Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Rawring, rawring, but not quite raw, though…

Just to clarify – I am not on a raw food diet. I aspire towards it, but I'm not there yet. Not by a long shot. I totally believe in it’s healing powers and it's energy (I mean seriously, check out these pics!), but I’m just not physically or emotionally ready for that. But 70 – 80% is quite an achievable goal. And not eating junk. My credo now is to alkalize our diet as much as possible and to eat as natural products as I can get. So if I’m making a “stir fry” I basically steam veggies for shortest time possible and add some olive oil after cooking. Or if I’m making a soup (Come on! It’s winter in Canada – can’t really last on salads…) I cook it for less than half an hour (as opposed to over an hour in the past). And if I make a sandwich, it’s some hummus with heaps of veggies, as opposed to butter and cheese (my favorite former staple…)

But there is always a green drink. And a salad. Those are a must.

All these changes remind me of the time I became vegetarian. At the beginning I simply had no idea what to eat. When the stake and the chicken left my plate, there was this daunting empty space that was driving me insane. I thought I’ll never enjoy food again. But then I learned better. And discovered delicious new foods, and new ways to look at dinner.

Now I’m back there again. The empty space in my head under the heading “dinner”. Over and over again I stand in the kitchen, and my old staples come to mind. Followed by a list of reasons why I can’t have them (too processed, too much salt, contains soy, or nuts, or fish…) and there are moments of desperation, with fists banging the counter top, screaming: “So what do I cook for you, people?” But inevitably something gets figured out. Not always a culinary champion entry, but eatable :-)… It is a learning curve… Some day I might become a master health-food chef. But for now I’m just a struggling apprentice.

However, I shouldn't dwell on the obstacles so much. Because there are positive things about our new diet. Like learning about all the products I’ve never heard about. For example, it turns out there are tons of grains out there! Grains that are not rice and are actually delicious. Like buckwheat, quinoa (my new favorite), millet (OK, I haven’t tried that one yet, but am about to) and spelt (honestly, sprouted spelt bread? Best thing ever, and they sell it sliced!)…

Or have you heard about the wonders of avocados? Wow. Those things are loaded with nutrients, potassium, healthy fats etc. And being low on sugar, they are much better than bananas for that natural energy kick. (Pricey though – but the world is just not perfect yet…)

And I always thought that there is only one type of sea vegetable. The one they wrap around sushi. Imagine my surprise when I was confronted with no less than six eatable varieties in my local health food store! Not that I know what to do with them yet, but so far I’ve tried Kombu and it’s delicious!

I could go on and on. Recent trips to the health-food stores have opened my eyes and emptied my wallet into oblivion... I am suffering from an information and opinion overload. And all the accompanying highs and lows. "Yes, I love goji berries! Wow, they do all that? At once? And I'll never need any other food again? How much did you say they are? Really? It was very nice to meet you..."

If I was rich, had unlimited resources, great weather (and not snowed-in freezing rain conditions) and a health food store closer than an hour away, I'd probably go completely raw right away. But it too hard right now. I can't. I need my comfort warm food. And I haven't figured out the way around it...

I need things like this:

A soup! Homemade, organic and no salt, but cooked and very warm…

To be raw fair, though, this is what I made for breakfast:

A completely raw and healthy coleslaw, consisting of shredded red cabbage, a shredded carrot and a shredded apple. All organic. A great salad that works like a broom through the intestines. Extraordinarily effective :-)

And there was a salad for dinner too. (Trying to keep that 80/20 ratio going. Though failing miserably, cause the soup was just way too good...)

An exotic take on stuff found on the fridge: tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, avocado and baby lettuce, tossed with cilantro, lemon juice and olive oil. Oh, and some Dulse flakes for saltiness. (Those flakes are one of those sea-vegetable things I just found out about. Quite eatable -- though not all that salty...)

So, as you can see, lots of changes, lots of cooking and lots of veggies… It's a learning and adapting process. But it's very much worth it.

Though I do miss my bread-butter-cheese sandwich...

Posted by vasilisa @ 10:35 p.m.

Read or Post a Comment

Healthy transitions aren't the easiest to make financially. At least not for us around here. A health food store? Hours away. It's hard to even find organic stuff in our grocery stores.

One of my good friends has a daughter with food allergies and she struggles. She's found a grocery store that's been willing to stock some of the items she has requested.

I am truly in awe of you, right now. My diet is just...whew!

Keep up the good work!

Posted by Blogger Leslie @ 12:33 a.m. #

Pretty pictures! Welcome back! It's nice to see you blogging again. You really have gone through a lot of changes. I guess that's just life, but you certainly seem to be up for the challenge!

It's funny that you mentioned quinoa. I had it for the first time yesterday. I had it with chicken and asparagus, but couldn't really taste it. I guess I have to adjust the seasoning. I read that it was a really healhty food, so I figured I'd better start eating it and have smaller portions of the meat (poutltry and seafood) that I still eat.

Posted by Blogger Anali @ 10:01 a.m. #

Hi Vasalisa
Don't kick yourself over rawness.. try focusing on alkaline-ness? is that a word??? Get The PH miracle by Dr Robert Young. It is a bit strict but when you read it you will be able to see that you do not need to be all raw and there are lots of good dinner choices. One of our favs is the alkaline stirfry.. really good and the kids eat it easily!
Keep the good work up, when you read the China Study let me know.. you will feel so great about what you are doing for your family! hugs deb

Posted by Anonymous deb @ 5:05 p.m. #

Deb: You hit the nail on the head. Alkalineze (darn, what's the word?) is exactly what I'm trying. And PhMiracle is the book that started it all :-) I have it. Well... had it... till my brother borrowed it indefinetly :-)

Posted by Blogger vasilisa @ 5:42 p.m. #

Leslie: Yah, the finances are horrible. I wish at least I lived somewhere downtown Toronto and have access to all these great stores and juice bars. As it is, I make a trip to a health food store about once a week, and it's hours out of the day. Luckily some local stores began to stock some organic produce. But honestly -- it's like all celery, carrots and apples, as if other veggies don't exist! And honey, you're preggers right now -- don't worry bout strict diet. When I was pregnant, I'd eat paper if it made me feel better. (It didn't, but heck, I sure wasn't a health-food fanatic :-) )

Anali: I really love quinoa now. To me it's just like rice, minus the pitfalls. My family has been so big on rice, that they always need some kind of grain there. I find that it tastes best if you cook it in whatever it is you're cooking -- like cook it in the broth with spices and small veggy chunks. And most important is to not overcook it, cause it will turn into mush. By the way, I think I'd still be eating fish, occasionally, but cause it turned out that my baby is allergic to it, I cut it out flat. Surprisingly, though, I don't miss it all too much. I thought I would, but not really... strange...

Posted by Blogger vasilisa @ 5:51 p.m. #
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I'm a 29 year old mom of two! A toddler (kiddo one) and a new baby (kiddo junior). I am also the most horrible (as in I barely ever do it) cook that I have met in my life. This blog is a diary of my attempts to feed my hungry growing family

PS: My name is not actually Vasilisa... But I find that honest reporting comes easier when there is a shred of anonymity. (Apparently, posting pics of my sons doesn't count...)

PPS: For those of you wondering where on the planet I am: I'm cosily tacked away in the Torontonian suburbia of the Great White North (Canada).

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