Monday, April 12, 2010

Meatless Monday

Raw foodies advocate a diet of at least 75% raw food such as fresh fruits, vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains, seaweeds, and beans.

Undoubtedly, there are health benefits to eating lots of fresh, organic, live and enzyme-rich foods. But 75% of your daily food intake, that's a lot of cold, raw food!

Upon googling "raw food diet," I did note some precautions and they include the disclosure that a raw diet may not be appropriate for children, people with anemia, and people at risk for osteoporosis.

Additionally, Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese Medicine suggest that a raw diet is not always appropriate in cold climates or for people with a deficient constitution.

So it's important to consider carefully your overall health and subsequent dietary needs before embarking on an ongoing diet of mostly cold, raw foods.

Frankly, it's not a lifestyle diet that I could embrace daily and over a long period of time, particularly living in Colorado where snowy winters will last 5 months, prompting me to prepare warming, heavier cooked meals.

However, as the snow and ground thaws, and longer, warmer days encourage more outdoor activity, I've been noticing that my constitution is sluggish and in need of a bit of a boost.

Given that I don't reach for coffee to overcome sluggishness, I thought Meatless Mondays would be the perfect day to eat raw, meatless meals.

I'm thinking a series of raw food --perhaps even all-juice meals-- meatless Mondays would be a great way to detox my system over the spring in preparation for lots of fun summer activity.

With that in mind, today I began my meatless Monday with a raw-muesli breakfast (pic at top).

Raw Apple Muesli
1) Grate an apple into a bowl.
2) Douse with the juice of half a lime.
3) Sprinkle with a mix of raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and raisins.

For more substance, you could add the raw-apple muesli to cooked oats, rice, millet, quinoa, buckwheat -- the latter three are high-protein whole grains.

For lunch and dinner I've decided to juice.

Last summer I came across a barely-used juicer at a garage sale. At $5 it was an incredible deal and I used it quite a bit June through August.

Over the winter, it sat dormant -- a bit like me.

I've dusted it off and I'm putting it to use again with the juice meals I'm making this Meatless Monday.

Vegetable Lunch Juice
1) Pick several handfuls of organic veggies from your crisper. I chose carrots, purple cabbage and celery. To counteract the cabbage-y flavor, I added an apple, which sweetens the juice (as does the carrot).
2) Wash your choice of veggies (and fruit) and run them through the juicer.
3) Add the juice of half a lime or lemon; it will add piquancy and draw out all the flavors, in the same way salt does.

Vegetable Dinner Juice
1) I have a bag of mixed braising greens which are delicious sauteed, but you can also juice them. Wash a couple of handfuls.
2) The greens will be quite bitter so I'm adding a couple of carrots and if I had a red beet, I'd probably add that too. Beets are also sweet, more so than carrots.
3) This will make quite a dense and beautifully colored juice--the beets will add a pink hue to the green and orange.
4) Adding the juice of half a lime will bring out the rich, raw vegetable flavors. If the juice is too dense, add some filtered water.
5) And if a glass of juice for dinner leaves you wanting for more, serve your juice with a bowl of grains, such as one of those mentioned above: rice, millet, or quinoa and sprinkle the bowl with nuts and seeds.

One day a week of raw foods and no meat seems very manageable to me, especially now that we're out of the winter deep freeze.

I have to say though, I couldn't do raw every day. I know by tomorrow morning, I'll be looking forward to a hot, cooked breakfast!

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