Raw Food Recipes from the Island of Mustique
Raw Food specialist Amy Oliver is the culinary mastermind behind the Spa menu for the Ila Spa Retreat taking place on Mustique Island in November 2014. Here, Amy shares some of her nutrition expertise and two Mustique Island-inspired raw food recipes.
Focus on Fresh, Locally Sourced Produce
When looking for a retreat location, the exclusive island of Mustique in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has everything: pristine beaches, secluded luxury villas, ocean breezes, spa staff trained in rejuvenating treatments at the exclusive boutique hotel, rugged cliff hiking trails, a steady temperature of 38 degrees and an abundance of healing energy.
What is most exceptional about Mustique is that the spa menu is created almost entirely from local ingredients. Using what is fresh at the doorstep eliminates the carbon footprint created in shipping, packaging, and storing produce. Using only the freshest ingredients preserves the life force of the food.
The Ila spa menu relies on the bounty of neighboring island Saint Vincent with ingredients such as coconuts, dragon fruit, avocado, pumpkin, kale, herbs, lemongrass, moringa, ginger, bananas, flax, and the list goes on to over 50 locally grown fruits, vegetables and herbs. Local bottled water from Saint Vincent’s volcano is delivered to the suite’s door each morning.
The goal of the Ila Spa retreat at Mustique is to remove internal and external strains on the immune system. We strive to eliminate the noise, stress, and pressure of the outside world, help the nervous system to relax and rebalance using yoga, walks, and healing spa treatments. In the diet we aim to eliminate draining toxins like caffeine, alcohol, preservatives, and colourings, as well as possible allergens or intolerances such as gluten, peanuts and dairy all while replenishing the system with fresh juices, young coconut water and even several days of raw food.
Why Eat Raw Food?
When one cooks food to above 115 degrees Fahrenheit or 46 degrees Celsius the natural enzymes that aid in digestion and absorption are destroyed. In one study the body’s reaction to a full meal of cooked food was like that of an infection. White blood cells rush to the stomach to help fight off the “invader”. When 50% of the meal is replaced with raw food the body no longer has this immune response. By maintaining a raw diet for a few days the digestive system is able to rest.
Raw Food Recipes to Help You Get Started:
Chickpea Tarts with Caramelized Onions, Tomato and Rocket
To help ease the guests into the raw food regime, the first two days of the retreat contain some cooked foods such as the recipe below for chickpea-onion tarts.
Make a thick batter using:
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Salt to taste
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin coconut oil or olive oil
- 1/3 cup water
Whisk all. Heat a teaspoon olive or coconut oil in non-stick pan and fry cakes about 3 inches across until bubbles form, then flip and continue cooking until done. Remove from pan and continue until all batter is used.
Thinly slice three onions and sauté in olive oil until caramelized. Toss in several tablespoons minced fresh parsley and basil, salt and pepper.
Top each chickpea cake with onion, finely minced fresh tomato, small handful of chopped fresh arugula (or rocket). Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Himalayan pink sea salt.
An easy way to ease into raw foods is by blending up smoothies for breakfast or a snack. One of our favorites is a Banana-ginger-moringa smoothie, recipe below.
Puree all in blender:
- 2 bananas
- 3 Tbsp. fresh ginger juice
- Handful fresh young moringa leaves
- ½ cup fresh coconut milk (made by blending mature raw coconut meat with water and straining- other raw plant milk can be used such as almond)
- ½ cup sour sop flesh or mango flesh
- 2 Tbsp. ground flax
If you cannot find fresh moringa, you can substitute fresh kale or spinach.
Collard Green Wraps
At each meal we have the choice of nourishing our bodies or just satisfying a craving… why not choose the healthiest, cleanest option? Below is a recipe for collard green wraps - a lovely raw sandwich replacement with a touch of cooked lentils for protein to nourish your body.
- 4 large collard green leaves, left to wilt in direct sunlight 20 minutes (alternatively you can pour very hot water over them to soften)
- 1 cup cooked lentils
- ½ tsp. each- cumin, chili, paprika
- 1 large avocado
- 1 lime
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 hot pepper like jalapeno (optional)
- 1 carrot, finely shredded
- 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1 tomato, chopped
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup watercress
Mash the avocado with the juice of the lime, minced garlic clove, salt and pepper. Add minced hot pepper if you wish it spicy. Mix lentils with cumin, chili and paprika. Open the collard leaves flat, trim out the rib/stem in center. Place a quarter of each vegetable, watercress, lentils, seeds and mashed avocado in each leaf and roll like a spring roll (fold the top and bottom, then roll up from one side).
Voila, portable vegan lunch!
For more healthy recipe inspiration and healthy eating advice, look through the nutrition articles on our blog.