Page updates and recipes for adding extraordinary foods into your busy body and active life!
Benefits of Immune Supporting Beta-Glucans
Agaricus blazei is an edible medicinal mushroom species that grows wild in various habitats that are conductive to its growth cycle. It is also widely cultivated and used for culinary purposes, sold dried or prepared as a dietary supplement. The mushroom comes from the genus Agaricus and is related to the common white button mushroom cultivar, Agaricus bisporus. This particular "blazei" selection is well-researched and known for its high amount of polysaccharide content, specifically the class of beta-glucans.
How to Harvest and Prepare Them
Wild grape leaves are an edible, leafy green species that grow prolifically throughout the world in a variety of different climate zones. Wild grapevines produce very large leaves the size of one's hand and are a rewarding species to harvest as you can collect a big bagful in under a few minutes. Wild leaves are frequently utilized as a type of wrap to hold an assortment of food fillings, often referred to as "stuffed grape leaves" in many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultural dishes.
Using Aloe Vera Gel and Chia Seeds
This is our charcoal lemonade recipe, a now trendy health food drink concoction commonly made from water, lemon juice, a sweetener and, of course, activated charcoal powder. If you're used to the idea of consuming green juice or green smoothies for breakfast, charcoal lemonade is also another alternative option to consider. It is especially helpful for detoxification regimens as it helps to promote the cleansing of toxins in the gastrointestinal tract.
A Potent Kidney Yang Tonic and Aphrodisiac
Cistanche stem is the stalk of several species of desert plants that grow wild in dry arid regions of Asia and the Middle East and is commonly cultivated in northwest China and Mongolia for commercial use. Classified as a major Chinese tonic herb, it has been used for centuries in traditional formulations to help restore and support kidney Yang and tonify Jing, one of the three treasures associated with our deepest stored energy reserve. It is known throughout Asia as a top male tonic for its ability to increase sexual virility and libido as well as improve the fertility rate in both men and women.
An Ayurvedic Formula for Healthy Bowels
Triphala powder is a specific Ayurvedic formulation composed of three dried fruits: amalaki, haritaki and bibhitaki. It is one of India's most valued and commonly utilized household herbs. Used on a daily basis as a digestive tonic and for improved bowel regularity, it is believed to eliminate the root cause of many diseases that often begin from stagnant conditions and gastrointestinal imbalance.
Using Wild Watercress
These are two of our favorite vegan watercress soup recipes. One is cooked and one is made from raw ingredients. We typically find that in the cold months we enjoy a warm soup and in the summer a raw vegan recipe version is more appropriate. Watercress soup is a well-known European soup usually prepared with the freshest watercress that is available. Traditionally, it is made from wild harvested varieties which can be found in many temperate climate zones around the world.
An Energizing Herbal Adaptogen
Gynostemma, also called jiaogulan, is a green leafy herb that became famous as a legendary infused "immortality tea" among certain isolated highland village populations of southern China. This is a location where the plant naturally grows wild and where people were reported to live healthy long lives from daily consumption. Because of its remote use, it has only just recently been introduced into the Chinese herbal system and is now a popular hot tea to drink throughout Asia for its energizing and anti-fatigue effects, often used as a replacement for coffee and caffeinated teas.
Plus Two Superfood Varieties
Our basic raw chocolate recipe is created using only five simple ingredients and produces a creamy smooth chocolate bar that nicely embodies the deep rich flavors of pure raw cacao. In addition to this simple dark chocolate bar, we also include two other recipes incorporating different sweeteners, superfoods and types of cacao, utilizing either paste, powder or freshly ground cacao beans. These recipes are what most people refer to "freezer chocolate", which is a quick and easy way to make homemade chocolate bars without having to temper the cacao ingredient.
Benefits as an Alternative Sweetener
Lucuma powder is a natural whole fruit-based sweetener from South America and is indigenous to the Andes regions of Peru, Chile and Ecuador. Although used extensively in these cultures for centuries, lucuma has only recently in the last few decades become available to other parts of the world, mainly as an alternative sugar substitute. Sold as a powder made from the dried, subtropical, starchy yellow-orange fruit, it is known to offer a sweet taste but without a concentrated amount of sugar content.
Best Beverage for a Good Night's Sleep
This ashwagandha milk recipe is one of our favorite herbal combinations that provides both a satisfying warm evening drink as well as a grounding nervine tonic. In Ayurvedic Indian tradition, ashwagandha powder is therapeutically added to heated milk and honey and sipped as a sleep inducing beverage. Consumed a few hours before bedtime, it can replenish the nervous system, settle the mind and promote deep rest.
Difference Between Ceylon and Cassia
Cinnamon is a spice derived from the inner bark of several species of cinnamon trees. The two most common varieties are Ceylon and cassia. While they offer different chemical constituents, both types are considered a valuable herbal substance known for their unique flavor, warming qualities and uplifting fragrance. The delicious taste of cinnamon has made it a popular culinary spice used among many cultures worldwide, however it is also prized for its tonic-like effects and subtle yet powerful qualities as a natural energy and circulatory stimulant.
Blended Enzyme-Rich Energy Soups
Raw soup recipes are a delicious and nutritious "fast food." They are not only simple to prepare, but are also extremely easy to digest and immediately utilized as an energizing food. This is one of the reasons why the late great Dr. Ann Wigmore called them "raw energy soups." Today there are many other variations using different types of fats and an assortment of vegetables and spices. Over the years we have come up with a few of our own favorites, three of which we share on this page.
A Cultured Vegan Protein Source
Tempeh is a type of fermented food that originated in Indonesia and is traditionally made from cooked soybeans bound together by a tempeh-specific spore culture. This short one or two day fermentation process produces a firm, meaty-textured protein-rich food that is not only easy to digest, but is full of rich and savory flavors. The ingredients used to make tempeh basically act as a food substrate for the Rhizopus mold strains which predigest the sugar, fat and protein content. These white mycelium spores weave together the legumes forming a type of "bean cake" with a pleasant mushroom-like taste and aroma.
Concentrated in Dietary Minerals
Kelp is a general term used to describe a broad range of over 300 species of brown marine algae that grow wild in shallow open ocean waters all over the world. Kelps are particularly known for their efficient ability to absorb and concentrate a high amount of minerals and other micronutrients from seawater into their multicellular, thick leaf-like blades. They are thus a highly nutritious edible food source for many aquatic creatures and can be equally harvested, dried and consumed as a dietary supplement for humans alike.
A Five Flavor Tea Plus Energizing Elixir
A schizandra berry tea recipe can be made using straight schizandra or combined with other herbs, roots or berries to create a synergistically potent medicinal tonic beverage. Here on this page we will provide both a basic recipe, plus one of our favorite energy elixirs using a combination of Jing herbs like goji in addition to two other natural stimulants, astragalus and rhodiola. If you're not yet familiar with schizandra, also spelled "schisandra", it is definitely one of the top 5 you might want to consider adding to your daily herbal regimen.
A Energizing Travel Snack
Many of you may be familiar with dehydrated nori sticks, or also called "power wraps", originally created commercially by the raw food company Gopal's Healthfoods over a decade ago. These tasty and energizing sticks are the perfect snack to hold you over before lunch or dinner and can likewise be consumed as part of a main meal with a salad or raw soup entree.They are a very lightweight and portable food for bagged lunches and, being quite durable, make a great travel snack for road trips, hikes or airplane journeys. Made with one of our favorite seaweed varieties, these dried wraps are nutritious as well as delicious.
A Homemade Recipe Using Wild Leaves
Our fermented grape leaves recipe is a way to naturally pickle raw grape leaves that doesn't involve traditional food canning methods, vinegar or boiling mason jars in a hot-water bath. In this recipe we instead use a probiotic inoculated saltwater brine solution to achieve that familiar delicious pickled flavor. The brine used in homemade ferments basically supports the growth of favorable strains of lactic acid bacteria and creates a fermented food with a tangy taste and soft texture that is similar to canned versions but still retains nutritive value along with beneficial microflora and enzymes that help to aid digestion.
A Tonic Herb and Superfruit Variety
Goji berries are the red-orange fruits of certain Lycium species, highly revered as a major Chinese tonic herb for their blood building qualities and restorative effects on the liver, kidney and immune functions. Commonly brewed for centuries as an herbal ingredient in numerous tea preparations, they are known for their ability to replenish Yin Jing essence, the primordial energy of the body associated with the kidney-adrenal system, sexual libido and fertility. The fruit is therefore famous as a prized "longevity tonic" believed to encourage a healthy long life with prolonged use.
Using Sacha Inchi and Hemp Seeds
Here is our raw peanut butter cookie recipe, not made using the traditional "peanut butter" ingredient, but utilizing a combination of different superfood nut and seed varieties to give it that familiar peanut butter cookie flavor. These cookies are completely vegan and gluten-free, not made with flour, butter or eggs. They are also not heated, but do employ the use of a dehydrator to provide the best cookie-like texture. As you may know, we like to try to keep our desserts as raw and wholesome as possible so we get the best of both worlds, a delectable treat as well as a nutritious and energizing food.
An Easily Digested Saturated Fat
Coconut oil is a type of saturated fat that contains favorable fatty acids that are easily digested and nutritionally utilized as an energy burning fuel source. While coconuts have been a staple food in many tropical regions around the world for centuries, high quality extracted oils have only in the past several decades been available as an exported product. Quickly becoming the recommended top oil of choice for those looking to exclude refined vegetable oils and trans fats from the diet, coconut and its unrefined virgin oils are now considered a health enhancing fat alternative high in medium-chain fatty acids and lauric acid content.
A Basic Recipe for Beginner's
Learning how to make tempeh yourself with a few simple supplies, ingredients and a tempeh-specific Rhizopus starter culture, is a very satisfying endeavor. It will not only reward your taste buds with the supreme flavor that freshly made tempeh provides, it is also considerably more cost effective than buying lower quality packaged varieties. Once you get down the basic process, it is a quick and very easy food to prepare at home and will be immensely superior to what is currently commercially available in most American health food stores. For this basic recipe, we use black-eyed peas as an alternative to the traditional soybean.
Veggie Macaroni and Vegan Cheese
This is our healthy version of mac n' cheese, made without grain-based pastas or dairy products. If you love macaroni and cheese, but don't love the way it makes you feel, this might provide a more nourishing substitute. As a traditional comfort food favorite, macaroni & cheese originally started out as a casserole type dish that was baked in the oven. This recipe attempts to duplicate this process using a blend of raw vegan ingredients that are prepared in a dehydrator for several hours. This creates a delightfully warmed mix of cheesy flavors and provides a textural quality similar to the cheese sauce laden pasta you may be familiar with.
Using Different Sea Vegetables
This is our homemade seaweed salad recipe that utilizes some of the common dried seaweeds available in most U.S. health food stores or can be ordered from online suppliers. While some of these are not your typical varieties used in Japanese seaweed salads, they are some of the most nutritious of the sea vegetable types. We also prefer using seaweeds that are tested, organically grown or sourced from more pristine marine environments located primarily in the Northern Hemisphere. When you make your own homemade salad, you get the opportunity to choose from some of these higher quality selections.
For Vitamin-Mineral Fortification
Nutritive herbs are a class of herbs that are known for their high amounts of minerals, trace minerals and certain vitamins. When these plant materials are infused in hot water, they naturally provide a nutritious broth-like liquid that is easy to digest and assimilate. These are varieties that can be utilized in a number of different ways in nutritive herbal tea formulas or as secondary ingredients blended with other roots, barks and tonic herb decoctions. Here on this page, we discuss the concept of crafting your own homemade tea infusions using the different herbs we list below to gently nourish, remineralize and nutritionally hydrate the body.
Plus, How to Grow a Scoby
This kombucha recipe we share below is one of the most basic ways to create kombucha. It is a particularly great recipe to start with for those of you new to making this fermented drink at home. While we don't necessarily promote the regular use of caffeinated black teas and refined cane sugar, these two ingredients always seem to produce a foolproof ferment, forming a perfectly soured beverage and gelatinous scoby layer. When properly cultured, kombucha only contains small amounts of both caffeine and sugar, usually comprising about half the level of caffeine as the tea it was made with.
Powders and Pulp Concentrates
Acai berry is probably one of the most well-known of the superfruit varieties. Recently introduced to the western world for its high concentration of immune boosting antioxidants, it is another top superfood option to complement a healthy diet. Although utilized as a food source for centuries by native Amazonian peoples, acai pulp was originally introduced to Rio de Janeiro in the 70's and 80's where it became a popular ingredient in energizing drinks and the famous acai bowl ("açaí na tigela"), a type of cold soup often combined with sweetener and milk.
A Raw Vegan Alternative to Baked Rolls
This raw cinnamon roll recipe meets all the requirements of a delicious cinnamon roll, but without the refined flours and baked ingredients of your average sticky bun. Instead, we use the perfect combination of nut and seed flours along with natural fruit-based sweeteners and, of course, freshly ground Ceylon cinnamon sticks. While this is a raw no-bake recipe, it does require the use of a dehydrator to produce just the perfect consistency. Basically when you make a dough combining ground chia or flax with other nuts and dehydrate it, you get a texture similar to that of a pastry.
Using Fermented Wild Grape Leaf
This is our stuffed grape leaves recipe made with homemade lacto-fermented grape leaves rather than pickled preserved varieties. Also referred to as dolmas or dolmades, this one is a Greek variation using some of the common ingredients utilized in Mediterranean-style fillings. If you've never had dolmas you're in for a real treat. They are essentially handy pre-made rolls stuffed with tangy and savory flavors that can be stored in the fridge for several days until you're ready to eat them.
Source of Protein and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
While the hemp plant itself has been grown and used extensively in all parts of the world for thousands of years, large scale use of hemp seeds has really only occurred in the last few decades. This is mostly due to the fact that the tiny seeds need to be mechanically hulled in order to make them edible and pleasant to eat. They are now frequently sold by the pound as a commercial seed variety, promoted by many health enthusiasts as the latest top superfood. This is because the shelled seeds are a highly nutritious food containing more quality plant-based proteins and polyunsaturated fats than most other legumes, nuts and seeds.
Decanting an American-Style Red Miso
This is our page on decanting homemade miso for those of you preparing to make your first batch of miso and are interested in the entire process from start to finish. Here we will give a little more detail about this final phase of miso making... the exciting part! The techniques we share come from our own American-style versions adapted from classes taken and books we've read on the subject, not from direct experience using traditional Japanese methods, which are highly advanced and perfected over many generations.
Using Raw Vegan Ingredients
This is our raw cheesecake recipe that is similar to the thick rich taste of traditional cheesecake but without the cheese, eggs or white sugar. It also doesn't require baking, just a blending and processing of the filling and crust layers. Most raw vegan cheesecake recipes that we know of often use cashews as one of the main ingredients because they create the perfect taste and cheesecake-like texture. We also like to use hemp seeds for their omega-3 oil content, as well as creaminess and cheesy flavor.
How to Identify and Harvest Wild Varieties
Watercress is an aquatic leafy green vegetable that grows wild in shallow waterways, ponds, streams and natural springs. It is acknowledged as one of the oldest of the wild edible green species consumed by humans and, although once native to Europe and Asia, has now naturalized to many parts of the world conducive to its growth. Used as a common leafy green in the UK for centuries, it is also famed to have been one of the favorite wild medicinals used by Hippocrates, deemed "father of modern medicine."
Its Controversial Use as a Healthy Sweetener
Agave sweetener is a fairly recent sugar alternative that is predominantly produced from the Agave tequiliana species also used to make the popular distilled alcoholic beverage known as tequila. First introduced to the U.S. health food market in 1995 via the Natural Products Expo West trade show, it was largely promoted as a low glycemic, low calorie, natural raw sweetener. Advertised under the label "agave nectar" or "blue agave syrup", it became a popular alternative sugar used in "healthy" brands of raw chocolate, ice cream, salad dressing, ketchup and protein bars.
Using a Superfood Favorite
This homemade kimchi recipe is one that blends the classic salty, sweet and spicy flavors of traditional kimchi with one of our favorite superfoods, the goji berry. Kimchi, a well-known iconic side dish, or "banchan", of Korean cuisine, is largely created the same way you would make sauerkraut or any kind of cultured vegetable, requiring the same method of lacto-fermentation. This is a fairly simple culturing technique that basically involves, chopping your vegetables, creating a brine, packing the mix into a jar and leaving it to ferment for a number of days in a row.
Top Ayurvedic Rasayana Herb
Ashwagandha root is one of the top most highly valued tonic herbs commonly utilized in Ayurvedic herbalism. Known as "Indian ginseng" for its energizing, strength building and restorative impact, it helps to relieve physical fatigue and is particularly famous for its revitalizing effects on the male reproductive system. Traditionally consumed with other Ayurvedic herbs in herbal formulations geared to specific constitutions or body types, ashwagandha is found in many blends for addressing adrenal exhaustion, insomnia, hormonal imbalance, anxiety and debilitating weakness.
From the Wild Desert Fan Palm
Palm tree fruit comes from fan palm species indigenous to the Southwestern U.S. and Northern Mexico. Desert fan pan is, in fact, America's largest native palm variety and has served as a dietary mainstay and material resource for specific American Indian populations, like the Cahuilla of the inland regions of Southern California. Certain types of fan palms are immediately recognizable by their wide trunks that are usually petticoat-covered with large dried palm leaves. They also have long clustered strands of dark blue fruit that grow prolifically between the early spring and fall seasons.