When I was at my friend and photographer John Pepper’s photo show in Venice in September he told me about a cleanse called Clean, a 21-day detox program developed by MD, Dr. Alejandro Junger. The concept being that our environment is toxic (agreed) and that occasionally we must detoxify our bodies from the chemical overload that we are exposed to, (also agreed). I downloaded the book onto my iPad and jumped right in. I have done many a cleanse in my day but what I liked about this one was the concept of the letting the body heal through resting the digestive system at night. For 21 days one is to give the digestion a daily 12 hour break from the end of the day’s last meal to the beginning of the following day’s first meal in order to let the body focus on the detoxifying duties rather than breaking down a meal during sleep. This made a lot of sense to me. The first and last day’s meals are liquids, soups, smoothies, fresh green juices, etc. and the mid-day meal is the substantial meal, which could include animal products such as fish and poultry. This I must say did not make sense to me. I felt that the elimination of all animal products during this time would deepen my own detoxifying process. To further deepen my process I also decided to include a largely raw diet. The first two weeks were challenging. I was tired a lot, cranky, gassy, experienced bad breathe and body odor and felt a lot of old emotional stuff surface a swell. But I expected this as in other cleanses I had experienced similar side effects. This can be called a healing crisis.
Once that passed I must say I felt amazing. Re-energized, my skin was glowing and soft, my hair shiny and all of a sudden I felt radiant after a sluggish summer of Italian wine, pasta and cheese.
Not to mention my creativity in the kitchen has bloomed with trying the vast arrays of raw techniques and recipes available. Also experimenting with my own. The 21 days passed and I have stayed eating an 85-95% raw and plant based diet. My hair continues to shine and my energy abounds. I may not always remain this raw, I am a foodie but I also recognize that raw foods have a certain vitamin and mineral factor that cooked foods don’t. At this point I am playing it by ear but continue my commitment to this way of eating. We will see what happens but it has gotten to the point where I would like to share some of the recipes I have learned and developed.
One of the staples in my raw kitchen is nut and or seed milk. One soaks the nuts or seeds to deactivate the enzyme inhibitors (they keep the nuts from sprouting or growing at a moments notice in your kitchen or purse), then the nuts are combined with water, vanilla, a raw and natural sweetener such as honey, blended on a high speed blender and then strained through a nut milk bag. This action actually reminds me of milking a cow the way the milk is squeezed out from the pulp in the nut milk bag. I use the milk in my morning tea, smoothies, raw soups, in my morning raw g”raw”nola and as a raw ice cream bases. There are many options.
This is the Brazil Nut varietal. Matthew Kenney has a great version on page 24 in his book Everyday Raw but this is my version. What I love about Brazil Nut milk is that it is so creamy and it is not necessary to soak the nuts, as they do not contain hard to digest enzyme inhibitors. The same goes with Hazelnuts. Brazil Nuts are packed with Selenium, an important mineral. I use this milk in my tea in the morning.
Fresh and Raw Brazil Nut Milk
1 and ½ cups Brazil Nuts
6 cups water
2 tablespoons raw Agave, honey or 3 pitted and chopped Medjool dates
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or the scraped out seeds of 1 vanilla bean
1 tablespoon Lecithin (optional)
1 pinch Celtic or Himalayan salt
Place Brazil nuts and water in a high-speed blender. Blend on low and then increase to high speed and blend for about 20-30 seconds.
Strain the nut mixture through a nut milk bag or cheese clothe into a bowl, compost or set nut pulp aside for another recipe and place unsweetened milk back into blender container. Add the remaining ingredients and blend on high speed for 30 seconds. Using funnel pour milk into glass jars. Can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days. Enjoy. You will never go back to cow’s milk again.