go along.

All ingredients are organic.

The recipe is Raw, Vegan and Gluten-Free.

Makes enough for 4 or 5 for a light lunch. Will keep about 3 days in the fridge and can be kept in the freezer too.

Ingredients

2 Chunky Medium Carrots, roughly chopped

1 + a half Celery Stalks (with leaves if they have any), roughly chopped

1/4 Cup Almonds + a few extra for serving*

1/4 Cup Pumpkin Seeds*

1/4 Cup Sunflower seeds*

1/4 Cup Mixed Sunflower + Sesame seeds*

Large Tbsp Tahini

1 Small Onion, finely chopped or a few Spring Onions

Handful of fresh Parsley or Coriander or herb of your choice

1 level Tbsp Organic Miso Soup powder or Nutritional Yeast or 2 Tsp Vegetable Bouillon Powder or 1 Tsp Chilli Flakes

2 Tbsps Grated Beetroot

Method

Process the carrots and celery until well homogenised. Set aside in a mixing bowl.

Finely grind the almonds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. Add to carrot mixture.

Coarsely grind the mixed sesame and sunflower seeds and add to mix with tahini, onion, fresh herbs, powder and beetroot.

Stir well, add seasoning to taste.

Spread in a square dish, press and smooth it down if you want a pâté or loosely roughen the mix if you want some texture.

Garnish with fresh herbs and almonds or toasted seeds.

Refrigerate until you’re ready to use.

I had it on a bed of mixed rocket salad with thinly-sliced cucumber and tahini/lemon juice/water dressing.

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*https://www.buywholefoodsonline.co.uk/

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Super Juicy Prize Giveaways!

As many of you know, I am doing the free Juicemaster 7 Day Guided Big Juice Challenge* this week. I bought the new Retro Super Fast Juicer (see Retro Super Fast Blend Review) and it came with a number of extras, some of which I already have. I’ve therefore decided to offer 3 of the items as separate giveaways.

Due to the weight and postal costs, the first two giveaways are for UK residents only:

The First Giveaway is Jason Vale’s Best-selling ‘SuperJuiceMe! 28 Day Juice Plan’ paperback book.

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This is the book taken from the inspirational and emotional SuperJuiceMe! Documentary which continues to inspire many people who use it as their starting point when they want to take control of their health, their weight, their chronic conditions etc.

Jason Vale’s juice plans are proven effective, endorsed by celebrities and other health experts and I have used them myself  to help with weight, chronic health conditions and to rid my skin of a debilitating, angry-looking rash. (See How I Juiced My Skin Clear).

This plan has the why, the how and the recipes and as with all Jason’s books, it is written in an informal style and is really easy to read, often amusing as well as informative.

The RRP for this book is currently £11.99 and it gets 4.5 stars on Amazon.co.uk

The Second Giveaway is Jason Vale’s The Funky Fresh Juice Book. This is the Pocket Paperback Version 2.

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This is a fun book containing 101 Juice and Smoothie Recipes, including recipes from celebrities, cartoon drawings and nutritional information.

As there is a more up-to-date version of this book, I couldn’t find an RRP for it.

The Third Giveaway is open to both UK and Overseas residents

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This is the DVD which has inspired so many people to opt for a plant-based diet, ditching the fatty, sugary, processed foods that contribute to chronic health and weight issues. I defy anyone to watch this and not reach for a box of tissues and then make life-affirming decisions concerning their own lifestyle and that of their family.

8 people with 22 chronic and sometimes life-threatening diseases between them spent 28 days on a juice-only diet to see if it could make any improvement in their conditions. For at least a couple of these people, this is a desperate effort to regain control of their health when conventional medical treatment has not worked.

I became aware of this documentary early on because my nephew, Shayan Scott*, was working on it and it was at this time that I began juicing. It is powerful, informative and life-affirming.

The DVD is suitable for play in all regions.

The RRP is £19.99.

Rules and Regulations for Entry

  1. There are 3 items being given away as separate prizes, as listed above.
  2. The ‘SuperJuiceMe!’ Book and ‘Funky Fresh Juice Book’ are for UK residents only.
  3. The DVD is for both UK and Overseas followers.
  4. Entry is free and consists of any or all of these:

Follow me on Twitter (@thejuicenut)

Like my Facebook page

Subscribe by Email to this blog (click the Follow by Email button on the Home page)

Follow me on Instagram (pearsnotparsnips)

(There are also links on my Home page)

5. Write ‘juicy giveaway’ in the relevant comment box associated with the Giveaway post on any of these sites to let me know you wish to enter the draw.

6. The Giveaway will be launched at Midnight BST on Friday, 8th July, 2016 and end at Midnight BST on Friday, 15th July, 2016.

7. No names or email addresses will be passed on to third parties, nor be used for any purpose other than to contact the winners for postal details for this giveaway and to announce the name or blog of the winner.

8. Winners will be chosen via random.org and notified within 7 days of the end of the giveaway period.

9. One entry per person per NEW follow + ‘juicy giveaway’ comment on any of the social media mentioned above. So if you already follow this blog but become a new follower on Twitter and Facebook, you will get 2 entries. If you become a new email subscriber to this blog, please write ‘juicy giveaway’ in the comment box of this post so I know you want to be entered into the draw.

I hope that’s covered everything! If I’ve left anything out, please leave a comment.

Good Luck!

*http://www.juicemaster.com/

*Shayan Scott Films

NB If you decide to do a juice plan, please consult your doctor first.

Copyright: Chris McGowan.

5lbs in 5 Days Juice Challenge

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On Monday 4th April, I will be taking part in Jason Vale’s Big Juice Challenge using his 5lbs in 5 Days juicing plan. I wondered if any of you would like to do it with me and perhaps I can offer some support if it’s your first time?

This is my favourite of Jason’s plans: the juices are tasty and satisfying and the plan is just long enough to feel you’re getting somewhere and to spur you on to clean up your diet and lifestyle more permanently.

It says 5lbs in 5 Days, but most people lose more. My first time – without exercising – I lost 8, some have lost as much as 11, it really depends how overweight you are and how much you exercise.

This is an excellent time to start cleaning up your diet as the weather improves and the days get longer; you can finally leave your winter cave and breathe some fresh air while walking/running/cycling, and feel inspired by the renewal of Nature all around you to renew your faith and investment in you and your amazing body!

Juicing feeds your body on a cellular level, giving it everything it needs, and once your body has eliminated and replaced all the rubbish you will feel alert, energised, positive and motivated to carry on. Your hormones will be reset, your digestive system calmed and you may even finally discover which foods are aggravating or make you bloated/sluggish when you begin slowly to reintroduce solid food.

For those of you concerned about living on liquids for a week, don’t worry there are some solids in there too! Some of the juices are blended with avocado, there are mixed seeds, berries, banana and yogurt too. The Berry Banana Crunch is something to look forward to on Day 3!

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Jason’s 5lbs in 5 Days app is fun, informative and inspiring. I recommend using it if you’ve never done this before, and if you can obtain a copy of the book all the better. It really helps if you understand the process and make a mental as well as physical commitment to your health.

The app contains a shopping list and all the recipes and coaching videos you need to keep motivated. You have a ginger shot and 4 juices every day (2 x 2 recipes so you can make some in advance by doubling the quantity) plus herb or fruit teas and water:

DON’T FORGET THE WATER!

For extra motivation, I recommend watching Super Juice Me! The Documentary which involves an experiment Jason conducted taking 8 people with 28 chronic and sometimes life-threatening illnesses, giving them specially-prepared juices for 28 days. You will be amazed, moved, inspired.

If you are interested or if you would like more information or if you’re not sure, take a look at my My First Juice Cleanse – Advice for Beginners (which has my before and after photos), Super Juicing Day 1: Tips & Tricks or any of the other juicing posts.

Finally, if you would like to join me, Rule Number 1 is Don’t Have A Final Blow-Out This Weekend! You will feel worse for it and stand a bigger chance of giving up before you get properly started.

If this is too short notice, then you could spend this week tapering off your usual diet ie cutting out sugar, processed foods, alcohol, coffee and begin properly next week. I will still be here if you need support.

Juice On!

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Juice Master

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Juicing: How to Begin or Do As I Say, Not As I Did!

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Every year, like many others, I suffer from the post-Christmas slump. January 2014 was no different.

I felt blah. I needed to lose some weight. I had gained a stone (14lbs) in a year and I couldn’t shift it. I was fed up.

Then one Saturday morning, I was reading a Guardian supplement about getting out and doing something you hadn’t tried before. Usually, these kinds of suggestions are beyond my capabilities and often just too far out there! Bungee jumping? Afraid of heights. Ballroom dancing? Two left feet. Making ukeleles? No comment. As I was just about to put it down, my eye caught a tiny item on the sidebar about a juicing app.

I realised that it was Jason Vale’s 3lbs in 3 days juicing app* and read on with interest: my nephew, Shayan Scott,* was working as Associate Producer & Lighting Cameraman on Jason’s SuperJuiceMe! documentary about 8 people with chronic diseases juicing for 28 days.* It seemed serendipitous. I asked Shayan for advice on which juicer to buy.

He sent me a link for the Philips 1861 and off I went: ordered the juicer, bought the app, made a list, did the shopping, started the juice plan.

Except I shouldn’t have! Not like that anyway. 

Typically, I did it the hard way: no reading, no preparation, no juice buddy, just Jason’s app to guide me.

I wouldn’t recommend this approach to beginners. You are less likely to succeed: physically it is too much for your body to cope with and mentally you’re more likely to give up if you don’t understand the process. I learned that easing into it is definitely the best way to go: gradually cutting out the processed, sugary and fatty foods, coffee, alcohol etc., while introducing more fruit, veg and salad. But I am an all or nothing type so in I jumped!

I did, however, have a relatively healthy diet beforehand: I didn’t drink coffee or smoke, rarely drank alcohol, rarely ate junk food, though I was partial to an occasional pack of crisps and slice of pizza. No sugary drinks or snacks. But I did have decades worth of pain medications.

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Daily Ginger Shot

So, Day 1 was a breeze. The morning Ginger Shot nearly took my head off but I loved it! I felt so proud of myself. I could do this.

By the night of Day 2, however, I thought I was going to die! My stomach felt like it was eating itself. This was not a promising beginning.

I now know that it was because I wasn’t drinking:  I should have been drinking water and herbal teas in addition to the juices. I also now have to accept what I had been ignoring for a long time: as much as I love pineapple, it doesn’t love me back. Some people are sensitive to it and I happen to be one of them.

If I had prepared properly, eg read one of Jason’s books or researched on the web, I would have saved myself a lot of discomfort.

But I am nothing if not determined and by lunch-time of Day 3 I knew I wasn’t about to die and I also knew I didn’t want to stop. I was starting to experience the ‘juicy high’.

So I bought Jason’s 5lbs in 5 Days app* and continued with that. It certainly delivered what it promised:

During that first week of juicing, I felt so energised and alert; my IBS and hiatus hernia symptoms were controlled, but best of all, after years of chronic insomnia, I could sleep. I also lost 8lbs. Since then, I haven’t had to use my inhaler for 4 years. My cholesterol was borderline before I began juicing, now it is well within the healthy range. Even the tinnitus was tamed.
I have gone on to lose 36lbs and have kept it off. (When my sister-in-law came to visit, she took a step back and said, ‘Look at you, you’re half of yourself!). My aches and pains also eased. I haven’t had a cold, cough or sinusitis (my bêtes noirs!) in 18 months.

(I became calmer too, my husband said I didn’t tell him off as much!)

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Before Juicing: Puffy, tired eyes, puffy face and double chin,  I’d put on over a stone (14 lbs) in a year

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6 months after I began juicing, no double chin and a healthy sparkle in my eyes

 

11 months on, it’s Christmas Day, I haven’t slept (too excited!), but that juicy glow and shiny sparkle are still there! 

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2 Years on, still keeping the weight off, still juicing. Happier and more confident.

My weight has now been stable since February, 2015, I lost 36lbs altogether. I don’t need to lose any more. I juice for health.

I have several of Jason’s books, all easy to read, down-to-earth, amusing and informative. His apps have invaluable daily coaching videos and easy recipes, they really get you motivated and fired up if you’re flagging due to withdrawal or lack of support.

I highly recommend reading one of them if you’re thinking of juicing, and especially before starting a juice ‘cleanse’.

Take the time to understand what you’re doing and why, make a commitment and you will succeed in transforming your health and outlook.

(See also my Page ‘Juicing Posts: Advice, Reviews, Tips & Tricks’ in the Menu at the top of this post)

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My 5lbs in 5 Days and 7lbs in 7 Days books are permanently on loan!

I do a juice plan every few months – often joining in with Jason’s seasonal Juice Challenges – I juice every day but also have smoothies, salads, stir-fries, soups, rice, pasta and quinoa meals. I even have (raw) chocolate! (There are lots of recipes, both savoury and sweet, in the Menu).

Juicing is not an all-or-nothing thing, you don’t have to do a full-on programme. If you only juice once a day, or do a juice-only-day once or twice a week or just juice whenever you have the time, you will reap the benefits. It is an excellent pick-me up at any time of the day.

If you need advice on choosing a juicer and blender, please see  Which Juicer?My Family of Blenders and Retro Super Blend Review

Jason Vale, Joe Cross and Neil Martin* do guided Juice Challenges several times a year, check out their websites for details.

Finally, I can’t praise the juicing community enough. On Twitter, complete strangers acted as my personal cheerleaders and the following websites have invaluable resources:

*Juicemaster

*Reboot With Joe

*Neil Martin, Natural Juice Junkie

 http://www.beyondfit.co.uk/

*Shayan also filmed Jason’s coaching videos, find him here at: https://m.facebook.com/ShayanScottFilms

*Watch SuperJuiceMe! the Documentary for free and be inspired at: http://youtu.be/Aaxa7rxEbyk

Disclaimer: please consult your doctor before beginning a juice ‘cleanse’ or ‘fast’. This is just my personal experience of juicing.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Preparing to be SuperJuiced!

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I find January difficult. Dark, damp chilly days, post-Christmas blues, everyone hibernating waiting for the sun to come out.

A few years ago, I developed a coping strategy whereby every January I give myself a project or a challenge.

Three years ago, for instance, I spent the month adding to my family history. Two years ago, I came across Jason Vale’s 3lbs in 3 Days app* and began juicing (see my post ‘J is for January, Juicing and Jason!’).

I discovered a new me.

Last year, I became a raw foodie and vegan.

This time I am going to try Super Juicing. I have wanted to do it since I saw Jason Vale’s documentary, Super Juice Me! (see it for free on YouTube, link below), but wasn’t sure I had the stamina or discipline. I have done 7-9 days before, but I am concerned about my weight. I can’t afford to lose more than 3 or 4lbs, having already lost and kept off 34lbs and reached an optimum weight for me.

No, I am not superjuicing for weight loss. At this time of year, I always feel a slump in energy, a feeling of lethargy. As I write this, it is such a grey, wet day we need all the lights on, the fire lit. No opportunities for natural Vitamin D. I also have multiple aches and pains from longterm injuries. The youngest children were full of coughs and colds at Christmas, plus my husband has started sneezing.

So I am superjuicing to boost my energy levels, help ward off winter viruses and to see if it will help me reduce the pains and stiffness of damp winter weather.

This week I am tapering down: gradually returning to my normal clean diet in preparation for beginning Jason’s Free Big January Juice Challenge on the 11th.*

Part of this preparation is reading Jason’s ‘Super Juice Me! 28-Day Juice Plan.’

Although I have done most of his juice challenges, it is still always inspiring and remotivating to read one of his books before embarking on a cleanse.

It is as important to renew your juicing faith, to understand how it works and why you’re doing it, to make a mental commitment, as to prepare your body physically by gradually reducing the processed, sugary and fatty foods, coffee and alcohol.

I recommend reading any of Jason’s books: they are easy to read, informative as well as amusing. His enthusiasm is like attending an evangelical meeting. It is almost impossible not to see it through once you have read the book, made the commitment and best of all, watched his daily coaching videos. His SuperJuiceMe! The Documentary * is also inspirational as is Joe Cross’s film, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.

So this is my personal January Challenge: I am committing to doing a 14 Day Super Juice Me plan. I will see how that goes and how it affects my weight before deciding whether to carry on.

I had my last mince pie on Friday.

(It is important to emphasise that this is Taper Down Week NOT One Last Blow-Out Week!)

I am having my morning ginger shots or variations on the theme (see my post ‘Juicy Winter Warmers), a protein smoothie for breakfast, blended juice for lunch, a handful of nuts in the afternoon and light cooked meal for dinner – oh, and perhaps a little Raw Chocolate Company* raw chocolate in between (well it would be rude to let my Christmas present go to waste!)

I’ll keep you posted!

Happy New Year to you All!

Ps Don’t Forget To Keep Hydrated!

SuperJuiceMe! The Documentary

*http://www.juicemaster.com, http://www.therawchocolatecompany.com

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Raw Energy

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Over 30 years ago Leslie and her daughter Susannah were telling us that frying oil turns it toxic, that vitamins and enzymes are destroyed in the cooking process, about sprouting and juicing to protect against cancer and how raw foods balance blood sugar and hormones. These were crank concepts to most people, now they are widely accepted. 

They promised that changing to a mainly raw plant-based diet would lead to a new level of health and vitality, that you would stay young longer and lose weight. It would also help prevent degenerative diseases and allergies as well as helping alleviate chronic illnesses.

And you know what? They were right!

I asked for a food processor for my birthday – it is still in service over 30 years later – I ate raw and was the healthiest I had ever been. I had a chronic condition and was in a lot of pain, but eating mostly raw and no junk made me feel more alive, have more energy and lose weight. My pain was reduced and my mobility increased. A new friend, coincidentally, had also discovered the Kentons and we had fun trying out the recipes together, our families being a bit sceptical to put it mildly!

I love their raw treats, in fact those pages are so well used they are covered in food stains and annotations as I have added to and adapted the recipes. A few years ago I lent the recipe book to someone who didn’t return it, I can’t even remember who it was. I have been missing it but I recently found a secondhand copy on Amazon and am so pleased to have it again.

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Carob Fudge, one of my favourites

Eating raw doesn’t mean you never have anything cooked or warm – I couldn’t make it through a winter without soup or casserole – rather, you aim for about 75-80% raw food diet.

And raw doesn’t always literally mean raw: officially, raw means any food that hasn’t been heated above 48C. But even just eating raw some of the time, adding more fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds to your diet, whole or in the form of juices and snoothies, will make a huge difference to how you feel.

I have been sprouting beans and seeds ever since, in fact I just sprouted some mung beans and alfalfa. They are so easy to do and so packed with nutrients.

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Homegrown alfalfa sprouts

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Homegrown mung bean sprouts

I also like to grow lentil, chickpea and broccoli sprouts.

I hope this snapshot of raw eating inspires you to make some changes so you can benefit from more energy, feel more alert and perhaps even alleviate those niggling aches and pains. It works for me!

Leslie Kenton’s website is a mine of information on all things to do with health, beauty and spirituality.

http://www.lesliekenton.com

*LESLIE KENTON’S BIOGRAPHY (found on Google)

A former consultant to European Parliament for the Green Party and course developer for Britain’s Open University, Leslie is trained in Chinese Medicine, nutrition, homeopathy and bioenergetics. She was the first Chairperson of the Natural Medicine Society in the UK. Her contribution to natural health was honored by her having been called on to deliver the McCarrison Lecture at the Royal Society of Medicine in London. She also conceived and created the worldwide Origins range for cosmetic giant Estée Lauder.

LESLIE KENTON’S TELEVISION PROGRAMS
Her network television programs include Raw Energy, a cookery series, and Ageless Aging, both of which she conceived, wrote and presented herself. She has made several short films on health and spiritual topics for the BBC. Her TV documentary To Age or Not To Age, screened in the Southern Hemisphere, made television history when, in only 5 weeks, the diet and exercise protocol she designed reversed parameters of aging in people between 30 and 60, in medically measurable ways.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

My Road to Raw – Going Veggie

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So what set me on the Road to Raw? It didn’t happen all at once. In fact, it very nearly didn’t happen at all. It was a long process. First I had to embrace vegetarianism.

Our best friends were vegetarian and we respected their choice, happily eating vegetarian meals whenever we got together. But we just felt we were fitting in. It didn’t really cause us to think about the issues. We never discussed it with them. Then our son was born, we moved away, led separate lives and I thought no more about it.

Until my son was two and a half.

By now I had developed a love for cooking, my son did too, and as the fad for adding bran to all things edible took hold, we graduated to baking wholemeal bread and scones, pizza bases and cakes. We substituted Flora for butter as we were urged to replace saturated animal fat with polyunsaturated margarine ‘for a healthy heart’. I became more interested in food and health.

We often went to the local library, he chose Richard Scarry and I optimistically chose sewing – I never did make that quilt – and books on conscious eating. One of these I recognised. My vegetarian friend had mentioned it when we had talked about my newfound interest in food and health.

Frances Moore Lappé’s * Diet for a Small Planet is about eating to protect the planet’s resources: she maintained that adopting a meatless diet was the only way forward because a meat-based diet was not sustainable. Lappé also posited the theory of protein complementarity (bear with me, here comes the science bit!). She advocated combining certain protein-based plant foods at the same meal to ensure you had a complete protein to replace the meat protein. So, for instance, brown rice, lentils and nuts on the same plate.* (see below).

Later, I discovered its sister book written by her friend, Ellen Buchman Ewald: Recipes for a Small Planet. Ewald developed high protein recipes to simplify this process of complementarity for would-be vegetarians. This became my bible for quite some time – as you can tell by the photo! (the cat liked it too – see nibbled corner). She does use soya quite a bit but she also introduced me to carob, which I love! Her high protein Gorp cookies were a family favourite.

The other catalyst was coming across Australian philosopher, Peter Singer’s book Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals, which popularised the term speciesism and was not so much advocating equal animal rights, but rather their right to consideration and equal treatment as sentient beings who experience pain.

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Together with the government campaign to cut down on animal fat, these books propelled me down the road to vegetarianism.

It was far from easy. My husband and son were not at all impressed that mince and bacon were no longer on the menu and we all reneged at using TVP (textured vegetable protein), which admittedly tasted like cardboard! And this was at a time when you were lucky to get a wilted salad if you ate out or visited friends – we ate a lot of omelettes! – and you were never invited to dinner parties.

By the time our daughter came along, we were fully-fledged veggies. I had a vegetarian pregnancy and was so much healthier than the first time, when I seemed to live off cheap meat and orange ice-lollies! She became a strong, healthy, vegetarian baby determined to run before she could walk.

We now shopped at Beano, then a small local co-operative selling legumes, oats, wholemeal flour and so on out of barrels. As I learned, so did my son, mixing up lurid concoctions of herbs and spices that he now uses on an everyday basis. He was particularly proud of the turmeric, curry powder and chilli combo, which turned out to be portentous as now every meal he makes or eats has to come with chilli on the side!

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Vegetarian sushi made by my daughter.

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 Which would you rather have: a plate of vibrant, tasty sushi with tamari or chilli sauce, or a beige meal of processed white bread, margarine, deep-fried chips and fried egg?

Next time, I’ll write about how I found my raw energy!

*http://smallplanet.org

*This is because most plant proteins don’t have a full complement of the amino acids essential for the human body to develop, repair and renew. More recently, this theory has been amended in that it is now believed complementary proteins only need to be consumed within the same day, not necessarily the same meal.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Health Revolution – Review & Recipe

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Recommended Read (and tasty recipe at the end of the post!)

If you are reading this blog because you are wanting to make some changes to your lifestyle and improve your health but you’re not sure where to begin, then this book is for you! 

Based on his own experiences, Dale Preece-Kelly describes how he once had everything and nearly lost it all – including his life – through bad luck, poor choices and an unhealthy lifestyle. In a style that is neither hectoring nor prescriptive, he takes you by the hand and gently guides you along the path that led him to living a happier and healthier lifestyle.

Dale is passionate about helping others and in writing this book he passes on what he has learned along the way, from being an overweight smoker and drinker on a slippery slope to a permanent hospital bed to becoming a man of many talents: actor, lifestyle coach, nutritionist, pet therapist and educator, and now writer, to name a few! (http://www.organicguineapig.com & http://www.critterishallsorts.co.uk)

Dale has an easy, accessible style that is chatty and amusing and very down-to-earth. His book is so easy to read and covers nutrition, juicing, addictions, exercise, household products and provides quick, tasty and healthy recipes to set you on the road to a better you. There’s even a recipe for toothpaste!

I have a couple of copies of the paperback version which I pass around to those who express an interest in leading a healthier lifestyle but can’t quite motivate themselves or who can’t see the forest for the trees.

It would make an excellent gift for those who regularly make Spring their season for personal improvement, but who get bogged down in Life or don’t have the support to make it sustainable.

Available on Kindle and Paperback from http://www.amazon.com

Organic Guinea Pig’s Signature Chocolate Orange Brownies

Vegan & Gluten-Free.

image

Prep. Time: 15-20 mins Cooking time: 25 mins. Preheat oven to 180C

Line oven dish with baking parchment

Ingredients:

2 Medium Sweet Potatoes

1/4 Cup Raw Organic Cacao Powder (We used The Raw Chocolate Company* version)

1 1/4 Cups Ground Almonds

1/4 Cup Honey (or Maple Syrup)

1/2 Cup Pitted Dates

Zest & Juice of 1 Orange

Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt

 Method:

Peel, chop and boil sweet potatoes for 5 minutes, or until cooked. Blend till smooth

(I recommend leaving the skin on if they’re organic, and steaming for more flavour)

Add all other ingredients and blend

Bake for 25 mins in a parchment-lined tray or until knife comes clean

Sprinkle chopped nuts over brownies before cutting into squares

Allow to cool before demolishing!

(Reproduced by kind permission)..

They are moist and tasty and keep well in a tight container in the fridge. We froze some of ours and they kept for ages, only because I wanted to save some for a family visit!

*The Raw Chocolate Company

Copyright: Chris McGowan