A word from Trish Alkaitis:
When we started the blog three years ago, this section was one that I was very excited to explore and I looked forward to collaborating with those that represent what ‘Inner Retreat’ means to me and embody the importance of cultivating this form of inner beauty.
I knew at the start of the pandemic that at some point all of us, individually and as a collective, were going to need a whole lot of deep healing and a mental, physical and emotional reset. I had my own daily practices from juicing to sound therapy to making malas as a meditation, and they all helped me during that immensely complicated and stressful time but my world got absolutely turned upside down for reasons other than the pandemic. So here I am again, delving into this knowledge to renew and reset.
When I saw Holly taking back her health and body at the start of the New Year, she inspired me, reminded me to jump back on that bandwagon and to come back here to find, define, and share the inner retreat of true health and beauty. - Trish Alkaitis
“THE ESSENTIAL FOUNDATION OF BEAUTY IS HEALTH” - Dr Saulius Alkaitis
THE MAGIC OF RAW
I was first introduced to a raw food diet when I was in my early 20’s. At the time I suffered with severe acne and after all the traditional acne treatments had failed me, I took the holistic route and finally made the skin/diet connection. I started with juicing and my skin cleared so quickly and dramatically that it eventually led me to eating raw for all of my meals. I followed the vegan raw diet strictly for an entire year. It was the healthiest I’ve ever felt. Not only was my skin consistently clear and glowing but I had a ton of energy, slept soundly every night and was in the best physical shape of my life.
After a whole year of being fully committed to eating raw I would eventually introduce cooked foods back into my diet. However I continued juicing everyday and eating raw on occasion. But always felt my best when eating raw.
Fast forward to 2020 when the pandemic hit and the world was turned upside down. Like most people during the pandemic I turned to food and wine to comfort myself, not always making the best choices. I gained weight and felt fatigued. I would yo-yo with diet and exercise as the state of the world continued to weave in and out of feeling bleak and then back to feeling hopeful.
Now, here we are, 2023; a new year and a fresh start! Another chance to get clear on the life we want to live and set intentions for the year ahead. For me, remembering how incredible I felt, I knew without a doubt, that this year I wanted to embrace the raw food lifestyle again. I started in January, and now, almost 2 months in, I feel amazing. I’m excited to share a few details with you about the benefits of eating raw, and even share a recipe or two. I hope my story inspires you to start experimenting with living foods! Also, please note, you don’t have to go completely raw to reap the benefits. Incorporating even just one raw meal or juice a day could be extremely beneficial to your health and skin.
What exactly is a Raw Vegan diet?
The obvious is clear: a raw vegan diet means eating only raw, plant-based food, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s about eating “living” food. The raw vegan diet consists of eating plants grown organically, from the earth, in their raw living state, never heated above temperatures of 104-118 degrees Fahrenheit. Some would argue even 118 is too high. I definitely prefer to keep temperatures, when dehydrating foods, closer to the 104 mark. The purpose of these low temperatures is to ensure that the plants remain a “living” food, preserving their nourishing enzymes and essential nutrients, therefore a huge part of a raw vegan diet also involves sprouting.
Germination, the sprouting of a dormant seed, awakens its magic and bursts back to life all of the seed's vital nutrients, proteins and minerals thus increasing its nutritional value and taste. Sprouting also makes the seed, grain or bean (whatever you may be sprouting) more easily digestible. For example, lentils (I am sharing a sprouted lentil recipe later in this post) would actually be toxic and indigestible if simply eaten raw, not to mention hard as stones and tasteless, but when sprouted they become soft and watery, easily digested and absolutely delicious, a powerhouse of living nutrients. When we cook food we kill most of the nutritional value, but not all seeds and nuts sprout. Cashews, for example, do not sprout. You only have to soak them to soften and aid digestion. You can easily find full lists of foods to sprout online.
Juicing is the easiest and quickest way to deliver large quantities of nutrients into the body in a way that can easily be absorbed while giving your entire digestive system a break. When we eat whole food, we should be chewing it in our mouths until it is water before we swallow. But who does that? We take two or three bites of something and then down it goes. Now your digestive system has to work overtime, breaking the solid food down into fuel. Juicing does all the work allowing your digestive system to just relax and receive all of the beautiful healthy nutrients. You should always juice on an empty stomach so your body can just relax and absorb. You can eat whole food 15 to 20 minutes after a raw juice. I try to drink 2 juices a day.
Why Raw Living Foods Should Also Apply to Skincare
Your skin is a living organ, so it should be given healthy foods, in the same way we nourish our heart, liver and other organs with the right foods. The skin requires nourishment both internally and topically. Dr. Alkaitis’ Moto “If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin” is what made me fall in love with his skincare line almost 15 years ago. That and the amazing, incomparable results you achieve when using living plant ingredients that are biologically active, ensuring optimal absorption by the skin. When formulating Dr Alkaitis products, the plants are never heated above body temperature of 98 degrees Fahrenheit. Dr Alkaitis’ own words were “A living product will interact with each individual’s skin uniquely; it will adapt to each individual skin’s unique requirements to help it reach and maintain homeostasis; the balance and combination of all cellular and biological functions that is ideal for that individuals health. And beautiful skin is healthy skin”
I hope you enjoy my recipes for Raw Sprouted Lentil Tacos and a Super Green “Margarita” Mocktail! Remember to drink the green juice first and then wait 15 minutes to eat the tacos! I hope you enjoy this super nutritious, raw, living meal!
Recipe for Raw Sprouted Lentil Tacos
Radicchio and Belgian Endive (These will be your taco shells. Or feel free to use a leafy green alternative.)
Raw sprouted lentils (see recipe below)
Finely chopped red cabbage
Lime and Cumin Cashew Sour Cream (see recipe below)
Pico de Gallo (see recipe below)
Guacamole (see recipe below)
Watermelon radishes or red radishes or both
How to Sprout Lentils:
- Place Raw organic lentils in a glass bowl. Cover with filtered water (Note: it’s very important to use filtered water as you don’t want the lentils to soak up any contaminants that might be in regular tap water.)
- Soak lentils for 7 hours
- Place soaked lentils in a colander and drain. Leave lentils in colander to drain overnight
- The next morning place lentils in a glass bowl again and rinse with filtered water. Swish lentils around for 30 seconds or so.
- Drain lentils in colander again and leave to drain for 24 hrs.
- After 24 hrs place lentils in bowl with filtered water again and swish around for a few seconds.
- Drain in colander and leave to drain for another 24 hrs.
- Repeat the rinse, drain process until your lentils have sprouted 1/4 of an inch. Normally takes about 3 days.
- Ready to Eat and Enjoy!
- Store any left over sprouted lentils in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Lime and Cumin Cashew Sour Cream:
- 1 Cup Raw Soaked Cashews (note on soaking below)
- 1/2 Cup Filtered Water (Amount may vary. Adjust as needed till creamy)
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lime juice
- 1/2 tsp Raw Apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp freshly ground cumin
- Pinch of Celtic sea salt
To soak: place raw cashews in a glass jar. Fill jar with enough filtered water so nuts are completely submerged. Place a lid on jar and store in the fridge, allowing to soak overnight. (Note: Again, like the lentils make sure the water is filtered, not tap.)
Once cashews have soaked, drain water and add cashews to a blender. Add remaining ingredients above and blend until smooth and creamy. Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.
Pico de Gallo:
- 2 Cups diced Heirloom tomatoes, seeds and juice discarded (may also use Roma tomatoes. Just be sure they’re organic)
- 1/2 cup diced white onion
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp finely minced jalapeño (seeds and ribs removed)
- Pinch of Celtic sea salt
Mix ingredients together in a small bowl. Let flavors marinate for 15-20 minutes before enjoying.
- 2 Ripe Avocados
- 1 Tbsp Fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 Tbsp Finely minced shallot
- 1/4 tsp Finely Minced Garlic
- 1 tsp Finely minced jalapeño
- Pinch of Celtic sea salt
Assemble your tacos! In the radicchio and endive shells layer the shredded carrots, red cabbage, sprouted lentils, sour cream, salsa and guacamole. Top with watermelon radish and micro greens.
Super Green “Margarita” Mocktail:
- 2 Limes with Rind left on
- 1 head of Romaine lettuce
- 1 Head of Frisée (curly endive)
- 1 English Cucumber
- 1 Granny Smith Apple (seeds removed)
- 1 Bunch Cilantro
- 1 Jalapeño (seeds and ribs removed)
- 1/2 a Blood Orange, peel removed (may substitute with any orange)
- Half a head of Fennel with fronds
Run ingredients through a juicer and then pour into mason jars or a pretty coupe cocktail glass. Garnish with lime wedge and jalapeño slice.
Note: If you’re not a fan of heat you can substitute the jalapeño with 1/2 a green bell pepper.
Cheers to your health and beauty! 💚
Seattle based holistic esthetician, Holly Cline, has been working in the beauty industry for over twenty years, and she owns her own beautiful spa in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle, WA. Holly is deeply committed to a holistic, organic approach to health and beauty, so she has chosen to exclusively use the Dr. Alkaitis line for all her treatments.
HOLLY CLINE SKINCARE
1817 Queen Anne Avenue North, Ste. 415
Seattle, WA 98109
CALL OR TEXT TO BOOK YOUR APPOINTMENT
Photos by Holly Cline