Not for the faint of heart, energy-boosting Durian fruit ice cream will ignite your adventurous summer spirit, says Ysanne Spevack.
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!
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.
The week that showed me there’s no denying the magic of plants…
Magic of plants part 1. I’m completely fascinated by the whole plant medicine revolution that’s happening right now. The concept that thousands of people, often the opinion-formers and change-makers of the world, are being sought out by the consciousness of Mother Earth via these medicines, and experiencing vast awakenings.
In fact, I was joking with my friend the other day that the current financial system won’t collapse because of dodgy bonds and unchecked “quantitative easing” – but because all the bankers will end up doing Ayahuasca, and quitting their jobs to make a positive difference in the world instead!
To date, I have not been called to sit in a ceremony myself. The stories of emotional and often physical intensity frighten me, and I know from past practice that I am capable of having similarly (third) eye-opening experiences using alternative, gentler methods.
But still, the fascination remains, and so when I learned about Deborah Hanekamp’s Medicine Readings, which she described as being as close as you could get to a ceremony without actually drinking Ayahuasca, I was obviously super intrigued.
Cut to Tuesday afternoon, when I met Deborah for a reading at my fave spot, Maha Rose. She began by asking what I was working on (as in emotionally), and from her questions about this I could tell immediately that she is a gifted intuitive, with an open and true connection the subtle realms.
I was then asked to lie on her treatment table, and begin a steady tri par viloma (three-part) breath. For the following hour Deborah would invoke the spirit of the plants using scent, in the form of sweet floral tinctures, healing stones and different sound instruments, including her own voice as she sang the haunting “Icaros,” traditional Peruvian medicine songs.
All the time I felt very much in my body – while I was shown, with incredible clarity and in the form of deeply held memories rising effortlessly to the surface of my consciousness, the very root of the issues I’d been grappling with during the recent eclipse period. Tears flowed freely as I was able to make sense of situations that my psyche had chosen to keep hidden from me until now, but in understanding and putting these pieces of my past together, I also felt a sense of forgiveness.
Coming out of the session, I was aware that I’d actually been in a trance-state – my body felt slow, my blood thick, as if I’d be dosed with a heavy anesthetic. One designed to null any pain, allowing me to face the truths that arose without flinching, or looking away. Writing this now, I realize this is probably very similar to what happens in a plant medicine ceremony.
Deborah then told me what spirit, the Grandmother consciousness of the plant, had shared with her during my reading, all of it deeply relevant. We finished the session with her giving me a prescription for a special bath I was to prepare for myself in the coming week, along with a crystal, a meditation, and a mantra to work with.
They say that when you are ready, the spirit of Ayahuasca will find you. And in a week of much confusion, actually, following the two eclipses, last weekend’s Blood Moon, and in the final throws of this Mercury Retro period, she offered herself to me in exactly the form I needed.
Magic of plants part 2. I also watched the brilliant documentary Cowspiracy this week – which has totally cemented my commitment to being vegan. This is something that goes beyond health, beyond all the completely unnecessary bloodshed, and even beyond environmental issues for me now (although, if you need any more convincing, check out this ridiculous fact sheet). For me, this taps into the evolution of consciousness.
Because okay, how’s this for theory. Animal agriculture is by FAR the biggest contributor to the destruction of the rainforests – responsible for 91% OF AMAZON DESTRUCTION. How freaking cool, then, that the Amazonian plants themselves are fighting back – the Ayahuasca revolution opening so many influential minds to the wider implications of this issue.
The broader message of this film + my interaction with plant consciousness with Deborah this week have made me more aware than ever of the connection we as humans share with every other living being (animal + vegetable) on Earth, and the responsibility of love and care to our extended “family” that comes with this.
Also, you can think about it from a karmic perspective – with so much environmental destruction in the name of using flesh for food…doesn’t it make a sick kind of sense that our addiction to animal protein (because that’s what it is, since all tastes besides breast milk are acquired) could be what brings about the extinction of our species?
Wow – big stuff. But it’s not too late! As one commentator in the documentary puts it: “No other lifestyle choice has a father reaching and more profoundly positive impact on the planet than choosing a plant-based lifestyle.” Amen to that.
In conversation with Victoria Moran, author of The Good Karma Diet (aka the book that changed my life – this week). PLUS 4 ways to eat for better karma. By Ruby Warrington. Artwork: Raw Vegan Blonde
When I saw a flyer for a book called The Good Karma Diet, being a good Buddhist (kinda) I had to check it out. It went on to mark a turning point in my personal food history.
I’ve been “pescetarian” for six years (fish aren’t mammals, it was different I used to tell myself), and stopped eating dairy after I started breaking out in these weird eczema-like rashes after my move from London to NYC.
And if going fully vegan sounded like the logical next step – ethically, environmentally, politically, and for my health – it was also going to be really inconvenient. I mean, have you looked at a restaurant menu lately?
But then I read The Good Karma Diet, and all that fell away. Besides the very well documented health benefits, I think it was reading this that finally swung it: ”
So I reached out to the author Victoria Moran, a vegan for 25 years years and 60-something-going-on-30. Below is what she said about the karma of going vegan:
In a sentence, how is veganism a spiritual practise? Everything we know about spirituality or religion is a matter of faith or belief, except for one great certainty: kindness is divine; this is veganism.
What are 5 surprising side-effects of going vegan? – A more open heart – to both human and non-human animals. – An incredible community to be a part of – I chuckle to myself sometimes that I have so many “cool” friends of all ages, even though I wasn’t at all part of the “in crowd” back in school when that mattered so much. – There are so many aspects of vegan living to discover beyond just food. It takes some getting used to – buying mascara at the same store where you buy nutritional yeast! – but once you do, you learn that cruelty-free and toxin-free often go together. – Feeling better because you’re vegan makes you want to feel better still, so it inspires an interest in exercise and alternative healthcare and other avenues to ever greater wellbeing. – The gift of simplicity comes with a vegan lifestyle. When you know your life is dedicated to the wellbeing of others, petty stresses aren’t as stressful as they once were and it’s easier to enjoy the little things.
But wait, I live in NYC. Personally, I don’t go to a lot of “regular” restaurants since, for me, they’re not regular at all! If I go to a place that serves meat, it’s usually Indian or Italian or Mexican or Asian or Ethiopian, so there are plenty of vegan choices. If I have to order sides, I order sides. I don’t ever eat before I go out. I trust that when it’s time to eat, something appropriate will be there. I’ve never been disappointed.
And how can I be a good vegan guest? Once people understand that this is a serious choice for you, either a moral imperative or an important health decision, most are happy to accommodate, especially is you offer to bring a dish to share. Another good tip is not to get involved in detailed answers about why you’re vegan when other people are eating their non-vegan foods. Something along the lines of “I just feel better eating this way” should suffice for mealtime conversation. If someone is seriously interested, they’ll seek you out privately and you can share all you know.
What kind of good karma have you experienced since going vegan? The first thing I noticed was the lifting of a great burden that I hadn’t realized I was carrying, the burden of responsibility I bore for the suffering others had been forced to endure on my behalf. Then, on a very practical level, the extra weight I’d dealt with since early childhood, except for respites of “dieting,” came off and has stayed away. I also find I get happier as time goes by. I’m in my mid-60s and in good health, with a tremendous amount of meaning and purpose and adventure in my life.
Read on below for an excerpt from The Good Karma Diet, on 4 ways to eat for better karma.
The Whole-Foods Plant-Based Diet (WFPB) The Whole-Foods Plant-Based Diet (WFPB) is the popular term coined by nutritional biochemist T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., lead researcher of the China Study, the largest population-based nutritional study ever conducted. In The Low-Carb Fraud, Dr. Campbell and Howard Jacobson, Ph.D., define the WFPB diet as: “whole foods…as close to their natural state as possible. A wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds make up the bulk of the diet. It includes no refined products, such as white sugar or white flour; no additives, preservatives, or other chemical concoctions…no refined fat, including olive or coconut oils; and minimal – or better yet, no – consumption of animal products, perhaps 0 to 5 percent of total calories at most.”
The Starch Solution John McDougall, MD, the California internist who’s devoted his career to healing people from the chronic diseases of Western civilization, takes a very low-fat approach and celebrates the basic starches—rice, wheat, potatoes, barley, taro, and so forth—that have supported humanity for eons. Vegetables, fruits, and beans comprise the rest of the diet. He named a book for this: The Starch Solution.
The Esselstyn Approach The Cleveland Clinic research study done by Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., MD, showed how an oil-free, whole-foods, plant-exclusive diet with plenty of greens was capable of reversing heart disease in patients whose cardiologists could no longer help them. He expounds on his long-term study and its results in his book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.
His son, Rip, a handsome endurance athlete and former firefighter, takes the same approach and calls it “plant-strong” in his books, The Engine 2 Diet and My Beef With Meat. (The Campbell and Esselstyn plans are virtually identical, and the McDougall plan is very similar, all emphasizing whole, plant foods and no oil. This way of eating was showcased in the popular documentary and subsequent bestselling book, Forks Over Knives.)
The Nutritarian Diet Joel Fuhrman, MD, author of the NY Times bestseller, Eat to Live, recommends a “nutritarian” diet built primarily around vegetables, fruits, and legumes. Whole grains are allowed, but not emphasized, and moderate consumption of nuts and seeds is encouraged. He suggests getting at least ninety percent of calories from whole plant foods, leaving up to ten percent for the occasional indulgence and for animal products for those who aren’t going to part with them entirely. In my practice as a holistic health counselor and vegan lifestyle coach, I found that clients did extremely well with this approach.
Plant-Based, Lower-Carb A newer player on the vegan field is a higher-protein, higher-fat, lower-carbohydrate rendition of a way of eating that is still, by definition, high in naturally occurring carbohydrate because that is the nutritive property that predominates in most plant foods. If you’ve read a lot of diet books, this sounds bad (“The carbs are coming! Run for the hills!”) but it’s actually good. We’re designed to function on a diet that derives most of its calories from the naturally occurring carbohydrates in plant foods. Attempting to avoid all carbohydrates because refined sugar and white bread aren’t good for you would be like avoiding marriage because some men beat their wives.
Despite the profusion of laboratory and epidemiological studies supporting the efficacy of the approaches outlined earlier, some people feel that they do better with a little more protein and fat. Their predilection was given scientific backup by David J.A. Jenkins, MD, Ph.D. (he developed the concept of the glycemic index) who advocates for a plant-based diet favoring non-starchy vegetables, soy foods and mock meats, lower-carb beans (mung, great Northern, lima, fava), nuts, seeds, and avocado, and low-sugar fruits, such as berries. This diet has been called “Eco Atkins.”