Priscilla Soligo, founder of Raiz the Bar, HK’s local chocolate makers, as well as Rawthentic Food, offers some compelling benefits to consuming more plant-based foods:
“Not surprisingly, people often rave about how their ‘brain fog’ has lifted when they consume both raw and cooked plant-based foods. They usually feel more alert and start looking and feeling their best. Adding in fresh organic wholefoods wherever possible along with cold-pressed green juices can be incredibly healing and detoxifying on the body too.
Firstly, take any pressure off. I personally don’t buy into ‘labels.’ It doesn’t matter whether you are vegan, vegetarian, raw, paleo, or whatever – remove all that and what you should be left with is what really matters and that’s real food. Just eat real food. Choose unprocessed, unadulterated real food in its whole food form. Eat like this for a week and you will start to feel a difference. Dietary changes don’t have to be extreme to considerably reduce the impact on the environment. Emissions from producing eggs, dairy and poultry, for example, are much lower than emissions from beef or lamb. You can start on your next plate by simply eating smaller portions of meat and fish, which can result in lower emissions and have a meat free Monday where you can explore and have fun with delicious plant-based options.
When using raw ingredients it’s important that you prepare them correctly to improve digestibility and increase their nutritional profile. Soaking and sprouting nuts and seeds to remove their enzyme inhibitors, phytic acid and tannins for example, not only makes them easier for the body to process, it allows their protein content to be more readily available for absorption.
Also, in Hong Kong we have humidity to deal with, which breeds mould. I usually keep all of my nuts and seeds either in the fridge or the freezer, especially during warmer months to avoid any mould issues.
I am big into fermentation and make jars of fermented foods (sauerkraut/kimchi) and brew my own kefir and kombucha in a continuous brewer. These microbial probiotic giving cultures have been used throughout cultures and generations for thousands of years and help our bodies to adapt to shifting conditions, to help lower our risk for disease as well as being gut healing. If you’re looking for solid information or a class in Hong Kong, I highly recommend: Lantau Mama (www.lantaumama.com) and Loula Natural (www.loulanatural.com)."
Triple Layered Nice Cream Parfait
Acai Berry Nice Cream
1 Cup Frozen Berries
2 Tbsps Raw Nut Butter (we prefer almond)
2 tsps Raw Honey, (or coconut nectar, or your favourite liquid sweetener)
1 tsp Acai Berry Powder
1/4 Cup Filtered Water (just enough to blend, but still remain thick)
In a high speed blender, blend all ingredients until creamy smooth and well incorporated. Pour into a bowl and pop into the freezer while you make the remaining flavours.
Chocolate Monkey Nice Cream
2 frozen bananas, broken in half
3 tbsp Raiz The Bar Drinking Chocolate
1/4 cup filtered water (enough to blend, but still remain thick)
A pinch of pink Himalayan salt
In a high speed blender, blend all ingredients until creamy smooth and well incorporated.
Pour into a bowl and pop into the freezer. Store in an airtight sealed container in the freezer for up to a week. Nice cream will need to sit out for a short while before scooping.Pour into a bowl and pop into the freezer while you make the remaining flavour.
Minty Colada Matcha Nice Cream
1 Cup Frozen Pineapple Pieces
1 Tbsp Fresh Mint Leaves
1 tsp Matcha Powder
In a high speed blender, blend all ingredients until creamy smooth and well incorporated. Pour into a bowl and pop into the freezer until you are ready to assemble the parfait.
Layer each nice cream flavour on top of each other in a glass and add whatever 'real food’ toppings you prefer for texture, crunch and pops of delicious flavour! We love to add Raiz The Bar chocolate, freeze dried blueberries and raspberries, dried white mulberries, pumpkin seeds, soaked and sprouted buckwheat and so much more!
Store in an airtight sealed container in the freezer for up to a week. Nice cream will need to sit out for a short while before scooping.
Angie Lam of Raw Me Tofu, one of Hong Kong’s raw food pioneers, suggests some easy dietary changes:
“ It’s always great to start your day with 16 ounces of pure water and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Then have a nutrient-dense green juice/green smoothie such as spinach and banana/apple blend with some chia seeds. Begin lunches and dinners with a salad and some fresh homemade raw dressing, maybe dress the salad up with avocado or soaked nuts/seeds. If you snack, eat fresh fruit or raw vegetable sticks, and drink fresh, powerful, nutrient-packed green juices and good filtered water between meals instead of coffee or sugary drinks. When purchasing nuts and seeds, make sure they are not roasted and processed with seasonings. Soak and sprout nuts/seeds/legumes in one teaspoon salt and one capful of apple cider vinegar to remove the dirt, bacteria and phytates before eating them for easy digestion and maximum nutrition."
RAW CHIA PUDDING (serves 2)
2 cups non dairy milk (nut milk, coconut milk, or soy milk)
6 tbsp chia seeds
1-2 tbsp coconut sugar or maple syrup
Fruit for topping
Put all ingredients in a glass jar and shake well with the lid closed tightly or stir well until all ingredients are combined.
Wait 15 mins to cover. Store in refrigerator overnight for better texture and taste.
Stir before serving and top with fresh fruits.
Our experts suggest items to have on hand in the cupboard and which equipment to keep in the kitchen:
Karen Holt:I always keep snacking foods on hand – like raw nuts and seeds – that way when the hunger hits, you don’t just reach for a sugary treat. I also love smoothies, so I always have bananas frozen in the freezer. Finally, my herb and spice rack is always fully stocked! Herbs and spices not only pack a flavour punch and have a whole host of health benefits but what I really love is that with the right combination you can make so many different tastes. And nothing compares to my Vitamix. I use it for smoothies, soups, dips, nut milk, pesto…
Nealy Fisher:Fresh vegetables: cut them up and prepare your salad vegetables in advance so a healthy meal is in arms reach. Also dips and dressings: make a salad dressing at the beginning of your week, buy or prepare dips like pesto or hummus to liven up your vegetables. And I use a dehydrator for everything from crackers to granolas, it’s a great time saver because once you pop your ingredients in you can leave them to cook without worrying about burning.
Priscilla Soligo:I have a big bulging fruit basket for the kiddos to help themselves to, as well as some real chocolate, without the refined sugar, to nibble on is always a must because it contains PEAs (phenylethylamine) and anandamide (neurotransmitters in our brain) that help us to feel happy. It’s loaded with magnesium, which is excellent for muscle repair post-workout and is a de-stressor. For equipment, if your budget doesn’t allow for a high speed blender, just use what you have. I have a Vitamix, a food processor and a dehydrator I use all the time, but I never started out with all of these and I don’t recommend anyone running out and investing in all three at once. Keep it simple as you’re learning more about this lifestyle to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Angie Lam: I always keep organic raw virgin coconut oil, low glycemic coconut sugar, and Himalayan salt on hand.