Nutrition is an important ingredient in any writer’s toolkit. When asked why people today appear unable to develop and act according to all they learn and seem to know, philosopher, Rudolph Steiner, replied: this is a problem of nutrition. We all need the proper proteins, fats, minerals, sugars plus all the rest for our brain and body to function at their best. Each of us has an instinct to reach for the food that best serves our body’s needs at any time. I encourage my fellow writers and readers to rediscover that instinct. Meanwhile, here are a few recipes that have helped me to find better energy levels in this marathon activity we call writing. I hope it stimulates you to find and refine a few healthy go-to foods that do it for you too!
Every year or so, I make a batch of health elixir which is good for general well-being but also helps to strengthen my eyes: Chinese dates (30g); goji berry (30g); dried cranberry (30g); stem ginger (30g); American ginseng (10g); maca root (2tsp); turmeric (2tsp); cinnamon (1 stick); bush honey (150g) soaked in brandy (1 litre). I let it steep in a bell jar for 4-6 weeks then enjoy a shot glass each day.
Pastelli (toasted sesame seed bars)
These bars have become a regular part of my first meal of the day, rich in minerals and protein. I found the original recipe on the SBS food website. My ingredients are: 200g roasted cashew, 200g roasted pepitas, 600g roasted sesame seeds, 175 g (½ cup) honey, 115 g (½ cup) caster sugar, pinch of sea salt flakes. If I buy raw nuts or seeds, I firstly lightly roast them in a wok on the stove. Meanwhile, I place the honey, sugar and salt in a large saucepan and stir over a low heat until melted and combined, simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture turns golden – it will become foamy as it simmers. I add the nuts and seeds and stir to combine, tip the mixture onto a prepared sheet, using a spatula to scrape the nuts and seeds out of the pan. Immediately I place another sheet of baking paper on top and roll out to a rectangular slab roughly 40 cm × 25 cm and 1 cm thick. I peel away the top sheet of paper and cut the block into slices while it’s still warm. I can get 64 slices (like 64 hexagrams!). I may vary my input of nuts and seeds, eg use macadamias etc, but the best pastelli results come from using a majority of sesame seeds.
I found this recipe when I was studying at university in the 1980s. It’s an Edgar Cayce recipe. He called it Mummy Food, said it was a recipe revered in ancient Egypt. Place one half cup of chopped dates, one half cup of chopped figs, one cup of water and a handful of corn meal in a pan and stir over a low heat for ten minutes. Serve with milk. He describes this dish as almost a spiritual food for the body!
Chinese date flavoured yoghurt.
I make my own yoghurt for daily consumption. I often eat it plain though my favourite fruit variety uses Chinese dates. I take 20-30 red Chinese dates, remove the seeds and then steam them for 15 minutes till they’re soft. Then I place them into a blender, add one cup of water and a spoon of honey or rose water to produce a paste. I stir this paste into one kilo of chilled plain yoghurt.
I found this tonic recipe online many years ago. It was labelled The Miracle Cure. There has been voluminous research into each of the ingredients alone as well as together. I took two teaspoons in a glass of juice for at least a year and it does give us a lift for sure. These days I still make batches of a few bottles at a time and add it to soups, salad dressings and marinade recipes. We can be a little flexible with the ingredients but the recipe as I received it was: In a bowl, mix half a cup of lemon juice, half a cup of ginger juice. Put 25 cloves of chopped garlic in a blender and mix at high speed. Add one cup of apple cider vinegar, as we blend and then add one cup of honey. Then mix the whole lot again. Pour the mixture into a glass jar and place in the fridge for at least five days. A regular dose is two teaspoons per day, mixed in water or juice. Or you may wish to prepare it as a tea, adding one teaspoon to hot water, taking it three times per day.