Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Can I really chase the turkey?

Like most raw foodists, I've grown a little wary of family get-togethers because of my diet. They have ranged from going perfectly fine (I love you mom!), to the offensive (the French genes in my family just don't understand anything but their own superior culinary ways and feel very threatened by the very notion of anything outside of the norm), to the plain confused ("so why exactly do you put yourself through this?"). My first raw Thanksgiving is most likely to be of little exception.
Thankfully, with a really big family, Thanksgiving dinners bring together anywhere between 15 to 30 people, and the number of vegetarians/vegans/dabblers has always been a small but steady constant. I know for a fact that there will be an abundance of salads and fruits for me to eat, and I'll also be bringing a raw vegan chocolate pecan pie. Apparently, Tofurky will even be making an appearance at this year's Thanksgiving (something I used to love, but now probably won't register as food for it's very processed appearance)… it still makes me really happy for the vegans though!
Generally though, I've been extremely fortunate to have an extremely open-minded and multi-cultural family so adding another strange dish or two to our Thanksgiving meal, whether it's Chinese food, or a vegan, vegetarian, and now raw dish, has never been perceived as being a big deal. That's what I'm giving thanks to this week!

But, my biggest fear for tomorrow? My first 10k run, my local YMCA's Annual Turkey Chase. My dad has been running it for as long as I can remember (he's one of those crazy hardcore joggers, who even ran it last year only 3 months after heart bypass surgery… yep, he's a champion!), but this will be my first time. I've done the Y's little 2 miles run/walk/jog a couple times, but I'm in the big leagues now.

The definite bonus is that I get to run it with my dad and that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside… One the things I already love most about summer is being able to our morning 2k swim in France. This time though, I'm just really scared on how well I'll perform. I know it's for fun, but I have this "raw food makes you healthier than normal people" reputation to uphold so I don't want to faint or anything… Well, and I also have a big ego, I guess. I guess I'll have to focus on the experience of jogging with my dad, the accomplishment of finishing the race, that it's only about one hour or my long and healthy life, and that when I'm done my mom will reward me with a green smoothie from her brand new Vitamix (my mom is a closet crunchie I tell you!). That should keep me going!

Wish me luck and Happy Thanksgiving no matter what your lifestyle/diet choice is! Feast away!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sexy Fruit?

Who says raw food ever gets boring? At our most recent trip to Mom's (still the BEST grocery store ever), Andrew and I fell upon one of the strangest fruits we've ever seen. Of course as is his lovable habit, Andrew had to buy it for novelty's sake. Once we took it home, it became something of our pet for the next few days. What was it you ask? It was a Monstera Deliciosa aka. the 'Delicious Monster'.

Hailing from Glaser Farms in South Florida (not so local, I know...), our little monster is actually a native fruit of Mexico and Guatemala. He's a tropical fruit grown on a very large leafed philodendron, and likes hot and humid areas. Okay, I know fruits don't have a sex, but really, just look at it. I'll call him a 'he' if I want to.

Like most of my raw diet now, I couldn't eat this lovely fruit immediately but had to wait for something to happen to him. Usually, I have to wait a couple days because of dehydrating, sprouting, etc. but this time, I had to wait until our fruit decided of his own free will that it was ready for our consumption. In other words, the directions that came with it (yes, this fruit actually came with instructions) said that you had to stick it in a cup and pretty much wait for the fruit to peel itself. What?!

Yep, the fruit can only be eaten once its mature and ripe, when the outer green skin you see in the picture falls in pieces of its own accord. As it peels, the fruit exposes its fleshy white inside, that you can cut just like a banana. The center of the fruit actually has a core that's very much like a tiny version of a pineapple core (it's too hard to eat). But wait we did, and here was the process:

Its taste was familiar yet foreign to me. It kinda tasted like some form of tropical asian fruit, a cross between a banana, a pineapple, and maybe dragonfruit or jackfruit but with the texture of lychees and the shape of a corn kernels... weird no? That's probably a terrible description and this Delicious Monster really should be able to stand on its own for overall coolest looking fruit and most bizarre taste and texture combination, but that's my take on it.

If ever you see one in a grocery, definitely pick it up for the novelty! You will miss him once he's gone though. I kind of liked having him sit on our kitchen table until he decided to reveal himself to us.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

PMS = Please Make Soup

I've mentioned before that as a thirteen year old, I was one of those girls who dreaded 'that time of the month' because to me that meant a couple days of writhing in pain, barely able to stand, hating every minute of it, and wondering 'why why why wasn't I born a boy' (okay, the last one is a total lie). But ever since I start going to the chiropractor, and then adopting vegan and now a raw diet, those symptoms have gone *poof*... really, sometimes I even forget it's even that time when I'm in the middle of it! It's been life changing.

Nevertheless, I still feel some side-effects of the whole moon cycle process usually meaning I have this desire to stay at home and nest... aka. spend more time in the kitchen. However, I also usually totally lose my appetite and revert to just wanting liquids. I understand though, that's it's particularly important right now to get lots of iron, to get my B12, and to keep eating despite how full I always feel. Breaking with the usual rawness of my life, I usually opt for this yummy soup that is not only high in all the nutrient I particularly need right now, but also super tasty:
PMS Soup

1 tsp unpasteurized miso
1/2 tsp spirulina powder
couple handfuls of chopped up spinach
a bunch of enoki mushrooms or some miso soup-type mushroom
sliced up ginger (optional)

Directions: pour hot water (I just use my kettle) into bowl with miso paste and stir til the miso breaks down (I know I'd make Japanese people cry for my lack of miso soup making respect...). Throw in all the rest of the ingredients. It's not super tasty but it has everything in it to make you feel before so drink up!

It's that simple, it's that quick, and it makes you feel that much better! I'm sure you could make a totally raw version, but especially right now, this pretty much is, and I appreciate the warmth.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Shout out to Oregon and Raw Food

After having gone to yesterday's Senate Finance Committee Hearing on the nominations of two new USTR ambassadors (Mr. Siddiqui and Mr. Punke), today's shout out goes to Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon who seems to be one of the only people running the government who understands that "sustainable agriculture" means organic agriculture and not the development of biotechnology. Having spent increasingly more time in the halls of Washington, I've been amazed (and mostly disillusioned) at how many people think "sustainability" means feeding the world and increasing yields through more robust usage of Genetic Modification. And Siddiqui is definitely one of those people.

How Siddiqui was nominated to the post of Chief Agricultural Trade Representative at the office of the USTR, I don't even know. Considering his current vice-presidency at Croplife America, the country's biggest agrochemical industry trade group, I don't know how you could even begin think of this man when you hear the world 'agriculture'. Surely his massive donations to the Obama campaign has nothing to do with his nomination... or is that just me and my wishful thinking again? At least there's been some serious backlash against his nomination (backlash you can contribute to I might add, if you just click here to sign a petition against his nomination. Thanks as always OCA!).

But dwelling on the positive, it was so refreshing to have someone (aka. Senator Wyden) from the current government saying that not only was he personally interested in using truly environmentally-friendly and sustainable solutions to increase trade and deal with climate change, but that he was also raising these questions for Mr. Siddiqui in response to demands made by his constituents. Sen. Wyden gets democracy. He gets the growing problems in our current agricultural system, and he actually wants to do something about it!... Unfortunately, and even though we call ourselves a democracy, that's rare. So, thank Senator Wyden, and thank you everyone in Oregon who elected this guy!

Speaking of doing good things for the environment: the raw food diet! I still wanted to end today on a happy note, so along with my new found love for Oregon, I want to share what I've been eating with you. Like a million other raw blogs point out, we don't just eat salad and drink green juices (though I do love those!). Here's what really goes on in my kitchen: