Raw foodism

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I Just Can’t Get Enough (of that raw fermented stuff…)

Published January 27, 2012 by Polana Fowdrey

So, I’ve done Kimchi, Sauerkraut and Water Kefir. I’ve bought live probiotic powder and turned my hand to raw cheese; what’s next?

Yogurt, of course! This is something I will find very useful in my raw dishes. (Especially at breakfast, where I’m trying out things-that-are-not-smoothies!)

I’ve been doing my research and decided that first I will try Oat Yogurt. I’ve not done this before, so it will be a 24 hour experiment. I will let you know how it turns out!

Here’s what I’ve done:

In a ceramic bowl, I mixed:

2 cups wholegrain oats (I only had rolled oats but whole oats would be preferable as they’ve not been processed.)

3 cups water

the contents of 2 probiotic capsules

I’ve stirred the mixture together and covered it. Now I need to leave it  to stand at room temperature for 24 hours.

Tomorrow night I will take a look and see whether the mixture needs blending to make it smooth and creamy, or whether it is fine as it is.

I’ll blog my results of this experiment tomorrow!

UPDATE: 24 Hours later.

I uncovered my oat mixture and to be honest it just looked like uncooked porridge. I tasted it and there was none of the sourness I have been led to expect.

I decided to blend the whole mixture and add a couple more probiotic capsules (the powder from the inside) and leave it in the bowl for another 24 hours.

So, a bit disappointing really, but tomorrow might yield better results. Patience Poli, patience…

UPDATE 2: Another 24 hours later.

The yogurt looks a lot more like yogurt now and is rather sour to taste – more like I was hoping for.

I gave it a good stir and it looked right, so I added some frozen strawberries, soaked cashews and dried cranberries.

I now have a lovely yogurty breakfast, which I will have in the morning.

UPDATE 3: The following morning.

Yum! This is delicious!

Now I know how to do it, here’s the recipe:

Fruity Breakfast Yogurt.


bowl, blender


2 cups Oats

3 cups Water

4 Probiotic capsules



Cashew nuts

Agave Nectar


Soak the oats in the water. Add the contents of the probiotic capsules.

Cover the oats and leave for 24 – 48 hours at room temperature. This depends on the temperature of your home. It will take longer in Winter.

Soak the cashew nuts for several hours or overnight.

Blend the oat/water mixture and pour into a bowl.

Add the cashew nuts, strawberries and cranberries (these are to taste so no precise amounts are given.)

Add a little agave nectar to sweeten if required.

Serves 4 – 6.


Juice Feasting, Detoxing and New Year Cleansing

Published January 1, 2012 by Polana Fowdrey

What better day than the 1st January to start a Juice Cleanse?

I’ve been planning this for a few weeks, since I found myself in bed for a week at the end of November with ‘flu.

I’m not usually susceptible to viruses, or at least, if I am, I tend to kill them off pretty quick. Not this time – I was clearly run down and needed to rest.

Trying to do any kind of cleansing/feasting on juices and raw nut milks over yuletide was a preposterous idea, especially with family visiting and copious amounts of food to prepare, so i waited until today.

My aim is to have a good detox and flood my body with nutrients. Since my initial foray into raw food in June last year, I have experimented with varying amounts and ratios of raw/cooked food, tried a number of foodstuffs I hadn’t previously eaten and removed a few which I didn’t feel were benefiting me, in order to find my balance.

Noting how I felt continuously, my main observation has been that a high raw diet suits me well, with only minimal amounts of cooked foods, very little soya, plenty of nuts and seeds, lots and lots of organic veg, some fruit, a fair amount of seaweed (will my obsession with the sea never end?) and miso. I swear miso saved me from the ‘flu! I’ve been having it every day for breakfast ever since I was ill, with a generous pinch of seaweed and nutritional yeast stirred in.

Now, Miso is not raw of course, but it is live. I always buy unpasteurised Brown Rice Miso and that really hits the spot.

That’s what I mean by finding my balance (and everyone’s is different) and discovering which foods are best for me.

But back to the New Year Cleanse. Today I deviated from my miso breakfast and went for juice, which I drank throughout the day.

It is now evening and I have moved onto nut milk before I go to bed later.

Here are todays recipes and nutritional information:

Beetroot, Orange, Apple and Cucumber Juice:

Beetroot Juice, made with 2 medium beetroots (known as “Beets” in the US)

Scrub and chop the beetroot.

Blend with 1 litre filtered water.

Strain through a nut milk/ strainer bag.

I made quite a bit of this and bottled it for future days. It won’t be quite as fresh, but it will be quick and convenient.

To 1 litre of beetroot juice I added:

300ml apple juice

300ml orange juice

1 cucumber.

I blended these and strained out the cucumber (my personal taste)

Beetroots are an excellent source of  vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and C, as well as calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, sodium, iron, choline, folic acid, iodine, manganese, organic sodium, potassium, fibre and carbohydrates in the form of natural digestible sugars. They also serve to “clear things out” somewhat in preparation for what’s to come.

The juice (2 litres) lasted me all day, mainly because I was very tired from last night and slept for most of the afternoon.

This evening I had a cup of herbal tea, which wasn’t doing what I wanted so I got the Brazil milk out.

I made Brazil milk this morning and bottled it.

1 cup Brazil Nuts, soaked overnight and blended with 1 litre of filtered water

Strain and bottle or use.

I had about 1  litres of milk and some pulp to add to my beetroot pulp for Beet Burgers (for Mr H, who needs his munchies!)

This evening I used  500ml Brazil milk and added the following:

1 banana

4 dried figs (mine were “ready to eat” and quite soft. You may want to soak drier figs)

1 tsp maple syrup (optional – I thought it would be less sweet than it turned out)

1 tsp lucuma powder

1 tsp ginger powder

I blended all these together, then transfered to a saucepan and warmed to blood temp before drinking.

I got 2 mugfuls out of this and it warmed me nicely on this chilly evening. I called this drink Figgy Puddin’

The drink has plenty of Calcium in it, which will please my Mum, who has been nagging me to get more calcium!

I also took some supplements today – vegan multivits and extra Vitamins B12 and D. Why the extras? Well, I seem to be one of those people who doesn’t absorb B12 very well, so I have to supplement my diet quite heavily. Being a vegan, I need to be extra careful and a couple of times in my life my levels have started to slip, so I go for overkill a bit.

And Vitamin D? Well, although Bognor Regis (my current abode) is widely touted as “the sunniest place in Britain,” in my opinion, the words “sunniest place” and “Britain” should never be used in the same sentence.

Rain is what we have in the UK. We are very good at it. Sun, less so. So everyone in Britain really needs a Vitamin D supplement, either in their food, or in a pill. When we get our 3 weeks of summer I’ll have plenty of supplemented Vit D3 stored in my body to convert with sunlight, as long as I brave the sun headache long enough to absorb it!

Now I’m done with the drinking and I’m off for a nice bath… and bed. Night night. =)

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.

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.

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

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!

Vive La Revolution!

Published June 8, 2011 by Polana Fowdrey

There has indeed been something of a revolution in Polly’s Kitchen!
During the past month, I have been conducting some experiments in Raw Food.
I have always been a bit sceptical of raw vegan diets, wondering whether they would provide all the nutrients required.
But, having done a huge amount of research, both online and in books, talked to people and watched videos, I am convinced that it is worth a try.
I was getting a bit bored and (yes I will admit it) complacent in my cookery and really need a challenge. This, I thought, could be it!
And “It” it has proven to be. I have been gradually introducing more and more raw foods into my diet over the past 5 weeks and I feel pretty good. Aches and pains dramatically diminished, migraines lessened, energy up, positivity up and now, when I eat something processed and cooked, I can taste the salt and grease and too-much sugar – yuck! give me an apple, someone!
My favourite part of this recipe experimentation so far has been in creating raw chocolate treats!

Raw chocolate is amazing. I thought the processed stuff was pretty good, but the raw variety really is the business! Try it and you won’t want to go back.
The following recipes are all very simple – just mix everything together and squish into a silicone mould, or roll into a ball (if possible.) No cooking – result! They are a bit vague on the measurements at times because it has been a bit “trial and error” (lots of error – all delicious though!) But don’t be put off. In each case you need a stiff, rollable mixture, so add more liquid or dry ingredients as needed.
Pascal’s Chocolate Triangles
Wet Ingredients:
2oz/50g coconut cream, melted

Dry ingredients:
1 handful dates, chopped small

2 teaspoons (tsp) cacao powder
2 tsp carob powder
2 tsp ground almonds (or any other ground raw nuts)
1 tsp cacao nibs
Mix everything together and press into a silicone ice-cube mould.

We call these Pascal’s Chocolate Triangles because we have triangular moulds. Make up your own name if you like.
Sometime we use a heart shaped ice-cube moulds and call them Chocolate Love – aahh!
Chocolate Love Bombs.

Wet Ingredients:
2oz/50g coconut cream – melted in a bain marie
1 dessertspoon (dsp) coconut oil – melt with above
Dry Ingredients:
2 dsp ground almonds
1 dsp raw cacao powder
1 dsp carob powder
1 dsp cacao nibs
1 dsp mixed raw seeds
1 handful dates
1 handful figs
1 dsp dried mulberries or any other dried fruit.
Soak these fruits in water for about 10 minutes, then take them out and chop them very finely.

Add to the dry ingredients and stir together.

When the coconut is melted, add this to the mixture and mix in.
Add 1 dsp agave nectar or raw honey if required.
If the mixture is a bit dry, add a bit of the fruit soak water, 1 dsp at a time until it sticks together.
Press into silicone muffin moulds and place in the freezer until firm. Keep in the fridge and munch one when a love hit is required.
Chocolate ‘Nana Cake.
2oz/50g coconut cream & 1 dsp coconut oil
Meanwhile soak:
1 handful each of dates & figs
1 handful mixed seeds
1 tsp dried mulberries
in just enough water to cover them.
Place the following in a bowl:
1 dsp each of: cacao powder, carob powder, cacao nibs
3 dsp ground almonds (or other nuts)
Blend the soaked fruit and seeds in the soak water with a banana until smooth.
Pour into the dry mixture.
Add the coconut when melted and stir everything together into a creamy mixture.
Pour into silicone muffin moulds and freeze until firm.
Keep in the fridge.
Fire on Babylon – a chilli chocolate treat.
Using the pulp from Shazzie’s Almond Goji Mylk, (below) add the following:
1 dsp cacao powder
1 dsp carob powder
1 tsp ground chilli (or very finely chopped fresh!) More if you’re brave!
1 dsp coconut oil, melted with 2oz/50g coconut cream.
Mix everything into a stiff paste and roll into balls.
Chill and serve. Blows the top of your head off, if you get it right!
Shazzie’s Almond Goji Mylk.
This recipe came from Shazzie, from Detox Your World. I have gleaned some very useful info from this site, so I urge you to take a look. Shazzie is great, about as bonkers as I am, but very wise! And boy! She knows her raw food!
I have adjusted the quantities a bit, but my version works well too and you can use the pulp to make Fire on Babylon!
1 cup almonds
½ cup goji berries
about 4 dates.
Soak all these in 1 pint (½ litre) of water (soak the almonds overnight if you want it really good, then add the fruit for 10 minutes!)
Blend the whole lot until it is really homogenous, then pour into a bowl lined with muslin.
Gather up the muslin and squeeze as much of the liquid out as you can. You should get about a pint of gorgeous golden sunshine – yummy! Save the pulp for Fire on Babylon.
So there you have it, folks. Raw heaven! Enjoy! =)
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