Nära – October, 2012
Text: Madeleine Walles
Photo: Anna Kallberg
Åsa knows that the right foods make a difference!
Breakfast is the king of meals. And a good start makes the whole day great. Åsa Paul-Johansson is a raw food teacher and promotes this nutrient filled food which is prepared without heating. Based on her own personal experience, she knows that it is healthy. So please try one of her tasty raw food breakfasts. For a more energetic and wholesome life!
Åsa Paul-Johansson is a blond, slender and very beautiful woman. She has a face that literally glows with harmony. When asked if she has a past as a model, she warmly chuckles.
No, Åsa is a certified archaeologist! Her beauty comes from having a good life with a great dose of well-being. Thanks to the food.
– I wake up happy, she says and smiles. And I can tell that my body is always in balance. It is a wonderful feeling and I never want that to vanish!
It is hard to believe that she has turned 62. Åsa says herself that she looks much younger today than she did 10 years ago. She can actually see this when looking at old pictures. But even more important is that she has so much energy, she feels lighter and sleeps better. Yes, the body works perfectly.
The secret? Well, she dishes it up on the dining table! A food processor, a mixer and plates filled with raspberries, gojiberries, apples, orange chunks, cashew nuts, raisins, pumpkin seeds…. It is time for raw food breakfast!
– I had been a vegetarian for over 25 years and was familiar with raw foods for about the same length of time, when I decide to start eating this way full time, Åsa says. I tested 100% during three months and it was incredible what a difference it made when it came to my wellbeing. I truly wish everyone could experience this and feel just as good!
– And I think that everyone who is interested in spirituality and its’ energies would find it interesting learning more about the beneficial powers. And how mentally uplifting it is to eat raw food.
Today she is a raw food teacher, and teaches both groups and private persons. She has lectures both in the USA where she has been living for the past 30 years, and in Sweden where she grew up. She returns during the summer months each year to Mölle, in Skåne, as well as occasionally in the spring and fall, just to have classes.
Although she is a raw food devotee for the past six years, she does not eat 100% raw every day. It does not work in real life she explains. Åsa wants to be flexible when invited to friends or when traveling. But more than 80% of her diet is raw food and she feels absolutely the best eating this way.
– There is no magic in the food itself, Åsa says. The magic lies in what our bodies can do once they receive optimal fuel. Because there is an amazing inherent wisdom in the body. It knows what is supposed to be cleaned out, healed, rebuilt and what makes you feel good. Besides, you will not consume preservatives, sweeteners or artificial colorings or flavorings.
Healthy start of the day
Even if the interest for raw food increases in Sweden and there are restaurants, shops and on-line stores, there is still a prevailing skepticism towards eating living foods, foods that have not heated. Åsa is very aware of this. She also knows it could be difficult for people who want to give it a go, and try to convince the rest of the family about this new food trend. That is why Åsa wants to recommend the raw food breakfast! It is one of the best ways to approach this food, she explains.
And Åsa says that everyone who has tested thinks it tastes good. And to eat clean, healthy food when we wake up, is a great start of the day.
Raw food is food where all the nutrients remain, since nothing has been heated. So, it is food full of life. And to eat these foods, is being kind to oneself, Åsa explains.
Her voice is really full of love when she talks about the food she handles in front of the photographer Anna. Åsa advocates the sesame seeds which are full of calcium. And the green leaves which contain so much minerals and proteins. And, the gojiberries – the superfood – which contain so many antioxidants, and about the nuts with all their healthy fat and important protein.
Åsa picks up an apple from the plate and immediately an old saying pops up. “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away”.
– In my childhood home there was a version of this, Åsa says happily and chops the apple. My father worked as a physician and in our home we had a little picture with the text: “An apple a day, keeps the doctor okay”. And this was an “aha moment” for me. I realized that even the doctor could – and should – keep healthy by eating apples.
Åsa tells us that her true interest for the significance of having a healthy diet started when she read an article that stated broccoli could prevent cancer. This was more than 30 years ago and at that time there had not been so many studies regarding this subject. So Åsa started to research and seek information. And then she became a vegetarian.
The magic lies in what our bodies can do when they are fed optimal fuel
At that time I also came across Ann Wigmore, a woman who healed herself from colon cancer, among other things with the help of wheatgrass juice, green shoots, sprouts and raw food, Åsa says. This new diet made her healthy; she even got her dark hair color back, in spite of the fact that both illness and age had rendered her completely gray. I got fascinated by this woman and read her books.
Ann Wigmore made it to 84 years of age and Åsa points out that she did not die from illness. She succumbed to a fire.
– Since then I have been in contact with many who have been helped with tumors, diabetes and other illnesses thanks to a strict variation of raw food, Åsa continues.
– I am convinced that this lifestyle can prevent, heal and even improve chronic health conditions. But it is a delicate topic. Therefore, I choose to emphasize general wellbeing instead.
All the nourishment is still intact
Åsa moved to the USA some 35 years ago. Her husband started to work in Chicago and she came along. The US, being her new country, increased her interest in raw foods. – Yes, absolutely, because California is the place for most of the research concerning raw foods, and there is a great interest. Products which recently came to Sweden could have been around for 20 years. And the interest has grown fast in the US.
– But that goes for Sweden too! And I believe we even have a small advantage in Sweden by our interest in using the gifts of nature. We pick berries and mushrooms, and like to grow our own vegetables.
Åsa processes nuts, fruits and berries in the food processor to a colorful mush. But, will raw foods really fill you up? Åsa smiles when she gets the question.
– After a couple of weeks with raw food you have filled your nutrient supply and you do not feel as hungry anymore. I did not believe it would work, but it does!
– Since the food has not been heated all the nutrients are still there and are easy to assimilate. And then there is a lot of fiber in raw food which fills you up fast.
– With a raw food breakfast it is easy to stay full until lunch, Åsa promises.
– In case you should get hungry, a piece of fresh fruit is a perfect snack. Or my tasty trail mix which is perfect to bring in your bag. It is tasty, filling and super nutritious!
– Three breakfast alternatives are now ready and it is time to taste test. They are unbelievably yummy! The Raspberry Blast is awesomely pink in color, has a fresh taste and is pleasantly chewy thanks to the gojiberries.
The Orange Oatmeal is really tasty with juicy pieces of orange and flavoring from cinnamon.
Åsa looks pleased when she hears our comments. She smiles when we declare we do not want to stop eating. In spite of just having swallowed our lunch…
– Both of these two breakfasts keep very well for two days in the fridge, she points out. So you can easily prepare the night before and just take out in the morning. They are perfect as light evening meals or snacks!
The third of the breakfasts Åsa calls green smoothie. The color is closer to red purple, but the smoothie is named that because it contains lots of green wholesomeness – they are there, but not visible!
– Perfect when you want the children to eat the healthy green leaves, Åsa says. By doing this you can sneak in everything from dandelion leaves, kale, and herbs, to nettles, and create a good addition of both minerals and chlorophyll.
Åsa’s breakfasts are really super tasty. And they feel healthy to chow down. Yeah, a fresh feeling spreads in the body.
Åsa tells about the clock we have in our brain, the one that is controlled by light and darkness and gives signals to the inner organs regarding which hormones are to be produced.
– During the middle of the day the metabolism is at its greatest, at that time the body is digesting the food. At night melatonin is produced which affects the metabolism. The body temperature gets lower; we become tired and prepare ourselves to go to bed. It is important to not disturb this rhythm!
A beneficial mini fast
What she tries to tell us is that we should not eat a lot of food at night.
– Our metabolism slows down at night and other important activities like cleansing and healing start up between ten and two at night. If you eat heavy foods late at night the body is forced to digest this food instead of concentrating on other important things. Like working on the immune system and producing growth hormones.
– During night there is even cell regeneration and detox cleansing. If you have eaten your last meal early that night and slept until morning, you have had a mini fast during night.
It is important what you break that fast with. That is why it is important to start with clean foods, like raw foods, Åsa explains.
– You get a positive attitude and feel joy in life when you eat this kind of food. And that also affects your surroundings.
– So now you understand why I love raw food!
- Dried fruits, any kind – dates, raisins, figs, cranberries, blueberries, apricots
- Fresh fruit. Oranges, pears, apples, bananas and anything else in season. Also, berries, fresh or frozen.
- Leafy greens, herbs and lettuce, celery, cucumbers. Perfect in smoothies.
- Garlic and fresh ginger – great as seasoning.
- Nuts, all kinds. Preferably store in fridge, to not become rancid and produce free radicals.
- Buckwheat, oat groats, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
- Cinnamon, cardamom and pure vanilla.
- Coconut flakes, gojiberries, mulberries – perfect as bonus topping.
Handful raspberries, fresh or frozen
Handful raw cashew nuts, no salt
Topping: sesame seeds and gojiberries
Here is how to prepare:
Core apple and pear and cut into large chunks.
Place fruit, berries and nuts in a food processor and run until you have a nice texture.
Pour into serving bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds and gojiberries. If you are really hungry, add chopped nuts and serve with sliced banana, persimmon or passion fruit.
2 handfuls green leaves, such as spinach
2 cups filtered water
1½ cup mixed berries, fresh or frozen
2 small bananas or 1 large
½ inch ginger root, grated or pressed in garlic press
Topping: coconut flakes
Here is how to prepare:
Place the greens in a blender with half of the water. Process until smooth.
Add berries, banana, ginger. Add more water and process to a creamy smoothie. Taste and adjust with more ginger or berries. Top with coconut flakes.
1 cup whole oat groats, soaked overnight (available in health food stores)
1 banana, in chunks
1 apple, cored, in chunks
2-4 small dates, pitted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla, powder or extract (available in health food stores)
2-3 oranges, in chunks
Topping: pumpkin seeds, raisins and cinnamon
Here is how to prepare:
Thoroughly rinse the oat groats and place in food processor.
Add banana, apple, dates, vanilla, and chunks from half of an orange. Process until well mixed with a texture you like.
Fold in remaining orange and place in serving bowls.
Garnish with pumpkin seeds and raisins, sprinkle with cinnamon.
Åsa’s Trail Mix
Perfect as a snack. Eat as breakfast with a fresh fruit on days when you do not have time to eat at home!
You will need equal amounts of:
Hazelnuts, Brazil nuts cut in half, pumpkin seeds, and macadamia nuts (optional)
Plus equal amounts of:
Cranberries, gojiberries, and mulberries (optional).
Some coconut flakes, which give sweetness.
Here is how to prepare:
Combine everything in a bowl and mix. Pour into glass jar with lid. The mixture will keep for weeks if stored in the fridge.
About Åsa:Age: 62 years.
Resides: Florida and Mölle.
Family: Husband, two grown children and a little grandchild 4 years old.
Works as: Has a B.A. in archaeology, art history and anthropology. Now works as a raw food teacher.
Motto: “Raw food is my passion – I want to learn as much as possible and teach as much as I can!”
Web page: www.onthelime.com. You can receive a free gift! Leave your email address and get a wonderful booklet about raw food-breakfasts. In addition, you will have access to Åsa’s monthly articles, in either Swedish or English.
Current: Working on a book about raw food-breakfasts, which she hopes will be published both in Sweden and in the US soon.