• my kitchen, unplugged: the fridge

    June 29, 2009

    After I posted the first part of my kitchen tour, my mother called to say she still can’t believe how one person can go through so much food – and I’m a little person!  Well, just wait until you look inside my fridge.

    Viewing this, even I am quite amazed at how much I keep in here.  But remember, the majority of it consists of whole, plant-based foods with all their water content intact.  Therefore, bulk in this case does not necessarily translate into masses of food but rather nutrient density.

    Again, this is a kitchen in transition; I’m showing it to you before I do a fridge detox – I didn’t want to go and doctor it up before turning the camera on.  So, you’ll see the nice and the naughty here, including those unmentionables hiding all the way at the back…

    Happy peeking!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Do8ms20nqko

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  • my kitchen, unplugged: part 1

    June 28, 2009

    Hello again!  As promised, here is the first of my kitchen video series.  I was inspired by Lori Painter’s What’s in My Refrigerator post and decided to do this in several parts since there’s so much I want to show you.

    Now, this is a kitchen in transition!  There are several things I’m phasing out, including the oils you’ll see lined up on the counter.   The more I learn, the more I understand that things like extracted oils are simply not a whole food; and the more I eat closer to nature, the less I want anything but what springs naturally from the good Earth.

    Loving the journey and would love to see what’s inside your kitchen, so if you have a blog please get filming and post a link below.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xMKH9rYVYo

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  • is diet coded in our genes?

    June 26, 2009

    Oooh, I have so much up my sleeve!

    First, I’m really excited to be doing my first round of videos for the blog, a series taking you inside my kitchen so you can see where I come up with the recipes on the site and how everything is set up.  I’ll be posting them within the next few days.

    Tomorrow I’ll also be attending a daylong event all about living foods given by Dr. Brian Clement of the Hippocrates Institute in Florida.  Full report to follow.

    But today I wanted to share what I learned last night at an event at the Dana Centre, part of the Science Museum in London.  I love, love the Dana Centre because, like TED – my other freebie favorite – I always come away with new knowledge that keeps ticking over in my brain long after the lecture is over.

    Last night’s topic was “Moving Genes,” a fascinating (albeit all too brief) look at where the human species comes from and how, despite appearances, we’re not all that different.  I thought this fit in beautifully with the idea that we are all fundamentally the same on a spiritual level, how we all spring from the same consciousness.  But here was evidence that we are even more similar than we think, even if we do think quite similarly.

    By far the most intriguing speaker of the night was Dr. Mark Thomas, a senior lecturer in genetics at University College London.

    With obvious zest for his subject, Dr. Thomas explained why all of us are, almost certainly, an African species.  Here are some of his supporting points as noted on his slides:

    • We are not a very diverse species; our differences are only skin deep
    • We all share a common female-line ancestor around 170,000 – she was African!
    • We all share a common male-line ancestor around 70,000 – he was African!
    • So, Adam never met Eve

    Now, I get the African part, but how the above numbers work out is totally beyond me; and, according to Dr. Thomas, even certain genius geneticists can’t make sense of it.

    Of course, my mind started thinking about food, and how these findings line up with 80 10 10 which I’m currently reading.  One of the most intriguing aspects of the book for me is that we originated and evolved in the tropics, hence we are designed to eat a diet based on the fruit that grew there.  The author, Dr. Douglas Graham, goes on to say that we create a “mini tropics” wherever we migrate via artificial means such as central heating and clothing.

    So, when Dr. Thomas said that Europeans have only been able to digest milk for the past 1000 years, I made note and asked him to elaborate during the Q&A session.  I asked him if he has found similar patterns for digesting grains and whether our African ancestry indicates we should consume a certain diet.

    Dr. Thomas was adamant that the amount of nutrition information out there has created an “ideas salad” and that theories such as the blood-type diet are utter garbage. Dr. Thomas is a vegetarian, yet he also stressed that those groups who evolved to drink milk had a major advantage and that our brains would not have evolved had we remained at the hunter-gatherer stage.

    I like the term “ideas salad”, and my take is that we each have a responsibility to take a good look at the providence of all the ingredients in that salad, if you get my drift.  Every theory is worth examining, if only to broaden and challenge your own.  I know that my diet keeps changing the more I learn and the more I evolve.

    If the consumption of meat catapulted our evolution on a physical level, might not the current global shift towards a plant-based diet propel us towards an evolution of a different kind?

    I debated this and other questions after the event with a rather vociferous and interesting gentleman who accused me of having an agenda…stay tuned for all the gory details!  Have a great weekend.

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  • more (fruity) smoothie action

    June 25, 2009

    jessica-stone-2

    The kind folks at Whole Foods sent me the pictures they snapped of me at the Healthy Eating Tasting Fair last week, and this is one of them.  Notice the imported Ziploc bags (thanks, mom!)  All those bags have since been washed out and dried, sitting patiently in my cupboard for their next use.

    It might seem like all I drink are green smoothies, but not so.  I love all-fruit smoothies, yet there has been a lot of conflicting information circulating around the net and beyond about the consumption of lots of fruit.  One minute we read that having as much fruit as we crave all morning is the way to go, and the next someone is telling us that we should be reducing the percentage of fruit in smoothies and upping the green.  What to do?

    I’m now working my way through Dr. Douglas Graham’s 80 10 10 Diet.  What an eye opener.  Not only does Dr. Graham advocate having lots of fruit, he believes it should be the basis of our diet.  I’ll stop here since I want to finish the book before commenting further, but suffice it to say for now that reading it thus far has been a huge relief in that I finally understand that my lifelong incorrigible sweet tooth is actually a natural survival mechanism that has been distorted by unnatural food.

    With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to a recipe and blog I discovered last week, thanks to the author’s generous comments on this site.  Earth Mother’s colorful In the Raw turned me on to the Watermelon Kiwi Cooler, a perfect summer concoction I’ve been having every morning since trying it!  I tweak it a little:  using only one kiwi (fuzzy skin and all) and a few more strawberries (frozen).  The lime is non-negotiable and gives it a wonderful cocktail kick.  Not only has it made great use of my expensive watermelons (gulp), but it’s an awesome creation to whip up for guests.  Thanks, Earth Mother!

    And here’s another one of my own.  Enjoy the fruity fun!

    new recipe: groovy tangy smoothie

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  • a simple kind of life

    June 23, 2009

    I use to be a big “foodie” in the traditional sense of the word.  I went to culinary school and trained as a pastry chef.  I organized big group dinners for friends at restaurants in New York and London.  A gourmet tasting fair?  I was there.  I also interviewed cheesemongers and artisan bread makers for The Times.

    Then something happened.  Sitting down to a menu started to lose its appeal.  Gradually, my hours spent preparing and making elaborate food diminished.  At the same time, my awareness of nature and how disconnected we are from it became stronger.  Maybe I got tired.  But I’d like to think I woke up.

    When my food choices started changing quite sharply last year – as both a result of my own preferences and the economic downturn – friends had a lot to say.  “But you love food!”  said one.  “But eating out is such a part of your life; how are you going to be social?” asked another.

    My response is always the same: I still love food, and socializing now is more about being social then being caught up in what course I’m going to order next.

    I am now a foodie in a different sense, taking pleasure in simplicity and marveling at how, the more simple my approach to food, the more my taste buds sharpen and can appreciate food as nature intended it.  I’m not putting down gourmands, on the contrary.  If that hadn’t been a part of my life, this part wouldn’t be happening now.

    I’m not the first person to say that as you get more into whole, plant-based foods – especially raw – your diet becomes quite rudimentary.  You, literally, start returning to your roots.  It also means I don’t get bored of things as easily as I used to.  This recipe is probably as complex as I get these days, and I make it a few evenings a week.  I hesitated about posting it since it’s so simple, but simplicity is often easily missed.  It reminds me of a line from an old Depeche Mode song: “Is simplicity best, or simply the easiest?”  I’d like to think it’s both.

    new recipe: better than stir fry

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  • tapping into solar power

    June 21, 2009

    I’ve just watched another stunning late sunset, this time to Yo-Yo Ma’s unbridled rendition of Bach’s Suite for Solo Cello No.1 in G Major.  I played it on a loop as the sun went down, and every time it climbed to its inevitable crescendo it gave me a thrill as if it were the first time I heard it.  I never thought the headset I bought for Skype last month would turn into a meditation tool, but there you go.

    I count myself very lucky to be able to see this every night in such a big city.  And all I have to do is sit atop my dining table/desk and look out my window.   We have astonishing coral pink sunsets in Britain, and they’re even more special after the long winters.

    The sun is powerful in every sense, and the longer you look at it the more you know that we are it and it is us.  I was struggling to think of a topic for tonight’s post before I sat down to watch, and now here it is.  And it’s especially fitting since I started my day in the sun’s presence with an early walk to the park while it was still quiet.  Once there, I sprawled out on the grass, rolled up my leggings, and let the sun sweep over me – that  is, until the clouds rolled in.  Ah, British summertime.  How thou doth tease.

    I didn’t always have such a healthy relationship with the sun.  I grew up in Florida before the advent of the sun scare, and I recall many blistered moments during my youth.  Years later you’d never catch me leaving the house without slathering on an SPF twice my age.  But that has changed.  For me, the sun is a nutrient – as essential for us as it is for the plants that feed off its energy.  Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, are not.  I take the sun in moderation: either early in the morning or in late afternoon, and I miss it desperately during the winter.  Proof to me again that humans are meant to live in the tropics.

    In this important article on safe sun exposure, Sarah Best of my favorite magazine Get Fresh! asks a very good question: how can something so glorious be bad for us?  She also reveals why a plant-based, whole foods diet is the best sunscreen of all.

    Good night, sunshine.

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  • fruit & veggie crunching

    June 19, 2009

    I’ll shop for food over clothes any day.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I tried something on in a store or lusted after a pair of shoes in a window.  But almost every day I’ll find myself eyeing up an avocado or giving a mango a squeeze.

    I spread my food shopping across various sources: farmer’s markets, grocery stores, fruit stalls, and, occasionally, vegetable-box delivery schemes – otherwise known as CSAs in the US.  I used to do the box thing a lot, and in fact even started a catering business around it a few years ago.  But the truth is I just love the hands-on food-shopping experience.  I also got tired of so many onions and potatoes.

    Anyway, I thought I’d do a little price comparison this week.  Because I don’t buy the same things at every place – the point is to spread my pickings out – this is, pardon the pun, comparing apples and oranges.  But it does give an idea of how much I spend, not to mention how expensive life in the UK is.  Still, I can’t imagine what I’d be spending if I were eating out all the time.

    First up, a grocery store trip plus fruit stall fly-by.  Here’s what we’ve got:

    shopstall

    1 mini watermelon
    2 small heads lettuce
    1 box strawberries
    1 box blueberries
    10 flat peaches (utterly heavenly)
    6 vine tomatoes
    1 box cherry tomatoes
    Big bag ‘o carrots
    4 limes
    3 romano peppers (how beautiful are they?)
    5 honey mangoes (be still, my beating heart)

    Total cost: £25.79  ($42.50)  YIKES!

    Still, that’s a lot food.  I should point out that the limes are the only organic item here.  The strawberries, lettuce and tomatoes are all British. Everything else except for the mangoes is grown on the Continent.

    Okay, next up, my farmer’s market trip last week:

    farmers

    1 large head lettuce
    1 large bunch asparagus
    4 beets (for bedazzling smoothies, tops and all)
    2 large bunches spinach
    1 large bag garden peas (fun to peel and wonderful raw)
    1 bunch celery
    9 vine tomatoes
    4 boxes strawberries (not shown, see previous pic)

    Total cost: £15.50  ($25.57) DEAL!

    All of the above are grown a few miles outside London. Double deal.

    Lastly, while I haven’t used them in a while, I thought I’d take a quick peek at the prices at Riverford Organic.  Their fruit and veg box contains:

    broad beans
    cherry vine tomatoes
    kohl rabi
    basil
    pointed cabbage
    portobello mushrooms
    radishes
    aubergine (eggplant)
    strawberries
    cherries
    bananas

    Total cost: £14.95 ($25) including delivery.  Wow.

    Everything except the aubergine and bananas are homegrown.  And not an onion or potato in sight.  Well.  This is tricky.  While the Riverford site states that this box feeds 3-4 people, I wonder who they are basing this on and on how many days.  You’ll also notice that my first picture is heavy on the fruit while the farmer’s market trip leans towards the veg.  This box does balance them out.

    My head hurts.

    I’ve never been good at numbers, but I do know one thing: portfolio.  Rotation, rotation, rotation.  Spreading an investment, whether stocks or stalks, is always a good idea.  And you can always bet on the latter.  Result: I’ll continue to not put all my veg in one bike basket.

    p.s.  I’m curious to know how the prices in the US compare, so if any bloggers there want to do a similar thing, that would be very cool – please let me know if you do.  Happy weekend!

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  • tasting fair debrief and vita-mix offer

    June 18, 2009

    wholefoodstastingfair

    “I want to try some Jessica Stone!”

    That was probably my favorite quote of the day during yesterday’s Healthy Eating Tasting Fair at Whole Foods Kensington.  Apparently all the other stands scattered throughout the store displayed the name of a product.  But I wouldn’t know, because I was on my lonesome and didn’t get a chance to go to the bathroom during all four plus hours of it, let alone sample some of the other yummy stuff on offer.  That’s okay, I had a blast!  It was so much fun meeting everyone and talking to them about eating green the easy, tasty way that I was still going after all the other exhibitors had packed up and left.

    In fact, it was a great reminder that meditation is not limited to sitting in lotus position and focusing on your breath.  To me, meditation is anything that lets you become completely absorbed in the moment.  Sports, sex, food, dancing…pick your pleasure and give it your all.  I was so focused on the job at hand and tapping into my passion, that the hours flew by and any other worries I had totally evaporated.

    They parked my stand in the amazing produce section, right in front of a huge spread of bananas.  I made green smoothies, of course, both because they’re so simple and because they make people happy.  If you’ve just come to the site after meeting me yesterday, welcome!  We talked a lot about green smoothies at the fair, but you can read even more on my earlier post.

    One woman said, “So, what are you selling?  Smoothies?  Blenders? Or are you just doing this for the good of mankind?”  That was another favorite quote.  Truth is, I got so caught up introducing people to green smoothies and watching their eyes go wide when they realized it tasted so much more pleasant than they expected, that I often forgot to tell people about what I actually do.  But when I did, the two main questions I got were “Can I buy this?” and “Do you teach classes?”

    To answer the first question: no, I don’t make and bottle green smoothies to sell.  My mission is empowering YOU with practical, tasty tips like this so you can go from consumer to creator.  Also, green smoothies – and most fresh preparations – are best enjoyed as soon as they are made.  And they’re fun!  As I mentioned yesterday, you don’t need a recipe – just go with the combinations you crave, and if you stick to about 50% fruit to 50% greens you’ll be fine.  But it’s always nice to have some inspiration, so if you liked yesterday’s blend, here’s a refresher:

    1 ripe banana
    1/2 cup frozen blueberries
    1/3 cucumber, peeled
    2 handfuls baby spinach
    Small piece root ginger (or more, depending on how much kick you like)
    1 cup filtered water

    As you’ll notice in my recipes, a lot of them call for a high-powered blender.  I haven’t talked about my Vita-Mix before, but those who came around my stand yesterday would have seen it.  That’s right, I love my Vita-Mix so much that I lugged it to the fair with me.  It is quite an investment – one I thought about for a long time – but one of the best I’ve made.  I use mine several times a day, for making everything from smoothies to my prize-winning Dulce de Leche (dairy and sugar-free, of course!)  If you live in the UK or Ireland, you can receive free standard shipping if you order your Vita-Mix through me.  Here’s what you need to do:

    VAT UK customers: Please call 0845 868 4566 to place your order.
    Ireland customers: Please call 0766 709854 to place your order.
    Quote this code: 20-01-000090
    The Vita-Mix 5000 machine comes with a 5-year warranty

    Okay, now that that’s out of the way, onto classes!  I’ve had a lot of requests for group workshops, so if this sounds like your cup of herbal tea and you’re in the London area, please drop a note in the suggestion box at Whole Foods and tell them you want to try some Jessica Stone!

    And don’t forget: the special coaching offer on your recipe card is good when booked before the end of the month.

    It was truly a joy meeting all of you, and I hope you’ll stay in touch.  Special thanks to the American Airlines crew who came by at the end of the night and drank the bottom of the smoothie barrel.  Green smoothies on air planes…now there’s a flying idea.

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  • sprouting for smarties

    June 15, 2009

    sprouts1

    The incredibly popular for Dummies books each start from the assumption that the reader knows absolutely nothing about the topic at hand.  This post – and Green Appetite in general – is founded on the belief that you already know everything you need to when it comes to your health and wellbeing.  My job is only to help you awaken what’s already within.

    As I mentioned in my green smoothies post, children come into the world naturally craving what’s good for them and rejecting what’s not.  I was reminded of that today during my visit to Mummies’ Morning at Whole Foods.  One of the mothers was telling me how her toddler begged for a piece of birthday cake at a party only to have a tiny nibble.  Yet give her some fruit, and she can’t seem to get enough.

    This morning I introduced the mothers to what’s probably the simplest seed to sprout: buckwheat.  Packed with protein and full of fiber, buckwheat goes from dry seed to living sprout in just 24 hours.  When shopping for buckwheat, make sure you get the unroasted kind.  You can tell just by the color: it’s green, of course.  Roasted buckwheat is brown and will never sprout no matter how long you soak it.  It is, effectively, dead.  Here again, the power of living enzymes.

    Unlike many other seeds for sprouting, buckwheat only needs to be soaked for 20 minutes to one hour; any more than that and it’ll get waterlogged.  The picture above is actually of sprouted wheat berries, which take a little longer to soak and sprout but have a wonderful slightly sweet flavor that goes very well with the strawberries currently in season.  In addition, people who can’t tolerate wheat in things like bread or pasta may find that sprouted wheat agrees with them just fine.

    So, how do you actually grow these perfect little bundles of living goodness?  Very, very easily.  Forget any fancy sprouting equipment, especially glass jars.  For years I had been trying to figure out why I couldn’t sprout anything in a jar without it becoming moldy.  I actually gave up, thinking myself a sprouting failure.  That was until I attended a lecture by Sproutman – yes, you read right.  Sproutman, topped by his sprout-studded beanie, uttered what I had always intuitively known: sprouts need air!  And glass is simply not designed to circulate it.

    That’s when I devised my own little sprouting experiment fashioned from two cheap things I already owned: a mixing bowl and a fine-mesh sieve that fits over it.  That’s all you need.  While every seed, bean or grain for sprouting has its own soak and sprout time, the basic method is the same:

    1. Soak seed in filtered water in the bowl
    2. Drain in sieve
    3. Rinse twice daily

    That’s all there is to it.  Oh yeah, I also place a paper towel over the top between rinses to keep anything airborne out.  As for soaking and sprouting times, I know of no better resource than Sproutpeople.  These people seriously know their sprouts, and they make it a lot of fun, too.  Definitely one to bookmark.

    Oh, and sprouts go a loooong way both in bulk and bargain.  Once you get the hang of it – which will be very quick – you’ll want to sprout more than one thing at once.  For instance, I normally have wheat, rye or buckwheat going as a base for things like Divine Muesli as well as a sprout salad mix to toss in savory recipes like Lazy Sushi.  For the salad mix I like to use Sproutman’s hemp sproutbag, just because it stays out of the way hanging from a kitchen cabinet.  But my trusty mixing bowl and sieve formula would work just the same: fresh, crunchy, mold-free wholesomeness every time.

    A word of warning:  once you start sprouting, you’ll never stop.

    p.s. Have a sprouting secret or question?  Let me know!

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  • seeds of economic change

    June 14, 2009

    The number 27 bus traces a sguiggly path between West London’s Turnham Green and Chalk Farm in the north of the city.  Riding a 30-minute chunk of it today, I realized that the route was a microcosm for the so-called economic crisis.  It seems there isn’t a single block along the double-decker’s path without an empty or soon-to-be vacated storefront.  As for the businesses established in the physical sense, you could almost count on seeing their windows crying out for help: buy one get one free!

    I’ve always thought the economic downturn is actually a good thing and part of a necessary evolution bringing us back to our roots – both in a spiritual and physical sense.  With instability comes a different kind of certainty: focusing on what really matters, and realizing that very few things actually do.

    I believe we’re entering a move towards simplicity, towards a joy that is not dependent on external factors forever beyond our control.

    How timely to see the release of Up, the new Pixar film about an elderly man who fulfills a life-long dream of moving his house above a waterfall in South America.  Throughout his amazing journey, his house actually becomes, literally, an enormous load that eventually leads him to understand that home is only ever where the heart is.

    The surge in popularity of plant-based foods and what they can do for our health and the planet is not a coincidence – nothing is.  The fact that these foods are more affordable both on a personal and global level points to the genius of universal intelligence.  And by affordable I mean in the long-term; cheap food is eventually expensive – both in terms of health-care costs and environmental damage.  Let’s not forget the “eco” in economic!

    Speaking of seeds, please come back tomorrow for a quick lesson on sprouting – dirt-cheap nutrition.  Seriously.

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