by Maia Bedson
Summer 2015/16, Living Well Magazine
As I look out onto our garden with the sun’s rays making the dew glow on green grass, awakening flowers, buzzing bees and the sounds of lyrebirds, I am feeling so blessed by the gifts of summer. And especially grateful for having just returned from seven wonderful weeks in the European summer with my husband Paul.
The whole trip was a truly blessed experience, from immersing ourselves in the overflowing beauty of medieval art, and stunning architecture (the works of Gaudi in Barcelona will forever be etched in our memories, what a genius and highly spiritual man he was!), experiencing live baroque music (including concerts in ancient cathedrals and even a Mozart concert in the Vienna Opera House), and nourishing ourselves in plant-based wholefood restaurants right throughout Europe – some of these found in the most unlikely of places!
We chose AirBnB accommodation, so we had a kitchen wherever we stayed… it was lovely living in traditional homes, visiting the local farmers markets, being inspired with fresh, local ingredients, and sharing beautiful and simple meals.
And for eating out, HappyCow.net was our essential guide to finding the many plant-based wholefoods restaurants. HappyCow was such a valuable resource to us, and I wrote a review of every place in which we dined, so other travelers could benefit from our experiences. And who would have thought that the vegan eatery we most enjoyed was in Prague! A lovely place called “Clear Mind”, that was an oasis in the city that celebrates beer and sausages (beer is actually cheaper than water in Prague!).
We also met some well-travelled raw foodies there who explained Berlin is the hub of the raw food movement in Europe, where so many young people have embraced plant-based wholefoods as a way of life.
Our ultimate destination was the Austrian Alps, where we had been invited to co-facilitate an OMS retreat with Professor George Jelinek and his wife Sandra.
Nearly 40 people from 15 countries gathered in an ancient abbey with picture-postcard views, to learn what they could do to heal. As with our retreats here in the Yarra Valley Living Centre, people left feeling like they had their life back in their hands, and a way forward. It was a profoundly moving experience.
And now onto this season’s recipe...
We had many days during our trip where we walked up to 8 hours a day, so a sustaining, nourishing and delicious breakfast was essential, and I came up with this easy-peasy breakfast bowl…
Cashews, used in moderation are fine for people who are well. They are higher than many other foods in elemental copper, which is an important nutrient in helping us absorb and utilize iron and for healthy bone development; and will result in a creamier taste and texture in this recipe.
Almonds however have a higher nutritional value and are one of the only two alkalizing nuts (chestnuts are the other). In fact almonds are the only shelled nuts we use in our illness-related retreat programs, as their brown skin gives them some protection from air and light (along with heat, these 3 components are the typical cause for nuts going rancid). So if you are in health-recovery mode, almonds may be a better substitute for this recipe.
Blueberries are one of the best fruit choices for people who need to maximize their healing potential. They are a low-sugar fruit, contain almost no fat and are rich in anthocyanin, which has been shown to block cancer cells, and improve cognitive function and heart health. They also have loads of fibre as well as inhibit the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections and, I believe, are a much better alternative to cranberry juice for this purpose.
Rolled Oats (not instant oats, which have been further processed) contain both protein and complex carbohydrates, which make them ideal for sustained energy. They satisfy hunger and leave you feeling fuller longer mainly from their high soluble fibre content – and are a low-GI food, which helps maintain healthy blood-sugar levels as well as being full of antioxidant-rich phenols.
Chia Seeds have a history going back to at least 3500BC where they were such an important food for the Aztecs who attributed their health and endurance to this humble seed, that they were sometimes used as payment for taxes. They are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, which boost immune function, antioxidants, fibre, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc.
Slippery Elm Powder (sold in health food shops) is a whole-food supplement from the inner bark of the slippery elm tree. It has a soothing action on the whole digestive tract as well as the respiratory and urinary tracts. This makes it very helpful for coughs, colds, constipation, diarrhoea, inflammation, nausea, ulcers, and diverticulitis among other conditions. Long been used in traditional medicine (such as in the Native American culture), I consider it an essential addition to both your pantry and first aid kit. It adds creaminess to breakfasts and desserts.
As with any of my recipe creations, I encourage you to experiment and craft your own favorite version or be spontaneously guided by the produce you have available.
Merry Berry Breakfast Bowl
1/3 cup Raw Cashews (or Almonds) – soaked in water for at least one hour, drained then rinsed
1/3 cup Rolled Oats (or Quinoa or Millet Flakes for GF) – soaked in water for at least one hour and drained
2 cups almond milk
2 cups frozen blueberries
2 tbsp. chia seeds
1 tbsp. slipper elm powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. stevia powder (the green powder from a health food store rather than the processed supermarket version)
Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend on high for one minute.
Serve in bowls topped with a few slices of fresh fruit such as Kiwi, banana, mango, strawberry etc.
Serves 2 for a hearty breakfast (or 6 in smaller dessert servings)
Therapist, Facilitator, The Gawler Cancer Foundation & Yarra Valley Living Centre
DipHol Couns, Grad DipCounsHS, Grad DipClinNut
Maia is a counsellor, meditation instructor, a practitioner of various forms of natural therapies who has worked in the area of energetic healing for over 20 years and has worked at The Gawler Cancer Foundation since 2000. She has a Graduate Diploma in Clinical Nutrition as well as formal qualifications in plant-based nutrition, counselling and psychotherapy. Maia uses her various skills and the experience gained from her own healing to inspire and support others on their path to wholeness and has a particular interest in helping people to access their own inner wisdom.