Wednesday, November 25, 2009

FUNctional Food

Check out this cake!

I've been thinking for a while about what I'd like to call the Fun Principle. So often this whole raw-health-nutrition scene gets so serious. And yeah, on one level it IS incredibly serious. We've talking about our health here, and as the old saying goes, what have we got if we haven't got our health? So eating the optimal diet is most definitely a worthy goal that ought to be among our highest priorities.

But at the same time, we have to lighten up. I don't necessarily mean by compromising and eating less healthy foods, though there are times when that might be a worthy decision if it supports your social life and lessens stress - but that's not what I'm talking about right now. What I'm talking about is looking at food from the pleasure angle. The Yum Factor. The joyful, blissful, pure enjoyment of really amazing food that makes us feel great and buzz with happiness. The kind of food that makes us want to shout because it tastes so good and is so freakin' full of nutrition you can feel your cells dancing. This is happy food! And it ought to be celebrated.

Hence the celebratory cake above. This is Hi-Cake: full of raw cacao, lucuma and nuts, and topped with a rich raw chocolaty icing made of avocado! I made this cake in honor of my brother, Alex, traveling almost as far as one can possibly go around this little earth of ours to visit me in Australia. After spending 30 hours in transit, doesn't he deserve a joyful cake? I thought so. And what is more joyful than chocolate cake - what, that is, other than raw chocolate cake full of bliss chemicals and heaps of vitamins and minerals.

The recipe comes from one of my heroes: Kate Magic Wood. Her middle name is Magic! How cool is that? Kate is a super raw foods educator, writer and entrepreneur who lives in the UK and operates the funky website Raw Living. But it's not just her passion for raw and superfoods that I dig about Kate. It's her holistic view of things. The way she really gets that the whole point behind this whole nutrition thing is to allow people to fully realize themselves and reach their highest potential, and to provide a basis for the flowering of humanity - the real revolution. And her website is pink and purple - I dig that too. Her superfood recipes are so innovative and have such a sense of FUN flowing right off the page. If only I were in the UK to try some of her food. For now I will have to settle for deriving creative inspiration - like this amazing cake. I added the goji berry spirals because they just seemed to be in the spirit of Kate! I also subbed cashews for brazil nuts and used honey instead of agave - about half as much as called for. Divine.

Look, nutrition is a serious matter. But at the same time it's a laughing matter! Because joy is the true path to vibrant physical, mental and emotional health. So here's to utmost nutrition, unspeakable pleasure, and true creativity, which ultimately are all one and the same. Talk about having our cake and eating it too!


by Kate Wood

(published at Raw Living)

Time needed: 30 mins, 3 hours setting time
Equipment needed: blender
Makes 8 large slices

By popular demand, here is a raw chocolate cake recipe for you, so you can see what all the fuss is about. These cakes are so nutrient-dense, one slice is a meal in itself, packed with vitamins, minerals, proteins and healthy fats. Easy to make, and even easier to eat! Remember the Hi-bar? The first raw chocolate bar to be sold in the UK (and beyond!), made with cacao nibs and brazil nuts, this is the Hi-bar in a Cake.


  • 250 g cacao nibs
  • 250 g brazil nuts
  • 250 g lucuma
  • 6 tbsp agave nectar
  • 150 ml water


  • 2 avocadoes
  • 30 g raw chocolate powder
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar
  • 60 ml water


  • 2 tbsp goji berries
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries

Grind up the nibs and nuts separately in a high power blender or coffee grinder. Transfer to a mixing bowl with the lucuma and agave. With your hands, mix the all the ingredients so you have an even powder. Add the water gradually, kneading the mixture into a ball with your hands. It should end up as a fairly thick dough-like consistency. Press into a springform cake tin, and leave in the fridge to set for a few hours.

To make the icing, put the avocado flesh in the blender along with the chocolate powder, agave and water. If you haven't got chocolate powder, you can substitute carob or mesquite. Blend until you have a thick cream. Once your cake is set, you can remove it from the cake tin, and spoon the icing evenly over the top and the sides. Decorate with dried goji berries and cranberries sprinkled over the top. Uneaten cake can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Green Romance

I've been having a clandestine affair with spirulina. Just look at those curvy spirals! How could a curly-girl like me resist?

I thought the secret was safe from my long-time superfood lover, cacao, until I returned home from the office with a telltale smear of green on my cheek. Luckily cacao is a generous lover - she's okay with my girl-on-the-side green goddess. So now I'm dosing my body and my tastebuds with both of these phenomenal food-medicines, and life is just one big dance of ecstatic pleasure. Who would have thought that algae could be so racy!

Look, I'm not letting cacao go. I'm still drooling over her gorgeously bitter flavor, her delectable rich oils, her tantalizing way of potentiating other superfood partners. I'm blissing out on her feel-good chemicals: her love-inducing phenylethylamine, chill-creating anandaminde, brain-balancing tryptophan and serotonin, and satisfyingly stimulating theobromine. And as a woman, I appreciate the way her massive dose of magnesium soothes my sensitive soul.

But I'm just not a one-superfood kinda gal. And green is my favorite color. So spiraly spirulina is my new lover, superfood extraordinaire. The number one reason I've fallen for her is an absolutely amazing protein content - we're talking over 65%, which blows animal products out of the water. Not to mention this is a slaughter-free way of getting my protein, and is much more absorbable by my body. So don't ask me again where I get my protein! Or my iron, for that matter. Spirulina gives me super-power energy, balances my brain chemistry, and innundates me with antioxidants, and then some. If that's not sexy, I don't know what is.

This little firecracker is not just for adding to green smoothies or juices anymore, either. I'm eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I got a little inspiration from the fabulous video here: Courtney Pool of Tree of Life talking Spirulina Salad on Tim VanOrden's Raw Running Project.

Spirulina salad! Who knew? I've been making awesome green cacao yummies for my darling for a while now, and sneaking teaspoons of the stuff into my own smoothies and juices, but on salad? Whoa now. Green on green. That's madness.

Luckily I adore madness! So I gave it a try. Yeah, it's freakin' good. So good that I've been eating it at least once a day every since. I even had a simple spirulina salad with chard, sesame oil and himalayan salt for breakfast one morning instead of my usual green juice! And I've discovered an even better variation: adding some maca. Wow. The possibilites are endless. Here's my favorite recipe so far:

Maca-Spirulina Salad

Big bowl of iceberg/cos/romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size bits
Good drizzle of Olive Oil
Good sprinkle of Himalayan salt
Big heaped Tbsp Spirulina
Big heapted Tsp Maca
1/2 Avocado, cut into small chunks
1 small tomato, diced

Mix it all up and enjoy the salty/sweet/creamy/tangy/umami/refreshing pure joy.

And yes, just like Courtney says, your teeth get all green and you get a lovely little green moustache. A bit dangerous to eat on my lunch break at the office, but they all know me as health freak girl anyway! Which they don't mind, because I bring in lots of treats that they all agree taste way better than the usual lollies and baked goods, and they love the way these foods make them feel.

But raw superfood desserts are an easy sell. You're just going to have trust me (and gorgeous Courtney) on the spirulina salad. Go try it. Right now. Life will never be the same.

Just make sure to thoroughly wipe your face after - or risk your new romance being discovered.
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