Ultimate Cleanse

Contrary to my blog's title, I won't be eating much life for the next ten days. Summer is slowly, shakily, settling into place and with the change of season I've decided it's time to detox the whazoo out of myself. I want to be the cleanest, clearest person ever to indulge in summer properly. 

By the end of the next ten days I will have a body that will enjoy mangoes, cherries and passionfruits more than ever; a positive attitude that sees the brightest, lightest side of everything and everybody; an emotional stability that only has room for love and happiness; and the strongest connection to my soul, ever.

This is the plan:
1)Master Cleanse. Life on lemonade. I've undertaken the Master Cleanse once before and found that the detox is gradual, manageable. I'm expecting a few headaches, shitty moodiness. Aside from becoming really bored with juicing lemons, the only down side is waking up in the mornings, knowing that breakfast is a salt water flush.  Cravings are only bad when I'm bored, so I hope the rest of my plan will help keep me occupied :)

2) Clean one room of your house every day. "Organise the shit out of it!" as I wrote in my paper journal. I'm no feng shui expert but whenever I de-clutter, make a place for everything (and put everything in its place) and, most importantly, make my living space beautiful, I feel much more grounded and clear-headed.

3) Write down what it is you want to cleanse and what you want to make room for. I did this last night to give a focus to the next ten days. For example, a tiny same of the rambling I wrote includes, "I will cleanse my emotions of fear, to make space for enthusiasm and inspiration," and, "I will cleanse my body of toxins, addictions and blockages to make room for the healthiest cells ever, balanced brain hemispheres, clear skin and bright eyes!"

3) Write a list of everything you feel bad for doing, then forgive yourself for each one. I plan to do this in the middle of the cleanse, at my most emotionally fragile :) I'm not sure how I'll go about figuring this forgiveness thing out, something I've never completely comprehended, but I imagine it's quite important in this whole cleansing thing.

4) Write a list of everything others have done that hurt you and forgive them for each one. As above, I have no idea how to do this. I hope the answer will come during step five...

5) Meditate, meditate, meditate. I plan to do a variety of meditations, every morning and evening. Most of my time will be spent in Vipassana meditation but also practicing deep breathing techniques and visualisations to balance my chakras. 

6) Yoga. Lots of it. Every morning, whenever I feel stiff, whenever I feel sad, whenever I want to break the fast by diving into a bathtub full of pasta.

7) Be thankful. Talk to God, write lists, focus on what I like about my life (and myself) as much as possible. 

8) Be specific. I'll be making a list of "I am"s and "I have"s - things that I want, as if I already have them. A psychic recently told me to make a big "vision board" - a collage of pictures and words that symbolise all the things I want to happen. This might be harder than it sounds. The biggest hurtle I've given myself in my life is knowing I can have anything I want, but never knowing what that is, exactly. I can see the pros and cons of almost everything equally. Gemini, anyone?

9) Love yourself. My whole body is going to be pampered. Pedicures, facials, daily dry body-brushing, long baths, aerobic exercise, long bush walks to find swimmable rivers, sun baking, sex, guitar playing, fiction writing, literature reading, blogging, laughing, painting, loving.

10) Do one thing every day that scares you. I'm ready to start exercising my bravery muscles. I'm only going to get stronger by working out :) At the moment, this is as simple as emailing people I should have spoken to weeks ago! Maybe by the end of the ten days I'll be jumping from a plane. (Or maybe just emailing more people. There are a lot of people I've been hiding from.)

Wish me luck!
- Tegan xo

Treating and Spoilage.

Eating high raw has begun to shift my thinking. I'm in a place where I can (almost always) observe my cravings without acting on them. I've noticed that I no longer crave wheat and after a lifetime of seeming to have a separate belly used only to fill with pasta, bread and danishes, this is amazing.

I observe that my monkey-mind tells me I've been so "good" at eating raw, that I deserve a treat! And what kind of treat does it suggest I "treat" myself with? Refined sugar, deep fried potatoes, Indian curries with a bowl of rice bigger than my head. Treat. A craving to "treat" oneself; I think the more apt term is to spoil oneself.
Where does this come from? This idea that it's a reward, an amazing gift to eat something really, really bad for you? Something that tastes pretty bland compared to a tropical fruit, and sits in the stomach like a rock, and makes you feel lethargic and depressed? Congratulations, you've done so well, here's a bowl of colon-clogging crap!

Thanks to the modern SUPERmarket, we can buy mangoes, passionfruits and dragonfruits for reasonably affordable prices, in a climate where these things do not grow. We can buy bananas for $2 a kilo! This, perhaps, has taken away the idea of a special, super-healthy food for a super-special celebration and left in its place the idea that the fuller we are, the happier we are and the more meaningful the celebration. 

Maybe it's our society that has evolved from harder times, when the calories of fat and salt kept us alive, when a pile of buttery mashed potato and a leg of pork was the ultimate indulgence, if only for its abundance and psychology that bellies were full so things were okay. So the ability to buy a week's worth of calories in the form of potato crisps, chocolate and softdrink for under $20, eat it all in one sitting and call it a treat may have been born.

I don't know why my mind wants to sabotage my efforts when my tummy is full, I am oozing excess energy and feeling stable. I do know that I can battle it and win, by shifting my mind from "treat" to "spoil".

With its 101 uses for the household nut, raw food has taught me that there can be treats and these can be true treats to the tastebuds and the mind and the body. A raw, strawberry cheesecake that takes two and a half days to prepare and looks like a monolith of colourful awesome is a treat. A 200g packet of beige, potato crisps is not. It's spoilage.

Sunbeam Tarts
Makes 8

Tart Cases:
1 1/2 cup almonds and walnuts
2 tsp maca
4 tsp cacao
pinch salt
1/3 cup dates
2 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
2 tsp agave

Apricot Custard:
2/3 cup dried apricots
1/3 cup cashews
2/3 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon dates

Chia Vanilla Custard:
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup chia seeds
more water

Tart Cases:
Process the nuts, maca, cacao, salt and dates until very fine. Mix in coconut oil and agave.
If you have a tart case tin thing, you could line it with plastic wrap or something similar. I'm not so sophisticated, so I put pattycake paper cases in a muffin tin. Take small handfuls of mixture and press into the tin, shaping up the sides into a tart-ish shape. Keep a bowl of water nearby to wet fingers, it gets sticky :) Be sure to press very firmly and get that mix packed in there tightly. 
Put in the freezer to set while you make the fillings.

Chia Vanilla Custard:
Blend cashews, vanilla and coconut oil. Add water if needed to help the blending to get to a milk-like consistency. Measure the liquid into a bowl. You want 1 cup - if you don't have that, add more water. Add chia seeds, stir well and let sit to form a gel while you deal with the apricot situation:

Apricot Custard:
Blend the whazoooo out of the ingredients. Don't give up on your blender, it'll get the mix to a creamy state eventually. Scrape down the sides, talk to it kindly, hit it with a spoon, threaten to replace it with a Vitamix - whatever it takes. 


Put your fillings in two separate bowls, with a teaspoon for each. Take cases out of the freezer. Hold a dessert spoon across the tart case and spoon a heaped teaspoon of Apricot Custard into the top half, smoothing the mixture over with the back of the spoon. Then spoon Chia Vanilla Custard into the lower half and do the same. Remove the dessert spoon, and using the back of the Chia spoon, smooth over any small gaps between the two colours.
Carefully peel off the cupcake casing. Serve :)

Nathaniel The Harsh Critic was having a hard time adjusting to our high raw diet and these blew his mind :) Transition food, A+++, will make again!

We had some left-over Apricot Custard so I watered it down and added to our Icy Pole Extravaganza 2008 by freezing it in an icypole mould. I have high hopes for its yumminess.

- Tegan

Smooth Berry Icy Poles

Hello IGA, thank you for putting frozen "Four Berry Mix" on special. Hello freezer, meet your new friend: "Four Berry Mix".

Hello belly, I have a present for you:

Smooth Berry Icy Poles
Makes 4
2 cups frozen berries of your choice
1 handful cashews or macadamia nuts
1 tablespoon coconut butter
aprox 1 tablespoon agave

Blend! Add water slowly to reach a thicker-than-smoothie consistency - you want it gluggy but pourable. Taste for agave quantities - I don't think I added as much as 1 tablespoon but it wouldn't hurt to :)

Pour into icy pole (aka popsicle) moulds and freeze for 12 hours.

Dips Galore!

Last night was movie-and-dip night. To be honest, most nights are movie-and-dip night. We set forth to "healthify" our favourite indulgence by finding some raw dips that rock our socks as much as our favourite cooked hommus from Yulla does.

The result was awesome!

From left to right: Nat took on GoneRaw's Sweet Chili Sauce - this was by far my favourite, highly recommended! I constructed a Pepita French Onion Pate (recipe below) and a classic Avo-N'-Onion guacamole.

Pepita French Onion Pate
Makes aprox 1 packed cup
1 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 cup water
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 spring onion, chopped
1 handful of fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons onion powder
1/4 tsp mustard power (optional)
Black pepper

Process pepitas with water, lemon juice and garlic until seeds are broken down to a pate-esque consistency. Add to a bowl with remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. 
Serve with a garnish of fresh basil!

The lemon juice will have this baby lasting at least a couple of days in the fridge :) This could also work with sunflower seeds, me thinks. 

Nathaniel dipped with the super-delicious Carrot Onion Bread from GoneRaw. As you can see, it also acts as a hat/halo/fancy wig.

- Tegan

Spicy Stuffed Mushrooms

For my first freestyle adventure with my new, cheap-o dehydrator, stuffed mushrooms! Nathaniel and I took a day trip to the cool climate botanical garden on Mount Tomah and, though it was outrageously too cold to eat outside of the car, these turned out to be a super awesome picnic treat, served with a mega salad.

Tegan's Stuffed Mushrooms
Makes 8
8 button mushrooms
2 cups walnuts and cashews in any ratio you like
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
1/2 tablespoon agave
1/2 tablespoon Nama Shoyu
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoons each of dried oregano, tarragon and rosemary
1 fresh tiny red chili OR 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Peel the mushrooms and remove the stalks. Chop the peel (and, optionally, stalks) and set aside.

Process nuts into fine chunks. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add mushroom peel, parsley and nutritional yeast. Slowly add the agave, Braggs and ACV, adjusting quantities to achieve a balance of flavours and a sticky - but not wet -  mixture.

Stir in dried herbs, again adjusting quantities to suit taste. Add the chili, keeping in mind it will release a little more heat as the mixture sits.

Spoon firmly into mushrooms and serve, or dehydrate for 2-3 hours, turning once, to wilt the mushrooms slightly.

As an alternative, I'd like to use macadamia nuts instead of cashews. We have a bucket of macadamias sitting on the kitchen bench, waiting for the day we get a nut-cracker. SIIIIIIGH. 
Also, play with the herbs and spices. This would be delicious with basil, or to have an asian vibe with cumin, garam masala and fresh coriander.

Please let me know how this turns out for you and if it needs any tweaking :)
- Tegan

Histories and Beginnings

Optimistic Vegetarian
I began 2008 in a park with friends, eating my last piece of Coles barbecued chicken. As a resolution, I was ready to take up vegetarianism after a nine year hiatus. Never being a fan of most meaty things, I didn't see this as much of a challenge, save the social stigma, so was rather confident.

I spent the first few weeks of the year inside online recipes, scouring the internet for healthier and more delicious ways of preparing foods. My driving force was the idea that it must be possible to make a truly scrumptious cake that was good for you. I don't know where I got the inkling, but I think you can see where this is heading :)

Reluctant Vegan
My first stop was veganism. As a bright young thing, I knew I'd have to ditch eggs and dairy to create a healthy cake, so I sourced out replacements. It was during this search that I read about the health benefits of a vegan diet and found myself, for the first time, in a place where I wasn't immediately dismissive of the vegan side of things. 

I was reluctant from a lifetime of society's subtle influence that vegan = extreme = lame. Vegan = unsociable = lame. Vegan = difficult for others = lame. I was also reluctant because my name is Tegan...

However, I also found myself unable to ignore the cruelty of animal exploitation that I'd known about all my life but had somehow been able to push aside for the sake of an Oporto Bondi Burger.

It was somewhat of an awakening, to turn a wanky phrase. As my research went on and I experimented with cutting out all things animal from my diet, I found myself unable to justify the purchase of dairy or eggs. In my mind I felt that if I can live, and live well, with full nutritional health without hurting living creatures or wasting multiple resources, why wouldn't I? So I embraced the things I found difficult, went extreme and repeated the phrase "Tegan the Vegan!" way too often for it to remain funny or cute.

Inspired Raw
As I was turning vegan, my skin was turning awful. For the first time in my life I had acne. A naturopath diagnosed me as having a gluten intolerance and I said goodbye to the wheat I was using as a substitute for meat. Searching for "gluten free vegan" on the interwebs will eventually, I guarantee you, bring you to raw.

Raw. I had never heard of raw veganism, and that little "It's extreme and therefor lame!!" voice popped up again. Luckily, I'd already battled it and it was easily conquered again. I stayed up late watching You Tube videos of energized advocates, read studies and opinions of both sides of the raw debate. I found the anti-raw arguments unconvincing, subjective and full of emotion. I learnt more about biology and nutrition theory that night than in my entire life (and I still have a lot more to learn!).  I decided that the most fun in the world would be experimenting with raw ingredients and to hopefully, maybe, finally find that life-giving cake.

I've been a casual raw-er since April and the addition of a food processor and now a dehydrator have remarkably enhanced my family's raw experience. Raw has given me a glimpse at how light and easy life can be. How stable my notoriously shaky emotions can get. It's given me to motivation and inspiration to research what food can actually do for me - funny to look back at how disinterested I actually was about one of my favourite things in life!

I'm aspiring to 100% by 2009 as I continue down a more spiritual, harmonious path. This blog will be a place to put my thoughts and foods, share my resources and breakthroughs.  

I still haven't made the super-charged, living-food cake but now the only thing holding me back is a spring-form cake-tin! 

- Tegan