INDULGE YOUR WILD SIDE WITH DURIAN FRUIT ICE CREAM

Not for the faint of heart, energy-boosting Durian fruit ice cream will ignite your adventurous summer spirit, says Ysanne Spevack.

Image: Annie Shelmerdine

Durian … it’s the Marmite of the fruit world. Love it or hate it, it’s impossible to simply be un-opinionated about this stinky tropical fruit.

Spiky on the outside, and custardy on the inside, ripe durian fruit contains FIFTY different scent compounds, including smells that are found in garlic, beef, cheese, squid, leeks, and honey. They also contain four scents that are unique to durian—yes, that’s four compounds that occur nowhere else in nature! These compounds give durian its unique smell and taste, and make it stinky enough to be banned in public places throughout Southeast Asia.

Plus, durian is hot—literally. In scientific trials, it’s proven to raise your body temperature by one degree, which is significant. That’s probably the root of the rumor that it’s the sexiest fruit, especially for men. In Asia, it’s also the reason durian is never eaten alone, but always in combination with a cooling food such as a cup of tea, mangosteen, or bananas.

In Southeast Asian folklore, drinking alcohol while eating durian is believed to cause death, so people from the region rarely mix the two. However, according to scientific research carried out in 1969 by the University of Singapore, there’s nothing in durian that could possibly cause death, whatever it’s eaten with. But still, the study found that due to the unique combination of fruit sugars and unsaturated fats, eating durian while drinking alcohol causes internal fermentation that’s unhealthy, and uncomforatble. For this reason, avoid drinking alcohol while eating durian. It’s smart to stick to ice tea for cooling effects and quenching capabilities.

Found at stands throughout Chinatown in NYC, when the fruit are ripe, the spiky hard shell cracks to reveal the custard-colored creamy fruit. The edible part has a very creamy texture due to the insane amount of fat it contains—think custard and ice cream, with a faint hint of honey and garlic. And if you freeze it, you can eat it direct from the freezer. The high fat content makes instant ice cream—so simple, so good!

Malaysian durians are generally sweeter than Thai ones, and have less of the garlic taste, so they’re the best option for entry-level durian consumption. Whatever type of durian you select, it’s best to limit yourself to only 4 or 5 segments max per sitting, as it’s high in natural fruit sugars, unsaturated fats, and calories.

On the good side, it stimulates sexiness, and soothes general digestive flow. It’s high in magnesium, vitamin C, iron, potassium, copper, folic acid, and B-vitamins, so it’s great for an energy boost. It’s also perfect post-workout—when consumed with something cooling too!

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DURIAN FRUIT ICE-CREAM
Since you won’t find fresh durian online, the only way to get it is to take an adventure to Chinatown during durian season—which is right now! Follow your nose, and you’ll find the stand.

The person at the stand will remove the edible part to save you having to deal with the hard shell. Come with a reusable food container if you’d like to save the planet from another single-use plastic disposable box.

Recipe 
Ingredients:
1 fresh durian (about 10-12 segments)
1 large ripe banana

Method:
Remove the pits from the durian and peel the banana.

Mash the fruits together in a bowl with a fork.

Transfer to a freezer-proof container.

Freeze overnight.

Eat!

Discover more about Ysanne Spevack and her work HERE.

GYNOSTEMMA ICED TEA WILL MAKE YOU FEEL IMMORTAL

The perfect drink pairing for summer in the city? Adaptogenic Gynostemma, a.k.a. The Tea of Immortality, will help you burn the candle at both ends for those long summer nights, says Ysanne Spevack.

Image: Jason Briscoe

 

Want a beverage that helps you burn your candle at both ends? Just say no to coffee, and “Oh hi!” to gynostemma tea!

Known as Jiao-Gu-Lan (the Tea of Immortality) in parts of Southern China, gynostemma is a green leafy adaptogenic plant that’s the go-to for busy urbanites in the know. It’s especially well suited to help us surf summer life in the city, with its fluctuations in the weather (especially this year, what happened, NYC?!) and June’s dawn-to-dusk increased outdoors time.

With the most adaptogenic saponins of any wild-crafted plant in the world (four times the amount of ginseng), this stuff strengthens your natural ability to stabilize blood sugar, supports your immune function, and enhances endurance. And it doesn’t speed you out or crash and burn. It’s all about balancing the nervous system—as with all adaptogens, by definition gynostemma can energize you when you need it, yet help you to relax and sleep at night.

But the real reason it’s known as “The Tea of Immortality” is because of its benefits to liver and cardio function. It supports the body’s production of superoxide dismutase, an antioxidant that protects the liver from free radicals. And it helps arteries, veins, and capillaries release nitric oxide, which helps them to relax.

The taste is a little like the stevia herb, but less sweet—not at all bitter, but an unusual green herby flavor that makes a fantastic base for other drinks and a pleasant iced tea.

And get this … it’s also a beautiful cascading plant that you can grow in a city apartment as a decorative house plant, so long as you have a sunny window. Alternatively, it’s easy to find at stores like Kamwo Meridian Herbs on Grand Street in NYC or in their online shop, which is my go-to for anything to do with Chinese medicine.

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June Gynostemma, Shiso, and Goji Ice Tea 
Don’t smirk at the gojis!!! This is what you’ve been missing all these years. Dry gojis are nasty—but gojis in tea are FABULOUS. And they’re a natural partner to gynostemma, the strange flavors of both combining into a perfect sweet herby balance. And then basil, or if you’re super lucky and can find it, fresh shiso herb. Oh. My. Gosh.

Recipe 
Makes 1 cup

Ingredients: 
1 gynostemma tea bag OR 1 teaspoon dried gynostemma herb
1-2 fresh shies leaves**
10-20 dried goji berries

**Shiso is a kind of basil, so it’s totally possible to switch out shiso for regular Genovese or another type of basil. That said, shiso has flavor magic—it’s the third leg on the stool for this recipe to really stabilize and pop. Find it in Japanese stores, or grow it yourself. It’s easy to grow during summer in New York.

Method:
Bring some water to a rolling boil—not in a microwave, please!

Put the herbs and gojis in a coffee mug.

Pour the freshly boiled water into the mug.

Leave on the counter to steep and cool naturally.

Drink as it is, or if preferred, transfer to a tall glass and add ice.

Discover more about Ysanne Spevack HERE.

THE MAGIC INGREDIENT: CHAGA MUSHROOMS ARE SUPER HEALING & SUPER DELICIOUS

Feeling the Spring fever? Ysanne Spevack whips up an immune boosting pudding with chaga mushrooms that’s equal parts powerful and subtly healing. Main Image: Mariano Peccinetti 

April is an invigorating time of year, with spring’s changing moods inviting us back out of our homes and into the streets. The month also brings indecisive weather, from thunderstorms to sunshine. To face this fluctuating weather and to address the rising allergen percentage in the air, our immunity needs a natural boost right now.

Enter chaga mushrooms, a humble type of mycelium that grows on trees. More like a tree fungus than a regular mushroom, chaga is probably best known and most widely used for its scientifically confirmed anti-oxidant qualities that protect against cancer, and also for its use for people with HIV. Chaga doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to antioxidant qualities.

That said, chaga is equally powerful when eaten to reduce seasonal allergies, and it has a soothing effect on the respiratory system. What’s more, chaga mushrooms have a subtle flavor that lends itself well to sweet recipes. It has a woody taste with an undertone of vanilla, so blends well with anything containing vanilla.

Chaga grows right here in the US and is always wild, never cultivated. You can find it on birch trees anywhere along the East Coast that experiences a cold winter. And if you’re not ready for a trip into the woods, you can find it ready-powdered online at High Vibe or your local independent purveyor of high-quality medicinal superfoods.

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Chaga Chia Pudding Recipe 
by Ysanne Spevack 

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

2 medjool dates
1½ cup water
2 tbs hemp hearts
2tsp powdered chaga
½ tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup black chia seeds

Method:

Remove the pits from the dates using your fingers, and drop them into a blender. Add the water, hemp hearts, chaga, and vanilla, then cover and process at the highest speed for 45 seconds.

If you have a Mason jar, pour the chia seeds into it, and pour the liquid into the jar. If you don’t have a Mason jar, any kind of 2 cup lidded container will work.

Secure the lid, and shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds, to ensure the seeds are all thoroughly wet and aren’t clumping together. If you see obvious clumps, open the lid and break them up with a fork.

Set aside on the counter to gel for at least three hours. After that duration, it’s either ready to eat, or to refrigerate. Consume within 3 days.

Discover more about Ysanne Spevack HERE.

THE MAGIC INGREDIENT: DREAMY VIBES WITH VELVET BEANS

In the first installment of her new column, Ysanne Spevack shares a creamy faux Cappuccino recipe for you to sample some dreamy velvet beans vibes…

Like Jack’s magic beans in the fairytale, velvet beans (Mucuna pruriens in Latin) truly deliver. They’re one of the strongest herbal ingredients I use, and a favorite for total vibe-change. Pods that grow on trees in India, and used as an Ayurvedic medicine, they’ve been tried and tested over millennia, and are now available as an extract in the US, sold as a brown powder that’s water-soluble.

The main active compounds in velvet bean extract fall into two groups: antioxidants, and amino acids, of which the main one is L-dopa, and another is called trypatmine, for obvious reasons. Together, these phytochemicals work synergistically for neural health, and specifically relieve stress and melt our sense of boundaries. Perfect for Pisces season—the archetypal symbol of ego loss and dreams. There’s some research that links velvet beans to sexual health too, but that’s likely to be a result of their relaxing effect.

L-dopa is a precursor to dopamine, norepinephrine and adrenaline, which means it has a profound psychoactive effect. You can feel it working, stimulating a sense of dreamy deliciousness and allowing you a peak behind the veil of consciousness. If you’ve ever wanted to feel the grandeur of the Universe while you melt into your pillow, velvet bean extract is the high vibe ingredient for you. I recommend using it sparingly—a little goes a long way. Also if you’re feeling unstable, or if you’re pregnant, it’s best if you pass on this for now, as with anything psychoactive.

Here’s my recipe for a delicious hot ‘faux cappuccino’ that won’t buzz you like caffeine, and will guide you to feel a subtle oneness with the cosmos. It’s not a bedtime drink— the velvet bean stimulates adrenaline production. But it’s a fantastic way to space out with some music on a lazy Sunday afternoon, and swim in cosmic waters of the Milky Way…

The drink is comfortingly sweet, while the bitterness of the velvet bean and umami of the reishi are similar to coffee, hence the name. Nettles soothe the nerves, and keeps the velvet bean from being jarring while it takes you up a notch.

Imbibe to enjoy about a one hour of day-dreams, in a suitably Piscean way…

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Pisces Velvet Bean Cappuccino Recipe
by The Conscious Cook

Makes one serving

Ingredients:

1 coffee mug filled with boiling water
1 nettle tea bag
*1/8 tsp velvet bean extract
*1 tsp powdered reishi mushroom
*1 tsp tocotrienols
1 tsp raw unfiltered honey
1 tbs raw coconut oil

* Denotes ingredients that are available online at Highvibe.com

Method:

Infuse the nettle tea bag in the boiling hot water in a large mug by pouring the hot water onto the tea bag as soon as it’s boiled.

Cover the mug with a saucer or plate, and set aside to infuse for 5 minutes.

Measure the other ingredients into a high-speed blender.

Remove the cover and tea bag, and add the nettle tea to the blender.

Blend on low, bringing the speed up to high, and then switching the blender to the maximum setting.

Blend on high for about 30 seconds, to create froth.

Pour into a large mug, spooning the creamy froth out with a spatula.

Hold the cup with both hands as you take sips, and finish it with a teaspoon to enjoy all of the frothy, creamy goodness.

Finally, relax and allow your dreams to unfold as you swim into the universal cosmos.

Discover more about Ysanne Spevack HERE.

THE MAGIC INGREDIENT: 10 HEALTHY DELIVERY SERVICES YOU NEED TO KNOW

Pizza, we love you long time – but these 10 healthy delivery services will change how you think about ordering in, says Magic Ingredient columnist Raquel Griffin

 

As much as I’m all about cooking as much as possible from scratch, the truth is sometimes you just want to let the goods come to YOU (since life in the material world all too often fails in the enough-hours-in-the-day stakes). So if you find yourself short on time and needing to outsource elements of your high-vibe life, here are 10 healthy delivery services that will help to keep the vibes high and maybe even snag an extra moment to stop & smell the roses.

1. The Purple Carrot (National delivery)
The Purple Carrot is a subscription based vegan meal delivery service that takes the thinking and time out of creating a plant-based culinary tour-de-force. They deliver pre-measured ingredients, quick cooking meals (most clock in at under 45 minutes) and easy, yet unique plant-based recipes from some of the world’s most sought after chefs. Even if you’re already Vegan Iron Chef material, everyone needs a night off – and who knows, introduction to this vegan-meal-magic -in-a-box might just be the loving nudge your parents/ friends/ colleagues could use to make going meat-free a reality.

2. Udder Milk Creamery & Raw Dairy Co-op (Northeast delivery)
At a time when raw dairy purchases still happen largely via unmarked brown paper sacks and are vaguely reminiscent of a drug transaction due to raw milk’s illegal status in most U.S. states, the Udder Milk Creamery & Co-op is a revelation. And with a delivery map that keeps expanding (currently they service from New Hampshire to New Jersey) it means raw dairy devotees (along with the raw-dairy-curious) can all get our fix of the white stuff. In addition, they also offer a lovely selection of delicious handcrafted food imported directly from the Middle East. Plus, if you’re lucky enough to get Kathy (one of the owners) talking during your delivery, you’re liable to receive a treasure trove of free healing gems from her fount of holistic health knowledge.

3. Thrive Market (National delivery)
 I’m sure many of you Numis are up on this but if you’re not: THRIVE MARKET, people. Thrive. Market. Similar to popular low-cost online health emporiums like Vitacost but waaayy better, this membership-based delivery service is all about amazing “Wholefoods-like” (read: organic, vegan, non-gmo, etc.) products at wholesale prices. Plus they have an amazing “live good, do good” ethos in which every membership purchased nets a family in need a supply of high vibe groceries via a donated membership, making the pay-it-forward pay-off even sweeter.

4. Notmilk (New York & Brooklyn delivery)
I love making fresh almond milk as much as the next gal but sometimes you had a late night at a Red Tent event and you forgot to soak the almonds…but does that mean that you should have to compromise your high-vibin’ ways? The sisters and NYC hometown heroes’ behind Notmilk delivery service say HECK NO. So whether you’re living life in the fast lane or the thought of blending your own milk seems mildly daunting and/or unappealing their subscription-based delivery service is the easy way to “do fresh.” Not to mention their almond milk flavor profiles are kind of insane…Honey lavender almond milk, anyone? Or their big kahuna of choice – the “custom nut/seed milk blend” option. So, let there be fresh Almond milk for everyone!

5. Mountain Valley Spring Water (National delivery)
In an ideal world, collecting your own spring water would be the way to go and with Find a Spring that is fast becoming a reality. However, for many urban dwellers this can often present a journey of E-P-I-C proportions which is when it’s definitely time to outsource. So call Mountain Valley Spring Water instead. Bottling spring water from the same source in Arkansas since 1871, in a world of bottled spring water charlatans Mountain Valley Spring Water is the real deal. Voted the best tasting water in the world, TWICE, and delivered straight to your door in gorgeous recycled glass jugs. Done and done.

6. Bhagavat Life (New York & Brooklyn delivery)
We’ve all heard of the many benefits of the ancient science of Ayurveda. Heck, many of us are card-carrying oil pullers but how many can actually boast true Ayurvedic cooking skills (and if you can only make kitchari that doesn’t count)?  Enter Bhagavat Life – Wellness Meals delivery service. For those intrigued by the sparkling wellness that Ayurveda can offer, yet intimidated by delving into the world of Ayurvedic cooking, Bhagavat Life offers the perfect entry-point. Plus included with each meal subscription is a health consult ensuring your meals are in perfect sync with your evolving health needs.

7. Aadhi Cuisine (LA & Orange County delivery)
From weekly meal delivery in traditional clay pots complete with coconut shell spoons, Aadhi Cuisine offers a lovingly handmade take on Sri Lankan Ayurvedic cuisine, perfect for Numis on the Left Coast longing for an Ayurvedic meal delivery service they can all their own.

8. Four Seasons Herbal CSA by Field Apothecary (National delivery)
This sweet little Hudson Valley, NY-based herb farm is like a veritable “Tinctures n’ Salves R Us” offering both seasonal and annual memberships to it’s herbal CSA which ships nationally. Their seasonally themed boxes offer a cornucopia of herbal delights and are the perfect solution for concrete jungle dwellers looking to get a daily dose of green-witch/wise woman mojo delivered straight to their door.

9. OurHarvest (New York delivery)
Checking out the weekly farmers market is definitely a highlight for many, but sometimes getting there just isn’t a reality. OurHarvest to the rescue. Working with some of NYC’s premiere greenmarket purveyors, OurHarvest lets you shop local greenmarkets based on your location and offers you the ability to either pick up your items later or get them delivered direct via Uber (of course). Plus, for orders over $25, OurHarvest donates a meal to a local food pantry. It’s all good.

10. Urban Organic (NY/NJ delivery)
Doing home organic produce delivery long before it was cool, Urban Organic offers the most affordable & plentiful organic food delivery in all of New York. At only $25 for a “small box,” filled with 10-30 organic fruits & veggies it’s a steal – and at a time when organic produce is everywhere yet still out of reach for many, Urban Organic offers an oasis of high vibe health and healing to all.

THE MAGIC INGREDIENT: HAVE A HIGH-VIBE THANKSGIVING

Blindside your folks with these tasty vegan, gluten-free dishes, for a totally high-vibe Thanksgiving y’all! Recipes by Raquel Griffin. Photos: Oliver English

:: CHIA CORNBREAD WITH CARROT MAPLE MISO “BUTTER” ::
This is the perfect crowd pleasing vegan, gluten free Thanksgiving comfort food that even your SAD (Standard American Diet) loving relatives will enjoy. And it’s also easy-peasy to make. Vegan, Gluten Free Chia Cornbread with Carrot Maple Miso “Butter”. It’s a recipe. Make this.

Vegan Gluten Free Chia Cornbread
Makes 16 servings
1 – 20 oz. package gluten Ffee cornbread mix (like Bob’s Red Mill)
1 ½ cups fresh almond milk
2 tablespoons chia seeds soaked in 6 tablespoons water
½ cup coconut oil

DIRECTIONS
Have all the ingredients at room temperature. Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously grease a 9 x 9-inch pan. Place cornbread mix in large bowl. Add milk, chia and water mixture, and oil. Mix until blended, then mix vigorously for 30 seconds more.Pour into prepared baking pan. Bake until golden-brown, about 25 minutes.

Carrot Maple Miso Butter
Makes 1⅓ Cups
2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 6 medium sized carrots)
2 tablespoons chickpea miso (like South River Organic Chickpea Miso)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

DIRECTIONS
Place the carrots into a pot of simmering, salted water. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the carrots are very easily pierced with a fork. Drain the carrots. Place all of the ingredients into a high-powered blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add water as needed to get a light, spreadable texture. Store the butter in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for up to five days. Serve with cornbread.

(Butter recipe adapted from The Full Helping)

:: COZY GREEN SOUP WITH SPICED PUMPKIN SEEDS AND HORSERADISH CREAM ::
This is the perfect winter soup when it’s cold and blustery outside and all you’re looking to do is cozy up under the covers. It also helps that this recipe is pretty flexible and can be whipped up with virtually whatever green items you’ve got on hand – that wilted kale, failing broccoli and any other sad sack green veggies taking up residence in the back of your fridge. Cozy Green Soup with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds & Vegan Horseradish Cream. It’s a recipe. Make this.

Makes 6-8 servings
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/3 cup chopped leeks (or onions if you haven’t got leeks)
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups fresh almond milk (or store bought…if you must)
5-6 cups of whatever green veggies you’ve got on hand, roughly chopped
(Escarole, Spinach, kale, purslane, celery, broccoli, even cauliflower will do.)
2.5-3 cups cooked quinoa
1 avocado
2-3 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons each of sage, basil & rosemary
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the fresh almond milk
6-8 tablespoons of raw almonds (soaked overnight)
6 cups of filtered water

For the spiced pumpkin seeds
1 cup raw green pumpkin seeds (pepitas) or any nut except peanuts
2-3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon smoked salt (garlic salt will also work)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander

For the vegan horseradish cream (optional)
½ cup plain Almond Milk Yogurt (like So Delicious Plain Almond Milk Yogurt)
3-4 tablespoons Vegenaise (or any non-dairy style “mayonnaise”)
1 tablespoon horseradish
Sea salt & fresh black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
To make the cozy green soup: Begin by sautéing the leeks and garlic in a pot until the leeks are translucent. Then add all the chopped vegetables along with the fresh almond milk, basil, sage and rosemary and simmer for 8-10 minute or until veggies are soft. From there, transfer the contents of the pot into your blender or food processor, then add the avocado, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, nutritional yeast and quinoa and blend until mostly smooth (about 2-3 minutes on high). Serve topped with a dollop of horseradish cream and a sprinkling of spiced pumpkin seeds.

To make the fresh almond milk: Combine soaked almonds and water in any high-powered blender and blend on high until the consistency is smooth, frothy and light about 2-3 minutes.

To make the pumpkin seeds: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Toss the seeds with coconut oil and spices. Spread onto a sheet pan and bake until toasted, about 10 minutes. Cooled pumpkin seeds can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.

To make the horseradish cream: Combine almond milk yogurt, Vegenaise, horseradish, salt and pepper in bowl. Whisk ingredients together until smooth.

 

What’s your favorite high-vibe Thanksgiving dish? Please (really, please) share in the comments below, or show us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.