Wellbeing Wednesday ( and its wheat free too!)

raw magic.jpgMy brother bought me this fantastic book for my birthday, so I thought I would share it with you all in the form of a book review. It is called Raw Magic and is about making food with RAW ingredients. As I am having to cut out wheat, sugar AND dairy, I suggested this would be a useful gift for me.

On first look, it IS very much of the new age, mystical genre but it is very informative and the recipes look amazing. It has tons of fantastic photographs that show off the finished products brilliantly and they make you feel healthy just looking at them.

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The beginning chapters of the book are given over to explaining the benefits of raw food ( and they are not talking uncooked Cornish pasties here) and there is a comprehensive section on each of the main ingredients, detailing the history,uses and benefits of each.  I am not ashamed to say, that I was very glad of this section as I had not heard of many of the foods, let alone, what they did!

20121107-093059.jpgChapter 3 has a good section about the types of equipment that you need to be a RAW foodie ( I guess I will have to save up for that £400 blender and the £200 food dehydrator!) as well as alternatives should you not have the equipment.

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Chapters 4 through to 9 contain an amazing array of recipes with names such as Rocket Fuel Soup, Purple Power and even Orange Orgasm.

There are specific sections on: Dips, Salads,Crackers,breads and burgers,Puddings and breakfasts ( which the author says are perfectly interchangeable – YOU GO GIRL), cakes and biscuits and sweets and spreads.

The recipes are written out clearly, with a list of ingredients and concisely written instructions, and each page is illustrated with a very expressive photograph.

Chapter 10 is dedicated to Chocolate! Obviously not the highly processed “confectionary” which is probably more sugar than actual chocolate, but the real deal. The recipes use raw Cacao butter and Cacao Nibs and all sorts of wonderful herbs and spices to make delicacies such as Magic Manna and Lucifaris Chocolate Halva. I am really looking forward to attempting these recipes specifically – especially as I have such a sweet tooth and the lack of sugar is making me VERY miserable ( although perhaps not as miserable as I am flat on my back with the room spinning!).

The final chapter talks about drink recipes.  I shall be giving the green ones a miss, but I am going to at least try the Mylks. Theses are made from all sorts of things, from cashew nuts to purple corn.

The final pages give a list of books, websites and shopping sites to visit although I want to try and source the ingredients locally, both to cut down on postage costs and also to support local traders.

Some words on ingredients

There are many new ingredients in this book that, like I said before, I had never heard off. Below is a little about some of them.

The first is Maca. I have chosen this first as I now have first hand experience if it! Maca is an ancient peruvian root vegetable, that is only available outside of Peru in a powdered or tincture form. The Peruvian government insist on this as it is such an essential part of their economy that they cannot risk the seeds being exported.   It has a pleasant malt like taste and I have been adding it to my daily bowl of porridge oats and I must say that I have noticed a distinct boost in my energy levels first thing in the morning! It is also said to regulate female hormones, which is something I am definitely in need off.

Cacao is another heavily used ingredient in the book. Cacoa (Theobroma Cacoa) translates as “food of the gods” and was even used as currency by the early Mesopotamians. I have of course heard of this, being a former chocoholic – but I am now a convert to the raw version ( mainly consumed in the form of Booja booja chocolates – which are made in Norfolk; Oh how I would love to work for them!). Cacao has so many health benefits it is beyond belief – It is a natural anti-depressant as it raises the serotonin levels in the brain – here is a link to a rather good blog that explains each of the benefit – http://bestsuperfoods.wordpress.com/category/cacao/

Klamath Lake Blue Green Algae. To be honest, the thought of eating this turns my stomach, but the health benefits it offers, may well tempt me to at least try it – especially the Crystal Manna that it mentions in the book as it is said to sparkle!   Algae is one of the oldest food stuffs known and has the highest Vit B12 of any vegetation available. It has a long list of micro nutrients and is an all round good thing to be eating.

Camu Camu is a berry that grows in the  Amazon. It looks like a grape and has massive amounts of Vitamin C, the book says it tastes like lemon sherbert which is tempting me already. It also contains many more micronutrients and has been used as a natural antidepressant as well as for treating ADHD!

If I find a good source of these ingredients and have a go at making them – I will let you know how I get on!

Tea Review Tuesday No 3

Todays’ tea is Yogi Tea Classic. It is described as an Ayurvedic spice infusion and contains Cinnamon , cardamom, ginger, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon extract, and ginger extract.

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I have tried this with milk and without milk and found it to be far too strong BUT I have found that it is ideal as a bedtime drink if made entirely with milk.  The milk need to be heated first, preferably in a saucepan as aposed to the microwave and then place the teabag in the cup and after 5 minutes it is suitable for drinking. It doesn’t seem to matter if you leave the tea bag in after this or not – it doesn’t get too strong.

The packaging says that this tea is reminiscent of the chai that is consumed in India so it would make sense that is would taste better made entirely from milk.

The Cinnamon in this also makes the drink feel somewhat festive, so I also recommend it as a winter warmer on these cold dark nights…

Here is a picture of the bar code, which i find rather lovely.

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At £2.19 for 17 tea bags it is quite pricey, but it is organic and good for the soul!

Made monday 3

It’s that time again, still haven’t been very active on the crafting front what with having to keep the house show home tidy- and that’s a full time job in itself with little J around!

However, I have a craft fair to do on Saturday, so I thought I had better pull my finger out and at least freshen up my stock.

I usually make my bangles a standard size ( cola can to be precise) but I have had a few peeps say that they only have tiny hands, so I thought I would make some teeny tiny petite size……and here they are!

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I will also be listing them in my folksy shop but you never know, they may all be gone by Saturday!

Do make sure you call on over to Handmade harbour
and see what the more productive guys and gals have been up too!

Thursdays’ thoughts – Decluttering

It’s 4.30 am, and having been woken by my lovely student neighbours at 2 am, I have been thinking about the day ahead. The estate agent is coming to take photos of the house and that means a major declutter is in order!

I am what is commonly known as a hoarder. I think it’s genetic, my dad is a hoarder, my son is a hoarder. I have a whole cache of ” come in handies” – that is, bits and pieces that I don’t want to throw away incase they ” come in handy ” for a future job.

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What I will say is, if like me, you hoard then STOP IT NOW! Take yourself off to the corner and give yourself a good talking too!

Given the inevitability that my new house is going to be a lot less spacious than my current Victorian semi, I am having to make some ruthless choices. I can’t take it all with me. This is my plan.

First decision on each thing; does it stay or does it go? If I haven’t used it in the last year or it has doesn’t have huge sentimental irreplaceable attachment, it goes. Although I find it hard to apply this to fabric or craft supplies!

If it goes, can it be sold on eBay? If not, can the charity shop take it ( its now too wet and windy for car boots and yard sales). If not, can it be recycled ? Can the school/ preschool / Playschool use it? Animal shelter?

If I can’t get rid if it that way then I am afraid it’s off to landfill 😦

Sound simple doesn’t it! Putting it into practice is a whole new ball game!

What I can say us, now that I’ve made a start on it, I find it VERY therapeutic. Don’t try and do it all at once or you will crash and burn. Just do it a little nibble at a time and before you know it , there will be a big space where all the rubbish once was!

It’s only 2 hours before little J will be demanding his daily CBBC fix, so I had better try and get back to snooze land.

Happy day after Samhain everyone and happy decluttering!

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P.s I’ve added a few pictures if natures own decluttering – lucky for her, she has the wind to blow it all away!

Wheat free Wednesday

I’m a bit late with my post today, but it has been a very long and very fruitful day!

First I must share a little trick or treat story that made me so proud of little J. As he doesn’t have an actual allergy, and can tolerate some dairy and wheat, I generally try to let him join in with peer activities such as birthday parties and things like trick or treating.

As we were going along, we discussed how we were going to sort out the normal sweets from the chocolate and that he could only have a little chocolate each week. I also suggested that if there was a choice, he should choose the sweets or fruit instead.

The next house we came to had a drive, so I waited at the bottom while J and his friend toddled up to the door. I saw them both in deep conversation with the lady who promptly disappeared and came back with a tangerine!

It must have come as a great surprise to be asked by a five year old “please can I have some fruit as I am not allowed dairy.”

I really am glad that he is starting to make sensible choices, even at such a young age!

I have been investigating the whole wheat, dairy and sugar free diet this week.

I came a cross a delightful little raw food cafe just down the road from me and she specialises in making wheat, dairy and sugar free foods ( I think I will call them wdsf from here on).

While I was these I had raspberry “cheeze” cake and it was far better than any normal one I have ever tried. Amazingly the cheeze is made from ground cashew nuts and the base from buckwheat.

The Nectars website has fantastically informative section on wdsf living which you can find here.

One of the suggested sugar alternatives is something called Maca. Maca is a Peruvian root that is ground down to form a powder that smells a lot like malted milk biscuits.

It is said that it also has some amazing properties, one of which is a massive improvement in fertility, which given the fact that we are working on baby mark 2 is a great side effect!

I am hoping that it is only refined sugar that causes me problems, so I have purchased several other alternative sugars. There are many different types, but the main downfall is the price!

Xylitol, which is made from wood, is over £9 a kilo and considering you are supposed to use it like for like in the place if sugar, that is some expensive baking!

Tonight has been hard for me – seeing all those sweets and not pinching even one. Thankfully I have a big bag if goji berries to keep me going!

( I am currently writing this post from my iPhone and can’t put any of the links in- I shall put them in as soon as I can!)

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