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New Year, New Blog… Well, Old blog Renewed Actually!

Published December 31, 2016 by Polana Fowdrey

Has it really been five years since I posted in this blog? My my! So much has happened.

My mostly-raw journey continues.

Mt H and I are no longer together and I live in my little cottage by the sea. Just me.

Puck the house bunny passed away (he was nine-and-a-half! Give him a round of applause!)

And I’m still creating recipes all the time. Some food, but also I’m making toiletries and home cleaning products too – the recipes for which I will share with you.

So who wants more blog posts, recipes and ramblings in 2017 then?

How To Make Water Kefir

Published January 26, 2012 by Polana Fowdrey

I’ve been asked about water kefir, so I thought I’d write a post about it.

A lot of people have heard of milk kefir, but I confess I had never heard of either until a few months ago.

So what is kefir and what do you do with it?

Water kefir crystals (also known as Tibicos). ...

Image via Wikipedia

Water Kefir, also known as Tibicos, Tibi, Japanese water crystals or California Bees is a culture of bacteria and yeast held in a polysaccharide matrix created by the bacteria. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?

Actually, it doesn’t taste of anything much on its own and looks like a load of little white granules, but by making a Water Kefir drink, it becomes a delicious sweet, sometimes fizzy, probiotic drink, packed with nutrients. Sounds yummier now, eh?

If you want to know more about the substance itself, have a look here.

If you want to know what to do with it, keep reading:

To make Water Kefir:

Take a Mason or Kilner jar and clean it thoroughly (I like to sterilize mine too, just to be on the safe side)

Spoon 2 teaspoons of Kefir grains into the jar and fill with clean water (filtered or spring if you can get it.)

Add 2 teaspoons of sugar, or a substitute*

Mix it up and close the jar. Leave for a few days, “feeding” the kefir some more sugar each day.

The more you “feed” the grains (don’t overdo it – a teaspoonful a day is enough!) the stronger it gets. After several days it can become fizzy, which is a nice alternative to carbonated drinks. It will even become very mildly alcoholic, eventually, but don’t get too excited, 2% is about as strong as you’ll manage!

This is not an exact science. Taste the water to determine whether you want to drink it. It should not be overly sweet. It can take time to make it just how you like it, but you can enjoy drinking all the experiments.

To drink, simply drain all the water out into a sieve or muslin and use the grains again.

They will multiply and before you know it, you’ll have several jars on the go and you’ll be begging friends to take them off you! You can eat excess grains if you prefer!

*Sugar. Obviously, not everyone wants to use refined sugar, even though it is the kefir “eating” it and not you, but some alternatives are:

fruit (just throw some dried fruit it – they love it!)

maple syrup (more expensive, but definitely worth it!)

less refined brown sugar (turns the grains brown, but doesn’t harm them)

I have heard that you can also culture the kefir in fruit juice.

Quick Delicious Shake

Published January 23, 2012 by Polana Fowdrey

I’ve run out of spinach!

Luckily, Mr H should be able to pick me some up at work tonight, but meanwhile… what can I put in my green smoothie? (I’ve taken to making sure I get a couple of pints of green smoothie every day because I feel better on it.)

Well, disaster averted because I have some standby Wheatgrass Powder; not as good as the fresh stuff, but not a bad substitute.

Wheatgrass powder is 21% protein, 22% carbohydrate and only 2% fat. It has lots of fibre and also contains plenty of magnesium and zinc, as well as a bit of sodium.

I made this delicious quick smoothie (which didn’t even need straining)

Wheatgrass & Blueberry Super-Smoothie

Ingredients:

2 pints Water Kefir (I always have some of this available!)

1 handful Blueberries (I used frozen)

1 dsp Wheatgrass powder

2 tsp Baobab powder

2 dsp Purple Corn flour

1 Banana

1 tsp Coconut oil

Agave nectar to taste

Blend everything together and enjoy

It’s a lovely dark purple colour, so my crown chakra is buzzing now!

Purple People Pleaser

Published January 6, 2012 by Polana Fowdrey

I’m really into eating foods of different colours. The brightly coloured foods are rich in antioxidants and eating a range of colours ensures a good intake of the range of vitamins. On a spiritual level, eating a rainbow diet nourishes the chakras.

Here’s one of my favourite ways to get purple foods – my special Purple Smoothie = Pure Bliss!

It is packed with superfoods and usually keeps me going for ages, on my little purple cloud…

PURPLE PEOPLE PLEASER

In a blender, mix the following:

1 banana

1 handful purple berries (eg Blueberries, Blackberries, etc)

1 1/2 pints water kefir

1/2 cup oats

1/2 cup soaked almonds

1 tsp baobab powder

1 tsp xylitol (substitute agave or stevia if you wish)

1 tsp maca powder

1 tsp lucuma powder

1 tsp purple corn flour

When everything is nicely homogenised, strain through a nut milk/ strainer bag and save it (keep reading…)

Pour into a large glass and enjoy… =)

Bacteria Are My Friends

Published August 5, 2011 by Polana Fowdrey

I have recently been learning a lot about the beneficial bacteria in cultured and fermented foods and have been introducing these foods into our diet.
One of the biggest benefits I have noticed is the improvement in my digestion.
I no longer have gas, whereas I used to – a lot! I notice now that if I don’t eat these foods for a couple of days; my digestion plays up.
I used to feel sick whenever I ate anything. Since switching to raw food, I do not feel sick anywhere near as often. Beneficial bacteria help this situation dramatically.
Another improvement is in my skin, hair and nails. My skin is smoother and softer – on my body, as well as my face; my hair and nails are growing faster and are stronger. Additionally, my hair, which used to be quite dry, now rarely needs conditioning. (I have changed some of the products I use, but this is not the only reason I believe my hair has improved.)

Here are some of the fermented foods I’ve been making:
Sauerkraut and Kimchi
In addition to the sauerkraut I discussed in an earlier post, I have also been making Kimchi. This Korean dish uses miso instead of salt-water. It’s just as easy to make and I have been using a variety of vegetables, layering them in the jar. It is just as delicious as sauerkraut and a perfect way to make some of those hard greens more palatable.
Some people can manage  crunchy, crispy foods, but I have never ben able to get on with it; I like my food quite soft. Culturing it helps me enormously!

Cultured Water

When I have eaten all the kimchi/sauerkraut from a jar, I bottle the leftover water and use it in savoury recipes, instead of regular water. It adds nutrition and flavour.

Kefir
Water kefir grains are amazing. I bought a small packet on ebay and started making my own Kefir.
Just add a couple of spoonfuls (1 packet) of kefir grain to a glass Kilner jar of filtered water.
Add a couple of spoons of sugar (you could use any sugar, maple syrup, fruit sugar etc.) and leave it for a couple of days. It is ready to drink then, either on its own or added to fruit juice or a smoothie.
The grains grow and multiply. I was amazed at how big some of them got.
In no tome at all, I had enough grains for two jars, then three, then four and now I have five jars on the go, spaced a day apart, so there is always some ready. I even gave my mum some grains when she visited.
I’m not sure I entirely understand exactly what kefir grains are; some sort of bacteria, but I’m no scientist and even though I live with one, I haven’t yet figured it out! What I do know is that kefir tastes good and does me good – all I ask from my food.

Miso
Although miso is not a raw food, it is a living food; at least, if you buy an  un-pasteurised variety.
I use it quite a bit in kimchi, sauces and sometimes just as a drink. I have been a fan of miso for many years.
One of my cousins once asked my what my secret to eternal youth was (he hadn’t seen me for 10 years and asserted that I hadn’t aged!) I told him it was miso, and promptly made a cup to drink!

There are other fermented foods I want to try and I will let you know how I get on when I do.

 

 

Originally published on www.pollyskitchen.blogspot.com

One Potato…

Published August 2, 2011 by Polana Fowdrey

I fell right off the waggon this evening when Mr H bought me some chips on the beach!
Oh dear! But I gobbled them down like I was never going to eat again!
I have heard that potatoes are often very difficult to give up. They are so firmly entrenched in our culture.
Ever since Sir Walter Raleigh introduced them in the 16th century, they’ve made their way into so many thing we take for granted about British cuisine now.
Chips are the ‘national dish‘ apparently (together with, ironically, curry!) and just think how many potato products there are in the shops and on menus across the land!
But, of course, potatoes are not really very suitable to be eaten raw!
Kate Wood asserts that cooked food is an addiction and that there are five highly addictive foods. These are: Potatoes, Wheat, Soya, Corn and Rice and she reckons that these vary in how hard they are to give up, depending on your genetic make-up. My European ancestors must’ve enjoyed a lot of potatoes, that’s all I can say! I do crave the fluffy white carbs!
So I was eating my chips and for a while they seemed to be hitting the spot, but it wasn’t long before I felt full, still hungry, slightly sick and the tell-tale headache began prickling at my temples.
By the time we got home, I was really craving some green stuff!
I made this smoothie, quickly, to satisfy my body’s desire for chlorophyll:

1/2 melon, skinned and de-seeded
1 banana
2 handfuls baby spinach
250 mls filtered water

Blend everything together, (adding a bit at a time if you have a regular blender, as I do) until nice and homogenous. You can strain this through a nut milk bag or muslin if you want to, but I was desperate for the green stuff so I guzzled mine down. It made just over 2 pints which, being nice, I shared! =)

 

 

Originally published on www.pollyskitchen.blogspot.com

My Old China

Published July 17, 2011 by Polana Fowdrey
I have used Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture several times in my life, for a variety of problems and I’ve always found it helpful.
One of my reasons for not employing a raw approach to food for the past couple of decades is the Chinese Doctor’s assertion that I should eat warm foods to improve my spleen energy.
The Spleen, in Western medicine is not considered very important. It is regarded as a rather vague organ with some connection to the immune system, but many people seem to manage very well without it, due to disease or injury, etc. However, in TCM it is a vital part of the whole digestive area and plays a part in the development of muscles. Practitioners have told me for years to eat hot foods and keep the lower half of my body warm especially during the winter.
But I no longer believe this to be incompatible with the raw food lifestyle. I have made nourishing soups, which I’ve then warmed gently to blood temperature and this is very warming. Some foods such as ginger and chilli have a warming effect.
And then there’s tea. I like mixing my own blends of tea, using herbs, barks, berries as well as green, black or red tea, sometimes. One particular favourite of mine is this. I call it Blueberry Power TeaBlueberry Power Tea
1 pinch Pau d’Arco
1 bag Blueberry Tea (black tea mixed with dried blueberries)
Steep these in a cafetiere for five minutes and drink hot.
Sweeten with agave or stevia if sweetness is required.

I’ve also mixed Pau d’Arco with green tea. Chinese doctors would like this, since tea is a central part of traditional Chinese culture.

Pau d’Arco is really great stuff. It is the inner bark of the Taheebo trees and contains anti fungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-parasitic compounds. I drank it for a couple of days recently when everyone around me was streaming with a nasty cold. I had that back-of-the-throat feeling, so out came the Pau d’Arco and Zap! Cold gone! It comes from South America, so obviously it’s imported. I bought mine from Funky Raw.

Another area of contention for me in terms of Chinese Medicine has always been my decision to follow a vegan diet. Several Acupuncturists have shaken their heads at this decision (Vegetarian – fine. Vegan – no!) And they are not alone. Doctors, family members, friends and even complete strangers have lectured me on my diet because it is commonly (and incorrectly) believed that it’s not possible to get the full range of nutrients entirely from vegetables. It is possible, but it is important to be careful, generate a knowledge of nutrition, eat as wide a range of foods as possible and ensure food is of a good quality. I managed to become a bit deficient in Vitamin B12 once because I was using the wrong brand of yeast extract in my gravy! It was easily rectified.
Protein, for example, comes up all the time. “Are you getting enough protein?’
We need a lot less protein that many people believe (it’s different for children of course,) and this is easily  obtained through vegetables, beans, seeds, grains, fungi… after all, plants need to grow too, so we simply ingest their growth chemicals = amino acids!
B12 is harder to obtain in vegetable forms and a lot of vegans rely on supplements. I did this exclusively for years until I discovered that B12 comes from the dirt vegetables grow in! (Animals get this from the vegetation they eat, which is why meat contains B12.)
so now I don’t scrub every last scrap of dirt of my vegetables. I pick leaves straight from the garden and put them into salads and smoothies. I brush the dirt off mushrooms instead of thoroughly peeling them as I used to and I brush my carrots with a dry brush before juicing them. You need to be careful though. “You eat a peck before you die” may well be a true adage, but a gritty smoothie is not pleasant!

However, I do still supplement my diet in two further ways: Firstly I use a nutritional yeast which is fortified with B12 and secondly, I take a supplement tablet. I am one of those unfortunate people who doesn’t absorb or make B12 very well, so I need to ingest more to get the correct absorption. Doctors have threatened me with injections before if I let my levels drop again, so I don’t want to take any chances! I do believe it’s important for vegans to be very aware of this.
No wonder some pregnant women start eating dirt – baby knows best!

And while we’re on the subject of children. Should kids be brought up on a raw diet? I’m in a quandary with this and don’t know where I stand. There is an argument that the raw diet is healthier, contains more nutrients and is therefore better for children. but there have been cases of kids becoming malnourished (although as far as I’ve been able to determine, it seems their diets really were limited, which is not going to work anyway.)
Certainly, I believe it is better than a diet of ready meals and MacDonald’s, but I wonder, since children are growing, should they have a wider range of foods? And maybe they should be given informed choices from a young age?
It’s a difficult issue, and one I’m no doubt I’ll return to. One thing is for sure though: Right here, right now, the raw diet is working for this adult.
Originally published on www.pollyskitchen/blogspot.com

My Detox

Published July 3, 2011 by Polana Fowdrey

I’ve been “off-grid” for a few days whilst undergoing a mini detox.
My raw food journey thus far has been interesting, enlightening and sometimes challenging, but I am loving it and learning more about myself than I thought possible from a diet!
I’ve lost just over half a stone in weight, but that’s not my main reason for doing it, although I had started getting a bit “chunky” with all those cakes! I felt that I need to become healthier and I’m already noticing changes.
My headaches are decreased and my aches & pains have almost gone, but these past few days I’ve discovered the most so far.
Part of my detox was to avoid technology. I sat in bed reading, exercised and mostly just drank smoothies for 3 days. When I returned to ‘civilisation’, I had no emails, no phone messages, 1 text and only 2 updates on Facebook, so clearly the world can manage without me!
I felt very cold towards the end of my first day and this, apparently is normal. My sense of smell has cranked up a notch. Some smells are now simply disgusting to me, where they were relatively unnoticed before. And I discern some pleasant scents more clearly than before and this is nice.
On the second day, I experienced intense lower back pain which was only slightly relieved by applying a hot water bottle. This has mostly gone, after 3 days, but I clearly need to identify the root of my joint pains. The consultant has ruled out any degenerative disease, which is a relief, but I do see a physiotherapist so I hope he can help me unravel my problems.
Mentally, with no computer or mobile phone to distract me, I managed to read 1 1/2 novels and sort out a lot of worries which had been playing on my mind.
And I slept… oh how I slept! I must have had a lot of healing to do because we heal in our sleep.
I feel really good now, both physically and mentally. I’m much more positive, and looking forward to another detox in a few weeks!

A Note About Measurements

Published June 15, 2011 by Polana Fowdrey

You may notice, from looking at my recipes, that I mix up my measurements (US cups, Euro grams, Imperial teaspoons and dessertspoons…) This is deliberate and something I’ve developed over many years of making food.
The reason is because I don’t like to be too accurate. You may read that I suggest a handful of one ingredient, a cup of another, a couple of dessertspoons of something else.
I believe that food should be cooked by taste and as such, my measurements are guidelines only. I strongly recommend that you purchase a simple cup measure, if you don’t have one. It’s a nice measurement, which is quite precise enough. An espresso coffee cup is about the same size or you might find an old fashioned teacup (I often use a teacup!) And I use dessertspoons rather than tablespoons simply because I don’t own a tablespoon. I’d only use it for measuring anyway, so I just use a dessertspoon and then eat with it afterwards – saves unnecessary washing-up!
When I quote grams or (occasionally) ounces, this is because something comes in a package of that weight. The coconut cream I use comes in handy 2oz/50g pouches, but with practice, you could easily work out your own measurement for that.

A simple recipe for today has no measurements at all. It is completely to taste. And it tastes wonderful:

Raw “Stuffed” Mushrooms

Take 2 large Portobello mushrooms for each person (or more if you’re extra hungry!) and brush with Olive Oil.
Combine the following to taste:
Fresh Broad Beans
Sundried Tomatoes
Olives
Beansprouts
Hemp Seed Oil
Soya Sauce (or another seasoning, if preferred)
Dried Seaweed
Other ingredients to taste
After marinading your ingredients for a few minutes, spoon on top of the mushrooms and enjoy. =)
Originally published on http://www.pollyskitchen.blogspot.com

And the Raw Waggon Lurches Forward…

Published June 9, 2011 by Polana Fowdrey

Today was my first day completely, 100% raw! And I feel terrible! Tee hee… let me explain…

I have been suspicious about the amount of soya I consume for a while and after watching a very interesting seminar lecture by David Wolfe last night, I understand the phyto-oestrogen properties a bit better.
I have suffered with hormone imbalances all my life. As a child, I couldn’t control my body temperature, swinging from too hot to too cold all the time. I rarely slept and had fluctuating energy levels. Puberty hit and my periods started (eventually!) Stopped, started again, stopped and finally settled into the most irregular cycle I have ever encountered in my life (including all those years as a nurse.) Then at the age of 30 they stopped. My hormones were out of whack even more than usual and the oestrogen dominance had pushed my progesterone and testosterone levels down to practically nought. At the time, I was advised (incorrectly, I now realise) that soya would help to balance my hormone levels.
It has not. Soya is a phyto-oestrogen, which means it binds to receptors in the body in the same way oestrogen does (I think – correct me if I’m wrong…) and subsequently I have suffered all the symptoms of oestrogen dominance for the past decade.

So, I thought it would be a good idea to knock the soya on the head for a while and see how I got on.

Migraine is how I got on! But this was not unexpected. When I worked as an holistic therapist I had a lot of clients who underwent a “healing balance” in the form of a headache, nausea, pain, tearfulness or some other symptom, (it depends on where your trigger point is, for me it’s the head,) but this was always temporary and part of the whole “feeling worse before you feel better” thing. I usually get a headache if I change my diet, give something up or do any kind of “cleanse.” Just the body’s way of saying “thanks!”

So today… a day without soya and a day completely raw.
Here’s what I ate:

For breakfast I started the day with Shazzie‘s Almond Goji Sunshine Mylk, which I gave the recipe for yesterday.
Then I made a smoothie for Mr H and I to take out for lunch:
(for 2 people, generously)
1 pint water
2 bananas
1 handful of frozen berries
1 (small) handful goji berries
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Whizz together and drink.

We had this with some mixed olives (some of them had chilli in, which went very well with the delicious sweet smoothie!)

This afternoon I had an apple, which was all I could manage with my embryonic migraine.
I came home early and, after a rest, made this delicious “green” smoothie. Raw foodies go on about “Green Smoothies” ad nauseum, but they have a point – copious amounts of green leaves are the business, nutrition-wise.
Here is my “green” smoothie: (it’s not green, it’s red, but hey!)
4 carrots
1 beetroot
1 apple
a slice of lemon, pith and all
I juiced these and then placed them in the blender with:
2 handfuls of spinach leaves
1 teaspoon flax seed oil
I gave them a good blending and then spent the evening drinking it.

Now, this doesn’t seem much for a day and were it not for the migraine, I would probably have had a nice big salad this evening and a superfood treat, but this has been enough for my body to manage today.

My headache, I have to say, has diminished. How much of this is due to the diet I can’t say, but I did eschew my usual radox bath for a soak with 4 green tea bags and I swear I could feel the detoxifying action. Coupled with one of Mr H’s aromatherapy back massages, I feel pretty blissed-out right now!

I am hoping tomorrow will be better. Mr H came home from work with another fridge-load of fruit and veg, so I’ll be creating more yummies tomorrow…

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