Christmas is a time for all the family to enjoy the luxuries of life. Long walks, good company, roaring log fires, and of course plenty of good food. So when your diet is a little bit different from those around you, how do you make sure that you still can enjoy the fine things in life? For those who are on gluten free, dairy free and vegan diets, Christmas can be a little challenging. Raw Lisa, a little company based on the North Devon coast, has some big ideas about maintaining a healthy diet throughout the festive season – while still enjoying some luxury.
“There is no reason why eating our favourite things should be detrimental to our health” says Raw Lisa founder, Lisa Sture. Lisa turned to a diet very high in raw foods five years ago when she started to experience fatigue and general low energy. “I loved my new diet and felt fantastic on it. But when it came to my first ‘raw Christmas,’ I felt left out of the festivities at the dinner table.”
Following the success of her ‘raw bakery’ range – a range of bread replacement products including onion flatbreads and seed snaps – Lisa is launching for Christmas this year the UK’s first Raw Christmas Pudding. “I gave the pudding its first trial run last Christmas and served it with a raw vanilla custard. Everyone round the table was asking for the raw pudding over their shop-bought and I knew I was onto something.”
So is it a high-raw diet good for you? Much of it is in the way food is prepared. Temperatures over 118 degrees destroy much of the food’s nutritional goodness, including the enzymes. This means that the body has to work hard to digest any cooked foods as it needs to produce it’s own enzymes. Research is now suggesting that the body has a finite amount of enzymes and over a lifetime the energy used to digest cooked food takes it toll on the system.
Raw food alternatively, is a complete food in that the enzymes are intact and the body does not need to work overtime to digest. That sleepy feeling after eating a large cooked meal is replaced by vitality and the body can find other, more fun things to do with all that energy (board games anyone?).
The Raw Lisa Raw Luxury Christmas Pudding is the first product of this kind and is suitable for everyone to enjoy. Made from completely natural ingredients that are ecologically sourced and agro-chemical free, including fresh Medjool dates and cardamom, it is prepared by hand using a dehydrator, rather than an oven. This process ensures that the pudding’s nutritional content is maximized and, most importantly, that the enzymes in the raw ingredients are kept alive. So this pudding is not only delicious but also good for you. And because the nutritional content of the food is so well preserved, smaller quantities are generally eaten.
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One of my beautiful friends is a raw foodie who makes us delicious goodies, such as her speciality flaxseed crackers, bursting with italian flavour and an incredible chocolate shortbread. Those in East Sussex might be lucky enough to find some for sale in Sunny Foods, Eastbourne or Brighton. You can also find her online where she provides a coaching service for those looking to improve their health, plus a recipe book containing some of her most tasty creations. I have recently come across another lovely lady, Lisa Sture who makes her own treats and sells them at Raw Lisa. I have some of her fab sounding breads and crackers to try today for lunch. Anyway, these gorgeous treats have inspired me to get a bit more creative with raw foods again (rather than just turning to the same recipes over and over). Here are a few of my favourite raw food recipe books to get your juices flowing.
I AM GRATEFUL
From Café Gratitude in San Francisco and LA, this book is stuffed full of delights to tickle Californian tastebuds. And mine too. Each recipe in this book has an empowering moniker, such as I am Beautiful. Some of my favourites from here that I’ve rediscovered recently include “I am Spirit Teriyaki Almonds” – delicious sweet and sour nuts, with ginger, garlic and dates, great for a party, “I am Bueno Spinach Tortillas” – a winner with the kids as lunchtime wraps and a truly decadent “I am Magnificent Chocolate Mousse”. Filled with sumptuous photography and recipe titles that make you feel all loved up, this book is a real pleasure to own.
LIVING FOOD FOR RADIANT HEALTH
Elaine Bruce’s authentic guide to using fresh and raw foods is a brilliant introduction to live food cuisine. Packed with advice and inspiration, Bruce is a powerhouse of information. She trained with Dr. Ann Wigmore and now runs the Living Foods Programme in Shropshire. The best aspect of this book is how it encourages readers to set up their own sprouting/growing area for live greens at home. She really inspires you to revolutionise your kitchen. Love it!
RAINBOW GREEN: LIVE FOOD CUISINE
Gabriel Cousens is the director of the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Centre in Patagonia and huge on the raw foods scene. His approach combines ayurvedic medicine with raw foods and this book is a bountiful collection of great recipes to help you eat as nature intended. I like the fact that he uses very few grains in his dishes and relies more heavily on seeds rather than nuts as this suits my ayurvedic type. A useful book with plenty of information besides the recipes. Not for you if you like glossy images of what you are making though, this only has a few.
David Wolfe and Shazzie have combined forces to manifest a love letter to the cacao bean. This beautiful book is packed with info and heaps of recipes (including savoury delights). Some of my favourites include chilli con cacao, chocolate pizza (oh yes!) and little fudge cakes. This is my go to book in the winter months when I need a little extra boost of energy. Many of the recipes are superfood rich so they provide you with a healthy buzz when you most need it.
Kate Magic has put together a selection of recipes for the revolution. And the revolution will be full of love, light and magic. And it will not be televised. And there will be much enjoyment of super foods. This is my favourite of Kate’s books, although others such as Eat Smart, eat Raw or Raw Living, might be better starting points for those just discovering raw foods. This book iOS packed with superfood delights and my all time favourites have to be Best Ever Breakfast Cereal, Buzz Cake (packed with bee pollen) and Superbeing Tea. Yum!
RAW: THE UNCOOK BOOK
This is the only raw food book in our local library but I guess we are lucky to have even one. When I first started getting interested in raw foods about seven years ago, this was one of my first sources of inspiration. My mum bought it for me for my birthday many years ago. I love the outlandish recipes, some of which are crazily complicated and over the top. I love the imagery of author, Juliano leaping around in brightly coloured dungarees. But best of all, I love that there are plenty of recipes in here that aren’t too complex and that make fabulous tasting raw delights. That’s what keeps me coming back, time and again to the old classic favourites like this and Nomi Shannon’s Raw Gourmet.
Happy healthy eating!
Welcome to the new blog from the Green Parent office. Here we'll talk about what's going on in the small and quite leafy headquarters of the UK's leading green lifestyle magazine. We'll share news that interests us and talk about green issues and natural parenting. We'll share advice and information from our own experiences of living a green lifestyle. And we'll even tell you what we are reading, eating, drinking and thinking. Hope you get plenty of food for thought here.