The Dangers of Social Media…..

I follow a lot of Facebook pages and I am in a lot of groups and read a lot of blogs. Primarily these are centred around parenting, homeschooling, Veganism and health. Now I don’t follow these for any reason other than pure interest; I like to read about other people’s ideas, steal as many as possible and keep up to date with news about the subjects that I’m interested in.
I rarely comment, unless its something that I’m particularly knowledgable or passionate about and if something is posted that I disagree strongly with and I feel compelled to comment, I always try and do so in as constructive a way as possible.
So…. It drives me totally mad when people are rude or unkind or state their opinions as fact!! An opinion is just an opinion – you could be right but then again you may well be totally off the mark…. Nobody should categorically tell someone that what they’re doing is totally wrong? Gentle guidance, supportive and sensible advice is what it’s all about, not lectures and ‘I told you so’s’ and certainly not old wives tales that are likely to panic and in some cases scare the living s**t out of some people! Many of the posts I read are from new parents, mums particularly, who are sleep deprived. Nervous wrecks desperate for reassurance that they’re getting it right! When they ask a question they want support, a kind ear, logic and relevant advice. They do NOT need to be told that what they are doing is wrong/dangerous/stupid or likely to result in their child being – a. Emotionally scarred for life. b. Dead. Or c. Both.
For example: a new mum recently posted a question about her child (A 13 month old girl) Apparently the little girl had started smacking – what could she do to encourage her daughter not to smack? She wanted to show her gently and in as positive way as possible that smacking wasn’t good. So most people came good with advice, information, links to other website, books etc – All brill. Until one person commented “Stop smacking her – children learn by example.” Now, nowhere in this woman’s post did she claim to have ever hit/smacked her child.. So it’s beyond me why someone would choose to be this unhelpful and this rude. People have a nasty habit of assuming the worst and hurling insults when they have the skirt of Facebook to hide behind.
The old wives tales I come across also never fail to stop me in my tracks either. Posts such as – “Can I give my five month old son solid food if he doesn’t have any teeth yet?” This kind of reasonable question will generate many logical and well thought out replies…. until we get to the O.W.T – In fact I’m going to rename it the ‘B.O.W.T’ (Bizarre old wives tale) like these gems…
‘Give your baby son a raw meat bone to chew on!?!!’
‘Massage raw egg into his gums’
And my personal favourite….
‘SPIT into his mouth (I kid you not) to encourage his salivary glands to produce saliva to help him chew?!?’
Now these all might be great tips but should people be posting them as childcare potential advice? Do the moderators or administrators need to step in and remove comments that could be harmful? I don’t know – But I’d love to know your thoughts…
โœŒ๏ธ&๐ŸŒˆ xxx

I โค Smoothies

Smoothie, Smoothie, Smoothies

I love a good smoothie. I make one just about every morning. A big full jug – I drink a couple of glasses in the morning and then slurp it at regular intervals throughout the day. Sometimes it fills me up for the morning, other times I don’t feel hungry again until well into the afternoon.
I make up my own recipes most of the times or I steal someone else’s. I copy ideas off the Internet and experiment. Fortunately the addition of a few dates can turn a bad smoothie good.
Favourites of the moment are
Spinach and Pineapple
Peach and Papaya
Big Berries
Coconut, Banana and Date…
I can’t even start to tell you how good these are for you and how a big fat smoothie in the morning is a perfect start to the day. They are so lovely and the sweetness and freshness of the fruit is great for masking some of the slightly less appetising ingredients I also like to add. Like: Nettles, Dandelions, Spinach and Kale – which to be fair all taste pretty grim in a smoothie!
Some raw food purist will disagree but I like to add a few nuts occasionally or some goji berries. Shelled hemp and chia seeds go in to most of my creations. I also add either Baobao, Maca or Lacuma powder from time to time.

Smoothie criminal…..
I do get freaked out with the addition of dairy milk to a smoothie and as a vegan is not something I would do. The thing that I find really crazy is the smoothie recipes that call for the addition of cream!!
It kind of goes against everything a smoothie stands for – All that amazing fruit blended up with a bit of ice, and then WHAM! a big, fat dollop of full fat cream – it’s a total no no as far as I’m concerned, but each to their own…

I’m going to give the following few recipes a try this week
Green Tea, Blueberry and Banana
Tangerine Dream
Avocado and Cacao
I stole them from someone else’s blog. Some sound pretty bizarre so I’ll let you all know how they tasted.
And remember to share any of your own ideas…. So I can steal those as well โœŒ๐Ÿ“โ˜€๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ‡

20130525-214904.jpg

20130525-214914.jpg

20130525-214924.jpg

20130525-214935.jpg

Healthy snacks for kids

I don’t know about anyone else but I really struggled to give my kids healthy, vegan snack food that they’ll like and consider an acceptable alternative to most of the additive laden rubbish available from the shops. It never fails to surprise me how even the most healthy looking snacks are full of utter crap! I’m also amazed at how the creators of these products actually get them past food standards!
I let my children have snacks that may not be considered super healthy but they’re pretty decent and far more nutritious than anything you can buy. We also make them ourselves at home so I have complete control over what goes into them. There are some things available as snack food for children that are so unbelievably bad the contents resemble ingredients for a complex scientific experiment! And these are definitely marketed at kids -They jump out at your children in their bright shiny wrappers, existing at eye-level height, the supermarkets know in the throes of a stressful shopping trip it’s sometimes not easy to say no…. This is one of the many reasons why supermarkets are best avoided at all costs.

Anyway enough of my ranting the whole point of this post is to share some really cool snacks with you for your kids. So, here we go

These are some of our family favourites
Apple spread with nut butter
Sweet potato fries
Hoummous with veg sticks or pitta bread (see photo)
Pretzels
Home made fruity granola bars (see photo)
Popcorn sprinkled with nutritional yeast
Frozen banana yoghurt
Kale chips with olive oil, purple corn and lemon juice (see photo)
Roasted spicy chickpeas
Apple sandwiches (Cut thick slices of apple and use a cookie cutter to cut a shape out of the middle, fill with chopped blueberries, raisins etc
Date balls (Chopped dates, coconut butter and a tiny bit of agave)
These are all pretty cheap and super healthy. There’s loads more you can make and if you got a dehydrater then you can make loads in that – although you can do perfectly well without one!!

I’m not saying don’t ever give your kids chocolate or crisps etc just check the ingredients. Slightly darker chocolate is great in moderation for kids and most of the time is vegan as it contains no milk. Crisps, particularly the baked kind are a pretty decent alternative. I found pretty quickly that my son stopped asking for the really sugary, brightly coloured sweets after a week or two. The craving just goes away and he can’t stand anything that’s over-flavoured now. His taste buds have been stripped back to how they were when he was a baby and just starting out with new foods……
I’d love to hear your snack food ideas and suggestions so please feel free to share any of them with me. โœŒ๐ŸŒ…br />
20130505-070847.jpg

20130505-070924.jpg

20130505-070940.jpg

a few recipes…

I’ve been asked to share some if my dishes on my blog. I feel a bit of a fraud calling them ‘recipes’ as they’re really just concoctions that I’ve been trying out to try and make my raw till four plan as interesting as possible. I figure if I keep it exciting and inspired then I’ll stick with it.

Raw courgette and cashew sauce
1 courgette
Juice of half a lemon
Some oat milk (Homemade)
A bit of black pepper

Whizz it till smooth in the blender

Big lovely salad
Sprouted mung beans
Diced cucumber
Toasted pumpkin seeds
Baby spinach
Chopped tomatoes
Fennel
Lemon juice
Cider vinegar

Raw Breads/crackers (The darker one on the plate in the picture)
Red pepper
Linseed
Chilli flakes
Pepper
Garlic
Water – add slowly to get a thick, sticky consistency.

Raw bread 2
1 medium Courgette
1 tblspoon of White poppy seeds
2 tspoons of Chia seed
A handful of Pumpkin seeds
1 tspoon of Cumin
Water – add slowly to get a sticky, thick consistency.

For both
Whizz up in the blender and spread out on either a Paraflexx sheet or baking paper. It needs to be about 3cm thick and dehydrate. If you want soft pliable pieces dehydrate for about 6 hours. If you want crisper more cracker-like pieces go for about 10. Either way after about 4 hours flip over and on to a mesh dehydrator sheet.
I’m pretty sure you can do this in the oven but bit unsure of timings etc.
Cut and store in an air tight box.

Also on the plate
Was a hoummous made with sprouted chickpeas

Couple of big handfuls of sprouted chickpeas
Juice of half a lemon๐Ÿ‹
Splash of oat milk
Splash of EV olive oil
Pepper
Tspoon of tahini paste
A clove of garlic

Blend up till it’s at the consistency you want. Some people like their dips really smooth and creamy, I like mine to be a bit crunchy but each to their own!!

I also marinated some thinly sliced aubergine๐Ÿ† in maple syrup and dehydrated it for about 6 hours, until it went all sweet and crispy – makes a lovely garnish.

Other pic is of my apple and date raw cookies these are super simple to make

Two apples (any kind)
10 dates remove stones
A handful of goji berries
A little but of nutmeg
A splash of raw agave nectar
Water to get sticky consistency.

Blend till all mixed together.
Shape into little balls and press down to flatten a little onto the mesh dehydrator sheet
Dehydrate for about 10/12 hours.

Hope you can make sense of these recipes – a lot of them are just my own experiments. Some work, some don’t – I’ll be sure to post details of all the successful ones! Any question, advice or information will be gratefully received๐Ÿ’š

20130423-163517.jpg

20130423-163541.jpg

20130423-163557.jpg

My fruity days

My day today has consisted of buying as many fruits and vegetables as I could carry. I’m really trying to increase my raw food intake. When I have a fully raw day I feel amazing! Don’t get me wrong I love grains, rice, bread etc.. But I feel clean and light on the days when I go completely raw. I love dreaming up new raw recipes and I can’t wait to share them with you. My sister Ruby is an amazing raw chef and she really inspires me. There are days when I really struggle to find time to be fully raw, so I try to follow the ‘Rawtill4’ concept. Which basically means I stuff myself with loads of fruit and veg during the day and in the evening (anytime after 4) I eat a cooked meal, or at least I eat a raw meal with a cooked portion of grains to accompany this.
An average day goes like this
Breakfast – Date and banana ๐ŸŒsmoothie – I usually throw in some goji berries and some shelled hemp, maybe some chia seeds or some soaked almonds. I make my smoothies with water most of the time, but sometimes I add either cashew or oat milk. I’ll usually accompany the smoothie with half a melon.

Mid morning I make a juice. In my opinion you cannot beat an apple, carrot and beetroot combination with or without a little fresh ginger. Stir it up with a stick of celery and you’re good to go – Celery is such a cool vegetable, it’s so alkalising and really helps to rehydrate the body! Beetroot is mind-blowingly healthy as well. It’s packed full of vitamins including Vitamin A, B1, B2 and B6 as well as loads of minerals…. My kids love it! BEWARE though your wee will change colour a day or so after drinking it, it can vary from just the palest shade of pink right through to a shockingly, vibrant magenta. Fabulous colours but if you don’t know to expect this, it’s enough to totally freak you out!

Lunch is a super salad – consisting of whatever I have in the fridge. A typical salad for me is spinach, spouted mung and alfalfa, radish, red onion, cucumber and grated carrot. A squeeze of lemon juice and splodge of black pepper and that’s all I need. It’s probably just me but I like to leave the salad out of the fridge, just on he side in the kitchen. This brings it up to room temperature. If its too chilled I don’t think the flavours develop as well, I’m sure the cold masks the taste a little. I make raw crackers and breads to accompany the salads which help to bulk them out and an amazingly, creamy dip with lemon, soaked almonds and courgettes. I’ll post the recipes for anyone who might be interested.

Throughout the day I’ll snack on whatever fruit is at hand; Usually apples, grapes or a couple of satsumas – whatever…..
My evening meal is still pretty raw for most part, I just add a grain or a cooked vegetable or legume to jazz it up a bit. One of my favourites is roasted butternut squash chopped into salad while its still warm. The lovely, butteriness of the squash goes so well with a crisp salad, especially if you throw in some finely chopped nuts or toasted seeds for extra crunch! I love brown rice, bulgar wheat, quinoa and lentils.
I drink as much water as possible throughout the day, as well as various herbal and fruit teas. Although I do love a proper cuppa every so often. I thought I’d go off the traditional cup of tea when I gave up dairy but I quickly got used to tea with almond milk or whatever.

Lots of people ask me how easy it is to motivate children to eat more raw food – To be honest, they just eat it. I think most children given the choice between a soggy, cooked carrot or a crisp, crunchy, super sweet raw one, will always choose the uncooked version… Children will naturally lean towards raw veg, rather than cooked. I think it’s instinctive to eat whatever seems healthiest. I try and involve mine as much as possible and keep it fun by making ‘fruit faces’ and other shapes with the food. They also love making their own wraps. Either big lettuce leaves or wilted cabbage leaves make great edible wraps.. Chop up a load of veg, make a fresh salsa and put everything on the table for your kids to make their own. They totally love it. Just realised I’m in danger of sounding like an amazingly, conscientious and wonderful parent! I’m definitely not and resort frequently to baked potatoes or vegetarian sausages and beans. I try and keep it as healthy as possible as much as I can. I’m experimenting with dehydrated sweet snacks for lunch boxes and as nibbly finger food for my baby daughter. She isn’t a fussy eater, which is just as well as I have quite a few culinary disaster! I just love trying new stuff. Some taste great and some unbelievably gross! ๐Ÿ˜ฌ But it’s all good fun. Feel like I have just waffled on about nothing in particular but am just wanting to share some of my food and eating ideas with anyone who is interested enough to read about it. Please share your thoughts and ideas with me – I would love to hear them ๐Ÿ’š
Recipes to follow as soon as I’ve got my head around blogging and WordPress a little more….โœŒ

20130421-094331.jpg

20130421-094408.jpg

20130421-094424.jpg

20130421-094454.jpg

Big garden day

So today was a big garden day – This was cool apart from the relentless wind that’s been howling almost nonstop now for the last 3 days. Our house is pretty exposed though, we’re on top of a hill with pretty much nothing all around. So if the weather gets a bit crazy, we see the worst of it. Still that’s what happens when you live in the North of England!
Violet was quite happy to be plopped in her sandpit, although there was no sand in it – It had all blown away!! (Silly Baby๐Ÿ‘ถ) I was tempted to put Uncle Herbie in with her but had a last minute panic that he might blow away as well!
Elliott helped by pulling out some weeds until he got a splinter, which needed my undivided attention and then about twenty seven plasters on his ‘wound’ (His words not mine)
I got all giddy about my raised beds – all weeded and ready for the little green plants that have been sprouting merrily in the kitchen for the past few weeks. And even more excitingly (I know I need to get out more) there are lots and lots of baby earth worms in the wormery – So we are going to have ‘Super-Compost’ again. Pretty much decided what to plant this year; beans, sugar snaps, beetroot, pak choi, rocket, cavalo nero, kale, strawberries, yellow squash, baby cucumber, teeny-tiny tomatoes and some hot, hot, hot chillies!! It’s not an exhaustive list though, so if anyone has any ideas or suggestions they’d like to share. I’d love to hear them :-)))) xxxx

20130417-225513.jpg

20130417-225547.jpg

Who are we?

Hello and welcome to our blog. We are ‘The Freedom Family’ A family of five; Dave, Jody, 5 year old Elliott, 1 year old Violet and Uncle Herbie our tortoise ๐Ÿข. Our aim in life is to live as freely as possible. Living by our own rules and creating a simple, peaceful life for ourselves that allows us to be as self-sustainable as possible. This means raw food, veganism, no chemicals, equality and harmony, unschooling, outdoor living, growing our own, living life to the full as well as much, much more – Hopefully we’re already taking small steps in the right direction….
We would love it if you would share our journey with us ๐ŸŒˆ

20130416-231536.jpg