Many of the most beautiful meals will be found on the ageless aging table. The variety of colors, textures, tastes and culinary experiences which delicious natural foods offer to anyone with an interest in food preparation and a love of fine cuisine at the very least equals the best traditional cooking.
Eating fresh foods rich in `life force' in a high-raw way of eating means that your taste-buds, sense of smell and aesthetic awareness of food become dramatically heightened so that the appreciation of all that you eat can be greater than ever before.
From being someone who used to love fresh cream and rich sauces I've become infinitely more appreciative of the fine flavors implicit in ageless aging cuisine. And I love it. Not only because I look younger, feel better all round and have infinitely more energy than before, but because the experience of eating itself has become so much more delightful. Most of us eat far too much and we dull our senses and our appreciation of food in the process. Even the most subtle of Beethoven's late quartets begins to dull the senses when you have too much of it. So can too much food even if it is the very best. Ageless aging cuisine revives them.
Put your kitchen scales away and forget the complex routine for preparing a béchamel sauce. It’s not conventional directions that matter when preparing foods, it is a passion for the foods themselves – a feeling reflected in our passion for the earth and life itself. It’s good because it tastes good. Such passion, which is visual, visceral and luscious, becomes the inspiration that, in food preparation, leads you automatically to make certain choices. Open wide your kitchen window. Welcome in the breezes of experiment, wit and spontaneity. Inside, you find the traditional meal of roast meal and boiled Brussels sprouts topped off with a piece of sticky toffee pudding replaced by something far more hedonistic: slivers of raw Pacific salmon, luscious garden-fresh salad, followed by a winter sorbet of cranberry and mint. The real joy in eating fresh, light foods lies in their taste, their texture and the remarkable ability they have to bring excitement to a palate jaded by too many highly processed, unimaginatively seasoned or over-cooked dishes.
I look on food as a source of both delight and life-energy which is passed on to us from the earth. I believe this energy needs to be preserved by not cooking food too much, by eating it fresh and by respecting its essential nature. Food eaten this way becomes a medium through which we build our own vitality – energy to protect the body from premature aging and illness, to enhance good looks and to keep the mind clear. It is the life-energy present in abundance in fresh foods and the clean, simple protein from fish, game, organic meat and poultry that makes these foods irresistible and helps us look and feel great.
The most significant change to human diets in two million years began with the agricultural revolution, when man went from a carbohydrate-poor to a carbohydrate-rich diet. The more that these carbohydrates have become refined in the past 300 years, the more problems they have caused us, not only in terms of burgeoning obesity worldwide but also in the development of the chronic degenerative diseases of civilization. The thing to remember is that when you eat low-starch vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, asparagus and cauliflower, or proteins such as fish, meat and eggs, the levels of glucose in the blood (blood sugar) rise very slowly and modestly. On the other hand, when you eat what are known as high-glycemic foods - starchy foods, simple carbohydrates, sugars - like a muffin, pasta, breakfast cereal or ice cream, blood sugar soars, then crashes as insulin is released in order to lower your blood sugar. You can end up feeling hungry even though you've just eaten a meal, crave sweets and biscuits, and reach for a cup of coffee and a cake mid-morning just to keep going. High insulin levels, by the way, suppress human growth hormone essential for healthy muscle tissue, making you look flabby and older.
The most important foods are fresh non-starchy vegetables, fresh fruits, and proteins like meat, seafood, eggs and game. A little unprocessed cheese is fine too and a few nuts and seeds. Go for nothing but the best. Here are a few guidelines:
Choose natural whole foods – organically grown/raised if possible
Your foods need to be as fresh as possible and eaten as close to a living state as you can. This allows little time for the deterioration that occurs as a result of oxidation.
All the foods you eat should be non-toxic and non-polluting to your body. They should contain no synthetic flavours, colors, preservatives or other additives used to ‘enhance’ them cosmetically. Stay away from convenience foods.
Try to vary the foods you choose from day to day and week to week. All through our evolution the human body has adapted to a wide range of foods offering a broad spectrum of nutrients.
Use fresh garlic and herbs often. They bring high-level support for cellular regeneration and immune support.
Eat what you enjoy and enjoy what you eat. Eating is one of life’s great pleasures – make it one of yours.
make way for a new lifestyle
Eating for ageless aging leads most people to a totally new way of living. You become more alert and more active. You will probably sleep less yet far better than before. This is because your whole system will be far clearer of toxicity than before and you will need less time for tissue repair and restoration than you do on a normal diet. You will also probably find that you are better able to deal with stress than ever. This way of eating provides you with high levels of potassium and rapidly restores the sodium-potassium balance in most people. This leads to increased resistance to fatigue and a greater feeling of calm stability day in day out. It may also set you slightly apart from your gravy-eating, hard-drinking friends and may even have them feeling slightly suspicious of you in the beginning. But it has been my experience that as soon as they find you are not trying to sell them anything - that you have a live-and-let-live attitude to whatever they do - they show a similar respect for your new lifestyle. In fact, the people who have been the most resistant to what you are doing and the most opinionated are very often the ones who are first to become intrigued about what an ageless aging lifestyle might offer them. And they are usually the ones with the energy and interest to carry it out.
melon; cauliflower and tomatoes mixed with red peppers and lettuce salad topped with Avocado Delight Dressing (see blow).
Steamed fish; wok-fried beans and peas; brown rice.
RAW DISHES: lamb's lettuce, celeriac and wild-herb salad topped with chopped egg dressing; fresh pears and plumped raisins.
Garlic Chicken Soup; steamed baby carrots and basil; young peas with mint.
mushrooms, watercress and chicory salad topped with Basil and More Basil Dressing; Mulled Stuffed Apples (see below).
Fabulous Fish Soup.
`Sunburst' platter of avocado, beetroot, cos lettuce, mushrooms, tomatoes, celery and peppers served with raw humus (see below).
carrot and coriander soup; or venison burgers; Scottish oatcakes; Pineapple Blackberry Frappe.
`Jungle Slaw' salad made from cabbage, tender green beans, carrots, spring onions, red or yellow pepper and almonds served with a citrus dressing.
Lightly grilled salmon and steamed green beans.
gazpacho; pineapple salad stuffed with orange, mango, papaya and strawberries and topped with coconut.
Hand Made Sausages (see below).
`Sandstone Loaf' made from carrots, lemon juice, almonds, pumpkin seeds, tahini and herbs; apple and ginger salad; home made blackberry sorbet.
Flax Crackers (see below) with humus.
For breakfast - or for that matter instead of lunch or supper when you want a small meal - you can't do better than a bowl of fruit muesli. If you have never tasted real muesli (and it bears no resemblance to the flaky sweet stuff you can buy on the shelves of supermarkets) you have a real treat ahead of you. Fruit muesli was the invention of Swiss physician Max Bircher-Benner who devised it as the perfect light meal. It is a delicious and easy-to-digest completely uncooked dish which can contain all of the essential vitamins and minerals, and which is an excellent source of high-quality complete proteins and essential fatty acids. It can provide you with sustaining energy but will never lie heavily in your stomach. And it can be made low in calories.
Real muesli (often called Birchermuesli after its inventor) is not a grain-based but a fruit-based dish with only a very small quantity of top-quality fresh wholegrain flakes in it. It is usually made with apples and oats but there are so many varieties which you can make, calling on whatever fresh or dried fruits and whatever kinds of grains, nuts and seeds you have available, that you could quite literally eat it twice a day all the year round and never get tired of it. Children absolutely adore Birchermuesli both as a complete breakfast and as a sweet after a main meal. A small bowl of muesli in the morning will keep you going all the way to lunch with none of the `elevenses slump' that has many people reaching for a cup of coffee and a pastry or a chocolate bar. It is also an excellent food to eat in the evening since it is so easy to digest that it never interferes with sleep. I do a lot of traveling and for many years I dreaded having to stay in hotels because the food available in so many hotel dining-rooms is so poor. I have got into the habit of carrying with me a small `muesli bag' with a hand grater in it plus some grain flakes and minced nuts and a small bowl so I can make my own breakfast or supper whenever I want and not be forced to eat what I don't want just because there is nothing else. Here is the basic recipe:
For each person you'll need:
- I level tablespoon rolled oats soaked in 4 tablespoons water
- I heaped tablespoon raisins or sultanas
- I tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons natural unsweetened yogurt
- I large apple
- ½ banana
- I teaspoon raw honey (if desired) or pure stevia to taste
- I tablespoon minced hazelnuts and almonds or other mixed seeds and nuts
- I pinch cinnamon (if desired)
Soak the rolled oats and raisins in water, preferably overnight. This begins to break down the starch present in the grains and turn it into natural sugar so it is easily assimilated. If you have no time to soak the grains then simply mix with the water (you will need slightly less water in this case) and carry on immediately.
Wash the apple(s) and remove core and stem but don't peel. Then, using a stainless-steel hand grater or a food processor, grate the apple into the mixture and, stirring, add lemon juice to protect it from discoloring.
Cut the banana into small cubes, add to the mixture with the honey (if desired) and mix with yogurt. Sprinkle the top with the minced nuts and a little cinnamon if you like.
Instead of rolled oats you can use other cereal flakes such as barley, millet or buckwheat. These are available from wholefood shops. I find I don't usually add honey to my muesli because it is so beautifully sweet already, thanks to the soaked grains and fruit. You can also make muesli with soft fruit such as strawberries or raspberries, loganberries, red and black currants, blackberries or blueberries as well as with apricots, cherries, peaches, plums or greengages. Or you can mix your fruits together. Also you can make the muesli from dried fruit which has been soaked for twelve hours or overnight in spring water. But make sure you get sun-dried not sulfur dried fruits to which no glucose has been added (it is commonly added to figs for instance) or you can end up with a gastrointestinal upset.
seasoning and spices
Make use of all of the wonderful culinary herbs that are available: And the list of seductive possibilities seems almost endless: caraway, fennel, dill, chervil, parsley, lovage - the Umberiferae; summer savory, marjoram, the mints, rosemary, and thyme-the labiates, which have a strong aroma and are particularly useful for seasoning; the Liliaceae such as garlic, onions, chives and leeks; and three of my favorites, basil and tarragon and horseradish. Herbs have a special role to play in any ageless aging regime. They contain pharmacologically active substances such as volatile oils, tannins, bitter factors, secretins, balsams, resins, mucilages, glycosides and organic vegetable acids each of which can contribute to overall health in a different way. The tannins, for instance, which occur in many common kitchen herbs, are astringent and have an anti-inflammatory action on the digestive system. They help inhibit fermentation and decomposition. The secretins stimulate the secretion of pancreatic enzymes - particularly important for the complete breakdown of proteins in foods to make them available for bodily use. Organic acids have an antibiotic action and are helpful in the digestion of fats and the bitter factors, which are found in good quantity in rosemary, marjoram and fennel. They also act as a tonic to the smooth muscles of the gut and boost secretion of digestive enzymes. Use herbs lavishly in your meals and you will find you can create the most remarkable combinations of subtle flavors and aromas.
drink yourself younger
Coffee, although not completely forbidden on any serious program of ageless aging, is not something to drink daily. The occasional cup after dinner is not likely to do much harm. More than that and you are really undermining your potential for age-retardation not only because it contains mutagenic and carcinogenic compounds which cause oxy-stress and free radical damage but also because regular coffee tends to make cadmium (one of the heavy metals) build up in your system and can interfere with proper pancreatic functioning. It also leeches calcium from the bones. Tea is OK in moderation - no more than a cup or two a day - but there are other drinks which are not only good for you, they can be highly enjoyable as well.
Alcohol is another substance you want to go easy on. Not only is it very high in calories yet practically worthless in terms of the nutrients it supplies, it also causes your liver to produce one of the most potent cross-linkers known - acetaldehyde. A glass or two of wine can be easily accommodated. More than that as a daily intake is likely to seriously undermine your effort. And make sure it is good wine. The run of the mill vin de table is full of toxic substances which your cells can do without.
You'll find some delicious mixtures of herbs in ready-made tea bags if you comb through a few delicatessens and healthfood stores. Some of my favorites have names like Cinnamon, Rose, Almond Sunset, Creamy French Vanilla, and Red Zinger. They are great to drink for pleasure and refreshment the way most people drink coffee and ordinary tea. But there are others which are quite wonderful simply because they affect the body in specific ways. Lemon verbena, for instance, is a refreshing sedative, chamomile soothes the digestive tract, and both horsetail and solidago (goldenrod) are excellent natural diuretics.
The teas I like best just before bed are orange blossom, which you make by boiling a few blossoms for 2-3 minutes in two cups of water, red bergamot and lemon peel, all of which are natural sedatives. This last tea comes from an Italian tradition. You make it by peeling the outer yellow skin off a lemon (which has been washed well) with a potato peeler. Pour boiling water over this and let steep for 5 minutes. Then strain and drink.
a few recipes to play with
Avocado Delight Dressing
- 1 avocado, peeled and stoned
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Juice of ½ orange
- 1 small onion, chopped finely
- 1 garlic clove, chopped finely
- Handful of fresh herbs – mint, parsley or basil
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Blend all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and serve.
Italian Herb Dressing
- 100ml extra-virgin oliv oil
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1-2oz fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tsp Marigold Swiss Vegetable Buillon or Rapunzel Organic Vegetable Bouillon Powder
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Mix all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth, adjusting the flavour as necessary.
Garlic Chicken Soup (serves 1)
- 150g lean, skinless chicken breast, but into small cubes
- 1 tsp fresh chopped garlic
- 1 level teaspoon Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon or Rapunzel Organic Vegetable Bouillon Powder
- 2 teaspoons chopped parsley and/or ½ teaspoon lemongrass or ½ teaspoon mild curry powder
- 180 ml water
Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 3-5 minutes and serve.
Fabulous Fish Soup (serves 1)
- 360ml water
- 1 teaspoon Marigold Swiss Vegetable Buillon or Rapunzel Organic Vegetable Bouillon Powder
- ½ tsp fresh chopped garlic
- ½ tsp chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil or ½ tsp dried basil
- 1 cup broccoli
- 150g white fish
- ¼ tsp paprika
- Himalayan or Malvern salt to taste
- Pepper, to taste
Put the bouillon powder, water, garlic, onion and basil in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the broccoli and cook for 5 minutes with the lid on. Place the rish on top of the broccoli and sprinkel with paprika, salt and pepper. Put the lid on and cook for another 5 minutes.
- 2 cups sprouted chick peas
- Juice of 3 lemons
- 1 tsp Marigold Swiss Vegetable Buillon or Rapunzel Organic Vegetable Bouillon Powder
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp tahini
- 3 tbsp chopped spring onions or chives
- Water to thin if too thick
Put the ingredients, except the onions or chives, in a food processor or blender and blend thoroughly. Top with the chives or onions.
- 350g lean minced pork, chicken, lamb, beef, venison or wild boar
- 1 tsp Himalayan or Malvern salt, to taste
- 2 tbsp gram flour (chickpea flour)
- 4 cloves garlic (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, coriander or sage
- ½ large onion, finely chopped
Combine all the ingredients in a big mixing bowl and ix thoroughly with your hands. Refrigerate until well chilled then separate into patties and cook in an oiled skilled until crunchy on the surface and cooked through.
- 240g faxseed meal (or buy whole flaxseeds and grind them)
- 240ml water
- 30ml tamari or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or Soy Sauce
- Himalayan or Malvern salt, to taste
- Fresh minced herbs
- A little chopped garlic
- Ginger, chilli powder, or cayenne pepper (optional)
Combine the flaxseed meal with the water and let it soak for 1 ½ hours. The water will change to a sort of gelatinous state. Add a little more water if necessary, you want it to be gooey but not too runny or too thick. Add the tamari, salt, herbs and garlic (or other flavourings). Blend together. Spread the mixture out, about 1/8 inch thick, and cut into squares. Carefully lift the squares onto a wire mesh and bake in a slow oven until crunchy. You can also make them in a dehydrator - dehydrate them for 4-6 hours, turn the mixture and dehydrate for a further 3-4 hours.
Mulled Stuffed Apples (serves 2)
Most of the nutritional value of an apple lies in its skin, or just below it, so wash apples well but don’t peel them. Softish apples are best for this recipe as their insides have to be scooped out.
- 100ml grape juice or red wine
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 2 cloves
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 1 crushed white cardamom pod
- ¼ tsp allspice
- 75g blanched almonds
- 2 large apples
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- handful dates or raisins
‘Mull’ the grape juice or wine by putting it in a bowl with the spices and leaving for at least an hour. Discard the cloves and cardamom and blend the remaining mixture with the almonds in a food processor or blender. Slice the tops off the apples and keep them. Remove the cores, saving small pieces to plug the bottoms. Scoop out the apple pulp, leaving a shell about 1cm thick. Lightly blend the pulp with the juice and the almond mixture until smooth, adding a squeeze of
lemon juice. If the mixture is not thick enough, add a few more ground almonds. Chop the dates or raisins and fill the apple shells with the dried fruit and almond mixture. Replace the ‘lids’.
Or, make stuffed apples with apple sauce and blackberries. Blend the apple pulp with a little lemon juice, stevia and spices then combine it with the blackberries and spoon into the apple shells.
Pineapple Blackberry Frappe
This makes a wonderfully refreshing dessert as it stands, or it can be chiled to serve as a cool sorbet on hot summer days.
- 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
- ½ cup blackberries
- Juice of ½ lime
Place all the ingredients in a blender and liquidise. Serve immediately.