Those who control seeds control the world. If you have the power to grow a plant that will nourish and feed you and your family, you have freedom. You do not have to accept rationing, insure yourself for medications, believe what they sell you or starve, so long as you possess food plant seeds and know how to grow them.
There is never a bad time to become an expert at freedom. Save seeds from last year’s successful crop in your refrigerator for the following year. Toss native flower seeds from your car window as you roll down the highway. Or better yet, become a small-space sprouting techie. This is a skill I would not want to be without.
There are three types of seeds that Liberationists like me generally work with: tree seeds (nuts), dark-loving seeds (legumes) and light-loving seeds (pretty much everything else you care to sprout for food). I’ll review the essential steps for successfully growing each of these.
Selecting Seeds The first step in sprouting any seed is selecting the most potent, successful and hearty variety to work with. If you have your own garden or crop, the selection process is easy: save the mature seeds of the fruits, flowers or grasses that produced most sustainably the previous year. If you are trading or purchasing seeds for sprouting, then trade for organic, local, plant-ripened seeds. Your germination rate and quality of harvest is very dependent on the selection process.
Activating Nuts Ever get a stomachache from eating too many dried nuts? The reason is that these tree seeds contain a slightly toxic enzyme—called the growth-inhibiting factor. Its job is to deter squirrels and other seed choppers from robbing the goods before they’ve had a chance to sprout in spring. This enzyme succeeds by giving assailants a stomachache if they eat too many.
All you need to do to reduce this toxin in the nut is to mimic spring rains by soaking it in fresh water. Unlike seeds, tree nuts generally don’t germinate (i.e., throw a tail) or sprout (i.e., throw a green shoot or leaf). Rather, nuts are activated by immersing them in clean water for eight hours. After this, just toss the remaining water—thus rinsing away their growth-inhibiting factor (and your bellyache). Bite the tree seed in half and visually note if the nut is soaked all the way through. If not, return it to clean water for another eight hours of soaking. Almonds and cashews activate near the first eight-hour mark. Macadamia, chestnut and Brazil nuts can take up to 36 hours.
Germinating Legumes Legumes are a family of seeds that include peas, lentils and beans. These are called dark-loving seeds and are considered edible when germinated. A flax or hemp sprout bag is the best hour of sewing (or $15 investment) you will ever make. Just place your legume seeds into the bag and soak them in a bowl of clean water for eight hours. Then hang the bag to drip dry (ideally on a hook over a sink or outdoors). The bag holds the perfect level of moisture and allows the ideal amount of airflow to grow a quick, two-to-five-day crop of germinated legumes.
After the initial eight hours of soaking, to support the growth of legume seeds, place the entire bag of seeds in a bowl of clean water for one minute twice per day (more if exceptionally hot and dry in your area). After soaking, be sure to gently swish the seeds inside the bag before hanging to dry. This assures that when the taproot starts, it does not find a home in the weave of the flax or hemp fabric.
Green peas mature in five days, while jungle peanuts and sunflower seeds are ready in one to two. Use your eyes. You can see when they are ready: when a legume seed has a ½” – 1″ tail, it’s mature. Peanuts and sunflower seeds are ready when they have a ¼” tail.
Sprouting Seeds You could spend a lot of money on perfectly designed plastic sprouting containers or even expensive electric self-watering machines to sprout your light-loving seeds. However, these systems are entirely unnecessary and costly. Plus, they interfere with your learning the skill of growing. I suggest taking a far more affordable route: using a recycled wide-mouth glass jar, unbleached cheesecloth and a rubber band.
Simply place your seeds and clean water in the glass jar. Cover it with two layers of unbleached cheesecloth held on by a tight rubber band and let the seeds soak for eight hours. Afterward, drain the water through the cheesecloth and place the jar tilted upside down in a small bowl to continue to drip for 15 minutes. Then set the jar on a shelf out of direct sunlight.
Soak the seeds for one minute twice/day (more if exceptionally hot and dry in your area) and drain for 15 minutes in a bowl. In two days you will see taproots begin to germinate and in four to five days you’ll see a green shoot. This is where you can use your growing finesse if you are ready: as soon as that green shoot shows the formation of its first leaf set, place the jar in direct sunlight to green it up and really bring out those little leaves—but only for an hour a day. These little leaves without soil are still very fragile.
The most important part of the actual seed-sprouting process is making sure to drain your jar a full 15 minutes, since the biggest risk is little white mold legs propagating due to too much moisture in the jar. Proper draining works.
Alfalfa, broccoli, fenugreek and radish seed sprouts are considered mature when the first leaf opens up flat—about five to seven days. Flax and quinoa seeds are quick-sprouting seeds that will germinate on a wet, unbleached paper towel in 24 hours. You can keep the paper towel moist by misting it with a spray bottle if necessary.
And there you have it, Seed-Sprouting Liberationists! Maintain your freedom by cultivating the power to sustain life with a little water and space—and no need for soil. You thought sprouting seeds was only something granola heads, hippies and health geeks practiced. Now you know that technicians, survivalists, renegades and freedom fighters throw taproots, too. Grow your own food. Be free.
Growing up, every year for Mother’s Day my father would take our whole family to the local greenhouse, where my mom would pick out an array of vegetables, flowers and ornamentals to decorate our home garden that summer. No matter when the spring equinox fell, Michiganders know—considering their state’s sneak-attack frosts and late-season freezes—that Mother’s Day marks the official “safe zone” for outdoor planting. Mother’s Day is, in that region, recognized as the onset of spring.
These days, I live in Hollywood while my parents hold down the familial fort in the Midwest. Since I couldn’t make it back to the greenhouse to help mom pick out her garden this year, for Mother’s Day I instead planted four trees in her name via the Tree People Organization—imagining someday an entire forest dedicated to my mother, four trees at a time.
A Kitchen Garden Still, I am taken by the urge to personally put my hands in the soil as each Mother’s Day, and therefore spring, rolls around. Even though Hollywood has an earlier spring and more year-round foliage than any other metropolis I’ve lived in, I like having a garden myself. So like many city dwellers, I’ve gotten creative. Whether one lives in Hollyweird or a farm town, engineering a small-space kitchen garden can provide a sense of connection with the soiland provide the freshest, most local food available. Why not sprout alfalfa, dehydrate flax crackers, ferment raw vegan cheeses and vermicompost food scraps in your own home? It’s far too easy and much too satisfying to not.
My favorite springtime kitchen-garden crop has to be growing wheatgrass from seed. As opposed to sprouting clover or germinating legumes, wheatgrass requires soil and that’s just plain fun. A new crop matures in just ten to 12 days, deepening my enthusiasm further. And everyone has heard about the spectacular health benefits of consuming this plant thanks to its high chlorophyll content (chlorophyll’s been touted for lowering colon-cancer rates), heavy-metal detoxification, concentrated vitamin and mineral content (compared to other vegetables on a pound-per-pound basis), ability to increase blood flow and aid digestion, etc. It’s for these reasons and others that the famed natural healing center, The Ann Wigmore Instituteuses raw foods and wheatgrass as its fundamental method of healing—everything. Considering all that—along with how absolutely easy it is to grow wheatgrass—and I just can’t stop myself!
Wheatgrass Directions Here’s how to grow wheatgrass in your own indoor kitchen garden:
Hold the Mold Obviously, the biggest risk with wheatgrass is dehydration or mold during germination. I don’t get mold any more by following these steps, but when I did, I just allowed the wheatgrass to grow anyway and cut above the mold line. It really didn’t affect the juice or bother me.
My favorite thing about growing wheatgrass is not just the way the bright green color beautifies my kitchen, but the chance to be a part of the complete natural life process of a plant: from seed through germination, sprouting, juicing, scrap composting and turning that back to soil—and then growing my next batch of seeds in that very dirt.
Sure, wheatgrass is supposed to be one of the healthiest green plants to consume on the planet. But what is truly magical for me is drinking the juice from a plant of which I’ve participated in the entire lifecycle—the way my mother must feel having created and participated in my lifecycle. Let us all mother each other and ourselves with the same attentive care.
My farm town’s public school sex-education class was basically a course in abstinence with a dose of religious condemnation thrown in—a useless education for an actual sexually active adult (or teenager). Silence and ignorance are not passive non-threats, but in my experience, aggressively destructive. This is why I’m going to speak out about my third raw-vegan health miracle.
I was unaware that 80% of sexually active adults carry some strain of the human papillomavirus (HPV). With those odds, yes, that means probably you and I both have it. And the woman sitting in the next cubicle, too. And the man operating the camera on set. Practically everyone you know carries a strain of HPV.
There are more than 100 strains of this virus, many of which are asymptomatic. Somewhere around 18 of the known strains cause symptoms that include genital warts in men and women—and in some women, cervical cancer.
I got lucky as far as the cervical cancer kind, I guess. But imagine my confusion when the gynecologist told me my pap smear results came back showing pre-cancerous changes, when I had never even heard of this virus, despite its affecting 8 of 10 sexually active adults. Thanks, public school system. Thanks for the education.
I got over the anger about silence and ignorance making it impossible for me to defend myself against cervical cancer, and followed my doctor’s orders. She said to see her in three months because a young, healthy body usually combats this virus without outside intervention.
Not in my case. I came back in three months and it had progressed. So I came back in another three months and… it had progressed again. The doctor and I both were confounded that my athletic, young, cooked-vegan body had not sent the HPV packing. But according to her, we could not risk the virus’s progression any further, so she scheduled me for a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) to remove the precancerous cells from my cervix.
The LEEP surgery was painful and, afterwards, I had to take time off from physical activity, which meant I could not go to work in STOMP. But the fear of cervical cancer in my mind was even more painful than the procedure. I was completely freaking out. It was all I could think of. How was cancer happening to me so young? I came back for a follow-up appointment three months after surgery and… the virus had progressed. My doctors were baffled and I was a hot mess. I thought I was living a clean, vegan athlete’s diet, so how could this be happening to me?
Around this time, for other reasons, I decided to transition from a cooked-vegan diet to a raw-vegan diet. If you’ve read my last two pieces, you know that this transition cleared up years of acne and laid the groundwork for me to go off and remain off seven years of medications for bipolar symptoms. [Please note: This column and the others in this series tell the story of one person’s experience. It is not meant to offer medical advice. Please talk with your doctor before starting or stopping any medication. - Ed.] But luckily, no longer cooking my vegan food worked its miracles in places unexpected, too. Within six months from that post-surgery follow-up, my pap smears began coming back clean. In only six months of eating raw food, the stubborn and aggressive HPV virus became asymptomatic and my threat of cervical cancer was gone. This is my Raw Food Health Miracle #3.
I don’t talk about that miracle too often with… anyone. But I think this is due more to my destructive public-school sex education and religious condemnation than any shame or embarrassment I actually have about it. There is nothing embarrassing about healing. There is nothing embarrassing in talking about diet affecting all aspects of one’s well-being. There is nothing wrong with letting other people, who probably have the same virus as you, know that there are options that aren’t chemical, invasive or side-effects causing. The western medical is often silent when it comes to discussing with patients how much diet affects their cancerous condition, their heart condition, their cholesterol, their mental health, etc. Silence gets us sicker and more drug/doctor dependent. Ignorance gets us cancer.
Now I don’t know if every ailment you experience can be alleviated by eliminating animal products from your diet and eating a high percentage of uncooked, organic produce. There are factors such as regular physical activity, healthy relationships, time spent outdoors, restful sleep and creative/spiritual connection that must be priorities, too. What I do know is that every raw vegan you meet will have a health miracle to share, if you ask them. It is important to ask… and it is important to tell.
This is my one last chance to reiterate how jarringly different a raw-vegan diet is from a cooked-vegan one. The latter avoids death karma and the former seeks life karma. Perspective and application mean everything in actualization.
Don’t get me wrong! Do not, do not get, do not get me wrong; I have been a vegan for almost two decades now and I am devoted to the vegan lifestyle’s monumental effects on the political, ethical and spiritual aspects of my life. I waver not from my position of animal compassion and how deeply that benefits my life every day. But now that you are vegan… give raw a try. It’s insane. It’s in-sane. I literally became sane when I transitioned from cooked vegan to raw vegan.
Can I say that? I just did. I don’t want to go into what poetic concepts I hold around the word insane, or if it is or isn’t desirable to be considered outside the social norm. Rather, I just want to impress upon you how truly miraculous this next health miracle, which I am about to share with you, has been in my life. It’s truly a f*ckin’ miracle. And I do not use that word lightly.
If you read my last piece, you’ll remember that my first health miracle was the development of glowing skin, when previously I had self-image-injuring acne. Well, consider that I had also been on medications for manic-depression (they called it that back then) for seven years of my life—with all sorts of worrisome symptoms, including the inability to commit to my own existence. I didn’t go raw to get off meds, but I knew the entire time I was a (cooked) vegan that I didn’t want to be on them. I tried all sorts of natural medications for insomnia, depression and nervous-system stress, but roots, oils and meditation were flip-flops when I needed a snowmobile—they did nothing to aid my plight.
So after a few pivotal realizations, I considered that I had never been an adult without drugs controlling my brain chemistry—I didn’t even know what my own baseline was! So I decided to find out. I was going to go off the meds for the third (and hopefully final) time, not to fix my problems, but to find out how bad my problems really were. I didn’t want to further complicate my problems through diet, so I decided to be as healthy as possible. That is why I went raw. And, in so doing, guess what happened? [Please note: This column tells the story of one person’s experience. It is not meant to offer medical advice. Please talk with your doctor before starting or stopping any medication. —Ed.]
I got healthy. On every level, I got healthy. And now, eight raw, medication-free years later, I want to give this gift to all the idealistic, passionate and troubled vegans out there who, like me, wish to live a healthy, natural life—unmedicated by prescription drugs, natural remedies and food, all of which are medications. Instead of finding the better medication, let’s aim for being healthy. Healthy people don’t need medication.
That’s my ideal anyway. And now I believe it is possible. Now I live its possibility. My health-ideal actualization is nurtured by perspective. I’ve fallen in love with life karma, rather than spend my time avoiding death karma. And it has turned me into a raw fooder with health-miracle stories. Just ask any of us—we all have a health miracle. What might yours be? Comment below, then tune in next week for the biggest of my raw-vegan health miracles.
Outside of ideals and ethics lies the everyday life of the committed raw vegan. Conversations about the politics of my decision to eat lots of this and exclude all of that are given very little voice at my actual dinner table. And personally, as little time as I spend chatting about the social convictions of my chosen diet, I spend even less time at the actual dinner table. My raw-vegan life is not isolated in the kitchen, away from “horrible” carnivores, toiling over another complicated recipe with expensive ingredients, avoiding the proximity of cooked food and cooked people like the plague. Nope. My raw-vegan life happens quite effortlessly—even rambunctiously—and there are simply too many wonderful things about being a raw vegan to slow me down.
We—all of us—need to talk about the good things more often! If I meet you on the street someday, I don’t wanna connect with you over a conspiracy theory, but rather connect because I can see the gorgeous clear whites of your eyes, so vibrant that I know you, too, are high on health. Let’s find our similarities through the positive so we can infect our families, our friends and the world!
If you’ve been reading my blogs, you know why I went vegetarian, vegan and then raw vegan. But let me tell you what keeps me coming back to it, every day, for eight years now: my skin.
When I was a cooked vegan, I had acne. I took antibiotics for it, it was so bad. I knew shame when I looked in the mirror, which I avoided as often as possible, but was unable to do so effectively with my career in the visual performing-arts field. I noticed—as I was transitioning to raw vegan from cooked vegan—how (the few) raw vegans I had ever met all had amazing skin. No, not amazing skin—glowing skin. Like sunlight itself was emanating from within their radiant bodies.
Guess what? Now I know there is absolutely nothing wrong with my skin. There never was. Now, my skin glows too. And for me, it’s like a new self-relationship—it’s fun to respect my reflection in the mirror and know that no amount of cosmetics could improve upon the true beauty of this healthy skin. I never thought that I would be saying these things about my own complexion, but I am. And it’s blessings like this that make it easy to fall in love with my lifestyle and choose this diet every day.
Every long-term raw vegan has a health miracle to share. Just ask us. We should be writing these things down! We know darn well that Western medicine isn’t studying healthy people—all their results are based on sick people getting sicker. Their studies often avoid discussing the effects of exercise and improved diet. And they rarely take into account the effects of poor diet on their results.
I want to know how healthy people get healthier. And that’s why we should document our own health advances on forums and blogs and, by goodness, if you are a writer, then document it in a book or e-book. Make a documentary, write a fictional script—put this stuff on television. If we wait for it to come out in medical journals or be recognized by the FDA, we likely will be waiting a really long time, or at least until some corporation figures out how to make money off of us—that would speed things up. But there is no money to be made off of healthy people—no prescriptions to give out, no end-of-life care to administer, no insurance to sell, no junk food to package with toys for kids in ‘meals,’ no hygiene products to improve a ‘problem.’ True health has the same cost that a tree charges to share her apples. Eat an apple; it’s free.
We are free. Free to choose if we want our skin to glow and our eyes to sparkle. My complexion turnaround is one of my personal raw-vegan health miracles. But really, I’d call it miracle-light. It changed my life, but it did not save my life. Next time, I’ll share some more poignant health advances I have experienced thanks to eating raw-vegan food. And if you’ve had any type of healing due to committing to a clean diet, please share it in the comments. We need to talk about the good things more often!
We run colder. Those of us who have increased the amount of raw food in our diets will attest: it’s harder to stay warm in the winter months when eating cold food. How are we going to keep from shivering away the wintertime while maintaining our healthy diets? How are we going to stick to our health ideals and not pack on that “seasonal ten”? Eight years as a raw vegan, touring through Denver’s blizzards, housing in Chicago’s ice storms and even just getting damp in Los Angeles’s rainy season, has offered me many chances to consider this question: How does a raw vegan—who wants to stay a raw vegan—stay warm in winter?
I’m no scientist, but I’m a smart cookie. And I figure if the body really does run colder when eating high percentages of raw food, it’s because when eating a cooked meal, the body responds by increasing white blood-cell production and blood flow to deliver those white blood cells to the “area of infection,” which in this case is the digestive system. Yes, the body sees cooked food as an illness to be fought off; there is no increase in white blood-cell count when consuming raw foods.
Or maybe the body temperature increases as it does naturally when digesting, except as cooked foods take so long to digest, the increase in body temperature is long-lived and so seen as part of the basal average.
Or maybe the temperature of hot foods actually does raise the temperature of the whole body. Combine all three possibilities and you’ve got cooked-animal-product eaters experiencing potentially warmer base temperatures than raw vegans.
My perspective is that it is natural to feel how I feel when eating my raw vegan foods—no matter what the temperature. I’m not sure I want to factor in white blood-cell production, increased blood flow, extended digestion times and food heat into my normal average. So I encourage raw fooders to first see their current “colder” state as natural, stop judging it, stop resisting it and, instead, celebrate it. You did it! You are running cooler. Good job!
But in actuality, my basal body temperature has changed not one iota since transitioning from cooked vegan to raw vegan. I personally have zero proof that I am actually running colder than before. Maybe I just feel that way. Maybe it is emotional perspective that has got us plastic-wrapping our drafty windows and cranking up our furnaces. Could it be that we were raised to seek comfort food when in emotional stress and that comfort food in winter was often hot soup, hot oatmeal and a huge cooked meal? Maybe I was trained to value the feeling of hot cocoa as familial and so when I want to feel the love of family now, I automatically go for a hot cup of cocoa.
That being said, what’s so wrong with a hot cup of tea? For me, so long as it’s a clean herbal tea, without refined sugars, flavorings or colorings, I’m all in! Not just sipping, but even holding my favorite mug of tea warms my hands and insides, and is quite accessible—whether I’m traveling, at work or at home. Try making that tea out of an irritant herb, like ginger or cayenne, and you’ll really get the insides fired up, if that’s what you are going for. And if you have any seasonal mucus, well, those irritants will help move them towards the surface while you’re sipping away.
Joanna Steven and I have just published an entire eBook on this subject, The Winter Warming Diet, with additional perspectives and ideas I’ve personally utilized to keep warm over the years, including how to eat as local as possible when the tomato plants are under ice, how to acclimate to Jack Frost nipping at your nose and, of course, my actual dietary menus (with nutritional analysis) revealing how a real raw vegan’s diet naturally alters according to the season. But for the most part, I think perspective is key and this quote from Winter Warming says it best:
“I definitely run at a colder temperature now that I don’t put heated foods into my system. And let me tell you, the first few winters of my raw-vegan experience were jarringly chilly! I drank ginger tea, I took extra hot baths, I wore winter socks, ate more fats, put on more fat and still felt the Jack Frost shiver all the time. And worst of all, I resisted. It is true that resistance is the source of all pain. I mean, there’s the cold, then there’s resisting the cold. When I finally got it into my head that this “chill” was a feeling, not a disease, I surrendered, allowed myself to finally really feel what I was experiencing and… nobody died. Cold is just a feeling.”
Cold is a feeling, not a disease. Choosing to increase your intake of raw produce is a choice to get in touch with your body and develop its sensitivity. I no longer wish to suppress the signals and feelings my body gives me. When I feel cold, I now celebrate that as another authentic feeling I get to experience. My feelings are sacred. Cold included.
I met him a decade ago in New York city. He was a good looking gentleman, compassionate and visionary. And fortunate for the world, he was passionate about raw vegan cuisine. It is easy to see why Matthew Kenney has continued to define living cuisine since his first NYC restaurant venture, Pure Food and Wine. With locations today in Chicago, Miami and Oklahoma City, 10 full-color gourmet cuisine books published and training academies in Miami, Oklahoma City and online, you can imagine my absolute delight when Matthew texted me that he was opening a restaurant down the road in Santa Monica, CA. Not only could I see an inspiring long-term raw friend again, but I can eat his spectacular food locally – let’s be real.
I have been raw vegan for a decade and I have traveled all 50 states and 13 countries extensively, seeking out the raw/raw-friendly cafes and restaurants available in each. I have an experienced perspective of the wide variety of prepared raw foods across the nation AND I also strategically live in Los Angeles, which is the epicenter of raw food entrepreneurialism, upstarts, restaurants and year-round farmer’s markets. So when I say that Matthew Kenney is an innovator of gourmet cuisine and no one else is doing anything at this level, I’m putting some weight behind that statement. Matthew Kenney’s cuisine is unprecedented in texture, courageous in flavor, intelligent in pairing, artistic in plating.
(Note to raw fooders:) Unlike most raw food cuisines, Matthew Kenney’s cuisine does not rely on garlic and onions, two overwhelming flavors that can dominate a dish and irritate the digestive system in even moderate quantity. Plus they make raw food professional athletes, like myself, who choose not to wear deodorant due to it’s carcinogenic ingredients applied directly to the largest lymph nodes of the body, smell like garlic and onions when we sweat. I’m a real long-term raw vegan and I deeply appreciate not smelling like garlic and onions. Sincere thank you, Chef Matthew Kenney.
M.A.K.E. opened in late summer of 2012 and showcases an exceptional wine list, exciting juice/herb/wine cocktails, and Matthew Kenney’s signature raw vegan cuisine. Order the Tree Nut Cheese, Kim Chi Dumplings, Pumpkin Gnocchi, Passion Fruit and White Chocolate desserts for a good time. The Kale Cooler and Ginger Mint Mojito are my favorite cocktails.
The space itself is awkwardly situated in the Santa Monica Market, but worth the first navigation. Park on the 5th floor of the public parking structure on the north side of Colorado, just west of 4th. From the 5th floor, you can walk directly out onto the dining deck level. Enter the building labeled with a huge sign reading “The Market” and walk all the way to the back, M.A.K.E. will be the indoor-open-air restaurant on the right with all the tables set with wine glasses and the living wheat grass decor. Parking is free for two hours in the lot, or M.A.K.E. will validate valet parking. Happy hour is 4-6p with half off wine and cocktails and discounts on share plates and starters. Mention Meatless Monday when you dine on a Monday for 20% off your entire bill. Whew. Find it. Eat there. And then, if you are like me, love it and sign up for the training academy’s next course!
The Matthew Kenney Raw Vegan Cuisine Academy in Santa Monica is a camera-ready kitchen offering month-long and weekend intensives. My class was filled with vibrant food professionals and living cuisine enthusiasts from around the world. There was a chef from Russia, a Brazilian woman learning lifestyle techniques for her personal healing journey, there was a man whom actually prepares cheeses at M.A.K.E. coming to learn more Matthew cuisine and even a woman on a juice fast whom didn’t eat one morsel of what she prepared that weekend (oh, the will power). I was there to do what’s most important to me in life: have fun. And it was, it was, it was. I got to play iPod dj, so we had funky tunes to shake and sing to while prepping parfait. Chef Michael Vincent led our class with open minded encouragement. I’m a bit of a creative type, so it’s hard for me to color in the lines sometimes I get so inspired by new ideas. Michael let us be who we are through the food. I danced, I laughed, I met people from around the world, I learned safe cutting and chopping techniques, I ate so much outstanding food! I was the overachiever the day we learned truffles and after 6 hours in the academy kitchen went right home to riff my own ‘enhanced’ version of the truffles that very evening and gave them away as birthday gifts to my Lalas Burlesque dance mate, SaraAnne.
I learned new ways to think of flavor profiling and raw recipe structure, but the most valuable thing I walked away with was the appreciation of presentation. We all are chefs in our home kitchens, with maca powder on our faces and pomegranate seed juice staining our t-shirts. The difference between some of our great ideas and a renowned chef’s ideas is the presentation. Put on a fancy chef coat and apron and suddenly it feels like you are making art instead of smoothie. Place that salad on lovely flatware with dressing drizzled expressively along the plate’s perimeter, and you’re now hosting an experience rather than a dinner. Layers, stacking, portion-size – all these things affect the way we feel about our food. And food that is felt warmly and lovingly towards holds a fortified kind of nourishment. The most nutritious element in preparation and presentation I know now, is a smile.
So I’m filming a lead in this groovy film called Garden of Eden out of town, up here up in Oakland, CA. I’m figuring out how to work my hot yoga classes and pole dance classes in while waking at 4:30 for 5a pick up to set. Neither traveling nor unfamiliarity will prevent me from taking care of my health and fitness – pillars of karma, magick and art, these things. So I find and sweat through a Bikram class nearby and famished, jet to my hosts’ home to slam a powerfully alkalizing, mineral-dense, oxygenating, amino-acid rich super salad together and this giant bowl of beauty tastes so delish, I post a pic on the social networks. Within minutes this frisky salad has an onslaught of requests for a recipe, shaming me for holding back the wisdom. I took a picture cause it was so pretty but never thought to write down the details. Well here you go – it’s super easy and wildly delectable.
On another note, my hosts, while filming Garden of Eden, are two of my best friends whom happen to be raw chefs. If you want some gourmet raw food in yo belly, check out Ocean Hall of I Can Eat Raw and Nikki Scott of Living Edibles.
All ingredients are raw, organic and sourced as locally as possible, of course:
Slice up the entire head of kale and place in a giant salad bowl. Massage in 3T truffle oil and 2T balsamic vinegar. Cube 2 avocados and tear a big handful of California-harvested and sun-dried dulse, placing both on top. Add black salt to taste. Optional: in coffee grinder, grind up 1T chia seeds, 1T hemp seeds, 5 brazil nuts w 1/2T spiralina, 1/2T chlorella and 1/4T nutritional yeast for true depth.
This episode of BlackBoxTV‘s Silverwood: Final Recordings is called The Message. The message is a monologue you will see me, as DR CHRISTINA ROSSI, deliver near the top of the episode. This monologue was the piece BlackBoxTV auditioned us actresses with for the role of DR ROSSI. At the audition, I went all out with the creep: I stared right into the lens and delivered the monologue cold and cruel. And it got me hired! But by the time we got on set, the brilliant director-team, Tony Valenzuela and Stephen Reedy, decided they’d like to see a casual, entitled tone in the message. They suggested I eat something. So I brought raw vegan cacao lime mousse pie (something I’d made earlier that week) to set and had my cake and ate it, too – on camera! These directors are smart. Sometimes the casual delivery of ruthless news is more despicable than a cold delivery. Here’s to genuine cacao bliss coming across during a dire message in episode 6 of Silverwood: Final Recordings.
As a professional athlete, any chance I get to work chia seed into my diet I pounce upon. We’ve all heard what a wonder seed chia is, but I honestly feel like a hack and a consumer if I rely on periodicals, blogs and adverts to get me to eat a food. It’s far too intellectual and not sensual enough. After all, my body IS my sensual organ and as a professional athlete, my body is not only my career but my temple.
Instead of read a list of reasons I am supposed to go out and buy some chia seeds today, I’d rather do the experiment. After all, I am my own best doctor, my own best guardian, my own best parent and all wisdom is gained through gnosis in the end, so I figure if I wanna learn the sensual wisdom from Chia seeds, I’ve got to let it be my teacher by I bringing it near me, growing (it if I can), watching it’s life cycle, looking at it’s shape and colors, feeling it’s texture and energy, eating it, digesting it and becoming it. Gnosis.
What I learned from Chia is it knows no restriction. It’s seeds grow in massive quantities because it wants to be plentiful, feed us and is gentle on the environment. When I place the seed in water, it soaks up at least four times it’s weight in water, building a embryonic gel around the seed, assuring that if sprouting, it has all it’s perfect nourishment right there for it’s first “breath” after birth. When I put that germinated, living, nutrient-packed seed pillow in my body, I can feel that it returns the nutrient water to me over a long duration. I imagine the seed shrinking in my disgestive system depending on how much nourishment I require return to me. In that way, I can tell it’s a long-term energy giver and likely great for blood sugar stabilization too. It digests easily and the flavor is subtle, so it goes well with almost everything – it wants to be eaten!
But I had to do the experiment to learn from that teacher. So should you. Here’s a recipe to get some chia seeds in your body.
CHIA HEMP SEED TABOULI