blog, Raw Food Adventures, Recipe

Journey to the North

With summer bearing down with full force in Florida I’ve taken a trip up north to Chicago and Watervliet, Michigan for some rest and relaxation with family, friends and raw food festival goers. I was born in Chicago and much of my family still lives there. I’ve lived in Jacksonville, Florida since I was 10, but have made pilgrimages up north on a yearly basis. I even lived in Chicago for 3 years after college and remain in touch with my old roomies and friends from back in the pre-raw days. It seems like only yesterday that I was BBQ’ing meat, pan frying sausage and meatballs and microwaving hell-if-I-know all the while thinking it was nourishing food. Over 10 years later I’m a little wiser and a lot healthier than I was when I was in my mid-twenties.

Tom's Steak HouseMy arrival in Chicago had me visiting my uncle out in River Forest. He’s not a raw fooder by any stretch but it’s never too late to start. I did Saturday night dinner with the boys, which had us visiting Tom’s Steak House in Melrose Park. There’s a good chance I may have been the first raw fooder at Tom’s Steak House. I made sure I packed a homemade salad dressing to top the double salad I was going to order. I was pleasantly surprised at the Romaine, tomato and onion salad that they set me up with. I also scored a side of Greek olives which weren’t from a can. I sipped bottled water while the gang enjoyed cocktails, followed by soup or salad and then their entree of meat and starch… the undoing of the Western World – Please refer to Food Combining Rules. I had my salad delivered with the entree and poured on my home mix of living red wine vinegar, olive oil, dulse, Italian herbs and Himalayan salt. Following dinner my uncle took me to see some music at another steak house; Gibson’s in Rosemont. I’ve been bar hopping before and now I’ve officially been steak house hopping. We listened to Lenny Capp perform on piano while my uncle sipped a cocktail and I had a NA brew. I was pleasantly surprised to meet another raw fooder upon visiting the washroom at Gibson’s. It turns out the bathroom attendant, Caleeb, had just gotten into raw foods and he was trying to convince his fellow co-worker to eat a macaroon he had gotten at Whole Foods. I was more than happy to try one, seeing that I was miles away from any raw food dessert and was craving something sweet. We chatted a bit and I gave them my card and invited them to keep in touch. Raw fooders are turning up in the strangest places… it’s so cool.

Next I visited friends in the city. My friend Angie hosted a BBQ at her house. Mike, Cyndi and their daughter Merrit were already in grilling mode when I arrived on Sunday. I whipped up a guacamole, cut up veggies and rolled some burritos with some sun-dried tomato chia wraps I had made for traveling. It was quite a simple and delicious feast for me; no lighter fluid, no charcoal, flames or prostate cancer to worry about. I ate my fill of burritos and saved my strength for karaoke night at the Beauty Bar that evening. It was a rocking good time. Angie did a Pat Benatar song while I sang “The Weight” by The Band.

sausage and burrito
which one belongs in your mouth?

Some juice was in order the next day to recover from our late night of singing and dancing. My friend Angie has dumped dairy, started juicing and has begun to see some positive changes. I took her juicer for a test drive the other morning and made a ginger cucumber apple juice that would straighten your toe nails. Now the city is behind me and I’m enjoying the lush green landscape of Ronora Lodge in Watervliet, Michigan. With over 100 acres of land, a lake, green house, garden, stables, cabins and more I’m in heaven… aside from the mosquitoes and biting flies. The green house is loaded with tomatoes and basil, while the garden is bursting with yellow squash, cucumbers, yellow watermelon, brocolli, kale and peppers. Oh, and I can’t forget the wild blackberries and grapes. At the moment I’m just writing, foraging, feasting and enjoying the magic here at Ronora. I enjoyed a big tomato and onion salad with pecan basil pesto the night I arrived. The next evening, the owner Deej let me know where the “all raw” kitchen was and I prepared a raw feast for her and her husband that consisted of a kale salad with garden tomatoes and yellow squash noodles with walnut basil pesto. Owner and operator Deej Leggit just recently healed herself of both Type 1 and 2 diabetes after doing the 21 day detox program at Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center. She and her husband Hunter have both experienced the healing benefits of a raw vegan diet. To my surprise Ronora Lodge has hosted David Wolfe, Matt Monarch and Angela Stokes, Paul Nisson and next week Victoria Boutenko will be here with other raw food folks for the Green Synergy Fest.

Here’s a Basil Pesto Recipe that’s tasty and easy:

  • 1 C walnuts – rinsed, soaked 1 hour and drained
  • 1/2 C fresh basil leaves – packed
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 T tamari
  • salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in food processor with S-blade. Spread thick pesto inside bell pepper slices. Or mix into zucchini or squash noodles. Add more oil, vinegar and tamari to make into a sauce.

Enjoy the picts and I’ll keep posting. Keep it Live!

blackberry bowl
Nature's Abundance
blog, How To

Juice Fast/Feast 2010 – In Canada

Green Juice - Mutha's Milk

Tis the season to be fasting now that we’ve got the feasting out of the way. A pattern seems to emerge at this time of the year when everyone awakens from the holidaze of excess and over indulgence. What’s the remedy for this holiday hangover? A juice fast/feast of course! I use the term fast/feast to allow flexibility regarding the recovery route you choose to take. Fasting is a more restricted and more powerful method of healing while feasting achieves similar results with less restrictions. Fasting is best done in a relaxed and supportive environment like a tropical spa setting. For those of us that don’t have a spa at our disposal the feast option is the next best choice.

Fasting: willingly abstaining from food, drink and/or specific activities for a set duration of time.

Feasting: consumption without limitations.

The component that is missing from the above definitions is the juice… green juice that is. Fresh organic green vegetable juice is the next best thing to mother’s milk and that is the core ingredient to a healing juice fast/feast. The foundation for my own green juice fasting/feasting protocol is based on what I learned while working at The Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center. While it is possible to fast on fruit juices, water and a variety of other liquids it is not recommended that you do this unless you know what you are doing and what you can expect. The high sugar content of fresh fruit and root (carrot, beet) juices can be unbalancing when consume in high amounts during a liquid fast. With the fiber removed from the fruit/root you end up with an unnaturally high concentration of sugars. If drinking these juices it is best to thin them with water or combine them with green vegetable juices.

The equipment needed to have a successful green juicing experience is either a high power blender like a vita-mix or blendtec or a masticating juicer. Centrifuge juicers are ok but many of them don’t handle leafy greens very well. I have a trick I use to maximize my juice output with both masticating and centrifuge juicers. Line the pulp catching container with a seed mylk bag (paint strainer bag from Home Depot). Once you have finished your initial juicing, taking the bag of pulp and squeeze it dry. You’ll find that a good bit of juice is left in the pulp, juice that would be thrown away.

It’s optimal to consume fresh green juice but it often isn’t practical to make the the juice on the spot. A routine of making your days juice either the morning of or the night before is usually the option of choice. If you have a FoodSaver kitchen gadget with the mason jar vacuum sealing attachment you’ll be stylin. With this set up you can vacuum seal your juice and extend it’s vitality and slow oxidation.

The juice blend I prefer while juice fasting/feasting is:

  • 2-3 cucumbers,
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 handful of leafy greens (kale, spinach, lettuce)
  • fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, basil)

For a bit of sweetness I might add 1 ounce of fresh carrot, beet or apple juice. When doing I long term fast I notice that people tend to want to drink their sweet juice straight… they’re jonezing for their sugar fix. The key to a healthy fast/feast is balance and shooting fruit juices is not very balancing… so don’t do it.

Fasting/Feasting on liquids during cold months can be quite a challenge. Here are some tips to take the edge off cold weather fasting.

Enjoy at least 4 ten ounce green juices a day with water and tea throughout the day. Below is a prospective fast/feast schedule.

8am – skin brush and shower

8:30 – hot water and lemon juice

9 am – 10 oz green juice

10:30 – tea or water

Noon – green juice, 1 oz apple with ginger/cayenne

1: 30 – tea or water

3pm – green juice, 1 oz carrot with ginger/cayenne

4:30 – tea or water

6pm – green juice with ginger and lemon

  • Take your produce out of the fridge and allow it to warm up to room temp. before juicing it
  • Enjoy hot/warm tea between green juices
  • Add warming ingredients to your juices like fresh ginger juice, garlic, hot peppers, cayenne and turmeric
  • Allow refrigerated juice to warm before drinking
  • Exercise periodically through out the day: yoga, rebounding, breath work – see “Breath of Fire”
  • Blend unpasteurized organic miso, lemon juice with hot water to make a warming soup

To really experience the benefits of a juice fast/feast you need to go for at least 3 days. 7 days is optimal and once you’ve gone beyond 7 just listen to your body and go until you feel you’ve satisfied your bodies healing needs.