Communitarians seek daily to align their food choices and way of receiving nourishment to feed and strengthen their bodies with their ethics and goal to live lightly and intelligently upon the earth, while sharing and caring for each other, for animals and the earth itself. It is upon these principles that Living Kitchens are designed and commissioned to carefully and consciously, supply the conduits of evolved thought, word and deed, in practical sustainable ways.
Within the communal unions as well as the outreach educational and wider community feeding programs, Living Kitchens demonstrate ‘Love’ in action that encompasses care, compassion, consideration and practical support for people, animals and planet.
Living Kitchens are seeds for change – change that marries the highest conscious ethics with respect and reverence for all living creatures, great and small.
Within Living Kitchens there is no elaborate equipment. Instead Living Kitchens are an extension of the garden where many of the fruits and greens are grown, and picked fresh, minutes before a meal.
Fresh, seasonal, Fruits are the mainstay of the living kitchen. Sweet fruits supply the simple carbohydrate fuel, broad spectrum of vitamins, pure water, and soluble fibre in the precise form and quantitative range that the human body requires. Fruit supplies 80% of the daily diet. The balance comes from soft leafy greens and tender juicy vegetables, along with non-sweet fruits such as cucumber, pumpkin, zucchini and green beans which supply a range of essential minerals.
Our senses confirm that in its pure unadulterated form, fruit, sweet or sour, is our natural diet. For humans, fruits attract the eye, tantalize our sense of smell, and taste divine in their raw, natural, ripe state.
Grapes, peaches, plums, nectarines, watermelon, cantaloupe, bananas, apples, oranges, lemons and limes, mangos, papayas, figs, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, avocadoes, passionfruit, guava, soursop, jackfruit and durian… the list is endless… every piece uniquely beautiful. Hold the fruit to your nose and smell its sweet and distinctive fragrance – immediately your mouth waters. Nature provides the invitation to join in the symbolic relationship with its heirs – the fruiting trees, the birds, the bees, the butterflies, the soil, the air, sun and wind and rain.
Mono Fruit Meals
Mono meals are an effective way to re-train the brain to have a healthier relationship with food. When we eat only one food at a time, our sensory organs are not overloaded with varying tastes, textures, and smells. As a result, we are better able to determine when we are still hungry, and when we are completely satiated, which can be a helpful tool for overcoming eating disorders as well as emotional eating.
Transitioning to seasonal mono-meals will take time, although it is easy to get started by having mono-meals of fruit for both breakfast and lunch. Mono-meals of fruit require no recipes, no specialised equipment, eliminates decision fatigue, is the most economical way of eating, requires less energy to digest and can be applied for extended periods of time as a detox or a cleanse.
Blending fruits such as bananas, berries and mangoes is considered a transitional phase of adapting to a diet of living whole foods. Without exception, all types of fruit are best eaten in their natural state – intact and complete. Simply peel and enjoy.
However sometimes when there is an abundance of ripe bananas on hand, making smoothies will be the best way to utilize the quantities available. In this case, simply add water to the peeled bananas and blend.
Blenders are also handy tools to turn fruits such as mangoes, tomatoes and nuts such as cashews and macadamias into dressings for salads. Still, most living nutrition meals are prepared without the use of mechanical equipment.
Living Food Combining
The best way to practice proper food combining is to eat only fruit before noon, while reserving heavier living foods such as pumpkin and squash dishes, mixed salads and nuts and seeds in the form of sun-dried breads and crackers for the noon and evening meals.
As Melons digest faster than any other foods are best eaten on their own. As a general rule, sour or acidic fruits such as citrus, kiwifruit and strawberries can be combined with protein fats such as avocado, coconut and sprouted nuts and seeds.
Acid fruits and sub-acid fruits such as apples, grapes and pears can be combined with nut cheeses and vegetable fruits including avocados, cucumbers, tomatoes and bell peppers.
Rocket, Mustard Greens, Cress and Soft Leafed Lettuces such as Baby Cos, Romaine and Frill Leaf along with Chives and Shallots are the heart of the Living Kitchen. All are easy to grow year-round both indoors and outdoors. Raw tender young greens are easy to digest and packed with essential, nutriments, vitamins and minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc, which are all critical components that support vital health, energy and prevent disease.
From seed to leaf usually takes between 2-3 weeks – longer in cooler climates. Micro-greens contain 40 more times Vitamin C, E & K compared to fully grown leaves.
All these types of micro-greens are easily grown in trays in either a mix of seed-raising mix and potting mix, or planted out into well-manured raised beds. It is important to keep micro-greens moist, however not sodden to prevent mildew and mould which are precursors of disease that will eventually kill the plants.
Microgreens can be cut with scissors or carefully ‘tipped’, leaving the plant to grow-on after the first harvest of the leaves. Used in salads, rocket, cress and mustard greens, combine well with lettuce, chives and fruit such as tomato, papaya, cucumber, avocado, green beans, snow peas and mango dressings.
No need for salt, oil or other condiments when picked right before the meal.
Soft Leafy Greens
Romaine, Oak, Frill Leaf, Cos and Butterhead varieties of lettuce make a valuable contribution to the daily diet of communitarians when eaten raw – freshly picked and organically grown on mineral rich soils. Tender greens contain water-soluble fibre along with small amounts of fatty acids in an easily usable state.
However, some (primarily the cruciferous vegetables) contain toxic sulfur compounds, as well as, oxalates which severely impede respiratory, pancreatic and bowel function, as well as overall, negatively impact gut-health. For this reason, vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, kale, collards, brussels sprouts and cauliflower are not on the menu for those following a diet of living nutrition. These types of vegetables contain large amounts of ‘indigestible fibers’, which is not able to be broken down by our digestive systems. Unlike soluble fibres, these indigestible fibres are rigid, and so as they pass through our digestive system, many scratch and scrape our delicate digestive linings.
Herbs & Chives
Soft, mild herbs such as parsley, cilantro and dill, along with garlic and ordinary chives, as well as, shallot tops, make valuable flavourful additions to salads and raw nut butters and cheeses.
Fresh chives are rich sources of pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin in good proportions, as well as, high amounts of Vitamin A, K & C, Folate and essential minerals such as copper, iron, manganese, zinc, and calcium.
Cilantro also commonly known as coriander, has anticonvulsant properties, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial, cardiac, gastric and analgesic effects.
Lutein, beta carotene, and zeaxanthin are three carotenoids in parsley that help protect your eyes and promote healthy vision. Carotenoids are pigments found in plants that have powerful antioxidant activity. Parsley is also a great natural breath freshener and teeth-whitener.
The full range of nuts replace dairy, including coconuts, macadamias, almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts and walnuts.
Tree nuts are a nutrient dense living food rich in protein and fibre together with numerous essential vitamins, minerals as well as healthy mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids essential for regulating blood cholesterol and serve as a carrier for fat-soluble vitamins.
The beneficial phytochemicals present in tree nuts include polyphenols, carotenoids, phytosterols, phytates, and lignans. Studies show that these phytochemicals have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic, and anti-cancer properties as well as contain a broad range of bioactivity of phytochemicals that aids in preventing and slowing down aging and age-related diseases.
With no more than a blender and some cheesecloth, Nut Milks are incredibly quick and easy nutritious living foods able to be made ahead of time to add to smoothies or use as the base of other raw recipes.
By making nut milk instead of buying packaged nut milk, artificial additives and palm oil can be avoided, along with wasteful and often times toxic packaging as well as allow for the waste pulp to be composted to enrich fruit trees and vegetable gardens.
Nut milks are generally high in phosphorus, potassium, folate and magnesium, plus contains no cholesterol, lactose or hormones.
Raw Nut Butters
Nut Butters such as Almond Butter are made from raw organic almonds in a food processor and requires no added oil.
Raw Tree Nut Butters are good sources of monounsaturated fats – the good fats which actually lower cholesterol. Almonds along with Macadamia nut butters are one of the best natural sources of vitamin E, magnesium, which is thought to promote healthy blood pressure.
Studies have shown that people who regularly eat nuts & nut butters tend to avoid weight gain, despite the high calorie content in nuts. This may be due to the fact that nuts and nut butters are satiating and help balance blood sugar levels.
Raw Nut Cheeses
Everything from Cream Cheese, Feta, Mozzarella to Camembert can be recreated using tree nuts combined with herbs. Creating nut cheeses is an advanced culinary art, however with patience and practice it is a skill worth learning that promises rich rewards.
Nut cheeses replace dairy cheese – no cows need to be enslaved – artificially inseminated or have their precious babies taken away to produce milk to make plant-based nut cheeses.
Raw Nut cheeses are delicious key ingredients in velvety sauces for various dishes, as a spread on sprouted breads & raw seed crackers, or made into a dip to dress salads & seaweed wraps.
For communitarians transitioning to Living Nutrition in their first year of association, and for those living in cold climates where there are times when quality fruits and greens are in short supply, or else prohibitively expensive, sprouted breads are concessional additions to their diets.
The grains selected to produce the loaves and crackers are derived from organic sources. Sprouted Flour is made from sprouted wheat berries, spelt, amaranth, rye, corn, buckwheat and many more. The base of Sprouted Bread is grain that is allowed to sprout and begin to germinate. Traditionally the grains were sprouted in the fields, on the stalks before harvesting. However modern methods of producing bread, even so-called healthy breads, have lost this step. Still, it is easy for those producing living food within Living Kitchens to reinstall this step.
Sundried Sprouted Bread
The use of sprouted grains in bread can be traced back to several ancient cultures across the globe, including the Essenes, a group who followed a diet of living foods from the second century BC to the first century The ‘Dead Sea’ Scrolls record the practice of sprouting wheat and other grains as well as seeds before grinding it into dough and baking it in the sun to make a ‘living bread’ that is greatly sustaining.
Sprouting is nature’s way of unlocking valuable nutrients making the essential compounds such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and water available to provide the body with energy and the building blocks for repair and growth, as well as, activating substances necessary to regulate a host of other vital chemical processes.
More importantly, soaking and sprouting also deactivates phytic acid, which is a compound that prevents minerals such as calcium and iron from being absorbed by the digestive tract. Sprouting grains also makes the vital nutrients easier to absorb while retaining all the natural nutrition and fibre benefits and functions.
Sprouted Seeds & Crackers
Chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds are always sprouted to remove the outer coating that contains anti-nutrients that can irritate the gut lining before being eaten raw or used in recipes such as dehydrated seed crackers.
Seeds contain protein, mostly healthy fats and fibre. Flaxseeds and chia seeds are also good sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids which are important for making and regulating hormones. Seeds can help regulate blood sugar levels, cholesterol and blood pressure.
There are times when most of us crave something to eat that has major ‘crunch’. Seed crackers furnish the ‘goods’ providing a satisfying snack or addition to a main meal.
The first process involves sprouting the seeds by covering the seeds in a glass jar with filtered pure water. Once little ‘tails’ appear it is time to rinse the seeds and combine with herbs, a little sea salt or seaweeds such as nori, roll out into a baking sheet ready to be placed in the solar drier for 1 – 2 days depending on the weather.
Sprouted Fruit Bread
Both the morning and evening meals can consist of fresh fruit accompanied by sprouted bread, or else a mix of dried fruits embedded within the sprouted and sundried bread such as figs, raisins, dried apples, apricots and cherries.
Even grated raw pumpkin sun-baked into a sprouted grain and seed bread is deliciously satisfying, especially if a long day of physical or metal labour lies ahead.
Fruit breads transport well and hold up well as prepared meals to take on picnics or lunch on the go.
After sun-baking Loaves need to be stored in air-tight containers and stored in a cool, dark place.
Sprouted breads of all kinds are best eaten within 2-3 days. It is best to make fresh batches of the sprouted dough, daily, being mindful that the breads may have to remain in the solar food dryers or the electric dehydrators for more than 24 hours depending on the weather. Therefore the quantity of bread required needs to be calculated well in advance.
Living Kitchen Tools & Equipment
Through sharing and combining resources, the Living Kitchens within the Communal Unions are equipped with the best commercial type culinary tools and appliances, such as robust blenders and food processors, along with stainless steel juicers and large-scale efficient solar food dryers.
Education is provided on a continuous basis via classes and hands-on practical workshops on organic food production, along with developing of the culinary arts of preparing and presenting healthful nutritious living foods.
Micro-green Grow Rooms
Growing Micro-greens can be as easy as setting up table-tops on builder’s trestles outside, or as complicated as growing indoors under artificial light within a shipping container or insulated shed with good ventilation.
Microgreens can even be grown directly in soil in raised beds that are sheltered by clear plastic laid over plastic or metal hoops to guard against frosts or heavy rains that might otherwise damage the fragile shoots.
Large-scale production requires skills and specific medium preparation as well as regulated misting techniques and equipment to ensure uniformed and rapid plant growth while remaining free of mould and mildew or other contaminants.
Best growing practices revolve around growing the seeds to leaves, clean and fast, harvesting twice then planting again.
Cold Press Juicers
Horizontal Cold Press Juicers similar in design to the Angel Pro model make creating intact nutriment-dense fruit juices, as well as, raw nut milks and even nut butters, quick and easy with little waste, mess or fuss.
These types of juicers also help create the perfect consistency of raw sprouted dough needed to turn swollen sprouted wheat berries and like grains, into nutritious sun-dried sprouted breads and fruit breads as well as sun-baked seed crackers.
Masticating single-gear or double-geared Cold Press Juicers usually operate at a slow 80 RPM, which is ideal for minimizing heat and cutting down on oxidation.
The Angel Juicers are made from 100% food-grade stainless steel, including the gears. This means absolutely no chemicals can leak into your juice, the juicer will never absorb flavours, the entire machine resists rust and corrosion, and makes it hygienic for large volume use.
Solar Food Dryer
Preserving living foods with the aid of solar food dryers, is one of the easiest, most energy-efficient ways to ensure the communal unions maintain a high level of food security. Additionally the benefits of solar food dryers is that drying food this way retains a lot more of the original nutrients in the fruits, herbs, sprouted breads and seed crackers than canning or freezing.
The concept of solar food dryer is simple: move warm air over thinly sliced food. The warmer the air, the more moisture will be extracted from the food. However, the idea is not to allow the warm air to move too quickly, as it will cause the temperature to decrease. The bests designs create just enough air movement and warmth to dry food quickly.
The food is laid out on trays that sit behind a transparent polycarbonate sheet or recycled glass panel. Below the trays there’s a metal shelf, painted black, that serves as a heat absorber. As heated air rises through the food, cool air is drawn in through the bottom vent, and the heated, moisture-laden air flows out the exhaust at the top.