Text: Annika Vikingsson
Åsa became interested in the importance of eating nutritious and healthy food already when she was a little girl. Her father who was a physician, had a picture with a design of an apple which he had received from a pharmaceutical company with the text: “An apple a day, keeps the doctor OK”. The original reads: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” It was then Åsa realized that even doctors need to eat healthy and there her journey began .
About 35 years ago Åsa read an article on how broccoli can prevent cancer and got the last connection to how health, food and disease are linked. She began studying the vegetarian and vegan diets. Åsa also came in contact with a person who researched raw food and felt that this was something for her and started eating a diet of raw food 25% and 75% vegetarian.
But a decade ago Åsa started with only raw food. What then happened in her body is that she had a cleansing. During the first two days she had headaches, felt tired and a little out of sorts. But it quickly disappeared and instead she noticed how energy filled her body.
The very best after all was that the ailments she had before completely disappeared. After a month, she also noticed how it affected her mood positively and this she had not expected.
Even her high sensitivity was affected. Åsa felt herself more and more come into balance and harmony. thinking positive thoughts and experienced a delight in itself that she had not known before. This is something she does not want to be without.
After years of searching for something that could enrich her soul she finally came home and this gave her a sense of calm.
-I will never give up raw food. I want continue to have mental and spiritual balance and joy, Åsa says.
In time, she became more spiritual and Åsa believes this is because she does not eat any animal foods. Instead she chooses food with good energy and good karma. It’s exciting to hear that the food also increased her spiritual frequency and the frequency increase that took place in her mind, made meditation and yoga easier.
It is important for Åsa that everyone make their own journey and decide themselves what to eat.
-I certainly would not put a label or be judgmental about someone just because they eat a completely different diet, than I do, Åsa says . I do not want anyone to question my food choices.
Her hope is that her way of eating can become an inspiration and a motivation. Åsa have met nothing but respect from others. She emphasizes the importance of eating a varied raw food diet.
-You will then receive more nutrition then when you ate a standard diet, she says.
It is easier to be healthy on raw food and she usually recommends that those who have been eating a vegan diet for a while should check their B12 levels, because B12 is almost exclusively found in animal products. A person can eat a diet that includes vitamin B12, but still have a shortage of it. Others can eat vegan food and have deficiencies, or be vegans for 20-30 years and still NOT have any B12 deficiency.
Those who have a healthy gut can produce B12 themselves and do not need to take any supplements. But be careful, B12 deficiency can be serious. So something you can do is mix a raw egg yolk in your smoothie / food and still eat raw. Åsa then recommends to do so once a week. But this is not for vegans.
For those who are overweight raw food seems to be a good alternative. Åsa lost 15 pounds herself.
-It’s easy to lose weight with raw food, if you do not eat too much sweets, like dates and raisins. Along with fatty nuts, this makes it harder to lose weight.
It has actually happened that some feel that they have become too skinny, when starting with raw food. Because in the beginning you might lose a lot of weight, and many may become frightened and think that they have become a bit too scrawny.
But the body builds itself up again, Åsa adds.
-If you start eating raw, do not ditch it if you find that you lose too much weight, because the muscle mass will be balanced and rebuilt again. Then you will get the body that you are meant to have, that suits your ideal weight, Åsa says.
There has been some research done about karma when it comes to food.
On top as most positive karma there is breast milk, then fruits – fatty, sweet and non-sweet. Positive karma you find in leafy greens, among other things. Slightly negative karma in nuts, sprouts, root vegetables and seeds. After that, milk, eggs, fish, meat and intestines. Worst karma in blood.
It is also important with the colors in food, everything is not just “green”. In the foods we find antioxidants, which are the color pigments and incredibly important to absorb.
According to Åsa, many who have had fibromyalgia have gotten rid of their pain when they eat a raw food diet. She sounds very assertive and confident when she develops it further:
-You should consider it as a treatment and skip the meat and live 100% on a diet consisting of a strict variation of raw food; greens, vegetables and some berries. After a month or so you make an evaluation. Have you then gotten rid of ailments , you can add some other things to your diet, such as cooked vegan food or a piece of meat, if that is what you want.
Åsa believes that the foods you absolutely must avoid, besides sugar, are processed foods. In these foods there is an incredible amount of chemicals, of which we have no clue.
She points out that what is so special with raw food is that the foods could be heated to a maximum of 110 degrees, then you know that all enzymes are left intact, which are needed for digestion. This is because enzymes are deactivated by heating and foods can obtain completely different chemical compounds as well.
When you eat cooked food there is a reaction in the stomach and the body knows that there are foreign substances that have invaded and then send out a bunch of white blood cells that ty to take care of all this “foreign” material that has entered the stomach.
It is kind of like a tiny inflammation. It’s just like you would get a kick or rush, and many find that this makes us feel good. Usually when you crave unhealthy stuff, it is the bad bacteria, the pathogenic bacteria in the intestines that require the sugar and fat.
But if you eat cultured foods that contain a lot of the good bacteria, the so-called probiotics, as well as lots of fiber which the good bacteria can live off so they can spread in the intestines and then there is not much room left for the “bad” bacteria “, Åsa says .
Åsa practices a 16-8 – system which means that she during 16 hours of the day does not eat anything at all, and during the other eight hours she eats all of her food.
For breakfast: Smoothies with green leaves and seasonal fruits, or a mush of apples, pears, berries, parsley and nuts; or buckwheat pudding, apricots, almonds and cinnamon for example.
Main course: Mixed soup; or a salad with dressing seasoned with for instance ginger, garlic and chili.
Evening: Some raw food bread slices with avocado, onions, a pinch of salt, cucumber slices and a cup of tea.
– The best part is that I rarely feel hungry and I have no cravings for any particular food, except five years ago, when I suddenly got hungry for bread with salami. I was a little shocked that it popped up, might be old cell memories, but of course ate nothing of it.
So if you fancy a change, do start by eating green smoothies.
ÅSA’S PICKLED AUBERGINE
If you don’t have a Scandinavian background you might not share the affinity for pickled herring.
But don’t you worry! Here is a plant based recipe with all the characteristic spices and delicious sweet and sour flavors – and nothing “fishy” about it at all!
2 cups water
2 tablespoons vinegar essence (24%)
½ cup coconut palm sugar
8 whole cloves
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
1 tablespoon allspice
3-4 small red onions, finely sliced
1 small eggplant, peeled, sliced and cut in strips
1. Mix water with vinegar essence and coconut sugar and spices. Let soak, preferably over night. Taste and adjust. Strain and discard the spices if you like, otherwise just leave them in.
2. Place onions and eggplant in a bowl or jar. Pour the pickling essence over and gently stir to mix. Cover and let everything ripen in the fridge, preferably 24 hours.
3. Stored in an air tight glass jar the Awesome Pickled Eggplant will keep for at least 3-4 days in the fridge.
NOTE: When it comes to the vinegar part, you just have to be innovative. The vinegar essence used in the Nordic countries is 24%; so quite strong, but use what you have, it will work with apple cider vinegar too. You might have to adjust the sweetness and maybe use a little less water. Be creative!
A festive, delicious, and scrumptious “tarte”. It is quick to make and much appreciated by friends who are not into raw food yet.
Do not be afraid to use a lot of onions. The avocado fat removes the strong onion taste – no tears here!
Do serve it on a festive cake stand.
½ cup plus Brazil- or pistachio nuts (preferably soaked, 1 hour better than none)
½ cup plus walnuts (preferably soaked, 1 hour better than none)
1 large carrot, cut into pieces
1 small tomato, halved
3 sun-dried tomatoes (soaked + some of the water)
½ small avocado
½ teaspoon Mexican spice mix or paprika
½ teaspoon sea or herb salt
½ teaspoon Tamari, soy sauce without wheat
½ garlic clove, crushed
- Soak the sun-dried tomatoes until soft, about 10-20 minutes. Barely cover them with water.
- Finely chop nuts and carrots in food processor.
- Add all remaining items, except garlic, and run until you have a thick and sticky pȃté. Use some of the soaking water from the tomatoes. If it is still too “dry” in the food processor, then add a slice of tomato or a bit more water.
- Add the pressed garlic and season to taste.
- Remove and flatten the pȃté on a nice plate to an even “base”, less than an 1 inch thick.
2 Avocado Filling
3 avocados, peeled, seeded, cut into pieces
Fresh juice of ½ lime
1 small red onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
Optional: finely chopped fresh chili pepper, or ground black pepper to taste .
- Place the avocado pieces in a bowl, pour on the lime juice and mash with a fork.
- Add the onion, cilantro, salt, and pepper if using, and stir to mush.
- Taste and adjust.
- Cover the base with a thick layer of avocado filling.
Arugula/rocket leaves, dill, parsley, maché leaves etc.
Radishes, cherry tomatoes, julienned Bell pepper
Optional: capers, olives etc.
Tip: Decorate the plate first with greens, like dill, small arugula/rocket leaves, baby spinach, etc. before you place the pâté layer. Partly because it looks nice around the edge when little green leaves stick out, but also because it is easier to serve, the pâté will not stick to the plate.
RAW RICE A LA MALTA
For the Rice a la Malta you need
1 cup buckwheat, whole and hulled, soaked
1 cup cashews
About ½ cup water
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla powder
1 package of frozen strawberries, thawed 7,5 oz, 0,5 lbs (225 g)
4-6 soft dates, pitted, soaked if they are dry. Save date water and use in the porridge.
Optional: pure vanilla powder.
2 clementines, peeled and finely chopped
Optional: 2 tablespoons raw cacao nibs (chopped cocoa beans)
1. Soak buckwheat groats with plenty of water (at least twice as much) for 8 hours or overnight.
2. Drain and rinse carefully and meticulously with the help of a colander or strainer. Place buckwheat in a mixing bowl.
3. Place cashews in blender plus some water. Blend until creamy. If needed add a bit more water to facilitate blending. The cream should be thick though.
4. Add honey and vanilla and mix until it becomes soft and fluffy. Taste and adjust. Aim for it to be on the sweeter side for the buckwheat could be a bit “gritty”.
5. Pour the cream over the buckwheat and gently mix.
6. Place in serving bowl / s. Decorate with clementines and cacao nibs.
7. Mix the strawberries with dates to a smooth sauce. Serve on the side.
Name: Åsa Johansson
Age: 67 years
Lives: in Mölle with her mother and in Florida
Family: Mother, two children, two grandchildren
Interests: Nature walks.
Work: Rawfood teacher and lecturer, energy masseuse, goddess yoga, and essential oils. Provides rawfood courses both in groups and online. Has participated in and written many articles on raw food in magazines such as Nära, Femina, Kullaliv etc.
Contact: On The Lime, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0708-392753
Raw food – made simple, delicious and FUN!