Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Getting Back to Raw Lifestyle Basics

I’m working on getting back to basics with my own raw food lifestyle lately…I have gained 4 or 5 extra pounds over the past couple of months, and while I first blamed it on adding extra muscle during marathon training, it really was more a result of adding extra cashews…and raw macaroons…and kale chips…and lots of tahini…and too much olive oil…to my diet.

While I’ve been very good about making greens the basis of my diet, adding extra fat to them to make them tasty (VERY tasty) isn’t a good thing, and it is entirely possible to overdo it eating just about anything, regardless of whether its “raw” or “healthy.” And given that I have a wedding dress fitting in a few weeks – and would very much like to fit into the dress! – it time to pay a little more attention to what I put in my mouth!

I think simply being more mindful of the added fats that I eat will do the trick, for example, putting a tablespoon of tahini on a salad rather than gobbing it on, or measuring out a couple of teaspoons of oil to marinate veggies rather than just eyeballing it (obviously, my eyes are bigger than my belly!). But I am also trying to add lighter, more hydrating soups into the mix of the salads and raw entrees I eat…for example, lunch today was a yummy, savory blended soup pretty much made of what veggies I had around. I just chopped it up, and tossed it in the blender…easy, and tasty.
Zingy Green Soup

1 ½ cups celery

3 cups cucumber (peeled if skin is waxed)

1 ½ cups parsley

¼ cup dulse (other sea veggies would work fine, too)

1 cup water

Juice of ½ to 1 lemon

1 clove of garlic

1 inch knob of ginger, peeled

Pinch of salt & pepper, to taste

Chop everything into medium sized pieces (to be kind to the blender), and blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. The dulse (which will add a concentrated mineral punch, as well as lots of flavor) will impart some saltiness, so don’t add salt until after the dulse is blended in and you’ve tasted the soup for seasoning. That’s it! Raw appétit!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Gearing up for Another Raw Marathon

I'm in Massachusetts today, getting ready to run the Boston Marathon tomorrow! I just made my raw energy bars - a recipe from Brendan Brazier's book "Thrive" - and have been soaking/sprouting oat groats for my pre-race breakfast. I forgot the mesh strainer I normally use to drain them, so I've been using my mom's knee highs! (A new pair, of course!) I've been eating lots of hydrating veggies and fruits the past couple of days, and of course drinking plenty of water...I think I'm ready! I forget what meals I had the night before my long training runs, so I'm going to stick with my favorite salad...kale, parsley, and tahini. In the morning I'll rinse the oats again, add cinnamon, a banana and some raisins, and head out for the race - simple! Before I went raw, I would freak out before a marathon about what food I was eating in the days leading up to the race, the night before, the morning of, etc. And during the race, I'd pump myself full of energy gels and sports drinks that have goodness-knows-what in them. I'm very relaxed today (well, as relaxed as I ever could be), and I think that knowing that I'm making great choices to fuel my body helps keep the nerves in check. Unfortunately no amount of kale can guarantee perfect weather and a tailwind tomorrow, but I've done everything in my power to ensure a great race.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Got Sprouts? Sprouted Chickpeas Hummus

The "mother" of the raw food movement, Ann Wigmore, said about the way of eating "Live food, live bodies, dead food, dead bodies."

In referring to raw food as "living" food, most people are just referring to the nature of the fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds...nothing has been cooked, and all of the enzymes of the food are intact. Sprouts, in particular, are pretty lively. As little seeds literally bursting with life, they are chock full of enzymes and are particularly nutrient dense. How could that not be a great way to fuel your body?

I admittedly don't love sprouts on their own or in a salad, but sprouted chickpea hummus is a really yummy way to eat a whole bunch of them.

First, you have to find chickpeas for sprouting. I get mine from a special sprouting seeds rack at the health food store. Soak the chickpeas over night with WAY more water than you think they need, because they really soak it up! In the morning, drain water, rinse, drain again, and let the chickpeas hang out in a colander or bowl. I like to cover my bowl with a paper towel to keep dust out. Rinse and drain at least 3 times per day, until most of the chickpeas have grown tails about ¼ inch long, about 2-3 days. They are ready to use! (There is a photo below of what they look like, before and after)

For the hummus:

3 cups sprouted chickpeas

¾ cup raw tahini (I find mine in the refrigerator at the health food store…it is also delish with lemon, oil, salt & pepper as a salad dressing)

4-5 cloves garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil (you may need more if your chickpeas seem really dry)

1-1 ½ teaspoons sea salt

1/3 cup lemon juice (from about 2 lemons, depending on their size)

½ cup parsley

Pinch of cayenne (optional)

Combine chickpeas, tahini, lemon, oil, garlic in a food processor until the mixture is well combined and to your desired smoothness. Season with salt & cayenne if desired, and add parsley – process again until parsley is mixed in and chopped up. Add a tablespoon or so more oil if you want smoother, more liquid hummus. Remember, the tahini, lemon, garlic, cayenne & parsley should all be added to taste….start with a little less if you are unsure, and add a little more until you get to the flavor you prefer. This will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.

Raw appétit!

Monday, April 5, 2010

What's up, Doc? Raw Carrot Tahini Soup

I love to try to convert cooked recipes to raw versions, and when I saw a recipe in the New York Times for Carrot Tahini soup the other day, I knew I had to try it out. Raw tahini has been one of my favorite ingredients lately, just tossed with a salad or in sprouted hummus, so my mouth was watering as soon as I read the article. The author herself had invented the recipe in an attempt to get her daughter to eat more veggies…the kid loved hummus, but typically just licked it off of her carrot sticks. The author’s version included fresh thyme, dried coriander, and tumeric, and since those are things I don’t typically have around, I omitted them and made some additions of my own.

Raw soups – just like all other raw food – can be tricky to convert because usually veggies taste different raw, and can be different from one day to the next depending on how fresh they are. And I added a couple of dates at the end, figuring one thing missing from the overall taste was the caramelized sweetness of sautéed carrots.

Not having made the original, I have no idea how mine compares, but I think it is pretty tasty:

In a large blender, combine:

½-3/4 cup leeks, chopped, depending on how leeky you think you’ll like it

1-2 cloves of garlic, depending on how many vampires you want to scare away

1 ½ cups celery, chopped

4 cups of carrots, chopped

3 tablespoons lemon juice

½ cup raw tahini (I find this in the fridge at my local health food store)

1 -1 ½ teaspoons salt (start with one, add a little more if necessary)

2 cups of water (start with 1, add more as you go til you get to desired smoothness)

Pinch of cayenne

Pinch of black pepper

Handful of fresh cilantro (probably ½ cup loosely packed)

Handful of fresh parsley

2 dates

Blend to desired thickness and smoothness. This recipe will make 6-7 cups, so make sure your blender is large enough for all that. If not, halve the recipe (or make ¾ of it, if you are particularly mathy), or get a bigger blender! Serve chilled or lightly warmed from the action of your blender.

Raw appétit!