If it’s a chore, then don’t do it. It has to be fun. It has to bring you some joy. And it has to be colourful.
Chef Estela Rodriguez from Rawsome Living Foods Cafe and Juice Bar recently made a coconut cream pie for some customers. She definitely had fun in the process especially when she topped it off with colourful edible flowers. And the customers received so much joy when they saw the pie and then when they took that first mouthful.
We’re not all professional chefs. And we don’t all find our creative outlet through preparing and plating food. For many of us, food is simply necessary for sustaining life. For others, food is an escape. And for others it is a decadent pleasure. Regardless of your relationship with food, I do know that food that is prepared with thought and consideration for how the flavours blend, how the colours are balanced on the plate, and how textures are varied, will be more satisfying and appealing.
In order to produce a balanced and aesthetically pleasing meal, it takes time and mindfulness. We live in a society that believes faster is better. We pull up to drive-thrus, receive food that is wrapped in plastic and paper bags. Basic, utilitarian, with hardly any discernable taste other than salty and sweet and the odd hot spice, and a garnish that may include a slice of pickle and a toothpick. We expect only what will fill us, not engage us.
If all we are looking for is to be filled up, it’s understandable how we begin by eating a couple of chips out of a bag and before you know it, have finished off the bag and then moved on to carton of ice cream and topped it off with a can of pop. Nothing on a plate just straight out of the container. In addition, it’s not unusual for us to consume all of this food while watching television and not pay the slightest attention to what we are eating, just that we are filling ourselves up.
However, if we take the time to think about what we want to eat, why we want to eat, when we want to eat, and where we are going to eat and/or get our food from, we become more mindful. Preparing food is a meditative process. Even in our fast-paced lives, we should take time to think about the role that food is playing in our lives and give our daily nourishment a place of honour.
This may sound far too esoteric for something that is so necessary and required in order to sustain life. However, by taking time to consider what we eat, we slow our urges down as well. Rather than grabbing processed and prepared food off the shelf or out of the freezer compartment at the grocery store, we may actually take time to peruse the produce section or local farmer’s market or farm stand. We may begin to make dishes from what’s in season and fresh rather than relying on imported produce.
Slowing down our tempo in the kitchen allows us to enjoy the process and feel a sense of accomplishment in the end product. There is more of a willingness to share when we have taken the time to prepare and plate our food, thus creating a social dimension to our consumption of food and enhancing a ‘fun’ element to meal times.
If you are angry or annoyed or tired and just can’t be bothered with preparing your food, then perhaps it’s a good time to reflect on why you are eating. What are you really needing? Food is one of the most important gifts we can offer to our bodies. Food has amazing healing abilities. Food is life. Your body deserves the best you can provide. Your body will thank you in many ways. So for your own sake, for your health’s sake – choose wisely and make sure your choices bring joy and an element of fun to your life.
Smoothies for Life
One of the simplest ways to introduce whole plant-based foods into your life is by making smoothies. All you need is a blender and the rest is in the ingredients. And this is where the fun enters into the process.
Basic raw, plant-based smoothies use the following formula:
- 1 banana
- 1-3 fruits
- 1 green vegetable (optional)
- 1 cup of liquid (like apple juice or orange juice or coconut water or water or almond milk)
It all depends on whether you are looking for something that is more creamy and smooth or lighter and fresher. Ginger always spices a drink up and mint, lemon, or lime creates a refreshing taste. Different berries will create more intense colours. Green vegetables will add protein and make the smoothie take on either a green or brown colouring. The more fruits, the sweeter. You can use tropical fruits blended with coconut water for a more exotic flavour. Berries are wonderful to use during the summer months and provide lots of antioxidants. Banana creates the creaminess (thus eliminating the need for yogurt) and almond milk will create more of a milkshake effect, especially if using cacao.
Smoothies are a gateway to playing with your food, with flavours, and with colour. Have fun and I’d love your favourite concoctions to be shared. Who knows, maybe we’ll make them at Rawsome Living Foods Cafe and Juice Bar on Salt Spring Island and name them after you!