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Pumpkin Seed Oil Infused, Garlic-Dill Fermented Carrots

Most Sunday’s are family days in our house. My husband and I decide on a location and take off with our son for the day. A few weeks ago we decided to head up to the Northern Cali coast via North Marin. This is an area near and dear to my heart because both my Mother and Father spent many years living, loving and working up there. I’ve heard stories, made visits and even have some of my earliest memories of turtles, art tables, and food projects in the mystical landscape of Inverness, CA. My Mother recounts the days when she worked as the head baker for the “Point Reyes Station House Cafe”, jamming with rockin’ roll greats including Jerry Garcia before the “Greatful Dead” existed, doing yoga on the beach and silk screening children’s clothing with fairies and fantastic animated scenery. With these very colorful images in mind, we set off for our own adventure in the natural world of North Marin.

Whenever we go out for our adventures we tend to seek out some sort of family and diet friendly restaurant to indulge in. With my Mother in mind, and knowing they use high integrity local food ingredients I requested we go to the “Station House Cafe” the very restaurant that my Mother baked for, served and created at some 30+ years prior. Eating out can be a tricky one with me as I tend to stick to a high raw vegan diet. I feel bad for my wait people sometimes as I request some different combinations than are normally offered. This day at the Station House Cafe I chose to enjoy some eggs which I will do occasionally especially if they are pasture raised and definitely organic. However, I eat them only in combination with veggies, because of some food combining principles I learned while on the body ecology diet and because it simply feels better. These eggs came with wild mushrooms, I ordered a side of their braised cruciferous greens, and some mysterious sounding garlic-dill carrots that were all the rave.

What could all the hubub be about carrots I thought? I soon found out, being delighted by their sweet-tart, herbal aromatic flavor, and had to ask just how they were made. To my delight, they were raw, and fermented in house with the simplest of ingredients. Their carrots included; garlic, dill, a small amount of red onions, sea salt and olive oil – pressed and fermented for a couple of days. They were so good, and sounded so easy that I just HAD to come home and experiment for myself.

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The recipe below is the outcome of my experiment and I cannot get enough of these sweet tart medallions! These garlic dill carrots are slightly tart, slightly sweet, brightly scented with fresh dill and deep with earthy garlic and healing raw virgin pumpkin seed oil instead of olive oil (Olive Oil could easily be used in place of the pumpkin seed oil, but I LOVE the flavor and the immense nutritional spectrum that pumpkin seed oil offers).

pumpkin seed oil infused garlic dill carrots

I hope you try out this recipe and love it as much as I do! Serve along side any meal cooked or raw to add bright flavor and the healing value that fermented foods supply. I also use them with different pates in nori and collard wraps, and may even try using them for some dehydrated crackers. Use your imagination and let your palate dance!

Pumpkin Seed Oil Infused Garlic-Dill Fermented Carrots

Recipe by Chaya-Ryvka Diehl

Ingredients:

5-6 med. to large carrots, sliced with a food processors slicer blade

½ cup chopped dill, lightly packed

2 Tbs. finely diced garlic 

1 tsp. high mineral sea salt

2 Tbs. extra virgin pumpkin seed oil

Using all sterilized tools:

Toss all of your ingredients together until well combined.

Stuff into a quart sized glass jar.

Top off with a weight or tightly rolled cabbage leaves to make sure carrots are tightly packed.

Cover and set in a warm place.

Continue pressing throughout the day to bring up the naturally occuring brine until it covers the carrots. 

Let your carrots ferment for at least two days.

After a couple of days taste your carrots, and refrigerate or leave them out to ferment even longer, tasting every day until you reach a desired level of tartness.

Store in your refrigerator, for up to a month or more. Fermentation will continue at a much slower pace once set in the fridge.

Enjoy and please leave a comment below to let me know what you think of this recipe or how you may have adjusted it to suit your desire.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Chaya's Kitchen
Fermented Foods
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Raw Probiotic Crepes

Probiotic Crepes

Sometimes you just need to treat yourself to something extra special. That’s not exactly what I had in mind when I made these probiotic crepes, but that is what I ended up being able to do after I made them. I love making batches of dehydrated breads, crackers, and wraps – it makes eating raw food more diverse, interesting, fun and filling!

Actually, how I came about making these crepes was that once again I had two bananas that were quickly getting to that over-ripe, time to make banana bread stage. It’s been happening often. I buy bananas for my little boy, and sometimes he loves them, sometimes he doesn’t – lately not so much. I did make one batch of banana bread, but I don’t eat it and I don’t want a lot of it in the house, so lately I’ve been freezing the over ripening bananas. At some point those frozen bananas will become smoothies or ice cream, but these most recent bananas had to become something a little more inventive, hence banana crepes. The probiotics come in to play because I know that eating probiotics along with the sweet stuff helps in predigesting and using the sugars before they can feed any yeasts or fungus that may be lingering in our system. Not to mention that I didn’t want the crepe wrappers to be overly sweet, and we all know dehydrated bananas are pure raw food candy!!!

Because I like staying lower on the glycemic index, and these wrappers were already sweeter than I tend to eat, I kept the filling on the sour-creamy (from home-made coconut yogurt), and slightly sweet (from fresh berries) side. Traditionally, crepes are made sweet or savory. Fillings for sweet crepes can be “nutella”, white or dark chocolate, sweet cheeses, fruits, nuts, syrups and creams. We could do all that raw vegan if we wanted to, but I tell ya – the low sweet, high probiotic version I made were just as satisfying and super nourishing all at the same time. 

Here’s how I made the Crepes:

Probiotic Banana Crepes

by Chaya-Ryvka Diehl

makes 6-8 crepe wrappers

Ingredients:

2 very ripe bananas

1/2 cup homemade  coconut yogurt*

1/2 tsp. meyer lemon juice

1/4 tsp. meyer lemon zest

pinch high mineral sea salt

Method:

Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

measure 1/4 cup servings and pour on a dehydrator tray fitted with a teflon sheet.

Use the base of your measuring cup or a soup spoon to smooth out the batter into the shape of a thin crepe, about 1/4 inch thick.

Dehydrate 4-6 hours at 105 degrees, and gently peel the crepe off the teflex sheet. Flip the crepe over and continue to dehydrate until dry to the touch.

Store the crepes in an airtight container in your pantry, cool and dark is best – for up to a week. For longer storage store in the fridge.

Fill with your favorite fruit, coconut yogurt, chocolate spread or anything your creative palate comes up with.

Enjoy, and let me know what your twist on it is! 

 * I will try and get a coconut yogurt recipe posted shortly. In the mean time, I’m sure you can find many great fresh coconut yogurt recipes floating around in the blogosphere or on youtube!  ;-)

Breads, Crackers & Wraps
Breakfast Foods
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Salted Almond Butter Cup Fudge

I made these GORGEOUS little confections for Valetines’ Day with a chocolate cookie crust, almond butter cream, chocolate ganache, chocolate fudge and a chocolate drizzle.

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Talk about decadent – elegant and complex but totally worth it! I wanted to share the recipe, but being the perfectionist that I am, I felt some of the layers still needed a bit of refining. However, two of the layers were spot on and work together beautifully.

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That is where this Salted Almond Butter Cup Fudge recipe came from. Plus, it is pretty simple, sets up quickly and is deeply, deeply satisfying!

 

Salted Almond Butter Cup Fudge

Recipe By Chaya-Ryvka
http://www.thelivingvision.com/

Makes 36 servings
one 8×8 square cake pan
Use coconut oil to grease cake pan.
Line your cake pan with parchment paper or saran wrap, leaving an inch or two of overhang.

Base Almond Butter Layer:
1 cups almond butter
4 Tbs. melted cacao butter
2 Tb. coconut nectar
3 Tbs. coconut sugar (finely powdered in coffee grinder)
1 tsp. high mineral sea salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla powder

Mix ingredients by hand until well combined.
Pour over a plastic wrap or parchment paper lined 8×8 square cake pan.
Set in freezer to firm for about 30 minutes, or until firm to the touch.

Chocolate Fudge Layer

.75 cup coconut nectar
.75 cup cacao powder
.25 cup cacao nibs
2 tsp. vanilla powder
.25 cup coconut oil
.75 tsp. high mineral sea salt

Pour and spread over firm almond butter base.
Decorate with chocolate drizzles, chopped almonds and cacao nibs, orange curls, rose petals, and most definitely a sprinkle of your favorite high mineral sea salt!!! – anything that makes your heart sing!
Set in your freezer for an hour or until set.
cut into 6 strips one way and 6 strips the opposite way to create 36 squares.
Enjoy!
Store in your fridge for up to 3 weeks or longer in your freezer.

 

Chaya's Kitchen
Confections
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World’s Top Raw Chefs Come Together at the Raw Living Expo’s Expanded Demo Stage

 

white-gradiant-rle-logo 

World’s Top Raw Chefs Come Together at the Raw Living Expo’s Expanded Demo Stage

 

 

Los Angeles, CA – December 12, 2013 – The top raw chefs from around the world will gather at the 2014 Raw Living Expo, taking place January 31 – February 2, 2014 at the Hyatt Westlake Village. Due to overwhelming demand the 2014 Raw Living Chef Demo Stage is more than twice the size of the 2013 space to accommodate more participants.

 

Produced by noted raw chef, educator and consultant Chaya-Ryvka Diehl of The Living Vision, the Chef Demo stage features the divine presence of 20 Professional Raw Chefs, who will demonstrate the preparation of their signature dishes, teaching how to make a gorgeous array of raw foods recipes. Everything from savory snacks to sumptuous salads to amorous entrees to delectable desserts and mouth-watering chocolates will be served up and sampled live at the Raw Living Expo. In addition to the demos, all participants will receive a Raw Living Expo Chef Showcase Book featuring all the recipes of this stellar raw weekend.

 

The raw chefs on the demo stage are:

 

-       Solla Eiriksdottir is coming all the way from Iceland where she runs the country’s most popular raw restaurant and is also a sought after lecturer on the topic plus a continual presence on lists of the best raw food chefs in the world. Solla will demonstrate Fermented Beetroot to LIVE for!

 

-       Shelley Young the vital force behind the library of pH Miracle books, alkalizing supplements and therapies, her powerful philosophy on keeping an alkaline diet and lifestyle has been a breakthrough concept in health and nutrition since the early 2000s.

 

-       Youtube raw chef demo sensation Dara Dubinet.

 

-       Celebrity, sports figures and pageant winners go to chef, Chef Be*Live will demonstrate Fresh Fruit Gazpacho and Rawkin’ Improv.

 

-       Bestselling author of The Raw Gourmet Nomi Shannon will demonstrate Warming Foods for Winter Nights.

 

-       Real Life Raw: Kids in the Kitchen author Chef Tina Jo will demonstrate Go Vertical! Caprese Salad Stacks with Mozzarella.

 

-       Russia native Alina Z is a certified health and nutrition coach, and culinary expert.  Her unique approach to food says that creating a healthy diet is like choosing the fashions that fill your closet. To fit well, your diet has to reflect your unique personality and lifestyle.  It’s a philosophy she calls “Couture Nutrition™” and sharing it with others is her passion. Alina will demonstrate her Decadent Brownie with Rich Chocolate Ganache.

 

-       Minh & Ronnie Skurow are husband and wife raw food educators and entrepreneurs who spend their time and energy promoting raw and living food. Ronnie is a Philosopher and long-time raw foodist. Minh is a Master Raw Chef who was raised by a totally raw Mother and has been eating and creating raw and living food her entire life. Together, Ronnie & Minh have produced two award winning raw food DVD’s and have helped thousands of people transform to a raw lifestyle. The will be demonstrating Minh’s Raw Spring Rolls.

 

-       Victoria Boutenko, noted author, mother of “The Raw Food Familiy” will demonstrate Layered Green Smoothies for Different Occasions.

 

-       Living Light Culinary Institute directors and Raw Food for Dummies authors Cherie Soria & Dan Ladermann will demonstrate Herbed Macadamia Cheese.

 

-       Talented raw vegan chef, accomplished workshops leader, inspiring presenter, change agent and pioneer in the conscious cuisine and sustainable health movement Jillian Love will demonstrate herCowboy Breakfast.

 

-       Fiction and non-fiction author and developer of the popular “Quality Produce” app Valya Boutenkowill demonstrate cool raw Popsicles.

 

-       Houston’s raw food scene leader Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram.

 

-       Juice and smoothie DVD star Dan “The Life Regenerator” McDonald.

 

-       Dr. Aris LaTham, a native of Panama, considered to be the father of gourmet ethical raw foods cuisine in America. He debuted his raw food creations in 1979, when he started Sunfired Foods, a live food company in Harlem. Dr. LaTham will demonstrate his classic Paradise Pie and Plantains.

 

-       Pure Energy Chef Steve Factor works with Whole Foods Markets and is a prominent private chef, caterer and coach in Los Angeles. Steve will demonstrate Pesto Zugetti and Chocolate Truffles.

 

-       Brother Echo Roberson is many things but most certainly not limited to one; a RA-food chef, juicing guru, cleanse and detox expert, energetic healer, breathwork practitioner, medium, channel, author, producer, host, entrepreneur and entertainer. Echo will demonstrate his Antioxidant Power Smoothie.

 

-       Cheri Rae is a masterful yoga instructor, living food magician, and owner of the noted Peace Yoga/Gallery L.o.v.e. Café in Downtown Los Angeles. 

 

-       Best of Raw Awards and Raw Living Expo founder Laura Chiraya Fox is a Life Coach, Author, Workshop Facilitator, Healing Practitioner & Speaker whose divine-love focus assists people around the world in achieving self-mastery, clarity & deep, lasting integration of spiritual principles with practical worldly application. Laura will demonstrate Superhero Raw Beverages and Elixirs.

 

-       Diana Stobo is the award-winning author of the healthy lifestyle book Get Naked Fast! A Guide to Stripping Away the Foods That Weigh You Down — the best title for a health book ever. This hot-selling title is a practical guide that Diana used to heal herself from illness, lose 100+ pounds, and change her life forever. Diana will be demonstrating her Naughty Nutritious Nut-Mylks.

 

In addition to the Raw Living Chef Demo Stage, the Raw Living Expo will feature the Rawntrepreneurs Business & Marketing Conference, keynotes, workshops, the Best of Raw Awards gala, receptions, after parties, films, and more. There will also be an exhibit hall with over 50 top raw and other companies sampling and vending.

All-inclusive tickets are the best way to get full access to the weekend, including the Rawntrepreneurs Conference, all the Raw Living Expo workshops, speakers, networking events, chef demos, exhibitor areas, yoga, qi gong and fitness classes, the Friday Awards Dinner Gala, the Saturday night Best of Raw Online Awards Show, and the Sunday After Party Dinner, and are only $397 each until December 31. These tickets will no longer be available after January 7th. General Admission Tickets at $247 include all workshops, chef demos, RawTalks, exhibitor areas, and the Saturday night Best of Raw Awards Show, plus Saturday and Sunday main stage talks. These “General Admission” tickets do not include the Rawntrepreneurs Conference, the Friday Night Dinner and the Sunday Afterparty Dinner. All three of these tickets can be purchased a la carte, and day passes are also available. Tickets are available at http://www.rawlivingexpo.com/chefchaya.

The Hyatt Westlake Village has given the Raw Living Expo a great room rate of only $125 per night. Up to four guests can share a room. This spacious and elegant hotel is a Mediterranean Oasis just north of Los Angeles in Thousand Oaks, CA, conveniently located off the 101, it’s just a $26 shuttle ride from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and a $35 shuttle ride from Bob Hope Airport (BUR, in Burbank).

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For more information please visit http://www.rawlivingexpo.com/chef-showcase/. For press information please contact Susan von Seggern on susan@susanvonseggern.com or 213-840-0077.

 

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Raw Vegan Thanksgiving Cheesecake Tart with RAVE Reviews

Apple Cheesecake Tart

 

This Apple Cheesecake Tart has gotten RAVE reviews. Most notably I need to quote a dear 3 and a half year old friend who was enjoying a slice of this tart with my other dear friend (her Mommy). Here’s what the Mom wrote to me “We loved this dessert! It was fantastic. Kaya said at the top of her voice after each bite, “that was EVEN YUMMIER!!!” I couldn’t agree more. Thank you!

There are a number of steps to complete this dessert, but I HIGHLY recommend reading through the recipe, gathering your ingredients, preparing your nuts, and then taking the time to create this very festive, elegant, and mouthwatering dessert for your Thanksgiving celebration! I would put my money on EVERYONE – no matter their dietary preference – LOVING this dessert without having a clue that it is raw-vegan. 

I originally made this dessert for Living Tree Community Foods (a video will be available soon) so any ingredients you are not familiar with can be purchased directly through their website. 

Enjoy the recipe and let me know what you think!

Thanksgiving Apple Cheesecake Tart
Serves 20
A spiced, walnut based, apple cheesecake tart. A festive dessert perfect for any wintertime holiday celebration.
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473 calories
38 g
0 g
35 g
7 g
5 g
171 g
264 g
21 g
0 g
29 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
171g
Servings
20
Amount Per Serving
Calories 473
Calories from Fat 301
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 35g
54%
Saturated Fat 5g
25%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 16g
Monounsaturated Fat 13g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 264mg
11%
Total Carbohydrates 38g
13%
Dietary Fiber 5g
18%
Sugars 21g
Protein 7g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
7%
Calcium
5%
Iron
11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Tools
8-9 inch tart pan with removable base.
Food Processor
High Speed Blender
Dehydrator (optional)
Pre-prep
Raw Organic Walnuts (at least 3 Cups)
1 tsp. Sea Salt
Purified or Spring Water
Method
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
Be sure water covers walnuts by about 2 inches.
Let soak for 8 hours.
Rinse well, and repeat the process.
Rinse well, and dehydrate at 110 until crispy - about 20 hours.
Crust
2 Cups soaked and dehydrated Walnuts
3 ½ Medjool Dates
1 Tbs. Coconut Sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon
¼ tsp. Vanilla Powder
pinch High Mineral Sea Salt
Method
Process above ingredients until they resemble sand, be sure not to let it get oily or mushy.
Taste to make sure you like the saltiness, add another pinch if you feel it needs it.
Add
2 Tbs. Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Pulse until the coconut oil is well combined.
You should be able to gently squeeze the crust and have it hold together but still break apart and crumble with some agitation.
*Be sure not to overprocess the walnuts as they will release their oil and will not be moldable.
Evenly distribute your crust over the tart base and press into place. Do your best to create a level surface with even thickness all around.
Set in the fridge to firm up as you work on the filling.
Cheesecake Filling
1 Cup Water
1/3 C. Walnut Butter
5 large Medjool Dates (¼ Cup wet measure - meaning as you add the dates to the liquid and immerse them completely the liquid will rise up by ¼ Cup.)
1 Tbs. Coconut Sugar
½ tsp. Lemon Zest
2 Tbs. Lemon Juice
½ tsp. High Mineral Sea Salt
½ tsp. Vanilla Powder
½ Cup Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Method
Blend in a high speed blender until completely silky smooth.
Poor into your tart pan, and tap it down just a bit to level the cream and let out some of the air bubbles.
Set in your fridge or freezer while you prepare the marinated apples.
Marinated Apple Topping
4 Cups thinly sliced Granny Smith or other tart Apples
Small pinch salt
¼ tsp. Vanilla Powder
2 1/2 Tbs. Dark Coconut Nectar
2 Tbs. Lemon Juice
1 tsp. Cinnamon
Method
Mix all ingredients well.
Dehydrate in a covered Quart sized Mason Jar for 4-6 hours or until soft and juicy.
Shake a few times while dehydrating to help marinate the apples in the juices.
Once complete drain your apples completely. You may wish to keep the juice to use in a chia porridge or other fun way!
Your almost ready to put your tart together. Last step is to make your crumble and put the layers together.
Crumble
(this can be done while your apples are marinating)
2 Tbs. Coconut Sugar
2 Tbs. Walnut Butter
Mix together by hand and set aside
1 Cup soaked and dehydrated Walnuts
½ Cup apple juice sweetened dried Cranberries
½ tsp. Vanilla Powder
Pinch High Mineral Sea Salt
½ tsp. Cinnamon
Method
Pulse all ingredients including the walnut butter and coconut sugar mixture until you reach a crumbly consistency.
Set aside until your apples are ready.
Instructions
Put your tart together just before you are ready to serve it so the crumble remains crispy.
When you are ready, layer the apples on the cream base, and top it with the crumble spreading to reach out to the edges.
I garnished it with some powdered pistachios and chopped cranberries.
Enjoy this festive dessert for up to 5 days!
Notes
If this is going to be served for only a few people you can always keep the crumble to the side and put it on individually. This will keep your crumble more crisp, however it is till delicious if you keep your crumble on it and store the whole thing together. It won't be as crispy, but it will be as delicious!
beta
calories
473
fat
35g
protein
7g
carbs
38g
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Living Vision http://www.thelivingvision.com/blog/

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Why I Kicked Stevia to the Curb

It was September 6th 2013 that I decided to bite the bullet and leap into Donna Gates’ Body Ecology Diet (BED). The Body Ecology Diet is an anti candida diet that focuses on low sugar (sour fruits like lemons, limes, black currants, and cranberries only) high probiotic, and properly food combined foods. Being that I have quite the sweet tooth I took Donna’s advice and tried using stevia to sweeten my tea. To my surprise (because in the past I had not enjoyed stevia in most cases) I quite enjoyed the flavor as a sweet alternative and began using it multiple times a day. I used stevia EVERY morning in tea, and I used quite a bit, then again in the midday hours in my green smoothie and yet again later in the day in some more tea. Many of you know me as a raw dessert chef and the fact that I was not eating any sugars with a glycemic load gave me the perfect opportunity to create some zero glycemic desserts and recipes. More recipes were quickly added to the list of how I used stevia including raw cheesecake, chocolate confections, young coconut yogurt, dressings, soups – anywhere that stevia could add a nice flavor enhancement. What an awesome concept – zero glycemic and yet it still hit the spot for my sweet tooth! To good to be true? Now I feel confident in saying YES it was and is TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE!

It’s been nearly two and a half months since I began using stevia, multiple times a day, on a daily basis. A couple of things came up that I at the time, I made no correlation to my stevia use. Now, I am nearly certain they were side effects OF using stevia. These “stevia toxicity symptoms” included my menstrual cycle being thrown way off since I started using stevia on a regular basis, waking up a few different occasions with a severe headache that lasted throughout the day, occasional experiences of feeling slightly dizzy, nauseous, and just out of it. At the time I attributed these experience to candida detox.

Just last week I started reading Ramiel Nagels Book “Cure Tooth Decay”. In this book there is a section where he is talking about acceptable and unacceptable sweeteners. Stevia is under the no-no category. From his book: “There are many sweeteners made from extracting components of the stevia leaf and they are dangerous. Be careful that you don’t mistakenly buy a stevia extract or overly processed product. These extracts of stevia will likely cause significant imbalances to your glandular system.”

*Glandular system aka Endocrine system – from Karen R. Hurds Blog: the endocrine system is composed of all glands that produce hormones. This includes the pancreas, adrenal glands, thyroid, ovaries, testes, pineal gland—not to mention the pituitary. – See more at: http://bit.ly/1aFauXa

After doing some quick investigation online about stevia’s affect on your endocrine and glandular system I found more articles and studies supporting Ramiel Nagels statements. Some of this supporting documentation included; stevia causing hormonal changes and imbalances, hyperthyroidism, adrenal fatigue, headaches, dizziness, infertility and more – at that I knew, from the symptoms I had been experiencing, that these findings were true and I had to stop. You will find many people contending studies showing infertility being caused by stevia (these studies have been tested on rodents) floating around the web, but my personal experience is that stevia use absolutely threw my female cycle way off, I feel like I’ve been my own unintended lab test.

From Karen R. Hurds blog “…Brazilian pharmacological journal in 1988 which indicated the detrimental effects of stevia on fertility in mice. Anecdotal evidence in the human population is beginning to be reported that also testifies to infertility issues, not only in females, but in males. – See more at: http://bit.ly/1gK8R2T

The day I dropped stevia use altogether is when the BAD of stevia hit ME like a ton of BRICKS. Although I had just discovered all of this new information and saw the parallels with my symptoms, I was not at all expecting to experience major stevia WITHDRAWAL! The day I stopped, feelings of sadness and fatigue started washing over me, while the following day I felt pure substance imposed depression, a feeling I had never experienced before, but I knew it was not OF ME. It felt like what I imagine people feel when they go cold turkey off of an antidepressant drug. I’m sure this was a “stevia detox” symptom. And, I am sure after looking through many articles that my abnormal menstrual cycles, headaches and dizzy spells were also stevia induced.

Because of my personal experience I do not feel the need to read any further studies to know whether stevia is safe to use (at least refined stevia. I was using an all organic stevia extract with nothing added. The whole leaves may be safe  as they have been used for a long time by the native peoples of Paraguay “The Guarani Indians have been using stevia as long as we have record of their activities, which is for a few centuries. These Indians called the stevia plant “kaa he-he” which is a native term for “sweet herb.” They would use it to sweeten a tea-like beverage called bitter mate, or would simply chew the leaves for the sweet taste. By the 1800′s, use of stevia had spread from the Guarani Indians throughout Paraguay and even into the neighboring countries of Brazil and Argentina”. – See more at: http://bit.ly/1gK8R2T. I would be interested in seeing further studies on the whole leaf plant, but I will not be doing that testing on myself.)

I cannot be behind stevia, and am convinced that it has a major effect on our hormones, and is definitely not safe for anyone with a history of anxiety, or depression. In my humble opinion if it can affect us in such a way, it should not be used as a food substance. I do have a couple of recipes out there using stevia as the sweetener, as I do have recipes using xylitol (which I am also no longer using) and I have not decided whether I will leave them or remove them from the internet. If one does decide to use stevia as in those recipes, I would use it for very special occasions only, and not by any means on a regular basis. At this point I am feeling that any sweetener that has been altered, is not a sweetener I personally want to use (like Lo-Han, Erythritol, Agave, although I will use grade B Maple Syrup).

What is the alternative then for people who want or need to get off of any sweeteners with a glycemic load? Perhaps I will no longer be the best person to ask, or perhaps I will be the inspiration that many need to take the leap their bodies and hearts are really asking for. Without telling anyone what THEY  should do, I will tell you what I have decided. I am coming to that there is no “cheating life”, no “cutting corners” in any area, and definitely not in our dietary choices. There is always a reaction to every action. My body has asked me for years to cut out ALL addictive substances, and although I cut out white sugar and most refined sweeteners a long time ago I still found myself relying on sweets to fill some sort of an inner void. I cannot keep using crutches and habits of using foods to stabilize my emotions, or using food to bring a sense of comfort. If I am avoiding sugars in order to heal my body then I also need to allow my heart, mind and emotion body the opportunity to live without sugar as well. There is as much of an emotional addiction as there has been a physical one. The emotional side of it may actually have the deeper rooted hold. As above – so below. If there is candida that are thriving on sugars in my body, then it is likely there is an old emotional patterning that is feeding off of my addiction to sweet whether white sugar or whole leaf stevia. This experience is my indication and invitation to go on not just a sugar fast but a sweet fast and come into sitting with the emptiness that that brings. It is uncomfortable to feel that space sometimes. I want something, but I don’t know what it is, well actually if I sit with it and do not cover it up, then I can listen and I truly do know what it is. However, what I am used to doing is feeling the emptiness and unfulfilled desire and interpreting that as an invitation to make a nice hot cocoa, or frothy sweet tea, or piece of chocolate, slice of pie, etc.

My answer for now as to what to use to replace sugar is  - nothing. Sit with the feeling, sit with your body, and when it comes to a special occasion use the most whole food and healing sweetener available ( I would say raw honey is on the top of the list for me). Then have a small piece if you are in the place to do that or if you are in an extended period of abstaining from all sugars (as am I currently), be okay with watching others enjoy those treats while knowing you are doing what is best for your body, heart and mind – there will always be another occasion and you will get to taste those sweet flavors again from a more balanced place. Focus on the beauty of the people, the colors and textures of the food, the festive and warm environment. Other things that I have been doing is for instance making my tea in the morning, blending in some hemp seeds along with a pinch of vanilla powder, and possibly some cinnamon or ginger or both. I have quite been enjoying the gentle flavors that remind me of the soft essence of sweet without the physical or emotional response. 

No more stevia, no more xylitol, just plain, but still rich and colorful reality – more reality, more ability to see into the deeper levels of what is what beneath my surface. More authenticity, and more authenticity in my relationship to food and to myself. This journey is a gift!

Please share with me your experience of anything I shared, or what you have experienced with stevia, going off all sugars, your fears around letting them go. Or anything you are inspired to share. Thank you for taking the time to hear me and walk this journey together.

In Love!

 

 

 

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