Have I mentioned that I love eating the raw vegan diet?
Have I said anything yet about how amazing the desserts are?
I kid, I kid! I am well aware that I am now a living and breathing advertisement for green vegetables. But seriously, when it's this good and this good FOR you it's hard not to rave.
As spring blooms around the desert I feel a tickle in my throat and find myself blowing my nose a lot more than usual. It's allergy season. Dum dum dum!
One of the best defenses against allergies is to acquaint your body with the local blossoms internally, i.e., through eating local plants and pollens. One of the hands down best ways to ever stop your allergies is to purchase local (LOCAL is key) honey and bee pollen. Farmer's Markets are stocked with this gold, by the way, and are a great way to ensure its locality. Bee pollen looks like small pellets of yellow dust and is literally the pollen that bees collect from flowers. It tastes a little funny to me (my husband eats it by the spoonful, though), so I take a small spoonful of it in yogurt or applesauce or something mushy but palatable. I am no doctor or scientist so I can't tell you how it actually works inside our human systems (Google anyone? Let me know what you find!), but I do know it works.
I had a co-worker once years ago who had been to his doctor several times with new prescriptions for one form of allergy relief or another but he still could not sleep or find any comfort from his dry, itchy eyes, runny nose and sore throat. The poor guy! I wrote down two things for him:
1. Bee pollen
2. Cod Liver Oil (This comes in many forms but I can only recommend the liquid form and recommend at least a tablespoon a day before and after symptoms show up. This particular brand and flavor is as part of my childhood as anything.)
I saw him later that same day and he had been running around trying to find me--turned out that my recommendation had relieved his symptoms almost from the very moment he tried it. Now, I know some things about food, but this kind of reaction I did not expect. In fact, I kind of thought he was exaggerating. It was one of those things were I knew it worked for me and my family, but I was wary of how other "normal" people would react. I was thrilled that my mom's home remedies proved helpful for him, too.
Another great way to get this pollen is through honey. But be warned: if your honey was purchased at a national chain store and its container is in the shape of a cute bear, it may not be very potent. In fact, most retail honey contains added syrup and has lost a lot of its potency through processing. Again, Farmer's Market is a great place to not only buy honey but also talk to the people who harvest it. Make sure it's local--one of the reasons pollen works is that it contains particles found in your particular environment. And make sure it's raw, unprocessed and unfiltered.
Once you've bought yours, though, hit the kitchen and make yourself some Allergy-Fighting Cookies! (*Please note that bee pollen and honey can trigger allergic reactions. Honey and bee pollen are also not safe for children under 12 months of age.) This recipe is, again, ridiculously easy and requires zero baking time (obviously). The cookies are surprisingly simple and satisfying. Plus they help keep allergies at bay! I've been giving them to Dia and she is in love. Have I mentioned how much I love feeding my daughter sweet treats that I actually feel good about her eating?
(Recipe adapted/adopted from Raw Food Made Easy by Jennifer Cornbleet--I highly recommend purchasing this book!)
Yield: 8 cookies
1/2 cup raw almond or cashew butter (this can be found at most grocery stores, online or you can make it yourself--recipe for this is at the end if you don't already have some in the fridge)
1/4 cup raw honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup almonds ground to flour in food processor
Place the almond butter, honey, vanilla and salt in a food processor fitted with the S blade and process until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and freeze for thirty minutes. Form into 1-inch balls and flatten slightly. Roll each cookie in the almond flour. The book recommends freezing them at least two hours before serving, but since raw honey can harden quickly, I'd say no less than thirty minutes. If they've been frozen longer I'd also recommend setting them out for a few minutes before serving. Store in a sealed container in the freezer and they last up to one month. (Although you will probably eat them all before you even finish making them.)
Almond/Cashew Butter Recipe
Yield: 2 cups
2 cups raw almonds or cashews (you can use any nut or seed really for this)
1/4 cup oil (optional)
Blend almonds in food processor fitted with S blade or high-powered blender adding oil until it becomes smooth. I have found that using almond oil and adding a tiny bit of almond extract works great for almond butter. Here is a great blog post from a raw chef in the valley that shows how to make this at home and touts its many benefits as well.