Posts tagged flax
My Rawgust Experience... and Raw Avo & Tomato 'Toast'

'Rawgust' is over and we are rolling swiftly into September!

I thought I'd take a moment on this sunny Sunday morning to reflect on a few thoughts of my 'raw food' experience. As I mentioned in my previous post I didn't maintain a 100% raw diet, it was more like 85% as my view was to see it as an exploration and open my mind to new recipes and ideas, rather than a restriction which I may have felt had I been super strict.

>>> NOTE: see my previous post for tips and meal inspiration

This decision to go 'high raw' rather than fully raw was partly based on the fact I had a few family commitments and events I knew I would be attending which would have made life difficult. I decided that a 'high raw diet' would allow me to appreciate most of the benefits and enable me to broaden my raw food repertoire without it feeling pressured or frustrated.

Overall I really enjoyed the month, initially I did miss big hot bowls of porridge (yes, I still eat porridge in the summertime!) and I really missed beans and lentils- such a staple in my everyday diet.

That being said, I really threw myself into creating some amazing salads and lots of raw dressings and dips to go with them. For me, a good dressing can turn any salad from average to amazing :-) 

This is definitely something I'll be continuing, as I'd like to aim for at least 50% raw ongoing- basically, i'll be incorporating a smoothie and a big salad every day- pretty easy, right!

I'll post a recipe round up of loads of sauces, dressing and dips from my vegan community in a separate post- hopefully, there'll be lots to inspire you too!

My boyfriend, who took the challenge along with me- who also reminded me that it was his idea in the first place (credit where it's due!!) has, for the time being, decided to maintain a 75-80% raw diet, so we'll still be eating a lot of raw meals together. 

My downfall (if anything) was eating too many Bliss Balls, ha ha. I often get carried away anyway when I make them, but during Rawgust I fell into the trap of having even more excuse to indulge.

Bliss balls... soooo tempting!!

Bliss balls... soooo tempting!!

Many people I know who eat raw, typically follow a high-fruit diet. This is something I have never felt really suits me. When I've experimented with an 801010 (80% carbs, 10% fat 10% protein) style diet in the past I ended up feeling incredibly bloated with the ratio of fruit. I feel I need to incorporate more fats. Maybe that was why one of my favourite meals last month was avocado and tomato on dehydrated flax crackers.

That said, my digestion was, for the most part, really great this last month, even though I have had some tough personal challenges to content with (stress usually impacts my bowels- sorry TMI!) My tummy felt flat and I have lost a little weight. Maybe that's down to the lack of legumes and/or grains... who knows? It will be interesting to see what happens as I add them back.

I'm also not convinced that a fully raw diet is particularly suited to our UK climate during the colder winter months. I know the idea of a nourishing warm meal really soothes me and the abundance root vegetables help ground me. I wouldn't want to forgo soups and stews indefinitely regardless of any nutritional science. 

I know there are ways to create 'warmth' in the body whilst consuming raw foods by using ginger and other warming spices to 'fire up' the body, but nothing compares to a big bowl of soup in my opinion! :-) 

I also query the environmental angle. I like the idea of aiming to eat more seasonally and locally, (although i'll make it clear I'm not perfect at this by any means), so feasting on tropical fruits shipped from far overseas during our cold winter months, doesn't quite sit right with me. I want to enjoy our abundance of winter vegetable roots and brassicas from the ground during this time.

One final point of interest... I was scanning through all my old health and wellness magazines, as part of my declutter ahead of moving house in a couple of weeks and I found various articles on Ayurveda. I am definitely a Vata Dosha and interestingly one of the things it advised 'Vata's' against was to consume raw foods... how interesting!

I have not looked deeply into the reasoning behind this (but now I am curious to know more), but it did remind me that there is never a 'one size fits all approach' when it comes to food, and that we all need to be intuitive eaters when it comes to what we feel our bodies need.  

As an example, I would never directly advise others to eat animal products BUT I do appreciate that we each need to find out own way and tune into what really works for us away from societies expectation and the pressure from the media and those around us.

Most of all, I believe we need to become more curious, more self-aware, more confident and relaxed around food.

Short terms 'Detoxes' and Challenges' (such as Rawgust) create the perfect opportunity for shaking things up, trying new things, re-setting our bodies systems, checking in with any symptoms that might be showing up and reflecting on what we really need deep down.

To break the pattern of the autopilot mode that so many of us function on day to day when it comes to food and lifestyle.

So on that note, I am going to leave you with the recipe for my favourite avocado and tomato salad on raw flax crackers.... ridiculously simple, and definitely one I'll keep on weekly repeat.

raw avo tomato toast 1a.jpg

I'd love to continue this conversation...

Have you tried a raw diet? Maybe you loosely follow a raw-till-4 approach? Or something else... I'd love to hear your own thoughts, experiences and results. 


Recipe: Raw Avo & Tomato 'Toast'

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado

  • A large handful of cherry tomatoes

  • Dehydrated flax crackers (quantity to suit appetite!)

  • Fresh basil

  • Salt and pepper

  • Sprinkle of nutritional yeast (optional)

  • Salad leaves (optional)

Flax Cracker Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup ground flaxseeds

  • 1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked overnight

  • 1 cup walnuts, soaked overnight

  • 1 stick of celery, roughly chopped

  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped

  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil (including the oil)

  • 1 tsp Himalayan salt

  • 1-2 tsp mixed dried herbs (or other herbs/spices to suit)

  • a few tbs water to create the right consistency (add gradually)

Method for the flax crackers:

Blitz all ingredients together in a food processor, until thick and sticky, adding a little water add needed (I used approx 1/3 of a cup)

Spread the mix to a 0.5 cm thickness over teflex dehydrator sheets. 

Dehydrate at 45C for approx 10 hours, turn over and place onto mesh sheets and return to the dehydrator for another 4 hours. 

Cut into any desired slices. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks. 

Method for the avo 'toast':

There is no real method.... just assemble everything on top of the crackers!

You can slice your flax bread/crackers into larger 'bread style' squares but because I make mine in a large batch I had pre-cut them into small squares for versatility. Either is fine.

NOTE: I originally made a version of this style of raw bread/cracker HERE. At that time I also tried a second batch and spread it out on a lined baking sheet at 'baked' it for approximately two hours on my lowest oven temperature (approx. 80ºC). I covered it loosely with foil after 1 hour to ensure the most even cook. It worked well so it's an option to try if you don't have access to a dehydrator.

raw avo tomato toast 2a.jpg
raw avo tomato toast 4a.jpg
Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF
High protein pizza base... in minutes!

I never really worry much about getting protein on a vegan diet as my focus on real whole foods of maximum variety typically does that by default, but it is nice to know that it's easy to put together a high-protein meal when needed- particularly something like this pizza when the base itself gives a great protein boost and you can top it up with anything you like knowing that I've got a well balanced meal in the bag!

vegan High Protein Pizza Base

In addition it's always nice to have an answer to the question 'where do you get your protein?' and also offer a simple option for those who are looking for high-protein veggie-based meals.

oh and did I say... Pizza?

Yay, pizza :-)

The pizza base contains just three ingredients- quinoa, almonds and flax (plus any herbs if you wish to add them). Each ingredient is in itself a great source of protein, amongst other nutrients, Plus it couldn't be easier to make in minutes. Such a winner!

You can top the base with anything you like, I'm not a fan of fake vegan cheeses so I used home-made hummus mixed with tomato purée and then just any veggies I had to hand. This base also freezes beautifully as I have now done on multiple occasions since I first created the recipe. It makes for an amazingly speedy last minute dinner!

vegan High Protein Pizza Base

Recipe: High protein pizza base

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa

  • ½ cup ground almonds

  • 2 tbs flax

  • 1-2 tsp mixed herbs (optional)

  • ½ tsp salt

Pizza topping:

  • 1 tbs tomato puree

  • 2 tbs hummus

  • 1 cup worth finely chopped veggies of choice- tomato, onion, bell pepper, courgette and sweeetcorn work well.

Method:

Process all ingredients together until you have a well blended slightly sticky dough. It should still be easy enough to handle and roll. I found it didn’t stick to my rolling pin at all but if this is a problem for you that’s the running pin with a little dry ‘flour’ of some kind- such as fine almond flour or protein powder. Attentively press out into pizza bases with your hands.

Once you have rolled the dough to approximately 3-4mm thick, bake at 180C for 10-15 minutes until sealed then flip over and bake for a further 10 minutes until just beginning to turn golden.

You can remove from the oven and allowed to cool and then freeze at this point or simply add all your pizza toppings and bake for 10 minutes until cooked and golden.

vegan High Protein Pizza Base
vegan High Protein Pizza Base

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF
Festive flax blend... the ultimate topping!

I love to keep 'toppings' on hand... simple blends to throw on my porridge, or yoghurt, or in a smoothie, or in cookies mix... or savoury options are great for a salad or a veggie bake.

It's what first inspired my Wholeplus Toppers! (which have been going down very well in the Vegan Kind box this month and has made me super smiley!)

flax blend 2 a.jpg

You'll remember a month or so back I had some samples of goodies sent to be by the lovely folks at Steenbergs, a UK company who's products I love and order regularly. A couple of months ago they launched some beautiful Christmas spices, delicate blends with subtle flavour variations, and were kind enough to send me some to try out. I have been having fun adding them to my porridge in place of cinnamon, and also over stewed apple and other fruits. I also made my Wholeplus Christmas Stollen flavour using their blend along with their dried lemon peel.

I decided a new winter porridge topping blend full of festive spice was in order and so whipped up this little number. All you need is a food processor or grinder and you'll have your very own blend ready to go! 

Ideally keep your blend in the fridge for best flavour and freshness (nuts and seeds can easily go rancid when ground due to exposed surface are) they'll keep fine in the fridge for a three months or so.

This was my spontaneous combo with dates and cacao for a light touch of sweetness but you could add in other ingredients, such as nuts, as you fancy. I kept the ration of flax to other ingredients pretty high as I like to add lots of flax to my porridge as it gives a great omega 3 boost (flax is one of the best sources of omega 3 and we could also do with more of it in our diets!) and the 'gelling' quality of ground flax (linseed in whole form) creates the lovely thicker texture which i'm after. That being said these quantities are simply guidelines,

Recipe: Festive flax breakfast blend

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup linseed/flax
  • 1/4 cup goji berries
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs
  • 1/4 cup chopped dates
  •  1 tsp Steenbergs Stollen, Lebkuchen or Speculoos spice (or use cinnamon/nutmeg/mixed spice)

Method:

I used whole linseed and ground it before adding other ingredients, otherwise use pre-ground flax.

Add all ingredients to your processor and ground until coarse (or to desired texture). Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus.  

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF