A raw dessert recipe without nuts - allergen free!

The raw food movement is taking the world by storm, yet it’s leaving some of us out: what about those with nut allergies? Almost all raw desserts contain copious amounts of nuts and dried fruit to replace traditional baking ingredients such as eggs and sugar. Nuts are a fantastic source of good fats (e.g. Omega-3 fatty acids) and dried fruit provides phytonutrients and energy, but it does leave those less tolerant or even allergic in need of an alternative. Not only this, incidents reported in the media are raising the question in the food industry “what can we use instead of nuts and seeds to keep our customers safe?” Admittedly this only effects a minority, but when it comes to life or death it is simply not worth the risk of a single nut.

Creative Nature Superfoods launched “free-from” snacking in the raw food market. In a world where health food seems to be the new processed food, Creative Nature focuses on healthy eating authentically.

Read on for how I’m using them in my raw desserts!

Creative Nature Superfoods Bars raw nut-free dairy-free

RASPBERRY COCONUT CHEESECAKE

BASE INGREDIENTS:

5 Goji Bars from Creative Nature Superfoods

1 tsp beetroot powder

2 Medjool dates, soaked 15 mins in water and drained

1 tbsp desiccated coconut

CHEESECAKE FILLING:

100ml coconut oil

1 tin coconut milk

200g raspberries, fresh or frozen

25g xylitol

TOPPING: fresh raspberries

  1. Pulse all BASE INGREDIENTS in food processor until a dough forms.

  2. Press dough into a silicon mould, or cake tin double-lined with cling film.

  3. Blend CHEESECAKE FILLING ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth.

  4. Pour cheesecake filling over base and leave to set in fridge or freezer.

  5. Decorate with fresh raspberries.

Raspberry Coconut Cheesecake nut-free gluten-free dairy free

Is Body Image All About Mind Image?

Eight weeks ago I was asked to be a part of a project. This project offered me the opportunity to dress up in a vintage 1950s swimsuit, have my makeup done, and pose in an iconic luxury estate something akin to a Miami beach house in Oxfordshire. The catch? Well there was none really - I was working with a professional photographer and peers I consider friends yet I had no idea how uncomfortable I would feel until the moment I sat down by the pool in that gorgeous red vintage 1950s swimsuit at the time to pose. Yet not pose. And look cool, as well as perfect. This was the narrative in my mind.

Vikram Kushwah, incredibly talented fashion + art photographer, opens up the conversation about body image and does it with colour and integrity. His series ‘Women in Bathing Suits’ explores the subject of body image and diversity in the female form. In this series of portraits, the sitters - from various ethnic backgrounds and professions - shed light on how they perceive their bodies, as well as how the complexities of their form and/or societal ideas of beauty affect their psyches.

The photo was incredibly difficult to sit for - I felt self-conscious, awkward, self-conscious about my awkwardness!! It felt difficult to share this without berating the parts of myself I do not like.... which is ridiculous! Sharing my experience - as well as the series of photos Vikram took from the shoot - with my friends and peers gave me overwhelming insight and reassurance, that it’s not just me. I have read messages from both men and women who experience the same feelings of insecurity and self-beratement, equally without reason nor rationale. Here were my very honest thoughts about body image, and my reflections based on the responses that followed:

'A lot changes in the journey from how I see myself in the mirror to how I picture myself in my mind. Body image in my life has been something all-consuming. Sometimes I like what I see, but mostly I have berated my shape rather than celebrate it, the scars, the curves, lumps, blemishes, bumps. I don’t believe the problem is body image at all, it’s more “mind image”- the “not good enough” attitude that I think many of us women and men have adopted without respite.

Yet I do love my body. I am deeply grateful to be in this body. And I look after my body as best I can. I do criticise my body, most parts of it, regularly. Still, I know and love the body that is mine, and remind myself that this battle going on inside of me is happening in the minds of most of my peers, the strangers I pass on the street, even the models who walk into my yoga class. Yoga, dance and pranayama have helped me to be in my body, to let my mind go, and for a short moment that ridiculous concept “not good enough” is far, far away.'

~ Victoria Adams

As an aside, when Vikram asked me my swimsuit size, what I really wanted to say was

“could you order me 3 sizes in case it doesn’t fit me?”

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I can’t remember what I actually said. I should also say that of the photos taken I was at my most natural and “beautiful” as far as I’m concerned in one of the outtakes, laughing and having fun with my friend Julie. I remember the moment it was taken. In that moment there was no photographer (in my mind) and no self-judgement, only an opportunity to laugh and be myself with my dear friend. I am so grateful to have this photo: in it I do not see two beautiful girls in swimsuits, I see friendship.

I don’t know where in my lifetime it came from, but there is so much pressure to look “perfect”. I’m not sure I really know what perfect means, or even how I’d know if I got there. I have scrutinised my photograph. I have picked it - me - apart and then blurred it all back together again to see its beauty. I am sure that many of you will relate to this screening and scrutinising, whether we’re talking about professional pics or Facebook tags. We all pick at ourselves, man or woman. Critical over body, over decisions we have made in our past, over decisions we haven’t even made yet in our future.

Would you speak to the person sat next to you on the train in the same way that you speak to yourself? As my grandmother said, they’d give you a slap what for! Yet we deem it acceptable to self-flagellate ourselves as if we were our worst enemy? I have sat with circles of men and women, and seen them brought to tears at being told how beautiful they are in their entireties, not just their physicality. In their eyes I see them release years, often decades, of grief that has been buried, churned and recycled to the point that it has effectively become a trauma. This trauma that we have lived with, and continue to live with, as if it needn’t be dealt with or even spoken of. Why? Is it because we know it is a misplaced cause to put so much pressure on ourselves? Do we know on a gut level that, really, we are enough “just as we are”? I don’t know how to answer this.

All I know is that we are losing the opportunity to connect with others on an authentic level because we are so all-consumed by worry and fear that we are “not good enough” in the eyes of others. When actually some of us have failed to connect because the ones deeming us not good enough ares our own Selves.

Lose your story. Trust that you are enough, and that the love you convey to and for yourself can spread and inspire the same in others. Do not stress, or self-flagellate: for every 5 minutes you’re upset, it takes 8 hours to get out of your body’s stress response. And that’s not good for the wrinkles ;)

Every time you use your voice, it sends out a message to every cell in your body, as well as to the people around you. Be grateful for your body - it has gotten you this far. When you are having “one of those days” remind yourself that this fight going on inside of you is probably going on inside the man or woman you just passed on the street, or inside of your “perfect” best friend, who was too embarrassed to talk about it, or too busy to stop to notice and practice self-care and self-love. If the concept of body image is about how our mind perceives our body, can we change the narrative that has taken us out of our bodies? How do we get out of our heads? How do we stop being so hard on ourselves?

Maybe it’s as simple as reminding others and, in the moment we point out to another, we come to the realisation in ourselves: we are all good enough.

Vikram and @julieelagrace thank you for the beauty in your work and in your friendship. Check out www.vikramkushwah.com for more portraits of the beautiful and inspiring women who took part in the shoot.

Please share this post if you wish, I would love to know your thoughts on body image, mind image, and the constant chatter that goes on inside our heads. You can reach me @victoriaadams on Instagram.

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The shots I can’t get enough of

Back when I used to spend 10 hours a day at my desk, I wish I had known about these. Making my own healthy drink in the office took too much time, the local “health food” bars and cafes were either not all that healthy at all, overpriced, or tasted awful. At least we got together eventually - Bumblezest have brought something to the market that tastes good, is small enough to travel with on flights, boosts my energy and gets my skin glowing even when I’m tired and overdoing it.

When the body is in a state of inflammation, everything is harder (to say the least). So, how do you reduce inflammation? You can do it with sleep, boosting your immune system, with DIET and watching your stress + activity levels (not enough can be too little, but too much can also be too much). I can’t always control the amount of stress I have to deal with (said the yoga teacher!) but I do manage this using diet. Anti-inflammatory foods (most often plant-based foods) are how I do it.

By the way, when your body is in a lesser state of inflammation, this means it can respond more positively to flexibility and/or strength training - you are able to recover more quickly after training. You know what that means? Less DOMS, you can train a little more, and the more you train the better you become at your chosen practice.

GREAT FOR WHEN YOU’RE BUZZING ABOUT

The last year has been constant travel, moving between countries and then moving between houses, organising "At Home" Cleanses for clients. Getting a pot or pan, let alone my juicer out to make myself a nutritious meal has been tough. It helps working in the wellness industry, but train journeys and flights in between have meant I’ve had to keep life minimalistic. Most of my cooking equipment has been in storage and I don’t remember the last time I went food shopping or was “home” long enough to actually use all of the produce before it walked its own way out of the fridge!

ABOUT BUMBLEZEST

Bumblezest’s founder, Battersea-based Daniel was, like me, living and working in the city juggling numerous things and trying to find his way as he navigated between a stressful job and finding balance with his health- a stress in itself! The drink comes in little 90ml glass bottle (a nod to reducing carbon footprint) which makes it quick to drink (though I do try to make it last as it tastes so good!) and fine to travel with - it would be a very sad day if I had to leave a bottle behind at airport security.

HOW I HAVE MINE

I drink these in the morning (as it feels good knowing that the first thing to hit my digestive system is a food that nourishes). You can have it as a health shot on the go, or dilute with filtered water or even nut/seed milks, if that’s your thing. Sometimes I mix it with something fancier *vodka ahem* to share with friends and trick them into drinking something that’s a little “better" for them; it’s a way to find balance. Besides, there’s no point in being super healthy unless it make you super happy.

WHAT’S IN IT

Gluten, nut, dairy and lactose free, colouring, additives and preservative free. I love the shots that contain Hydrolyzed Marine Collagen (from wild caught fish). Collagen supports healthy skin, bone, hair, joints, muscles, organs and other connective tissue. Did you know that collagen is a protein our bodies already know how to make? Good sources to help boost our body’s production of collagen are: dark green veg, red/orange veg (Vitamin A helps restore collagen that has been damaged), citrus (Vitamin C is required in the process to make collagen, as well as zinc and copper) fish, meat (broths in particular), and eggs.

SWEET STUFF

The ingredients, elixirs such as maca, ginger, turmeric, spirulina, pair up with lemon juice as the main fruit base. Fructose, which is fruit sugar, has been getting a lot of bad press recently (save that for another journal post). Lemon has a very low fructose level so if that is something you’re worried about, you don’t need to. For flavour, the shots are sweetened with natural ingredients- a drop of honey, maple or stevia. Honey, by the way, is full of natural vitamins, enzymes and phytonutrients. It has its own microorganisms which make it a powerful natural antibiotic. This is becoming all the more important what with the disappearance of bees on our planet and the increase in antibiotic-resistance. Bumblezest work with British bee keepers and use only ethically sourced honey, ensuring that all their honey comes from hives where honey is left for the bees all year round so that the bees are able to survive the winter.

‘If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left’ - Albert Einstein

There are lots of flavours you can try, these are the ones I am buzzing about:

REVIVE + RESTORE ginger, turmeric, collagen (hydrolysed Marine Collagen from wild fish)

To lift you if you are ill or feel a cold coming on

NOURISH + NURTURE cacao, maca, collagen (from wild fish)

Your alternative to coffee, sweet treat, and has a sprinkling of cayenne to give your workout or metabolism a kick when you need it

CALM + COMFORT camomile, lavender, spirulina

To calm and comfort you, florals and superfoods to relax and restore if you’re feeling stressed, anxious or having trouble unwinding

If you’re really into juicing, get yourself booked onto a week at Juicy Oasis or Juicy Mountain. Don’t hang around because I’ve spent most of 2018 telling my mates I can’t bump them up the loooooooooooong waiting list- if it’s fully booked, it means fully booked.

www.bumblezest.co.uk

Instagram @bumblezest

Instagram @victoriaadams

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