FEMINA May 2012, Health
Text: Katarina Danielsson
Photos: Heléne Linsjö
Raw food might have a label as being boring and almost impossible to exist on
– but after having tasted Åsa Paul-Johansson’s menu for the day all prejudices disappeared.
How did your raw food path/career start?
I read an article about broccoli and cancer and became so fascinated by the connection with diet and health, how you could help your body heal and feel better by what you are eating. I then decided to become a vegetarian and started experimenting on my own. The more I learned and the more fruits and vegetables I introduced to the family, the healthier we became. For many years I ate thirty percent raw, but now it is closer to a hundred.
What transformation did you experience?
I had more energy, slept better and my complexion became smoother in just a few weeks. I feel that my body gets the vitamins and minerals it needs, and most of all, I feel happy every morning waking up.
What are the building stones within raw food?
You can sort it into three groups: fruits (for carbohydrates and vitamins), vegetables and leafy greens (for protein and minerals), and nuts and seeds (for fat and protein). It is important to keep a good balance, and after some time you will start feeling which group your body desires and needs.
How do you organize your classes for beginners?
We start by doing juices and smoothies, soups, breakfasts, veggie mixtures, crackers, and desserts. Then we talk a lot about how we are in power when it comes our health, at least when it comes to feeding the body. There are no musts, you can just add raw food to your regular diet, or exchange certain meals and still feel a difference.
Any tips for the beginner?
Learn a few recipes by heart, so you know what to get when you are in the grocery store or market. Start stocking your pantry and fridge with nuts, seeds, dried fruits and oils. Do not hesitate to spice things up, I use a lot of garlic, ginger, fresh herbs and natural sea salt. If you want to exchange ideas with others take part in a raw food meet up, rawfoodmiddagar.se.
To change your diet could be really difficult for many people…
Yes, but try NOT to think of words like “have to” or “avoid”; instead focus on how you are actually choosing foods which are better for you. Just try and test and be proud of every little step!
a handful strawberries, fresh or frozen
a handful Brazil or cashew nuts
Preparation: Cut the seeded apple and pear into chunks, and place with strawberries and nuts in a food processor. Process to desired texture -more or less chunky.
1 cup sundried tomatoes loosely packed
2 cups water
3 large stalks of celery, with some leaves
2 pinches cayenne
½-1 teaspoon natural sea salt
2 cups fresh tomatoes, in chunks
1-2 cloves of garlic
3 inches zucchini, finely diced
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Preparation: First soak the sundried tomatoes in water for 10 minutes until soft. (Reserve 4-5 of the largest sundried tomatoes as toppings). Pour the remaining tomatoes with half the water in a mixer bowl. Add celery and cayenne and mix until smooth. Add the remaining water with the fresh tomatoes and pulse on low. It should still be a chunky soup. Stir in garlic by hand. Thinly slice the remaining sundried tomatoes and place with zucchini, basil and oregano in serving bowls. Add the soup, grind fresh black pepper and drizzle olive oil over it.
TOMATO & CAPERS OVER BED OF SQUASH
-with nuts and rawmesan
Tomato & capers:
5 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 handful black olives, pitted
2 tablespoons capers
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
15 fresh basil leaves
Natural sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Preparation: Place tomatoes, garlic, olives, capers, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Stir and leave out on counter for 30 minutes to let flavors blend.
Bed of squash:
2 yellow or green squash
A handful arugula (or baby spinach leaves)
1 small avocado, thinly sliced
12 pinches salt
Preparation: Cut squash in thin long strands with the help of a potato peeler. Cut them across into smaller pieces. Place in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and gently stir to coat. Let marinate for 15 minutes. Dab with paper towels to remove excess water and salt. Fold in the arugula and the avocado.
Ground Nut Meat:
2 cups walnuts, preferably soaked 6 hours
3 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon tamari
Preparation: Place all ingredients in a food processor and chop until well mixed, but still crunchy.
Nutritional yeast is a yellow powder with a cheesy flavor. It contains B-vitamins, potassium and protein. Mixed with Brazil nuts and salt it becomes a wonderful rawmesan, resembling grated cheese. Sprinkle over tomato dishes, soups, and salads.
½ cup ground Brazil nuts, 20 each
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
¼ teaspoon natural sea salt
Preparation: Grind the nuts to coarse meal. Works well in a mixer. Add nutritional yeast and salt and pulse until well mixed. Store in an airtight glass jar in the fridge for up to a week.
FLAX CRACKERS WITH HOMEMADE BUTTER
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids!
1 cup whole flax seeds
3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
3 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 cups water
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon natural sea salt
Preparation: Mix flax, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds with the water. Leave at room temperature 2-3 hours or overnight, so the batter becomes really jelly. Add fennel seed and salt, and mix really well. Spread out on parchment paper (or non-stick dehydrator sheets). Score into nice squares, it will be easier to break once dry and crisp. Dry at the lowest setting until the crackers are really crispy. Could take a couple of hours.
The plant butter with healthy fats is a bit salty and thanks to the turmeric, yellow, like real butter.
1 cup macadamia and pine nuts, half and half
¾ cup coconut oil, cold pressed
2½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt, coarse
½ clove garlic, pressed
Preparation: Mix the nuts to fine meal in a blender. If the coconut oil is solid, liquefy in bowl over warm water until clear. Pour into a blender cup with the nuts. Add lemon and salt and mix until smooth and creamy. Add a pinch of turmeric and garlic and pulse until well mixed. Pour into a bowl or glass jar with lid and place in fridge.
Do you have trouble finding raw ingredients in your regular store; try www.ravarubutiken.se
1½ cup walnuts
¼ cup cacao powder
Pinch natural sea salt
1 tablespoon raw agave nectar or raw honey
1½ cup fresh dates, pitted
Preparation: Chop walnuts, cacao and salt in food processor to coarse meal. Add agave and dates and process until well mixed and sticky. Place in pie form and press to an even crust.
1 avocado, Hass, in chunks
½ cup extra virgin coconut oil
2 tablespoons raw agave nectar
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
Preparation: If the coconut oil is solid, liquefy in bowl over warm water until clear. Place all ingredients in a food processor and process to smooth batter. Spread out evenly over crust, and place in fridge until filling hardens. Decorate with berries, fruit, and coconut flakes.
These sweet balls are perfect when you get a craving for something sweet. Why not stock some in the freezer?
When you get an unexpected visitor!
1 cup almonds
½ cup cashew nuts
½ cup dates, pitted
¾ cup raisins
¼ cup mulberries
Preparation: Chop the nuts in a food processor to fine meal. Add dates and raisins (wait with the mulberries) and process to thick, sticky dough. You should be able to knead it. You might want to add a wee amount of water, a few drops. Add the mulberries and pulse. Roll to small balls – then roll in coconut flakes or cacao powder if you like. Store in an airtight container in the freezer. They keep a couple of months!
About raw food
Raw food is a life style diet, containing raw plant foods including, lots of fresh fruits, berries, vegetables, root vegetables, herbs, leafy greens, dried fruits, nuts, sea vegetables, and seeds. Nothing should be heated over 115°F. Otherwise, according to the raw food principle, important plant enzymes and nutrition disappears and harmful substances could appear.
AGE: 62 years.
PROFESSION: Raw food teacher & coach, read more www.onthelime.com.
RESIDES: Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Mölle in Skåne.
FAMILY: Husband, children and grandchild.
Åsa has been interested in raw food for the last thirty years and works as a teacher and coach. There is great interest in the US and she sees a distinct upward trend in Sweden as well.