Mother Earths most delicious foods.

Living. Loving. Laughing. the natural way.

Friday, July 22, 2011

soaking it all up

I am pretty sure today was one of the nicest winter days I have ever experienced, it was magic today, I laid out in the backyard and soaked up mother natures warm sun rays for a couple of hours and caught up on some much needed reading... After that it was time to get soaking, a different kind of soaking, I soaked some buckwheat, sunflower seeds and almonds, as I was preparing them for my raw granola mixture! 

My husband  calls me a chronic soaker, I soak all my grains,legumes, beans, seeds, & nuts, I have at least 1 bowl soaking something per day! And it doesn't stop there, I then go onto sprouting if what is soaking can be !

Why I love to soak?

Soaking nuts, grains, seeds, and legumes 
Nature has set it up so that the nut, grain and seed may survive until proper growing conditions are present. Nature’s defense mechanism includes nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances that can be removed naturally when there is enough precipitation to sustain a new plant after the nut, grain or seed germinates. When it rains the nut, grain or seed gets wet and can then germinate to produce a plant. So we are mimicking nature when we soak our nuts, grains and seeds.
Nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances found in nuts grains and seed can be minimized or eliminated by soaking. These inhibitors and toxic substances are enzyme inhibitors, phytates (phytic acid), polyphenols (tannins), and goitrogens.
What are Enzyme inhibitors?
There are digestive enzymes and metabolic enzymes. Digestive enzymes help break down food. Metabolic enzymes help every biological process the body does. Enzyme inhibitors will clog, warp or denature an active site of an enzyme. They may also bind to the enzyme, which will prevent the intended molecule from binding. “Once again, the habits of traditional peoples should serve as a guide. They understood instinctively that nuts are best soaked or partially sprouted before eaten. This is because nuts contain numerous enzyme inhibitors that can put a real strain on the digestive mechanism if consumed in excess.”
What are Phytates?
“All grains contain phytic acid in the outer layer or bran. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. This is why a diet high in unfermented whole grains may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss. The modern misguided practice of consuming large amounts of unprocessed bran often improves colon transit time at first but may lead to irritable bowel syndrome and, in the long term, many other adverse effects.”

Why soak nuts, grains and seeds?

  • 1. To remove or reduce phytic acid.
  • 2. To remove or reduce tannins.
  • 3. To neutralize the enzyme inhibitors.
  • 4. To encourage the production of beneficial enzymes.
  • 5. To increase the amounts of vitamins, especially B vitamins.
  • 6. To break down gluten and make digestion easier.
  • 7. To make the proteins more readily available for absorption.
  • 8. To prevent mineral deficiencies and bone loss.
  • 9. To help neutralize toxins in the colon and keep the colon clean.
  • 10. To prevent many health diseases and conditions.

“Soaking allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize a large portion of phytic acid in grains. Soaking in warm water also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors, present in all seeds, and encourages the production of numerous beneficial enzymes. The action of these enzymes also increases the amount of many vitamins, especially B vitamins. During the process of soaking and fermenting, gluten and other difficult-to-digest proteins are partially broken down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption.”
What can be used to soak nuts, grains and seeds?
I have found many references to soaking nuts, grains, and seeds in water, salt water, or a warm water mixture with something acidic like yogurt, whey or lemon juice. It seems within 7 to 24 hours the enzyme inhibitors are neutralized and the anti-nutrients are broken down regardless of the method you choose. There is evidence that the process works when you see sprouting begin.
How long does the soaking process take?
“As little as seven hours of soaking in warm acidulated water will neutralize a large portion of phytic acid in grains. The simple practice of soaking cracked or rolled cereal grains overnight will vastly improve their nutritional benefits.” “Flour products should be soaked at room temperature for at least twelve hours but better results may be obtained with a twenty-four hour soaking.”

Are the nuts, grains and seeds used wet?
 I have enjoyed almonds wet. If you choose to try consuming anything in the soaked state, make little batches and store them in the refrigerator. Usually everything that is soaked is dried in a dehydrator or oven on the lowest possible setting for 24 – 48 hours to remove all moisture.
Wheat berries can be soaked whole for 8 to 22 hours, then drained and rinsed. Some recipes use the whole berries while they are wet, such as cracker dough ground right in the food processor. You can also dry sprouted wheat berries in a low-temperature oven or dehydrator, and then grind them in your grain mill and use the flour in a variety of recipes. Nuts, grains, seeds and legumes can be ground up to use as flour in many recipes after they have been dried.

Any advice on what to do with legumes?
 Maureen Diaz recommends soaking any beans or legumes in water and vinegar for at least twelve hours before cooking. Soaked and dried beans may be ground up and used as flour for thickening and baking. This is helpful for those on a gluten free diet.
One recommendation includes placing soaked kombu or kelp seaweed in the bottom of the pot when soaking legumes. Add one part seaweed to six or more parts legumes. This is for improved flavor and digestion, more nutrients, and faster cooking. “Soak legumes for twelve hours or overnight in four parts water to one part legume. For best results, change the water once or twice. Lentils and whole dried peas require shorter soaking, while soybeans and garbanzos need to soak longer. Soaking softens skins and begins the sprouting process, which eliminates phytic acid, thereby making more minerals available. Soaking also promotes faster cooking and improved digestibility, because the gas-causing enzymes and trisaccharides in legumes are released into the soak water. Be sure to discard the soak water. After bringing legumes to a boil, scoop off and discard foam. Continue to boil for twenty minutes without lid at beginning of cooking to let steam rise (breaks up and disperses indigestible enzymes).”

I have personally found the effects of soaking my food huge! I haven't suffered from digestion issues in many years now and my little people have never had any food allergies either, they both started eating nuts quiet early on with no problems at all.

Recipe for yummy nut milk a great alternative milk to put on your cereal in the morning!

1 c Almonds pre-soaked (or nut of choice, like cashews)
3 c Water
(you can add vanilla extract and a sweetener such as honey, maple syrup if desired)
Put the almond and water in a blender. Blend on high until pretty smooth. Then with a tight wired strainer or cheese cloth, strain the chunks out. 
                                           Almond milk and homemade sprouted raw granola ! ! !

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Fresh Start ! ! !

Time to bring this baby alive again! The past couple of months have been crazy, but I am ready to blog again about all things wonderfully nourishing, soulful and delicious. While I have been away surprisingly I have had quiet a few people message me and ask me where I have gone and telling me they have enjoyed my blog, so humbling and awesome! I love that so many people are becoming aware that we really are what we eat and food matters!!! I am going to start this post on a simple note, a simple beautiful way to start the day... 

Drinking a glass of warm lemon water is my favourite way to start the day! Squeeeeeze an organic lemon in a glass, add some filtered water and top off with some hot water from the kettle. Bam a detoxifying, cleansing drink to start your day off in the right way. It's something that a lot of us already do, but now you can feel even better about drinking about it in the morning when you read the many many benefits below, here are some more reasons to get squeezing...

  1. Good for stomach
    Lemon can help relieve many digestion problems when mixed with hot water. These include nausea, heartburn and parasites. Due to the digestive qualities of lemon juice, symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, bloating and belching are relieved. By drinking lemon juice regularly, the bowels are aided in eliminating waste more efficiently. Lemon acts as a blood purifier and as a cleansing agent. The intake of lemon juice can cure constipation. It is even known to help relieve hiccups when consumed as a juice. Lemon juice acts as a liver tonic and helps you digest your food by helping your liver produce more bile. It decreases the amount of phlegm produced by your body. It is also thought to help dissolve gallstones.
  2. Excellent for Skin Care
    Lemon, being a natural antiseptic medicine, can participate to cure problems related to skin. Lemon is a vitamin C rich citrus fruit that enhances your beauty, by rejuvenating skin from within and thus bringing a glow on your face. Daily consumption of lemon water can make a huge difference in the appearance of your skin. It acts as an anti-aging remedy and can remove wrinkles and blackheads. Lemon water if applied on the areas of burns can fade the scars. As lemon is a cooling agent, it reduces the burning sensation on the skin.
  3. Aids in Dental Care
    Lemon water is used in dental care also. If fresh lemon juice is applied on the areas of toothache, it can assist in getting rid of the pain. The massages of lemon juice on gums can stop gum bleeding. It gives relief from bad smell and other problems related to gums.
  4. Cures Throat Infections
    Lemon is an excellent fruit that aids in fighting problems related to throat infections, sore throat and tonsillitis as it has an antibacterial property. For sore throat, dilute one-half lemon juice with one-half water and gargle frequently.
  5. Good for Weight Loss
    One of the major health benefits of drinking lemon water is that it paves way for losing weight faster, thus acting as a great weight loss remedy. If a person takes lemon juice mixed with lukewarm water and honey, it can reduce the body weight as well.
  6. Controls High Blood Pressure
    Lemon water works wonders for people having heart problem, owing to its high potassium content. It controls high blood pressure, dizziness, nausea as well as provides relaxation to mind and body. It also reduces mental stress and depression.
  7. Assist in curing Respiratory Disorders
    Lemon water assists in curing respiratory problems, along with breathing problems and revives a person suffering from asthma.
  8. Good for treating Rheumatism
    Lemon is also a diuretic and hence lemon water can treat rheumatism and arthritis. It helps to flush out bacteria and toxins out of the body.
  9. Reduces Fever
    Lemon water can treat a person who is suffering from cold, flu or fever. It helps to break fever by increasing perspiration.
  10. Acts as a blood purifier
    The diseases like cholera or malaria can be treated with lemon water as it can act as a blood purifier.

Ah and there we have it, a short, simple yet very beneficial post to improve ones health ! until next time x 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Easy living

After all this horrible rain the sun is finally out and shinning in all it's glory and day to day living just got easy again - runs in the morning, bike rides with the girls, beach days and lazy afternoons in the backyard... yes I do love spending time outside! And if we can't feel grateful for this little bit of sunshine we are reminded that 2 hours down the road families are dealing with the aftermath of all the horrible floods! 

On another note my inspiration for blogging was diminishing the last week and a bit as I was dealing with horrible headaches. The only thing on my mind was to figure out what was causing them, so I started to eliminate the possible causes - first I gave up the computer for a few days as I thought it might be the screen, didn't help. Then I stopped drinking coffee and black tea, I thought I might be sensitive to the caffeine since everything else in my diet is quiet pure, energetically I was feeling awesome but I still had the pain. Then I just figured I must have a brain tumour and my hypochondriac alter ego stepped in and sent me into a panic frenzy, googling all my symptoms and driving my husband crazy! OK so it turns out it was none of the above, it was actually caused from my neck, I had been taking Coco for bike rides in the morning, I would carry Autumn on my hip and walk following Coco on her bike, I didn't realise my body was in a completely awkward position and my neck was completely out - lesson learnt - Autumn goes in the ergo carrier on in the pram! And as awful as this whole ordeal was, I realised that not drinking coffee and black tea was really making me feel wonderful, I noticed my energy was just constant through out the whole day, instead of feeling spurts of energy and then low slumps throughout the day! Coffee and black tea is out and Rooibos is my new hot drink, I do like milk and honey in my tea! 

With my brain feeling foggy free and having enough energy to bounce off the walls, I decided to give this raw cheese cake a crack yesterday... it paid off. Here is the recipe I came up with, I actually read through a few recipes, I added and removed things to fit it with what we like and have in the cupboard! 

Raw Strawberry Cheesecake

For the crust:

1/2 cup Brazil Nuts
1/2 cup Shredded Coconut
1 tb Cacao Powder
2 tb Agave Syrup
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 pitted Dates

Step 1 Process the Brazil nuts, shredded coconut, cacao powder and vanilla extract in a food processor until fine crumbs.

Step 2 Add the agave and dates and process until the mixture just starts to stick together.
Step 3 Press into the bottom of a spring form pan. 
For the filling

2 cups fresh chopped strawberries
1 cup cup of soaked cashews
tb Coconut Butter
1/4 Agave Syrup
1 TB Lemon Juice
1/4 tsp Salt

Step 4 Blend all of the ingredients in a high peed blender until smooth
Step 5 Pour the filling over the crust and freeze until ready to serve
Optional - When serving you can pour some strawberries mixed with agave syrup ( my husband said he didn't think the cake needed this)

Rich lushes irresistible cheese cake.. and yes I did over do it on the strawberry topping and sprinkled cacao powder (I was a wee bit excited) Enjoy x 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mummy free time

One of my new years resolutions was to take some time out for myself, as my husband travels a lot, things can get pretty busy with the girls and I and when hubby comes home we all want to spend as much time with each other as possible, which is beautiful, however this means that I am not getting much time on my own. Balance is the key to any healthy life and  I have realized that it is important to make time for myself and do things that I am passionate about - apart from my family!!!

So today I did just that, as you can see one of my biggest passions in life is food - why? Because I believe our body is our temple, we are what we eat and nothing feels better than filling my families body with beautiful nourishing food that I have made and I love knowing exactly where our food has come from. My choice for "mummy free time" was to attend a raw food class, the class was run by Lisa at the super natural kitchen, she was very inspiring and it was evident how passionate she is about raw food and sharing her wealth of knowledge on the benefits or raw food. I learnt a lot of new recipes and loved tasting and preparing all the food, I especially enjoyed the time to myself. OK-  I'll admit my family managed to sneak their way into the class and taste test some food - Hubby brought the little one to me when she needed a feed - but secretly I loved every minute of them there with me! Then they left me to it. We started the morning with a Green smoothie - yes green in colour but tasted anything but green vegetables. Had a nibble of some onion bread that Lisa had made last night. We made some Kale chips, which I'll pick up in the morning as they are still in the dehydrator and lastly made some raw chocolate petit fours (to die for).

Onion bread 

Coco about to sample a chocolate petit four

I am really really loving making raw food creations, especially the desserts, I was never a great sweet baker! We are going to invest in a dehydrator in the next few months as I learned from Lisa today there is just so much you can make in them... I am really excited about getting one, I can't wait to make delicious snacks that are ALIVE and TASTY! As much as love raw food I couldn't ever imagine changing my diet to 100% raw, I prefer to have a balanced diet, a mix of raw and cooked food and just really listening to what it is my body needs, I love nothing better that educating myself on all things related to this, in fact this what I'll be reading tonight -------->

What's my verdict on "mummy free time"? YES - love love loved it!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The proof is in the pudding

I have been playing around with a couple raw recipes the last few days, I made a raw key lime pie for some friends, which went down nicely, how ever I forgot (again) to take pictures, but that ok I am more than happy to make it again VERY soon! Here is a nice little recipe, if you fancy having a treat packed full of goodness that I just made for Coco and myself, it is quiet rich and we only needed a little bit. Verdict, thumbs up!

Chocolate Pudding

1 avocado, diced
1/4 c agave syrup
1/4 c cacao powder
dash of water
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 tsp coconut oil or concentrate (optional)

Pop it in the blender until it has reached a creamy consistency... Devour or put in the fridge to set for a while!
"yummy mummy" - Coco

 10 reasons to eat an avocado a day:
Prostate Cancer Prevention
Avocados have been shown to inhibit the growth of prostate cancer. (reference)

Oral Cancer Defense
Research has shown that certain compounds in avocados are able to seek out pre-cancerous and cancerous oral cancer cells and destroy them without harming healthy cells. (ref)
Breast Cancer Protection
Avocado, like olive oil, is high in oleic acid, which has been shown to prevent breast cancer in numerous studies. (ref)
Eye Health
Avocados have more of the carotenoid lutein than any other commonly consumed fruit. Lutein protects against macular degeneration and cataracts, two disabling age-related eye diseases. (ref)
Lower Cholesterol
Avocados are high in beta-sitosterol, a compound that has been shown to lower cholesterol levels. In one study, 45 volunteers experienced an average drop in cholesterol of 17% after eating avocados for only one week. (ref)
Heart Health
One cup of avocado has 23% of the recommended daily value of folate. Studies show that people who eat diets rich in folate have a much lower incidence of heart disease than those who don't. The vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, and glutathione in avocado are also great for your heart. (ref)
Stroke Prevention
The high levels of folate in avocado are also protective against strokes. People who eat diets rich in folate have a much lower risk of stroke than those who don't. (ref)
Better Nutrient Absorption
Research has found that certain nutrients are absorbed better when eaten with avocado. In one study, when participants ate a salad containing avocados, they absorbed five times the amount of carotenoids (a group of nutrients that includes lycopene and beta carotene) than those who didn't include avocados. (ref)
Glutathione Source
Avocados are an excellent source of glutathione, an important antioxidant that researchers say is important in preventing aging, cancer, and heart disease. (ref)
Vitamin E Powerhouse
Avocados are the best fruit source of vitamin E, an essential vitamin that protects against many diseases and helps maintains overall health. (ref)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Raw food

Yesterday my family and I went to one of the only raw food cafes in Australia "From Earth & Water" it is about a 40 minute drive from where we live and it was definitely worth the little trek! It was incredible, fresh, nourishing and absolutely delicious food. I only wish I took photos of all our meals...We ordered Coco a raw chocolate shake, she loved it and so did we, it tasted so earthy and pure yet still sweet but not that sickly artificial sweetness you get from your typical choc milkshake. I had a yummy wrap made from dehydrated young coconuts filled with kelp noodles and lots of other goodies and topped with a sweet cashew sauce. Hubby had tacos, the shell was primarily made with golden flax and was filled with a guacamole salsa and topped with a "sour cream" and sweet chilli sauce. And for dessert, oh my goodness dessert!!! We shared a white chocolate strawberry chez cake topped with a raw vegan vanilla ice cream. This dessert we could have swore was an actual baked cheese cake, it was un-believable, this dining experience has really inspired me to start experimenting more with raw food meals and after our meals I have hubby convinced too!

How much does this look like your typical creamy piece of baked strawberry cheese cake!!! 

I have also been re-thinking my intentions of this blog and why I am doing it. I am going to step away from the actual challenge side of things - yes I'll admit it does seem like a bit of a cop out, however I will be continuing with the challenge on my own terms, just not writing about it. I feel I went about the challenge the wrong way, I set it out in concrete and this is not the way I like to roll. For example, enjoying a coffee or a piece of food that might be questionable in terms of the amount it has been processed would bring about a feeling of guilt and that my friends is not something I want lurking over my head. I still have the same intentions as I stated before, to fill my and my families bodies with pure, natural wholesome food from mother earth just not under any stringent guidelines -  So therefore this blog is space to share wholesome wonderful recipes, that are not categorized under anything specific, other than being an asset to your health!!! And also a space to share my thoughts and information I receive on all things about making our belly's beautiful!!! I hope you still follow along...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Sweet tooth

Today was one of those idealistic days, kids were easy peasy (not always the case ;) ) and our day ended in a glorious afternoon of swimming in a magical waterfall. BLISS! For dinner I attempted to make some buckwheat coated chicken nuggets, I cooked them on a stainless steel pan, as I am trying to avoid using our non-stick pan as much as possible, (I'd like to throw it out but husband still can't let it go) I have read lots of information on the effects of cooking with non-stick cookware, visit this article for some information about it! However the result of the chicken nuggets ended badly... the coating stuck to the pan and they didn't look pretty, we all agreed they tasted yummy so maybe I'll try baking them in the oven next time.

Mr sweet tooth requested a treat after dinner, so I mixed up some tahini, almonds, cacao powder and honey in our food processor, rolled them in to balls and popped them in the freezer for as long as husband could wait - which wasn't long! They didn't last more then 10 minutes when we did take them out. I usually coat them in shredded coconut and you can use agave or maple syrup instead to sweeten them but we had run our of these ingredients - in saying that, these choc balls worked out just as well, will make them again for sure!

The few left, they were disappearing before my eyes!