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Raw & Natural Valentine’s Day Ideas
Jan 25th, 2012 by Kendra at Rawr

Whether you’re planning Valentines for a loved one, or are going to be pampering yourself on 14th February, here’s how to keep the love all-natural, raw and vegan.

Cacao Butter Massage

Massage is sensual and relaxing, and can be great for your skin’s health. A chunk of slightly warmed organic cacao butter is all you need for a great-smelling, moisturising massage bar. Coconut butter works well too, and melts a little faster in your hands.

For a little more pizazz, melt some cacao butter over a bowl of hot water or in a dehydrator, add a few drops of fragrant essential oil or some rose petals, and pour into a heart-shaped mould to set.

For more elaborate and luxurious homemade raw bath recipes, have a read of The Holistic Beauty Book.

Romantic Raw Chocolate

What would Valentines be without chocolate? Our Passion bar, aptly-named and with a heart-decorated wrapper, makes a perfect post-dinner treat. Or make a gift of the Rawr Love Collection – 4 raw vegan chocolate bars (including Passion), with red ribbon, heart-themed tag and optional gift message. Alternatively, create your own chocolate gift.

Bathing with Love

Run a relaxing, nourishing bath, adding essential oils, a few sprinkles of grated cacao butter, rose petals, or a natural pre-made bath soak, such as Raw Living’s bath salts or bath bar. Don’t forget the…

Toxin-Free Candlelight

Most regular candles are made from petrochemicals, which release toxic fumes as you burn them. Not terribly romantic! Make sure your Valentines candles are made from plant wax, such as these tea lights from Funky Raw.

Raw Dinner, in or out

If you’re in the UK and are lucky enough to live in or visit London, there’s an increasing number of raw restaurants where you can enjoy a romantic meal out – Saf, Inspiral Lounge, Vantra, Wild Food Cafe to name a few. If you want to eat raw at home without the preparation, Raw Fairies offer a food delivery service.

Dinner at home allows you to tailor your meal to your partner’s (or your) favourite raw foods. For example, if you both love avocados, why not make a delicious avocado-based salad followed by chocolate-avocado pudding?

Check out these raw food website and book suggestions for recipe ideas. This list of aphrodisiac raw foods will help give your dinner an extra boost!

Raw & Natural Cosmetics, Skincare & Cleaners
May 27th, 2010 by Kendra at Rawr

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you already know the importance of using natural products on your skin. Whatever goes on your body goes into your body, so it makes sense that if you’re eating naturally you’ll want to eliminate as many chemicals as possible from the outside in, as well as the inside out. This is a quick guide to some of the natural alternatives I’ve found.

Around the Home

 

Bicarbonate of Soda

Bicarbonate of Soda

  • A great all-round cleaner is bicarbonate of soda: environmentally friendly, cheap and effective. It cleans and deodorises at the same time, making it great for cleaning the bathroom and kitchen. If it’s edible, it’s going to be infinitely better for you than any supermarket cleaner.
  • Vinegar is another natural, edible product with numerous cleaning uses. It’s especially good for cleaning windows and glass: just rub it on with some scrunched-up newspaper.
  • Choose one of the more natural brands of washing up liquid. We like Earth Friendly Products Dishmate and Bio D.
  • Another option is using a cleaning cloth by No More Chemicals. These cloths have small particles of silver imbedded in the fibres (silver has natural antibacterial properties), so you simply moisten them and wipe over surfaces to clean without needing to add any products. They only cost a couple of £, and are a fantastic invention.
  • Whether using natural products or not, it’s a good idea to wear rubber gloves when cleaning.

Laundry

 

Soap Nuts

Soap Nuts

  • There are a number of natural options for washing clothes, but the most genuinely natural, cheapest, easiest method I’ve found is soap nuts. These little brown nuts grow in India and Nepal, and when added to water they produce a natural soap called Saponin.
  • Simply place 6-8 nuts in the cotton bag provided. Each batch can be used 3 or 4 times before they need to be composted (they’re 100% natural and biodegradable). They clean clothes well without the need for fabric softener, and leave clothes scent-free. Clothes washed with conventional soap powder smell really strong and artificial to me now!
  • Soap nuts can also be bought in liquid form, although it’s cheaper to buy the nuts and make your own. Just place around 20 nuts in a large pan of water and simmer for 30 mins, let the liquid cool, and you have soap nut liquid. Use it for hand-washing clothes, general cleaning, or as a natural hand-wash. Can also be used as a shampoo, although I haven’t tested this out!
  • We buy soap nuts in bulk via eBay – much cheaper than the small packets found in the shops.

Personal Hygiene

 

ToothSoap ToothShreds

ToothSoap ToothShreds

  • Deodorant – the most mainstream ‘natural’ deodorants you’ll find in the shops are crystal deodorants and stick-style chemical-free brands. But the most effective, cheapest, most natural….? Bicarbonate of soda. Just grab the pot you keep for cleaning the bathroom, dampen your underarm, rub in a fingerful of bicarb, and be odour-free for the whole day. Works even better for me than the supermarket brands I used in the pre-Rawr days.
  • Body & hand wash – many companies such as Faith in Nature produce hand and body washes, but I’ve never found one I felt was truly natural. These days I use Oliva Olive Oil Soap or soapnut liquid (see Laundry).
  • Shampoo – again, there are many brands of shampoo and conditioner touted as ‘natural’. These are often missing many of the more well-known chemicals, such as parabens, yet still have quite lengthy – and not 100% natural – ingredients. Many can also be quite pricey. If you want to go completely chemical-free, you could try bicarbonate of soda and apple cider vinegar in the No Poo approach, or try making your own shampoo – I recommend Star Khechara’s raw-friendly Holistic Beauty Book for recipes. Raw Gaia also make a natural shampoo called Shikakai Hair Wash, although as I have blond hair I haven’t been able to try it. I admit I’m still searching for the perfect shampoo or alternative – any recommendations appreciated!
  • Toothpaste – most people following a natural lifestyle know to avoid fluoride toothpaste, but did you know that the glycerin found in most ‘natural’ toothpastes coats the teeth, preventing remineralisation? After finding this out I’ve started using ToothSoap’s ToothShreds, which are fantastic. AloeDent is glycerin-free and more like conventional toothpaste. For dental floss I use Desert Essence’s tea-tree floss, which can be found in many health shops or on sites like http://www.bpidental.co.uk/ who have begun to stock their shelves. I’ve also heard good things about ionic toothbrushes, which break down plaque without the need for any toothpaste. I’d love to know if anyone’s tried one, and what they thought!

Skincare

 

Raw Gaia

Raw Gaia

  • I used to use every skincare product under the sun – toners, cleansers, moisturisers, anti-spot creams and washes, night creams, day creams, face packs, no-shine solutions, make-up primers, exfoliating scrubs, eye cream, make-up remover, hint-of-tan creams, facial steaming…and I had awful skin.
  • These days, I wash my face with just water, use a raw moisturiser once in the morning, use raw coconut butter to remove my mascara, and that’s it. My skin is not perfect, but it’s so much better than it used to be – it seems all those products were actually making my skin look worse. I shudder to think of the chemicals I was absorbing. These days, I imagine that if I wanted to, I could even cut out the moisturiser and allow my skin to readjust itself completely to its natural balance.
  • There are a couple of great raw skincare brands within the UK: Raw Gaia and Live Native. I’ve tried Raw Gaia’s MSM Beauty Cream and Live Native’s Essential Woman, and both were fantastic. Raw Gaia sells a larger range of raw and organic products, including soaps, shampoo, and numerous body creams, and in decent sized pots. Live Native has a smoother, prettily scented range and very professional packaging, though you get a little less for your money.
  • For a natural suncream, we use Caribbean Blue. A quick internet search will find lots of UK online stockists.

Cosmetics

 

Can natural cosmetics do this?

Can natural cosmetics do this?

  • Again, this is an area I’ve cut down a lot on. Nowadays I can live without most make-up except mascara, although I do still regularly wear some extras! Like with most commercial ‘natural’ products, you should check the ingredients carefully before buying – many ‘natural’ products are not so natural at all!
  • Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found a natural make-up range that is as colourful, long-lasting or striking as conventional brands. Natural mascara in particular tends to prove rather expensive and give only a subtle look. Lavera is the best I’ve tried so far.
  • Nail varnish is one of the only cosmetics that just doesn’t seem to be easily available in a natural form. There are ‘more natural’ brands, such as Zoya, but none that are anywhere near chemical-free. After much searching, I’ve decided to just give up on the idea of wearing it.
  • The first make-up range I tried was US based Zosimos Botanicals. Brilliant products and reasonable prices (I expect to pay more if I’m avoiding the traditional make-up counter), although I was caught out on import tax! I’ve been using their blusher, eyeliner and eyeshadows for over a year now though, and no sign of running out.
  • Lily Lolo is a UK-based brand I’ve earmarked to try next. I’ve also read good things about Purity Cosmetics, Inika and Miessence.
  • Perfumes – there’s an increasing range of natural fragrances on the market, from solid to traditional sprays. I especially like Jo Wood Organics.
  • If you want to see just what chemicals are in your make-up, check out the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. It covers mostly US brands, though many of these are also found in the UK, and allows you to search (for free) the risk-factor of specific products. If I want to get a new cosmetic I’ll often look here first, set the search to display from low to high risk, and check out the brands with the lowest risk factors.

Further Reading

Recipe: Raw Carob Carrot Cake
Feb 15th, 2010 by Kendra at Rawr

Raw Carrot Pulp Carrot Cake

Summary: This is a great use for the pulp left over from juicing carrots. The original recipe can be found in Jeremy Safron’s book ‘The Raw Truth’; I’ve adapted it here. Makes a large cake – pictured is an individual portion, not the whole thing! Really tasty and filling, and not excessively sweet.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup soaked almonds
  • 2 cups soaked dates
  • 3 cups carrot pulp
  • 2 cups dry walnuts
  • 2 cups dry sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1 cup raw carob powder
  • 6 dates, soaked
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup soaked cashews

Instructions

  1. Process the walnuts and sunflower seeds in a food processor. Put in a large mixing bowl and add the carob and coconut.
  2. Process the almonds to a powder, then add the dates and continue processing. Put in a second mixing bowl, and mix in the carrot pulp.
  3. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet, mixing well with your hands or a spoon.
  4. Press the resulting cake base into a cake tin or large bowl.
  5. Process the cashews, then add the 6 dates and water to make the cake topping. Pour over the base.
  6. Refrigerate what you don’t eat straightaway.

Preparation time: 20 mins

Number of servings: 12 (makes  a big cake!)

Meal type: dessert

Recipe: Raw Chocolate Crispy Cakes
Nov 19th, 2009 by Kendra at Rawr

Raw Chocolate Crispy Cake

Raw Chocolate Crispy Cake

Summary: Raw chocolate crispy cakes, with not a cornflake in sight! Truly delicious.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups dried coconut (flakes or dessicated)
  • 1 cup dates, soaked overnight and soak water kept
  • 1 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup coconut butter
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Set the coconut butter to melt over a mug of hot water.
  2. Make the date paste. Put the soaked dates in your food processor with a little of the soak water and pulse. Continue to add small amounts of water and pulse until you achieve a smooth, paste-like consistency.
  3. Transfer the date paste to a mixing bowl. Add all of the other ingredients, including the melted coconut butter, and mix well.
  4. You should end up with a thick mixture. Add a little more of the date soak water if you feel it’s necessary, although you’re not aiming for stickiness.
  5. Using an ice-cream scoop, scoop up the mixture and press it into the scoop using a spoon.
  6. You can either eat the cakes now or dehydrate for 3-4 hours until warm and crispy on the outside.

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Number of servings: 9

Meal type: dessert

Recipe: Carob Coconut Balls
Nov 6th, 2009 by Kendra at Rawr

Summary: A yummy, sweet and salty dessert. This recipe makes 4 balls, which is enough for 2 people at one sitting, but you’ll probably want to make at least double as it won’t be long before you’ll be wanting more!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded, dried coconut
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 heaped tablespoons carob powder

Instructions

  1. Set the coconut butter to melt in a small container balanced over a mug of boiled water (I use the largest of my measuring cups to melt small quantities of coconut butter in).
  2. Put the dates into your food processor and process until they’re as broken down as you think they’re going to get. If you use juicy dried dates, such as Medjool, you’ll end up with something approaching a paste; if using drier dates you might just get lots of broken pieces.
  3. When the coconut butter’s melted pour it in with the dates, preferably while your food processor’s running.
  4. Add the shredded coconut and carob. Process for a few more seconds until it’s well mixed.
  5. Scoop out chunks with your fingers and mould into balls. If you want to make them look extra pretty you could roll them in more shredded coconut or even chopped hazelnuts.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Number of servings: 2

Meal type: dessert

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