Sunday, 28 April 2013

Burger me!

Amazing raw Mexican burrito (Flax wrap) at 'Nama'
There's something very satisfying about re-creating classic food without the use of heat. It's challenging as flavours can act in subtle or drastically different ways than their cooked food cousins. This usually means employing the use of slightly different ingredients, processes or amounts to create the right taste. Texture also needs to be well considered and can completely make or break a dish.

 The satisfaction comes from not just re-creating the originals, but improving on them. Recently we've acquired a dehydrator to experiment with making more gourmet food after being inspired after connoisseuring raw dishes at 'Nama' and 'saf' in London.
  Burger me! Ingredients (all roughly calculated and can be manipulated to your taste!)

  • 1 red onion
  • 5 orange/yellow peppers
  • 4 large flat brown mushrooms
  • 6 Tomatoes
  • 2 Carrots
  • 1 celery stick
  • 3 TBSP of cold pressed avocado/olive/hemp oil
  • 1/2 cup of ground flax seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Himalayan salt
  • 1 TBSP agave nectar
  • Parsley, shiitake powder, corriander, thyme, tumeric garam masala, chilli 
Roughly chop everything into smallish chunks and add to a bowl. I like to have larger pieces of tomato for extra flavour. Mix in the ground flax and work it together with your hands until it begins to thicken up and bind together. You can also add in soaked walnuts / almonds but I decided to try a nut free version.

 Once it's looking something like this, add the mixture to a food processor and turn it on for roughly 30 seconds to a minute until it starts clumping up and become a finer texture. You might need to do this a few times if you have a lot of mix.

Now pop it into a dehydrator, put the temperature up to 140F for about 30 minutes to really get them going. This is hotter than the standard Degrees 110F that is the threshold for keeping enzymes intact, but the mix itself won't go this warm as long as you turn it down to 110 after 30 mins. Depending on the texture you desire you can eat them now, or leave them for another 6-12 hours to dry out some more on a lower temp. I left mine for 12 hours and they still had a good balance of soft to dryness.

For the ketchup
Blend 3 tbsp of raw apple cider vinegar with 6 tomatoes, 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, small piece of beetroot, handful of goji berries, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and half of a small diced red onion.

Serve on a juicy lettuce leaf, with sliced tomatoes and red onion. This recipe makes about 8-12 burgers depending on how big you want to make them. You could even make falafel's with the same mixture. Sprinkle on some chopped chives or herbs of your picking to finish. You could also make a avocado mayo or raw hummus to go with these as well. They'll last a few weeks in a good container in the fridge! Banging

Sunday, 14 April 2013

First water fast

The time has come and I'm excited to have a water fasting experience

I've been experimenting with juice fasting and cleansing for a while but I've never tried water fasting. but from what I've read, heard from friends and from reading other peoples accounts, It is clearly one of the best ways to clean and regenerate the body.

One of the reasons I'm doing it is because of the onset of dupuytrens in my hands which I believe has been aggravated by climbing. I've made a very hard decision to stop climbing until I can see some positive results. I'm aware this will take a long period of time unlike many other common tweaks. It is a condition that can pull the fingers in eventually. Unfortunately it doesn't have many conclusive cures other than surgery which is only a temporary solution. From what I've read on the internet on various forums, the only few people I have found to have had positive results in reversing it are people that have employed the effects of an alkaline diet, systemic enzymes (which ill be looking into) or fasting. Dr Morse describes it as a lymphatic issue, meaning the lymph isn't moving properly in the hand and arms which results in a low oxygen, acidic environment. For me this has caused the palmer fascia tissue to grow abnormally into scar tissue.

I've had a lot of osteo and massage sessions to relieve my body of various imbalances recently and the results have been great so far, reversing some scoliosis in my spine and completely changing my posture. I'm also having a mercury filling removed. It's made me more conscious on the state of my body. I feel that if I can go at it holistically, then I can creating a better environment for my body to heal itself overall anyway. Many people with Dupuytrens take a very disempowered approach and quickly accept it will get worse and this is no surprise when you look at the western treatments for it. Recently I've not seen any progression in the dupuytrens which has been getting worse throughout the winter. I'm staying positive and empowered, because the mind and attitude can have amazing effects on the immune and nervous system.

More about fasting

My understanding is, the longer you fast, the deeper you're able to move the lymphatic system and regenerate tissues. It can also have the desirable, or non desirable effect of bringing up emotions, buried or surpassed spiritual issues and past memories. It's a time for reflection, solitude and time alone with your mind and core self. There's many testimonials out there of people reversing cancer, tumorous tissues, diabetes, food allergies, addictions, arthritis  deafness and a whole array of serious medical conditions. This all sounds really great, but of course we live in a culture that associates a lot of taboo and dogma with fasting because we associate it with starving, which it most definitely isn't. I'm lucky to have supportive family and friends around which should make the whole experience much smoother.

Fantastic book for further reading
This negativity towards fasting might be because it's not part of, or profitable enough for the 'health care' (or sick care) industry, which funds medical studies and the education / indoctrination of health professionals for their own monetary benefits. However that's a deep issue on it's own, and I would recommend reading 'Big Pharma' by Jacky Law if you want to find out much of the distortion of health and information by drug companies. Despite this, physicians and western M.D's are no longer ignoring the healing power of fasting. In recent times even those looking through the lens of western medical science are starting to see the undeniable positive health effects and there are various fasting clinics. This is much to do with it's rise in popularity by self empowered individuals in recent years.

The benefits of fasting should already be suggested enough by the understanding that diets low in calories, pro-long the ageing effect and slow down cancerous tissues. This is true for both animals and humas and fairly agreed upon by experts, spiritualists, scientists in both eastern and western hemispheres. Let alone the amount of reference to it in the essene and various religious texts. Many experts in fasting have expanded on this, saying it's the digestive stress, that inhabits the bodies ability to heal. This makes it appear to be calories, which will of course have a vague correlation with the ageing process  This is why many of the experts on fasting recommend eating food that causes the least amount of digestive energy, which allows to free up energy for vital problems and tissue repair. For example it is thought that eating more of easy to digest food, will have require less energy than (perhaps even less calories) eaten of dense, processed foods. The foods that cause little digestive stress is raw, organic, heirloom and ripe fruits and juices, closely followed by raw vegetables then nuts and seeds. Many of these scientists and doctors also mostly agree upon the fact that eating food perverted by heat or processing also have a very acidic and stressful effect of the body.

Remember this is not starvation, the body has plenty of stored fat that can be used to feed the energy requirments during periods of no food. You will be informed by signs that you are ready to eat again. Most people can go for at least 2 weeks, even very skinny people. There have been accounts of 70 and 90 day water fasts, with the first 4 days being the hardest. So heres my account, I hope it makes for interesting reading!

Day 1

I woke up feeling good, but then why shouldn't I when I don't usually eat much in the morning! I had a craving for my standard morning sweet date and banana smoothie, but this passed about an hour later. Around 4pm, I felt slightly low on energy and a bit spacey. This is probably due to doing intense yoga and going out and about my day, running around the house sorting a few things out as normal. I met my mum and we went to glastonbury to fill up storage containers with fresh spring water. This was a great idea, but it did mean some heavy lifting of 30 Litre containers and slight exertion! However on the way back I felt lucid and charged up again, which continued into the rest of the evening.

Notes: I realised just how much time I spend thinking or preparing food and washing up during a normal day. I wasn't sure what to do with the extra time. It was a liberating feeling I'll need to get used to. This had me thinking about how much we are subject to our subconscious cycles we operate on without thinking. Moment to moment, hour to hour, week to week and so on, and that breaking these cycles is not easy.

Day 2

I woke up feeling not so great! Low energy, quite drowsy and not much apetite. Already wondering how hard this is going to be, but at the same time this could be withdrawals from addictions, routine and parasites or even a due to a large dislodge of heavy metals/toxins into my blood stream waiting for elimination. When I went to the toilet I noticed my tongue was bright white, and I had dark urine even though I've been drinking a lot of water! I'll be drinking around 3 - 4 litres a day. So anyway, after scraping the thick layer off, it confirmed my suspicions that I was already detoxing quite heavily. I'm taking it as a good sign that my body is actively ready and willing to get on moving out toxins.

I've done a fruit juice fast before, which lasted 20 days, and again it kept my tongue fairly white (no where near as much as it is now though!) with a layer of a fowl smelling mucus. The tongue is usually the first sign that your body is going into a detoxing state. This is agreed upon by most experts. What I need to look out for, is for the tongue to return to a red or pinkish colour like normal which is a sign that the body is ready for food again.

By the afternoon, I was feeling much better and less turbulent, however I found myself looking up recipes and started writing delicious salad dressings down. I watched fruit hunters too which made my appetite return, not to mention the food I could smell in the house!

Day 3

Woke up and the sun is shinning! Feeling good, not too hungry this morning. I had a nice sunbathe in my room as it's south facing, then went outside and sunbathed some more. I feel like I'm quite clear headed compared to yesterday. Hunger in the form of basic cravings come and go, no help to the smells of food wafting up the house into my room.

Day 4
Feeling quite weak today. I had some energy by the afternoon and did some gardening, planting some sprouted spinach and Kale. I weighed myself and I've lost a stone! So I'm now down to just under 9 stone. Never fear though, I should have most of my weight back on a few weeks after im eating again. My apetite is definitely disappearing, surprisingly!
The best horror book I've read!

Day 5
Today I woke up feeling good! I started reading 'Parasite Rex' by Carl Zimmer. By the afternoon I started feeling a bit delirious and low on energy, probably partly due to learning the fascinating and horrifying life of tape worms and flukes! I just rested today and went to bed feeling still a little bit ill. Having head rushes every time I stand up. Stomach doesn't feel good.

Note: Haven't had much trouble sleeping so far, making sure the window is open and getting early nights.

Day 6 
Woke up feeling pretty much the same as yesterday, not good!! Feeling very delicate. Luckily for me it's Jo's day off so she's wasting her time with me :) I carried on feeling drowsy all day, almost finished Parasite Rex. I'm wondering if worms are going to start crawling out of me! Apetite is no where in sight.

Day 7 
BOOOM, Feeling good today! Clear headed and lots of energy, almost feel like I could go for a long hike or do some cardio. I'm glad I saw through the last couple of days. Today I've been gardening and sorting the house out a bit. Still no apetite though. When I feel like this it makes me want to carry on for weeks, if only! I've noticed my skin has got a LOT clearer. My beard has grown a lot too!! Something pretty ace is that my joints have never felt so good. My fingers have no inflammation and scar tissue in one of my joints seems to be causing me no trouble to bend it all the way back, which has not been the case since I started climbing 5 years ago. I feel this is now the time the fast is starting to have some good results. I'm breaking the fast in two days time, and it's important to break it properly and slowly. I've added lemon juice to my water today, which is a beautiful taste after consuming such a flat palette.

Day 8, the day it happened..
The last day! Although I feel really high on energy this morning. So much so I started off the morning with the powertools in the garden sawing wood and constructing a table. I felt so energized I was even taking fridges up and down stairs for half the day as were switching up appliances. I then continued to tidy up and hoover all the rooms in our house.

I then felt the need for a number 2, which took me by surprise as I haven't had anything in my stomach for the last 8 days. So I went to the loo and sat down.

Warning: Graphic in depth details. Do not continue reading if you're squeemish!

I knew it wasn't going to be a normal one, I could just...tell. So I ended up on the toilet for 3 hours!! Tomo wasn't very happy as he couldn't get to his tooth-brush, but I couldn't move! Considering I usually have a very easy going 'flow' due to all the fruit I eat this was quite startling. The time I was slowly pooing out very dark, and fairly dense stool. It was unpleasant to say the least! Especially as my legs were loosing circulation from sitting there for so long. I felt nautious and I was in a fair bit of pain!

After It was over I looked down, and I knew it wasn't going to be pretty! It was almost a fully black colour, with small white moving strings wiggling round. Worms! Yes I had just 'released' a bunch of worms. I knew from much reading of parasitologists, that everyone has a good handful of worms and almost everyone has a tape worm or two, but it was still quite alarming. I'm also very aware that they often come out when fasting. The stool itself was so dark, I believe it was intestinal plaque that had come loose. I had been drinking a few lemons a few days before I finished the fast to help dissolve anything left in there and ease myself back into eating.

The amazing thing was, I didn't even think I needed to go to the toilet until 5 minutes before, and I felt completely empty. Looking back I have a feeling on day 5 and 6 all that movement and bubbling in my stomach might have been all that junk in my guts dislodging itself.

Heres a very interesting (mostly raw, vegan) parasitologist by the name of Dr Cassar or (Dr Bazzar) Talking about parasites.

Breaking the fast and the days after

On the 9th day, I woke up and knew I would be putting calories back in. I didn't have an apetite still but I start work in a few days and need energy so I broke my fast with lime in fresh young green coconut water. In the afternoon I had some orange juice and ate some prunes to aid my digestive tract along. I feel like I could keep going for a long time. I'm down to just under 8.5 stone, after being just over 9.5 at the start but that weight should be back on in not too long. I think next year I'll try and make time for a much longer fast, I would hope to try 30 days at least. As it's now spring, and the weather is warming, I'll be sticking to 99% raw and upping liquid intake. I'm feeling much more clear headed and there has been obvious benefits for my skin, joints, sinuses, alertness and flexibility. The Dupuytrens seems very similar, but I didn't expect it to go. As a guess I think it would take a very long fast to see changes in such a tissue build up. I'm hoping my absorption will increase and my body will now be in a better place to heal such things.

Perhaps the biggest thing I learnt, was how much of my hunger is cravings, cravings which are beyond true hunger. I believe it takes a long time to notice the distinction within yourself. It's about breaking cycles, and I believe the motivation comes from the understanding gained through such abstaining experiences.