Posts Tagged With: healing foods

Spiced Beach House Chai and the Awesome Power of Cinnamon

 

Beach House Chai in Tamil Nadu

Beach House Chai on Karuna Farm, Tamil Nadu

This is something we quaff every day; with some sitar int he background and little incense waft, we could be back in Tamil Nadu, in our cottage on the hills (we have a thing for cottages on hills!!!!)

The ceremony of chai, the aroma as it bubbles on the stove, makes us both feel so at home. Its up there with the smell of freshly baked bread or sweet peas in the depth of summer.

A simple everyday chai here that adds spice and warmth to your morning cuppa. You may like it milkier, adjust the water to milk ratio as you like.  Namastex

Happy Chai Man, Madurai '14

Happy Chai Man, Madurai ’14

The Bits – 4-6 cups

1.5 ltrs filtered water

500ml almond/ soya milk (unsweetened)

12 green cardamom pods
2 inch piece of fresh ginger
1 cinnamon stick (3 inches, broken in two)
2 star anise

4 teas loose leaf tea (assam is best or 4 normal tea bags ripped open)
jaggery or unrefined brown sugar (to taste)

Do It
Grab a large saucepan. Boil the water in a kettle (quicker) or bring to a boil in the sauce pan.

In a pestle and mortar, bash up the cinnamon and star anise, add to the boiling water, then bash up the cardamom and cinnamon, add that to the boiling water. Lower heat to a simmer and cover, leave to infuse for 20 minutes.

Now, bring back to a rolling boil, spoon in the tea. Leave to bubble away for a couple of minutes and then add your milk. Bring back to a boil and sweeten as you prefer. Indians love it very sweet indeed.  Using a sieve (and a ladle is easiest), pour into your favoured receptacle.

Serve

In your finest cups. Smaller cups are better and more authentic, even a small glass will do (generally how its served in a proper Chai stall). Sip and slurp with relish.

 

Foodie Fact – Cinnamon

Surely one of the worlds coolest barks!  Cinnamon is medicine. Powerful agent for healing.  There are two main types of Cinnamon that we can buy, Chinese (known as Cassia) and Ceylon(which is harder to find and supposedly more refined), it is one of the oldest spices we know of and was used by the ancient Egyptians as medicine and also for embalming!  It was considered more precious than gold.  It was even mentioned in Chinese botanical medicine over 4700 years ago.

Containing some truly magical essential oils, cinnamon is a potent anti-inflammatory, anti microbial (cinnamon essential oil can be used as a powerful preservative), flavouring high carb food with cinnamon slows the release of sugars into the blood stream,  helps with type-2 diabetes, it is a very, very, very strong anti-oxidant.  Even smelling the scent of cinnamon has been shown to boost brain activity.   It is also an excellent source of fibre, calcium and manganese.

Cinnamon has long be regarded as a warming spice in Chinese and Indian energy based medicine systems.  This means that is you feel a cold coming on drink plenty of cinnamon, ginger and lemon tea and you’ll be fine!!!

Cinnamon is best bought in stick form, it stores well for an age.  You can then crush it or grind it up freshly ans savour that familiar aroma.  Once crushed, kept it in a sealed container out of natural sunlight.  A fridge is best (this goes for all spices).

Chai's off the menu for me, I hit the Jack Fruit stand instead.  Yum!

Chai’s off the menu for me in India, I hit the Jack Fruit stand instead. Yum!

Or

Or a banana....

 Banana!!!!!

Categories: Healing foods, Infusions, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Flower Power – Homemade Elderflower Cordial

 

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Elderflowers are all the rage in our village this June. we’ve had neighbours knocking on the door asking for recipes! What can we say, they are a beautiful thing and they grow on trees!  Some even call this drink the ‘nectar of the Gods’!

This is not technically raw, as it is simmered slightly, but we hope that it didn’t make it above 46oC as this stuff is lighting up our life right now!  Very easy to make and plentiful, something all Brits should have in the fridge door ready to be mixed with sparking water, gin or whatever takes your tipple fancy.  Did you hear that Brits, its a must!  In the States, I think it grows?  I know you can buy it dried over there and its just as good, if not more intense.

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FLOWER POWER

There are over 30 varities of Elderflowers and some may be slightly toxic, don’t let this put you off.  None of the flowers are toxic, only the leaves and stems, so if you are not sure, just leave out the greens.

You cannot mistake an elderflower tree (some younger plants look more like bushes), the unmistakable aroma will be the first  thing that hits you.  They have the coolest micro-flowers, white and yellow.

When picking Elderflowers, make sure you leave some for the tree!  We only take a small share from each tree and keep our eyes out when driving or walking around for new trees to pick from.  This is the great thing about foraging for your own ingredients, wherever you go, the plants follow!

We recommend making the cordial as soon as you pick the flowers, otherwise they will naturally deteriorate and lose some of their vitality and flavour.  You can of course dry them if you have a dehydrator or live in a particularly hot place (lucky you!)

The Elderflowers will also turn into gorgeous Elderberries later in the year and these are worth the wait.  It makes us feel much more connected to the seasons, watching the trees and plants changing as we move through summer towards the bounty of autumn.

You may also like to try this with orange or lime, anything citrus will do and mix things up a little.  We like flower petal ice cubes – rose and elderflower. Lemon is the classic though to be sipped on a steamy British summer’s day preferably with a knotted handkerchief on your head and some cucumber sandwiches to hand.  Croquet anyone!  Splendid.

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If you like this, you may like our Elderflower Champagne Recipe.

Makes 1.5 litres:

The Bits 

30 heads of Elderflower, 1.5kg sugar, 3 unwaxed organic lemons, 2 pints water, 75g citric acid (food grade) optional

Do It

Shake the Elderflowers and make sure there are no little crawly friends still present.  No need to wash them, they have been breathing the same air as we have!  If they are growing at ‘dog cocking leg height’, wash them well.  Place in a large heatproof bowl.

Put water into a pan and heat gently, add sugar and stir to form a syrup.  Leave to cool.

Now zest your lemons into the syrup and then slice them acrossways, add the slices also.  Pour the slightly cooled syrup onto the Elderflowers and stir in the citric acid.  Cover with a plate and leave to stand for a day.

After that, taste the cordial, then strain through muslin into sterilised bottles.  We use old wine bottles with corks.

Will keep in the fridge for at  least three weeks, but it won’t last that long anyway!

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Serve

We have ours with sparkling water and a little ice, maybe a squeeze more lemon.  We have also had it in cucumber juice, which was quite amazing.  Of course there is lots of boozy fun to be had here, add to sparkling wine or a gin and tonic for something quite special.

We Love It!

The essence of the British summer, concentrate and bottled.

Foodie Fact

Elderflower’s are one of natures power flowers.  They contain bio-flavanoids, many of the omega fatty acids, pectin and tanins.  They are also good for allergies, and I feel alot better hayfever-wise after a glass of this flower power.  It also helps colds, flu, fevers and arthritis.

It has been shown that Elderflower can help to remove toxins from the blood, it stabilises kidney function and even helps with intestinal problems.

Proper FLOWER POWER going on here!

Jane gathering Apple Mint

Jane gathering Apple Mint (with her slipper on)

Categories: Foraging, Healing foods, Infusions, Summer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Nettle & Wild Garlic Pistou

Jane and I have been visiting the local hedgrerows and forests recently and have regularly come back with a bumper crop of nettles and wild garlic.  It is such a wonderful time of year for these abundant herbs, they’re also easy to identify so there is no reason why we shouldn’t all be taking advantage of one of natures finest freebies!  The forests reek of fragrant garlic!!

This is a pistou (French/ Italian) not a pesto (Italian), mainly due to the lack of nuts.  If you add pine nuts, or another nut, you’d probably call it a pesto.  Otherwise both are potent blends and something rather special to have hanging around the fridge.

There are a vast amount of edible shoots, leaves and berries that we are not aware of (by we, I mean us at the BHK!)  We have books, we have TV programmes, but you cannot beat getting out there and having a look at whats growing for yourself.  For example, we have recently learnt that young hawthorn leaves are a rare sweet treat.  We’re taking it easy and adding a few new foraging delights to the menu each year.

Wild garlic and nettles have magical health properties.  Nettle tea is a staple at this time of year and this pesto blend makes the most of both.  It can be kept in the fridge for while and adds a unique flavour to anything it touches.  Dressings, soups, stews, bread, to name a few we’ve stuck it in.

Nettles were used extensively in ancient Tibet and the Buddhist saint Milarepa was said to live on them when on retreat, turning green and enlightened.  The kind of story that gets our imagination whirring.

Jane and I have gotten ourselves into a multitude of busy situations, gardening being but one.  There has been much rain recently and today we managed to get out into the garden and pop the potatoes into the earth.  We also have much beetroot, cavolo nero, spinach, rocket, rainbow chard, sunflowers and I can’t remember the rest.  Needless to say, we are excited about the prospects of the Beach House Garden this year and have our fingers well crossed for a mild, wind-free summer.  Very, very, very wishful thinking.

The Bits   

60g nettle leaves, 40g wild garlic leaves, 4 garlic cloves (crushed), 100ml evoo, 100g vegan parmesan (Violife do a good one), 1 pinch salt and 2 pinch pepper

Do It

Blanch nettle quickly (10 seconds) in boiling water, this will keep them nice and green and take the sting out of them!  Plunge (great word) into cold water.  Pat dry.

Place all in a blender, blitz together until paste formed.  Add a little more olive oil if you like in runny.

For old fashioned style, use a pestle and mortar.  Simple as this.

Serve

In a pistou stew, see below, or spread on toast!  It really comes to life tossed in warm pasta.

We Love It!

It literally grows on trees (or below them).  This is our type of gardening, wander around pick it, no digging or engaging the brain.  Go for a walk with a plastic bag and one rubber glove (those nettles take no prisoners) and you have a harvest on your hand.

Foodie Fact

Nettles contain bags of chlorophyll, calcium, iron, trace minerals, vitamins and proteins.  They can be made into paper, hair lotions, thread, soil enricher (great on tomatoes!), disinfectant for  stalls and stables, cups of tea…..It is a tonic, diuretic, astringent, anti-asthmatic, chi strengthener, anti-anaemic, laxative and a nettle brew can heal damage tissue.   It strengthens kidneys, lungs, intestines and arteries with regular use.

Pistou Stew - Recipe to follow

Pistou Stew – Recipe to follow

Categories: Foraging, Healing foods, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

“I beat cancer with a raw diet and holistic lifestyle”

My family has been affected by cancer, as have most.  Jane and my Mum recently ran the ‘Race for life’ in Caernarfon (a 3 mile run for women to raise money for cancer research), I went along as the official photographer.  I was really touched by the amount of people there, all wearing bibs with messages to loved ones lost to the disease.   

This is an inspirational article that highlights the benefits taking a more holistic, diet based approach to beating the big ‘C’ and any other disease for that matter.  Thanks to Janette for the wonderful tale of hope and to freshnetwork the great site where I read this article. 

When fruit and vegetables are eaten raw, they are only of benefit to the body. Each containing a whole host of nutrients and good things that will help to make you shine!

“I beat cancer with a raw diet and holistic lifestyle”

Janette Murray-Wakelin beat cancer through a raw food diet and has enjoyed better health than ever since going raw. She tells Sarah Best the story of her journey to optimum health.

When Janette Murray-Wakelin was diagnosed with highly aggressive carcinoma breast cancer over six years ago, she was given six months to live. The tumour was three centimetres and the cancer had spread into the chest wall and the lymph nodes. It was recommended that she undergo conventional chemotherapy and radiation treatment, which she was told may possibly extend her life a further six months.

At 52 years, a mother of two and grandmother of one, she was not willing to accept this prognosis. “I had lived a very healthy lifestyle, being vegetarian for 25 years and vegan for the previous 15 years,” Janette explains. “I have also been extremely physically active all my life, so I was quite shocked with the diagnosis. However, the power of intention is far greater than that of fear, and I had every intention of staying around for a very long time!”

Janette was alerted to the possibility of cancer being present when her little grandson Kieran inadvertently found the tumour. “I had been carrying him all day as we walked around a local festival and he had fallen asleep in my arms,” she remembers. “When we finally got home and I put him down, I noticed some pain in the breast area where he had been holding on to me. It was then that I discovered the lump. I was not overly perturbed; I had always done regular self breast examinations and had never had any sign of a problem. In fact, apart from a bout of scarlet fever and measles as a tiny child, I had never been sick in my life. I have never had so much as a cold and I’ve never taken any drugs, not even an aspirin! I thought it was just bruising to the tissue from being held onto for hours by my grandson.”

It was Janette’s daughter who suggested she should have it looked at and the following day she had an ultrasound and biopsy, which led to the diagnosis. “My intuitive response to the recommended treatment was that it did not make sense to compromise the body’s system further,” Janette explains. “It seemed obvious to me that I should be helping the body to rejuvenate and rebuild, thereby reversing the problem. My instinct told me that treating the symptoms would not address the cause. I was also convinced that I was not meant to die of cancer, so I treated the diagnosis as a challenge. It seemed to me that this was just a message from my body that there was a problem I needed to deal with.”

A year earlier, Janette had been present at her grandson’s birth and had held his little hand for his first 24 hours of life. “I promised him that we would have many wonderful times together over the years and that I would always be there for him,” she recalls. “Now he had brought this to my attention so that I could take care of the problem and be able to keep my promise!”

Janette and her husband Alan have spent most of their lives travelling together worldwide. They married and their two children were born while they were still in their early twenties. In search of a healthy lifestyle for their little family, this adventurous couple sailed from their home country of New Zealand when their children were very small. Their sailing boat was completely self-sufficient, relying on the four winds to take them throughout the South Pacific; visiting, living and working in places like the Tongan Islands, Micronesia and Papua New Guinea.

“Our time on the ocean was incredible,” Janette recalls. “We learned a lot about ourselves from living on the sea. Most of the time it was so serene, but there were moments of awe when the storms raged around us! It was fun home-schooling our children and as a family, we grew very close,” she mused. “It was a carefree life with very little stress, our food was mostly fresh fruit and vegetables and our environment was pretty clean and green.”

It was hard for Janette to think of what the cause of her illness may have been given the healthy lifestyle she had been living. However, during a maintenance refit for the sailboat, she did suffer an accident, which exposed her to a high dose of toxins. “I was painting the boat when the scaffolding collapsed under me,” she recalls. “It happened so fast that I was still holding the can of paint when I hit the ground! I was completely covered in marine paint that has toxic ‘antifouling’ properties. It was in my hair, my eyes, nose, ears and mouth. I ingested quite a bit and my skin was covered in paint. It took three months before my normal skin colour came back and since the skin is the largest organ of the body, over-exposure for me was inevitable!”

After four years sailing in the South Pacific, the family embarked on a new adventure for a further four years; living and working on a cargo ship on the inland waterways throughout Europe. “This adventure is another story in itself,” Janette says, “but during that time I was also exposed to toxic fall-out from the Chernobyl disaster. Looking back over my life and remembering those two times when I was over-exposed to toxins, I realized that my body must have been highly compromised.”

Whether it was one incident or the other, or perhaps the combination of both, Janette was sure that the toxic load in her body predisposed her to the onset of cancer. “I could think of no other explanation, but once I had established the likely cause, I felt more empowered to do something about it,” she says. “I was no longer guessing, taking a gamble on treatment, nor in fear of the outcome. I knew that I could take control of the situation myself, doing 100% the best I could for my body.”

The family’s initial reaction to the diagnosis was to research all they could about breast cancer and the possible causes and the treatments that were recommended, as well as looking into natural holistic therapies and making lifestyle changes that would be most likely to result in a positive outcome.

“We needed to know all the possibilities so that I could make an informed choice as to the best course of action to take,” she says. “I knew that it made sense to do everything I could to give the body the tools it needed to take me on my journey to optimum health. Our extensive research not only gave us the knowledge to do just that, but also the confidence to know that I had made the right choice.”

With the help of a naturopathic physician, Janette established a regime that would support mind, body and spirit. This intensive regime included intravenous immune therapy; infrared detoxification therapy; increasing the amount of oxygen to the body through ozone treatment; conscious breathing; aerobic exercise; visualization; meditation; positive thinking and spiritual awareness; and optimal nutrition through juicing, wheatgrass and living food nutrition.

For the following six months after receiving the diagnosis, Janette spent three hours a day, five days a week at the naturopathic clinic having therapy to help boost the immune system. “I used the time sitting hooked up to the intravenous drip to relax. It also gave me time to do more research,” she said.

She increased the amount of exercise that she was already doing on a daily basis, incorporating yoga and long distance running. “With yoga I was able to reunite with myself. I came to know my inner self and to love myself unconditionally. My running became more meditative. I chose to run on trails in the mountains or barefoot in the sand along the beach. I could feel again the sense of freedom that I remembered when I ran as a child.” She adds: “I visualized achieving personal goals that I had long since put aside – perhaps I would write, perhaps I would paint. I visualized myself proudly looking on at my grandson’s wedding then going full circle and being present at his child’s birth.”

Daily sessions in the infrared sauna maximized the detoxification process. “I could feel my body ridding itself of toxins while enjoying the feeling of complete relaxation during the sessions,” she remembers. “At the same time, my nutritional intake took a huge leap. I started juicing in earnest. It made sense that I could consume more nutrients by juicing because I just wouldn’t be able to eat that amount of food. If it takes 4 cups of carrots to produce 1 cup of juice, and I could drink 4 cups of juice per day, I knew I was way ahead of the game,” she said. “I think I was close to consuming a truckload of carrots every week during those six months! My hands turned carrot-coloured, but I didn’t care! I was alive and running!”

She also started taking wheatgrass: “When I learned that one ounce of wheatgrass juice has the equivalent nutritional value of 2lbs of green leafy vegetables – more than most people eat in a week – I never hesitated.” Apart from having all the vitamins and most of the minerals the body needs to be healthy, wheatgrass juice also has all the amino acids making it a complete protein. Like all greens, wheatgrass is also very high in chlorophyll, which is like giving an oxygen infusion to the body. When taken, the juice goes directly to the bloodstream, oxygenating the blood and the whole body.

“I knew from the research that we had done that this was a crucial factor in stopping the mutation of cancer cells,” Janette explains. “Cancer cannot survive in an oxygenated environment, therefore the more oxygen I could pump into my body through exercise, conscious breathing and drinking wheatgrass, the better!”

Although Janette had been vegetarian and vegan for most of her life, she decided that if she was going to “give it 100%”, she would also eliminate all cooked food, thereby getting the maximum amount of nutrients from all foods she consumed. “I couldn’t believe the difference in the way I felt within only one week of changing to 100% raw food,” she remembers. “The first thing I noticed was that my clarity of mind was intensely heightened. I no longer had to think about decision making. Everything became very clear; there was no hesitation. I lost 15lb within the first month of eating 100% raw food, which took me just below my recommended weight. The following month my weight came back up a few pounds and has not changed since,” she says.

During the first six months, Janette’s body revisited old injuries that had obviously not completely healed. For example, during her accident with the paint, she sustained an injury to her elbow that had left her unable to straighten her arm. She experienced ten days of pain in the elbow, similar to that which she had endured at the time of the accident, but when the pain stopped she could straighten her arm again! “I also found I had much more energy than before and that it lasted longer. It was especially evident during my long training runs and my physical performance level increased,” she says. “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that consuming 100% raw food made a huge difference to my recovery time and to my overall healing.”

It is interesting that although the lifestyle changes Janette made were minimal – as her diet and lifestyle were already very healthy – the positive results were profound. “I really only had to stop eating the odd muffin, a sandwich now and then, eliminate the pasta and stop wokking my vegetables!” she laughs. “I had already eliminated meat and dairy and I had never eaten processed or junk food, so the change to 100% raw food for me was not that big, but the change to my overall health was huge. Not only did I immediately experience clarity of mind, increased energy, specific injury healing and a feeling of well-being, but I actually cured myself of cancer!”

Within the six months Janette had been told by doctors was her maximum expected lifespan, she received a clean bill of health. There was no longer any sign of cancer cells in her body. At that point, she came off the immune therapy regime, but has continued with all other aspects of her raw lifestyle. Janette is quick to mention that those crucial six months were also filled with love, laughter and lots of support from her family and friends. “I am blessed with a loving family who rallied around me and helped with the research, with physical and mental support, and most of all,” she emphasizes, “with their unwavering conviction that the path I had chosen was mine to choose. I believe having unconditional support is also paramount in healing the body.”

She adds: “I now have two more grandchildren whom I believe I would never have known had I not made these informed choices to follow a raw diet and lifestyle. My diagnosis of cancer and resulting journey to optimum health has been an experience I am truly grateful for. I know for certain that I will continue on the raw path, as I continue to experience more health benefits and an ever-increasing enlightened consciousness. Every day is exciting when you are raw!”

As a result of this life changing experience, Janette and Alan established the ZenZero Centre for Optimum Health in Courtenay on Vancouver Island in Canada, where they offer ‘raw lifestyle programmes’ based on a holistic approach incorporating mind, body and spirit. On a weekly basis, health presentations, seminars and workshops are offered by over 40 holistic practitioners affiliated with the centre, and international health educators speak monthly. ZenZero also sponsors weekly and monthly raw food potlucks and has a raw lifestyle store, a raw juice fountain, and The Raw Food Oasis vegan restaurant. Both Janette and Alan are 100% raw and their staff of 20 also follow the raw lifestyle.

This article appeared in the Spring 2008 issue of Get Fresh! magazine.

Categories: Healing foods, Healthy Eating, Raw Food, Superfoods | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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