Monday, April 21, 2008

Flirting With Raw Foods

I've been a regular reader of Gala Darling's iCing blog for about a year now. I love her perspective. She is one of those people who take great joy in life. From her, I've been hooked into Etsy, the online community of artists and craftsman. It's a great place to find the perfect gift for... anyone.

A few months ago, she wrote about raw foods way of life, and linked to We Like it Raw. I read a bit of their website once or twice a week. Have tried a few of the recipes. I think 'yea!' and 'yummy!' about 3/4 of the time, and 'ugh' the other. I have learned honey, molasses and maple syrup are not the only alternatives to sugar; and how to make cashew milk. (Cashew milk would be one of the Yummy! items, in case you were wondering.)

For the last two months, I've been working on an entry into this way of eating. More veggies, less meat isn't a big change for me. I eat red meat less than once per week, with maybe one or two servings of chicken or fish. Veggie curries with brown rice and various combos of spinach/mushrooms/tomatoes/yellow squash/onions/broccoli with basil and olive oil are regular evening meals. I know those are better choices than burger and fries, but still not as good for me as it could be. Hence, the desire to eat more straight off the cutting board.

I started with breakfast. Sliced strawberries and bananas with a handful of blueberries and a tablespoon or two of ground flaxseed is what I eat most mornings. If I'm up early enough, I'll toss everything in the blender with soy milk and make a yummy smoothie.

Then, this way of eating spread to lunch. Sliced avacado and grape tomatoes (or mango) on mixed greens with sunflower seeds and cilantro, topped with fresh squeezed lemon juice and olive oil.

And now, I crave big bowls of veggies for dinner. Figured this out in front of the meat counter at Whole Foods last Wednesday. Headed back to produce to grab heirloom tomatoes, red bell peppers, cucumbers and extra avacados. Drained and rinsed black beans, did some chopping. Lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, sea salt and roasted garlic. Mixed it all together for dinner. (Photo stinks, but I'm working on that.)

It was delicious. I was completely satisfied, and didn't feel any of the normal hankering for munchies during my evening mapping. Even when I sat down for a bit of television time. No ice cream. No crackers. Just a cup of tea.

Next day, swapped out mango for the heirloom tomatoes, added cucumber, chickpeas and sunflower seeds.

I'm not comfortable trying out a major diet change for the kids. I can experiment on myself. If I get the protein and vitamins wrong on me, I can adjust. I won't risk their healthy development. Chicken, fish and beef are still going on their plates. What I have been doing though, is expand the side dishes at dinner to include sliced fresh fruit, and to pull vegetables out of the steamer a little earlier in the cooking process. They've always been resistant to some vegetables (zucchini and asparagus are great examples) but have been great about trying [barely] blanched yellow beans, orange cauliflower and broccoflower. The yellow beans and yellow carrots were harder to sell than I expected. I try to have something yummy for dessert in the wings for the nights they willingly try anything new, especially if contains leeks, mushrooms or lima beans.

So far, so good. There have been a couple of times the crunch green bean and baby carrot combo have received a positive reception. There are fewer requests for plain old peas or corn. The grocery helper for last week picked up the yellow carrots and vidalia onion for me to mash into the potatoes. And, I'm getting requests to pick up the purple cauliflower as soon as it's available in the store.

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