I struggle at times with the food we serve at the cafe. Don’t get me wrong. I know we have the freshest most organic alive food options on the island. But I also know it’s not the food I eat on a daily basis. It’s too rich for me. However, if I think back 5 years ago, it would have been exactly what I desired to eat on a daily basis when I first starting eating live plant-based food options.
It’s an evolutionary process and when we first start eating live plant-based food, we naturally gravitate to the foods that approximate the foods we know and love from our days of eating a Standard North American Diet that may have been primarily animal-based. So of course we have fun making burgers (made from nuts and mushrooms and zucchini) and topping them with cheese (made from cashews) and bacon (made from coconut).
And of course our desserts are to live for. All raw desserts tend to have a base made predominantly with nuts whether cashews, macadamia, walnuts, almonds, pecans, or coconut and dates and/or other healthy sweeteners. I know they are better than desserts traditionally made with white flour, butter, and refined sugar, but a dessert is an extravagant extra that should be consumed in moderation.
When your taste buds come alive for the very first time when you start eating live plant-based food, it’s natural to want to design and create food alternatives that are bursting with fat and sweet and savory and spicy. You want more than just salads. In all honesty, the foods often found in raw food eateries are ‘gateway’ foods. Foods that will lure in the unsuspecting North American Standard Diet consumer and tempt them with flavours and textures that are familiar but more alive and vibrant.
The longer one eats foods that are simpler and more alive, eventually the naturalization of the foods becomes more alluring. What I mean by that is eating foods that are in their natural state with little adornment and enhancement. Foods that are simple, less complex, and pure. Less combining, more mono-meals (meals made up of one kind of fruit for example) and less spices and fatty sauces. Foods that are cleaner. The fastest kind of food we know is raw food – simply going out to the garden and picking fresh fruit or vegetables and eating them just as they are. Rain soaked and sun drenched and brimming with the flavour intended. One of my favourite meals when we owned acreage was to pick the fresh tops and flowers of kale plants and just filling up on them. Nothing added. No plating required. Just pick and nosh. Or consuming strawberries right off the plants in the garden. So sweet and intensely flavourful. Nothing compares.
Now I’m not suggesting if you decide to eat live plant-based foods to stop frequenting raw food eateries. In fact, they are a delicious alternative to what you can and do prepare in your own home. What I am suggesting is to always look for the best alternatives possible in order to feed your internal environment. You deserve to strive for a ’10′ most days when considering what to consume. Your body deserves it. That means looking for upping or replacing your usual patterns with ones that reach for optimal nutritional support and value. Options that are value-packed in terms of nutritional input and ultimate gain. Gain that is not in weight but in supplemental support for your heart, body, soul, and mind.
Gateway to Health
- First and foremost is to always drink plenty of water. Water that is fresh and clean and preferably not in a plastic bottle. Water can be very alkalizing, however, bottled water leans more to acidic due to the leaching effects from the plastic. More often than not, the water you get out of your tap is perfect for your body. It replenishes and revitalizes. It’s pure and simple.
- Juicing is fresh. Taking fresh greens and/or fruits and juicing will allow your digestive system to relax and gently absorb the nutrients. If you don’t own a juicer, you can blend fruits and vegetables and separate the liquid from the pulp by using a nut milk bag to create a juice that will be nourishing and alive.
- Smoothies are a great way to get greens into your diet by blending with fruits and making creative combinations. It also provides you with fiber and makes an easy and quick way to have a meal that can last a few hours. Blending an entire blender carafe of veggies and fruit with some water will definitely be breakfast and snacks in a low calorie way. It is also possible to add in some supplements like powdered wheatgrass or spirulina or chlorella or hemp powder to boost your nutritional intake. The aim is to up the greens and limit the fruits over time which will reduce the caloric input and up the protein intake.
- Embrace salads and the versatility of this meal concept. Gone are the days of iceberg lettuce, some shredded carrots, and a slice of tomato. Welcome vegetables into your life. Whatever may be in the refrigerator now can be in your bowl. And the bigger the better. Chewing slowly and deliberately also aids in digestion, allows your body to absorb the nutrients in a more considerate way and you will feel fuller. Including the following vegetables into your salad will provide you with a protein dense meal.
The shift in eating from a Standard North American Diet to a gourmet live plant-based diet to one that is made up primarily of fresh natural live organic produce is one that can be adopted in stages and over time. It takes practice and mindfulness. It suggests thought and consideration. If we take the time to consider our external environment by thoughtfully choosing what to wear on a daily basis we should take an equal or preferably greater amount of time considering the state of our internal environment and what will feed it best and most healthily. We can wait for a health crisis or we can be proactive and build our immune system by making choices that will nurture rather than deplete.
We can start by making one decision at a time, one day at a time. One day it may be replacing your yogurt-based smoothie with one composed of fruits and vegetables only. Another it may be drinking only water between meals rather than a soda. And yet another may include choosing a live plant-based dessert for your weekly treat rather than a white flour enriched sugar option. The choice is yours as is your health. Consider which gate you would prefer to enter on your pathway to health.
I love Indian food and often crave some curry with my salad. Here is a way to have a curry that is made with fresh vegetables and a thicker sauce, offering a taste of a traditional cooked vegetable curry in a more ‘alive’ state.
Chop the following ingredients into bite-sized pieces and place into a large bowl and mix with a spoon.
• 2-4 carrots – depending on the size
• 1 cup cauliflower
• 1 cup broccoli
• 1-2 medium zucchini
• 1 cup fresh or defrosted frozen peas and corn
Blend together the following ingredients to make the sauce:
• 1 orange – squeezed
• 1-2 tsp curry powder
• 1-2 tsp cumin powder
• 6-10 sun-dried tomatoes packaged in oil – rinse
• 4 T Tahini
• Water – added for desired thickness
Blend all ingredients until a thick sauce and pour over the vegetables in the bowl. Serve as is or over a green salad. Accompany with a small serving of curry rice and lightly drizzled with Tahini dressing.
• 2 cups cauliflower
• ¼ tsp salt (or more – to taste)
• 2 sliced green onions
• 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
• 1 tsp cumin
• 1 tsp curry
In a food processor finely grind cauliflower. Place in a bowl. Stir in salt, green onions, peas and spices. Serve with curry salad.
• ¼ cup Tahini
• Juice of 1-2 squeezed lemon
• 1-2 Medjool dates or 1-2 T maple syrup
• Grated fresh ginger (1 inch size)
• Salt to taste
• Water for desired thickness
Use a blender. Put all ingredients in then slowly blend until smooth.