7 Ways Fermented Foods Can Transform Your Health
In Russia it’s kombucha.
In Japan it’s miso.
In Indonesia it’s tempeh.
In northern Europe it’s Sauerkraut.
In England it’s Mead (we like to get drunk).
In France it’s cheese and wine.
In Korea it’s kimchee.
As Sally Fallon says in her book Nourishing Traditions, countries that have a culture, grow cultures their food.
While the parallels with artistic culture and cultured foods may be interesting, it’s the extraordinary health benefits I’m enamoured with.
Here’s my manifesto of the best 7 reasons I can come up with, as to why I think fermented foods have more of a place in your life than they do now.
1. One serving of sauerkraut has more probiotics than a whole bottle of supplements
I only came across this recently, but I found it incredibly exciting.
Dr Mercola sent off a sample of sauerkraut to the lab to be tested. He said, “We had it analyzed. We found in a 4-6 ounce serving of the fermented vegetables there were literally ten trillion bacteria.”
By my calculations (this’ll make my maths teacher, Mr Thomas, proud) that means just a 1-1.5 ounce (28-64 grams) serving of sauerkraut – which is really just a couple of mouthfuls – has more beneficial bacteria than a whole bottle of probiotics.
Not just your normal probiotics either – a bottle of one of those high-strength brands.
And because Mr Thomas says we should always show our workings. . .
I calculated this based on the highest strength probiotics I could find. The Garden Of Life Raw Probiotics have 85 billion live bacteria per 3 capsules (1 serving).
There’s 30 servings in a bottle that has 90 capsules. So multiply 30 servings by 85 billion and you get 2.5 trillion.
Plus when you eat sauerkraut, you’re not eating a powdered supplement, you’re eating actual food. I do think powders and supplements have their place, for sure, but fresh is best.
I’ve always found it kind of strange that store-bought fermented foods are pasteurised to maintain shelf life
Here’s a sauerkraut video to get you started. For the full written recipe, plus free videos and recipes for a fermented chutney, cultured macadamia cheese and fermented salad dressing, head over here and you’ll get a PDF with everything you need to bring these amazing, life-giving food into your life.
By signing up for the mini-course, you’ll get to see how I make one of my favourite lunches, a fermented salad bowl. I also do love sauerkraut with a quinoa and veggie bowl, or just with some avocado and cumin. So simple, and I know it’s doing me so much good. A word here on store bought sauerkraut. . .I’ve always found it kind of strange that store-bought fermented foods are pasteurised to maintain shelf life. Why would you go the trouble of growing that bacteria in the food to then kill it off with heat?
2. There’s a whole world of plant-based cheeses to have fun with out there
When I was looking for ways to clear up my skin years ago, one of the first things I cut out of my diet was dairy. Maybe it’s because of that, or maybe I just love the creativity of raw, tree nut-based cheeses, that I’ve spent so much time making them. Tree-nut cheeses are my jam. There’s a whole world of possibility out there in the tree nut cheese world, from simple macadamia cheeses, to hard, sliceable cashew cheese, to cheese that you can grate by adding pectin. I always have one of these cheeses on hand, since they can last months in the fridge.
When I was looking for ways to clear up my skin years ago, one of the first things I cut out of my diet was dairy
As long as I have them around, I know I can make a really simple meal, like a salad, and make it into something really special with a cheese. Here’s a video I shot on how to get started with a macadamia cheese. I’ve also got a PDF download for you, which you can get by clicking here.
3. Antibiotics and other medications can wreck your internal flora
Back when I had acne, I went through several courses of antibiotics. Not only did they not really work, but I was never made aware that if you do go the antibiotics route, you need to build your internal bacteria back up to full strength.
So ‘antibiotic’ seems to mean ‘anti-life’
I looked up the etymology of ‘biotic’ and this is what I found. . .
“pertaining to life,” 1847, in the medical sense, from Latin bioticus, from Greek biotikos “pertaining to life,” from bios “life”
So antibiotic seems to mean anti-life.
Now I understand why I like the idea of probiotics so much!
A friend sent me this recently. . .
I’m not in the habit of going to mainstream media for my health advice, but they were reporting on this study.
Heavy use of antibiotics can raise the risk of diabetes. That was news to me.
And in looking that article up, I found this item that reports the use of antibiotics in children can cause obesity and diabetes.
So the first obvious thing to do is avoid antibiotics. As the study showed using more than one course can expose you to these risks.
But if you’ve ever taken antibiotics, even many years ago, it’s possible that you’re internal flora never repaired itself and may still be causing you issues.
Regular consumption of fermented foods can rebuild that internal flora and heal your gut.
4. Fermented Foods will boost your immune system
Your gastrointestinal tract is an amazing thing.
At the same time as absorbing nutrients, it protects against ‘harmful entities’ that may be in the food.
As well as that, the gut contains 70-80% of the gut’s immune cells. Source.
You’re only one meal away from being a healthy eater
Think of your gut as a garden that you need tend well. In order for the good plants to grow, it’s not the gardening that’s strengthening your immune system, it’s the gardening that creates the environment for the whole garden (your gut) to thrive.
Gut bacteria thrive on what you feed them. That starts from the very next thing you eat.
I’ve always said that you’re only one meal away from being a healthy eater. That’s never been more so than when talking about the gut, and specifically, fermented foods that are teeming with the good bacteria your inner garden is craving.
5. Get your digestion working like Jabba The Hut on a cheat day
Fermented foods are pre-digested, which means they have been broken down in structure, to allow easy digestion and absorption, not to mention the probiotics they contain.
I’ve taken to eating 2ozs of sauerkraut with or after most meals, because I find it so beneficial to my digestion. Both from the actual food itself, to the environment it creates.
A warning though, introducing too many fermented foods too quickly, will have the opposite effect. I mean, you’ll have some, ahem, ‘digestive unrest’, shall we say.
Start out with 1 to 2 ounces of sauerkraut, or the same amount of kimchee, or a couple of tablespoons of kefir and build up from there.
6. Give your skin the glow
For a man, I put a lot of attention on my skin.
I got into raw foods for their ability to clear up my skin. For a man, I put a lot of attention on my skin.
I really notice how different things effect my skin, because I’ve spent so many years worrying about it in the past.
The first time I ate a lot of flax crackers (there’s been many times since), I immediately noticed how smooth my skin was 24 to 48 hours later.
I can remember being in the shower and washing my face. My skin at the time was acne free, but gone were the small bumps I could normally still feel.
I get the same when I eat lots of raw, fermented foods. My skin is clearer and my are eyes brighter.
These are all the things that raw food can do for you anyway, but with fermented foods, it’s so much more obvious. It’s very real and it must come from all those healthy, living probiotics.
7. Take care of your second brain
An article published in New Scientist referred to the enteric nervous system in your gut as the 2nd brain, because it shares some of the features of the brain in your head.
They also said that the gut sends messages to the brain; what’s really exciting for me, is that sounds like an explanation for, “I know it’s the right thing to do, I just feel it in my gut”.
This is purely my theory, but I think the healthier your gut, the better that you can connect to your intuition.
Often we overthink things, getting too ‘in our own heads’.
Speaking to other entrepreneurs over the many years I’ve been in business, I’ve often heard the advice to, “go with your gut instinct”.
It seems the first decision you make ends up being the right one.
Anything that comes after that is overthinking it
Here’s the way I experience it. . .
I become aware of the right decision, or a new idea, as a thought. The words to describe it come in later. Anything that comes after that is overthinking it. This is when doubt or second guessing make an appearance.
Since realising this, I’ve made my gut health a priority and it’s served me very well.
How to make coconut yoghurt
How to make fizzy coconut water kefir
My Walk with Synchronicity
1. (Psychology) an apparently meaningful coincidence in time of two or more similar or identical events that are causally unrelated
[C20: coined by Carl Jung from synchronic + -ity]
My synchronicity walk started on a warm sunny evening in London, with instructions to meet other walkers by the Lion in Trafalgar Square.
To give you some background, I guess it really all started in December last year, when I emailed Todd Acamesis for some Skype coaching on how to have out of body experiences (OBEs).
I found Todd while on a random Youtube click-and-watch session.
You know one of those sessions. . .where you start watching a cute cat on a skateboard, but end up on a video about OBEs and lucid dreaming a couple of hours later? Yeah, one of those.
Maybe that was my first synchronicity in all of this. Maybe I’m looking for synchronicities too much already. Todd says you can look into this stuff too much. That’s when it then becomes about trying to control our experience.
“I was even able to help my hairdresser understand his night paralysis”
Anyway, that Youtube video (the one about OBEs, not the cats) got me interested enough to look Todd up.
Less than 6 weeks later I was having very real OBEs.
Over the next few months I met several people who knew Todd very well, and had helped him at events.
And when I started talking to people I knew about OBEs, they shared experiences they’d had too.
I was even able to help my hairdresser understand his night paralysis and move beyond it with my new found knowledge.
Todd’s a great teacher, so when the opportunity came up for the first Synchronicity walk of the year, I was in.
So back to that warm and sunny evening of Thursday June 11th. I stepped out of my house, quietly excited as I walk down the road.
“I wonder if this ‘mistake’ will introduce me to a synchronicity”
I decide to direct my inner talk towards staying open to any synchronicities that may present themselves.
When I change lines on the Underground at Oxford Circus, I get back on the Victoria Line, instead of the Bakerloo Line. As I get the correct train back, I wonder if this ‘mistake’ will introduce me to a synchronicity.
Nothing happens. Except I arrive at Trafalgar Square 10 minutes later than I wanted to. I decide it was a mistake and I probably wasn’t paying attention enough due to my inner talk. Openness but not presentness offers lateness, not synchronicity, I decide.
I meet my friend Dean in Trafalgar Square and we find the rest of the group. There’s about 40 of us and Todd starts with a group mindset talk. Instantly we start attracting attention from passers by.
Todd’s opening talk offers many nuggets of wisdom. This is what you get with Todd.
He focusses on the fun we’re going to have and that we should stay open to trying something different tonight. He encourages us that in the moment when we want to do what we’ve always done (walk away, not get involved) to try something different.
The sentence, “you know where that road leads, it’s very familiar to you” in Todd’s mid-Atlantic powerful voice sticks in my mind to this day.
“. . .what we’re about to do is akin to being in Alice In Wonderland”
It’s explained to us that the next 2 hours will be determined by the roll of 2 dice, a couple of hexagonal spinning tops, different dice with ‘actions’ on them, what people we meet say, and lastly, by any strong feelings of what we could do in any moment, from anyone in the group.
Todd also explains that what we’re about to do is akin to being in Alice In Wonderland. He explains that we’re really just living in a holographic 3D matrix where everything is connected and we can choose to play with it. I find that exciting.
We roll the dice to get our significant number for the evening. It comes up with lucky 7.
Todd’s final reassurance that they’ve never been arrested instantly ups my anxiety level about 3 notches. I hope we get lucky.
After a game of telepathic tug-of-war with a piece of string, to get us loosened up, which completely perplexes the security guard at the National Gallery, along with a growing group of bystanders, we spin the spinning top and we’re off.
What follows is an account of the notable things that happened.
I’m pretty sure I forgot several of them, as I was trying to strike a balance of being fully in it, taking notes (aka, trying to be a good blogger for once) and not getting left behind.
We head off towards the corner of Trafalgar Square and come to a junction. The rule is to roll the dice, assign a direction to each range of numbers, and then follow that guidance.
We end up being directed back towards Trafalgar Square and roll the action dice. It lands on ‘Help Someone’.
A group member suggests we go and give money to a Jamaican busker, playing his guitar nearby. We all pile in with some money, then we dance to the rest of his performance of Bob Marley’s Don’t Worry About a Thing. It’s a nice first message to receive.
It just felt good to let loose and be a part of what I’m pretty sure, was that guy’s best gig, at least for that week.
We moved in the direction the dice had given us and came across DJ Grandpa.
This is a guy in a Grandpa mask, with a mobile disco unit, who had drawn a chalk dance floor in front of him, clearly marked ‘Dance Floor’. This was one of my favourite moments.
It felt so good to get on that makeshift dance floor and bust some moves. Here’s a synchronicity that I only realised when I was on the way home later: the track he’s playing in this clip is by Jaydee and it’s called Plastic Dreams.
Given that Todd’s an authority in exploring consciousness through the dream state, it felt pretty significant to me.
Todd felt the group was still a little tense, so when we reached our next junction, we decided to play a game of Marco Polo, which is essentially a game of blindfolded ‘tag’ or ‘it’.
After 10 minutes of that, we moved on again, guided by one of the group with her eyes closed, spun around a few times and with a finger pointed.
After walking to the next junction we rolled the dice and got a ‘1’ on each die. If you’re into your dice games, you’ll know this is called snake eyes.
We make a note of that and walked on. Within a couple of minutes we come across a lovely elderly lady with yellow lens glasses on. With those glasses, she looks like she has snake eyes, so we ask her for some directions.
“We definitely just made someone else’s night better”
It’s worth noting at this point that if you’re going to try a synchronicity walk, you need at least one person with you that’s willing to playfully stop someone in the street and ask them to do this type of stuff.
If there’s 40 of you, it’s pretty easy to explain we’re having fun and doing this synchronicity walk thing. Especially in London, because there’s always someone doing something weird.
Snake eyes lady directs us back to where we came from.
Just as we start walking, 7 skaters thunder past us on their boards. Remember we threw at 7 at the start of the walk as our number?
At the next junction, we roll the action dice again and again, it comes up with ‘pay someone a compliment’. Todd sees a guy on his phone and suggests we all walk past and pay him a compliment.
“The Universe is playing with us. . .taunting us to be a little bolder”
We search for the right compliment. I suggest that he’s got a nice smile and someone else suggests that he’s got a nice pair of shoes.
So before he knows it, he has a group of 40 people walking past him telling him he has nice shoes and a nice smile. He seems shy about it and quite grateful.
Synchronicity or not, we definitely just made someone else’s night better.
We stop around the corner to see a sign for the Coward Theatre. Todd takes this as a sign that the Universe is playing with us. . .taunting us to be a little bolder.
Someone in the group says it’s their dad’s birthday today, and that we should sing happy birthday to a stranger. We turn and see two women in purple. One of them, we later realise, is standing by a poster with the headline “Nothing is quite as it seems”.
We have no idea if it’s her birthday, but we decide to sing happy birthday to her.
Her name is Rama and, as it turns out, she’s quite the oracle.
Todd asks her for any message that she wants to give us.
She says she was just standing there, thinking that to have higher consciousness, you have to be healthy. And that she wants to give up smoking and drinking.
The fact that she was standing there, thinking those things, and then a group of people investigating the fabric of consciousness show up to sing happy birthday makes several people’s jaws drop.
We ask her what else she has for us. She says she’s been reading a book by Neville Goddard and that she says, “we all come from one source and we have to be nice to each other”. Todd tells us that Neville Goddard happens to be one of his favourite authors.
We spend about 5 minutes in Rama’s company and it feels pretty amazing to have met her. Todd’s wife, Sky, suggests we all have a moment of prayer for her to help her release her smoking and drinking habits.
Again, I feel like we just made someone else’s evening. She was sitting there thinking about giving up smoking and drinking and the Universe delivers 40 people to join her in a prayer to do just that.
We roll the dice, walk a bit more and get the ‘help someone’ instructions on the dice again. So we line the pavement with an impromptu Ho’oponopono session. . .
After that we have a game of Zombie Freeze in the middle of the street, ending up doing zombie impressions around a guy on a cycle taxi who has stopped to see what on earth we’re up to. He gets a bit freaked out and rides off. And wouldn’t you know it, on the back of his cab are the words, ‘Where the magic happens’.
Ultimately, reading my account of what happened, isn’t going to relay what it felt like to be on that walk, and what I felt like after it.
“I end the night resolving to get out of my bubble (my head) more often”
When we follow the pilot light of a synchronicity and we become aware of it, when we put our attention on it. . .it is also aware of us. We can follow that flash of the white rabbit tail all the way down the rabbit hole. We can dance and play with it along the way.
As I walked through London on the way home that evening, I was aware of all the opportunities to connect with something magical as I walked past people.
I saw my connection to them and to possibility.
I end the night resolving to get out of my bubble (my head) more often, and connect with this magic that’s around us all.
I was left with this overwhelming feeling that life isn’t linear. Life is a story that we construct from the this quantum soup around us; like a film where at the end of it, you can see how all the events fitted together and happened for a reason.
But unlike a film, we don’t have to wait until the end of our lives to see how everything fits together.
Have you ever done a synchronicity walk or had any crazy synchronicities that changed the way you thought about everything? Leave me a comment below!
Meetup group for synchronicity walks in London
Neville Goddard on Amazon
How to practice Ho’oponopono
I think it’s worth the time
As my frozen mango goes through the checkout. . .*beep*
The cashier turns to me and says, “Frozen mango? You can’t just eat that when you’re going out.”
I look at him.
He follows up with, “Nah, that takes too long, man.”
I smile, not really knowing where to go with this.
I decide to just look at my long line of vegetables, fruit, nuts. And tea bags.
“What do you do with it? How long does it take to defrost?”
For a second, I consider telling him what it’s actually for; to flavour my kombucha. But I decide that’s not a conversation I want to have.
Besides, if he can’t get his head around defrosted mango, I fear what might happen if I try and describe the kombucha making process to him.
Even as I type this, my spell check can’t deal with the word ‘kombucha’. . .
*Ctrl-click . . .’Add to dictionary’. Done.
Unfortunately, dealing with Mr Frozen Mango isn’t quite as easy.
I decide to answer his question with minimum chance of further questioning, so I say, “It takes a couple of hours to defrost, but you can leave it in the fridge overnight to defrost too, so it’s ready to go in the morning.”
I could have told him you can add it to kombucha frozen and it will defrost in the jar. But I don’t think that would have helped.
We finish our transaction and I go on my way with a new perspective. And it’s this. . .
Everyone’s got their own idea of what they’re prepared to do to make a meal. Everyone has got different boundaries of time they’re willing to spend.
I’ve just never heard anyone say they’re not willing to defrost mango.
In fact, what he said about ‘eating it as you go out of the door’ was the most illuminating for me.
Meal time has been reduced to what can be eaten whilst walking out the door.
I’m a little different.
I believe, at the very least, it’s worth defrosting mango.
I believe it’s worth doing a whole lot more though.
I believed, and still do, that it was worth travelling for 13 hours from London to Koh Samui, Thailand to spend the last of my money (and a bit more) on a 7 day fast to clear up my skin in 2004.
I believe it’s worth making our health and wellness out number 1 priority. For me, there’s nothing more important.
I believe it’s worth trying new things and doing whatever it takes to prepare the healthiest and most vibrant, fresh and healing food for our families.
Defrosting mango, soaking nuts, growing sprouts and dehydrating the occasional pizza base. I’ll do it all, and I’ll do it with a smile on my face and a full heart.
I believe it so much that I’ve dedicated my life to sharing the things I’ve learned, to create lives full of health, passion and purpose, through food.
If you’re reading this and you get even a fraction of the health and healing that’s available to you, from what I share, then it will have been worth the time for both of us.
I believe our destiny is largely shaped by what we eat, and I have this dream that keeps asking, “what if the whole world got high on raw food?”
Let’s make some time for that.
What Equipment do I Need for a Raw Food Diet?
By far the most common questions that I get are to do with raw food kitchen equipment.
So I decided to do it once for all. . .
I’m creating my definitive list of favourite stuff for the kitchen. I’ll keep this updated too, so you’ll know that it’s my latest recommendations.
BTW, if you’re a manufacturer and want to send me a bit of kit to take a look at for this list, drop us an email. A note on that though, I want to keep this list authentic, so I’ll only post stuff that I use and think is awesome.
I’ve also created a PDF for you with everything from this post on. All you have to do is share this post far and wide on the social interwebs and the download is yours to keep. See the bit at the bottom of this post for that.
Please also note that you absolutely do not need to buy everything here to start or maintain a raw food diet. The biggest help in making your raw food recipes will be the first 2 items on the list: a really good knife and chopping board.
I’ve put anything and everything here that I’ve collected in the past 10 years of being into raw food, so take your time when putting your own raw food kitchen together.
Here goes. . .
Knife & Cutting Board
This is by far the most important thing to invest in first off.
A great knife and chopping board will make you feel like you’re creating art in the kitchen. And that’s a good thing because that’s exactly what you’re doing.
I don’t even mean takes ages over presentation either. I’m talking about everything you do in the kitchen being your art. Creating health is an art. Creating time for yourself to do this is an art.
It makes a difference when you think about it like this.
Knives are definitely a personal choice. It comes down to how it feels when you use it. Different people like different weights.
And some chefs will collect them just because that’s what they like to do. But that doesn’t mean you have to have a huge set of multiple knives. Even chefs that have a huge amount of knives end up using one (their favourite) most of the time. And after all, we’re just chopping vegetables here, not meat.
I’m currently using this knife from Santa Fe Stone Works, but I’ve got my sights set on one of these from Aura Knifeworks.
Not totally necessary, but boy does it bring an edge to your raw food preparation. If you haven’t got one yet, you’ve probably seen lots of raw food recipes that need dehydrators and wondered whether to invest. Or you’re pining after one until you can afford it.
I use 2 different brands of dehydrator.
Currently I use Excalibur Dehydrators in my workspace and a TSM dehydrator in my home kitchen. To be honest I end up doing most of my raw food prep in my workspace, so the TSM doesn’t see much action at the moment.
I have a blog post talking about raw food dehydrators if you want to actually see what they are how they work.
I also have a post about using an oven instead of a dehydrator.
Here’s what I like and dislike about the ones I use right now. And remember, I’ll always keep this post updated so this will always be the ones I’m using at the moment.
This is the staple dehydrator of the raw food world. I’ve had one since I started out and I still find them the easiest to work with. Mine has had to have a couple of extra screws in it to hold the thing together, but that’s only because I’ve had them in and out of the back of cars over the years, catering, doing classes and whatnot. If you’re not using yours professionally, you won’t have that issue.
That’s really the main drawback of this dehydrator; the plastic looks and feels cheap, and don’t get me started on the ‘door’, which is basically another piece of plastic that hangs off the front.
There’s a light at the end of the tunnel though. Excalibur now make stainless steel one. They’ve yet to come to the UK, but are available in the US. I’ll be buying one.
For now, I have the 9 tray, which I would advise because it’s so easy to fill up a 5 tray really quickly. I advise that you use your dehydrator a couple of times a week to make lots of goodies to keep you going.
A timer is not essential either. It’s a little more expensive to get one, but you only really need it if you’re going to be out when something you need to be partly dry finishes. An example would be if you make wraps; they need to not be dehydrated to crackers, but stay pliable.
I love this dehydrator for it’s look and build quality. The ‘door’ on this one is a little more substantial so doesn’t feel like just a pice of hanging plastic, helped by the fact it’s actually stainless steel too. I do also find the fan a bit more efficient and quieter. The trays though aren’t quite as nice to work with as the Excalibur ones.
Everything I said above about the size of the dehydrator applies here too. As does the timer. Actually, this dehydrator has an option to get a digital readout timer and temperature control, which is really cool if you’re into your gadgets.
I’ve had a few different juicers over the years and there always seems to be one that’s different and better. As I write this, the new thing is to make a vertical juicer, but to be honest, I think we’re at a point where juicers are about as good as they’re going to get. Unless James Dyson decides to enter the juicer market.
More recently I even got into using my Vitamix as a juicer. Just blend the goodies and then strain them through a nut milk bag. It’s quick and easy, so good if you’re in a hurry.
But for quality juice, I always seem to come back to this juicer. It does have a few parts to clean, but it doesn’t’ ever take me over 10 minutes to clean. It just seems like a mountain to climb when you look at it.
As they say, the best juicer is the one you’ll actually use. Currently, this is the one I use.
OK, here’s the big boy in the room. I’m not even sure what that means, or if it sounds weird. . .
But the Vitamix is the hands-down most used piece of equipment after my knife and cutting board.
It’s absolutely worth the money and everyone I seem to speak to about it says they use theirs daily too. It’s definitely not one of those pieces of equipment that gathers dust.
People often ask me the difference between a Vitamix (which is a blender) and a food processor, and if they need both.
The easiest way to think about it is that a Vitamix (blender) is good for blending liquids, or anything that needs to be smooth. A food processor will grind things down and give you the option to have some chunkiness.
Now, there’s some overlap here. For example, there’s lots of things you could do in either. Tomato sauce would be one. But if you wanted really smooth cashew cream, you’ll never get that in a food processor.
Which brings me neatly on to. . .
Cuisinart Food Processor
My food processor of choice is the Cuisinart MP14nu (I just typed that without looking it up, because I’ve been asked about the model number so often #geek).
They don’t actually make this model anymore, but the new range is just as good, you have a choice in that new range of bowl sizes, so I would go for the biggest you can afford.
Food processors are great for making your own nut butter (although you can actually do that in a Vitamix too) and for grinding batter for crackers and breads.
I live and work in London and the water that comes out of the tap here has been sanitised, chemically cleaned, been through 100s of humans (that’s a strange thing to think about), has traveled and sat in miles of pipes and you only have to look at the inside of a kettle to know that’s not what you want your insides to look like.
There’s 2 issue with water. First is the cleanliness and second is the aliveness. For the first one, I use a distiller. Many articles have been written about the distiller and how the water is dead water. I’d agree with that, but I want to get the cleanest water I can, so I distill and then add some Himalayan salt to give it some structure again.
I use the Ecowater 800.
To make sure I’m drinking truly alive water, I also drink water from vegetables, aka juicing
For more on this, check out Kevin Gianni’s Water Secrets series. It’s fascinating and will give you a new appreciation of the water you drink.
I’ve used this style of mandoline (pictured) from the beginning, but when I lost the hand guard for my first one, I decided it was time to buy a really fancy stainless steel mandoline, 3 times the price of this.
And I didn’t like the new one. It just didn’t cut as well as this one. Any search online for a mandoline will bring up one of these in the first couple of results, but if you have trouble, search for the Joyce Chen mandoline.
To be honest, I don’t really use this a lot. I prefer my peeler to make pasta out of vegetables. But I am including it on the list here, because it’s a popular piece of kit.
Of all the spiralisers out there, the Lurch Spirali is the best one. Actually, now I’ve written this I want to go use it. That’ll be my dinner tonight
Wine Straining Bag
My good friend Amy Levin (we made some raw chocolate videos together) put me on to these instead of a nut milk bag.
Nut milk nags for making nut milk are cool and all, but these wine straining bags are bigger and sturdier.
Is there anything I’ve missed? Leave a comment if there’s a piece of equipment that you are thinking of buying and want my opinion on.
Yoga Nidra for Better Sleep (and Where to Get a Download)
When my girlfriend Natasha showed me Yoga Nidra I was surprised I’d never heard of it.
A technique that allows promises all the benefits of 4 hours sleep in 1 hour’s worth of practice? I’ll have some of that.
I’ve seen the benefits myself and, like a good boyfriend should, have recommended it to friends. One of my friends, Mitti, started playing the recorded version of it (like a guided meditation, but more focussed on body awareness) before she went to bed and reported back that she’d effectively cured herself of her years of insomnia.
Natasha and I now run The Lightworks Retreats, which is a one day urban retreat, which finishes up with a Yoga Nidra session, so everyone goes home totally blissed out.
We’d love you to join us for that, but if you want to experience this right away, Natasha has written a guest post to talk you through her Yoga Sleep Method, including where to get a free audio to use. . .
Over the past few years, I have studied and practiced Swami Satyananda’s style of Yoga Nidra, which includes effective and proven techniques for physical, mental and emotional relaxation and exploration of the subconscious mind.
… and I am excited to introduce them to you in my Yoga Sleep Method.
The Yoga Sleep Method is an amalgamation of techniques, tools and cues I learned through my time in India and after. It combines the simple mind-exercises of Yoga Nidra with creative visualisations.
Yoga Nidra with a modern-day twist.
To read more about The Yoga Sleep Method (and get a free audio download) visit: www.theyogasleepmethod.com
The practice of Yoga Nidra is profound.
It restores health in such an easy and deep way.
And anyone can do it!
Here’s five amazing effects of Yoga Nidra…
One hour of Yoga Sleep is as effective as FOUR hours of normal sleep.
In the state of Yoga Sleep (waking sleep), the energy that we use up thinking, worrying, planning… is no longer “leaked”.
In this way, Yoga Nidra allows the body to focus on rejuvenating it’s overtaxed tissues, glands, organs and muscles.
Yoga Sleep (Yoga Nidra) creates inner harmony by stimulating the parts of the brain responsible for maintaining balance between your internal and external environments.
Yoga Nidra helps to maintain your homeostatic balance. It even evolves it! … by bringing your awareness to normally involuntary and unconscious functions in your body.
You are awake and also asleep in the practice of Yoga Sleep!
Your body feels like it falls asleep but the aim is to keep the mind aware and awake!
“Yoga Nidra has been termed as “sleepless sleep” because we learn to enter the state between sleep and wakefulness without loss of awareness”
~ Swami Satyananda
AND FIVE – the most interesting!
Your brain waves slow down from the Beta to Alpha to Theta wave states… and sometimes all the way down to Delta… at which point you may start snoring like me! Haha! And be aware of the sound at the same time! It’s so crazy when that happens!
Yoga Nidra aims to take your mind through each and every brainwave pattern that would occur in a healthy night’s sleep.
Each brain wave state is as important as the next!
But often in this day and age we miss out the middle two Alpha and Theta and go from Beta straight to Delta.
However, the more you practice Yoga Sleep, the easier it will be for you to stay in Alpha and Theta wave states. These are the juicy, wisdom-filled and nourishing mind states!
. Now if you are like… “Huh? Brain waves?” Here’s a little recap…
The brainwave states:
- Awake – Conscious Mind – Beta – Fast brain waves! Stressed, busy mind and an excited/exhausted feeling inside.
- Relaxation – Superconscious Mind – Alpha – Slow brain waves. Healing can begin. Rejuvenating every cell from the effects of your busy day and any toxins. Your nervous system relaxes and you tap into the para-sympathetic nervous system to “Rest and Digest”.
- Dreaming Sleep – Subconscious Mind – Theta – Super slow brain waves… lost of awareness of the physical body. Cosmic consciousness can enter your awareness bringing with it wisdom, insight and the deep release of emotional tension.
- Deep Sleep – Unconscious Mind – Delta – oops totally gone. No one’s home anymore.
We will look to explore all the wondrous states of your mind at The Winter Warmers Lightworks Retreat on 28th November and at The British Yoga Festival on Friday 5th December in my “Delicious Flow and Yoga Sleep” workshop.
Don’t delay and miss out on the opportunity to get all sleepy in the best kind of way.
And maybe it’s your first time and you are keen to know how it feels on a mental and emotional level to relax yet stay totally conscious and aware whilst in deep relaxation… beginners are soooo welcome, don’t be shy.
Using an oven instead of a dehydrator
So you’ve seen lots of raw food recipes that need a dehydrator. But you’re not quite ready to make the commitment and buy another piece of kitchen equipment that will take up precious kitchen countertop real estate.
And you want to know if you can use an oven until you make up your mind.
Quick answer. . .
But there’s a couple of things to look out for when using your oven as a dehydrator. The main thing I’ve found is airflow; the oven you’re using really needs to have a good fan.
I made some kale chips in my oven to steer you in the right direction. Let me know if you’ve had success with using your oven as a dehydrator in the comments below, I’d love to know what you made.
Like this video? You can subscribe to The Raw Chef TV on iTunes here.
Related: What is a raw food dehydrator?
Raw Chocolate – Blooper Reel
Never let it be said that we’re not serious about raw food here at The Raw Chef HQ, but sometimes this stuff (above) happens.
We had so much fun making this Raw Chocolate Course for you. I think you can tell
How To Cut, Fan & Dice Avocado
Few things can make a salad or any of your raw food recipes look amazing with so little effort, than a perfectly fanned avocado — you just have to know how!
In this video, I’ll show you how to do exactly that, as well as the best way to remove avocado if you just want to dice it.
Improving your skills with things like this will definitely speed you up in the kitchen, so you have more time to do what’s important … enjoying eating.
Like this video? You can subscribe to The Raw Chef TV on iTunes here.
Think You Have No Willpower? How MSG Is Tricking You
Known by fans as the fifth taste, by the packaged food industry as the holy grail of food flavouring and by an entire generation as the evil behind ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome,’ MSG is definitely a troublesome little blighter.
What are the real facts behind the most researched and widely debated food additive in the world?
Hearing about the worrying long-term effects linked to MSG as well as some pretty unpleasant short-term symptoms, including nausea, fatigue and headache, is enough to make you check and recheck the ingredients of every item in your shopping basket.