Holistic esthetician Stephanie Tourles is an author, herbalist and more. As a licensed holistic esthetician in both MA and ME with over 20 year's experience, Stephanie is trained in western-style herbalism and Ayurveda. She specializes in the use of herbs as they pertain to skin, hair, nail, foot, and "comfort / health" care and regularly creates herbal cosmetics and treatment formulas for her clients, family, and friends. Stephanie lives in coastal Maine with her husband and 2 Maine Coon cats, and spends her spare time hiking, organic gardening, practicing yoga, and creating new raw food recipes. She is dedicated to the organic, raw and living foods lifestyle. Her new book, Raw Energy, is packed with raw food snacks for the busy person. The recipes as simple, easy to follow, and contain ingredients that for the most part are easy to find at the local supermarket. LovetoKnow asked Stephanie about her new book and raw and living foods.
Holistic Esthetician Stephanie Tourles New Book
Tell us how you came to write this book.
I've always known the beneficial relationship that exists between consuming a diet rich in whole foods, including substantial amounts of raw food, and the resultant energy, good health, and well-being. Much of what I see today, regarding the way many people eat, saddens me. There is a serious lack of nutrient-dense food in the Standard American Diet and the regular consumption of low-nutrient foods is leaving in its wake a nation of people who are not experiencing the superb health and bountiful energy that is their rightful heritage. A large percentage of people today are suffering the ill-effects produced by poor dietary habits . . . including such things as obesity, childhood diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, depression, attention disorders, premature aging, cancer, and constant fatigue.I actually decided to write this book for 2 reasons. First, because of my observations of mothers and their children. Their lives seem so very busy these days ... rushing from activity to activity to work to home ... that the "basic 3 healthy squares" have gone the way of the dinosaur only to be replaced by fast food meals, frozen microwaved dinners, scads of chips, sodas, and breakfasts of boxed sugary cereals, refined pastries, and boxed juice drinks. In-between meal snacks generally don't fare any better. Real, whole food meals seem to be rare ... thus the many complaints from both women and children: lack of energy, general unwellness, under-eye circles, lackluster skin tone, weight gain, a flabby body, and fatigue. I wanted to write the book to "wake people up" and show them that, with a little conscientious effort on their part, they could begin to revamp their dietary habits by simply making small changes. Changes in the way they snack. It's a start in the right direction.
Secondly, I wrote Raw Energy from the perspective of a holistic esthetician and what I've observed when an individual adheres to a whole food diet high in raw foods. Their skin glows, it's radiant, it retains moisture longer, ages slower, maintains tone and elasticity, and heals at an accelerated rate. Versus the skin of those who eat the Standard American Diet who frequently complain of eczema, psoriasis, acne, acne roseacea, extreme dryness and cracking, and abrasions/bruises/cuts that are slow to heal.
What are the recipes like in your book?
The methodology of food preparation in Raw Energy represents a huge departure from the way most Americans cook. My aim with this new book is to introduce readers to a new realm of food preparation: uncooking! I hope to educate and make readers aware that raw snacks can be far more satisfying than conventional snacks while providing deep, sustained, "get-up-and-go" power and promoting health, vitality, and good looks as they tantalize the taste buds. The all-raw-ingredient recipes are easy to make, delicious, and delightful to the eye and palate. And better still, they are highly nutrient-dense and enzymatically potent: raw foods retain naturally occurring enzymes, which typically make them easier on the digestive system than cooked foods. Any food heated over approximately 120 degrees no longer has "live" enzymes which normally act as catalysts in the body to enable the billions of cellular functions to effectively take place. Enzymes, vitamins, minerals, sugars, fats, and proteins, and additional micro-nutrients are either destroyed outright or are chemically-altered due to heat over 120 degrees. A body cannot thrive without a source of live enzymes.
Raw and Living Foods
What do you enjoy the most about eating raw and living foods?
I'm very visual, tactile, and sensual, and I like the fact that working with and eating raw plant foods engages my senses. Raw plant foods are beautiful to look at and uniquely shaped; they offer textures that range from moist and juicy to soft, chewy, and crunchy; they're often brilliantly colored; and they are rich in unbelievable, full flavor and tantalizing aromas. Because they offer so much in the way of sensory stimulation, raw foods can be enjoyed on every level. I also derive much satisfaction and comfort in knowing that I'm feeding my cells the best nourishment nature has to offer.
How did you discover the raw food diet?
I actually began my education on the importance of and discovered the taste sensations of raw foods when I was a child frequently visiting my grandparents at their north Georgia farm. They had two large gardens in which they grew a substantial portion of their annual food, and having lived through the Great Depression, they stressed the importance of growing your own food, being prepared for an emergency, and that one needed to consume the freshest, most nutritious food possible to ensure a lifetime of strength, energy, and health.
Some of my favorite raw foods from their gardens and surrounding fields were jumbo, juicy Georgia peaches; raw "sugar" corn eaten directly off the cob; cole slaw with caraway seeds; raw, strained tomato juice; raw sourwood honey directly from the hive drizzled over fresh-picked blackberries; wild American persimmons; chubby, purple figs picked ripe and soft from the tree; and my grandmother's layered salad of raw snap peas, sweet Vidalia onions, heirloom tomato slices, Bibb lettuce, and yellow banana peppers, topped with boiled egg slices - fresh from their own backyard chickens.
How long have you eaten raw foods?
Raw foods have always been an important part of my diet. The percentages of my diet that have been raw have varied from probably a low of 20% to a high of nearly 90%. I currently eat at least 60% raw - more in summer & fall, less in winter & early spring. Fresh, local raw foods are more available here in Maine during the summer and fall.
Can you tell me what a holistic esthetician does?
A holistic esthetician differs in practice and belief from a conventional esthetician in that we view the care of the skin from a whole lifestyle approach versus merely caring for the skin from a topical-treatment-only perspective wherein the esthetician recommends cleansing, toning, moisturizing, and exfoliating, with optional cosmeticeutical supplemental products. We ask of our clients that they participate in a holistic lifestyle approach in caring for their skin by adhering to these requisites: daily fresh air and exercise that produces perspiration (to help rid the body of toxins via sweating); deep breathing; 20 minutes of daily unprotected sun exposure (for vitamin D, enhanced calcium absorption, and mood elevation effects); consumption of fresh juices and water and a whole food diet; regular colon cleansing, if necessary, to ensure the twice daily evacuation of bodily wastes (a wide variety of skin conditions are exacerbated by chronic constipation); at least 8 hours of sleep nightly; and of course the use of chemical-free topical skin care preparations.
Which snacks in your new book do you recommend?
I have quite a few "super favorites" and I'll list them here:
- Creamy Carob Freezer Fudge
- Sesame Calcium Chews
- Fabulous Coco-Walnut Fudgy Brownies
- Sweet & Salty Trail Mix
- Mexican Dark Chocolate Blueberry Divine Fudge
- Tangerine Dream Cream Smoothie
- Raspberry Ricky Soup
- Papaya Sunset Soup
- Sweet & Creamy "Cheese" Spread
- Vital Vegan Pesto
I want to let readers know that ALL the recipes, even the sweet & gooey ones, are tasty enough and nutritious enough to eat even for breakfast - or any meal. Yes, raw fudge for breakfast! No ingredient and no entire recipe has been heated over 110 degrees so all of the live food enzymes are intact, ready to aid with digestion and healing, plus the vitamins and minerals are in the pure, raw form as nature intended for us to thrive.
If someone is just starting out eating a raw food diet, how should they begin?
Getting started simply involves merely adding whole raw snack foods to your daily diet such as grapes, or a banana, apple, peach, or mango. A handful of Brazil nuts, pecans, almonds, or raw cashews, sunflower or pumpkin seeds are delicious and filling. Adding more raw foods to your diet can range from a simple dish such as a sublime papaya half drizzled with lime juice and raw honey to a more complicated affair of vegan pesto poured atop "zucchini spaghetti" followed by raw fudge balls.
What's the most persuasive argument for 'going raw?'
The nutrient energy derived from the foods consumed in our daily diets shapes, forms, and drives all systems within our bodies. I can't state that more simply or accurately. The quality of food consumed is the catalyst that affects one of three end results: a body exhibiting radiant health, beauty, and vitality; a body coasting along through life with mediocre health, appearance, and energy levels; or a body suffering with disease, discomfort, and exhaustion from malnourishment.
Do raw foods increase energy?
In very simple terms, I titled the book Raw Energy because I want you to realize that increased energy intake means increased energy output. A diet high in raw foods will supercharge your energy level and replenish depleted reserves. Raw foods are easy for most people to digest - digestion being the key to absorption and assimilation of valuable nutrients necessary for copious energy production. Like you, whether I'm working, playing, gardening, or simply going out for a long walk, I want to have plenty of energy to help me accomplish my goals as well as enjoy my leisure time. Foods loaded with unheated, unrefined carbohydrates, proteins, and healthful fats will leave your body's cells filled to the brim with fuel for the daily chores of life. They contain the necessary nutritional molecular components that actually power the process of anabolism, or construction of new cells - initiating growth of tissues, repairing existing damage, and replacing aged or inferior cells within your body.
And you will have plenty of energy left over to do those activities you long to do. A beauty bonus: visible effects from the added dietary nourishment will quickly become noticeable. Your skin, hair, nails, and eyes will glow. I'm promising a lot from the mere addition of raw snack foods to your daily diet, I realize. But it just makes sense that if you eat better, you'll feel better, and you'll ultimately look better, too!
More Thoughts on Raw Food
If you are intrigued by raw foods and want to learn more, I suggest first visiting a local raw foods restaurant. Even Whole Foods-type markets offer raw food meal take-outs if you can't locate a raw restaurant. You never know ... perhaps you'll fall in love with raw food meals and want to increase your intake of these most nutritious foods.
Holistic esthetician Stephanie Tourles' books are available from Storey Publishing and can be purchased through Amazon.com.