Solla Eiriks is known as the Green Queen in the land of fire and Ice (Iceland). It is hard to imagine how it would be possible to eat a raw vegan diet in a country that borders the Arctic Circle. Henceforth, Iceland’s cuisine consists of typical Scandinavian fare like fish, lamb, yogurt and delicacies such as fermented shark. Iceland receives very little warm weather, with temperatures ranging from 30-50 degrees Fahrenheit, and much of their local produce is grown in green houses. Solla shares with us how she became raw and how she makes a raw lifestyle work in her home country of Iceland.
How and at what age did you discover raw food?
My grandmother went Raw in 1915 when she was studying in Denmark. I did not know about that, but I knew she was eating healthy. In 1996, Faridha Sharan came to Iceland and gave a class and talked a lot about Raw food. I asked her where I could learn more and she told me about Ann Wigmore’s institude in Puerto Rico. Fourteen days later, I was there…..
What is it like eating Raw in Iceland?
It is great – we have a lot of variety of veggies, nuts, seeds, fruits, sea vegetables and superfoods. But during the coldest months, it can be a challenge.
Is it difficult to get fresh organic produce in your country?
It is getting better and better. During the summer and fall, we have our harvest in Iceland and then we have a lot of good quality food, but we have to import a lot during the winter time.
What do other Icelandic people think of your raw food lifestyle?
I changed my diet in 1980 and started to eat Macrobiotic, and went RAW in 1996. I started to give classes and went on morning TV around 1996 so I am known as the “Green Girl” here in Iceland. Now a lot of people are curious about how it tastes, and more and more people are joining me in the Raw lifestyle.
Many people think that they need warm or hot foods in the winter – how would you respond to that?
Well, you can heat your soup and sauces to around 105F during the coldest month if you need, so it is not really a problem. I think the problem is a lot in people’s heads, but when they start to eat Raw, they easily find a way to deal with that. We drink a lot of herbal teas during the winter time, that helps dealing with the craving for warm food.
Icelandic people have such great skin, yourself included. What are some tips you could share?
I think it has to do with our clean air and our mineral rich water. We also do a lot of outdoor swimming and sea veggies have always been a big part of our traditional eating habits.
What is your favorite recipe?
Fermented beetroot and beetroot juice! Here it is:
You will need:
- 1 gallon jar with rubber lip
Recipe: The vegetables need to be ORGANIC
- 2 pound beet root
- 4 green apples
- 1 Tbsp good quality salt
- 2 ½ c water
- ½ c juice from former batch or a good quality culture
- 2 kaffir lime leave
- 1 stalk lemon gras
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- 1 tsp mint
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ¼ tsp shatavari
- ¼ tsp holy basil
1. Warm the water to 160 Farenheit, then let it cool to room temperature, add the salt, stir and let it dissolve. Shred the beet and apples on a fine grinder.
2. With a wide mouth jar, add your shredded vegetable and brine mixture into quart-sized, wide mouth Mason jars (Ball jars with canning lids – you can usually get these in the grocery store very inexpensively). Pack the vegetables down tightly.
3. Add some water to cover the vegetables (make sure they are not exposed to air). You can also put a rolled up leaf of cabbage or a collard leaf at the top, to keep the vegetables well packed or to take up additional space between the vegetables and the top (if needed).
4. Screw on the top tightly and set aside for 3 days to one week at room temperature (72 – 75 degrees, but you can make these in warmer climates too). You can take the top off and sample after 3 days. If you want them to have a more sour taste, let them ferment for a few more days.
What is your philosophy on diet and exercise?
You have to find out what fits you and your body. For me, I have few things I always do: my daily green juice, my daily super smoothie, my daily head stand and my daily meditation.
Vitamin D is such a buzz word these days. In a country like Iceland, you experience many cloudy days. Do you have any tips or feedback for keeping your levels in check?
Use the sun when it shows up and take good source of Vitamin D during the vinter time.
One thing you could share about yourself that the readers might not know?
I made a TV show in 3 parts about organic food and farming in Iceland. In that show I taught people to make RAW food and my assistant was the first lady of Iceland.