Raw Foods + Essential Oils: A Marriage Made in Heaven
by Lily Grayston
Raw is Best
A little less than two years ago, the enlightening documentary, Forks Over Knives, brought home an important truth to many homemakers around the world who were striving to provide healthy, nurturing food for their families: the inexorable link between degenerative disease and animal-based, dairy, and processed foods. Cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, obesity and cancer are the high price paid by millions of people around the world for a lifestyle that is often based on a scarcity of time, poor nutritional education, or a fear of changing the way food is approached and enjoyed.
Raw foods have slowly but surely gained a loyal following among those who seek to get back to basics, with health and beauty gurus alike espousing the link between a nutritious raw diet and increased energy levels, beautiful skin and freedom from common health issues such as allergies, inflammation and problem skin. As the movement gains in momentum, a host of illuminating books and recipe sites are revealing that ‘raw’ most definitely does not mean ‘boring’. Purveying everything from refreshing wheat grass smoothies to gratifying goji berry shakes and vitamin-rich raw vegetable soups, those propelling the raw food movement are proving to be some one of the most dynamic, creative and forward-thinking people in the food business.
Essential Oils: Good Enough to Eat
If you are new to raw food and you are slowly but surely building up a recipe base, you might consider incorporating essential oils into some of your favorite dishes. Edible essential oils, including bergamot, orange, peppermint, lemon, thyme, rosemary, basil etc., can add wonderful aromas and flavors, as well as impart significant health benefits, to both sweet and savory fare.
Make sure you consume only authentic therapeutic-grade oils; these can be distinguished from the much cheaper varieties, which are available at most commercial outlets and are often sold in clear plastic or glass recipients. Therapeutic-grade essential oils, sourced from plants, flowers and bark, are always sold in amber or cobalt blue dark glass, to stop the sunlight from diminishing their therapeutic and aromatic properties.
The manufacturing process is likewise key; therapeutic grade essential oils are distilled in stainless steel recipients, using low pressure and low temperatures. Neither the plants nor the extracted oil should be tainted by chemicals, pesticides or harmful metals. The oils should boast a high phytochemical content, to ensure they bestow users with maximum therapeutic benefits.
A Matter of Frequency
What makes essential oils such a powerful ally for raw foods? Some researchers say it has something to do with their electromagnetic vibrational frequency. If the average healthy adult has a frequency of between 62 and 68MHz, the frequency of essential oils ranges from as low as 52MHz (that of basil essential oil) to as high as 320MHz (that of rose oil). When we apply essential oils with higher frequencies than our own, our own energy levels are raised and an environment is created in which viruses, bacteria, fungi and disease are unable to thrive.
Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways; they can be diffused into the atmosphere, directly inhaled or massaged onto the skin. They are used to treat a plethora of conditions, from burns and cuts (lavender oil is a centuries-old remedy) to chest coughs (eucalyptus and frankincense are favored), gum problems (clove oil does wonders for conditions like gingivitis) and acid reflux (a few drops of peppermint and lemon oil in a glass of water significantly relieves discomfort). The best essential oil brands also offer blends comprising a number of different oils, targeted at issues such as restlessness, colic in babies, digestive problems and headaches.
Essential oils can make your home smell as delicious as a five-star spa, if placed into a diffuser. Floral blends (such as bergamot, ylang ylang, geranium, rosewood, lemon, jasmin, chamomile, palmarosa and rose) impart an instant sense of tranquility and peace. If you have little ones in the family, we guarantee they will soon be fighting for pole position near the diffuser, watching the cool mist rise into the atmosphere as part of a spectacular light show (the savviest diffusers are highly contemporary in design and boast features such as colored light displays that change in hue every few seconds). If you opt for a diffuser, make sure to shop around carefully. The machine should have an optimal frequency of around 2,400,000 cycles per second, to guarantee it is capable of transforming the oils into a microscopic mist which is easily inhaled, and which stimulates the efficient transportation of oxygen into cells.
Raw Foods + Essential Oils = Guilt-Free Deliciousness
If you’re become as passionate about using essential oils as you are about preparing raw food, you might want to combine these two passions and dazzle your family with delectable dishes that are as visually appealing as they are tasty and healthy. In this article we’ll be offering recipes for two definite crowd pleasers which are packed in anti-oxidant goodness: raw chocolate, and blueberry ice-cream. Raw chocolate, a food boasting one of the highest cancer fighting levels in its unprocessed bean form, is a particularly popular and quick treat for the whole family to make together. If you have kids, raise the fun factor by using colorful silicone molds that follow a certain theme, such as marine (think chocolate fish, mermaids and octopi!), boys’ themes (cars, truck and fire engine molds spring to mind), girls’ themes (think Hello Kitty and Disney characters), etc. For the ice-cream, invest in colorful kids’ bowls and vintage crockery, so cool they will make your little Alice feel like she’s at Tim Burton’s Mad Hatter tea party! The time spent with your loved ones while you’re stirring, mixing and shaping can be maximized if you take the time to enlighten them on amazing facts and statistics they never knew about raw food and essential oils. Let them know that they are not only preparing something very delicious; they are also working to restore balance to their little bodies!
Essentially Raw Chocolate:
Estimated preparation time: 30 minutes
4 tablespoons cocoa butter
1/3 cup sifted raw cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cocoa liquor
1 tablespoon vanilla powder
4 tablespoons Agave syrup
One to two drops of the edible therapeutic-grade essential oil of your choice (we recommend grapefruit, bergamot or mandarin)
A pinch of salt
Grate a slice of cocoa butter that is about 2 inches thick (enough to make 4 tablespoons when melted) into a bowl. Melt it slowly in a double boiler. Set aside. Melt the cocoa liquor separately, also in a double boiler. Mix the cocoa butter and liquor in a bowl, adding the agave syrup and mixing until the mixture is smooth. Add the sifted raw cocoa powder, salt and vanilla powder and mix once again. Add your chosen essential oil. Mix patiently until the mixture looks glossy. Pour into small molds (do not overfill) and pop into the fridge. The chocolate should take as little as 10 to 15 minutes to harden. Remove from the mold, serve and get ready for the onslaught of compliments! The next time you make this, get creative and add as many of your favorite healthy ingredients as you like (including nuts and raisins). Another nice idea is simply to dip strawberries into the chocolate mixture and refrigerate for a few minutes (these go like hotcakes at dinner parties and soirees).
Essentially Raw Blueberry Ice-Cream
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
2 cups full fat coconut milk
1 cup blueberries
½ cup honey
2 drops mandarin oil
1 tablespoon lecithin granules
3 tablespoons dried strawberries (optional)
Refrigerate the coconut milk in a glass recipient for three to four hours. Place in a blender with the blueberries, honey, and oil. Blend until smooth. Refrigerate for another three to four hours and process in an ice-cream machine as the machine’s instructions indicate. Half-way through the process, add the dried strawberries. Make sure you don’t add them too early or the machine will shred them into tiny pieces.