Raw Food Favorites: August is Sunflower Month!

Sunflower in all it's gloryThere is a reason why raw food pioneer Dr. Ann Wigmore chose the sunflower plant long ago as the living symbol of her raw food business. Sunflowers are amazing plants that grow strong and tall in one season, and provide valuable seeds and sprouts—while still in shell, the seeds can be grown in soil for a very powerful nutrient dense sprout to add to salads, smoothies, and green soups. Just imagine what good things strong, vital sunflower sprouts and sunflower seeds do for your body! I remember Dr. Ann’s bountiful greenhouse in Puerto Rico – full of flats of wheatgrass, sunflower greens (sprouts), and buckwheat “lettuce” (the sprouts of unhulled buckwheat, also grown in soil). We would sit around a table in the shade of a tree outdoors in the hot Puerto Rican sun and take hulls off of the beautiful sunflower and buckwheat sprouts while listening to a lecture about the power of raw food to heal the body. Almost every raw food teacher has a version of a delicious sunflower seed pate, and we use sunflower seeds as a base for our popular Zoom Burgers, served in our school and at Living Light Café. Here’s a simple and yummy recipe for Savory Seed Dressing from Cherie’s book The Raw Food Revolution Diet (soon to be released in Italian) to help you make your next salad a nutritional powerhouse!

Fresh raw food saladSavory Seed Dressing
Yield: 2 cups (8 servings)
½ cup (120 mL) sunflower, sesame, or pumpkin seeds
1 cup (250 mL) purified water
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup (60 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup (60 mL) freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons (45 mL) tamari or light miso
3 tablespoons (45 mL) ground flaxseeds
2 tablespoons (30 mL) flaxseed oil (optional)
1 teaspoon (5 mL) powdered mustard
½ teaspoon (2 mL) dried basil
½ teasopoon (2 mL) dried oregano
½ teaspoon (2 mL) dried thyme

1. Combine the seeds, water, and garlic in a blender and process until smooth and creamy. Add a little more water to facilitate processing, if necessary
2. Add the lemon juice, orange juice, tamari, flaxseeds, optional oil, powdered mustard, basil, oregano, and thyme and process again until well combined. Add a little more water if the dressing is too thick.
3. Stored in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator, Savory Seed Dressing will keep for up to 4 days.

Dr. Karin Dina, D. C. who with her husband Dr. Rick Dina, D.C. developed and teaches our Science of Raw Food Nutrition series of classes at Living Light, enjoys growing sunflowers in her backyard here in northern California:

Sunflower opening"This spring, I planted several sunflower starts in our backyard in hopes that by August we would have tall, beautifully blooming sunflowers that eventually would yield sunflower seeds. One of these sunflower plants started out as the smallest, and for a while, I was concerned that it might not grow well. Eventually, the plant had a growth spurt, growing to 4 feet, then 6 feet, 12 feet, and finally 14 feet, where it stopped growing upward and began to produce a future sunflower bloom, botanically called an infloresence, which is a cluster of individual flowers. Rick and I waited excitedly, checked on the plant regularly, and then one morning, the petals began to retract to show a stunning bright yellow sunflower.

sunflower seedsKD2Each little seed has a flower at the tip that must be individually pollinated for the seed to fully mature. Later this season, we will harvest the seeds and save some for next year, or maybe grow some sunflower sprouts for our salads.Once in a while, we enjoy having shelled sunflower seeds in recipes or just by themselves."

Dr. Karin provided a chart with a nutrient analysis of sunflower seedsSunflowerSeedsChart (2)