When I first started blogging (I’m literally talking: my second blog post ever), and before I even knew that there was such a thing as internet etiquette and before I understood that it’s always a good idea to ask the original author about publishing their recipe online, I posted this>>
Luckily for me, Russell James didn’t mind, because he is cool like that. And the ‘cool’ bit, I happen to know for a fact, since we got to hang out on the coolest road-trip to the coolest place on the coolest day in history. Check out Russell’s post about our Stonehenge visit for Winter Solstice 21.12.12 and our 11:11 meditation, here>>
Apart from his cool, witty, fun and sweet character, Russell James also happens to be one of my biggest inspirations in the culinary world of raw. He is super creative and passionate about his insane food and you can see that radiating in all of his photos. It’s one thing to produce a stunning picture, but something else when it comes to producing an amazing recipe. Russ does it all! His ingredient combinations are flawless and if there was ever a dude to make raw food sexy- he is your man.
Meet our February’s Master of the Month…
Describe your typical day of eating and drinking.
It really depends on what I’m doing, and if I’m doing a harder workout, or just some yoga, or if I’m going out for a meal. But I’ll start off with some tea and either chia porridge, or a smoothie with coconut water, frozen blueberries, Sunwarrior protein, maca and a little stevia.
Lunch and dinner are interchangeable for me. Sometimes I’ll have a bigger lunch and a small dinner, and not eat very late. So at the moment in the colder months I’m baking up some veg like butternut squash or cauliflower and having that with a big kale salad and some avocado or a tahini dressing. I like spices, so I’ll usually have some smoked paprika or chipotle powder and maybe some cayenne too.
Another really popular meal for me is a salad with some cooked qunioa and some tree nut cheese. That’s more the style of food in my Weekday Raw course – sometimes I’ll actually use recipes from that course. I guess that’s a good thing, right?
I like to snack on fruit, or kale chips if I have them made. I leave the fruit more for the workout days.
I’ll have several tonic teas throughout the day. I love Elwin’s Lionheart Herbs blends and will have them with some stevia. Of course, I will drink plenty of water throughout the day too.
What (or who) inspires you to eat well and stay healthy?
The way I feel on a daily basis inspires me to be healthy. Having energy and a passion for life, and for living a life that's not the norm really drives me. I also love the vibrancy and the simplicity of raw foods; I love that we can thrive so much on plants! It just seems to make so much sense. Our time on this planet is so short, why wouldn't I want to live with as much energy and vibrancy as I can.
What is your biggest weakness when it comes to food and how do you deal with that?
Dates! I know they're not good for my teeth, but when there's an open pack of medjools around, you know, the really soft ones, I just cant' stop myself. I've read it's good to swish water around your mouth after something sweet and sticky, so I do that and hope it helps. I visit the dentist very regularly and everything looks good, so I guess I'm not doing too bad.
My top tip for:
Improving your diet is... Start learning about new foods. There's so many options out there, that if you genuinely find a few new foods and recipes that excite you, there'll be no stopping you. Motivation is temporary, so if you have the motivation to change things, that'll only last so long. Use that motivation to take some cooking classes and get some new recipes under your belt. If you're going to raw food classes, you'll meet other people that are into their health too, which really helps. To become a healthy person, you need to do things that healthy people do. That means not just what you do in your kitchen, but exercise and social stuff. The good news is that in the process, you'll meet some amazing people that will keep you going.
Staying healthy while travelling is... It's all about the preparation. Car journeys are easy in terms of being able to take what you want. Generally lots of water and some dehydrated things with a dip are great. The longest car journey I did was a road trip from Austin, Texas to Phoenix, Arizona. It was 16 hours of driving, so I wanted to stay alert. I filled a cool box with a load of ice and just had liquids all the way.
Airplanes are a different story because there's no guarantee you'll be able to take food on, and even then you'd need to put it through the scanner, which I'm pretty sure is not good for it. It really depends on the length of the flight, but if it's not too long, just having water can actually be a good way to survive a flight and not have jetlag. I love to do a netipot after being on a plane too, to clear out any nastiness in a plane.
Detoxing is... Breathe! Did you know that 70% of the toxins that leave your body do so through your breath? Deep belly breathing is so important for the detoxification of your system, and has so many other benefits too.
Immunising is... You know, this is such an emotive issue. People get really passionate about it on both sides of the argument. I always get negative comments and arguments start between people, whenever I post something on Facebook about the dangers of immunisation, which really surprised me. I think my best tip for this is to get educated.
If you decide you want you and your family to not be immunised in terms of vaccinations, as I won't be, then it's got to be about making your system strong through good health, herbs, super foods, exercise and plenty of sleep.
What's the nicest thing anyone has ever said to you?
I had a lovely email from a 70 year old lady last week, about her being so happy with learning new recipes, she said I have added years to her life. That genuinely choked me up, because it really brought me close to why I do this. Not just adding years to someone's life, but to make a difference in the quality of life that a person has.
How would you like to be remembered?
As someone with integrity that followed my passion, lead by example and did it all with a smile on my face.
If you got to keep only 3 of your belongings: 1 thing from your kitchen, 1 thing from your garden and 1 thing from your bookshelf- what would they be?
The kitchen is easy. It’d have to be my knife. Couldn’t live without my sharp knife.
I have a roof terrace, rather than a garden, and the only thing I have on there right now is my chiminea, but I really love it! I haven’t really used it much because it’s been raining a lot, but as soon as I can get out there and enjoy it in the dry, I’m going to. I can imagine some really beautiful nights of conversation and laughter are going to happen out there in the months to come.
I’m really into Audible right now, because I love being able to listen to books being read, often by the actual author, on the move. So from my current collection I’d have to take Gregg Braden, The Divine Matrix. Simply because it gives me so much perspective on how amazing it is that we’re even all here!
If you could host a dinner party for 3 guests (dead or alive)- who would they be and what would you serve?
I'd make it boys' night and would invite Bruce Lee, Russell Brand and Bill Hicks. I'd want to have lots of flowing conversation, and for that I think I'd serve food that can be passed around. Lots of really amazing tree nut cheeses, with fruit chutney, balsamic vinegar, pear crisps and crackers - they can all be experienced really nicely in a shared environment, and almost always really blow people's minds as to what's possible. I wonder what Bruce Lee would think about raw food. Bill Hicks was known as being really unhealthy and smoked a lot. I'd loved to have added years to his life - we lost someone with so much more to give when he died.
Why do you believe that life is Better Raw?
It'a all about the vibrancy! What you eat reflects the life you have, I'm sure of that. Who wouldn't want a vibrant life?
Our Master of The Month shares his favourite raw food recipe...
SMOKY MAPLE SUNFLOWER SEEDS
This is a quick and hearty recipe that you’ll especially love if you like spicy foods with lots of flavour. I haven’t made the spice in this recipe too intense, but if you’re like me and want to increase the chili powder or add some cayenne powder, go ahead and do so!
Of course the chipotle chili will not only add to the heat, but will give you a beautiful smokiness to the dish.
If you really want to go all-out and replace the oils in this recipe with a smoked oil, you’ll create an incredible flavour that will make this an absolute staple.
2 little gem lettuce or similar, dressed in a little lime juice and olive or avocado oil
1/4 cup hemp seed
1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked 4 to 8 hours
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not the ones in oil), soaked for 1 hour or so
1/2 cup fresh baby tomatoes, halved
1 chipotle chili, soaked for several hours until soft
1 tbsp dark miso
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp olive oil
2 soft dates, chopped
1/4 cup water
2 tsp garlic powder
1 chili with the seeds removed and then finely diced
3 spring onions (green onions), diced
1 small handful fresh coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
In a food processor, grind all the ingredients together, so they are broken down but still a little chunky.
Tear up your lettuce, toss in the oil and lemon juice and place in a bowl, ready for this seed mixture to go on top.
This is a great dish to serve to guys if they think they’re not going to enjoy raw food. It’s really filling and hearty and can be made even more so with the addition of some avocado.
WANT A REAL TREAT?
Of course you do!
So here’s an incredible quesco fresco dressing to tip you over the edge. . .
QUESO FRESCO DRESSING
1 cup cashews, soaked for 20 minutes
1/2 a red pepper
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp tahini
1 clove garlic
1 green chili
2 tbsp coriander (cilantro)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt
This is nice and simple and will make a beautiful dressing for a salad on its own, or as a sauce to top this dish with. Just blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth and that’s it!
This will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
HAVE A DEHYDRATOR?
If you make smoky maple sunflower seed mixture into balls and dehydrate them, you can make this into quite a spectacular wrap!
Here’s what to do. . .
Make the sunflower seed mixture using the recipe above, but instead of serving it as it is, form into small balls and dehydrate at 115 degrees F for 8 to 12 hours.
To make the wrap itself. . .
3 cups peeled courgette (zucchini)
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup leek
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
Blend all the ingredients using a high-speed blender, until they’re smooth. You’ll then be able to spread them out into 2 wraps approximately 22 cm (9 inches) across on a non-stick dehydrator sheet.
Dehydrate them for 6 to 8 hours removing them from the non-stick sheet and finishing on the mesh dehydrator sheet for the last 30 minutes or so.
Build the final wraps using lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, the dehydrated smoky maple balls, queso dressing, microgreens if you have them, and chopped spring onions. Wrap or just roll into a cylinder and enjoy eating!
Oh! And I loved those Thai Nori Rolls so much (see first paragraph), that I ended up buying Russell James’s Thai recipe eBook and every single other eBook he’s ever produced and a home study guide too! Yep, a fan and proud.
For more on Russell James and his work, visit www.TheRawChef.com