The Raw Food Diet: One of the most popular diets for health

Raw Food Pyramid

Raw Food Pyramid

Does anyone remember the Spa of Embarassing Illnesses on Channel 4? Raw Food was the diet of choice for the participants to help cure their conditions. With raw pasta and raw desserts, it was my first encounter with Raw. Since then doing the Raw Food Diet, I have seen some really amazing results! The results included: much clearer brighter skin, much more energy, improved digestion, weigth loss, stronger hair, better mental clarity and good restful sleep! If you have tried it we’d love some feedback about how you got on. If you haven’t…this is what the fuss is about.

What is The Raw Food Diet

The Raw Food Diet, or Raw Foodism, involves consuming foods and drinks which are not processed, are completely plant-based, and ideally organic. Raw Foodists generally say that at least three-quarters of your food intake should consist of uncooked food.

The science behind eating raw food is that cooked foods lose natural vitamin and phytonutrient content in the cooking process: water-soluble vitamins (including B vitamins and vitamin C) are especially susceptible to depletion via heating . There are naturally some nutrients that are enhanced by the cooking process, too: lycopene in tomatoes, a cancer-fighting compound, released by cooking, and so is the phytonutrient content in broccoli.

How Do I Do Raw?

You don’t have to go crazy and try 100% raw to begin with. You can do it slowly by just starting at breakfast, doing fruit/veg smoothies. Then when you are comfortable with that, make your lunch raw, and so on. Here are some amazing raw smoothie recipes:

Wonderful raw Smoothies: So Easy!

Wonderful raw Smoothies: So Easy!

Lime In The Coconut Smoothie: 1/2 avocado, 1 lime, pit and skin removed (if you don’t have a VitaMix, just use lime juice), 3/4 cup pineapple, chopped, or 1/2 banana, chopped, 1 tsp agave, 1 cup water, 6 ice cubes. Method: Blend all ingredients on high until creamy. Add more ice or water as needed, and enjoy.

Delicious Chocolate Dream : 2 Bananas, 1 small avocado, 1/4 cup raw cacao, 1/4 cup agave, 1 tbsp coconut oil, 2 tbsp lucuma powder, 2 tbsp maca, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 cup water -maybe more if you want the consistency thinner. Method: Blend all ingredients on high until creamy. Add more ice or water as needed, and enjoy.

Raw Inspiration?

When you decide to do a bit more raw, and you need some help with recipes, try some of these from The Chimp’s Kitchen:

Raw Food: Pad Thai

Raw Food: Pad Thai

Pad Thai

Beansprouts, Courgettes, Sliced red pepper, Shredded cabbage, Shredded carrot, Chives/ spring onion, Chopped nuts, 1/2 avocado, 2 tbsp agave nectar/ honey, 1/2 red chilli, 1 garlic clove, Bunch of coriander, 1 lime

METHOD: Add the beansprouts and shredded ingredients to a large bowl. The sauce was made by placing half the avocado in a small blender and mixing with the agave/honey, chilli, garlic, coriander and lime. Top everything with the chives/ onions and chopped nuts.


Raw Pasta: Courgetti & Pesto

Raw Pasta: Courgetti & Pesto

Courgetti with Pesto

2 medium sized courgettes, Red onion, 1 beef tomato, 40g rocket leaf, 50g pine nuts, Handful fresh basil, 1 clove garlic, Pinch sea salt

METHOD: Grate the courgettes longways on a grater in order to achieve long, spaghetti-like gratings. If you have a Spiriliser utensil this will achieve the same effect. Courgetti is made! To make the pesto, combine the pine nuts, basil, garlic, sea salt and touch of water in a blender. Whizz together. Add more water, little bit by little bit, until the correct consistency is achieved. Slice the beef tomato and keep two large slices, chopping the rest into small chunks. Chop the red onion into small pieces. Stir in the pesto to the courgetti. Add tomato chunks and red onion. Sit the tomato slices on beds of rocket leaf and top with the courgetti.


Raw Chocolate Mousse

Raw Chocolate Mousse

Summer Berries Chocolate Mousse

1 avocado, 1 tbsp raw cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons honey/ agave nectar, Vanilla, Berries (or any fruit or none at all), Water

METHOD: Chop up avocado and add to blender. Add small amounts of water to get the avocado moving around the blender and keep adding until a desired moussey consistency is acheived. Add water slowly and in small amounts. Add cocoa powder, agave nectar and vanilla. Blend. Transfer contents to suitable dish (if it doesn’t end up in your mouth first!).
Add berries.

For more info see:


Shea Butter: Say goodbye to eczema with this fantastic ingredient!

Raw shea butter

Raw shea butter

If you have dry or itchy skin, or if you suffer with ezcema or psoriasis you will no doubt be spending a fortune on creams, and potions and lotions to relieve the nightmare that itchy skin brings you. Well here are some simple Shea Butter recipes you can do in your kitchen to create your own lovely creams to help with troubled skin and much more!

What is Shea Butter and how can it help?

Shea Butter is only found in Africa, and it is extracted from the nuts of the Shea-Karite tree. The best shea butter is made from nuts that can take up to 30 years to bear, which have a high content of irremovable fatty acid.  It is this irremovable fatty acid that gives Shea Butter its unique healing properties and makes it far superior to cocoa butter and other vegetable butters.  Since Shea Butter is an all natural product, it can vary widely in quality, appearance and smell depending on where it is produced from and how it is refined or extracted.

Raw Shea Butter contains vitamins A and E in plentiful quantities.  Vitamin E has always been considered a useful anti-aging ingredient, while vitamin A is used traditionally to treat skin disorders.  It is useful on rashes, dry or cracked skin, stretch marks, insect bites, sunburns, skin allergies, eczema, contact burns, and dermatitis.

Here are some amazing recipes to try out for yourself…


Natural whipped body butter to soothe that itchy skin

Whipped Shea Butter

Ingredients: 1 lb shea butter,1 ounce jojoba/grapeseed oil, 1 tsp essential oil (Roman Chamomile, Rose Otto, Patchouli, Bergamot or Lavender are great for eczema)

Melt 1 lb shea (in a double-boiler), do not let it boil, heat until very soft and nearly fully melted. Remove from heat, Add 1 ounce of jojoba or grapeseed oil. Using a stick blender (do not use a stand up blender), begin blending on high, this will be done off and on for at least 15 to 20 minutes, blend 3 to 4 minutes, turn off blender, wait 2 minutes and begin again. When your butter begins to thicken near the end you will add your fragrance oil or essential oils. Add 1 teaspoon essential and blend this in well. Once your butter is like firm whipped creme you will take this and refrigerate it until completely cool. Package and store closed in a cool dry place.


Shea butter solid body bar

Shea butter solid body bar

Shea Butter Solid Body Bar

Ingredients: 2 ounces shea butter, 1 ounce beeswax, 1/2 (half) ounce cocount oil, 1/4 (quarter) tsp patchouli oil, 4 drops ylang ylang, 4 drops rose oil.

Melt shea butter, beeswax and coconut in a double boiler. Allow the wax to melt completely after which you can remove from heat and stir the mixture gently and let it cool. Using a stick blender (do not use a stand up blender), begin blending on high, this will be done off and on for at least 15 to 20 minutes, blend 3 to 4 minutes, turn off blender, wait 2 minutes and begin again. Before your butter begins to thicken add your essential oils. Now take some moulds of your choice and pour the mixture into the moulds. Let them cool and then remove them from the moulds. Once you have the body bars ready, you can use them by warming the bar between your palms to melt them a bit and absorb the oils, and then massage your skin with the oils, to moisturize.

To buy lovely organic, fairtrade raw shea butter click here or
visit Akoma:

To buy essential oils click here or visit

Ditch the chemicals…10 Natural Cleaning Recipes

Dangerous chemicals in household cleaning products

There are so many new health related risks to the products we use to clean our home. The risks of some of these chemicals include respiratory problems, skin reactions, allergies, lung and kidney damage and cancer. Not to mention the impact on our earth’s ecosystems. The main types of harmful chemicals are: carcinogens, volatile organic compounds and phosphates. They can be found in household items such as oven cleaners, floor wax, air fresheners and laundry detergent.

Chemical Nasties

Carcinogens such as benzene, formaldehyde, nitrilotriacetic acid and carbon tetrachloride are chemicals known to cause cancer in humans and other animals. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as methane, trichloroethylene and chloroform react with nitrogen and sunlight to create ozone. High amounts of ozone will increase the rate of asthma attacks and aggravate systems of pulmonary diseases. Methane is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Phosphates such as sodium tripolyphosphate are used in most detergents. They are a leading cause of fresh water pollution and have a poisonous effect on aquatic life.

To help you ditch all those nasty chemical concoctions that are destroying ecosystems as well as our health, here are 10 natural cleaning recipes for you to try.

1. Fruity Kitchen Cleaner Disinfectant –

500ml Soapnut Liquid
6 drops Grapefruit Essential Oil
6 drops Rosemary Essential Oil
4 drop Lemon Essential Oil

2. Tea Tree Bathroom Cleaner Disinfectant

500 ml Soapnut Liquid
20 – 30 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil

3. Lavender and Tea Tree Disinfectant

400ml Soapnut Liquid
50 ml white vinegar
30 drops Lavender Essential Oil
30 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil

4. Window / Laminate Cleaner

200 ml water
200 ml Soapnut Liquid
40 ml white vinegar

For unfinished wood floors use this recipe:

150 ml Water
150ml Soapnut Liquid
40 ml White Vingear
150 ml of linseed oil

5. Oven Cleaner

Bicarbonate of Soda & Water paste (equal amounts) : Coat the inside of your oven with the paste, leave overnight and then scrub off in the morning.

6. Mold and Mildew Cleaner

400 ml warm Soapnut Liquid(warm liquid is best to help ingredients mix well)
45 ml white vinegar
1 tsp borax

Spray and let soak for a few minutes then scrub with brush.

7. Chemical Free Laundry Detergent

Soapnuts: Use 5 shells in a wash-bag /sock, soak for three minutes in warm/hot water then put on top washing in the drum of the machine.

8. Laundry Bleach

2 tablespoons of Bicarbonate of Soda
30 ml white vinegar

Add ingredients straight into drawer of washing machine, and turn wash on.

9. Toilet Cleaner

Sprinkle Bicarbonate of Soda onto toilet sides/rim/etc, then spray with natural disinfectant spray (recipe above), let sit and then scrub or wipe clean.

10. Limescale Remover – White Vinegar

Taps: Soak paper towels in white vinegar and wrap around taps, cover with plastic bag, leave overnight and then scrub clean in the morning.

Showerheads: Soak showerhead in white vinegar overnight then scrub clean.

Kettles: 1 cup water, 1 cup white vinegar. Pour mixture into kettle, boil and then discard liquid. Reboil with clean water before use.

Time to save the world!

Soapnut Powder Foam Recipe

soapnut powder foam

Look at those peaks!

Can’t believe I hadn’t tried this before! Just cleaned out our vitamix ‘supablender’ after grinding down some soapnut powder and look what we got!… A whole blender filled with frothy goodness! It looks like a really yummy banana milkshake! But please don’t try drinking it my friend, we’ve heard bad things.

For those of you that have tried the soapnut liquid shaving foam recipe…TRY THIS NOW! The froth is loads thicker than the liquid…great for shaving and all the other stuff! What about a foam party…I’ve heard conventional foam parties can be bad for your health! Now soapnuts can’t do anything about hazards like electrocution or slipping, but dealing with fungus and skin irritaion?Check and check!

soapnut powder foam froth

Lovely frothy soapnut foam!

To create this amazing foam do the following: Add two tablespoons of powder and 2 cups of water, and blend. You dont need a ‘supablender’, any normal food processor will do (best not to use hand held tho’, not powerful enough I suspect). Now…just look at those bubbles!

For more recipes check out our website…

Or twitter/soapnutshells

Or facebook/livingnaturallysoapnuts


Essential Oil Use During Pregnancy

Essential Oils For Pregnancy

Essential Oils For Pregnancy

On our soapnut website we recommend using essential oils for quite a few of our soapnut recipes, and if you have read our blog article about essential oils, you will be realising how great they are! But as we said before when you are pregnant some oils are just not safe for use. So which ones are they then?

Oils to avoid during pregnancy

  • Basil
  • Cedarwood
  • Cinnamon
  • Clary sage (OK during labour)
  • Clove
  • Cypress (OK after 5 months)
  • Fennel
  • Hyssop
  • Jasmine (OK during labour)
  • Juniper
  • Lemongrass
  • Myrrh
  • Parsley
  • Pennyroyal
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Sweet marjoram
  • Thyme

Now, that seems like a lot but there are loads of other essential oils that you can still use that are really great for other things as well…

bergamot - a soft citrus essential oil

bergamot - a soft citrus essential oil

Bergamot: Analgesic, antiseptic, antidepressant, uplifting, and refreshing. Great for: cystitis during pregnancy.

Chamomile: Antiseptic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. Great for: muscular aches, headaches, toothaches and indigestion.

Cypress: (OK after 5 months) Antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent and diuretic. Great for: Varicose veins, haemorrhoids and swollen ankles.

Eucalyptus: Antiseptic, antibiotic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral. Great for: respiratory congestion.

Frankincense: Antiseptic, astringent, sedative, warming.

Geranium: (OK after 3 months) Antiseptic, antidepressant, astringent, refreshing, uplifting. Great for: Aching legs and is good for poor circulation.

Grapefruit: Astringent, digestive aid, lymphatic stimulant. Great for: water retention.

Dried lavender herb and essential aromatherapy oil

A fave! Lavender essential Oil

Lavender: Antiseptic, antibiotic, analgesic, antidepressant, healing, relaxing. Great for: Aches and pains of pregnancy, encourages cell renewal and helps with fluid retention.

Lemon: Antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, astringent, stimulant, tonic. Great for: inhalant for morning sickness and in massage for varicose veins.

Mandarin: Antiseptic, refreshing, tonic, mild relaxant. Great for: fluid retention in leg and ankle massages.

Neroli: Antiseptic, antidepressant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, relaxing. Great for: pregnancy to promote healthy skin cell regeneration and for easing nervous tension.

Patchouli: Antiseptic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, nerve sedative. Great for: confusion, indecision and apathy.

Petitgrain: Antiseptic, antidepressant, sedative, refreshing, tonic. Great for: dealing with pre or postpartum depression. Rosewood Antiseptic, sedative.

Sandalwood: Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, sedative. Great for: cystitis during pregnancy.

Tangerine: Antispasmodic, lymphatic stimulant, calming, sedative. Great for: preventing stretch marks.

Tea Tree: Antibiotic, antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral, disinfectant. Great for: thrush during pregnancy.

essential oils in your soapnut laundry

essential oils in your soapnut laundry

See?…So you can still add essential oil to your soapnut laundry or your soapnut liquid and not worry about any effects that it may have on you. But if you are still worried, do a patch test and/or consult GP or midwife.

Be safe and have fun!

Reducing your toxic load at home

Cameron unveils new cancer test

The Daily Express today is leading with another Cancer  story, this time about a new test unveiled by David Cameron to help over 55’s detect bowel cancer early on. While this is definitely welcomed, we needn’t wait until 55 to worry about the threat of cancer in our families.

The research that links household toxins to Cancer are mounting up so here are some simple steps to reducing the toxic load in your home:

Air quality : There have been studies linking indoor pesticides and leukaemia, as well eye, throat, nose, central nervous system and kidney damage. Chemical carpet cleaning uses dangerous chemicals such as perchloroethylene, commonly called “perc”, which is known to cause dizziness, fatigue and nausea if ingested or inhaled and has been linked to kidney and liver damage. Another chemical, naphthalene, a solvent manufactured from coal tar, is considered toxic to the human central nervous system and a possible carcinogen. Action: Avoid indoor pesticide use and chemical-based carpet cleaning. Consider equipping your furnace with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter or the cheaper 3M Filtrete filter. Use kitchen and bathroom fans regularly. Open all windows once a day to air out house.

Humidity : Humid conditions in the home may cause mould growth. Mould can release spores and mycotoxins into the air, which are toxic to human health. These can lead to allergies and respiratory problems. Action: Test relative humidity; if necessary, use dehumidifiers and damp-proof the basement and exterior foundation wall to prevent mould growth.

Drinking water
Chemicals like aluminium and chlorine which are used to clean our water is also toxic to your health. Heavy metals such as lead, mercury and aluminium have been linked to brain degenarting conditions such as Alzheimers. Flouride another toxic substance, has also been added to 10% of the drinking water in the UK to prevent tooth decay, which some dental practitioners actually deny. Flouride has been linked to birth defects and cancer. Chlorine, another cleaner, has been linked to skin conditions, hardening of the arteries and coronaty problems. Action: Test for minerals and metals such as lead and mercury; if necessary, replace pipes and install a water filter. You can use simple counter-top filters or get a system for the entire house with a special cartridge for heavy metal filtering.

Soft furnishings: Our bedding, sofa, soft toys and carpets could be housing up to a million or more dust mites. Dust mite faeces can cause allergic reactions like wheezing, itchy eyes and rhinitis. Action: To reduce dust mites encase mattresses, box springs and pillows in dust-mite barriers. If possible, invest in organic bedding. Replace or clean bedding and soft surnishings. For cleaning wsh everything at 60. C or higher or/and freeze pillows etc for 24 hours (which will kill all the mites), then tumble dry. Dont dry clother over radiators and ventilate your house properly. For carpets either vacuum with a HEPA filter thoroughly or replace with tile, hardwood or non-toxic wool carpeting (for allergy sufferers).

Decorating: Have you ever had any adverse reaction to paint. Well, prolonged exposure to paint/paint fumes can cause headaches, trigger allergies and asthmatic reactions, irritate skin, eyes and airways, and put increased stress on vital organs such as the heart certain cancers (lung) and possibly neurological damage. Action: Buy green paints or at least ones that contain minimal VOCs (volatile organic compounds) like ECOS or AURO or certain brands at B&Q or Wickes.

: In our kitchen, leaching into our food right now are harmful plastic and metal residues. Studies into links between cancer and Bisphenol A, Phthalates and non-stick toxic chemicals, prove that we need to look at how we prepare and store our food. Action: Replace non-stick pans (teflon and other non-stick coatings have been proven to kill birds) with ceramic or cast iron. Replace plastic storage containers with glass vessels and plastic drinking bottles with lightweight metal bottles. If reusing plastic bottles only use the ones with numbers 2, 4 and 5. 1, 3, 6 & 7 are not to be reused – recycle-bin them.

Cleaning products: There are so many new health related risks to the products we use to clean our home that it deserves it’s own article. The risks of some of these chemicals include respiratory problems, skin reactions, allergies, lung and kidney damage and cancer. Action: Replace generic air fresheners, furniture polishes, laundry products and household cleaners with non-toxic products. You can replace your kitchen and bathroom cleaner with a soapnut liquid cleaner, and you can wash your laundry using soapnuts.

Personal-care products: There has been a huge shift in the personal care industry and consumer behaviour because of the evidence that keeps stacking up against some personal care products. Action: Avoid soaps and shampoos containing synthetic fragrances and chemicals. Replace cosmetics with mineral-based formulas free of carcinogens and petrochemicals. Use pure essential oils instead of perfume. Use organic where you can and for body soaps or scrubs use soapnut liquid and powder.

For more information go to: