NÄRA – April, 2014
Text: Åsa Paul-Johansson
Photo: Åsa Holstein
Eat to energize this spring!
Since raw food is unheated all the natural colors emerge.
Choose the right colors in food and you will feel better
Åsa Paul-Johansson is Nära’s own raw food expert. Here she has put together a lovely little spring menu that will make us happier and more energetic. And which of course tastes divine.
Let the spring plate brim with color!
There are several ways to deter spring depression. One of them is to eat plenty of the freshest and most natural plant foods. Eat them as raw as possible to get maximum nourishment.
This is all about raw food. You will be energized from the food, it makes you feel light, it balances you mentally and affects you even spiritually.
That’s magical, right?
Something which is also important when it comes to raw food are all the beautiful colors the dishes have, not only the ingredients. A comment I often hear when I offer raw food either at home or when demonstrating is:
“The colors are so beautiful!”
That’s exactly right. Raw food is often unprocessed and then all the natural colors emerge. The colors in fresh berries, fruits, vegetables and green leaves usually carry a very high degree of clarity. Those are monochrome colors. There are not so many drab greenish-brown shades or pastels found in raw food meals. Or beige! Unless you mix a drink, a sauce, a pudding or drying foods.
Sometimes you get hungry for a vine-ripened tomato or perhaps juicy pomegranate seeds and many times it is the color you need. The red intense color. It is not always the taste that gives the cravings.
Sometimes there might be special antioxidants you need and they are actually visible to the naked eye as color pigments in fruits, berries and vegetables.
-Usually when you have taste preferences, when you are hungry for something, it is the body’s need for different “elements” which manifests. We in the western world are talking about antioxidants and minerals and trace elements. In Chinese medicine, they talk about food that is enhancing for different organs. They may be warming like ginger and pepper and remove moisture and cold. Or they may be cool like cucumber and watermelon and remove heat.
-Listen to your body when it comes to preferences in food. Eat varied and eat from different color groups. There are other ways to look at food than just taste-wise. The bright colors are so beautiful to the eye and naturally appealing to us and do us good.
Please do try my raw food recipes that I put together for you Nära-readers. Three dishes especially suited for entertaining or be enjoyed by yourself during the beautiful time of spring. Hope they’ll taste good.
Enjoy, but most of all – have FUN!
5 elements, 5 flavors, 5 colors
The traditional Chinese medicine speaks of the doctrine of the five elements – wood, fire, earth, metal and water.
They speak of five natural flavors – sour, bitter, sweet, strong, and salty.
And then they speak of five colors and they are green, red, yellow, white and black. These five colors work with or affect different organs.
Colors in food – this is how they affect your health!
According to Chinese traditional medicine, this is how you should choose your vegetables if they are to strengthen your health.
GREEN STRENGTHENS THE LIVER – spinach, broccoli, cucumber, lettuce, cabbage
RED STRENGTHENS THE HEART – carrots, red peppers, tomatoes, strawberries
YELLOW ENHANCES SPLEEN, STOMACH – leeks, apples, maize, pumpkin
WHITE HUMIDIFIES LUNGS – pears, cauliflower, bamboo shoots, rice
BLACK STRENGTHENS KIDNEYS – black sesame seeds, seaweed, walnuts (no, they are not black, but they strengthen the kidneys)
Try Åsa’s lovely spring food!
Red-Yellow Pepper Salad
Red, orange and yellow stands for our root and stomach chakras, which keep us more grounded and centered. This is a simple salad, but crunchy, balanced and wholesome. And with wonderful colors, pure color therapy! Red stands for power, courage and instinct. Orange stands for sensuality and liveliness. And yellow stands for communication, curiosity and openness.
TIP: Preferably use mild peppers.
3 mild peppers, red, orange and yellow
Chopped red onion, to taste
Your best olive oil
Apple cider vinegar, unfiltered
Pure sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Seed the peppers and cut into small pieces.
2 Place into a bowl, add the onion, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and mix. Serve immediately or refrigerate to have the flavors marry.
More recipes on next page
GREEN PEA SOUP
The most lovely spring soup! Delicious, protein-rich, satisfying and easy to make. Serve it with green pea sprouts and juicy radishes. Green stands for – youth, hope and freedom. A perfect spring color!
TIP: Use frozen peas when not in season. If you would like the soup to give you warmth when eating it, then heat both mixing cup, water and your own cup / bowl for a warmer feeling. A pinch of cayenne heats it up too!
5 cups green peas
½ avocado or a whole small
1-2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root, to taste
1 garlic clove, small
3-4 cups water
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper as desired
A handful of arugula
Optional garnish: sliced radishes and arugula
1 Add peas, avocado, ginger, garlic and water in the mixing cup and run until smooth.
2 Add the apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper as needed, and arugula and mix again.
A lovely little cookie that tastes wonderfully of hazelnuts (or pecans). Brown stands for soil/earth and balance; and soil is where we place the little seed which will sprout into a whole tree. Maybe a hazelnut tree.
2 cups hazelnuts (or pecans)
8-10 dates, pitted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1 pinch of salt
Possibly honey, yacon syrup or similar
1 Pick out 25 nuts (for decoration) and put aside. Add remaining nuts with dates in food processor and pulse until really finely chopped. But not as long so the oil is extracted and the dough forms a ball.
2 Add some honey or similar if the dough is not sticky enough when pressing to form a ball. Then run again.
3 Squeeze into small dense balls and place on plate or drying tray with non-stick sheet. Press to shape small cookies and add a hazelnut on each.
4 Dry overnight in dehydrator until the surface is slightly crisp or in the oven at the lowest temperature. It’s fine to eat them without drying too.
5 They keep for a few months in the freezer, or a week in the fridge.
What the colors mean:
Red: Instinct, heart, pain, strength, courage, and impulsiveness
Orange: Friendship, liveliness, abundance and sensuality
Yellow: Communication, logic, curiosity, swiftness and transparency
Green: Youth, hope, dreams, authenticity and freedom
Blue: Authoritarian, meditative, calm, reliable, traditional
Violet: Spirituality, fresh start, artistic and stability
Indigo: Individuality, security, control, wisdom and vision
Source “Colors in everyday life and therapy” by Karl Ryberg (Ica publishing)
This is Asa:
Age: 64 years old.
Lives: In Florida and in Mölle.
Family: Two children and two grandchildren.
Works as: International raw food-teacher and raw food chef.
Provides: Consultations and courses in raw food.
E-books: Åsa has written two e-books on raw food, “10 delicious breakfasts for a good morning! ” and “three days RAW with Asa.”
Facebook: On The Lime – Raw Food Inspiration