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Fresh food; better nutrition; improved health, more energy, and weight loss; easy kitchen clean-up; lower environmental—all these are positive aspects of a raw food diet. But you may be hesitating to try it because of the perceived disadvantages—unfamiliar techniques; special equipment; unusual ingredients; long preparation times and the need to plan ahead; and elaborate raw food recipes. Even worse is the fear of being limited to nothing but boring salads and one cold meal after another, especially in the winter when you really want warming foods.
Fear no more. Raw food can be quick, fun, and easy, and you don’t need to be 100% raw to benefit from a raw food diet.
If you’re interested in following a raw food diet or if you already do and want to increase your skills and repertoire of raw food recipes, Russell James, aka The Raw Chef, can help. He offers a wide range of raw food recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, beverages (including smoothies and juices), desserts and more. Many of these are quick and easy to prepare, while others are showstoppers for when you need an impressive dish. Some need special equipment such as a dehydrator, but many others do not. His demonstrations and explanations of such specialized equipment can help you decide if and what to purchase. Through videos and step-by-step instructions lightened with humor, Russell also teaches the techniques you need, from basics such as knife skills to garnishing your dishes so that they are as beautiful as they are delicious.
In this three-part video, Russell James visits Fulking Village Spring near Brighton, England and demonstrates how to test and collect spring water. He measures the total dissolved solids (TDS) and the pH of the water, first at the spring in the village and then upstream near the source. The TDS measures the mineral content. Distilled water has zero parts per million (ppm), while 500 ppm is dangerously high. Water with lower TDS is more hydrating. The pH measures the acidity or alkalinity of the water, with a pH of 7 being neutral. The spring water was slightly alkaline, which is good.
To find a spring, visit http://www.FindaSpring.com, or ask older people in your community if they know of one. It’s best to collect the water near the source, as there are more opportunities for pollution as the water flows downstream. Also look for true springs, where the water comes up from the earth, and avoid run-off from rain or melting snow. Protect your legs and feet by wearing Wellingtons.
The spring water may be collected in plastic bottles or jugs, but it should be stored in glass bottles. Don’t let the bottles freeze. Because water expands as it turns to ice, the bottle may shatter if it freezes.
The spring water may be used as is or to make nut milk, herbal brews, and other raw food recipes.
Born in the south of England, Russell spent most of his teens and early to mid-20s working in fast food restaurants, as a manager in a supermarket and as a driving instructor.
It wasn’t until age 28 in 2004 when he was in Koh Samui, Thailand, doing a fast to clear up the skin problem that had developed during his time at the fast food restaurant that he discovered raw food.
He quickly got excited about the vibrancy and creativity of raw foods and the health benefits they bring. Spurred on by the fact that he’d never heard of raw food and with a desire to bring it into mainstream awareness in a way that is fun and modern, he set about following his passion, at first as a hobby.
When he posted pictures on his blog, people started to notice and comment on how great his food looked. Russell discovered techniques and a natural ability to create beautiful raw recipes from widely available ingredients and started teaching people locally. News spread and Russell soon found himself teaching people from all over the UK, from other countries in Europe and from the US.
Russell’s passion is to bring raw foods to anyone who is excited about it and needs the technical knowledge to make it work. He shows you that far from feeling restricted on a raw food diet, you have an abundance of options, from eating raw sandwiches to putting on a show-stopping dinner party.
The Times has hailed Russell as the United Kingdom’s leading raw chef, and others have acknowledged his passion and skills:
“Russell James is a true professional; talented and creative, and a pleasure to work with. I particularly admire his dedication to raw food cuisine, and his unwavering interest in its forward movement.”—Matthew Kenney
“I was very impressed with Russell James’ raw and living foods cuisine. He’s a pleasure to work with and a rising culinary star.”—David Wolfe
Russell James has now taught thousands of people about the abundance of options in a raw food diet through his blog, videos, online courses, and eBooks. For more raw food recipes, including a free eBook with his top ten recipes, visit http://www.therawchef.com